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So long, January. No doubt your gyms have been busier recently and will soon quieten down. For us, it’s all about trying to be consistent with a manageable exercise regime and realistic eating plan. No huge changes, no ‘new year, new me’ nonsense, just some sensible habits we can stick to around the daily madness. So, what can you expect from BESTFIT in 2020? Well, we’re busy working on series three of our TV show, which continues to grow. What else? Well, you might be reading this magazine in more locations around the country, as we try and spread the word a bit further and wider. And, as usual, you can expect the same advice and entertaining content you’ve come to expect from your favourite health and fitness freebie. This month, we spoke to Will Smith. The latest incarnation of the Bad Boys films is upon us and with it, a fitter and more focused leading man. Find out how he’s done it. Elsewhere, if you’ve tried veganuary, we explain the pros and cons of long-term plant-based eating, plus the top trends for the 12 months ahead, Ollie Ollerton from SAS Who Dares Wins, a leg workout from Stefanie Moir and LOADS more, including our team of awesome columnists.


Read our exclusive interview with everyone’s favourite Bad Boy and all-round Hollywood ledge!


W www.bestfitmagazine.co.uk @bestfituk



EDITOR nick@bestfitmagazine.co.uk




DISTRIBUTION mike@bestfitmagazine.co.uk

CONTRIBUTORS Andy Thompson (design), Ben Coomber, Frank Grice, Mark Laws, Alexandra Legouix, The Lean Machines, Kurtis Stacey. Images: Adobe, RF123, Rex Images, Shutterstock, Vecteezy.com, Unsplash

TEL 0113 322 4400 BESTFIT is published in the UK by BESTFIT Media. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. While every endeavour has been made to maintain accuracy in the magazine, BestFit can take no responsibility for errors. All opinions expressed are the opinions of the writer expressing them, where stated.


Get your pistons working with this WOD from fitness influencer Stefanie Moir



New findings from PureGym reveal that 50% of non-gym goers in the UK admit to feeling scared of the gym, with some stating their gym phobia is worse than more commonly recognised fears such as heights, spiders or injections. Thirty per cent of millennials even said they’d rather give up their phone for a day instead of going to the gym alone, while one in four (25%) women said they’d rather go on a rollercoaster. Almost one in five non gym-goers also said they would rather stand atop a skyscraper than visit the gym alone. Why? Looking stupid in front of other people was listed as the top reason, while feeling self-conscious, body shame and a lack of equipment knowledge were also key factors. Dr. Margee Kerr, who teaches and researches everything ‘fear’ related at the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that we need to remind ourselves that we’re in control. Your doctor, spouse, family member, coach, etc. didn’t make you go to the gym, YOU did. Take control!

DOG JOGS A recent study has found that Brits feel more energised after exercising with their four-legged friends. Grainfree pet food brand, Canagan, and the University of Chichester, partnered on research to examine whether runners had an enhanced physical and emotional experience when accompanied by their dog. It’s no secret that exercise leaves us feeling more energised. However, this new research reveals exercising with your mutt can actually enhance this effect, leaving us with significantly greater feelings of stamina and most of all, vigour – compared to going it alone. The mood data also showed that negative states like depression, anger and fatigue decreased following all runs. Up you get, Fido, we’re off for a jog…

*One in four non-gym goers would rather have an injection, or be in a room with a spider, than go to the gym


Almost one in five of us have ‘given up’ on our doctors if they haven’t given us the diagnosis we were expecting the first time, with this number rising to 22% amongst women, and to a staggering 35% amongst 25-34-year-olds of both genders. The findings are the result of new research by specialist lawyers Bolt Burdon Kemp and gynaecological expert Dr Anne Henderson, who together shone a spotlight on worrying healthcare trends. The report also found that a whopping 48% of us wouldn’t go to see our GP if we had symptoms ‘down there’, with 22% of us preferring the advice of ‘Dr Google’, which could potentially lead to misdiagnosis and a delay in treatment. Step away from the internet, folks.

FINALLY, A USE FOR YOUR KIDS: BURNING CALORIES! Every month your children could be helping you burn a staggering 50,884 calories (that’s the same as 42,759 burpees), according to a new report by Wren Kitchens. The findings reveal that on an average day your little bundle of joy can help you burn 1,478 calories, which equates to doing 1,179 burpees. Just carrying your child can help you burn 250 calories apparently, while playing with your kids is another good source and can help you burn 174 calories, which is the equivalent of doing 146 burpees. It seems the more you do for your kids and the more chores on the list, the more you will notice the pounds melt away.

BRITS SPENDING THEIR SALARIES ON PTS Research conducted by discounted online golf shop golfsupport.com has revealed how many hours the average Brit works to afford their personal trainer for one year. On average, it found that Brits work 268.74 hours to afford a personal trainer for one year – 33 eight-hour working days. Liverpool spend the highest percentage of their annual salary on a personal trainer (15.35%), while Londoners spend the most at £53.36 per session – £5,549.44 per year. Collectively, England spends an estimated £1 billion on personal training sessions every year. Northerners save £222.56 more than southerners, equating to five extra personal training sessions.

GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND GO OUTSIDE Recent research reveals Britain to be a sedentary nation, with 84% admitting there are days they don’t leave the office from the minute they get in, to the moment they leave at the end of the working day. The research comes courtesy of Nature Valley, and suggests that as a result of today’s frantic and pressure-filled workplace, connecting with nature is getting increasingly difficult. Spending the entire day stuck in the office often leaves workers feeling trapped (31%), while just over a third (34%) admitted to never taking a lunch break, instead preferring to opt for a quick lunch at their desks. Of those surveyed, more than half (57%) of Civil Servants and Government officials top the poll with never or nearly never taking a full hour lunch break, closely followed by Healthcare workers (49%).

36% of British workers do not see natural light from one day to the next.



Future generations will spot vitamin deficiencies simply by using the toilet or looking in the mirror, according to a report from natural health brand BetterYou. The report predicts future lifestyles and, subsequently, highlighted how technological advances may impact the health and wellbeing of future generations, particularly exposing changes in the home, workplace, and lifestyle such as exercise and nutrient delivery to establish a vision of the nation’s wellbeing and – essentially – our vitamin D levels come the year 2050. In 30 years’ time, people will have the ability to create virtual environments that look, sound, smell and taste just like the real thing, which for many people may mean more time spent indoors, away from natural sunlight. Smart toilets, smart scales and smart mirrors are all expected to monitor our health, offering status updates when used. Sounds horrific!

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE IS ON OUR SILVER SCREENS, WHICH MEANS WILL SMITH IS EVERYWHERE. YET THE THOUGHT OF NOT BEING AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE FILM WORLD IS WHAT HAS HELPED THE HOLLYWOOD ICON REFOCUS ON HIS HEALTH AND FITNESS, AS HE TELLS BESTFIT Will Smith has undergone something of an epiphany in recent years, and while these days the pursuit of ‘proving I can improve’ appears less important to the 51-year-old star of Bad Boys, Men In Black, I Am Legend and Independence Day, the actor still has aims to fulfil… not least at the gym. It all began back in 2013. After Earth had just bombed at the box office and, for the first time since bouncing onto the scene as the Fresh Prince in 1990, the Philadelphia-born actor, musician and philanthropist was left with the prospect that to the new generation of film aficionados he was irrelevant. “I think that hurt me a lot at the time,” he says. “I’d obviously been there at the forefront for so long, and suddenly I was looking at all these other people coming in, doing great work, and living that life of being new and exciting and relevant. “It’s impossible for anyone to stay at the top of that mountain and while a big part of me wanted to, another

part of me was tired. I was ready to step back, ready to look at other ways of being the best version of me… or even, a better version of me than I had been before.” Stepping back ultimately meant stepping up, but where in the past the priority was press engagements, photoshoots and personal appearances, this time Smith’s route to personal fulfilment came via the gym, through health, wellbeing and even a touch of quiet contemplation. His elevation from just another ageing film cult hero to someone who has reinvented himself as an older, wiser and leaner example of fulfilment has probably saved the actor from the sort of implosion associated with one of his more bullish characters. What’s more, the change he has undergone has, perversely, made him relevant all over again – an unexpected but not unwelcome biproduct. “Sure, I was happy to step away… but it’s always nice when the phone rings,” he laughs.

How much priority do you give nutrition versus exercise? They are one and the same thing for me. You can’t have one without the other, and you cannot really compensate for one over the other. At times I have been, ‘well I can treat myself in terms of what I eat, or perhaps drink a little more than I should, because tomorrow I’ll burn it off or sweat it out’, but in reality I find that throws you off. If you want to get serious about the whole picture of health then it can’t be a case of letting it go on one side and expecting the other to make up the shortfall. Do you think it’s a problem that the entertainment industry seems to demand people stay a same size, shape and weight constantly, whereas for most normal people that’s impossible? Nothing that goes on in the entertainment industry should be taken for fact [laughs]! Man, you can’t believe that stuff – none of it is real. Certainly, I’ve not stayed one shape. I work on a basis of work and reward – I work hard, I reward myself. I wouldn’t say I ever totally drop the gym, or stop working out, and I never hold back on trying to eat the right things, but I will slide from time to time and, like most people, I need a project or a goal or a target to get me back on track. I think we are all like that really – I’m a really good role model for anyone who lacks a bit of focus from time to time!

fuel how you exercise, not the other way round; so you have to get that part of it right first or you won’t even start.

You have said you’re still learning things about your health, even past 50. Sure – well this year was a lot to do with my blood pressure and realising high blood pressure was so much to do with what I was eating. That’s been a bit of a revelation for me because before I believed sincerely it was something that was out of my control, and maybe slowing down work was the best way to manage it.

What’s been the toughest workout routine you’ve had to do for a film role? Without a doubt, that was when I was bulking up for Ali. It was a case of piling on muscle and mass, whilst trying to stay in shape. It was intense, and involved a lot of running and treadmill work to ensure I was burning any excess fuel that didn’t add size.

It turns out it wasn’t, because slowing down work was actually making me less active, which is counterproductive to lowering blood pressure.

I’ve never minded running, it’s okay, but the schedule was early mornings, straight up, straight out. For once it was a relief when I got into the gym.

So what I’ve discovered this year is that food really is the core of all of what we do. Think about it – what you eat will

What’s your go-to meal? Usual answer – grilled chicken, broccoli. I would tend to have four meals a day and be taking in at least 3,000 calories when bulking up or working to get a shape. What’s the biggest thrill you take from working out? For me, actually, it’s those moments after you’ve finished. You sometimes just catch yourself in a glow of positivity, satisfaction and almost meditation. You are tired but completely fulfilled, and those are very satisfying moments. In life, we don’t have too many occasions where everything just falls into place and feels right, and yet exercise can take me back to that headspace very easily. There are only a couple of things I can compare that to. Strangely, one of those was when I was filming Collateral Beauty, when my father was diagnosed with cancer. It is the most difficult thing a human will ever face in life, the consequences of death and the consequence of that loss. But for me, you could call it perfect timing, poetic timing…

Day 1 • Push-ups: 3 sets of 20 reps • Barbell bench press: 5 sets of 5 reps • Incline barbell bench press: 5 sets of 5 reps • Incline dumbbell bench press: 5 sets of 5 reps • Upright cable flys: 3 sets of 10 reps (high to low) • Lying dumbbell punch: 2 sets to failure

whatever– my character in that movie was going through and exploring all the ideals of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and because of that I was able to share that with my father, and it was beautiful. It’s been the greatest blending of life and art that I’ve experienced. It was a concept I needed and clung to. It was completely profound and spiritual and gave me a perfect opportunity to talk with my father about our feelings when it came to love, time and death. Of course, I can never compare exercise to the importance of that event and how that whole situation unfolded for me, but there is something totally spiritual about being in touch with yourself and giving yourself time to sit and reflect and repair. It isn’t as far away than we imagine, and exercise is definitely a route to that.

