Fat Facts: We interview nutritionist, Hayley, on the fats we should all be eating

words by Helen Carr

We are constantly bombarded with advertising for “low fat” products, sworn to make you lose weight but enjoy your favourite foods. But what if it is not the fat in foods that actually make you fat? And what if increasing your fat intake can actually make you slimmer healthier and happier?

We automatically associate the word ‘fat’ with being fat, the word that has struck fear into our hearts since the 1970’s when obesity was rising in the US and the “low fat” craze began. However, thirty years later levels of diabetes, obesity, IBS, and cancer have become higher and we have stopped eating fat. This is because the “low fat” options are laden with sugar. For example, a popular branded fruit flavoured fat free yoghurt has 19 grams of sugar in a 4 oz. pot. That is nearly a whopping 5 teaspoons of sugar. Sugar is the biggest killer, the white poison. It fuels cancer cells, and we are addicted. Unlike sugar, fat does not make us fat this is SUCH a misunderstanding as we need fat in our diet to absorb nutrients, fight off infection and for essential repair to our body.

We talk to Hayley Stafford-Smith who is training as a Nutritional Therapist and is determined to re-educate the world about fat, she discusses the benefits of a full fat diet and how it can make you glow!

Why do you think there is such a misconception about fat?

I think the diet plans of the 80s, 90s and 00s have a lot to answer for. These approaches vilified the ‘calorie’ and because high fat foods tend to be larger sources of calories fat was, and still is, seen as bad. In my opinion these diet plans, which are often filled with hidden sugar, are a primary cause of (rather than solution to) the UK’s weight problem. Low calorie ‘diets’ tend to discount nutrition. Good fats are an important part of a nutritious diet and a nutritious diet supports life, promotes vitality and maintains healthy weight – no calorie counting required.

What is the difference between good fats and bad fats?

At this point I would like to quote Udo Erasmus from his ‘Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill’, a book I’d highly recommend.

‘The fact is that some fats are absolutely required for good health, while others are detrimental. Some fats heal and others kill. Whether a fat heals or kills depends on several factors: What kind of fat is it? How has it been treated – is it fresh, has it been exposed to light, oxygen, heat, hydrogen, water, acid, base or metals like copper and iron? How old it is? How has it been used in food preparation? How much was eaten? What balance of different fats do we get?’

 In a nutshell the fat we consume can come from 3 sources:

1) Essential fatty acids

2) Saturated fats (natural animal fats including meat and dairy products)

3) Hydrogenated trans-fats (processed fats).

Needless to say that group 3 should be avoided like the plague (margarine is possibly one of the most dangerous and polluting things we can eat) whilst the rest of our fat intake should follow a basic 75 percent essential fatty acid, and 25% saturated fats rule.

Purists would advocate banishing group 2 altogether but for many reasons, including the fact that they can taste wonderful, I would not advocate this. Our cell membranes are made up of 50% essential fatty acids. The cells in our brains are made up of approximately 60% essential fatty acids. Therefore, it makes sense that these essential fatty acids dominate our fat intake!

What sort of foods should we eat that include these good fats?

Essential fatty acids include the omegas, particularly 3 and 6, as our bodies cannot manufacture these on their own. Omegas can be found in foods such as avocados, nuts, oily fish, seeds and certain oils such as olive, walnut and linseed. Essential fatty acids are liquid at room temperature and therefore, as you can imagine, pass smoothly round our system, in and out of our cells with ease rather than clogging our systems up, which is what gloopy saturated fats and hydrogenated fats do.

How do we get started with a good fat lifestyle?

So there is a quite a lot to consider but most of the UK are beginners at this approach to eating so I’d advocate sticking to the 75 percent essential fatty acids and 25 percent saturated fats, no hydrogenated fats rule and learn to walk before we can run. It’s good to really read the label of anything you buy and try to stick to fresh organic dairy, meat and fish. If you don’t know what it is, I’d avoid it.

