Editorials

Why FitFarms include Aerobic Classes on the Fitness Course

beginAt FitFarms we try to give all boot camp clients a range of classes and activities that they may have or may not have tried before.

I teach a lot of the Aerobics well, all of the Aerobics from Basic Classes, LBT (Legs, Bums & Tums) to mad high energy classes to give people the chance to try these classes as most people will never step foot in to a Aerobics Class let alone try one!!

There’s a few reasons why we do aerobics on the Fitness Courses:

Weight Loss

Aerobics is well know for helping people lose weight and maintaining the weight as you are always on the move burning calories!

Muscle Toning

You will be toning the muscles of the entire body especially the legs and core. The legs will kick start your metabolism like a fire hence burning calories in he class and afterwards. Also, we do body toning classes that will target the not so toned parts of your body but, still working to burn calories.

Balance and Agility

As you are moving like a mad person during the class, you are constantly working on you balance and agility. You are working on this through the fast change of direction and movements that make your muscles, tendons and joints move and work together.

Co – ordination

This is one of the main reasons that people and especially men don’t do Aerobics is because of the Coordination part of the fitness class. But, if the class starts slowly, you can get the moves correct before moving on and the Instructor will go through the combinations slowly at first before moving on. This is why on a FitFarms course we always do Intro to all the different classes including Aerobics.

Brain Stimulant

Might sound funny and this part does kind of go together with the last two points above but, the class will also help your brain to react to fast change of pace form moving arms to moving the entire body up and down etc. So, a aerobics class doesn’t just workout your body, but it also works your brain too. Hopefully not to hard!

So, those are a few points why at FitFarms we always put Aerobics in to our Fitness Boot Camp Courses for everyone to try and enjoy with all of the above benefits.

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FitFarms Fitness Retreat Wake Up Workouts

exercise-to-be-fitnot-skinny-eat-to-nourish-your-body-and-always-ignore-health-quoteBegin with Mobility

Movement is so important to our health and well-being and should be always in the back of your mind where exercise activity and quality of life are concerned. So start your day off right with some flowing movements allowing for improved range of pain free movement less restriction in movement and an improved level of energy. I find mobilisers more effective than stretches for me but the purpose is to loosen the muscles and joints off… so what ever works for you.. I like to combine movements into flows so that it helps with the overall effect, take a look at some of our mobility videos if you need some ideas. 20-30 minutes should be optimal for this kind of routine but if you don’t have that sort of time don’t worry; even a ten minute routine would be sufficient to “start your day the right way!

Next is aerobic!

Aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping and the oxygen flowing around the body, increasing energy and metabolic rate, it has a very positive effect on your self confidence your focus and your ability to manage stress throughout the day. Think about it this way; what ever your long term goal and/or short term goal it takes small steps to get there and if you can start each day the right way you are much more likely to achieve your goals. Again purely for the purpose of giving yourself the right start to a day 20-30 minutes will have the desired mental benefits and be enough to wake your body up and boost your energy levels but to get some real health and fitness benefits this would be an absolute minimal amount.

Another very beneficial technique to use in your wake up routine is a breathing routine.. again it will help with oxygen flow, mood and energy levels, concentration and focus and managing your stress throughout the day. As little as 10 minutes could be enough to have benefit in your day to day life. Try breathing in for 4 seconds holding for 7 seconds and breathing out for 8 seconds, its best done in a relaxed position like lying down and try to make full use of your diaphragm and core muscles.

Try to make use of 1, 2 or all of the above ideas on a daily basis to improve your start to the day

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FitFarms Weight Loss Retreat Outdoor Training Routine

Fall In Love WithWARM UP

10 minute jog, walk and jog.

MAIN WORKOUT

Back exercise

  • (Facing the tree with the Resistance band wrapped around tree at head height)
  • Straight arm shoulder mobilisers (make circular movements through the shoulders in both directions)
  • Straight arm pulldowns (lean slightly forward and pull the band down with straight arms) 3-4 x 30 seconds each 30 seconds rest after completing a set of each exercise

Chest exercise

  • (Place one resistance band around the tree attach the wrist straps to your wrists and the resistance band wrapped around the tree)
  • With just one arm connected to the resistance band position yourself in a press up pose side ways on to the tree so the resistance is only on one side, be a good distance away so there is reasonable tension on the band complete a press up then lift the arm (with the resistance) up and in across the chest is in a chest fly movement… 4 x 6 reps (2 sets a side with the resistance band) 20 seconds rest in between sets and build sets up to 4 a side..
  • Pull ups or pulldowns (using resistance bands)
  • 5×5 reps slow and steady

Press ups

  • As above but this time, facing the tree and after each press up lift the arm out of press up position and move it as thou holding a snooker cue (it’s called a renegade kickback and focuses on the tricep) with the band attached to your wrist
  • 4×6 reps build up to 4×6 a side
  • Single arm split stance row (with resistance band wrapped around tree)
  • 5 x 5-10 reps each side slow and steady squeeze

And finally…

  • Tabata routine for sprints
  • Sprint for full 20 seconds 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds

The above routine is great for outdoor exercise with minimal equipment, it covers cardio vascular fitness and muscular endurance mainly but will also help with some strength, mobility and will hopefully give you a great sense of achievement.

