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#48

THE WORLD’S MOST EPIC RUNS

+ HOME

IS WHERE THE HIIT IS

PACK YOUR TRAINERS AND GO GLOBAL

ALEX CROCKFORD: WORK OUT AT HOME, NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

NOVAK DJOKOVIC THE F2 FOOTBALLERS

G N I M O C S I R E T N WI TIPS S. SLEEP T U O K R WO

. FOR KIDS

TS. E GADGE V A -H T S CKS. MU MIND HA

PLUS! BEN COOMBER | MARK LAWS | KURTIS STACEY | THE LEAN MACHINES YOGA | REVIEWS | BESTFIT TRIES… | RECIPES | FITFAM | WELLNESS


WELCOME

CONTENTS

Sometimes people offer advice and you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it before. That’s exactly what happened when we spoke to a brain surgeon, and a child sleep expert, for the purpose of putting this month’s issue together. Suffice to say that, if you read both our ‘brain hacks’ and ‘child sleep’ features this month, you’ll have the chance to significantly improve you and your kids’ overall wellbeing on a daily basis. Of course, it’s always good to learn from the best. And in Novak Djokovic we have one of the biggest sports stars to ever appear in these pages. Novak’s story is an inspirational one, partly because he’s had to compete at a time when tennis has some of its greatest ever players, and also because of the injuries he’s had to negotiate in the pursuit of greatness. A remarkable sports star with a compelling story. Then there’s our Fitfam story this month, a cancer survivor who swam, cycled and climbed her way to greatness to help spread awareness of the importance of having a smear test. All this and more. Loads of good stuff to read. Be awesome.

SMASH HIT

Novak Djokovic on how he attempts to keep up with his peers at the top of the game

LATEST HEALTH & FITNESS NEWS 10 BRAIN HACKS F2 FREESTYLE FOOTBALLERS REAX WORKOUT RECIPES OF THE MONTH

W www.bestfitmagazine.co.uk @bestfituk

/bestfituk

10 WAYS TO MORE SLEEP /bestfituk

EDITOR nick@bestfitmagazine.co.uk

MARKETING

FITFAM: FROM SEA TO SUMMIT BESTFIT TRIES…

liliana@bestfitmedia.co.uk

DISTRIBUTION mike@bestfitmagazine.co.uk

CONTRIBUTORS Andy Thompson (design), Ben Coomber, Rich Edwards, Frank Grice, RF123, Mark Laws, Alexandra Legouix, The Lean Machines, Rex Images, Shutterstock, Kurtis Stacey

TEL 0113 322 4400 BESTFIT is published in the UK by BESTFIT Media. Copyright 2019. 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.

UPGRADE YOUR RUN!

Bored of your usual jogging routine? Pack your passport and hit some of the world’s best routes


NEWS

SIX MOST EFFECTIVE GYM MACHINES REVEALED

It’s usually a debate to be held over a protein shake, post-workout, but now a report from PureGym has listed the six best pieces of equipment according to those who should know best. Namely gym managers. They were asked to provide their opinion on the three pieces of gym equipment that do most to help gym-goers up and down the country. And the results are in. Coming in at number one, with 21%, was the lifting platform, comfortably ahead of the squat rack (13%) and cable machine (11%). The top six was then made up with dumbells (7%), climbmill/stairmaster (5%) and TRX system (3%). So there we go. Debate over? Maybe not.

CONVENIENCE KIDS STORING UP PROBLEMS FOR THE FUTURE A new study suggests that kids in the UK are getting a taste for the convenience culture – and storing up problems for themselves and the NHS in the future. Research by Ubamarket involving 2,000 UK adults found over half of all those questioned had no idea what was in the takeaway food they consume. Given that over 22 million takeaways are eaten every week, that’s an extremely worrying statistic. Equally concerning is that an increasing number of nine and 10-yearolds are getting in on the act, potentially contributing to a Type 2 diabetes epidemic in the future. It gets worse, with 10% of Brits – potentially as many as 4.6m people – not knowing how to cook a healthy meal from scratch.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR GYM GOERS Back to the subject of nutrition, and it seems that Brits are as unsure as ever over what they should be fuelling their body with to support their training. At least that’s what new research by expert nutritionists, Crionna Tobin PhD and Emilia Thompson PhD, suggests. They have just created a new nutrition course entitled Optimum Nutrition For Health & Performance, in a bid to end the confusion over what foods best suit training plans for a variety of different disciplines. It appears to be a timely study, with over 40% of consumers apparently unsure as to which foods are and aren’t healthy. With experts claiming that nutrition is as important as exercise when it comes to achieving fitness goals, knowledge in this area is most definitely power. In every sense. 30% said they would like to receive nutritional information from their personal trainers.

30%


GOING ON A DATE? HOW ABOUT A BIKE RIDE? Romance is changing. Some might argue for the better. Us Brits love the great outdoors and now it seems that passion is spilling into our love lives. For years, couples would spend their first date getting sozzled in a pub or sitting in silence at the cinema, desperately trying to eat their popcorn in a fashion that wouldn’t put their new potential partner off them for life. Now it seems that a growing number of would-be daters would rather be hitting the streets for a first-date run, or heading to the hills for a spot of hiking. Research by Decathlon found one in five people now prefer getting outside rather than heading to more traditional romantic hotspots. And given the beauty of the Great British countryside, who can blame them!

DON’T LET YOUR PHONE MAKE YOU FAT....

FITBIT COULD BE FILTHIER THAN YOUR TOILET SEAT. NO REALLY.... And what better way to end this round-up than by reporting that the Fitbit nestled snuggly on your wrist could currently be dirtier than your toilet seat and flush handle, BESTFIT reports while reaching frantically for a wet wipe. Tic Watches swabbed ten types of watches in the search for aerobic bacteria, yeast and mould. And what they found will turn even the hardiest of stomachs. Their findings found that the plastic male’s Fitbit was potentially 8.3 times dirtier than a toilet. The female watch with a leather strap was marginally cleaner but was still 5.8 times more filthy than the humble toilet. The list goes on. So what are you waiting for? Go and do some cleaning. Preferably with a wipe or damp tissue, as advised by Daniel Richmond, the company’s managing director.

It kind of figures that the more time you spend staring blankly at a screen, the more likely you are to put on a few pounds. And now it’s official. University students who used their smartphones five or more hours a day were found to have an increased risk of becoming obese and have other lifestyle habits that would also increase the risk of heart disease.

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A male’s Fitbit is potentially 8.3 times dirtier than a toilet.

So apart from getting off your phones and getting on your feet, what else can help reduce the risk of excessive phone usage and equally excessive weight gain? Well, according to leading nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of Alternatives to Dieting, taking a snap of your food before you get stuck into a meal might be one of the answers. “Researchers suggest that taking a photograph of food just before you eat, concentrates the mind to eat not only healthier food but also less of it,” she says. “The photographs seemed to deter binges.” So there you have it. Put your phone to good use. And get cooking. University students who used their smartphones five or more hours a day were found to have a 43% increased risk of becoming obese.

43%

PARENTS FITTER THAN THEIR KIDS. IT’S OFFICIAL. A new study has found that parents are leaving their kids trailing way behind in the battle to get fit. And that’s something we should all be concerned about. With recent news stories claiming that only 31% of children are hitting their daily activity targets, new data has revealed that a staggering 77% of parents exercise more than their children. A further 77% said that their family made no effort to exercise. These findings chime with those published by NHS Digital earlier this year, which showed that obesity levels in children in Year 6 had increased to 20.1% in the past 12 months. A figure which should have everyone – young and old – taking some serious action. 77% of parents exercise more than their children.

77%


DEFENSIVE DYNAMITE NOVAK DJOKOVIC ON WHY HIS DRIVE TO WORLD

DOMINANCE HASN’T ALWAYS FOLLOWED THE SORT OF FORWARD MOMENTUM WE ASSOCIATE WITH THE SENSATIONAL SERB’S BASELINE DASHES While Novak Djokovic is one of the most recognisable names – and faces – in the global sports arena, the harsh reality of this monster of modern competition is that he’s perpetually having to share airtime with two of tennis’s other goliaths. On the one hand, there’s Roger Federer, generally regarded as the finest to ever play the game; on the other, Rafael Nadal, whose blunt refusal to climb down from the muscular heights of his early 20s leaves him a perennial, competitive threat. It all seems rather unfair on the 31-year-old Serbian, whose unrelenting assault of the top positions in world tennis has cemented his reputation as a true generational great. “In my mind, I still don’t regard myself as anything other than a good tennis player,” he begins, with unapologetic humility. “Of course, I am aware what I have achieved, and naturally I have to view the titles and be proud of them, but I still feel a little detached from the masters of tennis I grew up watching… I still struggle to put myself in that category.” Certainly one of the masters Djokovic cannot picture himself beside is Pete Sampras.

“More than anyone else, Sampras is the man I looked up to most when I began playing tennis and making my way in the game. “My first connection with tennis was Sampras’s first Wimbledon title in 1993. I watched that Wimbledon final where he beat the former world number one Jim Courier, and after that match I had immediately fallen in love with the sport.” Djokovic, a spiritual, philosophical and contemplative tennis star a world away from the bombastic aggression of Tomas Berdych or the controversy of Nick Kyrgios, admits the dice of destiny fell his way just as Sampras’s incredible charge on Grand Slam tennis kicked into gear. “When Pete started winning everything – almost in the same year – three tennis courts were built literally 30 metres away from the restaurants my parents were managing in Kopaonik.


“IT WAS ONE OF THOSE INJURIES THAT I WOULD CONSTANTLY KEEP ON HOLD, BUT THE PROCESS OF DOING THAT BECAME GREATER WITH EVERY MONTH AND EVERY YEAR” “You may say it was fate that, as a youngster having to hang around for hours while my parents sorted out food and did paperwork, there was a perfect outlet for me and I soon relished going to the courts to play.” Time spent away from the kitchen has advanced Djokovic to third in the all-time list of Majors winners, and the good news is he is at an age where he could still comfortably eclipse the man at the top of the leaderboard… that is, if Swiss legend Federer ever decides to retire. Where he does stand as an undisputed number one is in prize money – no one in the history of the sport has earned more than Djokovic. It was a statistic that recently came to light when career earnings totalling a colossal £106m saw him overtake even Fed’s wealth. It is a figure too that’s three times that of Boris Becker, even when accounting for inflation. Not that material trappings concern Novak. “I think it’s very easy for financially secure people to come out and say money doesn’t mean much to them, but when you first set out it is everything, because without prize money you cannot compete, and if you cannot compete your dream is dead,” he says. “So I’m not going to be one of those people, because of course it is important, and I cannot forget those days when it was a struggle.

