Archives for posts with tag: lean

Once again I’ve neglected my blog for far too long, but in my defence I’ve been planning my new business (more to come on this soon) and creating a children’s picture book with my sister, which is very nearly finished. It’s all been very exciting!

With all this going on, I’m sure I’d be forgiven for taking a step back from my normal fitness routine but I just can’t go more than a few days without exercise, which is why I’m a big fan of Tabata training at the moment. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). I’ve been incorporating high intensity intervals into my workouts for years – and have written about them on here before – but I’ve always felt that anything less than 40 seconds for a high intensity period was cheating.

I was wrong! Tabata intervals are only 20 seconds long with a 10 second rest. It doesn’t sound like much and I admit to being a little sceptical at first, but the idea is that you work those 20 seconds to complete exhaustion, then take 10 seconds rest and then go straight back into 20 seconds HIGH, HIGH, HIGH intensity. You repeat this 8 times. Believe me, if you’re working it like you should be, those last few sets are a killer!

Traditional Tabata training consists of just 4 minutes of work (8 rounds of 20 seconds work with 10 seconds rest) and according to research this is all you need to increase your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. This article explains it really well. Personally, I love the theory behind all of this but I’m not going to be satisfied by just 4 minutes of exercise no matter how hard-core it is. I might be pushed for time but I still enjoy my workouts and I want them to last a bit longer than 4 minutes, so guided by the fantastic KT Chaloner at, I’ve been doing Tabata classes in which you do 4 or 5 sets of the 4 minute workout with a short break in between each one. I have to say, I’m loving it and I feel fantastic!

So if you’re looking for something to spice up your workouts or you just want to see what all the hype is about, give Tabata a go. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.



I am not a saint when it comes to food. I really wish I was. I wish I had a little bit less of a sweet tooth and a-lot-a-bit more self-control, but I don’t. I eat well most of the time and I mostly keep my sugar cravings at bay, but every now and then my love of sweet stuff takes over and my inner sugar monster rears its ugly head.

Not surprisingly, this is exactly what happened over Christmas. Like many people, I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and when I began to feel a bit ill, I took a break for half an hour and then started again. Yuk! Why do I do these things to myself?

The outcome was, by the end of December I was extremely grumpy, quite a lot blobbier than I would have liked and every joint in my body was stiff and aching. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to go clean and get off the sugar and the bread and the rich foods….and yet, somehow I just couldn’t do it. I’d wake up each morning full of good intentions and by bedtime I was feeling guilty, grumpy and full of chocolate once again.

I needed a little help to break this unhealthy cycle and get me back to healthy eating again. So I signed up to Mission Clean & Lean, an online detox programme set up by Fern Whittaker and Jo Parry. Ordinarily, I don’t think I would have signed up for something like this, but Jo Parry is an international fitness presenter whose classes I’ve enjoyed at Fitness Fiestas for many years so I was confident it would be good.

I wasn’t disappointed. The programme started on 7th January and ran for 21 days. A couple of days before the diet started, I was added to a private Facebook group which would become my social support network for the next 21 days. Each day Fern and Jo would post the food plan and the 10 minute exercise video (to be done twice) for the next day. The rules were different each day: some days we would be allowed a small snack as well as our meals, other days it was just 3 clean meals, whilst other days we were asked to fast, which was not as terrifying or painful as I’d expected it to be. There were various fitness tests to be completed throughout the week to chart our progress, and weight and measurements to be taken every Monday.

The whole programme is excellently designed to keep participants interested and motivated, and the emphasis is on enjoying food and exercise rather than starving yourself.

But for me the real genius of Mission Clean & Lean is the Facebook group which, I have to admit, became a bit of an obsession. I found myself checking the group every few minutes to see if anyone had posted anything new: a picture of their dinner perhaps, or a new recipe idea, maybe even admittance that they’d had a few too many cashew nuts that day! As time went by I felt as if I got to know the other people on the diet, even though I’d never met them, and that is the beauty of Mission Clean & Lean because the Facebook group keeps you interested and focussed and makes you feel supported and motivated.

I can honestly say there isn’t a single person who wouldn’t benefit from signing up to Mission Clean & Lean. Whether you want to lose weight, kick start a new fitness regime, or simply feel happier and healthier in yourself regardless of size and body shape, this is a great programme. My goals going into the diet were to detox and break my sugar addiction, and maybe lose that last, stubborn bit of baby weight. I succeeded.

Thank you Fern and Jo. And thanks to all the other Clean & Leaners for your support. x