Health & Fitness Blog

This one thing will keep you on track over the school holidays

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This one thing will keep you on track over the school holidays.

 

This week I’ve had lots of conversations with people who are struggling to stay on track with their healthy eating plans over the school holidays.

While I can understand it’s a little more difficult to eat healthily when you’re out of your routine, and you’re surrounded with temptations when you’re out and about with the kids, it just takes one thing to stay on track…

PREPERATION.

If you have a plan to stick to and you have the food already prepared you are way less likely to go off track.

It just takes half an hour on a weekend to make a plan for the week ahead.

This is how I do it:

 

  1. QUICK RESEARCH
    Every weekend I spend ten minutes flicking through cook books on my book shelf, and picking out some meals that I fancy for the following week. Pinterest is another good source for healthy meal ideas
  2. CREATE YOUR PLAN
    I write them down on a meal planner blackboard in my kitchen (along with the cook book name and page number – to save time when it comes to finding the recipe again).For example:
    Monday – Goats Cheese Frittata (Hemsley Hemsley pg32);
    Tuesday – Chicken with Thai Broccoli Rice (Body Coach pg45);
    Wednesday – Chicken & Avocado Wrap (Pinterest);
    Thursday – Tuna with Green Beans (Bear Grylls pg112);
    Friday – Tortilla Pizzas (Pinterest); l Saturday – Spicy Beef Stir-Fry (Pinterest);
    Sunday – Chicken roast (Sainsbury’s mag pg72).On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m a bit pushed for time so I make sure the meals for those days are quick and easy to make. On a Friday, I like to have a treat, so I’ll schedule that on the planner too. Having a structured meal plan like this makes it quicker and easier when it comes to making your meals. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll waste a lot of time staring into the fridge wondering what you can knock up. Then you’ll probably give up and reach for convenience foods, because conjuring up a meal in your head is very difficult.During the holidays, it can be a little more difficult. If you know that you’re taking the kids out for the day, why not plan a healthy picnic? Prepare it before you leave the house, and it will help you avoid grabbing fast food takeaways or convenience foods in a local café.
  3. SHOPPING LIST

    Once I’ve put the meals onto the planner, I go back through the recipes and write down all of the ingredients to create my shopping list.

  4. GO SHOPPING
    Then I’ll go get the shopping in for the week ahead. Going into a supermarket with a structured plan and a shopping list saves you from throwing away foods, and saves you money too! Without a shopping list, you’ll walk up every single aisle of the supermarket, throwing anything in your trolley that takes your fancy. I can guarantee you’ll not eat half of those impulse buys and they will end up in the bin. You should also find that you spend less time in the supermarket because you can whizz around for the items on your list, without having to march up and down every aisle.
  5. STOCK UP
    Head home to fill up the cupboard/fridge with the healthy ingredients I’ve just bought, and that’s me set for the week ahead. It’s a simple as that. I can do the whole thing in less than an hour. I may have to make another quick trip to the supermarket to pick up more fruit if I run out, but that’s it. It may take you a little longer to begin with, but as the weeks go by you’ll get quicker and quicker.

Staying on track is really simple! You just need to set aside half an hour to plan out your meals for the week. Give it a go next week and you’ll see what a difference it makes to your healthy eating.







3 Minute Running Intervals

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3 Minute Running intervals

Ideally, for this workout you will need a treadmill, or if you don’t have access to one, you could do it outside in an open space.

The workout takes about 25-30 minutes (depending how quickly you perform the exercises).

It mixes high intensity cardio with body weight resistance exercises to really torch calories and body fat.

Complete 20 repetitions of the three body weight exercises, then jump straight on the treadmill and crank the speed straight up to a running pace. (complete all of this without rest).

Round 1:

20 Press Ups

20 Squat Jacks

20 Sit Ups

3 minutes Running (at a speed where you cant run much longer)

Rest for 1 minute.

Then repeat another 4 rounds so that you complete 5 rounds in total.







How To Stay Fit And Still Enjoy Alcohol

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How To Stay Fit And Still Enjoy Alcohol

 

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The most common question I get asked is:

“What is the best type of alcohol to drink while on a diet?”

The truth is… NO alcohol is good for weight loss! Especially if you’re drinking regularly, because alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat.

