I have been travelling a lot lately. So much so that it really is disrupting my entire routine, and most especially, my sleep patterns.
And I know I am not alone.
Sleeping better is the fastest growing health ambition in the UK amongst adults, with just over a third saying they are not getting the right amount of sleep. Lack of sleep takes its toll on your entire body causing irritability, inability to concentrate and lack of focus.
Enter our friend magnesium. Wouldn’t it just be so much easier to partake in some magnesium therapy three or more times per week to aid you into a nice, deep lovely sleep?
Magnesium is used by virtually every cell in your body and most importantly, your vital organs, like your heart and liver. If you are deficient in magnesium, you will most likely experience chronic fatigue from lack of proper sleep, but also symptoms such as eye twitches or muscle spasms. Magnesium deficiency is quite common in those eating a standard western diet as no one can get the required amount from diet alone. Low levels can cause a lot of problems that aren’t readily apparent or might even seem obscure, such as restless leg syndrome which can cause a ‘crawling’ sensation in the legs that can impact on your quality of sleep.
Magnesium is also a key conduit in DNA synthesis and aids neurotransmitters like serotonin which helps regulate mood and brain functioning. It helps to regulate production of melatonin which normalises sleep patterns.
Magnesium also works in close coordination with vitamin D3 and calcium. I like to call it the triumvirate of vitamins and minerals that control muscular recovery and inflammation post workout. If you are short on one of the three, then your whole system can feel out of whack. All three vitamins and minerals work together, especially in critical functions like post sports recovery, where your body requires the electrolyte power of the magnesium, but works best with enough Vitamin D and calcium – almost acting as a booster for your bones and muscles – for faster muscular recovery. The best way to boost your magnesium levels is through the skin, a much faster way to absorb this key mineral.
Why not try BetterYou Magnesium Flakes in a body or foot bath or use the magnesium oil to spray onto the body? Magnesium aides in relaxation of the entire body putting your body into a deeply relaxed sleep ready state.
I recommend regular soaking in the BetterYou bath flakes to all of my clients, especially those who are sleep deficient, over tired, or have sore, achy muscles. And, if you are not so fond of the bath, then maybe applying some of the BetterYou Body Butter!
When I’ve been on the road this much, I travel with the Magnesium Body Lotion or the travel size MagnesiumOil Original Spray for instant relief on my tired body. Ah…to dream then it is!
Here’s my latest blog for BetterYou, the transdermal magnesium and vitamin spray people. Check it out below and on their website.
B12 is a critical vitamin to get the balance right because our bodies don’t make or store it. We constantly need to top it up. B12 is directly involved in producing DNA, hormones and red blood cells. Most experts agree it’s best to get through your day-to-day diet, but for people like me who are vegetarian or vegan, there is just no way I can get enough as B12 is generally found in meat and dairy products, or supplemented into foods like store bought cereal. Since I don’t eat any of the foods on the list of items naturally containing B12 such as liver, clams, fish, meat, chicken or cow’s milk, I must supplement. Lucky for me, there’s BetterYou’s Boost B12 Oral Spray.
Any vitamin deficiency is serious, but there are some aspects to low B12 levels that cause horrible long term complications like megaloblastic anaemia which can ultimately lead to the damage of one’s nervous system. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include low energy, tiredness and loss of both appetite and weight. As with any physical or emotional symptoms you may be feeling, it’s important to see your GP to determine if you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals, and how you can alter your diet and lifestyle to accommodate your personal needs and choices. This becomes especially true as we head into the holiday season where lots of late nights and holiday treats might knock our healthy living goals flat on their faces.
There are many reasons taking B12 is essential to increasing one’s energy and for fighting fatigue. For example, a client of mine was recently feeling tired all the time with super low energy levels. He had some lab work done and his B12 and vitamin D levels were seriously low despite being a healthy eater (B12 is incredibly difficult for the body to absorb). He started supplementing straight away and his energy and general overall sense of well-being were improved within a matter of weeks. Also for the men out there, one study I’ve read indicated (1) that B12 boosts your testosterone levels, and testosterone keeps you lean as the B12 helps break down both fats and carbs. Can’t beat that!
B12 also directly affects brain function and is thought to help assuage both depression and anxiety whilst boosting memory function. During these cold, dark months where many of us need that little extra push to even get out of bed, it’s important to supplement your B vitamins to ensure you are getting enough to stave off those winter blues, and to get those red blood cells pumping oxygen through your body more efficiently.
Boost B12 Oral Spray is my favourite vitamin spray product by BetterYou. Not only is it incredibly convenient to take, it is so delicious; I have to ensure I limited myself to the four sprays per day – how often can you say that about a vitamin supplement!? All you need to do is spray directly on the inner cheek, which is proven to deliver the vitamin faster than tablets, as it enters quickly into the bloodstream. This quick delivery is important for me as a personal trainer because I have a very active lifestyle and need to ensure my red blood cells are constantly replenishing themselves, plus the extremely limited amount of B12 I get from my food is most likely destroyed in my stomach by acids and enzymes.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Here’s to your winter health!
