What it was Like Being a Games Maker

By Samantha Whitaker

The opening ceremony of London 2012 was a baptism of fire. Despite training, the onslaught of press demanding to know where they could go and what they could know – now, if not sooner – was overwhelming. But, having bonded over the various pre-Games printing, photocopying and laminating tasks, we soon pulled together as a team and rose to the challenge.

Press Operations at all the Olympic venues worked in a similar way: there were press seats (called ‘tribunes’) in the stadium, some of which had desks and internet connection, where journalists could watch sport and write simultaneously; a mixed zone, through which every athlete has to pass after competing (although they don’t have to stop and talk); a press conference room; and photo and press workrooms. I was a press workroom team member at the Olympic Stadium, and our job was to help nearly 6,000 top journalists and photographers tell the rest of the world the stories of the Games. The shifts were long (the workroom stays open four hours after the sport finishes), but there was always something to do or someone to help.

For me, the press conferences were the most interesting part. And the best ones were Bolt’s, which he began with a ‘Drumroll please…’ from the wings. I was astonished at the questions some journalists chose to ask, for example, ‘Usain, describe for us your perfect woman.’ Really? One tongue-tied journalist tripped up completely and asked for Bolt’s views on the Jamaican drug team…

I didn’t see as much sport as the tribune team, but I did manage to watch two finals on strategic dinner breaks. Both times, the roar from the stadium was deafening.

By my final shift – the closing ceremony – I was in such an Olympic bubble that I couldn’t imagine life after the Games. To take a fortnight out to do something so completely different, exciting and rewarding was refreshing, and now that I’ve come back down to earth, I appreciate how incredibly lucky I was to be a part of London 2012.


The New Way to Workout: Get Fit and Have Fun with Parkour

 

words by Sabi Phagura

As someone who likes to lead a healthy lifestyle, I am always looking for innovative ways of keeping fit. Whether that means trying out a new class, jumping on the next fitness craze or going back to basics, there’s not much I wouldn’t do in the name of fitness.

And I really couldn’t get more back to basics than with a class with Parkour Generations. On initial receipt of my email requesting me to come along to one of their classes in London, it’s safe to say that I was somewhat baffled as to what I was letting myself in for. But any confusion I may have had over what Parkour was, dispelled in the minutes after meeting Fizz Hood, one of the Parkour Team Members.

In the brief discussion I had with Fizz, I realised that Parkour was an art of movement, a discipline that enables the practitioner to travel freely through and over any terrain they may encounter. It is more than a physical fitness class and incorporates fundamental mental attributes for movement including balance, strength, dynamism, endurance, precision, spatial awareness and creative vision.

But no amount of listening to the theory of Parkour would have made me understand the true concept of the physical class until I partook in it. I was rearing to go the moment I was introduced to Brian, my coach for the evening. The warm up was tough mainly because it was different than anything I had tried before so my body was not used to it. Brian had us crawling on all fours, jogging sideways on the move, and giving our team members piggy backs. And despite feeling exhausted, I was having fun too.

The workout itself was also far from conventional and strength, endurance, precision and spatial awareness all came into play.

Our first hurdle was to walk along a metal bar attached to a brick wall. A balancing act that required a lot of focus.You had to train your mind into thinking you could accomplish the task before you could physically do it. To say it was challenging is an underestimate but what I really enjoyed the words of encouragement you received from fellow team mates who were routing for you to succeed.

For our next task we were taken to an area that contained small concrete platforms close to wall and we had to sprint from a distance onto it before clinging to a wall with railings. It was great fun and I had several attempts at this before I felt I had mastered it. Then came a big hurdle. I had to jump over a large length of waist high brick wall in quick succession. My fellow teammates made it look easy – but I soon realised that it would take me a couple of weeks to perfect the move.

After a few more acrobatic moves using props in parks, dwellings and the general outdoors, I was surprised that over two hours had lapsed and it was time to cool down.

