Friday, 20 November 2015

Elite Health & Fitness Article II-Practical Magic

  Elite is helping our writer increase his physical capacity. Evan Burgess looks at the Pieces of Equipment that will transform your day to day life too...
A personal training session at Elite may be one of constant surprises. The gym utilises space to store an array of goodies (or torture equipment) for the benefit of any program. The names of some of the equipment can be more or less intimidating. The equipment with the more elaborate names however, are designed to build day to day strength that imitates motions found in life, rather than so called “target” training of a particular muscle. The prowler, the grappler, the sled and power bags are all quality items of equipment that offer practical strength training as well as targeting specific muscle groups.

The Prowler

The Prowler being dragged
The prowler is useful for both pushing and pulling movements. The pushing element of the equipment is useful for people such as Rugby players in a scrum. Attaching a rope to the prowler allows a subject to develop strength related to rope climbing. The prowler has two posts on it that allow weight discs to be added. This allows for an almost unlimited amount of strength to be developed for the same exercises. The exercise is simple, but executing it becomes immensely difficult under circuit conditions. What starts off easy soon turns into a mind over matter exercise of stamina, rather than just raw strength. This is excellent for conditioning, and on Elite’s plush astro turf track, everyone will learn the delights of this piece of kit.

The Grappler

The grappler is a great tool for building back strength. A bar with two grip handles attached on the top, this device allows one to develop the strength needed to pull someone or something up from the ground. This is useful for hands on jobs like being a paramedic, a fire man or a soldier. Due to the nature of the contraption, good form must be maintained to achieve satisfactory balance. 

The Sled

The sled like the prowler, is a rather simple
Pushing the prowler
apparatus. It has a clear benefit to running speed and can help build strength without so much need for recovery time. A lot of muscle size is built due to the decline or eccentric part of an exercise. As the sled doesn’t have this, muscle may not be built as large, but at the same time the pain two days after isn’t so extreme. This is useful for endurance athletes and still builds total body strength.

Power Bags

Power bags are weighted bags with an array of handles on them. This allows a multitude of dynamic motions to be carried out. Either simply lifting and carrying, or even throwing, the power bag can be used individually or in a duo. The fatigue of throwing or carrying a power bag will develop great stamina and resilience.

Find out more about Elite at the following links:

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Get Involved With Cirencester Stroke Club

Photo from Wilts Glos Standard.

Find out More About the Cirencester Stroke Club

This is a self funding club meeting at Beech Home Court Community Room, on Mondays 9.30am -12 noon.

It is run by volunteers and the aim is to improve the quality of life and increase self-esteem of stroke survivors, by encouragement and group self support and to provide useful information.

We aim to provide a friendly, happy atmosphere. The morning starts with coffee and biscuits, followed by speakers in a wide variety of topics, or music, singing and/or exercises. Outings are arranged including carers. Recently on Oct 12th, thirty nine members, carers and volunteers had a day out including lunch at Cotswold Wildlife Park, we had a very happy time with wonderful weather.

Transport for the club can be provided by Dial-a Ride if the trip is within the Cirencester area. Do come and join us.

Contact Margaret Knapp on:
01285 821 481

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Elite Health & Fitness: Personal Training Program Foundation

All this and more under expert tuition at Elite

Over the next few months Evan Burgess is putting Elite Health & Fitness's plans and diet into action. Follow the results...
Elite Health & Fitness are helping me discover a way of going beyond my personal boundaries to achieve greater fitness and health. My personal goals have been taken and a plan has been set up to achieve them. All I have to do is turn up and work hard. The system presented is faultless so long as it can be properly followed. That means if I’m not seeing results, I have to look to myself for explanations.

The first step with any good health and fitness plan is an assessment. Weight, height, and my ability to perform simple exercises were tested. These were the plank, press ups, air squats and burpees (bench assisted). This was a revealing exercise and helped me establish where I am as opposed to where I want to be. The physical assessment doesn't lie, and being tested again in a few months time should reveal exactly how much change has occurred.

The first physical assessment found I could “plank”, or stay still on my elbows and feet in a near press up position, for 1 minute 21 seconds. This wasn’t bad, but not good either. A professional cricket player for example, could be expected to do it for about 3 minutes with no problem. The strict form press-ups weren’t so good, with a low score of 10 before my form dipped. Air squats were slightly better with 40, but my assisted burpees didn’t benefit much from the assistance, with only 13 managed before I fell apart. Looking back the short distance now, I can see my diet wasn’t supportive in the last few weeks running up to this assessment, which leads us to the next point.
Group Training is also available...

Elite's 21 Day Kick Start Diet
Nutrition comes before exercise in importance. To put it into perspective, imagine being told to run 13 miles after a steak dinner, or after a pear salad. Which one would be easier? Personally, I know running or any vigorous exercise would be best on a light stomach. If anyone wants to put this to the test, feel free to get in touch! Elite's 21 Day Programme promises greater energy and serious fat loss results. It would mean quite a change in my eating. Before the assessment, I had been indulging in the bad stuff quite frequently, red wine, ice cream, copious amounts of coffee... not things that help the heart circulate efficiently, or muscles to rebuild with vigour. Everyone starts a fitness plan with different abilities and special requirements. Elite are flexible and sensitive enough to work with people of all dispositions. Personally, I’m a vegetarian which led to a slight re-working of the nutritional guidance due to the nature of protein.

