Tag Archives: fitness

Small Business Saturday

Did you know today is Small Business Saturday –  to inspire, support and promote small businesses in UK on 6th December.

It reminded me that looking after your health and fitness is a bit like running a small business.

Weekend Magazine Feature

{ This was an article in Bath Chronicle Weekend Magazine a few months ago.}

IMAGINE if when we started Zest Bootcamp almost 6 years ago, we just did an initial advert and then no promotion at all in the time after that – not sure many people would know about us.

Same as if you did a month of exercise and healthy eating, got great results and then didn’t carry on those habits – you wouldn’t still have the results you achieved at the start.

IMAGINE if we did exactly the same workouts every month for 6 years at bootcamp – people would get bored.

Same as if you do the same workout every time you go into the gym, or you just go running on the same route every week for same length of time – your body gets bored. You have to challenge your body and mix it up to get results as well as avoid overuse injuries.

IMAGINE if I never did anymore courses, study or self development in the time since starting Zest Bootcamp – I would become stale. In this time I have worked with several coaches on my technical knowledge and skills as well as learning about relevant business aspects to constantly grow and evolve.

Same as if you just rely on what you read in magazines and on TV to get a better body – you may be wasting your time. By hiring a professional to work with you, it’s likely you will not only achieve better results but you will probably get there quicker.

**** You wouldn’t try and fix your car engine if it broke down so why should you expect to know how to fix your body.*****

Having worked crazy hours, under immense pressure for someone else before I changed careers and not looking after my body therefore being overweight, bloated, lethargic and unhealthy, I am super passionate about helping more people run their own “body” businesses better.

So if next year you don’t want to try and run “your own business” alone join us at Zest Bootcamp for a trial week or even our online programme for women called Healthy Mammas.

Running your own business is hard but it does bring benefits. EXACTLY like looking after your own body

Christmas

So not long until Halloween, which means Christmas is coming!

This pretty much means we have 2 choices when it comes to our health & fitness

  1. We might as well wait until January now as there are sweets at Halloween, burgers on bonfire night, Xmas meals out so lots of socialising, eating & drinking…….  busy with Christmas shopping which often means more eating & drinking as there are extra temptations with gingerbread flavour lattes, mulled wine, mince pies etc that pop up everywhere and the list goes on.

The other option is………

  1. Do something NOW so that come January 1st we don’t feel like a bloated, beached whale, lacking energy and having to wear our “fat clothes” because nothing else fits.

You don’t want to look like this gingerbread man do you?

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 17.07.58

The wise people will accept that eating and drinking a bit more than normal a few times over the run up to Christmas is perfectly natural and part of the fun.

They realise that in order to feel good in their clothes at the Christmas parties the hard work has to be put in now.

They understand that regular exercise will not only help them feel better in their clothes, but also will keep their energy levels up ( through what can be a challenging time for some people.)

They know that immunity, positive mental attitude, strong toned muscles and a healthier, fitter body will only be achieved if they put the effort in to do some exercise.

They want to enjoy some Christmas treats knowing that they can burn them during their workout.

These are the people who realise that our bodies are designed to move and so regular exercise is part of their life.

Which one are you?

Do you want to stick your head in the sand and wait until January, along with half of the population who decide they have had enough of feeling bloated and lethargic then no need to take action.

>>>>>> However if you want to breeze through the next few months feeling and looking great then take action now.<<<<<<<<

For those of you in Bath our next Trial week at bootcamp is on 27th October (a week Monday).

But for anyone who is not local to Bath (or me for 1-1 personal training) then there is our new online programme called HEALTHY MAMMAS. (yes you have to be a mum but that is the only requirement – your kids may have left home but that’s fine, you are still a mum).

The Healthy Mammas programme is for any mum, any age, anywhere in the world as the short workouts are done in the comfort of your own home plus there is nutritional support and a private group on Facebook for more help should you need it.

ps If you know anyone who might want to come to Zest Bootcamp in Bath please share our trial week page with them.

pps If you are not a mum but might know someone who is and wants to get back her VA VA VOOM then please share the website with her – there is a free breakfast recipe collection to download too HERE

Very uncomfortable

So X Factor is back on TV and whilst I don’t mind it, I’m much more of a fan of The Voice which could be the reason I had a singing lesson this week …..

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 11.39.01

Yes that’s right – at the age of 43 I had my first ever singing lesson!

It was a taster session to see if I liked it and more importantly the teacher.

I was TOTALLY out of my comfort zone but I just thought what have I got to lose. I didn’t even know anything about vocal chords and realise how the force of the air going through them creates a sound, therefore how vital the breathing and using your lungs and diaphragm properly really is.

