Agility Training for You

Agility Training for You

Agility is the ability to change direction quickly and keep your balance. This is particularly important in racket sports where strength and body control is as important as speed. Not only is it about speed but also grace and the flow of movement.

As with any form of exercise the basis is balance and core strength, and so it is with agility training. Agility training starts as you warm up, the body can be encouraged to move through a greater range of movements with the use of resistant bands, Swiss balls, and step exercises. Over a number of weeks develop a programme to increase the range of movements, the speed of those movements, and the ease in which you are able to achieve those movements.

One form of exercise footballers use to improve their agility is the snake exercise; it can be achieved in the back garden. Set out items of the same size, i.e. cones, in this case you could use buckets or flower pots, at a meter apart and weave through the items from left to right. Repeat this process, in time your muscles will remember the exercise and you will be able to complete it in a shorter time and with less effort. Another form of exercise to use your flower pots for is the rolling start. Set two flower pots at 10-20 meters apart and jog to the first and sprint to the second. This exercise can also be carried by side stepping in a jogging form to the first flower pot and then sprint in side step to the second point. These exercises form a good basis of programming your muscles into different actions without the use of expensive equipment.

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Weight Loss Camp Report – 7 Sept 2014

Weight Loss Camp Report – 7 Sept 2014

In this Photo: The weight loss camp group resting during their walk workout activity. 

This blog post is a review from one of our weight loss camp day happenings as reported by our fitness course trainers and managers.

As this is the second week for a rather large portion of the group, (9 girls to be exact. We have kept the schedule roughly the same but changed the content so as it is a different experience but with some level of familiarity.

The local walks for instance are different but roughly the same distance, difficulty or time etc.

The classes have the same structure but different content and the workshops cover the same content with a little extra, or the chance to take a bit of time off, orrrrrrrrrr preferably do twice the amount of exercise! ;-)

Anyway we are at the start of this day only 2 days away from the completion of another FitFarms week which in itself is a great achievement but atop of this it is the completion of the 2 weekers stay. So as you can imagine there is a real sense of excitement and a noticeable build up of relief as they prepare for their final day.

With a local walk and Zu’s dance workshop and a life coaching workshop with the lovely Cara, we are looking forward to a feel good kind of day capped off with the hardest and most enjoyable resistance class I can muster the energy to instruct.. I know! I know! I work too hard and I should take it easy … But I owe it to my girls to work them as hard as I can ;-)

Tomorrow is the last day of the 7 night, 4 night and 14 night courses. That’s a lot of people realising affirming and committing to the changes they need to make before they make their journey home on the Friday so with all joking aside today is a good day to get serious and prepare because come Friday they will need to do it all on their own.

Is Chocolate Good or Bad for You?

Is Chocolate Good or Bad for You?

Dark Chocolate. Photo credit

Is chocolate bad for you? There are indications that eating chocolate can contribute to reduced levels of bone density. Lower levels of bone density can lead to osteoporosis in later life . Headache triggers has been associated with eating chocolate, particularly for people who suffer with migraines. Milk chocolate is higher in the overall calories, sugar and saturated fats.

Is chocolate good for you? Research suggests that cocoa, in chocolate, contains polyphenols, which has been attributed to oxidation of harmful cholesterol. It is considered eating chocolate is good for relieving stress through valeric acid and the smell. Valeric acid is a known relaxant, and the smell of chocolate has been attributed with the slowing down of brain waves, resulting in a relaxed but alert state.

Is it possible to buy healthy chocolate? Perhaps we should be looking at the additives to chocolate to assess the health properties. Chocolate can contain sugar, dairy, gluten, and in place of sugar artificial sweeteners. Chocolate without these items are more likely to be seen as a healthy alternative, such as dark chocolate.

