Friday, November 26, 2010

Lets Get Fibre Active!

What if I told you there is an ingredient in certain foods that could help you reduce your risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, obesity, colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Would you be interested to know what that ingredient was?

The magic ingredient is.. FIBRE! Fibre is one of nature's great ingredients that does wonders for our body. Fibre is a virtually indigestible substance that is found mainly in the outer layers of plants. Fibre is a special type of carbohydrate that passes through the human digestive system virtually unchanged, without being broken down into nutrients. Carbohydrates constitute the main source of energy for all body functions; (ehealth MD).

Fibre has huge effects on our digestive processes since it is indigestible. There are two types of fibre that we consume, Soluble and Insoluble Fibre.
  • Soluble Fibre-is made up of polysaccharides (carbohydrates that contain three or more molecules of simple carbohydrates), and dissolves in water. It has a beneficial effect on body chemistry, such as lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Insoluble Fibre-is mainly made up of plant cell walls, and it cannot be dissolved in water. It has a good laxative action.
By consuming both types of fibre our bodies reap double the benefits.
  • Fibre demands that food be more thoroughly chewed. It slows down the eating process and helps contribute to a feeling of being full, which in turn can help prevent obesity from overeating.
  • Fibre makes food more satisfying, probably because the contents of the stomach are bulkier and stay there longer.
  • Fibre slows digestion and absorption so that glucose (sugar) in food enters the bloodstream more slowly, which keeps blood sugar on a more even level.
  • Fibre is broken down in the colon     The main part of the large intestine, responsible for absorbing water and salts from the digested products of the small intestine, and passing the digested products into the rectum for removal from the body. (the main part of the large intestine) by bacteria (a process called fermentation), and the simple organic acids produced by this breakdown helps to nourish the lining of the colon.
  • These acids also provide fuel for the rest of the body, especially the liver, and may have an important role in metabolism.
So now that you know what fibre is and how it can help you, you might be wondering exactly what types of foods contain fibre and in what amounts. A good diet should contain approximately 25 to 30 grams of fibre a day. An average adult eats only half this amount. Below is a great chart which gives a list of great fibre dense foods:

List of High Fibre Foods
(The fibre count for most packaged foods can be found on the label.)

Apples with skin1 medium
Apricot3 medium
Apricots, dried5 pieces
Banana1 medium
Blueberries1 cup
Cantaloupe, cubes1 cup
Figs, dried2 medium
Grapefruit1/2 medium
Orange, navel1 medium
Peach1 medium
Peaches, dried3 pieces
Pear1 medium
Plum1 medium
Raisins1.5 oz box
Raspberries1 cup
Strawberries1 cup

Avocado (fruit)1 medium
Beets, cooked1 cup
Beet greens1 cup
Bok choy, cooked1 cup
Broccoli, cooked1 cup
Brussels sprouts1 cup
Cabbage, cooked1 cup
Carrot1 medium
Carrot, cooked1 cup
Cauliflower, cooked1 cup
Cole slaw1 cup
Collard greens, cooked1 cup
Corn, sweet1 cup
Green beans1 cup
Celery1 stalk
Kale, cooked1 cup
Onions, raw1 cup
Peas, cooked1 cup
Peppers, sweet1 cup
Pop corn, air-popped3 cups
Potato, baked w/skin1 medium
Spinach, cooked1 cup
Summer squash, cooked1 cup
Sweet potato, cooked1 cup
Swiss chard, cooked1 cup
Tomato1 medium
Winter squash, cooked1 cup
Zucchini, cooked1 cup

Bran cereal1 cup
Bread, whole wheat1 slice
Oats, rolled dry1 cup
Pasta, whole wheat1 cup
Rice, dry brown1 cup

FIBER (grams)
Almonds1 oz
Black beans, cooked1 cup
Cashews1 oz
Flax seeds3 tbs
Garbanzo beans, cooked1 cup
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup
Lentils, red cooked1 cup
Lima beans, cooked1 cup
Peanuts1 oz
Pistachio nuts1 oz
Pumpkin seeds1/4 cup
Soybeans, cooked1 cup
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup
Walnuts1 oz
(Chart taken from

Remember, if your goal is fat loss you should be eating your grain based fibres after your workouts to effectively fuel your body at the right time so it doesn't store the excess carbs as fat.

If your diet has been depleted of fibre than it is best to start slowly, over 2-4 weeks, by incorporating some of the foods in the above chart. Don't start a high-fibre diet overnight! Your goal is to consume your daily recommendation of 25-30 grams of fibre a day after those 2-4 weeks. It's important to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fibre you eat. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, especially when increasing your fibre intake.

I hope this post has helped shed some light on the importance that fibre plays in promoting a long and healthy life. Feel free to leave your comments or questions below!

Yours in Great Health,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hills and Thrills

It has been a while since we have put a training video on the blog so we thought we better get to work and come up with something for you!

So what we have is a great total body workout that will incorporate your legs during a hill sprint variation and sculpt those arms with some upper body strenght exercises. Not only will you be building some great strength and definition in your arms but get a great cardio, fat burning effect, with the hill sprints! Half of the exercises are done with the versatile TRX and the other half incorporate some body weight exercises!

Enjoy the session and let us know what you thought in the comments section below!

By the way if you didn't hear how Tamara, Dr. Michelle Wright and I busted some common fitness myths on WRS then check out the playback by clicking on the WRS logo here, "Fitness Myths Busted!"

Have a great weekend!

Fitfully Yours,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is your bucket too full?

I have been suffering a bit with bloggers block these past few weeks and have been a bit stuck in the creative department. I normally have a bucket full of ideas and thoughts running around my head, but recently, it has been rather stagnant! I have thought a lot about this and about the reasons why there are times when we feel like we could explode with ideas and other times when we feel we simply have nothing to say. After much pondering, I came to the conclusion that perhaps my bucket was simply too full of negative and sad thoughts and needed emptying to make space for more positive energy. Following a death in the family and other stressful events I was left feeling a little down.

When I was young...ok, very young, my bucket was generally full of trivial thoughts regarding friends.. me.. food.. me.. fun.. me.. the beach.. me...and so on. It would fill a little with innocent and trivial stuff and then empty out before reaching the brim . As the years went by and life started throwing a few bricks at me, my bucket started getting a bit fuller and a bit more challenging to carry around. In went puberty, crazy hormones, curves, exams, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, new jobs, first home, mortgage, marriage, kids, moving countries, moving house, divorce, wrinkles, grey hair, re-marriage, new life, teenage kids....OMG! I think my cup runneth over!!

There comes a time when we must all sit still and take a long deep look at our life and a long deep look into our overflowing buckets. I am no different to any other human being who has been on this planet for a few years. I have carried around a huge amount of heavy baggage, some of which I chose to take along and some of which I was simply forced to adopt. My baggage gets very heavy at times and I have to admit that the overwhelming weight often forces me down onto my knees. Indeed, there was a time when being on my knees was becoming a permanent position and I was becoming weaker and increasingly more fearful of ever reaching a place where I would be able to stand again. I suppose I could say that I had reached rock bottom, the end of the road or whatever place you might reach before the coffin closes.