Infact, as an asthmatic I am not great at breathing deeply into my lungs as well as I should, tending to do more chest breathing (as do most people anyway, especially when we are stressed).

That’s one of the reasons I thought I’d try out some singing lessons to encourage better breathing, plus my husband subtly emailed me a link to a singing teacher a few weeks ago – nuff said!!

So I have done the taster and booked up some lessons but what is going to make a big difference is doing the homework in between, which at the moment is just doing some basic scales.

I realised how similar this was to my work.

Many people don’t ever start a fitness regime either at the gym, at bootcamp, classes or with a trainer for fear of being out of their comfort zone.

****BREAKING NEWS – if you actually want to make progress and get results then you have to get out of your comfort  zone.****

Infact when I changed careers 16 years ago and retrained to become a personal trainer I was WAY out of my comfort zone. As a previous non-exerciser I sat there at the lecture on day 1, surrounded by a lot of super fit people, not even knowing what the quadriceps muscle was (ps its your thigh but I expect you knew that anyway).

So step 1 is to get out of your comfort zone – that’s why we have taster week at bootcamp.

Step 2 is to do your homework – this is why my 1-1 Personal Training clients have home workouts to do between our session, or boot campers have videos for extra stretches, foam rolling and core work to do between sessions.

Step 3 – Keep going – giving up is a waste of steps 1 & 2 and will get you nowhere.

Right, I’m off to practice my scales whilst driving to my next client!

Have a great weekend

Zita “Watch out Tom Jones” Alves

ps If you are in Bath our next trial week at bootcamp starts on 29th September so you have time to SIGN UP HERE

pps If you a mum who wants to have more energy and eat healthier then grab our collection of breakfast recipes here for f.ree  HERE

 

Happiness

My last few posts seem to have all been about food – mostly chocolate 🙂 so now it’s time for a change.

Gratitude …

When was the last time you felt grateful for something or someone?

Hopefully not too long ago – maybe even today already.

I finally started a gratitude jar to make a note of little things I am grateful for each day. Many people keep a gratitude journal and log some positive events that happened during the day before they go to bed. Another way to do it is each morning to state 2 or 3 things that your are grateful for. This can help set up your brain ready for a positive day. You may have seen on Twitter and Facebook the “100 happy days” challenge where people have been posting pictures of things that make them happy.

gratitude jar

Some days it can be hard to find the positivity we all love and benefit from, infact some weeks, months and even years can seem to bring nothing but “challenges” or you might call them problems.

It’s unlikely any of you reading this have not experienced illnesses, deaths, marriage break ups etc of close friends and family, even work colleagues but even during these low points you can still take a moment to notice all the nice things around us.

I’m currently working with someone who has terminal cancer, a brain tumour and the way it manifests physically is similar to symptoms of a stroke survivor (but a bit worse in terms of his speech). I was really saddened to hear how he was treated recently at an upmarket hotel – the staff thought he was drunk and refused him to go into the bar. Imagine how upsetting that was for his family who were with him. We need to be more accepting if people don’t fit the norm, they may be a reason they walk and talk funny.

It’s ok if you think the fact that putting on a few pounds is the end of the world but in reality it probably isn’t, so how about thinking of all the lovely things that make you smile or feel warm inside – they are out there we just need to see them.

It might be the:

Colourful spring flowers

The sea

The pretty pattern on top of a flat white at a coffee shop

The smell of fresh bread baking

The smile from a stranger

A hug from a friend

A car letting you out at a busy junction

Hearing a busker playing some beautiful music

Coming home to someone special after a tough day

An unexpected card saying thank you for something

A beautiful sunrise

The list really is endless…..

The gratitude log, journal or jar can help us take our thoughts to more uplifting experiences.

Did you know the brain is programmed to remember negative things easier than positive ones – this is what helps us realise that when we step out into the road and almost get hit by a car that next time we should look both ways first. It is our self preservation toolkit…. but doesn’t help our mood somedays when all we seem to do is negative brain chatter.

So my challenge to you over the nest few weeks is a daily gratitude log or jar – whatever works for you.

I’m grateful that the Blood Service can accept my blood ( as many people are unable to donate who want to) so a few times a year I give about 45 minutes of my time (the actual donation takes about 10 mins) to donate blood. In fact this week was my 23rd pint! Why not give it a go as you can book an appointment plus there is free tea and biscuits so what’s not to like! You can find out more or book up at a local venue here

ps I am VERY grateful for the fact my body works and allows me to get out and exercise – what is your excuse for not exercising?