Day 2 • Dumbbell shoulder press (seated): standing 2 sets of 20 reps • Barbell shoulder press (barbell): 4 sets of 6 reps • Dumbbell shoulder press (seated): 4 sets of 6 reps • Behind-the-neck barbell press: standing 4 sets of 8 reps • Dumbbell lateral raises: 4 sets of 8 reps • Dumbbell front raises: plate front raise 3 sets of 10-12 reps • Dumbbell air punch: 4 sets to failure Day 3 • Chin-ups (front, wide grip): 50 reps • Dumbbell bent over row (one arm): 4 sets of 6 reps • Barbell bent over row: 2 sets of 6 reps • Barbell bent over row: reverse grip 2 sets of 6 reps • Pulldowns (front, wide grip): 4 sets of 6-8 reps • Chin-ups (front, wide grip): 3 sets of 10 reps Day 4 • Cable pushdowns (heavy): 4 sets of 8 reps • Barbell arm curls: 4 sets of 8 reps • Barbell triceps extensions: Incline Bench Skull-crusher 4 sets of 8 reps • Dumbbell arm curls (incline): alternating 4 sets of 8 reps • Dumbbell triceps kickbacks: 4 sets of 8 reps • Dumbbell hammer curls: 4 sets of 8 reps Day 5 • Hip abductions (machine, seated): 20 reps • Front squats: 5 sets of 5 reps • Full squats: 5 sets of 5 reps • Dumbbell lunges: 3 sets of 8 reps • Leg press: single Leg 4 sets of 8 reps • Box jump: 4 sets of 30secs

Patagonia Womens Pastel P-6 Label Ahnya Crew Sweatshirt


Made of soft organic cotton/polyester mélange fleece with a touch of spandex for movement, this sweatshirt has a classic, regular-fitting, raglan crew silhouette. £50.00 www.cotswoldoutdoor.com


Hi-PRO Hi-PRO is peanut butter on another level. The all-natural range packs a high-protein punch, which is ideal for fuelling workouts and aiding recovery. The range contains two peanut butter variants – smooth and crunchy – and a peanut powder, providing the highest percentage of protein from peanuts alone compared to other high protein peanut butter brands. Hi-PRO peanut butters contain 10g of protein per serving (two tablespoons), while HiPRO peanut powder contains 50% protein per serving. Hi-PRO peanut butter is versatile – more than just a spread, and is perfect for adding to main meals, smoothies, protein bars and sweet treats for a high-protein hit on the go. For a lower fat, dairy-free alternative to peanut butter, Hi-PRO peanut powder can also be added to smoothies or used as a replacement for flour in pancakes and other protein-filled bakes. The range is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and is free from palm oil, whey and sugar.

Kambukka Elton Insulated water bottle The Elton bottle has a three-in-one lid with ‘push’, ‘always open’ and ‘locked’ positions, which enables an easy drinking experience in every situation and is 100% leak-proof – perfect for an active lifestyle. £33.95 www.kambukka.com/uk

From £2.95 hipronutrition.co.uk

Incognito Natural Crystal Deodorant Perfect for keeping you fresh during an intensive workout, this deodorant is free from potassium alum or ammonium alum. It has a fresh citrus fragrance and is the first alum crystal to be infused with an essential oil. It’s environmentally friendly, made from all natural ingredients, and is free from chemical ingredients. £4.99 www.lessmosquito.com

PUMA STUDIO COLLECTION PUMA have launched a new women’s lowintensity training apparel collection which they say is ‘ideal for the high-powered soul’. The collection focuses on freedom of movement, luxe fabrics, lightweight breathability, and high-waisted silhouettes that give you flexibility to move. PUMA.com Various

MadeGood snack bar Here’s a thing, a totally allergen-free granola snack bar safe for kids to eat. Coming in three flavours, Mixed Berry, Chocolate Chip and Chocolate and Banana, they provide essential vitamins for kids, making them the perfect lunchbox treat. £2.79 asda.com

Grenade® Carb Killa® Selection Box

Ojamin Herb and Fruit Tonic

Why have one Carb Killa® bar when you can have six? This come with White Chocolate Cookie, Birthday Cake, White Chocolate Salted Peanut, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, Cookie Dough and Peanut Nutter £14.95 grenade.com

New Ojamin Herb & Fruit is a sugar-free tonic for diabetics and daily wellness. It’s made from a combination of 14 carefully selected ingredients, which are refined and synergised to support wellness in diabetics and those seeking a natural, healthy supplement. £29.99 ojamin.com

Jack Wolfskin Hydro Hooded Jacket This fleece jacket has an innovative new SUPER DWR finish that makes it extremely wind and water resistant. The fabric used is stretchy, stops you from getting too cold and has a brushed reverse side for next-to-skin comfort. £100 www.jack-wolfskin.co.uk

Scrivner Skin Clean This cleansing balm enables fellas to deeply cleanse and soften the skin without stripping it of its natural oils, so is ideal to use pre, during or post-shave. It’s 85% organic and includes skin balancing jojoba oil, natural decongestant rice bran wax and Tocopherol (vitamin E). £33/50ml janescrivner.com


Honor Band 5 fitness watch

We already know that Huawei’s sub-brand HONOR focuses on style and affordability and their latest fitness tracker is a testament to that. HONOR has delivered a wearable that proves that you can own a decent fitness tracker even if you’re on a budget. While the cheapest Fitbit Inspire sells for £69, the HONOR Band 5 goes for less than half of the price. At the absurdly low price of £29.99, HONOR’s fitness tracker sacrifices very little and undercuts the competition with an affordable yet competent fitness tracker. Available in three colours (midnight navy, meteorite black and dahlia pink), the HONOR Band 5 looks pretty similar to its predecessor. However, the minimal and lightweight design is

now upgraded by a vibrant, slightly curved 0.95 2.5D screen which is easy to read in direct sunlight. Following an update a few hours after set0up, the fitness watch offers a large variety of stylish watch faces which were not available before. Its user interface feels quite snappy to use compared to other budget wearables. That makes it easy to use and switching between exercise modes relatively seamless. In addition, if you have trouble fitting your smartwatch or fitness tracker to your wrist, you’re in luck. The HONOR Band 5’s strap has many more perforations than the average watch, so you will find it easy to get the wearable nice and cosy on our wrist. £29.99 www.hihonor.com

Powered by Hi-PRO

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Refuel after an intense gym workout with Hi-PRO, a range of great tasting, all-natural, high protein peanut butters and peanut powder. Specially designed for the athlete in us all.

Available in Sainsbury’s stores nationwide and online. www.hipronutrition.co.uk

@hipronutrition *one serving is two tablespoons


Mountain Warehouse novelty women’s knit jumper

Wearethecurators biltong Made with quality prime cuts of British and Irish dry cured beef – this new range is high in protein and low in fat and calories. Packed with 16g of natural protein per 30g serving, The Curators Beef Biltong is also gluten free. £1.75 per 30g pack www. wearethecurators.com

This novelty jumper has the Scandinavian look you’re after from your winter knitwear. The top is breathable and comfortable to wear thanks to the soft cotton blend, and it has a relaxed fit perfect for everyday wear. £45.99 www.mountainwarehouse.com

Codage Eye Contour Cream A creamy and velvetysmooth emulsion especially formulated to intensely moisturise the eye contour without weighing it down. Contains a powerful arsenal of anti-aging, anti-dark circles and anti-puffiness ingredients. £60 | skincity.co.uk

Men-U Healthy Facial Wash Refill Kit Deep cleansing, soap free and pH balanced, this facial wash contains tea tree oil and witch hazel to help protect from spots and shaving rash, as well as soothe and heal the skin. It’s also great for a greasy T-zone or both pre- and post-shaving when the skin is most vulnerable. Aloe Vera and pro vitamin B5 leave the skin moisturised and prevents dryness. £17.95 www.men-u.com

Zone FEATURED Puma XT trainer PUMA has released a brand new women’s training shoe called Zone XT, which is designed for high-intensity workouts and endurance-based running and training.

Enjoy a great day out on the slopes in this highly functional polypropylene insulated jacket. It’s waterproof and windproof and protects you from the snow and keep your core warm. £199 www.kathmandu.co.uk

If you’re interested in the tech, then you’ll be interested to know that the instant cushioning comes from Hybrid Foam that combines PUMA’s IGNITE FOAM and NRGY bead technology, which together provide instant cushioning and energy return. The grip comes from a rubber outsole that provides maximum traction and durability, whatever training you’re doing.

The blurb tells us that the PUMA Zone XT was inspired by ‘the zone’, which PUMA describes as the bit where progress happens, the moment when ‘the heart-rate speeds up, making the body burn fat most efficiently, also boosting endurance and increasing your metabolism’. These trainers look pretty neat. They have a heart-rate inspired design to reflect the work and effort you’re putting in, while they also boast maximum cushioning, support, and grip – making them pretty handy for any type of training, mainly HIIT workouts.

Styper Snow Insulated Jacket

From £70 PUMA.com



Endo Sport have launched the UK’s first CBD-Infused Sports drink, designed to be used by both athletes and non-athletes during workouts. With interest in CBD oil growing at an unprecedented rate, Endo Sport is tapping into the fitness market to offer gymgoers an alternative to their current sports drink. With 10mg of CBD per 500ml bottle, Endo Sport can be taken as a pre- or post-workout drink. It comes in two flavours, orange and berry & tropical, and when taken before a workout, it delivers a boost of energy and increased focus to help get the customer through their gruelling session. After a workout, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD get to work to help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and speed up recovery.

Pour Moi leggings Finding the ultimate level of support in a bra but with matching leggings is a bit like looking for the holy grail, but in February 2020 you’ll find new Pour Moi leggings that come with a clever hidden pocket for keys and a side mesh pocket for phones. £30 - £32 www.pourmoi.co.uk

As well as delivering the benefits of CBD, Endo Sport also replaces electrolytes lost through physical exercise, and provide enhanced hydration, much like you’re old isotonic drinks do. While scientific research is still in its early stages, the reported benefits of CBD for athletes include pain management and recovery, reduced anxiety and better sleep. £18.33 endosport.co.uk

Mountain Warehouse flannel padded men’s shacket Add a layer of warmth and comfort to your casualwear with this padded shacket. A lightweight layer with polyester padding and convenient front pockets, it’s perfect for layering up during colder weather. £24.99 ww.mountainwarehouse.com

Nike Swim, Vapor Mirrored Goggle These goggles have curved and oversized lenses with a lower profile. This maximises the field of view when you are in the water. The gasket is soft and flexible which increases the comfort without jeopardising your performance. The mirrored coating on the lenses helps reduce rays and block UV glare. £23.99 www.proswimwear.co.uk

Smeg Milk Frother Italian manufacturer of highend kitchen appliances Smeg is expanding its range of kitchentop appliances. The milk frother is ideal for crafting the perfect morning cup of coffee, from cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites and even coffee art. Prices start from £149.95. Further information can be found at www.smeguk.com

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW true wireless earbuds Premium earbuds which combine the convenience and comfort of a now-essential wireless design with high-quality audio engineering and noisecancelling technology. £209, available May 2020

High performance skincare for active women

Our skincare range is refreshing, lightweight, quickly absorbed, super hydrating and ultra nourishing. And did we mention it’s also 95% natural, vegan friendly, with botanical extracts and scientifically-proven actives? Range available at Waitrose.com and selected Waitrose stores

www.prettyathletic.com @prettyathletic




FOR 2020?

A NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW TRENDS, AND THE 12 MONTHS AHEAD WILL BE NO DIFFERENT. HERE, WE ASK THE EXPERTS AT TOTAL FITNESS, WHOLEFOODS AND HEALTH AND FITNESS TRAVEL, PLUS FUTURIST LUCIE GREENE, FOR THEIR PREDICTIONS FOR 2020 NUTRITION BLUICING Yes, you heard that right. Have you ever wondered what would happen if a blender and a juicer had a child? You get the 3X Bluicer, a powerful, space-saving multi-tasker that blends, juices and introduces a whole new beverage category: ‘Bluicing’, or the seamless combination of fresh blends and juices into the same carafe. Basically, it’s now easier to whack together whatever fruit or vegetables you have left in your fruit bowl or crisper at the end of the week. PLANT-BASED BEYOND SOY Whilst soy has provided a fantastic base for a lot of yummy plant-based protein, 2020 is the year for soy to take a backseat and make way for some new kids on the block. Brands will start to swap soy for mung bean, hempseed and avocado, maintaining the smooth textures of vegan protein to mimic creamy textures of yoghurts and other dairy products. ‘EVERYTHING BUTTERS AND SPREADS’ Great news for the vegans among us, Whole Foods predicts that ‘<insert nut, seed, snack>’ is likely to be made into a butter or soft spread by 2020. In particular, look out for creamy vegan spreads, which will be ideal for a swift on-the-go snack and perfect for all the busy bodies out there.

NOT-SO-SIMPLE SUGARS Calling all those with a sweet tooth: if you are seeking sweetness outside of the usual suspects, such as sugar or honey, and are looking for a slightly healthier alternative, 2020 is your year. Whole Foods predicts that there will be a lot more alternatives to choose from to suffice that sweet tooth. Syrupy reductions made from fruit sources, like coconut, will become more widely available and less-common sweet syrups made from starches, like sweet potato, will start to make an appearance, so keep an eye out!

FITNESS HIIT TRAINING One of the fastest-growing trends to hit the UK over the last few years is HIIT training, with fitness experts including The Body Coach regularly sharing exercise routines focused on this method. The programming developed within the HIIT concept is becoming more comprehensive and is set to make an even bigger impact in 2020. For those who enjoy an intense method of training which burns fat quickly, Les Mills GRIT, Les Mills SPRINT, Insanity and SYNRGY360 Rig classes are a great place to start, all centred around cutting-edge results. FITNESS APPS Fitness apps are becoming a popular training tool for gym-goers at all levels, as they have been specifically designed to make the fitness experience easier. Users can do all sorts, including book classes, monitor workouts and gain specific advice and guidance to help achieve their goals using app technology. The continuing rise of the digital age will see more usage of fitness apps in 2020, covering topics from training, nutrition, lifestyle and more. The apps are easily accessible to anyone with a smart phone and are ideal for those who need some guidance and inspiration. With a wide range of exercise videos, workout tips and supporting information available, there is something to support everyone’s fitness routine.

the ultimate, virtual running experience allowing them to remotely run alongside a partner – great for those who need a further injection of motivation. Machine-based training can often become tedious, so by including a virtual element into the equipment, the user receives an assisted approach to their exercise training and stay focused. FUNCTIONAL TRAINING RIGS Growing demand and improvements in materials mean that Functional Training Rigs are becoming more accessible for 2020 with improved designs to meet the training needs of its user. Available in a range of sizes, Functional Training Rigs bring together a variety of exercises and allow the user to weight train, bodyweight train and stretch all in one space. These rigs are hugely practical as they offer a full, functional training experience. Rigs are becoming more affordable for people to use at home, so it’s easier to continue. exercisingbetween gym sessions.

EXPRESS LES MILLS CLASSES There are more and more operators offering the Express Les Mills Classes as a quick and intense training option for gym-goers. This is a 30 or 45-minute variant of class disciplines such as Body Combat, Body Pump, RPM and Body Balance, and is expected grow in popularity next year. The class runs the same focusing on cardio, body tone and strengthening, but removes any lower intensity tracks, so members still get an effective workout in half the time. This training class is great for those who are limited on time but still want to gain an intense, full-body workout. VIRTUAL FITNESS EQUIPMENT Virtual classes have been extremely popular in 2019, with the virtual concept set to develop even further next year. Equipment manufacturers are developing more equipment which has built-in virtual training concepts, including x-trainers, treadmills and indoor cycles, which are all set to be big in 2020. Total Fitness itself has a Life Fitness Treadmill Run Social which immerses users into


WELLNESS DIGITAL SPAS Innovative new tech companies are developing immersive technologies that offer genuine therapeutic benefits and wellbeing, while creative platforms are experimenting with the interactive nature of online social platforms to offer wellness services – both approaches, applied more broadly, could make access to wellness more democratic in future. One example is Umay’s Thermal Meditation device, which promises to “reset the effects of screen time.” It’s a heated goggle-style mask, designed to be worn over closed eyes, as gentle pulsations guide breath meditation to help achieve relaxation. It was developed in response to research that found consumers spend over ten hours on their screens a day, on average. “Screens are now the medium through which we access entertainment, communicate with others, socialise, and shop,” says the brand. “It’s no secret that 80% of what we learn is through our eyes. Studies show that increased screen time poses risks to our mental health, sleep quality and eye health.” HAIR NUTRITION Consumers have been increasingly using supplements for a range of skincare benefits, from neutraceuticals to ingestible collagen drinks and beauty powders, and now brands are turning their attention to hair. Direct-to-consumer labels like Hims and Keeps have taken steps to address the subject of men’s hair loss with ingestible supplements and now a new wave of brands are going even further – positioning hair nutrition as a legitimate, distinct dietary supplement to be used not just for fighting hair loss and thinning, but also as a tool to boost hair’s health, and the user’s general wellbeing as a result.

NATURE THERAPY Exposure to nature is being recognised as a way to combat anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other mental health problems, as research continues to show that living in polluted cities damages mental health. Expect more goods, travel services and experiences set in nature, designed with mental health in mind. In the US, 63 healthcare providers in Washington state and 12 in Oregon have begun to prescribe time outdoors. Over here, the NHS is increasingly authorising doctors to prescribe gardening and nature immersion – benefits to mental health are ascribed to the combination of physical activity, fresh air and focus.

TRAVEL NATURE IMMERSION GETAWAYS Yes, yes we all know getting outdoors is good for us. But how many of us actually go outside, walk and frolic in nature daily? We are turned on 24/7 in a world of likes, stories, followers and tweets, and so there is an everincreasing disassociation with our natural surroundings, which can leave us physically and emotionally in deficit. Added to this is the fact that most people live in the bright lights of urban dwellings, with geography, therefore, playing a part in our disconnectedness. Get the joy of nature back on a wellness retreat in nature. Check out the Euphoria Retreat in Greece, Shanti Maurice in Mauritious and Pravassa in Cambodia. CIRCADIAN TRAVELLING An astonishing 35% of Brits have long-standing sleep problems due to stress and worry, which expose us to a shift in the internal biological clock. The result is a transient desynchronisation of the circadian rhythm: think of the birds who sing all night alongside electric lights. Chronic poorquality sleep affects performance, slowing reaction times, injury rates and judgement errors. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic with a specific goal in mind, or simply exercising for fun, hit the snooze button on sluggish mornings and sub-par performance. Highly specialised wellness retreats around the world are now offering programmes combining a range of holistic treatments and expert sleep tips that are guaranteed to help you reach your optimum wellbeing and skill. Try the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Sleep in Switzerland or Six Senses Douro Valley Yogic Sleep in Portugal. MEN’S WELLNESS HOLIDAYS Over the past few years, there has been a big increase in men aged 45-70 booking wellness holidays, showing the modern man is investing in their health now more than ever. Whilst most wellness resorts once only catered for women, there is now a surplus of male-

specific programmes offering anything from anti-ageing and personalised nutrition, to golf and medical spa. When it comes to men’s health, the stats are not great. 12.5% of men in the UK suffer from a common mental health disorder and are, unfortunately, much less likely to reach out for help. It has also been noted that 20% of men will not reach the age of 65, due to either poor lifestyle habits or insufficient awareness of their health status. Wellness holidays offer incredible opportunities and the perfect environment for men to kickstart their healthy lifestyle and learn the best techniques to really reconnect with themselves. Check out the SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain, the Absolute Sanctuary Men’s Vitality or Training Paradise in Thailand. DIGITAL & EMF DETOXING Do you need to unplug and unwind from it all? Are you social media sick? It’s not just our bodies that need a detox, our minds can become overloaded from our frantic, stressed, overworked lives which involve prolonged screen time. What to do? Give yourself a digital detox in a place where phones are surrendered or limited and there are lots of other things to do, including rest. Some retreats are simply places where it’s easy to switch off, where there’s no WIFI or mobile reception, for example, or where they actively encourage you to limit your screen time. Other wellness retreats offer dedicated detox breaks which make it easy to break your social media or screen habit surrounded by like-minded people. You choose. Shreyas Silent Retreat in India is a good place to start, or Pine Cliffs Digital Detox in Portugal, or Fusion Maia Juice Cleansing Detox in Vietnam.





he main gripe I have with the idea of intuitive eating is the name. It’s a misnomer, a completely incorrect term. This is not me just being pedantic either. The definition of intuition is ‘the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning’, with instinct being defined as ‘an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli’ or ‘a natural or intuitive way of acting or thinking’. In other words, the idea of intuitive eating being a good idea makes a couple assumptions: • We have an innate drive to eat the optimal amount of food • We are in tune with this drive And neither of these are true. Your body did not evolve to maintain its weight effectively; rather, you’re a ghost riding around in a meat bag that’s driven towards consumption. We evolved over millions of years in environments in which the next meal was only a possibility – as such, we have evolved various mechanisms that preserve us against famine including a large, hedonistic appetite that seeks out more food than we need, and an almost limitless capacity for fat storage. We did not, however, have the chance to evolve the opposite – a drive to *not* gain fat.

Obesity isn’t something our ancestors really encountered. It’s an evolutionary glitch, something that arose because a body evolved to deal with one environment has suddenly found itself living somewhere completely different; kind of like how moths fly towards artificial light. As such, our internal regulation guides us towards gaining weight rather than maintaining it. Consider this: Try to reduce your bodyweight and you’ll feel hungrier, you’ll move less, and your body will become a little more efficient. Basically, undereat and your body is all like ‘HELL NO’ and tries to get you to eat more. Start gaining weight? Your body basically does nothing unless you’re one of the very few people who seem to naturally maintain a lower bodyweight by having a low appetite and fidgeting more. And this final thought brings us back to my point: those who promote intuitive eating tend to fall into two categories: • People who have always been lean. These people have a smallish appetite, fidget a lot, and are naturally predisposed to enjoy training (yes, your enjoyment of exercise has a MASSIVE genetic component. The ‘eats whatever and never gains weight’ people in your office • People who used to track their food meticulously and have since stopped

These people are, however, special cases. In the case of the first group, the always-lean people, they meet the assumptions of intuitive eating very well. Their intuitions are dialled in so that they eat the amount of food their bodies need, and don’t really crave or feel hunger for more. The second group have gamed the system – their intuitions sucked and they weren’t in tune with them, which is why they tracked food in the first place. It’s tracking without tracking – repetition of a learned behaviour… which is extremely different to intuition. So, intuitive eating is a lie. It’s a lie because it has nothing to do with intuition. It requires practice at paying attention to hunger signals, education around food choice, attention paid to portion control, careful management of one’s food environment, mindfulness around snacks and temptation, a true understanding of moderation and the ability to stop once you start eating certain foods, more often than not. Most of which almost nobody can do based on naturally occurring instinct because, in fact, all of those things are the opposite of what your body wants to do. You have to spend time and learn what you’re doing, and that doesn’t sound all that intuitive to me...

and beyond



Chances are you haven’t heard of Matthew Glover or Jane Lane. It is more likely, however, that you’re familiar with Veganuary. The idea, born in the Yorkshirebased couple’s kitchen in 2013, has exploded since its inception into a ‘new year, new you’ must for many. What seemed like a fad to cynics, veganism is here to stay with an estimated 542,000 Brits opting to enjoy an exclusively plant-based diet, and those numbers expected to rise in 2020. Veganuary is the ideal starting point for the thousands of Brits looking to make the switch, but what are the pros and cons of eating a plant-based diet long term?

