Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Most Shocking Facts about Diet & Exercise - Top 10

No 10 Muscle tears are more likely to happen to cold unprepared muscles.  If you are a 'desk jockey' for the majority of the time, it may be very likely that you have tight shortened muscles.  Throwing yourself into a class situation or the gym without preparing yourself is setting you up for a tear or worse!  So never arrive late for a class, they do the warm up for a reason!  And always do 5 - 10 minutes of mobility and warming up before your main workout in the gym, or before a run or bike ride. 

No 9 Question, which has more chlorine - A swimming pool or a healthy bag of salad?  Amazingly the answer is the bag of salad.  Apparently your bag of salad is washed in a chlorine solution that is 20 x stronger than the average swimming pool!  Chlorine is a neuro toxin, you do not want this in your body.  In an ideal world buy unbagged leaves and wash thoroughly under the tap.  Or use a 'salad spinner/dryer' like I have.  Bought mind from Robert Dyas years ago, under £10 and does the trick. 

Again its all down to the supermarkets, everything tends to be packaged so our food lasts longer.  We think we are getting value for money, but are we really - again this debate will probably go on indefinitely also!

No 8 Abs - Six Pack!  Don't have enough time in this blog to tell you how to get 'Six Pack Abs', but what I will say is that it is not easy.  Abs are most definitely created first in the kitchen.  If you eat unhealthily and have a high body fat % you'll never see your abs showing through, even if you do  1000 sit ups a day!  The programme also mentioned genetics (and I agree) that no matter how hard you work on your six pack, you may never be destined to get them:(

No 7 Hollywood Diets and Crazy Eating Regimes!  Just don't do it!  Hollywood A listers will have an army of people helping them reach a specific size for a particular film part.  And often the way that they achieve this will not be the healthiest, causing strain on both their heart and adrenal glands.  And as we know crash dieting leads to eventually gaining all that back and more.

No 6 Running and your joints.  I believe some weight bearing exercise is imperative for strong bones and connective tissue, but too much pounding on your joints for a long time (especially if you are overweight to start with) is not sensible.  All you have to do is compare a marathon runners body with someone who runs shorter intense distances such as 100 and 200 metres and the differences in their shape is very obvious. 

No 5 Gym Memberships.  There are so many gyms out there now, expensive ones and budget ones.  All with different membership prices and packages, to entice you in.  At the end of the day they want your money and commitment, and will try most things to draw you in.  Search and try a few before deciding, you don't have to sign up to the first one you walk into, no matter how hard the customer advisers pitch is.  Find a facility you are going to make use of several times a week, whats the point of signing up for membership if your not going to use it.  Also remember you don't necessarily have to join a gym, you can work out just as hard at home or outside with a personal trainer at a fraction of the cost of membership.

No 4 'Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' by Kate Moss.  If you eat less, you'll be healthier and you'll live longer, starving yourself to a longer life.  Initially I don't like the word starving, makes me think of children in the third world, far from healthy!  They say recent studies have shown that an extreme cut in calorie intake could help you live till your over 100!  A study on a number of people that lived on a calorie diet of less than 1000 calories, although they looked the same on the outside, internally their bodies were not ageing in the same way.  That's why diets such as the Caveman or Paleo way or eating has become popular.  Cavemen wouldn't have been able to have pizza at 11 at night, they would have been asleep from 5pm in the winter.  They went to bed when it was dark and got up when it was light.  Our bodies are still designed to stay on that cycle.  What's that got to do with living longer?  Our pancreas makes digestive enzymes to digest foods, but at night the same enzymes help to repair cells.  So if you eat less that means these enzymes can get on with the job of repairing damage

No 3 Bikram (hot) yoga and bacteria.  This included the story of Kerry Dawson an Osteopath who went to partake in a hot yoga class.  These types of classes are taken in 40 degree heated rooms.  She came out of the class very hot and tired (as expected I presume, having not done one).  Sadly the next day she was rushed to hospital with 'bacterial meninghitis' and went into a coma for 6 day!  Hopefully a very rare occurrence, you decide.

