INSANITY WORK OUT – Not For the Faint Hearted


Reebok Sports Club

Instructor – Tanya Camilleri – Group Exercise Manager | words by Laura Morris

The Insanity workout craze is something our friends across the pond know well and it’s hitting our shores here in the UK with a new class added to the Reebok Sports Club scheduled this spring.

Created and promoted by Shaun T, a very shiny and sculpted hard man who takes you through a series of DVD work outs with impressive ‘before/after’ photos slung in for good motivational measure. Insanity promises to burn upwards of 1000 calories per 45 minutes, and give you a sculpted, toned physic in 60 days. Insanity scoffs at High Intensity Interval Training and instead prefers the term ‘Max Intensity’. Imagine the rest period of HIIT is in fact the work out, and the rest element is trimmed down to a measly 30 seconds – basically just enough time to gulp some air, wipe the sweat from your drenched forehead before it starts all over again with the next break nowhere in sight.

The very impressive Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf, always ahead of the curve with exercise trends, are introducing a weekly classes from April onwards should you be brave enough and dedicated enough to take it on. I was invited along to give it try, as an addicted gym class goer I like to think I could hold my own in most classes on a schedule, but a quick pre class you tube view of Insanity left me feeling a little nervous of just how hard this class was going to be.

Guided by Tanya Camilleri , the Reebok Sports Club Group Exercise Manager, we immediately kicked off with a fairly challenging accelerated warm up of star jumps and side twisting fist pumps. The warm up seemed to last for ages but perhaps because we were doing everything at a really fast pace we probably packed in more than your usual class in just that first 5 minutes.

Insanity targets the entire body through sets of intense work out blocks with the short 30 second breaks in between. The plyometric and endurance section which includes ‘jump training’ I found very tough, high tuck jumps over and over again, getting faster and faster with each set and no break in between. This really gets your blood pumping and heart racing and it doesn’t let up from here on in. Then onto strength and endurance, if you fear a push up like me you will find this challenging again, star shaped push ups, dynamic moving push ups, one leg up push ups, and it goes on and on.

At this point Tanya’s motivation shouts from the front of the class were much needed; she did every single move with us whilst also giving instruction and much needed alternatives to some of the harder moves.  The third set focuses on agility and coordination, think jumping side to side lunges which increase their speed until you are moving faster then you’ve probably moved in a long while!

Finally the end was in sight and we moved onto a core and stability section, any chance to sink to the floor was most welcome at this stage. But of course this is Insanity, no sneaky lying down on the mat whilst you throw in a few sits up here and there to show face. We ended with bicycling elbows to knees, alternate planks and side planks, twisting and turning and adding to that lovely pool of sweat you created during the endless push ups.

So would I do it again? Yes and no. Insanity did throw me a little; it’s like nothing else I’ve done before. On the one hand I hated it during the entire class, vowed to never, ever do it again. But on the other hand looking back, have I sweated that much since? No. Or felt so exhausted post work out that you literally crawl to the showers? No. Turns out, I quite like that feeling, knowing you have really worked at your maximum, pushed your entire body, and lived to tell the tale. I can see how that could get additive. And no doubt with dedication you would see results. So, I suggest man up and give it a go. It might not be for you long term, or you might find the holy grail of the exercise buzz and become a regular tough guy just like Shaun T, or Tanya, who is a whole lot prettier.

Insanity classes at Reebok Sports Club, Canary Wharf, E14, membership £116 per month or £69 for weekend-only,


Fitspiration of April – Amy Williams

We are delighted to announce that Amy Williams is our Fitspiration of the month this April.  Amy amazingly won a Gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics for the Skeleton and a Silver at the World Championships in 2009 – she’s a true inspiration! Since retiring from her beloved sport in 2012 she has been an ambassador for sport, encouraging children to become more active and healthy. Her recent involvement in British Military Fitness has allowed her to keep in incredible shape whilst looking after her health. We asked her about her Olympic career, the ins and outs of what it’s like to be a female sports-star in a predominantly male industry and how she stays healthy beyond exercise.

