Tag Archives: Health and Fitness

Get summer ready

Summer is fast approaching and this means more skin will be exposed, in the park, by the pool or on the beach. Let’s face it we all want to feel comfortable with our shirt off or in our bikini, so we have put together some steps to get you beach body ready.

1. Set goals. Setting goals gives us direction and keeps us focused. Without direction we are lost. We wouldn’t set out on a trip not knowing how to get to there, just driving and hoping for the best. The same applies when embarking on any journey.

How to?
• Be specific. ‘Toning up’ and losing weight are great things to achieve but how do we know when we are there? How do we get there? Be S.M.A.R.T…Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Constraint. I will lose 3 kgs, by going to the gym three times a week, to look and feel better by August 8th. We know, how much we want to lose, by when and what needs to be done to get there in a set timeframe.
• Tell Everybody!! Shout about your goals… Tell family, friends, announce it on social media, the more people that know about it the more you’ll stick to it.
• Before and after pics. Take regular photos of yourself, seeing your progress is great motivation to keep you on track.

2. Resistance training. Research shows we stay younger for longer with more muscle on our body. The quickest, most efficient way to change your body shape is to do some form of resistance training. You don’t have to be in the gym 6 hours a day, 3 full body sessions a week can accelerate results.

How to?
• Come to a STRENGTH WORK class at Work it.
• Find a strength program online to try out at your local gym.
• Bodyweight exercises in the morning are a great start. A circuit of squats, press ups, burpees and plank in the morning can seriously help burn fat.

3. Eat yourself lean. Good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. What we eat directly effects how we look and perform. We all want brighter eyes and clearer skin. You are what you eat so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake…

How to?
• Higher quality input equals high quality output. Local, organic, free range, wild caught foods all contain superior nutrients which makes us look better.
• Get all the junk food out of the house! If it’s not there, you won’t eat it.
• Food prep. Cook extra dinner for your lunch tomorrow. Prepare simple snacks to have at hand and on your desk so you make the right food choices when hunger hits.

4. Be consistent. Focus on small positives changes that improve long term health. It’s the small things we do on a consistent basis that really matter. Find what you can easily implement and DO IT! Once done on a regular basis, it will form as a habit and fit into your lifestyle.

How to?
• Eat eggs for breakfast three times a week.
• Do 10 push ups and 10 squats everyday.
• Drink alcohol once or twice a week.

Changing your physique takes time, dedication, focus and motivation. There will be ups and downs, but it’s always worth it when we feel confident in our own skin. Set high standards for the body you want!

Written by Adam Willoughby.

Nutrition made simple

Nutrition can seem complicated, with many different ‘diets’ and conflicting views, it is easy to see why we can get lost and confused with the overwhelming amount of information. Work It see nutrition as a lifestyle, something that is sustainable and easy to implement. Below are a few simple strategies that we believe is the foundation of good nutrition and will positively affect your health and lifestyle.

Water – 70 to 80% of our body is made up of water so we need to stay hydrated. A 5% drop in our body’s fluid levels can instantly lead to a 25-35% drop in energy. Water transfers oxygen through our bloodstream and delivers nutrients though our central nervous system to the brain and every organ in our body. Being hydrated clears these pathways and helps us function optimally. Water can also aid in appetite regulation as thirst can be mistaken as hunger. Drinking 2-3 glasses of water upon rising is a great way to clear your digestive tract and kick start your metabolism.

Food Quality – Not all calories are equal… 100 calories of broccoli will be used and stored differently to 100 calories of cookies. Eliminate processed foods and focus on high quality earth grown nutrients. The use of pesticides, herbicides and other farming chemicals have been linked to cancer and can potentially harm our nervous system, reproductive and digestive system. Organic, free range, grass fed meats and poultry are produced at higher standards and are not exposed to hormones and antibiotics which negatively effect our gut micro biome. Farmers Markets and local farms are great places to source high quality nutrient dense foods at a reasonable cost.

Food Plate – Once hydration and food quality is on point, our food plates can be used as a guide on how much food to eat and what each meal should consist of. If you’re looking to shed some excess body fat, particularly leading up to summer, try eating starchy carbohydrates only after intense exercise. Stick to healthy fats, vegetables and proteins at anytime meals and on days that you’re not working out.

