How Many Calories in an Easter Egg

If you’re trying to stay in shape, Easter can be one of the trickiest times of the year.  Wherever you go, you’re faced with a huge selection of chocolate eggs, and pretty much everyone ends up a little bit tempted.

There’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence once in a while.  And while over-indulgence isn’t a great idea, seeing how many calories there are in an Easter Egg can be a real motivator to train harder and work off the extra calories.

Easter Egg

How many calories in an Easter Egg?

Here’s a little insight into what some of the most popular Easter treats are hiding…

Calories in a Cadburys  Medium Egg (162g)

Are you sitting comfortably?  Each medium egg contains a whopping 858.6Kcals.  That’s the same as a third of a Dominos large pizza.  It also contains 92g of sugar, and 30g of saturated fat.

CALORIES IN A NESTLE SMARTIES EGG

Without the Smarties, a small Nestle Egg is healthier than the cadburys equivalent – although that doesn’t mean you’re not going to need to work harder afterwards.  Your 138g egg contains 731Kcal, and contains 40g of fat (11g is saturated).

CALORIES IN AN CADBURYS CREME EGG

A perennial favourite.  According to Cadbury’s, each creme egg is filled with delicious goo.  It also comes with 180 KCals, 3.9g of saturated fat, and 28.5g of carbs (mostly sugars)

Calories in a Kinder Surprise Egg

If you’re feeling playful, you might reach for a Kinder Surprise, which seems like a fairly safe option.  It’s a comparatively svelte 115Kcal and has 4.7g of saturated fat.

Calories in a Cadburys Mini Egg

Each Cadburys mini egg weighs around 3g, and contains 16Kcal.  Of course, you’re never going to eat just one.

How far do you Need to run to work off an Easter Egg?

You’ll probably think twice about eating chocolate eggs when you realise how far you need to run to work the extra calories off.  An average 75KG person uses around 120KCal for every mile they ran, so for the eggs above, you’d need to run the following distances:

  • Cadburys Medium Egg – 7.1 Miles
  • Nestle Smarties Egg – 6.1 Miles
  • Cadburys Creme Egg – 1.5 Miles
  • Kinder Surprise Egg – 1 Mile
  • Cadburys Mini Egg – 0.1Miles

If you want to check how far you need to go to burn off your chocolate intake, check out our running calorie calculator, or sign up for our free online workout generator, and start burning those excess calories straight away!

6 Tips To keep Your Diet On Track

We’re already 2 months into 2013, so if losing weight was your biggest resolution this year, you’ll either be seeing the benefits of your dedication, or thinking about what you did wrong.

One of the biggest problems people have with any diet is the fact that in order to lose weight, you’ll generally need to eat less of everything, which means eating less of the things you like.  Keeping yourself motivated throughout a weight loss cycle can be tricky – especially at times when your weight plateaus, and you’re no longer seeing any change in your weight at your weekly weigh in.

Here’s 6 tips to help you stay motivated and keep your plan on track.

Treat yourself!

If all you do is restrict what you’re eating, you’re going to lose motivation pretty quickly.  It’s better to give yourself a little treat from time to time to keep yourself happy.  Here’s a suggestion:

Everyone likes an ice cream, and on average, a cone and one scoop is about 170 calories.  Why not take a walk to your local ice cream shop and have a cone – the weather’s getting better at the moment, so it’s a nice way to spend some time on a Saturday.  An average person burns about 85 calories for each mile walked, so a two mile round trip with an ice cream to enjoy means that your little treat will be burned off by getting it – add some ankle weights, and you’ll tone up while you walk!

Add Spice

Many diet meals skimp on flavour as much as they skimp on fat.  That’s fine but it makes dinner time boring.  Cooking a vegetable stir fry with a spicy marinade will be delicious and filling!

Add “Spice”

That dessert is tempting.  You know what else is tempting?  Nipping off to your bedroom for afters.  Make your meal times into a romantic opportunity, and carry on afterwards with some love making.  Aside from it being a great piece of exercise, it’s also fantastic as a way of satisfying your appetite – and getting closer to your other half!

