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Let’s Talk about Gut Health

Let’s talk about gut health

Gut health is a hot topic. While still constantly explored, more information is coming out daily on just how important optimal gut health is. We’d go so far as to argue that gut health is one of the most important aspects of health. Studies have shown that a large portion of our immune system resides in the gut, and that gut bacteria plays a role in weight loss or weight gain, as well as overall health. Plus, the gut-brain connection is crazy powerful; there’s a reason they call it a ‘gut feeling’.

There’s more to gut health than just taking your probiotic and eating your probiotic-rich foods. While this is obviously super important (and recommended!) in supporting your gut, there’s so much more that goes into showing your gut some love! So, we’re here sharing the top five daily habits for gut health that you may not necessarily know about.

The Top 5 Daily Habits For Gut Health

These daily habits are easy to implement and can help supercharge your health and be the foundation for better gut health. If you can even carve out 15 minutes per day to do a Sudor workout, or even just a ten minute meditation, it will do wonders for your health. It’s all about calming that sympathetic nervous system. We all need to focus on gut health, no matter how healthy we are. Maintaining optimal gut health is so crucial for overall health – especially in a global pandemic. These daily habits for gut health can help get your gut health in check. Plus, these are all habits for an overall healthy lifestyle, so what are you waiting for?

Reduce that stress

Yes, we know. We all have stress, especially during a global pandemic. But, here’s the thing. Making an effort to fit even just ten minutes of stress reduction into your day is key, and so simple. Even just a few minutes per day is helpful! Reducing stress is so important for supporting better gut health. Think about it – have you ever had a knot in your stomach when stressed? This all has to do with the body’s fight-or-flight response. When your body thinks you are in danger (and stressed!), starts to ‘fight’ and protect itself. When your body is in this state, digestion slows to focus on the “threat” at hand. Often this threat is just stress, but the body doesn’t know any different. So, our body responds to intense financial, work, or home stress in the same way it would respond to being chased by a bear – which can cause our hormones to get totally out of whack, and our digestive system to be a mess.

Get the Body Moving

Regular movement, whether it’s a gentle yoga flow or a fast-pace run, is also important. Getting your body moving can help support better digestion. The body wasn’t designed to be still and stagnant – there and by moving we are able to fuel so much movement INSIDE the body! A sluggish lifestyle equals a sluggish gut – which is why studies have shown that regular exercise can positively change gut bacteria. But, the key is to stay consistent. It’s getting that daily burn in that makes a big difference. So, find the Sudor workouts that you absolutely love and make time for them like you would an important meeting. The more you move, the better you feel!

Drop The Sugar Habit

The first thing to realise is that refined sugar isn’t doing your body any good. Not all sugar is bad, however refined sugar is inflammatory, and can damage your gut bacteria. It’s best to avoid refined sugar at all costs. As you transition away from refined white sugar, try replacing them with natural options like raw honey or pure maple syrup, or even sugary fruits like bananas – just remember that these natural sweeteners are loaded with sugar too. Moderation is key!

Ramp up Your Fibre Intake

Fibre has so many benefits for your body! It helps you feed all the healthy bacteria in the gut and also keeps your metabolism regular. Plus, fibre helps keep us feel full for longer, meaning that we are less likely to overeat, so it’s helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. So, keep those little gut-bugs healthy by eating lots of fibre-rich foods. Some great options include dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, and rolled oats.

Stay Hydrated

Speaking of regularity, staying hydrated is also an important part of boosting gut health. Water is the most underrated aspect in keeping your body healthy! Drinking enough water can help keep you regular as well, a key part of maintaining optimal gut health. Try to have at least 2 litres of water a day. Purchase a good water bottle that you can keep on your desk during your work day and soon enough, finishing and refilling your water bottle will become a regular habit!

Reducing that Post-Workout Muscle Soreness

Recovery tips to reduce muscle soreness

More often than not, sore muscles after a tough workout are enough to keep you from doing the next workout. We spend so much of our time focusing on the movements that we’re doing during the workout, that we forget the importance of recovery once it’s over. While rest days are important and a key part of keeping our muscle growth consistent, it’s important to include proper warm ups and cool downs in our workout routines. 

Recovery might mean not exercising, but there’s so much more involved! We’re going to break it down in to our top tips to recover and minimise muscle soreness quicker to make sure you can bounce back to your next workout and arrive at your mat as the best version of yourself. We often associate muscle stiffness with exercise. Although it’s a really hard threshold to break through when you’ve just started working out, having sore muscles all the time shouldn’t be a continuous issue. It’s time to listen to your body and give it the recovery and nurturing it deserves!

