Workout BEFORE Breakfast?!!

While the benefits of exercises are known to everyone, many tend to give the morning fitness regime a miss due to the heavy work schedule or late-nights. However, morning workouts have more benefits than any other workout during the day — from controlling weight, enhancing mood and keeping you fit and healthy. Did you know it also helps you find your inner creativity?


Whether it is in just writing an article, painting a canvas or churning out ideas for your office meeting; physical activity activates the creative juices and once they start flowing, there is nothing to stop you.You start to look at things positively and feel refreshed and energised to start a new day at the end of a morning workout. To get that much-needed creative boost, set up a regular exercise schedule and see the difference

Once you take a decision to start, stick to it and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

We exercise Monday to Friday at 06:15 and we’re ready for the day by 07:00. 

Saturday’s we meet at 08:15, every session is different – no boredom with our workouts! 

No 12 week repeating workouts that your body adapts to within just a few classes, your brain goes automatic and you find yourself daydreaming when you should be engaged, working so hard you just about complete each interval. 

If you’re really lucky you’ll work till you fail! That’s when you get fabulous results, not when you coast through as an invisible part of a big group. 

Next time you decide to do something about your fitness and you really mean it – come and join one of our pre- breakfast Fatloss Fitcamps – group Personal Training as its best. Personal attention in a small group – every repetition coached to perfection, every exercise adapted for best results. 

We look forward to seeing you before breakfast soon

Book NOW by text 07831 680086

Or email me : jaxallenfitness@gmail.com

Visit my website : http://www.jaxallenfitness.com

Train Smart.  Eat Clean. Expect Results 

Jax 

Advertisements

Your Gut – 10x more cells than your entire body?

Unfortunately, many people think of their gut solely as the mechanism by which your body digests food, which is at best an extreme oversimplification, and at worst an ideology massively contributing to the health problems, weight loss struggles, and auto-immune disorders of millions world-wide.
In reality, your GI tract is MUCH more than a digestion center; in fact, it is quite literally your second brain as well as being “home” to 80% of your immune system.
You see, within your gut reside roughly 100 TRILLION living bacteria…
That’s more than 10 times the number of cells you have in your entire body – and maintaining the ideal ratio of “good bacteria” (known as probiotics) to “bad bacteria” is now gaining recognition as perhaps the single most important step you can take to protect your health and further along your fat loss goals.
In fact, there are more than 200 studies linking inadequate probiotic levels to more than 170 different serious health issues; including obesity and weight gain:
To touch briefly on the weight gain and obesity consequences, virtually every study performed on the obese population analyzing gut bacteria found higher instances of “bad” bacteria and lower levels of probiotics (again, the “good” bacteria) within these individuals.
Perhaps you yourself are already experiencing some of the more advanced signs that your intestinal bacterial balance is beginning to spin out of control, such as:
• Gas and bloating

• Constipation and/or diarrhea

• Skin problems

• Overall sickness

• Headaches

• Urinary tract infections

• Trouble sleeping

• An inability to lose weight

• Sugar cravings, especially for heavily refined carbs
You see, the ideal healthy ratio of “good” to “bad” bacteria is 85% to 15%, or 9 to 1.
Unfortunately, due to lifestyle and environmental factors, the vast majority of the population is severely lacking when it comes to good probiotic bacteria, throwing their gut flora ratio completely out of whack.
These lifestyle and environmental factors include, but are not limited to, exposure to:
• Sugar

• Artificial sweeteners of any kind (found in “diet” beverages and food items, chewing gum, and even toothpaste)

• Processed foods

• Chlorinated water

• Pollution

• Antacids

• Laxatives

• Alcoholic beverages

• Agricultural chemicals and pesticides, and…

• Antibiotics (from medications and/or antibiotics found in meat and dairy products that we ingest).
As you can see, unless you maintain a 100% organic diet, completely avoid all sugar, and lock yourself in the house in an attempt to only consume the purest of air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is almost certain that your gut flora balance is suffering, and will continue to suffer, unless you do something to proactively correct it on a daily basis.
Can you really afford to neglect your gastrointestinal health much longer?
If you do, the likely result is dramatically increased risk for health problems and disease, failure to experience relief from any ailments you may be currently suffering from, and an inevitable, continual struggle with your weight.
With that said, it’s no wonder that research is now suggesting that supplementing with probiotics every single day is even MORE important to your health than taking a daily multi-vitamin…

How Is Your Abdominal Training  Plan Working? 

