Category Archives: Fitness

Who is Zita?

Someone recently called me “little miss huff & puff” 🙂

However, it’s  said that Saint Zita was the patron saint of housekeeping – not sure that’s true! Also it is a very thick, big pasta – that probably is true 🙁

Zita ice skater

Zita doing Ice Skaters

All I know is that I’m half Portuguese and I’ve still never met anyone with the same first name of Zita. Although my surname (Alves) might sound exotic, in Portugal it’s pretty common and a bit like Smith would be in the UK (no disrespect to any of you called Smith:)

For any of you who don’t know much about me (and my former life as the “cake monster” in my previous career) I recorded a little video ( with a couple of Somerset sheep in the background for good measure).

So hopefully you might understand why I am so passionate about helping people with their health and fitness whether it’s through Zest Bootcamp in Bath, 1-1 Personal Training in Bath & Somerset or online via the Total Body Shape Up Plan for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Hope to meet you soon
Zita x

ps If you’d like to grab a free copy of my 10 minute CORE WORKOUT just click here

Zita's 10 minute core workout

Boxing Day Burpees

Hands up if like me you are feeing a little more rotund today 🙁

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Inevitable really but that’s no reason not to get moving with a few boxing day burpees – yes my favourite exercise (love/hate relationship) that burns loads of calories, works your heart and lungs and strengthens up nearly the whole body. It doesn’t need any equipment and there are variations to make it easier so let’s go.

Burpee sequence

Burpee sequence

The regular version is a 3 – 4 part movement.

  1. Hands on the floor, jump the feet out behind you into a plank type position (photos 1 & 2)
  2. Jump the feet back in with bent knees and at same start to jump up, hands above the head (photos 3 & 4)
  3. Return hands to floor and repeat. Make sure you keep your abdominals pulled in to keep your core strong

We can make it more challenging by adding in a press up when you are in the plank position and we can make it easier in a couple of ways – first way is by putting your hands on a low step, eg bottom of the stairs. The other way to make it easier and a great low impact alternative for people who haven’t exercised for a while to start with is to step each foot out into plank and step them both in rather than jumping, and also to just stand up and raise hands above head rather than adding in the jump. Top tip – why not clap your hands at the top as it means you can’t “cheat”!

How many burpees should you do? Aim to start with 10 in 1 go and then build up your repetitions to maybe 20 in 1 go. Alternatively set your timer and see how many you can do in 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds and then repeat.

Enjoy!

Zita

ps If you are not able to attend our group exercise classes in Bath at Zest Bootcamp but still want to start a health & fitness regime in January I have the perfect thing  – click here for more info.

12 days of Christmas workout

It’s not long until the big guy shuffles down the chimney but maybe you are already feeling the ill effects from the free flowing mulled wine and mince pies.

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Panic not… I can help.

First of all make sure you are drinking plenty of water over the next few weeks as that is something we often neglect and that will instantly help you feel better.

Also try to start the day with a protein rich breakfast such as eggs to avoid you heading straight into those sweet temptations.

And of course try to get your body moving – even just for 10 minutes.

Why not get your free copy of my simple bodyweight exercises in the 12 days of Christmas workout I have written which has variations for all levels and will take you less than 20 minutes to complete but will get your results.

Click the link to get your video and pdf today ready for after the festivities are over if you are not quite ready!

http://zita.co.uk/12-days-of-christmas-workout/

Even if you just do part of it you will feel SO much for better for getting your body moving. Come on …. you know you need to!

Zita

We won Healthy Business of the Year

Time flies – this time last week I was at the Maximise event in Cheltenham run by Women’s Business Club.

It was a packed day that included some great speakers, the opportunity to network formally and informally with business women from all over the UK and just have some time out of the business.

The best part was that we were nominated for an award and some of the reviews left by Zest Bootcamp members helped contribute towards our very exciting win!

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I was delighted to win “Healthy Business of the Year”.

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What really matters to me is the people I help every day to look and feel healthier, happier and fitter and this award was the icing on the cake. It showed me that all the hard work pays off and also shows that no matter where you start you can make a change.

I was previously a non-exercising, overweight, unhealthy stressed out business executive who didn’t even know what a quadricep was, let alone how to set up and continue to run a successful fitness business.