Had you always had an interest in keeping fit growing up?
Yes we were a very outdoor active family as I grew up, we had no TV, so as kids we were always in the garden and fields behind the house playing, then family holidays were always walking and youth hostels.

What is your first memory of Skeleton?
I entered into the world push championships in Holland in the summer of 2002, a competition just to see who has the fastest sprint/push, I won it so the performance director of skeleton at the time said I should have a go on the real ice track. I had my first run down in October 2002.

What was going through your mind in Vancouver before your final run to an Olympic gold medal?
That I didn’t want to let myself down & not win! There was a lot of pressure as we knew someone had to bring home a medal to keep the funding for the sport. But then I remember telling myself to smile, to take a deep breath and to enjoy the last run.

Can you describe your 2010 Olympic experience in three words?
Help no! Er…. A dream, feeling proud, a relief the hard work paid off!

Can you describe your typical day when you were training for the Olympics?
It all depended when you have your ice track session. So typical day would be

Up at 7am, breakfast 7:30, leave for the track at 8am, walk the track 8:30-9:30am ice training session at 10am, watch all other athletes on corners.

Back to hotel 14:00 for lunch.

Then sled work preparation & maintenance time.

15:30 gym weights session in local gym

18:30 dinner

19:30 video session with coach watching lines & corners.

21:30/22:00 bed!

You have recently found a passion for British Military Fitness. What attracted you to getting involved?
It was something different than the training I was used to. It was nice to meet new people & have a mix of ages & ability. I liked not having to think about what you had to do as an instructor teaches you.

What do you love most about BMF?
You can train out in the open doors not in a gym where I have spent my whole life!

How does your nutrition now compare to when you were competing?
I’m not as strict anymore. I was very hard on myself and never ate/drank anything that was bad for my body. Now I will eat a slice of cake so long as I exercise!

Do you have a favourite mantra or quote?
“Nothing is impossible”

You have to invite a sports personality to dinner, who would you invite and why?
I have a lot of friends who are top athletes , from rugby players to modern pentathlon to bobsleigh athletes, so maybe I’d invite them all around and cook a huge lasagne and mixed salad!

Do you have any weaknesses?
I do have a very sweet tooth now!

Where’s the best place you’ve ever been and why?
The Maldives, Baros. I took my sister there and it was the most peaceful place, with sea and sun!

How do you wind down in the evening?
Sit on my sofa & watch a film.

Amy Williams 2

If You Only Do One Thing This Week… Follow these Spring Detox Tips!

Last week we asked you to spring clean your fridge, and this week we are all about spring cleaning you! With the clocks jumping forward, we now all benefit from gloriously later light evenings – perfect for squeezing in a bit of exercise and making juices (who wants juice when it’s dark and stormy outside!). Plus, the weather is getting milder and we have now officially entered a new season (spring officially began on the 20th March). During winter our bodies slow down to conserve energy, which can cause a certain amount of stagnation, making spring the perfect and most natural time to cleanse and get things moving in time for a much more energetic summer. Read on for our tips on how to spring clean your body gearing you up for a much healthier and happier you!

As the weather hots up it is so important to remember to drink. Start the day with a cup of warm, boiled water and lemon to cleanse and hydrate your system – begin the day as you mean to go on. We asked Nutritionist, Alice Mackintosh, exactly how much water we should all be consuming: “This will vary on a number of factors – age, weight, sex, activity levels, climate will all determine how much we need, but it should fall roughly between 1.5-2 liters for women and slightly more for men, however the colour of your pee is the best way to gauge how hydrated you are – it should be transparent and not too yellow – ironically, a similar colour to champagne!”

One way to expel the built up toxins in your body is to sweat them out. Have you ever done Hot Yoga after a heavy night out? If you have, then you’ll know that you can often smell the alcohol come out of your pores. Max Henderson, Co-Founder of Hot Pod Yoga, agrees that a bit of sweat is great for the skin and certainly helps clean out pores but believes that “generally it’s the stuff that makes you sweat that’s good for you, not the sweat itself – a raised body temperature (from cardio and aerobic exercise)”. And, like Max suggests, Hot Yoga isn’t the only way… go on a run, spin you way to sweat success or try something new like boxing – you’ll be amazed how much you sweat when you are putting your body through paces its not use to.