I look back on this time of my life now, not with despair, but with gratitude. I am absolutely certain that I would not be the strong person I am today had I not suffered such intense emotional rawness. Although I am also certain that it was my strength that got me through in the end. I also believe that I needed to travel the high seas before reaching calmer waters. When you fall on your face, you have two choices. You either stay there or you get up. The only difference for me was that I only had one choice and three reasons to get back on track and if you have children, you know what I mean. That was 5 years ago and I would be lieing if I said I was all better now. Some wounds take a long time to heal and some never do, but life goes on regardless and there are days when I feel totally overwhelmed with my lot, especially when my bucket is too full! However, there is one thing that I have found which always makes my wounds feel better and that is exercise and a healthy diet.
The one thing that has been consistent in my life over the years has been a daily dose of exercise. I have always found that the best medication for a troubled mind has been high intensity cardio! Yes, these legs have covered many, many miles and I thank them every day. So now, when my bucket is full and my mind refuses to absorb any new information or allow any new ideas to light up my bulb, I simply sit still for a moment...... And then I move..... I turn off my phone, shut down the computer, take off into the wilderness and I climb a mountain. Literally. There is nothing quite like a 2 or 3 hour hike uphill with a final reward of an amazing view over the world below. And there I will sit and empty out my bucket and gather a bit more strength for the journey home. I am not saying you all need to go and climb a mountain, but I think it is a good idea to empty out your buckets from time to time and to maybe use exercise as a form of therapy for your mind. If you can balance a strong mind with a strong body, your bucket will take a lot longer to fill.

Peace and strength to you all,


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Can A Qualified Trainer Really Improve Your Results?

Great research study that came out not too long ago that I thought you will all be interested in!

Supervised exercise versus non-supervised exercise for reducing weight in obese adults. Nicolaï SP et al J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009 Mar;49(1):85-90.

This research study looked at the effects of training with supervision/instruction (ie a qualified trainer) versus “advice”

Two groups – Group one met a trainer twice a week for 4 months (as a group).
Group two received basic advice to increase physical activity and access to a fully equipped gym (any exercise they did was unsupervised).

The group with supervision lost on average 362% more fat over a 4-month period. (Total fat loss of 13.4lbs in the coached group – and only 3.7lbs in the advice only group)

Interesting side note -they made these improvements without ANY dietary advice given.

This shouldn't be a surprise to most people. For those of you who have taken part in a group training class, you may have found that you pushed yourself a little bit further than you would have had you been training alone. Another research study suggested that a person would exercise with 30% more intensity while being supervised or watched by someone else. Training in a group or with a trainer gives you that extra motivation to get one more repetition or to hold that plank a little longer than you thought you could. Just imagine the results you could get by training with 30% more intensity.

Having a qualified trainer is like having a navigator to help you get to your destination. If you were sailing on a ship and had a destination in mind but no map or plan on how to get there, chances are high that you might get lost along the way. Storms may arise to throw you off course but a great navigator can put you back on course and get you to that final destination. The trainer is your lighthouse in the fog, so to speak. Not only can they provide you with a programme that will get you the best results possible but they can also give you the proper guidance to help you to perform exercises with quality form, thus decreasing injuries.

If you are serious about changing your body – hire a coach, or get a great training partner or join a team to help you get you to your destination. Let us know about your positive experiences with a fitness coach and/or group training in the comments section below!

Yours in Health,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kerry's Story

This is the story so far of one of my clients. Just 8 weeks ago, Kerry was addicted to diet coke, sugar and was taking anti-depressant medication. She was feeling desperate and un-happy with her body and came to me for help. We made a plan, set out some goals and got to work. Out went the diet coke, the sugar and sedentary lifestyle. In came a smart training schedule, a highly nutritious eating plan and a shift in mindset. In such a short period of time, Kerry has not only transformed her physique, she has also succesfully weaned herself off the Prozac (under careful supervision of her doctor) and replaced it with a healthy flow of endorphins and good nutrition. She is a shining example of what can be achieved with the right plan and personal determination. Here is her story in her own words...

"I had let myself go.....

At just 54 years of age, I was overweight, out of shape, pre-diabetic and on anti-depressants. I had already undergone an operation for arthritis and knew that the pain in my knee and feet would only get worse if I did not make some changes to my lifestyle. To make matters worse, I am a recovering alcoholic and although I had stopped drinking alcohol over 10 years ago, I had replaced the habit with Diet Coke and was drinking...wait for it...upto 5 ltrs a day!! I had become a Diet Coke junkie and am convinced that the aspartane and excess caffeine was most certainly contributing to my severely weak bladder. I cringe as I say this but I was having to resort to wearing incontinent pads.

I have never considered myself to be particularly ignorant, but judging by my lifestyle choices it would appear that my intelligence was being hijacked by some crazy masochistic demon!

Something big had to happen. No, something BIG had to happen! So, I sat myself down and wrote down my goals.

I wanted....To be a Confident, Strong, Sexy, Muscular, Fit and Fabulous Female!

I wanted to see just how healthy I could become and I wanted to be happy and Prozac free!

I knew that to achieve these goals I would need help. Something this big requires infrastructure, plans and substance...I needed an expert! As the saying goes, God works in mysterious ways. He brought TAMARA DAVIES and GENEVA FITNESS into my life just when I needed it the most. Who would have thought that I would have found the latest in American fitness expertise right here in Geneve. I have not looked back since!

Tamara has taught me that health is like a 3 legged stool comprising of fitness, nutrition and mindset. If one of those 3 is broken or unsteady, the stool will tip over.

Nutrition for me now is all about eating clean. No more sugar or artifically sweetened products. No processed foods or trans fats or deep fried foods. No more empty calories. I have learnt to spread my intake over 5-6 meals a day and eat protein with every meal. I eat a carb rich diet with protein in the morning and after my workouts. I strive for the 90-10% rule. Eating clean for 90% of the time and allowing myself to splurge on the remaining 10%. This means I do not feel guilty when I "go off the diet" because I am no longer on a diet. I simply eat well balanced and nutrient dense meals every day.

Fitness no longer means hours of cardio - sigh of relief! The most effective way to burn fat is to include interval training with strength training and to work hard for shorter periods of time. Tamara and Ryan have taught me to train like a man! We can work hard and get great results in a short period of time, I know I have! I train twice a week with Tamara completing an hour of Total Body strength training and twice a week with Ryan taking part in his group Metabolic classes. I also take time out in between to rest and recover.

The proper mindset ensures that I stay with the programme. It is not always easy to have the motivation to train and eat right. However, I listen to Tamara's advice and I focus on my goals. I also read up about health and fitness and become inspired by other people's success stories.

In just 8 weeks, I have reduced my overall body fat by 3%, lost 7 lbs of body fat and gained 1 lb of lean muscle. I am proud of my accomplishments. I am beginning to love the body that reflects back at me in the mirror and once my own enemy, I am now proud to say that I have become my own best friend!"

Way to go Kerry!

In Health, Peace and Strength,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Made it!! Now what?

Well, here you are! You've made it! You have finally achieved your health and fitness goal, spent hours in the gym, followed the eating programme and lost the weight! Now what? Are you now going to let out a sigh of relief and head straight for the fridge?? Absolutely NOT!

Now is the time for maintenance and for making positive decisions and healthy choices about your lifestyle.

For maximum results in any programme, it is not sufficient to simply follow the rules of healthy eating and exercise because once you stop being disciplined, the results will quickly vanish. What is really important here is the shift of mindset and the ability to maintain the results that you have achieved. Understanding who you are and how you react to certain situations will help you along the way to going the distance. After all, what we want to achieve is the ability to lead a healthy life, to get on with our day at work, rest or play without constantly going on and off a weight loss programme. There are a few simple steps that you can follow once you have arrived at your goal which will help you from slipping back into your old habits.

