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To Coffee or Not To Coffee?

To Coffee or not to Coffee? That is the question

 

The Legend of Kaldi has it that Coffee was discovered by his herd of Goats in the Ethiopian highlands. It is said that Kaldi (or technically his goats) discovered coffee after noticing that upon eating berries from a certain tree, his Goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night.

Kaldi then reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who then made a drink with the berries and discovered that it also kept him awake for long hours.  The Abbott shared this discovery with other Monks of the Monastery and the origin of Coffee began.

So although it can never be proven that this story is entirely true it forms part of the Coffee Associations history and is yet further evidence following on from last week that Goats are in fact magic! I have as yet not tried feeding my Goats coffee as to be honest they are spritely enough and I dread to think the consequences-perhaps in the summer I shall share an iced Macchiato with them. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Anyway in terms of health and nutrition Coffee is a bit of a split subject. As Personal Trainers it is the actual law that we are obsessed with coffee. I’m not sure why it just is.

And in honesty Coffee does have many health benefits, but it also has a downside.

We will start with its good points.

Firstly Coffee contains a huge amount of anti-oxidants. These are the things we usually associate with fruit and vegetables (which you do still need!). Anti-Oxidants clear our body of free radicals gained from chemicals ingested either via food or from the environment. It is because of these anti-oxidants that Coffee has been shown to help protect against some cancers, namely Colo Rectal and Liver Cancer. Coffee also actually contains vitamins!  It contains although in small doses B3, B5, Manganese and Potassium, so you know definitely a health food.

As I am sure most people are aware Coffee can increase your energy levels and improve your mental focus. This is because of the caffeine, which blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain called Adenosine (the brain fog stuff).  This then increases the firing of other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine which effects, most importantly your movement patterns which is why it has also been shown to increase sporting performance; but also your brain reward centre which is why Coffee can make you happy. You can’t look sad in Starbucks can you!

Caffeine has been shown to boost metabolic rate and thus aid fat burning. Studies have shown that it could increase fat burning by around 10% however studies suggest this may be diminished in long term coffee drinkers. I imagine if this were not the case I would be a matchstick as my metabolic rate would be soooo high from my caffeine intake.

Now for the Bad News………………………….

Coffee is actually one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. For this reason I would highly recommend opting for Organic Coffee where possible, Clipper do a nice one and it can be found in most supermarkets. It has a parrot on the jar!

Anyway, onwards.

As so many of us do (by this I mean me!) grabbing a coffee on the run first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, stimulates hydrochloric acid production. This is problematic because HCl is used to digest meals and the cycle of constantly over producing may mean you struggle to produce enough to digest actual meals later in the day.

Coffee can also have an acidic effect on the gut walls which when combined with the potential for less HCL to digest food can mean food, protein in particular is not digested properly and also the increased acidity can irritate the Gut lining which in turn can cause digestive upset such from bloating and gas to IBS, diverticulitis, Ulcers and exacerbate Chron’s disease.

Studies have shown that Coffee (even Decaff) relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter which can lead to Acid reflux and heartburn due to the contents of your stomach being allowed back into the oesophagus and burning it’s lining.

Drinking coffee can stimulate peristalsis (that’s doing a number 2) , unfortunately it can mean it is done too quickly leaving little time for the nutrients to be absorbed by your body meaning you will be deficient in vitamins and minerals (iron and magnesium in particular). Again this early peristalsis also has an irritating effect on your gastrointestinal tract.

Drinking lots of coffee will promote the release of the stress hormone cortisol. This can increase your body’s heart rate, blood pressure and tension levels. Some people are more sensitive to this than others. But if you find you are increasingly jittery or anxious it may be time to cut back.

So I guess it’s still a split case. But I for one will definitely not be giving it up – I think I would actually die and my 6am sessions would not thank me! But I think it is important to consider your intake and notice any issues that me caused by it.

It is a great pre workout on it’s own and many branded sports supplement pre workouts contain caffeine, but plain old Espresso will do the trick for a lot less money.