As a nutritionist what foods are staple in your diet, and what do you think is a healthy diet?

I think that it’s important to map goodness over taste & enjoyment and I find that southern European diets do this effortlessly. Good food is beautiful when people are happy to be eating it; when it brings pleasure. The foods I probably consume most of are good quality bread, pasta, homemade when possible, lots of garlic, onions of all kinds, olive oil, salads, rice (white and brown depending on the dish, vegetables, potatoes, sweet and white, cheese, fresh and dried herbs, fish, well-sourced meat, beans, porridge, whole milk, pumpkin seeds and, seasonal fruit, and lots of water! Red wine and coffee also feature sometimes- remember that life is for living too and sometimes our minds need to indulge even if our bodies don’t!

Avocado Boats stuffed with Hummus & Carrot, Goji Berry and Ginger Sauce

recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

We have gone a bit mad for avocados lately. They are so full of goodness, including great skin enhancing fats, that we find it hard to go a day without one. For a simple but different way to eat them try this recipe!

Serves 4


2 avocados

4 handfuls of leafy greens

8 tbsp hummus

For the Sauce:

2 small carrots (makes 1/2 a cup when chopped)

1/4 cup goji berries, soaked in warm water until plump

1cm knob ginger

juice 1/2 a lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp water

Wash and chop the carrots into small cubes, peal the ginger and place in a blender with all other ingredients for the sauce. Blend for 3 minutes or until combined well, but still chunky. Then, place a handful of leafy greens on 4 plates (we told you that this was simple). Half and de-skin the avocado, spoon in 2 tbsp of hummus into each avocado and place on the bed of greens. Finally pour 1/4 of the sauce mixture in and around the avocado boat and enjoy!











Health Speak with Hayley Gait Golding, Founder of Super Healthy Snacks, Bear & Urban Fruit

Health Speak with Hayley Gait Golding, Founder of Super Healthy Snacks, Bear & Urban Fruit

hayley bear

Hayley Gait Golding is 32 and Founder of yummy healthy treats BEAR and Urban Fruit made of nothing other than 100% pure fruit. It is the fastest growing healthy snack brand in the UK, loved by both kids and adults. BEAR adult fruit nibbles are particularly loved by grownups! We pick her wonderful healthy brain about snacking, start ups and staying young…

What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I drink more tea than is probably good for me and answer my early emails from all our farmers in the far east.

What do eat for breakfast?
Porridge and freshly chopped up fruit. A proper bears breakfast.

What is your work place like?
Our address is ‘BEAR’s big cave, deepest darkest woods…We’ve transformed an underground office in the city into a woodland cave with real wood carved out trees, bears, birds, and bees everywhere. Our meeting table is our favourite, it’s a big upturned oak carved into a picnic table for our meetings. We work hard at BEAR but love to find ways to make it really fun.

What do you eat for lunch?
I try and take my lunch to work but something like soup or tuna salad and lots and lots of fruit.

Do you snack?
It’s my job to snack. I do all our fruit picking and new product development so I’m constantly nibbling on the latest BEAR snack. It’s all healthy so I don’t worry about it.

What do you have for supper?
I eat a really simple diet of veggies and lean meat like fish or free range chicken. My gran thinks it’s awful when she comes for Christmas dinner as the amount of veggies we eat as a family is a bit disproportionate.

What made you start BEAR?
I founded BEAR because I was passionate about making snacking a whole lot healthier and tastier too. At the time I was a personal trainer and all my clients were struggling to find healthy tasty snacks without all the nonsense they could fit in with their busy lives. They were also shocked how much the ones for their kids were laden with added sugars and preservatives or made from concentrates instead of real fruit. I wanted BEAR to be the trusted favourite for the whole family and be made from great ingredients you could pick in a field or up a tree.

How does it feel owning your own business?
It’s amazing, I have to pinch myself every now and then to check it all really happened. It hasn’t been easy and there have been a lot of sacrifices in other parts of my life, like having time for friends has been tough, but I think all the stresses and diverse situations I’ve had to face have made me more capable.

