ibiza fitness

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.

7 Things You Should Know About Stretching

Before fitness training, it’s important to warm-up and perform stretching exercises to prevent accidents or to enhance the output during the training. There are also a number of precautionary measures and tips to serve as guidelines when doing fitness exercises. Here are some of them.

1. To increase your flexibility and to avoid injuries, stretch before and after workout. Almost everyone knows that stretching before workout prevents injuries during the exercises, but only few people know that stretching after workout, when muscles are still warm, can increase flexibility.

2. Hold your stretching position for more than 60 seconds to increase flexibility. While holding your position for 20 seconds is enough for warm ups, holding each position for at least 60 seconds will develop the body’s flexibility.

3. Do not go into a stretching position then immediately return to the relaxed position, and do it repeatedly. This is more appropriately termed as bouncing while in a position. When stretching, hold that position for several seconds, and then slowly relax. You may do this exercise repeatedly this way. Bouncing or forcing yourself into a position during stretching can strain or damage some joints or muscles.

4. Work slowly in increments instead of immediately proceeding to doing the hardest exercise or position.

5. Make sure that you have stretched or warmed up all muscle groups. For some people, even if they have strong bodies, they tend to neglect the neck when working out of stretching. Stretching the neck muscles can be as simple as placing the palm of one’s hand against the front of the head and pushing it. Then, do the same to the sides and the back of the head.

6. Stretch regularly to continually increase your range of movements and your level of flexibility and strength.

7. Apart from preventing injuries and increasing one’s limit, it is also said that stretching is good for a tired body and also for a stressed mind and spirit.

Why not come stretch with us on the beach in Ibiza this summer? 🙂

Want To Know What A Weekend With Us Is Like?

Loads of people ask us what our retreats are like, what they can expect on our holidays, what take-aways they’ll have when they leave.

Well, rather than say it ourselves, we’ll hand over to the lovely Miranda at the Metro newspaper who joined us recently in Marbella.

See what she had to say then you can decide for yourself if you think it’s for you:


Even though she came solo, we get lots of friends coming together, couples, sisters, mothers and daughters.

If you’ve got any questions, would like to learn more, or would like to book a place, just drop us a line 🙂

An Introduction To Training Supplements

Your fitness lifestyle has been progressing just as you planned. You’re feeling better, looking better, and you’re in the best shape of your life. Now that you have a good fitness base, you have started thinking about adding some nutritional supplements to your diet.

The good news is that this decision could be just the boost you’ve been looking for to help your reach your peak fitness potential. The bad news is that it can be extremely confusing in the beginning. Let’s simplify the process with this basic introduction to supplements.

What Are Nutritional Supplements?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the term nutritional, or dietary, supplement refers to a product that is intended for digestion that contains a dietary ingredient such as vitamins, herbs, minerals, amino acids, extracts, or concentrates.

That sounds simple enough. However, the confusion begins when you try to determine exactly which one of these supplements is right for you. Do you want to increase muscle mass, lose weight, increase energy, increase endurance, or gain weight? Well, there’s a supplement for that.

Before you go out and buy a nutritional supplement that may, or may not, be what you need, take a look at some of these commons supplements that flood that market.

You don’t need flashy brands – we get our supplements online from the very un-flashily named Bulk Powders good quality, cheap and delivered to your door – they also do a great range in food and snacks (we love the protein pancakes as a weekend breakfast treat!)

Whey Protein Powder
Whey is a byproduct of milk that is used in protein powders. Perfect for post-workout nutrition, whey protein comes in a variety of flavors and can provide you with the following health benefits:

  • Promotes lean muscle mass
  • Increases muscle strength
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Decrease stress
  • Increase bone mineral density
  • Improve immune function

We use Pure Whey 90

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
BCAA’s are another popular supplement for gaining, and maintaining, muscle mass. BCAA’s can be consumed during and post-workout to increase protein synthesis. This may make it an ideal choice to pair it with whey protein powder.

BCAA’s may also provide some of the following health benefits:

  • Improving exercise performance
  • Promoting faster recovery from workouts
  • Reduced muscle soreness from training

You can buy powdered BCAAs in neutral flavour (not so great tasting), or flavoured – we go for the Berry!

Creatine Monohydrate
One of the most scrutinized and clinically tested supplements on the market, creatine monohydrate is most likely a name that you have heard before. Creatine has been proven to be safe and its low-cost and long shelf life make it one of the most popular supplements out there.

Consuming creatine before and/or after workouts will increase its effectiveness. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for any of the following benefits:

  • Increased energy
  • Increases cell volumization (muscle size)
  • Improved strength
  • Improved muscle endurance
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Improved cognitive function

Pre-workout supplements have seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last 15 years. Now you hear individuals state that they can’t train without it. As the name proclaims, this is a supplement that is meant to be consumed before you begin exercising.

Be sure to follow the directions carefully and properly asses your tolerance. Pre-workouts are a stimulant based supplement that will give you an instant shot of energy when used correctly. When used incorrectly, it can cause jitters and a severe loss of concentration.