Mention abdominal training or core exercises and most people immediately think of sit-ups. Traditionally the go to move to flatten your belly and trim your waist. However, sit-ups are probably THE single worst exercise known for this purpose. 

Rather than balancing the muscles that surround and support your spine the wrong kind of training can cause more muscle imbalances. 

Another visible effect of unbalanced core strength is a pot belly. Yes! Training your abs wrong actually makes you look fatter!…

When you train your abs the wrong way you over-tighten a set of muscles called your hip flexors…

One of the hip flexors — the psoas major — originates on the vertebrae of the lower back and inserts on the top of your thigh bone…

When you shorten and tighten your hip flexors with the wrong kinds of abs training you actually pull your pelvis forward and down. This gives you a sagging belly that makes you look like you’re 5-10 lbs heavier than you actually are!…

And not only will you look fatter than you are… your distorted pelvis will give you serious back pain. Yet the danger to your back can be much more severe…


Here’s where your quest for flat abs can be dangerous!…

Most abs exercises force your spine into extreme flexion – bending or curling forward. Yet we now know this increases something called intra-discal pressure. Basically this is like pressing on a tube of toothpaste and increasing the pressure on the paste inside.

If you press hard enough the toothpaste will squirt out. And that’s exactly what happens to the fluids inside your disc when enough pressure builds up — causing what’s called disc protrusion or worse… disc hernias…

It can take months of careful treatment to recover from disc damage. Pain and discomfort  can stop your normal everyday activities and definitely put a stop to your flat ab dreams. 

So to find the right way for you to train your abs that gives you a healthy core, beautiful posture, and a stunning midsection you have to consider lots of of different factors. 

        Rectus Abdominis

The rectus abdominis is the long muscle that runs from your rib cage to your pelvis. It’s dissected vertically by a thin sheath of connective tissue, and horizontally by tendinous attachments that create six pack abs most guys are looking for. In my experience most folk have to focus completely on reducing bodyfat to get the ‘6 Pack’ look. 

The rectus abdominis helps to flex – bend forward – the spinal column. More importantly it stabilises the trunk  by balancing the back muscles and controls the trunk during movements involving arms and legs. This is the secret to way I train the core in both my Fitcamps and Pilates sessions. 

    The Obliques

The internal and external obliques work like a corset to define your waistline. These cinch you up and give you that V-tapered and slim-waisted look that is hardwired to be attractive to both men and women.

Pilates activates your obliques in a way that “wraps” your core in a protective sheath that will open up a whole new world of abs flattening exercise that’s been shown to work 3x faster than traditional training…

I include a 360′ approach to core or trunk training.  The result is a strong, mobile functioning spine in all directions of movement 

    The Posterior Chain

The posterior chain is simply the backside of your body. Its primary muscles include the lower back, gluteus maximus (butt), hamstrings, and spinal erectors

You may be scratching your head wondering why it’s included in the three Abdominal Fields of Action. Here’s why..

The Posterior Chain is the glue that binds your core together and will allow you to achieve the “spinal neutral” position – or the Natural Arch you’ve heard me talk about in class, that is central to the way your healthy spine works. 

So, when you next think about doing some exercises for your core remember it’s not just sit-ups and crunches you need a 3D approach to balance your posture and protect your spine. 
Train Hard, Eat Clean, Expect Results 
Jax 

Which Trainers? Running, trail, gym….