My key tips would be

  1. Ask for help

2. Make mistakes and move on

3. Expect the unexpected

4. Let your passion drive you forward

5. Surround yourself with inspiring people that will push you forward and not hold you back

These can apply to looking after your own health as well as in business.

So whether you’d like some 1-1 personal training, come for a taster week at one of our group outdoor exercise classes or even just get a copy of my gluten free cookbook there is always a way you can make changes for the better.

Zita

 

I’m a celebrity

So it’s Jungle time again – I’m a celebrity get me out of here is back on TV.

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I’m actually not a major fan (more of a Strictly girl as I LOVE dancing) although I have watched a bit of it already.

What is evident is the importance of food in our lives. Susannah of “Trinny & Susannah” mentioned how food has been in her mind her whole life so the thought of maybe missing a meal is alien.

We are so lucky to be able to get food anywhere, anytime and pretty much anything we want but this can lead to the problems we have with overeating and being disconnected from our bodies… mindless munching of a huge box of popcorn at the cinema, always having a biscuit with your cup of tea, having a muffin everytime you go to a coffee shop etc etc.

So in the run up to Christmas, when we are surrounded by even more food, just take a moment to connect your brain to your body and ask “am I really hungry?” Perhaps you could drink some water and wait another hour before you eat – maybe you could be satisfied with a smaller portion – or maybe you could add more vegetables to your plate and reduce the amount of pasta or potatoes.

But if you do want to get into your LBD before Christmas you could do a few things:

  1. Use an app on your phone to ensure you walk 10,000 steps a day
  2. Only eat 3 meals a day and don’t snack in between
  3. Use my Fat loss cookbook to “clean up” your breakfasts, lunches and dinners – Click here
  4. Buy a copy of the Bath Chronicle each week to get my weekly bodyweight workouts that are in the colour Bath Weekend Magazine.
  5. Join a taster week at Zest Bootcamp – last one of the year starts Monday.

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Failing all the above you could go on the jungle diet – rice and beans with a few spiders and cockroaches thrown in for good measure!

Pumpkin Workout

Happy Halloween!

If you follow me on social media I’m sure you will know that I’m a fan of a good old pumpkin workout using the vegetable instead of a medicine ball 🙂

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Today at bootcamp we have been using them for a pretty tough session – you can see a photo of some of the early morning crew after the session on our Facebook page here

I’ve written a piece with photos demonstrating the exercises for the Bath Weekend Magazine which you can look at here

And here is a video I did last year with a few more exercises that aren’t in the Bath Chronicle Weekend Magazine article – PUMPKIN WORKOUT VIDEO 

So there you have it – no excuse not to get a little Halloween workout in now 🙂

Enjoy!

 

We won the Bath Independent Awards

I don’t make a habit of bursting into tears but recently I just couldn’t help myself!

Many people don’t know that at the start of this year I had an emotional and financial setback at Zest Bootcamp that has taken a lot of energy and determination to get over.

So on Wednesday when I was waiting to find out whether we had won the Health & Fitness category of the first ever Bath Independent Business Awards I was a little nervous/excited/scared who knows.

All I can remember is that I kept refreshing the Twitter feed to see what the next category was to be announced.

After about 10 mins into the awards I looked down and saw….

the words Zest Bootcamp and I burst into tears (think I even started to hyperventilate a bit!)

Yes we won!!!

I didn’t realise how much it meant to me until I realised that we had won.

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All the hard work, the pain, the sleepless nights, the worry, the knockbacks and well everything that has gone into the last 6 years, especially the last 8 months has been worth it.

Infact what really matters is the people I help every day to feel happier and healthier but this was an important milestone to me to show that despite the bumpy road that life and business can bring, if you believe in yourself then you can and will achieve great things.

And….

I didn’t care one bit that I was in a busy pub crying my eyes out – I was happy!

I’m still smiling ….. what will you do that is uncomfortable but you know is the right thing to do?

“If it doesn’t challenge you – it won’t change you”

have a great weekend

Zita “crying with happiness” Alves

Ps I’m actually still overwhelmed with the emails, texts, messages and support I have had from everyone in the last 24 hours – thank you all. If you’d like to find out more about Zest Bootcamp click here 

Never too old

“You are never going to be as young as you are right this minute”

How does that make you feel?

