Fitness myths – Mythbuster 2018

I have constructed a list of fitness myths that need to die. Carry on reading to understand these myths and misconceptions that could be holding you back.

  1. No pain no gain true or false?

No pain no gain fitness myths

Your training programs should not be painful. You want to challenge your body, get out of your comfort zone but actual pain should not be a part of it. If you experience pain when working out something is wrong. You have probably developed or are developing an injury and if you persist it will get worse and could result in your training coming to an end. Listen to your body as pain is a sign to stop.

It simply isn’t worth it as pain caused by exercise can often mean – electrolyte imbalance, mental burnout, injured muscles, damaged joints or all of the above. You then will not be able to work out for a significant period of time meaning that you cannot achieve your fitness goal.

Try and mix up your workouts to avoid strain on the same muscles over and over again. This allows you to get a well-balanced workout and body and the whole body can benefit.

Stretching before and after a workout helps to reduce the after workout aches we often all experience. This is vital in preventing injuries and assisting with muscle recovery.

Mythbuster – fatigue, sweat and endurance is all required for an effective workout but pain should not be a part of it.

  1. Lifting heavy weights bulks you up

lifting heavy bulks you up - fitness myths

Lifting weights helps you burn more calories than you would if you were to just do cardio. When you do cardio you burn and when you stop you stop burning the calories. When you lift weights you burn calories and then continue to burn calories for a considerable amount of time after your workout has finished. Burning calories makes you lose weight so this would suggest lifting weights contributes to making you smaller not bigger.

Weight training is used to shape your body and it’s your choice how you plan to shape it. If you want a perkier bum – squats and deadlifts or if you would like shapely toned arms you can work on your upper body.

Weight training alone will not bulk up your body, in order to bulk up you have to bulk up your diet as well.

Mythbuster – If you do weight training you aren’t going to wake up with Popeys muscles unless you’re eating a hell of a lot of food to match.

  1. Exercise machines beat free weights

machines vs free weights fitness myths

Both have their pros and cons

Exercise machines are great for beginners and they help with form and getting the movement correct. Exercise machines are also very easy to learn and makes what could be a complex movement, easy.

You use more muscles when using free weights. When using free weights the large muscles and all the tiny ones we are hardly aware of are hard at work. This means you are able to get the most out of your workout.

Mythbuster – personally free weights win for me every time. I rarely use assisted machines apart from the leg press. I just believe that you should only need to do what your body is capable of doing alone.

  1. Running on a treadmill is just as good as running outside

treadmill vs running outside fitness myths

Running outdoors is definitely more beneficial than running on the treadmill and here are some reasons why:

  • Weather, the wind, heat and cold all set up various different conditions that make our bodies work harder to adapt and so burn more calories. The wind give us resistance we have to work hard to fight against, the heat and the cold make our bodies work harder to regulate our temperatures therefore burning more as we exercise
  • Running outside is far more interesting than the treadmill. People often say that a minute on a treadmill can feel close to an hour but this is quite different when running outside. I quite enjoy running through the park on a sunny day as it’s a great way to be outside, get some fresh air and see the countryside.

Mythbuster – How does running on a treadmill compare to running outside? Well the answer is simple, outside the terrain varies so gives you a better workout than the consistent level terrain that the treadmill offers.

  1. You can’t work out when you’re sick

work out when sick fitness myths

Winter is coming and flu season is upon us, so does this mean we can’t work out when we catch a bug? This is absolute rubbish, in fact, if I have a fluy symptoms or even a hangover I find it great to sweat out the germs. Once the germs are out of your system you must still be mindful that you are not at 100% of your health. Take care to have a warm shower and wear warm dry clothes after a workout. Continue with any medication, vitamin C, warm teas and soups and get plenty of sleep. In no time you will be feeling great and smashing the gym again.

I recommend working out to boost your immune system but please don’t attempt anything too strenuous on the body. Perhaps a light jog and some medium to light weights will do the job. You have to remember your body is not at its best so recovery is harder than when you are at optimum health.

Also if you have anything more serious than a hangover or the flu please seek medical advice if you want to continuing working out.

Mythbuster – exercising regularly will reduce the chances of you getting sick in the first place. If you have flue like symptoms or a hangover, toughen up and sweat it out, this will make you feel better quicker in the long run.

  1. Crunches are the best exercise to give you abs

crunches give you abs fitness myth

There are so many exercises that are amazing for your core it is almost rude to suggest that crunches are the best. Here is a list of just some of the exercises that can be used for core exercise and strength:

  • Front plank

front plank

  • Crunches

crunches

  • Leg lowering

leg lowering

  • Dying bug

dying bug

  • Long lever front plank

long lever front plank

  • Side plank

side plank

  • Side plank with leg lift

side plank leg lift

  • Side plank band row

side plank band row

Let  me put some perspective on this. Think of someone who is overweight and they do 100 crunches a day in the hope that they will get abs. They will indeed strengthen their core muscles and underneath the layers of fat there will be stronger muscles but this will not be visible. You have to shed the fat first with a combination of cardio, weight training and a healthy diet. In time you will then see the results you are looking for – ABS.

Mythbuster – this is an outdated approach to abs. In fact as they say, abs are made in the kitchen. All exercise contributes to abs but all of the exercises listed above target the core muscles along with cardio, weight training and a healthy balanced diet.

  1. Running beats walking

running vs walking fitness myths

The ultimate goal for everyone is health and fitness so walking and or running is pushing you in the right direction. I would say after this it would depend on what you want to achieve.

Going for a leisurely country walk will increase your steps and indeed increase calories burned but you will have to walk a lot further to burn the same amount of calories if you were to run the same route.

Walking on an incline on the treadmill has a very similar calorie burn rate to that of running of a flat surface.