Parkour contained the mental and physical challenges of a gym session but without the monotony of the same routine and equipment, making it the perfect activity for those wanting to try something new and get fit at the same time. And what’s more, you’ll feel part of a community embracing the great outdoors, and right now, there really is no better place to fit and active than London.

For more information on Parkour Generations classes in and around London, log on to http://www.parkourgenerations.com/

Follow Sabi’s blog: https://fitlass.wordpress.com

 

 


Health Speak with Rebecca Adlington

Hip and Healthy talks to the Team GB Olympic medalist about her health, beauty regime and love of hit US show “Friends”

My Day
I get up at 5:15 and start the day with a small bowl of cereal before heading out to the pool for two hours of swimming training. I then come back home for a second bowl of cereal, something like Weetabix. Lunch is something easy like a sandwich or a salad – nothing to heavy. I then spend the afternoon doing normal chores like washing clothes. 5-7pm is spent back in the pool followed by an evening meal at home of something easy and well-balanced. My meals always contain veg, meat and carbs, and often mum will come and cook for me when I am exhausted. I steer clear of take-aways and overly fatty food but otherwise I am very relaxed about what I eat.

My Inspiration
My passion for swimming was ignited by family swimming trips with my two sisters. This also instilled a competitiveness in me as I was determined to beat them even though I was the youngest. I wanted to just be able to do what they were able to do and then I wanted to do it better.

My Family
My family are so supportive of my swimming. They always have been which is so essential for athletes and it definitely helps me go that extra mile in my abilities.

My Relax Time
I am often very tired at the end of the day. To relax I just watch TV, often Friends – I have watched each episode of Friends at least five times. It helps me to completely switch off.

My Weekends
Weekends are spent doing completely normal things like going home for a Sunday roast cooked by mum.

My Beauty Regime
Moisturiser is absolutely essential to swimmers. I can’t live without it. My favourite at the moment is Liz Earle, in fact I love all their products.

Becky is sponsored by Speedo. Check out their website for Speedo swimming events that are taking place all over the country. Get involved. www.speedo.co.uk

Next week we chat to open-water swimmer and Olympic athlete Keri-Anne Payne…


Time to Cleanse – Day 5 with Soupa Juice

Day Five
The last day of the cleanse and I have found myself worrying what I am going to do when I am not on it anymore. It has been so fantastic having Danni’s support and guidance throughout and I just text her asking how to ease myself off the cleanse – I needn’t have bothered as an email had already been sent to me with tips and recipes to stay healthy moving forward. My main concern was how to ease myself back into alcohol as I have a hen party… like… tomorrow! Danni did not approve of drinking the day after the cleanse but asked me to stick to champagne and vodka if I simply had to drink. So to make sure I see the cleanse right through (I have been known to fall at the last hurdle) I have booked a facial and tickets to see Batman. I am 3KG lighter – which is around 6llbs not that I did this to lose any weight but I also feel less heavy. My stomach has never been flatter and I just feel as I have pressed the reset button on my digestion. Danni recommends doing the cleanse four times a year – seasonally, which makes total sense. The weirdest thing about finishing this is that I am so looking forward to chewing food again, but at the same time terrified of re-toxing. Bring on the next cleanse in three months time.

Danni and Lisa’s Top Tip
Shake your drinks to wake them. Don’t worry if they are a bit separated, that’s just because they are unpasteurized to keep them as fresh as can be.

H&H’s Top Tips for Cleansers

Keep your exercise very light – a couple of yoga sessions, a few walks – nothing strenuous 

Stay busy – nothing like boredom to make you want to eat, eat, eat…

Book a massage or facial – treat this as a week all about you. Plus a massage will help your body to eliminate itself of toxins.

