Five Ways To Develop and Keep A Healthy Gut

In the past, our digestive system was considered a relatively uncomplicated body system. But increase research on the topic in the past two decades has elucidated an incredibly complex system and how vital it is to our well-being.

Studies show that there are positive links between gut health and the immune system. Gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms that live in our intestines. Each person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their alimentary canal. Though some of these organisms are harmful, a lot of them are beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.

Avoid a high-sugar or processed diet

Food that is processed and includes added sugars can reduce the number of useful bacteria in the gut. This imbalance can result in increased sugar cravings which becomes a cycle of gut damaging behavior.  To avoid this, abandon foods that are canned and opt for fresh foods. Also eat carbohydrates that do not come with a mix of ingredients and are not from a factory. Eating plenty of lean protein and foods with a lot of fiber contributes to a healthy gut microbiome.

Get sufficient sleep

Not having enough sleep or restful sleep can negatively impact our gut health. Sleep allows your body to recover from microscopic accidents that occur during waking hours. Try to prioritize sleep and get at least 7-8hrs a day. Not only does sleep affect your bowel but the reverse is also the case. According to a 2017 National Sleep Foundation survey, 37% of US adults report their sleep quality is poor. Melatonin, a sleep hormone is produced in the brain. In the gut, an amino acid known as tryptophan can be converted into melatonin and help regulate sleep. Unfortunately, this back-up-plan requires a healthy gut.

Stay hydrated

Water is one of the key ingredients to a properly functioning gut. Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the lining of the intestines as well as keeping the “good” bacteria more that the “bad” ones. It also helps to get rid of toxins that could damage the cells in your gut and helps to keep waste soft enough to be easily evacuated from your intestines.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise has been proven to improve the heart, health, and promote weight loss or maintenance. Researcher Bernardo A. Petriz et al. also suggests that exercising may also improve gut health which could in turn assist in controlling obesity. It was discovered that athletes have a larger variety of gut flora than nonathletes. However, athletes ate a different diet from the control group which could account for the differences in their microbiomes.

Avoid smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits you can pick up.  It negatively affects gut health as well as heart and lung health. In a 2018 research by Savin Z. et al. that was published over a 16-year period, it was found that smoking alters the intestinal environment by relatively increasing the harmful bacteria. These effects may increase the risk of developing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.

Article by Vital Guidance

russell wilson mental conditioning

7 Vital Steps To Help You Perform Better At Everything

The whole area of Sports Psychology and mental health are gaining exponential traction, but it’s surprising at how little is still understood about what Psychology applied to sport is.  This very thing is addressed in the interview below with Mental Performance Coach Richard Dean.

Richard is a London-based practitioner and Senior Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine.  He’s been a mentor for several NFL players, International Cricketers, International Rugby players, and International Soccer players. He has also been involved in six World Championship Boxing fights.

His academic work has been published by:  American Education Research Journal, American Journal of Educational Science, Nova Science Publishers, and Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Journal.

Richard, welcome to Premier Players and thanks for sharing your work:

A pleasure to be here.

First off, give an insight into some of your experiences:

My work has led to some amazing experiences.  I’ve had the privilege to work in very high-profile, high-octane environments- such as the NFL, ATP World Tour Tennis Finals, in Boxing- World Title Fights; International Test Cricket, World Athletics Championships. Each experience of working with some of the best athletes in the world has been, and continues to be; deeply enriching.

One of my favourite memories was working with a World Title challenging Boxer at the O2 Arena, London. Looking out from the ring at a sea of 20,000 people, and a host of prominent people at ringside- knowing that all eyes in that arena are on your event; thrilling!

Another momentous occasion had me working with an American client who was fighting for an International title in Germany. Everything was stacked up against him, the logistics were difficult, the promoter made everything as hard as possible. And as my role was wider than just performance psychology, I had to deal with it all! I did- and we won! Despite everything being in the opponent’s favor. It was a great victory and we took the Championship to the USA!

Sounds incredible, so what exactly is Sport Psychology?

