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Time hacks for fitness

Is it me or is life getting busier these days?  What with juggling to fit in work, cooking, shopping, doing activities with the kids or school runs, it’s getting harder and harder to fit in workouts or eat healthy.  With some planning and prepping, it can be achievable to keep healthy in your life – here are my top tips on how:

1.  Plan and prep food for a few days.  Know what you need to buy at the supermarket – go with a list.  This will make your shopping quicker as you know what you want plus help keep you on the healthier aisles!  Cook in bulk when you do have the time and divide into portions to be eaten within the next few days or frozen for a later time.  This is great for single people! Dinner left overs also make great lunches the next day!

2.  Have a few go to quick recipes that are not time consuming to make – basically you can whip them up in no time.  Eggs are super quick and probably always in stock in the household.

3.  Prepare salads – they last a few days in air-tight containers without anything mushy on them.  Tomatoes can be added in the morning of eating and add dressing when ready to eat.

4.  Have a couple of delivery places on speed dial with your go to healthy meal!  There are a couple of places I eat at regularly if I haven’t cooked or want to catch up with a friend and I know exactly what I will eat – usually chicken of some sort (tikka or teriyaki) with salad, veg or hummus.  As everything seems to take an hour for delivery in Bahrain – order on your way home or before a gym session so it’s ready to pick up or delivered when you are!

5.  When it comes to exercise – super long sessions are not that time efficient anyways.  Who has time to spend 2 hours at the gym?!  Short workouts can be effective and lots can be done at home.  Mix them up, focus on great technique and get into a habit – maybe before your day starts.  Or even 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes later on.

6.  Try to incorporate more movement during your day – this can be simple things like parking further away from the shops (well if indoors in the Middle Eastern temperatures!), using the stairs rather than the lift – especially if just a couple of floors.  If at work, maybe go see a work colleague rather than calling them or try to walk around the office every hour or so.  You can also incorporate some great stretches into your day whilst sitting down to help with crappy posture we all seem to be getting these days from sitting down too much!  It will also help take some strain from the neck and upper back also and relieve any stress.

Try and give these a go – its all about the planning and a bit of prep to help keep you on track.  If still needing a little extra motivation or some simple recipes or short workout ideas you can do at home, sign up for my Summer shape up bootcamp starting 1st September.  This is a 4 week online camp with 5 workouts a week, meal ideas and lots of motivation to keep you on track with a group of like minded people.
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Great things happen outside of your comfort zone

Today I received my International certification as a Les Mills GRIT coach.  I am so happy I can tell you.

GRIT cert

Now I’m a very experienced instructor and trainer running courses, but whenever any one of us is faced with a new challenge or something out of our everyday life, it’s scary!  Learning new skills takes time, practice, dedication and patience.

But, the only way we grow is by stepping outside of our comfort zone and taking on challenges. What have you done recently that has challenged you or enabled you to grow as a person?  It could be anything – from learning a new skill or course to trying a new activity.  Our brain needs this push from time to time to give us just enough juice to fire us up again. have a list of reasons why getting out of your comfort zone is so beneficial. Reasons to step out of your comfort zone.

Of course we need to be well prepared for any new activities we take on but like all things, it gets easier with time.  The key is to be prepared, take a breath, and just go for it.  Even if things don’t work out – that’s still learning.  As Bram Stoker said “We learn from failure, not from success!”.

Here are my tips for breaking out of your comfort zone

  1. Get out of your normal routine.  We get stuck into habits and set in our ways that we are closed for opportunities and change.
  2. Don’t be scared of change.  It’s in our nature to be apprehensive, but life is about change so learn to embrace new things.
  3. Take baby steps.  Keep trying something new and practicing until you get used to it.  It won’t feel alien for long and then our comfort zone has just grown.
  4. Talk to different people.  New people bring new opportunities and new chances.
  5. Agree to something you wouldn’t normally consider – then learn how to do it as you go.
  6. Give up some control.  This can be hard for some people.  In work do you micro-manage people with tasks? Or can you give up some control?
  7. Write a list of goals you want to achieve and keep moving towards them.  Regularly check this is happening.
  8. Just go for it!


woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography



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Over training – how much is too much?

So I’m writing this looking forward to 2 days off – do I feel guilty or bad about this? Hell no!  I understand that rest is key in life and a necessity in any fitness program.  But why do some people feel bad about skipping their workout or feel the need to punish their body?

What is overtraining or burnout? It’s when your body can’t recover from strenuous exercise which can lead to chronic fatigue.  Most likely due to doing too much exercise (high volume) and not allowing for sufficient recovery.  It can mean that you will see a decrease in performance and results and also start to not enjoy exercise.

symptoms can include:

  • persistent muscle soreness
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Increase in injuries
  • More susceptible to infections
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Why do some people get to this stage?  Exercise can be addictive.  When we exercise we release chemicals as a by-product – natural endorphins and dopamine – and some people become addicted or fixated on the psychological or physical effects.

