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.

Andy’s Fitness Retreat Report

Andy’s report from the fitness retreat.FitFarms Andy Baker1

Exercise is not functional!
Goals are not practical!!

These days there are a lot of classes and programs and personalities talking about functional exercise but I don’t believe it gives an appropriate understanding. You see whilst exercise is good for body and mind (proven) functional exercise is supposed to include elements of training or physical development similar to the tasks of the day ie squatting is a functional movement..but not when you do it 25 times in a row with a little rest and a barbell and weight on your back.

Gyms, exercise studios, fitness retreats and keep fit clubs etc etc are relatively new in all honesty, they haven’t been around for all that long really, in the grand scheme of things anyway. People used to just be capable because their day to day lives and harsh existence prepared them differently. so no exercise you do in a class environment or with goals of development can truly be considered functional or necessary this may seem obvious to some and unimportant to others “so wanting to look good isn’t natural”.. big wow! A lot of us are happy with the idea that we are doing this to look and feel better to ourselves and that our health is not directly linked to this.

But those of us who want to be healthier or look after themselves have been conditioned to judge and gauge themselves in the same way as those wanting to look better in the mirror (not criticising that point of view by the way) as it’s the only way to know if what we are doing is working. Exercise to get or stay fit and healthy is not a starting point. You cannot exercise to stay somewhere it is a constant fluctuation with progress at the heart of the purpose. Exercise is something we add in to further our development once we have decided that is what we want to do.

One of the reasons we have these blurred lines about exercise and our health aside from our nature to see the target and choose the quickest path to reach it even if it means cutting a corner or two. Is because for the newest product or training approach to become profitable it has to be different it has to suggest there is something about it that will make the difference. Over the years this has led us to instinctively “know” that we need to exercise to achieve a normal health. I don’t believe that anymore. If we choose to walk to work everyday or do some activity at the weekends, if we choose a healthy breakfast and a 10 minute walk at lunch why can’t that be enough?


FitFarms Healthy Cheesecake

cheeseFitFarms Healthy Cheesecake recipe
24 oz full fat good quality cream cheese (remember to read the ingredients to check for the quality making sure there’s no extra nasties!
2 cups full fat Greek yoghurt
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
 1/2 cup of good quality honey. Primo Mendoza is expensive but worth it if you want real quality
1 tbsp cornstarch – Rapunzel is a good one as it’s not genetically engineered


Preheat the oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit

Fill a 9×13 pan about halfway with water. Then place the plan in the middle of the oven.

If you have the cream cheese in the fridge take it out and make sure its at room temperature.

Put all the cheesecake ingredients into a blender and blend together until smooth. Be careful not to over blend because it creates bubbles and this will cause cracks at the end.

Crunch up Nairns ginger oatcakes for the base and then put them into a 9 inch tray, add the mix and then sit the tray on top of the other tray that is already in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes making sure not to open the oven during this time. After 30 minutes turn off the heat but leave the cake inside for an extra 5 minutes.

Remove it and let it cool for 20 minutes. It will look underdone but then place it in the fridge. Really important not to put it straight into the fridge because it will crack. It needs to cool down gradually is stages.

Now it’s time to be patient because it takes at least 6 hours to develop properly.

Remember portion size is important. One slice per person PLEASE remember the FitFarms way!  If you have any leftovers it will last in the fridge for 4 days and then it will need to be thrown!

I’ll be popping up the other recipes soon but remember to check the FitFarms Nutrition page as well. The Healthy Chip Muffins are fantastic.

Image credit to foodiefiasco

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!