Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Have you got five minutes?

Don’t feel that you have to come into the gym for an hour if you want to get fit.  We can plan a workout for you that takes less time – just let us know what you want.  And there are things you can do in a few minutes that will make a difference.

Spend just one minute running or walking a bit faster, get out of ‘steady state’ and push a bit, it will make a difference. 

Got five minutes?  Do push ups from a park bench (yes, people do look at you – but hey!) or from a stable chair in the office.  Combine it with some side lunges and tricep dips and you have a mini workout.

How about taking the stairs?  It might take ten minutes in your day, but you will have increased your heart beat and strengthened your legs, what’s not to like?

If you could squeeze in 30 minutes please get off the bus a stop or too earlier and walk the last part of the journey, keep doing it, it will get easier (really!)

An hour?  Go for a deliberate walk, use a good pace, listen to an audio book – enjoy it, get outside and breathe; it’s a great stress buster.

And if you really want to make a difference, down load ‘couch to 5k’, the NHS app.  I did it and it really works.  I started in the gym on the treadmill and progressed to running outside.  The sense of achievement when I ran that 5k was amazing.

So don’t let time be a limiting factor, just make a start! 

Monday, 17 December 2018

Don’t panic, its only Christmas

How are you feeling?  Having a panic over presents, food, booze, decorations, whether you should invite auntie Ethel round? 

Just stop – its OK, really it is.  Contrary to public opinion, the shops will open again, you don’t have to buy enough to prepare for a siege.  And buying presents is not the be all and end all.  Breathe and relax.  We have bought Crisis at Christmas meals for my children and for each other.  Its easy to do and will make a difference to someone’s life.  We are not in a frenzy of wrapping paper and last minute dashes for the shops.  (We did get presents for my little grandchildren!)

Why am I telling you this?  Because the amount of stress is enormous and that floods into our health, fitness and food.  Now I’m not going to go all sanctimonious on you, but don’t let a few days undo weeks of effort.  Of course enjoy a lovely meal, have a drink but don’t eat your entire body weight in Quality Street, top up with 5 mince pies and an extra sandwich or two.  You are just making hard work for yourself. 

Here’s a plan that will work:

·         Have a great Christmas day but don’t go mad

·         Eat the veg, go easy on the potatoes

·         Have a drink – but remember your liver – don’t make it work so hard that you feel ill

·         Moderation is actually OK

·         Before you put it in your mouth, think how far you will need to run to work off the calories (21 minutes of running or 40 minutes of walking to work off a mince pie!)

·         Move, go for a walk, get down to the gym, don’t give up

·         Ditch the left overs – just as wasted in your tummy if you don’t need them as they are in the bin.

·         Relax, it’s a day off – chat to friends and family – go to church, have fun.

·         Don’t forget, you don’t need to eat everything going to have a good time! 

Forefront Fitness gyms are only closed for two days of Christmas and two of New Year – we are there, ready to help you get back on track.  See you soon !

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Christmas Student Special

Back from university for Christmas? We have a student special offer for you - 1 months membership for only £20 which gives you 9am-5pm access to the gym. Get in contact today to set up your membership.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Look what happens when you come to the gym

Steve and I were wandering around the village last night (as you do!) ostensibly walking the dog but really it was because I hadn’t got all my steps for the day.  And we practically walked into two runners.  Not any two runners but Scott and Lucy.
Those of you who have been with us for a few years might remember Scott, he was one of our first members of staff.  Young and keen and dead cool.  Well, one day, Lucy came in for an induction.  I nearly had to intervene.  Never before has so much kit been demonstrated and so many exercises explained in such great detail.  He was soooo cool (and so keen!)  And here they are, nearly 5 years later planning their future.
Scott left to become a PT instructor in the RAF (I cried, I was so proud – he said he wouldn’t have stood a chance if he hadn’t worked for us first).  He and Lucy have remained a couple ever since that first induction.  Scott has great plans for the future, for extra training and working with service people who need rehabilitation.  He has just been to the Falklands and stands proud and tall (as he should).  Lucy is following him and setting up her own business.
Why am I telling you?  Because its great to see to lovely people doing well and because Forefront Fitness has been a tiny part of their journey and we are so pleased about that.  Come to the gym, you never know what might happen! 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Do you think about your skin?

