Editorials

Why I’m a Teacher not a Trainer

Why I’m a Teacher not a Trainer

The industry is so results-orientated that the average client joins a gym/class and/or goes to a trainer or coach for help and they say “I need to lose some weight” or “I’m worried about my fitness and my health” and the trainer listens and maybe asks a few more questions identifies a timeline and agrees on a program with their new client and proceeds to develop an effective (we hope!) program to help them get to where they want to be, during the rigorous program and strict routine the client may sometimes struggle may need a little motivation from time to time but overall gets a level of satisfaction from it.

Once the timeline is reached maybe the client is converted and loves the feeling of exercise, maybe they aren’t but they are ever so happy they have gotten to where they are, what happens next? The client relies upon he trainer for as long as they can afford to? They hit their goals so leave it there and enjoy their new selves until they are back to square one? They don’t really feel any different so give up and at least they tried? Maybe they decide they enjoy it so much now they don’t need their trainer as much but will keep them in mind if ever they need a top up. I think that covers most of the experiences I’ve had as a trainer through the years but now I think… What have they actually learnt? What long term improvements have they gained from our time? I’m am totally fatigued by the short-term effects of my hard work with clients and I don’t blame them. I want to be remembered by people for helping them to make a LIFESTYLE CHANGE! Not for carrying them on to the next milestone, I don’t want to be a personal trainer I want to be a teacher.

On our courses we don’t want to get you to the end of the week feeling like it was a great experience but where do I go from here. We also don’t want you to lose a ridiculous amount of weight due to poor nourishment and over-doing the exercise and have a complete meltdown after your stay with us. We want SUCCESS! And to us, that means after your stay with us you know exactly what you need to do and how to do it and that you are full of energy and confidence from a week of great achievements.

For us, success is hearing from you in a years time saying things are still going well and I feel great. We don’t want you to need us to help you achieve this but we will still be there every step of the way.

Andy Baker


Image Credit: Fitsavvy.com

Fitness New Years Resolutions

Fitness New Years Resolutions

Who has a New Years resolution to do with exercise? Or plans to make a fresh start with exercise and “clean eating”… Me to. This time, I’m going to stick to them thou, because thanks to working at FitFarms and learning from so many other people having the same or similar problems to mine, I have realised now where I was going wrong. Year after year, time after time I would set out to make it happen and I would see some great results, sometimes! But eventually every time I would fail or things would get in the way and I wouldn’t be able to adapt. But not this time! Because as I said I now know where I was going wrong. I was too motivated, I waited until I wanted it too much and I needed it to happen over night, then I set about having the greatest week of my life as far as exercise and eating right go. I was so determined and motivated! I gave that week everything I had! (Sometimes it would last longer, but I think saying a week gets the point across).

So this time, I am making a patient plan, I have no intention of making this a quick fix, or trying to get results as quickly as possible. This time, I’m working on correcting things from the ground up, I’m getting my aches and pains fixed and I’m incorporating recovery work and planning monthly changes to my routine to try to cater for more advances, I’m even going plan my routines and my food intake, not too strictly but just enough that I regain something I’ve lost along the way… Control! I don’t know if this will work for me as effectively as just getting my head down and working as hard as I used to, but the truth is I can’t do that anymore! And if I keep trying then I simply will not succeed, so I need to adapt. So my New Years resolution is not to succeed but to begin again, a complete change in direction! In my way of thinking!

If your reading this and you like the idea, get in touch with me on Facebook through our Fitfarms page or our website www.fitfarms.co.uk and let me know.

 


Image Credit: Health.com

The Christmas Diet

The Christmas Diet

Here it is. The long awaited diet designed to fix all the issues associated with healthy living during the festive season. Backed up and supported by mathematical equations, science and true logic! This is without out a doubt the diet that everybody needs!

Now, anyone that has attended one of our weight loss and fitness camps will be thinking “this doesn’t sound right?” Or “that’s not what I was led to believe on the course” but it does sound interesting doesn’t it? The diet to which I refer is like a lot of the others out there, nothing miraculous and in most cases common sense.

