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Weight Loss Tips

Train and gain! with this dumbbell workout

Here’s how strength training can get you a better bikini body...

More and more women are strength training when they hit the gym, but if you’re still not convinced, then you could be missing out on some serious benefits.

Whether you’re using the TRX, doing a kettlebell class or using a pair of dumbbells in your HIIT circuit – you are strength training! It’s not all about weightlifting belts, clouds of chalk and groaning as loud as you can – though, that’s all welcome, too! It is, however, about using weights that truly challenge you, promoting muscle growth that in turn elevates your fat burn. The result is a leaner you, with a higher metabolic rate throughout the day. 

‘It’s estimated that for every half a kilo of lean muscle you gain, your body will burn 35-50 extra calories each day just to maintain it,’ explains John Shepherd, author of new book Strength Training for Women. ‘Regular cardio exercisers may lose weight but end up with a body that lacks tone and holds fat around key “problem” areas, such as the abdomen and hips.’ But those aren’t the only benefits you’ll experience – that’s just the beginning.

‘Resistance training will also boost your hormones,’ explains John. Basically, the more you pick up the weights, the more your levels of growth hormone are elevated. Why is this desirable? Well, along with playing a vital role in shedding fat, growth hormone also helps to slow the effects of ageing, according to John. Who wouldn’t want that? As we age we also experience a higher risk of osteoporosis, and strength training is an effective way of combating this. Not only do weights build muscle but they strengthen your bones, too, which is ideal for overall health as well as preventing injury.

Strength training also challenges your body in all different planes of motion, boosting its ability to master complex moves – especially ones that’ll help you in everyday life. We’re talking lifting, carrying, picking things up – that’s why it’s considered functional fitness. 

Don’t know where to start? John’s book is a great place, but if you want a taster, check out this workout he put together. It’s suitable for all levels, targeting the whole body using compound exercises. ‘These moves work numerous joints,’ explains John, ‘making them more functional and calorie-burning.’ Always use weights that prove difficult in the final reps of each set without compromising form – but if you’re new to weights, start out light and focus on building strength and technique. Everyone should add weights each month to encourage progress.


Always warm up before and cool down after this workout. Do each of the two workouts once a week, leaving at least 48 hours between each.

Workout 1: Metabolic and hormonal booster

Perform 3 x 10 reps of each move. Take enough recovery to allow for each set to be completed optimally.

Workout 2: Pyramid with body shaping fast-twitch fibre emphasis

Perform 8 reps using a light weight, 6 using a medium weight, then 2 x 4 reps using a heavy weight.

Workout 1

 Rear foot elevated split squat

Areas trained: glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves


  1. Holding dumbbells by each side, stand in front of a bench and place the toes of your rear foot on it. Hop your standing leg forward and place your foot flat on the floor. This is your starting position.
  2. Keeping your trunk upright and looking straight ahead, bend your front leg to lower your body to the ground. Lower until your thigh is approximately  parallel to the ground. 
  3. Push back up strongly and repeat. Perform the allotted reps on one side, and then the other to complete a full set.

Seated shoulder press

Areas trained: shoulders, triceps


  1. Sit on a bench holding dumbbells in front of your shoulders.
  2. Press the dumbbells up to the ceiling, bringing them close together at the top of the movement.
  3. Lower under control and repeat.

Single-arm kettlebell swing

Areas trained: quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, back, shoulders


  1. Take hold of the kettlebell in one hand with your knuckles facing away from you. Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. Let the kettlebell hang down at arm-length in front of your body and let it drop down and through your legs.
  2. Move with the fall of the kettlebell and let your bottom move backwards and torso incline forwards with knees soft. As the momentum of the weight begins to stall and go in the other direction, ‘snap’ your hips to impart more momentum onto the kettlebell to drive it up again.
  3. Let the weight fall back down and repeat. Perform the allotted reps on both sides to complete a set.

Plié squat

Areas trained: glutes, hips, hamstrings, quads, calves


  1. Holding the dumbbells with your knuckles facing away from you in front of your hips, stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width and turned out, making sure that your feet and knees are similarly angled.
  2. Bend your legs to plié and then extend them to stand back up and repeat.


