Give the Gift of Hope With Street Fit®

There are so many benefits of becoming a Street Fit Instructor, and it is natural to focus on what we can personally gain from attending the course and obtaining a licence – enhanced fitness, a body to envy, increased energy, better health and, of course, increased earning potential.

But in addition to these personal benefits, becoming a Street Fit® Instructor also allows you to do something very special: give the gift of hope to others.

Hope for Better Health

Many people looking to take up fitness classes do so because they are unhappy about certain aspects of their health. They might be lacking in energy or stamina, carrying a few extra pounds or just generally feeling out of shape.

When they start experiencing results from their Hip Hop Workout® their whole life outlook can start to change dramatically. As their energy levels rise, they will feel more empowered to achieve the things they want in life. Maybe that job or promotion they never had the confidence to go for becomes that bit more appealing.

Hope for Fulfilling Relationships

Single members who feel unfit and out of shape may have avoided dating, or even going out at all, because they see themselves as unattractive. Along with the improvements in health and vitality, Street Fit® members will develop more trust and confidence in their own bodies which will make them more attractive to potential partners! We are social creatures, and some people might join a Street Fit® class to meet other people with a similar interest. The bonds that develop in a Street Fit® class can lift people out of loneliness and enrich their social life.

Hope for a New Life

Some people who attend a Street Fit® class will themselves have aspirations to become instructors one day.  The benefits you enjoy – both in terms of lifestyle and health – will serve as inspiration for them. By following your own dreams and defying convention, you give others the permission to do the same.

Hope for the Future

One of the greatest gifts anyone can give to society is to coach the younger generation into valuing their health and upgrading their expectations in life. A Street Fit Kids® Licence enables Street Fit® Members to take their message of optimism and hope to where it matters most – our schools and young people’s institutions.

Encouraging Hope in your Class

To be a successful Street Fit Instructor, you will need to instil hope from the top down. In other words, it’s up to you to set the social and emotional tone of your class. You can do this by being attentive and patient to your class members and encouraging them when they overcome hurdles or exceed expectations. Remember – you are a role model, and your members will be sensitive to any praise or criticism that comes from you.

Reaching your personal goals is rewarding in its own right. But there’s no better feeling than being able to reach back and help others achieve their dreams too.

Are You Feeling Run Down?

We all feel run down sometimes, but if you constantly find yourself getting ill, catching every bug that’s going round, it could be a sign that your immune system has been compromised. Your body’s immune system is an incredible multi-layered set of processes which work together to identify and eliminate disease-causing agents such as bacteria, viruses and other harmful micro-organisms.

Once a harmful organism breaches the skin, the body’s first line of defence, it faces an onslaught from a cocktail of chemicals and biological agents. Nevertheless, lifestyle factors can impair your body’s ability to defend itself, leaving you vulnerable to illness.

Keep on Moving

Exercise is particularly beneficial for your immune system for a number of reasons. First, exercising increases the circulation of blood through the body. White blood cells (leukocytes), of which there are five types, are pivotal in the fight against harmful agents, so the quicker they arrive at a site of infection, the better chance you have of fighting it off. The process of eliminating accumulated toxins from the body is also quickened during exercise.

Of course, aerobic exercise, like Street Fit®, is also central to any weight loss programme and if you’re struggling with obesity your ability to reproduce white blood cells and to trigger the inflammation process will both be impaired. Inflammation is a key process in healing, dilating the blood vessels to speed up the arrival of white blood cells, while attacking infective agents with anti-viral chemicals, etc.

Exercise also elevates mood and helps you to sleep; low mood and chronic lack of sleep have both been linked with a low T-cell count (T-cells are a type of white blood cell matured in the thymus), although exactly how optimism and sleep can boost the immune system is not yet known.

Manage your Stress

Stress is thought to play a part in ninety per cent of all illnesses. Although recent studies by the Stanford Institute have demonstrated that short bursts of stress act as a boost to the immune system, chronic stress, with associated high levels of cortisol, are known to suppress prostaglandins, an important ‘messenger molecule’, similar to a hormone. Prostaglandins have a diverse range of functions, including controlling inflammation and regulating the blood.

