As part of the festivities for last Friday’s World Sleep Day (it’s March 17th – perhaps mark it in your calendar for 2018 and maybe grab a belated extra hour snooze tonight?!) I had the superb opportunity to hop on board a plane with a friend and voyage to the peaceful climes of Westin La Quinta, Marbella. I’ve written extensively about the importance of sleep – it’s a critical component of the wellbeing formula, rather than some sort of hedonistic luxury. To quote sleep legend, Professor Adrian Williams, we’re taling about ‘survival of the most rested‘. In line with this, I was thrilled to trial Westin’s brand new Bedtime Routine and to have had the chance to gift two lucky people their very own wellbeing break to the beautiful Westin La Quinta, Marbella! I spent a few nights in one of their deliciously compelling ‘Heavenly’ beds, so-called for good reason, and left feeling better than when I arrived, which is a sort of wellbeing nirvana, to my mind! Click MORE below to see the full behind-the-scenes of the routine and a little glimpse into the trip… (more…)
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This Monday is known as Blue Monday, a statistically miserable day by virtue of things like rain, dark, cold, work, abandoned resolutions, fatigue etc. I recently attended a fascinating TEDx talk by Professor Adrian Williams, a 30-year-practised leading authority on Sleep, based at London’s Guy’s & St Thomas’ hospital; I was reminded of sleep’s unsung value to our lives. Consequently, to combat Blue Monday, I’ve decided to revisit the theme of ‘the importance of sleep’ and have added a few bonus bits & pieces! I think most of us recognize we can benefit from it, but we don’t approach it in a structured way. The appropriate length and quality of sleep allows your body to function at peak efficiency both mentally and physically, and it’s just as valuable as regular exercise and wholesome nutrition. A good night’s sleep can improve overall health and make every aspect of the subsequent day more productive, so I’ve detailed what I think are the key reasons why we should all invest more time in our rest! In this post, I’ve also collaborated with Philips to test their Wake-up Light, as getting up is the part of sleep I find the most difficult! Click MORE to see it all… (more…)
If you’ve been following the musings of Fitness On Toast for a while, you might know that I often focus on the importance of sleep to complement a healthy lifestyle. It’s one of the key inputs that many of my Personal Training clients seem to minimise! To further my understanding of sleep, I recently took part in a fascinating research study to find out how sleep can enhance sporting performance and indeed overall fitness. Bensons for Beds, the UK’s leading bed specialists, have teamed up with The Sleep School, founded by the UK’s leading sleep expert Dr. Guy Meadows, to create a new data-driven resource, which aims to help everyone achieve a peaceful night’s sleep, in a natural way. This post reviews the test, and includes an interview with Dr. Guy, digging into the theory a little more! (more…)
Last Friday night, I was invited to attend a seriously unusual sleepover… Dr. Guy Meadows, one of the UK’s foremost authorities on all-things ‘sleep’ & founder of The Sleep School was running a consultation at the Charlotte Street Hotel in partnership with Febreze, who’ve just launched what I can only describe as ‘sandman mist’ for your bedroom and sheets (though they call it Sleep Serenity)! After we concluded, I put into practise some of his tips & tricks in one of the hotel’s deliciously comfortable 6ft beds for an uninterrupted, pure night’s sleep. This post builds upon my previous article on Sleep last month, and gives a feel for Dr. Guy’s Five Secrets of Great Sleep to help your body operate at its peak when you’re working out the next day! (MORE…)
One of my favourite feelings in the world is collapsing into my bed, physically and mentally exhausted, knowing that I have a long, deep, deserving sleep ahead of me. But that’s not just lazy indulgence, as a good night’s sleep isn’t a passive activity, but rather, I think it’s just as actively valuable as regular exercise and quality nutrition. A good night’s sleep can improve overall health and make every aspect of the following day more productive. This post is my take on why and how sleep matters in your healthy lifestyle.
1) “WHY SHOULD I ???”
Getting the right quality and amount of sleep:
– Enhances muscular recovery by speeding-up protein synthesis,
– Restores and maintains mental alertness (by discharging the brain’s accumulated daily Adenosine build-ups),
– Releases Human Growth Hormone – 60% to 70% of daily HGH secretion takes place when you’re in early sleep, following which the deepest sleep cycles often occur! Poor quality sleep can negatively impact human growth hormone levels.
– Restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenishes immune cells; and circulates human growth hormone around the resting body.
– Vastly improves the quality of interaction with other people!
2) MY “SLEEP TIGHT” ETHOS…
‘Get more sleep’ is easily said, but I know a lot people who simply can’t fall asleep, and toss and turn for hours on end. For a while, that was me too, stuck in a catch 22 of feeling too tired during the day, going to bed too late and waking up too early in the morning, only to do it all over again. One way I tackled this was by working out on a regular basis which is proven not only to help you fall asleep, but also to improve the quality of that sleep. Every body is different, so it takes time to figure out what works best for you; I personally prefer a heavy workout early in the morning, a productive day, then a light ‘exercise’ in the late evening (e.g. a power walk which gives my body the final reminder of just how tired it really is!). I wouldn’t recommend doing an intense workout before bed as that energises the body instead of calming it. Afterwards, a relaxing warm bath (I add this lavender bath oil to unwind muscle fatigue) and a mint tea (try to avoid any caffeine or alcohol before sleep, as they’re stimulants). Other things that may help is avoiding oversleeping as it will interrupt your circadian system (‘body clock’), which in turn will set you off later when you need to fall asleep. I’d stay away from sleeping pills as much as possible as they cause the body to develop a dependency, and they don’t get to the root of the real problem anyway, but just mask the symptoms. There are stories of politicians surviving on 4 hours sleep a night, but frankly, that’s unhealthy for anyone in the long run. I’ve always felt 7 hours to be a minimum in order to maximise wellbeing during the day, and I regularly aim for 8 hours. Also a room that’s dark and not too hot helps too. Investing in the largest & highest-quality mattress the room will take can be life-changing, and even fun little apps like the Sleep Cycle alarm clock can help you sleep smarter too!
