womens blog

The Six-Pack Workout That Challenges Your Upper, Lower And Side Abs

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 12:02

To develop any muscle to its fullest growth potential, you need to move through a variety of angles and use different rep ranges – and your abs are no exception. Yes, you first must shift that spare tyre for them to show, but simply getting lean doesn’t mean you’ll have a solid and sculpted six-pack. For that you need to train your upper, lower and side abs both hard and smart, which is what this circuit session will do.

The first move of each tri-set works your upper abs, the second your lower abs, and the third your side abs (or obliques) to sculpt more defined muscles across your entire abdominal region. Focus on good form throughout and keep those abs engaged for the maximum muscle return.

How to do the workout

This session is made up of six moves, split into three tri-sets, which are mini circuits containing three different exercises. That means you’ll do moves 1A, 1B and 1C in order, sticking to the reps detailed and only resting after all the reps of the move 1C. You’ll do three circuits of the first tri-set, then move on to the second tri-set, in which you’ll repeat this pattern with moves 2A, 2B and...

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Is breast asymmetry linked to breast cancer?

Many women have slight differences in the size or shape of their breasts. Breast asymmetry is usually not a cause for concern, though substantial asymmetry in the size or density of breasts may suggest an increased risk of breast cancer. A mammogram can look for abnormalities and diagnose the cause of breast asymmetry.

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When can I have sex after being pregnant?

What are the recommendations for how long women should wait before resuming sexual intercourse after pregnancy? How does giving birth affect sex? Factors influencing the decision to resume sexual activity include pain, stress, the healing process after delivery, and the impact of hormonal changes.

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Can women get prostate cancer?

Women do not have a prostate in the same way as men. They do, however, have Skene glands, often called the female prostate, which have many similarities to the prostate. Cancer of the female prostate is extremely rare. Find out about the functions of the Skene glands and learn more about female prostate cancer here.

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Here’s Where To Find A Bunch Of Healthy Meal Ideas For Kids

Nick Harris-Fry
Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 14:24

You want to be a role model for your kids. You want them to look up to you, to follow your lead, to respect you. But sometimes it doesn’t hurt to recruit ane outside influence to point the little ’uns in the right direction, especially when it comes to their diet. You can set a good example by wolfing down greens at every opportunity but there’s no way you can shield their impressionable eyes from ads for high-fat high-sugar high-calorie junk food.

So Coach is completely behind world-famous people backing you up when it comes to vegetables, and sports-wise they don’t come much more famous than Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates. The players and, less famous but probably more useful in this context, the nutrition team at the Spanish superclub have paired up with home appliance company Beko to create Eat Like A Pro, a website that lavishes you with recipes and healthy eating tips that will help your kids eat better – not least because Barcelona’s star men are telling them to.

RECOMMENDED: Make This Healthy Banana Flapjacks Recipe With Your Kids

Healthy recipes are a big part of what Eat...

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Why Classing Obesity As A Disease Might Be A Good Idea

Nick Harris-Fry
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 15:01

Figures that show the scale of the obesity problem in the UK make for very grim reading. A World Health Organisation study in 2014 found that 28% of adults were classed as obese and 62% were overweight or obese, based on BMI measurements. Then there are the stats on children in the UK, more than a third of whom leave primary school classed as overweight or obese. On top of the problems it can cause individuals, obesity costs the NHS billions of pounds a year – and the situation is only expected to get worse.

The growing scale of the problem is an indictment of how the UK currently responds to obesity. A new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Obesity has found that on both a personal and organisational level the response to obesity is lacking. According to the report, nine out of ten obese people have suffered abuse, criticism or stigmatisation because of their obesity, and the NHS is failing people with obesity by not offering enough treatment and prevention services.

There is no magic bullet for solving the obesity crisis in the UK, but steps clearly need to be taken. Coach...

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Kick-Start Your Summer Transformation With A Subscription To Men’s Fitness

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 12:50

We are constantly inspired by your transformations and progression towards your fitness goals.