What do you enjoy about BEAR the most?
I enjoy the fact that it’s fun and it celebrates healthy in a happy positive way. The best thing (in the whole wide woods) are the lovely letters and emails we get in the cave every day from people who eat bear and write to tell us how much they love our snacks and 100 fun fact cards you get inside of every pack of Yoyos (pure fruit rolls). I also love the fact I get to travel the world to work with all of our farmers and find the very best in season fruit.

How do you keep fit?
I love running so I do a loop from my house on the Southbank around the river Thames about 4 or 5 times a week if I can fit it in. This year I’ve also started doing yoga and I’m really enjoying that. The tricky part is fitting in fitness when I’m travelling, which is quite often these days but I always take my trusty trainers and so have managed to grab some memorable runs through places like a safari park in South Africa, up and down a remote aeroplane landing strip and through the streets of Bangkok; which I think on reflection probably did my lungs more damage than good!

What keeps you young?
Hopefully my expensive face cream. If not I’m going to send them an invoice in 10 years’ time.

Which three celebrities (dead or alive) would you invite to dinner?  David Attenborough to tell me great stories about the world…I’d have to mull over the others… I’m not really into celebrities.

What is your biggest luxury in life?
Honestly it is fruit. I spend far too much money on fruit and have a bit of a compulsion to buy everything that looks tasty even if I’m well stocked. I get a bit too excited when I travel and buy enormous bags of rambutans and mangosteens. I try and bring them back to the cave for the team to try too.

What three things can’t you live without?
Fruit, tea and exercise.

What gets you up in the morning?

And what do you go to bed thinking about?
I’m usually mulling over something creative we’re doing in the cave like making the new fact cards. That means my brains full of random facts like did you know if takes the average person 7 minutes to fall asleep?

What motto do you live by?
Be fearless

Our New Workout Legging Obsession: Hey Jo

This just in: workout wear doesn’t have to be boring. We have fallen head over heals for boutique active leggings brand, Hey Jo, and think you will too. Not only do they come in an array of rainbow colours (you have to be fairly bold to pull off the orange) but the leggings don’t fade and are durable too. Detailed with gold zips, my favourite of their two styles is the Cassini, which has both a useful but discreet pocket on the bottom (perfect for keys, credit card etc.) and a zip at the bottom of the leg. Although they don’t have a huge choice on style, what Hey Jo do, they do well. The leggings are not just for work-out time but for play time too, so you can literally go from sweating to socialising in a matter of minutes. But we do suggest showering first.

Visit http://hey-jo.co/store/ for more info

Health Speak with Olympic Heptathlon Athlete, Katarina Johnson Thompson: Find out how she stays so focussed

Hip & Healthy chats to the gorgeous olympic athlete, who can run, jump, throw, train five days a week and still keep a balance in life, and she’s only 20… Rising star? We think so…

Talk us through a normal training day/week for you?
Because my event is the Heptathlon there are seven disciplines to train for, which means every day is different. Monday I do a gym session, then the rest of the week I work through each event from shot put, to running, long jump then high jump, as well as a sprint sessions.

What inspired you to forge out a career in athletics?
I got into athletics when I was young and really took to it. When you are good at something as a child you just want to continue to work at it, because you enjoy it and so you can get better and better. I decided I wanted it to be my career only last year after the Olympics. It was my first major competition and competing in front of a large home crowd made me realise it had to be my career.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Definitely the London Olympics, it is inevitable for any athlete that the Olympics is the pinnacle of their career and it being a home Games made it even more special.

What do you find hardest about your training?
I find it hardest when I am injured and actually not being able to train, particularly in the summer throughout the competition season. Out of all of my training I find running sessions the hardest.

What is your diet like? Strict? Relaxed? Talk us through a day in the life of your food habits!
I have a plan but it isn’t strict, I just try and eat the right things and ensure everything I eat gives me value to help me in my sport. Moderation and balance is really important.

