Month: January 2017

Celeb personal trainer shares his 6 top tips for year-round fitness

I’ve not had many guest posts on my blog, so I’m delighted to share with you some top fitness tips from K West Hotel & Spa’s Personal Trainer, Clifton – who has trained the likes of Calum Best, Made in Chelsea’s Proudlock, and England and Southampton footballer Ryan Bertrand. Over to you Clifton…

K Fit Personal Trainer Clifton Goldson

1. Don’t be Afraid of the Weights
What’s the secret to achieving the highly-desired dancer physique? Step off the cross trainer and pick up a pair of kettle bells. Whilst cardio develops overall fitness levels and stamina, using weights in compound exercises – such as squats and burpees – is the k
ey to building long, lean muscle mass. Clifton advises high repetitions of back-to-back exercises using a low weight, followed by 30/60- second rest.

2. A Balanced Diet
80% of how we look is related to diet, so despite endless hours in the gym, you really are what you eat. Try to avoid fad diets and instead opt for a portion-controlled, balanced diet.

3. R & R: Rest and Rehabilitation
On a mission to get fit, overtraining may seem like a good idea, whether it’s a 2/3-hour session or two workouts a day. However, resting your body is just as important as exercising, as without rest progression can plateau. Schedule two rest days each week, and a full week out every three months. Getting a full 8-hour sleep each night will also ensure maximum results.

4. Hydration
Too much of a good thing can be bad. The optimum amount of water needed to keep you fully hydrated is two litres, as much more than this can dilute sodium levels in the blood. Similarly, coffee has great health benefits as it helps speed up the metabolism and aids in fat-burning, but should be enjoyed only once a day.

5. Defining Targets and Measuring Results
Do you want to feel fitter? Or look great on the beach? Whatever your aim, it’s vital to set targets to stay motivated and to measure your progress. Steer clear of regularly using the weighing scales and instead quantify your progress using a measuring tape or before/after photos.

6. Enjoy the Process
Fitness is a 50% physical, 50% mental challenge, so it’s important to enjoy what you do. Wear comfortable gymwear as you’re more likely to exercise for longer, and don’t forget your headphones if music is your big motivator. Clifton advises to always finish your training with one exercise that you really love, as you will leave the gym feeling great on a post-workout high.

 

About K West Hotel & Spa
Awarded ‘Best Spa in London’ at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2015, K West’s holistic spa offers a range of exclusive treatments. K Spa introduced the first ‘Snow Paradise’ to London, and features a twinkling Hydrotherapy pool, Sanarium, sauna, dry flotation tank, aromatic herbal steam room and the fully equipped K Fit gymnasium.

K West Hotel & Spa, Richmond Way, London W14 0AX
For reservations,call: 020 8008 6600 or visit www.k-west.co.uk

My top 11 weight loss tips

There are a lot of weight loss tips out there and so I thought I’d revisit and share a few that have really helped me over the last year.

1. Plan your meals in advance
If I don’t do this, I’m prone to overeating or letting my sweet tooth decide what’s on the menu (during my Uni days I did have Nutella for lunch on several occasions – just Nutella and a lot of it). Plus, if you have an event coming up – I find this encourages you to really think about the healthy choices you could make.

2. Treat yourself
As much as there are certain foods that should be eaten in moderation, I find banning them completely from my menu are disastrous, and so I will still enjoy a small bar of chocolate, or hot chocolate most days.

3. Record what you’re going to eat before you’ve munched it
On several occasions I have eaten something I thought was healthy (or reasonable in terms of its Weight Watchers Smartpoints values), but only realised I was wrong once it was in my stomach and while I was in the middle of using my Weight Watchers app to record it. I’m embarrassed to say there have also been times when I’ve forgotten whole meals I’ve had… no wonder I put on weight if I can’t remember what I’ve actually eaten!

4. Weigh yourself just once a week
Your weight can really fluctuate throughout the week and if you’re constantly jumping on the scales it can really knock your confidence if it goes up a little mid-week. Pick the same day and time each week to weigh in or skip the scales once in a while and measure yourself. You’ll be surprised at how your body shrinks when the scales might not be showing a change.

5. Book into an exercise class or schedule a workout with friends
This makes you more accountable for your fitness regime and less likely to quit or cancel.

6. Batch cook when you can
If you’re in the kitchen already, make the most of it and make double portions; but put the extra in box to freeze straight away so you don’t pick at it. Now my daughter is a little older I find this helpful as it means I have quick meals for her too. It’s also great on days when you just can’t be bothered or something pops up and you run out of time to cook anything healthy.

7. Have a few healthy ready meals to hand
Again, this is great for when you’ve lost energy to prepare anything decent or your day hasn’t quite gone to plan. All supermarkets tend to sell some kind of healthy option and you may have guessed that I’m a fan of Weight Watchers ready meals.

