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Many people have little problem losing weight. The real challenge is keeping it off. Far too often, many people are on a constant physical, ...


January 2023

Many people have little problem losing weight. The real challenge is keeping it off. Far too often, many people are on a constant physical, emotional and mental roller coaster of losi ng weig ht from various diets, exercise, only to see weight regain within weeks or months. Rather than flicking from one fad diet to another, the foundation of long-term weight loss is maintenance of a healthy, calorie regulated diet and regular physical exercise. Life often gets in the way and in this article, but I share some strategies of patients who have achieved successful long term weight loss.

1. Mindset, goal setting and commitment to lifestyle change.

Visualisation of success is the first step. Think about the why. Concrete objectives are the key. I want to be able to keep up with my kids. I want to be able to fit into off the shelf clothes. Difficult goals require strong motivators. Set achievable goals e.g. 0.5kg off per week and write them down and e.g. stop buying soft drinks. Commit to ticking off these goals. Keep a journal. Celebrate your achievements, with a healthy reward to create a cycle of positive reinforcement.

2. Get professional help. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Don't do this alone. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people. Professional athletes have a team around them to optimise their performance. Long term weight loss is more likely if you have a great support team including doctors, dietitians, exercise professionals and psychologists. Not only can they help keep you accountable, but their professional experience is also invaluable. This may involve discussions of weight loss medications and surgery as extra tools in achieving your longer-term goals.

3. Identify and deal with stressors and obstacles.

Daily life throws many obstacles to successful maintenance of weight loss. Work and family commitments can overwhelm. Suddenly there is no time to exercise or to eat properly. We opt for fast food and skip sleep. If you accept that your personal health is your top priority, then other daily life matters need to be rescheduled around that goal. Importantly, remember food should not be an excuse to deal with stress or boredom. Plan to replace food with a run or a swim in these situations.

4. Focus on mindful eating.

80% of healthy weight maintenance comes from diet and the remainder via exercise. Mindful eating is critical. Success involves being conscious of exactly what is eaten and portion size as opposed to mindless binge snacking and grazing. Be aware of eating regular meals and actively keep unhealthy foods out of the house.

5. Track your progress.

Now that you have written down your motivations and your diet/exercise plans, it is important to track your progress. There are many fantastic free apps for your phone that you can enter your daily diet/exercise achievements and weight measurements. Visual reminders can provide positive reinforcement to remind you to stay the path. Phone based pedometers and calorie counters are great.

6. Transition perspective obstacles to a lifestyle.


Choosing to cook healthy meals and exercising vigorously is difficult. Habits take time to form. Often there are setbacks and relapses. The real key to long term success is when these difficulties are no longer perceived as things to do but become a natural part of your daily lifestyle. For example, it suddenly becomes preferable to walk or cycle to work rather than driving.

Successful long term weight maintenance is challenging. Strategies for success involve goal setting, progress tracking and adopting a commitment to lifestyle change. Healthy eating and regular exercising need to be the new normal lifestyle. Creating a support network of both personal contacts and professionals will increase chance of success.

People often perceive resistance (or strength/weights) training as building muscle without truly understanding the plethora of other health ...


January 2023

People often perceive resistance (or strength/weights) training as building muscle without truly understanding the plethora of other health benefits associated with this methodology of exercise. Resistance training is not just for people to become 'muscly' but can be utilised by people with many conditions and of all ages to improve their quality of life and make noticeable improvements in both their physical and mental health.

Sometimes when we think of resistance training, we think of lifting weights, however, resistance training is a broad term used for a number of different training methodologies such as free weights (e.g. dumbbells), resistance bands, and even bodyweight training which is essentially the resistance to gravity.

Improved strength is one of the first things that comes to mind when we think of resistance training, and rightly so, for this is such an important component of day to day life and not just for athletes. Increased strength allows us to complete activities of daily living so much easier, whether that be having to lift up your kids or carrying your groceries to the car.

Resistance training has been proven to improve bone density/strength due to the weight bearing stresses that it places through these body structures. It should also be noted that resistance training has a positive impact on your metabolism as muscle cells have a superior metabolic rate compared to fat cells.

One of the most conscious areas that people are concerned about gaining weight is their stomach, which is technically called 'visceral' fat. This abdominal fat is actually associated with higher rates of diseases which includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and certain types of cancers. Evidence has shown that incorporating resistance training into your exercise regime reduces not only the total fat, but in particular this abdominal fat that all of us like to lose by the time summer comes around to get those beach bodies ready.

In summary, the benefits of resistance training include:

  • Improved strength.
  • Improved ability to carry out our usual activities of daily living (housework, shopping, lifting kids etc).
  • Improved bone density .
  • Reduced risk of developing osteoporosis or reduced osteoporosis progression if you already have it.
  • Reduced abdominal fat and improved body shape.
  • Improved sports performance with reduced risk of injuries.

Bear in mind, that the type of resistance training you do, needs to be specific to you - your physical health, your health and fitness goals and your sports background. As with any new physical activity it's important to consult your physiotherapist prior to starting, to make sure that you will be exercising safely and effectively.

Other important features are discussed:

1. Reduces the risk of falls.

Falling over is something that many people might not often think about, but as we become older this is of the biggest risks of injury. Most people believe that balance is associated with the risk of having a fall however, strength plays a huge role in our ability to reduce the chance of that happening. If we have greater strength in our muscles throughout our body, especially our core muscles, then we are able to support our body, particularly during dynamic (moving) positions. As we age, we start to become more aware of our body's limitations and potential frailness, and the risk of injury. By improving our strength we are able to decrease the likelihood of injuries occurring as a result of tripping and falling, while participating in various activities, or other activities in our day to day lives.

2. Increases spine & joint mobility.

Resistance training not only improves our muscle strength but also can help increase the mobility and the range of motion of our spine and joints. Muscular imbalances are common in most of us, even if we are unaware of it. We generally have a dominant side (i.e. left or right) and because of this it is important to maintain consistency and equilibrium between both sides of our body. Not only that, but our joints are better supported when surrounded by stronger muscular tissue which can help prevent injuries even in something as common as rolling our ankle.

3. Improves cardiovascular function.

Our heart is the hardest working muscle in the body. Did you know that on average it contracts and relaxes around 100,000 times a day? Resistance training helps to strengthen the heart muscles and thus improve our cardiovascular function. This is essential to maintain vital body processes such as blood pressure, peripheral circulation, cholesterol level and many other aspects in a healthy body.

4. Decreases risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent conditions in today's society, however, this can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle such as exercise regimes where strength training is involved. It does this through improving our insulin sensitivity and correspondingly reducing   blood sugar levels which decreases the likelihood of becoming diabetic. This also helps those who are diabetic by stabilizing their blood glucose levels.

5. Effects on brain, mood & cognitive decline.

Resistance training can also benefit the mind. We're all aware that sometimes we are prone to having off days and feeling down in the dumps but exercise and resistance training can help boost our self-esteem and mood. These are critical aspects that help us function and move through the days, particularly the hard ones. It also improves our sense of body image, social anxiety and other cognitive (psychological) limitations. Resistance training does help slow down cognitive decline and the potential for brain health deterioration which is especially important as we age.

There are many health benefits associated with incorporating resistance training into exercise regimes which can actually help improve our quality of life not only now, but in the future. Even if you are not a fan of 'lifting weights', incorporating this into your current exercise regimes, will only result in further benefits and positive outcomes.

