Tricky Terms, On Our Terms



What is a quinoa? Will I keel over if I don’t eat enough kale? We’ve asked ourselves the same questions. The Interwebs give us access to an abundance of information but can also be a daunting source. We’ve enlisted friends of Frame, who know their baobabs from their buckwheats, their cardio from their conditioning and their enzymes from their endorphins to bring you the Frame-O-Pedia – tricky terms, on our terms.



When it comes to exercise, active recovery may sound like a contradiction… recovery involves collapsing in a heap until your tired aching muscles stop throbbing right? Wrong! Low intensity exercise immediately after, and during the days following a huge session will increase blood circulation. This means more oxygen gets to the muscles and studies have shown this to reduce lactic acid build up quicker. Lactic acid is the reason your muscles hurt the day after – or even two days after – your workout. So get up off your butt and do a bit of AR!


Twenty percent of the human body is made of protein, it plays an important role in almost all bodily functions… the building blocks of protein are amino acids. These are vital for good health… they give cells their structure, they transport and store nutrients and they repair damaged tissue. When you exercise you effectively damage muscle tissue creating tiny tears which, when repaired, render your muscles bigger and stronger – this is why exercise is good, or as they say, “no pain – no gain”. Amino acids can be divided into two groups: essential and nonessential… in fact they are all essential, but some are made by your body (nonessential), whereas others must come from your diet (essential). Some people, bent on building muscle bulk, may take amino acid supplements.


Ashtanga means ‘eight limbs’ in Sanskrit and refers to the eight limbs of yoga laid out in the Yoga Sutras of Pananjali. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is one of the oldest forms of yoga developed and made popular by the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It is a challenging, fast-paced sequence of poses – always done in the same order – and intrinsically linked to the breath (vinyasa flow). Pattabhi Jois or Guruji, as his followers know him, began practicing and teaching ashtanga vinyasa flow in Mysore, India, in 1948. His first western students arrived in the early 1970s and through them the practice has had a profound influence on modern western yoga.


Anaerobic means “without air” and anaerobic exercise refers to very short intense periods of exercise when your body does not have immediate access to enough oxygen to metabolise energy aerobically (with air). Instead your body relies on energy supplies stored in muscles, which are not dependent on oxygen. Anaerobic exercise will help build stronger muscles and improve your endurance levels. But a byproduct of producing energy anaerobically is lactic acid. This accumulates in the blood and causes muscle fatigue, and is the reason you can’t do anaerobic exercise for much more than a minute. HIT (high intensity training) or HIIT (high intensity interval training) are forms of anaerobic exercise, which you’ll be doing in classes such as Frame Camp, X-Train and Box Train.

AEROBIC EXERCISE (Cardiovascular Exercise)

Aerobic means “with air” and aerobic exercise is a workout fuelled by oxygen (from breathing air). Oxygen metabolises fat and glucose stores in your body to provide energy. This is why your breathing becomes deeper and faster the more aerobic exercise… it is to maintain the energy supply. Low to moderate intensity exercise like walking, running, cycling and swimming are all aerobic – or at Frame we’re talking Dance Cardio, Rebounding, Box Fit, Jane Fonda… we could go on and on… check the schedule!


Acidophilus is a type of bacteria found in the gut. It is a member of the Lactobacillus family of gut bacteria and its full name is Lactobacillus acidophilus. There are actually many different families of bacteria and within those families thousands of strains. They all have different roles to play. Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® is one of the most researched strains and supplements have been found to benefit IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) sufferers. The term acidophilus is often used instead of the term probiotics as it’s one of the most commonly known bacteria names.


It seems every piece of food these days is judged on its antioxidant status – the higher the better… we just can’t get enough! But what exactly is an antioxidant and why do we like them so much? Antioxidants are molecules that can stabilise free radical atoms by donating electrons (a free radicals may sound like an anti-establishment activist, but actually it is an unstable atom that, if left unchecked, can damage cells and lead to premature ageing (!!!) and, more seriously, cancer, diabetes and heart disease). Your body does produce antioxidants, but modern environmental and lifestyle choices (including exercise) creates more free radical atoms than your body can cope with so eating a large variety of fresh fruit, veg, nuts and whole grains is necessary to keep on top of those damned activists.


Our blood’s natural healthy state is very slightly alkaline (that’s around pH 7.4 for the chemists among you). It is suggested by some nutritionists and a growing legion of A-list advocates that eating alkaline food – like fresh green veg – and avoiding acidic food – mainly meat, eggs and diary – will help maintain this essential pH balance. This in turn will boost your immune system, aid digestion, help you lose weight, increase your energy and concentration levels and even help you to avoid the biggies like arthritis and cancer. Fact or otherwise, no-one can deny the huge health benefits of eating more fresh green veg which is why none of us can get enough of those green juices!



The barre – from the French vocabulary – is a fixed rail used for support during exercise (as opposed to the bar which is used for support after exercise!) The transition from ballet studio to fitness studio happened in 1959 when German dancer Lotte Berk opened a barre studio in her London basement. Celebrities including Joan Collins and Barbara Streisand flocked to her classes hoping to improve their attractiveness in a mini skirt. The trend has hotted up over the last ten years and barre studios have opened in droves. The workout itself involves a combination of postures inspired by ballet training. Arabesques and pirouettes do not feature but small repetitive exercises focus on isometric strength training and you can look forward to lean, toned legs akin to Margot Fonteyn!


When your yoga teacher talks about bandhas they are referring to the muscular ‘locks’ or ‘seals’ you can engage in order to control the flow of energy in your body; the two main ones being mula bandha and uddiyana banda. Mula bandha is the anal lock – or your pelvic floor muscle – it’s the one you use if you are having a wee and someone walks in so you suddenly needed to stop. Uddiyana bandha is the lower abdominal lock – your lower ab muscles that you use to pull your belly button toward your spine. By engaging both locks you are encouraging energy to flow upward through your nadis (energy channels).


Good toes – naughty toes, pink tutus and satin pointes… that is about as far as it goes for most little girls. But, as those who have taken it further will tell you, ballet is an impossibly exquisite and refined form of art that underpins almost every other dance genre. Originating from the Italian renaissance period, it developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia before going global. Ballet employs a strict technique, which combines strength, grace and flexibility – if you take a look at the body of a ballerina you will understand! Many of our instructors at Frame have classical ballet training and they would love to help you find your inner Sylvie Guillem at our ballet barre classes… Swan Lake here we come!


… or body mass index is a measure of your body weight compared to the average normal or desirable weight for a person of your height… a weight-to-height ratio calculation. It should only ever be used as a rough guide because it doesn’t take your individual physicality into account. For example, if you have big bones or a lot of muscle, you’ll weigh more and your BMI result could be inaccurate. The human BMI index runs from around 15 (near starvation) to over 40 (morbidly obese) and ‘normal’ is considered between 18 and 25. To calculate your BMI divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared… Or use one of those handy Internet calculator thingies.


Also referred to as Queen B or Yoncé, Beyoncé is the reigning diva and musical performer. As one third of Destiny’s Child she found global stardom but it’s her solo career that placed her on a pedestal. Her music videos have become synonymous with iconic dance moves such as Crazy In Love and Single Ladies and her artistry has become comparable to the late/great Michael Jackson. Beyoncé has become a symbol of female empowerment and her Amazonian prowess as a live performer continues to thrill.


