The importance of Vitamin D

The Importance Of Vitamin D…

Are you deficient?

Have you had any of the following issues or symptoms?

  • fatigue
  • joint & back pain
  • high blood pressure
  • increased incidence of infections
  • failure to respond to exercise
  • general muscle weakness
  • weight gain – body fat
  • poor concentration
  • low mood
  • constipation or diarrhea

The Stats:

  • 90% of the general population in the UK have insufficient Vitamin D levels
  • 1 in 3 over 65 years old are deficient

Sources of Vitamin D:

  • 10-15 minutes in strong sunlight generates 10,000IUs
  • Fish such as herring, sardines, salmon, mackeral, tuna
  • full fat milk
  • eggs
  • supplements

Getting tested:

Go to for information on Vitamin D and to have the most reasonably priced and accessible test around.


Thanks to Ian Craig, Pete Williams and Dr. Adam Carey the speakers at the recent Sports Nutrition Live, hosted by Functional Sports Nutrition magazine, for your inspiration to inform my readers about the health benefits of Vitamin D beyond bone density! Above notes sourced from their presentations.



Challenges of the female athlete

Some female athletes are so driven that they will train until they drop.

The very driven female athlete: they respond extremely well to goal setting and thrive on keeping track of workout statistics and achievements. These women not only commit to their workouts with an exercise professional, but also train in their own time and they genuinely enjoy being active. On paper, these women look ideal because they are so dedicated and usually are therefore enjoyable for a professional to work with. If you are reading this and thinking, yes but…. “they are also head-strong, extremely driven, high achievers, who can push themselves to extremes of training”, then you would also be right. High achieving women can sometimes push too hard and either over-train, resulting in adrenal fatigue, suffer from an injury or under-achieve in their competitions: this is the tricky business of working with this type of woman. Here I will give an excellent and thankfully successful story of the journey of one of my clients over the last decade. My goal is to give you some tools and strategies to try and keep these women healthy and feeling positive about their training and competitions.

Her nutrition is educated and for the most part well-planned. She allows herself to be a bit looser with her eating in the off-season from about September to November, but once the first competition is in sight in May, she’s back on track and allowing everything to flow.

Introducing Catherine
As an exercise specialist, I work mostly with the general public in London. This means that the women I see who fall into this “very driven” category are usually also working full-time and more! My client who has agreed to be in this case study, is named Catherine and works in the City. She is at a high level of management in a small to medium sized company, is in her early forties, married with no children and has what I would term a “small version” mesomorph (athletic and strong) body type. Her main competitions currently are cycling Time Trials throughout the year, starting in the Spring with the Irish Coast to Coast Multisport race and finishing in September with the France Duo Normond, 55km two-up Time Trial. Catherine used to focus on a yearly ½ Ironman triathlon in Ireland and I met her just after she had attempted her very first one. She knew during this first race that she needed some guidance regarding her training because her performance felt “laboured and heavy”. In preparation for the race, she “dabbled here and there” with the three disciplines but didn’t have an understanding of how to periodise a programme. I learned that in her teens she had swum at county level and very much enjoyed the structured and guided training approach. Her main goal in working with me was to feel better when completing her next year’s triathlon, with her secondary goal being the bonus of having a fit and healthy body. Over the years, these goals have remained similar, but have shifted and changed slightly. We’ll come to this later.

Over the decade in which I have been working with Cathy, editor Ian Craig has been a part of our strategic planning team. He writes her triathlon/cycling plans and counsels on nutrition when a follow-up is needed, while I build the weight training, core/Pilates and flexibility portions. She trains six to seven days a week (of course, with active rest days) unless work is particularly busy. I am her main point of contact, as I see her twice a week regularly through the year. As you would imagine, we know each other very well – as soon as she walks in the door, I know what type of day she’s had at work or how her training has gone the previous weekend. I therefore have an excellent understanding of what makes her tick, how she likes to work and what motivates her. The three of us working as a team enables us to structure her integrated programmes throughout the year so they run smoothly and she, in the end, performs well.

