Why not do it outside?


As we approach summer on the Mornington Peninsula a lot of us turn our attention towards getting out into the great outdoors. On the Peninsula we are blessed with beautiful hills, beaches and more where we can visit to rye-exerciseEXERCISE! Whether this is aimed at shedding a few extra kgs or simply trimming down to fit into our swimsuits, the benefits seen from outdoor exercise outnumber any dreary indoor-gym workout.

The stunning vistas and natural attractions of Mornington Peninsula offer the perfect locations to exercise outdoors in the pursuit towards a leaner, fitter you. There are many places well suited to outside exercise on the Mornington Peninsula such as Bush Walks on Red Hill or the Two Bays Trail or jogs along the beautiful beaches such as Mothers Beach and Mills Beach in Mornington or the North and South Beaches of Mount Martha or the amazing Safety Beach foreshore. Mornington in particular offers great spots for exercise such as Mornington Park, Dallas Brooks Park, Wilsons Road Reserve and more. For the hardcore and those wanting a challenge Birdrock Beach in Mount Martha is AWESOME!

Perhaps the most appealing factor is cost, the price of an indoor-gym membership may set you back a fair bit per week or month, but exercising outdoors is free. Going out for a run won’t even cost petrol money. The most a committed fitness enthusiast may want to splurge on would be a good pair of lightweight running shoes, and perhaps some outdoor exercise wear. The more adventurous individuals may even opt for wearable tracking devices, and see the numbers tick upwards daily to motivate them to push further.

The benefits of vitamin D for the body cannot be passed over. You need it for stronger, sturdier bones and teeth, and for protection against various diseases. Exercises focusing on the outdoors would be the best – and for many, the only way – to get some of those beneficial sunrays. But always remember to put some sunscreen lotion on.

Why not make the most out of the Mornington Peninsula biking tracks? The body’s blood-flow and metabolic system will work ever-harder to keep pace with the tackling elements – including wind resistance – as in the case of cycling. Running or cycling downhill makes the body work doubly hard, and eventually ends up burning more fat, and strengthening arm and leg muscles. Swimming outdoors can similarly prime the body to work against water flow, and hence burn more fat in the effort required. The metabolic system will hike upwards in the hours immediately following the robust workouts, and shed all excess calories.

Outdoor exercise doesn’t have to be a lonely affair either. Right NOW Fitness and many other great fitness businesses offer a multitude of Group Fitness classes all over the Mornington Peninsula to get involved in. Exercising with like minded health conscious individuals supervised by a qualified Fitness Professional is another great option for Outdoor activities.

The physical and psychological benefits of getting fit in the great outdoors cannot be ignored. There are countless amounts of research proving that a brisk walk or run outside does wonders in alleviating moods, and combating stress and anxiety. Even a walk in the hills, or on the many paths of the Peninsula or along the beach can relieve the daily pressures and stress that plague us nowadays. Why not let outdoor exercise become the smarter route to reaching a healthier and fitter you!

Troy Thurley and Kate Morgan – Right NOW Fitness

Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington

Benefits of the 5:2 Diet


Thanks for clicking on another blog post of Right NOW Fitness based in Mornington on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Nutrition when it comes to losing weight and feeling better is one of if the most important factors. Late the people I work with, family and friends from Flinder to Mornington, from Portsea to Hastings and from Rosebud to Balnarring and more have all been asking about The Fast Diet also known as the 5:2 diet. So I asked rightnowfit.com.au writer Sara Hanton to write us up a quick blog post. I hope you all enjoy.

The word “fasting” always seems to be of negative connotation, with no long term benefits whatsoever. Therefore, how could a diet known for its intermittent fasting become so popular over the media, with astounishing results and incredibly happy clients? After all, how could someone be happy if they can’t eat for a long period of time? That being said, I decided to do some digging on the 5:2 diet, also known as Fast Diet, to see what all the fuss was about. Basically, the 5:2 diet entails that you eat normally for five days a week and restrict your calories to 500-600 per day for two consecutive days. Turns out, there are some amazing benefits to the Fast Diet that are great for both bodybuilders and those looking to lose weight in the long term.

1. Lowered Blood Pressure

Studies have shown that fasting for two days a week can improve your blood pressure, as the body takes a “break” from pumping blood to process nutrients eaten.

2. Lowered Insulin Sensitivity

Our insulin levels tend to spike when we eat more than 50g of sugar per day, depending on each person’a sensitivity level, which causes the dreaded sugar crash afterwards. As you fast, you cut down the amount of sugar you take in at least twice a day, so your body’s insulin sensitivity improves and you can eat a little more sugar without the immediate crash afterwards.

3. Lowered Cholesterol Levels

As your fasting, you tend to eat more good fats rather than bad, as you’re conscious about your calories on days you fast and days you don’t. Therefore, most people see an improvement in their cholesterol levels as they do the 5:2 diet.

4. Decreased Weight

If you eat normally, without overeating, during the five day period you are not restricted, it has been shown that you could lose around 1 pound per week doing the 5:2 Diet. Of course, don’t exercise when you are eating only 500 calories a day, as it could be dangerous.

Sarah Hanton – Right NOW Fitness

Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington

Numbers on the scales vs Centimetres on your waist?


What is true weight loss? Is it losing numbers on the scales or losing centimetres on the waist? I vouch for the latter. There is a big difference between losing numbers on the scales and shrinking at the waist. The first one is called weight loss. The second is fat loss.

Weight loss is good for short-term goals, like fitting in that gorgeous black dress for the Holidays, and is attained by overly exercising and eating poorly. Weight loss is losing the water weight, the puffiness, and the easy to get to weight, it is not losing fat. Losing weight can even mean losing muscle, especially if you’re not eating properly. You might be exercising a lot and losing numbers on the scale, but your body can still look the same. Which is why we need to focus on fat loss! True fat loss can only be attained when you’re living a healthy lifestyle, which happens when you find the balance between diet and exercise.

When you’re eating healthy, you’re feeding your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly all the while burning fat and feeding muscles. It’s crucial to have a healthy nutrition, as it increases your energy level, boosts your immune system, enhances your mood, and boosts your brain power. Of course though, being healthy in the kitchen is only part of what a healthy lifestyle is all about; exercising is another important factor of a healthy lifestyle, as it enhances all the benefits coming from a healthy nutrition plan.

In order to create a healthy lifestyle, you need to find the balance between a healthy diet and a healthy exercise plan. Analyze your goals and act accordingly. A diet alone won’t make you lose weight and exercising alone won’t make you lose weight either.

Sarah Hanton – Right NOW Fitness

Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington

50 ways to get fit for summer


Summer is not that far away for us all living on the Mornington Peninsula. So I thought I’d help you out by sourcing some great tip on getting fitter, healthier and more active. Because when summer gets here you want be out there enjoying the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Whether it’s doing some lovely hikes or walks at Cape Schanck or Red Hill, going for a surf at Gunnamatta Beach or going for a swim at Mount Martha beach you want to be looking and feeling as healthy as possible.

This article is brought to us by The Telegraph in the UK so there are a lot of UK-centric links but I’m more than happy there is heaps of great info in there to help you out not matter where you are.

Losing weight and toning up is going to take commitment and not just wishful thinking. Have you got it in you?
One way to kick-start a new regime is to list all the reasons you want to shape up.
Write down your goals – and the reasons you want to reach them.
Are you lusting after that (too small) summer dress in your local boutique? Do you want to be dancing at 2am to the local marimba band rather than dropping through exhaustion?
Would you like to be able to last a full 90 minutes on the pitch with your work-mates when the footie season starts up again after the summer lull?
As part of your “review” you can note the times you have been successful at achieving ambitions in the past. It will prove to you that you can reach goals.
Mark down your weight, and as your programme develops you will have a visible record of your progress.
You might not like the numbers the bathroom scales are greeting you with now, but by the time you’ve lost those extra pounds you will be pleased to know exactly what you have achieved.
At the outset, set yourself realistic (and responsible) goals.
There is no point in shedding half a stone in one week by starving yourself. It will be muscle that you are losing and not fat.
About 2lb of weight-loss per week is perfectly acceptable.
If you are exercising a lot, progress could seem slow – muscle is heavier than fat.
Instead of worrying about weight, look at your shape, and ask yourself whether your clothes feel looser.
It could mean the difference between giving up and living with your old self for another year, or staying motivated and having a healthy, energy-filled summer.

