Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

A deficiency in selenium can affect your thyroid and slow down your metabolism so enjoy this selenium rich pudding.

Serves 4

½ cup Brazil nuts

2 cups water

nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)

½ cup chia seeds

¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk.  If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.

Is the menopause the reason for your slowed metabolism?

Has the Menopause slowed down your metabolism?

Does the menopause affect your metabolism?  It certainly seems so if you talk to the multitude of ladies who say they suddenly started to gain weight and just couldn’t shift it once they hit the menopause.

And it’s not just weight gain either.  You might feel tired or cold.  Your digestion might seem a bit more “sluggish”.  Your mood might not be as bright as it used to be.

You may be convinced that it’s all down to the menopause but it could be due to a slow metabolism and there’s more than just the menopause that affects your metabolism.

Why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down?

What can slow my metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

We know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact, here are a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep

We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: If you’re concerned have a chat with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

Your history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.  Eating slowly allows you to eat intuitively and will make you less likely to overeat.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some strength training to help increase your muscle mass.

Which leads us to…

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise will temporarily increase your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’ll start to get warmer.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

As well as burning calories these activities are important for your general health.

The biggest bang for your buck though is to make sure you do some resistance training at least twice a week.  This maintains your lean tissue which is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even at rest.  Also, strength training raises your metabolic rate for up to 24 hours.  Win win.

Tip:  Incorporate regular movement into your day and strength train at least twice a week.

Lack of sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate or looking at it another way, the effect of lack of sleep!  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

So you can see how complicated metabolism is and how the factors that affect it are also often affected by the menopause.  Many of things that affect the speed of your metabolism will also influence the symptoms you experience going through menopause.


Brand New Programme to Help Diabetics Manage Long-Term Blood Sugar Levels

There are currently almost 3.7 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes and it’s estimated that there are up to 1 million with Type 2 who haven’t yet been diagnosed.

Metabolic Fit is a new training programme for regulating blood sugar levels.

Since 1998, the number of people suffering from diabetes has increased by 38 percent – and the number continues to rise. According to a Canadian study, diabetes shortens life by an average of more than 12 years. To prevent this from happening, physical activity is essential, in addition to nutrition.

eGym carried out a Germany-wide six-month diabetes study with users training on the eGym machines.  Conducted in cooperation with the University of Leipzig, the study investigated the impact of different types of training on important disease-related parameters.

The study showed that combined strength and endurance training was the most effective training to improve long-term blood sugar levels (HbA1c), cardiovascular performance and quality of life.

The corresponding training parameters have been transferred to fit. eGym‘s software driven training and are the basis of the new training programme Metabolic

Recipe (Dairy-free): Chocolate Ice “Cream”

Serves 2

3 bananas, sliced and frozen
2 tsp cacao powder, unsweetened
1 tbsp almond butter


Place frozen bananas in food processor and blend until smooth (a few minutes). You may have to stop a few times to scrape the sides.

Add cacao powder and almond butter and blend until mixed well.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can make this in advance and freeze in an airtight container.

*** Mixed Sessions at our ladies only fitness centre ***

Hopefully you already know that we’re installing a range of fabulous new strength training equipment that adapts to every user and provides highly efficient and effective exercise programmes in short 30 minute workouts twice a week.

What you might not know is that we’re also going to be opening our doors for the first time to MEN by introducing mixed sessions during week days between 1pm and 4pm.  This means our existing women only offering is not affected as the mixed sessions will be during hours that we’ve been traditionally closed.

We are very aware that many of our members have concerns about their partners health and often don’t prioritise their own self-care in favour of looking after significant others.  We often hear them saying that they wish there was somewhere like Inspire Fitness that their husbands could go.  Well now there is!

The eGym intelligent training equipment that we’re launching on 6th October includes a number of programmes but two in particular are focussed on health.  Rehab which is aimed at those returning from illness or injury and metafit which has been proven to help diabetics manage long-term blood sugar levels.  We wanted to make sure that EVERYONE had access to these programmes as well as the usual Body toning, Muscle building, Athletic performance, Weight loss and General Fitness.

*** New Opening Hours ***

Great news – from 8th October 2018 we will be extending our opening hours to include the 1pm – 4pm slot when we’ve traditionally closed through the week.

We hope this will make it easier for people to come to the gym at a time that suits them.

Please note that these additional hours will be mixed sessions rather than ladies only and the reason for this is to give everyone access to the fantastic health programmes available with our new equipment, in particular, the metafit programme which has been proven to help diabetics manage their long-term blood sugar levels.