It’s Vitamin D awareness week, just in time to raise awareness before the season changes. Winter can be tough on our Vitamin D levels. With the pending clock change this weekend, even the healthiest of eaters can still become deficient. And because it’s nearly winter, note that the sun’s UVB rays are not strong enough in the UK to synthesise Vitamin D in the skin – meaning it’s essential to top up your levels with a supplement.
Vitamin D is a critical hormone for many vital functions, such as bone growth and maintenance, calcium absorption, cell growth, a healthy immune system and keeping inflammation at bay. Find out more by searching Twitter for these hashtags: #VitDaware and #VitaminD
Please don’t do what I did and lapse on your Vitamin D. As an ambassador for BetterYou, I should know better. But I recently home tested my Vit D levels and I was below what is currently prescribed. I was shocked, until I realised I hadn’t been taking my spray these last months. I have been travelling a lot and had run out, but because I eat so well I wasn’t really worried. But even then, I know there is no way I could eat my way into a Vitamin D surplus. There just isn’t enough Vit D in the foods I eat as a vegetarian to keep me topped up. The spray is essential to keep my levels balanced. I recommend BetterYou DLux 3000 daily, especially in the looming winter months.
Be sure to get your levels checked this winter because Vitamin D deficiency is seriously bad business. Vitamin D deficiency can cause:
· Low energy / fatigue
· Poor immunology
· Muscle aches
If you’ve been feeling tired or sluggish for a while, it could be as simple as ordering the home testing kit from BetterYou – you don’t even need to go to the GP! It’s simple, painless and so easy to do. BetterYou work with the NHS to distribute their home testing kit and advise patients on the necessary supplementation. Click here.
Top Foods That Will Slightly Help Boost Your Vit D (but let me emphasise, just barely as so little Vitamin D is actually available to your cells from food):
· Egg yolks
· Cold water fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna)
· Beef liver
I can’t stress the importance of getting enough Vitamin D as also advised by the BBC yesterday.
So many of my clients complain of low energy levels despite that they work out 4-6 days a week and eat well. There are generally a couple of things I recommend doing. Spoiler alert: there is no quick fix or magic pill to address this problem!
First, if you put your diet, exercise regime and overall lifestyle under a microscope for a few days, or better a week, then you might find some answers. Even those of us with the healthiest of diets and lifestyles are still probably not getting all the vitamins and minerals we need from our modern diets to function on our A game every day.
Next, you should always rule out any medical health problems. Low energy could be hormonal or from a thyroid problem or myriad other health issues. Get it checked. There are some very simple tests your GP can run, like checking your blood sugar, B12, or hormone levels for the ladies, to ensure your hormones are balanced and are where they should be. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of adding back in a few nutrients you could be lacking, but others it’s more complicated and might require a mixture of solutions.
One thing that’s become evident in endurance training and sports performance in the last decade is the importance of vitamin D levels affecting one’s overall health and vitality. Low levels of Vitamin D made the front pages of all the papers this week, as Britain is experiencing a rise in Vitamin D deficient problems such as rickets and bone loss – across all ages. Vitamin D is not your usual vitamin that’s attained through diet even though you can get a little bit through eggs, cold water fish and some veg like mushrooms. It is a hormone regulated by the brain that is largely meant to be acquired through catching a few rays of sun each week. Living in the UK makes getting enough vitamin D quite difficult for many of us. If you are feeling particularly low energy, it is still a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked before you start dosing yourself with a supplement (your GP can run the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test, or there are home test kits you can purchase).
Low levels of vitamin D directly contribute to chronic fatigue as vitamin D is required on the cellular level to produce dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, all of which help regulate one’s energy levels. And don’t listen to what your friends or colleagues might be doing, your body is unique! The Times suggests the average person can get by with 10 micrograms of Vit D a day, but once you have your levels checked, your doctor can recommend the right dosage for you.
My personal favourite way to get my daily dose, and also the best absorbed, is BetterYou DLux Vitamin D spray. Something I have learned through my ambassadorship at BetterYou is how important the combination of some of these vitamins and minerals are – for example, athletes, which you can count yourself amongst if you work out 5 or more days a week, need more electrolytes and minerals than those not putting their body to the test every day. Keeping your mineral balance in check is critical for maintaining one’s energy levels, but also essential for sports recovery and cellular repair. Using vitamin D in tandem with magnesium and calcium is linked to faster sports recovery.
Fine tuning one’s vitamin and mineral levels takes time, so don’t necessarily expect immediate results. However, if you pair your supplement regime with a healthy eating plan, your results might come faster than you think. Most likely, the worst part of the whole thing will be finding the discipline to break some of the bad habits you haven’t even realised you have.
