Achieving your ideal body shape Part Nine


The Abdominals

As we approach the final months of this series there are only a few key areas left to address to make sure you have all your bases covered for when you hit the poolside or coastline.  

This time I’m going to focus on a part of the body that for many men is the holy grail of the beach body look – the abdominals or abs.

You may have heard the saying that the “abs are made in the kitchen”, or in other words it’s all about the diet. For the best part this statement is true; low body fat is a sure-fire way to see those abs coming through. With that said, it’s still very worthwhile dedicating some training time to working this area. Not only will it help to create the look most of us are after, it will also aid in the performance of all the other exercises described in this series.  

There are thousands of ab exercises out there so I’ve simply selected three of my favourite based on their effectiveness and the different ways they work the various muscles that make up the abdominal region.

  • The gym ball jack-knife: To set up for this exercise, get into a press up position with your feet elevated and resting on a gym ball. Start with the legs straight and then pull the knees up to the chest, rolling the ball underneath you. Time a full out breath as you do this, keeping the movement slow and controlled while the knees come up. Return the legs back to the start position to complete a repetition. Three sets of ten reps will leave the abs burning.
  • The Turkish get up to elbow: I am a big fan of the full Turkish get up as it’s a great all-round exercise, plus it can be broken down into many separate and very effective parts. In this version of the exercise you simply take the first part of the movement (also known as the punch and crunch) and use it to work the abs in a more spine friendly and productive way than straightforward crunches.

You don’t necessarily need to use any extra weight for this exercise (a kettlebell is often used), and if you’re not familiar with Turkish get ups in general I would advise just using bodyweight to start with.

The anti-rotation press: If the first two exercises work the abs by creating movement then this exercise works them by resisting movement - specifically the obliques that run down the side of the upper body. You can set this one up using a band anchored at chest height or a resistance cable. Stand side on to the band or cable, holding it close to the body at chest height with both hands. You should be able to feel some resistance pulling you sideways. Have your feet slightly wider than hips and keep your knees soft. Press the band or cable away from the body until your arms are straight. Make sure your hands move in a straight line out in front of you, resisting the pull of the band or cable. Time a full exhale as your hands move away from the body keeping the ribs down. Bring your hands back towards your chest to complete a rep. Aim to complete three sets of 8 to 10 reps each side.

There are many ways you can include ab exercises into your upper and lower body programmes. Some people prefer to do them at the start of a session, while others prefer to wait until the end. You can even pair them with any of the lower body or upper exercises described in this series and use them during the main part of your workout.

I would suggest experimenting to find which strategy you prefer with the main goal being to simply get them done!

No Pain: All Gain

2018-06-OsteostrongBy Eleanor McKenzie

Osteostrong® is a biohack that strengthens your very foundation – your skeletal system. In only a few minutes weekly, and without breaking into a sweat, you improve bone density, improve posture and balance, reduce joint and back pain, as well as reverse osteoporosis. The system is in Marbella now and Society has been trying it out.

OsteoStrong in Puerto Banús is a light-filled studio where you are welcomed by a smiling and knowledgeable team who are enthusiastic about the many benefits this system has for people of all ages. If, like me, you are not a gym enthusiast, the sight of the machines may make you pause and wonder what tortures are in store for you, but be assured, there is absolutely no pain or outpouring of sweat required here, yet the results of your efforts come quickly, even if you can’t see them, because they are happening in your bones.

Why does bone health matter?

Let’s start to answer that by looking at bone density and osteoporosis. In the U.S. some 52 million people are affected by osteoporosis and lack of bone density. And, one in three women over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture, as will one in five men. Hip fractures are one of the curses of ageing, and mortality rates are in the region of 20-24% in the first year after a hip fracture. And some 40% of cases will have reduced mobility and loss of independence, while 60% will require assistance with day-to-day living.

The traditional approach to treatment is the use of pharmacology plus exercise but while traditional exercise does help in many ways, it does not increase bone density nor does it slow the degeneration due to it’s low levels of impact. However, OsteoStrong offers a way to strengthen and increase bone mass without strenuous exercise or the use of drugs. Instead, all you have to do is use a series of machines, executing only one movement on each, at weekly intervals and this process is called osteogenic loading.