Worried, depressed, not bothered… whatever you think there actually isn’t much you can do about it right?

Kind of… you can either seize every moment you have and enjoy life as no matter what your age, none of us really know how long we will be around for so why not be the best we can be whilst we are here.

Or you can just moan but that’s a waste of energy in my opinion. Yes your joints may be a bit more creaky than when you were younger, and the thought of wearing high heels all night doesn’t appeal as much as it used to, but think of all the bonuses of having been around a few more years than some people. You have SO much more life knowledge and experience that gives you so much more confidence than many young people lack.

Today many people are remembering 9/11 but I am also remembering my school friend who lost her battle with cancer 4 years ago. I have been lucky enough to have those extra years she never had so often when things are getting on top of me I remember how lucky I am.

So today my message is just to be thankful for what you have and make the most of the present  moment and tomorrow – you can’t change the past but you can change the now. Perhaps you haven’t been putting enough time and energy into your health and fitness and maybe now is the time to stop making excuses and prioritise it. Here is one of our lovely Zest  Bootcamp members explaining why she joined us 2 years ago and has been coming ever since. (I caught her on video directly after a 6.30am boxing workout!)

Look after your health because no one else can do it for you. Here is one of my super healthy smoothy recipes that will instantly make you feel 10 years younger!

KERMIT SMOOTHIE 

1/4 ripe avocado

Small or half large banana (can also add couple of strawberries if you prefer a sweeter smoothie)

1 cup of almond, rice or coconut milk (ideally unsweetened)

Heaped teaspoon of tahini (sesame seed paste) or almond or cashew butter

Large handful of watercress and/or spinach

Ice cubes and 1 cup or more of water to achieve preferred consistency.

And that’s it – blend it like Beckham!

(Add more banana and use spinach instead of watercress for a sweeter drink that kids will love.)

Have a great weekend – go do some lovely things that make you happy no matter what your age

Zita x

ps Next trial week at Zest Bootcamp in Bath starts soon if you want to see what Alison was talking about – we’d love to share our passion for health and fitness with you 🙂 Book here

Fear of failure

Why is it we don’t do things we really want to?

Mostly because we fear the judgement by others – if we fail, and often we worry about what people will think even when we succeed. How crazy is this!

Why should we care what others think?

It is our business – not theirs.

Fear of failure stops us doing many things we probably could.

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Apart from being taught the proper way to do something we don’t yet know how to do, it is our belief that could be stopping us.

So first step is find an expert – whether it is Mary Berry showing you how to avoid a soggy bottom in The Great British Bake Off, Brendan Cole from Strictly Come Dancing getting your hips to move properly in the Cha Cha Cha or a fitness coach showing you how to get stronger and fitter.

Using the celebrities on Strictly as an example – they may not have the skill set but they have the belief that they can do it, and their dance partners must also show they have the belief.

Our minds are powerful machines so use them to visualise yourself achieving those things you can’t yet do – but you must really want to do them otherwise you won’t dig deep enough to challenge yourself.

Anyone has achieved anything great has made a million mistakes along the journey to get there – me included.

But it’s ok to make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Sometimes the mistakes are what lead you to your true path so if in school you were no good at sports and even hated P.E that doesn’t mean that today you can’t discover something you are good at and you love.

Not everyone wants to exercise outdoors in the beautiful fresh-air with a group of supportive like-minded people but I bet if you gave it a go for just 1 week (3 sessions) you might discover that actually fitness can be fun.

One-thing I love to see at Zest Bootcamp is women, especially the overs 40s, doing some fitness boxing for the first time. They end up loving it which is why we do Boxercise style workouts at least once a week at our 4 week bootcamps.

Many of these women worried if they would be the fattest, most unfit ones in the class and were nervous of joining but they ultimately decided that the goal and result they wanted to achieve was far more important than the temporary discomfort they would feel by coming along and trying a few of the classes.

