This article has been reproduced by kind permission of The Mail on Sunday YOU Magazine.
What can a woman do when her formerly svelte man becomes a roly-poly with a health warning over his head? For my colleague Michael’s wife Lindsay, it was a case of decisive persuasion, as Michael remembers. ‘Years of business lunches and lazy weekends had clearly taken their toll so, after months of barracking from Lindsay, and our GP warning about the increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, I agreed to do something. But I had no idea what.’
Michael had never been drawn to gyms and ‘having watched our local military fitness group in the park I doubted I’d last a session without help from the emergency services’. Then came a breakthrough.
‘On a family walk in Dulwich, south London, last winter, we stumbled across High Vibe, a new business specialising in vibration training with power plates. This involves a Vibrogym machine that gives your muscles a high-speed but intense, whole-body workout. You stand on vibrating platforms, holding poses such as lunges, squats, press-ups and stretches. Your muscles are constantly compensating to stabilise, so they contract and relax 30 to 50 times a second (usually it’s once or twice). Vibration training was developed in Russia in the 1970s to help train cosmonauts. Recently, premiership footballers and celebrities – as well as people like me – have adopted the technique because it’s so effective and quick: sessions are just 30 minutes.’
Michael had also heard about vibration training (available at centres nationwide) from new mums locally, because it’s so effective at helping them lose weight. Another colleague tells me that Power Plate (a similar technology) has been the key to banishing her persistent cellulite, and a third who has arthritic hips and is limited in the exercise she can do has used it to help her keep active.
High Vibe owner Gianni Ingrosso, a qualified sports therapist and personal trainer, gave Michael and Lindsay a ten minute demo, explaining the exercises and outlining their potential results. ‘I was immediately impressed but typically didn’t sign up for more lessons. I wasn’t ready to commit,’ remembers Michael.
Lindsay thought otherwise. When Michael unwrapped his birthday presents a week later, he found a voucher for five vibration training sessions at High Vibe. ‘I couldn’t let Lindsay down so off I went.’ Gianni worked out a tailormade 30 minute programme which Michael thought would require minimum effort: ‘surely the machines did all the work? Wrong! It wasn’t a case of just standing on the machines. I learned how to do dips, crunches, and the dreaded plank (like a press-up which you hold for a minute). I began using weights and adapting the exercises, increasing the speed and velocity of the machines. The programme was hard but I could see the benefits from early on. I actually started to enjoy exercising, which is a totally new experience for me.’
After training three times a week for six months, Michael has lost his beer belly and double chin. ‘I’m also feeling fitter and stronger and pay much more attention to what I eat and drink. Training has become part of family life: Oliver, five, likes to come along at the weekend to watch me in action and then “practises” the exercises at home! Lindsay will also be joining me for workouts when the next baby is born [Lindsay is currently eight months’ pregnant*]. That Saturday afternoon walk had such a profound effect on my life and wellbeing and I’m so grateful to Lindsay for giving me the nudge I needed.’
High Vibe, tel: 020 8693 3955, highvibe.co.uk
For vibration training locations nationwide, visit vgymuk.com
The huile deal
For tired bodies and minds, also sunburn, lavender oil is a perfect bath time treat. I’m a big fan of facialist Kate Logan’s handmade-to-order skincare, and soaking in her Lavender Nourish Oil (£19.99 for 100ml plus postage from kateloganbeauty.com) is wonderfully relaxing and skin-healing. As well as lavender, it contains a bunch of other skin-nourishing oils, mostly organic. Not cheap, but you don’t need to use that much, and it makes a gorgeous present.
Cast off travel sickness
With summer holidays coming up and the likelihood of travel sickness, do consider Sea-Bands, a low cost, drug-free treatment with no side effects. These elasticated wrist-bands, which are suitable for adults and children from two years old, have been shown in clinical research to control nausea and vomiting while travelling, as well as in pregnancy, during chemotherapy and after operations. £8.25 for two (you wear them on both wrists).
Website of the week: alopeciaonline.org.uk
I found this site, which is supported by the British Association of Dermatologists and completely staffed by volunteers, in response to a reader’s query about hair loss. It provides clear and impartial information about treatments, a section on wigs with a directory of suppliers, and also support via online forums and local groups.