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

High and Low Intensity Exercise – Derbyshire Fitness Holiday Review

weight loss resolutionThe recent camp in Derbyshire, FitFarms weight loss retreat have put guests through 7 days of constant fitness. Our weight loss retreat entails 6 hours of high and low intensity exercise daily including beautiful countryside walks, runs, aerobic based classes, mobility classes as well as resistance workout routines.

Our guests are served dinner at half 5PM and then put through either yoga, salsa or stretch and relaxation classes before heading for an early night.

The Derby retreat includes a range of workshops to help our clients understand why exercise is so important and how we can fit exercise into our lifestyle without drastic changes having to be made. We also provide two nutritional workshops which are presented over two days lasting upto two hours long allowing you to get all your questions answered. Nutrition is key and this workshop gives our clients the tools and skills to make that positive change in there lives and MAINTAIN IT!

Our courses are for all abilities and our aim is to help everyone successfully complete the course. If 7 days of exercise seems a bit to much of a jump for you right now that’s perfectly ok. We understand this and because of this we offer anything from 2-7night courses. This is because we understand our clients and we aim to help meet your needs! We are here for you and we will go out of our way to make your time with us everything you need to get back on track.

FitFarms retreat are running over 20 courses in 2017 featuring:

And more…

Call today to find out more information and to reserve your place!

Image Credit: Health.com

FitFarms Derbyshire Client Review Nov 2017

FitFarms Review Nov 2017I wanted to let you know just how much I enjoyed the week at FitFarms Derbyshire in Matlock last week.

It was a fantastic experience, and one I will remember. I learned so much and was able to do so much more than I had ever thought possible. Your fabulous coaches made this possible, and were so supportive, enthusiastic, and kind… I cannot say enough about how precious and generous they were. We worked hard, sweated, and laughed together all week. The fantastic variety of exercise on offer was engaging and made the week flow. The variation of pace, indoor, outdoor was great.

My thanks to Andy particularly for looking after me and his mentor sessions, and for making sure I found time to do a little painting here and there, and for taking me to a good view to enable me to paint a spectacular sunset. I’ll never forget that. Not part of his remit, and totally unexpected and generous. Georgia, with her lovely smile, caring nature and high octane enthusiasm carried me through my ‘hell on earth’ aerobics nightmare. I even enjoyed it. And Becky’s stretch and calming classes got my poor aching body through the week. I went into her classes feeling I could barely walk, and skipped out. I really enjoyed her explanations of how our bodies work. So interesting! And her massages… Well they were a treat for sure. They are a great team. Their differences are their strengths.

The workshops on nutrition was mind blowing, fascinating stuff. Revolutionising the way we will eat from now on. Likewise the change workshop challenged some, I found it important and interesting to revisit old thoughts and embrace knew ones.

Last but most definitely not least, Matthew. What a complete delight. So enthusiastic and willing to share his ideas, and generous with his knowledge. A great attitude- and great food. I ate, and enjoyed, stuff I would never to choose to eat. And I cannot believe I wasn’t hungry! Talk about changes perceptions and understanding. We’ve stocked our cupboards and bought a meat thermometer! I intend to do a bit more cooking!

Matlock in the Autum

think about why you startedHere at our Matlock fitness retreat, the weight loss camp is a few days into its swing. Today, we have Lesley’s nutritional workshop and some of Beccas mindful movement classes in the afternoon finished by a stretch with Georgia in the evening.

So for the morning session in true FitFarms style we are going to focus on some fat burning ☺️. During our weight loss retreats whether at Matlock Derbyshire, Malvern Worcestershire, or Woolland in Dorset, the approach is the same, the clients will endure around 6 hours a day of exercise and activity and we have clients from very fit and active, to very unfit and never having done or felt the need to do exercise ever in the past. Because of our sensible approach to exercise we have been able to put together a varied and enjoyable program that delivers a new way of looking at exercise, activities and a healthy lifestyle.

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

Image Credit: Geniusquotes.org

Squats Good or Bad?

squats weight loss exerciseAs anyone who has been to one of our FitFarms weight loss camps will painfully tell you. We use them a lot! It has always been a strongly debated point as to whether squatting was harmful or dangerous or whether it had any positive health benefits.