Keep a Diary

It’s easy to think that the back of crisps and pack of biscuits didn’t happen, but if you get it down in black and white, it’s harder to hide from.  Keep a diary of what you eat and when.  It will be a much better conscience than your conscience.

Don’t weigh, Measure

Weight loss plateaus are completely normal as your body changes and adapts, but there’s no denying that they are a real demotivator.  One of the reasons why your weight might not be changing is because you’re building more body mass in the form of muscle.  The good news:  muscle is about 3 times as dense as fat, so even if your weight isn’t changing, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get into those new jeans.  Measure your waist, chest, and other areas, and watch as the inches drop off, even when the pounds aren’t.

And finally … Don’t Give Up!

Remember why you want to lose weight, think about how well you’ve done to get as far as you have, and talk to the people around you.  Whether you’re part of a group, or part of a family, if you’re losing weight, make sure the people around you know and support you, and ask them for help.

 

Valentine’s Day – it’s all about the love

Love is good. Love keeps us happy, and happiness is healthy.

At this time of year – around Valentine’s Day – love is everywhere.  Every card shop is filled with gifts and wherever you look, you’re surrounded by hearts.

Vytalz is all about making getting healthy as simple as possible.  People who exercise on a regular basis reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle including a lower risk of heart disease.

Of course, keeping a healthy heart is essential, and shouldn’t just be something you think about once a year.  Love is the same.  Valentine’s isn’t just one day any more.  It’s a whole week of snuggles, hugs, and gifts that give you the chance to express your love for your special someone – just don’t forget to think about yourself too!

Our Valentines Day gift to you is a collection of beautiful romantic thoughts to inspire you over the next week.  You can see our Online Valentine’s Card here.

Valentine’s Day is a great reminder of how important love is in the world.  It’s also a great time to think about your own heart as well as the ones you share with others.  If you’ve not already signed up for a free fitness planner from vytalz, or tried out our online workout generator, why not do it today.  It’s free, simple, and you can start your training plan in less than a minute!

Meanwhile, if you’re not quite ready to join Vytalz social fitness, why not check out our valentines card to you.

Improve Running Endurance

We blogged recently with some Fartlek Training Tips to help improve your overall running speed, but for many runners – particularly those starting out on their training, increasing the level of running endurance that they have is just as important.

Quite simply, the best way to improve running endurance is simply to run further each time you go out on the trails, however it’s also really important to set some goals, and stick to them.  It’s also absolutely essential that you don’t become disheartened during the early parts of your training regime when you’re probably running a lot less than you would hope.

It’s easier to keep yourself motivated if you measure what you’re achieving so you can see some progress.  There are loads of run tracking programmes available.  Endomondo is really popular and works well with iPhone and other smartphones with GPS, alternatives like GMap Pedometer, and Map My run have been around for a while and also provide a really good suite of tools for measuring how far you go

Stage 1 – What running endurance do you have?

Improve running enduranceThe first thing you want to know when running is how far can you go, and in what time.  Go for a run at a comfortable pace, and keep going until you have to take a break.  Look at how long it took you, and also take into account how far you managed.

On your first run, you might manage 10 minutes, and cover a mile or so.

Stage 2 – Set a Goal

it’s essential to have a programme to improve running endurance, and this means setting out some goals and timescales.  A common initial goal for runners might be to run 5KM non stop, and if you’re initially able to cover 1.5KM, or manage 10 minutes of consistent running, then it means increasing endurance by a factor of 3.

Set yourself a goal that will push you.  This might be to increase your time by 5 minutes each week so that over a period of one month you go from running 10 minutes non-stop up to running 30 minutes non-stop.

Stage 3  - Go for it

Once you have a goal set, and the means to measure whether you’re achieving it, then it’s time to get started.  The most important thing you do is start.  Don’t make excuses, or try and put things off, once you commit to getting fit, you need to stick to your plan.

Stage 4 – Increase distance and Time

Once you’ve set out your objectives, and got started, you need to start working.  Go running every other day, and simply go further each day.  A good way to improve running endurance is to plan a route around where you live or work that covers your target distance.

