Why We Do Yoga

yoga-pose-joe-arcidiacono-8Yoga is not for everyone but we always practice it at FitFarms holistic weight loss boot camp. I’ve come across quite a few people who are adamant it’s not for them and I usually suggest they have another a go as it’s often not realised that there are many different forms of yoga -hatha, bikram, ashtanga; personally I practice Iyengar and have for about fifteen years, but yes I too have been to yoga classes and found the style is not for me. Anyway one of the things I like about Iyengar is the focus on correcting postures and utilising equipment in order for people to be able to work into poses that they may not otherwise be able to get into, making it inclusive (and beneficial) for absolutely everyone.

Despite this some people can find it quite demotivating and/or frustrating if they can’t get into postures that they would like or pressurise themselves by feeling like they should be able to. For me there’s something I quite like about not being able to do certain ones -I like the challenge, but I find there’s also an element of relaxation in that, in having to accept limitation and just be ok with it before trying to improve; try to force it and your body still won’t do it, it just becomes rigid (and worse case painful); accept and relax and allow your body to do as it will in its own time and it will eventually get there with a bit of patience (sometimes years!) and perseverance.

I also like that when you eventually get there you discover that its not the end of the story, often it’s merely the preface, sometimes you find there’s another aspect that you hadn’t noticed when you started, or some fine tuning that’s necessary, or you realise the only purpose of a pose was to prepare you for another, and the challenges and learning continues. For me it’s a practice I’ve found that I sort of feel worse about as I’ve improved! Not that I’ve physically got worse but that I’m more aware and in a contradictory way I feel better about -perfectly imperfect. Having written all of this I now realise I haven’t exactly covered the topic I intended when I started so will save that for another time, however I feel it’s a good time to point out how yoga is often considered more a lifestyle and have to reflect on how much of my own experience through yoga applies to my everyday life and attitude towards it, and encourage you to question the same -how do you feel about limitations or challenges? are you accepting of situations? do you try to force that what wants to resist?

I apologise if anyones read this far thinking ‘thats five minutes I’m never getting back!’as I appreciate it’s a little esoteric, but I tend to think the outside effects the inside and vice versa so for anyone who’s never really ‘got’the whole yoga thing perhaps some of this may help to demystify it.

Image credit to yogajournal

Jen Just Do It 80′s Aerobic Session

received_2059320577730609Andalucia, an area of the world I’d never visited, but having spent a week working there with Fitfarms I have to say that it is beautiful! The scenery is stunning and the weather was gorgeous. Even though we were there to work on the weight loss retreat there was a laid back feel to the week different to the U.K. courses which brought out a certain childish playfulness. Prior to going I had planned out a simple dance session that I thought would work nicely in the pool, and it did, I have to say there was a moment with everyone doing ballet arms so in sync and gracefully (whilst cracked up laughing) that I really thought it would have made a fantastic photo; and that’s not the only time I had that thought, it occurred a few more times in the week too. In my playful mood I thought it would be fun to do a morning mobility session to The jungle book soundtrack, never have I heard so many people sing along in a class -bare necessities was incredible, and there was definitely something very funny about a mobility circuit with everyone doing something different to I wan’na be like you (the monkey song)! We headed down to the beach one afternoon, and after the pedalo’s were put away had a bit of a play around in the water with a blow up football, we started with catch, progressed to volley ball (not easy in water) and added other general daft ideas cooked up by the group. As the pool session was quite popular I thought I’d (speedily) try to put together another one for the last day, all to 80’s music (as had been mentioned was the preference of some of the group); there were some classic tunes and aerobics moves, a little bit of running (something else not easy in water) and some general jumping and leg kicking -to no particular timing with no ‘technique’instruction, just sheer freedom and it was great!! If you’re reading this and thinking that sounds fun -it really was, and that’s the key point I’m trying to make whatever you do for exercise make sure it’s fun, it doesn’t need to be all serious, goal focussed, or worrying about whether you look a bit ridiculous – if you want to sing along to the music you like listening to -do it! If you want to grab a group of friends and have a dance or water running relay or play games at the local pool -do it! Release the inner child -there’s strength in numbers anyway, and you’d probably be surprised how many people would like to join in