THE PROS AND CONS PRO: HIGH FIBRE Did you know that 90% of Brits are not consuming enough fibre every day? It’s one of the biggest health-concerns we face. But when upping your intake of vegan-friendly wholegrains, pulses, fruits and vegetables, you should hit your target of 30g fibre daily with ease. Reaching your fibre intake goals is associated with several benefits, including maintaining a healthy body weight.

PRO: PLANT DIVERSITY We call this ‘eating the rainbow’ as we should all be eating

30 different plant foods each week! Adopting a vegan diet makes this much easier, especially when you consider how many vegetables are used to make plant-based products. By eating a wide range of plant foods, you’ll benefit from a host of nutrients that affect everything from your gut bacteria to your immunity (particularly important at this time of year). If you used Veganuary as an excuse to try inseason vegetables and different recipes, continue!

PRO: MONEY-SAVING By eating a whole foods-based vegan diet, you’ll likely find your grocery bill goes down. Fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses are all pretty cheap, which means you’ll have lots left over to buy those delicious nut butters and the occasional vegan treat.

CON: NO VITAMIN B12 Contrary to popular belief, there’s no reliable plant source of vitamin B12. You need to pay attention to this nutrient, as it helps to keep you blood and nerve cells healthy. It also protects your all-important DNA. If your Veganuary is turning into a long-term vegan diet, make sure you take a high-quality vitamin B12 supplement.

CON: JUNK FOOD A vegan diet doesn’t automatically mean a healthy one! You can, after all, live off chips and sweets and still be a vegan. Focus on eating as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. It’s important to read the label of any vegan products and make sure the ingredients are ones you recognise and can source.

CON: LOW CALCIUM Along with iron, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, calcium is another nutrient that’s likely to be low on an exclusively vegan diet. This essential mineral not only maintains strong bones and teeth, but it also contributes to normal metabolism. During Veganuary and beyond, focus on eating calcium-rich green leafy vegetables and sesame seeds, along with some calcium-fortified plant milk.

5 WAYS TO SUCCEED THIS VEGANUARY 1. PLAN AHEAD Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail. Preparation is without doubt, a recipe for success this January. Whether it be preparing food in advance, or simply mapping out a weekly vegan food plan, you’ll increase your chances of not slipping back into your old, uninspired ways. Gosh!’s products are ideal components for the preparation process. Find some amazing and u nique recipes that can be consumed all hours of the day, at work, at home or on the go at www.goshfood.com/recipes

2. STOCK UP ON SNACKS It may have been the case in the past that you had a

drawer in the office stocked with snacks that didn’t exactly compliment your waistline. Drive the change by stocking-up your drawer with nuts, dried fruit and whatever other plantbased joys that tickle your taste buds instead. By removing temptations you’ll be on your way to success this year.

3. CHECK THE MENU ‘Are you ready to order?’ Don’t feel compelled to rush into ordering food when eating out. Look at the menu in advance and take your time to investigate what’s in your food when eating at cafés and restaurants. There’s no harm in asking the waiter or waitress for some more information on the food on the menu if you’re not sure. Remember, even some classic dishes are easy to ask for the ‘vegetarian or vegan-friendly’ option.

4. KNOW WHERE TO LOOK Food shopping can be tedious at the best of times. Supermarket shelves are littered with foods of all varieties. Knowing where to find plant-based alternatives can be a fraught task. So, if you like buying food in person, do your research in advance of visiting the shops. To make things easier, it might be better to shop online.

5. BE ADVENTUROUS New Year, new you, same food. Of course not! Omitting animal products from your food routine doesn’t mean you have to lose all sense of fun when cooking for you and your family. Vegan food can extend the realms of what you thought were possible with a grill, oven and frying pan. Don’t simply substitute the meat products in classic meals, feel free to get your creative juices flowing and experience some fresh and new tastes by inventing new dishes.

FIVE VEGAN CUPBOARD ESSENTIALS NORTHERN BLOC VEGAN ICE CREAM Northern Bloc’s fourth-generation ice cream world champion chef has created an all-natural, creamy taste and texture using only plant-based products, suitable for the dairy free, lactose intolerant, flexitarian, or none of the above. It’s ice cream for all. Choose from Vegan Salted Caramel & Almond Swirl Ice Cream, Vegan Chocolate, Orange Blossom Ice Cream and Vegan Peanut Chip Ice Cream flavours. Oh, and the packaging is 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable too. northern-bloc.com/vegan

OMBAR CHOCOLATE Ombar has coconut cream to make up for the lack of milk, and raw cacao (rather than roasted cocoa powder used in standard chocolate), which is higher in natural flavanols that may have a variety of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and supporting heart health. www.ombar.co.uk

GOSH! Gosh! Beetroot Burger, Gosh! Veggie Sausages and Gosh! Moroccan Falafels are genuinely tasty and healthy adaptations of the junk food ‘the old you’ may have enjoyed. For a full list of products visit: www.goshfood.com/our-range

VEGANICITY’S LIVER KIND Overdone it on the booze? Veganicity provides vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for maintaining a healthy liver and helping the body detox. www.veganicity.com

ELMLEA PLANT Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or ‘bean’ thinking about trying the swap beyond Veganuary, a dash of Elmlea Plant is the easiest way to transform a dish into the ultimate winter warmer. Deliciously creamy and 100% plant-based, Elmlea Plant is a plant-based cream alternative that whips and cooks like a regular cream. Naturally free from lactose and gluten-free, it’s made from proteinrich broad beans.

VEGANUARY IN NUMBERS According to new research, Brits spend £25 a week on vegetarian and vegan products, totalling a staggering £1.3 billion a year. Retail app Ubamarket has commissioned research involving 2,000 UK adults to reveal how dietary trends are changing. 31% of Brits – 16.08 million – are eating more vegetarian and vegan meals than ever before. 32% of Brits – 16.72 million – are consciously trying to eat less meat, for reasons ranging from their health to the environmental impact of the agriculture industry. 36% of meat-eaters, representing 18.97 million Brits, are buying vegetarian and vegan specialist products. 26% of Brits said that trends like Veganuary and Sugar Awareness Week are shaping their shopping habit.




he World Health Organisation has officially added burnout to its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which means it will be globally recognised as a disease from 2022. I’ve been living with burnout since 2014 when, one day, I collapsed in the park. I stayed in bed for three months, couldn’t move, couldn’t talk and, at my worst, I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. This was rock bottom. I thought I was never going to be ‘me’ again. I went to the doctors one day, but all of the tests came back as ‘normal’ and I was diagnosed as depressed and given antidepressants. I burst into tears because I wasn’t depressed at all, I was just completely exhausted. I continued to rest and sleep but I wasn’t improving. From my educational background, I knew about the adrenal glands and how stress

can affect energy, so I began testing myself and filling out a number of symptom questionnaires. It became pretty clear I had burnout. I finally did a 180 after changing my diet, lifestyle, mindset and exercise regime. Today, I’m about 90% recovered. My energy is back and I’m living my life with a new and improved perspective. Here are some of the key signs to look out for: 1. You find small tasks challenging 2. You wake up even after a good night’s sleep and still feel tired 3. Social interactions feel like a chore 4. You’ve lost your drive and motivation 5. You snap at the tiniest thing Here are my top tips to avoid burning out: 1. Increase your calories! Most people I see are not eating enough and they are over-exercising. Ladies, you need to be ingesting

2,000 calories per day. Please remember: food is energy! 2. Sleep is probably the most important thing. You need to be getting eight hours a night to function properly. The sleep you get between 10pm and midnight, and 7am and 9am, are the most refreshing. If you miss out on sleep and start to make it less of a priority, it’s a stress on the adrenals glands. 3. Productive rest. This is something I encourage my clients to do every day. For 10 mins in the morning or in the evening, take yourself away and lie down to do some deep breathing and switch off your mind. Our minds are constantly busy and naturally tend to overthink. By taking 10 each day and just breathing out slowly it actually lowers the stress hormone cortisol. 4. Meditation. Honestly, if you haven’t started doing this yet, I really encourage you! The best thing meditation does is to reduce anxiety. So, if you are in a state of overwhelm then you need to start doing it now! It really helps to centre you and focus your mind to a more relaxed, positive state. Download apps like Headspace or Calm to get you started. 5. Supplement. Stress is a major robber of vitamins and minerals – particularly B vitamins, so taking a high-quality B complex will mean that your cells have this cofactor to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) in the body. This is your body’s energy molecule. When people ask me what was the one thing that helped me get back on my feet I always say it was a combination of changing my diet, lifestyle and mindset. However, if I were to list the five things that I did which made me get my spark back… 1. Identifying my stressors and eliminating them 2. Saying no and slowing down 3. Eating more food and taking targeting nutrients 4. Taking breaks from social media 5. Relying more on my support network www.missnutritionist.com

PADDLEBOARDING It might be cold right now but spring is just around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to perfect your paddleboarding tekkers for the summer ahead. BESTFIT tackled the winter waters to see what the UK’s fastest -growing water sport was all about…


ater sports in the UK are big business and at the forefront of this growing trend is paddleboarding. Originating in Hawaii in the 1930s thanks to a pioneering chap called Thomas Edward Blake, the sport of paddleboarding has

taken some time to grow in popularity on these shores. If you haven’t seen someone doing it, which is increasingly unlikely, it basically involves riding a board and using a paddle to propel yourself forward, much like a kayaker does while prone.

of not having to contend with the waves. Still, standing on any stretch of water requires a certain level of core stability and strength. Your first attempt will inevitably involve some shaking at the ankles, knees or both. This will relent as your body adapts and you hone your position and technique, which can then help you paddle longer distances, go quicker and with greater efficiency, or to surf waves. You’ll soon notice how your day-to-day balance – and core strength – improves.