What is osteogenic loading?

Osteogenic Loading (OL) is a brief, intensive resistance exercise for bone health. The basis of osteogenic loading stems from Wolff's law, which shows that the force or loading on bone through its axis can stimulate the bone's natural ability to increase its density. With the help of OsteoStrong’s specially designed Spectrum machines, each one working on a different area of the skeletal system, you can generate the kind of bone growth that you might only get from a high impact activity like gymnastics, except all you have to do is push or press a bar on the machine.

OsteoStrong’s Spectrum system consists of four separate devices designed to emulate impact and people going through this process receive all the benefits of high impact compression without any of the risks!

Ideally, you should be able to press 4.2 times your own body weight, for optimum bone strength. But, when you start at Osteostrong, depending on your age and other factors, you may start off only being able to press say 1.5 times your body weight. Don’t despair, as I found out, and without doing anything other than walking the dog twice daily between Osteostrong sessions, by week two I had doubled my score on one machine and vastly improved the scores on the others. There is a little red line on the machine, and when you push beyond that you have triggered the development of healthy new bone tissue. It’s all happening without you even noticing. It’s not like you’ll feel your bones getting stronger, although you might notice that your posture is better and your energy level is improved, as I have.

Who invented Osteostrong®?

Dr. John Jaquish is the man behind the concept. He began developing it after being told by his Mother that she had been diagnosed with osteoporosis. He began to investigate which types of activities led to strong bones and found it to be high impact. He then created a device to replicate high impact compression through axial loading of bone in a safe and controlled environment.

After successfully reversing his mother's osteoporosis in 18 months as part of his doctoral dissertation in biomedical engineering research at Rushmore University, he conducted four years of testing with human subjects focusing on user comfort, biomechanics and optimal musculoskeletal stimulation. Next, the device he designed was put into production, and has since been placed in over 240 clinics worldwide. Osteogenic Loading has now helped over 30,000 individuals with their bone health. Published data has shown, treatment with this Osteogenic Loading device has resulted in over 14% gains in bone density in both the spine and hip over one year of once-weekly treatment.

Endorsements for Osteostrong®

Tony Robbins, the global lifestyle guru, is a very enthusiastic ambassador for OsteoStrong and is also its Business Development Consultant & Partner. He personally uses the system and in his videos describes the effects he gets from it, which are: increased energy, muscles that feel stronger and your overall feeling of healthiness will ramp up several notches. As he points out in a video, bench presses couldn’t give him the same effect, and anyway he’d never be able to achieve pressing four times his own body weight without damaging himself.

The NHS in the UK is also making Osteogenic Loading available to certain patients and is partnering with an OsteoStrong studio to provide the service, with the NHS funding 50% of the costs. When a major health organisation like the NHS offers a relatively little-known treatment like this, you know it has passed clinical studies and trials, and isn’t just some quick fix devised by an entrepreneur. Indeed, when you visit Osteostrong Marbella you will be able to read these clinical reports from academic journals reviewing their system.

Book your FREE sessions

Currently Osteostrong® Marbella is offering two free sessions. This includes an amazing hydromassage to finish the session off, and if nothing else convinces you to try this system, the massage experience certainly will.

I’m about to see what session three will bring in terms of results, which the machine stores and emails to you by the way, so you can track your progress. And, you don’t need gym gear for these machines; your work clothes are fine and there’s no need to change footwear or anything like that.

To find out more about this amazing biohack visit Osteostrong Marbella on Facebook, Instagram, or

Body and Booty Transformation for Big Brother Star Sallie Axl at Cirumed Clinic

2018-05-CirumedAlways welcoming a range of well-known faces, Sallie Axl has been Cirumed’s latest guest and is best known for her appearance on Big Brother in 2013. After having a baby and not feeling comfortable with her body, Sallie found Cirumed clinic through careful research and chose to undergo her body transformation surgery.  Cirumed was highly recommended, which gave her the confidence that she would achieve great results under the team’s elite care and give her the body she dreamed of as well as an extra confidence boost.