Britney is one of the biggest selling female recording artists of all time inspiring the current generation of female icons. Having performed alongside JT, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling on the Mickey Mouse Club in the early 90’s it was only a matter of time before she became a star in her own right. Baby One More Time was released to the world in 1998 and as a pining sexy schoolgirl the music video helped propel her to superstardom. Her MTV Video Music Award performances are the stuff of legends, most notably her 2001 debut of hit I’m A Slave 4 U featuring an albino python and masterful choreography. Britney is the pop dance icon of the 90/00s.


Bloating is a term that is banded around a lot; it is that feeling you get of expansion and distention around the abdominal area. The causes include hormonal imbalance, water retention and impaired digestion, with the later probably being the most common. It mostly occurs when food is not digested properly and then ferments, and this is often due to an imbalance in gut bacteria. A deficiency in digestive enzymes or stomach acid can also have an impact on the amount of gas produced in the process of digesting food. As can pathogenic bacteria, parasites, food intolerances, too much sugar or being constipated. Of course another major cause for feeling bloated is simply eating too much, the solution to that is easier!


Baobab fruit (pronounced bey-oh-bab) is a cross between a small coconut and a large mango from Africa and parts of Australia. Break it open and you’ll find a mass of sinewy fibres and powdery white fruit – not particularly appetising you may think. Well, the flavour is quite unique – tangy like a sour mango – but gram for gram it is hugely nutritious with six times as much vitamin C as oranges and twice as much calcium as milk plus antioxidant properties that any self-respecting superfood would be proud of. Due to its consistency it makes an ideal powder supplement and its acquired taste can be easily disguised. But on the down side, it is high in sugar and a teaspoon in your smoothie ain’t gonna rock your vitamin intake.


B vitamins are a group of eight vitamins including folic acid (B9) and riboflavin (B2) and, as Kellogg’s likes to remind us on their cornflake boxes, they are vitally important for good health. They work together as a team extracting energy from the food you eat and helping to create healthy new cells resulting in great hair, great skin and great nails. They are found naturally in a host of whole unprocessed foods like beans, pulses, greens, fish, meat and dairy and most people who eat a balanced diet will be getting plenty. B12, however can only be found in animal products, so you vegans out there may wish to consider supplements… a bowl of cornflakes probably won’t cut it.


Bee pollen is flower pollen that has been packed by worker honeybees into small balls… with a bit of nectar and bee saliva in the mix – yuk! But don’t be put off, bee pollen has long been considered one of natures most nourishing foods, eaten by the ancient Greeks and Romans to acquire eternal youth. It contains nearly all the nutrients needed by humans and is around 40% protein, half of which is in the form of useful free amino acids. It is strong stuff and should be approached with caution if you suffer from severe allergies or if you are pregnant. But for most of us, you won’t go wrong with a good spoonful in one of Frame’s post workout fruit smoothies (fruit fibres help reinforce the activity of fresh pollen).



Cardiovascular relates to the heart, the blood vessels and the system of transporting nutrients and oxygen around the body. Cardiovascular exercise (also known as aerobic), therefore, involves movement to increase your heart rate helping you to burn energy, lose weight and improve endurance.


From the Greek words kallos and sthenos – meaning beauty and strength – calisthenics is the ancient art of using your own body weight to build muscles and develop your physique, like: pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges. We love it because you don’t need any special equipment… just your amazing self.


Over the last 15 years coffee has invaded our high street, our homes and our offices, it has become the drug of the nation and a well-guarded daily ritual. The guilt and addiction associated with coffee is of course related to its high caffeine content, which for most people is a potential poison. But aside from the caffeine, coffee is rich in health boosting compounds such as polyphenols and antioxidants; protective against heart disease, Alzheimer’s some cancers and diabetes. The obvious answer to this lifestyle dilemma is organic, non-chemically processed decaffeinated coffee, which still contains all the health protective effects. Or if you feel you need that daily fix you could try green tea or matcha which is high in caffeine yet easier on your body due to calming amino acids. At the very least, stick to just one cup of good quality fresh beans in the morning.

COQ10 (CoEnzymeQ10)

So scientific sounding, CoQ10 is a micronutrient similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body and is important in the process of converting the energy from the food you eat to a form that your body can use for cell regeneration and exercise. It also functions as an antioxidant. Your body naturally produces CoQ10, but this natural production starts to decline when you reach about 28 years old. It is available in a wide variety of foods, in particular organ meats such as liver, oily fish and whole grains. Some people also take CoQ10 as a dietary supplement to boost energy and speed up muscle recovery after exercise.


Previously shunned due to its very high levels of saturated fats – 90% eeek! – a coconut revolution has taken the western world by storm and members of the new coconut club can enjoy huge health benefits. This is because the fatty acids in a coconut are of the medium-chain variety (as opposed to the long-chain variety), so coconut oil products are way healthier than previously considered – phew! Medium chain triglycerides go straight to the liver from the digestive tract where they are used as a quick source of energy and a great workout fuel. In addition, the liquid inside the coconut is full of electrolytes (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium), which your body loses when you sweat making coconut water ideal for hydrating. And if that’s not enough, coconut oil can be massaged into your skin and hair to keep it smooth, shiny and looking young.


Cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. Sprinkled on toast or added to a smoothie it is a tasty alternative to sugar, and due to its high level of essential oils – in particular a compound called cinnamaldehyde – it has many health benefits. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi including the problematic yeast candida. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is also helpful in controlling blood sugar levels: one study has shown that adding cinnamon to a meal can lower its glycaemic index by as much as 30%. At the same time cinnamon increases metabolism and the mere smell of the spice can boost brain activity – amazing!


Chia is a mild nutty-flavoured seed from a desert plant grown in Mexico. In Mayan and Aztec cultures it was very popular as an energy boosting food, which makes sense, as chia seeds are high in protein and healthy fats. Today chia seeds are popular as an apatite suppressant – supposedly they expand your belly making you feel full, although this has not been proved. But chia seeds are choc full of minerals, high in antioxidants and one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 – good for your brain. Which is why everyone (and particularly vegetarians) should keep a jar of these tasty little super-seeds in the store cupboard… they will last unrefrigerated for two years… but not if you eat them!


This excruciatingly hot spice made headlines in 2007 when Beyonce lost 20 lbs in 10 days on a diet of cayenne pepper, lemons and maple syrup. It was extreme – a fast essentially – but it seems there was some method in her madness. The strong capsicum spice acts as an appetite suppressant and at the same time increases metabolism thus burning more calories. There are also many health benefits associated with cayenne: it is high in essential minerals (iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium and selenium); it is great for improving circulation and digestive problems; plus many people hail cayenne as a fantastic aphrodisiac… can’t go wrong! Although we suggest you add it to your curry rather than your lemonade!


Many people have a bit of a love hate relationship with the notion of carbohydrates in their diet – one minute declaring themselves carb-free for health reasons and the next guiltily tucking in to the bread basket. But carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and a certain amount is actually pretty vital… more if you do a lot of exercise. Research also indicates that carbohydrates promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical (which might explain the empty bread basket). So what to do? Carbs can be divided into three categories: the good – complex carbohydates like veg, fruit and whole grain, which you can’t really get enough of; the bad – startchy veg like potatoes and pasta, which you should eat with caution; and the ugly – sugar, which can be exiled… unless you are doing a tonne of cardio exercise. So bread is not actually the issue here, assuming it is whole grain with plenty of seeds and no added sugar… in which case, fill your boots!


