4 Reasons You Need Some HIIT In Your Life

So crunches and squats may not seem like the most yogic form of exercise, but high intensity interval training (HIIT) might be the key that unlocks your true potential in yoga.

Here are four awesome benefits you’ll get from mixing in some HIIT with your usual routine.

You’ll build strength (quickly!)

Wondering why you still face-plant in chaturanga even after a couple of years of practice? HIIT is the answer! Build your upper body, core and leg strength and you’ll find that those poses that have been eluding you all come together much more quickly.

You’ll exercise more often

We can’t guarantee that you’ll be running to the gym every half an hour, but we can provide you with reps that take no time at all. A HIIT sequence can make a difference even if you’re only practising for seven minutes, so you know there’s no excuse for home practice!

You’ll avoid injury

Combining the stretchiness of yoga and the strength of core conditioning, you vital joints and muscles will be extremely well protected. No more do you have to throw yourself around in a fitness class wondering when your hamstrings will finally snap!

You’ll feel like a hero

We all love a good sweaty savasana, and MoreFitness classes will leave you drenched and blissed out. We advise not going shopping after one of these classes as the sheer feeling of I-just-smashed-my-HIIT-yoga-class can lead to over-confident use of plastic.

Core strength, body awareness and muscle control are all fundamental to a good yoga practice. Join us at our MoreFitness, IFlo Fit and FitFlo classes at most of our studios. Not ready for commitment? Sign up for 10 days of classes for £10 and give us a whirl!

3 Key Habits That Will Instantly Boost Your Happiness

It’s the UN’s International Day of Happiness on March 20th and here at MoreFit we are focussed on making sure you are living your happiest, healthiest lifestyle. It’s a great time for us to make time for the things that are important to us – and most importantly, to take a good look at our own happiness and be grateful for it.

These three tips will boost anyone’s happiness, but we know that living a happy life can be easier said than done at times. Living in a modern metropolis like London can be crazy fun, but the busy city life takes its toll. If you’re feeling low, these habits will turn your world upside down (in a really good way).

Exercise

Yes, it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing right now. But once you get moving, your body and mind will thank you for waking up the endorphins you need to feel good. Not to mention that massive boost in self-esteem, personal power and social interaction you’ll get just from turning up! Book a yoga class to get that community support or grab a personal trainer if you’re feeling nervous about the group setting. It’s been proven time and time again that physical fitness affects mental health, so grab your gear and let’s go!

Music

Check your playlists – if you’re listening to Adele on a loop in the mornings, you’re definitely not going to start the day with a spring in your step. While there may be some guilty pleasure in wallowing to songs about doomed lovers, listening to sad songs when you feel down can actually increase your chances of feeling anxious, depressed or obsessive over particular events. Spend some time cultivating a playlist that will boost your mood and inspire you – if you’re stuck for ideas, start here.

Food

You know the saying – you are what you eat. And chowing down on cheesy chips for the third time this week will not have you skipping down the pavement singing joy to the world (unless you’re actually on the way to the chip shop again). Fast food is a great short term fix when you’re down, because making the effort to cook is nigh on impossible when the lethargy has set in. Start simple – fill up your fruit bowl, and promise yourself that whatever you eat, you’ll always have a piece of fruit first. Maybe add in a glass of water too. This tiny changes will snowball over time and leave you feeling far happier and less inclined to eat rubbish.

This little nudges can help you to pull yourself out of a low point, but if you’re feeling down for longer than two weeks, tell someone. Depression can affect anyone – it’s not your fault, and you deserve to be happy. Here at MoreFit, we are committed to making sure that your #internationaldayofhappiness is as joyful as it can be. See the links below for help and advice.

Talk to the Samaritans about anything at all here.

Not sure what depression is? Read more here.

Look after yourself with these tips from Mind UK.

3 Playful Poses Guaranteed To Make You Smile

When you’re in the middle of a gruelling vinyasa flow it’s easy to forget that yoga should be fun. Introduce an element of playfulness to your practice with these five poses – there’s no way you won’t crack a smile at least once!

Dhanurasana – Rocking Bow (forwards and sideways)

There are two ways you can make your bow pose more dynamic – by rocking from side to side or to the front and back. If you’ve ever done these poses in class, you’ll know that either variation means you’ll be getting friendly with your neighbours! This pose opens up the entire front of your body – it is super intense though so take some deep breaths in savasana on your front afterwards.

Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby

Go back to the good old days with this pose – lie on your back, grab the insides of your feet and rock gently side to side, slowly pushing the knees into the armpits if you can. This is a great hip opener and releases the lower back. Gurgling noises optional.

Paripurna Navasana – Rocking Boat

You can probably guess what happens here. Take your boat pose to the next level by rounding your back and rolling back onto your shoulder blades. Roll back up as slowly as possible for a great core work out and repeat! Enjoy the ride (but move anything breakable out of the way first)!

Bring the laughter to your mat and get a greak workout too!

3 Daily Digestion Habits You Can Start Today

Your body is a miracle machine. Day in, day out, we can rely on our amazing bodies to get us through anything – running around the office with a to-do list as long as your arm, lugging a million shopping bags home or a hardcore Jivamukti class (sometimes all in the same day). But how much attention do you pay to how you’re fuelling this incredible engine?

We are all guilty of snaffling a meal-deal sandwich at our desks or cramming in a Macdonald’s when it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, irregular stools, lethargy, and lowered energy levels are probably not worth the few minutes you save. After all, that super-high priority must-have-done-by-end-of-play task is going to be a lot harder when you’re feeling sluggish and tired.

Here are three solid changes you can make to get your digestion in order – starting today!

Start the day with a hot water and lemon

So simple, and so good for you. Drinking a hot water with lemon in the morning before breakfast will help to kick-start your digestive system for the day ahead. Lemon juice has the effect of stimulating the liver to produce bile, which helps keep food moving through your gastrointestinal tract smoothly. The acids found in lemon juice also encourage the body to process the nutrients in food more slowly, which helps to keep blood sugar and insulin levels balanced. For those who get bloated among us, this is a life saver!

Have breakfast every day

Make breakfast a priority. It’s easy to make the excuse of not having enough time, but breakfast should be as important as brushing your teeth or getting dressed in the morning. Avoid refined, processed, sugar rich foods, as this will send blood sugar levels and energy rocketing sky high, and then crashing, setting you up for a slow day ahead, and reaching for the biscuits over and over again. Aim for some protein (eggs, lean meat, fish, maybe a scoop of protein powder), healthy fats (salmon, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butter, chia seeds, coconut oil), and complex carbs (oats, buckwheat, quinoa, fibrous veggies). If you tend to hit the snooze button a little too often, make sure you buy portable breakfasts for those days when you are really in a rush.

Eat a variety of fresh, colourful whole-foods

Ever looked at your plate and seen a sea of beige? Time to switch it up! Try to fill your plate with as many different colours of fresh produce as possible, as it’s often the colour pigments that contain all of the important nutrients that we need for healthy gut function. Eat a rainbow! You’ll be amazed at how much less sluggish you feel after eating once you mix in a bit of colour. Plus it looks way better on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more digestion tips from our in-house nutrition expert Sophie Higgins. Sophie works with our members to help them understand how to nourish their bodies to their full potential. Interested in a little nutrition revolution for yourself? Give us a call and start your journey towards wellbeing.

4 Simple Cures For The Winter Blues

Winter making you woeful? You are not the only person who can’t remember when it wasn’t dark in the mornings. These five essential tips will help you to get out of that winter slump just in time for spring

  1. Eat carbs and fish.

Ever wonder why all you want to do in winter is hide away and eat pizza? It’s because carbohydrates promote the production of serotonin in our brains (the happy hormone)! If you find you are craving carbs, go for it – just remember to gorge on the good stuff. Popcorn, pretzels and potatoes are all great sources of carbohydrates to boost your mood. If you’re finding you’ve eating three bags of popcorn, seven baked potatoes and still fancy some pretzels, it may be that you need more protein – found in oily fish!

  1. Go outside

For the most part, the sluggish feeling you get around wintertime is down to lack of sunlight. If you can, get out in the sunlight for at least twenty minutes a day. Yes, I know that London is not the sunniest place in the world. But those twenty minutes will boost your vitamin D significantly and remind you that you are not actually living in Middle Earth. Spring is coming!

