Uncategorized

FitFarms Worcestershire Camping May 2017 Course

Andy BakerHaving just returned from our 2 weeks away on the FitFarms fitness retreat camping in the beautiful area near Malvern in Worcestershire I’m enjoying some well earned recovery and family time, after these two weeks I can honestly say that the team has never felt stronger! That’s not to disrespect the previous members of staff who have always brought so much of their own experiences and knowledge to the clients on courses gone by. But after a typically tough 2 weeks of camping this team has pulled together and worked closer as a unit to make the experience for the clients and myself a smooth running and enjoyable one. Hats off to our team! As always there have been many memorable moments from these weeks some humorous like Matthew getting rubbed into a BIG PILE OF…. good luck!

Some wonderful like the spirit of the first group, the camaraderie from the whole team and the way they bonded and helped each other was amazing. The effort of our 2nd group and how it never wavered even when confronted with 50mph winds and flappy tents! Or the views we all had the pleasure to wake up to and relax in the evening with that made all the sweat and shivering of the day worth while.

It was really a great couple of weeks and I would like to thank all those involved for making it so.. never the less it was exhausting for us and for the clients and I for one am looking forward to the rest of my down time. I hope you are all well and making the most of your own downtime. Rest and recover!!

Andy Baker

HIIT Training …. What it is and why it works

HIIT trainingThe key to any successful training or fitness routine is variation. The same exercise or programme repeated continuously will give you results for a short period but soon your body will adapt and become accustomed to the same old routine. Chances are your body will plateau, and you will fail to see further improvements in fitness levels and results. Variation is absolutely key to success and even many of us who do have some form of fitness routine established will find themselves attending the same gym class every week, or running the same route over and over. While there is nothing specifically wrong with this, results can rocket far more rapidly by adding another form of training into the mix. Let me introduce HIIT… Or high intensity interval training. I’m not saying HIIT is the magic pill to aid everybody’s weight loss or fitness goals but the nature of the workout is what makes it so effective.

For starters you can complete a session anywhere, at home, in a hotel room, outside or in the gym. On top of that it is incredibly time efficient and a session could be anywhere between 8-20 minutes depending on personal goals and fitness levels. Those two factors alone mean if you are serious about your goals you could set your alarm just 20 minutes earlier and have a successful workout to kickstart your day without even leaving the house!

The format is simple, short sharp bursts of intensive exercise followed by short rest periods. These short work periods allow you to push your heart rate up much higher and push yourself much harder than you would be able to maintain in a longer session, a spinning class for example. The short rests allow you just enough time to take in some nice deep breaths of fresh oxygen and regain control of that heart rate ready to go back in for more. The nature of the exercise means it will work to improve both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems whereas longer, endurance type sessions tend to focus on the aerobic energy system alone.

It is completely adaptable to you as an individual as you are in charge of your work and rest times. You may start at 30 seconds of intensive work followed by 30 seconds of rest, initially for a total of 10 times around. As your fitness increases you may extend the length of your overall session, or begin to increase the work period and decrease the rest period, so you will be working for 40 seconds with a 20 second rest period. There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you are pushing yourself to the max within the given work periods. The range of exercises you can use are limitless. You can focus on bodyweight exercises alone, such as jumping jacks, squats, press ups or high knees, or you can add in various equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells or resistance bands, making it a fantastic way of working out for someone who gets bored easily!

HIIT is so accessible and anyone can do it anywhere, all you will need is a stopwatch, some water and maybe a towel to mop up the sweat!

The team at Fitfarms are here to coach you through the various training principles and explain the importance of variation in a routine. If you think you have reached your plateau, feel stuck in a rut or need the knowledge to get you started then book yourself onto one of our weight loss and fitness retreats and we will help guide you towards your goals!

FitFarms Flow Exercise

Flow exerciseSo here at FitFarms fitness and weight loss retreat we like to try new things and this week we have been playing around with some exercise flows so below is a warm up routine that we used during our recent week at our Derbyshire site, in the beautiful surroundings of Matlock.

