5 signs you’re lacking iron

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Feeling tired or experiencing more headaches than normal? You might put it down to a poor night's sleep, but you could be overlooking the signs of an iron deficiency

5 signs you’re lacking iron

Iron deficiency anaemia is when the body can’t produce enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen, due to the lack of iron. It’s a very common condition, often going unnoticed by many because the early symptoms are so mild.

So, what are the signs of an iron deficiency?

1. Feeling more tired than normal

You might put tiredness down to a late night or poor night’s sleep, but if you are feeling extremely tired, and it persists, it could be a sign you’re lacking in iron. As iron deficiency means there are fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, our muscles are denied energy, which makes us more lethargic.

2. Pale skin

Haemoglobin (the protein in our blood cells) is what gives our blood its red colour. When there is a lack of iron, it typically leads to paleness of the skin. Keep an eye out, particularly, for the loss of colour around the eyelids, gums and nails.

3. Shortness of breath

As our muscles don’t receive oxygen, we will increase our breathing rate to compensate. This is more noticeable with tasks that wouldn't normally see you short of breath.

4. Noticeable heartbeat

Heart palpitations are more noticeable in people with iron deficiency anaemia. Due to the lack of red blood cells carrying oxygen around the body, the heart has to work even harder to pump as much oxygen as possible. This might also lead to abnormal or irregular beating and heart murmurs in cases where iron deficiency is prolonged.

5. Feeling more anxious

A lack of oxygen as a result of low iron can heighten our senses and cause feelings of panic and anxiety. This is particularly noticeable in people that may not usually be anxious, but it can be easily resolved by increasing iron intake.


How to increase iron levels

If you suspect you might have an iron deficiency, no matter how mild, it’s important you take the steps to address it before it could get worse.

Talk to your GP

Your doctor will likely arrange for a blood test to check your iron levels. From here, they can assess the severity and recommend ways to bring your haemoglobin levels back up to normal.

It's important to speak to a healthcare professional, as they will be able to check whether there are any underlying causes of your low iron levels, such as heavy periods, or whether your low iron has contributed to anything else that you might be unaware of. Your blood test will also check for other types of anaemia, such as vitamin B12 deficiency and folate anaemia. It’s helpful to understand that iron deficiency is the most common type of anaemia, so you’re not alone and it can be easily addressed.

Change your diet

You might be able to bring your iron levels up naturally, by increasing your intake of iron-rich foods, such as spinach, kale, eggs, red meat, brown rice, and tofu. You should also ensure you are getting sufficient levels of vitamin C, as this is needed to absorb the iron more easily so it can work effectively. Most importantly, make sure you’re getting a Read more

107: How to get more from your workout routine

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Hi friends! How are ya? I hope you’re enjoying the week so far!

I have a new podcast episode up for you today, and I’m chatting all about ways to get more out of your workout routine. If you’ve been consistent with your routine but aren’t seeing results, here are some checkmarks to consider. It’s always helpful to assess our routine and see where we’re succeeding, what our weaknesses look like, and small changes we can make to improve results. Of course, always talk with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your fitness and nutrition routine.


107: How to get more from your workout routine

Switch the emphasis from cardio to strength training and walking

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE cardio. I love to sweat from my eyeballs and I thrive on the endorphins. Cardio is a solid part of my routine for the mental health benefits.

Here’s what too much cardio can be a problem:

It can increase inflammation in the body, which gives us a puffy look and makes it harder to recover from our workouts

It can catabolize muscle tissue if it’s in excess and we’re not fueling/recovering properly

With cardio overtraining, it can lead to altered movement patterns, muscle imbalances, and overuse injuries. If you’re an endurance athlete, make sure you’re following a balanced training plan that incorporates cross training, along with proper fueling and recovery.

If you have body composition goals, you will notice a bigger difference if you switch your focus to strength training and use walking (or hill walking) as cardio. This will enable you to preserve muscle tissue and use your energy for strength.

Not sure how much cardio you need? Check out this post. 

