Make time to reach for your toes!
Stretching is hugely beneficial to people of all ages, once again something that everyone would benefit from doing. You don’t necessarily need any equipment you just need to make the time to do it. You could do a simple stretching routine or perhaps give Pilates or yoga a try depending on your interests and experience. Many people may only start to do it when something starts to hurt but prevention is better than cure and who wouldn’t like to feel a little more flexible.
Benefits of stretching
There are four different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and static stretching. I could bore you with the detail but let’s keep it simple. Everyone could incorporate some stretching into their daily routine here are some of the benefits that you may get should you start stretching regularly. Stretching can:
1. Improve flexibility
2. Reduce muscle soreness
3. Improve stamina and muscular strength
4. Improve alignment, posture, appearance and self-image
5. Allow good muscular and joint mobility.
Ideally you want to stretch your entire body. Be methodical and treat it like any other workout, make a note of your routine and perhaps make notes on the ease of a stretch or how far you can go. If you stretch in a random fashion chances are you will forget what you have done and more importantly you may end up missing an area entirely. Planning also allows for you to focus on a particular area if there is a weakness or something that you want to improve.
This discipline has very much entered the mainstream over the past few years. When done correctly it offers many fitness benefits. With the correct form, mental focus and connection between the body and mind you can see fantastic results. It is something that can be done at home or in a class environment. Form is key so make sure you get someone to show you the moves before you get started. If you’ve never tried it before you may think that it seems like an easy workout that may not challenge you but that is certainly not the case, however fit you may be, you can be pushed to your limits in this controlled environment. Core engagement is a fundamental value of this discipline and something that can transfer into daily life and other types of training or sports. If you are looking for all round fitness then it is definitely something that you should try.
Yoga is another mainstream discipline that can improve your flexibility. As well as flexibility many people use it to aid stress relief as well as to improve their health and physical fitness. It includes practicing postures, breathing exercises and meditation. With a focus on body, mind and spirit it is a form of exercise that many people feel huge benefit from. Again it is advisable to get guidance before starting yoga as in order to experience the full benefit and enjoyment of it, it is important to know what you are doing.
5 stretches for you to try at home:
1. Standing hamstring stretch: bend over, try to reach the floor with your hands and hold.
2. Quadriceps stretch: hold one foot in your hand bringing it up behind you, bring your knees together and hold.
3. Chest/back stretch: bend your arms to 90 degree angles (one up pointing up and one pointing down) then push back as though you are standing against a wall, hold and then swap over.
4. Shoulder stretch: bring one arm across the body and hold it in position with your other arm, hold and then change over.
5. Full body stretch: reach up to the ceiling as much as you can, stretching from the floor right up to the ceiling, you should be able to feel the stretch through your whole body and hold.
These stretches are static so try and hold each position for at least 20-30 seconds before releasing.
You may want to start with a few simple stretches or perhaps you like the idea of giving pilates or yoga a try. Any or all are highly recommended to try. You can start to improve your flexibility, posture and strength today, it won’t take long for you to feel the benefits and touch your toes again!
Any questions get in touch!
Do you want to look good, feel strong and have confidence in your own skin?
Yes? Then you should start lifting weights. Everyone would benefit from weight training. A bold claim, but one I am going to demonstrate by showing you the benefits. Once you see the results that you can achieve by weight lifting you may find yourself wanting to give it a try yourself as regular training can reap many health benefits.
5 benefits of weight training
1. Improves performance. In sport and daily activities.
2. Increases bone density. Lifting weights is a great way to control bone loss as you get older and you are never too old to get started.
3. Promotes fat-free body mass. Lean muscle mass will make you look, feel and perform better as well as aid weight loss.
4. Increases strength of muscles, tendons and connective tissue. Which can lead to improved performance and reduce the risk of injury.
5. Improves body confidence. Feeling strong and looking better will make you more confident.
Common questions and concerns
Why would I want to improve my performance?
Everyone would feel the benefits of feeling stronger. Not just at the gym but it can make it easier to complete simple daily tasks too. Whether you find daily chores a challenge or not get stronger and make it easier.
I don’t want to get big muscles!
One of the most common misconceptions about weight lifting is that if you start lifting you will suddenly look like the incredible hulk. This really isn’t the case. Lean muscle mass is what gives us a tight defined figure if coupled with a relatively low body fat percentage. Building muscle mass is a goal for many people that lift weight but it is by no means the results that everyone who lifts weights get. You have to eat big to get big and if you weight train as part of a balanced, high protein diet it’s the tighter, more defined figure that you will be sculpting.
Should I lift weights?
The simple answer is yes. Depending upon your individual goals the methods and frequency of training may vary but it is recommended that you lift weights. From sports specific training to wanting to look better, you will benefit from the results of training in this way. It’s about finding the right weights routine for you. Give it a try and chances are you may start loving the new challenge of your workouts. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or have never tried lifting before make sure you seek professional advice before you start.