A calorie is quite simply a measure of heat energy – the amount required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius to be precise. The energy in food is also measured in calories. Eating food makes us happy, but surprise, surprise, that’s not actually why we do it. The main reason to eat food it is to obtain energy (or calories) from the carbohydrates, proteins and fats – otherwise known as macronutrients – you need these to survive, and your body will store away any excess for future use. Obviously the number of calories you need will depend on who you are and how much energy you use. If you don’t eat enough calories your body will start using muscle protein as fuel… that’s not good.


Without it we really would just fall apart. Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth – too little and you’ll get rickets(!!!)… but this is unlikely. Calcium also works with magnesium to contract muscles (that includes your heart beat) and is needed for optimal recovery after exercise. All this sounds like a great excuse to go to town on the calcium-loaded cheese board. And fear not dairy-free Framers; sheep and goats milk products plus greens, tofu and oily fish are also very high in calcium. In fact, anyone with a healthy balanced diet should totally be getting enough.


It is the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug and one of the first things to be ditched when we decide to ‘de-tox’… the ensuing caffeine withdrawal headache is a sure sign that the addiction is doing us no favours. Indeed caffeine stimulates stress hormones that in the long term can create anxiety, depression and insomnia and can potentially lead to a host of serious health conditions. On the flip side, research shows that caffeine increases brain efficiency making you super-sharp. It also stimulates cortisol production which will increase fat burning, release energy and can improve performance. So if you’re going to do it, take your caffeine fix before you work out. And by far the most healthy source is from green tea or matcha.


Cacao: the raw ingredient of chocolate. Left unprocessed it is a top source of antioxidants – in fact, it’s probably the best, which is great news for chocoholics. It also contains high levels of iron and magnesium needed to help our muscles relax after exercise… where are we going with this? Frame’s post workout Recharge Cacao Smoothie of course! All raw natural ingredients and it’s pretty damn chocolaty! But be aware: raw cacao is no free ticket, as with conventional chocolate it is a stimulant and it is quite addictive!


Who doesn’t reach for the vitamin C at the first sign a cold? We all know it’s good for the immune system (although it needs to be combined with zinc if you have any hope of blasting that bug). But more importantly, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and is hugely important in the production of collagen, the protein responsible for skin regeneration – so put the needle down surgeon! It also helps our body to absorb iron, which is essential for converting food into energy. And where do we find it? Oranges of course! Well, yes… but green leafy veg, papaya, peppers and berries have significantly higher levels of the stuff.



Being a diva is not about having a bad attitude and demanding nature, rather it is a state of mind as a performer. It’s about charisma and presence that you can bring to your daily life. As a dancer being a diva is all about ownership; bringing positive energy and ‘fierceness’ to your performance. Feeling inspired? Check out music videos: ‘Diva’ by Beyonce; Born This way by Lady Gaga; and Express Yourself by Madonna.


Low blood sugar – usually below 70 mg/dl – will make you feel dizzy, anxious, weak and confused. It is a rare condition for adults who don’t suffer from diabetes because the hormone insulin keeps blood sugar levels normal. But exercise puts much higher demands on muscles and intense exercise or working out on an empty belly can use up the body’s glycogen stores causing blood sugar to crash. This is known as non-diabetic dysglyceamia. So to avoid keeling over mid-high-kick: fuel-up three hours before your work out with complex carbs and proteins… and if it happens a lot, go see your doctor.


Dr.Pierre Dukan, a French nutritionist and dietician, created the Dukan diet in 2000. He claims it is “the real reason the French stay thin”. It is also the most popular weight loss plan in the UK… Kate Middleton, Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bundchen were all rumoured to be following the diet after their pregnancies. It is a very strict diet centred on eating protein-based meals and it is very effective in terms of weight loss; followers can expect to lose between three and five pounds per week. However, very low carb diets such as this can have a negative effect on overall health, increase stress hormones, imbalance fertility and metabolic hormones, cause brain fog and disglyceamic episodes… it’s no wonder the Parisians can get a little grumpy!

DIT – Diet Induced Thermogenesis

Sounds complicated, but this is simply the term for the amount of energy used by our body to digest, move and store macronutrients. It usually accounts for about 10% of our total energy expenditure. However… and this is the interesting bit… DIT for proteins is much higher (20%) than that for carbohydrates (only 7%), so essentially not all calories are equal and your net calorie asset from proteins is less than that for carbohydrates even if an equal number of calories were consumed… confused? You should be!


Dairy foods are a hot topic of controversy that no one seems to be able to agree on. The main carbohydrate in dairy is lactose and this is the source of debate because, while it is natural for humans lose their infant ability to break down lactose when they reach adulthood, lactose intolerance is actually pretty rare in western society. Studies have shown that in parts of the world where dairy products have been consumed for thousands of years – since the agricultural revolution – populations have genetically adapted to eating milk products. People who find they cannot tolerate it are far more likely to be allergic to the proteins in milk rather than the lactose. But for most people dairy is an ideal bone food packed with calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein – many mainstream health organisations recommend two to three servings a day. It is also highly nutritious, particularly full fat dairy products from grass-fed cows. So the bottom-line: listen to your body and choose good quality!



Enzymes speed up chemical reactions. They are very important in the digestive system to break down food and convert it into energy. They are proteins and are made by the cells in our bodies from amino acids. All living organisms produce enzymes – ie. all natural foods – but enzymes are destroyed when food is cooked or canned (which is why cooked and canned food has a longer shelf life – the chemical reactions slow right down). Raw foodists believe that eating food raw enables the enzymes in the food itself to help in the digestion process thus reducing the need for the body to use its own enzyme supply. They believe this contributes to a longer healthier life. Biological washing powder also contains enzymes to help break down stains, but it definitely won’t help you live longer.


Your own personal narcotic… endorphins are produced by the body as a response to certain stimuli, especially stress, pain or fear. They interact with receptors in the brain to stop pain and control emotion. There are 20 different types of endorphins and some have been shown to be even stronger than morphine. Endorphins are also responsible for feelings of pleasure. It is thought they exist to let us know when we have had enough of a good thing – like exercise or sex – and to encourage us to go and get more of it. The natural high you feel after a good hard workout is the result of an endorphin rush. Apparently you can also get an endorphin rush from eating hot chillies… but a Frame class is better for you.


Endurance training is about improving your ability to keep on truckin’ without losing steam and generally refers to aerobic or cardio workouts. But endurance is not just about running further, swimming longer or cycling a century; training can also provide you with more energy, a stronger heart and increased metabolism. There are two main factors that dictate a person’s endurance level – the maximum rate at which you can consume oxygen whilst exercising and the rate at which lactate accumulates in your muscles – with training both of these can usually be improved – go Jane Fonda!


Stands for emotional freedom techniques, and is sometimes referred to as ‘tapping’. It’s an energy healing technique that involves tapping on the major acupuncture points of the body while talking about the issue you are facing. Rather than changing your thought patterns – as with most healing techniques – EFT changes how you feel about the issue, thereby actively neutralising old emotions that are stored in the body. If left ‘un-tapped’ these old emotions can lead to serious issues like anxiety, stress, fears, depression and illness. You can pretty much ‘tap’ on anything, it’s very effective and you’ll quickly feel calmer, more relaxed and less anxious.


“… the power you’re supplying; it’s electrifying!” Electrolytes are substances that become ions in solution and are able to conduct electricity. In humans these electrolytes include sodium, potassium and calcium and they enable communication between the brain, the nervous system and the muscles. Your kidneys will help maintain the correct balance but too many or too few can be fatal and levels tend to alter when the water levels in your body alter. So when you sweat, for example, you lose water and electrolytes – mainly sodium and potassium. Re-hydrating with water alone will not replace these electrolytes so it is also important to eat fresh fruit and veg. The holy water of the coconut is also a great natural source of electrolytes.



