5 Reasons Group Ex Instructors should consider signing up to Jump 4.2


So today’s blog is actually a video. If you follow my blog you know I’ve been blogging about my progress on the fitness nutrition and mindset programme Jump 4.2. This is a bit of a follow up to that where I explain 5 reasons why any group ex instructors or regular participants who train a lot but aren’t getting the results they want should consider doing Jump.

I’m not your traditional advert for a fitness programme. I haven’t had a massive physical transformation in 8 weeks – I haven’t developed a six-pack. What I have gained from working with Ricky is a healthy relationship with food, my training and my own head. I can have weeks where I eat too much and don’t train of course, but now I can deal with them – they don’t derail my progress or make me feel like I need to start again. I know what I can achieve if I want to get super lean, equally I know where my happy place is where I’m fit, healthy and able to enjoy life.

I think that’s what most of us really want. Most of us don’t want to give up cake and cocktails or spend hours in the gym in exchange for abs- we just want to feel good whilst still enjoying our favourite indulgences. If that’s you then I’m the proof that Jump 4.2 works – I’m the most boring yet honest advertisement going!

The last intake in 2019 opens on 1st September. If you are interested and have any questions you can contact me on instagram DM @heather.sherwood or Ricky Long @rickylong42 or @jump4.2.

I have a couple of discount codes for 15% off – if you would like to sign up with a discount drop me a message.

Anyway – here’s my video!

Jump 4.2 Video

Les Mills Launches Are Coming

For the Les Mills Instructors among us launches are coming!

One thing that keeps cropping up in conversation this week is how hard it is to keep on top of your training, nutrition and positive habits whilst also learning new choreography.

Here’s my ideas for getting through the next 10 days of cramming and still feel good about YOU:

1. If you can, meal prep once a week, that’s going to mean you have good choices ready to grab and stick in the microwave and reduce the chances of getting a takeaway when you are tired and busy cramming.

2. Same with snacks – have lots of good snacks to hand because learning chorey always makes you want to snack – FACT!

3. Another option for these two weeks each quarter is order a week or two of meal prep to completely avoid the stress of thinking about food yet stay on track!  If you’re prone to buying food rather than planning when you are busy leaning the new stuff this could actually end up more cost efficient anyway.

4. If you’re short of time drop out the cardio element in your training sessions and use your physical practice sessions as your cardio. Added bonus is that going all out at least once when practicing the new releases means you’ll be prepared for how it’s going to feel on launch day!

5. Don’t be an all or nothing person…

Do you know what positive habits you practice daily?  Perhaps you have a great morning or evening routine or drink a pint of water upon waking, maybe you always pack your bag the night before.  ALL those little things help add up to a positive mindset and approach to your health. IF you don’t train for a week or end up going over your calorie goal a few times you haven’t gone off the rails and lost all progress / fitness levels – keep up with those little daily habits and everything will still be in place for you post launch!

6. You are in control – one of the best ways to make lifestyle changes is to create systems. One systems could be to take some time to plan in appointments for when you will learn chorey and stick to those appointments. Feeling more in control of how you use your time can help reduce stress levels even if you’re still crazy busy!

7. Don’t create undue stress for yourself- you’ve got new stuff to learn. So the week or two before launch I like to go back to my go to tracks, the ones I know in my sleep- you haven’t got to add extra pressure to yourself by learning members requests or extra tracks for your current mix if you’re already feeling pressure (be honest the ones you know in your sleep are actually probably the members favourites anyway, hence why you know them so well!)

8. Sleep. Sleep helps you retain information – being tired doesn’t, so no matter what you need to let slide for a few days don’t make it sleep!

9. That being said don’t beat yourself up about letting the not important stuff slide.  You will know what is a non negotiable in your life.  Yes, you will need to keep balancing those plates, but everything else, well it will still be there on 7th July.

10. The week after launch can also be a tough week physically – all the adrenaline from learning and then teaching for the first time is draining and I often feel more tired and emotional the week after. So if that happens don’t beat yourself up, a few days off training can be beneficial in cases like that.

I hope some of the above ideas help, and if you aren’t a Les Mills instructor many of these ideas would also work for other stressful situations not just launches!

This blog is based on some of the principles we work on developing in Jump 4.2 – an 8 week online fitness, nutrition and mindset programmes designed specifically with group ex instructors and enthusiast in mind. If you want to find out more click the link below to get details for the next intake on July 1st.

Jump Priority List

Free Recipes!

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my stories over the last week, where I’ve recorded what I’ve been eating.

Most of the time I try and eat food I’ve made myself at home and I’ve had lots of messages asking me for the recipes of the meals I’ve been posting.