It can educate, guide and inspire – and it will be the first thing a nutritionist, personal trainer or dietitian asks you to do.
If you are not engaging the services of any of these, then do it for yourself.
A food diary can reveal all sorts of patterns in your eating habits of which you are probably unaware.
Keep a log of everything you eat for at least seven days: note the time, the food consumed, the quantity and any symptoms (tired, energised, bloated, etc) you experience around eating the food.
It is also useful to write down how you felt before eating. Were you stressed, had a craving, were you tired or bored or lonely?
This could reveal patterns surrounding the choices you are making about what you eat.
Be honest: don’t lie. There is just no point.
Write down absolutely everything you eat and drink.
As Judith Wills points out in The Diet Bible (Quadrille, £12.99): “We are creatures of habit, we love our rituals, and food and drink fit neatly into most rituals and habitual situations. The cure? A good first step is to become aware of what you are doing.”
She suggests asking yourself, before you eat, “Is it hunger – or habit?”
If it is the latter, you can train yourself to say, “No.”

Preventing injury is better than cure. Recovering from a sports injury can be a tedious process involving osteopaths, physiotherapists and a slow build back to full fitness, so avoid putting yourself in that position in the first place.
The right footwear is essential, whether you are road-running, dancing or playing tennis.
Don’t exercise in worn-out shoes. Your feet need to be supported and comfortable.
The last thing anyone needs in their first week of an exercise regime is to have the motivation knocked out of them by blistered feet and aching shins.
Mass-produced sports shoes have to be miracle workers and deal with myriad foot shapes, weight differences and biomechanical anomalies (pronation, supination, and the different demands of gender).
There are, however, more and more specialist shops springing up.
Runners Need (www.runnersneed.co.uk) has four shops throughout London, and in three they will do video analysis of your running gait.
Run and Become (www.runandbecome.com) have shops in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Here, too, they will analyse your gait and advise from there.
But any decent sports equipment shop should have sales assistants able to answer your queries, so don’t be afraid to ask.
If you have very particular foot issues, think of visiting a podiatrist. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists is a useful resource (www.feetforlife.org, 020 7234 8620).
Take time when buying new shoes. And forget fashion. Just listen carefully to what your feet are telling you.

The amounts we put on our plates have, on average, grown by 30 per cent over the past 10 years, both in restaurants and at home.
Stylistically, plates have got bigger – and we are filling them.
It makes sense, therefore, to start off your portion control by using smaller plates, then fill them up with green vegetables or salad.
In a restaurant, have a starter as a main course.
And no matter how you were brought up – “Think of all those starving children in Africa” – don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate. If you have eaten your fill, stop.

Let’s face it, there are some people out there who are just not five-times-a-week-to-the-gym health freaks.
This is where the tortoise and hare theory comes in. A small commitment to exercise on a regular basis is better than no commitment at all.
Research has proven that people are more likely to stick with their exercise programme if they do it for shorter periods but more often.
Instead of pushing yourself for an hour once or twice a week, it is far better to make time for 30 minutes of cumulative exercise every day – even taken in 10-minute bursts it has been proven to improve overall health.
Tailor your physical activity to your personality.
There is no point in trying out for the company’s football team if you are an introvert who hates mixing it in the communal changing room.
If you are competitive, choose a competitive sport such as tennis or golf; if you are extrovert, try a team sport such as football, cricket or rugby; if you are introverted think about Pilates, yoga or swimming; and if you like the great outdoors, get on your bike, or take to the hills and hike.
Whatever you choose, make every step you take achievable, because the last thing you want to do is give up.

This is the 10,000-steps-a-day argument. We are getting heavier because we are moving less.
Our bodies were designed to move. We have been walking for two and a half million years, and now, all of sudden (evolutionarily speaking), we are sitting down – at desks, in cars, in front of televisions.
Most Britons take a very poor 4,500 steps a day.
The British Heart Foundation recommends 10,000 steps to keep in good cardiovascular health.
Research has shown, however, that by walking a mere 30-60 minutes a day we could lose weight (an hour of well-paced walking can burn as many as 400 calories), and that’s without changing any other part of our daily routine.
So, stride out. You’ve got nothing to lose.
The key word, however, is “power” (see Lucy Knight’s Walking For Weight -Kyle Cathie, £12.99).
A little light window shopping is not going to burn off the calories or strengthen one muscle fibre.
Including hills in your walk can increase your calorie-burn much more. So, too, can walking on softer surfaces such as sand or grass.

Laughing boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases muscle flexion.
It therefore pays to laugh as much as you like every day.
Researchers have also found that laughing can burn up 2.31 calories a minute, so just think how many naughty “treats” you could neutralise by watching a production of Noises Off every night, or revisiting the whole oeuvre of Monty Python, or spending quality time with your pet (studies have shown that dog owners giggle more during the day than cat owners).

How have so many of us lived without a “Swiss” ball for so long?
It seems that every fitness trainer and physiotherapist in the land swears by one.
Most of us just swear on them – until we learn how to use them properly.
According to Kathryn Freeland, the personal fitness trainer and founder of Absolute Fitness, just sitting on a ball – developed in the 1970s – will benefit your core strength.
The body automatically responds to the ball’s instability, and acts naturally to stop you falling off, working mostly your back and abdominal muscles.
The more you work with the ball, the stronger these muscles become.
It is possible to get a pretty good workout with just the ball and your own body weight, and doing crunches and reverse crunches using one will do more for the abs than working out on the floor.
But start simply: a great beginner’s exercise involves sitting on the ball with your feet hip-width apart.
Establish your balance, and once you are comfortable, raise one foot off the ground and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
If you feel confident enough, raise your arms out to the sides and hold them at shoulder height while you do the exercise. Repeat three times.
After this, there are plenty of ways to progress: from stomach stretches to ball press-ups, from bridges to obliques.
A ball can cost from about £21.95 (www.johnlewis.com) to £80 (www.technogym.co.uk).

As a nation, we have lost the ability to keep control of our weight.
Statistics show that as many as 53 per cent of women are overweight or obese, while the figure for men is even higher: 63 per cent.
Yet we probably talk about our waistlines more than at any time in the past.
To have any lasting effect, a diet has to suit the dieter – their lifestyle, their likes and dislikes, their budget – so that they can keep up the good work.

10 – RUN
Higher intensity exercise equals more calories burnt, which means more weight lost.
Running is the best aerobic exercise you can get, and although both walking and running can burn up about 100 calories per mile, in any given time you can run further than you can walk.
Do the maths yourself. Running, however, can be punishing on the joints.
With every strike of the ground, your feet absorb three to four times your body weight; for each step you take when you climb the stairs, your knee redirects six times your bodyweight.
Always warm up your muscles, and follow every run with a cooling-off period of stretches.

THE ABDOMINISER: Like the barely-used gym membership or long-neglected juicer, the abdominiser is a brooding presence in lofts across the land.
And rightly so, some experts believe, as using an abdominiser – or abdominal cradle – can encourage you to do movements too quickly and hurt yourself.
The best way to use an abdominiser is to keep movements slow and controlled.
THE POWER-PLATE: Resembling a set of scales with a stalk and handle, the Power-Plate has been widely billed as the low-impact way to maximise your fitness, faster.
The idea is you carry out a series of exercises – from squats to stomach crunches – on the rapidly vibrating piece of exercise equipment.
This will increase metabolism which, in turn, will help to burn fat.
Power-Plates are now widely available at gyms or to buy from a range of stores starting from around £2,000.
GYROTONICS: The GXS, or Gyrotonic Expansion System, is a specially designed wooden machine with rotational discs and weighted pulleys that allow exercisers to strengthen their muscles using flowing, circular movements.
Due to the bulk and complexity of the machine it is usually used under instruction at a gym or specialist studio. Prices for a single session start from £45.
To find a Gyrotonic teacher in your area log on to www.gyrotonic.com.

