Get fit with five fun outdoors exercises

Outdoors exercise means a bout of Vitamin D, a release of endorphins and a great way to get fit ready for your holidays.  Here are five ways to improve your post natal fitness.

1. Fartlek

This is Swedish for ‘Speed Play’ and is a form of interval training. It is unstructured so great for everyone and if you are just getting back into jogging or running after a baby as you can vary your speeds and distances.

Here are some examples:

Watson Fartlek
Suitable for 10k, 5k, 3k and cross country.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Run hard for 4 minutes with 1 minute jog recovery – repeat 6-8 times
  • 10 minute cool down

Gerschler Fartlek
Combine this with steady running sessions to improve fitness quickly.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 3 times – run hard for 30 seconds, jog 90 seconds. Repeat with 15 second decreases in recovery jog e.g. 30-90, 30-75, 30-60, 30-45, 30-30, 30-15 and 30-15-30
  • 10 minute cool down

2.   Jogging

A popular activity and the one most people associate with exercise. It is a good and easy way to get into shape. To be safe, there are some recommendations for running after you have had a baby (no matter when you had your baby). You must get pair of running shoes (ditch the ones that have been in the loft that you had for 3 years) and sports bra and you must improve your leg and pelvic floor (i.e. you are not having any ‘leaks’ when you walk, cough or sneeze, lift objects) and core strength (neglect your core post baby and you risk injury) before doing any jogging or running (usually 6 months after a baby).  Start slow with a 10-15 minute jog and then walk for 10-15 minutes making it a total of 20-30 minutes’ activity.

To run well and improve your performance you need to have a strong and well functioning core. One of the common misconceptions is that the core is solely your ab muscles. The core is in fact the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, consisting of 29 muscles! The abdominal muscles are only a small portion of the total musculature involved in the core.  Adequately training the core involves a lot more than just doing crunches and sit-ups. In fact, you can strengthen and develop your core without doing a single sit-up!

All human movement originates from the core whether it be crawling, walking, running, swimming or kayaking. A well-functioning core is the base from which the rest of the body moves.

3. Cycling

Cycling outdoors is perfect for getting fit – cycling in parks is more strenuous as some namely Richmond Park have some great hills!  Plus you haven’t got the traffic and you can take your little one with you on the back of your bike (ensure you have a good child’s bike seat). Alternatively ditch the train/tube or car and  ‘commute cycle’ to work also saving you time and money. Cycling really helps tone your bottom and thighs.  Wear a helmet and start slow and increase speed and distance over time.

4.  Bodyweight Circuits

A great all over conditioning and fat loss form of exercise. Structured classes are enjoyable as you can go with a friend and you only need a mat. Try TheBeezKneez for outdoors classes.

5. Outdoors Park Gym Equipment

Some of the local parks now have fitness equipment and cardio machines.  If you children are playing in the park at the time, it’s a great way for you to get fit. Be sure to wear full fitness gear and good quality trainers and know how to use the equipment – start slow, then build up your speed or time as you get fitter.


Top Tummy and Bottom Exercise: Reverse Plank

Start Position: Seated with legs out in front of you and finger tips towards bottom

Action: Lift hips off the ground as high as you can. Squeeze belly button into your spin and hold.

Be sure to: Keep body in straight line- don’t let hips raise or lower. Be sure not to hold breath.

Modification: If you have bad wrists, rest on your forearms (won’t lift as high but will still work the same muscles):

How Many? 10 secs with ony 3 secs rest between each one x 6.

Suggested Progression: Add alternate leg lifts for extra extra challenge. X 8 leg lifts per hold.

You are working: Back, Triceps, Shoulders, Core, Quads, Glutes

Body Benefit: Improve core strength, tones arms and bottom.

Chicken and Pearl Barley Soup

IMG_1051So easy to make.

Delicious and healthy:

The protein in the chicken is ideal for maintaining muscle tone during pregnancy.
Protein also helps starve off sugar cravings and satisfies the appetite.
Barley: Rich in Beta-glucan which reduces bad cholesterol. Aim for 1g of beta-glucan per serving.
Helps regulate Bowel Functions – help with constipation in Pregnancy and also Post Baby, pelvic floor issues.

Takes: 15 minutes to prepare, then leave for an hour to simmer.
Tip: Cook before and freeze and reheat. Great quick Lunch.

Serves 6
1 Large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 Sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 Leeks, peel off first layer and slice
250g Pearl Barley

2 litres Hot Chicken Stock

Leftover Roast chicken, chopped

1. Heat a little coconut oil over a low heat in a large saucepan or wok.
2. Add the onion, celery and leek.
3. Season, cover and soften for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Increase the heat and stir in the pearl barley, then add the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 35 minutes, then add the chicken (already cooked) and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes or until the barley is soft.

