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HOW ALICIA VIKANDER BUILT HER TOMB RAIDER BODY 6 BRIT ATHLEISURE BRANDS TO BOOKMARK

APRIL 2018 | £3.99

SMASH YOUR BODY GOALS NUTRIENT CYCLING: THE MOST EFFECTIVE EATING PLAN EVER? WH INVESTIGATES

THE BIGGEST HEALTH SCANDAL TO HIT UK WOMEN

HARDER. FASTER. STRONGER. WHY WE’RE ALL FALLING

KEEPING IT REAL IN LIFE, LOVE AND IN THE GYM

WILLPOWER ENGAGED

THE SECRET TO SELF-CONTROL

STRESSED-SKIN SOLUTIONS

FOR CROSSFIT 04

9 772049 224044

THE VEGAN’S GUIDE TO BUILDING MUSCLE


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hen I joined Women’s Health 14 months ago, I’d just returned from my second maternity leave – a blissful year of baby cwtches (I’m Welsh, there are no cuddles in my house) and working out in my living room doing Kayla’s Bikini Body Guide, using my daughter as a weight, naturally. Then, on 16 January 2017, I arrived at WH HQ and was met with a wellness scene unrecognisable from the one I’d left behind. Boutique classes had gone from being niche to de rigueur; long-overdue catch-ups were taking place in gyms, not bars, and over juice, not gin; and women were spending more on workout kit than they would on an outfit for a friend’s wedding. As I caught up on a million micro-trends, one thing was clear: wellness was no longer playing out on the peripheries; it had cemented itself into our cultural landscape. And it was here to stay. Since then, our little island has become fertile ground for wellbeing talent – from homegrown health brands to athleisure designers and PTs. So I thought it was about time we celebrated, which is exactly

Claire Sanderson / Editor Follow me on Instagram @clairesanderson

This month I’m... Star-struck by... Welsh rugby superstar Leigh Halfpenny, who I met when Under Armour invited me to a Six Nations match. It’s a hard life...

Loving... This minimal must-have from Reiss. Simple enough to go with everything, but gives any outfit a lift. Who needs a Chloé?

Crushing on... These Victoria Beckham sunglasses. Surely my editor status justifies how big they are?

Bookmarking... British swimwear brand Deakin and Blue. Its costumes sculpt curves perfectly, while this navy and black colouring is super high-end.

PHOTOGRAPHY: IAN HARRISON

issue

what we’re doing with this, the first ever Women’s Health UK issue. The pages that follow are packed with the best of the British wellness scene. You’ll find a line-up of the most exciting activewear brands – if LNDR and Varley aren’t already on your radar, turn to page 87 and thank me later; we explore how CrossFit became the coolest UK workout, not to mention the toughest – I’m writing this on day three of DOMS after doing the CrossFit-inspired class The WOD at Third Space, London; and we take your taste buds on a trip around the country with our piece on the UK food scene – find out what and where you’ll be eating in 2018 (book a table in Bristol before it’s too late). Speaking of Bristol, it’s the home town of our cover star, Maya Jama. As well as being the epitome of British cool, Maya embodies the Women’s Health values: empowerment, success and, above all, balance. After moving to London at 16, she grafted to get where she is today: she presents extreme sports show Revolution, is a newbie on BBC Radio 1 and is the face of a host of brands, including Gap. Her attitude to wellness – ‘I’ll eat naughty stuff and I’ll eat the nice stuff’ – is truly refreshing. And you know what? She’s also a laugh. She arrived at our cover shoot in a camo print onesie after being out until the small hours at the National Television Awards. She was delightful to everyone on set, down to earth and excited to be starring on her first ever mainstream magazine cover. I hope you enjoy. As always, let me know what you think of the issue on Instagram @clairesanderson. Until next month.

NEVER MISS AN ISSUE Get WH delivered direct to your door every month or choose to download it to your mobile or tablet. Go to p142 for our latest subscription offer.

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Follow the team on Instagram

Managing Director, Health & Fitness Alun Williams Executive Assistant to Managing Director Natasha Mann Head of Marketing Jane Shackleton Senior Marketing Executive Philippa Turner

Editor Claire Sanderson @clairesanderson

Creative Director Adam Gerrard

Workflow Director Emma King

@spreadingthejoy

@adamgerrard_whuk

@emmak1ng

Managing Editor/ Picture Editor Emily Murphy @emilybaho

WORDS Features Editor Nikki Osman

Health & Beauty Editor Amelia Jean Jones

@nikstamatic

Chief Sub Editor Victoria Rudland @victoriarudland

@ameliajeanjones

Deputy Chief Sub Editor James Brown @ja_mesbrown

Features Writer Roisín Dervish-O’Kane

Editorial Assistant/Junior Writer Florence Mitchell

@roisin.dervishokane

@flomit

FASHION

VISUALS

Acting Fashion Director Saskia Quirke

Fashion Assistant Polly Bartlett

Deputy Art Editor Nathalie Gimson

Designer George Hilton

Picture Assistant Eliot Brittain

@saskiaquirke

@pollyvbartlett

@nathaliegimsondesign

@gbhilton

@eliotbrittain

DIGITAL Digital Editor Amy Hopkinson

Social Media Editor Francesca Menato

Junior Digital Writer Ally Head

@wellness_ed

@ces_menato

@allyyhead

THE FACES FROM THE UK ISSUE

THE PHOTOGRAPHER

THE PT

THE CHEF

Snap-happy Brit Victoria Adamson captures this month’s fashion story on p87

On p69, trainer to the stars Magnus Lygdback reveals Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider fitness regime

British cook Anna Jones shares her delicious one-pot asparagus pasta recipe on p55

Style icon? Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. In another life, I’d be… A dancer. I wish I’d danced more as a child. Summer travel plans? Florence is my favourite place in the world but, this year, Cuba is top of my list.

Best thing about spring? Sunlight – it makes me feel happy and energised. Words to live by? Don’t be driven by your problems; be led by your dreams. Gym essential? My brain. The only thing that determines whether I have a good workout is my mindset.

When I’m not cooking, I’m… Hanging out with my son. Favourite foodie destination? LA – it has the best veggie food on earth. Dream dinner guests? My sister, Nigel Slater, Nigella Lawson, Joan Didion, Kirsty Young and Victoria Wood.

WITH THANKS TO Co-conspirators: Alice Ball, Oliver Burston, Sharon Farrow, Karisma Indra, Alex Jefferies, Jamie Lee Jenkins, Charlie Lambros, Georgie Lane-Godfrey, Elisa Macellari, Zoe McConnell, Rachel Moore, Donough O’Malley, Lizzy Thomas

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AGENCY DIVISION Chief Agency Officer Jane Wolfson Director, Client Direct Matt Hayes Group Agency Director Joni Morriss Regional Agency Director Clare Crookes Agency Director, Print Vanessa Wiles (0207 339 4405) Head of Business Management Lucy Porter (0207 439 5276) Luxury Business Manager Rosalie Atkinson-Willes (0207 439 5615) Head of Classified Lee Rimmer (0203 728 7707) CONSUMER SALES AND MARKETING Marketing and Circulation Director Reid Holland Head of Consumer Sales and Marketing Matt Blaize-Smith Head of Subscriptions Marketing Justine Boucher Subscriptions Marketing Manager Vicky Chandler Subscriptions Marketing Executive Victoria Greenwood Digital Marketing Director Seema Kumari

COMMUNICATIONS Head of PR Fay Jennings Deputy Head of PR Ben Bolton PR Manager Clare Fenny PR & Communications Executive Georgia Black Journalist enquiries media@hearst.co.uk SHOWS & EVENTS Director of Events & Sponsorship, Hearst Live Victoria Archbold Events Executive, Hearst Live Jenni Whale (0207 312 4190) PRODUCTION Production Manager Roger Bilsland Ad Production Controller Jonathan Stuart (0207 439 5290) HEARST UK President & CEO James Wildman Chief Operating Officer Claire Blunt Chief Strategy Officer Robert Ffitch HR Director Surinder Simmons Chief Operations Director Clare Gorman Acting Head of Editorial Operations Sophie Wilkinson Director, Hearst Brand Services Judith Secombe HEARST INTERNATIONAL Senior Vice President/ Chief Financial Officer & General Manager Simon Horne Senior Vice President/ International Publishing Director Jeanette V Chang Senior Vice President/ Editorial Director Kim St Clair Bodden

Women’s Health is published in the UK by Hearst-UK Limited. Women’s Health is a trademark of Hearst Magazines Inc. Hearst-UK Limited, 72 Broadwick Street, London W1F 9EP. Company number: 00519122. Editorial team tel: 020 7339 4466. Women’s Health (ISSN 2049-2243). Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved. Women’s Health is printed and bound by Southernprint Ltd. 17-21 Factory Road, Upton Ind. Estate, Poole, Dorset BH16 5SN, and distributed by Frontline Ltd, Peterborough; tel: 01733 555161. Published 11 times a year. Conditions apply. Women’s Health does not consider unsolicited material for publication and will not return it if submitted. Hearst Magazines Environmental Statement All paper used to make this magazine is from sustainable sources in Scandinavia and we encourage our suppliers to join an accredited green scheme. Magazines are now fully recyclable. By recycling, you can reduce waste and add to the 5.5 million tonnes of paper recycled by the UK paper industry each year. Before you recycle your magazine, ensure you remove all plastic wrapping, free gifts and samples. If you are unable to join a recycling scheme, why not pass your magazine on to a local hospital or charity? Women’s Health is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint, please contact complaints@hearst.co.uk or visit hearst.co.uk/hearst-magazines-uk-complaints-procedure. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk

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INTERVIEWS: FLORENCE MITCHELL

Deputy Editor Victoria Joy

CLIENT DIVISION Managing Director, Beauty Jacqui Cave Managing Director, Fashion & Luxury Jacqueline Euwe Director of Health & Sport Andrea Sullivan Director of Travel Denise Degroot Director of Motors Jim Chaudry Director of Watches & Jewellery Anna O’Sullivan Client Director, Personal Finance Jacquie Duckworth Client Direct Director, Health & Sport Natasha Bailey Client Direct Director, Fashion & Beauty Emma Barnes


April 2018

KNOW HOW

STRONG MIND

13 IF YOU DO ONE THING THIS MONTH...

61 GO WITH YOUR GUT The future’s path to a healthy mind may go via your stomach

14 NEED TO KNOW All-new science, just for you

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19 FOOD FOR THOUGHT How can vegans build muscle?

BEST BODY

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20 TECHNIQUE SCHOOL Learn to master the chest press

69 CRACKING THE WHIP How Alicia Vikander got ripped to play the new Lara Croft

22 DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK? It’s all about the infrared sauna

74 ONE-PIECE WORKOUT Get a full-body sweat sesh out of a resistance band

25 SKIN CLINIC Facialist Emma Hardie’s top picks 26 FIT KIT HERO The instant upgrade to your strength style

77 MY FIT LIFE Varley founder Lara Mead

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79 FAT BURNER’S DIARY How one reader ditched booze for half-marathons and lost 8st

27 WHAT HAPPENS WHEN... ...you do HIIT (besides DOMS) 29 ALICE LIVEING ON... ...building a killer core

80 BRITAIN’S FAVE WORKOUT Trends come and go, but this one’s a keeper

EAT SMART

GOOD LOOKS

41 CLOCK-WATCHING Is when you eat more important than what you eat?

87 BEST OF BRITISH The hottest athleisure garms the UK has to offer

46 EGGS, FOUR WAYS Scrambled, boiled, poached and fried – they’re all here

94 WH TESTS We trial low-cost cosmetics

48 PLAYING WITH FIBRE It’s the trendiest nutrient. True story.

96 HAIR SHADES TO DYE FOR Spring has sprung, so give your barnet a boost

52 BCAA VS CREATINE The fitness supp fight is on

100 TAKE THE STRESS OUT You owe your complexion a hand against life’s pressures

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55 5 INGREDIENTS, 1 MEAL Welcome asparagus linguine into your dinner-time arsenal

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105 #WHSTYLESPY Steal the best looks from Insta

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COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: ZOE M C CONNELL. HAIR: KEVIN SHANTI. MAKE-UP: LETITIA SOPHIA. STYLING: SASKIA QUIRKE; POLLY BARTLETT. MAYA WEARS: (ON THE COVER) SPORTS BRA, BODYISM; BIKINI BOTTOMS, MELISSA ODABASH. (ON THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION AND THIS PAGE) BODYSUIT, ERNEST LEOTY; GLOVES, NIKE; SHOES, GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI

16 ASK ANYTHING Injured? Why all is not lost

66 GENDER DYSPHORIA The story of a woman born in the wrong body


the issue P30

Maya Jama TV presenter and British goddess Maya Jama talks squatting deep, overcoming grief, oh, and life with Stormzy

FEATURES 108 THE BIGGEST MEDICAL SCANDAL OF OUR TIME? It looks innocuous, but a small piece of mesh is ruining lives 114 SUN, SEA AND SOUL-SEARCHING We head to a Spanish hillside, where British millennials are finding themselves... 120 SWEET TALK Think you’ve got sugar sussed? Come on, then – prove it 128 NATION OF NOSH Britain’s time as the culinary pariah of Europe is over

135 WELL TRAVELLED Our pick of the best UK spas for your wellness staycation

146 MY WEEK ON A PLATE Ballerina Tala Lee-Turton

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T H E H E A LT H N E WS TO U S E N OW Strength of character

IF YOU DO ONE THING THIS MONTH…

Believe to

ACHIEVE

WORDS: RACHEL MOORE. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES

It’s all in your mind. No, seriously, it is. All you need to do in order to achieve your goal – be it avoiding that fourth flapjack or making your 7am treadmill date – is believe you can. The psychological theory of ego-depletion has traditionally taught us that willpower is a limited reserve, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. But a new study is turning this idea on its head. Indian researchers recently replicated the original ego-depletion study, using both US participants, who generally believe that exerting selfcontrol is draining, and Indian participants, who tend to view it as energising. Both sets of participants completed a difficult task followed by a second taxing task to see if they gave up. While the US participants exhibited ego-depletion, the Indian participants actually performed better on the second task when the first task was more difficult – displaying reverse ego-depletion – adding to a growing body of research that suggests you have as much willpower as you think you have. Plus, those who believe they have unlimited reserves are proven to be happier and to experience less stress. So next time you return to the pasta pot for seconds (oh, fine, thirds), rendering your next-day leftovers, well, non-existent, remember: they don’t call it won’t power…

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In the know

Want the latest health intel? Here it is – served up on a plate

FUNKY FRAICHE Vegans who crave a creamy antidote to their spicy curries, your prayers have been answered by Oatly Creamy Oat Fraiche. (£1.55 for 250ml, Tesco)

HIIT THE PITCH Lighter evenings are great – unless you’re unwillingly stuck in a studio class. Good news then that you can get the same cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal benefits from venturing outside those four walls. A new study* found that football training is as effective at improving aerobic health as HIIT. Add a one-hour session of the beautiful game a week to your schedule to reap rewards.

Dirty laundry Here’s an easy solution to help you chill next time work gets tough – though it does come with a hygiene warning. New research* found that taking a whiff of your partner’s shirt could help relieve symptoms of stress. Not any old person’s dirties will suffice – those given a stranger’s shirt to smell recorded higher stress levels, so keep it specific.

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THE BOOK

Get It Done

If Brad can’t bark his signature phrase at you mid-burpee himself, you can harness the PT’s ‘get it done’ mentality from his debut book instead. Filled with no-nonsense nutrition and fitness advice, his 10-week training plan promises to have you shedding fat and building strength with a new fitness mindset for life. Get It Done by Bradley Simmonds (£16.99, HQ)

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GRIN AND WEAR IT Neu Apparel creates actually affordable gymwear that’s not what all your mates are wearing. We’re fawning over this sports bra. (£24.99, neuapparel.com)

SMOOTH WATERS For a slightly more mature taste than most coconut waters, have a sip of Clearspring Organic King Coco. (£2.49 for 350ml, clearspring.co.uk)

SWEAT FOR GOOD At London’s Shepherd’s Bush branch of Terra Hale, spin bikes convert your pedal power to electricity and feed it back into the grid. (terrahale.com)

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SECONDS

The time you could knock off your 5k personal best by supplementing your diet with minerals. A study by Ohio State University discovered that young women in particular often have micro-deficiencies in certain minerals, which can hamper their athletic performance. Researchers blame our monthly cycle and the fact that we eat less meat than we used to (hi, flexitarianism). Try to get more iron, copper and zinc – then prepare to pound faster.

GRAZE TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER Braved Tinder only to find yourself across the dinner table from a date who likes, eugh, sardines? Stick around. A study published in the journal Appetite points to data that shows your taste and smell preferences can change over time to match the culinary preferences of your partner. Researchers, who studied 100 couples with relationships spanning from three months to 45 years, believe this has an evolutionary benefit, as it supports harmonious relationships. Tasty.

‘It’s not what I have been through in my life that defines who I am, it’s how I got through it that has made me the person I am today...’ NICOLA ADAMS, OLYMPIC BOXER

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WORDS: FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. *SOURCES: BRITISH JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE; UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

WH HIT LIST


THE BIG QUESTION My fitness levels are decent, so why do I get exhausted going up the stairs to my office? This phenomenon you speak of is more common than you’d think. Legging it up the stairs or an escalator works a very different set of muscles to your Saturday Parkrun. ‘Climbing places a load on your heart and lungs in a way that your body won’t be used to,’ explains Dr Michael Faulx, cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, US. And your hamstrings and glutes work harder to repeatedly lift and rebalance the body. If you don’t want to stagger into work gasping for air, incorporate some

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interval sprints and hill climbs into your usual workout routine. If you’re new to interval training, run up a gentle hill for five seconds before walking back down, then take it up to 10 seconds, down to seven, and then back down to five again. If you’re relatively fit, find a short hill and mimic the effort of a flat run, no matter how slow you go. For pros, explode up a steep hill for eight to 12 seconds. Take two minutes to walk down and do eight reps. Repeat once a week. Just remember to take it one step at a time.

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‘ASKING FOR A FRIEND’

Q

How gross is it to share my partner’s toothbrush?

How do I tell my partner of a year I feel a bit ‘meh’ about their signature move in bed?

We’ve all been there: you’ve left yours on charge/in your other washbag/at work. But in this instance, sharing isn’t caring. ‘Brushing sometimes causes the gums to bleed, which exposes everyone who shares one toothbrush to bloodstream diseases,’ explains Dr Ben Atkins, clinical director at Revive Dental Care. ‘By sharing a toothbrush, couples may be sharing blood, which is a lot riskier than simply mixing saliva.’ If that’s not enough to gross you out, sharing a toothbrush could essentially render the whole process of brushing redundant. ‘There are many thousands of different strains of bacteria in the mouth and the number varies from person to person,’ Dr Atkins adds. ‘As the purpose of brushing is to remove bacterial plaque, much of the bacteria remain on the bristles.’ So, play swapsies and you’re sharing those germs. If you must share a toothbrush, make it an electric one and get separate attachments. When it comes to toothbrushes, two heads are definitely better than one. 

Twelve months?! This topic is going straight to the top of your ‘we need to talk’ list because, while your consideration of their feelings is admirable (truly), if this relationship is going to have a future, lying back and thinking of England ain’t an option. Steer things in a more pleasurable direction without any egos being dented; next time they’re about to do The Thing, gently guide their hands/hips/riding crop – hey, whatever gets you going – into a position you feel more excited about. If, on the other hand, you’re one of the more sexually articulate among us – and mazel tov – tell them what they could be doing that you’d enjoy even more. If all else fails, take some, ahem, alone time to figure out what it is that you really want, and then next time things are getting erotically charged, make sure you take control and show them how it’s done.

A brush with danger

WORDS: NIKKI OSMAN; GINNI MANSBERG; MARCI GOOLSBY; DEAN STATTMAN; PAUL KITA; MICHAEL SNEEDEN. PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES

Q

I’ve got a leg injury so my usual cardio is out – what else can I do?

There’s little more frustrating than all the pain and none of the gain, so how can you navigate injury while keeping your fitness levels up? ‘Depending on the severity and anatomical region of the issue, swimming is a good non-weight bearing workout for your whole body,’ says Dr Ralph Rogers, consultant in sports and orthopaedic medicine. ‘And cycling improves leg strength

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while being less stressful on joints than running and walking.’ Plus, there’s nothing to stop you working on your upper-body strength. Moves focused on the core should be doable too, though if that’s yoga or Pilates, make sure you inform the instructor of your injury. As for your healthy leg, that’ll get plenty of exercise from compensating for the other.

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THE EXPERT Laura Tilt, registered dietitian and founder of Tilt Nutrition (tiltnutrition.co.uk)

the

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

issue

Can you build muscle on a

VEGAN DIET? Veganism is hotter in the UK than Marklemania, but is it holding you back in the weights room?

PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. *SOURCES: OCADO; AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION

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e Brits have always been an animal-loving lot. (For us, a new series of Blue Planet is a national event.) And with UK sales of plant-based foods shooting up 1,500% in 2016* – and continuing to rise ever since – it seems that our animal-friendly ethos is spreading to our dinner plates. Whether you’ve been vegan since before Veganuary, you’re flirting with flexitarianism or you’re wondering what to do when #meatfreemonday clashes with leg day, it pays to know how to fuel your gains the green way. Building muscle effectively and healthily requires a few things, not least sufficient calorie intake and a strength training programme that involves lifting heavy. Protein, of course, plays a pivotal role because it delivers the raw materials for muscle repair and new muscle growth. But does it make a difference whether your protein is coming from animals or plants?

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The results of a 2017 study* seemed to suggest that, when it comes to muscle mass – the amount of muscle in your body – plant proteins are just as good as animal proteins. Researchers looked at how the preferred protein source of study participants related to their muscle mass. Unsurprisingly, those with the highest protein intake had the most muscle mass. However, there was no link between muscle mass and the type of protein consumed – plant or animal. So when it comes to maintaining muscle mass, vegans turning to tofu, lentils and soy aren’t necessarily at a disadvantage, providing enough protein gets eaten. Right, so what about gains? Research (on men only, at this point) has found that animal proteins, such as whey, are more effective at switching on muscle manufacture after weight training than plant-based proteins, like soy. The reason? Animal proteins contain more leucine – a protein building block that drives new muscle growth. As a guide, animal-based

Green giant

NO WHEY We’ve crunched the numbers to see how vegan protein stacks up SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE A 30g serving contains 2.5g leucine VEGAN L-LEUCINE A 3g serving contains 3g leucine RICE PROTEIN POWDER A 35g serving contains 2.7g leucine OATS A 50g dry serving contains 0.6g leucine LENTILS A 100g dry serving contains 1.8g leucine

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proteins provide 8-11% leucine, and plant proteins only 6-8%. But, get enough leucine from your plant protein (2-3g post-workout being the magic number), and it could rival animal sources. In one 2013 study, male college students were given 48g of either rice protein (3.8g leucine) or whey protein (5.5g leucine) after strength training sessions and both groups had similar gains in muscle mass. Right now, we don’t know whether the same results could apply to women, or how the gains compare long-term, but getting enough leucine postworkout is an important factor. If you’re vegan, this probably means using a leucine supp, such as MyProtein L Leucine (£4.99 for 250g, myprotein.com), which can be added to a protein shake or a glass of water. You could always just eat more plant protein, but this might leave your plate heaving under the weight of your portions. You’d have to put away 200g cooked lentils to get your 2.5g leucine. Tag-teaming two or three plant proteins is a good strategy. As for daily protein intake, the consensus is to aim for 1.2-2g protein per kilo of body weight if you want to gain muscle. That said, it’s not all about the protein. Carbs reduce muscle breakdown and provide energy for tough sessions, so team protein with carbs and healthy fats, too. That way, as long as you get your leucine hit, you’ll smash your swole goals.

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NEXT LEVEL MOVES

2 Raise the weights in line with your shoulders

Try these tweaks for further gains

1 Don’t lock your elbows

3 PLAY WITH SPACING ‘Narrower hand spacing trains the triceps; a wider gap places greater emphasis on the shoulders,’ says Esterhuizen.

4

5

Keep your bum and shoulders heavy

Keep your feet firmly planted on the floor

TECHNIQUE SCHOOL

Chest press Whether you take it to the floor or the bench, overhaul your upper-body power with this press

I

magine the ‘I must, I must, I must increase my bust’ move got an adult makeover and you have the chest press. Forget about growing a pair (face it, if you’re past puberty, your cup measurement is pretty much set – and there’s obviously no right or wrong size) and realise this move is a winner. Chest presses improve power when it comes to sports performance. Got a Tough Mudder coming up? Taking on a triathlon? Add this to your gym regime now. Plus, increased bone density (to safeguard against osteoporosis) and improved upper-body flexibility are both added perks. ‘In this simple move, you’re engaging several of the muscles

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in the front upper shoulder, ribcage and triceps,’ says personal trainer Marelize Esterhuizen. And yes, to hark back to that schoolyard refrain, the chest press does actually perk your girls up a little. ‘Remember that muscles respond best to a challenge, so don’t be afraid to lift heavy,’ says Esterhuizen. ‘But,’ adds sports physiotherapist Ria Sandenbergh, ‘it’s also important to give your muscles a break, so do this move three times a week with a rest between training days. Aim for two sets of five to eight reps.’

SIGNS YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG You’re not firmly planted ‘Keep your shoulders and glutes pressed flat on the floor or bench at all times,’ says Esterhuizen. Lifting them puts strain on the muscles in those areas, which can lead to injury. You’re lifting too heavy Sure, you want to test your limits, but if you can’t fully lift the weight into the air, it’s too heavy. Start with something that you can manage for at least 10 reps with good technique, then gradually build up.

