Our secret garden!
Jenny Dunn, Personal Trainer and Alive’s very own Horticulturist gives us the low down on Alive’s secret garden and how the changeable weather has affected the plants.
‘Well finally the rain abated and the sun came out! The garden has grown dramatically in all the stubborn rain we have had. Toby’s Cobea (commonly known as Cathedral bells) has done a fantastic job of almost completely covering the wooden fence on both sides. Considering this was only planted out earlier this year its growth is astonishing!
The sunshine we have had over the last week has encouraged out its stunning, big white bell shaped flowers (hence the name!) I am hoping that we will soon get some buzzing visitors attracted to this and the beautiful smelling honeysuckle which is now in full bloom.
Talking of visitors we have had a fair few amazing, punky, spiky long haired black and yellow caterpillars (much to Stephan’s horror!) These have more than quadrupled in size and now can be spotted in pupae form (if you look carefully enough) Soon emerge as much less flamboyant, rather conservative brown Vapourer moths.
We also have a magnificent bright green caterpillar which has eaten its way through our French bean plant, thank you very much! I believe it will turn into a Small White otherwise known as Cabbage White butterfly.
The Kiwi plant is running rampant along the wall of the Crèche and Neil’s tomato plant has loads of flowers on it, some already turning into small green tomatoes. So fingers crossed despite the best efforts of the Cabbage White caterpillar, we may be able to harvest a little for ourselves from the secret garden yet….
Check out the links below:
Vapourer Moth Caterpillar http://www.habitas.org.uk/moths/images/larvae/6112l.jpg
Vapourer Moth http://www.habitas.org.uk/moths/images/larvae/6112l.jpg
Personal trainer, Matt Dunn, runs through a highly effective training system which can easily be done as part of your gym routine.
There are numerous approaches to resistance training and deciding which one to apply to your own routine can be confusing. In truth as individuals we all respond differently to varying types of exercise. The majority of people respond well to new stimulus, “keeping your body guessing” if you like.
If you are looking for some variety to your weights (resistance) routine why not give the SuperSlow training system a go. The tempo of an exercise refers to how long it takes to complete each stroke/phase of the movement, it is commonly around 1:1 (1 second lifting and 1 second lowering) or 2:2. SuperSlow exercises are performed at a much slower tempo, the idea being that muscles are under tension for a much longer period of time, typically 80-120 seconds. Exercises are performed for a single set until you can’t continue. Because of the increased time under load you will have to reduce the amount of weight used for a given exercise by up to 60%.
There are a number of benefits to adopting the SuperSlow approach. Firstly, because of the decreased loads used it is structurally less demanding for the body so it is well suited for people with joint/arthritic problems, older people or those suffering from injury. Working at a slow tempo also encourages a greater level of muscle awareness throughout a full range of movement. If you are short of time then SuperSlow training can be very effective as workouts tend to be under for the whole body and completed within 20 min! It should be noted that whilst SuperSlow training is beneficial in many ways it doesn’t have much crossover for most sports/activities that require increased acceleration and will not be as effective if you want to achieve maximal strength and power from your training. However as a tool to add new stimulus and variety to your program and as a method of maintaining strength during injury it is a great approach.
Don’t be mistaken into thinking that because you are working slowly and for only 20 mins that the SuperSlow training is easy. Because you are working to exhaustion on each set it proves a challenging workout!
Have a go at the workout below; perform 1 set of each exercise with as many reps as possible. The tempo remains the same throughout. As you become stronger increase the load or the number of repetitions to progress your training.
1 – Leg Press 10:10
2 – Chest Press 8:8
3 – Leg Curls 6:6
4 – Shoulder Press 8:8
5 – Lat Pull Down 8:8
6 – Abdominal Crunch 5:5
For more help on how to apply SuperSlow training to your sessions or advice on how to refresh your gym routine, talk to one of the personal trainers in the gym or book in for a program review on reception.
