My Thoughts on 3 Month Achievable Body Goals

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Is anyone else feeling the footy void? Luckily we have the women’s World Cup to carry us over for a few weeks but then what happens after that?

Maybe instead of looking around for discounts on your Sky Sports subscription, it's time for some physical action.

What can we do before the start of the next season? What kind of body goals are achievable before the start of the Premier League's 2019/20 season on Saturday 10 August 2019. How do we achieve them?

Try for 3 months

Cut out bread. Cut out sweets. Get off your phone and take control.

Plank Challenges: 

You've heard of the 30 day plank challenge? Well why not stretch that out. The plank challenge encourages routine, discipline and is one of the best exercises for developing your core. Grab a matt, do it first thing while the kettle is boiling, add more time incrementally for better results.

Regain Your Fitness Plan:

Take a look at other plans that are specifically designed to help you shed weight. Regain Your Fitness’s online fitness programs for women and men boast that past clients have lost 7 – 10 kg in the first 30 days. I'm not affiliated but I've done some HIIT training before and I can tell you it's gruelling, but worth it.

Start KOBOX

I am a brand ambassador for KOBOX and I can tell you that the classes are fantastic. The instructors are like family and it's a very sociable way of working out. If you stick to weekly classes you will not only increase your overall stamina but will be well on your way to learning a new skill.

Personal Trainer 

As a rule of thumb, the average amount a personal trainer in the UK will charge is around £30 an hour. Though if you're London based that can rise quite steeply.

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Set aside a budget. Develop a plan with a personal trainer and explain the body goals you would like to achieve. Have pictures of naked dudes at the ready to help your trainer. Only kidding. Don't be weird.

Remember the Diet

So how much weight can you realistically lose in 3 months? You can possibly lose as much as 30 pounds according to this article by Live Strong.  But so much centres around your ability to maintain discipline around your diet. A low-calorie, highly nutritious eating plan combined with increased physical activity brings about weight loss.

Gadgets that will help you lose weight

Lemon squeezers, blenders (not juicers) veggie steamer and salad tossers. You can find a bunch more on the Everyday Health site. I'd say out of all the gadgets, the best one is the alarm clock. Get up early, don't dodge the best part of the day when no one is around.

Best Apps to help you lose Weight

Check out all the fat-busting apps in this article by Gotta be Mobile. Personally I'm always keeping an eye on the step count and know some friends have eulogised over Tabatas which is themed around more HIIT routines. (High Intensity Interval Training).

If you so happen to find yourself in a Novotel hotel like I was last week, check out the CALM app they have which helps facilitate sleep, positivity and meditation. All crucial ingredients if you're serious about achieving your body goals.

Document your 3 month work out

Be honest with yourself. Set yourself some very open goals with your online audience and pictures of yourself naked. Only kidding, come on, liven up!

But take personal pictures of yourself in the mirror. It's not easy to see gradual improvement but you will come a long way within 3 months and before you know it your body transformation will be there for everyone to see.

13 at KOBOX: The New Boutique Pay-As-You Gym Studio

As a proud ambassador of KOBOX I'm very pleased to announce a new option to their work out schedule.

For anyone not wanting to be tied to a gym membership this is for you. For anyone fed-up with not being able to access their workout station due to overcrowding, this is for you.

At KOBOX 13 you have all the space and time to train how and when you like. It's festooned with all the trimmings you'd expect from a KOBOX gym. There's state-of-the-art equipment as well as a full size boxing ring as its centrepiece.

The concept is brilliant. I'm not claiming it's solely original or exclusive to KOBOX, you'll find others like Barry's offer a similar format. But Barry's have a PT that offers a pre-programmed schedule to around 40 people. KOBOX has more flexibility, you can work out at your leisure or have the KOBOX team organise your station before your arrival.

I had the option of having a programme put together for me by either Toby or Shane the trainers, targeted towards my body goals. It's a unique and holistic approach to working out.

This is the response I got from KOBOX when I booked a 13 Class.

“Hi Carl

Hope you are good? I see you’re booked in with a few space for a session with us tomorrow. If you need help planning what you want to do when you’re here then please let us know. We’d be happy to prepare a training plan that will make sure that you get the best out of your visit. Just let us know what you want, maybe you want to sweat, maybe you want to lift, maybe there is a specific body part you want to work on, or a sport you are training for. Let us know and we’ll have it ready when you arrive. 

