Mental Health: Exercise For Your Mind

We all know how exercise can help your physical health and goals. Whether it is to build muscle, lose fat, run a marathon, improve general health, there’s a million ways exercise can benefit your health and fitness. You may however, not know just how much exercise can help your mental health.

Mental Health and Exercise

Studies have shown that exercise can be almost as effective as medication in treating mild to moderate depression (without the side effects!).

exercise and mental health

There are several reasons exercise can be a powerful tool in the fight with depression; it releases endorphins that react with receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain and also trigger a feeling similar to that of morphine which you might have heard being referred to as “runner’s high”.

In regards to anxiety, the chemicals released during exercise can relieve stress, release tension and provide a sedative effect and leave someone relaxed enough to look at what is making them anxious with a calm and reasonable mind.

Exercise Effects on Mental Health – Concentration

It’s not just the endorphins that can relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. While you are exercising, try this; if you are running, focus on every step and how it feels when your foot hits the ground. If you are lifting weights, focus on each individual rep. Concentrate on how your muscles feel, from head to toe. Regulate your breathing. Incorporating the element of mindfulness into your work out will not only improve your physical condition faster but also help take your mind away from any niggling worries.

As exercise can improve concentration, mood, motivation and memory, it is considered one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Physical activity can instantly increase the levels of chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which all affect attention and focus.  It works in pretty much the same way as ADHD medication such as Ritalin and Adderall.


Studies suggest that by really concentrating on your body and how it feels while you exercise, you can help your nervous system become unstuck and move out of the “shutting down” immobilization response from stress that characterizes PTSD or trauma.

Try (instead of thinking about other things) focusing on the physical sensations in your muscles and your joints or even just inside your body as you move. Exercises that involve both your arms and legs like walking, running, swimming and dancing are some really good choices! Outdoor activities like hiking, climbing and trail running are also really good in helping PTSD.

Mental Health – Where To Turn & Personal Advice

There’s a lot of information online including resources from the NHS, SAMH and other mental health organisations to give you more insight into ways to deal with mental health issues but I want to finish off this mass of information and get a bit personal.

If you are struggling to cope with your mental health, if you think you need some extra help. PLEASE, reach out, whether it’s to a friend, parent, GP. You are not alone and there is a lot of help and resources out there.

The hardest part is asking for help but once you do, the help will come. It is the best and most important thing you can do for yourself and NO it does not mean you are weak, it means you’ve been too strong holding this all in and it’s time to let someone else help with the weight.

Author: Bronwyn Doherty

OFFICIAL: Ben Coomber At SFN EXPO 2016 & Hijacks Snapchat

Every year we put out a survey to ask who do you want to present at NEXT years SFN EXPO, and every year we hear the same name, amongst other greats – Ben Coomber!

Ben Coomber Announces SFN EXPO 2016 Via Snapchat LIVE Q+A

Ben Coomber at SFN EXPO 2016

Ben Coomber’s seminars at SFN EXPO 2016 are, as usual, set to be epic! He touched upon what he’ll be talking about, in the video above.  If you’re interested in fat loss, then you want this expert nutritionist in your corner.

Last year he spoke about How To Build Your Diet From The Ground Up, and it was amazingly received. Our SFN EXPO Twitter absolutely blew up with people tweeting about the seminar.

Possibly Ben’s best quality as a speaker – and probably why every wants him back – is that he turns very scientific data in to every-day you-and-I speak. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Dr in Nutritional Sciences or you’ve never read anything about nutrition in your life – you can take away everything Ben wants to get across.

SFN EXPO Snapchat LIVE Q+A’s

SFN EXPO Snapchat

All year we will be bringing you amazing opportunities to interact with our speakers and athletes via SFN EXPO Snapchat. You will be able to get all this for FREE:

  • See many speaker announcements before anyone else!
  • Ask our speakers burning questions privately and get a personalised video response!
  • Exclusive Snapchat only competitions!
  • Exclusive Snapchat only fitness industry discount codes and giveaways!
  • Follow the journey to SFN EXPO 2016: Venue visits, meetings with athletes, team gym sessions etc!

How to add SFN EXPO on Snapchat NOW: Simply screenshot the image above OR add username ‘SFNEXPO’ in to Snapchat. Easy. Done!

