In this months newsletter...
What's in Season
Easy Recipe: Playing with Polenta
What is DIY Fitness?
A Nice Walk in the Country
Fad or Fab?
Essential Website – Jingas: Ethical funky footwear
Article – Lively Up Yourself
Hello healthy people,
Well, there goes summer! We're now officially into the cooler season, and there's no way better to keep warm than a wee bit of exercise. If you walk to work, speed it up and little and see if you can get there quicker and warmer. This month's article is about a factor that some folk find wanes over the winter – that of motivation. Read on, and be motivated.
Speaking of motivation, if you need to lively up yourself, please drop me a line. To my clients, please remember that you'll receive £5 off your next session if you recommend a pal and they book in.
We're coming into the cooler weather, and so our choice of seasonal fruit and vegetables is changing. Here's what's in season:
Fruit : blackberries, pears, plums, elderberries (in the wild), figs, apples
Vegetables: watercress, squash, beetroot, mushrooms, courgettes, marrow, kale (apparently kale at this time of year is tender and tastier than kale picked in winter, so enjoy now!), pumpkin, butternut squash, sweetcorn, wild mushrooms, radishes, fennel, onions
Easy Recipes - Playing with Polenta
Due to extreme busy-ness this month, I've not spent much time cooking (naughty me!), and so rather than a specific recipe I'd like to mention an ingredient I've rediscovered. Polenta, bright yellow cornmeal, is a quick and easy gluten-free alternative to pasta and wheat-based pizza bases.
If you buy packet polenta it will come with directions of how much water to cook it with. The trick is to measure the polenta into a jug, so that when the measured amount of water is boiling in the pan, you can slowly pour the polenta in whilst whisking at the same time. It will thicken up, and depending on how long you cook it, can be served soft or firm. The polenta I use takes two minutes for soft, and five for firm.
When it has reached the desired firmness, mix in interesting ingredients and pour it into a lightly oiled dish to set. I like to combine chopped sundried tomatoes, olives, ground pepper and fresh herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, whatever) with my polenta. The polenta can take lots of strong and interesting flavours as it has little flavour itself, so go to town! It sets quickly in the fridge to a nice solid texture. Hey presto! You can turn it out, slice it into wedges and serve with salad or an Italian themed feast.
Another use for firm polenta is to slice it into flat shapes and make polenta pizza. Just add some tomato (fresh or paste) some pizza toppings and a wee bit of cheese and melt. Just be careful on the amount of melted cheese, less is best…
What is DIY Fitness?
Fancy DIY fitness? It's a dynamic six week interactive workshop that I'm running over autumn / winter. DIY Fitness is basically a chance for you to learn about the essential elements of a fitness programme and tailor your own. Classes will be kept small, with 6 – 10 spaces each programme.
At the end of six weeks you can expect to feel not only leaner and stronger, but also have your own fitness programme in place specifically designed to fulfil your goals and focus on exercise you enjoy. Please contact me to register your interest, as spaces will be limited. Feel free to invite your friends, as moral support is always good!
Fad or Fab?
Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) physiological footwear is one of the latest crazes in the core stability world. They're big goofy looking platform shoes that are meant to replicate the action of walking barefoot in sand (hence the name). They do this with curved soles and pivot point in the middle, so the wearer has to concentrate on their balance. By walking on a wobbly platform, the wearer engages more postural muscles, which is said to help alleviate back pain, and also joint pain (as they absorb shock).
If you remember my critique of the PowerPlate in August, these work in a similar way, putting the wearer off balance and engaging more muscles. In theory this is a good idea, however the shoes ain't cheap at about £135 and they do look pretty silly. I've got a couple of clients who wear them and feel that they have strengthened their legs and core to a degree, however they're not the kind of shoes you could wear anywhere. In fact, the website suggests that they are only worn for a short period of time to start with.
I tried on a pair at John Lewis and they were quite good fun although I felt a little sea sick when I took them off! When they come down in price and develop more aesthetically pleasing designs, I might even be tempted to invest in a pair, as they make a walk to the shops a workout in itself.
A Nice Walk in the Country – Gladhouse Reservoir
If you fancy an escape from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, Gladhouse Reservoir is your chance to enjoy a country walk not far from town. The turn off is on the road between Penicuik and Peebles, about a 30-minute drive. The walk itself is easy and circles around Gladhouse Reservoir, which is fed by the River Esk and was one of the main supplies of Edinburgh's water. Dramatic it ain't, but we enjoyed an 8km easy and flat meander one Saturday afternoon. Have a look at the Explore Midlothian website for more information and other walking routes. We saw lots of grouse, sheep, a hare and a dead hedgehog and well as lots of wild mushrooms and woodland – entertaining without being too challenging.
At the Big Chill festival in August I happened across a stall selling Jingas, funky, comfy, ethically produced footwear from Brazil available in a fantastic range of colours. I bought a bright blue and orange pair that are as comfortable as slippers.
In Brazil they're worn for dance and movement from Capoeira to Samba, the lightness and flexibility of Jingas makes them suited to all kinds of dancing. I have found that they are perfect for indoor fitness training as they give the grip of shoes, with a flexible sole. It's so difficult nowadays to know whether trainers are produced in a sweatshop, so I am happy to promote any that I know do good for a community
At £35 a pair, they're affordable enough to keep more than one pair. I've got my eye on the silver and purple pair. Get yours now and be one of the first (the second person actually) to own a pair of Jingas in Edinburgh. There's nothing quite like wearing a unique pair of trainers!
See the Jingas website for more information or to purchase...
Article: Lively Up Yourself
Motivation - An Essential Ingredient for Keeping in Shape
A sense of motivation is absolutely essential in a successful fitness programme, in fact is essential for success of any kind. To have motivation you need an end goal in mind. For instance, some people have a goal of having lots of money, so are motivated to work hard. Some people have a sporting goal, and so their sports training has a definite purpose
Step 1- To be motivated you need a purpose. What exactly is your end goal? What do you want to achieve? It is weight loss (or more correctly fat loss), or do you want to beat your best time? Defining what you want to achieve is imperative to your training. I've met lots of people who run every week, but have no goal. So quite often they get bored and put off running… Not surprising that.
Step 2 – Recognise that to reach your goal you need prepare and train. After all, it wouldn't be a goal if you were already there. Plan your training and write it in your diary.
Step 3 – Realise that every single run / fitness session / game practice is getting you closer to your goal, and so is a crucial part of your overall plan. If you lack motivation on the day, visualise your goal. Doing something about it is better than procrastinating.
Many people spend more time procrastinating than it would take them to actually do the exercise. You can always say to yourself that it's better to get it over and done with and feel virtuous for taking positive action. Chances are you'll start enjoying yourself as soon as you start exercising (it's the endorphins).
Step 4 – Enjoy it! If you are not enjoying your training, perhaps you have set the wrong goal. There are loads of different activities out there, not everyone enjoys running, for instance. Try something different…
Step 5 - Reward yourself. When you have reached your goal, give yourself a pat on the back. Then set a new goal. It's also OK to have a few weeks off training, then start from the beginning again!
Now get out there!
I hope you have enjoyed the swag for this month, and your next fitness newsletter will be appearing in your Inbox mid-October. Until then, have a happy and healthy month!
© Copyright all material Tracy Griffen 2007