More is better
The first several years were an interesting challenge because Catherine had the common attitude that more training is better! We worked extremely hard at keeping track of how she felt throughout sessions and competitions and she slowly started to gain an understanding of why athletes should periodise their programmes and flow through different cycles at various times of year. I personally feel that this is even more important to get right when training someone who is also working full-time. This kind of individual will know through the year when their business is busier or quieter and you can even plan competitions around these varying periods. At times though, this will not be possible, so finding ways to fine tune the training and to be flexible is important. This brings me to the psychology of the driven  female client. Catherine is of course unique in many ways, but in terms of mental strength, she sits firmly in the category of the group that we are discussing. It has taken many years for us to get to a place where she is comfortable following the ebb and flow of her periodised programme or admitting that she needs a break or a shift in the training if she feels fatigued. In the past she would push herself to her limits and well beyond and we would then need to pull back and allow recovery time. She was still holding onto some of the old beliefs of: “more is better” and “if I miss the workout written on the sheet, the whole process will break down”. As an example, there were weeks when she would miss a Tuesday workout due to work commitments and then try to fit it in at the end of the week while still performing all other workouts. She also didn’t like it when I suggested that we have a Pilates and flexibility day rather than hard weight training because I knew she needed active rest. Her work life still dictates that a day at the office may be longer and therefore a workout is missed, but she now understands that getting home for a healthy meal and a good sleep is more important than forcing a workout. Admittedly though, she still finds getting the work and training balance difficult, although I see her dealing with it much better than she used to. She still admits that she will feel “grumpy and physically feel it” if she misses a session: if this happens, we talk through the realities of the long hours at work and the physical and mental stresses resulting. We’ve spent many hours discussing signs and symptoms of overtraining and the quick decline in performance (in training and/or competition) which can result. This truly is a fine balance to discover with a client, but if you’re lucky enough to see them at least twice a week, you can constantly monitor them, teaching what stressors to look for and how to think more positively when training days are shifted or changed because of work.

Food priorities
Catherine’s lifestyle choices have changed significantly since our first year together. Before her first triathlon, she wasn’t one for the gym, but now admits that she wishes she’d started 20 years ago. Solid sport nutrition has improved for her over the years as well. In the beginning, she wasn’t sure about her best fuel on given days. Ian guided her on the best choices and I monitored her each week, asking how certain foods and variations worked for her. She still enjoys socialising, but training and performance are priorities to her, so she’d rather not drink alcohol and get home early and sometimes miss an evening out entirely. For her, the next day of training is more important. Through her education on food, she “knows what she should have” and I see her making these positive choices most days. The problem creeps in when long days at work happen: sleep then suffers, she feels stressed and during the following days, she makes poor food choices. This mostly happens if there are cakes or treats in the office! She confesses that she isn’t perfect when it comes to food, but she understands what fuels her well and when her mind is focused on her next physical goal, her meals and snacks fall into place. She says, “training allows me to make good decisions.” A bonus for Catherine is that her husband also enjoys being active and takes a hand in cooking. Either one of them will cook enough food in an evening meal so there are leftovers for both of their lunches the next day. This saves money, time and ensures proper nutrition. Thankfully today, Catherine understands that being active is an ever evolving process. The goals shift slightly for her each year as she becomes interested in new challenges. Therefore, the periodised training programme also shifts and changes. She says that she’s found a balance in her life, which I agree with. She shows self awareness of when she is close to doing too much and pulls back either at work or in her training. Her nutrition is educated and for the most part well-planned. She allows herself to be a bit looser with her eating in the off-season from about September to November, but once the first competition is in sight in May, she’s back on track and allowing everything to flow.

Article written by Charlene from Functional Sports Nutrition Magazine

View the original article here

Beach workout ideas!

Wherever you are in the world there is probably a beach somewhere nearby.

Whether it is a fresh water lake, ocean or sea there are many activities you can do to have fun & keep active while there…..