Staying lean and fit for the rest of your life is not simply a matter of eating the right foods and doing the right exercise. You have to start thinking right too. Staying positive about yourself and understanding what your body needs is of utmost importance. In the past you may have been prone to emotional eating which lead to weight gain or you may have found that your busy and hectic lifestyle lead to your lack of exercise. Whatever your reasons, you are no longer that person. Your body is totally dependent on your mind and your emotional state, so do your best to stay positive and nourish your soul as well as your body.

Be aware of your reactions to your emotions. What do you do when you are angry? Frustrated? Tired? or sad? Chances are, you head straight for the fridge! Start to recognise your actions and change them. Stop using food as a medication or stimulant and stay away from situations that you know are going to trip you up. Find what works for you and stick with it.

Keep reminding yourself that you are following a healthy food and exercise plan for life so that you can continue to live that life, free of disease and disability. By the time you are on a maintenance programme you should be feeling the benefits of your results. You will feel great and will hopefully want to stay there. Let your health motivate you to continue on the right path.

Food is one of the great pleasures of our lives. We can not exist without it nor do we want to. However, we often consider food to be the enemy or a guilty pleasure and this turns the idea of food into a negative one. A fit and healthy body has no place for negative thoughts so we must turn our guilt away. Stick to real food and do not deprive your body and soul of what is good and essential. This is not a green light to go off and splurge every day of the week mind you, so be mindful of quantity and balance it out with a good exercise programme.

Once you have reached maintenance, you should have a good idea of which foods work well for you. Not all healthy food is to our liking or good for us and even though organic homemade bread is delicious and nutritious, it may be contributing to that bloated stomach and weight gain. Take stock of the trigger foods which lead you to over eat and eliminate them as much as possible.

Maintaining an exercise programme that works for you will help you maintain your fitness goals. Be active every day and by this I mean, walk, cycle,swim, dance, garden, clean the doesn't matter what you do, as long as you MOVE. Continue with the strength training and group exercise classes too as these will have been an essential part of your fat loss programme and should not be ignored.

So there you have it, eat clean, move daily and stay positive ....oh yes, and SMILE....

In Peace and Health,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Curb Your Hunger

Hey Everyone,

One of the hardest things to deal with when starting a new nutritional programme or maintaing porgress on your current programme is fighting off your cravings and your appetite. This is especially the case when the holiday season comes around and the temptation to eat large meals are at every turn. Well there is something that could help you keep control of your appetite and stick to your nutritional regimen. What is this one simple step that you can do to help?

The answer could lie in protein powders! I just finished reading a great article that explains why adding protein shakes daily can help you control your hunger. The article also ties in well with what Tamara posted below, especially with the great protein shake recipes she has included! Check out the article from our friends over at Prograde, Protein Curbs Hunger?

Our local protein powder supplier over at Melsfit has a great selection of all natural protein powders with basic ingredients and no extra colorings or flavorings. Check them out and let them know that we sent you!

Make Your Good, Better and Your Better Your Best!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Snack Attack!

I hope you are all doing well on your new fitness and nutritional programmes. I have had a lot of enquiries lately about what to eat for snacks. Snacks are the bridges that get you from breakfast to lunch and from lunch to dinner without breaking the rules. It is a good idea to have a good supply of snacks in your office, car, or bag.

Ideally you will be eating between 5 and 6 times a day, with your first meal being breakfast, which you should try and eat within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning. A perfect day might look something like this:

Breakfast at 7am
Snack at 10 am
Lunch at 13.00 pm
Snack at 16.00 pm
Dinner at 19.00 pm
Snack (optional) at 9pm

Ofcourse, these times are just an example and you will have to adjust them to suit your daily schedule. However, try and stick to no more than 4 hour gaps between feeding opportunities. This way you will be giving your body consistent nutrition throughout the day and keeping your metabolism fired up. If you tend to do your workout in the evening, you will probably not be able to eat dinner until 8 or 9 pm and it will be important therefore to have a substantial snack pre-workout. This is an ideal time to drink a pre-workout protein shake, something that will provide you with some good energy and will be easily digested. Likewise, if you plan to do a lunch time workout, try and have a protein shake a couple of hours before you start. Men should aim for 250 -400 calories per snack and women should aim for approximately 150 - 300 calories. Ideally, your snack will contain a good combination of both fats and protein and not include any sugary or processed treats.

11 of our favourite snacks

  1. *Protein Shake*
  2. 1 handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
  3. Carrots with 1 cup of hummus
  4. 1 apple with 1 tbs of almond butter
  5. Low fat greek yoghurt with a few chopped almonds
  6. 2 hard boiled eggs
  7. a cupful of mixed berries and a small carton of fromage fraise
  8. Chopped celery, peppers and cucumbers with small portion of tzatziki
  9. Celery sticks with 2 tbs of organic peanut butter
  10. 1 handful of pistachios, cashews or walnuts
  11. 2 slices of roast beef or chicken with some broccoli florets


Super pre-workout energy shake
8-12 ounces of water
2 scoops of protein powder
1 banana
6 ice cubes
Whizz all the ingredients in a high powered blender

If you don't have access to a blender or if you just want to make your shake and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to drink it, you will have to exclude the ice cubes. Please check out the link we have posted on the blog for Melsfit. You can purchase your protein powders from this store and you will also get a special plastic container in which to mix your shakes!

*More Shake ideas*
Energy Blaster
1 cup of un-sweetened almond milk
1 scoop of protein powder
1/2 cup of blueberries
1 banana
Whizz in the blender and then store in the fridge until required. Shake before drinking.

Berrylicious Shake
1/2 cup of mixed berries
1 scoop of protein powder
1/2 cup of low fat greek yoghurt
1 tbs of ground flaxseed
1/2 cup of cold water
Whizz in a blender and store in the fridge. You can replace the water with ice if you want to consume immediately

Don't forget to fuel your body with high quality foods throughout the day and plan ahead so that you always have access to something nutritious.

In Health,

Geneva Fitness - "Changing Lives One Rep at a Time"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You Snooze You Lose!

There was a recent study that just came out about how lack of sleep can affect how much fat you lose. Today we have another great guest post from my friend and compatriot Jav Dar! Great info on why getting some quality shut eye could have great benefits in terms of weight loss! Be sure to check out the video at the end of the post. Please leave your comments below!

Getting enough rest promotes weight loss

Lose weight while you sleep? It sounds too good to be true – but recent research indicates that there is a connection between how much you weigh and the amount of shut-eye you get per night. It’s all related to your hormones.

Two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, help to control your appetite. When you do not get enough rest, the levels of ghrelin (increase feeling of hunger) rise, while levels of leptin (promote feeling of fullness) sink. A recent study found a significant disruption in overnight ghrelin levels in chronic insomniacs. According to the study, this hormone imbalance leads insomniacs to experience an increase in appetite during the day, leading to weight gain over time. A signal is sent to the brain that more food is needed, when, in fact, enough has been eaten.

In addition to creating an imbalance in ghrelin and leptin, sleep deprivation causes levels of the stress hormone cortisol to rise, which increases cravings for high-carb, high-calorie “comfort foods”. Furthermore, the brain secretes growth hormone during the deep-sleep phase, helping the body convert fat to fuel. Without enough deep sleep, fat accumulates.

Sleep expert Michael Breus, clinical director of the sleep division at Southwest Spine & Sports in Arizona, USA, says there is no magic number of hours people should sleep. However, he does state that the average adult needs about five 90-minute sleep cycles per night, so 7.5-8 hours seems optimal as a minimum.

"The bottom line is that if people are trying to diet and lose weight for health reasons, it makes sense to get a sufficient amount of sleep," said senior author Dr. Plamen D. Penev, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, the Times reported.