Workout 2


Areas trained: back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves


  1. Take hold of a barbell from the floor with your knuckles facing forwards and hands just further than shoulder-width apart. Keep your heels on the floor, arms extended and head up.
  2. Drive up to lift the bar from the floor, keeping your shoulders over it and your knees bent.
  3. As the bar approaches hip-level, drive your hips forwards and now pull on the bar with your arms. As you do this, switch your grip from overhand to underhand and ‘catch’ the bar in a racked position on the front of your shoulders.
  4. Keeping your back flat, control the bar down to the floor, bending your knees and folding forwards, first to your thighs and then to the floor.


Areas trained: glutes, quads, hamstrings, back


  1. Support a barbell across the fleshy rear part of your shoulders (avoiding contact with your top vertebrae). Pull the bar down onto your shoulders to 
  2. fix it in place. Keep your head up and maintain the natural curve of your spine.
  3. Bend your knees to lower the weight as far as your flexibility allows. Keep your knees behind your toes as you go.
  4. Push through your heels to stand up and repeat.


Areas trained: glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back


  • Squat down slightly with your feet under the barbell and take hold of it with both hands.
  • Straighten your legs to start to move the bar upwards, keeping your arms long and the bar close to your shins (don’t pull with your arms).
  • Extend your hips to stand upright with the bar across the front of your thighs.
  • Return to the start and repeat.

Bent-over row

Areas trained: upper back, biceps, lower back, glutes, hamstrings


  • Keeping a bend in your knees, hinge at your hips so your upper body is almost parallel to the floor, holding a barbell with arms extended towards the floor.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you row the barbell up towards your hips.
  • Slowly lower and repeat.

Top 10 To Combat Eating Disorders

Women are constantly bombarded (in the press, advertisement, films and television) with images of the perfect body. The enormous pressure built up on them leads many women to go on diets to help themlose weight. Some women have developed a very unsettled relationship with food, followed by complains of chronic constipation, lack of energy or food intolerance. one thing common to all eating disorders is the love-hate relationship with food.

Try working out through following exercise to understand how your body works with food, so as to turn eating into a positive experience:-

1. Understand the nutrients your body needs:

Try to understand your nutritional needs with regards to caloriesfatproteinvitamins,minerals andwater to develop a healthy metabolism and gain energy to carry out your normal daily activities.

The body puts on excess fat only when it takes in calories it does not need. As a member, you will gain knowledge of your individual nutritional needs, so as to manage your body in a healthy manner. Here you will understand that food has far more uses than simply the negative one of “making you fat”. It is important to try to get your body to a stage where it is a little stronger, without feeling that your weight will carry on going up and up.

The nutrition content of WF fitness program deals with all essential nutrients individually along with their sources and daily requirements to help you make healthy choices of food.

2. Calculate your ideal body weight:

Use your body mass index to calculate your ideal body weight. BMI of 19-25 is considered healthy. Below 18 is considered underweight. You can check your target weight at: www.womenfitness.net/freetools.htm

3. Understand that body’s fluid levels change everyday, several times a day:

Try to get out of the habit of excessive weighing, once a week should be the maximum. This might not seem easy when you have been used to obsessive weighing, so throw the scales out, or give them to a friend or put them in a hidden place. Whenever you are tempted to weigh yourself adopt distractive therapies like, a walk etc.

4. Make a list of pastimes that make you feel good:

Write down your favorites pieces of music or books that you seem to associate with happy times. you can also list down name of friends and relatives who can offer you support in time of need. Keep your lists in prominent place so that you can take immediate action when you are feeling vulnerable.

Gentle exercise can help you feel good about your body, but punishing your body with 2 hrs. exercise is not what you need.

5. Make a food list:

Try dividing foods into four groups:


  1. Foods are those that you feel safe eating-include fruits and vegetables, apart from bananas, pineapple, avocados, along with yoghurt, canned diet drinks, black coffee. Occasionally try pasta, rice, potatoes and white bread.

  2. Carbohydrates foods. Other foods might include cottage or low fat cheese, fish, meat, chicken andbreakfast cereals.

  3. Food consisting of  fat and sugar such as crisps, pastries, cakes, biscuits, butter, oil, cheese, sauces and full-calorie canned drinks.