Do the same things over and over again; follow a progressive training module

I cringe SO hard when I think about how I used to advocate for “muscle confusion.” Your muscles don’t have a brain lol. It’s actually beneficial to do the same movement patterns (push, pull, hinge, squat, carry) and increase the sets and reps over time. THIS is how you strategically build lean muscle. Of course, you can add in changes to keep things exciting and challenge yourself in a different way, but all solid training plans need to emphasize the basics. The classic movements have stood the test of time for a reason.

In your personal routine, take a look at your core exercises and make sure they have the pull, push, hinge, squat, and carry movements at least 2x a week. If you’re looking for a progressive training plan, join us in Fit Team.

Podcast about progressive training here!

Focus on sleep and recovery

Athletes need 7+ hours of quality sleep each night in order to facilitate mental and physical repair.

Some tips for bett

Steer Clear of Pre-Workout! Here’s Why

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Look, I get it. You know you’ll feel better if you work out. But maybe your alarm was extra-unwelcome this morning or you’ve had an exhausting day. And you know that with a little bit of a boost, you’re not just more likely to actually feel up to exercising — you’re also more likely to crush that workout.

And that makes a pre-workout pretty appealing, but that quick high comes with some serious lows you need to be aware of.

Why I don’t use pre-workout

You all know I take my sweat session seriously. So a lot of people are surprised when they hear that I never make pre-workout part of my routine. I mean, it’s a pretty standard part of that fitness lifestyle for a lot of people.

But here’s the thing. Pre-workout is FILLED with synthetic sh*t like artificial sweeteners and untested supplements. Like, you’re truly getting that boost from chemicals paired with a VERY heavy-handed dose of caffeine. And that means it comes with side effects like:

  • Jitters
  • Nausea
  • An energy crash afterward
  • Tingling and flushed skin
  • Digestive problems
  • Water retention (read: bloating)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches

You might think those side effects would probably be pretty rare — but you’d be wrong. A 2019 study found that 54% of people who took pre-workout experienced side effects, and those side effects were more common in women than in men. That means that if you and your friend both take pre-workout, the odds are pretty darn high that at least one of you will have to deal with feeling sick, getting a skin reaction, or some other issue. 

On top of all of this, pre-workout raises your heart rate. If you’re going to be getting into some serious cardio, that can put excess (read: dangerous) strain on your heart. 

As we learn more about what pre-workout does to the body, more and more health and fitness experts are coming out against it. And I’m right there with them.

What to watch out for

I’m not saying all of this to freak you out. But I do think that if you’re using pre-workout, it’s important to put some thought into it. Read the label and look up ingredients you don’t know. Here are a few common ones I would steer clear of:

  • Excess caffeine: A lot pre-workout products have upwards of 250+ mg of caffeine per serving. Factor your daily cup (or two) of coffee on top of that and you’re quickly hitting or exceeding the FDAs recommended caffeine intake of up to 400 milligrams. It’s important not to shock your system and overload it too quickly. 
  • Beta-alanine: This compound is supposed to help prevent muscle fatigue and soreness. But it also affects your skin. If you’ve ever felt tingly after taking pre-workout, beta-alanine was probably to blame.
  • Niacin: A.k.a., vitamin B3, niacin does play an important role in your metabolism. But if you’re eating a healthy diet, you should already be getting plenty of it. And the high levels of niacin in pre-workout cause skin flushing, so much so that a lot of people get red patches on their skin. 
  • Creatine: Creatine is a pretty popular fitness supplement because it helps to boost muscle mass and enhance athletic performance. But do you know

Feeling hangry? The connection between hunger and your mood and how to master it

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If you are irritable after skipping breakfast, or your mood goes haywire an hour before dinner, you’ll know that being hungry can affect your emotions. Here we examine the science behind being ‘hangry’, and why how you feel often depends on what you eat

Feeling hangry? The connection between hunger and your mood and how to master it

We’ve all seen the Snickers advert with the tagline: “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” While it’s a lighthearted take at feeling ravenous, it turns out that the science behind hunger impacting your mood is actually pretty solid. And there’s plenty of reasons why being hungry can actually affect your mood, and even your relationships.

