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Tips for Getting Started with your Exercise Routine

March 24, 2010

If you are feeling like Spring is finally galvanizing your fitness – here are a few tips from Mark Clarke from Trainsmart to get you going!

Remember – that even the fitness sportsmen can be unhealthy – over training and not having the right diet can sap energy and dampen performance.  Get in touch with us to find out more about Optimum Sports performance.

By Mark Clarke from

If you’re reading this, then you’re interested in losing weight, improving your health or both. Exercise doesn’t have to hurt or be something to be afraid of. Honestly, a little bit is better than nothing at all. Here are some of the tips which I personally use myself:

  1. Don’t be scared. If you’re just starting or have had a log lay-off due to illness or injury, your mind is the most powerful obstacle to overcome. Take the plunge and you’ll be amazed how much you enjoy it.
  2. The hardest 5 minutes is getting out the front door. Once you’ve committed to do something, there’s always the excuse that you’re too tired or it’s too cold, wet or windy to go out. Once you commit and close the door behind you, that’s 90% of the hard work done!
  3. The weather is too bad to do anything. There’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing. Whether you’re cycling, walking or jogging, wear the right gear and make it an enjoyable experience. If you’re cold, wet and miserable when you’re doing it, you’re unlikely to do it again.
  4. Consistency. A little each day is better than a big splurge at the week-end. 30 min walking every day is far easier to fit into your life than trying to find 3.5 hours on Sunday. View it as part of your daily routine.
  5. How long should I exercise for? There’s no right or wrong answer. For easy/moderate intensity exercise, you can’t really do too much. Try for 20-30 min each day and see how it goes. If you feel good, add a little bit on the session each day.
  6. Will it hurt? Probably, if you do it too hard … however, if you keep the intensity low, you won’t have any muscle soreness. A good tip is if you can breathe through your nose when exercising, you’re doing it fairly easy. One added benefit is that the majority of your energy is coming from burning fat at this intensity and the longer you go, the more fat you burn.
  7. How should I start? If you’re new to exercise, begin with a walk-jog-run programme.
    1. Week 1: walk 3 min, jog 1 min x5 = 20 min total & 5 min jogging total
    2. Week 2: walk 2 min, jog 1 min x7 = 21 min total & 7 min jogging total
    3. Week 3: walk 1 min, jog 1 min x10 = 20 min total & 10 min jogging
    4. Week 4: walk 2 min, jog 1 min, run 1 min x5 = 20 min total, 5 min jogging & 5 min running

As you get strioger and fitter, increase the number of repetitions so you exercise for 30-40 min.

The grain, the whole grain and nothing but the grain

March 23, 2010

It’s all good advice to increase our grain consumption, but what is the right way of eating grains?

Our ancestors and preindustrialised peoples all soaked or fermented their grains before making them into breads, porridge or casseroles, unlike today where convenience and speed is the order of the day.

These practices accord very well with what modern science has discovered about grains. All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer of bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. Soaking allows enzymes to breakdown phytic acid and this practice will greatly improve their nutritional benefit.

Scientists have learned that the proteins in grains, particularly high gluten grains like wheat puts a lot of strain on the digestive mechanism.

Therefore it is suggested to soak your porridge the night before cooking, not only will this help to breakdown phytic acid, but your porridge will cook in half the time it normally does which allows for five extra minutes in bed.

Diet overhaul

March 15, 2010

I am always surprised with the level of understanding of nutrition in many people and I don’t think anyone should be blamed, (although I can think of a few breakfast cereal companies who have done a good job in convincing parents that coco pops for breakfast and after school is a good idea.) If food and nutrition is not what you sleep, eat and breathe like some of us, then why should you? However, all of the myths and facts can be unravelled for you with a private nutrition consultation. At The Nutrition Coach we can guide you to the light in order to make informed decisions regarding your health and diet for you and your family.

Book your consultation today and together we can yell at the TV ads in the mornings while eating a virtuous home made spelt muffin!

Improve your energy with Metabolic Balance

March 11, 2010

I believe dieting isn’t just about weight loss.  It’s also about creating changes in your eating habits that increase your general wellbeing, both body and mind.  Weight loss should lead to healthier improved physical and mental performance as well as emotional balance.

To achieve this you need a weight loss programme that gives your body all the nutrients it needs.  Metabolic Balance diet programme is exactly that.  It’s a personalised nutrition programme created uniquely for you, using an extensive set of laboratory value from your blood analysis.

The plan includes meals that contain foods that promote a regulated insulin response, which in turn re-balances hormones and subsequently results in a more healthy and balanced metabolism.  The balanced metabolism means that you have less cravings, have steadier energy levels and generally feel better in addition to losing weight.

If you’d like to find out more and get some spring in your step, book in for your free initial consultation!

Fresh, easy and convenient.

March 9, 2010

I have also fallen prey to the bright lights and perfectly line shelves of Marks and Spencer’s food hall, however I will smugly admit that I walk past the pre-cooked, microwave meals and straight to the fresh fish and vegetable section. It is all too convenient to grab a lasagne or chicken Kiev after a long day’s work and if the trains are delayed too…well, last thing you want to do is cook.

Why not try this for a change?

I bought some mixed stir fry veggies and fresh salmon. At home I stir fried the veggies (as is) with some Tamari Soya sauce and I always have some garlic lying around. This takes about two minutes, and then I placed the salmon fillets on top of the veggies, covered it with a lid and allowed to steam for seven minutes. I squeezed some lemon on to my fish and, checked for seasoning and my dinner was ready in less than 10 minutes.

It was quite late so I didn’t need a heavy meal, the green veggies and protein went down a treat, it was light, filling and tasty and most importantly….convenient.

But the best was that I had some leftovers for my lunch the next day, which always makes me happy. This meal is of course also great for your detox, it’s gluten and dairy free and a great balance of protein, fibre and healthy fats. Even more to smile about!

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Avocado, ginger and tofu soba-noodle salad recipe

March 7, 2010

Soba noodles are a type of Japanese noodle made from buckwheat.  Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and it contains no gluten, making it very gentle on the digestive system.  It is high in the antioxidant rutin which helps strengthen blood vessels and improve circulation, and contains good levels of iron, zinc and selenium compared with other grains. 

Buckwheat can be bought in health food shops, and comes in a variety of forms including flour, groats, flakes and noodles, making it a versatile grain for a gluten-free diet.

Try this delicious recipe to experiment with buckwheat noodles as a great alternative to wheat pasta.

Serves 4

200g dried soba noodles

1 tsp cold-pressed pumpkinseed oil

150g mangetout, trimmed, halved diagonally

200g pre-marinated tofu, thinly sliced

½ cucumber, halved and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons pickled ginger, thinly sliced

100g baby spinach leaves

½ cup coriander leaves

1 avocado, diced and lemon squeezed over

3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally

45g cashew nuts, roughly chopped



3 tablespoons cold-pressed pumpkinseed oil

 2 tablespoons tamari

1 dessertspoon honey


  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Boil the soba noodles gently for 7-9minutes until al dente, then rinse under cold water.  Add 1 tsp of pumpkin seed oil and set aside.
  3. Steam or briefly boil the mangetout until just tender.
  4. Place the cooked noodles, mangetout, tofu, cucumber, ginger, spinach and coriander in a bowl.  Add the dressing and toss well.  Divide the salad among the plates and top with avocado, spring onions and cashews before serving.
  5. Enjoy!


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