Nutrition is not one size fits all.

Nutrition is an ever changing science debated with the all passion of political discussion. Everyone has their own take on it.

We have all been subjected to the onslaught of rules, diets and fads promoted readily around the world. There is a lot of money being made out of people’s ignorance and insecurities about food. Do not fall into the trap – do not become neurotic about nutrition. You do not need to know the molecular structure of every ingredient known to man. You do not need to panic about when, how, and exact quantities.

Eating is a huge part of being alive. Make it an enjoyable, varied, and positive part.

You must find your own relationship to food – and adjust your diet according to how you respond to different foods. Nutrition is not one size fits all. However, here are some universal and simple rules to follow:

Go natural.
The more messed about with – the less nutritious, the harder to digest, the less bioavailable, the more potential harm. Avoid processed, packaged, strange foods that your digestive system won’t know how to deal with. It’s simple: if it’s got ingredients that you haven’t put together yourself – avoid.

You probably eat too much.
The majority of people can probably not only survive, but perform better on less food. And definitely less sugar. Be calorie aware, and get yourself free from the sugar addiction.

Never go on a ridiculous ultra low calorie diet. People know it’s long term harm but still fall for its short term effectiveness. Nourish your body – don’t starve it. Just don’t stuff it either.

Assess your macros – but eat for micros.
Having a balance of macronutrients (protein/fats/carbohydrate) that’s inline with your activity levels and goals is good. What’s better is eating for your micronutrients. Again, no need to be obsessive – but having an idea about what your body needs and how to get it goes a long way. Especially when you are receptive to your body’s subtle requests for certain micronutrient rich foods.

Aim high, and make the best choice available.
Quality of food source can vary massively. This ‘food continuum’ is true of all foods. The better quality the food source, the better quality the nutrition. Make the best choice you can when it comes to the quality of your food. You are what you eat.

Eat seasonably when possible. It tastes better, and costs less.

Hydrate.
You’re made of water and your body and mind function better when you’re hydrated. Simple. Obvious, but often overlooked.

Avoid stuff that makes you feel crap.
Gas, stomach pain, bloating, constipation or the runs is not normal. Find the cause – eliminate or moderate. Avoid the stuff you know does you no good, and holds no nutritional value: sweets, crap quality meat, too much booze for example.

We are all different. Metabolism is a complex symphony of factors unique to us all. And it constantly changes and adapts to another host of external factors again unique to the individual. No diet book, no expert can tune into your factors as well as you. Becoming fluent in the language of your body – becoming ‘in tune’ with the constant feedback is a lifelong and rewarding process.

When it comes to me personally I like to eat good quality, varied food. I make the best choices available based on my current understanding of my nutritional needs. I stay clear of processed stuff. I don’t use supplements, or powdered ‘pretend’ food.

I eat for me, I listen and respond to my body, and above all – I enjoy my food.

Farnham Mummies

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I’m pleased to be writing articles for Farnham Mummies

My first post is below:

Thinking of Running ? Tips from John Cann Personal Trainer

Running is a fundamental movement that all able humans should enjoy. After walking, it’s probably the most accessible form of exercise available: you don’t need £150 trainers. You don’t need a gps watch. All you need is your body and one of the many beautiful open spaces surrounding us in Farnham.

Being passed on the pavement at 6am by a group of Lycra clad whippets running at a 7 minute mile pace can be intimidating – and ‘I’m not a runner’ is a common reaction. You don’t have to adopt an identify or compete with anyone else’s standards to be a runner. Going for a run needn’t be defined by time, speed or distance achieved. It can just be a positive, head clearing way to spend time with a long list of both mental and physical health benefits attached to it. I was delighted to see that the Farnham Mummies are starting their own run club in the Bourne – and the interest it sparked.

We are all human, and we are all runners. Be it formal running, sport you played at school or just running after the kids, we all have some experience.
You may have heard or read how ‘dangerous’ running can be – and read the long list of injuries many runners struggle against on a daily basis. I think this injury ‘fear factor’ acts as another barrier for some. I don’t like it when running is categorised as an complex, ‘elite’ or ‘specialist’ activity. As I’ve already said, it’s a natural part of being a human, accessible, and simple.

Having said that, there are some considerations to be made, and some ‘basic maintenance’ that will help you to avoid injury and continue to enjoy your running…

Hydration. This is an obvious, but often overlooked one. Your joints, and ‘white tissue’ (ligaments and cartilage) dry out first. Running puts stress on your joints – this isn’t a bad thing – but keeping them hydrated keeps them working well and less likely to get injured.

Too far too soon. Your fitness and muscles will adapt to and recover from running faster than your ‘structure’ (bones, ligaments, facia etc), so be kind and let it catch up. Go too far too soon and you’re knees and feet will protest the next day, or worse you will be leaving the door open to suffering an injury. Running out and walking back is a great way to reduce the impact on your structure – while conditioning yourself for longer runs in the future.

Don’t skip the warm up. Busy lives make it very tempting to get straight into your run when a small window of opportunity presents itself. Take 5 mins to warm your engine first, and not only will you run better and improve faster, you will be ticking another box in the anti-injury column. Mobilise your joints (move your ankles, knees and hips gently through their full range of movement), then walk at an increasing pace to get your joints primed for impact and your heart rate up. Throw in some light dynamic stretching (hamstrings, calves, quads, hip flexors) and you will be in a much better place to start your run.