The health benefits of juicing our plentiful. Not only does it enable your body to take in way more vitamins and minerals from the vegetables than you would be able to if you were eating them whole (a bag of Kale anyone? didn’t think so), but it is also believed to better able absorb all the wonderful nutrients much easier as it gives your digestive system a rest by extracting the fibre, meaning that you use less energy to take it all in. What does this mean for you? Think better skin, more energy, happier cells and a lighter, brighter you! For our favorite places to grab your juice in London, click here.

Sorry folks, but if you want to give your body a break this spring – giving it a break from booze is a must. Not only will it wreak havoc with your energy levels, alcohol is a toxin that your body just doesn’t like – hence the punishing hangover. Instead order lime and tonic water – totally looks like a G&T but with none of the negative side effects. You will feel sooooo good for it in the morning!

Let’s face it – there is nothing fun or pretty about bloating! The way your body digests and processes your food affects everything from energy levels to physical and even emotional health. It can also prevent us from absorbing vitamins and minerals. Ways to help the digestion process? Chew your food – this can really reduce the strain on the gut and the saliva helps break down all those yummy carbs that you are eating. Try not to eat late- digestion slows at the end of the day so keep the big meals to the beginning of the day… breakfast like a king and all that… Take a healthy bacteria supplement – our Editorial Assistant, Molly, swears by this, she takes Symprove and has found it super effective in reducing her tummy troubles, “make sure you choose one of the flavoured ones though as the natural flavour is hard to get down!”.

Tempted to blow out on mini eggs (you know who you are), think twice before reaching for those pastel eggs of evil! Refined white sugar seriously messes with our system. Not only will it cause your blood sugar levels to rise and full quickly putting strain on all sorts of organs, it will also give you an energy crash, rot your teeth and get stored as fat if you don’t burn it off. PLUS, it will make you want to put your body through this again. We say go cold turkey, cut this legal cocaine out of your life. Fear not though, sweet tooth friends can find a host of yummy treat recipe ideas here – that won’t feel like your depriving yourself of anything.

We spring clean our wardrobes every year – it’s such a great feeling putting all the winter stash to the back of the closet and getting out all our summery gear. But what about your workout get up? Still jogging in those thinning lycra leggings you got four Christmases ago? Still wearing those trainers you ran two half marathons in? Now is the time to invest in some super chic sportswear, so that you feel inspired to go on a run when the sun rises. Nothing feels better than feeling fit and looking fit too. For some ideas check out our stylish activewear store here.

Yes, its spring time so you are going to need slapping on the SPF – but before you go suncream crazy we suggest that you get that hot bod of yours out into the early morning sun rays helping to top up those much needed Vitamin D, a hormone primarily created from UV exposure. A deficiency in this crucial vitamin has recently been linked to cancers, immune conditions and bone degradation so take your brekkie outside and soak up some sun… then apply your SPF.

words Sadie MacLeod

Cheesy Kale Chips Recipe from our E-Book

BE A LITTLE CHEESY… Our take on “cheesy” kale chips

Everyone knows that “cheesy” kale chips are the best snack since the reinvention of popcorn, but they are stonkingly expensive. So why not make them yourself?


1 bunch of kale

1 cup cashews, preferably soaked

1 red bell pepper

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Dehydrator Method:
Rinse the kale and spin dry. Remove the stems and tear into bite size pieces and put to one side. Blend the remaining ingredients for the ‘cheesy’ seasoning (it’s all in the nutritional yeast!) in your blender until smooth. Transfer the kale into a large bowl and pour the sauce over it. Mix well using your hands to ensure the leaves are well coated. Place the kale on the dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 70 degrees for 10 hours, or until crunchy..

Oven Method:
If using an oven, preheat it to 120ºC. Do all the steps mentioned above, right until you put the kale chips into the dehydrator (obvi). Instead – pop them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for around 30 minutes or until crispy.