Try and cover the full distance each day.  Start by running at your ideal training pace, and when you need to stop, make a note of where you got to on the route, and how long it took you.  Don’t stop altogether when you run out of steam, just go from running to walking, and then restart when you get your breathy back.

The next time you run, aim to get past the place where you stopped, and keep going for an extra minute or two.

Stage 5 – Beat Your plan

Track where you’re getting to each day.  You should find that you are getting towards your target distance quicker than you might expect.  Most people find that they hit a threshold with their running at which point they can go quickly from running a shorter distance to a much longer one over night.  You might manage 2 miles one day, and then something clicks in when you next go for a run, and you can manage 3 miles no problem at all.

When you get into the zone, and your form improves and your breathing comes to you, you’ll find that running gets easier every time, and you start to be able to run further and faster each time you go out because of your improved running endurance.  That’s when you really start to enjoy things more and more.

 

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Wellness is not just about how fast you can run, or how much weight you can lift, it’s about how you feel as a person, and the health of your body.  One aspect of health that you can’t ignore is the need for rest, which raises the question of how much sleep do you need to remain healthy and fit.

Ultimately, every individual is slightly different – factors such as age, weight, general health, and level of activity have an impact on exactly how much sleep you need on a daily basis, but a rough guide would be as follows:

How Much Sleep You NeedAccording to the National Sleep Foundation study that led to this data, how much sleep you actually need steadily drops through childhood, and then remains relatively stable through adult hood – which suggests you need between 7 and 9 hours per night.

I know very few people who actually take between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.  It seems like an awful lot – If you were able to take that much sleep, you’d either be late for work, or you’d be missing out on all the late night TV (not necessarily a bad thing).

Recent studies suggest that there are two parts to our sleep requirements:

  • Basal Sleep
  • Sleep Debt

These two elements combine to create our overall requirement for sleep.  The Basal Sleep is the minimum amount of sleep our bodies actually need to function.  This isn’t “wake up and feel great sleep”, but “you’ll fall apart if you don’t get it sleep”.  This is the amount that you as a baseline for your body.  This varies depending on your age.  Given that this type of sleep is associated with growth, and cell repair, you tend to need less as you get older because you aren’t growing as much.

How do you know if you're getting enough sleepThe amount of basal sleep you need is somewhere between 3-5 hours per day for an adult depending on your age – more if you’re younger.  On top of this you run up a sleep debt on a daily basis.  Not just the sleep you don’t get, but also the additional sleep that you need.  If you’re stressed, you’re not processing information properly during the day, so your brain needs more time at night, and if you’re training, you need additional sleep above the baseline to faciltate rest for your muscles, but also time for cell repair and growth.

The more you think and the more you do, the more you need to sleep – this is where the big variations are.  Someone who is training hard for an endurance event might need an extra 4 hours of sleep at night whereas someone who has a day off might need just one hour.

Repaying Sleep Debt

When most scientists suggest that you can’t recover sleep that you’ve lost, they typically mean that you can’t recover the basal sleep – once you’ve missed your opportunity, it’s gone forever, however you will still need to repay your sleep debts.  Training and work need to be covered to allow for the body to repair itself properly.  Lot’s of people catch up on their sleep at the weekend, and while this isn’t ideal, it seems to help them remain healthier than they otherwise might.

Are You Sleeping Enough?

Probably not.  There are probably very few people who get exactly as much sleep as they really need.  There are a number of factors that can show if you’re not getting enough sleep.  If you answer yes to any of these questions, then the chances are that you’re not spending enough time actually asleep – not resting:

  • Does your mind wander, even if you’re interested in a subject?
  • Do you always need an alarm clock to wake up?
  • Do you fall asleep within 10 minutes once you get into bed?
  • Do you feel stress frequently during your working week?
  • Do you get up much later than normal at the weekend?
  • Do people around you find you irritable?

It can be hard to fit it in to our daily routine, and even harder to motivate ourselves to go to bed, but the fact is, if you want to maximise your health and fitness, then adding enough time into your diary  for sleep is more important than finding time to get to the gym.

What’s the best chest workout at home?

If you don’t have access to a gym, or expensive exercise equipment it’s still possible to get great results and improve your physique at home.  You can get structured free fitness routines if you register with Vytalz, but there are also some quick wins to have if you only have 5 minutes, and want a workout that concentrates you effort on a single area of your body.

What’s the best chest workout at home?

This workout is intended to really focus your effort on your chest.  Aim for the suggested times when you first start out, and then build up as you get fitter to ensure that you still get an impact.

You’ll need:

  • A clock you can see
  • Some light weights – use a 1 litre bottle filled with water (1KG)
  • A sturdy table or step
  • A chair

What to do

Place the clock where you can see it throughout the workout.  We want to do a circuit in about 5 minutes, then repeat ( or move onto a different workout such as our 5 minute abs workout) to give you a great level of exercise.

30 Seconds Incline Press Ups

place your hands on the table so your body is at an angle to the floor, then go through a normal press up movement.  Keep your motion steady throughout the exercise.  Push hard on the way up, and return to the lower position at about half the speed in a controlled way.

60 seconds shoulder press

Sitting in your chair, hold your weights in each hand, and push them vertically upwards.  Alternate your arms, and try for a fast controlled upward motion followed by a steady downward return.

30 seconds normal press ups

Place your hands about shoulder width apart on the floor and do press-ups steadily for 30 seconds, aiming for good form – keep your body straight, and extend your arms fully on each repetition, particularly at the end of the routine.

60 seconds bicep curls

With your weights in each hand, stand with your legs shoulder width apart and your back completely straight.  Alternate curling your arms up and keep your shoulders straight and still.  feel the pull across the top of your chest.

30 seconds dips

Face away from the chair and place your hands on the edge of the seat. Lower and  raise your body in a steady and controlled way feeling the tension in the backs of your arms and across your chest – your chair should be stable, but if you feel a little nervous, get a friend to hold it, or alternatively use a step.

30 seconds straight arm raises

Stand up straight holding your weights in your hands, then, keeping your arms completely straight, swing your arms upwards into a horizontal position in front of you.  Keep the movement controlled from start to finish.

30 seconds incline press ups

Repeat the first exercise in the routine, using the edge of a table or a step to create the incline.

30 seconds side arm raises

This is more or less the same as the straight arm raises above, however rather than lifting in front of you, raise your arms out to the side.  This will really work your shoulders and upper chest.

5 tips to lose 5lbs in 5 weeks

We blogged a couple of days ago about how many calories you need to use to burn 1 lb of fat, and that got us thinking about small changes we could make in our existing lifestyles to  lose 5lb in 5 weeks.

Each lb of fat is 3500 calories worth, which means that losing 5lbs means saving a total of 17,500 calories.  Given that the recommended daily intake for men is 2,500 calories, and for women 2,000 calories, the challenge of losing 5lbs in 3 weeks means using up an extra 500 calories more than you consume.  Here’s our 5 tips:

Walk More

The NHS have a 10,000 step challenge to get people to walk more.  The idea is that by targeting 10,000 steps of extra walking each day, people will burn around 300 additional calories.  You’d need to walk about 5 miles to hit the 10,000 steps target, but it’s really easy to add a couple of miles.  Wear a pedometer for a couple of days, and see how many steps you already manage.  You can burn an additional 100 calories per day simply by adding 3,000 steps – about 1.5 miles to your routine.

Cut Out the Coffee

Are you a fan of Starbucks?  Did you know that a Starbucks Latte contains 200 calories?  Opting for a regular filter coffee with skimmed milk in Starbucks rather than a Latte or other made coffee will save you around 190 calories.  For an average person who drinks a couple of coffees per week, that’s about 50 cal per day.

Swap your Chocolate

Chocolate’ great.  It’s also packed with fat and calories, and let’s be honest, you’re never going to lose weight if you’re consuming 300 calories of sugar and fat in the space of 5 minutes.

You don’t “need” chocolate bars, so drop them from your diet.  It’s easy to find a low calorie alternative, and save yourself 200 calories per day.

