Lose baby fat for the holiday season

It goes without saying that most people’s fitness goal is to lose your baby fat and shape up (unless you are running a Marathon) especially as Summer is approaching, you want to get into your Swimsuit with confidence and you may have Weddings to go to.

The shocking news is the UK population is catching up with the world leader in obesity, the USA.  Nearly a quarter of adults now classed as clinically obese and we are being labelled as ‘Fat Britain’.  Thirteen million of the population have a BMI of over 30. The BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilogrammes by height in metres squared.

For the most, the causes of accumulating too much fat are quite simply a combination of eating too much of the wrong types of food and not taking enough exercise.

Being active burns calories and being very active burns even more calories.

What is the best way to burn fat? There are two choices:

  • Steady Pace training – exercising continuously at one speed, such as a
    cycle ride or steady run or jog
  • Interval Training – this is where you vary between working at a high
    intensity and low intensity for 60 secs or so and repeat several times.

Which is most effective?

Of the two, interval training gets the best results. Plus it is more time efficient. It can improve fitness quickly, a great workout for busy people who don’t want to spend 2 hours in the gym. Intervals improve your basal metabolic rate (how many calories your body burns at rest or just to get perform usual daily activities) and therefore increase the total number of calories you burn on an on-going basis.

Losing fat – the science (simplified)

It takes 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat.
It takes 3,500 calories to add one pound of fat (yeuch and it is a lot
If you can increase your basal metabolic rate to burn 200-300 calories
day over one week you can burn 1,400-2,100 calories a week so over two weeks
you would lose one pound of fat. Add exercise to the equation and you can burn
an extra 200-300 calories a day to increase your fat lose by another one pound
over two weeks, or a pound a week.

Interval training which should feature in your exercise routine twice a

Some sample interval training workouts for you.

Ensure you warm up with dynamic stretches and a light intensity version of the form of
cardio-vascular activity you will be doing in the main workout. Cool down afterward and do static stretches.

Your intervals will generally last for about 30-60 seconds and these versions are good to get started with.

Here are three sessions. Choose one and pick your type -  rowing (lower impact), stationary cycling (low impact) or run (advisable after 4-5 months post natal) or boxing (watch the video):

Tips to make intervals more fun!

  • Download your favourite tunes to your Ipod and crank up the volume
  • Do your intervals on the sandy beach on holidays in barefoot – a great workout and invigorating with the sea air
  • Involve a partner or friend and get competitive
  • Have your little one time you and act as ‘coach’ – they will love it!
  • Join an exercise class which incorporates these
  • Recuit a personal trainer you find encouraging and motivational

Find out your rate of perceived exertion

Pregnancy – going at a high intensity rate is not suitable in pregnancy. You can do intervals but your must keep to at a rate of exertion of 5-7, so you can still hold a conversation. Be sure to get your GP’s check to exercise.





Save your back and body tips

After I’d just had my son, Luca, I didn’t realise that having a baby meant not only carrying them around but all their accessories and baby equipment too! Car seat, changing mat, buggy and steralising equipment!

Then there was also the picking baby up off the floor, out of the bath and lifting from the moses basket or car seat.

A new mums role is constant lifting, bending, carrying, heavy duty physical work and places stresses and strains on an already tired and weakened body! Here are my tips for body mechanics whilst changing baby, lifting and carrying to protect your body and save your back…


Then there’s the added factor of your unstable pelvis thanks to the excessive amounts of hormones, relaxin and elastin to widen it to deliver your baby. These hormones cause the ligaments to become lax. Ligaments are strong bands of fibrous tissue that provide support to the bones and link one bone to another in and around joints. Looser ligaments mean less support to bones and muscles.

The unstable pelvis has a ‘domino’ effect as combined with the after effects of the relaxin it puts stress on the anterior cruciate ligaments (major ligament of the knee) to balance the body and causes instability at the knee joint.

So it is with no doubt that a New mum may experience lower back pain, hip issues and knee pain post pregnancy. Being careful how you lift and carry your baby can avoid injuries or straining any already weakened muscles.

Balancing your baby on your hip is the worse thing you can do! I see mums carry their babies like this all the time – it’s the biggest factor that can lead to lower back and hip pain. It’s time to adjust the way you move your body, paying attention to your body mechanics when carrying your baby (and paraphernalia!) and respecting your pelvis! Here are some tips for saving your body and relieving your pains…

Balancing your baby on your hip

Stand in correct posture with your spine in neutral and the navel slightly drawn in. Hold the baby with one arm resting just under his bottom and the other hand on the back of his head, so his chin is just resting on your shoulder. Avoid leaning back.

