Monday, September 22, 2014

Personal Training in Cambridge with CrossTrain


I've been training regularly with Ben for 20 months now. Having seen what Ben could do to develop young athletes at CRUFC, I was curious to see what he could do for a middle-aged (very) ex-athlete, so I booked four sessions.  I had the usual goals for a 40-something man with a sedentary desk job, "lose a bit of weight and get fitter".  The fact that my initial 4 sessions have turned into more than 75 and counting should be testament enough. 



Ben's training sessions are always well-planned and varied. Instead of the routine exercises I was doing at the gym, Ben has introduced me to the importance of flexibility and core strength, both of which pay great dividends in regular life.  I wish I'd met Ben 30 years ago.



As a measure of the progress I've been able to make with Ben, my 10-15 mile bike rides have turned into a regular 40-50 miles. I may even complete a 100-miler before too long - something I couldn't have even contemplated 20 months ago.



Ben has a keen eye - he can spot when some movement isn't quite right and correct it.  He can also distinguish between laziness (and encourage extra effort), and genuine tiredness (when he'll tell you slow down).  As a result Ben's sessions aren't easy (if you want easy go and spend 30 minutes on the cross-trainer), but they are always within your abilities. 



While Ben's knowledge is unquestionable, it it perhaps this last point, his ability to push you just the right amount, that make him a great trainer, and someone I can't recommend highly enough.



Adrian Fraser

Senior Director

Siemens PLM Software


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August at "The" Fitness Class Cambridge



This past month has seen the group focus upon upper body strength and lower body power to really ramp up everyone’s metabolism to ensure the fat burning continues long after the session has finished. As usual, there has been a varied array of activities dedicated to improving the group’s cardiovascular fitness which received great feedback from everyone.

As the month progressed there was a touch of autumn in the air as temperatures dropped and the heavens opened. So we took full advantage of the facilities of the rugby club and trained the group inside the clubhouse.  

We have introduced new warm up activities that continue our essential theme of glute activation and hip mobility along with core stability. Over the years we continually see that this is a key area to address in the fight against back pain which costs the exchequer over £5 billion per year! These additional movements have kept the sessions fresh and interesting but more importantly has insured everyone is working towards a pain free and efficient way of moving in their everyday lifestyle.

During next month’s sessions I will be looking at using more functional movements to develop whole body power and as usual we will be incorporating new toys to train with to ensure variety continues to the class programme. Look out for the “sandbells”.
Can’t wait!

Mikey

Monday, August 11, 2014

"The" Fitness Class - July



The fitness class has been blessed with good weather on all of the Monday and Wednesday evenings in the month of July. All sessions have been outside making the most of the space and the temperature. 
A big focus this month has been on developing our press up technique and stamina through a range of different variations. This was done as feedback from the class was they wanted to be able to complete more press ups in one go, which I am happy to write that they all have. Tonight (30th) most of the class managed to complete over 20 decent press up showing great progress. 

Monday sessions this month have been dedicated more to using our own body weight to develop fitness and stamina versus the Wednesday classes which has used much more equipment but with a similar aim. Both sessions have focused on lower body power and strength, from which we have all seen good progress individually.

My favourite session this month was a Monday session mid July using boxing pads and gloves in pairs to great effect to get the heart and breathing rate up using high intensity sets involving punching combined with a few all body exercises. The class attacked the session with a great attitude and work rate and got a lot out of the exercises. 
Great month and looking forward to the next...
Mikey

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

10 Reasons to Eat Breakfast



By Charles Poliquin

1.     You’ll be leaner.
There is significant evidence that people who skip breakfast have a higher body mass index (BMI) and are more likely to be obese. When diet composition is analyzed through the use of food diaries, researchers find that people who eat breakfast consume a better diet and macronutrient profile. Plus, breakfast eaters consume fewer calories over the whole day than those who omit it. Breakfast skippers are not only more likely to have more fat than those who eat it, but they are more likely to get even fatter due to susceptibility to overeating later in the day.  

2.     You’ll lower your risk of getting diabetes or becoming insulin resistant.
 Skipping breakfast and other meals leads to the body’s cells becoming less sensitive to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that carries sugar around in the blood, taking it to be used as energy in cells or converting it to fat for storage. When you skip meals and the cell receptors become less sensitive or resistant to insulin, it leads to excess sugar floating around in the bloodstream. The body then tries to produce more insulin to get sugar into the resistant cells. This creates a problematic cyclical pattern resulting in weight gain, insulin sensitivity, and ultimately diabetes. Obesity and diabetes rates are 50 percent lower in breakfast-eaters compared to breakfast skippers. 

3.     You’ll eat a better variety of foods.
Breakfast eaters tend to make better overall food choices throughout the day. Breakfast skipping encourages overeating at later meals and snacking, which often takes the form of unhealthy high calorie choices. In their overall diets, breakfast eaters typically consume more vegetables and milk, fewer soft drinks, and a lower intake of junk foods.

 4.     You’ll eat more protein and more vitamins and minerals.
Breakfast eaters are more likely to get enough micronutrients such as calcium, zinc, iron, and vitamins in their diets. They also get a better proportion of protein than breakfast skippers, although the percentages that people commonly consumed (10-12 percent protein of total diet) are still lower than optimal, especially for an athlete or anyone interested in being lean and looking good.


Breakfast eaters get a larger amount of fibre in their diets, a key element of health and ideal body composition. Fibre and protein are thought to be one of the reasons for breakfast eaters having better body compositions.

