Monday, 9 December 2013

Essential guide to surviving Christmas.

It’s ‘Christmas time, Miseltow and Wine’………and mince pies, chocolate, alcohol, leftovers and time off work – put it all together and you are left with a recipe which will increase our waistline, decrease our motivation and to top it off it’s cold outside so we all want that extra padding to keep warm? Or do we? I know I would rather wear a lovely warm Christmas jumper – (which I have been wearing for my outdoor bootcamp to get into the festive spirit ;)

Christmas is when most our healthy eating habits rear their ugly little head, we go way overboard in what we eat and tend not to think twice about having chocolate for breakfast (even I have been known to have a handful of hero’s for Christmas day breakfast!). These bad habits just make us feel lethargic and can set us back months with our diet and fitness goals.

So how can we survive the festive season without piling on the pounds? Which will seem like a lifetime to shift when you are anxious to zip up that new pair of jeans that Santa left in your stocking.

Do not fear….Fit 4 Force is here….check out our tips to help you survive Christmas so you don’t undo all the hard work you’ve done this year!

Ditch the sweet treats.

Swap sugary sweets for fruit – cranberries are great at this time of year and with only 25 calories in half a cup they are a great healthy treat.

Keep Active

Try keep up to your normal fitness routine over the festive period……if that’s not an option go for a walk, take the dog, the family, whoever you like…..get some fresh air and take in the winter scenery (if we have any that is!)

If you can’t get to your fitness class then why not do some high intensity interval training (HIIT) at home. 10 minutes in a morning will kick start your metabolism and your good mood for the rest of the day J

Alcohol Alternatives

Fruit cocktails are a healthy alternative to alcohol and you will wake up feeling fresh as a daisy the day after. Not in to fruit juice then why not drink good old fashioned water, most places will serve tap water if you ask, so not only will you save yourself from a banging head & embarrassing antics, you will save money too!

Boogie the night away

If you are at a party or on a night out then hit the dance floor and burn off those extra calories.

Healthy Christmas Dinner

When it comes to the main meal of Christmas, pile your plate high with plenty of veg and opt for nice lean turkey.

Healthy Start

Start the day with a cup of hot water with a lemon slice. This will help alkalise the stomach which is important when you are eating lots of rich food throughout the day.

Avoid certain foods

Buffet food can be some of the worst to eat…..especially as we have a small amount of everything, which tends to be high in calories. Stay away from the cheese and pastries and opt for plain salad and lean meat.
Healthy seasonal snacks

There are some great snacks to have at Christmas time – have a hand full of nuts (the non-salted variety of course) or grab a tangerine.

Most importantly have a fantastic Christmas and New Year and stay safe.

If you want some free work-outs which you can do in your own home over the Christmas period then contact me and I will be happy to help.

07949 959 547

See you in 2014!

Fit 4 Force

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Don't let your pumpkins go to waste

Well it's Halloween next week and after everyone has carved out some scary faces in their pumpkins what do we all do with the best bit? Throw it? Or eat it?

Pumpkin is a great healthy food low in calories and has virtually no fat. So instead of throwing the insides away why not make something out of it?

See below for a delicious pumpkin recipe - Happy Halloween in advance :)

Pumpkin Dopiaza


2 onions , thinly sliced

2 tbsp coconut oil oil

1 garlic clove , crushed

1 tsp each ground cumin , coriander and curry powder

pinch chilli powder

400g pumpkin (peeled weight), cut into chunks

1 tbsp tomato purée

400g can black beans in water, drained and rinsed

200g spinach , washed

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Toss half the onions in 1 tbsp oil, then roast for 15-20 mins, until they are crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, fry the remaining onion in the oil until lightly golden. Add the garlic and spices; cook for 1 min. Add the pumpkin, stir in the tomato purée and 425ml boiling water, then return to the boil. Simmer, covered, for 15 mins, then stir in the beans. Cook for a further 5 mins.

Put the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water until it is wilted. Press with a wooden spoon to remove excess water, then roughly chop. Stir into the curry, then warm through. Serve scattered with the crisp roasted onions.
Enjoy :)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Results or Excuses... Whats your choice?

You can have Results or Excuses......Not both!