Even fit bodies have their imbalances and more often that not one of those imbalances comes from the hips. And while you know too much time sat down (even if it’s just at work) can increase your risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, sitting also sorely compromises ‘movement literacy’, or how well you perform basic activities like pivoting, running, and jumping.
When we sit for too long, our joints, muscles, tendons, and fascia—which help us move freely—adapt to this position; and our hip flexors shorten, weaken, and tighten. This is a particular problem for the fit because the hip flexors help us pull our knees upward, move us from side to side, and stabilize our lower bodies.
With too-tight hips, a runner’s stride may shorten slowing her down; or a weightlifter may be unable to complete a full squat, missing out on a key bodyweight exercise. Tight hips are also linked to back pain, muscle aches, and weaknesses in other muscles, like the glutes.
But the happy medium is more complicated than walking or running. Simply, these eight rhythmic movements have the variety your hips need. Incorporate them into your routine a few times a week to restore range of motion and optimal function.
1. Goblet Squat. Squat down, dropping your butt as low to the ground as possible while sliding your arms on the inside of your legs. Alternate pushing your arms against one leg at a time, pushing them out away from the body.
2. Hip Openers . Sitting up straight with your hands on the ground, simply drop both knees to the ground, one going away from the body and one towards the body. Alternate sides.
3. Crab Reach . Sitting on all fours, slightly lift your butt up off the ground. Extend the hips up as high in the air as possible while reaching over the head and opposite shoulder with one arm. Put the arm back on the ground and switch sides.
4. Point Hip Rock . Put hands, knees, and feet on the ground. Try to spread your knees as far as part as possible. Keeping your chest up, rock back and forth.
5. Lateral/Medial Hip Swing. Keeping one knee on the ground, straighten the opposite leg and swing it behind the other leg while dropping your butt toward the ground. Swing your leg in the opposite direction as far as possible and drop your butt toward the ground.
6. Step Back Lunge with Overhead Reach . Step back, keeping the leg relatively straight, and drop your back knee toward the ground while reaching up over the head, keeping the arm straight.
7. Lateral Lunge with Lateral Reach . Step out to the side, keeping the opposite leg straight, and drop down into a squat while reaching with both arms to the outside of the body.
8. Lateral Lunge with Medial Reach . Step out to the side, keeping the opposite leg straight, and drop down into a squat while reaching with both arms to the inside part of the foot on the straight leg.
It’s grey, it’s cold, it’s February…nope!!
Try: It’s fresh, it’s a bright new day, and spring is around the corner. Let’s get motivated!!
How can some people just do it so naturally – they don’t moan, they don’t find excuses, they seem to have the energy and the drive to make it all happen?
However motivated you are, there are always days that are harder than others to find your mojo. I’m not just talking about workouts here. Whether it’s the washing up or a work assignment, the chores or tasks we don’t find the most enjoyable can often get put off, so we need to find the extra push to get them done.
When I’m struggling to motivate, I remind myself of a few things I find really helpful.
Try not to over think whatever it is. The task ahead can seem like a huge mountain to climb if you spend hours thinking about how awful it’s going to be. More than likely as soon as you get started those dreadful thoughts will begin to melt away.
Visualise the immediate end goal. Try to focus on something positive. For example, think about the exhilarating feeling you have after a workout and the sense of achievement you feel having done something great for yourself. Then remind yourself of your bigger goals and why you set out to do them in the first place. Do you want to feel more body confident? Do you have a big event coming up you are working towards? Think about how far you have come, even if it’s your first ever workout. Then just getting your gym kit on and getting to the gym is moving you forward!
And most importantly, keep smiling! Positive thinking whilst doing any task makes it become more enjoyable.
Remember, you are not alone. We all have our moments, we all have days when we can’t be bothered, when the duvet seems like the best place to be (under). Don’t beat yourself up over it. Remember the end goal, the reasons why you started and that you can, you can!! Don’t give up!
This quinoa dish is one of my favourite recipes from my book Nourish. I love it on a winter’s day, or to brighten up the dark nights. The quinoa is an excellent base for other dishes or perfect for a lighter meal on its own. It is also a great dish for warding off the winter blues as the quinoa has just the right mix of protein and carbohydrate to boost one’s mood. Here’s the link to the recipe on the NOURISH website.
The right trainers are essential for a successful workout. Wearing the wrong trainers, especially when taking on high impact sports such as HIIT or running, could cause injury to your knees and ankles as well as unnecessary back or joint pain, and even blisters. There are trainers for every type of foot and body. For example, if your feet pronate, i.e. turn inward, you can get shoes that are specially made to help correct this problem. Most good athletic shoe stores have staff who are trained to help you select the right shoe to suit your needs.
I’m a Nike fan, and as we head into winter, I plan on changing out my summer/autumn favourites to some good road runners for slick rain and snowy weather. Bring on the cold!
