Posted on by Ricky in Articles, fat loss, food, goals, health, mindset Leave a comment


I’m on holiday and not working, but sitting by the pool today I read a really good book, Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, one of my favourite authors.

In the closing acknowledgements she says if there is one message I hope this book portrays, it’s this; none of us are perfect.

Let’s not pretend we are.

Let’s us not be afraid that we are not.

Let us not label others and pretend we are not the same.

Let us all know that to be human is to be flawed.

Now whilst Cecelia is not referring to how we  look, as I people watched round the pool all afternoon, I see ladies from many different European countries, of all ages, all different shapes and sizes, some mums, some grandparents, some in tiny bikinis, some in full swimsuits, some overly conscious, some not with a care…

But it did make me think, what is perfect?

Why is size 10 perfect? Or even size 8 or 6?

Why do we aspire to look like the images portrayed in magazines or on TV? That perfect size or perfect shape?

Looking around, it’s certainly not average, the opposite in fact.

What we need to learn ladies is to love ourselves for who and what we are. And the only aspiration we should have is to be better today than we was yesterday, better this week than last week.

To be fitter, faster, stronger.

Perfection is not paramount.

I’m happy to be flawed!

Just be you 🙂

Julie x

It’s About Balance!

Posted on by Ricky in health Leave a comment

Thinking of a subject was hard this week, its Christmas and then its New Year, time for families, friends and celebrations.

We have two types of ladies, those who have worked hard all year but will not see in the last two weeks of the year, and those that have been in excitedly this morning confirming that they are cramming in as many sessions as they can between now and Christmas!

Is there a right or wrong?

I did the Christmas party on Saturday.

I chose the healthier options of soup for starter and fish for main, but then I had cheesecake for pudding – it was amazing!

I drank prosecco all evening but also drank two glasses of water for every prosecco.

I danced the night away until the early hours – must have burnt a few calories.

I slept in till late and started my day with a hearty cooked breakfast and drank lots more water.

However, no hangover just a thick head and sore feet!

Then took my niece ice skating on Sunday afternoon – such fun!

And back to training again this morning.

So it’s about balance, not ruining all your hard work over the last few months by making December an excuse to not exercise and eat crap for the whole month. But also having room to celebrate and enjoy time with friends and family.

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year 🙂 And I look forward to writing for you again next year.  If there is any subject which you would like me to research and write about, get in touch!


Kitchen Rules I Live By!

Posted on by Ricky in health, mindset Leave a comment

I was talking with a few of our Ladies this morning after the session and the conversation was around ‘losing it and keeping it off’ – weight that is.

I’ve been on the weight loss journey, 3 stone in 12 months and have now maintained this for 8 months, whilst still working to continue reducing my body fat %, so I thought I would share a few of my kitchen rules which helped me both lose weight and continue to help me maintain the new better me.

Get your mind-set right – forget the word ‘diet’ and focus on healthy eating. The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it’s also the place that can make or break you on the weight-loss front.

Make fruit and veg as accessible as a bag of crisps: Wash, cut up, and store in reusable containers in the fridge so they’re easy to grab. Make sure they’re right up front at eye level so they’re the first thing you see when you open the fridge door.

Prepare a big container of salad: Having a salad before dinner is a great way to fill you up so you eat less of the main course, but preparing a salad every night takes so much time that it’s tempting to skip out. Ensure you get a bowl of greens every night by making an enormous bowl of salad at the beginning of the week.

Have measuring jugs, spoons and a set of digital food scales on the counter: Measuring and weighing your food will keep portions in check, since overestimating serving sizes is a huge reason people don’t lose weight. Seeing those scales on your kitchen counter will be a visual reminder not to forget to use them.

Pre-make snack packs: You know what happens when you eat crisps, nuts or crackers out of the box/bag – you end up polishing off the entire packet! Take your favourite healthy snacks and make some 100-calorie or 150-calorie snack packs you can keep in your cupboard or in a box in your fridge.

Freeze fruit and veg: Buy larger bags of fruit and veg and wash, cut, and store them in bags in the freezer. You’ll not only save money when you buy in bulk, but you’ll also have them on hand to add to your smoothies, yoghurt, soups, and omelettes.

