Standing core work

When you think about working your core, undoubtedly you think floor work, well here’s a session to try that will make you think again. When you are standing up you are using your core, adding in some of these exercises means you engage more muscles, the floor keeps you stable, when you are on your feet you have to use more stabilising muscles, not only helping you work the core but balance work too. Add some of these into your weekly workouts.https://www.wellandgood.com/good-sweat/standing-ab-exercises/

Core HIIT

I love HIIT – high intensity sessions, they get the job done and quickly. This session is focused on core work so could be done alone or added to your other workouts, maybe a cycle, swim, run or weights session. By mixing up your workouts it not only keeps them interesting but also makes your body work harder because it doesn’t know what to expect. if you get high intensity training right, you will also burn calories long after the workout. Win win!

Happy New Year

January is here, the Christmas decorations are down and the days are grey. So why do we pick this time of year to put pressure on ourselves to be better, work harder, make resolutions or give up something. So this year I am doing what I did last year – a challenge a month, but this year, if I don’t do one a month, I am not going to beat myself up. No pressure.

I am fortunate perhaps that my job encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle (though I am writing this eating chocolate), no one is perfect. I work out regularly, I eat well most of the time, I don’t drink that much and have never smoked. Not because I think that makes me be better than others but because smoking, eating pastries or most other beige food or drinking every week has never appealed to me. I love chocolate coins…..I have probably eaten my bodyweight in them, I have had nights out with plenty of drink and I have enjoyed all the Christmas food, it’s called balance. Now it’s January and I will get back into my usual routine.

My January challenge is to get my physio exercises done each week. I didn’t fit them in as much as I should have done over the Christmas period. I want to improve my ankle mobility so I have to do them! But that is my only challenge, if you are just getting back into (or starting a new) gym programme, here are a few tip to get you started.

And if you are thinking about dieting – here’s an interesting feature I saw which might help anyone thinking about being too strict.

Merry Christmas

Take some time out, enjoy the festivities – however you choose to celebrate them – and give yourself a pat on the back if you have managed to get through December with all the shopping, parties, work and whatever else you have had going on as well as completing the fitness challenge!

If you haven’t – well there’s always January!

Think about what you have achieved over the last year, I have gone on courses, taken on new classes and clients and started figuring out what I want to do the next couple of years so I can progress my business, while also keeping a work/life balance that makes me happy.

Merry Christmas!

HIIT running

As we get closer to Christmas it gets harder to fit everything in, but keeping fit over the festive time is more beneficial for us all. Apart from keeping extra weight off, regular exercise is good for our mental health – for some this time of year is really stressful, setting aside time for a workout – however short – will help refocus the mind.

But, fitting in a workout can be tricky, so that is why HIIT workouts can be helpful. This running HIIT plan can be done in a gym or out in a park, I like Fartlek training – random speed/duration. Give it a go!

And if running doesn’t appeal you could always try this 30-day challenge.

December challenge

It’s party season, there are not enough hours in the day, so how do you fit in any kind of workout? Well how about intervals – it doesn’t have to be crazy High intensity (HIIT) sessions, but you can build up to it, just work at a level that feels more intense than usual even for 10 minutes, not only will you feel good, but it will help keep you in shape over the festive time.

Here’s a 30-day challenge you could try, don’t worry if you can’t complete every workout, try to fit in 2-3 a week increasing intensity or time as you feel it gets easier. Don’t overdo it, enjoy the parties and fun times the festive season offers but try to keep in a little exercise over the month.

I intend to add in 2 HIIT sessions a week, in addition to my weights sessions and lower intensity cardio sessions (like swimming). Keeping it varied and fun. I’ll post more ideas here during the month.

Halfway through November

At the midway point of this challenge, I don’t think I am quite doing it as well as I have the others, but I went on a great course for functional movement, which gave me a good workout. I have done about 3 weight workouts a week so far.