Mobility Mobility is how a joint moves actively through a range of motion. (Key word here is actively – with muscle engagement happening.) H...


January 2023


Mobility is how a joint moves actively through a range of motion. (Key word here is actively – with muscle engagement happening.)

How it looks : Picture doing a dynamic warm-up, like walking lunges with a side bend each time you step forward, before a run.

Why it matters : Mobility training teaches your body to activate muscles properly and to move with control and power, which helps reduce your risk for muscle imbalances and agitating pains day-to-day, and helps you maintain good form as you train. Basically, you need to focus on mobility to live an injury-free and active life.


What it means : This is the amount a muscle can stretch or lengthen. Flexibility is what allows you to have range of motion in a joint passively – i.e. without activating your muscles.

How it looks : Imagine holding a static stretch (like reaching for your toes) for 30 to 60 seconds.

Why it matters : Consider flexibility a prerequisite for mobility. Think about it: if you’ve got super-tight hip flexors, you likely do shallow squats or lunges. Improving your flexibility allows your joints to move through their full ranges of motion during functional workout movements. Long-term, you’ll live a more ache-free and comfortable life.

When to do it : Post-workout. Flexibility requires your muscles to be loose and disengaged (the opposite of what you want during your actual sweat session). Plus, static stretching calms the nervous system, easing your body into recovery.

For a consistentl y ouch - free, active lifestyle, remember to incorporate both mobility and flexibility into your workouts .

A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is an increasingly popular procedure for those looking to remove excess fat from the stomach ...


January 2023

A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is an increasingly popular procedure for those looking to remove excess fat from the stomach area. If you’ve tried everything to get a flat tummy with little success or simply want to tighten things up after pregnancy or weight loss, a tummy tuck might just be the solution you’re looking for.

While a tummy tuck operation is a fairly straightforward and low-risk procedure for otherwise healthy patients, it’s vital to follow postoperative care instructions. For example, as you’ll see in this Seattle tummy tuck checklist, you should avoid strenuous exercise and get enough rest after your procedure. That said, if you want to get the best out of your new body, it’s equally important that you don’t become completely sedentary during your recovery. Once you’re feeling well enough to move around, it’s time to work on building up your strength.

Check Out These Five Top Tips To Stay Fit After A Tummy Tuck:

#1- Know Your Limits

Doctors generally recommend that patients take it easy for the first week or two after surgery. It can be tempting to get up and moving, but you should always listen to your physician and your body.

Strenuous activities shouldn’t be attempted until at least six weeks after surgery as they may impact negatively on wound healing and compromise the corseting effect of the operation. If you simply can’t resist the urge to get moving, begin by standing with a straight back several times a day to strengthen your healing muscles. From there, progress to walking short distances.

#2- Return to Work

Returning to your normal work routine is a good way to get back into the swing of things. Not only will it allow you to add some light exercise into your day (walking, climbing stairs), but it will also help to regulate your meal times. This will ensure that poor dietary habits don’t slow your healing or cause excess weight gain.

#3- Combine Recreation and Fitness

You don’t have to hit the gym immediately to stay fit after a tummy tuck. Try incorporating a light workout into your daily routine, whether that means taking the stairs at work or parking further away from the office or supermarket. To help you get back into it, consider signing up for a yoga class with friends. The reward of a hot coffee and a good chat post workout is great incentive to get moving!

#4- Start with Low-Impact Exercises

When you do feel ready to get back in gear, start slow. Even if you feel fine, keep in mind that your muscles could be healing for up to a year. Begin with low-intensity exercises, such as low-impact aerobics and incline walking. From around week six, you can start to incorporate cardio, running and swimming. After approximately six months, you can return to high-intensity activities, such as weights and resistance training, if desired.

#5- Monitor Your Diet

A tummy tuck might seem like a permanent fix, but eating the wrong foods (especially during the sedentary part of your recovery) can hamper your results. Don’t restrict yourself (the body needs nutrients to heal), but try to steer clear of greasy, sodium laden fast-food and make sure that your diet contains high levels of protein, essential amino acids and fruits and vegetables.

A tummy tuck is a great way to regain some body confidence post-pregnancy or after significant weight loss. To get the most out of your procedure, follow these five tips for staying fit after abdominoplasty and always listen to your body, as everyone’s recovery process is different.

Target strength , mobility and mindfulness in this breath-focused workout. Life is a balancing act. We all have our different reasons for tr...


January 2023

Target strength , mobility and mindfulness in this breath-focused workout. Life is a balancing act. We all have our different reasons for training and styles we favour but it’s important we mix it up, explore new practices and really get to know what we’re capable of. We need to practise recovery just as much as we need exercise – using breathing exercises alongside movement provides that balance.”

This full-body workout focuses on improving strength and mobility and requires you to concentrate on the breath to bring mindfulness. Ready, steady, breathe

Need To Know

What exactly does it mean to move mindfully? “As you take every breath and move every muscle, be fully present and move consciously. Move slowly, notice how your body feels in each position – and don’t force anything that doesn’t feel right.

If one of these moves particularly speaks to you, there’s no need to perform the full workout each time. “These exercises can be done separately if you have particular areas you’d like to focus on or if you don’t have much time,” says Norton

How often you do this workout is up to you, says Norton. But add a mobility element to all of your workouts and you’ll see rapid improvements in control, strength and range of movement.

Walk-out down dog ankle tap 

TARGETS: Shoulders, back, core, hamstrings

Do: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Fold forwards on an exhale, hingeing at the hips, place hands on the floor and walk out to plank (A). Take a deep inhale in high plank and, as you exhale, push back into downward dog. Lift your hips high and reach back to your left ankle with your right hand (B). On your next inhale, return to plank and exhale to repeat on the other side. Return to plank and walk hands back to standing. That’s one rep.

Single-leg deadlift

TARGETS: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, lower back

Do: 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each leg

Start standing with feet hip-width apart, with knees slightly bent (A). On your next exhale, lift your right foot and hinge forward from your left hip, keeping your back straight, left foot grounded (B). Inhale to return to standing by pushing your heel into the floor, engaging the hamstring, glutes and back to lift you up. Complete one set on this leg, then repeat on the other side

Side lunge with upper body twist

TARGETS: Hips, quads, glutes, back

Do: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

From standing, take a step to the right, bending your right knee. Keep your left leg straight and exhale as you hinge your hips, sitting back over your right foot – chest up and back straight (A). Rest your right elbow on your right leg and release the left arm to rotate and twist to the left, keeping the arm straight and staying active through the back (B). Look up to your left hand and take a breath. Inhale to return to standing; repeat on other side to complete one rep.

Plank rotation 

TARGETS: Core, abs, back

Do: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Start in a plank position – either on your forearms or in full plank – with your feet shoulder-width apart, core braced, glutes contracted and back straight (A). On an inhale, lift your right arm up as you rotate and open up to the right, engaging your back and core to maintain stability and control, arm reaching up (B). Exhale to return hand to ground, then repeat on the other side. That’s as one rep.

Walk-out push-up with

spinal wave TARGETS: Hamstrings, shoulders, back

Do: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

With feet shoulder-width apart, inhale, hinge at the hips and walk out to a plank position, keeping your torso stable and braced. From here, bend your elbows to do a push-up (A) – drop to knees if needed – exhaling as you push back up. Once you’re back in plank, inhale, round your back and tuck your chin as you push to downward dog (B). Exhale to walk your hands back to your feet to return to standing. Now go again.

