Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Memo to All Mums



Hey! Listen up busy mums!  You need to remember that you are valuable and you deserve your OWN meals.  Time and time again I hear about busy mothers, (especially of young children) not eating their own meals but instead, picking at their kids leftovers.  What is that about?  I realise you are busy, but this devalues your awesome caretaking-self, subsequently wreaks havoc on your hormonal system, not to mention-could be contributing to excess weight and mood swings.  

A lot of women think that they are “being good” by being able to get by on 3 french fries, two bites of a chicken finger, and the last crumbles of a torn up croissant throughout the day.
You are UNDER NOURISHING yourself. If you are overweight, tired, and cranky-this could be why.  

As the flight attendant says “put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others”.  This is an important metaphor for taking care of and fueling your body well enough to take the best care of your children.  Not only that- but you deserve it!!  Most likely, you are sleep deprived. This leaves you physically and most certainly emotionally exhausted.  Going long stretches without meals and then eating half a bag of Goldfish crackers and remnants of a muffin is a sure way to throw your cortisol levels off and acquire a ‘muffin-top’.  You can manage your cortisol levels and say ‘bye-bye’ to tummy fat by getting good quality protein every few hours.  Also, the sight of a beautiful plate of food dignifies your body and time by making you slow down to appreciate what you put in your gorgeous self...even if you say a quick “delish!” while you eat to acknowledge and appreciate your food and yourself before you run to drop the eldest at football practice will do great things for your body and soul.

I beg you....honour yourself by choosing your own healthy meals and try to take a breath and enjoy them.  And, since you are insanely busy, always carry a non-kid snack such as roasted almonds, kale chips, or a Primal Bar in your handbag to keep your engine running.  I promise you will feel more energetically sustained, patient, and present with your little ones and happier throughout the day.  You will probably even drop a jean size.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Jamie: A barrecore Success Story


Hi. You may already know me. I'm Jamie.




First thing’s first…this isn’t some miracle story of a woman who has been struggling with her weight since childhood and overcame all odds to become a super model.

I am not the biggest loser.

Those people are much cooler than me.

I like to think that I’m just a normal woman whom slowly put on weight over a few years of not exercising regularly and eating whatever I wanted (or eating what I thought were healthy foods but in reality were definitely not).

Simple as that.

But this story has a happy ending, so keep reading!

I honestly don’t have one female friend right now who isn’t trying to lose weight or get into better shape.
I assume this might be due to us all either being well into or arriving into our thirties.
I’ve found out the hard way that suddenly pizza and chocolate covered pretzels doesn’t just pass through my system like magic anymore.

Nope, those calories hang around. Like, INSTANTLY.

On my thighs, that sweet spot around your belly button that I lovingly like to call “my belly bagel” and this new thing I discovered called “backfat.”

What!? How did this happen? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was 21 and eating late night tacos and drinking mudslides and never ever needing to work out?

Welcome to real life Jamie.
In this new reality, apparently I have to work out and eat right to have the body I want.
How incredibly unfair!
And how incredibly obvious!

What did I think was going to happen?
I’d be lucky and my body would just take the crap I was eating and transform it into nutrient dense wonder food? Doubtful.

It’s not that I’ve never been into working out. There have been times of my life where I went to yoga or spin class 3 times a week. But there wasn’t a sense of community at the places I went to and I would only stick with it for like 6 weeks and then stop going because I got busy and lazy.
I have discovered that at least for me, having a sense of belonging in the place I work out is essential to my success.

So here I am, this past summer…29 years old, newly married and transplanted from the US to London.
Happy as can be and I’m still eating and drinking whatever I please at this point and assuming that all this new “city walking” that I’m doing is going to take care of the mountains upon mountains of gelato I ate for weeks in Italy.

I don’t think so.

This was me at the start of my journey...



Then, this incredible thing happened...

I fell in love!

I got a great job at a barre fitness studio in Chelsea called barrecore.
I started taking classes.
I was suddenly surrounded by these amazingly strong and confident women.
I felt empowered and inspired to take ownership of being healthy and stop making excuses.
This is where my story gets magical.