We know it’s not always easy staying on track, but the Men’s Fitness expert team are here to support you with the latest advice on fitness, nutrition and grooming as well as up to the minute tech and kit reviews.

You’ll never be short of motivation with our exclusive features and workout hacks. Think of us as your portable personal trainer without the heavy price tag.

You can try Men's Fitness, obligation free, for just £1 per issue.

We are offering five issues for just £5, a saving of 76% on the shop price. On top of that, we’ll send you a FREE exclusive Men’s Fitness gym bag for a limited time only.

So kick-start your summer transformation. Men’s Fitness will be with you every step of the way.

Click here to subscribe to Men’s Fitness now! 

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Frank Bruno Is The Face Of Matalan’s New Gymwear Line

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 14:21

Getting the right workout gear can help motivate you to be a bit more active, but moving stories can be even more inspiring. Matalan is offering both with its new sportswear line, fronted by British sporting icon and former boxing world champion Frank Bruno.

Bruno knows how tough it can be to stay physically and mentally healthy. He won the WBC heavyweight championship in 1995, but within a few years he was hospitalised with psychological problems and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As the campaign video reveals, Bruno used movement to manage his condition. “It brings out the endorphins in you, it’s a beautiful feeling,” says Bruno, who also recommends that “there are 24 hours in a day, so give yourself at least one hour to invest in your body, mind and soul.” Amen to that.

Video of The Value of Movement - Frank Bruno

Now a successful charity marathon runner and a high-profile spokesperson on mental health issues, Bruno has endorsed the Souluxe collection, which is designed to inspire people to stay active throughout their life. It includes panelled leggings, double-layer running vests, shorts, T-shirts and...

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A Straightforward Gym Workout Routine For Beginners

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 10:01

People say I need to dedicate a separate day to each body part. Is that not right?

No – and it might even be counterproductive. “The problem I see most beginners make is following routines that are too advanced for them,” says Dan Forbes, a strength and conditioning coach and founder of Veteran Athlete. “As every guy who’s been training for a few years knows, the first year or two in the gym is a special time, when it’s possible to make progress each and every session. Those ‘newbie’ gains are glorious, and the best ways to capitalise on them are to get moving properly and work hard.

“Doing complex split routines, where you divide your weekly workouts into body-part sessions, as a beginner is like using a sledgehammer to open a nut. They build too much fatigue, which impedes the body’s learning process, increases recovery time and slows progress.”

So what should I do instead?

Keep it simple. No, simpler than that. “One go-to routine for beginners is the ‘one set of 20’ routine created by Dr Michael Yessis,” says Forbes. “The concept is simple. Select one exercise per body part, choose a weight that you can do 20 reps...

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The Fastest Vegetarian Stir-Fry Recipe We’ve Ever Come Across

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, May 14, 2018 - 17:27

Cooking a healthy dinner from scratch doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the kitchen. In fact, it doesn’t even need to mean spending half an hour in there if you use this super-fast vegetarian stir-fry recipe from Waitrose which takes less than 15 minutes to make.

A third of that time is spent chopping and assembling the various parts of the dish, so anyone who’s a wizard with a kitchen knife might be done in nearer to ten minutes than 15. Then it’s simply a case of chucking it all in the frying pan for a few minutes. If you’re a fast eater and a demon when it comes to washing up, you might be out of the kitchen having cooked, demolished and cleaned up all trace of your meal within 30 minutes. Barely longer than if you’d gone for a microwave ready-meal, and cooking this dish is a far tastier and healthier option than doing that.

The recipe can be cooked as a pure veg and mushroom combo, or if you want some extra protein in the dish, add in your favourite veggie meat alternative like Quorn. Or if you’re not veggie at all, add in some meat (just add a couple of minutes’ cooking time before...

