During a recent Leg Session (one of my favourite body parts to train), I decided to do some ‘plyo box squats’. The word plyo – a contraction of ‘plyometric’ – basically means ‘jump training’. A simple practise, yes, but an awesome weapon in the fitness arsenal, due to the amount of muscular and cardiovascular exertion it generates. This is a little post on the benefits on plyometrics, why box squats are so fantastic, and how to execute them correctly! Also included are some step-ups – oldies, but goodies 😀 (more…)
This post is all about the benefits of one of the most fundamental and primal moves our skeletons are capable of performing; the humble, time-honoured squat. Few exercises compare for their ability to employ so many muscles simultaneously, and few yield such a wealth of physiological benefits. This post details my top 5 reasons to squat! Click MORE to read on…
Dear Santa, I’ve been really healthy (almost) all year and I intend to be next year as well; after a festive wander through Harrods, here are my 18 top fitness gift ideas that’ll certainly help keep me on track through 2014; including some clothes, trainers, workout equipment, healthy food & drink and other gym knick-knacks. The sort of thing any fitness freak like me would love to open in just a fortnight’s time! 😉 Faya x (more…)
As per my previous post here, the Sport Relief Swimathon March 2014 is just around the corner and I’m burning off my early dose of mince pies in the pool – whilst raising cash for an awesome cause! ‘HOW ARE YOU GETTING ON WITH THAT, FAYA?’ I hear you ask? Well, one minor setback is that I can’t swim… the front crawl (which is the mandatory stroke)! Thankfully, Charlie to the rescue! She’s a fantastic and painfully-tough swimming coach who also happens to be a sports therapist working with Watford Football Club, & will be coaching me all the way into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic pool.
This post contains a ‘Progress Report’ from week 1, as well as the BENEFITS OF SWIMMING, as I see it. As the months go on, I’ll be blogging about my aquatic experiences & fitness tips/tricks along the way, as well as running through the stretching routines, land training, injury-prevention exercises, nutrition, etc. (more…)
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been asked to take part in the first ever ‘Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games’ next year, running from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. I think it’s such an awesome way to combine fitness with a very charitable cause, and represents a great goal or milestone date to aim for (which I always find a massive help with my fitness targets!)
The three fundraising events they’ve got scheduled are 1) the Mile, 2) the Swimathon and 3) the Cycle. You can run, swim and/or cycle your way to raising cash at around a thousand venues up and down the country. The Swimathon (my chosen event) takes place in the landmark Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, (THE venue of the London 2012 Olympics) where I’ll be swimming for a good cause – so ecstatic!
PROBLEM: Since I can only swim the breaststroke and not the required crawl, (oh dear!) the swimathon is going to be a huge challenge! But I’ve always wanted to learn and this is the perfect opportunity. Let the training commence! The great thing about this charity is it doesn’t matter how sporty or fit you are, there’s something for everyone to choose from and whatever event you pick every mile counts, because the money raised will be used by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both in the UK and around the world.
So why not sign up!?! It’s half price until mid Jan, and after the indulgent festivites around the corner – I’m talking about Christmas and New Year’s eve celebrations – surely this event comes at the perfect time to add some energy and focus back into your workout routine. Getting into a healthy cycle, knowing that every run, every swim and/or ride is for a tremendously important cause, that’s part of the fun on this one!
March is just over 4 months away so I’m starting my training now and hopefully by the time I need to jump in the Olympic Pool I’ll be able not only to crawl but also complete the full length in a decent time. I’ll keep you updated through the blog, Twitter and Instagram on how I’m getting on and what I’m learning through my training. HERE I GO! 🙂
In this post I’ve attempted my very first YouTube video recipe! It’s on a healthy avocado snack-ette, the perfect dip for entertaining!
Avocado is packed with healthy fats and a good amount of dietary fiber too (27g per 100g). I often overhear someone at the gym discussing a wacky diet they’re trying out, whether it’s juicing for weeks, not eating for two days, or a trusty online purchase which ‘guarantees’ you’ll ‘lose over a stone in less than 4 weeks’… Often these ‘diets’ involve cutting out an entire food group, and any plan that claims this is a good idea sets alarm bells ringing for me! Often the food group they’ll cut is the much-demonised ‘fat’. Good fats work wonders for your skin, hair, training results and general well being. You don’t need to skip fat to lose weight – the body needs them for a range of functions;
1) Benefits of Fat:
– Growth, repair, and development of tissue, including muscle cells.
