Saturday, 25 April 2020

A new home exercise routine to try - no equipment needed

I revisited an old Catalyst episode this week to familarise myself with the research results on HIIT. You may have seen it. Here's the link if you're interested. Make sure you read this article too.

I know I've written about it in the past but to recap the gist of the show:

Excellent physiological benefits can be achieved with 
minimal time spent exercising.

That's it! You don't have to dedicate hours a week in order to achieve improvements in your VO2Max (which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise), insulin sensitivity, amount of visceral fat and cardiovascular strength.

That's great news for the time poor. Please see your G.P. before starting any strenuous exercise program. This kind of exercise program needs gradual building up to the level of intensity required.

I personally love to mix it up - when I don't have much time I'll do 4 x 30 second sprints as per the documentary. When I do have time, I'll go for a bike ride or walk around the hills or an ocean swim.

Here's a good short work out bound to leave you feeling like you've put in some effort:

Time on exercise
60 seconds
Wall sit or squat and hold
High Plank
Plank on elbows
Caberet Kicks
45 seconds
Push Ups
Mountain Climber
Modified jumping jacks
30 seconds
Lunges – left
Side Plank - left
15 seconds
Jump squats
Tricep Dips
High Knees
30 seconds
Lunges - right
Side Plank - right
45 seconds
Push Ups
Mountain Climber
Modified jumping jacks
60 seconds
Wall sit or squat and hold
High Plank
Plank on elbows
Caberet Kicks

Just to explain a couple of the moves:
* Wall Sit - with legs at 90 degrees at knees and hips, sit against a wall and hold - burns!!
* High Plank - if your wrists don't like this try supporting your body weight on your knuckles or hold onto dumbbells. Wrists should be directly below shoulders, bottom always below shoulder height. This is a core exercise but a great shoulder stabilisation one too.
* Mountain Climber - high plank position and squeeze the knee towards the elbow - slowly.
* Side Plank - you can do this balancing on your toes or your knees. Make sure the elbow is directly below the shoulder, not out on a 45 degree angle.
* Supermans - lying face down with your arms reaching out in front of you, pull your tummy off the floor through out this movement. Kick the arms and legs trying to keep them clear of the floor to work into the back muscles.
* Crunchies - lying down, face up, I support my head with my hands, pull up the pelvic floor and pull the tummy down towards the floor, pulse up. Really keep that tummy from pushing up as you pulse up. You need to activate the core muscles by pretending you are drawing a belt in tighter and tighter around with waist. Breathing is done in the chest not in the stomach for these exercises.
* Caberet Kicks - Moulin Rouge style! Arms above the head and kick right leg up and touch left arm to right knee, alternate and go as fast as you can.
* Modified Jumping Jacks - As your arms arc overhead, hop onto your left leg, next - arms arc overhead and hop onto your right leg. Jumping Jacks with both legs jumping out akimbo will compromise the pelvic floor.

To finish I'm going to leave you with Tamara Madden's fabulous Pumpkin Loaf. I have tried so many gluten free bread recipes and now I always make this one for the freezer. It's easy to make - I do the whole thing in my food processor and it's full of protein. A meal in itself.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Lockdown with KEY Fitness

Well things have got kinda crazy since I last wrote a post. 
Covid-19 now dominates our screens, our livelihoods, our socialising and our minds.
I know that you will all be having moments of intense worry, frustration, lethargy and yet also gratitude.

We’re only two and a half weeks into self-isolation, so we’re still fresh to this. However, I wanted to write a post about the positives I’ve experienced from this experience so far:
·       So there’s community spirit – the sense that everyone has a little more compassion for each other. Stories of neighbours checking in on the elderly and leaving groceries on their door step.
·       Connecting or re-connecting to your family – there’s more time for chats, walks, games and walks together as the week is no longer consumed by working rigid hours and making meals on the fly.
·       Catching up on all my podcasts.
·       And EXERCISING! (You knew it was coming!) I’m loving not having to do my work outs at 5:30 in the morning.

So I’m going to check in every week or so with a few work out ideas. If you want more information on the exercises please contact me on I can go through them with you and can even have a video call and show you the exercises.