Image credit: Pinterest Fitness Motivation

 

Balance, and How Sometimes Life Just Gets in the Way

CLAIRE PHOTO_3We have just completed a very successful week at Fitfarms weight loss camp and fitness retreat in the heart of the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. This week was ladies only and we put our lovely clients through their paces in the onsite studio and opened their minds with a series of helpful workshops. One topic that seemed to arise frequently throughout the duration of this course was how to maintain a positive mindset and in some cases it was evident the pressure these beautiful and determined ladies were putting on themselves. I think it’s important to realise the journey to a healthier and happier you is to find and embrace the things you enjoy in life. For example, if you don’t enjoy the gym, you shouldn’t be in there. Enjoyment leads to sustainability and there are plenty of other ways to obtain a healthy lifestyle and become fitter outside of using a gym.

Unfortunately we live in a society where social media creates a huge platform for comparison. It’s shoved in front of our faces every single day and everyone is harping on about a balanced lifestyle… but what even is balance? Quite often in these situations there is a lack of honesty so we never actually see the real balance. This makes it difficult for people to contextualise their want for certain things, (especially those naughty treats each and every one of us craves) and understand how their levels of ‘balance’ will have an effect on their long term goals. The fact is, the less healthy scale of the balance is never broadcasted by already established people with seemingly perfect lifestyles and this creates a sense of intimidation, resulting in the rest of us placing this unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Different lifestyles will result in different levels of balance, for instance one person may have a fantastic fitness regime and rather than deprive themselves completely, they sneak in the odd treat when they feel like it. For you it may be a case of one week you may have your nutrition and exercise on point and feel great for it, the next week you may be travelling for work, on the road, eating for convenience and not even getting enough sleep to provide you with the energy for a workout. The thing you have to realise is that this is okay! We are all human and the importance lies in looking at the bigger picture. If you can look at the reasons why you had to make those choices and accept them then you can rationalise your balance in a healthy way. Feeling guilty for having an off week, putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and self sabotage all lead to destructive habits and are these are often the start of a negative downward spiral, even if your journey was going great before hand. Some obstacles in life are simply unavoidable, but if you can accept the reasons for these obstacles and conquer them with certainty and mental strength then you’re already half way there!

Family Bonding through Yoga

Family YogaThese days people are so preoccupied with juggling daily activities that we don’t even get to spend enough time with our families. Add that to the fact that it can be hard to squeeze in a proper fitness regimen into our packed schedules. As we all know, family time and getting exercise are both important for one’s well-being, so why not combine the two?

Why not try a yoga session with the entire family? There are quite a few benefits to starting a fitness and meditation routine with people you love dearly such as the following:

First off, the yoga poses or asanas are a great way to become more balanced. There’s a lot of stretching and bending in yoga, making it great for physical fitness – even the older members can participate because they can use yoga props so they don’t have to strain themselves so much to practice. Also, because of the meditation involved, it’s also a good mental and emotional exercise.

Speaking of meditation, yoga is an excellent stress-reliever. Breathing and focusing techniques taught in yoga can help members calm themselves and find respite from whatever’s pressuring them.

Because this ancient art helps balance the body, mind, and spirit, doing the centuries-old exercises as a family can help strengthen bonds. When the mind and body are relaxed, everyone’s moods will improve so that the family members can get fit while learning more about being more sensitive to each other. It’s a great way to be more open to each other and to encourage everyone to get some exercise.

Plus, compared to doing it alone where one can easily make excuses to put it off, doing yoga with family means everyone can stay on the path to health and fitness – and members can also help each other through the more difficult asanas so that it’s safer for everyone.

