If you do one thing this week… Wake Up Happy


By Samantha Whitaker

Today’s ‘fast lane’ approach to living means that too many of us are working hard, playing hard and simply not getting enough kip – which is why it can often be hard to get out of bed in the morning… Here are six ways to help you wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed:

Get enough hours
We sleep in 90-minute cycles. For around 45 minutes, we descend into a deep, restorative sleep, before we return to a shallow sleep, followed by REM (rapid eye movement), when you dream and when your body is naturally primed to wake up. If you can plan your sleep in multiples of 90 minutes (6, 7.5 or 9 hours, for example) then you’ll wake up towards the end of a sleep cycle refreshed and ready to go. If, however, your alarm clock jolts you out of a deep-sleep phase, you’ll find it difficult to wake up and feel groggy and disturbed. You’ll probably hit snooze until you’ve completed the sleep cycle, and if you don’t complete it, you’ll feel sluggish all day. Most research points towards 7.5 as the optimum amount of sleep for good health.

Create a sleep sanctuary
Anxiety, noise, discomfort and trips to the bathroom can also stop you entering the deep-sleep phase – so make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable, cool, dark, quiet and free from distractions. And keep a pad and pen handy to jot down, at 3am, that thing you suddenly remember you forgot to do.

Stimulate sunrise
One step further is to invest in a wake-up light (for example, the Lumie Bodyclock), which imitates sunrise by gradually lighting up the room over 30 minutes. As the light enters your eyelids, it induces the release of cortisol and encourages the body into the lighter sleep phase ready to wake up naturally when the light is at its full brightness.

Don’t eat late
Try not to eat a large meal too close to bedtime, or drink too much fluid, to avoid nighttime disruptions. It goes without saying that caffeine will disrupt sleep, but did you know the effects of caffeine can last up to eight hours? Keep caffeinated drinks for the morning, when you need the boost. Also, although alcohol might seem like a good idea to help you relax, it can disrupt your sleep cycle and cause you to go straight into deep sleep. As the effects wear off, you’re likely to wake up feeling exhausted after just one or two cycles (rather than the usual six or seven). In the morning, when you are awake, try to get up straight away before you can rationalise another five minutes. A cool glass of water on an empty stomach will get your metabolism going, and then fuel your body with a decent breakfast.

Supercharge your body
Lara Just, a nutrition consultant at www.yourfoodanalyst.com, says: ‘Studies have linked magnesium deficiency with chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as insufficient levels of potassium and B vitamins. CoQ10, lipoic acid, vitamin C and certain key amino acids are also important.’ Stock up on these to help you get going in the morning and to keep your energy levels up through the day. And you don’t need to invest in a stack of supplements: ‘A simple way to provide more of these nutrients is to eat a varied ‘living’ diet of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils fish, eggs and lean meats, with fewer refined sugars, grains and processed foods,’ says Lara. Optimum energy levels rely on the gut functioning properly, so if you constantly feel sluggish it might be a good idea to seek advice from a qualified nutritional therapist.

Work out
Exercise is a great way to beat insomnia. If you’re physically tired you’re more likely to experience a deeper sleep cycle as your body repairs its muscle tissues. However, strenuous exercise too close to bedtime is disruptive as it increases adrenaline and raises your core temperature. Morning is the best time to work out as you’ll start the day on a natural high, kick-start your metabolism and it gives you a good reason to get up. And in the evening, stick to a brisk walk, a gentle swim or some relaxing yoga.

Move it, Shake it, Frame it

By Bex Fairbrother

Set beneath the railway arches of Shoreditch High Street, a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the City, amidst London’s urban trendy scene is the dance, fitness and holistic studio, Frame.

Launched in 2009, Frame is quickly becoming a household name, a force to be reckoned within the exercise world. The founders of Frame, Pip Black and Joan Murphy met through friends of friends on a surfing trip in Cornwall, coming up five years ago now. They hit it off as they had a passion for the same things – gin and sport! Their shared mantra that  “getting fit shouldn’t be a chore,”  which many can relate to, is where their success lies. At Frame, they keep things fresh, fun and flexible.

