The benefits of Greek yoghurt

We’re here today to talk Greek. Not literally, but we want to share with you a food that is incredibly healthy, delicious and full of protein. If you’ve participated in personal trainer courses then you’ll know that your diet definitely has to be tweaked and changed to optimise fitness, and you’ll be pleased to know that this is one thing we won’t have any issue sneaking into our diets!

Of course, we’re talking about Greek yoghurt.

Greek yoghurt has an abundance of health benefits, and angelic nutritional value: one cup of fat-free Greek yoghurt contains around 120 calories. After the milk and cultures of the white stuff have been strained, you are left with a thicker, creamier substance that is high in protein but low in sugar and carbohydrates. Regular yoghurt usually contains about 5 grams of protein per serving; whereas Greek yoghurt provides about 20 grams.

It’s great for watching your salt intake, as Greek yoghurt has 50% less salt than regular yoghurt. Swapping foods on health drives and personal training courses can play havoc with your digestive system. One thing you won’t have to worry about if you up your Greek yoghurt intake is digesting it – because it contains less sugar, and therefore less lactose, it’s easier to digest than normal yoghurt.

In terms of weight loss, a study in 2010 found that eating 200g of probiotic yoghurt a day, helped participants lose weight across their body and in particular, their stomach area.

So, how can you jazz up this healthy, filling dish?

A firm favourite recipe for eating Greek yoghurt has to be with fresh, chopped fruit. It will honestly go with everything; try mixing it with blueberries and strawberries for a fruity tang, or diced banana, honey and chopped almonds for a comforting pudding. Just go easy on the honey (one table spoon should do it!)

For the more adventurous among us, Greek yoghurt can be used when making dips, as a tasty alternative to sour cream. It can also make a delicious snack for dipping; try wholemeal pitta. Just remember to buy the fat-free tubs and away you go!

London 2012 Olympics

It is finally here, we have reached the last day of the 70 day torch relay and the Olympics officially begins this evening. The torch has been carried by 8000 inspirational torchbearers, travelling to within an hour of 95% of the UK population and communities across the UK have come together to celebrate the beginning of the London 2012 Games.

Cardiff staged the Olympics football opener on Wednesday, with fans coming from far and wide to see the games kick off and saw the first goal scored in the London Olympics, the first ever from the Great Britain’s women’s team in their debut Games.

If you feel inspired to get involved in the fitness industry and want to start a new career for 2012 then get in touch with one of our careers advisors.

The opening ceremony begins at 9pm tonight with Danny Boyle’s ‘Isles of Wonder’ showcasing the best of Britain alongside the symbolic lighting of the Olympic torch, a moment for our nation to be truly proud of.

There is a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks with Team GB in great form. Mark Cavendish could win Britain’s first medal in the road cycling event tomorrow and all eyes are on Bradley Wiggins as well after his Tour De France win last weekend. Other gold medalist hopefuls are Louis Smith who has his sights set high on the pommel horse, Mo Farah in the 10,000m, Rebecca Adlington, our Beijing 2008 hero, in the 400m freestyle, Tom Daley and Peter Waterford in the synchronised diving, Jessica Ennis planning to hurdle to gold, Ben Ainslie who already has 3 Olympic sailing titles to his name, Andy Murray who now has his best chance ever of becoming an Olympic champion, Beth Tweddle who has amassed more titles than any other British gymnast, and many many more.

So, exciting times are upon us. Here at The Training Room we’re hoping that this is truly an opportunity for us to come together in support of Team GB. But, more than this, we hope that the Olympics will encourage people of all ages to improve their health and fitness and that our athletes will inspire the nation.

Good luck to everyone involved in London 2012, we’re behind you all the way!

Summer Fitness Tips

With summer here you’re probably thinking about doing something about that gut. Whilst some of your mates may have been hitting the gym hard for the last year perfecting their beach pose and bigging themselves up for fitness instructor jobs, you’ve probably been more concerned with your beer pose.

But now’s the time to do something about it. We know, we know. It sounds like a lot of effort. But with just that bit of effort could come all the benefits come holiday time.


Take a look at our top summer fitness tips, brought to you by the Training Room.


Train two days a week

It’s not asking a lot, but if you’re going to do something about your general fitness, you need to train at least twice a week. It’s also vital to try and go at the same times each week. It’s all about the habit of going. Making it there for many of us is the hardest part, but once you’re in the habit, you’ll be through those doors without even thinking about it. So now for when you’re there!


Cardio Intervals

If you don’t have an hour to pound down on the treadmill, try some high intensity training instead. Warm up for 5 minutes at a moderate pace, then once you hit 5.00 crank it up and go hard at 80-90% max effort for 30 seconds. Gear it back down for a cool down, then go again for another 30 seconds, then cool down again. If you do this about 5 to 8 times of 90 seconds each you’ll be on the way for your summer bod.