AVOCADOS, with plenty of vitamin E that keeps skin moist and supple;
BLACKCURRANTS AND BLUEBERRIES – the former have tons of vitamin C, which will improve the health of the immune system and keep the skin looking healthy, while the latter have antioxidants to fight off the free radicals in our bodies;
GARLIC, to protect from indigestion, stomach ulcers and bowel cancers;
GREENS such as spring greens and Savoy cabbage, which are a great source of calcium and potassium;
NUTS for magnesium;
OILY FISH, for Omega 3 essential fats;
ONIONS, which are great detoxifiers;
TOMATOES, a good source of lipoic acid, which helps to increase energy levels and even improve brain power.
You can’t know too much about the food you are putting inside you.
For a huge amount of invaluable – and fascinating – information, take a dip into Judith Wills’s The Food Bible (Quadrille, £12.99). You will never look at your dinner plate in quite the same way again.
Think orange. Not only does the colour apparently make us feel cheerful (thereby lowering comfort-food cravings), but most orange food is low in calories.
For further information visit www.nutrition.org.uk and www.bda.uk.com(the site of The British Dietetic Association, 0121 200 8080).

ALCOHOL. The Department of Health recommends no more than 3-4 units a day for men and 2-3 units for women. Cutting this out will make the calorie-counting of dieting far more achievable;
SOFT DRINKS, because of the caffeine in cola, the artificial sweeteners in the “diet” variety, and the artificial flavourings in squash. Water is by far the simplest option;
SAUSAGES – just think of all that faaaaat;
CHIPS – what did we say about sausages?
WHITE BREAD, which does have its plus points, such as calcium, but with relatively little fibre there are better sources of calcium;
BUNS – what’s so good about sugar, sugar and more sugar?
CHEESE – this is where you should get your calcium, but don’t overdo it, think about eating small amounts of strong-tasting cheese.

It promotes flexibility, reduces stress and increases stamina and strength.
Yoga, a Sanskrit word meaning “union”, was first developed by the sages of India 5,000 years ago as a personal development plan encompassing mind, body and spirit.
Yoga practitioners claim that all forms of the discipline offer health, physical and mental benefits – from lowering blood pressure to improving flexibility, from boosting energy levels to generating a sense of calm.
The two pillars of yoga are “pranayama” – deep, rhythmic breathing – and “asanas”, or physical postures.
Pranayama can help relieve respiratory complaints including asthma as well as feeding more oxygen to the muscles to boost their strength, yoga practitioners claim.
Asanas work on every part of the body, strengthening and toning muscles, joints, the spine and entire skeleton.
Specific postures such as abdominal twists, for example, gently massage internal organs including the kidneys to improve their efficiency.
Forward bends can stimulate digestive processes to help ease indigestion.
Inverted postures such as head and shoulder stands, meanwhile, boost blood circulation and therefore improve skin tone.
New varieties of yoga have also made it more accessible.
In the United States, for example, a more dynamic style of yoga has emerged emphasising sweat over peace and tranquillity. Other new variations on the theme include naked yoga, chair yoga, baby yoga and even hip-hop yoga.
Yoga can be practised by anyone at any age, and with the range of different types of yoga now available it is easy to find a class that fits your needs.
The most commonly practised forms in the West are Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Iyengar Yoga.

“DO ONE thing every day that scares you,” states film director Luhrmann in his Sunscreen rap. And he’s right.
When danger threatens, the body uses its “fight or flight” hormone, adrenaline, to prepare itself for action.
The boost of adrenaline in the bloodstream caused by a frightening or thrilling experience increases the heart rate, giving you that fluttery feeling in your chest.
The hormone also raises blood sugar levels, providing your brain and muscles with a sudden rush of energy; at the same time it suppresses negative effects such as pain.
It allows extreme sports fanatics to perform what seem almost superhuman feats, while it can also help you to push you that little bit further during exercise.
Above all, the hormone produces a feeling of euphoria adrenaline junkies swear by.
Getting a little “fix” of it every day increases the metabolism (which helps burn calories), helps fight stress levels, reduces the risk of stroke and can control allergies.

Remember the old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper”?
We may remember it, but how many of us actually act on it? The answer is, hardly any of us.
In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 25 per cent of us don’t touch breakfast at all.
There are some compelling reasons, however, why we should break our nightly fast every morning.
When you wake, it is likely you haven’t eaten anything for about 12 hours and your blood sugar levels are seriously low.
Launching yourself into the day without getting those levels back up can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea, mood fluctuations and a lack of concentration.
Physically, you might feel acutely tired as well as unco-ordinated.
The chances are you will also experience hunger pangs mid-morning, driving you to sugar: a doughnut, a chocolate bar, a muffin, say, which contain plenty of fat and few nutrients.
Then comes a burst of insulin (secreted as a response to the increase in sugar), which leads to your blood sugar levels crashing.
Dieters especially can yo-yo through the day as blood sugar levels rise and plummet.
To diet successfully and keep your body performing efficiently these levels need to stabilised.
You have heard it before, but here it is again: porridge. Porridge is a great way to start the day.
Other foods that can help keep your sugar levels stable and which will carry you through the morning are muesli, wholegrain toast, and a boiled or poached egg.
There is nothing wrong with consuming about 500 calories for breakfast – 650 for men – as part of a healthy, controlled diet.
Many of us think that by skimping at this time of day we save some calories for later, but by not eating when we first get up, we are more likely to want to fill up (and overfill) later.

Look East. Turn the fiction of the cinema into the fact of the gym, and take up Wu Shu.
It is usually associated with movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and is the latest “big thing” to hit Britain.
It will stretch and test you.
As many as 15,000 people enjoy the challenge of Wu Shu in Britain every week.
Like other martial arts such as judo and karate, it can be taught to five-year-olds as much as to 50- and 60-year-olds, and can be started at any level of fitness.
Contact the British Council For Chinese Martial Arts (www.bccma.com; 024 7639 4642) for more information.

18 – SING
If it is good enough for Beyoncé, it is good enough for you. Beyoncé’s father, Mathew Knowles, insisted that the young singer run a mile every morning, and while running, she had to sing.
Not only did her lung capacity grow, but because of the efficiency with which she sent the oxygen around her body, her stamina increased hugely.
Oxygen is one of two essential ingredients our cells need to survive.
The oxygen reacts with sugar to create the energy that powers vital processes, from the construction and transport of molecules to causing our muscles to contract allowing the heart to beat and limbs to move.
Obviously, increasing our intake of this vital gas allows us to burn more sugar and create more energy.
With too little oxygen we are left feeling lethargic, without motivation. It is why we yawn, to get more oxygen inside our lungs.
By breathing deeply, we can increase the amount of oxygen getting into our body and make exercising much easier.
Breathing through the mouth while running rather than through the nose also allows more oxygen into your lungs.

No meat, no poultry, no fish – no flesh. Such abstinence will, statistically, give you a longer life.
Vegetarianism is said to lower the heart rate, lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension.
For our purposes, becoming a vegetarian, even for a short period, will encourage you to think more about your food, and help you to restrict calories.
Being slim is often associated with vegetarians because they are generally more health-conscious (a lower proportion of vegetarians smoke or drink excessively compared with the omnivores in the population) and tend to exercise more, too.
One word of warning: vegetarians need a balanced diet just as much as the meat-eaters.
Meat contains protein, iron, selenium and B vitamins that all need to be sourced elsewhere.

