Achieving peak health with us at altitude.. if it's good enough for Men's Health.. just saying ;-)
Featured as No.3 in the Metro's top 10 summer holiday ideas.. an ice bath anyone? ;-)
Why wait for January.
So there is a distinct nip in the air, the fire is on and the woolly jumpers out. There is a tendency for us all to want to hibernate, miss your workouts and suspend all good intentions until January. We have 6 weeks until that dreaded hangover kicks in and instead of being faced with fear why don’t you kick start your regime now and defy the trend and head into 2018 already feeling fantastic.
Think like Rocky, toughen up and use this cold weather training to your advantage. Both your body, mind and xmas party dress will thank you for it. There are numerous benefits to working out in the cold. Clinical trials have proven that endurance sessions in cold temperatures burns more fat. Bye bye belly. Not only this you can strengthen your heart. The plunging temperatures forces the heart to work harder to distribute blood; therefore preparing your heart for more strenuous endurance sessions in the future. Not only will you soak up your daily vitamin D you will also benefit hugely from the endorphin effect. The harder you work the more feel good rewards you will reap.
Why swimming in the sea this summer is the perfect tonic for mind and body.
Hippocrates first used the word “thalassotherapy” to describe the healing effects of seawater, the Ancient Greeks appreciated the health benefits of this mineral-rich water and bathed and soaked in seawater-filled pools and hot tubs.
There are a myriad of health benefits, in addition to enhancing your mood, a swim in the sea can help increase your immune system function, improve circulation, hydrate your skin and most importantly promote overall well-being. Some even argue it leads to a longer life.
The brave who can swim in it will also benefit from the endorphin boosting properties. Magnesium-rich seawater purportedly can also reduce stress and help induce sleep as well as leading to an increased sense of calm. Perfect for those on the retreat looking to escape daily stress. Seawater used to be used as therapy, rivalled to Prozac in its ability to improve well being. Swimming in warm seawater not only decreases aches and pains but in addition it activates the body’s healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and asthma.
Sea water contains vital elements, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, amino acids and living microorganisms that can produce anti biotic and anti bacterial effects to help promote a healthy immune system. Even inhaling a sea mist filled with negatively charged ions or molecules that attach to the lungs also boosts your immune system (which is good news for those who feel the cold). Swimming in seawater promotes the opening of pores allowing the absorption of minerals and the expulsion of toxins from the body.
Your skin’s appearance can also benefit from the magnesium in seawater leading to increased hydration. Perfect for those urbanites who have been exposed to air conditioning and environmental pollution.
So not only a dunk in the sea is perfect post exercise. You have heard of athletes having ice baths, well this reduction in inflammation allows them to recover faster and therefore train harder the next day. The salt water combats inflammation because the magnesium in the salts reduces swelling. On our Cornwall retreats we encourage a daily dunk (even if only waist deep) to allow your largest muscle groups to recover and therefore perform better the following day! Most diseases are correlated with inflammation, so this has a double whammy effect on being good for you!
Seawater enhances the circulation in the body. Bathing in seawater also restores all the essential minerals that are depleted by stress, pollution and modern living.
Sometimes it can be hard to train smartly and when motivation and adrenaline kick in there can be a tendency to go for it and push oneself to the max in every workout. Steady and progressive training plans are so important, not only to prevent injury but also to build good fitness foundations and to stay motivated.
There are times when it is opportune to push and times when you need to back off to allow for adequate recovery. It is therefore important to know your body’s limits and respect these.
Is an important part of any fitness program as it allows for muscle growth and repair. When training, especially if you are toning or building muscle, the muscle fibers (myofibrils) tear and break. It is in the rest phase when these tears are repaired and the muscles increase in size. If you don’t have adequate rest days then the muscle fibers never get a chance to repair and your limbs can feel constantly tired and sore, therefore not allowing for productive training sessions. This can also lead to injury as tired limbs mean that exercises aren’t executed in a correct form.
A common fault also resulting in injury is trying to get quick results. It is very important to build a base, get good at the technique required and then add distance, time, weight or reps to your program. No good things comes fast, be prepared to invest time into your training and build up gradually. If training for strength then start with low weight and high reps then progress to higher weight with lower reps. Injuries can also be prevented by increasing flexibility, so stretching after a workout is very important.
