This week we have selected one piece of equipment for you – a football! So go and retrieve it from the shed roof and have fun taking part in the following resistance and fitness programme.  For best results take your football on to a field or large garden and perform the following:

  • Run or jog for 5 minutes, once warmed up its time to increase the pace!
  • Squat – Take the football, hold in front of your chest and squat, as you squat move the football to over your head. Repeat until tired. 10 should be ample. Once rested, as this is challenging…
  • Press up – One hand on the ball, lower body and push back up. Alternate the ball under each hand with each press up until tired.
  • Kick – the ball out of your hands as high and vertically as possible. Alternate legs, 5 each. Be sure to aim well, were taking no responsibility for broken windows!
  • Bounce – not softly but hold the ball above your head and power the ball into the ground (the softer the ground the better, sand is ideal) 10 times.
  • Throw – lying on your back, pass the ball from hands to feet.  Keep your arms long; raise your shoulders off the floor, place ball between ankles. 10 times.

If you’re feeling strong you could walk or jog after all these exercises then repeat the circuit again. Be sure to stretch when finished – great workout. Write to us if you come up with any other exercises you can think of with the football.

Food and Exercise

Welcome to the second addition of Health, Performance and Fitness Lifestyle articles.

Have YOU made the decision to be healthy?  If so then its time to take action! Following on from last week (get to the naked truth) we can see how sugar is necessary for our body to function properly….BUT over consumption of refined sugar in such things as processed foods, sugary drinks, confectionary does nothing but harm our bodies.

Did you know 1 in 3 people will become diabetic before the age of 60?

Refined sugar is also an anti-nutrient which means it steals nutrition from the body and makes it less healthy. It reduces the effectiveness of the immune system, slows down the workings of the liver, stores (as mentioned last week) extra calories as fat and ages cells, such as skin, more rapidly. It is also the number one food source for yeast infections and some cancers. Pretty serious stuff hey!

So, what can we do? Buy food in natural form, does it look like it did when it came out of the ground? Read labels, get to know your food, look for foods with lower levels of simple sugars per hundred grams, less than 5g per 100g is a good and achievable guideline. This will allow you to receive the good benefits of carbohydrates and less chance of weight gain and health problems.

Do you still have excuses for not exercising?  Well again, here are some simple exercises you can do at home!  The body has several simple movement patterns that it must perform to move with freedom, control and to tone the right muscles.

Start with 15-30 repetitions of each exercise depending on your level of fitness. Listen to your body, push it but do not push into bad technique or pain. Perform exercise as demonstrated in the photos.  (pictures to follow later tonight Vivean)

  1. Squat, keep knees bent behind end of toe.
  2. Press-up, standing press-ups against the wall if you are a beginner. Keep everything sucked in tight, keeping chin tucked into your neck.
  3. Lunges, again do not bend the knee over the end of toe.
  4. Side raises, arms out to the side of your body and lift to shoulder height, tins of food are a great starting weight.
  5. back extension, stomach pulled in.
  6. crunch

Perform this in a circuit style 2-4 times. Playing your favourite upbeat music is a great motivator.

You can also walk/run the dog, walk/run with a friend in some of the beautiful Derbyshire countryside you have at your fingertips, gardening, housework, swim….the general idea is to just GET MOVING! You owe to yourself and your family…have some fun! OK, so you may not live in Derbyshire but you can look on to find walks where you do live.

Next week … part 3

By Hayley White

Lets Get to the Naked Truth!

Strip Naked; right now in front of your mirror, but just do it! What do you see?  Are you Happy?  Frustrated?  Depressed?  Not bothered?

Tragically for most of you, I bet you are unhappy.  You wish it were reflecting something very different, yet the sad truth is you’re probably not bothered.  If you were bothered then how could you have let yourself get into that state in the first place?  However we’re not here to criticise but to help you and start making you think differently.

Have you ever wondered what your current lifestyle might be storing up for you in your future years?  Ask yourself this though; how many times have you moaned about the state of the NHS?  Thought that the government wasn’t doing enough for the population’s health and fitness? How often have you said, ‘someday I’ll sort it out?’

A lot of questions and we all expect answers.  Yet we already know the answers to most and if you don’t then we’re going to answer them in plain good old English for you and just maybe, the message will sink in and you will do something about it.  For your future’s sake!

1 in 3 of the UK population is overweight.  Can you see why our NHS is crumbling?  Overweight, fat people cost the NHS billions every year.  The chronic health problems associated with obesity such as diabetes and high blood pressure are costing the government (tax payers) a fortune.  The government are doing more than enough to assist us.  It’s your problem.  These things don’t just happen to other people! As far as I know walking and doing some “At Home” exercises doesn’t involve a Gym Membership.