The body is made up of between 50 and 70 per cent water. Without it, life cannot survive, and water is essential for most bodily processes, so there are plenty of reasons for not scrimping on the H2O.
It is difficult to believe that we lose two litres of water from our bodies per day through perspiration alone, and that needs to be replaced.
Doctors recommend drinking at least six or seven glasses of water a day (1·8 litres), and with good reason.
The human body needs to lose just two per cent of its normal water volume for the effects of dehydration to become noticeable.
Without enough water, the kidneys cannot function properly and are unable to clean out the toxins and impurities from the blood.
It is also essential to maintain the healthy operation of almost all internal organs.
Without the water-based mucus that lubricates the throat, airways and lungs, they would cease to function correctly.
Water also helps regulate body temperature through sweat.
Dehydration increases your heart rate as there is less fluid in your blood vessels to pump round your body.
By far the best way to beat dehydration, however, is to pre-empt it by regularly drinking water, particularly before a night out as alcohol is a diuretic and will dehydrate.
Water is also essential for digestion, helping to move food through the intestines and activating many of the enzymes that break down food as it passes through our digestive tract.
The nutrients liberated from food require water to help them pass through the gut wall into the blood vessels.
Try drinking a glass of water before succumbing to more food as hunger pangs can be due to thirst as much as hunger.
Sipping a glass of water with a meal can also reduce the appetite.

21 – TAP INTO WATER POWER (part two)
We are all used to hearing that guzzling gallons of water is the key to brighter skin, mental alertness and general wellbeing.
But now, it seems, just drinking water is not enough. We need to immerse ourselves in it, too.
Aqua-fitness is becoming all the rage. Think of any exercise you fancy (yoga, kickboxing, running) and it will have an aquatic counterpart (yoqua, splash kickboxing, aqua-jogging).
And the benefits are manifold. Experts believe that the buoyancy of water can reduce the impact exercise has on your joints by over 85 per cent
. This means less stress, strain and injury. But just because water is soft on your joints, it isn’t going to be soft on you.
The density of water (100 times greater than air) provides 12 times the resistance you get from working out on land. So for all water babies, here are a few aquatic activities to try:
YOQUA – yoga practised in an aquatic environment is acutely challenging for stabilisation and balance work, and many find it more soothing than contorting their body on a mat. Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire was one of the first places to hold classes (www.ragdalehall.co.uk).
POOLATES – Pilates in the pool uses the buoyancy and resistance of water to strengthen muscles, enhance balance, and work those core abdominal muscles. The various depths of water in the pool allow people to work at different levels of ability (www.poolates.co.uk).
AQUA-GYM – a British-designed underwater gym, which is lowered into the water and then attached to pool walls by giant suction pads. Consists of different portable units such as exercise bike and step climber. The water provides the resistance – weights are replaced with plastic floats using the buoyancy of water as a natural load (www.aquagym.co.uk).
AQUA-JOGGING – this involves wearing a foam belt to keep you upright and stable, allowing you to run in the water. There is a lot of resistance, but none of the stress on your joints (www.aqua-running.com).
AQUA-CHI – normally done upright in chest-deep water, aqua-chi is all about slow precise movements through the water (www.taichiunion.com).
SWIMMING – traditional, but swimming gives you a cardiovascular workout at the same time as improving muscle strength and tone. Freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke are the best strokes for all-over body toning (www.britishswimming.org).

Offices have changed radically in recent years and it is now unusual to find jobs that don’t involve some element of deskwork, usually hunched over a computer, which can leave us feeling stiff, immobile and tired.
But by taking responsibility for your fitness in the workplace you can offset the worst effects of being deskbound.
FACE AND NECK While seated, squeeze your eyes shut and close your mouth tightly. Hold for five seconds, then release. Repeat several times.
Looking ahead, alternately angle your neck from left to right, trying to make your ear touch each shoulder. Repeat. As your mobility increases, try to stretch a fraction further on each repeat.
Looking ahead, alternately bring your chin down to your chest and then look up to the ceiling. Avoid arching the back during this movement and overstretching the neck.
ARMS AND SHOULDERS Bend your arms at the elbow to touch the shoulders, then fully straighten the arms again. Repeat.
Slowly circle your hands from the wrists both clockwise and anti-clockwise. Then slowly circle your arms from the shoulders, stretching out as far as possible.
With straight arms, reach both arms out in front, palms together. Repeatedly open your arms out as far as comfortable and back to the start position.
BUTTOCKS Whether you sit all day or not, buttocks are often overlooked until we notice they are increasing in size.
To keep buttocks trim, tighten and squeeze your buttocks, hold five to 10 seconds, then release. Repeat six to eight times daily.
LEGS AND HIPS Sit up straight and tall in your seat. Pull in your stomach muscles. Raise one leg up, hold for 10 seconds, then down.
Repeat a number of times then do the other side.
Stand and link your hands behind your back. Breathe in and gently draw your shoulder muscles downwards on your back.
Exhale and lift your linked hands away from your bottom. This will gently extend the spine, bending it from the direction it usually slumps into when bent over a keyboard.
Standing on one leg, lift one knee up towards the chest then return it to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.

Instead of embarking on a radical detox diet to rid your body of toxins, give your lymphatic system a helping hand with a massage.
A lymphatic massage should stimulate the lymph system to carry metabolic waste products and toxins away from the body. Or don’t put toxins in your body in the first place.

Is there anything good about sugars? “Intrinsic” sugars are found in fruit and vegetables; “extrinsic” sugars are found in cakes, refined sugar, squash drinks and biscuits.
The former count towards our carbohydrate needs, keeping us healthy and fit.
They contribute to a balanced diet.
The latter, because they are associated with refined foods and a lack of nutrients, should be kept to a minimum.
The World Health Organisation has set an upper limit for the daily consumption of extrinsic sugars at 10 per cent of overall food intake.

Banned foods equal forbidden fruits. It just makes them even more desirable.
To exclude some of your favourite foods from your diet can be demoralising and counterproductive.
And if you are unhappy, your cravings are likely to be more pronounced.
A little of what you fancy, does you good. But only if you can stick to “a little”.

Fidgeting can burn up to 350 calories a day; hand-sawing hard wood can use up 3.5-7 calories per minute (210-420 calories per hour); getting up 10 minutes earlier and using that extra time to walk could use up 45-55 calories.
And think of the calories you could use up by engaging in a healthy sex life.
Ten minutes of energetic sex can burn 45 calories (beneficial if you stick with it for half an hour, say, rather than the average four minutes).
There is serious research behind the frivolity.
Small movements can make a huge amount of difference between being the fit person you want to be and the fat person with that fitter person just screaming to get out.
Two years ago, a study by scientists at the American Mayo Clinic found that an increase in non-exercise activity thermogenesis – known as Neat – and more commonly recognised as changes in posture and movement associated with the routines of daily life – can make all the difference in the battle against obesity.
The study found that obese people sit, on average, 150 minutes more each day than their naturally lean peers.
So forget about lying back and thinking of England.
Think aerobically, expend more energy in the bedroom on a regular basis and you could just find that a toned body is achievable sooner than you think – your levels of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) will probably take a hike upwards as well and make you a far happier person to be around.

Make the cocktail hour a thing of the past: liquor can rack up a hefty 100 calories a shot, and mixers in drinks can be particularly damaging.
Alcohol before a meal can also induce you to overeat: it will make you feel hungry, and then, adding insult to injury, it can impair your judgment so that your better self has no power to say “No”.
Acid in wine can hit an empty stomach with all the subtlety of a Bernard Manning joke in a theatre packed with the PC brigade.
If you can’t resist a glass before dinner, ensure that there are some nuts or other nibbles to hand to protect your stomach.
But it is far better to have your meal on the table before getting close to a whiff of the wine.
Thereafter, drunk in moderation, red wine can increase “good” (or HDL – high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and lower the “bad” (LDL – low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.
It is high in natural antioxidants and anti-coagulants, and, again in moderation, can help digestion.