There is an abundance of clinics to choose from, but thanks to Dr. Aslani’s specialisation and excellent reviews by former clients, Sallie knew that Marbella was where she needed to be to score her dream body.  To further her confidence in the decision, Sallie also knew that Dr. Aslani is well known in the UK for body contouring and his very popular bikini makeover package.

Dr. Aslani has been in the game for over a decade and was one of the first few to offer buttock augmentation procedures, which undoubtedly has helped him become a leader in his field.  Dr. Aslani performs around three to four buttock augmentation surgeries daily, demonstrating not only the high demand for this procedure, but also his credibility in the field. He is regularly invited to be a guest speaker at conferences worldwide where he showcases his abilities for teaching purposes. He is also hosting his sixth annual Live Surgery course in which globally recognised surgeons are the chief participants.

Sallie was welcomed to Cirumed by the friendly team who showed her the impressive facilities including the new extension. The Clinic now has two operating theatres, five patient suites, two recovery suites and the Cirumed Lounge where families or friends of patients can enjoy fresh coffee and cake while waiting.

In the new space, Cirumed Clinic has proudly installed top-of-the-range equipment, including a Laminar Flow System that allows air to move at the same speed and in the same direction with no or minimal cross-over of airstreams. It also has special operating tables ideal for the combination surgeries, which allows patients to be “flipped” with ease during surgery. This is efficient when performing combination surgery that works on areas such as breasts, abdomen, back and buttocks simultaneously.

Sallie praised Dr. Aslani for his thorough consultation, which was carried out online before her arrival in Marbella, allowing her to experience the reassurance of a face-to-face consultation from the comfort of her own home in the UK.  Sallie also appreciated the fact that Dr. Aslani took an interest in her wishes and said, “Many people like the conservative look, but there are people out there who don’t want a conservative look. I know what I want and Dr. Aslani gave that to me”.

With help from Serene Cosmetic, Sallie didn’t have to worry about flights, accommodation, food or transport and could focus on preparing for the surgery.  “Having a surgery abroad is quite scary anyway, but I’ve been made to feel so at ease by Serene Cosmetic”.

Cirumed Clinic realised that Sallie would be away from her baby for the duration of her stay and did all they could to make her feel comfortable and the procedure was carried out swiftly, whilst avoiding any potential complications, in order to get Sallie back home to her baby in the fastest time possible.  The team is proud that they were able to make Sallie feel relaxed, and even more so that they were able to give her the body she wanted. “I had a really boyish, square shaped body before, but now I’m so pleased with my figure. I love it!”

Cirumed takes special care throughout the whole patient experience starting from their first consultation and including the months after the patient is already enjoying the results of the surgery. This service is complemented by Serene Cosmetic, which makes the travel and accommodation arrangements, meaning that Cirumed Clinic really do offer the whole package.

Hair perfection


Master wig maker Simon Beale has recently arrived in Marbella with his bespoke hair replacement systems for men and women. He provides innovative, real hair solutions when you need to put some oomph back in your crowning glory.

Simon Beale prides himself on offering the best hair replacement solutions to hair loss, whether it is due to natural causes, such as male baldness, or in women dues to the ageing process, the many forms of alopecia, or following chemotherapy treatment that causes a radical loss of hair in both men and women. He is passionate about what he does, and is so expert that he is asked to give demonstrations and talks internationally. With Simon you are guaranteed a personalised service and his main aim is to leave every client feeling fantastic and full of confidence again.

What makes Hair Systems International different?

First, Simon only uses the best hair available. He uses the best European hair,  much of it sourced from the former countries of the Eastern Bloc. He points out that this is often referred to in the trade as ‘Russian hair’, but even a country as large as Russia can meet the demand when one of Simon’s full wigs requires 70,000 individual hairs. Of course, the type of hair used depends on the ethnicity of the client, and he also uses Asian and Chinese hair when needed.

He also uses ‘virgin hair’: this hair has not been treated, and because of this, there is more flexibility in providing clients with the exact colour that they want. In addition, this higher quality hair can be treated in the same way as a person’s own hair, in that it can be washed, coloured and blow-dried, and other styling methods applied as well.