It’s often difficult to sustain a full body workout when using cardio equipment in the gym. Simply grab a rope and go for a couple of minutes hard and fast. Keep varying the pace and you’ll soon be giving your body and intense workout. Those who’re training and learning how to become a personal trainer will know, that pushing your body quickly and intensely in this manner will set you up well for a life of fitness.


Train better

You can stimulate muscle growth with very few exercises, but it’s vital that you do them property. If you use heavier weights you can activate as many muscle fibres as possible. There are workouts out there where you can improve muscle growth in as little as four moves, but they’re not easy. When looking to lift heavier weights it’s always vital that you speak to a fitness professional who can advise you on correct technique before you start.



You may not be planning to do too much sleeping on holiday, but when improving your fitness getting at least eight hours of sleep a night is crucial for growth-hormone release. Get a regular sleeping pattern and you’ll start to see the benefit.


Keep going

Even if you don’t see immediate results, make sure you keep going. With a little drive and determination you’ll get there.

National XC Mountain Bike Championships

Wasing Estate near Aldermaston hosted the 2012 National XC mountain bike champs.


Despite what appears to have been a relentless season of wet and muddy race conditions the team found a relatively dry track with the sun out. The course is a pedalling course, with no big hills but a continual effort. The course has a mixture of surfaces and a few technical sections to keep you on your toes. In practice the day before one team member (who will remain nameless) face planted over the log sections.


Carole and Liz were off first in their respective categories. Liz had ridden well on this course earlier in the year, but knew that due to illness over the last month she was going to have a  struggle to repeat her performance. Despite a lack of training managed a great 5th place. Carol pushed hard all race and was rewarded with a 5th place for her efforts.


In the men’s team we were joined by Simon Willats who was back from a very successful trip into Europe (competing and winning at some very prestigious European Enduro rounds). Stu King was first off in the Masters. As always a very quick start saw the field disappear quickly into the distance. Stuart battled hard and came in 9th.  The vets race saw another large field of riders. Simon Willats ran out of laps, not being gridded meant he was held up in the single tracks and had to spend the whole time playing catch up. It was an incredible ride to come 5th and who knows how it would have gone with a few more laps. Ro Tilley put in his normal strong performance to come 4th and Mark Chadbourne was very pleased to win a National Championship again after close racing at the front.


In the Grand Vets Steve Moors came 5th. He was delighted with his ride particularly as he managed to take the scalps of some earlier round winners.

Become a Fitness Instructor

If you’re the kind of person who runs 10K before breakfast, enjoys eating healthily and is always on the lookout for the latest news on training and fitness, then a job in the health and fitness industry could be just right for you. It’s a sector that has grown exponentially over the last decade, and even when times are tough, it seems gym membership is not the first luxury that people forego when they’re tightening their belts.


The first thing to do is to check out the various fitness instructor courses on offer. There are a lot of them around and they’re not all accredited by the industry’s governing bodies, so make sure the one you’re thinking of doing will actually give you the accreditation you need. Look out for courses that are approved by CYQ or Active IQ and make sure they feature on the Register of Exercise Professional’s (REP) website. If you’re still not sure about some of the courses you come across and whether or not they’re right for you, then it might be a good idea to give your local gym a call and ask them what kind of qualifications they look for and if they have any preference. The gym manager will be able to tell you which ones always leap out when he’s looking through CVs and this will help you make your final decision.


The next thing to do is decide whether you want to look at full time or part time fitness instructor courses. If you’re already working and think that you might like a career change, then a part time course would probably be the best option for you. That way you can stay working at your current job and see how you get on with the course before you make the decision to change careers totally. It will take you a bit longer to qualify, but it’s probably the more sensible option.


If you’ve just finished school or college and you’re pretty sure that a career in fitness is the way to go, then check out the full time courses on offer. It would also be worth considering any areas of specialisation that might interest you, like strength training or diet and nutrition. The more strings you have to your fitness bow, the more employable you become and the better chance you have of bagging that job in a top gym.

Heather Fell – Training Update

I have just returned from Bulgaria with a bit of a tan and two medals from the European Championships (silver team and bronze relay), finishing 6th individually as the highest placed Britain. This was my final Pentathlon of the summer and the earliest end to my season since I was ten years old.

With less than two weeks until the Olympics begin I am getting pretty excited.

However within twenty-four hours of being back in the UK I had already ran a 1500m track race equalling my personal best. As a result of our pre European altitude training camp in Font Romeu I am feeling fit so intend to make the most of this including running 5K at the intercounties for Devon this weekend.


With less than two weeks until the Olymcs begin I am getting pretty excited along with the rest of the country. I was obviously incredibly disappointed to miss out on selection but as a result some other great opportunities have come up. I am hoping to be as involved as possible including some media work with the BBC.