We had an interesting little chat in Fitcamp the other morning and few of the gang were talking about changing their trainers. Various reasons and suggestions were put forward – I thought this info graphic would go somewhat to help the decision making process. 
For years now I have worn and recommended New Balance Minimus Vibram trail shoes. They are light weight, very flexible almost flat for a barefoot style and take the stresses of the multi directional training included in my sessions. 

I first swapped after attending a seminar on barefoot running – although I NEVER run – it was an interesting talk and very persuasive. The main takeaway was that high heels hurt your knees and back! What a surprise – we girls have known this for ever – but trainer makers never related that to sports shoe design.  

So here’s bit of history (science) to persuade you too. My occasional knee niggle is long gone, the impact work we do doesn’t present any problem even tho my shoes have very little traditional support. 


Next time you’re thinking of buying new training shoes, consider what you want to do, what you want to achieve. If you are with us and not planning on spending hours on useless cardio machines, intend on mixing your strength and cardio training into,super effective metabolic conditioning sessions you’ll need a flexible, supportive low profile shoe with good grip and adjustable fit. 

To squat you need a flat foot position, to keep your feet healthy you need to ‘feel’ the floor and you need to be able to wash and wear your trainers. These current designs all allow sweat to wick away and cooling mesh panels reduce heat. Many are treated to prevent bacteria too! Here are a few pictures of what I think you should look for


This is very similar to the shoe I use. I searched online for ‘Sports Shoes Direct’ they have good sales – especially once you know your size. These are NOT cheap shoes – but I wear them everyday and they last very well.  Old style shoes with thick soles break down inside – you think you’ve got a supportive shoe but the cushioning structures have crumbled tipping you even further forward than before.

Other makers to look at are Merrel and Sketchers. Sadly, I don’t really like shoes that I’ve seen from Nike and Adidas – they are still built on a wedge sole, even tho’ much lower than in the past, and usually have an unstructured upper that stretches and warps when under strain of multi-directional training. 

I’ve recently done two Active ageing and Functional ageing training courses, the take home from both was that we need to spend time barefoot or as close to it everyday. To keep muscles working and responsive but also to stimulate the feedback mechanisms in our feet – soles, toes and heels. The ‘use it or lose it’ rule applies to this aspect of fitness too.  

I believe you will move better as a result of more feedback from your feet, your muscles will absorb impact rather than your joints and you’ll have less hard skin and callouses too!  These shoes even come in width fittings – so no more bursting out the sides of your running shoes when you train laterally or blisters from your narrow feet moving inside a wide shoe. 

Remember as a species we’ve been moving for thousands of years, no-one needs to run for miles and miles to be healthy and fit. If running is your sport – that’s your choice. But to get the best fitness bang for your buck (time) you’ll be cutting down pure cardio, increasing resistance training and hopefully combining the two, so an adaptable shoe is essential. 

Let me know how you get on.

Jax 

So Your Back Hurts!

This article is for Naomi,remember to do your homework xx
 Your body is an amazing thing! You decide to stand up, reach across a table , go for run, climb stairs and you do it, without thought or problem. Then one day, for no apparent reason,  you drop a sock, bend over to pick it up and suddenly you have dreadful pain in your lower back, you are stuck and can hardly shout for the help you need!

So, there you are, wondering what you did to cause this much pain. I believe that we can, with a little education, learn to maintain our aches and pains. We can discover where we have built up unwanted muscle tension, weakness and tightness. 

I’ve been teaching, instructing and coaching real people since the  80’s. I’ve attended so many training courses and know how and why training recommendations have changed over the years. Modern scanners, thousands of peer reviewed studies, real life data from athletes in many sports all give us a good grounding on how our fantastic bodies react and adapt to the stresses of everyday activities and the sports we choose to participate in. 