Second, Simon never takes a ‘one size fits all’ approach to his work. In his view, what works for one person is not an ideal solution for the next, so when you are a client of his, you’ll always have the bespoke approach. He will assess each client’s hair, including measuring its density and then work out the perfect solution so that the hair system blends seamlessly with your own hair. You are guaranteed that whether you have a full wig, a partial hair system or his hair extensions, nobody will be able to guess it isn’t natural.

What women want?

Apart from those women who have been through chemotherapy, the majority of women need help with thinning hair and patchy loss. These are usually due to either alopecia or ageing. His partial hair systems restore colour, texture and density and the end result is styled to the client’s wishes.

For women who want a full wig, Simon uses the KoolKaps system. This is a wig base made from a unique, patented fabric that is only 0.6mm thick and combats the old problem of a visible wig line. This system, with its Get-a-Grip technology means that perspiration and moisture are drawn from the scalp and rapidly evaporated through the KoolKap, to provide an excellent, breathable, and dry-touch feeling, keeping you cool and dry. It also contains natural charcoal fibres finely woven into the fabric ensuring the KoolKap absorbs, eliminates and neutralises odour, leaving your headwear feeling and smelling fresh. This unique fibre also helps to enhance your blood circulation and is biodegradable.

The company also offers full wigs using French lace caps that are 100% hand-knotted. Indeed, Hair System’s knotting system for its wigs, allows the wearer to brush the hair in any direction she/he chooses. The hair naturally moves and flows in exactly the same way your hair normally would. And, it also cleverly incorporates an open lace front for natural hairlines where there is total hair loss. Essentially, what you will get with one of the full wigs form this company is a product that looks and feels as natural as your own hair, and it is also very comfortable to wear.

And for anyone who wants the most natural looking hair extensions using European hair, Simon offers a system that is based on a “no chemicals, no heat, no glue” method that results as he says in “just great looking hair.” And, if you juts want a  handmade pony tail, he can supply one.

And for the gentlemen

Hair Systems International has a range of solutions for men that will boost confidence and allow participation in extreme sports without fear of embarrassment. Male clients are offered a hair system that will be made by hand and tailored to their exact requirements. The result will be natural looking hair that replicates hair in earlier years. Plus, under close scrutiny the hairs actually appear to be coming out of your scalp, just like nature intended. Many men may be pleased to know that this system can restore the receding hairline, which can affect younger men, and give them back more youthful looking hair.

At your service

If you would like to discuss what Hair Systems International can offer you, Simon will visit you at your home for a private, discreet and more comfortable consultation. He is also in the process of establishing a studio in the Marbella/Estepona area and gentlemen can also have a consultation at The Barber Club.

His message to clients is this: “I bring back your hair to how it should be in a perfect world.”

If you would like to have perfect hair again, please contact Simon Beale on +34 683 171 519 or +44 7949207848  and explore all the options on offer at

Saints and sinners

2018-06-ReflectionsJuneThis month Jonathan talks about his love of Madonna, why he loathes full-on facial fuzz and picks his favourite hair transformations created by #TeamReflections

I absolutely LOVED the theme of the Met Gala Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, meaning we saw an abundance of crowns, jewels and melodramatic beauty looks and, of course, our dear Madge stole the show. I felt like it was the first time in years that we were seeing the Madonna from the 80s. Her performance of ‘Like A Prayer’ and Leonard Cohen's ‘Hallelujah’ gave me goosebumps. As for her outfit she was definitely embracing her adopted English roots. She had obviously been up Westminster or to Windsor to borrow a crown and was definitely channelling Victoria after the death of her beloved Bertie.

As for the hair I reckon, knowing Her Highness, she would have originally been going for a braided early Victorian up do, but upon seeing the effect of the braids, decided to mix it up and give the whole look a modern twist. You have to hand it to Ms Ciccone, when she is allowed to let her mind run free and be creative she outshines every star out there. If she really feels what she is doing, she can carry just about anything off. It is a great lesson to us, express yourself in the way YOU want to and don’t listen to other people’s opinions. Madonna has and will continue to teach us  not to be sheep and  be leaders instead.