A flow, in terms of an exercise routine is a combination of different movements put together to make one big complex movement or flow. Below is a short flow routine for a warm up or mobility exercise and a dumbbell full body flow as the main exercise.. in this routine both exercises are supposed completed slowly and continuously for the sets and reps suggested. Increasing the time under tension (tut) makes the exercise more challenging and controlled as well as making it a fuller workout for each muscle and muscle chain involved so we have also added a tempo suggestion for the exercises…

Mobiliser

Start standing upright pelvic floor engaged.. core muscles braced and glutes taught balanced through the heels without locking the knees

Firstly, roll up onto the balls of the feet in a heel raise movement and hold for 2-3 secs whilst lifting the arms up above the head in a straight arm extension hold in this full stretch for a further 2-3 seconds, from there roll back onto the heels with the knees in a soft position hinging at the hips lean forward keeping the back straight and the arms extended over head this is sometimes referred to as a good morning (be sure to roll back onto the heels and push the hips back over the heels as you hinge to support the back) once you have leant as far forward as possible keeping your back straight and your arms extended over head pause here for 2-3 seconds embracing the stretch through the muscles at the back of your legs (hamstrings) allow your arms to fall down in front of you.

Wrap them around the back of your lower leg (this also supports movement through this position and takes the strain off your back) then round your back off and pull your head in towards your knees pause in this position for 2-3 seconds and then reach your hands to the floor (adjust your leg position to accommodate if necessary but you must be able to touch the floor) from there walk forward until in a full press up position from there lift your hips high into the downward dog position (or an extremely bad press up position) pause here for 2-3 seconds.

From there project your hips down and lift one knee up and out to the side of your body position so that you are resting with one leg extended out on the full press up position and resting on the inside thigh of the other leg at a bent 90 degree position pushing your hip down into the ground and backwards slightly to increase stretch through hip joint whilst extending the back and looking up towards the ceiling pause here for 2-3 seconds then take the arm opposite the bent leg over the top and off to a slightly forward angle ( for example if your right leg was bent forward then your left arm would come up over your head towards the right side of your body whilst coming slightly forward at a 2 0 clock angle) pause here for 2-3 seconds then slowly return through each piece of the movement slowly back to the start and repeat again using the opposite sides the above counts as one repetition repeat for 5 repetitions each time trying to push the stretch in each pause position.

For the main exercise we are going to use 2 dumbbells in a swing and static routine to combine momentum and control it is a full body complex..

Complete 1 rep of each exercise to make a full complex at normal pace if the movement has swing written in brackets it requires momentum so must be done at a usual pace however if not the slower the tempo the harder the movement.

  • Stiff leg deadlift
  • Dumbbells raise over head (swing)
  • Overhead squat/lunge (if you struggle with mobility of the over head squat replace it with the lunge)
  • Hammer press
  • Over head extension
  • Dumbbells lower to hip level (swing)
  • Into prone (bent over position) triceps kickbacks
  • Straight arm kickbacks
  • Bent over row
  • Upright row
  • Front raise

If your not sure about any of the exercises above check out our YouTube video on mobility and exercise flows and complex

FitFarms Derbyshire, Matlock Review April 2017 Course – Part 1

IMG_20170416_162652509Its time to get on that A38 to go to the FitFarms Derbyshire Course in Matlock as this will be my third course working for the company and I’m really excited. Not only to be working but, going to Matlock as its been years since I’ve been there.

Traffic isn’t that bad travelling there but….. It will be Easter Sunday when I’m there at the Fitness Camp.

So, I arrived at the Fitness Course Location before any of the Fitness guess arrive looking for the rest of the fitness team. The holiday cottages look beautiful and all made to look like they are years old in the beautiful peak District stone.

I see Jodie a member from the FitFarms Health Team walking to greet me so I know where to meet the rest of the team. Had a good feeling straight away and the fitness team are like a small family and look after each other. We have to with spending so much time together.

Well, work started straight away with setting up the Fitness Boot camp location up for all the Fitness Course Holiday guests to arrive.