For all of the ones I have included below, they are all found on the net whereby you can find some hunk demonstrating how to do the exercise.

Here is one requiring no equipment compliments of Chris Hemsworth’s (speaking of hunks) app, Centr. The work outs are good and sweaty but I am disappointed that I don’t actually have Chris talking me through my work out.

Warm Up: Take 5 minutes to do a combination of these dynamic exercises.
·       Caberet Kicks (pelvic floor friendly version of Jumping Jacks) – alternating kicking legs to hip level to warm up the hamstrings
·       Reverse Lunge with a side stretch as you lower the knee
·       Inchworm – mobilising the spine and warming up the shoulders
·       Arm circles – forwards and backwards

Now onto the sweaty stuff. Do Work Out A to E one set of each…

Work Out A: 40 – 45 seconds of working hard; 15 – 20 seconds of rest between exercises.
·       Narrow push ups – elbows grazing your ribs as you lower your body.
·       Single leg bridge – hips stay parallel to the ground at all times.
·       Other leg!
·       Lunges – forwards, reverse or travelling. Again keep the hips parallel to the ground as you lower your knee.
·       High knees running on the spot. If your pelvic floor is challenged, walk briskly on the spot with high knees and arms pumping.
Take 2 minutes to have a breather before Work Out B.

Work Out B: 40 – 45 seconds of working hard; 15 – 20 seconds of rest.
·       Burpees – I know you hate them but they are a brilliant complete body exercise.
·       Push Up with Ankle Tap - Push up then go into downward dog position and tap right hand to left shin/ankle then lower to a push up > into downward dog and tap left hand to right shin/ankle.
·       Squat jumps – get your bum down low to touch the ground, don’t bend your back, weight on your heels and an explosive jump up.
·       Squat + double pulse at the bottom of the squat before rising up; squat + triple pulse; squat + four pulses…
Take 2 minutes to have a breather before Work Out C.

Work Out C: 40 – 45 seconds of working hard; 15 – 20 seconds of rest.
·       Abdominal crunches – support your head in your hands, pull you tummy down firmly for the entire time. Don’t let it bulge up. Squeeze up from the pelvic floor muscles.
·       Bicycle Legs – Alternate shoulder towards opposite knee, nice and slow and controlled.
·       Mountain climber – Alternate knee towards arm, again, nice and slow and controlled.
·       Plank – always with plank keep your bottom below your shoulders. Otherwise there’s no point doing them.

Work Out D: 40 – 45 seconds of working hard; 15 – 20 seconds of rest.
·       Plank + lateral jacks – Plank on fully extended arms then jump the legs out to the side and back to the starting position. Don’t do if pelvic floor is dodgey. Just stay in plank and move one leg out to the side at a time.
·      Plyo split lunge – try hopping up from the left leg lunge. 20 seconds each leg. I prefer to do this with my suspension trainer or some bands around a tree to give you some support on those knees.
·       4 Square Hop – hop in a square pattern. Left leg 20 seconds, switch legs.
Take 2 minutes to have a breather before Work Out E.

Work Out E: 40 – 45 seconds of working hard; 15 – 20 seconds of rest.
·      Bear Crawls – keep your back in neutral position and knees parallel to the floor. - this guy is really good. He knows what he’s talking about.
·       Plyo Spider – start in plank then hop the right foot to outside your right hand, switch hopping left foot to left hand – killer!
·       Tricep dips – bend those elbows to make those triceps burn
·       Caberet Kicks – start with arms above your head, kick one leg up to hip height or higher and touch opposite arm to your leg, switch and go fast!

Cool Down: Spend 5 minutes doing a combination of the following stretches.
·       Quad stretch – see if you can stand on one leg, stretch the other quad whilst balancing.
·       Hamstring stretch – standing or sitting
·       Hip Flexor stretch – from kneeling stride forward with the left leg, firmly squeeze on the right glute and slide your torso forwards. Keep the glute squeezed on as this increases the stretch.
·       Tricep stretch – take your arm overhead, bend the elbow and try gently pushing the hand down your back
·       Shoulder stretch – now take that same arm behind you, bending the elbow and pushing the hand up the back.