Heather Fell

Beth Tweddle – Training Update

So there is only a few weeks before the games start and final preparations are well underway! All the trials went well following my recovery from knee surgery!


It is a massive honour for us to be representing our country at a home games!

The past couple of months have flown by and have been really intense! I have had to work hard on my rehab to ensure that my knee was fully prepared once I was given the go ahead to train on it properly!


Last week the official announcement of the gymnastics team was made and it was such a relief to get the call up! It has made all the hard work worth it! The team is now working together at our preparation camp in lilleshall before heading into the village just before the games start!


I am really looking forward to the challenge of the summer! There are so many people that have made it possible for me to attend these games and I have to thank all of them!


I hope everyone is really looking forward to the Games and are ready to support each and everyone of the Team GB athletes as it is a massive honour for us to be representing our country at a home games!


Beth Tweddle

Ed Clancy – Training Update

2012 is flying by! Reminiscing with my roommate Geraint Thomas it seemed like yesterday we were preparing for the Olympic test event in February. We finished in second place behind the Australians in the team pursuit. It wasn’t the result we were hoping for but we made up for it in Melbourne just a few weeks later in March at the world championships. Melbourne was a great trip, it was brilliant to pick up another track world title but I’ll remember the city and the good times had with teammates outside of racing with the fondest memories.


I can barely believe that (all going to plan) in just 5 weeks today I’ll be competing in my final day of racing in London.


May and June was time for some road racing with my team Rapha-Condor-Sharp with a view of pushing on my aerobic power and trying to win a race or two on the way when possible. I always enjoy racing with my team, the tour series criteriums were great fun but also hard work with form slightly suppressed from on-going track training between the racing. Hopefully the hard road miles done in this block will give us the aerobic depth we need to move us forward come the Olympics.


A couple of weeks ago the final confirmation for the Olympic selection was announced. As I had hoped, I’ve been selected for Team Pursuit and the Omnium. To be honest, it’s not something I’d given much thought to. I think I had been so focused on training hard for the Olympics that I forgot I had to get selected in the first place! Obviously I’m very proud to represent Team GB and can’t wait to give my best in front of a home crowd.


Today is my rest day in Majorca; we are half way through a short road block before returning to the track again for the final push. The weather here has been good, a bit too good for my liking; at 36 degrees C riding up half hour long climbs isn’t my favourite pastime. Sun cream and sweat dosn’t mix well in my eyeballs! Just one more three day block here in Majorca then it’s back to our English summer. Can’t wait!


Next up is a short track camp back home in Manchester before moving into the holding camp in Newport, then finally on to the Village for the Olympic Games. I can barely believe that (all going to plan) in just 5 weeks today I’ll be competing in my final day of racing in London. Like I said before, 2012 is flying by!


Ed Clancy MBE

Maintaining a Good Sleeping Pattern

Sleep is one of the most important ingredients of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whether you embark on weekly training regimes, enjoy a little exercise or are just trying to improve how you live; sleep can be one of the most crucial factors.


For those pushing their bodies to the limit on personal trainer courses or who hit the gym hard most days, sleep is as vital as what you eat and how you train. Even if you’re not pushing yourself to that level it’s still vital for our daily lives.

Here we’ve got a few tips on maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern.


Don’t eat too late


Eating late at night can lead to interrupted sleep and indigestion. If you can help it try to not eat anything too heavy after the 9 o’clock cut off point. Whilst certain foods are good for you in increasing your protein intake, if you eat them too late at night the digestive energy required to break up the protein could well cause you indigestion.


Keep your caffeine intake to earlier in the day


The stimulating effects of caffeine can potentially last up to eight hours, so clearly if you consume these too late it could have a significant detrimental impact on your sleeping patterns. If you crave something hot in the afternoons and evenings try decaf or herbal teas and avoid caffeinated drinks.


Regular sleep is the best sleep


It’s important to keep a regular pattern of sleep, which involves going to bed and getting up at the same time. Getting into a routine like this getting an adequate number of hours each night will keep your body in check, cut out any potential napping in the day and also improve the quality of your sleep.


Find your optimal sleeping position


After a workout you not only need to get a proper amount of good quality sleep, you need to allow your muscles to relax while you’re not awake. With that in mind, the most stable position for your spine is sleeping on your back. If you suffer from lower back stress after a hard training session you may want to sleep with a pillow under your legs. If you have to sleep on your side it’s worthwhile using a supporting pillow between your legs or raising the top leg towards your chest for some support to your lower back.


Keep your room dark and quiet


You really need to create optimal conditions to allow your body to rest properly, so simple touches like keeping your room dark, quiet and at a good temperature (not too hot or cold) can make a huge difference.