“It is true though that the further you get down the road, the more the simple act of winning is at the forefront. “And then a bit further along, family and parenthood takes over. I think that is the natural evolution not just of a sportsman, but as a person; but with absolute certainty I can say that the victories now are just as rewarding and just as sweet as at any time in the past, and when that sensation changes I will know the time is right to quit.” As a collective of sports fans, the tennis-watching fraternity can only hope the day Djokovic hangs up his racket is some distance off. He recently admitted to playing with the same elbow injury for two-and-ahalf years, finally admitting defeat during Wimbledon 2017 when the pain became such that he couldn’t even raise his hand. “I was standing on court and when I clenched my fist around the handle, I could feel the nerve endings. The pain was reverberating right down my forearm from my wrist to my elbow. I knew then enough was enough. “I had played through that injury because I just couldn’t bear to stop and be out of the game for so long,” he says. “It was one of those injuries that I would constantly keep on hold, but the process of doing that became greater with every month and every year. “In the end, I had naturalised so much to the idea of playing whilst injured; I had become accustomed to a process of painkillers and antiinflammatories. And when it came to taking seven months out for my elbow to be operated on, and the recovery process, I thought I would hate it. Yet, in the end, it was such a relief to do something different for a while.” Now returned to his full potential, the injury worries haven’t departed completely. Djokovic recently had to pull out of the US Open when two sets down to Stan Wawrinka and struggling. He can console himself with Wimbledon and Australian Open victories this year instead. What follows from here is unknown. Commentators have long


speculated that the three-line whip of the sport’s elite – Novak, Roger, Rafa – has run its natural course, yet time and again this trio, each charismatic, cultured and immaculately carved in their own individual way, drive each other on to even greater accomplishments. True, Nadal will always be king of the clay, Fed prefers to operate on the rather more respectful bounce offered by grass courts, while Djokovic’s specialism pivots imperiously between the two. And yet each has the ability to lunge their racket firmly into the territory of one of their great rivals, and that’s what makes this a triumvirate of true unpredictability. “I know I will keep going – that is the thrill,” says Djokovic. “I try my hardest to look at everything that happens in a positive way, and it does help immensely that I have great rivals around me. “The injury was certainly a big turning point in my life; not just in my tennis career, but also in the sense of

the type of person that I am, in my character. It made me look deep within those moments and perhaps find something new that wasn’t so clear to see, even for me. It’s that insight that is now helping me prevail, and will continue to, I’m sure.”

“I KNOW I WILL KEEP GOING – THAT IS THE THRILL, I TRY MY HARDEST TO LOOK AT EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN A POSITIVE WAY, AND IT DOES HELP IMMENSELY THAT I HAVE GREAT RIVALS AROUND ME”


Matcha Works Matcha Green Tea

REVIEWS

This startup has not only released a canned ceremonial grade matcha green tea, with a sparkling Straight Up Matcha Tea and the classic Matcha Oat Latte, they’ve also enlisted NLP technology which enables customers to text to reorder their favourite varieties. www.matchaworks.co.uk from £9.99 (six)

FEATURED

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, Fenix 6S Pro and Fenix 6X Pro Garmin has launched a series of premium Multisport GPS watches, the Fenix 6 Pro, Fenix 6S Pro and Fenix 6X Pro, all new editions to its bestselling Fenix range. The watches include a brand new ‘goal pace’ feature, which allows you to have your own pacing strategy directly from your wrist, like having a coach right alongside you. It will also include a new battery management system, allowing for up to 60 hours of activity before the need to recharge. Handy! The range also includes Garmin’s altitude and heat acclimatisation, which takes into account the temperature and altitude when analysing your performance. This means that performance metrics such as VO2 max won’t take a huge decline when you work out in scorching conditions or high above sea level.

Go Nuts Peri Peri Bar Grenade has added a brand new flavour to its vegan range. The Go Nuts Peri Peri bar is loaded with almonds, cashews, peanuts and macadamias. At just 168 calories, the bar contains 11g of plant-based protein and 33% less sugar than other leading brands. It’s also packed full of fibre, making it the perfect naturally nutritional snack to give you an energy boost. www.grenade.com £1.79

They’re the perfect gift for multi-sports, ultra-marathon runners and outdoor/adventure sports enthusiasts. www.wiggle.co.uk (from £599)

Oatein Millionaire Crunch Oatein has added a new protein-packed snack to its portfolio of sweet treats with the introduction of the Millionaire Crunch. The new gluten-free and low-sugar twist on the traditional millionaire’s shortbread contains 15g of protein, with variants suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. www.oatein.com £29.99 for a box of 12

LifeSaver’s Liberty bottle If you’re heading off the beaten track on a fastpacking adventure, don’t risk running out of water. Add this high-performance LifeSaver Liberty bottle to your kit bag. Featuring market-leading purification technology, the bottle makes fast work of removing 99.99% of bacteria, cysts and even tiny viruses, to make even the most unpalatable and dodgy-looking water completely safe and clean-tasting. www.iconlifesaver.com £89.99

ZEROWATER FILTRATION JUG ZeroWater’s 12-cup water filter jug benefits from a sealed lid and reservoir which allows filtered water to be poured while water which hasn’t yet been filtered remains in the reservoir. It also features a onehanded, pull and pour button spout for easy pouring from the fridge or for filling bottles. zerowater.co.uk £39.99


Re:Nourish soups Re:Nourish are launching a range of grab-and-go soups that can be heated and drunk straight from the bottle. They’re available in three flavours – DIGEST: ROASTED CARROT & GINGER, IMMUNITY: KALE, SPINACH & TURMERIC and CALM: TOMATO, BASIL & PASSION FLOWER – and are designed to revolutionise your lunch break while keeping you healthy and nourished when you’re busy. www.renourish.co.uk £2.89/500g Waitrose

Kyushi The Power of Ten Skin Booster This ultimate healthy skin ‘booster’ helps to keep your largest organ strong, healthy and protected during the harsh winter months. It’s a non-comedogenic, 100% natural, nutrient-dense facial oil and is packed with a powerhouse of ten plant-based oils to nourish, strengthen, balance, soothe, calm inflammation, restore elasticity and protect against free-radical damage. £39/30ml, £21/10ml, kyushi.co.uk

The Go2 inhaler sticks

DAIO GO

HECK Chickfurter

The DAIO GO is ideal for anyone who uses straighteners and wants a handy way of storing them when they’re heating up or cooling down. Its innovative bracket means you can fix or hang the DAIO GO onto many different surfaces or just use it freestanding. Then once you’ve finished, wrap the cord around the bracket and GO! /the-daio.com £17.99

HECK has given the popular chicken frankfurter a makeover and launched a healthier version with pure chicken thigh meat and no nasties. The smoother textured recipe contains 100% finely minced British chicken thigh and a hint of ‘magic smoke’ that gives the frankfurters the popular smoky taste.

FEATURED

Go2 has launched four essential oil inhaler sticks that can help to change your mood, covering sleep, energy, focus and B.Calm. The inhaler sticks can aid everyone from all walks of life, from parents running on little sleep and patience due to having children, sportspeople who need a little more energy or focus to keep them going, or those struggling with high stress levels and anxiety, and more. thego2brand.com £4.99 for two

Morrisons £3.15

GoPro Hero 8

GoPro have enjoyed a continued dominance in the action camera market thanks to their powerful and durable outdoor products. The GoPro Hero 7 was so good that you wonder just how much better the latest reincarnation can be, which means the long-awaited GoPro Hero 8 Black has big shoes to feel. It’s had a bit of a redesign which means you no longer have to mount it to your helmet or handlebars using the clunky cage, which makes the whole UX experience loads better. It has built-in mounting rigs instead and comes with a load of new accessories called ‘Mods’. It’s lost the HDMI port but has a new and thicker lens. Both changes take some getting used to. The most notable difference is the Hypersmooth 2 stabilisation, which makes the already superb quality

better than before. Audio is also cleaner thanks to the wind-optimised microphone. You can also customise more, meaning less interaction with the screen. Let’s face it, stopping your activity to have to change your settings can be tricky, but now you can switch between modes easier than before. www.gopro.com £379.99


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FEATURED

No.27 GMT Steel and Tan watch The No.27 GMT Edition is The Camden Watch Company’s homage to the rich maritime history of Greenwich and Great Britain in general. In 1880, Greenwich Mean Time become the legal standard time across the island of Great Britain, and remains the time upon which all other timezones across the globe are based. camdenwatchcompany.com £155

Shiya Winter Waterproof Men’s Boots The Shiya Winter Waterproof Boots will withstand the elements on your next outdoor adventure. Durable leather upper, phylon midsole for impact cushioning, high traction outsole with deep lugs and IsoTherm lining for added warmth. www.mountainwarehouse.com £179.99

CP Company Goggle Beanie

Alban cycling backpack

C.P. Company’s iconic Goggle beanie is back, knitted from extra fine merino wool. Ribbed texture with Goggles embedded in the turned up brim. Warm and lightweight. Bosh. www.cpcompany.co.uk £100

Waterproof bag you say? Alban is a London-based independent brand creating high-quality, versatile and robust weatherproof bags, designed for people who are equally as keen as being a cyclist as they are on being stylish. This roll top cycling backpack combines high functionality with minimalist aesthetics. www.etsy.com £95

Avalanche Women’s Padded Ski Jacket Hit the slopes in style with the Avalanche Padded Ski Jacket. Packed with features, this jacket is a great statement piece for a ski holiday. Padded for warmth, with a snowproof outer, detachable snowskirt and faux fur trim. www.mountainwarehouse.com £84.99

Columbia SH/FT MID boot A stylish, functional, modern hiking shoe line for men that’s 100% waterproof. With street-ready style and summit-level skills, SH/FT is the only shoe you’ll need. Enjoy non-stop comfort and protection from the elements. www.columbiasportswear.co.uk £135


SKLZ core wheels Take your planks, pushups and pillar exercises to a new level with the COREwheels dynamic core strength trainer. The rolling wheels on each side destabilize your movements, causing your shoulders, torso and hips to work harder than ever before. Features ergonomic foam handles, lightweight design and a training guide to get you started. www.sklz.de £49.95

Men’s ColdGear® Reactor Performance Hybrid ColdGear® Reactor intelligent insulation adapts to any activity for non-stop comfort and total versatility. It keeps you warm and dry without the bulk and weight when you’re in cold conditions, while UA Storm technology repels water without sacrificing breathability. www.underarmour.co.uk £150

Adidas RPT-01 sport headphones The RPT-01 on-ear headphones are wireless and feature a sweatproof knit headband and ear cushions, which wick moisture more effectively than vinyl or leather alternatives. www.adidas.co.uk £139

The North Face Thermoball Eco jacket Men’s UA Originators Of Performance Long Sleeve Fuller cut for complete comfort, this super-soft, cotton-blend fabric provides all-day comfort while material wicks sweat and dries fast. www.underarmour. co.uk £26

The ThermoBall Eco Packable Hooded Jacket sees a TNF favourite combine with eco-friendly performance. Featuring 100% postconsumer recycled ThermoBall Eco insulation, it achieves the reliable warmth of the original with less harm to the planet. Perfect for the British winter. www.thenorthface. co.uk £170


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ENHANCE YOUR GAME


A R B IN TRA

G N INI

MENTAL HEALTH IS A BIG TOPIC AND ISSUES SUCH AS DEMENTIA ARE ON THE RISE, BUT THERE ARE MANY THINGS WE CAN DO TO HELP OUR BRAINS. HERE ARE 10 TIPS FROM DR RAHUL JANDIAL, A DUAL TRAINED NEUROSURGEON AND NEUROSCIENTIST