I simply fell head over heels for barrecore.
I mean, yes I work here.
But I fell in love specifically with the method of exercise, the care and attention given by the instructors, and the clients.
The clients here are some of the most interesting and dedicated people you will ever meet. And the barrecore method? Amazing.
The classes are intense and challenging while also managing to be incredibly refreshing and fun.
It was exactly what I had been looking for.

A community.

Then I fell in love with barreNOURISH. What is that you ask? Allow me to explain.

Niki Rein, the founder of barrecore and I were having a conversation one day at the studio about how I had been trying to shed this stubborn weight I have picked up (no doubt from doing things like having Häagen-Dazs eating parties at 11pm in front of Downton Abbey episodes).
She suggested I try doing the barreNOURISH programme with her so we could sort out a nutrition and supplement plan specifically targeted for my needs and my goals.

Thankfully, I said yes. Best decision ever.

When I started out, I wasn’t even wearing REAL PEOPLE CLOTHES anymore. I was hiding all my new pudge under spandexy slimming tank tops, sports bras, and work out leggings. Anything that had “stretch” on the label and “sewn in shaper panels”.
I was that person you see at the grocery store in work out clothes who hasn’t actually just come from the gym.
I couldn’t bear to keep buying new jeans because I could no longer stuff my muffin top into the waistband so I opted for bulge forgiving lycra instead.

By the way, I’m totally wearing skinny jeans right now.

Enough was enough. I decided to buckle down. I did 4 barrecore classes per week, the barreNOURISH program (which included me taking supplements for the first time in my life because they don’t really do anything right? Wrong!)

I learned a ton of amazing things. I discovered how I should be eating for me, I worked out and I liked it. I saw my body change quickly. I built Longer, leaner, and stronger muscles. My posture improved. My complexion cleared up. I began sleeping like a baby. Friends commented on my “glow”…

I mean, seriously, this has changed my life.

I get that I didn’t have a ton of weight to shift.
In three months I lost 18 lbs. I’m a US size 6-8 now. I was wearing a 12. It’s not the most enormous change in the world, but to me it’s monumental.
I’m still not super skinny by society’s standards.
But society’s standards are ridiculous and you just have to do what is best for you.

(Here are some shots from around the 2.5 month mark)

I think I look amazing and I certainly FEEL amazing. My husband, although he claims that I always looked amazing to him (bless him) thinks so too!

So it's been 6 months now. Sometimes I'm really great with working out, sometimes I'm not. But I just do my best. I stick to the diet I adopted through the barreNOURISH programme nearly all of the time. I know now that eating correctly is going to be 80% of maintaining my results.

The best thing is that I feel strong and I have so much energy.
I run up the left side of underground escalators instead of standing on the right and watching other people jog up.
I look forward to eating. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t have cravings. 
I can miss a few weeks of work outs and stick to my barreNOURISH diet and know that my body isn't going to revert back to what it was.
Life is just better.
And my belly bagel is gone.

So that’s my story. As you can see in my official "after" photos I’m wearing REAL PEOPLE CLOTHES.





**UPDATE**
It's been a year since this blog post! Happy 2014 everyone! I just wanted to report that barreNOURISH is still working for me over a year later! The proof is in the pictures!



barreNOURISH is not some fad diet. Well, it's not a diet at all. It's a completely new way to look at how to nourish and strengthen your body through food!

If you are interested in taking charge of your body and making some positive changes I suggest you check out barrecore. If you have questions on how to get started, send us an email: info@barrecore.co.uk

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Surviving The Holiday Period




‘Tis the season to be jolly! However, socialising, stress and being out of our usual routine can take its toll on both body and mind. Read on for coping strategies for the holiday period, all those wonderful parties, and how to have a happy and healthy Christmas day.

Leading up to the big day

Control the controllable! The month of December can feel like a whirlwind of shopping and socialising. By staying mindful of your exercise regime, nutrition, rest and lifestyle you can minimise the damage and stay glowing for the holiday period.

Nutrition: At this time of year temptation is round every corner, but by making smart choices you can indulge without damaging your health and waistline.

·      Control what you can – by keeping the meals you prepare yourself super clean (lots of lean protein, green vegetables, good fats) you can limit the damage done when eating out and at parties, where good choices may not be that abundant (see below for more advice on eating at parties). By keeping your blood sugar levels steady through eating a combination of lean proteins, good carbohydrates (green vegetables) and good fats you are less likely to give in to temptation.

