Keeping healthy in the Timsbury/Bath area

Green Park Market
Green Park Market, by Andy Powell (

As you may imagine, I’m always on the look-out for places and people who can enhance my wellbeing. Time and again I find myself recommending the same places to people, so I thought it was about time I posted my list on here. Please feel free to comment on this if you have any others of your own.

Best health food shop

The Green Shop in Midsomer Norton – knowledgable staff and a great range of products

Best cafe

The Connies, Timsbury – lots of healthy options available in a friendly setting

Best place to grab and go

Beyond The Kale, Green Park Station – delicious food, lovely products and friendly staff

Best fit gear retailer

Tony Pryce Sports, Wells – a great mix of equipment and functional yet flattering apparel

Best local market

Green Park Market – a wide range of delicious and locally sourced foods

Best local pharmacy

Timsbury Pharmacy – friendly and knowledgable staff are always happy to help

Best treatments

Creations Studio – Emilia delivers massages that are tough to beat. Plus she is very welcoming and knowledgeable.

Best gym

CrossFit & YMCA Bath – I had to pick two as these are both great. I love CrossFit because it delivers high intensity workouts combined with brilliant technique coaching. I love the YMCA because of the awesome team running it, who create a down-to-earth community feel, that can be hard to generate in gyms.

Best yoga instructor

Emma Farrell – Emma is highly knowledgable in many aspects of health. She also teaches Free Diving and Hypnobirthing, and is a trained reflexologist too.

Best butcher

Tunley Farm Butchers – Mark sells great produce that is locally sourced unless stated. He delivers to your door or you can visit him in Green Park Station.

Best yoga studio

Bath Yoga Studio – This lovely warm yoga studio in the centre of Bath offers yoga for all abilities. All the instructors are very approachable and experienced.

Best magazine retailer

Churches, Keynsham – Any magazines this place doesn’t sell isn’t worth reading.

Best children’s class

Little Ninjas @ Jamie Woodland’s Blackbelt Academy – This is a fab class for children over the age of three. Jamie is great at teaching the children in a way that they enjoy, but that is disciplined at the same time.

Best group

Timsbury Cycle Group – I haven’t actually been out with this group myself, as I don’t really get the chance to cycle very often, but I hear very good things about it. Turn up at 7.30am at Conygre Hall on any Sunday (and some Saturdays) to join their ride. Distances vary each week, and you can choose a group to ride with, depending on your cycle speed.


Best spinning® tracks of 2015

Spinathon.JPGWith 2015 firmly behind us, many of us are starting the new year in the usual way; with a vow to get fit and healthy.

For those of you who, like me, are physically unable to exercise without some awesome tunes to keep you motivated, I thought I would tell you which 2015 tunes worked best in my Spinning® classes throughout the past year.

I spend a great deal of time planning the soundtracks to my classes, in particular group cycle (or “Spinning®”), because as a participant, I know that I work much harder if I enjoy the music.

I hope you enjoy these tunes. Please let me know your favourite workout tunes of the past year. I look forward to seeing what great new workout tracks 2016 brings us.

  1. Mumford and Sons – ‘The Wolf
  2. The Chemical Brothers – ‘Go
  3. Years and Years – ‘Shine
  4. Fleur East – ‘Sax
  5. Foxes – ‘Body Talk
  6. Sia – ‘Alive‘ (for hill climbs)
  7. Taylor Swift – ‘Bad Blood‘ (for hills)
  8. Bloc Party – ‘The Love Within
  9. Disclosure ft. Sam Smith – ‘Omen
  10. Major Lazer ft. Ellie Goulding – ‘Powerful‘ (for cool down)
  11. Ellie Goulding – ‘Love Me Like You Do‘ (for cool down)


How to run faster

I was recently asked how to increase your running pace, so thought I would share my answer with you here:

The secret is interval/tempo training. The basic idea is that you go beyond your aerobic threshold into your anaerobic training zone for short bursts so that in time your aerobic speed increases. In essence this means that over time the speed you could only maintain in short bursts previously, will become the pace you can keep at throughout a long run.

You can either do this as speed or hill work. With speed you would run at a steady pace for say two mins, then fast for a min, steady for two etc. You can also do what’s called as fartlek which is more random but normally someone yells at you to get you to change pace so is hard to do alone. Another good method is to use lamp posts and count a certain number for the steady pace and fast pace.

A good way to do hill work is to run up a hill as fast as poss then jog slowly back down and repeat.

If you have any training questions please feel free to email me on Also get in touch if you are interested in personal training or small group training.

