If you are looking to improve your health and fitness a good way to fit this into a busy lifestyle is HIIT. HIIT or high intensity interval training is a popular method used in the fitness industry that you may have heard of especially in the last few months as popularity seems to keep increasing. It generally involves bursts of intense exercise, with rest periods and takes place over a relatively short period of time, generally 15-30 minutes but can be as little as 4. It is a very effective way of training but it isn’t suitable for everyone and you should check with your doctor before you start such an exercise programme. It is also important when you are performing new exercises to warm up appropriately and make sure you can execute the moves safely and correctly before doing it at the intensity required for HIIT. You may need to start with an easy routine then increase the difficulty, working up to the more challenging workouts.
Why do HIIT?
There are many benefits to HIIT.
HIIT workouts you can try
Running (you can apply this to walking, bike or hills depending on fitness levels and goals)
Beginner: 20 seconds sprint, 1 minute rest (either walk or stop). Repeat 10 times.
Intermediate: 60 seconds run, 2 minutes rest. Repeat 5 times.
Advanced: 2 minutes run, 30 seconds rest. Repeat 10 times.
HIIT targeting the Core
30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Mountain climbers (up)
Laying ankle tap
Laying ab cycle
Mountain climbers (diagonally)
Full Body HIIT
30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
Sprint on the spot
Record your workout, exercises and times. That way you know what you can do for your next session and push yourself harder. You want to be giving maximum effort to get your heartrate up during your work period, during your rest period your heart rate will come back down ready for the next interval. You may find it useful to get yourself a heartrate monitor. This way you can track how hard you are working, how quickly you are recovering and see improvement in your fitness over time.
Hopefully you will give HIIT a go and try something new, for more workouts or HIIT to target your specific needs get in touch, we are always happy to help.
Now of course, this is not me, I don't hate exercise. But it is something that I hear time and time again from various sources. People don't exercise because they don't like it. And a conversation with an old friend, client and health professional got me thinking a few days ago.
You know, I wasn't the sporty kid at school, I wasn't the one my peer group would have expected to end up as a personal trainer. You would have found me in the library not the sports hall at lunchtime. I did always like swimming and have to say always enjoyed sports at primary school but as the school teams passed me by at secondary school the very usual route taken by many girls of less and less sport ensued.
My new found love of exercise came a few years down the line, when I realised the importance of exercise for my overall health and well being (I was far too sedentary for my liking and this needed to change) and I took the leap of joining a small, friendly, independent gym. Little did I know this action would change the entire path of my life. I had never been in a gym before, I didn't know if I would like it but I made the decision to give it a go and I never looked back. That first step got me trying all sorts of different activities over the years, I've lifted weights, joined in with various fitness classes from Step to Spin, Pilates, got myself a mountain bike and participated in races and running too. I have to say I have enjoyed these things for many different reasons but what's most important is the fact that if I hadn't tried it once, I wouldn't have known that it is something that I enjoy and now choose to carry on with.
So I guess it's time to come back to my original point: don't say "I hate exercise". If you have given every sport, or activity in the world a try, fair enough, I guess you can. But you know what, I truly believe that everyone has at least one thing that they enjoy, find fun, want to keep doing. You just may have never tried it to find out. If you are someone who doesn't currently look forward to exercising this is my advice to you: try something new. You may not even realise that you are working out, for many I guess this would be the best part of all. You may find it useful to have a think about why you haven't enjoyed exercise in the past. Is it the feeling, you prefer to work individually or work better as part of a team, lack of knowledge...the reasons are endless, but have a think about what it is that you haven't enjoyed in the past and it may guide you in the right direction as to the sort of thing to try or avoid.
Good luck on your quest and please let me know what you find!
For most, I honestly believe setting New Year resolutions are a waste of time...
Taking the time to think about what you would like to achieve in the coming months and year ahead is a fantastic idea. And that is what this time of year allows. A time for reflection on what you may or may not have achieved in the last 12 months and what you would like to focus on going forward.
It’s really quite an exciting time. New things to keep you moving forward and driven for the year ahead.
My advice to you is to set yourself realistic long, medium and short term goals. Don’t just ban or cut things out (there are of course the odd exceptions i.e giving up smoking etc) look at what you want to achieve and set yourself sensible and achievable goals. Keep focused, make regular progress and try and find some fun in what you do. Enjoying something makes it seem so much less of a chore and improves the chances of you sticking with it throughout the year.
So I wish you good luck with all of your goals for 2018, set your mind to what you want to achieve, figure out what you need to do it and work hard every day to reach them.
Happy New Year... wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2018!
