Google+ Followers

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Top tips for staying fit and fabulous over forty!

Jacqueline Hooton has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 15 years as a Personal Trainer, Fitness Tutor and sponsored athlete. A busy mum of 5 children she competed in many running events including two London Marathons until she turned her attention to natural bodybuilding and figure competing aged 48. Winner of Miss Hercules Masters toned figure at the age of 50 Jacqueline proves that age is no barrier when it comes to health and fitness. She also works to support and promote the work of campaign group Models of Diversity to represent classic and more mature models.

Keeping healthy and active through regular exercise and eating sensibly is important at any age. As we hit our 40’s and beyond it becomes vital to our well-being to maintain regular exercise and daily activity. Numerous studies have shown that a combination of a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition increases the risk of premature ageing, illness and disease; ultimately shortening life expectancy.
There are numerous physiological changes associated with ageing. These include decreases in cardiac output (the efficiency of the heart), maximal oxygen uptake (the body’s ability to utilise oxygen) and bone density. Muscle mass typically starts to reduce in those over 40 and blood pressure may start to increase.
The good news is that whilst you can’t stop the ageing process you can slow down, halt and even improve some of these physiological changes through regular exercise. So now we know why exercise is beneficial as we age here are my
Top tips for staying fit and fabulous over forty!

1. Set yourself a goal
Having a vague notion of wanting to stay fit is unlikely to be enough to keep you focused. Setting a specific goal can be great for motivation and gives a purpose to each training session. It can be as simple as improving your distance over a given time on an exercise bike, rowing machine or treadmill in the gym, or taking part in a more ambitious event such as a 5 or 10km run. There are plenty of fitness charity events to take part in too such as Race for Life, The Moonwalk, and The Three Peaks Challenge. Taking part in a big organised event can offer a huge incentive and the camaraderie and sense of achievement afterwards will do wonders for your social life and self-esteem!

2. Ditch the diet
A recent survey showed the average woman has been on 61 diets by the age of 45. Diets wreck your metabolism and results in yo-yo weight gain and loss. The key to successful weight management is adopting a healthy eating plan and sticking with it – for LIFE! A well balanced diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, calcium rich foods and water. Try keeping to fresh and unprocessed foods as much as possible as anything that has been processed will contain calorie laden unhealthy ingredients like saturated fats and sugar. A simple rule of thumb is if it’s something you can visualize growing in or walking around a field eat it, if it comes in a packet avoid!

3. Train for function
The physiological changes associated with ageing need to be addressed as you approach your forty’s, if not before. Maintaining your quality of life in the coming decades may depend on it. So keeping your heart healthy through regular cardiovascular training is critical. Choose an activity you enjoy such as swimming, cycling or running and complete a half hour session 2/3 times a week minimum. On other days take every opportunity to incorporate exercise into your day such as taking a brisk walk in preference to driving and using the stairs rather than the escalator. Resistance training, working out with weights, is also vital to avoid age related muscle loss. Resistance training and weight bearing cardiovascular activities are both important in maintaining and increasing bone strength; which is of particular concern for post-menopausal women who have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Incorporate whole body exercises which replicate movements needed for everyday life. A squat is a perfect example of this as it keeps the legs and core strong; if you want to be able to use the bathroom independently when you’re older then keep squatting! Another two issues affecting function as we age are flexibility and balance, so stretching every day or yoga can be an excellent way to promote these.

4. Listen to your body
Whilst accepting that exercise is good for you it’s also essential you listen to your body and don’t overdo things. The body’s ability to heal and recover can take longer as we age and over enthusiastic training combined with stress, and lack of sleep can tip you over into injury. This doesn’t mean you need to halt exercise with every little niggle and twinge but don’t ignore a pain or problem that persists beyond a few days. If in doubt seek medical advice which may prevent a short term interruption in training becoming a longer term lay-off.

5. Surround yourself with like-minded people
There may be times when you lack motivation or focus. Finding friends who enjoy the same activities as you can keep you on track; try joining a class, bootcamp, running club or team. Exercising with other people can be fun and encourages a little healthy competition as well as being a great source of friendship and support. If you pair up with a gym buddy for your training sessions you’ll also be less likely to skip it if you feel you’re letting someone else down.

6. Make time for Exercise
‘Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness’ Edward Stanley. By the time you reach your forties you may have many demands on your time with work, family and perhaps elderly dependents. Is it any wonder some people feel they don’t have time to exercise? The important thing to remember is that if you are not fit and healthy it will affect everything else in your life and those who depend on you. Banish the guilt about taking time for yourself to exercise and plan it into your busy week like any other appointment. Exercise can also be broken down into smaller achievable chunks, such as a 20 minute brisk walk to work or a 10 minute focused ab session whilst you watch your favourite soap!

7. Un-plug, disconnect, switch off
In this modern age of communication some of us never really ‘switch off’. The ability to check social networks, emails, messages and calls anytime anywhere means many of us never get a break from technology. This over-stimulation can play havoc with our family life, free time and sleep. Numerous recent studies have shown most of us are getting less sleep than our parents and grandparents did. Poor sleep and lack of sleep can also affect weight management as well as increasing levels of stress, lowering our immune system as well as making us feel tired and irritable. Combat this by following a night time ritual that relaxes you. Take a break from the computer, mobile and TV and take some light exercise, followed by a warm shower or bath and end your evening with a good book for a restful and replenishing night’s sleep.

