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Editor’s Note

Hello, and welcome to the very first issue of BHAM magazine. The magazine was founded after the realisation that there was no media publication for the thriving health improving lifestyle that Birmingham has been adapting. This issue is all about giving you the answers to those all important questions that always linger when considering health or fitness. Please enjoy this packed mini-zine full of interviews, reviews and reccommendations from us,

Nikita Dosanjh




Hope Scott is nineteen year old female who has completely changed her life in just over a year. Most girls at this age do not have the drive and motivation to make such drastic change, but Hope did and her journey is a fascinating one.


he has always had an interest of sorts in sports and through her time at high school she did do acrobatic gymnastics for five years. For those unaware acrobatic gymnastics is; it is a competitive gymnastic discipline which sees routines performed that generally consist of acrobatic moves, dance and tumbling. So once she adopted the health and fitness lifestyle last year she became immediately engaged. Hope reflects upon her thoughts before she undertook the challenge and stated “I wasn't very happy with my body shape and weight. Being underweight and lacking confidence, I knew that I needed something to change”. Hope went on to discuss how she stays so dedicated; she said that “I think everybody can find themselves easily dedicated to something they are truly passionate about and enjoy. Ninety percent of the time I don't have to struggle to find motivation to get a workout in, because I love it so much”. “I'm always thinking of the results ahead of me when I'm putting the work in. It's making me stronger mentally and physically”. In a modern society that centres on social media, it becomes easier to interact with and be inspired by other people and

“It's making m

stronger ment

page 5 companies. The most popular sites focusing on this would be Instagram and Twitter. Hope herself follows plenty of fitness models on these two mediums and along the way picking up workout tips or herself as well as recipes. She reflects upon this and stated her reasons for doing so “Seeing the bodies they have achieved, it makes me work even harder for what I want”. She works out on average five to six times a week and each work out for her will last around an hour. She targets specific muscle groups on different days to maximise results. She breaks this down for us so that we get a picture of an average week for her and what she does, see the illustration to the left hand side

me tally and physically”

She was previously in full time education studying for a university degree, but she is now currently training to become a personal trainer. A career change is a sign of her dedication, she stated that “I would love to share my experience with those who would love to achieve and learn. My dream job would be to take this to the next level and be known internationally as a fitness model, having my own online clients and inspiring millions of people along the way”. The ambition is clear and she truly believes that health and fitness is an extremely important part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone. When asked if she had any words of wisdom for our reader; she said that “even if it's just on the side, it does makes you feel happier and more confident in yourself. It's all about finding balance and the right routine for you”. What becomes clear is the dedication and hard work that Hope has put in and wants to continue to do. We wish Hope all the best on her amazing journey and based on what we have seen so far, we cannot wait to see just how far this girl can go.






“ I d o n ’t b e l i e v e i n drastic overhauls� A Birmingham teacher and nutritional therapist shares journey

Q. Tell me a bit about yourself? My name is Jenna, I'm 29 and I've recently moved back to Birmingham after living in China for several years! Q. Please tell us about your website and the services that you offer? My site is It aims to be a nutrition and health blog that focuses on the importance of good gut health in particular! It offers gluten and dairy free recipes as well as guides to good digestion. As a qualified Nutritional Therapist I also offer both online and in person nutrition consultations. The aim of them is to work with the client to identify areas of potential nutritional deficiencies, trigger foods and areas of the diet that needs to be overhauled. I then create an individual diet plan aimed to promote energy levels, improved digestion, weight loss (if needed!) and overall wellness. Q. Have you always been interested in health and nutrition? If not; what made you change your lifestyle and work within this particular field? No! I used to eat pretty unhealthily and was a massive coach potato. I was diagnosed with crohn's disease (a disease that cause inflammation in the digestive tract) 1.5 years ago. This diagnosis forced me to completely overhaul my diet. As a result, I began to study nutrition in my detail and