Last week we had a bootcamp social night out with some of the Zest Bootcamp crew who weren’t lounging on a hot sunny beach somewhere abroad. It was great fun and fabulous to see how gorgeous everyone looked and there is no denying that these ladies who didn’t know each other a few month, years ago, look radiant, healthy and happy.

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So if you’d like to get fitter, healthier and happier (no mater what your age or ability) please let us help you or if you have always wanted to do some Latin Ballroom dancing then go book a class – there are loads around.

Who cares what other people think – it is YOUR business, not theirs 🙂

Zita x

Our next taster week starts soon so click here to book your place

Gut feeling

So during the hottest week of the year I had to get a loan vehicle as mine was in the garage for repair and although I rarely use the air- conditioning, the fact the hire vehicle didn’t have any really threw me! Luckily the fact is was diesel wasn’t a problem as that is what I use normally.

BUT…

If I had put petrol into it I dread to think how much time, hassle and money I would have used to sort it out.

So why is it that we often put the wrong fuel into our bodies and wonder why we feel sluggish, tired, have bad skin, brain fog, have aches and pains, indigestion or anything else that just generally makes us feel – yuk.

Yesterday I donated blood and was chatting to someone whilst we were enjoying our well deserved tea and biscuits after donation, and I’m not sure how but we got onto subject of digestion and he said he was off to buy his wife some probiotic yoghurt drinks. The conversation reminded me that I should do a blog post about gut health.

Ever thought about the phrase we use “gut feeling”?

Well it is because often our gut (digestive tract) is referred to as our second brain and that’s why if we don’t treat it properly we won’t be firing on all cylinders.

“We are what we eat” yes but really we are what we absorb and given our gut is filled with billions of bacteria (good and bad) then our top priority should be to assist digestion and absorption as much as we can.

Ofcourse firstly we need to avoid anything that we are intolerant of – common ones are gluten and dairy and often people aren’t great with soy or even eggs.

Following on from that we should support our system with natural foods in their original state, with plenty of raw fruits and vegetables for their enzymes.

As well as eating vegetables at every meal then you can boost your enzymes and digestion by having a daily greens powder such as Lean Greens, especially important if you are way on business or holidays or just when you can’t get access to as many green vegetables.

I was recently telling the story of when I was travelling in Hungary and Czechoslovakia about 22 years ago (yikes some of you might were probably in nappies then!) that the food was really stodgy – dumplings, bread and some meat and NO green or raw vegetables. I was constipated and felt awful 🙁 The supermarkets literally had big gaps on shelves where there were things missing and there wasn’t much of anything in the supermarkets (makes you realise how very lucky we are in the UK) so one day when I saw a man selling cucumbers on the roadside, yes that is all he had, I grabbed several and started chomping away as my body was telling me that is needed fibre and enzymes.

Luckily we have no excuses not to eat well except maybe laziness 🙁

Have you ever taken antibiotics? If so watch this…

Anyone who has taken a course of antibiotics (which are prescribed to kill the bad bacteria but unfortunately also kill the good bacteria in our gut) should follow up with a course of probiotic capsules which you can buy in good health food shops.

As I told the man at the blood donation, I’d avoid the Yakut and Actimel type drinks as they contain sugar and are an expensive way to get what you can better in a capsule. (plus for me I don’t believe in all that packaging which we have to dispose of).

Another great way to get some fibre and good bacteria into the gut is through raw sauerkraut that you can buy in good health food shops. It is fermented cabbage and great to add alongside your meals to help digestion.

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There is far more detail that I could go into but I just want to make it simple and this post is already long!

As a side note if you have never donated blood then why not give it a go – apart from the free teas and biscuits, it is also a great way to get your iron levels checked. I’ve been donating for years (infact I recently got my 25 donation certificate which was a lovely surprise) and I’ve always passed the first check for iron levels but yesterday I didn’t so they did an extra test and I was fine to donate. It made me think though that it is a good way to see if you are low on iron (which can make you feel tired) which many people are due to poor diet or lack of absorption which highlights the importance of gut health. A bit like coming to trial week at Zest Bootcamp, I say to people why not try it as you will never know until you have a go. If you’d like to find your nearest blood donation session click HERE

have a great weekend

Zita 🙂

Ps If you are near Bath and would like to join Zest Bootcamp for a trial week then click HERE