8. Step out of your comfort zone
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Mental stimulation and exercise play an important role in improving brain function and may protect against cognitive decline. Taking on a new challenge, hobby or sport will help keep you energized and motivated. The times we remember are not the days we sat watching something on the TV or followed the same familiar routine. The days that stand out are those when we stepped out of our comfort zone and when we tried something different however scary it seemed at first! Follow these tips for staying fit and fabulous through your forties, fifties and beyond so you can look forward to a healthy, happy and active retirement

Seemingly unstoppable Jacqueline now brings the first female fitness professionals WIFE (Women In Fitness Empowerment) Conference to the UK. Aimed at empowering women working in the health and fitness industry, #WIFE2015 promises to be a ground-breaking event with some of the most inspirational and inspiring women in fitness coming together for the first time.
For more details on Jacqueline’s work please visit For information on WIFE Conference for fitness professionals


Sunday, 1 February 2015



From the moment you walk into majestic lobby of the Rixos Sharm El Sheikh, you feel the stress flow from your body. In fact, it’s just like coming home, with guests greeted by the smiling, multi-national reception team as though they were favourite family members.
Rixos is a five star resort and well deserves its rating. It’s more like a town than a hotel, and is run with military precision. But the precision with which it’s run belies the warmth of the staff. 

It’s a family hotel, but there’s an adult-only buffet if kids are not your thing. The main pool is for families but there are several beautiful pools for adults although, sadly, they are not heated (unlike the main pool).

At this time of year there are not many children and those who were there seemed very well behaved. And there are plenty of organised activities to keep them occupied if Mum and Dad want a little time together.
The bar snacks are great and nothing seems too much bother for the attentive staff, who seem to know what you want before you know yourself. Their attention to detail cannot be faulted.
We all know that the buffet can be a real disappointment in many Egyptian hotels – my personal tip is to avoid salads unless drowned in lemon juice. But the Rixos Nefertiti buffet is truly the best I have ever experienced. This is how five star food should be: I never once hesitated about eating anything that was served. And there are screens to see just how clean the kitchens are.

The service is outstanding although there was one little niggle – waiters in a top hotel should not greet customers with “Alright mate” or “lovely jubbly.” Of course they were only trying to be friendly but not all their British guests are characters from Only Fools and Horses. It was no doubt well-intentioned, but it grated. That apart, staff at the Nefertiti buffet could not be faulted, nor at the Zodiac buffet for families, which has great barbecued food.

On the beach, there’s a snack bar that turns into a seafood restaurant at night. Here you can get great salads and pizza but my tip is to avoid the burgers and chicken, as they were served lukewarm both times we tried them. Once again, though, the service was faultless.

There are seven A’ la carte restaurants, although, sadly, I will not have time to try them all. But you get to visit each one as part of your all-inclusive tariff. The food in the Italian Callainia really was of the highest standard, as was the service. It lacked a little in atmosphere, though – more like eating in a conference room at an airport hotel.The Japanese sushi -bar was one of the eating highlights of the trip just fabulous .
The Chinese was Feng Shui restaurant, in a lovely room with equally lovely staff. Having had Chinese food around the world, my verdict is that it was OK, rather than 5 star.
Great Japanese restuarant

To book the restaurants, you need to make a reservation each day at reception. It’s advisable to book early but be warned – there is a fee if you fail to turn up. The dress code is smart casual.
I’ve come here for a rest with a friend but here are plenty of activities and the animation team have kept us informed of evening activities. The one night we did attend the show was very professional.
The gym is really well run and there’s a steam sauna and jacuzzi, although the jacuzzi was lukewarm both times I tried it. The gentleman running the gym was very attentive.
There’s also a spa, and I fancied a massage, but their hard-sell techniques really put me off. You are quoted one price at reception but when you’re on the beach sales staff approach you quoting another price and try to make deals.

The hard-sell spa people are really the only downside of this lovely hotel and they do let it down. It’s just not appropriate in a five star hotel to have guests hassled on the beach – let’s face it, there are enough non-hotel boat tour people to do that. You expect it in Naama Bay, but not here. And it’s bad business for the hotel – I wanted a massage, but I didn’t have one because of the hassle.
Rooms are spacious and of a high standard. Again, the staff were outstanding - the cleaner took such care and was so professional, he should be trained up as a manager.There is internet every where in the hotel and room unlike many hotels in the area 

One tip is to avoid the so-called “Express” transfer to the hotel. It’s anything but. We had a long drive, dropping five people off on the edge of Naama Bay before coming back past the airport. Then we were hassled heavily to tip the driver, even after being treated like cattle on a journey that was far too long. So, my strong advice is to book a private car transfer; it only costs £10 more and is well worth it.
Once you get to the hotel, though, that all fades away. At Rixos, all-inclusive means all-inclusive and, as you wrap yourself in the fluffy blue beach towels, protected by windbreakers and soaking up the rays, you may decide that you never want to leave this paradise of a hotel.