"If they're not getting enough sleep as they diet, they may have higher levels of hunger and be struggling to adhere to the (diet) regimen," Penev explained.

Unfortunately for some, simply getting under the covers is not a sufficient strategy to achieve long-term weight loss. What these findings suggest is that there’s an extra dimension to achieving a healthy weight: diet, exercise and enough sleep.

It is also important to note that rest and recovery (R & R) is a vital aspect of strength and power training. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation affects the immune system and physical performance in detrimental ways. This isn’t good when you are doing lots of exercise as intense training is very stressful to the body and can also lower the immune system. If you are training hard it is especially important to get the correct amount of sleep or else you will be leaving yourself open to colds and the flu. So whether your goal is to lose weight, tone up or add lean muscle, adequate sleep is very important!

Stay en Forme,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the Pink!

Do you ever think of the calender year in terms of colour? I know that it is probably a strange question to ask, but I have a colour coded month system in my mind and each month has it's own. This leaves my entire year looking something like a rainbow and I am always hoping that there will be a pot of gold at the end of it!

October's colour is pink and not because I say so, but because it has been nominated to represent Breast Cancer awareness. Throughout this month, you will see a wide array of pink products on sale supporting what is one of the scariest forms of cancer to touch a womans life.

My aunt died of breast cancer over 50 years ago at the age of 33. She left behind 3 children from the ages of 9 to 1 and her death left a deep wound within my mothers family. Unfortunately, my aunt discovered a lump while pregnant with her 3rd child and the doctors advised her to wait until after the birth to have treatment. Sadly, by the time her son was born, it was too late for any treatment to be effective and so a beautiful life was lost and most terribly missed.

I too encountered a very scary moment after the birth of my 3rd child. I found a lump in my breast when Nenah was just a few months old. The terrifying thoughts that went through my mind and the knowledge that history could be repeating itself was beyond any fear that I have ever felt before. I waisted no time in contacting the doctor and after an examination, was told that I needed to have a mammogram to further investigate. However, because this mammogram had to be taken at a certain time during my cycle, I actually had to wait 10 days before I could know anything else! It was the longest most terryfying 10 days of my life! It turned out to be a very large cyst, which was drained and instantly disappeared. For me, those 10 or so days felt like being locked in a prison cell awaiting my sentence. All sorts of crazy thoughts go through your mind when you are faced with a sudden and un-expected health issue. Was it my fault? Was I a bad girl and am now being punished? Is it my lifestyle? Breast cancer touches many lives and women should be constantly checking themselves for any abnormalities. Found early, the survival rate is very high.

So how can we reduce our own risk of cancer? It should be no surprise to know that there are a few simple lifestyle changes that can help.

Don't smoke - smoking is linked to at least 30% of all cancer related deaths.

Watch your weight - If you are overweight or obese, you will have higher levels of estrogen circulating your body. Aiming for a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 will keep you out of the danger zone.

Be physical - Sweating it out for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week has been proven to lower your risk of cancer related disease. Exercise also encourages fat loss and improves general well being.

Eat right - there is much evidence out there to suggest that in order to lead a disease free life, we need to feed our bodies with highly nutritious and un-processed foods. It makes total sense to me that a diet rich in nutrient dense foods has more cancer fighting benefits than a diet high in animal fats and sugars. Fill up on vegetables, fruits and grains and use meat and their by products sparingly.

Reduce alcohol consumption - I was shocked when my doctor told me that alcohol consumption had been linked to breast cancer risk. A small daily glass of wine may be beneficial in some ways, but anything more than that will see our estrogen levels go up, putting us once again in a dangerous area of risk.

We all want to live a disease free life and although we are not in control of everything that happens to us, we can make a difference by making certain lifestyle choices. Us females tend to do a very good job of looking after our loved ones but when it comes to looking after ourselves...well, there is always an excuse as to why we don't!

Looking after N° 1 is essential if we want to look after the other numbers in our lives!

In health and happiness!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

California Dreaming!

Hi everyone, we hope you are fit and well and enjoying the beginning of autumn. Ryan and I have just returned from a week in sunny California where we spent several days (indoors) learning everything there is to learn about the business of fitness. Some of you may already be familiar with Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove. They own Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California, and are two of the leading fitness experts in the USA. They write for various popular fitness magazines , have published "The Female Body Breakthrough" and "The New Rules of Lifting" and have many years of experience in the field of Sport and fitness. Their success has come about through their hard work and determination and a deep understanding of what the fitness industry is all about.

For three whole days we sat in a conference room with 20 other top level Personal Trainers from all over the world and absorbed priceless amounts of information from our Mentors. I don't think my brain has been so active since I left school!

Investing time and money in our education is something that Ryan and I take very seriously. We know that the world of fitness and nutrition is forever changing and we have to be at the forefront of all this change. We need to know that we can give our clients the best of everything and this means that we spend hours of our day learning and fueling our mental energy. Our knowledge allows us to help our clients reach their health and fitness goals regardless of their age or situation in life. We believe that it is not just our duty to write a programme of exercises. We also believe that it is our mission to supply them with nutritional support and sound advice and to offer emotional back up when the stresses of life get in the way of their goals.

Our time in California was certainly well spent and fruitful. After the learning part was over, we took off down to the coast and cruised around Santa Barbara, Ventura and Santa Monica. Watching dolphins and seals swim on the beach was one of the highlights for me and just being next to the Ocean filled my mind and spirit with positive and nourishing thoughts. One of our future goals now is to own a home down by the Pacific where we can wake up each morning to the sound of the waves and watch the sun go down over the horizon! Yes, I will allow myself that dream and hope that it will come true sooner than later.

So now we are back home in Geneve and battling through the jetlag. We are putting a lot of what we learned in California into practice already and our clients will be benefitting hugely from our new found knowledge! Thanks to all of you who allowed us to take time out, we greatly appreciate your support!

Our 21 day Rapid Fat Loss programme will be starting again on October 5th so hurry and sign up before places run out!

Well, that's all from me for now. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or leave a comment on the blog. We always love to hear from you!

In health and happiness,


Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Swinging Good Bodyweight Workout

Bonjour tout le monde!

Here is the next videos in our series of bodyweight exercises! The first video shows the beautiful Tamara using a TRX, which we rigged up from a tree. The TRX is a great travel tool to supplement your bodyweight training programme. It also comes with an attachement for your door so you can use it inside your home or when you are staying in a hotel somewhere. If you look over to your right on our blog page you can see a link for the TRX. Click on the link if you would like some more information about the product!

The second video shows the same exercise variations but on a playground swing. If you are a busy mom or dad and want a workout while the kids are playing look no further than the swing. It is a challenging addition in terms of stability to your bodyweight exercise programme.

The time format for the workouts will be 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest and then switching exercises. Perform 4-5 rounds for an excellent total body calorie blasting session! I hope you enjoy the videos and if you get through the 4-5 rounds and live to tell the tale then please post a comment below!

Have a Swinging Good Workout!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beans, beans, beans!

Beans, beans are good for your heart, the more you eat the more you..... I am sure you all know what comes next! But don't let that put you off eating them! Beans are a perfect food in so many ways. They are a good source of fibre, carbohydrate and protein and are also low in fat. Just 1 cup of cooked beans will provide up to 11 gms of soluble fibre which is a lot for such a small helping. We are all lacking fibre in our diets and this can cause all sorts of digestive issues if not addressed.
After my previous blog about where and how to get protein from a vegetarian diet, I am going to follow up with a few suggestions on how to purchase and prepare these little gems of superfood along with some fabulous recipes for you to try.