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Fiit Workout App Review – The Best Way To Bring Fitness Classes Into Your Front Room

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, May 14, 2018 - 16:34

The app market is laden with fantastic free health and fitness apps, which means that a subscription app that offers pre-recorded fitness classes to follow at home has to offer something pretty special to tempt people into parting with their hard-earned cash. Fortunately, Fiit is pretty special, and it’s worth checking out if you’re a big fan of classes at boutique gyms (or would be if it wasn’t for their high prices).

Fiit’s ever-expanding range of classes is divided into three sections – Strength, Cardio and Rebalance, with the latter offering yoga and Pilates sessions. There are 25-minute and 40-minute classes available across the board as well as beginner, intermediate and advanced options for each. The catalogue of classes is also searchable by the part of the body you want to work on, or the type of music that will play in the background. And if you think one of the trainers is particularly good, you can easily find all the classes they instruct on Fiit.

Once you pick your class, you select the screen you want it played on – TV, phone or tablet – and then the app connects with the heart...

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The Right Way To Breathe When Running

Nick Harris-Fry
Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 16:59

When you’re running, breathing tends to be something you focus on only when things are going wrong. When you’re gliding along with fluid, easy movements and your breath is controlled, you probably don’t even notice it, but when your run gets tough and your breath comes in short rasping gasps, it can hardly fail to grab your attention.

However, according to running coach Chevy Rough, many runners are getting their breathing wrong and their efficiency is taking a hit as a result, so a little more focus on your breath might be long overdue. Coach spoke to Rough at the Virgin Sport Hackney Festival of Fitness & Half Marathon to get his advice on how to breathe while running.

What do runners get wrong with their breathing?

The long and short of it is that most people are not breathing efficiently. Most runners are primarily mouth breathers and that’s like being in a really high gear. When you breathe through your nose your aerobic capacity is much better, your oxygen delivery system is much better and you are much more tolerant of carbon dioxide. Basically you are better at managing the fuel...

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Tamsin Greenway On Why Women Should Play Sport This Summer

Nick Harris-Fry
Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 16:04

There is no one type of exercise that works for everyone, so limiting the activities you’re exposed to just makes it less likely you’ll find the one you truly love and want to do every day. Yet after school or university many people narrow their view of exercise to a handful of options like going to the gym, running or swimming. All great options, but hardly the whole sporting story, and if none of them tickles your fancy, it’s time to get out and find something that does. And the good news is you can start that process just by watching sport if you want.

Sky Sports has partnered with the Women’s Sport Trust on the #ShowUp campaign to encourage everyone to attend live women’s sport and watch it on the TV, as well as – most importantly – getting women to try a new sport or give a lapsed love a second chance. We spoke to Wasps netball player/coach and Sky pundit Tamsin Greenway about the benefits of playing sport and how people can get involved.

Why is playing sport such a good way to get fit?

It’s a great way to avoid the monotony of the gym. With team sports you’re surrounded by other people...

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The Best Men’s Yoga Clothing

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 17:18

Here’s the thing about great yoga clothing – it’s really not just for yoga. The comfortable, casual menswear that’s best for practising yoga is also great to wear when in the gym, relaxing at home, travelling – in fact, if you opt for some of the smarter gear available, pretty much anywhere.

First and foremost though, it’s important to make sure your yoga gear is fit for purpose, in that it allows you the freedom to move on the yoga mat. Here are our four favourite brands for yoga gear for men and a few of our top picks from their ranges to consider.

Lululemon

In Mind shorts


To truly express yourself on the yoga mat you need shorts that are loose and elastic enough that they don’t limit your movements, but also don’t ride up when you go into inverted positions. Lululemon’s In Mind shorts are made with stretchy, quick-drying fabric and have a stay-put hem to protect your modesty. £65, buy on lululemon.co.uk

Discipline pants


If you prefer to wear trousers during yoga, you can pick up some incredibly adaptable bits of gear that are great in and out of the studio. These pants are comfortable and...

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How To Do The Leg Extension

Nick Harris-Fry
Friday, May 18, 2018 - 11:28

It takes a variety of exercises to build up the powerhouse muscles that make up the front of your thigh, and it’s worth incorporating a mix of compound and isolation moves into your routine if stronger quads are among your key goals.