It was made clear from the outset that being a vegetarian, there is a danger to eat too many carbs and not enough quality protein. I had to find a way to answer this, and smoothies are an excellent resource for adding protein to a diet. These aren’t ones with syrup in them and whip cream on top, and in my opinion, they taste better. With a large bag of soya protein, a newly acquired batch of BCAA powder and ground linseed, I was good to go with any variety of fruit or vegetable based mixer. In general it can be better not to mix carbs and fats, with protein being the staple with any other food group. Thus an avocado smoothie wouldn’t be mixed with an orange, and a pear smoothie wouldn’t have added fat.

The nutrition advice wasn’t just generalised. I was given Elite's 21 Day Kickstart manual. It is a nutrition plan that is easy to follow. It simplifies things as I don’t have to worry anymore about drinking alcohol, caffeine or fizzy drinks, and my stomach had been liberated of digesting ice cream, cheese and chocolate. Perhaps this sounds hard, but the key is focusing on what you can have, rather than what you can't. The most positive thing about this plan is that it makes you realise the abundance of food that isn’t processed or contains sugar. Reframing food can also help in the psychological game of beating cravings. Berries can be seen as natures’ sweets, and BCAA powder could be classified as something more naughty than it is, as it has a slight sherbet flavour. I don’t smoke, so from now on I try to imagine food I shouldn’t eat with a no smoking sign over it, which helps make me as likely to buy the item as cigarettes.

Beating Cravings and Peer Pressure
Elite offer a supportive network for healthy eating, with their members able to discuss recipe ideas and give advice of how to adjust to the change. Arguably, the hardest thing to avoid is peer pressure at social events, people you like talking you into bad habits. To strengthen the plan, Elite have created a positive group of people aiming for the same thing helps buffer against Grandma being offended because you won’t eat her Shepherd’s Pie, or your friend Dave buying you a double Jaeger Bomb to test your resolve.
Weight Training is an Important Tool in Fat Fighting

At these points where your friends test you, it is important to remember what saying no is actually saying yes to. Saying no to stodgy hard to digest meals is saying yes to an un-bloated stomach and more energy. Saying no to alcohol is saying yes to flexibility the next morning and another ten reps before failure.

If you’re rolling your eyes, you’re exactly the person who would benefit most from a new frame of reference. It can be hard to re-imagine your internal world, so it is much easier when people who are a few stages ahead who can still remember the cravings and road blocks can give you a blue
print for negating the pitfalls of bad habits.

Feel free to follow the regular updates of my personalised training plan.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

DDM Ceramics, Made in the Cotswolds

Homeware from Home-Dorcas de Marco Ceramics

In the Corn Hall
With all products fired in the Cotswolds, Dorcas de Marco’s handiwork has led to the creation of a variety of tasteful ceramic items. It’s highly likely one of these would make a perfect Christmas present for someone you know. With cups for Japanese Sake, oil pourers and delicately designed bowls, perhaps what counts this Christmas is not so much the contents but the vessel. A box of chocolates might make it to Boxing Day, whereas an enchanting piece by Dorcas could ignite fond memories every morning as the kettle boils.
Ceramics for memories... or to forget!

Food, drink and flowers can be enhanced by Dorcas’ naturally toned pottery. The colour palette is charming as it is authentic. And if you have enough mugs, have no fear, ceramic bunting can liven up a party or occasion with elegantly precise shapes on gratifyingly rugged twine.

How many creative ways can you use your vessels?
Alluring yet simple aesthetics are the yield of a somewhat rustic design. These visuals are right at home in the Barnsley based designer’s stall in the Corn Hall during the craft market. The texture of the pottery holds a hearty combination of rough and smooth grains that delights the fingers as well as eyes. There is a sincerity to the pieces that you won’t easily find in mass produced home or kitchen ware. Dorcas’s work is found most easily on the first and fourth Saturday of the month in the Corn Hall, so be quick to grab items before stocks run out before Christmas.

Available for commissions, it is possible to contact Dorcas via her Facebook page here or e-mail her here.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Rob Beckett at the Sundial Theatre

Rob Beckett Review-Thurs 15th October 2015-Sundial Theatre-by Evan Burgess 

Well known for his appearances on panel shows and TV and internet shows such as Drunk History, where he got plastered and explained Henry VIII’s union with Anne of Cleeves. Proving himself again and again as a key contributor to group shows, I was curious to see what Rob’s solo show was all about.

It was a packed out night with an expectant audience. People travelled from as far as Oxford and Brockworth just to see Rob, so we locals felt an extra bit of gratitude for having so good on our doorstep. When the first hour began, the improvised aspect of Rob’s performance was flawless and welcoming. There aren’t many people who can make you feel better after insulting you, but Rob Beckett managed to do this with a few members of the audience who felt special rather than terrified.

The banter from floor to stage wasn’t over in the second half either. The main show was unique and most of all jolly. Despite being quite slick, it still had some space to incorporate quick chats with the front row. The show was interesting because Rob dances to the beat of his own drum and his timing is completely different to other comedians I’ve seen at the Sundial, with emphasis on points that no one would expect to find humour in. The situations could be mundane or unusual but Rob has a canny knack of making the normal ridiculous and the ridiculous normal. Talking about the modern problem of people on their phones when in front of their relatives, Rob pointed out “do you really think you’re more interesting than the whole internet?” No one was on their phones during Rob’s show however, so for two hours at least, he was.

Check out Rob doing a great performance here