What keeps you focused?
Music when I am competing. When I am in the warm up area I have a set playlist I listen to, the same one every time and in the same order, I don’t ever put it on shuffle. I have a system, fast songs when you are warming up and slow when you are stretching.

My goals keep me focused and they make it easier to train hard and put your body through pain if you know what you are doing it for. I think everyone finds this, whether you’re a professional athlete or not. The Nike Training Club App for example is great because it gives you targets to work towards and rewards you when you hit them.

The right training kit also helps me to keep focused I am currently wearing the Nike Dri FIT Knit Tank. It’s made of a seamless knit fabric that allows me to move more with no distractions as it is really comfortable and moves with me as I move.

Do you ever have off days?
I train 4 – 5 days a week, the rest days are very important to me to ensure I recover post training.

What are you training for at the moment?
The European Under 23s in Finland in July and the World Championships in Moscow later this summer. Both are really important for my development this year and are in the back of my mind all the time when I’m training.

How does it feel to be so successful in your career at such a young age?
It was very hard to get through the Olympic qualifiers in the Heptathlon, as you have to be strong across seven events. Last year I pushed myself because I knew competing in a home Games was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It definitely what pushed me to be successful.

What is your moto?
When competing I think ‘you can’t be nervous, you just have to give it the best you’ve got’. I always take one event at a time and focus on the present.

How do you relax?
I spend time at home with my family and have regular DVD boxset marathons. At the moment I am watching Breaking Bad as I just finished the entire series of Lost.

Image: Katarina trains in Nike Dri-FIT Knit, a new apparel innovation which features seamless knit fabric for zero distraction. www.facebook.com/NikeTrainingClubUK

Raw Fig Tart Recipe: Not to be missed

Raw Fig, Orange and Lime Tart with a Coconut Cashew Crust

For the crazily good crust:

1 cup cashews (soaked overnight or for atleast 4 hours)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

4 medjool dates (soaked in warm water)



6 fresh black figs

1/2 an orange segmented

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup cashews (soaked overnight or for atleast 4 hours )

Blend all ingredients for the crust. Line a springform baking tin with parchment paper and press the crust mixture in to a medium circle, moulding from the sides up.

Then blend all the ingredients for the filling. Pour evenly into crust and place in the freezer to set, overnight or until the filling is solid. Remove, let thaw for 10-15 minutes and dish up much to your guests’ delight.


Healthy Seasonal Rhubarb & Strawberry Fool with Creamy Cashew Yumminess

Serves 4

Rhubarb compote:
2 cups rhubarb, diced
1 cup strawberries, chopped
Juice 1 orange
2 tbsp agave syrup/ honey
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup water

Method: in a saucepan combine the rhubarb, water, agave, vanilla and orange juice. Add the rhubarb and place on medium heat for 5-8 minutes to allow the rhubarb to stew. When you can feel it has softened, add the strawberries and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer into a large bowl and allow it to cool.

Cashew Cream:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked
1 cup water
3 medjool dates, soaked if hard

* If you don’t have time to soak your cashews, boil a kettle and pour over the cashews, let sit for 60 seconds and drain.

Method: Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.

To compile:
Simply place 1/4 of the compote mixture into each serving dish or glass, top with 1/4 of the cream mixture. Scatter with cinnamon and strawberries to garnish.


Eat Your Way to Healthy, Glowing, Holiday Skin

Eating healthily can change our bodies drastically, including the health of our skin. Hip & Healthy recently interviewed Amanda Ursell, a qualified nutritionist with a postgraduate in dietetics, about how we can eat our way to goddess-like glowing skin. In addition to our daily skincare routine; using a good moisturiser, spf and cleansing regularly, Ursell argues that “eating well can be a compliment this. What you eat is vital for promoting a healthy body and mind, and skin is part of this equation too. We chat more to Ursell about what we should be eating to give our skin a helping hand.

