Fitness Equipment that we can’t train without

 

 

Resistance Bands: At the start of every workout, I like to activate my lower and upper body with resistance bands. They come in two forms: mini bands and longer resistance bands. Mini bands are great for putting around your knees and doing glute activation exercises. You can do so many different moves like crab walks, seated hip abductions, and squat pulses. I start every leg day with these exercises as they’re perfect for warming up and activating those stubborn glutes!

The longer resistance bands are so versatile. Looping them around the cable machine or the Olympic bar can create a tool for warming up the shoulders and back. You can also use them to do squats, lunges, good mornings, and donkey kicks to fire up the glutes! Bands can also be a great way to put extra resistance into exercises and make them harder. They can be utilised by giving tension through different parts of the range of motion or certain areas of it.

Ask us to show you the different ways to add some variety to your warm-up.

 

Kettle Bells: One hand clean & press, upright rows, kettlebell swings; so many exercises to do with one piece of equipment! A whole-body circuit can be done with just one kettlebell. Compared to dumbells, kettlebells have a big ball for the base which can make the movement less stable and promote more core activation. They’re awesome for explosive movements, fun cardio and are a great tool to use during a class.

 

Olympic Bar: I used to be intimidated by the Olympic bar, but once I learned where to position it on my back, I was good to go! If you want to increase your strength and gain muscle, exercises such as back squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts are awesome to do with the bar. You do not need to put a lot of weight onto the bar if you don’t feel comfortable. Start with just the bar (20kg), then gradually increase your weight as you become stronger.

I use the Olympic bar every time I train legs as it’s great for compound movements (using more than one muscle group at a time). Compound movements not only use lots of muscle groups but also burn lots of calories at the same time. Use the bar pad to make exercises like hip thrusts more comfortable.

Don’t forget that you can get a complimentary personalised weight program every 8 weeks. See us at reception to book in and perhaps we can show you some cool exercises with these pieces of fitness equipment.

 

“Fitness HQ is a locally owned and operated boutique gym in the heart of Albany. With 24 hour access, you can get fit, when it fits you!”

 

How to take the dread out of the dreadmill (a.k.a treadmill)

Winter has just arrived and the weather is certainly changing! The temperature has certainly dropped and the rain and wind will be here soon! Outdoor running starts to feel like it’s not even an option anymore so it’s time to hit the treadmill. But, to many people running for 45 minutes or so on a treadmill does not sound like a lot of fun.

So here are a few ways to mix up your running on the treadmill this winter:

  • BLAST the upbeat music. I would highly recommend creating a playlist of your favourite upbeat tunes or discover new upbeat music to listen to as you run. This can be really motivating and get you in a great headspace to beat your PB or even just get you past the first 10 minutes! Spotify has some great running playlists already made too.

 

  • Podcasts! I find running to a podcast so motivating and distracting from the fact I’m running. Find a topic you’re interested in whether that be health & fitness, crime stories, comedy etc. and I’m sure there will be a great podcast available.

 

  • Watch a video. Now you need to be careful with this one because you don’t want to fly off the end! Find a YouTube video or Netflix episode, set up your phone/tablet on the front of the treadmill, plug your headphones in and run! This is a great distraction that makes time go a lot faster. We all spend hours on the couch binge-watching TV series at some point over winter so why not burn some calories too.

 

  • Interval train. Breaking your runs up on the treadmill can make it a lot more interesting and feel a lot quicker. Going for a slow distance run often feels like hours on a treadmill when it’s only been 20 minutes… so why not smash a half an hour session at a higher intensity and mix up your runs. Pick a speed that challenges you and run at that pace for 2 minutes. Because this is a higher speed than you normally run at, 2 minutes should be enough to get your heart rate up and leave you feeling puffed. Now break this run-up with 1 minute of slower speed or power walking. Continue this for 10 minutes. Now increase the running time to 3 minutes and repeat. Mix up your interval training to what speeds and intervals suit you but remember to challenge yourself!

