Q&A with Christine Sundt – Choreographer & classical Pilates teacher

by Christina Agnew,
Staying fit and healthy is in Chrissy Sundt's DNA, having started life at the Royal Ballet School and grown up as a strict vegetarian on an organic farm. After injury sadly forced her out of her professional ballet career she became a superstar choreographer and one of the best classical Pilates teachers that we know. In fact, Christina trained with Chrissy throughout her first pregnancy and credits those Pilates sessions with helping her stay in shape and recover quickly. Chrissy always looks incredible and is a total inspiration to us, so we couldn't resist a quick Q&A.
 
 
How has your ballet background affected your current approach to health and fitness?
 
Ballet is a very exacting art form and having trained professionally since the age of 10, it has allowed me to bring an enormous amount of knowledge to my teaching. When I was training the focus was very much about hard work, precision and attention to detail – all of which I have taken on into my approach to working with clients. What I have tried to get away from is the negative reinforcement that often comes with a classical dance training so that now my big focus is positive reinforcement and to have some fun! 
 
What is your favourite way to work out these days?
 
I try to vary my workouts so I do a combination of: ballet, yoga, Pilates, swimming and Barrecore. With this combination, I continuously challenge the body without stressing out the body or working the same muscle groups and joints in a repetitive way. I also ski during the winter months which I love because the air is so clean and I finally step out of the studio environment and into nature - this is something I think we all need to do to get away from our busy urban lives.
 
What is the best way to improve posture?
 
Good posture gives you confidence and if you walk tall you will notice you immediately look slimmer and your clothes sit better. So the simplest way to do this is to find little ways to remind yourself to sit or stand tall, draw your shoulders lightly down your back and draw your abdominals in and up, these actions will immediately make the spine nice and long and you will look 3 inches taller!
 
How can you strengthen your core at home if you don't have time to hit the gym?
 
I often say to clients that if they draw their abdominals 'in and up' every time they receive an email or text message I would very quickly be out of a job.  The action of drawing them in and up, sitting or standing tall and maintaining that for longer and longer periods will help to strengthen the abdominals and create more tone.  I also encourage clients to at least learn the Pilates Abdominal series so that they can just grab 10 minutes in the day to lay down on a mat and do them at home or in the office. Go online to powerpilates.com and you can download beginner workouts which you can use to guide you through these simple beginner exercises. All you need is a mat and your laptop and you are away!
 
How would you describe your food philosophy?
 
Organic, fresh and simple to prepare! I grew up as a strict vegetarian and on an organic farm, so the focus has always been on eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables that are seasonal and grown in a way that is local and sustainable. I have been a Pescatarian for the last ten years and I apply exactly the same rules when choosing what fish to eat. I usually do a cleanse 2 or 3 times a year just to reset the digestive system. I often do this after Christmas or other times that may have been a little more indulgent than usual like a holiday. I think it really helps to kick start those healthy habits and really think about how you fuel your body every day.
 
Which three items are always in your fridge?
 
Fresh berries, salad and probably some Norwegian organic salmon. (I am a good Norwegian after all!)
 
How do you press the reset button after a stressful day?
 
A hot bath with Epsom Salts is great for relieving tired muscles and detoxifying the body. If I have the energy then a yoga class is a lovely way to de-stress and de-clutter the mind after a long day. Otherwise I will lay on a foam roller (a rolled up bath towel works well if a foam roller isn't available) and lay on it for 10 minutes, its fantastic for opening the back and chest which along with some deep cleansing breaths really helps.
 
What is your key to happiness?
 
'Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness' Joseph Pilates. (I'm afraid I can't put it better than that!)

Q&A with Midi Fairgrieve, Radiance's Executive Nutritional Therapist

by Clare Neill, , link

Midi Fairgrieve is Radiance's Executive Nutritional Therapist. She has an unrivalled depth of experience with juice cleansing, through her years of work as a private practice nutritional therapist in the UK and as the founder of Detox International, a company that has pioneered juice cleanse and holistic healing residential retreats. 

How and why did you move into nutrition as a profession?