GO LONGER ‘Lower the weight to your chest over a count of three – this is great for muscle endurance,’ says boxing trainer Sanchia du Preez.

GET ROCKY ‘Rest your head and shoulders on a Swiss ball while engaging your glutes to build your core,’ says Sandenbergh. WORDS: MICHELLE OCTOBER. PHOTOGRAPHY: IGOR POLZENHAGEN

Engage your core

AVOID IF… Your joints are hypermobile or you’re prone to shoulder injuries.

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THE GUINEA PIG Francesca Menato, WH Social Media Editor

DOES IT WORK IN REAL LIFE…

Infrared sauna

I

’m in a hot box situation. No, not that kind – this isn’t LA. I’m in an actual hot box, an infrared sauna actually, sweating away at boutique fitness and wellness club KXU in Chelsea. Saunas are the latest traditional offering to be given a wellness upgrade – swapping dry heat for infrared heat. It’s said to penetrate the skin more deeply than the conventional warm air of a standard sauna, working its way into your fat tissue and neuromuscular system. It means that instead of cooking you like a steamed clam, the heat targets your muscles. Small surprise then that infrared saunas are setting the fitness world on fire. But it’s no mere trend that’s brought me here – it’s mild tendinitis, presenting as a niggly pain in my ankle that makes it tricky to even walk if I put my foot down at a slightly dodgy angle. I’m a seasoned runner but, just weeks away from upping my training to prep for the London Marathon, I was getting nowhere fast – so I headed down to KXU as quickly as my inflamed ankle would carry me. ‘The theory is that time in the infrared sauna improves blood circulation, sending it to areas in particular need of recovery and renewal,’ says KXU health, fitness and nutrition manager Gideon Remfry. A win for tired, overtrained muscles. And it’s not just sales spiel. In a 2015 study, Finnish researchers measured the effects of infrared sauna bathing on recovery after endurance training sessions, versus traditional sauna bathing. They concluded that the infrared kind was preferable, given that it raised participants’ heart rates less and provided a more ‘comfortable and relaxing experience’.

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Back to my private wooden hut. Seduced by the promise of some chill-out time in the heat while my muscles get a bit of TLC, I multitask by doing some diaphragmatic breathing. Reclining in the wooden chair, I can control the room’s lighting, hue, scent and even sounds, setting the tone to something relaxing or invigorating. In reality, though, my options are relaxing, soporific or comatose (in the best way). The absence of the clamminess you would usually associate with a sauna makes for an infinitely more serene experience. Though I still sweat, it’s at a lower heat (we’re talking 40-50°C rather than up to 80-90°C), plus I don’t feel as hot. In total, I had four 25-minute sessions: my first foray, once after a workout, once on a rest day and once as a pre-emptive de-stress sesh before hitting the office. Is my ankle fixed? Nearly. Do I have the infrared to thank? I’m not convinced – I think hours of tedious physio exercises probably deserve more of the credit. But it did ease the pain – physical and mental – of an injury-induced fitness break. Tasked with a training schedule that’s, ahem, more of a marathon than a sprint, the thought of having some dedicated, diarised time to recover is pretty appealing. At £35, a 25-minute session every few weeks is realistic. If you’re after a bolt-on for your training or recovery, this one’s a hot tip.

THE VERDICT Recovery solution Quick results Value for money Long-term solution OVERALL SCORE

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PHOTOGRAPHY: PAVEL DORNAK AT HEARST STUDIOS

Scientific jiggery-pokery has upgraded the sauna from spa-day treat to key fitness component. Lured by the promise of relaxation and recovery, a WH staffer sweats it out


THE EXPERT Emma Hardie, 54, facialist and founder of Emma Hardie Amazing Face

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SKIN CLINIC

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A typical day One day I’ll be providing facials, the next developing new products and techniques. Skincare philosophy Cleansing is the foundation of your routine. If it isn’t done properly, no other products can work effectively. Skincare non-negotiable I massage all products into my skin to aid circulation, tone and glow. Personal skin concern Ageing.

Emma Hardie Take a peek inside the bathroom cabinet of a top UK facialist to glean some expert tips

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WORDS: AMELIA JEAN JONES. PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS

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1. Emma Hardie Protect & Prime SPF30, £46 Protecting against the sun’s ageing effects is so important. I formulated an SPF that contains light-diffusing particles so you can forget about a make-up base and let your skin breathe.

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2. Miaroma Lemongrass 100% Pure Essential Oil, £5.49 I apply this zesty oil to the pulse points on my temples and wrists each morning. It’s invigorating, but can also help balance and clear your mind if you’re buzzing before a big day.

3. MAC Mineralise Rich Lipstick in Pure Pout, £21.50 I show my lips the same care as I do the rest of my face. Wherever I’m going, whatever I’m doing, I slick on some of this hydrating formula to keep them soft and flake-free all day.

4. Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm With Cleansing Cloth, £39 A blob of this balm worked into a cream and massaged into my face is a nightly ritual. Moringa’s antioxidants reduce any inflammation caused by pollution or stress.

5. Dr Hauschka Moor Lavender Calming Body Oil, £21 A day spent bending over clients’ faces can leave my back and shoulders aching. This light blend is packed with lavender essential oil to help me relax, as horsetail helps repair and strengthen connective tissue.

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6. Holland & Barrett Omega-3 Fish Oil 1,000mg, £25.99 Healthy skin isn’t just about what you apply topically. I often eat oily fish because the omega-3 helps keep my nervous system healthy and my skin hydrated. I top up with a supplement every evening.

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FIT KIT HERO

Lifting Pretty weights Working out at home is a win, whether it’s rolling out of bed and getting a session done before washing your face, or sandwiching in 30 minutes of HIIT between work and date night. But while you might have five killer pairs of printed leggings, aesthetically pleasing dumbbells you likely do not. Enter these rose-gold babies from the aptly named brand Lifting Pretty. Yes, they’ll do the same job as the boring grey ones you already have, but they’re undoubtedly the best-looking weights on the market and way nicer arm candy for bicep curling. Snap ’em up. From £45 for a pair, liftingpretty.co.uk

the issue

Overstated

PRINTS Is your kit a bit shy and retiring? Draw attention on the gym floor for all the right reasons with these maximalist print pieces

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£135, BODYISM Smash your gym session with help from a coresupporting waistband and breathable mesh panels.

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£59, TED BAKER Anything to make the 10-mile mark less painful. These badass run shorts will do just that.

£75, SWEATY BETTY Sweat-wicking stretchy material makes these geometric beauties work for both yoga and HIIT.

£55, BELLUM ACTIVE Find loud prints daunting? Fear not, this four-way stretch fabric is designed to flatter legs and bums.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

WORDS: POLLY BARTLETT. PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS

THE MICRO TREND


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN…

I do HIIT

The exercise theory behind the acronym promises major results from mini time slots – but what’s actually going on beneath the Lycra when you HIIT it hard? GO HARD OR GO HOME The clue is in the name. Moving at max intensity is the only way this will work. ‘You need to be at 90-100% effort for 15-30 seconds,’ says sports therapist Barry Sigrist. ‘By working anaerobically (sans oxygen for fuel), you’ll produce lactic acid, which releases adrenaline, helping to move fat around the body.’

GET LIT To power a HIIT session, your body taps into muscle glycogen, not fat stores – calm down, if your goals include weight loss, this is a good thing. ‘HIIT triggers a release of human growth hormone and testosterone – both play a key role in metabolising fat,’ Sigrist explains. For best results, elicit a peak hormone response by incorporating compound movements into your sesh – think squats, lunges and (sorry) burpees.

REST ASSURED

WORDS: DAN MASOLIVER; FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: SEAN LUARENZ

A rest is as good as a rep. Yes, really. ‘The ideal ratio for a 20-minute session is 30 seconds on, 60 seconds off. Resting for so long might feel like cheating, but your muscles need time to renew their oxygen and glycogen levels,’ says Sigrist. ‘Too little rest and your body becomes catabolic, breaking down muscle tissue.’ Don’t need to tell us twice.

SWEAT LIFE Sweating so much your moisturewicking leggings can’t cope? It’s all part of the HIIT experience. But don’t reach for a towel between sets. ‘For the body to lose heat through sweat, it must evaporate from the skin, so wiping it off will likely just increase overall sweat production.’ explains Dr John Dickinson, lecturer in sports and exercise science at the University of Kent. Wear that glow with pride.

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SLOW BURN Boom – your body is still burning calories while you’re busy shovelling in post-workout scrambled eggs. ‘The magic of HIIT takes place after your session,’ says Sigrist. ‘Your body has an “oxygen debt” to repay, and this creates something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.’ Simply put, you’re still burning calories for hours after you stop. You can amplify this effect by staying active, so consider HIITing it in the morning before work.

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THE EXPERT Alice Liveing, personal trainer at Third Space, London, author and Instagram star (@aliceliveing)

Alice Liveing on…

MIDDLE MANAGEMENT This month, Alice takes us beyond popping abs and gets right to the core…

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et’s be clear: I’m not here to tell you that swimsuit season is nearly upon us and it’s time to start working on that six-pack. Granted, some people might achieve washboard abs as a side effect of core training (and all power to them), but it shouldn’t be your main goal – and I’m going to tell you why. Training your core is essential for healthy and functional movement – these muscles play a huge part in spinal stabilisation and address weaknesses, imbalances and alignment issues. In short: future you will thank you if you take the time to truly work it. Some PTs will tell you that compound lifting is

enough to challenge your core, but I think most people could benefit from some dedicated core work. Flexion (read: crunches) might be most people’s go-to move, but it’s also the one that gets the most bad press. If you spend the majority of your working day sitting in front of a screen, you’re already in a position of flexion, so head to the gym after work to bash out some crunches and you’re only going to exacerbate poor posture. My training methods aim to improve overall movement and postural alignment far more than a single repetitive movement ever could. Try this 15-minute workout and rethink the way you train your core.

THE WORKOUT PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS. ILLUSTRATION: LIZZY THOMAS

You’ll need a cable machine and a kettlebell to complete this workout. Keep your core engaged throughout. Rest for 1 min between sets

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PALLOF PRESS Targets: Anterior core Do: 3 sets of 8 reps on each side (a) Stand with a cable machine to your left, holding the handle with both hands tight to your chest, then take a few steps sideways. (b) With your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, exhale and punch your arms straight out in front of you, then slowly retract them back to your chest.

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WIDE-STANCE WOOD CHOP Targets: Anterior core, obliques Do: 3 sets of 8 reps on each side (a) Remain at the machine and get in the same position as before, but hold the handle to your left. (b) Standing as before, without moving your hips, pull the cable to the right across your body, keeping your arms straight. Then slowly retract to the starting position without bending those elbows.

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DEAD BUG Targets: Anterior core Do: 3 sets of 10 reps (a) Lie on your back with your arms above your shoulders. Bring your legs into tabletop position. (b) Exhale and extend your right leg and left hand away, ensuring the heel of the foot drives away from the body, before returning to the start. Repeat on the other side.

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KETTLEBELL PULL-THROUGH Targets: Core Do: 3 sets of 8 reps (a) In a plank position, place a kettlebell on the outside of your right hand on its side, with the handle closest to you. (b) With your left hand, reach beneath your body and pull the kettlebell through to the left. Repeat the opposite way to complete one rep.

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the issue

If there’s currently a hotter UK export than Maya Jama, we’re going to have to see the hard evidence. Here, in her first mainstream UK cover interview, the 23-year-old tells us how she overcame teenage trauma, why she loves a deep squat and what she really thinks about having a world-famous grime artist as a boyfriend… WORDS STEPHEN UNWIN PHOTOGRAPHY ZOE MCCONNELL STYLING SASKIA QUIRKE AND POLLY BARTLETT

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MAYA JAMA

’m not too shy to walk around in a bikini,’ says Maya Jama. Which is a stroke of luck, considering doing so is all part and parcel of being celebrated as a Women’s Health cover star – something body-positive Maya was made for: ‘I know my body’s decent.’ Millennial poster girl, burgeoning superstar presenter and one of the UK’s coolest exports, when the 23-year-old finally sits down to chat, she has eschewed body-skimming sportswear in favour of a comfy camouflage onesie and is glugging a can of Coca Cola. She admits she had ‘quite a few’ at a television event the night before (a woman after my own heart), but there’s been little evidence of a hangover over the course of this eight-hour shoot in a cavernous North London studio that’s somehow several degrees colder than the glacial day outside – a sign that Maya is nailing that delicate balance between enjoying herself and still being a consummate professional the morning after the night before. In fact, she seems more buoyant than our 12-person-strong photography and magazine team, who all prepped for the day with pre-9pm bedtimes. We get stuck into the WH fundamentals straight away; is it the tangible evidence of regular workouts that fuels Maya’s selfconfidence? Perhaps, but, interestingly, fitness is also the area in which her natural dynamism wavers slightly. ‘I won’t lie, I find it hard to motivate myself [to work out] without a personal trainer.’ At this point, you could write Maya off as an overindulged diva, but just give her a second. ‘It’s difficult with the job I have – I can’t schedule workouts in advance, I have to grab them when I can, so I want to use that training time wisely.’ Over to Alice Liveing – Maya’s pal, personal trainer and WH favourite – who coerces

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Maya towards the weights rack and resistance machines at top gym Third Space whenever she’s in London with a few hours to spare. ‘Alice has taught me that it’s the quality of your session that counts, not how long you’re in the gym for. I love my bum, so we tend to concentrate on that – lots of nice deep squats.’ This focus on building her glutes is fuelled by Maya’s appreciation for the physique of a certain scarlet-clad cartoon character. ‘I actually prefer a fuller body. If I could paint my ideal, it would be flat belly, big bum, big boobs. Like Jessica Rabbit. But it’s not my natural body shape. I definitely dress for the body I want.’ So the images – Maya’s own social media posts and otherwise – that have garnered the attention of the international press are all smoke and mirrors? Well, less smoke, more a proficiency in posing. ‘I have a thinner version of the body I want, if that makes sense. If you’re wearing a bodycon dress and pose in it and push your hips out, you’re going to have an hourglass figure. I know what I’m doing!’ she giggles. That Maya is switched on to what works for her is clear. An ‘ordinary’ girl from Bristol who’s now a budding international brand in her own right, her tale is that of an on-point Cinderella. Bold and British, she drips with positive, infectious, dazzling energy, which is probably

violent, absentee father was in and out of prison for much of her childhood, and remains absent. At 16, her then-boyfriend was shot dead during an incident in a pub. It was ‘the worst thing that ever happened’ to her. So Maya is real-life proof that there’s a way out of trauma. ‘You have to talk to people, otherwise you go through all these thoughts and you don’t get any kind of escape… It’s clichéd, but time is the best healer. No pain is forever – nothing is forever. And you always end up stronger.’ I struggle to believe that she doesn’t sometimes feel a sense of ‘why me?’ that inevitably leads to dark times. ‘You know, I’ve got this thing where, if I don’t feel 100%,

‘If I could paint my ideal body, it would be a flat belly, big bum, big boobs. Like Jessica Rabbit’ one of the reasons behind her rapid career trajectory. Starting out as a teenager presenting music video countdowns, she then bagged slots at Sky and MTV and last year co-hosted the MOBO Awards, more recently appearing as one of the celebrity faces hosting ITV’s Saturday-night game show Cannonball. Coveted fashion campaigns for brands including Gap and Freya followed and – the big one – a soon-to-kick-off BBC Radio 1 tenancy. The professional covered, now to the personal – Maya briefly refers to her boyfriend, who you might have heard of, Stormzy. ‘We’re clickbait, I get that, and I find it “whatever” these days. It used to wind me up, but I’m super-aware that as soon as you go out with somebody who’s doing something incredible, then that’s all they want to attach to your name.’ Wary of shifting the focus off her and on to him, I ask about Maya’s life pre-Stormzy (‘Michael. Calling him Stormzy would be weird’), which she’s spoken about publicly and has been a mixed bag, to put it mildly. Her

I count my blessings. I’m like, “OK, what are you thankful for? You’ve got your health, a nice job, you’re not starving, your family’s healthy, blah, blah, blah…”’ I stop Maya before she adds another ‘blah’. When it comes to ‘blessings’, how literally are we talking? ‘Oh yeah, I pray. I pray quite often. A little prayer in the morning, one at night. I mean, not every day, but when I can… People go through different things that can affect their whole life and make them never want to do anything ever again, or stay at home and not want to venture out. Or turn to drugs, turn to alcohol. I never felt like that. I’ve always just felt, you know what, life’s really short and shit stuff happens, so I just have to make the most out of whatever situation [presents itself ]. So I thank God that

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MAYA WEARS: (ON PREVIOUS PAGE) BODYSUIT, ERNEST LEOTY; GLOVES, NIKE; SHOES, GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI. (ON THIS PAGE) SWIMSUIT, WARD WHILLAS; JACKET, LACOSTE; BOOTS, SCHUH; CAP, PRETTY LITTLE THING


‘a smoothie with loads of greens shoved in and a banana to hide the taste’, and ‘fish and veg and new potatoes’ is a go-to dinner. As unwilling as I am to suggest that she’s a living version of the hackneyed #balance hashtag, it’s the truth. ‘I’ll eat naughty stuff, then I’ll eat nice stuff.’ Maya has two tattoos. One is the initials of her late boyfriend, the other is in Arabic and reads, ‘Love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching.’ The latter could be naff if it weren’t so true to Maya’s life thus far, fast-tracked compared with most people’s. It’s there, on her side, hidden so that you can only see it if she’s ‘in bra and panties’, but a go-to maxim should she feel the need. I tell her she reminds me of someone. The positivity-over-diversity, the boundless energy, the unabashed friendliness, the sheer likeability, the abs…

everything’s come into place. Everything I’ve prayed for, pretty much, has happened, so somebody somewhere is working their magic.’ As she slurps the last dregs of the Coca Cola can, I ask if Maya’s attitude towards food is as pragmatic as the rest of her thinking. Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes. She ‘eats loads of bread and stuff’ and ‘a McDonald’s when I want to’, but isn’t averse to

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‘Oh my God, I love Davina! She’s been through some hard things, hasn’t she? And she’s come out the other side. She’s an incredible woman and I really look up to her. She’s silly as well, and not afraid to have a laugh. And I always feel like she cares about people when she’s speaking to them. That’s really something I hope I emulate.’ I wonder if, as Maya’s star grows brighter and she begins to build a name for herself across the pond, she’ll set her sights on a vision more in line with the American dream. But then I reference the fact that she’s the face of the inaugural UK issue of Women’s Health.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

MAYA WEARS: BODYSUIT, ERNEST LEOTY; GLOVES, NIKE; SHOES, GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI

MAYA JAMA


‘I think being British is the best thing ever... I feel proud to say I’m from England’

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‘I think we’re the best!’ she beams. ‘I think being British is the best thing ever. When I travel, I feel proud to tell people I’m from England. You get this reaction wherever you go, like, “Oh my God, you’re British!” I think we’re a real and honest nation. Like, this is me, take it or leave it.’ Maya’s attitude is forthright, forward-thinking and relentlessly upbeat. Empathy comes easily to her, and she’s smarter than your average cookie. That unimaginable incident at 16, which could have floored her for good, she

took as a tragic incentive to embark on a journey that’s seen amazing things happen and built the foundations for more excitement to follow. ‘I’m part of the generation that believes you can do anything,’ she adds, like a call to action. ‘No one’s ever going to be you. If you’re the best version of you, you’re unstoppable.’ That’s your next tattoo, I suggest. ‘Can you imagine!’ she laughs. ‘That would be…’ … so Maya Jama.

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‘Everything I’ve prayed for, pretty much, has happened’


MAYA JAMA

Try Maya’s double-whammy workout Working out with not just one but two superstar trainers, Maya maintains her body by alternating cardio-based boxing courtesy of Bradley Simmonds with some serious strength sessions from WH columnist Alice Liveing. The result? A body that’s as sculpted as it is strong. Do both workouts twice a week for a perfectly balanced blast B OX I N G S E S S I O N Got the stance nailed? Great. Now it’s time to familiarise yourself with the moves

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HAIR: KEVIN SHANTI. MAKE-UP: LETITIA SOPHIA. ILLUSTRATION: LIZZY THOMAS. MAYA WEARS: JACKET, TOPSHOP; BRA, CLEO HARPER; BOTTOMS, WARD WHILLAS

BRADLEY SIMMONDS Not at Anthony Joshua-level just yet? You need to master the stance. With feet apart and knees slightly bent, step your left foot forwards. The toe of your right foot should be in line with the heel of your left. Keep your shoulders relaxed, elbows tucked in and hands by your chin. Warm up with 5-10 mins of skipping.

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THE COMBINATIONS

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With those fists of fury perfected, it’s time to get going. Perform all the combinations in order as many times as possible for 2 mins. Then rest for 60 secs. Repeat 9 times. Boxing clever.

LEFT JAB

RIGHT CROSS

LEFT HOOK

RIGHT UPPERCUT

(a) Extend your left hand towards the target, turning your palm to the floor and rolling your shoulder to cover your chin. (b) Snap your left hand back to your chin as quickly as you can.

(a) Twist your right foot into the floor, forcing your hips to turn towards the target. (b) Extend your right arm, turning your palm to the floor, then snap your hand back to your chin.

(a) Lift your left heel and pivot your feet to the left, rotating your body with the punch. (b) Make a 90° hook shape with your left arm and punch, keeping your elbow high and forearm parallel to the floor.

(a) Twist your right foot to turn your hips towards the target. (b) Drop your right fist and swing it up, palm facing you.

1 Left jab 2 Left jab with right cross 3 Left jab, right cross, left hook 4 Left jab, right cross, left hook, right uppercut 5 Left jab, right cross, left hook, right uppercut, left hook, right uppercut

STRENGTH SESSION

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ALICE LIVEING

GOBLET SQUAT

BENCH PRESS

ASSISTED WIDEGRIP PULL-UP

RENEGADE ROW

PRESS-UP

You’ll need a kettlebell, a barbell with a weight suited to your ability, 4-8kg dumbbells, an exercise bench and an assisted pull-up machine. Warm up for 10 mins with fast-paced walking on the treadmill at an incline.

Do: 4 sets of 8 reps Targets: Glutes, quads (a) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell at your chest. Choose as heavy a weight as you can safely lift. (b) Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, then push through your heels back up to the starting position. Keep your core engaged throughout.

Do: 4 sets of 8 reps Targets: Shoulders, triceps, chest (a) Lie on the bench on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding a barbell over your chest with your hands just above your shoulders. (b) On the exhale, straighten your arms to lift the bar straight up. Hold for 1 sec, then slowly reverse to the starting position.

Do: 3 sets of 6 reps Targets: Biceps, shoulders, traps, lats (a) Choosing the heaviest weight you can manage, kneel on the pad of the assisted pullup machine and grip the bars with your palms facing inwards. (b) Pull your chest up so it’s in line with the bars. Keep your elbows facing outwards at 90°, then slowly lower yourself down again.

Do: 3 sets of 12 reps Targets: Full body (a) Get into plank with feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. (b) Draw your right arm upwards, leading with your elbow, to lift the weight off the floor. Keep your elbow close to the body. (c) Set your hand back down and repeat on the left side. That’s one rep.

DO: 3 sets of 6 reps Targets: Triceps, chest, core (a) Start in a plank position with fully extended arms and hands shoulder-width apart, keeping your body straight. (b) Lower your chest to the floor, keeping your upper arms parallel to your sides and your elbows pointing straight back. Push back up, returning to a plank.

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Eat Smart

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T H E L AT E S T N U T R I T I O N A L K N O W - H O W TO H E L P YO U L O O K A N D F E E L G R E AT

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No one likes a clock-watcher – but if you’re keen to learn the nutrition principles favoured by some of Britain’s fittest bodies, it’s about time you gave it a go. Can an eating plan designed to hack the physiques of athletes work for you, too? womenshealthmag.co.uk

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The percentage of Brits who admit to regularly skipping breakfast* – up from 20% in 2012. Sadly, survey respondents cited a lack of time, rather than fasted workouts, as the reason.

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ver parted with upwards of three British pounds for a protein shake simply for the privilege of glugging it before you’ve left the gym premises? Perhaps you’ve forgone the banana and done your HIIT class hungry because fasted workouts are a thing, right? You, friend, have been dipping your toe into the pool of nutrient timing: the idea that it’s not just about what and how much you eat, it’s when that makes all the difference.

New to most of us, nutrient timing (often referred to as nutrient cycling) has been around since the early 2000s, based on some 50 years of research into the myriad ways different macronutrients – protein, carbs and fat – affect your body. The principles were first applied at elite sporting level, where they helped the world’s fittest get shredded, and then followed the inevitable dissemination into gym culture. No longer the preserve of gym bros exchanging anecdotes about the anabolic window (more on that later), deployed in the right context, experts argue this method could be the key to the body composition – and performance – you’ve always wanted. The most common iteration of nutrient timing doing the rounds is carb cycling. ‘It essentially means scaling your carbohydrate intake up and down in accordance with your activity levels,’ explains performance nutritionist Liam Holmes (phnutrition.co.uk). He uses the principles of nutrient timing to get elite athletes and CrossFit enthusiasts (for more on CrossFit, head to page 80) to their leanest before competitions. ‘If you’re training for an event – be it a cycling race or the CrossFit open games – you’re going to want to shed those last few percentage points of body fat,’ says Holmes. ‘Not only can excess fat hold athletes back from their preferred weight category, it makes body weight exercises, like pull-ups, that much harder.’

