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Lockdown Newsletter – Week 7

Welcome to the 7th edition of the lockdown newsletter. We know a few of you have been running Bristol 10k today so a huge well done to all of you that took part in this. Lots of you have also taken part in Captain Tom’s hero WOD today so here’s a big virtual high 5 for you too!

This week, we launched our online membership. So, if you do have friends or family who would love to be part of Valesco but don’t like near by then now they can. We’ve also launched our Crowdfunding complete with blind auction and burpee challenge. We know that for a great deal of you these are tough financial times so if pledging isn’t something you are able to do we totally understand and you must not feel obligated to do so. Your continued support is hugely appreciated and we are so thankful you are still in this fight with us.

We’ve also had lots of fun this week in our Zoom Wods and the weather has meant we’ve got to nosey inside lots of your homes! We had another amazing bro-sesh, Ready Steady Cook and Weightlifting class and lots of you have be sharing your positive lockdown experiences in the Facebook group. The nutrition challengers, have had another great week, sharing hacks, recipes and nutrition related experiences.

As always, if you’d like to contribute to the Newsletter..whether it be an article, something you’ve found useful or just want to let us know what you’ve been up to please do get in touch!

Amazing members doing amazing things...

amazing members 1
There are so many of our amazing members doing amazing things we want to take time each week to recognise special achievements and celebrate them with everyone.

Django Rackham – for getting hi run on! Since lockdown started Django has been our running several times a week and is smashing his old pace! I’m sure there are more than a few of us who would benefit from getting comfortable with the discomfort of running! Run, Django, RUN!

Kayleigh Thurston – for getting 100 full press ups in a workout! Kayleigh has been working hard on perfecting these and 100 is an awesome benchmark to reach! Great effort, Kayleigh!

Heather Lundbeck – for jumping in to classes, doing HomeWODs and getting involved with the Nutrition programme and fully embracing it all.  Working hard physically in classes and soaking up all the nutrtion information she can and putting it to great use. Yes Heather, we are loving your work!
Simon Stacey – for being a constant source of positivity! Always smiling, always offering words of support and encouragement to everyone and always up for a laugh! We love having you in classes, Simon! *So sorry we couldn’t find a pic of Simon as he isn’t on Facebook!
Vicky Evans – for keeping it real and sharing her journey.  Like many of us she has her battles with lockdown but she’s shared her journey, reached out, picked herself up and she has not quit.  When the going gets tough, Vicky gets going! Keep smiling, Vicky!

Nutrition with Viki- Understanding Inflammation part 2

inflammation 2

Last week I discussed the short-term and long-term implications of inflammation. In a healthy person, inflammation is normal as long as it is short-term. In fact, it is a good sign that your body and immune system is communicating correctly to ensure all the building blocks are put in place to repair and recover. However, our western lifestyle is putting us at risk of longer-term inflammation which can ultimately lead to poor health and disease.

If you have been reading and taking notice of my articles over the last few weeks, then good news! You are on track to living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle!

Anti-inflammatory wins!

Optimum GUT health
Avoiding pre-processed foods…eat the rainbow!
Sleep and rest well…know when it is time to put that barbell down
Low stress

This week I wanted to start to delve deeper into how your diet can reduce inflammation. And as the title suggests, it’s all about balance: more specifically the balance of fatty acids.

Omega 3…can it help to reduce inflammation?

We are told to eat our oily fish and we have all heard that supplementing with omega-3 is a good idea. We may have even been convinced to consume cod liver…so, what is the deal with your omega’s?

Omega-3 and 6 are your essential fatty acids. That means your body can’t make them and we must obtain them from our diet…both of them. These fats go on to play a number of biochemical roles; supporting the integrity of cell membranes, allowing proper trafficking of nutrients and waste in and out of cells, reducing the incidence of cancer, promoting memory and brain health as well as controlling inflammatory reactions.
Like most things, omega-6 in the correct proportion is a good thing (like cake). The problem is that it is far easier to get omega-6 in our diets creates a pro-inflammatory environment. Ideally, we want the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 to be 2:1.
The typical western diet is more like 20:1. Eek!
The below table provides an at a glance example of high Omega-6 and Omega-3 foods:

Omega-6 Omega-3
Safflower oil Flax seeds
Cured meats Chia seeds
Peanut butter SMASH fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, sardines, herring)
Soybeans Walnuts
Roasted chicken thigh Tofu
Margarine Brussel sprouts
Sesame oil Avocado

Next week we will talk about how to find the right omega balance alongside your CrossFit schedule and whether to supplement or not.

For this week I will leave you with an anti-inflammatory takeaway guide.

  1. Aim for 5+ portions (a measuring cup size) fruit and veg/day
  2. Aim for 3 servings (size of your palm) of omega-3 rich foods per week: oily fish, whole grains, walnuts, green veg per day
  3. Eat 3 portions (think a measuring cup size) of fibre rich foods per day: legumes, oats, wholegrains, veg
  4. Eat good quality protein: grass-fed or wild meat and fish, beans, grains, nuts and seeds
  5. Boost foods with herbs and spices specifically rosemary, ginger and turmeric which have anti-inflammatory properties

The Covid19 Vaccine Lowdown with Fred...


