Archive for April, 2016

I hope that the title of this post will catch your attention and you will read it from the beginning to end because in this post, beyond my own experiences I am going to write some information that you can use to make your life better.

Let me give you a bit of a background to this holiday first. I have been regularly exercising since I was 18; yes exercising, going to the gym, dancing etc. People would say that I was always doing something, moving and therefore I have always been fit, and I was happy with my level of fitness. I could have looked better, ‘one should always put up their limits high enough and never settle lower.’ I could have had a more stable body instead of gaining weight and then losing it just because I was running more or doing more cardio but overall I was ok with myself. During my travels I became a bit more chunky than before and I was determined once I settled back into the London life that I would lose the excess fat. I started working for Gamesys and with this joined the gym where they offer corporate membership called The Third Space. I remember when I walked into it the first time I saw this super fit guy (even his name has the word FIT in, he’s called Fitz Gaynes) shouting at people on the glass floor.  It looked like he was training an army and people were still smiling. I promised myself that I would go into one of his classes and either die or come out stronger. So on the next occasion I went with my good friend Zara to his Legs Bums and Tums class. I wish I had a bit of an introduction or warning before, but sadly on that one occasion when I went to his class for the first time he did not ask if there was any ‘fresh blood’, so I was believed to be one of his’regulars’. If you have done legs bums and tums class before you would expect something like this:

Instead, we did about 300 squats in different combinations on a 45 minutes class that started with a 10 minutes dance routine.  I remembered Fitz even on the 3rd day after I did the class as coming down the stairs had become a bit of a nightmare! That was it, I knew I was working hard and would get results. I returned to the class the week after and after and I found myself becoming more and more curious to see what other classes he was  teaching. I tried his spin class, which is equally not the classic spin class that is normally taught.  The bike is just a tool that we use to do strength training to the heart.  Finally after a few months I tried one of his late Tuesday night classes, the LST weights class. This is when the whole logic behind his teaching started to come altogether, back to the simple logic, sit, stand, push and pull. That’s all you need to do.  I’ll tell you more about this through this post but if you want to check out his site and learn a bit more here it is:

So this January an opportunity arose to go on an LST holiday through him to Turkey.  I had pretty much booked all of my holidays for the year with the wedding and honeymoon approaching so first I thought that I couldn’t go,  although I really wanted to. So another proof that if you really want something, make it happen. I booked it.

I knew some people from the classes but mostly just by face however deep down I also knew that I loved meeting new people so knew we would get on:) Fitz flew out a couple of days before to prepare everything for us and the group flew on Sunday the 20th March.

The place we went to is called Ali Bey Manavgat and it’s in Antalya, about 1 hour and 20 mins away from the airport.

It was so nice to arrive in the summer, Fitz welcomed us, everyone checked in, unpacked and we met at the bar then went for the first dinner with champagne at the table. This was  a great bonding night. The food was lovely, everyone was chatty, already loved it. The timetable of the week was the following:

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 15.08.27

I couldn’t wait to get out there early in the morning and look around, greet the sea and look into the horizon as the sun rises. I took my camera and went to explore, then to breakfast.


Everyone went to breakfast at similar times, earlyish so that the food could go down a bit by 10am when the training starts. We had a little welcome session at the Fitness First gym, got a Fitz T-shirt and a notebook, and the fun started with an hour of weights class. I took my tripod with me so that I could record most classes, as well as my GoPro and DSLR camera.


After the weights class we had a heart strength training (spin) class. Watch this space to get a taste:

Straight after this class we went to the pool for a Q &A session, which taught me the following.



  • High intensity interval training has nothing to do with endurance. Once it’s low intensity it becomes endurance training.
  • Diets don’t work, once you stop it the fat comes back (yo-yo) DIET: Delay Internal Extreme Termination
  • Detox? Save your money and drink water
  • Want to look good? Change your lifestyle. Long term results require long term lifestyle changes.

After the Q & As everyone was starving and looking forward to dinner time!


Considering that we were in an all-inclusive hotel the nights were pretty short. Simply because our focus was on our training as opposed to drinking or partying. Saying that I probably stayed out the most with my partner in crime Cat, not sure why she did not get the ‘raver’ title along with me!

The next day we played an ‘exciting’ card game called Lucky Dip!

Fitz cards

It was a body conditioning class. You combine the following in this card game:

Alternate Leg Thrusts, Star Jumps, Press Ups, Crunches and Squats.

The numbers go from 2 to 20 in each section and you never know what’s the next card. Could be the joker which is 20 reps of each, that’s a 100, without any break. Good luck! 🙂


Ok, this game is a hell! And Fitz represents the devil!