Here’s a little list to inspire you…

  • walk
  • jog
  • play frisbee (in or out of water)
  • jog in shallow water (parallel to shoreline)
  • knees up in shallow water (parallel to shoreline)
  • swimming
  • water-skiing
  • body boarding
  • surfing
  • hops, skips & jumps along the sand
  • pilates or yoga moves on your towel
  • play with the kids in the water
  • throw a baseball, rugby or football
  • kite surf
  • do press-ups, planks & v-sits on your towel
  • canoeing or kayaking
  • snorkling
  • diving
  • hacky sack on the beach (retro for sure & great exercise!)
  • squats in calm water (great support for those recovering from injury or just learning)
  • tread water (great energy burner)
  • walk or jog the sand dunes or steps up from the beach
  • walk the dog in the morning or evening (wear your bug spray!!!)
  • throw a ball around in water with partner, leap out of water to catch & enjoy the landing
  • play in the waves (I have great memories of doing this in Canada and New Zealand)
  • hike the surrounding rocks & explore shoreline pools (be careful here & watch footing)

That’s it for now.  I am sure you and your friends and children can come up with many more fun ideas.  Be sure to wear your sunscreen and protective clothing if needed.  I am sure something on our list has caught your fancy….Have fun!!!

Top 10 Time Management Tips for Your Working Life

By: Andrea Osborne, director of cushion the impact, an award winning business and personal concierge and lifestyle management company.

1. Evaluate how you spend your time. Make a note of how much time you spend on each task every day for at least a week, also include information such as start and end times; type of task eg marketing, client work, admin, telephone; brief description of the task; whether you were the best person to do that task;  if the task was fee earning (if appropriate). This will help you to see where your time is going rather than where you think it is going.  It may seem time consuming but in the long run it will help you to plan out your day and allocate the right amount of time for different jobs.

2. Plan your day in advance. Either the night before or first thing in the morning, make a list of all the things that you need to get done that day and how much time should be spent doing them. Do not overload yourself, be realistic using the information collated from the time log you have been keeping.

3. Prioritise key tasks. Jobs that have immediate deadlines must take priority over those that are less important. Responding to an e-mail can wait, preparing for a presentation you have after lunch cannot.

4. Make long and short term goals. Knowing what you want to do and roughly how much time it will take will make everything seem more achievable. Having a plan will help you to focus on your goals.

5. Make use of all your time. Don’t let any part of your day be wasted. The time you spend on the train to work can be used to make lists of things you need to do or reading an industry article…and there is also a lot of value to relaxing, reading a novel or listening to music. I read on the tube and catch up with emails and Twitter on buses,

6. Organise your e-mails. Create different folders for e-mails to keep all relevant messages together, this will enable you to find what you need a lot quicker. Use filters so that much of the organising is done by the email server rather than you. Keep work e-mails separate from personal ones.

7. Be aware of common distractions. Surfing the internet, spending too much time on the phone and sifting through e-mails all slow you down and waste your time. Knowing what you are easily distracted by will help you to try and cut it out of your day.

8. Tidy as you go along. Whether you are at work or at home keeping things tidy is an easy way to save time. If you know where things are and everything is neatly organised, you will find your life much easier.

9. Chunk your time. Instead of making phone calls or emails at random times of the day, group similar tasks together. You’ll get into a groove, if you have to leave a message give a specific time that you will be available to try and reduce the external distractions in your day.

10. Delegate. Outsourcing tasks is an easy way to save you time. Whether you use other people in your team, take on an intern or use a company such as cushion the impact, learn to delegate those tasks you identified as non fee earning or not essential for you to do. Yes it can be time consuming in the beginning to write clear instructions but even in the short term you will see the benefits.


cushion the impact was one of the first lifestyle management concierge companies in the country when Andrea Osborne set it up over twelve years ago. Over the years the team have helped hundreds of individuals and small business owners make the most of their personal, home and business lives. The company has now won two awards and has been a London Concierge finalist in the London Lifestyle Awards so if you would like more time in your life don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at cushion the impact. Andrea has written an e-book on Time Management due to be released at the end of January 2013.


Top 10 Exercise Tips for Stress

By: Charlene Hutsebaut, Fitness Expert for  The De-Stress Diet: The Revolutionary Lifestyle Plan for a Calmer, Slimmer You

Is it a good idea to exercise when you’re feeling stressed?

You bet!


Moving has many “de-stressing” benefits.