Sport Psychology looks at the influence that the mind has upon performance. It is proactively working mentally to be better. You don’t need something to ‘fix’ in order to benefit from working mentally!  It is giving people the tools, so that they can apply consistent approaches in the most pressured moments, and providing a framework for dealing with difficult situations.   That is Sport Psychology! It’s about making people more resilient, tougher, and plugged in to playing without distraction or white noise!

I want to get this across- Sport Psychology is NOT just about motivation and powerful speeches and behavior that is intended to rouse. In fact, I would like to assert that most of the time it is CATEGORICALLY not about that!

Applying specific, focused advice linked to developing mental skills and attitudes is so important. A great example is Russell Wilson- he has worked at this off the field, so that he can ‘just play’ on it!

How do you start with that process?

First, it should be determined how ‘mentally skillful’ an athlete is, and then collaboratively find ways to continually get mentally sharper in order to eliminate fine-focus errors.

I see it is as developing a strategy to ensure that you are the best possible you each and every week. As an athlete, finding comfort in the knowledge that you are preparing in the best way possible for YOU is a huge key! And that is so individual, I would advise and develop completely different ways of going about that process, dependent on the player’s individual personality.

So, just how do you determine someone’s mental fitness?

Having spoken to many athletes over the years, I believe I have a great handle on assessing the level of someone’s mental skills and mental health. Anecdotally, I’m able to see patterns from how people talk and conduct themselves- and I also use inventories if that’s what the athlete wants. I use a method called the TAIS, which was introduced to me by my colleague Dr. Michelle Pain.

I have undertaken programs of study at ‘the mecca’ of healthcare- the world-famed Harley Street, and have carried that forth, and distilled my education into a very practical and solution focused, rather than an overly theoretical MO.

How can someone help themself?

One very simple step that an athlete can take immediately is to:

1- think about your best performances
2- think about your worst performances
3- think about how you prepared leading to the best performances
4- think about how you prepared leading to the worst performances
5- determine if there is a relationship between your preparation and your performances
6- apply more of what led to the best
7- do less of what led to the worst

 I do believe that this model can apply to pretty much any context – Sports, Work or Life!

I have spoken to athletes for hours to get the above exactly right- and it’s amazing for me as a practitioner to have an athlete tell me that due to our work together, they’ve had a eureka moment! They will often say something like- This is it! I identify with this! This is MY way! To help them get to that is wonderful!

Thanks Rich, if anyone wants to reach out, can they do so?

Happy to help if my capacity allows.  People can e-mail me at

Morning Exercising

Evidence Proves Exercising Is Best In The Morning

We all know that we should be exercising regularly.  The guidance provided by doctors, nutritionists, and others shows that study after study proves being physically fit and active is one of the biggest keys to leading a long and healthy life.

One thing not all people in the know agree on, however, is when the best time to exercise actually is. This debate is most often split into two camps.  Two camps that are very forceful about their beliefs with the point of contention being whether it is better to exercise before or after breakfast. That is why a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism is being deep-dived by those in the exercise industry.

The study – conducted over six weeks by scientists from the University of Bath and University of Birmingham in England – took a group of 30 men and split them into before breakfast exercisers, after breakfast exercisers, and a control group who kept their daily routines the same. The findings were shocking, discovering that those men who exercised before breakfast and before they started their day actually burned twice as much fat as those who fuelled up before their workout.

Dr. Javier Gonzalez from the University of Bath explained the findings as such. “Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health.”

The major changes picked up by this study were not related to weight loss. The order of breakfast and exercise didn’t impact the weight changes in the participants at all, but those that exercised first saw immediate changes to their health that included a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also showed that those participants were better able to regulate their blood sugar and that their insulin response was improved.

These kinds of studies are important for individuals because the guidance of when to exercise is just as important as knowing that exercise is effective in the first place. Armed with knowledge like this, a person will be able to better plan their workouts, hitting the gym in the morning to gain the best benefits and health boosts from the work that they put in. Exercising is often as much about efficiency as anything else, and following the guidelines in this study is a way to immediately make your exercise plan more efficient.


Article by Vital Guidance

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Every Daily Routine Provides An Exercise Moment

Modern life comes with a lot of perks, like being able to cover distances that took months in a few hours.  However, it also means that we don’t get to be as physically active as our ancestors.