Others seem to exercise as a punishment rather than celebrating what their body can do.  Maybe they are on a mission to lose weight or bulk up and think more volume will lead to quicker results or that missing a session will set them back.

Maybe you are an instructor who has built up classes quickly or taken on a lot of class covers in a short period of time leading to little or no rest.  Plus maybe putting the joints and body under too much stress.  Remember if you get an injury from all this, you will be out longer anyways to rehabilitate it!  Or do you feel the pressure to “train for classes” and so adding too much into your weekly schedule? Yes we need to be fit for our classes but be wise about what you train when. Plus look for what exactly you need for your classes? Is it explosive fitness, more strength if so which part, is it to understand lifting techniques etc.

Or what if you’re a beginner to exercise and don’t know where to start.  Without expert advice then maybe you are starting with too much too soon and overloading the body.  Be careful what you read on social media.

I am by no means perfect.  I have reached the fatigue stage a few times.  I’ve taken on too much class covers, I’ve thought I’ve needed to strength train everywhere in a week, Ive also been addicted to crossfit.  When I could buy class passes that really suited me as it kept me going just twice a week.  When this option was no longer available I had to buy a monthly membership.  The result is that I went too often.  I wanted to get my moneys’ worth plus I didn’t want to miss out on a training day.

The result – my whole body was constantly tired and drained, I got lots of injuries and my performance levels decreased. I am no longer a member and do still struggle to motivate myself and plan my own training effectively!!!  I guess I should treat myself like a client….

Anyways, what can you do when you reach burnout?

  • Take a break from training to allow time to recover – this could be a complete break if possible or severe reduction.
  • Reduce volume and intensity of exercise.
  • Rethink your training plan – what you do, when, how much.
  • Split your training where you can – different muscles and type of training on different days.
  • Have balance in your program – incorporate cardio, strength, stretch and recovery days.
  • Instructors this is for you – give yourself a realistic and smart class and exercise schedule.  This could take time when starting out but amend accordingly.  Do not teach 7 BODYATTACK classes in week or have 3 back to back BODYPUMP days.  Space out your programs.
  • When possible have a deep tissue or sports massage – this has been the best so far for my tennis elbow.
  • Eat right.  Fuel your body with all the nutrients and enough calories for your activities.  Maybe you need to look at supplements.

If you incorporate these measures then typically you should start to feel better in 4-6 weeks.  It depends on how much you were over training and for how long, age and genetics.

Above all else – listen to your body!  You know you body the best!  You may go to the gym with a plan but when you start you’re not feeling strong.  That’s OK, reduce weights, adapt your plan even go home! If I’m not feeling the training session I stop!  If I want some days off – I take it.  I’ve also learnt to say no to cover classes sometimes.

You only have one body, love it, fuel it, work it, rest it well.


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Don’t let fear hold you back

For a long time I have been considering taking my services online to reach and help more people.  I know I have the knowledge and the expertise but I had a lot of things in my head holding me back.

My biggest one was money and set up costs.  When you look at companies and the cost of branding and getting someone to set up your site for you, it’s expensive.  Well there are sites out there where you can build your own. I’ve learnt it takes patience and trial and error (things I’m not great at) but it’s totally do-able.

The second fear I had was not being that technically minded so how on earth could I do this myself?!  Well here you go!  I researched, researched, researched.  I spoke to some experts in the field who are good at social media, I am currently studying social media marketing and blogging (so expect some improvements to this page going forward!) and I talk to inspiring people who are business owners.  I have a mentor and friend who has given the little tips and confidence to get me going.  So I am doing just that. Thank you Mahmood.

I am also a perfectionist by nature and also didn’t really want to launch a service or site that wasn’t 100% up to scratch or with all the ideas in place.  My theory now…. you have to start somewhere right and in honesty, would I really be happy with anything? so get on with it girl!

So what is your fear?  What is holding you back from achieving something your heart is set on?  Is it fear of failure, fear of comparison to others, fear of the unknown.  This stuff seems so much bigger in our head than they are in reality.  You don’t know how things will turn out if you don’t try – you just have to take that first step.  Research, plan, prepare and then take step number one.  The rest falls into place afterwards.

So whether it’s a lifestyle change, starting an exercise regime, looking for a new job or even setting up your own business – GO FOR IT.  What are the gaps you need to fill – this could be getting new contacts, taking a course or study program, researching online for information or reaching out to friends and colleagues. Look for all possible solutions and don’t let the first obstacle that gets in your way put you off.  Life comes with set backs, but if your dream means that much to you then find a way around them.  I have always done this which is how I’ve ended up being a trainer of instructors and a presenter for Les Mills.  First it was a language barrier, then it was a location barrier then it was connecting to the right people.  I don’t give up and neither should you.  Work damn hard for what you want, which unfortunately not everyone is willing to do.

This attitude has also got me to this page right here. Taking my fitness training plans and knowledge and moving online. So are you ready to go for what you want or is fear holding you back?

Believe me, when you finally start (or even achieve) your goal – it feels amazing.  So I urge you, just go out there and grab it with both hands.  Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.