Hip and Healthy’s Top 5 Workout Watches

Hip and Healthy’s Top 5 Workout Watches

words by Rebecca Fordham

Suunto, M2
GREAT FOR: Monitoring heart rate
To ensure we reap maximum rewards from exercise, understanding and monitoring our heart rate is essential. Suunto’s M2 does the calculations for you, switching between three real-time heart rate ranges to ensure you stay within your most effective training zone. This ultimately allows you to elevate your fitness levels by discovering which intensity works best for you. In addition, the Fuschia pink M2 design counts calories, pulse rate and comes with a comfortable chest strap. A multi-functional watch that helps you make the most of your workout. £80, www.suunto.com

Timex, Health Tracker
GREAT FOR: Tracking your health
The Timex Health Tracker does exactly what it says on the tin. By recording distance, steps, activity and with an added diet diary that helps you keep track of calories consumed and burnt, this watch is designed to take the guesswork out of keeping fit. The lightweight, easy-to-use tracker was created especially for health-conscious women who would benefit from its encouraging features.  It uses a seven day fitness diary and audible achievement chimes, providing motivation when you need it most. Checking daily activity is effortless with this innovative design. £59.99, www.timex.co.uk

Garmin, Swim
GREAT FOR: Calculating pool training
Released earlier this year, the Garmin Swim is the ultimate training companion for swimmers. Designed to calculate your distance, stroke, pace, lengths and more, the watch allows you to concentrate solely on technique. It automatically knows what stroke you’re doing – all that is required is for you to enter the pool size, and dive on in. You can then upload your swim data to Garmin’s website for a free analysis, tracking your progress over time. And with a profile that cuts right through water, you won’t even know it’s there. £129.99, www.garmin.co.uk

Polar Fitness, FT7
GREAT FOR: Measuring your fitness
For those curious as to what your workout achieves, this is the watch for you. The EnergyPointer helps to focus on your goals by reading whether a training session is effectively burning fat, or improving fitness. This feature indicates a central point between the two so that you can gauge which exercise affects each outcome. The Graphical Target Zone Indicator ensures you stay working at the desired intensity at all times – allowing you to focus on either burning fat, or aerobic fitness. The choice is yours. £93.50, www.polaruk.co.uk

Cardiosport, Combi 2
GREAT FOR: Recording weight loss
What makes the C2 unique from other high performance fitness watches is its in-built CardioZone training system. You can set a target zone which helps to keep you at the right intensity based on how you are feeling that day – think cruise control on a car. This is great for those who are looking to lose weight, as is the chronograph and memory scan that allows you to review recorded data during or after a workout. The C2 is the ideal exercise gadget to help get you in-the-zone – and stay there. £46, www.cardiosport.com

For Rebecca’s blog see www.writtenandposted.blogspot.com

Herb House’s Courgette Wrap

Herb House’s Courgette Wrap

For more info visit www.limewoodhotel.co.uk






Dehydrated Tomatoes

Salad Leaves


Method: Thinly slice the courgette  with either a peeler or on a mandolin. Lay them out slightly overlapping on a peice of cling film. Put some houmous in thin lines across the overlapping slices (this helps to glue it together). Add the feta , julienned carrot , dehydrated tomatoes and salad. Carefully roll up using the cling film to help you lift it.

Pedal Power: Bex Fairbrother reviews The Pedal Studio in Wimbledon

Pedal Power

Bex Fairbrother reviews The Pedal Studio in Wimbledon

My relationship with spinning never did run smoothly…you could say it was an uphill struggle (excuse the pun!).  So I was slightly anxious when I agreed to give it another go & the result…well, I’m still aching 3 days after but it was a challenging and…dare I say it, truly rewarding experience.

A stone’s throw away from Wimbledon station, set in this leafy, South-West London suburb is the new addition to the Pedal Studio clan. With branches already in Hammersmith & Putney, Pedal Studio are set to be a force to be reckoned within the fitness world.

The studio is set above a bikram yoga centre and next to a pilates studio so you feel as though you are in a fitness hub which definitely enhances your urge to work out. The studio is situated on the top floor of the building and is both light & airy. The equipment is top of the range & you are able to change the settings to suit your needs with the help of the trusted instructors who will ensure you are safely and securely seated to make for the most comfortable and enjoyable riding experience.

There are also a variety of classes on offer including high intensity rides, strength training & endurance, so no matter what your fitness goals there’s something on offer for everyone. With a wide range of class times to pick from, seven days a week, Pedal Studio is a rare find in the oppressive & fruitless world of corporate gyms, trivial joining fees & unfulfilling memberships.

