Friday 31 January 2014

friday tune

it's about time i mentioned my B-E-A-utiful and talented friend Charlotte OC 

she's a crazy girl, with a big voice and whether you're looking for something to keep you going through your workout or relax to when you're done, this thought provoking song allows you to lose yourself 

like it? available here on itunes & here on vinyl (limited supply) 

Thursday 30 January 2014

sugar vs fat - which is worse? 

there has been much debate recently around which is worse - fat or sugar.... 

bbc horizons just aired a documentary to help you decide. watch here and share your views 

Wednesday 29 January 2014

master the art plyometrics 

this type of exercise involves quick explosive movements designed to increase your speed and power.... and can really pep up your physique 

do 3 sets of 12 reps with 1 minute rest in between sets and exercises 

squat jumps
standing with your feet shoulder width apart, squat down and jump up as high as possible. when you land, squat and immediately jump up again 

basically just skipping (like you used to do in the playground, yes boys, you) but with a little more oomph! just jump and lift your knees as high as you can 

push up
in a normal push-up position, lower yourself to the floor, then with an explosive force push off the floor so that your hands leave the floor. repeat. 

for beginners take it slow and focus on performing the movements in a controlled way. warm up and leave rest days in between

Tuesday 28 January 2014

snack attack

i find one of the hardest challenges of healthy eating is finding snacks you can have on the go, stopping you having naughty convenience food - which is usually full of rubbish!

fear not - as itsu grocery have paved the way for light, healthy, asian inspired food on the go. the bitesize range is perfect for healthy snacking, the seaweed thins are sooo moreish and contain only 22 calories per pack....

see the different ranges here and good news! flex readers are entitled to a 15% discount on the thins & miso soups - just enter SEAWEED or MISO15 at the checkout :) 

Monday 27 January 2014

control yourself!!

one thing i have learnt with nutrition and analysing clients diets is a lot of people aren't aware of portion control.... if you really stick to this you can save masses of fat and calories!

use small plates (makes you feel you are eating more) and each element should be around the size of your fist (so carbs, protein, veg etc) go back to basics and use the eatwell plate, simples

Sunday 26 January 2014

don't waist time

the quickest way to asses your health is by measuring your waist to hip ratio....

waist - measure the smallest part, usually where your belly button is
hips - measure the largest part, usually around your bum
divide the waist number by the hip number 

in men, a ratio of 1 or more - and in women 0.85, shows you are carrying too much weight around your middle. this means you are at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

healthy eating and regular exercise is a must in this situation! 

Saturday 25 January 2014

milk it

with many dairy free alternatives to cows milk it's difficult to decide which to go for....

personally i LOVE oat milk. it's really nutritious, very low in fat and lactose free! 

it's sweet in taste, but the taste doesn't interfere with the taste of your breakfast, hot drink or smoothie, like a coconut or almond milk may

try the oatly range, which includes a chocolate drink - yum yum

Friday 24 January 2014

it's friday - which means one thing. a tune for the weekend.... 

mr g - gettin hott 

this one really gets me moving if i need that extra push with my cardio workout, when i'm getting hot & sweaty! and mr g is the g 

Thursday 23 January 2014

make that change! 

this is a really simple and cost-effective way of getting rid of a little sugar or fat from you diet....

change4life help you swap things in your diet, for example from semi skimmed milk to skimmed, just by signing up!

you can pick a swap, and over 4 weeks you'll be cutting fat and/or sugar from your diet, and get money off vouchers too

so go on, make that change today

Wednesday 22 January 2014

turned off?? 

most of us have a laptop, smart phone and tablet.... and will constantly use any or all of these right up when we try and go to sleep

research shows that you need 'electronic shutdown' at least 2 hours before bedtime. if not, it will affect your sleep, in a bad way! the light emitted from these types of devices reduces the amount of the sleep inducing hormone (melatonin) you produce.... 

so avoid that Tweet from the bedroom, or the 'Goodnight World' status on Facebook and read a good book, or listen to some nice music 

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Cheeky bum

Follow this quick 12 minute workout for a beach bum in no time! 