Weight loss retreat competition

generate-boxByPakPakWin A Free FitFarms Weight Loss Retreat and Lifestyle Camp
This month we are giving away a free weekend at FitFarms. To enter all you have to do is three simple steps:
1) Leave your name and email at the end of this blog.
2) Write a comment on why you would like to join us in the comment section at the end of this blog and post the comment.
3) Go back to this Facebook post, share it and tag three friennd
                                                                                                       Win A FitFarms Weight Loss Retreat Holiday
Autumn is upon us and we are going into the last quarter of the year but we still have 4 exciting FitFarms weight loss retreats and lifestyle camps to join us on. 19th October we are in Norfolk. This is the half term week, not for the whole country but in parts of the country including Norfolk and the surrounding areas. It’s always a busy course and  this year is already looking quite full.
  2nd November we are back in Norfolk for a women’s only course. Women Only Courses and mixed courses are pretty much the same. If you are a female booking on a mixed course you will follow the same programme as if you booked onto a Women Only Course. The only difference is that there are males on the course and they are following more of a male only programme  during certain times of the retreat. 24th November FitFarms takes it’s weight loss retreat and lifestyle camp back to Spain. We have recently come back from a 7 Night Course that started on 15th September which was a huge success. 7th November we are up in Derbyshire in the beautiful town of Matlock. This is one of our favourite retreats, we have been coming here for 7 years and we love all the local instructors, suppliers and the fabulous team at the lakeside cottages.
Prices of the weight loss retreat and lifestyle camp start at £399 per person and can be booked online on the FitFarms website or you can call us in 07766240446/ 08006343070.
Next Year is going to be extremely exciting for everyone as we are opening in Scotland and Ireland. Every year we get many guests making the trip to us from these areas so from now on we have decided that we will do the travelling for you!

Knee Anatomy – Parts, Functions and Health

knee healthIt’s not uncommon for people who have gained weight to say they’re concerned about their knees, with this in mind I had a little search for articles around the subject. So a bit of anatomy to begin as what we consider our knee joint is actually several joints; what’s generally considered the ‘knee joint’ is the tibiofemoral joint (TFJ), the joint between the tibia (shin) and femur (thigh); we also have the ‘kneecap joint’ or patellofemoral joint (PFJ) the joint between the patella (kneecap) and femur.

Development of osteoarthritis (OA) in the knees is more likely if you are overweight with OA in the TFJ the more likely; mechanical stress from the extra load going through the joint and the bodies adaptation to it is thought to be one aspect contributing to development of OA, however it is noted that OA is more likely in overweight people in joints that don’t weight bear too (i.e. the hand) leading to a belief that another aspect in development of OA may be the extra body fat producing proteins that worsen joint inflammation which subsequently may be instrumental in cartilage degeneration.

Now regarding the PFJ, which plays a large role in flexion/bending the knee; it is estimated that this joint is exposed to loads 2-3 times your body weight during activity, and OA in the PFJ appears in half of people experiencing knee pain or knee OA. The research found that those with PFJ pain were heavier, and those with PFJ OA were heavier again; although extra weight was not a predictor for those without PFJ pain, creating a chicken or egg debate -is pain due to excess weight or is excess weight due to reduced activity due to pain?

There is some belief that PFJ OA and pain are on a continuum and essentially it is concluded that reducing excess weight may well benefit the knees by restricting mechanical and metabolic effects believed to be caused by it.


Health and Fitness exercise tip by the FitFarms team. FitFarms specialises in Fitness and Weight Loss Holidays for people of all different fitness levels, shapes and sizes. Check out our next courses here.

Image credit to OMRF.ORG

FitFarms Weight Loss Retreat Spain

Jennie HebbThe Spain weight loss retreat started on 15th September and has just finished. It was another fantastic success and is proving to be our most popular course. It was Jen’s first time in Spain and she did a fab job covering aerobics, aqua aerobics, massage and much more!

We always have alot of returning guests and this course was no different with over half the guests coming back to us from previous courses. There were two young ladies on this course who have been to us many times and more than once to Spain. Thank you hugely Lisa and Ali for your continued support it’s much appreciated by all of us at FitFarms. Also not forgetting the other 9 guests for putting so much effort in and keeping spirits high over the week.

We only run our Spain weight loss retreat and lifestyle camps for one week and do not do the FitFarms shorter courses because in the past it has proven to be quite tricky collecting guests from the airport and returning them throughout the week. Thank you goes to Jen and Andy for making the course lively and fun for everyone.

