Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Free Workout and Four Winter Warming Soup Recipes

Hi All,
Its That time of year again when the snow falls out of the sky and everyone begins to hibernate! If you find yourself becoming surrounded by your four walls constantly and your exercise and diet have gone down hill, stop and turn it around! The average person puts on over 10lbs over the festive period, don't let that be you! Get out for some fantastic winter walks - especially around noon when you might get some sunshine too to help with Vitamin D Uptake.

Even if you are stuck indoors there's no excuse for not being able to do exercise, here is a workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home (be sure to warm up first):

And to keep you warm on the inside here are some fantastic warming winter soup recipes that take no time to make but taste great:

Carrot and Lentil Soup

Rinse 75g (1/2 cup) red lentils, and put in a large saucepan with 1 sliced onion, 450g sliced carrots, 1.2 litres (5 cups) vegetable stock and 5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander. Stir, season and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Add 3tbsp chopped parsley and cook for a little longer. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, return to the pan to reheat, and thin with a little extra water if needed before serving.

Green Soup

This makes a beautiful velvety soup that's not too thick. If you prefer a soup with more substance, add a handful brown rice, but it needs to simmer for 10 minutes.
500g (10 cups) spinach,1 large onion, 2 medium potatoes, 750ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
Get the stock simmering nicely, wash and shred the spinach removing any tough stalks, peel and chop the onion and potatoes, and add all to the stock. Season lightly. Let it simmer for 15 minutes, until the veg are softened. Blend. Serve immediately, or chill.
• For a creamier, richer soup, cook the vegetables in 500ml (2 cups) stock. This will give you a thick puree, which you can thin down to taste with organic milk.
• You can add any vegetables you have to hand – chopped carrot, squash, sweet potato, leeks, broccoli. The result is always slightly different, and may not be as intensely green, but will still be delicious.
• Add depth and warmth. Peel a 1-inch piece of root ginger and grate it in while the soup is simmering.
• Grate in some fresh nutmeg. Particularly good with spinach.

The above recipes are thanks to

Here’s a couple of soups I put together –

Cream of Tomato Soup

put 2 tins of plum tomatoes and about a cup of water in a pan and bring to the boil, then add 1 onion, 2 sweet potatoes and 3 cloves of garlic. Once it boils reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Place in a blender and add 1-2 handfuls of cashew nuts (soaked over night) blend and add sea salt as desired.

Butternut Squash and Green Lentil Soup

I made a chicken stock from the roast we had at the weekend so was about 1ltr

add some chopped butternut squash (I’d bought a packet already cut on Sat - used some for our roast and the rest for this) about 4 carrots peeled and chopped and half a can of green lentils (drained and rinsed)

In a frying pan sautée an onion and add to the mix
leave to simmer for about 20 minutes or so (until veg soft) then let cool before blending it all together, add some some sea salt and pepper (and also some other spices to make it a little bit hot but that’s optional) and that's about it, its VERY tasty

Remember though with root vegetables you want to limit to 2-3 x per week but in the winter it's a lovely treat ;o)


PS I have a 21 day Online Xmas Booty Program just released with more fantastic workouts and nutritional program, if you want to drop a dress size in time for Xmas and feel fantastic while everyone else feels uncomfortable check it out here 21 day Xmas Booty Body Blast Online Program

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Your body, Your responsibility

Excuses, excuses! I hear them every day:

‘But it was pouring down and freezing I wasn’t in the mood for training today’
‘My alarm didn’t go off’
‘My workmates bought in cream cakes and I’d be rude if I refused them’
‘I can’t give up bread, pasta and cereal what will I eat!’
‘I’m not fit enough exercise 3 times a week’
‘I was stressed at work, I needed junk food!’

Let’s get one things straight, your body is nobody else’s responsibility but your own – period.

If you’re out of shape because you enjoy a good drink with your mates every weekend and eating crappy food choices then that’s down to no one else but you!

If you’re feeling ill and tired all the time then you should be looking at what you’re fuelling your body with and whether you are getting enough exercise, this could be playing a major role in how you’re feeling.

If you’re feeling fat but can’t give up on your regular treats of alcohol, chocolate and other unhealthy food choices then that’s all down to you.

We all want to feel great about ourselves but it’s only the truly committed people that will actually do something about it. The overall outlook you have about your body is all down to you, you can either make excuses about your shape or you can do something about it.

If you’re unhealthy and out of shape then the only way to reverse that is to do something about it, make a start, that’s the main thing then you must be consistent with it, the more you do the more your body will adapt, so the more you can challenge it, you will see the changes happening and start to feel more body confident and in turn start to feel happier.

Change the way you see yourself, if you think of yourself as fat and unhappy then that is what you’re most likely to be-come, its law of attraction! If you look in the mirror and see a fit and healthy body and are prepared to carry out the work to get that way then you will get there.

Stop making excuses about why you are out of shape and unhappy and start to work on becoming healthy and happy, if a healthy and fit body is your goal then you will get to a healthy size and feel much more confident at what you see in the mirror.
Just because you’re family/friends/partner are eating or drinking crap and doing their own thing doesn’t mean that you have to, perhaps learning to tell the odd white lie might help, telling your friends and family you can’t really drink milk/eat wheat anymore because you’ve found out you’re intolerant might help. Enjoy a night out for sure, but how about not drinking and tell your friends you’re on medication so can’t drink at the minute.

The body you want is achievable with hard work and dedication, it just depends whether you’re prepared to take responsibility and start taking the necessary action to get there....

Are you ready to take responsibility? Here are a few tips how:
Make yourself accountable and set yourself a goal, whether it be to drop a dress size by 20th Dec so I feel fantastic this Christmas or to be able to run around with your kids without getting tired, whatever it may be, write it down and remind yourself daily of your goal. Why not send it to me at and I will chase you up on it!

Plan your meals ahead, if you know what you’re going to have to eat for the week ahead you’re less likely to feel lost with your nutrition.
Carry snacks with you – take fruit and nuts with you to work, that way when the snack monster attacks you’re ready and prepared ;o)

Eat healthy and wholesome foods, lots of fruit and vegetable, be sure to eat your greens (broccoli, kale, sprouts etc) it’s not some old wives tail they are packed with vitamins and minerals to help you fight off infection and stay healthy.
Exercise regularly!

Eat to exercise not exercise to eat – so many people do it, have a few cream cakes then thrash themselves in the gym to work it off, that’s not the mindset you should have, you should eat a well balanced diet that will support your fitness program not the other way around.

There are many more I could add but perhaps you have your own, why not share below? How do you take responsibility for your health? What actions are you taking to get the best from your body?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Fitness for Busy Women

Sorry its been a while since I have written a post on here but I've been developing my 4 week rapid results fitness for busy women program, this is a four week program that's aimed at busy women that want to get in shape in as little as time as possible!

I've put in a series of short but effective workouts that work the whole of your body,

here is an example of a rapid fat loss workout to do at home in your spare time

20 x squats
20 x press ups
20 x lunges
20 x high knee sprints
20 x Alternate squat thrusts (each leg)

repeat 3-5 times (dependent on fitness levels)

Some of the exercises can be found on this video

Just a quick post but I hope this helps you on your quest to a better body

Debbie x

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Not all fitness Boot Camps are Army Style!

After reading an article today I felt compelled to write about it. (ARTICLE can be viewed here)

The article has singled out a well known company called BMF (British Military Fitness) and made reference that there are more and more Army style fitness programmes popping up – i.e. Boot Camps, after reading the article it would be very easy to see why people would get confused and assume that all out door Boot Camp’s are the same as what is described in the article.

The article pointed out the negatives of Military style Fitness training and used British Military Fitness (BMF) as an example, it pointed out about injuries caused through lots of sit ups and running which is what members of the Army do, then made references to ex soldiers’ injuries rather than anyone that has attended the BMF sessions. These outdoor fitness classes may be run by Ex Forces members but why compare a military style fitness class to (ex) military personnel’s injuries.

