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Wee Blog


I really hope you can get a wee bit of information or inspiration from here.

Ann – Health Geek and Creator of Beginners Health Coach


My story

 The Beginners Health Coach story..


Here is why the Beginners Health Coach can help you.. Your coach knows the struggle is real!  I have been there.  Walked the walk.  Time served.   Here’s my story..

I was never a particularly health conscious or typically athletic person growing up..

(As a teen I’d bunk off gym class each week, ate mostly pizza and chips, then drink loads of booze at the weekends and partied really hard..)

But over the years I’ve ‘cheer-led’ myself to get active and strong in body and mind.  (As with most health journeys, this has been with varying gusto and plenty of ‘life diversions’/ ‘falling off the healthiness wagon’).. But generally, I started to eat better, got active, did things that were better for me and with the result of felt better.

 I studied loads to do with health –  right up to getting part way through a Masters, then leaving the academic world with a Post Grad in Health and Wellness.  I took on relevant jobs and got experienced, qualified as a fit pro, and then started a local business called IsleBe, to help some other people get healthier.

 I could see the value and positive results people were getting on my ‘get active’ programs, but I didn’t actually deliver beyond a limited local service.  So the Beginners Health Coach was developed to let people access health support whenever suits and where suits.  So take a look around this site, and explore on the stuff of value to your journey to healthy lifestyle.


PS. in any program you consider doing, you should know about the credentials of the creator –  so you know if the service is a  match for what you need.. So here are mine..

Level 3 personal trainer
L3 nutrition for exercise
Level 2 gym instructor
Nordic Walking instructor (BNW trained)
Jog Scotland jog leader
Hill Skills trained
BSc Health Issues
PG Health & Wellness
PG adult learning
Motivational Interviewing trained

Run a local service aiming to support you getting healthier, body & mind since 2016 – IsleBe

Operate IsleBebytheSea – The Little Hebridean SC retreat

Years of previous experience working in health, inc project co ordination, health advice, healthy weight sessions, adult learning, youth mentoring & mental health support.

Currently in any spare time I dabble in life coaching, mindfulness and CBT learning.. And dog/cat/horse/hen/lamb cuddling.

Winding road

The health improvement journey is not smooth and straight for most of us. Life challenges us, and you have to go with the added ups, downs and curves. Sometimes we progress, sometimes we regress. This is normal life.

Don’t ever look at what appears to be someone else’s smooth ride to getting healthier, then negatively compare your own attempts.

The important thing is to keep focused on your goal.  So pick yourself up if you need to, and to keep heading towards it.

With every difficulty and challenge that comes around, all that’s happening is you are learning.  You are learning what slows you, what stops you, what derails you and what helps you find your feet and gets you going again.

So keep in mind, if your health improvement journey is more a rollercoaster with loads of backward loops, than a smooth rail track from A to B, its no bad thing.  It just means you can notice your triggers and come away from your health improvement journey with a heap of extra learning about yourself.

I’ve been working on my health and fitness for years, and know about this stuff.  So let me tell you, challenges hit everyone. Last year one of my horses died in a horrible accident, then I got sick, then my husband got sick, and my dad was very ill. So I had a horrible year end.  The result for me was a lack of health focus, lack of exercise and poor diet. I went from fit to flabby. Then I was able to focus on my own health improvement again this year.

Straight smooth rail tracks are for intercity/town travel, AND NOTHING ELSE. DEFINITELY NOT FOR YOUR LIFE x




Is it better to be chubby and active or slim and inactive?

Some people still seems to think slim (regardless of activity) equals healthy. Sometimes it does, but sometimes – not at all.


We all have body fat. We actually NEED it to do important jobs in the body.

People with different body types just have it in different places and amounts.  In an ideal world we should aim for lean inside and out.  But that is just an ideal.  Show me an ideal world and I’ll show you a flying elephant.

The important thing to consider is WHERE our fat is stored:

subcutaneous – this is what we notice as our ‘fat’, it is stored beneath the skin.

visceral – this is what we can’t see, on the inside, in our middles, surrounding our internal organs.

