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Lockdown Newsletter – Week 8

Hello! Welcome to issue number 8 of the lockdown special. We hope you’ve had a great bank holiday weekend and celebrated VE day in style- in the living room/garden with a scone and some sourdough!

This week we celebrated Coach Cs birthday with a video, cake and for those of you who took part, THAT Zoom WOD (77 burpees, really?!) We also celebrated VE day with more burpees and took on David Seath’s Hero Wod with you’ve guessed it…even more burpees!

Over in the nutrition challenge, the team have been making Ramen, Katsu Curry and Gyoza this week and we’ve been drooling at the results. They’ve also been discussing snackcidents and vegan diets.

Amy, Leila and Ellie got a bit chilly completing their first Crowdfunding challenge (pay back for all the burpees!?) and I’m very much looking forward to seeing them complete more challenges.

This week, we’ve got recipes, advice on bulk cooking and some great info on omega 3 and 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 2

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.

Oli Laken: Oli has been working hard in lockdown! Even on the days he didn’t really want to – days which he shared and we appreciated his openness. Oli has had PB’s galore – C&J, Front squat and Back squat. Well done, mate!

Vera: Huge shout out to Vera who since starting at valesco in November has taken everything in her stride. She always gives her absolutely best and has smashed her Pt sessions with Leila.Making some great upper body gains. Awesome work.

Mattia: For being so consistent, for working so darn hard, for taking time to thank the coaches and for being such an all round great guy! Thanks for rolling with us and getting stuck in! You’ve been with us for a long time and we hope to have along for the ride for a long time yet to come.

Basil: Vasillia aka Basil has been super consistent with her training since being on lockdown. Huge well done in making so many zoom sessions and always giving 100%. Your smashing your training,Keep up the great work.

Tash: Tash is always smiling even when shes doesnt feel like it! She is supportive of her class mates and making the most of what we can offer – Zoom classes, HomeWOD and the nutrition programme. Not shy about having good days and bad, Tash is an example to us all to keep pushing through when things feel hard and enjoy them when they feel good! Thanks for the inspo, Tash!

Congratulations from a distance...


Coach Jenna and Alex were due to get married yesterday so we wanted to say a huge congratulations to this lovely pair. We hope you had the best day celebrating over Zoom in the sun and we can’t wait until you’re able to tie the knot for real. Sending lots of love your way!

Nutrition with Viki- Understanding Inflammation part 3

omega 3

Last week we discussed how our diet creates a pro-inflammatory environment especially when it comes to balancing out our intake of omega fatty acids 3:6. We discussed how the typical western diet has a typical ratio of 20:1 omega 6:3 which is most likely caused by a cocktail of processed and fast food. This creates an inflammatory environment as it converts to arachidonic acid which, in the long-term is a contributing factor of chronic inflammatory conditions. Rather frustratingly, animal protein, especially red meat also converts to arachidonic acid, so it’s really important that we eat the correct foods to find the right balance for optimum health.

The most confusing thing about trying to find a balance is that many foods contain both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil, which superficially is considered a health food has a ratio of 13:1*. On top of this most plant-based sources of omega-3 is Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) which needs to be converted to Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) before it can get to work in your body.

Confused yet?

Instead of having to try and do omega maths, the best advice would be to eat a clean, balanced diet low in processed food. The above food pyramid never seemed so relevant! If you eat fish, it’s a great idea to include SMASH (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring…and trout for that matter) 2-3 times per week as they are great sources of DHA**. DHA not only helps to reduce inflammation but plays a significant role in supporting brain health too!

Should I supplement if I don’t eat fish?

It is harder to obtain and absorb DHA when you don’t eat fish as it mostly needs to be converted from EPA. Sea plants: seaweed and algae are sources however, in reality, how much seaweed does the average Joe eat? The main plant sources are EPA based: flax, chia, walnuts, hemp. If you are training heavily and/or know your diet is heavy in processed foods or even nuts and seeds (sorry peanut butter fans out there) a good quality vegan algae omega-3 supplement might be a good idea. Aim to take 1000-1500mg omega-3/day which is dominant in readily converted DHA and has been shown to reduce muscle wasting and support overall mental wellbeing in scientific studies.

And what if I do eat fish?