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RACE AGAINST TIME So how is it done? Most experts recommend a fasted training session followed by carbohydrates. ‘The body works harder when it doesn’t have carbs as fuel, so it learns to become a more efficient burner of the fuel once it is there,’ explains Holmes. ‘Eating this way also means you’re more likely to be running off your fat stores.’ The technique is also favoured by nutrition coach Gillian Brunton (vida6.com), who says it sharpens the body’s sensitivity to insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar from carbohydrates as fuel. ‘This is important because increasing numbers of people are becoming insulinresistant,’ she says. Ashley Grossman, professor of endocrinology at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, agrees. ‘This is what happens when insulin doesn’t do its job of pushing blood sugars into the cells for energy. So they just hang around in the bloodstream,’ she explains. You eat your carbs, but you can’t reap any energy from them, so you eat more. The consequences range from flagging energy levels and fat gain to increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. ‘Remaining insulin-sensitive, on the other hand, helps you maintain a healthy body composition,’ Professor Grossman adds – one that’s more in line with your training

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E AT SM A RT Timed tomatoes

goals to improve performance and shift excess fat. One method Brunton deploys to get her clients’ bodies more insulin-sensitive – and ultimately more shredded – is carb back-loading. ‘Essentially, it means eating carbs at night on the days you’ve done a fasted workout in the morning,’ she says. The science seems to stack up. One study that seriously disputed the ‘AM carbs = good; PM carbs = bad’ binary was proffered by the University of Jerusalem in Israel. Researchers put participants on a plan where they ate the majority of their carbs in the evening, before analysing their hunger levels, body fat, waist circumference and blood sugar levels. After 180 days, they discovered that the group eating carbs later lost more weight, more inches around their middle and got less hungry than those spreading their carbs throughout the day. Crucially, the baseline insulin levels of those eating carbs later on was significantly lower, which led the researchers to conclude that ‘manipulating carbohydrate distribution’ could improve insulin resistance.

CLOCK WATCHING If we’re talking about timed nutrient intake, isn’t protein a thing, too? The queue at the Fuel Bar after a Barry’s class suggests it is. Early research on the impact of protein on muscle growth and repair raised the idea of an ‘anabolic window’ – a time frame within which protein is optimally absorbed – but the science has since moved on. ‘When it comes to protein, recent studies show that, for most women, it’s the amount you have that’s important, not so much when you have it,’ agrees Brunton. Indeed, a review by California State University concluded that the anabolic window had been overstated and that the amount and quality of the protein was more important than when it was eaten. ‘Timing does matter with protein,’ argues sport and exercise scientist Dr Graeme Close. ‘But rather than being squeezed into a window, it should be supplied to muscles in small amounts every four to five hours, after which muscleprotein synthesis – how your body rebuilds its muscle tissue – just switches off.’

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‘PROTEIN SHOULD BE CONSUMED IN SMALL AMOUNTS EVERY FOUR TO FIVE HOURS’ TIMING ISN’T EVERYTHING The approach to nutrient timing today is less prescriptive. Researchers writing in the Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition concluded that the science itself doesn’t dictate any hardand-fast rules, and that practitioners should bridge these gaps with their expert ‘observations and experiences’. In reality, professional approaches vary: Brunton keeps her clients’ protein and fat levels steady while playing with the size of their carb intake, while Holmes ‘seesaws’ the levels of fat and carbs, decreasing the fat content of a client’s meal plan during the high-carb phase to lessen their chances of overeating on high-fat, high-carb foods. ‘We’re working to identify and test a client’s tipping point – the place at which their body stops holding on to fat and the person can maintain a consistent weight,’ explains Brunton. When it comes to incorporating the performance nutrition hacks of the fitness elite into your own routine, you’re essentially your own science experiment. To know what works – and what doesn’t – you’ll need everything except the macronutrient you’re playing with to remain consistent. That means it’s vital to have the nutritional foundations nailed first. ‘You need the three Ts: total food, type of food and, only then, the timing,’ says Dr Close.

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NUTRIENT CYCLING AT A GLANCE Gillian Brunton shares the basics of eating around your workouts

1

PLAN YOUR WEEKLY TRAINING

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TRAINING IN THE MORNING?

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TRAINING AT LUNCHTIME?

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TRAINING IN THE EVENING?

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DON’T HAVE A ROUTINE?

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PLAY BY THE (BASIC) RULES

‘The whole point is that you are adequately fuelling your engine before, and refuelling after, each session, so you’ll need to plan your workouts in advance.’ Remember: achieving your body goals doesn’t just happen.

‘Make sure you fuel up the evening before with adequate protein, carbs and fat. That way, you’ll have enough energy banked to do your workout fasted in the morning. Then refuel with carbs and protein.’ Protein powder-boosted oats are a quick win.

‘Ensure your breakfast and posttraining lunch contain all the macros so you have enough energy to get through the morning and recover post-workout. You’ll already have replenished your energy so, if you’re trying to lose weight, base your dinner on protein and fats.’ Chicken and avo salad, anyone?

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‘YOU NEED THE THREE “T”S: TOTAL FOOD, TYPE OF FOOD AND – ONLY THEN – TIMING’ Brunton agrees that it’s more important to nail a healthy routine – food, fitness and mindset – before attempting to emulate athletes. ‘You can pay close attention to the timing, but if you’re eating the wrong things – or doing the wrong workouts – it won’t make a difference,’ she explains. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – you can’t out-train a bad diet.

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Don’t worry, you can still keep track. ‘You always know by the night before, so get a training diary and note down before bed when you’re going to train. This way, you know when you need to fuel.’ We recommend the WH Training Diary (£8.99, WH Smith).

‘There’s no point nutrient cycling around a poor diet. Try to get plenty of sleep, rehydrate regularly and don’t rush your meals. Toxins like alcohol will harm results, so note down if and when you indulge.’ Which, if you’re bothering with all this, should probs be rarely.

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WORDS: ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES. *SOURCE: SURVEY OF 2,000 PARTICIPANTS BY FLAHAVAN’S IRISH PORRIDGE OATS

If you’re au fait with the fundamentals of fuelling your training – and you have a specific event to strip fat for – by all means experiment with carb cycling, under the guidance of a nutrition professional. That said, you wouldn’t go after a sub-four-hour marathon time if the sum of your athletic achievements amounted to the 2008 Race for Life, and experts agree that setting a sustainable plan to fuel your fitness should be your first priority. ‘Focusing on the timing of your nutrition can work, but it also adds a layer of complexity to the business of achieving lean and healthy body composition,’ says Dr Close. ‘For the majority of people, there’s really no need to confuse the picture.’

‘Eat a breakfast based on protein and fat, such as smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, followed by a lunch and dinner made up of all the macros, including carbs – even though you’re training later on – as they’re necessary to replenish your energy stores.’


ONE FOOD, FOUR WAYS

Eggs benefit Bored of eggs? You must be yolk-ing. We’ve poached these healthy recipes from some egg-cellent London establishments

cals 636

fat 42.6g

protein 25.2g

carbs 38.5g

HUNGER CURBING

serves 1

Ramp up both flavour and your metabolic ability with this piquant Italian scramble by Eggbreak

METHOD 1. Mix the chickpeas, parsley, chives, 2 tsp oil, lemon juice and seasoning in a bowl. 2. Pour 1 tsp oil into a pan on a medium heat, then whisk

cals 534

fat 32.7g

the eggs, pour into the pan and scramble. When they’re nearly done, remove from the heat. Chop the sausage and stir through the eggs. 3. Toast your sourdough – full of slow-release carbs for lasting energy – and rub it with the clove of garlic. Top with the hot nduja eggs and chickpeas for a forkful of hunger-killing fibre. Buon appetito.

protein 29.9g

carbs 33.2g

serves 1

Try Pizza East’s modern take on a classic, with longevity-boosting micronutrients INGREDIENTS 2 free-range eggs • salt • 1 English muffin • butter, to taste • 2 slices prosciutto • handful of rocket leaves • 1 tbsp pesto METHOD 1. This probably isn’t your first rodeo, but let’s just cover the basics all the same. For best results, break the eggs into ramekins, then add a pinch of salt to simmering water in a pan. Swirl the water with a whisk or a fork and, once you’ve got a whirlpool going, drop in the eggs one at a time. Cook

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UBER NUTRITIOUS

for 2 mins on a gentle heat to preserve more of their key nutrients – that’s vitamins A, B, D and E, plus zinc and selenium. 2. Meanwhile, toast and butter the muffin. 3. Once the eggs are cooked, top the muffin with prosciutto, rocket, the eggs and the pesto. If you’d rather make your own pesto, combine basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan in a blender with a few generous glugs of olive oil. That’s how we like our eggs in the morning.

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WORDS: RACHEL MOORE. PHOTOGRAPHY: KAT PISIOLEK AT HEARST STUDIOS. FOOD STYLING: TAMARA VOS AT HERS AGENCY

INGREDIENTS 50g cooked chickpeas • 2 tsp chopped parsley • 2 tsp chopped chives • 3 tsp olive oil • juice of ½ lemon • salt and pepper • 2 free-range eggs • 25g nduja sausage • 1 slice sourdough • 1 garlic clove

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FAT BURNING

cals 297

fat 22.5g

protein 20.8g

carbs 4.1g

serves 1

This light take on a breakfast classic by Eggbreak really is all it’s cracked up to be INGREDIENTS 8 asparagus spears • salt and pepper • 2 free-range eggs • 1 tsp butter METHOD 1. If you want to spear a few extra nutrients, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 5 mins or until al dente. Each spear contains just four calories and boasts high levels of the fibre inulin, found to curb hunger and boost fat loss.

cals 575

fat 38.2g

2. Pop the eggs in a pan of boiling water, then reduce the heat and cook for 5 mins. Any longer and the yolks will go hard. 3. Melt the butter, brush over the asparagus, then season. Place the eggs into egg cups, remove the tops with a knife and dip it low. Cracking.

protein 56.7g

carbs 2.5g

serves 1

Enjoy your oeuf with a side of boeuf for a powerful protein hit by Foxlow

INGREDIENTS 180g onglet steak • salt and pepper • 1 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt • 1 tsp rose harissa • 2 free-range eggs • fresh mint and coriander, to garnish

POWER BUILDING womenshealthmag.co.uk

METHOD 1. Season your steak and rub it with half the oil. Each juicy ounce packs 6g of protein (the same as you’ll find in an egg, as it happens). Cook on a hot griddle pan to your taste, for up to 5 mins each side.

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2. While it sizzles, sort your dressing. Combine the high-protein Greek yoghurt and harissa and mix well. Take your steak off the griddle and set aside to rest. 3. Now for the main event. Fry the eggs by cracking them into a cool pan with the rest of the oil – allow them to cook as you slowly crank the heat up. 4. Slice the steak into strips and arrange on a plate with the eggs and yoghurt drizzle. Garnish with mint and coriander. A dish that’s a cut above the rest.

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WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT

FIBRE Think fibre has all the sex appeal of thermals and Crocs? You’d be right. But with benefits that prove this nutrient punches above its weight, it’s certainly getting nutrition experts hot and bothered WORDS EMMA PRITCHARD

F

ood can possess a certain, well, sexiness – just rewatch a certain supermarket advert; you know, the one with the soft porn soundtrack and the chocolate drizzling oh-so seductively down the side of a backlit ramekin. Some ingredients have it in spades (oh, avocado, you fox), while others are forever destined to sit on a spare plate just outside the Instagram shot. Roughage. Bulk. Bran. Fibre is many things, but culinary porn it is not. Perhaps that’s why, despite the relative ease of doing so, the vast majority of Brits fall short of getting their fill. But, just you wait – despite fibre’s bland rep, it’s getting a makeover. ‘Fibre is number one on the radar of nutrition professionals right now,’ says registered nutritionist Jennie Gough. ‘Many women focus on counting calories or macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat), but don’t realise the importance or benefit

of including more fibre in their diet. This is concerning because it has significant benefits for health and wellbeing.’ This recent nutritional trend isn’t exactly new. Ask anyone over 50 about the F-plan diet – the high-fibre, low-fat fad of the 1980s – and they’ll probably recall loading their trolleys with potatoes, beans and bran in a bid to hit the lofty 70g daily target. Kellogg’s reported a surge in sales of All Bran and the movement even had its own pin-up in Dr Denis Burkitt – the ‘Bran Man’. But somewhere between the Atkins diet and the trend for pulverising fruit into smoothies, fibre fell off the radar. Dietitians estimate that the average person is eating around 18g a day, despite the British Nutrition Foundation recommending almost double that. Meanwhile, nutrition evangelists are going nuts for the stuff. UK teams are travelling the world to research the effects of fibre on the body and the NHS has even made changes to the way it recommends people get their fix.


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THE INCREDIBLE BULK Think you’ve got fibre sussed? Doubtful – it’s a complex little nutrient with more layers than a serving of mint Viennetta. ‘The term fibre describes the non-digestible plant-based carbs in your diet,’ says Simon Bach, consultant colorectal surgeon at Spire Parkway Hospital, Birmingham. ‘There are different forms of carbs – starch, which is long chains of glucose; and nonstarch polysaccharides, which are long chains of other sugars (non-glucose). It is these non-starch polysaccharides that make up the fibre in your diet.’ But the way we refer to fibre has changed as expert understanding of the human body develops. For decades, health professionals spoke of soluble and insoluble fibre. The former, found in beans, pulses and the fleshy parts of fruit and vegetables, referred to fibre that dissolves to form a liquid or gel substance carried through the gut wall and into the body. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand – found in whole grains and the edible skins of fruit and veg – can’t dissolve, so remains in the bowels where it increases the bulk and softness of the waste you pass (nobody said sexing up fibre would be easy). More recently, though, experts have phased out these terms because of inconsistencies in the ways so-called soluble and insoluble fibres react in the body. Now, both types sit under the umbrella term of dietary fibre. Still with us? The fibre passed into the large intestine intact is processed by the microbiome in the gut. These bacteria break down the fibre and use the resulting carbs as energy, but they also pump out short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) as a byproduct.

PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES

YOUR BIT OF ROUGH It’s this last stage of the process, the goingson in the gut, that’s getting researchers’ rocks off. ‘We’re learning more about the knock-on benefits that come from maintaining the health of the gut lining,’ says Professor Gary Frost, chair of nutrition and dietetics at Imperial College London. ‘And, because of the role that it plays in this, the importance of fibre, too.’ Back to those SCFAs. A growing body of research is pointing to their disease-fighting anti-inflammatory properties as the reason fibre is so good at future-proofing your health.

NUTRITION EVANGELISTS ARE GOING NUTS FOR THE STUFF In the past year, studies have highlighted the role of fibre in (ready?) building stronger bones, protecting bowel health, reducing risk of osteoarthritis and lowering cholesterol. And you can add to that older research into fibre’s role in breast cancer prevention and strengthening immunity. Future-proofing aside, eating more fibre could also benefit your immediate health. It comes down to the role fibre plays in weight loss. Multiple studies have pointed to the principle that fibre absorbs more water and breaks down at a slower rate than other nutrients, keeping blood sugar levels steady and you feeling fuller for longer. Those SCFAs have a role to play, too, by encouraging specific cells to release appetitesuppressing hormones, like peptide YY. And recent studies show the influence of the microbiome on the process of storing calories as fat.

IT’S NOT ALL BRAN While you’re probably well versed on what constitutes a carb, fibre is a bit foggier. ‘High-fibre foods are those that contain at least 6g fibre per 100g, while those that contain at least 3g are a “source” of fibre,’ explains Nichola Ludlam-Raine, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. Remember, you’re aiming for 30g a day. So, short of stocking

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E AT SM A RT up on all the bran, how can you up your intake? The good news is your plate doesn’t have to take on 50 shades of brown. LudlamRaine suggests adding handfuls of frozen veg to meals, swapping crisps for nuts, seeds and popcorn, and using wholemeal flour in your baking. And if you’re peeling all your veg, take note. ‘Fibre is found in the cell wall, where it provides structural support for the plant,’ says Gough. ‘The peel is a rich source of fibre so, by eating fruit and veg with the skin on, you’ll get more of the benefit. When it comes to drinks, juicing removes more fibre than blending, but with smoothies it is still broken down, so has less benefit than if you were simply to eat the whole fruit.’ Before you make an emergency pit stop at Whole Foods, a word of warning. ‘Going from no fibre at all to a lot of fibre could put a strain on your digestive system,’ says Ludlam-Raine. This could present a blockage situation or, at the other end of the spectrum, you know, the shits. ‘To avoid such issues, increase the amount of fibre in your diet gradually, while upping your fluid intake at the same time.’ And if your gut has a low tolerance for, well, anything, you’d be wise to consult a dietitian as to the best sources of fibre for you. ‘Certain fibre-containing foods can trigger symptoms of IBS,’ says Gough. ‘For sufferers, I would suggest spreading fibre across your meals and focusing on foods like oatmeal, barley and fruits, including berries, mangoes and oranges, which should be better tolerated. But for bespoke advice, I would always suggest consulting a nutrition professional.’ If you can stomach fibre-rich foods, experts agree that diversity is key. Study after study points to the health benefits that come with a more diverse microbiome (hit page 61 for more on that). Next time you’re wandering the supermarket aisles, go with your gut.

YOUR PLATE DOESN’T HAVE TO TAKE ON 50 SHADES OF BROWN

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FIBRE-OPTIC MEALS Nutritionist Grace Barnes shows you how to topple that 30g RDA of fibre without overloading on flax

60g OATS

SWEET POTATO, SPIRALISED

100g CHICKPEAS

1 APPLE, GRATED

1 SALMON FILLET

120g CHOPPED TOMATOES

2 tbsp PUMPKIN SEEDS

150g SALAD LEAVES

85g QUINOA

Mix together and add 375ml water or milk, then pop in the fridge overnight.

Bake the salmon and steam the sweet potato, then serve with the salad.

Fry the chickpeas and tomatoes with garlic and herbs and serve with quinoa.

FIBRE 16g

FIBRE 6g

FIBRE 25g


CREATINE VS BCAA

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Fitter pills to swallow Add power to your summer training plan by finding the most effective upgrade on your standard whey shake. But which supp scoops up the crown?

CREATINE

BCAA

VS

20%

The average increase in phosphocreatine – the body’s natural creatine reserves – in your muscles after taking a supplement.

Creatine is a compound formed in protein metabolism. It reduces fatigue by providing extra energy for muscle contraction, letting you exercise for longer. Over time, that added workload helps you gain lean muscle mass.

The science

Combined with weight training, creatine slows the loss of bone mass as you age and could ease the effects of osteoarthritis, according to Canadian research*.

33%

BCAAs make up a third of the nine essential amino acids – they’re the ones that help you maintain muscle.

When your glycogen stores run low, your body relies on branched-chain amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – for fuel. You get these from your diet – or a supplement if you’re working out fasted.

Studies suggest that BCAAs prevent muscle loss by reducing protein breakdown and increasing protein synthesis. They can also help you to recover from DOMS.

Boosting the level of creatine in your muscles increases the volume of water. Excess creatine can cause water retention until your kidneys can remove it, so it may cause bloating.

The bad

Newbies to creatine supplements should start by taking a loading dose of 15-20g per day for five days, before reducing to a daily 3-5g dose. The nutrition

‘Unlike BCAAs, a creatine supp before an explosive training session will help provide the rapid energy you need for muscle contraction.’ TwentyTwo Training founder Dalton Wong

The expert verdict

Be careful if you’re consuming BCAAs close to bedtime. Serotonin boosts mood and aids sleep, but BCAAs inhibit serotonin-making chemicals, so could prevent those precious zzzs.

A hefty dose of BCAAs pre- and postworkout means you’ll hold on to more muscle mass while on a calorie-restricted nutrition plan. The International Society of Sports Nutrition

‘BCAAs have much the same benefit as a whey shake, with only a third of the calories. They also contain leucine, supporting muscle repair.’ PT Alex Mateus, mateusfitness.com

FOR THE WIN? CREATINE

If you’re working out fasted, you won’t be getting BCAAs from food, so it’s worth taking a supp. But otherwise, they’ll provide little more benefit than a balanced plate of food. Creatine’s proven boost to performance, strength, muscle mass and recovery makes it the smartest step-up in supplementation. Give it a pop.

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WORDS: ALICE BALL; LOUEE DESSENT-JACKSON. PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY. *SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN

The good


THE EXPERT Anna Jones, chef, food stylist and writer (annajones.co.uk)

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1

ASPARAGUS

BASIL

5 LINGUINE

2 PARMESAN FROM THE CUPBOARD Lemons, salt, extra virgin olive oil, black pepper

3

WORDS: ALICE BALL; NIKKI OSMAN. PHOTOGRAPHY: KAT PISIOLEK AT HEARST STUDIOS. FOOD STYLIST: TAMARA VOS AT HERS AGENCY

PEAS

cals 480

fat 9.7g

protein 21.7g

carbs 81.5g

serves 4

ASPARAGUS LINGUINE WITH GENOVESE PESTO Sure, you didn’t like asparagus as a child, but you also weren’t into high-performance sports bras or gin and tonic – and now look at you. It’s time you celebrated this seasonal fave with Anna Jones’s one-pot pasta

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INGREDIENTS 400g asparagus • 400g linguine • 200g fresh or frozen peas • small bunch of fresh basil • 40g freshly grated Parmesan FROM THE CUPBOARD 2 lemons (unwaxed) • 1 tsp flaky sea salt • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil • freshly ground black pepper

METHOD 1. Chop the asparagus stalks into rounds – setting the tips aside – and put them in a saucepan with the pasta and 100g peas. Grate in the zest of both lemons, add the salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pour in 1ltr boiling water and simmer for 8 mins with the lid on, stirring the pasta every 30 secs. 2. Blitz the basil leaves with 100g peas, a pinch of salt,

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20g Parmesan, 1 tbsp olive oil and the juice of half a lemon to create a pesto. 3. Once the pasta has absorbed all of the water, add the asparagus tips and the juice of 1 lemon and simmer for 2 mins. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the pesto, topping with 20g Parmesan and some black pepper. Hey pesto!

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TURN FOR INFO


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The percentage of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K in 100g boiled asparagus. That’s awesome for bone density and heart health.

THE INGREDIENTS

LINGUINE Both wholewheat and white pasta are full of selenium, an antioxidant that’s a great immunity booster. As well as being ideal for those Lady And The Tramp moments, long ribbon pasta, such as linguine, is great for serving with oil-based sauces like this one.

PEAS The 3pm stomach growl got you Hobnob-ing? Throwing some peas and other protein-rich legumes into your salad bowl could mean you consume 12% fewer calories at your next meal, according to a study in the journal Food & Nutrition Research.

ASPARAGUS We can’t think why the aubergine emoji is the only source of phallic comedy when asparagus is so ripe for it. In other news, these little green spears are packed full of vitamins, especially A, C and K. But to retain as many nutrients as possible, serve them stiff – before they get too, erm, limp.

PARMESAN Italian hard cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, can be classified as ‘functional food’ on account of their stellar nutritional profile, which provides real bone-health benefits, according to the journal Food Technology & Biotechnology. That’s grate news.

BASIL The benefits of basil have been hailed for centuries in Ayurveda. While Western medicine is still catching up, scientists do point to evidence of the herb’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. See, not just a pretty garnish.

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P O S I T I V E ST E P S TO A H E A LT H I E R O U T LO O K

WORK IN PROGRESS

CAN YOU TREAT ANXIETY WITH YOGHURT? To nutrition-conscious foodies, the mind-gut connection is nothing new. But psychobiotics – a growing strand of neuroscience – is exploring the ways that feeding your microbiome could hold the key to combating mental illness WORDS NIKKI OSMAN

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ILLUSTRATION SPOOKY POOKA

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n the dark depths of my underwear drawer, behind the date-night bra and the grippy socks, sits a pack of pills. Popping one with my coffee is as much a part of my morning routine as the doublesnooze and the Radio 4 Today programme – it is muscle memory. They’re citalopram – an antidepressant I take for anxiety that, for the past few years, has made itself known whenever I’ve been looking the other way. I have no shame in the contents of my top drawer, but I’m becoming increasingly curious about the recent raft of research that’s exploring a new alternative – the likes of which I might find in my fridge. The latest frontier of neuroscience isn’t really about the brain – it’s all about the gut. The gut microbiome is now thought to be just as influential as our genes in determining who we are, and the study of psychobiotics – broadly defined as any intervention that affects the brain through the triggering of gut bacteria – is gripping the interest of researchers.

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Body builders

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S T R ON G MIND

THE WRITER Nikki Osman, WH Features Editor

‘We’ve seen this area of research evolve so much over the past five years, driven not only by advances in technology, but also strong public interest,’ says Professor John Cryan, chair of the Department Of Anatomy & Neuroscience at University College Cork, principal investigator at the APC Microbiome Institute and co-author or The Psychobiotic Revolution (he’s basically the CEO of psychobiotics). ‘There’s huge excitement: people want to know what they can do with this information about how the gut influences the brain, and we’re struggling to keep up.’ Let’s, for a second, put a pin in this enthusiasm and back up a bit. The term ‘psychobiotics’ was first coined by Professor Cryan and his co-author, Professor Ted Dinan, to refer to the influence of probiotics – the bacteria found in foods like live yoghurt and miso – on the brain. It was the work of their team that led to the seminal study in this area, which has since been cited in research papers more than 1,000 times (science gone viral). In 2011, the team fed one group of mice a strain of the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and another a bacteria-free broth. After several stress tests, the team observed an array of changes in the bacteria group, including alterations to neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, like GABA – the same receptor targeted by anti-anxiety drugs. They also observed a reduction in the anxious and depressed behaviour of the mice. ‘We proposed that if this could be reproduced in humans, it would lead to a psychobiotic effect,’ explains Professor Cryan. ‘And when we did some testing on healthy adult volunteers, the potential psychobiotics that we found did indeed have a significant effect in lowering stress response and changing brain activity.’

