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Feeling Stressed? Could it be your diet?

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Don’t cut all fat from your diet?

Today, many people still believe you have to drastically reduce your fat intake to lose weight. The good news is this is not true. After many different crazes over the years we have learnt that sacrificing fat is not an automatic win when it comes to weight loss.

It might even be working against you. How? Fat intake and body fat stores effect your metabolism in a variety of ways, and getting too little can affect how you feel – especially when you’re trying to eat less. Similar to protein, eating moderate amounts of fat can actually help you lose weight faster, without feeling deprived.

Here are 5 reasons why keeping the fat in your diet may help with weight loss:

1. Fat keeps you full and satisfied for longer. Being full-up is a symptom or feeling that is created during digestion, when fat triggers the release of cholecystokinin, a hormone that slows down how fast the stomach empties food into your intestines. This not only helps you get full but also ensures you’ll stay full for a longer period of time. Consequently, you need less food to feel satisfied, compared with a diet lower in fat.

2. Fat helps you balance GettyImages-545866217-57efb14a5f9b586c3559e1c5blood sugar. Your blood sugar level impacts insulin levels, which can affect your mood, cravings and food choices. Additionally, eating sugary foods with too many refined carbohydrates and not enough fat (and protein) can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and subsequently crash. Including healthy fats with your meals and snacks can help keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day.

3. Fat helps you absorb nutrients. Ordering that salad with low- or fat-free dressing might be doing more harm than good. Why? You need a little fat to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), beta-carotene (a carotenoid that makes vitamin A) and other carotenoids found in leafy greens and salad veggies. If you dress your salad on the lighter side, make sure to throw in some healthy fats like walnuts or avocado.

4. Fat is essential for good health. Your body is capable of making its own fats, but there are some fats you must get from your diet or you risk becoming deficient. These are called “essential fats,” and they include omegas-3 and -6. Most of us get plenty of omega-6 fats in our diets; however, omega-3 fats may be a little harder to come by. Consuming a low-fat diet can magnify the problem. As you’re cutting calories for weight loss, choose fat sources rich in these essential fats because they are important for optimal functioning of our brains, hearts and body cells.

5. Fat is real food. Another compelling reason to keep fat in your diet is because fat makes food taste good! Fat is responsible for the creamy texture and amazing smell of the foods we love to eat.

How to Choose the Best Fats

Plant-based fats should make up the bulk of your intake, as they contain the healthiest types of fatty acids.

The plant-based fats listed below are a great place to start:

  • Avocados and avocado oil
  • Nuts and nut buttersbigstock-Food-fish-Unsaturated-Fats-52226848
  • Seeds and seed butters
  • Cooking oils (including olive, coconut and grapeseed)
  • Moderate amounts of animal fat are fine. When choosing animal-based fats, opt for:
  • Fatty fish (including sardines, mackerel, herring and wild salmon)
  • Lean cuts of meat for beef, pork, chicken, turkey
  • Egg and low-fat cheeses (including part-skim mozzarella, ricotta and cottage cheese)

It’s also important to remember anything can be overdone, even healthy fats. Just because a little bit is good, it doesn’t mean a lot is better.

How Pilates Aids Weight Loss

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Creating muscle mass is one of the best ways to increase your calorie-burning potential. Pilates can help you accomplish that in spades. Simply stated, Pilates is strength training. We work with resistance to increase strength and hence, muscle mass. Using springs and different apparatus to increase strength the load to the muscles, we can affect a metabolic increase by building lean muscle mass.

You can add a variety of tools to your basic Pilates mat routine to help tone muscles all over, and avoid boredom. Resistance bands are easily portable, yet create a notable amount of challenging resistance to help firm and tone. The body ring, well known among Pilates fans, is another resistance tool used during mat exercising, often focusing on the lower body and core muscles.

