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Guest post: How to avoid over-training and exercise-related injuries

29 Apr

One of the great aspects of exercise is the rush of endorphin that you get after a workout. In fact, that rush can make exercise somewhat addictive, which is surely a good thing seeing as it’s so good for us. However, fitness fanatics beware – it’s easy to fall into the trap of overtraining. Here’s how to make sure you can continue exercising safely and avoid overtraining or injuries from exercise.

Are you overtraining?

Injuries from exercise are pretty obvious, but overtraining can be a little trickier to recognise if you’ve never experienced it before. Here are some of the signs:

  • No longer seeing results from exercise…
  • Or have even reversed somewhat
  • Loss of motivation
  • Gain in fat
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Decreased immune system

Fuel your workout

A good diet is especially important for avoiding both injury and overtraining. It’s easy to get preoccupied with whey protein, particularly when trying to build muscle mass, but carbohydrates are essential too, as are other types of proteins. Without carbs, your body may instead use that very muscle mass you’re trying to build for energy when you exercise.

Here are some great foods for runners, and weight lifters should take a look at this article.

Short and sweet

Of course a three hour workout will feel like a great achievement – and it is! However, completing workouts of this length too regularly can lead to overtraining. It takes about an hour for our testosterone levels to dip, and cortisol to rise. Testosterone is good for training, as it enables our muscles to grow, but cortisol can cause weight gain, so extra long sessions at the gym can do more harm than good.

Take a look here for a great hour long cardio workout.

Swap dumbbells for your duvet

allowing time to recover after a workout is essential, but as well as planning in rest days it’s important that you get a good night’s sleep. As well as being a great way to avoid overtraining and injury, sleeping well is one of the best ways to recover from overtraining. Try to make sure that you get at least seven hours per night, preferably nine if possible.

This article offers some great advice on sleeping soundly.

Warm up and stretch

It’s such a basic part of a workout that often we can underestimate the vital importance of the warm up and cool down. Taking five minutes to warm up the muscles before exercise can make a huge difference to how they’ll perform, and forgetting to complete a warm up can lead to injury. Always make sure that you plan an extra ten minutes into your workout time – unless you want to spend even longer resting an injury.

Take a look here for a basic warm up routine, and here for useful stretches you can perform after exercise.

About Me

Hi there, my name is Jonathon. I work at Nature’s Best and I am something of a fitness fanatic. I love reading and writing about nutrition and I also enjoy running and picking up heavy things. I have been known to overdo it, so I am more than familiar with the risks of over-training.

Thank you Jonathon for your contribution to Grainddiction! It certainly has expanded our knowledge on over-training and exercise-related injuries! We hope to have your writing again one day.


don’t give up.

12 Apr


hope everyone is well.

today, i want to share a little about weight loss journey.

we all have been there. we wanted to lose weight so badly and when the scale doesn’t move at all… we gets disappointed and discouraged .

i mean… many of you have succeeded to lose weight in one attempt? some people do lose the weight on their very first attempt. unfortunately the second, third…and following weight loss are not easy as the first one. but today, i just want to point out that it is okay to fail. and it is okay to try again. don’t give up. know that weight loss does not happen over night, and be aware that it does take a lot of effort, and it requires full commitment and consistency from you.


okay, the first thing i want to say is that a healthy weight loss is about 0.5-1kg loss per week. too dramatic weight loss often only leads you to weight regain. also, too fast weight loss may indicate water and muscle loss, which are not what we really want. we want fat loss, not muscle loss. we want our muscle to be present and strong to do our daily activities, and it’s getting more important as we get older, to live healthy and independent (to stay at our own house longer, and delay moving to nursing home).

a couple months ago, the Dietitians Association of Australia released If at first you don’t succeed- try, try again, say dietitians. and I can’t agree more. a new survey has shown that most Australians (25-49yo) have attempted weight loss in the past year, however only 2 out of 10 were happy with their results. women and those aged over 40 yo found it hard to be in a healthy weight range.