BRAIN FOOD The definition of psychobiotics has since been broadened to encompass any intervention that influences the brain via the gut bacteria. As well as probiotic foods like yoghurt, this includes prebiotics

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– foods that feed your microbiome, like asparagus and leeks – as well as other interventions like exercise. The conviction with which the mindgut connection is spoken of would suggest that the brain and the gut are in constant communication, the likes of which you only witness in your most prolific group WhatsApp chats. ‘The body is so incredibly complex that there are many different mechanisms that could explain how the bacteria communicate with the brain,’ says Dr Megan Rossi (@theguthealthdoctor), research associate at King’s College London. ‘We do know that there are three main pathways. One sends messages through the bloodstream by producing chemicals in the gut; the second is through the nervous system; the third is like an alarm system, via immune pathways.’ While it’s one thing knowing these connections exist, proving how and why eating a yoghurt could make you feel less anxious is another challenge altogether. In 2013, researchers from UCLA used

where in five years’ time everybody will be getting their microbiome measured in the same way that you get your cholesterol measured today,’ says Professor Cryan. ‘In this sense, I think we could really see a shift in preventative care, but also in treatment.’ A team in Canada is currently researching different strains of bacteria with the hope of being able to use microbiome analysis to predict risk, but also to create bespoke treatment for mental health conditions; Professor Cryan’s team is also in the early stages of developing a psychobiotic that could be used to treat the symptoms of mild depression.

FORWARD THINKING But others are more cautious when I ask if this research can be translated into tangible treatment. ‘In order for psychobiotics to have a clinical application, we need more

‘IN FIVE YEARS, EVERYONE WILL BE GETTING THEIR MICROBIOME TESTED’ functional MRI scanning to prove that when healthy women ingested a probiotic twice daily for four weeks, it affected activity in regions of the brain that control emotion and sensation. More recent studies have explored the potential for manipulating this communication not only for anxiety treatment, but also for post-natal depression, schizophrenia and PTSD. Though human studies have been small so far, findings suggest that the implications of this communication extend far beyond our current comprehension. This could be huge. We’re in the midst of a mental illness epidemic – the number of people taking antidepressants has increased by more than 100% in the past decade. In 2016, the NHS doled out a record 64.7 million prescriptions – for context, there are 66 million people living in the UK. Could it be that the research being carried out today is paving the way for the use of psychobiotics – yoghurt included – as a mental health treatment? Yes, say those knee-deep in the science. ‘I think we are heading towards a scenario

human studies,’ says Dr Philip Burnet, associate professor in the Department Of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. ‘The problem we have is that in order to determine if they alone can treat someone who has depression, you would need to deny that person medication. You can’t do that, which makes it very difficult to test.’ Instead, Dr Burnet sees psychobiotics as supplements that can help medication to work better in people who don’t respond well to current treatment or for those who have low mood but no depression diagnosis. Adding another layer of complexity to psychobiotics is the care that has to be taken in discussing the potential of something other than tried and tested medication for mental health. The worry is that we risk adding to the stigma that (despite the best efforts of us all – this magazine included) continues to surround medically

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S T R ON G MIND A load off your mind

PROBIOTICS Boost your gut – and maybe your mental health – with these little extras

YOGHURT AND KEFIR Live yoghurt is a proven and cheap probiotic, but if you can stomach spending slightly more for a bottle of kefir, it possesses around five times as many microbes and a greater diversity, too. Try Bio-tiful Kefir Milk Drink (£2 for 500ml, sainsburys.co.uk).

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dots, but my gut instinct is telling me that, if you want to build up your stress resilience, a psychobiotic approach would be useful.’ So, what does all this mean for people like me? While the link between prebiotics and brain health might need more human studies to deliver concrete proof, upping my intake of prebiotic foods can only be

‘THIS COULD REVOLUTIONISE MANY AREAS OF MEDICINE’ a good thing. And it’s reassuring to know that dietary steps could future-proof my mental health should I reach the point of coming off my medication. As for where this research is headed, I’m excited – and I’m not the only one. ‘We are in the early days of unravelling the secrets of this system,’ says Dr Emeran Mayer, author of The Mind Gut Connection. ‘I think we currently know about 10%. But, in the next 10-20 years, this could revolutionise many areas of medicine.’ Now, there’s food for thought.

SYMPROVE In a 2015 study by UCL designed to explore the ability of various probiotics to survive the acid in the stomach and reach the gut, the Symprove formula came out top. Try Symprove Live & Activated Bacteria – Original (£21.95 for 500ml, amazon.co.uk).

BIO-KULT A 2017 study* found that the supplement Bio-Kult not only reduced abdominal pain in IBS sufferers, but also their anxiety – plus, it improved their enjoyment of life and ability to cope in stressful situations. (£9.25 for 30 capsules, bio-kult.com).

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*SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF DHAKA, BANGLADESH

treating your mind. ‘Medication has a really important role and people should never be afraid to take it if other lifestyle factors aren’t working,’ says Dr Rossi. ‘So I think mental health will always call for a holistic approach. But perhaps, ultimately, when someone goes to their GP and reports symptoms of anxiety or depression, doctors will prescribe both existing medication and psychobiotics.’ As to whether prebiotics or probiotics play the biggest role in influencing mental health, experts agree that we need more research on both. While they’re far from telling everyone to go out and stock up on probiotic supps, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are among the most researched strains of bacteria, and the consensus is that supplements should contain upwards of five billion bacteria per capsule. But they do agree on the importance of eating a diet that’s rich in prebiotics. That includes plenty of legumes, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions and asparagus. Professor Cryan sums it up: ‘We don’t have a strong enough evidence base yet to say that prebiotics have a positive effect on the brain in humans. But if you look at the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in prebiotics, it has been proven to be beneficial for brain health. The missing link thus far has been that this is down to your microbiome. We need to join the


S T R ONG MIND

‘My soul was sick from trying to be someone I wasn’t’ Gender dysphoria is the distress transgender people can feel in a body that doesn’t match their identity. Here, Charlie Craggs shares her experience ILLUSTRATION ELISA MACELLARI

P

ictures covering one mirror, a blanket over the other, lights dimmed to their lowest, I spent my early twenties going to great lengths to avoid looking at the face and body that sickened me. I was experiencing gender dysphoria and, in my male body, I didn’t just feel ugly, I felt wrong. I was four years old when I first told my mum I wanted to be a girl. My parents always let me be who I wanted to be and, as I grew older, I befriended girls and started wearing make-up. Everyone, myself included, assumed I was gay. Sure, I had to shoulder some insults on the West London council estate where I grew up but, for the most part, I could handle it.  That is, until puberty set in. Confronted with the reality of my adult male body, I began to hate myself. At the boys’ school I attended, I had no friends – whole days would go by when

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nobody would speak to me, except to deliver homophobic abuse. I slipped into a depression so severe that, despite multiple stints on medication, by 16, I was contemplating suicide. When I left school to go to art college in London, my mental health only deteriorated further. Suddenly surrounded by gay people, I quickly realised that I wasn’t one of them. Instead, I gravitated towards the thriving drag scene. I had no interest in wearing full drag make-up and performing, but it gave me permission to wear foundation and a Topshop dress and grow my hair – and permission was what I needed.  The louder the trans thoughts became, the harder I fought them. As far as society was concerned, trans people were murdered prostitutes on CSI or ‘freaks’ to be paraded on The Jerry Springer Show. If homophobic bullying had almost driven me to suicide, I reasoned, I could never cope with the abuse levelled at trans people.

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WHAT IS GENDER DYSPHORIA? ‘Gender dysphoria is the intense distress someone feels over the gender they were assigned at birth and the strong desire to live as the opposite gender. Feelings can present from a young age and the distress can worsen around the time of puberty. As well as symptoms of anxiety and depression, gender dysphoria is associated with an increased risk of self-harm and suicide. Treatment involves referral to a specialist service and includes real-life experience of living life as the preferred gender, as well as speech therapy, psychological support, hormonal treatment and, if the person chooses, surgery.’

Dr Sarah Vohra, author, psychiatrist and mental wellbeing blogger*

Then, one night, while shaving my beard, I turned the clippers on my hair. I hoped that once it was all gone, I’d see myself as a man. But all I saw in the mirror was a sad, scared little girl. I saw for the first time how sick I’d made my soul from trying to be someone I wasn’t. Transitioning would be hard, but it couldn’t be harder than living like this. In that moment, nothing and everything changed. I still had a man’s body but, for the first time in my life, I’d accepted myself. It was a moment so profound that, shortly afterwards, I came off antidepressants and haven’t needed them since. That’s not to say life was easy. Two years passed before I could get an appointment at a gender identity clinic to start taking female hormones. That period of living androgynously was one of the toughest of my life. Strangers would laugh, take pictures of me or even approach me on public transport to ask me outright what gender I was. The trans community was misunderstood and I was determined to remedy that. In 2014, I created Nail Transphobia, a pop-up nail bar where visitors could talk to a trans person, while getting a free manicure. I also learned that I could do little things for myself. Before a doctor could alter my biochemistry, I could fix my hair; when female hormones made me gain weight, I could take pleasure in moisturising my stretch marks. I didn’t have to wait to start caring for myself. The sad reality is that 48%† of young trans people have attempted suicide. It breaks my heart to think that any died because they couldn’t see a way to exist in our society. That’s why I published a book of letters by over 80 trans women – to show that we can live boldly and beautifully in this world as anything we choose: as politicians, as entertainers, as businesswomen – and most importantly, as ourselves.

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AS TOLD TO ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE. *FOLLOW DR VOHRA ON INSTAGRAM @THEMINDMEDIC. †SOURCE: SURVEY CONDUCTED BY THE CHARITY PACE AND BRUNEL UNIVERSITY

THE CASE STUDY Charlie Craggs, 25, activist and author of To My Trans Sisters (£12.99, Jessica Kingsley Publishers)


H E A LT H A N D FIT N E S S T R I C K S T H AT WO R K FRO M T H E I N S I D E O U T

Ready for

ACTION She’s stronger, tougher and packing 16lbs more battleready muscle – we spoke to the trainer who prepped Alicia Vikander to take Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft to the next level WORDS AMELIA JEAN JONES

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ong gone are the days in which Angelina Jolie would pout and strut her way through two hours of camp set pieces and sassy one-liners – where not a single hair would break free from that trademark plait. In the new Tomb Raider, Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft is the latest in a line of badass female leads, from Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. And that’s not all Alicia and Gal share – they both have celebrity trainer Magnus Lygdback to thank for getting them in shape to run, jump and fight their way through a gruelling action blockbuster. Oh, and in Alicia’s case, all her own stunts, too – including being repeatedly plunged into river rapids with her hands tied. Lygdback’s Magnus Method is designed to boost metabolism and build muscle, making him the perfect man for the job. ‘As a trained ballet dancer, Alicia has always been in shape,’ says Lygdback. ‘But her workouts were focused on cardio, so she wasn’t as strong as the

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role required her to be. Alongside our training schedule, Alicia practised mixed martial arts, rock climbing and archery to prepare for everything involved in the film. ‘My goal was to build lean muscle so she looked – and actually was – capable of performing those feats for real.’ But even in Hollywood, there’s no quick fix – Alicia’s tranformation took seven months to achieve. To begin with, Lygdback focused on general strength and mobility training to prime Alicia’s body and reduce her risk of injury. Three months later, he stepped it up a gear with eight weeks of heavier weights and compound moves (phase one), followed by eight weeks of lighter weights and higher reps, while eating little and often to stay energised (phase two). No one said getting a body like Lara’s would be easy. ‘Alicia’s years of balletic training mean she’s used to intense workouts,’ says Lygdback. ‘In fact, the most difficult thing to persuade her to do was to take a rest day.’ What a trooper. The result? Alicia packed on 16lbs of rock-hard muscle during her training. Boom. Feeling up to it? Try the Magnus Method yourself – minus the archery...

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THE TRAINER Magnus Lygdback, celebrity health and wellness coach (magnusmethod.com)

BUILD AN ACTION-MOVIE BODY

Phase one is all about lifting heavy and packing on muscle. Do each workout twice a week for eight weeks. Allow 60 seconds’ rest between each set. You’ll need two dumbbells, a leg-press machine, a bench and a cable station

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DEADLIFT

FRONT SQUAT

LEG PRESS

Do: 4 sets of 12 reps (a) Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of you, palms facing your thighs. Push your bum back and hinge at the hips, bending your knees slightly as you lower the weights to your shins. (b) When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, stop and slowly reverse the movement to the start.

Do: 4 sets of 12 reps (a) With your feet hip-width apart, hold the dumbbells at your shoulders, elbows bent, as if you’re about to punch upwards. (b) Squat down until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor, keeping the weights in place. Explosively return to standing, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.

Do: 5 sets of 12 reps (a) Sit at a leg-press machine, placing your feet on the platform directly in front of you, shoulder-width apart. Press the platform all the way up through your heels until your legs are fully extended in front of you without locking your knees. (b) Bend your knees to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

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LUNGE WITH WEIGHTS

SKATER JUMP

Do: 3 sets of 20 reps (a) Stand tall, holding the dumbbells at your sides, then step your left foot forwards and bend both knees until your left thigh is parallel with the floor. (b) Press back through your left foot to the starting position and repeat on the right leg. Then keep going.

Do: 4 sets of 30 reps (a) Cross your left leg behind your right and lower into a half squat, your right arm out to the side and left arm across your hips. (b) Hop as far as you can to the left, switching legs and arms, then keep going. Hop to it – those tombs won’t raid themselves.

WO R KO U T 2 C H E S T, B AC K , S H O U L D E R S A N D A R M S 1

CHEST PRESS Do: 4 sets of 12 reps (a) Lie on your back on the bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand on either side of your chest, then press both weights straight up until your arms are fully extended. (b) Pause at the top of the movement, then bend your arms to return to the start.

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DUMBBELL PRESS-UP

PRESS-UP ON BENCH

Do: 4 sets until fatigue (a) Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor and set yourself up in a press-up position, grasping the handles with each hand. (b) Lower your body to the floor, ensuring your elbows are angled backwards and your chest is close to the floor, pause, then push yourself back up.

Do: 3 sets until fatigue (a) Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the bench, then step your feet back so that you’re in a straight line from feet to shoulders. (b) As you inhale, bend your elbows, lowering until your chest touches the bench, pause, then exhale and push yourself back up to the starting position.

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LATERAL RAISE Do: 5 sets of 15 reps (a) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, arms by your sides with elbows slightly bent. (b) Raise your arms until they’re parallel to the floor. Return slowly to the starting position.

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SUPERSET: TRICEP PUSH DOWN INTO BICEP CURL Do: 4 sets of 12 reps per exercise (a) Grab the bar at a cable station in an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Upper arms tucked in and elbows bent, push the bar down, straightening your arms. (b) After 12 reps, flip to underhand, moving the bar from hip to shoulder height.

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BE S T BODY

Feeling strong? You should be. Now, it’s time for the second eight-week phase. As before, do each workout twice a week. Allow 60 seconds’ rest between sets. You’ll need two dumbbells, a bench, a lat pull-down machine and a barbell

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3

SUPERSET: FROG JUMP INTO LUNGE JUMP

STANDING ALTERNATING ROW

Do: 4 sets of 20 reps per exercise (a) Lower into a squat, swinging your arms back. Jump forward, landing in a squat. (b) After 20 reps, jump again, this time landing in a lunge with your right foot in front. Switch feet for each jump.

Do: 4 sets of 20 reps (a) Grab a pair of dumbbells and hinge at the hips with a slight bend in the knee. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length, your palms facing inwards. (b) Lift one dumbbell to your side and slowly lower it. Repeat on the other side.

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WINDMILL

LAT PULL-DOWN

STANDING ROW

Do: 2 sets of 20 reps on each side (a) Grab a dumbbell with your right hand, bring it next to your right shoulder, then press it overhead. (b) Keeping your chest facing forwards, look up as you try to touch your left foot with your hand. (c) Pause, then return to the starting position, keeping your right arm extended.

Do: 4 sets of 20 reps (a) Sit at a lat pulldown station and grab the bar with a shoulderwidth overhand grip – arms straight and your torso upright. (b) Without moving your torso, pull the bar down to your chest as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pause, then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep.

Do: 4 sets of 12 reps (a) Holding a barbell in front of your ribs with your hands shoulderwidth apart, slightly bend your knees and lean forwards 45°. (b) Lower the bar until your arms are fully extended. Squeeze your shoulders together and pull the bar back up, keeping your elbows close to your body. Then lower back down.

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BURPEE

FRENCH PRESS

Do: 4 sets until fatigue (a) Bend your knees and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders, then jump both feet behind you, bending your elbows. Add a pressup if you really want to push yourself. (b) Quickly reverse the motion then, if you’re feeling pumped, jump straight up and clap your hands overhead.

Do: 4 sets of 15 reps (a) Lie down on the bench and extend the weights straight up above you. Then, bending only your elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells – with control – towards the crown of your head. (b) Keeping your wrists straight, power the weights back up. Avoid locking your elbows at the top of the move.

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DOUBLE BICEP CURL Do: 4 sets of 10 reps (a) Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your sides, palms facing in. (b) Curl the weights to your shoulders, rotating your wrists so that your palms face up. Lower so your forearms are parallel with the floor, then bring back up to your shoulders before lowering to the start.

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BEAR CRAWL

DRAGONFLY

Do: 4 sets of 30 reps (a) Begin on all fours with your knees lifted off the floor, chin tucked in and head in a neutral position. (b) Crawl forward with your right arm and left leg so opposite arms and legs work together. Repeat on the opposite sides, keeping your hips as level as possible. Begin with small steps and build up.

Do: 5 sets of 15 reps (a) Lie on a bench and grab the edge behind your head. Swing your feet up with your shoulder blades pressed into the bench. (b) Keep your core tight and your body straight as you slowly lower your feet with control until they are just above the bench, then lift your legs back up to complete a rep.

PHOTOGRAPHY: © 2017 WARNER BROS ENTERTAINMENT INC; METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC. ILLUSTRATIONS: LIZZY THOMAS

1


0.8

The number of grams of protein per kilogram of body weight you need to consume to hit your RDA. With all that strength training, it’s no wonder the Magnus Method eating plan is heavy on the stuff

AND...

EAT! An average day on your plate following the Magnus Method

BREAKFAST Four eggs (however you want them) and half an avocado

MORNING SNACK Protein shake, chicken skewers, sashimi or nuts

LUNCH 160g steak served with a fist-sized portion of brown rice and one or two fist-sized portions of salad dressed in olive oil

AFTERNOON SNACK Protein shake, chicken skewers, sashimi or nuts

DINNER 135g chicken breast cooked in olive oil with a fist-sized portion of sweet potato or quinoa and two fist-sized portions of vegetables

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THE EXPERT Abi Dewberry (@abi_dewbs), master trainer at Best’s Bootcamp bestsbootcamp.com

ONE-PIECE WORKOUT

Resistance band Tight, taut, flexed – we’re talking about this stretchy workout wonder and your muscles if you know how to use it properly

(a)

(b)

(a)

F

eeling tense? Not as much as the rubber band you’re striving to pull up over your head as you lunge, which is exactly why working out with a resistance band has such great and varied payoffs for your body. ‘This piece of kit challenges muscle endurance and sculpts toned limbs,’ says Abi Dewberry, master trainer at Best’s Bootcamp, London. ‘Using just one band in a state of tension, these five exercises will put all your major muscle groups to work.’ How? By making you struggle against the band while it’s stretched – shaking limbs galore – which works deeper into your muscles to activate what’s already there and build more of the same. It may be small, but you’ll feel the burn.

FYI 1. Complete 10 reps of each exercise (on each side where appropriate) and repeat the circuit five times. 2. Struggling? Slacken the band slightly. If it’s too easy, make the band shorter. 74

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DEADLIFT WITH BENT-OVER ROW Targets: Back, glutes, hamstrings

(a) Stand on the middle of the band, feet hip-width apart, and hold the ends, wrapping any excess around your hands so it’s taut. Keeping your back and your arms straight, slightly bend your knees and fold forward at the hips, sticking your bum back and out, until your hands are at shin height. (b) From here, pull your elbows up high, keeping them tucked into your body and ending with your hands at waist height. Slowly lower your hands back down, return to the starting position and repeat.

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(b)

LATERAL RAISE Targets: Deltoids, obliques

(a) Start holding one end of the band in your right hand and standing on the other end, with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides. (b) Keeping your back straight, use your core and obliques to lift your right arm straight out to the side until it reaches shoulder height. Then slowly lower.

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BE S T BODY

STRETCH IT OUT Get your own set of four Women’s Health Pilates Bands Just £5.99 at argos.co.uk

BICEP CURL Targets: Biceps

(a) Stand on the middle of the band, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hold the ends of the band, wrapping any excess around your hands to make it taut. Keep your back straight and your arms by your sides. (b) Curl your arms up, bringing your fists to your shoulders, then slowly lower your arms all the way back down. Keep your elbows tucked into your body throughout and don’t let your shoulders roll forward. Repeat.

WORDS: FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS. HAIR & MAKE-UP: CARRIE STEWARD AT LHA REPRESENTS. MODEL: TONI COX AT W MODELS MANAGEMENT

(a)

(a)

(b)

(b) OVERHEAD BACKWARDS LUNGE Targets: Full body

BENT-OVER TRICEP KICK-BACK Targets: Triceps, lower back, core

(a) Stand on the band, feet wider than hip-width apart, and hold the ends. Slightly bend your knees and hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight, until your hands are at shin height. Pull your arms back so your hands are next to your hips. This is your starting position. (b) Keeping your upper arms still, straighten your arms without locking your elbows. Now reverse back to the starting position with control, and repeat.

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(a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your left foot on the middle of the band. Holding the ends in each hand, extend your arms straight above your head. (b) Step back into a lunge with the right leg, so your right knee is just above the floor and your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Reset to standing, keeping your hands above your head throughout. (a)

(b)

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MY FIT LIFE

Lara Mead The 30-year-old British founder of luxury activewear brand Varley talks expat wellness in LA – and missing London’s pubs

SWEAT

When I was younger, I ran competitively, so I’ve always been drawn to highintensity workouts. But two years ago, when I was expanding the Varley business in London, looking after my newborn son and trying to maintain my hardcore exercise regimen, my personal trainer Lee Mullins explained that I’d burn out if I didn’t balance my training with lower-intensity options. Now I’m based in Los Angeles, I offset my boxing classes at Gloveworx (gloveworx.com) with grounding hot yoga classes at Tantris on Sunset Boulevard (tantris.com).

WORDS: ROISÍN DERVISH-O’KANE. PHOTOGRAPHY: NEIL SHARUM

EAT

I’m a pescetarian and I love taking advantage of all the fresh seafood on the California coast. Few things beat eating a large grilled sea bass cooked in turmeric and garnished with mint and coriander, overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Soho House’s Malibu outpost Little Beach House. On the side, I’ll have taro chips. They’re massive in

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LA. They taste like a potato/parsnip hybrid and they’re thinly sliced and then roasted. When I have sweet cravings, they’re usually settled back at home with a couple of squares of 90% dark chocolate or some coconut yoghurt.

UNWIND

Nothing clears my head and feeds my soul like a good hike. I make it out for two hours once a week, using an app called AllTrails. My favourite route takes me through Temescal Canyon – at the highest point you have a view from Malibu all the way down to Venice. That said, I do miss pulling on my parka and taking my dog, Wispa, for a blustery walk down by the Thames in Chiswick, West London, where I used to live.

TREAT

When I need to zen out, I go to Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica (tikkunspa. com). I soak in the hot springs and sweat it out in the infrared sauna before one of the therapists teases out tension with an intense massage. It’s like nothing I’ve experienced in the UK – everyone’s naked for a start. Being British, I squirmed with awkwardness the first time I went, but now I’m quite into it. Wearing no clothes makes you feel like you’re being taken care of, just like a baby. Hopefully it’ll make its way to Britain soon!

BE S T BODY

WEAR GO

I get so excited for our biannual trips back to the UK. In LA, culture is wellness or restaurant openings, which I love, but it’s just not the same. I miss going to the theatre on a whim, and the British pub culture. Popping down to a cosy local with my husband for our standard half pint (him), glass of red (me) and a packet of crisps is always high up on the to-do list when we’re back home.

I spend a lot of time in activewear. My top tip for making your kit look slick is: choose leggings that fit properly, flatter your body and you feel comfortable in. Then you can wear them with confidence, which is the key to pulling off anything. I love our Kingman tights. (Biased, me?) The mesh panelling is ultra-flattering. [Turn to page 91 to check out some of Lara’s designs.]

DO

After my son was born, I exhausted myself trying to make sure he went to every play date, dance class and baby massage session. Things got so much easier when I accepted that I didn’t have to do all the things the other West London mums did. I realised I had to be strict with myself about taking time out to get my hair or nails done – I’m always a better mum when I come back.

STATS Age: 30 Job: Activewear entrepreneur Fitness MO: Boxing and hot yoga Wind-down secret: Hiking with views

LISTEN

I struggle with reading as it requires my full attention, which, with a toddler, a business and a dog, I don’t have vast reserves of. I prefer podcasts, which I can listen to while fulfilling my type A urge to get shit done. Tuning into How I Made It to hear about how other companies built their success really relaxes and inspires me.