The leg extension is a stalwart isolation exercise that puts all the focus on your quads and it acts as the perfect complement to the leg curl, which isolates the hamstrings. Together the duo will go a long way towards bulking up your thigh muscles, front and back.

However, before we get to how you do leg extensions it’s important to address the risks of the exercise, because it’s one that many people with knee issues steer clear of. For info on the potential risks and how to avoid them, we spoke to Barry’s Bootcamp master trainer Sandy Macaskill.

What are the risks of doing leg extensions?

Leg extensions are a pretty straightforward exercise in terms of technique, which is always a positive, but they do keep your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) under tension. If you have weak knees, or regularly play sports that involve repeated changes of direction or jumping,...

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The Best Food Processors To Buy In 2018

Rachel Erdos
Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 14:47

Chop, dice, slice, blend, mix, grate and purée like a pro by adding a food processor to your arsenal of kitchen gadgets. A food processor can make light work of complex recipes and save you precious prep time when whipping up healthy midweek meals – it’s little wonder Jamie Oliver’s 15-Minute Meals TV show and cookbook used a food processor in almost every recipe.

It's the ultimate helping hand in the kitchen, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd or filling your freezer with batch-cooked goodness. Whether whizzing up chunky marinades, mixing healthy snacks or blending protein shakes, a food processor is a multi-tasking marvel. Here’s our pick of the best buys.

Best All-Rounder: Kenwood MultiPro Compact FDP301SI Food Processor


Lightweight and compact, this space-saving gadget is reassuringly sturdy and comes with a range of blades for slicing, grating and chopping as well as an emulsifying tool for whipping cream and eggs. Unusually for such an affordable machine, you can adjust the power settings and use the pulse button to mix things up in short bursts. It's a good pick for small...

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The Micro-Adventure Mission: Imagine What You Could Do One Weekend

Joel Snape
Friday, May 25, 2018 - 09:54

Alastair Humphreys is a man who knows about adventures both large and small. Early in his career, he went big: witness his four years cycling around the world, his walk across southern India, his six marathons through the Sahara and his Atlantic Ocean row. Recently, though, he’s been going local: he pioneered the art of “micro-adventures” and wrote a book aimed at convincing everyone else to fit more adventure into their lives. In his most recent project, he made his way across Spain busking on the violin – no easy feat, considering he only learned to play it three months before setting off…

What’s the adventure you’re most proud of?

I’m really proud of my first adventure, not just because cycling around the world was the biggest thing I’ve ever done, but because doing something for the first time is so hard. Your friends think you’re an idiot, your family disapprove, you have no skills, no experience, no reason to believe you can achieve the goal. So it is crazy, difficult, scary, but also exciting. I look back at the young version of me and am surprised, grateful and proud that I summoned up the...

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Can you get pregnant with an anteverted uterus?

The uterus usually tilts one way or another. When the uterus is tilted forward toward the abdomen, it is known as an anteverted uterus. 75 percent of women have this. It is normal and has no impact on the ability to get pregnant or sexual health. Learn more about this natural variation of the uterus here.

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Is it safe to have sex during menstruation?

Many people wonder if having sex during menstruation has side effects. There is no health-related reason to avoid sex because someone is menstruating. However, there is still a risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Some common vaginal infections are also more likely to occur after period sex.

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What to know about sex during pregnancy

During a healthy pregnancy, it is typically safe to continue having sex. In fact, sex during pregnancy can have various benefits for the woman. Certain positions may be more comfortable than others, especially during the third trimester. In this article, we discuss benefits, risks, and tips for sex during pregnancy.

