Barefoot Running

Here we will look at barefoot running that has increased in popularity so much. Simply what is barefoot running and why do it?

What is barefoot running?

It is in the title. A number of people are literally ditching the trainers and running as nature intended. For some this is too extreme, and many footwear brands are now producing barefoot running shoes with very little support to give the same feel but protecting the feet.

Why try barefoot activities?

There are many reasons why people decide to give barefoot running a try. We may be inspired by research showing improved performance or reduced injury. It may be simply liking the sound of this activity, doing something that feels right, or as a new challenge, something fun to pursue.


Research showing reduced chance of injuries

Running barefoot forces a different technique to running with conventional trainers. In fact there is research to show the more expensive the running trainers, the more the chances of injury increase. Reduced chances of injuries may be just one of many reasons.

It feels good!

Remember as a child, running free, barefoot on sand or grass. It was a great feeling. Many of us like to return to this place and barefoot activities can take us there. Without trainers, running becomes simple and more natural.

Barefoot running for a change of scene

For some who maybe never really clicked with running this can be a chance to make it different or more fun. For those of us who have run for years, the idea sounds great and offers a new challenge.

Washboard or just bored?

Many of us long after an ideal mid section.  Minimal body fat and a firm toned column of muscular perfection.  Read on to discover how it all works and what we can do to achieve results around the mid section…

The abdominal muscle group can be separated into 4 different muscles, each of which has a different movement.  It’s hard to completely isolate any one of these muscles as they tend to work together, but they can be targeted.

Rectus abdominus  Two strips of segmented muscles running down the middle of the abs commonly known as the `6 pack`.  A straight forward stomach crunch or sit up works this muscle.

Transverse abdominus  The deepest of the abdominals, worked when we simply suck the belly button in.

Internal & External obliques  The `obliques` run around the sides diagonal to each other, working together to twist the trunk or bend to the side.



A common question from people is “what   exercise is best for this bit” (followed by a    repeated patting of the belly!!).  What they are usually referring to is the body fat covering the abdominals.  Regular aerobic exercise and a well balanced diet are the best approach to reducing this body fat.


Some abdominal exercises will definitely help to flatten and tone this area.  Many people pursue stomach crunches and sit ups working the `6 pack` rectus abdominals.  This works up to a point, but only on one specific muscle and with no real effect on body fat.


Exercises using the deeper transverse abdominals are much more effective.  When sucking the belly in these are the    muscles we use, so it makes sense to train them in pursuit of a flat stomach.  A wide range of core stability, swiss ball, and BOSU exercises are effective, as are exercises like `the plank`.



With normal crunches, the rectus abdominals (particularly the upper abs) will get toned quickly.  We should try to include all areas in an ab routine for a more balanced physique.  Hit the lower abs by bringing the pelvis towards the ribs as in a  reverse crunch.  The obliques can be firmed by performing crunches with twists or side movement.



As well as a varied ab routine be sure to strengthen the opposing lower back muscles with exercises like back raises and supermans.  This is essential to improve or maintain good posture and muscle balance.  Interestingly, a large number of back problems are due to weakness in the this area.



A low body fat is a must for the catalogue six pack.  Movements involving the obliques (twists and bends) are shown to promote definition better than the other abdominals



Training the mid section is an important part of any training program.  Regular aerobic exercise reduces body fat and should  be combined with varied mid section exercises for best results.


Quinoa: a complete superfood

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is growing in popularity as a hot superfood.  It has the character of a grain but the personality of a seed.  Packed with nutrients, essential fats and protein – is this the perfect food?

Grain like, but actually a seed

For those looking to ditch the wheat and grains quinoa is perfect.  It cooks and looks similar to rice, but is actually a seed. Quinoa is loaded with nutrients, high in B vitamins, fibre and even some essential fatty acids. Additionally it is good source of zinc, iron, calcium, copper, manganese and magnesium and it contains folic acid and vitamin E.  It’s easy to see why many consider quinoa to be the most complete food for humans!

A great protein source

Many plant based foods are lacking in some off the protein blocks known as amino acids.  Quinoa contains all of them and is 12-18% protein, a high percentage.