You might not have to bust a gut to get rid of yours. Not everyone is a low-calorie-loving, jog-to-the-gym, walk-to-work kind of person.
In fact, most of us for most of the time just don’t feel like exercising or choosing the salad option.
And when you think about the time and effort it takes getting to and from the gym, packing your gym kit, showering afterwards… well, it’s a miracle anyone fits in even half an hour a week.
According to Jonny Lomax, of Lomax Personal Training (www.lomaxpt.com), however, you can significantly raise your fitness levels with just 30 minutes of intensive strength training every seven days.
“You don’t have to lift heavy weights or perform complicated exercises every day to achieve strength, health and vitality. Quite the opposite. You just need to make sure you are doing it right,” says Lomax.
He recommends following an Abbreviated Strength Training Programme, which follows two key principles.
The first is a set of exercises called compound exercises.
These work the big and small muscles of the body together, which is harder, safer and – as all your muscles are worked through fewer exercises – it takes less time.
The second is adequate rest. Once you have worked a muscle, it needs time to recover and get stronger, so it is important not to train that muscle again until it has recovered or you could actually be preventing your body from improving its strength.
“Based on these principles,” says Lomax, “exercise scientists have established that 30 minutes of strength training a week is the optimum amount.” Strength training can boost the metabolism for up to 15 hours after.
Although women might be put off by the description “strength training”, its benefits include not only a higher metabolic rate but an increase in calories burned, a reduction of body fat, improved stamina, improved balance and co-ordination, and an increase in bone mass and strength.
Strong muscles can also dramatically improve your posture, making you look and feel great.

Exercise may well be the key to a lighter, leaner you, but it is also the key to a lighter, leaner wallet.
Gym memberships are pricey, fitness classes all add up, and even doing a few lengths in your local pool will set you back a couple of pounds.
Enter the Green Gym, an organisation that for absolutely nothing will help you get fit, give back to the community, and give you green fingers.
Set up in 1997 by environmental group British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), the Green Gym offers people the opportunity to work out in the great outdoors by tackling local conservation projects or gardening activities.
Each session lasts approximately three hours, including basic warm-up exercises and cool-down activities, and all tools are provided.
Activities vary from group to group (there are 69 Green Gyms nationwide) but could include planting a hedge, cutting back an overgrown path, or tending a community garden. And it isn’t all give, give, give.
You will be getting a workout too. Heart and muscles will be put to work as plants and spades replace dumbbells and running machines.
According to the BTCV, almost a third more calories can be burnt in an hour in some Green Gyms than in a step-aerobics class as you bend, sweep, plant and dig.
The benefits don’t stop there. Studies have shown that contact with the natural world is essential to our well-being, helping to lower stress, relax muscles and reduce blood pressure.
If the weather’s kind, you might even get some sunshine, which is our primary source of immunity-boosting vitamin D.
The Green Gym is open to everyone. You can even bring your children to learn more about gardening and conservation – and the dog doesn’t have to be left out either.
If that doesn’t get you out of your artificially lit, air-conditioned box of a gym, then nothing will. For more information on venues and times, go towww2.btcv.org.uk/display/greengym.
All of the above applies, of course, to your own garden: there are few better holistic exercises than those provided by planting, weeding and sweeping while maintaining the herbaceous borders.
Non-stop gardening will burn about 3.2 calories per pound of body weight per hour, which adds up to about 450 calories for a gardener weighing in at 10st.

Serotonin is what is known as a neurotransmitter, an important signal used by nerve cells in the central nervous system to produce effects elsewhere in the body.
It is believed to play an important role in regulating anger, aggression, body temperature, sleep, appetite and mood.
Boosting your levels of serotonin can leave you feeling happier and lower your appetite.
Production of serotonin fluctuates with the amount of natural sunlight that you receive.
It is at its lowest during the winter months.
Most of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract from the amino acid tryptophan.
Unlike many of the amino acids that are used by the human body, we cannot make tryptophan ourselves, which means we have to obtain it from our diet instead.
It is particularly plentiful in dark chocolate, bananas, dairy products, red meat, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds, taken in moderation of course.
High serotonin levels help to reduce cravings for foods high in carbohydrates.
People with low levels of serotonin feel compelled to eat more, often opting for high-sugar foods that can lead to the sugar rushes and crashes that fuel comfort eating.
Eating “good carbs” such as whole grain starches in oat meal, brown rice and whole wheat, triggers a slow and more controlled release of insulin, which in turn aids the transport of tryptophan to the brain and so reduces the cravings.
Depression is thought to be caused in part by a deficiency of serotonin, so increasing your production of serotonin can help regulate your mood and keep you feeling happier.
Recent research suggests that serotonin also plays a key role in liver regeneration, so topping up your intake of tryptophan could be a good way to undo all that damage done by a heavy night of drinking.

It can take the brain as long as 20 minutes to register that the stomach is full, so eat slowly, and, if you think you want second helpings, wait at least 20 minutes before you return to fill your plate.
Don’t bolt your food. Chew each mouthful slowly.
The more attention you pay to what is in your mouth, the more you will come to realise how many calories you are consuming.
A simple trick to help slow your eating is to put your fork down between each mouthful.

If you overdo it, you can easily pick up injuries, and if you pick up injuries, you can’t exercise, and if you can’t exercise, you can’t burn up the calories.
Exercising too much can also leave you overtired, and in response you end up slobbing around in the evening, unable to move.
The danger is that overall you burn fewer calories.
Ensure that your exercise regime is not counterproductive; build up slowly to allow your body to cope.
If you have the financial wherewithal, hook up with a personal trainer.
It is usually money well spent. (The same could be said of a dietitian.) They will assess your physical needs, look at your lifestyle, note your goals and marry them up and devise a suitable exercise programme.
They can monitor your progress and ensure that you don’t move to the next level until your body is really ready.
Equally, they can push you that little bit harder, if you are slacking, to maximise your progress.
Prices per session are around the £60 mark, but many have tempting taster programmes and block-booking deals.
Even if you can’t afford that personal trainer on a full-time basis, a six-week programme might set you along the right path.
If that is too much for the pocket, think about joining a running club where coaching is available (see Run For It).
A National Register of Personal Trainers can be found at www.nrpt.co.uk(0870 200 6010); and a register of dietitians onwww.dietitiansunlimited.co.uk.
Dietitians are governed by the Health Professionals Council, which ensures they are qualified.
The term nutritionist is less precise than dietitian, although The Nutrition Society (www.nutritionsociety.org) oversees practising nutritionists who can demonstrate a minimum of three years relevant postgraduate experience in nutrition and who hold a university degree in nutrition.

When someone says you can lose weight by religiously drinking three cups of coffee a day, it’s time to wonder how far fad dieting can go.
Norway’s CoffeeSLENDER arrived on these shores in May. The company claims that people drinking it lost roughly twice as much weight as those on the same diet but not drinking CoffeeSLENDER.
Whether you approve of such faddishness or not, there are other benefits to coffee that you should note when trying to improve your health and fitness.
All coffees contain plenty of antioxidants and tannins that are good for the heart and arteries.
Drunk in moderation (say, two or three cups a day), coffee can help protect against liver and colon cancers, type-2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
Coffee can also improve concentration and alertness, which in turn can help fat-burning.
The caffeine in coffee can also induce a “healthy” rise in blood pressure.
Everything in moderation, however.
Coffee is a diuretic, and too much of it can rob your body of vital vitamins and minerals.
It is also addictive, and so it is easy to acquire the habit of drinking it rather than making a positive choice to consume it for pure enjoyment’s sake.
The consequences include losing vital nutrients that can leave you totally sapped of energy.
It is recommended that caffeine intake should be kept below 450mg a day (one shot of espresso contains 77mg of caffeine).

… because you can always drink tea. Recent research has found that drinking tea is better for you, whereas once upon a time, it was thought coffee and tea were equally bad.
Although tea contains caffeine and is a stimulant, it possesses far fewer of the negative effects of coffee.
Three or more cups of tea a day can cut the risk of heart attacks and certain cancers.
Both black and green teas contain antioxidants, and it has recently been claimed that tea is even better than water because of those antioxidants.
Dr Carrie Ruxton, a researcher at King’s College London, also insists: “It does not dehydrate you.”
However, tea shouldn’t be drunk while you are eating as it can prevent some absorption of minerals.
If the coffee is still calling, however, perhaps a look at the calorie count in today’s myriad varieties will be enough to stop you heading down to the local coffee shop chain.
A standard latte is packed with more fat, sugar and calories than any self-respecting weight-watcher could bear.
A small latte can be responsible for as many as 200 calories, and a large one can contain 340 (add a shot of vanilla and your consumption has jumped to 380 calories and as much fat as one third of the daily recommended allowance for a woman).
If you can’t resist, stick to skimmed milk.
A cappuccino is slightly better, clocking in at 122 calories for a small cup and just over 200 for a large.
Americanos are great: 11 calories for small, 23 for large, a little more once you add your dash of milk. Best to take it black.
And espresso is better still: 6 calories for a single, 11 for a double.
The rules of coffee-drinking should read: skimmed milk not whole, skip on the cream, forget sugar and syrups, and don’t top your capp with chocolate or caramel. Happy drinking.