8. Try a new recipe each week
Keep the spark for healthy food alive! I love a cookbook for inspiration but you can find loads of healthy recipes online – especially on Instagram (I also post a few of my favs on here too.)

9. Plan a tasty and substantial dinner with a little treat
I’m less likely to pick on naughty things during that mid-afternoon slump when I know I have something delicious to look forward to that night.

10. Surround yourself with snacking fruit and veg
I like to snack and so having this stuff around can’t be bad eh?

11. Stock up on frozen fruit and veg, too
They’re so handy to use in smoothies, overnight oats or to cook with. Plus, you can get loads of varieties already chopped or diced for you… Simples!

P.S I hope you find these tips helpful. I’ve compiled them while “i’m in the zone”. If I post about going off track any time soon, please can you resend me the link to this page!

A Bootea (Pootea) Review

Despite my slightly ‘anti-detox’ blog last week, I’ve always been intrigued by popular ‘teatoxes’ and their promise that drinking a herbal tea will help you lose weight and feel great. Bootea is probably one of the leading detox teas around and so I gave in to my curiosity and embarked on Bootea’s 14 day teatox – here’s how I got on.

What’s involved?
For 14 days you drink a cup of Bootea every morning (or when you remember). Within those 14 days you also drink a second Bootea every other night before bed. Doing so is meant to help you feel energised and lose weight.

Initial thoughts of Bootea
“What a pretty box!” was my first thought! My second observation – there’s not a lot of information given on how the tea actually helps you achieve those goals, so I assumed that the all natural ingredients would maybe suppress your appetite, or contain properties that would encourage fat burning. I was wrong. This tea will make you poop, and I guess we’ve all had big dumps where we felt energised and lighter afterwards!

What does Bootea taste like?
The tea is fairly enjoyable to drink. The morning tea is quite refreshing and it has a strong taste of dandelion and fennel. The bedtime tea is a little earthier in its flavour, but has a pleasant peppermint aftertaste. Both teas took a tiny while to get used to, but they are by no means unlikeable to drink.

What happened after I drank Bootea
I wonder if it’s an inside joke to call this tea ‘Boo’ as it rhymes with poo, and that really is what you’ll end up doing – or I did anyway. I would describe this tea as a colon cleanse. For me, the need to go was surprisingly quick after drinking the morning tea. The bedtime tea worked through the night so that you may feel the need to go first thing in the morning. The urge to poo in the first few days was er, very regular. After the first week, this settled and I didn’t particularly notice the need to go as being an inconvenient (aka, I didn’t sh#t the bed).

How did I feel after my Bootea teatox?
I’m prone to constipation, wow bet you’re glad you read this blog, and the tea definitely helped to solve that issue! It has also made me feel less bloated and having to drink the herbal concoction everyday I think helped me cut down on my coffee intake – which always has a habit of creeping up. I can’t honestly say that I have felt more energised from the tea, but perhaps I would be able to tell better once more time as passed since finishing my Bootea pack – and if next time I tried the 28 day teatox.

Bootea and weight loss
I follow Weight Watchers, so I am purposefully trying to lose weight at the moment, but I don’t feel as though the tea has helped me lose anymore than I would usually. In fact, in my first week (and this is all me, not the tea) I actually put on 1lb and in the week that followed I lost 2lb. Losing 2lb a week with Weight Watchers is a healthy average, so I don’t think I can say that Bootea helped me to lose any more than I would of normally. Although, up until drinking the tea I was averaging a weight loss of 0.5lb a week – so perhaps the tea helped a smidgen more.

Would I recommend Bootea?
If you’re intrigued and prone to constipation than I would recommend it – just be warned that you’re going to poop! I would do this myself again, so perhaps that’s testament to the benefits you can experience following a teatox. Bootea also offer other natural products, designed to help aid weight loss and promote good health; because it’s so pretty and I can’t help but look into anything that suggests i’d lose weight, i’m sure I will try other Bootea products in the future and share a review!

P.S If anyone from Bootea read this, please know that I’d happily accept free Bootea products and share an honest review on them… worth asking eh! 🙂

www.bootea.com

Is a detox diet dangerous?

With December being such an indulgent time of year, it’s no surprise that January is a prime time for detoxing; but can a detox diet be dangerous?

Why I went on a detox
Last year I fell into the detox diet camp. I had overdosed on chocolate, carbs and alcohol. I had heard lots about ‘clean’ eating and the benefits of munching green leafy vegetables high in chlorophyll*, so I decided to cut out Dairy Milk, booze and carbs for a little bit. I embraced kale like you would never believe! I was either very unlucky, stupid (probably), or an example of how a detox diet can cause more harm than good.