For more info visit www.soupajuice.co


Time to Cleanse – Day 4 with Soupa Juice

Day Four

Hoorah! For the first time this week I woke up not feeling as though I had only had about two hours sleep. After a light bit of exercise in the morning I gulped back the green juice. And it wasn’t long before my mid-morning smoothie (this time of goji berries, cherries and almond milk) suffered the same fate. My lunch-time juice though – was a little harder to swallow. I have also just started to miss the sensation of chewing – weird as that might sound. I then had a long wait until my soup supper – again delicious and wholly satisfying. I swear my stomach must have shrunk, as there is no way I would normally be full on soup alone! Then I made the error of having no plans thinking my body could do with a break from socialising and working… but when you have not a lot to do and not a lot to eat things can get very boring. So I threw myself into my work to distract me from sticking my head in the fridge. Then I had a hot oat milk again and went to bed early.

Danni and Lisa’s Top Tip

Your soups contain raw ingredients so try not to overheat them so you get the full benefits! Simply warm gently on a stove.

If you would like to season your soup, please do so only with good quality olive oil, pepper, a squeeze of lemon or some Himalayan salt, NOT regular salt… It’s really not very good for you!

Look out for day 5’s post tomorrow…
For more info visit www.soupajuice.co

Time to Cleanse – Day 3 with Soupa Juice

Day Three

I definitely woke up with more energy today. Eyes feel a little brighter, head feels less groggy – perhaps the toxins are finally working their way out of my system? Let’s hope. The green juice was a pleasure and welcome refreshment after a light jog. And I took the milk thistle tincture as advised too (a great detoxer that supports the liver). In an attempt to hold of drinking the mid-morning smoothie – my FAVOURITE meal of the day – I had one of the Detox Box teas – Pukka’s Morning time tea that contains roobios  and is great mixed with a little oat milk. It worked for all of 20 minutes… But by god those mid-morning smoothies are delicious! The rest off the day was much easier than anticipated as Danni had sent me an email saying that often the middle day is the toughest but to hang on in there. I definitely noticed an improvement in my skin, which was great and actually had tons more energy than previous days. And I the hunger is bothering me less. But something that I have learnt is that when I am very hungry I don’t always need to stop what I am doing and eat the first thing that falls into my hand. I can wait – my body can take it – for supper or grab a juice to bridge the gap if I am not going to be eating for a while. For supper – it was the beetroot soup – so totally delicious and incredibly filling (much to my glee). Then just before bed I started to get a bit hungry again so allowed myself a hot oat milk (we had run out of the recommended almond milk).

Look out for Day 4’s post tomorrow…
For more info visit www.soupajuice.co

Time to Cleanse – Day 2 with Soupa Juice

Day Two
I woke up exhausted despite the early night. This is totally normal – Danni tells me “if someone’s usual diet contains a good amount of caffeine, sugar or any preservatives then their bodies are basically in a state of constant stimulation”. That will be why then since lately I have become Queen of Caffeine despot knowing how bad it is for me.

As Danni suggested I started my day with a hot water and then made my way to work. I instantly fell asleep on the train so had half of the green juice to perk me up; I then finished the rest of it at my desk. Once again, the mid-morning smoothie was a total dream. This morning it was chocolate inspired and contained cocoa as well as lots of other delicious ingredients, like spinach and almond milk. Soupajuice put little messages on each of their bottles which tell you exactly what it is that is so nutritious about the ingredients used in that particular smoothie, and in this one it was all about mood-boosting hormone serotonin that cocoa is known for promoting. I then had a long wait until supper and suffered from a bad headache all afternoon as well as a few dizzy spells, which Danni says “is a common side effect during detoxes and results from a reduction in your normal consumption of caffeine or sugar.” Thats why Soupa Juice suggest limiting or cutting down all caffeine and stimulants a week leading up to the cleanse, as it helps to ease those symptoms. I held out despite this and had the soup as my (rather late) evening meal and afterwards had a warm oat milk to fill me up completely. Total heaven. And I felt proud of myself in sticking to it – I knew this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park but the feeling of following through with it is incredibly satisfying. And I knew that my body would thank me for this later.

Danni and Lisa’s Top Tip:
Start every day with a hot water and lemon. Alkalizing your body and breaking down fats stored in your liver.

Visit www.soupajuice.co for more info


Web Discussion on Travel Health… What would you ask?