Although we are traditionally a ladies only fitness centre we felt it was important that as many people as possible are given the opportunity to improve their health futures, including men!

All of our normal opening hours will remain ladies only.

Monday to Friday            8.30am – 1pm    – Ladies only
1pm – 4pm         – Mixed session
4pm – 7pm         – Ladies only

Saturday                              9am – 12pm       – Ladies only

Membership packages are available for Ladies only, Men only or Joint Memberships.  Call us for more details on 01249 463002

Is the dairy in your diet making you store belly fat?

Dairy Intolerance (Lactose, Casein, and Whey)

Having a food intolerance is not fun. It can cause abdominal pain, discomfort, and nausea. It also causes embarrassing symptoms like flatulence and diarrhea. Other symptoms linked to food intolerances include muscle or joint pain, headaches, exhaustion, and even skin symptoms like rashes and eczema.

Dairy is just one of those foods that many people seem to be intolerant of. Let’s talk about the main components of milk that people react to: lactose, casein, and whey.

Milk sugar (lactose) intolerance

It’s estimated that up to 75% of adults are lactose intolerant. Lactose is the carbohydrate “milk sugar” naturally found in most dairy products. Lactose intolerance is so common you can buy lactose-free milk in your regular grocery store. Lactose-free products are treated with the enzyme “lactase” that breaks the lactose down before you ingest it. It’s this lactase enzyme that is lacking in most people who are lactose intolerant.

The lactase enzyme is naturally released from your intestine as one of your digestive enzymes. It breaks down the lactose sugar in the gut. When someone doesn’t have enough lactase, the lactose doesn’t get broken down the way it should.  Undigested lactose ends up being food for the resident gut microbes. As they ferment the lactose, they create gases that cause bloating, flatulence, pain, and sometimes diarrhea.

Lactose is in dairy but is in lower amounts in fermented dairy (e.g. cheese & yogurt) and butter. Steering clear of lactose isn’t that easy as it is added to other foods like baked goods, soups, and sauces. And if you’re taking any medications or supplements, check to see if it’s in there too, as lactose is a common ingredient in them.

If you have symptoms of lactose intolerance, keep an eye on food, medication, and supplement labels.

Milk protein (casein & whey) allergy

Milk is a known, and common, food allergen. In Canada, it is considered a “priority allergen” and must be declared on food labels.

So, what are the allergens in milk? You’ve heard of “curds and whey?” Well, these are the two main proteins in milk. The solid bits are the curds (made of casein), and the liquid is the dissolved whey.

Unlike lactose intolerance, casein and whey can cause an actual immune response. It’s an allergy. And this immune response can cause inflammation. In fact, we don’t know how many people have these milk allergies, but most estimates put it far below that of lactose intolerance.

Like lactose, these allergenic milk proteins can be found in other products too. They’re not just in dairy but are often in protein powders as well (Have you heard of “whey” protein powders?).

Some of the symptoms of milk protein allergy differ from that of lactose intolerance; things like nasal congestion and mucus (phlegm) are more common here. And casein seems to be linked with belly fat.

Interestingly, people who have gluten intolerance are often allergic to milk proteins like whey and casein as well. These can go hand-in-hand.

Like lactose intolerance, if you’re allergic to casein and whey keep an eye on labels so you can avoid these.


If you get gassy, bloated, or diarrhea after eating dairy, you may have a lactose intolerance. If you often get a stuffy nose and mucus, then you may be allergic to casein and/or whey.

While dairy may be an entire food group, it is not an essential nutrient. All the nutrients in dairy are available in other foods. If you experience these symptoms, you can try removing dairy from your diet. You may find improved digestion and fewer gut issues. Or you may find improved nasal congestion, or even less belly fat.


BIG ANNOUNCEMENT *** New equipment brings the future of strength training to Inspire Fitness

In case you’ve been living under a rock recently and have missed our emails and announcements we’ve got big changes about to happen at Inspire Fitness.

The machines that we’ve had for the last 12 years are about to be replaced with new, state of the art, electronic machines from eGym that will adapt for every user.

30 minute guided training programmes suitable for any fitness level or ability deliver an engaging and motivating workout that requires not adjustments or wasted time and every workout is personalised to the user to help them achieve their fitness goals faster – whether that’s Body toning, General Fitness, Weight Loss, Athletic Performance, Muscle building or Health.