based on the survey, 1 in 4 adults (who tried losing weight in the past year) had tried 1 of the 9 listed popular diets (meal replacement shakes, fasting and Atkins diet)- and men and women were equally likely to have tried one of those diets. this is not surprising, really. from experience, most clients i saw have tried losing weight using those methods. and as we can see ourselves, those fad diets may work for a short period of time, however more often than not, the weight will creep back on.

so, what do we do? just like when we try to quit smoking, it is expected to be more than just one single attempt. don’t expect miracle to happen overnight. and just like that- you won’t lose weight in 1 night. so, start small. expect about 0.5-1kg of weight loss each week. and put it in perspective, start sooner than later. if you know you have wedding to attend in December, don’t wait until November to start losing weight.

a wedding/party/overseas trip may be a great motivation to lose weight, but remember, always think about all the health benefits you get from weight loss! put your health first. i think this is a very important key that people often forget. weight loss is not only about getting into a size 8 dress or to be skinny. think about it as lifestyle change. this mindset is more likely to sustain than a “diet”. you need time, consistency and perseverence in weight loss.


a healthy weight loss diet should always include all the core food groups: fruit, vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. there is no need to avoid 1 particular food group because they all provide us with different health benefits.

AGHE 2013

lastly, get support. get as much support as you can, from your family and friends. support is important. speak with your local dietitian to work out a healthy, sustainable and individualized meal plan that is tailored to you. this will keep up your motivation, too!

APD Logo_PMS_348good luck!


Have you had your 2 serves of fish this week?

10 Apr

Hello everyone 🙂

I’m back! Hope you all are well.

Today, I’m going to update you about fish. no- not about the fish that I have in the tank. but the fish that was on my dinner table tonight.


This post will be based on a Melbourne study, published in the Dietitians Association of Australia’s journal of Nutrient & Dietetics. see reference for the article.

The study compared two groups. one group simply ate two x 150g fresh salmon per week, and the other group took 2 fish oil capsules 6 days a week. Both group did it for 12 weeks. Both group also had wash out period, meaning they went back to their usual diet (no supplementation) before swapping across to the other treatment for a further 12 weeks.

This study’s paricipants were 11 patients with existing heart disease, and mostly working-age males with no smoking history and a moderate alcohol intake.

The researcher, Catherine Itsiopoulos concluded that fresh fish intake may have extra heart health benefits over fish oil capsules for people with heart disease. This may occur because fresh fish does not only provide us with omega-3 fats but also other nutrients like taurine and selenium. Also, by including 2x fresh fish in our weekly food intake, it reduces the chances of having less healthy foods.

Including 2 serves of fish in a week is in line with our Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines. I always recommend my clients to have at least 2 nights of fish, 2 nights of lean red meat and 1 night of vegetarian dish in their weekly diet. By doing that, it help in balancing our diet. There is no need to avoid one particular food (except if you’re allergic or intolerant to it) because every food has different characteristic that provides unique health benefit. Also, if you can’t fit in fresh fish, you can try having tinned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines) in your sandwich for lunch. Again, increases your omega 3 intake and reduces the chances of choosing less healthy foods (bacon/sausages/ham in your sandwich). I’m not saying that you can’t have them, however try to alternate your lean ham/grilled chicken sandwich with tuna sandwich. It’s about balance!

Oh my gosh, I can keep talking and talking about this all day.

Anyway, that was my update for the day. I hope you find it interesting!

Take care 🙂



Australian guidelines recommend healthy adults eat 500mg/day long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn3PUFA), and for people with heart disease, this rises to 1,000mg/day. But the last National Nutrition Survey suggests Australians do not meet the recommended intake, with an average intake of 246mg/day.

Brazionis L, Ting E, Itsiopoulos C, Wilson A, Hodge A. The effects of fish or fish oil on the omega-3 index. Nutr Diet 2012;69:5-12.

