Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Power of a Press Up

Recently, I won a press up competition at my gym.  95 in 4 minutes.  I'd got a bit sluggish after xmas and this was a great way to kick me back into gear and so since then, I've been really pushing my arms and doing a lot more pull ups, chin ups, shoulder raises, shoulder presses etc. than I normally do.  Within a week, I was noticing a difference in my shoulders.

And then couple of weeks ago, my elbow became uncomfortable - I can't quite call it painful as I've given birth three times, ha ha ha but it wasn't nice and it felt like worse was to come.

I'm really lucky at my new gym to have PTs there who are extremely helpful, friendly and approachable and one of them told me I had tendonitis.  He said to rest it completely for two weeks, ice it several times a day and take ibuprofen.  He said it was probably pull ups that did it.

I also went to see the doctor as the thought of not training for two weeks kind of freaked me out!  My doctor said pretty much the same thing but said I didn't need to rest for as long.

Impatient as I am, I stopped the pull ups but continued with deadlifts and all my other leg work and still did shoulder presses as I couldn't bear to stop completely.  Silly, I know.  It started to get better, so I added in some rows and it stopped getting better.  Doh.

I carried on with the ice and the ibuprofen.  And then I decided to have a move around and clear out in my garage gym.

That was foolish.  My arm was proper painful.  Lifting a cushion hurt.

I felt stupid and cross and pissed off!

Then my husband remembered what his physio had told him when he had the same thing - compression exercises!

Press ups.  Do press ups, he said.

So the next day, with a really painful elbow, I did 200 press ups over the course of the day in sets of 10 or so, so as not to push it too much.

By the evening, the pain had gone.  Completely.

The next day I did 350 and today I did another 350.

I'd say my elbow is pretty much completely better.  I'm still going to take it easy but not only is it good to feel it better but it's good to know there are still exercises I can do with tendonitis.

And you don't get much better than a press up!  I can do 102 in 4 minutes now.  

I'm keeping going.

Friday, 22 February 2013

My January health and fitness column from Magnet Magazine.

Since the 70s, the elastification of waistbands has increased in direct correlation with a greater consumption of low-fat, high sugar products! 

So, while cutting down on fat doesn’t appear to be bad advice - fat is highly calorific - it is actually the last thing you want to do in order to successfully lose weight! 

Fat not only makes food taste and smell good, it also makes you feel full!  (I’m talking natural fats, not man-made trans fats – generally, fat that’s mixed with flour is BAD!)  A full-fat, Greek yoghurt, for example, will leave you feeling satisfied in a way that the low-fat alternative will not. 

Here’s why: the low-fat version is crammed full of sugar!  When sugar floods the blood stream, it is mopped up by insulin.  The sugar (blood glucose) is stored in muscles and the liver (the greater your percentage of muscle mass, the greater your potential for storing glucose before it is turned to fat, which is why working out raises your metabolism) and any remaining is converted to fatty acids and stored in fat cells.  However, after high-sugar, low-fat food, insulin can leave you with a blood glucose deficit - a sugar crash – so you search for more calories elsewhere. This results in still more blood glucose in your already full system so it gets converted straight to fat! 

If you seriously want to lose the elasticated trousers, ditch the low-fat products, and cut your sugar intake instead! 

My Health and Fitness column for February's Magnet Magazine

Most diets fail because they are unsustainable, with lists of unrealistic rules and strict limitations that are too complex to stick to or by just being downright unhealthy!

One of the main reasons people find diets hard to stick to is feeling hungry. 

Rather than breakfast, many people instead begin their day with strong willpower and good intentions, not eating until lunchtime, congratulating themselves on sticking to a couple of crackers and some celery, foregoing any further snacks until mid afternoon when they finally cave and devour anything and everything in sight!  Eventually their fuel-starved brain wins and they seek the calories they’ve missed all day.  Sound familiar?

The best way to avoid this is to eat well and eat early.  Start every day with a good breakfast – avoiding, of course, sugary choices.  Then make sure you have a snack between breakfast and lunch of fruit or vegetables or seeds or nuts, try to include protein with your snack as well (meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese and Greek yoghurt are great sources).  After lunch, which should include vegetables or salad as well as protein and healthy fat (think avocados, olive oil, nuts, full fat Greek yoghurt etc.) you need to make sure you have at least one more snack before dinner – again avoiding processed foods and refined sugar.

