Just a quick post to let you know that everything is gradually changing as we emerge out of 2020 and into the longer light days ahead.
The past 14 months have been an adventure that probably none of us wanted to take, but I think it has also been a huge opportunity for growth on so many levels. As we head back into the wider world again, I am determined not to lose the lessons I have learned along the way, which means that I am taking gentle steps for myself and taylor-made fitness. You can find out more details below, and I will update regularly as things evolve:
Online classes have been a fantastic way to stay connected and stay/get fit and I am happy to say that they are here to stay!
There will be some in-person classes too but ‘fitness mornings’ will be staying online so that you can workout in your own home, either at 7am with me, or by catching-up with the recordings later in the day.
Pilates sessions will be available as in-person and online classes so you can choose the best option for you. There will also be some occasional in-person workshops throughout the year.
In-person classes will follow COVID-safe guidelines, with social distancing between clients, no shared equipment, and no hands-on contact from me
Over the next few weeks we will start to transition from online to in-person personal training, but the online option will still be available for those who prefer it, those who are not local, and those who like to train at times when I can’t get to them!
Online personal training has been really successful but it will be good to see clients face-to-face again. Training will need to be held in an open, spacious area, with good ventilation, preferably outdoors, and social distancing will apply.
One of the casualties of the past year has been my massage space!!
In March last year, I turned my spare bedroom into my ‘zoom-room’, which meant that my massage room became my overflow space for all the things that used to be in my spare room! My office has recently been moved into the studio space, leaving that room free as a my new massage room…
I’m currently finishing off a complete redecoration so that when I start offering sports massage again, the new space will be a calming area for your treatment.
As soon as I am back to hands-on practice I will let you know!
Please get in touch if I can help:
If you are interested in returning to in-person Pilates classes, looking for online fitness classes, keen to know more about personal training, or want to be the first to know when I’m back at my massage table, please get in touch by email: email@example.com
In the meantime, there will be website updates in the coming weeks so check-back soon
What type of exercise is best & how much do I need?
Ideally you will be active every day, aiming for 150 minutes of activity each week.
Daily activities such as walking, cycling or swimming will give you a really healthy base, but you will also benefit from adding in some activities which include added resistance and increase your heart rate further. This is where fitness classes can play an important role in supporting your health.
Resistance exercises help to build and maintain strong bones as well as strengthening the muscles which support those bones. It might involve resistance bands or weights (dumb-bells or kettlebells) but your own body-weight and gravity will also provide resistance (eg. when standing up from a squat or coming up from a push-up you are working with resistance).
Resistance work also plays a role in your cardio-vascular fitness which supports heart health. You don’t need to add high-impact to get your heart rate up – moving with a pair of moderate/heavy weight dumb-bells will give you a great cardio workout! This means that you don’t need to find separate strength and cardio sessions – you can get great results, with more time-efficiently, by choosing the right class for you.
How do my online classes support your health & fitness?
My sessions can loosely be split into three-tiers, each of which offers its own advantages.
Tier 1 = Total Body (Fridays @ 7am)
no weights are required – this is a body-weight session
it is a 45-minute class
it is more manageable than tiers 2 & 3, but you’ll still get a bit sweaty, feel fitter and move your body
Tier 2 = Functional Fitness (Mondays @ 7.15pm)
1 x weight required (DB / KB / tin of beans will work)
it is a 30-minute class
your weight can be light/moderate but if you prefer to go heavier that’s fine too
we will include lots of uni-lateral (one-sided) moves to replicate the way we move in everyday life
A few weeks ago I wrote about trying to up-spec my eating game to include at least 30 different varieties of fruit and vegetables a week, and I’m still doing it!
Obviously there are plenty of items that repeat weekly, but I’m trying to add in a few newbies each week too. Across the last four weeks I have eaten 50 different fruit and vegetables in total, which is probably four or five times more varied than in the four weeks before that! As an example, the salad above included mixed lettuce leaves, pea shoots & spinach as a base, topped off with olives, garlic, lentil sprouts, avocado, pickled red cabbage, tomatoes, hummus and sesame seeds – 9 veggies added to the list in one meal!