The term “diet” is defined as “food or feed habitually eaten or provided” OR “the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group” by an online dictionary (dictionary.com) yet whenever I use it in this way with clients I get questions like ” I thought you didn’t believe in diets?” Or “such and such says that diets are bad for you and not effective?” But let’s be clear, a diet is a descriptive used when discussing someone’s intake of food and fluid and it can be both good or bad for you depending on what your “diet” is?

So with that in mind, the above mentioned Christmas diet is basically the food and fluid someone consumes over the festive period known as Christmas. So why is my Christmas diet so fantastic? Because it allows you to enjoy yourself and eat and drink what you like and as much as you like either with or without exercise and as much or as little as you like of which ever kind you like, sound too good to be true??

I’m sorry for drawing this out as much as I have because really and truly the only bit you needed to read is these final few sentences. It is at most a month out of the year, a time for celebration of life and family and friends and all the other little positives, enjoy it! As much as you like. Because no matter how hard you try you won’t completely undo all that you have managed to do in twice that time let alone 12 times that amount of time, and come January it may well work out to have been the little bit of let loose you needed to re-ignite you towards your goals.

Andy Baker


Image Credit: Huffingtonpost.co.uk

Unleashing The Weekend Warrior in You

Unleashing The Weekend Warrior in You

If you are one of the thousands, maybe millions of typical 9-to-5 desk jockeys found around the world then I’m sure you are lacking one of the most important resources in the fight for better fitness and health – time. As with most people, I’m sure you’re stuck with responsibilities that hardly allow you to find the time to do the exercise you need to keep you fit and fresh for the daily grind.

With this dilemma in mind, the concept of the weekend warrior was born. These are your typical people, who attend to their myriad of adult responsibilities during the week – be it work, travel commitments and family obligations, but still find enough time to squeeze in enough exercise and intense physical activities during their precious weekends.

Most often these weekend warriors spend their Saturdays and Sundays playing team sports like basketball, football, and softball. More solitary warriors may prefer jogging, trail walking or swimming. The more adventurous warriors may opt for rock climbing, surfing and even mountain biking.

Why Become A Weekend Warrior In the First Place?
First things first, we have to establish that the weekend warrior lifestyle is not the best way to shed pounds and meet your goal of a fitter, healthier you. It simply isn’t. However, any exercise or physical activity is certainly better than laying back on the couch at home, snacking on chips while watching cable TV reruns. It’s a simple fact – any exercise is better than no exercise at all. In fact, a Harvard University study could lend a little more credence to this fact.

A recent Harvard University study of 8,421 men aged between 50 to 70 years old found that healthy men who burned an extra 1,000 calories per week even in only one or two bouts of actvity were 60% less likely to die during the 10-year period that the study was being conducted, as compared to their less active peers.

The caveat however is that the findings only applied to men with a healthy weight and low risk of heart disease. The study’s lead author, Dr. I-Min Lee of the Harvard Medical School, says that overnight weekend warriors had a greater risk of dying from a heart attack.

“We still believe that at least 30 minutes of moderate- intensity exercise most days of the week is best, but for healthy men, some exercise is better than nothing,” he adds.

Benefits of Being A Weekend Warrior
Adopting a weekend warrior lifestyle does provide immediate benefits to anyone wishing to pursue such. Tim Church, Director of Preventive Medicine Research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge and co-author of the book Move Yourself, notes that among some of the benefits of working out include improved blood sugar control, improved sleep and reduced stress.

Other benefits include reduced blood pressure, lower risk of heart attacks and stroke, reduced risk of certain types of cancer, and even weight control.

Again, there is a caveat for weekend warriors. “The best thing is doing something spread out across the week, and in the middle doing something just on the weekends,” recommends Church.

The Path of the Weekend Warrior
On your journey to better fitness and health, the path of the weekend warrior may be the most viable road to take. What is important is that as you venture on with these activities, always remember to seek safety first: always ask your doctor’s advice before trying out new and strenuous activities. Also, always remember to have fun with what you are doing. Remember: the road to fitness and health should always be paved in safety and fun!

CONTENT SOURCES:

Health and Fitness Advice by FitFarms Editorial Team

Image Credit: Prevention.com

Why are Seeds and Nuts So Healthy?

Why are Seeds and Nuts So Healthy?