Despite all the advances in technology which should mean more time is saved, we still have barely any time to really care for ourselves. Our usual excuse for why we do not exercise is that we have other stuff to do but, with proper planning, you can make time for it.

If you want to understand how vital exercise is, just search online about how to lead a healthy lifestyle and exercise will consistently turn up on the lists. If you truly want to keep fit and time is the main factor preventing that, here are some suggestions on how to integrate exercise into your busy life.

Commuter exercise

With roads constantly swamped with cars, draining you of your happiness, it actually makes sense to walk some part of the way. Walk briskly for about 20 mins of your journey and you will be getting the recommended 5 sessions of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. You may even save up on transport cost and feel great if you make it a habit. Cycling is also a great option.

Stretches and exercises in your office

You can work on your triceps by doing chair dips with an armed office chair. Leg lifts while sitting in your chair is also possible – lift your legs out and hold for 10 seconds, lower, and repeat. Even a 10-minute session daily adds up. Stretching is also great for getting your blood flowing and preventing annoying aches.

Sprint the stairs

Pick stairs over elevators and escalators as much as you can to help with your health. Intense periods of stair climbing have great benefits for cardiovascular health and burning calories. When on the stairs, try to make it up as fast as you can. You may even turn it into a game by trying to beat previous times.

Break a sweat while doing chores

Chores can be boring but you’ve got to do them and you can use them as a way of shedding pounds – killing two birds with one stone. Try wood chop squats while loading your washing machine, hoovering lunges while you clean the floor, and dancing while you make a dish.  The more you move while doing chores the better it is for your body.

There are many other options to explore, especially walking.  During breaks or lunch time are great opportunities to walk your office building or your outdoor surroundings.  The main thing is to make it fun while you take care of your health.

Article by Vital Guidance

Free Event Promotion Ideas

Best Free Ideas For Promoting Your Sports Events

It is easy to assume that in the digital age, the only way to promote your next sports event is by going big online. While the internet is undoubtedly a vital tool, not paying just as much attention to promotion and revenue streams offline would be a big mistake.

Here are seven free offline ways to promote your events:

1 – Flyers
Flyers might be the most straightforward tool of any on this list. As a result, they are easy to overlook when thinking about methods for promoting your sports event. Design a flyer that stands out, but make sure it isn’t a sheet of paper so crammed with information that people will find themselves overwhelmed. Then get out there and paper gyms, coffee shops, and any other business that makes sense depending on the nature of your event.

2 – Voicemail mentions
While there is nothing wrong with sticking with the same voicemail message you have had since 2002, it might be worthwhile updating your message to include mention of your sports event. If your work voicemail could also be shoehorned into promotion then go for it, just don’t get yourself in a situation where you could be fired over your event!!

Just keep the message simple and to the point. Mention your signup website and give a brief – a very brief – overview of what the event is all about.

3 – Business partnerships
It is never a bad idea to get businesses on board with your sports event. Asking local businesses for sponsorships – where they give money or items for giveaways in return for publicity – really does help out both parties. It can be daunting going into these situations, sometimes it feels like you think you are demanding money, but having a sales plan in your head while walking through the door will make the conversation go much more smoothly.

Sponsorship searches can be as simple as walking into a business or as involved as attending networking events. Be creative here and see what type of partnerships make sense for your sports event.

3 – Media coverage
Media coverage is important for a local event to be successful. Luckily, we are at a point in time where it is actually easier to pick up this type of coverage than ever before. Local newspapers and news stations are in desperate need of feel-good stories to cover, so get in touch with papers and TV companies to see if you can work together to promote your sports event.

4 – Trade services
If you are running on a budget, it is always a great idea to trade services. Maybe your event needs trashcans and port-a-potties. Instead of directly paying the company, ask to trade entries in the event for their services. This also works at other levels – may be a gym would be willing to trade advertising space in the lobby for free entries – and is all about getting creative in how you want to market your sports event.