It seems everywhere we look these days, sugar is the enemy. And in today’s sugar ladened society, rightly so. Back when we were hunters and gatherers, our bodies only got sugar when it was in season from fresh fruits and carb heavy veg like starchy potatoes or acorn squash. Today, sugar is in everything from table salt to those seemingly healthy green smoothies we love to drink.
As with all things in one’s diet, moderation is key. A little naturally occurring sugar isn’t going to kill you, like in this delicious red velvet brownie treat,
but a medium to large amount of added sugars – in pasta sauces, take a-ways, alcohol and fruit, will eventually take its toll on your body in one way or another through dementia, chronic yeast problems, joint inflammation, arthritis, or depression.
Sugar is addictive and therefore, incredibly hard to stop consuming. Especially as it is literally in just about every store bought product or delicious tasting treat we crave, including fruit (fructose is still sugar!). The best route to stop eating so much sugar will be personal for you, some think stopping nearly cold turkey is best (David Perlmutter, GRAIN BRAIN recommends having no more than 30 grams of carbs a day when cutting back – that’s equivalent to two apples or a cup of berries), whilst others think a less drastic reduction is more appropriate. Whichever route you choose, it’s worth giving it a go as cutting down your sugar intake will help you with some, if not all, of the following: Allergies, Chronic fatigue and those unsightly dark under-eye circles; Memory problems and cognitive impairment; Dropping that extra weight ; Mood swings; Bad skin
If you saw Jamie Oliver’s SUGAR RUSH in early September on Channel 4, you’ll know how damaging sugar is on a global level creating epidemics such as childhood onset Type 2 diabetes which is considered by the WHO to be the top 3 global killer of non-communicable diseases. The worst part about this fact is we are actually doing this damage to ourselves. Jamie’s team emphasised what experts are now calling “free sugars” those hidden sugars I mentioned above that are added to our food, but also those we don’t think about as being harmful like honey and fruit juice. Always check labels when you are buying store bought drinks, sauces and especially items like breakfast cereals that you might think are healthy such as granola.
If you are looking for a way to kick start your own break into a less sugar infused lifestyle and to really start nourishing yourself through your diet and exercise, take a look at my book NOURISH.
Who wants structure on their holiday? Certainly not I.
Finding a good balance between relaxing on holiday, enjoying the food and atmosphere and keeping fit can be challenging. I’ve had the opportunity this summer to get out of the crazy London rain and spend some time in NYC and Italy where it is luckily much warmer. But the heat sometimes also makes it harder to motivate one’s self to work out. I find getting a quick run in the morning when it’s a bit cooler is a good way to get a lay of the land and to plan my sightseeing for the day, but it’s also a good reminder that exercise doesn’t always have to be so regimented or structured and certainly not in the gym! Plus running in the altitude of the Italian Dolomites is definitely helping keep my fitness levels up for the half-marathon I’m running in September whilst also allowing me to fully immerse myself in the amazing Italian culture.
A few tips for keeping healthy on holiday:
1 – Stay hydrated as heat, altitude or even the extra glass of wine can dehydrate you, making you tired or lethargic which is no fun for exploring a new locale!
2 – Sample the local fruit and veg to get a variety of different nutrients that you might not normally have access to at home.
3 – Get up a little earlier than everyone else and do a quick 30 minutes of HIIT training or a run to ‘get it out of the way’ so you can thoroughly relax the rest of the day.
In my recent triathlon, I certainly didn’t feel unstoppable, especially after the swim, but I trained hard and have given myself just a bit of a break before I start training for my next one, which I’m competing for BetterYou, in September! Read my latest blog post for BetterYou for tips regarding the positive benefits of using transdermal magnesium for post sports recovery here.
I get a lot of enquiries into what I eat every day, especially being a vegetarian and sticking to a mostly gluten free diet. So I thought I’d post a few of my favourite, easy-to-make meals. I love to cook and experiment with food, but when I need a little bit of inspiration I peruse one of my many healthful cookbooks. Of course, some of my personal favourites are from my book Nourish as Amber Rose’s recipes, are seasonally savvy which means I’m not eating the same thing over and over day in and day out. They are also super easy to make for a woman on the go.
Every day begins with hot water and fresh lemon to boost my immune system and then a hearty breakfast to kick start my metabolism, and give me the energy I need to work out with my clients. A typical breakfast might include a green smoothie or homemade granola (see recipe below) with coconut milk. I also love quinoa cooked in almond milk with grated apple – gives you just the right amount of protein and carbs before working out.
I am a huge fan of snacking as I think if you eat many small meals throughout the day, you keep your blood sugar levels balanced and are less likely to eat too much at your main meal times. Avocados are a staple in my diet and so healthy – I like to snack on them mashed up with lime on a piece of quinoa and chia toast or a raw seed cracker. Almond butter on a buckwheat cracker is always a great snack when I’m short on time.
Lunch varies everyday depending on where I am and what’s available. I might make a super green soup with lentils, kale, broccoli, onion and watercress served with quinoa and a small salad with hummous. Or seaweed nori wraps filled with whatever fresh veg I have in my fridge like carrots and greens and cucumber. Or maybe a baked sweet potato with hummous and seasonal veg.
