Monday, 26 November 2012

Gift Certificates for Christmas

Christmas is getting closer but do not worry if you have not bought the perfect gifts for your loved ones yet. This Christmas we have the perfect choice for you! Gift certificates available for barefoot running coaching, invigorating personal training, sports massage or introducing our very new and exciting mobility yoga massage treatment.

A printed copy can be posted to you in advance if you order your gift certificate before the 5th December 2012, after this date only e-vouchers will be issued.

To snap up your gift certificate contact us at

Kind Regards
Lea Bentzen

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Do you have Glute Amnesia?

Many of us are suffering from glute amnesia, our butts have literally fallen asleep. Just because you are doing squats, dead-lifts, or lunges does not mean your glutes are necessarily working. They should, but the body will compensate and use whatever muscle is strongest to complete the lift. Many people will only “feel” squats in their quads because they are so quad dominant, and don’t know how to use their backsides. Too much sitting and lack of movement have contributed to this imbalance. If you look at glute development around the world, you can clearly see the difference in communities where running, jumping and squatting is a daily part of their life. We all spend too much of our day sitting, often up to 10 hours a day. From our earliest years we are taught to sit in chairs, in cars, slouch on sofas, hunch over computers, and stare at TV screens. We sit at breakfast, we sit on the train on the way to work, we sit at work, we sit at lunch, and we sit all afternoon. So what is the big deal I hear you ask? When sitting down our glutes switches off and forces other, less powerful muscles to pick up the slack. This results in unnecessary tightness, strain and pain in muscles like the hamstrings and inner thigh muscles that were originally designed to assist the glutes, not take over for them. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Mushroom Nutrition

Mushrooms may be small but nutrition facts prove that they have plenty of vitamins and minerals. One cup of mushrooms includes vitamins C, D, B6 and B12, plus large doses of riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins along with minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and selenium keep you fit and in good health.

Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years both as food and for medicinal purposes. Mushrooms contain a high percentage of water (80-90%), they have very little sodium, and 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fibre. Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portobello mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice. One serving of mushrooms also provides about 20 to 40 percent of the daily value of copper, a mineral that has cardio protective properties. 

Mushroom Foraging
Picking your own mushrooms is very much on trend and there are apparently around 100 edible types in Britain, you just need to get out there and pick them. The first time you go it's worth going with an experienced picker as you want to avoid the poisonous varieties, which, if eaten, can cause serious illness. So make sure to use a guidebook and/or get expert advice. Nick Weston from Hunter Gather Cook in Sussex, offers courses in October where you learn how to identify and gather mushrooms, followed by cooking up a variety of taster dishes using the fungal finds from the day. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Coconut - The Tree of Life

The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

It's the coconut oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine. Coconut oil consists of over 90% saturated fat and is therefore nearly solid at room temperature. It can be used in cooking, but is also a common ingredient in home remedies and skin/hair products. Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. If you want to read more about the benefits of coconut oil check out Dr Joseph Mercola's article in the Huffington Post.

Friday, 18 May 2012

The foot is a biomechanical masterpiece

What is the purpose of you taking off your shoes?
When I ask people to take their shoes off when training with me, most people question me in more of a derogatory than inquisitive way, so I try to keep my answer as short as possible by saying: "it makes your feet stronger."  While this is true, there are a few more reasons why we should train with bare feet.
Barefoot training improves mobility
How deep do you think you can
squat wearing Nike Air Max?
When you train without trainers, it allows you to sink deeper into your squats and lunges. The deeper you can sink, the better able you are to improve ankle mobility. Full range of movement in your ankles also improves your ability to sprint, run and walk pain and injury free. Barefoot training takes your lower limbs through their full range of motion, it builds strength and improves your balance and mobility. Most of the barefoot populations around the world can remain in a deep squat for extended periods of time with no discomfort while they cook, gossip, eat and poo. Not all at the same time of course. Most western populations cannot do a barefoot deep squat and if they can it will not be without discomfort. This is because we spend too much time in chairs and cushioned shoes. Barefoot squatting opens up the hip and the groin area and maintains good hip flexion which in turn helps prevent injury. This is particularly useful for runners who often have tightness in the hip area. Squatting is also good for your back as well as maintaining a good range of motion in the knees, ankles and feet. Being able to squat easily will have huge carry over to your general athleticism: the squat is required for jumping, running and lifting.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Bored of running like a Hamster in a wheel? Try Wild Running

Treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of gym equipment ever constructed. You have total control of every aspect of your workout, the weather is irrelevant, and you don't have to worry about darkness and careless drivers. But let's face it. Treadmills can be really boring. Like a hamster on its wheel, you can run to your heart's content, and the view never changes. The annoying motor sound of treadmills, and the whirring of cross-trainers and stationary bikes in basement gyms couldn't do more to disconnect the mind, body and spirit from the natural world. Unfortunately most of us still choose this option because it is convenient and we feel more comfortable indoors. In order to escape the hamster wheel and spice up your workout I suggest you take a break from the human treadmill zoo and try some wild running. Wild running is what most kids do when they are outdoors playing. Kids will constantly make a detour from the official path to jump over fallen logs or swing from the branches of a tree. All for fun of course. Grown-ups stay on the path and do not include the landscape in our workout, we have forgotten how to play and move our bodies naturally. Instead we stick to one form of motion such as running at the expense of our other muscle groups and movement skills. Wild running is, in essence, including the landscape on your run, in order to create an obstacle course for yourself.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Juicing, Enemas and Detoxing. Should we bother?

Many people believe detoxing is necessary for the maintenance of good health, whilst others say that there is little benefit and that it is a complete waste of time. I guess the only way to find out is to try it and then decide what is right for you.

The body does have the natural ability to eliminate toxins through the skin, liver, kidneys and intestines. It has been doing so since the beginning of time. However times have changed. We are no longer living in a natural environment without toxins. Our lifestyles have changed dramatically over the past 100 years. On a daily basis we are exposed to dangerous chemicals in the air we breathe and the foods we eat. The human body is being bombarded with more toxic attacks and at a rate that's next to impossible to keep up with. Here are a few examples of harmful substances we take in:

Thursday, 1 December 2011

To CrossFit or Not to CrossFit?

If you are not already familiar with CrossFit, in short, it’s a strength and conditioning brand that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, power lifting, kettle bell training and plyometrics.  CrossFit is already very popular in America and has achieved some sort of cult status amongst its fans. It is growing fast across the rest of the world and you will now find affiliates all over Europe. I signed up for 10 sessions at CrossFit London to find out what it was all about.

CF girl using Rubber Bands
CrossFit London is based in Bethnal Green in one of the arches on Malcolm Place. My first impression of their studio went something like this in my head: "What a dump".  The place was messy and dirty and the shower and toilet facilities looked like those present at festivals or on construction sites. If you expect nothing less than white fluffy towels and shiny floors, CrossFit London is not going to be your cup of tea. However if you want to improve your strength, endurance, stamina, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy, CrossFit can be pretty awesome. At the price of approximately £10 per class it is also good value and unlike the chain gyms across the city, where no one talks to each others, CrossFit London is a super friendly place.  At CrossFit London they prefer new-comers to start with their seven beginner sessions. Each of the sessions covers a specific part of their beginner’s syllabus, and you will need to complete these in order to ‘graduate’ to their main or foundation classes.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Is there a Life Beyond Cereal, Croissants & Caramel Caffe Latte's?

If breakfast is in fact the most important meal of the day why do so many people stick with the traditional breakfast choices of muffins, croissants, bagels, cereal and toast washed down by sugared coffee and juice. Sorry guys but there are much better options out there.