If you keep yourself regularly well-fuelled and healthily nourished like this all day, you will find the urge to raid the kitchen cupboards and snack all evening disappears!  So ditch the diets and eat your way to sensible weight loss!

For more tips on healthy breakfasts and sugar-free baking, have a look at the paleo recipe page.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Motivation is everywhere.

You can find inspiration everywhere. Husband is singing. I am telling him how much my squats have improved from upping my core strength. He sings me a motivational song.

Find a picture of Christmas Abbott. Stick it on fridge as reminder of how to trim last bit of body fat. Get a tweet from Christmas Abbot. Smile.

Job done.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Avoid these foods, lose weight effortlessly!

There are certain foods that are an immediate no, no when it comes to weight loss.  These ought to be obvious but my generation have been brought up with little education around food.  Domestic science, or home economics or whatever it was called at your school pretty useless when I was young.  I remember learning how to bake a potato and make a trifle.  Terribly useful.

A proper food pyramid!
What we needed was a proper education in what keeps us alive - what our bodies need to survive and thrive.  Not an outdated food pyramid that teaches you nothing other than: oo, sweets, crisps and cakes are right there at the top, so must be part of a healthy, nutritious balanced diet!

Luckily, our kids' generation are growing up with much more education in schools about what makes up a healthy diet but even this education is outdated and tentative.  Teachers aren't trained in nutrition.  Many of them have been brought up, like me, with limited education themselves about what and how to eat.  How can they be expected to pass on vital information successfully?

What we need to do is reeducate ourselves about nutrition.  We need to understand what it is our bodies require and this will enable us to see that which it does not require and that which is actively harmful yet packaged and marketed so successfully as to make us feel not only do we want it but we need it.

Why do we believe that breakfast has to come in a bowl with milk or popped up our of a toaster?  Why do we believe that lunch has to come between two slices of bread?  Why do we believe that dinner is something or other with pasta or potatoes or rice?

We need to question everything, all the time!

Recent events unfolding over the horse meat scandal ought to act as a reminder - we genuinely are unaware of the most of the ingredients in the things we buy.

Pretty much everything, including cooked chicken breasts, pizza and pasta sauces, mayonnaise, curry sauces etc. are packed full of sugar!  That's not something you would even think to look for most of the time but it ramps up the calories, makes sure you get a nice little buzz from the food you consume and keeps you coming back for more!

We need to get used to reading labels more carefully.  In fact, if you were to stop buying foods with a list of ingredients altogether, you'd never need to go on a diet again!

With that in mind, here is a list of foods and drinks that we think we need, we think we like, we think we want but are actively bad for our health and waistlines.  Avoid these and watch the pounds melt away!

1     Bread.
       It's converted immediately to glucose as soon as it hits your mouth.  Glucose that isn't burnt off is stored in muscles (if you do no exercise or are older than 40 your muscle mass is likely to be pretty low which means limited storage) the rest is converted to fatty acids and stored in ever-expanding fat cells. (Actually, this isn't strictly true.  There is a finite amount of storage in your fat cells.  Once they are full, your body makes new fat cells.  Fat cells can't be got rid of.  They just expand and contract depending on the amount of fat stored, so once you have new fat cells, you've got them forever though they can be made smaller.)
       Bread is also quick and easy to eat, so easy to over-consume and it is rarely eaten alone but often with calorific butter (not too bad) horrible fake spreads and sugary jams.
       Eat this instead:
       Oat cakes - but limit yourself!

2     Fruit drinks - that's fruit juices as well as squashes.
       Fruit juice is natural, right?  Yes but full of sugar.  Natural sugar, yes but sugar nonetheless and if you are trying to trim your calories, this is a good place to start.  Drinking doesn't have the same effect on the brain as eating does.  Eating a piece of fruit registers in your brain, you get the benefit of the chewing action and the fibre that you don't get from drinking just the juice.
     Drink this instead:
     Water, tea, coffee.