Take these handy health tips away with you:

Eat Lemongrass to Keep Mosquitos Away: On a recent trip in Bali I discovered that this is why all the locals add lemongrass to their dishes. Studies have been done proving that it reduces your chance of being bitten by more than half. It is a great way to ward of mozzies for those who find deet to strong.

Use a Good SPF: We have heard it before and i’ll say it again. Always wear suncream. Something 15+ depending on your skin tone. Know your skin’s limitations and don’t push it – there is nothing more annoying than having to spend the rest of the holiday indoors because you took it to far on the first day.

Buy Insurance: You’ve fake tanned, waxed, packed, checked in online, dropped your bags (paid that inevitable bit extra), and made it onto the plane on time – there is so much to think about before you go on holiday so it is no surprise that many forget their travel insurance. This is not a smart move. Let me tell you a story that happened to a friend of mine. He was just about to go off travelling with his mates. When he got to the departure lounge one of his friends discovered that he had forgotten to buy health/travel insurance. He really was not that fussed and protested that it was too much money, but his friend persuaded him to get it. This was probably the best move he ever made in his life, as half way through his holiday he broke his neck surfing. He is totally fine now, probably due to the amazing treatment he received. The moral of this story – buy health/travel insurance.

Take a Good Probiotic: Essential for gut health and keeping stomach sturdy, especially in countries which are known for dosing out funny tummies. Also a good tip? Avoid questionable meat and street vendors…

WIN £200 pampering products from The Sanctuary just by asking your health question.
Want to know what to pack for watersports? Or got a query about how to avoid sunstroke? For more questions or other tips on travel health email [email protected] and your questions will get passed on to the AXA PPP healthcare experts and answered in an AXA PPP healthcare Web Discussion on travel health on Thursday 23rd August: http://chat.axappphealthcare.co.uk/. Pharmicists will be on hand from 1pm-3pm. PLUS anyone who asks a question will be entered into a prize draw to win £200 pampering products from The Sanctuary. Or for more information visit AXA PPP healthcare’s Facebook or Twitter page.

YOUR ANSWERS HERE
Check out the following link if you didn’t manage to make the chat:

http://www.axappphealthcareblog.co.uk/content/summer-travel-live-chat-our-experts-on-how-to-stay-healthy-while-enjoying-your-time-abroad/

Health at Hand – 24/7 medical and fitness advice
If you are a member of AXA PPP healthcare then you will also have access to their exclusive Health at Hand 24/7 service, meaning that you need only pick up the phone for professional, helpful medical advice. Not a member? Not to worry, since you too have access to the health professionals either in monthly live chats – or by using the Ask the Expert function on the AXA PPP healthcare website, and an expert will always do there best to get back to you within 48hours. You can even ask them about fitness and nutrition!

 


Time to Cleanse – with Soupa Juice

I have just dyed my hair brown. Having been blonde since I was 17, this is quite a change. The urge to dye my hair brown is an annual thing that normally happens in October after the summer’s glow has faded, which just goes to show how undeniably terrible our so-called summer has been. Along with the urge (and actual going through with that urge) to dye my hair brown there have been other tell-tale signs that our summer ceased to exist this year. For one my skin tone is a cross between a shade of grey and a hint of green. Spots have also relentlessly popped up on my shoulders and back – not attractive. And a reoccurring patch of eczema has now thoroughly made its home in my elbow crease!! What is  this! Not to mention the excess of white carbs that has relocated itself from my hands to my mouth and finally deciding to camp out on my hips. And finally, I just don’t feel good, not about myself or the way I look.

It was with all this in mind and on a particularly grey day that I met Danni. One part of SoupaJuice cleanses duo (the team is made up of two gorgeous girls Danni and Lisa) and the most gloriously bouncy girl I have met in a long time. Danni radiated health and swiftly ordered a green tea whilst I ordered a sugar laden virgin mohito – “I have just been on a cleanse” she said “so I think the sugar might make me go a bit crazy” and that is when I realised… a cleanse… that is exactly what I need.