After Lucky Dip we had another seminar by the beach and listened to Fitz’s words of wisdom.


Every afternoon there was a bit of time to relax and enjoy the sun and a bit of reflection…

Alizcat aliz

We still had an LST combo and active recovery left for the afternoon.  It was a tough day and Wednesday did not look any easier. However Wednesday was my favourite day for several reasons.

We started with the LST Heart/ running hour. This was a challenge for most of us.

Here is a taster:


Food was well needed. When your body is working on 85-95% intensity you need fuel!

An LST weights class and another Q&A was left for the day..


The Q& A was about food this time and what’s right and what to avoid. There is no ‘sample’ or pattern that you can copy. Everyone is different, everyone’s body and metabolism is different and everyone is on a different fitness level. This group worked so well together despite the different age/fitness capabilities. Susie shared some great experience about her food habits but she is miles away from any of our fitness levels and she is a WBFF Pro Diva Fitness Model but everything she said could be applied to anyone.

Susie has been training with Fitz for 6 years and achieved some incredible results over the years. Truly inspirational and supports the logic behind Fitz’s LST theory. She is a perfect example of the statement that Fitz says to all of us when we are about to give up and collapse: ‘What the mind don’t do, the body won’t do’. This girl has it all, control, mind power and beauty:


Some of us stayed out for a bit after dinner, but most of the people went to sleep. Great evening!

On Thursday we started with weights/strength training at 10, then a seminar about why short dumbbells are more ‘lifestyle’ than long bars for weights training. And finished off with a heart strength training.

I think by this day most people were tired by default, but in the evening everyone was up for a game of Cards Against Humanity which contributed to the stories we left Turkey with.  Again, what a group! 🙂

Some of you might think, I don’t need to go to the gym, I play football, it’s enough. No! It’s not enough. Sport is a choice, lifestyle training is essential for everyone. Once your training is in place you can specialise in any sports because you will have the strength to do them! Remember when you get old you will regret not having built up those muscles at young age. Never too late to start! One of our group, Sakino, was 67, and kept up the pace all week and even set and example to the group on how to ‘plank’.  Get down to the gym and pick up those weights!

Friday we did an LBT class in the morning and LST combo in the afternoon.

Watch this cruelty on these guys here:

Fitz set a challenge for us for the week. A little dance routine! Now this made my week at the very beginning cause I absolutely love his music choices and the dance choreography that he teaches on the Thursday classes in London. Every day we had 30 minutes of dancing, and what have we achieved by the end? This:

And while learning it we had the best time!

On Friday we had our Gala dinner where we gave Fitz and Susie a little present for all the hard work they put in making this holiday happen and with that we are all officially the LST Pioneers!


On Saturday we had an LST celebration or so called TRI class. Running, conditioning, weights. 3 groups of people.

Fitz then said something of everyone’s achievements, apparently my motto on this trip was, Train Hard, Party Hard, Sleep None! 😛


After lunch we put on our uniforms, the ‘FITz LST t-shirt’ and performed our dance in 2 different places which then resulted in the fab video that Ben put together above.

This holiday was like a drug for me.  It was hard to get back to reality and I am still getting energy from it 2 weeks later.  I made some really good friends as well and it would have been my biggest regret if I didn’t go.


So people reading this blog and wanting to get involved, there is another holiday coming up in October and there are still some spaces left. Let me know if you are interested in going.  You will not regret it 😉

Pioneer hols


Well overdue post from November last year when I surprised my mum with a trip to the ‘Eternal City’. It has always been her big dream to visit Rome at least once in her lifetime. I have been several times when I was younger and am passionate about Italy and the Italian culture so I knew Rome quite well and what’s a better occasion to show this stunning city to Mum than for her 60th birthday.

I flew there from London, she flew from Budapest and luckily I managed to choose flights that arrived at similar times. I was there first and couldn’t wait for her to get there and be overwhelmed. I booked a flat through AirBnB, very close to the Colosseum which was very convenient as next day we could start there nice and early to avoid the crowd.


Mum was very emotional..a dream came true. I like making people happy.

The next obvious sight was the Forum Romano. It used to be the centre of Roman public life.  We also visited the Palatine and Capitoline Hills.


After the Forum we headed to the Victor Emmanuel II Monument. This is the sight that Romans respect the most, you are not allowed to sit down on the stairs or do anything that is disrespectful. We went up to the top and had a stunning view. It was very warm on those 3 days we were in Rome, about 20 degrees, which for November is great.