Consensus at Frame has dictated that ‘Frame Card’ is a noun worthy of the Oxford English Dictionary… not everyone knows this yet, so currently it is not there, but we’re determined to change this. However ‘Frame Card’ is very much included in the Frame-o-Pedia. This genius method of paying for all things ‘health and fitness’ is basically our version of the Oyster Card that can be loaded up with Frame credit (min £50 at a time) to be used at your will (within six months). In exchange for this show of love and devotion to your body and your Frame instructors, we will give you a discount on all your classes, and you need never carry around cash for waters, towels and smoothies ever again.


Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no Wi-Fi for the last two years you will know that this diet involves getting by on reduced calories for two days of the week and eating normally for the other five. It’s really that simple and if approached sensibly* the diet should not only help you lose weight, but studies have shown it could also feed your brain and reboot your immune system: Hippocrates, Plato and Mark Twain were all fans of intermittent fasting. The basic science is that short term fasting will cause your body to go into “repair mode” using more energy to restore damaged cells. Where as prolonged low calorie intake will result in “starvation mode” causing your body to store fat. If you do decide to give 5:2 a go don’t embark on any high impact workouts on your fast days or you might just pass out. And don’t even think about it if you have blood sugar issues or female hormone imbalance, as it can lead to Disglyceamia.
*Living on junk food for five days and half a packet of Haribos for the other two is not approaching this diet sensibly!


To understand free radicals you must think back to your chemistry lessons… humans are made of cells, cells are made of molecules and molecules are made of atoms. Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive atoms because they lack the appropriate number of electrons. They will therefore attack a stable atom in order to steal an electron and in doing so will render the stable atom unstable… a chain reaction is set in motion which can ultimately damage an entire cell. Free radical atoms occur naturally when your body produces energy to fuel a workout and they are created within cells to fight viruses and bacteria. Environmental factors such as pollution, radiation and chemicals also spawn free radical atoms. And worryingly free radical damage accumulates with age and exercise. But help is at hand in the form of antioxidants, which stabilise free radical atoms by donating electrons… phew!


… keeps things moving, that’s what granny says and she’s not wrong. But why do we care? Because it is key to a happy healthy flat tummy! Non-soluble fibre, from whole wheat, bran, nuts and seeds cannot be digested and therefore moves in bulk though your system clearing out your digestive tract and making you feel full. Soluble fibre from oats, beans and fruit helps to maintain blood sugar levels and keep your gut healthy by promoting good bacteria. A particular type of soluble fibre called beta-glucans, found in mushrooms, also supports the immune system… so it’s not just tinned prunes then granny?


Big news: Fat does not make you fat – in fact, the opposite can be true. Fat is an important source of energy, it is necessary for vitamin absorption, it forms a vital part of every cell in the body and it is required for healthy skin and brain development. In fact 20-35% of your diet should be fat… so pass the donuts Homer Simpson! But hang on… the key to long-term health is to know your good fats from your bad. While the odd donut will probably go unnoticed, trans-fats cannot be metabolised and are really not good for you. Saturated fats like animal fats are fine in moderation (the saturated fat in a coconut is of a specific form which is quickly converted into energy and very useful during exercise). Fats from vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish – monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats – are your body’s best friends, but only if they stay in their natural, cold state. When you heat them up you create a trans fat… doh!



Glycogen is the athlete’s most important source of energy – and lets face it, we are all athletes at Frame! The reason it is so important is because it is stored right in the muscle cells and is very easily converted into energy for exercise. It comes from carbohydrates, which our body breaks down into glucose (blood sugar) and converts into glycogen for storage. For endurance athletes, replenishing glycogen every 20 minutes in the form of a glucose gel has been shown to improve results and even after a regular workout it is important to replace used muscle glycogen. A Macattack Smoothie from the Frame smoothie bar contains the perfect combination of carbohydrates (in the form of a banana) and protein to hit the spot!


Gluten is a protein found in grains… mainly wheat, barley and rye. Unlike most proteins we cannot break it down completely so it just passes through our bodies and that is the end of the story… no drama. But with whole shelves in the supermarket dedicated to gluten-free products, Miley Cirus tweeting “gluten is crappp anyway” and health nut Gwyneth publishing a gluten-free cookbook, anyone would be forgiven for thinking that gluten is extremely bad for you. There is really no evidence to support this unless you suffer from either celiac disease or gluten intolerance in which case your reaction to gluten would be extreme and you should see your doctor. Having said that, many nutritionists do still recommend a low gluten diet because gluten is simply so hard to digest, it sits in your stomach making you feel tired and sluggish. But equally you should avoid commercial ‘gluten-free’ alternatives as they often lack important vitamins, minerals and fibre… and they’re really expensive!


Glutathione, a tiny molecule, is the mother of all antioxidants, not only does it fight free radicals from its prime position within every single cell, it also has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants like vitamins A and C. After doing their job, antioxidants like these may become unstable and glutathione effectively returns them to active duty. Your body produces glutathione naturally in the liver and although it is not found directly in any foods, whey protein and avocados are very high in precursor amino acids, and turmeric, green tea, onions and green leafy veg assist the liver in its production.


We all know ginger… the root of the ginger plant, warming, spicy, sweet and commonly used in Asian cooking… but did you know that ginger has been used as a medicine for centuries. The phenolic compounds in ginger are good for the digestive system and this super-root is often used to treat nausea including motion sickness and morning sickness. But more importantly for you body pumping Framers, ginger contains a compound called ginserol, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory (in tests it has come out on top of both aspirin and ibuprofen as a pain reliever) and it has proved particularly effective against exercise induced muscle pain.



High intensity interval training is basically what it says on the tin… short intense bursts of all-out, one hundred percent effort alternated with more easy going, but still active, recovery periods. The benefits are that HIIT training burns more calories than regular steady exercise and your metabolism remains increased for the next couple of days. It combines aerobic and anaerobic exercise and all this can be achieved in a 30-minute workout.

HEART RATE (MHR and Target HR)

Your MHR (maximum heart rate) is the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity – roughly calculated it is 220 minus your age, beats per minute. To get the best results from your aerobic or cardio workout it is recommended (by those who know) that your heart rate stays between 55% and 85% of your MHR. So if you are 25 years old your heart rate should not exceed 166 beats per minute during your workout… likewise it should not drop below 107 beats per minute. Now, it’s pretty hard to check your heart rate when you are shaking your butt to Beyoncé, so the general advice is as long as you can still talk relatively easily, you should be OK.


When you sweat it out in class millions of chemical reactions are taking place in your body and a number of beneficial hormones are released. Irisin – also known as the exercise hormone – circulates in your blood steam reprogramming fat cells to burn energy, increasing your metabolism and shedding flab. Testosterone levels increase – considerably more in men than in women – helping to build muscle mass. Endorphins in your brain block the pain and make you feel exhilarated and happy, that’s why to tend to feel pretty damn good after working out… and the reason some people become addicted to exercise – it’s known as ‘runner’s high’.


In Sanskrit ‘ha’ means sun and ‘tha’ means moon. Hatha yoga is commonly translated as bringing union. It is the most popular form of yoga today, concentrating on the practice of postures and breath control – the union of body and mind. Yogi Swatmarama introduced the hatha system of yoga in India during the fifteenth century and many of the newer forms of yoga originate from his method. It is a relatively gentle, meditative practice with no flow (vinyasa). But the holding of the postures themselves can be physically and mentally challenging… hatha yoga is not necessarily the easy option!