This them brought them on to the subject of that lovely subject of exercise and pooping!  I suppose when we are warm and muscles are loose or pliable, especially during some postures in yoga and pilates things down below become very relaxed that it becomes inevitable to break wind.  Sadly I have been there (shouldn't admit to it really, but come on we've all done it, haven't we?)  During the forward position of a 'roll back' pilates move, yep it happened.  And in quiet relaxed surroundings too.  And as I'm so honest, actually admitted to it, what was I thinking!  Okay lets move on quickly I think :)

No2 Don't read everything in the paper because they can be shockingly wrong (surprise, surprise!)  Just some captions have included, 'Water can make you fat', 'Just one fizzy drink a day raises men's risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 40%', 'Chocoalate can help you beat persistent coughs', 'Chips may cause Cancer'.  Please don't panic if you read something in the paper, magazine or media.  If you think it may be relevant to you and it prompts you to take advice from a health professional then that's good.  On the downside it may have made you unnecessarily scared and stressed.  Better to look at what you are reading with an objective mind and find what's relative or not relative to you and deal with it either with someones support or it may be just that you need to have a closer look at you nutrition.

No 1 Fad Diets, they just don't work!

F Plan Diet, Cambridge Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Water Melon Diet, Dukan Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Low Carb, Low Fat, No Fat Diet, GI, GL Diet, GL Motors Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, The Lemonade Diet, OMG Diet, Maple Syrup Diet, Cotton Wool Diet, Watercress Soup Diet, The Bleak Diet, Apple Cider Vinegar Diet, Baby Food Diet, The Master Clense Diet, Macrobiotic Diet, Victoria Secrets Diet, The Cookie Diet and I've left the best to last 'The Placenta Diet', yep new mums (the Hollywood ones I expect, although any British mum's trying this, I'd love to hear if it helped shed any weight) having your babies placenta dried, crushed and turned into placenta pills!  There's probably even more wacky ones to add to this already quite incredible list.

Now even if these diets did work, it is inevitable your going to gain all that weight back and more, its just a matter of time.  During dieting your body is put into starvation mode and your metabolism is slowed.  When you start to eat normally again (as you won't be able to keep these diets up for long) all that lovely weight and more will rapidly be gained back.

So that's it, bit tongue in cheek, but hopefully you've been given an entertaining and light hearted view of the health, wellness and fitness world.  Love to hear your comments and stories.

Till next time, stay well and healthy the natural way:)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The 50 Most Shocking Facts about Diet & Exercise - Part 2

No 30 Trainers.  The global market for trainers is worth a staggering 10 billion per year!  But there seems to be more running based injuries now than in any other time in human history.  In the 1970's a particular brand came out that had thick heels, this correlated with more knee injuries.  This meant you were more likely to strike with your heel making your knee more unstable.  Now experts are trying to get us back to evolutionary running where we run on the balls of our feet.  Your natural disposition would be to place the ball of your foot down first then your heel second.  A little like in 'barefoot running' which seems to be the in craze at the moment.  This type of running has been shown to significantly reduce injury.

When you barefoot run you land on the middle of your foot and the actual arch of your foot flattens and absorbs the impact naturally.  This is how we ran for 1000's of years before the invention of the cushioned shoe.  At the end of the day I don't think you should follow the latest trend, find something you are comfortable in and go with that.

No 27 Diet drinks make you fat!  They say (and I agree) having artificial sugar makes you want to eat more.  Your taste buds will pick up sugar / sweetness and tells your brain 'hey there's lots of sugar on the way down, I've just had something really sweet'.  This has been shown time and time again that people who particularly drink diet drinks end up feeling hungry afterwards and end up eating more!  Many diet drinks also contain lots of caffeine.  All that caffeine will keep you up all night where you'll be tempted to raid the fridge and cupboards!

No 25 Cheap alternative to sugar, namely Aspartame.  Artificial sweeteners are neuro toxic, they cause damage to cells and brain function.  They are thought to be carcinogenic meaning they could trigger cancer cells in the body.  Aspartame is also known as Canderel, Nutrasweet and Vitasweet.