VG, V, WF, SF, DF, R, GF

Cook Book I Pad


Lexie Sport Blonde Collection Now In Store!

The Hip & Healthy team have been fans of Lexie Sport since its launch in 2012 and have stocked their performance clothes in our online store since it went live in November last year. We’ve a lot of love for the brand due to their innovative, functional and inspirational designs for women and so it goes without saying that their latest line, ‘The Blonde Collection’ is right up our street. As a result, a few pieces from the line are now available in the Hip & Healthy shop!

The gorgeous Anita leggings are full-length beauties created in a fantastic kaleidoscopic pattern. A clever design decision was to keep the wild print in monochrome colours meaning that the leggings can be teamed with almost any other hue. We love picking and choosing sports bras with pops of bright colour to peep out from behind elegant tees – find our favourite sports bra here. The print adorns much of the collection via innovative panels and cut-outs, so if all over pattern isn’t your thing then fear not, their Lake leggings have a strip down the sides, while the rest is in traditional black.

Lexie boasts that their sportswear is on-track and on-trend. Using performance-enhancing fabrics for trend-led pieces is a rite-of-passage for any burgeoning fitness-wear company, and Lexie marry fashion and function with ease. As such, we will be getting more in from Lexie over the next few months, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest in the H&H store.

‘The Blonde Collection’ is the first that Lexie has had manufactured entirely in the UK, citing that it is, “great, British sportswear made by Great Britain”. The decision to keep the process completely British was an easy one – Lexie’s founder, Lily Rice explains that, “having the product made here means not only will the quality and fit be of the highest standards but that as a brand we are making responsible decisions”. Both stylish and sustainable, this is a collection that will be sure to keep fashion and eco-credentials high.


And, for the lucky residents of East London (although anyone can come of course, we ain’t discriminatin’), Lexie Sport are setting up shop in Shoreditch’s BoxPark from 31st March to 6th April (they’re in Unit 26). Plus Hip & Healthy readers can also come along to an exclusive shopping event on Thursday 3rd April where they’ll be able to receive 10% off Lexie sportswear, enjoy lovely dairy-free drinks by Everything but the Cow and fabulous goody bags filled with hip and healthy treats. Just turn up from 6-9pm. No need to RSVP! Address: Unit 26, 2-4 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GY. We look forward to seeing you there.

Lexie Sport Leggings stretch

Anita Leggings, £65 

Sports Bra and Tank both Striders Edge and available here.`

lexi lake leggings back

 Lake Leggings, £65

Sports Bra and Tank Top both HPE and available here.


WIN a £150 Lululemon Voucher!

We are really excited to bring you a competition in partnership with (find it here) – yes they’re the ones that have that cute family of meerkats in the adverts!

If you are looking for life insurance then make sure you go to (see here) before you comit to a policy. will help you find the perfect life insurance policy for you by providing you with an array of different providers to choose from so that you can pick the one best suited to your budget and needs.

WIN a £150 Lululemon Voucher

Yes fit fam, you heard us right – we are offering you the chance to win £150 to spend on some awesome new Lululemon activewear! All you have to do is post your answer to this question on our facebook page!

Finish this well known phrase: “An apple a day keeps the doctor…”
a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until midnight on Monday 14th April to enter.

Match Made in Heaven: Massage meets Yoga at Tulayoga

When I was asked to review Tulayoga, I immediately said yes thinking some massage followed by yoga was just what my tired body and frazzled mind needed. But then I tapped it into Google (big mistake!) and I was confronted with images of slightly intimidating looking acro-yoga poses performed by beautiful people. One week later, aforementioned intimidating Google images still flying through my head, I made my way to the stunning and peaceful Light Centre in Moorgate. The Light Centre is a haven away from the City’s stress and craziness, yet despite the peaceful environs my mind still hadn’t stopped whirring with anxiety. And then I met Louka Leppard.

Louka, the creator of Tulayoga, greeted me with a huge, happy smile full of warmth and kindess. It is hard not to instantly like him and feel at ease in his company. As we chatted, I slowly began to relax. Louka, sensing my nervousness, gently explained to me what the two hour treatment would involve, making an effort to ensure that I was completely comfortable with everything.