Just to introduce myself to those of you who have not already met me, my name is Marianne but most people know me as Maz. I have taken over Creche from the lovely Nicky, who I know will be greatly missed. My previous experience in child care (apart from having two sons myself) has ranged from room leader in a baby room to managing a small nursery and most recently I became a self employed child carer in the home, working with The Family Information Centre. I am qualified to NVQ Level 3, Ofsted Registered,insured and hold a paediatric first aid certificate. It’s a bit like being a nanny but irregular hours! I was then lucky enough to be introduced to Alive by Joe, so now I do a bit of both. I have been here a couple of months already. Its gone so fast and I am enjoying meeting all the regular children and parents. I have also had a couple of new children to the creche in the last month but we do have plenty of space for more! So, if you have any children up to 8yrs old and would like to use any facilities whilst your children are safe and having fun, then please come and see me. We are so lucky to have a creche,there are very few gyms locally that do and if anyone out there uses childcare they will know that we offer very reasonable rates.
We have lots of toys for various age groups and I never say no to a request. The children decide what they would like to play with and there are also plenty of books if they fancy a story. I always ensure there is play dough, sand/water play and painting to hand in the messy area. We follow Ofsted guidelines for our ratios too, so you know we won’t be overcrowded and the children will have enough attention.
As the schools have now finished for the summer its worth remembering that we take school age children up to 8yrs (INCLUSIVE!) so if you usually come to the
gym whilst your children are at school and you are wondering how you will manage for the holidays….look no further! They are welcome to bring snacks and any
toys they would like from home. During the holidays I will be bringing my face paints in and planning some craft activities for the older age groups so don’t send them in their best clothes please!
At present the creche is only open from 9am-1pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. I do occasionally stay later if there is a demand. We are also considering offering Wednesdays and possibly weekend creche so watch this space! You can book up to a week in advance and there is no charge for cancellations if they are made at least 24 hours prior to the booked slot. You can choose one hour, one and a half or two hours of care so if you want to chill out and catch your breath before you come to collect them you can. Please feel free to come and check the creche out,those of you that have not yet seen it will be impressed, I guarantee you. Those of you that already use creche, please feel free to make any request or suggestions.
Hope to see you and your children soon!
Joe Addison, Personal Trainer, gives us his top summer tip of using nutrition to help protect you from the sun’s rays.
‘Now that the sun is finally here (for a little while, at least), it’s really important to look after your skin.
As well as covering up and using sun screen, there are a few foods you can eat to help protect against the sun’s powerful rays. Luckily, they are all things you should be eating anyway, as part of a healthy balanced diet!’
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
First up we have Omega-3s. These have been shown to protect from free radical damage (like that caused by the sun) and can be found in shellfish and oily fish like sardines.
Red and Orange Fruit and Veg
Lycopene, which is found in red and pink foods such as tomatoes, has been shown to protect the skin against some UV-induced irritations.
Beta-carotine, which can be found in orange and red fruit and veg has been linked to reduced reaction to sunburn. And Flavanoid-filled orange and pink citrus fruits have been shown to protect the skin from UV rays.
Cruciferous and Green Veggies
Things like kale, cauliflower and broccoli are packed with antioxidants that help to rid the body of those pesky free-radicals.
Green leafy veg is also filled with the antioxidants and one study has suggested that dark leafy veg such as Spinach can reduce the risk of skin cancer reoccurring in remission patients.
Both the green and black varieties (which start off as leafy greens anyway) contain polyphenols, which have been shown to help stop cancer development, just don’t add lots of milk and sugar!
The flavanoids found in dark chocolate could help protect against sun burns. Plus, they keep the skin hydrated, increase oxygen saturation and increase blood flow. Hurrah!
‘So load up on these goodies and you’ll help protect yourself against that nasty ball of fire that only seems to appear a couple of times a year!’