I love this so if you ever want to know how I made something DM me and I’ll let you know (some of my favourite meals have come from seeing random pictures on Instagram and asking the person posting how they made it!).  And if you don’t follow me on Instagram it’s @heather.sherwood

Recently some of my meal ideas have been coming from Chris Ward of Ward Fitness, a Personal trainer from Liverpool, who offers a service where you get 15 new recipe cards emailed to you each month for just £5 per month (a mixture of smoothies, breakfasts, main meals and snacks).  Being honest I can easily spend a fiver on chocolate without thinking so for me this is one of my best value purchases each month as it gives me ideas for things I wouldn’t normally try and make and has made me more adventurous in trying out my own ideas too.

Given that I’ve had lots of requests for recipes I thought it might be nice to share a few of the ones I’ve really enjoyed with you here (Chris has given me permission!).

So here are four of my favourites for you to try.

Steak and Chicken Paella

Sticky Chocolate Nut Energy Balls

Pear and Blueberry Smoothie

Pumpkin Chilli

I’m not the best cook but I’ve found all these recipes simple to follow, plus none of them are time consuming (I generally manage to food prep for the week in about 2 hours) so if you are looking for inspiration I can highly recommend giving this a go.

Follow @wardfitnesspt message him any questions and if you want to get your own set of ideas emailed to you every month you can sign up here.

15 Recipes for £5

If you do give any of these recipes a go let me (and Chris) know how it goes!

Things I’ve Learnt – Re-Blog

I wrote this six months ago- all still remarkably true and relevant.

  1. You aren’t perfect.

I think I’m like most people in that when I start something new I want to be 100% perfect or I feel like I’ve failed and need to start again.  But it’s impossible to never have slip ups on a long term plan.  Getting out of the cycle of deciding a whole week was a write off become of a bad day or bad meal was one of the biggest factors to starting to see results.

  1. Day 30 (or 60 or 100 or 200) is harder than day 1.

People always talk about Day 1- and in some ways Day 1 is tough, it’s the starting something new, the first step in making changes. But by the same token, Day 1 is exciting – it’s the start of something new, when you feel all positive and hopeful.  Sticking to something once the novelty wear off or once results start to slow is the real challenge.

  1. Consistency and steady progress is boring.

Everyone loves a Facebook status or Instagram post where they can show their before and after pictures demonstrating dramatic results.  Realistically though long lasting changes take time and progress isn’t always immediately apparent.

  1. The loudest people in the gym often don’t have a clue.

When I started venturing into the free weight section alone I used to feel so inferior.  All these people claiming space and equipment and confidently broadcasting their strengths and opinions on how things should be done.  I tend to assume that if someone is loud and forward with their opinion they must know their shit- and yeah, some do.  Get comfortable in the environment and take time to look and you will see however that many do not!  Go in, do your own thing with confidence and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing in terms of training or weights.

  1. You need to eat more.

I used to try and keep my calorie intake low – the bigger the calorie deficit the better.  Really, this makes you tired, makes training harder and will eventually stop you getting results.  Stick to a sensible calorie deficit and results will come and will be easier to maintain.

  1. There is no such thing as an ideal diet.

And by ideal I mean those diets you see advertised in magazines- ‘Eat all the cake and still lose weight’ ‘Drink all the Gin and still lose weight’.  We would all like that magic diet which would allow us to eat as much of our favourite foods as often as we like and still loose 10lbs per week.  Essentially, though, if you look at them, all these diets still involve some form of restriction – eat low calorie meals through the day and allow yourself cake everyday in moderation (i.e. a small slice).  You therefore have to accept that you can eat what you want within reason but if you also want to stay within a calorie allowance and hit your Macros you will need to balance that out with sensible options for other meals. I have 4 pretty strict days to allow me the freedom to have 3 pretty relaxed days and stay within my goals.  That means for 4 days a week I sometimes have to say no to things I want in return for that relaxed weekend.

  1. Some days will be shit.

Not all training sessions will be fun, not all will bring PBs, sometimes you will feel like you have made no progress.  If every session was a great session they would just be your normal sessions.  Accept that even a tough session will bring benefits to you and don’t sweat it.

  1. Rest is important

When you start it feels like you will get more results if you keep on going and do as much as you can.  Rest allows your body to recover and prevents over training though and in the long term will improve your results.