In the past few months (before a break), I worked on a traditional split workout each week, this month I am keeping it a bit more fluid. I definitely want to add in some more of the functional movements we did (when I have recovered), and as well as heavier lifts I want to get more band work in You can try it too with this workout.

Always keep an eye on technique even with body weight or band work – a small mistake could cause an injury, and with the party season soon to be on us, that is the last thing you want to deal with.

Band workout

Add to your basic workout with a band. The best thing about this piece of kit is that it doesn’t take up much room and it doesn’t have to cost much either. The band enables you to strengthen muscles without adding in to much resistance, ideal if you are a beginner, if you need to work on any imbalances or your technique, which will enable you to progress safely to heavier weights. Add a band to your sessions!

November challenge

October challenge was great, I swam, ran and cycled (spinning classes) every week and I really enjoyed it. I am planning on keeping this routine up as it offers a balance of high and low intensity workouts that can fit in around my next challenge.

November, is going to be the month of getting back into weights. I love weight training, from body weight or bands to free weights and machines, there is a workout style to suit everyone. Mixing up heavier weight sessions with body weight or band sessions means you can train each muscle group more than once a week, working on technique and any problem or imbalances.

Try following this beginners weight session if you haven’t done any strength work before.

Try out some other Fitness plans here.

October challenge

September challenge ended a week early with over 400 lengths completed (10km). I celebrated with a hair cut and colour! And then decided my next challenge would combine the last two and add in a little extra.

So for October, I am completing a triathlon a week – not that impressive, I am not actually doing a triathlon but each week I will complete a swim, run and a spinning class (or two). Last week I swam 1km, ran 5km and did two spinning classes. It’s a good way of getting cardio done, challenging my body differently and keeping me motivated with the variety.

But that is not the only challenge, I decided to add in some brain work! Each week I am completing a personal development tutorial – these are included in my CPD points which are required to keep my registration as a trainer. They are also very interesting as they aren’t all fitness based, they over business, marketing and coaching among other things.

So two more months to go – not decided those challenges yet!

September challenge – swimming

So August was a tough challenge, I completed it, but with illness, family commitments, work, plus weight training sessions and teaching classes, running 40 miles over the month was a real challenge. I did enjoy it, most of the time. I plan to keep on running just not as many times a week!

So moving on to September I decided to keep it lighter, with swimming, 400 lengths over the month. I have done my first 40, slowly! I hope a couple of good swims a week will get my challenge done while also giving me a chance to keep up my weights sessions and a run or two. And of course some rest too!

Watch this space…..

Halfway point

So June challenge was about core work, mostly did it, but I found it hard to keep at the mobility/stretching stuff so that needs working on! We all have something that just doesn’t come to us as naturally as other things. All that means is I need to focus on it a bit more.

Headed into July I decided not to have a strict challenge or resolution, but to take stock of what I have done so far and try to set up a routine that works for me. I’ve increased my water intake, trying to keep up fruit and veg – just not as strictly, there are good days and not so good days! I have got into running again, even going out to the park, which has been a psychological barrier for me and I have got back into my structured weight training session. Swimming is on the cards but not so keen during school holidays.

Heading into August I have decided to up my running to 40 miles throughout August. And a bit of swimming when I can.

June – halfway house

Successfully completed my challenge or resolution for May – having done little or no running for a long time, I set myself the task of running a marathon throughout the month of May.

First few days were fairly easy at 1 mile at a time, then, work and other stuff took over and I wasn’t able to do every day so I upped my runs to 2 miles every couple of days. It was good to note I could do them and not feel sore after! I even did a 3 mile run, only once, but it showed me I could easily add in a bit of running to my weekly routines. Marathon completed. So what next….

I have been undecided about my June challenge, I know I need to work more on my mobility/stretching, so I think June will be about dedicated core/mobility sessions, fitting in 3 a week seems achievable and any extra will be a good bonus. Here goes….

