Tips for Making Batch Cooking Enjoyable and Healthy

At the FitFarms holiday retreat in Dorset this week we talked during our mentoring groups sessions about batch cooking. Batch cooking can be a really good way to use your time efficiently and still eat healthy meals throughout the week.

Many of our clients have busy lives with work and family commitments taking up much of their time. It can seem daunting to some people to have to find extra time to prepare healthy meals from scratch. Not everyone enjoys cooking, so cooking meals every day can seem like a chore. This is not what you want when you are trying to put more of an emphasis on healthy eating.

One solution might be batch cooking. Batch cooking is when you make several portions of a meal or meals in one go. It is more efficient because you do all of the shopping, prep work, cooking and cleaning all at once. The meals can then be stored in the fridge or the freezer and when you come to eat them there is much less work to do.

How often you do a batch cook is completely up to you. Some people get into a regular routine of preparing all of their meals for the week in one session, perhaps on the weekend. For others it works to do it a few times a week. Not all of your meals have to be prepared this way, so you could just do a batch cook once or twice a month to stock up your freezer so that you always have plenty of home-cooked easy options for when life gets really hectic.

Here are some easy tips for making batch cooking enjoyable and helping you with your goals.

  • Make sure the meals are balanced. After a week at FitFarms and the workshops with Lesley our nutritionist you should have a really good idea of how to put together a balanced plate. You also get a recipe pack with lots of ideas.
  • Make the cooking experience enjoyable. Put on some music, an audio book or a DVD box set while you cook. Cook with your partner, your kids or invite some friends around who also want to batch cook.
  • Portion the food out straight away and put it in the fridge or freezer as soon as it’s cooled. That way you wont be tempted to eat more of it than you would want to at the first sitting.

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!

Experience FitFarms Derbyshire Fitness Retreat

DerbyshireOur UK fitness and weight loss retreat is located in the beautiful surroundings of Darwin larks in the heart of Derbyshire. FitFarms specialises in maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle enjoying the food and exercise along the way. We offer various fitness holiday packages ranging from 3-7 days allowing you to get back on track whether its the nutritional side of things or the exercise which you need to add back into your current lifestyle.

This Derbyshire weight loss retreat offers you scenic countryside walks, a mixture of fitness classes and a chance to relax and reflect. Our fitness retreats also offer high standard nutritional advise and help to make your lifestyle the one you want!

Looking for weight loss, a fitness holiday? And break away? Why not experience our Derbyshire fitness retreat and feel revived and ready to by the end of it!

Kickstart your Healthy Living with FitFarms Fitness Holiday

FitFarms Fitness Retreat Kickstart Healthy LivingDo you need a boost but everything feels like too much of an effort? Do you find yourself avoiding exercise or skipping exercise classes because you worry you aren’t fit enough or worry you won’t fit in? Well if you are, FitFarms is the place for you!

My names Georgia Taylor and I’m one of the group exercise instructors who deals with people like yourself on a weekly basis. My aim is to make sure all of my classes are adaptable so everyone can take part! Here at this UK fitness retreat my job is to give alternatives to all of you who need it! Sadly this means no excuses because we can always adapt classes so you can complete them all!

FitFarms is all about getting you back into exercise and hopefully getting you to understand the importance of exercise as well as enjoying yourself and having fun alone the way. Our weight loss retreat allows you to make friends during the week and you’ll soon realise a lot of people are in the same boat as you when it comes to doubting themselves when it comes to exercise. But we are all in this together and as a team we will complete the course and achieve so much more than weight loss alone.

This fitness holiday may be exactly what you need to get you back to where you want to be …

Real advice, real personal trainers, a real kickstart into healthy living!

Come and join us and make the change!

Why Go to FitFarms Fitness Retreat?

Why FitFarms Fitness RetreatLooking for a change of mind, a change of attitude, maybe a different outlook on healthy eating and exercise? If so FitFarms is certainly the place for you!

We offer 3-7 day courses whether you just need a little boost or whether you need a good kickstart in the right direction! Here at FitFarms our fitness retreat offers something for everyone. Being mindful doesn’t come easy and it’s certainly easy to forget about daily exercise and eating mindfully when we lead the busy lives we do. This weight loss retreat is designed in a way that allows you to take time for yourself in between all the exercise, to reflect on what’s maybe holding you back and the barriers which are stopping you from achieving your goals.

The team at FitFarms focus on delivering the course via a relaxed approach. The reason for this is because we focus on maintaining healthy living and we want our clients to leave us with the knowledge and motivation to want to continue with this healthier happier lifestyle.

All classes at our UK fitness retreat are designed to cater for everyone so no need to worry about whether you think you’re fit enough or not….adaptions are always available and our aim is to help everyone to understand exercise is for everyone not just for those who are seen as fit!

A week away, a fitness holiday, weight loss, a full range of varied exercise, beautiful walks, stunning locations, a new experience, a team approach as well as high standard nutritional workshops topped with mouthwatering food! You won’t believe how healthy food can taste so good!

If you are up for the change, a new start or just a boost to get you back on track book onto a course today! This weight loss retreat is waiting for you!