  1. You can’t do everything.

It’s tempting to try and master as many things as possible.  Realistically though unless you are naturally talented at something the chances are you will need to devote time to things to master them.  Therefore trying to win a Strongman competition whilst also training for a marathon is probably not going to work.  Pick your thing and focus on that.  I wanted to run a second marathon but with teaching classes around my full time job I had to accept that finding time to fit the training in would not be possible and as I didn’t want to take a break from teaching I put that aim on the back burner.

  1. Weight is a bad indicator of progress.

Muscle weighs more than fat, your body is full of water blah blah blah.  At first you may be able to monitor your weight- eventually you will need to go off clothes size or pictures if you don’t want to feel completely demotivated.

Ways to Create a Calorie Deficit – Paleo

I’ve written before about my own nutrition and how I mainly eat a Paleo based diet.

I say Paleo based because I don’t follow Paleo eating at all in the strict sense or all the time and I adjust it to suit my own needs.

Essentially Paleo is eating what cavemen ate so basing your diet on meats, veg, nuts and seeds.   It’s high protein and fats and low in carbs and dairy free.   I eat largely like this with some exceptions (I include potatoes and often some chocolate milk after my classes in the evening).  This is largely because my job means I’m very active so it wouldn’t be sensible to stay low carb.  I try and do this 4 days a week with three days where I eat freely (although often along the same lines just with the addition of some bread and maybe pasta or rice and some sweet treats).  If there is a social occasion on one of the days I’d normally eat Paleo I just don’t do it for that period of the day / that meal.  Some months I just keep a check on my calories because that’s how the mood takes me.

So if I’m not strict about it that begs the question why do I bother.

Quite simply it is a way of keeping myself within my calorie requirements that suits my lifestyle and reduces the need for me to count calories.

I know I eat more at the weekend.  I’m not in the office and more likely to go out for food or get a takeaway and eat chocolate whilst I’m sat on the sofa etc.  By slightly reducing my calorie intake Monday – Thursday whilst still filling up on lots of protein I leave myself room for three more calorie dense days.  This happens without even thinking about what I’ve eaten and how many calories is in it.

My message here is Paleo is one method of eating – it can have many benefits (and equally some drawbacks depending on your activity levels and lifestyle) but whatever way you look at it, it is one way you can reach a calorie deficit.  So if you lose weight with it this isn’t because of a magic combination of food just a general reduction in your calorie intake.

For me personally it’s still the best way of eating most of the time as it reduces how often I think about food and encourages me to eat more homemade and less shop bought.  Sometimes the idea of banning certain foods (even though it’s just foods and not food groups and even though it’s only ever for a few days each week!) is bad for my mindset so I will have periods where I don’t follow this and just eat to a bog standard calorie deficit.  Not getting hung up on what foods you do or don’t eat is more beneficial to your long term health than cutting out bread to feel less bloated will ever be.

So it might suit you, it may not, but the habits of eating less processed foods and getting enough protein whilst keeping in a calorie deficit are all positives however you chose to eat.

Christmas Eating

It’s hard to eat well over Christmas.

Even if you have good eating habits / systems the rest of the year it’s difficult over Christmas.

I have meals prepared at home in the fridge – it would take me no effort to eat them at all, yet this last week I’ve eaten all sorts instead of them because there’s just so many temptations around.

Tuesday there was homemade Christmas cake (made by a work colleagues wife who quite frankly makes the best cakes ever), Wednesday was a working lunch in restaurant that does a brilliant crab linguine, Thursday was a pizza and chocolates lunch to celebrate a work colleagues birthday followed by a team meal in the evening (think pasta and much alcohol), Friday was a hangover in work and the work Christmas party (free bar), Saturday was hangover food and tomorrow is Christmas Eve (so all meals must be chocolate based as is the law).

In the past I would have felt guilty.  This year I’ve accepted it’s ok.  I eat well most of the time, and I’ve had some decent meals too around the less decent food. I’ve trained when I’ve been able to and let’s face it –it’s a couple of weeks out of 52 (and overall I generally eat alright). I’m not going to be in a calorie deficit, but I’m not in a massive surplus either.

So this year I feel no guilt.

I’m not saying Fuck It let’s go crazy – I’m getting better at ignoring the all or nothing mindset.  If I said that and went mad eating everything I possibly could I’d probably feel regret in the new year.

I’m just saying I won’t feel guilty for enjoying myself over Christmas.

Realistically this is not going to cause a dramatic amount of damage to my weight, certainly nothing that going back to my normal eating habits in January won’t sort almost immediately.

And mindset wise it’s going to be so much healthier for me to not feel guilty for relaxing or like I need to punish myself for it in January.

So should you follow your ‘diet’ over Christmas?  If you want to, yes, if you don’t then no and if you try to and slip up it’s ok.  What isn’t ok is making yourself feel bad for whatever decision you make.