No 23 Butter or Margarine?  This question has been asked for many years.  I personally like butter, why, because its natural and comes from a cow.  margarine is made in a factory, it may start as a solid but then is artificially turned soft by pumping it with lots of hydrogen atoms (a process called 'hydrogenating').  This turns the margarine into a 'trans fat'.  Trans fats are neither here nor there, its molecular structure has been messed about with.  Your body will not know what to do with it, its confused, it can't metabolise or utilise it like it would with the other food groups.  These fats will cause oxidation and damage to your cells.  If you carry a lot of fat around your bum and thighs in particular, it may be down to too many trans fats in your diet.

No 22 Diet Pills.  These could give you up to 10% weight loss but you still need to put some effort in.  Many diet pills work by blocking your fat absorption which means if you have a diet high in fat its most definitely going to be leaving you via the other end most probably in a very unpleasant way!  And you may not have any control on where and when this is going to happen.  You may also be unaware that many of these pills are basically 'Amphetamines' with harmful side effects such as convulsions, heart attach, stroke and death in extreme cases!  Three of the worse are 'Phenylpropanolamine', 'Clenbuterol' and 'Phentermine'.

No 16 Marathons and injuries, sometimes fatalities.  'Chicago Marathon Death', 'London Marathon 2012, woman died while attempting race', 'Four joggers die in Great North Run'.  These were just some of the ones they showed on screen.  They go on to say; this is a substantial amount of exercise and we don't know what shape our bodies are in, whether we have narrowing of our arteries and putting our bodies under that kind of strain could cause us to have a heart attack or something really serious. 

Dehydration is something else that can be very dangerous.  On a hot day you could lose up to 4 litres of water from all that sweating and panting.  But be careful don't drink too much as that could kill you too!  One can reduce the concentration of certain salts in the body, specifically sodium and this can result in the brain swelling up and causing certain death.

Reduce the risk of something serious happening by preparing yourself several months before your actual event.  If you have never run a long distance before then try a shorter distance such as a 2.5, a 5 or 10k run as part of your endurance training.

No 12 Sports Drinks and are they a clever marketing ploy to sell us a load of sexily packaged sugary water!  Many of the experts on the programme said there isn't enough evidence (or what evidence there is is poor) to back up 'sports drinks' being any better than water.  Or that they will make you perform any better.  This debate will probably continue till the cows come home!  If you wanted to read a little more on the subject the Panorama programme 'The truth about Sports products' may also enlighten you.  Click the link to watch on BBCI player

No 11 Can fruit and veg make you fat? Yes its quite possible, some facts;  fruit still contains the sugar fructose, although I'd rather get the majority of my sugar from fruit rather than cakes, biscuits and pastries.  But it's still sugar, and too much eaten with no activity to burn it off still equals fat!  Too much fruit may erode the enamel on your teeth.  A diet rich in too many carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins can build up too many 'carenotoids' in your system and could turn your skin orange!  And I thought orange skin was a sign of a badly put on fake tan!

Okay Top 10 next time.  Till then, stay healthy and well.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The 50 Most Shocking Facts about Diet & Exercise- Part 1

This was a programme that was on Channel 5 on New Years Day.  If you missed it, click on this link 

This programme did get a lot of people talking, look at some of the comments alot of which are pretty negative.  I agree with one person in that this programme was entertainment, don't take everything that was said as gospel!  Don't want to bore you by talking about all 50 instead thought I'd talk about some of the ones that stood out for me. 

The programme started by saying "We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic with a quarter of UK adults classed as clinically obese.  So its little wonder that the diet and fitness industry is worth 6 million pounds every year".  Sadly I think this fact is true.

No 50 was a yucky but interesting one.  They say no matter how hard we try to eat a healthy diet these days we are eating more organic protein.  In a normal food supply were going to have contaminates.  You cannot keep bugs out of food.  Factories producing food in huge scales are probably going to have rodents running around!  Stats - Peanut butter 145 bugs OR 5 rodent hairs!  Tomato Juice  10 fly eggs OR 5 fly eggs plus 1 maggot!  Its estimated we could be eating up to a 1lb of bugs a year, could this be doing us any harm? 

There expert said NO.  When you eat something food goes into your stomach and you produce a very powerful acid called 'hydrochloric acid' which is designed to kill off bugs and other nasties that may be harmful to us.

