Core

This is a tough core workout, well worth giving it a go. Why is core work so important? Think about it – core is the centre, where everything comes from. It’s the trunk of your body – if it’s strong and stable you will be able to move more easily, pick up heavier items, walk further or run faster. So give this a try!

Hit the BARRE

Barre is a ballet/Pilate style class that works your body at a slower pace and i generally lower impact than many other exercise classes. This little routine works the full body, giving you a taster of what you can expect. No need to be a ballet dancer! I qualified to teach this recently and I am definitely not a ballerina! Give it a try..

October squat challenge

Here’s a new challenge for you. Squats. Concentrate on form, Use a mirror if you can – check you are not bending forward and dropping your chest to your knees (a common mistake) or that you aren’t arching your back as you lower down (this can cause low back pain).

Give this a go! 

Jump rope

A simple workout session – using a skipping rope and your own bodyweight or maybe a resistance band. Although this feature suggests a plan, you can always alter it by changing duration, number of repetitions or choice of exercise. Keep it simple and you can do it anywhere.

Deadlift

A fantastic exercise, functional and one that makes you feel strong! You can do it with bands, dumb bells and bar bells, and this feature shows you some variations to keep it interesting. 

A deadlift is basically how you pick things up – that simple. Working on your technique with the basic deadlift will help you when it comes to picking up heavy boxes, shopping, children and so on… And once you have got the basic lift form corrected you can increase weights or variety of exercise. Add it into your next workout!

300 workout

I love this type of workout so simple 300 reps and you are  done…give it a go and see how easy it is(n’t).

September challenge

If you have read my blog  you will have seen my running challenges, this month I am kicking off a bigger one, aiming for a 10km distance, the first time in a few years, I will have run this far.

If that seems a bit too much, then maybe try this 4-week running plan, aimed at getting you to run for 30 minutes, don’t worry about the distance, just focus on slowly building up, listen to your own body, and you will progress or improve your running pace/distance/duration.

Try following this programme.

Abs

Now we (some) are back at the gym, you can add in this weighted core workout to finish off your usual routine. Just remember that if you haven’t been working out regularly over these last few months, you will need to take it steady. Don’t assume you can do exactly what you did before. Slowly increase your intensity/repetitions/weight until you are back to your pre-COVID sessions and then work on progressing further.

August challenge

August has arrived! Many of us won’t be going on holiday anywhere too far afield this month so sticking to some sort of routine should be fairly easy. I signed up to one of my favourite trainers to take part in a challenge #takeback2020 – the app is brilliant but has a fee attached to the premium workout (there are some excellent short free workouts too). If you fancy being put through your paces by Jillian Michaels then download it and sign up! That’s my challenge sorted – I am adding in running and swimming (if I can get a place) and I may even add in a spinning class (space permitting). We all just have to be a bit more organised with our fitness plans!

Alternatively, if signing up to an app isn’t your bag, Jillian has also created this 30-minute session you could add into your routine. 

Do you enjoy running?

Maybe, like me, you have been a runner on and off (mostly off in my case), then you may appreciate these tips to make it more enjoyable. 

Sometimes I love it, luckily I live near a lovely park with different options for my runs so I don’t get bored, but sometimes it just doesn’t work for me. My legs aren’t happy and my brain keeps telling me not to do it. I rarely come back from a run, however short, wishing I hadn’t done it though. I guess that could be why I keep doing it.

At the moment running is one form of exercise that seems easy to do, it’s free, it gets you outside, it can really boost your mood. Just don’t forget to warm up and start slowly and stretch post run!

Running

So many more people are taking up running at this time, it’s great to get outdoors and run/walk/cycle. Just being outside boosts  your mood, vitamin D (at this time of year) and is a perfect way to get some time out, especially if you are living in a busy household.

How do you start running? Just grab shoes and go? Well to look after your body I would suggest having a read of this feature and consider some of the points. If nothing else make sure you start with some gentle movement to get the body warmed up for running and don’t forget to stretch afterwards!

Other things to consider are – your shoes! Posture – do you get any pain? Work on strengthening glutes, back and core as these are usually areas that cause problems. And enjoy it!

Planks

A plank can be done any time and anywhere, no equipment needed and with so many variations, you can always find an option to suit. Make sure whichever option you choose (on your knees or in full plank) that your hips don’t dip too low (you will feel it in your back) or too high (you will feel it in your shoulders). Keep the core engaged and squeeze the glutes. Try these out! 

28-day at home challenge

We are all stuck at home at the moment, and using gyms is out of the question (unless you have your own at home), so here is a challenge to keep you fit over the next 28 days.

Work to your level and don’t forget to warm up at the start. cool down and stretch at the end. Give it a go!

knee pain

A very common issue seen in gyms is knee pain! Sometimes this is caused by postural imbalance from poor posture created by an injury or habit. Quite often there is something else not in the right alignment – hips, ankle, poor core or glute activation. So strengthening the muscles around the knee area can help stabilise and reduce pain. Here are a few exercises and some more details and resource that can help you deal with this pain. 

If you have ongoing pain then it is advisable to get referred for a scan or physio to find out what the problem is exactly.

30-day bodyweight challenge

Since we aren’t going to the gym for our workouts (maybe you never did), this challenge can be done at home or in your garden, using just your own bodyweight. Keeping active is really important.

Try this 30-day challenge.

And if you are taking part on online classes please check the person you are following is qualified.

Standing ab work

Some ab work to keep your core strong, without having to get on the floor. At this time when you may be stuck inside or have small spaces this upright workout might be a good one for you.

If you don’t have any weights use cans/bottles or just reduce the speed of the exercise, by keeping the muscles under tension it encourages them to work harder.

