Boost your Immune System

So it seems despite everyone starting the New Year all guns blazing, ready to kick ass in the health kitchen and the gym only to be stopped in your tracks by the dreaded lurgy. Well we are not going to be beaten that easily!

Just taking a little extra care of yourself can make all the difference in your defence against winter bugs.  All those late nights, extra wine and Ferrero Roche have left you feeling sluggish and run down , alcohol and sugar suppress your immune system which is when those bugs will find it easier to take you down-think wounded deer (sorry to the vegetarians).

So our plan of attack.

Firstly, clean that diet right back up. You already know this stuff but that’s bin anything processed, sugary, and if you’re really serious bin the starchy carbs too (bread, pasta…..)

Second, start taking a good quality multi vitamin every day. And if you feel like you’re surrounded by people coughing and spluttering up your defences with extra vitamin C and Zinc. I like the dissolvable stuff so I know I’m taking on plenty of water too- helps to flush out toxins.

Now I know I harp on about this all the time but Coconut Oil, or Manuka Honey taken on a daily basis however you like to take it (ahem) really will boost your immune system.  They are both anti fungal, anti bacterial, anti flipping nasty bugsial. Trust me I have coconut oil in my coffee every day and despite spending plenty of time near sickly people I rarely (feel like I’m jinxing myself saying this) get ill. And on the occasion that I do it’s rarely for more than a day or two then I’m back. Mr A is currently snivelling round our flat and I have as yet not taken the drastic measure of wearing a face mask in his presence.

Get plenty of sleep. I’m sounding like your mum now but I promise you trying to get a good 6-8 hours a night will give your body its best chance to fend off the nasties. An energised body is an efficient body (I feel a t shirt coming on).

So hopefully you have managed to stay on track so far this year but if being taken down by a ninja like virus has veered you of course, don’t be so hard on yourself. Just get yourself well and get back on track, and remind yourself that all this clean eating and exercise will be helping to ward off any future predators.


Nicola x


PS. For you serious kitchen based bug defending ninjas a Chicken Soup recipe scientifically proven (yes science agrees with the old wives tale!). It is all down to a compound called Carnosine, and the mix of vitamin packed vegetables, the effect of hot liquid on mucus. Also adding a couple of carefully chosen herbs and spices not only enhance the flavour but also the health benefits.

You will need.

2 litres Chicken Stock (preferably homemade)

Chicken, Celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, parsley, coriander.

Very simple this.

With a little oil in a pan, simmer vegetables for around 5 mins, add stock and chicken and simmer for another 10 mins or so. Add the seasonings/spices and simmer for another minute or two. Done!






Healthy Lifestyle Tips

So you may have noticed that this month the TV has been full of diet programmes. It’s probably my favourite time of the year for telly – except apprentice season I love that!

And of course most of you will know I sit in front of them sniggering and shouting expletives at some of the “expert opinions”  ( I think sometimes these programmes try to be too PC for fear of actually having an opinion-not something I struggle with myself).

I have really enjoyed Dr Christian’s programme where dieters are pitted against each other and have to put their own money down for the winner to spend on whatever they like. Usually something their opponent would hate – think vegan against hunter.

Then there is the “which diet is right for you” where people are genetically tested and then put on a specific diet according to that information.

All very interesting and food for thought. What I have noticed though is there is actually a very common theme through all the various different diets. Yes I figured out the key to a healthy diet……………eating clean, healthy food!!! Each diet no matter what the formation promotes that we eat lean meat, poultry, fish eggs and fresh vegetables and fruit alongside some exercise. But I imagine just putting that on telly wouldn’t make compelling viewing nor would it sell lets of books. I can see it now – Horizon – eat natural real food special. Not sexy enough is it!

But what I do think is an interesting message is firstly we are not all the same and our bodies will respond differently to certain foods, training etc. And secondly we all have different lives to lead so the same principles will not fit into all of our lives as easy.

It’s all very well telling someone to eat 6 small meals a day, train 5 times per week for an hour at a time when they have a full on job where they don’t get regular breaks, and have 3 kids and a husband at home who need taking care of before they can even think about doing a workout and preparing the following days food.

Now I’m not giving you excuses here, but what I am saying is to some degree the programme should fit the lifestyle and not the other way around. Albeit with some exception. I’m not saying you should be able to carry on with unhealthy takeaways, boozy nights out and slumping on the sofa every evening as these are all unhealthy habits.

But what I am saying is they shouldn’t feel like that’s what they have to do to be healthy.

Have a look at your lifestyle now as it is what small changes can you make to make it healthier?