*I didn’t actually know what chlorophyll was at the time but it seemed to be attached to lots of health benefits and weight loss. Here’s an article I found on why it’s meant to be so good for you! 10 amazing benefit of chlorophyll

My detox experience
I was half way through the first week of my detox diet when I became painfully sick. I had severe stomach cramps, which no joke reminded me of early labour, and spent 24 hours throwing up green gunge – nice. I had managed to drop my daughter off at nursery just before the spewing really kicked in and although she was just around the corner, I couldn’t get out of bed to pick her up; and so my husband had to leave work early to collect her (oops). I couldn’t believe how sick I was and I could only put it down to my ‘detox’. I longed for carbs to have lined my stomach and had horrible flashbacks of my superfood, leafy green kale stir-fry for dinner – with no noodles or rice!

Too much kale perhaps?
In hindsight it’s VERY possible I overdid the portion of kale in my meals and if paired with items from other food groups, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so sick; but I doubt I’m the only one who approaches detoxing in an all or nothing kind of way. Am I? With that experience behind me, I decided to never cut out a food group again. When I recovered from my detox attack I looked into what I had been eating a little more and the possible side effects. I came across loads of articles and accounts* from people who had experienced something similar and had seen the less glamorous side to kale eating.

Why kale made me sick
These articles detailed how Kale is high in fibre and contains a particular type of sugar which can make Kale really hard to break down and digest. Some articles also suggested how Kale could have a negative effect on those with an under-active thyroid, and/or could have a negative effect on the functioning of your thyroid. This struck a chord with me because my thyroid (since having a baby strangely), seems to be on the under-active side and at the time I was having several blood tests to find out what was going on with it. However, after reading more on this I realised you would have to eat A LOT of kale for your thyroid to be affected by the green stuff. Still, it didn’t sit well with me (literally).

Detoxing from booze and chocolate
I feel a detox from alcohol and chocolate can’t be grouped thought of as a ‘dangerous detox’. Studies show that reducing your alcohol intake can reduce the risk of developing cancer, liver or heart disease; lower your blood pressure; improve your sleep; lift your mood; improve your concentration; and help you lose weight.

Then there’s my old friend chocolate and it’s sugar content. Yes, certain sugars are good for you, but the type I’m talking about is high in ‘refined sugar’ with little nutritional value, and at the time of this detox I felt I had a little too much of this type of sugar through my intake of milky, delicious chocolate – and we all know that too much of this doesn’t help our waistlines or cholesterol.

What I learnt from my detox diet
Limiting foods that are high in refined sugars is beneficial for good health but cutting out foods groups or having too much of one thing is not so good – I know what you’re thinking, “wow this girl is a freaking genius!”

My new approach to healthy eating is to enjoy treats from time to time, include a wide of fruit and veg in my diet and work on portion control rather than banning myself from eating certain foods. I was so affected by this experience, that I actually made it my New Year’s resolution to not deprive myself of anything – including booze and chocolate (what a hypocrite), but I would cut down and have everything in moderation. I used to think that was such a boring saying but now I really want to embrace it as I never want to be that sick again!

Also an apology…
Sorry Kale for bad-mouthing you, in moderation I’m sure you’re ok and with some forward planning i’m sure lots of people have had successful detoxes! If you are one of those people, love kale, or if you have had a similar experience to me, I’d love to hear from you. Use the comment box below!

Footnotes
If you’re interested in the Kale articles I mentioned, here are a few links to what I read. 

www.high50.com/health/three-reasons-not-to-eat-kale
www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-kasdin/kale-haters_b_4171383.html
health.heraldtribune.com/2012/09/25/kale-good-nutrition-for-you-just-dont-overdo
www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/could-kale-cause-hypothyroidism
www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health_blog/is_kale_bad_for_my_thyroid_health

Hello 2017!

Wow, what a Christmas and New Year! I drank far too much, ate far too much and had a brilliant time doing so! For the first time ever, I actually exercised over the festive period and really enjoyed it.

Today it’s back to normality which includes a return to my Weight Watchers meeting and time to face the scales. Although I felt like I made some healthy choices over Christmas, I also made a lot of unhealthy ones and have genuinely been scared of the first weigh-in. To my surprise and delight, I managed to maintain! Woohoo! I’m so pleased and now feel motivated to get to goal.

I’m not far away from my pre-baby weight and I must drop a dress size to fit into a bridesmaid dress already purchased. So, let’s do this!

I’ve just planned my meals and activity for the week ahead and I hope to focus on being healthy and enjoy a few new gym classes and recipes this week. As always, throw your weight loss tips and plans my way and whether it was a loss, maintain or gain – did you enjoy your Christmas and have you stepped on the scales?!

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017 xx

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