What sets Frame aside from other fitness establishments is the laid-back vibe that engulfs you upon entering the studio. That feeling of dread at knowing you have to work out quickly evaporates.  They have created and are continuously developing their three signature classes: Frame-Method, Frame-Work and Frame-Barre.  What is great about these classes is that they cater to everyone. Whether it’s wanting a hard-core workout, which uses muscles you didn’t even know existed, to improving your flexibility and balance or merely to have fun whilst pretending to be a ballet dancer, each of these classes will ensure to sculpt your body whilst giving you a high-intensity cardio workout.

These classes all use small isometric movements to tone muscles whilst burning fat around the muscle – leading to long, lean muscles rather than chunky muscles. Think small movements rather than too many large muscle exercises that you would get in a traditional Body Conditioning or weights class.

The Frame Method Class

As a self-confessed exercise junkie willing to try any new fitness fad whether it’s entangling yourself in pilates equipment suspended from the ceiling to sweating it out in a hot bikram studio, Frame Method comes in as my number one all time most enjoyable workout.  I tried the Frame-Method class on Friday morning at 9.45am with Hayley Alexander and I have to say, it was amazing!  I must admit I was slightly apprehensive when we started jumping around on our yoga mats with 3kg dumbbells how I was going to keep this up for an hour! Designed by Hayley herself, this class really is great fun. It is a series of simple isometric exercises that strengthen and stretches every muscle group in the body, using a combination of different equipment (dumbbells, yoga strap, pilates ball, ballet barre and Frame cushion).

Hayley mixes it up, changing sequences and moves every 10 minutes, focusing on different areas of the body and muscle groups. This keeps it fun and enables you not to lose focus.  She also makes you utilise your own body to help strengthen, lengthen and tone specific ‘problem areas.’  What is also great about this class is that it is energetic but also low-impact at the same time, so will not aggravate knees and other joints.

What is fantastic about the Frame series is that they are all about achieving great results and packing as much into the hour as possible. They provide a safe yet challenging workout for everyone. Not only will you burn a large number of calories but by encouraging lean muscle mass you will increase your metabolic rate which in turn will result in you continuing more calories throughout the day.  Variety is the key to keep your body guessing and to see better results. By mixing it up, trying new things, this keeps it fun whilst giving your body an all-over work out and this is the beauty of Frame.

The Music

They believe exercise should be fun and sociable. They successfully manage to create this environment through their carefully crafted music choices which tie in with the choreography. Music is, they believe integral to the classes as it is what gets us motivated and takes our minds away from the pain we’re going through!

For all of the classes including the Method, they work out the BPM of the class to keep the tempo at the right pace. They first plan the workout structure, and then find music they love which fits, so the workout comes first ensuring maximum results. They work hard to try and vary the music so that it will suit all people, and keep it a little less ‘pop’ so that it’s less cheesy and intense than a standard gym class.

The Facilities

It’s not only the classes themselves that deserve praise, the brains behind Frame have also catered to all your post-workout needs.  There are spacious changing rooms with toilets and showers and provide shampoo and conditioner to all guests.  As well as towels, hair dryers and hair straighteners (a great touch!) so if you are heading out after then do not fret.  You can also rehydrate yourself with a number of drinks on sale including Coconut Water which is great for replacing any electrolytes lost during exercise.

Pay As You Go

If you are looking for a fun and flexible way to exercise then I would 100% recommend trying a class at Frame.  They have a number of fantastic teachers who are all super friendly and passionate about what they do and happy to answer any queries you may have about the best ways to exercise.  Unlike a number of gyms and fitness establishments, you are not signing yourself up to a lifetime of monthly direct debits. Instead you can pay-as-you-go and can purchase a Frame card upon visiting the studio which you use like an Oyster Card.  The new Frame Mobile App also recently debuted, which allows you to book and pay wherever you are in the world.

And if East London is a bit too far to travel, Frame have now expanded out west into another of London’s trendy hotspots, Queen’s Park.  So go on, why not give it a go..? Trust me, you will not regret it!