Now to get the entire family more excited about the prospect of doing yoga together, here are a few tips:

  1. After a few sessions getting the basics down, it might be a good idea to let each member be the “instructor” so that they can come up with a sequence they want to do. Let family members get creative!
  2. If it’s too hard to invite family members initially, one way to get them to join you is to practice where they can see you. Once they see how much you enjoy it or how relaxed you’re becoming thanks to the practice, they may consider pulling up a mat beside you.
  3. Getting creative with games, costumes, and stories is a great strategy for families with younger children. Integrating music and dance-like elements may pique the interest of toddlers and preschool-aged kids and can serve as an introduction to yoga.
  4. As mentioned earlier, there are props and equipment like yoga sticks and bricks that can help older and less-flexible family members perform the poses that they otherwise couldn’t. It doesn’t have to be scary as long as everyone is encouraging and helpful to one another.
  5. Plan a yoga holiday. There are many family-friendly vacation sites all over the world that are perfect for the yoga-practicing family. These fitness resorts range from luxury farm settings, mountainside retreats, and beach resorts and teach everything from yoga to pilates to proper nutrition, and one can definitely find an option perfect for any budget.

So take the opportunity to get fit and healthy and spend time with your family by doing yoga (or even other exercises like Zumba, aerobics, and outdoor activities like hiking or football). It may be one of the best things you do for your loved ones.


A Health and Fitness article by FitFarms.co.uk
Check out FitFarms for Families, a fitness camp designed for parents and children.
Image Credit: Orlando Family Magazine

Improve Flexibility and Muscle Lengthening

i-dont-stop-when-im-tired-i-stop-when-im-done-quoteIf you are trying to improve your flexibility, sometimes it can feel disheartening because the progress seems slow. This blog will explain how muscle lengthens over time and understanding it will hopefully give you some patience with your body.

If we zoom into a muscle we find individual muscle fibres, running along the length of the muscle. If we zoom in even further we can see that the fibre is made up of units, called sarcomeres. Think of sarcomeres as beads on a string. Each sarcomere is made up of overlapping filaments. It is the movement of these filaments over one another than shortens the muscle fibre and contracts the muscle.

When we spend time in a position that shortens our muscles (for example sitting in a chair which shortens our hamstrings) the sarcomeres are bunched up i.e. there is a lot of overlap between the filaments. This is not an advantageous position for the muscle as it cannot generate much force. The body recognises and responds by removing sarcomeres from the muscle fibre. There are now fewer beads along that string and the muscle becomes, quite literally, shorter.

While it is a good thing that our bodies are able to adapt to our most frequently used positions, it is also problematic when we spend long periods of time in the same positions. Chairs, sofas, car seats, waiting room chairs, seats on the bus, train and planes all put our hamstrings in that same shortened position. Overtime the muscle gets shorter and our mobility suffers as a result.

Lengthening the muscles isn’t just a case of stretching something that is tight, it is a case of re adapting the muscle to a longer length and encouraging additional sarcomeres to be added. We need equal information to lengthen as we give the muscle to shortern . This requires spending plenty of time in positions where the muscle is lengthened. For the hamstrings this means walking, standing, sitting on the floor with legs outstretched. Over time it does make a difference.

We do all of these activities at the FitFarms holiday weight loss retreats in Derbyshire, Dorset and Worcester. Come and join us and improve your flexibility, slowly but surely.

Image Credit: www.picturequotes.com

Function for life, not exercise

Exercise TodayWe hear it a lot these days, it is one of the new things that personal trainers and instructors like to say they use and clients like to hear it’s what they are doing. I think we need to be clear on what function is especially where exercise for gains and exercise for lifestyle are concerned. Function for life is a healthy and mobile body, a well balanced approach aimed at maintaining and sustaining a good quality of life, not exercising to excess or dieting on and off for the rest of our lives. When we exercise for development be it sport, work or aesthetic we aim to improve on what we are, in order to do this we need to grow to push past and out of our own comfort zones this requires more effort, focus and specific exercises, it requires time and effort that for some would be difficult to manage around daily life and other priorities.

At all of our weight loss retreats, Derbyshire, Worcestershire, Dorset, Spain and all the sites we plan to open this year, this is a focal point. Not everyone is looking for the kind of exercise regime or intensity that is delivered in most gyms, studios, boot camps or weight loss retreats but some are and in order to deliver long term results it is important to make the long term changes based on what suits you and your lifestyle, to make it manageable and sustainable and to better understand what you need vs what you want, this is what we will focus on at our first course of 2017, our Dorset weight loss retreat will be a variety of everything from intensive exercise to mindful movement. It will be holistic and it will be results orientated because even in the group environment it will be an individual experience.


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Walking Exercise, Forest Bathing and Weight Loss Retreat at FitFarms

WalkingThis week at the FitFarms fitness and weight loss holiday retreat in Dorset we took a number of walks and were able to appreciate the lovely autumn colours on the trees. It has been a really nice autumn for the leaves this year and they have been looking especially vibrant around the lanes and villages where we have been walking this week.

