Fitness, weight loss and lifestyle workshop

received_2059320577730609The last FitFarms fitness and weight loss camp in the UK was an interesting one for me as I got to have a stab at delivering the fitness workshop which isnt usually my domain.

We began by discussing what fitness is & what makes someone fit and it struck me that there seems to be a perception of what it means to be fit or even an image of it that is over simplistic & doesnt incorporate fitness in a holistic sense.

We broke down physical aspects of fitness into cardiovascular, endurance, strength, mobility, flexibility & proprioception, & discussed how each aspect is incorporated into exercise & it took me back a little to when studying rehabilitation & the goals of a rehab programme -maintaining/improving cardiovascular function, strength, core stability, gait, range of movement & proprioception to ultimately get someone back to full fitness & hopefully prevent future injury. All of these aspects are important & to me add up to what makes a person fit (as I read a while ago the only difference between rehab & training is the starting point).

I often mention about compensatory movements, how if one area of the body is restricted in movement it will cause another area to take over to try & fulfill a movement – the body gets there but not in the best or most efficient way which may then cause problems, but if we can work on those deficits to begin with we put ourselves in a much healthier position; similarly we may be fit in the cardiovascular sense but if we have poor proprioception (balance/co ordination for simplicity!) our control over movements is going to be poor & again less efficient & potentially injurious.

Ultimately fitness sits on a scale & the demands of a task/exercise/sport will dictate the level of fitness needed, but regardless of the task/exercise/sport a degree of all those aspects discussed will be needed, & in the absence of a professional assessing those fitness points its down to the individual to recognise where their deficits lie -the things youre not good at & then tend not to enjoy & subsequently dont do, annoyingly are often the things you should be doing!

FitFarms London Boot Camp New Year


Myths ExerciseNew Year New You!
I remember recently being in the exercise area at the Holistic FitFarms London Boot Camp and speaking to a customer about New Year resolutions, aims and their goals. The customer talked about her 2019 aims and we both asked ourselves the question so we could focus and get to the end goal.


The question we both asked was – But how?


New healthy diet? Maybe try one you haven’t before? Or one that worked in the past? Weight Loss Boot Camp Exercise regime, start easy? Or jump into the deep end and follow a Fitness Boot Camp exercise regime? A walk around the block? Or 5 days a week of hiit (or some other sort “FAT BURNING” awesomeness.)


How confident are you? How serious? Is this a new life a complete overhaul or have you always kept in shape but would like to knuckle down and get back to form after Xmas? What will make this plan a success and when it is what will you do after? Is it really a lifestyle change if you plan to stop after achieving weight loss, fitness and lifestyle goals? Is it really a lifestyle if the changes your committing to are only with a view to achieving said goals? Where do you go after? maintenance? What’s that look like? Doing the same thing but with less focus, doing something different but more maintainable? Stopping all together? What makes this time successful where all the others failed? Details! Not finding a diet that’s seems to have a big successful following not just trying to watch what you eat and get a little exercise not even throwing yourself into a £150 a month online plan (closing your eyes holding your breath and hoping for the best!!) it’s the details.. it’s making the right choice for you based on what you need what you want what you can manage and what you believe amongst others. That what we focus on during our courses the details.. that way you will have the right mix of a plan at your fingertips with the power to adapt and change it if and when necessary without the fear of failure or the doubt of low self confidence because you will understand the reasoning and idea behind the plan and you will be able to move in the right direction without necessarily sticking to one path


weight loss, fitness and lifestyle programme


The third fitness and weight loss program I wrote at the FitFarms London Fitness Camp for one of our clients after my request on Facebook as as you can see based on improving stamina for walking. A slight spanner in the works in terms of exercise program planning was that to train for improving stamina with only around 10 minutes to play with is not a typical request.  However my aim with these weight loss and fitness plans was not to prove I could write an effective plan for the goal but to write one for the client. 10 minutes is what would work for them and consistency trumps perfection every time. So below i have given 4 different 10 minute weight loss and fitness workouts spread ideally evenly throughout the week, I have picked simple exercises again because it is easier for the client to adapt an exercise they understand than one they need constant coaching on and I feel I have left plenty of room for progression which will be the key to the success of the weight losss and fitness program for the client. Whether you are interested in improving your stamina or not give this session a go and let us know how you feel about it..

Timeline: 1 year

Goals: improve stamina start cycling to and from work 7 miles each way

Likes: long walks
Forward focus:

A progressive plan for improving overall stamina and fitness for the long walks planned next year

Provide more healthy option ideas around diet..