Foam roll. This will keep your tissues healthy and aid recovery. Focus on your calves, glutes and IT band (outside of your thigh). If you are unsure about foam rolling – or have no idea what it is don’t worry – I will expand on it in another post!

Look after your hips and feet.
Knee pain is a common ailment for runners, often due to tightness around the hip, or a foot malfunction…Taking preemptive action and staying on top of your ‘maintenance’ is a smart move. Regularly stretch your hamstrings, psoas, glutes, quads and calves. Foam roll your IT band. Youtube will be more than accommodating in showing you stretch routines if you are unsure… Taking care of your feet is a good idea for everyone, especially those pounding out miles on the pavement. Unfortunately I don’t mean pedicures, but massage and stretches. Footware is of course important.

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Above is a diagram showing basic ‘foot maintenance’ I would suggest gently massaging the soles of your feet by standing and rolling on a rolling pin over the elbow massage

Cross train.
The simplicity of running is is a beautiful thing. But the human body craves complex, varied movement. Functional exercises not only keep you fit, strong and looking good, but again help in injury proofing your body.

Kettlebells for strength and mobility

Strength and Mobility – Bodyweight and Kettlebells

We headed out early – a cold but beautiful morning, first time I have seen the lake frozen.
I started with single limb work – 5 x 5 pistols and single arm press ups – 25 reps total a limb.

the Kettlebell complex:
10 windmills
10 sots press
10 Cossack squats

complete all reps on the right, then the left. complete 3 rounds total on each side.

these are 3 great KB exercises in their own right, linking them with a lighter kettlebell allows you to feel and control the movements – all of which build full body stability and mobility. you may find one side is looser than the other, something I have been working to balance myself.

finish the work out with some conditioning –
10 tuck jump burpees
20 alternating single leg plyo press ups

unleash as much power and energy as you can in the burpees, and keep the press up ‘bounce’ going…
3 rounds done with intensity is tough.

finally knee jump to bounds. 10 reps, each done for maximum distance. A favourite exercise of mine for focusing on explosive hip extension. By the end of the workout the dog walkers had arrived, and took interest…

I run a Kettlebell and Bodyweight class on Wednesday nights at 7pm – email for more information…

The Gnome Chipper – simple is effective

Back Garden Athletics – The Gnome Chipper

My freind purchased a Rogue Fitness hammer – we celebrated by burying a tyre and getting stuck into ‘the Gnome Chipper’.

500 reps total
broken down into:

100 hammer swings
50 hspu
50 KB horn press ups
100 squats
100 swings
100 hammer swings

it was the end of a frustrating week for both of us – a workout like this was perfect.
Raising the volume and keeping the intensity high required simplicity.
Simple is effective.

We wanted to break the new hammer in so 200 total swings, 100 off each side was an obvious choice.

The rest was just what was available – a 32kg Kettlebell and a garage wall.

100 Tyre hammers 10 each side x 10 without putting hammer down.
The handstand press ups I found most challenging – I haven’t done this kind of volume for a long time – instead focussing on upping my handstand skills. I felt it.
Swings and squats were attempted in one set.
The last 100 hammer swings were tough. Grip and shoulders fatigued.

Celebrated the 500 rep with some unnecessary Gnome violence.

Local park athletics – at Farnham Park

You don’t need a gym, the local park will do just fine…Combining exercises – or ‘combination exercises’ like the L-sit chins create whole body tension. Supersets are a favorite of mine too – combining exercises one after the other without rest – very challenging and very effective.

Evolution of Movement

Complex and varied movement capability is an ancestral gift. Explore and enjoy it.

Animal forms, like Mike Fitch’s ‘animal flow’ is a great starting point to explore locomotive movement. Once you’re comfortable and confident in moving your body – you literally can just make it up – get from a to b in the most complex, challenging, dynamic and inventive movement pattern you can put together. Improvise and ‘flow with movement’. Continuous movement is the goal.

Fitness Pilgrim – Menorca

We had a week to explore the Spanish island of Menorca…

In September the weather isn’t as burning hot, and it’s a lot quieter too – I think an ideal time to visit. Menorca is a small island littered with prehistoric ruins and old British forts – an amazing coast line with stunning beaches, and clear blue sea water.

We found a beautiful beach (one of many) in S’ALBUFERA DES GRAU NATURAL PARK

Visit www.fitnesspilgrim.com for the full post

The Alice Holt 10k and Pilgrim Marathon

We had the task of warming up the runners for both the Farnham Runners Alice Holt races and the Pilgrim Marathon…

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Both were great days and we are looking forward to next year!

Stoke Fitness tackles Tough Mudder Dublin

The guys had a fantastic time in Dublin running the Tough Mudder – as you know, pictures speak louder than words, so here is a vid and some photos from the day. Well done to all involved, looking forward to the next one!

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Alice Holt 10k

Farnham Runners ALICE HOLT 10k – Saturday 13th September

We are excited to be sponsors of this fantastic local event…We will have a promotional stand, chances to win a weeks free Stoke pass – as well as doing the warm up for the race! Good look to all Stoke Fitness members racing