Do you think about your skin?  I notice people’s skin a lot, when I am working out with them especially and its not hard to see who takes care and who doesn’t.  Now its colder we are all at risk of getting sore, chapped skin.  Here are a few tips to help.

Basics – gloves and scarves when you are outside.  Anyone who ever sees me walking the dog would have every reason to laugh but I am cosy and I need that as we wander across the fields.  (And I wear a vest – but please don’t tell anyone!  I hate my back getting cold)

Avoid really hot showers and baths, they will dry out the skin by stripping away surface oils.  Avoid exfoliators too, you need to keep the skin intact when its cold, not expose it.

Use a moisturiser (yes, men too!) , rub some in as soon as you have dried after a shower or bath, your pores will be open and it will be more effective.  One of the best is E45, cheap, unperfumed, hypoallergenic and easily obtained. 

Stay hydrated – central heating easily dries you out, and lack of hydration quickly leads to dry skin.  You may not fancy cold water but decaff tea and coffee make great alternatives. 

Use a good lip balm, put it on before you go out as a protection.  I often pop some on the corners of my eyes so when they water they don’t get sore. 

Look after your skin inside and out, its really worth it.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

It's never too late

It’s coming up to a New Year and we know from past experience that the gyms will be busy.  There will be lots of new members who have set great goals and who will work very hard to achieve them.

But what about all the people who don’t do any exercise at all?  Those who feel its all too late and they can’t make any changes now?  They mustn’t give up – there is always hope.   The health of even the most sedentary person can be improved.  The key is to find something to do that you enjoy and is sustainable.  Now I hate swimming, so it would be no point me saying that I am going to swim four times a week, it’s just not going to happen.  But I am determined to get my 10,000 steps in every day.  And (now keep this quiet, I don’t want everyone watching) I do a little work out on the bench half way round the woods.  Calm yourselves; its 30 press ups. 30 tricep dips, 30 squats, 60 lateral lunges and 60 step ups.  The dog sits quietly and watches and keeps guard, if anyone comes in sight he gives me a warning! 

We can all do something and it will make a difference.  Research published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ has shown that even a 10 minute walk makes a difference to memory capacity.  Sitting around (according to the NHS) increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, not to mention heart disease and stroke.  But getting moving can bring the risk down again. 

So if walking helps, why bother with the gym?  Come to the gym because the best combination is some cardio work (cross trainer, rowing, biking, walking, running) combined with shifting some weights.  Working with weights builds muscle, having more muscle keeps your joints strong and raises the rate that you burn calories – what’s not to like?  If you’re not sure what to do – just ask.  There is always someone on shift who can help. 

Don’t wait for the New Year – get to the gym – it will make such a difference.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Beat stress without Valium!

Are you feeling stressed?  Try these simple tips before reaching for the Valium

·         Identify what it is that causing the problem.  Is it your job, a relationship, money or something else?  Does it have a practical solution (eg change your job?), will it simply get better with time and is it totally outside your control (Brexit!)?  Concentrate on what you can influence.

·         Make a list.  You will instantly feel more in control if the apparently unmanageable amount of things you have to achieve in one day is written down and you don’t have to keep trying to remember them.  And the satisfaction of crossing things off is amazing!

·         Leave your phone alone – as part of your night time routine this can work really well.  Tell yourself that it can wait until the morning.  Your sleep is important. Messages and emails can wait.  I give my land line number to friends and family who are in crisis and might need me – everything else can wait.

·         Eat healthily and drink water we know that high sugar foods and the rush and fall of these is stressful, so is caffeine and alcohol – be kind to your mind and body, give them a break.  And drink plenty of water.  Our bodies our 50% to 65% water – we need to keep that topped up, dry bodies don’t work well.  Aim for 2 to 3 litres of water a day.

·         Talk it through, those thoughts that go round and round in your head can often be dealt with if you have to say them in some sort of coherent order so that someone else can understand them.  Try it – just saying it out loud can make you think of your own solution.

·         Be mindful, live in the moment.  Worry is a real waste of time, it doesn’t help.  You’ve heard it before, its like a rocking chair, ‘comforting at the time but it doesn’t get you anywhere’.  There are many apps that help with this ‘Headspace’ being one of the best.

·         Exercise, you just knew I’d say this!  Belt it out in the gym, go for a run or just get outside for a walk.  Move your body, it will shift your mind.  You might even find that you have solde the problem by the time you’ve finished! 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

What's your wellness score?

How well do you feel? 

Where would you put yourself on a score of 1 to 10 – with one being ‘I feel really ill all the time’ to ten – ‘I feel tip top – never felt better’? 

If you’re not scoring as high as you would like to – do you know why and importantly, what can you do about it?

Now I know that many of us have diagnosed illness, maybe something temporary or perhaps something that is going to be lifelong.  Perhaps you can’t even conceive of a high wellness score but it is still a great challenge to consider how well you might be able to feel. 

Often we feel ill because we lack energy and our bodies ache.  Getting up in the morning is an effort and we often feel unenthusiastic and lacking in motivation.  We often have headaches and our stomach plays up and is sore.

Does this sound familiar?  If some of this sounds like you – read on.

It is really worth doing a bit of a wellness check;

·         Look first at your sleep – are you getting enough?  Adults need around 7 hours a night  (Walker ‘Why we sleep’).  That’s seven hours asleep – no blue light, no TV in a well- ventilated, dark room. 

·         What about your stress levels?  Yes, I know we all need a bit of stress – but what about yours?  If you are very stressed what are you doing about it?  Down time is important however busy you are.  A bit of ‘Mindfulness’ is a great help – try the  Headspace app – its easy to use and not too ‘airy fairy’. 

·         What’s your food intake like?  Not sure?  Try keeping a food diary for a week – write down everything you eat every day – then I am sure you will spot some areas for change.  Make sure you have enough protein, healthy fats and complex carbs.  Steer well away from processed foods and refined sugar.  Aim not to eat anything with more than 5gms sugar per 100gms.  Bear in mind too, that many foods are great in tackling inflammation – so for those aches and pains try avocados, blueberries, green leafy veg and oily fish. 

·         Do you drink enough water?  Aim for around 3 litres a day – try it – and notice the difference in how you feel

·         Alcohol – need I say more?  The less you drink the better – that’s all.

·         Of and of course (you knew this was coming) – get some exercise.  Do your daily steps (get outside – fresh air – good for all of us) and get to the gym.  Resistance work (shift those weights) is good for all of us – whatever our age – there are always benefits to keeping your muscles strong

Give it a try – nudge up that wellness score !

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Are 'protein packed' foods really what they seem?

We all need protein in our diets and often we want to find a quick and easy way to grab some.  Our ‘go to’ idea might be a supermarket style ‘protein bar’.  A quick look at these might make you change your mind.

For example – Special K protein blackcurrant and pumpkin seed bars – at 3.9 g protein per 28 g bar are just about entitled to be called a ‘source of protein’ (govt regs is that at least 12% of the energy value of a food needs to come from protein). However, that’s not enough protein to make a real difference and of course there is more sugar than is good for you!  (5.6 g per bar) 

And Nature Valley protein peanut and cholate bars have 10 g of protein per 40 gm bar – so just about in the ‘high protein’ category but again loads of sugar – 6.2 g per bar this time. 

So, I got to wondering just how much protein we actually need a day. tells us that the average sedentary man needs 56 g protein a day and a sedentary woman about 46 g a day.  (Based on needing 0.8 g protein per kilogram of body weight).  You can see that protein bars should only be an occasional boost or your blood sugar will go through the roof. 

How about adding in a bit of natural protein?  Go for a mixed diet rich in eggs, milk, yoghurt, chicken and fish and you won’t go far wrong.  Add in nuts and seeds as a snack and you will hit your daily protein requirements. 

However, Steve says; if you are aiming to build big muscles you will need extra protein – in fact you will need 1.5 to 2.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight for intense training, (the sort of training when you put up your weights once a week and sweat the CV) and the Oats and Whey protein bars he uses have 23 g protein per bar and only 3.9 g sugar.  If you fancy some of these just let us know or order from Myprotein and use the code STEPHEN-RACV to get a 30% discount when spending £35 or more.
Take home message?  We all need protein but if you are working out really intensely you will need more.  Most of us can get all we need from a well-balanced diet and avoid the high sugar ‘little bit extra’ (expensive) bars.  If you need a boost go for the ‘big boy stuff’.  

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Heart Health

Heart Health

I’ve just taken the NHS heart health check.  Now I count myself as pretty healthy, and my Fitbit says I’m ‘excellent’.  But the NHS website puts my heart age as higher than my biological age.  But, as I don’t know my cholesterol, its made a guess and has suggested that I go to my GP and get my cholesterol checked.  Oh dear.  The test doesn’t even have a section to fill in to say how much exercise I do and what my daily step counter is like.  It doesn’t ask me about alcohol intake, sleep or stress.  Cholesterol levels are complicated and need to be understood in the context of naturally occurring levels and those brought about by food.  There are criticisms of the studies of cholesterol and heart health (‘Nourishing Traditions ‘ by Fallon & Enig New Trends publishing 2001 p 133) so what are we to do?

An article in The Guardian on 8th Sept suggests that lifestyle changes can make a big difference to your heart age.  Here goes:

Diet - keep your refined sugar intake as low as you possibly can, avoid added salt and eat a good selection vegetables everyday.  Eat fat in moderation, those that are unrefined and unprocessed.  In fact, avoid processed food as far as you can.

Exercise (well, we would have to include this!) – go for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week and strength training at least twice a week.  So, walk fast, run, bike, swim, get your heart rate up.  Then lift some weights – ask one of us if you don’t know how to do this safely. 

Smoking and drinking -  Smoking triples the risk of a heart attack – so don’t.  Alcohol is less clear but new evidence is suggesting that you are better off without

Pollution - has been shown to have a bad effect on heart health.  I am guessing that living in the Fens means we have less car fumes and manufacturing fall out to deal with.  Unless muck spreading counts?!!

Stress - not good for your heart – and not easy to eliminate – but get some down time – enjoy the moment.  Learn how to meditate, breathe deeply, look up and enjoy the view.  Oh – and get some sleep!

So, I haven’t immediately improved my heart health – but I’m working on it and I know that if I keep at it I will feel healthy and keep going well for as long as I can

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Running Tips

Want to run faster and further?  Here’s a few tips to help

Get the right shoes.  Get your gait analysed and take advice.  That pair of trainers you have had knocking around for years won’t provide you with the support you need and will lead to injury.  Any reputable sports shoe shop will offer a treadmill and a linked computer to show what will work best for you.

Increase slowly.  Don’t go rapidly from a short distance to a long one, build up slowly.  Similarly with speed, work at intervals first (a short distance at a higher speed followed by a slower pace), then increase generally.  Try to only increase speed or distance, not both at the same time.

Eat well.  You can have the best car in the world but put in the wrong fuel and it won’t perform well.  Same with your body.  Eat complex carbohydrates, protein and fat.  Leave out the sugars, the useless calorie laden snacks and the alcohol.  If you want to get the best from your body – give it a chance!

Get some sleep. Your body needs a chance to recover and rest.  Aim for at least 7 hours every night.

Enjoy it! If you set out on a run telling yourself it will be too difficult and you can’t do it – guess what will happen?!  Yep, it will be awful – get a positive mindset and it will make all the difference

Monday, 27 August 2018

Think you can’t run? Think again

I have run half marathons, in fact I have run most of my adult life.  But a couple of years ago I decided that I couldn’t run any more.  My back hurt and I was getting old.  And I left it at that. 

Then more and more of my clients started running.  They told me about their progress and we worked hard on their stamina, combined with some resistance training.  I felt jealous and decided that the only thing stopping me running was the voice in my head that kept telling me that I couldn’t do it.  I downloaded the NHS ‘Coach to 5k’ app and got a grip. 

The first few days were a heady mix of excitement and fear.  Would I be able to do it?  Would my back hurt?  Would I have to give up?  Then I decided to change the voice (in fact the app tells you to do that).  I changed to ‘this is good. I am enjoying this.  I can run’.  From that shaky 3 minute run I have surprised myself.  I followed the app, running on the treadmill, day after day.  Thank you to those of you that noticed and offered encouragement.  Slowly I built up the distance and then I was off.  I ran outside.  OK, so I’m not fast, but I can raise a sweat and its quicker than walking.  I have gradually built up the distance and its now well over 5 k and I feel terrific.  I feel good physically and also mentally.  The sense of achievement is fantastic.  Its what I always say, you never know what you can do until you try.  Give it a go – surprise yourself ! 

