Full Squat


Have you ever seen a baby sit to play? Naturally they sit in a deep squat.

My baby Marcus is 6 months already. Time has really flown!

It is amazing to see the full range of motion that his body has.

Watching him develop, has made me realise the basic movement patterns that we lose as adults.

One of his favourite exercises is putting his foot in his mouth. I discovered that I can still do this too, which will be my new party trick!

We have been working on cross crawls in baby yoga, (tapping opposite hand to foot) as this integrates left and right brain communication. This can help with development of movement and coordination and helps babies to prepare for crawling.

The body is designed to move in full range of motion, yet in exercise classes and gyms in the Western World, people are de-training their bodies by doing reps at half range. I.e. stopping a squat at knee level (as if you are sitting in a chair), lunging so that the foot does not go over the knee, etc.

These half reps are not only detrimental to joint health but also create huge muscular imbalances.

One main muscular imbalance at we correct daily at Be-Fit is the VMO (Vastus Medialus).This muscle is one of the main thigh or ‘quad’ muscles and is essential in sport for deceleration and knee stability. If it hurts when you walk down the stairs, your VMO may be imbalanced.

Many athletes are trained to do heavy squats half range, without also doing them at full range. Coaches wonder why they then develop hamstring, groin and knee problems. Partial reps can serve a purpose in a training plan, however the deep squat should be given priority.

A full squat also serves another important function. It helps us to go to the bathroom.

When babies pull their knees up to their chest they are helping their digestive system to function better. Deep squats actually help you to go to the toilet!

At Be-Fit, we take clients through full range exercises. If your bum does not touch the floor when you squat, it was not a rep!

We need to look at basic developmental patterns to decrease pain and get stronger.

We have spend thousands of years learning to stand up through evolution, to spend most of our time sat down!

We seem to be devolving physically as we develop technology. We are born with innate skills to develop and move. As obvious as this may sound, many of us seem unaware that basic primal movements hold to key to pain relief and even joint health!

How many people walk down the street using arms and legs in opposition? I.e right foot with left arm and right leg, left arm…

I love to people watch and it is rare to see people walking as we are designed to!

Ignoring basic movement patterns not only affects coordination, but also balance as we age.

Marcus is loving ‘tummy time’ and at 6 months can already sit on his own!

When we train athletes at Be-Fit and even the general population, we focus on the posterior chain (muscles on the back of the body from head to toe).

Making the back strong helps us to go faster in sport and jump higher. Back work such as hyper extensions supports the whole body.

If you have goals to get stronger or get rid of pain, we can take you back to basics and get you moving as nature intended!

Body Fat

Spot Reduction. Why do we store fat in certain stubborn places?

We once believed that you could not spot reduce body fat.

People thought that if you had fat on your legs or muffin top, that you could not choose where it could be lost from. The good news is; spot reduction is possible with simple dietary tweaks and nutritional support.

At Be-Fit, we have been industry leaders in a service called Bio-signature and Bio-print since 2006. We help clients to spot reduce body fat every day!

In a Bio-signature consultation, we take body fat sites and work out your priority fat stores.

For some people, genetic fat stores are the issue. You may hold fat in similar areas to family members.

However, recent studies in the field of Epigenentics, have shown us that genes are not the sole factor to health. We also have to look at environment, lifestyle, diet etc and how that affects the genes!

So what causes the stubborn fat?

For many clients, this can be diet related. We can store fat in certain areas because of what goes in our mouths.

The waist line and even upper back, can be indicators of starchy carbohydrate overload. (Carbs are those dreaded yummy things such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes)

However, we can also store fat because of a lack of good carbs such as vegetables and fibre!

The microbiome (gut environment) has a direct correlation to fat stores. If you have an imbalance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, then you may crave sweeter foods and have slower gut transit. Studies have shown, that obese patients have different gut bacteria to their leaner counterparts! Microbiome disturbance can show up as the fat stores on the lower back, muffin top, thighs and abdominals.

Body Fat stores can also give us an indication into an internal stress.