Have you been drawn in by the ‘low fat’ weight-loss scam? With many of the population being concerned about weight and fat storage, food companies aim to expose this by marketing foods that are touted as ‘low fat’ and thus healthy. This low fat invariably means the fat has been removed and the product is higher in sugar instead. Let me explain the role of sugar/glucose or carbohydrate in brief, glucose is the main source of fuel for your body it is needed for optimum brain function and movement. It is also used as the primary source of fuel in intense exercise where you would be sweating and out of breath, it is not the primary source of fuel when sitting at a desk, walking or driving, fat is!! When we consume high levels of carbohydrate and don’t burn it off it actually undergoes a conversion in the liver and gets stored as body fat usually starting around the middle. Weight storage around the middle is an accurate predictor of the likelihood of getting diabetes, heart or circulatory problems and certain cancers. Have a look around today and see who is actually storing their weight around the middle as ‘pooch belly’?

So in short, excess sugar is not what we need to look healthy from the inside out, the sugars that we need should come primarily from vegetables, some fruit and whole grains. They should also be consumed with adequate fat and protein to balance the so-called ‘macro nutrients’ within the meal as protein and fat slow down the absorption of sugar and let it be used more slowly by the body, leading to more stable blood sugar – which we will discuss in later columns. For now, start by reading the labels on your food and begin to take control of your health

To get you moving were going to do a “spring clean.”  The 1st one being – get hold of your ‘ab cruncher’ you bought from the supermarket and smash it up with a hammer. Go on, smash it up and chuck it in the bin. Now, get MOVING! Get on your feet and walk or jog around the block. Don’t spend £600 plus on a treadmill that has you staring at a dark garage wall, just open the door and put one foot in front of the other. Last time I checked, this cost me a grand total of nothing!

Ten minutes later you can return home, nicely warmed up to begin bigger movements. All with good posture: standing tall, shoulders drawn back, back lengthened/straight, chin up, chest out –

  • SQUAT. Up and down; squatting deep and returning to stand. Hold tins of beans or paint or bottles of water to make it more challenging.
  • LIFT. Again with good posture – pick an item up from the floor that you find ‘heavy’, keep your back straight, bend in your knees or hips.
  • PRESS UP. A good traditional favourite. If holding a full length position is too much, perform it with your knees touching the floor.  Don’t tip your head back as you lower your chest to the floor
  • PULL. If you don’t have a heavy object in the garden (pull the mower over your grass) then pull all the furniture out: fridges, tv’s, sofas. PULL them all out (get someone else to clean behind them!) then PUSH them back into place again.

Perform each of the above exercises until you feel tired. At the end of your workout, which should last 30-45mins, you should be sweaty, slightly out of breath.

This might read as very simple, almost daft; but let me just remind you – 1 in 3 adults are overweight!

  • STRETCH. All the areas you feel you have worked. Hold your stretches for around 30secs each.

Your health depends on it.

For anything we have talked about today or your comments we would love to hear from you.  Please add your comments below.

By Hayley White

7 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

7 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

1.  Cut your salt intake to less than 6g per day by not adding it to food and choosing products with low salt levels.
2.  Eat more fruit and veg to keep your arteries clear – include at least five 80g portions a day.
3.  Cut back on alcohol.  Dont regularly exceed two to three units per day for women or three to four units for men.
4.  Switch to decaff.  Research shows that drinking more than four cups of coffee a day can increase blood pressure.
5.  Maintain a healthy weight.  Being overweight or obese forces your heart to work harder.
6.  Exercise to keep your heart and arteries in good shape and control your weight.
7.  Make time to relax as stress can increase blood pressure.  Calming activities such as yoga, meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy can all help.

Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle – 3 Get Your Priorities Right

Zoë Whitby, ZW Coaching,,

“If only I had more time” – is often an excuse used for not fitting in regular exercise or even cooking healthily.  It’s also the reason that many personal dreams stay just that rather than becoming reality.

Ever heard of Parkinson’s law – “Work expands to fill the time available” – this is so true and we can find ourselves frittering away our days on things that have little importance to the life we want to lead.

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People*, Stephen Covey points out that – “The challenge is not to manage time but to manage ourselves.” – ie the problem is not with time itself but how we use it.  Covey proposes that we increase our effective use of time through consideration of the relative worth of activities in the context of our life purpose.

The typical activities that we get involved in can be mapped into a 2×2 matrix using the dimensions of urgency (the extent to which things demand our immediate attention) and importance (the extent to which the task will deliver results that contribute to our mission and priorities).