·      Be prepared! Make sure you are stocked up at home with the above good choices, and include healthy snacks such as nuts and seaweed. Turn to hearty soups and stews instead of comfort foods to make your feel warm and satisfied.

·      Drink a lot of water! Alcohol, central heating, salty food and lack of sleep can all cause dehydration at this time of year, which can lead to tiredness, bloating, lacklustre skin and make you hold on to body fat. Use an aluminium or BPA free water bottle to keep you hydrated on the go.

·      Be mindful! Be aware of what and how much you are eating. Consider keeping a food diary to keep you accountable. Choose your treats wisely, and make them count. Do you really need a hot chocolate and a mince pie? Often just choosing one sweet treat is enough to satisfy you.

·      A juice fast once every week or two weeks throughout the holiday period can keep your skin glowing, and aid your liver and digestion.  We LOVE Radiance Cleanse especially because they do one day cleanses in addition to their longer 3 and 5 day for on-going maintenance! www.radiancecleanse.com


Exercise:

·      Endeavour to continue with your exercise regime – if you feel your calorie count is increasing over this period consider adding one more session a week – possibly a cardio workout such as our Bikini Bootcamp (great for looking good in your LBD as well as a bikini), or our barrecardio class. You could even book in a personal training session with one of our trainers to ensure you are getting the most out of your workouts.

·      Away from London or stuck at home? Virtual barrecore classes give you all the benefits of our classes wherever you are!

·      Don’t dismiss the benefits of a brisk walk in the crisp sunshine (increasing Vitamin D levels and lowering stress).

·      Short for time? Try a 15-minute circuit of press-ups, planks, triceps dips and curl for an effective, fat-burning full body work out.

Lifestyle: This time of year can see us burning the candle at both ends, and this tiredness can lead to stress, weight gain, cause us to make poor food choices and rob us of energy to work out.

·      Rather than meeting for drinks in the evenings find different ways to catch up with your loved ones; take a class together, catch a feel-good Christmas movie, or go for a brisk walk in the winter sunshine

·      Ideally at this time of year we need nine and a half hours sleep! If this seems like an impossibility then aim to get to bed 30 minutes earlier, and remember that sleep before midnight is of better quality then after midnight.

·      Keep good sleeps habits to ensure every minute counts  - don’t take your phone, tablet or laptop to bed, make sure your room is dark and quiet and consider taking a natural sleep aid such as magnesium if you have trouble with quality sleep.

·      Look after yourself to enable you to look after your loved ones – consider taking time out for meditation or a relaxing massage to de-stress, look and feel great, and re-charge your batteries at this hectic time of year.

Surviving the Christmas Parties!

·      Exercise before you go out! Just one barrecore class can raise the metabolism, improve posture, lift and tone muscles and make you glow! Many celebrities train just before they hit the red carpet to ensure they look their best. Exercising before you hit the party scene can also help you make smart food and drink choices so you are less likely to undo all your hard work.

·      Eat before you go. A meal of lean protein, good fats and green vegetables will keep blood sugar levels stable, and decrease hunger, again helping you make smart choices. Be fashionably late, or pre-book a taxi for before the night ends so you are not faced with temptation all night.

·      Choose your drinks wisely. Clear spirits such as vodka and gin have fewer toxins and are less likely to cause a hangover. Red wine contains anti-oxidants and Spanish and Sardinian red wines can help to lower your estrogen levels. Make every second or third drink a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

·      Canapés can contain a surprising amount of bad calories and saturated fat. Choose protein-based canapés, and fill up on crudités. A great trick is to carry a clutch bag – this means you only have one hand to hold a drink OR a canapé!