In the military, on top of carrying out several Physical Training (PT) sessions in the form or circuit training, they also have Battle PT (using logs and carrying stretchers etc) and also CFT Training (combat fitness tests – weighted marches over distances of 8 miles in military uniform and boots),
and drill (for regimental parades) plus training exercises where carrying more than 35lbs is common, given all of these other stresses Forces Personnel have to endure on their body I think it was irrelevant to compare military personnel’s injuries to those that may occur on an outdoor Army style fitness class that may run 3-5 times per week for an hour max!

On a positive note however, the article did raise some valid points, not all Army style fitness workouts are carried out by fully qualified instructors nor is the clients safety taken into consideration, and the fact that the issue has been brought to the attention of the public might make people do their homework on certain fitness programmes.

All fitness should be progressive and In the Army it is, you are not expected to carry out an 8 mile march carrying 35lbs on your first day, nor are you expected to run 5 miles continuously, you are trained progressively to get to that level, yes the training is extremely hard but in the military the training objective is to get you fit for combat and have lots of strength and endurance for combat situations.

Personally I have no experience with BMF so I cannot comment, though I have spoken to a few of their instructors that are very quick to defend BMF and what they stand for. If people have had a poor experience and have gained injuries which have been ignored and made worse then all I can say is that perhaps – like a lot of companies, there is the odd bad apple that gives the company a poor name; maybe some valuable lessons to be learned from a very successful company such as BMF?

With regard to Army Style Fitness, providing that the instructors are aware of each member’s physical capabilities and injuries then a mild Army Style fitness class may be fun, the name British Military Fitness should give people a bit of a clue what type of training to expect so perhaps it’s not the best programme to start if you’re a complete novice to exercise or are severely overweight, BMF are serving a niche and those people that enjoy that type of training will no doubt continue to train with them.

Now to break the comparison of outdoor fitness and fat loss boot camps to those described in the article.

Perhaps years ago a boot camp would be classed as the military training where you as a person would be broken down through military style ‘beastings’, command tasks to improve team work and all of it would also help to banish poor behaviour, improve mental ability as well as physical fitness – all to make you a better person overall.

Today however the words boot camp is used freely, perhaps we have the X Factor to blame for that...? As a personal trainer I chose to use the word boot camp because that’s what a lot of people are searching for to help them get into shape. My camp is a Fat Blast Boot Camp so my aim is to educate people about the safest and most effective way to lose fat and get into great shape.

Being Ex-Army there is no doubt that a lot of the exercises I use on my camps are the same as what I did in my Army PT circuit sessions so I can see where the comparison to Army style fitness can come from. The difference with my boot camp is that our members have training before joining the camp sessions to teach them about the exercises we use, they will also start the boot camp at a level that suits them and build their progression, physical injuries are also taken into consideration, though members are advised that its best to be free of injury when joining the camps, the camps are also a four weekly block which progress each week. Yes, of course we will push members that bit to get more from them, that’s because people can achieve much more than they realise when exercising – it just takes someone to give them that little push, client safety is not compromised however. Our camps also have an extremely effective nutrition guide to follow to help them drop fat fast and achieve overall health and well being.

Whatever exercise programme you choose to follow, when exercising you should know your own capabilities and if there is any sign of injury when performing an exercise you should always stop and if in a group/personal training environment always inform your instructor, if they have invested a lot of time and money on their education they may be able to offer you advice on how to prevent further injury and refer you where needed, if they are a little less experienced they should refer you to a professional for further investigation.

When choosing a fitness programme, find the right one to suit you, if it gets you the results that you desire in a safe, effective way then stick with it, if not find another.

Train Smart, Stay Healthy, Get Results!

Debbie x

PS, if you would like to try an exercise programme with proven results then contact and quote ‘boot camp taster week’ to be in with a chance to grab one of five taster weeks on our next boot camp

(image courtesy of

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Out of shape? Do something about it!

Overweight, miserable, no self esteem....

Does this remind you of yourself? Do you wake up on a daily basis, look in the mirror and wish you were slimmer?

If you answered yes to this question you wouldn’t be the only one!
If you’re feeling overweight, low and depressed then STOP complaining and DO something about it!

Harsh but true, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people getting upset about their body, I’d be lying if I didn’t have my share of ‘fat days’ but when I start to complain about it myself I always have that inner voice that just says ‘well do something about it then!’

It’s at times like this when its easy to blame others but at the end of the day, are they the ones shovelling the food or sugary drinks down our neck? No they are not it all boils down to us.

How many of you have uttered those words ‘oh my god I’ve put on so much weight, right that’s it diet starts Monday!’ So you over indulge on sweets, chocolate, fast food the lot; because we know that the diet is starting Monday! Then Monday comes and goes and though you may have started off with the best intentions, lived off salads and fruit because you aren’t totally sure how to go about getting into shape and by day 3 you just can’t take it anymore so over indulge on loads of sugary treats.... Sound familiar? The failure is probably down to your body craving the crap you’ve loaded it with just days before! Why wait until Monday to start, the minute you utter those words make a choice to start your quest there and then! You may need to do some planning but there really is no need to ‘overload’ on all the unhealthy food you can.

If you have decided that now is the time to do something about it then you have to be willing to pay the price and put in the work,

As a Personal Trainer and Boot Camp owner I receive several emails from happy clients who not only have lost weight but are now oozing with confidence, feeling ecstatic with the way they look and have loads of energy, each and everyone has worked hard and followed a plan to get there.
Would you rather feel tired and miserable with your body or ooze confidence and feel fantastic – I know which one I prefer.

Here are 10 of my tips to follow if you want to be successful in your quest to the perfect body:

1) Have a goal – Know exactly what you want to achieve, if you decide you want to get to a size 10 but a 12-14 would be more realistic then that not the goal. Why not set the 12-14 as one of your milestones but the size 10 as your overall goal? Just think how fantastic you will feel when you get there! Keep reminding yourself of your goal on a regular basis

2) Stop believing in Fad diets – they don’t work, they are there to make money from you and to ensure that you go back to them when you fail, because believe it or not they set you up for failure by allowing you to eat some of the food choices they do!

3) Have a fantastic support network – it’s hard to do these things alone so if you have someone else who is in the same boat as you then why not use one and other to push yourselves towards your goals, it helps to have someone else accountable to other than your health and fitness coach. If your friends and family are supportive of your quest they will do what they can to help you get there.

4) Get up an hour early to do some exercise – it has been proven that exercising increases energy, reduces stress, boosts metabolism and improved mood, so what better way to look good and feel great – oh yes and the sort under the covers with your partner is also great exercise and makes you feel great ;o)

5) Eat a healthy diet – it’s not rocket science but some people do believe that you can exercise and eat what you want and still get an amazing body. You cannot out train a poor diet (trust me I’ve tried in the past!) so you really need to be including healthy foods in your diet, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, lean protein, nuts and seeds should all be included in there

6) Hire a professional – if you wanted to learn to drive you would hire an instructor, if you wanted to learn to dance you would attend a course/hire an instructor.
There’s so much poor information out there to cause major confusion over health and nutrition so it’s essential that you hire a health and fitness professional to help you along the way.

7) Follow the advice given by your professional - if your coach has told you to cut out certain foods such as dairy, wheat, alcohol and sugar for 30 days then do it, if they have instructed you to follow a hard training plan then do it, they have put it together for a reason, because it is tried and tested and generally achieves great results.

8) Don’t always listen to your friends! – So your friends are telling you that ‘Mary followed the slim fast diet and dropped 10lbs in 1 week’ and asking why you’ve chosen to do things the way you have instead of the quick fix. Sometimes your friends might not understand fully what you’re doing so may not show the encouragement you desire, they might even get upset at the fact they haven’t got you to go out drinking and eating junk food with them anymore, but don’t despair, when they see how amazing your looking in a few weeks time of hard work they’ll want to follow the same advice as you!

9) Have belief in yourself – It’s too easy to take an I Can’t attitude, or ‘I’ve always been big I just can’t lose weight’ this kind of talk is defeatist talk, the minute you mutter those words you have set yourself up for failure – Have an ‘I Can’ attitude and anything is within your grasp when you set your mind to it.