Pre-cooked canned beans are a great standby to have in your cupboard and can be used in an instant to make salads or dips or add to soups, however be sure to rinse them well and remove any excess sodium that will certainly have been added to the mix. The optimum way to eat your beans is to cook them yourself. Proper soaking and cooking time can reduce the overall amount of starch and sugars, as well as significantly reducing the oligosaccharide content which causes gas. Some beans take a lot more cooking and preparation than others but the results far outweight the effort involved. To cook dried beans, first of all rinse under cold water and remove any little stones that may have found their way into the packet, believe me, it happens and it can result in an un-welcome visit to the dentist! To re-hydrate the legumes, soak them in a large volume of water for a good 4 hours or preferably overnight. Chick peas, black beans and kidney beans benefit from a lot of soaking. I boil the beans in plain water with no added salt as the salt will prevent the beans from softening. Boil in a large quantity of water for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 45 minutes. At this point, I generally remove the cooking water and replace it with clean water and start the process again. Kidney beans in particular need a lot of cooking, so a good 2 hours should produce a nice soft result. Chickpeas and black beans can take less time, so use your palate to check the consistency before you stop cooking them. Once the beans are cooked, they are ready to be used in a variety of dishes. Lentils are much quicker to cook and come in many shapes, colours and sizes. They are a wonderful source of iron as well as protein so make sure you include them often in your regime. There are green lentils, red lentils, puy lentils and tiny black lentils, all of which have their own unique taste and texture, so check out your local shop and see what is on offer.

Black Bean Chili

1 onion, 1 green bell pepper, 2 celery stalks, 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 tbs of chili powder, 1 tbs of ground cumin, 1 tbs of paprika, 2 tbs of dried oregano,a pinch of cayenne pepper, 3 chopped tomatoes, 6 cups of kidney beans and 1 1/2 cups of water.

Sautee the chopped onion, chopped pepper, chopped celery, garlic and spices in a large heavy pan for about 8 minutes until softened but not browned.

Stir in the tomatoes, beans and water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the chili has thickened and the flavours have blended.

Serve on a bed of brown rice and sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander.

Cannellini Salad
300 g of dried cannellini beans, 1 whole head of garlic, 1 large lemon, a stick of celery and 2 or 3 bay leaves.
Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain them and place in a large saucepan along with the celery, garlic, bay leaves and the lemon cut in half. Cover with plenty of water and bring to the boil. After about 45 minutes of cooking, add a pinch of salt to the water and taste the beans for texture, they may need more cooking if they are a bit crunchy. Once cooked , drain off the water and set aside in a large bowl. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Take 3 anchovy fillets, 2 cloves of garlic, 5 tbs of olive oil, 1 tbs of lemon juice, a handful of basil leaves a tbs of chopped parsley and another of mint. Whizz the ingredients in a blender for a few seconds and then add to the warm beans. Let the salad rest for at least 30 minutes before eating so that the flavours can develop.

Mediterranean white bean salad
2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbs of lemon juice
1 tbs of olive oil
1/2 cup of minced red onion
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/3 cup of chopped basil leaves
Salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl et voila!

Lentil soup
2 cups of green lentils, 4 cups of water, 1 large can of chopped tomatoes, 2 cups of vegetable stock, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1/2 cup of finely chopped red onion, salt and pepper.

Cook the lentils in the water until tender. Drain them and add to a large saucepan. Fry the onions and the garlic gently in a frying pan and then add to the lentils along with the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat season with salt and pepper and whizz in a blender. A simple but highly nutritious soup full of protein, iron and leptin.

Chickpea and vegetable curry
4 cups of chopped bok choy (cote de bettes), 1 small chopped onion, 1 chopped red pepper, 2 cups of coconut milk, 1 tsp of minced fresh garlic, 1 tsp of minced ginger, 1 tsp of curry powder, 1 large can of cooked chick peas, salt and pepper.

Sautee the onion, garlic and ginger in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the chopped peppers, bok choy and curry powder. Stir together before adding the coconut milk and chickpeas. Simmer together for about 20 minutes and season to taste. Delicious served along with some flat bread or with brown rice. Experiment with different types of curry, I often use a hot and spicey thai mix along with a tsp of grated lemon grass. You can also add carrots, squash, pumpkin, courgettes is a very versatile dish and we love it!

I hope you have some fun in the kitchen with these recipes. Beans and legumes are very very versatile and whether you are a vegetarian or not, I believe you should include them in your weekly menus and so benefit from their majestic nutritional content. Bon Apetit!

In health, in the kitchen,

Get Down To Basics!

In this day and age we seemed to be overwhelmed with information! The internet provides us with a facility to gain instant answers to the most bizarre questions on the most random topics. Who knew what the word "google" meant before the internet? Google is defined as a number with a hundred zeros behind it! That is a pretty big number and you can see how it co-relates to the name of the worlds most popular search engine. Side note: I googled the word google for the definition;)

When we realize truly how much information there is at our fingertips, it is no wonder that we get confused about exercise and nutrition. One website tells you that eating nothing but apples for 1 month is the absolute best way to lose weight. Another link takes you to a youtube video of guys doing some pretty extreme exercises with the most horrendous form and then celebrating the fact that they were sick after. So, where do we go to get some reliable information?

I think we truly know that if we stick to the basic principles of exercise and nutrition we will be just fine. You don't have to look too far in the past to see generations who had basic diets and jobs that were more physically demanding than the jobs of today. What it comes down to is if we don't eat nutritious foods and exercise/move regularly our bodies will slowly break down into a state of disease. The biggest killers in the world today are lifestyle diseases, with cardiovascular disease and diabetes topping the list. By sticking to the basics of exercise and nutrition we can take control of our lives and prevent ourselves from being a statistic.

In terms of exercise, what are the basics? For those of you that know me well and have seen our previous videos, I am a big proponent of bodyweight exercises. What can be more basic than that! All you need is your bodyweight to get an excellent workout and there is no stopping point with these exercises. When I was growing up in Colorado, one of the questions that I was always asked was "ow much do you bench?" And my general answer would be "who cares!" These guys were what I call "Meatheads." They only cared about how much weight they could push in a squat or a bench press, regardless of their form. I know because I myself spent some regrettable time as a member of the "Meathead" clan. My so-called fellow "Meathead" clansmen couldn't even perform a simple bodyweight push up let alone a one legged squat, which in my opinion is a true test of strength.

The same can be said about machine training. For those that are in an office job all day sitting in front of a computer the last thing you should do is go to the gym and sit in a machine!! Machines take away our bodies natural support system. The muscles in our body should be working together in harmony to give us the best overall results. Younger children especially should stay away from machine training. The exercise might appear more safe but in reality it interupts a childs growth and development. If you watch a child on a playground you can see how they are masters of bodyweight exercise. Climbing, pulling, jumping, crawling, pushing and running are the staples of a playground experience. You can't get that on a machine. So you can see how basic bodyweight exercises, and their many varieties, should be at the cornerstone of any exercise programme!

Now if you have read Tamara's blog posts on nutrition you know that she promotes nothing but the stripped-down basics. Eat organic unprocessed foods spaced out over several eating opportunities throughout your day. That is about as basic as it gets. Our problem is we make things too complicated. The emotional side of eating is an example of that. Looking for the next magic pill is another example. Everyone has the tools to live the life they want to live. It is just a matter of recognizing that you have the power to "eat great" and "move more!" As fitness professionals our main goal is to empower you to take your health and fitness into your own hands. We can't follow you the rest of your life but hopefully through this blog and our health and fitness programmes, we can give you the tools to live the happy and healthy life that you deserve!!

