Sos Penpals

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June 27, 2013
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Healthier Alternatives for Snacks, Desserts and Drinks

Slimming down can be a particular challenge when if requires you to give up your favourite snacks and desserts. Once you start reading the lists of what you shouldn’t eat because it is high in calories and low in nutritional value, the dieting can become tiresome.

So, here’s a trick. Instead of putting together a list of forbidden treats, try replacing them with something healthier. Psychologically, you will not feel so restrained, while physically your body will recognise the difference. And the best thing is – you might actually end up developing new, healthy long-term eating habits!

317185e1572cef47ccf96e0a09ae90b767dcThis is an old advice, but it really works. If you have a habit to snack between the meals, whether the reason is hunger or simply a need to chew on something, replace the chips and crackers with nuts and vegetables. Of course, it’s not quite the same, but you might be surprised – some nuts can be tastier than chips. Walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashew nuts… take your pick!

Still, keep in mind that while nuts have good nutritional value, they are also rich in calories. If you need to lower your calorie intake, try snacking on vegetables instead. Carrots are a popular choice, but you might prefer broccoli or radish. There are many vegetables out there, and one of them might just prove to be a perfect snack for you.

What about the desserts? If you’re fond of ice-cream, try frozen yoghurt instead. While you’re on a diet, this low-fat alternative will help you to slim down if you can’t resist an occasional frozen dessert. If you’re making a cake at home, try using healthy recipe substitutions.

When it comes to drinks, you probably know that water is the best choice. Still, once you get the urge to drink something with more flavour, avoid soft drinks and drink flavoured water instead. You can even make flavoured water yourself!

May 17, 2013
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Improving Your Swimming Fitness

At first, if you want to become a better swimmer, it might be enough to swim regularly and to eat a healthy diet. Once you reach a certain point and become an excellent swimmer, improving your swimming fitness becomes a bit more complicated.

A competitive swimmer needs to excel at several crucial elements: start, turn and speed. A strong start and swift turn demand a high level of power and strength, whereas the race itself requires aerobic endurance which will ensure swimmer’s consistent speed. Shorter races place more value on start and turn, while longer disciplines require superb stamina.

Improving strength

To improve in competitive swimming, your strength training should focus on specific muscle groups. When performing a start or a turn, the strength of quadriceps and gluteus maximus might make the difference that determines the race. A large percent of a swimmer’s power also depends on chest, shoulder and back muscles.

See more information on swimmers’ strength training for detailed advice and the recommended exercises.

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Improving endurance

Endurance in the pool depends not only on the fitness of your muscles, but on the proper breathing techniques and ideal pacing as well. It is also very important that your swimming technique is correct. If you are doing something wrong, it is likely that your body will be under unnecessary strain and tire more quickly. Here you can read a detailed guide on how to improve your swimming endurance.

Better Nutrition

Just like other athletes, swimmers need vitamins and minerals to keep the body healthy, proteins to build muscle power, carbohydrates for energy and of course, water to stay hydrated. If your diet isn’t well balanced and healthy, your swimming performance will suffer. Also, keep in mind that even the nutrition before the race can make a difference!