Protect your immunity

Protect ur immunity
2. Insufficient sleep
Sleep is a time for the body to recharge. A study from the University of Chicago showed that men who slept 4 hours a night after one week had half the number of serum flu-fighting antibodies as did men who slept 7.5 – 8.5 hours
r u at risk? – shift workers take note !!
Jax x
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Why Do U Feel So Sore?

Post exercise soreness is the pain you feel in your muscles after unaccustomed exercise – and it’s not the same as trigger point pain. It is a specific and fascinating phenomenon.

Everyone has had it. You go for a long bike ride or a run or some other exercise after a lay-off. You don’t feel too bad when you finish and congratulate yourself. However the next morning you wake up with a deep nasty ache in the muscles you used most- often your butt. You also feel really stiff. You try rubbing liniment into the area, taking some pain medications, stretching etc- but nothing seems to help much.

You hobble around for 2-3 days and then your pain & stiffness go. You actually feel rather well. If you then decide to exercise again- often you really do feel fine and have no symptoms later.

So – what has happened?

You started off unfit- which means that many of the cells in your muscles were not efficient at all. When you started exercising, the cells required a constant and sufficient Oxygen from your blood in order to work aerobically. This is by far the most efficient way for the muscle cells to function.

However, the demand for oxygen far exceeded your blood supply and the weakest cells initially switched to anaerobic respiration – this is another way to create energy. It is really inefficient and the cell starts breaking down its own structure to provide the energy. Waste products quickly build up and the weakest cells actually die.

If you take a biopsy of muscle 2 days after such exercise and look down a microscope- you will see ‘streaming or smudging’ in some of the muscle cells. These cells have died and are being reabsorbed by your body.

At this time you get post exercise soreness. You feel stiff and achey and kind-of old. This is not surprising once you understand that you are killing off your weakest muscle cells. This is also why having a massage or some other treatment doesn’t really help the pain much.

But all is not lost. Once the cells die. They are reabsorbed and the remaining cells increase in size to fill the gaps. These are healthy and efficient cells.

So now, your muscle is actually much more healthy, strong and vital than before.

This process is often called ‘hardening’ by athletes and their coaches. So post exercise soreness is actually necessary for peak performance.

It shows the remarkable ability your body has for self regeneration.
Jax xx

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Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and, while breast cancer incidence is on the decline, it’s estimated that this year alone tahere will be thousands of new cases of invasive breast cancer, and many women will die from breast cancer.

There is hope though! While the two highest risk factors for developing breast cancer – gender and age – are out of our hands, the third is not. Being obese or overweight significantly increases your risk of developing breast cancer.

Luckily, there are lifestyle choices and changes that women can make that can reduce their risk. As an added bonus, adopting many of these tips will help you lose weight too!

1. Maintain a healthy weight: This is absolutely crucial. Some research has shown that overweight or obese women produce more estrogen than women who maintain a healthy body weight.

2. Eat right: While there’s no evidence to suggest diet affects breast cancer, there is irrefutable evidence that a healthy diet is essential to fighting obesity. Diets rich in healthy carbs, protein, and fiber give you the best chance of staying healthy.

3. Limit alcohol consumption: Research suggests that women who drink are at greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who don’t. Plus, alcohol consumption adds calories and may encourage you to eat more, sabotaging efforts to lose weight.

4. Breast feed: Prolonged exposure to estrogen is one of the highest risk factors associated with breast cancer. Estrogen production decreases while a woman is pregnant, and stays low while she breast feeds.

5. Exercise: As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day – plus two weight training sessions a week – can lower your risk and help you lose weight.

6. Incorporate antioxidants into your diet: Free radicals are atoms in your body that interact with certain molecules. Some of these interactions can be beneficial – killing bacteria, for example – but others may result in cell damage or death, which has been linked to diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, and cancer.
Antioxidants are the miracle workers that fight against these free radicals and, therefore, help in the fight against these diseases. Fruits – berries, specifically – are antioxidant powerhouses. Nuts, vegetables, and even meat are also good sources of antioxidants.

You ARE In Control For Preventing Breast Cancer
Start eating antioxidants and reap the benefits of their magic!

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Our mission is to help people shed their belly fat, fit into clothes that are too tight, have supportive friends, prevent diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer just by eating delicious foods, exercise to keep fit, mobile and independent.

Gut Bacteria and Infections – Is there a Link?

Gut Bacteria and Infections – Is there a Link?