 

  • Find a buddy. If your bestie goes to the same gym then why not arrange treadmill running/walking dates and coffee. Walk and talk is something a lot of females love to do. So why not do it on those rainy winter days side by side on a treadmill. Challenge each other or even race to keep it interesting. Sometimes having someone with you to support you and distract you makes it that little bit better.

 

  • Set goals. Running on a treadmill is a lot different from running outdoors. You might discover you can run a lot further and faster on a treadmill. So, set yourself some goals to aim for and smash them before the end of winter. Whether that be distance goals, time goals, or amount of times you run a week goals!

 

“Fitness HQ prides itself on a safe place for ladies to feel comfortable, motivated, and supported towards their health and fitness goals. With over 30 group fitness classes per week, there is something for everyone!”

Importance of a good breakfast

Many of us find excuses in the morning for skipping a good breakfast whether that be you don’t have time, you can’t eat that early in the morning, or just not having food available. However, these are all excuses we should work on changing because starting your day off with a nutrient-filled breakfast comes with so many benefits! With health trends continuously changing we often overcomplicate things as simple as breakfast with fasting, no carbs before lunch and juice cleanses etc. When it comes down to it as long as you’re not eating sugary crap (a lot of common cereals!) or a gas station pie you’re most likely fueling your body with some of the nutrients it needs.

What is breakfast?

Breakfast broken down means break the fast. Overnight when you are sleeping your body is in a phase of fasting which gives your body time to digest, replenish and restore blood sugar balance. Breakfast in the morning breaks this fast and gives your body energy to carry out the new day. When you skip breakfast your body basically has no fuel to run on and this can lead to overeating, sugar cravings, and low energy.

Importance of a good breakfast

  • Breakfast helps to set up your day by providing your body with the nutrients it needs. In the morning your body’s blood glucose level is low from fasting through the night. A good breakfast in the morning helps to increase your blood glucose level which gives you energy to start your day.
  • Breakfast can help with preventing weight gain. This is because fueling your body in the morning and giving yourself energy for the day can help maintain your hunger levels so you will often snack less. Excessive snacking because you have not eaten a substantial meal is a common cause of weight gain.
  • Nutritionally balanced meals for breakfast helps to maintain high brain activity more than skipping out on breakfast or drinking a high sugar drink. This can lead to improved concentration throughout the day and make it a lot easier to remember the small things we often lose track of.
  • There has been a lot of research done around whether skipping breakfast can increase your risk of diabetes and there has been a fair bit of evidence supporting this. When you start your day with a nutritious meal you increase your insulin levels which have decreased overnight. Increasing your insulin levels with a meal when you first wake up can help to prevent an insulin spike later in the day when you have lunch. Continuous insulin spikes can be bad for your health and can induce prediabetes.
  • Having a good breakfast in the morning helps to ensure you get the right amount of nutrients in the day. Quite often people do not get enough fruit and vegetables in their diets, so beginning your day with some fruit or veg will make a good contribution to your 5+a-day!

Healthy breakfast. Yogurt with granola and berries

Healthy breakfast ideas

Eating a good breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated!! Here are some of my favourite breakfast ideas that can be quick and easy!

  • Homemade granola served with Greek yogurt and blueberries (or any other fruit). This is super simple and can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge to grab and eat on the go.
  • Scrambled eggs with a slice of wholegrain toast. Scrambled eggs can be super quick, whisk them with a fork and a bit of milk and either cook on a frypan or in the microwave on low heat for a few minutes. Even better is mixing in some spinach for extra goodness.
  • Overnight oats topped with nuts and seeds. This is a great source of fiber and made the night before makes it easy to grab and go.
  • Chia puddings with berries. Just like overnight oats made the night before! Mix a bunch of chia seeds with milk of choice and milk in some berries, leave in the fridge overnight and it will be like a little pudding.
  • Smoothies! Smoothies are a great way to get your fruit and veg in because you can throw everything in and often the fruit will make the smoothie sweet enough to enjoy. Add in some protein powder too and you have yourself a great breakfast that’s super easy.
  • Omelet loaded with veg can be such a filling breakfast if you have a bit more time in the morning. My favourite is filled with baby spinach, red onion, capsicum and cherry tomatoes, and basil pesto.
  • 2x boiled eggs to grab and go.