Using a pre-workout supplement can provide the following benefits:

  • Increased energy
  • Increased alertness
  • Enhanced cognitive function
  • Increased vascularity
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Enhanced mood

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nutritional supplements. I quick internet search will reveal hundreds more, ranging from arginine pills to zinc capsules. This introduction is just to give you the basics and get you headed in the right direction.

Be sure to do your research and always follow the provided instructions. If you have committed to a fitness goal, there’s definitely a nutritional supplement to help you achieve it.


What if you could tweak your training and nutrition and get THREE TIMES the results? That’s exactly what we explore on our DNA:Fitness retreats in Ibiza.

Over the course of three days, we analyse and consult you on your individual genetics and then tailor your training and nutrition to get the best results. You don’t get more bespoke than that!

The detailed bit….!

Our DNA tests work with a number of factors (all scientifically verified) to look at your own genetic potential broadly split across training and nutritional traits. When you train in line with your genetic potential, your results are going to be around 30% better than if you trained against it. Clearly, knowing your genes makes a good starting point if you’re serious (and a little geeky!) about your training.

So what can you learn? The test (a simple swab of saliva sent off 3 weeks before you join us in Ibiza) gives us a training and nutritional report. You’ll then sit down for an in-depth consultation with a 38ºN PT and ex-Harley Street Nutritionist. From there, having looked at your results, and your training and lifestyle goals, we’ll work on your individual training and nutrition plan, building it out in a personal training session. This is then sandwiched between group sessions where we’ll introduce you to new training concepts you can use at home.

On the training side the broad split we look at is ‘power’ versus an ‘endurance’ pre-disposition: are you a natural marathon runner, or are you better suited to power lifting? In practice most fall somewhere between the two, but by looking at specific gene pairings we can drill down into the type of training that suits your genetics best, and so yields better results.

The consultations also offer the opportunity to drill down into things like VO2 max, injury susceptibility and recovery times, which feed into training types, intensity and frequency.

On the nutrition side we gain an insight into how well you can utilise carbs, fats, and protein, your sensitivity to caffeine and alcohol, your ability to detox (not in the juicing sense, but how well your body can clear toxins) and your suggested supplementation needs.

At the end of last season WIRED magazine featured our DNA:Fitness retreat as part of their Future of Fitness feature. You can read their experience here.

 Our DNA:Fitness Retreat dates:

We’ve got 3 DNA:Fitness long weekend dates running at the luxury 5* ME Ibiza resort throughout 2017 (more info here), and DNA:Fitness is also available as a Bespoke option – you pick the dates and length of stay. For the retreats we work with a maximum group size of 6 people and your package  includes 2 reports, 2 consultations, 2 PT sessions, plus additional training, breakfasts, lunches and a take away training plan formulated especially for you.

If you’d like more information, or want to book, just drop us a line.


A Little Personal Word On Motivation by James

January’s in full swing and I know a lot of you will be starting the year with health conscious resolutions, which obviously I love! HOWEVER…I also know some of you may be struggling with them already. And there’s certainly no shame in that.

I decided to hit 2017 with a spanking new lifting programme, I’ve got 12 (well 11 and a half now) weeks of 6x a week workouts planned – totalling hours in the gym. I’m committed and can’t wait for the end result….BUT….

This morning I could barely get out of bed. Tuesday: smashed upper body. Wednesday: smashed legs. Today – aching all over, even in places that shouldn’t have been aching and I’m shattered. Even the first mug of super strength coffee (prepared with eyes half open) couldn’t rouse me, and you know what, I admit it, I thought “F**k it. I’ll stay in bed.”

Only I didn’t. Because experience tells me that I always feel better after a workout. That if I do stay in bed I’ll feel bad about it later. That if I skip that workout I’m prone to skipping another, and then my goals start to drift away. So I got up, I put on my gym kit, and I hit up the gym. It also helped that Claire gave me a kick up the arse as well 🙂

You know what? I loved my workout (my back was killing me – but in a good way) and I felt way, way better afterwards. I always do. Later in the day, I’m less sore, more relaxed, and still on track for my goals instead of anxious about having to do more tomorrow.

The reason I wanted to share this is because sometimes as a coach people look at you and think, “It’s alright for you. You have no problem staying motivated. No problem getting up and exercising, of sticking to that diet.”

ACTUALLY I DO. But I also take responsibility. If I want those goals bad enough then I get out of bed even when I don’t want to, lift those weights when I’m not feeling it, stride through that run when my legs are thinking about the sofa. And I’m not special, or unique, in fact, I can actually be quite lazy! So if I can do it, you can do it!

Don’t give up. Keep your eyes on the prize and push through. Like me this morning, thinking about training and about getting up and doing it was far worse than actually doing it. So get to the gym, do that home workout, go for that cycle. Once you start you’ll keep going and starting is the hardest part. Overcome that and you’ve overcome 90% of the battle.

I hope that helps. Wishing you all the best for your 2017 training and healthy lifestyle.