Aches and pains usually occur after long periods of ‘strain’.  A strain pattern can be present in the MIND &/or body from postural habits or repetitive daily professional or sporting activity. The body will accommodate to compensate the job. Eventually the strain is ‘one push too many’, ‘one more stressful situation’ or just one more day too many sitting in a compressed state at your desk! It is no different from the tree in the wood that has been leaning over for years but, one day the winds are much stronger, it is the tree that will come down in the storm…

Learn to listen to initial yelps and you can minimise the destruction and turmoil that a long term strain pattern can cause in the body.

Relieving strain is in your control! It is only you that is ‘bearing down’ & compressing creating the very discomfort that you are trying to relieve.  Remove the pressure by bearing up & out rather than down & in= instant relief when the WHOLE TEAM PLAYS!

When only a few ‘players’ are playing to support the body’s architecture, there is a lot of strain  onto only a few of the ‘team members’ with the rest sitting on the bench.  In a tensegrity body nobody is substituted.  All players hold onto their ‘tensional’ role & play their part in any given movement that is easy, fluent & energy efficient.’ Nobody gets too tired, nobody gets strained, and nobody gets hurt’.

As Joseph Pilates (1945) stated; “A body freed from nervous tension and over fatigue is the ideal shelter provider by nature for housing a well-balanced mind that is always fully capable of successfully meeting all of the complex problems of modern living”.


Whilst commitment to a change can be an awesome way to jump-start your healthy lifestyle, sometimes we are so focused on the end result that detailed plans and effective strategies for reaching our goals can get underestimated.

 Are you guilty of setting vague and ineffective resolutions?

Are you destined to dump your resolutions by February?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions then read on to REVAMP YOUR RESOLUTIONS!!!

 Resolution 1: I will completely cut out [insert unhealthy vice here]!

After a holiday season of excessive indulgence, many people decide to quit smoking cold turkey, ditch alcohol, or ban all sweets forever. While it can initially feel empowering to “just say no” to unhealthy habits, parting ways with a long time vice is likely to leave you feeling deprived and desperate in the long run.

Resolution Revamp: Alternatively, aim to add something healthy to your daily routine. When you’re trying to boost wellness, behaviour science has proven that it is much easier to increase a healthy new behaviour than to get rid of an old one. So a better goal than banning your ‘‘4 cups of coffee” per day might be to focus on drinking eight cups of water every day. Adding healthy habits will give you motivation (instead of punishing yourself for those guilty pleasures). Once you begin to achieve your healthy targets you will be surprised how your bad habits begin to diminish.

 Resolution 2: I will reach my goal weight by this summer!

Perhaps you didn’t overindulge this season, but you’re still struggling with unhappy thoughts about your current weight, dress size or body shape. If you go about setting your weight loss goals the wrong way, you’re likely to quit or— even worse—gain it all back and then some! The problem with a resolution to simply “lose weight” is that the results are too far off to keep you motivated.

Resolution Revamp: Instead of setting a goal to shed pounds, set more specific goals that account for all of the other small, measurable achievements you will reach along the way. Scales are for fish! so find measures besides body weight and clothing size to track your progress. Whether you count portions of greens per day, pull-ups per minute, time on the stationary bike, or heart rate on your morning hike. This will show you losing weight is not the only benefit for your focus on nutrition and exercise.

 Resolution 3: I will spend more quality time with my [friends, spouse, family]!

When the parties are over and the decs are put away, January blues can have you longing for a busy social schedule. Spending more quality time with loved ones is a popular resolution and it is important to your health to come together for happy occasions and celebrations throughout the year. Focusing too much on fitting in elaborate activities with friends, family and children can leave you stressed out and stretched too thin.

Resolution Revamp: Check your upcoming events and notice all the time you’re already devoting to helping and visiting family and friends: school plays, dentist appointments, birthday parties, etc. Instead of adding to the festivities, pencil in a few hours a week just for you. Get a massage, read a new book, take a walk in the park. Feel guilty about taking time out? Tell yourself that taking time to recharge can help you enjoy your engagements even more. Once you’ve gotten into the swing of giving yourself some quality “me” time, then you can add in appointments for phone calls with friends, date nights and other group activities. Creating your calendar from the inside out will help you set the perfect pace in the coming year.