But, I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking altogether, because for a lot of people it goes hand in hand with relaxing and socialising, and it’s very unrealistic.

Instead I’m going to teach you can enjoy alcohol in moderation and still achieve your fitness goals.

It just takes a little bit of advanced planning and a few simple techniques, then you’ll be armed with the knowledge to enjoy alcohol and still get fit.

One thing you need to know first though; if you’re going to drink alcohol while trying to lose weight or get fit then you must be prepared for slower results. If you’re happy with slower results, then follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy alcohol during your journey.

 

Choose Your Parties

If you are invited to events, parties and get-togethers regularly then it’s up to you to decide which occasions you have a drink and which ones you don’t. If you want to lose weight and get fit, you can’t drink at them all.

My advice is to enjoy a drink once a week, maximum! Any more than that then you’re really going to struggle to achieve your results.

If you decide to go to a party alcohol-free, put yourself forward as a designated driver to avoid any temptations while you’re there. By planning ahead, you’ll up your odds of preserving your fitness.

 

Drink Wisely

Everyone knows how quickly things can escalate when you go out for ‘few’ drinks. You can quite easily be lured into an assortment of high-calorie cocktails, a bottle of wine, or a few more pints of lager. Pure alcohol contains about seven calories per gram, which makes it almost twice as fattening as protein or carbs. This is why it’s important to choose your booze carefully. Here are some drinking tips to try next time you’re out:

  1. Choosing a light beer will cut an average of 40 calories per bottle.
  2. When going with a mixed drink, blend the booze with diet soda or fruit juice instead of regular soda.
  3. Go easy on the shots. Individually they’re low in calories, but the numbers add up quickly if you start downing them in between every round.
  4. Drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. This will help fill you up so you aren’t drinking alcohol to quench your thirst. Water will also keep you hydrated and minimize the effects of your hangover.
  5. Stay strong and stick to the pre-determined number of drinks you allowed yourself. Hopefully that number is in the single digits.

 

Fill Up Before You Go

Don’t leave your house hungry. Hunger makes it tough to make smart food choices when you’re feeling tipsy. And when you’re absolutely starving, all bets are off. The solution is simple—eat something healthy with a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats before leaving your house. A few glasses of water will also help to take the edge off your hunger.

 

Don’t Be Lazy

Plan ahead. If you know you’re going to have some alcohol, then make time to exercise. Push yourself in the gym to offset all the crappy food and booze that you’re likely to consume.

 

 

Get Straight Back On It

Healthy eating that is! When you’ve had a heavy night on the drink, you’re likely to crave sugary, fatty foods the next day. Avoid that temptation at all costs. When you wake up, have a pint of water, a healthy breakfast and when you feel ready, go for a short workout  of the calories you consumed.

 

If you stick to those tips five tips then you will be able to lose weight and improve your fitness while enjoying the odd drink.

Remember though, these tips only work if you drink in MODERATION. If you’re drinking alcohol a couple of times per week then you’re not going to see results.







7 Tips For Getting Your Kids Active These School Holidays.

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7 Tips For Getting Your Kids Active These School Holidays.

 

Every year it seems harder and harder to get kids off the sofa, or to put down the iPad for a minute and go out for some fresh air and exercise. This is hardly surprising when you consider the average child or teen spends 7 hours a day either watching TV or using computers, phones, and other electronic devices for entertainment.

A recent study by UK Active stated that the summer holidays are bad for children’s health, with youths being “plonked in front of screens” and losing most of the fitness they gain at school.

They found that, on average, British school children lose 80 per cent of the fitness they build up during term time through “lazy” time off.

The study measured 400 pupils before and after the summer holidays, and found they were able to run significantly less distance before stopping with exhaustion after the summer break.

As we know, inactivity can lead to putting on a few lbs, and if this continues into their adult life they could develop a whole range of physical, mental and social problems such as…

  • Increased risk of Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Lower self esteem
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Less energy
  • Weaker bones and muscles
  • Sleeplessness

 

So, when you look at the negative side-effects of being overweight it becomes clear that as a parent, encouraging your kids to be healthy and active is one of the most beneficial things you can do for them, for both immediate and long-term development, health and happiness.

The good news is that kids naturally enjoy playing, being active and running around with friends. All you need to do is help encourage exercise as part of their daily routine.

Here Are Some Simple Tips To Help Get Your Kids Active:

 

Turn Off Electronics

It’s important to have times of the day when electronics are not to be used. Of course, in today’s world technology is a part of daily life for school, communication and entertainment, but there needs to be scheduled times for the use of these devices, otherwise they can quickly become the dominating focus of a child’s life.

 

Research Fun Activities

If exercise isn’t fun it’ll be hard to get your child excited to participate consistently. That’s why it’s important to research a range of activities and sports and find one that suits your child’s personality, age, ability, and most importantly, one they enjoy.

 

Schedule Time For Activity

Life can be busy for both you and your child, especially teenagers. And if activity times aren’t scheduled into their calendar it can be easy to skip or simply forget to make time for it. Sports with specific training and game times are ideal for keeping a regular routine of exercise.

 

Introduce Them To Healthy Role Models

Every child has idols they look up to. So it’s important that you actively introduce your child to quality role models who promote a healthy lifestyle. You as a parent are also a huge role model for your child and can help by leading by example and participating in regular exercise as well.

 

Provide A Safe Environment

Not every parent feels comfortable letting their kids run around the streets like we used to a generation ago. And depending where you live this may not be practical. So, providing your child with a safe, supervised environment where they can play without worry will help encourage more daily activity.

Get Active With Friends

If you can find an activity that your kids can share with their friends, they’ll be much more enthusiastic. So, talk to the other parents at school or play dates and find activities they can do together. Team sports such as football, cricket, netball, and rugby are great for getting active, meeting new friends and increasing self-esteem.

 

Encourage Them

The most important factor is that you encourage and help your child become more active. Drive them to practice, find fun activities or programs to do over school holidays, be enthusiastic when they show an interest in a new sport or activity and educate them about the importance of regular exercise.

Encouraging your child to be more active during these crucial development years can lead to a lifetime of benefits that promote happiness and success across all aspects of life, including:

  • Better social skills
  • More self-confidence
  • More academically motivated
  • Happier about their appearance
  • More friends
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Better sleep patterns
  • A more positive outlook on life







1000 Rep Challenge

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The 1000 Rep Challenge

 

The aim of this workout is to perform 1000 repetitions of the exercises below as quickly as possible. Perform the exercises 20 repetitions at a time and perform them in the order they are laid out below.

20 STAR JUMPS
20 HILL CLIMBS
20 BICYCLE ABS
20 SQUATS
20 HIGH KNEES

(perform 10 rounds to total 1000 reps)

Time yourself, and keep a record of your time. Re-visit the workout a few days later to see if you can beat your time.

If you need a break at any point during the workout, just take it, but keep the clock running.
Enjoy!







14 Ways To Stay Fit On Holiday

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Most schools have now finished for the Summer, and a lot pf people are jetting off on holiday. Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city, a time out from the normal routine can be great thing. But it can also make it tough to stay fit—all those meals out and indulging in a few (or a lot) cocktails doesn’t exactly help either. All that fun means you might return home feeling less than refreshed. The good news is feeling healthy during and post-holiday is totally possible. Making just a few smart choices will keep you active and energized and help you get the most out of that holiday—and looking forward to the next one.

 

Eat Well!

  • Eat before the airport. Get a nice, big, healthy meal down in your belly before you get to the airport to avoid having to eat in the fast food restaurants. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to eat before you leave, then choose the healthier options in the airport.
  • Watch out for jetlag. Adjusting to a new time zone might make you hungry at odd hours. Resist the urge to snack at 4 a.m. and wait for normal meal times instead (or choose a healthy snack, like a handful of nuts, to tide you over).
  • Plan your stops in advance. If you’re driving to your getaway, plan where and when you’ll be stopping for meals before hitting the road. It’ll give you more flexibility when choosing a healthier restaurant—or figuring out the best options. And of course, pack your own healthy snacks!
  • Indulge in moderation. If you’re visiting somewhere like Italy, it would be a sin not to try some fresh Italian pasta or stone baked pizza. Indulging in those things is fine. On days you’ll be indulging more than usual, try to keep other meals and snacks on the healthy side.
  • Use a smaller plate. If you’re going on an all-inclusive holiday with buffet style meals, it can be hard to resist trying everything. Use a small plate to encourage smaller portions. Put the salad and veggies on your plate first.
  • Beware of drinks. A single cocktail can contain loads of sugar (and calories). You can’t deny yourself of a few drinks on holiday, but try choosing the lower calorie and less sugary drinks.

 

 

Exercise!

  • See the sights. On foot or bike, that is. Skip the bus tours and check out your new surroundings the old-fashioned way to burn calories while taking in the views.
  • Take the stairs. Instead of taking the lift, stay active and walk the stairs. Whether it’s at the hotel, or while out sightseeing.
  • Embrace your surroundings. If you’re at the beach, try doing the usual workout routine on the sand instead of indoors. A change of scenery can give you a good boost!
  • Be adventurous. Break out of your comfort zone and use your holiday as an excuse to try a new, fun activity. Whether it’s rock climbing, sailing, or paddle boarding, challenge yourself to try something different while you’re away.
  • Check out the facilities first. Make it easy to squeeze in workout time by booking a hotel with a gym or pool.
  • Exercise anywhere. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and require zero equipment. Try a workout like the 7 Minute Ab Blast.

 

Relax!

  • Keep work away. It’s a holiday, remember? Resist the urge to check work e-mails and focus on having fun. It will keep your mind clear and allow you to relax and de-stress.
  • Get the most out of your time off. Doing activities that you enjoy, keeping your cell mobile off, and sharing time with friends and family (or alone time!) ensure that you’ll make the most of every single minute of your holiday.

 

 







A Good Night Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight…

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A Good Night Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight…

 

Do you struggle to maintain your focus when trying to lose weight?

Do you always end up off the rails after a couple of weeks eating healthy?

Do you have trouble controlling hunger?

Always craving sweet foods?

Despite your biggest efforts in the gym, you don’t achieve the results that you want?

Maybe it’s genetics. Maybe you’re lazy or lack willpower. Or maybe, diet or exercise isn’t the real problem…

If you want to look better, the most common suggestion is “eat less and move more.” But it’s not that simple. Sometimes you want to eat less and move more, but it seems impossible to do so. And there might be a good reason: Between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re forgetting to SLEEP enough.

When you don’t get enough sleep and your body is tired, you can’t control your hormones as well. Especially the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin. I won’t go into the whole science, but basically, when you are sleep deprived your body produces less leptin and more ghrelin. When these two hormones aren’t controlled properly you can experience these side effects:

  • Fat burning slows down.
  • Metabolic grogginess (your metabolism slows down)
  • Feel hungry
  • Crave sugary foods

 

When you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise too. This is the stress hormone that is associated with fat gain. Cortisol also activates reward centres in your brain that make you want food. At the same time, the loss of sleep causes your body to produce more ghrelin. A combination of high ghrelin and cortisol shut down the areas of your brain that leave you feeling satisfied after a meal, meaning you feel hungry all the time—even if you just ate a big meal.

The bottom line: Not enough sleep means you’re always hungry, reaching for bigger portions, and desiring every type of food that is bad for you—and you don’t have the proper brain functioning to tell yourself, “No!”
As well as the disastrous effects on your diet, lack of sleep can also affect your workouts. You won’t have as much energy to push yourself. If you do manage to workout, the increase of cortisol will slow down your recovery after workouts. The increase in cortisol will also prevent you from gaining as much lean muscle, which in turn will slow down your fat burning process.

My advice:

While there’s no hard number that applies to all people, a good rule of thumb is to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and to make sure that one poor night of sleep isn’t followed up with a few more. It might not seem like much, but it could make all the difference and mean more than any other health decision you make.

 







Low Impact Workout – 40/20

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✅ Low impact
✅ Easy on your joints
✅ Suitable for beginners
✅ Raises your heart rate
✅ Burns calories
✅ Burns body fat

There’s six exercises in todays workout, which work every part of your body. Each exercise is performed for 40 seconds, with 20 seconds rest between each of them.

It’s quite intense, so if you need longer than 20 seconds rest, just take it.

40 seconds ASSISTED SQUATS
20 seconds rest
40 seconds ASSISTED LUNGES
20 seconds rest
40 seconds BRIDGES
20 seconds rest
40 seconds LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
20 seconds rest
40 seconds 4 STEP SHUTTLES
20 seconds rest
40 seconds SIDE STEPS

60 seconds rest

Perform another 3 rounds. (4 rounds in total)

 







Low Impact Workout – 3:2:1

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If you are new to fitness, you have low fitness levels or you can’t do high intensity workouts then this workout is ideal for you.

All of the exercises are low intensity so they don’t put too much pressure on your joints.

You can do the workout in the comfort of your own home and you can take it all at your own speed.

Try this…

The 3:2:1 workout is one of my favourites. It’s a workout format that lots of Hollywood celebrities use to get in shape for movies.

Theres 6 rounds in total…

3 rounds of CARDIO exercises
2 rounds of LOWER BODY exercises
1 round of UPPER BODY exercises

V
V
V

Round 1: (cardio)
30 seconds LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
30 seconds SIDE STEPS
30 seconds SHUTTLES
30 seconds LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
30 seconds SIDE STEPS
30 seconds SHUTTLES

60 seconds rest

Round 2: (lower body)
30 seconds SQUATS
30 seconds ASSISTED LUNGES
30 seconds BRIDGES
30 seconds SQUATS
30 seconds ASSISTED LUNGES
30 seconds BRIDGES

60 seconds rest

Round 3: (cardio)
30 seconds LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
30 seconds SIDE STEPS
30 seconds SHUTTLES
30 seconds LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
30 seconds SIDE STEPS
30 seconds SHUTTLES

60 seconds rest

Round 4: (upper body)
30 seconds ELEVATED PRESS UPS
30 seconds SHOULDER PRESS
30 seconds TRICEP EXTENSION
30 seconds ELEVATED PRESS UPS
30 seconds SHOULDER PRESS
30 seconds TRICEP EXTENSION

60 seconds rest

Round 5: (lower body)
30 seconds SQUATS
30 seconds ASSISTED LUNGES
30 seconds BRIDGES
30 seconds SQUATS
30 seconds ASSISTED LUNGES
30 seconds BRIDGES

60 seconds rest

Round 6: (cardio)
30 seconds LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
30 seconds SIDE STEPS
30 seconds SHUTTLES
30 seconds LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
30 seconds SIDE STEPS
30 seconds SHUTTLES







Low Intensity Workout – Pyramid Challenge

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This low impact workout is great for people who can’t mange HIIT training because of low fitness levels or joint problems. It’s low impact, but it raises your heart rate enough so that you burn lots of calories and body fat.

This is what you have to do…

2 SQUATS
2 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
2 RAISED PRESS UPS

4 SQUATS
4 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
4 RAISED PRESS UPS

6 SQUATS
6 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
6 RAISED PRESS UPS

8 SQUATS
8 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
8 RAISED PRESS UPS

10 SQUATS
10 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
10 RAISED PRESS UPS

8 SQUATS
8 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
8 RAISED PRESS UPS

6 SQUATS
6 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
6 RAISED PRESS UPS

4 SQUATS
4 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMP
4 RAISED PRESS UPS

2 SQUATS
2 LOW IMPACT STAR JUMPS
2 RAISED PRESS UPS

The aim is to complete all of those exercises without any rest. But if you really need to have a breather then just take it and start again when you’re ready.

Enjoy







  • Timetable & Booking

    MORNING BOOT CAMP – SEAHAM



    Date: Monday & Friday
    Time: 06:00 – 06:45
    Venue: Seaham Youth Centre (Strangford Road, Seaham, SR7 8QE)
    Price: £30 for 4 week block booking / £85 for 12 week block booking (saving £5) / £160 for 24 week block booking (saving £20)



    Morning Boot Camp – Seaham






    EVENING BOOT CAMP – SEAHAM



    Date: Tuesday & Thursday
    Time: 18:30 – 19:30
    Venue: Seaham Sea Front – meet in Tonias Cafe car park (North Road, Seaham, SR7 7AG)
    Price: £30 for 4 week block booking / £85 for 12 week block booking (saving £5) / £160 for 24 week block booking (saving £20)



    Evening Boot Camp – Seaham





    CIRCUIT TRAINING – SEAHAM



    Date: Sunday
    Time: 10:00 – 11:00
    Venue: Seaham Leisure Centre (Deneside Recreation Ground, Seaham, SR7 8NP)
    Price: £5 per session