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FAT BURNER’S DIARY

BE S T BODY

‘I cut out booze to feel better in my body’

THEN In my late teens and early twenties, I ate and drank whatever I wanted. Regular boxing classes and running kept me fit without me having to try too hard. But in 2011, at 24, I developed depression and turned to food and alcohol for comfort. I was consuming more than 4,000 calories a day and doing no exercise. Unsurprisingly, my 5ft 7in frame gained 7st in two years. After about 18 months, my mood was at rock bottom. I rarely left the house, I had no energy and cancelled holidays as I didn’t want to be photographed in a bikini. Then, in late 2014, someone took a rare snap of me. I didn’t recognise myself – I looked so much worse than I’d imagined.

An unflattering photograph shocked Kate Cherrett, 30, into quitting drinking to transform her mental and physical health

HOW I decided that joining Slimming World was the best choice for me – no tiny portions, no carb-cutting and a focus on avoiding alcohol. Being more mindful of what I was eating, I lost a stone in four weeks. I started walking regularly and was soon covering 12km three times a week. I joined a gym and did a body-weight circuits class once or twice a week, and those walks turned into runs. I learnt to fuel my body: porridge for breakfast, a chicken and avocado salad for lunch and meat with two veg for dinner – and no alcohol. I completed my first half marathon in October 2016 and I’ve since run 10 more.

WEIGHT TO GO

AS TOLD TO KITTY DIMBLEBY. PHOTOGRAPHY: TOM WATKINS. HAIR AND MAKE-UP: CASSIE STEWARD AT LHA REPRESENTS. WITH THANKS TO LOMAX COCOON

GOOD FUEL A handful of almonds is delicious and an easy way to fill up on the move

NOW My body shape has changed completely – I’ve gone from a size 24 to a size 12 – but it isn’t about weight loss any more. I now want to be fit, strong and healthy – both mentally and physically. I aim to drink three litres of water a day and I exercise five or six times a week: running, lifting weights and doing body-weight circuits. It’s never a chore to work out – in fact, I really miss it if I can’t. Endorphins are the best mood booster. I don’t need alcohol any more to feel positive and confident, but I can enjoy the occasional drink without it becoming a crutch. And if I’m in a bikini? Snap away!

SOUNDTRACK Any song by Alt-J keeps me moving – I get lost in the lyrics

FITSPO @thewesttwins – ultimate strong female #goals

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the issue

Are you doing the

UK’S FAVOURITE WORKOUT? It’s the fitness method that has transcended all others; moving from professional championships to mainstream workout, from the US gymnast community to the British public. We chart the rise and rise of CrossFit

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I

t takes something very special to win over the British populous; we are, if nothing else, a tough crowd. So it’s fair to show more than a little appreciation for CrossFit, the US-born fitness method that has successfully infiltrated every corner of the UK. Where other exercise fads have failed to stick nationwide (anti-gravity yoga didn’t quite land), have a search for your local ‘box’ on the brand’s website and you’re likely to come up trumps, whether you’re based in the centre of Manchester or a diminutive village in the Welsh Valleys. What’s perhaps most surprising about CrossFit’s takeover of our tiny isle is that there are plenty of reasons why it shouldn’t be so popular – the cult-like devotion of its members, the low-fi gym setting (this is no place for fluffy white towel enthusiasts), stories of participants pushing themselves to injury and beyond, and the notion that only those who can already nail a pull-up

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BE S T BODY to the, erm, rack. Seduced by the method’s muscle-building, fat-torching gains, over 27,000 women are now training at 554 boxes (CrossFit speak for studios – proudly unglamorous garage-like spaces) in the UK, joining 10 million members worldwide. And if you’re not doing Crossfit, you’ve probably googled it: UK searches are through the roof every month and #crossfitgirls has clocked up almost three million posts on Instagram. Devised by ex-gymnast Greg Glassman, CrossFit workouts look to challenge the entire body and its larger muscle groups, combining moves from gymnastics, HIIT, weights training and Olympic weightlifting (such as the snatch and the clean and jerk). In contrast with most gym classes, which publicise exactly what you can expect from your session – barre, bums and tums, dance aerobics, etc – CrossFit attendees don’t know what the day’s workout will be until they turn up and see the WOD (workout of the day) scrawled on a whiteboard.

always look this way. One of her most popular posts is of her at the age of 23, an amateur footballer and firefighter, looking fit and happy, but with a very different body composition. The current trend for a stronger, fitter female physique is not only drawing women to CrossFit, but being led by the method, too. According to researchers at Ohio State University, women who participated in a CrossFit programme of five weekly workouts for 10 weeks boosted their aerobic capacity by 11.8% and cut their body fat by more than 3%, while upping muscle mass. It’s a timesaver, too: Kansas State University research has found that obese or overweight adults benefited

‘OVER 27,000 UK WOMEN ARE NOW TRAINING AT 554 CROSSFIT BOXES’

need apply. But all these arguments evaporate once you look past the rumours and actually give it a go for yourself. ‘I hear a lot of people say that they need to get fit before they start CrossFit,’ says Sam Briggs, CrossFit and Reebok ambassador and arguably the fittest woman in Britain, thanks to her success in the (quite honestly, ridiculously hardcore) international CrossFit Games. ‘But that’s the biggest myth – it will help make you fit, that’s the whole point. People see videos on YouTube and Netflix documentaries about the CrossFit Games and think, “That’s insane, I could never do that,” but the mainstream fitness trend is much more scaled back, something that everyone can participate in to build themselves a fitter body.’ This promise of functional fitness is the lure that’s seen – despite CrossFit’s macho image – thousands of women stepping up

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One thing’s for sure – it’ll always be tough. But each session is designed to be fun, too: think handstands, rope climbing and burpee challenges with a partner. ‘New members walk into a CrossFit box, see ropes hanging and think, “I haven’t climbed a rope since I was a kid, I can’t do that,”’ says Sam. ‘But they’re encouraged to try and, a few weeks later, they’re scaling that rope like you wouldn’t believe.’ And the sense of community is infectious. ‘Every member of the class, not just the coaches, celebrates your PBs with you; you become a family.’ It’s a concept she puts at the very heart of why women are flocking to CrossFit boxes in their droves. Coach Arend Wissing, who owns CrossFit Dawn in East London, reveals that women outnumber men at his box. ‘And I always find that women progress quicker than the guys,’ he says. ‘There’s less ego involved. Women are there to learn.’ A quick scroll through Sam’s Instagram – the aptly named @bicepslikebriggs – shows off a jaw-dropping six-pack and incredibly toned arms. She’s a machine. But scrolling back, the 35-year-old didn’t

more from eight weeks of CrossFit than an aerobic training programme, despite CrossFit sessions being shorter. Its mainstream success has been bolstered by the fact that some of the world’s biggest sports brands are designing and launching best-selling kit inspired by and created for CrossFit workouts. Reebok, the official sponsor of the annual CrossFit Games, has a whole host of gear and released its latest iteration of the CrossFit trainer Nano 8 (Sam’s go-to training shoe) in September 2017; Nike – for whom Icelandic CrossFit athlete Sara Sigmundsdóttir is an ambassador – boasts that its millennial pink Metcon trainer is

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a UK favourite; and No Bull and Under Armour are famed for their CrossFitfriendly training shoes, too. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and you know something’s well and truly stuck when the rest of the fitness world start to take note. Luxe London gym Third Space has introduced a new class called The WOD – a gut-busting session drawing inspiration from elements of CrossFit with rounds of EMOMs (every minute on the minute) and AMRAPs (as many rounds as possible), while functional fitness is being touted by the most switched-on PTs around the country. But CrossFit boxes aren’t sitting back basking in their success. Wessing has teamed up with Rachel Stephenson, a

‘WOMEN TEND TO PROGRESS FASTER THAN THE GUYS – THERE’S LESS EGO INVOLVED’ Pilates instructor and recent CrossFit convert, to combine the best of both disciplines. ‘I was seeing clients suffering from injury due to poor form or a lack of body awareness after performing CrossFit or another high-impact class,’ explains Rachel. Their new combination sessions – 40 minutes of Pilates to activate the core (or midline, as CrossFitters call it) followed by 20 minutes of traditional CrossFit – minimise the risk of injury and are a nice introduction to the method for those who might be a little tentative. Sam’s best tips for nerves? ‘Channel that external pressure that we humans constantly put on ourselves and prove yourself wrong.’ Best check where your nearest box is then. Sam Briggs is a Reebok athlete and competes in the Reebok Nano 8 Flexweave, reebok.co.uk. For details on your local box, visit crossfit.com

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WORDS: JESSICA SALTER; VICTORIA JOY. PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES; INSTAGRAM @BICEPSLIKEBRIGGS

TRAIN LIKE SAM: TIPS FROM A CROSSFITTER ASK FOR HELP It can be daunting, I know, but the coaches are there to help – so make the most of it when you’re in the gym and have access to one. Every CrossFit session has at least one coach on hand so, if you’re unsure, ask to borrow them for five minutes. The trainers work there because they love it; it’s their passion and they want to pass that on. COUNT YOURSELF LUCKY If I’m tired or just can’t face getting myself to a cold gym for rounds of squats, I try to turn my thinking around: not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to work out or challenge their body in this way, so I remind myself of how lucky I am. It serves as powerful motivation.

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SHOOT YOUR FORM Even at the top level when I’m really in touch with my body, my form can falter or I settle into bad habits. If you’re training by yourself or don’t have a coach on hand, set your phone up in line with your body and check your form afterwards. Seeing your body mid-move from a different angle can make all the difference and you can always show the video to a more experienced friend or trainer to get feedback. CHEAT – BUT JUST ONCE If you’re eating a lot of prepped meals to help you reach your training goals, it’s par for the course that it can get a bit dull and monotonous – which is why I’m all for a cheat meal. I finish training earlier than usual on a Saturday, so that’s usually when I’ll head out with friends, relax and eat whatever I want. It’s not a day-long binge, but one meal that then keeps me motivated throughout the next week. BREAK IT DOWN The amazing thing about CrossFit is that there’s always something new to try and always something to learn, whatever your fitness level. I never did any gymnastics as a child, so kicking upside down on the rings to perform a handstand press-up was really scary. It was one of the biggest body challenges I’ve ever faced, but I took it slowly and broke the movement down; so first I learned to kick up to the rings, then learned control when the

DECODED The lingo of CrossFit

rings were close to the floor, then kept practising as the rings got higher and higher. It’s the CrossFit way, which is why anyone can go, get a great workout and progress on their own terms.

AMRAP As many rounds as possible, eg, AMRAP 20 minutes, 5 pull-ups, 10 press-ups.

MIX MEALS WITH SUPPS I’m training pretty much every day so, to build and maintain muscle, I need to consume a good amount of protein. It’s easier during a busy day to get this from shakes and bars, but that makes it all the more important that the meals I eat are full of nutrients from high-quality sources. A mix of balanced meals and timesaving supplements works for me.

AIR SQUATS A body-weight squat with no additional load.

EMOM Every minute on the minute. Do an exercise at the start of each minute for a set time.

USE RECOVERY TO GAIN PERSPECTIVE When I had shoulder surgery in 2016, it was tough to stay positive. As well as concentrating on the rehab my shoulder needed, I focused on the things I could still do with my doctor’s say so, the different moves and areas I could work on and build stronger, which kept me on track. Otherwise it would have been easy to become depressed and feel lost.

HSPU Handstand press-up.

WOD Workout of the day.

T2B Toes to bar, as in, hanging from the bar and kicking your legs up to meet it.

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BEST OF BRITISH These six activewear brands, born on home turf, are creating such eye-pleasing, workoutboosting kit, they’re winning fans the world over STYLING CHARLIE LAMBROS PHOTOGRAPHY VICTORIA ADAMSON

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Vaara Thanks to a solid knowledge of the fashion industry as a model and a hobby of visiting yoga studios the world over, Tatiana Korsakova wanted to create durable workout clothing that’s comfortable enough to stretch and flex in. ‘Perform’, ‘rest’ and ‘enhance’ form the pillars of Vaara’s ethos, with a focus on high-performance fabric. Translated: these are clothes to spend both your off days and training sessions in, and look damn good while you’re at it. Leggings, £130, Vaara Jacket, £65, Fila at Urban Outfitters Shoes, £119, Kurt Geiger


Adidas by Stella McCartney British fashion powerhouse Stella McCartney is one of the original pioneers of styleled gym gear, thanks to her long-held relationship with sportswear giant Adidas. Thirteen years on from her first collab in 2005, we’re still hooked on Stella’s fashionforward designs and cuttingedge technical fabrics that are both chic and functional. Oh, and her commitment to cruelty-free production is yet another reason to love it. Jumper, £64.95, Adidas by Stella McCartney Long-sleeve T-shirt (just seen), £62, Varley

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Charli Cohen Since graduating from London’s Kingston University in 2012, Charli Cohen’s eponymous sportswear brand has been making waves. Her designs are futuristic, but never at the expense of functionality – all of the pieces are made with high-tech performance materials manufactured using eco-friendly practices. It’s legit activewear that wouldn’t look out of place at evening drinks with friends. Honest. Jacket, £895; T-shirt, £99; leggings, £99, all Charli Cohen


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Varley Varley was founded in 2014 by Lara Mead (turn to page 77 for more about Lara) and her husband Ben after they became disillusioned with their stressful city jobs. The brand focuses on combining performance fabrics with beautiful designs that you’ll want to wear to Saturday brunch even if you skipped morning yoga. These babies are on our payday wishlist. Sweatshirt, £75; leggings, £88; crop top (just seen), £68, all Varley Trainers, £80, Reebok

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LNDR It’s hard to believe LNDR (short for Londoner) was only launched in 2015. Gigi Hadid and Sofia Richie are among its celeb fans, and the reason they love it is a no-brainer: too-cool-for-school retroinspired designs with fabric that totally has your back, including compression panels to increase blood flow to your muscles, and quick-dry seamless knits to wick away moisture – no sweat patches guaranteed. Praise be to the gymwear gods. Sweatshirt, £155; sports bra, £55; trousers, £135, all LNDR Socks, £7.99, Puma at sockshop.co.uk Sliders, £30, Lacoste

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HAIR AND MAKE-UP: GIGI HAMMOND AT FRANK AGENCY USING NARS COSMETICS AND FUDGE HAIR. MODEL: GEORGIA ROSE AT MODELS 1. FASHION ASSISTANTS: POLLY BARTLETT AND ROBYN SCHAFFER

Silou London Ex-model Tatiana Kovylina launched her minimal, classic activewear brand after realising few on the market championed ethical manufacturing processes. Hats off to Silou – its production line is sweatshop-free, offering fair pay for its employees, and all materials used to create its garments are non-toxic. Style with a conscience is worth forking out for.

Sleeveless jacket, £199; sweatshirt, £229; sports bra, £99; trousers, £189, all Silou London Shoes, £55, Converse at Schuh


CHEAP AS CHIPS

MAKE-UP You don’t have to spend a fortune to fill your cosmetics bag, but are lower-price brands really going to make you look a million bucks?

BROWS

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BEAUTY PIE SUPERBROW PRO-SCULPTING POWDER £2.32 FOR MEMBERS, £16 FOR NON-MEMBERS Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Claire Sanderson, Editor They say: The velvety powder clings to skin and hair for 3D precision application, perfect definition and beautiful arches however you want them. Build up with feather-like strokes and blend for as much, or as little, colour as you want. Claire says: I was a 1990s over-plucker (damn you, younger self), so I need to make the most of the precious brows I have left. While this soft powder was easy to apply, it built up faster than I’d anticipated and I was left with brows that were more Kahlo than Cara. Next time I’ll opt for a lighter shade.

CONTOUR H&M CONTOURING PALETTE £7.99 Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Victoria Joy, Deputy Editor They say: Subtly sculpt and define facial features on the go with two creamy, blendable shades; one dark for contouring, the other light for highlighting. Victoria says: I’m no Kardashian when it comes to contouring, but this creamy compact seemed more tacky than the blending formulas I’ve used in the past, which made it tricky to really work into the skin well. You’ll need to work on your finger game to get max results, but the kit is there to do it.

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WORDS: AMELIA JEAN JONES. PHOTOGRAPHY: KAT PISIOLEK AT HEARST STUDIOS

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ome things in life you should never skimp on: a decent sports bra, free-range chicken and, as your mum always told you, good leather shoes. But with others – make-up, say – is it really necessary to drop a purple note and more per product? While five years ago, being thrifty when it came to cosmetics would have likely earned you a nasty tidemark and mascara smudges for days, times are a-changin’. ‘As expensive television campaigns make way for social media advertising, new brands can invest that cash in quality, effective formulas that rival luxury brands, while maintaining low price points,’ says Charlotte Libby, global colour cosmetics analyst at Mintel. Team WH invest their time and their faces to trial what you can get for under £8.


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BASE LASHES SLEEK MAKEUP I’M CONDITIONAL MASCARA £7.99 Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Florence Mitchell, Editorial Assistant They say: Promotes strong, long healthy lashes and helps them grow. The full-volume, long-wearing formula thickens, lengthens and is perfect for building subtle or dramatic looks. A unique double bristle brush captures even the hardest-to-reach lashes, making application quick and easy. Florence says: Instant definition for my fair, fine lashes might seem like a bonus, but I started to notice little black flecks on my cheeks about two hours after applying. Athough when you consider that the second hour involved a heavy sweat session, that’s pretty impressive.

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THE ORDINARY COLOURS SERUM FOUNDATION SPF15 £5.70 Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Amelia Jean Jones, Health & Beauty Editor They say: Light to medium coverage in 21 shades with a super-lightweight feel, the colour pigments are suspended in the brand’s unique spreadability system that allows the pigment to look natural on the skin, resist collecting in fine lines and stay on for longer. Amelia says: I’d love to be the kind of girl who can go fresh-faced and look radiant but my skin has different ideas. This buildable coverage is the best of both worlds: lightweight where you can risk it and more forgiving where you can’t. Glow it up further by mixing in a drop of facial oil and applying with your fingers.

LIPS PRIMARK PS… MY PERFECT NUDE NOURISHING LIPGLOSS £2 Experience Results Value for money Tested by: Rachel Moore, Editorial Intern They say: With a doe-foot applicator and richly pigmented formulas to suit a whole host of skin tones (because one person’s nude is another’s ‘do I look dead in this?’), this nourishing formula is enriched with shea butter and vitamin E for colour that cares as you wear it. Rachel says: While the colour was more intense than I’m used to, the expensive-feeling applicator made it a doddle to slick on, even without a mirror. The texture was a bit sticky, but it stayed put for hours. Definitely worth popping in your clutch before going out-out.

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SPRING INTO COLOUR A change is as good as a rest – and switching up your hair colour is just the ticket. The UK’s top colourists share their hottest shades for spring

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ruth bomb: there are few things in life guaranteed to make you feel good, bar, say, a bang-on-the-money Gemma Collins meme and playing with puppies. But TOWIE alumni and baby animals aside, there are some other safe bets you can rely on to perk you up, starting with giving your hair a colour boost. In fact, Nottingham Trent University research proved that women experience a genuine increase in confidence after dying their hair. No wonder, then, that so many of us are doing it. As a nation, we’re top of the colour leagues. According to a recent study by Garnier, 64% of UK women have coloured their hair in the past two years, compared with 61% in the US and 55% in France. ‘We’ve noticed a definite rise in demand,’ says Sarah Brass, director at London salon Taylor Taylor. ‘Particularly when the season changes; the UK has always been a leader in fashion, and that translates to hair, too.’ ‘Colour can have a profound effect on your sense of wellbeing, especially during periods of transition, like the arrival of spring,’ adds psychologist Gill Thackray. ‘It makes sense to update rich wintry hues with light shades that mirror spring’s sense of new beginnings.’ While the idea of reinventing your style for the new season might not be new, today, the tech behind it is. Thanks to innovative pre-colour bonding

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treatments such as Taylor Taylor’s Olaplex and L’Oréal Professionnel’s Smartbond, it’s never been easier to change your shade while ensuring your hair remains in optimum condition. ‘Olaplex repairs the disulfide sulfur bonds that are broken when you colour your hair,’ says Brass. ‘These bonds are the ones that give hair elasticity and strength, so with Olaplex, colouring can improve the condition of the hair and help it become more resistant to breakage.’ Win. So, with hair damage a thing of the past, now’s the time to embrace the dye and switch up that colour.

BLONDE AMBITION The easiest way to reboot blonde locks? Put them on ice. Metallic blonde is having a moment, so the easiest update if you’re already blonde is to add a little platinum to your current warmer incarnation. But if you’re looking to go lighter, celebrity hair stylist Daniel Galvin Jr suggests you do it in stages to prevent your hair being damaged by the bleach. He recommends his taliage technique, a method whereby colour is applied in sections to hair around the face. ‘Weave in subtle tones and never go more than three shades lighter,’ advises Galvin. ‘As for colour, warm blondes should add cold silvery tones, brunettes should try golds and bronzes, while redheads can opt for either. This will create a translucency that beautifully reflects the light, plus brightening in stages will mimic the progressive natural lightening of the hair

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by the sun.’ Think of it as creating a permanent halo around your head – angelic behaviour not required.

THE NEW NORMAL With 43% of British women sporting brown hair, brunettes are leading the way in the UK. According to Hershesons expert colourist Mitra Mirlashari, this season’s go-to shade for the dark-haired crowd is chocolate brown with added honey accents. ‘It’s the juxtaposition of light and dark that adds dimension and definition and transitions brunettes into spring,’ she says. Balayage remains the most popular way to do this – with over 10 million #balayage posts on Instagram, what more proof do you need? For those unfamiliar with the trend, placement is pivotal. One overall colour is ditched in favour of sweeps of lighter tones through the ends of your hair, accentuated by the warm brown beneath. But for those who aren’t already brunette, the look can still work, says Mirlashari. ‘Ask your colourist to dye your locks chocolate brown and protect the lighter parts with foil.’

FIRE STARTER According to colour trend forecasters Pantone, we are embracing colour like never before as a means of selfexpression and exploration. Along with the tried-and-tested springtime faves, more vibrant


colours and experimental hues are garnering attention this season. ‘Chilli red is a deeper earthy red that’s wearable and can be adapted to suit most complexions,’ says Lauren Watson, senior colourist at Windle & Moodie. While blazing shades might be fresh and unexpected, they’ll also push your confidence boundaries. If you’re not ready to go full Rihanna circa 2010, but like the idea of adding a little spice to your mane, try dropping in microlights of chilli instead. ‘Microlights are a subtler version of a highlight,’ explains Watson. ‘They’re sporadically placed and fewer in number; yet add an extra dimension to the hair.’ Perfect, then, if you just want to be kissed, rather than full-on snogged, by fire…

SHADES OF GREY Silver-grey is set to be the huge colour trend this spring. ‘Although it’s viewed as an ageing colour, it is, in fact, the total opposite,’ says Lisa Whiteman, colourist and founder of Whiteman Soho. ‘It’s a shade that suits most skin tones.’ But while the end result might wow, it’s not exactly the gentlest makeover you could give your hair. Expect to bleach your locks to pale blonde before toning down to achieve the perfect silver-grey that’ll need retouching every six to eight weeks. It’s a high-maintenance hue, so Whiteman suggests that you follow up with deepconditioning treatments once a week to keep it looking healthy. The maintenance is totally worth it, though. ‘You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the way grey reflects the light and how versatile the shade is when it comes to spring outfit choices,’ Whiteman adds. The message? Dedication pays off.

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IT’S THE SEASON TO SHOW YOUR HAIR A LITTLE LOVE

1. JOHN FRIEDA RADIANT RED RED BOOSTING SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER, £6.99 EACH Red pigment molecules wash out easily. Protect yours with this duo that injects the hair with 18-MEA, a natural water repellent, for colour that lasts.

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2. PHILIP KINGSLEY SUN SHIELD UV DEFENCE, £22 You slather sun protection on your skin, so treat your hair accordingly to nix colour fade and damage. This lightweight mist guards against UV rays, chlorine and saltwater.

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3. BLEACH LONDON BOLD AS BRASS SUPER COOL COLOUR, £5.99 Don’t feel ready to commit? Bleach London offers a wash-out colour cream mask in 11 hues (some more punchy than your standard blonde and brown), which fade out over time.

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4. COWSHED LAZY COW 2-IN-1 ULTRA-RICH SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER, £18 Too much water (and rubbing) can cause colour to fade, so speed up your showers with this double-duty product, enriched with camomile oil, organic argan and wheat protein.

5. JOSH WOOD COLOUR ROOT SMUDGER, £12 Inspired by the techniques of celebrity colourist Josh, this magic wand artfully disguises regrowth. Click out the pigment until the brush is saturated, paint on to dry or damp roots then lock with a dryer.

6. LØRE ORIGINALS PREPARE + PROTECT, £21.50 For those of you who style, this is for you. This leave-in conditioning spray from London salon Taylor Taylor helps to defend against heat damage and detangles dry or damaged strands.

7. BOUCLÈME INTENSIVE MOISTURE TREATMENT, £26 Coloured hair demands extra TLC, so dedicate 30 minutes a week to aid repair with this strengthening and rebalancing formula to stimulate growth and promote hair elasticity.

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WORDS: AMERLEY OLLENNU. PHOTOGRAPHY: JON COMPSON AT TRUNK ARCHIVE; MITCH PAYNE

A fan of changing shades? You’ll be needing these all-British beauties then...