Forward lunge reach and twist 

TARGETS: Hamstrings, hips, glutes, quads, back, shoulders

Do: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Start with feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right leg and bend your knees to come into a lunge (A). Inhale and stretch your arms up, then bend your elbows so palms face forward. Exhale and rotate to the right (B). Inhale and return to face forward, then exhale. Inhale again and twist to the left. Return to face forward and step legs together to return to standing. Repeat on other leg. That’s one rep.

Overload occurs when the balance between external load and internal load is altered so that the body’s adaptive capacity is inadequate, resu...


January 2023

Overload occurs when the balance between external load and internal load is altered so that the body’s adaptive capacity is inadequate, resulting in manifestations of altered performance and injury and/or illness.

An understanding of the Overload Principle forms the foundation of how we calculate the weight loads, sets, and reps used to get the desired results we seek in each program. Increases in weight loads from one step to another must be performed carefully, and gradually. This pattern of increasing weight loads is called the” Step-Load Pattern”.

Once the progression blocks and step-loading pattern have been set for the month’s training, these patterns can be linked together. It is recommended that all individuals find 1 RM per exercise. The Repetition Maximum lifting 100% of as much weight as possible for the given exercise

External vs. Internal Load & Recovery

Athletes respond individually to internal and external load; the result of which determines the magnitude of the loading stimulus experienced.

External load is the work completed by the athlete during training and competition. External loads create physical, physiological, and psychosocial demands, which are affected by frequency, intensity, and duration of the activity, among other factors. Demands may be sport-specific.

Internal loads are individual physical, physiological, and psychosocial characteristics that respond to an external load. Identical external loads may elicit considerably different internal loads in two athletes with different internal characteristics (e.g., age, sex, body composition, fitness, range of motion (ROM), history of a prior injury, psychosocial health). Internal loads vary over time, requiring ongoing monitoring.

Recovery is a process with the goal of optimizing physical, physiological, and psychosocial adaptation to internal and external loads.

That’s why monitoring the internal load of athletes has become an integral part of training programs, where the aim is always to help players adapt and improve.

How to Measure Internal Load

There are several measures used to monitor an athlete’s internal load. At the basic level, subjective measures include

  • The RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale and
  • Via wellness questionnaires.

These rely on the accuracy of athlete selfreporting. Objective data can be found through athlete-monitoring technology which provides quantifiable internal load metrics including:

  • Tracking intensity through %HR Max,
  • TRIMP (Training Impulse): TRIMP quantifies Training Load in a single number and accumulates continuously. The rate of accumulation depends on the intensity of the drill/session and it does not decrease during recovery breaks.

Need to Measure Internal Load

Tracking the physiological impact of a training session on an individual athlete – or an entire team – gives individuals & coaches a quantifiable overview of how one or players are handling a session. It also shows whether a session is achieving the desired physiological results or needs to be tweaked.

This can be particularly useful when teams are implementing training periodization at various points in the season (tailoring sessions to help players peak at certain times during the season such as the playoffs).

Tracking external load data is valuable but can leave one with only half the information needed to make effective and informed training decisions and relay information to colleagues. The same person can have a very different reaction to the same exact session from one day to the next, depending on several circumstances (fatigue, recent training history, illness, noncompetition stressors, etc). This isn’t immediately obvious without physiological insights.

Monitoring internal load can also inform future training decisions such as whether to push or hold back an individual and can help track individual player adaptations to training. In the case of a team, a player presenting higher internal load data compared to teammates during a standard external load session may indicate signs of fatigue or reduced fitness. In contrast, a player showing decreased internal load in the same session would indicate increased fitness and an ability to cope with the stress being placed on them.

With a combination of internal and external load data, an individual or trainer can decide on the training load.

About 80% of people who have lost weight gain it back. Here's how to make sure it doesn't happen to you. Losing weight isn't eas...


January 2023

About 80% of people who have lost weight gain it back. Here's how to make sure it doesn't happen to you.

Losing weight isn't easy, but, in general, people figure it out and get the job done to varying levels of success. The tricky part is keeping it off. Experts believe as any as 80% of us gain back the kilos we've worked so hard to lose, with some ending up even heavier than before. These statistics can be discouraging, but don't lose hope — the flip side is, 20% of us are keeping the weight offl Research into the habits and behaviours of that 20% gives a valuable blueprint to those of us tired of yo-yo dieting.

Our own unique biological makeup, the tendency to be more sedentary and a modern world that promotes cheap, tasty and highly prcxessed foods can make losing weight and keeping it off exceptionally difficult.

We have little power over our genes and our environment, but we do have control over our behaviour: we get to decide when, what, why and how we eat. Consistently making good choices is key.


First off, when you're in the weight-loss phase, it's not to fall into the trap of 'quicker is Have patience. Going on a crash diet or starving yourself sets you up for failure because it is near to sustain. Instead, take this time to figure out which healthy focxls you enjoy eating. This will enable you to develop new and better eating habits that you'll be more likely to stick to. Choosing a sustainable approach means that once you reach your goal, keeping the weight off will [k much easier.



The bottom line is, people who have successfully lost weight have had to make permanent changes to how they eat and behave if they want to maintain that loss. The mindset that you can diet, lose weight and then go back to old habits is a huge part of the problem. You have to continue doing whatever you did to the weight in the first place in the maintenance phase, with perhaps a few minor tweaks. For example, if eating a satiating, protein-rich breakfast helped curb cravings and kept your appetite under control for the rest of the day, keep doing that. Don't go back to breakfast cereals and toast. Think about an athlete who trains hard to reach peak performance. Ih you think they could maintain that level if they suddenly just stopped training? Not likely. Once you've reached your ideal weight and you don't want to lose any more kilos, you could increase your portion sizes or carb intake a little.



We know that certain foods drive hunger and cravings more than others do. Reintroducing high-carb fcyxls and sugar into your diet, in large quantities, will very quickly have those new jeans feeling snug. Ihs this mean you'll never be able to indulge in treats again? No, but you will have to be mindful of frequency and quantity. It can a slippery Foods like protein, healthy fats and fibrous veggies are especially satiating and nutrient-dense, so eating enough of them daily, especially protein, means you won't have to constantly engage super-human levels of willpower to maintain your fat loss. Willpower does take strain after a while!


If a regular exercise routine helped you lose weight, why stop being active now? Exercise is a great way to burn off calories, get toned and feel energised. Studies show that people who lift weights after weight loss are more likely to keep weight Off by maintaining muscle mass, which helps to improve your metabolic rate. Going for a walk or a session at the gym can also be an excellent way to decompress after a stressful day, especially if the alternative is to comfort-eat your way through a big bag of chips. We all know you can't out-run or out-gym a bad diet, but regular exercise does positively reinforce healthy eating goals. 


Find ways to stay motivated and committed to your new lifestyle. Read nutrition and personal development books, subscribe to wellness magazines, join forums online or find an accountability buddy or support group. Encourage your partner to get on lxyard with your new lifestyle. A study examining the health EYhaviours of more than 3 000 couples found that when one engaged in a healthy habit, such as exercise, the other was more likely to follow their example. Another great way to keep your motivation levels high is to educate and support others in their weight-loss journey. Share your story and be proud of your transformation!


We're not saying you should painstakingly weigh your food and count calories or carbs. Nor that you should hop on the bath-scale every day. Catching things early, however, can helpful. Be conscious of how your clothes are fitting: if they're starting to feel uncomfortably tight, take a closer at what and how much you're eating. Have your portion sizes increased? Have too many carbs sneaked back onto your plate? Being self-aware enables you to act quickly.