If you want to come and just use the space yourself that’s also cool."

FINAL THOUGHTS

What I loved was the freedom it gave me. I felt like I owned the place. Very few people, easy access to all the equipment. It allowed me to focus on what I came to achieve. It's a perfect way to train if you're working out infrequently, maybe you're not in the City that often. Perhaps you just enjoy the freedom of space and don't want to hang around waiting for your station to free up.

It's located on the first floor of KOBOX's new flagship Chelsea studio - 107 King's Road, SW3 4PA

https://www.koboxboxingclub.com

Get in Shape Like James Bond: Nutrition & Diet

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If you've caught my Instagram stories of late you would have seen I've been investing in some new cook books. Nutrition is going to be a massive thing for me in the year 2019 and today I want to talk about one man’s diet in particular, James Bond.

You may have seen stories circling the press recently about Daniel Craig giving up drink in preparation for the role of James Bond. (Although he was seen drinking Stella at the golden Globes right?) Truth is he would have been getting into shape for Bond 25 months ago.

Today I want to talk a little bit about nutrition and what you can be implementing in your diet.

PROTEIN

We all know that protein is a must when it comes to developing and packing on more muscle. Simon Waterson (Daniel Craig's trainer) will attest that you should marry the amount of protein you eat with the weight you aspire to be.

Your protein diet should consist of skinless chicken, eggs (the literary Bond loved his eggs) kale and of course, protein supplements.

I also have a lot of red meat from the grill, this is an excellent source of protein but of course, not everyone will prescribe to eating red meat in today's society.

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SNACK FOOD

It's nuts, its low sugar fruit. Almonds have a great sweet taste, that will nullify your sugar craving and provide your body with some Omega 3's.

I wish I knew back then what I know now about fruit. Juices, even freshly squeezed juices are packed high in sugar. It peaks your blood sugar levels and your body is thrown off course. I tend to keep it simple. Eat apples, get the fibre and the natural sugar.

They're also good for your teeth. Bond has amazing teeth in all his films. In the novels Bond had a 160- a day smoking habit, Moorlands being his favourite. I bet he had teeth like one of those case studies they put on a pack of cigarettes.

REBEL BOND

In the movie Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery gets ordered to Shrublands to undertake a detox. However, he does manage to sneak in a whole suitcase filled with naughty treats. One of which being Foie gras. This is a misstep as Roger Moore actively campaigned against the use of Foie gras claiming it cruel and inhumane.

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GLUTEN 

Bond loved to lather up his huge chunks of bread with marmalade. The word is out on bread, it bloats you, it doesn't move around your body well. To substitute this I've moved over to sun-seed bread. It's a bit tough, it's like Ryvita’s but it's wholesome and plugs that bread gap. Available in all supermarkets apart from mini Co-Ops it appears.

BOOZE

'How much do you drink?' - Madeline Swan

'Too much'. - Bond.

Love that line from Spectre. But how true. The calories and the sugar content in alcohol can be off the chart. And please don't think you're dodging that bullet by ordering a slim line tonic for your Vodka.

Just remember Bond only gets drunk in the movies once. Considering how much he drinks, that's quite a feat.

That's it for now. Remember working out is important, especially if you're going heavy on the protein. But nutrition is about 2\3rds of the battle. Let me know your thoughts and how you're getting on with your 2019 body goals.

 

Why I'm Addicted to KOBOX and You Should be too

If you're following me on Instagram you'll know I've been hooked on KOBOX fitness classes for the best of 2018. It's truly been a revelation in my life and it's been great to see the brand grow and expand into different corners of London. 

There are currently 3 KOBOX studios you can find in London, Chelsea, City and Marylebone. They must be pumping up the music in the Baker Street studio to 11 because it feels louder and more energised than the rest! 

I'm sketching out some feel good thoughts today on why I love, neigh, why I'm addicted to KOBOX and why you should be too. 

Learn a new Skill 

Not only are you getting fit, you're learning something new. You're learning poise, balance, how to plant your feet and throw an effective punch. 

Sure you can just run on the treadmill every day and dream of that last holiday you were on. Here at KOBOX you get to develop your pugilistic skills as well as burn some calories. Win win. 