And as stated it is great for keeping you alert and getting stuff done, but if your edging over 4-5 cups per day you may find you actually start to feel more tired (and then increase your intake to counteract it) and if that is the case you need to cut back. And of course any jitteriness, heart racing etc is a definite message!

But if like me you just enjoy one or two cups a day, avoid it a few hours before you go to bed and have no side effects then I would say keep going with your tasty healthy drink!

Nicola x

PS. NS-PT provides mobile Personal Training across Liverpool, Wirral, St Helens and surrounding areas. NS-PT provides Personal Training to help you with weight loss and Personal Training to improve your health and well being.

Food as a Reward?

I was speaking with my niece the other day and she asked me a question that was for her school homework. She asked “should kids be banned from having junk food and why?”  Anyway you can imagine what sort of answer I gave “hell yes” but what I found most interesting where the answers given by other people. One in particular that said “no, children should be rewarded for good behaviour” which is what I’m going to talk about, tempting as it was to go on a rant about childhood obesity, maybe another day.

Instead it got me thinking about the concept of food as a reward.

You know how it is, you’ve had a tough day so when you get in you reward yourself with a glass of wine, you finished that important report for work so reward yourself with chocolate. You get a promotion so you go out that evening for a nice meal to celebrate. It’s like a normal part of our lives.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate great things with a posh meal, but what about the everyday rewards? Certainly if you’re trying to lose/manage or control your weight this is an area you need to look at.

Let’s face it, we probably by habit reward ourselves for everyday small events with food, which over the course of a week, month etc. can actually add up to some serious diet sabotage!

It needs to be said firstly before I go onto the practical stuff that food is fuel and fuel alone, it’s only purpose is to nourish our bodies to keep us alive and performing at its best. But somewhere along the way, food became a part of all of life’s occasions (historically it was a sign of wealth) and we got lost on it’s real purpose. The only time food should be a reward is when it involves rewarding your dog-and even that has implications but I digress.

Don’t get me wrong I looooooove food, and I of course have celebratory social occasions that involve food, but the little every day rewards? Well they have had to stop, I buy myself celebratory Goats now instead……………………….

So, what should we do instead? Well how about making your reward something none food based? It could be anything. Tough day at work, instead of that glass of wine, what about 20-30mins sat in the bath( I know your busy people feel free to take longer if you have that luxury) and read a chapter of a book. Honestly it will put you in a much better mind space and set you up for a great night’s sleep to recover from your day. Or instead of a bar of chocolate, buy yourself a magazine to read when you get in – as trashy as you like, we all know your secret take a break readers when no one’s looking!

Ok so what about the bigger stuff? Got a big project to finish? Why not book yourself a manicure (gents) when you complete it? Equally treaty (new word!) but less damage to your diet. Basically reward yourself but with something more positive than food.

Of course if you are celebrating something big, then fine go for the slap up meal, pop the champagne cork (I know some of you celebrate Fridays this way…..) but if you are seriously trying to lose weight you might want to make this the exception not the rule. Or of course you could bring in the celebratory run idea???  Got a promotion? Let’s go for a run to celebrate! No takers????

And on the subject of rewarding kids with food, well I honestly think you are setting up a precedent that becomes a habit for life, and it can be very difficult to break. Many of the habits we have as adults are a result of things that were ingrained in us as children – ask yourself why you always clear your plate no matter how full you are??? But that’s perhaps something I will discuss on another day.

 

Nicola x

PS. NS-PT provides mobile Personal Training across Liverpool, Wirral, St Helens and surrounding areas. NS-PT provides Personal Training to help you with weight loss and Personal Training to improve your health and well being.

 

 

What does your Gut Tell You?

 

Your gonna need a brew for this one, settle in…………………I promise the top notch info is worth it though.

Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago “All disease begins in the gut”. And increasingly we are becoming aware of just how right he was.

More than ever today research reveals that gut health has a significant impact on our overall health, and can contribute to a wide range of diseases including skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, obesity, auto immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, autism, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Scary Stuff!

Our Gut Health is reliant on two things

1)the intestinal microbiota, or “gut flora”

2) The gut barrier/wall.