Give this a go.

Glutes

It’s not all about the perfect looking bum. Having good strong glutes is actually important for even the simplest of things – walking. If you have weak glute muscles then you may find you have lower back or knee pain amongst other things.

So it’s important to put some work in to strengthen them, not only will it reduce your risk of injury, you could also improve performance in sport or simply just walk  further or for longer.  Try these exercises as part of your gym session – or try some of them at home.

Don’t forget to stretch after you have worked them – tight muscles will more likely cause injury!

 

Cardio HIIT challenge

Spring is coming – soon – I hope – so it won’t be long before we all start thinking about summer holidays and the summery clothing. And that may mean we need to start putting in a bit more effort to feel better about how we look in the swimwear.

But it’s not all about looking good. HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – is a great way to workout, especially if you are short on time. It will get the heart rate up in  short bursts which improves cardiovascular function (meaning your heart works more efficiently). If you are new to HIIT take it steady at first and build up. It will also improve strength and is an ideal way to cross train – in other words doing a mix of training to improve performance for whatever goal you are working towards.

Give it a go! 

Posture improvement

Here is a core workout that can help not only improve your core strength but also your posture.

The core, a it sounds, is the central point of the body, by having strength in the core – which are the muscles around the back/stomach – will enable you to keep good posture, we spend lots of time sitting or leaning forward and this can weaken the muscles, eventually creating poor posture. Poor posture also increases risk of injury and falls.

Time to get that core engaged!

Pelvic Floor

Pelvic floor work is really important, not just for those who have given birth, but for everyone. Not only will they help with flatter abdominals but can reduce back pain and more embarrassing issues like leakage from  coughing/sneezing. Don’t wait for their to be an issue, these exercises can easily be added into any workout.

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!

Strength HIIT

HIIT with a difference. This time it’s about strength work. If you can get into the gym for some time out this workout might be just what you need. It’s less about speed and more about tempo, with good form. Still a short workout, so won’t take much time!

Quick workout

A quick workout to get you through the party season. Not actually HIIT but a speedy session that won’t take more than half an hour. If you have a band and some sort of weight – cans/water bottles, you can do this at home. Give it a go couple of times this week.

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.

30-day HIIT challenge

You may or may not like HIIT, but you can adapt this 30-day challenge to make it less intense, 2-3 sessions a week would keep up your fitness over the busy time. Slowly increase your intensity or the length of the sessions as you feel it gets easier.

See how I get on with my December challenge here.

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!

Bodyweight workout

It’s January, resolution time of year – and for many, that means getting into a fitness regime. If you have had a couple of weeks off, coming back from injury/illness or a newbie, bodyweight workouts are a good place to start. This one takes about 30 minutes. 

Don’t forget to warm up and stretch after! Do what you can, start off slow and build up. And enjoy it! Working out should never be a chore – it’s keeping you healthy and helping you do more for longer.

5 minute abs

This little ab blast can be done anywhere, with no equipment, when time is not on your side. Ideally you will do this as part of your workout routine, but if you don’t have one just get started with this.

30-min workout

I love short workouts, easy to fit in between clients or chores but still give you a complete body workout. GIve this one a go, adjust weights as you need to and start of slowly building as your fitness improves.

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.

Abs & back

I enjoy a core workout, the whole core that is – back and abs are really important as they hold you upright and back pain is so debilitating so make sure you look after yours by strengthening it. This workout can get you started… 

Glute work

Strong glutes are important for everyday life and for developing your strength and power in training – whether that is for running a 5k or a marathon, a triathlon, a hike or achieving a personal best in the weights room. Poor activation of these muscles could cause other problems such as over using hamstring or lower back muscles. Try this simple workout to get started or improve technique and strength.

Cardio Ab circuit

If you want to get your cardio, strength & core done in one workout, this circuit could be for you. Build up as you feel able, increasing weights and duration/repetitions as you start finding it easier. Working out should be fun and leave you feeling worked but not wrung out! Enjoy…

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

FIT in 14 minutes

While you can’t actually get fit in just 14 minutes, at this busy time, you can fit in a 14 minute workout at least once this week – maybe twice? And that will go some way to getting you fit. Give it a go!

At-home workout

Time is precious, at this time of year even more so, so why not add this at-home workout into your day, it will be easier to get it done if all you need is a spare few minutes – no travel to the gym and you can always break it down into parts.

Challenge to Christmas

The lights (and in some cases trees) are up, the party food is everywhere, so now would be a good time to get party ready. Try this simple challenge in the run up to Christmas, a little a day can make a big difference, so try to fit in this and as much activity each day as you can! Don’t forget that even Christmas shopping will burn calories and make your muscles work…

Tabata training

How about a quick tabata circuit to challenge yourself. Build up to the full circuit if you are new or find it hard, progress the time and moves as you can. Enjoy!

Walking to fitness

Sometimes all you need to get a bit fitter, maybe even lose a few pounds, are a pair of trainers and a path, whether that be in the park, along a river or just around the block. This walking plan can get you fit, try it with some friends – so you get a catch up at the same time, just don’t reward yourself with cake after!

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.

Yoga workout

How about working on flexibility. It’s so important, but something (myself included) probably don’t do enough of. So here is a 10 minute session to add into your day, give it a go this week.

September double challenge

It’s the start of autumn, new school term and the lead up to Christmas (can’t believe I wrote that word already!). So lets have a double challenge to get us ready for the winter months.

Work your glutes and your arms with these two challenges!

Cardio challenge

For this month I thought we would add in some cardio. Go at your own pace and build it up if you’re just starting out, for the more frequent exercisers go for the harder version of each exercise. Enjoy.