Stress reliever 

I don't think about anything else when I'm at KOBOX, other than my present environment. It just feels awesome parking all that mental crap outside for an hour or so. Ok so I might imagine the odd face or two when swinging at the heavy bag, but that's all part of the fun. 

Mental Health 

I touched on it, but I can't stress how important it is right now to expunge some of those demons. No better way to do it than to kick the crap out of a punch bag. It would be great to know some stats behind mental health and exercise. I'm positive that more people would look out on a brighter horizon if they were able to apply themselves physically. You know, release all them en-dolphins. (Sorry, not big on the science as you can tell). 

It's for everyone 

KOBOX is not prejudice when it comes to your boxing ability. Don't feel like you have to be Ivan Drago, or Ivan Drago's son (stoked for Creed 2 btw) to participate in a KOBOX class. The instructors are all there for you, to help you along no matter what level you're at. 

The Instructors 

Yeah, lets mention the instructors. They truly are awesome, with everyone. They make me feel like they want me there. You're made to feel like a community and when I visit a KOBOX studio, I feel like I'm dropping in on old friends. It has that close knit family vibe, two of the instructors got married this year. All the best to you Maciela and Ian.

Great for the kids

As Rocky says in Rocky 5, "You know Adrian, ain't nuttin' wrong with showing the kid, you know, some lethal punches'. They host a kids class, a great way for the children to expend all that run-around energy. Channel it into something decent and instil some discipline. 

Personal Confidence 

I'll finish here but I'm feeling a lot more confident in myself since starting these classes. I know the bag doesn't punch back, I know I'm not sparring or anything. But I'm feeling good that I can throw combinations, I can plant my feet, I can shift my weight. 

Knowing how to throw a punch or two, will ultimately lead to you having better self-esteem. Trust me, this is what KOBOX has done for me. 

Is Mudho Really the Best Fitness Tracker out There?

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Who or what is Muhdo? Muhdo is a tool that scans your DNA profile and enables you to unlock your natural abilities and get stronger, fitter, faster. When I first skim read the brief and saw the words 'fitness' and 'Mudho', I thought this was Dwayne Johnson doing a sequel to Jumanji. How wrong I was.

Of course those that follow me on my Instagram stories know how hot I am on my fitness, regularly mixing it up at the Kobox gym. (Well mixing it up with the heavy bag).

But maintaining consistency with my work out routines and nutrition has been the true test. And this is what Muhdo sets out to achieve. Muhdo claims to be the answer in making sustainable improvements to your overall health and fitness levels is to listen to and work with your DNA.

Muhdo performs a detailed analysis of your DNA and provides you with personalized health and fitness recommendations to help you achieve your goal. They provide you with free access to hundreds of recipes, workouts and lifestyle advice – all tailored to your DNA.

How easy was it to use?

I need stuff like Muhdo in my life.

I winced at the sound of having to trawl through a 45-page document of any nature. I certainly couldn't do it without a couple of strong drinks, ironically reading about how pickled my liver might be. 

However, the data is presented much like the dashboard of a car. Numerous dials indicate where you're 'gifted' (believe me I'm very tempted to crowbar an anatomical gag here, but let’s keep it professional) and where your ineptitudes lie. 

My read outs were quite clear. Prone to yo-yo diets, lack of discipline in the 'prone to snack' department and susceptible to injury. I quite like the 'likely to injure' warning, would be a great tagline for the next Jason Statham movie. 

It has a very easy to navigate dashboard and disseminates the data evenly, and in quite a fun way. There weren’t too many red flags apart from knowing that my recovery time isn't that of a nubile teenager so I might reduce the weekly sessions as a result. 

I imagine this is how Daniel Craig felt when he over-beefed for his role as James Bond in Casino Royale and was consequently told by the producers, 'he had to lose muscle'. 

It's not the cheapest, £249 for the profiling kit, but as I always say, your body is a Ferrari, it needs to be treated like as such. You wouldn't have some cowboy do an MOT on your Ferrari would you? 

 

THE MUDHO DNA PROFILING KIT

Boxing Gyms in the UK | Glove London

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BOXING IS IT! It's up at the crack, before the birds are out. Running around the block. Running on Christmas morning. Running on boxing day. Running on your birthday. It's skipping rope until your shins splint. It's awareness, that the guy on the tube might be bigger than you. Might be gnarlier and have a mean streak about him, but you know he's not got the right footwear that will enable him to plant his feet effectively. You know planting your feet is everything, he doesn't.