Our gut flora is responsible for proper digestion, regulating our metabolism and is a major part of our immune system helping to protect us from infection. So you can see why unhappy gut flora is a big deal.  Research has linked unbalanced gut flora to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions.

Unfortunately, many aspects of our modern, busy lifestyles can contribute to an unhealthy gut and unbalance our flora. Such as……………..

■ Antibiotics and other medications

■ Refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods

■ Lack of fermentable fibre

■ Wheat, Dairy, Food intolerance

■ Chronic stress

Next time someone is stressing you out, tell them to stop messing with your flora!

Moving on, Leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability or intestinal hyper permeability.

This can happen when junctions in the gut, that control what passes through the lining of the small intestine, don’t work properly. Perhaps I will go into more depth on why this is another time-it’s a whole subject in itself!

This then allows large protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream. Since these proteins don’t belong outside of the body your immune system responds by attacking them. Research has shown that this can play a role in autoimmune diseases which are caused when the body’s own immune system turns on itself.

An important point to note is, as these symptoms are presented by the immune response you may not have symptoms from your gut in order to actually have leaky gut. As mentioned the immune response may be by way of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or indeed an autoimmune disease and more research suggests also a metal/brain related condition – depression, autism.

So if you think may be suffering from anything that could be potentially caused by your gut (in summary pretty much any health issue you have right now could come from your gut!) how do you go about fixing it????

Well firstly it’s all the usual stuff I bang on about such as cutting out processed foods, sugar and then looking at potential intolerances that will differ from person to person. However the first and most common causes are wheat/gluten and dairy so start with those before moving onto other starches, vegetables, fruit and/or spices.

A probiotic is a great way of  re-balancing  Gut Flora – and I don’t mean one of those stupid Yakult things off the telly! I mean a proper one.

http://www.geneticsupplements.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=88

If you prefer a more holistic approach try adding fermented foods to your diet such as Saurkraut (Those Scandinavians are onto something) or  Kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir “grains” (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter). It is prepared by mixing  cowgoat, or sheep or even coconut milk with kefir grains. It has many uses as a natural pro biotic and I would recommend anyone to check out www.chucklinggoat.co.uk to read about how it’s owners began her business after using Goats Milk Kefir to treat asthma and eczema in her son and then MRSA in her husband! And you people just thought I liked Goats because they are cute, no it’s because they are magical.

If you have or are taking antibiotics is also a good idea to take a pro biotic alongside or after in order to minimise damage to your gut.

And finally find ways to manage stress in your life whether that be with exercise, yoga, meditation, or reading etc. You know how when you are stressed you can feel knots in your stomach-what makes you think this isn’t just your imagination

So I hope your gut has digested all that, I’m off to snuggle some magic goats!

Nicola x

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The best exercise for weight loss

I often get asked “what is the best exercise to lose weight” and although I will usually give an answer –abs are made in the kitchen not in the gym sort of answer, exercise is of course an important part of a weight loss journey, it also the best way of helping you to sustain your weight loss – along with your new dietary habits. But I must stress before I continue the most effective way to lose weight is through your diet, no amount of exercise can out train junk food. However I digress……………

Exercise has many health benefits. It releases endorphins that improve your mood, increases your energy levels (when you say you don’t have the energy to exercise it’s because you aren’t doing any!) as well as more importantly helping to prevent heart disease, many cancers and improving joint and bone health.

There is of course many a scientific study behind what is the best exercise to lose weight and the general consensus is resistance training (that’s weights to you and me), combined with cardio intervals and long slow duration. So short answer – a bit of everything

Resistance training aids weight loss as it builds muscle, and muscle is essentially a little furnace burning fat all day even when you’re sat still. Hence the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. And I don’t mean you have to have guns like Arnie to burn fat, just building a leaner, more muscular physique will do the trick. And no ladies, you won’t suddenly look like a rugby player because you lift over 5kgs (my legs are an exception, I’m sorry to say you will not all be gifted with a pair this Hench). To be honest if barbells and plates aren’t for you (although what is wrong with you!!!) then bodyweight resistance will build muscle too. So things like press ups, squats, lunges, tricep dips added into your routine a few times per week will help to get that muscle furnace burning.