3) “…AND WHAT IF I DON’T ???”
Not getting enough / high-quality sleep:
– Weakens the immune system,
– Renders you less energetic which will lower the quality/intensity of a workout,
– Affects the concentration of sugar levels in your blood – they’re likely to become elevated, which can lead to development of a pre-diabetic condition,
– Slows the metabolism, leaving it harder to maintain or lose weight,
– Induces a sluggish sense,
– Can increase appetite (certainly does with me!),
– Makes you moody and loose the motivation to workout or do anything!
Hope that helps you to rest up, sleep well, and train harder!
Last weekend, I voyaged westward to Bath for a distinctly British wellness escape. For years, I’d sampled the Instagram candy that was geotagged from this beautiful Georgian city, once revered by the Romans as the only hot springs in the UK – but this was my first IRL trip. VisitBath asked me to pop down for a weekend to experience the wellbeing benefits of this UNESCO World Heritage site for myself, so I jumped at the chance! What I found was an intoxicating blend of fresh air, relaxing proportions, historic significance, aesthetically arresting architecture, and a pace of life so wholly different to London (yet just 1hr 20 mins away on the Paddington flyer) that it was hard not to cut loose the stresses of the working week! Click more to see the key highlights of what I unearthed!
London is arguably one of the world’s greatest cities, but living and working here, Londoners can become blind to its rare brilliance. Precious gems like Trafalgar Square, Parliament, The London Eye, The Mall (etc), are casually tarred with the ‘tourist’ brush, and avoided for fear of disrupting ‘the daily mission’. It’s a superfast-paced city in which to work and live… but it doesn’t have to be that way! In what is the first ever staycation Active Escape review to feature on FitnessOnToast.com, I recently spent 3 cosy days inside the walls of the palatial Corinthia Hotel London investigating something genuinely innovative; the Brain Power Experience. It’s been designed in conjunction with the hotel’s Neuroscientist in Residence, and was totally transformative for me! It worked, and conclusively proved the hypothesis that you can enjoy an exceptional and differentiated wellness break whilst at home in this frenetic city, emerging revived and fired up! Click more to see what your own restorative well-being program could involve… (more…)
What is my book ’FIT IN 3’ all about, and why did I call it that anyway? It’s a fundamental realization I had over 10 years of working in the fitness industry, every day. This post will give you a little teaser of the power of 3; despite what the fitness industry would have you believe, there’s no magic formula, there need be no expensive products to buy into, no supplements, no starvation diets, and no demonisation. It is the ultimate in simplicity, inclusiveness, balance, mix and fun. It’s not a ‘system’, but it is knowledge, an entire approach, and the only book you’ll need to lead a realistic, sustainable healthy life. You can pre-order your copy right HERE and I’ve added some sneak-peak pages inside the book too, to give you a flavor of some of the delicious, Scandi-inspired healthy recipes!
18 months has raced by since the very first Apple Watch appeared on hipster wrists the world over, and now Series 2 has hit the company’s long, wooden sales tables. I really loved that first version, and posted a super in-depth review of it HERE on a trip to the Maldives – which as an aside, remains the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been on this planet! Since that review was one of the most read articles I’ve ever published on this blog, today’s post is a timely addendum, bringing up-to-date my views on the latest iteration of this much-hyped techy timepiece. At the outset, I must declare that I have received no compensation from Apple for either this or the previous review; these are my authentic and impartial personal views, so please take them as such. The essence is that they’ve crammed a whole lot more essential kit into this version, and as a result, I’ve noticed the conversation shifting away from ‘ooh you have one of those?‘ to ‘ah, how are you using & customising yours?’ I think we’re on the cusp of getting to serious grips with the data on offer, so read MORE to get the full set of observations on my Apple Watch Series 2.0. (Pictures shot on Santa Monica beach)
Cards on the table; I wasn’t born an author, and despite these bloggish scribblings, the thought of writing a book hadn’t even occurred on a post-hypnotic, unconscious, or inebriated level! The journey to writing my book Fit In 3: The Scandi Plan [it’s out on dec 29th, it would mean the world if you pre-order a copy!] was a grueling marathon of soaring highs and gloomy lows, and certainly one of the most intense challenges of my life. I can confidently say that I’ve thrown everything at it, and left nothing on the table – the book is 100% of me! But if, like me, you’ve never seen this mysterious process from behind-the-scenes before, you might also have casually assumed that these tomes magically appear, fully-formed, on shop shelves one day, conjured by the book-fairy, never paying thought to the dozens of people’s time, attention, grind, detail, and professionalism that goes into it. But much like writing a blog [which to the reader, can look like one macaroon-punctuated holiday after the next, but requires relentless toil], a book is a gigantic effort employing dozens of world-class talents, all working to fold their very best work into this little, printed package on a shelf! This blog post lifts the lid on the whole hidden process, shows you exactly what I went through, and might give you some thoughts on how to go about your own book! If you’re curious, read on! If you doubt it, read on! If you hate it, perhaps read on anyway! And if you think it’s easy, think again ! Faya x (more…)