Bending and lifting baby from the bath, cot or the floor

  • Draw navel to spine and bend your knees
  • Squat down, keeping body weight into the arch of your feet, using your lower leg muscles, thighs and gluts (bottom) to lower your down and pick baby up, bringing them in close to you.
  • Keep knees aligned with ankles (avoid pushing knees over toes)
  • Use your legs to stand back up

Bathing tips

  • Choose a baby bath that rests in the main bath. Best to fill this up in situ. Alternatively I bought a lightweight bath chair that I put in the bath first, then placed Luca in afterwards. This avoids you lifting and lowering a heavy weight of water.
  • Kneel alongside the bath to bath baby or on a small stool with towel under your knees so that you are not stooping over the bath.

Changing Baby

  • Change baby on your bed and kneel next to the bed with a cushion under your knees to protect your knees
  • Place the equipment in front of you or to the side to prevent twisting behind you
  • Place the changing mat on a surface or table that is at a height just above your waist to avoid stooping

Carrying Baby

  • Instead of carrying the baby for a length of time, use a baby sling or carrier positioned high to avoid leaning backwards.
  • These are a great way to balance the weight of the baby and prevent shoulder and lower back ache. Babies also love being close to you and hearing your heart rate as it mimics when they were inside you.
  • It’s also great if you need to wander around the house and get some jobs done.
  • Choose one that has a back-saving design and can be adjusted as the baby gets bigger.
  • Practice good posture as you walk with the sling – maintaining the neutral spine position

Feeding Baby (in day)

  • Avoid at all costs the hunchback of Notre Dame syndrome when you bottle or breast feed. Your shoulders will ache and it will place strain on your neck muscles.
  • Place a cushion between the small of your lower back and the back of an upright chair. Avoid any low or far back sofas or chairs where you would slump.
  • Place your feet on a pile of magazines or books or small footstool to raise your knees so they are level with hips
  • Have a pillow or cushion on your lap to raise your baby and bring him closer to you

Feeding baby (at night when you are half asleep and not thinking about how you sit!)

  • Sit upright as you can, and place the pillow or cushion behind your lower back
  • Draw your shoulders down and back
  • Breath in, feeling your stomach swell slightly as it fills with air
  • Breath out and draw your navel to spine
  • Try to look down just occasionally to check on baby feeding and then look up and forwards (this means that you don’t strain your neck by continuously hanging the head down).

Overcoming a Nagging Pain in the Arch.. Plantar Fasciitis

I had this once when I started to increase my running. It can be really sore and a right pain (pardon the pun!).

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the strong fibrous bands that run along the bottom of your foot. It helps maintain the arch and holds the foot rigid as you walk.

Along with the muscles and bones this connective tissue, the plantar fascia, forms the arch of the foot. You will usually feel plantar fasciitis pain in your arch and heel as shown in the diagram to the right. When first arising standing you may experience heel pain which is the fibre stretching at the plantar fascial enthesis when the foot is bearing the body’s weight. After walking around the pain can ease. When applying thumb pressure the pain is worse at the heel bone.

Sometimes known as Heel Spur Syndrome, plantar fasciitis is one of the injuries most commonly experienced by young runners, post partum women, golfers, athletes and also those who stand for long periods of time on hard surfaces with poorly fitting or supportive footwear or pumps. There is also high incidences in people that are overweight in their 40s-60s and in 20% of cases, pain can occur for over a year if it is untreated..

The vast majority of people with this pain may

also have feet that over-pronate.

If you have flat feet or high arches, take extra care as you are more at risk. Tight archilles tendons put more risk on the fascia, so make sure you stretch both of them and your calves.


Try one or more of the following methods to help improve the condition:

  • An ice massage the area for 10-15 minutes. Fill a paper cup with water and freeze it. Peel off the paper, place the ice under the foot and roll your foot over it, from the heel to the ball and back.
  • Taping your foot before jogging or running can help relieve the discomfort. Follow this by stretching the calf muscle, to within limits of pain, which is very effective.
  • One stretching method is to use your toes to pull a towel, piece of paper, or marble off the floor.
  • Place a golf ball under the base of your big toe and roll the foot forwards over the ball to the base of your second toe, and repeat. Do the same motion starting from each toe, exerting enough pressure to experience a little tenderness.
  • Sit on the floor with one knee bent and the same ankle flexed towards you. Pull the toes towards the ankles. Hold for a count of 10, and repeat nine more times.
  • Wear proper supportive shoes. Running or athletic trainers with excellent support, no or minimal heel, and well-cushioned soles. You can also include padded or gel inserts
  • Use felt, gel, viscoelastic, or synthetic heel pads that spread and are shock absorbing as the heel lands on the ground. This eases pressure on the ligament structure of the plantar fascia that supports the longitudinal arch of the foot.
  • Aim to lose weight – bone, joint, muscle or nerve pain tends to worsen with more weight the body has to bear.