undertook my diploma in Nutritional Therapy. Living and travelling in Asia also inspired me to naturally live a healthier lifestyle. Q.How did you find the dedication to stick to it and put so much work in? The more I studied, the more I was convinced about how crucial nutrition is to our wellbeing. I found dietary changes a massive help to the symptoms of my crohn's. More and more research seemed to back my ideas up and this has driven me to keep working on the blog and keep spreading the word! Q.Tell me about what you've achieved in the last year? Personally and with the business? This year I've made the move back to England after several years living abroad. I also finished my nutritional therapy diploma and revamped (and renamed) my website! Q. How do you feel about that? I'm really pleased to have it all up and running! There is still more recipes to experiment with, research to do and blog posts to write! However, I'm really pleased with the start I've made. Q.In your opinion; how important of a part does nutrition play in health and fitness? It makes a massive difference. It's so important that our cells have the right nutrients to help them work to their best potential. It's also crucial the body is able to receive adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat to do its

job properly. There's no point exercising unless you consider what to put in your body first! Q. Any plans for the future? Expanding your work? I'd like to write an ebook about gut health. More and more people are being diagnosed with IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease) and auto immune diseases. Since 80% of our immune system is in the gut, I feel it's something everyone needs to educate themselves on! Q. What advice would you have for someone who needs help with nutrition but might not be ready for an overhaul, just a bit of advice or information? I would suggest not making any drastic changes. For those looking for just a little advice, I offer an email consultation in which I suggest ways to improve and tweak your diet. For some people these simple changes (like adding a healthier source of protein or drinking a breakfast green juice) is all they need to feel much better. I don't believe in drastic overhauls, especially if the diet is already reasonably healthy. Q. Finally if they did want a nutritional overhaul, what typically could they expect? My most in-depth programme is a diet overhaul. This involves an in-depth consultation and a creation of a 2 week diet. If you are suffering from certain symptoms, it might also include an elimination and reintroduction diet to see if there are any food intolerances present.


13 WAYS TO Relax page 7

Now more than ever, people are getting by on less sleep and stress is an issue. Especially at night time when not settling down can mean a bad night’s sleep, which as a result can impact the following day. We looked at ten top ways that you can become more relaxed before bed;

1 4 7 10

Take a short walk. Transcribe your day in a journal.

Have a warm bath.

Listen to your music.


Watch your favourite TV shows.


2 5 8 11

Count to ten.


3 6 9 12

Enjoy a caffeine free hot drink.

Draw a picture. Pet an animal. Squeeze a stress ball. Read a book.

A DIET WORTH DOING? we try and test the diets so that you do not have to!

Diets are a sensitive subject, let’s be honest none of us like to admit that we are one a diet. I recently read interesting statistics that said one in three women and one in five men are on a diet at any one time. Those numbers are astronomical, with millions dieting at a time and there being so many diets to pick from; getting the one right for you can be hard. I was shopping this week and came across a bright red Slim Fast section. How many people have seen it? They’re everywhere and arguably the biggest or one of the biggest diets out there. What interested me was that it states “scientifically proven” on the products. The system is a 3-21 theme that focuses on three snacks, two bars or shakes and a single meal under six hundred calories. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? You restrict the calories and should lose weight. As the products had been on a three for two offer I purchased enough for the week and got nearly one of everything to try

out and give my honest opinion on. So to the products first of all; let me start with the powdered shakes, I had the banana and strawberry variants. I did try both on their own with the instructions at the back and I have to say I was not a fan at all. One thing I despise more than anything is lumps and there was lumps, no matter how hard I tried and the taste wasn’t too great. I had high hopes and assumed the taste would be similar to milkshakes but it wasn’t which was disappointing. Next up was the ready-made bottled shakes of which I had three varieties to try, all of which admittedly are really nice. They don’t have the problem that the powders have and are handy to take out and about. Taste wise they are all really good, the vanilla is just like a milk based drink which is a nice surprise. The Mocha is the newest arrival according to the site and is a lovely chocolate base with a

slight coffee kick which is a welcomed addition. Saving the best for last the Café Latte is heavenly, it just tastes great and has a slightly higher caffeine content than the Mocha so is great during the day. Now on to the meal bars, I had three varieties again to try. The strawberry one was really nice, it was like a cereal bar and does actually fill you up which is nice. The next up is the peanut bar which was surprising to me as it had whole sized peanuts on there as opposed to bits which you usually get. It goes well with the chocolate based bar but it did take me two or three to get used to them, it’s a very different taste. The last bar was a chocolate crunch bar, this was really nice and did feel like a treat but didn’t really fill me up and in honesty made me feel a little cheated when eating it because I wanted more or something else afterwards. From the meal bars on to the snack packets, I had three and the first was the tortilla chips.