The first hour and a half was deep tissue massage, done lying down on cosy blankets on the floor of a candlelit room. With beautiful, relaxing music in the background, Louka used oils to give a deep, tension-releasing massage (apparently I needed it!). As Louka worked on me, he picked up on specific areas of my body that needed some extra attention. He explained to me that tightness in certain areas of the body may be a result of deep emotional issues such as fear, anxiety, guilt and/or responsibility.  Our minds and bodies are inextricably linked and so often we bury away our feelings, only for them to manifest as physical ailments such as muscular tension or digestive problems. By the end of the 90 minute massage, I felt like my body had opened up significantly but more importantly I felt relaxed, completely relaxed.

Following the massage, I donned my yoga gear with complete trust in Louka and the impending aerial-style yoga. As Louka lay down on the floor I closed my eyes and flopped my now floppy body onto his feet as he lifted me into the air. I felt as though I had suddenly become weightless and I was simply floating in mid-air. Slowly, Louka guided me through various postures, all of which were supported by him. The sensation was strange as although fully supported by Louka in each posture, I felt as though I was suspended in the air, weightless and defying gravitational force. At the end of the session, Louka gently lowered me back down to earth, and I “zenned” out on the cosy blankets for a final moment of relaxation.

If you are considering trying a new treatment or want to treat yourself to something special, I seriously recommend Tulayoga with Louka Leppard. Although on the Google-image face of it, Tulayoga appears slightly intimidating, in reality, it is the complete opposite – warm, relaxing, tension-releasing, absolute bliss.

What is Tulayoga?
Founded in Geneva over 16 years ago, Tulayoga is the beautiful creation of Louka Leppard. The one-to-one treatment combines 90 minutes of deep tissue massage with about 30 minutes of supported yoga and mindful movement. It is already enjoyed by world-renowned actresses, fashion-designers and business people and it is set to become the next big thing on the London well-being scene.

What Are The Benefits of Tulayoga?
The aim of Tulayoga is to release tension as well as realign and open up the body. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Increased physical mobility (great for tight, stressed bodies)
  • Increase in breathing capacity
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Reduction in stress levels
  • Release of emotional blockages and trauma

Who Would Benefit from Tulayoga?
Tulayoga is for anyone. You definitely don’t have to be an acrobat or a yogi as the movement is adjusted to your body’s limitations and flexibility. It is especially effective if you are looking to de-stress, release some negative emotional energy or open up a tense, tight body. However, there is a weight limit of 80kgs and those with heart problems, high blood pressure, motion sickness or eye diseases should consult a doctor and contact Louka Leppard before taking a session.

Where Can I Experience Tulayoga?
Louka Leppard offers one-to-one sessions in London (Light Centre, Moorgate), Paris, Geneva and Berlin. A one-to-one, 2.5 hour treatment costs £300 (for treatments at your home there is an additional cost). In addition, this summer Louka is leading two fabulous retreats on-board a traditional Turkish sail-boat (think sunrise yoga on the deck and sunset massage overlooking the Aegean Sea). You can book a Tulayoga session or your Aegean sailing retreat by contacting Louka directly via his website

words by Kathleen Fleming

Spring into Shape with help from the Experts at Be:Fit London, Leah Kim and Dr Christy Ferguson

With the clocks due to go forward and the first few sunny days appearing, it’s official – spring has sprung. If winter has put you in a funk – put down your Breaking Bad boxset and step away from the onesie, it’s time to revitalise your diet and get out of that workout slump, says Mea Perkins

Spring is an ideal time to give your dietary habits an overhaul as you can take advantage of all the seasonal spring foods – which can be fresher, cheaper and richer in nutrients. If it’s your exercise habits that need to be kicked in to touch, make use of the longer days and milder weather. To help inspire you to make positive changes to your lifestyle as the seasons change, we nabbed some time with wellness warriors; Leah Kim, Nikes Global Yoga Ambassador and Food Psychologist, Dr Christy Ferguson. Here are their top tips:

  • Avoid overwhelm “Take it easy on yourself” Leah advises, “if you’re basically coming out of hibernation, ease back into a routine of more exercise balanced with good sleep.” The same goes with your diet says Dr Christy, “never start a healthy eating plan on a Monday as it often leads to that ‘all or nothing’ mentality. If you eat something that’s not part of the plan, that’s okay! Don’t think of it as ‘falling off the wagon’ – shift your mind set and just carry on as planned to avoid regressing completely.”
  • Prioritise “I write my yoga/ exercise time into my diary like I do with all my other plans,” says Leah, “I set myself up for the week ahead, whether it’s blocking off time for my home practice, or seeing what classes I might like to attend. I treat my time with and for myself with just as much importance as my other appointments and obligations.” 
  • Get your blood sugar level back on trackIn the winter our serotonin levels drop,” says Dr Christy, “so this usually means we spend our time sitting on the sofa eating carbohydrates or highly refined foods, or reaching for that biscuit at work, which spike our sugar levels to boost serotonin temporarily. The spike in our blood sugar levels mean we get too much glucose in our system which then just gets stored as fat. Break the cycle and choose foods with low glycaemic loads (eggs, avocado, quinoa are just a few examples) which release energy slowly to avoid energy crashes. If you struggle with cravings, try a supplement such as Chromium – it’s good for blood sugar balance and will help with the transition if you’ve got into bad habits over the winter.”
  • Go green If you needed any more persuasion to eat these vegetable powerhouses, Dr Christy says, “leafy greens such as kale and spinach also increase energy levels due to their low glycaemic load are and are loaded with essential nutrients such as magnesium, betaine and potassium– they have a low sugar content too.” Leah agrees, “I can’t say enough about eating greens to keep me energised, alert, and feeling balanced.”
  • Don’t overload at breakfast “During the night when we sleep, our body is in fasting mode, so I believe that we should break that fast nice and gently to help support our digestive system” explains Dr Christy. “One of the best things to wake your body up with is a green juice, it’s very alkalising on the system and you can introduce it to your body slowly throughout the morning. It’s extremely hydrating and a good way to get nutrients in, which will give you energy throughout the day. My perfect morning juice includes cucumber, a squeeze of lemon, spinach, apple, ginger, celery. If I want something a bit more substantial, I’ll eat grass fed chicken eggs, or gluten free cereal with dairy free milk.”
  • Substitute and upgrade “Don’t think of it as cutting out foods, rather upgrading the quality of your meals and snacks,” suggests Dr Christy, “this way you won’t feel like you’re embarking on a radically different diet, and are more likely to succeed. Use substitution by thinking of the foods you really like the taste of, and then improve the quality in terms of what they offer. If you love chocolate, reach for a handful of berries the next time you get a craving. Coming into season from May, Berries have the luxurious, treat feel that we associate with chocolate. The lowest calorie fruits, they are full of antioxidants and fibre making them an ideal chocolate replacement and healthy grazing option. Good quality protein will give you the amino acids you need to make serotonin and colourful fruit and vegetables will provide good quality anti-oxidants – so always make sure your plate is 70% colour.” 
  • Refresh your tea cupboard “I love Yerbe mate for cleansing the system and increasing energy,” says Dr Christy, “it’s more potent than green tea, so definitely an acquired taste but those who like it swear by it.” For Leah, “matcha tea is my daily ritual. I also love a slow-juiced green drink of mostly veggies, and a superfood green powder – any brand without fillers; you can get a nice one in the UK called Kiki.”
  • Keep your regime rolling This doesn’t mean do the same routine every day explains Leah, “but if you can maintain the consistency of being active, exercise naturally becomes something you will crave from the inside. Then even if you have no motivation, your body will take over from you. Usually once I get moving on my yoga mat, it’s as if my body knows what is happening and is happy to be there, even if I don’t do a long or strenuous practice.”
  • Add a dose of yoga “What I love about yoga is it works not just the outer body, but the inner organs, the cells, and the energy body.” Leah adds, “There’s a natural detoxification process that happens when you do yoga poses, and also when you sweat. So yoga effects change on both the outside and the inside, and the deep, inner changes are what’s reflected in clearer skin, brighter eyes, and healthier hair.”
  • Have fun! “It’s important to ENJOY whatever exercise you choose to do,” Leah says, “if you dread getting on the elliptical machine, it will be so much better for you to find something different, that you actually look forward to. I believe there’s something for everyone, be it working with a trainer, taking a class, going for a run, or getting involved in a sport.”
Christy Close Up With Polka Dot Apron 2

Dr Christy Ferguson

To meet Dr.Christy Fergusson and Leah Kim, head down to Be:Fit London on 28-30th March at the Old Billingsgate, London. Visit for tickets

Main Image: Leah Kim

Bump Love: The Do’s and Don’ts for Fitness in Pregnancy…

With more women now physically active and living a healthy lifestyle it’s important to know that you do not have ditch that positive mentality or bin your trainers as soon as you see the second line pop up on your pregnancy test says Pregnancy Fitness Expert, & celebrity trainer, Linda Jones from Vita Wellbeing

Training whilst pregnant has always been a topic of confusion. Can I train? Is it safe? What shall I stop doing? These are just some of the most commonly asked questions. Long gone are the days when a woman ‘with child’ took to bed rest for nine months but have things now swung too far the other way? With excessive focus being placed on the female form, the world is becoming more and more obsessed with not just how fast a model or actress springs back into shape post baby but also how many pounds she piles on during her more carb relaxed pregnancy months.

Linda has put together her top 10 tips for optimum health and a beautiful blossoming body during the whole nine months.

1. Be Careful Who you Take Advice From 
One of the biggest issues we see with women who are pregnant is their sudden urge to compare themselves to everyone else who is having or who has had a baby. This can quiet often come from celebrities or health professionals who make it seem easy on the surface and as a result make you feel like a failure. Often these people have something to sell and so it’s easy to create a ‘perfect’ image but the reality is very different. You are experiencing one of the biggest changes that will ever happen in your life and you are doing it perfectly, so go easy on yourself and try to enjoy the ride.

2. Don’t Start Anything New 
When we take up something new the physical and physiological load is huge. We can usually cope quiet well with a new skill but during pregnancy your body is changing and with it the ability to be able to adapt to new movement. Our balance and proprioception is not quiet itself and so its best to stick to what you already know unless you are with a specialised health professional.

3. Ditch the Diet 
When pregnant, your body and your growing baby requires a wide variety of foods. Cutting any amount of necessary nutrients is not good for the health or you or your baby. This does not signal a green light for sugary or highly processed foods but its vital to remember that you will need a balanced mix of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Ensure you have a whole array of colour in your diet, keep it varied and throw away that diet book you have stashed on the side!

4. No Circus Acts 
This sounds obvious but you would be amazed how ‘able’ pregnant women feel. While you most certainly do not need to be wrapped up in cotton wool, safety is, and has to be top priority. Taking part in any physical activity that involves balance or could mean falling is a big no no. Tiredness, reduced proprioception and a shift in your centre of gravity due to your growing baby bump all means you are at an increase risk of injury. So hold off on those trapeze classes for now!

5. Say No to Fat Loss 
One of the biggest hurdles most women face is learning to let go of the desire to loose weight. For most of us, it’s something that is on our minds most of the time and we have spent years trying to achieve it. However its important to know that unless you are under strict medical guidance, burning fat can actually cause harm during your pregnancy. In simple terms, toxins that are released when we use fat cells as energy can enter our system meaning your baby’s too, which is not good for anyone. Your body needs to store a certain amount of fat to sustain life so for the next few months at least think healthy, wholesome food and sensible exercise.

6. Think of B Day as your New Marathon 
Many hard-core gym bunnies struggle with suddenly feeling like they have no ‘goal’ to work towards. After focusing so much on marathons, races, fitness challenges and weight loss it can feel like the breaks have suddenly been slammed on. Anyone who has delivered a child can tell you how surprised they were by the physical demand of giving birth and how much strength they had to muster to complete the job! It’s called labour for a reason and it’s a good idea for you to think of the big day as your new goal. Train to be fit, strong and mentally focused during delivery and also to improve the speed of your recovery post baby. The healthier you are during your pregnancy months the faster you will be back on your feet afterwards.