Jenny Cartwright-Ball is a Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner, Personal Trainer, and Instructor at barrecore, health and wellness writer, and an ambassador for the charity Project Endo. She can be contacted at jenny@barrecore.co.uk.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Don’t sabotage your weekends…



Weekdays are often filled with structure and routine, making it easier for many to stick to a healthy diet and fit in your classes but what about the weekends? Do all your good intentions fly out the window? It’s an easy trap to fall into, with our calendars filled with socializing, dinners out, parties and coffee mornings. So how can you still attend these shindigs without undoing all your hard work? Here are some tips on how you can enjoy the weekend without undoing all your hard work…

* Measure your stomach, hips and thighs twice a week — either Friday
and Monday a.m. or Thursday and Monday a.m. There's nothing better to keep you on track than knowing that you have to face the dreaded tape measure come Monday morning.
* Eat right throughout the day – especially if you know you'll be
Splurging at night. Focus on eating meals that are packed with veggies, healthy fats and lean proteins - then you can feel good about having a little treat at dinner.
* Don't starve yourself to save calories for later. It doesn’t work!
Not only will it mess with your metabolism, but by dinner time, you’ll be so hungry that you’ll want to eat everything in sight. If you have done this in the past, you’ll also notice that you’re also more likely to pick the unhealthy option and fancy EVERYTHING on the menu, including the paper its written on!
* Have a healthy snack, like a ½ an avocado, a handful of almonds or ½ apple with nut butter before heading to a big lunch or dinner. It'll take the edge off your hunger, so you aren’t tempted to go overboard.
* Limit the martinis and cosmos. Alcohol is a diet double-whammy; it’s not only jam packed with empty calories, but it can also reduce your inhibitions and increase your appetite. If you are going to drink, stick to a few glasses of red wine and have water in between.
* Order soup or a salad to start, but wait to order the rest of your meal. After you've finished the starter then order your entrée. Chances are, you'll order much less than you would if you ordered your entire meal all at once. Also, finish your meal with a herbal or green tea. Chances are you won’t need a pudding because your stomach will be so full from the water!
Lastly – IF you do need to cheat on the weekend, plan what and when you're going to eat, enjoy it, then get back on track. One indiscretion won't set you back — but a weekend of multiple indulgences might.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Importance of Staying Positive During Times of Adversity

Are you having a hard time staying positive?  Is the autumn madness getting the better of you and your moods?
Right now I am hearing a lot of clients and friends struggling with various parts of their lives- fighting with close friends, divorce and break-ups, overwhelming work stress and, for some, the death of someone close. These are all emotional big hitters!
During these times of high stress it is imperative to stay as positive as possible in even the most disturbing situations. One of my best friends and THE most positive person I know, Christina Tracy Stein, MFT wrote an incredibly motivating and empowering book with her world renowned goal setting expert father,Brian Tracy, called Kiss That Frog! 12 Great Ways to Turn Negatives into Positives in Your Life and Work.  Their book has very simple and effective tools for all ages to spin a situation from not ideal to ideal.  One of the major points of Kiss That Frog! is embracing the fact that staying positive is a choice requiring constant focus and dedication to arrive to and stay in a state of happiness.
Below is an excerpt explaining the two mechanisms in your brain relating to positive and negative thinking...

"...you have both a success mechanism and a failure mechanism in your brain.  The success mechanism is activated when you think positive, loving, forgiving thoughts about yourself and other people and focus on your goals.  These positive thoughts require conscious, continuous, deliberate effort on your part.  They do not happen by accident but by choice.
Your failure mechanism, unfortunately, works automatically when you stop thinking about what you want.  This means that if you do not deliberately choose to think thoughts that make you happy, your mind defaults to negative thoughts that make you unhappy.
Fortunately, by the Law of Habit, if you discipline yourself to keep your mind on positive thoughts, this eventually becomes an automatic way of thinking.  When positive thinking becomes a habit, you begin to feel optimistic about yourself and your life."

Begin now...only think positive, inspiring and loving thoughts.  When your mind strays pull it back to your happy thoughts. For more tricks to positive thinking you can find Kiss That Frog! on Amazon and Kindle.

Cheers to positivity!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Beat late night cravings…you can!

We all do it, we eat really, really well all day, then the moment we sit
down to enjoy our evening, we want something sweet – or a cheeky
glass of wine (or three!). Many people find that this is the hardest habit
to break when they start a new healthy eating plan, barrecore instructors
included (we’re not saints!). But on a positive note, you don’t have
to go hungry, with just a few tweaks to your diet during the day, you
can balance your blood sugar levels so you’re not craving as much at
night. And if you still fancy a nibble, then there are lots of healthy and
TASTY alternatives out there.

Here’s a few tips to get you started…..