5 – Event partnerships
Other sports events in the same sphere don’t have to be your enemy. Instead, use them as a platform to build relationships and increase your visibility. This can be as simple as buying booth space at other events to promote what you have going on. This can obviously get expensive quickly, so how about offering a trade of booth-for-booth with a number of different events, helping everyone out in the process.

You could also work on partnering with other events. Maybe offer a prize for the person/team who finishes with the best-combined record in a series of three different events (including yours). That way, you will instantly pick up more people to take part as everyone loves competition.

6 – Celebrity involvement
You are probably closer to being in touch with a local celebrity than you know. Work your contacts and see who knows who and use that to promote your event. Going outside your sphere to pay for someone to come in can be expensive, but the perfect event host might be as simple as finding out a star football player is the cousin of your neighbor.

7 – Charity partnership
Partnering with a charity such as the Premier Players Sports Foundation is always a great way to make an event more meaningful. You get the benefit of knowing you are helping out a great cause with the work you are doing promoting and working on your event. There are many websites out there that can help link you to a charity, and the other benefit here is that when you have teamed up, you have the power of the charity behind you when it comes to promoting your sports event.

Article by Vital Guidance

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Exercise, Diet, Screenings Lessen Risk of Cancer

According to the National Institute of Health, certain lifestyle choices can lessen the chances in individual has of developing cancer. However, even though most Americans know that choices such as quitting smoking, protecting skin from sun damage, eating a healthy diet, exercising more, and getting the recommended screenings reduce the risk of cancer, following this vital guidance can often be difficult.  Although targeted treatments for cancer have improved survival rates, and there are more breakthroughs on the horizon, the best option for most of us is still prevention.

Skin Cancer Affects 1 In 5 Americans
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  The two most common types of skin cancer, call basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable.  Melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is much more dangerous.

By now, most people know the use of sunscreen is vital when they are going to be outdoors, even for short period of time.  However, not all screens are created equally.  For maximum protection, oncologists recommend a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater, regardless of skin color or ethnicity.  Other vital guidance includes avoiding tanning beds or sunlamps and examining your skin, head to toe, every month for any changes. You should also have a dermatologist, or your primary care physician examine your skin annually.

Smoking and Cancer
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer.  It is estimated that in the United States, smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer; smokers are 15 to 20% more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. Tobacco products such as cigars or plates also increase the risk for lung cancer, as well as throat and mouth cancer.  Even smokeless tobacco has been proven to increase the risk of oral cancer, throat cancer, stomach and pancreatic cancer.

Another Reason To Stop Smoking
Bladder cancer is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US.  This year, it is estimated nearly 15,000 people will die from the disease. But here’s a real shocker; people who smoke are four times as prone to the malignancy as non-smokers – especially women.  About half of all bladder cancer cases in women age 50 and older or now traceable to smoking. In addition, current smokers are four times as likely to develop bladder cancer as people who have never smoked.

The Role of Diet In Preventing Cancer
Although no particular food or diet product can prevent cancer, there is growing evidence that diet can play a significant role in some types of cancer. For example, studies have found a higher incidence of prostate cancer in men whose diet are high in fats, particular animal fats and low in vegetables.  Likewise, 30 to 40% of certain types of breast cancer have been linked to what we eat, especially if your diet is a contributing factor to obesity.  It is vital to have a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and low in animal fat, processed foods and sugar, that can boost your immune system to help fight diseases such as cancer.

Reduce Cancer Risk With Healthy Choices
Each year, over half a million Americans die of cancer; the startling news is that about 1/3 to 1/2 of these deaths are linked to lifestyle choices and, potentially, could’ve been prevented. Start reducing your risk of cancer by following this vital guidance for your life:
– Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
– Be physically active on a regular basis.
– Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.
– Stop smoking or better yet, never start.
– Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
– Get recommended screenings such as colonoscopies, Pap smears and mammograms.
– Let your doctor know if there is a family history of cancer.

For more information, contact the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute.

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Study Reveals 10 Minutes Makes A Difference In Life

It has been known for decades that exercising is one of the vital help factors in humans living a longer and healthier life. One aspect that experts have disagreed on, however, is just how much exercise needs to be put in play on a weekly basis for the benefits to be enjoyed.