** DOWNLOAD THE WORK IT FOOD PLATE HERE ** work_it_foodplates

Hopefully you have found this useful and if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

Written by Adam Willoughby.

A simple lean, mean, Turkey Bolognese

New year, new focus, new goals. It is important to support any mental or physical changes with good nutrition, not to mention your health in general. This month’s recipe is a lean, mean Turkey Bolognese. I have substituted the spaghetti with some courgetti, and added some kale and avocado to make it a mouth watering, nutritious bit of grub.

Fun healthy facts about this dish:

  • Try this dish 2-3 hours before bed. Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is the pre cursor for serotonin. This is the happy hormone but also plays a key role in melatonin (the sleep hormone) release. Eat turkey for dinner to help get a better nights sleep!
  • Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and is loaded with antioxidants. Get those nutrients in, keep those illnesses away!

Nutritional info (per serving):

Calories: 308kCal

Protein: 25g               Carbs: 30g                 Fats: 12g

Utilities

  • Frying pan
  • Spiraliser

Ingredients (prepares 3 meals):

  • 400g of free range organic turkey mince
  • 1 onion
  • A pack of chesnut mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Tinned tomato’s
  • 2 Courgettes
  • 1 avocado
  • Tablespoon of coconut oil

I like to chop the onion, mushrooms and garlic before I commence so I have nothing to do as I go along- it’s entirely up to you though!

Step 1

Add a small teaspoon of coconut oil to a frying pan and put on a medium heat. Heat the pan for a few minutes and add chopped onion until sautéed.

Step 2

Put all the turkey into the pan and keep stirring and breaking up the mince to ensure it’s cooked properly.

Step 3

Add the chopped mushrooms, crushed garlic and continue to stir for 3-4 minutes. Then smash in the tinned tomatoes with a touch of water if necessary. Season to your preference (I recommend pink Himalayan slat) and leave to simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Step 4

Spiralise the courgettes, add some kale to the mix (or use as decoration around the edges) and slice up your avocado. Whack a healthy dollop of Bolognese on the courgetti and get ready to have a feast.

Bon appetite.

Written by Charlie Watts.

Natural remedies for fighting the flu this winter.

When it’s cold, dark and freezing outside we all want to stay indoors, and this can be the time the dreaded flu starts to kick in.  Sick days off work, or missed nights out with friends can be annoying.  So to help I have listed some Natural Remedies to fight off flu.

Healthy gut – The majority of our immune system is located in our gut. Think of it as our first line of defence against viruses.  Avoid processed foods as much as possible. A probiotic supplement, powdered greens drink, and eating fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut all boost our healthy gut bacteria.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is more than just a supplement, it’s a hormone produced naturally by the body from exposure to sunlight.  Sun exposure can be rare during winter (especially in the UK), and vitamin D is essential in boosting the immune system while having a host of other positive effects.  We recommend a liquid D3 supplement, taken in water or put directly on the tongue for better absorption into the body.

Natural vitamin C – Vitamin C is great at preventing the flu rather than curing it.  People often take Vitamin C while they are sick.  There is little evidence to show this actually helps.  If flu symptoms start to occur increase dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli and peppers into your diet.  Camu Camu berry has the highest Vit C content of any other food on the planet. Bought in a powdered form, add to water in the morning or throughout the day.

Garlic and ginger – these both have compounds which have anti-viral, anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Crushed or chopped garlic added at the end of cooking works best. Try mixing ginger, lemon and Manuka honey for a perfect winter warming tea.

Bone broth – The benefits of bone broth is a whole other blog in itself.  Anti aging compounds, high in collagen and rich in minerals, it clears mucus, opening respiratory pathways while fighting inflammation and boosting immunity (amazing for hair growth too).  Ready made broths can be purchased in health food stores. Or simmer a carcass (chicken is great) in a pot adding onion celery and carrots for a few hours.