Wiley Press Release. 2014.

More about diabetes type II. STOP it!

24 Mar

hi everyone!

hope all is well. it’s quite a Monday here in Sydney. it has been all gloomy since morning- and now it’s pouring.

i have started running diabetes education group session at the clinic i work- Mt Druitt Medical Centre. If you have type 2 diabetes, and if you’re interested, do give us a call.  or you can drop a comment and i’ll follow up.

since i am the one who is running the group, i have been researching a lot about diabetes and it’s management. so i would like to share it with you.

i have talked about diabetes in the past. read here.

so, as we all know, diabetes has its complications. generally, if we have diabetes type II and we control our diabetes well, our risks of complications are minimal. however, most people i have met in my practice do not control their diabetes well. it can be damaging to our health.

we probably don’t feel it now, but having uncontrolled diabetes may cause many severe complications later on in life such as:

1. kidney damage (nephropathy), can lead to kidney failure

2. eye damage (retinopathy), can also lead to blindness

3. nerve damage to the feet and other parts of body (neuropathy), can also lead to amputation

4. sexual problems

we also cannot disregard that as we have diabetes, our risk of developing heart disease are much greater. this is because we often have abnormal lipid profile- meaning we have high blood cholesterol/LDL/triglycerides.

so what do we do?

healthy lifestyle is essential in diabetes management. proper diet and exercise has significant impact on our blood glucose control. our GP or endocrinologist will be able to tell us our blood glucose target. once we know our target, then we aim to achieve them through diet and exercise.

healthy eating has been shown to: improve blood glucose control and modify cardiovascular risk factors. modest weight loss (<10% body weight, for example if you weigh 90kg, a modest weight loss is 9kg) in overweight/obese person has been shown to: improve insulin sensitivity, improve blood glucose control, reduce body fat percentage, improve blood pressure and other cardiovascular factors, may reduce or even eliminate the need for medications and may reduce insulin dose. 

basic healthy eating:

1. eat regular meals: 3 main meals and 1-2 snacks

2. evenly spread your carbohydrate intake throughout the day. it is unnecessary to eliminate all carbohydrate from your diet. carbohydrate is main source of energy for us. be consistent and eat mostly from complex carbohydrate such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables.

3. portion control. a healthy plate consists of 1/2 plate of vegetables, 1/4 plate of low GI complex carbohydrate and 1/4 plate of lean protein.


4. switch to healthy fats, from oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, canola oil, avocado.

be sure that you go to your GP regularly- every 3 months to check your HbA1C which shows your glucose control in the past 3 months. and check your sugar level at home daily if you have the equipment.


so, to be a healthy diabetic:

1. achieve normal and stable blood glucose control (target should be discussed with your GP/endocrinologist)

2. achieve normal lipid profile (tot cholesterol <4.0mmol/L; LDL cholesterol <2.0mmol/L; HDL cholesterol >1.0mmol/L; triglycerides <2.0mmol/L)

3. achieve normal blood pressure (<130 systolic /90 diastolic)

4. eat healthy

5. be active (try to exercise every second day, as simple as walking- and work your way up gradually)



Diabetes. 2011. Better Health Channel.
Diabetes facts. 2010. Australian Diabetes Council.
Mahan and Escott-Stump. 2008. Krause’s food and nutrition therapy, 12e. Canada: Elsevier.
Mann and Truswell. 2007. Essentials of human nutrition 3rd edition. US: Oxford University Press Inc

how to make your push up even harder!

