July 27, 2016No Comments

Slice that hand – #WetWednesdays

Have you ever tried aqua aerobics? If not? Why not? It’s actually great fun and there are very simple yet effective ways to make the workout harder or easier as the case may be.

One of the best ways to change up the exercise is to change your hands. No matter what your legs are doing try this simple switch up of your hand positions and movements and see what effect it has on your workout.

The easiest hand movement you can do is to slice the water. Position your hand into a flat knife like position and slice it through the water. Either fingers first and slicing forward or off to the side so your hand is still facing forwards. Notice how much easier it is than if you had your hands open in the direction you are moving your hands in? Thats because your hands are showing the smallest possible plane facing into the water which means there’s less resistance.

Doesn’t mean it’s easy to do, but it will be easier than a few of the other variations which we will cover in later blog posts. Still a great way to work out your arms and chest.

Enjoy this one!

Ciao for now x

July 12, 2016No Comments

Boys can’t dance – #TalkToMeTuesdays

Billy Elliott

Most people know the story of Billy Elliot, the boy who wanted to dance. So why is it there is still so much stigma attached to boys that want to dance?

The biggest issue I have with people wanting to join my dance fitness class is they say they don’t know how to dance. It slightly baffles me, why would you need to know how to dance? All you have to be able to do is follow what I tell you to do and try to do it to the same timing as I do. But worse case scenario you won’t and you’ll still be moving and you’ll still be sweating and still be working out as you wanted….and hopefully still having fun while doing it? So why would you care really.

When it comes to boys, my mind boggles even more so. A lot of them look at you, when you suggest they come to a dance class, as if you’ve just told them their an alien that was adopted from the planet Jupiter on the day they hatched from an egg. ‘Men don’t do dance classes’.

When drilling into that statement further, they say it’s more for women. Why? Well, I think actually that’s their way of saying they’re scared and intimidated to come.

The few guys who have come along to my class have loved it. I mean, regardless of your sexual orientation, you get to dance in a room full of women with everyone having fun, no stress or awkwardness that there is in a club and you don’t even have to think about your dance moves. All you have to do is be able to follow instruction and over the weeks you will easily pick up the moves, no matter how bad you think you are at dancing.

I’ve seen people in my class who can’t keep to the beat of a song. Yes, I show them the move, I move to the beat and they can be going a completely different direction. That might be what happens on week 1 but by about week 3 or 4 those same people are moving to the beat and almost knowing what moves are coming next. They learn to keep to the beat. Dancing is a skill that anyone can learn, to differing degrees but everyone has the potential to keep to a beat!

I think the biggest shock that the guys in my class have had was how tough the class is. They thought there would be lots of hip twirling and grinding, some body pumps and that’s it, not much sweating. HA! Proven wrong every time, working their butts off and hurting more in that one hour with me than they would pumping weights.

So to everyone out there, boy or girl, old or young, try out our class. We are an amazingly welcoming group who just love music and enjoy the idea of smiling the whole way through our workout. Yes, some of us (myself included) treat it like our very own concert, belting out tunes while ‘squatting like it’s hot’ but who cares. No one in our room judges each other, we’re all there for the same reason.

Look forward to seeing you all soon

Ciao for now x

February 3, 2016No Comments

World Cancer Day – 4th February

Tomorrow, 4th February 2016, is World Cancer Day and today I wanted to post about cancer and how it has affected me personally.

This post is not related to my fitness as much but it does relate to health and keeping healthy and the impact good nutrition can have on your body.

Like most people these days, cancer has made a profound and devastating impact on myself and my family. We have lost a number of people closest to us to various forms of cancer. It can hit anyone at any time, any background, any age, any religion. Cancer does not discriminate.

The strongest memory I have of cancer is something that I find quite hard to talk about but I'm going to try and put into words for you now.

In my late teens, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. At the time I didn't really understand what that meant. I assumed it meant he was ill and there would be medication, perhaps some tough treatment but that would be it.