Cardio –

HIIT/Interval Training. This is when exercise is performed at maximum intensity for a short period i.e. 30 seconds followed by a similar rest period and repeated for say 10-20 mins. Interval training burns fat because it basically shocks the system. Research shows that it increases fat oxidisation and the effect continues long after your workout has finished. This is referred to as after burn or in technical terms EPOC. (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) This is an increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s oxygen deficit. Which in lay man’s terms means your metabolism is on fire burning, burning, and burning the fat up! Therefore you get more bang for your buck.

LSD training i.e. steady state cardio for around 30 mins is firstly good for your cardiovascular health (your heart) and it sure does burn calories. So in a basic science formula if you do lots of steady state cardio, you will burn lots of calories and so long as you don’t put all those calories back in with food, you will lose weight.

So I’m going to let you into a big secret here that the scientist’s won’t tell you. So this is just between us. The best exercise for weight loss is……………………………………………any exercise that you will actually do consistently!

 

In reality yes there are studies that will give you an answer to the perfect weight loss formula, and how to build certain physiques, but if you are just after a little help to shift the lbs and the idea of weights or long runs or Insanity style workouts put you off, that doesn’t mean you can’t use exercise to help you lose weight and improve your fitness.

If you enjoy running but not weights that’s fine, keep running. If you love to fling metal but can’t face an hour on the treadmill, not a problem fling that metal! And if neither is for you just going for a 30 min walk 3 times per week is going to help more than sitting on the sofa, if you want to take up yoga – great! It is all movement and if you enjoy it, do it consistently alongside a clean, healthy diet then I promise you it will help you lose weight and most importantly improve your health and general wellbeing. (But if anyone asks I said you have to spend hours in the gym lifting heavy weights and run 10 miles a day ok!).

So go and do some movement……………….Any…………………just move!

 

Nicola x

 

 

Pancake Day

 

Well this weekend brings us Valentine’s Day –the official day of lurvvve and next week is Pancake Day-the official day of erm….eating lots of pancakes. Ok I am of course aware that it is a religious tradition that is essentially a last feast before abstinence in lent and the purpose of making pancakes was to use up the staples that would be abstained from i.e. butter, milk etc. and generally have a feast . If you are Pagan the Pancakes symbolise the sun and the entire week of Pancake aka Shrovetide week is about welcoming in the spring. I’ll be honest Pagans seem way more glass half full right now than Christians.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering why this has turned into a religious history lesson.

Well lots of people whether Christian or not choose to give something up during lent, (usually chocolate) and I wondered whether you might be doing the same or perhaps it might be a good idea to try and embrace the Pagan way of thinking and do something to welcome in the spring. And by this I mean perhaps instead of giving something up, maybe try and form a new healthy habit?

And how is this welcoming in the spring exactly? Well, remember those summer bodies we were building over the winter??? Yeh that one that you sort of got comfortable with under the comfort of winter jumpers, well if spring is on the way you are going to be baring some skin again before we know it (eeeeekkkk!) so how about welcoming spring in by committing to a new exercise class for the entirety of lent, or vowing to drink 2 litres of water every day, walking for 30 minutes 3 times per week, anything that will make you feel that little bit better about the prospect of warmer temperatures.

Ok so maybe for you this does mean you want to give something up- sugar, starchy carbs (bread, pasta….) or that nightly glass of wine (it’s not dry January you can still have one at the weekend!) that’s great but instead of calling it an abstinence and therefore making it feel like a chore, lets re brand it as “spring body preparation “ – title needs work I know but you get my point, you’re not giving up something to punish yourself you are choosing to do something good for your health and self-esteem. So it is an act of self-love (stop it!) not self-punishment.

So let me know if you’re thinking of embracing lent as a time of forming new healthier habits.

I’ll have to have a think about mine too, what with me being such a perfect human being it’s difficult to see how I can be improved – cue large amount of email suggestions and a text message from Mr A!