If your training hard, the stress of working out may need some additional support to help with recovery; especially if you know your diet isn’t 100% on point. If this is the case a good quality fish oil (fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil) supplement is a great idea. Please don’t just pick any old fish oil off a shop shelf though. Fish oil is incredibly unstable and goes rancid very easily. Ever had a fish oil supplement and got that lovely fishy taste afterwards? That’s a sign it gone rancid. Fish oil needs to contain vitamin E or another antioxidant to stop this happening. So, where fish oil is concerned you pay for what you get. 1000-1500mg/day would help to decrease the inflammatory aspects of heavy training.

And finally…

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions about the above or any of my articles. Questions can also be asked in person at the weekly Lockdown Nutrition Programme meeting.

*Olive oil still has some amazing properties but that’s another article altogether!

**Going off on a tangent slightly…try to make 1-2 of those portions smaller fish as they are less likely to pick up heavy metals like mercury which are difficult to detox and detrimental to our nervous system.

Bulk Cooking 101 with Ellie

bulk cooking

Cooking in batches / bulk can be a real time saver and ward off snacking just because you’re hungry but prepping food is going to take too long.

In the nutrition challenge group quite a few people posted about needing quick & easy lunch ideas or needing something readily available when you get in from work as energy and enthusiasm for cooking is low.

The solutions that work for you will depend a little on how you like to eat. Some people are happy with a light salad for lunch, others want a plate full of food. Some don’t like a big meal before bed, others like over 50% of their daily intake in one go!

Hopefully some of the suggestions below will help:

1. One pot & slow cooker recipes: Most one pot & slow cooker recipes are interchangeable. If you don’t have one, i recommend getting a slow cooker though as they make life even easier as you can switch it on and forget about whatever is coking away for a few hours. They are really inexpensive and super versatile. Pots on a hob need an eye keeping on them and are less energy efficient.

2. Slow cooked food is great for flavour – allowing the ingredients to mingle under a slow heat allows flavours to develop. I wont make a chilli any other way! They also mean you can use little to no fat in your cooking so if you need to reduce the fat in your diet this is a good way to do it, and if you don’t you can save your fat for something like cheese or peanut butter instead of being ‘hidden’ in your food.

Slow cooked recipes can be made in bulk and then either stored in the fridge for a few days or portioned up and put in the freezer

The list of slow cook recipes I like is pretty much endless but here are a few that you might like: (yes, more oats but have you tried slow cooked porridge?!?!…DO IT!)

– BBC Good food is a great online resource for ideas!

– Vegan alternatives to meat such as quorn and tofu don’t do too well in the slow cooker but you could make a vegetable curry, for instance, and add the tofu at the end of the cooking time.

3. Tray bakes (of the savoury variety):

In the same way that slow cooker recipes are good for making in bulk, so too are tray bakes…only they take less time to cook! You can chuck everything in a deep roasting tin and shove it in the oven!

You can definitely get 3 or 4 meals out of a tray so if you are short on time and haven’t planned anything, you have a family to feed or you want dinner sorted for the next 4 days, give some of these a go. Again, what you like to eat will dictate the ones to try but generally you want foods that will take roughly the same amount of time to cook in a tray so you dont end up with some bits that a burned and others that are raw! (swap the drumsticks for chicken breast if you want to decrease fat and calories)

4. Bulk prep:

If simplicity is king then cooking component parts of a meal and keeping them in the fridge. Roast a chicken or a tray of veggies or both, cook up some rice and make sure you buy some salad bits when you next shop. A whole large chicken will do 4-5 meals and you can then use the leftovers to make an amazing stock which you can then make a soup with!

Pick a buddha bowl recipe you like, cook the bits that need prep in bulk and then put them together each day for a healthy tasty meal:

The possibilities are pretty much endless! Start by writing down 2 or 3 protein sources you really enjoy, a couple of carb sources and 5-6 veggies and see if you can find recipes with those ingredients! And remember…. FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL! Plan your weekly food so you have what you want to hand when you want to make and eat it!

Valesco goes Online!


We aren’t Covid-19 lying down and where there is challenge there is opportunity! An opportunity to help people who are without a community like Valesco to support them through this time; An opportunity to invest in the bigger, brighter future of Valesco! So, we’re taking Valesco Online to a wider community. The Online membership is available now and includes:

– 20 love coached Zoom classes each week

– 3 Yoga classes each week

– Nutrition support, guidance and information

– Access to 1-2-1’s with coaches

– Social events & Challenges

– HomeWOD with demo videos

The added benefits coming soon are:

– Accountability coaching

– A ‘Members only’ area on the website (currently in development)

AND when all this is over all the benefits of ‘Valesco Online’ will still be available to our members as part of the existing membership!! Cant get to the gym one day…? No worries, jump into a Zoom class. Going on holiday but still want to train…? Do the daily HomeWOD! We are delighted to be providing our members an online training platform whilst we are closed and are excited about growing the Valesco community through our Online programme. The future of what this might lead to for Valesco, and all its members, is really exciting for everyone!

