Hi! I’m Helen Gambarota and I am delighted to be joining Jo’s Weekly Workout Family to share my love of books with you.

I am a total book nerd. An avid reader and a compulsive book buyer, although I do need to slow down on the book buying as there are piles of books all around the house. I started reviewing books on Instagram as @BestBookFoward almost 4 years ago and I love chatting about books and sharing my passion for reading.

Each month I’ll be bringing you my recommendation of a must-read book. I read a variety of genres so it could be anything from fiction, non-fiction, romance, historical fiction or a thriller and I really hope that you’ll enjoy each of them as much as I do.

If you’d like more book inspiration you can find my reviews on my Instagram account which is @BestBookForward, on Facebook or on my website bestbookforward.org

I Am A Girl From Africa by Elizabeth Nyamaro

As I sit here writing my book recommendation for you this month, it is actually the launch day for Jo’s fabulous Wellness and Lifestyle magazine and one word is ringing in my head; Ubuntu. Maybe you’ve heard that word before, but I hadn’t until I read I Am A Girl From Africa by Elizabeth Nyamaro which is my choice for you this month.

Ubuntu is an ancient African philosophy and it means “I am because you are”, it essentially means that what impacts one will in turn impact us all. It is about community, connection, uplifting and caring for one another. Which is why I thought it was such a relevant read for Jo’s Weekly Workout Family. I am so proud to be part of this community and to be able to share my love of books with you and I really hope that you’ll find Elizabeth’s story as inspiring as I did. Let me tell you a bit about it.

Elizabeth grew up in a small village in Zimbabwe with her Grandmother. She had a lovely childhood but when she was eight years old they were hit by a terrible drought. One day Elizabeth found herself lying on the ground and believed that she was going to die. A young aid worker from The United Nations found Elizabeth and fed her a bowl of porridge which saved her life. It also sparked a dream in Elizabeth.

She decided that one day she would also work for The United Nations and that she would improve the lives of others. Which is exactly what she did. Despite all the odds Elizabeth went on to become a Senior Advisor for the United Nations, she also founded the HeForShe Movement; so the dream that was sparked in an eight year old girl has in fact changed the world.

I love a good memoir and I found Elizabeth’s story so inspiring and relevant to the times that we are in at the moment. Not only is ELizabeth’s story incredible it is also a beautiful love letter to her continent, in the dedication she writes “To my beloved continent, this my love letter to you. I cannot imagine any greater gift than being a child of the African soil . which I think is one of the most special dedications I’ve seen in a long time.

When I posted details of this book on my Instagram Elizabeth sent me this message:

“I hope that it inspires you to see what is possible when we dream big and choose to make a difference to the lives of others”. Whatever dream you have I hope that you’ll read this memoir and be inspired to keep striving towards seeing your dream become reality.

___________

You can buy your copy from Amazon or from all good bookshops.

 

Katie Bishop is back with another recipe to make your mouth water …

This recipe is fantastic, as Katie has thought this would be a great recipe to make, after having seen the conversation with Jo and Dr Sophie Bostock  on sleep ….

So, over to Katie …

Now, I am not a nutritionist, but there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that eating turkey can help you sleep!

According to healthline.com ‘Turkey has a few properties that explain why some people become tired after eating it, or think it encourages sleepiness. Most notably, it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of melatonin.’

The protein in turkey may also contribute to its ability to promote tiredness.

There’s evidence that consuming moderate amounts of protein before bed is associated with better sleep quality, including less waking up throughout the night.

Although it is clear that more research is necessary to confirm turkey’s potential role in improving sleep.

I’ve heard that almonds, walnuts, dairy and bananas are also thought to be helpful when it comes to dropping off … but as I say, I’m not a nutritionist. All I know is they’re all really tasty and are great as part of a balanced diet, so if they help sleep too, then that’s just a bonus!

___________

Katie will be back next month with something else delicious to try.

In the meantime, you can find out more about her at http://katiebishop.co.uk or follow her on Instagram at @ktbishopcooks

Overview

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Time to cook: 45-55 minutes
Serves: 6 people

These meatballs are really quick and easy to make, so they’re perfect for a meal during the week.

They also contain lots of ‘hidden’ vegetables and so they are great for increasing your daily quota, or to help when it comes to feeding children who don’t overly enjoy eating them!

You can freeze these meatballs along with the sauce (either together or separately) so they’re always ready to use for a quick midweek meal. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight, and of course – always be sure to heat them thoroughly before seaving.

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled
1 stick celery
1 carrot, peeled
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme (optional)
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
500g turkey thigh mince
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan (or extra mature Cheddar)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Let’s get cooking …

  1. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic into a food processor and blitz until very finely chopped (or if you’re feeling energetic, you can do this by hand). Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture for the meatballs (step 4).
  2. Next, warm the oil in a large, heavy frying pan or shallow casserole dish, add the vegetable mixture, along with the thyme (as an option), and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for around 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, remembering to fill up each empty can with water and add that to the pan too. Season with the sugar, 1 tsp sea salt flakes and a good grind of pepper. Stir well, letting the mixture come to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer gently while you make the meatballs.
  4. Put the reserved blitzed veg into a large mixing bowl with the mince, breadcrumbs, cheese and Worcestershire sauce. Season with 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes and mix together well with your hands.
  5. Moisten your hands with a little cold water and roll teaspoon sized pieces of the mixture into balls. Put each one onto a large, lined baking tray or board as you go, to make about 50 little meatballs (or fewer bigger ones! Size is completely up to you!).
  6. Add the meatballs into the simmering sauce – working from the outside of the pan, inwards, in concentric circles. Simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, turning the balls over halfway through, until they are thoroughly cooked and there is no pink meat.
  7. I would suggest you serve them with pasta, rice, couscous or even a jacket potato or wrap.

We’re really excited to bring you this exclusive interview with the Sleep Scientist, Dr Sophie Bostock. If you struggle with sleep – this is a must read / watch article!

Weekly Workout Club family members will know that Jo struggles with sleep from time to time. From emails with our members – we know she’s not the only one and so we wanted to offer some help. Jo tracked down one of the best sleep consultants in the business – Dr Sophie Bostock.

Sophie has always been intrigued by why what makes us feel good and function well. She studied medicine at Nottingham University, followed by an MSc in Entrepreneurship. After several years in consulting, she completed a PhD in Health Psychology at University College London (UCL), investigating why happiness protects against heart disease, and how to improve wellbeing at work.

Sophie’s research pointed to sleep being an unsung hero of mental and physical resilience. She has became a passionate advocate for the importance of sleep and is regularly featured on national media.

Incredibly, she is currently training to row around Great Britain in June 2021. Jo talks to her about this towards the end of the interview.

You can watch their conversation below.

We’ve captured some highlights from the interview below for you …

Why is sleep so important?

How long have you got?

I often ask people what is most important to you? If you really reflect right now on what your main goals are, what you’re hoping to achieve over the next year – we’ve all got something that we would like to work towards or improve whether that’s your relationships or something around your career or your health.

Sleep underpins our health and wellbeing.

So without sufficient sleep, it’s like we are wearing a mental straight jacket. Everything that we try and do becomes a little bit harder. Whereas when you’re well, slept well rested, you are more cognitively alert and focused and able to process information.

You’re more creative. You have more self control from a physical perspective. You’re much better able to manage stress. You’re able to relax a lot more, and that helps you to recover when you’ve done a lot of pilates!

Your damaged tissues recover faster, you can recover faster, and you’re going to be able to fight off infection better as well.

Sleep is what helps us to rebalance and to reprocess our emotions at the end of the day. We’ve all had that feeling when it’s the end of the day, and you’re just at the end of your tether – you can’t take any more. You sleep and then you wake up and if you have a good night’s sleep, you feel refreshed.

And then there is this process of emotional detachment as we go through experiences from the day and we process those while we sleep.

We know that there’s this process of detaching facts from emotion, so that we’re able to look back on things in a much more objective way. We kind of lose the, the ‘heat’ of, of what’s happened after a good night’s sleep.

JO: So the adage of sleep on it is properly true?  The experience of ‘sleep on it’ – everything will be fine in the morning because you will look at it with a clearer head …

It really is – yes!

How long would you say is a good night’s sleep and what should we be striving towards?

I am so glad you asked this question because you can always tell people who have the odd difficulty with sleep, because they are very interested in the precise “yes or no”… have I got it right? have I got enough … what’s the level  that I need to hit?

The more you fixate on a specific level … the more you actually get anxious about whether you’re getting enough.

It’s a little bit like people who are always on a diet and they always want to get the amount of food and calories just right. But actually when you look at the science of it, it’s not about calories at all. It’s about quality and it’s about having a balanced diet and in a way there’s lots of similarities with sleep.

What are your 3 top tips for sleep?

1) Don’t fight with sleep in your bed.

If you really can’t sleep after let’s say 20 minutes and it doesn’t have to be precise. (I don’t want you looking at the clock) it’s more feeling that, Oh, I really, really can’t sleep if you feel that and you’re starting to get anxious about it. Get out of bed.

2) Wake up time

This becomes very difficult when you’ve had a bad night’s sleep. And I’m saying to you, I want you out of bed at the same time every day. When you’ve only had four hours sleep, I know that will be hard! But if you do manage to get up and get on and go about your day, the following night – think how much richer your sleep is going to be, because you’re going to have built up a real need to sleep and you will look forward to it!

If you’re really fatigued, then a quick 15-20 minute nap in the afternoon is probably is not going to interfere with your night time sleep. Just try and avoid long naps late in the day. That’s a particular thing for parents who are so tired, they put their kids to bed and then fall asleep with them. When it’s time for them to come to bed, they’ve used up that sleep pressure.

So try and use sleep pressure to your advantage. If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, just stay awake almost for a good decent chunk of the day so that you can really delight in sleep the following day.

3) Sunlight

If there was any medicine I could give everybody, it would be sunlight.

We’re in England and it’s not always sunny, but still daylight still has this amazingly restorative power for our brains. So if you feel a bit sluggish either in the morning or perhaps in that little lull after lunch, where energy levels tend to dip, get outside and get some natural daylight.

That really will have a more rejuvenative and healthy effect on your circadian rhythms than say drinking caffeine, which disrupts sleep pressure.

Find out more about Sophie

You can visit her website here.

You can also find out more about her incredible row around the UK endeavour and sponsor her here.

You’ll be able to follow her progress on her Instagram too.

Each month, we’re going to be featuring one of our amazing Weekly Workout Club members here in our shiny new wellness and lifestyle area.

If you’re a member, you’ll know that its really important to Jo that we are all in this together and supporting one another on our fitness journeys.  This is the reason why Jo always refers to the club as the ‘Weekly Workout Family!’.

We thought it was time for members to get to know each other a little more and to share some stories and experiences.

Our May spotlight features Maureen …

__________

Introduce yourself …

I’m Maureen Rose (age 66) & I live in a small village in Lancashire. (1 pub, no shops! But luckily lots more in the next village down the road, should we ever be able to visit again, soon hopefully)

I live with my Husband, George & little dog Dillon, we have no children.

I worked as a midwife for many years until I retired, & it was job I loved & it enabled me to meet & forge strong lifelong friendships during my career. Working as part of a supportive team is so important to me & I think one of the reasons I love being part of the “ workout family” It’s a bit like “ we’re all in this together “ type of mentality for me & has certainly helped me during the last year.

Tell us about your Workout Club experiences

Exercise for me has been essential over many years – mainly starting when I was 30 & gave up smoking & put on 2 stones! So that was my initial motivation, to try & lose weight. It is only as the years have gone by that I have carried on exercising to maintain physical & mental good health.

I have always loved to exercise in group classes & love the camaraderie that goes with it, I’m certainly not a gym lover & am soon distracted. However, during the last few years certain back & knee issues have made me rethink on my exercise routines & I now focus on strength & posture exercise and so I find your Pilates helps me greatly.

As well as loving the classes, I’m finding much greater mobility & an extra bonus of toning up (something I didn’t always get from my high aerobic classes!)

So thank you Jo – even my husband is commenting on my change in shape & now says “ oh you’re with your mate” when he hears your opening music.

What are your top three classes you’d recommend?

Release the hips (which are great after walking)

Core balance (which I feel really strengthens my back)

The pillowcase (which works me hard without me realising & anything involving the spikey ball!)

(You will need to be a logged in member to view those workouts).

My favourite exercise will always be walking & I’m lucky to live in an area with some fabulous areas on the doorstep & luckily some great friends who are also great listeners & bring laughter to any occasion.  It’s surprising how the miles go by!

I’m also a fair weather golfer & hopefully hope to get back to that now the courses are opening up, again lovely to be out with friends

Favourite Food

Mainly spicy – so Thai or curries will always be my first choice.

Favourite Drink

How long have you got!

Cold beer first always followed by white wine however on holiday it’s a Cosmopolitan & if there’s any excuse for a celebration or just to make me happy it’s got to be champagne.

Favourite Book

It’s hard to pinpoint just one but I used to love any psychological thrillers mainly by Harlan Coben, however I’ve found I’ve veered towards more gentle reading during this year.

I’m currently reading “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman, which I’m loving. I’ve also loved Charlie Macksay’s  “The boy, The mole, The fox & the horse” It just gave me such hope at the beginning of the pandemic & I bought many copies for friends.

Favourite Film

It’s hard to pinpoint one, but Pretty Woman & Bridesmaids are among my go to happy places ( in fact anything featuring Melissa M’Carthy, who is just so funny) another on repeat is Love Actually so you will gather my tastes are quite uncomplicated!

 

 

Today I’m going to be talking about the Dowager’s hump and showing your some Dowager’s hump exercises to help alleviate the issue and improve your posture at the same time.

The video below would be the best way to see the exercises – but if you prefer to read – I’ve added some description and images underneath.

I really hope this helps.

What is the Dowager’s Hump?

The Dowager’s hump is the fatty deposit that lies on the base of the neck line, C7 and the top of your thoracic spine, T1.

You can see it pointed out below.

We’re ‘forward-moving’ creatures, and so we tend to get a little bit more round shouldered because we’re moving forward … we’re texting, we’re on computers, we’re reading, we’re driving. When you get very tight through your front line and through your chest, you can become a little bit round shouldered.

As we’re moving forward, the head moves forward and so the head is misplaced and it puts lots of stress on the neck and the shoulder line.

If we’re not careful, we end up like this (not attractive, I know 😮):

What sort of exercises do we need to rectify the Dowager’s hump?

We need to strengthen the back line.

We need to realign the neck line and the head.

And we need to open up the front line.

Be aware that there’s so much tension in this area, if we’re just an inch forward through the head line, it can put approximately an extra 10 pounds more force on the neck line. So, we really need to make sure that we are realigned in our posture.

First of all, I’m going to strengthen the backline, namely the rhomboid muscles which are located on your upper back and draw the shoulder blades together …

Dowagers hump exercise #1 – wide postion

We’re going to do a wide position, first of all.

If you have got a doorframe, you can do this with the forearms on the doorframe and you gently just lean into the doorframe:

Tip: Lean the whole body in, so you feel a stretch through the front of the chest – pec, minor and pec major.

Next, extend the arms up into a Y position, draw the navel to the spine, bend the knees slightly to release the lower back and ground into the floor with the feet.

Now – send the arms back -almost kissing the shoulder blades together. Hold it in place for 5 seconds – it’s deceptively strong. The video will explain more.

Dowagers hump exercise #2 – T-position

Next – Let’s go into a T.

Turn the palms to face the screen and bend through the knees, engaging the pelvic floor

Once again, kiss those shoulder blades together. Realign that neck lines. Take the arms back.

Where can you feel this again? Imagine the shoulder blades gently embracing, so the arms are pulled back slightly. Muscles work antagonistically together. As one muscle stretches, the other one is engaging. Hold it for 5-10 seconds and then relax. It’s deceptively strong!

Dowagers hump exercise #3 – W-position

Next – we’re going to do the “W”!

Turn the forearms to face the screen and gently engage the shoulder blades together. I always imagine angel wings – the arms are the wings and the shoulder blades is where the wings insert.

We want that part to be strong, so that when we’re moving the arms, we’re still strong in the body.

Hold for 30 seconds and then relax and repeat.

Next we’re going to work into a dumbwaiter.

Dowagers hump exercise #4 – dumb waiter

The palms should be up and the elbows underneath the shoulders.

Here we’re getting an external rotation at the top of the humeral head, so we’re stretching out the chest muscle that comes across the chest and inserts underneath the bicep.

Stretch the chest and externally rotate. Then hold for 10 seonds. You will feel that underneath your bicep, as you stretch it out where the insertion is.

Don’t hold any tension in the neck line as you release.

Here, we’re getting into the rhomboids and into the back. We’re creating tone into the back.

Do that twice more – externally rotate from the top of that humeral head. Really feel that stretch! Imagine your energy coming out through the crown of the skull.

Go through that same movement once more.

Do know that one arm is going to feel a little bit different. I can open out one arm more than the other. It doesn’t matter. – we’re all different!

If you work with a computer and mouse – you might be a little bit more internally rotated if your workstation isn’t perfectly in front of you.

Dowagers hump exercise #5 – neck retraction

Now we’re going to look at the position of the neck line.

Put your middle finger and your first finger on the nobbily bit, the top or the bottom of the neck. Over time, if the head is still forward, you do get that fatty deposit on the top. In the image below – I’m really exaggerating this.

When you look up – if you’re not careful, your posture doesn’t change. It looks so bad! And then it gets worse – the belly protrudes!

We need to rectify this.

Press into that C7.

Next, imagine somebody is in front of you and imagine they have got bad breath.

As they come towards you, press into C7 and neck retract.

Then, imagine they go away – and bring the neck back into line.

Repeat this multiple times.

It might help if someone records this for you? So you too can look like me above!  It’s the most unattractive exercise ever. So I apologize. But it works!

Keep finding that alignment and release.

How often should you do these Dowager’s hump exercises?

I would recommend a minimum of 3 times per week.

In an ideal world – you’d do this every day if time allows.

Just take 10 mins out from your day in front of a mirror and you’ll soon see a difference.

 

As part of our new well being magazine, we’re going to be bringing you a regular meditation, courtesy of Amanda Penalver.

Amanda is a meditation expert and founder of True Rest®. Her work is devoted to challenging, inspiring & motivating her clients to live a more growth-full, rich & deeply fulfilling life.

True Rest® is a unique style of meditation that has evolved from 30 years of practice, study & teaching.

Amanda offers True Rest classes & guided meditations to uplift, restore, replenish & re-energise you to live on purpose, fully awake, fully embodied & deeply connected.

We’re delighted to be able to offer May’s free guided meditation for sleep for you below. It’s something Jo struggles with and has relied on Amanda’s meditations for a number of years to get her back to sleep.

______________

Deep, Peaceful Sleep

Use this meditation at bedtime or anytime your mind & body need a deeply nourishing & nurturing rest.

This deeply highly restorative meditation will also gently guide you back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.

We hope you enjoy it.

Find out more about Amanda’s brilliant work at mandypenalver.com

 

Hi! I’m Helen Gambarota and I am delighted to be joining Jo’s Weekly Workout Family to share my love of books with you. I’m a stay at home mum of 8 year old twins. Last year we completed our family when we welcomed our puppy, Roddy, into our home and hearts.

Pre-kids I had a varied career working in banking, legal and magazines before finally ending up as a Celebrity Manager for an animal rescue charity.

I am a total book nerd. An avid reader and a compulsive book buyer, although I do need to slow down on the book buying as there are piles of books all around the house. I started reviewing books on Instagram as @BestBookFoward almost 4 years ago and I love chatting about books and sharing my passion for reading.

Each month I’ll be bringing you my recommendation of a must-read book. I read a variety of genres so it could be anything from fiction, non-fiction, romance, historical fiction or a thriller and I really hope that you’ll enjoy each of them as much as I do.

If you’d like more book inspiration you can find my reviews on my Instagram account which is @BestBookForward, on Facebook or on my website bestbookforward.org

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

My first book recommendation for you is The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, which is out now in hard back. Let me tell you a bit about the story, don’t worry I never drop spoilers.

The story is set in 1930s Texas, at the time of the Great Depression and the beginning of the Dust Bowl era. It is about a woman named Elsa who is struggling to keep herself and family alive on their farm as they are in the midst of the worst drought in their history.

Elsa is forced to make the impossible decision as to whether she will stay and fight for the land she loves or take her children on a difficult and dangerous journey to California where she hopes she will find a better life. She packs her things and sets off with her children, not knowing if she’ll see her family again and not knowing what lies ahead of them.

This is a really powerful, compelling and emotional read. At the time I read this, Texas were struggling through snow storms and Texans were again without heating and water so it felt like a timely reminder that we need to act now to save our planet.

It is story about love, sacrifice and discovering the best of ourselves at the worst of times.

Kristin started writing this book three years ago, and at that time she could have had no idea that in 2020 the world would be battling the Coronavirus pandemic. She writes:

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the Great Depression would become so relevant in our modern lives, that I would see so many people out of work, in need and frightened for the future.”

History shows us how strong and resilient we are and that in the darkest of times there is always hope and kindness, which you will see shine through in The Four Winds.

I really hope you’ll enjoy reading The Four Winds as much as I did. I’ll be back next month with another recommendation for you.

___________

You can buy your copy from Amazon here, or from all good bookshops.

 

We’re so excited to announce our brand new resident food contributor – Katie Bishop.

Katie won the Young Cook of Britain competition at the tender age of 14!  She travelled the world working as a chef and cemented her dream of becoming a professional food writer.

“It is not uncommon for me to be thinking about what I’m going to eat for supper while I’m still eating my lunch.”

She has now been a freelance food writer, editor, stylist and consultant for 20 years.  She works with magazines and publishers, writing books and editorial features, as well as making food look beautiful for photos. She also works in advertising and film, presents cookery demonstrations and appears on TV and radio.

We’re incredibly fortunate to have her contribute to our lifestyle magazine here at jotuffrey.com

Today – she introduces us to Banana, apple & honey flapjacks …

________________

Overview

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 60 minutes
This recipe makes: 16 flapjacks

If you’re trying to sneak some extra fruit in to your diet (or that of your children) without feeling too hard done by, then this recipe is for you. It’s an extremely easy and quick bake that will satisfy sweet cravings, without any added sugar – just honey. They’re flour-free too!

The banana and apple elements increase your fruit intake, whilst helping to bring the mixture together. The benefit being that you don’t need so much butter or sugar.

Feel free to mix it up a little – use what you can find in the cupboard! Dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins or mixed dried fruit all work well. Poppy seeds are always a good addition to bakes and some chia would taste good too.

Katie says that you can use over-ripe bananas and apples – there’s nothing worse than food waste – this will help keep it down.

It’s good to experiment – try adding some finely grated orange or lemon zest to the mixture, before baking.

You can of course turn this into something slightly less healthy – by drizzling melted chocolate (white, milk or dark) over the top – we’ll let you decide on that.

So – let’s take a look at how to get these done!

Ingredients

50g butter, plus extra for greasing the tin
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp honey
2 bananas
2 small eating apples
250g porridge oats
100g prunes
75g currants or raisins
75g mixed seeds (eg. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame & linseeds)

Let’s get cooking …

  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3 and grease a 20cm square tin.
  2. Melt the butter, peanut butter and honey into a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir the ingredients to combine.
  3. Whilst simmering, mash the banana and coarsely grate the unpeeled apple into a bowl (don’t worry about removing the core in advance, just grate around it).
  4. Mix the fruit into the melted butter mixture. Add 100ml hot water and stir.
  5. Add the oats to a large bowl. Add the prunes – snipping them up using scissors, to make pieces about the size of a plump raisin.
  6. Next, add the currants and seeds.
  7. Finally, mix in the banana mixture until everything is well coated. Simple so far?!
  8. It’s time to get baking next. Tip into the prepared tin and spread out to level the surface. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 2 hours, before turning out and cutting into squares. Enjoy with tea or coffee!

More about Katie

Katie will be back next month with something else delicious to try.

In the meantime, you can find out more about her at http://katiebishop.co.uk or follow her on Instagram at @ktbishopcooks

Each month, we’re going to be featuring one of our amazing Weekly Workout Club members here in our wellness and lifestyle area.

If you’re a member, you’ll know that its really important to Jo that we are all in this together and supporting one another on our fitness journeys.  Hence why Jo always refers to the club as the ‘Weekly Workout Family!’.  So we thought it was time for members to get to know each other a little more and to share some stories and experiences.

Our very first spotlight features Gail …

__________

Introduce yourself …

I am 58 and live in Fleet with my Partner Grant, 3 children Jacinta, Nikita & Cameron and our dog Phoebe.

I have a passion for cooking and love to create dishes from all around the world, during lockdown we took a different place each weekend, cooked fabulous food, drank different wines and enjoyed a cocktail or two!

Tell us about your Workout Club experiences

I have always enjoyed exercise (gives me an excuse to eat more) running, gym, cycling, walking, love it, however over the years from pounding those roads, my knees have taken a beating and a few years ago advised to give up running, aargh! What do I do now?

Lucky for me, I spotted Philip Schofield’s little video introducing his Pilates instructor Jo Tuffrey and all about Pilates videos for the menopause! Perfect for me 😊 So I thought, I’ll try that and joined Jo Tuffrey online, it is fantastic!

2 and a bit years later, every Monday to Friday I start my day with Jo and together we do an hour of Pilates. Jo is just amazing, she’s not only a superb teacher, she’s also so supportive, encouraging and funny, you feel as if she is in the room with you and is concentrating on you, making sure you are doing each move properly and not forgetting her famous sayings, “be in control”, “be in the move”, “draw the tummy in”, “don’t be a Jackie in the box be a Jackie out of the box”.

I look forward to each morning with Jo and this year I’ve really enjoyed the monthly programs just completed Masterpiece March, can’t wait for Aspirational April!

What are your top three classes you’d recommend?

My top 3 classes would have to be Weighted Wednesday, Ab Attack & ABC #7 (although my Locust is nothing like Jo’s need to keep practising that one!)

Favourite Food

So many but you can’t beat a good steak

Favourite Drink

Wine – a crisp Sancerre or a beefy Malbec

Favourite Book

Lance Armstrong – Its not about the bike – brilliant read

Favourite Film

I’ve got loads but if I had to pick one then would be Love Actually – love is actually all around.

 

 

Jo loves coffee – you’ll hear her talking about it during her workouts regularly.

Recently, she was approached by Alex Higham, the founder of Exhale Coffee. Alex is an expert in the chemical composition of coffee and has conducted all kinds of experiments with labs to test the various properties of his coffee blend as well as others.

Imagine a coffee with health benefits in the same league as fresh fruit and vegetables? Well that’s what Alex and his team have been researching and developing for the last 2 years and Jo wanted to find out more.

She spent some time on Zoom with Alex recently and we’ve put together this amazing interview. If you think you know about the properties of coffee and how important it is in our lives – then think again!

As a taster, did you know that 1 cup of exhale coffee has the same antioxidant power as 12 punnets of blueberries, 55 oranges or 1.2kg of kale!

Find out more in this interview between Jo and Alex …

Enjoy the full interview below – or have a read of some of the highlights below …

 

The health benefits of drinking coffee

Alex Higham: Coffee is a fruit – coffee grows on trees and coffee starts its life as a cherry  So a coffee bean, isn’t a bean at all  It’s a seed. So coffee is a fruit!

Jo Tuffrey:  Actually, I’ve never really thought where coffee comes from!

Alex Higham:  It’s seen as this lifeless brown bean that makes this kind of black coffee, but all I’m trying to say is, look, coffee is a fruit  – coffee comes from fruit!

Jo Tuffrey:  Introduce yourself and say who you are ….!

Alex Higham:  Yes, I’m Alex. The company is called Exhale Coffee and we launched around six months ago in lockdown after a good two or three years of researching, developing and building the idea for the business  It’s been a long journey, but basically over the last few years, I have been reading more and more about the science around coffee.

More and more, the studies are pointing towards coffee as being a superfood with lots of different health benefits. So it’s potentially been associated with the reduced risk of all sorts of different diseases.

Coffee is one of the most drunk beverages in the world. It’s also one of the most studied. In the last 10 years, there has been over 8,000 studies on coffee  and its implications on health alone. Because it’s so wildly drunk, people are really interested in how it affects your health.

Jo Tuffrey:  So what are the benefits then of drinking coffee?

Alex Higham:  There’s been all of these studies over many decades. The studies have moved from observational studies, where they look for associations between drinking coffee and different diseases, and  looking at the kinds of mechanisms of the action of drinking coffee could be having in the body, which could be causing these benefits.

How often should you have a cup of coffee?

Jo Tuffrey: Would you advocate drinking your coffee all through the day or whenever suits the person?

Alex Higham:  I would advocate drinking coffee all day long, right up until bedtime, but to choose a decaf after a certain time of the day. And it depends on your own personal gene …

So you have a gene which dictates how fast you are breaking down the coffee and caffeine and another gene which dictates how fast you are absorbing the caffeine. So it’s your combination of those two genes, which dictates how long the caffeine will have an effect in your body.

I’m actually a really slow caffeine metabolizer. So if I have a coffee after about lunchtime, I can’t sleep at night, whereas other people can. The fast metabolizers of caffeine can have a coffee just before bed and they’ll burn off the caffeine and then they’ll sleep.

However, decaf really does have a lot of benefits as well. So  in the afternoon I switched to decaf and then recently have started having a decaf before bed because there’s a whole load of benefits around fasting.

Does coffee help with pilates and fitness?

Jo Tuffrey: Will we be able to do more planks?! Will we be able to do more curl ups? Is it shown to enhance performance?

Alex Higham: Oh, definitely. I mean, caffeine in particular is one of  the few proven ergogenic cases for sport.

Up until the early nineties, coffee was banned by the world anti-doping association, but then it made it legal more recently. The studies show that if you drink quite a lot of coffee, (between three and six milligrams of caffeine per kilo of body weight), which is probably about the equivalent of two double espressos – that’s where you would get the real benefit.

Jo Tuffrey: I don’t think my clients would allow me to have that!

Alex Higham: No, exactly. But if they do there’s two separate meta analyses, which show that caffeine increases exercise performance by 11 to 12% on average.

How do you make the ultimate cup of coffee?

Jo Tuffrey:  Now I’ve heard that you shouldn’t pour boiling water onto coffee. Should you do that or not?

Alex Higham: No! So if you add boiling water to the coffee it can scold the beans and it can over extract some of the bitter flavour compounds in the coffee.

So the advice we give is to boil the kettle …  leave it 30 seconds off the boil and then pour it!

However – you don’t want to let it cool too much because the extraction of all of the compounds and the healthy compounds, the good stuff from coffee is a chemical reaction. Chemical reactions are all sped up by hotter temperatures. It’s standard law of chemistry. The hotter, the temperature during the reaction, the faster it will take place.

If you let the water cool too much, then it’s not going to be hot enough to extract the healthy compounds. So you want to let it cool just off the boil, but not too much.

Find out more about Exhale Coffee

Visit Alex’s business at https://exhalecoffee.com/