Thursday, 18 August 2011


................and not of the alcoholic variety! Not that there's anything wrong with a little tipple every now and again, but today's blog is all about keeping hydrated, and alcohol doesn't really figure here!

Water is key to our existence, we all know that..but how many of us make it top priority?! It's usually only when we suddenly feel really thirsty that we realise we haven't had a drink for a while! And by then mild dehydration has already begun.

An interesting fact - our body's are comprised of between 50-75% water, depending on a person's age and gender. It also performs crucial roles such as carrying nutrients and waste products between our major organs, helping regulate body temperature, lubricating our moving parts and acting as a shock absorber.

It's recommended we drink 6-8 glasses of clear, fresh water EVERY day to help us function optimally -something I'm trying to drill into my children. This doesn't include tea, coffee,fruit juice,Red Bull, Sports drinks or alcohol - all of which are diuretics, and can do more harm than good!
I find the best way is to keep a large bottle with you at all times and drink regularly and not just when you're thirsty!

If you find yourself suffering from tiredness, lack of energy, irritability, reduced concentration, headaches,muscle tiredness, dark yellow or brown urine, and confusion it could boil down to a simple lack of ..water. And how easy is that to correct?

Conditions such as constipation, urinary tract infections, and gallstones can be prevented by maintaining optimal hydration levels - that's how important it is to get into a regular habit with it.

And please think twice before drinking so called 'sports drinks' to rehydrate you. In general, they're full of synthetic, chemical based substances including sweeteners and are so not necessary as part of a healthy diet, no matter how much sport you partake in.

A better option is coconut water which allows rehydration naturally.It has naturally occurring electrolytes that rehydrate you fast - also contains vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, calcium, and magnesium - and tastes amazing! It's also low in calories - and is ISOTONIC (like so many sports drinks advertise) meaning it has the same PH as human blood, so rehydrates faster than water.

My favourite is COCOFINA, which is sold in cans. Try it, it's a great taste - it tastes like it's doing you good. Can anyone honestly say the same for blue Powerade?!?!

Coconut water can also be used as a convelescing drink or after over-indulging.

By the way, herbal and fruit teas count towards your 6-8 glasses a day.

Try the urine test tomorrow to see if you need to drink more!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Maximum Return

There's no such thing as the perfect workout because we're all very different, in terms of interests, body shapes, fitness levels, goals etc. However, I'm guessing there is one thing we all have in common - limited time for exercise?!

Commuting to work, getting at least eight hours in on the job, family commitments etc.etc all add up time wise, leaving us precious little 'relaxation/free time'.

Unless you're fanatical about working out it may well be the first thing to go when you're pushed (how dare it be! Have a word with yourself quick!!) so here are my tips for helping you get the most out of exercise in short bursts of time.

If you want to be a lean, mean fighting machine, or even if you just want to reduce body fat and feel better about yourself, you need to increase your metabolism and raise your basal metabolic rate.

When you do, it makes your body burn more calories whilst you're going about your every day tasks.

There are two types of exercise which can help make this happen. The first being CARDIO.

Steady state cardio needs to be a thing of the past. Going to the gym and sitting on a bike whilst reading a book won't get you where you want to be. Neither will swimming 25lengths doing the same stroke, at the same steady pace.

What you need to do is shake it up abit; INTERVAL training WILL get you you there if done regularly and effectively - even for 10-15 minutes at a time.

Using varied interval lengths during one session helps to challenge your CV system - and to put it bluntly you'll be knackered at the end of it.

Intervals - running, cycling,cross training, walking, swimming,skipping etc. - can range from 2 minutes flat out to just 20-30 seconds with recovery rests in between of similar lengths. So effective; try it for one month four times a week and I guarantee you'll see results.

The second type of exercise for maximum results is RESISTANCE.

Peripheral Heart Action as a form of resistance is the most time saving and effective exercise. Again you can do short bursts regularly and see results quickly. Very tiring, you'll know you've pushed yourself!

PHA involves alternating exercises between the upper and lower body in a circuit style routine with little rest between sets. Lots of fun this one too! There are so many exercise pairs you'll never get bored.

If you would like example sessions of either intervals or PHA please message me and I'll email them to you.

I'm in Cornwall for the next two weeks and loving the fresh sea air. I come every year and always work out first thing in the morning (whilst the kids are crabbing), overlooking the Camel estuary - feel so spoilt.

I'm alternating PHA and interval sessions meaning I'm able to justify the odd glass of rose in one of Rick Steins Restaurants, and go home feeling great too.

Get cracking - you'll feel so much better for it. Guaranteed.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Record It

Hey hey, two blogs in a week, what's going on!? Well, I've been spurred on by the great reaction I've had to the first one on sleep. Hope it was food for thought, and some of you are managing better nights.