Still a young but highly professional company, Soupa Juice offer three different cleanses varying in length and type of juice – I jumped at the opportunity to do the five-day cleanse – recommended by Danni. Each day I will be packed off with three smoothies (starting the day with a green juice) and a soup for my evening meal. A bit nervous that the mere sighting of a  jar of peanut butter (I dive in by the spoonful) would make me go weak at the knees and give in, Danni assured me that she is on hand to answer any questions during my five days and that there would be support along the way. Support, I think, I am going to need!

I kept a diary of my Soupajuice experience. Here is how I got on…

Day One:

I was genuinely so excited to get on the cleanse this morning. I really do feel like I need this. So I did a very light stretching session in the gym and came home and started the day with a hot water (I had no lemon). I then had my green juice, which tasted a lot sweeter than I expected. I have to say the next mid-morning smoothie was totally delicious and contained yummy things like dates and almond milk! I then waited out my lunchtime smoothie until three pm, which was lemon, and olive oil – sounds less-than-appetitising – tasted wonderful! Teatime was hard as I usually nibble on some sort of snack and I had started getting really bad headaches as part of the caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Then came the evening. The key to not falling off the cleanse wagon was keeping myself busy; I had a bath, did some work and watched an episode of New Girl (if you haven’t seen it yet – do – its amazing). I then had the soup for supper as my family tucked into lamb chops and a wild rice salad. Of course I envied what they were having, but I kept reminding myself how much my body needs this. There will be plenty of chances to have wild rice salads in the future. After supper I had a cup of warm oat milk as the hunger pains where a bit to much to bare and I was worried I wouldn’t sleep. The oat milk did the trick nicely and I ended up going to bed an hour earlier than normal.

Danni and Lisa’s Top Tip:
Make sure you drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day. You don’t want all that lovely fiber to go the wrong way! You can also drink as many non-caffeinated, herbal teas as you want.

Look out for Day 2’s post tomorrow…
For more info visit www.soupajuice.co

 


Spin City: Try BOOM! Cycle – the latest craze

 

London’s Shoreditch area has long been known as the trendy, party town area of the city. But there is an underground network of sports and fitness activities popping up with basement yoga studios, swanky gyms and my latest discovery – an underground spin studio. Tucked away discreetly down Scrutton Street, BOOM! cycle is the brain child of USA born and raised Hilary and her boyfriend, Robert. Determined to create a spin space that is both professional and fun and that met the levels of Hilary’s spin experiences in the US, BOOM! Cycle was born. Cool and colourful graffiti adorns the brick walls and the changing rooms are minimal, clean and spacious. There are no frills here, and because it caters for just one thing, the aim is to get in, get spinning, get showered and get out. Maximum efficiency, minimum faffing about. They even make sure there is a towel on each bike. And considering I could win awards in my faffing abilities this is a great thing for me.

The studio itself is dark and club-like as you would expect, and I soon learned that the trick is to nab a bike in the front row as this is where the fans are. With two spinning instructors up front they are also easy to see from every angle which is great and their instructions are clear and encouraging.

Classes range from 30 minutes express work-outs to two hour spin sessions – sounds long? It is but it doesn’t feel like it. It is remarkable just how quickly the time flies and the pumping music carries you through. In the class I tried the instructor kept reminding us that we were totally in control of our bike and it was up to us how hard we pushed ourselves, which I really liked. I am not good with instructors shouting at you to go harder and faster – it’s just plain scary – so I was thrilled that there was none of that here! This, of course, effects the amount of calories you burn but most people should be able to burn between 600-800 in an hour making it a great weight-loss workout.

If you are into spinning or looking to try it, we really couldn’t recommend this place highly enough. Visit www.boommybody.com for more info.

Top tips from the owners

What to eat before: If you are fat burning then try not to snack before your spin session but if you are starving and need some energy or not fat burning then snack on some dried fruit or normal fruit, the sugar will give you a boost and best to have natural sugar. Either that or an energy/sports bar which are usually a quick dose of carbs.