Concentrate on core area

Wants to train for around 10 minutes in the morning as it is the most likely time available

Has resistance bands but no other equipment and short on space.
Target areas: legs and core

Frequency: 4 times a week

Time: 10-15 minutes
Day 1

Legs focussed

Static squat

Forward and backward lunges

Rock climbers

Ascending reps.. start 5 reps/pulses each increase it by one rep each time and try to continually cycle without breaks in between these exercises should fatigue your legs quite quickly so improving how long you can go without stopping would suggest your muscular endurance is improving

Day 2

Core focussed


Side plank

Log lift

Side plank

10 seconds per position then rest 20 seconds, repeat (once you can’t comfortably manage the exercises I.e. Back ache take a longer rest but try to build up the time per position as well as how many circuits during the 10-15 minute routine

Day 3

Legs focussed


Squat jumps


2 minutes each as Many reps as possible 1 minute rest between exercises as this improves think about increasing the time limit and decreasing the rest period.. it’s overall improvement is just as important as improvement in the individual challenges..

Day 4

Core focussed

Renegade (press up position)

Butt ups into lateral mountain climber ( bringing the knee up to the elbow on the same side of the body)

Walk outs/roll outs (fitball or rolling device required)

Supermans (weighted or resistance band progression is available but a ruck sack with additional weight would work better)

Side to side touches

Aim for 2 minutes per exercise.. my reason for picking these exercises is that holding the press up or renegade position by itself is a challenge to incorporate movements like these will increase the effort whilst still adding a level of core control. I don’t expect you’ll manage 2 minutes of each exercise certainly not straight away so take note of time spent on each exercise and try to improve as time goes by to see how your core strength and stamina improve.
On top of this building up time on your bike at weekends will add to both your overall fitness and as a way of seeing your strength and stamina improve.


Weight Loss Exercise Fun and Enjoyable

received_2059320577730609As I’ve mentioned before I’m of the opinion that the exercise you choose to do should be fun and enjoyable; and if necessary chop, change and try something new to keep it that way. I think those are good words of advice, which makes me wonder why I hadn’t listened to them myself for a while! I like to exercise and do so pretty much daily, I like and need variation, mixing exercise up a bit to keep it interesting; but for a little while I’d found myself thinking that actually I hadn’t really tried anything new or attended any classes which I used to enjoy for some time and that my own exercise was feeling a bit stagnant. I’ve a long list of both valid reasons and poor excuses as to why but I won’t get into that now! At FitFarms camping in London  I kept promising myself that I would give hula hooping a go as it looked like fun, but I never got round to it (that list again). Anyway this has been niggling at me for a while, and this weeks course was one of those serendipitous weeks where you feel like there’s a master plan unfolding somewhere in this universe. I was aware that I hadn’t done a good yoga session for a while and as much as I could have gone and practiced at several points I didn’t (curse that list); however come Thursday morning there was a yoga session with Rosie which I’d promised myself I’d join in with -and I did (albeit 5 minutes late and tiptoeing in!) I can honestly say I loved it, a change of style to how I usually practice, a fantastic group of people to practice alongside, and it must be said, an amazing instructor. I left virtually floating, fully recharged with a newly rebooted desire to improve my practice, and the sense that my niggle was right – I need a change, to try something new. I’m not quite sure where that niggle is going to take me as I’ve quite an extensive list of things I’d like to try and or go back to, but I do know that the first thing I need to do is look at that list and separate the reasons from the excuses before I can plan what’s feasible, focus, and move onto a new exercise or discipline with the passion both it and I deserve

FitFarms Spain Weight Loss Boot Camp

Jennie HebbSo here I am back home from another week in beautiful Spain, though it was significantly cooler than September when we were last there! (the best way of dealing with cold, move faster, right?!) Anyway temperature drop aside, it was for the most part beautifully sunny & with a fantastic group of positive people we had the elements to create the great weight loss retreat week it was. Now I feel adaptability is something of a second nature to us which is fortunate as this time around no one wanted to make use of the pool & we certainly weren’t going to the beach! What we did do however is discover another beautiful walk, along the reservoir & hire bikes for a cycle which is perfect for our FitFarms Spain Weight Loss Boot Camp, both which offered some great photo opportunities & the latter which we did on the morning of my birthday! The afternoon session was my choice & it wouldn’t be a birthday celebration without a bit of a dance so that’s what I went with; dancing in the pool was out, but dancing in the hall was in & it seemed to go down well; it was put together a while back using music & moves from films, & so I described the session as a cross between ‘watches too much T.V’& ‘dances round the living room’! As I keep saying whatever you do make it fun, and yes, dancing round the living room counts as exercise (fortunately for me!) I had a few of the ‘poor you, working on your birthday’comments, but in all honesty I got to go for a cycle & dance around; as someone once said to me ‘if you can make a living doing what you enjoy, it won’t feel like work’& they were right. To top it off for a giggle, on my request I got to listen to the groans of Andy & Stephen attempting the baby shark abs challenge (sadly I don’t have the evidence, just the memory), & I also received a Spanish birthday card which I waited until I was home to open to make me smile & remind me of a brilliant week with lovely people, I’m going to sign off now finishing with a sincere Thank you to all (you know who you are) who were at ‘work’with me.