Use these top ten tips to guide you:

1. Use short non-exhaustive sessions of varying intensities.

2. Do these shorter workouts more often in a week rather than only 2 or 3 longer bouts.

3. Weight train. It helps to increase muscle which in turn positively influences your metabolism.

4. Exercise at work. Walk at lunchtime or do a short office workout or yoga practice somewhere quiet.

5. Move outside. Studies show increases in mood and Vitamin D intake (great for weight management, bone health and cancer prevention)

6. Exercise with others. The benefits of social activities are:

  • Boost in mood
  • It’s fun and makes us laugh
  • We get a natural hit of the happy chemical dopamine because of the tribal nature of social settings
  • Stimulates healthy competition
  • Can bring more purpose to workouts for some people
  • Allows time with partners, family or friends which otherwise may not happen
  • Gives a designated time to meet someone to be active

7. Rest. The body needs time to rejuvenate and repair after workouts. This is just as important as the workouts themselves and you’ll come back stronger.  Continually struggling through hard workouts day after day will only increase your feelings of stress.

8. Take the stairs. A British Journal of Sports Medicine study found that going up and down stairs for 2 minutes, 5 times per day boosted their fitness over an 8 week period. This is another way to take time out from your work day to “De-Stress”.

9. Vary and alternate your workouts. Move like our hunter-gatherer ancestors and modern Olympic athletes.  One day have a short workout, the next slightly longer then take a rest day.

10. Try something brand new. It takes you out of your comfort zone. This will allow you time to be in the moment as you learn new movement patterns.  Imagine being able to forget about the stressors of your life even for a few minutes.



Making exercise part of your life

This week I have a guest blogger! Her name is Michelle Pierre-Carr, an amazing woman who is a former Great Britain athlete and now a business owner and new mother. She explains her journey from competing at the elite level, to today, showing that even those who have been at a high level of performance need to make exercise a part of their life…..

Michelle is 2nd from left in photo!


“When people ask me about my athletics career, I often have to do a double take. Was I really an athlete? As it’s seven years since I retired now and my life has changed so much.

But yes I can hold my hand up and say that I was a former international Great Britain athlete and spent 13 years representing my country with the highest accolade being a Commonwealth silver medal at the 1997 Kuala Lumpur Games and a 4 x 400 metre finalist at the 1997 Athens World Championships. Never quite made the Olympics as my Achilles tendon proved to be my weak spot and my demise towards the end, but given that I started out life as a child constantly in hospital due to asthma I can’t knock my achievements really.
My life then obviously was completely different, physically I was training six days a week with 3 track sessions and 3 gym sessions which included weights, and mentally I was travelling from South London where I lived to West London every day to train with my coach Ron Roddan. If anyone from London can appreciate how difficult that can be given the traffic on an average day I would have to say back then I had the determination of an ox to be prepared to do that every day without batting an eye lid to achieve my goal.

Now as a destination wedding planner and owner of Pierre Carr, Exclusive Tropical Weddings and more recently a mother there never seems enough hours in the day to get business things done let alone think about exercise even though the heart and mind is willing. Don’t get me wrong I believe exercise is the foundation for feeling good, looking good and taking years off. But I am like everyone else now seeing how I can fit it into my hectic schedule. So yes even a former athlete has those days when they just can’t get it together.

However what I will say is even though I don’t have time to go to a specific class or to the gym I walk a hell of a lot with the pram in tow. I do believe that it’s not about making drastic measures that you can’t commit to, but it’s about making exercise part of your life. So if you need to get off the bus a stop before then do it. It might not be a lot of exercise but you are doing something at least and you will be surprised that by doing something every day can make a huge difference in the long run.”

Michelle Pierre-Carr

Former 400m GB athlete

Owner of Pierre Carr, Exclusive Tropical Weddings

The De-Stress Diet

Through 2011 I was asked by my business partner Charlotte Watts to contribute to the exercise chapter of “The De-Stress Diet” book written by Charlotte and award winning journalist Anna Magee. Of course I jumped at the chance to help the world get, stay and enjoy being fit and healthy.

The book officially launched on Jan 2/12 and has since been featured in the Daily Mail, The Sun, Marie Claire, Health & Fitness, Psychologies, Sainsbury’s Magazine and many more.

You can find it on our new website De-Stress Your Life.

This site includes free tools to guide you through the book including videos and audios. A shop to order food, videos and other items from the book as well as free yoga and exercise directories.

Thin is fit….or is it?