There comes a point in most diets and exercise plans when you ask yourself why you are still doing it.
At such low moments, get out the pen and paper and write down why you are trying to shape up.
This is where the goals you wrote down at the start prove their worth.
Praise yourself for the progress you have made so far.
And if necessary, buy yourself something as a reward: it might even be some new sports kit.
It’s amazing what a lift a new pair of trainers can give you.
Write out the health benefits (both short-term and long-term) you will get from your increased fitness, and the practical benefits, such as being able to get into some much-loved clothes again, or knowing that you will feel confident on the beach and beside the pool in the skimpiest attire.
Hitting a brick wall doesn’t mean that you have to despair.
Cut back more on the calories for a few days, take your exercise up a level, and the energy equation of less in, more out should give you the fillip you need to get you back on the “fit” path.
Remind yourself that you are not going to become one of the 66 per cent of dieters who pile on all the pounds they have lost within five years of stopping a diet plan.

36 – DANCE…
… and horse-ride, and ski, and belly-dance, and row, and trapeze, and trampoline, and cycle.
Exercise doesn’t all have to be about routine gym work, the exercise mat and the treadmill. It doesn’t have to be a chore.
While 65 per cent of members usually fall away from gyms through January and February, you can be someone who keeps exercising by taking up a hobby you really enjoy.
It will help improve your fitness and keep you interested in staying fit.
Hobbies also lower stress levels. High stress levels can contribute to weight gain through the release of the hormone cortisol which, through a series of bodily processes, increases the appetite.
Hobbies can also improve your mood and immune system.
Research from Maastricht University found that men who did not have a hobby were more likely to be sick and absent from work than those who had one.
The activity itself will tone up muscles that you may not know you even had, and you probably won’t even notice that you are, in effect, doing a workout.

Soup is comfort food in winter and can be refreshingly light in summer.
It can also help with weight loss. Research from Johns Hopkins University in the United States found that eating soup before a meal can mean diners consume less fat in the courses following.
In their study, people who chose soup as a starter took in 25 per cent less fat during the rest of the meal than those who started with a high-fat appetiser.
Study participants were fed three different appetisers: tomato soup, cheese and crackers, and melon, and then given the same main course.
When the soup was the starter, the total calories consumed at the meal were fewer.

Home cooking is the best way to avoid an excess of sugar, salt, refined and over-processed starches and fats.
So maybe the rule should be not so much “cook without salt” as “do the cooking yourself”. But cook simply.
Choose good, tasty ingredients and cook them unadulterated. Grill and bake – and for vegetables, steam or char-grill.

Hands up those who have been watching the television programme How To Look Good Naked?
If there is one reality-TV show that proves the old adage that it’s all in the mind, it’s this one.
Attitude is everything – for men and women. Improving your posture will go a long way to helping you radiate confidence, and people will believe you have lost pounds.
Poor posture in either sex will make you look tired. It will also put extra strain on your shoulders, back and hips, which will mean that you won’t just look tired, you’ll be tired and aching.
Now is the time to love yourself just the way you are. Having a poor body image will put pounds on you, if only in your own mind.
Yoga and Pilates can help with posture.
So, too, can Alexander technique, with teachers working on a one-to-one basis to correct balance in every muscle of the body (www.stat.org.uk for Alexander information).

Interval training is a very time-efficient strategy to improve your performance.
Short bursts of intense exercise, followed by short periods of recovery, can be as effective as hours of moderate-intensity work.
This is where the hill comes in: run up with as much energy and speed you are capable of, then slowly descend for your recovery period – repeat (up to five times).
If that sounds too gruelling, use your usual running route but measure it out, perhaps by lampposts: sprint from one lamppost to the next, then recover for two lampposts’ worth (repeat around the whole route).
Interval training can also be incorporated into your cardiac gym work.
Research published in The Journal of Physiology last year showed that short bursts of very intense workout, equivalent to only a few minutes a day, could produce the same results as traditional endurance training.
Over two weeks, one “sprint” group trained for a total of 2.5 hours, performing between four and six 30-second bursts of “all out” cycling, separated by 4 minutes of recovery.
The other group exercised for a total of 10.5 hours, performing 90-120 minutes of continuous moderate-intensity cycling each time. Both groups showed similar improvement in performance.
The downside of interval training is that it can be extremely demanding if done properly, and therefore requires a huge amount of commitment and willpower.

If you are too busy looking after the kids to do regular exercise, why not work them into a regular exercise regime?
Baby yoga classes encourage new mums and babies to exercise together.
Alternatively, speed walk round the park pushing younger children in the wide range of rugged, all-terrain buggies now available.
Parents of older children, meanwhile, can join their offspring in numerous physical pursuits from cycling or kicking a football in the park to family classes in fencing or karate.
Closer to home, put up a basketball hoop in the garden and get the whole family involved in playing.
Leading by example is the best way to show your children the benefits of adopting a healthy, active lifestyle.

It won’t help you directly to lose weight but it will improve your self-knowledge and give you the confidence to go for it.
As with many life changes you should consult your doctor if you are embarking on a radical new exercise regime, especially if you are over 40 or have suffered from a serious illness in the past year.
You need to know that your body will be able to cope with the changes.
You might want to ask your doctor whether the exercise you have planned will actually be of benefit to you.
Is your new regime safe for you to embark on? What type of exercise will help you lose weight? Do you have high blood pressure, and will this affect your exercise routine?
Can you safely participate in high-impact sports? What can you do if you can’t tolerate impact aerobics?
A personal trainer or nutritionist will also go through the basics with you.
They will usually check out your body-fat percentage (acceptable range is between 23 and 28 per cent) and body mass index, or BMI, which if normal should sit between 20 and 24.
They are also likely to pop you on the treadmill or exercise bike, hook you up to a heart-rate monitor and run through a stress test.
People who are fit tend to have a lower resting heart rate (average is 70-84 beats per minute; good would be 56-69 bpm; endurance athletes tend to have a resting heart rate below 50 bpm).
With all these calculations they can easily assess your level of fitness for your age, weight and height, and devise a programme to suit your specific needs and ambitions – do you want to lose weight, be more toned, have more stamina, improve mobility?
They can then, of course, go on to monitor your progress.

Pet-owners generally have lower resting heart rates and lower blood pressure; they often have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and react more calmly to stressful situations.
There are, however, more uses for a pet than keeping its owner calm – but only if it is a dog. The following should not to be tried with guinea pigs or hamsters.
Canine cross-country running is growing in popularity in the UK, and there is even a championship that runs between September and April, which means that there is time to start training (you and the dog) for the beginning of the next season, and it will help you to fitten up for and through the summer. The 2006/7 competition attracted 700 entrants.
“Any size, any shape, any breed – and for all fitness levels”: the Canix UK organisation (www.canix.co.uk) running the championship is referring here to both dogs and owners.
Canix’s aim is to “promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your dog and responsible pet ownership, utilising our country’s great outdoor spaces”.
The practice was initially used by Scandinavian dog-sledders needing to keep their animals in training throughout the snow-less, summer months.
Although huskies are naturals at the sport, any dog will help drag you through the countryside at a decent pace. They have an instinct to pull.
They can be trained to run and race by starting on a flat and short course.
Use a friend to run ahead with treats if your dog is reluctant to stride out at first. Then heap on the praise.
Once they have got the hang of it, keep your running to forest paths and soft ground, as dogs can sustain pad injuries if they do too much impact work on pavements.
And if you have any doubts about your dog’s fitness for such a sport, get him checked out by the vet.