1. Know why sleep is important Whether you suffer from insomnia or a lack of sleep/quality sleep, the biggest thing to realise is that light interferes with our sleep initiation. We have grown on a planet that rotates, which means our brains enter a nocturnal process that changes the genes and chemistry at night time. The part of the brain that identifies day and night is located behind the bridge of the nose in the brain. It uses sleep to clear out memories that you don’t want to hold onto, which is why it’s so important for your mental health. 2. Dim the lights The sun sets at 6pm/7pm/8pm, depending on where you are and the time of year, but this is a natural process and you should follow this process in your home. Let your brain know that sunset is happening by dimming the lights or dimming the screen on your phone. 3. Tick off the basics Turn your phone on silent so that when you do attempt to sleep, you won’t be disrupted. Avoid coffee after lunch, as it stays in your system for eight hours and affects your initiation process. If you struggle to get to sleep, get up and do something different. Don’t toss and turn; do something else and restart the hibernation process later. 4. Eat good foods that have been proven to have a positive effect You’ve probably read loads about how your gut is your second brain, but I feel this has been oversimplified. Of course, the microbes in your gut can affect your brain and your body, but this is nothing new. Microbiotics have worked for decades; it’s not groundbreaking information. It is far more important, I’d argue, to watch what you eat generally rather than focus on microbiotics if you want to stave off degradation of the brain. Eat oily fish, chicken and use olive oil. Cut down on red meat, but don’t give it up entirely if you enjoy it. White fish in particular has a unique

fat which is good for the neurons in the brain. Get some Omega-3s, they’re the building blocks for the right kind of fat. 5. Stay vertical Standing up literally showers your brain. If you sit, stand more. If you stand for long periods, try walking more. Try it; it will make a huge difference. 6. Learn another language Doing so builds up a cognitive reserve. You don’t have to be a pro, but the mere process of learning a language – at any age – uses all parts of your brain. It’s like Crossfit for your thoughts. Those who have learned another language have been proven to be able to do more with their brain, particularly when it starts to degenerate. Continue to educate yourself; your brain is thirsty for new challenges. 7. Socialise and communicate This is so important. The process of learning, whatever it is, is essential exercise for your mind. The extra bulk in thought gives you a reserve. It doesn’t have to be too taxing; it could be a crossword, sudoku, a conversation that makes you think… anything that enables you to challenge yourself beyond your usual level and which stimulates your brain. This will help you use different parts of your brain and will empower you to take the next level of learning. It’s life’s truest exercise. It’s also makes life more interesting! 8. Help your brain heal The liver regrows but remove part of the brain and it won’t. However, the brain is clever because the missing part can be taken over by another part. It repurposes neurons and gives them new roles. So, you can take away part of the orchestra but what’s left can still make beautiful music. How? Rehabilitation. Just like your arm would need time and physio to recover after trauma, so the brain needs effort to heal. Help your brain by exercising it and making it work (see above), eating the right things, lowering your cholesterol and keeping active.

9. Mindful breathing It’s easy to calm your brain. Buddhist monks and deep sea divers can slow their heart rate with deep and meditative breathing, meaning we don’t need apps to help us do the same. We can hijack the same principles simply by slowing our breaths to direct measurements of three or four seconds, which in turn will help us reach a meditative state. This is something that’s free to all of us! I have seen this work; we use the nerves that carry messages from the brain to send calming messages back in the other direction. 10. It’s never too late to look after your brain If it was, why would people with Alzheimer’s go to brain rehab? If a non-injured brain can benefit from brain games, physical therapy, walking, engaging, painting etc, why would we ever doubt this could help an injured brain? Neuro rehabilitation units exists for this very reason. Damaged brains can recover. Simply use the same techniques and, though the levels of healing might be different, you’ll benefit. I have seen so many patients with brain cancer who have healed using some of the ideas mentioned above.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr Rahul Jandial trained at the University of California. He practises at the City of Hope, Los Angeles, performing brain surgery on patients suffering from brain cancer while also running The Jandial Laboratory, where he researches cuttingedge approaches to surgery and neuroscience. He has also performed brain surgery live on the National Geographic Channel, and he has contributed to a Vice column. His new book, Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon, was released on 27 June.


THE WORLD’S MOST EPIC RUNS

BORED WITH YOUR USUAL RUNNING ROUTES AND RACES? HIT LONELY PLANET’S NEW BOOK FOR INSPIRATION, AND TACKLE SOME OF THE GREATEST VIEWS IN THE WORLD

NORTH AMERICA

The Big Sur Marathon California’s ruggedly stunning Highway 1 is a race venue that’s perfect for deep thinking and self reflection – if you can forget about the quad pain, that is.

FINISH CARMEL

ORIENTATION Start // Big Sur, California End // Carmel, California Distance // 26.2 miles (42km)

GARRAPATA BRIDGE

Getting there // Monterey has an airport, but flights are cheaper to San Jose or San Francisco (100 miles and 130 miles; 160 and 210km north, respectively). There are shuttles to the start, from Carmel and Monterey. When to go // Last Sunday of April. Where to stay // Big Sur has some of the most beautiful campgrounds in the world, as well as some of the most honeymoon-worthy – and expensive – hotels in the world. More modest B&Bs can be found in Carmel or Monterey.

LITTLE SUR RIVER BRIDGE

More info // www.bigsurmarathon.org Things to know // Leave a few days to explore the coastal redwoods, killer restaurants and Monterey Aquarium.

BIG SUR

START


A wave breaking on the coast of Costa Rica ©Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

SOUTH AMERICA

A Rainforest Run in Costa Rica A fast, flat trail in Cahuita National Park mixes pristine Caribbean beaches, tropical rainforest and wildlife encounters. ORIENTATION Start/End // Cahuita, Costa Rica Distance // 8 miles (13km) Getting there // Cahuita is in south-east Costa Rica, a 4.5-hour drive from the international airport at San José. It makes an ideal first stop in the country.

PUNTA CAHUITA

When to go // You can visit year-round, but March/April and September/October are the driest months. In November and December the trail sometimes floods. Where to stay // Playa Negra Guesthouse (playanegra.cr), where owner Pierre moonlights as a wildlife guide. Things to know // Keep your eye out for the three-toed sloth, yellow eyelash viper, coati, golden orb weaver spider, blue land crab, poison dart frog, Jesus Christ lizard, iguana, toucan, monkey and caiman.

PUNTA VARGA

CAHUITA

PLAYA BLANCA

PUERTO VARGAS


AFRICA

The Safaricom Half Marathon Who needs a Land Rover when you can race across Kenya’s grasslands on foot, in the name of conservation?

LEWA HOUSE

ORIENTATION Start/End // Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Distance // 13 miles (21km) Getting there // Lewa is a four-hour drive, or a 45-minute flight, from Nairobi. Where to stay // The nine lodges on Lewa usually book up long in advance with corporate groups and the like, but overseas guests stay at Maridadi Camp – an ‘athletes’ village’ with canvas tents and campbeds set up for runners and spectators.

START

FINISH

AUSTRALIA

A tour of Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula This devilishly delightful trail run covers it all, from the high ground of the Hazards to the pinot grigio-clear waters of Wineglass Bay.

More info // www.safaricommarathon.com

Things to know // Don’t worry, in Lewa’s two decades hosting this race, no one has ever been mauled by a lion. The starting line is kind of disorganised. Runners aren’t stacked according to pace or anything like that, plus it’s a fairly narrow path. So don’t dawdle – weasel your way up close if you want to avoid having to trudge slowly behind the hordes until things thin out.

Top of Mt Avos overlooking Wineglass Bay, Tasmania ©Visual Collective/Shutterstock

ORIENTATION Start/End // Parsons Cove Distance // 18.6 miles (30km) Getting there // Coles Bay is 115 miles (186km) north-east of Hobart;

START/FINISH

WINEGLASS BAY

PROMISE BAY

104 miles (167km) south-east of Launceston. From there, continue to Parsons Cove along Honeymoon Bay.

stunning location. There’s basic, cheap walk-in camping on the shores of Wineglass Bay.

When to go // This trail is doable all year, but conditions on the higher part can be very cold and potentially treacherous in winter (June to August).

More info // www.parks.tas.gov.au

Where to stay // The Freycinet Lodge offers four-star cabins in a FREYCINET

Things to know // Runners, like walkers, are urged to tackle the track anti-clockwise, to help halt the spread of a deadly plant pathogen, Phytophthora (root rot).


EUROPE

A tightrope run along The Amalfi Coast Southern Italy’s cliff-side ‘Path of the Gods’ is becoming a trail-running mecca. Bring a head for heights and legs for brutal stair climbs. ORIENTATION Start // Bomerano or Praiano End // Nocelle or Positano Sunset on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Distance // 4.5 miles (7km)

©Michael Abid/500PX

Getting there // Catch a SITA bus in Amalfi town for Agerola and get off in Bomerano’s main square. When to go // April to June, or September and October. FINISH POSITANO START BOMERANO FINISH NOCELLE

Where to stay // Positano is plush but expensive. Agerola and the towns to the east (Minori, Maiori, Cetara) offer better value with no significant drop in quality. Agriturismi (farm-stays) provide a more peaceful rural option. More info // www.caimontilattari.it; the Club Alpino Italiano website (www.cai.it) has maps and descriptions for all Amalfi trails, including the ‘Path of the Gods’.

ASIA

Kyoto’s Kamo Riverfront An accidental run in the temple capital of Japan uncovers a hidden treasure and reveals an oftenignored slice of real life. ORIENTATION Start // Kyoto Station, west of downtown End // Nishigamo Bridge Distance // 6 miles (10km) Getting there // Kyoto has bullettrain connections to Tokyo.

Things to know // If you’re too tired to walk from Nocelle to Positano, a local bus departs Nocelle 10 times a day.

When to go // The river is a popular area for locals for most of the year. But cherry blossom – sakura – season is from the end of March to the middle of April. Where to stay // Gion is the most picturesque area but the downtown and Kyoto Station areas offer the most hotel options and are also near the river. More info // www.greatruns.com/ kyoto-kamo-river-paths Things to know // The paths along the Kamo River are also great for cycling or circuit training as there are benches and exercise areas en route.

FINISH NISHIGAMO BRIDGE

KAMO OHASHI BRIDGE KYOTO IMPERIAL PALACE

KYOTO UNIVERSITY

KAMO RIVER

START PRAIANO

PONTOCHO

START KYOTO STATION

Hit the books Lonly Planet’s Epic Runs of the World is the follow up to Epic Bike Rides of the World, Epic Drives of the World, and Epic Hikes of the World. It’s available to buy now, priced £24.99. Kyoto’s Kamo riverfront ©F11PHOTO/Shutterstock


COLUMNIST

IN THE FIRST OF TWO PARTS, BEN COOMBER LOOKS AT THE ADVANTAGES OF ‘INTUITIVE EATING’

INTUITIVE EATING, IS IT REALLY INTUITIVE?

O

ne of the biggest trends in UK nutrition right now is the anti-’diet culture’ idea of intuitive eating.

Diet culture usually means restricting your food intake – either using portions, calories, or food choice – and is usually caused by body dissatisfaction.