While it remains true that more is usually better in regards to exercise, a British journal recently published a story that just 10 minutes of exercise a week is linked to a longer and more fruitful life.

This seems like it can’t be real on a number of levels.  The federal physical activity guidelines, for example, state that 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise are needed for any benefits to be felt.  That is far more than the 10 minutes recommended by this survey, an amount of time that is shorter than one regular scene in Game of Thrones.

So can this level of exercise really be beneficial? Can it provide vital help to your body’s systems?  Will just 10 minutes of exercise be enough to help you live your life in a better way?

This study focused on an initial pool of 88,000 American adults who were between the ages of 40 and 85.  They were tracked by researchers for nine years during which time information was collected on the amount that each exercised.  That data was then correlated with any physical ailments that the subjects contracted to see how exercise affected life.

While the big takeaway will be that ANY exercise increases longevity, it is just as important to note here that the reduction in risk factors increased greatly the MORE a person exercised.  It is not news that exercising more reduces the risk factors of heart disease and general cardiovascular health, and as we get older the need to exercise to prevent these issues increases dramatically.

What this study does is give a great laughing point for people who need the vital help of exercise but who find some of the guidelines and expectations to be too much for them.  An adult hitting the gym three times a week and playing sports on the other days isn’t suddenly going to just drop to this 10 minutes of exercise per week – no one is wired that way.

Instead this is great information to share with perhaps a grandparent or family friend who just doesn’t see the benefits of exercise.  To that person, perhaps something as simple as walking around the block two or three times a week would be a gateway to a more exercise driven life.

The more we learn about exercise and how it helps ward of diseases, the more we need to encourage everyone in our lives to work out.  Be that vital mentor, give that vital guidance, and get everyone you know exercising for at least 10 minutes a week.  Their desire to be healthy will only grow from there.

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Preparing For A Healthy Lifestyle


Before you start the diets and exercises here is how to set goals you can stick to for a healthier lifestyle:

Step One: Settle on the What

What do you want to change? Whether it’s an overall lifestyle change or specifics (lose weight, trim fat, get more muscle, or achieve a fitness goal), you can’t set goals if you don’t know what you want to achieve.

Step Two: Get Specific & Realistic

Many goals fail by not being specific enough. You could say “I’m going to eat healthier this year,” or “I’m going to exercise more,” but what does this really mean? If you don’t get specific, you won’t know when you’ve hit your goals, which is your major motivator.

Secondly, your goals need to be realistic. Weight loss goals need to be achievable (5-10% of body weight), exercise goals should be attainable, healthy eating goals shouldn’t feel like punishment. The more realistic your goal, the easier it will be to attain. Once you reach that goal, you can build on your success.

Step Three: Break it Down

Having a specific goal is great, but if it’s too big, it will feel unachievable, which means the second it feels out of reach you’ll want to abandon it all together. By breaking your goals down, you set small achievements that will help you stay motivated. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, then losing 2 pounds is your first hurdle.

Step Four: Plan for Setbacks

Everyone has setbacks along the way, look at nearly every pro athlete who ever had an injury. The key is to understand that setbacks happen, and you can come back from them. The second step is to identify what caused the setback. If your healthy eating goal gets set back by unhealthy options, find new healthy options that satisfy your cravings. If your exercise goal is failing, change up your routine.

Step Five: Keep a Record

It can be hard to stay on track and see successes as they happen, so keep track. Even if you’re looking to simply drop pounds as a healthy goal, keep track of exercise and what you eat. Not only will you find small successes (such as trimming inches), you can also identify where there might be room for improvement.

Step Six: Get Help!

You don’t have to tackle your healthy living goals alone – get help! Meal planning, exercise routines, and inspiration are easy to find, affordable, and will increase your chance of success. With a bit of planning and some dedication to your new healthy living goals, you can end on a high note.

If you are looking for guidance with a healthy plant-based diet, look no further than 22 Days Nutrition. They are here to help with Vegan Meal Delivery and plant protein bars and powders. You can pick up a copy of The 22-Day Revolution and The 22-Day Revolution Cookbook at your local bookstore and at Amazon.