 Resolution 4: I will max out my savings account this year!

Everyone’s wallet feels a little lighter after the festive season and January is often a time when people consider changing their spending habits. There’s no doubt that financial fitness is good for your mental and physical health. (picture what happens when you feel like you can’t afford the basics, let alone healthy foods or your favourite Pilates class!) Stashing money away can also cause stress and tension, especially if you’re lacking a specific goal or the support to make it happen.

Resolution Revamp: Choose a goal that’s important to everyone in your home and calculate how much you need to reach it.  Split the total into monthly amounts and, if the overall goal is too far in the future, sprinkle in small rewards for meeting benchmarks.  This will help you stay on the path to savings success. Pinching pennies the right way can strengthen your spirit and lead to long-term wellness.

 So before you return to work in 2016 don’t follow the crowd with underdeveloped resolutions. Create your plan of action to start the year off right with a renewed sense of physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Implementing a change to routine rather adopting a fad can be difficult. Hectic lives and packed solid days are accountable leaving little time for change.

Understanding how to minimise barriers is key before trying to make commit to a new nutrition plan or exercise programme. Any goal you set yourself should be realistic!

 What steps should I follow?

Be organised & plan ahead- this will save you time and planning will help prevent stress hence decreasing your chance of eating something bad and preventing long periods of hunger.

  Organise it:

  • Buy food in bulk where possible 
  • Freeze meat if you can buy it in larger quantities for less 
  • Buy storage containers and prepare food early and make it easily accessible 
  • Use a slow cooker 
  • Cook more than one meal or cook extra so that you have meals planned for later that day 
  • Bulk cook – Saves so much time
  • Keep water bottles in your car, bag and at work so that you always have access to plenty of it 


One of the pivotal factors to fat loss is stress. It plays a major role in the regulation of blood sugar and in particular the hormone cortisol. Stress is created in many different ways. The most common stress enhancers are:

Family arguments , Moving house, Changing jobs , Giving birth, New born babies 

Wi-fi and electronic signals (including usage of mobile telephones and computers) 

Over exercising , Commuting to work . Financial problems ,Work stress.

Stress buster = Sleep 

The best way to decrease stress is to improve your sleep. Trying to go to bed each night by 15 minutes earlier than normal will accumulate to 2 hours 15 minutes extra per week or 9 hours per month.  That means that the extra 15 minutes has given you one extra nights sleep per month.  7-9 hours is average in order to have a positive effect.

ZZZ like a baby:

  • Avoid caffeine after 3pm
  • Read before bed instead of computer work or watching TV (these stimulate the brain) 
  • Enjoy a warm bath more often to help you relax 
  • Unplug any light emitting devices in your room  making your room as dark as possible 
  • Avoid exercise before bed
  • Don’t sleep with your mobile phone next to your head 

Why wait until the New Year to make a resolution, start NOW with small changes that are more likely to last.

Myth 1: Running is bad for your knees

Truth- Studies show that the knees in runners are no less healthy than non runners. However, women are more likely suffer knee injuries due to an imbalance in strength ratio. A great way to support your knees is to strengthen the muscles around them with total body strength workouts. Try TRX training.

Myth 2: Crunches are the key to a flat stomach

Truth- Crunches are not the most effective way to slim down your mid section. They tone up a small area but can often cause an abdominal bulge as the deep set muscles are not engaged correctly. Try Pilates that focusses on the entire core structure.

Myth 3: You need to work out for at least 45 minutes for it to have any effect

Truth-A 10 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is far better for fat burning and is like a furnace that keeps burning fat for up to 24 hours after. Try a body weight HIIT work out before you start your day.

Myth 4: The longer you work out the better

Truth- Gone are the days of pounding the pavements. Shorter intensity work outs are proven to be more efficient at fat burning than longer duration lower intensity work outs. Try mixing your training up especially if you are training for a specific event.