Myth-busting, Why you shouldn’t be afraid of getting bulky lifting weights

Quite often you hear women say that they don’t want to lift weights because they are worried that they will end up “bulky” but they want to get “toned” and lose fat. This is a very common misconception that women need to understand. If you lift weights, you will not suddenly look bulky. In fact, lifting weights will help to shape your body and give you definition in your muscles to give you that “tone” look.

Firstly, females have much lower testosterone levels than males which muscle bulk is largely dependent on. This is why females tend to take much longer to build muscle mass than males. Testosterone helps to stimulate muscle and tissue growth so without high levels of it, females must work much harder to develop their muscles. This is why as a female you should not be afraid of lifting weights because your hormones aren’t equivalent to males and won’t stimulate muscle growth as quickly. Muscle mass is important to help with injury prevention with age as well as metabolic benefits to help reduce high blood pressure and other health risks. That is why women should lift weights and engage in a regular resistance routine not only for the physical physique but also the health benefits that follow.

Lifting weights helps to increase your lean muscle mass which increases your metabolism and ability to burn fat. By having an increase in lean muscle mass your body burns more calories throughout the day to provide your body with energy for your everyday activities. Burning more calories per day ultimately leads to burning more fat and losing weight. Losing weight allows for the muscle definition to begin to show and therefore slowly giving the “toned” effect. Not only that but lifting weights helps to improve bone density and reduce the risks of osteoporosis as you age. Bone-forming cells are stimulated by mechanical stress placed on the bones which occurs when you are engaging in resistance or weight-based training resulting in stronger and denser bones. Bone density is extremely important to maintain as you get older as it helps to reduce bone fractures and falls which you very commonly hear of in the elderly population.

Another reason as to why you shouldn’t be worried is that females don’t tend to eat enough food especially protein to fuel their bodies and aid the process of muscle building. In order to become “bulky” you must be eating in a calorie surplus and training very hard to use that extra fuel and cause hypertrophy. Not only that but women don’t tend to lift often or heavy enough to cause such significant changes to their body, certainly not overnight. If your goal is to get fitter, stronger and “toned” then lifting weights regularly in the gym whilst eating a sufficient diet you will most likely find that you lose those stubborn few kilos and gradually see your muscle shape and definition.

Next time you’re in the gym, try up your weights and improve your strength! Don’t be afraid of it! Remember bodybuilders aren’t made overnight; female body builders work extremely hard to look the way they do, take numerous supplements to aid muscle gain, and eat a very specific diet. A couple of resistance training sessions each week is not going to make you bulk but it will help to build lean muscle mass, burn calories, lose weight, and overall look “toned”.

How to get over your exercise slump

We’ve all been there… started off doing so well, making it to the gym 3-4-5 times a week and feeling great! But then, you fall off the exercise train for a couple of days… maybe over indulge in the foods you know you shouldn’t and then you are left feeling like sh*t and feeling no motivation to get back into exercising! Sound a bit like you?

Well 2021 is here and it’s time to leave what felt like a slump of a year behind and get back into the exercise routine you know you enjoyed at some point! Here are some of my go to tips to get back on track when that exercise slump hits!