Freeze smoothie bags: If you’re in a rush in the morning, prep these fruit and veg smoothie bags and keep them in the freezer. Just empty the contents in the blender, add the extras labelled on the bag, and you’ll have a low-calorie, fibre and protein packed breakfast that’ll keep you full all morning long.

Ditch the unhealthy foods: Your family might be fans of an occasional can of pop, bowl of ice cream, or chocolate bar, but if those foods are within your reach, you’re bound to crave them. Throw out or give away the junk, because if it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t be tempted to eat it.

Plan your meals and order your shopping online so you not tempted by the 2 for 1 offers in every aisle. You’ll be amazed how much your shopping bill comes down by too!

Use smaller-sized plates: When we prepare a plate of food, we feel the need to fill it up completely. If you start out with a smaller-sized salad plate, there’s only so much you can pile on, so you’ll end up consuming fewer calories.

Double or even triple the recipe: Whether you’re making soup, roasted vegetables, homemade veggie burgers, chilli, curry or something else for dinner, don’t just make enough for one meal. Package the leftovers in containers you can easily grab for the next few days’ meals. If your lunch or dinner is already prepared, you won’t have to resort to unhealthy takeaway.

Put food away before you sit down to eat: After you’ve cooked up an amazing healthy dinner, serve yourself an appropriate serving size and then wrap it up and put leftovers in the fridge. If you leave it out, you’re more likely to go back for unnecessary seconds or thirds. Out of sight means off your hips.

Have a great day 🙂


Rev Your Metabolism!

Posted on by Ricky in health Leave a comment


You probably don’t need scientists to tell you that your metabolism slows with age. But they’re studying it anyway and coming up with exciting research to help rev it up again. The average woman gains 1½ pounds a year during her adult life, enough to pack on 40-plus pounds by her 50s, if she doesn’t combat the roller coaster of hormones, muscle loss, and stress that conspires to slow her fat-burning engine. But midlife weight gain isn’t inevitable: By eating metabolism boosting foods and following the path, you’ll sleep better, have more energy, feel firmer, and notice your clothes are looser:

You need to cut calories to lose weight. But going too low delivers a double whammy to your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function (about 1,200 calories for most women), your body throws the brakes on your metabolism. It also begins to break down precious, calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy. Eat just enough so you’re not hungry. A healthy 150cal snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon between three meals (about 430 calories each) will keep your metabolism humming.

Eating breakfast jump-starts metabolism and keeps energy high all day. It’s no accident that women who skip this meal are 4 1/2 times as likely to be obese. If nothing else, grab a yogurt. Or try oatmeal made with fat-free milk and topped with nuts for an essential protein boost.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily java jolts can rev your metabolism 5 to 8%—about 98 to 174 calories a day. A cup of brewed tea can raise your metabolism by 12%, according to one Japanese study. Researchers believe the antioxidant catechins in tea provide the boost.

Research shows that some fibre can rev your fat burn by as much as 30%. Studies find that women who eat the most fibre in foods gain the least weight over time. Aim for about 25 g a day with vegetables being an excellent source.

Drinking 2ltrs of cold water a day can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily—enough to shed 5 pounds in a year. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature.

Dieters with the most organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides, which are stored in fat cells) experience a greater than normal dip in metabolism as they lose weight, perhaps because the toxins interfere with the energy-burning process. Pesticides can trigger weight gain. Always choose organic where possible when buying.

Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle. Add a serving, like 3 ounces of lean meat, 2 tablespoons of nuts, or 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt, to every meal and snack. Research shows protein can up post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35%.

It’s essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat. Until menopause, women lose iron each month through menstruation. Unless you restock your stores, you run the risk of low energy and a sagging metabolism. Shellfish, lean meats, beans, fortified cereals, and spinach are excellent sources.

This vitamin is essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue. Get 90% of your recommended daily value in a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon. Other good sources: tuna, prawns, tofu and eggs.

