Monday, 16 December 2013

Famous Five fight dementia

Not an original headline – but a good one!!

 The Sunday Times tells us that until we know any different the best strategy for keeping Alzheimer’s at bay is to stick to the Famous Five –

·         Stop smoking

·         Keep alcohol intake down

·         Eat healthily

·         Exercise

·         Use your brain
Not rocket science and to be fair, its what we bang on about all the time!

So come on – get into the gym, check your diet (ask any of us in a Forefront Fitness gym – we can give you pointers in the right direction) and just keeping learning!

You can do this!!

Come along and find out how with us!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Do you ever worry about developing dementia? 
Worried that your brain may become incapable of doing what you need it to do? 
Worried that even the simplest task will be beyond you? 
As we live longer there are more of us living with dementia.  There have been a variety of drugs that have tried to help – but reports show that there has been limited success with this – but what we do know is that what is good for your heart is good for your brain – and yes … you’ve got it – regular exercise can help to reduce the risk. 
 The recommendation is 30 minutes of brisk (get your heart beat up) exercise 5 times a week.  Combine this with healthy eating so that your weight falls within acceptable limits and you increase your chance of keeping your mind clear.  Of course, ‘use it or lose it’ is equally powerful for brain tissues – so that daily crossword is not a waste of time – and why not stretch yourself with a bit of serious reading? 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Gym number 2

We were having a staff meeting last week – our first ever ‘full team meeting’ – very exciting as we were discussing what we all bring to the business and our plans moving forwards.  In the middle of our afternoon we got a call to say that the planning permission for Willingham had been approved.  So even more excitement!  All the carefully laid plans will now swing into action.  The plan is for inductions and ‘show rounds’ from 9th Dec and fully open from the 6th Jan.  Membership prices the same as Bluntisham (but completely separate memberships).  We are creating the same atmosphere – friendly, accessible and non threatening.  There is more equipment as there is more space, but its only more of the same.  The top weight on the dumbbells is the same (25kgs) and there are two cable machines as this is a very popular piece of kit.   We will post pictures as we progress. 

There are many circuit classes planned – including TRX (suspension training) and Sexycise (which will also be available at Bluntisham) – we will post full details once the schedule is finalised.

We don’t have a phone line in yet (Neil, the manager is bracing himself to tackle this!) so any enquiries to Bluntisham please (numbers on website).

So – if you live in or around Willingham – here’s your New Year resolution sorted out!  Come along – you will be very welcome.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Get a microlife

I went to see my GP last week (routine check – no drama) and he talked about ‘microlives’.  Fascinated, I went back to do my research – a Professor of Biostatistics (!) David Spiegehalter, suggests that we could divide our lives into 30 minute segments, or microlives and that 57 years contains 1M microlives.  He also has come up with a currency of microlives.  So, just one alcoholic drink ‘gives’ you a microlife, but smoking takes away 10 microlives for every 20 cigarettes smoked.  You will be delighted to know that 20 minutes of moderate exercise will give you 2 microlives, but that an extra two alcoholic drinks can take away a microlife.  Good news – a diet including fresh fruit and veg, - 4 microlives (I am guessing every day).

I could go on – but the principle is important – maybe not the detail.  The research is simply saying that eating healthily, not smoking, keeping alcohol intake low and exercising will increase your life expectancy (and a combination may well improve your quality of life as well), guess we already knew that – but I like the idea of microlives – they seem quite real to me!

Monday, 28 October 2013

‘Its in my genes’

Best excuse ever for being obese – ‘I can’t help it – its how I’m made’ – well, there just might be some truth in that!

Cambridge scientists have found that there is a very specific genetic mutation in some people that can increase appetite and slow metabolic rate – bit of a double whammy there.  So far they have studied people who are obese in childhood, but the lead researcher is wondering if there is a chance of a wider application.

But I don’t think we are going to be able to blame weight gain on our genetic make up (or get the necessary genetic treatment to rectify the problem).  So, enticing as it is, we can’t slink back into the settee with an excuse – we need to carry on with our healthy food intake and be as active as we can – back down the gym – not off to the GP to check your genetic make up!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Smoothie or coffee?