From a health point of view, too much visceral fat is bad for us – too much of it is linked to a host of nasty health problems.

Whether we are chubby or slim, a poor lifestyle is associated with too much visceral fat.

But without having an MRI scan to look at body composition, we can’t really tell where most of our fat is stored, although an indicator is to take a waistline measurement. If it is on the high side, you’re likely to have a bit too much fat on the inside. Speak to a medic if you’re really concerned.

So what can improve the situation?

There is no magic bullet unfortunately – just improve lifestyle – eat better and get active.

So, getting back to whether it is better to be chubby and active or slim and inactive?  There is no definite answer – but, my money is on chubby and active – as this tend to be en route to you getting leaner inside and out anyway.

So NEVER get despondent if you are exercising and don’t feel like you’re seeing a difference, as fantastic and important changes are probably happening on the inside!  HIGH FIVE FOR BEING ACTIVE xxxx




Plans change..

Hello from the sunny Isle of Lewis. Or more accurately, the kitchen table… In a painful, non sunny body…  I wrenched my back today, and have just had to email my lovely customers to cancel my beloved coaching groups. ☹ ☹ ☹

It is so easy to slip into despondency when our plans don’t go to schedule.   At times we get injured or sick – we get physically or mentally incapacitated. Or sometimes just different priorities take over…  But that is real life is life – It’s not ridged, with a smooth, on track time line.

If plans don’t go to schedule, whatever they are – it most definitely is not the end of the world. The key is to keep momentum up whatever way you can, think maintenance rather than progress.  Progress can wait till you’re firing on all cylinders again.

For me it means catching up with planning and updating online stuff while I can’t do physical stuff.

As Ronan Keating says… ‘Life is a roller-coaster, you’ve just got to ride it.’


Motivation for healthy eating

What motivates us to eat healthier?

This is a big issue and one that has cropped up for me in the last couple of days..

People often struggle to eat better, for different reasons.

The result is – some of us lose too much weight, some of us put on too much weight.

Personally – I cannot get motivated to change my eating for weight or aesthetic reasons.  I have tried this in the past, and it does not work for me. I tend to eat  well most of the time – lots of it though, and exercise a lot – as a result, I’m quite chunky most of the time.

The thing that I find is the best motivator to improve your eating is a HEALTH REASON.

After a couple of week of eating not so well recently, I was feeling terrible, tired, weak and flat. I’m pretty sure this was an iron deficiency. That was my motivation to rectify things!

When motivation to change your eating is for a HEALTH REASON, the emphasis shifts from denial of food (which you see with typical ‘diets’) to MAKING SURE you eat certain foods.

This has a powerful effect on the mind. Instead of following a restrictive weightloss diet, your eating follows a kind of ‘check list’ of food to get in through the day.

And by the time you have eaten everything on that checklist – you are full up enough, belly and mind, not to want rubbishy food!



Being mindful

Our current situation is just horrible.. And more than ever we need to look after our minds.
Remember health is physical, mental and social. So your frame of mind is as important as how many press ups you do.
I am fortunate not to have the dreaded virus, but my self catering business has collapsed. Bleak.
As a result of angst at losing a big part of income I depended on, I have been turning to the jean beans. In multiple handfuls. This is just a very human response.
Thankfully I still have a home gym and a love of weight training to limit this damage..
And I WILL get back on track.
But this situation is the same for many people. And many are in a much worse situation; with their health damaged and people being lost. The goodwill shown by many people is heartening.
So if like me you are worrying about the state of the world, your business or job, your health, your family… Worrying if this means the world will stop making jelly beans…
STOP. Start to train the brain. We can’t change what is happening, but WE CAN change how we react to what is happening.
I’m certainly going be using it to try and bounce back.
Here’s the first step:

What exercise intensity

As you have probably gathered, I’m a total health geek.

I need to know the reasons behind EVERYTHING healthwise… Over the years I picked up what info I could, then leant heaps about the science behind exercise by training as a Nordic Walking Instructor, Gym Instructor and Personal Trainer.  I see one thing that keeps coming up.. Folk wonder what intensity they should exercise at…. If it is better to aim for higher or lower intensity exercise..

