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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!