Valesco member and scientist Fred and his company are working to create faster, easier and cheaper vaccines. He kindly answered some of our Covid 19 questions earlier this week.

Hi Fred! Thanks so much for agreeing to talk with us!

Thank you for informing people. I think it is very important to communicate what is going on. We read lots of things on the internet and some people might wonder what is going on.
As one of our members on the front line, we wanted to ask you a few questions so we can let our members know what is going on at the very front of this fight! 
So Fred, we know you are a scientist but what do you do?
I am the CEO and Co-founder of Imophoron, an innovative vaccine technology start-up that joined Unit DX in December 2017. I moved to the UK only a month before via a Future Talent and Mobility Award from the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council), having co-founded the business with Imre Berger, a professor at the University of Bristol and Director of the BrisSynBio centre, Director of the Bristol Max Plank Center.
Where do you work?
At Unit DX (across the road in front of Valesco!)  Unit DX is central Bristol’s deep tech incubator, home to the city’s most innovative science  and engineering companies. Unit DX empowers scientists as entrepreneurs, providing facilities, investment, and mentoring. Member companies are using emerging technologies such as biotechnology and synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, photonics and electronics, drones and robotics, advanced materials, and quantum computing to create new markets and deliver solutions to big societal problems.  
We’ve seen the Bill Gates Ted talk and we’ve heard Barak Obama’s speech from 5 years ago so HOW was this event forseen?
Nature is constantly challenging us with new bugs and sometimes they are more or less impactful, or spread in a more or less powerful way.
Global warming, deforestation, urbanisation, travelling are all examples of humans changing the way nature is behaving. To give you a couple of perfect examples of changes we have observed in the natural world which show how nature can change and is being forced to adapt.
The tiger mosquito was living in the southern hemisphere but is now totally happily living much further north. It was found in Paris in 2015! Previously it couldn’t survive the winter season, today it can endure the lower temperatures.
Tiger Mosquito is a perfect vector for all kinds of diseases: Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika…. for which we do not have vaccines.
You may remember the Zika virus and how the world was not ready. Zika is not travelling via aerial routes. It needs a vector like the Tiger Mosquito. Therefore, the damage it caused was restricted. The challenge with Covid-19 is that it is airborne and therefore it doesn’t need a vector like the Tiger Mosquito. It can spread faster & further.
The best scenario from a virus point of view is to be able to infect a lot of people (aerial route is the way to go), evade the immune system (by mutating). Many viruses are able to do so.
But the most “efficient” ones are Influenza (see the terrible Spanish Flu in 1918 which killed several Millions of people) and SARS (the first version from China around 10 years ago) killed many people but somehow was not able to reach the world, so it mutated in a new version end of 2019: SARS2. The one the world is now facing. There are others also, some from the Coronavirus family such as MERS.
Why don’t we already have a vaccine?
There are various reasons why we don’t yet have vaccines against these viruses (sometimes pure commercial interest, sometimes technicalities, etc) and there is something we are sure of: we were not ready!
Vaccines technologies have saved more lives than any other invention globally.  However, the way we produce vaccines has not changed in 60 years! And this presents challenges such as slow development, it is expensive, we need a cold chain (refrigerated storage)etc.
Viruses can mutate faster than we can produce vaccines (Seasonal Flu) or new virus (Zika,…) or new version of a virus (SARS2,..) are coming to us. It is incredibly hard to fight new viruses with old techniques.
So where do Imophoron come in to this?
My company are working on a new vaccine technology called the ADDomer. We are a young start-up in the very early stages of development but we believe there is a faster, easier and cheaper way to produce vaccines which could radically change the way we fight viruses in the future. Some people called us the “Google or iphone of vaccines”. I like the idea. We now need to convince the world.
These links will help you understand the challenges we are facing and how we are working to find a solution:
Thanks so much for your time, Fred! It’s been great talking to you and learning about the sciency stuff :) 
If you have any questions for Fred let us know and we can set up a Zoom chat with him – he’s kindly offered to do a live Q&A if people would like to know more


Jo Anna, shared this quote with the nutrition challengers and we thought it might help some of you.

“What separates elite performers from everyone else? Not perfection, but consistency. This is why the most important thing is not to prevent mistakes altogether, but to avoid making a mistake twice in a row. Errors are part of the process, but they shouldn’t become part of the pattern.

One mistake is an outlier. Two mistakes is the beginning of a pattern.”

Atomic Habits by James Clear

So if you’ve just eaten a giant bar of fruit and nut when you have nutrition goals (guilty!!!), skipped a workout or had a bit of a bad day, it’s ok. We just need to work together so it doesn’t become a habit or a pattern. It’s ok to not be perfect and if you’re struggling we’re here to help.