  • Ease into exercise with an activity that you enjoy – whether that be going for a bike ride, hike, swim at the beach or a group fitness class! Starting off with an activity that you find enjoyment in is a great way to get the muscles pumping and heart rate up without necessarily feeling like you’re exercising! This could be just enough to help you find your motivation to get your body moving and ass back to a regular routine! Even better, try something new! This could be a dance class, pilates, boxing, cross-training and so much more!
  • Bring a friend – I’m sure there’s someone in your life who you can convince to come to the gym with you, even if its just one workout! Exercising with a friend can make it so much more enjoyable and can be a bit of a catch-up session! Instead of meeting for brunch or coffee, meet at the gym, the park or a walkway and then if you must… go get your brunch afterwards. Even better is challenging you friend in a workout to see who can complete the most reps during an interval or setting a workout and see who can finish it first!
  • Book it in as an appointment with yourself – things are starting to get back to normal since the Christmas/New Year break so its time to book in your appointments and set your schedules! If you see exercise as something you don’t have time for anymore, make time and put it visibly in your diary or calendar as time for yourself! You don’t like to skip an appointment and pay that cancellation fee so don’t do that with your workout!
  • Making it once or twice is better than not at all – you may not be motivated or quite ready to smash out the same number of workouts a week as you did when you were more motivated but anything is better than nothing! If you can only drag yourself to the gym once, its probably more than you did the week before so see that as a win! Then slowly you will get back to two or three times and start to feel more motivated as you feel your mood and energy improve again! Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t do the same as when you were more in routine!
  • Record down your activity – each time you do a workout, write it down in your calendar or start a workout tally for yourself! I personally love looking back on the week and seeing how active or inactive I have been with moving my body and find it motivating to challenge it the next week to see if I can do more or different kinds!

Don’t give up on yourself! The motivation will come back, you just have to be patient and do your best when you can!

 

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Top 10 Body Weight Exercises

Getting fit doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple body weight exercises can be a great choice for achieving gains in strength, flexibility, and overall health. Best of all, you can usually do them just about anywhere. While we are eagerly awaiting level 2 for the gym to reopen, there is a number of exercises that you can do with no equipment at all.

Here are 10 of my favourite body weight exercises you can do at home, all of these exercises are able to be modified to make them easier or more challenging.

BURPEES

I know they aren’t everybody’s favourite exercise but burpees are a great exercise to strengthen your whole body from head to toe. They help with coordination and stability, as well as getting your heart rate up to burn lots of calories. Burpees work the arms, chest, core, hamstrings, glutes and quads.  Plus there are lots of different options to make burpees easier or harder, so start with easy stepping options and change it up as you get fitter and more coordinated.

BEAR CRAWL

The bear crawl is another great exercise, primarily a strength and mobility enhancing exercise.  It works your core muscles just like the plank, but since you’re moving, it engages more muscles and forces your core to work harder to keep you stable. Your abs, shoulder, chest, glutes and legs are the primary muscles used during this exercise.  In fact, you are using all these muscles at the same time.  It also increases joint mobility in the hips, wrists, spine, ankles and the knee.

SQUATS

Squats are a great basic functional movement . We do this movement a lot in our daily life, for example sitting or standing from a chair or picking up and putting down a box.  Squats work your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles, lower back and your glutes too. Not many exercises can claim to recruit so many muscles at the same time!  Squats build strength in your legs and hips but also help with mobility and balance. Strong legs are essential for staying mobile as you get older. Not only do they develop leg strength, they also workout your core and stabilising muscles. These muscles help you to maintain balance while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle, which helps prevent falls.

SPLIT SQUAT and LUNGES

Firstly the main difference between a split squat and a lunge is movement, with a split squat your feet stay in place whereas with a lunge you are either stepping forward, backward or sideways to get into the lunge.  With both exercises, all the muscles in the lower body and hips are working, and also the core muscles are activated to provide stability.  Lunges/Split squats can help you develop lower-body strength and endurance. Split squats are a great beginner lower body move and can be an great asymmetrical exercise for sports people and runners. Lunges/Split Squats can be made more advanced with different placements of weight, foot position and instability equipment.

PUSH UPS

Push ups are a great exercise for the upper body muscles with the added benefit of developing core stability. The push up also trains your lower back, upper back and glutes.  You can target different upper body muscles just by changing the position of your hands/arms. Like the burpee, push ups have a lot of different options to make them easier or harder. You can start on your knees and advance to the feet option.  Elevate your hands is a great way to make the exercise easier while being able to still do them on your feet. Try them on a wall first then move to a chair/floor when you get fiiter. By elevating the feet you can really make this a challenging exercise for the super fit athlete.