This is not cool, and always leads to a poor relationship with eating. In order to have a healthy relationship with food you should not restrict portions, calories, or food choice. Instead, you should practise body acceptance

and body appreciation regardless of your size. You should exercise (or not) when you want to and eat foods in an intuitive manner, trusting your body to know what it wants. Basically, eat whatever you want to, in amounts that make you happy, living to love your body rather than change it. This may or may not cause weight loss, but it will improve your health. The above is obviously a simplistic view of intuitive eating, but I believe that dieting, or doing stuff because you hate your body, is never going

to work out. Many overweight folks need to repair their relationship with their body, themselves and food if they are ever going to be able to achieve improved health. It’s extremely sad to see people who detest what they see in the mirror. They struggle to buy clothes, they socially isolate themselves and they typically enter a spiral of self-loathing as a result. No amount of body fat means you deserve a life like that and so the body positivity movement and associated theories like intuitive eating can be useful tools in getting people back in charge of how they feel about themselves. I mean, some will say: “there’s nothing wrong with being ashamed about being overweight, you should be ashamed because then you’ll fix it”, but that’s just not true in many cases. How much care are you likely to take of something that you hate? How much will you be willing to abstain from things you enjoy because it will benefit something you don’t even like? Exactly. Then, contrary to what many think, health can be improved without – or just with modest – weight loss. A person with obesity will be healthier if they lose 10% of their body weight, even if they stay obese (this isn’t news – we’ve known this since the 90s) and the importance of this can’t really be overstated. If people believe they need to lose 50% of their body weight and achieve a ‘healthy weight’ in order to make a difference, that’s a pretty big ask, but 10%? Most people could do that in a month or two. And finally, perhaps the most clear benefit of intuitive eating; the improvements that can be seen in those with eating disorders from this kind of intervention are incredible. Next month: what are the drawbacks of ‘intuitive eating’?


Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch are otherwise known as the F2, football freestylers with over 10m followers on YouTube. Here, they discuss the importance of fitness, tips to beat bullying, and meeting Messi and Ronaldo


the better the results we get and one of the key ways we can do that is by being relaxed ourselves, If you’re nervous or star-struck then players pick that up. We’re generally focused on getting the best content we can in a short space of time because time is always limited, that’s just the way it is.

Has your approach to fitness changed since you started out? JL: I was never too bothered about a fitness regime when I first started because I wasn’t playing 90 minutes twice a week – I just turned up and smashed balls and didn’t give it too much thought. Now strength and conditioning are really important, as is warming up and warming down. It’s all about injury prevention. You guys need to look the part as well, so how often are you working out? JL: If you’re a role model to the kids who watch you, it’s not just what you do on the ball, it’s how you look, it’s the life you live. It’s important you keep your fitness up and try and stay as healthy as possible. We train most days. I don’t really enjoy running but we’ll still do it. It’s all about longevity and keeping fit for the long term. BW: It’s funny because we’ve both got gyms in our houses, but I used to think that banging out large weights was the best way to get fit and stay fit. I’ve learnt now that it’s the totally opposite to that. It’s all about strengthening your core, making sure that you’re strong so you’re not getting injured. That’s the main thing. We’ve had the help of a specialist strength and conditioning coach too and that has made a big difference. I had done some exercises before but then found out that I was doing them wrong. It’s all about

technique because if you don’t do an exercise correctly it can have the reverse effect. How close did both of you come to being professional footballers? BW: We were close, really close. Given a different set of circumstances I think we could both have ended up playing at the top level. But it didn’t happen. It wasn’t our destiny. We imagined F2 would go big but not quite this big. It has gone astronomically big! How did you discover you had this knack for tricks? BW: It’s funny, I started doing it so I wouldn’t get bullied by the bigger kids at school. I worked out that if I impressed them with a football I could play matches all lunchtime and keep out of trouble! It really worked, I ended up playing with Year 11s on the playground when I was in Year 7 and 8. We did skills just for fun back in the day. The natural way we’ve evolved was to go onto YouTube and then do more on-pitch stuff as well.

Are there any tricks you can’t do? BW: There are loads of moves that we can’t do. We know our limitations pretty well now. I’m not as nimble as I used to be so I can’t do the backflips that some of the young freestylers are doing. What has been the key to your success? JL: You look at how many people like freestyle football and how many people love football and it’s obvious where your mass market is. We tapped into the mass market and used the freestyle to add a little bit of extra flair. It has worked really well. What are you up to at the moment? BW: There’s lots happening. We’re super excited about the book coming out. It’s our fifth book, which is crazy. It’s great because it’s educational for the kids, anything that can get kids reading is good in my eyes. It’s about teaching the kids the techniques that are going to help them master some amazing skills.

Have you ever been star-struck given all the famous footballers you’ve met and worked with? JL: Messi and Ronaldo stand out because they’re the two best players of our generation. But it’s important we’re not overawed by the players we’re working with. The more relaxed we can make the players feel then

F2: Ultimate Footballer (Blink Publishing) is out 17 October


THE

WORKOUT

UNPREDICTABILITY AND AN INTERFERENCE OF YOUR SENSES, PREPARE TO GIVE YOUR GYM SESSIONS A SHOT IN THE ARM. We’re always on the lookout for new ways to stay fit and healthy, which is why we’re keen to put Reaxing through its paces. Not heard of it? Neither had we, but we’re pretty sure that’ll change. Reaxing have developed a range of fitness equipment that focuses on creating unpredictability using water and sudden interference to activate neuromuscular senses. The effect of this is that it boosts training performance

and results compared to traditional static weights and fitness treadmills by demanding your brain and body to work in synergy to remain stable when completing the exercise. Don’t take our word for it, though we loved doing the workout below, but now more and more elite sports clubs are using it too, while health clubs and hotels are also incorporating Reaxing to improve their functional training zones.


THE WORKOUT: This workout considers how the body works in three planes of motion – frontal, transverse and sagittal. When Reaxing products are being used, it enables you to add dynamic instability and cognitive function into the workout to increase the effectiveness of each exercise. The body and mind are working together, engaging the systems needed to produce the movement under load and a neurofunctional result is achieved.

EXERCISE 1: WALKING LUNGE Product • Reax Fluiball Repetitions • 10-12 reps x 3-4 sets User benefit/muscle groups worked • Quads • Core • Shoulder complex

Form suggestions • Ensure abdominal muscles are activated to keep core solid throughout movement • Ensure shins are perpendicular to floor and hips are straight when lowering down into lunge – this will dramatically prevent injury • Ensure Fluiball weight is comfortable to the user, do not use too heavy a weight.

EXERCISE 2: GLUTEI BRIDGE Product • Reax Fluiball and Reax Board Repetitions • 10-12 reps x 3-4 sets User benefit/muscle groups worked • Glutes • Shoulder complex • Hip complex

Form suggestions • Feet shoulder width apart • Squeeze the glutei together and then raise hips to parallel • On lowering try and slow the movement down to get maximum effect


EXERCISE 3: REAX CHAIN ROTATION Product • Reax Chain Repetitions • 10-12 reps x 3-4 sets User benefit/muscle groups worked • Hip complex • Shoulder complex

Form suggestions • Ensure the correct weight of chain • Start with smaller rotations • Build to larger rotations where the chain and hips are at opposite movements

EXERCISE 4: STEP UP TO SHOULDER PRESS Product • Reax Fluilift Repetitions • 10-12 reps x 3-4 sets User benefit/muscle groups worked • Core complex • Shoulder complex

Form suggestions • Ensure the weight is not too heavy • Clean the bar to the chest • Step up with the flat of the foot on the board • As you step up to complete the movement snap the bar up to above the head • Hold the bar above the head stabilising the movement with the core and shoulder complex by bracing the body


EXERCISE 5: LIGHT DRILLS Product • Reax Lights and Reax Station Repetitions 20 reps x 3-4 sets User benefit/muscle groups worked Total body and cognitive function

Form suggestions • Try to ensure good running mechanics and set your stance before hitting the light at the wall.

TO FIND ABOUT MORE ABOUT REAXING PRODUCTS, VISIT

WWW.PHYSICALCOMPANY.CO.UK/REAXING

HUB 26 This workout took place at Fit 26, located within the Hub 26 complex, which boasts state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, plus a range of classes, yoga, barre and personal training sessions.


SWEET DREAMS

s i h t f o e ‌are mad

A lack of sleep can be the reason for all sorts of problems for kids, yet getting your children to sleep in the first place can be harder than solving the Brexit backstop. Here, the sleep experts at Chireal Shallow and Blossom & Blossom offer 10 tips to help your small ones catch more ZZZ’s.


to school is Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, which offers tips and advice in a fun way. Or snuggle down with your favourite Roald Dahl classic and get lost in the world of the BFG or Matilda.

6. Create a bedtime box Put inside the things that children need to feel safe and help them sleep at night. For example, books, favourite toys and pictures of family.

1. Inject some you into the bedroom Leave pieces of you in your child’s bedroom. This can be sounds, smells or sights and can be the most comforting thing a child can have. Leave a surprise everyday; this way your child will look forward to seeing it at bedtime.

2. Let your child own their bedtime environment Familiar scents are a great way for children to feel calm and safe at bedtime. For example, try Bloom and Blossom’s Dream Catcher’s Pillow Spray every night at only £9.99. It comes with personalisable stickers, so that your child can make each bottle their own and spray it every night to fight off monsters and spray ‘happy dreams’ around their bedroom before bed.

3. Lie down with children on their bedroom floor Getting a feel for what a child experiences in their room, can be vital to understanding their experiences. Ask yourself if it feels like a calm space, or if there are any objects which may look different at night. For example, your child may have a backpack hung up, which may look scary in the dark – invest in a personalised one, which they can take pride in and allows them to feel unafraid.

7. Your child is the manual Ask how they’re feeling, and if they feel safe and comfortable when they climb in bed. Check on the surroundings, such as the amount of light in the room, and increase/decrease accordingly.

8. Hang up family photos Place family photos around your child’s bedroom, so if they wake during the night, they’re immediately comforted.

9. Fans in summer are gold Use a fan in hot rooms, as the noise and effect really help to enhance sleep.

10. Invest in a good mattress Ensuring your child is supported in a physical manner helps to aid their mental and emotional wellbeing too. The Silentnight Imagine Traditional Sprung Mattress is reasonably priced and available online.

4. Create a storybook Together with your child, create a storybook of their daily routine. This can be everything from pictures of them brushing their teeth to the clothes they are wearing. Ultimately, this then becomes their bedtime book, and is a storyboard of their daytime routine, where they can reflect on musings from the day.

5. Read a bedtime story It’s an age-old tradition and one which works. This is a special bonding time and will help your child to feel relaxed and at ease. A great book to try if your child is new

TO VIEW THE FULL SELECTION OF BLOOM AND BLOSSOM PRODUCTS VISIT BLOOMANDBLOSSOM.COM/


RECIPES

HEALTHY MIND, HEALTHY BODY CONSIDERING DITCHING MEAT? CHECK OUT THESE STUNNING VEGAN MEALS COURTESY OF GEM’S WHOLESALE KITCHEN FOR GOSH! Wellness is about having a healthy body and mind, with more people listening to their bodies and realising that what they eat has a direct impact on how they feel. There is an increased awareness of the effects of the meat industry on the environment, meaning many are choosing to go meat-free. In this modern day of living more kindly with our bodies and the environment, Gosh! are on a mission to bring nourishing experiences to as many people as possible, and has unveiled a food range of over 20 plant-based, free-from, all good and no bad products. You’ll find some of them in these two recipes…

SAUSAGE SKILLET SERVES 4 PREP TIME 5 MINUTES COOK TIME 20 MINUTES Ingredients: 1 Packet of Gosh! Smokey Sweet Potato Sausages sliced, 2 tablespoons Olive oil, 2 cups baby potatoes diced, 100g Spinach leaves, 100g kale leaves sliced, 1 red pepper diced, 1 green pepper diced, 1 400g tin of butterbeans, 3 cloves garlic chopped, 1tsp chilli powder, 1tsp of smoked paprika, 1tsp Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste, chopped fresh chilli. Method: 1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until golden brown and tender, which will take about 7-10 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pan and set aside. 2. Add the Gosh! sausages to the same pan and cook until browned for about 5 minutes, set aside with the potatoes. 3. Add in the onion, garlic and peppers and sauté until tender 3-4 minutes. Then add the butterbeans. 4. Add the potatoes and sausage back into the pan along with the Italian seasoning and smoked paprika and chilli powder 5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with chopped fresh chillies if you like.