When you have a drink, you burn less fat, and more slowly than usual, because the alcohol is used as fuel instead. Knocking back the equivalent of about two martinis can reduce your body’s fat-burning ability by up to 73%.

There’s some evidence that calcium deficiency, which is common in many women, may slow metabolism. Research shows that consuming calcium through dairy foods such as fat-free milk and low-fat yogurt may also reduce fat absorption from other foods.

Have a great day 


The Mood Boosting Benefits of Exercise!

Posted on by Ricky in health Leave a comment

Its 5.45am on a cold wet Monday morning. I see Ladies walking into sessions looking tired and sometimes down about things that have happened either at home or at work, but I know that when each and every one of them leaves an hour later, I get a pink, sweaty, smiley face saying thanks and goodbye!

It has long been known that regular exercise is good for our physical health. It can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

But in recent years, studies have shown that regular physical activity also has benefits for our mental health. Exercise can help people with depression and can even ward off the onset of depression in the first place.

You’ve probably heard about endorphins, chemicals that release a positive feeling in your body when you exercise. That euphoric post-workout feeling is those endorphins coursing through your body, working just like a drug.

Whatever a person’s current physical or mental state, exercise delivers a raft of positive effects. It’s not a cure-all that can eradicate serious health issues, but the benefits it can deliver are nevertheless impressive.

Regular exercise has been proven to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety
  • Alleviate depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
  • Strengthen your heart
  • Increase energy levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve muscle tone and strength
  • Strengthen and build bones
  • Reduce body fat


Don’t just take my word for it, get a shot of adrenaline and exercise yourself happy!

Have a great day 🙂


Weight Gain And The Menopause!

Posted on by Ricky in health Leave a comment

One of our Ladies was asking questions this morning about weight gain and the menopause. There are many menopause symptoms, including:

• Anxiety • Bladder Infections • Bloating • Breast Pain • Brittle Nails • Depression • Difficulty Concentrating • Digestive Problems • Dizziness • Dry Mouth • Eye Health • Fatigue • Hair Loss • Headaches • Heavy Periods • High Blood Pressure • Hot Flushes • Irregular Heart Beat • Irregular Periods • Itchy Skin • Joint Pain • Loss of Libido • Memory Lapses • Mood Swings • Nausea • Night Sweats • Panic Attacks • Sleep Problems • Stress • Vaginal Dryness • Weak Bladder • Weight Gain

Before the menopause (and after puberty), a woman typically releases an egg each month. This process is controlled by a small gland in the brain, called the pituitary gland. The older we become, the less fit we are and bearing a child later in life has higher risks for both mother and child. Nature recognises this and our genes are programmed in such a way that, when a woman reaches a certain point in her life, her body says that it is not wise to produce any more eggs.

When this happens, the hormones produced by the pituitary gland decline. This signals to the ovaries that eggs are no longer required and ovulation stops. The previously regular cycle of thickening and shedding of the lining of the womb is no longer required and periods stop. Levels of progesterone and oestrogen fall.

So biologically, menopause marks the end of the fertile period in a woman’s life and helps serve the purpose of ensuring that a woman bearing a child is fit to do so. Changes in hormone levels during the menopause lead directly and indirectly to a wide variety of symptoms. The most common are hot flushes and night sweats, caused by hormonal changes altering the way the body perceives heat.

Here’s a link to AVogel Menopause Health Hub which has a wealth of information around menopause and all the symptoms, but for this blog we are concentrating on weight gain.

Hormonal and physical changes during the menopause make many women more likely to gain weight. This can often be a demoralising experience that leads to many encounters with fad diets and other quick fixes. However, drastic dieting is not always the answer.

After the age of 40, the human body is susceptible to gaining, on average, one pound a year. When women reach the menopause, this average weight gain is likely to increase because of hormonal and physical changes which take place at this time. Many women feel self-conscious about this and attempt to crash diet to counteract the effect. However, these actions do not tend to be effective as eating too much is not usually the cause of weight gain during the menopause.

Many people feel that the weight they gain during the menopause is more noticeable because it tends to accumulate in one area of the body rather than be distributed evenly across the body. The most common place for weight to accumulate is around the tummy and this can be difficult to shift once there.