Rather than just surf waves, paddleboarding enables you to cruise any stretch of water, which means anyone can give it a go anywhere and at a pace that suits them. And while surfers rely on nature for waves, and now inland wave machines, not to mention a considerable amount of expertise to conquer whatever nature throws at them, paddleboarders can use lakes, rivers or canals, as well as the sea, which makes it more inclusive for all ages and abilities. Moreover, and here’s the real kicker for its exponential growth, is that as well as hard boards, there are inflatable boards called isups. These can be folded and easily transported in a big rucksack, rather than having to rely on garage space for storage and roof racks/trailers for transportation. Game changer. WORK YOUR BODY Oh, and it’s really good for you, which is why we’re doing it, obviously. Even a leisurely SUP – that’s a paddle session to you and I – down a river or on a lake admiring the scenery will involve every muscle in your body. You will use your legs, back, core and abdominal muscles to achieve balance, and your arms, back and shoulders to propel yourself forwards. If you move onto a livelier river or into the sea you’ll face waves and currents, which means your workout will intensify. Start introducing speed or distance and you’ll soon become a lean machine. And while there are more and more places offering paddleboard hire and lessons around the country, from canals to coastline, rivers to

lakes, the number of paddleboard events are also growing in number. There’s a race scene for those who want to test their speed, with events catering for those with inflatable boards – including a category that tests people on exactly the same board for fairness – and those who mean business and who have carbon boards. Beyond that, there are distance events such as the Head of the Dart, a 10-mile race from Dartmouth to Totnes, or the Trent 100, a team event that involves as entering as a team and completing 100km over two days. There are obstacle course events, SUPathlons… SUP events with runs and bike events attached. Something for everyone and all abilities. Of course, key to being able to paddleboard is balance. If you’ve ever tried surfing, you’ll know standing on a board on a wave is a difficult skill to master. Paddleboarding requires you to stand upright for longer periods but, if you’re not on the sea, you have the benefit

If you’ve ever trained for a running event you’ll know how the repetitive movement of running can damage your joints, ligaments and tendons. Similarly, lifting weights comes with risk. SUPping enables you to burn calories without damaging your joints. A leisurely SUP can still burn up to 400 calories in an hour. Introduce some surfing and that will rise to up to 750. Perfect the technique of your stroke and each one will be the equivalent of doing an abdominal crunch. It’s great for the guns, too. Even an hour on a paddleboard in calm water is enough for you to notice soreness in your arms, feet and/or legs. A sedate session will improve your overall body strength, so imagine the benefits of a strenuous session. Your arms are the supporting cast to your core. Even carrying your board to your launching point will boost your biceps. OVER LAND AND SEA We started on the river and, after an initial element of shakiness, comfortably handled a 90-minute session. We then attended a specialised race training session with world no.2 April Zilg in the sea. This brings a number of external factors

into play, namely swell, wave height and frequency, plus the aim was to go as quick as possible rather than amble down the river. The difference was intense. With legs locked and loaded, we were constantly having to adjust our balance to stay upright to combat the waves and in doing so, we worked our core, glutes and hamstrings. Then, to build the speed, we’re went from the upright position that proved sufficient for the river, to leaning as far forward as our balance would let us to ‘catch’ us much water as possible and pull ourselves forward with a hefty pulling motion in one efficient stroke. At the same time, we were told to thrust our pelvis forward in an effort to maximise our forward momentum. If you use a ski erg, imagine doing that on a bosu ball… and with someone rocking it, and you get the idea! It’s an incredible all-over body workout that intensifies with speed, motion and distance… and waves. And the more you perfect the technique, the better the overall workout. Not surprisingly, it’s a big win when it comes to cardio, too. Whatever level you’re at, from light sessions on calm water to vigorous SUPs in the sea, your body’s endurance levels will rocket. You can lose weight and reduce the chances of diabetes, heart attack, stroke and more. HEAD STRONG And then there are the mental benefits. Exercising outside is a massive and yet simple victory for your wellbeing. Add to this the relevant calm of being on water, and the soothing sounds will evaporate any stress you’re experiencing. When we paddled on the river we were

surrounded by stunning countryside and wildlife. When we transitioned into the sea, the backdrop transformed with England’s incredible coastline. All of these things are excellent for your mental health and enable you to be at one with your surroundings. And with an injection of vitamin D to help you fend off fatigue, depression, bone weakness, chronic pain and more, it’s a no brainer. Moreover, paddle boarding can take you to places inaccessible by feet or car, and you’ll likely leave your phone on dry land. Enjoy some time with your mind and without distraction. You won’t regret it. GIVE IT A GO If this sounds like something you might consider, then there’s bound to be a club or instructor near you. There are hundreds of clubs and groups now springing up around the country. Hook up, join in and socialise. And even if you conquer it straight away, there are numerous ways to adapt and evolve your involvement in the sport, and the equipment you use. To find out more visit www.busap.org.uk

“Enjoy some time with your mind and without distractions. You won’t regret it”



LETâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HAVE IT!

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU? LET’S NOT MESS ABOUT THEN. HELPING YOU GET DOWN TO BUSINESS AND BUILD LEGS OF POWER FOR 2020 IS INFLUENCER STEFANIE MOIR Let’s face it, none of us look forward to leg workout day. Fact. But what’s also important is that we don’t neglect the most powerful part of our body. Stefanie Moir is also known as Naturally Stefanie and is a vegan lifestyle blogger, avid gym goer and fitness website owner, and she’s here to help us build ‘pistons of truth’.

Stefanie has been sharing tips and tricks on how to become stronger, healthier and happier since 2015 and she’s developed quite the following. Now, in a book entitled Naturally Stefanie: Recipes, workouts and daily rituals for a stronger, happier you, she’s looking to help you incorporate more plant-based meals

into your life, as well as help you look and feel better with workouts and routines aimed at people of all fitness levels. The focus of Stef’s legs workout is weight training and growing lean muscle while simultaneously burning fat. As we know, weight training only works when it’s done properly, so

effort will be required for this workout! The rep range here is in the hypertrophyspecific range – which is what causes muscle growth. This range is anything from 8 to 20 reps. Optimal range is 8 to 15. Here, Steph recommends between 10 to 15 reps for most exercises, performing between 3 to 5 sets per exercise.


REPS 10 – 15 10 – 15 10 – 15 10 – 15

Body weight squats Body weight walking lunges Body weight donkey kicks Very light barbell or dumbbell squats


SETS 3 3 3 3 3 3

REPS 8 – 12 10 – 12 per leg 10 – 12 12 – 15 15 – 20 10 – 15 per side

Deadlifts Walking lunges Goblet squats Dumbbell RDL Machine leg extensions Bicycle crunches





If you are a beginner, start with the body weight exercise variations of the exercises outlined in the workouts. From there, start with the lightest weights in the dumbbell section and on the machines to gauge your strength and your starting point.


To find your ‘working weight’ (the weight you are going to use effectively for the exercise, one that is neither too heavy nor too light), find the weight that you can perform between 8 to 12 repetitions with while maintaining proper form.


Listen to your body and take rest between exercises.

4. VARIATIONS ON A THEME If your gym does not have some of the equipment that the workouts suggest, simply ask an instructor for a variation or look up online; the aim is to work the target muscle, and this can be done in multiple ways!






If you are unsure of how to do any of the exercises or want to have your form checked out, ask an instructor in the gym; it’s what they’re there for! The last thing you want to do is injure yourself on day one and have a fear of going back to the gym again


There is no point jumping in the deep end if you can’t swim. If you are a complete beginner, take these workouts and add them to your weekly schedule when it suits YOUR lifestyle.


Don’t be that guy/gal that eats one healthy meal and does one workout and expects to wake up the next day looking like a Baywatch lifeguard.


Don’t work out to counteract what you’ve eaten; use what you’ve eaten to fuel your workout. Learn to push your body to see what it can achieve; every small achievement is an achievement.

9. FOCUS ON THE PROCESS Enjoy the process – don’t worry too much about the outcome.



QUICK VEGETARIAN CHILLI - SERVES 4 PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME: 15 MINUTES This recipe is made almost entirely from store-cupboard ingredients, so it’s perfect for those evenings when you are tempted to order a takeaway! Beans and sweetcorn are fantastic sources of fibre and the tomato chilli sauce adds wonderful spicy flavour. I’ve included spinach for extra iron and vitamin C, but you can omit it, if you prefer. Ingredients:


1. 1 tbsp light olive or rapeseed oil 2. 1 large onion, finely chopped 3. 2–3 garlic cloves, crushed 4. 1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste 5. 1 tbsp sweet paprika 6. 1 tsp dried oregano 7. 1 tsp ground cumin 8. 400g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes 9. 1 tbsp tomato purée 10. 2 x 400g (14 oz) cans red kidney beans drained and rinsed 11. 200g (7 oz) can sweetcorn, drained 12. 100g (3 oz) fresh or frozen spinach 13. A handful of fresh parsley, chopped (optional) 14. Salt and freshly ground pepper 15. To serve: Cooked brown rice or pitta breads and grated cheese Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 3–4 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, chilli powder, paprika, oregano and cumin and cook for a further minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, kidney beans and sweetcorn and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then stir in the spinach and parsley, if using. Turn off the heat – the spinach will wilt down in the heat of the pan. Serve with rice or pitta bread and a sprinkling of grated cheese.


FRUIT AND NUT ENERGY BARS (FIVE WAYS) - SERVES 4 PREPARATION: 10 MINUTES These no-bake bars are super-easy to make and a more nutritious option than manufactured energy bars. Dates provide three different types of sugar – glucose, fructose and sucrose – which are perfect for fuelling high-intensity activities longer than an hour. Nuts add extra fibre and unsaturated fats, which gives a mores sustained release of energy instead of a quick hit. The addition of almonds produces a bar with a softer texture. Ingredients: 1. 100g (3 oz) ground almonds 2. 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates (or use standard dried dates soaked in boiling water for 10–15 minutes, then drained) 3. 1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder 4. 1 tsp vanilla extract (Makes 8 bars) Place the almonds, dates, cacao or cocoa powder and vanilla extract in a food processor or high-power blender and blend for about one minute until crumbly and evenly combined. You may need to stop the motor and scrape down the edges of the bowl once or twice. Add 2–3 tablespoons water if the dates are quite hard and don’t break down readily. Continue processing for another 1–2 minutes until the ingredients clump together to form a ball. Turn the sticky ball out of the processor and press or roll between two sheets of baking parchment or clingfilm to a 1 cm thickness. Alternatively, press into an 18 x 18 cm baking tin lined with clingfilm. Refrigerate for one hour or so until firm, then peel off the parchment and cut into bars, approximately 10 x 2 cm. Wrap in clingfilm or foil. The bars will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.

Pimp your energy bars with these ingredient combos Date and Cashew Bars: 100g (3 oz) cashew nuts, 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates, a pinch of salt Peanut Bars: 75g (3 oz) peanuts, 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool, 25g (1 oz) smooth peanut butter Cocoa Coconut Bars: 125 g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates, 50 g (2 oz) cashews, 40 g (1 oz) raisins, 40 g (1 oz) desiccated coconut, 1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder Pecan Pie Bars: 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates, 50g (2 oz) pecans, 50g (2 oz) ground almonds

Extracted from Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes by Anita Bean. Published by Bloomsbury Sport, £16.99. Available now

WE CAUGHT UP WITH SAS: WHO DARES WINS’ OLLIE OLLERTON ABOUT MENTAL WEALTH, MINDFULNESS AND THE PERILS OF THE SCOTTISH COASTLINE You know the drill now: 25 recruits get put through a punishing series of tasks designed to break them mentally, akin to the SAS selection process, all under the watchful eye of four SAS gurus Ant Middleton, Ollie Ollerton, Jason Fox and Mark Billingham. Here, Ollerton reveals how this year’s location can be particularly brutal, the stresses of strains for both recruits and instructors, and how he is replacing the ‘chaos’ of military life.

THE LATEST SAS WHO DARES WINS IS BACK! THE LATEST SERIES IS SUITABLY BRUTAL, DID YOU ENJOY MAKING IT? I absolutely love it and I think the timing of it this year is a great thing. It used to be shown on TV in October, whereas now it’s being shown in January, a time when people typically tend to struggle, or when they’re setting their own challenges. It’s good timing, and hopefully the exploits of this year’s recruits can inspire people to tackle their own challenges head on. WHO DARES WINS HAS BECOME A HUGE SUCCESS. DID YOU EXPECT THAT WHEN YOU FILMED THE FIRST SERIES? No. The first time I realised how big the show had become was in the last series. When we filmed the first one, though, we all thought it would be a one-hit wonder. We thought it might appeal to military wannabees, a specific crowd. However, when we saw the first edit, we realised how powerful it might be. We saw how it focused on the mental health of the recruits and how they were dealing with things we all deal with on a daily basis. The show has gathered momentum with each series and it seems to be getting even more powerful. WHEN IT FIRST STARTED, THE EMPHASIS SEEMED TO BE ON THE PHYSICAL CHALLENGE, WHEREAS NOW IT’S DEFINITELY MORE MENTAL… That is what the special forces is all about. A lot of people can do the physical element, but if you’re not mentally prepared as well then you’ll fail. When I went through selection, I thought I’d made a huge mistake at the start.