The smart thing to do in any confrontation is to walk away, run away if you can. But if you can't, then providing your opponent isn't trained in Jujitsu and isn't armed, you're in the box seat. Even if your opponent is twice the size, his fitness levels won't be on a par with yours if you're a boxer. If the fight goes longer than 30 seconds and it hasn't gone to ground, and you're still standing and unhurt, there's a good your chance opponent would have punched himself out with sloppy, ugly-untrained haymakers. Boxing is fitness. It's knowing your surroundings. It's profiling potential threats and getting out in front, nullifying them if you have to but being prepared.

All the work has been done in the gym, the final tweak only happens when you hear the bell ring.

This is boxing.

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I've been getting into my boxing in a big way of late and was delighted to accept the invite from Glove London to attend one of their classes. Glove London is a high-energy, intense class where likeminded people can get together to work out, sweat and socialise. Created by Tom McClelland, fitness industry expert of over 15 years, GLOVE completely embodies his fitness ethos. After 10 years in the USA, owning and operating a boxing gym in Salt Lake City Utah, and becoming one of New York Cities most sought after trainers; Tom realised that there was so much more to working out than the aesthetic side we constantly see displayed on our social media.

Glove London boasts a fully transportable bag-hanging rig that holds up to 10 punch bags and can house up to 20 people per class. They bring the energy of an intense boxing gym workout - punching, slipping and moving with a real boxing coach to ANYWHERE the rig fits.

My thoughts

The workout and the trainer was brilliant, nothing to improve. After a few conversations with Tom, I've learnt that the business model is not necessarily a pop-up which will continually move locations, but a tool whilst scouting for a permanent location. Which makes sense to me as it will drastically reduce rental costs whilst exploiting the full mobility of the equipment. I've learnt from my own experience that it's good to test the market and different encatchment areas for a while before you decide where to settle....hopefully in Clapham for me!

To find out where their next location will be in the city head to www.glovelondon.com. Users can sign up to the mailing list to be the first ones to hear when we have their next pop up location and receive a schedule of classes and social events on at GLOVE that month, straight to you inbox.

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Introducing KOBOX - Fightclub meets Night Club

If you've been following my Instagram stories of late you'll know I've procured a healthy obsession with KOBOX. Yes, I'm working on my bikini body for my upcoming trip to Tanzania, but square pecs and a six-pack aren't just for beach holidays and showy social posts (well some days they are). I've come to the slow realisation that fitness is a way of life. 

For many people joining a boxing gym can be extremely intimidating. Whilst it's nothing like the movies where a trainer asks you to jump in to the ring within seconds of you entering the gym and asks 'ok kid let’s see what you got', it means completely abandoning your comfort zone. 

One of the reasons I've become hooked on KOBOX of late is because there is an acute sense of community. It's ran like a family business and straight I was made to feel like one of the family. All the trainers and staff live and breathe the brand, and want every person who walks through the doors to feel as at home as they all do. 

What is KOBOX?

KOBOX, 50-minute, high intensity classes that will see you tackle all the fundamentals of boxing. Each class is structured in a series of boxing combinations, displayed in HD on the studio wall, making boxing easier than ever. The classes are boxing combined with HIIT training, think 3 minutes on a bag and 3 minutes HIIT...repeated. 

I started off by using these classes once per week just to mix it up a bit as variation in your fitness routine is important (or so I’ve heard!) Now I’m up to 4-5 classes a week and I’m feeling as fit as I’ve felt in such a long time. Each class focuses on a particular muscle group such as Upper Body, Lower Body, Core or a Full Body workout. 

The best part for me is that I can get a sweat on, throw some meaningful punches and not leave with any marks on the cash register (my face!). The music kicks ass and lends a fantastic pulse to the class. The lights dim, the beat drops and as someone at KOBOX has so aptly coined, 'It’s Fight Club Meets Nightclub'.

KOBOX has two London locations one in Chelsea and the other in the City. You simply sign up to koboxlondon.com and buy a pack of classes which you use to book your slot. The booking system is super easy to use and the classes structured with incredible staff. 

I'm now proud to announce I'm an ambassador for the brand and would love to hear from you on what your take on fitness is. Have you attended a KOBOX class and if so please leave some thoughts in the comments below. All feedback welcome. 