Eat little and often during the day
The key to fighting cravings is to balance your blood sugar levels
by eating a small protein rich meal or snack every three to four hours.
Not only have studies found that six mini meals create a feeling of
fullness but also that letting your blood sugar levels get too low
(because you are too hungry), will be accompanied by hunger and a
sudden rush to the sweet shop for that chocolate bar, laden with
high-fructose corn syrup or other sugars. Don’t do it!

Drink Tea
Boil up some water for some comforting herbal tea. It keeps your hands
busy, so you’re less likely to snack on junk food, and the warm water
will fill you up. Clipper Teas (clipper-teas.com) have a great range of
organic teas in unbleached tea bags so they don’t have any harmful
chemicals.  After Dinner Mints and Snore & Peace flavours are
soothing enough to curb that sweet tooth.

Go nuts
Fancy something crunchy and sweet? Then take some almonds,
which are full of healthy fat and protein and coat them in a couple
tablespoons of water, then dust with your favorite protein powder.
You can also add mineral rich, Himalayan pink sea salt to give it a
salty/sweet flavor.

Ants on a log
Ever tried celery sticks and almond butter? It’s a great combo and
really filing. To make them a bit sweeter, add some raisins to make
the famous 'ants on a log' snack. Make sure you always have celery
sticks cut up in the fridge too - so you have no excuse but to reach for
something healthy and delicious.

Don't Stock Your Cupboards

This is a sure-fire way to totally eliminate late-night snacking. You
can't eat what's not there, so just don't keep unhealthy foods in
your house. If you go to the supermarket for your weekly shop,
then make sure you don’t go when you are hungry, or you are
more likely to throw tempting treats in to the trolley. This goes for
online ordering as well!

Brush (and floss) your teeth
Nothing will taste nice when mixed with the minty taste of toothpaste
and mouthwash – plus who wants to dirty up their clean mouth by
eating again? Try and brush your teeth straight after your main meal
– it will soon become a habit and sweet things won’t even come into
the equation.

Final note…., if you find yourself desiring snacks nearly every night,
examine whether you are truly hungry, it’s probably more boredom
than hunger!
Before you do anything reach for a glass of water – fizzy or still -
and then wait a little while to see if you are still hungry; thirst often
triggers feelings of hungriness. If you still feel the need to snack, then
paint your nails – you won’t want to smudge your varnish now will
you?

Monday, 10 September 2012

Rediscover Balance Through Your Daily Routine




Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower ~Albert Camus


This week everyone is frenzied getting back on track after summer holidays.  Getting the kids back in school, filling the fridge with healthy foods and solidifying schedules for the autumn. This time of year is as Albert Camus said above “a second spring”.  It is a great opportunity get back on track starting fresh with fitness goals  and eating right.  The beauty of September in London is that it is often one of the nicer months of the year which keeps motivation high after a long and usually gluttonous summer break.

It is said that most people actually gain more weight during the summer months than over the winter holidays.  We usually go to hot and sunny locations when just walking down to the pool feels like a workout and ice cream sounds like a perfectly wholesome snack each afternoon.  Booze is usually a huge culprit when it comes to summer poundage - sugary cocktails and pale pink rose sing their sweet lure from midday into the late evening.  Don’t get me wrong, there is no harm in indulging. It’s part of the fun in life to let go and have that extra glass or scoop...but at some point it is nice to get back on track and find your balance.

If you are finding it hard to get back to your center and take charge then setting your intentions for what you want your life to look like is a great way of self inspiring. Different things work for different people and experimenting to find what works for you can be a fun way to find your focus! Here are some tips to help you get started...



  • Each morning and evening when you brush your teeth, think about and visualise what you want for yourself.  Be clear and stay positive.
  • Every Sunday night sit down and take some time to write down what you want and what you are grateful for.  Showing gratitude and clearing stating what you want in written form are very powerful tools for manifesting.
  • Set your schedule.  Book in your fitness classes in advance, consult with a nutrition expert or set up a food delivery of only healthy foods and book yourself into a course to learn something new and inspiring.  

However you decide to get back on track be clear with what you want.  It just takes a few weeks for something to become a habit but only one day of focus to feel you have regained control.  It’s time to reel it in and start now......Ready. Set. Go!