3     Biscuits - and that includes Jaffa Cakes!
       Easy to over consume.  So, so easy.  How many of us have opened a packet of biscuits just to have one and before you know it the packet is empty?  It's so easy to eat your bodyweight in biscuits and one packet of custard creams can has=ve as many as 2000 calories!  thats' 200 calories, easily, in one sitting.  And you'll know if you've read my blog before that these high-sugar treats are in and out of your system in no time, giving you an almighty sugar high, followed by the inevitable and miserable sugar crash, leaving you grumpy and lethargic.  And as your body hasn't received any nutrients at all from your 2000 calories on top of the glucose having been stripped from your blood stream by your over-efficient insulin response, you will go searching hungrily fro those calories elsewhere!  And as you are by now incredibly hungry, you will panic and eat whatever comes to hand!  What's that?  Another packet of custard creams?  Don't mind if I do!
       Eat this instead:
       Greek yoghurt with a bit of honey, a handful of nuts (not peanuts), a piece of fruit.

4     Crisps - that includes baked and rice cakes
       Again, easy to over-consume, full of trans fats and salt and other chemicals.  Highly calorific for what they are.  Will not satisfy your hunger.  Too easy to buy multipacks and always on BOGOF deals (these make me cross!)
       Eat this instead:
       Chopped up raw veggies, a bag of beansprouts, a handful of nuts (not peanuts)

5    Pizza
       A medium sized pizza, that you could easily eat all to yourself on the sofa on front of a fil of a Friday night could delver between 1000 and 2000 calories.  That's between around half or all of your daily calorie requirements!  in one pizza!  That's without the coke and ice cream you ordered with it!
       Eat this instead:
       Make your own pizza with SR flour and yoghurt for the base, pack it full of veggies, make your own tomato sauce (with no added sugar!) and far less cheese that the shop would give you.  Or have a nice chicken salad instead!

If you take one thing from this post, 
make it this:
     don't buy things with a list of ingredients!

Krish xx

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Powerful Women and Why Lifting Weights is a Feminist Issue

I have been listening, with interest, to radio 4's Women's Hour Power List of powerful women

Britain's Home Secretary and Chief medical officer, the CEO of the Royal Mail and David Cameron's speech writer are all women.  Powerful women.  

There are a hundred listed but there are plenty more who weren't on the list!  

I am trying to bring up both my boys and my daughter with the belief that anything is possible.  If you want something badly enough and you are willing to work hard for it then the sky's the limit; regardless of gender.

It's got me thinking about what makes us feel powerful - not necessarily what makes us powerful in an influential way but what makes us feel strong and confident and like we can do anything.

Generally I believe a lot of it comes from feeling in control of our bodies, our environments, our choices and our lives.

So, how do we become in control of these things?  

Firstly we have to allow ourselves to take control.  We have to believe that it's possible, that we have the power within us already to do whatever it is we put our minds to doing, if only we want it badly enough and are prepared to do the work.

Secondly, we have to have support.  We might need other females to support us.  We might need a champion.  For some it's a strong mother or father who makes us feel we are worthy and capable, for others it's a teacher or a friend.  It could be a partner who supports us by doing some of the chores that frees up time for us to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve above and beyond cleaning the loos and changing the bedclothes!  We might just need a physical or mental space in which to work.  Sometimes we just need someone else to believe in us - a Personal Trainer or Nutrition Management Counsellor, for example...

Every single one of my female Personal Training clients, without fail, tells me how powerful and strong they feel due to lifting weights; not just physically but mentally!  
Lifting weights has the amazing ability to give us something as women that isn't handed to us on a plate like it is for most men.  

Doing something we weren't sure we would be able to do, feeling a little bit of fear or anxiety before we do something, not sure if we are going to manage it or not, this gives us an edge.  

Lifting weights never gets easier, we just get stronger; the weights get heavier and before you know it, you've hit a PB and lifted more than you ever thought possible!   Those weights you began with feel like toys.  You have tangible progress.  You see the results of your endeavour  you feel the results of your endeavour.

You are in control of your body.  It does what it's told.  It performs what you ask it to, when you ask it to.  You feel like you can do anything.  You feel like you can achieve anything.

Lifting weights gives you the power to do what you previously thought was out of reach.