New Year’s Resolution – How To Stick To Yours

New year’s resolution are made by everyone – even those who don’t particularly believe you need to wait until January 1st to change your life for the better! The hard part is sticking to them. Why? Because it usually means giving up on something or having to do something for something that will benefit us long term.

Habits are hard to form, but this is usually because we focus on the thing we don’t want to do and don’t see the ‘overnight’ success that we really crave. So how can we, very easily, start getting excited about the day to day goals?

Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolution – Reverse Engineering

The reason that we, as a nation, tend to ‘drop off’ our New Year Resolutions around the 12th of January is because we still feel uncomfortable, the habit hasn’t formed yet (they say it takes 31 days of sticking to a new habit to form) and our goal is SO far away.

You can easily rectify this mind set by reverse engineering where you want to be a year from now, then a month from now, then a week from now.

Writing out our year, month and week goals – one after another – allows us to easily visualise the importance of this week in the bigger picture of what we really want.

Those initial uncomfortable times will become a little more bearable, your goals will become much more attainable, and the satisfaction of achievement and reward will be much more frequent – which forms habits and removes the uncomfortable feeling of change!

How To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution – An Example

Let’s say your New Year Resolution is to lose 2 stone of body fat in 2016.

Some might say that goal is ‘too big’ and you need shorter, more attainable goals. In reality, we NEED this goal to fuel our short-term goals. If we’re going to change, we want phenomenal results, right?

So we structure our goals – which we write out every day by hand – like this:

  1. My Year Goals – Lose 2 stone of body fat
  2. My January Goals – Lose 2lbs
  3. My Week Goals – Lose half a pound

New Year's Resolution 2016

Your goal is no longer to lose 2 stone, it’s to lose half a pound. Pretty easy, right? So what’s the final cherry on top? Executing your plan.

Putting Your New Year’s Resolution In To Action

The final tip is to write down your action points under the header of your goal, so you now visualise why you’re doing it.

Do you write out a Workout plan to take to the gym? You should. But even more so, try hand writing at the top “Do this and smash my half a pound week goal!”, followed by your work out plan.

Personally, I do this for everything and it lights a fire of inspiration in my belly to not only do what I have to do but most importantly, enjoy the process. I can literally FEEL myself getting closer to my goals whilst putting in the hard work required.

Want some inspiration to stick to your New Year’s Resolution? Keep an eye out on our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest) for 31 days of transformations in January from our Transformation of the Year 2015 competition!

We have some incredible stories of how people completely changed their appearance, their happiness and their drive for life through smashing their goals in 2015! Next up, is you!

PS… why not hold yourself accountable on your new journey by purchasing your SFN EXPO Early Bird Ticket now? The small investment will help keep you on track as you are even more invested in your goal for self-improvement!

21 Gift Ideas For Gym Junkies

It’s back – more anticipated that the John Lewis Christmas advert, SFN EXPO’s gifts for Gym Junkies! Is your friend a serial gym junkie? Well we’re here to save the day for you! 21 gift ideas for gym junkies!


1. SFN EXPO 2017 Early Bird Tickets – Gift Ideas For Gym Junkies!

Did we just go there? Of course we did! The SFN EXPO 2017 is the ultimate gift for gym junkies because you can provide your gym junkie friend with an experience they’ll never forget! AND… the first tier of Early Bird prices make your budget a whole lot easier to manage! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? This is the perfect gift for your gym junkie friend, but we’ll give you 24 more, just incase…

Get your SFN EXPO 2017 Early Bird Tickets from £12.50 Here Now



Gift ideas for gym junkies nutribullet

2. Nutribullet

Super high powered blender that will pulse through just about anything your gym junkie friend would think to put in it! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? An awesome gift for gym junkies – especially if they’re known to chain-drink healthy smoothies!

Buy Nutribullet from £79.99 – Here



Coffee Machine Gift ideas for gym junkies

3. Nespresso Coffee Machine

It’s not a secret in the fitness World that a coffee is a big part of our lives! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? If your gym junkie LOVES their coffee, they’ll love this gift for gym junkies!

Buy a Nespresso Coffee Machine from £34.99 from John Lewis – Here



Promixx Gift ideas for gym junkies

4. PROMiXX 2.0

The original vortex mixer has evolved in to the PROMiXX 2.0 – an electric shaker for smooth protein shakes at the switch of a button. It’s so good that your gym junkie will actually remember to wash this shaker rather than chucking yet another smelly shaker away! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? This is an epic gift for gym junkies!