Great British Sports Style: get active and get outside


Hoodie and track pants from Nike; Swim Off Bikini and Winner Cape from Sweaty Betty; Shoes model’s own

Short-Sleeved Hoodie from Nike; Track CapriPants from Sweaty Betty

Shorts; Crop Top; Jacket: all from Nike

Real Flex Run Trainers from Reebok

Jacket and Shorts (Just Seen) both Nike; Split Leap Leotard from Sweaty Betty

For more information on any of these items visit www.sweatybetty.comhttp://store.nike.com/gb/en_gb/ or www.reebok.com/en-GB/

Photographs Shot by Sam Folan / Styled by Georgina Read / Model Sophie Oakley


If you do one thing this week… boost energy with these 10 Foods

One of the most frequently asked questions to nutritionists across the globe is “what can I eat to boost my energy levels?”. If you too are in search of energy boosting foods that aren’t full of sugar or stimulants than look no further, Hip and Healthy has done the hard work for you with our definitive guide to great tasting, energy-boosting foods that will have you jumping out of bed, paying attention at work and even get you in to the gym. Listen up…

1. Eggs

A great source of protein, an egg won’t just give you more energy but have them for breakfast and you’ll stay full through to lunch.

2. Almonds

Loaded with protein, rich in folic acid, vitamin B12 and magnesium (which help convert food into energy), almonds are a quick and easy way to make you feel alert.

3. Oats

Oats’ fuel is released slowly making sure that you don’t nod off during your morning meeting.

4. Bananas

Another slow-releasing gem, bananas are a great source of carbohydrates and are easily digestible making them a perfect pre

5. Reishi Mushroom

Known for its healing properties, Reishi also helps maintain normal levels of energy-giving adrenal hormones.

6. Lentils

Great source of protein, low-GI and full of fibre, lentils make a good base for an energy rich lunch.

7. Garlic

Due to its immune-boosting properties and insulin content that helps you absorb iron into the blood, garlic is a fantastic health tonic that keeps you revved up all day.

8. Lean meats

Low levels of iron can make you tired, so keep yours up with lean meats such as fillet steaks.

9. Kale

We’ve heard a lot about this green giant’s health benefits lately and here’s another one to add to the list; Packed with vitamins A, C & K as well as iron and magnesium add Kale to your morning smoothie to get you ready for the day.

10. Seeds

By regulating sugar levels, seeds will help prevent peaks and troffs in your energy levels that things like sweets encourage.

Our Top Energy Snack: Nakd Bars: Ingredients include cashew nuts, dates and cocoa all great for stimulating the mind, body and tastebuds! We approve! www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

When Two Becomes One: wine meets spa at The Yeatman in Portugal

Havens of tranquility where you can kick back and forget the madding world are increasingly harder to find. Hip & Healthy is left mesmerised by The Caudalie Spa at The Yeatman, in the magnificent World Heritage city of Oporto, in Northern Portugal

There was once a time when Lisbon grabbed all the headlines in Portugal. But it was only natural that a city that has undergone an architectural and culinary renaissance in recent years should be home to a landmark hotel to lure the unconverted to its abundant charms.

Oportotunity knocks
The British connection with Oporto (only us Brits call it that, it’s Porto to the locals pronounced ‘Port’, with a silent ‘o’, like its most famous export), extends way back to Napoleonic times when the Brits fell out with the French and the Portuguese stepped in to replenish our ailing claret stocks. Many of the oldest port companies were founded by British Merchant families. One such family, The Yeatman’s, was among the most distinguished and enterprising, joining the trade way back in 1838. 172 years on and some of the inherited wealth of its successors helped realise a €40million hotel in 2010, bearing the family’s name, to fill a void in the city’s luxury hotel sector.

Having navigated the steep backstreets leading up from the mighty banks of the River Douro below, you eventually drive through the expansive gated enclave and immediately feel this place is a bit special, it resonates an aura of a country club within a city. It is immediately clear why it has become the go to address for Oporto’s well heeled.

No right turn
Just as social etiquette dictates that a bottle of port be passed to the left around a dinner table, it seems rather appropriate that The Yeatman, part of the chic Relais & Chateaux collection, is perched atop the city’s Left Bank. You would expect a hotel with this kind of investment to impress from the outset, and it doesn’t disappoint. A grandiose natural light infused foyer, as spacious and decadent as one imagines the Titanic to have been sets the scene. Indeed, from the property’s elevated position above Vila Nova de Gaia, you could be forgiven for imagining you were on a great ocean liner gazing down on to the red-roofed port houses where wines have matured in barrels for over three centuries

Like a fine port, The Yeatman beautifully blends the renowned Portuguese hospitality with a uniquely British flair, resulting in an air of understated and stylish comfort. As you flit from one gracious lounge to the next it’s as though you are watching pages from House & Garden come to life.

