Month: November 2016

Welcome to FlexFit’s Winter Workout!

Welcome to FlexFit’s Winter Workout!

Toned arms, peachy glutes and a glorious six pack all on your Christmas list this year? Look no further.

This is my pilot programme as a certified PT, my first Instagram Challenge and, most importantly of all, a chance for you all to eat as many mince pies as you like, before working them off with a 4-week series of intensely fun and hilariously challenging workouts.

Even better, each week I’ll be giving my Instagram followers the chance to get reposted as a reward for all your hard-work.

Here’s how it works:

Every Friday from 2nd – 23rd December I’ll be posting a 30 minute Workout Challenge right here on FlexFit. Each week will have a specific theme & focus.

They’re nice and easy to fit into your schedule but are specifically designed to offer a High Intensity challenge for newbies and gym-rats alike. High intensity training maximises your body’s fat burning-potential, and I’ll be interspersing fun bursts of cardio with diverse resistance exercises to improve your muscle strength & endurance.

Your challenge is to find time in your busy schedules to do the following:

  1. Read the workout
  2. Do the workout
  3. Pick your favourite exercise from the workout
  4. Take a photo OR a video of yourself doing that exercise
  5. Upload your photo/video to instagram using the hashtag #Flexfitwinterworkout
  6. Tag a friend who you want to see trying it out!

Each week I’ll pick my favourite photo or video and repost it on the following Thursday.

Simple as that!

For any tips, tricks or adaptations for exercises (not a gym member? I got you!) feel free to comment below or email me at flexfitdance@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to help out.

Look out for the first week’s workout this Friday, right here at www.flexfitdance.com

Hope to see you all soon!

Keep Calm and Have a Cuppa: The Health Benefits of Tea

Keep Calm and Have a Cuppa: The Health Benefits of Tea

Nothing is ever quite so comforting as a good cup of tea.

Feeling under the weather? Have a cup of tea.

Stressed out about exams? Have a cup of tea.

Overly emotional for no apparent reason? Have a cup of tea.

Brexit? I’ll put the kettle on.

 

A staff room without a kettle and teabags is like a car without an ignition: completely unproductive.The undisputed cure, motivation and ice-breaker for all of life’s little problems, here are just a few of the actual, physical health benefits of a good brew.

Time for Tea

The Health Benefits of Tea.

 

English Breakfast/Builders’ Tea

  • According to the 2003 Journal of Nutrition, drinking English Breakfast tea may help to lower high cholesterol levels. A three-week study with 15 participants found that as many as five servings of Builders Brew per day lowered total cholesterol levels by 6.5 percent.
  • Teas used for English Breakfast brew, such as Assam and Ceylon, are known for their high level of antioxidants. Studies have suggested that these antioxidants can help to lower a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This is due to their positive effect on cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
  • There is a surprisingly high caffeine content in English Breakfast tea, which in reasonable amounts can help to stimulate the brain, as well as the body.
  • The tea plant can readily absorb fluoride from the soil in which it is grown. The black teas that are used for English Breakfast can contain as many as 9 milligrams of fluoride per liter. Fluoride is beneficial to help prevent tooth decay, as long as consumption does not exceed 20 milliliters daily.

 

Time for Tea

Green Tea

  • Green tea contains a lot of catechins, which are a specific type of antioxidant. This helps the body to burn fat, which in turn aids muscle endurance during exercise.
  • The antioxidants found in green tea can also help to improve bone mineral density, which is essential for preventing the onset of osteoporosis.
  • It has also been suggested that going green can help to improve the body’s response to insulin, and on occasion can reduce levels of sugar in the blood. This is crucial for the management and prevention of Type 2 diabetes, where the body has developed a resistance to insulin.

 

Time for Tea

Chamomile

  • The chamomile flower; Matricaria chamomilla, has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This is why Chamomile is an excellent healer, helping to boost the immune system and speed up the body’s healing process.
  • Chamomile is often used to soothe sore tummies, as it raises levels of glycine in the urine. This is a compound that helps to alleviate muscle spasms, which can help to relax tense digestive muscles.
  • The calming effect of Chamomile is a useful sleep-aid, for those struggling with insomnia or restless sleep.