Vitamin C
Ursell tells us that vitamin C is especially important for the quality of our skin,  “our bodies need it to make collagen, the protein that helps to keep our skin looking bouncy and youthful.”  Vitamin C is not only vital in the production of collagen; it also participates in the production of scar tissue that allows the skin to repair itself. If that wasn’t enough, recent studies done by dermatologist in the US have discovered that vitamin C may also contribute to the neutralisation of free-radicals (unstable molecules that damage collagen and can cause skin cancer).
Sources: Citrus fruits, strawberries, apples, pears, and bell peppers.

Vitamin E
Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects and repairs your skin. It is one of the most powerful of the antioxidants, and like vitamin C, your body cannot produce it. Consumption of vitamin E can prevent premature aging and damage to cells.
Sources: Avocados are great sources of vitamin E as well as nuts like almonds and hazelnuts (just another reason why we love almonds!).

Not only is beta-carotene an antioxidant, additionally it enhances the efficiency of sunscreen. Enough beta-carotene in your diet can even give your skin a healthy glow. “Foods rich in yellow, red and orange pigments seem to help the most, they protect our skin from the damaging rays from the inside out,” says Ursell, “but it is still essential to use SPF protection creams and be sensible about the time you expose your skin to the sun.”
Sources: Carrots, pumkins and sweet potatoes are all full of the stuff!

Skincare no-nos
Ursell makes sure to note that it is equally important to avoid skin irritating foods, “sweets, cakes, biscuits, puddings, fried and fatty foods and alcohol are the things that inevitably are the ones best to avoid.”  These foods are very high in sugar and far that are associated with the aging of skin.  (To learn more about sugar see: http://www.hipandhealthy.co.uk/sweet-nothings-sugar-substitutes).

Easy skin-happy snacks: Almonds, apples, apricots

So what can you do to improve skincare? In addition to snacking on apples and oranges, we’ve created a smoothie that incorporates some skin glowing essentials.

Skin Glow Smoothie Recipe:

1 cup water

1 bunch kale or spinach

1 Apple and/or pear

1 cup orange juice (fresh if possible)

1 banana

Agave nectar to taste (optional)

Blend water and greens until smooth, add apple, pear, banana and juice, blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

Image: Swimwear from a selection at Seafolly. Click here for more information or to buy.

words by Jennifer Marie

Dairy-Free Aubergine Parmigiana Recipe (yes – you read that right!)

Dairy-Free Aubergine Parmigiana

2 Aubergines, halved lengthways


1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons minced oregano

4 tabslespoons minced basil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 Red onion, minced

and for the ‘parmesan’

1/2 cup cashew nuts

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Slice your aubergines and place on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive or avocado oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the sauce by adding all ingredients to a saucepan and simmering until the onions are well cooked. For the ‘parmesan’ process the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Once the aubergine has baked, remove from the oven, spread with sauce and scatter with 1/4 of the parmesan on each half. Put back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes (or until parmesan starts to brown).

Serve with a green salad and balsamic dressing.


Happy Baby Pose: Mummy & Me Yoga

Happy Baby Pose: Mummy & Me Yoga

Yummy-mummy, Louisa Parker-Bowles, was elated to find that there was something other than walks in the park that she could enjoy with her babe

mummy and me yoga

As someone who stayed very fit during pregnancy, I was desperate to get back to the gym as soon as possible after my little treasure (finally) arrived (10 days late). I had images of a maternity leave filled with leisurely trips to the gym (with time for a steam after, obviously) and long lazy lunches in the sunshine. The reality of life as a new mummy hit me in the face as harshly and unexpectedly as the hail when we left the hospital to bring our darling daughter home (Easter Sunday, but Spring had certainly not sprung).

Through the fog of sleep deprivation even the most everyday tasks can seem challenging. Getting the buggy up and out the door with both baby and mummy fully dressed and neither of us crying was an achievement. Waitrose became a terrifying assault course of obstacles and many of my favourite haunts are now out of bounds thanks to prohibitively steep steps / smooth floors (she won’t sleep in the buggy unless the ground is bumpy. Gravel is the dream) or narrow aisles. There’s no denying it, life has changed, and so, too, has my work-out regime.