7. Little and Often 
Most women are taken back by their ever-dwindling energy levels. Pregnancy can be a huge shock to even the most physically active of women. While exercise will actually improve stamina and energy levels, its important to think little and often. A 20-minute to half an hour walk, swim or gym session each day is more than enough to keep you and your baby’s health at optimum levels.

8. Posture is Key
Your body will change shape, fact. The key is to strengthen the parts that will excessively weaken and stretch the parts that will work too hard. Working against nature is not the idea here, your body will dramatically change shape but in order to keep your back and body injury and pain free it’s a good idea to gently give it a helping hand.

9. Now is Not the Time to Challenge Yourself
Now is not the time to put any additional stress on your body, its already experiencing enough! Because many of the changes happening to us are from within, it’s easy to underestimate how much is going on. Each and every day your body works hard to ensure not only that your baby growing and developing perfectly but also that your body is changing to accommodate it. Fighting against this process by giving yourself additional challenges such as running a 10k race or dropping body fat will only lead to poor health and total burn out.

10. Embrace Your New Shape 
While it feels a life stretch when you are submerged in your pregnancy months its so important to remember that its not forever, in fact its not a very long time at all in the grand scheme of things. Many women go through a period of missing their bump once delivering and realise how much of an incredibly special time it was nurturing your unborn child. You have the rest of your life to worry about being skinny so for now at least, marvel your beautiful, blossoming body.

Visit for more advice and information…

Image: January Jones on her way to Pregnancy Yoga







Live Your Lunch Break

Hip & Healthy Promotion

This spring Flexioffices are encouraging London workers to take back their lunch breaks after a recent study showed less than 30% of people actually take a lunch break… yes we’re talking to you! Hip & Healthy is joining the campaign, and our Food Editor, Saskia, shares her top 5 tips for Covent Garden based busy bees, that need to take a well deserved midday break!

1) Refuel:
Take some time out of your day to not only relax but re-energise with a delicious, healthy lunch. Covent Garden is full of delicious gems, but there are few really Hip & Healthy ones we just can’t rave enough about:

Wild Food Cafe: Hidden amongst the colours of Neil’s Yard, this café is an escape from London’s bustling streets. The food is vegan, primarily raw and satisfying on every level. The atmosphere is happy and vibrant, and the food reflects that. Treat yourself to the incredible green smoothie, a raw pizza filled with coconut cheese and raw pesto, and one of their incredible raw/vegan cakes.

Le Pain Quotidian: An organic cafe, with lots of options for everyone. We love the vegan soups, the organic lentil salad and the avocado tartine. Its located within the covent garden market, so you can have a little explore too!

Lab Organic: Perfect little juice and smoothie bar, when your in a hurry and fancy something a little lighter. We love the alkalising green juice and their delicious array of energy bars.

2) Yoga:
There is nothing better than breaking up your day with some yoga, its so calming, re-energising and makes any stress fade away. There are some fantastic yoga studios in covent garden, we love:

Yotopia & Good Vibes Studios

3) Exercise:
Why not take a run, or get a gym membership nearby? Theres no better way to combat a stressful day at work than sweating it out! Run down to the embankment and down to the river for some beautiful views.

4) Meditate:
Meditation is known to relieve stress in every aspect of your life, re-energise and restore zen to your day. So why not take 15 minutes out of your lunch break to do something for you, and turn every day into the best experience possible. Some great places to escape for meditation in London is among the benches of Neil’s Yard. If you prefer to be inside go have a look at the meditation rooms at Inner Space,

5) Have a treatment:
Treat yourself to a massage or reflexology at the Neil’s Yard therapy rooms. Get a half an hour appointment, and get a bite to eat across at Wild Food Cafe. Talk about a midday indulgence, you deserve it!

 image: GoodVibes Yoga

Visit Flexioffices for more info!