I’ve bought myself two sprouting jars and I’m really enjoying growing my own vegetables in miniature. Favourites so far are sprouted sunflower seeds and lentil sprouts (below), both of which work well in cold or hot dishes. Sprouted pulses and seeds taste amazing, add texture and colour and a whole heap of nutritional value and they are super-simple to grow.
Two jars allows me to stagger them and keep a continuous supply, or sprout two different things at once. I currently have lentils and broccoli sprouts ready to eat and I have sunflower seeds soaking in a separate pot ready to add to one of the jars when the sprouts have been moved to the fridge/eaten. Of course you don’t need to buy a special jar to sprout seeds and pulses but it makes the process very easy. And also I felt that having invested in the jars I might be more likely to keep using them long term…?!
Since the first week of doing this, I have found a few things which help me to stay on track:
keep a pencil and paper in the kitchen to write everything down on a meal-by-meal basis
start the week well – by bedtime on Monday this week I had already eaten 17 different fruit and vegetables, so I felt like I was winning right from the start
make up batches of meals which contain a lot of different vegetables so I have them in the fridge or freezer when I need them
use different fruits to make up fruit compote to go with porridge/chia pudding/granola/etc (frozen fruit is great for this)
collect windfall apples, pick damsons or forage for sweet chestnuts if you see them while you’re out and about (I’m not sure whether sloes for sloe gin counts but I guess you can decide for yourself!)
don’t forget to include frozen, tinned or bottled fruit and vegetable options to your list – sauerkraut is one of my favourite fall-backs when I don’t want to cook but I need to up the veggie-quota
Now that I’ve started, I’m going to keep the momentum going on my #30fruitandvegetables mission. It makes sense on so many levels – upping nutrition for heart, hormonal, bowel & cognitive health; promoting a feeling of self-care; managing energy levels; and creating a better connection with & enjoyment of eating.
You may already be far more evolved than me on this issue, but if not, and even if you don’t want to go for the full 30 in one go, why not start by adding one extra portion of vegetables to each meal or try buying one new vegetable ingredient each week. Small changes really do add up over time…
Did you know that eating a broad range and number of fruits and vegetables each week can support your hormonal health?
Last week as part of a course I’m studying, and with my own health in mind, I felt inspired to see if I could follow the advice to eat 30 different varieties of fruit and veg in one week.
The aim is to use dietary measures to naturally support the body in processing & managing oestrogen levels, which in turns supports us through times of hormonal change, such as peri-menopause. In addition to eating a range of plant-based foods (including legumes, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables) and brightly-coloured foods, the goal is to broaden the range of fruits and vegetables we consume.
I am vegetarian so in theory it maybe shouldn’t be that hard. But I’m also lazy about cooking for one and a bit of a fussy-eater after a childhood of strict ‘eat what you’re given’ parenting, so I was really intrigued to see how I would get on.
I started last Tuesday and tracked back over the previous day to start my count. I had also recently done a good food shop so I already had a few different options available to get me started.
I arrived at 17 different items quite easily and really enjoyed challenging myself to fit extra vegetables into my meals:
red lentils (not sure if legumes count but I counted them anyway just in case I fell short!!)
At this point I realised that back-up supplies would be needed so I trawled the supermarket for as many different things as I could find, including some things I had forgotten about & some that I don’t really like.
I added a few ‘deli’ items:
artichoke hearts (I’d forgotten how much I love these)
sauerkraut (love this and eat it often but had run out)
Some vegetables I normally avoid:
brussels sprouts (which were better shredded and pan-fried than any other way I have ever eaten them)
parsnips (I don’t mind them but wouldn’t usually choose them)
mustard cress (tasted way better than I remembered)
celery (I hide it in ragout-type recipes)
cauliflower (I had some in the freezer so I used it to make cauliflower, parsnip and garlic mash)
Some basic extras:
white cabbage (I made coleslaw with added apple and sunflower seeds)
And, last but not least, some lovely additions:
pea shoots (such a great flavourful addition to a salad)
mango (post 10-mile hike purchase)
blackberries (picked en-route)
So I finished my week on 32 different kinds of fruit and veg (33 if I include the red lentils, but in that case I can also include butter beans and cannellini beans so 35!) I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t really more on fruit (as I am a bit of a fruit-bat) and actually I really enjoyed finding new ways to include more vegetables into my meals.