Read More…

Beyonce’s pregnancy diet and workout secrets revealed.. by UK pregnancy and fitness expert, Vicky Warr

Now Beyonce has announced that she is expecting a baby, how will she maintain those sexy curves and stay fit during her pregnancy in the public eye?

To stay looking so good with her naturally curvaceous body shape, Beyonce exercises five times a week  and consistently eats healthy.  To avoid piling on the pounds now she is pregnant she’ll adapt her current exercise regime to ensure she stays in shape, while keeping it safe for herself and her baby.

Here are her best kept secrets you can follow to help you enjoy a healthy fit pregnancy and stay in shape.

Plenty of greens with fresh vegetables and salads rather than pre-packaged foods are Beyonce’s current daily prerequisites, before her pregnancy.  These are even more so important now as the Folic Acid found in these foods help prevent spinal growth and brain abnormalities.  Green vegetables also contain calcium to help the bone development of her baby.

Fresh fruit, also part of her pre-pregnancy nutrition plan, will feature as great snacks providing the vitamins and nutrients she needs for energy in the first and second trimesters to sing, attend awards ceremonies and do interviews!  Lots of green vegetables and fruit means she’ll boost her immune system to ward of coughs and colds.

Beyonce doesn’t eat too much red meat but as it is an excellent source of dietary iron and one in ten women are deficient during pregnancy, introducing organic lean steaks as well as sardines twice a week will keep her energy levels up so she can continue to exercise.

A fan of chocolate, Beyonce doesn’t eat too much of it as she knows the effect it may have on her curves so she keeps it as a cheat food in moderation.  Some dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa solids and Green and Black’s being a good brand) means she will not have eat so much poor quality fat (dark chocolate contains less than milk chocolate) and will also benefit from some iron.

Although she has kept carbohydrates minimal pre-pregnancy, her body will now demand more vitamin B12 as B12 is needed for the body’s tissue growth. If Beyonce plans on breastfeeding her body will store B12 so there needs to be enough for her baby. Good quality cereals, Wholegrain seeded bread with Marmite or hard boiled eggs will be good food choices for her breakfasts.

Processed fats or trans (unhealthier fats found in pre-packaged foods, biscuits and cakes) have never been part of Beyonce’s regime or any curvy woman wanting to stay fit and firm looking. During pregnancy the growing baby benefits from the nutrients in essential fats for it’s brain development and as a mum to be, essential fats – nuts, almonds and nut butter (from health food stores, such as Brazil Nut Butter) will be on her shopping list.

Beyonce has always eaten smaller more frequent meals, rather than less frequent larger meals or ever skipping meals.  Sticking with this strategy can help ward off morning sickness – keeping blood sugar levels constant, relieving heartburn and nausea.

Drinking plenty of water is a given for Beyonce as you can tell from her glowing skin.  Keeping rehydrated during pregnancy is key for energy levels and to avoid constipation and fluid retention.

Nutrition is one of the most important areas to address as part of a healthy pregnancy. Beyonce engages in a personalised nutrition plan to avoid excess weight gain and compliment her exercise regime.

Beyonce knows that consistency is key to keeping her toned and her body sexy.  Her magic exercise formula has consisted of jogging 6 times a week and weight training.  As she progresses through her pregnancy, the high impact activity of jogging would be substituted with lower impact water exercise with aqua jogging to support her joints or land based fast paced walking intervals. Focusing on good posture and being aware of her core muscles by drawing her belly button into her spine and keeping her shoulders down and set back will mean she looks great in photos and wards of back pain.  Keeping her intensity levels to where she can hold a conversation but not able to sing a song during her cardio-vascular exercise will mean she still burns calories but doesn’t overdo it.

Free weights will still be part of her regime.  Whilst once many mums-to-be would steer clear of using weights, the benefits are now becoming more evident as research unveils how, with adaptations,  weight training not only keeps mum toned but prepares her for the lifting, bending and carrying she will need to be doing once the baby comes. By keeping weights lighter and focusing on good technique and posture, Beyonce’s regular pregnancy specific personal training strength sessions will be essential for her and help ensure she springs back into shape faster post baby.

