10 Top Healthy Christmas Gifts For Physical & Mental Wellbeing

Tis the season to be jolly, overindulge and enjoy yourself. But how about giving the gift of wellbeing this Christmas? Or adding one of these to your own letter to Santa?

New workout gear: putting on workouts clothes you feel good in is proven to boost your motivation, so rather than that old pair of leggings again, how about some new gear that you feel great in? High street chains offer great ranges as well as your usually sporting suspects like Nike, Reebok, Adidas etc.

DNA testing: this might sound scary but training in line with your genetic potential (your inherited traits) gives you a 30 % boost in performance. Add in stats about what’s currently going on in your body and get the full picture. Vitagen-X offer a comprehensive range of DNA, blood and hormonal test. Get £50 off with the code XMAS38N

Online training & nutrition: fancy training at home, as you travel, in fact, anytime, anywhere? The 38N Academy offers a range of real time workout videos, nutritional advice, recipes, mindset workshops and even live weekly workouts, all for under £30 a month. Grab 3 months membership for £69 here or email us to gift 3 months to a loved one.

Hypnotherapy: hypnotherapy doesn’t have to be about overcoming a phobia or giving up smoking (though it’s great for both), it can be about healing past trauma, overcoming blocks, lowering stress, increasing confidence and a whole lot more. We’re big fans of the direct to the root of the problem approach hypnosis offers, and the effective results. We’re also big fans of Zoe Clews Associates on Harley Street as our go to.

Body composition monitors: ditch the scales! Yes controversial advice, but we coach our clients to focus on the fit of their clothes, how they feel, and their body composition. Why? muscle is denser than fat, as we get fitter we add muscle and drop fat, so we can often become heavier while looking and feeling better as we “lean down”. Bonus result, your metabolic rate increases. A decent set of Tanita body composition monitors for you to track body fat as opposed to body weight is where it’s at.

One-to-one coaching: sometimes we all need that little bit of extra help. Wherever you feel you need help in your life, why not reach out to a coach. We offer 6 week packages that not only address training and nutrition with bespoke solutions for both, but will help you set and work towards life goals as well as body goals.

A fitness kickstart holiday: having a holiday to look forward to will boost your mood, it will help you focus on your body goals, why not get an even bigger boost with a fitness holiday? We specialise in empowering our clients for sustainable change for life – which is why we’ve won awards and rave reviews. We’ve got options from 3 nights up to 6 nights in Marbella and Ibiza for 2019. Go on treat yourself.

Some quality supplements: there are loads of supplements out there. If you’re training then we’d always recommend topping up your protein with a good quality protein blend. There are lots of good ones out there (also lots of really bad ones – be careful). One of the best we’ve tried is Pure Blend Co – all natural ingredients, low sugar, no nasties. Bulkpowders also do a great range of products at great prices.

A kettlebell: weird choice? Not at all – a kettlebell (or better still 2 or 3) will open up a whole new world of resistance exercises you can do at home. Cheap, will last for years and will get you results when used as part of a programme. The only bit of kit we recommend for our at home transformational programmes like Ibiza Beach Body, as it’s so versatile. You can pick them up at pretty much all sports stores these days.

A hand blender: we start our day with a power smoothie (our clients get to learn our secret recipe and they love it) – protein, low GI carbs, anti-oxidants – it keeps you full to lunch time, doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels and is a great way to start the day. Nutribullet, or similar is perfect.

Exercise Snacking – A Time Poor Solution That Yields Results

Modern life can be hectic and we know that many of clients are super busy and struggle to fit workout time into their schedule. Our approach is all about enabling people to get results through short, effective workouts, and this is what we coach on our retreats (along with other hacks to help you hit your goals). But what if you’re too time pressed even for a 15 or 20 minute workout?

Well, exercise snacking could be the way forward! First up, let’s start by saying that though exercise snacking can be effective, we wouldn’t recommend it as an ongoing programme, time-wise and results wise you would be better off spending 20 to 40 minutes in the gym, (except blood sugar wise – more on that later) and let’s face it – while snacking might sound enticing – it’s probably easier to fit one workout window into your day than lots of short ones. But… sometimes we are pressed for time, so here’s the low down on exercise snacking…

Exercise snacking is breaking your exercise up into very small chunks of around 1 to 5 minutes. There have been two main studies on this so far.