It was once thought that ‘cortisol’ (a stress hormone) was the main culprit for abdominal fat stores. We blamed sugar, sleep and alcohol. Now the focus has shifted and we have been forced to look at other factors that may cause the rise in cortisol. It can be hormonal imbalance, toxicity or even too much cardio-vascular exercise! It is our job to identify lifestyle and nutritional factors, that may be affecting this fat store.

As cave people, we produced adrenaline in stressful situations such as being chased by a tiger. When the body is in fight or flight mode, the sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen)are suppressed, as reproduction is not the priority. These days, we still produce adrenaline, however we produce ‘cortisol’, a low grade adrenaline, more frequently. Deadlines, time scales, school runs, relationship stress, poor sleep, poor diet, nutrient deficiency, etc, can all affect cortisol output.

Not only can this increase fat, but it can also stress the adrenal glands and decrease sex hormone optimization. For optimal fat loss, we need the sex hormones to function properly. Sex hormones  can be affected by dietary factors too. Poor quality meat, food wrapped in plastics, hormone pills, electricity, etc, can result is xeno (fake) estrogen fat stores. This can show up on the legs, pectorals (chest) and arms.

The body needs strong detoxification pathways to dispose of body fat. The main detox organ is the liver.

The liver has such a hard job to do and every day, we over load it with toxins.

If your liver is stressed or if you are dehydrated, you may store fat on the chin and the knees. Your body will not drop fat efficiently if your detox pathways are compromised.

So as you may now see, fat loss is more complex than counting calories, but spot reduction is very achievable!

To start shifting your stubborn fat stores, give us a call at Be-Fit: 0191 2135300

Healthy Eating

Nanna’s Nutritional Gems; tips for modern day healthy eating

To get the newest nutritional gems, we have to go back in time.

Fish Oil
My Nanna had a spoonful of cod liver oil every day. She said that it helped her joints.
Ok so this is not a news flash, many people take fish oil now. But here are some great reasons why we should all be adding it to our daily regime.

*Heart health. Omega 3’s (as in fish oil, not cod liver oil) can lower LDL Cholesterol and blood pressure. A word of warning if you are taking blood thinning medication; please consult your GP first.
*Brain health. DHA found in small fish such as mackerel has shown to improve cognition and brain function.
*A natural fat burner. Fish oil actually turns on your fat burning gene and switches off your fat store gene.
* A natural anti-inflammatory. Fish oil can help to ease inflammation in the joints, gut, brain and pretty much everywhere! EPA found in larger fish is essential in higher doses in cases of inflammation.
Eat real food!
Go organic if you can. If not, try to find fruits and veggies that are without plastic wrappers. Food can actually absorb plastics and that means that we can absorb the plastic too! Try the local Farmer’s market or greengrocer.
My ‘Nonna’ (Italian Grandma), would walk for miles to market, to sell home grown produce. She actually carried the baskets on her head! If you can find it this fresh, stock up!
Aim for five vegetables sources a day and one to two fruit portions. Minimum!
Try to source protein that is grass fed, free range or wild. You are only as strong and lean as the protein that you consume.
Cook from scratch.
It takes the same amount of time to knock up a stir fry as it does to order a take away. We are a generation of TV dinner eaters. Ditch the microwave to increase the nutrients in your meals.
Stock your pantry with things such as ginger, garlic, coconut oil and herbs. You can freeze herbs on the day of purchase to save waste. Frozen veg can be a great addition too, to save you reaching for the pizza menu.
Make batches of soups and freeze them. My Nanna loved a good ham hock. This makes fabulous soup if you throw in a few lentils, carrots, onions, celery, etc.
Family roasts make great cold cuts for lunch and breakfast. Yes I said breakfast! Eat protein first thing to set you up for the day. Grandad would have!
Eat Butter
Margarine is the Frankenstein of fat. Numerous studies show that butter is good for you! The butyric acid in butter is a helpful prebiotic for your gut. Butter on steamed veg, also helps your gut to absorb the nutrients.
Grass fed cows, produce grass fed butter. The CLA (conjugated linolic acid) in grass fed butter has anti-cancer properties.
What about the saturated fat? The body needs a certain amount of fat to function optimally. Some saturated fat in the diet can actually lower LDL cholesterol. Trans fats however, should be avoided at all costs, such as vegetable oils.
I urge you to read Dr. Jonny Bowden’s book “The great Cholesterol Myth” for up to date clinical research on cholesterol.
Eat sugar like its on ration!
Sugar stresses the immune system and makes you look older. It is the nutrient of aging.
Cut it out and see an improvement in your waistline as well as your skin.
For immune boosting tips that Nanna would be proud of; book in for a nutritional consultation at Be-fit. 0191 2135300
Antonia x


Making the right choice!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few decades there are a few things you should know as fact rather than theory by now- exercise is good for you, smoking is bad for you and food choices dictate your overall health!! Now, if I may draw your attention to the word CHOICE.