One of the best ways to look and feel thinner is to have good posture. Pilates helps create better posture by firming not only your abs, but your back too. All Pilates work is performed with proper alignment and attention to posture. By establishing optimal spinal alignment, you can facilitate better circulation, improved lymphatic flow and increased stamina of the muscles along the spine.. Not only will toned spinal muscles help you continue to lose weight via increased metabolism, standing up straight will automatically make you look thinner, thereby increasing your confidence as well.Pilates-for-weight-loss-Pilates-yoga.-2

Pilates is all about core strength. The benefits of core strength of way beyond flat abdominals, but it is the flat ab results of doing Pilates that help make it as popular as it is. Your core is made up of not only your front and side abdominals, but your entire back as well. Pilates teaches people how to use their abdominals correctly—how to contract the abdominal wall rather than let it distend. This simple mechanism can be used 24/7 in your daily life. Lugging groceries, toiling in the garden, reading on the beach—flat abs come in handy all the time! Both toned abs and a strong back have many benefits, such as helping to prevent injury, improve posture, reduce lower back pain, and even promote proper bowel function!

Toned core, strong back, increased metabolism—it’s easy to see how Pilates could make someone a bit more confident. The benefits spill over into other aspects of your life. You will immediately stand taller, hold your waist tighter and feel stronger. This increased body awareness will make you less likely to indulge in unhealthy habits. Seeing the incredible feats your body is capable of is incredibly motivating. You will have a new respect for your body and are more likely to take better care of it.

No Pilates for weight loss regimen is complete without good old-fashioned cardio work. Combining the strength training benefits of Pilates and a consistent cardio workout, you’ll lose weight and tone up nearly twice as fast as just doing either routine on its own. You don’t need any fancy equipment either – enjoy walking the hills – Consider swimming, running, or cycling.

Envigour Nutrition Tips

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The new year brings out the inner athlete in all of us. The average couch potato decides to get moving, the weekend warrior steps it up a notch, and the competitive athlete gets a little more competitive.

No matter which camp you fall into, your efforts can fall flat when not supported by a sound approach to nutrition. What you eat, or don’t eat, can make or break your new fitness habits. Here is how to ensure success:

  • Be Nice to Yourself
  • Ask Yourself if You’re Really Hungry
  • Stop Dwelling on What You Shouldn’t Eat
  • Eat Whole, Not “Health” Foods
  • Move More
  • Don’t Ditch (all) the Fat
  • Remember omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon, and monounsaturated fatty acids in foods such as avocado and olive oil have been linked to healthier waistlines.
  • Make a Plan
  • Rework Your Favourite Meals
  • Make Changes You Can Stick With
  • Follow Your Own Path
  • Don’t Forget Calories
  • Take Things Slow

2017 New Year’s Resolution (mine) what’s yours?

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Every year I write down one overall goal for the year and then I write down 10 steps to achieve that goal. I am reading a really helpful book given to me by a dear friend called Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy – Sarah Ban Breathnach, which I recommend to get some headspace and some me time, let’s face it we all need it.

So this year I want to be happy (ier).bm036-300x300

Be grateful. Don’t take anything for granted.

Stop comparing myself to others. Be the best version of ME!

Get rid of the negativity. Find the silver lining.

Surround myself with people who make me feel good and inspire me to be better.

Find new activities that make me smile. Stop engaging in behaviours that don’t.

Continue to be active. Endorphins….(word of the month endorphin – any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides which activate the body's opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect)

Learn to forgive…myself and others.

Compliment and more importantly accept compliments.

Make a conscious decision to be happy.

Do more Pilates!

4 Pilates Moves That Boost Your Immune System

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A strong immune system is key to sustained good health, yet stress and other factors can weaken your immune system. Here are 4 Pilates moves that mobilize lymph nodes and get your immune system going:

1: The Pilates relaxation pose

This exercise will help you to stay focused on the core principles of Pilates: Good alignment, holistic movement, and healthy breathing technique. Lie on a mat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet resting on the mat hip-width apart. Have a pillow or Pilates support under your neck to make sure it is aligned with your spine. Breathe deeply into your ribcage and breathe out.

Proper breathing technique stimulates the immune system. It is also thought that proper, deep breathing increases the levels of an inflammation-fighting protein called interleukin-10 in the body.

2: Neck rolls

Because there are lymph nodes around the neck area, gentle neck rolls can stimulate these nodes that are active in detoxifying the body.

While lying in the position described above, gently tilt your head back (with your chin upwards) and then tilt your head forwards, with your chin towards your chest. Repeat this five times.

Next, find the middle position where your head is neither tilted backwards nor forwards. While breathing out, roll your head gently to one side so you are looking over your right shoulder. Breathe in as you turn your head back to face centre. Then repeat the action on the other side. Complete the movement for each side 5 times.