Dedicated to Your Health and Happiness,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to maintain your protein levels on a vegetarian diet.

If anyone has ever been a vegetarian or is one today, you will probably have been told a thousand times that you can't possibly be getting enough protein in your diet!! I lived with this for many years and yet still managed to be quite healthy and muscular! We all know that meat and fish and other animal sources are high in protein and full of the amino acids that we require for good muscle repair and growth. What is less known is that protein can also be obtained from vegetables, grains and legumes and that if you eat enough of these foods , you will be meeting your daily requirements without eating any meat.

If your choice is to avoid meat, then you will probably be filling up on vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds and will therefore be meeting your daily nutritional requirements. You will however, have to take more care in making sure that your meals are well balanced and that you are eating sufficient food in order to consume enough protein. When you are eating a good balance of these un-processed foods, your carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios will be optimal. If you are trying to build muscle while on a vegetarian regime, it is a good idea to know which plant based foods come in the higher protein category and which ones are lower. Remember that it is important to include a wide range of fruits and vegetables as well, because you also need to consume adequate amounts of micronutrients and vitamins. The alkaline effect of fruits and vegetables will also balance out the acidity that the grains, legumes and nuts provide.

There is a tendency to over consume dairy products and processed soya products when following a vegetarian lifestyle, and this can lead to a high intake of fats, salt and estrogens. Cheese is very versatile and is probably the quickest go-to food when cooking and preparing non-meat dishes but it is also very high in fat and salt. I have to say that I love cheese, but I now only eat goats and buffalo milk cheeses which I find easier to digest and which tend to be lower in fat. As you may have noticed in previous blogs, I am not a fan of soya. Soya has been found to upset the balance and function of our thyroid and is present in nearly all processed foods and drinks. Fermented soya (ie Tofu,Tempeh) is the only type of soya that we should eat and even that should be restricted to a few small portions a day. After much research on the topic I have have become an anti-soya campaigner, but it is up to you to make your own choices and therefore I recommend that you do your own research and decide for yourself what the risks are. I used to believe that if something was on our supermarket shelf and being sold to us as food, it must surely be safe! Knowledge is everything, and when it comes to our food and how we nourish our bodies, it is more important today than ever before, to know what is in our food and where it is coming from.

Anyway, to go back to the subject of protein, here follows an idea of the percentage of protein contained in plant based foods.

High Protein :

Broccoli, spinach,, squash, asparagus, Hemp seeds, Pumpkin seeds, lentils,Tofu, peas, Tempeh, Kidney beans, pea protein powder, rice protein powder, hemp bread and sprouted grain bread.

Lower Protein:

Cucumber, celery, quinoa, oats, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, peanuts, pistachios, chick peas.

As you can see from this list, it is a good idea to include legumes in most of your daily meals. You can make salads, stews, bean burgers, curries, hummus and various other dips and delicious concoctions with these ingredients. I do find that cooking a vegetarian meal can be a bit more time consuming and you will also have to become quite knowledgable about the protein content of the foods that you are preparing. It is quite simple to cook a piece of meat or fish and just add a pile of steamed vegetables, but there are so many wonderful dishes to be made with plants that I feel you will have a lot of fun experimenting. One of my favourite "fast food" meals is to throw a tin of chickpeas in a saucepan with a tin of chopped tomatoes, add some crushed garlic and some coconut milk,a tsp or two of curry powder or thai curry paste....bring to the boil and allow to simmer while you have a shower or clear up the mess the kids have left for you or cuddle the dog! We eat it hot or cold along with a piece of bread or instant couscous, et voila, dinner in an instant! Tofu and Tempeh are also great sources of protein and are versatile enough to be used in many different recipes from soups and stir fries to burgers and salads.

Please be aware that Vegetarian diets can leave you deficient in some B vitamins and amino acids which could result in anaemia so it is a good idea to have a blood test if you are feeling fatigued or dizzy. Maintaining a fitness routine while trying to lose weight and maintain a good nutritional balance can be quite challenging. Simply do your best to balance your meals and if your protein must come from plant based sources, then make sure that you are eating enough to meet your daily needs.

In health,


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How does food make you feel?

How does food make you feel?

What role does it play in your daily life?

Do you live to eat or do you eat to live?

For some of us food is a pleasure and for others it is a fear. Our attitude towards it begins at a very early age and it generally begins with an absolute aversion to vegetables! Ask most children what they least like about food and they will tell you without hesitating "broccoli" "carrots" "anything green" or anything "healthy"! But why is that? Maybe for some children the the taste and texture of plain boiled vegetables is un-palatable, and maybe some parents fear giving them anything with too much flavour at an early age in case it upsets their stomachs. Well, go tell that to someone from a third world country, where food is scarce and often highly spiced to mask the taste of rotting meat. There are not many fussy eaters in that part of the world! Children often adopt their parents eating habits, good or bad and will be reluctant to try anything that their parent dislikes too.

So whether your anxieties with food stem from your childhood or from some other time during your growing up years, the fact remains that these habits stay with you for a very long time. When a client comes to me wanting to lose weight, the first thing we tackle is their eating habits. There is no point putting anyone on an exercise regime if their eating habits are off whack! You can run as many miles as you want and lift as much weight as you like, but if you are binge eating or not eating enough or eating foods that disagree with you, then you might as well not bother. To really lead a life of health and wellness, the issue of food must be dealt with as a priority and balance must be restored.

For many people the problem with food is a very complex one. Eating disorders are increasingly common amongst all age groups and people often try to battle through it alone, fearing that they will be judged or considered weak and stupid if they tell anyone their dirty secret. It is not just about being anorexic or bulimic. Even though may be the two most common disorders and will usually require some sort of advanced psychological therapy to be treated, there are many other disorders within our society. Many of these other disorders are considered "normal" and acceptable but they are as equally damaging to peoples lives. There will be those who refuse to eat carbs of any kind and others who claim to have intolerances to just about everything and many more who restrict their diets because of the fear of gaining pounds. Eating disorders come in many different disguises and are often more common amongst those who also have addictive tendencies. We can be addicted to just about anything, be it good or bad. Too much of a good thing can also be damaging and it is why we need to find the balance. We need to eat, otherwise we die, so it is not something that we can turn our backs on and ignore. The first step we need to take towards achieving balance and moderation in our food consumption is to be aware. Once you become aware and accept that there is a problem, the journey to wellness can begin.

Taking some time to investigate not just what we eat but how and why we eat makes moderation more achievable. Keeping a food diary is a great help at this stage. Writing down everything that you put into your mouth on a daily basis throughout the week and including your emotions in the equation can be very eye opening. You may find that there is a link between the chocolate cake craving that you had on Monday, with a particularly stressful experience that you were going through or about to go through that same day. It is often apparent that we go searching for those high carb, high fat comfort foods during moments of anxiety, loneliness and sorrow or when we have an emotional void that needs to be filled. Our emotions are dictating the foods that we are eating and as a result our bodies are suffering the consequences. It is obvious why we eat. We have to eat in order to survive. But what and how we eat is really a very different and complex matter. The relationship between our minds and our stomachs is a volatile one and our bodies are the victims. For us to achieve a healthy balance in life, all aspects of our lifestyle must be in harmony. Eating in Moderation, exercising in moderation, moderating the hours we spend at work and with our families and sleeping the right amount of hours are all part of the big picture. Tip one of those things over the edge and the rest will follow. Moderation is a habit which can be cultivated through knowing that you will be happy giving yourself what you need and not letting the object of your desire become your master. Whenever something becomes an addiction, it is almost certainly time to let it go. If you can learn to love something and use it in a moderate way, be it food or exercise or anything else in your life, then you will never have to give it up. You will learn to use it moderately and be able to enjoy it every now and then rather than allow it to take control and fill you with guilt.