Rihanna always has to go over the top but I did kind of like it. It screams ‘drag queen’ and basically tells people that she doesn't give a s**t what they think. I do have to ask, was she trying to attack the church with the cardinal headwear?

My favourite hair look of the night goes to Amanda Seyfried, with her angelic beauty look which featured soft, loose waves accented with a gold crown This style looks effortlessly simple but is one of the most time consuming styles to create. You need to start by blow drying the hair smooth with volume. Using a pintail comb add a sharp middle part. Next, take small sections and wrap the hair around a GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong hold for eight to 10 seconds and release, leaving each section to cool.  Once you have curled all the hair, flip your head upside down to separate. Add a little serum to the ends and, to finish, use your fingers and shake out any remaining waves to create a loose, soft texture.

The Reflections team has been knocking it out the park this last month. I am going to talk you through some of my favourite hair transformations.

Ice Queen

Claire’s client wanted to go ice blonde, which is a true ash blonde. To get this look you need a white blonde hue with a hint of grey. This colour I would call a diluted version of the true tone.

Claire began the momentous task by bleaching the client’s hair, which may sound simple enough, but required a great deal of skill and precision because, other than an over processed perm, nothing is more likely to snap your hair off than a bad bleach job. More often than not it’s not actually the bleach that’s the issue, but the way it’s applied.

Claire was extremely careful with the application, first taking care of the roots and, of course, using the mandatory Olaplex. The colour was then rinsed off and the hair half dried to ensure that most of the moisture was removed, thus preventing the colour being diluted.

The next part of the process involved a little trick of ours which I am not prepared to divulge, unless money changes hands. Claire then applied a tint (using it as a toner), first to the root which she allowed to process for 15 minutes, before taking it through the mid length and ends. This was then rinsed off before she went over everything with a true pastel toner (no ammonia just pigment), and quite literally washed it through the hair. A Kerastase treatment was slathered on and the glossy results you can see with your own eyes. This kind of hair is supremely delicate and must be treated with the utmost care. There will be NO throwing yourself into the pool after a few drinks. The thought of chlorine, or sea salt mixed with that beautiful bleached hair is enough to bring me out in a rash.

A cut above the rest

Nadar is good at only a few things in life and barbering is one of them. Yes, I am willing to give him that. He is actually a superb male hair stylist and a great example of this can be seen here, when he created the male haircut of the moment for his client. He really is excellent at classic barbering. I can, hand on heart, say I never learned that particular skill as it just wasn’t my scene. While they were all getting taught to shave beards, I was having a ball with spiral perms.

Seeing red

This is a dramatic hair makeover and a half from Paul and just shows you what can be achieved if you have enough time. It is a massively lengthy process, going from warm fiery hues to cooler tones. It says a lot about the colourist if they can not only get rid of all the red but keep the colour looking natural while maintaining the subtle golden highlights. Red is one of the most difficult colours to get rid of, so I think Paul deserves a round of applause for this dramatic transformation.

A whisker too far

These beards are getting a bit out of hand now. I mean, I am a child of the 80s and I don’t mind a bit of stubble – say, two weeks’ growth – but, goddamn it, not two years of it. I seriously can’t believe what I am seeing. Since the beard boom men are combing their beards and learning how to straighten them. I see men who do not have the right face shape AT ALL for a beard strolling around looking like Abraham Lincoln. Some of them even look like their head is upside down. It reminds me of my geography teacher and that’s not a good look. I am convinced I have seen things growing in a few on them. Lottie even claims they are unhygienic.

Why are men choosing to wear a beard when it adds years to them, especially when the grey starts to come through? There is nothing more ageing. To put it into perspective, my nephew grew a beard, so he could get into clubs without being asked for ID. The problem is now that every 17-year-old has one. I was recently standing in a bar in Leeds and you would have thought you were in an Amish village. The only person I can forgive for this beard malarkey is Tom Hardy, because he can do no wrong.

Hair Raising Innovations

2018-05-ReflectionsmayThis month Jonathan reviews the latest products making waves in the hair industry. We also find out about one of the teams hidden talents.