Personally my preference is walking on an incline. This increases fitness, burns calories and isn’t so aggressive on the knees. I also find that it maintains and increases leg and booty muscles. If your interested in keeping your shape I would opt for incline walks instead of flat running but if your main focus is weightloss definitely start running as much as possible.

If you look at Olympic long distance runners you can often see they have a very flat body shape. It is of course a matter of preference but I like to keep my shape hence the incline approach.

Mythbuster– if you run on the flat and walk the same distance running will of course burn more calories over a shorter period.

Both running and walking are great to improve health and fitness

Running on a treadmill and walking at an incline burn at a similar rate so are equal.

Running on the flat makes you skinny all over (with good diet) whilst incline walks maintain your body shape.

  1. You can target your fat burn

targetted fat burning fitness myth

As mentioned previously we know that doing 100 crunches a day isn’t going to give us abs, just as doing 500 tricep-dips isn’t going to get rid of our bingo wings. It is making sure you do a well-rounded exercise targeting the entire body and of course with a key focus on our problem areas.

Mythbuster – Targeted fat loss or spot reduction is an absolute myth – there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this is at all possible.

Read more on this in a great article written by The Body Coach.

  1. You shouldn’t work out on an empty stomach (fasted or fed workout)

working out on an empty stomach fitness myths

Ultimately there are pros and cons to both fed and fasted workouts. It is really about listening to your body and realising what works best for you. If you have your breakfast and coffee in the morning and feel this surge of energy that gets you through your workout its probably best to stick to this method. Some people like to work out first thing and don’t have the stomach for food at 5am and prefer to work up and appetite. Again, if this is you it might be best to stick with what’s currently working. If you’re new to working out I would recommend doing a week of both and weighing up your own pros and cons.

Mythbuster – There is no evidence to suggest that a fasted workout is bad. There is plenty of evidence to show the benefits of both fasted and fed workouts, all very interesting:

Fed:

Should you eat before a workout?

Fasted:

Exercising empty stomach secret weight loss

I would personally recommend doing a mixture of the two and design a pattern that fits in with your lifestyle.

  1. Sweating means you’re out of shape

sweating means you are unfit fitness myths

Everyone is different when sweating during a workout. Sweat is basically a cooling mechanism of the body, but is it linked to being out of shape or less fit?

Sweating sooner whilst exercising can actually be a sign that you are fitter than those who have not yet started to sweat. This is simply that your body is more acclimatised to the exercising conditions and is more efficient at cooling down.

Please make sure you are aware of how much you sweat during a workout and you need to replenish this amount of liquid lost. Make sure you always have water to hand whilst exercising to avoid dehydration.

Mythbuster– sweating is the bodies normal response to exercising and most definitely is not an indication that you are unfit.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

Scare your body into losing weight this Halloween – 9 impressive health benefits of pumpkin.

You can incorporate pumpkin into your diet as a sweet or savoury dish. In winter I love soup, so I often eat pumpkin soup as its nice and warming. It’s also great for the planet to eat local and in season fruits and vegetables. If we were all a bit more thoughtful and did this more often it would cut down the demand for imported foods and reduce the worlds pollution levels.

pumpkin patch

Here are 9 impressive health benefits of pumpkin:

  1. Highly nutritious – one cup or 340 grams of pumpkin contains the following:

  • 49 calories

  • 2 grams fat

  • 2 grams protein

  • 12 grams carbohydrates

  • 3 grams fibre

  • 245 % RDI vitamin A

  • 19 % RDI vitamin C

  • 16 % RDI potassium

  • 11 % RDI copper

  • 11 % RDI manganese

  • 11 % RDI vitamin B2

  • 10 % RDI vitamin E

  • 8 % RDI Iron

  • Also includes small measurements of magnesium, folate, zinc, phosphorus and other B vitamins

Pumpkin is in fact 94 % water, this combined with the low calories makes it a healthy and nutritious snack.

  1. Reduce Risk of Disease–  pumpkin contains vast amounts of antioxidants. These protect our bodies from disease. Antioxidants have the ability to protect us from skin damage, reduce the risk of cancer and eye disease and many other conditions.

 

  1. Boosts Immunity – pumpkin is filled with vitamins that help our bodies with a variety of things. These include boosting our immunity so even more reason to eat it at this time of year. Pumpkin isn’t just for Halloween but can protect us from all those winter bugs that come about as it gets colder and darker. Pumpkin contains vitamin A, E and C and iron and folate.

 

 

  1. Protect Your Eyes – Pumpkin has a very high vitamin A content ( 245% RDI) and so is connected to reducing the risks of sight loss.

  2. Promote Weight Loss – pumpkin is a nutrient dense food, this means that it is packed full of nutrients but extremely low in calories. When dieting, pumpkin is a great source of carbohydrate as you can afford to eat more of it than the standard rice and potatoes.

 

  1. Reduce Cancer Risk – pumpkin is high in carotenoids and antioxidants that are responsible for removing free radicals from the body. It has been suggested that these can help reduce the risk of cancer.

 

  1. Increase Heart Health – the combination of vitamin C, potassium and fibre can improve heart health. Also the antioxidants inside the pumpkin have been linked to reducing bad cholesterol. If reducing your cholesterol level is of particular interest please see more information from a previous blog post I wrote. October is Cholesterol Month – a guide on cholesterol health including where to check your cholesterol level and where to get your cholesterol tested

 

  1. Promotes Healthy Skin – Pumpkin contains nutrients that when consumed act as a natural sun block to our skin. The vitamin C within the pumpkin aids with production of collagen that helps keep you looking younger for longer.

 

  1. Easily Accessible – Pumpkins are cheap, they are easy to find in any local store. You can easily add them into your diet as both a savoury or sweet dish, whatever suits you best.