Veggie hack Add four fried eggs at the end and pop on top of the skillet so you have one each. Make sure the yolks are runny so you can dip the veggies in!


RECIPES

BUDDHA BOWL WITH BEET BURGERS SERVES 4 PREP TIME 15 MINUTES COOK TIME 15 MINUTES Ingredients: Gosh! Beet Burgers, For the quinoa and kale; 250g quinoa, 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped into very small, bite-sized pieces, ½ tsp salt, 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to drizzle, juice of 1 lime, For the sweet potato; glug of olive oil, 2 medium sweet potatoes washed and cut into 5mm dice, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1½ tsp salt, For the dressing; 1 avocado, juice of 2 limes, glug of olive oil, 1 medium chilli, chopped, 1 handful fresh coriander , Other bits; Hummus (I have used Beetroot Hummus here), handful of sunflower seeds and or chopped nuts. Method: 1. First cook the quinoa in a saucepan of water for about 15 minutes, or according to the instructions on the packet. Warm the Gosh! Beet Burger at 160 degrees for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the sweet potatoes. Stir in the cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Once the pan is sizzling, add 50ml water, cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked. Set aside to cool. 2. Put the kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with oil. Use your hands to massage the kale for 2–3 minutes. Whisk together the 2 tablespoons oil with the lime juice, drizzle over the kale and toss to coat. 3. Blitz the ingredients for the avocado dressing in a small blender until smooth. (Or mash the avocado and mix with the other ingredients for a chunkier dressing.) 4. To serve, divide between bowls and top with the sweet potato, Gosh! beet burger and a good spoonful of the of avocado dressing. Sprinkle with nuts and seeds.

Veggie hack Add one hard-boiled egg per person for extra protein.


POWER PLATE Celebrating 20 years in fitness, Power Plate invited BESTFIT to explore its latest products and experiences at a recent launch event in London


Pearce – British athlete, sports host and presenter for BT Sport’s UFC – who opened a debate on women’s wellness, with panellists including; • Celebrity & post-natal PT Alex P Marks • Founder of the Happy Body Project, Julie Holl • Founder of Liferocks/development & energy coach Aimee Carlton

W

ith the latest in vibration training, the Power Plate MOVE took centre stage as a whole host of wellness influencers gathered to learn about the benefits of Power Plate. The aim of the event was to educate participants on how whole-body vibration training can positively impact your body’s muscles, hormones and overall wellness.

Master trainers demonstrated how Power Plate is used by fitness facilities and personal trainers around the world to prepare faster, perform better and recover quicker, and a number of small-group training sessions took place showcasing the latest classes available. In addition to learning about the products, we also had the opportunity to hear from guest speaker and master trainer Caroline

Discussion points ranged from pre and post-natal pregnancy, to being part of a community (either through social media or within a health club) and the different generational challenges that women experience from teenage/puberty through to pregnancy and menopause. One of the most compelling discussions was around how we inspire the next generation to care


for themselves by teaching them what the human body is capable of versus what it looks like – this challenge is certainly recognised by Mental Health Foundation who states that: “One in five adults have felt shame because of their body image in the last year.” One way that this can begin to be addressed is through workplace wellness, which was also high on the agenda. Anna Davison, Head

of Workplace Wellbeing at UK Active, says: “It’s never been more critical to support wellbeing in the workplace.” As part of this discussion, Power Plate introduced the FitStop program on the my7, designed specifically for employees to use during the working day. The FitStop solution includes four program options: Rejuvenation, Focused Relaxation, Cardio Boost and QuickStop. The options consist of simple stretches and movements

aimed to help resolve the most common problems caused by sitting at a desk all day. We can all be guilty of being deskbound for too long and so when BESTFIT tried FitStop in our attire for the day (jeans and t-shirt), we got some really good stretches out of it while the blood flowed. We felt refreshed without getting a sweat on, which can be a barrier for many people when it comes to doing any physical activity on your lunch break. A recommendation from The Health and Safety Executive states that “Short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than occasional longer breaks: e.g., a 5-10-minute break after 50-60 minutes continuous screen, and/or keyboard, work is likely to be better than a 15-minute break every two hours.” We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Power Plate and would recommend to any of our readers. If you haven’t tried it or experienced the wealth of health benefits it has to offer, get over to your nearest gym, download their FREE mobile App and choose from hundreds of different On Demand videos to suit your individual needs. What’s not to love?


@bestfituk JOIN THE ONLINE HEALTH & FITNESS FAMILY WORKOUTS & FITNESS TIPS HEALTHY RECIPES & NUTRITION LATEST TRENDS & NEWS FITNESS PRODUCT COMPETITIONS


FROM SEA

TO SUMMIT AFTER SUFFERING FROM ENDOMETRIOSIS FROM AN EARLY AGE, ANDREA MASON OPENLY ADMITS SWERVING SMEAR TESTS THAT MAY HAVE PICKED UP HER CERVICAL CANCER FAR EARLIER. AFTER COMING THROUGH GRUELLING TREATMENT FOR THAT CANCER, MASON DECIDED TO SET HERSELF A TARGET IN ORDER TO RAISE AWARENESS. THE BLACKPOOL-BASED 38-YEAR-OLD SET OUT TO SWIM THE CHANNEL, THEN CYCLE TO CHAMONIX BEFORE SCALING THE HEIGHTS OF MOUNT BLANC. THE SEA TO SUMMIT SOUNDS CRAZY. BECAUSE IT IS…


what the weather was going to be like in Chamonix because that could have been equally difficult for the mountain part of the challenge. I did have to take quite a risk with my start time because of the weather window closing in on Mount Blanc. I had to take the first opportunity possible and ordinarily, you have to leave one hour before high tide. Apart from the first hour and a half I swam in pitch black all night, apart from the lights of the P&O ferries that seemed to be coming very close to me.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE THAT YOU’RE GETTING CLOSER TO FRANCE WHILE YOU’RE SWIMMING? TALK US THROUGH WHAT IT’S LIKE TO SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL AT NIGHT? It was something I was worried about, if I’m honest. One of the biggest stresses of the whole thing was not knowing when I was going to start the swim because of the weather window for the crossing. The other worry was not knowing

“THERE WERE QUITE A FEW TIMES WHEN I WAS THINKING ‘WHAT ON EARTH AM I DOING?’”

There were quite a few times when I was thinking ‘what on earth am I doing?’. The hardest hour for me was the third hour of the swim when it was getting dark, it was getting choppy and I could see the ferries in front of me. I had no idea how long I was going to take but also knew that the timing meant that most of my bike ride would be in the dark as well. It was tough. Really tough. You can

definitely see Calais and the lights of Calais. But that can be detrimental because you think that’s where you’re landing, whereas you actually arrive in France along the coast by a single lighthouse. I was slightly delusional near the end of the swim and was convinced the boat was taking me to the wrong place!

WAS IT MORE EXHAUSTING THAT YOU THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE? It was more mentally exhausting than physically. I was pretty well prepared for the swim but in the dark you get pretty disorientated, so you get sea sick. I spent a good few hours while we were in the shipping lane, throwing up everything that I had been eating and drinking.

AFTER THAT, DID THE BIKE RIDE SEEM LIKE A WALK IN THE PARK? In my head, the bike was going to be my rest, my recovery. If you can call riding 300km a day restful. In actual fact, most of the cycle was in the dark as well, which was another challenge mentally. It got


quite cold, particularly on some of the descents when I was getting close to Chamonix. I hadn’t really acknowledged the impact that the lack of sleep would have.

HOW DID YOU COPE WITH THAT LACK OF SLEEP? I had planned it quite meticulously to ensure that I got enough sleep. But I couldn’t get to sleep as quickly as I wanted to and it was difficult to sleep during the day. My brain was constantly thinking about the logistics of the next stage. Across the five days I got no more than eight hours sleep.

YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH AN AWFUL LOT, DID YOUR RECENT EXPERIENCES KEEP YOU GOING IN THE TOUGH MOMENTS? There was a lot of time in my own head. I had a pretty good jukebox in there, or at least I thought I did! I seemed to go through it pretty quickly. The biggest thing that kept

me going was knowing why I was doing it. There were a lot of people messaging me as I was going along, telling me that they had been and booked their smear tests – that’s what drove me to carry on.

HOW WAS THE FINAL ASSAULT ON MOUNT BLANC? For the last couple of months I had been sleeping in an altitude tent. It’s not as severe as it sounds – it’s like a big gazebo-type tent that you put over your bed and it pumps de-oxygenated air into the tent. You’re basically simulating being at

“I HADN’T REALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THE IMPACT THAT THE LACK OF SLEEP WOULD HAVE”

high altitude. The biggest concern was not knowing how my body was going to react coming straight from sea level to 4,800 metres. Ordinarily, you would have a bit of acclimatisation, but I didn’t get that. The training was primarily altitude training and a lot of hiking but once you’ve got a really good base level of fitness it’s really just about the altitude part and having the skills to get up that mountain.

HOW DID IT FEEL WHEN YOU GOT TO THE TOP? In my mind I was hoping a helicopter would just come and pick me up and take me straight back down again. But that obviously didn’t happen! I took my time and stayed in a hut overnight before I tackled the technical part of the climb the next day.

DO YOU THINK ANYONE WILL TAKE ON THIS CHALLENGE AGAIN? I think it will be very difficult for anyone to ever beat, not because of my time but because of the weather for each section I got. I was incredibly lucky. And tired. Very tired.


ARMYOURSELF… GET YOUR HANDS ON THE LATEST STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING TOOL. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND TO PRE-ORDER YOUR CHOICE OF 5KG TO 24KG, CONTACT:

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Home is where the HIIT is! A HOME WORKOUT WITHOUT ANY EQUIPMENT, YOU SAY? FITNESS MODEL AND GURU ALEX CROCKFORD SHOWS YOU HOW TO WIN IN YOUR OWN FOUR WALLS

The beauty of modern-day fitness is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, and spend as long as you want on your sessions based on you and your lifestyle. HIIT is immensely popular because it’s short, effective and can be done anywhere… perfect for our busy lifestyle.

Alex Crockford is a fitness model with 271k followers on Instagram. He obviously spends time cultivating his body, but included in his armoury of sessions are short and sharp blasts that can be done at home, in the gym or in hotels… wherever. And the best thing is that you’ll just need to bring yourself. No weights,

no equipment you’ll use once before they gather dust… just you and you’re ‘A’ game.