It is apparent to me that women suffer far more from negative relationships with food. We are always trying to "cut down", "eliminate", "detox" or "fast" our way to better health. But in doing so we are simply feeding our insecurites and fuelling our negative attitudes. If your thoughts are focused on trying not to eat food, then your mind will simply focus on food as a temptation and guilty pleasure. If you try to banish food from your mind you will simply crave it even more! Try instead to focus on the benefits of food. Good, nutritious food. Think of the reaction you get from your children when you tell them not to do something...they want to do it more than before. Your mind will do the same. The good angel in your head will tell you that you must not do this or that and the devil in your mind will make it loud and clear that you will most certainly do the opposite! How exhausting to have this continual battle going on in your mind day in, day out! The key to overcoming the negative is to focus on the positive. Think about all the wonderful foods that exist which are nutritious and beneficial to our wellbeing. Think how lucky you are to have that choice and to have that control. Understand that by feeding your mind with good and positive guilt free thoughts, you will be feeding your body with goodness and positive energy through the food that you eat. Once you have achieved a balance in your eating, the excess weight will start to drop off and you will begin to see positive changes in your attitude towards food and eating.

Try using the following tools to help you stay on the right path:

1. Stop and question why you want to eat and if the answer is anything other than hunger, then go and find something else to do.

2. If your need for food stems from a deeper emotional place, then take time out to address that emotion and find a replacement for the food. Try going on a walk, calling a friend, meditating, reading, anything other than eating.

3. If your need for food is a genuine feeling of hunger, then go and prepare yourself something nutritious and satisfying with a good balance of protein and carbohydrate. You will feel guiltless by feeding yourself this way and your mind/body will not feel deprived of what it needs.

Most people find that after a few weeks or months of feeding themselves with healthy nutritious foods, a lot of their cravings for bad, toxic foods will disappear. It can, however, be a long and difficult journey for a lot of people, but a journey that I know will be worth the sweat and tears once you get to a place of balance and moderation.

Eat Clean, Train Smart and Sleep well.....the rest will sort itself out!

In health and happiness,

Fitness Cramming Time!

Reading an article from Brian Grasso, founder and CEO of the IYCA, about cramming inspired todays blog post!

Do you remember how you were as a kid in high school or at university when you studied for your exams? Were you the person that prepared weeks in advance for a big exam and throughout the year took pages of notes that you reviewed on a daily basis? That way you made sure that whatever you learned stuck with you and you wouldn't forget it.

Or maybe, like me, you were a student you was a master crammer! You rarely took notes in class and when it came test time you were up all night studying a whole years worth of material in just a few hours? You studied to the point where if you put anything more in your head it would explode!!
During the test you regergitated everything that you studied a few short hours ago and as soon as the test was over, everything that you had learned would quickly left your brain. This is the way that I got through university! I enjoyed my classes and do still remember some things but the bulk of information is still floating around the air of Grand Junction, Colorado.

If we relate this to our health and fitness, what kind of correlations do we see? Our society now is one that wants a quick fix. We spend months and years giving our bodies the wrong things and not treating it in the best way and we expect that we can change all of that over night!

  • The magic pill that will shed 100 kgs in just three days!

  • 3 minute abs, no wait 2 minute abs, no even better 30 second abs.

  • The apple diet that will detox your body while helping you to drop 15 kgs in a week, just like Gwyneth Paltrow!

  • 20 kgs of muscle by drinking nothing but protein shakes for a month!

I am sure you can fill in the blanks with many more fantastical examples. We are almost all guilty of opting for the easy quick fix! But like cramming for the big exam, if you do get results, do those results last? What has suffered as a consequence of this quick fix solution to all of your problems? You might have lost loads of weight in no time at all but how are your energy levels, are you able to control your food cravings?

The solution is to take a longer term approach to your health and fitness. By making those small changes you are creating those good habits that will add up to big results in the long run! Take weight loss for example, a realistic weekly loss would be about 1 lb. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds of fat you are looking at four months of healthy weight loss to reach your goal! With weight loss happening consistently over time you are able to sustain the results because you were able to create those great habits and won't result in gaining it all back after a week or two of not sticking to "the plan."

Take for example my fitness levels! I am not saying they are amazing but I feel that I can maintain what levels I have without training intensively every day. I didn't get where I am at today by a few months of hard core training! It has taken me several years to improve upon my fitness levels and build a good level of mobility, flexibility and strength. I have had some pitfalls on the way but because of that good base that I created when I was a kid I am able to get back on track a whole lot easier! The knowledge that I built up along the way has seen to that.

My take away point is that if you are seeking a change in your overall health and fitness levels do it in stages. Learn along the way and exchange your old habits, that got you nowhere but another trouser size, for new, life changing habits. If you don't, you might continue to face an ongoing battle of fitness cramming, via fad diets and magic pills, with results that balloon more than Oprah Winfrey!!

FITfully Yours,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here comes Autumn!

I really love the Autumn, especially because it is such a rich and colourful time of year. Suddenly all the greeness of the summer is replaced by an explosion of bright yellows, oranges and reds, bringing to our attention the multitude of different trees and plants that surround us. We are rewarded with nuts and fruits and huge orange pumpkins and multi coloured squashes, all of which provide us with highly nutritious foods and a multitude of winter warming recipes. We should look no further than our immediate environment and therein find all the foods that we need to nourish our bodies. We have everything we need in the fruits and vegetables that we grow and in the animals that we rear and if you are a vegetarian, you can fill your pot of wellness with beans and nuts and seeds. No need to ever go to a supermarket again right? Eliminating processed and packaged foods from your diets will do more for your health and longevity than you can ever imagine. Eating seasonal produce and produce that is grown locally will eliminate many of the pesticides that our fruit and veg are doused with in order to survive the journey from far away lands. I really don't want to eat strawberries in the winter and neither do I want to eat oranges in the summer, I love to wait for that time of year when the produce is grown and ripened on the tree and picked hours before it is consumed. Growing up in the Canary Islands, I had access to tree ripened avocadoes, papayas, bananas, mangoes and many more tropical fruits which I consumed in abundance. Nothing I could buy in the supermarket here in Switzerland will ever taste the way those fruits tasted and when I see a papaya sitting on the supermarket shelf here, it looks so sad and so far away from home that I feel sorry for it!! I do buy mangoes and avocadoes because I love them even though I know deep down that they have far less nutrition than they should , however, their waxy skins do protect their flesh from the pesticides that are used to prevent their pre-mature decay.

So here we are entering the early days of autumn and I am surrounded by orchards of apples, pears, plums, grapes and bulging squashes and my mind is full of ideas for healthy and nutritious meals. Bright orange soups and hot spiced fruit compotes aswell as heart warming stews and winter salads. Pumpkins are so much more than an excuse for a Halloween lantern as they make amazing anti-oxidant rich soups and their seeds are little gems of medicinal goodness. Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan which means they are useful in treating insomnia. They have also been found to help with rheumatoid arthritis, elevated blood lipids, kidney and bladder disorders as well as parasitic infestations. Research carried out in China found pumpkin seeds to be highly effective in eliminating tapeworm infestations. So much magic in such a tiny seed! Try making a delicious snack by roasting 2 cups of raw seeds mixed with a drizzle of oil and a touch of salt, and bake in the oven for around 45 minutes. And then there is pumpkin pie ofcourse, something our American friends are very fond of and something that I will have to learn to cook this year as I am now married to one!