Some great words to carry us into next week...

purple mountain

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring



Amongst all the crazyness in the world right now, Valesco online is still your safe place to come and become better at dealing with what ever life decides to throw at you. Including this current time.

It’s not just a place to come and become more physically able and have fun, it’s also a place to build mental resilience. ”There is far more capacity for growth in the mind than the body” -Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit.

So when you’re at the point in your WOD when you wanna quit, remember we’re training to be better at dealing with hard stuff and your efforts will help you mentally thrive as well as physically. Mental health is so important as it can stop you enjoying your physical health, and now we are all being put through a strange and different time.

I think we’re so lucky at Valesco to have the people that we do and I feel very lucky to be a part of it and to have the privilege of coaching you.

Coaching CrossFit, for me, is way more than making people better athletes, that is one part of it. There are many other parts which we as coaches need to be sensitive too. Helping people become more confident and happy in themselves is one of them, for me this has been my personal journey and I hope to pass on some of this to others through this awesome thing called CrossFit and the incredible community we have built.

Finally I want you all to know that I believe talking and staying connected to your community and friends is more important than ever right now and I would like you to actually do this if you feel like it.
Message me asking if we chat if you would like to – we can chat about anything at all -big or small -, and I will make time, probably on a dog walk! I’ve had a crazy life so far which has made me a really good listener, 100 percent confidential of course.

Love as always Coach C x

Jenna's Roast Courgette & Garlic Dip


Ready in 1 hour
Serves 4 people

This recipe is largely inspired by an Ottolenghi ‘Simple’ recipe (because I’m a shameless fan girl), with a couple amendments. I’m a sucker for mezze, and love using dips as a way to present my vegetables a little differently. This little wonder packs a punch both in flavour and nutritional value, without the need for a whole lot of high calorie additions. It’s great served with warm flatbread as part of a mezze selection, but also as a side to grilled meat, fish, or veggie alternatives.

3 large courgettes
6 cloves garlic unpeeled
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (plus a lil extra for serving)
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped (plus a lil extra for serving)
Juice of half lemom

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (or 220 if not using a fan oven)
Cut your courgettes in half length-ways, and then into pieces about 6cm long
Pop into a bowl with your olive oil, dried dill, fresh thyme leaves, and some salt and paper. Mix it all up so the courgette is well coated.
Transfer to a baking sheet (I line mine with grease proof as it makes life x 10 easier). Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes
Add the unpeeled garlic cloves to your baking sheet and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes. At this point the courgettes will be browning and the garlic should be soft.
Put your courgettes and garlic in a colander over the sink or a bowl and leave to cool for about 20-30 minutes. When everything is cool enough that you’re not going to burn your little fingies, you can peel the garlic and press the courgettes down to help drain off more of the liquid.
Transfer the courgettes and garlic into a mixing bowl. Add your lemon juice, fresh chopped dill and mint and a little more seasoning and mash everything together with a fork. You can use a knife to chop up the courgette a little if the skins are on the tougher side
To serve, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some more fresh dill and mint


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 – Tuesdays @ 5.30pm
Paint your pet COMPETITION coming soon!
Lockdown bake-off – Weekly challenges from around the world for the Nutrition programme members
NEAT UP challenge – W/C 04/05/2020
The ‘school science’ project challenge
Specialist classes – Weightlifting technique @ 5.30pm on Wednesdays, Banded Bro sesh @ 12pm on Fridays, HSPU 4 week workshop at 8am Tuesday starting 12/05/2020
Bi- weekly Quiz with Johno – next one 13/05/2020
Weekly ‘Ready Steady cook’ with Charlie @ 6.30pm on Thursdays
If there’s anything else you’d like to see us host, please do get in touch!

Who Wore It Best


Ladies in grey (hoodies) working on their abs make up this weeks throwback who wore it best! Keep sending these in and remember you get extra points* if their on a Zoom Wod!

*by points we mean endless love and admiration for your commitment to the cause.


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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!