THE WORKOUT • Perform steps 1 to 5 for 45 seconds each, with 15 seconds rest in between each exercise • At the end of the round, rest for one minute before starting again • Complete four rounds/sets


In the reverse lunge knee drive and jump, make a big lunge backwards aiming the back knee close to the floor and then as you stand up drive the knee up and use that momentum and force to leave the floor. Land softly and aim to go straight into your next rep. If jumping is too challenging, you can opt to do a standard reverse lunge and knee drive.

STEP 1 & 2

STEP 1: REVERSE LUNGE KNEE DRIVE AND JUMP

STEP 3: SPRINT/RUN ON THE SPOT

STEP 3

STEP 2: REPEAT ON THE OTHER LEG

In the push-up, come up to your hands and your toes. Try to keep a straight line all the way down your body, from your shoulders to your heels, by engaging your core. Keep your shoulders above your hands throughout this exercise, trying to achieve a depth of at least 90 degrees at the elbow when you go down.

STEP 5: FROG SQUAT JUMP Take a slightly wider stance than normal, and as you squat down, reach down and touch the floor. Make sure you’re bending your knees, dropping your hips, elevating your chest, keeping a straight back and keeping your feet flat on the floor. Stand up and jump off of the floor, landing softly before your next rep.

STEP 5

STEP 4: PUSH-UP SIDE STEP

STEP 4

Jogging on the spot is simply running in the same position. You don’t want to make it too intense, make sure you’re nice and soft on your ankles, knees and your hips, using your hips to naturally run through this movement. Keep and upright posture an keep your core engaged.


COLUMNIST

WINTER IS COMING, BUT FIRST AUTUMN. ALEXANDRA LEGOUIX EXPLAINS HOW THE CHANGING SEASON CAN AFFECT US

A MINDFUL APPROACH TO THE AUTUMN SHIFT Autumn is upon us and with that comes change, a word that instills fear in many of us. We embrace the colour of the leaves turning and the crispness of the weather change, however many of us are affected by S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the darker evenings can make us feel depressed and anxious. We start to have the desire for ‘cosiness’ and while that may be fine for some, it may feel lonely for others. Many of us will start to – knowingly, or unknowingly – make big life changes. Nature’s cycles are mirrored in our lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden. Emotions that may have been hidden before may start to become exposed, asking to be acknowledged. In my last article, we looked at how yoga and breath control will calm nerves and help alleviate anxiety, and I was overwhelmed by how many people contacted me and said it really helped them. Suddenly people who may not have taken a few moments to sit in silence and slow their breathing before, now did and really noticed how much that helped them. This simple tool is a scientifically proven healer, but what the act of sitting and breathing also encourages is the practice of ‘mindfulness’ – and mindfulness is one of the very best ways of dealing with change. The act of sitting in the ‘here and now’ helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that, instead

of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them. Research has proven mindfulness can help us regulate our emotions, reduce stress, lower judgmental attitudes, improve memory and focus and even reshape our brain structures. So how do we do it? There is a myth that in order to ‘do mindfulness’ we need to be sitting cross legged in silence, but that is nonsense. By all means, do that if you prefer, but the most useful thing about mindfulness is that we can take the practice into everyday life. Bringing mindful awareness to whatever we are doing, wherever we are doing it, be it at home, on a bus, a train or while walking to work. We can be mindful anywhere and bring our attention to whatever is happening in the current minute, directing our attention to the experience as it unfolds. One of my favourite mindfulness

techniques that I teach my new students to really help them understand how to incorporate it into daily life goes like this: 1. Find a flower in a garden or vase. Really look at it closely. Notice the colours, the small intricate details, the lines on the leaves. Notice the smell. Touch the petals, the leaves. How does it feel? How do the different sensations compare? Mentally note every tiny detail without overthinking anything. Just observe. 2. Open your frame of observation. What is around the flower? What can you see? What can you smell? What can you hear? 3. Again, widen the circle of observation. Look all around you and notice how the flower appears in the entire picture. Again, run through the senses – see, hear, listen, smell, touch. Notice how, for the last ten minutes or so, you (hopefully) didn’t really think of anything else. You can take as long as you like on this above technique. Obviously, the initial focus can change. Try this on the underground for example, and you will be thoroughly entertained by what you notice. The smell is never too peachy for a start! Once you have started practising, you will easily be able to bring this awareness into your normal activities. When you shower – how does the water feel? What are the sensations you feel when you climb into bed? What do you notice when you walk down a busy street? As you spend time practising mindfulness, you’ll find yourself feeling kinder, calmer, and more patient. These shifts in your experience are likely to generate changes in other parts of your life as well. Gradually, you realise that you are in control of what you are thinking about. You do not have to be lost in your chimp brain. So allow yourself to accept that Autumn anxiety is real, but also manageable. Embrace change. Remember to breathe. Practise yoga. Surround yourself with family and friends. Load up on Vitamin D and magnesium. And take yourself for a long walk and be present – notice the wonderful colours, smells, sights, sounds and honour the energy of this new season.


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A-Z HEALTH AND WELLNESS BIBLE

EMERGE FROM WINTER AS THE BEST VERSION OF YOU, THANKS TO THE HANDY TIPS FROM OUR RANGE OF EXPERTS A – Anxiety “Studies show that CBD oil has a stabilising effect on your mood,” explains nutritionist Alix Woods. “It indirectly stimulates serotonin and ‘happy hormone’ cannabinoid receptors, and exerts an anti-anxiety, happy mood effect. The cannabinoid receptors targeted are the same receptors that antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications target, but without the side effects.” B – Burnout We are finding it hard to slow down and relax due to the increased pace of life at work, home and socially. “Constant social media updates, 24/7 news feeds, shops open all hours, flexible working and zero-hour contracts mean old boundaries have melted and we are ‘on’ continuously,” says psychologist and psychotherapist Corinne Sweet, ThinkWellLiveWell. “To prevent burnout we need to pace ourselves on a human scale. We need to eat well, sleep adequately, wind down, take exercise, moderate addictive pulls (limit alcohol, caffeine), and learn basic mindfulness techniques to live more in the present.” C – Cholesterol “Cholesterol in its own right is not dangerous but problems can occur when it’s been damaged by free oxidising radicals,” says the UK’s leading nutritionist Dr Marilyn

Glenville. “They’re natural by-products of energy production but these molecules can be neutralised by the presence of anti-oxidant nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C. It is therefore very important to make sure you include fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily diet or consider taking a good anti-oxidant supplement.” D – Diet There’s no quick fix, so ditch the short-term fad diets for sustainable healthy eating. Diets can make you feel ill, lowcarb diets can be high in fat while excluding certain foods can be dangerous. If you’re looking to lose weight, reduce your calories, or simply ensure that your activities mean that you use more calories than you eat. E – Elasticity If your skin is feeling like it has lost its elasticity, look for products that can help you reverse visible signs of skin ageing. There are formulas that provide a cumulative effect of lifting up, nourishing, thickening and firming of the skin, leaving it elastic and toned. It fills up, smoothens and reduces the depth of wrinkles, eliminates fine lines and unevenness, and neutralises free radicals responsible for skin ageing. They can also provide optimum hydration, protecting the epidermis against moisture loss and reducing the unpleasant feeling of tight skin.


F – Fuel If you’re sweating out at a spin session, perfecting your shoulder bridge at Pilates or pounding the pavements on a run – it’s important to make sure your body has the fuel it needs. “To perform your best in your workout, the quality of your diet as a whole is more important than what you eat directly before or after a workout. The food you take in on a daily basis has to give you the vitamins and minerals to convert your food to energy, the protein to support muscle repair, the carbohydrate stores to fuel your muscles, and the antioxidants to help bring down inflammation and support recovery. So, a diet based on whole, real foods is key,” explains nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns. G – Gut health “People with gut issues suffer from a wide array of symptoms, from cramping and pain to bloating and gas or strong food intolerances. Looking at gut inflammation and at improving gut environment to promote healthy flora is key for long-lasting results,” adds Martina Della Vedova, nutritionist at NaturesPlus. H – Hydration Hydration is key. “Alcohol is a diuretic, and if fluid levels are not replenished symptoms of dehydration can occur,” says nutritionist Lily Soutter. “If you’re suffering with dryness in the mouth, dizziness, weakness or even headaches then you may be dehydrated. Water can also aid with the elimination of acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product that is produced from the breakdown of alcohol, which ultimately may help to improve hangover symptoms. Stay hydrated with water-rich foods such cucumber, watermelon, celery and strawberries.” I – Iodine Iodine is vital for thyroid function. “Your thyroid is a butterflyshaped gland found in your neck. It may be small, but it plays a huge role in governing your metabolism and thus affects how vibrant you feel,” explains nutritional therapist Fiona Lawson. “Seaweed is a true superfood. It is a rich source of iodine, perfect for those on a vegan diet or cutting out salt, which may lead to iodine deficiency. And seaweed is full of protein too!” J – Joke It turns out that there is some truth to the phrase, ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Marilyn explains: “Having a laugh is one of the best remedies for stress – it triggers healthy changes in our body. Many studies show that laughter boosts our energy, decreases stress hormones, improves immunity and diminishes pain. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that make us happier and relaxed.” K – Keep things in perspective Achieving a good work/life balance can be tricky at the best of times, but to avoid feeling overwhelmed try to prioritise what actually needs to be done and then what can wait – everyone needs some time out. “There is nothing in your life right now

more important than your health. Learn to say no if you feel that you have taken on too much. Being assertive is invigorating and empowering. It also helps to make lists of what is or is not a priority and to tackle the priority tasks first. This will help give you a sense of control over your life,” suggests Marilyn. L – Libido Certain nutrients and herbs can be extremely helpful if your sex drive needs a boost. Zinc is essential for hormone balance and sex drive, hence the old wives’ tale of using oysters (which contain high amounts of zinc) as an aphrodisiac. The amino acid l-arginine is important for good blood circulation in those areas, which are important for a healthy sex life. Vitamin B3 helps to reduce fatigue if you feel too tired to have sex. M – Motivation Chilly weather can definitely knock your motivation. When it’s cold (and wet), it can be hard to drag yourself out for a walk – but the endorphins from this active and social pastime can help give you that extra boost. Persuade your best friend to go with you or join an online community for support. Being with others who share the same interests, goals and hobbies helps to keep you motivated and creates the often-needed sense of accountability. N – No energy? If you’re often feeling zapped of energy it could be down to a lack of iron. A supplement can help. Iron contributes to the normal formation of blood cells and normal functioning of the immune system. It can also support energy yielding metabolism, reduction of fatigue and normal cognitive function – and supplements are ideal for the time poor. O – Ombar Ditching the milk chocolate in favour of raw cacao can have a big effect on curbing your sugar hits. “Cacao itself is actually a super food – it’s high in minerals such as magnesium and, particularly in its raw form, is rich in antioxidant flavonols too,” says Cassandra. “And if you go for a dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao, it’s relatively low in sugar.”


it’s associated with calming and relaxing properties – it may help you sleep as well as cope better with stress.” T – Take control of Type 2 diabetes For those with Type 2 diabetes it’s crucial to balance your blood sugar levels. “Some GPs may be willing to support you taking herbal medicines that can improve glucose levels. They have very few side effects because they have low levels of different herbs rather than having a high amount of one [ingredient], which is more likely to cause side effects,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer.