Jen explains movement and muscles

FitFarms Movement ExercisesIt occurred to me the other day that while we spend a lot of time at FitFarms holistic weight loss boot camp moving and discussing movement along with the ills of sedentary lifestyles, we rarely talk specifically about the main component responsible for it! Probably because it’s quite a vast topic and not the simplest, but I thought I’d follow that train and have an attempt at briefly explaining muscles.


There are three types of muscles in the body, which can be divided into striated (striped) smooth and cardiac; cardiac unsurprisingly relates to the muscle forming the wall of the heart, smooth to involuntary /not consciously controlled muscles i.e. peristaltic movement of the intestines, and striated to what we consider skeletal muscle which primarily produce force and thereafter create movement. All muscles within the body share certain characteristics: the ability to contract thereby either shortening or producing tension; the ability to relax returning to resting following contraction; elasticity allowing muscle to elongate and return to rest; distensibility allowing muscle to elongate by external force without damage so long as it’s not forced beyond its limits; the ability to transmit an action potential / nerve impulse and the ability to react when stimulated.


If you’ve ever looked at a picture of skeletal muscles you may have noticed the striations on the muscles, which can give an indication as to the direction of movement that muscle moves in, some perform quite simple singular movements others multiple. The size and thickness of a muscle can also give an indication as to their particular role, those that are larger and thicker are much more capable of producing large amounts of force (i.e. legs) for greater movements, whereas long thin or very tendinous muscles may act better as pulleys (i.e. fingers). Muscles that produce movement are known as phasic and can only produce movement by pull not push, they contain mostly fast twitch fibres which are more easily fatiguable than postural muscles which mostly contain more slow twitch fibres that cope better under the sustained demand of keeping the body upright.


Movement of the body can be considered in terms of levers where the muscle dictates the direction of force, the limb moved being the load and the fulcrum altering and dictating the type of lever depending on the area of the body, but for example a bicep curl would use the biceps brachii to produce force, the load movement would be the arm flexing /bending and in this instance the fulcrum would be the elbow. Muscles producing movement are known as agonists and each agonist has an antagonist, an opposing muscle that produces an opposing movement and can prevent an agonist overproducing a movement. If anyone is interested in understanding a bit more in depth about how muscles produce movement I would recommend having a look at some of the videos on you tube on ‘sliding filament theory’.

FitFarms weight loss fitness camp

you-won-t-believe-this-amazing-way-to-make-chocolate-cheesecakes-in-an-ice-cube-trayLoaded Salad (prep time 20 minutes)

Ingredients for one person

2 large handfuls of mixed leaf salad (crunchy style salad is best)

8 cherry tomatoes

1/4 of a cucumber

1/4 of a red onion

1 oz serving of goats cheese (this is about 75 calories but more importantly this gives you 5 grams of protein and 40 mg calcium)

2 tablespoons of mixed seeds (rich in healthy fats and also a great source of protein)

Pinch of salt

1/2 small cooked beetroot

1 tablespoon olive oil


Put the cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray and cover with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Then roast in a 150 degrees oven for 20 minutes.

Chop and mix all the other ingredients up in a bowl and then add the cherry tomatoes.


Healthy Chocolate Treats (prep time 3 hrs with the freezing process)

Ingredients for 24 small bars

25 ml Coconut Oil

45 grams of chocolate (over 70% cocoa powder is a must)

1/2 an avocado

1/2 banana

Tablespoon of Chia seeds


Put 2 inches of water in a saucepan and a glass bowl on the top with the chocolate in and cook at a medium heat for 10 minutes or until the chocolate has melted.

In another saucepan melt the coconut oil.

Put the coconut oil, chocolate and all the ingredients into a blender and blend together.

Pour the mix into ice cube trays and place in the fridge for 3 hrs.

Take them out of the fridge and pop them out of the ice cube trays.

You can also find some good healthy food recipes on the BBC Good Food website

Bon appetit from the holistic weight loss and fitness camp

Photo credit to food network


Holistic Weight Loss Boot CAMP Fitness Challenge

aerobics exerciseThe holistic weight loss boot camp fitness challenge!