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The 10-Minute Ladder Workout That Burns A Boatload Of Calories

Men’s Fitness
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 17:19

This quick-fix workout takes just ten minutes to complete and will torch a huge number of calories both during and after your session as your body tries to recover from the high-intensity work. “This is a great session that will test your grip and lower-body strength endurance,” says Olli Foxley of W10 Performance. “The descending rep scheme will give you some light at the end of the tunnel and allows you to maintain good technique.” If you don’t have a sled in your gym you can do a farmer’s walk, where you carry dumbbells over a set distance, although you will find that particular substitution poses an even greater challenge to your grip strength.

How to do it

Do 50 kettlebell swings, then push the sled for 20m. Then do 40 swings and push the sled for 20m, and continue, reducing the swing count by ten each round until you do ten swings followed by a 20m sled push. Aim to take minimal rest between rounds. Beginners should use a 16kg kettlebell, intermediates should use a 20kg one and advanced exercisers should use 24kg.

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1 Kettlebell swing

Hinge at the hips to...

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You Are Less Than Ten Minutes Away From Euphoria

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 14:19

No matter how unmotivated you feel before starting a workout, it’s very rare that you actually regret doing it once you’ve finished. In fact, you’re usually only a couple of minutes in when you forget all about your pre-workout misgivings and get into the swing of it – and, according to the participants in a new YouGov survey, after just ten minutes you’ll be feeling positively euphoric.

The poll of over 2,000 British adults was undertaken on behalf of sports retailer Wiggle and found that, on average, people who exercise three times a week reach a natural high from their activity just nine minutes and 44 seconds after they start.

For some, the high arrives even quicker. Women tend to reach this euphoric moment before men (you may insert your own joke here, we’ll rise above it), after nine minutes and seven seconds on average, compared with ten minutes and 20 seconds for men.

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More importantly, the high arrives at different times depending on the sport you are taking part in as well. Runners rejoice – it is you who climax first, after eight minutes and 28 seconds. The...

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Super Chicken Salad Recipe

Men’s Fitness
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 16:47

Ingredients (Serves Four)

  • 4 free-range skin-on chicken breast
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 pomegranates
  • Bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g pine nuts
  • 300ml rapeseed oil
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
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To make

  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large bowl, rub all over with 100ml of the rapeseed oil, the lemon zest, salt and pepper, and then cover with cling film. Leave out of the fridge while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  2. Cut the pomegranates. Hold a half over a bowl in one hand and use your other hand to smack the outer shell with a spoon so all the seeds fall out into the bowl. Repeat the process with all the pomegranate halves. (Getting seeds out of pomegranates can be incredibly frustrating. If this technique isn’t working for you try the water in a bowl method. Watch BBC Good Food’s demonstration here.)  
  3. Ensure there are no pieces of white pith in the bowl with the seeds, then add the red wine vinegar and the rest of the oil to the pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Cut the cauliflower into quarters...

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Naturalist Steve Backshall On Going To Extremes

Monday, April 30, 2018 - 11:50

You’re just back from an abortive attempt to climb the North Face of the Eiger. What happened?

The Beast From The East happened! The plan was to attempt the North Face, but the weather absolutely hammered us. It was minus 35°C on the face itself with 50km/h winds, which took it to about minus 70°. We gave it a crack but had to move to some mountains further south and west, which weren’t being battered quite as much – but it was still pretty full on!

Do you think you’ll try again?

Yeah. There are few other places in Europe where you can feel so utterly dominated as when standing in front of the North Face of the Eiger. It’s a mile of steep or over-hanging rock, ice and snow, and remains one of the great mountaineering challenges. To be at the base and look up – well, any climber imagines what it must be like to climb. I’ve had that desire ever since I was a kid, and I’ll be back.

Age brings experience, but does that compensate for the loss of strength and fitness you had as a younger man?

It’s definitely getting harder! When I hit 40 [Steve is now 45] I really noticed my metabolism slow down and for the first time in...

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How To Do Downward-Facing Dog

Nick Harris-Fry
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 20:47

Even those who have never spent a single minute in a yoga studio will have heard of downward-facing dog, or adho mukha śvānāsana for those familiar with Sanskrit (hello to you). It’s just about the most well-known yoga pose, but that knowledge doesn’t extend beyond a basic familiarity for most of us, so we enlisted Joey Miles, an ambassador for yoga brand so we flow… and teacher at Ashtanga Yoga Leeds, for more info on the benefits of the downward-facing dog and how to do it.

