Epsom Salt Bath

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A little reminder! 3 kg bag of Epsom Salts from your local independent chemist costs about £6.29. Put one kilo in a bath and if you fancy add some essential oils or like this bath Valerian and hops salts, a small sachet is £1.99. You can also add Bicarbonate of soda and seasalt for a deep cleanse.

Magnesium Sulphate or Epsom salts are great for relieving sore muscles, relaxing the mind and helping with recovery. They also make the body more buoyant in the water so you feel lighter and can let go of tensions more easily.

I feel really clean and detoxed after a salt bath as well deeply relaxed.

Highly recommend engaging in some deep breathing when in a salt bath. See if you can let all thoughts go and just breathe, as deep and long breaths as possible. Find absolute stillness. It’s a great way to explore meditation and develop your own relaxation go too’s in times of stress.

As the weather changes into a cooler climate it’s a great time to have a hot bath and take a moment.

Enjoy!

 

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Dancing heals the soul: bank holiday weekend on a budget!

August bank holiday weekend! So close to not going out, was skint, should I be sensible and stay home? 

On top of that Carnival cynicism is strong but after going every year since I first went in ’99 I’ve honoured the magic of that experience by my annual return. Would 2016 be the year I break the pattern? Was almost swayed by the moans and groans; too big now, too organised, controlled, lost the soul, get squashed etc etc

Was in two minds. And then after an amazing Saturday afternoon of dancing, prancing and merriment I got home, put 90s RnB Hip Hop and Dancehall mixes on mixcloud and felt  electricity shooting through my spine! This music is what makes me, me: I had to go Carnival.

To kick start the weekend I went to Cambridge Heaths first gay street ball on Saturday afternoon, free(!). 

Facebook live recording of ball

And Room4Movement @Book Club Leonard Street on Sunday night (bi monthly?) free before 9pm. Extended till 3am for bank hol special. Broken beat, hip hop, jazz, beats.
Jazz re:freshed people

Room4Movement Facebook event

Each event visibly lifted the spirits of everyone I was with! Just half an hour of dancing in the street at the Cambrige Heath ball left us buzzing! Everyone was so happy!

Messing about at the ball

Positive vibes are actually tangible. You’re energised for days getting stuff done with focus and purpose. How does it happen? A combo of music, sound system, floor space and good hearted people. Spirits lift, you feel joy and you get a good cardio workout, which boosts the happy hormones.

By Monday not only was I going to Carnival but I knew I had to share the positive vibes with those couldn’t or wouldn’t go (and deal with the awkwardness of filming in the crowds, a test of endurance, agility and street awareness).

Carnival was the best one yet but you gotta know how to do it right. Follow your nose and see where you go! Here’s some vids of where I ended up:

Mini vid of carnival 2016
Longer vid of Carnival 2016

Epic weekend. Energy is on an all time high, feel bonded and inspired. All done on a super tight budget! About £50 for long weekend of food, travel and going out (not by choice! Just the way it went and decided not to let lack of money stop me). Free entry to all events, bring your own water and pack lunch to the street party/carnival. Stick to soda and water when you’re out in the club or mix a fruit juice with soda for a little bit of sugar treat!  🙂 Always always follow your highest joy and the rest will follow. 

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Food Diary – what do YOU need to eat?

Discipline to train and discipline to eat: as you develop a discipline for training you need to develop, in tandem, a discipline for eating healthy too. Exercise amplifies whatever good or bad food habits you have because you’re consuming more fuel (even if your goal is fat loss you still need to eat more – another topic).

What does healthy mean? What is healthy for one might not be healthy for another. You have to be clear about goals, weaknesses, types of training and how your digestive system works; what sorts of fuel work best for you, do you train on empty, eat before bed? We’re all very different and this journey is about becoming an expert on what foods work best for you. It might mean behaving differently from the crowd who can project their eating habits onto you, display shock, even arrogance at the way you eat and knock your confidence. This is a test of resolve and self belief: in becoming fit and strong you develop a stronger mind too; you can’t have one without the other.

What is your fuel? Some people thrive off fats as fuel, some carbs, certain training programmes require more protein, others less, some are looking to increase calorie intake or protein, others a calorie restricted diet that still provides adequate energy for exercise. Your fuel can also change depending on hormones, recent exercise history, stress, medical problems (life basically).

A trainer can help identify which foods are typically recommended for which training plans. If you don’t have an expert to hand then research. Never before has so much information been so easily available. We’re walking around with libraries in our pockets. Use it. Google it. Don’t be afraid to look at science research papers; read the abstract or conclusion. Always challenge authority, even the scientists (which is what science was in160316 glum2itially all about), always research whatever info you’ve been told, never take anyone’s word for it EVER because we are all different systems and scientific knowledge is fluid; it will change. Your body is your responsibility.

