Editorials

Working at FitFarms by Rebecca

Rebecca FitFarmsHi my name is Rebecca and I am the newest member of the FitFarms staff team. In this post I’m going to be writing a bit about myself and my first impressions of working at FitFarms.

My background is in soft-tissue therapy so I am fascinated by the human body and the way that it moves. I am excited to work with FitFarms so I can use my skills to help people improve their mobility and enjoy a more active lifestyle, whether that is high intensity exercise or just the activities of daily life. When I am not learning about the human body I enjoy using my own body to rock climb, hike and cycle.

The first thing that struck me when I arrived at Fit Farms Derbyshire is the scenery. The cottages are surrounded by woods and set beside a lovely little lake. The surrounding area is covered in rolling, green hills; perfect for getting off-site for longer walks. The hills provide wonderful views across the Derbyshire Dales (once you’ve got to the top, of course!)

One of the things that attracted me to the role at FitFarms is the holistic approach of the program, which is apparent from the off-set. For many people, making the change to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t just require change in one aspect of their life; it often requires change in exercise, nutrition and mindset all at the same time. The FitFarms program addresses all of these aspects, bringing in a variety different types of exercise, nutrition education, cooking skills, mindfulness and habit changing.

Each team member brings something different to the program. Andy and Sean have a wealth of knowledge about exercise and improving overall heath and fitness; Mathew brings a bit of flare to the kitchen as a Rosette chef with a Michelin Award ; Claire’s life coaching workshop has useful strategies for making lasting lifestyle change; and Lesley’s calm and patient explanations in the nutrition workshops cut through a lot of the confusion surrounding the issue of nutrition.

Having this kind of variety ensures that everyone can find part of the course that they really identify with, and are excited to take home to help them reach their goals.

One thing that I wasn’t expecting as part of the role was what great company I have found the clients to be. So far I have met a wide range of people from the UK and abroad, all with fascinating life experiences. On the longer walks I have had the pleasure of some great conversations on topics including making wildlife documentaries, parenting and gender equality.

Every time I start a new job there is always a bit of uncertainty about where the role will take me, but at least I know that here at FitFarms I will never be bored!


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

Here at FitFarms we don’t just believe in exercise, we believe in MOVEMENT

Here at FitFarms we don’t just believe in exercise, we believe in MOVEMENT

When people talk about a healthy lifestyle the emphasis is often placed on exercise. And it makes sense in a lot of ways.

Exercise has many benefits, for example:

  • It builds strength and endurance
  • It can lift your mood, increase confidence and relieve stress
  • It is fun and social

For these reasons we do a lot of exercise during every FitFarms course. During the week we will introduce you to lots of different exercises such as yoga, resistance training, HIIT training, aerobics, kettle bells and boxercise. The aim is to give you a wide variety so you can start to get an idea of what types of exercise you enjoy and which ones you will want to carry on when you get home. All the classes are fun, relaxed and our trainers make everything accessible, so no matter what your fitness level you can give it a go.

That said we also take a very holistic approach to health, which recognises that being healthy is much more than being able to do lots of push ups and squats. It doesn’t matter if you exercise every day or only a few times a week – if your body doesn’t feel good during your everyday activities (walking up and down the stairs, getting out of the car, carrying your kids) then that isn’t true health.

We want to give you the tools to achieve better whole-body health, and not just improve your fitness (but don’t worry, your fitness will definitely improve too!) thats why we emphasise MOVEMENT and not just exercise.

What is the difference between movement and exercise, and why does it matter?

Movement is anything that your body can do. And by anything, I mean anything. Digging in the garden, walking to the shops, getting up and down from the floor, playing with your kids. These are all movements. And they all count towards improving your whole-body health.

Exercise is a sub-category of movement, and it’s great for all the reasons mentioned above, but its not enough. Our bodies evolved over thousands of years to expect lots of and lots of low-intensity movement spread continuously through the day. If you exercise for an hour a day thats great for your fitness but it only makes up around 5% of your day. Five percent! That’s hardly anything!