One of the things I learned from this (which came as no surprise but all the same it was a good reminder) is that I basically eat the same ingredients nearly every week. Probably many of us do. Food shopping can become a bit of a chore and I think I have been following the same path through the shop each time, so that I buy food without ever needing to veer off-course. I really enjoyed thinking about what I could eat to increase my veggie uptake and it was good to look along shelves that I normally by-pass.
The best thing I gained from doing this, was a stirring in my soul – a little bit of excitement about my meals, a joy in new found flavour (& texture) combinations, and a better connection with what I was eating. My meals are usually ‘bistro bowl & single utensil’ options so that I can eat without thinking, mostly sat on the sofa, distracted by a bit of catch-up TV. Last week I think I used two utensils together more than once, I sat at a table to eat more often and I actually took notice of what I was eating.
I felt like I was bathing my body in nutrients, colour, flavour and a big dose of self-care.
I ate (& craved) less chocolate & consumed significantly less cheese-as-a-meal-substitute last week. Interestingly I don’t think I spent any more than usual on food because I didn’t buy snacks or lots of cheese like I might usually do. I guess time will tell how much it costs but I plan to do lots of batch-cooking of dishes which include as many vegetables as possible. Yesterday I made a green lentil ragout with eight different veggies in it – knowing that I have portions of this in the freezer will be a real bonus when I’m short on time and need a veggie-boost.
There was a downside…I used the dishwasher more than usual, but I guess that’s just part of being a grown-up & cooking actual meals?!
One week on and I’m still going with the goal of 30 but I’m trying to make some changes from last week so that I don’t stick with the same 30 each week. So far I’ve added in beetroot, spring greens, pomegranate & raspberries; I’ve grown broccoli sprouts and I’m sprouting some sunflower seeds; and I have pak choi and sweet potatoes lurking in the fridge. I think the key is to layer in a couple of extra veggies at every meal – so instead of a meal consisting 3-4 ingredients, I will bump it up to 7-8 different ones, so that every meal makes a contribution to my total count (and more importantly my health!)
So how about you? Do you (or could you) eat 30 different varieties of fruit and veg in one week? If not, might you give it a try?
If you are a way off to start with, you might not want to make such a sweeping change all in one week so perhaps start by gradually adding in a few new items each week until you get there.
Please let me know if you give it a try – would love to know how you get on and what differences you notice, particularly if you are also trying to balance your hormone levels.
I thought I knew a bit about back pain!! And then my back went into spasm and I realised I had no idea how BAD it could feel!! Here are some thoughts on back pain, based on my recent experience…
This was me, part way through teaching a class, when my lower back and glutes locked up. Long story short, several hours of heavy gardening (a few days prior to this) had left the muscles in my lower back, glutes and hamstrings overstretched, weak and vulnerable; I carried on as usual for a few days but at the moment pictured below, my body responded by tightening up the whole of my left hand side, leaving me literally unable to get up!
