Exercise Classes in Reading

Our new boot camp in Reading is one of a series of exercise classes in Reading that we hold in Christchurch Meadows in Caversham. We currently have a group of around 25 people who attend up to four of our exercise classes each week. The sessions run on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7pm and we also have two classes at the weekend. The Saturday morning session starts at 9am and the Sunday morning session begins at 10am. New participants are always welcome, simply turn up and join in on the day.

Our sessions always start with a 10 minute dynamic flexibility section where we get the group to do some gentle running and general stretches whilst on the move. This helps the members get properly warmed up and helps prevent injury during the workouts.

This is then usually followed by a circuit or resistance training section. People enjoy this part the most as we let them use the “fitness toys” which include kettle bells, skipping ropes, boxing pads and medicine balls. Along with body weight exercises such as squats and push ups, we use the toys to sculpt and tone people’s muscles.

We always finish the session with a running section. This can involve long distance running drills, which can be good for fitness but very rarely for fat loss. To encourage fat loss we use High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) drills. These usually include a series of sprint drills between cones which produce lactic acid in the blood. This lactic acid is very good for fat burning and is one of the principles we base our exercise sessions on.

By this stage the participants are normally exhausted and we always finish with a good cool down and stretch for the last 10 minutes. After a light jog we complete the session with a series of whole body stretches that help to restore normal muscle length and begin to reduce the levels of muscle soreness which are inevitable.

Along with the regular exercise classes in Reading all our members get a nutritional guide written by our in house certified nutritional therapist. This diet protocol is based on low Glycemic or low GI principles where people are encouraged to eat more protein and healthy fats whilst limiting refined carbohydrates. There are no calorie restrictions or portion controls as the results come from the low GI eating where insulin (fat storage hormone) levels are reduced, therefore reducing body fat storage. We also recommend sensible supplement products for our clients to help improve their results.

We keep people motivated and accountable on each of our courses by assessing their body composition at the start and end of the course. To achieve this we use an Omron machine which measures both body fat levels and BMI.

For this month we are making a very special offer for new members – instead of one week free as our guests you can get double that. If you’d like two free weeks of boot camps go to our website at www.peakxvfitness.com/bootcamps-reading or call me today on 07879 646969. Don’t miss this chance to join the best exercise classes in Reading.


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Wandsworth Nutritional Therapist

Wandsworth nutritional therapist explains why you should eat organic food to prevent insulin resistance. There tends to be quite a debate about the pros and cons of organic food. Some research studies come out claiming organic food is healthier in terms of nutrient density compared to no organic food. For example The Soil Association’s document “organic farming, food quality and human health report” concluded that the evidence supports the hypothesis that organically grown crops are significantly different in terms of food safety, nutritional content and nutritional value from those produced by non-organic farming and recommends that consumers wishing to improve their intake of minerals, vitamin C and antioxidant phytonutrients while reducing their exposure to potentially harmful pesticide residues, nitrates, genetically modified organisms and artificial additives used in food processing should, wherever possible, choose organically produced food.


However other research claims that organic food is not healthier than nonorganic food, see here for more on this.


What seems to be missed in the debate on organic versus non-organic food is the irrefutable fact that most non-organic foods are covered in a chemical cocktail of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. There are over 400 chemicals licensed to be sprayed on crops throughout the UK, often times in combination. A field of wheat can be sprayed up to 8 times from the time it’s sown to the times it’s harvested with multiple chemicals. What we are starting to realise is that these chemicals are a leading cause of insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes.


There is now a huge body of evidence that links persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to diabetes. A study in 2006 study found a “striking” dose response relationships between six POPs and the prevalence of diabetes in U.S. adults. The higher the levels of these POPs found in their blood, the higher the prevalence of diabetes. In a follow up study published by the same authors PCBs and organochlorine pesticides were the most strongly associated with the prevalence of diabetes.


The mechanism behind the link between pesticides and diabetes is as follows. These PCBs and organochlorine pesticides are similar in chemical structure to your body’s own oestrogen. Therefore they are capable of mimicking oestrogen in the body and binding on to oestrogen receptors on cell membranes.


We now know that the beta cells in the pancreas that release insulin have oestrogen receptors on them. These beta cells can become stimulated by the widespread environmental contamination of pesticides leading to increased insulin secretion with or without the presence of sugar in the blood and leading poor blood glucose maintenance.  If you have constantly high insulin levels the cells become insulin resistant and you can develop diabetes or become obese.


Now earlier I stated that most non-organic foods are covered in these chemicals and in my Wandsworth nutritional therapist 12 week nutritional therapy programme I help my clients decide which food they can buy organic and which they can buy non-organic. The Environmental working group have published a list called the dirty dozen. This is a list of 12 foods that are most contaminated with pesticides and definitely should be avoided unless they are organic. These include:


  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Peppers
  • Spinach, kale and collard greens
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Imported grapes
  • Lettuce


They also published a list called the clean 15 – this is a list of foods that had the least amount of detectable pesticides on them. The Clean 15 include:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Aubergine
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet corn
  • Onions
  • Sweet peas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon


Some evidence from the past


The Haughley Experiment was the first scientific comparative study of organic farming and conventional chemical-based farming, started in 1939 by Lady Eve Balfour. In the book “The Haughley Experiment” you can find a reference to a school in New Zealand who began farming their own organic food. They had a noticeable reduction in children reporting to the school nurse and a significant reduction in injuries among rugby players, particularly ligament injuries.