Grilled wild salmon with anchovies, capers & lentils
Wild Salmon is now in season so this delicious dish is perfect cooked on the griddle or the barbecue.
Difficulty and servings:
Preparation and cooking times
ready in 35-40 minutes
- 4 Lemons
- 16 salted anchovies, rinsed, filleted and dried
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 8 tbsp capers, well rinsed
- 6 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 side of wild salmon from a 3.5kg/7lb 8oz fish, cut into 8, 175/6oz portions
FOR THE LENTILS
- 300g small brown lentils , such as Castelluccio or Puy
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 sprigs of sage(8-10 leaves)
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Get the lentils ready first. Tip them into a small saucepan, cover with water and add the garlic and sage. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain, discard garlic and sage, season with salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil and set aside.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon over anchovies in a bowl, add freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix capers with the parsley in another bowl. You can get to here several hours in advance.
- Preheat griddle pan until very hot. Season salmon on both sides, then sear, skin-side down (if pan is very hot the skin won’t stick – this goes for grilling on a barbecue, too). Turn fish over when you see it change colour halfway, then sear the other side. This will take 2-3 minutes on each side for rare salmon, but cooking time may vary if pieces of fish are very thick.
- To serve, reheat the lentils and put a large spoonful in the centre of warmed plates. Top with the salmon, skin-side up, then scatter the anchovies, capers and parsley on top. Serve with the remaining lemons.
485 kcalories, protein 38g, carbohydrate 19g, fat 26 g, saturated fat 4g, fibre 4g, salt 1.52
Personal Trainer Joe Addison gives us his top tips for avoiding injury whilst Running.
Statistically , around 75% of runners will be injured at least once a year.
Many people assume this is just part of being a runner, but it doesn’t have
to be the case. Learning to run with better form can help reduce the risk
of injury significantly.
Once of the most common types of running injury is simply overuse. Going
out and running 6 times a week is going to lead to all sorts of problems.
If you are just starting out as a runner, you need to avoid doing Too Much
Too Soon. Many injuries can be dodged by keeping the volume and
intensity low and build up gradually. 3 times a week is plenty.
Stay Off Your Heels
If you over stride, you are more likely to land heel first with your leg
straight, which sends a huge impact spike up through your ankles, knees and
hips. The only reason you don’t notice this is because you have a layer of
foam under your heel which masks (but doesn’t stop) the spike.
Keep your stride short, with your feet landing underneath rather than in
front of you. Try to keep your knees bent and land on the balls of your
feet. Studies have shown that this significantly reduces impact forces.
Mix It Up
Plodding along at the same pace every time you run will usually result in
either boredom or a plateau (or both). If you want to improve as a runner
you need to vary your training a bit.
My favourite method is *Fartlek *(no laughing!). Fartlek is Swedish for
‘speed play’ and basically involves speeding up or slowing down whenever
you feel like it. You could say “I’m going to sprint to the next lamp post”
or “I’ll speed up until the end of this song, then walk for a bit”
Now I’m not saying that these things will magically result in you running
injury free for the rest of your life, but they will go a long way towards
helping you avoid the most common runners complaints.
Baked Raspberry Cheesecake
Raspberries are in Season during July so why not take advantage and bake this delicious baked cheescake. Its a dead easy 2 step recipe which looks as though it took lots of time and skill to make.
Difficulty and servings:
Preparation and cooking times
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Ready in 1 hour
- 8 Digestive biscuits
- 50g butter, melted
- 600g cream cheese
- 2tbsp plain flour
- 175g castor sugar
- Vanilla extract
- 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
- 142ml pot soured cream
- 300g raspberries
- Icing sugar
- Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Crush 8 digestive biscuits in a food processor (or put in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Mix with 50g melted butter. Press into a 20cm springform tin and bake for 5 minutes, then cool.
- Beat 600g cream cheese with 2 tbsp flour, 175g caster sugar, a few drops of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1 yolk and a 142ml pot of soured cream until light and fluffy. Stir in 150g raspberries and pour into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes and then check, it should be set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave in the tin to cool.