April – May challenges

Every month I am setting up a new challenge for myself, I read about this idea on twitter – someone said they would do monthly resolutions instead of trying to stick to one resolution for a year. It inspired me to do the same. So far I have.. attended a new class (Barre – love it – still going), gave up chocolate (have eaten a bit now but still mostly chocolate free!), swam twice a week (haven’t done so much but still going), upped my fruit and veg to 8-10 portions a day (not as hard as you think, will keep this up).

So onto May, I saw lots of running challenges, I used to love running, I got concussion during the the time I was training for a half marathon. Needless to say I never did it, recovery was slow and psychologically running has been a big barrier for me ever since. This month I am running a marathon over a month, so a mile a day with a few days off. So far I am on target! It’s tricky trying to keep up all my training sessions – weight, swim, Barre, Pilates, dance classes plus fitting in work, clients, classes and all the planning needed, but it feels so good to achieve each goal or challenge.

Next up June, half way through my year of challenges…..

Jan-Mar challenges

So it’s been a few months and I have succeeded in my monthly resolutions or challenges, I am already into my plans for April and May, more on that another time. Here is what I have been up to.

January – successful tried out Barre class and now attending most weeks. I really enjoy the slow small moves we do, a very different style to my usual workouts, which challenges me with balance. Highly recommend trying this out to anyone who is looking for something low impact and quite calming.

February – I decided to give up chocolate. I did Dechox, an initiative set up by The British Heart Foundation. I thought it was going to be tough and that I would count down my days until I could eat it again. Yet I haven’t. I have in the last week had a couple of things with chocolate on/in them but not bars of chocolate – even though I have been given some. It just shows how putting your mind to something can really achieve results. I feel good for not using it as a quick fix between classes when I am tired. I sleep better and I don’t really miss it. I am sure I will eat some over Easter, but only if I really want it!

Moving in March – I went back to a fitness challenge, I enjoy swimming when I get on with it, but I slipped out of the habit and kept saying to myself I didn’t have time. So, I made time, twice a week for the month. I have been swimming about half a mile each time and really enjoying the calming benefits of swimming. It has always been my go to exercise when I am stressed. I must keep it up – probably not twice a week every week, but I intend to keep it as part of my overall fitness plan.

And here we are starting April. I decided to go back to dietary choices this month, my aim is to eat 8-10 portions of fruit/veg a day. I have been reading up more on the benefit of eating more than the 5 a day we are often quoted. The governing bodies chose 5 because they thought this sounded more achievable rather than the ideal 7-10 portions. So i thought I would try to reach the higher goal to see how hard it would be. So here goes….

Bootcamp

One of my favourite classes to teach is Bootcamp, this plan lets you set your own version up at home, if the sun is out why not get into the garden or park with some friends – do some exercises as a team to keep motivated.

If you don’t have equipment you can adapt with what you do have to hand, skip on the spot, use bottles of water, cans or anything you can hold onto with some weight in. Or change up the exercises  – squats, moutain climbers, planks with shoulder taps… there are endless options.

Losing 10 pounds

I am a huge Jillian Michaels fan and I thought this post on how to lose the last 10 pounds, with a simple circuit to follow, would be a good idea for January. Losing the excess holiday weight and getting your fitness back on track can be tough, so have a read of these simple tips and try out the circuit. Add it into your regular cardio (you are doing cardio?), not hours, but a few good workouts a week should help those pounds drop off.

Keep going when you get demotivated. It’s just a bad day, we all have them! Don’t dwell – you can achieve whatever you set your mind to

January challenge

It’s going to be hard to get back to your fitness routine after Christmas and New Year celebrations, so how about starting with a simple challenge like this, working on those glutes. Add in some cardio, walking, cycling or swimming, take part in a new class or get an updated gym programme. You don’t need to spend hours a day, just aim for 3 sessions a week and tweak it until you find what works for you!

Most importantly, keep active each day – sit less, move more and that will make a lot of difference.

Happy New Year!

Two years on…..