Y-T-L-W RAISE

The Y-T-L-W Raise is a multi-part move that targets your upper back. At the same time, it stabilizes your shoulder blades and strengthens your rotator cuff. This exercise is very beneficial for people with desk-bound jobs or who drive a lot for work and have limited range in their shoulder movement, it also strengthens your shoulder muscles in every direction.

PLANKS

Planks are a very versatile exercise that target a lot of the most important muscle groups in the body namely, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, oblique muscles and your glutes. Planks work the stability of your core muscles and help stabilise the pelvis.  They are also essential for lower-back health and are highly effective at working your abdominal muscles.  Like most of the exercises on my list there are also heaps of different variations of Planks to keep them challenging. Start on your knees first and push your hips forward to create a straight line in your body. Advance to your feet when you can do a minute comfortably. When you can do a minute on your feet, make it more challenging by moving your arms or legs and create more instability.

DEADBUG

The “dead bug” exercise is one of the simplest and best moves out there when it comes to strengthening your abs and core, without putting extra strain on your back. It engages your deep inner core including your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor. It’s a safe and effective way to strengthen and stabilize your core, spine and back muscles. This improves your posture and helps relieve and prevent low back pain. You will also improve your balance and coordination.

SINGLE LEG ROMAINIAN DEADLIFT

These are a excellent strength builder for your posterior chain. They work your hamstrings, glutes, outer thigh, lower back, ankles and core.  They can be used as a warmup/activating exercise or as a great glute/hamstring tie in move. Going single leg adds a balance and hip/glute stabilization component so your hamstrings really have to work hard.

HIP BRIDGES

This exercise is a great exercise to target your glutes and hamstrings. They also require you to activate your abdominal and lower back muscles in order to keep your body stable – so they are also a great core exercise.  You can use Hip Bridges as a good warm-up exercise to get your glutes activated before a leg workout, as a main lower body exercise as well as a basic rehab exercise to improve core and spinal stabilization.

I thought you said RUM: A beginners guide to running

  • Slow down

Newbies often think they are running too slow when in fact many are going too fast, meaning it quickly gets too difficult. Try jogging at the pace of just a fast walk for the next month and you’ll find that you will be able to go a lot further a lot easier.

 

  • Take small steps

Shortening the length of your stride can help big time. Practice over a 30 meter or so length (or between two light poles) and see if you can add in an extra 5 steps or strides over that distance!

 

  • Start with short distances

Start by jogging slowly for short distances. For example, from one lamp post to the next and then walking in between the next two (This is how I first started). Aim to do that for a total of just 15 minutes, twice a week, if you’re starting out or getting back into it after a long break. If you’re a bit fitter, try a walk-run or run-walk approach. Alternating blocks of walking/running with blocks of running/walking. e.g. 4 mins of running with 1 min of walking for 3 rounds = total running time 12 mins. Try to increase the rounds first, then look at increasing the running time. e.g. 5 mins running with 1 min walking. By using an on/off approach you are also reducing the amount of impact you are subjecting your body to.

 

  • Speed up or go further?

Once you can do a complete 15 minute jog, increase your speed by jogging slowly one way for 8-10 minutes then ‘racing’ back to where you started. Your total run time will get shorter, which at this stage of your running career is perfect – or – hold off on increasing speed and get out for a third run each week instead – idea being to do one or the other, not both.

 

  • Stop

If something doesn’t feel right, stop. If it hurts, stop. If something feels a bit weird, (and you get to be the judge of what that means), stop. This is an exercise in learning how to love jogging, not a game of pushing through pain. Seek guidance from a medical practitioner e.g. physiotherapist, podiatrist, if pain doesn’t go away.

