Category Archives: Nutrition

Why is the First Ten Minutes of Exercise Always the Hardest?

The title says it all really. Plus, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. I have spoken to many people who run or take part in football, tennis, personal training or any form of exercise really. The answer always comes back the same.

Take running for example. As I’m following a 16 week marathon training programme, I thought that week by week the first ten minutes would begin to get easier. But no, it’s still as hellish as ever! It’s always in the first ten minutes when I want to give up and very nearly do.

So I got to thinking there must be something scientific behind this feeling. There is.

It seems that according to research the body is basically crying out in pain at the beginning of exercise. All of the nerve endings are saying “Woooooooaaah! Why are you waking me up?”

In reality what is happening is that the *senovial fluids are taking their time lubricate your joints.  Your breathing seems irregular and difficult and talking to a running partner is just a no-no.

Other factors such as that feeling of early fatigue during exercise is actually quite normal. In fact, it happens to even highly trained athletes. But rather than feeling demoralised and psyched out by your heavy breathing and burning legs, use this knowledge as a reminder of the importance of the warm up, and remember what’s happening in your body in the first few minutes of exercise.

Have a read of this great article from Elizabeth Quinn which goes into more depth about the scientific reasons for this problem. It tells you all you need to know and how to combat the worst effects so that when minute 11 kicks in; you are really in the zone! Elizabeth concludes “that If you want to take a gentler approach when you head out for a workout, use the first 5 minutes as an easy warm up, the next 5 minutes to ramp up the pace and then settle into your workout as usual”. So no great revelations, just good practical advice.

If you feel suitably relieved having read this blog and you are training for an event or just coming back to fitness, why not get extra help with personal training in Bedfordshire, North Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire. Just call Jules now for more expert advice and support.

And remember, even Mo Farrah and the Brownlee Brothers feel exactly the same as you do in the first ten minutes. Now that’s a comforting thought!

*The senovial fluids are the bodies way of lubricating the joints and so once this happens you tend to get into a groove after the ten minutes.


Why is Fitness So Hard after the Summer Holidays?

You’ve been really good about exercising on the lead up to your holiday and then you go on holiday and have a complete break.  No visits to the gym, no running along the promenade, no yoga…… On top of that you’re drinking every night (or all day if you’re all inclusive), eating the wrong foods and adding a few extra pounds along the way.

Trust me I am where you are right now after every holiday and Martin probably struggles more than me.  You then come back and keep putting off the fitness classes or eating the right foods, combined with drinking every night. You plan to start the following week and then the following week, but the old regime never quite gets off the ground.

So how do you get back on the wagon?

  1. First of all don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone deserves a break during a holiday. Don’t feel that you need to come back from holiday and work off what you consumed by doing hour after hour of cardio.  Get that negativity out of the way and see this as an opportunity to start afresh and try something new.
  2. Try a new class. If you’ve been doing a particular class for years, then it can get boring.  That’s where the Group Classes by Fitbiznow come in useful.  You can get plenty of fresh air, whilst meeting new people without being locked into a contract. If you’re in the area, come along to Odell Park, Harrold.  More details here……
  3. Start slowly and be realistic – you’re bound to be tired after a holiday. Start with half an hour a day with gentle exercise to avoid injury. This beats ploughing in with an hour a day of intensive exercise, which might have a negative impact – in other words you get depressed because you could do this two weeks ago and now you’re struggling.
  4. Try to cut the alcohol out during the week and make this a treat on the weekend with a quality glass of wine. I adopted this approach some years ago and now I really enjoy it.  After a holiday, it’s all too easy to carry on drinking.
  5. Try to get your diet back on track as soon as you can – make it fun. With the beautiful weather we are having, we’re barbecuing most evenings – grilling salmon with a simple salad or making burgers.  Having said that, I am writing this in a thunder storm!

Don’t forget it’s hard for all of us when coming back from holiday. I take a break like anyone else and then find I need to spend quite a bit of time getting back to where I was.

Happy exercising and see you at Odell Park on 1st September, 09:30.  Details here.

Group vs Solo Fitness Training – What’s the Best Approach?

Do you enjoy working out on your own, or would you rather be part of a group?

We all know that going to the gym without a friend to spur you on can be hard work. It’s hard enough to exercise in the summer and then winter hits,  and we all go to ground. Even Personal Trainers at times find it hard, so I enjoy working out with my husband Martin. When we were training for our marathons on those cold winter nights, we relied on each other to get out the door after a busy day at work. Going to gyms or pounding the streets on your own, can be a miserable place to be – there’s no one to motivate you or have a chat with.