19 Mar

helllo everyoneeee!

hope you are all well~ now it’s been ages. i’m sorry for missing in action for such a long time. it has been a few things happened since then, and i just don’t think i am fully recovered yet. but i’m getting there 🙂

what can you do- you just live your life as it comes and try to put a smile on your face every single day.  ok. i’m trying to be really positive here.


i just want to quickly share with you what i came across today. as you may or may not know, i am renovating Grainddiction. i am adding a few new tabs and moving the blog posts to a separate tab. so i am on the net all the time, browsing and all. so here it goes what i stumbled upon.

it’s a few ways to make your push up harder. okay i lied. it’s actually MANY ways to make it harder. it takes some time for me to scroll down the article- so imagine how it feels to master all those variations!

it’s worth to try though. we need to change our routine every now and then. it’s good for our mind and body. and that way we can keep going with our weight loss too. it’s not unknown that after week 12 we mostly face that stagnant point- where the weight sort of stuck and not moving down. by changing our routine (diet and exercise), we can shift it again! so, do give it a try! mind you, i’m still working on the first ten and boy oh boy it is hard! be gentle though- take it easy and slowly move your way up (or in push up world, down down down).

click on this link! it’s from Greatist- if you haven’t followed them yet- do follow them! they have the most creative articles.

until next time! ciao

Images from:

References (Greatist):

oh baby! the ultimate guide to contraception

26 Oct

dear readers

hope everyone is doing great 🙂

i came across this info quite a while ago- and i thought it’s worth sharing with you guys.

it’s got nothing to do with my usual dietetic or nutrition stuff- it is a bit different.

it’s about contraception- to be exact- different kinds of contraception methods.

there are many methods out there- and i did not have a clue.

this info-graphic sum it up really well- and can be a quick and easy guide to read- before you decide which method is right for you.

Get health and fitness tips at

just to be clear- i am not an expert in any way in this matter- i simply wanted to share this info-graphic with you!

play safe ;P


The Greatist Team. December 2012. The ultimate guide to contraception.

info-graphic: the complete guide to workout nutrition

15 Oct

dear everyone

hope everyone is doing well 🙂

i stumbled across this info-graphic from Greatist website. i love, love, love this info-graphic!

it is so easy to follow- easy to understand. stick it on your fridge (next to your meal plan- or the picture of the model you look up to lol) and you’re good to go!

i hope you enjoy this as much as i do!

Get health and fitness tips at


The Greatist Team. 2011. The complete guide to workout nutrition (infographic).

have you had your handful today?

3 Oct

Hi everyone!

Today, I thought I would like to share bits and pieces about almonds- and hopefully you’ll learn something new about almonds 🙂

Almonds are very good for you- they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that are great for your health. A handful of almonds a day (20 almonds) may reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes type II. Here are a few reasons why you should reach your share of almonds today:

 1. almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fat (66% of total fat) and they are low in saturated fat (7% of total fat)

 2. almonds are cholesterol-free. instead they contain natural plant sterols which can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol reabsorption in the intestine

 3. almonds are high in vitamin E- have your handful of almonds a day and you also get 70% of vitamin E you need in a day. vitamin E is important as it can help maintain a healthy heart- and watch out girls- they are good for your skin too!

 4. almonds are source of plant protein making them good meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans. a specific amino acid in almonds called arginine can help prevent blood clotting hence reducing your risk of heart disease

 So, a handful of almonds a day is certainly doing you good! Have you had yours today?


image from


Almond. Nuts For Life.

Strahan ™. Nuts for cardiovascular protection. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(suppl):S33

Info-graphic: Low calorie sweetener consumption

30 Sep

Hi everyone

Just want to quickly share with you a very interesting info-graphic on low calorie sweetener consumption. This info-graphic was presented at the IUNS 20th International Congress of Nutrition in Granada, Spain by Professor Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center of Public Health Nutrition, at the University of Washington. He is also a director of the University’s Center for Obesity Research.

It shows that low calorie sweetener can be used as a tool in weight management.

Image from

“When combined with a healthy diet, being physically active and adopting other healthy behaviours, the use of low calorie sweeteners to reduce overall calorie intake is appropriate for weight loss.” (Professor Adam Drewnowski)

I like the info-graphic. It gives me a good idea of how and who uses low-calorie sweeteners.