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Holidays over?

We will soon see all the familiar faces back as you return from your holidays.  We went away last weekend and took our kit in our bags – and there it stayed!  The gin might have had something to do with that!

We know that some of you will feel quite unfit when you get back.  Different (more) food, less activity and the odd drink or two all go together to make it imperative that we get back to the gym.

And its not all in the mind.  Research carried out by the University of Liverpool, published in June showed the results of what happened when volunteers were told to stop moving.  Previously fit students were told to cut their daily steps to below 2000 a day and to sit for at least 3 ½ hours a day.  They did this for two weeks. 

After 2 weeks blood tests showed raised blood sugar levels, decreased insulin sensitivity and  less healthy cholesterol profiles.  They has also lost muscle mass in legs and gained fat round their abdomens.  It really does happen ! Happily, most quickly returned to their normal base line when they started to go back to their 10,000 steps a day and normal activity levels.  The same experiment on older people (over 65) showed similar results but a slower return to normal levels.

So, two weeks does make a difference, for the most part reversible, but the next time your activity tracker tells you to move – remember – its doing you a favour ! 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Personal Training - Special Offer

For a limited time, Tommy is offering Personal Training for 2 or more people.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Is sleep impacting on your weight loss?

How much sleep to you get?  Somehow, somewhere along the line, we have come to view sleep as an optional extra.  We boost that we ‘get by’ on 5 hours or some such number.  For years that’s what I have done. 

The latest research ‘Why we Sleep’ by Matthew Walker, tells us very clearly that insufficient sleep is catastrophic for all sorts of reasons. 

There is a long list of dangers associated with too little sleep:

·         Increased risk of cancer

·         Increased risk of sports injury

·         Increased risk of Alzheimers

·         Increased risk of diabetes

·         Increased risk of stroke and heart disease

·         Increased risk of immune deficiency

·         Increased risk of a number of mental health problems

·         Weight gain

It’s the last one that we are focussing on today.

Leptin and Ghrelin are two hormones that together work to control and regulate food intake.

Leptin lets you know when you are full and Ghrelin triggers a sensation of hunger. 

Research has shown (proper research, under controlled circumstances by Van Cauter at the University of Chicago) that people who have only four to five hours of sleep opportunity a night have higher levels  of Ghrelin and lower levels of Leptin than those who had eight hours of sleep opportunity.  Sleep opportunity means time in bed, dark, cool room, no screens.  This means that sleep deprived people crave food and really struggle to feel full (sound familiar?). 

So, you can cut the calories but without adequate sleep you will really struggle to lose weight.  So, cut the caffeine, drop the alcohol and get to bed.  Make sleep a priority, not an optional extra – I guarantee you’ll feel better.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Easter Opening Times

Good Friday 30th March
Saturday 31st March
Willingham 08:00 – 14:00
Bluntisham 08:00 - 12:00
Easter Sunday 1st April
Easter Monday 2nd April

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

How to avoid type 2 diabetes without medication

Type 2 diabetes usually starts a bit later in life and occurs because you either don’t make enough insulin or the insulin you have doesn’t work properly.  11.9M of us are at risk of developing this and over 1M of us have it but don’t know.  You can check your risk on the diabetesUK website

Why does it matter?

If diabetes isn’t managed correctly it can lead to blindness, kidney failure, stroke and death – so worth thinking about!

Symptoms include needing a wee more often, feeling very thirsty, tiredness, unexplained weight loss.  If you are worried, go to your GP.

However, we can all do a great deal to prevent type 2 diabetes from occurring. 

Being overweight and having a large waist measurement adds to our risk of type 2 diabetes – so…

Keep your portion sizes reasonable and leave out the high sugar foods and drinks. 

Keep the alcohol intake down as low as possible

Get some sleep – go for 7 hours a night – really important !

And of course – exercise – but you knew we would say that !

Your health is in your hands