So often injuries are ‘set-up’ by our patterns of behaviour in our everyday, we notice them when we change something – a new car, chair or desk at work. I meet clients everyday, usually through my Pilates teaching, referred by therapists of all kinds that need to maintain a healthy framework for their sport, exercise routines and lifestyle. 

Ok, you say, but how do I know what is a ‘normal’ framework?

Your pain is specific to the centre of your lower back. You may feel pain more on one side than another. You may have been told you have tight hamstrings, hip flexors and gluteal (bottom) muscles that are lazy – my clients hear me talk about  what I call  ‘lazy a** syndrome’! We may joke, but it’s not funny if you have it. 

Sitting for long periods, not activating your core by using a proper bracing technique or forgetting to train your pelvic floor can all lead to low back pain, pelvic rotations and ‘Lower Cross Syndrome’, SI joint dysfunction and Sacroillitis. 

Lots of expensive Osteo and Chiro visits can give temporary relief, but until you learn to add your homework exercises into your exercise plan your back pain will return. I think it’s worth checking your range of motion at your hip joint. So often back problems and pain are related to hip dis function. This is what I’d like to focus on here. 

 Find a mirror and check out your range of motion at this important joint. Your hip joint, pelvis and surrounding muscles work very hard all the time. To allow us to move in the many ways we enjoy all these structures have to align and remain in support of each other. 

If you don’t achieve this amount of movement you are setting yourself up for problems. 

Sometimes it’s tricky to work out exactly what you need to do so I’ll outline a range of exercises that won’t hurt anyone,  but may solve your imbalances in muscle length or joint mobility. 
Anterior & Posterior chain.

The muscles and structures on the front of your body should balance the tension in your posterior chain (back of your body) makes sense, doesn’t it, just like the ropes on a tent, they need even tension  all round to stabilise. Sounds simple – but sometimes imbalances happen. Bad postural habits, movement patterns at work, driving or even in your sport can effect your alignment. If this happens the smallest action can cause enormous amounts of pain and discomfort!!

I will list below the exercises, stretches and mobility work I think you should include in your exercise ‘Pre-hab’ to stay balanced and healthy. Make sure you’re warm before you stretch. 


Use a resistance band or old belt around your foot. This allows you to straighten your knee. Ideally you should get a 90′ angle at your hip ( if it’s a lot more so that your foot is next to your face you will probably have the opposite problem of joint instability. In which case swap stretches for strength work.  See later for strengthening work. 


This stretch is more focused on getting your thigh to your rib cage. Notice does your leg wander to the side of your body? Your muscles will find the line of least resistance – so try to correct this and pull your bent knee as close to your body as you can. Use the band or belt to work on straightening your knee, still keeping your thigh done on your ribs.  You can point and flex your foot/ankle too – you’ll feel the stretch beyond your knee into your lower leg/ankle. 

The next stretch is probably the most important – often forgotten by most gym goers. 


As you can see the red muscles are the ones that need to stretch. The bright red ones inside and a cross the pelvis cause a lot of problems. They cross so many joints in the low back, pelvis and hip that almost any action we perform – sitting, driving, running, cycling and squatting all involve these muscles. 
If they become short, weak and or tight incredible strain is put on your pelvis – your Sacro Illiac joint – causing it to twist or rotate out of its normal position. Leg length and gait can be effected. You might find you feel the need to roll your knees from side to side or ‘crack’ your back to relive the pressure. Sadly, this will only give temporary relief and may even make your imbalance worse!


This deep kneeling stretch should be a regular ‘hangout’ for you and when you can,  you should raise your arms up above your head.  Try using a doorway to support your back and then reach your hands up along the frame. Build up to 3 minutes a side. 

Stretches done you can focus on joint mobility – these exercises can be done as part of you’re Pre-Hab warm up. 

I call this one the carpet fitter  mobility. 

Start on all fours, ram your knee against your ankle – so that your shin moves across the floor underneath you. 

