Posts from the ‘News’ category

In 2013, Lorraine, Kim, Susan and I ‘met’ on an on-line fat loss programme. We had a number of things in common, not least the fact that we were all 53.

The programme that we were following, Total Fat Burn Revolution, was devised and run by Julia Buckley who is a renowned fitness writer and coach. I was fortunate enough to be part of her pilot for this programme and along with the others progressed to her new venture, Extreme Inferno. Both are 12 week programmes and are designed to torch fat leaving you fit, healthy and full of life.

This programme is not aimed at any specific age group – it was pure coincidence that the four of us were the same age. The proggers (as we were fondly known) ranged from mid-twenties to late fifties and during the year we have celebrated milestone birthdays, engagements, awarding of a PhD, a wedding, a baby, new jobs and house moves. There have also been commiserations over break-ups and job loss but we were all there in the ether supporting each other.

As can be imagined, we all had different reasons for wanting to lose fat but the one aim that bound the four of us was to be ‘fit and fabulous’ in our fifties.

The workouts are grouped into three phases, each lasting four weeks, and as we became fitter and more flexible, advanced versions of some exercises were available.  One joy of the programme is that you can exercise at home or outdoors, you don’t need to belong to a gym. Suitable clothing and footwear along with a mat, some dumbbells and a stability ball are all you need.  Yes, ladies lift weights!

You may have noted that I use the term “fat loss” rather than “weight loss” as in more usual in exercise programmes. This is intentional as the title indicates but also because some people, and I am one of them, wanted to lose body fat held but don’t want (or need) to lose weight. So what is the subtle (or not so subtle) difference? If you lose weight, you will lose fat, hence the reason we generally refer to weight loss. With weight loss, we measure the pounds and focus on the numbers but this number will record total mass including fat, water and lean mass (muscle, tendons and bone mineral deposits). By looking to shed body fat, weight will generally be lost in the initial stages but this may stabilise depending on your ultimate aims. For me, I wanted to maintain my weight (perhaps even increase it by a few pounds) but shift the stubborn fat around my torso.

So moving onto the diet and nutritional aspect of the programme. Julia does not recommend a diet but points to a healthy and balanced diet. I use the word diet in the widest sense (it’s worth looking in a dictionary to remind ourselves what the word actually means).  Yes, it is recommended that we ditch the sugar and processed foods and watch our alcohol consumption but then we all know that deep down don’t we? Coined by Julia but adopted by most of us, we now eat and drink ‘mostly healthy, most of the time’. It works – pop over to Julia’s website ( or look in her book for success stories.

A word about the success stories. They are real. Real life people. Real photos. True stories. I know as I am one of them. Believe me when I say that I have no idea how to enhance a photograph, it really is a case of ‘the camera doesn’t lie’.. If you watch the promotional video, you’ll also get a glimpse of me!

January is traditionally the time to start diets and new exercise programmes. Make 2014 the year you make a difference and celebrate the beautiful body you have. The others and I now rock bikinis and leggings. Sleeveless dresses and tops have reappeared! Go for it and join us as fabulous, fit and healthy ladies.

PS: the programme works for blokes too! 

A full review of The Fat Burn Revolution by Julia Buckley will be posted once I have received my copy of the book.

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We all know that walking is good for you but have you considered Nordic Walking? Originally created as a means for skiers to continue with their exercise and training all year round, this is a fitness trend that has been growing in the UK recently.

You may have seen people out walking with poles – chances are they are Nordic Walking (NW). You can also walk or ramble with a pole or two but I am specifically talking about Nordic Walking.

So what exactly is Nordic Walking? In the words of the experts, Nordic Walking UK, it is a specific fitness technique using poles in order to add two major benefits to walking

  • The use of poles means the upper body muscles are used as well as the legs
  • The poles help to propel the walker along – this means he/she works harder than usual yet the support given by the poles makes it feel easier!

The pluses are that Nordic Walking can be done by anybody, anywhere and does not require expensive equipment or clothing.

You do need suitable footwear (I wear either Salomon or North Face but good trainers suffice) and clothing. I recommend leggings or capris as if wearing flared pants when it is wet, the wetness soon seeps up! Layers are good as you soon warm up and ladies a supportive bra is needed (as always). Poles can be hired from instructors so you don’t need to spend too much money until you’re sure Nordic Walking is for you. However should you wish to buy your own set of poles, NWUK has some advice for you (

Interested? Again, NWUK may be able to assist as they hold a register of instructors but for those of you in Maidenhead, Jo Whitfield and I are starting group sessions in January 2014 so please get in contact with either of us for further details. We are both qualified Personal Trainers and Pilates instructors as well as Nordic Walking instructors and look forward to encouraging you to start Nordic Walking.

Jo:       Hazel:

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Last Thursday evening I ventured up to London as a guest of the lovely ladies behind Zero Calorie Advent Calendar for their launch party. A fabulous evening – where to begin my recollections?

I met many inspirational ladies some of whom I already ‘knew’ thanks to Twitter, others I hadn’t heard of but soon got to know. All are engaged in spreading the word on how to live healthily and well, many are fitness bloggers, most London based.