OK, now that you’ve worked out hard you can have a slice of this yummy banana bread with a beautiful dollop of Greek yoghurt and a piece of fruit.

Til next time stay healthy x

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Why would you want to hire a Personal Trainer?

It's a tough world out there.

Big mortgages

Busy lives

Little time for doing what we want to do, let alone what we need to do.

Personal Trainers can make your precious little time more effective - High Intensity Workouts are incredibly effective ways to get fit within strict time constraints

They will personalise your exercise programme
They will oversee and guide you through the exercises to ensure you are 
doing them correctly
They will be there to answer your questions, motivate and encourage you 
throughout your fitness journey
They will have a team of other professionals they can work with to help 
you out with injuries, nutrition and life coaching

That's a pretty good package for the time poor, 
fitness starved, busy person you are!

However, I've seen my share of shocking Personal Trainers. 

Please contact me if your Personal Trainer is asking you to do this exercise:

Double Leg Lowers

Or this one:

Side plank + a weight + thread the needle - CRAZY!!!

I really want you to have confidence in your trainer; that they aren't going to get you to do some insane exercise that is going to have you injured and off to the Physio for the next three months. 

With over 12 years of experience in this industry I think I'm only getting better at this job.

 I really can help you to achieve the fitness and health goals you've set yourself. 
You may only need me for a couple of sessions to find your own groove.
You may want to join my group sessions for some pack motivation.

Head to my website
Or my Facebook page to get in touch today

~ Louise ~

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Osteoporosis ~ you guys need to start thinking about this

Guys, I am really worried about your bones.

My 50 year old friend, otherwise healthy, perfect weight, loves to walk, has had a bone scan revealing she has osteoporosis.

An acquaintance in her 70s stumbled, went over on her ankle and fractured her wrist so badly that her hand was basically only hanging on by skin and tendons.

Story after story of bad bones, people.

Osteoporosis# will impact your big stabilising bones meaning that the risk of falls and breaking a hip becomes very possible. You don't want a broken hip, especially if you are over 50. "One in three adults aged 50 and over dies within 12 months of suffering a hip fracture"^

Yes, there are very influential genetic components to this issue of bone thinning. However, much of it is life style choices.

We are sedentary
We avoid dairy because of various issues and intolerances
We don't think weight training is for us because it will make us too muscley and unfeminine
We don't do any high impact sport because our joints and tendons don't like it.

Unfortunately, despite your life style choices you've made, bones love and need the stimulation provided by weights and impact in order to stay healthy and strong.

These are not tasty baguettes. These are bones in various states of osteoporosis

So what can you do about it? 

Contact a physiotherapist, personal trainer or healthcare professional and ask them what drug free activities you can do to prevent osteoporosis. These are some suggestions:

* Lifting weights. You need to be shown what to do and how to do this safely.
* Impact training. Learning how to hop and bound safely to maximise the benefit to the bones and prevent knees and muscles getting damaged
* Stability training. Learning how to balance better. This will also do wonders for your gluteus muscles i.e. nice toned buttocks!
* Talk to a nutritionist about how you can increase you calcium intake.

If you need any help with questions you may have about the issue of osteoporosis, please contact me through

So there you have it peeps. Get moving (but please don't go out and start deadlifting 50 kilos tomorrow! Start slowly and work up to the 50 kilos).

Monday, 11 March 2019

What I know and what I'm still figuring out

As I launch my new website ( I thought I'd jot down all those things I've come to understand are honest truths:

  • if you don't perform some sort of exercise or sport as a child, exercising to lose weight/get fit as an adult is extremely tough. Adapting to moving and challenging your body early in life will more than likely mean that you can and will do it throughout your adult years and thereby help prevent the modern diseases of obesity, diabetes, and many life-style related cancers.
  • people are not honest with themselves or others regarding how much food they're eating. It might be too many pieces of fruit, eating off your kid's plate, having that extra glass of wine every night. The best way to get to the answer of "why am I not losing weight" is to do a food diary and have someone assess it for you.
  • we are not winning the battle against obesity as a nation, as a family group, as an individual. Snack food is simply too accessible making us all addicted to carbs and our lives are too sedentary. 
  • What I'm still figuring out is how to get people to see what minuscule tweaks they'd need to make to their lifestyle to improve their health. I've suggested a few of these teeny tiny tweaks below.
  • but on a positive note: the age of information means we can find answers to any issue we've got. You want to know how to make healthy food choices? Just google it. (Or ask Krys Lojek ~ You want to find a personal trainer in your neighbourhood? Just message me! Or just google it. Information is at your finger tips.  
  • making healthy food and lifestyle choices for you and your family is simple if you stick to a few basics:
  1. reduce your sugar intake. Check the ingredients listed on the packet. If sugar is in the first three ingredients you should probably find another alternative.
  2. increase the amount of "above ground vegetables" you consume daily.
  3. allocate a treat meal once a week so you don't feel you're constantly depriving yourself of your favourite snacks and indulgences.
  4. check out this link for understanding how to read labels:
  5. Move more!

Friday, 8 February 2019

How exercise can transform your brain


Is it too late to wish you all a Happy New Year?!

I just had a lovely, long indulgent holiday from exercise and forced myself to get back into it with some gentle walks and interesting podcasts. 

Amongst the podcast selection was this one on Train your Brain interviewing Dr John Ratey. 

Dr. Ratey is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry. He has been promoting exercise as a cognitive tool for over 30 years. He explains that physical activity is a positive stressor to the brain and body. It’s only when we challenge and stretch ourselves that we can grow. The neuroscience around exercise is overwhelmingly supportive.
The link is below, but as I know you're all very busy I'm going to precis the interview for you because it was absolutely fascinating. ***
He covers the impact of exercise on learning. Our brain was constructed to be the best movers we could be. We added on more brain stuff in order to plan, predict, evaluate and remember which enabled us to be the best movers and thereby the evolutionary victors. This was important as we grew a lot of brain. 
We then co-opted those moving brain cells to think with - when we move, we turn on the same nerve cells that we use to think with. We are pumping these nerve cells a lot when we exercise. When we pump them up, we don't tire them out, we actually make them stronger like our muscles. This is what happens when we use our brain cells through exercise. 
This creates significant changes: when you use a brain cell, you release a protein called BDNF - brain derived neurotropic factor - this is what Dr Ratey calls a brain fertiliser. We make more of this BDNF when we use our brain cells. We also release all these neurotransmitters - serotonin, dopamine, gabba - in increased concentrations when we use our brain cells whilst exercising. 
With increased movement this leads to a release of what Dr Ratey calls a soup of proteins and neurotransmitters for our brain to grow in. When we have a need to learn something, what we do is grow in the information. The best preparation for growing in the information is creating this "soupy" environment that exercise creates.
In addition, we turn on the attention system, the motivational system and our visual and auditory systems, all which helps us take in and stay with the new information better.
So as a side effect of exercise we create this churning and whirring wonderful brain ready to take in new information and prepare itself to deal with the future. 
When we create and release new neurotransmitters through exercise we are then at a peak - being calmer and more stress resistant. Dr Ratey says exercise is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin - we increase our levels of serotonin, dopamine and endocannabinoid in a holistic way with no negative side-effects.
Practical tips as given by Dr Ratey: 
1. the more and different kinds of exercise you can do, the better. As guidelines recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week, it should mainly be cardiovascular/aerobic/high intensity. Remember when you're huffing and puffing this means you're strengthening your brain through the release of those BDNFs and neurotransmitters.
2. Complex exercises are best e.g. dancing or taekwondo. The trickier the exercise the more the positive growth action in the brain. 
3. Exercising in outside in nature is also of enormous benefit. You get more positive benefits in your brain than being stuck in a gym. 
4. Finally, being with others is the single most important health tip that Dr Ratey offers.
***Oh my God, I've just completely swamped you guys with all this information! Hopefully you made it through to the practical tips because that is where the gold is! Seriously, if that isn't a fabulous plug for my personal training sessions, then I don't know what is?! In our group sessions, you get to be outside, doing a range of Pilates-based and high intensity exercises with a group of wonderful other people. Bingo! A strong body and a strong brain!
Please email me on if you want to book a training session or ask me some questions about my sessions.
Thanks for reading.