There are always going to be challenges with these styles of courses and they always seem to meet them head on and make sure the customers get the most possible out of the course, making it a fun and dare I say it a life changing seven days of exercise, nutrition and educational workshops. We had a new chef team on this course and they did extremely well keeping the food varied and tasty. Thank you Diana and Ian for doing such a fabulous job and looking forward to working with you again in November.

FitFarms has decided to run more retreats in Spain but keeping the number of people to a smaller level. We are averaging at approximately twelve guests every time we run. So far we have been twice and we have been full on each course. We still have some availability on our course so please check out the FitFarms Spain Course for dates, prices and general course information.

NSLBP NICE Guidelines

back-pain_001-1080x600For anyone who works in healthcare you’re probably quite familiar with NICE guidelines, for anyone who isn’t, they are guidelines health professionals follow for the treatment and management of certain ailments put together from the best evidence based research that is available at the time.

There are guidelines for all sorts of things and I thought I’d write a little about the guidelines for a very common problem – Non Specific Low Back Pain (NSLBP) and sciatica, that is, where pain has no association with a known serious or potentially serious cause.

Self management is first up :offering advice and information; personally I think this is an underrated aspect, if knowledge is power then offering knowledge can surely only be empowering (and hopefully motivating) helping someone understand their problem and ideally want to take control of it.

Next up, group exercise, specific programmes tailored around needs, capabilities and preferences of individuals, where NSLBP is concerned exercise is the number one go to! Something I’ve often come across is people using belts, there is a huge psychological element to using supports with injuries, and if they’ve been advised in relation to a particular diagnosed condition follow the advice, however for NSLBP NICE say they are not to be offered.

Other no go’s for NSLBP include acupuncture and electrotherapy (i.e. TENS). Manual therapies (soft tissue/massage, mobilisations/manipulations) are suggested as a potential for consideration but not on their own only in conjunction with other treatments such as psychological therapies and (you guessed it) exercise! I’m not going to go into less conservative treatments as I’m not a doctor but for anyone interested NICE guidelines are available to access online. It may not have escaped your notice that where NSLBP is concerned exercise is foundational,

I’m not talking sets and reps of deadlifts just progressive exercises (any one that’s done a FitFarms core session will know what I mean there!) beginning gently, progressing and committing to it; often programmes are followed until pain eases then neglected until it comes back and its back to square one, the key is continuation.


Health and Fitness exercise tip by the FitFarms team. FitFarms specialises in Fitness and Weight Loss Holidays for people of all different fitness levels, shapes and sizes. Check out our next courses here.

Image credit to Biodynamichealth.com

FitFarms Weight Loss Retreat Spain

spain fitfarms march 2017Today is action packed at FitFarms Spain Weight Loss retreat. The early morning work out has been completed and there were alot of smiles on people’s faces. Personally I feel when people get to this time of the week they start to see the finish line. This isn’t just a phew we are almost there but I feel people can feel the increase in their fitness levels and generally have more energy which brings on the smiles.

It’s action packed today because the smiley coach man is coming to pick us up again and take us to the local beach at Inskajar.  There is a huge lake there so huge it’s the largest lake in Andalucia which is ideal for our weight loss retreat activities. There is a natural beach on the lake which makes it great for water sports. The last time we did this back in June it was really popular. The water is extremely clear and in some parts you can see to the bottom of the lake. It’s a more fun exercise activity but it’s a great workout and keeping exercise fun is what it’s all about.

Iznajar really is a dramatic place. There is a white washed village that is high up and it literally looks like the whole village is sitting on a rock. All the shops and houses are white and there’s an amazing church right at the top of the village. One of our FitFarms weight loss retreat walks starts at the bottom of the village and the group wind there way through the Spanish streets up to the top. We then take about 20 minutes break which is needed plus it gives everyone the opportunity to look around the village. Once the 20 minutes are up we then start our descent down the other side of the village to meet our smiley bus man at the bottom of the hill. It really is quite a breathtaking walk.

FitFarms Weight Loss Retreat To Granada

Fitness Camp Spain Scenic WalkToday was a bright an early start at FitFarms weight loss retreat in Spain. First up was the morning session which we call the pre breakfast workout class.

