Tuesday, 27 September 2016

CrossFit Cirencester Raise 159% of Target for Alzheimer's Research UK

Andy and David of CrossFit Cirencester

Raising £1054 for a great charity, CrossFit coaches David and Andy ran 62 miles in 30 hours.

Congratulations to David and Andy of CrossFit Cirencester who demolished their targets in a feat that is certainly not unusual for the local box! What is unusual however, is the 62 mile St Cuthbert’s Way completed in just over a day.

The initial target set was £660, but this has nearly been doubled! If you do wish to offer some more money to the worthy course, you can donate here:

Having personal contact with Alzheimer’s, Andy was inspired to act. He asked David to be his Race The Tide companion and got a resounding yes. Neither being endurance experts, this was a brave step into the unknown. With £20 paying for one hour of research, don’t think that a modest donation won’t make an impact!
The CrossFit Community has many Stars, including
Kenton Cool clockwise second from right,
who admirably scaled Everest this year!
Find out more about Crossfit Cirencester here:

Active Krav Maga-Gloucestershire's Most Pragmatic Martial Art?

Drilling with a 'melon' to safely mimic striking a moving target.
ActiveKravMaga-Gloucestershire’s Most Pragmatic Martial Art?
What would you do in a dangerous situation? Many people have no idea, but training with Active Krav Maga allows you to have confidence in yourself. Don’t take our word for it.

I've been a police officer for 15 years and have learnt more about practical self defence in a handful of lessons than I have in those 15 years of officer safety training. I've never had to use any of it (touch wood) but my fitness levels and my confidence in dealing with hostile situations has never been higher. It's well worth the 40 minute drive to the classes (I try to go twice a week) and it's something I'll continue with for years to come.”
A sense of community increases each time you work the pads!

Imi Lichtenfeld developed Krav Maga for the Israeli Defence Forces. Ever curious, he never considered Krav Maga (Hebrew for contact combat) complete. This built in forward compatibility means people can learn Krav Maga for their circumstances. AKM of Cheltenham and Gloucester welcome people of all abilities. Cirencester resident Laurence had never tried martial arts before, and volunteered to test out AKM.

“My Krav Maga session in Cheltenham was a unique experience for me to come close to what a street fight could be like and learn basic defence moves. These would allow me to move away from armed or unarmed attackers. If you are in any doubt about trying it out, you will build confidence and not be intimidated as training is provided by instructors and reinforced by more advanced students. In my case I trained with Mike and 2 young female members who have achieved in only 2 months impressive simultaneous defensive/offensive manoeuvres and neutralization techniques.”

Laurence investigated a new world with
At Active Krav Maga you will learn how to defend against weapon attacks (knife, blunt objects, guns) and unarmed confrontations.

If you're up for a 2 hour Krav Maga intro in Cirencester, contact to show your interest. For current times and locations check for more details. To discover more about AKM trial three lessons for £19.99.

Discover Change in Action with Elite Health and Fitness Client Lorriane

Lorraine is now two months into her training.

Coming from a point of high blood pressure and engrained eating habits, Lorraine has lost 12kg during her time at Elite. Find out about her experience training and living the Elite lifestyle!

What was the hardest thing you have come through since you began training?

Because the training is tailored, it wasn’t ‘hard’ as such. Conquering sugar cravings was challenging, but I used Elite’s symptom checker that keeps track of progress. I’ve had an awakening to how damaging the food I fuelled my body with was. It also explains why other weight loss programs had a temporary effect. The nutritional support made the detox process bearable, although hard. I now recognise sugar cravings and how to deal with them.

What are the day to day changes you have noticed?

Alongside training I followed the nutrition plan to the word, having a huge effect on my daily life. My meals are planned a week in advance, I’m so organised. You wouldn’t believe the time it saves. The combination of diet and training must be contributing to the improvement in my sleep- I’m generally awake before the alarm! With the weight and inches I’ve lost, I’ve gone down a couple of dress sizes. My clothes fit better and I feel more comfortable. Changes creep up on you-nothing happens overnight. Getting out of the car and running up stairs without losing breath are easier now.

Are there any stand out moments that illustrate how you have changed?

A couple. At my second review they double checked my measurements as it was astounding. I lost 17 inches from my bust, waist and hips!

When I bought a sack of dog food the assistant asked if I needed help carrying.  I replied “No thanks!” thinking nothing of it. When I got to the car I looked at the weight. It was 12kg (26lb). That’s the weight I lost so far! I wouldn’t walk around with that sack all day, but I may as well have been as little as two months ago!

Prepped for battle.
Where are you now with your targets?  Do they feel more obtainable?

My initial target was the hike next summer (90 miles in Northern Sweden). It’s still my ultimate goal. But I set mini goals each week and find what motivates me. It can be something simple that others take for granted, like standing jumps onto a step. I’ve realised small things come together to build strength.

Am I going to manage the hike? I don’t know, but I know I’m training at the place that gives me the best chance of it.

Can you relate the training to improving your life outside of the gym? Building resolve for example.

Absolutely.  I wish I could bottle the feeling of achievement at the end of each session to give out! Even if I am not the fittest, I am in there working day by day to improve. I am doing the best thing for myself, and probably the best thing for my family too! 

What is the most fun you have had in a session?