Smoked Salmon, Eggs and Spinach
For the last year I have been eating a paleo style diet, also known to many as the hunter-gatherer diet. This is not a new fad diet but just how we used to eat before the agricultural revolution started about 10,000 years ago. It's all about natural foods to help achieve great health and physique. So what did we eat before the agricultural revolution? It's very simple really, just foods from nature such as game meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, seeds and nuts. If you want to learn more about the paleo diet check out the YouTube link from my June post or even better read Robb Wolfs  "The Paleo Solution". I eat a paleo style diet for health reasons and because it makes me feel better. As a result I now have more energy than in my 20's and have also managed to sort out my food sensitivities by switching to this style of eating i.e. no dairy and grain. I am not sticking to this diet religiously, but I do try to apply the 80/20 rule. It is unrealistic (for me at least) to be 100% paleo.

Egg's from the office microwave
I often get comments in the office about my "weird food habits" and many friends and colleagues ask me what I can possibly eat for breakfast if grain and dairy products are not on the list. There are many articles on the Internet suggesting wonderful paleo style breakfast options and they are all great, however a lot of them assume you can cook eggs and bacon every morning at home and prepare fancy smoothies and egg-muffins on a daily basis. For me, and I believe many other people out there, this is not realistic. In the morning I need to get to work early and often I do a work-out before getting to the office, so preparing food in the morning at home isn't an option. Instead I prefer to eat my breakfast at work. My office does have a canteen but the options are limited to fruit if you want to eat a paleo diet, everything else is pretty much cereal, muffins, toast, bagels, croissants, sweet yoghurt's and so forth. However I do have access to a microwave and a fridge in the office, which I can use to cook and store food. Since I am definitely not one of those women who will prepare breakfast the night before or get up extra early to scramble eggs and carry around tupperware, I need something which is quick and easy to prepare at work. However at the weekends, I love cooking a beautiful breakfast and taking my time to prepare it, I have therefore divided my paleo breakfast options (according to Lea) into weekday versus weekend treats.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Wild Swimming - Why you should strip off and take the plunge!

What better way to get up close and personal with nature this summer than with a bit of wild swimming? If you ask me nothing beats a refreshing dip in a beautiful lake on a nice sunny day and without fail you will emerge from the water a new person, bouncing and invigorated by the cold, your mind recharged and refreshed. So what is wild swimming? Here are some definitions from Daniel Start's book Wild Swimming.

wild-swimming (vb.): 
  1. Swimming in natural waters such as rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Often associated with picnics and summer holidays.
  2. Dipping or plunging in secret or hidden places, sometimes in wilderness areas. Associated with skinny dipping or naked swimming, often with romantic connotations
  3. Action of swimming wildly such as jumping or diving from a height, using swings and slides, or riding the current of a river.
Sounds romantic doesn’t it? I like to swim in the ponds on Hampstead Heath. Considering they are only 4 miles from Piccadilly Circus, they are truly an urban treasure for swimmers living in London. Last summer, I did quite a few open water swims in the South of England training for my first triathlon. In all honesty I am not a fan of the swim leg, being churned in a washing machine of arms, swum over and occasionally kicked or punched is generally not my idea of having a good time. However I really enjoyed swimming outdoors when I was training for my first Eton Super Sprint. I swam in what felt like arctic cold water at Heron Lake near Staines in April and later at Leybourne Lakes in Kent once the water temperature was more tolerable. I learned over time that it is always worth the first bracing shock and I try to ignore my wimpish excuses before taking the plunge. Cold water swimming is understood to have many health and psychological benefits. Cold water dips soothes muscle aches, relieves depression and apparently boosts the immune system. All cold water swimmers are familiar with the natural endorphin high that raises mood and creates an addictive urge to dive back in. According to research at NASA repeated cold swimming leads to substantial bodily changes known as "cold adaptation". These bring down blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce fat disposition, inhibit blood clotting and increase fertility and libido in both men and women. These are all great reasons to start your wild water swimming career.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Summer Gazpacho Soup

Here is an easy recipe for gazpacho. This cold soup will restore the nutrients and also keep your body cool during the hot summer months. Many nutrients, vitamins and minerals are obtained from consuming this soup. Not only that, it is replete with antioxidants that can fight of heart diseases and cancer. Enjoy ...