5.     You’ll be smarter.
Research shows that eating breakfast improves performance on free recall and recognition memory tasks. It will also help you to sustain your memory function for several hours after eating by modulating both short- and long-term metabolic responses.

You’ll also do better in school. Eliminating breakfast has been associated with poorer test scores on measurements such as the SAT. Plus, among students of all ages, breakfast eaters get better grades and have better reasoning capacity.

A study of the effect of different types of breakfasts on cognitive performance compared eating a sugar-filled ready-to-eat cereal with a more nutritious oatmeal, finding that subjects who ate the oatmeal had better mental reasoning test scores. In reality, breakfast should be more nutritionally sound than just oatmeal and should include a good portion of fat and protein.

6.     You’ll be less likely to smoke, drink, or die.
That’s right! If you eat breakfast, research shows that you will be less likely to engage in health-compromising behaviours such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or not exercising.

Even better, studies have found a positive association between breakfast eating and reductions in mortality due to a variety of causes. Eating breakfast is related to a decrease in the risk of dying from diabetes, cancer (partly because it decreases your chance of being obese), or a cardiovascular-related complication such as heart disease.

 7.     You’ll be healthier and have more friends.
Breakfast eating is associated with improved social function, better interpersonal relationships, and decreased attention deficit disorder. Research on children and adolescents shows that subjects who eat breakfast get along better with their peers and have fewer social conflicts. It’s reasonable to assume that adult breakfast eaters reap the same benefits, especially in light of how breakfast affects cognitive function.

Female breakfast skippers are more likely to have fertility problems and menstrual irregularities such as dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a risk factor for psychological disorders and gynecological diseases, indicating the importance of breakfast eating on quality of life for women.

 8.     You’ll be less likely to develop an eating disorder.
Even though breakfast skipping is common, it is a disordered eating pattern since the body needs fuel after a night of rest and fasting. The term “breakfast” literally means “breaking the fast” and is necessary for starting the metabolism, fuelling brain function, and powering the body for the physical activity of life.

Research shows that breakfast skippers are more likely to develop an eating disorder. In some cases, breakfast skipping becomes a habit with the intent of using it as a weight control strategy. An Australian study of 13-year-olds found that females who skipped breakfast were significantly more likely to be dissatisfied with their body shape and to have been on a diet than breakfast eaters. In adolescents, females are more likely to skip breakfast than males, and subsequently have poorer nutritional profiles and overall health.

9.     Your kids will be healthier, leaner, and smarter too.
Kids whose parents eat breakfast are significantly more likely to eat breakfast themselves.  The fact that parents ate breakfast also increased the overall healthiness of their kids’ meals, including the appropriate breakdown of carbs, protein, and fat in the diet. These kids were also less likely to be obese or overweight and had lower BMIs than children whose parents skipped breakfast.

Take note that frequent family meals also increased the likelihood that kids would make healthy food choices and have a better body composition. Children of parents who skip breakfast have less education by age 16, get lower grades in school, and achieve a lower overall education level in life. They also tend to have more behavioural problems and a lower quality of life.  


10.  You’ll be happier.
People who eat breakfast have lower rates of depression and a better all around quality of life. Research shows that eating breakfast improves mood levels and decreases irritability levels throughout the day.

And it makes sense, if you’re leaner, smarter, healthier, less hungry and more satisfied, why wouldn’t you be a happier person?   

References:
Song, W., Chun, O., Obayashi, S., Cho, S., Chung, C. Is Consumption of Breakfast Associated with Body Mass Index in U.S. Adults? Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2005. 105(9), 1373-1382.
Ma, Y., Bertone, E., Stanek, E. Reed, G., Herbert, J., Cohen, N. Association Between Eating Patterns and Obesity in a Free-living U.S. Adult Population. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2003. 158, 85-92.
Videon, T., Manning, C. Influences on Adolescent Eating Patterns: The Importance of Family Meals. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2003. 32, 365-373.
Rampersaud, G., Pereira, M., Girard, B. Breakfast Habits, Nutritional Status, Body Weight, and Academic Performance in Children and Adolescents. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2005. 105, 5, 743-760.
Fujiwara, T. Skipping Breakfast is Associated with Dysmenorrhea in Young Women in Japan. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2003. 54, 505-509.
Morgan, K., Zabik, M., Stampley, G. The Role of Breakfast in Diet Adequacy of the U.S. adult Population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1986. 5, 551-563.
Smith, A., Kendrick, A., Salmon, J. Effects of Breakfast and Caffeine of Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Cardiovascular Functioning. Appetite. 1994. 22, 39-55.
Timlin, M., Pereira, M. Breakfast Frequency and Quality in the Etiology of Adult Obesity and Chronic Diseases. Nutrition Review. 2008. 65(6), 268-281.
Mahoney, C., Taylor, H., Kanarek, R., Samuel, P. Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school children. 2005. Physiology and Behavior. 85(5), 635-45.
Hamid, R., Farshchi, M., MacDonald, I., MacDonald, T. Deleterious effects of omitting breakfast on insulin sensitivity and fasting lipid profiles in healthy lean women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005. 81(2), 388-396.
Allbritton, Jen. Morning Nourishment: Bountiful Benefits and Creative Ideas. Wise Traditions. 2011 Apr 6. The Weston A. Price Foundation. http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/2187-morning-nourishment-bountiful-benefits-and-creative-ideas