What to eat after: Protein after is always good if you hit it quite hard in the session otherwise some nuts as a snack before dinner with a good balance of protein and complex carbs.

Water: About 500ml – 750ml should get you through an hour session

What to wear: Not very much! You will sweat a lot so bring a change of clothes if you plan on doing something afterwards. No cotton as it won’t dry and make you feel cold – so stick to fast dry fabrics and proper sportswear if possible.


The Beauty Expert: We Talk Beauty, Suncare and Skin Nutrition with Sarah Chapman

We talk beauty, suncare and skin nutrition with one of London’s hottest facialists and Skinesis Clinic founder, Sarah Chapman…

I have always been interested in beauty, ever since I was younger when I used to get into trouble for wearing too much make-up in school and dyeing strands of my hair purple! I discovered that you could train as a make-up artist and did that as soon as I left and then branched into skincare becoming completely obsessed with facials and facial skincare. I am also fascinated by the body and enjoyed studying nutrition and anatomy and physiology.

Every Skinesis facial is designed to treat the client’s needs and concerns when they visit so no treatment is the same. Someone in their 20’s will not need the same type of treatment as someone in their 40’s. In your 20’s the focus can be more on ageing prevention and rehydrating and clearing the skin to improve its function and appearance where as someone in their 40’s may want a treatment which is more focused on anti-ageing with an emphasis on firming, plumping, lifting and line smoothing.

I believe in drip feeding your skin with essential fatty oils and vitamins both topically an internally. Essential fats and omega oils help our skin to lock onto moisture and vitamins have an anti-oxidant effect, for example a dehydrated person is more likely to have skin which is flushed, inflamed and sensitive but can counter act this through taking omega supplements, eating more oily fish, drinking more water and avoiding foods and drinks that are high in alcohol, sugar and caffeine which are all dehydrating. Sugar is the underlying cause of glycation which leads to slackening in the skin. An unbalanced diet can cause unbalance in the skin. Try: Omega 7 Plus Age Defying Skin Complex £24.50 from www.victoriahealth.com

There are increasing advancements in anti-ageing at the moment – one of the latest trends is stem cells. Botanical stem cells are truly revolutionary ingredients which is being added into advanced anti-ageing serums and creams to help re-educate, stimulate and regenerate our own existing stem cells encouraging our skin to act younger. These ingredients work across the epidermis and dermis for results at a cellular and surface level and can have a dramatic anti-ageing effect. I recently developed a serum combining four botanical stem cells and eight peptides, Skinesis Stem Cell Collagen Activator (£275 for 4 serum vials, which is the equivalent of 8 weeks’ worth of treatments) which are perfect for restructuring the skin’s internal scaffolding and boosting collagen, for an ultra-advanced anti-ageing serum.

During the summer it is all about hydration, hydration, hydration! Both topically through the use of hydrating serums and moisturisers and internally drinking plenty of water and upping your omega oils to help your skin cells lock onto moisture for plump, fresh and healthy skin during the summer months. Hydrated skin is also less likely to flake and peel after sun exposure so make sure you hydrate before, after and during your sunning sessions.

Make-sure you prep your skin thoroughly before during and after your holiday. As well as ensuring your skin is hydrated and protected. Hydration beforehand is a good way to combat stressed and fatigued skin from a change in climate and from travelling itself, which can be very dehydrating. Support your skin with antioxidants – take supplement two weeks before and during holidays and make sure your skin treatment daily products have antioxidants such as my Dynamic Defence SPF 15 (£43)

What is your top tip for Adult Acne? Hormonal Pigmentation? Dry Skin?

Adult Acne: Be careful not to strip the skin as it will produce more oil and lead to increased sensitivity – try to balance the skin using oils. Be careful of scaring and pigment marking as the skin has a much slower healing rate.

Hormonal Pigmentation:  Always use SPF50 year round and be extra careful if on medication or the pill when exposed to UV.  Avoid use of chemical peels and AHAS prior to UV exposure.