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One words I would use to describe this is wow, I’m not sure if that is a good thing either. These tasted sugary, yes I said sugary which wasn’t a one off and was all of the ones that I had and I am still undecided on them. The second ones are the pretzels which in contrast are the single most amazing Slim Fast product. These taste like normal pretzels which is awesome and they are quite filling. Lastly there are cheddar bites which are like mini cheddars but with less taste. They are ok but you can tell it’s a “diet” or a “healthy” product. The last products are the snack bars, which you guessed it! I had three varieties. First up was the caramel bar, which I thought was nice and was just like a chocolate bar. Next was the nutty nougat bar which is amazing, the combination of the nougat and nuts works really well and is yummy! I thought that was as good as it got, but I was wrong. The appropriately named heavenly chocolate was just that, it was superb and consisted of chocolate, more chocolate and then more chocolate. Overall I would say it was a mixed bag, with some great products and some poor products; with a few in between. The diet was stuck too and I lost two pounds on this with no exercise what so ever, which is a great result. I was hungry throughout which I never really got used to and maybe that’s just me and I’m not a diet person but I gave it a good go. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to lose weight, it’s a great way of monitoring calories and if you stick to it then you won’t snack which is a bonus!



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Your local health and fitness is a review which focuses on a particular health and fitness centres; and then the facilities within that company. The area in and around Birmingham is the focus every issue. This week; for the launch issue we focus on the winners on the national health club awards in both 2013 and 2014 for the best small chain. The company we are talking about are Sandwell Leisure trust who are also a registered local charity (number 1102431). Firstly a bit of a background for the institution, Sandwell Leisure Trust have nine affordable leisure centres that member have full access to. They are an independent company and as mentioned a registered charity. The branch we reviewed is the Smethwick Swimming Centre which is less than four miles away from the town centre and is close to Hagley Road which is a popular and busy road connecting into the town centre. The facility we took a closer look at was the gym.The building itself has a retro feel and before entering you notice the ample parking in and around the centre (including a large car park at the rear). The building and entrances are clean and clearly maintained, as are the trees and the signage for the company. As you enter there is a range of swimming accessories on for sale and on the right hand side is the reception area, staff on hand are very friendly and happy to help. To the left is a leather seating area and the gym itself is split into two separate areas. To the upstairs is a cardio focussed floor with all the gym equipment you could every need and the systems themselves all had Freeview which was a

s a n d w e l l

surprising touch so that you could watch the latest programmes while working out. There was also a small weights area which had all the small accessories and mats for you to personalise your own workouts. There are large glass windows and a working fan so it doesn’t get too hot and has great views too. On the way to the lower gym there are vending machines, weighing machines and a sauna. The lower gym is weights focused with various machines throughout and the odd cardio machine. At the end of the lower floor there is a huge weights area and benches for all your needs which is a nice contrast to the upstairs. Overall this gym had charm and what it lacked in a state of the art building, it sure made up for in charm and equipment. There are free water machines at the entrances for both floors and local radio played throughout which gives this lovely little place a local charm. In addition to that the gym offers free weekly one to ones which can help you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. With membership available at pay as you go or with monthly subscriptions, there are many sports and facilities on for offer here. Membership does allow members to use any of the nine leisure centres which is quite useful. There are also special offers for signing up and even for referring friends. For more information please see the website at or alternatively they are on Twitter too, using the handle @SLTGetActive