You gravitate towards the terrace outside where wrought iron detailing meets chill out lounge. You are at first blown away by the view, there can be few finer, then peer down at the hotel’s terraced layers that imitate the sculpted vineyards of the Douro Valley. Beautifully manicured gardens abound, with each spacious 40m2 room river facing to literally drink in the view. Centre stage is a fabulous infinity pool, shaped, you’ve guessed it, like a decanter, plus another one indoors, and the bit you’ve all been waiting for, an enormous Caudalie Vinothérapie spa.

Bathing grape
The Caudalie brand was born out of a chance discovery in the vineyards of Bordeaux by Mathilde Cathiard, daughter of renowned winemakers Daniel and Florence Cathiard. During the harvest of ’93, her parents had invited a local pharmaceutical professor to a wine tasting at their Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte property. Whilst touring the vineyard the professor was drawn to a barrel full of what he declared were polyphenol rich discarded grape seeds and stems. He declared they were throwing away treasure. It was a life changing moment and Mathilde’s idea was born. According to research published in British medical journal The Lancet, polyphenols are 10,000 times more powerful than vitamin E in fighting the free radicals that cause skin ageing. 13 years later it boasts a multi-million euro annual turnover and seven dedicated spas worldwide, latest of which is at The Yeatman.

Cabernet fever
You are welcomed in to The Spa at The Yeatman with a cup of toxin-flushing Caudalie herbal tea, preparing you for the ensuing calm and tranquility. Tea relaxingly consumed, your masseuse accompanies you to the changing room where you don deep pile bathrobes and fluffy Yeatman slippers.

Having indulged in some of the worlds finest seafood over the border in Galicia just days earlier, a crushed cabernet scrub, which according to an Independent Laboratory certified by the French Ministry of Health, can help shave up to 3.8 cm from the thighs was just what the doctor ordered. It is one of the most popular Vinothérapie® Spa treatments in the Caudalie portfolio: a refining, deep exfoliating scrub designed to renew the skin and help it regain its radiance and softness.

Moments later we’re lying face down in the treatment room (each room is named after a native Portuguese wine variety, ours is Baja). Panoramic view now temporarily out of gaze, beautifully warming air filters not only down on to your back from a ceiling heater but from the bed beneath you as well. This little attention to detail was divine to remove any fear of the chilly factor.

The chinking bell chimes of the Torre dos Clérigos act as a soothing background harmony as a concoction of grape seed, honey and brown sugar is meticulously applied to our bodies. A blend designed to stimulate capillary circulation and help drain away toxins while at the same time nourishing and softening the skin. With its coarse granules, this scrub leaves your skin delightfully smooth and nourished. Aside from a pummeling in an Istanbul hammam one time, my skin has never felt softer. The treatment lasts 35 divine minutes. As the treatment came to an end I could literally have levitated from the bed.

We had big plans to tread the delightful cobbled backstreets of Oporto’s old town, but the opportunity to extend the out of body experience in the soothing waters of the Roman bath was too good to pass up. Access to the spa is down a flight of spiral stairs embedded into a giant port barrel. We bliss out on the heated mosaic loungers before checking out the tepidarium, hammam, sauna and colour therapy shower experience.

Eat man
When we finally emerge from the hotel, we head straight to Dick’s Bar where we dine on Mediterranean couscous salad, we are from Hip and Healthy after all. It would be entirely possible of course to come to the home of Port wine and be teetotal, however in the name of research we allowed ourselves to ever so slightly indulge in a glass of velvety smooth Cedro do Noval Douro red from Christian Seely’s eponymous estate further upriver. Besides, we showed considerable restraint given there were 82 Portuguese wines by the glass on offer.

‘Defining a Destination’ is the hotel’s bold strapline, and The Yeatman delivers in barrels full. As with the port at the dinner table, be sure not let this place pass you by.