168 hours

If you want to sign up for a trial at our bootcamp classes in Bath click here  

Candy Crush

What is it with Candy Crush Saga! All I know is my mum plays it along with what seems like half the population!

Anyway have you eaten all your Easter chocolate yet?

Did you feel sick over the weekend with too much sugar, possibly after giving up chocolate and sweets for Lent?

A few people coming to bootcamp did!

If you are not yet over your Easter excesses then best way to get back on track is to do these 3 things:

  1. Increase your water intake back to what it should be – 0.039litres per kg of bodyweight is a good guide.
  2. Get moving – even if just for a long walk or 10 mins of exercises at home
  3. Go green, lots of big salads, some homemade green smoothies or some lean greens powder. All of these will help alkalise your body from the acidity which will give you more energy, better digestion and also health.

There is a recipe for Kermit smoothie in blog post below if you’ve not yet had it. Otherwise why not fill in your details in box above to download my free 7 day cleanse – it has smoothie recipes as well as great lunch and dinner suggestions.

I’ve been playing around with some more ideas for smoothies this week – made one yesterday I have called “pink paradise” but need to make it a few times more and get other peoples feedback before I share it with the world.

Last week, before the photo shoot, I had a few days cleansing with lots of homemade, healthy smoothies (not the sugary “Innocent” ones you buy in the shops) plus salads and fish just to feel as good as I could before going infront of the camera. I felt good so ‘cleaning up your act” really is worth it if you are feeling sluggish and bloated. ( I will be seeing the photos next week – very excited! )

If you can’t imagine life without chocolate then check out this new recipe I created that is a healthy alternative from the “candy” sold in the shops – I got some great feedback from the bootcampers and clients who tried it.

Finally if you need to burn off that Easter “cheer” our May bootcamp starts Monday and if the weather is as nice as most days we had in April (today excluded) we are in for a treat. Last chance to book your trial week today, Emma has just done her first month at Zest Bootcamp and is sleeping better, her mood and energy are better and she can get in her skinny jeans!

You can read her blog post about bootcamp here http://adventurely.co.uk/2014/04/25/emmas-diary-i-finished-bootcamp-hold-on-i-think-i-definitely-need-more/

Zita’s Dairy, Sugar & Gluten free Chocolate Truffles

These are satisfying and have a surprise ingredient. You can also make a batch and have in the freezer.

10015033_10154049633105384_4925937133772350928_o

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped apricots or dates (soaked in water overnight)

1/2 cup cooked and drained chickpeas

1/4 cup chopped hazlenuts, pistacios, almonds or cashews (can be toasted lightly to bring out flavour)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup almond or coconut milk

1 bar of 80 – 90% dark chocolate

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Cinnamon

Optional: Orange essence or zest

Tablespoon of honey, agave syrup, coconut palm sugar or stevia for extra sweetness

Method

  1. Slowly melt the coconut oil and broken up chocolate in a pan
  2. Mash up or blend the chickpeas , drain the dried fruit of soaked then mix with all other ingredients
  3. Add the melted chocolate and mix well
  4. Put into paper cases or roll into balls and store in fridge or freezer.
  5. Enjoy!

Zita x

Chocolate vegetables

Eating your 5 a day can be easier than you think if you blend in smoothies, soups and even better into a chocolate cake!

beetroot choc protein bites

In Bath we are finally lucky enough to have a new health food place called “Beyond The kale” that makes amazing fresh juices and blends (healthy smoothies) as well as loads of other goodies.

Today I had a lettuce, kale, coriander, lemon and banana  (I think) and last time it was a beetroot and other goodies blend.

Even more exciting more me is that they make fresh almond milk which I love and don’t always get time to make myself. It’s not only dairy free but also loaded with enzymes  and goodness – plus it tastes wonderful.

If you are on my email list, have the 7 day detox (you can sign up for above) or have my cookbooks then you should already have tried a few delicious smoothy recipes. Also you can see my famous “kermit” recipe here on Martini Mum Blog

Anyway here is a super simple recipe (if you have kids it might be a way for you to get them to eat beetroot!)

Have a great weekend and if you are in Bath we start our April 4 week bootcamp on Monday – outdoor group fitness for all abilities at either 6.30am, 9.30am or 6.15pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Trial weeks available too – Click Here for more info

pastedGraphic.pdf

Zita’s Beetroot Chocolate Protein Bites

These are dairy & gluten free sweet “treats” that are high in protein, good fat and are easy to make and taste great.  Great alternative to biscuits, chocolate or cakes.

Ingredients

100g of 80 to 90% dark chocolate

150 cooked beetroot (either cooked from fresh or vacuum packed – not in vinegar!)