10) Stop wishing, start doing – stop wishing you had a ‘booty like Beyonce’ and start to work with what you’ve got, don’t compare yourself to others, you are a unique individual with your own body so work with it, treat it with the respect it needs which means eating healthy and exercising regularly, get it into the best shape you can and reward yourself when you get there, trust me you WILL feel fantastic for it!

Next time you start to complain about the body you have, STOP and DO something about it!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Boot Camp Latest Results

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to share with you our latest video and the results we've had on the Boot Camp!

If you live in the North Yorkshire area near Richmond and Catterick and want to achieve great fitness and fat loss results, why not come along and try for yourself

Friday, 18 June 2010

Its Friday - Time for a giggle

So I've just shared this with my Boot Campers and Personal Training clients, because although I have them on a strict nutrition plan and exercise regime I just wanted to remind them that they must also be in the here and now.

Enjoy life, laugh as much as possible and spend time doing the things that you love, its amazing how much cleaning up your nutrition and exercise will do for your mood and well being but sometimes just watching something that makes you laugh is great too!!

ENJOY - I hope it makes you smile as much as it did me,

Have a great weekend x x

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

New On line programme - summer body in 28 days

If you are a Boot camp or Personal Training client of mine you will already know that I pride myself on helping my clients to get their fat loss results really quickly and with the least amount of fuss and hassle.

Well, recently I've been working even harder at delivering results for my clients and have developed a brand new on line program called the '28 day body for summer' program that I'm using to get amazing fat loss results in record time.

The on line program incorporates a full nutritional, lifestyle and exercise plan that is combined in a unique way to make results a sure-thing for anyone who uses it.
In fact, I'm so keen for people to try it out and experience the results for themselves that I'm slashing the fees by 50% in the hope of enticing you to try it out for yourself.

For the next four days I'm taking on clients on a first-come, first served basis at just 50% of the normal rate as a kind of 'ethical bribe' to come and help me test out the on line program and earn myself a few amazing testimonials into the bargain: )

The program will start on Monday 31st May 2010 and the half price offer will end in a few days, so if you're interested in getting into great shape in time for the summer and drop at least a dress size in 28 days then email me right away at to get into the program as soon as possible.

Boot Camp Members and Personal Training Clients get to join the program for free as thanks for choosing my services.

So for just £47 you could see dramatic fat loss results, feel amazing and drop at LEAST a dress size in 4 weeks or less, what’s more you will have a community of people to help you reach your goals!
Email me now at if you would like to get in on the program before it goes up to £94!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Boot Camp Versus Gyms!

One of my boot camp Clients asked me a question yesterday - why do we get results on the camp when I was going to the gym for hours on end and not seeing results?

Great question, there's a few answers to this - on the camp we aim to build lean muscle and when you have muscle you increase your resting metabolic rate (burn more calories during the day). That doesn't mean you can then eat what you like because you will just put on fat, you need to lose the fat from around the muscle to reveal the great muscle tone - and the NUMBER 1 way to do that is by cleaning up your nutrition. If you have started to lapse a bit on the diet - get right back to the healthy eating - live by the 90/10 rule - allow yourself the OCCASIONAL treat and eat clean the rest of the time.

Another reason we get results at the camp is because no two workouts are the same so your body never gets the chance to adapt to one workout, in the gym you generally get results for the first month then stop am i right? thats because your body has adapted - you need to change your programme (increase intensity/lift heavier) EVERY 3-4 weeks in order to keep getting results.

By doing resistance style training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (what we do at the camp) we create what is know as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumtion) basically the harder our body and muscles have to work at regrowth and repair the higher the metabolism during that time. Usually on the gym programmes you are burning calories for the duration (assuming you follow the same routine most do - treadmil, bike, cross trainer - few light weights that haven't increased in months!) and for around 2 hours after, then it stops. When you create EPOC you may not burn as many calories whilst you do it but your metabolism stays ramped up for 24-48 hours depending on how hard you work your muscles!!

A lot of people will not notice their weight change very much on the scales on the boot camp (although when you follow the diet to the letter you will drop several pounds - this is through excess toxin build up and also expelling those foods that cause your intestines swell up because it can't digest it - MILK is a HUGE one!) anyway back to the point - theres a common saying we hear people say - 'muscle weighs more than fat' well no thats not entirely true because a pound of muscle is exactly the same weight as a pound of fat- the crucial difference is that muscle doesn't take up as much room in the body as its denser than fat. So if you had two people in front of you - one was well toned through weight training and HIIT so had more musle and the other never trained at all and had more fat they would have a completely different body shape yet the one with the most muscle might weigh more does that make sense?

Here is a picture of 5lbs of muscle and 5lbs of fat - as you can see fat takes up a larger surface area in the body:

so here's how two people may look where one carry's out weight training and the other doesn't do any exercise

Slim-fat (unhealthy) Slim - toned (healthy)

None exerciser 9stone Regular exerciser 9stone

The worst thing you could possibly do is rely on weight loss when you are trying to get in shape, sure if your overweight then you do need to lose weight but you need to do it through more than diet alone. Any exercise is great but if your not doing resistance work then some/a lot of your weight loss can actually come from the breaking down and loss of your muscle mass - which is devastating because muscle is VITAL for fat loss, if you rely on weight loss alone you could end up struggling with yo yo diets forever!

I hope this answers your questions? Please keep asking as it helps a lot of people, not just the boot camp members

Well done to Chritina for asking a fantastic question and for getting outstading results so far and we're not even at the end of week 3 - Keep Smashing it!! x x

Sunday, 2 May 2010

My amazing weekend at Fitness Entrepreneur Bootcamp

I'm just so excited about the weekend I've had - basically if you don't know I've been in Nottingham on a fitness business seminar and it has blown me away.

I got to learn from some of the world’s top trainers including Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove - Alwyn Cosgrove is Scottish but moved to America where him and his wife have set up the leading fitness facility, I didn't know Alwyns background fully but when I learnt he's beaten cancer twice and still runs his fitness facility (which ran itself while he was ill!) I was in awe - They were just a lovely couple too that made me realise my own core values and self worth!

What does this mean business wise - well I've invested around six grand this last year on training courses, fat loss/fitness/kinetic chain courses, books, online courses, seminars, coaching programmes so now’s the time for that value to be reflected in my business, there's going to be some changes made to the way I run my boot camps and the membership options, and also my personal training structure.

What else I learned is some very in depth nutrition information from Phil Richards who is the leading strength and conditioning coach in the UK, he's very much the alkaline diet endorser and after listening to him there was some really valuable points he made, one of which that stuck with me is that if you are exercising yet all the other aspects in your life are a mess - like nutrition, stress levels, sleep patterns etc then if your exercising on top of that you could end up shutting your body down and causing yourself to become a ground for illness, disease and injury! Phil had some interesting info like dairy and meats being a cause of cancer (though I had read about milk) although he does recommend eating a little meat now and then. His five top tips to help people get back into health which are:

Number one is clean water - now he did talk about machines that specially sort out the water as both tap and bottled have lots of chemicals in but those things are expensice so If i can recommend anything it would be to see if you can get glass bottled mineral water - if not normal mineral water (though if you carry weight around your hips don't drink out of plastic bottles as there’s lots of estrogens in there from the plastic which is a HUGE cause of carrying excess weight around those hips!

Number two - eat only organic food (well I’ve been telling you that haven't I!) because it doesn't have the pesticides and fertilisers etc, and with the meat there are no injections etc.