P – Pumpkin “Pumpkin’s rich source of vitamin A means that it is the perfect vegetable for glowing skin. Vitamin A is a key nutrient required for supporting the daily replacement of skin cells, and is critical for the formation of healthy skin. It’s precursor betacarotene is an antioxidant found in abundance in pumpkin, and has been shown to play a role in protecting skins cells from sun damage, which is critical for the prevention of ageing skin”, explains Lily. Q – Quit sugar Sugar provides no nutritional value and is essentially just empty calories. If you need a little natural help cutting down on those sugary treats, try NaturesPlus KetoLiving Sugar Control Capsules (£29.95, naturesplus.co.uk), which help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, minimising the chances of experiencing any peaks and dips that can lead us to temptation. R – Realistic goals Set goals. “Decide and write down what you want to do and in what time frame. Take measurements at the beginning of your journey, take ‘before’ photos. Then take new measurements every two weeks so you can see how you’re progressing towards your goal,” advises Cassandra. S – Shut-eye An element that can elude us when we’re stressed, but which is essential for our health, is sleep. Cassandra explains: “A good night’s sleep can be a great stress-reliever. Unfortunately, of course, sleeping well can be easier said than done when you’re already stressed or anxious. Do what you can to get to bed early enough to get seven to eight hours’ sleep, make sure your bedroom is a calming environment, and set up a good wind-down routine in the evening, such as taking a warm bath. Take a magnesium supplement in the evening too. Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ as

U – Up your protein After water do you know what is the main constituent of our body? Protein! It has such an important role in the body, ranging from muscle growth and repair, creating hormones and enzymes that regulate the metabolism, support the immune system and more! Include eggs, yoghurt, almonds, fish, chicken, lentils and chickpeas into your everyday diet. V – Veganism The vegan trend has quadrupled since 2012 and we predict that this popular trend is set to continuously increase with the rise in plant-based alternatives. Don’t fight it! W – Workplace wellness According to Lily Soutter, “Our workplace diet can significantly impact our health”. Lily states that when you eat the right food, you create positive energy, which sets the right conditions to succeed. Lily believes the key is to meal plan. Batch cooking such as soups, curries and casseroles, is key to making healthy eating much simpler and you can take it to work with you and avoid over-processed convenience foods. X – X marks the spot Experiencing a breakout? Reach for an avocado to help banish those spots. “Avocado is a good source of vitamin E, which is thought to have several roles in skin health. Like vitamin C, it works as an antioxidant so may protect the skin cells against damage from free radicals, which in turn helps to keep your complexion looking refreshed and revitalised,” explains Marilyn. Y – Your heart Support a healthy heart with a good dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. “Sushi can be really good for us because fresh raw fish such as salmon and tuna are packed with nutrients,” says Cassandra. “Salmon in particular is high in those super-healthy Omega-3s, which are great for our heart and brain.” Z – Zapped? If you feel like your immunity needs a little boost, why not incorporate more vitamin C into your diet? Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and contributes to immune defence by supporting various cellular functions of the immune system.


COLUMNIST HOW DO WE HELP PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS? SOMETIMES, JUST ASKING A QUESTION, AND LISTENING, CAN MAKE THE WORLD OF DIFFERENCE, SAYS ZAINAH KHAN

TIME TO ASK QUESTIONS

T

he mental health conversation is becoming more and more acceptable. Anxiety, stress and depression are more understood than ever before, and we have a greater desire to encourage friends, family members, colleagues, partners and even strangers to take care of their mental health. For those who might have become bored with hearing about mental health, we have introduced newer, sexier terminology such as ‘wellbeing’, ‘wellness’ and ‘staying well’ so that the subject doesn’t sound too heavy. After all, the stigma has not ended yet and I am still frequently in contact with professionals who fear admitting their mental health issues. It could still suggest weakness and shame that could hinder reputations, status and all-important career progression. World Suicide Prevention Day reminds us that the harsh reality is this: mental health is not just about the ‘light-touch’ initiatives that are easy to implement at work, such as table tennis tables in breakout spaces and an increase in office plants. These are all great ways to create a mentally healthy workplace, but they can never be a remedy for serious and severe mental health issues. To end the stigma for good, we must discuss mental health for all that it is. This includes those heavy subjects such as self-harm, psychosis and suicide that are easy to avoid. Not understanding these issues does not mean we cannot contribute to erasing their stigma. It just means

that we must be prepared to listen more and have the courage to ask seemingly difficult questions. World Suicide Prevention Day reminds us that sometimes our mental health can deteriorate so much that we might not be able to find a single reason to live. As a result, people might take the decision to end their lives. The numbers of people taking this decision is growing. Deaths by suicide have risen by 11.8% in the UK since 2018. The number of men ending their own lives is still three times greater than those of women who die by suicide. The rates of death among under 25s has increased sharply by 23.7%, totalling 730 deaths in 2018. These are not just stats. They are lives. Lives that are important and precious. Lives that mean a huge amount to those that know them. Lives owned by people who are valued, people who are loved and significant. It is deeply saddening to think that in

moments of mental ill health, people do not feel that any of the above is real. These thoughts might have manifested during a set of circumstances we felt were unresolvable, maybe a life event that changed our identity, a feeling of deep regret or remorse. That same thinking can easily escalate into a louder internal voice and thereon a plan that becomes realised. If people are feeling suicidal, from an outsider’s perspective we might not see the validity of their reasons. Surely, no situation or thought is worth our life? However, to effectively support them, we must trust that their reasons are valid to them. Being human means that despite us not living the same life as someone else, we have the ability to share their feelings. We are able to empathise and identify the feelings of sadness, inadequacy and overwhelmingness. When we empathise with the feelings of another, we are making huge statements about how much we value them; empathy says we care, it tells an often very lonely person that we are there and that they are important to us. We do not need to be an expert in someone else’s life to be able to support them. Nor do we need to be a mental health professional. Tapping into our ‘human side’ and using empathy to connect with one another is incredibly powerful. It can start with a simple question such as ‘how are you feeling?’ or even ‘how are you?’, asked with sincerity and patience. We really can save a life just by asking ‘how’s things?’, and meaning it.


PLANT POWER LEADING VEGAN NUTRITIONIST, BODY BUILDER AND YOU TUBER PAUL KERTON SHARES HIS TOP FIVE PERFORMANCE-BOOSTING PLANT FOODS Beetroot is full of nitrates which, once transformed into nitric oxide by the body, are powerful vasodilators. Opening up the blood vessels, this allows oxygen and nutrients to be more easily delivered to working muscles and helps to clear waste products more readily. The result: more stamina and therefore the potential for more work to be done. For those who like to work out, it has the added benefit of making veins pop out all over the place. According to the data 140ml of juice, 2-3 hours pre-workout, was optimal for endurance athletes. As a larger strength athlete, I wonder whether I may benefit from more? I buy it in 1-litre cartons and do five workouts per week, so I aim for 200ml of what I am convinced is the healthiest pre-workout in the world! Quinoa is a nutritionally dense grain (pseudo-grain technically). It’s chock full of slow-burning complex carbohydrates and also B Vitamins, which help metabolise the carbs into energy for the body. It has much more of the minerals copper, iron and magnesium relative to brown rice, with the added benefit that it also has a whopping 14g of high-quality, muscle-building protein per 100g dry weight. You can go with the plain white one or there’s red and black which have higher levels of antioxidants. If you would like to be really fancy, go for tri-colour! Lentils are the most protein dense of all the whole plant foods, with a 240g can containing a whopping 21.6g. They have high levels of the important musclebuilding branch chain amino acids (valine, leucine and isoleucine). A recent study found them to be the most antioxidant-rich of all the legumes too.

This is because of their high surface area (where many plants concentrate their antioxidants) to mass ratio. My former training partner, 2014 Mr Universe Barny du Plessis, ate them daily. Berries are the ultimate antioxidant powerhouses. Not only do antioxidants protect against cancer and slow the ageing process, they also help massively with recovery from exercise. Blackberries top the chart as the most antioxidantrich UK berry, but amla powder, made from the Indian gooseberry, is the single highest antioxidant food in the world, with somewhere between one and two hundred times the power of the oft-lauded blueberry. Flaxseeds (Linseeds) make my list for both their extremely high levels of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 essential fatty acids (important for recovery and disease prevention) and their ridiculously high amounts of lignan pre-cursors (100x more than any other food). These polyphenols are transformed into cancer-fighting lignans by healthy gut bacteria. 50% of men that make it to age 85 will have prostate cancer. The men with the highest levels of lignans in their prostate fluid have the least incidences of prostate cancer. One caveat is that ingestion should be limited to one tbsp per day, as flax contains relatively high levels of cyanide. For this reason, I invite my clients to add in one to two tbsp of ground chia seeds to make up any shortfall in Omega-3. Both chia and flaxseeds must be ground, else the body will not absorb any of the Omega-3.


COLUMNIST SHORTER DAYS AND COLDER TEMPERATURES GENERALLY RESULT IN WORSENING FITNESS HABITS. BUT THEY DON’T HAVE TO, EXPLAIN THE LEAN MACHINES

WINTER WINS When it comes to the winter months, everything tends to become a bit less consistent. We’re probably all guilty of eating a few more calories and that in turn robs us of a bit of energy, and so our usual fitness and nutrition routines can go out of sync. It then worsens as we get closer to Christmas, and we then find ourselves at the start of another new year having taking huge steps back.

but this motivation becomes slightly subdued in the winter. It shouldn’t, but it does.

It’s key at this time of year to keep your goals more performance-based rather than aesthetic. Obviously, when it comes to spring and summer, and with the prospect of warmer days and holidays, we’re all thinking about our holiday body,

Let’s face it, regardless of your fitness level, we all find it harder to get going when it’s dark outside. That’s just human nature. If you’re anything like us, when the sun’s up before we are, we’re raring to go, but already in the last few

The general trend is that we do eat more in winter, and particularly around the festive period, so don’t put yourself under pressure by giving yourself the same aesthetic goals; it’s an unnecessary pressure. Don’t put yourself down; we all do it, and it’s fine if you plan ahead and try and maintain some consistency.

weeks with the days getting shorter, when you’ve woken up and it’s a bit darker, you automatically find it harder to get up and out. It’s the same when you finish work, too. Dark nights, perhaps naughty nutrition habits and then a bigger struggle to lug your ass to the gym or exercise class of your choice. But try not to focus on the negatives. Don’t focus on the reduced number of light hours you have, or the falling temperatures, try and approach the autumn like it’s the new year. In January, it’s still cold and miserable but because it’s a new year, and because it follows a particular gluttonous time of year, we make a renewed effort to be fit and healthy. If you treated October the same way you do January, then you’ll conquer autumn and be in better shape to attack the new year when it comes around. Treat October like January. Quite often we try new forms of exercise, get ourselves a personal trainer or buy ourselves some new gym kit at the start of the year. But why wait? By putting a momentary value on these things in January, you’re investing in yourself and more likely to do it. Why not do it now and try and stay a bit more consistent through the darker months, and give yourself a head start so you start 2020 in an even stronger position, regardless of how your Christmas goes? Other ideas to consider. Maybe give yourself something to train for at the end of the year or the start of the new one. Or maybe train with a friend if you usually go on your own. Motivate each other when you’re feeling flat. Try and think long term. Training for holidays or weddings or whatever is short-termism, it’s always about aesthetics. Try and make training and nutrition more a part of your everyday lifestyle. Try and enjoy the process as well as what you get out of it. Try and enjoy it, kick ass and you’ll get more long-term benefits.