One of the best scenes from the Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck was by the ‘Bocca della Verità’ or Mouth of  Truth. The material  of the round medaillon is Pavonazzetto marble. This marble comes from Docimium in Frigia (today’s Turkey). The weight is 1,200kg and it’s 2,200 years old believe it or not.

The most famous characteristic of the Mouth, however, is its role as a lie detector.  Starting from the Middle Ages it was believed that if one told a lie with one’s hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. I can confirm we both arrived back home with 2 hands:)


After these we just got lost in the little beautiful narrow streets or ‘stradine’ of Rome.


I think I made mum walk at least 15km per day, but that’s the best way to discover the city.

And of course we fuelled up with the tasty food that the Roman cuisine offers.


In the evening we walked around Piazza Navona.


The next day, all recharged, we went to the see the Vatican. I think this was the highlight for Mum.



The other beauty is the Castel Sant’Angelo, just at the end of the Passetto from the Vatican. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the Popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castel was once the tallest building in Rome.


On the last day we visited Campo de’ Fiori (Field of Flowers). The name was first given during the Middle Ages when the area was actually a meadow. Campo de’ Fiori has never been architecturally formalised. The square has always remained a focus for commercial and street culture: the surrounding streets are named for trades—Via dei Balestrari (crossbow-makers), Via dei Baullari (coffer-makers), Via dei Cappellari (hat-makers), Via dei Chiavari (key-makers) and Via dei Giubbonari (tailors).

It’s an overpriced market now, a bit of a tourist trap but the shopping in Giubbonari is great (not Gucci and Armani type of brand shopping but affordable everyday clothes and shoe shopping).

At night, Campo de’ Fiori is a meeting place for tourists and young people coming from the whole city. In the years after 2000 it has turned into one of the most dangerous places of the city during night, with reports of repeated assaults and affrays by drunk tourists and soccer supporters.



As Mum was leaving in the afternoon we did another little stroll around Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, I gave her another little surprise – a Swarovski necklace and earring set that she was very happy with. The necklace chain was too short but luckily we could change it in the Swarovski store in Rome.


She then left and I spent an evening shopping 🙂 In the evening I went out for a superb meal and tried the famous carciofi alla giudea at a restaurant called Ba’’ Ghetto in the Roman-Jewish Quarter.

The next day I flew to Malta for a gaming conference.

I think it was an unforgettable trip for both of us; Mum certainly remembered as her feet hurt for a few days after the marathon walking she was not used to.


Posted: April 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

A slightly delayed post from our trip in October 2015.

Egypt was the 56th country I visited in my life. It is a very popular destination for English people, however I might change this statement to past tense and leave the present for Russians.

My main attraction to Egypt was the Red Sea and diving hence why we chose Sharm el Sheikh to visit over Cairo and the Pyramids.

We booked the trip through Regal Dive as I could not find a straight forward way to book diving, flights and hotel separately.

Since it was Richard’s first dive livaboard experience we chose a mini safari (3 day trip) over a full safari (duration: a week).

We flew with Monarch to Egypt on the 4th October and once we arrived at the airport our driver picked us up and drove us directly to the port where the SNEFRO 6 fleet waited for us.

We were looking forward to this trip and hoped that we would have a great group, which we did! The group was small which is always a bonus, 4 guests in total, Richard and I plus 2 guys, Martin and Callum.

Our divemaster Basem was Egyptian and super friendly.

Few pics of the boat:


The whole experience reminded me of my first liveaboard in Thailand around the Similan Islands. The staff were superb! The food was exceptional..we were properly spoilt.


We sat down on the first night and tried out our equipment, then discussed the itinerary and the courses we wanted to do. Richard planned to do his Advanced course and beyond that the opportunity arose to do the Nitrox course so we both decided to do it.

The days began with very early starts, up at 6am and ready to dive by 6.30am.

We did the following dive sites on the first day

  1. Temple
  2. Stingray station
  3. Sha’ab Surur
  4. Sh’ab Ali Lagoon- night dive

We saw Lion fish, Masked Puffer fish, Giant Clam, Napoleon fish, Angel fish, Blue spotted stingray, Scorpion fish, Banner fish, Butterfly fish, Moray eel and Trigger fish.

Unfortunately my computer let me down on the first dive, the battery died which I did not expect at all and it’s not something I could check as it switches on underwater at around 2m depth. It was not a major issue though because at least I could use Basem’s Suunto computer.

The second important item that let me down was my kept freezing underwater which made me incredibly angry especially because I had just bought a macro red filter before the trip to enhance the quality of the video and pictures.