Sleep – Often neglected with busy social and work life. Quality sleep is the quickest way to recovery. We generally require 7 to 9 hours (each individual is different) Have a bedtime routine, turn the TV and laptop off two hours before bed. and try to be asleep by 10 o’clock for optimum physiological benefits and the much needed rest and recovery you deserve.

I hope you are able to use some of these tips to fight off the flu this winter.

Written by Adam Willoughby.

Week 2- ‘Starve your distractions, feed your focus’.

Now I’ve made it through the first week (the first hurdle), my mind genuinely feels clearer, more focussed, less stressed and more content. Anything I do is far more productive and the only distractions I have are real life events/ situations. I still have a slight urge to look at my phone, but it’s becoming less and less of an issue.

My notifications are now switched off so I am unaware if I receive a text, whatsapp, email or any other prompt. For me, this has been a game changer. We are increasingly finding it more of a challenge to focus due to our internal distractions and the ever-increasing external distractions. Each time you change your focus (for e.g. You’re carrying out an important piece of work and check your phone), you use a measureable amount of glucose and other metabolic resources. Studies show that each task you do tends to make you less effective at the next task, and this is especially true for high-energy tasks like self control or decision making. So distractions really take their toll. Make sure you think twice before looking at Facebook or whatsapp whilst working on an important presentation or any other high priority task that requires 100% focus.

As i’m starting to get used to and enjoy the detox I am reminded that in February it’s coming to end. However, I plan on making some serious lifestyle changes in order to apply my new findings and revelations throughout the year. I am going to be more structured in the way I use my devices and allocate time slots for usage throughout the day. Notifications will remain off, meaning I will only check my phone when I am ready to and have completed my important tasks. My phone will continue to be switched off until 07:30/8am, I will only check my email 2-3 times a day as well as allocating 10 minute time slots to social media and the news.

I will also be switching off all digital devices 90 minutes before bed as this has had profound effects on my sleep and thus my mental and physical health. It’s not just about getting 8 hours of sleep, it’s about going to bed as close to 9pm as you possibly can. This is when melatonin (sleep hormone) is released and the longer you stay up exposing yourself to blue light, the more this hormone is suppressed, having a direct effect on your sleep. You will also be missing out on a great hit of growth hormone secretion at 10pm, which is responsible for cell reproduction and cell regeneration. This hormone aids recovery, repair, helps with anti aging and gives you more of a favourable cholesterol profile. This is only one of the many hormonal processes that take place whilst you sleep so make sure you don’t miss out on any Z’s between 10pm-2am, anything else is a bonus.

I look forward to sharing some more insights into my digital detox on my next blog, but hopefully this has helped you in getting some off time.

Written by Charlie Watts

Unite for Africa: Blog #3 Zumar Dean starts to see results

Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes and for 30-year old recruitment consultant, Zumar Dean, dropping a few pounds and getting into better shape physically are his goals for stepping into the ring on November 30, for the Unite for Africa, white collar charity boxing event.

Zumar runs his own recruitment agency, Just Digital focuses on finding the best digital sales and marketing experts for a whole host of businesses big and small. His company works from the gloriously designed TOG (The Office Group) buildings, which suits his contemporary working practices perfectly. “We don’t have any formal working hours, we’re completely flexible – you have to be when you’re on the look out for the best in the business,” comments Zumar.

Being his own boss has meant that Zumar has been able to fit the 10 weeks of training into his busy schedule without too much conflict. However, Zumar has struggled to commit to a regular form of exercise since his school days when he was a regular on the football pitch – it was the commitment that was going to be his real challenge.

Working in the TOG offices meant there was easy access to the Work-it gyms so there was no excuse. Before signing up to the November 30 event, Zumar had already sampled some of the sessions at the gym and so was confident he’d love the more intensive three-month training schedule, he also enlisted the help of a friend so they could spur each other on. With less than a month to go, he says that the results are starting to show. “My focus was to lose weight and people are telling me that they can already see the difference. But it’s not just the weight, I feel fitter, I feel great. I’ve gone from getting totally out of breath to enjoying five good work-out sessions a week – I can feel a massive difference in myself,” says Zumar.