Seeds and nuts contain protein, fibre, unsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and micronutrients. They also contain folic acid, potassium, Vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. Wow, that’s a lot for such a small package, and they’re tasty too.

Some types of seeds have been singled out because of their high nutritional value. Pomegranate seeds are high in vitamin C, which has been attributed to raising metabolism. Hemp seeds have a high fibre content. Pumpkin seeds are high in iron. Flax seeds contain Omega-3, which is good for the heart. Finely sesame seeds contain protein and fibre.

In the UK we tend to eat more peanuts and Brazil nuts, however almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts have been attributed with reducing the risk of strokes. Pistachio nuts and pine nuts contain phytosterols which helps to lower cholesterol.

Seeds and nuts are a good source of unsaturated and monounsaturated fats, these are classed as good fats. But why do we need fat in our diet. Good fat takes longer to digest, and therefore makes us feel fuller for longer, controlling our hunger. Good fats have a positive effect on the cholesterol levels in the blood. The good fats also help to maintain a healthy metabolism. Vital organs need to be protected and insulated, this is much better for your health if this task is performed by the good fats.

That’s the good news, however, nuts are not a low calorie food and should be eaten in moderation. For every 100g, nuts in general, are between 500 and 600kcal. Even so for mid-morning snack nuts are still better for you than other snack foods, such as chocolate and crisps. Seeds and nuts can be added to your diet with little effort. Seeds and nuts can be added to salads, pasta, and casseroles to give the dish some crunch. Seeds can be easily added when making bread or choose special breads with pumpkin or sunflower seeds already added.

CONTENT SOURCES:

Health and Fitness Advice by FitFarms Editorial Team

Image Credit: www.organicfacts.net

Stability Balls for Workplace Fitness

Stability Balls for Workplace Fitness

Most people find that they spend a huge chunk of their waking time seated on their office desk, usually in front of the computer. This sedentary lifestyle has obvious implications to one’s health. Aside from the lack of regular exercise a typical office employee experiences, being seated all day affects one’s posture and adds a myriad of health issues to the poor employee.

The negative effects of excessive sitting
In fact, some health and wellness researchers have discovered a host of illnesses and conditions that people who sit excessively may have to cope with in their future. According to Dr. James Levine, director of obesity solutions at the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, spending too much time in a chair can increase the risk of certain diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Aside from increasing susceptibility to these future afflictions, excessive sitters can also look forward to many other negative physiological effects plaguing them. Dr. Michelle Olson, an exercise physiologist at Auburn University adds that excessive sitting can flatten the buttocks, soften the stomach and round the spine.

To combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting, workplaces are beginning to look into “stability balls” as a way to help their employees ease and soothe back pain, improve posture, and even allow some exercise time within the confines of their offices.

Benefits of stability balls in the workplace
Developed in 1963 by Italian plastics manufacturer Aquilino Cosani, stability balls are soft elastic balls that range from 35 to 85 cm when filled with air. They are popular for physical therapy, athletic training and for fitness purposes. With their growing popularity in the workplace, some newer models have incorporated a blend of stylish design and innovative technology. Now, balls are covered in snazzy fabrics and even have a QR code that allows users to access exercise tutorials and synchronize their customized training programs on their smart phone and tablets.

Research has shown that using stability balls have distinct fitness benefits. Studies have shown that using stability balls help users burn calories. A study conducted at the State University of New York Buffalo found that people who sat on stability balls burned up to 4.1 more calories per hour than those who sat in an office chair. With regular usage, this can add up to 160 additional calories burned in a week.

Despite the touted benefits of stability balls and their relative resurgence in these times, Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic warns that these balls are good for fitness but are not necessarily the solution to poor posture issues. Seating on a stability ball requires users to balance themselves to keep upright. This constant movement provides users with the benefits of core-strengthening exercises. However, prolonged balancing can also lead to increase fatigue and discomfort in the user’s back.

Further implications of stability balls in the workplace
Dr. Laskowski further adds that if a user’s back requires more support, sitting on a stability ball is not recommended. Instead, he suggests using an ergonomic chair that is designed to reduce back pain.