 

Other Pumpkin Facts:

  • Pumpkins are a type of winter squash
  • Pumpkins are fruits
  • Pumpkins can be yellow as well as orange
  • 100g of pumpkin is only 26 kcals

pumpkin picking

Last weekend I went to the amazing The Pop Up Farm to go pumpkin picking for Halloween. I cannot recommend this highly enough. They have a 10 acre field full of pumpkins and squashes. It’s so colourful and really gets you feeling autumnal.

If you like taking pictures it’s a no brainer, the scenery is epic and great for a halloweeny October setting. I would recommend googling your local pumpkin picking pick your own farm and get there asap.

pick your own pumpkin

If you live in the London area I have listed 5 local pumpkin picking farms that you can visit:

  1. Crockford Bridge Farm, Weybridge Surrey, KT15 2BU. £4 entry charge, cash only.
  2. Pierson Agriculture at Four Winds Farm, Penshurst Road, Bidborough.
  3. Secretts, Hurst Farm, Chapel, Lane, Milford, Surrey, GUB 5HU
  4. Foxes Farm, Green Lane, Aldham, Colchester, CO6 3PR, and Watch House Farm, Wash Road, Basildon, SS25 4ER. Free entry to the fields just pay for the pumpkins you pick (cash only).
  5. Cammas Hall Farm, Needham Green, near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM22 7JT

Many of these farms aren’t just available for pumpkin picking and offer seasonal fruit and vegetable picking all year round. Keep an eye out on their websites to find out what you can source locally. It’s a lovely healthy family friendly day out.

Pick Your Own farms not only provide you with healthy and fresh fruit and vegetables but they also support your local economy. When going to a Pick Your Own Farm you are guaranteed freshness and you can also do your own quality control when choosing your purchases. Pick Your Own is also a lot cheaper than buying from your local shop.

If you don’t live near a local pumpkin farm and want to decorate your house for Halloween fear not as believe it or not you can purchase these cute little ceramic pumpkins and squashes from amazon. Good old Amazon Prime will have your house looking halloweeny in no time – CLICK HERE

pumpkin picking for halloween

Happy Halloween! What are you going as this year?

Instagram @keziakco

Xxx

October is Cholesterol Month – a guide on cholesterol health including where to check your cholesterol level and where to get your cholesterol tested

What is cholesterol?

There are two type:

HDL (high density lipoprotein), this one is often associated with good cholesterol as it is protective.

LDL (low density lipoprotein), this one is often associated with bad cholesterol as it blocks your arteries.

Do you actually need cholesterol?

Cholesterol is needed to make vitamin D, some hormones and bile but too much of it in our bodies can be extremely dangerous. Cholesterol is labelled as the silent killer so awareness is crucial.

Signs of high cholesterol

You can have high cholesterol and experience no signs at all hence the name – the silent killer. That is why I urge you to get yours checked so something can be done before it’s too late. There are some signs you can look out for:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart burn
  • Angina
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Pain whilst walking

As you can see these are extreme symptoms and you wouldn’t want it to get to this before diagnosing the issue

Find out more on cholesterol symptoms, causes and treatments in the link. Stay woke.

Check your cholesterol level

Many people will ask the question how do I check my cholesterol level? What is the normal cholesterol level? And can I check my cholesterol level at home?

How do I check my cholesterol level?

You can start by booking an appointment with your local GP and they can advise you accordingly.

There are also home test kits designed for checking your cholesterol level. You can pick these up from your local pharmacy such as Boots.

Please find some suggested links here:

Boots home test kit

Lloyds Pharmacy home test kit

Amazon home test kit

What is the normal cholesterol level?

Please see the test results described below:

The lower your cholesterol ratio is the better. To work this out (total cholesterol / HDL cholesterol). The result should be below 4:1

A cholesterol level of 6 and above is considered ‘high risk’. If you do a home kit and get this result book an appointment with your GP to get further advice.

NHS recommended cholesterol level:

Adult

Total Cholesterol 5mmol/L or less
Non HDL Cholesterol 4mmol/L or less
LDL Cholesterol 3mmol/L or less
HDL Cholesterol 1mmol/L or less

My cholesterol Results:

So I went and bought a test form Amazon – the CARE diagnostica Cholesterol Health Care Test as seen below. This cost £12.99 from Amazon.

Test your cholesterol level from home

The kit comes with a lancet, plaster, the test wheel and instruction booklet as seen below:

cholesterol health care test

I carefully read the instruction manual before completing the test. Please note the test is only accurate if you have fasted for 12 hours prior to doing the test and the test is best read in day light. Please see instruction manual below:

cholesterol kit

Cholesterol test instructions

You now need to open the cholesterol wheel where you find a round circle. This is where the blood will go when you prick your finger. Now for the tricky part, you need to prepare the lancet and place it on your finger. When in the correct position you must press down and there should be a little bubble of blood that you dab onto the wheel. In my case I found it really difficult to prick my own finger and have this automatic response to pull my finger away. unfortunately there was very little blood and not enough for the test.

Self testing cholesterol kit, how how to do it at home

The circle above should really be full with blood and I just couldn’t do it to myself. I think the test itself needs to be better adapted for this as once you press the button on the lancet the mechanism is done. There is no option for a retry so that is basically £12.99 down the drain.

I never got to find out my results as there wasn’t enough blood so the test just remained red as you can see above. In an ideal situation it should change a shade of green to match the wheel giving you an indication of your cholesterol level.

After going through this ordeal to find out my cholesterol level and being unsuccessful I wasn’t going to give up just yet. I booked an appointment at the GP and was able to find out I have a healthy cholesterol level of 3.1.

If you don’t like the doctors or simply don’t have time I found these great Easy Cholesterol Test Strips. The great thing about them is that you get 10 if you mess up like I did and they are a lot cheaper £19.99 for 10.