For instance in the sports development world there are many that believe training should be “specific” as in movements that are complex and adaptive and that mirror the mechanical and neural stresses of the activity they are training for. Then there are those who understand the need for over development in both the simple structures as well as the more complex movement patterns.

What this all means is that although the squat isn’t a typical day to day movement for most of us (hence the difficulty some have adapting to it) it is a basic movement that we should all be capable of achieving providing we our lucky enough to enjoy good joint and bone health etc. so in my mind some exercises that aren’t functional per see but allow us to accelerate or improve our basic mechanical functions will also improve our adaptability to the more complex skills necessary for our day to day routines and challenges.


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

Image Credit: LiveStrong.com

Half-Foam Rollers Stretching – Derbyshire Fitness Holiday Retreat Review October 2016

half round roller stretching exerciseThis week at the FitFarms holiday retreat in Derbyshire we got to use some new equipment in our stretch classes. We got a delivery of half-foam rollers which took the stretch and mobility classes to a whole new level.

The stretch and mobility classes focus on movements that prevent injury and improve alignment. They compliment the higher intensity classes really nicely – stretching the muscles that have been working hard in classes like boxercise, aerobics, and circuit training. Sometimes we have them first thing in the morning to loosen you up for a day of exercise, and sometimes they are a welcome break in the middle of the day, to give you a rest in between long walks and more strenuous sessions.

The stretch sessions are also designed to educate you about how to take better care of your body. Just as the body needs to eat nutritious food to be healthy, it needs certain movements to be healthy, too. Exercises (like aerobics, running, cycling, yoga, etc.) provide some of these important movements but not all of them. What you learn in the stretch classes are the movement equivalent of taking a daily multivitamin. I show you movements that you can do at home to keep your joints and your tissues in better working order.

The half-foam rollers can be used for lots of different things in the classes. They are great for calf stretching, for example. Short calf muscles may lead to a host of foot, knee and even back issues, so working on calf length is really important. The foam rollers can be used to sit on to do stretches with better posture, protecting your lower back. They can even be used to stand on for improving balance, reducing your risk of falls and injury. All that from just a little piece of foam!

Don’t worry if you don’t have one at home, all of the exercises can be replicated using a rolled up towel or some cushions (and I always send out a handout to everyone after the course, to remind you of the exercises that we did in my classes). But I’m pretty sure that once you’ve done some stretches with these rollers they will be one of the first things on your list of equipment to get for yourself once you get home!

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

Image Credit: FitnessGiant.com

Dorset Fitness Retreat Review October 2016

hill running exerciseAt the FitFarms fitness retreat course in Dorset this week we were lucky to get a spell of crisp, sunny October weather which was perfect for walking. We took the opportunity to walk up Bullbarrow Hill. From the cottages it is about a 5 mile walk, along some peaceful country lanes, with some beautiful views of the countryside. The clients enjoyed the walk very much despite the rather steep hill!

What is it about walking up and down hills that we tend to dread so much? It is mostly a case of not being adapted to hills. This is not the same thing as not being fit enough. A person might be super fit when it comes to playing tennis, lifting weights, or walking along the flat. But that is so often the definition of fitness – the ability to perform a specific task. Being fit at one thing doesn’t necessarily make you fit at another.

The body is very adaptable. This is a good thing, but it can also be a problem. If you play a lot of tennis, your body will adapt and get better both in terms of skill and fitness. If you sit at a desk all day every day your body will adapt to be very good at sitting at a desk. If you only ever walk along flat and level gradients your body will adapt to only be good at doing that. Why should it maintain the adaptation necessary to walk up and down steep hills if that’s not something that you do regularly?

That is why, when you then encounter a steep hill, it seems so daunting. But it’s only because your body is not used to it. You might find that your calves are tight and sore from walking up hill. You might find that your knees hurt while walking down hill. But if you avoid hills the problem only gets worse – its not until you feed your body with lots of ‘Vitamin Hill’ that your calf muscles will lengthen, allowing you to propel yourself up the hill with the powerful muscles of the glutes, and build the strength in your lateral hip muscles to take the pressure off your knees when walking down hill.