A study of married couples found that anger towards spouses was greater when glucose levels were lowest, which is when we feel hungriest. But how exactly does hunger impact our mood and, more importantly, what can we do about it?

Let’s start by talking about why it happens. Whatever we eat (whether that’s a full English breakfast or a superfood smoothie) is digested into helpful things like amino acids and sugars, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream and used around the body for all sorts of functions to help keep us alive. A few hours later, our blood sugar level drops, and that’s what makes you feel hungry.

This is actually a really useful cycle, but if we’re rushed off our feet, or don’t have food close to hand, then other changes start to kick in to remind us that we need to start eating again. That’s when our fight-or-flight mechanism gets going, thanks to a big adrenaline boost, making us feel emotions such as anger, anxiety, or a general sense of stress and panic.

This was ideal in caveman times, when we needed a signal to hunt, but less useful nowadays if you’re in the middle of an important work meeting, and suddenly feel rage.

If you’re not eating, your brain wants to boost blood sugar, so it sends signals to other parts of your body to release more hormones to help. These include our stress hormones, which also trigger perceived ‘negative’ emotions like stress or anger.

Nutritionist VJ Hamilton explains: “When blood sugar gets low, which may happen when you haven’t eaten for a while, it triggers several hormones to be released in the body, including adrenaline linked to the fight-or-flight response, and cortisol, known as the stress hormone. These hormones are released to bring blood sugar back into balance, but both adrenaline and cortisol can affect mood and cause aggression in some people.”

There’s plenty of research to show that being hungry can make you feel more negative: research on university students found people who were hungry reported more unpleasant emotions – such as feeling stressed, or even hateful – and had a more negative attitude to the researchers in the study.

If you’re not eating enough throughout the day, this can cause physical symptoms, too. “Often people feel tired and develop headaches if their blood sugar regulation is not in check, especially if they develop a couple of hours after eating. You may also feel hungry and crave sugary foods,” says VJ.

Of course, it’s worth m

Sweet and Spicy Apple Coleslaw

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This sweet and spicy coleslaw has plenty of crunch! It’s an unforgettable side dish.

Sweet and spicy flavors are almost always a sure win with my family. However, coleslaw? That has not always been a reason to cheer. A few years ago that changed when we tried this recipe for classic coleslaw.

Since then, we’ve tried some pretty amazing coleslaw recipes. This Sweet and Spicy Apple Coleslaw was eaten down to the very last apple slice and ribbon of cabbage.

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw with Apples

The comment “Best Coleslaw I’ve ever tasted” was heard and there were echoes of that from almost everyone at the table. I made this for dinner guests again last night and was thrilled that it turned out so well.

A certain non-coleslaw-loving brother of mine just might have taken the serving bowl back to his chair and finished off every last bit.

Spicy Apple Coleslaw

This was the first apple coleslaw we tried, but it certainly hasn’t been the last.

We’ve been making this Sweet and Spicy Apple Coleslaw and the Cranberry Apple Coleslaw now for several years.

I love adding apples to traditionally savory dishes like these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon or this Blueberry Apple Walnut Salad. They add a terrific sweet bite to the dish and we all love that.

Spicy Coleslaw Recipe

We love spicy flavors and in coleslaw the heat is balanced by the creamy sweet dressing. Mexican Street Corn Coleslaw and Jalapeno Coleslaw are two awesome examples of that.

The Sweet and Spicy Apple Coleslaw includes a couple of ingredients that I wouldn’t have thought to include without inspiration from Chef John.

When I saw corn nuts in the original recipe, I may have stopped and stared. I don’t really even like corn nuts. It just sounded so unusual, I had to try it. And they worked!

Just a couple of tablespoons of crushed corn nuts changes the flavor and texture of the salad from very good to delicious. This is an excellent summer salad that I have made many times over the past few years.

For what it’s worth, the Tabasco sauce doe

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