The best method at keeping your cholesterol levels under control is to make a cholesterol diet sheet.

Foods that lower cholesterol:

  • Wholegrain
  • Bran
  • Oats
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Vegetables
  • Avocado
  • Flax
  • Nuts

Food to avoid as they increase your cholesterol:

  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Margarine
  • Lard
  • Fatty meats
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut cream
  • Palm oil

Healthy food swaps to lower cholesterol levels can be found on Heart UK website with a load of other useful information.

If you are looking for cholesterol-friendly recipe inspiration, look no further. This is a dish I eat regularly that is great for your health and keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level:

Vegetarian Low cholesterol recipe (serves 4) – Garlic and Herb Freekeh

  • Ingredients:
  • 200g Freekeh
  • 175g Frozen peas
  • 6 tbsp Garlic oil
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Handful of herbs – mint parsley chives

Method

  1. Boil the freekeh
  2. After 15 minutes add the frozen peas and leave to boil for an addition 5 minutes.
  3. Finely chop the herbs.
  4. Drain the water and add contents to a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Now you can enjoy a lovely healthy vegetarian low cholesterol meal 🙂

low cholesterol recipe - freekeh

 

If you enjoyed the recipe and are serious about lowering your cholesterol there is a great cook book dedicated to just that. Eat Your Way To A Lower Cholesterol will keep you inspired and claims to reduce cholesterol level by 20% in just three months.

To increase your knowledge and awareness of National Cholesterol Month please take a look at the UK Heart website.

Please make a donation to Heart UK to keep supporting the amazing work they do.

Click the link to DONATE HERE.

national cholesterol month

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

Ben Nevis Blog – I’ve never climbed a mountain guide to climbing the tallest mountain in the UK

Planning our trip to the Scottish highlands and climbing Ben Nevis

Ben what? Is what I said when my friend suggested a weekend trip to climb Ben Nevis. Not the cleverest response but I had not actually heard of Ben Nevis as I’m not a very outdoorsy, country kind of girl but I do like to try new things, so of course, I said yes.

Expectation vs Reality – Ben Nevis

I had this idea that we would be going on a nice little walk up the mountain wearing matching crop tops and leggings and do an amazing Instagram photo shoot at the top before returning to the car. How wrong I was.

If you’re planning your trip now, you better stop thinking about the above and concentrate on what’s to come. The Scottish highlands are absolutely breath taking, the views are to die for so it is well worth it and an amazing experience but mountain climbing is not a joke. This is not a hill you are walking up and it can be very dangerous so please pay great attention to what is to follow.

Safety first – climbing Ben Nevis

The mountain summit is only visible 30 days of the year in a cloak of mist that is so dangerous people can quite literally walk off the edge.

The plan – climbing Ben Nevis

We went in a group of three girls and luckily one of us had done it before. I would recommend a group of three or more for safety and if you can, bring someone who has done it before. Even though people kept asking me if I was going as part of a guided group I don’t feel this is necessary at all. Perhaps in strong weathers it would be advisable but I think if we had payed someone to show us how to walk along a path I would feel pretty mugged off, just saying.

What I find quite amusing is people kept asking me if I had been training for this and I can say the answer is no. Not really at all, I just decided in incorporate more and lengthy walks on the stair master. 45 minutes in on the stair master I was absolutely shattered and I was really questioning whether I would be able to do it at this point but it was too late to cancel now. We booked the trip roughly three weeks before so there wasn’t really any time to make any drastic changes anyway, whether I wanted to or not.

My Ben Nevis shopping list:

  • Waterproof trousers – Amazon £14.99
  • Fleece – The North Face £50 reduced to £30
  • Waterproof Jacket – Karrimor, Sports Direct £75 reduced to £35
  • Thermal Socks – Primark £3
  • Walking Socks – Sports Direct £6.99
  • Thermal long sleeved top – Gym Shark £30 reduced to £15
  • Ski Gloves – Amazon £11.99
  • Waterproof back pack cover – Amazon £6.99
  • Back Pack – Nike £25
  • 1 litre water bottle –USN Amazon £4.49
  • Snow boots – Dare2be £115

Other things that I already owned include:

  • T-shirt
  • Fleecy leggings
  • Scarf
  • Snacks – go natural bars
  • Waterproof case for mobile phone
  • OS Locate App
  • OS Maps

Luckily for me there were three of us. I am not the most organised so my friends brought the additional essentials:

  • Emergency shelter
  • Plasters
  • Rehydration tablets
  • Whistle
  • Tiger balm
  • Heat patches
  • compass
  • map

Travelling to Ben Nevis

We booked flights from London to Edinburgh. I don’t believe it makes a huge difference whether you fly to Edinburgh or Glasgow but we found cheaper options to Edinburgh.

Flights cost in the region of £50 return if you’re up for dodgy Ryanair. Left on Friday morning and returned Monday evening. We decided to go for 4 days as this gives us a two day window so we could decide what day to climb – weather dependant.

We stayed at the Premier Inn Fort William, £228 for three nights in a family room – very good price, within walking distance to the station, town, Morrisons and McDonalds.

We hired a car from Edinburgh airport from Hertz. This is great as you don’t need to get a shuttle from the airport. Most car companies are walking distance from the terminal. £104 for one driver, car rental and insurance and then a £200 deposit. It was very quick to both pick up and return the car and that’s coming from the worst driver ever – but that’s another story.

What I had imagined was having a nice relaxing Friday to prepare myself for the walk the next day however this was far from it. I left my house at 9 am and didn’t get to fort William until 9 pm. Please believe the whole journey was TWELVE hours and it was mentally exhausting. Not only did I drive to the airport, the waiting, the flight, the more waiting, the driving for like 4 hours and then the checking in – god help me I was exhausted. Please bear this in mind if you’re travelling from London, or anywhere to be honest.