 

Time for Tea

Earl grey

  • The natural therapeutic properties of the Bergamot in Early Grey help to calm the body. Stressed, anxious or overworked? Have an Earl Grey.
  • Both black tea and bergamot contain high levels of flavonoids. These are antioxidants that fight the free radicals produced in the body. By destroying free radicals, Earl Grey can help to keep skin clear, fresh and unblemished.
  • Bergamot can also help to boost the immune system, making Earl Grey an ideal choice to fight off that infection.

 

What’s your tea of choice? Let me know in the comments while the kettle boils!

*Photos courtesy of LattesnLipsticks – she has a much nicer teacup collection than I do. Check out her awesome blog.

 

What I’m Thankful for this November

What I’m Thankful for this November

Throughout my childhood, November was always the most important month of the year.

It’s a bit of an unusual one, as it’s nowhere near my birthday and still not quite the run-up to Christmas. I’m not American, so I’ve never really celebrated Thanksgiving, either- despite the title of this post.

The second or third weekend in November was always when my dance school would put on their annual ballet show. For all (or most of) the pupils at the school, this is what the year would revolve around.

It’s difficult for people who haven’t experienced this sort of community to understand why show-season was so special, and for those of us who were a part of it, it’s even more difficult to try and explain.

For some reason, finding out what the show was, who would play what part and what costumes would be worn, incited a sense of glamour, magic and anticipation that was far superior even to Christmas.

Without banging on too much about how amazing it is to grow up taking dance lessons (I feel like I do that a lot), I do want to briefly try to put into words the reason that this time of year will forever and always be known to me as “Showtime”.

Thankful for November

1) The Community

On the whole, in a dance school, students are kept fairly segregated into their assigned classes, depending on what style or grade of class is being taken. Naturally, friendships are made, cliques are formed and there’s not all that much socialising to be done with pupils outside of one’s own class.

The wonderful thing about a big show is that there tends to be at least one occasion when every single pupil would be crammed onto the stage, even if it’s just during the curtain call. Rehearsals were mixed and the pre-show ballet class saw students of every grade all doing the same warm up, together at the side of the stage. It establishes a sense of community in a school. Class-barriers are removed and there’s a feeling of all coming together to create something spectacular.

2) The Progression

For those of us who were at the dance school for most of our childhood, the show was a recurring thing. By the time students left, usually at 18 years old, we’d have a good 12 or 13 shows under our belt. With this, came a collection of unspoken rules, traditions and benchmarks year by year.

The year you progressed to playing a village girl, rather than a bumblebee. The year your class got its own dressing room. The first time you went en pointe in a show. Your first tutu. Your first solo. These were things that were learned from the moment you attended your first rehearsal, usually at the age of four years old, sitting squashed and cross legged in a tightly packed studio, gazing with awe at the “older girls” who just seemed so talented and confident.

It was this yearly progression, the knowledge that each show you’d progress that little bit more than the year before, that made it all so exciting.

Thankful for November

3) The Confidence

The principal of our dance school was very good at bringing out the best in her pupils. She knew us all exceptionally well, and was very talented at choosing roles that fit with each of our personalities. Even though you’d be onstage playing somebody else, you’d also be playing the best of yourself. For a teenager (as this was mostly when we grew older and each had solos) this invites a rare sense of confidence that is difficult to bring out in other ways.

4) The Independence

Going to rehearsals every night of the week, often missing out on free time or social events, allowed pupils to mature and grow independent from a very young age. With the exception of the necessary supervision, parents were not allowed at rehearsals, or even to hang around for too long in the car park. It’s a lot of time for a child to spend without their parents, learning to change their own costumes and do their own ballet bun- which is much easier said than done. Show-time teaches you to grow up, pull yourself together and get things done.