Working at FitFarms by Rebecca

Rebecca FitFarmsHi my name is Rebecca and I am the newest member of the FitFarms staff team. In this post I’m going to be writing a bit about myself and my first impressions of working at FitFarms.

My background is in soft-tissue therapy so I am fascinated by the human body and the way that it moves. I am excited to work with FitFarms so I can use my skills to help people improve their mobility and enjoy a more active lifestyle, whether that is high intensity exercise or just the activities of daily life. When I am not learning about the human body I enjoy using my own body to rock climb, hike and cycle.

The first thing that struck me when I arrived at Fit Farms Derbyshire is the scenery. The cottages are surrounded by woods and set beside a lovely little lake. The surrounding area is covered in rolling, green hills; perfect for getting off-site for longer walks. The hills provide wonderful views across the Derbyshire Dales (once you’ve got to the top, of course!)

One of the things that attracted me to the role at FitFarms is the holistic approach of the program, which is apparent from the off-set. For many people, making the change to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t just require change in one aspect of their life; it often requires change in exercise, nutrition and mindset all at the same time. The FitFarms program addresses all of these aspects, bringing in a variety different types of exercise, nutrition education, cooking skills, mindfulness and habit changing.

Each team member brings something different to the program. Andy and Sean have a wealth of knowledge about exercise and improving overall heath and fitness; Mathew brings a bit of flare to the kitchen as a Rosette chef with a Michelin Award ; Claire’s life coaching workshop has useful strategies for making lasting lifestyle change; and Lesley’s calm and patient explanations in the nutrition workshops cut through a lot of the confusion surrounding the issue of nutrition.

Having this kind of variety ensures that everyone can find part of the course that they really identify with, and are excited to take home to help them reach their goals.

One thing that I wasn’t expecting as part of the role was what great company I have found the clients to be. So far I have met a wide range of people from the UK and abroad, all with fascinating life experiences. On the longer walks I have had the pleasure of some great conversations on topics including making wildlife documentaries, parenting and gender equality.

Every time I start a new job there is always a bit of uncertainty about where the role will take me, but at least I know that here at FitFarms I will never be bored!


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

Here at FitFarms we don’t just believe in exercise, we believe in MOVEMENT

Here at FitFarms we don’t just believe in exercise, we believe in MOVEMENT

When people talk about a healthy lifestyle the emphasis is often placed on exercise. And it makes sense in a lot of ways.

Exercise has many benefits, for example:

  • It builds strength and endurance
  • It can lift your mood, increase confidence and relieve stress
  • It is fun and social

For these reasons we do a lot of exercise during every FitFarms course. During the week we will introduce you to lots of different exercises such as yoga, resistance training, HIIT training, aerobics, kettle bells and boxercise. The aim is to give you a wide variety so you can start to get an idea of what types of exercise you enjoy and which ones you will want to carry on when you get home. All the classes are fun, relaxed and our trainers make everything accessible, so no matter what your fitness level you can give it a go.

That said we also take a very holistic approach to health, which recognises that being healthy is much more than being able to do lots of push ups and squats. It doesn’t matter if you exercise every day or only a few times a week – if your body doesn’t feel good during your everyday activities (walking up and down the stairs, getting out of the car, carrying your kids) then that isn’t true health.

We want to give you the tools to achieve better whole-body health, and not just improve your fitness (but don’t worry, your fitness will definitely improve too!) thats why we emphasise MOVEMENT and not just exercise.

What is the difference between movement and exercise, and why does it matter?

Movement is anything that your body can do. And by anything, I mean anything. Digging in the garden, walking to the shops, getting up and down from the floor, playing with your kids. These are all movements. And they all count towards improving your whole-body health.

Exercise is a sub-category of movement, and it’s great for all the reasons mentioned above, but its not enough. Our bodies evolved over thousands of years to expect lots of and lots of low-intensity movement spread continuously through the day. If you exercise for an hour a day thats great for your fitness but it only makes up around 5% of your day. Five percent! That’s hardly anything!

Frequent, varied movement over the course of the day will improve the health of your muscles, the mobility of your joints and the density of your bones. Even if you have a desk-based job this kind of movement profile is possible with a little effort and lateral thinking. During the week at Fit Farms we show you how to improve your mobility and flexibility and you will get lots of ideas for movement breaks to take during your day at the office. We even run a Dynamic Workstation workshop to help you set up your workspace to better facilitate movement.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get moving!