3 cups of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of chicken stock, chilled
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of peeled, seeded and finely diced cucumber
1/2 cup of peeled, cored, and finely diced apple
Freshly ground black pepper

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Paleo in a Nutshell: FOOD & EXERCISE

These YouTube videos describes the rationale and philosophy behind eating and exercising as our ancestors did and provides me and hopefully you with a way to tell others why it makes sense. Enjoy!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Modern life has made British children weaker in the last decade

The enclosed article "Modern life has made British children weaker in the last decade" from The Telegraph discusses how modern Britain is raising a generation of weaklings as computer games and health & safety rules are curtailing rough and tumble outdoor play. We are all guilty of being couch potatoes and spending too much time sitting in front of a screen so I hope this article will inspire you to switch off the TV and head to the park or the woods (with or without kids) to climb trees and ropes. In Scandinavia many parents send their kids to outdoor nurseries. These nurseries are held almost exclusively outdoors. Whatever the weather, children are encouraged to play, explore and learn in a forest or natural environment. Forest schools originated in Sweden in the 1950's and spread to other countries, particularly Denmark where they have become an important part of the Danish early years programme. In a typical Danish Forest School, young children from 3 years are taken into the forest for 4 hours each day of the week. They take no toys with them, but instead use only what the forest provides (and their imaginations) to develop their games. There are some pioneering outdoor nurseries in the UK including The Secret Garden in Scotland and The Urban Forest Schools in London. If you want to find out more about these schools/nurseries you can read about them on the wikipedia page Forest Kindergarten.

Have a great day and enjoy the article.

Lea Bentzen

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Whole Eggs vs Egg Whites

If you are confused or concerned about eating too many egg yolks please read this brilliant article by Mike Geary. Have a great day. Lea

Are Whole Eggs or Egg Whites Better for You?
by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer

whole eggs are a perfect foodI was on a weekend trip with some friends recently and one of my friends was cooking breakfast for the whole group. I went over to see what he was cooking and saw he was getting ready to make a big batch of eggs.

Well, to my shock and horror, I noticed that he was cracking the eggs open and screening the egg whites into a bowl and throwing out the egg yolks. I asked him why the heck he was throwing out the egg yolks, and he replied something like this...
"because I thought the egg yolks were terrible for you...that's where all the nasty fat and cholesterol is".
And I replied, "you mean that's where all of the nutrition is!"
This is a perfect example of how confused most people are about nutrition. In a world full of misinformation about nutrition, somehow most people now mistakenly think that the egg yolk is the worst part of the egg, when in fact, the YOLK IS THE HEALTHIEST PART OF THE EGG!
By throwing out the yolk and only eating egg whites, you're essentially throwing out the most nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich, vitamin and mineral loaded portion of the egg. The yolks contain so many B-vitamins, trace minerals, vitamin A, folate, choline, lutein, and other powerful nutrients... it's not even worth trying to list them all.
In fact, the egg whites are almost devoid of nutrition compared to the yolks.
Even the protein in egg whites isn't as powerful without the yolks to balance out the amino acid profile and make the protein more bio-available. Not to even mention that the egg yolks from free range chickens are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids (EFAs).
And now the common objection I get all the time when I say that the yolks are the most nutritious part of the egg...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Why Grass-Fed Beef is Awesome

Meat from grass-fed cows has a much different fat profile than ordinary supermarket meat: high in omega-3s, lower in potentially harmful omega-6s and loaded with CLA, a kind of fat known for its anti-cancer activity. A superb source of protein and vitamin B12, it's also missing the antibiotics, steroids and hormones found in the meat that comes from feedlot farms.

If you are living in a big city like London it can be hard to source grass-fed beef and other wild meats, however I have managed to find a few good suppliers.

London Borough Market, Southwark every Fri & Sat
London Broadway Market, Hackney every Saturday

Broadway Market, Hackney every Saturday