Articles & Features


Executive Athlete 4: Thriving not just surviving!

Anna Hemmings MBE

Whether you are performing in the elite world of sport of the pressure cauldron of the corporate arena, resilience is essential if you are to thrive rather than simply survive. Resilience is what allows us to deal with the expectation, pressure and stresses of high performance.

When people think of resilience they often think it’s the ability to bounce back from setbacks to triumph in the face of adversity, to cope with disruptive change and it is all of that, but it’s also a lot more. Regardless of the day’s pressures and challenges, it about having the extra energy; emotionally, mentally and physically to regularly perform at your best and meet challenges more effectively. (more…)


Executive Athlete 3: Manage Your Triggers To Optimise Performance

Anna Hemmings MBE

Why is it that sometimes in sport or at work, we are able go that extra mile, while at other times, we may finish early or do only the bare minimum required to get through? One of the biggest influences on our performance is how ‘valued’ we feel as an individual or an employee. To what degree do you feel respected, accepted and have a sense that you really do matter? (more…)


Executive Athlete 2 : Positive Emotions Fuel Your Brain for Peak Performance

Anna Hemmings MBE

When you watch sport, you probably associate the successful athletes with having PMA – a ‘positive mental attitude’ and doing lots of positive thinking. While I’m a big advocate of positive thinking, in my experience of competing at the highest level in sport, its positive emotions that drive peak performance. If you’re a golfer standing on the 1st tee, with everyone in the clubhouse watching, you can do all of the positive thinking that you like but if you’re still feeling the fear of the dreaded shank into the trees, that fear is going to be the determining factor in your performance. (more…)


Executive Athlete: 1. The Winning Mindset

Anna Hemmings MBE

Anna Hemmings, Beyond the Barriers

In the first of these articles discovering lessons from elite sport for business Anna Hemmings looks at at how you can adopt the attitude of a winner to reach your goals.

In the modern corporate world everyone is under pressure to get things done quickly, the pace is becoming relentless and the demands are endless. We often find ourselves with a diary of back to back meetings, working through lunch and jumping from one performance to the next.  This kind of pace usually means that we neglect to engage in quality preparation and review either side of a performance.



Becoming a Successful Executive Athlete

Anna Hemmings MBE

A series of short articles we will explore some of the valuable lessons we can learn from elite sport to help us survive, thrive and succeed in today’s tough corporate world.

We have just experienced one of the most amazing Olympics in the history of the games. It was a magnificent couple of weeks that has put our proud host nation on top of the world. Our greatest team of athletes won an astonishing 29 gold medals – Britain’s biggest haul in more than 100 years. The official slogan for the 2012 Olympics was “Inspire a Generation.” Hopefully the athletes inspired more than one generation – after all, competitors ranged from 16-year-old gold medalist Gabby Douglas to 71-year-old equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, who first competed at the 1964 Olympics.



Executives feel the heat in challenging times – A CEO’s story

Executives feel the heat in challenging times

By James Melik

Reporter, Business Daily, BBC World Service      BBC News 17/10/12

Not everybody is able to cope with the pressures of being a top executive.The post-2008 economy has put considerable stress on the role of the chief executive officer (CEO) or the managing director of large organisations. Paul Juljich was chairman of multi-million dollar organic food company listed on the New Zealand stock exchange. ”I thought I had the perfect life at 40,” he says, “I built a grand mansion, had a Ferrari in the driveway, a 25-yard indoor pool, tennis courts. a personal trainer, and I travelled the world free as a bird,” he recalls.” However, he says that due to stress and making poor lifestyle choices, he lost everything. (more…)


How feeling good boosts your heart & brain

Eve Menezes Cunningham looks at the HeartMath Institute, their research into coherence and how Olympian athlete Anna Hemmings is carrying the HeartMath torch. Kindred Spirit Magazine – June 2012

Click here for article


Run For Your Life

Author: Dr L Dugmore, Director of Beyond the Barriers

Does a ‘Running Lifestyle’ protect your heart?

Some years ago now, a famous journalist and sports writer called Jim Fixx wrote the ‘Complete Book of Running’ extolling the virtues of the running lifestyle and then died tragically during an early morning 6 mile (10 kilometer) run in Vermont, U.S.A. The running cynics were quick to jump on the bandwagon and criticize running and its potential risk to heart health.