In our stretch and mobility classes we look at exercises that you can do to help your body get back the strength and ranges of movement that you need to find hills a breeze. And we do plenty of beautiful walks too, of all levels of challenge. It is all about giving your body variety, so that it maintains adaptations to everything that life throws at it – up hill, down hill and everything in between.

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

Image Credit: Ehow.com

100% Mindset

100% Mindset

We have probably all heard the suggested lifestyle approach of 70% nutrition 30% exercise, (The fitness industry does like its stats to try and sell its newest direction or fad) or that you can’t out train a bad diet? Well what about the people who aren’t ready for this particular philosophy yet? Those of us who have tried and tried then failed and failed.. I would wager that the number of us who have yo yo dieted, bought memberships to gyms they have never used, forked out for equipment that gathers dust or props up the washing pile, far out weigh those that need to think about how diet and exercise should be honed to achieve better results. We get a total spectrum of clients on these courses mostly looking for “that one thing” that will make it all fall in to place, some are already enjoying exercise and healthy eating some haven’t even started. All of my adult life I have been a pt, and I have always worked with “the average client” not clubs or teams or athletes. if there is one thing I can say is a constant is that people think they need help with motivation…. They don’t!

The time and effort our typical client has put into trying diets or exercise plans, or both! before they come to see us just goes to show they have the motivation just not the right direction. As a course this is what we focus on, no matter what a clients goals we can help make sense of both the changes they need to make and the changes they are able to make and how to put both kinds into a plan for moving forward. It’s true that a good diet is important to our health and our ability to exercise efficiently, it is also true for exercise but we cannot ignore the need to get the mind on board, if we get some sense of achievement from what we do, some form of enjoyment then it will become much more manageable a task!

Andy Baker

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

Boxing and Walking – Matlock Weight Loss Camp Day, 1 July 2015

Boxing and Walking – Matlock Weight Loss Camp Day, 1 July 2015

This special blog post report is what happened in one of our recent Fitfarms fat camp weeks as reported by one of our instructors.

Boxing Workout and Walking

Only 2 days left at FitFarms and clients are really starting to notice positive changes in their body composition, fitness and physical appearance. It is amazing how much you can achieve when you are in an environment that encourages your to grow and you are surrounded by positive people.

Today was another day to try something new. One of my favourite sessions is boxing and kick boxing. Not only does it give you a fantastic cardio workout but allows you to learn new body co-ordination skills and release a little bit of frustration on the pads.

Many people shy away from martial arts when they are looking at weight loss as they feel that its not for them. My reply to this is if you can move you can do it regardless of ability. We had those more experienced doing high kicks and big punches and also those with leg injuries working there arms in a chair to give them and alternative session.

Boxing is quite a high intensity workout so we like to compliment this with a lower intensity session like walking. With the weather being beautiful we headed to Chatsworth House which is a lovely country estate. Covering a large area of country side it is so nice to wondering the grounds, seeing the beautiful architecture, getting close to the local wildlife and stunning gardens. This truly is a breath-taking place to exercise with out even really knowing that you are doing it.


Image Credit: MadisonWeeklyNews.com

Weight Loss Camp Day Report – 28 March 2015

Weight Loss Camp Day Report – 28 March 2015

This special blog post report is what happened in one of our recent Fitfarms fat camp weeks as reported by one of our instructors.

So today is a big one, we have a hectic schedule of circuits, boxercise, stretching, resistance, aerobics, and intervals all between breakfast and bed! It is a lot to do in one day, but the purpose is see how much we are actually capable of when we set ourselves the challenge. Today has been an amazing day, the guys and girls have pushed themselves to new limits and gone to bed with smiles on their faces, it’s so nice to see a group of people realise they can enjoy exercise and so much of it.

Tomorrow will be just as busy but the classes will be different and we have a walk thrown in to. The group still hasn’t relaxed completely but they are certainly on their way, I think the challenge this week will be adjusting the mindset and getting some of the group away from the concept of weight loss and calorie counting but that always makes for some interesting conversations.

For know thou, I’d like to say a massive well done to the group for their efforts today lets keep up the good work for the rest of your stay.

Andy Baker

Image Credit: LovetoKnow.com