In class the other morning Claire asked why some people seem to catch every cold going – this reminded me of these interesting facts.

Cold and flu season has arrived. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be ill all the time, yet others, after being exposed to the same virus, remain well.
The reason lies in the strength of their immune system.
Your immune system is largely dependent upon the condition of your digestive system.
When you are exposed to bad bacteria or viruses, it is up to your immune system to protect you from being infected. If your immune system is strong, your body will fight off the threat. If your immune system is weak or compromised, you may end up sick.

Microbes: the good, the bad, and the ugly
Inside your digestive system are many microbes. Microbes are living organisms that affect your overall health.
Some of these organisms are beneficial and protect you from disease. These good bacteria recognize when illness-producing intruders enter your body; they promptly attack the intruders so you do not get sick. If you do not have enough good bacteria in your gut, you will be more susceptible not only to infections such as colds and stomach flu, but you will also be at risk for autoimmune diseases such as colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Chron’s disease.
Ideally you have a large supply of these good microbes living in your gut. But they can easily become depleted, some medications can effect their numbers.
The chlorine in your drinking water can destroy them, as can the pesticide residue on the food that you eat.
Once the supply of beneficial microbes in your intestines dwindles, bad microbes such as yeast, fungi and disease-causing bacteria begin to take up residence. When the scale tips in favour of the bad, your immune system becomes compromised.

Enter Probiotics
If you think you might be deficient in good microbes, it is not difficult to remedy the problem. The solution is to take probiotics. Probiotics are good microbes that you can consume in your diet. They then settle in your digestive system and get to work protecting you from illness and destroying the bad bacteria that may be living there.
Probiotics are available in capsule form, but you can also replenish some of these good microbes by eating those little yoghurt drinks.
Natural live Greek yoghurt will provide some, too. Check the label on the yoghurt that you buy to make sure it says that it contains active cultures—those are the good bacteria that you need to eat. Also, make sure the yoghurt you eat is not loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners! Choose Actimel Mandarin or stick with plain Greek yoghurt.

Take action now and get a head start on this year’s cold and flu season. You can get ahead of the game by improving your gut function and fighting illness.

Actimel Mandarin seems to have the least sugars, and is backed by research to show that the probiotics pass through the stomach and into the gut.

Eat Well – Stay Healthy

5 Reasons that I Think Treadmill and Elliptical Machine Workouts are a Waste of Time

5 Reasons that I Think Treadmill and Elliptical Machine Workouts are a Waste of Time


Plus 10 workout ideas

 that I believe are more effective and fun!


 Why Big Box Health Club Memberships don’t make you Healthy, Fit or Happy!


I was reading an article the other day and while I agreed with its sentiments, it made me realise that we join gyms to Loose Weight, Meet People and have some Fun.  But what actually happens is we join up and are immediately put on a treadmill – everyone can walk right! – and told to warm up before we do our  ‘personal’ program.


If you’re lucky a member of the gym team will chat to you while you complete your induction, but soon, very soon, when you arrive you, like all the other members, will get onto your cardio machines, attach your ear phones and watch TV or listen to your iPod and training solo


Now, is it just me, but there seems to be a major mismatch between the reasons members join Health Clubs and what is actually offered to them.



Goal 1 – Lose Weight.

Doing more and eating less = weight loss, yes I hear you say.

Ok, so lets say that’s true.  What happens if you keep that programme up? I’ve been training client for 30 years and no-one has faded away yet!

I’ve watched people jog, cycle and row for hours every week with ever decreasing rewards for their efforts as time goes on.  If you’re lucky a gym team member will advise you to increase intensity (work harder) or if you’re unlucky they’ll advise longer sessions.

Cardio training has its place – but science has proven that in good studies it’s a really poor way to lose fat!!  In fact there are 8 better ways to lose fat than long, slow duration cardio!!


Goal 2 – Make Friends.

I know lots of singles that hoped to meet a partner at the Gym.  Sadly you might spot someone, but it’s tricky to get to know them if they’re isolated in their own TV world.

Most gyms don’t have regular social events. And if you’ve ever attended group exercise classes – you’d get withering looks from the Instructors if you dare speak to anyone.



Goal 3 – Have Fun.

Knowing how many and how quickly members stop going to the gym I don’t think there’s a whole lot of fun!