What’s also great about this fitness haven is that it’s pay-as-you-go (or ride) so it takes away the stress and pressure of feeling obliged to work out (which is never enjoyable). Instead you are free to rock up as and when you like and you’re not confined to a contract or joining fee.

With the winter months setting in, spinning is a great way to work out as you don’t have to brave the cold. There are also many health benefits of taking regular spinning classes. First and foremost, it is a low-impact, high intensity cardiovascular workout meaning that it will not damage your joints but will improve your overall cardiovascular health. In fact regular spinning actually helps build lean muscles which helps protect your knee joints, which many people have trouble with.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the instructor Jason who was both friendly and welcoming. At Pedal Studio the instructors are a team of passionate and well-trained fitness professionals who are not only experts in indoor cycling fitness but fanatics. Jason’s energy was infectious – he was encouraging, enthusiastic and kept you informed throughout the class. Such a bonus when you find yourself lagging not only in spirit but also physically due to the lactic acid burn.

The class was carefully constructed with great, motivating music. Each beat was in sync with the specific movements and sequences you are told to carry out on the bike. You are also given a heart rate monitor so you can track your progress (or lack of) compared to your cycling companions. By the time I got home I even had an email waiting in my inbox which showed a detailed graph of my cycling endeavours including my heart rate and calories burnt.

Everything about Pedal Studio was slick, fuss-free & efficient from the enthusiastic instructors to the state-of-the equipment to the simple touches like supplying towels. So if you are looking for a fun, flexible way to work out and can handle the no pain, no gain mantra (as it really does ring true in the case of spinning) then get yourself down to Pedal Studio. You can also burn up to 500 calories in an hour’s class depending on how hard you want to work and will quickly see a dramatic improvement in your overall fitness as well as your physical and mental wellbeing.

It’s a no-brainer if you ask me…one thing, though…bring plenty of water…you’ll need it!!

Our Top Four London Bootcamps

Our Top Four London Bootcamps

words by Harriet Chubb

British Military Fitness

Established 12 years ago, BMF has become one of the most popular and well-known boot camps in the UK, they run over 400 classes every week in over 100 parks and outside spaces in the country and are one of the most cost-effective and physically effective camps that we have experienced. Run by either serving or ex-military members they know how to put a vast group of people through their paces, from die-hard fitness fans to exercise virgins the groups are split up into different fitness levels so that you know you are training with like-minded partners. The expert instructors push you to your limits with varied military style exercise routines; expect squat thrusts, burpies, press ups and sit ups. Unlike other camps, your belongings are safely stowed in the conspicuous BMF van so that you have the freedom of the whole park to roam around in. Each exercise is normally punctuated with a short burst of running or sprinting so you will easily find yourselves covering a large area of the park in no time. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing scary or intimidating about BMF, the instructors will push you and this does involve a significant amount of hollering, however the classes are highly motivating and most of all, fun. Everybody clearly enjoys their sessions greatly, not only do you meet someone new at nearly every session, but the knowledgeable instructors change around frequently, meaning that the classes and routines always remain fresh and exciting.

We went to the Clapham Common classes but there are many all over the country, to find your nearest class go to www.britmilfit.com and try your first session completely free!

Gavin Walsh Boot Camp

Created by the eponymous Gavin, the Gavin Walsh Boot Camp had so many glowing reviews and testimonials that we had to try it for ourselves and we were not left disappointed. After studying fitness trends in the US, Gavin decided to bring his knowledge to the growing popularity of fitness boot camps here in the UK, with the ethos that getting fit and healthy does not require any fancy gym equipment; just an outdoor space and the force of your own body weight, oh and a healthy dose of self-motivation (helped along by motivating and enthusiastic emails from Gavin himself along the way!). Combining the expertise and benefits of one-to-one personal training with the camaraderie and motivation you gain from exercising in a group environment is what makes Gavin’s camps so successful. These camps are not just drop in classes when you feel like it, you sign up and commit yourself to the entire month long camp, consisting of three one-hour sessions per week with either pre-work or post-work slots available. The groups are small, with at most about 15 people and at the least about 5, your instructor is consistent throughout the month, giving that real personal trainertouch and the other participants can become firm friends, often exercising or entering competitions/races outside of the camp. The first few classes did seem easy, as a fair amount of technique training was needed to get the group up to speed with each other, performing the perfect squat e.t.c which of course took time to master. However, once this basic training was completed the camp came into its own and the sessions proceeded to get harder and tougher. We started to notice real results after the first two weeks and by the end of the month felt fitter, leaner and healthier than we have done for years. It gave us the motivation to sign up to the next month immediately, which nearly all of Gavin’s customers do.