Post Natal Exercise: Get a Beach Bottom

This exercise tones both the outside and main part of your bottom as well as you inner thighs. It is great for reducing fat from the stubborn bottom area.


Place your hands placed behind your head and stand with feet close
together at a stance with one foot centred in a small towel (use on a wooden floor).




Look straight ahead, keep your head up, tuck your bottom under and keep your spine long and body in centre of balance. Pull and ‘lift’ your belly button up to keep your abs. tight.
Slide your foot with the towel directly out to the side at a 45 degree angle, hinging and going back at your hips. Avoid any rotation of the hips.
Your upper thigh should be parallel to the ground.
Stop when the towel sliding leg is fully extended.

Repeat for 10-12 on the same leg then switch legs. Perform 2 sets on each leg.

Pregnancy version: hold on to the back of a chair so the chair is at your side, with the leg that will slide being furthest away from the chair. Instead of using the towel, simply step back into the position.

One small change you can make to flatten your tummy!

Whilst most believe consumption of ‘fat’ is the common villian for excess flab, it’s actually eating too many ‘white’ processed carbs that’s the real problem! Now I’m not saying that you should suddenly start following a ‘high protein, ban the carbs diet’ but choosing the right kind of carbs and eating vegetables in abundance is the secret, every nutritionist wants you to know.

Firstly, white carb varieties have had the fibre content removed. The fibre content is important as it provides a feeling of satiety – meaning you’ll eat less pasta, rice or potatoes which, whilst providing important energy source to the body, are easy to eat and without realising it you can really go overboard. If you’re body doesn’t required that energy (your job is sedentary, you are not following an exercise routine) it will store in your fat cells and accumulate.

Secondly, white varieties play havoc with your blood sugar levels the energy source they provide is short lived so two hours later you need another snack pick me up.

Thirdly, carbs of the pasta, rice, pototoes, grains variety are not as rich in essential vitamins and nutrients as vegetables and fruit (which also provide sources of energy) that your body needs for health. Vitamins and nutrients abundant in vegetables and fruits help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, so there is a great incentive to really start eating them and making them the important part of each meal.

Fourthly for the most part vegetables in particular are far less calorie dense but will still provide you with energy!

So, just by changing the content of food on your plate at each meal can have a huge effect on the number of calories you consume and your energy levels.


Here’s the MAGIC FORMULA you can follow to ensure each meal provides you with a tasty, low calorie diet.

As a guide, for lunch and dinner, half of your meal should be plant based (fruit and/or vegetables), a quarter of your meal should consist of protein (meat, fish, beans, pulses, tofu, quorn), and the final quarter should be complex carbs. (grains, rice and bread). For breakfast change the mix to: 1/3 fresh produce (e.g. fruit), 1/3 complex carbohyrdrates and 1/3 protein.

Breakfast Plate

One Third is fresh produce – Half Grapefruit, Strawberries or Blueberries or mix

One Third is Protein – 1 x small pot or tbsps of low-fat organic, natural yoghurt OR 1 x egg

One Third is Starch (complex carbs) – Cereal (Sugar Free Muesli) OR 1 x slice of Toast (Wholegrain) with a spread

Lunch Plate

One quarter is Complex wholegrain carbs – Wholegrain Bread Sandwich or Brown Rice or Couscous

One quarter is Protein – Chicken, Turkey, Tofu or Ricotta/cream or cottage cheese, Pulses, Beans or Lentils

One quarter is Plant – Variety of Salad items or mixed salad pot (medium – large) or Stir Fry veggies

Dinner Plate

One quarter is Protein – Steak, chicken. Tofu, fish

One quarter is Complex carbs – Brown Rice, Wholegrain Wrap or bread (1 slice), New Potatoes, Couscous, Wholegrain Pasta – 2-3 tbsps

One half is fresh produce – 4 servings of Vegetables: different kinds, colours preferably in season

Coffee Morning with posture checks and fitness tips

Come along to the Beez Kneez Coffee Morning on Friday 16th March at the Pitter Patter Hub, The Grove Pub, The Green, Ealing at 10.00am to 12pm.

  • Top Osteopath, Nicky Virdee from Spinal Changes will help you with your back ache and show you how to improve your posture
  • Sarah Mackie and Katharine Patrick will show their before and after fitness photos and share their top tips on how they got back into shape following having their little ones (Katharine is a mum of three)
  • Meet other mums
  • First twenty receive free coffee!
  • Win a Personal Training Session with our Free Prize Draw

Tummy Exercise for Pregnancy and Post natal

Straight arm pull down

Place a resistance band around a bar or door handle (or other immovable object). Make sure the door is shut. Kneel facing the band with your knees hip-width apart.
Hold onto the band at each end with your arms slightly bent so that the band is aligned just below your chest.
There must be tension in the band so vary the hand distance to get tension.