The result is four quadrants.  Many of us will find that we spend the majority of our time dealing with things in the two quadrants in the ‘urgent’ column…and the more we focus on activities in these quadrants, the more time we will have to spend there – it’s the catch 22 of perpetual fire fighting and being driven by others; a short-term focus where we react to urgent demands and end up out of control.



Not Urgent







Problem prevention

Relationship building

Long-term planning

Working on new opportunities

Personal growth

You time

Not Important



Some email and calls

Some meetings



Some mail and phone calls

Time wasters

The key quadrant to spend time in is II – making ourselves to do this is at the heart of effective personal management.  People who focus their efforts in this quadrant are opportunity minded, feeding possibilities and starving problems by anticipating them and planning to prevent crises from happening; focusing on things that will move them towards what they want to achieve. By this forward thinking, the ‘urgency’ dominance of quadrant I is diminished.

Sounds good?  I can hear some of you contending that this is all well and good if you have the TIME to do it.  We have to change that paradigm to one where first and foremost we plan the time to do the most important things, gaining time from Quadrants III and IV by saying no to people and putting aside trivial tasks that are not contributing to our results or by delegating tasks to others.  Although delegating initially takes time, if it’s a regular task you will soon reap the benefits.

To make sure you make progress each week towards the important things – schedule time for them in the diary, just as if you were committing to a meeting with someone.  This way you make a commitment to doing something.

And to get over the barrier of very large tasks, break them down into smaller steps…..

Give it a go and notice your results.

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey (1989) is published by Franklin Covey Co ISBN 0-684-85839-8

Zoë runs a workshop on managing time as part of the Peak Physique Retreat programme.

Meals & Snacks

Spread your food/calories over 4/5 sittings, eating breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack and your evening meal. This provides good energy levels making it more likely that you can keep up with your exercise whilst boosting your metabolic rate and reducing hunger. Aim for a protein rich food in each of these meals (the size of a deck of cards) or snacks and keep your carbohydrates in check. You shouldn’t eliminate carbohydrate, choosing wraps or salads over bread for lunch and reserving chocolate and crisps for treats.

Nutritional and eating tips

We hope the following nutritional and eating tips help you to kick start a new healthy way of life, starting today!

Fresh is best. Processed foods cause most of our health problems and eating too many highly processed carbohydrates that have a high glycaemic load combined with saturated and trans fats, results in a very bad combination for our health. Additionally, low-fat diets usually make people fatter as fats are replaced by sugar. Processed fizzy drinks and in particular low-fat diet drinks, have shown in recent studies, that they make people more hungry so they eat more!

It’s fine to eat lots of high glycaemic (GL) foods if you are using up all the glucose and energy these carbohydrates provide, but if you have a high glycaemic intake and are not burning these carbs off you’ll gain weight. At PEAK PHYSIQUE RETREAT we combine nutrition and exercise to get you back on track. Lack of dietary information is a problem with most diets today. At PEAK PHYSIQUE RETREAT our nutritionists and staff concentrate on changing the way you think about food . Forget FAD DIETS!

Takeaway is trouble – Kebabs, burgers and pizzas may be an easy option when we’re short on time, but the decline in popularity of the home cooked meal is a disaster for our waistlines.

So many of us use food to change our mood, to change the way we feel and to help ourselves to feel better. Therefore the focus at PEAK PHYSIQUE RETREAT is to help people manage moods and stress levels without using food. The body needs balance and when trying to lose weight, believing in your goals and having a positive attitude can be as important as improving your eating habits and being active. If you have a plan to keep yourself motivated while you’re losing weight, you stand a better chance of succeeding.

PEAK PHYSIQUE RETREAT can help change your eating habits, increase your physical activity and encourage you to think yourself into the right frame of mind to optimise your prospects. A week at PEAK PHYSIQUE RETREAT gives you a kick start, gets you back on track so we ensure that the weight not only stays off but you reach your goal weight and keep it off.




Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle – 2

Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle – 2  Have a Vision

Zoë Whitby, ZW Coaching,,

What is your vision of a fit and healthy life that is right for you?

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People*, Stephen Covey’s  second  Habit is about knowing what the ‘end game’ is – fully understanding your destination helps you to determine what is important and thus place your Proactive effort (see Habit 1) on doing the things that will achieve this.

To quote Stephen Covey:

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the activity trap.  In the business of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.  It is possible to be busy – very busy – without being effective.”

