Winter Body Tips

Most of us find it really tough keeping up our exercise and nutrition goals in Winter. Is it any wonder? Short dark days, long nights, cold weather. It’s all to easy to skip the workout when you look out the window and see the rain falling. Plus the cold makes us crave comfort food (we’re swaddled in big clothes anyway..!)

Firstly, don’t be too hard on yourself. A lack of natural light can lead to a vitamin D deficiency (since we synthesise vitamin D from sunlight) which can in turn, lead to fatigue and depression. Even in mild cases, you’ll feel like you can’t be bothered to hit the gym or do a workout. Throw in cold weather and your body starts to crave the energy hits of sugars and starches from “heavier” carbs.

So now we know it’s normal to feel a bit ropey – we can take responsibility for addressing it. The winter months don’t have to be the time you let yourself go, only to give yourself more of a mountain to climb as Spring comes.

Yes it’s OK to enjoy Christmas festivities with canapés and mince pies – but don’t let it get out of control.

And remember – Summer Bodies Are made In Winter!

Here’s our top ten tips on how to stay on track…

1. Set some goals and be accountable
Arguably the most important tip here. Nail this and the rest will fall into place. Set yourself some training and/or body goals, and check in with them frequently. Make yourself accountable by publicly sharing them within a supportive space. Countless psychological studies show that setting and checking in with goals makes you more likely to achieve them than not (duh!) but also that telling trusted others (who support you) makes you more likely to succeed. A place like our Academy community is perfect – our members post their goals, their progress and are supported on their journey (38nacademy.com) – you have the benefit of being with a like-minded tribe. A close friend, partner or family member is another option.

2. HIIT it up
We get it, you don’t want to spend hours of your week training. Neither do we. HIIT delivers cardio-vascular, conditioning and fat burning benefits in 15 – 20 minutes of intense activity. It’s our go to way of training and a time effective way to keep to your body goals. Top tip – if you’re looking to reduce body fat go for it fasted first thing in the morning.

3. Take it outside
Outside the weather might be frightful but there is some great technical gear out there now to keep you warm and dry. Working out outside has been proven to boost your mood – cue Vitamin D. Plus, how good will that hot shower feel coming in from a workout in the cold?

4. Buddy up
See accountability in Tip 1 above…find a workout partner. You’ll have someone on the same journey as you, experiencing the same things. Support each other and you’ll find you’ll get there quicker, with more fun. Claire and I make each other accountable – mainly because we don’t want to let the other one down!
The good news is we’re launching a FREE 2 WEEK CHALLENGE on Facebook in January, where we’ll be posting our eating and exercise routine every day. We’ll be your buddies and you’ll be ours – burning off that festive excess and cheering each other on. Look out for details coming soon…

5. Gear up
New workout gear can make you feel more inspired to train. I see Claire lift heavier when she’s flouncing around in her new Nikes (not that she needs more encouragement to buy lycra!) Maybe add some workout gear to the Christmas list…?

6. Workout at home
These days you really can workout anywhere, anytime. Sites like YouTube and Vimeo have workout videos galore. We have hundreds of REAL TIME workout videos in our Academy – which is like having our own PT in your living room. And it’s for every level of fitness.

7. Enjoy the good stuff but moderate
Christmas comes but once a year, but the Christmas excess can feel like it will take a year to shift! Instead of over-indulging, make the conscious choice to enjoy what’s on offer – in moderation. Mince pies are yummy, but how many do you really need each week? Every time you’re tempted, pause and remember your goal (visualise it!) Think about this choice point and whether it is moving you forward or back.

8. Start a new programme
Learning stimulates new neural pathways, so why not start a new training and nutrition programme? You’ll be working your mind as well as your body, meaning you’re more engaged in the process, and get results. We’re launching a 40 Plus Back To Fitness 4 Week programme for the new year.
This is a complete, 4 week, done for you course with real time workout videos, meal plans, recipes and motivational emails to keep you on track. Look out of the launch (we already have a waiting list!)

9. Boost your vitamin D
Always check with your health professional before supplementing, BUT – in the winter you’ll benefit from a Vit D supplement. We also love waking up to light rather than the shrill of an alarm – so consider a light alarm clock that wakes you up gradually. They’re not too expensive these days and for us they make a huge difference to they way we feel.

10. Book a holiday
Booking a holiday not only gives you something to look forward to, but you can use it to reinforce your goals or help you set some for the future. We have it all covered at our Marbella retreats. Fitness, Mindset, Nutrition and winter sun. Surrounded by 5 star luxury.

Our Body:Reset retreat is running at the stunning Puente Romano Marbella from January 10th to 13th…so get in touch if you want to grab one of the last few spots… click here for details

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:

http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/05/luxury-fitness-boot-camp-perfect-solo-holiday-7355939/

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 🙂

Beat The Blues!

So this week is apparently the most depressing of the whole year. We get it – you may be low on funds, your body feels bloated and pooped, you’ve still not managed to curb the wine every evening and it’s cold and dark outside.

Hurumph.

But guess what – that’s all about perspective. And you have the power to change it. Go against the grain and read the below – where we reveal three things to STOP and three things to START doing today that will make your tomorrow happier, healthier and more productive.

