Category Archives: Health

Always wear sunscreen

I’ve had a small patch on my forehead for a while now which has been a little sore from time-to-time. There was nothing visible really, and I thought nothing of it, as I put it down to friction where I’m continuously wiping sweat away whilst out training. However, the patch has now got a little worse, and Leigh prompted me to mention it to the doctor as I was going to see him about my foot anyway.

It was a good thing I did show the doctor as he recognised the patch as sun damage, and diagnosed ‘actinic keratosis’. The definition of actinic keratosis is a scaly or crusty bump that forms on the skin surface. They can also be called ‘solar keratosis’ or ‘sun spots’ or even ‘precancerous spots’.

Nick’s forehead

The doc prescribed some cream which is to dry up the patch so that the skin heals. Hopefully we caught it early enough so that we can get rid of it, as this is a precancerous condition and left untreated, especially with ongoing exposure to sun, these patches can develop into skin cancer.

The message of the story folks is to ‘always wear sunscreen’! You may put sun lotion on when you’re sunbathing, but this shows that it’s also important to protect your skin when out and about. Even if the weather is not particularly sunny, the sun’s rays can penetrate cloud, and can bounce off snow, sand and other reflective surfaces.

Sun damage to the skin accumulates over time. It is lifetime sun exposure, not recent sun-tanning that adds to your risk. Up to 80% of sun damage is thought to occur before the age of 18. If you have fair skin, blonde or red hair, and pale eyes you are at the greatest risk, but even those with darker complexions are not immune.

It’s worth a trip to the doc if you notice any patches developing as the earlier caught the better.  The patch may itch or produce a prickling or tender sensation, especially after being in the sun.

I’ve been guilty of not using sun protection even when out in the sun, because lets face it, it is a faff to put on, it gets on your clothes, and it rubs off anyway. Well, we’ve recently found a great sun lotion that solves these problems nicely. It’s called Ultrasun and you only need to apply it once and it stays put all day so there’s no excuse any more. There’s a range of different choices and I use the sports formula. It’s not greasy and rubs in well, is resistant to water, sweat, and friction and has a high protection factor so you can apply and forget it. The sports formula does allow tanning but Leigh uses the sun-block version as she’s really prone to burn.


I used the sports formula when I did the Austria Ironman when I was out in blazing sun for hours. Our team top was sleeveless, and even with sun lotion on, several of the others ended up with badly burned shoulders. I did tan but didn’t burn and was grateful that the Ultrasun had protected me.

Check it out: ultrasun


A Run in the Wet

Sunday’s run wasn’t promising to be very good weather-wise, but I started out in the dry and it remained dry for the best part of an hour.  After an hour it rained quite heavily but what surprised me was the amount of water on the roads.  Clearly, we have had enough rain to saturate the ground and with nowhere to go it is staying on the roads.  Suffice to say it wasn’t too long before my feet were very wet.  The second hour of my run was therefore wet from the sky and from the roads.  The last hour the rain stopped and all in all the run was pretty good.  I was surprised to see quite a few other people out, some horse riders, cyclists and other runners.  I am clearly not the only crazy fool!

The secret to weight loss

Hi, Leigh here, Nick’s other half.  We’re getting quite a few questions about weight-loss so I thought I’d add my suggestions for your weight-loss goals.

Forget counting calories!

Firstly, the good news is that you don’t need to count calories, points or use any other quota system.  Traditional diets that require you to reduce the amount of food you eat don’t work – you may lose weight short-term, but the weight nearly always goes back on again, and usually more than before, so traditional diets have been shown to be poor for long term weight goals.  Traditional diets are so last-century! 

The 21st century way to your ideal weight is through healthy eating i.e. the key to successful weight loss lies in what you eat (and what you don’t eat!).  If you focus on eating the right foods, the weight will drop off you.  You can lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks using this system.  And you needn’t worry about it being a dangerous fad-diet that could damage your health.  This diet is the healthiest diet on earth.  By following this plan, not only will you lose all your excess weight and become naturally slim, you will feel great too.  This diet is packed with delicious high-nutrient good-for-you foods that are naturally low-calorie.

There are so many other powerful benefits

Aside from easily attaining your ideal weight, there are numerous other big benefits to eating this way too.  Such as developing a powerful immune system to help protect you from colds and flu, and any other diseases that you might be exposed to.  And there’s more.  Much more.  This diet helps prevent all the ‘Western’ diseases such as heart disease and heart attacks, type-2 diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, autoimmune diseases, kidney stones and even Cancer.  This diet lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol.  On this programme, you can attain your ideal weight without having to feel hungry, and you will glow with health and give yourself a good chance of living a much longer active life too.  People following this programme often come off drugs that they’ve been relying on for years (be sure to consult with your doctor before changing your drugs dose).

You can eat as much as you like, as long as you eat the right foods, you need never go hungry.  Only by eating more of the right foods can you successfully be healthy and well nourished and feel satisfied whilst losing weight, feeling great and looking good!