In addition, the high levels of stress associated with pessimistic thoughts is one possible reason for the link between low mood and low T-cell count; so try to relax and look on the bright side of life!

Stay Hydrated

When you are dehydrated, toxins accumulate in the body, putting you at greater risk of illness. Dehydration can also keep you awake at night, affecting your immune system. Although you don’t need to cut out tea, coffee and alcohol completely, remember that these drinks ultimately dehydrate your body, as well as introducing toxins of their own. Sugary drinks also cause problems, since every 100g of sugar has been shown to delay white cell production by five hours. Therefore, ensure that a large amount of your fluid intake consists of plain, old-fashioned water.

Sun, Smoke and Medication

Other lifestyle factors that can impact on your immune system are excessive exposure to the sun, smoking and improper use of antibiotic medication.

A sun tan was never your body’s way to make you look attractive. The pigment melanin is its way of absorbing harmful UV radiation before it can damage your cells. Any damage caused by the sun’s rays requires fixing, and that takes vital resources away from your immune system.

Smoking cigarettes introduces over 400 toxins directly into your body, while taking antibiotics inappropriately (e.g. when they are not needed or not completing the course) can lead to the creation of resistant ‘superbugs’.

If you do follow a healthy lifestyle, yet still suffer from constant illness you may want to talk to your GP. There are various diseases that cause immunological deficiency as well as autoimmune diseases (where your body uses its immune system against its own cells).

Disclaimer: This blog post is for information only and does not constitute expert health advice. For expert advice, consult with your GP or trusted healthcare expert.

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The 4-Step Health Check

If you’re concerned about your health, or if you just want to make sure everything is in good working order, here are four quick checks that you can employ. The first two can even be carried out straight away, using equipment most of us will have in the home.

Step 1: Check your BMI

Why is this important?

Your Body Mass Index is calculated from your weight and height. A high BMI puts you at risk of weight-related illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

Equipment needed:

Bathroom scales, tape measure or long ruler, calculator.

How to do it:

You can calculate your BMI using either metric (kilograms and metres) or imperial (pounds and inches) measurements. First, measure your height and square it (i.e. multiply by itself); remember there are twelve inches to a foot. Next, weigh yourself and divide your weight by your squared height. If you are using pounds and inches, you need to then multiply by 703 for your BMI.

Here is mine, as an example:

Imperial Height = 5 feet 10 inches (70 inches); weight=10 stone 7 pounds (147 pounds)

BMI = 147/ (70 x 70) x 703 = 21.1


Metric Height = 1.77m; weight = 66.67kg

BMI = 66.67/ (1.77 x 1.77) = 21.3

A BMI of below 18.5 is considered underweight, while 25-30 is overweight and over 30 is obese. However, since BMI can’t discriminate between the masses of fat, bone and muscle it can be an unreliable measure for some types of people, particularly children, breastfeeding mothers and the elderly. Even muscular athletes with little fat can trigger a BMI score of over 25.

Step 2: Check your waist-to-hip ratio

Why is this important?

A large waist-to-hip ratio is one of the characteristics of people at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Equipment needed:

Tape measure, calculator.

How to do it:

Using your tape, measure your girth between the lowest point of your waist and your hips. Next, measure your girth around the widest part of your hips.

Divide the first number by the second for your hip/weight ratio. If your waist is smaller than your hips, the ratio will be less than 1. For women, a reading of below 0.8 is desired, while 1.0 or below is a healthy ratio for men.

Step 3: Check your blood pressure

Why is this important?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) can damage the heart, brain and kidneys but can be asymptomatic – hence it’s name, ‘the silent killer’. Hypotension (low blood pressure) causes dizziness and fainting, and can also lead to organ damage.

Equipment needed:

Sphygmomanometer (or blood pressure meter)

How to do it:

Follow the instructions on your meter carefully. Generally, you will need to fix the cuff to your upper arm and use the hand pump to inflate the cuff until the gauge reaches its maximum value; at this point the cuff has cut off your circulation (so don’t leave it inflated for too long!) Place the earpieces in and, while slowly releasing the valve, listen carefully until you hear the blood start to flow and note the reading on the gauge. Continue to listen until the sound of the blood flow stops, and note the second reading. The sound of the blood flow is very subtle and you may not pick it up straight away.