  4. These foods are those that you don’t like. These are genuine dislikes rather than any psychological fear of eating.

Try WF healthy recipes from: A list of choices various foods.

6. Try to reawaken the taste, temperature and sensation in your mouth:

Many anorexics and bulimics, don’t taste or feel food in their mouth. They see food as enemy and something that has to be swallowed quickly. Try to acknowledge food within your mouth, enjoy its smell and taste as you chew and swallow it down. This will help you to identify the signals of satiety and fullness, leaving you less guilty.

The ultimate goal of this exercise is to stop the guilt/panic attacks that accompany eating, not to make you take in calories. Concentrate and respect everything that goes into your mouth to feel positive about food.


Top 10 to Combat Eating Disorders7. Avoid keeping your binge foods at home:

Keeping the binge foods locked in a cupboard will make it easier for you to avoid the temptation to binge. If you have a list of binge foods (the classic ones being bread, biscuits, cookies, cake, chocolate, ice cream) try to replace them with more nutritious foods which will provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals e.g. fruits, salad etc.

8. Try to drink no more than two litres of water a day:

There is no doubt that water is essential for healthy and normal functioning of various body function. But filling up empty stomach with water is not advocated. Take small sips of water throughout the day.

Also do limit your tea and coffee intake throughout the day. Tea and coffee bind vitamins and minerals in your gut and prevent your body from using them effectively. Being diuretic, they also make your body excrete nutrients in the urine. Initially you might face withdrawal symptoms like headaches, but this will pass out with time.

9. Stop Using Laxatives and diuretics:

Continued use of laxatives and diuretics can lead to abnormal amount of fluid loss. The temporary loss on the scales can prove damaging to your health. A healthy diet based on cereals, fruits and vegetables will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy state. Refer to the food guide pyramid to base your everyday diet on a healthy foundation.

10. Try to build a structure into your diet pattern:

Try to follow a meal pattern of at least 3-5 meals a day at the same time everyday, this will give you a sense of being in control. Whatever pattern you choose, adopt one that you will stick to, so that some normality can start filtering into your life.

You can even start by breaking up the day into 3 units for e.g., morning, afternoon and evening. At the end of each unit, analyze yourself and goals achieved. Give yourself positive feedback, you can even write it down in your personal diary.

If you are able to achieve your goals in all the three units, reward yourself with something other than food e.g.. massage or a facial. Remember the more positive attention you give yourself, the more likely will you be able to accept your body for what it is and not struggle for an unachievable image.

The transition from an unhealthy lifestyle towards a healthy one might not seem easy or come overnight. By modifying your eating habits you might be amazed as to how good it feels to release yourself from the eating disorder “jail”.

Women Fitness is here to walk every step with you towards a healthy and enjoyable eating of food.

Eat to control cravings and boost energy

  • Eat breakfast. Get your metabolism going in the morning by eating a healthy breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who skip it. A solid breakfast provides energy for the day.
  • Eat regularly. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours. Support your body’s natural cycle of energy by eating a substantial breakfast, a nutritious lunch, a snack around 2 pm (to compensate for the body’s natural low point that occurs around 3 each afternoon), and a light early dinner.
  • Cut the junk. The ups and downs that come with eating sugary snacks and simple carbohydrates cause extreme swings in energy level and mood. Cutting out these foods can be tough, but if you can resist for several days, your cravings will subside.
  • Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas boost your “feel-good” serotonin levels without a crash. They also provide plenty of fiber, so you feel full much longer.
  • Boost energy with quality protein. Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet, but it’s important to vary your diet with fish, chicken and turkey, dairy, and plant-based protein sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, and non-GMO soy products. If you eat red meat, opt for organic, grass-fed rather than processed meats, such as hotdogs, bacon, and salami, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Wise up to slim down

Beat your diet downfalls and lose those hard-to-shift pounds with these figure-friendly fixes

There’s no magic solution to slimmer thighs or a flatter tum, but if you want to shake off that excess weight and look your best for the sunny days ahead, you need a smart strategy. First things first, you have to figure out what might be stalling your weight-loss progress. 