Include a proper warm up

Keep it simple and bring yourself back to basics – stretching is a crucial part in anybody’s workout! Dynamic stretching has known to reduce risk of injury, improve mobility and helps make your workout more effective. Keep your dynamic stretching simple and make sure it gets your heart rate up.Being in a position of leadership, I have made a lot of mistakes along the way (and I’m sure I still have many more ahead of me!) but if I could go back and change them, I wouldn’t. I’ve learnt a lot from my mistakes and I try to use those lessons to help not just myself, but other women, too. 

Do a post workout cool down

Much like including dynamic stretching to get your heart rate up and muscles warmed up, it’s equally important to cool down after your workout. It might seem tedious after a tough session, but your body will thank you later! It’s important to bring your heart rate back down to its resting rate to regulate blood flow. Try going for a brisk walk and some stretching to help support your muscle recovery.

Refuel your body

Food and water are your body’s best bet at refuelling and replenishing! By not refuelling after a workout you’re starving yourself of really important nutrients, which is a recipe for dehydration. By having a healthy snack and reaching for your bottle of water, you’re replenishing nutrients and repairing and rebuilding your muscles.

Enjoy an epsom salt bath

Who doesn’t love a good bath!? After your workout, or during one of your recovery days, take the time to enjoy a warm bath and relax your muscles. Simply throw in some Epsom salts to dissolve in your bath and add a drizzle of your favourite essential oil to really add in that extra relaxation element.

 

Competitive Streaks & Fitness Freaks

Competitive Streaks & Fitness Freaks

2020 has been the prime environment for running out of steam and losing any kind of motivation. We’re missing the gym, our favourite restaurants, our loved ones — and the political climate isn’t exactly ideal, either. Things feel out of control, and we may just have too much on our plates trying to find balance in the chaos. With everything going on, feeling completely drained is easier than ever — and this directly impacts our motivation to work out. And getting out of our exercise routine keeps us in this rut.

Sometimes life happens and we can get a little off track. Family commitments pop up, sickness kicks in, or you get stuck with overtime at work. Then all of a sudden your exercise routine goes from regular to non-existent. We know what it’s like to have a really good routine and then something unexpected happens. So the question is—how do you get back into again? It’s time to harness your inner competitive streak and find that motivation again as we make our way to the end of the year.

Harness Your Inner Competitive Streak

Workout motivation looks different for everyone, but a little friendly competition seems to be the winning ticket. Whether you fly solo on your exercise journey or have an accountability buddy, studies suggest that a little competition goes a long way.

Tap Into Your Social Networks

In an ever-connected society, there are good sides to this digital world we live in now. We can take certain “features of online social networks” and use them to our advantage. Start a pool: get your friends together for a live workout program, and maybe add some incentive to the mix – the person who does the most classes in a week gets a free their coffee paid for at the end of the week. Simple incentive, with a high competitive drive.

Don’t Do It Alone

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t have to do any of this alone, and in fact, you’ll be better off if you bring some buddies into the mix. Social connection, even in digital form (especially in 2020), is crucial to our success both in and out of the gym. The power of social media is undeniable! And when done right, social media can increase people’s fitness motivation drastically. So use the tools you have on hand to your advantage — your body and brain will thank you.

Slide in to our DMs

Everybody needs somebody to hold them accountable during their fitness journey. Starting out isn’t always easy and not all days will be good days – which is why we’re challenging you to get in touch with us. While lockdown has brought about new ways to workout, we know that it can sometimes be lonely! Feel free to slide in to our DMs and we’ll be sure to keep you motivated!

 

Lipstick, laptops & leadership: Women on the rise

Lipstick, laptops & leadership: Women on the rise

At Sudor, we’re all about celebrating diversity and inspiring inclusion. We pride ourselves on our community of strong, curious and ambitious women redefining success on their own terms. We are unapologetic in our beliefs and values of supporting women who are chasing dreams of both big and small. Sudor is more than just a fitness app. With trainers from all walks of life, and our very own co-founder being a woman in leadership, we’re here to help support women chase their dreams – fitness-related or not. 

With a suite of world-renowned trainers, we believe that being a successful woman in business means having the courage to own who you are, why you are doing what you do and how you can apply your vision to positively impact the world. A woman in leadership is confidently feminine and eager to learn and grow. She has achieved balance and perspective in all aspects of her life – which is why we took the time to chat to Sudor powerhouses Wanita Nicol, deputy editor at Women’s Health magazine and Sudor trainer, as well as Emma Heap, Sudor’s very own CEO, co-founder and all round fitness fanatic.

Wanita Nicol | Women’s Health SA Deputy Editor

“I’m fortunate in that I’ve had many strong, successful women role models in my life, starting with my mother. So I’ve never felt intimidated in a male-dominated environment. However, from my experience, I think many women still feel intimidated in business. This manifests in different ways – imposter syndrome, being extra tough so you don’t appear weak, losing touch with yourself, being overly cautious because you believe that making a mistake might open you up to ridicule. But luckily, I’ve always felt that I belonged in the business world as much as anyone else. That’s why it’s so important for us to be those strong role models for other women and girls.