The first reading is your systolic blood pressure: the pressure immediately after the heart pumps. The second is your diastolic blood pressure: the pressure between beats. Both readings should be in the normal range for optimal health (systolic: 90 to 140; diastolic: 60 to 90).

Step 4: Check your cholesterol

Why is this important?

Most heart disease occurs in patients with high cholesterol.

Equipment needed:

Blood testing apparatus (carried out by a qualified health professional)

How to do it:

This can only be done by a qualified health professional, who will need to take a blood sample. Ideally, the amount of cholesterol in the blood should be less than 5 mmol/litre.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for information only and does not constitute expert advice. For expert exercise advice, consult with your GP or trusted healthcare expert.

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Sunshine and Health: the Burning Issues

If we’re honest, we all covet the skins of those beautiful natural-looking tanned bodies that have us covering our white bits with shame wishing there was an emergency sun-bed nearby so we could play catch-up.

Yes, summer is (theoretically) here, and many of us will be seeking some sunshine to ensure those newly-toned muscles we’ve been developing look even more appealing at our next Hip Hop Workout®.

Yet, many sun worshippers will have a nagging fear at the back of our minds: are those rays we’re soaking up actually doing us harm? Even the most flippant among us are picking up scare stories about increased skin cancer risk, accelerated ageing and sun creams that aren’t as protective as they claim to be.

What’s all the Fuss?

The fuss is about the ultra-violet (UV) radiation that comes from the sun; specifically, it is about the 3% of that radiation that actually manages to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere (thanks partly to our old friend the Ozone layer).

Most of the UV radiation we are exposed to is known as long-wave UV, or UVA. While this is the least dangerous form of ultra-violet, it does have the ability to alter chemical bonds deep within our body. This can lead to collagen destruction (ageing the skin), Vitamin A destruction and the creation of harmful chemicals that can damage DNA in the skin. This indirect DNA damage increases the risk of skin cancers.

Then we have our old friend, medium-wave or UVB radiation. This directly damages DNA, causing our skin to produce melanin in an attempt to soak up the rays and protect itself from damage. Melanin is responsible for that all-important tan and when our skin stops producing it – we burn, putting us at greater risk of skin cancer.

It’s Not all Bad News

Before you give up sunbathing altogether as a bad idea, researchers in the US and Norway (not renowned for its sunshine) have found evidence to support what we would all like to believe – UVB might be doing us far more good than harm.

Their study found that Australians (definitely spoiled in the sun stakes) produced over three times more Vitamin D than people living north of the equator; they also found that incidences of internal cancers were lower and those who did contract cancer were less likely to die of it. Not only does the sun produce Vitamin D, it is the primary source of this important nutrient.

To the relief of sunbathers worldwide, these researchers concluded that the small increase in mainly non-lethal skin cancers was outweighed by the increased protection against more dangerous internal cancers. Of course, you should still be responsible and avoid getting burnt, so don’t forget the sun block.

Some Facts About Sun Cream

Before you do your packing, it is worth being aware that the SPF rating on your sun block only applies to UVB radiation. This means you could be absorbing lots of UVA radiation without even knowing about it. Broad-spectrum sun protection should shield you from some UVA, but different products vary widely in exactly how much is kept out.

The Boots star system rates the percentage of UVA protection compared to UVB protection, but be careful! As this is a ratio, a three star, high SPF product could provide more UVA protection than a five star, low SPF product.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for information only and does not constitute advice. For an expert opinion, consult with your GP or a trusted healthcare expert.

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Fuelling the Dancer’s Body

As a dance fitness instructor, your body is your livelihood. To cope with the physical and mental demands of high-level dance fitness performance, you need to ensure you provide your body with adequate quantities of nutritionally-balanced food.

This post explains what this means for the average, healthy dance instructor.