The hormonal fluctuations you encounter as you enter the menopause means that your body deals with the food you consume in a different way, all too often resulting in weight gain. Your metabolism (the rate at which you burn off calories) reduces, which means that you store more calories than you will burn. This is only made worse if you are spending less and less time on the go or exercising.

When you go through the menopause, particularly if you are feeling somewhat stressed, the production of the hormone cortisol will increase. When your cortisol levels are high you are more likely to develop fat around the middle.

Most women try to counteract the weight gain at home, and if this is done correctly can be the most effective means of preventing the weight from building up.

  • Be careful with your diet – what you eat is going to have a significant impact on your weight. Eat a healthy balanced diet containing plenty of protein, low starch vegetables and fruit which don’t have a high quantity of sugar, such as pears and berries. Drastic dieting is unlikely to get you anywhere, as the chances of putting the weight you lost and more back on are fairly high. It is not good for your body. Maintaining a healthy diet is a more effective and healthier option
  • Keep your muscles toned – muscle is more effective at burning calories than fat. When you go through the menopause, your muscle mass naturally decreases, causing you to gain weight. Keeping your muscles toned is more effective at keeping the weight off than crash dieting
  • Exercise – be honest with yourself about how much exercise you are really doing each day, especially in comparison with when you were 20 or 30 years younger. Exercise is the most effective way of burning calories.


Menopause Tips

There are many things you can do for your health to ensure that the menopause is embraced rather than dreaded. Why not try a few of the health tips below to help you through the menopause and into the next phase of your life.

Food & Drink

There are some dietary changes you can make to help you through the menopause:

  • Drink at least 1.5 litres of still plain water daily
  • Cut out coffee and take a maximum of 2 cups of tea daily
  • Make sure your bowels move regularly
  • Eat regularly as skipping meals will not help with trying to maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce refined carbohydrates – white sugar, white bread, white pasta, white rice and things covered in heaps of syrup
  • Eat more phyto-oestrogenic foods such as broccoli, oats & soya
  • Eat more non-dairy, calcium containing foods such as brown rice, salmon and pumpkin seeds.



Exercise helps trigger the production of happy chemicals called endorphins in your body

  • Ensure you get 30-45 minutes exercise 3-5 days a week.
  • On the days you don’t get to the gym or class, include a walk for at least 20 minutes



  • Being able to sleep well is easier if your digestion is working properly, so observe the suggestions for eating and drinking above
  • Spend some time relaxing before you go to bed so that your mind stops buzzing
  • Write down things that are on your mind and a list of things you need to do the next day before you go to bed so that you do not have everything revolving round in your mind as you try to go to sleep



  • Take time out for yourself
  • Eat regularly, as skipping meals or eating on the run creates more stress
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Practice breathing techniques, or take up yoga or another gentle, meditative exercise that promotes deep relaxation


Whilst this is a long blog, I hope it’s of help and again, AVogel Menopause Health Hub has a wealth of information around menopause and all the symptoms.

Have a great day 🙂


Girl’s Guide To Help Loose Weight

Posted on by Ricky in health Leave a comment

Start These 10 Habits Today!

Whilst I laughed at the title of this blog as I wrote it, I was thinking about when I was a Girl Guide, not a very good one I add, no discipline or much care for obtaining a ‘homemakers badge’ – I wanted to be a Boy Scout like my two brothers 🙂 the below 10 habit changes are no joke!

Always start a meal with a glass of water: You’ll stay hydrated and feel fuller instantly, which can help you from overeating.

Make a few simple swaps at every meal: Going for a vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy dressing at lunch can save you 80 calories, while opting for fresh fruit instead of dried can save you dozens as well.

Have a piece of dark chocolate for dessert: Instead of opting for the biscuits in the break room, quiet your sugar cravings with a piece of dark chocolate. It may not feel quite as satisfying the first few times, but as you wean yourself off your sugar addiction, you’ll be glad you’re saving calories.

Be diligent with portion control: If you want to lose weight, sticking to the right portions at every meal is important. Measure out snacks beforehand instead of eating from the bag, use smaller plates to visually signal that your meal will satisfy, and put away leftovers, so you’re not tempted to go back for seconds.