A recent study in the US, found that participating in a group fitness class led to a “significant decrease in stress and an increase in physical, mental and emotional quality of life”.

By attending a group class, I’ll be able to walk you through each exercise, using the correct technique and urge you on when you think you can’t do another thing. Group workouts are great, because you naturally work harder when people around you are giving it their all. This all means, you will get so much more out of a group workout than going it alone.

A healthy body is important of course, but so is a healthy mind. The social element you get from a group is vital too. Fitbiznow will be scheduling some fun group activities from coffee get-togethers (the first Saturday of each month) to obstacle courses, Christmas outings and plenty more surprises. The pub will be included too – fitness should be fun. When it stops being fun, you run the risk of giving up and that’s simply not going to happen if you pop along to my classes.

If you live in Bedfordshire, I’d love to invite you to my first Group Session on 1st September at Odell Park, Harrold, You can find out all the details here.

Take care and look forward to seeing you soon.

Jules (Group Fitness Coach)

Happy New Year From Fitbiznow – Some Great Tips to Get Back to Fitness

A happy new year to all our friends and customers! 

You are probably feeling a little down after all the festive excitement and also a little guilty after indulging in all that food and drink?. Well fear not, so are we! 

January is a hard enough month as it is without feeling bad over this stuff. The best way to ease yourself into the new year is to just make small changes each week as you get back to full fitness.

So maybe just have a drink every couple of days or just weekends. Give up the mince pies, but still have a little treat every few days so that you aren’t going completely cold turkey.

In addition to this, if you haven’t visited the gym or had a run for a good few weeks, then again slowly return to your normal routine rather than trying to do it all at once.

A good idea (if you are a runner) might be to sign up for a 10k or half marathon in February and gradually work towards it with some short runs. For gym work, just do 30 minutes rather than your usual 40 or longer.

By the third week of January, you will be feeling so much better and on track to reach your fitness goals for 2018.

Of course, if you need help in getting back to fitness and reaching your goals, then Jules is ready and waiting to make it happen for you!

If you live in Bedfordshire, north Bucks or Northamptonshire, just contact us and we can get cracking!

The Best 84 Year Old Squat in the World – Meet Jules’ Dad

We recently caught up with Jules’s Dad Mick who is 84. After a lifetime of keeping himself fit through many activities, from cycling to football,  he continues to stay in tip top condition – so we thought we’d ask him the secret of a long healthy life.

Mick told us that as a young lad he had always been a keen footballer and played in school teams and later on in pub teams. He even played every Sunday on the hallowed pitches of Hackney Marshes. A bad foot injury forced him to look for another sport to keep fit and this led him to cycling. 

His cycling years started at the same time he was in the national service stationed at Duxford. Every time he was given leave he would cycle the 70 miles back home to London. This led to him taking part in semi pro cycling races around the country and creating lifelong friendships – all enjoying cycling holidays together. He moved on to time trials and would even train with bricks in his saddle bag!

Mick has also always prided himself on eating healthily down the years and always eats his 5 a day and drinks only in moderation. This has meant that when he felt too old for football and cycling he has become a keen walker and tries to cover at least five miles a day even in winter.

He briefly returned to cycling in his seventies when Jules bought him a bike for Christmas and she now helps with some basic exercises to keep him supple. In fact, she is pretty convinced that his squat is the best she has seen and simply remarkable for someone who is 84!

If you would like Jules or any members of her team to help you reach peak fitness like Mick, please get in touch if you live in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire.



Start Spreading the News – Final Marathon Update

On a cold damp morning we crossed the East River on the ferry to Staten Island. Just us and 55,000 other runners!

Our moods were swinging between total excitement at the day ahead and complete fear of the unknown. As you know,  we had done all the training and had pounded the streets from Bedford to Milton Keynes and even achieved some impressive distances, but nothing prepares you for the first time.

Jules’s reaction to being in this situation is to be very quiet, just like her charity sky dive a couple of years ago.  Mine is to babble on and on nervously about nothing!

Finally we reached the start line and our first big challenge – the 1.8 mile Verrazano Bridge which joins the island to Brooklyn. Get over this and the crowds would embrace us and carry us  the remaining 24.4 miles we told ourselves. Well,  as it was very wet and windy that was easier said that done. We were also wearing just about everything item of clothing we had in our suitcases as recommended in all of the blogs we had read.