Hydration strategies for optimal performance

Author: Anna Hemmings MBE, Director of Beyond the Barriers

Reserach shows that losing as little as 2% of fluids, may cause your performance to decline by as much as 10%.

Additional, research has shown that level of dehydration can slow 10-km run times by 6.3% compared to running in a hydrated state. That equates to a race time 3 minutes 15 seconds slower if you usually run a 50-minute 10k!



Is it really possible to slow down or reverse the ageing process?

Author: Dr L Dorian Dugmore, Director of Beyond the Barriers

The Manager, The Magazine of the League Managers Association, Issue 6

Dr Dorian Dugmore offers some insight into this age old problem.

The stresses and strains of modern management can

take their toll on a manager’s

health and fitness, and can even

contribute to premature ageing.  I

s there a way that managers

can ‘hedge their bets’ and either

beat the ageing clock or, at least,

turn it back a little?

Read full article


Stress, performance & the modern football manager

Dr Dorian Dugmore

Dr Dorian Dugmore discusses the impact of stress, the warning signs and some antidotes  for the football league managers in November edition of The Manager – the LMA magazine.

Read full article



Optimum performance relies heavily on the ability to manage your of your emotions under pressure. Beyond the Barriers have developed a range of innovative products and programmes to help you achieve top results in everything you do.



HeartMath Training

Our expert team realise that being able to function at an optimum level gets superior results.

Here at Beyond the Barriers, we’re more than aware that resilience is one of the most important success factors in productivity. Being able to relish challenge and bounce back when things don’t go according to plan is an essential part of life today. We aren’t born with this resilience but we can train ourselves to be more resilient.HeatMath training helps you train your system to be able to choose your stress response and effectively manage your action.



emWave2 the benefits

emWave2 is one of the newest innovations that is currently helping people to take stock and re-balance the body and mind.The benefits of the emWave2 are spectacular for those looking to harmonise psychological and physical elements of the human body.




In all aspects of life, whether in business or personal life, situations will arise that raise our levels of stress. How we manage stressful situations determines how the impact on our performance and overall well-being.




At Beyond the Barriers we know that only optimum performance gives first class results. Our team of top professionals in the field are on hand to provide the best in high level health, resilience and performance training as well as incorporating the latest HeartMath bio-feedback technology. As an official HeartMath licensee we can provide structured training programmes approved by HeartMath LLC. High level professionals from all walks of life have used HeartMath to help improve leadership performance as well as significantly reducing their levels of stress.




emWave2 is here. One of the most impressive uses of bio-feedback technology, the emWave2 is a portable stress monitor – perfect for those concerned about their levels of stress, who want to relieve it and control it, and improve their overall health, performance and well being. As one of the most innovative and recent products recently to be launched, the UK can now really benefit from the emWave2. The current economic climate couples with our ‘always on’ society has raised our levels of anxiousness and stress  – we are continuous;y trying balance our work and leisure tim. Building use of the emWave2 into our daily routines can have a fundamental effect on our overall health, resilience and performance.



HeartMath – a well-kept secret

Awarding winning sports columnist for the Independent on Sunday, Alan Hubbard writes about Beyond the Barriers Director Anna Hemmings MBE and the power of HeartMath.

In his blog for Inside the Games Alan discusses the highlights of Anna’s canoeing career but most importantly gets to the heart of the matter when he sheds light on Anna’s ‘revolutionary project’ that is HeartMath. This is a set of tools and techniques that are based on 20 years of research and backed up by science that allow athletes to access a high performance state often known as the zone. The HeartMath institute in California have identified a psycho-physiological state in which interactions between the heart, brain and nervous system become synchronised. In this state the brain is functioning at its most efficient, which allows for greater clarity of thought, quicker reactions, better co-ordination, improved decision-making and as a result better confidence and concentration leading to optimal performance.

Hubbard goes on to discuss the various sportsmen and the different sports that are adopting Heartmath as well as the success stories from other walks of life.

To read the full article click here


Would all those who want better health please stand up.

Are you or your boss constantly worried about precious time spent away from the desk by employees taking trips to the water cooler, getting up to chat to colleagues or popping to the lavatory?

Research published today shows that getting up from your desk regularly is essential in keeping your heart healthy and even losing weight. At a time when worker wellbeing and business efficiency are both in the spotlight, it shows the two are not mutually exclusive.