Getting Back to the Gym with Lean Active | Reviewed

Trying to stay fit and healthy over the winter months is something I've struggled with all of my life, along with pretty much every other 'normal' non #FitFam Londoner! Winter is party season, it's cold outside and it's just so easy to make excuses not to keep up with your fitness regime that we all had nailed in the summer. Well this year is different, I've booked myself up for a winter full of KOBOX classes as well as a monthly membership to British Military Fitness, which is outdoor high-intensity training plus I've still got my monthly membership to Virgin Active in Clapham Old Town. Yes I'm all or nothing when it comes to fitness and wellbeing! Wish me luck.

Booking all of these fitness classes is actually quite financially painful but doing it this way ensures that I'll make the most of them and keep my fitness goals up all through the cold months. To help me with my #gains I've invested in some new pre, during and post workout supplements from Lean Active. Lean are a brand that I found on Instagram, which seems to be the only way that I find new interesting products recently. I was initially drawn in by their flavours including a Cherry Cola pre-workout, my favourite fizzy drink of all time! However when digging into their products themselves they are more them just fantastic flavours. For my first order, I opted for the cherry cola pre-workout, the pineapple crush BCAA hydrate and the strawberry milkshake whey protein. 

Lean Active Cherry Cola Pre-Workout

Lean Active Lifted Focus is a pre workout powder that contains scientifically proven ingredients at optimum dosage levels and is able to provide an intense yet smooth energy boost capable of changing the way you work out.

  • Increases physical performance during high intensity exercise.
  • Helps to improve concentration and alertness for intense workouts.
  • Supports normal mental performance.
  • Stim Boost Pre Workout Drink - 200mg Caffeine per serving, plus 3,000mg Creatine per serving

Lean Active Pineapple Crush BCAA Hydrate

A truly refreshing BCAA powder blend designed to enhance endurance, performance and recovery.

  • Intra-workout formula provides 5g of BCAAs per serving.
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids also contains glutamine, coconut water and electrolytes.
  • Supports immune function during intense sport and exercise.

Lean Active Strawberry Milkshake Whey Protein

High protein recovery drink for increased muscle growth and formulated with high quality ultra-pure whey protein isolate.

  • Whey protein powder growth and recovery formula in three flavours - Chocolate Orange, Strawberry Milkshake & Vanilla Cream.
  • High protein - 24g protein per serving.
  • Low sugar - 0.8g per serving.

MYZONE Exercise Monitor | Product Review

The product I've been trialling for the last month is the MYZONE MZ-3. First question, what is MYZONE MZ-3? Well, it an accurate exercise tracker that helps you get the most out of your workouts. The MYZONE belt fits comfortably around your chest with the small tracker device around the sternum area. The idea is to wear the belt whenever you do any fitness activity and the belt will track your heart rate during the workout, you can then view live stats or analyse via the MYZONE app after your workout.

Like many of my friends I wanted to get super fit this year and motivation is the key to everything which is why I've trialled the MYZONE tracker to assist with that side of things. Getting started is simple. First, of course you'll need to purchase one of the trackers which are £129.99 from their online store. Sorry I should have said the MZ-3 is £129.99 however they also have lots of other trackers such as a watch, or fitness clothing which the tracker attaches to varying in price. Next, get the MYZONE app downloaded to your smart phone which is available on Apple & Android. Register your belt via the app. Put on you MYZONE MZ-3, then enable bluetooth on your smart phone. Simply workout and enjoy the live stream or if you want to leave your phone at home or in a locker whilst you workout, the MYZONE belt will upload the data that it has stored from your workout to the MYZONE app the next time it is in close proximity to your phone and bluetooth is on.

The MZ-3 belt is an innovative monitoring system that reads your heart rate, calories burned and overall effort accurately in real-time. Take your exercise to a new level by ensuring that your heart rate is always exactly where it needs to be. Register your belt online to participate in challenges, track your progress and see your efforts rewarded. 

There are two main things that I personally do for fitness and that is a) the gym to work on muscle mass and b) British Military Fitness to work on core and cardiovascular. I've worn the MYZONE belt to the gym, however I personally just do weights at the gym, in that scenario the stats were not that useful because my heart rate stayed pretty low. 