Are you ready to eat healthily?

I have loads of information on this, if you’d like some more details, just send me an e-mail telling me what you want to achieve, and I will send you some information on how to achieve what you want.  I look forward to hearing from you :o)   

The Truth about Food Fat Percentages

One Calorie is the heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by 1°C. In dietetics (food matters) a kilocalorie (kcal) is equal to 1,000 calories.

The kcal therefore, measures the energy value of food in terms of its heat output: 1 oz  (28 grams) of protein yields 120 kcals, 1 oz (28g) carbohydrate yields 110 kcal, and 1 oz (28g) fat yields 270 kcal.  So, 1g of protein equates to 4.2 kcals, 1g of carbohydrate equates to 3.9 kcals and 1g of fat is 9.6 kcals.

Now for the important bit if you are trying to lose weight whilst eating healthily.  Losing, gaining or maintaining weight is a simple matter of adjusting the quantity of fuel you put into your body against the fuel your body uses.  If you put in more fuel than you use, you will gain weight and conversely if you take in less fuel than you use, weight loss will result.  I’ll state the obvious here just in case it didn’t come to mind, you can burn more kcals by doing some exercise.  The traditional swim, run, walk, cycle etc. are excellent forms of exercise but you could also think about other not so obvious forms which aren’t usually labelled as exercise such as housework, dancing, gardening etc.  In addition, you should try to get the correct balance of the composition of your diet through carbohydrates, proteins and fats as they are all important elements which the body requires.  You should be consuming approximately 60% carbs, 30% protein and 10% fat.  However, it is clear from the above information on food calorie contents that if you can reduce the fat content of foods you eat, you will be more easily able to eat fewer calories. 

When you see a food item that states its fat content, it is almost certain to be as a percentage of the weight of the product.  However, as you can see from the above kcal values for food types, fat has over twice the calorific content of proteins and carbohydrates.  In other words, if you are trying to lose weight and therefore reduce your calorific input, you need to work out the percentages in real fuel terms.  To do this you simply take the weight (in grammes) of the fat in the item and multiply it by 9.5 (kcals per gram of fat) then divide that by the total kcals of the item.  This will give you the fat content as a percentage based on calories and not weight.  Try it, it’s a real eye opener!  You can do the same for carbs and protein but use a multiplication factor of 4 (4 kcals per 1 g).  In additon, another little trick the food manufacturers use is to lower the fat content by increasing the overall calorie content.  Why do they do this?  Because people buy based on the wrapper marketing.  If during development a product has a 5% fat content (by weight) the manufaturers can add sugar to reduce the fat content as a percentage, but of course at the same time they increase the calories in the product.  But they know people will buy the product because the wrapper states “only 3 % fat”.  Do the calculation next time you see this and you will find it is more likely to be nearer to 50% fat as a percentage of calories.  If you also find a similar product not purporting to be a diet product, it might well have less total calories than the low fat product.  By doing this calculation you won’t be sucked in to the trap of the marketeers!

3500 Calories equals one pound of fat

Yesterday work took me to one of our supplier companies and the girls in the team I deal with were interested in weight loss and the do’s and don’ts of “dieting”.  Obviously it is a very large topic and my wife Leigh is writing a manual to help, guide and support people, which will go into depth on how to go about losing, gaining and maintaining weight.  In addition, there will be tips, recipes and other useful tools available.  I find the whole topic of nutrition and its effect on health and training really fascinating.  The girls of course were gob-smacked with some of the simple facts such as one pound of fat contains 3500 calories and for the average person that equates to 35 miles of running.  The point was also brought home as we had all just eaten some chocolates and the nutritional details on the box stated that 4 chocolates contained enough calories to require some additional exercise to burn them off or they will add to our current waist size.  I am sure I will cover nutrition in future blog entries which relate to my training and competitions but for those interested in losing, gaining or maintaining weight healthily, send me a comment or request specific details and I’ll try to respond accordingly.  Things you might be interested in could include how many calories do I burn?  What foods should I get my calories from?  How can I burn more calories whilst watching the TV?  Why does my body burn calories?  What is a calorie? And many, many more.

Ensure adequate rest

Tomorrow’s session (Tuesday’s) is meant to be a turbo session but due to work commitments and a massage, I won’t get time, so that will be a forced rest day. However, I might try to sneak it in on Wednesday before work as the schedule has me down to do a PM run which I am doing with Nathan at lunch time.  So an extra day’s rest but without missing a session!  If you think about doing the same sort of thing you have to work out if changing the schedule around still gives you adequate rest.  What ever you do don’t change things in such a way that you miss rest days.  These are really important and necessary.


I was talking to some people in my office last week and they asked me if it was possible to over hydrate.  The short answer is yes but you would have to work quite hard at drinking the volumes required.  However, over hydration or Hyponatremia (not Hyponitremia which is completely different) as it is termed can be life threatening.