You’ll quickly give up on the promises that ‘This gym is friendly and Fun’.  You’ll forget that everywhere else staff talk to their customers and that at your favourite coffee shop they chat, smile and even remember your order!!  Of course eventually you’ll remember and that’s when you decide to stop your Direct Debit.


So, here we go-


Treadmill and elliptical training machines a waste of your fat burning time


Now that I’ve upset all of the treadmill and elliptical machine worshipers… let me say that if you really enjoy mindlessly pumping away on a treadmill or elliptical (or exercise bike for that matter too), then by all means, keep doing what you enjoy, because enjoying your exercise is one of the most important aspects to sticking with any exercise program… and I think  enjoyment is THE most important factor!!


However, don’t say that I didn’t warn you that you were wasting your time with all that mindless cardio machine boredom.


If I haven’t said it before, I don’t believe in cardio machines, and to be quite honest, I don’t think I’ve personally used a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike for at least 10 years. As a group exercise instructor I never had to use them for warm ups so don’t look to them for warming up now I’m a certified metabolic fitness coach.


Nowadays, I prefer to do mobility and ATR  mixed with bodyweight exercises as the perfect full body warmup at the beginning of my workouts.


So why do I have such hatred for cardio machines?

Well, here are 5 reasons:


1) Treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes are mind-blowingly BOOOORING! Personally, I can think of a million things I’d rather be doing than pedaling my way to nowhere! There are so many more important things to do before any workout, like mental prep, working on postural imbalances, learning new exercises and improving muscle tissue quality.



2) Mindless steady state cardio exercise while watching TV or reading creates a mind / body disconnect resulting in poor results from your exercise routine. Instead of reading a gossip magazine or watching a cheesy reality TV show on the TV screen in front of the cardio machine, a REAL workout consists of actually having your mind engaged strongly in what your body is doing!



3) I’ve seen studies that indicated that treadmill running may be less effective than outdoor running for various reasons such as stride abnormalities on treadmills vs natural running, slightly less caloric burn compared to outdoor running, etc.


…although I never recommend just “jogging” anyway … Instead, variable intensity walks / runs or sprints are so much more effective, training your heart rate in a much wider range instead of just the same pace during the entire workout.


4) Treadmills and ellipticals are ridiculously expensive and a waste of money for people that workout at home… there’s so many better options for home workouts you could have spent your money on rather than wasting it on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical.



The perfect home gym setup is MUCH cheaper… there’s no reason you need anything other than a jump rope, bodyweight exercises, a few dumbbells, stability ball, maybe a few kettlebells (if you want to get fancy), and perhaps high tension bands for some more variety.



5) Treadmills and elliptical machines are just a very ineffective way to workout compared to other options. The metabolic response is much lower compared to the types of workouts ideas that I describe below. Why should you do treadmill or elliptical workouts when you can get better results by doing more interesting forms of training that actually stimulate a fat-burning hormonal response and stimulate your metabolism to a greater extent…


So what are the alternatives to treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical trainers? Here are TEN of my favourite types of alternative workouts:


Skipping rope – great mind-body connection – try speed jumping, crossovers, and double jumps once you get skilled at it. An amazing metabolic exercise with one of the cheapest pieces of equipment available. There’s a reason that every world class boxer uses this exercise!


Kettle bell training – nothing will get your heart pounding like high repetition KB swings and snatches or clean & presses (can be done with dumbbells too, but I prefer KBs). Personally, I think one of the most intense body changing exercises ever invented are double kettlebell snatches (snatching both kettlebells at the same time overhead from the floor).


Cardio sprinting (the ultimate exercise for a rock hard ripped body… just look at the chiseled powerful bodies of world class sprinters, and compare that to the weakling withered physique of a typical marathoner… enough said! We do sprint training 2-3 days a week. Short, all out intervals that raise your heart rate, make you breathe hard with very short rest intervals for over 20 minutes total time.



Metabolic Training – Total Body training of 20 – 60 seconds work with short rest intervals repeated for maybe 20-30 minutes.

One Amazing workout.



Rowing Machine – I don’t include this as a “cardio” machine like treadmills and ellipticals… I think the rowing machine is actually a great full body workout that actually uses resistance…

Just like the other classic…

Schwinn Air Dyne bikes – both use air resistance to give you a great intense workout.

The best results come from using variable speeds and really pulling hard to challenge your body.