Slow release

Quinoa also happens to have a low glycemic index (GI) compared to whole grains. The GI rates foods depending on how much they make our blood glucose levels increase. Keeping your blood sugar balanced can help you to manage your weight and improve cholesterol, and that’s why whole, unrefined foodstuffs that are low in sugar and high in fibre are promoted for their health advantages. A further advantage for those concerned about their weight is that quinoa comes in at about 50 calories less per serving than brown rice and also has less carbohydrate than any other grain beside corn.


Quinoa is typically eaten in a variety of ways, e.g. in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, or as a side dish with any meal. It can even be used with puddings and used as a hot or cold breakfast cereal. We believe it works great as a substitute to rice or pasta in lunchtime meals.  It can even be cooked up and kept in the fridge for a few days.


About the author

Simon Lesser works as a Personal Trainer at BourneFit Personal Training Studio in Bournemouth.  For more info visit us at

Protein: an overview

PROTEIN is derived from the greek word ‘protos’ meaning first, since protein is the basic material of all living cells.  Protein diets, protein shakes, protein powders……..what’s all the fuss about?


What is protein?

Protein is found in all the cells of the body from the hair to the fingernails, which explains why 20-25% of our body weight is protein.  It is required for growth and repair of tissue, hence it’s association with muscle.  It also helps to create enzymes that enable us to digest food, antibodies  to fight infection and hormones that keep the body working properly.  Protein can also be converted to energy when the body is running low.


Amino Acids

Once eaten, protein is gradually digested in the body into much smaller proteins call amino acids.  There are 25 different types of amino acid, 17 of which can be made naturally by the body.  The other 8 amino acids must therefore be eaten in the diet.  These 8 aptly named `essential` amino acids can be used like building blocks to form any of the other 17 amino acids.


How much protein do we need?

Daily protein intake of around 1g per KG of body weight is adequate for most people (for example someone weighing 70kg would require around 70g of protein per day).  This amounts to around 15-20% of total calorie intake.  In sports performance protein plays an important part in growth and recovery and is therefore required in higher amounts.


Bodybuilders may consume anywhere between 200-400g  of protein per day, although this is the extreme end of the scale!  There still remains diversity among nutritionists with quite varied .recommended intakes   Between 1.5g  and 2.5g per KG of body weight is generally adequate even for top athletes.


  • If we consume enough calories, then we will get enough protein unless our diet is high in sugar and fat.
  • Too little protein will clearly impair performance and recovery, leading to loss of lean tissue.
  • On the other end of the scale, beware excess protein puts a strain on the liver and kidneys


Quality not quantity

Protein content is high in meat, fish, eggs, pulses, dairy products, nuts and

seeds.  Animal sources tend to account for 60-70% of the protein intake and

although meat, particularly red meat is an excellent source of protein, it is

high in saturated fat bringing with it negative health factors.  Beans on the

other hand may only contain 50% protein but the remaining calories come

from slow release carbohydrates and no fat!!


The way forward

Try to vary your protein sources and don’t rely on meat too heavily.  Eggs are the most complete protein source, containing a range of vitamins and minerals as well.   Cottage cheese is a great natural source due to its value and anti cancer properties.  Oily fish, nuts and seeds are other great options – high in protein as well as essential fatty acids which bring many health benefits.



25 Top tips for weight loss

Here are 25 simple top tips for ultimate weight loss.  Sometimes we simply need reminding of the basics!

  1. Eat larger meals earlier in the day and smaller meals later in the day.
  2. Don’t overeat.  Whatever you don’t burn is stored as fat.
  3. Get active on most or all days of the week.
  4. Stay away from simple sugars like sweets, chocolate and cakes.
  5. Ensure you are well hydrated as poor hydration can limit fat burning potential.
  6. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, high in fibre and water.
  7. Exercise regularly. It boosts metabolism and fat burning potential.
  8. Stop kidding yourself!
  9. Avoid saturated fats.  Essential fats found in oily fish, nuts and seeds are much better.
  10. Dieting doesn’t work. The results are short term with negative long term effects.
  11. Have a qualified body fat test done or use clothes sizes.  The scales never tell the full story.
  12. Limit alcohol due to its high calorie content.
  13. Exercise, but make sure you’re at the right level.
  14. Eat 5-6 smaller meals every day.  (graze as opposed to binge!)
  15. Train with weights to boost metabolism.
  16. Fight fat with fibre.  It keeps you full, keeping hunger at bay and also helps to control blood sugar levels.
  17. Never miss breakfast.  We need to boost metabolism and energy levels for the day.
  18. Watch what you consume when eating out.  Go for the healthier options as far as possible and look out for alcohol and desserts.
  19. Drink plenty of water, particularly with meals.
  20. You are looking to lose weight not muscle so eat plenty of protein rich foods.
  21. Eat slowly.  It takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize you are full.  Eating quickly causes overeating and is a strain on the digestive system.
  22. Ensure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals.  Eating a well balanced diet will help massively and you may want to consider a decent multivitamin.
  23. Eat less calories than you burn!
  24. Set realistic goals and aim to lose no more than 2lb / 0.8kg a week.
  25. If you want something badly enough it’s as good as yours – go get it!!

Sports Nutrition – eating before exercise

What we eat in the lead up to an all important workout or even competition is essential.  A good meal leaves us full of energy that lasts as long as comfortable.  Get the pre training meal wrong and it can be catastrophic.  Here we will look at some theory behind whats best and offer some ideas.

Slow release is best


In fact, slow release is best for most of us, most of the time.  Foods releasing energy slowly keep us fuller and more energized on a regular basis.  An hour workout can be quite demanding so sustained release here is essential.

Timing, timing, timing

General advice is a larger meals 3-4 hours before or smaller meals 1-2 hours before exercise.  We also need to consider the content of the meal that has been consumed to how long to leave it.  Higher fat or protein meals take longer to release.  This can be used to our advantage, by adding higher fat or protein foods to pre workout meals, we create a sustained release!

Foods to try

Don’t change anything too drastically, stick to normal choices.  Porridge is perfect in the mornings, though you need an hour or 2 for it to digest.  Your normal lunch or dinner will work just fine. A mix of carbs (rice or vegetables) with protein (meat, fish, beans or eggs) works well.

Add plenty of carbs for energy, but also some protein in there.  Presence of amino acids (small protein units) in the body has a good link to better performance and recovery.

Coffee is also a favourite among many within an hour of training for that extra kick!

In case of emergencies

It’s the final hour,  you are really stuck, sat in meetings all day or in the car grab some fruit juice, dried fruit, or sports drink with plenty of water (and coffee).  This can often be much better than nothing.

It’s kinda personal 

This is a personal thing as to what works best.  It is worth using the guidelines above but experimenting with what food types and timing work the best for you.  Some people prefer a large meal, others can barely stomach a banana, so see be willing to test..


We work from BourneFit Personal Training Studio in Bournemouth, offering a professional service including Personal Training, Weight Loss and Sports Massage.  Visit us at

Weight Loss: Alternative lunch ideas

Following a couple of client queries regarding lunches over the past couple of weeks we found it easier to share a post.

The problem:  It’s winter and I’m still eating salads, possibly getting slightly bored.    I need some variety and something that suits the time of year more.

The answer: Here goes..


Personal Training in Bournemouth

The principles or all meals designed towards weight loss (or fat loss) remain the same.  High in protein, loaded with vegetables and slow releasing energy.  We are aiming to eliminate certain food groups such as wheat and dairy to be safe as they often slow weight loss.  A protein salad is the perfect option here as it ticks all the boxes, can be eaten cold and varied easily.

Other options

Ok ok, now for a couple of other options.  We are trying to use the same principles here but may suffer ever so slightly on quality.

  • Home made vegetable soup, but use protein as a side dish (ie half a can of  tuna, a turkey breast).
  • Chilli con carne with little or no rice.  Easily made in abundance one evening and kept for a few days.
  • Any evening meal works well here, but may be less convenient to take to work.
  • Eggs and beans option works here as well.
  • Protein Wraps – particularly chicken or bean based with lots of salad and minimal dressing.  Can even be shop bought but beware.
  • Shop bought options – would include fish, chicken or bean based options. These will work well in a snip and be infinitely better than sandwiches. Again beware of what’s been added!

Ways to approach it

If at all possible a main meal at lunch is great or as mentioned above some of a previous evening meal.  For some alternating protein salads and these other options may be enough to relieve the boredom. Just ensure that high portion of protein, a little fat and loads of veg.

Weight Loss: How exercise helps

Of the many aspects affecting weight loss, exercise is certainly one of the most significant.  Here we will look at why this is the case, and if so how much and what type works the best.

Losing weight without exercise

Yes, this can be done, but the honest opinion is that this is a slower process.  Want to lose weight fast, just don’t eat! Following a faddy diet will get results short term, but what next?

Looking for long term efficient weight loss that stays off as well as being fitter, healthier and stronger? Get down the gym!

Burn baby burn

The calorie burning effect of exercise is huge, but not in the way you may believe.  During exercise, vigorous cardio activity such as rowing or running may burn anywhere from 600 calories rarely beyond 1000 calories  But thats a lot of work, and solid for an hour!

It’s the afterburn of exercise that is key, the increased metabolism for anything up to 24 hours afterwards.  See more on this below..


Cardio v’s Conditioning

So, which is the best for burning fat?  This is an age old question and can simply be answered by saying a combination of the two.  There are opinions and research showing either way, but essentially cardio will tap into fat directly.  Conditioning on the other hand will tone muscles, making them more metabolically active increasing metabolism every day!

Other aspects

As well as all the obvious benefits of exercise for weight loss, it simply allows us to be human.  An over indulgent meal on the weekend just requires more time sweating on a Monday.  When metabolism is on the rise the little slip ups and treats along the way.  Regular, well planned exercise will speed up the weight loss process without a doubt!

Tips to help you train this winter

Winter is a tough time to be out training.  Strong winds, ice and driving rain are pretty constant from December until February.  Check out some simple tips on how to brave it this winter.

Wearing the right clothing

There is now an abundance of warm but breathable fabrics out there and the manufacturers have made the most of them. Warm materials are obviously great but they must be breathable to stop you feeling like a boil in the bag.  Windproof clothing is particularly clever keeping you warm, dry and protected from cold wind.

Merino Wool items are amazing, currently top of the list.  Warm, breathable, sweat wicking and also anti bacterial so they never smell!

Accept some indoor training

Switching to some indoor training either in the gym or at home in the garage is a lifesaver.  There are times when you just don’t have the heart to face the cold.  Loud music and motivation essential.

Come spring you will appreciate these sessions.


A warm hat, socks, some decent gloves or a breathable scarf (the best) can make all the difference on a cold run or cycle.  Better to have them and have to stuff them in a pocket than get cold extremities!

Click here – For more information on Bournemouth Personal Training or check out the gym at BourneFit Personal Training Studio



5 Top Tips to survive Christmas

It’s that time of year, no denying it.  Check out these 5 top tips from BourneFit Personal Training in Bournemouth. Follow the guidance below to get yourself through the festive period with lots of energy and no weight gain!

Portion and choice control

We are not designed to eat large portions. Simple.  Enjoy your xmas foods but have it in smaller portions.  Large meals will cause a massive rush of calories, a major cause of weight gain.  This is often followed by an inevitable slump.

The best approach is enjoy a little of the Christmas food you enjoy, just spread it into smaller portions.

Xmas dinner in itself is a good meal.  Opt for a small plate if this helps, and aim for 25% lean protein (turkey!) and heaps of veggies.  One small dessert is allowed, after all it is xmas!


Plan some training in and around the Christmas period.  Book in with a friend on Boxing Day if you need to.  Maybe even try something different to your normal routine if you have the time off work.  Interval Training is superb for burning extra calories, as well as boosting fitness back up quickly.

Sweet stuff

There will inevitable be lots of sweet treats floating around.  Eating lots of these foods and little else will leave you feeling as rough as a badgers backside.  Have a little, enjoy it, leave the rest alone!


Among all the processed food it is possible to find some natural options. Fresh fruit is welcomed  by the body and a few raw nuts or dried fruits are great.


The calorie content of alcohol and the hangover effects are obvious.  Something to consider is the lack of judgement after a few glasses, and no not who you’re kissing under the mistletoe!

Be aware of the American Size superbag of crisps or the 2 kilos of chocolate on the table.  These foods will have a killer impact on top of the alcohol.


Above all enjoy the holidays.  A merry Christmas to all!