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COLUMNIST

DITCH THE QUICK-FIX APPROACH AND OPT FOR A MORE LONGTERM, BUT SUSTAINABLE, LIFESTYLE, SAYS KURTIS STACEY

MINDFULNESS FOR MUSCLE GROWTH

E

ver been to the gym, done a few reps and thought ‘I just can’t be a*£$^ today’, and left? Ever wonder why? You’ve done the hard part. You got up, got ready and got yourself there. So why give up so soon? I believe it’s our mental state. As mentioned in last month’s column, working out regularly is about your lifestyle, this also includes stress and problems in our lives that have nothing to do with exercise itself,

but if I was given £1 for every client I’ve had that blames work, kids, bills and time for why they don’t eat healthy or workout regularly then I’d own a mansion overlooking Muscle Beach by now. Sustaining a healthy diet/workout routine year round is extremely hard to do but it isn’t impossible! We can agree life can be stressful, annoying and hectic and what we need to do is separate your workout from everything else. I’m not going

to ask you to neglect your kids and quit your job to have a decent workout but I’m going to share with you a few tips that will help you control your mind and switch off from the world to get you in that muscle-building mood. 1. Meditate This doesn’t have to be a half-hour meditation on a mat in the park. What works for me is putting my workout playlist on and focusing on the task at hand, what I’m trying to achieve in the next hour and gathering my thoughts on the here and now. I usually do this along with my dynamic stretches. 2. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ This is hard for most people but probably one of the most important things to do. Doing this means no interruptions, no distractions and will keep you focused on the task in hand. It also tricks your mind into feeling in control that nothing comes between you and your workout. In most cases there is no emergency that can’t wait an hour. 3. Don’t eat before a workout Eating before a workout can make you feel sluggish and tired, so in most cases you’d rather hit the sack than the gym. 4. Plan your workouts Goals and lists have been one the most proven ways to complete tasks in everyday life and your workout is the same. Have a wellstructured workout plan for each of your sessions, this way you’ll know where to start, finish and how long your workout will last. 5. Stretch Stretching will increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles and brain. It will loosen you up and wake you up! These five things are the fundamentals of my workout routine. They are simple and effective. We spend so much time focusing on our bodies that we forget it’s our mind at the wheel, so take some time out to apply these tips and FOCUS!


OUT&ABOUT PONTINS 48–HOUR FITNESS CHICO’S BLOCK FIT PARTY PONTINS PRESTATYN January 17-19, 2020

Due to the popularity of their recent Brean event in conjunction with Xfactor star Chico, Pontins are taking their 48-hour Fitness to the north! Hosting a huge line-up of over 30 international presenters and motivational speakers the event is a celebration of fitness, health and wellbeing and is open to all abilities. Chico and his team

MIND OVER MUSCLE DAY CAMPS LIVERPOOL 2-3 November 2019 Mind over muscle is the mantra for living your life at full potential – and Ant Middleton’s sessions aim to help guide you through a series of lessons in how to live life to the full. This is not just for the elite or for those who’ve lived to the extreme, this is for everyone looking to push themselves beyond their limits. Designed to challenge your inner mental and physical limits, you’ll be taught ways to overcome your fears and reach your full potential. Through a carefully curated day course, including a series of extreme exercises, Ant and his team will push you beyond your own boundaries, equipping you with the tools to overcome all forms of adversity. The day will include full briefing, team and individual physical activities, talks throughout the day from Ant on mental and physical strength and a section on nutrition. www.mindovermuscle.com

provide a varied timetable over two days, including BlockFit, Zumba,Vibe Cycle, Clubbercise and Uproar, combined with a jam-packed evening programme consisting of some of the UK’s leading music acts. Guest speakers include our very own Mark Laws, plus Jo Cooper, Andrew Crawford and Tanya Bright who’ll inspire those who may wish to experience a lower intensity fitness break. Prices range from £49 for wrist band only, to priority packages inclusive of wristband, accommodation and priority class at £89. Book now to gain a £40-off priority packages via the BESTFIT reader offer link www.48hourparty.com/48f2. Or Call 0844 576 5944, quoting promo code 48F2. Visit www.48hourparty.com/fitness for more info.


ALSO THIS MONTH... FITNESS EVENTS Night of Neon, Salford Saturday 9 November

Dig out your glow sticks, pull out your neon leg warmers and walk either five or 10 dazzling kilometres with Team Christie. Starting and finishing at the iconic MediaCityUK, dance or walk your way around Salford Quays while enjoying the party with live music acts, refreshments, and a fantastic atmosphere. www.christie.nhs.uk Grate48 Thursday 7 November, London

The Leadenhall Building, also known as ‘The Cheesegrater’, is 224m tall and took 200+ designers to create its unique shape. It has an unobstructed view across the City, the Thames and beyond. You can choose from four distances, 1 climb = over 1200 steps, 2 climbs = 1/4 vertical mile, 4 climbs = 1/2 vertical mile, and 8 climbs = 1 vertical mile. www.rainbowtrust.org.uk/events/grate48 RunFestRun 22-24 May 2020, Windsor

RunFestRun is an epic weekend of running, live music, inspirational talks, family activities and camping in the beautiful Windsor Great Park. Enjoy immersive fun runs and serious racing, epic partying & live music, inspiring talks from sporting heroes and kids activities… and all in a beautiful venue. www.runfestrun.co.uk

WELLNESS HOLIDAYS Our Retreat wellness retreat If you want to stretch both your mind and body on holiday, then OurRretreat can help you. They have premier retreats across Europe welcoming guests from all walks of life – to come and train their body, explore their soul, meet new like-minded friends and enjoy a wellness experience like no other. www.ourretreat.co.uk

Kurhotel Skodsborg spa hotel The white buildings of Kurhotel Skodsborg, between the greenery of Dyrehaven and the blue sea, make up a modern Nordic spa hotel that enables you to put your everyday life on hold and enjoy the peace and quiet. Work up a sweat in one of more than 120 workout classes before cooling off in their bright spa with 16 different bathing experiences. Afterwards, their specialists can offer a wide range of facial and body treatments that will nurture your inside as well as outside. skodsborg.dk/en/

FAMILY ACTIVITIES Planetarium Shows, now-30 December World Museum Liverpool

Take your family on a trip through space and time in this fully immersive cinema experience. www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk Lightopia Heaton Park, 21 November – 31 December

This is a brand new and unique event sure to captivate young and old alike. Take a breathtaking journey through six magical, interactive art installations in Manchester’s historic Heaton Park. www.lightopiafestival.com Thor’s Tipi Various locations, 16 November – 1 January

The Viking-inspired-tipi returns to various locations, offering a unique meeting place for Christmas shoppers, weary workers, visitors and families alike. The themed popup bar brings a selection of tasty food, craft ales, mulled wine and hot cider along with a real log fire! www.thorstipi.com


COLUMNIST

MARK LAWS ASKS: IS THE X FACTOR REALLY IMPROVING INCLUSIVITY IN THE FITNESS WORLD?

CHICO TIME

(BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT)

S

imon Cowell is a difficult man to impress. Back in 2005 when a goat-herding, former stripper of Moroccan descent stood before him, the music mogul walked out as a sign of his disapproval that the comedy act had been voted through to the second round of the X Factor competition. A clear lack of support from the most powerful man in the music industry was not enough to stop Yousseph Slimani from thinking big. Too many people take no for an answer and give up on their passion, but not this guy. He ignored the fact that he was being mocked by the media for his lack of singing prowess in a singing competition, and he turned it into his greatest asset. Inclusivity is key within any industry and every single person, no matter what their ability level, has to feel

like they can at least give something a try. Even if they are not brilliant in someone else’s eyes, that is irrelevant if they are performing with a smile on their face. Needless to say, our Moroccan friend broke the mould when it comes to inclusivity in the mainstream music industry, and now he is doing the same within the fitness industry. Firstly he jumped into a swimming pool with a live microphone impressing Sharon Osbourne enough to make it onto the live X Factor shows, then he made history as the first contestant on a Simon Cowell TV show to sing an original song, soon after Cowell was forced to refer to him as a ‘born entertainer’, and finally he knocked Madonna off the Number 1 spot with his song, ‘Chico Time’. Not bad for someone who was seen as a comedy act that had no place on the TV show. If Chico had listened to the

naysayers, then none of that would have happened. He would have disappeared back to his previous life as quickly as his clothes used to come off in seedy nightclubs. Fifteen years on and he is bringing the same passion, energy and quest for inclusivity into the fitness world, combining all of his favourite things – singing, dancing and making people smile. I was pleased to have been asked to present at Chico’s event at a holiday park near Weston-SuperMare recently and I must admit that I was a tad apprehensive. I don’t sing. I don’t dance. Rarely do I make people smile. I felt like I was going to be out of my comfort zone but how could I say ‘no’ to one of the nicest, friendliest and interesting men I have ever met? I arrived to see hundreds of people taking part in a group class led by Chico’s team. Chico himself, with his trademark slanted trilby, was weaving in and out of the crowd, singing, dancing with people, and making them all smile. People from different ethnicities and backgrounds, people of all different shapes and sizes, and people with a wide range of abilities. All grinning from ear to ear, even if they had two left feet and didn’t get one lyric correct as they sang along in a tone-deaf fashion to the accompanying cheesy pop. I used to worry that other people were watching and mocking me when I was learning to swing a golf club but my Dad gave me two great pieces of advice – “Wherever and whenever you play golf there will ALWAYS be someone on the course who has been playing longer than you who is not as good as you, and everyone is worrying about their own game too much to care about yours”. Here lies the beauty of the inclusivity that Chico is bringing to the group exercise world. Get them singing. Get them dancing. And get them smiling so much that they couldn’t care less whether they are any good or not because they are having so much fun. Chico time is certainly no joke and long may it continue.


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TERMS & CONDITIONS, E&OE: 48 HOUR PARTY IS AN ADULT ONLY EVENT, ALL GUESTS MUST BE 18 YEARS OR OVER. SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY, NEW BOOKINGS ONLY. FULL BALANCE DUE 56 DAYS PRIOR TO ARRIVAL DATE. CONFIRMED CLASSES, NAMED ACTS & PERSONALITIES ARE SCHEDULED TO APPEAR, BUT ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. FROM £49 PER PERSON IS BASED ON 2 PEOPLE SHARING A 1 BEDROOM UPPER FLOOR, POPULAR APARTMENT FOR 2 NIGHTS ON A SELF CATERED BASIS. BED LINEN, TOWELS AND ELECTRIC ARE NOT INCLUDED BUT CAN BE PURCHASED ON PARK (LINEN & ELECTRIC INCLUDED IN CLUB APARTMENTS ONLY). PONTINS RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OR REMOVE ANY PROMOTIONAL OFFERS WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. CALLS ARE CHARGED AT 13P PER MINUTE + YOUR CHOSEN PHONE COMPANY ACCESS CHARGE. FULL TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY, VISIT WWW.PONTINS.COM/TERMS-AND-CONDITIONS.


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