Dr Michael Mosley talked about smoothies v coffee in terms of health benefits

Why do we think that drinking coffee is ‘bad’ for us in the first place – well according to Dr M its because the studies that have been done compare coffee drinkers to non coffee drinkers and apparently coffee drinkers are more likely to have other ‘bad habits’ eg smoking and drinking alcohol.  However, a different type of study which looked at the coffee drinking habits of 130,000 people over 20 years showed that drinking coffee is not such a bad thing after all – in fact it suggested that moderate coffee drinking is mildly protective of our health

Another study even showed that those who drank 2 to 4 cups of caffientated  coffee a day were half as likely to commit suicide that those who drank decaff or less than two cups a day!  This was a large longitudinal study so should have some credibility.  Coffee may be a mild antidepressant as it increases levels of neurotransmitters in the brain which are known to improve mood.  (By the way, we are talking ordinary coffee, not high calorie cappuccinos etc!)

So, why not smoothies?  Lots of fibre is lost in the peeling and smashing up, leaving you with a sugary drink. It has been found that eating fruit cuts your diabetes risk but drinking it increases the risk.  And bits get stuck in your teeth so your dentist may not be keen.

Similarly, eating fruit is better than drinking it when it comes to colo rectal cancer.

So – some coffee and some fruit – that’s got to be better than no coffee (or loads of coffee) and too many of those high sugar, low fibre smoothies!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Is butter best?

So, yet another study, yet another bit of advice – today we are told that its fine to have butter – in fact its more than fine – butter is better than margarine for us. 

Dr Malhotra writes in the BMJ that there is too much focus on the fat content of foods and too little emphasis on the amount of sugar.

Dr Malhorta tells us that a Mediterranean diet of olive oil, nuts, oily fish, plenty of fruit and veg and a moderate amount of red wine – after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as a statin. 

However, the British Heart Disease says that reducing cholesterol through drugs or other means does lower heart risk.

So, how do we decide what advice to follow?

I suggest we use the ‘moderation in all things’ approach.  A small spread of butter on a piece of wholemeal probably won’t be a calamity, a thick spread of marg and several slices of white bread won’t do much good at all!

And check those low fat yoghurts, you will often find that there are way more calories in the low fat variety (because they needed lots of added sugar to make them palatable.  One small, plain basic yoghurt may be no worse than a low fat with added sugar complete with a sugary lot of fruit to add as well.

Some of the best things we can do to keep our hearts healthy is to take regular exercise, keep our weight down and not to smoke.  And of course, to eat a healthy, balanced diet – and if that includes a little butter – that’s probably OK.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Just stand up!

On the BBC web site there’s a great article on the benefits of standing up.  We spend most of our day sitting down or in bed – and we could burn loads more calories if we spent more time standing – a whopping great 30,000 extra calories a year if we were to stand up for 3 hours five days a week.  That’s the equivalent to 8lb or to running about 10 marathons in a year!

So, if you see me in the office standing at my desk – you’ll know why.

Dr Buckley of Chester University who carried out this study acknowledges that exercise has many proven benefits – so don’t give up on the gym – just stand more in the hours that you are not working out.  Dr Buckley found that the blood glucose levels after eating dropped back to base line more quickly in those who were standing – so perhaps that old rule of ‘sit down whilst you are eating ‘ needs looking at?

So – want to burn a few extra calories – just get off your butt!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bounce Balls - Protein Snack

Pick up something good
Looking for a high protein snack ?  Grab something good – we have a box of Bounce Balls in the gym – peanut flavour – try one after your workout – only £2 each – if they are popular (they are really delicious) we will get some other flavours in too

Try one – let us know what you think

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Why bother to exercise?

Why bother to exercise?  It’s one of those strange things – you won’t know you like it till you’ve done it!  And even once you know you like it you may not always want to do it.

But we know it’s good for you, exercise can help to:

·         Manage your weight

·         Strengthen your bones

·         Enhance your muscles

·         Reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer

·         Improve your mood

OK – so you know it’s good for –but how do you persuade yourself to do it?

We suggest that you keep your goals in sight

If we are going to get the suggested 150 mins of exercise in every week  we need to keep the reasons why clearly in view.

·         Perhaps its dropping a dress size – getting ready for a special event

·         It could be the health benefits

·         Release of stress at the end (or the beginning even!) of the day

·         It might even be just because you feel smug when you have finished!

Whatever the reason – keep it in the front of your mind – you know you’ll feel better when its over!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Are you getting enough sleep?

We all know that we need sleep and we do know that lack of sleep and increased stress will interfere with our weight management.   I was reading a report on the BBC news web site which has told us even more reasons why getting a decent amount of sleep is imperative.

‘Deep sleep sounds restful, but during it our brains are actually working hard. One of the main things the brain is doing is moving memories from short-term storage into long-term storage, allowing us more short-term memory space for the next day. If you don't get adequate deep sleep then these memories will be lost.’