  1. Yoga

You knew it was coming, right? Yoga and exercise in general will boost your energy, mood and keep you sane (no guarantee but I’m pretty confident). Exercise causes changes in your brain chemistry which elevate your mood – and that’s not even counting the amazing self-esteem, pride and ability to overcome obstacles that comes with nailing a good asana.

  1. Do something just for you each day

As in, not for anybody else. Not even remotely related to another human being’s interests or needs. Sounds easy, but can be quite hard (especially if you are the lovely person I know you are). Dance. Sing. Watch TV. Eat a Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bar (drool). Whatever it is, just make sure it is what you want.

5 Tips To Help You Commit To #yogaeverydamnday

#yogaeverydamnday

You must have seen it. The hashtag that has taken over the planet – but what’s the secret behind turning your weekly dash to Jiva into a daily habit?

Here are some tips for home practise and for taking your practise off the mat when the physical side just doesn’t appeal.

  1. Buy a mat.

Seriously. Downward facing dog on the shag carpet is neither safe nor comfortable. If you really want to make a go of it, you’ll be needing a mat. No need for a super duper fancy self-cleaning mat with tassles – just get yourself a basic, comfortable mat for your first foray into home practice.

  1. Make a space for said mat

While you might not be able to create your own mini-studio in your London-sized and priced apartment, make sure that when you do unroll your mat that you’re not surrounded by piles of bills/washed laundry never to be put away. We’re going for zen, darling.

  1. Scented candles or other nice-smelling things

This is a great way to tell your brain, “Hey! It’s yoga time!”. Candles are great so long as they are at a safe distance, and you could also invest in other means of yummy scents, for example Palo Santo, a scented wood you can burn around the house.

  1. Make a schedule

Literally schedule a time for home yoga in your diary and treat it like you would a class in a studio. This is time for you and ain’t no random colleague’s leaving do going to take that away from you. Sometimes you will find that other plans are more appealing – just make sure you give your home practice the same weight you would a studio class.

  1. Take it off the mat

OK, so you’ve tried all of the above and you just can’t say no to that beautiful glass of merlot waiting for you at the end of a long Friday – go ahead and enjoy it! Just take your yoga with you and spread the love. Yoga is not just physical, and small acts of kindness can take your practice to a higher place than you thought possible. Give compliments. Chat with strangers. You’ll feel better, I promise. 

Stress and exercise-orientated for office workers

By Ulli Ackermann

It has become quite a common habit for a lot of people in stressful jobs and after a stressful day, to compensate by going to the pub for a beer or two or to indulge in comfort eating. And while this may give short term relief by stimulation of the parasympathetic part of the nervous system which is responsible for slowing down and calming the body, it doesn’t target long term stress effects concerning excess adrenaline and cortisol.

Those two hormones, being also called “stress-hormones” are responsible for regulating blood flow, digestion, heart rate and more.

If they are in imbalance, serious health issues may occur sooner or later, be it cognitive symptoms like memory loss, poor judgement or anxiety, emotional symptoms like moodiness, a short temper or even depression as well as physical symptoms like unexplainable aches and pains, frequent colds or even loss of libido.

While research has found connections between stress and lower risks of terminal illness, be it cancer, heart disease or even dementia, studies have also shown that the released endorphins (the “happy-hormones”) help in reducing stress, managing sleep problems and that a strengthened body withstands the daily workload in a much more efficient way.

According to researchers at the Yale Stress Centre, physical activity can actually reverse damage caused by a stressful lifestyle. Stress atrophies the brain; it affects the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory storage. And while certain types of exercise emulate small dosages of stress to the human organism, the bodies physiological systems that are involved in a stress response have to communicate much closer than usual, all of which may be the real benefit of training regarding stress relief.

So, in a nutshell, if you are stressed, you should exercise, because:

  • It pumps up your endorphins.  Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Although it is often referred to as a runner’s high, a set of sprints or a heavy weights session can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion.  After an hour in the studio, some fast paced circuits or an effective interval session, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything else you do.
  • It improves your mood.  Regular exercise may yield benefits in increased self-confidence and higher energy levels. It also lowers the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. It improves your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress or worsened by existing conditions. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life that puts you back on track and improves life quality to new heights!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ulli-Ackerman-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Ulli is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit Finsbury Park and has a diverse sports background ranging from weightlifting to Martial Arts, downhill mountain biking to even semi-professional dancing. His fitness approach is based on a MSc in Sports Science with emphasis on Motion and Performance. This enables him to tailor custom programs for clients of all backgrounds with an assorted range of goals. His main focus lies on body re-composition, body sculpturing and weight loss including a variety of exercise methods to achieve best results. “As a Trainer, I pour my passion and energy into our session to make you work at 100%. Nothing gives better results and leaves you buzzing after as much. I will guide you on the path to a better you and it will leave you healthier, stronger and more energetic!”[/author_info] [/author]

Simple Eating

By Chris McKeown

There is no secret to losing weight and having a good diet. It’s all about eating a good quality well balanced meals at the right time.