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Weekends are boxing free zones, aside from a swim on a Sunday the weekends are devoted to time with his girlfriend who already has a ticket and plans to be his biggest supporter on the night.   She knows more than anyone the effort and sacrifices her man has made to master the skills required to enter the boxing ring.

If you want to join Zumar’s friends and family in supporting Unite for Africa and also see the results of a grueling 10 weeks of training you can buy tickets here. All monies raised are for a struggling medical centre in Kinshasa and the renovation of the crumbling infrastructure at the Masika Centre, an orphanage set up for victims of rape, abuse and displacement in the Democratic republic of the Congo. So far we have raised over £30,000 and will continue to do so up to fight night. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/uniteforafrica

Written by Sue Finnegan

Unite for Africa: Blog #2 How does she do it?

Twenty-eight year old Gemma Simmons likes to keep busy. As well as working for The Office Group (TOG) as one of their community managers, a role which entails looking after nine of their buildings across London, Gemma volunteers, works out and has signed up to compete in the ‘Unite for Africa’, white collar-boxing event on November 30.  Phew!

Gemma’s days are long – at 6.30am you might find her at one of Morning Gloryville’s sober early morning raves in east London, she cycles approximately ten miles each day visiting the TOG offices in her remit, as well as organising ‘after hours’ events for the businesses and co workers who are part of her community. In spite of all of this, she is a self-confessed volunteer junky. In February she headed to Greece to help the refugees landing on some of the smaller islands off its coast, she is a regular volunteer for Calais Action helping with their backpack appeal and she’s a ‘love pixie’, selling love specs for a Malawian charity Love Support Unite.

Supporting charities is one of the reasons that Gemma has signed up to Unite for Africa, a night of white-collar boxing raising money for a hospital and orphanage in Africa. She was unable to take part in the first boxing event that TOG co-hosted as she was out of town – although she was not there in body, she certainly was in spirit as she watched the first round of her friend and colleague Amnita’s fight via FaceTime from New York.   What Amnita achieved has inspired and pushed Gemma to have a go herself. She claims that it will be a massive personal challenge to get into the ring, to keep up the ten weeks of training and to try and win on the night but she knows that it’s all for a fantastic cause.

Fitting all of the training into Gemma’s already packed schedule will be the biggest challenge in the next few weeks as TOG has just undergone a massive rebrand and to help communicate this, Gemma is involved with more events than usual. Her days will be longer but she still intends to take part in the twice weekly intensive group boxing sessions, the two fitness classes that she loves as well as one-to-ones with Ben Wood her boxing coach. She feels that if she can keep everything on track over these next three weeks then she’s cleared a major hurdle.

I do wonder just how she does it all – she claims it’s simple, “I love routine so I just need to build myself a little routine and I’ll be fine. I’m learning so much in the group and one-to-one boxing sessions but most of all I’m sharing this experience with an amazing group of people.”

If you want to see the fruit of Gemma’s hard training – click here to buy a ticket or if you want to donate to Unite for Africa click on https://www.gofundme.com/uniteforafrica

Written by Susan Finnegan.

HIIT WORK

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and is typically a 10-30 second maximal effort burst with 1-3 minutes of lower intensity exercise or rest. Generally speaking a session is short and sweet, lasting no longer than 10-20 minutes.

Example HIIT session:

2 minute warm up (30 seconds each x 2)

Star jumps

Walkouts

1-minute rest

4 minutes (part 1- STRENGTH) 20 seconds on 10 seconds off x 8

Press-ups

Lunges

1-minute rest

4 minutes (part 2- CARDIO) 20 seconds on 10 seconds off x 8

Burpees

High knees

1-minute rest

2 minutes (part 2- CORE) 20 seconds on 10 seconds off x 4

Sit ups

Mason twists

Some of the benefits of HIIT are that it’s challenging, it’s time efficient, extremely fun and has the ability to burn lots of calories in a short period of time. Due to the intensity, there is an increased risk of injury, so make sure you are properly warmed up and that you don’t choose exercises that you cant perform correctly.

There is no equipment needed for the above workout so there should be no excuses! If you have any questions about this blog, or anything else fitness related, get in touch.

Happy training guys!