It is something I hear all too often, “I’ve left it too late”, “there is no point starting now” or “it isn’t good idea to start at my age I may hurt myself”, the list could go on. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s never too late to begin or restart exercising and whatever your age exercise is fantastic benefit to the body and mind. The NHS guidelines suggests that everyone should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. The easiest way to achieve this is do something every day for at least 10 minutes. If you do 30 minutes five days a week you will be able to meet the guidelines. This is the minimum amount so don’t stop if you feel you can do more! To achieve the moderate activity threshold, you will need to do activities that raise your heart rate. Examples of activities that you can do include brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike or mowing the lawns. In addition to these activities it is also recommended that you “work your muscles” by doing activities such as weight training, carrying heavy loads and gardening, for example digging, would put your muscles under load.
A simple change that everyone can make is to try and sit less. Many people spend large periods of the day sitting, for some it is up to 10 hours every day. Whether it be watching the TV, at the computer, driving, reading or listening to music most of the time people are sat whilst doing them. If these are common activities for you and you are aware that you spend long periods of time not moving the key is to try to get up and walk about regularly. Ideally every 15 minutes or so but try not to go longer than 60 minutes without getting up. Some of the activities that you sit to do may be able to be done whilst standing or even walking around, such as making a phone call.
One of my focus’ when I train people is lifting weights and being able to lift themselves. This is something that can seem incredibly daunting to some people. Not only that but there is a common misconception that it isn’t beneficial to start lifting weights. But as the joints and muscles start to ache this is exactly the time to make sure you use them and keep or make them stronger.
Muscles support your skeleton and joints, if they deteriorate and weaken the chances are your posture and general mobility will reduce. Weight lifting is proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and preserve bone density. As well as reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis and type 2 diabetes. Not only this but it can also improve sleep and reduce depression. All of which I think we would all like to improve or reduce the chances of them happening or worsening.
It’s never too late to start doing more and trying something new like lifting weights so why not give it a go. If you are unsure or want to make sure it is suitable for you to get started it is recommended that you discuss it with your doctor and you may also want some guidance from a fitness professional to get you started and moving in the right direction. The benefits are numerous, make a start and get ready to feel better on the inside and out don’t let age be a reason to stop you.
1. Get up and move throughout the day
2. Do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week
3. Work your muscles by doing weight bearing activities
4. Be prepared to try something new
Thanks for reading, until the next time...
The festive season is full of parties, food and alcohol and although it is the time to be merry it may be worth taking a few measures to ensure our waistbands don’t expand to the size of Santa Claus! No one wants those post-Christmas blues because they have put on a few extra pounds so try these neat tricks to stay on top.
By making a few good choices when you have a tipple or have a meal you can maintain a reasonable calorific income.
1. Alcohol: Spirits with a mixer or prosecco rather than wine and beer. Drink lots of water during this time.
2. Nibbles and Starters: go for the nuts and fruits when snacking. Look for the protein and salads for starters and try and avoid the bread.
3. Main Course: The trimmings are the bit that can tip the scales in terms of calories. So focus on the protein of the meal, for most the chirstmas turkey and then have lots of vegetables (especially the carrots, sprouts and swede). There is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy every part of your Christmas dinner just keep a check on how much you are having, portion control goes a long way on keeping the calories in check.
4. Desert: you can either go for the healthy option, such as fruit, give it a miss, share with a friend or plan the meals at which you intend to have whatever desert you want.
5. Keep moving, it’s easy to go from one place to another always sitting down, from the car journey to the relatives house, why not meet in a park or at a local nature reserve so everyone gets some fresh air and exercise. Christmas party games are another great way to keep active.
6. Short workouts. Don’t let a lack of time be your reason for not working out over the festive season. If you can’t make your usual 1 hour sessions try and complete a 20 minute high intensity workout.
7. Get walking. You’ve finished your Christmas dinner and you want to sit in front of the tv, get up, out on your gloves, hat and scarf and go for a walk, that sit down afterwards will feel even more deserved after stretching your legs.
8. Stop eating when you are full. It’s so easy to over indulge and have ginormous plates of food at this time of year but you should still stop when you feel full.
9. Don’t skip meals. Even though you may know that you will be having a more extravagant meal than usual don’t send your body into starvation mode because you know you are going to eat later on in the day. Also try to eat slowly so your body realises when it is full.
10. Drink a glass of water. Before a meal and when drinking alcohol a great way to reduce the amount that you are eating and reducing dehydration is to have a glass of water.
11. Portion control. Try to not overeat. Often you can make good choices but eat much more than usual and that alone can stack on the pounds. Quality not quantity.
12. Go for a run or a cycle ride.
Hopefully this will help you enjoy your Christmas parties and Christmas dinner a little bit more this year safe in the knowledge that you are more likely to feel good going into the New Year.