So not only does eating organic foods protect us from consuming chemicals that may lead us to be overweight and obsess or develop diabetes, they may also protect our bodies from illness and injury. Bob Rakowski sums it up nicely when he suggests that if you are not buying organic food you are supporting and industry that is poisoning every man, women and child on the planet.


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Lose Your Muffin Top for Good

Lose your muffin top for good. The unsightly bulge of fat that sits around the waistband and hangs over your jeans like the crust of a muffin that overhangs the cup cake is aptly named the muffin top. It is the scourge of anyone who wants to wear hipsters, a low slung belt or who just wants to look good in skinny jeans. However this particular area of fat storage is down to poor regulation of your blood sugar and the hormone insulin. Once you get these under control you will start to lose fat from this unsightly area.

The first thing you can do is to control your blood sugar. The best way to do this is to eat a low glycemic load diet. This involves consuming healthy protein (such as meat, fish, seafood, poultry and eggs) and fats (such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, oily fish and coconut oil) with low glycemic load fruits, vegetables, grain and legumes.

The glycemic load is a system of classifying carbohydrate containing foods by how quickly the carbohydrate is released into the blood stream. The GL system scores foods as low GL that are less than 10, moderate GL that are 11-20 and high GL as anything over 20.

It is beyond the scope of this article to outline the GL of all carbohydrate containing foods, but a general rule is that thin skinned fruits such as berries, apples, pears and plums and green leafy vegetables are all low GL. Things like potatoes, bread and whole grains are moderate GL and all processed foods such as sugar, sweats, chocolates and white grains are high GL. This may be a bit of an over simplification but you will certainly start losing weight if you eat lean protein and healthy fats with mainly low GL food, a little moderate GL food and no high GL foods. See here for more on the GL of foods.

A good way to bust through a plateau of weight loss and start melting away the muffin top is to do a 2 week low carb boot camp as used by Steve Hines in his nutritionist for weight loss programme:

2-week boot camp phase

The boot camp phase is a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet. It forms the foundation of how you should eat to initially lose weight and then – with certain foods added back in for a fuller varied diet – maintain a healthy weight.

This type of “low carb” boot camp phase is the staple of many successful weight loss programmes including, but not exclusively:

• Anne Louise Gittleman – Fat Flush plan
• Charles Poliquin – BioSignature
• Patrick Holford – The low GL diet

I have taken different things from the above named programmes as well as from the likes of Jonny Bowden and Mauro Di Pasquale to create the following 2-week bootcamp.

After the initial two weeks other foods can be added back to the diet to make it a more balanced diet to meet all your nutritional needs.

Number 1: Protein in Greek means “of first importance” so make sure your first choice in a meal is a good quality portion of protein. Once you have worked out your daily protein requirement simply divided this by 3 or 5 (depending on whether you eat 3 or 5 meals a day) and eat that amount of protein at each meal.


Protein requirement = 550g per day
• Breakfast: 120g
• Snack: 40g
• Lunch: 150g
• Snack: 40g
• Dinner: 200g

Weigh your protein after it has been cooked to make sure you are getting the right amount at each meal. Make sure to eat quality organic meat and fish to avoid oestrogens, growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides stored in animal fat.

Number 2: For 14 days eat a 100% strict LOW carbohydrate diet (this means NO alcohol, grains, fruits, dairy, starchy vegetables etc…) except:

• Artichokes, avocado (1 a day), asparagus, aubergine, bamboo shoots, beetroot greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, raw carrots, celery, chard, collards, courgette, cucumber, fennel, green beans, kale, lettuce leaves (all types), mushrooms, olives (3 a day), onions, parsley, peas, peppers, radishes, sauerkraut, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts and watercress.

You can eat as much of these fibrous carbohydrates a day as you can as they are in low carbohydrate content, high in fibre, rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and they cause only a little insulin to be released. Aim for 4-5 servings of these vegetables a day. Fibrous carbohydrates DO NOT include any grains, breads or starches – only the vegetables on the list above.

You can also eat:

• 2 eggs a day
• 2-3 servings a day of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter
• Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, horseradish and pickles.
• Ginger, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, basil, thyme, oregano, black pepper, sage, cardamom etc…
• Butter, olive oil, walnut, avocado and sesame oil.

Here’s an example of how to do it for a 75 kg male:

Breakfast: 7am
100g salmon, 6-10 nuts, black coffee and water.

Mid morning snack: 10am
Large Romaine lettuce leaves, 50g of sliced beef, horseradish – crepes.

Lunch: 1pm
170g chicken breast with mixed leaf salad, tomato, ½ avocado, radishes and 1 tbsp olive oil.

Mid afternoon snack: 3:30pm
Crudités of carrot, pepper and courgette with 50g of prawns

Dinner: 7pm
150g steak, steamed broccoli, cauliflower and a small slice of butter to season the vegetables

1.5 l of water throughout the day
2 cups of green tea

As I said at the end of the 2 weeks slowly add back other foods for a varied diet, start with thin skinned fruits- adding back 1-2 servings a day for a week or two, then try sweet potato, humus or whole grain rice. The key is to eat small amounts of these carbohydrates making vegetables the centre of your carbohydrate content of a meal.


Certain supplements have an effect on lowering insulin production or making you more sensitive to insulin. Here are some examples:

• 2-3 g of fish oil with every meal
• Multivitamin and mineral 1 a day
• Cinnamon
• Chromium
• Fenugreek

So when you eat a low carb diet to control insulin and re-sensitise your cells to insulin with certain supplements you’ll soon melt away that muffin top.

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