Research suggests that eating chocolate does not always lead to weight gain. It is a situation where moderation is required to maintain a good balance to the consumption of a healthy diet and a little treat occasionally. A healthy body is achieved through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Weight Loss Camp Day Activities Report by Andy – 4 Sept 2014

Weight Loss Camp Day Activities Report by Andy – 4 Sept 2014

Thursday really feel like a wind down day here, for us anyway! The clients still have a full day ahead of them, with Zumba, yoga, cookery workshop, 6 mile walk around Chatsworth,badminton spinning and rebounding a last blast workout and bokwa all before 5pm but not in that order. But it’s a wind down for us because there are a couple of classes taken by external instructors which gives us chance to get ready to move down to Dorset first thing tomorrow morning.

I think on Thursdays we could easily cram a weeks worth of exercise into one day and the clients would take it with a smile (of sorts) on their faces, it’s the last day and nothing can break their spirits today, not to mention the fact that when you’ve done so much exercise through the week so far however much we cram into one day would seem achievable in their new mindset. All that is left to do in the evening is congratulate them on a job well done, especially those that have finished 2 weeks of constant exercise!

I’m not sure how we are supposed put into words the sheer achievement and respect these girls have earned for their efforts and so at a loss for words we can only hope that from the looks in our eyes and the beaming smiles on our faces they will know how proud we are of their efforts. As for the rest of the group from both the seven and four night courses I don’t want it to feel like we are undermining their own efforts because at FitFarms everyone is an individual and each individual has earned the upmost praise and admiration however long their stay but as their mentor I feel it is necessary to reiterate how proud I am.

On a final note for this week I would just like to say it’s been a real pleasure working with such a group of interesting people yet again here at Matlock and it has put me in a fine mood for our third and final week down in Dorset.

Weight Loss Camp High Protein Breakfast

Weight Loss  Camp High Protein Breakfast

The Weight Loss Camp Breakfast which is high in protein and exactly enough calories carry us through the holistic boot camp day.

Breakfast is usually served between 8 and 9am after the first intensive exercise session. All the meals the guest have at the weight loss retreat has been designed by the camps nutritional therapist. The food is all delicious but most of all nutritious.

Belly Dancing Fitness Exercise

Belly Dancing Fitness Exercise

Belly Dancing and Fitness Exercise. Photo credit

Belly dancing has a long history associated with The Middle East, India, and parts of the Mediterranean. It has rapidly become popular in the West as a form of exercise. Belly dancing is the name given to this type of movement in the West. One description is belly dancing is improvised dancing of a solo artist using the torso as a form of expression.

It appears belly dancing was seen as representing life in a harem of the Ottoman Empire during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Perhaps this was a romantic view of the Middle East at that time.

Some forms of dance tend to push the body into unnatural shapes and positions, however belly dancing works with the body’s natural inclinations. The figure of eight shaping, rolls, hip drops, and pivots use the muscle groups in the pelvis, thighs, abdomen, spine, and up into the neck. The gentle repetitive low impact movements improves flexibility and suppleness. The techniques involved in belly dancing is to look at the body in separate parts. The rib cage and the waist should be isolated from each other. The shoulders become independent of the hands, wrists, and elbows, forming a fluid movement. The abdomen and hips need to be controlled to form the shapes and perform the movements.

Any form of dance makes an excellent form of exercise, but belly dancing can be started at any age. It is fun, creative, and a real confidence builder. With the increase in popularity in the West comes an increase in available tuition. Tuition is available in some areas in the sports centre or even the local village hall.

Weight Loss Retreat Testimonial by Gina

Gina give her story on the holistic weight loss boot camp that she attended in Derbyshire.

She states that she struggled with her weight since she has been quite young. Once Gina lost 8st and she’s trying to continue with her weight loss.

She chose FitFarms because of the exercise and the sensible eating plan which is easy to follow. You will notice that she says she likes the support you get from the fitness camp team.

Gina lost 18lbs which is quite an achievement.

Half Through Another Week At The FitFarms Fat Camp (Report)

Half Through Another Week At The FitFarms Fat Camp (Report)

Never Give Up. Photo credit Victor Stuff.

We’re over half way through the week now and the group are still doing well, there is a notable difference in their energy levels and some are starting to struggle with fatigue both mental and physical but none the less, the effort is still there and that’s all that we ask for.