Stack your hip directly over your knee and then explore the corners. Remember it’s not a stretch – it’s a mobility move , so push in and out to feel pressure, stretching or maybe even slight pain in your hip joint capsule. Or aim here is to release any tightness that’s built up and get dramatic improvement in your range of motion. 


It may take sometime doing your other exercises before you can sit as low as Kelly – shown here. 

This is another ‘hang out’ position. With heels down – no cheating with high heel training shoes!- feet pointing forward  is your target. Apply a little pressure on your knees with your elbows – rock and grind into your hips , keeping your feet planted and your chest up. Sit sideways on to a mirror if you can, look at the shape of your lower back. Ideally it will have its natural curve, in a strong but soft curve, rather than your bottom tucking under. 

The other factor in your framework is that your back extensors a are trying balance the tension in your hip flexors   If you feel along your low back, either side of your spine you may notice more tension one side than the other.   

You can use a firm dog ball, cricket or hockey ball or foam roller if you have one to lie on and release these tight muscles. 

Another strange, but very effective exercise is ‘Belly Smashing’

Using a small ball as shown here takes some courage” if you can find a foam or inflatable soft ball about the size of a small Melon you can use that under your belly along with deep relaxed breathing to get good results and release your lower back too. 


Pilates Bridges

You will hold these positions for 5-20 seconds while relaxing your breathing pattern so that your belly rises and falls with each breath. 

Start with 1. and progress through the sequence when you can keep your pelvis level and up in line with your knees and shoulders 

  1. both feet on the floor and parallel

2. Heels turned in and toes out

3. Lift one knee above your hip while pushing same side elbow into the floor close to your ribs. 

4. Hover one foot off the floor – keep it as close to the floor as possible. 

Do these exercise on both sides and increase the repetitions to a point of failure  every time your practise them. 

Do these exercises daily, let me know how you get on. 

Jax 

Your Hormones, Your Health


Feeling bloated, irritable, or just not your best? A hormone imbalance could be to blame. Hormones are chemical “messengers” that impact the way your cells and organs function. It’s normal for your levels to shift at different times of your life, such as before and during your period or a pregnancy, or during menopause. But some medications and health issues can cause them to go up or down, too.

Irregular Periods


Most women’s periods come every 21 to 35 days. If yours doesn’t arrive around the same time every month, or you skip some months, it might mean that you have too much or too little of certain hormones (estrogen and progesterone). If you’re in your 40s or early 50s — the reason can be perimenopause — the time before menopause. But irregular periods can be a symptom of health problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Talk to your doctor.
Sleep Problems



If you aren’t getting enough shut-eye, or if the sleep you get isn’t good, your hormones could be at play. Progesterone, a hormone released by your ovaries, helps you catch Zzz’s. If your levels are lower than usual, that can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Low estrogen can trigger hot flashes and night sweats, both of which can make it tough to get the rest you need.

Chronic Acne


A breakout before or during your period is normal. But acne that won’t clear up can be a symptom of hormone problems. An excess of androgens (“male” hormones that both men and women have) can cause your oil glands to overwork. Androgens also affect the skin cells in and around your hair follicles. Both of those things can clog your pores and cause acne.

Memory Fog


Experts aren’t sure exactly how hormones impact your brain. What they do know is that changes in estrogen and progesterone can make your head feel “foggy” and make it harder for you to remember things. Some experts think estrogen might impact brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Attention and memory problems are especially common during perimenopause and menopause. But they can also be a symptom of other hormone-related conditions, like thyroid disease. Let your doctor know if you’re having trouble thinking clearly.

Belly Problems


Your gut is lined with tiny cells called receptors that respond to estrogen and progesterone. When these hormones are higher or lower than usual, you might notice changes in how you’re digesting food. That’s why diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, and nausea can crop up or get worse before and during your period. If you’re having digestive woes as well as issues like acne and fatigue, your hormone levels might be off.