No 47 was all about bread and the facts included were, that the ingredients declaration for it is less than for other foods.  And one of the most common processing agents for it comes from chicken feathers!  No wonder then you wouldn't find this in the ingredient list!  Bread now has extra fat and preservatives pumped into it to make it last longer.  For years bread was seen as a low fat healthy food until supermarkets decided to inject it to preserve its shelf life.  Bread can be made in half an hour.  They have partially fermented yeasts in bread.  No wonder many people are getting problems after eating bread.  Why? Because the yeast is fermenting in their gut.  Bread is also very high in salt that could lead to a stroke.  Apparently they say if salt was taken out of bread around 7,000 strokes a year could be saved in the UK!

So make of this what you want.  It's not necessarily going to make me stop eating bread, I'm one of the lucky ones as I don't seem to suffer too much bloating when eating bread.  But bread is also high in carbohydrates so I aim to have it either pre or post workout.  I may also try and source my bread from our local baker rather than from the supermarket, and ask for the ingredients.  I'm sure they'd be happy to divulge this information.  And my friend Becky has a bread maker so I may ask her to make my bread, at least I'll know what she's put in it :)

The next one was 'Germs and the Gym'.  Germs and bacteria thriving in hot and sweaty parts of the gym can lead to fungus conditions such as athletes foot and verrucas to colds, stomach upsets and streptococcal infections.  You could even pick up a nice strain of super bug MRSA that causes boils, joint infections and even pneumonia.  They (the experts) suggest you take two towels, one for wiping down equipment and one for wiping down yourself.  Also keep your gym bag clean, your putting your sweaty dirty clothes and trainers in here leaving traces of germs and bacteria.  Either wash out your gym bag a couple of times a week minimum or my easiest suggestion would be to transfer them to and from the gym in a plastic bag or supermarket bag.  Then throw this away (or preferably recycle it) each time.  

Can't say I've ever caught anything from the gym.  If someone gets a cold in our house, it usually does the rounds, unavoidable I'm afraid.

Extra tip when it comes to showering and drying yourself off.  Chaps, athletes foot can be spread to your genitals!  So when drying yourself, start from the top and work down.  Never dry your feet then your genitals!  Ladies, beware the same applies to you!

No 45 Can bananas turn you radio active?  Yikes hope not I often eat 2 or 3 a day with no problems.  They say bananas contain extremely large amounts of Potassium 40 a radio active substance that can make them positively nuclear!  Phew its okay, 1 or 2 is fine, but have more than 12 and you could have 'hyperkalamia' which causes nausea, irregular heart beat and cardiac arrest!  Seriously who in there right mind would eat 12 bananas in one day!

No 41  3 minutes of exercise to get you fit!  Yes I agree (hoorah) this type of exercise is known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  For example 30 seconds sprint on a bike with 1 minutes active recovery repeat twice (or more).  Repeat these several times per week.  This type of training will improve insulin sensitivity, improve cardiovascular fitness, and promote long term fat loss better than longer slow duration cardio.

No 39 Skimmed milk and White paint.  Titanium Dioxide the chemical used to make paint white also makes our milk white.  Its also found in cosmetic products, sunscreen, sweets, cottage cheese and its also the coating on our paracetamol pills.  Again it may not stop me from using semi skimmed milk but sometimes if I want a change from dairy, I use coconut, soya or almond milk.

No 38 No pain No gain!  Take the 70's Jane Fonda aerobic classes, you constantly keeping up with the teacher and the girl next to you.  Pushing yourself through the barrier is still being taught today to get results.  Don't be obsessive, injuries could include torn ligaments, stress fractures and in some extreme cases heart attack.  You need to differentiate between good and bad pain, take water and rest if you need to.

No 36 Laxatives for loosing weight.  NO There is a misconception that they will speed up the transit of food.  That isn't the case, laxatives work on the latter part of the large intestine which is where water is reabsorbed.  By taking laxatives you will lose water, electrolytes and salts and unabsorbable things like fibre and unfortunately you will lose weight because you are loosing those things NOT fat.  Long term laxative abuse will lead to dehydration and heart problems, it will affect your energy levels and brain function and may lead to colon cancer.