Having lovely colours and scenery is one of the most overlooked benefits of walking outdoors but there is a good scientific evidence base to support the health benefits of spending time in nature. In Japan there is a practice called ‘forest bathing’ where people spend time in forests to help recover from stress and illness. It is so effective that it is offered on some insurance plans!

The weeks at FitFarms usually include several walks of between three and six miles. For those of you who are hoping to be pushed in terms of exercise there is always the option to run all or part of the route. For those of you who feel daunted by walking long distances, there are also options for shorter walks, and everyone is free to go at there own pace and we make sure that no one gets left behind.


Image Credit: Fitday.com

Tips for Making Batch Cooking Enjoyable and Healthy

At the FitFarms holiday retreat in Dorset this week we talked during our mentoring groups sessions about batch cooking. Batch cooking can be a really good way to use your time efficiently and still eat healthy meals throughout the week.

Many of our clients have busy lives with work and family commitments taking up much of their time. It can seem daunting to some people to have to find extra time to prepare healthy meals from scratch. Not everyone enjoys cooking, so cooking meals every day can seem like a chore. This is not what you want when you are trying to put more of an emphasis on healthy eating.

One solution might be batch cooking. Batch cooking is when you make several portions of a meal or meals in one go. It is more efficient because you do all of the shopping, prep work, cooking and cleaning all at once. The meals can then be stored in the fridge or the freezer and when you come to eat them there is much less work to do.

How often you do a batch cook is completely up to you. Some people get into a regular routine of preparing all of their meals for the week in one session, perhaps on the weekend. For others it works to do it a few times a week. Not all of your meals have to be prepared this way, so you could just do a batch cook once or twice a month to stock up your freezer so that you always have plenty of home-cooked easy options for when life gets really hectic.

Here are some easy tips for making batch cooking enjoyable and helping you with your goals.

  • Make sure the meals are balanced. After a week at FitFarms and the workshops with Lesley our nutritionist you should have a really good idea of how to put together a balanced plate. You also get a recipe pack with lots of ideas.
  • Make the cooking experience enjoyable. Put on some music, an audio book or a DVD box set while you cook. Cook with your partner, your kids or invite some friends around who also want to batch cook.
  • Portion the food out straight away and put it in the fridge or freezer as soon as it’s cooled. That way you wont be tempted to eat more of it than you would want to at the first sitting.

The Toe Box and a Good Fit Trainer Running Shoes

running shoes and toe boxYou might be wondering how to choose the right shoe for coming to your next fitness holiday retreat in Derbyshire, or maybe if you are just getting back into fitness, or increasing the amount of exercise you are doing you and want to get a new pair of trainers. There is a lot of choice out there, so how do you decide what shoe is best?

The reason there is so much choice is because there are a lot of different factors that go into a shoe design. The instructors at FitFarms can talk to you more about footwear on your course, and we even do a stretch and strengthening session looking just at the feet; the muscles in the foot and lower legs. Just to give you an idea of some of the things to consider, this is a blog about one particular part of the shoe; the toe-box.

The toe box is (you guessed it!) the part of the shoe where the toes go, the section that is forward of the laces. It is really important that you toes have enough room to move in the toe box. If they don’t you won’t be able to use your feet to balance as well, the muscles in between the toes will become weak and stiff, and you risk developing bunions (where the big toe starts to creep in towards the others), not to mention blisters and ingrown toenails!

So how do you decide if the toe box is right for you? There are some easy ways to tell. First, check to see if your trainer has a removable insole – most trainers do – pull it out and place it on the ground. Stand on it, as if your foot was inside the shoe, and spread your toes. If your toes are hanging off the edge of your insole then they might be too narrow for you to be able to move your toes in their full range of movement. If you can’t take the insole out, stand on a piece of paper with your toes spread out as wide as you can. Get a friend to trace around your spread out toes and foot. Place the whole shoe on top of the tracing and see if the toe box covers the foot print (bearing in mind that the inside of the shoe will be slightly narrower than the outside.

The reason it is important to do this with spread out toes (rather than just seeing if your foot fits inside the shoe) is that our toes spread for a reason! Our feet have the potential to be very dexterous. This dexterity is important for balance. Also, the foot needs to be able to move in order to keep the tissues healthy, as it is movement that draws in blood full of nutrients and oxygen. If your feet are crammed into shoes that are too narrow the tissues become starved of these vital nutrients.

So make sure you are feeding you feet right by wearing shoes with a good fit!


Special blog post from one of our FitFarms Health and Fitness instructors.

Image Credit: RunnerConnect.com