The Caudalie Spa at The Yeatman:
Crushed Cabernet Scrub (Slimming)

35mins | €65

The Yeatman

Rua do Choupelo, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, 4400-088, Portugal
+351 93 200 3916

Superior double rooms from 330euros p/night

[email protected]
GPS: 41.13305; -8.61360

H&H recommends:
Enjoy the spa experience at home with Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Scrub 150g, £24.45; available at www.boots.com

Get Fit (AND WIN PRIZES) with Vaseline

Having cared for skin for over 145 years, Vaseline has taken its caring side to a new level this summer by joining together with Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life event series. To celebrate, they are giving 7 lucky Hip and Healthy readers the chance to win a Vaseline Essential running kit! Which includes: Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, Vaseline Essential Moisture Body Lotion, a stopwatch with a heart-rate monitor, blister plasters and a water bottle, all packaged in a waterproof bag. What more could a girl want!

To be in with a chance of winning you have to follow Hip and Healthy on Twitter by the end of play on Friday!

If you’re participating in the Manchester (Heaton Park) Race for Life event this weekend (22/07/12), make sure you join the ‘Vaseline Never Stop Bop’ warm up and visit them in their Vaseline chill-out lounge for a complimentary massage to give you a well-earned rest!

In preparation for the big day, don’t forget that Vaseline is your multi-tasking beauty essential:

  • Scared about getting those legs out?  Get skin race-ready with Vaseline Essential Moisture, RRP £2.75 for 200ml.  Combining pure oat extracts and Stratys-3 technology, the new formulation absorbs quickly for soft, healthy looking skin
  • Use Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, RRP £1.39 for 50ml, to prevent chafing and blisters, especially when breaking in those new trainers!

To take part in your nearest Race for Life, head to raceforlife.org

For all the latest news from Vaseline visit: www.facebook/vaseline

Terms and Conditions: UK 18+. Competition ends at midnight on 20th July 2012. See Lexis the Recommendation Agency, 8 Bolsover St, London W1W 6AB for full terms.

Delicious and Healthy Trout Dinner Inspiration

Baked trout on a bed of sautéed spinach with onion and sage lentils and red pepper

This protein-rich trout is flavoursome and light. High in Omega 3s its benefits include reduced risk of strokes and heart attacks, clearer skin, stronger nails and glossier hair. Sounds good, and tastes it too. Combine this with fresh sautéed spinach, lentils, and red pepper and you’ve got the perfect hip and healthy recipe, plus its easy too. Top Tip: Serve as main course at a dinner party!

Serves 2

90g of Dry Puy Lentils
2 Trout Fillets
Bag of fresh spinach
One red pepper diced
One onion diced
Celery diced (amount is up to you)
One handful of sage
Half a lemon
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Place your trout fillets in a dish on top of a large piece of tin foil. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Cover the fish with the foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Boil and let simmer the puy lentils for 20 minutes (or however long it says on your particular packet).
Chop up the celery, onions and red pepper . Wash and prepare the sage.
Sautée the spinach in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

To Serve
Divide the spinach onto two plates. Combine the sage, onion, celery, red pepper and the lentils and serve on the spinach bed, then place your fillet of trout on top. Season to taste.

Work Out Your Body Not Your Bank Balance

 words by Sarah Benton

Gym membership is expensive: fact. All gyms are created equal: fiction. There are some new kids on the block taking the gym world by storm. 

Low cost gyms are no longer creations of fiction. According to Sheffield Hallam University’s Leisure Forecast report, low-cost gyms are the way of the future. Over the course of the next five years new, low-cost, 24-hour gyms will be springing up across the country offering affordable pay-as-you-go membership plans. The days of hefty joining fees, high monthly fees and overcrowding between 6-8pm are seriously numbered.

How do they work?
Members pay an initial joining fee of around £20-£30. Monthly fees are then charged on a rolling basis via direct debit. There are no contracts; members can cancel their monthly payments at any time or freeze their membership if their circumstances change for just a short period. Members are then issued with a membership pin code that offers access to the gym 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Options and Costs
Membership at Pure Gym, one of the biggest low-cost 24-hour gyms, starts at £10.99 per month and rises to £24.99 depending on location. There is an initial joining for of £25.

The Gym, Pure Gym’s main competitor, charges £10.99 per month with a £20 joining fee.

For comparison, the average private health club costs £43.38 per month according to the 2011 State of the Fitness Industry Report. This rate usually comes with a minimum membership period of 12 months and sizeable joining fees.

Is quality compromised to cut costs?
John Treharne, CEO of The Gym says, ‘while there are no bells and whistles like towels, plush carpets and café areas, our members are guaranteed more than 200 pieces of the latest Matrix equipment presented in a clean and safe environment. For many, this is all they require.’