No 35 Colonic Irrigation and Detoxing.  They say no value in it at all.  Your increasing risks of a perforated bowel and it alters the absorption of certain minerals in the bowel that could lead to low levels of potassium in the blood which can cause numerous problems.  The human body is designed to rid itself of toxins and waste without shoving a tube up your bottom!

Looks like I've got far to much to say on the subject, so I'll be back with part 2 later.

Till then, stay healthy and well.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Leek & Parsley Soup Starter and main course of Roasted Cod with Parma Ham & Peppers

So as promised got The Hairy Dieters  How to Love Food and Lose Weight recipe book out.  Tonight we had 'Roasted Cod with Parma Ham and Peppers'.  They calculate it at 224 calories per person. 

My picture doesn't really do it justice, you could probably do a lot better ,but it was really nice.  I think the only change I would make is in the cooking process.  They suggest cooking the fish parcels in the same pan as the peppers, onions and courgettes, but I felt my vegetables went a little soggy :(  So next time I'm going to cook them separately.

My hubby also got back from skiing this week, amongst how excellent the ski conditions were, he was raving about the fantastic food that chef prepared, and in particular a leek and yoghurt soup they had as a starter one evening.  He didn't get the recipe so had a little look on line and hundreds of 'leek and potato' soup recipes came up.  But he insisted it wasn't leek and potato but a beautiful leek and yogurt soup.  So threw together my own version (which apparently wasn't the same, he meant colour not taste, but I'm not a cordon bleu chef am I!)  Anyway using my Soup maker, made the pictured Leek, parsley and yogurt soup (again, my camera does not do these pictures any justice, it was gorgeous).  Made enough for 4 bowls and an extra one for my lunch tomorrow :)
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 large leek (used both the white and green leaves), chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 big handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
750ml vegetable stock
1 x 170g pot of Total 0% Fat Authentic Greek Yogurt
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Melted coconut oil, sauteed onions and garlic.  Cooked for 3 minutes then added the leeks.  I did use both the green and the white part of the leek.  Some say the green leaves are a little bitter, but I've never noticed personally.  Plus I'd rather use as much of the veg with little going to the bin.  Also added the parsley and seasoning, blitzed a few times to mix.  Added 500mls of stock and cooked further for 10 minutes, blitzing occasionally.  Tasted, yummy but the consistency was a little thick for my liking so added a further 250ml of water.  Cooked and blitzed again for a couple of minutes, then added the yogurt.  Blended and cooked for a further couple of minutes till my mouth was watering!
 So a perfect starter and main course.  The soup of course would be a great lunch or light meal.
 Enjoy, till next time, all the best

Monday, 14 January 2013

Weight Loss Cook Books

During this time of year you'll find a great selection of cook books on the shelves with the emphasis on weight loss recipes.  A couple that I have bought recently are 'Clean & Lean Diet' by James Duigan and 'The Hairy Dieters' by Dave Myers & Si King. 

The Hairy Dieters book goes with their series that was originally broad casted back in August 2012.  If you didn't see the series or have the book you can click the following link for all the recipes[]=p00vq8c6 

The book is full of scrummy recipes, lots of traditional classics like 'lasagne' but with a twist.  It replaces the pasta sheets with sheets of blanched leeks to save a heap of calories!  And who'd of thought you could eat 'Cajun spiced chicken with potato wedges and a chive dip' guilt free.  And when it comes to weight loss or even maintaining your weight, the thought of eating a pie would immediately add 4 inches to my waist!  But again the guys with help from their friend Justine, have come up with a skinny version by making the pastry using pizza bake mix.  I have to admit when I saw this particular episode I wasn't too sure.  But of course the prove is in the making.  So can't wait to get cracking. 

Throughout the book there is also a few sensible weight loss tips from Dave and Si.  As they say in the book they are not going to be skinny minnies, but I think they were shocked in the beginning just how much fat they were carrying.  Probably due to their diets.  They both managed to significantly drop weight and lose fat.  They also learnt where they can save on calories but still enjoy food.  It's a light hearted very well written book with some fabulous easy to follow recipes.  I'd give it 4 stars for sure.

The 'Clean & Lean Diet' again is a good book with a great selection of recipes.  Although some of the desserts and treats in Chapter 7 I'd only have very occasionally or perhaps post workout after a very intense session or maybe on a cheat day (see my previous blog 29th November, 'A cheat meal for Weight Loss').  It also has a handy 'bad, better and best' food alternatives. 