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t r u s t


Q. Tell me a bit about yourself? Phil Sims, 37, Leamington Spa Q. Have you always been interested in health and fitness? As a youngster I was into all kinds of sports and I played football and cricket. These were interests of mine but I was never really into health and fitness as such. I always had a fascination with being more muscular, when I was younger, but I didn’t know how to go about it or know of anyone who could show me how to do it. Sport and computer games were my thing as a youngster. It was only when I got older that I became interested in the healthier aspects of life. Q. What made you change your lifestyle and work within this field? As I got older I began gaining more weight (I come from a family with a history of being overweight) I was still playing football but unfortunately I broke my ankle. I decided to join a gym when I was back on my feet, to try and get fitter for football. I’ll be honest, I struggled with the gym, at the time it intimidated me so I didn’t go back. 6 months passed and I decided to try again only this time I asked someone to write me a program and show me what to do. Before I knew it I found I was getting on really well with things and I decided to go it alone. I did some research on the internet and very quickly became a gym addict. After a few years I decided I needed a career change. I’d had enough of the office and was enjoying training so much that I wanted to share that with people, so I qualified (initially) as a Personal Trainer. Q. How did you find the dedication to stick to it and put so much work in? I’ll be honest, my earlier years as a Personal Trainer don’t bring back great memories. I thought I had all the knowledge, and certainly had the desire to want to help people, but the phone wasn’t ringing. I was going to quit. I remembered something that my then tutor told me at Personal Trainer school was that only 1 person from the class, would make it as a PT, long term, I’ve never forgot that and I wanted to make sure I was that 1 person. So I went back to the beginning and started again only this time I found myself some mentors which helped me change the way I approached things. To date getting help from people, who know more than me, is the best thing I have ever done. I put a lot of work into my business, if I am not with a client I am more than likely doing something behind

the scenes. Luckily my passion for health, fitness and ultimately helping people is huge so half the time it doesn’t really feel like work. Q. Tell me about what you've achieved in the last year? Personally and with the business? Through hard work my business has increased by 50% in this last year, through both one-to-one training sessions & remote coaching (there is only so much time I can spend face-to-face with clients and I really wanted to reach further afield, which is why I now allow time for remote coaching) I now also spend a proportion of my time mentoring other personal trainers in the country, which is great, I enjoy knowing I’m helping other trainers expand their knowledge & achieve their goals. As a result of the growth in my business I have been able to invest money into cutting edge courses from leaders around the world in their specialist subjects I have always wanted to attend, which has helped me personally, in turn helping the people I serve and work with. Q. How do you feel about that? A word that shows up a lot in my life right now is “awesome” and this is how the past year makes me feel. Why? My journey into personal training began because I wanted to try and help people, and now I am doing just that, and I will continue to do so. I look forward to meeting those who may need my help but who I haven’t yet met. I’m here to make a difference for people of all levels. Q. How does online coaching differ to it being in person? Please tell us how the "Skype sessions" usually work? Have you ever thought to yourself that you know what to do but you repeatedly find yourself not achieving your goals and you don’t know why? Well this is where the coaching aspect of my personal training helps many people out. I often tell clients that they are the ones who have the best answers for change that suits their lifestyle. With online coaching I’m not physically there, watching people execute their training, so I ask a lot of questions & listen. I don’t tell people what to do. I help them work out how to do what they already know and help them commit to change. Q. How important of a part does nutrition play in health and fitness and what you do? This is a big part of anyone’s goal. I often see people fail though, due to making things too complicated. I am a fan of keeping it simple and, more importantly, fun. People need to learn to

page 13 enjoy their food because if they try to diet, and feel restricted, they do not enjoy it and then they will stop. How many times have you continued with something you don’t enjoy? This is why diets fail in my opinion. I advise my clients to ensure that every meal features lean protein, healthy fats & greens, the building blocks of good nutrition in my opinion. The best diet is the one where you feel like you are not on a diet which was the main reason for me developing my Feed Me Fit cook book which is packed full of easy to make, healthy recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners & snacks. Q. Could you run us through what an average weekly workout is like for you and break it down for our readers? Nothing is generic for me or my clients, although my workouts do have one thing in common, they are fun. If they are not fun, then just like the food we eat, we will stop. I am big fan of helping people move correctly which is paramount for a longer lasting and enjoyable life. Whatever the level of the individual movement will be addressed. In terms of programming then, I train all kinds of clients, so whether they are a weight loss client, a runner, a cycler or someone who just needs to stay mobile they’re workouts will vary dependent on their goal.

Q. Any plans for the future? Expanding your work? Always, I have many ideas in my head. I am currently a little ahead of my bigger plans which I’ll keep secret for now but after the success of my latest ebooks and cookbooks I am now currently working on a 3 month fat loss programme that I plan to roll out very soon. Q.What advice would you have for someone who is scared to make a change, someone who is unhappy with themselves but wants to make this step? Keep it simple. What is the 1 simplest thing that you could do today that will help your day tomorrow? Write down 5 steps you need to take to move towards a happier you and concentrate on achieving number 1 on the list, if you can do this then start working on number 2. At Phil Sims Personal Training I like to use a strategic approach with clients but ultimately one that is very simple to execute. The best results, and real transformations, often come from people making the simplest of changes.



Our interview with leading Midlands Personal Trainer

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Food Focus. Each issue this section will see a focus on a particular type of food or drink. For this launch issue we are looking the ‘in thing’, none other than smoothies! They are big business, smoothies have dedicated bars and also are in every supermarket you can imagine. Looking at supermarket smoothies, the only issues we have with them are that they can be very expensive (up to £3 for a small 350ml bottle) and that they can be very calorific. They can be easy and fun to make at home, for every occasion. Here are three recipes for healthy smoothies that are all less than five hundred calories. It must be noted that these smoothies are perfect as meal replacements or in addition to your daily intake.All of these are made with less than four ingredients for ease and topped with almond milk. Also for ease these ingredients are all available from the major four supermarkets (Asda/Morrisons/ Sainsburys/Tesco). Blended together using a Breville Blend Active. Other blenders are available but what we like about this one is the ability to blend in the bottle and take out for the day with ease. 1. Blueberry Madness This fruity delight is perfect to start the day. Also great for a pick me up at any point during the day! Ingredients are; • Blueberries (two scoops) • Banana (one) • Flaxseed (one table spoon) 2. Chocolate Delight This is an indulgent chocolate treat that is friendly on the waistline. Great as a replacement meal at lunch or at any time! Ingredients are; • Maxitone Sculptress Chocolate (two scoops) • Organic oats (one scoop) • Flaxseed (one table spoon) • Lotus biscuit (one) 3. Café Hulk This is a true Hulk in every sense of the word. Perfect after a heavy gym session! Ingredients are; • Maxi Nutrition Promax Lean (two scoops) • Slim Fast Café Latte (one bottle) • Flaxseed (one table spoon)



is a plant from the ginger family. It is commonly known as the main spice in curries which also gives the yellow colour. Turmeric is also a popular ingredient in butter, cheese, mustard and curry powders. India has used turmeric has for thousands of years as medicine for aches and pains. The antifungal and antibacterial properties in the plant have braced the nation worldwide for herbal therapies. Turmeric is frequently used as an anti-inflammatory for joint pains such as arthritis, liver problems, abdominal problems, cancer, headaches, colds and depression. Good news is Turmeric now readily available from most food stores as tea bags, tubes and powder. Golden Turmeric Tea

2x teaspoons of ground turmeric (or 1x tea bag turmeric) 1x teaspoon of honey ½ x fresh lemon Mix turmeric and honey together to make paste form in a mug. Pour boiled hot water into the mug and mix well. Add squeezed fresh lemon juice. Allow to sit for one minute before drinking. Quick Kale Pizza Smooth leafed kale 1x Small margarita pizza Extra Virgin Olive Oil Wash and cut 4x kale leaves into strips. Throw over a simple margarita pizza. Drizzle extra virgin oil. Bake in the oven until crust turns light golden brown.


is a brassica from the cabbage family. It is commonly used in stir fries, salads, soups and casseroles. Kale is a very British produce and until the Middle Ages it used to be one of the most popular green vegetable. During the World War II, Kale was very much part of family food because of how easily it grows and extremely cost effective way to receive the nutrients that were needed. Kale is very rich in vitamin C, K and calcium. The common benefits of Kale is that it fights cancer and used for stomach related problems such as pain, acid and ulcers. It is also know to help defend off asthma and pregnancy related sicknesses. Kale is available from most grocery stores and can be residentially grown fairly easily. Kale can have smooth leaves or curly. It comes in powder form, fresh, paste and tablets.