Move more: Even if you’re not dedicating an entire chunk of time to a workout, you can burn a few extra calories by making an effort to move a little more during the day. Taking breaks to walk around the office, opting for the stairs instead of the lift, and parking a little further from the office entrance are all simple ways to up your calorie burn.

Don’t drink your calories: It’s a common reason why you’re not seeing results — those empty calories from a daily soft drink, morning juice, or large glass of wine at dinner can really add up. Stick to water flavoured with a fresh ingredients like cucumber, lemon, or mint in order to save on important calories.

Don’t go hungry too long: A little hunger can be good for you, but starving yourself all day in order to “splurge” on dessert at night is both unhealthy and diet sabotage. Eat well-timed meals and snacks in order to avoid low blood sugar levels that cause you to crash.

Snack on high-protein, high-fibre foods: When it’s time to snack, make your food work for you. Steer clear of the empty, high-calorie options like crisps and crackers, and go for protein- and fibre-rich foods that taste good and fill you up too. You’ll be able to eat fewer calories while still feeling satisfied. One of these 150-calorie snacks will hit the spot.

Eat a light, early dinner. Try to keep your dinner to about 25 percent of your daily calories, and have it at least two to three hours before going to bed. Eating too much too late can cause digestion and sleep issues that make it hard to stick to a healthy routine.

And last but no means least – Get more sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to eat more throughout the day and not have enough energy for your workouts, so aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night. It’s an easy and effective way to keep your weight-loss goals on the right track.

So be more of a girl guide… if you don’t make it to class every day, still keep up the good work by sticking to these 10 good habits.

Have a great day 🙂


Top 5: 10 Minute Workouts

Posted on by Ricky in Articles, fat loss, fitness, goals, health Leave a comment

When you really come to think of it, I am sure most of us could spare 10 minutes in the morning or the evening to up our fitness game.

What can be difficult is knowing what exercises to do to maximise the time and still get a good workout in 10 minutes.

SO for those of you with that spare 10 minutes, here are my top 10 minute workouts.




A circuit of push-ups, body weight squats, bear crawls and shuttle runs (or mountain climbers if space is limited). With these moves you will be targeting major muscle groups across all areas of the body, meaning your body is working harder and doing more.



Do each of the exercises for 1 minute with no rest. Have a minute break between circuits.



The whole body – Upper, Lower and Core. It’s also great for aerobic fitness.

Perfect for when you only have a limited amount of time!




An explosive full body circuit including jumping squats and push-ups, burpees and dynamic planks. The key to the fat burning HIIT circuit is to make the movements as compound as possible, this means as big as you can, using as many muscle groups as possible.



Depending on your goals combine 30-60 seconds on each exercise with minimal rest. Complete as many rounds as you can in the 10 minutes.




Burpees, Squat Jumps, Jumping Jacks, Rest, High Knees, Sprint on the spot and Skaters. These plyometric moves will strengthen glutes, quads, hamstrings, pecs and core – everything basically!!




30 seconds of each with a 30 seconds rest, then repeat until the 10 minutes is up.



HIIT is a fantastic tool for burning body fat whilst maintaining muscle mass and improves athletic performance.

Unlike most other techniques, with HIIT it is beneficial to keep the workouts short. They must be below 30 minutes long and actually if you’re clever about it 10 minutes is ideal.




Bear Crawls, Pushups  and Squats.



Aim for as many reps as you can squeeze in a minute of each exercise, repeated 3 times, with 20 seconds rest after each set. The bear crawls are a dynamic movement that focus on your core, stability and injury prevention. Push-ups target the core, chest, triceps and shoulders. Meanwhile squats work your glutes, legs and you guessed it – core.



These are all multi joint movements using full body tension to perform each repetition. The more joints used in an exercise, the more calories burnt and better results for any goal.




Spiderman pushups, Plank (elbows), Tricep dips



Do these moves for 45 seconds each (15 sec rest in-between). Repeat until your 10 minute is over.



Once again, the benefit of repeated interval training is getting the heart rate up and working the body as hard as you can in a short space of time.