Today we're looking broader - food, sleep, moods,exercise, stress levels;the full works! And why the best way of taking a close look at your life is to record it!

Yes, write it down, all the detail, every day. What happens when you read back through your notes is that it comes into your conscious mind, and this makes it very difficult to ignore!

Take for example those biscuits you snack on in the office; that glass of wine before dinner that 'doesn't count', and the second helping of pudding! It's very easy to forget that these things have passed your lips...........unless you write it down!

This is the first task I set new clients; to give me an overview of what's going on in their lives. I love receiving this information, it says SO much about them (don't panic Jo!!)

How about allocating a week to writing everything down, and I mean everything.
Include the following in your journal :

- all food that passes your lips

- the time you eat

- how your food makes you feel, half an hour and an hour and a half after eating

- all the drinks that pass your lips, including water

- your sleep patterns, when you go to bed, how soon you fell asleep,whether you woke in the night, what time you woke in the morning, how you felt when you woke up

- your stress levels, what's happening in your life to make you stressed, can you pinpoint it? how are you managing it currently?

- your moods! Do you fly off the handle, are you always chilled? Does anything you do/eat make a difference to this?

- your exercise habits; do you fit it in daily? do you not manage any at all? Do you enjoy what you do, or do you just do it because you feel you should??

Ok, so record all of this and read it back through. Whether you're trained or not you will see some 'stuff' that possibly shocks you and pulls you up to take some notice! A wake up call - don't we all need one of those every now and again to get us back on track?

It is then possible with the conscious mind to make small changes each week for the better. If you try to change everything all at once it will overload your system and you'll give up really quickly. Make one small change a week and watch the profound difference in your life. Really.

I'm more than happy if you want to email me your weeks journal; I'll analyse it for free and give you some pointers. Go on ,dare you!

The person closest to me in my life right now wasn't in a good place when I met him. We did all the client/therapist stuff and he lost over two stone in three months by making minor changes for the better. He's never looked back - how lucky was he to have met me! LOL!!

To summarise, try keeping notes of what you're doing if you're challenged by any aspects of your life and review after a week. You're guaranteed a wake up call and it's always a good thing!

Look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Monday, 1 August 2011


I've been awake since 4.30am - I tossed and turned for a while, updated my Face book status, read some emails and eventually gave up my warm,comfy bed and made a cup of tea.

Those of you who are close to me know that a good nights sleep doesn't come easily to me and never has. I'm great at giving out all the good advice in the world but taking it .....well that's a different matter. It doesn't help having a partner who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, or mid-conversation, and not wake until morning. Quite a skill!

Anyway, the good news is,I'm blogging again after a few months off pretending I've been too busy. Hopefully, this one will help other sufferers, as well as remind me of what's conducive to a good nights sleep.

OK so here goes :

Have a light snack before bed only, a heavy meal will mean your digestive system is too active to induce sleep

Have a warm bath, with candles to get the whole of you, your body and mind, in the mood. (Love this but I quite like a glass of pink fizz and some company too and this doesn't help sleep!)

Limit caffeine - apparently any taken after 2pm can still be affecting you late into the night!!

Drink chamomile tea - not peppermint which is a stimulant - to calm your system.This really works for some people.

Make sure your bedroom is dark and free of electronic equipment; TVs, mobile phones (never sleep with your mobile by the side of you, and resist texting until late into the evening!) and neon alarm clocks.

Create a routine so your mind and body know what's coming and when they can chill.

Do some yoga in the evening or gentle exercise anyway. Vigorous exercise will raise cortisol levels and make you buzz!

Try some meditation if this is your bag; switch off your mind from the business of the day.

Play some relaxing music.

Avoid alcohol ......yeah right I hear you say!! Actually it seems to help some people if they have the odd one, but shed loads will guarantee you disrupted sleep, mainly due to needing a trip to the bathroom!

Eat foods containing tryptophan, a sleep inducing amino acid. Dairy products, and chicken and turkey all contain this.

That's all very well but.... the main issues for me are what's going on in my head. If I'm not 'on top of my game' when I try to sleep I don't stand a chance. And recently this has been far from the case..................

So one of the best things I find is to do a 'head dump' - write down all your troubles, worries, challenges etc onto a piece of paper (you can do this in the dark, it doesn't have to be legible!). It helps to decrease brain activity and allow you to rest.

And thinking positively, also a challenge of mine just now, helps sleep. Pessimistic thoughts can increase the risk of sleep problems and keep your mind active so your sleep comes in short bursts leaving that awful groggy feeling the whole of the next day. Not good when you have children to look after.

Short and sweet today but I hope you got something out of it. Tonight, my phone's staying downstairs, I'll be bathing alone with candles, chamomile and lavender oil,having a glass of warm milk before bed and playing whale music in my bedroom. Oh and off loading any negative thoughts. Wish me luck!