Memories need to be consolidated in 24 hours of being formed or they are lost (not great if you are revising for an exam!)

Deep sleep only lasts for a few hours, the brain goes through multiple phases of another kind of activity, called REM sleep.

"This is the phase when you are usually paralysed - so you can't move," Wulff explained in the article. But the eye muscles are not paralysed, and that's why it's called rapid eye movement sleep."

During REM sleep an extraordinary thing happens. One of the stress-related chemicals in the brain, noradrenalin, is switched off. It's the only time, day or night, this happens. It allows us to remain calm while our brains reprocess all the experiences of the day, helping us come to terms with particularly emotional events.

Drinking alcohol late at night is not a good idea as it reduces your REM sleep while it's being processed in your body.

Dr Simon Archer and his team at Surrey University were particularly interested in looking at the genes that were switched on or off  by changes in the amount of sleep that people in a controlled experiment had.  "We found that overall there were around 500 genes that were affected," Archer explained. "Some which were going up, and some which were going down."

What they discovered is that when the volunteers cut back from seven-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours' sleep a night, genes that are associated with processes like inflammation, immune response and response to stress became more active. The team also saw increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. The reverse happened when the volunteers added an hour of sleep.

Fascinating scientific evidence that sleep really is good for you

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Free weights and women

Great article in the Guardian yesterday – ‘free weights and women’.

It talks about how free weights areas can be intimidating places where big sweaty men make lots of noise. A couple of things about that preconception and a Forefront Fitness gym.

First of all – our free weights only go up to 25kg per dumbbell – that’s about 4 stone – for everyone that uses our gyms – that’s enough.  We have had one or two very big men come and have a look round and they have said that the gym is not for them because the weights aren’t heavy enough. 

Secondly – our gyms are friendly places where you are more likely to see a big man helping a woman with the pin in the cable machine than watching him sweat and preen.  Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of very strong men in our gyms – but their lifting form is good and they don’t feel the need to grunt!

We have a zero tolerance on drugs and would never recommend drug support to bulk up.

We also have many women in our gyms who know how to lift appropriate sized weights.  They lift weights that help them to build strong muscles that burn calories way after the weight session has finished. 

So, using advice from the NHS the recommendation is to use bodyweight and resistance exercises to ‘build muscle, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and type 2 diabetes’.  In fact a study by Evans & Rosenburg in 1991 suggested a link between amount of muscle and longevity. 

So, come along to a Forefront Fitness gym a book a Forefront Fitness Personal Trainer and learn how to lift – you could be doing yourself all sorts of favours.

Friday, 4 October 2013

One Small Step

This week something special happened, one of my clients got up from the floor on her own – she didn’t need my hand to help her. (She is happy for me to tell you all this). So what, you might be saying? Well, this lady hasn’t been well and has worked hard to get her mobility back. She has worked on her core so she no longer falls over and on her legs to regain lost muscle. She has pushed herself to balance on the Swiss Ball and to use progressively heavier weights to build muscle in her upper body. And its paid off – and watching her get up without any help was amazing. Exercise is powerful, its life changing. Push yourself – you don’t know what you can achieve until you try!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Drugs vs. Exercise

Well, we always knew – but there’s nothing like an article in the British Medical Journal to prove a point – published yesterday the article states: Conclusions, although limited in quantity, existing randomised trial evidence on exercise interventions suggests that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes. So – this means that although the experiment had limited numbers there is no measurable difference between using drugs or doing exercise for patients who have Coronary heart disease and want to prevent further trouble, for those rehabilitating after a stroke, for treating heart failure and for preventing diabetes. Bit of an obvious choice if you ask me – drugs almost invariably have side effects and aim to ‘treat’ a certain condition. Exercise treats the whole body, and its direct effects are multiple; lifts mood, keeps mobile, manages weight (and so reduces risk of many diseases), increases energy levels, improves self esteem and its cheap! According to ‘NHS Choices’ web site: It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have: • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer • a 30% lower risk of early death • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults) • up to a 30% lower risk of depression • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant. So all of you that exercise regularly (about 150 mins a week) – think of the good you are doing yourself. Need help and advice to get more active? - Just contact us