We nearly always start of the day with a mobility exercise which was introduced by Andy Baker in 2016. We were doing mobility style exercises before but just not enough. In fact we believe it’s one of the most overlooked areas in health and fitness. The major benefits of mobility exercise is that it helps your range of movement, creates body awareness, helps with bettering your posture but ultimately prevents injury so very important to do for overall health.

The FitFarms jolly bus driver has arrived and today we are heading to Granada for a walk. Well actually it’s about 20 minutes from the medieval town of Granada in an area of natural beauty called Monachil. There is a famous walk here called Cahorros which starts in Monachil and goes up a windy path and then you enter a dramatic gorge. It really is fantastic with with hanging bridges, water falls and an array of beautiful flowers.

The walk takes around 2 hours and like all the FitFarms weight loss retreat walks there are different lengths to help with the different fitness abilities. Then it’s a hop back onto the bus and we’re off to the medieval city of Granada for a spot of sightseeing. We only do the sightseeing for a couple of hours as the FitFarms weight loss retreat schedule is quite busy and at the end of the day we are a weight loss retreat and fitness camp! Granada Medieval City is absolutely spectacular and if you ever get the chance to visit go for it as you will not be disappointed.

Weight Loss Retreat FitFarms Spain

FitFarms Spain

FitFarms Spain

This week the FitFarms weight loss and fitness retreat are out in Andalucia in Spain. The health and fitness team always get a little more excited on these courses as the retreat has a little more of a holiday atmosphere than the UK holiday retreats. In fact I would go as far to say it’s our most popular course for guests and trainers.

The group is a little smaller at just 12 guests on the Spanish retreats and once again we are full with 12 very excited and fun guests which are all having a fantastic time. The trainers on this week are Andy who is in charge of the running of the week and Jen who is the sports therapist, aerobics and massage therapist always with a welcoming smile on her face.

The chefs on this week are the lovely Diana and Ian who run a catering business in Malaga which is approximately 50 minutes away from the FitFarms weight loss retreat villa. The guests have loved the taste of the food and the presentation has been spectacular.

Today is a real fun one as we are going to the beach. Even though the FitFarms weight loss retreat is based in the rolling olive hills of Andalucia there is a lake beach just 15 minutes from where we are staying. Now water sports aren’t for everyone so we do give guests the option of a lake walk and for those water babies we have kayaking and pedalos. On the last course back in June the pedalos proved to be really popular as they have long slides straight down into the water, they are also a good leg workout as well. The next FitFarms Spain fitness boot camp  course starts on November 24th but hurry there’s only a couple of spaces left.

 

 

Benefits of Strength (aka Resistance) Training

Strength trainingWe’re often asked at FitFarms ‘what sort of exercise should I be doing?’ and I’m generally of the opinion that you should be doing whatever activity you enjoy doing be it gym, classes, cycling or rock climbing; but I thought I’d share some info from an article I was reading about some benefits of strength (aka resistance) training.

As we age our muscle mass declines by roughly 1% each year and alongside it strength, though at an even greater rate; parallel to this there is an association between lower muscle strength and greater risk of dementia, need for care and mortality.

Recent studies in the article concluded a large reduction (19-27%) in mortality of adults using strength training a couple of hours/days a week. An earlier study in a nursing home found an increase in strength of 174% after 8 weeks in a a small group of nonagernarians with a couple of the participants regaining ability to walk without a stick, and one who had regained the ability to stand from a chair independently.

Other studies have shown strength gains to improve cognition in those with subjective memory problems, reduce inflammation in adults receiving haemodialysis for kidney failure, help adults with type 2 diabetes manage sugar levels, improve bone strength in postmenopausal women as well as benefits for heart attack recovery, depression and sleep.

Strength training is the only exercise that stimulates muscle growth and thus the only kind of exercise capable of dealing with reduction in muscle mass and strength. Finally, in line with the research and the ACSM guidelines, recommendation for strength training is to partake for at least two days a week at a moderate to hard intensity and to work the major muscle groups; all I will add for anyone reading thinking ‘I’m not about to start lifting weights’ the key is ‘resistance’ be it weights, gravity, water or my favourite the resistance band -as long as resistance and intensity is there it’s all good.


Health and Fitness exercise tip by the FitFarms team. FitFarms specialises in Fitness and Weight Loss Holidays for people of all different fitness levels, shapes and sizes. Check out our next courses here.

Image credit to Freepik