Dial down

STRESSED SKIN

Whoever coined the term ‘worry lines’ was on to something. Anxiety, tension and everyday angst are hitting your skin, triggering breakouts, dryness and premature ageing. But don’t stress about it – we’ve got you covered

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WORDS: BECCI VALLIS. PHOTOGRAPHY: KENNETH WILLARDT AT TRUNK ARCHIVE; BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS

ou’re feeling frazzled, you say? Well, what does that mean? Burnt-out? Stressed? Like a baconflavoured deep-fried maize snack? Whatever you’re referring to, we can tell you what it looks like. Along with dishevelled hair and an unseeing glare, cortisol-spiking, day-ruining stress can reveal itself in your complexion. ‘Recent research shows that at least 30% of patients with skin problems have an underlying psychological issue, such as anxiety or depression,’ says Dr Ellie Cannon, author of Is Your Job Making You Ill? With the British Skin Foundation claiming that one in four GP appointments now relates to skin disorders, there’s a whole new branch of medicine dedicated to it – psychodermatology. A dermatology splinter group, instead of putting your skin under the microscope, it assesses your physical and psychological state before prescribing an action plan.

The damage that mental fatigue and angst can do to your face is real, experts claim. The chain of effects goes a little something like this: external stressors are perceived as a threat by your mind and body, causing your adrenal glands to switch into overdrive as a natural defence mechanism. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol spike – and it takes the perceived threat disappearing or some hefty relaxation to bring levels down again. Too much cortisol not only escalates the skin’s natural production of oil, it also causes inflammation, which is why stress is often linked to chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. ‘Inflammation is one of the body’s protective reactions to injury or infection, but too much becomes detrimental to the dermis,’ adds Dr Cannon. Never far behind the science, leading brands are responding in kind with new products created to tackle the harm cortisol does to the skin. ‘Market analysts Mintel reported that stress is a massive focus for

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the mature millennial in today’s world, where people are taking on more and more and often sacrificing sleep or nutrition, so we know it needs to be addressed by our skincare,’ says Noella Gabriel, co-founder of Elemis. ‘Our Superfood Skincare range contains a combination of antioxidants to reduce stress and balance bad bacteria with good.’ And This Works has introduced Stress Check, an entire range dedicated to allaying stress damage to the skin. ‘While we need cortisol to take us from asleep to awake every morning, sustained levels can lead to anxiety,’ says Dr Anna Persaud, CEO of This Works. ‘So our focus was on creating morning-use products that would address that.’ Then there’s Ren, whose Evercalm range includes natural ingredients to target inflammation and soothe itchiness and redness.

Next, try to regain balance, starting with your brain rather than your beauty products. Change too many factors, such as skincare regime, diet and sleeping patterns, and it’s tricky to determine what’s actually helped. This is where psychodermatology is starting to come into play. ‘Skin diseases need to be treated holistically, especially because some conditions like eczema and psoriasis don’t have physical cures,’ says Dr Glass. Scientists at the University of Manchester found that cognitive behavioural therapy had a profound effect on those suffering from psoriasis, and patients at Dr Glass’s clinic are given access to both dermatologists and psychologists. Only after a thorough assessment – analysing a patient’s sleep, relationships, everyday life, appetite, significant life events and how they feel about their skin – is a hypothesis given as to what may be triggering and exacerbating their skin problems.

UNDER THE SKIN How severely your skin may react to stress is impossible to predict. ‘Some individuals inherit a genetic predisposition that makes their skin receptors more sensitive to hormones, which informs the amount of oil produced,’ says dermatologist Dr Frances Prenna Jones. For some, stress might manifest itself as eczema on their elbows; for others, it might be rosacea on the cheeks or an oily breakout on the chin. And all this disruption to your skin’s defensive barrier leaves you wide open to premature ageing and wrinkles caused by external aggressors – something that Colette Haydon, founder of Lixirskin, has dubbed ‘inflammaging’. As well as attacking your dermis cells, stress influences your lifestyle choices, too, which can directly impact the state of your skin. ‘In times of stress, many people turn to sugary foods and alcohol, but evidence suggests drinking makes the symptoms of psoriasis worse, and research supports the link between a high-GI diet and the symptoms of acne,’ says Dr Daniel Glass, consultant dermatologist at the Dermatology Clinic London. Bingeing on sugar causes big swings in insulin, which, in turn, causes spikes in cortisol, and the knock-on effect is an over-production of oil. You see where this is going, right?

A HEALING TOUCH If therapy seems a bit much for you, don’t fret – there are myriad mindfulness and self-care strategies you can practise to improve your skin, starting with your fingers. A simple switch from quickly slapping your products on to massaging in serums and creams will automatically rid your face and jaw of built-up tension. It also increases circulation, helping skin cells to regenerate and recover. Extend the massage down beyond your face, out to your neck, décolletage and your ears (you heard us). ‘By pinching your lobes and rubbing your ears, you can boost facial circulation, stimulate neural pathways and help balance hormones,’ says facialist Su-Man Hsu, who draws on the methods of traditional Chinese medicine in her practice. One final piece of advice? Once you’ve made the switch, try to chill out, because your skin won’t perfect itself overnight. Whether you’re introducing new products, instilling new application habits or making therapeutic tweaks to your lifestyle, Dr Prenna Jones advises monitoring the results for at least four weeks, which equates to one skin-cell cycle. No stress.

FACING THE ISSUE So what’s the answer? As when dealing with stress from a mental health perspective, identifying triggers is key. Keep a log of when your skin seems to deteriorate, then see if that syncs with times of stress – if the two correlate, your skin ailments are likely to be hormone-related.

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YOUR issue STRESS LESS TOOL KIT

JUST THE TONIC A magic cure for your skin issues doesn’t exist yet – but if it did, we reckon it would involve this lot

From oils to apps, these homegrown beauty and wellness wonders will nix that frazzled feeling

1. THE SKIN TOOL Elequra Rose Quartz Sculpting Tool (£25, elequra.com) If you struggle with manual massages, up your game with some apparatus. One end tucks in tightly under the eyes and the other hugs the jawline and cheekbones to get your circulation going. Plus, rose quartz is said to eliminate negative energy. Double win.

TURMERIC Used in Ayurvedic remedies for centuries, it sniffs out inflammation and instructs cells to metabolise the stress-inducing attack. All Romilly Wilde products contain it, but we particularly love the Light + Energy Serum Cleanser (£54, romillywilde. com). The rich balm turns milky on your skin to melt away the day.

2. THE HAIR MIST This Works Stress Check Hair Elixir (£25, thisworks.com) Spray this on to wet or dry hair in the morning and the blend of neroli, patchouli, lavender, vetiver and camomile will release its goodness every time you move your head – lulling you into a calm, meditative state that lasts. Even a killer commute couldn’t rile you.

LAVENDER Traditionally used to aid sleep, this bloom helps soothe irritation as it calms the mind. Try Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Face Oil (£42, neomorganics.com) to reboot skin with antioxidants as you sleep.

3. THE HERBAL TONIC Pukka Relax 7 Day Kit (£9.99, pukkaherbs.com) A double whammy of Pukka’s popular ‘Relax’ tea and the wonder adaptogenic herb ashwagandha, this calming combo will instil inner peace and help you feel more grounded. Expect your sleep quality to increase, which is a big thumbs up for your skin.

SWEET ALMOND OIL Fast-absorbing, hydrating and packed with vitamin E, this nutty nourisher also helps to protect the skin from internal and external stresses. Dr Organic Cocoa Butter Wonder Oil (£11.99, Holland & Barrett) can calm irritation and skin stress from top to toe.

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4. THE NIGHT CREAM Elemis Superfood Night Cream (£46, elemis.com) Feeding dry, depleted skin with sweet almond milk, chia seeds and omegas 3, 6 and 9, this cream locks in moisture to counter restless nights with a cool, calm complexion.

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5. THE ANTI-AGEING CREAM Neal’s Yard Frankincense Intense Lift Cream (£65, nealsyardremedies.com) Proven to de-stress, relax and restore a sense of balance and peace, the therapeutic benefits of frankincense were recently backed up by testers trialling this calming cream. 6. THE ESSENTIAL OIL Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Frankincense Pure Essential Oil (£30, aromatherapyassociates.com) If anyone knows their oils, it’s these guys. Pure highest-quality frankincense relieves stress and naturally induces deep breathing. Pour a few drops into your palms and press it into the back of your neck or rub it on your pillow. 7. THE DAY CREAM Ilapothecary Protective Aura Day Cream (£37, ilapothecary.com) Containing wild indigo, a medicinal herb that strengthens the immune system and fights infection, this deeply nourishing moisturiser also uses Moringa oil to stabilise collagen and repair stress-damaged skin cells. THE APP Calm (free, calm.com) Crowned iTunes’ number one app in 2017 and created by two Brits, Calm is downloaded an average 30,000 times a day. Packed with guided meditation, sleep stories and non-preachy mindfulness masterclasses that fit into your routine, you can see why it comes out on top.


G O OD L O OK S

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# WHSTYLESPY

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Flying the flag Thankfully, repping the British flag isn’t limited to Ginger Spice’s Union Jack dress. As these UK influencers demonstrate, pops of red, white and blue in your gym gear are a more subtle nod to good ol’ Blighty

COLOUR POP

@ADRIENNE_LDN FOLLOWERS: 23.7K LIKES FOR THIS LOOK: 678

EARN YOUR STRIPES

FEELING BLUE

@CARLYROWENA FOLLOWERS: 143K LIKES FOR THIS LOOK: 3,760

@AJODUDU FOLLOWERS: 35.3K LIKES FOR THIS LOOK: 691

Sports bra, £30, Asics Trainers, £114.95, Nike Trainers, £109.95, Adidas

EXACT MATCH

WORDS: POLLY BARTLETT

Vest, £32.95, Adidas

OK, fine, we can’t all leap like Adrienne but, luckily, you can show off a red sole just as easily walking to Pizza Express.

EXACT MATCH

TV presenter AJ proves that colour-blocked royal blue is a total winner in the athleisure style stakes.

Crop top, £55, Sweaty Betty

Leggings, £95, Sweaty Betty

Team your freshest white kicks with this fierce red and white striped co-ord set, à la Carly Rowena. Trainers, £85, New Balance

Shorts over tights, £64.95, Adidas by Stella McCartney

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Go the distance Half marathons aren’t New Balance ambassador Kirby Anne’s distance of choice. Until now that is – with The Vitality Big Half to take on in March, she’s changing up her training programme

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irby Anne is no stranger to hard work: growing up as a county-level sprinter, she is a natural runner, but her first foray into half-marathon training has provided both physical and mental hurdles. ‘I never used to like long distance running, so it’s going to be challenge for me to run that far,’ says the model, fitness instructor and blogger. ‘It’s a great opportunity to push myself though, so I’m working on adapting my training to suit endurance running.’ For Kirby, that means doing fewer of her favoured hill-sprint sessions and more long runs to improve her stamina. ‘Everyone wants that subtwo-hour finishing time,’ she says. ‘But, personally, I’d really like to break one hour 50 minutes.’ To achieve her goal, a wholesome breakfast is on the cards, as well as a killer playlist – ‘R ’n’ B and hip-hop really get me going.’ While her focus is currently on half-marathon training, Kirby has her sights set on one day going the full 26.2 miles. ‘For me, being fearlessly independent means not being afraid to take a risk, so I’m definitely considering the full marathon in the future. For now, though, I’ll focus on getting the The Vitality Big Half done!’


WH PROMOTION

Shop Kirby’s look at newbalance.co.uk Q Speed Jacket, £95; Aericore Tank, £55; Q Speed Crop, £75; 890V6 Trainers, £105

WORKOUT TIPS Take your training off road and into the gym with these moves A

B

JUMPING LUNGE Targets: Quads, glutes Do: 3 sets of 20 reps (a) Step your right leg forward, dropping your left knee so both legs bend at 90°. (b) Drive upwards with both legs, switching them in the air and land again in a lunge position with your left leg forward.

A B

DONKEY KICK Targets: Glutes, core, lower back Do: 3 sets of 15-20 reps per leg (a) Start on all fours with your wrists in line under your shoulders and knees under hips. Tensing your core, pull one leg up parallel to the floor with your knee bent and foot flexed. (b) Pull the leg back down to the starting position for one rep and then repeat.

A

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BICYCLE SIT-UP Targets: Core Do: 3 sets of 20 reps (a) Lie on your back on a matt. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out, and lift your legs off the ground. (b) Pull your right knee in to your left elbow while keeping the opposite leg extended, then switch sides so your left knee touches your right elbow. Keep going, alternating sides each rep.

Follow Kirby Anne and the other New Balance ambassadors’ training journeys on Instagram @newbalanceuk and @kirbyanne #NBLondon.


HAS THIS BECOME THE BIGGEST

HEALTH SCANDAL TO HIT BRITISH WOMEN? Take a look at the image on the right. This tiny piece of plastic has become synonymous with a scandal so devastating and far-reaching, doctors are calling it ‘bigger than thalidomide’. WH reports on the female health crisis of our time WORDS ROISÍN DERVISH-O'KANE

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octor Sohier Elneil is having a hectic morning. The urogynaecology consultant is striding through the corridors of University College London Hospital where, for 16 years, she has performed complex vaginal surgery. A typical day might involve the delicate and difficult removal of a genital growth or helping to restore bladder control in victims of female genital mutilation. She’s also one of the few specialists in the UK with the skills to extricate small pieces of plastic from vaginas, rectums and bladders. And right now, she is busier than ever. ‘This week, we’ve removed nine,’ she tells WH, stepping out into a corridor to take our call. She is talking about polypropylene netting. Mesh. You’ve probably never imagined what sensation a cheese grater would cause if it were inserted somewhere in your lower abdomen. Or how it might feel to sit on razor blades. Or to take every step carefully, wary of disturbing a jagged piece of glass lodged somewhere deep inside your vagina. Yet that inconceivable, goosebumps-justthinking-about-it pain is what thousands of British women are living with right now. The term ‘mesh scandal’ – as it’s become known in the press – fails to convey the everyday agony and the path of destruction that these pieces of plastic have wreaked. They have shattered self-confidence, careers, marriages. They’ve ruined lives. The story begins in the early 2000s when gynaecologists started implanting TVT (tension-free vaginal tape) meshes into the vaginas of women struggling with incontinence following childbirth. ‘Before this, surgeons’ standard procedure was a “hitch and stitch” operation; where stitches are made either side of the vagina, lifted and then stitched to the bone to stop the bladder from moving when a woman coughs or sneezes,’ explains Dr Wael Agur, urogynaecologist and clinical senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow. The highly technical procedure could be personalised to fit the needs of each woman,

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MESHED UP

but it cost an overstretched NHS time – and money. The newer mesh procedure? Four could be done in the time it took to perform one hitch and stitch. ‘Using keyhole surgery, surgeons make a small incision inside the vagina and thread a piece of plastic tape around the tube carrying urine out of the body,’ explains Dr Agur, who fitted meshes for over a decade. ‘The middle of the tape holds the urethra up in the correct position and the two ends are threaded through two small incisions in the lower abdomen or the groin.’ The end goal was that the female body would naturally produce scar tissue around the area, holding everything in place. Patients were able to forgo hitch and stitch recovery times of up to six weeks, the first three days of which would need to be spent in hospital, for a turnaround time of mere hours; women had the mesh inserted mid-morning and would be sleeping in their own beds that night. Early evidence suggested that mesh worked – and the procedure soon became surgeons’ default. It was a similar story with pelvic organ prolapse (a bulge in the vagina caused by sagging of pelvic muscles and organs after childbirth). ‘Prolapse procedures work in much the same way as those for incontinence, except that a larger sheath of mesh is used,’ explains Dr Agur. ‘To repair prolapse in the front, the mesh is positioned underneath the bladder. Prolapse in the back requires the mesh to be fitted between the back wall of the vagina and the rectum, to keep it in place.’ By 2010, mesh procedures accounted for a quarter of all prolapse operations. Mesh was a safe, practical, efficient answer to some of the most common gynaecological problems affecting adult women. Until it wasn’t.

IT’S COMPLICATED

she attributed, via a social media post in her final days, to complications with TVT mesh. It was a procedure billed as safe, simple and cost-effective – so what happened? ‘Surgeons thought the mesh would be fine, as similar products had been used to treat hernias for years. But when you’re treating a hernia, you’re aiming to stop an organ protruding – it’s a bit like blocking a door,’ Dr Elneil explains. ‘Vaginas are different. They are fibrous, muscular tubes, which things move in and out of. They require flexibility, and what we know now is that these meshes induced non-flexibility.’ Indeed, while data suggests meshes don’t move once in the body, they can contract in on themselves, something that wasn’t taken into account when the procedure was soaring in popularity. ‘Think about what happens to a plastic bag if you put it next to an oven for a few days,’ Dr Elneil explains. ‘It becomes brittle and starts to shrink in on itself. In some women, that’s what happens

THE REAL DEAL

But as the true scale of this crisis unfolds in the headlines, women are living through this nightmare – and the reality is horrifying. Kate Langley, a 42-year-old former recruitment consultant from East Sussex, had a TVT mesh implant inserted in 2012 to treat the stress incontinence she suffered after the birth of her second child. ‘My surgeon described it as a quick fix: a sameday operation, safer than any of the “oldfashioned” procedures they used to do,’ she recalls. But Kate’s mesh eroded through her vaginal wall and urethra and is now embedded in her bladder. Six years and 50 hospital admissions later, the bitter irony of this breezy consultation isn’t lost on her.

‘I CAN’T HAVE SEX WITHOUT TRIGGERING STABBING PAINS THAT CAN LAST WEEKS’ ‘I’m at the mercy of the pain; it can hit at any time, and when it does, it can be so severe I have to call an ambulance. I take a cocktail of painkillers, suppositories and antidepressants just to get through the day, and I can’t have sex with my husband without triggering stabbing pains, which can last weeks. I grit my teeth and smile most days. But the mesh has ruined my life.’ Kate’s reaction, naturally, was to get this thing the hell out of her body. Her surgeon managed to remove the majority of the mesh, but is now struggling to find a way to extricate the final piece lodged inside Kate. She believes it is dangerously close to major veins and arteries – which, if cut, could be fatal – and is cautious about removing it. She has called on the expert opinion of another surgeon, who has won awards for his bomb shrapnel removal in Syria and Iraq, and who could be Kate’s last hope. Now all Kate can do is wait, knowing that, even if they do manage to get it out, the permanent nerve damage already caused by the implant could mean her pain is a lifelong reality.

with the mesh.’ She believes that the widespread use of mesh was problematic because it failed to account for how different women’s bodies might react. ‘Doctors didn’t consider that introducing a prosthetic material could induce a chronic inflammatory response, causing pain, discomfort, recurrent inflammation and infection.’ It’s still unclear just how far-reaching the fallout is. NHS data reveals that 92,000 women have had vaginal mesh fitted in England alone. But reports on the scale of the damage vary hugely. While the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has put the complication rate at just one to three per cent, doctors aren’t legally required to report every issue, and leading experts we contacted estimate that the number is much higher.

As the number of operations grew, so too did reports of complications – a word that is, in fact, one hell of an understatement. Infection, urinary problems, pain during sex – in some cases, the mesh was reported to have cut so far through the vagina that it sliced the penises of women’s partners during intercouse. In November 2017, a Canadian woman died from sepsis which

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Such is the case for Kath Sansom. Before being fitted with a TVT mesh for incontinence in March 2015, Kath could often be found high-board diving or mountain biking. Two weeks after the operation, she was bent double over the bathroom sink at work, the pain in her groin and legs so unbearable she couldn’t stop crying. After googling ‘TVT gone wrong’, she uncovered so many stories that she returned to her doctor and asked that the mesh be removed. Seven months later, it was – but the damage was far from undone. ‘I’m better than I was before and, compared with so many women, I am fortunate. I can still walk, I can still do my job,’ she explains. But her voice begins to crack as she recalls her former life. ‘Exercise used to be my therapy. But the amount of damaged scar tissue means the pain is irreversible. I can’t cycle for more than a mile on a flat road without triggering the pain. I’ll never be the woman I was before the mesh.’

Stephanie Mills*, 40, from Staffordshire, recalls her shame all too well. The mother of two lived with a persistent ‘tugging’ sensation after her first mesh operation for uterine prolapse in 2012, during which a mesh sling was fitted from her coccyx to her cervix to hold up her uterus. Because it wasn’t out-andout painful, she accepted it as ‘one of those things’. But 12 months ago, Stephanie was informed that her bowel and bladder had also prolapsed and that she would need another operation. In 90 minutes, a second piece of mesh was fitted to hold up her bladder, and a third to support her bowel. ‘The discomfort never went away after the operation. It feels as though a sharp pin is being scratched along the side of my… [she pauses, uncomfortable] vagina.’ One year on, the pain has become so debilitating that Stephanie can no longer work. And yet, she is still second-guessing herself. ‘I’m worried that if I go back to my GP, they’ll think I’m exaggerating or jumping on some media bandwagon.’ But stigma is only part of the story. The message from countless women we spoke to isn’t just that they feared their pain would be dismissed, but that it actually was. Kate recalls

KEEPING QUIET

It seems strange that a story with so much visceral, toe-curling detail took so long to break. Why, if thousands of women were mutilated by a ‘simple’ operation, did they take years to speak up? One word comes up often in accounts of the victims: shame. Especially the kind we attach to the complicated internal system that shoulders the messy business of being a woman. Data from gynaecological cancer charity The Eve Appeal reveals that nearly a fifth of women have delayed seeing a doctor about symptoms of gynaecological cancers such as abnormal vaginal bleeding – a third of whom said they did so because they deemed their symptoms ‘not serious enough’. When you consider this, the slow, muffled way in which the wider public became aware of such complications starts to make sense.

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complaints. And this appalling situation isn’t just a UK problem. In a landmark review of studies in this area, The Girl Who Cried Pain, University of Maryland researchers found that, compared with men, women were more commonly prescribed sedatives instead of painkillers after an operation, and more likely to have their pain characterised as ‘emotional’ or ‘psychogenic’.

BROKEN SYSTEM

We know doctors aren’t monsters; they’re medical professionals with their patients’ best interests at heart. So why are reports from devastated women stacking up against the NHS? ‘I denied that their pain could have anything to do with the mesh,’ says Dr Agur. ‘I even performed a hysterectomy on a woman who didn’t need one because there was no other explanation for her symptoms. Of course, I regret it now. But there was no mention of chronic pain as a side effect on the instruction leaflet, so as far as I was aware, any complications were unrelated to the mesh.’

‘THE PAIN IS IRREVERSIBLE. I’LL NEVER BE THE WOMAN I WAS BEFORE THE MESH’ telling ambulance staff that something was cutting her from the inside, only to be later told by a doctor that she was ‘being silly’. And on a separate occasion, when she raised similar concerns with a surgeon, she was told to ‘avoid hysterical women on the internet’. This feedback isn’t just anecdotal; it’s a wider conclusion drawn by a 2017 report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health. MPs found that 40% of women needed to visit their GP 10 times before they were diagnosed with common gynaecological

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Indeed, mesh manufacturers have faced legal challenges that they didn’t test the implants rigorously enough before bringing them to market. Meanwhile, the regulatory framework has also come under fire; EU legislation dictates that medical devices must have clinical trials or ‘equivalence’ –

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similarity to an already-approved device – in order to be used on patients. Which essentially means that to be approved as medical devices – even when they’re designed to go inside your vagina – they don’t necessarily need to be tested. ‘The device doesn’t even have to be seen by the people who approve it as fit for purpose. All they approve is technical documentation – the same as you would for a wheelchair,’ explains Dr Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, who has likened the use of mesh to the thalidomide birth defects scandal in the 1960s and is calling for a registry of all devices going forward to match the system we have with drugs. ‘I originally made the analogy between vaginal mesh and thalidomide because the latter marked a turning point in drug regulation requiring clinical trials. And I think the damage done by vaginal mesh implants could see a similar shift in how invasive devices are regulated.’

NEXT STEPS?

PHOTOGRAPHY: PAVEL DORNAK AT HEARST STUDIOS. *NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT ANONYMITY

While the politics play out, British women are still giving birth, their pelvic floor muscles are still slackening and their wombs are still prolapsing. So what now? The medical community is divided. Some surgeons dismiss the notion that meshes in particular cause harm by pointing out that all gynaecological surgeries carry risk. Dr Agur isn’t convinced. ‘In the absence of long-term clinical trials comparing the impact of treatments with

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and without mesh, we can look only at the numbers available to us. In Scotland, where I practise, 500 people have sued after having mesh procedures. For non-mesh procedures, the number is zero. The women themselves are the evidence in this case, and they need to be listened to.’ They’re beginning to be. At the time of writing, the Government has promised to carry out a full audit of how many women in England have suffered complications as a result of vaginal mesh implants. Draft guidance from the UK’s medical watchdog NICE has recommended that routine mesh operations for prolapse be banned. This doesn’t go far enough for Kath. After she had her mesh removed in 2015, she founded a campaign group called Sling The Mesh, and is working with a crossparty group of MPs with the aim of banning the use of all pelvic mesh implants. Sling The Mesh also aims to empower women to talk freely about stigmatised issues like incontinence and prolapse. ‘If I’m proud of anything, it’s that over the past six months “vagina” has been said so frequently on daytime television that it no longer sounds shocking,’ she says, laughing. ‘The taboo women feel about their own bodies may be just one part of this scandal, but it’s a toxic one that we need to change.’ Stealing a moment before she performs another mesh removal surgery, Dr Elneil finds cause for hope. ‘I feel heartened by the fact that there is a strong group of galvanised women who are not going to have their pain explained away,’ she says. ‘Many of the women I see have never viewed themselves as feminists, but now those ideals are driving them on. They’re not afraid to speak out about their bodies – and they’re not going to stop.’

‘NO ONE BELIEVED ME BUT I KNEW MY BODY’ Sarah Palmer, 49, from Henley, recalls her experience with TVT mesh ‘I’m going to lose everything.’ This fear kept me awake for most of last summer. I run a Pilates studio and, as a single mum to two boys, I need the income. But the pain in my legs and pubic bone was so intense, I struggled to lie down, let alone teach. Then there was the ever-present UTI that meant sex with my new partner was out of the question. I had panic attacks so severe, my doctor prescribed strong antidepressants. And for what? A few months earlier, I’d had a TVT mesh fitted to help stem the ‘little leaks’ I experienced when working out. The consultant pitched the mesh as my only option and I believed her. I had the procedure, then passed out from the pain. This was written off as a standard post-op niggle. But I am a fit woman who knows her body. Something was wrong. Finding the Sling The Mesh Facebook page triggered both horror and relief. I felt sick that there was a piece of plastic inside me that doctors weren’t trained to remove, and stupid for not researching the procedure before I’d had it done. But most of all, I felt angry. These women weren’t imagining this agony – and neither was I. Through STM, I met Dr Elneil, who explained that I’d had an inflammatory response to the plastic. In a complex four-hour operation, she removed the mesh lodged next to my bladder – and restored continence using my own tissue. Now, I’m teaching again, and hoping to rebuild my fitness. But thousands of others haven’t been so lucky and that fills me with anger – and determination to keep talking: to my clients, my friends, my sons. Knowledge is power, and shame won’t keep us quiet any more.

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INSIDE THE FIRST SOUL-SEARCHING CAMP FOR MILLENNIALS The Quarter Life Health Project; a sunny seven-day escape claiming to help fix the most stressed, anxious and depressed generation of all time. Alexandra Jones gives it a try – anus breathing and all...

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ILLUSTRATION DONOUGH O’MALLEY

panish sunshine streams in through the high windows and a white muslin curtain flutters in the warm breeze from an open door. There are 22 of us sitting cross-legged in a circle; all of us strangers, all of us female. To a passing tourist, we could be a hen do of aspiring yogis. But a girls’ holiday this isn’t. A woman holding a flickering tea light advances towards me, her expression beatific. Either side of me, bodies bristle. ‘Not me,’ they plead silently. ‘Go to her…’ They’re off the hook. She places the candle in front of me and returns to her spot in the circle. All eyes are on me. I start to cry. It’s the tail end of 2017 and I’m in an idyllic corner of Andalucía to experience The Quarter Life Health Project, a retreat that aims to help the average millennial ‘unlearn the false belief systems keeping you stuck in your Quarter Life Crisis’. ‘We CAN rewrite the script and we CAN change the world,’ I read on the website. It’s spiel that feeds my cynicism, sure – but so far, so innocuous.

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The hills are alive with the sound of… silence

Alexandra (right) with fellow QLHP-er Sophie

SAFE SPACE

The hour-long drive from Málaga airport to the hotel – a sprawling family resort – passes through some of the most primped countryside in the region. The golf courses and chi-chi restaurants suggest a wonderland for the well-heeled, and pulling up the long drive past manicured lawns and immaculate swimming pools fuels my expectations of a few days of luxe wellness: sunbathing, sun salutations, maybe a little unobtrusive soul-searching over gourmet dinners. Inside, I meet Stephanie Kazolides, the 29-year-old Brit who founded the QLHP. (She’s one of those overachievers.) Strikingly beautiful and wearing a flowing tie-dyed dress, she has a demeanour of deep calm that no amount of Headspace could help me emanate. She tells me it was a personal crisis that gave her the idea of founding a self-help retreat for millennials. After battling depression from the ages of 22 to 25, she looked around her friendship group and peers and saw the same issues time and again: low self-worth, guilt, a sense of feeling stuck. ‘I wanted to

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‘THE REASONS WOMEN HAVE FOR COMING HERE ARE MYRIAD AND MOVING’

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create a safe space for people my age – in their twenties and thirties,’ she explains. ‘Society doesn’t seem to present opportunities to explore this stuff. My biggest personal breakthroughs for my mental and emotional health occurred after therapy. I knew we needed a space to integrate the psychological and the spiritual.’ Stephanie led the inaugural retreat in February 2016, aimed at tackling the headline-dominating issues of anxiety, depression and stress. That more than 100 women in their twenties and thirties have since parted with their cash (between £500 and £1,000 depending on the accommodation option you choose) and crossed the threshold is surely testament to the scale of alternative help this generation – my generation – is seeking. The stats are scary. A global survey commissioned by the Varkey Foundation last year found that young people in the UK are among those with the poorest mental wellbeing in the world, with only Japan falling below British millennials. And while 2017 was hailed as a triumph for conversations around mental health, few would contest that we have a long, long way to go. I fit the profile. Last year began with the end of a decade-long relationship, leaving me sick with grief, convinced I had ruined my one chance at happiness. Then there was the 10-year anniversary of my father’s death. We’d had a fraught relationship, and in all honesty I didn’t think about him much after he died. And yet, this felt like a monumental milestone – something that couldn’t be ignored. By the time an email from Stephanie popped into my

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ALTERNATIVE THERAPY Costa del soulsearching

tissue. This is tactical. ‘Live your experience,’ we are told, repeatedly. It might seem harsh, but it’s designed to help us delve into why we are really here, and – truth be told – there is something oddly liberating about being alone with my tears while surrounded by strangers. But I have my limits. We finish the day’s session by holding hands and chanting to call in various spirits, then we walk around the room touching palms and staring into each other’s eyes for far longer than polite British society would usually allow. ‘This,’ I think to myself, staring into yet another stranger’s face, ‘is bloody ridiculous.’ The days that follow are a combination of snigger-inducing sessions and exercises so emotionally exhausting that I actually contemplate packing my bags and arguing my way on to the next flight back to Gatwick. We begin at 7.30am with meditation and yoga, led by a graceful blonde woman called Maya. She guides us to imagine our chakras lighting up and we’re encouraged to breathe into our anuses. Yes, you read that correctly. I open my eyes to see if anyone else finds this ludicrous, but around me, everyone is breathing deeply. They look pretty serene, actually. I suppress an urge to roll my eyes and try to get into it. Once you get past the word ‘anus’, it basically encourages you to breathe through your entire body, which, granted, feels pretty relaxing. The next few hours are filled with sessions led by either Stephanie or fellow leader Rebecca Wilson that aim to help us access our most authentic selves. In one, we are tasked with sitting in silence for two hours while we write letters to our parents, which we later burn ceremoniously; in another, we take it in turns to stand on show as the rest of the group convey love with their eyes. Please. By the penultimate day, which I’m tasked with spending in complete silence while writing a timeline of every single significant relationship I have ever had, I almost welcome the solitude. But it’s to mark the start of a 24-hour period that almost breaks me. Cloistered away in my room conjuring up ancient conversations with my dead dad, I feel rage – towards Stephanie for inventing this bullshit task and towards myself for my reluctance to do it. By the end of the day, the thoughts that used to simmer away quietly below the surface are now roaring through my mind with an urgency I’ve honestly never felt before: all the ways I ruined my 10-year

It’s not farting; it’s anus breathing

inbox last autumn, I was on a waiting list for counselling and taking beta blockers for anxiety. Quite frankly, if she wanted to help me, I was prepared to let her. The youngest women in my contingent are 20; the eldest 36. Among them are bankers, teachers, marketing execs and solicitors. Their reasons for coming here are myriad and moving – an unfulfilling marriage, an eating disorder, an ill parent – but they share a bright-eyed optimism about this place and how it might help them. I smile and nod and listen, but I feel a knot in my stomach – the cynicism I’ve carried with me from London. It all feels a bit too easy. After the year I’ve had, I wonder how much healing you can squeeze into a week.

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And I worry for these women, too. Best-case scenario, I think, it’s a few days of sunshine away from the grind; worst, it’s a deft commodification of the mental health issues that are raging among us in the UK.

LIVE YOUR EXPERIENCE

This is where my mind is at on day one, as one of my fellow quarter-lifers walks towards me, holding the tea light. She places it on the floor in front of me. It’s my turn to talk. My tears are the first thing that take me by surprise. They trickle down my cheeks without permission as I try to find the words to articulate what brought me here. The reaction of the group is the second thing. There just… isn’t one. No one’s eyes meet mine with silent sympathy, no one pats me on the back, no one hands me a

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You mean you haven’t heard of rock-climbing yoga?

ALTERNATIVE THERAPY

‘I wanted to create a safe space for women in their twenties and thirties,’ says founder Stephanie Kazolides

relationship; shame over not being a good enough daughter; fear of not being a worthy friend. That evening, I’m not the only one openly weeping at the dining room table.

‘I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WEEPING AT THE DINING ROOM TABLE THAT EVENING’

SELF-SUFFICIENCY

The following day will be our last. I catch up with Stephanie. We’re both folded into wicker chairs as the sun sinks below the horizon, turning the courtyard pink. I tell her about some of my issues with the QLHP. I confess that the spirituality element isn’t for me. Why the need to speak of ‘the journey’, I ask her; why the altar; why the rituals; why the chanting? ‘We offer a rounded approach,’ she explains. ‘It’s about mind, body and spirit.’ ‘But I’m not spiritual…’ I contest. ‘This type of spirituality is internal,’ she says. ‘It’s not about someone standing in front of you and telling you what to believe. It’s about your relationship with yourself and with a higher power, whatever that might be.’ Though

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I’m not entirely convinced, I concede that perhaps the spirituality and the sense of a higher power could offer hope to some. I also raise the fact that there isn’t actually a qualified psychotherapist on site. On this, Stephanie is clear. The retreat is largely self-guided. What the staff provide is the space – both physical and emotional – to access emotions that might have otherwise gone ignored, leading to lasting, low-level discontent that could ultimately evolve into something more serious. On this, we are aligned. She is right to acknowledge that there is so little space in our lives to truly explore the issues we all experience: the little daily stressors, the break-ups, the trauma, the losses. I wonder if the depth of emotion I’ve experienced in the past few days could ever have been accessed over a glass of wine with a good friend or via a talking therapy session. If my generation are a bunch of ‘snowflakes’ – the accusatory descriptor often levelled at us due to our so-called thin-skinnedness – is it not testament to our characters that we are willing to own up to our issues and flaws and at least attempt to deal with them? I don’t have the answers. But the phrase I keep coming back to, that I have heard more times than I can count over the past few days, is self-sufficiency: the idea that you, and you alone, are responsible for your own happiness. It’s something we all know, but perhaps need reminding of from time to time. I still carry my cynicism – anus breathing is not for me – but on the flight back to London, I do feel a little lighter. The Quarter Life Project runs 15-21 March, 17-23 April, 11-17 October and 8-14 November. Prices from £500 for six nights, including meals, four-star accommodation, daily workshops, yoga and use of the hotel spa; thequarterlifehealthproject.com

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CAN YOU UTSMART YOUR SWEET TO TH? Sugar may be the sweetest nutritional pariah, but pore over our quiz and you can sate your desires without getting your just desserts

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CR Confuse

AR Enhance

Q4

WHICH OF THESE CAN MAKE YOUR PUDDING TASTE SWEETER, WITHOUT ADDING EXTRA CALORIES?

AR The cutlery

BR The lighting

CR The company

Q1

BR Wipe

SUGAR HAS BEEN SHOWN TO _______ YOUR MEMORY Answer: A and C. According to the University of Barcelona, combining your daily caffeine hit with sugar jump-starts your mental dexterity. Best save it for those painfully early morning meetings, though: over time, a sugary diet hinders learning and memory, UCLA reports, damaging communication between brain cells.

Q3

EXCESS SUGAR CAN MAKE YOUR PMS STRUGGLES EVEN MORE REAL

Answer: A and C. As well as encouraging you to eat more slowly, sampling food from a smaller spoon makes it taste sweeter, according to a study in the journal Flavour. Want to further enhance your sensory experience? A study by Yale University found we enjoy indulgent food more when sharing it with another person. Best order big then.

Q5

WHICH OF THESE IS MORE ADDICTIVE?

Q2

BY HOW MANY YEARS CAN SUGARY DRINKS ACCELERATE CELL AGEING? AR Sad but true

1.3 4.6 7 AR

BR

Answer: A. If you won’t cut back on Minstrels for your teeth, do it for your monthly cramps. The British Dietetic Association points to diet as a starting point to reduce PMS symptoms and suggests basing meals and snacks around low-GI carbs (not sugary bakes, sweetened drinks and processed treats) to guard against inflammation.

CR

Answer: B. A sweet tooth can add years as well as pounds. Research in the American Journal Of Public Health found that people who have a can of sugary drink per day experience DNA changes typical of cells 4.6 years older – similar changes as those you’d see due to smoking.

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BR No, chocolate helps, duh

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AR Fat

BR Sugar

CR Salt

Answer: B. If food is your drug of choice, you can consider sugar a class A. Research published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that the substance lights up the brain’s pleasure system in a way other foods do not, increasing the urge to overindulge. Abstaining from your after-dinner tiramisu in favour of the cheeseboard is an enjoyable way to go clean. Pass the pickle.

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SWEET TALK

Q7

YOU’VE HIT THE 3PM SLUMP. WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ASSUAGE YOUR CRAVINGS?

AR Eat half a Mars bar

BR Go for a walk

CR Go on Instagram

Answer: B. Come on, who eats half a bar? Go for a walk instead: just 15 minutes will curb sugar cravings, according to a study by the University of Innsbruck. As for Instagram, scrolling through #foodporn induces spikes in levels of the hormone ghrelin, which triggers hunger.

Q8

HONEY DOESN’T COUNT TOWARDS YOUR DAILY LIMIT AS IT’S NATURAL AR BR Sure – same with Pfft, you maple syrup, yeah? wish Answer: B. Honey is just as sweet as sugar – and just as likely to contribute to a multitude of health problems. However, honey has been shown to have a gentler impact on blood sugar than table sugar. Consider it the lesser of the delicious evils.

Q6

YOUR ‘ADDED SUGARS’ LIMIT IS EQUIVALENT TO HOW MANY GLASSES OF APPLE JUICE?

1

2

4

AR

BR

CR

Q9

EATING SWEETS CAN GIVE YOU TEENAGE SKIN

Answer: B. The NHS limit of added sugars is 30g a day (the sugars in milk and whole fruits and vegetables don’t count). That’s equivalent to two 150ml glasses of apple juice, three scoops of salted caramel ice cream or a loaf of white bread. A balanced diet indeed.

AR My spots say yes

BR Nah, that’s a myth

Answer: A. No, we’re not discussing the antiageing properties of Tangfastics. An American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition study linked blood-sugar-spiking foods to acne. Zinc-rich foods, however, reduce skin inflammation. So balance a Haribo habit with cashews.

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Q10

AN HOUR IN ____ HAS A BIGGER EFFECT ON BLOOD SUGAR THAN AN HOUR IN THE GYM

AR The bath

BR Bed

CR The pub

Answer: A. A study by Loughborough University scientists found that subjects’ blood sugar was 10% lower after eating if they’d had a hot bath beforehand, compared with a workout. The effects of eating apple crumble in the bath were not studied.

Q11

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING IS A POTENTIAL CAUSE OF TYPE 2 DIABETES?

AR Genetics

CR Sugar

BR Inactivity

Answer: Trick question. All three can cause health problems. But while a heavy sugar habit has been linked with type 2 diabetes, excess body fat and poor fitness are shown to play a more pivotal role. Basically, if you habitually chase your weekend run with a coffee-shop flapjack, you’re still in credit.

Q12

BY HOW MUCH CAN A SWEET TOOTH INCREASE YOUR RISK OF DEATH FROM HEART DISEASE?

10% 20% 30% AR

BR

CR

Answer: C. Forget sodium: heart health has a new white crystalised nemesis. According to a study in the journal Open Heart, those who get 10-25% of their daily calories from added sugars have a 30% increased risk of death from heart disease, whereas little effect has been seen from salt. Which might change your future popcorn order at the cinema.

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SWEET TALK

AR 14%

BR 21%

CR 36%

HOW DID YOU SCORE?

DRINKING A LITRE OF WATER A DAY REDUCES YOUR RISK OF HIGH BLOOD SUGAR BY...

Are you clued up on the sweet stuff or a blissfully oblivious sugar fiend?

Answer: B. People who drink more H2O are less likely to develop hyperglycemia, reports Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard in Paris. Not only will staying hydrated reduce the urge to mainline biscuits at 11am, water also helps your kidneys flush out excess blood sugar.

0-6

Q15

Q13

ARE LOWCALORIE SWEETENERS GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?

AR Obvs

BR Nope

Answer: B. You’re sweet enough already, sugar. Studies by Purdue University found that saccharine additives confuse our ability to judge calorie intake based on taste, leading to cravings and potential weight gain. So if you’re a zero-cal kind of gal, we’d advise you and Diet Coke to take a break.

Q16

DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH SUGAR YOU’RE ACTUALLY EATING?

AR I’ve got a good idea

Q14 WORDS: NICKY WILLIAMS. PHOTOGRAPHY: PETER CROWTHER; GETTY IMAGES; ALAMY; DAVID SYKES; LOUISA PARRY

YOU’RE MOST LIKELY TO CRAVE SWEET SNACKS WHEN YOU’RE...

AR Tired

BR Angry

CR Hungry

Answer: A. Late nights put you at risk of more than just missing the bus: the University of California, Berkeley, found that sleep loss blunts the brain regions required for decision-making, while amplifying the parts that control desire. Fix both at once with an avocado breakfast: its monounsaturated fats curb food cravings, while vitamin E protects your brain from the effects of missed sleep.

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SACCHARINE DREAMS If your sweet tooth is insatiable, chuck a few berries into your next morning smoothie. A British Journal Of Nutrition study found that adding polyphenol-rich cranberries and strawberries to your sugar hit reduces spikes in blood glucose levels – and therefore fat storage.

7-12

BR Er, not really

A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR If occasional cravings still get the better of you, here’s a fun fix: a bit of Tetris can reduce your compulsions by a fifth. Plymouth University found that playing the game for just three minutes weakens your desire for unhealthy foods by distracting the brain. It’s an easy way to block out binges.

Answer: B. It’s likely a stab in the dark. Reading Uni tested subjects’ sugar levels and asked them to guess their intake. While a high intake was linked to obesity, those who thought they ate the most actually weighed less.

Q17

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING FLAVOURINGS WON’T LOWER YOUR BLOOD SUGAR?

AR Vinegar

BR Cinnamon

CR Ketchup

13-17 IN THE SWEET SPOT You have a refined knowledge of sugar. But even as a sucroseshunner, you can benefit from a little sweetness. In a study by the University of Birmingham, athletes who rinsed their mouths with a glucose solution – without swallowing – finished a cycling time trial faster.

DR Chilli

Answer: C. While A, B and D have all been shown to blunt spikes in blood glucose when added to carb-heavy meals, supermarket tomato sauce can contain up to 4g of sugar per squeeze. Ensure that your next plate of chips follows the dressing code.

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Achieve wellness Women’s Health Digital Editor Amy Hopkinson’s balanced approach will teach you to feel good today – and every day

B

egin your morning in a rush and it can affect your whole day. Fact. That’s why Amy Hopkinson, or @wellness_ed to Instagram, starts hers mindfully with daily habits that she knows make her feel good. ‘There’s only so much one person can remember,’ she says. ‘My advice? Write an on-my-mind list to clear some headspace first thing.’ It’s this attitude that stops her from reaching peak-stress by 11am, when so many others are fretting over their inboxes. Pulling on her first set of Lycra of the day, she’s straight to the kitchen for the next of her morning rituals: making a black Americano. This fuels a power hour of scanning the health news and responding to Instagram messages on her commute – resisting social media until she’s left the house helps keep her stress levels down. And so too does her morning workout at her favourite gym.

It’s about working out to feel good – after all, the achievement of completing three pull-ups always beats losing a pound. Her favourite gym tip? ‘Put your phone on airplane mode and connect with yourself, not social media.’ Mid-afternoon, you’ll find her popping into Starbucks to grab an oat latte macchiato. But taking time out to kill minutes this is not. Rather, it’s allowing herself the space to do her best thinking. In only 15 minutes of being out of touch with her phone or emails, she’s in touch with her own ideas and thoughts. From start to finish, her day revolves around living in the moment and connecting with herself, because ‘a healthy body starts with a healthy mind’, says Amy. A mindset we could all learn a thing or two from.

THE EARLY MORNINGS They don’t seem to matter when Amy’s on an endorphin high


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AMY’S DAILY RITUALS Searching for wellness? Try these must-haves that keep Amy balanced

STRENGTH TRAINING A strong mindset is the base of Amy’s healthy lifestyle

OAT LATTE MACCHIATO A coffee-shop staple she joyfully endorses, this is Amy’s caffeinated go-to when in need of a hug in a cup.

‘WHEN YOU STOP COMPETING WITH OTHERS, YOU CAN START TO CONNECT WITH YOURSELF’ ALMOND BUTTER RICE CAKES An Americano is her morning fuel, but Amy caffeinates responsibly. ‘Eating before I drink helps calm my gut.’

FINDING STRENGTH IN STRENGTH TRAINING Amy’s workout ethos? Move well before moving more. ‘Strength training makes me proud to have built a body for life.’

ALL IN THE NAME Don’t let the name put you off. Oat latte macchiatos are wellness in a cup

LEADING THE WAY Stop, breathe and be present. Amy’s the example – the world is your oyster

APPLE NEWS Personalise your news to what makes you smile and skip hours of scrolling. ‘Tailor your time online and save yourself for the present.’

HOW TO FIND YOUR FEEL-GOOD TODAY For more information about the Starbucks menu and how it can help you find the right choices for you, head to starbucks.co.uk


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issue

the

ILLUSTRATION SHARON FARROW

WORDS NIKKI OSMAN

Once the culinary laughing stock of Europe, Blighty’s come a long way since the prawn cocktail. To celebrate our first ever UK issue, we meet the farmers, chefs and gamechangers putting British fare on the map

SOGGY VEG LUMPY CUSTARD TONGUE SANDWICHES


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As culinary trends go, low food miles – reducing the distance between farm and plate – is surfing the same wave as counter seating and sharing plates. When two chefs who earned their whites on the London and New York restaurant scenes respectively, Tom Adams and April Bloomfield, upped sticks for deepest darkest Cornwall to launch a farm-to-plate project, it got tongues wagging and mouths drooling.

nce upon a time, atop the rolling hills of Britain, there was a local restaurant. If you could look beyond decor reminiscent of your nan’s living room and a menu where 85% of the dishes could be described as ‘stuff in breadcrumbs’, you might have been lucky enough to enjoy three courses of the kind of fare you could have made at home. Yes, we can take credit for the Spice Girls, Stormzy and sarcasm, but when it comes to cuisine, the British have endured decades of being the butt of the joke. Eating out invariably involved chicken floating in a mush masquerading as ‘korma’, fish and chip Fridays were tainted with the residue of inky headlines and the most divisive debate in the culinary arena was whether scones should be topped with clotted cream or jam first. But a quiet revolution has been taking place in UK kitchens. World-renowned cookery schools are churning out chefs hungry for innovation, and years of immigration have given us one of the most diverse food scenes in the world. The Great British menu is being rewritten – and we’re having the last laugh. ‘In the past, British food was certainly seen as a bit of a joke,’ says Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant magazine. ‘But today, we have one of the most vibrant and eclectic restaurant scenes internationally.’ The proof is in the pudding. When it comes to Michelin stars, the UK now rates fifth globally, and some of the world’s greatest chefs are flocking to these shores for a slice of the action. Don’t believe us? Take your taste buds on a trip through Blighty to find the best that the nation’s food scene now has to offer.

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‘I was spending half of my week in Cornwall at a friend’s farm working on the supply chain for my restaurant in London when the idea came about,’ says Adams, co-founder of London BBQ restaurant Pitt Cue. ‘I began to feel a disconnect between the work happening on the farm and the dishes being served in the restaurant. That triggered a thought process about how I could do something that better reflected where the food came from. I felt that we could get higher-quality produce if we were right on the farm’s doorstep.’

The result is Coombeshead Farm, a veritable Garden of Eden of gastronomy where everything served in the 14-cover restaurant has been grown or reared on site. If it’s too far to go for dinner, make a weekend of it and stay overnight in the five-bed guesthouse, then enjoy an earlymorning stomp around the farm’s 66 acres of countryside. Adams isn’t the only one to swap his whites for waders in the name of revolutionising the British food scene. When former River Cottage chef James Whetlor wanted to get closer to his

ingredients, he swapped London for Devon to become a goat meat supplier. After discovering it was common practice to kill male goats shortly after birth because they don’t produce milk, Whetlor made it his mission to put goat meat on the British menu. What started as a PR exercise – FYI, goat meat is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, lamb and pork – has evolved into his company, Cabrito, supplying goat meat to Michelin-starred restaurants such as The Ledbury. We suspect he might have had something to do with the fact that goat is currently one of the UK’s biggest food trends. It’s so popular, it has even earned its own page in the calendar. Yep, Goatober is a thing. We kid you not.