Meal Prep for Mr or Mrs Normal

One of the biggest barrier to eating well for me is being out of the house for around 15 hours a day Monday to Friday. 

If you have a job which leads to you being out of the house most of the day you will probably agree that when you get home the last thing you want to do is cooking, not only some food for that night but also lunch for the following day (unless you really enjoy cooking).  If you don’t make your lunch the night before though, the likelihood is you’ll end up going to Tesco to get a sandwich and packet of crisps which won’t be that filling or inspiring and won’t benefit your nutrition as much as a home prepared meal would.

Meal Prep tends to be something that immediately makes you think of body builders and chicken with broccoli. But, whether you go to the gym every day, twice a day or once a week preparing your meals for the week ahead can help you stay within your calorie goal, save money and keep meals tasty and interesting with minimum effort.  They don’t need to be just chicken, rice and veg either you can make any type of food you like that fits within your calorie goal for that day / week.

Recently I’ve taken this one step further and started to prepare a months worth of meals at a time but if your new to meal prep start with a few days and see what does and doesn’t work for you.

Benefits of Meal Prep

  1. Save time – a couple of hours cooking at the start of the week can save you having to spend half an hour every day making food. When you are busy or tired during the week you will have food that you ca pop in the microwave to heat up quickly.
  2. Save money – Unless every meal is fillet steak the chances are that making your meals for the week is going to be cheaper than going to the shop every day for a Meal Deal and getting takeaways or ready meals on the way home for dinner.
  3. Save calories – A homemade curry will often have fewer calories than a shop bought one – you can use chopped tomatoes and herbs to make sauces and pack in as much veg as you like. You will also be in a position to prepare food in advance that you know will fit your calorie allowance for the week – it’s much harder to keep to your targets if your going into the shop each day and picking food out whilst hungry.
  4. Save on boredom – Be honest, if you go and buy a sandwich everyday do you always pick the same one or two fillings. If you plan and prepare your meals you can add as much variety as you want.
  5. Save on stress – Once done that’s it for the week. No cooking in the evening or having to work out what you have time to pick up on your lunch break.  You can pick up your tupperware boxes in he morning and then just wack them in the microwave when your hungry.  Whilst I’m at it – home prepared meals are often more filling than your average Greggs or Meal Deal.

Meal Prep Tips

  1. Plan – Work out how many meals you need for that week and what you are going to take to hit that number of portions.
  2. Have the necessary equipment to hand- Tupperware boxes don’t need to be expensive. I buy the cheap boxes from B&M Bargains (10 for £1.99) which last for a reasonable amount of time but can be replaced cheaply when they break.  Sandwich bags are ideal for freezing food in.  A slow cooker is the god of meal prep in my eyes – it doesn’t need to be a fancy one, mine was £10 from Asda.
  3. Cook things in bulk- Make a curry / chilli / spag bol / casserole with 4-6 portions.
  4. But keep it varied – Eating casserole every day for a week is rubbish. Try making at least a couple of different meals at a time so you have some variety.  If that means you have excess portions left over you can freeze them for another week.
  5. Portion out your food – Separate food into portions so you know exactly how many meals you have for the week- it will prevent you eating more calories than you planned and stop you running out of food half way through the week.
  6. Freeze half your portions – Pop half the portions into tupperware boxes to store in the fridge, the rest can go in sandwich bags to freeze.
  7. Pot Luck or Plan? I tend to just chuck the sandwich bags in the freezer and take them out at random but if you like to know what you’ll be eating that day label up the bags as almost all meals look the same once frozen.
  8. Let food cool first – My main rookie error with freezing food prep was putting it in the freezer before it has totally cooled. This resulted in a very frosty freezer and an evening of defrosting it because I could no longer open the drawers.  Let everything sit on the side until it’s totally cool before putting in the fridge or freezer.
  9. Slow cooker anything and everything – Meat in a slow cooker will taste so much more tender than that cooked on the hob. You can throw almost anything in and just leave it for a few hours and come back to something with lots of flavour.  Amazing taste, minimum effort equals a meal prep win.
  10. You can meal prep breakfast too- I tend to only do two or three days at a time but if you eat breakfast at work instead of at home or are in a rush in the morning this can allow you to have a good breakfast without the fuss. Sausages and bacon taste ok cold (eggs can be microwaved when you get to work) as done banana and egg pancakes amongst other things.

Experiment and see what works best for you – once you find a routine that suits you it will become second nature to prepare al or some of your meals each week and this system / habit will free up so much time and help reduce the stress in your week.