Nicola

The Steak and Champagne Trainer x

Ps. To cover both Valentine’s Day and Pancake Day I have this great recipe from Rachel Holmes at Kick-start Fat Loss

Pink Pancakes

Ingredients

2 Eggs

225g Flour – Try buckwheat for a Gluten Free and Healthier Alternative

1 Heaped Tsp Baking Powder

300ml Apple Juice

150g peeled and grated beetroot

½ tsp mixed spice

Coconut Oil to cook

Method.

Whisk eggs until frothy

Combine with all other ingredients and fold together

Heat coconut oil in a pan, then pour mixture in batches depending how big you want your pancakes and cook until golden, flip repeat done!

 

Food is thy medicine

There is hopefully a quiet revolution afoot. I don’t think it will take hold immediately but slowly, slowly the penny is starting to drop – medicine is not always the answer. What we put into our bodies by way of nutrition can have a huge impact on our health and what goes on both internally with our organs, hormones, digestive system even our nervous system, joints and muscles, as well as what goes on externally in our skin, eyesight etc and how we feel generally – energy levels, headaches, mood swings – our whole being can be affected both positively and negatively by what we eat. I know it’s a massive claim!

For years we have gone to the doctor with whatever our ailment and he has passed over some pills and we go away thinking we are cured. Except for many people, they aren’t. They still have chronic pain in their joints, they still have gut problems or they still have migraines.

Yet along the way, some little revolution starters have started to look outside of medicine and took things back to basics by looking at their diet. And to their surprise they found the answer to their problems.

I am already a great advocate of looking to our diets to try and manage or indeed cure many ailments and I know many of you have looked at me like I’m crackers (I am but that is a separate issue) but it seems I was right about the sugar before the celebrities and media caught onto it, so you may as well get on board with me on this now. Admittedly Professor Robert Lustig was light years ahead of me on the sugar thing but people thought he was mad too-eating their sugar free words now aren’t they!

Anyway back to the revolution.

Recently a great blog http://deliciouslyella.com/has been turned into a recipe book . Ella has a relatively rare illness, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, which at its worst meant she struggled to walk down the street, slept for 16 hours a day, had never ending heart palpitations, was in chronic pain, had unbearable stomach issues and constant headaches . Ella tried healing through conventional medicine for about six months but it had little effect on her symptoms and she was still bed-ridden 95% of the time. So with nothing to lose she began researching natural healing approaches. This lead her to a whole foods, plant-based diet and she gave up all meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, anything processed and all chemicals and additives. And guess what????? It worked!!!! She is now a healthy woman who finds the energy to not only get out of bed but do loads of cooking and write a book.

Now I can already hear some of you saying “a life without dominoes and vino surely that’s a life not worth living! Well to you I ask this?

Would you rather live a life feeling uncomfortable, achy, lethargic, possibly in a lot of pain most of the time, to the point where you don’t feel like going out, you don’t have the energy to play with your kids, but you get to eat pizza and drink wine?

Or?

Would you rather live a life where you feel energetic, healthy, look and feel good, socialise care free and have loads of energy to chase your kids around the park whilst eating nourishing foods that with some experimentation and a few basic cooking skills are actually really tasty?

Now Ella, is certainly not a one off, Paul Chek, and Patrick Holford  are two great nutritionists who have been helping people solve ailments with nutrition where traditional medicine has failed for many years. But it has taken many years and I still don’t think they are their yet on the wider public radar. But maybe, just maybe as more and more people start to look for alternatives nutrition really will become a form of medicine.

So hopefully this has given you some “nourishing” food for thought. If you have any issues with your health and wellbeing that just don’t seem to have been completely solved by traditional medicine perhaps have a look a little closer to home and see what your body might be telling you about the food you are feeding it.

If you need help with something in particular feel free to shoot me an email back, or I would strongly recommend anyone interested in this area to look up Paul Chek and Patrick Holford.

Nicola x

PS. I am super proud of Mr A who has signed up to a 2 Year Nutrition Diploma with Body Type Nutrition Academy (Owner Ben Coomber also has a podcast you should check out if you want some great nutrition advice). Not only am I proud of him for taking the first step to potentially changing his career in the future,  helping people around him with their diets (including me !) but I’m also looking forward to some potential guest blogs in the future!

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