Your health and wellbeing not to mention your body shape and fitness are all set by the foods you choose to eat, whether that’s something you may not of known or its something you fail to acknowledge makes no difference, its as simple as that. If you choose to eat a diet devoid of nutrient then your diet in turn will leave your body, devoid of nutrient, simple.

Your body will adapt to what you expose it to most, so for the sake of stating the obvious I will, if you consume large quantities of refined simple sugars (which your body will store happily as fat) your body will take a certain shape as a result of stored bodyfat.

I am not a big believer in overcomplicating matters just to sound clever so here it is- cut simple sugar out of your daily diet, your body composition will improve and you will be much healthier as a result. Interested? Then you will need to know a bit more.

Sugar or carbohydrate can present itself as either simple or complex. All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules hence they are the quickest source of energy and they are very quickly digested, this may sound like a useful food to have around but as the examples will show these foods are without sustenance. Examples of simple sugars are- table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, jams, jellys, fruit drinks, soft drinks and candy.

Complex carbohydrates on the other hand may be referred to as dietary starch and are rich in fibre thus satisfying and health promoting, they are often found in whole plant foods and are for that reason high in vitamins and minerals. Examples of complex carbohydrates are- fruits, green vegetables, peppers, starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn and pumpkin, there are also beans, lentils and peas and finally whole grains and foods made from them like oats, pasta, rice and whole grain breads.

From the above examples it’s pretty clear that simple sugars should be largely avoided, omitted and have no place in a healthy diet. Complex carbohydrates conversely are more fibrous and nourishing and are therefore a better choice of food.
So with simple sugars off the menu let’s take a closer look at our complex carbohydrates, as they are not all created equal. Some complex carbohydrates are better for you than others and this can be clearly seen through a foods glycemic index or load which refers to a foods impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. A high glycemic index or glycemic load indicates a higher blood sugar and insulin spike. Insulin is a storage hormone made by the pancreas that allows our bodies to use sugar from carbohydrates. It helps keep our blood sugar from getting too high or too low. Too much sugar over a sustained period of time can damage the bodies ability to use insulin effectively.

Starchier foods such as white rice, pasta and white bread elicit a much higher glycemic response or blood sugar / insulin spike and should be kept to a minimum for optimal body composition. Dark green leafy vegetables and other fibrous carbohydrates such as brown rice, lentils and beans elicit a much lower blood glucose response. It is for this reason that these should be the common choice of dietary carbohydrate.

For sustained energy throughout the day, better body composition, improved concentration, and better overall health blood sugar is best kept consistent as opposed sharp rises and sheer drops which would be the case if your daily diet is largely simple sugars and starchy carbohydrates. Choose your foods wisely!!

Will St Leger

Should you hire a pro?

Can you get the best out of yourself? Do you know how hard to push yourself and when or even how??

For the vast majority of people the answer to these questions would be a firm NO. The solution- hire a professional! Someone who has the right tools for the job in question. If you had car trouble you would go to a mechanic, boiler trouble a heating engineer, a leaky roof a roofer etc. So, physical health, aesthetics or nutrition, see a Trainer.
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Shin Splints


Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) or shin splints as its more commonly known is a condition that effects a large portion of the population especially those engaged in regular long distance road running. Its onset typically comes from repeated impact on solid surfaces which, in turn leads to repetitive stress on the lower leg, more specifically the tibia or shin bone located on the medial part of the lower leg. As with a lot of other common injuries the sight of the pain isn’t always the cause of the pain, meaning, the problem may have started somewhere else. Bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and fascia all have to be considered when assessing a body for biomechanical irregularities that lead to an injury of this kind.
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