This book does promote 'Bodyism' which are a range of supplements and health drinks.  But be warned they are very expensive.  And if we are eating 'clean and lean' we shouldn't need to supplement, or at least that's what were told.  But a good book nevertheless, I would give it 3 stars.

So what books have you bought recently?  Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.
Till next time, all the best


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fat Loss Telly!

Now January is upon us you'll notice a lot of 'fat loss tv' hoping to inspire to get rid of your post Christmas bellies!  But which programmes are worth watching, who should you listen to and do these experts know their stuff?  It's difficult as sometimes you get conflicting advice, one 'expert' will promise you that they help you drop a dress size in 2 days, or reduce your belly by 10" in a week by using there particular method.  Another so called 'expert' may come along with a totally different method that actually works, says them!

I don't think so and I think you'd be pretty silly if you thought they'd work!  And even if they did, the likelihood of putting all that lost weight/ fat back on is pretty much going to happen, it will just be a matter of time. 

At the end of the day we are all different and will respond to exercise also differently.  Your genetics and body shape, your eating habits, past yo-yo dieting, your medical history and previous exercise habits will all have an effect on your metabolism and how much and how quickly you lose weight (fat).

Back to some of the programmes, one I enjoy watching but don't always feel the information (especially exercise) is correct is 'Embarrassing Fat Bodies' on Channel 4 Monday's at 9pm.  One particular chap comes to mind from that episode, he had lost over 27 stone.  Which is remarkable.  He lost all this weight from reducing his calories and riding his bike to and from work.  Don't know much much calories he was restricted by, they didn't say.  But this would help you lose weight, fat and potentially muscle if you were not sensible.  Riding his bike is great exercise, its low impact and is cardiovascular, so great for conditioning your heart and lungs.  This all sounds fantastic, and yes it is, it worked to help him reduce his weight, reduce joint pain, lessen risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease, add years to his life, reduce his BMI etc.  All very positive BUT when he took off his gown you couldn't help but notice many very loose skin folds around his middle.  Now this could have been avoided (or very much lessened) by using weights to make muscle.  The only option was for him to have surgery.

The more muscle you have the more you fire up your metabolism and turn your body into a fat burning (for longer) machine.  Muscle actually takes up less space in the body than fat does (please see the photos below).  Also for every 500g of muscle you make your body could burn an extra 10 to 30 calories per day maintaining it.  This doesn't seem a huge number but if you do a strength muscle building routine (with extra dietary protein) to complement your out of comfort zone cardio then when fat starts to disappear you will be left with some muscle filling out the space instead of fat folds.  Fat even though a necessity only burns less than 5 calories to maintain it.  I know which I'd rather have in my body.  Now Dr Pixie (who he saw in the programme) in no way mentioned using weights, in fact when she said bye to him she told him to keep riding his bike!


                                                     Which one would you rather have?

Don't get me wrong I enjoy watching 'Embarrassing Fat Bodies', I just wanted to put my view across on using weights and weight loss.  By all means watch them, but do extra research or speak to a qualified personal trainer to clarify a new exercise regime for example.  Stay tuned for my view on other such similar 'weight loss' programmes.

Let me know which 'fat loss' programmes you enjoy if any of them.
All the best, till next time


Don't forget, my Special January offer ends on 31st January  Buy 4 sessions for £99!

No hype or false promises just exercise or activities that get you moving and a balanced sensible eating plan.  Make contact now

Saturday, 5 January 2013

How to reduce belly fat.......