Hip hop, or street dance, is a part of huge modern music and culture scene. It covers a range of styles including popping, locking and breaking, which were developed in America during the 70s. Hip hop dance found mainstream exposure through movies and TV shows such as Soul Train, Breakin’ Beat Street and more recently the Step Up movies and So You Think You Can Dance. It is all about attitude and enjoying moving your body to the beat. Traditionally it’s a more relaxed style that includes free styling or ‘battling’ but is also disciplined and precise.


Hydration is the key to success, fighting fatigue and prolonging endurance. Your body is made up of about 60% water and during a sweaty workout it’s important to replace lost fluid before you turn into a raisin. Good old H2O is best for moderate workouts and you should shoot to sip around 200ml every 20 minutes. If you’re at it for more than an hour or doing a particularly steamy session you should also think about replacing electrolytes (which are also lost when you sweat) via sports drinks, coconut water or fresh fruit.



The word isometric comes from the Greek term for ‘having equal measure’ (remember the isometric triangle with two equal sides). So isometric exercise refers to strength training when the joint angle and muscle length do not change – like when you push against a wall. This form of exercise is great for strengthening rather than building muscle and good way to train if you have an injury.


BKS Iyengar is considered by many to be the world’s greatest living yoga teacher. He developed the Iyengar practice in India in 1975 and his method is the most widely practiced form of hatha yoga in the western world. Focusing on precise alignment, Iyengar employs a stack of props – blocks, belts, blankets and chairs – to ensure that every body regardless of flexibility and strength can achieve the correct pose with no risk of injury or pain. The postures are held for considerable lengths of time to penetrate deeper, and breath is used to calm the mind and relax into to the asanas. The Iyengar practice has been found to be hugely therapeutic both physically and mentally.


Popeye loved spinach for its high iron content, it made his super strong muscles bulge out from under his super tight tee-shirt. Iron is important for accessing our energy reserves, it transports oxygen around the body and oxygen is needed to convert the stored energy in our cells into usable energy. A lack of iron will result in lethargy and ultimately anaemia. In actual fact spinach does not have a particularly high iron content – meat and fish are far better sources – but In 1870 German chemist Erich von Wolf accidentally misplaced a decimal point and recorded spinach as having 35 milligrams of iron per 100-gram rather than 3.5 milligrams, which is quite ridiculous but resulted in spinach becoming the first superfood and Popeye’s own secret weapon. To maximise the absorption of iron from food it should be eating in combination with food rich in vitamin C… like spinach!



Jane Fonda is the original body popping, leotard loving, fitness guru of the 80s. In 1979, a time when the gym was primarily reserved for men pumping iron and there wasn’t a yoga / Pilates / [insert activity here] studio on every corner, Jane Fonda opened a tremendously popular fitness studio in Beverly Hills. This spawned a best-selling book, which later inspired a workout home videotape and sold a whopping 17 million copies! Ask your mum!


A modern and unapologetically spiritual style of yoga developed in the mid 1980s by David Life and Sharon Gannon at their New York City Studio to bring eastern yogic philosophy to the lives of westerners. The jivamukti philosophy is based on five tenets – scripture, devotion, kindness, music and meditation – and classes are a combination of relatively fast-paced vinyasa flow, chanting, meditation and breathwork set to a funky modern sound-track. Devoted fans of the practice include Sting, Gweneth Palthrow and Christy Turlington.


So much more than just the little sister of Michael Jackson, Janet is the quintessential RnB superstar with countless Grammy, Billboard and MTV Video Music Awards. Her provocative albums and elaborate concerts have pushed boundaries for female singers and her unforgettable music video for Rhythm Nation has become a benchmark for high production dance numbers. Need inspiration for getting rock hard abs?.. look no further than Janet. Her athleticism and prowess have seen her grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with nothing but a pair of hands as a makeshift bra and she’s about to go on another world tour in support of her new album.


To juice or not to juice? The unhealthily high sugar content of fruit juice has been making headlines recently. While you wouldn’t generally tuck into five oranges or seven apples, you can easily knock back this amount of fruit juice in just a few seconds and with it comes a whole lot of sugar. Vegetables are not so controversial as they don’t contain such high levels, but by juicing them we are still removing all the non-soluble fibre, which is important for a healthy diet. On the other hand, drinking fruit and veg juice gives us a whopping dose of easily absorbable nutrients, which cannot be a bad thing. Some nutritionists advise juicing veg and blending fruit, others recommend adding the pulp left over from juicing to a recipe, like a cake. Whatever you decide, it’ll probably be OK… just don’t go to town on Tropicana too often.



Kundalini yoga derives its name from the focus of awakening kundalini energy, which is said to be coiled at the base of the spine. When awakened, the kundalini will extend up the body to the sahasrara chakra at the top of the head resulting in deep meditation, enlightenment and bliss. Often referred to as “the yoga of awareness”, it is quite different from your typical flow class with much focus on breathing and chanting, and less emphasis on movement. Kundalini was popularised in the west by the iconic white-turban wearing Yogi Bhajan who set up the Kundalini Research Centre in New Mexico in 1969.


When your body needs energy it normally turns to your glycogen stores. These stores are replaced when you eat carbohydrates. But if these glycogen stores run out, your own body fat will start to be broken down in order to fuel activity. Fat metabolites called ketones are produced which can build up in your blood stream. The process is called ketogenesis, it is perfectly normal and can be beneficial – especially if you happen to run out of food.


The Keto Diet, as it is trendily referred to, is a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carb diet that was developed in 1924 at the Mayo Clinic to treat disease. The idea is that your body is forced to break down fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates, which are no longer available. The process is called ketogenesis. When managed well the reduction in blood sugar combined with the increase in ketones – a by product of the process – can be hugely successful in treating diseases such as epilepsy. In addition the diet can potentially slow the development of tumours, which rely on glucose (from carbohydrates) for growth. The keto diet can also be a healthy and effective way to lose weight and increase muscle tone. But… and it’s a big but… it is hard to achieve the correct balance of nutrients, and if not managed well you risk chronic fatigue, muscle wastage and reduced metabolism – we say: “don’t try this at home”



A ligament – from the Latin ‘ligare’ meaning ‘to bind’ – connects bones to form a joint. They are very flexible to allow for a range of movement and someone who is double jointed would have extra elastic ligaments. They are tough and fibrous – like lots of elastic bands – so if damaged they tend to take a long time to heal – they may even require surgery. To avoid damage to ligaments it is important to warm up with five or ten minutes of aerobic exercise before putting your joints through any stress. And regular exercise will increase both the strength and the elasticity of ligaments.


Live cultures are the bacteria found in probiotic foods such as yogurt, fermented milk, or sauerkraut. These foods may benefit your gut as they contain active bacteria naturally found in your digestive system. These bacteria, tiny as they are, are more powerful than they look and are hugely influential on the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Some people supplement with live cultures in order to boost and rebalance their gut bacteria, which can easily become impaired by everyday influences.


Lucuma is a very sweet fruit from Peru that tastes a bit like maple. We love it because despite its incredible sweetness it has a low glycemic index, which means it has less impact on blood sugar levels and is therefore pretty healthy. It’s also a good antioxidant and is full of vitamins and minerals. But best of all, it is available as a powder, so it can generally be used in recipes instead of sugar transforming a guilty pleasure into a nutrient packed treat. Yum.