Myth 5: Women perceive weight lifting to make them look bulky

Truth- Women typically have les muscle tissue and produce lower levels of testosterone than men so even if you are lifting heavy you are not likely to bulk up. Ensure that your eating habits reflect the positive exercise you are undertaking.

Myth 6: A protein bar is a good substitute for a meal

Truth- Protein bars often contain copious amounts of sugar and are therefore classes as a processed food which will not give you the nutrients your body needs. Try clean recipes in the form of smoothies made the night before ready for you to grab.

Myth 7: Calcium only comes from dairy

Truth- You can get calcium from a variety of sources including broccoli and sesame seeds. Try adding seeds & spinach to juices.

 Myth 8: The only way to lose weight is to cut out carbs

Truth- The most manageable way is a CHANGE in lifestyle! This will avoid yo, yo dieting. Eliminating white bread, pasta, potatoes is a step in the right direction and sticking to brown rice, sweet potatoes and of course plenty of green veggies. Try making cauliflower rice as a substitute.

Myth 9: A hot bath will decrease muscle soreness

Truth- A cold bath is better! The cold temperature will constrict blood vessels instead of dilating them limiting the amount of waste products that accumulate. Cold exposure will also assist fat burning.

Myth 10: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Truth- Do not force yourself to eat if you are not hungry… delay your breakfast to a slightly later time of the day. Try making your breakie & taking it with you for elevenses instead.

Are you overtraining?

The symptoms of overtraining syndrome are  initially similar to those of hard training such as muscle ache and fatigue.  When we exercise we are ultimately placing a stress upon the body which is needed in order for it to adapt and gain a positive training effect.  We may expereince acute fatigue.  However, if rest and adequate recovery are neglected the training effect will become negative. 

Symptoms of overtraining syndrome:

  • A decline in performance.
  • Feelings of fatigue.
  • Insomnia.
  • Loss in appetite
  • Lack of motivation/concentration.
  • Lethargy/depression.

Managing Overtraining syndrome

It is paramount to reduce your volume of training and in severe cases a total rest may be necessary.  A good diet and adequate sleep will aid in exercise recovery and the prevention of overtraining syndrome.

Aug 042011

What are superfoods?

They lend themselves to properties rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, low in calories and contain significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids.


Blueberries- labelled the best food to boost memory and brain function as we age, increase energy and boost immunity against infection.

Pomegranate Juice- contain antioxidants that can reduce the growth of cancer cells.

Seaweed- a so-called powerhouse nutrient that stimulates the immune system, delays ageing and guards against dermatitis and depression.

Tomatoes- a powerful antioxidant that reduce the risk of certain types of cancer such as prostate, colon and bladder.

Wheatgrass- a blood cleanser and detoxifier.

Super diet versus superfood

 Research has demonstrated that some of the claims about superfoods can not be proven therefore investing in a super diet appears to be a sensible option for achieveing your optimal health.

 Rather than selecting individual superfoods it is vital to focus on a ‘super diet’ that includes an abundance of vegetables, legumes and wholegrains with a moderate amount of olive oil, nuts, fish and lean meat.  A super diet does minimise the consumption of processed and refined foods.

Age-proof your body- start running today!

Running is superb for the waistline, its  the best form of  cardiovasular exercise for burning fat and blasting calories as well as being a mood enhancer.

Help your heart

Running not only tones the legs but strengthens the major muscle in your body- the heart.  A stronger heart can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heat attack.

Strengthen your bones

From the age of 35, you start losing bone density, leaving your more prone to osteoporosis.  This is a natural part of the ageing process- but runing can put the breaks on it.  Any weight bearing exercise will help to improve the bone density, and therefore running is an ideal way to improve the quality of your bones.

Boost your brainpower

Studies demonstrate being physically active for at least half an hour five times a week can reduce your risk od developing dementia by up to a third.

Reduce long-term illness

By staying active as you get older you aoid being unfit and over weight which can help ward off a number of serious illnesses.  Running will help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels in addition to aiding weight loss and stress management.