It may have been known for many years as “the exercise world’s best-kept secret” but Pilates, pronounced “pi-lah-tis”, has become increasingly popular since it was first introduced to the UK in the late 1970s. Even the Welsh international rugby team and Manchester United FC now incorporate it into their training routines.
The Pilates Method is an exercise regime that encourages the mind to control the muscles, building body strength and flexibility through fewer, more precise, controlled movements than those involved with more vigorous forms of exercise that are all about building muscle.
Pilates exercises focus on the “core muscles” of the abdomen – the muscles that help to keep the body balanced and to prevent and alleviate back pain.
Controlled deep breathing is an important part of Pilates to ensure blood is fully oxygenated and so able effectively to revitalise the body’s cells and remove waste products to reduce fatigue.
The net effect is a stronger, more flexible and toned body.
The Pilates Method was created by a German called Joseph Pilates while he was interned during the First World War.
On his return to Germany he began evolving the exercise technique working with dancers.
When he established his first studio in New York in the 1920s he quickly attracted an elite following of sportspeople and actors including Clark Gable and Cary Grant.
Today, Pilates is rapidly growing in popularity and is taught in several forms, although all follow Joseph Pilates’s core philosophy.
One of the most popular forms in the UK is Body Control Pilates, which breaks down Joseph Pilates’s classical exercises into a range of basic moves more accessible to the average person.
This system comprises 40 exercises – including movements designed to correct common postural faults – which can be performed by anybody and make use of simple household items such as a broom handle, tennis ball, scarf and pillow.
Body Control Pilates was developed by Gordon Thomson, a former actor-dancer who studied with the Ballet Rambert, and Lynne Robinson. Eager to simplify the Pilates Method and make it accessible to anyone – not just those living in London and the south east where most of the country’s Pilates studios are still based – the pair have since produced a range of DIY books and DVDs.
To find details of Pilates classes in your area contact the Pilates Foundation, a non-profit organisation that monitors accreditation of Pilates instructors and whose website has a handy map detailing studios, classes and teachers across the UK: www.pilatesfoundation.com.
For more information about Body Control Pilates contact the Body Control Pilates Association 0207 636 8900/info@bodycontrol.co.uk.

Does the ratio 55-20-25 mean anything to you? These are the numbers nutritionists tend to advise for a balanced diet.
It translates as 55 per cent carbohydrate, 20 per cent protein, and 25 per cent fat.
Keep roughly within these parameters and you will be maintaining a healthy diet.

Forget the loneliness of the long-distance runner.
Exercise in any form is far more enjoyable when you are doing it alongside someone else. So, too, is dieting.
Why do you think Weight Watchers and support networks of that kind have been so successful over the years?
Call on friends and family to applaud your efforts. We all need our behaviour reinforced at times. If your nearest and dearest are reluctant to help out, join a running club, or dieting club, or both, to get a weekly boost to morale.
If that is all seems too formal for you, coax a group of friends to put an evening aside weekly not to visit the local wine bar but to get together for a gentle jog or walk or run.
Not only is it a sociable event but you can celebrate progress together.
The group can share responsibility for hosting the evening by providing the venue (and refreshment) in turn.
Once you are into a routine with your exercise and know what you are capable of, plan to do a fun run with friends: the results are that you get fitter, can raise money for charity, and afterwards you are guaranteed a great sense of achievement.
The Bupa Great Run series started in May and events run nationwide until October. For more information see www.greatrun.org.

Join a gym, and your conscience starts to torment you about making the most of your monthly membership.
Join British Military Fitness and there will be no need to torment yourself, as there will be a drill sergeant doing it for you.
BMF is an organisation set up in 1999 that runs workouts led by Army-trained instructors in parks across the country.
It is boot camp for your bootie.
Expect circuit training, running, press-ups, sit-ups and games such as rugby, tag and relay races to all form part of the sessions, which vary from week to week.
The focus is on getting you motivated with “encouragement” from the instructors who are all current or former members of the Army.
You don’t have to be fighting fit to join (participants are divided into three groups – novice, intermediate and advanced – and each group works out at a level tailored to their ability), but do expect to “feel the burn”.
In keeping with their military bent, sessions include rolling in wet grass and press-ups in the mud – getting filthy is all part of the fun.
Getting down and dirty is proving immensely popular. Since being started by former Army major Robin Cope in London’s Hyde Park, the sessions have invaded 33 parks in 22 towns and cities nationwide from Cheltenham to Edinburgh, and more than 4,500 members take part in their classes every week.
More are due to start this year, including sessions in Liverpool this summer. BMF recommends that you try a class for free first and if you like it you can pay a monthly fee from £25 for one session a week to £29 for unlimited classes.
Go to www.britmilfit.com for more information.

48 – SLEEP
While obesity levels have almost doubled in Britain over the past 50 years, we have reduced the average amount we sleep by two hours.
Are the two connected? One simple theory is that the more tired we are, the less likely we are to exercise; and the longer we are awake, the more time we have to consume more calories.
Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation can reduce muscle mass, as well as trigger diabetes.
Missed sleep can equate to lower levels of leptin, a “peptide hormone neurotransmitter” involved in the regulation of appetite. A good night’s kip, then, is essential for better fitness, health and wellbeing.
Try some light stretching about an hour before you head for bed. It will de-stress and relax the body in preparation for sleep. Or have a warm bath sprinkled with relaxing essential oils such as ylang ylang.
Do not overeat just before you head up the stairs.
Eat a medium-sized meal about three hours before bed-time.
But conversely, don’t go to bed hungry.
Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and too much alcohol in the evening – though some advocate a small glass of red wine, particularly Barolo, for its higher melatonin levels, which help to regulate sleep patterns.

Whichever way you look at it, weight loss and fitness will always come down to eating less and moving more.
It sounds so easy, but why is it so difficult for many of us to achieve? Unfortunately, our relationship with food is not always about hunger.
But it should be. Learn to recognise what it is you really want to eat and how much you actually need.
Break the cycle of thoughtless consumption and stop before you eat. Ask yourself whether you are really hungry.
Or are you suffering from “emotional hunger”? Is something else driving you to the fridge and the food cupboard? Are you just bored? Or a little depressed?
Are you actually thirsty, and would a glass of water take away your craving? Take time to listen carefully to what your body is really saying.

As one leading sports kit manufacturer tells us at every opportunity: “Just Do It”.


Fat Is Fat, and Sometimes So Is Skinny

Being a Personal Trainer in Mornington on the Mornington Peninsula is a total joy. Interacting with all sorts of people at different locations such as Dallas Brooks Reserve, Wilsons Rood Reserve and Birdrock Beach and more is the best part of it all. It is distressing when clients get down on themselves about carrying a bit of fat and wishing they look like the skinny person over there when most probably they are fitter and healthier than that person. Read the article below to get an idea of what I mean.


Being skinny doesn’t mean you’re fit—or even healthy. A recent study in theAnnals of Internal Medicine found that men and women of normal weight but with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels are at risk for heart events just as dire as the obese.

The reason a thin waist is no saving grace, explains the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, is that people can register a normal weight, but still hold excess fat—more than 25 percent body weight in men, 35 percent for women.

Essentially, fat matters even if you don’t appear fat, says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez, whose main area of study is in what he calls the “skinny obese.”

“Excess fat affects metabolism in ways that make it harder to use insulin and other hormones effectively,” explains James O. Hill, Ph.D. Executive Director, of the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. “This leads to metabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.”

The study also dispelled any myths of being both obese and healthy. At first, there appeared to be a group of obese subjects who were at low risk of cardiac event and death—statistically similar to the healthy and normal weight folks. But when the researchers dug deeper, only looking at data with 10 years of follow up, all overweight and obese subjects appeared to have greater health risks.

It’s possible for an obese person to appear metabolically healthy and at low risk for heart disease, but being overweight and healthy isn’t a permanent station, says Hill.

What’s more, even if an obese patient registered low blood pressure and healthy cholesterol, there are more risks than heart disease; for starters, degenerative joint disease. The health of your hips, ankles, and, especially, knees, are imperiled by excess pounds.

And though the first response to turn your health around—whether you’re normal weight or obese—would seem to be weight loss, that’s actually secondary by doctor’s order.