Climbing Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis

It was about 10 degrees and windy in Fort William, for me this is freezing. I wore two socks, boots, leggings, sports bra, gym shark top, Nike t-shirt, fleece, and jacket. I packed my waterproof trousers, scarf, gloves, water, snacks, phone, waterproof backpack cover all in my bag.

We fuelled up with porridge, fruit and crumpets. Lots of carbs to give us lots of energy and then we were ready to go.

Ben Nevis is around a five minute drive from Premier Inn and has a car park and visitor centre. We parked up for about 9 am and were ready to go. There are a couple of different paths up the  mountain but we took the obvious route – the tourist path or alternatively called the pony track.

I have to say we were extremely lucky with the weather. In Scotland it literally rains every day, and it did on our trip apart from the day we decided to climb. We had a clear sunny day – couldn’t believe our luck. Literally on the other days we were there I could barely walk to the shop without blowing away down the road. The weather was so extreme there was a yellow weather warning for heavy rain. I think if we had planned for a different day we wouldn’t have been able to attempt it due to safety.

As you are probably doing now, I read numerous blogs that state that the first quarter of the hike is steep and then it flattens out. This is not true at all. I found that it was very steep just after the half way point, very hard on the legs. The first quarter you are walking on mainly large rocks, you have to keep your eyes to the ground to avoid any slips and trips but it is very beautiful and you find after about 30 minutes you are already reasonably high up with lots of lovely views. We were even lucky enough to see a rainbow.

ben nevis rainbow

I started off at the bottom of the mountain feeling absolutely freezing, with the incline walking I quickly warmed up and was able to remove my raincoat, fleece, and t-shirt so just wearing the thermal long sleeved top.

You get to see all the stunning mountain streams, walk across little bridges and even a waterfall. At about half way you reach a lake, here some walkers can take a different path and then start their decent down the mountain. Many walkers stop here for lunch or snacks and refuel/ recharge for the rest of the trek.

Ben nevis blog

This ascent to the summit includes a combination of steep rocky pathway and flattish gravel pathway. As you get higher and higher you start to see frost on the floor, we even experienced a bit of snow fall and it was at this point we layered up, t-shirt, fleece, gloves and coat went back on. We also were unable to see the bottom of the mountain due to the mist surrounding Ben Nevis. I think it was now that I was starting to feel the strain on my legs the most. You could neither see the top nor the bottom and it was constantly on my mind, ‘ when are we going to get there’, ‘how much longer’.

ben nevis tallest mountain

After four hours we reached the top of Ben Nevis, what an achievement. At -11 degrees and actual frozen hair. Yes I said it, the hair on my head was frozen, I had crunchy hair. We took a few pictures on the tallest point and in the little ruins up there and quickly began the decent. It was absolutely freezing at the top, just taking your gloves off to take a quick picture was too much. I think what kept us going was the great sense of achievement and all the other walkers at the top with the same great energy, it really is  quite something.

ben nevis scotlandat the top of ben nevisBen nevis blogger

It took two hours to reach the bottom. Quite tough on the knees walking down and again you have to keep your eyes on the ground to avoid any accidents. You also don’t warm up as much going down so I kept all my layers on until the bottom minus the gloves. Again I felt absolutely fine on the decent but during the last quarter my feet were aching considerably and I was very focused on sitting down.

ben nevis hike

When reaching the bottom we had a little sit down and recover then quickly drove back. Our whole trip there and back took 6 hours which I was very pleased with. After the best shower I’ve ever had in my life, it was time for prosecco and pasta, YAY.

Looking back – climbing Ben Nevis

On reflection, it is so scenic along the route so well worth it just for that. I don’t think it was as challenging as expected if you are of reasonable fitness, and far better than I had anticipated.

Phone coverage up Ben Nevis

Also another point to add, for those concerned about phone coverage I didn’t really experience a signal issue, perhaps it cut out now and again but nothing too concerning. The main issue is the cold, as you go higher and higher the battery drains very quickly. One minute it’s 80% the next it’s switching off or on 1% so I would only take it out if absolutely necessary AKA Instagram picture time.

ben nevis scottish highlands

My advice would be to make sure you go at your own pace. We saw people running up and down the mountain, sorry not for me. When you think you can’t go on a second longer just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. For me, I found that when I stopped or sat down for a minute it was 10 times harder to start again.

ben nevis mountain

Additional facts about Ben Nevis:

  • Tallest mountain in the UK
  • 1344 meters
  • Based in the Scottish highlands – Fort William

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

Overcome fitness setbacks like the experts

download

Let’s turn a fitness setback into a comeback

It’s impossible to give 100% 100% of the time. Don’t be too demanding on yourself, you need to give your mind and body time to rest and recuperate.

Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts suffer from setbacks. This is normal as you cant keep top of your game 24/7. So when you feel like you’re not doing as well as usual, don’t beat yourself up about.

Here are some top tips on preventing a set back before it happens:

  1. Too busy at work

No one loves a nap more than I do. That feeling when you get out of bed in the morning and you think ‘how much longer until I can get back in it’. The truth is you have enough time, you just need to make sure you make the time. Going to the gym is an excellent refresher away from work and boosts your health and immune system. You don’t want to work yourself into the ground as all you’ll end up doing is getting sick. When you’re sick you can’t work or exercise so you’re losing out on everything.

Best advice for this is to keep on top of your priorities and use the gym as ‘me time’. Fitness shouldn’t be considered a chore or some horrible extra job you have to attend to, it should be enjoyable. Try and change your image of maintaining your health and you will find more time for it – trust me.