A good tip is to weigh yourself weekly and take an average for the month to accommodate hormonal fluctuations and fluid retention. It's far easier to lose 2 kg than 10kg. Don't wait until the task to lose the weight you've regained seems too daunting even to try.



There will always be hurdles in your path that can undermine your long-term success. Learn to identify them and develop ways to resolve them before they derail you. For example, if you know that drinking alcohol causes you to make food choices, commit to having only one drink when you're out. If buffet-style restaurants entice you to overeat because you 'must try a little bit of everything', stick with establishments where you can order off the menu. Become a detective in your own life and get to know your strengths, weaknesses and triggers. 


Any changes you'd like to make to your eating plan when you transition to a maintenance phase should done slowly, with an awareness of their effects. You may want to up your carbs a little. Perhaps you'd like to enjoy a glass of wine on the weekend again. These are possible if you're prepared to experiment and back-pedal if necessary. Introducing changes slowly allows you to figure out what your body can tolerate. Suffering from insulin resistance, for example, might mean you need to keep carbs low indefinitely to keep the weight off.

Successfully keeping the weight off involves starting as you mean to finish: consistent, incorporating changes gradually, and correcting your course as you go if you need to. Forgive yourself for any setbacks and keep running the marathon that is maintenance. Adopt this approach and hard-lost kilos will hopefully never catch you again!

If you want to lose weight and change your life you must change the way you think about dieting. Besides dieting is characterized by a cycli...


January 2023

If you want to lose weight and change your life you must change the way you think about dieting. Besides dieting is characterized by a cyclical pattern of repetitious loss and gain of body weight. Some of the ways people choose to do this include skipping meals and consuming very few calories. There is increasing evidence that weight cycling may lead to cardiovascular and metabolic disorders such as hypertension and diabetes. And the risk of complications of weight cycling seems greater in people with normal weight or slightly overweight than in obese people.

1. Stop Worrying About Being Overweight

No matter how overweight you are, stop worrying! Why? Because worrying keeps you fat. (It does, trust me) The first step towards solving your weight problem is to relax. Because once you relax, you can begin to sort things out

2. Forget about quick-fix diets, or overnight cures

Why? Because they don’t exist. It can help you to lose weight fast and slim down to a beautiful figure, but it won’t happen overnight. Question: How fast can you lose weight? Truthful answer: It depends. It depends on your present weight, your li

3. Forget About Being Afraid Of Food

Why? Because food is wonderful, especially for slimmers The best way to lose weight is to make friends with food.

4. Forget about eating small helpings (portion-control)

Why? Because losing weight has nothing to do with eating small helpings The best way to lose weight is to pile your plate with good food.

5. Forget About Eating By Yourself

Why? Because my easy weight loss diet is good for the whole family, except babies. The best way to lose weight is to put the whole family on it.

6. Forget About Buying Special ‘diet’ Foods

Why? Because losing weight has nothing to do with special ‘diet‘ foods The best way to lose weight is to buy ordinary good food.

7. Forget about calorie-counting or diet pills

Why? Because counting calories or eating diet pills doesn’t help you to stay slim and it certainly doesn’t help you to stay healthy. The best way to lose weight is to learn good eating habits.

8. Forget about walking your butt off

Why? Because losing weight has nothing to do with walking your butt off! Yes, exercise is very healthy. But in my experience, it tends to distract us from more important things, like eating properly. If you really want to lose weight, first change your eating habits, then take regular exercise. You have to be careful about the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Most people don’t realize that too much carbohydrate intake can inhibit the metabolization of fats for energy. This is caused by the excess production of insulin to metabolize the sugars. Excess insulin also inhibits the production of the growth hormone and the metabolization of fats for energy. So, fat-free or not, it may still get stored as fat. Without getting too much into nutrition here, just be advised that excess sugars are not the answer to weight loss.

9. Forget About Drinking Gallons Of Water

Why? Because losing weight has nothing to do with filling up with liquid. Drink to quench your thirst, not to lose weight!

10. Forget About Your Past Dieting Failures

Why? Because the past is dead. Besides, nearly all my most successful slimmers were self-confessed ‘failures’ before they lost weight on personalized diet recommendations.

As long as you consume fewer calories than you burn, you should lose weight, right? Well, that's not strictly true. Here's why... Th...


January 2023

As long as you consume fewer calories than you burn, you should lose weight, right? Well, that's not strictly true. Here's why...

The idea behind the CICO (calories in, calories out) weight-loss strategy is that in order to lose weight, you can eat anything you like as long as you take in fewer calories than you burn every day. In other words, it doesn't matter what you eat, but rather how much of it you eat.

Calories do have a [raring on weight loss, but it's not as simple as a direct relationship. Most nutritionists agree that CICO has more to do with shedding kilos fast than it dæs with shifting your attitude towards food, and as such is unsustainable in the long term. A CICO strategy may help you lose weight, but it won't necessarily help you create a better relationship with food, or create healthy food habits to ensure that you keep the weight off once you've lost it. 


With CICO, calorie counting is put front and centre. To maintain a stable weight, the calories you take in need to balance, not exceed, those you burn; to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. That is what's important, not what those calories are made up of. For example, if your daily calorie intake is capped at 1 500 in order to lose weight, the theory goes that you could eat ice cream and to fill those 1 500 calories and still lose weight by staying within the calorie limit.

But the reality is, our individual experiences with weight loss and our needs are vastly different, which makes it difficult to accurately determine how much weight can be sustainably lost using the CICO method. And, when it comes to weight management, there are many other factors to consider, such as metabolism and individual health concerns.

As humans we also have different hormonal responses to different types of f(Xkl, even if we have individual health concerns. Reduced hunger and controlling the production of insulin are key for sustainable weight loss. Carbohydrates have the most profound impact on insulin levels. Thus lower carbohydrate intake can help to reduce aprx•tite, as well as limit and control the responses of the hormones insulin, glucagon and leptin. Your endocrine glands secrete hormones using your bloodstream to regulate certain internal processes. When your hormones are in balance, your metabolism is reslx)nsible for maintaining how many calories your body burns when active and when at rest.

The two important hormones that shape your hunger signals are leptin and ghrelin. Put very simply, leptin decreases your appetite, and ghrelin increases it. Once your normal energy maintenance levels are reached, overeating can numb the leptin receptors in your brain, leading to leptin resistance and, ultimately, weight gain over time.

Research suggests that excess insulin can make you fat — and also keep you fat. When you eat sugary foods or drinks, you keep your insulin working overtime to lower your blood sugar levels — which it clæs by storing the excess sugar as fat. Once your body finishes absorbing glucose and other nutrients from your blood-stream, it turns to your body's fat stores for energy, which is when your bcxly enters its fat-burning mode. Insulin increases the storage of fat in the fat cells, and it prevents fat cells from releasing fat to be burnt for energy.

Either way, it's clear that your hormones need to be in a balanced state for you to lose weight, which makes calories less impactful in the process. Rather than cutting calories and dealing with the constant hunger, unrelenting cravings and low energy, use focxl to balance your hormones and these effects.

Different focxls can affect your hormone levels in different ways. Glucuse and fructose are a good example. These two simple sugars provide the same number of calories per gram, but your body metabolises them differently.

A diet too rich in added fructose (not the type naturally found in fruit) is linked to insulin resistance, increased blood sugar levels and higher triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels — all higher than a diet providing the same number of calories from glucose.

On top of that, all calories are not created equal. Remember that your nutrient intake will also impact your hunger and feeling of fullness. A serving of protein will reduce your hunger way more effectively than eating a 100-calorie serving of because fo(k-ls that are rich in protein are more filling than foods that aren't. The sweets will also most likely lead you to overeat later in the day, as glucose tends to increase your ghrelin levels.

It's clear that different affect your metabolism differently: some require more work to digest, absorb or metabolise than others. The measure to quantify this work is called the thermic effect of focxl (TEF). The higher the TEF, the more energy a food source requires to metabolised. Protein has the highest TEF, and fat has the lowest. This means that a high-protein diet requires more calories to metabolised than a low-protein diet does.

In the end, different foods can impact your hormones, hunger, feeling of fullness and metabolism differently regardless of the number of calories they contain.

Although fcrusing on the number of calories you eat day could help you lose weight, it's not a healthy or sustainable solution if you don't take into account the kinds of you're eating too. Eating unhealthy has negative effects regardless of calorie limitations.

Potential problems with a CICO diet

• Vitamin and other nutrient 

• Lack of energy 

• Digestive issues 

• Lack of sustainability

• Inflammation 

• Sluggish metabolism 


A CICO strategy may look good on but weight loss and general health are far more complex than putting numbers into an online basal metabolic rate (BMR) calculator. Our bodily functions are influenced by factors beyond calorie counting, and should carefully considered before jumping onto what seems like the simplest way to drop weight.

CICO is associated with weight loss, but it is not the basis of a healthy or sustainable way of eating. Because CICO places no emphasis on nutrients, it could have significant negative effects. The quality, composition and management of a diet are components that make for a healthy, happy body.

6  ways to change your diet to help control your hormones

• Eat more high-fibre foods, which will help to delay gastric emptying and increase satiety. Cruciferous vegetables, nuts and seeds are riCh in fibre and low in carbohydrates.

• Focus on protein and healthy fats, as this has little impact on your blood sugar. By shitnng your macronutrient composition to include more protein and fat sources, you will ultimately reduce your insulin production by reducing blood sugar spikes.

• Reduce your consumption of highly palatable foods, as these foods lack nutrients and limit your ability to feel hunger. Tasty snack foods like potato chips are difficult to put downonce the packet has been opened; it's much easier to halve your portion of broccoli!

• Limit your consumption of sugar, especially added sugar sources, as too much sugar has an impact on your insulin levels and can lead to increased cravings and hunger. If you're craving sweetness, opt for fibre-rich fresh fruit like berries — the fibre content helps to slow down the blood sugar response.

• Practise mindful eating. Finding mindfulness in your relationship with food can also affect your food intake. When you feel hungry, ask yourself whether you are truly hungry or just bored, stressed or distracted.

• Get good sleep. Various studies have shown that getting less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis can disrupt digestive enzymes, causing hunger and cravings.

How to create a healthy meal pattern


• Select foods based on their nutrient density rather than their calorie content.

• Incorporate foods like healthy fats and proteins, which promote satiety and leave you feeling full for longer. 

• Staying active may not make you lose weight per se, but it's an excellent way to increase serotonin levels, thereby increasing your feeling of wellbeing.

• Prioritise your health by eating foods that address your individual health concerns. 

• Develop useful methods to manage stress.

• Drink enough water.  

By shifting your macronutrient composition to include more protein and fat oourceø, you will ultimately reduce your insulin production by reducing blood sugar.

Carbs always play a role, no matter how small, in our diet. But does it  make a difference what time of day you eat them? Here's what we...


January 2023

Carbs always play a role, no matter how small, in our diet. But does it  make a difference what time of day you eat them? Here's what we know.

As you get accustomed to the low-carb lifestyle, you'll able to start experimenting and work out how much carbs you can eat and still lose weight. Timing your carb intake is another consideration, however.


If your fcrus is on burning calories, experts advise eating your carbs in the morning and at lunchtime. That's when to eat the required daily amount of fruit and vegetables for the day, which will leave you eating minimal carbs in the evening.

Be aware, however, that eating carbs could cause your blood sugar to drop, which can cause fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness and headaches. Low blood sugar also affects sleep patterns, so if you’re experiencing these effects you may need to make your carb portion stretch further into the day instead of finishing it all early.


Those hitting the gym for a quick early-morning session often do so on an empty stomach to maximise fat-burning. But if you’re going for a longer workout and you aren't fat-adapted, you may need a snack. This is a good time to get your carb portion in.

Remember, to refuel properly, you'll need the right kind of carbs: sugary foods will always make you feel hungry and increase your appetite, so focus on complex carbs like sweet potato (a slice of toasted sweet potato bread, for example) and make sure your protein and fat intake is sufficient.


Most of us are less active in the evening, so you may want to rethink having your main portion of carbs in the evening, because you'll likely experience a sugar spike. Carbs are broken down into glucose molecules in the body, which end up circulating in your blood. If you aren't diabetic, your pancreas will secrete insulin to transport the glucose into cells to used for energy — or, if it's not used, to be converted into fat. Research suggests that glucose tolerance is very early in the day. This is apparently due to the beta cells in the pancreas being more in the morning. These cells produce the insulin that is released to lower blood sugar.



Because the keto diet is very low in carbs, with high fat and moderate protein, it's ideal for weight loss. Carbs are restricted to no more than 50 g to enable ketosis, which uses fat for fuel instead of carbs. Eating the carbs around the time you exercise — referred to as a targeted keto diet - can have a positive outcome. 


Some people may experience insomnia on a keto diet, and eating carbs just before bedtime has long been known to help you fall asleep more easily.


If your routine includes intermittent fasting, your carb intake will naturally fall within your eating window, which is great: your fasting lyriod allows your insulin levels to drop again, which helps protect against diabetes and metabolic syndrome.



Most research on the timing of when you eat your carb allowance to the morning, but it depends on your individual needs. For instance, if getting enough sleep is more of an issue for you than losing weight, or you work out in the evening, it's [Ytter to eat your carbs late in the day. But if weight loss is your goal and you exercise in the morning, then eating the bulk of your carb allowance early in the day is the best option for you.


If you suffer from any medical condition and you are on medication, it's important to consult your doctor before you make changes to your diet. The same applies to pregnant women and endurance athletes. If you've been diagnosed with type 1, 2 or gestational diabetes, you should also guided by your doctor or dietician.  

'Research suggests that glucose tolerance is better very early in the day.'

‘If getting enough sleep is more of an issue for you than losing weight, it’s better to eat your carbs late in the day.’

Dark mornings, wet weather and a retrun to more abstemious habits are enough to leave anyone feeling lethargic. But a few simple changes to ...


January 2023

Dark mornings, wet weather and a retrun to more abstemious habits are enough to leave anyone feeling lethargic. But a few simple changes to your daily routine can restock your energy reserves and inject vital firepower. Consider this your wake-up call.


Slept like hell? A single night’s poor sleep won’t diminish your ability to train, says Dr Brinda Christopher, consultant specialist in sport and exercise medicine at London Bridge Hospital. Try 20 minutes of moderate cardio or body-weight training: in a study by the University of Georgia, it helped reduce fatigue symptoms in exhausted people by two thirds.


Nutrients such as B vitamins and magnesium help convert food into energy, “but factors such as stress and excessive alcohol consumption can quickly deplete your supply”, says nutritionist Rob Hobson. If you’re feeling burned out, reignite by serving up some mackerel, beans, spinach or even shredded beef alongside your morning eggs.


If you often feel sluggish after lunch, a nap can give you better focus and creativity, says Dr Michael Breus, co-author of Energize! – “but only if you do it right.” Seven hours after waking is optimal. “This coincides with a drop-off in cortisol and post-lunch dip in blood sugar,” he says. About 45 minutes will allow your blood sugar to restabilise.


Try ‘circadian fasting’: eating your meals as close as possible to daylight hours and ditching the late-night snack. “Energy, sleep, digestion, basically 80 per cent of our bodily functions work according to our circadian rhythm,” explains Dr Amy Shah, author of I’m So Effing Tired. When we’re in sync, we feel energised; when we fall out of rhythm, we feel jet-lagged

5. TAKE 10

If you're worn down but you need to psych yourself up for after-work plans, 10 minutes in the gym can reboot your brain. Hop on a cardio machine for three rounds of 20 seconds at max intensity, with two mins of easy effort between bursts. Not only will this wake you up, says Christopher, but you’ll reap metabolic and hormonal benefits, too..


Tempted to hop on the bus midway through your 10km? In one study, runners who inhaled citrus oil had the energy to run up to 15 per cent faster*. Its potential pep powers extend to the brain, too. Subjects in an Ohio State University trial reported that the scent of lemon oil enhanced their mood.


“Sleep apps and wearables can be hugely inaccurate, so I’d urge people to be led by their own perceptions,” says Christopher. Tuning into your body remains “the most accurate form of assessment”. Plus, a red mark on your sleep app can do real damage: one study by Colorado College found that simply telling people they’ve had poor sleep is enough to deplete their mental reserves.

8. Carb Up Before Bed

Good news: extra carbs with dinner can make you less of a couch potato tomorrow. The amino acid tryptophan – found in high-protein foods – helps you sleep more soundly, but it needs help reaching your brain. Foods such as pasta, spuds and rice trigger insulin release, which drives other amino acids out of the blood – clearing the path for tryptophan.


If feeling drained by your nine-to-five is nothing new, try rating your motivation out of 10 throughout the week, jotting down where you are and what you’re doing. Use this data to guide you, says Elaine Carnegie, founder of wellbeing consultancy Beingworks. Feel more creative in your co-working space but make quicker work of reports in the living room? “Plan your day in a way that you know energises you.”


Sure, you could take a vitamin D supplement – we like Vital’s one, with natural Vitamin D in its most bioactive form, plus mushrooms to support wellbeing – but Christopher has a more appealing prescription. “Travel [as far north as] the latitude of Rome... and you can enjoy the hormone-boosting effects of the sun,” she says. “This can improve energy levels in winter.” Plus research collated by the Harvard Business Review found that taking your annual leave can increase productivity by a third and boost creative thinking threefold.


Forgive us the cringeworthy cliché, but it seems love really does give you wings. A study in Psychophysiology found that when participants thought about a romantic partner, they experienced an energising rise in blood glucose. We reckon looking at photos of your dog would have a similar effect. 


“If you’re working from home, go outside at the time your commute would normally be,” says Carnegie. Exposure to morning light elevates mental energy and primes us to fall asleep faster in the evening. Another reason not to wait until 3pm to take a break: a PLOS One study found that those who had more exposure to sunlight before 12pm were leaner than those who headed out later.


Slumped posture is associated with low energy and improving yours is linked to reduced fatigue. Christopherrecommends breaking to do squats during the work day, as well as the YTW routine (Google it). Your time in the gym can help, too: aim for a 2:1 ratio of posterior (back, glutes, hamstrings) to anterior (the over-worked chest) exercises. Deadlift yourself up.


Social media and content-sharing sites are only an energy drain if you allow them to pull you away from work. Instead, deliberately schedule a few minutes’ browsing every two hours. A University of New South Wales study found that humorous clipsimprove productivity when our brains are flagging, while survey data from the Indiana University Bloomington Media School found that people who watch heart-warming animal videos report feeling energised afterwards.


Fibre might be less sexy than protein, but tracking the latter while neglecting the former is a common error, says Shah. “It’s the main food for your gut bacteria.” And those bacteria are working up an appetite, assisting with everything from immunity to hormone function. Abnormalities have even been linked to chronic fatigue. Eat prebiotic veg such as leeks, artichokes, garlic and asparagus


Creatine (what did you think we meant?) has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and ability to tackle mentally challenging tasks following a night’s lost sleep*. Just another reason to give the strengthboosting supp a spot in your stack.


There’s nothing better than a moan to a colleague – but be wary of the always miserable: researchers at the University of North Carolina found that employees who talked to a worn-out workmate at the start of their shift performed worse. Keep chat positive to start the day – save gripes for late afternoon.


A minimalist set-up looks nice on Insta, but in the real world, your sparse workspace might be working against you. According to Dr Craig Knight, a psychologist at the University of Exeter, research consistently shows that a clutter-free space saps motivation. In fact, employees who customise their desks are up to 32 per cent more productive.


Binaural beats – an auditory illusion created when you listen to two tones with slightly different frequencies – are purported to do everything from heighten alertness to ease stress. There might be a placebo effect at play but a recent study suggests their benefits are legit: research from the University of Southern Denmark showed that plugging in for 12 minutes was sufficient to counteract mental fatigue and boost attention. Search for some on Spotify.


Researchers from New Zealand (of course) have found that healthy men who added two kiwis to their diets experienced a drop in fatigue and depression*. This is likely attributed to the vitamin C content, as kiwis are one of the best sources. Need further persuasion? Upping your levels can protect your muscles from age-related decline. 

No time to hit the mat area for a post-workout stretch? Here’s what to do after exercise if you’re too busy for a full-on recovery session  ...


January 2023

No time to hit the mat area for a post-workout stretch? Here’s what to do after exercise if you’re too busy for a full-on recovery session 

Rest and recovery are an important part of any exercise programme, but let’s face it, there’s not always the time for a lengthy stretch session. If you often find yourself foregoing foam rolling because you’ve got to rush off somewhere, you need a way to maximise your workout recovery that doesn’t require a huge time investment. Good news! We’ve tapped the pros for their speedy recovery methods, so you can squeeze in a workout and enjoy a little less soreness afterwards, too. Hooray! 


Topical magnesium often goes under the radar as a great way to support muscle recovery. Levels of magnesium drop rapidly during exercise, as it is an electrolyte used for muscle contraction and is lost when we sweat. Magnesium plays a key role in our body’s ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), so we need it to sustain energy. Lactic acid build-up can also be caused by low levels of cellular magnesium, which can lead to muscle soreness and cramping, plus magnesium supports getting a good night’s sleep.


You’ve probably tried a massage gun (a handheld device that sends targeted pulses of pressure to muscle tissue to ease aches and stiffness), but its recommendable investing in a PowerDot, a powerful electrical muscle stimulator from Therabody that uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to recharge recovery. It gives different recovery modalities and can even integrate with Strava to help you understand what you’ve worked hard on.


What could be easier than putting on a pair of leggings to power-up your recovery after a workout? The CEP Recovery Pro Tights, extend to the foot and use compression technology to boost circulation to hard-worked muscles (helping the body get rid of waste products and repairing muscles quicker). Putting on a pair of compression socks, tights or leggings after a hard session is such an easy way to aid the recovery process. Go to any big sporting competition and you will see athletes walking around in compression clothing. Even if they aren’t sure why the tech works, experience tells them their muscles feel better as a result.