I think it helped that I understood what had caused the sudden spasm. It didn’t help that I knew my class were watching on at home, unable to do anything. It also didn’t help that I live alone – it was a scary experience to go through alone…
Once I got over the initial panic, there were a couple of things in my favour:
it was night-time so I gradually got myself sorted and then went to sleep – which gave me 8 hours where my body could relax without any demands being placed upon it
I remembered that I had some medication (prescribed for anxiety but actually a muscle relaxant) in a kitchen drawer (not ideal as I had to work out how to get downstairs, but at least I had access to it from the start)
I have very understanding clients who totally didn’t make a fuss about me cancelling work for the next couple of days
Things that helped me get moving again:
diazepam was undoubtedly the first thing! I’m not someone who uses medication often, but I was very happy to have these – they enabled me to get to sleep comfortably for the first two nights
lying on my ‘good’ side in bed so that I could very gradually bring my left knee a little bit towards my chest – gently stretching the muscles which had gone into spasm (NB it was a tiny stretch – the smallest amount possible)
the next day I could lie on my back in bed – this allowed my spine to regain a gentle, supported, neutral position
gentle hip movements on all fours (on my bed because I couldn’t get to the floor) – my main focus was on letting my body guide me where it needed to go: gentle hip circles, some side-to-side hip movement, the very beginnings of a cat/cow stretch, a baby child’s pose position – I did these several times a day for the first to days
very gentle rolling using a trigger point ball against the wall – much kinder than working with a ball on the floor; I focused on rolling my glutes & low back, going onto the edges of my pelvis and sacrum where the muscles attach
walking (at a snail’s pace to start with and only on even ground and over a short distance) – the dog didn’t enjoy this first walk at all!! The day after my back spasm, walking was very uncomfortable; on the following day it felt easier the longer I walked; on the third day it felt normal again
movement rather than staying still – sitting was worst so I didn’t do much of that for 3 days; standing was ok so long as I kept moving gently – lots of hip swaying while waiting in a queue to buy garden pots; by the second day I could weight-bear evenly on both feet; I did some light gardening – not necessarily to be recommended (but luckily I got away with it!); a gentle yoga class on day 3 – I only did the moves which felt ok (limited forward flexion, no holding in position, very gentle rotations)
listening to my body – sounds corny but it really helped to tune-in and follow my gut about where and how I needed to move, when I needed to rest, etc
believing that this was a short-term, transient state and not somewhere I was going to live for a long time! Initially my head fell into a rabbit-hole of panic – what if my spine was the issue, what if it was cancer (bizarrely that one shot straight to the front of my mind as I was lying on the floor in agony!!), what if I couldn’t work, and then I’d have no income, and then what would I do… blah, blah, blah. Luckily I got back out of that particular rabbit-hole of doom quite quickly. It’s not helpful to think the worst – far better to just do what you can to get moving and then go from there
What to do if you have back pain:
The list above is intended as general guidance only.
If you’ve over-done it in the garden or tried a new type of exercise, this guidance will help you to get moving again – and I think that getting moving is of key importance in this situation. If your muscles have gone into spasm you definitely don’t want to leave them there…
That said, back pain is a broad umbrella term and some issues are more serious and need more urgent attention than others. If you experience sudden or unexplained back pain, or an onset of symptoms such as numbness in the legs or a change in bowel and bladder control, always seek help from a medical professional as soon as you can.
Sorry to end on that note, but it needed saying because I am not a medical professional and this guidance is not intended to take the place of medical advice. This is just my thoughts on back pain from someone who had no idea what back pain felt like until a week ago!
And my final piece of advice is this – if you need bamboo roots digging out of your garden let someone else do it…
Sometimes it is hard knowing where to begin so here is a quick overview of my online fitness classes. Hopefully it will help you to make up your mind if you are undecided which one is best for you.
At present, all classes are live-streamed to your home via Zoom so that you can stay fit and stay home at the same time. If you miss the live-streaming, you can access a recording of your class at a time to suit you.
And just like that we are 7 weeks in with online classes! I think we have all adapted so well to this significant shift in how we exercise, together-apart.
Thank you so much for staying with me as we have navigated through the technology along the way. For those of you that prefer to follow the videos rather than joining live, I miss seeing your face but I’m so happy to hear that you’re still moving.
For me, this is about so much more than keeping my business afloat. In the early days I felt like I wanted to offer something to the world without knowing how to offer it. I soon realised that the best help I could offer was to keep doing what I do, supporting you with fitness and movement to help keep you well. On one level it is a relatively insignificant thing, but actually I believe it is important for us all to keep active and keep some sort of routine in place. The enormity of the current situation is too huge to process and I hope that ‘coming’ to class helps you to step-away from it all for a while and re-connect with yourself on a regular basis.