It was the first time I’ve been on the FitFarms Derbyshire Course so, Andy gave me a little tour around so I know where most things are kept etc.

Everything’s setup so, its Coffee time and get our own rooms set up and unpacked, well, kind of unpacked anyway. I always pack too much stuff. Anyone would think I’m working away for a year and not just a week!

Its time to pick the first group of the Fitness Course Guests up from the Train station so, me and Andy jump into the car and drive down to the Matlock Train Station. When we get there we can see a large group standing there with their suitcases looking nervous.

Guests jumped into the transport provided and we all went take back to the holiday cottages so everyone can settle in before we kick off the fitness course.

We get back to base and Andy, Jodie, Matt and me start showing the Fitness Guests to their rooms and we are waiting for more clients to arrive throughout the afternoon.

Let the FitFarms Derbyshire Fitness Course Begin.

Morning Mobiliser at FitFarms Matlock, Derbyshire

big25Start in lying down position
In a relaxed position begin by rolling your wrists and ankles clockwise and anti-clockwise for 30-60 seconds breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 7 seconds (try to maintain this breathing method for the most part of this routine).

Next make a fist and clench, squeeze tightly for 3 seconds and relax repeat this 10 times.
Then do the same with curling and stretching toes.
Single leg hamstring and glute stretch..
With one leg stretched straight out in a relaxed position on the floor bring the opposite leg up and in to the chest in a straight enough position to feel a comfortable stretch down into the hamstring but not straight (regardless of how flexible you are).

Hold in the deepest position for 2-3 seconds then without relaxing the stretch completely lie the leg across to the opposite side of the body and lower it towards the floor until you feel the stretch in the lower back and outer thigh (you may wish to change the hand position from behind the thigh or calf to the opposite hand on the outside of the lower leg or thigh) hold this position for 2-3 seconds then return to start, alternate sides and repeat 5 times on each leg.

Lower back hamstrings and glute stretch Bring both legs up into chest as above (except using both legs instead of
one at a time) lift your head as you pull your knees into your chest and squeeze for 2-3 seconds, then grabbing hold of the right foot or ankle lower the left leg back down to the floor in a straight position pull the ankle/foot of the right leg in towards your torso whilst letting the knee fall out to the side and hold for 2-3 seconds return to the start and begin again with both legs coming in towards the chest and holding for 2-3 seconds and then this time repeat the second part only stretching the left leg instead of the right repeat the 2 part movement 10 times in total with 5
individual mobilisers per side..

Thoracic mobiliser
Lying in the position but with the arms extended out in front of you take your topside arm over to your open side as far as possible towards the floor opening the torso towards the ceiling keeping the arms level with the
shoulder joint throughout the movement try and get your topside shoulder to touch the floor without allowing your legs to come into the movement once your arm and shoulder have gone as far over towards the floor (touching) as possible return to the fetal position by taking your arm in a circular motion over your head trying to maintain contact with the floor as long as possible… repeat slowly 10 times each side.

Cobra stretch into angry cat!
(Don’t ask me where these names come from? 😉)
Lying on your front body flat on the floor forehead resting on the floor palms poised down on the floor as if ready to push up off the floor, peel your body off the floor chest and shoulders first until as fully extended as is comfortable for your lower back hold this position and breath in for 4 seconds then slowly lift your hips off the floor and push your body backwards until your hips are over your heels and then continue so that your knees lift off the floor slightly, your weight will be mainly through the balls of your feet and supported by your outstretched hands as you then try to round your back off and push your chest towards the floor take 7 seconds to exhale whilst completing this second part of the movement at this point begin again to inhale for 4 seconds as you return to your starting position and hold there for 7 seconds as you exhale before beginning the movement again repeat 10 times..

This completes our morning mobiliser. Hope this helps you start your day the FitFarms way!

FitFarms Spain Fitness Camp Review March 2017 – Part 4

Fish SectionToday was one of those great days when you can see a difference. Looking around you can see that people’s bodies are changing, they are becoming more physically capable and mentally the group is on big buzz. Everyone is so motivated there is one goal and we are all going forward together to reach it as a team.

I always think the best form of motivation is when it comes from within which is called intrinsic motivation opposed to extrinsic which means it comes externally. I can remember once watching an international football match and the commentator talking about the national coach saying “if he did have a weakness it would be is ability to motivate a team”. Personally I think that’s a little bit worrying because you should always feel motivated to play for your country and really it should be an honour.

However we don’t have any problems here at FitFarms because people have usually saved their hard earnt money to be with us, taken holiday time from work and on this occasion jumped on an aeroplane to be with us. We as a team are definitely honoured that you did all that to join us for a week, thank you!

First up this morning was a session by the pool with Georgia stretching out those muscles making everyone agile for the day. Then we went into some high intensity exercise which was tough in the heat but very rewarding for everyone.

In the afternoon it was the nutrition workshop which was taken by our in house nutritional therapist Lesley Harper. Nutrition science changes on a daily basis so this one is always a real eye opener. It was loved by all!

Pool workouts were the main event in the afternoon which was tailored to the individual so everyone could work out at the correct fitness level for their ability.

We ended the day by going to the local fish market to select some local Mediterranean fish for the guests. We went for a meaty white fish similar to hake and red snapper. What a culinary delight!

FitFarms Workout Session from Spain Holistic Fitness Retreat in Javea

today i get to workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm up:

  • Warm up using mobilisers
  • Warm up and loosen off before exercise for around 10 minutes

Main session:

  • 30-40 mins

Equipment:

  • Resistance bands of mixed resistance
  • Fitball or unstable surface
  • Dumbbells medium weight
  • Kettlebells medium weight

Session:

  • Glute bridge on fitball
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Resistance band wood chop
  • Alternate shoulder press

Steps:

  • 15 minutes to complete as many rounds of 10 reps per exercise as you can
  • 5 minute recovery maximum
  • Side lunges with dumbbells
  • Alt single arm swings
  • 4x 20 reps total 20 seconds rest between sets
  • Lateral and front raises with resistance band
  • Over head squats with fitball
  • Alternating upright row with dumbbells
  • Kettlebell snatch
  • 30 seconds per exercise x3 circuits

Look out for our instructional video on this session on our YouTube channel filmed at our Spanish weight loss and fitness retreat in Javea.


 

Image credit: https://in.pinterest.com/explore/workout-quotes/

 

FitFarms Spain Fitness Camp Review March 2017 – Part 3

IMG_20170320_141446Early morning start today and it was Andy Baker from the FitFarms Health Team who performed a high intensity 1 hour session which raised the spirits as well as the blood pressure of the fitness camp guests.

We then went into breakfast which was a well received porridge and prunes. In the past this hasn’t been the most popular of breakfast but hats of to Chef Robert making the dish quite exciting with some clever additions.

Following breakfast we had the local walk which we risk assessed yesterday. This walk starts from the fitness camp villa ‎and we wriggle are way through the local Mediterranean streets passing colourful flower pots and people on our way down to the historic port of Javea. When we reach the port we have that important water stop to cool down that 20 degrees temperature which guests are enjoying.

Then there is a gentle walk going from the port to the beach where everyone stops for a well deserved rest. The option is given to jump in a mini bus and get a ride back or walk through the commercial are back to the villa. Four people who really pushed themselves on the down opted for the lift and the others walked.

It really was a fantastic morning of exercise, laughter and a welcomed physical tiredness as you know that you’re making those all-important physical changes to your body.

Another tasty Spanish lunch prepared and served by our Dutch chef Robert and we moved into the second workshop of the week!

The fitness workshop really educates guests on the benefits of exercise and steers them to make the correct exercise choices at the right time. This was taken at poolside which really is totally relaxing and only something we could do at our Spain course. The next Spain course will be in September and all though not yet advertised we are 75% full. We will be advertising the remaining spaces online shortly where you can reserve your space online or call us on 08006343070 / 07766240446 to reserve your space over the phone.