It’s been a full two years since I changed my career to become a fitness instructor, people told me I was brave, but I didn’t really think about it like that. It just seemed to be the right time to do it. So what have I learnt……

The first few months are scary, but I decided that I would stack shelves if I needed to make ends meet and, so far, I haven’t had to, but maybe that’s because I said yes to any opportunity that came my way. I applied (and got) a job at a local gym, the gym I had been a member of, so I had a monthly income, it started as cover and has become structured weekly shifts, I am still on a casual zero-hour contract, it works for me.

In less than a year I had regular clients (about 5), and a couple of regular weekly classes, as well as frequently covering classes. I hadn’t really thought about teaching classes, but with them and the mix of 1-2-1 helped me to build confidence. Which, made me set some goals, if I was going to do this, I needed to do more, so I decided on 5 classes a week and 10 regular clients, while keeping up gym shifts but also having some free time. I also completed my kettlebell training, First Aid renewal including AED training.

I also realised that my diploma had opened up opportunities for me that I hadn’t really thought about, exercise referral was one part, it’s ended up being my niche, a very rewarding one, meeting some fantastic people who brighten up my week.

It’s been hard work, but I end my second year, reaching my goals, which I am proud of, and now setting more for next year. But I wanted to look back on what I have learnt so far, to take a minute to be proud of the things I have achieved so far and what I hope to achieve in the next year.

I have learnt:

  • that if you have faith in yourself you can achieve what you set your mind to.
  • That I can do this job well, earn a living and enjoy it
  • That taking opportunities when they appear can take you in a different direction – and sometimes that is for the best

I am proudest of

  • Taking on classes when the idea of talking in front of groups used to scare me
  • Hitting the goals I set well before deadline – it gave me faith in myself – people do want to train with me
  • I passed my level 4 theory and am on my way to another new opportunity

I want to achieve:

  • Completing my Level 4 Postural Stability Instructor course
  • Teaching a couple more classes a week to keep varying my teaching skills
  • Stop saying yes to things I really don’t want to do so I get free time to do the things I do want to do

I hope this post inspires anyone taking a leap into a new direction that even if it seems scary it can work out better than you hope. Sure, there are scary times, but if you never try then you will never know.

I start the New Year with a new class (Jan 2), and a new client lined up, which means I am heading forward to my 2018 goals and while I am excited I also know that this is a fickle business and it could all change – if it does, I will change direction and keep working hard.

Merry Christmas workout

Tis the season to be jolly, so instead of a very structured workout, why not try a game with your mates and won’t take hours! Fit this in over the Christmas holiday to keep some of those extra pounds at bay….

12 exercises of Christmas:

Sing on the song, on the first day 1 sit up, on the second day 2 leg raises and 1 sit up – and so on! Make it to day 12 and you’ll have burned off some of those treats.

Day 1 – sit up

Day 2 – 2 sit ups

Day 3 – 3 glute bridges

Day 4 – 4 x jump lunges

Day 5 – 5 x press ups

Day 6  – 6 x squat thrusts

Day 7 – 7 x crunches

Day 8 – 8 x jump squats

Day 9 – 9 x jacks

Day 10 – 10 x mountain climbers

Day 11 – 11 x squats

Day 12 – 12 x burpees

It will burn but it’s less than 15 minutes work even with rest! Look up technique for any you are unsure of. Take out jumping or put in an alternative exercise if you find some of these too challenging.

Merry Christmas x

Glute workout

This is perfect if you have limited space – you just need to get on a floor and work those glutes! Add this in to your routine, glute work is ideal for any of you who want a toned behind in that party dress, or if you are training for a marathon (walking or running). We all need strong glutes, if we don’t work them we can end up with other muscle being used and that can cause imbalances in our body – ending in possible injury. So get working those glutes!

Party season challenge

It may seem a bit too early, but believe it or not, we are rapidly heading towards party season, so lets get party ready with this little black dress 30 day challenge.