NATIONAL DISH

FOOD WORTH TRAVELLING FOR Whatever the occasion, there’s a fancy dish in each of the four corners of our fine nation…

JUST BECAUSE Avo Avo, Glasgow, Scotland An Instagrammer’s dream. All the dishes on its (surprisingly substantial) menu feature the wellness fruit of choice. Need we say more? avoavo.co.uk

Time was, if you told someone you were vegan, it would invariably result in an internal (or not) eye-roll and silent paperwork as they filed you away as a hippy. Now, if you’re not a vegan yourself, you’ve probably got at least one in your squad and many more flirting with flexitarianism, pescetarianism and myriad other isms predicated on the premise of eating fewer animal products. The upshot? A vegan’s days of grinning and bearing it with a side salad are over; the UK is

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becoming one of the most exciting places to be. For starters, the food industry is queuing around the block to profit from the vegan pound. Not only are high street chains like Pizza Express launching vegan sections on their menus, an increasing proportion of new British launches are dedicated vegan and vegetarian restaurants, many of which aim to replicate the meat-eating experience. Among those leading the charge is London’s By Chloe in Covent Garden, the first

European outpost of the US vegan franchise. ‘When we opened By Chloe in New York two years ago, people weren’t as open-minded about veganism as they are now,’ says By Chloe co-founder Samantha Wasser. ‘When I asked friends to come by, they’d say, “Eugh, I don’t like vegan food.” Then, of course, they come in and try it and they don’t even realise what they’re eating is vegan.

POST-WALK Harry’s Shack, Portstewart, Northern Ireland This beachside shack is the stuff of local legend. Order the hake and at least one form of potato – you’re in Ireland, after all. harrysshack1.galeriasmetepec.co

Our burgers don’t taste like meat, but you still feel like you’re eating a burger, rather than mashed-up vegetables.’ And the Brits aren’t far behind – elsewhere in the capital, chef Gizzi Erskine is opening her pop-up vegetarian burger venture Pure Filth at a permanent location later this year. With menu items including the Pure Filth Happy Meal (a blackbean burger in a beetroot bun), milkshakes made with dairy-free ice cream and a raw apple pie bar, we can’t imagine what her inspiration was…

A PROMOTION The Fordwich Arms, Kent, England You’ve struck lucky when the chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant takes over your local boozer – we’re pretty jel. fordwicharms.co.uk

A (VERY) BIG BIRTHDAY Ynyshir, Powys, Wales The 14-course tasting menu is a celebration of local and seasonal ingredients at this Michelin-starred restaurant, perched at the edge of Snowdonia National Park. ynyshir.co.uk

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A hop, skip and a pootle along the M4 from the pop-ups of London is a city that’s earned its place on the UK’s culinary map several times over. ‘Bristol has an incredibly vibrant independent restaurant scene and it’s only going to attract further talent and gain more Michelin stars in the coming years,’ says Chomka. ‘Inevitably, once a city gets a reputation for being a foodie place, other chefs want to come and join the party.’

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As parties go, this one is just getting started. One restaurant creating a stir is Box-E, headed up by rising star restaurateur Elliot Lidstone. After climbing the ranks in London, Lidstone and his partner swapped Hackney for Bristol. (‘Neither of us could grow a decent enough beard to become Hackney natives,’ he says.) And London’s loss is the West Country’s gain. When you judge Box-E by its cover, it ticks all the right boxes. Converted shipping container? Check. Counter seating? Check. But judge it by its covers and it’s even

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more impressive. Recent highlights include charred courgette with burrata, olive and chilli, and heritage beetroot with smoked anchovies and radicchio. Told you. The unwritten seven-course tasting menu costs just £45. Throw in another £30 and they’ll even match your wines. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, a few doors down, in another shipping container (hey, if it ain’t broke…), is Root by Josh Eggleton of Great British Menu fame. Root feeds into a growing trend of not-completelyvegetarian

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restaurants where meat-eschewers are as adequately catered for – if not more so – as their carnivorous companions. So what’s driving Bristol’s burgeoning scene? ‘Rent is cheap compared with London and Manchester and the sites are small, enabling chefs who are priced out of the bigger cities to come here and do their own thing,’ says Chomka. ‘The proximity to rural areas is attractive for sourcing fresh, good-quality ingredients, too.’

If futurologists are to be believed (and the clue’s in the job title) veganism is the tip of the iceberg lettuce in the ethical eating movement. From the war against plastic to transparency in the food chain, cooking with a conscience has arrived. Leading the charge is the zero-waste movement, and one of the pioneers on the UK scene is Silo. Conceived from ‘a desire to innovate the food industry while respecting the environment’, the Brightonbased restaurant is doing just that. From trading with farmers using reusable urns, jars and crates for transportation, to churning their own butter and using plates made from plastic bags, Silo has ripped up the restaurateur rule book (and knowing them, probably recycled and refashioned it as a menu). Look out for the book, due later this year. In London, there’s Bulk Market – the first zero-packaging food shop, which opened in Hackney last September – and Rubies In The Rubble, a sustainable food brand creating relishes and chutneys from unsold fruit and vegetables. So, are we all becoming better people? ‘The craft and artisan movements that have swept through the food and drink industry in the past few years have fostered an interest among consumers in the stories about the food and drink that they buy,’ says Jenny Zelger, food and drink analyst at Mintel. ‘In 2018, we predict that companies will be more specific in their claims about human and animal welfare, including stories of the farmers and details about animal treatment.’ You see, in Britain, it’s not just about what’s on your plate, but how it got there, too.

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PHOTOGRAPHY INSTAGRAM @HARRYS_SHACK, @THEFORDWICHARMS

NATIONAL DISH


WH PROMOTION

The ultimate family running festival How far will you go? Pick up a lap band for every 5K you complete

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unner’s World Runstock is a family-friendly running festival suitable for runners of all ages and abilities, from fun runner to ultrarunner, produced by Rat Race Adventure Sports. Runstock features a 5K lapped off-road course and a glorious summer-festival feel within the stunning grounds of Boughton House, Northamptonshire. Run solo, with a team or even the whole family and see how many lap bands you can collect in eight hours.


REJUVENATING RETREATS FOR BODY AND MIND

the issue

It’s tough trying and testing spas but someone’s got to do it, no? Here’s the Women’s Health pick of the most indulgent spas offering results-driven treatments. Go forth and pamper

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NOTTINGHAMSHIRE lights. The outdoor pool is heated so you can enjoy a dip even if you are there in the depths of a cold spell, and the eight hot and cold thermal experiences include a snowstorm walk – choose between ‘snow shower’ or ‘blizzard’ (if you’re feeling brave). Hit the sauna next door afterwards to warm up. GO FOR THE… Turkish Ritual Massage. This indulgent 60-minute treatment focuses on your back, neck and shoulders. To start with, feathers are run over the skin to wake up your nerve endings. Then lengths of light silk are used to gently stretch the body, in combination with a massage using an aromatic saffron balm. It’s a far cry from your standard rub-down. SPECIAL MENTION It’s worth splashing out on one of the luxury suites with their spectacular characterful decor – we’re talking opulent furnishings, period antiques, ornate mirrors and sumptuous four-poster beds. Yes, please.

WHAT? Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Spa WHERE? Retford, Nottinghamshire HOW MUCH? From £149.50 per person, including spa access, lunch, an overnight stay and breakfast; yeoldebell-hotel.co.uk WHO? Nathalie Gimson, Deputy Art Editor WHY THIS SPA? A modern luxury escape in the middle of nowhere, this is the perfect place to unwind. Despite it being just off the A1, visit in winter and you could quite easily pretend you’re somewhere in the Alps, surrounded by cosy fire pits and chalets lit up with fairy

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CORNWALL WHAT? The Scarlet WHERE? Mawgan Porth,

Cornwall HOW MUCH? Rooms from £240 per night, including breakfast; scarlethotel.co.uk WHO? Amy Hopkinson, Digital Editor WHY THIS SPA? The Scarlet’s environmental credentials are more than just a nod to the new eco craze – sustainability has been its modus operandi since day one back in 2009. Food and drink are sourced locally, heating and water usage are kept to a minimum and even the spa slippers are made from recycled plastic. And as you’d hope with any spa-tel on the beach, the rooms at The Scarlet have a spectacular view of the ocean.

GO FOR THE… Rhassoul, if you’re there with a plus-one. This couples treatment is slightly DIY. Behind closed doors, you begin by scrubbing each other with an exfoliator, then applying a clay. The ingredients nourish your skin and leave it feeling like silk for hours afterwards. But it’s arguably the act of massaging as a couple that works wonders: physical contact between you and your partner floods your brain with the love hormone, oxytocin, which is what helps you to reconnect when the stresses of your nine-to-five leave little time, or desire, to get close. SPECIAL MENTION You’ll find it near impossible not to ’gram from the outdoor hot tubs that overlook Mawgan Porth.

womenshealthmag.co.uk


WELL TRAVELLED

WILTSHIRE WHAT? Lucknam Park WHERE? Chippenham, Wiltshire HOW MUCH? Rooms from £295

treatment and this hour-long session delivered. First up, my therapist got me to sniff a variety of oils and choose my favourites in line with how I was feeling – my picks pointed to a brightening treatment, but others promote hydration, balance and age-defying regeneration. My skin was inspected under a blue light to show any issues or areas for improvement not discernible to the naked eye. Action plan sorted, on to an indulgent but hard-working triple cleanse, exfoliation, face mask and a final sweep of booster serum; all of which I very nearly slept my way through thanks to the amazing stages of massage that saw my therapist stroke and knead my head, face, neck and shoulders into soporific bliss. I left the bed with happier, healthier skin. SPECIAL MENTION In the market for a new four-legged friend? The hotel has an equestrian centre so you can hop on a horse and take in some of the 500 acres of Cotswolds parkland at your disposal.

per night; lucknampark.co.uk WHO? Paula Williams, WH contributor WHY THIS SPA? If you’re looking for the best of British grandeur, Lucknam Park delivers. Just six miles from Bath, you could make for the spa town or take a day trip to Stonehenge or Longleat, but I bet you won’t want to once you’ve settled into your velvet-laden mansion house room. The only thing likely to drag you away is the well-equipped spa. It features the usual suspects – pool, gym, sauna – but also ticks some more unlikely, luxurious boxes with saltwater plunge pools and reflective sunlight therapy. The spa staff get a massive thumbs up for being so wonderfully welcoming, chatty and happy to cater to your every whim. For a place that makes you feel like you could take on Lady Mary in the upper-class stakes, there’s no pretension at all. GO FOR THE… ESPA Personalised Facial. I love a bespoke beauty

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SUSSEX WHAT? Ockenden Manor WHERE? Cuckfield, West Sussex HOW MUCH? Rooms from £199

CHESHIRE

adequate: a quick treadmill session meant I didn’t have to skip on my half-marathon training, and got to pop downstairs for a steam-room recovery afterwards. Dreamy. GO FOR THE… Elemis Superfood Pro Radiance Facial. Tasked with the optimistic challenge of making me look awake without the help of a heavyduty under-eye concealer, my therapist applied a series of much-needed illuminating products, followed by a peel-off mask to target blemishes and uneven skin tone and moisturise at a deep level, before finishing off with a luxurious head, neck and shoulder massage to target any areas of tension. I wasn’t disappointed. I left the treatment room 55 minutes later with a real glow, feeling confident enough to capture a #nomakeupselfie. SPECIAL MENTION The whipped goat’s cheese and pork belly from the two AA Rosetteawarded restaurant. Oh, and the hotel bed was hands down the comfiest I’ve ever slept in.

WHAT? Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa WHERE? Nantwich, Cheshire HOW MUCH? From £129.60

per night, including breakfast; handpickedhotels.co.uk WHO? Polly Bartlett, Fashion Assistant WHY THIS SPA? Craving a country getaway that’s not literally in the middle of nowhere? Rookery Hall is set in 38 acres of rolling fields, yet less than 10 miles from the M6, so it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle. The Insta-friendly main building dates back to 1816, but the more recently built spa and gym extension ensures the hotel still offers modern facilities. While not massive, they’re more than

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per night, including breakfast; hshotels.co.uk WHO? Victoria Joy, Deputy Editor WHY THIS SPA? Hop on a train at Waterloo and you’ll arrive within an hour at a house you can imagine your nan owning – if your nan was a baller with 28 rooms and a top-class sous chef in her kitchen. Full of history, character and, above all, cosiness, it’s the perfect antidote to city life. The staff find the ideal balance between attentiveness and invisibility, and the food is delicious and filling without superfluous fancy tricks. The spa – built in the house’s grounds – is ultramodern, with an indoor/ outdoor pool, various jacuzzis and a waterfall rainforest shower powered by locally sourced natural water. GO FOR THE… Elemental Rebalancing Ritual. Two hours (yes, 120 glorious minutes) of basically an amalgamation of about six stand-alone spa

treatments. Following the Elemental Herbology ethos, my personal preferences – such as my favourite time of the year and the time of day I’m most active – were used to determine my ‘element’ (earth, if you’re interested), to inform the oils used to feed my skin. Those of the earth element often suffer from dull skin so the focus was on boosting radiance and vitality and encouraging balance within my body. First up, a full-body massage, then hot Thai poultices filled with over 30 different herbs were worked into tight muscles to release tension. My legs were stretched, then came a facial with scalp and hand massage, followed by a foot scrub and rub. A top-to-toe service of relaxation and invigoration, topped off with a cool glass of champagne and a box of chocolates. Don’t mind if I do. SPECIAL MENTION For a greedy foodie like me? The Stilton dumplings and Grange Farm venison, followed by the treacle tart – guaranteed to give your eating partner food envy.

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WELL TRAVELLED

NEW FOREST NORTHERN IRELAND WHAT? Galgorm Resort & Spa WHERE? Ballymena, County

Antrim, Northern Ireland HOW MUCH? From £220 for two guests (including use of the spa, dinner, overnight stay and breakfast); galgorm.com WHO? Eliot Brittain, Picture Assistant WHY THIS SPA? You don’t win titles like Global Luxury Spa Hotel or Luxury Wellness Hotel for Northern Europe without offering something special. This secluded resort is set in the middle of the countryside, surrounded by beautiful parkland and greenery, with a babbling brook running through the grounds adding to the sense of tranquillity.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

Stroll as far as you can and you won’t spy a road or even a car park. Sure, you probably won’t have any phone signal either – but you know what? It’s actually quite nice to be cut off from the outside world for once and focus on just being. GO FOR THE… Quartz Gold. The aim of this 90-minute treatment is to promote relaxation and positivity. The bed is covered in tiny beads, which the therapist packs around your body to help you visualise yourself on a sandy beach. First up, there’s a singing bowl meditation. Bowls are placed on your back and the therapist ‘plays’ them to send vibrations through your body, with the aim of relieving stress and anxiety and increasing the positive energy within your body. Then comes a hot quartz poultice massage to warm the muscles and ease tension, followed by a head-to-toe massage by hand. Instant-ish relaxation. SPECIAL MENTION Love your gin? There’s a whole library dedicated to the stuff, with over 200 varieties. Get. In.

WHAT? Lime Wood WHERE? Lyndhurst, New Forest HOW MUCH? Rooms from £345

per night; limewoodhotel.co.uk WHO? Claire Sanderson, Editor WHY THIS SPA? It’s the little touches that really set this spa hotel apart: soft lights that turn on automatically when you walk into bathrooms, indulgent Bamford toiletries, Hunter wellies in every size and colour of the rainbow available to borrow so you can explore the grounds. And the superattentive staff are there to ensure you take full advantage of it all. But it’s the Herb House Spa that’s the real jewel in Lime Wood’s crown. There’s an outdoor hot tub, indoor lap pool, a large hydrotherapy area with a hot stone big enough for four people to lie on without

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pressing too much flesh (because you get enough of that on your commute) and a generously proportioned steam room and sauna. The spa’s Raw & Cured cafe serves fresh, healthy dishes and juices – but there’s champagne and cake available too if you fancy it. GO FOR THE… Deep Tissue Massage – but beware: this hour-long treatment is not for the faint-hearted. I resisted the urge to beg the therapist to stop as she worked furiously to iron out the knots in my upper back. She told me the lymph nodes on the back of my knees were blocked – which is common in people who weight train – and said it felt like she was ‘popping plastic bubble wrap’ as she worked up the back of legs. It wasn’t exactly a relaxing experience – more like an exercise in endurance – but that’s just the type of massage I love. And I definitely felt looser and more agile afterwards. SPECIAL MENTION Love running in nature? Go solo or enlist a personal trainer from the gym to take on one of the resort’s running paths.

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BERKSHIRE separating poolside beds. The spa rooms, too, with their heated hydrotherapy massage beds (yep, you’ll want to live here), are five-star through and through. GO FOR THE… It’s a toughie to choose between the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Luxury Bespoke Facial and the Luxury Manicure. (I know, I know, it’s a hard life.) The former is possibly the most relaxing treatment I’ve ever had and goes way beyond the usual repetitive application of skincare products; whereas the latter serves as a reminder that, done properly, a hand massage, cuticle grooming and a slick of colour – a signature Cliveden polish in this case – can be just as sumptuous as a full-body treatment. SPECIAL MENTION Head to the hotel’s restaurant, under the watchful eye of head chef André Garrett, and order the truffle risotto. A far cry from the mediocre truffle flavour that encrusts chips in gastropubs across the UK, this rice dish had the most delicious pungent smell and flavour, I’m drooling again just thinking about it.

WHAT? Cliveden House & Spa WHERE? Taplow, Berkshire HOW MUCH? Rooms from £445

per night; clivedenhouse.co.uk WHO? Charlie Lambros, Fashion Director WHY THIS SPA? Because if it’s good enough for Vogue shoots featuring the likes of Kate Moss, it’s good enough for the rest and best of us. Originally built in 1666 by the Duke of Buckinghamshire as a gift to his mistress, Cliveden still has the service and glamour to make every guest feel like a royal – and nowhere less so than in the spa. The pool area boasts an understated neutral colour scheme with stone pillars surrounding the water and floor-length linen curtains

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YORKSHIRE WHAT? Rudding Park WHERE? Harrogate,

North Yorkshire HOW MUCH? Rooms from £189 per night; spa breaks from £177, which includes half board, spa access and a 50-minute treatment; ruddingpark.co.uk. WHO? Victoria Rudland, Chief Sub Editor WHY THIS SPA? They say money can’t buy happiness, but I’ll tell you what it can buy and that’s one hell of a spa. Rudding Park threw £9.5 million at its new spa wing, which opened last May, and it’s already won a host of awards and been hailed as the best new spa in the UK. With its sleek, ultra-modern glassy exteriors, an extensive rooftop spa and gardens, outdoor hydrotherapy infinity pool, indoor lap pool, Rasul mud room, experience showers and a plethora of saunas and steam rooms, this is one seriously impressive endeavour. Set in 300 acres of parkland, this

elegant 19th-century country house estate, with its bold design and comfortable, stylish interiors, forms the perfect backdrop to a luxurious weekend of wellness. GO FOR THE… Rejuvenating Age Support Facial. This indulgent 75-minute treatment is tailored to your skin type and uses the Elemental Herbology range to improve tone, clarity and texture. It starts with a resurfacing cleanse and exfoliating AHA mask – strong enough to tingle, but not so much that you’re left with a red face. Lotion after potion is then massaged into your face, neck and décolletage, using acupressure techniques to invigorate the skin and rose quartz rollers to soothe inflammation, and it ends with a head and foot massage that’ll send you floating out into the luxe mind and sense relaxation zones. Afterwards, I couldn’t stop touching my

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WELL TRAVELLED

LONDON WHAT? The Lanesborough WHERE? London HOW MUCH? Rooms from £525

face. My skin had never felt so plumped, smooth and hydrated – my fine lines were rendered invisible and I headed to dinner make-up-free and glowing. SPECIAL MENTION Got a hunger on after all that pampering? You’re well placed. Spa aside, it’s worth visiting Rudding Park for its outstanding food alone. The hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Horto, has three

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AA Rosettes, placing it in the top 10% in the AA Restaurant Guide. Using high-quality local produce and seasonal ingredients from the hotel’s kitchen garden, the menu is based on simple pairings with a clever twist. Go for the eight-course tasting menu – and you might as well splash out on the wine pairing while you’re at it. Go on, treat yo’self.

– my therapist explains that, while each treatment has a set process, her job is to cater to my individual needs, so we talk about how my body feels and how I feel generally in day-to-day life. Over the course of 60 minutes, every muscle of my body (I lie naked, at the therapist’s request, so she can work into my weak, tight glutes) is loosened first with massage oil, then with hot stones. It isn’t always as relaxing as it sounds – my overtrained shoulders took the brunt of her elbows – but in my book, if it doesn’t hurt, it ain’t deep. Block out an hour afterwards to make the most of the sumptuous spa lounge, where you’ll be served the signature Lanesborough blend of herbal berry tea and ceramic dishes of fresh grapes and seasoned nuts as you sit back and wonder how life got so good. SPECIAL MENTION The Bodyism gym, because doesn’t relaxation feel better when you’ve worked for it? Book a session with one of James Duigan’s specialists to learn the ins and outs of your body’s mechanics and how best to make it sweat.

per night; lanesborough.com WHO? Victoria Joy, Deputy Editor WHY THIS SPA? Luxe doesn’t even begin to cover it – housed in one of the most prestigious hotels in the capital, this is pure indulgence. The spa is accessed via a private lift and walking through the marble entrance into the changing rooms is an experience in itself. A maze of cavernous shower rooms and glamorous mirrored dressing tables awaits – or if you’re already in your swimmers (I’d go for something slightly more glam than your decade-old Slazenger, trust me) head directly to the womenonly steam room or sauna. A doorway, full of promise, leads to a serene indoor infinity pool flanked by cosy day beds. It is an underground paradise – and a hint at how the other half live. GO FOR THE… Deep Tissue Potali. Your therapist will lead you into a room large enough to house seven massage beds but, nope, this is all for you. It’ll start with a quick consultation

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Performed on mini trampolines, ((BOUNCE)) is an exercise class featuring dance-choreographed routines. Focusing on high intensity cardio that’s low impact, we can improve weight loss up to 3 times quicker than floor-based exercise due to opposing gravity and added g-force. Suitable for all fitness levels, shapes and sizes, ((BOUNCE)) is unique because of our motivating, supportive instructors creating a welcoming vibe! Classes nationwide. www.bouncefitbody.com

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WO M E N ’S H E A LT H

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My week on a plate Tala Lee-Turton, 21, is a professional ballerina, choreographer and one of only three British women to graduate from Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy

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Tvorog, vegan protein bites, kefir

Scrambled eggs with crackers and spinach

Grain-free malt loaf with tvorog and kefir

Grain-free porridge with tvorog, kefir and berries

Scrambled eggs with leftover baked avocado and peas

Grain-free porridge with cashew butter and berries

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Raw chocolate bar

Grain-free pancakes served with raw chocolate, maple syrup, cashew butter and bananas

12pm Raw chocolate bar

4pm Savoury aubergine cheesecake

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Raw chocolate bar

Raw chocolate bar

Raw chocolate bar

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Raw chocolate bar

Grain-free porridge with pear and cashew butter

Roasted veg with tofu

Grain-free malt loaf with fried eggs

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10pm Chestnut and cashew galette with squash, soya mince and tahini

Soya mince with onions and pea purée

Tom yum soup with noodles and tofu

My training regime puts a lot of pressure on my joints and my muscles. When I was at the Bolshoi, I was taught some extreme stretches to aid mobility. Eating enough protein at every meal is really important for keeping me injury-free.

I find that refined sugars give me an energy slump, so I tend to have raw chocolate instead. I stock up when I’m home in the UK visiting family. Whenever I’m back, I focus on relaxing and enjoying my mum’s home cooking.

Today is a show day, so training finishes at 6pm ready for the evening performance. My training might be full-on, but I love what I do. When I’m not performing in Russia at our theatre, I’m often touring countries such as China and the UK.

Roasted sweet potato, parsnip and tofu salad with a tahini dressing

Savoury aubergine cheesecake

Two fried eggs with baked avocado and minty peas

I moved to Moscow from Barnsley at 16 to train with the Bolshoi. I now live in Astrakhan, Russia, where I work with a ballet company. I discovered tvorog (it’s a bit like cottage cheese) when I moved here and love eating it at breakfast. It’s a great source of protein.

I’ve been vegetarian my whole life. I decided to keep it up for ethical reasons, but also because I think it keeps me healthy. I love finding new and exciting dishes to cook. This savoury aubergine cheesecake is one of my favourites.

My training sessions run from 11am to 9pm, so I fit my meals around them. We have a late-afternoon break, so I’ll go home to my flat, which I share with two other dancers, to make a meal for lunch. Then I’ll make a hearty dinner around 10pm.

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WH nutritionist Eve Kalinik gives her verdict: Tala eats regular meals, which will help to keep her energy levels consistent. But I’d strongly recommend she ups her carbohydrate intake as she trains extensively and carbs are crucial for stamina. More dairy, like full-fat yoghurt or traditional cheese, would also provide beneficial bacteria to support her gut and immune system, both of which can be compromised by an intense training schedule. It looks like she

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Leftover galette

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Grain-free malt loaf with tvorog and kefir

Bubble and squeak made with vegetables and leftover pea purée

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With one day off a week, I prioritise recovery. I’ll sleep for a chunk of the day, which is why I might miss lunch. But I make time to cook to help me unwind and prepare myself mentally for the week ahead. It’s the way I relax and express my creativity.

avoids grains, but she could consider incorporating some glutenfree grains, such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat or amaranth, into her diet. Legumes like beans and lentils are excellent sources of protein, too. As well as eggs, she could include flax, chia and hemp seeds and walnuts for other sources of omega-3. It’s great that she eats raw chocolate, but she could mix up her snacking a bit by having oat cakes with nut butter or stewed apples with yoghurt.

womenshealthmag.co.uk

AS TOLD TO FLORENCE MITCHELL. PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY

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Magazine 2018-03-03 Women's Health UK  

Wn I joined Health I’d just returned from my second maternity leave – a blissful year 14 months ago, Women’s of baby cwtches (I’m Welsh, the...

Magazine 2018-03-03 Women's Health UK  

Wn I joined Health I’d just returned from my second maternity leave – a blissful year 14 months ago, Women’s of baby cwtches (I’m Welsh, the...

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