Frequent, varied movement over the course of the day will improve the health of your muscles, the mobility of your joints and the density of your bones. Even if you have a desk-based job this kind of movement profile is possible with a little effort and lateral thinking. During the week at Fit Farms we show you how to improve your mobility and flexibility and you will get lots of ideas for movement breaks to take during your day at the office. We even run a Dynamic Workstation workshop to help you set up your workspace to better facilitate movement.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get moving!


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

Quick Fixes

Quick Fixes

Many clients come to us with a massive focus on weight. This is something that we are conditioned to do from a very early age. I have worked with many clients who get stuck in this vicious cycle of yoyo dieting or that they claim they have always been big or they have lost 100lb, the same 10lbs 10 times. Nowadays we have 2 types of adverts on tv, 1 advertises products and foods to cause you to put on weight and the others advertise products to help you lose that weight and normally they are both owned by the same mother company.

Most of the time when people want to lose weight it’s a quick fix option. There is a birthday or holiday coming up and we have left it too late so will do anything within our power to make it get to that goal. The problem is for the 2 or 3 weeks we starve ourselves or live on weight loss shakes its manageable as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and instead of changing one behaviour for a better one we just stop all relating behaviours. We don’t have to think or take ownership we just do what we are told. The problem is once we hit that target the method we used to get there isn’t sustainable and we have changed any behaviours that lead us to gain the weight originally so we go straight back to the weight we were previously and normally a lot quicker because we have starved ourselves and our metabolic rate has dropped to conserve energy.

Just imagine if you changed little bits of your diet and exercise and lost 1lb a week with a year you will have lost 52lb all from the right areas, all without missing out on the things you like to do, all without the health risks and that you you have become because of the journey will be a new you that will never go back.


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

Image Credit: PictureQuotes.com

Gym Membership?

Gym Membership?

For the past 10 years I have been working in and around gyms all over the world whether it be in sales, management or personal training I always hear the same barriers to fitness, I can’t afford a gym membership, i don’t like the gym, the gyms are to far away from my house, the opening times don’t suit me, i don’t know how to use the equipment, and so on. Guess what, you don’t need a gym membership to get fit and healthy. There are so many better options than standing in front of a mirror walking on a treadmill surrounded by other people’s sweat.

Here at FitFarms, we try and make fitness accessible to everyone so we use limited equipment which most people can use comfortably in their own homes whenever they want. From fitballs, to resistance bands, body weight, dumbbells and even chair workouts we show many different levels for all abilities and preferences so that everyone can start being a little more active in day to day life without have to even leave the comfort of your own home or stray away from family commitments.

The best thing is walking is free, just pop on some shoes and a jacket and just start walking or running. You don’t fit to do that, just go at your own pace and just try and go a little further each day.


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

Image Credit: Pinterest.com

If the Shoe Fits

If the Shoe Fits

In today’s society most people buy trainers and shoes because they look cool or that they match your outfit. Unfortunately, many back, shoulder, neck and knee problems can be aggravated by poor choice in footwear. As we put on more weight the arches on our feet have a tendency to be put under more strain and this flattens our feet giving us the term flexible flat feet. The problem with this is that it causes a chain reaction throughout our body at each joint to help balance out the change in weight distribution. I myself have a high arch in my left foot, this has caused changes in my knee, inversion in my hips and back which causes me pain in my upper shoulder although there is little pain in my feet. I have since invested in good orthotics and this has helped me massively and the pain has almost gone and my posture and movement is much better.

Many sports shops now have food placement analysis and can advise you on what type of shoe would be best suited to you feet or even needed recommend somewhere to get custom insoles. You can however do a simple test at home by wetting the bottom of your feet and walking normally onto plain paper. Whilst you can still see the wet outline simply draw around with a pen you can then see the natural impression your foot makes as you walk.

Having the correct footwear can make exercise so much more enjoyable and less painful for most of the population. With increased exercise you will notice the benefits including a reduction in body weight and this will also reduce the amount of pressure loading the joints which will also make exercise much more enjoyable and less painful.


