Sunday, 17 February 2013

Give 'fitness' camps the boot!

Boot camps.  No longer associated with places where unruly teens go to find their manners, but a place to go to push your body to the extreme in order to lose that extra stone lingering around your midriff. 
The camps have become something of a ‘celebrity’ craze and not a day goes by without a C-lister donning a skimpy, unforgiving tank top and wincing as they hurl a tyre over their heads.
Every park and open space in the entire country seems to be filled with groups of panting, sweating and growling people being put through their paces by ex-military trainers. 
Boot camp weekends, weeks and even holidays are advertised everywhere promising guaranteed weight-loss, and pronto.
At first glance the grimaces and look of pain on the willing participants’ faces would have you believe that they were having an awful time and regretting ever signing up.
However these boot camps are becoming ever-more popular with people scrambling over each other to secure a place like they are gold-dust. 
Far from being a method of torture, many describe the experience as ‘euphoric’ as they see the results of their hard graft almost immediately, with many participants losing seven pounds on the usual seven-day stints. 
Reality TV stars are cashing in on the appeal of the camps, with numerous TOWIE stars embarking on rigorous regimes from the help of boot camp trainers to lose the ‘wine pounds’ before a holiday.
The expression ‘No carbs before Marbs’ is routinely heard on the show in the run-up to their annual Marbella trip, even though the stars admit they haven’t seen the inside of a gym since their last visit. 
Pictures emerged of TOWIE’s Frankie Essex and Lauren Goodger as they were put through their sweaty paces in Ibiza, and we were kept up-to-date with their rapid weight loss while they shamelessly plug the company on Twitter. 
It seems that the camps are becoming a pre-requisite jotted on the ‘to do’ list along with the bikini-wax, so that you can have the bikini body to die for without the slog of weeks of going to the gym.
Although the camps are great for losing those stubborn few pounds in time for a special event, for those that use the camps for quick fix weight loss it could be the exercise equivalent to the yo-yo diet.
This presents its own potential health risks as well as the negative effects it has on self-esteem and confidence.
Some participants lose up to two pounds a day on these intense courses, with most daylight hours dedicated to exercise and not much time for muscle recovery. 
It’s no wonder that the results are clear in the mirror after only a few days, but what happens when the bags are packed and the mud is washed off when you get home?
Keeping up a weight-loss of two pounds a week is unhealthy and unrealistic. 
Busy work schedules and social lives don’t allow for endless hours of exercise and even if the camp inspired you to undertake an exercise regime, that feeling of ‘euphoria’ is difficult to maintain as the pounds don't fall away as easy as they did before. 
This only leads to many slipping back into a sedentary lifestyle and so, just like the reality TV stars, it’s back to boot camp when the next holiday is booked.
This can create a vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain as fitness and health take the backseat in favour of a quick, trim bikini body. 
Boot camps can be a great way of kick-starting a regime when stuck in a fitness rut and the feeling of comradery can give you an instant confidence boost when you lack the willpower. But you need to take that willpower home with you. 
In many cases little aftercare is offered and this coupled with hefty price-tags of up to £1600 a week, it seems that some are relying on returning clientele.
As someone in the fitness field, I encourage new fun, fresh ways to exercise and that consistency is the key to successful long-term weight management.