The answer is, it depends on your goals, and what suits you and your body..

You burn most body fat during lower intensity exercise (you are in the fat burning zone.)  BUT you have to exercise for longer to burn the same amount you would at high intensity exercise. Plus you need to exercise for 10- 15 mins before you get this fat burning effect.

High intensity workouts burn more energy in a shorter time.  The compromise is the energy for your exercise comes from glycogen first (your carb stores in the muscle and liver), and then body fat.  However, if you just have a short amount of time to exercise, you will burn the same amount of calories quicker with high intensity over lower intensity exercise.  And there is some evidence of afterburn effect, (you keep burning more energy after you finish exercising).

I am a fan of lower intensity exercise.  Lower intensity is what I always went for with my customers.

As the people I have coached will have heard me say…   Chat, chat, chat as you go as this gives me an idea of where you heart rate is.. If you can chat away while you exercise, your heart rate is probably <70% of your max, which is where we want it to be in low intensity exercise.

I have a tendency to injure myself a lot, more so with fast, explosive high intensity moves!  Lower intensity exercise is kinder to the older sore bodies like mine too..

But go for whatever intensity suits you – your body, your preferred type of exercise, the time you have available.. Just PLEASE warm up and cool down!  As I think I’m getting everyone’s aches and pains by proxy…  X

Health cheerleaders

Motivator Friends


We all need to unload stuff, get opinions, advice, support, and encouragement.

We all need to get ourselves Motivator Friends AKA CHEERLEADERS!


I believe this is one of the most important things if you want to ‘get healthy’.

A buddy who is on their own ‘health journey’ can be hugely motivating to be around – having someone who understands what you are doing, claps when you’ve done well, listens when you’re struggling, points you in the right direction when needs be. Having someone to chat about healthy stuff to, to share and encourage your enthusiasm – keeps you focused.


The old cliché of surrounding yourself with positive people making you more positive is totally true! I’m really lucky to have close friends who are into health and fitness too, and they are definitely one of my top motivations to stick on the healthy journey!


Remember fitfabulousness is contagious!! xxx


Find something you love

We do what we love and enjoy.

Sometimes they happen to be good for us things.. Some time they are bad for us things…

Like – loving to hill walk, but also loving to eat cakes.

Nine times out of ten, there will be somethings out there you haven’t yet tried – that you are going to love.

Make it less about tasting the latest gin, or a new deep fried delight, and more about trying a yummy and nutritious new type of food, trying an obscure vegetable, sea swimming or Tai Chi…

If you can find something you love to do that is good for you, you’re on to a winner. It’s a real opportunity to harness something powerful to improve the health.

There is ALWAYS something new to try. You might like it LOVE it. x

Exercising to lose weight?

Exercising to lose weight!!!!

I hear this so often and it makes me want to cry.

You should exercise to improve your health; physical, social and mental!   Please don’t focus on the scales or the mirror!

Health improvement takes many different forms, weight change is just one indicator. And that indicator is different for a lot of us, and not always an accurate one… Yes, one of the potential changes you see when you exercise is weight change..

But way more important is to focus on performance improvement when you exercise, improvements here show the body is getting healthier from the inside first and most importantly.  On the outside, your shape changing is also a good indicator that the exercise is working…  It shows you are using up fat and building muscle as you exercise.

Focusing on the scales can be horribly counter-productive – If you don’t see that number shifting as you want it to.. What your mind does is make you think that your hard work isn’t worthwhile.  Our brains forget about the performance improvement we are experiencing, and is over ridden by that one little measurement…

Exercising for health improvement is so much more a FEEL thing than a LOOK thing..

Take care of what you can’t see first, focus on how you feel, your performance.  The changes you do see happen along the way anyway, so just try and forget about them and enjoy the FEELING of getting healthier.

And if any of my lovely clients are doing our program to just lose weight, I may either cry or offer to burn their scales…