Number three - get into alkalising - the basics, did you know that there’s a doctor in the states (Dr. Mark Sircus) that actually uses sodium bicarb to heal some of his cancer patients - how awesome is that! I hear it helps to restore the white blood cells to fight cancer - so every morning have a pint of water with a spoon full of bicarb of soda / baking soda (about 70p from your local supermarket!) and every night do the same, this is what I was doing the last time i went fully boot camp diet and i felt amazing on day 3 so i have started doing it again, before i wasn't sure why to do it necessarily but it makes perfect sense mow - and if I can give my body a chance to fight cancer forming cells I'm gonna bloody do it - you should too - try it for a week see how you feel, if you have a difference keep doing it! we take in too many chemicals from food, washing powders, pollution, cleaning fluids - the list goes on!! we gotta start fighting against them! If you are severely stressed then I recommend doing extra spoon full’s and even have another glass or two during the day. What have you got to lose if you give it a go - you could just feel like a different person!

Number four, Grasses - grasses such as wheat grass and barley grass to help with your bloods alkalisation and get you back to a healthy state, think these are about £10-15 from the health food shop in Richmond but there may be cheaper options

Number five Magnesium spray - we are all deficient in magnesium and rather than taking a supplement orally we can rub it on our skin and it is absorbed much better (30% absorbed orally compared to 80% on the skin or there abouts!)

Now phil has studied and trained for over 25 years in this field so he knows his stuff, a lot of the other stuff he told us was mind blowing but so much to take in!!

The most memorable presentation with stuff I can pass onto you was without a doubt Michael Heppell, this man had us literally crying with laughter but some really powerful messages were passed on, he talks about making positive sentences to use instead of negatives, for instance instead of saying 'I'm tired' - say 'I could do with more energy', 'I have no time to exercise' to 'I need to find some time to exercise' Michael is from the North East himself and the stuff I learned from him was outstanding.

The stuff here is not necessarily ground breaking, I’ve been passing a lot of the info off to you in bits and bobs (maybe not everything but a fair bit!)

Let’s all try the above regards nutrition and positive thinking for 2 weeks minimum and just see how we feel after that week - who's in with me?

So there you have it I just had to share with you the amazing weekend that has changed my life and the changes in my fitness business will be such a positive change and I hope that it will show in the service I give to you - stay BRILLIANT! x

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Boot Camp 1st birthday - fat loss lessons learnt along the way

It’s coming up to the one year anniversary of the Fat Blast Boot Camp and it’s made me reflect on a few things, while some people will love the boot camp and get a lot from it – others just don’t seem to get the results they desire.

On the boot camp we’ve had people like Yvonne Bell who had a total inch loss of 10.5 and lost 6lbs in 4 weeks and Helen Allan also had a total inch loss of 10.5 and lost 6lbs in 4 weeks, or Phil Benaiges who lost an amazing 18lbs in 2 boot camps and got into his 34" waist trousers for the first time in over 6 years. Then there’s Alyson Down who didn’t change much on the scales yet lost 4” off her waist 1.5" from her hips 0.5" off her upper thighs, upper arms and bust in just 4 weeks. Nikki Scarr who went from a size 16 to 12 in just a few months – plus she passed her military entrance test with flying colours! More recently Becky Shuttleworth who lost 4” from her thighs, 7” from her stomach, an inch off each arm and went from a size 16 to a 12 and lost about 2 and a half stone in just a few months! Jackie box who lost a stone on her first boot camp following the nutritional advice as well as her boot camp sessions, Jackie is currently a shrinking lady and her fitness is coming on in leaps and bounds – and all the rest of the members who have also seen great results.

While there are people who are thrilled with their results from the boot camp there is always the odd one who may not get the results they desire. This led me to research further, why is it that some people are getting these results yet others aren’t. On deeper inspection I noticed a pattern forming with those that weren’t getting results.

The camp members that were following erratic eating patterns such as skipping breakfast, having a poor choice of lunch such as fruit alone or a small bowl of soup followed by a large evening meal including complex carbohydrates, generally followed by snacking seemed to not change or worse yet put on slightly. The same also happened with the campers that were following calorie restricted diets, the more severe the calorie restriction the worse their results would become. Whilst I can offer people advice, some do not change their eating habits and choose to put their health at risk rather than follow professional advice.

This led me to investigate further as to why these people are not getting the results they want – or even worse getting completely the opposite! So over this last six months I have been studying hormonal patterns, and what happens to our body when we put it under stress such as poor diet, excessive exercise (Aerobic style exercise for longer than 45 minutes to an hour at any one given time), poor sleeping patterns and lifestyle stress such as heavy or binge drinking, what I have learnt has been an eye opener!

Cortisol, known as the stress hormone because it’s released when our body becomes stressed may be a huge contributor. Back in the caveman days we needed cortisol for the ‘fight or flight’ phase for hunting, when faced with the stressor such as a lion, your cortisol would increase to prepare you to either fight it or run away from it, either way your body would use that cortisol efficiently . Fast forward several thousand years and although our lifestyle has somewhat changed our body’s have not yet evolved to differentiate stress for ‘fight or flight’ and every day stresses such children, relationship, diet and exercise.

Cortisol encourages fat storage all over our body but more noticeably around the stomach. Whether you yo-yo diet, have suffered with an eating disorder, don’t follow a healthy eating regime, have lifestyle stresses or have poor sleeping patterns then you are among those that will suffer from increased cortisol production and fat storage.

Here are some shocking findings for the excessive dieters:

Researchers from the Birmingham University were studying metabolic effects a very low calorie diet (eight hundred calories per day) for 10 weeks and what they found is that the stress of the diet significantly increased cortisol levels throughout the body, this also increased HSD (11 bet/a-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD) - a fat storing enzyme within the fat cells) activity within the fat cells by 3.4 times. Which goes to show that not only are these diets stressful but they make your fat cells work against you! As you struggle to lose weight, your fat cells actually INCREASE their HSD activity, leading to more cortisol, a stronger signal to store fat, bringing you back to your pre diet weight, or in many cases even heavier!

Each book that I have read on the subject of hormonal patterns have all had something in common – to follow a healthy diet, very similar to the one I advocate on the boot camp.

Other things that can help people is taking time out for relaxation, meditation, yoga and pilates can be great to help with the overall fat loss for those who embrace it properly and get the true advantages that they offer you.

Treat your body holistically; don’t expect to get fantastic results from exercise alone if everything else in your life is unbalanced. If you concentrate on being happy with you and the body you have at present, respect that amazing body you have by following a healthy diet and cutting down on foods that have been altered from their natural state and gone through heavy processes making them more stressful for the body to digest. Take time out to do the things that YOU love (that doesn't involve abusing your body with drugs or alcohol), get some exercise – challenge your body. Spend time for relaxation which doesn’t include sleep because our minds still work overtime when we sleep.

Just be happy and at ease with the amazing person that you are and realise that some journeys may take time, but learn to love the path that your following to get you there, there may be set backs along the way but the minute you let that upset you and discourage you your on the slippery slope to failure. Remain positive at all times and accept that there are consequences when you choose to follow an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

During this last year I have not only worked with some amazing people on the boot camp, but also my ongoing personal training and fitness class clients, I am truly thankful that you have been a part of my path to become a more knowledgeable trainer, better instructor and make my job so worthwhile - from the bottom of my heart, thank you, you’re my life and I love you all lots

Stay happy and strong and keep rocking it! x

References and further reading –

The Cortisol Connection - Shawn Talbott
Adrenal Fatigue – James Wilson

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Top 5 obstacles to overcome in your quest for the perfect body!

Ok so you’ve just started to follow a specific healthy eating regime and exercise programme and things are getting hard, when we set ourselves goals in life we will always come to an obstacle – here are my top 5 when it comes to weight/fat loss.

Number 5 – The media

We see things on the TV every day, adverts claiming their ‘foods’ will help you lose weight, articles/adverts in the newspapers or magazines about the latest diet craze or magic pill!

The media has a HUGE influence over how we view what’s healthy and what’s not, don’t let it suck you in – we’ve all got it in us to realise what really is healthy and what’s not, a lot of it is common sense – think about how our great grandparents ate, no packets or heavily processed crap then!

On top of the media and advertising campaigns we have the skinny models and celebrities to compete with, including those flawless figures in the magazines that have been airbrushed to get them that way!