So we’ve rounded up some of the most surprising diet saboteurs to help you avoid them and whittle away those wobbly bits once and for all.  

You’re eating too many ‘healthy’ carbs

You baulk at the sight of a croissant and wouldn’t dream of letting a chip pass your lips, but you start the day with wholegrain rice puffs and fill up on a big bowl of wholemeal pasta at dinner. Sound familiar? We all know that white versions of these kitchen cupboard staples spell bad news for our waistlines, but even their brown counterparts aren’t as virtuous as they may seem. Although complex carbohydrates are an important macronutrient in any balanced eating plan, a carb-heavy diet leads to weight gain by increasing blood glucose levels and making your body more resistant to insulin. This means that instead of burning carbs for energy, your body stores them as fat. Instead eat more protein – a study by Cambridge University and the University of Sydney found that this helps to keep your appetite in check.

Wise up: Pile half your plate with non-starchy veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, one quarter with protein (pulses, turkey or lean beef), and the other quarter with complex carbs (brown rice or sweet potato) and good fats such as olive oil or avocado. 

You’re being too good

You’ve been told over and over that counting calories is the key to successful weight loss. Well, counting calories can certainly help in the battle against the bulge, but totting up your daily intake isn’t really sustainable in the long term. Plus you’ll find your weight will start to plateau after a certain amount of time, as your body fights back by slowing your metabolism and increasing your hunger. Emerging research suggests that if you really want to keep your metabolism ticking over nicely you’ll need to bend the weight-loss rules slightly by ditching your diet once a week. Having a cheat meal can really help you stick to a healthy diet the rest of the time and keep your willpower firing all week long. 

Wise up: Set aside one meal a week to ‘slip up’ and indulge guilt free! Make sure you eat a low-calorie diet leading up to your cheat meal and then splurge on something that you’ve been craving all week. There are a couple of golden rules to follow to ensure this doesn’t foil your get-slim goals, though: schedule your cheat meal earlier in the day – at lunchtime rather than dinner – and stop eating at the first sign of fullness. You may find you get full quite quickly if you’ve been watching your portion sizes while dieting, so don’t feel that you have to clean your plate!

You save your calories for the evening

Eating smaller portions will certainly help to fire up your weight loss, but if you’re making the mistake of saving up your day’s calorie intake for the evening, the scales won’t tip in your favour. Your metabolism takes a dive when you miss meals, as it tries to hang onto whatever calories it can. Plus, skipping meals during the day will make you ravenous come the evening, so you’re also likely to overindulge during a night-time noshing session. This means your body will be flooded with high levels of blood glucose, which your body will store as fat. 

Wise up: Make sure you eat at regular intervals throughout the day, say scientists at the University of Eastern Finland, who recently discovered that skipping meals was associated with weight gain. Your day’s food intake should revolve around three meals, plus two snacks, to ensure blood glucose levels stay stable. Make sure each meal contains a protein source – such as pulses, cheese or meat – to keep you feeling full, and graze on snacks like berries with nuts or oatcakes topped with houmous.

You aren’t dealing with your emotions very well

Are you guilty of eating your emotions? Short-term stress or anxiety can suppress your appetite, as the release of hormones – including cortisol, CRH and adrenaline – makes us feel less hungry because the body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode to protect us. However, a prolonged response over time can cause hormones like cortisol to signal to the body that it needs to replenish food supplies. This makes us hungrier for comfort foods and slows down the metabolism.

Wise up: Next time you’re stressed, swap comfort foods for a yoga sesh. Concentrating on breathing techniques and flow sequences will help bring your body back into balance and regulate hormone levels. And, instead of eating when you feel blue, look for other rewards to relieve negativity. Have a massage or call up a friend for a good ol’ chat. 

You have a selective memory

Guilty of mindlessly chowing down in front of the computer? Even if you’re watching what you eat 50 per cent of the time, if you’re not careful the other 50 per cent you’ll pack on the pounds. It’s difficult to keep tabs on what you’re eating when you’re distracted – and when you’re multi-tasking your brain isn’t as efficient at detecting fullness. 