Running Tips:

(This first one’s going to be a bit hard during this lockdown period but if you’ve got a good pair of supportive gym shoes/cross trainers that aren’t too old might be fine to get you started). Invest in a good pair of runners, go visit one of those specialist shoe stores (I go to our local Shoe Science store in Albany) yes the shoes do cost more but it’s well worth the investment in making sure you have the right type of shoe for your walking/running pattern. A quality, well-fitting and supporting sneaker will prevent aches and pains…no not muscle pain, but permanent knee, shin, and foot injuries that can plague you for life, if you suffer an injury.

If you walk/run a regular block (loop), then make sure that you also go the other way or vary your route .Our body (tendons, ligaments and muscles) get used to going that one way – the ups & downs, the level of the road. No road is level like a treadmill, so if we don’t vary the way/direction we go, we can end up with imbalances with the muscles, tendons and ligaments from our feet to our legs, hips and core which can then lead to injuries. With my current niggles, I just go straight out for time/distance and then turn around and come back the same way. I also vary the terrain every couple of runs by going to my nearest sports field or school and running on the grass (less impact) as there are no grass verges where I live to run on.

Do strength and conditioning and core work. These are hugely important for injury prevention and improving your running form and economy. For example when we go on a longer run, we tend to get tired. This causes us to slump forwards, which can cause pain in the neck, back and shoulders. By having a strong core, you can help prevent this. Many running niggles can be traced directly back to the fact that the glutes, the main hip muscles and the biggest muscle group in your body, simply aren’t doing their fair share of the work. Five minutes a day spent doing targeted exercises can reap significant rewards. A simple mix of planks, side planks and crunches can build your core strength, and squats and bridges are great for glutes.

Good music! 🙂 As you start increasing your time and distance, I find a good playlist with motivating music and a good tempo helps me go that bit further or go a bit longer. You can find already compiled playlists and albums on iTunes, Spotify or make up your own.

Benefits of running:

  • Healthy mind – running reduces stress and releases happy hormones.
  • Sleep easier -Runners enjoy better sleep, giving them more energy.
  • Healthy heart – Cardiovascular fitness goes up, blood pressure goes down.
  • Breathe easier – Running lessens the effects of asthma and helps to strengthen your lungs.
  • Keeps you young – Runners age better and live longer.
  • Better sex – Running improves stamina.
  • Strong immune system – decreases your risk of illness.
  • Weight loss – Running burns around 100 calories a mile (1.6 km). 3 miles (4.8 km) = 1 large doughnut.
  • Stronger bones – Boost your bone density and help prevent osteoporosis.
  • Toned legs – Runners have great leg

“I often hear someone say ‘I’m not a real runner. We are all runners. Some just run faster than others. I’ve never met a fake runner. (Bart Yasso)”

Importance of stretching and flexibility

We have all heard the trainers harp on about stretching after exercise and we often think it’s not important or you don’t have time. We all know if we  are one of the guilty ones who just doing a quick 5 second stretch (or nothing at all) and running out the door.

Benefits of stretching more:

  • Posture. You know, that thing that most people struggle with (especially if you have a desk job)? It’s not as easy as just “sitting up straighter”. Bad posture can come from tight muscles, and stretching therefore can prevent these muscles from getting so tight. Bad posture can lead to tightness which in turn can give you pain and cause injuries.
  • You will become more flexible. This is a pretty obvious benefit of stretching, but vital, daily tasks like bending over to tie your shoe, or throwing a ball for your dog, all become easier when you are more flexible.
  • Improved circulation. As you stretch, you increase blood flow, which allows your body to transport nutrients, and get rid of waste, faster.
  • Faster recovery. By stretching your muscles, you promote more blood to the area. The more blood flow, the more nutrients it will bring to recover and fix your muscles faster.
  • Better Coordination. This may seem like an average point, but coordination is so important, especially as you get older, as having this improved coordination and balance will prevent as many falls or accidents.

stretch pic

Should I stretch before I exercise?

Definitely! Before jumping into the weights or cardio, make sure you warm up and then do some dynamic stretches before the main part of your workout. Dynamic stretches are moving stretches that aim to put the join through its full range of motion and gets blood flowing to the right areas. An example of this is a lunge, swinging one of your legs back and forth or ankle, shoulder circles This warms up your muscles safely. If you try a static stretch, such as touching your toes, this actually cools the muscle down and can use up too much muscle energy performing this stretch, and then have a poor workout due to your muscled already being fatigued!