British Military Fitness is a group HIIT outdoors fitness camp run by ex-military professionals. I do this between 3-5 times per week and some days I really put everything I have into it but other days I kind of hide at the back of the class, not really working to my maximum. I wanted to use the MYZONE belt to track 'actually' how hard I am working and if there is room to push myself further. Below is a typical session that I have recorded:

British Military Fitness HIIT Training - Clapham Common

British Military Fitness HIIT Training - Clapham Common

The class run from 09:30 - 10:30 with a warm-up, water break sometime in the middle and a cool-down. The red bars indicate that you are working above 90% of you maximum heart rate (mine is set to 182 beats per minute) and the MYZONE belt sets this for you based on a number of statistics. The yellow is above 80% and the green above 70%. 

Overall I can tell that I'm actually working to my maximum in patches, which is nice to see...I'm not taking it as easy as I thought I was. Obviously there are peaks and troths but that is normal when doing HIIT or circuit training over an hour. 

What I found the most motivating when using the MYZONE tracker is earning MEPS (MYZONE Exercise Points) and trying to reach the daily, weekly & monthly targets as well as topping the charts against all of your peers. Go ahead and give it a try yourself.

 

LEARN MORE HERE

What to wear for the gym, running or general fitness

With summer holidays on the horizon, many of us are putting in the extra hours at the gym, running, yoga, boxercise, PT or group outdoor fitness classes. Whatever fitness regime you are currently into, I've put together my latest men's fitness look to help you look the part as well as feel it. If you are one of those people who still wants to find love the conventional way - bars, gym or work for example, rather than Tinder or Happn, it's time you ditched that hole-ridden, was once white but now light brown t-shirt and smarten up!

I have many reasons why I love to keep fit...if you haven't read about my Heart Operation, you can here. Not only for that reason but I'm getting ollllllllld and am still single, so I have to keep myself in relatively okay shape because finding the one over 30 gets incredibly difficult and every inch of fat is harder to shift. 

The entire fitness outfit above is from Adidas with exception of the socks which I purchased from Topman for about £3...winner. I wanted to stay away from standard white and black colours as I have so much sportswear in these colours already. So I decided to go for something a little more bold and I'm loving this teal/topaz/blue colour as it goes so well with greys and blacks. Most of us have grey and black shorts already, so by pairing them with a bold top can transform your look, simple but hopefully effective. When buying sportswear, always check the fit, fabric and size. The top in my look is a tight fitted, stretch elasticated fabric so you might want to go up a size rather than showcase your belly bulge from the meat-feast pizza you just ate on cheat day!

 

SHOP ADIDAS

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Why Keeping Fit Is So Important - My Heart Operation

No my fitness routine is not putting on some new adidas gear, finding the nearest brick wall and pose, although it does look like it from the images! I tend to keep myself relatively fit all year round, I'm not really one of these fitness part-timers who only keep fit during January; for the two months leading up to their next holiday; because they decided to sign-up for a 5K run or maybe some hot female instructor who you matched with on Happn works at your gym. 

Not many of you would know, but a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (meaning I've had it since birth, although undetected). The defect was a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). Before a baby is born, the fetus's blood does not need to go to the lungs to get oxygenated. The ductus arteriosus is a hole that allows the blood to skip the circulation to the lungs. However, when the baby is born, the blood must receive oxygen in the lungs and this hole is supposed to close. If the ductus arteriosus is still open (or patent) oxygenated blood from the lungs via the aorta mix with deoxygenated blood from the pulmonary artery, causing the two to mix. This puts strain on the heart and increases blood pressure in the lung arteries. In my case my left ventricle was enlarged as it had been working overtime pumping that blood around the body for 33 years of it's life. The heart is a muscle after all - the harder it has to work the larger it will become to compensate for that extra work.

It was actually diagnosed during a checkup that I had when I found a lump on one of my testicles, which itself turned out to be nothing - however I was treated with a heart operation instead! The operation itself was pretty scary, I had full trust in the surgeons and put a brave face on things but when someone says to you that they have to operate on your heart, in the back of your head you cant help thinking you are not going to wake up from it. 

The surgery itself wasn't intrusive at all...they simply took a tube with a camera and shoved it up an artery in my groin all the way up to my heart. Where they simply plugged the PDA with what I describe as a bit of cotton wool, champagne cork or science gauze - which stops all blood flow across the ductus arteriosus. Within hours and certainly days, tissue forms over the 'plug' and my left ventricle returned to within normal size range. Winner, does that mean I can now be an olympic athlete?!