I signed up for the 20 day unlimited pass for £20 and braved my first ‘Mummy and Me’ yoga class at Triyoga on the King’s Road (www.triyoga.co.uk/chelsea-location/) when my daughter was six weeks old. Initially hesitant, I was delightfully surprised by every aspect of the experience. There is a lift for buggies and the serene, welcoming faces of the staff are the perfect antidote to the constant look of angst I had been modelling. As I walked into the bright, warm studio I was enthusiastically greeted by Cat who calmly gathered the necessary kit for me and explained that ‘anything goes in this class’.  After a brief round of introductions, we began working through various postures – some for Mummy, some for baby and some for both together – with Mummies feeding, changing and tending to their babies as needed. It was an excellent bonding experience for my daughter and me and very enlightening to discover an activity that the two of us can enjoy equally together. Plus Cat’s evident knowledge and passion for Yoga at all ages and stages of life is inspiring.

The benefits of ‘Mummy and Me’ yoga are numerous. For babies, yoga encourages development and awareness of their new little bodies, as well as helping with digestion and sleeping at night (thank God). For Mums the exercises help with recovery post-birth, improve posture and promotes a sense of overall well being and calm. Plus there is a real sense of camaraderie throughout the class. It is a lovely reminder that you are not the only one getting to grips with it all. I left the class (after a quick pit stop for a delicious juice at the café) feeling completely elated, enthused and energised and my darling daughter slept more peacefully that night than any night before. ‘Mummy and me’ yoga really is the gift that keeps on giving!



Liposonix Reviewed: Our resident Beauty Editor finds out what it is all about…

promo logo

With summer now here (apparently), my ears pricked up when I heard about the new Liposonix treatment available at the prestigious 111 Harley Street Clinic – home of über-skincare brand, 111 Skin founded by renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Yannis Alexandrides.  A non-invasive fat busting procedure that promises to make you a dress size smaller in just an hour – it sounded too good to be true. So of course I had to find out more, and after being invited to try it for myself, it didn’t take much convincing… bikini season here I come.

The technical bit:
So what exactly is Liposonix? Well, it’s ground-breaking ultrasound technology that has been developed over 10 years by leading scientist and ultrasound experts to reduce fat from the waistline area without an invasive procedure or scary surgery. It’s the perfect solution for those who struggle to rid themselves of ‘stubborn’ areas and find that exercise and diet don’t help. Which, let’s be honest – in today’s hectic lifestyle seems to happen to the best of us. The ultra-sound device works by heating the fat cells found beneath the skin (without harming it) which ‘melts’ fat and allows the body to naturally process and remove the tissue over 8 to 12 weeks. Once destroyed, fat cells in that area can never reform – meaning once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Clinical studies have shown that just one hour’s Liposonix treatment results in an average waist circumference reduction of 1 inch. And with research showing that 62% of women are most uncomfortable with their tummy/love handles and 75% would give up clothes shopping for one year to lose an inch – it seems as though Liposonix has found an answer the female population’s prayers without us having to give anything up. It’s about time.

The Experience:
Having never had anything like this done before, I have to confess I was somewhat nervous prior to my appointment with Dr. Yannis Alexandrides at the 111 Harley Street Clinic. There are a few consent forms and scary documents to sign, which of course set my imagination into overdrive, however upon chatting to Dr Alexandrides and his assistant – my mind was totally put at ease. Being a leading plastic surgeon who has pioneered his own facelift procedure – it’s safe to say you’re in the best possible hands. He’s also rather handsome which makes the experience that little bit more enjoyable…