3 eggs

3/4 cup almond or coconut milk

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots or dates

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup almond butter (or unsweetened peanut butter if can’t get almond)

1/2 cup ground almonds

2/3 large tablespoons coconut oil

Cinnamon

Method

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil slowly
  2. Blend beetroot & almond milk until smooth
  3. Mix all other ingredients then add beetroot mix then finally melted chocolate mix
  4. Spoon 10 or more bites onto greased baking tray & cook at 180 degrees for approx 15 mins
  5. Let cool then store in fridge
  6. Enjoy!

Zita x

Other options:

Could try banana instead of dried fruit and grated carrot or courgette instead of beetroot.

Also could add spoon of flaxseed or chia seeds for omega 3 and fibre 

 

Broken heart

So Valentine’s Day is over – hope it brought you whatever you wished for….. a mountain of cards from secret admirers, flowers, chocolates, dinner or just an unexpected cup of tea in bed ( it’s the little things) or maybe you are single and suffering from a broken heart 🙁

Well this post is actually about your health – and most importantly your heart. See whilst we talk about the emotional broken heart, the truth is that many people don’t look after their physical heart and hell, without it your heart pumping blood and oxygen around your body, the fact that someone dumped you and you might feel like Bridget Jones will be the least of your problems.

heart

February is National Heart Month and organizations and charities like the British Heart Foundation are asking everybody to pay attention to their hearts and start living healthier lifestyles.

Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer causing around 82,000 deaths a year and around one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.

In the UK, there are an estimated 2.7m people living with the condition and 2m people affected by angina, the most common symptom of coronary heart disease.

Most people know someone or have themselves been directly affected by heart disease and the saddest part is a lot of times it is avoidable by changing lifestyle habits. Simple changes in diet by reducing your salt intake and eliminating processed foods from your diet and trying to get a several hours of exercise a week can make a huge difference.

A healthy diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart, the introduction of a healthy diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease and it’s NEVER too late to start eating healthily. Just eat foods that are close to nature and you can’t go wrong – the mediterranean diet is a very heart healthy diet so would be a good one for us to follow. If foods is packaged with loads of additives to make it last months then it isn’t very close to it’s original state. Most people know that fast food isn’t good for us but some of the foods sold in supermarkets as healthy aren’t good to consume all the time either.

To help prevent heart disease here are a few obvious, but often overlooked tips that anyone can do.

EXERCISE AND LIFESTYLE

  1. Quit smoking – this is one of the most important things you can do today to help your heart and there is so much support available to find the best way for you.
  2. Cardio workouts that work the heart and lungs are a great way to keep your heart healthy with the added benefit of increasing your energy, making your skin glow, improving your sleep and toning up your body. You don’t have to go for long runs to get the heart pumping, even just dancing to a few of your favourite songs can get your heart and lungs pumping ( if you are not sweating after 10 minutes you need to work a bit harder). At Zest bootcamp we do fitness boxing in many of the sessions which everyone loves as it works a sweat.
  3. Lose weight by joining a fitness class – training with like minded people gives your the support and encouragement to keep going when you don’t want to. It’s also a great way to make friends with people who are also interested in a healthier lifestyle.
  4. Drink less alcohol and switch to red instead of white wine as it contains a compounds called resveratrol that is heart healthy – just one glass a day though not a bottle!
  5. Walk instead of driving when possible such as on short trips – can yousometimes walk the children home from school instead of using the car? (plus helps be a good role model for the next generation). In the supermarket park as far away, not close to the doors. In car parks, shopping malls or at work you can use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.

If you live in Bath our next 4 week bootcamp starts on Monday 3rd March and we are offering a TRIAL WEEK for you to try out our group exercise classes – Click here today as spaces are limited.

Can’t get to our classes but want to cook tasty, easy to prepare, heart healthy meals that the family will love – then check out our 90 recipe cookbook here 

Happy hearts and minds 🙂

Best home exercise equipment

How do you like to do it?

– outdoors?

– in the lounge?

– in the bedroom?

– with others?

– on your own?

– in the gym?

We all like to exercise in different ways which is why 4 years ago I developed a piece of exercise equipment called the Ztrainer that you can use in all the places above.

Fitness coaches and organisations all over the world are using this versatile piece of kit to get a full body workout no matter what the level of fitness of the user. Suspension training is so practical because you just move the body in relation to the anchor point to make an exercise more or less challenging. I have used the kit with a variety of clients including stroke survivors, pre and post natal ladies, sports specific training and even the guys in the “boy” band I train (they use it on tour too). We use the Ztrainer at bootcamp for resistance training and a great way to challenge your core muscles.