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First of all, you have to eat enough; the energy demands of dance fitness (particularly street dance) are high, and as a guide an intake of 45-50 Kcal/kg for a woman, and 50-55 Kcal/kg for a man are typical.*

Your nutritional requirements can be divided into six types of nutrient: carbohydrate (55-65%), fat (20-30%), protein (12-15%), vitamins, minerals and water.

Glycogen: Your Muscles’ Energy Store

The reason you need so much carbohydrate (up to 65% for high-intensity work), is due to the way energy is utilised in the body. For energy production, our muscles make use of a substance called glycogen. Glycogen is built up from glucose (sugar) in the blood, and stored mainly in the liver and muscles. Clearly, there needs to be an adequate, steady supply of glucose in the blood for this process to take place.

Complex carbohydrates (which need to be broken down into sugars) are preferable to consuming sugar directly for two main reasons: complex carbohydrates also contain additional nutrients and they provide a steady supply of glucose, rather than the sudden surge that sugars do. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as cereal, rice, pasta and bread.

Carbohydrates should be consumed one to two hours before exercise but can be topped up during long performances by eating cereal bars or drinking sports drinks containing 6-8% carbohydrate content. Carbohydrates are best replenished within the two hours immediately following exercise, since this is when glycogen replacement happens fastest.

Fat: Keeping You Going

Despite its reputation, fat plays a crucial role in the body and you need about 1.2g/kg of body weight (although no more than 10% should be saturated fats). Adipose tissue (stored fat) is the primary reservoir of energy in the body and packs a whopping 9 calories* per gram. Once faster-burning glucose is exhausted, your muscles will turn to fat for fuel – this is good news if we carry a bit extra!

Fat also forms the structure of cell membranes, cushions the nerves and organs, and enables the fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) to be absorbed.

Protein: Your Body’s Repair Mechanism

The process of exercising causes wear and tear to the muscle fibres, which require replacing. For this to happen, there must be adequate supplies of protein in the diet (1.4 to 1.6 g/kg of body weight). Chicken and turkey are great sources of lean protein, although vegetarians can obtain protein from other sources, including tofu, seitan, beans and rice.

Protein is also necessary for building enzymes, specific types of protein that carry out a variety of roles in chemical processes throughout the body.

Be cautious of commercial ‘protein powders’: many of these are no more effective than dry milk powder and considerably more expensive.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins can be either water soluble (the B vitamins and vitamin C), or fat-soluble (A,D,E and K). They provide a variety of functions that are vital to the functioning of a healthy body.

The B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and B6 are used in energy production, while folic acid and vitamin B12 are needed in red blood cell production (the blood cells that carry the oxygen to your musces).

Vitamins A, C and E are involved in body repair and recovery following a workout, while vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and vitamin K helps the blood to clot

Minerals are divided into macronutrients (needed in quantities in excess of 100mg a day) and micronutrients. Macronutrients include Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium. Calcium and Phosphorus are necessary for healthy bones, while Magnesium is important in a variety of processes from enzyme regulation to DNA building and muscle contraction.

Micronutrients include Iron and Zinc, which are both necessary for red blood cell production. Heme iron, from red meat, is easier to absorb, although non-heme iron, like that found in whole grains, can be absorbed more easily in the presence of vitamin C.

If you choose to supplement your diet with added vitamins and minerals, opt for those that do not exceed your daily recommended intake. An imbalance of vitamins and minerals can affect absorption and it is possible to overdose on some nutrients. Dietary control of vitamins and minerals is always better than taking tablets.


During a workout, you will be losing about two litres of water an hour via perspiration. Dehydration will impair your performance and slow your mind – not ideal when you have new choreography to learn! Aim to drink about 250ml water every fifteen minutes to keep fluid levels high. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty before taking in water:  you will already be dehydrated by then.

Don’t substitute water for fizzy drinks: these actually leach water from the system, making you even more thirsty.

*Kcals and calories are used interchangeably in this article. Both are shortened forms of Kilocalories, the standard unit of stored energy.

Disclaimer: Although we have taken care to provide accurate information, the information above does not constitute professional dietary advice. Consult with your doctor or a dietician for more information.

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