Dinner might be a green salad with asparagus, peas, and soft boiled eggs, or a raw veggie burger and slaw. I eat a lot of eggs as they are virtually nature’s perfect food and can be served in so many lovely and different delicious ways.
I always save room for pud and my current favourite recipe includes some variation of a chocolate mousse made with chia seeds, homemade granola, coconut yoghurt and strawberries.
When cooking don’t be scared of trying new things or experimenting with spices and herbs. Making new dishes and preparing and eating delicious healthy nourishing food with my friends and family gives me so much happiness.
Holly’s Homemade Granola Recipe
This recipe makes a big batch you can put into a large glass jar. I like mine with no sweetness, but you can add a little rice syrup or maple syrup if you wish.
Preheat oven 180 C.
Put the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and mixed nuts into a blender and blitz for a few seconds. On a large baking tray melt the coconut oil, then add the oats and all of the blitzed seeds and nuts, coconut flakes, cacao nibs and stir in the spices. Bake for 20-30 min, stirring occasionally to stop the edges from burning.
Once it’s golden brown take out of the oven and add the goji berries, chia seeds and sprouted buckwheat. Serve with yoghurt and berries.
Come spend an evening with me and my sister, Sadie Frost, at the Cowshed Spa in Primrose Hill on Tuesday, June 16th from 6-8 PM. We will be sharing tidbits about staying healthy through meditation and exercise from our book Nourish and from our life experiences. Book tickets here: Cowshed Spa Primrose Hill or call 020 7074 1421.
Can I just say that I am so happy it’s nearly summer! There’s nothing I love more than a bit of sunshine. Outdoor training either alone or with my clients always boosts my mood.
Ideally, humans get enough Vit D through sun exposure but many people no longer do as most of our jobs and daily chores are done inside. Plus, let’s face it – England is not that sunny with an average annual ‘sun fall’ of less than 1500 hours (that’s only about 62 days total!!), which means we don’t get enough sunshine to make adequate stores of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is naturally found in oily fish, cheese, mushrooms and eggs, but we only get about 10% through our diet. And, if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, you need more Vitamin D than normal to protect your bones. If you can, train outdoors in the sunshine during the warmer months. According to the BBC, getting outdoors for some ‘safe sun exposure’ between the hours of 11-3 is best, yet can be hard to do during the work week and if you can’t do it regularly, consider taking a supplement. Vit D is absorbed fastest orally, so a spray option like DLux is best.
The list of nutrients we lack from our modern lifestyles seems to grow longer daily, which reminds me I should make a list of all the ‘essentials’ we should be eating regularly. For next time!
Here’s a little slice of heaven for you. From the Breakfast section of the Detox Kitchen Bible cook book. It’s rich in Omega 3s and folate, as well. Delish.
Had a gorgeous, nourishing, fresh air run at the weekend.
I’m training for the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Triathlon in 3 1/2 weeks and always looking to keep it fresh. I’m also keeping up my HIIT training to boost my overall fitness for race day (you can check out some of my routines on Nourish Mind Body Soul).
Just a quick reminder in this blog post for Better You of some healthful, nourishing activities and recipes for your mind, body and soul this spring from my book Nourish Mind Body Soul. Ah, that’s better.
Beetroot, Walnut & Feta Burgers with roasted carrot hummus and sprouted seed salad. Can I just say: Yum! and insanely delicious vegetarian burger. Another great way to nourish your body with vitamins, protein and healthy fats! Recipe from David & Stephen Flynn’s book The Happy Pear: Recipes and Stories from the First Ten Years.
It seems quite obvious really, but when your muscles ache or are tired, it’s their way of telling you they need some rest. Working the same muscle groups each day doesn’t allow them time to repair. Doing strength training several times a week is critical for keeping your muscles shapely and toned, but don’t forget to take a day in between muscle groups worked. For example, if you work biceps and quads on Monday, then don’t work them again until Wednesday. Strengthening muscles happens through a tiny ‘tearing’ process – they tear and repair themselves. If you work the same muscle day in and day out, they can’t repair themselves and you could become injured. Also, if you have a specific pain that doesn’t seem to be going away, it might be time to see a physio who can work with you to narrow down the problem: is it a muscle, tendon, ligament or joint problem? Once you know the source of the pain, you can do flexibility boosting or strengthening exercises to alleviate your problem. Happy training!Loving my new Nike kit, btw.
Tonight’s the night! Wishing you the happiest of Valentine’s Days. Whether you celebrate with a partner, friend or alone, your body will be feeling fantastic after combining all 6 moves from this past week. Go ahead, smash it! Do each of the 6 exercises for 30 seconds, repeat the circuit 3 times. Backward lunge with knee raise, mountain climbers, triceps kick back, chest press, and now…
MODIFIED SQUAT THRUST ON SWISS BALL AGAINST A WALL
SUPERMAN WITH PELVIC FLOOR SQUEEZE (30 seconds per leg and arm)
We’re adding a new move into our growing circuit. This one will get your chest, triceps and core burning! Remember to add the previous moves into today’s chest press and do each exercise for 30 seconds, repeat the circuit 3 times.