Swing - with both feet pointing forward, in a wide stance, swing a kettlebell from in between your legs up to chest height. Get momentum from your hips swinging and squeeze your bum cheeks together when your arms are up. Do 20 times

Squat - with a barbell on your upper back (with a weight that won't ruin your form) holding with both hands, sqaut down until thighs are in line with the floor. Return up and repeat to complete 12 squats

Bridge - Lying on your back bend you knees with feet flat on the floor. Place a barbell on your hips, keeping shoulders in touch with floor. Tighten your glutes and lift your hips to a full extension, driving heels through the floor. Hold for 3 seconds, return and repeat 12 times

Complete 3 sets of circuit in total 

Monday 20 January 2014

Love Chia 

Why? Because they really are SUPER!! These little seeds are perfect sprinkled on salads or in smoothies and here's why....



They also fight belly fat as they have a stabilising effect on blood sugar which fights insulin resistance and they make you full faster due to trytophan - an amino acid found in turkey which regulates appetite, sleep and improves your mood - BONUS!!  

Sunday 19 January 2014

Good for your health
We all know exercise is good for you but these stats from the NHS really do prove it! 
Doing exercise regularly:
  • Can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%
  • Can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%
  • Can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy as well as keep weight off
  • Moderate activity, such as cycling or fast walking, gives your heart and lungs a work-out

Saturday 18 January 2014

Music to my ears
I’m not sure about you but I cannot exercise without my iPod plugged in?! Obvious reasons are that it distracts & motivates me to carry on pounding the treadmill for longer but actual research has shown that listening to music can improve your performance, increasing your endurance by 15%, and your movement will likely follow the tempo of the song.
Your body may be simply responding to the beat on a more or less subconscious level, but the type and tempo of the music you choose while working out may also influence your conscious motivation, so get some tunes on and get moving! 
Research also showed that listening to music while exercising boosted cognitive levels and verbal fluency skills in people diagnosed with coronary artery disease
I love these DVF headphones to get the beats going! 

Friday 17 January 2014

Thursday 16 January 2014

Sleep easy.... 

Working as a PT and being a bit of a social butterfly late nights are not uncommon for me! But neither are early mornings in the gym so I need to sleep.

I always try to get one of these five in me - better than popping pills

Fruit Potassium in bananas relaxes muscles & B6 increases melatonin to treat insomnia. Cherries and grapes also contain melatonin

Cereal Low sugar, whole sugar cereal is complex carb rich, upping the amount of tryptophan in the bloodstream which helps you sleep 

Dark chocolate serotonin relaxes body and mind, inducing sleep (yes an excuse to eat it!)

Honey glucose tells your brain to shut off orexin (a chemical which triggers alertness) Just one teaspoon is enough

Warm milk works wonders - combine with carb rich food like oatmeal, granola or toast makes it more effective. It's also high in calcium and other minerals known to have a relaxing effect 

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Don't be a battleaxe!
Battle ropes or exercise ropes are usually left in the corner of the gym floor gathering dust but when used properly this piece of kit can work wonders....
The weighted rope can simultaneously boost metabolism and tone muscle, and although it seems like an upper body only workout you can combine it with leg work, such as lunges for an all over body workout! 
Add some rope work into your routine and it will maintain a high calorie burn during and after your workout. Video to follow....

Tuesday 14 January 2014

full of beans
one of the most effective pre-workout drinks is a CUP OF COFFEE, heres 5 reasons why….
1 accelerates fat loss
2 increases performance
3 improves focus
4 decreases muscle pain
5 prevents disease
have a cup of black coffee 1 hour before a workout, i LOVE Pact Coffee world class beans, hand roasted in London and not ground until just before they send it out to you - delicious!! 

AND flex readers can claim a bag of coffee for just £1!! just enter FLEXCOFFEE as the discount code :) 

Monday 13 January 2014

Not so sweet

Simple table sugar is highly processed, with no nutrients or fibre and totally concetrated....

Unfortunately for us our bodies love the stuff! Its gives us energy and drives our metabolism  

But this isn't what we naturally should be craving.... sucrose (fructose & glucose) has a harder hit on our system and can actually cause cravings, increase fat storage and cause disease! 

For this we need to cut down on soft drinks, sweets and processed foods - replace with whole foods, totally avoiding processed food that use sugar or corn syrup to make us addicted

Instead go for fruit high in water content like berries and melon. 

