Strength Training & Holistic Fitness

Train Heal Breathe philosophy: TRAINING is not only an essential part of life for overall health and fitness but a tool that helps us manage emotions and clear the mind.

Holistic Fitness is simply the idea that you consider all factors affecting energy when working out or planning a program: emotions, food, sleep, work etc. Equally it promotes training in all key areas of fitness in rotation: Cardio, Strength, Flexibility.

You also focus on lifetime exercise history analysing time spent on: movement v stillness, power v control, slow v fast.

So if your sport or passion involves only one area you would re-balance the body by a gym/home workout being the opposite. e.g. long-distance runner doing weight training, body builder doing yoga. Its a method that helps avoid injury in the long term by putting symmetrical mechanical movement into the body.

Why Strength Training?

The Fitness Industry is increasingly paying attention to Strength Training over Cardio as the focus is now to tone up (create muscle) rather than lose weight (diminish the body). Exciting times! A massive paradigm shift in body goals and understanding of what exercise is. A big relief for PTs as losing weight is not necessarily related to health, strength or beauty.

In simple terms exercise can be divided into two: Strength and Cardio; one builds the body and one moves it. (Body Building is body conditioning turned into a sport itself and that’s why their muscles are so big.)

Strength training is now considered to be a minimum requirement for health and body maintenance:

“… to stay healthy you should do … strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)”. Government Guidelines 2019

There are a great number of HEALING qualities to strength training.

Health benefits:

  1. Stronger muscles.

  2. Protects bone health & muscle mass, prevents osteoporosis.

  3. Increases metabolism so body continues to burn fat after the workout (evidence to show strength burns more fat than aerobic exercise) and long term builds a more muscular body that has a higher resting metabolism. Uses more calories too.

  4. Better body mechanics: correct technique for functional movement like squat, deadlift helps avoid injury, falls, back problems.

  5. Helps with chronic disease management.

  6. Boosts energy and mood levels (evidence to suggest more so than cardio).

  7. Cardiovascular benefits: helps improve blood pressure.

There are now rehab programs for Aquired Brain Injury (ABI) and in particular Stroke based around strength training ARNI which iona is qualified in.

There are HUGE benefits to emotional well-being. Cardio is great too but for those who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue, Anxiety, PTSD, Depression the strength workout is soothing as opposed to exhausting. You’re not moving fast in fact your bringing CONTROL into the mix, each rep is much harder this way and more meaningful. The most important message is that you will feel happier, more grounded and emotionally calm after.

If you’re doing any sport or regular cardio (even fitness classes) it’s essential. If you do any repetitive or asymmetrical movement, impact or competition a background Strength Program ensures you’re engaging muscles correctly, including core, to protect from injury, maximise potential output, correct technique. Fitness Coaching or Personal Training provides guidance for these kind of training programs.

Weight training is becoming very popular with women because it develops muscle tone and natural curves that look good on all frames. Previously there was the notion that you had to be slim and jump about to exercise, which combined with low body weight goals and defecit calorie diets has had a negative impact on the collective female psyche (particularly in Northern Europe). It depletes the body long-term, reduces bone density, energy levels, quality of skin. But this is most definitely a thing of the past. 

Strength workouts are much calmer (chilled) you might cover one or two functional exercises in a session focusing on technique, breathing, few reps, speed of movement. Keeping feet on floor and essentially not moving and works perfectly with Personal Training or Online Coaching as we can do an effective work out in one space.

It suits all body types. You’re not moving fast in fact your bringing CONTROL into the mix, each rep is much harder this way and more meaningful. The most important message is that you will feel happier, more grounded and emotionally calm after.

AND it’s the most natural way to work flexibility for boys and girls. 

Who is it relevant for? Everybody!

Train Heal Breathe Strength Training Programs have universal application and work really well even with to those who don’t relate to gyms. No matter what kind of background, injury or barrier and ALL LEVELS. Whether you have never trained in your life, or done lots of sport but never strength, feel too old (there is an 80+ body builder lady going round the internet who looks 50+), or professional level looking for a fresh perspective. 

If you’re into heavy weight training this workout provides perfect background conditioning (mild cardio that won’t burn muscle too much 🙂 ) and an emphasis on core and control, speed of movement.

If you’re a beginner this is the perfect introduction to safe functional movement and technical training it can take 6 months to a year before you might want to take it to the gym. You can start with bodyweight and move onto weights when you’re ready. All sessions are adapted to the clients needs. 

Sports/Dance/Fight Conditioning: this kind of training preps for any cardio activity you want to indulge in like running, fight training, fitness classes, triathlon. Most professional track and field runners now incorporate serious weight training workouts into their prep. It’s also key to rehab for injury or if returning to a sport after a period of rest. Essentially you’re conditioning the body ready to do your thang!

A PT session can be booked 

  1. At home in London
  2. Muscleworks in Hackney or Millfields Park
  3. Outdoor Fitness Millfields Park, Clapton.
  4. Online Coaching.



Grounding: science and spirituality.

People freak out when you talk about grounding for fear that it’s a bit hippy or just not scientific! It’s science babe it’s science. The big secret is that Science and Spirituality (and Art) have always been talking about the same thing; one using quantitative analysis to communicate the other using qualitative. (Reality can be ‘measured’ or ‘felt’)

Grounding (putting feet in soil) is soothing, physically, for feet and therefore calming emotionally and mentally, breathing in fresh air and seeing the sky etc people can feel a spiritual/emotional connection with the world.

At the same time the body is an electro-magnetic system. The Earth gives off a -ve charge and when your body has gone through stress, trauma, illness (or you’ve just been an arsehole) it tends to be carrying more free radicals which have a +ve positive charge. These are then neutralised through connecting the two bodies; earth and human. Literally grounding any excess charge.

If you ever find yourself prejudging ANY form of knowledge at all you’re being emotional not rational. 😃

Train Heal Breathe is about researching all forms of free healing!

My favourite healthy dessert (and snack): pineapple & mango yogurt with hemp and chia

I love finding delicious wholesome (lower GI/sugar, higher protein/fibre) alternatives to regular desserts. Ones that don’t lack on taste or naughtiness.

This is great as a breakfast, dessert or snack.


  1. 150g Biolive organic yoghurt/soya (dairy free alternative)
  2. 50g frozen mango
  3. 50g frozen pineapple
  4. 30g oats
  5. 15g SHELLED hemp
  6. 10g ground chia
  7. 10g honey (local ideally!)

442 calories with 17% protein 20g mean it’s not lean which I would consider 25% plus. But a dessert which can be as low as 3% protein for a standard chocolate brownie so it’s lean as dessert!

[The higher the % protein, the more it will fill you up per calorie (making it harder to binge).]

14g fat, 60g carbs, 19g protein.

Having whole foods like chia, hemp and oats mean the sugar from the fruit, which is higher glycemic index (how quick the sugar breaks down in your body) is mixed with fibre 9.6g, iron 22% (!!), 39% vit C (!!) of RDA and 400mg Potassium (a good muscle recovery mineral).

What isn’t listed in Fitness Pal is all the other minerals contained in hemp and (they often come alongside iron so if you’re iron levels are high you’re probably consuming these minerals as well).

30g serving of hemp: [double what’s in this recipe so half it for % of RDA] you also get 11% Zinc and 24% magnesium!

Delicious Plant based fuel

The journey to becoming vegan has led to me to find the most delicious easily digestible training fuel that also smashes my daily nutrient goals: iron, Vit C, Vit E, Potassium.

And includes key minerals that many food diary aps don’t consider like magnesium, copper, zinc that are fundamental to a healthy nervous system i.e. chilled and balanced with good energy levels✌️.

I’m working hard to help share the knowledge that you have to fuel serious training and although you cut down on processed foods, you actually increase the amount of quality fuel (calories) you eat.

So yeap my recipes have calories! But they are all natural, wholesome, nutrient rich, delicious calories! Check it…



1 pink grapefruit (skin removed)

1 large organge (skin removed)

70g frozen mango

5g root turmeric

5g root ginger

30g shelled hemp

10g milled chia





The Fruits Are Ripe for Picking! 

After almost 20 years I’ve got a garden. This is rare in London. The whole Train Heal Breathe concept grew out of me not having a garden and finding resourceful ways to connect with local green space, then sharing this with my clients.

At the same time the journey of getting fit took me though green areas in Hackney I would never have seen if I wasn’t for training like jogging or cycling.

As I grew fitter and stronger I found more parks, that gave me more activities to do like barwork, trx, olympic rings and I became stronger still. I trailed Walthamstow and Hackney marshes: meditating, stretching, yoga, running, sprint training, gymnastics, calisthenics, dancing, inversions. I’ve found almost every grassy corner of Hackney to train in.

The green space became more than just a park, it was community space, for everyone.  No social, financial, cultural barriers, if you wanna be fit and strong and beautiful you have to work for it. End of. And in that we are all connected. (Philosophically refreshing!)

Your local green space is healing. You might not be aware of it but what you will feel is a sense of img_9007calm after being outside for a few hours, weathered. Science has done the proving bit to show blood pressure decreases, anxiety levels go down, reduced insomnia, reduced depression etc

Even better if you’ve put your hands in the soil, physically connecting to the Earth (handstands, gardening) and even better still if you can put your head on the Earth like with headstands.

The discipline it took to get out into public space rather than use a private garden was tough!! There’s a lot more prep involved (warm clothes, blankets, food and drink, camera etc) and confidence. I had to grow as a person to be very independent and strong enough to get away if there was trouble. img_8846

Then, one day, I get a garden.  A wild, unkempt and beautiful with massive trees all around, the size that makes you stop, see magnitude, gasp and get perspective. Just moments away from a busy road but total peace. An oasis. Only the people who live in the houses know. This is what I love about London. Lots of hidden gems. Am in awe. And full of gratitude as I appreciate this more than ever!

The garden has been left for years. But there’s so much potential. I was sitting under the tree when I thought hold on, that’s fruit. Jaw dropped. And it looks ripe. What’s so strange is that it was like a mirage because I didn’t spot the fruit before but now that I did I could see ripe fruit everywhere?! Each branch led to more and more fruit! It was like a fairytale, I could see abundance! LOL. I couldn’t see it before but now I could, it was everywhere (hoping the metaphor might roll out into the wallet area too 🙂 )


And even though I’ve spent as much time as possible in nature I still forget that food grows naturally. That it is free, with a little care-taking and responsibility. That, often, so much grows you can’t contain it (so you make jams and conserves).

Just reaching out with my own hand and eating what has grown naturally on the Earth felt like an illusion. Surely I need to part with cash? Walk into a building? Find a plastic container and buy the food? Be stressed? Put it in a plastic bag? Feel more struggle to get this organic freshly locally grown hand picked berry?


So this week I discovered that there’s a plum tree and an apple tree in the garden and I’ve picked 3 containers worth of fruit already! This is worth a lot of money!! Calories = coins. And I burn a lot! So pleased on many levels; financial, nutritional, emotional…. picking the fruit was immediately calming, a form of grounding and connecting with the earth. Getting away from day to day electromagnetic energy from phones and laptops.


The gratitude I feel for having a garden and watching it blossom from not having a garden for so long is a beautiful thing.
This space could potentially provide me with the best quality training fuel, medicine, herbs and sanctuary I could ever wish for. I can recycle food waste as compost, collect water start my own herb garden and vegetable patch (and save a lot of money on food!)

After tasting the fruits it was deep! I hadn’t tasted real food in a long time. Fresh zingy burst of vitamins, real flavour!!

If you want to book personal training session online or in Olympic Park Village/Hackney:

book a session


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The Breakfast Smoothie

This is exciting! I’ve found the perfect smoothie! It’s taken a long time to negotiate my way round synthetic protein shakes, whey formulas, vegan powders and even home made protein formulas etc etc.

I’ve found a recipe that combines both home made smoothie ingredients with a delicious protein blend (from several vegan sources) with just a small amount of whey (most whey protein powders are 100% whey). It’s called Purition fuelled by nature.

And I’ve combined it with whole food ingredients that I’ve found to be really good for fuelling training; even if you’re on a diet you need to adequately fuel exercise and that means getting the calories you’re allowed from a variety of whole food sources (whole food means the whole food, not processed or refined).

This recipe is the most natural recipe I could find that is delicious (even a little naughty), fills you up, provides lots of vitamins and minerals, tastes sweet and can be high calorie for muscle gains and advanced level training or low calorie (with half the calories) for weight loss. Either one provides high protein natural fuel to kick start your day in the quickest simplest possible way.

If you’re trying to lose weight and or do some serious training the first thing you need to do is start providing your body with adequate fuel at breakfast; med-low GI carbs, fat, protein. Protein fills you up which is why it’s become so popular lately with weight loss as well as muscle building.


Pineapple, Mango Breakfast Smoothie

Muscle growth/pro level training recipe 1.2 ltr, 1 large blender cup (3 servings) 324 calories per serving, 9g protein: 

  • Train Heal Breathe Breakfast Smoothie75g pineapple
  • 75g mango
  • 75g oats
  • 100g organic biolive yoghurt
  • 30g Purition coconut protein mix
  • 200ml almond milk
  • 150ml water
  • 30g raw ginger
  • 2 teaspoons honey

If you’re like me and training HARD, work involves training and even your hobbies involve training you’ll be looking for healthy ways to add calories (it’s very hard to eat enough calories for high intensity training if you want to avoid processed foods and take outs). This is really easy to digest and it’s vegetarian too. (I’m almost veggie now because of these shakes and will keep progressing towards vegan).

I’ve split the 1.2 ltrs into 3 servings. For normal people one glass would be enough! I drink the whole lot 🙂 1.2 lt = 912 cals, 157g carbs, 18g fat, 15g, fibre, 27g protein, 102g natural sugar, 319mg sodium.

It’s helped me gain muscle, keep my skin soft and fuel training as I don’t need to wait for bulky food to digest before using the calories to workout and I don’t feel so tired either. As well as help me intake high calories with healthy food, it’s soft on the stomach, quick to drink and perfect for the busy schedule!

Now for the diet version.

Diet recipe 1.2 ltr, 1 large blender cup (3 servings) 177 calories per serving 8g protein: 

  • Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 17.39.3350g pineapple
  • 50g mango
  • 50g oats
  • 50g organic biolive yoghurt
  • 30g Purition coconut protein mix
  • 200ml almond milk
  • 250ml water
  • 30g raw ginger (optional)

I removed the honey (high calories!), lowered the amount of frozen fruits (pineapple is high calorie so you could exchange for more mango to reduce calories further), lowered the yoghurt content and upped the water.

One serving is a drink that will fill you up like a snack and the full blender cup can be a meal replacement. Cal: 531, 15g fat, carbs 54g, fat 15g, sugar 12g, fibre 12g, 24g protein.

The protein mix is made by Purition Fuelled by Nature. They have lots of flavours and are all really delicious. What I like is the variety of sources of vegan protein providing loads of essential minerals and vitamins that can be missed in our daily diets in the west. So it’s not just a protein drink it’s a highly nutritious, delicious way to add healthy fuel to your diet.

It’s more expensive than the synthetic whey powders because it contains lots of quality ingredients:

All the essential minerals that a lot of us miss in our Western diets! AND it’s these minerals that helps the body detox, relax the nerves, sleep better, balance emotions the list goes on!! The links between nutrition and mental health are strong.

It’s also the perfect alternative to desserts if you have a sweet tooth. The beauty of whole foods is that they fill you up with fibre and protein so that you can’t eat too much (unlike a lot of desserts, sweets, confectionary or biscuits)! So you get the taste bud hit but can’t consume endless calories.

Enjoy! If you want personal training in East London or online coaching, nutrition support including food diary analysis and meal plans etc get in touch using the links below:






Take care in the sun! Winter bodies seeing sun for the first time..

Please. I mean it. It’s nearly midsummer and our skin has barely been in touch with the air for 6 months let alone the sun (unless you’ve been on holiday lately). It’s particularly dangerous this year because this fresh wind is clearing the pollution in London and we’re getting south of France style powerful sun.

Make the most of it, get out into your local green space, enjoy the trees, the people, the atmosphere of warmth, don’t hide inside (!). But pay attention because we are jumping from one season to another, 20 degrees within 2 weeks!

Behaviourally (wearing different clothes, carrying sun cream/glasses with us, water) and biologically (skin not conditioned to sunlight, hydration levels not adapted to change in temp, mineral salt loss increases through sweating) we are not adapted to the change in season. Arguably this is the most vulnerable time of the year for the human body, going from cool to hot

Overwhelmed by the excitement of hot sun for the first time we easily mess up and get burnt, dehydrated, heat stroke or even worse sun stroke. But at the same time we need Vit D desperately! So many illnesses are related to vit D deficiencies and it’s a natural anti-depressant too.

I love the sun but I respect the sun too. I try to sunbathe in the shade at this time of the year, wear suncream if skin is in direct sun or cover up, only sunbath in direct sun in the early morning or evening and use a timer. We all make mistakes and get caught short but the aim of this blog is help avoid it.

As we go through the season you are more conscious of what you can handle (my legs rarely burn but upper body is more sensitive to light) and the sun becomes weaker too so it’s easier to manage. It’s this time of the year that we have to be vigilant!

Respect Mother Nature and take care! Here’s some tips on how to take responsibility for your body in the change in season from spring to summer:
(This is directed at UK or anyone going from 6 months of no sun to sun)

1) Don’t drink alcohol in direct sun. If you can’t handle heat drink be even more careful (and ideally don’t drink!!
2) Know your skin!!! Humans have brains so we must use them! Every single person has slightly different skin to the other. Amazing isn’t it. So it’s your responsibility to not get burnt. 10 mins sunbathing could burn one person and barely touch another. If you haven’t had sun on your skin for 6 months be aware this weekend.

3) Don’t do any training in direct sunlight, only early morning or evening or under shade, if you can’t handle heat you shouldn’t train between 12-4pm. Drink extra fluids throughout the day and bring extra to any workouts. Be careful not to overdrink whilst training too thought!

4) Use a timer if you’re sun bathing, be aware of the strength of sun: its at it’s strongest a month before and after midsummer (Saturday 24 June) May to Aug.

Sunbathing under a tree is nice. But remember the sun moves so set a timer.

2pm is Very strong

1pm and 3pm strong

12pm and 4 pm still strong!

5) Don’t fall asleep in sun!!!

6) Wear sun cream if in direct sunlight! There’s organic sun creams if you don’t like chems. Or the mottled shade of trees (gets you a nice light tan!) or long sleeve light thin clothing. Loosely woven cloths will allow vit d in whilst protecting you.
7) Think about what’s on show when walking about, every minute counts. If your arms and chest are out then you must use some sun cream or cover up (because your mind will be on other things).
8) Take water with you everywhere! You be ver know when you might need it, there’s pollen and really hot transport to contend with. Ideally have a little fresh lemon or lime, some fruit juice in the water to rehydrate most efficiently. Watermelon is ideal rehydration ratios of water to sugar for training too.
9) Take a hat with you everywhere to protect the heat of the sun from your head.

Later on in the year the sun is less strong (further away from mid summer) and our skin is more conditioned from summer and behaviourally we are used to wearing protection and considering it.

Have a great bank holiday weekend everyone! It’s usually raining so enjoy and take care.