We took part in the Hyde Park morning sessions on Mon, Wed and Thurs at £99 for the month. For more information go to www.thebootcamp.co.uk

One Element – Train in the Park

‘Train, Reset, Repair and Relax’ – this is the holistic approach that One Element empower their customers with, the notion of challenging yourself, training hard and subsequently relaxing afterwards was a logic that certainly appealed to us. With one hour sessions in your local park, the classes take on a 12 weekly cycle, designed to meet a specific training need so that you become healthier, leaner and stronger over time. You can even track your progress through the website with the help of their ’25’, ’50’ and ‘100’ class milestones – helping you tangibly measure your fitness goals. The classes, dependant on where you train, are small, so that you get the attention you need from your instructor. The instructors themselves are highly trained and many of them are in fact local sporting heroes -such as Alice, our trainer, who is in the England Rugby Squad, very impressive. The age range spans many decades, members vary from 16 to 60+, meaning the encouragement and team spirit is in abundance, with all fitness levels catered for and considered. As well as regular circuits (after a more than tough warm up) the classes sometimes involve a team sport such as tag rugby or football. This was beneficial not only for team bonding purposes but to banish clock-watching, after one or two intense (but friendly!) games of tag rugby, the time flew by and the class was at an end. Getting fit without even realising is always a bonus!

We trained in Fulham twice a week, but to find out more, including corporate or one-to-one training, go to www.one-element.co.uk

1000 Calorie Boot Camp

Delivering what they say on the tin, 1000 Calorie Boot Camp aims to burn this many calories in a 90 minute session, and, as they were offering a two week trial for all new members, we thought we should put this claim to the test. The company strive to make burning 1000 calories an overall fun experience in a friendly environment and they certainly manage to achieve this, Felix Deer, the company founder and the trainer who took our classes has confessed many times to hating P.E. at school and after his army training wanted to put the fun into getting fit. Many of the local members have been coming for years and the atmosphere reflects this loyalty. After a taxing warm-up, we thought that the rest of the session was going to be just as intense, however, Felix mainly incorporates games into his sessions, splitting the large group up into smaller groups and completing a selection of tasks such as throwing a giant tractor tyre down the length of the park or playing a slightly more complicated version of British-bulldog. The class then ends with some partner and core work (which you can really feel the next day). We would highly recommend this boot camp for people who are just getting back into fitness as the light-hearted environment and games are easy to pick up and take part in. We aren’t sure if we burnt 1000 calories or not, but we had a lot of fun doing it.

We joined in with the locals at the Twickenham group; go to www.1000caloriebootcamp.co.uk to sign up for a two week free trial too!



If you only do one thing this week… Get a younger looking you

If you only do one thing this week… Get a younger looking you

Getting a toned, fit and younger looking body is something that we would all like to achieve. With so much information out there it’s sometime nice to get a quick low down on how to do just this without it having too much effect on you or your day. So we have scoured the articles, chatted to the experts and athletes and read the books to bring you your quick guide to a younger you.

Build Lean Muscle: it is said that we lose half a pound of lean muscle every year from the age of 30. This in turn impacts on our weight as the less muscle you have the fewer calories you burn causing you to put on weight more easily. However, you’ll be please to hear that with a little exercise you needn’t worry about this. The best type of exercise for this is resistance training – which means you need to go to that part of the gym many of us don’t dare venture over too for all the muscle hanging out there – the weights area. If you use light weights you won’t bulk up and you’ll still achieve the effects you need. So make sure you ask one of the trainers at the gym for help when working out what weight to use.

Hydration is key: we can’t stress enough how much importance is placed on moisture and water when trying to stay young, both inside and out. A recent study in The Journal of Dermatology revealed that healthy hydrated skin aged just 22% over an eight year period, compared with a staggering 55% over the same period for dehydrated skin. Hydrated skin not only requires topical hydrating creams (for which we love oil based moisturiser Bio Retinoid Anti-Aging Concentrate from REN or Eve Lom’s TLC cream) but it also means that you need to drink lots and lots of water – around 2.5 litres a day. How many times have you heard gorgeous super models and actresses claim that their young skin is down to their water consumption? Too many times I’m sure, but its true.

You are what you eat: as you get older you often need less calories (unless you are an athlete or enthusiastic gym goer). Pauline Hili, founder of Nourish Skin Range, recently told me about a Japanese anti-ageing method that  comes from the Okinawan population who practice Hara haci bu, which involves eating until you are 80% full, as it puts less stress on the body and the digestive system, and is though to be one of the reasons that so many Japanese live to be very old. But there are other diet tricks that are perhaps more fun, such as introducing yummy antioxidant foods into your daily meals. These include cooked tomatoes which contain lycopene – a powerful skin antioxidant, and avocados, which are rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E, and salmon which is one of the best sources of omega oils that help our skin to stay supple.