This question was posted by Greg Brookes on LINKEDIN to personal trainers.  He wanted the best answers so he could post the top 50 answers.  Happily mine made the selection, here it is.  If you can apply even one or two of these you will be on the right track to reduce your belly fat.
1.    Get motivated, be committed and determined to make a lifestyle change. 
Who is your motivation?  It could be your partner, husband, wife, children, best friend.  These people need you, when you are overweight or obese you may not see this, isolation can be a lonely time.  You do not need to go through this alone, reach out to them.  Let them be your inspiration for change.  Now you have the want and the motivation you need to commit long term.  The process of fixing you may take time, commitment and determination all made possible with support from your family and friends.
2.    Set realistic goals
Now is the time to set some realistic goals.  Too many times you’ll hear or read something along the lines of’ Lose 20lbs in 10 days’ or ‘ Lose a dress size in 1 week’ or other crazy and quite often unachievable goals.  The sad thing is that many people will be taken in by these claims, as their looking for the next best and quickest solution to weight loss.  And even if these things did work they are not the solution to long term weight loss and weight management. 
Your goals should be specific to you.  For example, you normally park your car at your place of work.  You’ve often thought about parking further away and walking in, but usually come up with excuses not you.  Your specific short term goal could be ‘for next week you will park on the outskirts, giving you a 20 minute walk there and back for 3 days’.  Fantastic, nice and easy for you to fit in and that’s an extra 2 hour walk you’ve added in to your week.  That can be progressed by doing this for more days or park further away for a longer duration walk, it’s that easy.   A nutritional goal could be as easy as drinking more water, keeping a food diary, swapping your usual latte for a herbal tea, or changing your white rice for brown rice.  The list is endless.
3.    Eat clean, at least most of the time
What I mean is try and eat little and often throughout the day.  Try and eat whole foods, that is fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fibre rich foods, good fats and protein including lean meat, poultry, eggs and dairy and of course plenty of water.  Basically if it grazed the land, swam in the sea, flew in the sky or came from the ground then it’s good to eat.  It’s not rocket science! 
Now I’m also aware that life is to short, so why shouldn’t we sometimes have a little bit of what we fancy.  So once a week ONLY I have a cheat meal.  That doesn’t mean a whole days worth of bad food, just one meal.  I normally make it my evening meal and I’ve usually had a workout beforehand.  So it could be garlic bread with my spag bol, a couple of extra potatoes with my Sunday roast or if out a hot chocolate and a slice of fruit cake J
4.    Variety is the Spice of Life
Do something you enjoy, it doesn’t have to a gym workout, it could be a brisk walk outside, get together with friends using the Wii-fit, HIIT circuit done in your front room, get together with friends clubbing, game of squash, badminton, tennis, table tennis, play with the kids, climbing wall (that’s on my list to try), housework, gardening, clean the car (okay the latter two may be better weather pursuits) but you get the drift.  Basically anything that gets your body moving and gets you breathing a little heavier than normal.
P.S.  January Special Promotion 4 sessions for just £99!
         Hurry ends 31 Jan!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Legs & Lungs Workout in the Gym (3)

Happy New Year to all my blog viewers. 

A new year and perhaps a new start for some of you, so lets start the way me mean to go on with some more HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  The perfect way of training when you are short of time, but still want to hit it hard!  This is the third instalment of my 'Legs & Lungs' workouts to blow away the cobwebs and start fat burning again:) 

In case you missed them, here is No 1 and No 2

This time we have three exercises, the first two exercises emphasise strength.  One utilising a barbell (or dumbbells), a 30 second hold in the plank position then a burst of cardio utilising a skipping rope to finish.  I'm hoping you can skip, if for some reason you can't then you could body weight skip by pretending, hop to each leg quickly and move your wrists in a circular type motion like your simulating holding a skipping rope. 

Don't forget 5 - 10 minutes of mobility and warm up beforehand.  Drink water frequently and take more rest if required.

This circuit consists of 12 reps of a standing Military Presses with the barbell or Shoulder Presses if using dumbbells.  Followed by a 30 seconds hold in a forearm plank, then skipping continuously for 30 seconds.  During your skipping burst you are aiming for an effort of 8 out of 10. 

After all 3 exercises back to back, rest for 20 seconds if you are an advanced user, 45 seconds if an intermediate user and 60 seconds recovery if you are a beginner.  Repeat this circuit 4 times.  Finish with a cool down and stretches, pay particular attention to shoulders, triceps, lats and legs.