Ongoing Fatigue



Are you tired all the time? Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of a hormone imbalance. Excess progesterone can make you sleepy. And if your thyroid — the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck — makes too little thyroid hormone, it can sap your energy. A simple blood test called a thyroid panel can tell you if your levels are too low. If they are, you can get treated for that.
chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. But other hormones, that travel the same paths as neurotransmitters, also play a part in how you feel.

Mood Swings and Depression


Researchers think drops in hormones or fast changes in their levels can cause moodiness and the blues. Estrogen affects key brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. But other hormones, that travel the same paths as neurotransmitters, also play a part in how you feel.

Appetite and Weight Gain



When you’re feeling blue or irritated, as you can be when your estrogen levels dip, you may want to eat more. That might be why drops in the hormone are linked to weight gain. The estrogen dip can also impact your body’s levels of leptin, a hunger-revving hormone.

Headaches


Lots of things can trigger these. But for some women, drops in estrogen bring them on. That’s why it’s common for headaches to strike right before or during your period, when estrogen is on the decline. Regular headaches or ones that often surface around the same time each month can be a clue that your levels of this hormone might be shifting.
Caginal Dryness


It’s normal to have this occasionally. But if you often notice that you’re dry or irritated down there, low estrogen may be the reason. The hormone helps vaginal tissue stay moist and comfortable. If your estrogen drops because of an imbalance, it can reduce vaginal fluids and cause tightness.

Loss of Libido


Most people think of testosterone as a male hormone, but women’s bodies make it, too. If your testosterone levels are lower than usual, you might have less of an interest in sex than you usually do.
Breast Changes


A drop in estrogen can make your breast tissue less dense. And an increase in the hormone can thicken this tissue, even causing new lumps or cysts. Talk to your doctor if you notice breast changes, even if you don’t have any other symptoms that concern you.

Your Hormones, Your Health

Feeling bloated, irritable, or just not your best? A hormone imbalance could be to blame. Hormones are chemical “messengers” that impact the way your cells and organs function. It’s normal for your levels to shift at different times of your life, such as before and during your period or a pregnancy, or during menopause. But some medications and health issues can cause them to go up or down, too.
 

Consistency is Key! 

Don’t Cheat a Diet
I’m not sure how many times I’ve written or read this, but it’s true. The dietary system or nutritional framework that you choose to employ is far less relevant than your level of compliance within it. The reality is that most nutritional approaches have very similar principles, the overriding one perhaps being that you need to eat within your calorie requirements, being in a deficit if your goal is weight loss.
Fitness Truths: the three reasons you’re not burning fat

  
Is this really what you had for breakfast?

Most systems will assume that most of what you consume comes from decent sources, with the key messages being to drink more water, eat your vegetables and get enough protein. Regardless of what you choose, the bottom line is that you’ve actually got to do it, consistently.
Don’t Skip a Workout

  
Cheating on the gym is the same as cheating on your diet: it doesn’t work. Again, most approaches and systems will share common underpinning principles, such as prioritising resistance training for example, so what you choose to do is far less important than you actually doing it consistently.
The simple way to think of nutrition and exercise when it comes to changing your body shape and composition, is that your diet will look after fat loss, while your training or exercise will look after your muscle mass – think toning – and cardiovascular health. Both are important. 
The bottom line is that you need to turn up three times per week, focus your mind on the task at hand, and give it a good go.
Do Invisible Training

  
Invisible training is a term I borrowed from a well-known coach in professional sports, which refers to various recovery and regeneration strategies, or the things that we do outside of the gym that often go unseen. 
Fitness Truths: three reasons you’re not burning fat

I use the term in general fitness circles to describe the exercise or movement that we do outside of our structured workouts – that is, activity that keeps the systems ticking and burns additional calories. Things such as walking to work, taking the dog out, playing tag with the kids, taking the stairs, swimming a few lengths on holiday, and all of the other things that you do not record or perhaps think of as exercise, but are actually equally, if not more important than, your scheduled sessions.
 Written by -Claude Vacassin is founder of W10 Performance,