After discussing what stubborn area I wanted rid of (lower tummy) I was marked up with pen a là Nip Tuck, measured, weighed and left in the care of Dr. Alexandride’s assistant who carried out the treatment. Lying back on the bed, the area is sprayed with cool water to slightly numb and de-sensitise before the ultrasound device passes over points of the stomach where it remains for a minute each time. Depending on your pain threshold, different strengths of frequencies are used. I was a bit over ambitious and started quite high, but it had to be turned down as I did find it quite painful. It feels like tiny little pricks are piercing your skin followed by a strong heat – which is good as this is what kills the fatty tissue, but it can get a little intense at times. When this happened, she kindly stopped – turned down the frequency – and continued. Perhaps the super brave could grit their teeth and bear it – however I would recommend starting off at a lower frequency and seeing how you go.

Although there is no downtime and it is said that you can continue on with your normal routine following the procedure – there are a few things to be aware of. Don’t do what I did and go on a Friday, as they advise you not to drink alcohol for 24 hours post treatment so your body doesn’t get dehydrated. You are also advised not to eat spicy or bloating foods (as your tummy does swell a bit for a few days after) or have hot baths/expose the area to heat. This is due to the fat cells under your skin retaining the heat of the ultrasound for some time after the Liposonix has finished, and although that’s a good thing during the treatment – it is not something you want to increase at home. I was told I might experience some bruising and tenderness, which I did – but this did pass after a few days.  Some clients apparently go to the gym the very same day – it’s all down to the individual. I felt as though I had done a lot of sit-ups – and hopefully it will leave me looking like I have!

The Results:
Watch this space in 8 – 12 weeks and I’ll let you know…

For more information visit http://111harleystreet.com/about/our-team/dr-alexandrides/

Are you ready for GRIT?

Samantha Whitaker takes on the work out of her life when she trials GRIT for Hip & Healthy

LES MILLS fans listen up: you know when you do a class and there’s one track that leaves you feeling like you might collapse? GRIT™ is half an hour of those tracks! But don’t let that put you off. For our time-poor generation, this explosive hit of exercise – which fits snugly into the precious pre-work or lunchtime hour – is exactly what we need.

Following the global trend for High Intensity Interval Training – or HIIT – GRIT seriously pushes you to the next level. It’s incredible how much your body can adapt to even the toughest training: I suddenly felt like I hadn’t worked out since sometime last year – and the shock pushed me to give my absolute all.

I’m not going to lie: there were points when I felt nauseous. But it was at those moments that the instructor was right next to me, counting down the seconds until the end of the rep, so there was no way I could give up. Because that’s what GRIT is all about: high-impact movements to great music, with inspirational trainers who are there doing it with you, harnessing the power of the team. There’s lots of whooping and high-fiving, but I can see why it’s addictive. ‘The workouts are demanding, but they’re over quickly,’ says Marcus Benson, a LES MILLS GRIT Series trainer. ‘Each 30-minute session mixes short bursts of high intensity with recovery periods, which is the best way to increase fitness, tone muscle and lose fat.’

There are three different classes in the GRIT Series. GRIT Strength uses barbells and plates to blast the major muscle groups and stimulate the metabolism to keep burning fat for hours. GRIT Plyo is based on the principles of plyometrics to build an agile, athletic body by transforming muscle fibre and increasing stamina. GRIT Cardio, which I tried, is a fast, fat-burning combination of explosive power moves and body-weight exercises. All three promise non-stop action and big results, fast.

At GRIT Cardio, the small class (of around 15) stood either in a circle or in two groups facing each other. From the start, it was fast and intense: short reps of shuttle runs, ladder climbs, push-ups and burpees. As always with LES MILLS classes (such as BODYPUMP and BODYATTACK), there are lower-impact options – which is good because GRIT™ has been designed to attract those who might not traditionally be into the idea of group workouts (men, in other words). And with three classes, and new routines every three months, there’s no way you’ll get bored.

The GRIT Series is being rolled out into gyms right now, so keep an eye out. And if your workout is in need of a shake-up, this half-hour attack is 100% what you need. For more information, or to find the nearest participating club, visit www.lesmills.com.