As instructors we feed of the determination, the effort and enthusiasm and we appreciate how it feels and how hard it is, so when we have a group of people like this weeks, we never get tired..

They may not be able to do as much as they did at the start of the week but they are trying! They are working with every last ounce of energy and giving their all to see each class through to completion and that’s all we need to see, for them we will give every hour of the day to listen, explain, demonstrate and discuss anything they want our input with.

By Friday we will all be emotionally drained mentally exhausted and physically DONE IN!! But it will always be worth it when we have a group of clients willing to give their all and try no matter how hard it is or how tired they get.

Once again and possibly now more than ever, let’s have some support on Facebook. Send in your messages or post your thoughts so that the girls can see that we are walking the path with them and that they are not alone, feeling very humbled at this point in the week to see so many trying hard and pushing their way to complete every class and stay positive.

A big well done from all of us at FitFarms, trainers, cooks, experts and coaches, we are all amazed at your efforts so far.

Two girls who have made friends whilst visiting the Weight Loss Camp in Derbyshire

Two girls who have made friends whilst visiting the Weight Loss Camp in Derbyshire

One of the exercises we complete at the weight loss camp is to walk or run around Carsington Lake. It does depend on your current fitness level to if you are running or walking but one thing is for sure the scenery is stunning.

These two girls have also supported them through this part of the exercise programme which is a great help with motivation.

Well done girls!

A Warm and Healthy Soup for Autumn

A Warm and Healthy Soup for Autumn

Healthy Autumn Soup Recipe. Photo credit Special Fork.

The nights are drawing in and we start to think about those warming meals which may not be as healthy as we would like. But here is a very tasty and warm soup that you can mix and match the ingredients to suit your own tastes.

Red Lentil, Chickpea and Chilli Soup


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • large pinch chilli (flakes if possible)
  • 1 tbsp oil, olive oil is best
  • 1 red onion (seasonal vegetable), chopped
  • 140g red lentils, split
  • 850ml water or vegetable stock
  • 400g can tomatoes, can be chopped or whole
  • 200g of chickpeas, a carton or ½ a can, drain and rinse (leftovers can be frozen)
  • small bunch of roughly chopped coriander (save a few leaves to garnish)
  • 4 tbsp 0% Greek yoghurt, to serve


  • Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the chilli flakes and cumin seeds for approximately 1 minute, or until they start to bounce around the pan and release the aroma.
  • Add the olive oil and red onion, and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, and stock, then bring to the boil.
  • Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until the lentils have softened.
  • Mix the soup with a food processor or a stick blender until it is a rough purée, pour back into the pan and add the chickpeas.
  • Heat gently, season and stir in the coriander.
  • Finish with a measure of yoghurt and sprinkle with coriander leaves.

This recipe only takes 10 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook. There are sufficient ingredients to serve 4 people.
Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients and consider why those are in a healthy recipe as opposed to others.

Olive oil is considered a healthy fat as it is a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). MUFAs have be credited with helping to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering your cholesterol. Research is now starting to show that MUFAs help with maintaining blood sugar control, and therefore insulin levels. This blood sugar control is helpful if you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. However, all fats should be used in moderation as they are high in calories.

Red and yellow onions are an excellent source of quercetin. This is a bioflavonoid that will scavenge cell damaging free radicals. Onions are rich in antioxidants that are anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Eating onions can help in suppressing rhinoviruses, the underlying cause of the common cold. Red onions contain allicin and this has been credited with promoting cardiovascular health, and preventing some cancers. Onions can be eaten cooked or raw, and counts towards our five-a-day.

Chickpeas have a nutty taste, and are high in protein and fibre. They also have a low glycemic index, an ideal combination to aid weight control. Chickpeas in your diet will help towards reducing heart disease through lower levels of cholesterol. Chickpeas are very versatile, and can be used in soups, as above, curries, salads, stews, and chilli’s. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten free, and can be used to make pakoras and pancakes. Chickpeas can even be used in baked goods as an egg substitute.