3:  Scarf breathing

This technique is recommended by Lynne Robinson, the founder of Body Control Pilates.

Take a staff or stretch band and wrap it around the lower portion of your ribcage, crossing the ends of the band in front of you and holding opposite ends of the band in each hand (if you’ve done so correctly, pulling your hands away from each other will tighten the band).

Pull your scarf or band tight gently. This will help you feel where your ribcage expands with the breath better. As you breathe in, focus on your back and sides. Remember to breathe in through your nose and keep your shoulders tension-free. On exhaling, breathe out from the bottom of your lungs.

4: Toe Taps

Besides maintaining optimal breathing, it also helps to have a strong core. A strong core will help to prevent physical injury, which is also key to sustained wellbeing.

Lying on your back on your mat, face up and knees bent (as for the relaxed position in the first exercise), float your legs to a 90-degree angle one at a time (as though you were sitting on an imaginary chair). On each exhale, alternate tapping the toes of your left or right foot to the mat. Inhale with every leg raise back to the chair position.

Practice these simple moves often and you will reap the immune-strengthening benefits of regular Pilates practice. If you’d like to join a beginners’ Pilates class, contact Envigour Pilates today.

30 Days to Healthy Living & Beyond – Less than £7.50 per day

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Are you looking to have more energy and vitality, lose weight, be healthier & feel happier, img-20160921-wa0012have sparkling eyes, radiant hair, and skin.   The results from friends and clients on the Arbonne 30 days to living & beyond programme are absolutely amazing!download

Arbonne healthy living is all about making the right choices.  Critical to making healthy decisions is having knowledge about the foods you are eating, engaging in exercise and supporting your diet with quality supplements that follow a rigorous ingredient policy.


On this plan, you have all of this plus online access to a closed Facebook page with access to a fully qualified Nutritionist who will answer your questions.

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Start today and join us for our next group cleanse – the massive benefits of working together is proven to lead to better results.  Don’t miss this opportunity; the camaraderie and support of working together in a group provide, accountability, and structure which is tantamount when sticking at something.img-20160921-wa0014

With products that deliver key nutrients like protein and fibre, this healthy combination supplies probiotics and enzymes while supporting energy metabolism and elimination. With these Arbonne Essentials, you’re on the path to healthy living and beyond!

Contact us now for further information on the plan.


Biomedical Engineering Study Demonstrates the Healing Value of Magnets

Here is an excerpt from a paper published by the UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA USA.

Biomedical Engineering Study Demonstrates the Healing Value of Magnets

“The FDA regulates specific claims of medical efficacy, but in general, static magnetic fields are viewed as safe,” notes Thomas Skalak. Professor Skalak has been carefully studying magnets for a number of years in order to develop real scientific evidence about the effectiveness of magnetic therapy.  He found that static magnets reduced swelling of muscle tissue by up to 50%.

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Professor Skalak’s laboratory leads the field in the area of microcirculation research – the study of blood flow through the body’s tiniest blood vessels.  With a five-year, $875,000 grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Skalak and Cassandra Morris, former PhD student in biomedical engineering, set out to investigate the effect of magnetic therapy on microcirculation.

Initially, they sought to examine a major claim made by companies that sell magnets: that magnets increase blood flow. The researchers first found evidence to support this claim through research with laboratory rats.  In their initial study, magnets of 70 milliTesla (mT) field strength—about 10 times the strength of the common refrigerator variety—were placed near the rat’s blood vessels.  Quantitative measurements of blood vessel diameter were taken both before and after exposure to the static magnetic fields—the force created by the magnets.

Morris and Skalak found that the force had a significant effect: the vessels that had been dilated, constricted, and the constricted vessels, dilated, implying that the magnetic field could induce vessel relaxation in tissues with constrained blood supply, ultimately increasing blood flow. Dilation of blood vessels is often a major cause of swelling at sites of trauma to soft tissues such as muscles or ligaments.  The prior results on vessel constriction led Morris and Skalak to look closer at whether magnets, by limiting blood flow in such cases, would also reduce swelling.  Their most recent research, published in the American Journal of Physiology, yielded affirmative results.

Since muscle bruising and joint sprains are the most common injuries worldwide, this discovery has significant implications.   In the words of Professor Skalak, “If an injury doesn’t swell, it will heal faster—and the person will experience less pain and better mobility,”.