Dry Skin: Look for a products or supplements that contains hyaluronic acid as this miracle ingredient instantly hydrates dry and thirsty skin by holding on and locking in moisture from its surroundings. You will also need fats and oils if you have a true dry skin so make sure you use lipid rich creams. You should also protect your skin as dry and broken skin is more prone to breakouts as the defensive barrier is weakened.

What three things can you not live without?
My family, family time is so important so I always try and make time for this. My Age-Repair Concentrate (£80) – my skin never looks as good when I’m not using it so I’m completely reliant on it. And my Overnight Facial – if I had to pick one item from my range it’s this one; it’s full of scientific ingredients such as Renovage, peptides, antioxidants and vitamins with omega oils and essential oils for a truly unique skincare experience. It’s incredibly results driven so not only do I see the benefits on my face each morning but with its silky texture and enticing fragrance it’s the perfect way to relax and unwind before you go to sleep.

And what are you packing in your suitcase this summer?
I always take my travel size skincare staples with me when I travel to keep up my routine on the go and lots of sun cream of course and a fabulous collection of new Chanel nail polishes! Wouldn’t be without my fitflops either, so perfect for holidays.


Crazy for Coconuts – burns fat, moisturises, conditions hair – is there anything coconut oil can’t do?



by Natalie McAdam, Nutritional Therapist, founder of Divine Nutrition, and self-confessed lover of coconut oil

I have recently discovered the virtues of coconut oil. Not only does it smell absolutely amazing it tastes divine when used in cooking and it is highly versatile. Here are just some of the reasons why adding this to your diet could benefit you from the inside out…

 

Weight loss
Coconut oil use to have a bad reputation due to its high fat content, however, recent research has revealed that coconut oil when used in it’s pure virgin state can actually help to rev up your metabolism. Coconuts contain a special fat that goes directly to the liver where it can be used to increase calorie burning.

Coconut oil does contain saturated fat but the saturated fats in coconut oil are of the healthy variety medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA). Medium chain fatty acids get metabolized directly in the liver so they are converted straight into energy and not stored as fat and can therefore be used to help your body to burn unwanted fat.

The beautiful and slender Miranda Kerr is a fan of coconut oil, which she adds to green tea for its fat burning properties and over salads as a dressing.

Eat like an athlete
Personal trainers and athletes are increasingly using coconut oil due to the fact that the fat in the oil provides a longer release of energy and can help to decrease the amount of muscle broken down. Many personal trainers add a tablespoon of coconut oil to smoothies in the morning.

Cooking at high temperatures
Coconut oil can also be used in cooking instead of butter or olive oil. This is because it is highly heat resistant which makes it ideal for frying and baking.

Olive oil is actually second to coconut oil when it comes to high heat cooking as olive oil breaks down more easily, which is not good for your health. I have used it for roasting sweet potatoes and it also tastes great when used for roasting salmon in the oven. But my favorite recipe so far is when using it to bake Greek yoghurt and honey cupcakes (recipe on website www.divinenutrition.co.uk).

Moisturiser
Due to its high content of fatty acids coconut oil makes a great moisturizer for the skin. It is able to penetrate deep into the skin leaving it feeling super soft. It is a natural organic product that can be used as an all over body moisturizer. It is also rich in antioxidants so can help with the appearance of stretch marks and may help prevent premature aging.

The super model Gisel Bundchen likes to use coconut oil on her body at night to help soothe and hydrate her skin when she has stayed out on the sun too long.

Conditioning qualities
Coconut oil also makes for a great hair conditioning treatment. It helps to soften your hair and scalp and can even help with dandruff!. Try using it once a week as a deep conditioning treatment (leave on for 30 minutes) or try sleeping with it combed into your ends and wake up with silky soft tresses.

If you ever wondered how the Kardashians have such shiny manes, Kim Kardashian reportedly uses a hair mask once a month made out of avocado, mayonnaise, egg, castor oil and coconut oil.

For more nutritional advice from Natalie McAdam visit www.divinenutrition.co.uk