Low-cost gyms also offer personal training, free gym classes and tailored made fitness programmes just like any other gym. Stripping back all the unnecessary extras that don’t actually improve the workout environment allows The Gym and Pure Gym to offer affordability and flexibility without compromising on quality.

‘There is a common misconception that low cost means a compromise in service’ adds Treharne. ‘This simply is not the case. We have made staff savings by creating a model that does not require onsite receptionists and administration staff. All out staff, employed or self-employed, are qualified gym instructors or personal trainers. Meeting member expectations when it comes to service, cleanliness and safety remain absolutely core to our offering.’

Who are they for?
Anyone over the age of 18 can join, however, Peter Roberts, CEO of Pure Gym, says the model is aimed at ‘those who have never joined a gym before, as well as providing an affordable and flexible yet high quality option for those who expect more from their memberships but do not want to commit to long-term contracts’.

Downsides and limitations
At the moment there are only 24 The Gym sites and 25 Pure Gym sites open in the UK. However, between them there are another 35 opening soon or in the pipeline.

Despite being open 24 hours a day, gyms are only staffed during daytime hours and these times vary from gym to gym. This shouldn’t be a problem as CCTV and alarms linked to emergency services are located throughout the gym, but some may be put off from training ‘out of hours’.

The gyms can feel a little impersonal at times due to low staff numbers and the transient nature of memberships.

Find out more
The Gym operates in locations across the UK from Ashford in Kent to Swansea in Wales. You can find out more at thegymgroup.com.

Pure Gym has gyms all over the UK from Aberdeen in Scotland to Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. Visits its website puregym.com for mode details.



From High Profile PR to Acupuncture… Claire Dabreo talks us through how she made the jump

Tell me honestly, are you the same person you were when choosing your GCSE subjects, aged 14?  Or your A-levels?  Or even your degree?  If you are one of those people who has always known what they wanted to do, driven by a passion for something in particular, then truly, lucky you. I am most certainly not the same person. At 35, I had changed almost beyond recognition and I found that the career I chose for myself as an achingly ambitious, acquisitive 17 year old no longer fitted me.

A career in PR had suited my twenties. It paid well, afforded me parties every night if I chose them, I met interesting people, and who wouldn’t love staying in hotels in exotic locations on expenses?  But something changed in my 30s. First off, I met my husband and the travelling no longer seemed quite as much fun without him.  A couple of promotions seemed like a dream come true, but the stress that comes hand in hand with a senior position and a senior salary saw my eczema, which had been fairly stable since childhood, flare up in an alarming manner. And then, my back went. I was literally stopped in my tracks.

I decided to try acupuncture, well regarded for back problems, and over a few sessions something quite profound happened. Not only did my back come ‘unstuck’ and my skin start to clear, but something else came unstuck. My thinking. I realised I wasn’t stuck in this career or on this path I had chosen so many years ago, but I could change direction, make my life work for the ‘me-now’. And what better to do than my new found passion, acupuncture?

I signed up for a three year course, combining freelancing with college commitments and loved every moment of it.  Going back to school might seem daunting, but my brain enjoyed being challenged in a new way and more than that, the training opened up my eyes again to the world around me.  The teachings of acupuncture are rooted in nature, so the garden, the woods and the wilds became my classrooms.

After graduation, I began to build my acupuncture practice, taking on PR projects from time to time to help meet bills – after all, I have a valuable skill set that works for me and you don’t build an acupuncture practice overnight. But it complements my new priority, acupuncture. My work life today, at 39, is built around the person I am now, with all of my experience, passions and skills.


Quality versus Quantity in the Gym – Which Is Better?

We turn to Gym Fitness: Secrets of fitness and health success by Steve Shipside to answer this often, rather complicated question. If some time in the gym is good, then more must be better, right? If it’s virtuous to go to the gym three times a week, then five times must make me something of a saint, no? No.

Apparently, it’s better to work out smart rather than hard… and here’s why…

Junk Training
Just think for a minute about how you count your fitness sessions. Are you a runner clocking up miles? A calorie-burner staring at the dial as the numbers click by? A class-counter aiming to put in three classes a week? Or a clock-watcher ticking off the hours? Maybe you haven’t even asked yourself the question yet because you go to the gym pretty much when it’s convenient and do some stuff for however long that takes.