After a couple of minutes running,  you have basically stripped off all the woollen hats, gloves, jogging bottoms and extra layers you are wearing because you warm up so quickly and we added to the mountains of clothing at roadside (we were told on good authority that these are donated to the homeless, so all good)

The bridge was awful. I almost gave up after a mile as it felt like I was running at altitude and looking around at my fellow runners – a lot of them seemed to feel the same way. However, nothing prepares you for the wall of noise which greets you as you come off the bridge and run into Brooklyn. Everyone shouts your name (we had stencilled these on ready for this) and the union jacks on our backs certainly went down well with the New Yorkers.

After that it was a breeze. Every time we felt that we were flagging, we just drew on the support of the crowd and our nutrition and water intake went like a dream. I’m not saying it wasn’t hard, it was in fact very tough, but the love coming from behind the barriers actually made it my most pleasurable run in the whole 16 week programme.

Around mile 20 we hit the dreaded wall that we had been told about, but by digging in and getting to the outskirts of Central Park three miles out we scented the finish line.  Jules posted a brilliant time but I was just happy with finishing. To be honest, I was enjoying myself too much to run too fast, leading singing in the crowd, enjoying the regular bands and even holding up some of the witty banners for selfies! Nothing prepares you for the experience, but the thought that complete strangers have given up their day to cheer on people they have never met was very life affirming.

We were on a high the next day,  walking around Manhattan bumping into our fellow runners all wearing medals. The legs were stiff but the glow of a fantastic achievement would last a very long time.

Postscript: Jules was quoted at the finish line saying “I am in pain, that was so tough, I will never do that again.”

All I can say is watch this space, the bug may have bitten!

If you are training for a marathon and need a specialist running coach, contact Fitbiznow for personal training in Bedfordshire, North Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire. Just call Jules now for more expert advice and support.

Marathon Training Update – September 2017

So, we have now reached the half way stage of our marathon training programme with the start line in New York only seven short weeks away! Scary and exhilarating in equal measure.

The half-way point was met full on last week when we participated in the Two Arms on Two Legs half marathon course in Aylesbury. It was a tough course, less because of the 13.1 miles and more because of the tough terrain. Running along canal banks and narrow tracks is very different to the tarmac of New York’s streets, but all practice is good.

The good news is that we didn’t struggle with the distance and the hydration and nutrition seemed pretty much spot on in Jules’s capable hands. (I was allowed a carefully controlled stream of jelly babies on route!)

I was disappointed with my speed but have the time to work on that, now I know the distances don’t intimidate me. Jules is now concentrating on the length of my stride and making sure my heels come up properly so that I avoid the “Martin shuffle”. Well, as she says, if you double the length of your stride then essentially your time on the streets of New York will be halved., It’s a simple but effective mantra that I am trying to drill into my head.

It was also great to have her running next to me to “coax” me on to a better performance for the whole race. On November 5th, I will be alone apart from 2 million fans as I race through 5 boroughs of the Big Apple. I have heard that the roar form the crowd can literally get you round the course. I will be allowing for this extra lift as I am sure every runner is on the day.

Jules has somehow turned me into a potential marathon runner in a matter of weeks and so if you live in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire and are considering your own long distance event, (whether it’s running, a triathlon or a tough muddder) give her a call and she’ll transform your form too!

Marathon Training Update – August 2017

I think it was the very large fish and chips the night before that did it for me!

Run 4/week 6 of the marathon training programme and I am feeling tired and heavy,  half an hour into the two hour run. No wonder – given my bad dinner choice the night before, but I was at the seaside and that’s what you eat, right?

Turn the clock back a week and it had all been going so well. I wouldn’t say that I’m actually enjoying the programme,  but I was finding my stride and it’s amazing what some pretty scenery can do to help the time go by. I have found the best way of doing this is to run in as many different locations in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire as possible. There are beautiful parks and public spaces in all of these and some of the highlights have included Harrold Park, just north of Bedford and Stanwick Lakes near Rushden.

Then midweek and the rains came, followed by hailstones and then the force ten gales and I was beginning to imagine that New York in November could actually be like this. Lucky it’s summer now (ha-ha) but the autumn will be hard.