Who cares whether you have the perfect body – the key is learning to love yourself and your body (whatever your shape) and when you love your body you will respect it – by respect I mean you will eat the healthy foods it requires to function to the best of its ability and challenge it with exercise – get the best from the body you have.

When you learn to love body you will find it much harder to fill it with crap!

If you’re unsure of what’s healthy and what’s not – find a health and nutritional professional who might be able to help you if you’re confused.

Number 4 – your work colleagues

So you might have just started a boot camp or exercise class that your buzzing about and you tell your colleagues, and you get that blank stare – then the ‘are you mad’ look – they might even say that, while their tucking into their digestive and cup of tea, then in the next breath complain of being fat! Some of them might even make fun of you, and make jokes about you being a ‘health/fitness freak’ they are only directing the jibes towards you to take the attention away from the fact that they are doing nothing about their health!

Then you’ve got the other colleague, when you tell them you’ve given up wheat, dairy and alcohol – ‘what are you supposed to eat!’ as they tuck into their lunchtime sandwich and fifth cup of tea of the day, then come out with the comment – ‘I don’t know how you do it mate – I couldn’t!’ This is already defeatist talk – people like this will never get results if they continue with that attitude – they have no will power.

Then there’s the colleague that will bring in the biscuits or go to the shop and bring loads of crap for everyone to eat, they want to eat s**t but to make themselves feel better they encourage everyone else around them to eat s**t too! ‘But one won’t hurt’ they’ll be heard saying! They have no self discipline and want to bring everyone around them down to their level

If you know any of these people in your work place just be strong, politely thank that person for the offer of food and decline, it’s usually best not to tell anyone in the work place too much about what you’re doing because you can set yourself up for failure. After a few days or weeks they will start to notice the changes in you – that’s when you tell them about it – not before, because unfortunately a lot of people like to see others fail, perhaps it makes them feel better in themselves I’m not sure, but if they don’t know they can’t direct their views towards you or try to make you fail before you’ve even started. If you do tell them just be prepared for some of these reactions and be determined not to let it affect you.

Number 3 – your family

For some of you, you may tell your family what you’re doing and they’ll tell you that you look great and don’t need to diet, they love you so much they might not notice if you’ve got out of shape – even if they have its probably not an issue to them.

Of course then there’s that member of family that just loves to feed you up – you know the one when you do start to lose weight, handing you a fattening treat saying ‘get some of that into you love – get some meat back on your bones’ remind you of someone in your family maybe?

Then unfortunately you may have that member of family that just doesn’t believe in you, they might have seen you fail once or twice so will tell you you’re going to fail before you even give it a go, I’d be lying if I said I’d never done this myself because I have a member of my family told me they were going to give up smoking......after they had finished the last of their holiday duty frees – I told them that they were setting themselves up for failure before they’d even started because they clearly weren’t ready yet as they felt they needed to finish all their cigarettes off. The best way is to set a date and stick with that date – no matter what! When this does happen to you and someone doubts you or puts you down don’t let their comment affect your decision – make a point of proving them wrong or again just don’t tell them right away.

If you do tell your family give them lists of what you can’t eat and I’m sure they will try to help out, ask them to get herbal tea bags in for when you visit so you can still catch up over a brew!

Number 2 – your friends

This is one of the worst ones your ‘mates’ can sometimes be the ones who bring you down, whether it’s the one who sits in their house all day moaning about their life and how they wish they were thin – yet won’t do anything about it, except moan at you when you won’t go around to sit with them anymore, these types of friends I like to call the ‘un-loaders!’. They like to unload all of their problems onto you, their own unhappiness and complain about anyone else who is happy. They’ll be known to slag people off constantly and always see the bad in other people, if you know someone like this have a break from them for a while and hope that they find happiness soon – unfortunately if you continue to let them unload on you, you could then begin to suffer.

Next we have the friends that bitch at you for not going out and getting wrecked with them anymore, they might come out with comments like ‘you’ve changed’ or ‘you can’t miss this it’s been arranged for ages (like last Saturday night!) or it’s a friend’s birthday, there will always be an occasion that you should go and get wrecked with them. If you have these friends around you just have a think, are they drinking to excess and just need someone to drink with them? Have you been that person in the past (I know I have) but now you want to make a positive change for yourself they can’t handle it?

A real friend will support you no matter what you’re doing and accept it if you choose not to drink with them, if you enjoy their company you should have a great night with them even if you’re not drinking, if not then perhaps your not as close as you thought you were.

Surround yourself with positive, likeminded people you will succeed much quicker.

Number 1 - you

Let’s face it we’re all partly aware the obstacles we’re going to face when we prepare ourselves for a new challenge but the fact is, that work colleague isn’t shoving the crap food down your throat, your mates aren’t forcing you to drink and poring the alcohol down your neck, the only person who has control over anything is YOU!

If you haven’t got the strength to see things through then you will never succeed on your goals, no one wants to hear about the excuses about why you failed it’s all excuses. If you set yourself a goal then be aware of the price you have to pay to reach that goal, it might be not going out on the weekends for a while, not seeing your friends for a while, not sharing your life story in work for a while but so what – the difference in how you will feel in yourself once you get to that goal is worth much more than that moment of weakness!

So there you have it – my thoughts on the 5 biggest obstacles to overcome on your quest for getting your perfect body, the number one is YOU, if you haven’t got the will power to do what it takes to get to your goal then you will never have the results you want.

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. ~Henry Ford

Friday, 9 April 2010

Could you be eating too much?

Here’s a quick blog post based on a few questions I have received lately.
Ok so you’ve been following a healthy diet for a few weeks now and you’re still not seeing any results? You’re eating the right foods but that waist line still isn’t dropping?

Well there is a chance you could still be eating too much! So I said in a recent post that when you are eating the right foods its hard to put on weight because you will be more satisfied with the foods that you are eating. What I forgot to mention is that although you can be eating all these great healthy foods you still have the ability to overeat on these healthy wholesome foods.

A lot of people just enjoy eating/snacking (me included) and may not realise that that extra handful of nuts they’ve snuck into their daily intake might be what’s stopping them from losing weight. Be honest with yourself when you reach for that snack, are you bored or are you starting to get a little peckish and need to curb your hunger until your next meal? This is where listening to your body comes in, if you’re eating foods for the sake of it then you need to be prepared to pay the price and suffer the consequences of overeating.

I’m not particularly a fan of calorie counting but it can work for some people, just by cutting your calorie intake by about 500 per day (through both exercise and diet) you will start to lose weight at a steady level. But if you’re eating a poor diet and are just reducing your calories on that poor diet you might get results short term but you will still be holding on to the fat stores and your weight loss could be coming from muscle rather than from fat.

The best way to keep on track with your weight loss is by using a diet planner to plan your meals ahead and a diet diary to keep log of everything you have eaten (yes that means everything – even that tiny bit of chocolate you pinched from your children!).

Start making your portions that little smaller, if you’re having porridge on a morning it can be easy to overdo it, just make your porridge using a small cup ¾ full or for larger males a full cup. Watch your snacks in the day and be careful of overeating at your meals. You should never feel totally bloated after a meal – if you do its counterproductive.

If you have been exercising and you have stopped getting results you need to increase your intensity of the exercise, increase the amount of exercise your doing in the week so that your body has a challenge again and also be sure that you are progressing with your exercises on your training sessions too – if you have been doing press ups from your knees for 6 weeks in a row – guess what your not progressing, by now you should be doing a few full press ups!

If you’re not seeing results then you may need to reduce your daily food intake and/or increase your energy output (exercise more): eat less – move more!!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

How much food can I eat?

I get asked questions on this subject so often, especially from clients who have stopped getting results or who aren't following a healthy diet, there have even been occasions when I have thought I've been eating healthily but when I've really looked into it I know I haven't!!

Recently (before Easter came along!!) I was following a really clean diet which involved no sugar, caffeine, wheat, dairy, alcohol or processed foods and after the initial period where I had headaches I felt absolutely amazing, hardly needed my alarm clock to get up at 5.30 in the morning as I was bounding out of bed. When I had a drink of alcohol and went out for a few meals over Easter I just felt a lack of energy and my concentration levels had just plummeted, I’m so pleased to be getting back to the healthy eating again!!