Teaching points - Shoulder / Military Press

Barbell - Take bar safely from rack, hold with an overhand grip just outside of shoulders. Clean to your collar bone.  Stand with feet hip to shoulder width apart, lock out your legs, core engaged / braced, elbows drawn in underneath the bar.  Breathe in to prepare then exhale as you push the bar in a slight arc upwards to an overhead locked out arm position.  Your aiming to push the bar with enough force that it can be held over your base of support or your centre of gravity.  Too much force and it may unbalance you and you will over arch your back, too little force and it will stay in front and the exercise will be ineffective.  Lower back with control towards your chin / collar bone and repeat for 12 reps.  Tempo - 1 second upwards, 3 seconds down.

Dumbbells - More or less as above, except send the weights both upwards and slightly in towards the middle.  Start position, palms facing away, hold weights between ears and chin level.  Lower back towards ears / chin and repeat as above.  Same tempo.

Note:  If you have shoulder problems you may be happier using the shoulder press machine.  If unsure please ask an instructor first.  Or you could do frontal raises instead by lifting the weights upto shoulder height from thighs. 

Teaching points - Plank

Onto the floor, legs together, abs braced, elbows under shoulders or slightly infront (which ever is comfortable for you).  I like to make a 'soft fist', some prefer palms down.  When you are ready take your knees off the floor, so your weight is evenly distributed between your forearms and toes. 
HOLD for 30 seconds.  If you struggle and you feel your hips starting to sag, and your lower back is feeling the load, then pop your knees back down.  This may be an indication that your 'core' is weak, you will need to work on this.  Get an instructor or me to devise a core strength programme.

Skipping, self explanatory.  So over to you, give it a go and let me know your thoughts.

All the best

P.S.  Don't forget to keep everyone on the right track for 2013 I'm offering 4 training sessions for just £99!

This deal ends on the 31st January, so what are you waiting for, click the link and I'll be in touch soon

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

My Post Christmas Pressie................

If you read my Tomato Soup recipe you'll now that I used my hand blender to make it, the soup was still gorgeous only a lot of it went up my white kitchen tiles!  Now my newly acquired Cuisinart SSBIU Soup Maker has stopped that from happening ever again.  It's brilliant, bought it on line from after trailing around the sales in the cold and wet.  It was a bargain and a much better buy than the deals in the Christmas shops sales.

On the right is a picture of my first soup from their recipe book that I made yesterday.  A velvety smooth, gorgeous 'wild mushroom soup with creme fraiche and chive drizzle'. 

A perfect soup choice as mushrooms are fat and cholesterol free, low in calories and sodium and high in nutrients like Selenium, Potassium, Copper and Vitamin D and B Vitamins Riboflavin, Niacin and Pantothenic Acid.


I've put down the recipe and method as laid out in the recipe book, but it would work just as well with a pan and hand blender or food processor.  Made 5 servings (the last of which I had for lunch today).
15g dried mushrooms
250g button mushrooms, chopped (I couldn't find specific dried mushrooms in Tesco's so used a 175g pack of Exotic mushrooms and made up the rest with some white and chestnut mushrooms)
25g butter
1 tablespoon of Olive oil (I used Coconut oil)
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 4 coz we love garlic:)
850ml vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper to taste
Handful fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
To serve
4 tablespoons creme fraiche (I used Tesco half fat variety)
3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely scissored
If using dry mushrooms, cover with boiling water in a bowl and leave for 15 - 20 minutes to soften.
If making in the Soup Maker set the timer to 20 minutes and the temperature to Low.
Place the butter and oil in the base of the Soup Maker (or a pan), cook for a minute then add the
onions and garlic and saute for 2 - 4 minutes until softened.
Add the mushrooms and seasoning and cook for a further 5 minutes (may need longer in the pan).
Add the stock, cover and simmer until the Soup Maker bleeps (pan version, simmer for another 8 - 10 minutes).
If using the machine, add the parsley and blend on level 1 until smooth.  If making the old fashioned way now is the time to get the hand blender out.  I suggest blending it in batches to save on the mess!
In a small bowl mix the creme fraiche and chives and serve a dollop on each bowl of hot soup.  Eat immediately, we had a little walnut bread on the side.
Yum, enjoy.  Look forward to posting another 'soupy' blog soon, this could be the year of the SOUP!!
All the best,
P.S.  To keep everyone on the right track for 2013 I'm offering 4 training sessions for just £99!
This deal ends on the 31st January, so what are you waiting for, click the link and I'll be in touch soon.