And some things to ditch…

Ditch sugar – it is one of the worst agers

Ditch stress – we all know about the effects of the stress hormone cortisol on our bodies

Ditch salt – anything that goes against your hydration can’t be good

Ditch sunbathing – you must, must, must wear a high SPF factor when in the sun. I have not yet met one expert that would tell you that staying in the sun won’t age you

Ditch short skirts – mutton dressed as lamb. Need I say more…

Health Speak with founder of Nourish Skin Range, Pauline Hili

Health Speak with founder of Nourish Skin Range, Pauline Hili

What was your first introduction to skincare?
From a young age I was fascinated by the power of smell and fragrance and its ability to evoke feelings. I studied Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physiology and began my career as a brewing and plant scientist. Eventually all the pieces joined together – my passion and my professional skills and here I am today after working in the industry for over 20 years.

When and why did you decide that you wanted to delve deeper into the world of natural skincare?
I sort of fell into the world of skincare accidentally. I was like all young Aussies back then and travelling around the world after completing my first degree and had a parachute accident that grounded me in London with a broken ankle for a while. I meet someone in Bar Italia of all places and they suggested that, with my education and background, I try one of the london skincare companies.

What, so far, has been your most exciting finding?
Some of the most exciting findings have been through the research papers I have been involved in writing and my own research into essential oils.  The  complete effectiveness of essential oils at stopping common bacterial and yeast infections was really exciting when I was doing my early research. In recent times some of the work examining the effects of various plants on the skin has been very exciting.  I am also a keen supporter of argan, alpine foxberry and vitamin C on the skin.

What would your top skin care tip for clear skin?
Eat five a day and make sure that seeds and nuts are included in your regular diet. Also cleanse your skin morning and night time and very soon after exercise. Often post exercise is when the skin has an opportunity to become clogged and then break-outs can arise if the by products of perspiration are not removed.

What is your top anti-aging tip?
Laugh a lot and enjoy the things you love and do everything with 300% passion.  Seriously, new theories emerging about anti-ageing are less about a magic solution and all about long term maintenance and good practice.  Like a great athlete it’s about training regularly and  rigorously. Cleanse, tone, moisturise and use your sunscreen regularly and start looking out for your skin early. This will mean the genetic assets you have will last longer.

What question on skincare do you get asked the most?
As a scientist the most common question I get is – is this ingredient safe, do you know what this does?

What product from the Nourish range can you not live without?
I personally love the Radiance Brightening Moisturiser and Rejuvenating Peptide Serum. I also use the Balance Essential Moisturiser – I find it effective to dip between these two ranges depending on what is happening in my life and how my skin is responding to my surroundings (environment and weather).  And I don’t leave home without lots of golden glow toning souffle on arms and legs.

What is your own skincare regime like?
My own skincare regime is pretty simple – cleanse, tone and moisturise and then top up with serum. I swim a lot some weeks so I end up using the Balance Essential Moisturiser quite often as it has the lovely effect of neutralising the smell and dryness that chlorine can sometimes leave on the skin.

Do you make sure your make-up is natural? If so which brand do you like?
I am a minimalist with make up – I tend to wear Neal’s Yard Remedies eyeliners and NVEY foundation. I always use natural products.

What are your working hours like?
The mix of being in a start up business and a scientist means that your work is 24/7. During the day it’s all the practical stuff, manufacturing issues, development, testing and then at night I read all the latest papers and research emerging theories and new materials. It has always been like that with my career. In  the beginning I worked full time and did my PhD part time and on weekends and that has kind of stuck as a work ethic. I think if you are driven by research and ideas you just don’t switch off. I try to ensure I take in exercise to switch off.

Where or when do you feel happiest?
On a work level – achieving things in formulas that haven’t been done before. But on a personal level – I feel happiest on the beach in the sun.

How do you relax?
I find cooking to be relaxing; I love blending flavours and textures to make new recipes.  This year I planted my own vegetables and have found great enjoyment in watching vegetables start as seeds and becoming a pickable product to use in my kitchen.

Best book you have ever read?
Can I have two?  J D Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye,  which I re-read this year and The Prophet by Kahil Gibran.

What motto do you live by?
Work hard for what you believe in and do everything with passion and honesty.

What it feels like to have Amatsu

What it feels like to have Amatsu

words by Sadie Macleod

I feel drunk. I feel like I have been given a new body – one that my brain hasn’t quite caught up with yet. A lighter body, my head feels as though it is floating on my neck and shoulders. This is no bad thing as when I walked into Lorna, the Amatsu specialist’s, treatment room, I had a painful shoulder and I was told I had one shoulder higher than the other and one leg longer.