Keep your head straight and lower back in a natural arch by drawing in your navel. Inhale and exhale deeply.
Pull the band down toward your hips in a wide, sweeping arc, so you hands and wrists are facing away from you.
Exhale as you pass the midpoint of the move.
Return to the starting position in a smooth, controlled motion, stopping once your arms are above your head.

Concentrate on drawing in your navel and lifting up your pelvic floor and ensure to breath throughout the move.

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.





Fit and fabulous in 2012, Top 10 easy and fail proof ways to get into great shape

So this January you are going to lose weight, get toned up and lose the baby weight. After having trained over a hundred clients this year,  we found that there are ten key factors which guarantee your success. They are easy to follow but it’s important you employ just two or three at a time rather than trying to incorporate all ten. Have a fit and fabulous 2012!

  1. Nutrition first! Exercise alone doesn’t work, focusing on nutrition combined with exercise does. Those who know this get into shape far quicker. To help get a nutritionist on board to write you meal plans or sign up to a pure package, who deliver delicious, healthy meals to your door.
  2. Have a big motivator. A holiday, an awards ceremony, going back to work following maternity leave.
  3. What have you got to lose? If you don’t get into shape or feel your best what are the consequences?
  4. Choose a structured exercise programme that has proven results or testimonials. Ever wondered how celebrities personal trainers help them to look so amazing so quickly? They follow structured, varied, tried and tested programmes and we can help you to achieve exactly the same results. Our post baby belly blitz programme consists of specific post natal abdominal and whole body exercises that have got clients losing up to 3 inches off their waistlines.
  5. Take one small action a day. Something is better than nothing.
  6. Chose actions you know you can do. Can you really suddenly eat 7 portions of vegetables a day? Would 3 be more realistic and then gradually build up to 5 and then 7 over a few weeks.
  7. Have someone you are accountable too. A home personal trainer turns up to your door, and records your progress or sign up to a group exercise class. We check in with all our clients at the end of each class to see how they are doing.
  8. Focus on ‘doing’ rather than the outcomes. Rather than “I want to lose 8 kilos” aim for “I am going for a run today and abdominal exercises tomorrow”
  9. Have a trainer track your results. In home Beez Kneez personal training works as our trainers keep a record of client’s measurements or exercise achievements. Progress keeps you motivated.
  10. Get a support network. Get fit with a friend or in a group. We provide childcare options with our small group home personal training where our trainers come to your home.

Top nutrition secret every Personal Trainer wants you to know

If you are serious about losing baby weight the first thing to do is address your nutrition. This can be a struggle when you have a new baby in tow and are up most nights. Combined with the fact you may be breast-feeding and have piles of baby washing you also have a distinct lack of time on your hands to start even thinking about preparing nutritious food.

So being a new mum myself and running a business, my top tip is to get help with the cooking. You simply cannot do it all, so forget being Supermum! But then I discovered something better than my husband and his grilled lamb chops.  For the cost of a daily cleaner or a taxi into town you can get healthy, nutritious meals delivered to your door by the Pure package. Or for the cost of a private room in hospital to have your baby, you can invest in all your healthy meals prepared by chefs and delivered to your door for 3 months.

The pure package is exactly was it says on the tin. Gourmet diet food delivery to your door. When you sign up a nutritionist goes through some quick questions about your situation, whether you exercise and works out your daily calories needs based on your lifestyle. You can choose a 10, 30, 60 or 90 day package and you can choose whether you would like a full daily menu or just breakfast or dinner and when you would like your delivery to start.

I opened my front door at breakfast time of the day my meals were due to be delivered and an elegant black cool box was waiting to be opened. I felt like the queen as I studied the package which included by menu for that day – Breakfast was Fresh grapes, Natural Yogurt and Muesli. Followed by a mid-morning snack of Fresh fig’s and Goat’s cheese with pomegranate. Lunch was a very tasty Oriental Beef Noodles and Dinner an Asian Pesto Chicken. The menu included all heating instructions so all I had to do was to pop the hot meals into the oven or microwave. The nutritional principles behind the pure package are no wheat, gluten or sugar or trans fats so great for beating the bloat. There is no low fat, sugar free or pre-packaged foods. The food is all prepared on their premises in New Covent Garden Market by expert chefs and meals devised, researched and tested by Nutritionists and Jennifer Irvine, the founder.

What I was most surprised about was the portion sizes. As I am breastfeeding I seem hungry most of the time but with the pure package I felt satisfied and all cravings for sugary things were long gone (key to weight loss!).

Favoured by celebrities and celebrity trainers and combined with a specific post natal home personal trainer and exercise plan you simply cannot fail to feel amazing, lose weight, and most importantly eat deliciously, yet nutritionally so that both you and your baby can benefit from the essence of healthy nutrition. I only wish I could have pure package delivered to my door every day for the next year but my husband would feel left out.