Written by Charlie Watts

Unite for Africa: Blog #1 Chaka’s motivation

Chaka’s motivation

In life there are givers and takers and Chaka Clarke has both feet planted firmly in the giving camp.

While the rest of us absorb the daily news and ponder the plight of our great planet, Chaka absorbs and acts. It is this action that is driving the next night of Work-it’s white-collar boxing co-hosted by Chaka’s team Spartanfam. The night is titled Unite for Africa and will raise money for a struggling medical centre in Kinshasa and renovate the crumbling infrastructure of the Masika Centre, an orphanage set up by and for victims of rape, abuse and displacement.

Chaka will be competing in the Unite for Africa event on November 30th as he did earlier in the year. For many taking part, the motivation to enter into these contests includes improving fitness, losing weight or having ‘a once in a lifetime’ experience. All are admirable motivations and all require discipline to reach those goals over the ten weeks of required training. Chaka’s motivation however, is the Masika Centre in the Congo. He first heard of Rebecca Masika Katsuva a few years back when one of his friends showed him a video of the story of her traumatic rape at the hands of rebel soldiers and her truly inspiring response. He realised that as the soldiers used rape as a weapon of war to destroy the lives of many, Masika’s retaliation was love and humanity to help rebuild those shattered lives. He too would pick that same ammunition and do his bit to fight the injustice.

Battle of Camden

Like many who hear the story, Chaka was moved by it – but in true Chaka style he was moved to act. Having visited the orphanage on several occasions, Chaka has used his massive social media following and these boxing events to put the focus back on Masika’s Orphanage and to raise money for it to make it stronger each day that it’s open.  At Work-it’s first fight night in May this year, Chaka raised a mighty £10,000; his goal this time around is £30,000. In just five days of fund raising in the last week, Chaka with the help of Work-it has raised a staggering £17,000 – a massive thanks to everyone that’s dipped into his or her pockets so far.

Chaka doesn’t just focus on Africa, he puts his many talents to use in West London too. As a busy personal trainer he still finds time through his company Spartanfam to offer free community based fitness. From personal experience he knows the perils of the streets and so seeks to give kids and youths a reason to get active, to find a sense of purpose and pride in oneself and above all else find some enjoyment.

Unite for Africa is just under eight weeks away, it will be a busy time for Chaka and all of the other athletes involved. Over the coming weeks we aim to tell the stories of some of the fighters who have decided to glove up for charity. All will be taking part in two tough group training sessions a week as well as working on their own fitness or boxing development alongside holding down jobs and not forgetting family and social commitments. It is a massive undertaking for anyone taking part.

If you’re not one of the fighters but want to help, all you need to do is dip in your pocket as even £1 will make a difference, or instead of a visit to Starbucks sacrifice a morning coffee and donate the money – really every little act helps make it one big action. Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you want to donate – click on https://www.gofundme.com/uniteforafrica it’s worth a visit, the picture alone will melt your heart!

For tickets click here: https://billetto.co.uk/fight-night-unite-for-africa

I heart Africa foundation: http://iheartafrica.org/

Written by Sue Finnegan.

 

 

What is Desk Yoga?

Work can be stressful. Heavy workload, deadlines, your boss, clients, not to mention sitting for prolonged periods of the day. This all has a negative effect on your health and well being.

Studies show people with sedentary lifestyles sit for an average of 13 hours a day. Which leads to poor posture, joint issues and an array of other health problems.  No wonder we feel stiff and stressed out.

Desk Yoga is designed for you to take a few minutes out of your working day to stretch, clear your mind and come back feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and more productive.

We start each sequence with a simple meditation. Closing your eyes and focusing on your breath has huge mental benefits by improving circulation of blood and carrying nutrients to the brain.  We move through gentle postures to open the hips, hamstrings and upper back which are constantly shortening while sitting.

Whether you’re a seasoned Yogi or can’t even touch your toes, desk yoga is for you. Dedicating time for yourself throughout the day will give you more clarity and creativity, with ability to solve problems quicker and reduce stress levels.

Want a complimentary session? Get in touch…

Written by the creator of Desk Yoga, Adam Willoughby.