– Allows the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and without fats in the diet, you can become deficient in these (vits A,D,E,K)
– Provides energy, (1 gram of fat will provide 9 calories of energy)
– Cushions organs and insulates nerve cells
– Facilitates your body’s thermoregulation (temperature control)
2) Which types are good / bad?
– ‘Trans fatty acids’ (aka ‘trans fats’) are ones to avoid. They are not natural, but rather, are artificially produced through a process called ‘hydrogenation’, of converting liquid fat to solid fat. They’re often found in margarines, cakes, biscuits and junk food in general, and are proven to increase your risk of coronary heart disease.
– ‘Saturated fats’ can be found in animal produce – butter, cream, eggs, meat etc. They’re a good fat, however too much saturated fat can affect the body’s blood cholesterol levels, which over time can fur the arteries, leading to coronary heart disease. Once that happens, there’s little that can be done to reverse the effects, so it’s best to moderate saturated fat intake where possible.
– ‘Monounsaturated fat’ is a “good fat.” It can be found in olive oil, nuts, avocado and some seeds. It can lower your blood cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.
– ‘Polyunsaturated fat’ is another good fat, and mainly derives from plants, vegetable oil, nuts and oily fish.
– ‘Essential Fatty Acids’, are ‘awesome fats’, being comprised of such health buzz-words as ‘Omega 3’ (found in foods like wild salmon, edamame, walnuts and flax seed), and ‘Omega 6’ (found in vegetable oil, black beans and wild rice).
With that in mind, watch this video to make my recipe Guacamole, with metabolism-boosting chilli, healthy avocado monounsaturated fats (+ omega 3 & 6), and vitamin C / antioxidant properties of Celery! Faya x
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Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym solo, especially in these cold winter months. When I feel like that, I go along to group classes, to up the motivation-factor! This week, I was invited to an all-singing, all-dancing, all-sweating, all-girl fitness class in London’s West End. With a catchy, cheeky name like ‘The Skinny Bitch Collective‘ how could I decline?! The class was held just off Baker Street, and is led weekly by the founder, Russell Bateman. Under his enthusiastic guidance (and stern yelling!) all ten girls had to put in 110% to keep up with this very demanding routine. The class is basically an intense metabolic workout including some unusual ‘primal movements’, and is set to classic Ibiza house mixes, which marks the aim and tone of the session!
Here are just 6 of these primal movements included in the ‘Skinny Bitch’ session – they definitely got my poor legs bitchin’!!
I see it all the time – guys in the gym who have colossally sculpted upper bodies and miniature chicken-legs. Not only does this look absolutely ridiculous (no symmetry whatsoever), but failing to train your legs is a physiological mistake. Yes it’s true that the glutes are the largest muscle in the body, but being the largest muscle group in the body, skipping over your legs just won’t do! I’m not going to talk about the muscles you train in this post, rather my reasons for training them in the first place:
1) Aside from the cosmetic reason of creating body-symmetry, legs are worth keeping conditioned (something your body will thank you for as it matures). Strength training of the legs stimulates bone re-calcification, enhances tendon and ligament durability and improves overall joint strengthening.
2) Larger muscles boost the metabolism and burn more calories, so legs therefore can potentially burn the highest number of calories at rest. Most serious bodybuilders seem to believe that a 30min leg session will burn anywhere from 500-1000 calories depending on intensity (that’s 25-50% of your recommended daily calorie intake!). Also, a lot of cardiovascular exercise involves using your legs so by increasing strength and/or size, you’ll help fuel your workouts while burning more calories too!!
3) Being the largest muscle group in the body, training your legs encourages the release of natural testosterone and other growth hormones, promoting overall strength and mass throughout your whole body, not just the legs.
4) And finally it’s good to keep your body guessing. By training your legs, it’ll add yet another important variation to your regime, stimulating optimal muscle adaptation and growth.
Click here for photos and descriptions for part of the leg session I did earlier today… Faya x