It wasn't. For those that haven't been there the entire way through someones falling to cancer, the news that it is terminal and that all they can do is try and ease the suffering until the time comes, there is no way to describe it. The realisation that someone can go from seeming just fine, their normal self to barely being able to be coherent, to moving or to doing much for themselves in an exceptionally fast time is heartbreaking.

I watched this big, manly man who had always been in my life pale in comparison to what he was just weeks, months and years before. It was like watching a movie on fast forward and the knowledge that there was nothing I could do about it but watch.

That's not to even guess what the person going through it is feeling. How they feel being told they have been diagnosed with cancer, how they feel being told it's terminal, how they feel going through endless sessions of chemotherapy and cocktails of medicine to all be told it's for nothing and they are giving an expiry date. A date when the doctors would be surprised if they are still around the day after. Just let that sink in for a minute.

So the news came it was terminal and obviously everyone makes time to try and say their goodbyes. I remember this part so vividly. It was half term the week after, I finished school early on the Friday and was meant to be going to the hospital the Saturday, the day after. I had no idea why but something inside me was telling me I wanted to visit that day. I asked Mum and she wasn't sure, she said she'd moved stuff around so she wasn't sure if she could get there with me and my uncle hadn't been great that morning when she spoke to my aunt so maybe it was worth waiting until the day after. Something inside me kept pushing and in the end we went on Friday.

It was both the most horrible and best experience I can honestly say I've ever had. Horrible because my uncle was there, pale, skinny, barely coherent, hooked up to machines trying to keep him coming. He didn't know who we were. I watched my mum try and talk to her brother and get no response and although she was trying to hold it in for me she couldn't and the tears came. I watched this man who had picked me up and taken me to school just months before, struggle to form words, struggle to recognise his sister.

We stayed. We tried to chat. We tried to make light and joke. Then we came to say goodbye. That was when it became the best experience. I held his hand and kissed him goodbye and for a split second, just one he looked at me with his eyes and knew me. Really knew me. I don't know how to describe it other than he knew and I felt more than heard him say goodbye.

That night we got the call that my uncle had passed away. If I had waited until Saturday I wouldn't have got the chance to say goodbye.

Cancer hits and when it hits it hits hard. There are definitely some positive stories and they should be rejoiced and celebrated but there is also so much we are exposed to day in and day out that helps cancer thrive. Chemicals, plastics, processed foods the list goes on.

What I have taken away from my experience with cancer however, is knowledge. There are so many things we can do every day to reduce our likelihood of cancer and help our bodies to cope with the every day stresses. Eating better, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, using and eating natural whole foods, changing our toiletries and makeups to those containing no chemicals and made only from plants, yoga, meditation just to name a few!

So take some time today to make a small change. Maybe it's change one product you have at home to a chemical free one, eat less processed foods, start exercising. It doesn't matter but do something. We can stop cancer but it takes all of us being more aware and using the knowledge that is out there.

Ciao for now x

January 13, 2016No Comments

Day 13 – Exercise and calories

A lot of people, especially those trying to stick to their New Years Resolutions, seem to think doing any form of exercise justifies a McDonalds. I'm afraid to say it really doesn't.

While doing some exercise is always better than doing none, it's extremely important that you are honest with yourself and have an understanding of how many calories you are actually burning.

The way you should work this information, goes back to one of our first posts, counting calories. In this post we calculated a basic figure of our daily calorie need but obviously that amount can increase if we are doing exercise in that day, but by how much?

This is where we need to be careful about how much we are overestimating our exercise. For example, half an hour of Yoga, in a person that weighs about 70kg is only 149 calories. A normal class is usually an hour so that's just under 300 calories spent doing exercise, not quite enough to justify a Big Mac!

Calculate your daily calorie needs using the first article we published and then if you do exercise, try to track and calculate the change in those needs for the days you exercise. Here's a great link that you can use to measure your calories used and includes every day activities around the house as well as exercise. Unfortunately it is an American website so makes use of Pounds rather than stone or kilograms but as a basic concept, 1 Pound, in weight, is equal to 0.45kg.

Enjoy and most importantly be honest with yourself.

Ciao for now x

  
ShakeUp are a group of individuals who want to change lives with smiles.

Newsletter sign up