Buy PROMiXX 2.0 from £39.99 – HERE



Fitbit Charge Hr Gift ideas for gym junkies

5. FITBIT Charge Hr

Your gym junkie will be able to accurately track how many steps they’ve taken, how many stairs they’ve climbed, distance travelled, calories burned and overall active minutes per day. Additionally, the Fitbit Charge Fitness Band takes note of how many hours you sleep and also the quality of your sleep to monitor and ensure you are having enough rest.  Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? This is an amazing gift for gym junkies!
Buy FITBIT Charge Hr from £64.99 at Curry’s – Here



George Foreman Grill Gift ideas for gym junkies

6. George Foreman Grill

Gym junkies would cook cereal on this thing! Fire anything on here and within minutes you have it cooked to perfection, tasting phenomenal with a high % of the fat/water drained! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? This is an epic gift for gym junkies!

Buy George Forman Grills on Argos from £14.99 – HERE



JimBag Gift ideas for gym junkies

7. JimBag

Ultra fashionable gym bags in different styles, colours and male, female and unisex ranges! If your gym junkie trains anywhere outside of their house, they will love this gift!

Buy Jimbag’s direct from £34.99 – HERE



Reflex RBars Gift ideas for gym junkies

8. Delicious Box of Bars!

A great box of bars as a gift for gym junkies will secure your friendship for life. Reflex RBars have epic reviews and pack an excellent nutritional punch! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? This is a great gift for gym junkies!

Buy a full box of Reflex RBars from Powerhouse Fitness from £17.99 – Here



Gold Standard Whey Protein Gift ideas for gym junkies

9. A GREAT Tub of Protein!

It’s petty simple.. have you seen them with a tub of protein or a protein shaker? Check for the flavour and make their present special with Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey!

Get Gold Standard Whey from from £27.27 – Here



Protein Pow Mixes Gifts For Gym Junkies

10. Protein Pow Cooking Mixes

These cooking mixes make it easier than ever to create your very own home made protein filled goodies. Protein bakery is HUGE – and Protein Pow are the biggest and best. Welcome their awesome Protein Cooking Mixes! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? An amazing gift for gym junkies of any background!

Buy Protein Pow Cooking Mixes from £21.99 – Here



Trigger Point Foam Roller Gifts For Gym Junkies

11. Foam Rollers

Foam rollers have come a long way, from being seen as an accessory for the elite to becoming a staple in the recovery and mobilisation of anyone who trains hard. They are a perfect gift for your favourite gym junkie because they are SO useful and vary from £8 right up to £100, with all price points being a useful tool!

Buy a Foam Roller from Amazon from £7.99 – Here



Linwoods Gifts For Gym Junkies

12. Linwoods Variety Packs

These wee variety boxes are thoughtful, useful and give someone a couple of weeks of daily experiences… for £2.99! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? This is a great gift for gym junkies as it can add value to their nutrition and create a fun tasting experience!

Buy Linwoods Variety Packs from £2.99 – Here



selectabells gifts for gym junkies

13. Bodymax Selectabell Dumbbell Set

Is your gym junkie friend more of a home-gym junkie? When space is an issue, these are the greatest gift you can give them! A simple click and lock system allows you to quickly change your dumbbell from 5kg up to 32.5kg! Visit Powerhouse Fitness to get yours now!

Buy Bodymax Selectabell Dumbbell Set from £299 – Here



TRX gifts for gym junkies

14. Suspension Training Gear

The real gym junkie NEEDS to train wherever he/she goes and this makes it incredibly easy! Attach to a door, to a tree, or anything you find that’s sturdy, and you can have a brilliant workout! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? Anytime Leisure’s huge range will allow you get an amazing gift, whatever the budget!

Suspension Training Gear from £13.99 at Anytime Leisure – Here



Audible Gym Junkies Gifts

15. Audible Vouchers

Now you can get your learn on while you exercise by downloading audiobooks! The biggest database of audiobooks in health and fitness can be found at Audible!

Visit their gift centre for 3 months membership from £23.99 – Here



Personal trainer gifts gym junkies

16. Fitness Training Qualifications

A training course is an amazing gift and potential career for your gym junkie friend! Whether you know that they want to be a personal trainer or maybe a kettle bell enthusiast turned instructor, what a great gift! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? Check out Fitness Training Scotland for a full range of courses available as gifts!

Buy a Fitness Training Course Now From £195 at Fitness Training Scotland



Wolverson Kettlebell Gym Junkie Gifts

17. Competition Kettlebell

The smallest and most versatile piece of home gym equipment you’ll find! They are incredible as a present for any gym junkie, because regardless of goal, you can use it!

Buy a competition Kettlebell from Wolverson Fitness now – Here




Prepped and Packed Gifts For Gym Junkies

18. Prepped & Packed Bag

These bags are AWESOME! They come with tupperware boxes and convenient sleeves to store them. If your gym junkie friend ‘preps’ his/her meals in advance, this is an incredible gift! Convenience is the key to this product, and it offers so much value!

Buy a Prepped & Packed Bag direct from £44.99 – Here


Blend Bros Gift ideas for gym junkies

19. Blend Bros – High Protein Sauces

Where flavour lacks in a ‘clean eating’ diet, Blend Bro’s have stepped in with an incredible new product that your favourite gym junkie friend is going to love as a gift! Heaps of flavours available to match your favourite gym junkies palette, so check out their website and get a tin now! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? Great gift for gym junkies!

Buy Blend Bros from £18.99 on MuscleFood’s website


Protein Pow Cookbook Gift ideas for gym junkies

20. Protein Pow(d)er Cookbook

Yes, it’s a second feature for Protein Pow, but that’s because they’re awesome! The cookbook has 276 pages packed full or protein bakery recipes from the #1 protein bakery website, Protein Pow! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? Great gift for gym junkies!

Buy your Protein Pow(d)er Cookbook from £10 at MuscleFood – Here



Gift ideas for gym junkies SFN EXPO 2016 Early Bird Tickets

21. SFN EXPO 2017 Early Bird Tickets

Did we forget to mention?? The SFN EXPO 2017 is the ultimate gift for gym junkies because you can provide your gym junkie friend with an experience they’ll never forget! AND… the first tier of Early Bird prices make your Xmas budget a whole lot easier to manage! Looking for gift ideas for gym junkies? The perfect gift for gym junkies!

Get your SFN EXPO 2017 Early Bird Tickets from £12.50 Here Now

5 Common Protein Myths – Scott Baptie

Myth 1: Protein is bad for the kidneys

Read somewhere that protein can strain your kidneys? There actually is no published evidence that shows a high protein diet is detrimental to healthy individuals. Yes, a high protein intake increases the work your kidneys have to do (glomerular filtration), but this hasn’t been shown to be harmful.

Myth 2: More protein = more gainz

Some people think that in order to build muscle then you need to increase your protein intake considerably.  More protein means more muscle right? A lot of people go overboard with their protein intake when trying to add on size but the research actually recommends a protein intake of around 1.6-2.0g per kg of body weight per day if building mass is the goal.

Myth 3: You need a protein shake instantly after training

Dropping weights, running down the stairs and necking a protein shake in the changing room to have protein within your anabolic window? The good news is that recent research in the JISSN suggests that the window of opportunity lasts considerably longer than 45 minutes! In reality, the “window” is at least 3 hours long, if not longer than 24 hours! Take home – just consume a 25g+ serving of protein at a convenient time after exercise. It doesn’t even need to be a shake. A high quality source like chicken, fish, beef or dairy in your meal after exercise is just as good.

Myth 4: Any more than 30g protein per serving is a waste

Whist you only need 20-40g of protein per serving to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS), the additional protein you eat doesn’t go to waste or it isn’t instantly be stored as fat – as some would tell you. Although monumental steak isn’t going to be more gains educing than an ordinary steak, the extra protein will simply help to keep you feeling full and it just contributes to your overall energy intake for the day.

Myth 5: Chicken, fish, turkey…nothing else.

Boring! Aim for variety as much as you can. Try to consume a wide range of protein rich foods including all meats,  fish and dairy produce, that you enjoy! Beans and pulses can help vegetarians reach their protein targets too. Shakes, such as  high quality whey protein, can also be beneficial but they’re not essential.  By mixing up your protein sources, not only will you benefit from a range of amino acid profiles but it also helps keep food interesting.  There is more to protein than just plain old chicken and protein shakes. Variety is the spice of life, so be sure to mix up your protein sources as much as you can. Need some high-protein inspiration? Check out these high protein recipes.

Scott Baptie is a nutritionist and online personal trainer based in Aberdeen. He helps people move, look, feel and perform better.