Notice I didn’t actually use the word beginning in C and ending in mas… But if you are looking to see some results before that day, you need to get moving now! A good workout routine will also help you feel great as you head into this crazy time. Enjoy.

Are you eating enough?

Trying to lose weight? Cutting calories? Sometimes counting calories can help – other people prefer to use portion control. Either way, cut back too far and you may find the weight doesn’t come down.

Scales are not the only measurement you should take – are you losing fat and gaining muscle? Losing inches? All this could be making you healthier without the scales moving at all.

But, if you are not seeing ANY changes at all, perhaps you should consider checking you are eating enough. Yes it may sound counter-productive, but not eating enough could be causing your body to go into starvation mode. Self preservation from times when food really was scarce meant we used to store any food we did eat as fat to ensure survival. We don’t need to do that now – there are food shops open 24/7, however our bodies still work on that system. If we don’t feed it regularly, with good nutrition, then it will store whatever it gets as fat, and it won’t let go until it has a regular food supply…..by which time you’ve stored up fat and have to work really hard to lose it!

Take a look at these signs you might not be eating enough and make changes to ensure you are looking after your body and not storing excess fat.

Working hard but can’t shift the pounds?

I am sure most people trying to lose a few pounds have wondered why they can’t shift it. Could you change up the workout? If you always do the same thing then your muscles adapt and the body is more efficient – using less energy, and therefore burning less calories. Or maybe it’s your diet? A few tweaks could make all the difference. Work smart, eat well and be consistent.

Have a look at these tips! 

Winter blues

Fed up of winter yet? Thankfully there are signs of spring – flowers, lighter mornings (even at 6am) and longer evenings. Hopefully that also means the cold bugs are also going to disappear. I am sure everyone has (at least once) had a cold over the winter, this year it seems to be a recurring theme.

I have been luckier than some – just had it twice and mildly both times, but for other fellow instructors I know they have missed out on work because of it. We all have our own remedies to ‘shorten’ or ‘kill’ it, Do they work or is it mind over matter? Well this feature offers some suggestions. Maybe worth a try. I definitely agree with a few, like exercising – though it’s important to know when it’s time to rest and when you are well enough to do some gentle exercise.

Here’s hoping spring really is about to be sprung!

Simple tweaks to healthy eating

There is nothing new here in the advice – eat more veg, drink less caffeine and more water etc. However, I do like the way it’s written, which seems to resonate more than most of these features do.

The advice to include dark chocolate (70% or more) every day, because it means you have a ‘treat’ but it’s actually of some nutritious benefit and it focuses on ‘me time’. Meaning you have to stop what you’re doing for a few minutes. There are other useful tips and explanations which could work for you, to make that day a little healthier (without being too hard, dull or unrealistic). Have a read here.

The January message

Are you as fed up as me by the number of weight-loss ads out there…it’s always the same, November and December we are encouraged to get out and party – eat, drink, spend etc.. Then along comes cold January, the festive time is over and here come the weight loss, slimming plans, gym  and of course loan and savings ads!

My advice to clients throughout the festive fun, was to enjoy those parties or social occasions – but to remember it’s one meal/event not the entire week, even if it is a weekly thing in the run up to Christmas! And secondly, that keeping up with as much of the fitness routine as possible will be better and more beneficial in the long term.

So I was interested to read this great feature, it struck a chord with me. Slimming Clubs can work, and, like the author, I have respect for anyone taking control of a change they want to make and achieving it in whatever way works for them. It just makes me sad that so many people wind up in a yo-yo situation with clubs/diet plans because they don’t look into the bigger issues like what the barriers are to succeeding (we all have them) and how they can implement simple and sustainable changes into a real and enjoyable life.

My advice would be that the expense of a few Personal Training sessions and possibly seeing a nutritionist or Dietitian could outweigh (no pun intended) the longterm cost of memberships to clubs or diet plans. The advice would be tailored to the individual, taking into account their actual life, goals and barriers.

As the saying goes, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always had. Maybe 2017 could be different?