Being in control of our bodies enables us to wrestle back some of the power that we have been denied. Nourishing ourselves with food that keeps us healthy and strong - not so fat we become ill, not so thin we disappear - working our bodies until they behave how we want them to, so they respond how we tell them to, that's one way to make us feel powerful not only in body but in spirit!

Having said that, we also need something else that validates us as a person.  

We need to feel that the job we do is valued by others, that what we value in ourselves is appreciated by others.

So women, do yourselves the biggest favour you possibly could and 

  • nourish yourself with foods that make you healthy and strong 
  • lift heavy things that show you both your inner and outer strength 
  • and do something you love every day, so well that someone else notices and appreciates what you've done!

Put yourself top of your own Power list!   

My current gym routine

Due to a bit of tendonitis in my elbow, I have had to change my gym routine a bit these last couple of weeks.

The point of this post is not to whine about a sore elbow or the fact that exercises that use my arms are off-limits but to share with you how it has forced a change in my gym routine.  

I do a full body workout each time I go as I can't always guarantee the times and days I can get to the gym and I'm afraid of missing muscle groups. 

TRX pistol squats

As I can't do a lot of upper body work at the moment because of my elbow - pull ups, chin ups, shoulder raises and press, chest press etc are all out of the window -  I have decided to focus much more on my legs and core.  No choice, really!

So, rather than doing either deadlifts superset with TRX reverse lunges or bar bell squats superset with TRX pistol squats, I am doing both as well as air squats, split squats, leg press and TRX hip raises.  I can't do kettle bells at the moment.

I am now regularly experiencing DOMS where before it was becoming more rare.

Bar bell squats
TRX reverse lunges
And since my workouts take so much less time without the arms, I have also decided to up the sets I do.  I learnt on my PT courses that you do 3 sets of everything but why?  Why stop at 3?  I've been upping my sets to 4, 5 or 6 which has also made a big difference   I've had to up my rest times in between sets a little, from 30 seconds or a minute to 1 min 30 or 2 minutes and the last couple of sets often have to include fewer reps.  This way I am really going to failure and pushing myself a lot more.

TRX hip rasie
Without my elbow 'injury' I might not have thought to change my workout.  It becomes so easy to just go to the gym and do the same thing over and over and wonder why things aren't changing.  Sometimes it takes being forced into making a change to do just that.

Shoulder press
It's really difficult not to do any arm exercises at all and so I am listening to my body carefully and introducing light-weight shoulder presses with greater reps and sets than normal to compensate for the lighter weight.

The other thing I've been doing is upping my ab exercises - a lot.

I used to stick on a bit of token core work at the end of my workout but now I am putting it in the middle of the workout to place more emphasis on it and am making sure I do at least 3 sets of everything, including exercises like hanging knee and leg raises with a view to moving onto toe2bar although I can't do these at the moment because of my elbow.

Focusing on my core strength has paid dividends in that my squats and deadlifts are so much easier to do with good form.

Here's one of my current core workouts:

200 butterfly kicks

100 Russian twists

30 second plank

30 second v-sit

10 stability ball rollouts

20 stability ball jack knives

50 TRX mountain climbers

30 second side plank with rotation on each side
15 stability ball back extensions

Here's one of my current leg workouts:

50 air squats

12 50kg back squats
12 TRX pistol squats
x 4

12 60 kg deadlifts
12 TRX reverse lunges
x 4

10 60kg leg press
10 split squats
x 4

12 TRX hips rasies
x 4

50 air squats

I am looking forward to bringing back chest press, pull ups and chin ups, shoulder raises and harder shoulder press, bicep curls, cable machine exercises and Dragan presses in a week or two.

I'd love to know your favourite workout routines - leave a message here and tell us what have you been doing in the gym recently!

Saturday, 9 February 2013


It's amazing the power of competition! The walls in my gym are covered with clients' scores from mountain climber records to press ups in 4 minutes. Competition is a great way to motivate yourself - even if you're only in competition with yourself!

Monica from Friends couldn't put it better:
Phoebe: Well, think about it! Think about it! You'll be trying to top what you did last year. You'd be in competition... with yourself!
Monica: That's my favourite kind!