This heart defect isn't that uncommon...well in children it isn't, but in 30+ year old men it is rare. It is rare that such a defect that you live with 100% of the time remains undetected. Thats where my fitness comes into play. If I was an unfit slob, over indulging on trans fatty foods whilst sitting on my arse playing Playstation with my online pals kinda guy - I would probably of had a heart attack or stroke by now or something worse. I put the reason down to not having any major symptoms to keeping myself fit and healthy.

It really is SO important to keep fit all of the time not just 1 month on 3 months off...so why not try something new this week. What about some personal training, group fitness with British Military Fitness or yoga?

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

HOW TO STAY FIT OVER CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR

We all know that December is an extremely tough month to stay fit and motivated to keep healthy. There is just too much temptation, Christmas party invites galore, work lunches and all of your mates suddenly want to catch up before the end of the year. I'm pretty sure that many of us out there have spent more days in December nursing a hangover than not. 

I for one, don't really get many Christmas party invitations (mini violins please) mainly because I work on my own, for myself...so whats the point, turkey for one! Then there is my New Years holiday to Thailand. So for the first time, this December I'm staying fit and healthy and here are my tips to do so.

1. JOIN A FITNESS BOOTCAMP

Seems obvious, right? Well yes kind of but notice I said bootcamp and not gym. I do both and feel I get more out of being involved in bootcamp outdoor fitness training. Gyms can be quite expensive and a little dull once you are in there, thats unless you have a gym buddy or get some PT sessions. My point is, gyms are great if you are highly self motivated, bootcamps are great because it is group based fitness where you are getting motivated by the instructors and also by like minded people. I belong to British Military Fitness who run bootcamps across the UK, were fitness meets social.

2. REFUEL

After a heavy exercise session it is important to refuel your body - it should be screaming out for food, so give it what it needs! I'm a morning fitness person, so my favourite post exercise food is Protein Pancakes (shown above). Simple to make and packed with goodness. I layer my pancakes with Steens Raw 20+ UMF Manuka Honey as it is packed with plant phenols and antioxidants which support a healthy diet.  Here are the ingredients:

Put all ingredients into a blender, nutri-bullet or similar:

  1. Splash of almond milk.
  2. 2 eggs.
  3. Handful of oats.
  4. One heaped scoop of protein powder (I use PhD banana flavour).
  5. Half a banana (keep the rest for garnish).
  6. Tea spoon of coconut oil.
  7. Table spoon of greek 0% fat yogurt.

Cook in coconut oil, serve layered with honey and top with more Greek 0% fat yogurt, banana and mixed berries.

3. DRINK MORE NATURAL TEA

Sorry guys, I know how tempting it is to head to your nearest Costa or Starbucks and pay way too much for a white hot chocolate, gingerbread latte or hazelnut cappuccino. Spend the same price as one of those coffees and get yourself 15 Teapigs! TeaPigs provide naturally caffeine free tea in soooooo many different flavours, so if the Christmas 'spiced winter red tea' isn't quite your thing, then go for a more palatable peppermint tea.

4. ENJOY SNACK TIME

Little and often, little and often...I keep telling myself. Its now 3-4pm and its been a couple of hours since lunch and dinner seems a million miles away. Try not to head over to the naughty snack machine in the corner of the office. Buy healthy snacks so you can enjoy some guilt-free indulgence. Check out Willies Cacao which is about as healthy and indulgent as chocolate gets. I also love these little squares of goodness from Bioglan Raw Bites - I'm going to try the Cacao & Quinoa ones next. 

5. REMEMBER YOUR 5-A-DAY

I've had those vegetable and fruit boxes that you get delivered to your door in the attempt to eat more veg. It just didn't work, I ended up throwing most of it in the bin or blending it to make juices, but I was never that good at combining flavours. Thanks to Bioglan SuperFoods, they have done all the hard work for us with their superfood pouches. Just blend with water, I tend to have one of these per day either was my dinner, as a snack or after an evening fitness workout.

6. AND RELAX

It is important to remember down time, to relax the muscles as well as your brain. Think about what is important in your life, what makes you happy and try to let all the stresses go. These essential oils from Nudo are the perfect relaxant and each of their oils are suitable for bathing, massage or vaporisation. 

 

HAVE A HEALTHY, STRESS FREE CHRISTMAS...LOVE CARL X