Given these findings, it makes sense to wait for more definitive research to come out before the stability balls become the de rigueur office furniture of the modern workplace. What is for sure, however, is that stability balls have a positive impact when it comes to fitness training and exercise.

CONTENT SOURCES:

Health and Fitness Advice by FitFarms Editorial Team

Image Credit: www.yogaballchairs.com

More than Just Abs: The Real Importance of Core Muscle Exercises

More than Just Abs: The Real Importance of Core Muscle Exercises

Trainers and fitness experts have often emphasized the need to introduce exercises for the core muscles into one’s daily regimen. While the term “core exercise” has been fairly popular, it is often misunderstood as just a series of exercises that focus on the abdominals. Thus many people tend to believe that crunches and sit ups are enough for this particular area of the body. It is easy to assume this as true since a “six-pack” abdominal region is more easily visible area of your body, especially come beach season.

However, there is a whole lot more to core muscles than just abs. In fact, core muscles cover a whole larger region of your body that plays an important role in your daily tasks and activities, whatever they may be.

What are your core muscles?
As stated earlier, the general understanding is that the core muscles are located at the abdominal region. While this is true to some degree, these muscles form just part of the whole picture.
Muscles covering the length of your torso, from the front (the transverse and rectus abdominus that run from just below your sternum to your waist), back (the “lats”, which cover your lower and outer-middle region of your back), sides (obliques, which runs down along your sides, from your ribs to your upper hips) and even your upper legs (hips flexors, muscles along the outside and inside of your thighs; your hamstrings, which extend down the backs of your thighs; and your glutes or hip extensors) are included in the core region of your body.

As you can see, your core muscle region covers a large portion of your body. In fact, health and wellness research has suggested that we should understand our core muscles as the “sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body”. Since your core connects your upper and middle body, they help provide you with the balance, stability and power you need to do your daily activities. As such, all movement you do either come from your core or more through it. Thus, weak or inflexible muscles can impair how your body functions and does certain movements and activities.

Essential functions of your core muscle group
Developing a strong core gives you more power to do strenuous tasks, improves your posture and balance. The strength and power you need to do your tasks and activities originate from your core muscles.
When your core is strong and stable, energy is more efficiently transferred to your other muscles, allowing you to do simple everyday tasks like household chores to more strenuous ones like sports activities with relative ease. Your core muscles are connected to your diaphragm and act similar to a corset that holds in and supports your internal organs, such as your lungs and heart. In turn, a strong core group of muscles will enhance your ability to inhale and exhale fully. Your lungs will be able to take in more oxygen and your heart will be able to pump more blood efficiently.

With the myriad of functions that the core muscles provide, you can easily understand the importance of strengthening this region of your body. More importantly you now know that developing your core is not just about having six-pack abdominal to show off come beach season. Strengthening your core will allow you to enjoy a higher quality of life.

CONTENT SOURCES:

Health and Fitness Advice by FitFarms Editorial Team

Image Credit: www.theguardian.com

Helpful Tips to Reduce the Risk of a Stroke

Helpful Tips to Reduce the Risk of a Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply is cut off to part of the brain. It can be a bleed or a blockage in one of the blood vessels in the brain. The brain cells can be destroyed or damaged, as the blood carries oxygen and essential nutrients to the brain. A stroke is a serious medical emergency and immediate treatment is required, and can be beneficial to a good recovery. A stroke can affect people in different ways depending on the type, part of the brain affected, the amount of damage, and lifestyle prior to the stroke.

Can lifestyle and medicals conditions increase the risks of having a stroke? Yes they can. Consumption of alcohol, and smoking are known contributors to the risk of strokes. High levels of animal fats in the diet are also contributors, as is excessive weight. Suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol can also increase the risk of a stroke.

The Stroke Association suggests small lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of a stroke. A recent Harvard University study suggest that eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day can lower the risk by 30%. Broccoli, cauliflower, and citrus fruits are considered particularly valuable as they are high in folic acid, potassium, and fibre. A diet low in saturated fats and calories will help to manage cholesterol levels and obesity. A diet high in salt will contribute to high blood pressure, therefore reduce the salt levels in your diet.