- Using the remaining 150g raspberries, keep a few for the top and put the rest in a pan with 1 tbsp icing sugar. Heat until juicy and then squash with a fork. Push through a sieve. Serve the cheescake with the raspberry sauce and raspberries.
How does your garden grow?
Over the past 8 months or so, Alive has begun to cultivate a small garden in the patio behind the creche and studio. It began with a few waif and stray plants that had been dotted around the gym and therapy rooms. These were joined by a chilli plant and some patio roses that looked half dead covered in whitefly! These were lovingly washed, pruned and tended back to health by Jenny, one of our trainers.
We have accumulated a garden full of plants now! Some have been rescued from roadsides and by bins, some have been donated by Toby, some cuttings and young plants from our members and others bought in by Jenny.
Our aim is to create a small oasis in the middle of our city which provides habitat and food for pollinating insects such a butterflies and bees. We are also hoping to have some feathered visitors once the climbing Honeysuckle, Cobia, Kiwi and Ivy has established up the walls. There is a “green roof” of Sedum planned on the top of the air con unit which we will have a birdbath on too. Hopefully the sales team will be able to watch birds drinking and bathing as they work!
We have Tomatoes, French beans, Cucumber and Strawberries that we hope to be able to harvest later in the Summer. The barren, unused space has been transformed into one that the children in the crèche can use and staff can sit out and enjoy on their break. It also provides interest when a much needed breather is required from those working hard in our studio classes!
Please feel free to come and take a look next time you are in the studio or look out of the windows in the gym stretching area. Give it a couple of months and you may be able to come down and pinch a Tomato or two!
Help raise money for Rocking Horse Appeal
On Thursday 7th June starting from 7pm, MRL( Recruitment firm) are attempting to cycle 1415 miles in 24 hours on bikes loaned from Alive. They are hoping to raise a HUGE amount of money for the Rocking Horse Appeal. Our very own Joseph Tanner from the Alive sales team will be jumping on a bike on Thursday 7th at 21.00 till 22.00 and then again 23.00 till midnight. He will then jump on again on the final leg on Friday 8th June from 15.00-16.00 and then 17.00-18.00pm. They will be attempting this feat above Hove Train station, so go along and show them your support and give a big cheer for Joseph!
You can sponsor the team by Text ROCK18 (Donation amount) to 70070 or visit
their fundrasing website http://www.justgiving.com/MRL
Rockinghorse Charity is a Brighton based charity, the charity aim is to
improve the lives of sick children throughout Sussex. It is a charity that
Alive team is passionate about, for more information on the charity please
Recovery after exercise is essential to muscle and tissue repair and strength building. This is even more critical after a heavy weight training session. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild depending on the intensity of your exercise
session, your adaptation to training, level of fitness, and past exercise
nutrition and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building. For weight training routines, never work the same muscles groups two days in a row.
No matter how hard you train you will not gain optimal benefit from your training without
That first hour following intensive exercise can be said to be the most important in
ensuring quick full recovery. So………
- Warm down properly on a bike or rowing machine
- Ensure adequate nutrition
- Ensure adequate rest, making sure you gain enough rest between exercise bouts
- Plan your workouts, try to include lighter workouts to enable your body time to recover from more intensive sessions
- Stretch – it will aid in the flexibility of muscles and reduce the likelihood of injury
The most important thing you can do to recovery quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. If you are feeling strong the day after a hard workout, you don’t have to force yourself to go slow. If you pay attention, in most cases, your body will let you know what it needs, when it needs it. The problem for many of us is that we don’t listen to those warnings or we dismiss them with our own self talk (“I can’t be tired, I didn’t run my best yesterday” or “No one else needs two rest days after that workout; they’ll think I’m a wimp if I go slow today.”).
Listen to your body to get the most from it!