So the question - how much food should I eat? I believe should be re-phrased to: am I eating the right foods? When you are eating a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals, and a mixture of proteins, carbohydrates and fats your body can absorb all the nutrients it needs and you won't have to worry about how much you’re eating as you will feel much more satisfied when you eat.

Its generally foods that have been tampered with and processed that makes us want to eat and eat, ever noticed if you have a sandwich your starving within a few hours and nothing seems to fill you - that’s because (this is my theory based on my research) your body isn't getting the right nutrients it needs so its sending signals to your brain to get you to eat more. Then rather than eating healthy foods you eat more rubbish because you’re now craving refined carbohydrates and the vicious circle of eating crap starts again! Sometimes when we make poor food choices and try to make ourselves feel better by eating healthy foods our attempts may be wasted because our body can no longer absorb the vitamins and minerals from the healthy foods as effectively.

I urge you to just give it a go – try cutting out wheat, dairy (eggs, natural yoghurt and butter are all ok in moderation), sugar, processed foods and alcohol for a minimum of two weeks and see how much more energy you have in the day! Here’s an example of what you could try eating in the day:

Breakfast: banana and almond smoothy:

Banana, small cup rice/almond milk, small handful of almonds, sprinkle of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, handful of spinach and tea spoon of olive oil) the ingredients might sound funny but you can’t taste the spinach- trust me!

Snack – small handful of mixed (unsalted) nuts and an apple

Lunch – avocado salad:

salad made with spinach, rocket and watercress, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, cooked beetroot (not pickled) avocado, onion, olive oil and a lemon squeezed over for flavour – you can also add a few toasted nuts and seeds/ cooked quinoa)

Snack – small handful of mixed (unsalted) seeds and a handful of blueberries

Dinner – chicken dinner with vegetables:
Free range chicken with steamed cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green beans and sweet potato

Desert – citrus fruit salad – made with apples, oranges, mandarins and pink grapefruit – sprinkle over nutmeg for flavour

Here’s just an example of how great and flavoursome your meals can be, there’s much more you can do with this healthy eating but I’ll leave that up to you to be creative!

Drink at least 2 litres of clean mineral water throughout the day (drink a large glass of water an hour before eating and leave for at least half an hour after eating to drink so not to dilute your foods and stop absorption), remember to stop eating once you are satisfied, there’s no need to ‘fill up’ on food and become uncomfortable.

Now I'm not saying that there's no room for the odd treat, after all we all need to let loose once in a while, thats where a 'cheat meal' can come in, once a week you enjoy your favourite meal with a glass of wine. If your planning a big night out (and have chosen not to be the driver) why not prepare yourself before hand and get lots of fruit and vegetables in for the following day so that you can go straight into healthy eating and try to reduce the effects of the alcohol as much as possible.

If after the initial 2 weeks you follow this healthy eating plan for at least 80% of the time you will feel much healthier and energised.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Look amazing without having to diet!

‘But I just want to lose some weight I don’t care about my health!’ oh the times I’ve heard that saying.

Take the t of diet and what do you have! do you really want to die just to look slim?

Ok so this blog post was going to be another rant about the Cambridge Diet and Lighter life, but after some serious consideration I have changed my mind and now want to try understand why people opt for these extreme ways to lose weight, these type of diets take some major discipline to follow and to maintain afterwards. Almost every person I have known try these diets have put it all straight back on, even weight watchers and slimming world followers have the same problems.

What exactly is it about these diets that people are prepared to go out and spend their hard earned cash on an expensive eating plan? Is it because we as a nation are not educated enough on what really is healthy and what’s not anymore? Gosh there are even things I thought were healthy last year whereas this year i've found that they aren’t all that great!

Confusion is a key element here, we are all confused over our diet, as a health and fitness professional I have to keep on top of reading up on health and nutrition but what about everyone else who just wants to lose a bit of weight but isn’t sure how to do it, there’s so much confusion out there and with TV and so called ‘healthy’ diets I’m not surprised we are in the middle of an obesity epidemic.

Everyone’s looking for the magic diet to help them shift the weight fast, but what people tend not to be aware of is that weight loss and fat loss are two very different things. When you have been overweight and lost it you will know it’s really hard to maintain. That’s because our body has had fat stores, and when we put on weight we increase our fat storing cells, when we diet we will remove the fat from the cells that is holding on to it but we will never lose the fat stores, this means that when you go back to ‘normal’ eating your fat stores will then fill up super quick and if you’re not careful you will lay down even more fat stores. This is when we get into the pattern of yoyo dieting which adds even more strain to the body.

Let’s get one thing straight there is no quick fix when it comes to getting in shape – if it has taken you 10 to 20 years to become the size you are today you’re not going to drop 6 dress sizes in a few months with a magic diet and keep it off long term.

The fact is you need to strive for health – if a healthy body is your goal then the weight and inches will drop off – here’s a great saying I read in a book a few years ago ‘strive for health and thin will follow’. People who care about what they eat will very rarely be overweight.

‘But what I’m eating is healthy right?’ Well that’s where a lot of the confusion comes in – cereal, bread, pasta, milk are all considered by most people to be healthy foods when actually they are not that great.

Cereal is generally processed to the point that there’s little nutritional value to it so the manufacturers have gotten around this by fortification, they convert to sugar very quickly which will then trigger your insulin response very quickly, then after a few hours your blood sugars will drop very quickly making you crave sugary foods throughout the day – leading you to that lunchtime sandwich or pasta dish.

Bread usually contains wheat and gluten which the body finds extremely hard to digest, wheat is also very closely linked with celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and much more, just by cutting out wheat alone people see great health benefits.

Pasta – again pasta contains wheat which can be indigestible for a lot of people.

Milk – gone are the days you have to shake the bottle to get the cream to mix in with the milk (sorry if your too young to remember this!), we have Homogenization to thank for not having to shake the bottle anymore, since homogenization and pasteurisation were introduced milk has become very hard to digest, making a lot of people lactose intolerant.

‘So what can I eat’ I hear you shout?
Good wholesome foods such as fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts (in moderation), pulses and beans, grains such as brown rice and quinoa, lean organic free range meats.

‘Ok so now I’ve got the nutrition sorted how do I get my body looking great?
We often hear the saying ‘muscle weighs more than fat’ well this is not entirely true, muscle is denser than fat and takes up less space in the body, here is a picture 5lbs of fat and muscle:

Therefore you might have two girls that are both a size 10, one of them may be very toned (1), eat healthily and exercise regularly and weighs 9 stone 6lbs, the other may not do any exercise and will weigh 9 stone (2), whilst this person may weigh less they have more body fat giving them a different shape:

It just goes to show that weight loss isn’t necessarily everything.

I don’t know any woman that doesn’t want to be toned? ‘I just want to lose weight and tone up’ is one I hear all the time, well guess what toning up is ladies – building muscle.

‘but I’m scared I’ll bulk up’ don’t worry it’s very hard for a woman to bulk up, you see its testosterone that helps promote muscle growth, ever wondered why your man could eat like a horse and not put on an ounce – they build muscle easier than girls.

Building muscle means carrying out resistance based exercises such as squats, lunges, press ups, rows and much more. By following a good Resistance and Cardiovascular programme as well as eating healthy nutritious foods you will achieve the healthy body you desire, be warned however the body does adapt very quickly so you will need to set new challenges for it every few weeks so that you don’t plateau, this is where a personal trainer can help you to get the body you desire or if that’s too expensive choose a boot camp that’s run by a personal trainer, boot camps can fantastic because every workout is different and will challenge your body each and every time, plus you have that support network from a group environment.