  1. Lose all motivation to work out

I think this happens to everyone,  no matter how ‘fit an enthusiastic you may be we all have a down time. You can start to try and build up momentum by searching some motivational success stories on the internet or watching a motivational video. There are so many you can search via YouTube and Google. It just takes some time to search inside yourself for what you really want out of life and what you want to achieve in the now. For some people this can take a while and you need to mentally in the right place to start your fitness journey again. Just have faith, you will get there and you will achieve what you want to.

  1. Forgot you gym stuff or headphones

There is nothing worse than getting to the gym without your headphones – especially cardio. I’m not the biggest fan of cardio anyway so a minute on the treadmill feels like an hour anyway even with my music. There are some simple fixes to preventing this happening:

  1. You can pre pack and organise your gym stuff in advance. I prepare my things the evening before. When I go to work I put all my gym stuff in the back so I can go straight after work – nice and easy.
  2. You were in a rush or you pre packed and forgot your headphones – this happened to me once and I just avoided cardio. As there is music in the gym, it may not be as great listening to someone else’s ‘ top hits’ but it’s better than giving up.
  3. You forget all your gym stuff – go home and get it, this should teach you a lesson not to forget next time. NO EXCUSES.

headphones

  1. Bad weather

As mentioned in other categories below, just as you don’t need to go to the gym to work out, you also don’t need to exercise outside. Even if you can’t justify the expense of a gym membership each month you can still exercise effectively at home by using YouTube, work out DVD’s or doing your own thing. Please see my recommended YouTubers below in 7. Travel.

bad weather

  1. The gym is too expensive

Everyone has different commitments and what may be affordable to some is not to others. It is great that there are so many gyms and facilities offering a wide range of options to suit all needs. Gyms typically range from £100 per month to £15 per month, personal training sessions around £30 – £65 per hour, classes between £8 to £30 per class and the great outdoors for FREE.

So whether you have a spare £100 a month or nothing at all there really is no excuse. Here are some of my suggestions below:

Top end: £60 – £100 +

Mid range: £20 – £60

Free:

  • Your garden
  • The park
  • Your house
  1. The gym is too busy, all the machines I need are taken

This is one of the most frustrating. You’ve accomplished finding the motivation, you’ve accomplish getting ready and getting to the gym. You’re set on leg day or arm day, you get to the gym and it’s rammed. You get on the running machine to wait for the machine you need but no one’s getting off, you get frustrated and go home. Firstly, whatever you did in the gym in contributing to  your overall health and fitness so don’t feel bad if it wasn’t the same intensity as your normal one. However, you cannot use one bas experience as something to put you off returning. There are many ways round this. Some gyms offer an online system where you can see how many people are in the gym at one time, this allows you to avoid peak times. You can try various different times of day to avoid the peak after work rush. My favourite time to go is weekends, the gym is often fairly empty and I can access all the equipment easily.

Find a pattern that works for you and in no time you won’t be making these excuses any more.

  1. Travel

This is a tricky one as everyone deserves a break. I’m sure you didn’t book your luxury 5 star holiday to be stuck in the gym all day? Well I certainly didn’t but if you do a bit of pre planning you can make sure you don’t miss out completely.

I normally pack one or two exercise outfits and a resistance band. If possible pre plan by booking a hotel that has a gym within the vicinity. Try and make use of the outdoor facilities if you don’t have a gym. If you’re on a beach holiday go for an early morning job along the beach. Nothing like sand to tone those legs. Alternately, go for a swim in the pool or the sea. If you’re in the countryside go for a long hike or a run. If you’re in the snow mountains, ski, snow board or go for a long walk. Now if none of these options appeal, you still have no excuse as you can get onto YouTube and search – Hotel Room Workout. Some of my favourites are:

Now no one is suggesting you go every day of your holiday as I don’t think you would be able to call it a holiday then. It’s just good to go now and again to keep your body active and healthy. Then once you get back into the swing of things on your return, it won’t be such a shock to your body.

I hope at least on of these hints and tips gives you the inspiration you need to get back into focus and achieve your goal. Don’t give up.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

images

 

Sweaty Betty Live – SB LIVE 08/09/2018

Last year I attended Sweat Life – you can view my blog post here: www.keziafitco.co.uk/sweatlife-festival-2017/  so this year I thought I would go for something different and see what SB Live is all about.

image6.jpeg

It is advertised as the wellness event of the year, with the best of fashion, fitness and food all under one roof. Not to mention his was the 20th birthday so expectations were high.

They were offering:

  • Talks
  • Workouts
  • Healthy food
  • Beauty area
  • 25% off Sweaty Betty clothing
  • 20% off everything else
  • Goody bag worth £70

There were 3 ticket options:

  • £35 – one class, talks and £70 goody bag
  • £40 – two classes, talks and £70 goody bag
  • £60 – unlimited classes, queue jump, talks and £200 goody bag

And three time slots:

  • Morning (8:30 – 12:30)
  • Afternoon (12:30 – 16:30)
  • Evening (16:30 – 20:30)

We went for the 2nd option – 2 classes included, and we opted to get there at the crazy time of 8:30am on a Saturday. Please believe this meant to getting up at 6am on Saturday morning – dedication.

Pre purchase you are unable to view the class availability so we were initially very disappointed. After spending £40 we logged into the class booking site to find most of the classes were full and there were few with ‘limited spaces’ remaining. I can’t really say we had much of a choice but we were able to pick one yoga session and one sweat session.

The event took place in the city in a very large warehouse type building. The Old Truman Brewery, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, London, E1 6QR

The first class we opted in for was:

Another Space Yoga

This class worked on strength and flexibility in equal measures. It combined traditional yoga movement with a dynamin flow to raise your heart rate. Not as relaxing as the yoga that I’m used to but was a new experience.