The health programme is further split into Rehab for those returning from illness or injury and Metafit, a programme proven to help diabetics manage long-term blood sugar levels.

Regular strength measurements determine the optimal weight and provide feedback on progress.  It’s no longer just a feeling that you’re getting stronger, you can see that you really are!

A free accompanying app gives instant access to training plans, workout tracking and measurement results including muscle imbalances and biological age.  In addition, as users workout they collect points which can be used to compete against themselves or friends and other gym members making the whole process of exercise fun.

Food Preservatives – What You Need To Know

Food preservatives are common in our foods these days. It’s nearly impossible to stay away from them because of the number of processed foods there are.

Being a health conscious person, you’re eating better than most. You choose nutrient-dense whole foods more often than processed pre-packaged foods. So this may not be a huge concern for you. But, it’s always good to know more about those random unpronounceable chemical-sounding ingredients in some foods. Would you agree?

Food Preservatives

A food preservative is a substance added to foods to make them last longer; to “preserve” them. Preservatives are added to foods that go bad quickly and have found themselves in all kinds of products in our grocery stores.

Preservatives work to preserve food in a few different ways. Some prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Others prevent delicate fats from going rancid.

There are so many preservatives out there. While preservatives added to foods should be “approved,” this doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be safe for everyone always. And it doesn’t mean that the food is healthy.

Foods with preservatives are more-processed, less-nutritious foods to begin with – not exactly health foods. So, even if you don’t mind preservatives, you probably should cut down on these kinds of foods, anyway.

So, let’s learn more about a few common food preservatives.


That’s right – salt.

FUN FACT: The term “salary” is from the Latin word for salt. It’s thought that it came from the ancient Romans who would pay employees with salt. Either that, or it was for their work conquering and/or guarding salt mines/roads. Either way, salt was sought because of its ability to preserve food before the advent of refrigeration.

In today’s day and age, with fridges and freezers in every home and grocery store, and refrigerated trucks, salt is not needed for food preservation as much. But our taste buds still seem to crave it on an epic scale. The average individual eats over 3,400 mg of sodium per day, well over the recommended 2,300 mg/day. Much of that is because it’s found in processed foods.

According to Harvard Health:

“… reducing dietary salt (table salt that is only sodium, chloride and iodine) will lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and save lives.”

So, salt is one of those all-too-common food preservatives that most of us will do better with less of.

Nitrites (nitrates and nitrosamines)

Nitrites are preservatives added to processed meats. They’re not bad in and of themselves, but they do turn into harmful chemicals called nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Nitrites form nitrosamines when they’re cooked at high heat, and sometimes even when exposed to the high acid environment of the stomach.

Nitrites are added to meats to keep the pink-red colour and prevent “browning.” Mostly in bacon, ham, sausages and lunch meats. Since nitrites can change into nitrosamines, nitrites are one-step away from being the “bad guys.”

Another interesting thing is that processed meats have been linked with colon cancer. Because of the nitrites? Perhaps, but either way, nitrosamines are a confirmed health-buster.

Since nitrosamines (from nitrites) are the bad guys and are formed by cooking nitrites at high heat, what are nitrates?

Nitrates are naturally found in many healthy foods like vegetables. They’re especially high in beets. Sometimes our enzymes or gut bacteria change these healthy nitrates into nitrites. However, they rarely form nitrosamines because they’re two-steps away from becoming these “bad guys.”


Have you seen on packages “BHA/BHT has been added to the package to help maintain freshness?” Perhaps on cereal packages or in gum? Guess how these compounds maintain freshness? Because they’re preservatives.

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are antioxidants added to many processed foods. The main way BHA and BHT work is by preventing fats from going rancid.  Are they safe?  Well, they’re approved for use as a preservative at small doses. However, some studies show they can cause cancer in animals at high doses. Again, they’re added to processed, pre-packaged foods, so it’s wise to avoid them nonetheless.


There are a lot of preservatives in our food supply. These compounds work by preventing the growth of bacteria and mold, or by preventing fats from going rancid.   And they’re mostly found in processed foods.   If you want to avoid them then focus on eating fresh foods that are in season.


The Big Reveal!!!

We’d like to invite all our members to a presentation on Tuesday 21st August at 7.15pm where we’ll be revealing some really exciting news.

We’d love to see as many of you as possible on the evening but those of you who can’t make it don’t need to worry, we’ll be emailing out the details at the same time.

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