The study highlights the adverse affects of prolonged sitting, and shows that those who took more screen breaks had lower cholesterol levels. Regular breaks not only help employees to lift their pulses but also relieve stress and improve concentration. As discussed in detail in our article, employees cardiovascular health is closely linked to their psychological wellbeing, and both have a significant impact on the health and wealth of their organisation.

Although it’s still important to schedule more prolonged exercise such as running, walking or swimming into your day, introducing even the most mild and informal form of exercise into your working day can be a step towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.

For the full report, click here.


Golf With Your Heart! – Peter Fox

New Research at the Institute of HeartMath Indicates The Yips Are a Result of Your Heart, Not Your Head. Peter Fox discusses the benefits of the powerful HeartMath techniques for managing your emotional game in golf.

Full article - Click here


Recouping Mental Energy – Joe Thiel

Joe Thiel USA PGA Master professional discusses the benefits for using HeartMath tolls and techniques to manage you emotional game in golf.

Full article - Click here


HeartMath for Golf – ‘Chokeproof’ your game

This Golf Digest article looks at how top golfers are discovering how learning to control their heart rhythms lets them replace  fear and frustration with emotions that boost performance. Laird Small, Pebble Beach’s top teacher discusses the benefits of using HeartMath techniques in Golf.

Full article – Click here

Beyond the Barriers HeartMath Training for Golf – Click here


Time out: Are you working all day without a break?

Survey reveals one in four doesn’t even take a lunch break.

The BBC reports that out of 3,000 people surveyed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, half go to work when they feel ill or stressed, and a third work through most of their lunch break. Staff shortages and a heavy workload were cited as the primary cause of employees skipping breaks as well as stress and anxiety at work.

In the strained economic climate it is easy to feel that the pressure is really on, but worker wellbeing has never been more important. Taking  time out of your working day to relax your mind and body will help to reduce stress levels, make you feel happier and improve your performance at work. Sitting behind the desk for 8 hours non-stop really is a false economy.

Having regular breaks can also improve your physical health, as  it gives you the chance to boost your energy levels by having a healthy snack. Getting out of your seat can reduce back pain, one of the most common reasons for long-term sickness leave in the UK.

Why not take the time to read a book, go for a brisk walk or call a friend?

In this article, Dr Dorian Dugmore explains how to make the most of a short break with a relaxation exercise that takes just 7 minutes. It helps to reduce your blood pressure and restore your sense of perspective in the middle of a stressful day.

For the full article from the BBC click here.


Women’s Heart Health: Don’t Become One of the Statistics

The BBC reports today that women with demanding careers are 40% more likely to experience cardiovascualr disease, and have an 88% greater risk of having a heart attack.

But there are ways to ensure that doesn’t have to be you, and managing or preventing ”job strain”, a form of psychological stress, is just one of them.

In our “Top Tips” section, we suggest some simple lifestyle changes to manage stress and some pointers to help you get the most out of cardio exercise.

This article, by Dr L Dorian Dugmore, explores how indroducing running into your lifestyle can combat stress and protect your heart.

Read the BBC’s full article on the effects of a tough working lifestyle on your heart by clicking here.


Employers waking up to the cost of a tired workforce

Ever been so exhausted that you’ve taken a sick day from work?  A report in the Daily Mail today claims that sleep-deprived workers are costing British businesses £1.6bn per year in sick leave.

Beyond the Barriers understands how difficult it can be to get out of bed on a dark winter’s morning after a hard day’s work – but all that can be avoided with a healthy lifestyle and the right work/life balance.

The report also reveals that almost a quarter of worn out workers are less productive and less satisfied with their jobs.  Getting enough sleep is just one step towards ensuring you are prepared to perform.

Read the full article here.


25 Things You Need to Know for a Healthy Life

The Observer Health Supplement has published its comprehensive guide to keeping your mind, body and spirit on an even keel. It’s packed with simple, no-sweat tips to observe in your everyday life that will help you become healthier and happier.

Despite the sub-headings reading like Baz Luhrmann’s catchy 1998 single “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”, this very readable compilation of simple lifestyle pointers is spot-on. Some of them you will already be doing (“Work on your tan” – check!), while some will require a minimal amount of effort (“Ring your mum”), but all can have a positive impact on your work and social life.

You’ll almost feel happier just reading it.

Read the article here


Sleep deprived? Is work affecting your sleep and ultimately your performance?