Another great tip I have discovered is to try to get out early in the morning to complete your run. That way, it’s done and doesn’t hang over you all day. This way I don’t hate Jules quite so much all day,  but as she keeps reminding me – it was my decision to run a marathon!

Earlier on in the programme, we both went to see those fine folk at No Limitz where we had our gait and running technique analysed on video.  I was diagnosed as having overpronation which means that I tend to run with my heels facing in and so the shoes I chose adjust this to make my running style more balanced. All clever stuff and I have definitely seen the benefit over the weeks.

So as we leave week 6 behind, my longest run has been 8 miles. Just 18.2 short of the distance I will need to go in November! Wish me luck!

If you’d like to run a marathon and need extra guidance, why not train with Jules and Fitbiznow? She offers personal training in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire – call 01234 964047 to book a session.

Smooth Operator: The Secret of Great Smoothies

As a nutritional adviser and level 3 personal trainer, I’ll be blogging from time to time about how to complement your personal training with the best in nutrition, both pre-exercise and for recovery afterwards.

This week’s health and fitness blog is all about smoothies, the good, the bad and the ugly. “Hang on a minute” I hear you say, aren’t all smoothies good for you? Well yes, they are – to an extent. In fact, you can put just about anything in your Nutribullet (other makes are available) and you will get some goodness or benefit from it.

The biggest downside of smoothies could be when you pulp fruit into them. This is because blending or juicing fruit makes it much easier for your body to access carbs and calories and this isn’t what you want to happen.

It is the fibre in whole fruit that slows down the process of turning sugar from food into blood sugar. So, when you blend fruit, you are cutting up the essential fibre that you need to make your body work more efficiently, to keep your blood sugar steady and to make you feel fuller for longer.

Having fruit in smoothies is therefore good in moderation, but make sure you mix it up with lots of healthy vegetables, especially things like spinach (great for iron) and kale (full of essential nutrients).

So, there you have it. Don’t stop having those tasty smoothies before and after exercise. Have one before for energy and to add that zip to your step and one afterwards to help your body recover and get the essential nutrients it needs.

I hope that has helped you in choosing how to fuel your body for training. Don’t forget I can give you lots more nutritional advice in one-on-one or group personal training sessions in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire or north Buckinghamshire. Just fill in the contact form  or call 01234 964047 to book a session.  Alternatively, we offer WorkFit corporate wellness and fitness programmes.

Happy blending!

Post-Holiday Exercise Blues: Get Fit After a Holiday

You may have had an intensive fitness regime before your holiday,  or only just started – then this blog is for you!

Martin and I have just come back from an amazing cycling holiday to Cambodia and Vietnam. We cycled a lot (obviously), but we also ate what we wanted every day (usually accompanied by white rice with every meal) and we also drank alcohol on non-school nights, something we don’t do at home.

Personally, I think that is fine and  you know my view as a personal trainer on this. I have no problem at all with anyone having a naughty treat or a cheeky midweek glass of wine. There is one thing though,and that is when you first exercise again after a holiday – it’s hard, very hard!

Your body won’t do what it’s told and you feel lethargic and slow in everything you do. Things that were second nature before the vacation become extremely difficult. You might have lifted a certain weight before the holiday, but now you struggle to achieve  the same weight.  You can run relatively easily before and then two weeks away and you feel so lethargic. Well don’t worry, so do I! In fact, I sometimes wonder if it was even worth going away as the fight back to fitness can be very painful. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s miserable enough coming back to work as it is.

So, fear not. We are all in the same boat. It is tough and you shouldn’t expect the same results as before you went away. In fact, you should moderate your routine and possibly even shorten it as you ease yourself back in for a couple of weeks.

First up, make sure you have a plan, either with your personal trainer, or on your own.  Ask yourself “When do I want to return to full fitness?” You will actually be amazed at how quick this can be, especially once you have stopped downing the cocktails!

Secondly, reward yourself with a treat. This can range from a pastry to glass of red. No one gets back to their fitness plan straightway, there has to be a “phasing-out” stage, so don’t be afraid to use this as an incentive.

Finally, think about using a fitness app such as myfitnesspal so that you can monitor your diet and exercise plan and gradually work out how long you need to make a full return to fitness.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you get results and just think after a couple of weeks you will be counting down the days to your next vacation.

If you’d like to get fit before or after a holiday, please complete the contact form or call 01234 964047 to book outdoor personal training in Bedfordshire, north Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire.  We also offer corporate wellness and fitness programmes for the workforce.