Revised online class timetable:
Our online class timetable has evolved gradually over the past few weeks (and will probably continue to evolve) and I have made a few more changes this week. Classes on Mondays-Wednesdays are unchanged but I have changed things on Thursdays & Fridays (see details below).
The 7am classes are designed to give you the chance to fit in some movement before you get busy with your day – if you are working from home or home-schooling, I hope it is early enough to fit around your working/schooling schedule, and if you’re not currently working, I hope it gives you a hint of a work-day routine and something to get up for.
Do please let me know if there are any other class formats or any one-off sessions that you would like me to add.
How to book:
All classes are booked online.
Payment can be made as a one-off booking or via a monthly class pass subscription which gives unlimited access to all sessions.
When you book a one-off class, you will also receive a link to access the live recording afterwards so that you can ‘attend’ at a later time if your prefer. Live recordings will be available for 7 days after the class.
If you have a monthly class pass subscription, you will have access to recordings of all classes via your membership area, as well as all the ‘live’ sessions.
Let me know if you have any questions at all – I look forward to seeing you in the taylor-made fitness virtual studio very soon Jx
If you need to set yourself up for home exercise, read my guide about what you might need here
In a nod to the early days of taylor-made fitness, I have added a bootcamp session to my online timetable. We will be using some of the Metabolic Effect protocols to create super-effective, time-efficient workouts to fire up your metabolism and set you up for the day ahead.
The advantage of online classes is that you don’t have to drag yourself outside on a cold rainy morning – you can do it all in the comfort of your home instead!
For anyone not familiar with Metabolic Effect or bootcamp-style training, I have created a couple of videos so you’ll know what to expect from this class.
Introduction to metabolic effect bootcamp online:
metabolic effect bootcamp sample class:
A note about weights:
I’m using two pairs of dumb-bells in the video above but you can improvise with whatever you have available at home.
Dumb-bells give the greatest flexibility but a barbell or barbell plates would work too. A kettlebell will also work – we won’t be swinging it, but it will serve as a useful weight. Soft, sand-filled weights are another option.
If you’re buying equipment for the class, please go heavier than you might normally! This is rest-based training. If your weights are too light, you will never get to the point of needing a rest. For metabolic conditioning, we want to push ourselves, so be brave. But also be sensible and make sure you can actually pick your weight up to start with.
You can find some suggested equipment & suppliers here
This workout may be short & sweet but I can still feel my glutes from filming two days ago!! Join me in our ‘Zoom room’ to feel the benefits for yourself.
The past three weeks have been a whirlwind (under-statement?!) but hopefully the dust is beginning to settle on our strange new world. Now that we know we’re going to be ‘here’ for a while, we need to think about making plans so that we come out the other side in the best place possible…
Like all of you, my head has been all over the place at different times since the COVID-19 crisis began to impact our daily lives. Emotions are finely balanced and there have been a few wobbles along the way, but the thing that is helping me the most, is making plans.
I’m not actually a huge planner in life – I’ve always tended to drift a bit and see what happens – but right now I recognise that I need a plan! It’s definitely not about having a busy, packed schedule; it’s more about having a general idea how I’d like my day to look & feel and building in time to nurture myself. Having a plan gives me reassurance that I’ll still be standing at the end of this pandemic, and also keeps me grounded in the moment so that I can get through each day in turn.
Of course there’s no ONE way to handle this – we are all unique and armed with our own coping strategies – but talking to other people (remotely, of course) it seems that there are three common approaches at the moment:
make plans, find time for supportive activities, think about the end goal, get on with the ‘new-normal’
sit it out, do nothing, wait for it all to pass, hope that we’ll all go back to ‘old-normal’ afterwards
over-plan for the children, forget about yourself, feel stressed about no-one else sticking to the schedule you wrote for them, get up and do it all again tomorrow…!