Could you spend a little more time preparing food in the evening to take to work the next day? Maybe invest in some healthier snacks you can eat on the go? Try Naked Bars, 9 bars or fruit if you need something sweet at the 3pm tricky office hour (you know what I mean I’ve been there) Could you join an exercise class with a friend so you get to socialise and get some exercise, which also helps as motivation as you won’t want to let your friend down. Even if it’s just once a week, it’s once a week more than you were doing last week?

Spend some time at the weekend planning your meals for the following week, write a list of what you will need and take a list to the supermarket with you. That way when you come home tired, you know exactly what you need to do to get a meal on the table. You could also bulk come some meals like casseroles, chilli’s etc. and have some frozen just in case you get stuck.

Just try a little planning ahead, and some small changes and you’ll find they lead onto to more small changes and they will fit into your life much better than trying to overhaul to some ideal regime made up by someone who doesn’t live your life.

My positive message for the day. If you’re doing your best to make healthier habits and get more exercise you’re doing ok. Small positive steps are better than no positive steps. Keep up the good work.


Nicola x


Stay on Track

So due to technology issues (i.e I’m a numpty) my planned email didn’t send this morning-I know you were all sat there waiting for it to arrive in your inbox. Anyways, here goes……

So how has the first full week of 2015 been for you? How are those new year goals looking? As you are probably all still in shock from your first full week back at work I will try and keep this short and save my science and rants (clients words not mine) for another week.  Although I may well have been the only person I know genuinely excited to go back to work this week, what can I say I love you guys!

At this point I imagine motivation is still high, the tv has been full of diet programmes, every other advert is a celebrity promoting their latest dvd etc. Same old, same old. Although Davina McCall was on the other day promoting her new book about quitting sugar and doing some sugar free baking. I’ve mentioned going sugar free before and it really is the way forward so expect me to be mentioning it a lot this year. And before you start crediting Davina, remember who gave you the advice first!

So I ask you, what are you going to do differently this year that will help you achieve the goals that you’ve been setting yourself every year and never quite made it? Because remember this year you are in it for the long haul, not just January.  So I’m going to say it again-Make a Plan! Set yourself small challenges and reward yourself when you hit them (not with cake!). And if you fall off course, just get back on, maybe go back a step in the plan but most importantly just keep trying. Just because you might mess up on 26th January doesn’t mean by Dec 2015 you can’t have achieved something amazing.

And of course if you need any help you know where to find me.


Nicola x

New Years Resolutions?

Well hands up who over indulged and now feels like a slug in an inflatable sumo suit????

So the “New Year New You” campaigns are everywhere telling you that this year you can be a size 10 and along with that will transform you into a whole different person, who of course will be loads happier than you are now.

Well, please just ignore that BS! Firstly, why do you have to be a new person? Why can’t you be yourself, just yourself with added sparkle because you are leading the life you want and hitting goals you set for yourself that will truly enhance your life, not the goals the media, weight loss clubs etc. tell us we should have?

Now I know I’m supposed to be in the New Year, new you camp what with being a fitness professional and all that, but those of you that know me, will know that’s not really my style. I believe health and fitness comes in many shapes and sizes and there is no one size fits all when it comes to getting there.

Now we’ll just get out the way all the nonsense we usually tell ourselves.

This year I’m going to lose weight and get really fit.  You’re not! Well you might but it’s unlikely unless you are more specific and have a good think about your reasoning why you want this and how you are going to do it then you aren’t going to do it. Sorry to disappoint you!

But all is not lost!

Really think about what you want to achieve in the New Year, health and fitness related or not and write a list.

Then look back at your list and for each goal ask why? I’ve mentioned this before as I really believe it is key to keeping you on track when things get tough.

Want to lose weight? Why? Is it because you think being a size 10 will make you happy-it most likely won’t! But if you want to lose weight because you feel uncomfortable to go out, you want to have more energy to run around with your kids and you are worried about the impact on your health being overweight brings then that is why you want to lose weight, and that doesn’t boil down to a tiny label no one ever sees inside a dress. You might get that feeling at a size 12 and that’s fine as long as you’re healthy and happy.

Want to get fit? What does being fit mean to you? How will you know when you get there? For one person being fit may mean being able to run 6 miles in less than an hour, for another it may mean squatting their own body weight, and for someone else it may just mean being able to climb 4 flights of stairs without having to stop halfway. So be specific with your goal, and then plan small simple steps to get there.

If you would like my goal setting sheet I’m handing out to all my clients this year to help them plan their 2015 goals, feel free to drop me an email and I will send you a copy.


Nicola x