CHEST PRESS WITH TABLE TOP LEGS
First things first. If you don’t keep healthy, you’ll miss all those amazing shows!
Read my top 5 tips here (on the Push PR blog) for keeping healthy now and year round. There are loads more fitness tips in my book Nourish: Mind Body Soul that I’ve co-authored with Sadie Frost and Amber Rose. Amber’s nourishing recipes and Sadie’s breathing and meditation advice will also help you unwind during the very hectic fashion week.
Another superfood tip this month is to embrace the green superfood smoothie. I also add in kale, avocado, chia seeds and coconut water. Sublime!
Today you are adding move 3 to the previous two days’ moves. We’re half way there! Today’s move is a triceps kick back. Form is important when you are working your triceps so consider watching yourself in a mirror if it helps.
TRICEPS KICK BACK
Now, put it all together and you have a set of moves to get your heart pumping.
Start with your Backwards Lunge with Knee Raise, straight into Mountain Climbers then Triceps Kick Back. Do each exercise for 30 seconds, repeat in a circuit 3 times.
Today we are building on yesterday’s backwards lunge. Let’s add in mountain climbers to get in some cardio and fat burn whilst working on toning your core, shoulders and legs:
(30 seconds each side, repeat 3 times)MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
Okay ladies, it’s T minus 5 days to Valentine’s Day, and whether or not you’re a believer, there’s still plenty of time to tone your tummy, butt and thighs in time for some weekend romance. Obviously, you can’t lose loads of kilos in 5 days, but focusing on your core this entire week will help build your confidence to give you that all important super-sexy sex appeal. So watch this space over the next 5 days for a new, daily move. Each day, build on the previous day’s move and by Saturday, you will have a full body workout.
Today’s move is a:
BACKWARD LUNGE WITH KNEE RAISE
(20 seconds each side, repeat 3 times)
My friends at BetterYou (think: transdermal magnesium and vitamins!) posted a motivational piece I wrote for all of you regarding staying active year round…not just in January! Take a gander and don’t forget how important days off are as well as days on when you are training. A nice soak in BetterYou magnesium flakes is a great restorative break on a day off.
It’s time to get lean and mean! Last week, we went through a few reasons why you should make ‘no excuses’ during the holiday season. Now is the time to remember all of the hard work you’ve put in all year. Don’t give up and start your workout routine in January like everyone else doing their ‘New Year’s’ detox. Enjoy Christmas, but also squeeze in a few simple work outs that get you moving and lean. Check out my Instgram @hollyactive for a tiny taster from Week 3 of my book Nourish…Workout 1 (p.228).
Spend 3-5 minutes warming up, then spend 50 seconds on each exercise. Rest only 10 seconds between each. Repeat the circuit 3 times after taking just a quick moment for recovery.
It’s all about proper support for your boobs, ladies. When you’re working out, all that bouncing around can damage your breast tissue which is counterproductive to getting that natural breast lift from all the chest workouts you’re doing. Treat yourself to an early Christmas present or two. Freya makes several excellent hard-working bras I love (as pictured) and they’re cute, too. For all sizes, you can go direct to their website linked above, or check out boobydoo online in the UK as they have regular sales and promotions. They also have a saying I like, which is: “a sports bra should never have a first birthday!”
For more tips and advice on staying fighting fit this holiday season with workouts to suit any lifestyle, take a gander at Week One’s workouts (p.211) in my book Nourish and get moving!
Freya also provided the support for tonight’s Cancer Research UK Celebrity Netball game on Sky Sports, a truly great night out, thank you!
It’s the time of year for giving and we are all hoping you’ll watch us play (in our fabulous Freya sports bras!) at the Cancer Research UK Celebrity Netball game this Wednesday. We’re trying to help spread the word that one in four cancers could be prevented by having a healthier lifestyle. Watch as my sister Sadie and I dodge and mark like pros on SKY Sports this Wednesday the 17th at 6PM. Hope this gets you motivated to move during our Nourish your mind, body, and soul month of December!
OK ladies, it’s time to NOURISH your body this holiday season. Let there be NO EXCUSES as to why you can’t fit in some pre-Christmas fat-burning workouts and be looking absolutely fabulous for New Year’s Eve (20 days and counting, plenty of time!).
Worst excuses I’ve heard in the last few weeks for not getting fit:
It’s too cold. Yeah, you’re right, it’s cold now. Put on a hoodie and some gloves and once you get moving, you’ll be warm in no time. You can run in any weather, no equipment required.
Not enough time, there are too many holiday parties to attend! Take 10 minutes then and do 2 back-to-back Tabata routines.