I had come to Lorna to find out more about Amatsu, an increasingly popular treatment that treats a variety of bodily ailments but the most frequent being joint, back and neck problems. Amatsu is an ancient Japanese therapy that uses soft tissue pressure and mobilisation techniques to help re-align your body so that it can work to the best of its ability.  It is also a fantastic way of revealing where the real problem lies: “people often think they’re coming to see me for one reason but actually the root of the problem is elsewhere – Amatsu tells me where that may be” Lorna tells me.

After an initial discussion about problems I have been experiencing Lorna then asks me to walk up and down a short corridor and do a variety of arm movements. After assessing my mobility I am asked to lie on the bed for a short session muscle testing, which is similar to kinesiology. This is a very gentle way of finding out where the weak spots lie by applying a small amount of pressure to certain areas of the body and seeing how they fare when tested, the process of which communicates to Lorna where the source of my soreness is coming from. And it appears my pelvis is lopsided and my neck is not working as it should, not to mention there are a host of digestive problems that I had been experiencing which could be connected to my muscular pain too.

As the kinesiology throws up an array of misalignments Lorna then spends a short while working out what the main priority is to treat. She settles on my neck and gets to work on very gently re-aligning my spine in my neck. It doesn’t feel quite as nice as a massage, but it is not painful at all. She then applies some pressure to areas in my neck and lets the muscle relax and work itself out around it. This feels particularly strange, as if my muscle is uncoiling.

Once finished she asks me to get up slowly and drink some water. I am then told to do a bit of a walk again up and down the corridor. Lorna warns me that it is completely normal to feel a little tipsy at this point, as if I have just downed a glass of wine. She’s right. I don’t feel myself. But I do feel much better.

Why Amatsu?

Amatsu is great for anyone suffering from a muscular or skeletal pain. Lots of Lorna’s clients have had accidents, and many of them have had a problem that they have ignored for years but have finally decided to do something about. But not to be discounted is that Amatsu is also very healing in other ways to. Lorna spoke of people who’s digestion dramatically improved, headaches disappeared and skin issues cleared up. This is because, as we Westerners often forget, our body is a whole and works as a whole with everything interconnecting and effecting something else. The route of the cause is not often where you think it is.


Lorna’s clinic is in East Dulwhich.

How much?

£55 per session. Most clients need 1 session a week for three weeks to begin with. But it is different in each case. Email [email protected] or tweet Lorna at @lornaclansey www.lornaclansey.com

Lorna Clansey

Reviewed: The Organic Pharmacy’s Signature Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial

 Reviewed: The Organic Pharmacy’s Signature Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial

words by Harriet Chubb

After one too many people in the industry had exclaimed their surprise that I was yet to try a product from The Organic Pharmacy, let alone a treatment, I decided it was high time I booked myself in for a facial at my local branch in Richmond. Nestled subtly into the hustle and bustle of Richmond high street, stepping into the store had an immediate calming effect and I was warmly greeted by the staff, who all needless to say, had flawless skin, a wonderful advertisement for the brand. Opting for the Signature Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial (I had heard so much about the Carrot Butter Cleanser and wanted to try it for myself in a facial) my beauty therapist, Diaria, settled me into the incredibly peaceful and divinely fragranced room. Always thinking (rather smugly I might add) that I had great skin, albeit slightly dry – Diaria managed to educate me more about my dermis than any therapist has ever managed to. Highly educated in skin science, she was able to identify hidden blackheads around my nose, forehead and chin and skilfully and painlessly extracted them, teaching me along the way how to prevent them in the future. The facial that subsequently followed was one of the most relaxing experiences I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The Carrot Butter Cleanser is applied first to soften and decongest the skin, followed by a complexion brightening flower petal exfoliation. Three separate masks of seaweed, honey and jasmine were then applied to me before she used rose crystals to decongest my lymphatic system. I am ashamed to say that at this point I promptly and embarrassingly fell asleep as the process was that relaxing. I am assured by Diaria though that an acupressure massage then took place to firm the facial muscles.

The result was immediate, once outside and back on the shop floor I could see and feel that my face was noticeably brighter, clearer and glowing. In fact it was difficult to not constantly touch my face to reiterate the soft feeling. The staff were extremely attentive at this point too, taking me through every product that was used and why it works so well. Diaria made me see that I needed to change my steadfast, standard skin routine from cleanse, tone, moisturise, to cleanse, tone, repair, moisturise in the morning and to only cleanse, tone and repair the skin at night. My thick layer of moisturiser before bed has apparently never been necessary as when you sleep your skin needs to repair, not work hard to absorb excess moisture.