As always, please get in touch if you need any help formulating a plan of action...
I’m sure that many of you will have heard the term “core” before. Some of you may know what it is, some may know how you use yours and others have no idea at all. I’m going to take a look at why it is important that we all know what it is and how we work it.
What is our “core”?
When we talk about our “core” we are referring to the muscles in our torso, generally people think of their stomach muscles and lower back. Specifically, the major muscles included are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae (sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius. In summary the core involves many muscles some are superficial and can be seen on the surface and others are muscles that lie deep within our torso, it is important to be aware of this when looking to strengthen and engage your core. It isn’t just about bracing your “6-pack”.
When do we use our core?
- Daily tasks: from housework to gardening, every time you bend, lift, twist or carry something your core will be involved.
- Sports: from walking to running, racquet sports to cycling, swimming to golf, you will be using your core to do so. If your core is weak you may find it difficult to do certain movements or improve technique. You may experience pain whilst performing these activities such as lower back pain, if you find this it is worthwhile checking how strong you core is and if you are engaging your core correctly whilst performing that activity.
- Posture: in order to stand tall with good posture you need to ensure you engage your core muscles and that they are strong and working correctly and effectively. If you find that you have bad posture it may be because you have weak core muscles.
How to engage it
In simple terms, you should take a big breath and then you want to try and imagine that you are pulling your tummy button towards your spine at the same time as ‘drawing up’ from the pelvic floor. If you are unsure about how it feels to engage the pelvic floor imagine you want to stop yourself from going to the toilet. Think of the action as ‘hollowing’ out your tummy area rather than just bracing your abs.
Some find it quite challenging to get the hang of but once you’ve got it, it is invaluable for all movements whether it be day to day or exercise.
There are a number of tests that can be carried out to assess core function. If you would like to find out how well your core functions, get in touch.
Exercises to strengthen your core
Here are some exercises that you could try at home (seek professional advice if you have any medical issues or are unsure how to carry them out)
Lie face down on the floor with feet together and forearms on the ground. Draw abs in and tighten glutes. Lift entire body off the ground until it forms a straight line from head to toe, resting on forearms and toes. Hold. Slowly return body to the ground, keeping chin tucked and back flat. If your lower back starts to ache, or you are dropping or raising your hips out of position either make it easier by dropping down to your knees or rest before trying again. Time how long you can hold it for and try and improve each time you do it.
Lie on back with legs extended and hands folded across chest. Pull right knee in toward chest while twisting left shoulder toward right knee. Return to starting position and repeat with other knee and shoulder.
Balance on hands and knees. Lift right leg and left arm, extending right leg to the rear and reaching forward with left arm. Hold. Repeat with opposite arm and leg.
Hopefully that gives you a little more understanding of your core and how important it is.
Any questions 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.
People so often look to make changes to their lifestyles. It's easy to get out of the habit of exercise and healthy eating routines become out of sync from the norm. This time of year is a great opportunity to take a look at your current routines and see what changes you can make to see an improvement in your health and fitness over the following months.
One of the most important things in order to improve your health and fitness is to be consistent. It can be tempting to try something for a few days and then go on to try something new. But the key for success to be consistent with each thing that you do. So you may introduce something to your routine and a few days later add something else but it is vital that you maintain the first thing that you started too. To see if something is working will usually take a reasonable period of time, it is rarely the case that you will see changes overnight but stick with it and the changes can be massive. That is the general principle and I will now give you some examples of the sorts of changes that you can make.
These are just a few ways in which you can make changes to your lifestyle, you may want to just make one change or several changes to each aspect for a healthy lifestyle, whatever you choose to do remember to be consistent, stick with it and ask for help if you need it.
Thanks for reading!
Water is great for your health. From drinking it to swimming in it. It should be part of our daily lives. The health benefits are for all ages, young, old and everyone in between.
Health benefits of swimming
Low impact: less impact through the joints, allowing for greater intensity without the wear and tear on the joints. It is particularly helpful if you are recovering from injury or suffer from arthritis.
Good for your cardiovascular system: swimming with your face under water allows your body to adapt to using oxygen more efficiently. The results can include lower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure and improved performance in other sports such as running.
Improves endurance: the more efficiently your body can use oxygen and the stronger your body gets the more performance your body with have when participating in endurance sports such as running.
Improves flexibility: the swimming strokes can get you moving in ways that you wouldn’t normally do in day to day life. This can make it tough to start with but will soon help improve your flexibility and get you moving more freely.
Reduces the risk of illness: taking up swimming can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Everyone can do it: as long as you are actually able to swim no one is restricted. Whether you are recovering from an injury, a triathlete, a pregnant or new mum swimming is a great workout.