Importance of Proper Breathing

proper breathing exerciseThe importance of proper breathing as we will be practising at the Devon weight loss boot camp and all our other UK Retreats

Most people breath using their chest and so don’t fully utilise their lung capacity. Breathing from the abdomen deeply, not only is good for fitness but it can also assist with weight loss alongside a healthy controlled diet. Deep diaphragm breathing techniques as shown by our Fitness and weigh loss boot camp trainers and yoga instructors will really help change your life.

Aside from weight loss proper breathing can assist in getting a decent nights sleep. Breathing deeply in and out of the nose enables the hair follicles and mucus membrane to act as natural filters, purifying the air going into our lungs. Similarly to how a day out in the fresh air feels on one of our Fitfarms Boot camp retreats you to can achieve something similar in everything you do by breathing completely and fully using deep abdominal breathing. When breathing fully your organs work optimally and your are able to regulate your mind and body, thus helping in getting a good nights sleep.

There are three basic types of breathing. Clavicular breathing is the most shallow and worst possible type. The shoulders and collarbone are raised awhile the abdomen is contracted during inhalation. Maximum effort is made but a minimum amount of air is obtained, Intercostal breathing is done with the rib muscles expanding the rib cage and is the second type of incomplete breathing. Deep abdominal breathing is the best during your stay at our boot camp as it brings air into the lowest and largest part of the lungs. Breathing is slow and deep, and proper use is made of the diaphragm and so assisting with your exercise at Fitfarms.

Actually none of the types are complete. A full yogic breath combines all three, beginning with a deep breath and continuing the inhalation through the intercostal and clavicular areas. To get the feel of proper diaphragmatic breathing, which you will experience on our Boot camps wear loose clothing and lie on the back. Place the hand on the upper abdomen, where the diaphragm is located. Breathe in and out slowly. The abdomen should expand outward as you inhale and contract as you exhale. Try to get the feeling of this motion.

To experience a ‘full yogic breathe’, sit up and place one hand on the abdomen and the other on the rib cage. Breathe in slowly; expand the abdomen, then the rib cage and finally the upper portion of the lungs. Then, breathe out in the same manner, letting the abdomen cave in as you exhale then the rib cage. This is the best type of breathing to do, not only at our weight loss boot camp but when walking or driving or doing just about anything.

Special blog post from Claire Swaffield, FitFarms Yoga Instructor and Behaviour Change Expert/Facilitator

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Squash versus Racket Ball

Squash and RacketballIn the summer we introduced squash/ racketball to the camping holistic weight loss boot camp in Worcestershire.

Squash and racketball are very similar and over the years I have played both of them to a reasonably high standard. What I found is that the better you are at squash the longer the duration of the rally and the better you are at racket ball the shorter the rally. Both sports are viewed to be physically demanding but the length of the rally doesn’t really have much to do with your fitness level but it’s mainly to do with the level of skill you posses.

Let’s have a look at squash first. It originated at Harrow school from the older game rackets in 1830. There’s two people on a court, a ball and two rackets. The idea of the game is to score points by tactically out manouvereing your opponent. You can either do this by creating an opening to hit an outright winner or putting him/ her under enough pressure for them to make a mistake handing you the point. Jonah Barrington a famous English squash palyer from the 1970′s explaied squash to be “physical chess”.

Racketball was created in 1940 by a ‎Joseph Sobek and is a mixture of squash and tennis. It became very popular in the 1970s in North America which is still where the major tournaments are played. The game is played on a longer but slimmer court. The rackets are shorter and the ball bounces more making it harder to hit outright winners.

You will find courts in local leisure centres and private ‎clubs making the sport accessible to everyone. It’s best to have some reasonable level of fitness before you start playing to avoid injury. Make sure you warm your whole body up before you enter the court!

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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.

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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.

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Get to know Matthew Rankmore, FitFarms Nutritionist Chef

My name is Matthew Rankmore, I have been a chef now for 7 years. My intention was never to be a chef although I have always had a passion for food since being forced into watching ready steady cook as a child (mum loved it). But I wanted to be a professional rugby player, unfortunately, an injury stopped me from going professional.

Anyway, I was 15 and washing pots and pans in my Uncle’s restaurant called The Six Bells, nice country ala carte restaurant situated just a few miles from my house. One shift the Chef De Partie who was in charge of the starter and desert section failed to arrive for his shift, it was Christmas time and we were extremely busy. My Uncle came to inform the chefs that he had not turned up for his shift and then told me I had to take his place, I refused, he then said if I didn’t cover his section I wouldn’t have a job, I had to oblige as I didn’t want to lose my job or my small income I was making.

I was very nervous and well out of my comfort zone but I had been watching the chefs cook and plate the dishes for some time so I fell on my feet naturally and absolutely nailed it! From that day the chef was sacked and I was employed.

I remained at my Uncle’s restaurant for 1 year while I was in college, I later went onto gain an apprenticeship with the Marriot hotel and then later worked in Bordeaux in France and also Rome, Italia.

In my years of experience, I have gained a level 1, 2 & 3 in Catering and Hospitality, Young chef award 2010, and my most proud achievement of a Michelin Award which was awarded to me January this year.

I have recently started a new career path in nutritional cooking and health values of food and I LOVE it!