There is much debate at the moment regarding the body weight of women like Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge and Leanne Rimes the popular US country music singer. Are these young women healthy and fit or not? My friend and colleague Nutritional Practitioner and Personal Trainer Ian Craig addresses the “Thin is fit” notion………..

There is a prevailing dogma within the health and fitness industry that deserves some serious discussion. We are in an era of ‘thin is fit’, which perhaps stems from the fitness boom of the 1970’s and 80’s when the mass public of the Western World started running marathons and watching their dietary fat intake. The approach doesn’t appear to have worked particularly well but nonetheless, the increasing struggle with our waistlines has probably added to the perception that ‘thin is fit’.

So how do we become thin and fit? Well, if you follow the trends of the fitness clubs and popular health magazines, you will spend an hour per day on a treadmill or X-trainer and eat low-Calorie, low-fat food. The problem is that long-term, this approach is generally ineffective. The usual trend is for the body weight to initially drop, but to stabilise after a while. In an effort to drop more weight, the person may increase the cardiovascular exercise and further restrict the calories. This may or may not result in ‘thinness’ depending on the individual’s body type, but when you actually measure percentage body fat, it is often at surprisingly high levels.

Introducing Sarcopenia
Would you believe me if I told you that many skinny models are actually fat? They don’t look fat, but their body fat might exceed 30% of total body weight, compared to healthy levels of 20-25% for women and athletic levels of 15-20%. Looking at figure 1, both slim women appear the same, but one has a healthy body composition and the other a high percentage body fat plus accompanying health risks.

If you have done your maths, a bolstered fat-mass with the same body weight means a reduced muscle mass. There is actually a term for this; “Sarcopenia”, which in Greek means ‘poverty of flesh’! It is mostly used to describe the gradual loss of muscle mass as we get older,1 but is entirely relevant to individuals caught on the dieting/exercise cycle.

Of course, people who are outwardly overweight also often have depleted muscle mass and can produce some quite meagre strength outputs. In comparison, strength-based sports people (such as rugby and weight lifting) will often weight a lot, but are extremely lean because they carry a lot of muscle-mass.

Exercise for Fitness, not Fatness
If the high-Cardio, low-Calorie approach doesn’t produce the leanest, fittest body, then what does? Try combining some resistance exercise with CV training, along with appropriate eating patterns for your body type.

Resistance Training
Due to an increase in muscle mass, resistance exercise is thought to raise an individual’s metabolic rate. A meta-analysis and literature review have supported this viewpoint by observing that resistance exercise is effective in facilitating improvements in body composition, which may be due to its ability to increase or maintain lean body mass.2, 3 In my practical experience, resistance training, via free-weights, machine weights, circuits or core stability training can be an extremely effective and rapid way of improving body composition.

Cardiovascular Training
You may be mistaken in thinking after reading the previous paragraphs that CV exercise leads you into a state of Sarcopenia and puts your fat-loss efforts into jeopardy. CV training is often used as the base of a weight-loss programme: the respected American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)4 recommends progressively increasing exercise to 3 – 5 hours of exercise per week. After-all, we were designed to move and traditional workers (like my shepherd example in the last edition) generally stay lean and fit into old age. The problem comes when Caloric restriction is maintained for prolonged periods along with heavy CV exercise – excessive strain is put onto the adrenal glands, pancreas and liver to support blood sugar levels without adequate fuel intake and metabolic suppression tends to follow.

What is the optimum intensity to do CV training at? 14 pre-menopausal untrained women demonstrated that exercise training at 45% of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) produced a greater weight loss than burning the same number of Calories at 72% of VO2max, whereas the higher intensity exercise tended to maintain muscle mass.5

Practical Recommendations
Based on the theory of fat-loss that I have presented to you, along with experiential observations, I would suggest the following: If you are already quite fit, aim for at least 3 hours of cardiovascular training per week (perhaps 2 hours of low- to moderate-intensity and 1 hour of high-intensity) and at least 1 hour of resistance training per week (2 X 30min sessions).

If you are starting from a low fitness base, the most appropriate approach may be to start with a low-intensity exercise such as walking. In this way, the programme will be achievable, doesn’t require specialised equipment and may be more successful than a formal exercise approach: compliance to exercise referral programmes can be as low as 31%.6 Over-weight individuals should aim to accumulate an hour of low-intensity exercise most days7 and tools like step counters and activity diaries may be helpful to boost adherence. Resistance-based exercise can be done by anyone and you can chose from formal weight-training, super-circuits (in most S African gyms) or Pilates and tone classes. The basic requirement is to use large muscle groups in a repetitive way until some fatigue is felt. Some sample weight training exercises are shown in Table 1.