Missed a Class – Don’t Let it Ruin Your Day!

Posted on by Ricky in health Leave a comment

I see many posts on our Facebook group from you, frustrated that you have missed a class or needed to cancel due to work, traffic and/or issues at home.

Instead of reaching for the packet of chocolate biscuits (which will only make you feel better for a short while), try a quick HIT session at home and you will be amazed how much better you feel.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) blends science with exercise to drive phenomenal results. With short, intense bursts of exercise followed by periods of recovery, HIIT drives you to go as hard as you can, rest, and then repeat. It’s a scientifically-proven approach that allows you to keep reaching your maximum training zone again and again, shocking your body each and every workout.

Research shows that HIIT helps burn calories for hours after your workout. It can result in up to nine times the fat loss of regular cardio training and therefore it’s considered more effective than your standard aerobic or “steady state” training.

This type of training doesn’t just annihilate calories, it stimulates the production of growth hormone.
The chemicals released during a HIIT workout help your body reduce fat and build muscle and that’s what changes the shape of your body, fast. HIIT also unleashes fast-twitch muscle fibres, taking your strength, power and muscle definition to the next level.

Try this at home:

25 steps ups (on your bottom stair)
10 burpees
25 kick squats
Repeats for 10 to 12 minutes in total

Have a great day 🙂


Staying Physically Healthy During Ramadan!

Posted on by Ricky in health Leave a comment

We thought it might be useful to address an issue that affects a number of our Fitterbody Bootcamp Ladies. That is, the subject of how to eat over the upcoming Islamic period of religious observance known as Ramadan.

Ramadan doesn’t need to wipe out your fitness and nutrition gains, you can be healthier than when you started. This year it falls between Monday 6th June and Wednesday 6th July. In the UK, this is set to be the ‘longest’ Ramadan in 33 years, meaning fasts can last from 16 to 20 hours depending on your location.

Guidance for maintaining fitness and minimising a metabolic shutdown over Ramadan:

1) Don’t use Ramadan as an excuse to not exercise.

It is crucially important that you do some gym work over Ramadan in order to maintain the results you’ve worked hard for leading up to it.

2) The best time to hit the gym.

The best time to hit the gym during Ramadan is either early in the morning, after your first meal of the day, or after your first meal post-fasting. This is so your body is well fuelled to generate the intensity levels required for a good training session, as well as to ensure your muscles have some nutrients to recover from training.

3) Ensure that your Ramadan ‘breakfasts’ contain easily digested protein and, depending upon your goals, some complex carbs and essential fats.

By breakfast, we literally mean the two meals following a fast, one following sleep or opening the fast, and the other following the day’s fasting. If you are due to follow one of these meals with a hard workout, something like a whey shake with essential fats, an apple and a handful of nuts would be great.

4) Don’t go seeking personal bests in the gym during Ramadan.

Try something new so that you don’t feel down in any way about a noticeable decrease in physical performance, and try to make the workouts as fun and varied as possible.

5) Keep your workouts short.

Get in and out of the gym in under one hour – preferably aim for 45 minutes of hard work. If you normally take much longer don’t worry, you can still get an awful lot done in 45 minutes.

6) Hydration, hydration, hydration!

During the time that you are allowed to drink, this is extremely important. Maintaining 2 litres of water between dawn and sunrise.

7) Don’t panic.

Some people go into Ramadan thinking that they will lose all their hard earned gains as it is impossible to benefit from good nutrition, supplementation and exercise during Ramadan. This isn’t so, and with a bit of organisation and thought there is no reason to take a big step backwards. In the short window available, 3-4 nutritional meals are very possible, and this alone should be enough for maintenance, and maybe for the very lucky ones, even some small improvements.

8) Take some supplements.

There are a few specific supplements that would definitely help ease the metabolic challenges of Ramadan, powder, multi vitamins and a magnesium supplement.

In summary, the discipline of Ramadan need not prevent proper nutrition and exercise. Yes, it will be challenging and require both discipline and moderation, but that is obviously what part of the whole process is about.

Have a great day 🙂

Kind regards


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