Exercise: The new nicotine patch

We are bombarded with the health benefits of exercise and how it is an essential tool for weight management and overall well-being but it could also act as a natural aid to help smokers quit smoking, for good.
The study, conducted in Taiwan, revealed that smokers who participated in moderate activity were 55% more likely to quit than their inactive counterparts and, additionally, they were 43% less likely to relapse after breaking the habit.
The study examined the healthcare data of 434,190 people over an eight year period and has come up with some surprising results, for smokers and non-smokers alike. 
The study showed that those participants who became more active and who had quit smoking saw their life expectancy increase by 5.6 years.
However, smokers who didn’t quit had also reaped the benefits of exercise as it increased their life expectancy by 3.7 years.
The findings were presented at the World Congress of Cardiology and one of the researchers, Dr C.P. Wen suggested that if cigarette users can continue to exercise, not only they can increase the quit rate, but also they can 'reduce their mortality for all cause and for cardiovascular disease in the long-run'.
Wen claims that exercising regularly, as little as 30 minutes a day, should therefore be top priority for all smokers wanting to quit.
Dr Fiona Jones of the University of Bedfordshire has suggested a possible explanation for the success rate of quitters that exercise improves mood and reduces stress and so the effects observed in this study might be explained by these mood benefits helping to reduce cravings for cigarettes.
With 69% of smokers in the UK wanting to stub it out for good and the government investing heavily in anti-smoking campaigns and ‘quit kits’, these findings suggest that exercise should form an integral part of the process of quitting smoking and presents an inexpensive aid for remaining smoke free.
Therefore, the government should utilise these findings by promoting the benefit of exercise in its campaigns, not only to quit but to prolong life expectancy.
As research continues, exercise’s natural high could soon replace the gripping and addictive hold of the nicotine fix and keep you on the steady road to a longer, healthier, smoke-free life.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Detox Manchester Stylee

Glitter is swept away from dance floor, balloons are popped and empty champagne glasses chink in the sink.  That’s it for another year.  And boy, has your body paid it.  Your head gives you a good talking to with a stinking headache. Your stomach is throwing its dummy out of the pram for feeding it that dodgy-looking kebab.  And don’t even get started on your poor feet that look like they have been through World War II.  Don’t be expecting to put them in heels until March. 
Now, it’s time to pay penance for your crime of grievous bodily harm. 
This is not a generic guide on how to detox your body at home.  Oh no, my friends, this is the MM Detox.
So check out our top five ways to get your body back in tip top condition - Manchester stylee. 

Get down t’ gym

We are all aware of the benefits of exercise but research shows that those who exercise regularly have fewer toxins in their bodies.  Yoga is the perfect exercise for a detoxer as the twists squeeze your organs, forcing blood out and creating better circulation.  Yogic deep breathing also empties your lungs of carbon dioxide and fills them with fresh air leading to better overall health. 
So embrace the Upward Facing Dog and visit to find classes near you.

Stick on the kettle, love  

Much to the delight of tea-drinkers, a brew could be the perfect pick me up after a rough night.  Tea is full of anti-oxidants and hydrates you.  To earn extra health brownie points stick to the herbal kind.  It could also help your new year’s diet resolution as it fills you up making you less likely to over-eat. 
Grab a buddy and make your way to the Richmond Tea Rooms in the Village.  You can be happy in the knowledge that a natter over a quaint cuppa is doing you the world of good.  Just stay away from the cake.

Pass us the salt

Epsom salts should be kept within reaching distance of the tub beside your rubber duckie and throw a healthy amount next time you have a dip.  Hot water draws toxins out of the body to the skin's surface, while the water cools, it pulls toxins from the skin. Epsom salts augment this detoxification by causing you to sweat.
You can grab some from Holland and Barret on Market Street. A kilo is a snip at just under £9.  Bargain. 

You right scrubber

Exfoliation will help get rid of toxins from your skin and refresh circulation.  Now you have an excuse to treat yourself to a day in the spa. The rapid brushing movements with cosmetic products improve the lymphatic system, increase circulation and bring fresh nutrients to the skin's surface.  Now you have an excuse to treat yourself to a day in the spa.
Not that you needed one.
Try the £29 Sugar Kiwi Body Polisher at The Beauty Lounge in Radisson Blu Hotel on Chicago Avenue.  It is complete body exfoliation treatment from your finger tips to your toes, to eliminate dry, flaky skin and refine the skin's texture.

Go on my Sauna!

Sweating it out in a sauna is an ideal method for the elimination of the environmental chemicals stored in the fat cells under the skin. Regular use will help improve your energy level, attention span, and release from the joint and muscle aches.  It also converts the blood acidity into a higher alkaline level which decreases fatigue and improves the immune system.  An all rounder in my detox book!
Nip down to Nu Spa at the Pace in the Green Quarter and avail of their 2 for 1 spa days starting from £59.  It would be criminal not to.