Dancing is one of Beyonce’s top exercise activities as she likes the variety and it keeps her motivated with exercise, when she starts to get bored.  Lower impact aerobics without the sudden turns will still burn calories and ensure her cardio-vascular fitness is maintained.  She also likes bike riding – spinning or stationary biking to music, making adjustments to her bike seat to ensure comfort and address posture would be ideal during pregnancy.  Keeping endurance up is essential for the birth of the new Knowles addition!   Add regular yoga sessions to the mix to release tight muscles and relieve stress and she will continue to glow from head to toe.








Three Minute Healthy Breakfast Smoothies

Here are my two top favourites. Ready in just three minutes and all you need is the fruit and your blender.

A perfect quick breakfast choice.

Peach and Almond Smoothie
1 x heaped dsp of Ground Almonds
Half banana
Half teacup of Natural Yogurt
Three quarters cup frozen peaches
Some Water – 3 tbsps

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and process for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Drink immediately.

Berry Smoothie

1 tbsp of natural yogurt with half banana and
one choice of berries (can be frozen)
one apple
some water – 3 tsbps

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and process for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Drink immediately.

Tip: Good Posture during Pregnancy

Good posture is essential during pregnancy to ward off back pain. Your uterus expands up to 1,000 times, combined with the added weight you have to carry around, this throws out your centre of gravity and puts huge strain on your back muscles. These tired muscles then become painful and your posture becomes poor, leading to a hunchback form! Not only that it can also lead to sciatica. To prevent back pain and sciatica you need to:

  • Strengthen the postural muscles, known as your core
  • Stretch tight hip flexors
  • Stretch hamstrings

Follow these tips to help maintain your posture, which will help prevent that pain in the back during pregnancy and post natal!

  1. Keep your knees ‘soft’ so they are unlocked and relaxed. Slowly rock forwards and backwards between the balls of your feet and heels, distributing your weight evenly towards the arches of your feet as you slowly stop.
  2. Tilt your pelvis back at the same time draw your navel into your spine so it feels like it lifts upwards and backwards. You should feel your lower back lose some of the natural arch.
  3. You may feel like you have grown an inch.
  4. Let your shoulders drop down and feel your neck relaxed.

Avoid wearing high heels, as this accentuates the curve of your lower back and pushes you further forward and makes you even more unstable!

Aching after your exercise session? Ways to reduce the soreness

Ever experienced soreness the day or two after an exercise session?  Many people have! It is known as Delayed Muscle Onset Soreness (shortened to DOMS) simply – muscle pain, muscle soreness or muscle stiffness. It is usually felt when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine.

Try not to be alarmed even if you are pregnant.  Delayed onset muscle soreness is a normal response to the different exercise or exertion and is part of an adaptation process of your body that leads to improved stamina and tone as the muscles recover and build.

The soreness will be at it’s worse within the first 2 days following a new, more intense activity and slowly subsides over the next few days.

Tips for Dealing with Muscle Soreness After Exercise for both pregnancy and post natal.

Try these methods to deal with your discomfort, they are not all are backed up with research, but many people ease the soreness with one of these remedies.

  • Use Active Recovery. Low-impact aerobic exercise such as swimming or walking increasing blood flow.
  • Some R and R (Rest and Recover). The soreness will go away in 3 to 5 days with no special treatment.
  • Try a Pregnancy or Post Natal Massage. Some research has found that massage may help reduce reported muscle soreness and reduce swelling,
  • Try an Ice Bath or Contrast Water Bath. (Not the most popular option (!) but if you go for this one, take a Holiday/Travel Magazine in the bath with you and just fill the bath so your legs are covered. An Ipod with favourite music will take your mind off the cold too!
  • Gentle Stretching. Many people find it simply feels good, although there is no evidence that stretching alone reduces muscle pain of soreness,.
  • Listen to Your Body. Avoid any vigorous or high impact activity, which is certainly not suitable in pregnancy or soon after a baby in any case or exercise that increases pain.
  • Warm Up completely before your next exercise session (this is a vital part of theBeezKneez classes which is why we incorporate the dynamic stretches). This can help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness
  • ** If your pain persists longer than about 7 days or increases despite these measures, consult your physician.

Ten Minute Core Restore and Flat Abs Programme

Before beginning this ten minute flat abs programme be sure to warm up with some dynamic stretches beforehand for 5 minutes. 



Straight Arm Pushup Hold

  • Start the movement in a pushup position.
  • Extend your arms into a pushup.
  • Hold that position for 10 secs and rest for 3 secs and repeat 6 times.
  • Alternative: Rest on forearms and elbows with elbows under shoulders




Alternative option below: 









Left and Right Side Pillar Hold

  • Lay on the ground on one side. Raise your body using one
    forearm and support it in this raise for 10 secs, rest for 3 secs and repeat six times.
  • Lower your body and repeat on the other side.
  • Remember to keep your head, neck and body in a straight line.