I thought I’d made the wrong decision. There were people bigger and stronger than me. Yet when I got under way and started passing people, I grew in confidence. I would say 80% of the selection process is mental. IS MENTAL FORTITUDE SOMETHING YOU CAN DEVELOP? It’s within us all. Your life experience and upbringing has an influence. If you’ve faced tough situations you will already have been on a mental journey. If you’ve lived something of a sheltered life you might not yet have built the mental tools you need to overcome difficulties in your life. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN THE NEW SERIES? A LOT OF IT SEEMS TO BE ON THE SEA… A lot of this series involves water, but then a lot of us have spent a lot of time on the water while serving in the SAS. It opens up more opportunities for mental and physical challenges. Water is a huge component to life in the special forces. We try and use it as means to unlock potential. THE SERIES IS HARD ON THE RECRUITS, BUT IS IT ALSO HARD ON YOU AS INSTRUCTORS? This series hit us really hard actually and I was so ready to leave that place by the end. The course we set up for the recruits is really dynamic and it’s the series that we really wanted to do, but things can change in a heartbeat. It’s reality, there are no scripts and the candidates do get hit really hard. It’s very draining. We don’t know them or their back stories. When

we uncover them, you’re absorbing the pain they’ve gone through. It does affect you. You have to come away from it and offload it. Some of the stories are really harsh. You wonder how you would be in their situation. We take things for granted. People go through things in war, but for many people their war is at home or growing up. I wanted war, conflict… but for many, these situations are cast upon them not through choice. Plus, we stay up late, it’s hard work, it’s cold and it’s in tough conditions. In Scotland you get four seasons in one day. THE CANDIDATES ALL HAVE ISSUES THEY NEED TO TACKLE… HOW HARD IS IT FOR PEOPLE TO CONFRONT THINGS? It strips them down, gets rid of the façade. We all pretend to be someone, that’s everyday life. Look at our social media feeds, we put all our energy into being someone we’re not. You don’t have the opportunity to do that in the show, so you leave with your raw character. That’s hard. SCOTLAND IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE SAS. WHAT MEMORIES DO YOU HAVE OF BEING TESTED TO YOUR MAX IN YOUR OWN TRAINING? Every memory of the selection process is brutal, not just Scotland! But a lot of my training was up there. I was based there when I went on my first post when I joined the Royal Marines. I went to Desert Storm from there, and again for my Northern Ireland tour. It’s a harsh place. It’s cold, wet, painful. IS THERE ANYTHING WE’VE SEEN ON THE SHOW THAT YOU WOULDN’T DO? WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES? I put myself in their shoes. I don’t enjoy doing a lot of the things we have to do but I’ve grown comfortable with the heights, the running, though it’s brutal. A lot of them haven’t done anything like the stuff we make them do. The beastings, the road work, descending from cliff tops… we’ve become comfortable with things like that over time but if you’re doing things for the first time… the beastings in particular are hard, I think ‘Jesus Christ’, I wonder how I would have handled that. When I was doing it, I had to do these things to pass my selection, but these guys

spend an hour on the computer, which means I’ve done loads before other people get up. Mindfulness is simply focused attention, clearing the bullshit and mind chatter. We have 70,000 thoughts in our head each day, so I try to focus on things I want to focus on.

aren’t joining the forces, they’re doing it off their own back. That’s amazing.

and those who watch it… as well as us as instructors, I love it.

ALL OF THE INSTRUCTORS HAVE SUFFERED WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS… HOW BIG A PROBLEM IS THAT POST-MILITARY? YOU SEEM TO HAVE FOUND PEACE ON A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY? It has been a long process, one that’s taken 10 years. There has been a lot of soul searching. I didn’t seek help and there was too much drinking. It wasn’t until I cut away all the external negatives that I got to the real issues. I saw a spiritual psychologist who showed me the power of investing in yourself, looking after your mental state and dealing with what’s in your head. Trauma gets locked away and unless you deal with it, it will always be a problem. For me, it’s an ongoing journey. We’re so focused on our body and aesthetics and unfortunately people need to concentrate on their minds. Most people will get mental health issues at some point, and you need to deal with it.

YOU TALK A LOT ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY IN RETURNING TO NORMALITY AFTER THE ‘CHAOS’ OF WAR – HOW DO YOU COPE NOW? I’ve found a lot of purpose. Break Point is a project designed to help other people, and that has also given me a real purpose. The transition from military to civilian is about purpose, so you need to engage with something you’re passionate about. I’m now busier than I’ve ever been and the happiest I’ve ever been.

HAS THE SHOW HELPED YOU? YOU’VE WRITTEN A BOOK TOO, WAS THAT CATHARTIC? The show helped give me a purpose. And when you piece your life together in a book you go on a journey through all your highs and lows, and that hit me hard. I spent two and a half days in a box room for the audio book and got lost in the stories. But both things have helped me hugely. Putting it on paper and on screen has been good for me. Being with the lads again in the show, and knowing that the show can inspire the people who take part

CAN THE MILITARY DO MORE TO HELP PEOPLE TRANSITION BACK INTO CIVILIAN LIFE? It’s hard because we live in a blame culture. My journey, I could have had more help but I wouldn’t have listened. I can’t sit back and say no one helped me, but I didn’t help myself. We have to take ownership and responsibility for ourselves. We need to do more for ourselves. I didn’t do it and wasn’t prepared to listen, so I can’t blame anyone. Everyone is to blame for their own situation, you need to be prepared to deal with stuff. People might not be able to control suffering from something like PTSD, but they can seek help, or decide to do something about drinking or doing drugs. It’s easy to blame, but you have to look at yourself. WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR MINDFULNESS? I have a routine and I go through a process. I meditate for 20 minutes when I get up, then exercise. I then

YOU’RE ALL OBVIOUSLY STILL VERY FIT. HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO THE GYM? I try and get to the gym most days. It’s important for me. It releases endorphins, which ultimately help us all live longer and happier. People say they haven’t got time. Nonsense, looking after yourself should be your work, and your most important job. Look after yourself and you’ll be better at work and with your family. You need a release, even if it’s a walk in the morning or taking the dog for a walk. To help develop your own mental and physical strength, download the Battle Ready 360 app, available now: https://battleready360.co.uk








MEET THE GUINEA PIGS! How do you feel about taking on the BESTFIT 10week transformation? Victoria: You want the truth?! There’s a mixture of excitement and we both want to get started now. It’s all feeling very real! It’s a case of the unknown for us. Tell us a bit about yourselves and why you want to do this… Victoria: We work in Leeds and run our own business. We work together, live together, and while we both have phases of having good patterns of fitness, nothing seems sustainable. We might get fit in January, lose weight, but we never maintain it. We want to get fit in 12 weeks, but this is also about a lifestyle change for us. We really need it health-wise. We need it work-wise too. Fitness can help us at work… can help the mind. I hope we feel better balanced, and for me personally, I want to become a less shouty mum. Simon: We’re very good at paying gym memberships! I like a sauna; I usually try and get fit by osmosis! We have phases where we try, but we find it hard to sustain. When we train together we chat with each other and motivate each other and yet while we’ll be active for a couple of weeks, we’ll then struggle.

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Watch the journey on BESTFIT TV, with a one-hour special to start Series 3

What about your nutrition habits? Victoria: We don’t eat badly, but we’re not consistent. We plan well for the kids but not ourselves. We’re particularly bad at work. We might miss a meal then grab anything for tea. We were asked to create a food diary, and I was shocked by mine. No two days were the same. Simon: I work away quite a bit and sometimes I didn’t eat until 4pm, then I’ll have two meals before bed. There’s no dietary structure. Sometimes we eat with the kids, sometimes not, sometimes after bed. And it’s not just the food, we don’t drink enough water either. I might have five cups of coffee a day, but I feel tired. I know if you eat well, you feel better, I just can’t manage to maintain it. What a you expecting from this process? Simon: We know the exercise is needed, and that there might be some new things… particularly on the eating side of things. I know there’ll be a prep day to sort meals out for the week. It’ll be good to see what ‘good’ looks like! What about your existing gym habits? Victoria: I mainly use things like the cross trainer, treadmill, bike. I have a fear of gyms. I feel like an idiot if I don’t know what I’m doing. I also find it boring. I’m looking forward to being educated.

What about using weights? Victoria: I’m quite excited about it. I see the benefit. I see people on Instagram and I’m motivated by that, but also nervous to see how they work for my body. Simon: I’m a little bit more knowledgeable about weights. I lost a bit of weight two years ago doing weights in the gym. For a short period, three-four months, I worked with other people and got comfortable, knew the machines and what they were targeting. Then I got into a slow spiral since then putting weight on. How will you fit this around running your own business? Victoria: This will be a big challenge for us, so we’re planning. It’s needed. We welcome the change, so we’ve got to put time in the diaries. Work, school drop off… kids activities… they can all act as barriers, but we want to feel the maximum benefit of this. Simon: I think time is the most challenging part [of all of this]. We sat down with our calendars and tried to workout when we were actually going to do this. And not just for the 10 weeks, but how we do it in weeks 13, 14 and 15. We don’t want to give up. We have to buy into it. How do you feel about taking supplements, if needed? Simon: The more guidance and support the better. This will be an education for us.

THE TRAINING “Our aim is to improve the lifestyle of Simon and Victoria by implementing changes to exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle factors and health markers such as strength, resting heart rate, and fat mass,” explains Richard Hill (see below). “This will be achieved by coaching small changes to nutrition and exercise. Week by week, we expect to see more and more improvements in their health. We will work on three training sessions per week with a trainer, as well as three sessions per week by themselves.


“Our trainer will focus on two main disciplines, strength and power exercises,” he continues. “This builds a strong body and makes it a fuel-hungry machine. Every pound of muscle they put on results in an extra 40k/cal a day needed to fuel their new physique. This involves a range of compound exercises to ensure their bodies burn more energy at rest every day, and they get to look leaner as a result.

Richard Hill and his team will be putting Victoria and Simon through their paces. Richard is a personal health coach and the owner of Iveridge Health Club. He has worked with over 200 clients to help them achieve their goals.

THE WORKOUT HIIT training Victoria and Simon will be doing short-burst cardio exercises, which are great to burn fat. Running hard for 40 seconds followed by periods of rest for 40 seconds, for example, is a great way to release fat-releasing enzymes in the body. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be doing 20 of these three times a week. Each set of the following exercises will be utilising the Power Plate, and is to be done slowly, so time under tension is 55-75 seconds. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be doing 20 sets of strength exercises three a week.


Start with your feet at least shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight and your core engaged, and your hips back, bend your knees and lower your body into the squat position until your hips are below your knees. Hold, and return.

PRESS-UP/CHEST PRESS Place your hands either side of the Power Plate and assume the press-up position. Keep your bum high and your back and legs straight. Slowly lower your chest to the plate, hold and return. Repeat.

LUNGES WITH VICTORIA AND BURPEES WITH SIMON For the lunges, place one foot on the Power Plate and lower the other standing leg, keeping your back straight. For the burpees, from a standing position, lower your body to a prone position, push yourself up and jump to complete the burpee.

JUMPING JACKS Start from a standing position, jump so that your legs are spread wide and at the same time, ensure your hands touch each other overhead. Return, and repeat!



Lie flat on the ground with your arms by your side. Raise your legs as high as you can, keeping them straight and together. Lift your torso towards your thighs to form a V shape. Keep hands on floor, or bring them to meet your feet.

Start in a traditional plank position, with shoulders over your hands and weight just on your toes. With core engaged, bring your right knee forward under your chest. Return to basic plank. Switch legs, and repeat.

LUNGE TO STEP Standing straight, move one leg forward and lunge forward to a 90-degree angle, keeping your back straight. Return to standing position. Then step one leg to the side, and return to the standing position. Swap legs, and repeat.

JUMP SQUATS Whether on the Power Plate or floor, from a standing position, lower body using hips then knees so that your hips pass below your knees (if possible). From the squat position, jump as high as you can and return to standing position.