“In downward-facing dog pose you imitate a dog stretching,” says Miles. “Watch any dog just after it gets out of its basket and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a beneficial pose because it involves the whole body. You learn to bear weight through your arms and shoulder girdle while simultaneously lengthening the spine, and stretching and strengthening the legs. Over time, if done well, it is also calming for the mind.

“Runners find it quickly reduces stiffness in the hamstrings and calf muscles, while those who lift weights find it releases tension in the shoulders and back. But the greatest overall benefit is the freedom it...

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Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Fitness Tracker Review

Jonathan Shannon
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 17:10

The Short Version

Most fitness-tracking smartwatches cost around £300 (see Fitbit Ionic, Garmin Vivoactive 3, Apple Watch, Huawei Watch 2 and Samsung’s own Gear Sport), but the Gear Fit2 Pro offers a comparable set of features while undercutting them all. It’s got standalone GPS, a heart rate monitor, it’s an excellent swim tracker, and it can store and stream music to Bluetooth headphones. Apps-wise, it’s not as good as any watch built on iOS or Android Wear, but it beats Fitbit and Garmin’s app offerings hands down by offering Spotify and Under Armour’s suite of services, including the calorie counting favourite My Fitness Pal. Plus, if you own a Samsung phone you can download the SpeedoOn app, making the aquatic offering even more compelling.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)

£209, buy on samsung.com

Things we liked

  • It’s great value. The feature set is a big step up from mid-range trackers that cost between £150 and £200, and a big step down in price from smartwatches without sacrificing much.
  • The swim tracking is great. It nailed stroke recognition in the pool and even the heart-rate reading was...

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James Dunmore Interview: “I’m A Real Outdoorsman”

Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 10:28

James Dunmore would be the first to admit he’s best known as the boyfriend of Lucy Watson, a cast member of reality TV show Made In Chelsea between 2012 and 2016. Dunmore appeared on the show himself in 2015, but departed along with Lucy the following year. Since then, while Watson has devoted her time to her growing business, including a soon-to-open vegan restaurant in west London, Dunmore has thrown himself into fundraising work for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. His next charity challenge – a seven-day, 93km walk to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, 5,895m above sea level – takes place later this year, and his preparation’s about to get serious.

James, how are you feeling about your toughest charity challenge yet?

I am very excited. I signed up knowing it was a huge challenge, but I didn’t really look at the stats! It’s six to seven hours of walking a day for seven days – and I do not like walking! An hour’s walk feels like a day to me, and I’m going to have to do about 93km in a week. My plan in the months before the challenge is to work on my natural levels of fitness. Then, two months before the climb, that’s when...

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How Bodybuilder Shaun Stafford Became A Himalayan Marathon Man

Nick Harris-Fry
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 10:31

Running 42.2km in one go is pretty tough no matter who you are and where you do it. Even if you’re a whippet-thin club runner tackling a flat road race in perfect weather, it’s still no simple feat. And if, say, you’re a 90kg bodybuilder attempting to run a full marathon in the highest mountain range on the planet, then it’s definitely not going to be an easy ride.

Shaun Stafford, bodybuilder, Optimum Nutrition ambassador and Men’s Fitness cover model, has transformed his training this year in an attempt to complete the Everest Marathon, raising money for Himalayan Children’s Charities in the process. Coach caught up with Stafford two weeks before he jetted off to Nepal to talk about the challenge of the race and how he changed his training to prepare for the marathon.

What is the Everest Marathon?

It’s the world’s highest marathon. It takes place at Everest Base Camp and goes up and down four mountains. So it’s not only no air and 26 miles, it’s up four mountains over really rocky terrain. It should be really interesting!

How are you feeling about the race?

OK! There are so many variables...

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