Be stronger than your excuses. My book NOURISH has loads of tips and tricks to get you up and moving, so keep your eyes peeled here in the run up to Christmas for more from the book.
Let there be no excuses over these next few days. What are you waiting for?
As the year winds down, I’ve been reflecting on some of the most influential ‘diet’ books I have read so far. Two in particular come to mind. The first is Dr. David Perlmutter’s GRAIN BRAIN. His theory has received a lot of attention this year – in particular that the food and medical industries have known for decades that a low-fat, high carb diet is overall bad for one’s health, and worse, contributes to major killers such as heart-disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia. In a somewhat related, yet different vein, you may have also recently seen the Beeb’s Dr. Michael Mosley (the guy behind the 5:2 Fast Diet) series about this ‘low-fat’ lifestyle and the ‘saturated fat in one’s diet’. He floats a theory about meat eating where he even did a non-controlled, but very interesting, experiment on himself to highlight some of his assumptions about high saturated fat diets. The cooler experiment I’d like to see Mosley execute would be to stick to a controlled 28 day diet of high monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocado, oily fish) instead of meat to see if those increased or decreased his overall body fat, weight and blood pressure…as Dr. Perlmutter suggests they would be lowered. Could be interesting! At first glance, you might think GRAIN BRAIN is a diet book – and whilst it does contain some delicious Paleo inspired recipes – the overall meta-analysis of current research around sugar and the damage it is doing to your brain is eye-opening. The second book is I QUIT SUGAR! by Sarah Wilson. Essentially it’s an eight week detox from sugar. Whilst I didn’t eat a tremendous amount of sugar to start with, I did realise I was slightly addicted to my beloved 100% dark chocolate buttons as well as overly reliant on filling out my strict vegetarian diet with fruit. I did the detox for ten weeks this past summer and can honestly say I haven’t felt so clear headed and energetic in years. Plus, my skin looked amazing, like it had been expertly exfoliated every day. Bonus! Two great Christmas gift ideas for your health conscious friends or family.
Even personal trainers need an a** whooping sometimes. Barry’s Bootcamp is the ultimate in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and the most brutal of workouts. Not for the faint of heart, it is fast paced, hard core treadmill running interspersed with resistance / floor work all whilst being blasted with a spectacularly loud and usually pretty body-rocking playlist. Shane Collins is my favourite trainer as he has a laser focus on form – something anyone who tries Barry’s should already have a good handle on to start. As they say and play at Barry’s: If you didn’t come to “go hard, then go home!”
This workout app is where the fine print is really important. I don’t think anybody is saying (especially the people who created it) that 7 minutes is the ‘be all end all’ in workouts. In fact, if you read the fine print within the 7 minute workout challenge app, they, too, say to maximise results one should repeat the 7 minutes two or three times at a go, which is still only 14 or 21 minutes of exercise. It’s really meant to be a ‘workout challenge’ rather than a regular workout. Also, and critically, so your body doesn’t fall into a rut, it’s so important to vary your exercise. Repeating the same thing week after week will allow your body to get stuck in a ‘comfort zone’, which means you won’t be challenging your body, or your mind.
I recommend clients exercise regularly at least 4-5 times a week for a minimum of 40 minutes – including warming up and stretching afterwards . The 7 minute workout challenge is really recommended for people who don’t have time to exercise on a particular day, but I have seen some clients start to replace it for a workout. It’s only meant to be a ‘challenge’ and as it is high intensity interval training (HIIT), one really has to smash it to see results. Several of my super fit clients use the 7 minute workout challenge basic 12 exercises as a warm-up to our workouts together.
Personally, my favourite workout for when there’s ‘just no time’ is Tabata training which is seriously HIIT in a super-short 4 minute workout that alternates 20 seconds of full-on effort followed by a 10 second rest. Again, this type of training should be used in addition to your exercise programme, just like the 7 minute workout challenge.
The great thing about the 7 minute workout challenge is that it might just get you to start working out if you haven’t been. I am a huge proponent of ‘trying anything that works’ to get someone interested in exercise. Give it a go!
Here we are at our book launch (Sadie Frost, me (Holly Davidson), Amber Rose) What a truly wonderful night, I had to take a deep breath and enjoy this really magical moment. Nine months of hard work and now I can finally share our beautiful book with all our friends and family. And now also to the rest of the word.
First copy of our book is in my hands. It has been a rollercoaster of a journey getting it finished, with a few downs as well as many wonderful ups. But I must say I am so happy and proud of it.
Don’t get hung up on eating too much ‘fat’. There are a lot of healthy fats out there that your body needs to function. Foods like avocados, nuts and coconuts can often get a bad rep but they are full of monounsaturated fat, this is the good kind. Keep your diet varied with a variety of vegetables and pulses to fully feel the benefits.
They come everywhere with me and never let me down…what would I do without my trainers. Loving my new pair, makes you just want to go running right now :0)
Keeping active and having a healthy lifestyle does. Don’t put it off.