If you are a meat eater, then you can also benefit from the new season game meat that will be coming into the butchers. Venison, wild boar and hare are all highly nutritous meats and low in fat and offer a great and healthy alternative to our usual beef, lamb and pork. They have a richer flavour and consistency which can be far more satisfying and flavoursome than our more traditional choices. Go to a good butchers and see what they have on offer and try something new and hopefully it will be locally caught and killed too. I was a vegetarian for many years and still have a hard time eating meat and only do so if I truely feel that my body is in need of some extra iron or protein and when that time comes, I will opt for bison or Wapiti/Venison steaks.

Eating well and eating foods that are in season now will strengthen your immune system and prepare you for the coming winter months when we are prone to sickness and colds. The shorter days and lack of sunshine will bring us down and deplete our bodies of vitamin D which in turn will leave us vulnerable to anything from bouts of depression to weakening bones. So stock up and fill your bodies with nutrient dense foods along with a supplement of Omega 3 and Vitamin D3 and get out in the fresh air as much as possible...just 20 minutes of sunshine a day will fill us with our daily dose of strength and will sure put a smile back on your face.

Well, that's all for now. Enjoy the changing season and indulge in what it has to offer you. Take care of nature and it will take care of you!

In health and happiness,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Metabolic Mania!!!

Hey Everyone,

I hope you are all feeling fit and healthy! Our next video in our series of Bodyweight Training is our 30-15 Metabolic Mania workout. In the video we describe regressions of each of the exercises if you find the main exercises a little too intense.

The workout format is 30 seconds of work on each exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest while changing exercises. Perform all 5 exercises and repeat for two more rounds. If you are feeling brave try not to rest between rounds. If you need the rest try to limit the time you rest each time you perform the workout. For those that are advanced rest 2-3 minutes after the first three rounds and repeat once again for 3 rounds!! Increased speed of the movements also make the exercises more difficult.

Be sure to leave some comments and let us know how many times you cursed our name while performing the workout:)

Metabolically Yours,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Your daily plan!

Wouldn't it be nice to hire a personal chef who could prepare your daily meals for you? All healthy and nutritiously balanced? It sure would be nice! Well, not many of us are so fortunate and I have therefore created the next best thing for you. Two daily plans with 3 meals and 2 snacks, with nutritional information and designed around the time of day that you do your workout. I hope you find the meals delicious and the plan easy to follow, enjoy!

Meal Plan 1....Morning Workout (This would be for someone who does their sessions early morning before breakfast)

Breakfast : Creamy Banana Oatmeal. Serves 2
.....1 cup of low fat milk, 1/4 cup of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of oats,1/4 cup of water, 1 scoop of whey protein and 1/2 banana. Cook the oats in a pan with the milk and coconut for about 10 minutes. Mix the water with the protein powder until you have a smooth past. Once oatmeal is cooked, add the protein and the chopped banana. Mix well and eat!

Cals: per serving: 261, carbs: 26g, protein: 19g, fat: 8g

Snack: Green Tea Smoothie (Serves 2)
....1/4 cup of green tea, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese,1/2 cup plain yoghurt, 1 scoop of whey protein, 2 cups of crushed ice.
Place all ingredients into a blender and whiz!

Cals: per serving: 283, carbs: 16g, protein: 23g, fat:13g

Lunch: Stir Fry Beef with Spinach (serves 2)
....6 oz of sirloin steak, seasoning, 1 clove of garlic.....slice the steak up into strips and season with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a pan and heat. Sauté the meat and add the crushed garlic, stirring until it is cooked to your liking. Serve over a bed of lightly steamed spinach.

Cals: per serving:110, carbs: og, protein:18g, fat: 4g

Snack: Blueberry Power Yoghurt.......1/2 cup of plain natural low fat yoghurt, 1 scoop of whey protein powder and 2 tbs of semi-frozen or fresh blueberries. Mix the yoghurt with the protein first until well dissolved and then add the blueberries.

Dinner: Lemon Poached Cod with Courgettes
...In a shallow pan, place 2 cups of water, 2 tbs of lemon juice, 1 tsp of fennel seed and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and allow the flavours to infuse for a minute or 2...turn down the heat. Place your 6 oz piece of cod in the liquid and let simmer for just a few minutes until the flesh turns white. Thinly slice your courgette and stir fry in a pan with a drop of oil, 1 crushed clove of garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until it has just changed colour to a bright green. Serve together your fish.

Cals: 157, Carbs: 3g, Protein: 15g, fat: 0.5g

REMEMBER: Stay hydrated throughout the day, drinking in between meals rather than with your meals.

Meal Plan 2 .....Evening workout (For those of you who train after work)

Breakfast: Spinach and Eggwhite Omelette
.....Take 1 cup of fresh raw spinach and wilt in a non-stick pan with a tsp of oil. Meanwhile take 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg and beat together in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the spinach to the bowl of eggs and mix together quickly before returning to the pan. Allow to cook slightly before folding in half. Serve with a smile!

Cals 260, Carbs: 24g, protein: 24g, fat: 10g

Snack: Apricot Supa Shake (serves 2)
......1 cup of herbal fruit tea,1 cup of water,1 cup of dried apricots, 1.5 cups of 0% Greek yoghurt, 1 scoop of protein powder . Place it all in the blender and whiz it up!

Cals: 330, carbs: 42 g, fat: 2g

Lunch: Beefy Greek Salad (serves 2 or a hungry one, simply double the nutritional info)
....1 cup of chopped cucumber, 1 cup of chopped tomato, 1/2 cup of crumbled Feta cheese, 1/2 cup of sliced onion, 5 olives and 6 ozs of sliced, sauted steak. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with a dressing of 1 tablespoon of Olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice and 1 crushed clove of garlic...and sprinkle with some dried oregano or herbes de Provence.

Cals: 260, carbs: 10.5g, protein: 28g, fat: 11g

Snack: Banana Nut Slice* Cals: 284, Carbs:14g, Protein: 22g, fat: 14.9g

Dinner: Lamb Cilli (Post workout) Serves 6 or 3 very hungry campers!
.....1.5 lb of cubed lamb for stewing, 1 cup of chopped onion, 1 cup of chopped red pepper, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of red kidney beans, 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 tbsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 tbs of honey. Brown the meat in a casserole along with the onions, pepper and garlic, cumin and chilli, add to that the chicken broth and tinned tomatoes. Cook on a low heat for about 2 hours. Add the honey and then add the beans and cook for another hour. Slow cooking will make the meat nice and tender. This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge, ready for you to re-heat when you arrive home ravenous from your workout!

Cals: 292, Carbs:41g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 5.7g

(The nutritional content for all the measl is for one serving)

* Banana Nut Slice

1/2 cup of mashed banana, 2 whole eggs, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Oats, 2 cups of ground Walnuts, 6 scoops Vanilla protein powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda.

Whisk together the eggs until fluffy and mix together with the cottage cheese and mashed banana. Stir all the dry ingredients together making sure that they are well combined. Gently fold in the egg mixture until you get a nice gooey consistency. Lightly oil a baking tray and pour in your banana mixture. Place in a pre-heated oven at 350°F and bake for about 15 minutes.

Allow to cool before slicing into 8 portions.

This is a high protein version of what would ordinarily be a high carb snack and so can be enjoyed at any time of day!