If you enjoyed reading this check out this post FAD DIETS

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

10 Super Foods to get Healthy and into Great Shape

If you want to look good and feel good, you need to be sure that you are eating a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals. Whatever eating plan you follow here are 10 foods that should be included in your diet on a regular basis:

Nuts - these include Almonds, Brazil, walnuts, pistachio, pine, Hazelnut are very high in vitamins and minerals which can help prevent against cancers and cardiovascular disease and helps to keep skin healthy. Nuts are a great way to keep hunger at bay so are a fantastic mid morning/afternoon snack, due to their high ‘good’ fat content it takes longer to digest them leaving you feeling fuller for longer, therefore must be eaten in moderation. Almonds are high in calcium and almond milk is a great alternative to those who don’t eat dairy products.

Beans (pulses) – includes Haricot, Kidney, Broad, garbanzo (chick pea), black beans, lentils – beans are a great source of vitamins and minerals and can help prevent diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular. They can also be a great source of protein for vegetarians.

Berries – these include strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, cranberries and blueberries. Berries are a rich source of vitamin C, which helps to fight infection and boost the immune system. Cranberries and Blueberries are great for fighting infection in the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract.

Asparagus – Asparagus is a great source of vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and Iron which helps promote energy, healing and fights infection. It is also a great source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin E which is great for fighting disease.

Broccoli – Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable along with cauliflower, kale, spring greens, turnips, Brussels sprouts and is rich in nutrients that help to fight against types of cancer such as breast and colon. Broccoli acts as a detoxifier, helping lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and helps to protect against heart disease. Broccoli provides Iron and is a fantastic source of folate, vitamin C and potassium.

Beetroot (beet) – Beetroot is rich in potassium and provides plenty of folate and Iron, essential for the formation of red blood cells and helping to prevent anemia. Beetroot should be eaten raw or cooked, avoid the type packed in vinegar as this not only makes it acidic which can affect the gu, pickling reduces the level of nutrients. The leaves on Beetroot are also very nutritious and can be eaten in the same way as spinach.

Fennel – Fennel is a great source of fibre, folate and potassium and contains a range of other nutrients including vitamin C, selenium, vitamin B3 (niacin) and Iron. Fennel is a very low in calories so great for people watching their weight, it’s also a great digestive aid and antiflatulent. It is rich in antioxidants which help fight against disease.

Carrots - Carrots are high in Beta Carotene which helps to fight diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers. Not only are they great for the immune system but the skin and eyesight also. The Carotenes are better absorbed when the carrot is cooked rather than raw, choose steaming or stir frying as the cooking method.

Brown Rice – whilst white rice has very little vitamin and mineral content, brown rice is very different, brown rice and other whole grains have been shown to help prevent heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers due to its high selenium content. Brown rice is low glycaemic index which can help to control blood sugar levels and the B vitamin content helps converts the food to energy and keep the nervous system healthy.

Garlic - Garlic has been highly valued for years for its health benefits. It is rich in sulphur compounds which gives it its strong odor but are the main source of its health benefits, benefits include keeping the blood healthy which helps prevent diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers. It is a natural antibiotic, antifungal and anti viral and can also help prevent stomach ulcers.

It is worth noting that you can’t have a balanced nutritious diet by eating these foods alone, you need to keep the diet as varied as possible, a balanced diet should consist of fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice and oats and lean protein such as organic free range chicken and lean meat (organic, grass fed only). You should also include in your diet regular amounts of oily fish, seeds, cold pressed oils, herbs and spices. Exercise regularly, stick to a healthy diet and cut out poor food options such as alcohol, processed foods, take away foods and wheat flour products.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Fat Burning - whats it all about?!!!

Recently one of my clients asked me what was the best way to burn fat, she had been listening to the radio and the debate had been mentioned on there, one trainer argued that long cardio sessions with high repetitions of weight training was best and the other argued that short fast bursts were the best.

My client isn't the first to be confused over which is the best way to burn fat, in fact its one of the most common questions people ask! I have to say I agree with the second trainer and here I'll tell you why.

Well lets look at the 'fat burning' slow cardio - high repetition weight training, sure theres a need to include a few higher repetitions into your training programme to build muscular endurance but when it comes to the statement - you have to jog at a slow pace to stay in your fat burning zone - I have some shocking truth, I was shocked when I first learned this because up until several years ago I occasionally added this type of training into my routine.

Well lets say you want to stay working in this fat burning zone which you'd assume is great yeah? Well here's where you might decide that its not so great! If you're working regularly in this 'fat burning zone' what your essentially doing is teaching your body to use fat as its primary energy source - what does that mean, well your teaching your body to efficiently store fat for energy!! If you have taught your body to store fat then in time you would have to work for twice as long in your fat burning zone to remove that fat. Lets use a well known celebrity who spends much of her time in the gym, her trainer has advised her to perform high repetitions of low weight, her marriage split because of her dedication to spending all of her time in the gym so would you really want to follow this kind of advice! Who has several hours to spend in a gym training anyway - not me that's for sure, and no doubt most of the population!

Lets cut to the chase, if you seriously want to shift the fat from your body you want to be doing some fast burst resistance training and intervals. Exercises that use the whole of the body such as squats, press ups, lunges, plank, jumping jacks, burpees (these are great because you don't need any equipment!). Short fast bursts of sprinting can be extremely beneficial too - this can be done in an interval format, here's an example of an interval session using running:

The intensity is based on rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale of 1 to 10 (1 being easy 10 being extremely hard)

Up to five minutes (warm up) (RPE 4)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
Up to 5 minutes (cool down) (RPE 3-4)
Total Time Approx 18 minutes

This kind of interval training can also be done on a bike or a rower.

By doing the resistance training you will build muscle, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. The short intervals mean you get your heart rate raised very quickly so after you're workout has ended your heart rate will still be raised and you body has to work really hard to repair and replenish the muscles - burning even more calories sometimes for up to 48 hours - wow you're teaching your body to become a fat blasting machine!!!

So every time you train - put in 100% and reap the rewards!!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Just how willing are you to work towards your goals?

Lose weight, get fitter, tone up – these are goals written so often, you may have been someone who has also written goals like this or told yourself this on numerous occasions, but just how much weight exactly are we talking here or how much fitter?
Get the message? These goals are a bit too vague so you won’t put your heart and passion into achieving them.

If your 4 stone over weight and want to lose it and get a six pack or get into those size 8-10 jeans but decide that it’s easier to set yourself a 1-2 stone goal or drop to a size 12 because its more realistic, then where’s the drive, passion and motivation going to be? What’s going to make you get up on a morning and eat the healthy food or follow through on your training programme?

A lot of people, myself included are sometimes scared to set themselves a big challenge because of the hard work it will involve. If you’ve hired a Personal Trainer or signed up for a boot camp but aren’t completely sure of your goals you’re not going to have the motivation to follow through on your programme. You’ll probably start to resent the programme because you’ve been advised to follow because you’ve lost sight of that end goal.

When we find ourselves feeling like this we should take a deep think about our goals, don’t just set one or two stone because it’s realistic. If you’re a size 14 and used to be a size 8 and would love to get back into those clothes but have decided that a size 10-12 is much more realistic you’re not actually going to have the same drive. Think about how you felt at a smaller size, how much confidence you had, how well your clothes fitted, if you were happier. Then set that big goal, set yourself a timeframe of how soon you would like to reach that goal then pay the price that is expected to get you there. Every time you are working out and its tough remind yourself of why you’re doing it – that passionate goal and you will push yourself much more.

Did you know that the mind has a very strong influence over our motivation to do things, how many times have you woken up after a poor night’s sleep and told yourself all day how tired you are, or started to get a sniffle and you tell yourself you must be coming down with something then low and behold you suddenly feel at deaths door!

Next time you go to tell yourself you’re too tired or too ill - STOP, by doing this you will cure a lot of your tiredness and illness. When we exercise how easy is it to say it’s too hard or I can’t then not even try, even when we do try, how many of us tell ourselves it’s too hard then fail anyway.

Try being positive with yourself, we have more strength than we realise it’s just some people lose sight of what they really, truly want. If you want to stay happy and healthy in life don’t just go for the quick fix, set yourself that massive goal, work towards it, pat yourself on the back when you get to it then set your next goal – this time you might want to go for sports or improve your running time – whatever it is that will help you maintain that massive goal DO IT.