Is there anything stopping you from achieving your goal? Over the years you hear people give many different reasons as to why they can't exercise -  not enough time, can't afford, no one to train with, too hard, don't know what to do, have health problems..... the list goes on
One of the excuses I want to talk about today is if someone uses a health problem as an excuse. Now unless your Doctor specifically tells you NOT to exercise then this shouldn't be an excuse. In fact by being healthy and active can actually help improve most medical conditions - Obesity being the main one!
For those who don't know me I was born with a heart condition. I was born with a hole in the heart ..... the hole was between the top two chambers of my heart the left & right atrium. At the age of nine I had open heart surgery to repair it and had to be off school for over 6 weeks. I also have a leaky valve... My mitral valve. 
Now I have been lucky that my condition has never stopped me doing anything - well apart from being able to have any piercings and believe me at 12 years old when all my friends were having their ear's pierced it was a MAJOR thing!! I'm not supposed to have any tattoo's either - but in my wisdom at 23 decided to get one. Anyway best change that subject as Ma & Pa Springthorpe are on this mailing list and believe me at the time it didn't go down well!
I was never really interested in exercise or sport at School - like most people I did what I had to in PE and got on with it.... not once did I use my condition as an excuse. Then as I got older I got more interested in exercise and started to do more which I loved and I suppose that is why I have ended up where I am today.
Last week I went for my 4 yearly check up.... everything fine and heart rate of an athlete. Whilst talking to my consultant he mentioned another leaky valve which I have (aortic valve) I looked at him confused and asked since when as it had never been mentioned before! Apparently it was on my last set of notes but it is that minor it probably wasn't worth mentioning at the time!! I would have liked to have known but anyway I know now.
Now what would a lot of people do in that situation... are you someone who would just carry on as normal and perhaps be even more motivated to keep fit and active for as long as possible or would you use it as an excuse to carry on not doing anything? If you are the latter then there are probably lots of excuses you can come up with as to why you can't exercise.
Now even if I inspire just a few of those people to take the first few steps to change then I have contributed to Britain becoming a healthier nation.
Over the years, I have completed several running races including Marathons, I regularly attend the gym, I have climbed Mountains and recently done Tough Mudder. Now I know I have an interest in exercise and it is part of my job - but we should all do some as part of our weekly routine to keep healthy now and in the future. One girl I was talking to in the gym last week actually thought I was 22 (I'm 34) and when she found out how old I was she said she would train everyday if it meant she could look like me when she got to my age (best compliment I have had in ages!) Now I can't guarantee that if you come to bootcamp you will look 12 years younger...... but I can help you become the best version of yourself :)
If I don't inspire you then think about all the disabled athletes, soldiers with limbs missing who all achieve great things.
So come on..... No more excuses... take action..... and achieve!

Children of the future...... Fat or Fit?

Children of the future….. Fat or Fit?


Well summer is well and truly over and most people’s holidays are now just a distant memory. I did take my trainers on holiday with me and ran round the complex a couple of times. I did get plenty of rest though and my batteries are fully recharged. We had a Bootcamp team which did the Tough Mudder at the beginning of the month and following that I completed the Great North Run, so I have been busy since my holidays and I feel I will be due another one soon ;)


Anyway my holiday gave me the idea for this month’s article. Whilst I was lying on my sun lounger reading my book watching kids and families splash around in the pool and on the beach I was quite shocked at the amount of overweight children there were! It was quite frightening to think that children have such unhealthy lifestyles which lead to them being overweight, which will no doubt follow them into adulthood and may cause health problems in the future.


Now some of these kids were running around, they were in and out of the water swimming and messing about, so why were they overweight…. Bad diet? Lack of exercise the rest of the year? Or following the example of their parents?


I realise that times have changed and that technology has taken over good old fashioned playing outside, perhaps when we were kids we could get away with eating more treats because we were so active. Whatever the reason is for children being overweight I believe that children still need to be getting more exercise.


Below are some guidelines for children aged 5-18 years old for the amount and type of exercise they should be getting:-


·         The amount of exercise children & young people should engage in everyday is at least 60 minutes of exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity.

·         Vigorous intensity activities should be incorporated at least three days a week, including those that strengthen bone & muscle.

·         The amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods should be minimal!


Moderate intensity activities will cause children’s hearts to beat faster, breathe harder and to get warmer. They should still be able to hold a conversation. Activities include walking to school, playing in the playground & riding a bike.


Vigorous intensity activities will cause the children to get even warmer, their hearts to beat rapidly and their breathing will be much harder, and they will find it hard to hold a conversation. Activities include running, football, aerobics, playing tag (any adults who come to Bootcamp when we start with a game of tag will know how hard it is!)


Good bone strengthening exercises include running, skipping, jumping, gymnastics & many sporting games.  Muscle strengthening activities are anything that requires children to lift/use their own bodyweight or work against a resistance. Examples of such exercises can include press-ups, sit-ups climbing tree’s, tug of war & gymnastics to name a few.


The benefits of exercise include:

·         Helps maintain a healthy weight

·         Improves bone health

·         Improved cardiovascular health

·         Helps develop new skills – physical & social

·         Improves self confidence


Even though children take part in PE and exercise at school they need to be carrying on activity out of school as well as following a healthy diet. Some parents/guardians may not know how to help their children be active or what are the healthiest food choices. There are lots of advice out there and many sports clubs/activity classes which children can attend to help them get the most out of their exercise session. Now I don’t want to encourage everyone out there to become a ‘pushy parent’ but I would encourage people to help their children become healthier and more active.

 Fit 4 Force runs Youth-a-cise sessions for 11-15 year olds at MFG sports centre on Saturday mornings at 11.45am-12.30pm. Children sign up for a 4 week training package with set start and finish dates. Sessions are varied & fun for boys & girls. Children even get the chance to ‘Earn your stripes’ with our Bootcamp Warrior ranking system. For further details contact Andrea on 07949 959 547 or visit our website



Andrea Springthorpe

Fit 4 Force owner