Building a base level of fitness...
Is imperative at the start of any program. Athletes who go straight into speed training HIIT for example won't have aerobic endurance, meaning their fitness will last a few weeks before deteriorating.
Incorporating rest days and low-intensity steady state (LISS) workouts will help keep the motivation and interest in training. Those who push themselves tend to burn out which can result in resentment towards training and then backing off substantially.
Come and join us on a fitness retreat this summer, kicking you back into shape with a systematic and natural approach to training, focusing on your individual goals!
An easy recipe to make your very own natural seeded oat bars… no preservatives or nasty sugars like in most shop bought bars! 100% natural ingredients. You can substitute different seeds in or dried fruit to put your own tasty stamp on the recipe… enjoy!
Makes 8-10 bars | prep time 10 mins | cook time: 25 mins
2 tbsp sunflowers seeds
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp dried cranberries
100g stoned dates chopped up
1 tbsp wholemeal flour
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Blend all seeds until roughly broken down (I use a Nutri Bullet)
- Mash bananas in a bowl
- Add seed mixture and remaining ingredients to bananas
- Line a loaf tin with grease proof paper and pour in mixture
- Spread evenly and bake for 25 min or until golden brown, et voila!
During our Mountain Beach retreats we always spend part of the sessions focusing on strength and using weights to facilitate this as well as body weight. We work with clients who have varying goals from muscle hypertrophy (increase in muscle volume) right through to toning muscles and not wanting to bulk up. Weights can be used for both these goals and it is all about training in the correct manner to ensure the correct goal is reached for each person. The usual worry which arises especially for women is the fear of gaining big muscles, and below we explain the benefits of strength training and techniques to avoid this.
So what is strength training exactly?
Strength training is anything that places a demand on muscles and central nervous system and exerts a force against some form of resistance, such as free weights. Body weight training lies at the core of this and is the stepping stone to improving circulation, coordination, balance, bone and ligament strength.
But I’m a woman - I don’t want big muscles!
Old fashioned misconceptions associated with weight training are that women would produce bulging muscles and/or they would risk seriously injuring themselves lifting weights. However this idea is completely flawed as it is very difficult for a woman to produce large muscles due to the fact that women generally have high levels of the hormone oestrogen.
What are the benefits of strength training then?
Strength training is an important part of overall fitness and the fastest way to improve muscle strength and endurance. Allowing you to carry out daily tasks and cope with stress placed on the body. Key benefits are reduced body fat, increased lean muscle mass and the ability to burn calories more efficiently. We recommend stretching before exercise to prepare the joints for motion, help avoid injury and increases the range of motion of the area being stretched.
Techniques for Strength Training
Doing Too Much Too Soon. It’s tempting to think more reps, more sets, more weight. Gradual conditioning prevents injuries such as torn ligaments and tendonitis, because your muscles and connective tissues have time to adapt. Try a three-step progression. Initially use body weight. Do 15 reps with proper form, then add weight, stick to one set with light weights for two weeks or until you feel comfortable. When you can complete nearly all of your reps with proper form, add more weight or another set (increase weight by roughly 10 percent each time).
Correct body alignment is an important component of strength training. Focus on having equal weight in each foot and executing each rep with good technique. If you’re breaking form for those last few reps they are worthless and will cause you negative effects with increased risk of injury instead!
Proper breathing techniques are essential when training. Never hold your breath. Inhale at the beginning of the lift and exhale during the release of each weight.
Balance Opposing Muscle Groups - Strength imbalances can make you prone to injury. This can be a result of your lifestyle, hovering over a desk all day tightens and weakens your hip flexors while your glutes become overstretched and inactive. Or by not equally working the body, i.e. focusing on moves that rely on your quads but not your hamstrings. Ensure for every exercise that works the front of the body (chest, biceps, quads), you do an exercise that targets the rear (back, triceps, hamstrings). For example, pair stability-ball chest presses with dumbbell rows, or step-ups with deadlifts.