THE EQUIPMENT Victoria and Simon have been using the Power Plate as part of their workout. Power Plate can help you Prepare Faster, Perform Better and Recover Quicker by stimulating natural reflexes, increasing muscle activation and improving circulation. Built on decades of indepth science and research, training on a Power Plate

enhances any movement, simple or complex. Typically performed on the ground, muscles become more active, more often and significantly reduces stress. Trusted by professional athletes, celebrities, health professionals and fitness enthusiasts across the world, Power Plate has been linked to a wide range of health benefits.

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DAVID, WHY CHOOSE THE DESERT ULTRA 250KM? AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT WAS INVOLVED… It was tough, like death, but I wanted to put myself through a really tough challenge to inspire others. I Googled ‘toughest race in the world’, and the Desert Ultra forms part of the Beyond the Ultimate series of races. As well as the Desert one I did, there’s one in the jungle, one in the mountains, and another in the Arctic. It involved 45 hours of carrying 45lbs across five stages. I had to be totally selfsufficient. I was camping by myself, competing by myself. The temperature in the day approached 50 degrees and you were always in the middle of nowhere. It was brutal, and every day it broke my body down.

IT WHAT WAY? The first day I went out I had to do 55km. By the time I got to the second check point I wasn’t thinking about electrolytes or anything like that, I just wasn’t really prepared as well as I should have been. At 20km I had cramp in my left leg, which I couldn’t shake off. Then I got cramp in the right. I had another 33km to go and I was wading through sand with cramp in both legs. I wasn’t just thinking about making it to the next check point, I was wondering how I

“ON THE FIRST DAY I EXPERIENCED OVERWHELMING PAIN AND I COULD BARELY WALK THROUGH THE SAND, AND YET I WAS LAUGHING” would make it through the day, then the next day. If I felt this shit so early, what chance did I have? I crocodile walked that last 30km. I was in so much pain that I actually started laughing. I had tears too. But I was in so much pain and yet I was still going, and I knew then that I would do it. I was broken, but not finished. And that was very powerful.

YOU HAD TO DO 100KM ON YOUR LAST DAY. HOW DID YOU DO IT? I had burned out everything in my body, probably even gone through whatever reserves you have. I

had no food, nothing, but I felt so powerful. When you’ve used up everything, you simply operate on something deep inside you. I did that for 18 hours. I started and ended that day in the dark. At the end, I simply rolled over and had a beer. That beer was the taste of success, it felt so good. There was no one there to congratulate you and while my mind was defeated and my body broken, there was a great feeling of having finished.

HOW DID YOU SLEEP EACH NIGHT DURING THE RACE? Every time I came in at the end of the day I couldn’t walk, my ankles simply seized up. I’d lie down worrying about the next day, it just seemed impossible. I would literally crawl into my tent, have my dry rations and sleep. When I woke up, I couldn’t move my feet. The last day was the worst. I just had to break it down; 10km, 20km, 30km…

IT SEEMS MORE A MENTAL TEST THAN A PHYSICAL ONE… It was purely mental. You know you’re going to get broken physically, but I wanted that. There was no one there to help you, only a red button on your tracker if you wanted to quit. It was desolate, 50

“THE LAST DAY WAS THE WORST. I JUST HAD TO BREAK IT DOWN; 10KM, 20KM, 30KM…” degrees and there were carcases all around. There you are, in the Namibian desert, stepping in the sand surrounded by mountains. It was you against your mind.

YOU MUST HAVE SEEN SOME OTHERS PULL OUT? This was my first time and I saw veterans of the event, literally the top guys who were dropping out. Injury, heat exhaustion… in the end I finished in the middle. I was surprised. I only entered the thing five months prior and was busy with work so actually only trained for about five weeks. I knew I’d never quit, but I wasn’t sure if my body could do it. I wanted to enjoy the pain. I didn’t want it to be easy.

WHY IS THAT? It’s all about pushing yourself. I experienced that pain a lot in the Royal Marines and I’ve not experienced it since. I’ve been close to it doing other events but not had it, and I wanted that mental state. You have to go past breaking point to really achieve, going to that limit

gives me power. On the first day I experienced overwhelming pain and I could barely walk through the sand, and yet I was laughing. That was the pain I felt in the Marines, and I missed it. Military guys miss that. They have it at a young age, and don’t get it again... and they feel at a loss. I needed to find it. I now motivate lads coming out of the military. I found it good going beyond my comfort zone. I felt like I was going to die, but at the same time that feeling kept me going.

WHAT TRAINING DID YOU DO? I had five months to prepare but because of work I had five weeks to train. I did 50k a week, 10k a day plus hill sprints to get my mind ready and have clarity and focus. I didn’t have time to do more and while I knew my body wasn’t ready, I knew it was strong. People trained harder than me but were still pulling out.

WHERE DOES THAT MENTAL TOUGHNESS COME FROM? I would always say I’ve always had it through hardship. Fight makes

you stronger. Everyone can push themselves, but you have to go through the fire and push past breaking point. As soon as you quit something, you stop developing. Keep pushing past your breaking point and nothing can stop you.

YOU MENTIONED EARLIER YOU WANTED TO INSPIRE PEOPLE, WHO, HOW AND WHY? I want to inspire people including military veterans to inspire themselves to be better. To do that I work in the fitness market as a PT, with boot camps and via Instagram training and motivational workouts. I try to inspire people through events and social media, and doing events such as this. Everyone can go harder and push themselves. You don’t need people to hold your hand.

WHAT’S NEXT? My passion this year is to motivate my fellow military brothers to regain their spark for life, to empower young people with positivity. I want to show people that absolutely anything is possibly with a strong mind

LIVELY UP YOURSELF GET 2020 OFF TO FLYER WITH THESE FIVE TIPS DESIGNED TO INCREASE YOUR STAMINA AND HELP YOU STAY ALERT Staying alert for the whole day can be quite difficult at times, especially if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep or have been overexerting yourself. The team at www.theGO2brand.com have compiled five tips to help you increase your stamina and stay on the ball Watch what you eat Your body and mind will thank you in many ways for consuming nutritious foods and not skipping breakfast. As everyone says – breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should not be missed. Cut down on the amount of sugar, processed foods and caffeine that you usually put into your body and instead reach for plenty of water, fruit, veg and nutritious snacks, such as nuts, Greek yoghurt and dark chocolate. Skipping breakfast and fuelling your body with the wrong foods will make you feel tired and sluggish, so counteract that and treat your body like a temple. Rise early They say that the early bird gets the worm, and it really can make a huge difference to the day getting up slightly earlier than what you usually do and ticking a few tasks off the daily to-do list. By the time you finish work and the evening rolls around, energy levels have typically fallen and you will

likely just want to go home and unwind. An alternative? Rise earlier. Get up, make breakfast, clean the house, go to the gym. Generally just do something productive with the time; do things that you’d usually do in the evenings and free up a little time to yourself, taking some of the pressure off. It also sets you up right for the day, getting you in the mood to be productive. Benefit from essential oils Some people unfortunately do not have the luxury of getting up and moving during their day, and this is where essential oils can be great for keeping stamina and energy levels increased. You can get diffusers and supplements, but the fastest way to benefit from essential oils is to inhale them. The GO2 Brand offer four 100% natural vegan inhaler sticks, including Energy which incorporates eucalyptus, peppermint and lemongrass to help support performance and focus, which is a mix of rosemary. Peppermint and

lime helps with concentration and keeping you alert. In small, compact packaging, inhaler sticks can be carried anywhere and everywhere and inhaled as and when you need them. Keep moving While we most commonly yawn because we’re tired, it’s also a sign that our body needs oxygen. When oxygen hits your lungs, the blood is pumped quicker and you’re more alert to everything around you. Whether you’ve gone on a quick morning run or taken a brisk walk to work, your stamina will increase and so will your energy levels, therefore allowing you to keep that constant level of energy throughout the day. Stay positive Negative thoughts can bring energy levels down; something that you don’t need if your day constantly requires a lot of energy and need for focus. Remaining positive not only reduces stress, but you will also find that you are more open to face situations head on and be willing to get stuck in.





e get asked a lot about fitness tech in terms of whether or not there’s anything we use or recommend. It’s funny, there’s so much tech there now that there’s almost too much for people to choose from. Where do you start? It’s hard enough understanding what style of fitness works for you without then worrying what tech you may or may not need. Yet we reckon that when you boil it down and look at what most people use, the most common denominator is probably the tried and tested step counter and heart rate monitor. Your Fitbit or Pulse, that kind of thing. The step monitor was one of the first bits of tech to come out and really it only tells you how many steps you’ve done, how many calories you’ve burned and what your heart rate is. It’s pretty slimline and easy to use, so what’s not to like? Well, apart from the fact that according to some research your wearable tech is likely to contain as many germs as a toilet seat! Everything that has come out since has the basic step/heart/calorie information at its core and while some people want more – and there’s clearly a market who do – most people just want to be able to hold themselves accountable for their daily activities, and have some way of tracking that progress. We actually think that fitness wearable tech will come full circle. At the moment, companies are adding more and more bells and whistles but with that comes bigger and more

complicated products with bigger price tags, which can put a lot of people off. At some point, we reckon the tech will be stripped back. It might last longer, or look nicer, but ultimately what do we need our wearable tech to do? We want it to encourage us to move? Yep. Perhaps measure the effectiveness of that movement? Yep. Do we really need anything else? We might be alone in this but the last thing we want when walking, running, working out or whatever is to be contactable, or to face other distractions. Life is already full of distractions that your exercise time should be the time you disconnect and focus on yourself. If a message or email comes through, it’ll take you right out of your workout and leave

you thinking about things other than your workout and your mind/body. You have all day to stress about life, and your phone is already a big enough distraction, so give yourself a break. One thing we’ve seen recently that takes a different approach is the Whoop Band. It goes around your wrist like all the other wearables but it’s not a watch or whatever, it’s merely a sensor that tracks sleep and heart rate in a slightly different format and measures the performance levels of your body. From there, it recommends whether you need to train harder, rest or whatever. It’s driven around your exercise and that’s it, it doesn’t even tell you the time. Some of our friends are using it and really like it. Simple and effective. What else? Well, we might see the return of retro equipment. That seems to be a wider cultural phenomenon that hasn’t really come into fitness yet. If you think about the way vinyl has made a comeback, soda streams etc… at some point the same thing will happen in fitness. Bare foot training and technology, for example; it’s been around for years and when it first launched the industry probably wasn’t ready for it, but they’ll probably come round again.














START THEM YOUNG! Stressful, nerve-wracking, demanding, difficult, tiring... sounds like hard work, right? You would, I imagine, assume I am talking about adult life... but I’m not. This is how it can feel for a child, or teen, every day and it can result in them feeling totally out of control. Ongoing research suggests school and college is placing higher demands on our youth. Exams, too much homework, heavy workload, lack of organisation, too little ‘down time’, increased class ‘participation’ are all adding extra stress on the less confident. Then there’s a lack of support, new environments, hard classes and routine changes – the list is endless. Ongoing research has also found that yoga can genuinely help counter these pressures. We know that regulating and controlling our breath has been scientifically proven to calm our mind and relax us. We know that a positive mental attitude and a positive mindset will help us feel more confident. We know that exercise improves our muscle strength, boosts our endurance, helps our cardiovascular system work more efficiently, improves strength, coordination, body awareness and energy levels. And we know that meditation and mindfulness bring about a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment, and promote happiness and relieve stress. Yoga is one of the most all-round forms of exercise and one of the only activities that ticks all of these boxes in one.

