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Sunday, 14 September 2014

I'm A Studio Cycling Instructor! - The Training Room Personal Training Qualification

The Training Room Studio Cycling Qualification Natalie Goodchild

About a month ago now I qualified as a Studio Cycling Instructor thanks to a super-fun, one-day course* with The Training Room. The Training Room don't usually provide individual CPD courses, but for a group of lovely fitness bloggers they made an exception in order to give us a taste of what they have to offer as part of their personal training course.

'Love what you do'

The Training Room believe that you should 'love what you do', and I'm inclined to agree. So, they're dedicated to helping people find their way into an industry that they are passionate about. They offer beauty therapy courses and will soon be offering training for catering and hospitality, but I'm most fascinated by why The Training Room was born: personal training.

Rather than offering a large variety of fitness industry courses, TTR specialise in personal training and ensuring that their students are industry-ready. Essentially, they are a careers provider. At first, I wondered why they were keen to include a Certificate in Studio Cycling in their PT course, as well as other speciality certifications such as Circuit Training and Gym Based Boxing, but once I got to grips with TTR's ethos, it all made sense. The mix of qualifications that they provide means that their graduates can apply for virtually any role within the industry, and ensures that newly qualified PTs have maximum earning potential while they build a client base. TTR are also uniquely positioned to promise all of their graduates an interview with one of their many industry partners including David Lloyd and Pure Gym. Now that's pretty cool, right?

The Training Room Personal Training Course

Our day of Studio Cycling with The Training Room

Our day with The Training Room started bright and early at 9am at the Oasis Sports Centre with a 45-minute studio cycling class with our instructor for the day, David, which thoroughly woke us up! I loved that we started the day with an incredibly well-taught class as it gave us a strong, practical point of reference for everything that we learnt on the course. The agenda for the day included health and safety and bike set-up information (until this point, getting my seat into the right position in spin classes had involved lots of trial and error, every time!), learning the teaching techniques of different manoeuvres, and learning how to structure a class catering to everyone's learning styles. Of course, we also experienced a few different formative assessments including the planning and delivery of our own session to the rest of the group, which was actually a lot of fun and not nearly as nerve-wracking as we had all predicted. Plus, we all passed with flying colours!

As always, I was really curious and would have loved to have learned more about the physiology side of a cycling class, but I know that that would be covered elsewhere in the personal training course, and that level 2 gym instructors would usually have some prior knowledge too. However, I think it's always good to have things reinforced and that all fitness instructors should be encouraged to take more interest in that side of things. 

The Training Room Personal Training Course

If you'd like to hear a little more about our one-day event, check out The Training Room's blog posts, here and here, for more details including a Q&A with David who gives pointers for aspiring Personal Trainers, and thoughts from my fellow fitness bloggers on the experience. And, if you're interested in finding a career that you love, be sure to get in touch with the brilliant team at TTR. All details are on the website, here.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Meet Simon Roshdy of The Diet Kitchen

Simon Roshdy Nutritionist The Diet Kitchen

I met Si back in June when I was already a subscriber to his YouTube channel The Diet Kitchen, which posts healthy recipes as well as nutrition, fitness and lifestyle advice. But, what really stood out during an in-depth nutrition chat with Si was his genuine passion for living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, as well as his no-nonsense approach to diet. With the media frequently, and confusingly, publicising different fad diets and miracle weightloss supplements, it was refreshing to hear Si's science-backed, sustainable outlook. So much so, that I couldn't wait to share some of this thoughts and wisdom to help you all eat as happily and healthily as possible...

Firstly, at FitMeet2014, you spoke about your nutrition background. Could you please briefly recap for TBE readers?
Long story short my dad was a chef in Italy before moving to England so he always taught me how to cook growing up but I never wanted to do it professionally until about 6/7 years ago. I earned a qualification in exercise and sports nutrition and was nutrition coaching in my spare time, and then I gave in to the endless suggestions of "you should be a chef"! After a couple years of manic restaurant cooking I decided I wanted to work for myself and combine my 2 passions: nutrition and cooking. So armed with my camera phone and a messy kitchen, The Diet Kitchen was born!

So how do you currently spend your days?
I have 2 jobs at the moment. The Diet Kitchen has me making recipes and videos but I've combined my nutrition coaching under the name now, and I'm working with people from all walks of life including physique competitors, recovering eating disorders clients, and bodybuilders, to those simply want to lose/gain some weight. My other job is working for MyProtein in the marketing division which has me in charge of a sector of their social media, copywriting and also sponsorship outreach. I'd say my time is spent 70:30 in favour of The DK; it keeps me quite busy!

Can you briefly describe your general outlook on nutrition?
I'd say my outlook is pro-science. I'm always looking for the science behind everything in this industry as it will always be more reliable than anecdotal evidence. In the fitness and nutrition world it's way too easy to become caught up in the latest celebrity-backed drivel or to listen to the guy with the amazing but juiced-up [steroid-assisted] physique. Almost everyone at some point down the line has tried something that, looking back, was completely asinine, but it can't be helped when there are so many seemingly-attractive concepts that we are presented with these days! When presented with any information, always ask "why" and see if the person can provide some sensible, logical backing to their point. If it sounds too far out or magical, they're most likely talking rubbish.