Using the punch bags.  Even at the end of a session everyone enjoys getting the gloves on and giving it everything they’ve got.  I love seeing the enthusiasm that gets thrown into the bags.  Once someone starts laughing in the studio it’s infectious – we are all in it together and bizarrely the boxing kicks that off.

What pushes you the most?

The desire to maintain good health and to be capable of doing anything I want.   When you are surrounded by the team at Elite staying healthy and developing your fitness becomes the norm – it’s a way of life. 

Make your transformation and follow the link here:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Forgotten Improvements of Modern Agriculture-Country Matters By The Hodge

Country Matters
By The Hodge

“A sparrow in the hand is worth more than a flying goose”

It is interesting to see how matters evolve over time as organisations change. I’m thinking here of charities closely associated with, (but not exclusively so), the countryside such as the RSPCA and the RSPB. Decades ago, they were simply animal and bird welfare associations whose work revolved around improving the care of our fellow creatures.

After the Second World War, there was not the same level of awareness and care for the mental health of returning servicemen or indeed those civilians who had been traumatised by the effects of bombing etc. as we see today. The 1950s I recall was a period when animal cruelty was fairly commonplace and I have always attributed the many instances I witnessed with such people taking out their mental trauma on the animals that came into their ‘domain’. I well remember the handlers at livestock markets regularly hitting or beating animals during loading and unloading and the same occurred at abattoirs. The regular stockmen were a different breed but these poor souls were accepting whatever base employment was available and taking out their frustrations and difficulties on the livestock in their care. Dogs were beaten and allowed to roam in packs and unwanted kittens were placed in a sack and held in a water butt until they drowned. Gradually, much through the efforts of the RSPCA, things improved, albeit slowly.

Today, whenever a report tells us that a bird species is declining in numbers, as many do, the RSPB always seems to respond with a stock statement blaming ‘modern farming practices’ and the media accepts this without question. Yet modern farming is much more geared towards animal and bird conservation than ever before and the agricultural industry does a huge amount – whether willingly or not – to make the environment better whilst keeping track on a rapidly growing world population which is better fed today than ever before. Thus many of the insecticides and pesticides commonly used in earlier decades have rightly been banned and most of those remaining are fairly innocuous by comparison. Round-Up is a mere shadow of DDT yet it too is now being banned. Various government and EU initiatives target subsidies on agriculture by improving the conditions for wildlife with larger field margins, wild areas, more hedges and the growing of marginal crops to help overwintering wild birds.

Yes, some species numbers do decline but is the glib response that it is the fault of farming always fair? I walk quite a lot along roadsides and it amazes me how many little bundles of feathers can be seen where small songbirds have met their match against the hard metal or glass of a lorry or van or car. Indeed, the evidence of squashed pheasants, hedgehogs and badgers is there for all to see but no one seems to ever blame ‘road kill’. It’s accepted as a necessary expense for us all to get where we want when we want. Farmers do indeed drive but I think any survey would find that they are a tiny minority on our roads so why do the RSPB blindly just keep blaming them? And who should take the credit for those species that show an increase in numbers?

Our garden is a feeding spot for dozens of goldfinches and collared doves, both of which were as rare as hens’ teeth only a few years’ ago. Often I see and hear a buzzard overhead yet spent much of my earlier life never having seen one in the wild at all. Doubtless the RSPB might claim that such improvements are all down to them but surely it is at least partially down to the agricultural industry as well?

The RSPCA is today a much more political animal and has been censured in parliament for some of its activities. It is much more supportive of ‘animal rights’ rather than animal welfare. Is the reason for this that they see much of their traditional role disappearing as matters improve?

Help Avoid Hip & Knee Replacement – Do Pilates…

A MAT class in The Body Workshop Studios.
Help Avoid Hip & Knee Replacement-Do Pilates...
160,000 hip and knee replacements were performed in the UK last year with NHS average waiting times increasing to more than 18 weeks but surgery should be a last resort as most of us can do something for ourselves to help avoid the need for surgery. Self-help measures can be very effective and most of us can future proof ourselves from surgery

Stretching exercise on Pilates Reformer machines
"Exercise and weight loss are actually the first line of defense," says Dr. Eric Berkson, director of the Sports Performance Center at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "It may help prevent the pain and prevent surgery. (

The main component of joint surgery avoidance is strengthening the muscles that support your joints. The quadriceps in the front of the thigh and the hamstrings in the back are key to knee strength. "Every time you walk or run or do anything weight-bearing, the quads absorb the shock. The stronger your quads are, the less load that gets transferred into the joint," says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The gluteal muscles in the buttocks and flexors in the pelvis are important for hip strength and flexibility and mobilizing the leg bone in the hip socket. Nolan goes on to explain that stretching is also important to keep the muscles flexible as exercising  brings more blood flow to the area and makes the muscle more amenable to change.

As many Pilates exercises are non-weight bearing people tend to find the discomforts they feel in knees and hips don't appear, giving them the opportunity to strengthen muscles and mobilise their joints in a pain free environment. Under expert tuition and in the only comprehensively equipped and dedicated studios in the town you can do it right here in Cirencester at The Body Workshop Pilates studios. Call Anne at The Body Workshop Pilates on 01285 655446 for more details or visit their website at