Additionally, your exercise experience must be enjoyable: Activities such as dancing, swimming, cycling and exercise classes can be shared with family or friends. In addition to planned exercise sessions, spontaneous minor activity can account for 20% of the differences of energy expenditure in a 24 hour time frame.8 Therefore, general activity, such as house work, gardening, walking to the shops and taking the stairs instead of the elevator can be extremely accumulative.

Does Food Matter?
It is important to note before concluding this article that in my professional career, I have never helped an individual towards a ‘lean and mean’ body shape without some attention to their food intake. The fat-loss effects of exercise can be potentiated by the addition of an individual meal plan. For example, a meta-analysis of 493 studies showed weight lost through exercise, diet or diet plus exercise to be 2.9, 10.7 and 11.0 kg respectively for the period of study.9 At one-year follow-up, diet plus exercise tended to be the superior program, possibly due to maintenance of muscle mass.

For an effective ‘fit, not fat’ programme, many components of health should be considered. A comprehensive exercise programme which maintains or increases lean muscle mass should certainly be an integral part of your plans. In addition to potentiating fat-loss, you are likely to experience many of the considerable health benefits that I discussed in the last edition.

  • Table 1
    Weight Training Exercises for Fat Loss
    Squats or Leg Press
    Bench Press or Chest Press
    Bent-Over Row or Seated Row
    Lunges or Step-ups
    Ab Crunchies on a Fit Ball or Floor
    Back Extensions on a Frame or Floor

Complete 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise. After a 2-4wk period of getting used to the exercises, choose a weight that produces failure within 12reps in your final set. If you are new to weight training, I thoroughly recommend seeking a good Personal Trainer to get you started.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Ian has more than 20 years’ experience as a competitive Middle Distance runner and is now a recreational triathlete. He studied Exercise Physiology to MSc level in America, before qualifying as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and spending several years as a Personal Trainer and Coach. Now a Nutritional Therapist, he integrates the two, often disparate, fields of Sports Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy in an applied way so that both health and performance of athletes are considered. He leads and lectures on the Competitive Athlete post-grad programme at CNELM (The Centre for Nutrition Education and Lifestyle Management) during his annual trips to the UK. Now based in South Africa, Ian lectures at Stellenbosch university, runs nutrition clinics and workshops and coaches runners and triathletes. Ian has nutrition and coaching practices in both London and South Africa. Reach him at[/author_info] [/author]


1. Marcell TJ, Sarcopenia: Causes, Consequences and Preventions. Journal of Gerontology 2003; 58A(10): 911-916.
2. Ballor, DL & Keesey RE, A meta-analysis of the factors affecting exercise-induced changes in body mass, fat mass and fat-free mass in males and females. Int J Obes 1991; 15(11): 717-726.
3. Votruba SB et al, The role of exercise in the treatment of obesity. Nutrition 2000; 16(3): 179-188.
4. Jakicic JM et al, American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exer 2001; 33(12): 2145-2156.
5. Mougios V et al, Does the intensity of an exercise programme modulate body composition changes? Int J Sports Med 2006; 27(3): 178-181.
6. Hillsdon M & Thorogood M, A systematic review of physical activity promotion strategies. Br J Sports Med 1996; 30(2): 84-89.
7. Leermakers EA et al, Exercise management of obesity. Med Clin North Am 2000; 84(2): 419-440.
8. Dauncey, MJ, Activity and energy expenditure. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 1990, 68(1): 17-27.
9. Miller WC et al, A meta-analysis of the past 25 years of weight loss research using diet, exercise or diet plus exercise intervention. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1997; 21(10): 941-947.

Should I lose weight for my wedding?

Getting ready for your wedding?  Just that question alone can make a bride-to-be stressed!  Not only is there planning to be done, families to be kept happy but also this driving need to “fit into” their wedding dress.  I will leave the first two elements to the wedding planners and life coaches out there and stick with what I know….the issue of weight loss.  Should a bride lose weight before her wedding?