The afternoon is absolutely action packed with a great variety of fitness. First up ‎its circuit training with Gerogia and then we go into balls and bells with Andy. Balls are fit balls and we will be working on the core strength and bells is kettlebells and fortunately Andy is a master kettlebell trainer so it’s always a much loved session.

Dinner is a local fish salad today with a Mediterranean caper sauce and this will be followed by an active stretch.

FitFarms Spain Fitness Camp Review March 2017 – Part 2

Sunday morning starts very early at 6.30am with measurements. We test everyone individually for body fat percentage, actual body weight on scales, hip and waist measurements with a tape measure. On the FitFarms fitness camp courses we explain to the guests that we try not to focus on the scales because it’s not a true indication of how healthy you are weight wise and people can become obsessed making them a slave to the scales.

Next up is breakfast and today was scrambled eggs and a salmon sauce on the wholemeal bread which was absolutely yum! Straight after breakfast we went into an introduction to aerobics which was taken by the new FitFarms dance instructor Jason Broadway. Jason is immensely talented and before FitFarms he use to be a presentation dance instructor for Fit Pro!

‎Then to balance the exercise programme we go into resistance training which is taken by the smiley Georgia. She covers all the techniques in detail to make sure everyone is going to be safe as we progress during the week.

Two members of the health team go on a run to risk assess a walk which goes from the villa to the port and along the seaside to a beach area. This walk is a popular one because it gives the guests a chance to see the local area.

Whilst on the run the group are in the swimming pool ‎listening to some re mix 80′s music whilst bopping to Georgia’s aqua aerobics moves. It’s always a great workout and obviously something we can’t do at this time of the year in the UK so it’s well received by all.

IMG_20170319_154327Lunch was Pork or Fish with mashed cauliflower and a mixed herb salad with a squeeze of lemon. In the ‎car park outside the villa there are lemon trees growing so Robert the chef is able to pick them for salads. The guests comment on how fresh and tasty the salad is which is largely to do with the freshness of the juice and local nutty virgin olive oil.

Later on today we have a hike on the mountain range which everyone is looking forward to as it’s quite a spectacle

Making Walks More Interesting

walking exerciseThis week at the FitFarms holiday weight loss retreat in Dorset we talked about ways to spice up your walks and keep you motivated.

Walking is a great way to get increase the amount of movement that you are getting. It ticks all of the boxes; it is low impact so its easy on your joints; it’s low intensity which keeps you in the aerobic heart rate range – ideal for those trying to manage their weight; it’s weight bearing, meaning your tissues are supporting themselves under the force of gravity, which encourages healthy bone density and guards against osteoporosis; it gets you outside in the fresh air which is great for your mood and relaxation.

Unfortunately, many people see walking as boring so they aren’t motivated to do as much of it as they know they should. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some ideas for making walks more interesting.

  • Get a walking buddy – find a friend, family member to go walking with. This will give you some accountability when you make plans and help you stick to your goals. And its a chance to connect with others, which is great for improving your mood. If you don’t have anyone locally you can try and find a buddy through websites like www.findafitnessbuddy.co.uk or use your walks to catch up with long distance friends on the phone.
  • Get into podcasts – podcasts are an amazing free resource. Any topic or genre you are interested in I can bet there is a podcast to match. Dramas, documentary’s, health and nutrition – you can learn an amazing amount, and you’ll find the miles just fly by. All you need is an app for your smartphone Apple Podcast and Stitcher are two popular ones. You use the app to search for, download and play the shows which are completely free!
  • Borrow a dog – A dog is a great excuse to get out and about and strikes a good balance between companionship and getting some headspace for yourself away from others. If you don’t know anyone with a dog, check out www.borrowmydoggy.com
  • Take up photography – going for a walk to improve your health doesn’t have to be all about wearing Lycra and sweat bands! If you have more of an artistic bent, wondering through your neighborhood with a camera gives you a whole new perspective on the place, and some beautiful photographs as a bonus.

Image Credit: www.thehealthsite.com