If you’ve slotted in a workout around a busy working day, often it’s easy to skip a stretch so you can get to your inbox as soon as possible. A great solution is to carve out a five-minute mid-morning or afternoon break, using your chair as a stretching prop. You can do some brilliant shoulder extension and spinal rotation with zero faff, or try opening up your hips and glutes in an elevated pigeon. Try this:

1. Stand and face the chair base. 

2. Bend your right knee into your chest and place it horizontally across the base of the chair. Your knee should be roughly in line with your foot.

3. Your other leg should be extended behind you.

4. Lean forward slightly if you want to intensify this stretch. 

5. Hold for 60 secs on each side.


No matter how little time you have to dedicate to recovery, a smart refuelling strategy is crucial. But that doesn’t have to mean chugging back protein shakes. Unless you train multiple times per day or very intensely across the week, it will likely be more important to focus on your diet as a whole. A wellbalanced meal or snack with good-quality protein and carbs, combined with a source of healthy fat, within a couple of hours of your session will do the trick. Try a homemade shake or hummus and rice cakes to bridge the gap before your next meal, or an omelette with avocado, spinach and tomato, or chicken breast with steamed vegetables and wholegrain noodles as a post-workout meal.


Make a rehydrating after intense exercise a priority to help optimise her recovery. Always be make sure to drink tons of water and electrolytes. Also drink tart cherry juice, which helps with recovery, after every workout.


Use the five minutes you have for stretching wisely by working on the areas that feel restricted and prioritising the muscles you’ve just worked out. Focusing directly on the muscles you’ve activated will help to increase blood flow to those muscle groups, which accelerates recovery and reduces any residual soreness. If you did a lower body workout, target your glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings. For a post-run stretch, target hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and lower back. For stretches that offer more bang for your buck, Skinner recommends the pigeon pose (works hip flexors, hamstrings, lower back and inner thighs) and downward dog (works hamstrings, hips, shoulders, spine and calves).


Infrared products – thermal products that encourage the vasodilation of blood vessels to boost blood flow and speed up the delivery of repair agents to tissues – are moving up the post-workout agenda. Indeed, GB Ironman triathlete Raya Hubbell swears by Kymira Infrared Compression Socks , which use both infrared and muscular compression technology to boost performance and accelerate recovery. ‘It’s part of my post-training routine now: I finish training, stretch and cool down, grab a protein shake, shower and then immediately put on Kymira products,’ she says. ‘Whether it be leggings, sleepwear, socks or running sleeves, I am reliant on my Kymira wardrobe and have noticed a significant reduction in running-related pain and DOMS.’

We start our new series on yoga anatomy with the abdominals, key muscles that aid functional fitness, boost sporting performance and make ad...


January 2023

We start our new series on yoga anatomy with the abdominals, key muscles that aid functional fitness, boost sporting performance and make advanced yoga poses more accessible.

Looking for strong and healthy abs? The benefits go far beyond a six-pack. Indeed, training your abdominal muscles helps improve your posture, enhance your balance and reduce the risk of lower back pain. Toned abs help boost your sporting performance, too, as if weak they can lead to greater fatigue, poorer endurance and more injuries. Of course, strong abs also have a range of functional benefits you’ll appreciate on a daily basis – from breathing better to carrying the shopping or lifting the kids. And when it comes to your yoga practice, strengthening your abs with targeted asanas will help make poses previously thought unreachable well within your capabilities.

ABS 101

First up, a little anatomy. Your abs consist of four main muscles. The deepest layer, the transverse abdominis, is located between your ribs and pelvis, wrapping around your middle from front to back. Its fibres are horizontal so, when contracted, draw in your torso and help maintain the right level of pressure in your abdomen. The familiar six-pack comes courtesy of rectus abdominis, the top layer of your abs. It’s actually two parallel muscles with vertical fibres, separated by a length of connective tissue which runs the length of your torso. As well as enabling you to bend forwards, it compresses your belly area and supports abs stability. The final two  muscles, the internal and external obliques (see box, Muscle Focus, opposite) are responsible for twisting your body from side to side.


Aim to complete the following sequence once or twice a week. The more consistent you are, the quicker you’ll see results. Warm up the spine in all directions, forward and back, sideways and with rotations (try cat/cow, tiger pose, child’s pose with arms extended to each side and thread the needle), then perform each pose in order for 5 deep breaths and repeat on both sides of the body. Take a rest in child’s pose, then repeat the sequence, finishing with a few minutes in savasana.


Internal and external obliques

Take a deeper dive into these important abdominal muscles.

Anatomy: External obliques, the largest and the most superficial of the side abdominal muscles. They begin on your lower eight ribs and run diagonally to your front hip (iliac crest). Internal obliques, a broad thin sheet of muscle lying beneath the external obliques. They begin on the iliac crest and run diagonally to the lower three or four ribs.

Action: The external obliques help rotate the trunk, while the internal obliques flex the trunk and compress and stabilise the abs, helping support the internal organs against the pull of gravity.

Everyday use: Digging, raking

Sports use: Boxing, tennis, baseball, rowing, gymnastics

Common problems: Lumber spine/lower back issues

Stretching pose: Bridge or wheel

Strengthening pose: Reclining twist, knees together


Seated twist

GOOD FOR: Wakes up the muscles along your spine, helps prevent injury when twisting in sports or everyday life

ABS FOCUS: On the side you twist towards: external obliques engage, internal obliques stretch. The reverse occurs on the side you twist away from

ALIGNMENT: Sit evenly on both hips. Lengthen the spine on an inhalation, twist on the exhalation. Draw in the kidney area on the side you twist towards. Make it harder by folding the bottom leg, taking the foot towards the opposite buttock.

Side plank

GOOD FOR: Strengthens abdominals, while shoulders, arms and legs work hard to maintain balance

ABS FOCUS: Rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and your obliques engage to keep the spine stable and compress internal organs

ALIGNMENT: Keep feet, hips and shoulders stacked vertically, don’t let hips dip. Make it easier by resting on your lower forearm; make it harder by raising your top leg (pictured) or by scooping your top arm under your torso, rotating your trunk as you do so.


GOOD FOR: Wrist, arm, shoulder and abs strength, and balance

ABS FOCUS: Although your arms are working hard, abs strength is key, supporting you and keeping you stable. Engage transverse abdominis before lifting feet to ensure good balance.

ALIGNMENT: Spread fi ngers wide, hands shoulder-width apart. Rest your knees on your upper arms and gradually transfer your weight to your hands. Focus on the fl oor about 50cm in front of you to aid your balance. Make it easier by switching to tripod pose, like a headstand with palms on the fl oor, but knees resting on your upper arms.


GOOD FOR: Strengthens the legs and abs, leaving you feeling grounded

ABS FOCUS: Transverse abdominis engages to give stability to spine. External obliques stretch and internal obliques rotate the spine on upper side, external obliques rotate spine on lower side.

ALIGNMENT: Align the back heel with the front arch. Internally rotate the back hip and externally rotate the front hip. Rest lower hand on shin, foot or floor, whichever maintains best form, and focus on lower side waist (external obliques) to power the twist.

Supported headstand

GOOD FOR: Strengthening the upper body and abs, improving breathing

ABS FOCUS: Rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and your obliques engage to keep spine neutral and prevent you falling over. They also compress your internal organs.