And the final class was:

Third Space Metaburn

This high-intensity metabolic conditioning workout using a mix of weighted upper body and lower body exercises combined with cardio intervals for a super-toned body. Building up to 7 exercises or eliminating back down to build a lean and strong physique.

image7

Unfortunately there wasn’t the time to attend any talks.

We took advantage of the photo opportunities around the venue, had a browse in the shops and bought some healthy food to refuel.

image2

Due to a mix up on the door I was actually given a VIP wrist band so was able to access the exclusive VIP area. In all honesty it was nothing special – there was a nice relaxed chill out area to sit down and eat your food away from all the crowds. They handed out free drinks and Duck and Rye were available to do your hair I believe free of charge.

Hair dressing doesn’t interest me as no one there would be able to do my hair. I don’t think I would have the energy to do more than 2 classes so for me it wouldn’t be worth the extra £20.

As my friend had the standard pass and I had the VIP I was a able to compare the goody bags. In the picture below you can see the contents of mine – pretty good freebies. I think the contents to come up to over £200 as well. The Murad cream is £51 and the top is worth £40 so that’s £91 already.

image3.jpeg

Contents:

  • Tea Pigs
  • Eyeko Yoga Mascara
  • Murad nutrient charged gel water
  • Urban Veda soothing day cream sample
  • Sweaty Betty top
  • Natural Deodorant
  • Tangle Teezer
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Rebel Kitchen Chocolate Milk
  • Primroses Kitchen Museli
  • Brave roasted peas
  • Bounce protein bite
  • Pulsin bar
  • Oskia eye cream
  • Emily veg crisps
  • Ape coconut puffs
  • Fresh Vitamin Nectar
  • Sukin foaming facial cleanser
  • Pretty Athletic workout glow
  • 20% off Sweaty Betty voucher
  • Psycle free class

My friend had the same goody bag but smaller. Had the same contents minus the dry shampoo, Murad cream, tangle teezer and tea pigs. So I would say about £80 worth of content less.

It was a really fun and active day out. Great change for a weekend activity as it keeps you healthy and active and differs from the normal drinks on a night out.

image4

Wearing Pretty Little Thing

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

image5

image8image1

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Why is everyone so obsessed with turmeric? People are raving about it, all the big coffee chains are adding it to their lattes and there are even cooking books dedicated to turmeric. To find out why keep reading.

images

Top 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric:

  1. Anti-Inflammatory properties
  2. Pain relief – studies have shown it to work as well as ibuprofen
  3. Improve liver functions – due to its antioxidant abilities
  4. Digestion – can even be used to treat IBS
  5. Reduce the risk of cancer
  6. Natural Medicine
  7. Reduces depression
  8. Reduces period pains
  9. Reduces Acne – add to your face mask to have clear smooth and healthy skin
  10. Fights age related diseases.

Health Brands and stores are going crazy for this everyday spice. Shop shelves are over flowing with turmeric tablets, teas and snacks. Restaurants and coffee shops are adding to it everything they can from juices, coffees, shots and cakes.

images (1)

Thinking you might find it hard to add this magical ingredient into your daily routine? Here is an easy way to kill your evening snacking and add this magic spice to your daily diet:

Recipe

Turmeric Latte

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serving size: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 Teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 Teaspoons of agave syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon of nut butter
  • 1 Cup full of soya milk
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle

Instructions

Add all ingredients into a pan apart from the cinnamon and soya milk. Put on a low heat and mix until runny. Add in the soya milk and stir until boiling. Pour into a mug and add cinnamon. Serve straight away.

Best enjoyed as a late evening treat. If you feel something sweet or craving one more snack before bed try this. Not only is it filling but it’s healthy as well.

Here is the finished product:

image1.jpeg

 

BEWARE: Turmeric stains very badly so try not to spill it, especially on anything white. Also clean your teeth straight after consuming to avoid a yellow smile.

Enjoy 🙂

Instagram – @Kezkiakco

 

xxx

 

Meditation

87493cac7492b0b0d0442f2f4bff04e4--text-quotes-wall-quotes

Meditation helps you to progress in having a healthy mind. People always focus on a healthy body but we often neglect our minds and this is without question the most important part of us to care for. How can we be healthy if our mind is not? How can we be successful and happy with a mistreated mind? Meditation encourages our minds to slow down to benefit the body and soul. Meditation is the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts, just as you would retrain your body to look a certain way or to perform a certain activity.

images (3)

Many people practice meditation in order to increase awareness of yourself and surroundings and one of the most popular reasons is to reduce stress. We live such busy and stressful lives sometimes we forget to stop and take a moment of peace. Rather than being tangled up in the speed of life and all the negatives that come with it, take some time for yourself. Work on generating a positive mood and outlook, increase your self-discipline, become healthier, improve your sleep pattern and increase your pain tolerance.

meditation

Meditation is very popular and many celebrities regularly practise. Big fans are:

  • Madonna
  • Katy Perry
  • Russell Brand
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Paul McCartney
  • Nicole Kidman

The list above shows a few big stars who regularly practice meditation and regularly promote the benefits.

download

My first experience of meditation – Gong Meditation:

images

You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. I wore jeans and a top but most people wore sweatpants. To be honest I think next time I would choose something a bit more comfortable and you are supposed to feel relaxed. I suppose wear whatever you put on when you get home from work and want to chill out.

On arrival, you remove your shoes and enter the studio. The instructor had laid out all the pads, pillows and eye masks out and you were able to help yourself to blankets. As I had never been before I did not bring any additional blankets and pillows but you had the option to. I was surprised to see an older woman next to me had literally brought her whole bed with her – portable mattress included. Next time I may consider an additional pillow but nothing more was necessary as the mats were thick and blankets were available. I suggest checking with the class organiser to see what they provide prior to arrival.