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sugar and obesity

Reading the Sunday Times yesterday was a bit scary – according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 23% of adults in the UK are obese, (in France its 11.2%) and this is being partially attributed to the amount of sugar that we are consuming – sometimes without even knowing that we are. The recommended maximum amount of sugar for a woman is 90g and for a man 120g – a bit of context for you – a teaspoon of sugar is 4g. So, how about that Large Costa Red Berry fruit cooler? 97.1g ! - OK – lets go for a Starbuck’s Skinny Lemon and Poppyseed muffin – 44.4g of sugar Right – a healthy choice then? A strawberry Muller Greek style Youghurt Corner – 24.2g combined with glaceau Vitamin water – another 15g – even that is nearly 4 teaspoons of sugar! I guess you wouldn’t put 4 spoons of sugar in your tea – but pop it in a ‘healthy’ drink and we will swig it down. Think of the sugar high, the insulin rush and the blood sugar dip that is sure to follow. Think weight gain and diabetes risk – we know that there is a high correlation between waist measurement and type 2 diabetes. So, what can we do? Well, avoid the obvious and check the unsuspecting – the information we need is on the tub, the packet, the wrapper – try to envisage a pile of sugar – and if you wouldn’t eat that – then leave the coffee frappucino and give your waist line a break!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Do you want sugar coating?

According to an article in the Guardian, sugar is toxic enough to kill mice and is the drug of choice for laboratory rats, who prefer it to cocaine. The head of the health service in Amsterdam has called for government restrictions on sugar in food and a ban on soft drinks in schools. A recent report shows that in this country all age groups exceed the recommended daily sugar allowance. So – where are we getting all our sugar from? Did you know that manufacturers have responded to our increasing cravings for sugar and added more to foods? For example, Hovis wholemeal bread as doubled in sugar content between 1978 and 2013 ! A study has shown that children who have one sugary drink a day are 55% more likely to be overweight than those who do not. Increased sugar intake increases the risk of developing diabetes and heart conditions. So – well worth considering cutting down our sugar intake – and beware the low fat options – often the fat is replaced with sugar (to make the product taste ‘right’). The recommended limit for sugar in a 2000 cal diet is 50g – that’s about a dozen spoons of sugar – always check the labels!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Circuit classes are coming!

Another month – wow, but a dodgy month – lots of holidays, barbies, children off school, it can be difficult to keep to routines that help to manage weight . Well, we can’t change what’s gone – but we can focus on what is ahead – back out for that run – back into the gym – and back onto the healthy eating plan. Let us help you – we are offering trial circuit sessions from the 9th September in a separate room to the gym. We have • Kettlebells with Brid on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19.00 • Body Blast with Michael on Mondays and Wednesdays at 19.00 • Scott’s Abs on Fridays at 10.00 Very limited spaces – so please ring to book yours! Only £3 for gym members and £5 for non members We are planning to make these permanent events in the New Year – so please come along and let us know what you think.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Fit is the new thin - 2

The second week of the Sunday Times ‘Fit – not - Thin’ campaign tells us how off-putting some gyms can be – well, we know that our village gym is far from off putting. Its where big fit men move the cable pin for small ladies who are not yet strong enough to yank the anchor point up and down. Its where young boys learn exercises from older men, its where we all know it can be tough but we are in it together. One regular gym goer reports in this week’s article that she feels more toned, has more energy, is less stiff and sleeps better. Quite an outcome if you ask me! Sunday Times top tips? • Music – if you are not a lover of the music in the gym – pop your head phones in and listen to a track of your years! We have Friday wind down music in the gym – those of us in their after about 5.30 pm need to de stress – the music we choose definitely helps! • training with someone – drag your friends and family along – much more difficult to duck out of coming and easier when you get there as you can pull each other along. • set realistic goals – you can always review them when you reach them – if they seem insurmountable then you might feel that you just can’t ever get there • stay happy – oh yes, the power of positive thought! Never underestimate how important this is If you need any help with these top tips – just get in touch – we can help you

Monday, 5 August 2013

Fit is the new thin

The Sunday Times tells us that ‘fit is the new thin’. Another crazy scheme? I read the article and it makes good sense. However, it doesn’t mean ‘eat whatever you like – size doesn’t matter’, but it does mean that getting fitter and stronger is a real positive and that you don’t need to starve yourself day in and day out! People are now saying that their feelgood factor is more important than looking good – personally, I think that the two go hand in hand. If you feel good from the inside – then there is every chance that you will look good too. Confidence can often come from knowing that you have reached another goal on your journey. Perhaps a heavier weight on the cable machine, a higher speed on the treadmill or a bit longer on the cross trainer. We know that exercise releases natural endorphins which can boost your mood and there is something very empowering about doing something new or to a higher standard. And its really important to remember that its your Personal Best. We spend a lot of time in the gym and lots of our members tell us how well they are doing – for some its an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill, for some its holding a weighted plank for an extra 30 seconds or maybe chest pressing a heavier weight. It doesn’t matter – no one does more and feels sad about it! And lots tell us that by being in the gym and getting fitter they are now much more able to do every day tasks and feel happier and have more energy. (Some lose weight too!) Get your regular dose of ‘feelgood factor’ – raise your heart beat!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Obesity and bone marrow density

Today’s article from a journal called ‘Radiology’ tells us that obese people have fat present in their bones. Previously it was thought that carrying around extra weight strengthened bones – but this article really challenges that concept. The reverse might very well be true – if you are obese (if your BMI is 30 or over) your bone marrow is taken over by fat cells and then the bone marrow can’t do what it is supposed to do and help with bone formation. To read more about this research click here The answer? Lose weight, but so much easier said than done. To get your Body Mass Index (your height to weight ratio) in to the healthy range (19 to 25) means watching the number and type of calories that you eat and keeping active by doing at least 30 mins of moderate exercise 3 times a week Check your BMI – concerned? Give us a ring – we can help

Monday, 10 June 2013

6 weeks!

Well it has been 6 weeks since we opened the gym and time has just flown by. Things are going well and we are receiving lots of positive feedback from our members. We are attracting lots of different people from those that want to tone up and get more definition to those that have never dared enter a gym before, it really is a place for everyone. Why not come and have a look for yourself? We have also introduced our gym challenge. Members simply perform 7 exercises during June and then repeat them again in August to see how much they have improved. Our winner will be the person who shows the greatest percentage improvement between June and August!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

New Gym!

Well we've done it! Our very first gym is now open in the village of Bluntisham. We are located at The Vibe Studio (above Budgens), do come and have a look around, we are really proud of what we have achieved. We have tried to provide a gym for the residents of Bluntisham and its surrounding villages. Everyone is welcome, you will not be judged by age, size, shape or ability. We already have members ranging from 17 to 70+ We will always have a member of staff on hand to offer advice and support, so why not pop down and have a look round!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

For our international readers!

We have been reviewing the amount of traffic our blog gets and we see we have numerous readers from abroad - including Russia and the United States. You don't have to be living in Bluntisham, Cambridge or indeed the UK for us to help. Marion recently supported a client whilst they were travelling in the States, all via the wonders of technology! Why not take a look at the PACT session of our website and see if we can be of help to you. We can even do a personalised workout with you via webcam!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Exercise prevents prostate cancer

To all the men out there, this is another reason to make sure you are getting enough exercise. A recent study has found that men, particularly, Caucasian origin, who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer and especially have a lower risk of the aggressive high-grade disease. So up your activity levels and you could reduce the risk by up to 49% You don’t even have to join a gym just try and achieve 30 minutes of activity that raises your heartbeat 5-6 times a week. Walking the dog and doing the garden all count! More info regarding the study can be found here

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Live Longer No 4

4 Drink in moderation One or two units a day may help reduce heart disease, but most people drink a lot more and it is doing us an increasing amount of damage. Alcohol can cause cirrhosis, which is now the 12th-highest cause of death and ill health in western Europe, fatty liver disease and liver cancer. It is also implicated in other cancers – mouth, throat and breast. And then there are all the accidents and fights in which people get hurt or killed.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

OK - all you out there who like to work from a firm research base - a newly published report (in the journal of Psychological Medicine) written by Dr Dregan of King's College London tells us a great deal about the benefits of a life time of exercise. The longitudinal study shows that those of us who have engaged in regular intense activity since childhood perform better in mental tests at the age of 50. Dr Dregan says ' It's widely acknowledged that a healthy body equal a healthy mind'. He also tells uys that exercsie represents a key component of lifestyle interventions to prevent cardiovcascular disease, diabetes and cancer. So, lets all get active - its never too late to start! Contact us if you want help to be your best!

Friday, 8 March 2013

And here's your handy hint number 3 - helping you to live longer. 3 Eat seeds – not junk Curiously, the Global Burden of Disease lists not only eating too little fruit (sixth-highest risk factor for early disease and death) but too few nuts and seeds (not far behind, at eighth). Too few vegetables are 12th, and low omega-3 (in oily fish, not tablet form), high processed meat and low fibre follow in that order. Too much trans fat is 19th, low calcium is 22nd and low milk consumption 23rd. So, yes, diet matters a lot and not just because eating too much makes you fat – high BMI or body mass index has a separate ranking as the fourth highest risk factor, causing heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancers. But on a diet of nuts and seeds it is also pretty difficult to get overweight.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

your second 'Live Longer' tip 2 Get your blood pressure checked Like checking the pressure of the tyres on your car, this is a very good idea. Some people have high blood pressure in the family. Others eat too much salt, don't take enough exercise, are overweight, stressed, smoke or drink too much. Most of this you can do something about, but for those who don't, a trip to the GP, who will prescribe pills, may prevent a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure is the No 1 risk factor for early deaths and years of poor health in Europe. But if you have low blood pressure and none of the above risk factors, just a routine check on any visit to the GP for other matters is enough.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Live longer!

want to live longer? Want to be healthier? We have the NHS and much of the rest of the world envies us for it, but how long and healthily we live is not so much about how hospitals look after us – medical care contributes only about 20% to our healthy lifespans – as how we care for ourselves before we get there The Guardian has published an article today with lots of hints on how we could all make a difference to our health - I'll post one tip a day. However, today's one is 'Move to Japan' - maybe not realistic ? But some hints none the less! 1 Move to Japan With the highest healthy life expectancy in the world, as well as the longest lives for women (men in Andorra just pip their Japanese counterparts to first place), Japan is clearly the place to buy a 1LDK (one room apartment with a living, dining and kitchen area). Space may be limited but a healthy life is not. On average, Japanese women can expect 75.5 years of good health while men enjoy 70.6 years. In the UK, we get 70.1 years and 67.1 years respectively. It is not just about sushi and rice, according to Professor Kenji Shibuya and colleagues at the University of Tokyo, writing in the Lancet in 2011. "Japanese people give attention to hygiene in all aspects of their daily life," they said. "This attitude might partly be attributable to a complex interaction of culture, education, climate [eg humidity, temperature], environment [eg having plenty of water and being a rice-eating nation] and the old Shinto tradition of purifying the body and mind before meeting others." (Not something we can replicate with a little bottle of hand sanitiser on the desk.) They have regular health checks. We weren't designed to sit around – so get running.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Is that the sun I can see? wow - does that mean that I can shed a few layers of fat hiding clothes? Does that mean I need to think about cropped trousers and tee shirts instead of track trousers and hoodies? Best I make sure I am as trim as I can be - we've made some strides on the way to this already - we have completely revamped our exercise regime by working out in our new gym-my body doesn't know what has hit it! and how about these recipes - for your 500 calorie days BREAKFAST 1 Boiled egg and half a grapefruit DINNER Veggie chilli made with 1 large mushroom, half a tin chopped tomatoes, half a tin of kidney beans, garlic, half a chopped red chilli served with 80 g cooked weight of brown rice enjoy!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Exciting week

My lovely PT clients are in for a big treat this week - they are working out in the new gym! Will it be the treadmill, the cross trainer or the rower? Or will they venture onto the wibbly wobbly bike (you'll love it!) We can use the cable machine and our old friends the BOSU and the Swiss ball (now in a choice of 3 sizes!) And we have a lovely list of people who have contacted us already - we will be contacting you to arrange a visit and a free induction! Free kit bag and water bottle to new members while stocks last - be among the first and claim yours! Running water and the flooring just about finished - just the windows to go! We are in our new office - we have had a bit of a clear out as we moved 'stuff' from our old office - any idea why I kept used envelopes, old magazines and odd scraps of paper? They never did come in handy! New month, new week, new start - how about a new fitness regime for you? Contact us - a new you is just around the corner.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

500 calorie days

Not sure what 500 calories in a day looks like? Here's a couple for you to look at. Personally I would want to eat my meal before the evening and the fasting days are not the ones to run a marathon or do your hardest workout! Don't forget to drink plenty of water 500 calorie meal planner Breakfast Porridge (40g oats) and blueberries (145g) A tangerine Dinner Chicken stir-fry (one chicken fillet, handful sugar snap peas, 100g cabbage, 2 carrots, ginger, coriander garlic, soy sauce) Breakfast Yoghurt (small pot natural fat free) Blueberries (700g) and ham (40g) Dinner Feta Nicoise salad (1 egg, handful lettuce, handful green beans 100g, chopped cucumber, 90g feta cheese & 6 black olives)

lovely low calorie foods

OK - so you think you'd like to give the 5:2 a go? Doesn't sound too bad - eat 'normally ' for 5 days and have 2 low calorie days a week - easiest to do if they are non consecutive. So what DO you eat on these days? You have some choices here; a) a mix of protein shakes and aloe vera gel b) Lighter Life food packs c) conventional food - calorie controlled I can help with a) & b) and here are some options for c) Top Low Calorie foods (per 100g) Food stuffs Calories per 100 gm Food stuffs Calories per 100gm Broccoli 32 Celery 8 Apricots 32 Blackberries 26 Grapefruit 30 Tomatoes 20 Kale 33 Mushrooms 16 Red Pepper 30 Satsumas 31 Strawberries 28 Cod 80 Egg whites 50 Tofu 70 Low fat cottage cheese 72 Low fat live yoghurt 66 Prawns 69 Baked beans 83 Lean Ham 105 Nice recipes on my next blog!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

5:2 the fast for you?

OK - so everyone is talking about it - the 5:2 fasting diet. You can eat for 5 days of the week and fast on two (non sequential) days - the definition of fasting here is 500 calories for women and 600 for men. Why would you do this? Well, its said to be relatively easy - a very low calorie day is fine if you know that the next day you are going to eat normally - not go mad - just eat normally. And the health benefits are said to be great. A 2006 study by the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention centre in Manchester found that this method led to an average loss of 6kg of fat in 6 months by a study group - there was some muscle loss too, so its really important to keep exercising when dieting. This study also showed that the 2 day fasters had a 25% improvement in their insulin function, a problem that can lead to type 2 Diabetes. Another benefit is said to be a lowering of LDL - the 'bad' cholesterol and reduced levels of 'Insulin-Like growth Factor1' (IGF-1)- which can be a marker for cancer risk. All this is said to be achieved because fasting gives the body a break form processing food and time to do some repair work. Research suggests that this happens because over eating causes high levels of insulin and the hormone leptin which tell our cells to multiply and grow. Then cell maintenance is neglected and damaged cells accumulate which can lead to health problems such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Clearly this way with food is new and needs further investigating (or rather 'new to us' - its been done before)but if you fancy losing some weight and maintaining that new weight - this might be worth a try. There is even talk that it might be good at delaying the onset of Alzheimers, definitely something that interests me! Keep watching our blog to find out more about what to eat on those very low calorie days.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

What to eat for breakfast?

I promised a breakfast – so here goes Well, you would have to look long and hard before you found something to beat porridge. But not the ‘with added’ stuff – no syrup, no packets with little extras, just plain porridge – and not a bucket full – about 35g to 40 g will do. I make mine with milk and water, about half and half. Failing that – how about a couple of Weetabix – nice and quick and easy What we are aiming for is some complex carbohydrates – the slow burn ones that will leave you feeling full and avoid that mid morning snacking. Lots of cereals are simple carbs that give you a sugar high and are used up quickly and leave you starving at about 11.00 – just when the biscuits get passed around! If you really can’t manage without toast – make sure its as brown and wholegrain as you can get – a boiled egg with your toast would be great. Drink plenty of water (avoid large amounts of fruit juice – check the carton – lots of calories!) and be mindful about the amount of caffeine you consume. Try not to miss breakfast – it won’t save calories – rather it will lead to over consumption when you do get to food (and encourage your body to hold onto food as fat – just in case no more food comes along for a while!) Plain yoghurt is good – go for the low fat variety and add a few flaked almonds and some berries (try goji – they are a bit different) . What ever you choose for breakfast, do try to eat mindfully – be aware of what you are eating, mouthful by mouthful – give your brain a chance to register that there is food in your stomach. Next we’ll talk about lunch………

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Well, the world has woken up to what we have been banging on about for ages - there is a problem - we are weighing too much ! And, what's more, there is a psychological element to our eating! I can honestly say that everyone of us who has ever eaten too much on a day to day basis will be able, if helped, to recognize that food is not always eaten because we are hungry but for many many other reasons. Boredom, being happy, being sad, being busy, because we have had a bad day, because we jolly well can. Sound familiar? What of us 'war babies' - (stop reading now if you don't know what a Ration Book is), those of us whose parents lived through dreadful times and for whom throwing any food was a waste and it was to be eaten at all costs and to remember the starving children in what ever part of the world troubled them. Now, don't get me wrong - it is a disgrace that we get progressively fatter when great swaths of the world have children dying of starvation - a dreadful indictment of our society. But my clearing my plate will not help - but what will help is having less on my plate to begin with. We need to stop eating when we are full (or better still, before we are full). Do you struggle with your weight? Do you know what a healthy diet looks like? Would you like some help to keep on track and to make great food choices? Drop us an email - we have trained weight management counselors waiting to help you

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Jogging is good for the brain!

An interesting article in The Sunday Times this morning stating that 'Exercise not only strengthens your heart and muscles - it also beefs up your brain'. They state that taking aerobic exercise increases the size of critical brain structures and improves cognition and intelligence especially in children and older adults. For more info, click on this link: What are you waiting for, get your running shoes on! If you can't face going to the gym, a run in the fresh hour costs you nothing but time and is a great way of seeing things that you simply miss when you drive by. Just a gentle reminder that we hold a running club in Bluntisham every Wednesday, whatever the weather! We start at 7pm by the Bar-o-graph and all abilities are welcome.

Friday, 8 February 2013


I talk to lots and lots of people about what they eat. I ask my BUPA clients what a typical food day looks like. I talk to my LighterLife clients about their plans for food for the day. Many of my PT clients keep food diaries which we review. I talk over the phone about food and we talk food at home. We are practically obsessed by food - I would love to give you all a 'best food day' and then we could all follow it and we would all weigh what we want to weigh - but just too much gets in the way. Time, cost, parties, friends all need us to have a flexible approach. And that is before we have considered eating for reasons other than hunger! Often we will eat when we are tired, or stressed, or happy, or sad or just because its there! Over the next few weeks I am going to post a recipe of the week. I am going to keep an eye out for meals that 'hit the spot' without expanding the waist line. The first one will be a breakfast idea that will help to prevent those mid morning 'munchies', so look out for future posts.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Mind and body

Browsing through the Sunday Times today we came across an article in the 'Style' magazine, no, not the one on the impossibly skinny models in totally impractical dresses - the article about the links between mind and body. The promotion suggested that a Personal Trainer who helps with what is going on in your head as well as what is happening to your body is a novelty! Well, here at Forefront Fitness, we know different. We have always recognized that one is so dependent on the other that they can't be separated. When Marion had a PT and was going through a really tough patch, she often used her hour to chat through some difficult feelings and it really helped. And this is an important part of what we offer - we really do want to help you to be your best - and that may mean a chance to exercise mind and body. As a qualified weight management counselor Marion is skilled in using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Transactional Analysis to help clients to reframe some of their food orientated thoughts. And Steve is about to embark on a Neuro Linguistic Progamming course. Those of you who know Steve will understand that this represents a huge step out of his comfort zone, but we are so committed to fully helping our clients that we are ready to push our own boundaries. We know that if your head isn't in the right place then getting your body where you want it to be is nearly impossible - why not get in contact - let us help you work on your head stuff at the same time as your body works?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

5:2 - would it work for you?

Another week, another bit closer. But being an impatient couple, its not close enough, but progress has been made. Plasterboard is up everywhere, walls painted, skirting boards on, electrical fittings in place and flooring going down next week. The window schedule has slipped due to the snow - sloping roofs, scaffolding and ice - not a good combination! Meanwhile - what about this 5:2 diet? How about 2 (non - consecutive) days of fasting and 5 of eating normally? There are many reports that this works well for weight loss and for maintenance. Woman get to eat 500 calories on fasting days and men 600. Said to let the body rest from food processing, drop pounds and lower cholesterol. Some say to eat what you like on non fasting days - but sense would dictate that its best not to go mad! It appeals because even if you are hungry - you can comfort yourself with it being only one day and many feel energized by this. I'm reading more about it and will let you know what I find out. (I down loaded a book onto my iPad - how clever am I?!)Also discovering some great calories counted recipes for the fasting days. Let me know if you would like to be added to our mailing list - just use the 'contact us' button.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Gym update

well, the opening of the gym creeps ever closer! Last week there was a great deal of activity - plumbers, plasterers, chippies and a gang of painters! Just the flooring and the windows and more red tape - but fingers crossed, if the snow holds off - by the end of the week we should have a date for opening. Lots of planning going on with us - prices and programmes and staff to help, its all happening. We are going to include family time and teen time because we think its really important that there is something for everyone. We will also make very sure that no one feels intimidated or apprehensive - its not all about thin, lycra clad bodies, its about real people with flabby bits! So - once the official sign off is done - just look out for the banner, flyers and face book posts - we have a list of people waiting to join - if you would like to add your name please contact us - we will have limited places - don't miss your chance!