Tone up, trim down

Running for just 30 minutes five times a week will trim your waistline and build more muscle, giving your body a toned, youthful appearance.  It is also proven to boost circulation which, as well as keeping your heart happy, also helps to flush toxins out of your system and makes yor skin appear more radiant.

So running really is the fountain of youth!

How to shift those stubborn pounds

Do you find yourself  eating well, exercising regularly and your happy but not completely satisifed as there is still a niggling wobble that will not shift?  Below are five tips that will help you on your way….

Change your routine

Give your body a shock by switching your cardio and resistance training routines around.  Go to the gym instead of runnig and run rather than doing weights.  This means that you will be doing more resistance training and you will burn more calories as a result.  When you build muscle the carbohydrate and protein you eat goes to repair this muscle, so it won’t get stored as fat.

Eat straight after exercise

After exercise there is a 90 minute gap in whatever you eat  won’t turn into fat.  Your body uses glycogen as an energy source for training.  If there is too much, it gets turned into fat (for storeage).  Eating after training means there isn’t any excess glycogen so there is no need for the body to convert it in to fat.

Lift Heavier weights

This will allow you to become stronger and firm up but it also affactes your hormone levels which positively affects fat loss.  So how heavy is heavy?  Aim to do everything 20%  heavier than you normally do for the next three weeks.  Studies have also shown interval training has the same positive hormonal effect.

Drink more water

Water is fudamental for fat loss.  Any chemical and hormonal reaction in the body needs water to function properly.  Its also perfect for regulating appetite, so drink a big glass of water before food.

Eat well, not less

You might be eating healthily , but you might not be eating well for weight loss.  If you have your calories under control, there are numerous ideas you can do to break the weight loss plateau.  One is to only eat protein at night.  This will force you to consume all your fruit, vegetables and healthy fats earlier in the day, and as protein doesn’t turn into fat (if you have too much you excrete it), your body will be burning fat as energy while you sleep.  This will also forec you to have a big breakfast, which is key.

Remember being too thin is just as unhealthy as being overweight, so make sure you review your goals to ensre that they are healthy and realistic.

Mental Health

The need to consider our mental state is perhaps more prominent than ever with the ending of the financial year nearly upon us, the current  economic climate and the hectic lifestyles we lead.  Below are the benefits of how exercise can boost our lifestyle.

Physiological Benefits

Feel Good Factor- increased endorphins.

Improved Mood- increased chemicals.

Thermogenic- when the body is warm we feel more relaxed.

Psychological Benefits

Distraction- time away from daily stresses and problems enabling you to take time for yourself.

Feel Calmer & Happier- increased parasympathetic nervous system activity increases tranquilising effect.

Improved Self-esteem & Confidence- a sense of achievement & purpose to daily routine.

Social Benefits

Socialisation- meeting others & sharing expereinces enables integration, inclusion & belonging (rather than exclusion & alienation).

Fun/Enjoyment- physical activity & attending classes can provide a sense of pleasure.

Quality of Life- the physical benefits of being active enable greater independence.

Fitness classes have the power to help you strive towards achieving your health and fitness goals and to maintain the results you desire.

5 Reasons to participate in fitness classes:

1. Group Support if you are a novice to exercise, or the thought of slogging it out in the gym sends you into a frenzy then fitness classes are your answer. Not only will you receive support and motivation from the instructor but other participants in the class will help you along the way too.  Many of the class participants will have experienced similar fitness and weight loss battles and will be willing to share their knowledge and advice as to how they achieved their goals.

2. Accountability for your actions- most people plan to meet with friends or colleagues at fitness classes, therefore you have to turn up! If you don’t you risk the questioning from those who did.  You can guarantee that the instructor noticed your absence & will ask upon your return.  Action your goals or face the consequences!

 3. Increased exercise adherence- research demonstrates that you are more 80-85% likely to stick to your fitness routine and achieve your goals if you exercise within a group environment.

 4. Social interaction- fitness classes enable you to meet people with the same interests.  Many class participants will meet up with each other in a social setting after meeting for the first time in a class environment.

 5. It is Fun- motivating music and working out with other people is fun!  Its trial and error to find your perfect class, but once you find it, you will love it and achieve your goals.


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