“I wanted to create exceptional treatments that focus entirely on the individual through a combination of techniques and fantastic products so that you could see visible results every time”. This quote by Margo Marrone, the Co-founder of The Organic Pharmacy, superbly sums up the experience that I had at the Richmond store a few weeks ago, the knowledge of the staff and the quality of the products meant that I left entirely rejuvenated and educated, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough and I hope to return again soon.

Signature Rose Crystal Facial – The Ultimate Facial Experience. 60 min £80 & 90 min £110 (including Collagen Boost Mask and feet and arm massage)

The Organic Pharmacy, 3, George Street, Richmond, 0208 948 7049 [email protected]


Fitness Myths Busted

Fitness Myths Busted

by the experts at myvitamins.com

Recent research shows that whilst exercise of any kind is good for boosting the immune system, maintaining a healthy heart and even producing positive psychological effects, it could also be counterproductive and cause you to put on more weight than you actually burn off.  Part of the problem is what scientists refer to as ‘compensation’ and it works on the principle that whilst low-moderate exercise can burn calories, it can also stimulate hunger meaning in the long term you eat more and therefore store more fat. We talk to the experts at my vitamins.com to bust some fitness myths so that you put your energy in where it counts…

Small exercises tone better
One of the biggest mistakes people make in the gym is doing small, isolated exercises like bicep curls or tricep extensions thinking that this will tone certain parts of the body. Studies show the best way to tone the body is to do large compound exercises like squats, lunges, press ups and deadlifts since these require more muscle fibres to perform and as a general rule of thumb the more muscle fibres you recruit the more calories you burn.

You can lose fat from certain parts of the body
Another common gym myth is that you can lose fat from certain parts of the body like your stomach or hips. This isn’t true and unfortunately you can’t exactly pick where you lose fat from. The good news is that if you persevere and are determined, you will eventually lose fat from your ‘problem areas.’

Low intensity cardio is best for losing fat
Research conducted at the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of California in America found that low intensity cardiovascular exercise increased fat mobilisation, but not fat burning and that high intensity training such as strength training or sprinting was found to burn far more fat.

Low calorie diets are best for losing weight
Whilst it is true you need to create a ‘calorie deficit’ and use more calories than you eat, if you restrict your calories too much your body responds by going into survival mode, slowing the metabolism down and conserving fat. Therefore it’s important to gradually reduce you calorie intake over a period of time.

Lots of repetitions burn more fat
Quite often when in the gym people will perform an exercise for 20 repetitions thinking the extra reps will help to burn fat, but research shows lower reps with a heavier weight (between 8-12) could be far better at burning fat since this puts more of a demand on the body and sends a signal to your endocrine system to increase the metabolism for up to 48 hours afterward.

The Healthy Eating Weekend Plan

The Healthy Eating Weekend Plan

When it comes to the weekend, any plans of eating healthily over the week tend to get thrown out the window causing metabolisms to slow, sugar levels to rise and weight gain. We’ve teamed up with the scientists at Myvitamins.com to bring you a ‘Healthy Eating Plan’ for the weekend that addresses the common dietary mistakes people make and reveal the nutritional tips and specialist vitamins and minerals you should be incorporating in your diet to help ensure you get the results you want.  



Swap: Croissant with butter and jam

For: Cinnamon porridge oats with blueberries


Studies show that what we eat for breakfast can affect everything from our mood, cravings and energy levels for the rest of the day. It has a lot to do with our blood sugar levels because when we eat a carbohydrate high in sugars such as a croissant with jam and butter it can cause our blood sugar levels to rise and fall dramatically. This then brings about certain hormonal changes in the body that can cause us to crave other sugary snacks and also leave us feeling tired and lethargic. A breakfast of cinnamon porridge oats and berries on the other hand is perfect for regulating blood sugar levels, stopping cravings and keeping the body slowly energised throughout the day since the low glycaemic index carbohydrates supply a slow sustained release of energy, the cinnamon has been shown to control blood sugar levels and the nutrient dense blueberries contain a natural compound called flavonoids which help to jump-start and nourish the metabolism.


Swap: Tea and chocolate biscuits

For: Green tea and an apple


Whilst there are certainly benefits of drinking tea such as the antioxidant properties, there isn’t when it comes to the added sugar, milk and chocolate biscuits. That’s why it may be better to substitute your normal morning tea with green tea and an apple since green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which as well as being associated with a number of health benefits such as helping to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and reduction in the risk of cancer, it’s also thought to be responsible for the fat loss properties of green tea by increasing your body’s ability to use stored body fat as energy. Also just one apple contains 95 calories, has zero fat and cholesterol, contains crucial vitamins such as vitamins C, K and B6 and is high in fibre to help keep you fuller for longer. Alternatively you can buy Green Tea Extract Capsules.