Reboot your look in less time

L’Oréal has just brought out a new product called Instant Highlights which I think is going to be promising. The game-changing hair dye technique lets you nab A-list highlights in under 60 minutes. Yes - you heard me correctly. The pro heat lightening system is designed to give up to six levels of lift in half the time. If the thought of an impending three hour plus salon visit fills you with dread, you are not alone. Forty per cent of women agree that, although financially, they can afford to have their hair dyed, time wise they're short on capital, with one in five avoiding salon trips altogether. With traditional highlights you must wait around 45 minutes for the lightening cream to develop, but L'Oréal's new system means that your hair will lighten in 15-30 seconds.

I have to admit I was intrigued when I first heard about L'Oréal's latest invention but, being the ultimate pessimist, I thought it would be like instant coffee; fast but, in reality, disappointingly bitter. The actual concept is more express highlights than instant highlights and that’s music to my ears. The demand for speedy services is higher than ever, due to our fast-paced lifestyles. So, here's the deal - it won't replace your full head of highlights (because the whole point is not to take an entire day), It’s a few highlights, (up to 15 packs) which would be a scattering along the hairline or a few throughout the top section.

The three-part system, (lightening cream, foils and heated iron) is designed specifically for this service and can't be used for other hair dye techniques. The lightening cream, when applied, develops on your hair to lift the colour just like ordinary highlights would. This effect is then boosted when the heated iron is applied, meaning the whole process is much faster. The foils keep everything controlled and even, so the lightening effect is consistent.

Sceptical as I am of anyone claiming to have reinvented a tried and tested colour technique, I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Instant Highlights is designed to be a speedy service, so this isn't your regular 'full head of highlights' treatment. 

Who would this suit? Well, if you have left the kids tied up on the back terrace with the washing and are looking for something to give you a quick lift that doesn't involve surgery or cava, then this could be for you. A lunchtime lift, if you like! In 90 minutes you could be in, coloured and blown to perfection, just in time to untie the kids before social services get wind of it.

Those drawn to the low-maintenance appeal of Balayage will love this, as will those who are new to hair colour or are looking for a new colour switch-up. Remember, it is still a weak bleaching agent, so it needs to be treated with respect. Bleach is not known for its conditioning properties!

Let’s make up

She’s a dark horse, that Ariela, hiding her little light under her bushel. Obviously, she is SXXT hot with nails, we all know that already with all that amazing nail art which she turns out daily, requiring infinite patience and skill. Well, this month I discovered that she ain’t half bad with a bit of mascara and lippie. Yep, she just dropped it into conversation like it was nothing. So, me being me, I set her straight to work and was gobsmacked when she managed to make Katerina - aka Dr Zhivago’s daughter - look like a person. Considering she had been on the lash for two days straight this was no small feat. To say her skin was dehydrated would be an understatement. The result can only be described as magical. At one point I didn’t know if she was using a blusher brush or a magic wand. I now have just got to convince her to start doing more of it in the salon. Watch this space.

Maximize your moisture

Cure dry hair in the convenience of your home, and you can thank me after! I have been playing with Redken’s NEW All Soft Mega superfood-infused haircare system, which was specifically designed to soften, nourish and replenish severely dry hair and I have to say I really like it.

It is massively moisturising and has the capability to revive even the driest of manes. I actually really love this range on naturally curly hair. Infused with a nourishing superfood mix of sacha inchi extract, aloe vera gel, cactus extract, and Redken’s exclusive ROOT-CORE-TIP (RCT) Protein Complex to treat hair from the root to the core to the tip, dry, coarse and unmanageable hair can now be touchably soft, smooth and full of shine. The only thing with it is you must be careful with the amount that you use and please, please, please make sure you give it a really good rinse.

This range is not for everyone, I will tell you now. Yes, it is moisturising but so much so that it could be guilty of weighing the hair down. This is, of course, fine if your hair looks like it has been dragged through a hedge backwards, but if you’re the kind of person who needs a little volume in your life, then give this a miss. You could end up looking like Neil from the Young Ones.

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