I came to a point in my life when I was 30 when nothing I was doing was making much sense or making me happy any more. I really came to a complete full stop; physically, mentally and emotionally. After receiving wonderful support and healing I started to be drawn towards helping others in this way. I didn’t really know which direction I would ultimately take but I came across a course in holistic nutritional medicine and it was as if a light bulb went on inside me. I left my job as a radio producer with the BBC and everything seemed to unfold in magical ways as I retrained in natural medicine.

Why did you become interested in juice cleansing in particular?

Again, it was a light bulb moment when I was studying detoxification during my nutrition training. It made such sense that cleansing and detoxifying was at the root of healing. I have always been holistic in my outlook and so when I understood the huge power that detox has to change people on all levels, I wanted to work in this way. I was magnetically drawn to detox.

How often do you cleanse?

I have a fasting day once a week. It’s not a strictly no food day, we eat fresh fruit and vegetables, either as juice, salads, steamed vegetables or soups. But nothing else; just fresh fruit and veg. I always feel the benefits the next day.  It helps me keep my weight in check and as an older mother I am looking to the long term health benefits that intermittent fasting is known for, such as stabilising blood pressure and blood sugar, warding off arthritis, keeping the mind sharp and the body flexible. I hope to be fit and well and active in my 80s and 90s. I’m in my early 50s now and rekindled a childhood passion for horse riding 2 years ago and have my own horse. I want to be able to keep riding into my old age and paying attention to diet is a key part of that.

What is your normal diet?

It’s pretty predictable during the week days – breakfast is fruit, bee pollen and home-made yoghurt. Lunch in winter is freshly made soup and in the summer a variety of salads. In the evenings it can be anything from fish to chicken to vegetarian, but always freshly cooked and always plenty of vegetables.  At the weekends we often eat out once or twice which includes sea food and sometimes even pizza! I am a great believer in balance in all things.

Do you find that you eat differently living in Spain than you did in the UK?

Yes! When I was living in Edinburgh I could easily buy organic food and in this part of Southern Spain it is almost impossible to get hold of. We grow our own fruit and veg now which helps. Eating out is a challenge in a very meat based society, but I am not a rigid eater and love all food so when I’m out I eat meat or fish as they are usually the only options in Spain.

What are your can't-do-without fridge and cupboard foods?

I love butter! I always have lentils and chickpeas somewhere. Onions and garlic are always at hand and form the base of everything I cook. Lemons are also a must for me as they are so versatile from hot water and lemon as a cleansing drink to livening up a fresh juice and bringing depth of flavour to a soup or a stew. I trained as a Cordon Bleu cook when I left school and my early cooking skills have made cooking and eating a joy for me as I can make food quickly and also love eating all types of food.

What is your favourite juice combination?

Carrot, apple, ginger and orange.

What is your best piece of advice for someone embarking on a juice cleanse for the first time?

Just do it! Be aware that you may feel a bit toxic during a juice fast as toxins are released but that’s a good sign. The more often you juice fast the less ‘uncomfortable reactions’ you will have as the body becomes clearer. Rest, rest, rest and drink filtered water.

What are the most noticeable changes that you see in your clients from doing a juice cleanse?

The biggest changes are on the non physical level. People will often leave a detox retreat and make radical changes to their lives. Perhaps change their career, re-train in something new, even give up work altogether for a while and travel. Other changes might be separating from a partner or spouse which they hadn’t had the courage or energy to do before or taking more time for inner peace and joining a yoga or meditation class. Taking time out to retreat and detox is a chance to listen to our inner voice and when we hear ourselves, it can have life changing results. The body benefits too of course, such as weight loss, clearer skin, greater vitality, and for many people, they overcome a chronic condition, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and IBS. Detox slows down the aging process at cell level so every part of us benefits.

Do you have any helpful little rituals when you do a detox for yourself?

I detox once a year on a 7 day retreat and love the feeling afterwards. During the retreat I tend to sink into a headache for the first day. Rest is probably the thing I try to do most when detoxing. In terms of helpful rituals, you can't beat drinking clean water and getting out into nature. 