A combination of timed exercises targeting your endurance in different ways it’ll make you work to your max for every moment and result in hurting all over!


Holistic Weight Loss Boot Camp Equipment.

Resistance bands looped and normal.. medium resistance

Kettlebells.. single weights medium to heavy


Holistic Weight Loss Boot Camp Challenges.


Kettlebell swings:

10 swings in a row/ no more than 20 seconds rest repeat as many times as you can within a 10 minute total.. if you fail to complete a full 10 minutes that’s all good just keep track of how many reps you managed in total and try to beat it next time..


Burpee/floor to ceiling:

You have 3 chances to do as many reps as possible, you cannot pause or rest even slightly within reps it must be full on and constant if you stop it counts as one of your tests.

Each time you rest you get 20 seconds no more no less count how many reps in each attempt and the total amount of reps as well like so I.e

  1. 30
  2. 15
  3. 12

Total 57

This way next time you can record fluctuations in individual sets or overall total


The plank:

Choose between 5-10 minutes as a target set and hold the plank for as long as you can each time without loss of control or risking injury and count how many breaks or rests you take during this time. Then each time you try to reduce the total amount of rests you take.. ps you have to stop the clock each time you rest and your rest should be no longer than 30 seconds


Look out for our next version soon  and check out our you tube for new ideas

There are also some great holistic weight loss boot camp exercises on the body coach website

Jen Reports From The Norfolk Fitness Retreat

Jennie HebbHigh intensity interval training (HIIT) is not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to exercising, and that’s fine it’s not the be all and end all to getting fitter, leaner, healthier or any other buzz word being chucked around that sounds like that’s what you should be aiming for! This is one of our many exercise teaching poiunts that we used last week on the FitFarms Norfolk Fitness Retreat.

What I personally think you should be aiming for is exercise you enjoy and which incorporates a bit of a challenge, that challenge not necessarily having to involve increasing your heart rate to levels you didn’t know it could go!

But what I do like about HIIT is the timers so I often use them with different kinds of exercise because it takes away having to count or think and leaves you to focus on the exercise.

I’ve used them for weighted exercises which I certainly wouldn’t want to be performing at high intensity (in terms of speed performing the exercise) but found it useful in ensuring I take a good timed rest.

I’ve used them with yoga poses, particularly inversions to prevent me from being lazy and coming out of a pose sooner than I should when I know I’m capable of holding for longer; and one of my favourites is to use them for progressing exercise. For example if looking to develop a plank hold using a tabata timer of 8 cycles of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest; in the first cycle plank against a wall, second cycle plank on knees, third cycle full plank rhythmically coming down onto knees, and fourth cycle a full plank; this can then be repeated for the last four cycles, or performed in reverse, or doubled to 2 cycles of each before progressing to the harder option. If 10 seconds doesn’t feel like enough rest increase it, if 20 seconds work feels too challenging or not challenging enough adjust it, if 8 cycles is too much or not enough for the amount of progressive exercises change it, play around, make it fun, make it challenging, and most importantly make it work for you.

FitFarms Heathrow Fitness Camp

heathrowFitFarms 2019 is looking extremely exciting as we have new venues to offer and collections from London Heathrow which will be part of the FitFarms London Fitness and Boot Camp collection point.
The FitFarms Ireland site has already proven to be very popular taking bookings a year in advance. The accommodation is a spectacular castle in Limmerick which is situated in the heart of Ireland. Ireland has fantastic countryside and we will be doing many challenging scenic hikes in the local area. FitFarms Ireland is also very reachable from Dublin and the nearest airport is Shannon being under 1hr from the FitFarms Site.
Our Spain site is running extremely well and has become very popular with returning guests looking for that fun and challenging experience. Collections are from Malaga airport and we still have a space available on the next course that starts on 24th November. We are situated in Andalucia and the venue use to be an old olive press.
Currently we are sourcing a new site in Scotland to help with the FitFarms growth and also the travelling for our Scottish customers. The Scott’s tend to go to our Derbyshire site which is the furthest Northern FitFarms.
FitFarms Derbyshire is our old favourite. We have been there for nearly 7 years and we love the accommodation, amazing countryside and the fantastic trainers which help us out on this site. Next year we will be running a few more weeks than usual just because of the popularity of the Derbyshire site. It’s only 2hrs from London and we provide a free pick up from Matlock which is the local station.
We will be sharing the information on the new Scotland site very shortly through social media platforms. Keep your eyes peeled because we believe it’s going to be amazing in the Scotland Highlands.