Wise up: Schedule time into your day to dedicate to mealtimes. Make eating an occasion that takes you away from whatever task you’re doing. Eat at the dining table instead of on the sofa and make sure you chew food properly. Spend a few minutes a day writing a food diary of everything you’ve eaten and review it at the end of the week.  

Yoga for everyone

If scanning the yoga timetable leaves you lost and confused, don’t panic. Just check out our simple guide to yoga styles old and new

From Ashtanga to Bikram – and beyond – the variety of yoga styles on offer in gyms and studios across the country is amazing. ‘It’s awesome that there are so many different types of yoga,’ says yoga instructor and key leader at Lululemon Katy Bateman (redpandayoga.com). ‘There’s a style for everyone!’ So how do you work out which class ticks your fitness boxes? ‘We all demand, want and need different things for our bodies. Whether you want to flow, sweat, invert, rejuvenate, recover or relax, there’s a practice out there for you,’ says Katy. ‘But our bodies (and minds) don’t necessarily need the same type of practice all the time – sometimes you want to stretch and strengthen, sometimes you just want to chill – there’s a whole menu of yoga out there to feed our bodies with what we need.’ So, whatever you fancy, check out the WF guide to some of the most popular yoga styles out there – plus some of the very latest classes to hit the mat – to find the perfect class for your mood!


Overview: Developed by BKS Iyengar, this is a technique-focused style of yoga. It concentrates on getting the correct alignment, and yoga blocks and straps are often used to assist with this.
Benefits: You’ll really nail every pose. And it’s perfect for injury rehab as it’s slower paced, but technically focused.
Expert tip: ‘The use of props (blankets, bolsters, belts, bricks) help to move students deeper into poses, and has influenced many schools of yoga,’ explains Katy. ‘It’s great for newbies.'


Overview: Developed by Bikram Choudhury around 40 years ago, Bikram yoga classes are a sweaty affair.
They are held in heated rooms (around 40°C) to aid detoxing and help muscles lengthen, and follow a set sequence of poses. It doesn’t move quickly in the same way that a flow class does, as poses are held for longer. Bikram is very popular and classes are held nationwide.
Benefits: The heat is said to help the body detox and can help to boost your flexibility.
Expert tip: ‘The heat is used to aid sweating, detoxing, sweating, strengthening, sweating and… Did I mention sweating?! Suitable for all levels, but remember to drink lots of water the day before your class – and after the class!’ says Katy.


Overview: Ashtanga is a lively style of yoga that follows a set sequence of postures. It’s flowing in nature and is a physically challenging style of yoga.
Benefits: The sequence is always the same so you’ll master it after a few sessions and be able to relax into the class.
Expert tip: ‘This demanding practice is not for the faint-hearted and will see you sweat,’ says Katy. ‘I’d recommend beginners take a few slower-paced Hatha classes before embarking on an Ashtanga session, to get used to the postures.’


Overview: This style is all about reaping the mental and spiritual benefits of yoga.
The idea is that the physical practice can help to let your inner goodness shine through.
Benefits: It’s a great way to clear your head and refocus on the things that are important to you. Perfect if you’ve got a lot on your mind.
Expert tip: ‘This practice encourages you to move from the heart, focusing on how you feel in a pose, and helping you move your body into its optimum alignment, which can be very therapeutic,’ says Katy. ‘It’s great for all levels, and creates a great foundation for a solid yoga practice.’


Overview: Hatha yoga covers any type of yoga that teaches physical poses, but these classes tend to be quite slow-paced and gentle. Classes advertised as Hatha usually provide a good grounding in the basics of yoga.
Benefits: You’ll feel more relaxed and give your body a good stretch out, without the intensity of some of the other classes.
Expert tip: ‘If a class is labelled “Hatha” it will probably be a bit slower, focusing on the alignment of your body and playing with some classic sun salutations,’ Katy says. ‘It’s perfect for all levels – beginners, intermediate and advanced all benefit.’


Overview: This is a very fluid practice, which enables you to get your heart rate up. It’s a very similar style to Ashtanga, but doesn’t follow the set sequence of Ashtanga, so every class will vary.
Benefits: You’ll never get bored, as each class is different from the next.
Expert tip: ‘It’s a dynamic style, but suitable for all levels. As with many styles of yoga, teachers often give variations on poses for different levels as you move through the sequences,’ Katy explains.