Swap: Pepperoni pizza

For: Cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado and salsa


Pizza dough is a high glycaemic carbohydrate which means it causes blood sugar levels to rise, insulin to be released and therefore causes your body to store fat and this is only made worse by the fact you usually eat your lunch whilst sat at the table doing nothing physically active. But research shows you can still burn calories even whilst you sit there as long as you ditch the pizza for something healthier, like a cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado and salsa. This is because studies show cayenne pepper can increase the body’s metabolism by 25%. Plus avocados contain the enzyme lipase, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down fat that is stored in the body.


Swap: 30 minutes of slow jogging on a treadmill

For: 15 minute of High Intensity Interval Training


According to research published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011, regular steady state exercise such as ‘walking and jogging at a moderate intensity disappointingly has led to negligible weight loss.’ This is because scientists believe slow endurance training like running at a low speed can mobilise fat on the body but not actually burn it. That same journal however stated how a method of training called High Intensity Interval Training not only required less time to perform, but also was far better at burning body fat and increasing the metabolism so you continued to burn calories even after you’ve finished at the gym. High Intensity Interval Training simply involves working at 85% of your maximum work rate for 30 seconds (e.g. sprinting or very quickly cycling) followed by 100 seconds working at 60% of your maximum heart rate (e.g. jogging or cycling slowly) on and off for 15 minutes.


Swap: Cheese burger

For: Grilled wild salmon with chickpeas, kidney beans and white beans


Salmon is a great source of the essential fatty acid Omega 3 which studies have shown can increase the body’s ability to burn fat by ‘up-regulating’ the efficiency of the mitochondria to burn fat. The mitochondria are best described as the powerhouses of our cells and put simply when they work better, we burn more fat. Fortunately for those who don’t like fish you can get Omega 3 in your diet in supplement form and 60 soft gels of Omega 3:


Swap: Spaghetti Bolognaise

For: Spanish omelette with chopped green vegetables and peppers


Your metabolism slows down when you sleep so any excess carbohydrates or calories you eat at night will be stored as fat whilst you sleep. That’s why it’s important your last meal of the day is a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie and high protein meal since this will ensure all your hard work at the gym isn’t undone overnight.


8:00am: Morning run without breakfast 


One way of increasing the amount of fat you can burn is by going for a 30-45 minute first thing in the morning without eating any breakfast. What this effectively does is force your body to use stored fat as energy since your body has gone 8 hours without eating (whilst you sleep) so your muscle glycogen levels and insulin levels are low and glucagon levels are high, put simply this means hormonally your body is in the perfect state to start burning fat. So to do this wake up in the morning, get hydrated with a glass of water but don’t eat anything. Then go for a 30-45 minute run and then you can eat your breakfast.


Swap: Toast and marmalade or chocolate spread

For: Fruit smoothie made with Acai Berries


The basic principle of losing weight is to use more calories than you eat, but often people will make the mistake of not eating enough nutrient dense foods to keep their metabolism and other normal bodily functions running efficiently. That’s why it’s important to ensure you eat enough fruit since it contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes that keep the body nourished despite the calorie deficit. One of the most nutrient dense foods to receive huge media attention in recent years due to celebrities such as Oprah and Brad Pitt using them is Acai berries. Rich in antioxidants, omega fats, phytochemicals and vitamin A, B1 and C they are considered by nutritionists to be a great addition to any diet.


Swap: Toast and marmalade or chocolate spread

For: Whole wheat crackers with almond butter


Research conducted at Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain found that the healthy fat content in nuts produced very good satiating effect in those looking to lose weight.  Therefore having whole wheat crackers with almond butter as a mid-morning snack will help stop cravings, reduce hunger and more importantly prevent any lapses in your diet.


Swap: A chocolate bar

For: An orange


Now obviously chocolate isn’t great for you but perhaps less obvious is the fact oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, which has been shown to promote the production of Carnitine in the body, which can break down and oxidize fatty acids in the body.


Swap: Fish and chips

For: Lean beef steak with steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower


Scientists have found that a specially fatty acid known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) found in beef can actually increase your body’s ability to burn fat. Scientists from the I-Shou University, the study took 63 obese subjects and randomly assigned them to receive daily supplements of CLA (3.4 grams) or a placebo (salad oil) in a milk product for 12 weeks. Results showed that after 12 weeks of supplementation participants in the CLA group displayed average decreases in bodyweight of 0.7kg, BMI of 0.31 kg/m2, body fat mass of 0.58kg and fat percentage of 0.6%. Unfortunately CLA is only present in beef in small doses and not the effective 3.4gram dose mentioned in the study above, fortunately 60 soft gels of pure CLA are available from Myvitamins.com for £7.99.