Hip Extension on back (with or without band – arms by side if you not using a band)

  • Lie on the floor and place the resistance band across your waist (if using) and pin it to the floor with your hands.
  • Squeeze and clench your bottom (NOT your back). Keep you back flat (tilt hips)
  • Extend your hips up towards the ceiling keeping your feet on the ground.  Hold position for 10 secs then rest for 3 secs. Repeat 6 times. 
  • More challenging option: Lift one foot off the ground and bend the same knee pushing the foot in the air towards the ceiling as you hold your tight glutes (bottom). 






Bird dog (opposite arm and leg raise on all fours!)

  • Start by placing yourself on your hands and knees.  Draw in your navel slightly so you feel your abs tighten. Keep shoulders down and away from ears.
  • Slowly raise your opposite arm and opposite leg and extend them out away from the body. Hold for 10 secs and rest for 3 secs. Repeat 6 times.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other side.
  • Always keep this movement slow and controlled. Never flex your lower back. 






Standing Hip Extensions

Start by placing your hands on the back of your hips.
Slowly shift your hips forward using your muscles and your hands.
Only push until a comfortable stretch or range of motion is achieved. Hold for 5 secs and repeat 5-6 times

Psoas Hold (knee raise) (picture not shown)

Stand tall. Lift one knee up so that your knee is higher than your hip. Aim to hold with good balance for 10 secs, rest for 3 secs and repeat 6 times. Then replicate move on other leg. Be sure not to flex your spine. 

Goodbye Cellulite..

With the nice weather approaching and summer clothes making their first appearance of the season, many of us are now thinking about a problem that affect four in five women in Europe: cellulite. Aromatherapy can help you improve the appearance of cellulite. Research has shown that some essential oils indeed possess properties that are helpful in eliminating toxins, improving skin’s texture and stimulating blood and lymph circulation, thus reducing cellulite. Leila Denison-Pender, specialist in Pregnancy Massage and Aromatherapy in West London gives us her top oils to help combat that ‘orange peel’ feeling:

-          Juniper berry (Juniperus communis), known for its lipolytic (i.e. its ability to break up fat) and diuretic action

-          Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), for its cleansing, hormone balancing and lymphatic action

-          Grapefruit (Citrus paradisii), for its astringent and lipolytic action

-          Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), for its astringent, lipolytic and detoxifying action.

For the best results, a weekly aromatherapy massage treatment with a blend of the above essential oils over the course of 4-6 weeks is recommended, in conjunction with daily skin brushing, a healthy diet and exercise. The regular local application of an ointment blended with the above mentioned oils is also advised to further exacerbate the effect of the aromatherapy treatment.

Leila Denison-Pender is offering £5 discount for any bookings made by 31st July for any of the Beez Kneez mums. For more information about Leila’s aromatherapy massage treatments or to book an appointment, please contact www.symbiosisaromatherapy.com


Get rid of heartburn in your pregnancy

Heartburn can be very uncomfortable and painful and affects 2 in 3 pregnant women and is most common in the last trimester as the uterus gets bigger, although you can start to get it at twenty weeks.  

It occurs as the increased hormone levels produced by your body in pregnancy cause the valve muscle between the esophagus and the stomach to relax. This means the valve doesn’t close properly and digestive acids can leak back up into the esophagus, throat and mouth. As they hit the sensitive lining within the esophagus it causes the burning sensation in the chest.

Foods to avoid, which can aggravate heartburn

  • Caffeine, chocolate, orange juice and oranges
    and other citrus fruit and juices
  •  Fatty and fried foods as they take much longer
    to digest
  •  Spicy foods such as chilli powder and peppers
    and stronger foods such as garlic and onions

Five ways to help reduce incidences of heartburn

  1.  Nutrition is key – eat five to six smaller meals every 3- 4 hours,
    rather than 3 larger meals and chew food properly in the mouth first, taking
    time to swallow
  2. Try chewing gum after a meal which can stimulate the salivary glands and neutralise acid
  3. Eat your evening meal 2-3 hours before going to bed – this means the digestive system has time to break down your food
  4. Place pillows under your upper body to prop you up and help your
    stomach acids flow down. Remain upright one to two hours after eating a
  5. Drink plenty of fluids and soup between meals rather than with a meal

Top Tip:  a handful of almonds or almond butter can help calm the feeling

TheBeezKneez have a selection of mums to be pregnancy nutritional programmes including one to one consultations for a personalised meal programme, making choosing the right foods for you very easy.  To contact our nutritionist: steph@beez-kneez.co.uk

Image courtesy of thenaturalhealthreport.com