Stress release: as with all exercise the lift of mood that can come from completing a workout can be hugely beneficial. Boosting your mood and reducing your stress levels.
An exercise for life: swimming is one of the few skills you learn for life (and why it is so important that everyone takes the time to learn) not only could it save your life one day it can open up many experiences in life. Ever wanted to swim with dolphins or go snorkelling or jet skiing? Being able to swim will allow you to try such an experience should the opportunity arise.
It’s never too late to learn
As someone who has taught people to swim I know how important it is. It is a life skill and something that you can pass on to your children. Ideally, you would learn to swim as a child and over all childhood hobbies I believe swimming should be prioritised as it could genuinely save your life one day. If you have reached adulthood and think it is too late I highly recommend you getting some lessons, you will be surprised how quickly you can pick up technique and be a competent swimmer before you know it. Not only would that allow you to work out by swimming it also helps when you are trying to keep up with your children
Don’t fancy doing lengths at the pool
Another way to get fitter in the water is aqua aerobics. You could do a class or even do some moves by yourself. Simply trying to walk in water is a challenge, give it a try next time you head to the pool. The resistance of the water really does create an environment for a great workout.
Opening water swimming can be done all over the country, so if you are looking for a challenge or don’t want to be stuck in the pool go online and find your nearest location.
Don’t forget that the water can be dangerous and should always be treated with respect, something to be aware of and perhaps go through with your children and grandchildren is the WATER SAFETY code.
S pot the dangers, check for hazards before you enter any water and when out and about do not get too close to the edge of banks.
A dvice should be followed. This includes reading signs that are situated around water, swimming only in safe zones, ideally with a lifeguard present and wearing safety equipment when appropriate.
F riends, you should never swim alone and someone else should be aware of where you are swimming, if something should go wrong someone needs to be able to know where to look.
E mergency. It is important to know what to do in an emergency situation, call 999 or 112, shout loudly to attract attention and make sure you never enter the water to save someone.
As always, any questions please comment or get in touch.
You may be considering getting help to achieve your health and fitness goals, and looking into getting yourself a personal trainer. Many people may see the price of personal training sessions and think they are expensive. This is understandable but there are many advantages to getting yourself a good personal trainer. By taking a look at the reasons why people may need a personal trainer and what a P.T. can do may make the price tag seem better value for money than you first thought.
Why would you want or need a personal trainer and what can they do for you?
1. You are not seeing results from your current training. A trainer can look at your current exercise and dietary habits and help you make changes in order to achieve your goals effectively.
2. You don’t know what to do or where to start. They can help you determine goals, hold you accountable and motivate you. A personal trainer can give the knowledge needed to carry out complete and effective routines to achieve your goals. This knowledge is something you can potentially use for the rest of your training life and habits that will stay with you.
3. You find your current workouts boring. They can give you fresh ideas or reignite your interest in healthy living and training effectively to achieve the body that you want.
4. You want/like to be challenged. Motivation is extremely important. For example within a session if you have a trainer pushing you to do that extra rep and spotting you in a safe manner if you are lifting weights, the chances are you will get pushed harder than if you had trained by yourself. This in turn should also help give you greater strength and more confidence in your own abilities.
5. You want to learn and have the ability to work out on your own but lack the knowledge to do so. Once you get given this foundation of knowledge it gives you the freedom to be confident that you know how to start.
6. You need accountability and motivation to stay on track. You are much less likely to skip a workout if you have an appointment with a trainer, this can help you get into the routine of training making it easier to carry on if you stop having regular P.T.
7. You have a specific illness, injury or condition that needs to be addressed in some way. Training can be focused depending on the needs of the client. An injury or area of weakness can be focused on and improved.
8. You are training for a sport or event. Training can be designed to focus upon performance goals to achieve in a particular sport or event.
9. You want supervision and support while you train. Having someone able to observe and step in when needed whilst you train is useful as this is safe way to learn and check technique. Even with mirrors there can be certain techniques that can be difficult to pick up on by yourself, a good P.T. will constantly be checking and adjusting your position when necessary.
10. You want to be able to work out at home but need guidance in order to do it safely and effectively. A trainer can design and show you how to execute home workouts. Once again, gaining the knowledge to carry out workouts effectively.
Having a personal trainer can mean different things to each individual. Where one person may be looking for a long term training mentor, others may just need a few sessions to keep them motivated and on track with their health and fitness goals. Knowledge is the key component to training and achieving results. There are many training packages available, personally I try and tailor them to an individuals needs. By offering different session lengths, the option of training with a friend so you can share the cost and being flexible helps make it more affordable for all. You can book a FREE consultation to discuss your requirements further.
As a Personal Trainer and Swimming teacher my aim is to help others achieve their health and fitness goals.