Being in a position of leadership, I have made a lot of mistakes along the way (and I’m sure I still have many more ahead of me!) but if I could go back and change them, I wouldn’t. I’ve learnt a lot from my mistakes and I try to use those lessons to help not just myself, but other women, too.

I think the best thing we can do, as women, is to support each other. We need to support our sisters in business by buying their products and services. When your friend has a cool business, don’t freeload off of them. If you really want them to succeed, buy their stuff. And then tell everyone how great it is. Your endorsement means more when you actually spent money on the thing.”

Emma Heap | Sudor CEO & Co-Founder

“Sudor is committed to hiring the best people for every role, regardless of gender. This is something companies must proactively address – as there can be subconscious biases at play that we need to proactively counteract. On a personal note, I’m committed to being the best colleague, mentor and friend for the people around me. As a female founder, this is my way of paying forward the opportunities I’ve had to hopefully inspire the next generation of women.

Be a mentor to new women in your industry, and ensure your company puts proactive equality measures in place. If you have time, volunteer at an organisation that’s driving change. In Cape Town, I was part of an organisation called Great Girls, which was committed to upskilling girls with leadership potential in underprivileged areas. I can’t recommend doing something like this enough. 

In a perfect world, there would be equal opportunities for men and women, but sadly that’s still not the case. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible for women to be as successful as men – it just means you have to fight a little bit harder for it. Don’t be scared of that. As Sheryl Sandberg says, lean in and take your seat at the table.”

There will be no resolutions in 2021

There will be no resolutions in 2021

New Year’s resolutions – we’ve all had them and we know what they are, and more often than not they set us up for failure. We set these grand goals that we expect ourselves to achieve within the first month of the year, and we don’t acknowledge the work it takes to reach that goal. We fall in love with the idea of the end goal, rather than the process it takes to get there. At Sudor, we believe that it’s not about where you’re going, but rather how you get there – which is why we believe that 2021 is not the year for resolutions. 2021 is the year for habits.   

We’re not saying you shouldn’t take a break after the whirlwind of a year we have had. Obviously things will be a little more relaxed than usual but it’s important to maintain a healthy attitude during the festive season. Punishing yourself with critical and guilty self-talk is also not helpful. Let’s talk about the importance of creating a habit, and why you should start doing it before the 1st of January.

Why Healthy Habits?

It takes a bit of time and self-motivation for something to become a habit. Many individuals have stated that it takes twenty-one times of repeatedly doing something before it feels natural and unforced – but sometimes finding the motivation to stay consistent can be a challenge in itself. When we develop habits and routines, it’s a good way to conserve time and energy, but we know how they can become limiting and uninspiring over time! By creating and maintaining a routine, you’re making your day-to-day life easier for your future self – but the secret to maintaining momentum comes with adding positive changes and challenges to your day-to-day schedule.

Healthy Habits to get you started

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Go to Sleep Early
As humans, our natural sleep pattern and physiological processes dictate the need for 7-9 hours of sleep – and science says that the quality of sleep that we get by sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am is far more superior than sleeping from 2 am to 10 am, despite both resulting to 8 hours of sleep. An early night does amazing benefits to your daily productivity as you have more energy to spend in the day to move around, work, and exercise with proper sleep. Not to mention the fact that it is a vital factor in muscle recovery, weight loss, and muscle gain.

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Move a lot!
Unfortunately, having a desk job burns very few to zero calories despite the mental stress that we experience in work or school. Given that we spend 8 hours of the day sitting on a desk already, it’s always a good idea to keep moving to make up for those hours spent sitting. Walk to your destination if it’s less than 15 minutes away, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a little farther, and even small stretches at your desk make the world of difference. Putting in those few thousand steps will do wonders to your cardiovascular system and general health.

Drink 2l of water a day
Before you opt for that iced tea or soda as your lunch or dinner time drink, ask yourself if you’ve drunk enough water for the day. Drinking enough water is vital to our bodily functions and it has so much benefit in helping us become more fit and healthy! It keeps our muscle energized, it’s good for our skin, it helps our kidneys, and generally improves our physical performance!
Schedule your workouts </h3

It’s easier to be consistent when you plan things ahead. Take time every week to decide which days of the week you’re going to work out and at what time of the day.

The few weeks of working out can be hard because setting aside a few hours each day might seem to be unnatural and time-consuming. But through scheduling ahead of time, you’ll soon find yourself effortlessly prepping yourself for a workout! When it comes to building habits, there’s nothing more powerful than being consistent day by day. You don’t have to establish all of these habits at the same time. You can choose to commit to one habit only and do it consistently for a month or so before incorporating another habit. This way you’re sure to not be overwhelmed and are more likely to keep at it for the long haul.