Metabolism is the process of converting fuel (ie. food and drink) into usable energy. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or what is usually referred to as your metabolism, is the amount of energy your body needs just to sustain itself – ie. the amount of energy you would need to lie still in bed all day – and it varies from person to person. Of course, the more active you are, the more energy you will burn, but that energy is over and above, and largely unrelated to your BMR.


Mysore is a city in India – ground zero for students of ashtanga yoga – it is here that the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois set up his ashtanga yoga institute and students have flocked for intense training for many decades. Mysore is also a term used to describe the self-led variation of the ashtanga yoga practice whereby students learn the exact sequence of poses – as described by Pattabi Jois in his Yoga Mala – and practice at their own pace and level. The teacher does not call out the movements but instead circulates, corrects and assists where needed. There are six ashtanga series to master each one increasingly challenging – very few people practice beyond the second series.


The term ‘mindfulness’ is bandied around a lot at the moment… generally spoken of as a superior, and near impossible way of being – unless you are under five in which case it is just normal. It is in fact simply being present in the moment – as every young child is. But as people grow up they spend most of the time worrying about the past and what is going to happen in the future, which is undefined as your life is created in every moment. Paying attention to and seeing clearly whatever is happening in the present, however, can help you respond to the stresses of life in a calmer, more rational way. It will help you relax and improve your quality of life. The practice of mindfulness can also help people deal with addictions and depression.


Meditation is a process of slowing everything down, quieting your mind and internal reflection. It is most effective when practiced regularly. The benefits can be significant, reducing stress, improving concentration, increasing overall happiness and self-acceptance, reducing blood pressure and improving immunity; meditation has even been shown to slow down ageing. You can learn to ’train’ your mind in the same way you would train your physical body. Using a guided meditation is the best way to begin, and it’s important to accept whatever stage of a meditation practice you are at. Common forms of meditation include: mindfulness, transcendental, kundalini, walking or visualisation.


Step, ball change, step, ball change. Musical theatre is a theatrical style of dance performance synonymous with exaggeration and technique. It is also a complex marriage of modulation and storytelling. From the early musicals of depression era America featuring elaborate kaleidoscopic choreography, through the swagger and grace of Fred and Ginger; the drama of 60s musicals such as West Side Story; the precision of Bob Fosse in the 70s; the hi-fidelity of the 80s; to the modern musical encompassing all that has gone before and breaching new frontiers: musical theatre dance is all about gesture and high energy.


The ultimate pop superstar and performer, Michael was the virtuoso pioneer of the music video. From child star to music mogul Michael’s life was plagued with controversy but his enduring appeal as an artist and singer continues to fascinate. Like his peer Madonna he looked to his predecessors for inspiration and amalgamated them into a contemporary performance style. You can see nods to Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly and James Brown in videos such as Billie Jean, Smooth Criminal, Thriller and Bad. While ‘moonwalk’ is his own pièce de résistance, which lives on maybe indefinitely.


Often referred to as the Queen of Pop or simply Madge, Madonna is cited as a pioneer of modern pop, inspiring artists such as Britney Spears and Katy Perry. Born in Michigan in 1958 Madonna moved to New York to pursue a career in dance but discovered a blossoming club scene. She’s released 15 studio albums, directed and starred in movies, released books (notoriously her ‘SEX’ coffee table book) but it’s probably her iconic, dance heavy music videos stand her apart. In 1990 Vogue took the moves from the gay club scene and thrust them into the mainstream. Madonna is an enduring artist who has helped shape popular culture as a fashionista and a performer.


The beverage of choice at New York fashion week, matcha tea is being heralded as the new big thing in the world of health and superfoods due to its exceedingly potent levels of antioxidants. Matcha literally means “powdered tea” and is made from specially grown green tea leaves that are dried and ground. So while, with traditional brewed teas the leaf is discarded, with matcha tea you consume the entire leaf and all its nutrients. It also contains three times the amount of caffeine as standard steeped green tea… similar levels to that of coffee. But matcha aficionados claim that compared to the caffeine buzz from coffee, matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance called l-theanine. Tempted to switch to this trendy new beverage? Be aware, it tastes rather like grass!… but you could try disguising the flavour by adding cinnamon or even hiding the powder in a recipe.


We all need an even supply of nutrients throughout the day to keep us going and to keep us growing (not so much growing once we are adults, but our cells are still constantly regenerating). Some nutrients are needed in large quantities – like carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibre – these are used for energy and are known as macronutrients. Others are needed only in very small quantities and are known as micronutrients – vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – these are the cogs and the oil of the energy production machine needed to transport, store and convert the macronutrients.


Known as the Peruvian ginseng, maca is used for energy, endurance and to improve ones sexual function – ooo-er! Generally available as a powder, it is the root of an ancient plant – part of the radish family – and has been used as a food and medicine for 3,000 years. Rich in vitamins and minerals, Inca warriors allegedly took maca to increase their strength and stamina before marching into battle. We add it to Frame’s famous Macattack smoothie, available from the smoothie bar pre-, post- or even mid-way through your class.



Your teacher says it at the end of class and you dutifully respond with your hands together and a nod of the head because that’s what everyone else is doing and it’s kind of nice, but what exactly does it mean and why? Derived from Sanskrit, Namaste literally translates as “bowing to you”. In yoga the gesture is a symbol of gratitude and respect between student and teacher with a nod to those who came before. It represents the belief that there is a divine spark in us all and we are all connected: “The divine light in me honours the divine light in you”. So basically your teacher is saying, “everything that is good in me sees everything that is good in you”, and you are responding likewise… it is really kind of nice.



Traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions it is actually pronounced A-U-M with a silent syllable at the end. Symbolically the three letters embody the divine energy (Shakti) and its three main characteristics: creation, preservation and liberation, and the silence signifies infinity. When chanted correctly the sound should vibrate at 432Hz starting at your pelvic floor and moving upward through the crown of your head. In Hindu and other Indian religions it is said to be the primordial sound born with the universe, and 432Hz is thought to be the same vibrational frequency found throughout all of nature. With this in mind, when OM we are tuning into the entire universe. The vibrations and pronunciation also have a physical effect on the body, slowing the nervous system and calming the mind. So next time your teacher leads the OM chant, don’t feel antsy, just say “awe” – at the back of your throat – “oo” – gradually rolling forward along your upper palate – and “mmm” – with your front teeth touching, and let your whole body become the sound.


A build up of free radicals within a cell will cause oxidative stress, but this is not a bad thing – quite the opposite – your body is slightly weakened by it and will shift into recovery mode producing more antioxidants to neutralise and stabalise the free radicals. Ultimately you will be more resistant. Free radicals are created when you exercise and this is essentially why exercise is good. However, if there is an on-going imbalance between the amount of free radicals produced and the amount of antioxidants produced and/or consumed, chronic oxidative stress can occur. This is a bad thing. Chronic oxidative stress is linked to injuries in the short term and cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer in the long term… so give your body a hand and eat your greens.


One of the most important nutrients for good health is omega-3, an anti-inflammatory that has been shown to keep joints healthy, reduce the risk of a heart attack and regulate cholesterol levels. It’s also well known for helping improve brainpower and concentration levels – its popularity as a child health supplement is no doubt fuelled by enthusiastic and competitive parents (you know who you are!) The best natural source of omega-3 is small oily fish like sardines or wild caught salmon (both of which have relatively low levels of industrial toxins). Plant based sources include flaxseeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts.