How do I start?
1. Get some weights. You can start at home or get down to the gym.
2. Get professional advice. Make sure you get advice so that you know what you are doing. Knowledge is key so it is vital that you get professional guidance to make sure you are lifting safely and efficiently.
3. Plan a workout routine (or get one designed specifically for you) and get a diary to keep a log of your strength gains.
I have seen fantastic results with my clients who have started to lift weights and they have found a whole new enjoyment in training. Not only that, I have experienced first-hand the difference that weight training can have on the shape of your body as opposed to just doing cardio training. If you are looking for a strong, tight and taut body then without doubt you should give training with weights a go. It can be fun, rewarding and a great challenge!
I hope this information is useful, if you have any questions about anything please get in touch.
When people want to get in shape it can often be a challenge to get started. It can be even more difficult to make working out a routine habit. There are many ways to try and make a change but I am going to focus on one potential solution. Getting yourself a training partner.
Boredom, loneliness and lack of knowledge are some of the reasons that stop people doing regular exercise sessions. As I have said before consistency is key and if these factors affect you then chances are you won’t stick with your routine for long (if you even have one!).
In an ideal world a training partner would be working towards the same sort of goals but there is no reason they cannot have different goals to yourself. Couples can often have different goals but still make a good team. You can complete similar or different workouts but having someone on a journey of their own whilst you are on yours will make it seem far less daunting. So talk to people around you and see if someone else is ready to commit to getting the results that they want. This may be your partner, friend or work colleague, if you already go to the gym you may find someone there looking for the same as you.
Advantages of having a training partner
Tips for success
So now you know the benefits it’s time to find a partner. Come up with a plan and execute it together and see the results.
Any questions please do comment below!
Something that I always make sure my clients are doing is drinking enough.
Not coffee, tea, fizzy drinks or alcohol, just water.
We need to be drinking at least 2 litres of water every single day. Consistently. Doing it for one day is fine but day in day out you should make sure you are drinking enough water.
So I have decided to do the September Water Drinking Challenge. It's free. It's all about drinking enough water everyday for 30 days.
This is long enough for you to start seeing and feeling the benefits of drinking enough water every day, so hopefully you will carry on in October and beyond, it will already be becoming a daily habit at that point, less of a challenge and more of a routine.
There is a Facebook event here https://www.facebook.com/events/1726231267629016/
Sign up so you get the support and updates throughout the month.
Good luck and keep in touch, I would love to hear your progress throughout the month.
Some people say it and many I know think it “it’s too expensive” “I can’t afford it or justify the cost” I get it. When you see the prices, especially if you’ve never looked into personal training before, it can seem expensive. “Why should I pay for that, I can just join a gym?” You could join a gym, you may or may not get results, what I can offer is knowledge and motivation. A gym membership can be great but if you don’t have the confidence or knowledge how to use the equipment, train in an appropriate way to achieve the results you are looking for, chances are you will go a few times and then not bother to go back. The key to great results long term is consistency. A consistent approach to good training and a balance diet. A big part of my job is showing people how to train so they have the confidence to go to a gym and workout in the same way. In two or three months, not only will a client look and feel better they then have the knowledge to continue training in that way. So although it may seem like a big outlay in the beginning it can save you money in the long term as you will be more efficient in your training. Not only that but it can be a huge time saver, when I worked at a gym, so often I would see people going through the motions but not getting the results that they want, if you can apply a more effective training routine you will feel far more motivated to carry on and keep achieving.
That brings me on to the other significant part of my job. Motivation. For many people it is a challenge to make themselves do exercise, plan what they are eating. So to have an appointment in the diary that they can’t miss and other plans for the rest of the week makes people far more likely to stick with it. Having me checking up on you, providing motivation, support and guidance can really help you achieve long term results. Many kick start their training routine with me for a couple of months and then drop down to fewer sessions to maintain that focus and goal setting.
Beyond this there are a number of other areas I would like to address. My prices reflect the personal service that I offer and although may seem high when you break down what you get I hope that you see good value.
Firstly, I train from a private gym in Wash Common, which gives many benefits in itself:
- a comfortable and non-intimidating private environment, with air conditioning, commercial equipment and the ability to train to your own music.
- I offer thorough step by step progress markers, with the first session including taking photos, measurements and fitness tests in order to gauge your progress as the weeks go on, as well as weekly weigh ins.
- I will give you guidance on your diet and use an online food diary system so that I can keep an eye on how you are getting on throughout the week, not having to wait for a whole week to pass. I am also not a food Nazi. The diet I suggest to you will be realistic and attainable long term.