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

The Future of FitFarms

The Future of FitFarms

So here’s the plan… FitFarms wants to be more! More than just a 7 day retreat, more than just a chance to lose weight or learn about nutrition, I can honestly say there are lots of camps and trainers out there that probably achieve much greater results than we do, that can boast bigger fat, weight loss and inch loss. Which ever camp, gym, class or trainer you look at their clients sing about what a great experience it was or how much they enjoyed their training and sessions. In my mind whilst this may not be the only factor, it seems like a consistent one. So FitFarms wants to focus on the continued improvement and success of their clients! With this in mind we are looking into updating and improving our post course support and providing one to one follow up for our members. Our members area will have both generic routines and exercise library’s as well as a constantly updated list of useful information, recipes and articles that we feel fall in line with the approach we want to take. We will do our upmost to deliver an on going service to our members to make sure they feel the benefit of working with us.

This year we hope to make some significant changes in this respect, starting with the current members area and course follow up. Updating the members area with an extensive exercise library, some generic routines and programs and all the current recipes as well as useful links and contact details for all the on-site and support staff involved in our program. The course follow up is currently available contact 24/7 with any of the on site staff from your course, this is to be improved by scheduling follow up phone calls and target setting reviews. Obviously these will be available to all but the option will be given at the end of your course and follow up calls etc will not be mandatory or made without prior agreement.

As I said FitFarms wants to be more, this year we will be busy making these changes happen and we are always happy to hear suggestions or feedback so if you have any ideas please feel free to get in touch.

Andy Baker


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

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.

Quick Fixes

Quick Fixes

Many clients come to us with a massive focus on weight. This is something that we are conditioned to do from a very early age. I have worked with many clients who get stuck in this vicious cycle of yoyo dieting or that they claim they have always been big or they have lost 100lb, the same 10lbs 10 times. Nowadays we have 2 types of adverts on tv, 1 advertises products and foods to cause you to put on weight and the others advertise products to help you lose that weight and normally they are both owned by the same mother company.

Most of the time when people want to lose weight it’s a quick fix option. There is a birthday or holiday coming up and we have left it too late so will do anything within our power to make it get to that goal. The problem is for the 2 or 3 weeks we starve ourselves or live on weight loss shakes its manageable as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and instead of changing one behaviour for a better one we just stop all relating behaviours. We don’t have to think or take ownership we just do what we are told. The problem is once we hit that target the method we used to get there isn’t sustainable and we have changed any behaviours that lead us to gain the weight originally so we go straight back to the weight we were previously and normally a lot quicker because we have starved ourselves and our metabolic rate has dropped to conserve energy.

Just imagine if you changed little bits of your diet and exercise and lost 1lb a week with a year you will have lost 52lb all from the right areas, all without missing out on the things you like to do, all without the health risks and that you you have become because of the journey will be a new you that will never go back.


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

Image Credit: PictureQuotes.com

Gym Membership?

Gym Membership?

For the past 10 years I have been working in and around gyms all over the world whether it be in sales, management or personal training I always hear the same barriers to fitness, I can’t afford a gym membership, i don’t like the gym, the gyms are to far away from my house, the opening times don’t suit me, i don’t know how to use the equipment, and so on. Guess what, you don’t need a gym membership to get fit and healthy. There are so many better options than standing in front of a mirror walking on a treadmill surrounded by other people’s sweat.

Here at FitFarms, we try and make fitness accessible to everyone so we use limited equipment which most people can use comfortably in their own homes whenever they want. From fitballs, to resistance bands, body weight, dumbbells and even chair workouts we show many different levels for all abilities and preferences so that everyone can start being a little more active in day to day life without have to even leave the comfort of your own home or stray away from family commitments.

The best thing is walking is free, just pop on some shoes and a jacket and just start walking or running. You don’t fit to do that, just go at your own pace and just try and go a little further each day.


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

Image Credit: Pinterest.com

If the Shoe Fits

If the Shoe Fits

In today’s society most people buy trainers and shoes because they look cool or that they match your outfit. Unfortunately, many back, shoulder, neck and knee problems can be aggravated by poor choice in footwear. As we put on more weight the arches on our feet have a tendency to be put under more strain and this flattens our feet giving us the term flexible flat feet. The problem with this is that it causes a chain reaction throughout our body at each joint to help balance out the change in weight distribution. I myself have a high arch in my left foot, this has caused changes in my knee, inversion in my hips and back which causes me pain in my upper shoulder although there is little pain in my feet. I have since invested in good orthotics and this has helped me massively and the pain has almost gone and my posture and movement is much better.

Many sports shops now have food placement analysis and can advise you on what type of shoe would be best suited to you feet or even needed recommend somewhere to get custom insoles. You can however do a simple test at home by wetting the bottom of your feet and walking normally onto plain paper. Whilst you can still see the wet outline simply draw around with a pen you can then see the natural impression your foot makes as you walk.

Having the correct footwear can make exercise so much more enjoyable and less painful for most of the population. With increased exercise you will notice the benefits including a reduction in body weight and this will also reduce the amount of pressure loading the joints which will also make exercise much more enjoyable and less painful.