Q&A with top trainer Dalton Wong

by Clare Neill, , link
To celebrate the launch of our brand new Active Cleanse, we are giving you a peek into the world of its co-creater, the hugely successful personal trainer Dalton Wong. Dalton's name is known and respected far and wide as a supremely impressive trainer. He has scultped the beautiful bodies of Jennifer Lawrence and Amanda Seyfriend to name just two.
 
 
Strong is the new skinny! What's the magic formula for keeping your A-list clients looking fit and fabulous?
 
The only magic formula that I have and use with all my clients is commitment! Before any change happens in the body it must start with the mind. Before I start any programme I do a diet, exercise and lifestyle assessment, whether my client is getting in shape for a multi-million pound movie or getting in shape for the summer. We need to know the starting point in order to get to the end goal. 
  
What does your own weekly workout routine look like?
 
I really believe that you need a good mix of different types of training. My normal week consists of the following:
  • Cardio training - this is essential for heart health. I really enjoying running around Hyde Park or doing sprints at Battersea park track. It also helps top up my Vitamin D levels.
  • Strength Training - I particularly like a combination of resistance and body weight training to help improve my lean muscle mass, posture and strength. I have recently started Olympic Lifting again with a fantastic coach which has really helped improve my strength and flexibility.
  • Yoga - I do a weekly practice specifically designed by our in house yoga teacher to help improve my flexibility, calm my nervous system and to balance out my training.
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu- I attend 3 classes a week and its one of the best forms of exercise I have found.  It incorporates strength, endurance, flexibility and most importantly you need to be fully focused in that moment. I train with a great bunch of people and we have some of the best teachers in the world. It's also a nice change for me to be TOLD what to do rather than being the one TELLING people what to do!
My weekly training schedule breaks down like this:
Monday- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Tuesday - Strength Training
Wednesday- Brazilian Jiu jitsu
Thursday- Strength Training
Friday - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu + Yoga
Saturday - Cardio
Sunday - Off
 
Every 7-8 weeks I take a full week off training to let my body rest and recover, focusing on yoga and massage.
 
What is your favourite healthy meal?
 
Asian chicken stir-fry with a rainbow of coloured vegetables and fresh chilli peppers for a spicy kick!
 
Do you recommend any nutritional supplements?
 
I don't use many supplements as I believe that eating a variety of organic foods is best. I'm a huge fan of drinking fresh organic juices over taking a supplement as most supplements are poor quality. The supplements that I use the most are various fibre blends and omega oils. I like to rotate my oils from fish/krill and flax/omega blends.
 
What is your no.1 tip for the best ever summer body?
 
Write down everything you eat! Many people are shocked when they realise how much food they consume in a week. No matter how much you exercise you can't out-train a bad diet! 
 
How can we stay motivated for long term fitness?
 
Don't think of fitness as a chore or something that NEEDS to be done. Fitness should be fun and enjoyable so it becomes an integral part of your life. I often recommend a seasonal change in training when the weather gets nice enough to go for a run, bike ride or do your circuits out in the park. Whatever activity you do it must be enjoyable and sustainable.
 
What is your main reason for taking care of your body?
 
It's my job and I don't think I could give advice to others if I didn't lead by example. Saying that, I do drink alcohol and eat junk food but only in moderation. I also have a young family and I want to be able to run, play and enjoy sports with them for as long as I can. Most of my enjoyment comes from being active and doing sports so I want to make sure my body can handle it for the next 40 years.
 
What's on your workout play list?
 
It all depends on my workout; I have 3 play lists.
 
Training Gym
1) Pearl Jam
2) Nirvana
3) Foo Fighters
4) Led Zeppelin
5) Red Hot Chili Peppers
 
Cardio
1) Lenny Kravitz
2) Daft Punk
3) Calvin Harris
4) Florence and the Machine
5) Faithless
 
Relaxing
1) Tom Petty
2) Sarah Mclachlan
3) Fleetwood mac
4) Ray Lamontagne
5) Arcade Fire
 
What is your favourite way to relax?
 
Having Sunday Dim sum with my family! 


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