Having said that, a bit of healthy competition between others can really push you to reach heights you wouldn't necessarily set for tourself. In that spirit, my husband, Russ, is throwing down the gauntlet!

He is offering a reward of £100 to anyone who can beat him in a weight loss competition!

This competition is open to all my current clients and new clients for either Personal Training or Nutrition Management Sessions. Unfortunately, it is not open to online clients.

The competition begins on Monday 18th February.  All participants will be weighed on the same scales and records kept. You may join the competition at any time but the sooner you start, the more weight you will be able to record losing!

The competition closes on Sunday 31st June, where each contestant will be weighed during the week running up to that date. The winner will be the one who has lost the most weight since their first weigh-in.

Nutrition management sessions are currently £30 a month so if you win the competition, you could get 4 months for just £20!

So if you want to get ripped for the summer but are lacking the motivation, sign up for Nutrition Management Sessions and get the support and competition you need to succeed!

Have a look here for more information on Nutrition Management with K-Loss.

Good luck!

Krish and Russ x

Arnie knows his stuff!

I recently watched Arnie's body building documentary: Pumping Iron.
One thing particularly struck a chord with me. He says that he sees himself a little like an artist, sculpting from marble. If he wants to improve the look or size of his shoulders, he has only to work on his shoulders. If he wants to Improve the size and shape of his abs, he has only to work on his abs.

It's such an obvious concept...
Only I have been doing the same thing for months and I haven't seen much change.

I vary my workouts, sure. I try to mix things up to keep my muscles guessing and I'm regularly upping my weights but I've been wondering why my abs just weren't popping and why my deltoids weren't looking like Sarah Connor after so much training.

Then I saw the documentary.

Since then, I have been working out in a similar way to usual but have made some key changes.

As my weeks tend to vary, I'm never entirely sure when I'll be able to get to the gym so I always do a full body workout because I'm scared of missing muscle groups if I miss a workout. So I'm still doing full body workouts but I'm upping my shoulder workouts; rather than doing one or two exercises, I'm doing four or five. Front and lateral shoulder raises with shoulder press, Dragan presses, upright rows, etc. and I'm varying my techniques.

Instead of doing one set of an ab circuit at the end of my workout, I've moved my ab section to the middle of my workout to give it more prominence in my head and I do three sets of everything. Butterfly kicks, hanging knee and leg raises, TRX and stability ball jack knives and hip raises, planks, Russian twists, etc.

The results? After a week or two of this I already notice a positive change in my abs and my shoulders!
Arnie knows his stuff!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Motivation to stay motivated...

My house is tidy.  The laundry basket is empty.  The floor is vacuumed and the beds are made.  it isn't always like this but you can be sure that whenever it is like this I make a vow to keep it that way!

A week later, when the laundry has piled up and the kids' rooms have gone beyond a joke, I wonder where it all went wrong.  Why is it so hard to keep it up?

(You know I should be putting washing away but have chosen to write this instead, right?)

I tend to tidy up when I know I have clients coming round for a workout or nutrition meeting.  My motivation to keep the house tidy wanes at the weekends...

My motivation for keeping fit and healthy and eating clean varies from day to day.  Sometimes it is competitive  I want to do something better than I did it last time or I want to master something I find difficult or I want to see tangible progress.  Sometimes I want to do better than someone else.

Christmas Abbott
Sometimes my motivation is vanity: I want to look good in a bikini, I want my abs to pop or my guns to fire!  Sometimes I want to look like someone else (Christmas Abbott, btw!)

Sometimes it is simply keeping what I've worked hard to get.  

On the days when my motivation is clear, like a client is coming and I really need to clean the kitchen, it's easy to get it done.  On the days when I know I'm working on those abs or I have a little dress to fit into, it's easy to get myself to the gym.

But on the days when no one else is going to see my house, on the days when I'm bundled up in baggy jeans and warm jumpers, it can be hard to find the motivation to get on with it.

And this is where being a grown up kicks in.

Sometimes you've just got to bloody well do it.  Stop wasting time, stop finding excuses, stop scuppering your chances of success and just get on with it!

This is the most useful quote I have come across recently:

"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not."

Aldous Huxley

So excuse me while I go and finish putting the washing away so I can get to the gym!