Alternatives: Honey, date sugar, stevia, coconut sugar, pure organic maple syrup 

Sunday 12 January 2014

feeling blue?

on a sunday night you'll know a good nights sleep helps with that monday morning get up.... waking up feeling energised, ready for the day, your workout and much easier to stick to your nutrition plans! 

a recent study by travelodge found that certain colours help you sleep, and sleeping in a blue room gives you the best rest. blue is linked to calm soothing feelings and is thought to slow the heart rate and even reduce blood pressure.

green and yellow are also good colours to sleep in, but avoid purple as its too stimulating and greys and brown are too dreary and depressing! 

i recently purchased this lovely set of bedding from ikea for a mere £15, in a bluey green turquoise print :) 

Saturday 11 January 2014

soup up your swim!
how many of you take a lazy, relaxing swim after a workout in the gym, or even instead of your workout?! 

if so follow this swimfit activate+ programme to give yourself a boost:
warm up - swim 4 lengths non stop doing any stroke
develop stroke - 4 lengths using front crawl or breaststroke resting after to until breathing returns to normal
main set - hold a float a kick for 2 lengths, any stroke. rest for 15 secs after each length, then alternate these 2 moves, resting for 15 seconds between lengths
swim down - swim for 2 lengths without resting in between 

Friday 10 January 2014

Friday tooon

Going to try and upload a track a week that energises me when I’m exercising.... and to give you that Friday feeling! 

Paper Aeroplane was the perfect track for running to in Ibiza, especially when I ran at sunset (not quite the same in rainy Manchester)  

Enjoy x

Thursday 9 January 2014

speckly sneaks

i saw these on a friend india roses page, one word - W A N T. they're custom made NIKEiDs, best get to work! 

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Nighty night

One of my favourite cardio exercises is running and this years big exercise trend? Running at night. With darkness providing fewer distractions, more need to keep warm and being less self-concious it makes sense. Scientists also say our bodies are more suited to evening workouts, with 6pm-9pm as the ideal time. I love running through the city at night, just be sure to take extra care and stay safe! 

Tuesday 7 January 2014

sleep more - eat less

the longer you sleep, the less you eat - sounds obvious as that's simple maths but columbia university research found that when women slept for for four hours per night they ate on average 329 more calories and 31g more fat that when they slept for nine hours. nine hours is the optimum sleep duration to make you less hungry.... night then! zzzz 

Monday 6 January 2014

hit it!

so it's well known that high intensity training is ever more popular these days as opposed to slogging it out on the treadmill for hours.... but how do you know how to make the most of your 10 minutes you have to train? 

follow these four exercises for an all over body work out in no time at all

squat jumps - feet hip width apart, push hips back. jump as high as possible, landing in squat position. do as many as you can for half a minute then jog on the spot up to 1 minute 

stair sprints - find some stairs and simply run up two at a time and jog down as fast as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 then repeat twice

shadow box - do 45 seconds of punching alternating arms as fast as you can, holding weights to increase intensity. again jog on spot for 15 seconds

burpees - starting in either half or full push up do a push up then jump your feet in under your chest and jump into the air, clapping hands overhead. return to push up and do as many as possible in 45 seconds then rest for 15 (or do plank if you can hack it!)

total time - 4 and half minutes work out, be sure to warm up and do a cool down afterwards - all within 10 minutes! 

combine this with at least 30 minutes of daily activity - walking/cycling etc 

Sunday 5 January 2014

No carbs before Marbs? Barbs? Or just at all?!
Due to past scares and diets a lot of people stay away from carbs all together but what you replace them with and the nutrients you are missing out on could be a bad idea!
Basically you need to choose your carbs based on nutrition, not GI score. Also be clever about when you eat them as your insulin sensitivity is higher in the morning and post-workout.
Focus your healthy starches and sugars earlier in the day, when your body can burn them for energy, and after you hit the gym, for glycogen storage and replenishment! 
Get some porridge down you an hour before the gym for some slow release energy - try Dorset Cereals yummy porridge range! 

Saturday 4 January 2014

Get some headspace....
People exercise for many different reasons, but to fight stress, sleep better, increase focus and increase your energy are just a few of the reasons not related to weight or fitness goals…. an app that I have recently been using called Headspace
This is a great little meditation app for modern living and in just 10 minutes can re-focus you whilst teaching you meditate. Try the free 10 day trial here