Think about it as a building being constructed – the plans are made, the end is in sight but it may take several months of hard work to finally get there, then lots of work to maintain it once it’s built - inside and out!

Don’t settle for what you’ve been told is more realistic, other people would rather pull you down to their standards because they’d rather eat crap then complain about being fat when they aren’t prepared to put in the hard work themselves!

Here’s something to make you think!

Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who boldly asked Mr. Edison if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison replied, "Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp." And shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb.

Just think where we’d be if Thomas Edison gave up his light bulb invention after the first few attempts?

You are more powerful than you realise so go! Set that big goal that makes you passionate and begin to love the steps you are taking towards achieving that goal rather than dreading it! Remember there may be hurdles or setbacks along the way but you’ve just got to get back to it again and get to that end goal in sight.

To your Health and Fitness Success

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Why fad diets are bad for your health and you should NEVER follow them!

The truth some food manufacturers don't want you to know!

Ok so you’ve heard of them - try this diet and you’ll shift the weight faster than you know!! The Cambridge Diet, Kellogg’s drop a dress size, lighter life and dare I say it – weight watchers?!!

Don’t get me wrong the weightwatchers plan is probably the best one there if followed healthily and with exercise too then people might get lasting results but if you eat their crappy foods and choose the unhealthy processed foods they allow you to have in your ‘points’ system then you’re not going to lose body fat.

Ok so here’s the truth with these diets, they are calorie restricted diets, (Cambridge and lighter life the most EXTREME) and although calorie restriction is needed when you are trying to lose weight you do not need to go as severe as some of these diets make you do!

I remember on one of my first boot camps one of the ladies who was going to a well known slimming club and hadn’t lost any weight, when she stated that she had been training and building muscle, (you could clearly see she had lost inches and toned up), the so called ‘health’ professional leader of the slimming club said she’d need to have been training for several months for that to make a difference on the scales and she HAD to lose weight to get results, BULL this person didn’t have a clue! Even after one session of weight training your muscles are starting to build and form, not a huge difference but after a few weeks there is a difference!

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but weight loss is not the be all and end all, some people can lose weight yet put on inches around their stomach!

Anyway back to the point, the reason why severely low calorie restrictive diets are bad for you is because whilst you may lose weight on them a lot of that weight loss will come from muscle. Muscle is VITAL for fat loss, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest (yes that means the faster metabolism you will have). When you do these low calorie diets and lose the valuable fat burning muscle guess what happens when you go back to eating normally again, you pile the pounds on – and even more this time, and worse to come this time it’s even HARDER to shift so you get into a pattern of yo yo dieting and teaching your body to be the most efficient fat store there is!!

On a scarier note advertising companies will have you believe that their processed product is healthy or their breakfast cereal is the healthiest. Ever wondered why these cereals are ‘fortified with vitamins and iron’? The process that these grains go through to bring you the perfectly shaped breakfast cereal actually leaves them pretty nutritionless, so to counteract that they stick a load of manmade vitamins in there – pointless! Furthermore what kind of process must those perfectly shaped ‘potato’ crisps that fit into a tube, oh and that saying ‘once you pop you can’t stop!’ there is actually an ingredient called monosodium glutamate which can have addictive properties in this product, so when they made their advert they weren’t lying!

The best way to lose weight (body fat) is to eat nutritious foods such as lean protein, green leafy vegetables, dark fruits such as berries and cutting out high sugar snacks, processed foods and reducing ALCOHOL intake to a minimum, stick to the 90/10 rule and you can’t fail (90% of the time eating clean nutritious food allowing for 10% treat – i.e. the occasional cheat meal). Exercise regularly and include weight bearing exercises / lifting weight and make the exercise vigorous.

Don’t get sucked in by the advertising companies selling you their ‘healthy’ product, they’re not bothered about your health – they just want to make money off you!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Todays Workout!

Just a quick post to let you know what I did in the gym today

super sets

Assisted pull ups x 10
Front squats x 10 (12.5kg DB's)

rest repeat x 3

Press ups x 10
Front lunges x 8 (10 kg DB)

dead lift (15kg DB's)
Reverse Wood Chop 10 each side

finished with 20/10 (20 seconds on 10 off) x 8 rowing as fast as I could!

If your a woman looking for workout ideas and tips check out

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Year - New Goals!

Happy new year everybody I hope you've all had a great start.

I always like to think about my goals around new year, I have a list of business goals, health goals, family goals and personal goals and I set out in as much detail what my goal is, ways in which I can achieve the goals and work hard towards them.

Fair enough there are times when I let things lapse a bit (especially this Xmas when illness struck) but the main thing is picking yourself back up and getting back on track.

If you've put on a few pounds over Xmas and the New year, no worries, s**t happens you'll shift it again at least you enjoyed yourself right? (and weren't too unhealthy ha ha), Xmas is about taking time out for yourself and having a break from all of your hard work over the year. If you followed some of the advice given on staying as healthy as possible during the festivities and continued with some exercise then you shouldn't have put on too much?! Maybe you even lost some which is a bonus and well done if you did, great stuff.

As a nation we are being conditioned to believe its fine to be unhealthy and pile on the pounds over Xmas and the New year and that you must diet come the beginning of January. Ever noticed how many food adverts are on before and during Xmas and the increase in cooking shows, then the new year hits and you have weight watchers, slimming world and the biggest waste of money- the Special K 2 bowls 2 weeks challenge (all this is going to do is mess up your insides and the way you process your foods causing you to retain fat even more efficiently!). Some people rave about the weight watchers diet, it works as a calorie restricted diet that is all, I can guarantee that a lot of the people following the diet will not be in a state of true health. The points system and the weight watchers ready meals will make sure of that, a choice of a piece of fruit or a small packet of crisps and I know what most people with a weight problem would rather choose! They might end up slimmer but they'll still have a high body fat ratio which is not healthy.

What my aim as a Personal Trainer is to help people get a healthy body (strive for health and thin will follow), basically by giving up any pre packaged foods (if its in a packet - sack it, in a tin - bin!!) in favour of wholesome nutritious foods and best of all choosing organic, local produce will ensure that your food will be as fresh as possible. Buying from farmers markets will help you achieve this, also making sure that the meat that you eat is grass fed and has had the freedom to roam, much of the meats we eat are injected with antibiotics and growth hormones, ever wondered how MRSA came about (I believe eating meats full of antibiotics must play a huge part in making your body resistant to them), also what about what happens to your body when the foods we eat are injected with growth hormones to help fatten them up? Will that have the same effect on us when we eat them?

I know I've put on weight this Xmas what with the mulled wine (red wine has its health benefits you know : ) and flu just before Xmas putting me out of action but I'm not going to stress about it, I know I've made a few unhealthy choices and fallen off my 'health wagon' and I've got to admit at times I've suffered! No chance I could eat a diet like I have on a daily basis as I'd get nothing done and sit on my bum all day doing nothing feeling low and lethargic! Unfortunately this is what much of the nation have become, without education on food people don't know what’s healthy and what isn't anymore, kids choose sitting in watching telly or playing on their computers eating crap in favour of getting outside and playing with their friends. No wonder there's so many fat kids these days!

Well with the festivities over I've got some preparations to do today to clean up the food in the kitchen and get ready to do an elimination diet (my Personal Training and Boot Camp clients use this) to remove the toxins built up over Xmas and the New Year!! I know one of my goals is to shift at least 2 inches off my waist by the end of Jan (and I haven't even measured yet!), to do this I am going to have to eat healthy, cut out the crap and step up my exercise regime.

I also have a personal goal - not to take myself so seriously!! When in times of stress I must remind myself of this to remain happy and positive, after all life is about being happy isn't it - who needs stress!!

So come on what are your goals? What does January and 2010 have in store for you?

I for one can't wait to get back to normality after a well deserved break!

Happy New Year - to your success : )