With svelte celebrity fans applauding the practice and everyone else clamouring to get their names on the class waiting list, you might be surprised to learn that the Pilates method was actually developed before the First World War. German gymnast Josef Pilates devised the set of exercises to help re-habilitate injured dancers, although he preferred to call it ‘contrology’ because of the huge importance of muscle control when practicing. It’s all about correct form and core strength rather than going for the burn, and devotees claim dramatic transformations in the way their bodies look, feel and perform.


Also know as ‘jump training’ or ‘plyos’, plyometrics are exercises that involve explosive movements like jumping and hoping – each time you land, your muscles stretch giving more power to your next move… this combination of stretching and contracting whips your legs into shape, building strength, balance and agility. It’s great training for sports that require a lot of quick jumpy movements… anyone for tennis?


Sometimes a class might just not cut it for you… maybe you have hit a plateau and you can’t move on to the next level; you might be recovering from an injury that needs special attention; or you just might not be able to fit your crazy lifestyle around the class timetable. Personal training provides tailor-made one-on-one sessions to suit your body, your goals and your diary. At Frame personal training follows the same ethos as our classes – fun, uplifting and non-intimidating… but on your terms. No excuses… and no-where to hide!


With the exception of the pelvic floor, which you should just keep on working, now is the time to take a break from the gym – not that a sweaty session at Frame is likely to be top of you list of things to do right now… it’s OK, we totally get that! But before embarking on any strenuous exercise it is important that your rectus abdominals (the six pack ones) have returned together and this can usually be confirmed at your six-week check. With the green light from your doctor you can return slowly by reversing your prenatal workouts, ie. start out exercising as you were just before the birth and work back until eventually you’re back to your pre-pregnancy routine and intensity. The ligament loosening pregnancy hormone relaxin will be in your body for about five months postnatally so go easy on the stretching for a while.


Just because you’ve got one in the oven doesn’t mean you can slob out and eat cake… well, you can of course, but we don’t recommend it. Keeping fit throughout your pregnancy will help with the birth and make it way easier to get back into your jeans afterwards. The general advice is to continue your usual – moderate – exercise routine maintaining fitness and strength, not increasing it. If you have never exercised before, this is not the time to start marathon running, better to stick to specific pre-natal classes. And likewise, if you’re a high-intensity cardio-queen or a devil with the dumbbells, you should back off your personal best and work at around 70% your usual intensity. And don’t over stretch; your body is flooded with the hormone relaxin, which loosens ligaments and joints. In addition to your usual routine, pelvic floor exercises are a must… Pilates is good for this. Make sure you tell your instructor that you are pregnant and don’t forget to breath!


The principal behind the paleo diet is that you should eat like your ancestors – lots of protein, nuts and seeds, fruit and veg and few grains and pulses – the idea being this is the diet humans evolved on; it will transform you into the lean, mean, fighting machine that you are genetically designed to be, ready to spear a wild boar for your supper. Indeed, the paleo diet is essentially a healthy one: full of fresh natural food and shunning all that is refined and processed (the blight of modern society). But as with all nutrient specific diets the balance of nutrients and exercise must be managed very carefully to avoid muscle damage and total exhaustion.


Essentially this is a term that describes the trillions of good bacteria that naturally live in our digestive system. These little blighters have a huge impact on your digestion and absorption of food, weight loss and immunity, possibly even your mood. Your gut bacteria can be adversely affected by many modern day influences such as antibiotics, sugar, medication and even stress, so few of us have a fighting chance of maintaining perfectly diverse microflora! By eating live cultures such as those found in natural yoghurt we can help keep the natural balance, and at certain times it might also be helpful to boost our digestion by taking them in supplement form.


The protein in your diet comes mainly from animal products, beans and pulses. It is broken down into amino acids and rearranged to create new proteins for growing and repairing all your muscles and internal organs – as you might imagine, protein is hugely important. During endurance exercise like long-distance running, when all the easily accessible energy stores (from blood sugar and glycogen) are exhausted your body will tap into additional energy reserves from protein stored in your muscles. This process is called ketogenesis. Protein powders are a huge business – you may have overheard the buff-looking guy at the gym discussing his protein shake preferences – but the amount of protein in one of these shakes is extreme and probably unnecessary unless you have decided to seriously amp up your workout. A couple of spoonful’s added to a smoothie at a ratio of four-parts carbs to one-part protein, on the other hand, is just the ticket to help muscle recovery and replenish energy after exercise.


Becoming pregnant takes many women by surprise – a half-forgotten deed on a drunken night followed by a few weeks of unexplained queasiness. But there is a lot to be said for actually planning the act, particularly when it comes to diet. Research has shown that eating healthily and improving our nutrient consumption in the months before conception can make for happier pregnancies and higher birth weights as well as an improved chance of conception in the first place. This advice continues throughout pregnancy when maintaining a healthy weight and eating enough of the right stuff will have a positive effect on the future health of the baby. Having said that, if you spend nine months stressing about the bottle of wine you downed on finding out that you were pregnant, or the chocolate éclairs that keep appearing in your shopping basket, you risk producing a similarly neurotic baby. There are, however, a few foods to completely avoid during pregnancy: your midwife can fill you in on those.



When Josef Pilates developed his set of exercises inspired by his studies in yoga, Zen and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimes, his method was purely mat based. But during his internment in the UK during the First World War he helped care for the many bedridden internees suffering from wartime disease and injuries. He devised equipment from the straps and springs of the beds to help rehabilitate his patients. The slightly intimidating reformer tables found in the Pilates studio are more refined and sophisticated versions of these, designed to create resistance whist enabling a huge range of movement and endless possibilities.


Created by Californian Larry Shultz in the 1980s, rocket yoga is a form of ashtanga. In fact Larry was a student of Sri K Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, but became known as the “bad man of ashtanga” for his habit of skipping ahead in the series. When teaching his method to members of the Grateful Dead on tour, Bob Weir came up with the name rocket yoga – “because it gets you there faster”. Or in other words, you get to try all the fun headstand and handstand stuff (against a wall if you need to) before you’ve totally mastered hooking your feet behind your head and grabbing your hands behind your back that the more disciplined ashtanga demands you perfect first.


The original holistic urban retreat. Created by Libby Limon Frame’s in-house degree qualified nutritional therapist and vinyasa yoga teacher, the x day non-residential course will cleanse you, motivate you, nourish you, get you moving, relax and restore you. Libby’s aim is to arm you with the tactics for a healthier happier life in London town. The course guides you through the latest in nutritional science, like intermittent fasting, the alkaline diet, nutrient timing and juicing. It is jam packed with Frame workshops and classes and it shows you exactly how you can include all this in your busy life. Designed to help you understand your own body and its specific needs, you should leave with renewed confidence in the choices you make and a sustainable new way of eating, exercising, living and feeling the very best you can.


Just another trendy diet fad? Maybe, but eating more raw food – specifically vegetables – definitely has its nutritional perks. Heating up food will zap some of the water-soluble vitamins, like B and C, and raw foodists claim the natural enzymes that boost digestion and fight disease are also destroyed. Some advocates go as far as to say that cooking food can actually make it toxic! A raw food diet will almost certainly help you lose weight if that is your goal. But, before you take the oven to the skip, it is worth remembering that cooking food kills off dangerous bacteria, makes it easier to digest and generally makes it taste better. Also, committing to a raw food diet probably means you’ll not be enjoying too many meals out with your friends ever again! So you could compromise with a raw fruit and veg juice each day… the greener the better!



The corpse pose – the easiest and strangely the hardest of all the yoga poses, also perhaps the most important. It is not so much a post-workout nap as an essential posture to relieve and rejuvenate the body and calm the mind. It should be held for around 10 minutes and you should remain totally still in the present moment. Or in the words of Sri K Pattabhi Jois, the father of modern ashtanga yoga: “Not waking, not sleeping”… “Most difficult for students.”