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

Image Credit: Flickr.com/photos/JosiahMackenzie/

Are You Fit for Life?

Are You Fit for Life?

One of my favourite parts of the week is the agility, coordination and balance based session we do. Most of us stop being active as soon as we leave school, even myself somewhat. I remember when I was at college I’d be teaching martial arts 2 nights a week and training another 2, I’d have dance rehearsals on a Saturday and play football on a Sunday and Wednesday afternoon. I pretty much did something active every day. Then I went to Uni and even though I was doing a degree in sports and exercise science it was a zero practical based course. The most practical thing I remember doing was getting weighed in an underwater chamber where I just sat in my swim stuff. Like with most people my life took over and the sports I loved took a back seat.

As soon as we stop moving we lose all our functional skills. How many of you lift you foot up to tie your shoes laces rather than bend down to tie them? Most of us lie in a bed, wake up have breakfast in a chair, Sit in a chair to go to work, Sit in a chair at work, have lunch in a chair, sit back in a chair to commute home, have dinner in a chair, sit in a chair to watch tv or do work then lie back down to go to bed. This is making us less mobile and flexible. Many of the injuries to backs that I see are not from lifting too much at work or home, many are from picking up a pencil whilst still in their chair or trying to reach something from behind them in the car.

People love the agility sessions. We play games and go through training drills just like you might have done at school. It’s an eye opener for some people to see just how much their mobility and flexibility have been effected through an inactive lifestyle. But if we can get you better balance, better coordination, better flexibility and mobility then exercise will be so much easier and you will feel like you are getting more out of it. Plus playing games is fun. We even had a session last week where we played kids party games like duck duck goose and musical chairs and by the end of it, everyone was out of breathe, sweating and had a big smile of their face, much better than running on a treadmill for 30 minutes staring a gym wall.


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

Image Credit: Quotesgram.com

Just Do Something

Just Do Something

It’s estimated that our ancestors were 5 times more active than we currently are today. They would travel tens of kilometres a day to hunt and collect food. Nowadays we don’t have to leave our desk at work to eat a highly processed sugary lunch. Many clients during my initial consultations focus on the exercises they can’t do or the time they don’t have to exercise in or the space they don’t have to train in. My response to this is “do what you can with what you have and progress it each day”.

If you have 5 minutes in the morning and that is your only free time then do 5 minutes. Of what? Whatever you like, put on some music and just move. I remember one client on the course who wanted to lose weight and be more active as she went into retirement. She currently does aqua aerobics once a week. Is aqua aerobics going to give her a massive fat loss potential? No. But is it going to get her more active? Yes. Does she love the class? Yes. Is she having fun with exercise? Yes. Is she making friends that she is now meeting up with outside of the gym and doing more active things? Yes.

Get into that habit of moving. We don’t move anymore. We live in a box. Take the stairs at work, walk at lunch time, go to the supermarket instead of ordering online. Little actions that make big changes.


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

Image Credit: Quotesgram.com

Are We Trained to Reward Ourselves Negatively?

Are We Trained to Reward Ourselves Negatively?

There is a lot of trainers and fitness Gurus out there who rant and rave about losing weight is simple, just eat less and exercise more. Well, technically it is that simple, but is it that easy? Well no, like many good mentors I follow strongly the theory that with any goal, 80% is the psychology and 20% is the mechanics (the doing bit).

We all have our own personal reward systems that have turned into bad habits, either chocolate, wine, crisps, sweets we find so hard to break or give up. But why? Well, I believe that many of our bad habits have been conditioned to have from early childhood and society. Many of us know the study of Ivan Pavlov and his famous dogs. Where each day he would ring a bell before they were given food. After a while they began to associate the bell with food so on the final experiments when the bell was wrong the dogs began to salivate even when food wasn’t present.

I feel very strongly that we are now conditioned through society to have a negative reward relationship with food. When you were young if you did something good, many of us were rewarded with a treat, some sweets or chocolate. I always remember after swimming I would come out to the lobby and there was a vending machine. My mum would let us choose one sweet as a reward for doing so well. During school term if we got good grades we would go to a fast food joint where we would have a kids meal with a toy. For our birthdays, we would have a party with cake, crisps, all the usual naughty things. This kind of reward system continues into your adulthood, with regards to alcohol at weddings, hitting work targets, Christmas parties etc.During all these times we are at our happiest and with close friends and family, our emotions are all positive and we start to associate these emotions with the food.

But what happens when I’m stressed or feeling down or low? I don’t like or want these emotions so we try to change them. Now I cant just make a bad work day better or have a party or get all my friends and loved ones around me. But what I can do is recreate some of those feelings and memories through the food, smells and tastes that I experienced at those happy times. Now like with all learned behaviours they can be unlearned and altered if we now the route of why the behaviour is there.


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

Image Credit: Pinterest.com