Anyway we were recently named the no 1 piece of home fitness equipment in a Top 10 features in the “I” paper from The Independent. You can read the article HERE

Since then we also created the Zbands which offer more exercise options as they don’t need to be (but can be) attached to anything. They are perfect to take away on holiday to bang out a quick resistance workout on the hotel balcony (as I showed in a video available here )

As it is my birthday this week there will be a special offer on Ztrainers and Zbands only available to people who have signed up to receive our free workouts so head over to get signed up today HERE

Here is the printed article from the newspaper

Independent newspaper Jan

Don’t forget to go and sign up for your free suspension trainer workouts created by Reebok master trainer and Personal Trainer of the Year 2010 Charlotte Ord >>>here<<<

 

How to survive the run up to Christmas

It’s Christmas time
… mulled wine, mince pies, turkey leftovers, chocolate,
and alcohol, plus time off work – it’s a bad combination for
our waistlines and our motivation, AND it’s cold outside
too!!

So how can we survive this festive season without
piling on the extra pounds that take weeks to get rid of?

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 08.53.06
Did you know it can take 40 minutes on a treadmill to burn
off a mince pie!

Don’t worry help is at hand – we have come up with our Top
10 ways to enjoy a healthy and happy Christmas for you and
your loved ones.

Christmas is a time when people often go way overboard with
their eating habits, chocolate for breakfast lunch and
dinner and these bad habits make us lethargic and can set
us back months in our fitness goals.

These are just a few handy tips that can help keep you on
the straight and narrow so you don’t go completely off the
rails and undo all the hard work you’ve done this year.

Healthy Start

Start the day with a cup of hot water with a lemon slice and
some warming fresh ginger too if you like it. This will help
to alkalise the stomach and settle your PH levels, important
when you are eating a lot of rich, acidic food throughout
the day. Also a homemade fruit smoothie is a great
alkalising, breakfast alternative.

Ditch the Sweets

Swap sugary sweets and chocolate for fruit – tangerines
and clementines are seasonal, colourful and loaded with
immune boosting goodness. Nuts are everywhere at Xmas too
so grab an handful of healthy fats to keep your sugary
carb cravings at bay.

Liquid calories

This time of year it seems it’s gingerbread lattes and no
end of sugary drinks available everywhere. Add in the mulled
wine and other drinks no wonder our belts needs loosening
before Christmas Day has even arrived. Keep up your water
intake through the festive period as it will keep your
energy levels higher, help stop you drinking as many calorie
laden drinks and flush out those toxins.

Workout

Just because your normal routine’s gone out of the window
it doesn’t mean you can’t work out – 10 minutes of HIIT
(high intensity interval training) first thing will set you
up for the day, or go for a 30 minute run or use home exercise equipment.

Walking the dog or just going for a walk with the family is a great way for

everyone to burn calories and enjoy the winter scenery
(especially if Santa brings a bike for the kids).

Immunity boosters

As the days are shorter and the flu season begins one of
the best ways to stay healthy can be through supplements
such as a greens drinks, multi-vitamins and making sure we
don’t neglect our fruit and vegetable intake. Our vitamin D
levels are low at this time of year due to lack of
sunlight, so make sure you get eggs, salmon, sardines and
other seafood into your diet to help keep levels up.

Alcohol Alternatives

Fruit cocktails are a delicious alternative to alcohol or
of course you could offer to drive and stick to sparkling
water with some fresh lime saving yourself a hangover and
your friends a fortune on taxi fare. If you are drinking
just make sure to have a glass of water for at least every
2, ideally 1, alcoholic drink you do have.

Dance the Night Away

If you are out at a party hit the dance floor and burn off
those excess calories – remember to “dance like no one is
watching”

Healthy Christmas Dinner

When it comes to the big event it’s actually not an
unhealthy meal – pile your plate high with vegetables,
especially the green ones, have plenty of turkey and hold
back on too many roast potatoes. Cauliflower is a great
source of Vitamin C and it’s good for your heart.

Avoid some foods

While it’s nice to indulge you will help yourself if you can
steer clear of the bread and cheese – Opt for a smaller
plate and pile your plate high with salad on those Christmas
teas and go for meat rather than cheese.

Get your head right

Waiting until 2014 to do anything healthy is a sure fire way
to ensure you start the New Year feeling sluggish, bloated,
tired and depressed that your clothes don’t fit so well. Be
mindful of your eating, drinking and activity over the next
few weeks and allow yourself to enjoy the festive season
using some of these tips without losing site of what your
health and fitness goals are and remember

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live”