This means that magnets could be used in much the same way as ice packs and compression packs are used for everyday sprains, bumps, and bruises, but with more beneficial results.  The ready availability and low cost of this treatment could produce huge gains in worker productivity and quality of life.

Skalak predicts magnets being particularly useful to high school, college, and professional sports teams, as well as school nurses and retirement communities.  He has plans to continue testing the effectiveness of magnets through clinical trials and testing in elite athletes.  A key to the success of magnetic therapy for tissue swelling is careful engineering of the proper field strength at the tissue location, a challenge in which most currently available commercial magnet systems fall short.

“We now hope to implement a series of steps, including private investment partners and eventually a major corporate partner, to realise these very widespread applications that will make a positive difference for human health,” says Professor Skalak.

10 top tips to stick with your Pilates exercise plan

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Even though a holistic fitness approach like Pilates is relaxing and stress-relieving, there are times when your motivation might dip. Rather than give up on your routine, use these 10 tips to stick with your Pilates regimen and reap the full benefits:

Commit to the benefits regular exercise will bestow

Whenever you feel tempted to ditch your exercise routine, remind yourself of the many physical benefits you will reap with continued practice. Pilates develops beautiful, toned muscles and will help you build a stronger, pain-free back. You will be suppler and more toned if you stick to your exercise plan.

Consciously choose a more active lifestyle

If you constantly make active choices, it will be easier to exercise even on the days when motivation dips. If you have a choice between the elevator or stairs, take the stairs. At every opportunity, reassert your commitment to a healthier body and life.

Make exercise a vital component of your weekly routine

We schedule many non-negotiable appointments regularly. You can’t easily side-step a surgery or an important family occasion. Give your weekly Pilates routine that same dedication and commitment. Schedule exercise time that nothing else can take over

Maintain a can-do, positive outlook

The first step wrong when people abandon their exercise plans is saying ‘I can’t’. There is great power in the words ‘I choose’. Instead of thinking ‘I have to do my Pilates exercises if I want to strengthen my posture and back’, think ‘I choose to do my Pilates exercises because it will be wonderful to have improved physical health.’

Don’t only maintain good posture during exercises

Good form in Pilates is essential to getting the maximum benefit out of exercises. Don’t only maintain correct posture during your routine. Remember to maintain a good posture that places the least possible strain on your lower back when you are out of the studio too. This constant mindfulness will keep you focused on attaining physical fitness and wellbeing.

Strike a balance between exercise and rest

Although it can be good to push yourself gently, remember to balance your Pilates regimen with rest. Give your muscles time to recover when they need to. This will help prevent injury through overwork.

Commit to doing some movement every day, even if it’s one exercise series

To stay focused and make exercise a natural part of your week, it helps to do some extended movement every day. Even if you don’t have enough free time, do just one exercise or one short series daily. It will become second nature quickly.

Practice being present and mindful in every movement

One of the benefits of Pilates is that it can acquire a meditative quality if you are truly present and focused on every movement. Make sure every time you do your exercises that you do not let your mind wander to stresses and background mental chatter. Giving your routine this degree of focus will increase your enjoyment and commitment

Be patient with yourself and your progress

It’s easy to become despondent and feel defeated if you put pressure on yourself to make rapid progress. As with learning the ropes in any new fitness regime, it takes time to become adept at Pilates. Be patient with yourself and set achievable targets for how much you will do each session

Be realistic about what Pilates will achieve

It will be tempting to abandon your exercise routine if you have unrealistic expectations of Pilates. If you already have chronic back pain, for example, your instructor will need to carefully select remedial exercises and will make sure you don’t overdo it. Slow progress is progress, however, and a long-term remedial exercise plan can give you greater flexibility and will alleviate – and potentially even eliminate – chronic pain.

Interested in starting Pilates? Contact Belinda today to find out about class times and other details.

10 mistakes you should never make in Pilates class

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Pilates is a great way to introduce a holistic fitness system to your weekly regimen, but if you’re a newcomer there are mistakes that are all too easy to make. Here are 10 mistakes you should never make in a Pilates class:

  1. Bracing instead of breathing

Good breathing is fundamental to good Pilates practice. Breathing well gives stamina and support and helps you to engage your core muscle group correctly so that each movement carries the lowest possible chance of injury.