For weight loss we want to make it simple. To start with we want to look at basing all our meals around protein, vegetables and use pulses and whole grains to bulk out the meal to keep you full for longer. We also want smaller meals more often throughout the day. As this keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels in balance and prevents you craving these snack foods like biscuits and crisps.

Foods we really want to stay away from are simple carbohydrates and processed foods. These are the foods that your body converts and stores as fat very easily.

We also want to have a good meal 1 to 2 hours before your workout then again within 20 minutes post workout. If you cannot eat within this time I recommend a quality protein shake to help your body start recovering.

Below are a few ideas of good foods and also foods that you should try and cut down on.

THE GOOD STUFF

PROTEIN

  • Poultry (chicken, turkey)
  • Oily or White Fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna, cod, haddock)
  • Red Meat (small amount of lean meat)
  • Eggs (scrambled, poached, boiled)
  • Lentils
  • Soya or tofu

CARBOHYDRATES

Vegetables: You want to eat plenty of vegetables of all different types and colours as they all contain different vitamins, minerals and fibre.

  • Kale
  • Sweet potato
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomato
  • Spinach
  • Tomato,
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Courgette
  • Cabbage
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus * Squash * Watercress * Parsnip
  • Peas

Grains and Pulses: Key point here is that you want to be eating whole grains

  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Barley * Pulses (kidney beans, green beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans) * Oats * Buckwheat * Millet * Rye * Wholegrain rice * Wholegrain bread and pasta (eaten in small amounts)

FATS

It is good to have a small amount of fat in your diet

  • Fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herrings)
  • Coconut oil (cooking in)
  • Olive oil, Some nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin, seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds)
  • Avocado

BREAKFAST IDEAS * 2 eggs with spinach, avocado and wholegrain toast * Porridge with banana honey and cinnamon * Natural yogurt with berries  * Oat cake with cottage cheese

SNACK IDEAS * A piece of fruit * Handful of nuts & seeds

LUNCH/DINNER IDEAS / pre and post workout ideas * Chicken with brown rice, sweet potato, kale and tomato * Salmon with lentils, sweet potato and broccoli

THE BAD STUFF

* Fried food * Fast food * Sugary snacks * Processed foods * Refined carbs * Biscuits, crisps, chocolate * Pop drinks * Juice * Sandwiches

These are just ideas. Mix and match the foods from the above lists to your taste. Food you enjoy is food you will stick to. AWAYS BASE YOUR MEAL AROUND PROTEIN AND VEG.

If you struggle to make your lunches there are always great options around your work there is no excuse for just picking up a sandwich from Pret A Manger. You all put in so much effort into training don’t waste it buy eating crap food just because it is easy.

Easy ideas near MoreFit Personal Training Studio in St Paul’s:

  • Hummus Bros. It doesn’t get much easier than that. It right above us and serves great and healthy food.
  • Porterford Butchers on Watling Street.  Top quality chicken and meat cooked an ready to go after a tough training session there is a better meal then a chicken breast from them and a chunky salad from M&S.

For more food options near you talk to your trainer they will have many great ideas to make your life easy.

Enjoy Simple Eating!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Chris-McKeown-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Chris is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit St Paul’s and has worked with people from many different backgrounds, all with their own goals and abilities. He is passionate about exercise and physical activity and truly believes that we are happier when we are healthier. Throughout my life I have taken part in a variety or sports from rugby and rowing to my true passion of adventure races and running, were I have competed in events from coast 2 coast races to ultra marathons. I use this passion for health and fitness to inspire and motivate my clients to reach and surpass any goals they have and live a happier, healthier and MOREFIT LIFE.[/author_info] [/author]