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

Image Credit: Flickr.com/photos/JosiahMackenzie/

Just Do Something

Just Do Something

It’s estimated that our ancestors were 5 times more active than we currently are today. They would travel tens of kilometres a day to hunt and collect food. Nowadays we don’t have to leave our desk at work to eat a highly processed sugary lunch. Many clients during my initial consultations focus on the exercises they can’t do or the time they don’t have to exercise in or the space they don’t have to train in. My response to this is “do what you can with what you have and progress it each day”.

If you have 5 minutes in the morning and that is your only free time then do 5 minutes. Of what? Whatever you like, put on some music and just move. I remember one client on the course who wanted to lose weight and be more active as she went into retirement. She currently does aqua aerobics once a week. Is aqua aerobics going to give her a massive fat loss potential? No. But is it going to get her more active? Yes. Does she love the class? Yes. Is she having fun with exercise? Yes. Is she making friends that she is now meeting up with outside of the gym and doing more active things? Yes.

Get into that habit of moving. We don’t move anymore. We live in a box. Take the stairs at work, walk at lunch time, go to the supermarket instead of ordering online. Little actions that make big changes.


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

Image Credit: Quotesgram.com

Are We Trained to Reward Ourselves Negatively?

Are We Trained to Reward Ourselves Negatively?

There is a lot of trainers and fitness Gurus out there who rant and rave about losing weight is simple, just eat less and exercise more. Well, technically it is that simple, but is it that easy? Well no, like many good mentors I follow strongly the theory that with any goal, 80% is the psychology and 20% is the mechanics (the doing bit).

We all have our own personal reward systems that have turned into bad habits, either chocolate, wine, crisps, sweets we find so hard to break or give up. But why? Well, I believe that many of our bad habits have been conditioned to have from early childhood and society. Many of us know the study of Ivan Pavlov and his famous dogs. Where each day he would ring a bell before they were given food. After a while they began to associate the bell with food so on the final experiments when the bell was wrong the dogs began to salivate even when food wasn’t present.

I feel very strongly that we are now conditioned through society to have a negative reward relationship with food. When you were young if you did something good, many of us were rewarded with a treat, some sweets or chocolate. I always remember after swimming I would come out to the lobby and there was a vending machine. My mum would let us choose one sweet as a reward for doing so well. During school term if we got good grades we would go to a fast food joint where we would have a kids meal with a toy. For our birthdays, we would have a party with cake, crisps, all the usual naughty things. This kind of reward system continues into your adulthood, with regards to alcohol at weddings, hitting work targets, Christmas parties etc.During all these times we are at our happiest and with close friends and family, our emotions are all positive and we start to associate these emotions with the food.

But what happens when I’m stressed or feeling down or low? I don’t like or want these emotions so we try to change them. Now I cant just make a bad work day better or have a party or get all my friends and loved ones around me. But what I can do is recreate some of those feelings and memories through the food, smells and tastes that I experienced at those happy times. Now like with all learned behaviours they can be unlearned and altered if we now the route of why the behaviour is there.


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

Image Credit: Pinterest.com

What is My Best Resource for Weight Loss

What is My Best Resource for Weight Loss

I get asked this a lot. Many people feel that their ability to lose weight or get healthier is affected by their resources, e.g. time, facilities, access to class, money, ability to cook, support around them etc. And yes these all will have an impact on your ability to get the best results possible but are they really that important.

Personally, I feel your best resource is the ability to be resourceful. If you can look at everything around you and find ways to make those circumstances work for you then you can be unstoppable.

George Bernard Shaw said, “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them” And I feel this is so true for diet, exercise and lifestyle to help you become healthier.

One thing I always say to clients is that you don’t need a gym to work out. We all own a pair of shoes and a coat so if you don’t have access to a gym or studio why not go out for a walk, jog or run. We live on an island with some beautiful scenery so why not use.

Sometimes when I get in from a day of clients I don’t realistically have the time to make a meal from scratch or yes I am physically drained and just want to sit down watch some tv and chill. In most super markets now you can buy pre prepped veg which saves a lot of times and hassle. Now are they as good as fresh veg? Not exactly but if its a choice between veg that’s is going to give me vitamins and minerals and a low glycaemic load or an oven pizza which is just as quick, Id rather chose the veg with some good meat.