Nearly three-quarters of Britons regularly struggle to sleep because of work worries, a survey has found.

The ironic thing is, that the more we worry about work the more cortisol we will produce (corisol is produced when we are worried/stressed) and it inhibits the production of melatonin and seratonin (which calms us and helps promote sleep) therefore the less we will sleep. The less we sleep, the less we recover and the poorer we perform in work. Bit of a vicious circle! But if you can get the recovery bit right, you give yourself every chance of accessing your mental and physical potential and delivering excellence.

See excellent article from the Daily Mail

See our top tips to relax at the end of a stressful day


Fit to Manage with Dr Dorian Dugmore

Author: Dr L Dorian Dugmore, Director of Beyond the Barriers

The Manager, The Magazine of the League Managers Association, Issue 5

Dorian Dugmore examines the myths and realities behind one of health’s most intoxicating subjects

To drink or not to drink? That is the question. Within the high pressure caludron of football management, a drink can sometimes be perceived as a way to relieve pressure, by aiding sleep and relaxing the body and brain… but does it realy achieve this?

Read full article

For more LMA tips, insights and news go to


Positive Thinking: Try, Try and Try Again

Author: Anna Hemmings MBE, 6 x World Champion Canoeist and Beyond the Barriers Director

The Manager, The magazine of the League Managers Association, Issue 4

When illness hit, Anna Hemmings was told her professional sporting career was over. But instead of giving up, she came back stronger.

Its a well-worn phrase in team-building and self-help sessions the world over – you can achieve anything if you want it badly enough. While in practice the link between achievement and self-belief isn’t always so clear cut, some cases highlight brilliantly the power of positive thinking and gritty determination.



Dr Dorian Dugmore monitors Sam Allardyce and Dave Bassett for ITV’s Tonight Programme

Dr Dorian Dugmore  conducts an experiment for the documentary ITV’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald to prove that football management is one of the most stressful occupations around.

Leicester City manager Bassett and Bolton Wanderers boss Allardyce took part in the experiment that showed managers literally put their lives at risk. The pair were wired up to heart monitors for the television documentary, and the evidence produced was frightening.At times within the tense relegation struggle between Bolton and Leicester, which ended 2-2, both came dangerously close to suffering severe heart problems.



Tip-top from the top down

Author: Dr L Dorian Dugmore, Director Beyond the Barriers

HR and Training Journal 6.  October 2009.

Dorian Dugmore, President and Founder of Wellness International, discusses the benefits of setting a good example in organisational health and wellbeing leadership. (more…)


Peak Performance In The Workplace: The New Corporate Ethic

Author: Bill Cole, MS, MA, Founder and CEO, Procoach Systems.

Adapted from The Mental Game journal

Corporations today are committed to helping organizations empower their people with high performance work styles. People who are identified as peak performers, even in high stress environments have mastered the skills top achievers in all disciplines possess. We share the secrets of renewing oneself in a high-stress world. (more…)


Driving a heart bargain

Author: Dr L Dorian Dugmore

Public Service Review: European Union 18

Dr L Dorian Dugmore, President and Founder of Wellness International discusses the growing recognition of the benefits of corporate wellness programmes.

The global recession, accompanied by the current financial crisis, has put an ever increasing burden on corporate Europe. People inevitably are the driving force behind any business surviving and succeeding in such difficult times. Consequently their health and wellness becomes of paramount importance for any organisation to survive and prosper. (more…)


Workplace Yoga and Meditation Can Lower Feelings of Stress

Authors: Janet Buckworth and William Malarkey

Ohio State University, 5th August 2009

Twenty minutes per day of guided workplace meditation and yoga combined with six weekly group sessions can lower feelings of stress by more than 10 percent and improve sleep quality in sedentary office employees, a pilot study suggests. (more…)


Employee Cardiovascular Health Relates to Psychological Wellbeing

Author: Thomas A. Wright

Source: Kansas State University, 18th March 2009

A Kansas State University researcher has found a link between physical and mental well-being that employees and employers may be able to capitalize on to improve both the health, and potentially the wealth, of their organization in these turbulent economic times. (more…)


Happy Employees are Critical for an Organisation’s Success

Author: Thomas A Wright

Source: Kansas State University, 9th February 2009

One’s happiness might seem like a personal subject, but a Kansas State University researcher says employers should be concerned about the well-being of their employees because it could be the underlying factor to success. (more…)