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Almond milk

is a fantastic alternative to diary milk, it is full of nutritious values and readily available in food stores. It can vary from sweetened to unsweetened under many various brand titles. Almond milk is not just full of goodness but also tastes rather pleasant. Almond milk is a great substitution normal diary milk if you are losing or managing your weight.


are flowering plants of indigo colour. Blueberries are a popular superfood with many nutritious benefits. They represent a platform of antioxidants which contain good sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and other antioxidants.Blueberries originate from North America and surprisingly have been around for over 13,000 years ago. Historically they used to be added to soups and preservatives.

One cup of whole milk contains 146 calories and almond milk contains only 60 calories. It contains vitamin high in iron.Almond milk is commonly used as a suitable substitute for lactulose intolerances. Benefits of drinking almond milk include heart disease, digestion, and healthy bones. Almond can be used in cereals, puddings, smoothies and baking.

Benefits of blueberries are many including protection against heart disease and fighting against memory loss and some cancer. Whilst these sweet berries can be eaten on their own, they can also be added to breakfast, fruit pies, smoothies and salad. Blueberries are readily available from most food stores and can easily be frozen at home. This brain superfood can be added very easily to your daily intake.

Almond fruit smoothie 1x banana 4x blueberries 2x teaspoons of natural yoghurt 1x digestive biscuit 250mls Almond Milk Slice banana and gently crush the digestive biscuit together. Mix in blueberries, natural yoghurt and almond milk. Switch on blender or smoothie maker. Once mixed smoothly, pour in to a cocktail glass and enjoy.

Blueberry breakfast yoghurt Small handful of berries Natural yoghurt 1x teaspoon of natural honey Keep aside 1/3 of blueberries and mash the remainder with a fork. Add the mashed blueberries to the yoghurt and mix well. Add the 1/3 of blueberries to the mixed yoghurt and pour the honey over before eating.



or health and wellbeing reasons many people take supplements and look for sports nutrition. For the average consumer going in to a health shop or looking online can be a daunting prospect. After all there are so many types of supplements and sport nutrition for different needs that do different things. If you’re someone who is looking for a guide to the right product for you or even if you already take them and want to make sure that they are fit for purpose. This guide is a handy reference to some of the most popular products and what exactly they do.

BCAA’s These are great for helping to maintain muscle mass while on a diet. So if you want to build or maintain what you have wile shedding the pounds, this is essential for you. Also they’re quickly absorbed in to the blood stream. CASEIN A form of protein that is longer lasting and is slower in to the blood stream than whey protein. This is ideal before bed or at the start of the day. CREATINE This is primarily for weight lifting. This increases the body’s ability to produce energy more rapidly. So you can effectively do more in less. But creatine will make you put on weight so this is to be avoided if that is something that you don’t wish to do. FAT BURNERS Pretty much what it says

on the tin; fat burners are for people that want to lose weight. These can help you to shed weight fast but must be purchased with caution because you do hear horror stories regarding none regulated or banned fat burners. Stick to popular shops and you will be fine. PROPEPTIDE An advanced protein supplement that is a great meal replacement and generally quite filling. This product is loaded with probiotic organisms that promote better and more effective protein digestion. WHEY PROTIEN This is a protein that is isolated from whey. It is essential for helping the body burn fat and building as well as maintenance of muscle. This comes in various forms and flavours and can be used to create baked goods as well as other food products. This is ideal before a workout or just after. ZMA This is the least popular and known from the list. It’s a blend of minerals that is known or giving you greater strength and testosterone levels. This product is relatively cost effective and key if you wanted to increase strength.