Thursday, 28 January 2010


We are a nation of people who sit too much, whether it's in front of the TV, in our cars, behind our desks, in the pub etc. etc. and the bits of us that suffer the most when we do this for long periods are our gluteal muscles and our backs.

Our bottoms are part of the back ex tensor chain, as are our hamstrings, and so it follows that if we have weak butts our backs are more than likely going to be weak too.

How many people do you know who have bad backs? And how many sick days do we lose each year through back ache alone?

So how can we strengthen our glutes, and ultimately help our backs?

The best way to work your posterior is to move it! Surprise, surprise! With walking being up there as the number one movement for overall fitness for anyone, without risk of injury. Walking uphill will work it even harder. If we all hit the 10,000 steps it is recommended we do each day, our backsides and our backs would suffer less.

Fitflops/MBTs and Sketchers are all footwear that can help us whilst walking. They support the foot arch and have negative heel technology that helps posture, and so bottoms and backs - they also encourage glute activation. When you wear them for the first time you'll know about it the next day! They are also supposed to allow you to burn more calories!!

Superb exercises for the glute muscles are squats, and lots of them. Focus fully on the glutes as you come up to standing, and you'll feel it right where you're meant to.

One legged squats for the more advanced of you are even better, focusing more on glute activation than the traditional squat. I get first time clients to do this as part of the fitness assessment as it's a great indicator of glute strength. It's very unusual not to get some knee wobble!

The bridge exercise is also a good one, done lying on your back with bent knees, you lift your bottom in the air and squeeze. There are many variations, including pulsing and one legged bridges but focus your attention on your butt and you'll feel it.

The clam will assist particularly in the outer glute muscle. Lie on your side with knees bent and together. Open up the top leg as high as your knee will go without pulling hips out of line. You'll really feel this after a couple of sets if you're doing it correctly. (persevere if not it can take a while to get correct form on this one).

Power jumps on and off a step are fab butt strengtheners, and will get your heart going too. Use your arms for greater power and do several sets in one go, after warming up!

Start working your butt today and watch how quickly you can have lovely firm,pert cheeks! Try getting up from your desk for ten minutes every hour, and walking around, or do some body weight exercises that require no equipment and so can be done anywhere. Pedometers are cheap and will count your steps, giving you an idea of how many you're falling short and giving you a target to reach!

Go for it!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Too many of us are still consuming way too much salt and it can be detrimental to our health, causing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease amongst other things. According to the Stroke Association, 150,000 people in the Uk suffer from a stroke - worth thinking about!

Our daily limit is advised at 6g - but many many people have no idea how much they are eating as it's hidden in many prepackaged foods from bread to biscuits (yes really).

Ways To Limit Your Salt Intake -

1. Buy fresh food.
Not only will you miss out on all those NON NUTRIENT nasty foods, but you'll gain on the antioxidants and vitamins and minerals contained in fresh, wholesome, unprocessed foods that do not contain added salt.

2. If you do buy 'processed' foods, always check the label. If the food in question contains more than 1.5g or .6g of sodium per 100g then its high in salt and should be avoided. Have a look next time you're shopping and you may well be horrified!

3. Pick a substitute.
If you do need to enhance the flavour of your food try natural sea salt or Himalayan salts which are unrefined and contain vital minerals for your body or use black pepper or herbs instead.

4. Break the habit
Many of us sprinkle salt on our food before we've even tasted it, and this is a habit more than likely learnt from our parents. Try leaving the salt in the cupboard rather than having it on the table. You may be pleasantly suprised to find your dinner tastes perfectly lovely without the white stuff!

Sea salt also makes a great addition to your bath, soak for 20 minutes in a warm bath with a tub of sea salt to aid the detox process, and ease muscles after a hard work out.

Hope this mini blog has been helpful.


Well here we are into the third week of January already! And how many of you are sticking to your New Years Resolutions of eating less, drinking less and exercising more??!! My guess is that the weather hasn't helped at all. Who wants to be up and about and really active when its minus something outside? Actually, having kids helped me during the snow. They loved it and it renewed my zest for making snowballs/snowmen/igloos and sledging. We had a ball and burnt off a few calories at the same time.

Today's blog is really about watching what you put into your mouth and being conscious of it at all times. It's so easy to have a few snacks here and there and eat bigger portions than you should, without really paying much attention to it, or realising that when you add it all together your calorie consumption has far outweighed the amount of movement you have performed in any one day!

And as one of my gurus, Craig Ballantyne, says "you can't out train a bad diet". So even if you are exercising whilst eating too much of the wrong stuff you will not achieve the results you're after.

So, to begin with how about keeping a food diary. I know I've blogged about this before but it's where I start with ALL clients and we always get some results just through them becoming 'conscious eaters'.

It's a very interesting exercise and makes great reading a the end of the week. I can guarantee you'll be amazed at some of the foods that have passed your lips that you don't even remember eating. And most of that food will be non nutrient food such as biscuits/alcohol/crisps/sweets/chocolate/puddings/popcorn/fizzy,sugary drinks.

It's so easy whilst sitting watching TV to eat these foods, almost out of boredom. You're sitting comfortably, engrossed in your favourite programme and there's a packet of biscuits next to you. Without realising I bet some of us could put away most of the packet. Same goes for a bottle of wine, or a bar of chocolate, and it's quite often out of sheer boredom. Same goes for smoking!

Is there an option in your house to do something else whilst watching television? Could you iron, could you exercise? there are many activities that could be done, but perhaps the best way to stop eating and drinking out of boredom is not to have those non nutrient foods within reach at all. Or even in your house.

It's not too late to start a New Years Resolution! How about changing the way you shop? Take your time in the supermarket looking at labels, buying lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats and fish. A top tip is to shop just AFTER you've eaten. This will guarantee that you'll buy less junk food, and if it's not in your house then you can't eat it. Simple really.

So two things to try from today's blog - keeping a food diary and conscious shopping and eating. Exercise is next but really you can make a massive difference with the eating and drinking thing before embarking on an exercise regime. Try one thing at a time and you're more likely to make it a long term habit!

How about posting your food intake up on face book or somewhere public, it really focuses the mind if you know someone else will see it!

Lots of luck. Any advice needed contact me.