8 ways to fit in a Christmas workout

Don’t let your fitness goals fall by the wayside this Christmas. There's always time for a quick workout - no matter the season.

Every year the holiday season sneaks up on us and before we can get a handle on the chaos, fitness has dropped way down the priority list. It can be tempting to postpone any workout plans until further notice.

Staying fit throughout the holidays not only helps to keep you in shape, but exercising will make you more productive and give you an energy boost. Here are 8 fast workout ideas for even the busiest schedule.

Fast classes

Health clubs and gyms know what we’re going through balancing a million things at once and barely having time for a lunch break some days. That’s why Virgin Active (virginactive.co.uk) runs fast classes: group exercises classes that last no longer than half an hour while promising to give you a workout that feels way longer. Check out twentyfour – a fat-burning session that gets you twisting, pushing and pulling in every direction while boosting metabolism and raising the heart rate.

Late-night affair

There’s nothing worse than rushing to the gym for a quick in-and-out session and being faced with a crowded gym floor, shower queue or sparse equipment. This kind of session involves weaving through people, wasting time trying to find a decent spot and waiting around for the dumbbells you want or the squat rack to free up. So, if your schedule allows for it, choose the absolute least busiest times, like late at night. You’ll get your pick of the kit, shower cubicle and mat space. No dilly-dallying. No fuss. No wasted time.

Cardio, meet strength

For the next few weeks, forget about separating cardio and strength days. Spin Mondays, leg Wednesdays and circuit Fridays can wait – over the party season there’s no reason why you can’t get your cardio and strength fix in one swift session. Creating a cardio workout using resistance exercises with little rest between sets means you’ll tick both boxes, so get moving with box jumps, mountain climbers and jumping lunges for now. Check out our tips in our ‘Make cardio your strength’ box.

More, but less

However many times you usually exercise, cut it. Switch from five to three sessions a week without sacrificing any of the effects by taking it up a couple gears when you are working out. Thinking quality over quantity could save you precious hours, and is as easy as modifying your moves. Turn squats into squat jumps, press-ups into press-up renegade rows and runs into sprint sessions. Cut rest periods, opt for supersets and incorporate warm-ups into sets, too.

Make your commute count

Currently taking the bus, train or car to work? Get yourself a decent backpack, a good pair of trainers and run or cycle instead. Not only will you be getting your workout done and dusted before you even start the day, but you’ll also be unleashing that eco warrior within. The environment, as well as your schedule, will thank you for it.

Keep it in the bedroom

No, not that! We’re talking, wake up, work out, get ready and go. Sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Well, why shouldn’t it be? There are plenty of ways to work out at home and if you complete a quick and intense bodyweight workout in your bedroom before you even take your morning shower, you’ll barely notice the dent in your day. Burpees by the bed, anyone?

Social affair

Around Christmas time, when everyone’s struggling to keep up with their schedule, for some reason we all think it’s a great idea to make loads of social plans, too. Not just with our best mates and families but with old friends for reunions. It doesn’t make sense, but we’re all guilty of it. So why not make your social events exercise-related? You could all go for run together, try a new class (great for a talking point afterwards, too) or hit the gym. Double whammy or what?

Make life harder

Yep, you read that right. Do exactly what you normally do every day but make it more difficult. The lift should become a stranger, while the stairs an acquaintance, shopping trolleys should be abandoned for your new best friend, the basket, and don’t you even think about driving a walkable distance. All of these switch-ups will get you burning calories while barely affecting your time.

Recover on-the-go

Refuelling and replenishing your muscles after a tough workout is essential. Not only does muscle growth encourage a boosted metabolic rate and in turn fat burn, but you also need your hard-working muscles to repair in time for your next session. Getting post-workout nutrition isn’t rocket science, but making it quick and convenient can be tricky. 


Make cardio your strength

Fat loss expert Dave Fletcher (theodysseyway.co.uk) explains how to make your cardio and strength workouts a match made in heaven.

1. Try a circuit of low-rep exercises with little rest to keep the heart rate up. This is the best way to maximise fat burn within a single workout.