The first looked at cardio chunks, in the study examining the benefits of exercise snacking, researchers compared blood sugar in participants who exercised for 30 continuous minutes and, in the same group, when they broke their exercise up into three small portions performed shortly before breakfast, lunch and dinner. This “exercise snacking” lowered blood sugar for about 24 hours and did so much better than the 30-minute continuous exercise, in blood sugar terms.

A second study by the University of Bath study aimed at helping older adults maintain strength past 50 (when we start to lose about 1% of our muscle mass per year, that loss accelerating even more from around 60) also looked at exercise snacking but with bodyweight resistance exercises.

As part of the study, 10 older adults (aged 65 – 80) completed 5 minutes of home-based exercise snacking twice a day for 28 days, and another 10 older adults continued their normal daily activity to act as controls. The exercises were very basic body-weight resistance exercises. The participants did each exercise for one minute, completing as many repetitions as they could, and then rested for one minute before doing the next exercise.

After four weeks of exercise snacking, the number of sit-to-stand repetitions that the snacking group could complete in 60 seconds increased by 30%, and leg strength and power increased by 5% and 6% respectively. Alongside this, thigh muscle size increased by 2%, with no changes in the control group.
So there you go, as we always coach our clients, doing something is better than nothing, and with the benefits of exercise snacking clear, there really are no excuses!

If you’d like to join us on a retreat or have us coach you, drop us an email or join us at our Academy here.

Taking Your Retreat-Acquired Knowledge Home To Your Busy Life

Fitness retreats are all the rage right now with a mounting number of people looking to incorporate a fitter lifestyle into one that includes traveling to exotic destinations. Wellness tourism, of which fitness retreats forms a part, is booming with the industry growing nearly 50% faster than overall global tourism in 2017 according to the Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report (GWTER).  Our lives have become so busy that it is easy to lose track of what is important: our own health and well-being. At a fitness retreat, we are privy to invaluable guidance from seasoned professionals pertaining to our general health and well-being, fitness and nutrition. In order for the fitness retreat to be of real value to us, we need to take the knowledge we gain back home and apply it to various areas of our busy lives. That’s why we developed our Academy – to support you and keep you on track for your body goals, where ever you are.

Make an effort to eat healthily

Regardless of where in the world you go on a retreat, healthy nutrition is bound to be a focal point, especially considering that over 50% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese according to the NHS.  While on your fitness retreat you will become accustomed to eating nutritious meals that not only fuel your body but your mind as well. Once you return home you need to find a way to continue with your newly-acquired healthy eating habits despite a very demanding work schedule. One way to ensure that your eating practices change for the better is to rid your home of junk food. You should also start packing your own healthy lunches for work instead of buying takeaways or eating at the work canteen. If you are pressed for time to make your own healthy dinners, set aside an hour at the start of every month and draw up a menu. You can even prep some of the food in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for later use.

Forget fad diets, miracle supplements and  “promise the world” slimming teas and coffees. We focus on coaching you for sustainable fat (not weight) loss, and maintenance, whilst still living in balance and enjoying life. Our flexible nutrition approach based around knowing your TDEE (if you don’t know – come see us!) and ideal macro ratios make it simple to eat well for your goals. This is what we teach on our retreats and via our Academy, with a host of resources to make it easy to eat healthily even when you’re pressed for time.

You’ll have our nutrition workshop on your retreat to set you up for simple to follow, sustainable healthy eating, and in our Academy we have meal planners, recipes, nutritional videos and guides to help you.

Exercise regularly

The foremost purpose of a fitness retreat is to instill a healthy attitude towards exercise in attendees. Despite the importance of regular exercise being common knowledge, half of British adults never do any exercise according to the British Heart Foundation. Regardless of how demanding your work life is, you need to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic a week once you return from your retreat as recommended by the NHS. One of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into a busy lifestyle is to start setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier in the morning to either go for a brisk walk or jog, do some yoga or even engage in some kettlebell exercises. You can also remain active while at work, opting to go for walks during your breaks instead of staying at your desk or even squeezing in a gym session.

Most of our clients are time-poor so we focus on short yet effective training protocols both on our retreats and with our coaching clients. Why spend hours in the gym when you can get the same results with informed eating and training?

Stay well hydrated

During your fitness retreat, you would have often been encouraged to drink enough water not only during your periods of physical exertion but during the day in general as well. Sometimes it becomes difficult amidst a very demanding day to get through even a single bottle of water regardless of the recommended daily intake of 8 glasses.  If you struggle to drink plain water you can spruce it up easily with a couple of lemon slices, a sprig of lime or other fruit including pineapple, kiwi, and berries. Drinking a glass of water prior to a meal can help you eat less, aiding your weight loss efforts while keeping your body well-hydrated.