Image taken from www.vogue.it


Back to Reality: How a trip to Mount Haven, Penzance healed my back pain

Back to Reality

 How a trip to Mount Haven, Penzance healed my back pain

I write this on the train returning to London after a weekend in Penzance where the impossible happened – the year-long pain in my back vanished. It all started when I fell off a surf board at Sydney’s Bondi Beach (not cool). When I emerged from the waves (they weren’t even big, I’m ashamed to say) I felt an unusual sensation in my upper back and neck and by the time I had reached the shore everything had frozen up. It was the type of pain that you get when you wake up having slept funny, or pick up the shopping bags to quickly and something just snaps (at least that’s what it feels like) – its utterly excruciating, totally debilitating and when it eases it puts the fear of god in you that at any moment it could come back.

I have been living with a slight pain in my upper back ever since I had the accident a year ago now. I can feel it when I get dressed, when I laugh, when I run and when I stretch… All the blinking-time in other words. That was until I met Sam at Mount Haven.

I came down to Cornwall’s Marazion coast for the Festival of Sport, a weekend dedicated to games, races, triathlons and some live music in the evening. And it was when I was trying to book myself into a hotel called Mount Haven that I found out about the lovely treatments they offer – they couldn’t find me a room but would I be interested in a massage? Why, yes, I would. And that was that.

A few words on Mount Haven itself; run by husband and wife team, Mike and Orange, it’s cosy, relaxed, yet stylish, and every bit lives up to its name. As you step in the door, you are greeted by the calming smell of incense. I was then introduced to Sam, my masseuse, who also revealed she was an osteopath. When she asked me if I have any particular problems I told her my surfing accident story. Sam then took a look at my back and diagnosed me with scoliosis – a common condition that means my spine is slightly curved. She also felt the area that has been causing me pain and said confidently that she thought she could help.

As I lay on the bed Sam pressed on particular points around my upper back and as she did I felt a sharp stabbing pain that, after a few seconds, began to gently ease as though she was taking the pressure off. This is because given enough time the ‘trigger points’ in the tissue, which are lacking blood supply and consequently are in a state of spasm, send a message to the brain, which in turn sends a signal back to the tissue to release. Also, when the pressure is released the tissue is flooded with fresh blood containing the oxygen and nutrition that the tissue needs to stay functional and healthy. It felt unbelievable. Afterwards my back felt lighter and so much more at ease. I had finally found someone that had actually made a difference, three doctor appointments, 10 physio sessions, and 11 massages later.

As I said, I am now on the train home and it feels like a completely different journey to the uncomfortable one on the way out in which I had to adjust my seating position every ten minutes. This is great news as I may just have to take another trip down to Mount Haven very soon.

Find out more about Mount Haven here: http://www.mounthaven.co.uk. They are currently running a special offer on their “Time to Transform Getaway Breaks”. If you have a back problem and want some advice on the best way to deal with it you can contact Sam at [email protected]

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

recipe by Deliciously Ella

These muffins are insanely delicious. So beautifully rich and chocolatey with awesome little pieces of crunchy pecans spread throughout the soft, gooey middle! It’s the zucchini that makes the texture so perfect though as it makes the mixture so much moister than before, ensuring that each bit melts in your mouth.

They’re super healthy too, packed with all kinds of goodness from the nutty plant protein, to all the fiber, polyphenols, potassium, magnesium  and vitamins C & A. So now you can indulge without the guilt!

Makes 14 muffins


– 1 large zucchini

2 heaped dessert spoons of raw cacao

1 ripe banana

2 cups of ground almonds

1 1/2 cups of pecans

1/2 a cup of quinoa or brown rice flour

1/4 of a cup of almond milk

1/4 of a cup of raw agave

8 medjool dates

1 dessert spoon of coconut oil

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

sprinkling of salt


Start by pre-heating the oven to 180C.

Remove the ends of the zucchini and grate it onto a plate – use the finest side of a cheese grater to do this.

Then place the pecans in a food processor for 10 second intervals until they brake into little crunchy pieces, leave these to one side.

Place the banana, pitted dates, agave, almond milk, grated zucchini, cinnamon, vanilla bean, baking powder, salt and cacao into the food processor (without the pecans).

Once they have turned into a smooth paste pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl with the almond flour, quinoa flour and pecan pieces. Mix well

Place the muffins into muffin cases and bake for about 15 minutes, until the top begins to brown and a knife can be stuck in and removed without any batter sticking to it.

Leave to cool and set for about an hour. Then enjoy!