ALIGNMENT: From kneeling, place elbows shoulder-width apart and rest head into cupped hands. Raise hips into dolphin plank, walk feet inwards. Push down with elbows and raise one foot, then the other, into a reverse tuck position before straightening your legs, engaging abs throughout. Use a wall for support if helpful.

Fed up with always being sidelined due to a niggle? ore than 1 million Brits go to A&E with sport injuries each year according to the BM...


January 2023

Fed up with always being sidelined due to a niggle? ore than 1 million Brits go to A&E with sport injuries each year according to the BMJ’s Emergency Medicine Journal. Make sure you’re not one of them by adding these easy tricks to your recovery regime


One of the best ways to prevent injury is through strength-building exercises. A review of studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at more than 7,500 participants, and found strength-training programmes reduced sports injuries by an average of 66 per cent. ‘Strength training can promote growth in ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage and connective tissue, which is particularly important for sports where you’re using the same muscle groups over and over again,’ says Christian Allen, product expert at Runners Need ( To get the most out of your strength training, make exercises targeted and specific. ‘For example, runners should incorporate unilateral exercises such as lunges and step-ups [see page 36 for an overview of unilateral training], as well as those that help core strength. Compound total body exercises, including squats and deadlifts, are also good to help strengthen the muscles that you use when you run,’ he adds.


Make it part of your regular routine and foam rolling won’t just boost flexibility and increase your range of motion, research shows it’s also a promising tool in the prevention and treatment of neuromuscular fatigue and sportsrelated muscle injuries. ‘Foam rolling can also help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), as it encourages blood flow to the muscles, which aids recovery,’ adds Maria Eleftheriou, head trainer at Psycle ( ‘The roller starts to break down the muscle fibres and helps carry away waste to decrease inflammation. You can also roll as part of your warm-up routine, as it increases range of motion to protect from injury.


• Sit with your left leg extended and your right knee bent with your right foot on the floor. Place the roller beneath the back of your left leg towards your glutes, and lean back on your hands. You can also explore the side of your glutes and into your IT band on the outside of your left leg whilst in this position.

• Lift your bodyweight off the floor and begin to slowly roll up and down towards just before the back of your knee and then up towards your glutes. Be mindful of how this feels for your wrists.

• Repeat on your right side, targeting each leg for between 30 seconds to a minute.

• Then repeat, but with the roller placed behind the calf muscle on each side, working back and forth and side to side on the foam roller to target different points in the muscle


• Start in forearm plank, with the roller under your right quad muscles (front thigh).

• Slowly move down the roller until just above your knee and then back up in the opposite direction until you reach you hip fl exor.

• Repeat on your left side, targeting each leg for 30 seconds to a minute.

• Alternatively, perform the move on 


• Start in forearm plank, with the roller under your hip fl exors.

• Perform small rolling movements up and down, diagonally and side to side for 30 seconds to a minute to target different points in the muscle

• Alternatively, place the roller under one hip fl exor and bend the opposite knee to the side to target one side of the body at a time


• Lie on your back, knees bent, feet fl at on the fl oor. Place the foam roller about a third of the way down your back (on your bra strap line), your arms by your sides or crossed over your chest.

• Lift into a low bridge and begin to gently role up towards the lower part of the neck and then back down to the start position.

• Make sure to roll both sides equally, avoiding putting pressure on your bones and avoiding the lower back.

• Stay here for up to a minute, take a 30-second break and repeat if comfortable. 


You don’t need to seek out a professional to reap the benefits of massage. ‘Self-massage immediately after exercise will significantly reduce soreness, fatigue and tightness within the next 72 hours,’ says massage expert Beata Aleksandrowicz ( ‘Squeeze the muscles on your arms and legs between your thumbs and fingers, rotating and kneading the tissue with small grabbing movements,’ she suggests. Or try firm pressure on knots of muscle on the shoulders and upper back. ‘Using the finger pads of your fingers, press pressure points on the out-breath, hold for a few seconds and release, to avoid an accumulation of lactic acid. Otherwise, you’ll feel stiffness in the muscles and that will put pressure on joints and ligaments.’ Aid the process with Ishga Muscle Recovery Oil (£39,, with anti-inflammatory rosemary, eucalyptus and rose geranium oils.


‘Performing an exercise with incorrect technique can lead to undue stress being placed on joints, muscles and supporting structures such as tendons and ligaments,’ warns PT and fitness coach Tom Cuff-Burnett (@tomcuffb_fitness). Cardio is less of an injury risk than resistance, but you still need to be careful. ‘When running, for example, poor alignment can cause issues with ankles, knees, hips and back. Get someone to assess your gait to diagnose any issues like overpronation (collapsing of the arch) or ankle eversion (ankles rolling out) to prevent issues developing.’ For resistance work or weight training, the most common fault is rounding of the back, says Cuff-Burnett. ‘It’s usually caused by attempting to lift too heavy a load [eg when deadlifting], and can create an imbalance in the distribution of load between the hips and lower back.’ Prevent your back rounding excessively by driving sufficiently though your legs and creating tension throughout your body as you lift.


Warming muscles before training and easing out tension afterwards will go a long way to keeping injuries at bay. But which type of stretches are best? Static – where you sit, stand or lie down and hold a single position for 30 seconds or more – or dynamic – which get your body moving and prepare it for action? ‘You should do dynamic stretching before anything that’s going to increase range of movement at the joints, as this will increase blood flow to muscles,’ advises PT Josh Ivory (@josh_ivory). ‘Static stretching decreases lactic acid build-up, which will decrease DOMS and improve flexibility over time.’ Try Ivory’s top three stretches to keep you injury-free when doing a lot of running – Laying hamstring curl, Elevated hip flexor stretch and Piriformis stretch.


Yoga improves joint and core stability as well as core strength, all of which will keep you safer when working out. ‘Yoga will give you stronger foundations, more balanced strength throughout your body and you’ll move with a stronger core as well,’ says Ivory. ‘You use core stability for pretty much every activity and every lift, so the stronger your core is, the less likely you are to sustain injuries.’ (See page 70 for dedicated yoga moves that target your abs). Additionally, focus on standing poses such as chair, warrior II and extended side angle for whole-body strength, and spend time in tree, warrior III and extended hand-to-big toe pose for working on your balance.


You may not feel like a heavy workout while you’re menstruating, but there are definite advantages to knowing which phase of your cycle you’re in and adjusting your training accordingly if you want to avoid training mishaps. Not convinced it matters? Research in the BMJ found injury incidence rates were 47 and 32 per cent higher in the late follicular phase (days 7-13 in a 28-day cycle). Specifically, muscle ruptures, tears, strains, cramps and tendon injuries/ ruptures occurred twice as often. The reason? One theory is that while you’re likely to have more energy as oestrogen levels are rising (making it a good time to do strength training and HIIT – high-intensity interval training) higher oestrogen levels can make your ligaments lax, increasing your risk of injury.


Try the foam roller sequence, below, from Maria Eleftheriou to target some of the major muscle groups in the body. ‘Start by rolling your bodyweight back forth gently, with the roller against the target muscle,’ she says. ‘Use your breath to inhale and exhale deeply as it can be quite intense if your muscles are particularly sore. When you hit a tender spot, try to hold yourself there for a few deep breaths. Roll for about 20 minutes straight after exercising, then repeat 24 and 48 hours after.  ‘You can foam roll two to three times a week, depending on how often you exercise.’