Image from

It’s very interesting! So, based on Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington (2013):

– Consumers of low calorie-sweeteners tend to be women over the age of 40

– Consumers of low calorie-sweeteners are less likely to smoke and more likely to be physically active

– Consumers of low calorie-sweeteners are likely to try managing their body weight

Due to copyright issue, I cannot show you the info-graphic here. However, I can direct you to the correct website, so you can see it for yourself. Click here.


Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington.

Drewnowski, Adam. 2013. Info-graphic: the facts behind low calorie sweetener consumption. University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Gray, Nathan. 2013. Info-graphic: the facts behind low calorie sweetener consumption. Food Navigator.

Can we really reduce our risk of dementia?

23 Sep

Hi everyone!

Does everyone know what dementia is?

According to Alzheimer’s Australia, dementia is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Unlike common perception, dementia is not one specific disease. It affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks- basically it affects all the functionality of a brain.

image from

Is it a serious condition? Yes, it could be. Imagine if we can’t perform our daily tasks any more- imagine forgetting things. It could be a minor one- when someone could forget where he/she puts his/her keys. but what about more serious ones such as forgetting where they live or what they were doing at a particular place. It could be daunting!

I, for one, am very very scared of dementia. We all thought that it only affect older people, however dementia can happen to any body. Although it is more commonly happen in people 65 years and older, people in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

Click here to know more about dementia.

What’s more important? reducing our risk of dementia. can we?

YES! the evidence indicates that we can!

it’s all about looking after ourselves- our brain, health and our lifestyle.

mental activity

mental complexity and new learning assist with the maintenance and even regrowth of brain cells. higher levels of mental activity throughout life are consistently associated with better brain function and reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

so? it’s time to challenge ourselves- young or old, we need new challenge every now and then!

image from

social activity

social activity, particularly one involving mental stimulation and physical activity can benefit our cognitive functioning, therefore reducing dementia risk.

so? time to take up new sports on the weekend- find a bushwalking group or join a local netball/volleyball- even lawn ball!

image from

physical activity

physical activity is never ever bad for you. an exercise, as simple as walking has been shown to be beneficial for better brain function and reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia. being active increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the growth of brain cells. more brain cells- more brain volume!


this is my area of interest. can we really modify our diet to reduce the risk of dementia? i believe that healthy diet and lifestyle is beneficial across all chronic diseases- not only reducing the risk of dementia, but also other disease. as of this particular disease, more research is needed to understand if there is any specific food that may be able to reduce the risk of dementia. i doubt there is- it’s all about balance! balanced diet, covering all the food groups- feeding our body and brain and mind with the best possible nutrition can only occur from all different food groups.

we all know that high intake of saturated fats (found in meat, take away foods, pies, cakes) is associated with many chronic diseases and this is true for dementia. on the other hand, high intake of polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats (found in fish, nuts and olive oil) is good for you. the same goes for reducing dementia risk.

so what’s the conclusion? well. there is no one miracle food that can prevent dementia. it’s all about balanced. looking after yourself- avoid saturated fats (bad for you anyway- for any chronic diseases risk) and include appropriate amount of healthy poly- and mono-unsaturated fats in you daily diet!

what about alcohol? moderate alcohol consumption is the answer. if you already drink- always remember to have no more than two standard drinks per day and always have 2 alcohol-free days in your week. if you do not drink- well, good for you! don’t start!


body weight

healthy body weight is good for the heart and circulation- meaning better brain function and reduced dementia risk. again- just like other chronic diseases- maintaining healthy body weight is quite an essential factor! make sure you lead an active lifestyle- does not mean joining the gym- it could be as simple as daily walking, taking up stairs instead of elevators and gardening (or even walking your puppies!)

if you would like to read more about brain health program, click here.

i hope you find this information useful- and if you do, please share it with your loved ones- because we want to increase awareness of dementia- and because we care about people around us<3

your brain matters!


Alzheimer’s Australia.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Your Brain Matters.

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