We met at LuluLemon’s Covent Garden showroom but soon hit the streets for a run with the guys from Good Gym. After a warm-up run (mostly our voices warming up as we chatted away), we came to Somerset House where we were all put to work in clearing out a room. This is how Good Gym operate – running with a purpose. Tasks completed, in record time I hasten to add, we split into 3 groups according to our ability and set off along the Embankment, over the Millenium Bridge and paused for a group photo with St Paul’s Cathedral as our backdrop 1462966_228633683970748_2130117307_n

Then off we set again, this time running over Blackfriair’s Bridge and back to Covent Garden for our post-run treats of bubbly, water or smoothie. Cue the serious business of the evening.


Becca, Christine and Mollie explained the concept behind the calendar and introduced some of the sponsors of Zero Calorie Advent Calendar and then Nicola of A Mile in Her Shoes explained why she and her fellow trustees had set up their charity which leads run clubs for homeless women as a way to help these women get back on their feet. Many of us present had donated trainers or kit which will either be distributed to these ladies or sold on eBay to raise funds in order to buy the requisites.

So what is Zero Calorie Advent Calendar I hear you ask? Each day during December a new workout, recipe and health/fitness business offer will be revealed to keep those interested in health and happiness on track during the festive season. So party away but please find time to encompass some exercise.

Amongst chat, networking, laughter and photos we also found time to eat (mostly) healthy snacks and finally left exhilarated with our goodie bags. If the other ladies were like me, they also had a big smile plastered on their face for the journey home.

London, running, good deeds, great ladies – what more could I have asked for a November evening?


In some of my blogs I will be drip-feeding snippets about me so you can get an idea of who I am and where I’m coming from. This blog includes a confession.

I don’t like running.

There, I’ve said it, it is now in the open.

Since turning 50, my life has encompassed a healthy lifestyle and that included entering races because I felt I should. I’ve completed half marathons, a 10k and a couple of 10 milers but all had one common thread – I didn’t enjoy them. Earlier this year I decided that I wouldn’t run unless I wanted to or was out with a client who wished to. So imagine my surprise on looking out of my window this morning I actually thought “I don’t want to waste this glorious morning inside so I’ll go out for a 30 minute jog/walk”. So that’s exactly what I did.

It wasn’t a fast run. It wasn’t a pretty run. But it felt good to be out in the early morning September sun along the River Thames.

Photo 02-09-2013 08 11 59

I do, however, admit that these new trainers looked good (even if I didn’t)

Moral: exercise is good for you – that’s a fact. But it is so much more beneficial if it is something you enjoy.

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As with everything these days, we are bombarded with adverts for fitness clothing and footwear but to be perfectly honest, you don’t need to spend a lot of money getting kitted out for exercise. In fact, apart from a few essentials, I would say save your pennies to treat yourself once your body shape has adapted to exercise and good nutrition.

So what do you need? A pair of good trainers, suitable pants and a top (preferably not cotton) and for ladies, a supportive bra. I suggest you look for breathable fabrics or those that ‘wick’ sweat away from the body. Layers are a good idea too.

Marks and Spencer, Next, Tesco and Gap are amongst the high street stores with own brand fitness clothing. Marks and Spencer also carry a range of sports bras from crop tops to underwired.

Trainers are not always cheap although it is worth shopping around. If you want to buy from the internet (generally the cheapest option), try trainers on elsewhere before you order as returns policies differ considerably. Make sure there is room for your toes in the box and, generally, go up a size from your normal shoes (I actually go up one and a half sizes) and wear socks.

However, if you do want to splash the cash and look good whilst exercising, these are two of my favourite makes (both available in stores in Marlow).

Sweaty Betty

Moving Comfort

Whatever you wear, ensure each and every workout counts

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Running is a good form of exercise for many and can be great fun. However it is not for everyone and, confession time, I am one of those people.That said, I enjoy the atmosphere at events both the anticipation before the start and the exhilaration (and often relief) at the finish. I also like and admire the dedication people show in their training. So how to reconcile these two feelings? Well, I’ve decided that my role in life is as an ethusiastic supporter so here’s how I spent the last two weekends.

On both Sundays we (I also ‘volunteered’ my husband) were marshals for Purple Patch Running, cheering the runners on, directing them along the route and handing out water. At the Stockley Park 10k, I met someone I used to work with who was running her first race so I made sure I was at the last 100m to cheer her in.

Bank Holiday Monday saw me in Windsor Great Park jumping up and down screaming support for the 1200 ladies running the She Runs Windsor inaugural 10k. They also had a fantastic Expotique so got a bit of retail therapy too!

Last Saturday was a first for me. Two of my ‘virtual friends’ were competing in the Chiltern Warrior 10k obstacle challenge at the Chiltern Open Air Museum so I popped along to meet Julia and Becca in the flesh and cheer them on, also acting as their official photographer.

Julia and Becca crossing the finish line of the Chiltern Warrior 10k

Julia and Becca crossing the finish line of the Chiltern Warrior 10k

The weather held for all four events and I had a fantastic time soaking up the atmospheres. Unusually for running events, I came home with a sore throat not sore legs!

So even if running is not your thing, please consider supporting those who love running next time there’s a race near you. A smile and cheer goes a long way.

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Blond lady on laptopWelcome to my new site. I hope you like it.
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