So take a moment to picture what you will see when you have your ideal healthy and fit life.  What will you look like?  What will you notice as you view the world around you? What will you be telling yourself? What will others be saying about you?  And how will you be feeling?  Imagine stepping into this future you and really experiencing what it is like.

How much do you want it? Take time to consider what you might lose in achieving this life (and think about how you can preserve these things in some way that will work for you).  Also think about the impact that achieving this life might have on others – how can you prevent or lessen any negative impacts?

Consider writing down your personal ‘wellbeing mission statement’ – setting out your health and fitness goals and check that these fit with your values (the things that are important to you in living your day-to-day life).

Here’s a suggestion for a simple format:

  • My health, fitness and wellbeing mission is: [overall statement of what you want to do/be/achieve]
  • In fulfilling this mission I will:  [set out the values, qualities and behaviours that underpin your approach to this and which will take account of protecting the things you don’t want to lose and minimising negative impact on others.]

Your personal mission is for you and it’s good to read it regularly as a basis for goal setting and to keep you on track.

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey (1989) is published by Franklin Covey Co ISBN 0-684-85839-8

Habits for a healthy lifestyle

Habits for a healthy lifestyle – 1 Proactivity

Zoë Whitby, ZW Coaching,,

Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a bestseller and well known in management circles for its approach to self improvement.

As a coach and trainer, I believe that everyone has potential to gain greater results and to achieve more – it’s just that we all have a different starting point, different perspectives, different beliefs about our capabilities and different barriers that stop us from getting what we really want.

Working with Peak Physique Retreat, I will be introducing techniques and tools to help you assess your life holistically and take the first steps to improvement.

In each of my blogs I will explain one of Stephen Covey’s Habits and how it can apply to living a healthier and more effective life.

It’s often not ‘rocket science’ – you may have already heard about these things.  Having the knowledge (WHAT to do) is one thing; to make something a ‘habit’ may also mean developing new skills and will only come about if you have  the desire to make the change..

Without the Desire, you will fail to get off the starting blocks – in fact more than desire, it’s also about belief – this quote from Henry Ford is one to remember:

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right!”

We explore the concept of beliefs more on the Peak Physique Retreat.

Finally, be prepared to do things differently – we can learn from one of the great achievers of history, Albert Einstein:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

And my favourite little saying from my NLP training:

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”.

Habit 1 – is be Proactive

This Habit is an important starting point as all the other Habits depend on it – essentially Proactivity is about having a ‘can do’ attitude to making things happen.

The underpinning message is that as human beings we have CHOICE – the choice to decide how we respond to the events and situations that we are presented with on a day to day basis.

A person exhibiting the Proactive Habit is one who takes the initiative, accepts responsibility and recognises that their decisions ultimately impact on their lives.  They realise that they have it within their power to make things happen.

A person in Proactive mode will use language that reflects their mindset – phrases such as:

  • Seize the day
  • Take the initiative
  • Let’s get on with it
  • Go for it

They will also put themselves in the driving seat of seeking solutions to problems.  They recognise that life is what you make it and that you ‘Don’t get owt for nowt’ – ie you get out what you put in.

Conversely a person who is behaving Reactively has chosen to allow other things to control them – they wait for things to happen to them (often fruitlessly) and expect others to make the running.  They are also quick to blame others or outside forces (such as the environment, government, economy, etc) for their own situation.  You might hear them saying things like:

  • There’s nothing I can do about it
  • I’m waiting to see what happens
  • He makes me so angry
  • The weather ruined my holiday

A caution – not many of us will be completely Proactive or completely Reactive in our nature – and our approach can change dependent on the context (eg more likely to be Proactive at work and more likely to be Reactive in making social arrangements).   In getting Habit 1 what we are attempting to do is shift the balance of our behaviour to Proactive, particularly in the situations which most impact our lives.

People with the Proactive Habit, focus their energies on things which they can influence – working on the things that THEY can do something (what they eat, how often they exercise, etc) rather than spending a lot of time and energy on things that they can have little impact on (eg celebrity relationships, world food shortages, the debt crisis, etc).

Underpinning this Habit is the concept that we have CHOICE – the choice to decide how we respond to events and situations.  Difficult circumstances still arise – people behaving Proactively can still be hurt physically, emotionally or economically – what is different is that their attitude means that their basic identity is not damaged by these events.  This means that the ability to manage stress reactions is enhanced….a topic for another day!


  1. Over the next day, notice the language you use and the response you make to situations – are you more Proactive or Reactive?  Does it change in different contexts?
  2. Make a list of the things things that you could do proactively to live a healthier, fitter life.
  3. Practice choosing your response to situations – particularly if you have identified a tendency to have Reactive responses.  Note what happens and how this affects how you feel and the outcomes you get.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey (1989) is published by Franklin Covey Co ISBN 0-684-85839-8.