Snack attack

You plan your meals to ensure they’re healthy and nutrient dense but tend to reach for snacks that don’t complement that diet. Here are a few suggestions of what to snack on:

  • Rye toast with nut butter
  • A handful of nuts and/or seeds
  • Veg sticks with humus
  • Low GI Fruit
  • Yoghurt, preferably natural and organic (def not yoghurt with sugar or sweetener added to it, this includes all ‘diet’ yoghurts so avoid them too as their flavour comes from chemicals your body can’t properly digest)
  • Try to stick to low GI foods so wholemeal pasta, rice etc and bread if you eat it
  • Small pieces of cheese
  • Avocado
  • Olives

Pre workout food

  • Don’t eat too much a couple of hours before a workout
  • Protein shake as long as low in sugar or sweetener
  • Grilled chicken with mixed veg
  • Berries, a small amount of banana, natural yoghurt – I add quinoa flakes, goji berries, cinnamon, grounds flax seed and chia seeds to mine
  • Smoothie made with whatever milk and fruit you like and you can add powders like wheatgrass etc to it
  • Oatmeal with low GI fruit
  • Apple wedges with almond butter
  • Oatcakes with nut butter

Post workout snacks

  • Follow workouts with a good quality protein, especially when you’ll be working out again the following day
  • Sweet potatoes are a good pre or post workout food, pair with salmon, or some other protein
  • Veg omelet with avocado

A few tips

  • Try to avoid foods that will cause a sugar spike which include dry fruit, most cereal bars, honey, jam, wheat-based products and of course cakes, biscuits and other processed foods.
  • Where poss choose organic products.
  • Stick to the purest forms of foods. This is the basis of ‘clean eating’.
  • Lots of fruits are high in sugar which will cause a sugar spike. Bananas, apples and grapes are some of the worst culprits. The better options are berries, peaches and cantaloupe melon.
  • Avoid ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’ products. Often they are pumped full of chemicals to give them flavour, which your body isn’t very efficient at processing, which can lead to all kinds of health problems including weight gain.
  • Don’t be afraid of fat. Your body needs fat to function. Just ensure you go for pure fats including natural organic yoghurt, organic butter from grass-fed cows and when it comes to oil opt for organic coconut or hemp seed oil for cooking, and organic cold-pressed olive oil to drizzle on salads.

If you have more questions about nutrition or would like me to write you a diet plan then please email me at

Get outside

Just because summer is behind us for another year doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from getting outdoors. In fact in some ways exercising in the sun at this time of year is better for you as you aren’t subjecting your skin to such harsh UV rays.

Benefits of outdoor exercise

  • Increase your intake of vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb important minerals such as iron and calcium.
  • Reduces the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can be particularly acute in winter months.
  • Gives your lungs a burst of fresh air.
  • Makes you feel happy.

Get out every day

  • Walk when possible. Do the school run on foot so the kids get outside and some exercise too, walk to work or the shops whenever possible. If it helps invest in some good waterproof apparel so you’re not put off by the rain.
  • On lunch breaks take a stroll, if only for five minutes.
  • If you take the bus get off a stop early, or walk to the next stop along your journey after work.

Exercise outside

  • Bootcamp-style classes will run all year whatever the weather, so find one near you.
  • Run outside. With the right gear you can keep running all year round, even when it’s dark and pouring with rain. High-visibility gear, trail trainers and a head torch mean there’s no need to quit running for winter. Just make sure you’re visible and stick to well-lit areas after dark.
  • Pause regularly in your run to do some squats, star jumps or lunges to add variety.
  • Go for a long walk. There’s nothing like it on a sunny autumnal morning and if you have kids they will love collecting fallen leaves of varying colours.
  • Cycle. Again, with the right apparel, and with a mind on safety there’s no need to stop just because summer is over.
  • Swim. There are loads of wild swimming destinations in the UK that you could explore if you invest in a wetsuit.
  • Go for a buggy run. Your little one will love the fresh air and may even sleep better for it. Cycle paths are particularly good places to do this as they’re wide, flat and traffic free.

The right kit

  • Head torch
  • Wicking layers that can be removed as you warm up
  • Gloves
  • High-visibility clothing
  • Walking boots
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Good waterproof coat
  • Wetsuit

So get outside. Even if you’re only out for five minutes you will feel better.

Think Healthy Thoughts

Hello everybody and welcome to my new blog. Whether you are a regular triathlon competitor, or thinking about starting a new fitness regime, I’m hoping that this blog will inspire you.

Who am I?

I’m a mum of three who over the years has tried and tested all sorts of diets and fitness regimes. It took me a long time to realise that to make real changes I had to change my long-term outlook, not my short-term approach.

When I finally felt I had discovered the right balance I found it so inspiring that I decided to retrain to be a personal trainer, so that I could help others find the balance faster than I did, and without all the stress and low self-esteem that paved the way to finally making that discovery.

What will you find here?

Hopefully some inspirational tips and suggestions, as well as some interesting posts about various aspects of fitness and nutrition. I hope to help you all make small changes that will make a big difference to your lives.