Much media hype at the moment is of course about Kate Middleton getting ready for her wedding.  She looked wonderful, fit and healthy before the engagement and recently has started to shed body weight. My question as an exercise professional is why?  She looked and acted confident before she started dropping weight. Another celebrity in the limelight is American Country singer LeeAnn Rimes who has lost a lot of weight and in my opinion does not look better for it.  In my mind there was absolutely no need for either of these fit healthy women to lose anymore on the scales. My professional approach to health and fitness is to not use the scales but other measures such as girth measurements, energy and fitness levels and feelings of wellbeing. I will come to explain these later.

A very popular wedding planner has been quoted as saying that many brides lose weight in the lead up to their wedding because of the stress.  This may be true, but isn’t this supposed to be a happy day?  If a bride wants to be healthy and happy there are ways to look and feel great & combat stress!  I believe stress can be avoided by making positive choices, being organized and delegating tasks.

How to do this is the question?  I feel getting married is a great time to have a health/fitness goal to work towards. The reality is, no matter what anyone else says a bride will want to look and feel great on her day.  If she wants to be fitter, more toned and healthier she should start at least three months to a year before the month of the wedding.  There are scientific reasons for this.  Physiologically the body needs to have time to set new motor patterns, lay down muscle, shrink fat cells and develop healthier tissue.  This all takes much more than a month, which some brides feel is more than ample to get fit.  It’s not.

The benefits for starting as far away from the wedding date as possible are many. Regular exercise, meditation, yoga/pilates and other alternative health practices will keep stress at bay, keep energy levels even and feelings of emotional wellbeing positive. These things should be done consistently and regularly each week with a well-balanced nutrient rich food plan.  This will most likely result in girth measurements lowering, perhaps some weight loss, but not unhealthy amounts and a start on a healthier lifestyle for a lifetime past the wedding.  Imagine being a bride and actually enjoying the lead up to your wedding, feeling stress free and happy on the day itself and finally staying healthy and fit for years to come!

I strongly suggest that a bride does not focus on the numbers on the scales but on healthy goals such as girth measurements, how clothes fit and most importantly how she feels. As many people may have already read, muscle tissue weighs more than fat.  If one starts a fitness routine in the lead up to their wedding they will build new muscle which will most likely not show a change on the scales but will certainly allow them to feel more toned, energetic, stress free and have clothes feeling better.  A good way to think about this comparatively is to visualise two women of the same height and age, one being an athlete or regular exerciser and the other a sedentary (non-active) person.  The reality is that the former will be heavier on the scales because of having more muscle tissue than the sedentary woman but will look more toned, healthier and fit.  So in my professional opinion this means that the scales are negligible.  What do they really tell us if the heavier woman in our example looks and feels better?

One of my objectives as a Personal Trainer and Exercise Professional is to teach women how to discover that being healthy, fit and happy is not about the scales.  It is about living a full, active, well balanced lifestyle which makes you feel energetic and happy on a regular basis.  Have you ever stood on your scales and seen a number you liked or felt elated by what you saw? Most women I have worked with have never gotten the result they want.  This has to tell us something about using scales as a measure of ourselves or how we feel.

My hope is that by reading this article you will be able to make a start on the road to feeling better about yourself.  Not only in the lead up to your wedding day but for a lifetime.


First written for and published on The Butterfly Journal – an inspiring wedding guide by Pierre Carr

Photo by Sharron Goodyear on Free Digital Photos

Image: Sharron Goodyear /


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Charlene Hutsebaut is a Canadian Personal Trainer and Well-being Consultant living in London England. She has 17 years in the fitness industry holding degrees in both Physical Education and Education, is certified with the NSCA and is a Stott Certified Pilates Instructor. She educates people on exercise, nutrition, health issues and lifestyle changes. Her love of fitness has taken her around the world training clients privately in Portugal, New Zealand, Spain, Morocco and Italy. The exclusive inspa retreats company has also recruited her to work at their stunning venues in Tuscany, Marrakech and on the wild Moroccan Coast. She trains one to one clients in London, virtually via skype, has an online membership site as well as Natural Health site Find her on Twitter & facebook under @positivelyslim [/author_info] [/author]