“Your first priority is to become active,” says Lopez-Jimenez. “If somebody is obese but very active, the risk for heart attacks is same or lower than sedentary skinny person.”

Matt Allyn – www.outsideonline.com

Is Marathon Training Dangerous?

Hello RNFITers, Living in Mornington on the Peninsula I know many of you love your long distance runs along Mooroduc Highway, Nepean Highway, along the Esplanade or just around the suburbs. But is running long distance actually dangerous for you? I say moderation is the key to everything but have a read of the interesting article below.

“So you want to train for a marathon, but all your wife can think about are those stories of supposedly healthy peoplehaving heart attacks during their races, right? Tell her she’s sweet to be concerned, but that embarking on a 26.2-mile journey will likely benefit your health much more than risk it.

In a study presented yesterday at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting, researchers looked at how marathon training affected the heart health of recreational athletes ages 35 to 65—guys who signed up to run the Boston Marathon for a cancer charity, and who hadn’t qualified based on time or previous race history. The participants were generally healthy, but about half of them had at least two cardiovascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

The runners trained for 18 weeks, running between 12 and 36 miles a week. And in the end, saw significant decreases in their overall heart disease risk: Their bad cholesterol was reduced by 5 percent and triglycerides by 15 percent. They also increased their peak oxygen consumption, a measure of cardiorespiratory fitness, and reduced their body mass indexes.

Now, these guys weren’t elite athletes by any means—but they weren’t couch potatoes, either, says lead author Jodi L. Zilinski, M.D. “They turned out to be a healthier population than we expected, with a lot of them already exercising on a pretty regular basis.” She cautions that anyone considering something as rigorous as marathon training should check with his or her doctor first, and should always follow a responsible training plan.

As for those news reports about people collapsing on the course? It’s much rarer than it seems: A 2012 Johns Hopkins study found that even as marathons have become more popular to us Average Joes over the past decade, the death rate remains at less than one for every 100,000 runners.

If your wife is still hesitant to let you go, point her to another recent study—this one on marathon runners and their non-running partners. Surprisingly, the researchers found, the sport not only made runners themselves healthier, but it seemed to also have a positive effect on their significant others’ health, as well.

Bottom line: Check with your doctor first and avoid over-training. But for most fit, middle-aged men, running marathons can be rewarding and healthy—for you and maybe even for your wife.”


Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington

WHO to slash recommended sugar intake?

mornington personal training

Hey RNFITters! As a personal trainer based in Mornington on the Mornington Peninsula it is my pleasure to bring you quality articles like below to help people learn the dangers of aspects of their diet and more. From Franskton through to Flinders and more I’m out there everyday imparting my personal training knowledge.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is rumoured to be considering halving the percentage of calories that it recommend people consume in the form of sugar – from 10 per cent to five per cent.


Welcoming the idea of reduced sugar intake, Rob Moodie, Professor of Public Health at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, said: ‘Our dieting patterns have changed, there’s a lot more added sugar in our food. Certainly, (sugar is) associated with obesity, with heart disease, obviously with tooth decay… and obviously obesity is then related to diabetes as well.’

Of course, the amount of sugar that WHO recommends people eat and the actual amount of sugar that people eat are two very different things – and any reduction in advised levels may have a limited effect on sugar consumption.

The processed food industry is also expected to fight any recommendations to reduce sugar intake. Moodie predicts the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) which represents packaged food and drinks, as well as global food giants, would oppose any recommended reductions in sugar intake.

It becomes a giant food fight. They’re obviously against any form of regulation and always have been and are fighting this with us’ he said; ‘They’ve been major contributors to changes in our diets, sales are doing well, (they’ve) made enormous amounts of money. That’s fine, that’s their business. But now it’s time for our health, but also for the health of our healthcare system, because fundamentally we won’t be able to manage the problems associated with over-consumption of salts and sugar.’

Although some research shows that Australians are consuming more sugar than ever before, the AFGC claim changing consumer behaviour negates the need for revised sugar intake guidelines. Deputy chief executive of the AFGC, Dr Geoffrey Annison, said: ‘The overall sugar consumption of the population from soft drinks is in decline… …the consumption of diet and low-cal soft drinks has been increasing greatly over the last few years.’

The processed food industry has always responded to advances in nutritional science. For a long time we’ve had polyunsaturated margarines, we’ve had high-fibre breakfast cereals and low-fat dairy products’ he said.

Source: ABC

Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington

‘Fat shaming’ weight loss techniques create obesity

Constant criticism and ridicule of overweight people does little to motivate them to slim down, and has now been proven to potentially cause greater weight gain.

A recent report titled Perceived Weight Discrimination and Obesity published in PLOS One found that those who suffered discrimination as a result of their weight were likely to either become or remain obese.

‘Weight discrimination, in addition to being hurtful and demeaning, has real consequences for the individual’s physical health’ said study author Angelina Sutin, a psychologist and assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine.

Endorsing the findings of the study, Sydney-based weight loss motivation specialist Kylie Ryan said ‘There’s a very unhealthy attitude that being overweight is shameful, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to judge people based on their body size. What this does is intensify the problem rather than solve it. Repeated criticism of overweight people builds self-loathing which results in further weight gain from over-eating.’

Ryan believes that weight-loss reality television shows have normalised a harsh approach to obese people trying to lose weight; ‘Viewers of these shows get the voyeuristic joy of watching the contestants get tortured and change their body shape, but it only works to reinforce the belief that ‘I’m a loser because I’m fat’ and ‘I’ll only be successful and loveable when I’m slim and good looking. Many of the very people who are supposed to help those struggling with weight issues have no idea that their contempt is a big part of the problem. This contempt from others echoes the sense of self-contempt, self-loathing and shame that many people who struggle with their weight feel on a daily basis.’

According to Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, stigma and discrimination of overweight people can be chronic stressors. ‘And we know that eating is a common reaction to stress and anxiety – that people often engage in more food consumption or more binge eating in response to stressors, so there is a logical connection here in terms of some of the maladaptive coping strategies to try to deal with the stress of being stigmatised.’

Kylie Ryan believes that unless we remove the social stigmatising of overweight people Australia is facing a bleak future; ‘At the moment we’re on track for 80 per cent of Australians to be overweight or obese by 2025. Imagine the knock-on effect of the majority of our population feeling shameful about their bodies and making decisions based on their own inner turmoil? It’s got to change.’

Source: My Mind Coach

Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington

Diet drinks may increase weight gain

A recent review of research has found that regular consumption of artificially sweetened drinks may have an opposite effect to the weight loss intended.

In her review, professor of psychology and neuroscience, Susan Swithers found that frequently consuming non-calorific sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin, may negatively affect metabolism; ‘Frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements’ she said.

Swithers found that consumption may actually increase chances of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

‘When it comes to making policy decisions, it’s more important than ever that the science is considered and that the public understands what the science says in order to help them make the best health decisions’ Swithers said.

Alluding to the big business of artificial sweeteners, Swithers said; ‘The concern that these non-caloric sweeteners might not be healthy is a message that many people do not want to hear, especially as the prevalence of artificial sweeteners increases’.

Source: Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism

Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington

Lifestyle factors may assist smooth pregnancy


A study spanning Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland has found that certain lifestyle factors may increase thelikelihood of a healthy pregnancy.

Analysing data from 5,600 women, researchers identified lifestyle factors in the second trimester of pregnancy that were associated with complication-free pregnancies. Overall, 61 per cent of the study participants had an uncomplicated pregnancy.

Factors such as a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, having a job, eating fruit and ceasing abuse of alcohol and drugs, were linked to ‘smoother’ pregnancies.

Lucy Chappell and colleagues from the Women’s Health Academic Centre of King’s College London, said that the findings suggest that encouraging women to make healthy choices before and during pregnancy ‘may increase the likelihood of normal pregnancy outcomes’.

Not all identified lifestyle factors were deemed to be within the control of pregnant women, however, with poverty, having high blood pressure prior to pregnancy while taking birth control pills, a family history of high blood pressure during pregnancy and bleeding during pregnancy falling into the unmodifiable category.

Source: British Medical Journal

Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training & Small Group Sessions (Group Fitness) based in Mornington News