The success of any fitness retreat lies in its ability to change your lifestyle in the long run. If you only engage in healthy eating habits and regular exercise while on retreat but return to your unhealthy habits as soon as you return home, your time at the retreat would be futile. Try to incorporate what you have learned into your everyday life and fully enjoy the benefits of your time away on a potentially life-changing fitness retreat.

If you want to keep in shape post-retreat and be supported then why not join our  Academy? It’s an online resource brimming with workout videos, programmes, nutritional information, hundreds of recipes, mindset, goal setting and motivation tools, and a private facebook group where we host live training and webinars. It’s free for 5 days then just $37 a month – less than a PT session or a coffee a day!

Check out the Academy here.

HIIT Me Up!

It’s no secret that we love HIIT! High Intensity Interval Training gives you more bang for your buck than a conventional workout – which is one of the main reasons we love it – if you’re busy (and who isn’t) you can reap the fat stripping, metabolism boosting, cardio-vascular boosting benefits in as little as 15 minutes.

HIIT sessions are the cornerstones of our retreats and our Academy (https://38nacademy.com), and when integrated into your routine along with resistance training and solid, healthy nutrition, they put you on the fast track to your body goals.

The other reason we love them is that HIIT sessions are fun! There are loads of different ways to do HIIT and we stream live HIIT workouts each week in the Academy and have them up for our members as real time workouts they can do anytime.

If you’d like to see the kind of thing we LOVE doing, then scroll down past this fantastic HIIT infographic from our friends at quill.com and join in with Claire and I in a real time workout!

See your real time HIIT workout underneath the infographic 🙂

Why HIIT is still a top trend plus tips to incorporate it into your workout routineInfographic by Quill

If you like the look of the that, then why not join us on one of our fitness experiences and/or check out our 38N Academy? It’s just $1 for 7 days so you can see if you like it, then $47 a month (you can cancel anytime) for live workouts, downloadable training programmes, grab & go workout videos, real time workout videos, mindset and motivation coaching, meal planners, nutrition guides, hundreds of healthy recipes with nutritional and macro information, a private community and of course, us, cheering you on.

Check it out here.

Vlog: Why You Get Hungry After Training And What To Do About It

Getting increased appetite A.K.A getting hungry (or sometimes hangry!) after training is really common. Here’s why – clue – it’s your hormones… Embrace the hunger (it shows the training is working) plus, what to do about it – optimal refuelling strategy!

5 De-Bloating Hacks

There’s nothing worse than putting on your jeans and feeling like you’ve ballooned overnight. But before you spiral into a deep depression, know that most people confuse weight gain with bloating and water retention. And we admit – there’s nothing worse than feeling like a whoopy cushion. So let’s look at 5 ways you can de-bloat in just 3 days.

1. Reduce your salt intake
When you eat sodium you body retains water, which can then cause bloating. So make sure you drink at least 2l of water a day to flush you out and most importantly be aware of hidden salt in your food – it’s everywhere….especially packaged goods!

2. Choose your fruit and veg wisely
Although your five a day are full of nutrients and will benefit your health, if you’re feeling bloated, here’s some advice. Choose your fruit and veg wisely. Some fruit has a higher sugar content than others and can bloat you out – so go for options like blueberries, strawberries and oranges as they have less. Choose vegetables wisely too. Broccoli and cauliflower although yummy are loaded with raffinose – which is the same compound that produces gassiness when you eat beans. Need we say more….

3. Chew with your mouth closed
It’s not always what you eat, but how you eat. Chatting away during a meal means you’re letting air in the digestive tract. Slowing down eating means you’ll digest food easier, which can also lead to less bloating. Talk between bites not during chewing!

4. Don’t overdo the fibre
Fibre is great and eating it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. The problem comes when you go from eating very little fibre to eating more. This happens a lot when people go on ‘diets’ or change to a healthier approach. You need to expect a little amount of readjustment in the gut. Our advice – if you’re heading for a special event, just watch your fibre intake for a few days.

5. Ditch the carbonated drinks
Last one – you must ditch the carbonated drinks as they deliver air straight to your gut. Your body will feel like a distended gas works – plus they frequently have lots of other nasties in them. As boring as it sounds – stick to water!

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