Maybe you can recognise your own approach somewhere in this list? Maybe it changes from day-to-day? Maybe its a mixture of all three? Maybe you’re still settling?
All of these are perfectly good IF they are working for you – ie. that you feel mentally & physically supported to get through your day; that you have a balance of different activities to keep you engaged; that you are able to manage your stress-load effectively; that you’re able to carry on with the mundane everyday tasks that we all need to do; and that you are sleeping and eating to support your body.
But, if your current approach isn’t working for you, or if it stops working for you, perhaps it’s time to start making plans?
For me, planning is not about creating a rigid schedule. It is simply about recognising what you need and making plans to include some of that in your day/week, because now more than ever, what you need is truly important. It is not selfish to take care of yourself and focus on what you need. If you are supporting other people right now, make sure you also support yourself.
I know that we are all in totally different places right now – physically and emotionally and practically – but within all of our circumstances there is an opportunity to make plans to support ourselves.
Write them down – make them happen:
Ideally your plans will be written down (in your diary, on your family calendar, in a journal, on a scrap of paper, in an online planner…) and shared if you’re in a shared space right now (because it’s important that other people know what you need to do today – it’s not all about them and when they want to eat again!)
I’m a Filofax kind of girl so my plans all go in there, but I’m also fond of keeping a pen & a piece of paper by the kettle for any thoughts that occur while I’m there. My diary tends to work best for my weekday planning; the piece of paper plan is most often used at weekends, when I try not to be in my office near my diary! Right now there’s a bit of a cross-over but I’m trying to separate out the working week and non-working weekends as much as possible for a semblance of normality.
Writing plans down is the best way to make them happen!
What to plan:
My key planning tactics over the past 3 weeks have included:
planning my work schedule to support clients whilst also being mindful of the times I need to support myself
booking online yoga/meditation/breathing sessions which are FREE of charge – this is important because it would be easy to get carried away and spend more than I’m earning!
booking online yoga/meditation/breathing sessions which are PAID activities – this is important because I want to support other people who are in the same financial position as me
planning what food I have that needs using by a certain date to avoid waste and make sure I am engaged with my own nutrition
planning when (& where) I’m going to take my daily walk – so far I’m saving this until the late afternoon so I have something to look forward to when I might otherwise slump into a ‘sofa/chocolate/rubbish-on-the-TV hour or two’
planning when I can face-time my three girls without it being too noisy or chaotic!!
Some plans are made for weeks ahead (work for example), some are made at the start of the week, some are made at the start of the day. I like to keep a balance of these so that there is some flexibility within the structure.
Best laid plans…
Yesterday my day was thrown off course completely because I didn’t have a plan beyond 12pm!
In the afternoon, I spent three unexpected hours sorting out some technology; I had a face-time call with Imo who wanted to see where her little bed was, and see the tortoise, and see the dog, and see her high-chair (basically I think she was checking that I’d cleaned the house!!), and then after my walk, I slumped into bleurgghhh!
I didn’t eat the food I had defrosted (I had apple & chocolate for dinner instead!). I didn’t do the online class I had intended to do because I didn’t book it and therefore it became easy to ‘forget’.
Instead, I watched boring TV, went to bed and played a stupid game on my iPad until later than I should have…and weirdly it didn’t feel like a satisfactory kind of day at all!
Getting back on track:
Of course, one wasted afternoon doesn’t matter very much. But right now there is more opportunity than usual for multiple wasted afternoons which is why making plans is crucial for keeping me sane (or at least as sane as usual!)
If you find yourself feeling all-at-sea right now, think of ways to plan a different reality to get you back on track.
As a bare minimum, try to include a balance of:
some kind of movement
some quiet time
some (physically distant) social time
some time outside
some time caring for others (directly or indirectly)
some creative time
some time that’s just for you
something that makes you laugh
Of course we might not achieve all of these things every day, but thinking about them when making your plan will make them more likely…
Happy planning! Jx
Click here for details of how I can help to support you with some daily movement habits
Some useful articles on planning as a stress-reduction tool: