Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece Boot Camp

Fit in five minutes whatever the weather!

Do not underestimate the power of fresh air!

Regardless of how miserable the weather may be, or even if we are blessed with a few moments of Southampton sunshine, the majority of the population spend their days cooped up indoors.

With so many of us up and out before sunrise, and home after it has set, is it any wonder stress levels, work-related absence and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter months are at their highest?

The solution?  GET OUTSIDE!

This post is by no means suggesting you risk yours or anyone else’s safety in the treacherous weather conditions we’ve had in Southampton and the majority of the country lately, but merely think how it can be used to your advantage.

Here are my top 3 ideas that my Personal Training clients have found work best for them:

Walk/Run for Function

It may sound cliché (or you’ve heard it before) but grabbing a brolly, getting out the office and briskly walking around the block even for 10-20 minutes can make even the baddest of days better.

Your mind will clear and re-focus from physically removing yourself from the environment, your mood lifted from the natural daylight and oxygen.

15 minute fat blast: Warm up by walking briskly for two minutes. Repeat the following x 4: 2 minute jog and 30 second sprint. Walk slowly to cool down, finishing with stretching.

Head for the Hills

Hill walks/sprints are a great interval training workout for the heart and lungs, allowing Get your family involved, exercising in Southamptonexertion and recovery at your own pace. Try your local park, woods or venture further, making a day of it at the beach or a national park. Vary the terrain: grass, gravel and sand all keep it interesting.

10 minute fat blast: run uphill (or up outdoor steps,) walk down and repeat. Record how many you do – and see if you can beat it next time to track your progress. Great fun for all the family so make a game of it!

DIY Boot Camp

As our Boot camp takes place outdoors and undercover, our attendees are fortunately always guaranteed fresh air whatever the weather!

Try making your own in your garden or local playground. Simple exercises like press ups and step-ups can be done on benches. Pull ups and mountain climbers can be done on climbing frame ladders.

PT Gen Levrant at Boot Camp Southampton!

PT Gen at Boot Camp Southampton!

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Southamton Personal Trainer Gen Preece Boot Camp

Don’t be a Plank…

Make your planks functional: Five variations for you to try

I could go on for pages about why and how a standard plank will not give you a flat stomach. Holding your abdominal muscles isometrically for as long as you can is not functional, nor something I would do with any personal training client!

Exercises for a flat stomach from Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Levrant

Exercises for a flat stomach from Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Levrant

Fortunately, there are ways to tweak the plank to make it functional. For a muscle to produce a powerful contraction, it first needs to lengthen. This does not happen in the plank, so here are five variations to ensure it does.

(Please consult with a fitness professional if you are pregnant, new to exercise or unsure of proper and safe technique. And as always, seek medical clearance from you doctor prior to beginning any exercises.)

1. Knee to chest: start in a standard plank position: elbows bent, forearms resting on the floor and abdominal muscles braced. Use your abs to pull one knee towards your chest, bending it at a right angle and exhaling. Repeat with other knee for 10-20 reps.

2. Tilting hips: start in a press up position. Keeping your feet together, tilt your right hip to the side as if trying to point it to the ceiling. The same side elbow will bend a little. Go back to the start and repeat with the other hip for a total of 10-20 reps

3. Reverse plank: start on all fours facing the ceiling with your elbows straight, knees bent and bottom off floor. Reach to  the ceiling with one hand, raising your pelvis to the ceiling and engaging your gluts. Dip your elbow and repeat for 10-15 reps before switching arms.

4. Up & under: start in a press up position, open one arm up as far as it goes. Bring it down under the body, reaching as far as you can before replacing it back at the start. Repeat with the other arm for 20 reps (10 each arm.)

5. Foot crossovers: start in standard plank. Cross one foot over the other to touch the floor outside of it, and bring back to the start. Repeat for 30 secs before switching legs.

These will hit your abdominals in three planes of motion, which is how we are designed to move. They can be added on to one of your existing workout routines or performed alone. Happy training and have fun!

Here’s a video demonstrating each plank variation

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Nourish with Aimie: Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece

A Nourishing Time had by All!

Nourish at Faster Personal Training Southampton: and so we did!

Nourish at Faster Personal Training Southampton

Nourish at Faster Personal Training Southampton

On Sunday February 2nd we were honoured to give our personal training clients, boot camp attendees, their friends and families a boost in body and mind at our special New Year Event Nourish!

And boy did we!

We were lucky enough to be joined by fabulous Nutritional expert Aimie Smith-Dodson and Pyschologist Dr Sally Pears, an expert in health behavioural change specialising in the cognitive and emotional processes of food cravings.

Aimie shared her own inspiring story of how changing poor nutrition habits led to her curing a host of debilitating health problems that had plagued her life from childhood, as well as allowing her to lose five stone in weight.

Aimie Smith Personal trainer Southampton

Aimie Smith at Nourish!

Her fabulous live demos included the now infamous green smoothie, raw cous cous made from cauliflower, salads that are NOT boring as well as some incredible raw chocolate desserts.

Dr Sally’s workshop, titled ‘Below the Surface: examining the thoughts and beliefs that limit progress’ allowed everyone who attended to take a look at their own personal beliefs. As these govern our attitude and there is so very much to discuss with regards to this, I cannot believe how quick the hour flew by!

I recall the beliefs I had when I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. I believed being slim would make me happy, popular, get me a boyfriend and solve all my problems. And what did I find? I was EXACTLY the same person on the inside, even though I was four dress sizes smaller on the outside: the only difference was that I was now attracting the attention of superficial people!

Dr Sally Pears at Nourish

Dr Sally Pears at Nourish

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of people to point me in the right direction and I ended up meeting a wonderful lady that helped me become the person I am today. She taught me to relax, to believe in myself and finally let go of the guilt (my default position) that I had been carrying since childhood.

I am truly blessed to live the life I do today. It has not been easy and I believe we are all on a journey in which we never stop learning. And as for everybody else who came to Nourish?

“I could have talked to them both for hours”

“I am so glad I came, I think I’ve turned a corner!”

“Really wonderful morning, both presentations were fantastic!”

“I’ve got loads of ideas now, thank you so much for today!”

“I never knew cauliflower could be so exciting!”

As for us? We’re just glad we prepared enough food for leftovers!

Raw chocolate orange slabs!

Raw chocolate orange slabs!

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Cold cure smoothie: Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece

Still fighting a cold? Try this Kick-Ass remedy!

NEWSFLASH: Southampton Personal Trainer cures the common cold!

Well…almost 🙂

If you’re still fighting a pre-Christmas cold or have one threatening to take over your life, you MUST try this!

I put it together at the end of last year, when a cold decided to pleasantly surprise me one weekend. Thankfully, I didn’t have any Personal Training clients that needed rearranging (and even more thankfully, I only see my clients Monday-Friday!) so I took it upon myself to be better by Monday.

I looked over my nutrition notes and considered what would work best in terms of immune-boosting, soothing and re-energising. I then came up with this little beauty:

Ingredients:

1 x whole fresh pineapple

1 x apple

1 x lemon

1 x thumb size piece of ginger

As much cayenne pepper as you can handle!

I think nipping it in the bud is the answer when it comes to colds. There may not be an actual ‘cure’ but this is certainly the closest I’ve ever come to it. I immediately felt better after finishing my juice (despite nose and eyes streaming from the cayenne pepper!) and by the evening, my throat soreness had ceased.

I made another the following day just to make sure, and was right as rain by Sunday evening. I can be certain eating a nutritionally-dense diet and taking care of yourself play a huge role in the number of colds you may suffer, and how quickly you get over them.

Like anyone running there own business, I do not have the ability to take ‘sick days’! And being so fortunate to do a job I immensely love every day, having to sacrifice Personal Training sessions and Boot Camps for the fear of making my clients ill is an absolute no-go!

I’m a huge fan of natural, rather than chemical remedies wherever possible. Try it and let me know how you get on. You’ve nothing to lose…except the sniffles!

PT Gen Personal Trainer Southampton Cold Remedy

PT Gen’s cold cure!

Good luck and good health! 🙂

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Green Smoothie: Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece

Enjoying a tall glass of awesome

Green Smoothies in the Southampton Sun

Today was a bright beautiful sunny day in Southampton, our first proper one of the New Year!

After a very pleasant long walk with my fiance, I felt an alkalising green smoothie was the perfect compliment for a stunning day like today.

I try and put them together whenever I can and really feel the benefits; or more accurately, notice the difference in my energy levels when I don’t have one!

If I’ve got a long day ahead of Personal Training clients, I sometimes even blend one up in the morning and take it in to sip between sessions!

Being gluten-intolerant and previously suffering a lifetime of unpleasant symptoms I’d learned to live with (bloating, stomach discomfort, lethargy, difficulty concentrating to name but a few) I feel very fortunate to have and blessed to have learned about such a vast world of nourishing possibilities, all so simple. And cheap!

All you need is a blender…and some raw veg!

Green Smoothie: Personal Trainer Southampton

Green Smoothie: a tall glass of awesome

Today’s Alkalising Green Smoothie:

1 x large ripe banana

160g spinach

5 x celery sticks

1 x lemon

1 x thumb size piece of ginger

500ml filtered water

It kept me going for a good couple of hours and is such a great energy booster. The lemon and ginger aid digestion, so if you suffer from bloating or digestive discomfort as I used to, it truly makes a difference. More importantly, you will not get a blood sugar spike and be craving another sugary fix twenty minutes after the “high” has faded!

Try taking one into work for a mid-morning energy boost. It also makes a fantastic alternative to the ever-available sugar and gluten-laden snacks that often appear the only available option. If you prepare and plan, I can assure you there is always another choice 🙂

Enjoy!

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Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece with BBC Radio Solent's Katie Martin

Back at the BBC talking Gymtimidation!

I was so excited to be invited back on to BBC Radio Solent to talk Gymtimidation with the lovely Katie Martin!

Having began my career as a personal trainer working in public gyms, I feel I could have talked for HOURS about the endless array of problems that I used to see everyday! The biggest one being just how intimidating and daunting January newcomers used to find the environment and atmosphere. Just where did all these people come from?!

The first few weeks of January within a public gym can be like nothing; even the regular users, have ever seen before. A great friend of mine sent me this poster a few weeks ago which made me laugh a lot 🙂

Gen Levrant Personal Trainer SouthamptonAs a Personal Trainer, in January I would struggle to get on the equipment I needed for my client’s session, I would set up circuits to find someone had swiped the dumbbells I had laid out if my back was turned, and had trouble finding a sufficient bit of space to train my client in safely!

So all in all, not a great environment for members OR personal trainers (and one of the main reasons I now train my clients out of a private studio!)

The main points I felt I needed to stress while I was talking to Katie were if you don’t think the gym is right for you, then please don’t join one thinking you will change your mind, especially if you decide to join in January!

If you have never joined a gym before, it is not the be all and end all if your New Years Resolution is to be more active. Instead, think about what you WOULD enjoy. Try a few different things: if you enjoy being around nature, look into what nature walks are in your local area.

If you enjoy swimming, find a pool and go for a swim. If you like the idea of a class but are worried about lacking co-ordination, have a look for a class for beginners or all abilities. This is why we created our 6 Week Boot Camp class, so EVERYBODY could join in, regardless of age, fitness level and ability and have a great time all getting fit together.

And if you DO want to join a gym, my advice would be to get an induction with as many instructors as possible. The instructor can very much dictate your entire experience of the gym and it is their responsibility to make you feel safe, valued and comfortable. And, as a paying customer, you are entitled to nothing less!

If you are considering hiring a personal trainer, again speak to a few different ones and you will then know whether or not they are the right person for you.

You can listen to my interview with the lovely Katie here.

Until next time, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2014 free from gymtimidation!

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Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, paleo and 100% delicious - get ready to change the way you eat bread FOREVER! Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Levrant personal trainer southampton Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Levrant As a gluten-free Personal trainer, I've struggled to find a decent gluten-free bread that a) tastes like bread b) actually rises and c) isn't full of sugar and fake food substitutes to make it taste like bread. This recipe for a large loaf is a combination of a few others that I have adapted. It can also be toasted for a couple of minutes, and it actually stays moist so there is no need to add any type of spread! You can tweak it to your liking but this is the synergy I find works best and tastes the most incredible. And I hope you agree ;-) Ingredients: 2 cups almond flour (made with blanched almonds in a food processor) 1 cup desicated coconut 2 tsps gluten-free baking powder 1/2 tsp pink sea salt 4 organic eggs 1 tbspn organic apple cider vinegar 1 tbspn walnut oil 2 tbspns organic coconut oil 1/4 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin etc) 2 tbsp coconut oil What to do: Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking loaf tin with parchment paper Melt the coconut oil. In a large bowl, combine all your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs and add the coconut oil, vinegar and walnut oil Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well until smooth and creamy. Pour into the prepared loaf pan, making sure all is scraped out of the bowl. Add extra seeds to the top if you so desire. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown (a skewer inserted into center will come out clean when it is ready.) keep checking it as ovens tend to vary and you don't want to burn it! Rest for approx 10-15 minutes. Once bread is completely cooled, slice with a serrated bread knife and serve however you wish. It keeps best in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5-7 days and can be frozen for up to one month. Enjoy and don't forget to share your own photos of yours! Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Levrant personal trainer southampton Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Preece

The Grain-free bread that’s too good to be true

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, paleo and 100% delicious – get ready to change the way you eat bread FOREVER! 

Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Levrant personal trainer southampton

Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Levrant

As a gluten-free Personal trainer, I’ve struggled to find a decent gluten-free bread that a) tastes like bread b) actually rises and c) isn’t full of sugar and fake food substitutes to make it taste like bread.

This recipe for a large loaf is a combination of a few others that I have adapted. It can also be toasted for a couple of minutes, and it actually stays moist so there is no need to add any type of spread!

You can tweak it to your liking but this is the synergy I find works best and tastes the most incredible. And I hope you agree 😉

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour (made with blanched almonds in a food processor)
  • 1 cup desicated coconut
  • 2 tsps gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp pink sea salt
  • 4 organic eggs
  • 1 tbspn organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbspn walnut oil
  • 2 tbspns organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin etc)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking loaf tin with parchment paper
  2. Melt the coconut oil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all your dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs and add the coconut oil, vinegar and walnut oil
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well until smooth and creamy.
  6. Pour into the prepared loaf pan, making sure all is scraped out of the bowl. Add extra seeds to the top if you so desire.
  7. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown (a skewer inserted into center will come out clean when it is ready.) keep checking it as ovens tend to vary and you don’t want to burn it!
  8. Rest for approx 10-15 minutes. 
  9. Once bread is completely cooled, slice with a serrated bread knife and serve however you wish. It keeps best in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5-7 days and can be frozen for up to one month.

Enjoy and don’t forget to share your own photos of yours! 

Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Levrant personal trainer southampton

Gluten-free dairy-free paleo Bread from PT Gen Preece

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Chocolate Pancakes Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece Boot Camp

Pimp your Pancake Day with this Chocolate Pancake Tower!

Pancakes that are dairy-free, gluten-free and delicious!

Forget lemon and sugar, pimp your pancakes with this pancake day treat that’s easy, gluten-free, dairy-free and actually HEALTHY!

Yes really 🙂

If like me, you’re gluten-free or lactose intolerant, then pancake day may be yet another challenge or event to be omitted. But no longer!

Many personal trainers I’m friends with, are big fans of pancakes made with protein powder. Yes these can be fantastic, but as so many of us (myself included) have trouble digesting the whey, (stomach aches, bloating, excess gas…) they may not necessarily always be the best alternative. And as it’s not always easy buying protein powder in small quantities, what should one do with all that waste?!

So here’s my Pancake Day alternative for all the family, even those that are gluten, lactose and dairy intolerant that I hope you all enjoy!

You will need:

130g coconut flour

PT Gen Personal Trainer Southampton Pancakes

PT Gen’s Pancake Ingredients

140ml almond milk

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp coconut oil (1 for batter, one for the pan)

2 tbspn raw cacao

1 tsp lucuma powder

1 small mashed avocado + 1 tsp raw cacao mixed  or blended together

Make the chocolate cream using the avocado and cacao first.

Melt the coconut oil in a non-stick pan, transferring about half of it into a mixing bowl. Chuck in everything else (apart from the avocado) into a mixing bowl and mix until the batter is thick and not too runny. Feel free to add more milk if it looks too thick.

Drop onto the pan 1 tbspn at a time, flipping them over when the sides start to bubble.Chocolate Pancakes

Transfer on to a plate, spreading the avocado cream between each pancake.

Sprinkle over the lucuma powder for a lovely caramel taste.

Enjoy!

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Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece BBC Solent Boot Camp

My second radio appearance in a fortnight: now the BBC!

Southampton Personal Trainer now on the BBC!

I must say, I’m loving this radio business – I was so excited to be invited on to BBC Radio Solent as a Saturday Morning News panel guest yesterday!

The lovely Katie Martin (standing in for the equally lovely Sasha Twining) and I, together with Roger Walker and Rob Drake-Knight had a great time discussing the morning headlines.

Gen with BBC Radio Solent Katie Martin

Gen with BBC Radio Solent Katie Martin

As someone known for usually only taking an interest in the positive and uplifting stories (which are a rarity!) I never knew the news could be so much fun!

I cannot actually remember the last time I read a newspaper so leafing through them and managing to find stories that were not all doom and gloom was pretty refreshing.

And the fact that we started at 7am and I managed to articulate my thoughts is something I am rather proud of!
So thank you to Katie and all at BBC Radio Solent for inviting me!

You can listen to the show on BBC iplayer here

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Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece on Express FM

Video didn’t Kill THIS Radio Star

Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece Interviewed on Express FM!

Gen on 93.7 Express FM Portsmouth

Gen on 93.7 Express FM Portsmouth

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited on to 93.7 Express FM’s Business Show, by the lovely Miles Henson, who wanted to know all about my philosophy and profession as a Personal Trainer.

I couldn’t believe how quick the hour went! We had a lovely chat about how I got started, why I do what I do, what actually happens at our Faster Southampton Bootcamp (I think it definitely sounds a lot scarier than it is!) and the kind of people I am so fortunate enough to train.

Gen Levrant with Express FM's Miles Henson

Gen with Express FM’s Miles Henson

I got to pick some chuuuuuuunes also which I hope everybody enjoyed (although the choice of Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical’ was down to Miles – not me!) and my awesome colleague Rob kindly looked after my Thursday Bootcamp class for me while I chatted away.

So thanks Miles for a great evening, I can’t wait to come back in January to talk more fitness, boot camp, functional training and FASTER!

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