How often should I stretch?

The American College of Sports Medicine (some very important, knowledgeable people!) recommend that each big muscle group should be stretched at least twice a week. They also recommend holding every stretch for around 60 seconds for maximum benefits, however they claim holding a 15-30 stretch is very beneficial as well. The American College of Sports Medicine also recommend static stretching after every workout.

How should I perform static stretches?

  • Try to be symmetrical. You want both sides of your body to be at the same level when it comes to stretching. This is especially important for those with injuries.
  • Don’t bounce in your stretch (I’m guilty of this one). Hold a stretch smoothly, and don’t aim for pain, aim for tension. Pain can be a sign you have gone too far, and you should release your stretch a little bit. I used to bounce in my stretch to go deeper, to be as flexible as I possibly could, but I would often end up with very sore muscles the next day.

What about yoga?

Yoga is amazing for flexibility, it helps you strengthen and lengthen your muscles in a safe and effective way. You don’t have to be “naturally flexible” in order to do yoga. Yoga helps your body stretch in new ways, and it is also a great way to relax as well.  In saying that, you don’t have to practice yoga to become more flexible or to do a great stretch session.

Flexibility and stretching can greatly improve some aspects of your life. It can make day to day activities easier, improve your posture, prevent injuries and may even reduce stress. An excellent benefit of stretching is your performance. By being more flexible, you can increase range of motion in your exercises which in turn recruits more muscle fibers which can make you faster, stronger and fitter. You may think that is only important to athletes or people who play sport. However, it can help the weekend warrior or even keeping up with the kids a little easier.

How to take the dread out of the dreadmill (a.k.a treadmill)

Winter is just around the corner and the bad weather is on it’s way!  In no time it will be rainy, windy and cold!! Outdoor running starts to feel like its not even an option anymore so its time to hit the treadmill. But to many people running for 45 minutes or so on a treadmill does not sound like a lot of fun.

So here are a few ways to mix up your running on the treadmill this winter:

  • The most common answer: BLAST the upbeat music. I would highly recommend creating a playlist of your favourite upbeat tunes or discover new upbeat music to listen to as you run. This can be really motivating and get you in a great headspace to beat your PB or even just get you past the first 10 minutes! Spotify has some great running playlists already made too.

 

  • Podcasts! I find running to a podcast so motivating and distracting from the fact I’m running. Find a topic you’re interested in whether that be health & fitness, crime stories, comedy etc. and I’m sure there will be a great podcast available.

 

  • Watch a video. Now you need to be careful with this one because you don’t want to fly off the end! Find a You Tube video or Netflix episode, set up your phone/tablet on the front of the treadmill, plug your headphones in and run! This is a great distraction which makes time go a lot faster. We all spend hours on the couch binge watching TV series at some point over winter so why not burn some calories too.

 

  • Interval train. Breaking your runs up on the treadmill can make it a lot more interesting and feel a lot quicker. Going for a slow distance run often feels like hours on a treadmill when its only been 20 minutes… so why not smash a half an hour session at a higher intensity and mix up your runs. Pick a speed that challenges you and run at that pace for 2 minutes. Because this is a higher speed than you normally run at, 2 minutes should be enough to get your heart rate up and leave you feeling puffed. Now break this run up with 1 minute of slower speed or power walking. Continue this for 10 minutes. Now increase the running time to 3 minutes and repeat. Mix up your interval training to what speeds and intervals suit you but remember to challenge yourself!

 

  • Find a buddy. If your bestie goes to the same gym then why not arrange treadmill running/walking dates and coffee. Walk and talk is something a lot of females love to do. So why not do it on those rainy winter days side by side on a treadmill. Challenge each other or even race to keep it interesting. Sometimes having someone with you to support you and distract you makes it that little bit better.