We have all been there with a big ‘to do list’, we start going through them and ticking them off. But why is it always the way that the things we find hard or don’t like doing, make there way to the bottom of the list- “oh I will do it tomorrow”. Whether it’s the washing up, clearing out the shed or sorting through your accounts. Don’t put it off. Completing things we find difficult can often be the most rewarding.
We all have moments when training can seem a struggle and with all our best intentions we find excuses to put it off. I find a great way to keep the up the momentum is to set yourself challenges. No matter how big or small they might be.
This month I have entered the Nike women’s only 10k run with 10 of my clients. Even though we haven’t all trained together its been lovely sending emails of motivation and all the girls rallying together to keep spirits high.
So many coughs and colds are flying around the time of year… Don’t let you immune system succumb, so give it a helping hand. These are in my essential kit especially over the winter months.
They all increase my energy levels, giving my body any minerals and nutrients it may be lacking. A multi vitamin- we all try and get everything we need from our food but sometimes we need a boost Vitamin D- Not much of that around in winter so definitely needed B12- A vitamin found in fish and meat. Great for vegetarians.
I just love this bath soak. Magnesium one of the most important minerals essential for good health. So can you believe that up to 75% of us are lacking in it!
It helps repair your muscles so ideal after a good training session. Many of my clients spray it directly onto any aches and niggles they have. It really works! Rather than taking a tablet these amazing products are absorbed directly through the skin. It aids the absorption of calcium to the body, helping keep osteoporosis at bay. What else? It helps with migraines, insomnia, high blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes and relives PMT. Magic.
I had a wonderful day yesterday in Portsmouth taking part in the Bupa great south run. Whilst most of the country was staying indoors and getting ready for the worst storms in years. Me and 20,000 runners were hoping not to be blown away on our 10 mile run. The atmosphere was amazing and hundreds of supporters lined the streets to cheer us on. Entering any event like this is so much fun, you are amongst every level from top athletes to first time runners. And doing for a charity helps motivate you to get you through those tough last miles, especially into the wind, killer!!.
Peas, broad beans, feta cheese, mint and a dash of water. Whiz in a blender and you are good to go. Use fresh or frozen peas and broad beans. Easy peasy!!!! Serve with chopped carrot, pepper and warm wholemeal pita
Grate apple, carrot and beetroot mix together and cover in a fresh ginger and honey dressing.
Lentils at lunch
Boil some puy lentils, drain and whilst warm add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, chopped dill and sage, a couple of glugs of olive oil and apple cider vinegar… Tastes even better the next day… So make enough, this is very yummy. You can serve this on fresh spinach.
Purple sprouting broccoli is in season at the moment and is packed full of goodness… Put in a wok with a chopped red chili and a a big splosh of water, cover and whack up the heat for a few minuets. Simples..
And for pudding my new discovery from my favorite place the happy kitchen, 100% cocao buttons and a fresh mint tea…. Oh it couldn’t be better :0)
With more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, a wealth of antioxidants and minerals, a complete source of protein and more fibre than flax seed, the seeds have been dubbed a “dieter’s dream”, “the running food”, “a miracle”, and “the ultimate super food”, by advocates and athletes. And yes I am one of them. Being a vegetarian I’m always excited when I discover a food that is packed with protein. This tiny seed seriously delivers and a whole lot more.
I add it to my home made muesli . Yum!
The magic number is….30! Do each exercise 30 times… repeat if you dare
Full sit-ups Leg lowers (straight legs)
Dips (sit on a chair)
Squats with hands behind your head
Side plank with dips (yes, that’s 30 each side)
Back extensions (lying face down on the floor)
What a beautiful day!!. After all he rainy gray days we’ve had, you really appreciate days like today….
As I ran down the canal and looked up at the clear blue sky, the bright sun glistening on the water. I was in the moment, nothing matters but now. The lush green trees, the fresh breeze on my face. How amazing this is, this moment….I began to think about all the wonderful people in my life, the great memories I have, how happy I am and how special it is…right now.
Sometimes we get so caught up in what we don’t have, always searching for more, to be better, to have more, when I get that I will be happy……. We forget about right this second and all the things we do have and all the things that make us happy right now.
Be in the moment…have a lovely day
It’s an all natural isotonic drink perfect to re-hydrate the body after exercise, It is low in carbs, 99% fat free, low in natural sugars. It also apparently helps to promote weight loss and raise your metabolism. Make sure you read the label and get pure coconut water that doesn’t have any added sugar.
Doing daily dry skin brushing is a great way to stimulate the lymph system and adrenal glands by boosting blood circulation, which removes impurities from under the skin’s surface and can help to shift cellulite. You should use a dry, natural bristle brush. Start at the soles of your feet and work your way up your legs (5 strokes up each leg, covering all of your skin) brushing as vigorously as you are able. When doing your chest and upper back focus your brush strokes towards your heart and armpits.
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