The Diet Kitchen Healthy Protein Doughnuts

What have you found are the most common nutrition misconceptions and what advice would you give to overcome them? 
Oooh this is a good one! I think most things are nutrition misconceptions to be honest but the 2 main ones that won't die down are:
1. You have to cut carbs out completely to lose weight
2. No carbs after *insert random time here* - haha
At the end of the day, overall calories will determine weight loss or gain, so if your calorie consumption is in check, then the weight will follow. Moderation is everything in nutrition. Eat a diet made up of around 80% whole, nutrient dense foods and fill the other 20% with what ever you like. Enjoy life mentally and physically :)

What are your top supplement recommendations? 
Omega 3 is a defo if you don't consume oily fish every day. Aim for 2-3g of combined EPA/DHA a day for the optimal amount.
Vitamin D for us folks in the UK too as we don't get anywhere near enough sun. Around 2500iu a day should be perfect, but you can go up to 5000iu a day if you don't feel much benefit from the lower amount.

And any supplements that you think are a waste of money?
Hmm where do I start?! CLA, HMB, Raspberry ketones, and most "fat burners" - you might as well just take caffeine. There's just no need for any of these, plus there are no studies (none by an unbiased company anyway) that show their benefit, so save your £££!

Do you have a favourite naughty treat?
There's not many days I go without some sort of ice cream. If I ever go to Italy I'm going to see if I can spend the night in a gelato factory, that would be my dream!

What, or who, motivates you to keep living a healthy lifestyle?
I don't actually know the answer to this question. I've never really needed much motivation to do something,  I just kind of do it I suppose! I always think of longevity and the future so I guess that motivates me to be as healthy as possible now so that I feel amazing when I'm older.

You’re great at responding to nutrition and training questions on your YouTube channel. What’s the best way for TBE readers to get their burning questions answered by you?
I host regular Q&As on The Diet Kitchen Facebook page so that's a good chance to get your questions in! You can ask any questions through any of my social pages, but I'm most active on YouTube and Facebook.

What is your ethos?
You can never have too much knowledge.

You can follow Simon on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and, of course, find him making healthy taste good on his YouTube channel, The Diet Kitchen.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Benefits of Dark Chocolate + New Lindt Goodies

Chocolate Benefits Cocoa Nibs

Most of us know by now that as well as being super-tasty, chocolate also contains plenty of health benefits. Raw cacao nibs and beans offer the greatest benefits since some of the nutrients are destroyed when they are processed into chocolate. But, dark chocolate with a good-quality, high cocoa content is my favourite way to enjoy the variety of minerals, antioxidants, and flavanols from this 'superfood'. 

Dark chocolate differs from milk and white chocolate as it contains the highest amount of both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Milk chocolate contains these in smaller quantities as well as containing milk and sugar, while white chocolate contains no cocoa solids at all. I usually opt for dark chocolate containing 70%-80% cocoa solids as it contains the most nutrients and the least amount of sugar. 

I've been busy taste-testing the new Lindt chocolate flavours. Although they're only 47% cocoa solids, there's no denying that Lindt chocolate is some of the most delicious and luxurious around and are great for the occasional treat. 

New Lindt Lime Intense Chocolate

The Lime Intense proved very popular in my household. I loved the freeze-dried lime pieces and the lemon oil also helped to make it super-zesty. Within the same range, Lindt have also just launched a Roasted Sesame bar as well as one with roasted cocoa nibs that I can't wait to try.

New Lindt Pistachio Delight Chocolate

The Pistachio Delight wasn't quite as popular as it didn't really taste of pistachio. After recruiting various friends and family to help taste test, the general consensus was that the almond pieces in it were more prominent than the pistachio 'flavouring', which meant it tasted a little like marzipan. Still enjoyable, but not what you'd expect when buying it.

New Lindt Raspberry Dream Chocolate

And I've saved my favourite until last. The Raspberry Dream was delicious and the bar didn't last very long at all. The smooth melting centre is amazing and, although it's very sweet, a single square satisfies a craving perfectly!

What's your favourite way to get a chocolate fix?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Sweaty Betty 30 Day Sweat Challenge - Get Fit 4 Free Campaign Launch

Sweaty Betty GF4F 30 Day Sweat Challenge Launch

Sweaty Betty GF4F 30 Day Sweat Challenge Launch Jax Coco Coconut Water

Sweaty Betty GF4F 30 Day Sweat Challenge Launch Natalie Susan Hiitgirl

Sweaty Betty GF4F 30 Day Sweat Challenge Launch Dance Studio

Sweaty Betty's 30 Day Sweat Challenge is looming. A couple of weeks ago, in the studio of SB HQ where Britain's Healthiest Employees have their weekly lunchtime yoga sesh, I got a taster of the workouts that are going to be involved. I think I speak for everyone in attendance when I say that we could not wait to jump in a cold shower at the end; it was a sweaty one...

As always, at the centre of Sweaty Betty's Get Fit 4 Free campaigns are fun and effective workouts. This time round, the focus is on HIIT-style, full body workouts designed by Hiitgirl Susan Dyson. The short 30 minute Hiitgirl workouts are created with busy women in mind, so there are no excuses! You can read a little more about Susan Dyson on the Sweaty Betty blog, here. However, this month-long challenge involves far more than working up a sweat. The workouts will be supplemented with other fitness challenges as well as wellbeing tips and nutritional recipes.

There are so many fitness challenges going on at any one time, from squat and ab challenges, to yoga challenges, to other fitness channel initiatives, that I have never managed to pick one. However, I'm super excited for the SB 30 day sweat and I'm looking forward to sticking this one out. Remember to download your challenge calendar ready for the 1st September!

Here's a little teaser...

Sweaty Betty GF4F 30 Day Sweat Challenge Calendar