2. Perform big, compound movements like squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses and press-ups. Now is not the time for bicep curls.

3. Do heavy reps to stimulate your fat-twitch muscle fibres, which will help to boost metabolism.

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Train and gain! with this dumbbell workout


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Eight reasons to run!

Full of flavour and so many health benefits, this humble bulb is undoubtedly a storecupboard hero… stock up now!

Garlic has lots of health benefits – it is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory to name a few!’


Most of us have this little bulb in our kitchens and use it for adding flavour to our cooking, but garlic has lots of health benefits and could technically be called an everyday superfood. It is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory to name a few!

One of the key benefits and medicinal uses of garlic is in helping to lower blood pressure, whether you have high blood pressure already or not. There has also been research that shows how garlic can also have a positive effect on your cholesterol, helping to keep it in check. So if you currently suffer from, or are predisposed to cholesterol or heart problems because of family genetics, then definitely add garlic to your cooking as much as possible.

Garlic was actually used to treat gangrene during the World Wars, probably because of its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and because one of the key biological components of garlic is a compound called allicin. These days, though, allicin, which is also found in garlic’s cousin the onion, can be used to help support your immune system and, according to research, may help  to prevent certain cancers, such as stomach and colon. 

The antibacterial properties of garlic also mean it helps to fight infections, and there has even been some evidence that it might help prevent food poisoning by killing bacteria, such as E. coli. One study even found that garlic was better at treating campylobacter, a bacteria commonly found in uncooked chicken, than two kinds of antibiotics and may be up to 100 times more effective!

In addition, garlic contains vitamin C, B6, selenium and manganese. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant so it also helps to protect your cholesterol from oxidation, the process that can cause damage to your blood vessels and arteries. As for B6, this vitamin will help prevent heart disease by lowering homocysteine, an amino acid that naturally occurs in your blood but can be dangerous when levels get too high. Selenium helps to protect your cells from damage, and manganese has many roles, including helping your body form connective tissue and bone, as well fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

The key to reaping the benefits of garlic is to aim for around two cloves a day and ensure that it’s chopped, crushed or pressed and then left for 60 seconds before cooking to release all of its benefits and flavour. Chopping the garlic and putting it straight into a heated pan or oven will destroy a lot of its goodness, as the oil and allicin needs to be released and the necessary chemical reactions started. So don’t be too tasty to get cooking immediately. 



Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and add ½ finely chopped onion and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Add 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach and 400ml vegetable stock and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Season to taste, blend with a hand blender and serve.


Finely chop 3 large garlic bulbs and place in a blender with 4tbsp olive oil, 4tbsp (total) pine nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and a large handful of fresh basil. Blend to a fine paste and stir in 150g finely grated Pecorino cheese. You can add more olive oil if it is too thick or dry. Serve over fresh pasta or with meats.


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Cut a small butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, rub with olive oil and season. Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes until soft. About halfway through the cooking of the squash, rub a little olive oil over 2 bulbs of garlic (skin still on) and roast for 20-25 minutes beside the squash. When cooked, scoop the flesh out of the squash and peel the garlic cloves. Place in a blender along with the zest and juice of ½ lemon, and 2tbsp tahini. Blend until a smooth paste and season to taste before serving.


1 clove of garlic (3g) provides you with approximately:
4 calories
0g fat
0g protein
0g carbs
1g fibre

Get snap happy with the latest way to get your coconut fix

If you’re not already a coconut oil fan, these clever sachets from Jax Coco are sure to do the trick.

Containing one of the purest extra virgin coconut oils in the world – and produced in less than two hours after the coconut is dehusked – the beneficial oil in Jax Coco Snaps (£8.99 for 24 sachets) is extracted with a state-of-the-art centrifugal system to retain more of its health-giving nutrients.

Perfect for life on the go, simply grab a single-serving size snap and add to a smoothie, your morning coffee, afternoon tea or evening hot choc. If you’re heading off for an impromptu night out after work, a little coconut oil will tame frizzy hair and give it a brilliant shine. Or, swept across your cheekbones, will bring out the natural pigment in your complexion.

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Find out more at Jax Coco
Stock up on sachets at Honestly Healthy Food