Process of elimination: you will make many mistakes before you learn what your body thrives off. As in business the mistakes are the most valuable lessons. To find out what doesn’t work is the journey of life! (Amen). The more experienced you are the quicker you learn from mistakes and adapt. Ponder but don’t dwell and never ever think it’s easier for anyone else.

Step 1 – Food diary

  • IMG_3221.JPGFood diaries are the first step to working all this out by looking at what you actually eaas opposed to what you think you eat. Write down everything you nibble, graze, sniff, guzzle, drink and it’s not just about meals, even if you eat one chip of your kid’s dinner, write it down. Everything.
  • Also write down any exercise you do and all activity like walking, DIY, domestic chores and shopping (this is considered light exercise).
  • At the end of 3 days or longer, write down your thoughts and feelings when reading it back. Is it what you expect? Are you a secret eater!? Are you ready to face this?
  • Don’t judge! Acknowledge and accept. 
  • Write down your goals (e.g include more greens, less sugar, min protein requirements [Protein] avoid over eating).

Step 2 – Take time to think

160316 cartoonThis is what people mean when they say ‘manifest your desires’; before you achieve something you need to concentrate on it. Have a sit down or lie down and think about your goals, what you’ve eaten in your diary, how you feel about it, any old demons? Are you ready to release them? (you might not be!) do you feel strong emotions like shame or guilt regarding food?

Write it down. You’ve just come a step closer to dealing with some stuff.

Think about healthy food that makes your mouth water, what would you really like to try this week, your gut knows what it wants/needs and will attempt to direct you to the foods that contain those nutrients but doesn’t always get heard.

If you have any junk food cravings like burgers & chips, chinese or kebab then try and recreate a home cook healthy version that will hit the spot as opposed to denying it. Junk food is often based on a healthy original version the difference is effort your effort! Also on a serious note you might need fat, salt, calories, protein and that’s ok simply look for ways to fill those needs using quality whole foods. We’ve moved on from ‘diet’ mentality as it’s not effective or healthy.

For example butchers beef can be much cheaper than supermarket meat and you can check the source of meat, give money to a local business and have good quality free range meat burgers. Instead of chips boil potatoes and grill with a little oil, add loads of salad. Or, you could decide in advance the healthiest alternative; lots of healthy kebabs for example; grilled chicken & salad wrap, houmus & salad wrap.

If you like sweet things google sugar alternative cakes and try out a new sweet treat without sugar and healthy alternatives. If it falls apart keep trying. Don’t deny yourself foods but be creative in getting the hit you like with nutritional ingrediants. Get involved.

Step 3: plan meals and snacks

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Preparing meals and snacks takes time. Most likely your calendar is already at its max so you have to make sacrifices; lose one social occasion a week or one activity in order to have time to prepare food and freeze it.

It’s tedious but you gotta do it. Include all the food types: carbohydrates (low GI, google it if you don’t know it’s important), protein, fat, fibre and the best bit GREENS (vitamins & minerals). Then think about snacks. What is easy to prepare to take with you to work or when going out? Can you freeze it and make lots? Based on your goals your snack will vary wildly!

Step 4: plan shopping

160316 delivery cartoonOn the same day plan through your shopping, food diary in one hand, shopping list in the other. This is a good time to book a delivery; straight after looking through your diary and analysing your emotions regarding the foods you eat. Organic delivery companies that use local producers are healthy on many levels (another blog topic). Generally deliveries allow you to be in control of what you’re buying in the comfort of your own home as opposed to being hungry after work, rushing about with lots on your mind and lots of promotional material steering you off your path.

You might have to dedicate a day or a half day to do this. Sacrifices are worth it when you’re parading your abs around the park this summer :). Fitness is democratic every effort you put in pays and equally any pretence will be revealed! Good luck!

 

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Self Defence Classes with Sev Necati

Photos Copyright © Sev Necati Training.
Having just completed a five week course in self-defence with Sev I’ve got to say how impressed I am!  An excellent teacher taking you through all aspects from defence techniques to fight training to understanding the law and the healthiest way of handling any kind of assault.

Sev’s authenticity and passion about personal safety/ self defence is real. Check out her website here for courses in your area http://www.sevnecatitraining.com She’s straight down the line in explaining we need to be aware and streetwise when out and about.

London is a big place with people crossing each other’s paths and kerfuffles (and much worse) happening all the time. This course gives you the essentials in handling situations on the street in day to day life.

The realisation set in that most people are walking around without a clue about what to do if someone comes at you in the street (mugging, attack, random and even domestic violence).

The course also underlines the importance of being fit enough to handle an assault. The cardio fight training we did as well as hits and kicks on the pads were intense workouts (!).

Fitness is not just about looking ‘good’ it empowers you in day to day life, from doing the household chores with ease to defending yourself from assault on the street.

If you’re not fit you’re more vulnerable. My core belief is that movement is for everybody (whether you like it or not).

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Running log

  

7.4 mile run (12km) even jog pace 10 minute mile with first mile or so at 11 min. Saw this sunrise on route in Hackney. Did not expect it. Only when I got home did I realise how stunning it was!

Also want to share a quirk in case anyone gets this and thinks they’re on their own. I get very hungry on long runs (not met a runner runner who relates. I’m more of an all rounder runner than a runner runner and maybe my blood sugar hasn’t adapted). So started with a 2 mile run very slow, warming up, waking the muscles and joints up, waking the metabolism up and working out what my hunger needs are for the next few hours, then had a coffee and porridge, let that digest for 10 minutes but not too long and carried on my way. 

This is shock horror for many runners. Running with food in their stomach is vile and repulsive. But for me running on empty is vile and repulsive. Porridge is like sweet air to me; it’s digested before it hits the stomach. We’re all different and have to understand that we have varying metabolism and blood sugar needs.

My dad is a life long runner runner, marathons, the lot. He can’t understand what I’m talking about and looks horrified when I stuff my face with low and sometimes high GI carbs before a run. Same with an ex pro triathlete who took me on a 60 kilometre bike ride in the mountains in Abruzzo a few years ago; I had to stop and grab an emergency couple of glasses of milk because I felt so hungry I was too weak to carry on. He was astonished. I felt great after and continued to the end and he felt sick at the idea of milk sitting in my stomach whilst on a ride. Of course it wasn’t sitting it was digested in minutes!

I was so impressed with his ability to do DEEP cardio, those hills and mountains were around 1200m above sea level. Steep, deep cardio. And he’d just had a classic Italian breaky; espresso, some bread, butter and jam. Makes me feel weak at the idea! A light civilian carby breaky then 60km bike ride up mountains!?

The point is we’re all very different and feeling different can make you isolated like you’re doing something wrong and stop you training. I’m trying to demonstrate that we shouldn’t let shock horror looks on people’s faces (especially experts’) allow doubt to creep in. What I need to do is find or create a protein bar/snack that I can take with me and is soft enough to digest whilst out on a run.

Then I did 5.5 mile run. By the end of the 5.5 mile run I was ravenous and had a homemade smoothie and strangely enough it filled me up. Just for an hour. 

I say strangely because there was virtually no protein content or calories but lots of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and nutrition. Sometimes the ‘protein hunger’ can be a vitamin and mineral hunger. Maybe. Also you can continue training on a smoothie.

Outdoor Conditioning: 

  • 25 chin-ups 
  • 10 pullups 
  • 60 leg raises on parallel bars (40 of which are straddle leg raises and 20 straight leg). 
  • 20 step ups on high log.

Indoor (at home conditioning and light weights):

  • 200 crunches
  • 25 v sit
  • 100 press ups (inc. 20 triceps press)
  • 25 deadlift (25kg)
  • 30 shoulder press (16kg)
  • 20 bicep curl (2 x 8kg)
  • 20 standing row (15kg)

And a good stretch. All exercises broken down into however many reps I could do in a row. Breather. Then carrying on.

Felt good after! Clean detoxed and buzzing. Was supposed to be doing admin. Avoidance techniques can get you very fit.

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Animals

  
You know when you take a moment with an animal that they are feeling, sentient, intelligent creatures. Stood here for a good 10 mins, acknowledging each other, contemplating. Beautiful and gentle. 

Pushing each day to eat less animal protein and move towards vegan. Hopefully 2016 I can smash this. 

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Protein

  
The key to training is fuel. It goes against the notion of ‘dieting’. At first it can seem confusing. Stuck in the 80s or even 90s: to lose weight = eat less calories/food. 

A look of fear passes over their eyes. You’re going to make me eat more?! Then resistance, defiance even. If someone starts training, regularly, twice a week, from zero activity, the body is in shock. It needs sleep and quality fuel to adapt (and lots of stretching and Epsom Salt baths). You need the quality fuel to train so you can become fitter (more efficient heart and lungs), grow new muscles and gradually burn excess fat as your body becomes a leaner meaner machine.

But you can’t train on empty! The idea that you can simply burn the fat you have on your body and eat the same amount of food is a ‘diet’ mentality. Which is phasing out. Training for fitness, strength and health means eating seriously and employing long term changes not rapidly reducing calorie intake then increasing again after the ‘diet’ period has finished.

Protein intake must be increased to replenish and recover the muscles after training. This is critical. You work your muscles when you train: they tear and over the following 48 hrs are in recovery. The pain you experience after training is the process of your muscles rebuilding and growing and creating a more ‘toned’ body. 

The amount you increase by is personal and you must become your own body expert as you start to take your physical person seriously. Listen to all experts but always take advice with a ‘pinch of salt’, be aware of your own quirks, integrate expert knowledge with your own understanding of your body. Experts are experts in a topic but you should be an expert on your own body. Someone you’ve never met before but is a trained professional is going to give the best knowledge they have in their area of expertise but you can’t expect them to know the details of your body. That’s where you begin to take responsibility.

Official advice is 19-50 yrs 55g and over 50 yrs is 53g protein per day, see Gov guidelines on nutrient intake.

Vegan and vegetarian advice is similar with 50-60g per day. In the fitness and strength training world advice differs dramatically from this. Protein requirements depend upon your body weight and the amount of training you do (more body = more muscle = more protein and more training = more protein):

Sedentary body weight in kg = grams of protein.

Medium intensity/cardio workout; body weight in kg x 1.5 = grams of protein

High intensity/strength training; body weight in kg x (2, 2.5 or 3) = grams of protein. Depending on which fitness or muscles experts you talk to.

This is where the journey of becoming fit doesn’t just change your body but your mind as well. You start to learn through trial and error what your body needs. How much extra protein you need when you train and also find out how much you need when you’re sedentary. This is the key to maintaining a healthy weight or rather a healthy tone and body fat.

I have to eat A LOT of protein and no matter how much endurance cardio I do I still can’t eat refined sugar or flour without it affecting me negatively (internally in my digestive system and superficially with fat immediately going on my stomach!) Carbohydrate intake has to increase too which is a whole other topic for another blog.

Vegetarians and vegans have to adjust their protein too and there’s plenty of options available. Because meat has such a high protein content it’s easier for meat eaters to meet the extra protein requirements from training. 

Both meat eaters and veggies have to be scientific about their food intake and the best way to start is by keeping a food diary 3-5 days and calculate how much protein you’re eating at the moment. Then compare to your weight in kilos and note down any activity. Don’t change anything. From here you will have your foundation protein intake. You’ll be able to see if you’re eating above or below the basic requirements and whether that works for you.

For example person A weighs 70kg, on a sedentary day they require 70g of protein. When they train to medium intensity and do cardio like running or cycling or swimming they might require 1.5 x 70 (body weight in kg) = 105g of protein. If they do a weights session they might need 2 x 70 (body weight in kg) = 140g of protein.

The latest thoughts on nutrition and weight loss are more focused on satiety (how full you are) than calories. Protein fills you up. So when your body reacts to training and especially the first month or so into training you get a deep dark hunger. This is likely to be a protein craving and your body is crying to be refuelled so it can rebuild and grow muscle. If you don’t increase your protein intake you can end up eating the ‘wrong’ foods like sugar and other refined carbs that won’t feed your muscles but further increase body fat.

Another point to bear in mind is there’s evidence to show that too much protein in a sedentary lifestyle could be damaging to health yet also when your ill sometimes your body requires more protein to recover. Complicated isn’t it! Little by little you can work out what works for you. 

Protein shake recipe: almond milk, banana, (organic) peanut butter, (cold extracted Pulsin brand) whey protein. Blend together between 30-40g protein.

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Food

   

So much information out there, science meets medicine meets food companies and profit. Public Understanding of Science is the official name i.e. what science research papers conclude vs what the public understands. What lies in between the two? Newspapers, tabloids, New Scientist, Facebook articles, gossip, TV, self-declared fitness and nutrition gurus/personal trainers (!) and general food fashion and trends. 

Even if you’re a qualified dietician or nutritionist, research into nutrition, health and weight loss is fast and furious and therefore difficult to keep abreast of. You have to personally dig into papers and compare to government advice; research on the net, look at the official, look at the unofficial, then relate to your body and quirks. Yep you have to be your own expert.

When it comes to food the most natural form and the least amount of time from Earth to mouth will provide you with the most nutrition and fuel (frozen foods freeze time in a sense). The colours of fruit and veg have a tantalising effect on our minds.  Alluring. This is a healthy food mind connection and something you can trust. A deep instinct to replenish vitamins and minerals in the body through contrasting and vivid colours.

There are no short cuts in the fitness game. You have to buy the food, prepare the food and eat the food then… You can train. And of course you can’t forget the importance of positive intent when cooking!

Food deliveries can help http://www.organicdeliverycompany.co.uk 

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Frosty

  
3 mile morning run 10 min mile, nothing major, wakes you up, implants visions of beauty in your mind. Misty ice kingdoms. Reminiscent of fairy tales and children’s books. Gets the blood flowing, fresh oxygen going and the mind expands. Now to numb the mind again and get some admin done. 
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