I went to a gong meditation so this consists of someone playing a gong in the background as you meditate. It was very relaxing, you lie down, the instructor says a few words, and then you let your thoughts pass through your mind. In order to relax I started to think of positive things. It is hard, as you are not supposed to actively think but then I found myself thinking about not thinking. I guess this is something that takes time and much practise. On this occasion, I actually fell asleep and woke up 10 minutes before the class ended. I do not think you are supposed to do that and thank god, no one noticed. I was obviously able to relax due to falling asleep and after an hour, when the class came to an end I did feel very relaxed and rejuvenated.

I was quite close to the front as I got there early – I recommend doing this to receive the most benefit if you attend a gong meditation. It was very soothing listening to the sounds of the gong and the other instruments (not sure what else was there as my eyes were closed). I definitely heard a singing bowl as well. On occasion, I could hear the instructor walking around the room with the instruments, which created a nice effect. This provided the people at the back of the room a nice opportunity to hear the sounds clearer.  They could then receive the same experience as those at the front.

images (1)

I know there are many different types of meditation and I look forward to exploring them all in the future. I will share my experiences with you as and when I attend each class.

 

You can find classes local to you via meetup – https://www.meetup.com/

I went to a lovely class is Chesham local to me.

 

Now I have a couple of questions for you guys:

Can you recommend a specific type of meditation that I can explore next?

Can you recommend any meditation classes that are in the London are?

Appreciate your help 🙂

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

Weekly Commitment

Tip 6

We all have dreams of what we want to achieve – let’s make them a reality.

You can get one step closer to achieving your dream by making a weekly/ daily commitment to yourself. This can be applied in all walks of life, not only health and fitness – be it your career, studies, wealth or health. To be honest they all tie into each other some way or another.

My focus at the moment is getting beach ready. I have 14 days until I’ll be by the pool in France, Singapore and Thailand and I really can’t wait. I just want to push myself the extra mile before I get there so I can be proud of the changes in my body and take some AMAZING pictures. I also want to reduce the guilt I feel when I’m pigging out on all the lush exotic foods.

Tip 2

I’m sure I speak for many people when I say, when I booked the holiday 2-3 months ago the initial excitement wore off and you fall back into normal life and routine. There’s no initial burst of motivation as you simply think – ‘I’ve got ages’ and ‘I’ll deal with that closer to the time’, but how many of us think when the time comes ‘why didn’t I start earlier’ or ‘I wish I did this’. Anyway not saying I’m fantastic as here I am with 22 days to go but better late than never.

 

My 10 point commitment this week:

 

  1. Go to the gym 5 times
  2. Do something active each day
  3. 4 litres of water per day
  4. 3 meat free days
  5. Burn at least 1600 calories in cardio alone
  6. No naughty food (natural sugars only)
  7. Stretch for 15 minutes at the end of each fitness session
  8. Meal prep
  9. Add three new exercises to my workout routines for each body area
  10. 3 lower body work out sessions

Tip 3

These may seem obvious and they are but with life getting in the way we forget or make excuses. It’s hard to stick to the ideal so my commitment to myself is to stick to my ideal for the next 7 days. This is my genuine plan but life can get in the way and things are missed. If this plan is stuck to for a significant amount of time you will see the positive changes and difference you want.

Tip 5

 

Today is your day

To start fresh

To eat right

To train hard

To live healthy

To be proud

 

Instagram – @keziakco

 

xxx

 

 

 

Mildred’s Vegan Restaurant

This is the first truly vegan and vegetarian restaurant I have ever been to in London and I have to say I was very impressed. They have four Locations across London – Camden, Soho, Kings Cross, Dalston. I went to the Kings Cross restaurant.

When you arrive they ask you if you’ve been there before and if not they check that you know that it is a vegetarian restaurant to avoid disappointment. I assume most people who attend would know in advance, as this is why they are here but you never know.

When we were seated we were asked if we had any allergies or intolerances and handed the menu. For a change almost everything was vegan and the few options that were not were clearly marked. It’s nice to go to a place where they assume the opposite to the norm. They assume you are vegan.

There is quite a large menu to choose from and the mains are all very large and filling. I didn’t get a starter and I don’t think I would have managed one if I had. I was very full by the end of the meal which is unusual for London.

I went for the chicken katsu curry as this is my favourite dish at Wagamama. I can’t say it tasted much like the one in Wagamama but it was very tasty. The texture and taste of the mock chicken was really good and it even looked the same as meat. As a meat eater it is an excellent alternative and I could quite easily eat this on a daily basis instead of chicken.

It is very reasonably priced at under £25 for main and alcoholic drink.

The only downside is that you cannot book in advance. When we arrived we were notified there would be a 20 minute wait so we decided to have a drink at the bar. This was not an issue for us but if in a rush this situation would not be ideal.

I very much like the idea of becoming vegan and I have read so much about the health benefits and understand the value it has on the planet but I honestly don’t know if I could do it on a permanent basis. I know it sounds lazy but I feel like it would involve a lot of reading ingredient labels and be quite inconvenient when socialising – restaurants and dinner parties. I would love it if I could eat like I did in Mildred’s every day but somehow I feel that wouldn’t be practical as I would have to spend hours in the kitchen ever evening. I am very interested in perhaps doing a 7 day trial, if you’ve done one or you are vegan let me know and drop me some advice.

UPDATE: I’m on day 6 of my vegan diet – check out the new blog post here:

https://keziafitco.co.uk/2019/01/10/veganuary-living-6-days-on-a-vegan-diet/

Thanks!

 

Wood Roasted Mushroom and Ale Pie, Minted Mushy Peas & Fries:

135b896d-84d7-49a2-898c-73062de0f4cb

Chicken Katsu Curry:

a0b87a87-61da-41dd-a5b5-b97949458b6e

Instagram – @keziakco

xxx