Maybe that suits you, but the chances are that if you’re reading this it’s because you feel that somehow things could be better, more interesting, more rewarding or more effective.

What happens to many of us is that having started to go to the gym we feel better about ourselves and then a gentle confusion sets in. It seems like being in the gym is what makes us feel good. So we go and try new classes. We may spend an extra half an hour on a machine, particularly something nice and comfy where you can sit down. Next time we may even take a relaxing read on the exercise bike and come away an hour later feeling that this exercise thing really isn’t at all bad. Which is just fine for as long as it works, but this kind of exercise isn’t really training, it’s more about remaining in a comfort zone.

Are you cancelling out your gym efforts?
While it’s true that using a machine or going to a class will always achieve some goals (burning calories for example), you need to take a good look at the rest of your life to ensure that you’re not then wiping them out afterwards. A lot of people reward themselves for having gone to the gym. That may be as obvious as a face-full of snacks afterwards, or it might be something more insidious like not taking the stairs or driving to the newsagents because, well, you are going to the gym regularly after all. This is the danger of junk training. It doesn’t actually do any good in itself, and because it lets you kid yourself you have worked out, you may let things slip elsewhere.

This doesn’t mean that the gym always has to be about pain, just that if you don’t have a clear goal for each and every visit then you might be better off skipping that session. Similarly if you’re not feeling good enough to reach your goal, then why not take the day off and go for it next time instead? Going for qunatity not quality works fine for a while, but before long you’ll hit a plateau of tiredness, boredom and disappointment.

So what’s the answer?
The answer is to draw up some goals, and the means of measuring them. Working out three times a week or spending five hours in the gym is what’s called a process goal because it focuses on the process not on the actual outcome. If that’s all that’s getting you to the gym, then you’ve probably already seen the limitations. Time to move on beyond the process and start setting yourself outcome goals. Typical outcome goals tend to be along the lines of:

■ Lose weight

■ Build bigger arms

■ Tighten that bum

■ Get back into a size ten

■ Get fitter

All of which are admirable in themselves, but a bit vague. If you want results you need to work out how to measure them and give yourself a deadline:

■ Build 2 cm of muscle onto the arms by that short break at Easter

■ Lose 2 kg before the end of next month

■ Get fit enough to run a sub-fifty-minute 10,000 m on a fixed date.

Now you have goals, ways to measure them and deadlines, you can go back to the gym and decide whether you are really achieving something, or just junk training.

About the Author: Steve Shipside is a qualified Pilates and fitness instructor, and a member of the Register of Fitness Professionals. In his spare time he is also an Ironman triathlete, marathoner and ultrarunner. If Steve can do it, you can.

Published by Infinite Ideas (www.infideas.com)

An Optimum Nutrition Breakfast

It is true, you can have delicious food that is also good for you. There are a host of recipes out there that taste great, look great as well as make you feel great – you just have to look in the right places. One of my fave, go-to guides for healthy, yummy recipes is the Optimum Nutrition Cookbook. Optimum nutrition simply means giving your body the best possible intake of nutrients to allow it to be as healthy as possible and to work as best as it can. Here is one of my favourite breakfast recipes:

Quinoa Porridge with Bananas:


75g quinoa

freshly ground nutmeg

2-3 tablespoons rice milk

4 tablespoons low-fat natural yoghurt (or soya yogurt)

1 banana, peeled and sliced


1. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 350ml water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15 mins. The mixture should still be quite sloppy.

2. Tip the mixture into a blender and process with nutmeg and rice milk. Add more liquid if needed.

3. Return the mixture to the pan and heat gently. Serve topped with a couple of spoonful of soy yoghurt and the banana.

Quinoa and Salmon Nori Wraps


Nori Sheets (available at Waitrose)
Salmon fillet
Soy Sauce (for dipping)
Sushi Rolling Mat


Bake the salmon in the oven with a bit of lime and olive oil.

Cook the quinoa (always use twice as much water as the quinoa)

Then, once everything is cooked, get out the sushi rolling mat and place your nori sheet on it. Spread a thin layer of quinoa over the top – covering the sheet. Then down one side spread a thin line of mayonnaise. then flake off the salmon and add it on top of the mayonnaise and the thinly sliced avocado. Then roll up using the mat and chop into sushi like pieces!

Delicious and super healthy!