Laugh

Every weight loss article you will ever read tells you that laughing will help you lose weight. It’s true: laughing burns calories.  Swap out the weepie movies (and the boxes of chocolates and tissues) for a comedy DVD.  Over the course of an hour, you’ll laugh for about 10 minutes, and burn around 50 calories, as well as feeling great.

Work Out

Keep fit, lose weightHaving a 10 minute Vytalz workout each day is a great supplement to your regular routine, and is high impact enough to make a difference to your fitness.  For an average person, the 10 minute blast of exercise will burn about 100 calories.  Just the right number to bring up our magic 500 calories per day.

If you haven’t already joined Vytalz for free exercise routines, sign up today.

Low Fat Lemon Chicken Pasta Recipe

Low Fat Lemon Chicken PastaA lot of low fat pasta meals are pretty insipid affairs – bland tomato sauce and a few flakes of tuna, but here’s something that’s a real treat:  a low fat lemon chicken pasta recipe that manages to have a really punchy flavour while only being 477calories per portion.

This recipe is enough to serve 2 people.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 200g pasta – we like fusilli, but you can use whatever you like
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 1 sliced pepper
  • cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 25g non fat cream cheese
  • 25g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Method

Start cooking your pasta in boiling water with salt and a splash of oil to prevent it sticking in the pan.

Heat a frying pan with some olive oil in it.  When the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic, and then your sliced chicken.  When the chicken is cooked on the outside, add the frozen peas, sliced pepper, and cherry tomatoes, and continue to cook for a couple of minutes before emptying the chicken and veg from the pan and putting aside.

Using the same pan, mix the cream cheese, lemon zest, and chicken stock together and cook over a high heat for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly to get a smooth sauce for your pasta.

drain your pasta once it is cooked to your taste.

Once your sauce is properly mixed, add the pasta, chicken and vegetables, to the pan with the sauce, and mix together before seasoning with the salt and pepper, and sprinkling with parmesan cheese to serve.

The Letchworth Centre for Health

Personal well being is about far more that the amount of weight you can lift, or how fast you can run a mile, it’s about the sense of balance that you can achieve, and how comfortable you are within yourself.

Health, both mental and physical is easy to take for granted, because we don’t often spend enough time appreciating it.  Even a brief cold or dose of the flu can knock our confidence and bring us down.  Long term, chronic illness is painful both physically and mentally, and severely impacts quality of living.

The Letchworth Centre for Health

Long term medical care for chronic conditions can be extremely costly, especially for people unable to work, and access to sympathetic and supportive caring professionals makes a huge difference to quality of life.

Organisations like the Letchworth Centre for Health take a drug free, natural approach to well being, promoting holistic health care and encouraging exercise and relaxation as a means to improve general health.

The Letchworth Centre for Health operates as a charitable body, so rather than taking funding from the tax payer, it is supported by gifts – often from grateful people who have benefited from visiting, or from the families of those have been cared for.

There’s a real and ongoing need for organisations like the Letchworth Centre to provide support to people who can’t get it from traditional healthcare providers.  During the current austerity era, with cuts in a lot of the funding they can get, it’s more important than ever that members of the public support places like this to ensure that they can continue to provide care, advice and support in the long term.

 

Calculating Your BMI

Your BMI, or Body Mass Index shows the relationship between your weight and height, and is a tool that medical professionals use in measuring your health.  For any given height, there is a range of ideal weights that correlates with better health.  People who’s weight fall outside the healthy level are typically at a higher risk of developing conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Body Mass Index Chart

Chart for calculating your BMI

It is important to note, that your body mass index is essentially a measure of body density, and you are compared to a wider sample of people.  You can be perfectly healthy and have a BMI that falls out of the “normal range”.  People who train hard and have a greater muscle mass sometimes find that a BMI calculator will indicate that they are overweight, when in fact they are healthier than the average man in the street.

Because of this, when calculating your BMI, you should bear in mind that it is a guide to health compared to the wider population, and while an objective for your fitness programme might be to get a healthier score, you should also focus on other fitness measures such as VO2Max, or body fat percentage.

Use our BMI Calculator to find out what your score is.