- My focus is on weight training because this is the proven method for not just losing weight, but developing a tighter, defined figure. As a bonus to this, your workouts will emphasise strength gains which in turn makes the whole training experience fun and great for confidence. Standing on a treadmill is dull, pushing your body to the limits with weights is fun and FAR more rewarding.
- We will set goals together and then shape your workouts to reach them. I provide constant motivation during workouts and for planning your other workouts. You will be pushed hard!
- The gym consists of commercial grade gym equipment, you will learn how to approach these machines with confidence if you decide to train elsewhere.
If you train with me 2 or 3 sessions a week for 6-8 weeks. I know that you will get results and you will hopefully have attained a wealth of knowledge that you would be confident to apply on your own or at a gym.
I am a constant point of contact and will motivate you throughout, something which you will not get with a standard gym membership, that really only gives you access to equipment.
I always recommend a free consultation, a chance for you to come round, see my gym and have a chat in more detail about what sort of package you may be interested in. If cost is an issue, you can split the cost between a friend or partner.
I hope that helps to explain what I offer. If you have any questions at all please get in touch!
I just wanted to show you my next article in NWN Out and About! Really happy to get to share this with you.
I hope you get some useful information, ideas or inspiration. If you have any questions please do comment below or get in touch.
Just a quick note today...
Have you seen my feature in Out and About January edition? (www.newburytoday.co.uk) I was very excited for the opportunity to give people in the local area some useful tips to kick start the year and keep on track with health and fitness goals. If you've missed it, here it is...
Any questions at all please do comment below or get in touch.
A great way to start the year is to set goals for the year ahead. Think short and long term. Set short term goals such as cutting down on sugar and increasing your daily water intake. Then choose long term goals for later in the year or a year from now, it may be a weight goal or to complete an event.
I know that sometimes it can be hard to set your goals out and put an appropriate plan into place. So have a think about what it is you would like to achieve and I can help you formulate a plan.
Let's start the year as you mean to go on. Good luck!
Sometimes the idea of having a healthier lifestyle can seem daunting. Many think they have to ban the things that they enjoy and make drastic changes. This may be the case and for some this is a good approach. But you will be amazed who a few small changes to your daily habits can make a huge difference.
Why not give these 5 a go...
1. Drink at least 2 litres of water each day.
2. Reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.
3. Reduce the amount of salt and sugar in your diet, no sugars in your tea and no chocolate bars/crisps as an afternoon snack.
4. Increase the amount of steps you take each day. Walk to collect the kids from school, go for a gentle evening walk etc.
5. Try and get at least 8 hours sleep each night.
Even though Christmas is just around the corner there is no reason to put off making these changes today! You may have a few bad days in the next month but the others can be good.
Make the changes and let me know how you get on!
I was watching yet another food based TV advert the other day when I was reminded how big portion sizes have become. The advert in question showed all sorts of meals including the advertised product and it was when a child's plate was shown that it really struck me. This representation of a child's meal was at best an adults size meal, if not bigger.
So I thought I would do a little investigating. I wanted to find out how much portion sizes have changed in the last few decades. The changes between the 1950s and today are massive. Portion sizes are up to 4 times bigger. FOUR times! I find this a pretty shocking statistic. This coupled with the fact that we are becoming less active certainly goes some way in explaining the obesity epidemic that is a constantly growing problem.
"Increased plate, cup and portion sizes – especially of ready meals - are another factor: research by the British Heart Foundation found that in the last 20 years, individual chicken pies grew in size by 40 per cent and curry meals by 50 per cent."*
I think one of the reasons we are eating more than we need to stems from most of our childhoods. Who can remember their parents telling them to finish all of their food? You can't leave the table until it's all gone... I think this is a pretty common habit that we have all gotten into. We don't want to waste the food that we put on our plates. Now I am a strong believer in not wasting food but I also think it's time we start to consider our portion sizes more carefully. Why not try and measure out your portions or try and dish up a spoonful less each mealtime. Making a small change like this will probably not only reduce the calories that you consume, you may also save money as you will find yourself needing slightly less food each week and I think you will still be full once you've finished your meal. Another challenge to set yourself is thinking about how full you are feeling when you are eating. When you reach that point of feeling satisfied, stop. Stop eating and see how much you have leftover. The first few times that you do this, you may find that you have wasted a little bit of food. But what you will learn is how big your portions need to be for you to be satisfied. Which I am sure will save you wasting food and money in the future. Don't forget that everyone's portions should not be the same size! We are all different shapes and sizes and have different activity levels. If you have a family of 2 adults and 2 children and you fed them all very similar portion sizes chances are at least 2 if not 3 people will be getting either too much or too little food than is ideal to maintain a healthy weight (usually too much!). Remember, quality not quantity. So, give it a try and let me know how you get on...
Thanks for reading, until the next time,