The next day we did the famous Thistlegorm wreck that sank on 6th October 1941. It was super impressive, with all the motorbikes still inside, rusted with corals around them, pieces of rubber tyres, guns, rifles. We did this dive with Nitrox.

There was another dive around this wreck ..just because you cannot have enough of it:)

The afternoon and night dive was at the same dive site called Beacon Rock. Now that night dive was one of my highlights ever. I saw a Spanish dancer …dancing! It’s fairly rare to see them at all let alone dancing.

spanish dancer

In the evenings we had great banter between studying EON and Richard his advanced course book.

On the third day we finished off with 2 dives only and some chilling on the boat. Then there was the time of truth; the exam. We had to sit separately with Basem marking our work. Of course Richard copied the whole EON exam off me therefore we had 2 identical mistakes! Back to school…..

The last 2 dives were at:

  1. Dunraven
  2. Shark & Yolanda Reef- 38m depth and current – very impressive dive site.


After the magical 3 days living on the sea we returned to Sharm to our hotel…which was a big disappointment. Falcon Naama Star Hotel is one to avoid! Not clean, not by the sea..the staff were very nice but considering the number of options in hotels it is on the lower end of the range.

On the first evening on ‘land’ we got a little taste for Sharm’s charm..the hassle, the constant, ‘hey my friend, do you remember me?’

Therefore we quickly realised that we wanted to plan things to do for the remaining 3 full days.

The next day we booked a fantastic 4×4 safari trip to visit the Coloured Canyon and Dahab. Highly recommended!

We had a super fun guide, spoke about 15 languages! But 2 for sure, English and Russian. After racing through the desert we walked through this beautiful canyon:


Then we made our way to Dahab and snorkelled the Blue Hole where lots of divers have died over the years. It’s a stunning crystal clear hole with colourful corals and beautiful fish.

After the snorkelling we had lunch from a restaurant with view across the Red Sea and the surrounding mountains. Fresh juice is always a must in tropical countries!

After lunch we did a 20 minutes camel ride along the sea..again..the guide was superb! We laughed so much!

IMG_8863The trip ended in a dodgy perfume shop where we had the opportunity to buy our favourite fragrance for a fraction of the original price.

Early night after the action packed day as for the next day we had booked a day trip to Jordan. We got picked up at 2am (!) from our hotel and we had a 8 hour journey waiting for us (4 h bus + 1 h boat + 3 h bus again). When we got to Petra we had about 3 hours to explore. 2 h guided and 1 h free. When I saw one of the 7th Wonders of the World it was just incredible! It was the 6th that I have seen…1 to go, the Great Wall of China, which I am planning on visiting in the next year or so.

With Petra my only issue was that in order to get to the Treasury (the main attraction) you can rent a horse with a carriage. The pavement is mainly stoned therefore the animals suffer a lot. The locals seem to ignore this and they encourage them with the whip to go even faster…my heart was breaking. People visiting Petra, please do not encourage this service by taking it!

Here is a map of Petra. It’s huge and I recommend that you leave at least a full day to explore it.





The penultimate day in Sharm el-Sheikh was fun:) I found an excellent snorkelling spot without needing to take a tour..well at least that’s what I thought. We packed our snorkelling gear and took a taxi to the Hyatt Regency. When we got there it was clear that this is not a common route that tourists take to go snorkelling…given that you need to go into the hotel and be on their private beach to access the reef. But I felt that I was so close  that I didn’t care:) We went through a security check before entering the hotel- like a conveyor belt and proper door men etc. first obstacle done. Then confidently walked into the hotel, through the lobby out to the pool area (removed our existing hotel bracelets and were happy to notice that in the Hyatt Regency people did not wear a bracelet). Finally we got to their amazing private It was great! The only problem was that we did not have matching towels to the rest of the people there so at the beginning we felt quite uncomfortable that we would be thrown out of there at any minute:) I threw myself into the water and spent most of the day there looking at the lovely Coral Garden. I saw a cuttle fish, tons of clown fish, barracuda, and an eel. It was fantastic! We had a great lunch at the hotel restaurant then back to sunbathing and snorkelling. That’s how we spent a day at a 5 star all inclusive hotel without any booking:)

Egypt3Egypt 1Egypt5

The last day we spent on the public beach, having a massage, with shisha and drinking cocktails. It was a great holiday and I truly hope that the political situation will allow us to go there soon without any threat or fear.

One week after we left ISIS took out the Russian plane so we timed our departure well.