  • STOP
    Stop looking at your phone every two seconds. Focus on yourself, not on what everyone else is doing on Facebook (or CrackBook as people in the know call it!). Create headspace and limit outside influences. And try this – in your next meeting – before it gets started – instead of playing on your phone, put it away and chat to your colleagues. Ask questions. That’s how relationships are formed and you’ll be surprised where that can lead….
  • Stop berating yourself for not being good enough. This won’t get you anywhere – only on a downward spiral to a mediocre life. When you’re mean to yourself you hold yourself back. Today – make a conscious effort to notice those negative thoughts about yourself and switch to a more positive statement (see below of DO’s!)
  • Stop one habit that you know pulls you away from living a healthier lifestyle. Do that TODAY. Is it that chocolate biscuit or four after lunch at your desk, or is it always pressing snooze on your alarm instead of doing twenty minutes of exercise that sets you up for the day? Changing one thing really can make a huge difference to your mood, body image and productivity.

DO

  • Eat a decent breakfast and take time over it! SO many people skip breakfast or eat it in a rush at their desk. There’s a huge amount of research right now about gut health and its link to our emotions. If you’re not nourishing your body as a priority in the morning, what kind of signal does that send out to your self worth? Also, eating breakfast fires up the metabolism, making you more effective at burning through fat and keeps you fuller for longer – hence less tendency to snack. Yes I know you’ve heard it before – but how about this time you actually do it?!
  • Write out a positive statement (or affirmation) that you can keep looking at easily – e.g on your bathroom mirror, in your purse or wallet, or as a screen saver on your phone. The trick is to take something that you normally tell yourself in a negative context and flip it around. For example, I never stick to anything – into – I capable of doing anything when I really decide to.
  • Read! Start reading again – if you don’t already. Read about health, wealth, success, habits, limiting beliefs. Anything that can help you grow as a person and become the version of yourself you know you can be. Research states that the wealthiest, most successful people on the planet read for 45 minutes to one hour (at least) a day. Go buy a book today or download one to your kindle or iPad.

Little changes become big leaps. You have to have a will to beat the January Blues, or become a great hockey player, or get that pay raise, get the degree. Whatever it is – your success starts in the mind and it’s ALL about perspective.

If you’d like to hang out with Claire and I learning the tips, tools and methodologies that keep us looking and feeling good in January and beyond – one of our Winter Sun Luxury Retreats at Puente Romano in Marbella could be just what you’re looking for.

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
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.

WEIGHTS FOR WOMEN

Thank goodness emaciated heroin chic went out with the 90s/ early 2000s. Now women all over the place are posting pics of themselves ripped, honed and toned. It’s become aspirational to look fit, strong and healthy. Hoorah!

But understandably, lifting weights can often be a baffling minefield to most women. Some because they wouldn’t even know how to begin getting a body like that and others because they think that if they lift weights, they will end up looking like a shot putter!

So what’s the real deal with lifting?

Firstly – in order to look like those bikini competitors and fitness models on Instagram, it takes unbelievable commitment and time. Think intense weight lifting regimes, a full on fat blasting cardio program, plus a nutrition plan that would make most of us run a mile. It’s VERY hard to build that level of muscle for women and they make it through hours of sheer hard work.

But FYI – don’t be disheartened – you can still get a lean, strong, sculpted body through training and eating well 80% of the time – like me ☺ (I could never give myself over to the kind of discipline it takes to compete, because I like my occasional wine and pizza too much!)

The next point is huge so listen up. You will NEVER get a toned, tight body without doing some resistance training…i.e lifting weights or at the very least body weight exercises. I know this because I was the girl in my twenties that just did cardio and was so disheartened that my body shape never changed – I just got lighter and thinner! I did not look shapely, tight or toned.

Now I know better, I do weights five times a week – targeting my upper and lower body. And guess what – I don’t think I look like a guy! It’s about education, trial and error and committing to a new way of training – without quitting when you don’t get results in the first 2 weeks. Don’t be like most of society and expect quick fixes. There aren’t any. It’s pure non-stoppable motivation that will get you the body of your dreams.

I’m fortunate that I now know how to create a shapely bottom without bulking up my quads. Same goes for my back – I know how to banish the fatty areas, without getting wider. I know the rep ranges and sets I should do – and how heavy to go depending on what I want to achieve. But I clearly didn’t always know this. I got help and advice. And then moved into the fitness profession in my mid thirties.

 

 

Comments from the last group of 4 Week Beach Body Babes!

“Been a hellish week of child illness and boiler eruptions so taken me awhile to log on. But despite knowing that I have been appalling on the food (and wine!) side of things I have lost 3kg which was about what I was hoping for. Better than that though I have lost 4cm on my waist, 3.5 on my calfs and 1 cm of my arms and thighs!! But best of all I feel much stronger. So I am going to keep going with all of this, keep attempting to sort out my food and if you decide to do another one of these put me on the list please!!!
Thanks for a great four weeks!!!x” Sara – March 2017

“I can see the difference in how I look particularly round my mid section and arms which are the two areas I wanted to work on. I feel so much better. I have more energy and have genuinely enjoyed getting up at stupid o’clock and working out in my garage!! I’ll definitely continue this in some shape or form! There also lots of foody things I’m not really missing so will try and continue with some of these new habits too.
So thank you Claire – it’s been great to have you all here for support and this little journey. Well done all! X” Zoe, March 2017

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