5 Strategies for Weight Loss

5 Strategies That Must Be Adopted To See Long Term Weight Loss, Health and Fitness

  1. Rejuvenate your fridge and cupboards
    If you want to get real about losing weight and keeping it off, begin by removing any temptations that may be lurking in the kitchen.  As often as you tell yourself that the treats in the cupboards are for the kids or guests you know time and time again you cannot stop yourself from eating them yourself.  GET RID, Spring-cleaning should also apply to what you stock for foods – go through your cupboards, pantry and fridge and get rid of any junk you see. Say goodbye to Sweets, Fizzy Drinks, Biscuits, Cake, Chips, and other highly processed baked and pre baked goods. GO SHOPPING and STOCK your cupboards, pantry and fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables (especially of the brightly-coloured variety), low-fat or non-fat dairy or soy products, lean cuts of meat and lots of fish (fresh or frozen).
  2. Don’t super size; “normal”-size!
    In this era of super size anything, it is always tempting to get more bang for your buck. But stretching the pound should not come at the expense of your waistline. NEXT TIME YOU SHOP NOTE HOW MANY OF THE BUY ONE GET ONE FREE OR SPECIAL OFFER FOODS ARE JUNK (Just what you have chucked out). If you are used to stuffing yourself full just because you want to get your money’s worth, it’s time to learn some simple portion control. Chronic diseases develop from poor eating choices and portion sizes. To get a practical idea of what your portion size should be, take a look at the healthier choice pre prepared foods.  Note how many calories and fat are contained in the pack and take a BIG LOOK AT ITS SIZE.
  3. Make water your main thirst quencher
    Water is still the best beverage you can use to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you are watching your caloric intake. If you’re a habitual juice drinker, depending on the size of your glass, you can easily consume 100 to 200 kcal in a few gulps of juice. Get into the habit of eating your fruit instead of drinking it. If you are a habitual fizzy pop drinker, getting rid of the pop altogether will easily save you a few hundred calories in a day.  Tea and coffee can count towards your liquid intake but be aware that if you have to add sugar or the temptation of a hot drink brings on a “biscuit dunking attack” then don’t put yourself through this turmoil.  Don’t drink it in the first place.  In any case if you are serious about weight loss then your spring-cleaning should have ridden any tea/coffee dunking choices!
  1. Follow your natural hunger and fullness cues
    This point could be an entire book unto itself. If you are indiscriminately eating throughout the day with no regards to why you eat or what you eat, you jeopardize any weight loss goal you may have before you even start. Try writing down a week’s worth of your eating habits, PAYING PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO WHY YOU EAT? Learn to distinguish true hunger (i.e. your body needing nourishment) from eating due to EMOTIONS/BOREDOM/STRESS.   Along the same line, pay particular attention to how you feel as you are eating (Makes me feel happier, takes my mind of problems, something else to do).  However drinking plenty of water before and during eating and taking your time to eat (DON’T EAT INFRONT OF THE TV) will allow your body to appreciate the feeling of fullness a lot sooner and therefore you will be surprised to see just how much extra you were overeating unnecessarily.  Therefore STOP when you have had enough, NOT WHEN THE PLATE IS EMPTY.  Making sure food isn’t wasted either will be learnt as you appreciate what portion sizes you should be consuming therefore you will not be cooking as much therefore no waste.  Simple!
  2. Get moving
    This will come as no surprise: If you want to lose weight and keep it off, a permanent exercise program is a must. NOT JUST DURING JANUARY!  Start a program that is realistic to your current level of fitness and time commitments, and stick to it. How much time do you need to commit? As a general guideline to maintain health and start to shed the pounds you need to get 30 minutes of exercise every day (THAT’S 30MINS A DAY THAT GETS YOU OUT OF BREATH and SWEATY) on pretty much most days of the week. Walk after lunch or dinner (DON’T SLUMP IN FRONT OF THE TV), or crank up your stereo at home and dance to your favourite tunes. Maybe try out that Pilates or yoga class you keep meaning to go to. If you drive everywhere, park a little further away and make the walk to your destination part of your exercise plan.  Take the stairs not the lift.

We fitness and health experts appreciate that you having read the 5 points will probably say “but I know all that.”  However, from our perspective you may well say you know it (blimey its being beaten into you all enough) but the population is getting fatter infact were becoming obese.  So what you think you know please start putting it into practice.  For the sake of your health!  Know one else is responsible for your health and what your future holds other than yourself and what your doing to it now.