  1. Forgetting your alignment

Your alignment – the position and coordination of your spine, limbs, and muscles, is crucial for physical wellbeing and good back health. In Pilates class, remember to be aware of and maintain good alignment throughout each move, both upon beginning and completing.

  1. Overusing pelvic muscles when they aren’t needed

Although the pelvic floor helps to support you through abdominal exercises, it’s possible to cause injury by overworking this key muscle group. Be careful that you only engage your Pelvic floor as much as necessary to complete each movement.

  1. Forgetting to engage your actual core

The core – the series of muscles extending from your back to your abs and pelvis – helps you to carry out physical activities with stability and strength. In Pilates class, focus on learning to engage your whole core so that you are not placing undue pressure on one particular muscle group.

  1. Doing your favourite moves instead of what your body needs

We all have favourite moves and exercises in Pilates, but remember to be balanced and to do all the exercises your body needs. If you only focus on a favourite, this could lead to counter-productive muscle strain.

  1. Making powerful rather than effortless movements

Once you have a strong core, your movements will naturally be stronger and more powerful, underwritten by strong core structure. But to get there you need to practice movements that bring you the maximum result without excessive effort. The straining effort could cause injury.

  1. Being competitive with your neighbour

Because of its athletic and adrenalin-boosting nature, a fitness method can make us feel competitive in group environments. Yet being competitive with your neighbour can distract you from engaging muscles correctly, and may lead you to over-extend. Instead, focus on improving your form and matching your own personal bests.

  1. Rushing each movement

Measured and graceful movements are core to good Pilates practice. It is far preferable to complete each movement with good form than rush and not experience the full benefit of each movement.

9. Creating unnecessary neck tension


A stiff and tense neck can become painful and cause further tension down the spine that is bad for your back. When you perform ab exercises in Pilates class, take care not to hold your neck at an awkward angle or use your neck muscles to lift your back off the mat.

  1. Leaving your Pilates learnings in the classroom

Pilates equips you with core and back-strengthening exercises you can perform at home with a mat and supports but remember to take every lesson you learn in class with you for in-home practice. If possible, find a floor length mirror that will let you see that you keep good form.

Want to get going with a holistic fitness approach this summer? Find out more about Belinda’s Pilates classes now.

5 benefits of ballet barre Pilates

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The Pilates fitness approach pioneered by Joseph Pilates has long been popular in the dance world. Ballet dancers practice Pilates because it develops core strength while promoting long, elegantly-shaped muscles.  Ballet barre Pilates is a hybrid form of Pilates practice that incorporates the barre (a stationary handrail that is used for balancing and warm-up exercises in ballet training) along with poses from yoga.


These are 5 of the benefits of ballet barre Pilates:

  1. Ballet barre Pilates is kind on joints

Many fitness approaches, including cross-training, are hard on the joints. Impact activities such as jogging contribute to joint degeneration over time, whereas ballet barre Pilates uses natural body resistance to provide a good workout that doesn’t place undue stress on the joints. This makes it especially useful as a fitness approach for dancers who wish to maintain and increase their mobility and flexibility.

  1. It offers a full workout

 The second benefit of ballet barre Pilates is that it provides a full body workout. Stretches are typically incorporated into classes to ensure that no single muscle group is overworked or inadequately warmed up.

  3. It can be modified for every experience level

Whether you have experience in ballet training or none at all, you can take part in a ballet barre Pilates class. Movements are small and easily learned but effective for toning, elongating the limbs and attaining general physical fitness.

            4. Exercises involving the barre increase core strength

Many exercises that involve the barre include corporate balancing and this helps to tone while building core strength. Building a strong core reduces your risk of injury through exercise, and has additional benefits such as improving posture.

             5.  Ballet barre Pilates combines the gracefulness of ballet with the fun                     of a workout

The steps and poses learned in ballet training are graceful and are excellent for developing good posture. Yet ballet barre classes offer the best of both worlds: The sleek elegance of ballet and the sociable workout of a group fitness class.

In addition to the five benefits outlined above, this particular type of Pilates fosters flexibility and yields rapid results. If you exercise two to four times weekly, you’re likely to see changes within a month (including improved posture, more toned thighs, arms as well as flatter abs). If you’re interested in finding out more about ballet barre Pilates, attend an introductory class this week.