The very nature of yoga and mindfulness also offers children a chance to explore their bodies, play, connect more deeply with their inner self, develop an improved and more acute awareness of the natural world that surrounds them and can bring out that wonderful inner light and joy, that all children have, to the surface. Football, tennis, hockey, athletics, swimming... there are so many choices available for physical, movement-based extracurricular activities for children but few are noncompetitive like yoga. The pressure in the classroom to ‘be the best’ academically is high. The pressure to ‘be the coolest’ socially is often cripplingly hard and we all know how horrific the internet is with regards to placing unwelcome pressure on individuals. Yoga can be the perfect remedy for these tensions associated with day-today demands. There is a total absence of judgement: doing a pose ‘perfectly’ or better than anyone else in the room is not the aim of yoga. Cosmic Kids – an incredible online yoga for kids company that I highly recommend checking out – ran a wonderful study and discovered that 97% of teachers had seen a positive change in students behaviour – 51% a marked change. Ninety per cent have seen a positive change in students’ empathy and awareness, 96% of teachers have seen a positive change in kids’ ability to focus, and 97% have seen a positive change in their strength and balance. Amazing, right?

Whether or not your child’s school has introduced yoga there are so many simple and easy ways for you to do so at home. For example, a lovely, simple breathing exercise that I have found children love to do in the morning is the ‘Flying bird breath’: 1. Stand tall, with arms at your sides and feet hip-width apart in standing Mountain Pose. 2. Imagine being a beautiful, strong bird. 3. Pretend to prepare to fly by inhaling and raising your arms (‘wings’) until your palms touch overhead. Keep your arms straight. 4. Exhale slowly as you bring your arms back down to your sides, palms facing down. 5. Repeat in a steady motion with each breath: inhale as you raise your arms, and exhale as lower your arms. 6. Optional: close your eyes as you repeat the movements with breath, and imagine yourself flying in the sky like a bird. The more fun and playful yoga is for children and teens, the more likely they are to do it alone or with friends. There are so many exercises and poses available that you can encourage your child to do – and even better if you do it with them… after all, we all want an excuse to roll around and be playful ourselves, right? This is your chance to play too.

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o I’m going to make reference to a certain nutritional documentary that can be seen if you subscribe to a very famous website on the Net which allows you to Flicks through all sorts of programmes and movies. However, I shall NOT be criticising the documentary. Well, not much. I will not pretend to know everything there is to know about nutrition and I certainly won’t encourage you to change anything about your nutritional approach. To be perfectly transparent, I do enjoy eating meat. I also think that too many people consume too much processed meat, and that too many people consume too little veg. I am conscious of environmental factors and, as an animal lover, I am not 100% happy with the fact that they are bred purely to be eaten…but I do bloody love a good burger, a steak, a rack of ribs, a mixed grill… you get the point. The most important thing for you all to know is that you don’t HAVE to turn vegan if you don’t want to, but you are more than welcome to turn vegan if you would like to. You can even experiment with veganism for a short/medium/long period of time and change back if you feel like it. The reason I am saying this is because I have seen so many people being pressured into changing to a vegan diet, either by

outspoken/misinformed friends or thanks to the plethora of one-sided celebrity/media influence, and it should not be that way. In no realm of society is it acceptable to dictate which football team someone supports or what style of clothing they wear, nor is it acceptable to look down on anyone for the decisions that they make on these topics. Yet somehow it seems ok for meat-eaters to be pressured into giving up the sausage, which is not fair. It is even less fair when the rationale for giving up all animal consumption comes from a ‘documentary’ with very obvious bias towards one side of the debate. Repeatedly showing some vegan athletes who have competed at the highest level in some different sports does NOT prove that being a vegan is somehow advantageous in terms of sporting performance.

There is no doubt whatsoever that you can perform in the upper echelons of any sporting arena as a vegan athlete (apart from most pie-eating contests), but there is no evidence to say it is BECAUSE of the vegan diet. If the ‘documentary’ is correct and Nate Diaz beat Conor McGregor because of the superiority of his plant-based diet… then how did McGregor win the re-match on an inferior meat-based diet? The logic of the argument is embarrassingly poor. We are told that there is a strongman who is pretty good and is a vegan… but there are dozens of World’s Strongest Man winners who are meat-eaters. We are told that there is an Olympian who is pretty good and is a vegan… but there are thousands of Olympic champions who are meat-eaters. Then there is the ex-bodybuilder, the Formula 1 racing driver, the tennis player, the actor, the NBA basketball player and the Hollywood film producer all involved in the production of the programme, who will all personally profit from more people turning vegan. To be clear, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with becoming a vegan or experimenting with veganism, and it absolutely IS possible to be an elite athlete on a plant-based diet, but there is also nothing wrong with eating meat and you can also perform exceptionally well on a meat-based diet.

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The world’s largest and most prestigious road bike race for amateurs and professionals, the GFNY (Gran Fondo New York) takes place in Israel in April. Last year, a total of 1,800 riders from Israel and 400 riders from 35 other countries participated. It begins at the Jerusalem Arena and all routes take participants through Jerusalem’s Old City and other iconic landmarks in the city.

GUNG HO! OBSTACLE RACE MANCHESTER (HEATON PARK) SATURDAY 4 APRIL / LEEDS (HAREWOOD HOUSE) SATURDAY 11 APRIL / LONDON (CRYSTAL PALACE PARK) SATURDAY 6 JUNE Dig out the trainers from the back of the wardrobe as the world’s biggest 5K obstacle course – Gung Ho! – is heading to seven UK locations in 2020. It’s the perfect opportunity to ditch the sofa and shed the excess by channelling those good intentions into tackling the ultimate in fun and fitness, a giant inflatable obstacle course. Run, jump, climb, dodge and slide your way to victory over this 5km challenge of thrills and spills which has been inspired by TV shows like Total Wipeout and It’s A Knockout. Be prepared to tackle a range of gargantuan obstacles including ‘The Wall’ and ‘Danger Zone’ before conquering the ‘Final Countdown’ to successfully complete this heart-thumping assault course. begung-ho.co.uk

There are two options; the first is the Gran Fondo of 130km, which has over 2,673 meters of climbing. The main climbs will take place outside the city, in the Judea Hills. The race route passes through the city streets and along major historic sites, such as the walls of the Old City and the Jaffa Gate, Sultan’s Pool, King David Street, the Government Complex and the Israel Museum, Ein Kerem. The second race option is the shorter Medio Fondo, which also passes some of the same amazing, historical landmarks as the long route, while only riding a total distance of 76km and total elevation gain of 1,689m. www.gfnyjerusalem.com

ALSO THIS MONTH... FITNESS EVENTS Bounce Games 1 February, New Malden

The games will consist of several challenges such as aerobic, strength, speed and power and metabolic, so be prepared to get sweaty! There will be four teams of four, meaning if you are interested in participating, not only would you be taking part, but you’d also get to build a team of three additional participants too. The Dead Sea Marathon 7 February, Jordan

The Dead Sea Marathon, the lowest race in the world, this year features a route that runs alongside the shores and crosses the Dead Sea, with stunning views of the ancient salt crystals and facing the magical, serene desert landscapes. The highlight will be running into the sea on the breakwater of the Dead Sea Works in the southern part of the Dead Sea, an area that is otherwise closed to the general public. deadsea.run/en/about/the_race/ Red Bull Quicksand Margate 16 May/North Shields 6 September, Margate/North Shields

Now in its third year, Red Bull Quicksand is a brutal one-mile race on the beach. This gruelling event challenges participants with giant sandcastles, dunes and trenches (with some exceeding 28ft in height). And if that wasn’t enough, the top competitors in each heat have to do it all again in the semi-finals, and if successful, the finals. www.redbull.com/gb-en/events/redbull-quicksand White Rose Classic 21 June, Ikley, West Yorkshire

The White Rose Classic cycle event is enjoyed by 1,000 riders. There are three phenomenal routes to choose from, ranging from 49 to 122 miles.

The longest route, Hawes, includes over 10,000 feet of climbing, but rewards you with spectacular views and long, fast descents. www.whiteroseclassic.org.uk

GETAWAYS Yogamagic A transformative retreat near the beaches of North Goa, India, that represents not only a tranquil retreat to inspire a personal yoga journey, but a way to live sustainably, kindly and with others in mind. The main premise of Yogamagic is for guests to Relax, Nourish and Revive, in order to feel refreshed and fully relaxed. Sounds good to us! www.yogamagic.net Daios Cove In addition to a fully functional BXR infrastructure available for all visitors to Daios Cove, you can also get access to BXR-approved fitness experts all offering a diverse programme of fitness classes. As part of the programme, guests will enjoy specially curated meals prepared by the resort’s holistic nutritional consultant Sarah Safarian, with a variety of new fresh and wholesome menu options and tailored protein shakes. www.daioscove.com

THINGS TO DO Year of the Pig celebrations at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery 2-3 February, Bristol

Head over to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery to welcome in the Year of the Pig with spectacular traditional and contemporary performances, stalls, workshops and activities. Go on a pig detective trail, check out stalls featuring elements of Chinese culture and pop into the shop for beautiful Chinese goods, before tasting a delicious Chineseinspired menu from the museum’s café.



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t seems that supplements such as protein bars, shakes and vitamins are taking off now more than ever before. And although they are a great addition to your daily routine, I want to make it clear to everyone reading this that no amount of supplementation or pills will get you the results you desire without training hard and maintaining a healthy diet alongside it! I am going to share my top five supplements that I use personally and why I use them. Firstly, a few tips to get you started: how and when you take your supplements are almost as important as the type of supplement you are taking. Some supplements are more useful before a workout or taken before bed to get maximum effect, so it’s important to be clear on the goals/results you want before you start taking everything that says ‘contains 20g of protein’ on it. Read the label carefully! I can’t stress this enough. Some supplements have hundreds of ingredients, so it’s important to know what you’re taking or it could be contributing to poor results and worsening your overall health. Here are my top five supplements taken daily:

5. Vitamin D If you work indoors with a lot of artificial light then it’s pretty obvious

you won’t be getting much vitamin D at all, especially during the winter. It tends to be dark when I go to and from work in the winter months and I find it difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone. In the summer months, I tend not to take it but as my mood drops towards the end of the year it’s a clear indication that I am lacking. Vitamin D has many contributions to the body but it mostly contributes to normal growth and development of bones. So for that reason Vitamin D made my list.

3. Creatine This is an obvious one on this list and it’s up there with the some of the most researched supplements on the market. I take this supplement roughly twice a year for five-to-eight weeks at a time, usually in tablet form by Maximuscle (Creatamax) because this brand also contains magnesium. The benefits for me personally are rapid strength gain and amazing pumps, which in turn contributes to an all-round boost in my overall workout performance. The final two supplements on the list are for obvious reasons and most of you will agree that diet is the hardest part of living a healthy lifestyle. My biggest struggle personally is when I’m relaxing on the sofa at night binging on my favourite series and I’m dying to binge on chocolate and sweets! 2. Carb Killa Birthday Cake by Grenade. 20g of protein, low sugar, low carbs and tastes like cake. Enough said! This keeps the cravings at bay. And finally Number 1...

4. Magnesium Magnesium fights depression, lowers blood pressure, acts as an anti-inflammatory and contributes to testosterone levels. Those are just some of the amazing things linked with magnesium. My personal reason behind taking this supplement is that it plays a role in promoting deep sleep, lowering stress and anxiety. I sleep extremely well when I’ve taken magnesium. Take this about an hour before bed and you will definitely notice its benefits.

1. Salted Caramel Promax Lean bar by Maximuscle This is my go-to protein bar. It’s everything I said for number two and more. Low sugar, low carbs, 20g of protein and it tastes unbelievable! I love my chocolate and it keeps all my cravings at bay. I think in a lot of protein bars the texture can be a bit tough, but not with this. It’s not like eating a protein bar, it really does the trick! This list is personal to me and all of the supplements above contribute to my regime and lifestyle. It will differ for each individual, but I do believe supplements can and will benefit your regime when taken accordingly. I am not a doctor nor do I know what is specifically good for you as an individual, so please seek advice from your GP before taking any supplements.



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