 

  • Set goals. Running on a treadmill is a lot different to running outdoors. You might discover you can run a lot further and faster on a treadmill. So, set yourself some goals to aim for and smash them before the end of winter. Whether that be distance goals, time goals or amount of times you run a week goals!

Hope to see you soon!

Sam 🙂

Big Butts: How to grow your glutes

Hi ladies, Lauren here! I unfortunately did not win the genetic lottery when it came to my butt, and was blessed with a bit of a flat pancake (thanks mum and dad!). Looking through social media, big butts seem to be very on trend at the moment, and while some people may think it’s great and want to grow their glutes, others may not, and that’s perfectly okay, everyone has different goals for their bodies! But if you’re looking for some tips to grow those glutes, keep reading.

Anatomy of the glutes

The Glutes are made up of 3 muscles, the gluteus minimus, the gluteus Medius, and the gluteus Maximus. Each play a different role, so you want to ensure you are working all three, just like you would train the front and backs of your legs. The glute max is one of the largest muscles in your body, and is the most superficial (close to the surface) of your glute muscles, which means that this is the muscle that will give you some shape. The glute med is located on the sides of your butt, and your glute min lies underneath both of these muscles. The glute med and min work with the glute max, to provide stability, and assist with simple tasks like walking and running.

Why should you train your glutes?

It’s not just about getting a Kim K butt (although, I’m not convinced hers is 100% real…!) I personally would love to have bigger glutes, not only to have a bigger butt, but also because inactive glutes can lead to injuries in your hips and knees. A sign of inactive glutes can be knee pain, tightness in your quadriceps, or excessive fatigue in your quadriceps to name a few. Bear in mind that inactive glutes are not the only cause of these injuries, and you should always get these issues checked over by a doctor or a physiotherapist.

What a glute-focused leg day looks like for me/Key glute building exercises:

My glute focused leg days have the same 3 exercises always. These exercises are:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Hip thrusts

I then add in two or three more “specialized” exercises, such as:

  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Hamstring curls
  • Curtsey lunges
  • Donkey kicks
  • Crab walks

I use the first three exercises every single leg day (I do 2 a week), this is because they are compound movements, meaning they train a range of different muscles and joints, which will overall help you gain strength everywhere. This is different to a hamstring curl, which is an isolated/specialised exercise, which targets the hamstrings alone. After having done my fair bit of research, I believe having a majority of your exercises be compound exercises, and throwing in some isolation exercises at the end of a workout are the best way to overall gain strength (and lose fat!)

Resistance bands and glute activation:  

Glute activation is something I’ve only learnt about in the past year. When it comes to squats for example, you should be able to feel your glutes working, but there was a long time where I really didn’t feel them working, so I stopped doing them. Now that I’ve learned to activate my glutes, I never fail to feel them working! A lot of us are sitting constantly, whether we are at school, uni, or an office job. This means that our poor glutes get next to no use, which causes them to be inactive, so when it comes to doing your squats, your butt may not activate.

You can activate your glutes by using a resistance band (we have them hanging up by the dumbbells). You want to make sure that the resistance band is tight around your thighs, just above your knees. There are a number of exercises you can do to warm up your glutes, such as squats, clams, glute bridges, donkey kicks, and fire hydrants. If you’re lost on what sort of exercises to do, there are a lot of YouTube videos to help you get started! It should take you about 5 minutes to warm up your glutes, you don’t want to tire yourself out before you’ve even started your workout!

How long will it take to grow my glutes?

This will depend on genetics, how often you train, and what you eat. In order to gain muscle, you want to be eating in a calorie surplus. You can still gain muscle on your normal number of calories or even in a deficit, but it will take longer. While eating in a surplus, it is said to take around three months to really grow your glutes and see progress, however genetics also plays a part, for some it will take a lot less time, and for some (including me ☹) it will take a little longer. By adding some of those compound and isolated exercises to your next leg day, I’m sure you’ll start to see some results soon!

If you have any questions about glutes or want some ideas for exercises, don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll be sure to help you out!

See you ladies soon!

Lauren 😊