Exercise, of course we can’t forget the exercise. A brisk walk each day will help to manage weight. Low impact exercise such as swimming, biking, or tennis will improve the cardiovascular system. This will strengthen the heart muscle, and reduce your normal heart rate. Small lifestyle changes can have an impact on your health in the future.

CONTENT SOURCES:

Health and Fitness Advice by FitFarms Editorial Team

Image Credit: www.Telegraph.co.uk

What is Sustainable Weight Loss?

What is Sustainable Weight Loss?

Sustainable weight loss is the ability to maintain a healthy weight over a period of time. This is opposed to a rapid weight loss through crash diets, and then rapid weight gain when the diet cannot be maintained.

Sustainable weight loss can be achieved through small and very often simple changes to eating behaviour. One simple change is to avoid snacking between meals, plan regular, healthy, interesting meals. If you feel you need a snack why not try nuts, or fruit. Good levels of fitness can also be sustainable through habit forming, such as walking to the shops or taking the stairs instead of the lift.

Sustainable weight loss requires patience. Crash diets are started because results are wanted immediately, weight loss takes time. Crash or fad diets tend to focus on limited nutritional foods, such as a cabbage soup diet. A sustainable diet includes all the food groups for a good nutritional balanced diet.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, sustainable weight loss can be achieved through the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule is where a nutritious healthy diet is maintained 80 percent of the time and 20 percent of the time a treat can be added to the diet. This may be a sweet after a meal out in a restaurant on a Saturday evening. The important thing is to recognise a little reward will not destroy a diet but may enhance it.

Sustainable weight loss is best achieved with a sustainable exercise routine. This weekend why not go to the local pool for a swim or head out to the countryside for a walk. You don’t have to wait until Monday to start a sustainable life.

CONTENT SOURCES:

Health and Fitness Advice by FitFarms Editorial Team

Image Credit: Healthmeup.com

What is Gout and How Do you Prevent It

What is Gout and How Do you Prevent It

Gout is the build-up of uric acid in the blood that can be deposited in the extremities such as the small bones in the feet. It is a type of arthritis and is most common in the big toe joint, but can occur in other joints. It is characterised by the sudden onset of pain, swelling, and redness in a joint. This is sometimes known as a gout attack and can last from 3 to 10 days. Once the gout attack is over the joint should return to normal.

Can your lifestyle increase the risk of gout?
The answer to this is yes lifestyle can play an important role in the chances of developing gout. Men are more likely to develop gout than women, but unfortunately the older you are the more risk there is for both sexes. Of course as with most things weight does increase the risk, as does high blood pressure and diabetes. The condition also tends to run in families. A diet rich in purines, such as eating high levels of sardines and liver, and drinking beer or sprits, are also risk factors.

What foods should I avoid?
Purine is a naturally occurring substances in foods, however some foods should be avoided. Some meat based products such as kidneys, tongue and tripe, known as organ meats, contain the highest levels of purine. Seafood and fish also contain high levels of purines. Sugar, beer and spirits should be avoided, and vegetables such as asparagus should be limited to just 2 servings a week.

What are the complications of gout?
High levels of uric acid in the body can lead to kidney stones, firm lumps under the skin which can be small to large, and permanent joint damage. Changes in lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing gout or at least reduce the frequency of gout attacks.

How can I reduce the risk of gout?
As with most health problems the first point would be to reduce any excess weight. A rapid loss of weight can increase the uric acid in the blood stream therefore a gradual and safe weight loss is desirable. Reduce alcohol intake, drinking in moderation is always advisable. Stay hydrated, experts advise at least 2 litres per day, more if you are exercising regularly. A balanced and healthy diet will optimise weight loss, include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables, low in purine, a day. Wholegrain rice, bread, and pasta contain more nutrients and fibre than processed grains and a moderate amount of meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs is desirable.

What exercises can I do?
Low impact aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming and cycling can be achieved in the early stages of your lifestyle change. Start slowing and gradually increase the duration of each exercise to 30 to 40 minutes 5 times a week. Flexibility can be improve by studying yoga or Pilates and balance can be improved by Tai Chi.

CONTENT SOURCES:

Health and Fitness Advice by FitFarms Editorial Team

Image Credit: Healthination.com