Sprint style swimming workouts – a more muscular workout than steady state distance swimming… I actually love the upper body pump you get from sprint style swimming — this is the same concept as sprinting vs jogging but in a pool instead. It’s all about intensity!



Combat – heavy bag punching / kicking workout, speed bag, rebound bag – all are great forms of training and much more interesting than boring cardio machines. These exercises are also great examples of exercises that require an intense mind-body connection, which is missing in boring cardio equipment like treadmills and elliptical machines.

Shadow Boxing – This is an awesome workout, but if you’re shy, this is best saved for your home workouts since you’ll get some crazy stares doing this at a typical gym from people who think they’re “too cool” for stuff like this.


Dumbbell, Med ball, Kettle Bell Circuits — This super metabolic workout that involves alternating between various full-body multi-joint exercises to get a crazy fat-burning workout in minimal time. A good example would be alternating between dumbbell lunges, overhead presses, bent over rows, step ups, and squat presses all with minimal rest between. The sort we do 6 days a week to great effect.


Bodyweight Training – bodyweight squats, pushups, lunges, jumps, bear crawls, mountain climbers and jumpers, planks, and the list goes on and on. An example of great mind-body connection and much more metabolic than treadmills and ellipticals.


Well, I hope this article helps give you ideas on how you can get away from all of these mindless and ineffective treadmill and elliptical training machine (and exercise bike) workouts that are just wasting your time and energy that could be better spent on more effective workouts.


If you want maximum results, it’s all about your intensity levels and also your mind-body connection… and that all important mind-body connection is usually missing when it comes to elliptical and treadmill workouts, that most people do while watching TV or reading.



Get out there and actually ENJOY your workouts

Rember which would you rather be a sprinter or a marathoner?


Don’t be lazy, be lean.


Jax Allen

Certified Metabolic Trainer

Pilates and Yoga Instructor


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Adrenal Fatigue? Do You Have It?

What You Need to Know About Adrenal Fatigue


I found this article about Adrenal Fatigue by Justin – I think it very relevant to many living this fast paced, always ON life with iPads, smart phones and emails chasing us everywhere…..


Chances are you have heard of adrenal fatigue, but you may not be quite sure what it is. Understanding this condition is important however, because some experts suggest that 80% of the Western world will be affected by adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and are responsible for secreting more than 50 different hormones that are essential for life. Among these are adrenaline, cortisol, progesterone and testosterone. Because they regulate so many important hormones, their proper function is critical for many functions essential to life such as producing energy, balancing electrolytes and storing fat.

These glands also help you deal with stress. When you are under stress, the adrenal glands engage many different responses in your body to make it easier for you to handle that stress.

But during periods of intense, prolonged stress or chronic illness, the adrenal glands begin functioning below the level needed to maintain health and well-being in the body. They still function but at less than optimal levels. The result is adrenal fatigue.


Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue


There are some symptoms that are common among people who

are suffering from adrenal fatigue. These include:


Feeling tired for no reason

Craving salty or sweet snacks

Morning fatigue

Mid-afternoon sleepiness

Increased energy in the late afternoon

Decreased sex drive

Mild Depression

Weight gain, especially around the waist


Low body temperature


If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.




Treatment for adrenal fatigue focuses on making changes to your lifestyle and diet. If you have minor adrenal fatigue, you can expect to be better within 6-9 months. Moderate to severe adrenal fatigue can take between 12-24 months to heal, and severe cases can take even longer.


Stress: One of the first things you should do is reduce the stress in your life. This may mean clearing your schedule, reworking some relationships or learning time management skills. In order for your adrenal glands to heal, the demands placed on them should be lightened.


Sleep: Sufficient sleep is also important. The main repair work on your adrenal glands takes place between 10 pm and 1 am. If you are prone to late nights, consider training your body to go to bed earlier. It is also a good idea to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet in order to help you sleep more soundly.


Exercise: Adrenal fatigue can also be helped by exercise. Exercise regulates cortisol, relieves depression and increases blood flow. Each of these benefits will contribute to your recovery. Shorter more intense bouts of exercise (like we do in our programs) are more appropriate than long duration workouts, like treadmill or elliptical cardio or running when suffering from adrenal fatigue.


Supplements: Finally, adding supplements to your diet can speed healing of adrenal fatigue. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, E, and B complex are recommended. Also try to avoid ‘junk’ food as much as possible. Rather, add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.


If you suspect you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, don’t be discouraged. You can start the recovery process by making the above changes to your diet and lifestyle.