Sanskrit is one of the world’s most ancient languages derived from the same proto mother language as Latin and Greek. It is the primary sacred language of Hinduism as well as a philosophical language in Buddhism and Jainism. And it is the language of yoga – from the omnipresent Om to the names of the poses and the mysterious chanting – Sanskrit informs the practice on a fundamental level. If you want to delve deeper into your practice it’s good to gen up on the lingo and know your Ojas from your Prana.


We all need sleep (and plenty of it) to function at our optimum level. We should look to have 6-8 hours sleep per night, and switch off technology at a certain time before we go to sleep to allow ourselves to wind down. There is too much stimulation around us and it’s too easy to become sucked into social media and the Internet. Sleep is a sacred practice of restoration and allows us to totally recharge.


When temperature’s rise – like on a hot day or during a steamy work out – and your body reaches 37°C, your internal thermostat clicks on. Your five million eccrine sweat glands are triggered to produce a salty mixture of water and electrolytes, which evaporate into the air taking some body heat with it. But it’s not just about the temperature; increased heart rate, blood pressure and muscle stimulation will also generate sweat. And of course stress, hormones, infection and even spicy food can turn on the taps. Normally you will lose around a litre of water each day, and this could increase to litre per hour during intense training on a very hot day. It does appear to be true that men sweat more than women and it is not necessarily true that those who sweat like a pig are not as fit as those who are dry as a desert.


As the word suggests, supplements should be used to “supplement” the diet to fill any nutritional gaps – a vegan for example may benefit from certain B vitamin supplements, sun-worshippers (well, everyone actually) should reach for the vitamin D during the long dark winter months and pregnant women are often prescribed extra iron. Supplements can also temporarily boost a specific requirement: an athlete might use a protein powder during times of intense exercise, increased doses of vitamin C and zinc have been shown to help fend off minor coughs and colds and many people swear by arnica for treating bumps and bruises. Our lives are awash with advice and hearsay about specific herbal or botanical remedies for various conditions and what works for one person may be a total waste of money for another. The best you can do is to research thoroughly and remember that popping pills and knocking back powder shakes should never replace a healthy well-balanced natural diet.


Sometimes it seems we can’t go a week without a new superfood being announced, but what exactly is a superfood? The word is generally used to describe a food found in nature that is low in calories and high in antioxidants and essential nutrients. In short, it packs a punch for its weight as far as goodness goes. However, it is not a scientific term and can often be misused by food marketing agencies.


Sugar, it seems, is the new fat… an evil that has penetrated our society and seduced our taste buds. Recent research and reams of column inches have been dedicated to airing its sins. Sugar not only makes us obese, it also increases our risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart failure and cancer. It ages us, saps our energy and turns us into addicts. ‘But hang on!’ You may exclaim… ‘are you suggesting I ditch the doughnuts?’ Well, many top nutritionists would say ‘yes, definitely!’ But if you can’t face that at least consider replacing some of your sugar intake with healthier alternatives like cinnamon, cacao, coconut and fresh fruit. And watch those processed foods, they are often loaded with the stuff – even the savory fare! Unfortunately no sugar is good sugar.


Spirulina is single-celled blue-green algae that has been knocking around the planet for about three and a half billion years. Today it is mainly found in the form of a powdered supplement that smells and tastes pretty mean! But it’s powerful stuff, high in essential nutrients including B vitamins for energy production, antioxidants and about 60% easily absorbable proteins. In short, a scoop in your smoothie will help keep you tip-top.


If you’ve not yet encountered this nifty kitchen gadget, welcome to planet Earth! A spiralizer turns vegetables – mainly zucchini – into a healthy alternative to noodles. Potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and beetroots also spiralize successfully and countless recipes from fresh-faced food writers and beaming bloggers (AKA The Hemsleys, Madeline Shaw and Ella Woodward) will help you maximise the spiralizer love.



A tendon is a rope-like tissue that connects muscle to bone. Like a ligament, a tendon is tough and fibrous, but a tendon is not half as stretchy as a ligament. In order to increase muscle strength it is also important to increase tendon strength, as it is the tendons that enable the body to actually move. But tendons don’t strengthen as fast as muscles so it is important to take things sl-o-w-ly. Squats are great for leg tendons, heel drops work the Achilles tendon and kettlebell lifts can help strengthen the tendons in your shoulders and arms.


The male sex hormone – but you girls have it too (although much less than the chaps). As well as the obvious, testosterone is important for bone density, mood regulation and muscle development. Regular exercise increases testosterone levels, particularly sprinting or lifting heavy weights. Endurance exercise like long distance running or cycling, on the other hand, can actually reduce testosterone levels.


Plain old turmeric… you probably have a pot of it in your store cupboard right now. It is a member of the ginger family and like ginger it is a root that has been used as a medicine in India and Asia for thousands of years. Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and a very strong antioxidant. It has been shown to benefit Alzheimer’s sufferers as well as to help ward off heart attacks, arthritis and even cancer. But research has involved high doses of curcumin – far more than you would get from a teaspoon of turmeric – so we are not suggesting that you treat chronic disease by eating curry. In any case, it’s best absorbed in combination with fats so adding turmeric to a smoothie with coconut or nuts will have the most benefit.



Vinyasa means ‘to place in a special way’ and ‘breath synchronised movement’. Vinyasa yoga is exactly that – a specified sequence of moments intrinsically linked to the breath. It is one of the most popular styles of modern yoga for its fast-paced fitness-approach combined with what is effectively a prolonged breathing meditation. The practice originates from ashtanga yoga, but many modern yoga teachers have adapted the flowing dance-like movements and the style is often referred to as vinyasa flow or simply flow yoga. Jivamukti and power yoga also incorporate vinyasa flow into the practice.


Vitamins are organic compounds that are vital (all be it in small quantities) for health. Different vitamins perform different functions in the body – they convert energy, protect cells and regulate growth and repair – but the important thing about them is that they cannot be produced internally and they must be consumed as part of the diet. Vitamins are either fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) or water-soluble (C and B). Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body for a while – a few days or more – and used when they are needed. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, travel through the blood stream and if not used immediately are discarded. So you need to re-stock these more often.



It goes without saying that drinking water is absolutely essential. Water is responsible for regulating the body’s temperature through sweating, as well as for digesting and transporting nutrients, flushing out toxins and lubricating joints. Although 60% of your body is water (75% of muscle tissue) your body doesn’t actually store water for long so it is important to keep topping up especially on a hot day or if you are working out and sweating more. Not enough water and you will start to feel weak, dizzy and grumpy… ultimately you will pass out. Too much water can be a problem as well, but that is rare. And it doesn’t just have to be water – all beverages and most foods (particularly raw fruit and veg) contain water… but water if free!



The concept of yin and yang comes from the Taoist tradition, and in reference to yoga, yin relates to finding stillness whereas yang is about movement and heat. The theory is that we need both. Yin yoga is practiced sitting or lying on the floor with blocks, blankets and bolsters; you can even leave your socks on if you like. It is about slowing down, relaxing and softening into poses, holding them for five, ten or even twenty minutes at a time. The idea is to access the deeper connective tissues and fascia and to slow the overactive mind right down. Sound boring? Yin yoga is way beyond boring… stick at it and it will tap into a part of you that is unique to yin. It can be deeply restorative – a perfect antidote to the yang that consumes everyday life.

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