With the dawn of the APP there are 1000s of exercise apps now that you can do without any equipment and that you can do at home before or after work in just a few minutes. It doesn’t have to consume your life or take hours out of your day.

These are just a few examples that I use to make my programs easier and more sustainable. Have a look at your resources that limit you and see if they can be changed to benefit you.


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

Image Credit: PieceQuote.com

Do I Really Need to Exercise to Lose Weight?

Do I Really Need to Exercise to Lose Weight?

Week to week I always get asked “how much exercise do I have to do for weight loss?” This answer is an easy one –  NONE.

Technically for weight loss you don’t need to do exercise to see a result and can be managed through better diet. So why at FitFarms do we ask clients to do 3-6 hours of exercise a day? Unless you are trying to calculate your force placement with the ground whilst running through biomechanical analysis then weight or mass isn’t a great tool to use.

99% of my clients want to lose weight as it’s associated to a feeling, an emotion or an action they could when they were at that weight. However because we focus so much on the science of achievement (the numbers bits) we never focus on the art of fulfilment aspect of training (the feelings and emotion side) which is what people truly want. Yes, you can technically lose weight through diet alone but diet alone isn’t going to give you the same results as diet combined with exercise. Exercise has many positive impacts on the body:

  • Reduces the risk of illness such as the common cold by 25%
  • Improves levels of depression within less than 6 months
  • Helps prevent and treat osteoporosis, especially in older clients
  • Releases endorphins that can help with chronic pain
  • Helps prevent cancer and can reduce risk of cancer returning by 30%
  • Improves blood flow reducing the risk of strokes
  • Improves flexibility and mobility
  • Helps stabilise blood sugar and reduce effects of type 2 diabetes.
  • Increase energy and alertness levels, even with those with chronic fatigue
  • Reduce risks of falling and injury through improper balance or coordination
  • Tones muscles giving a better shape to the body

These are just a few that I picked off the top off my head. Yes, exercise will assist with calorie burn and help with weight loss but it has so many other benefits which can help you live a better more active life.  So it’s a decision of changing numbers on a scale or being the healthiest you can be.


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

Image Credit: MotivationalQuoteSever.com

The Real Value of Food

The Real Value of Food

We know the price of food but do we know its value?

Food is a massive part of our life although its usually one of the most neglected parts of our life. We all love a good bargain especially myself but are cheaper items when it comes to food the same quality and actually cheaper?

Let’s take chicken for example. A frozen bag of chicken from your local super market is about £4 per kilo where as I have a good relationship with my butcher and I get 1 kilo fresh chicken breast for £5. Which is obviously more expensive and can be more if you shop at super markets. Lets have a little look at the chicken. Surely chicken is chicken and only chicken, right? Wrong. Most value frozen chicken is only about 80% chicken, the rest is water, corn oil, stabilisers and salt. So technically your only getting 800g of chicken for your £4 plus a load of extra ingredients you probably wouldn’t want to eat. I mean if I want water id by bottled not suck it out of a frozen chicken breast. So comparing my £5 per kilo chicken from my butchers and the 800g for £4 they are both technically the same price, £1 per 200g and the flavour is night and day.

One thing we teach in our nutritional workshops is to check the packaging and make sure that you are actually buying what you think you are buying. The UK is among many countries in the world that allow companies to use pictures of fruit on their products that contain very little or actually no fruit at all. We also allow products such as mints to claim that they are sugar free when actually they are almost 100% sugar. This is due to a little loophole where the serving is less than 0.5g which is almost all sugar but as its less than 0.5g per serving its technically sugar free. Although if you get through a pack in a day (especially if you are trying to give up something else like smoking) you are getting your full daily allowance of sugar without actually eating any real food.

Get in touch with local farms and suppliers, ask the provenance of your food, read the ingredients, check packets and always remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.


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

Image Credit: MyFamilyTips.com