Learning in lockdown


Hello fellow Valesco members! I hope you are all keeping safe and fit and healthy! We’re certainly getting plenty of motivation and encouragement from our amazing coaching team! I’m really enjoying staying connected and seeing many of you in the Zoom classes (are they really tougher than the gym, or is that just me?!). Loving the cooking challenges and the quizzes too!

I know that along with all. the changes we’ve had to make to our lives recently many of you have had to take on the role of home schooling your children as well! I just wanted to float an idea past you that may be of interest. Many of you already know me (I’m Ellie’s mum!) and some of you know I have been in education all my working life, as a teacher and more recently working to support teachers and children in schools. My passion has always been ‘achievement for all’…enabling children to develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours for learning that will enable them to become strong, resilient learners who understand themselves as learners who embrace challenghe, and take responsibility for themselves and their learning. These attributes are really significant at the moment when children may be feeling troubled and isolated from friends and the routines and community of school. I would be very happy to offer some sessions via Zoom to any of you with primary age children who feel that this might be helpful or useful to you.

I am hoping to run an introductory session for those who are interested on Tuesday 5th May from 11.00-12.00….I say hopefully since it will involve technology which is not my strongest point! However I am getting some coaching from Ellie so everything  should be fine! Anyway a central part of this whole approach to learning is about putting yourself outside your comfort zone so I need to practise what I preach!

In the introductory session we will consider together…

our understanding of learning
what we think good learners do
the things that help us to learn and the things that stop us from learning (Movers and Blockers!)
the importance of talk in learning

In following sessions we will learn a little about the brain and explore how our emotions impact on us as learners and the idea of ‘Bouncebackability’ …embracing challenge and managing struggle, overcoming difficulty and disappointment.

I hope that gives you a flavour of what I am proposing and I look forward to hearing from any of you who think their children might be interested! If you are interested please PM me with the name and age of your child(ren) and I’ll take it from there! This is really aimed at primary age children from 6/7 upwards, however if you have older children who you feel might be interested they will certainly not be excluded! The younger children would benefit enormously from you having you there in attendance too!

Zoom link is:
Password: hearmeroar

Take care everyone and maybe see some of you soon!

Fancy giving meditation a go?


Meditation can be an amazing way to gain some clarity, really let go and help you re-balance.

Tara Brach, is offering a free 40 day mediationn course which you might find beneficial. Each session is 15 minutes or less, and includes a short talk and guided meditation, as well as instructions for bringing your practice alive throughout the day. Whether you are new to meditation or would like to refresh your existing practice, Mindfulness Daily will help you integrate mindfulness into your life in a rich and meaningful way.

Nat, has also started her own You Tube channel which has lots of meditation music for stress relief and to help bring some calm into your life. They are great if you’re in need of some time out or would like to practice some deep breathing,




If you’re struggling with some niggles, or looking for some injury advice then Lucie is the girl for you, read on for more info.

Hello, for those of you that don’t know me, I’m Lucie your on site sports therapist.
 I usually run my clinic out of Valesco  offering sports massage, acupuncture, rehab and general maintenance for any injuries and niggles. I’ve been at Valesco for a long time now and love working with the coaches and members…’s an awesome place!!
I’ve also worked for Bristol Rugby/ Bears for the last 4 seasons and I am currently studying for an MSc is sports rehabilitation. When not doing this I am galloping around the countryside on a crazy little pony!!
Until I get the go ahead from my governing body to practice in person again,  I’m offering online consultations which will be around 25 mins. Depending on the outcome,I will the send you either a rehab program or some general advice. As it’s all done online, the assessment will be limited but hopefully I can give you enough advice or point you in the right direction if I can’t help. The appointments are £10 and can be paid by transfer. Click here to take a look and get booked in.
Lots of Love, Lucie


Chocolate peanut butter protein balls

PBP balls

Coach Stew, pointed us in the direction of this recipe and wowzers it’s a good one! Enjoy!


Until Next Time, Big Love Team Valesco xxx

Save The Date

Save The Date

Save the date- Isolation Style

We’ve got lots more up our sleeves to keep you guys connected and beat the boredom. Some of the things we have coming up are:

  • Book Club
  • Paint your pet
  • Lockdown bake-off
  • Step count challenge
  • The ‘school science’ project challenge
  • Specialist classes – DU workshop, Weightlifting technique class, Mobility classes and a Banded Bro sesh
  • Bi- weekly Quiz
  • Weekly ‘Ready Steady cook’ with Charlie
If there’s anything else you’d like to see us host, please do get in touch!

Who Wore It Best


Absolutely Everybody…

Check out those shirts! We cant decide so you’ll have help us!

The INCREDIBLE Ash Boyd, has put together a second video.. it features lots of faces you might recognise and is guaranteed to make you smile. Click here and turn the sound up for this one!


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Valesco goes ONLINE!

Now, more than ever, is the time to move! So we are taking Valesco online to enable our current community and anyone wanting to join us to do just that. In a fun and inclusive environment, we bring you the very best of our training methodologies and community...ONLINE!