Motivation is a funny thing. Of course, it’s high at the start, when you’re just starting out training or getting into a new nutrition plan. However, this feeling can often disappear after a few weeks or a few months. Even the most dedicated of athletes or gym goers can ‘fall off the wagon’ and not feel like doing their workouts. When this happens, the last thing you want to do is to give up. Your workouts just may need to be made more challenging or exciting. Your nutrition plan may need tweaking, or you may just need a week off or a holiday to recharge. There are three tried and tested ways to ensure that you continue to show up even when you’re not feeling like it.
1. Change it up
They say change is good, and when it comes to training and nutrition this is certainly true. The key is to keep your workouts as varied and challenging as possible as often as possible, while building on the fundamentals. The body is an incredible machine, and it adapts to change very quickly, which is why you need to keep it guessing. You can up your weights, try a new form of training or switch up your meals and training schedule. Whatever it is, try to mix it up every so often so as to keep your enthusiasm and energy high!
2. Measure regularly
What gets measured gets managed. This means that if you’re not measuring your progress, your essentially guessing! That’s why it’s important to do regular body fat, weight, and general strength measurements to indicate where you’ve come from, where your currently at and where you want to go. With the help of your personal trainer or coach, make sure you’re regularly measuring your progress. This is a sure-fire way to ensure your motivation stays at a good level, even in those low points. You can even measure your resting heart rate, track your sleep quality, your body measurements and also the intangible markers such as mood, confidence, wellbeing, and quality of life.
3. Make it fun
This is the most important and determining factor in staying on track. You see, we get bored easily. Keeping things fun in the gym and the kitchen makes things a lot easier and doable in the long term. Take up a new sport or hobby, try a new finisher in the gym or even schedule two nights a week to cook a healthy meal with your kids or partner. Variety is the name of the game here, and it can really go along way to ensuring you stay the course and achieve your goals long term!
Warming up before a workout is crucial. A typical warm up can take anywhere between five and ten minutes and should focus on dynamic stretching, mobility and core exercises. Here’s three key reasons why you should always do a warmup before your gym session.
1.You’ll reduce your risk of injury
The last thing anyone wants is an injury. Injury prevention is one of the main functions of a solid warm up. With that in mind, make sure you do a few stretches and exercises with the guidance of a personal trainer before your workout. A good warmup will go along way to making sure you stay injury free.
2.They help you mentally prepare
We’ve all been there, rushing to the gym to make our 6am or 6pm workout. You arrive and your flustered, so don’t make it worse by jumping straight into your already challenging workout! Take your time. The warm up really helps to signal the start of your workout. It’s about easing in to a workout, increasing the intensity at a steady pace while not feeling overwhelmed. Use your warm up to think about what your about to do, and why you’re doing it too. This will ensure that both your mind and body will be in sync, and ready to deliver a great session!
3.They help to get our muscles and body ready
A good warm up will help raise your body temperature, which is extremely important when it comes to the more strenuous and demanding lifts in your workout. Without a proper warmup, you will be coming in cold, literally. We want to be warm when we workout, allowing our muscles to contract and relax more easily. This will ensure that you are able to complete your session with minimum risk of injury and also perform optimally.
The benefits of a good warm up are clear and they will certainly help you achieve your goals in the gym. Once you’ve warmed up, both physically and mentally, you’ll be ready to tackle even the most demanding of workouts!
In our fast paced society its becoming more and more important to look after both our physical and mental health. We need to look after ourselves, and there is no better way than through regular exercise. The link between regular activity and good mental health has been well documented in recent times. Here's four key ways that regular training and exercise can help you feel your best!
1. Better physical health means better mental health. Improving your health and longevity with exercise can save you a great deal of hassle in the short run by strengthening your immunity to colds and the flu and the long run by helping you stay healthier longer, and enjoy life more because of it.
2. Exercise improves confidence. Simply put, exercise can help you lose weight, tone up, and maintain a healthy glow and smile. The benefits of exercises are endless, but improving your confidence and self worth has to be near the top of that list. You may also start to feel an upturn in your mood as you train more frequently and with more consistency.
3. Exercise can be a source of social support. We are social creatures by nature. and the benefits of having a strong support network cannot be understated. Physical activities can be social activities as well, whether it be a chat with your personal trainer or making friends with fellow gym goers. So whether you join an exercise class or you join the local running or football club, exercising with others can give you that double dose of stress relief and sense of connection.
4. Your quality of life improves. Exercise has been proven to improve the lives of those who engage in it, from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. It's a positive feedback loop that constantly reinforces itself through feelings of self confidence, achievement, self worth and a sense of connection. You will start to see your life improve in many ways once you commit to regular exercise.
Summer has come and gone, and now it's time to face the winter. Of course, that doesn't mean we should pack away our gym bag and trainers. If anything, try to see the winter as a time to get stronger and improve your fitness and wellbeing. So how do you live a healthy lifestyle in winter? Here’s a few winter wellness tips to see you through the colder months feeling and looking your best.
1. Get enough Vitamin D
Many people struggle to get enough vitamin D in their diet during the winter months due to lack of exposure to the sun. So make it your business on days when the sun is shining to get outside and make the most of those rays. Also, ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D in your diet. Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, as well as cheese and egg yolks are packed with vitamin D. It may also be taken as a supplement but first consult with your doctor.
2. Keep exercising
This is an obvious one, but it can feel harder to get done during the winter for several reasons. The main reason exercise can feel like a chore during the winter is due to the cold weather and lack of daylight. If your going to the gym in the morning or evening, it is likely to be in the dark. It will also likely be cold. This shouldn't stop you from getting those sessions in. Remember, the work you put in now will pay off down the road!
3. Eat well and maintain a balanced diet
It's important to keep your spirits and motivation up over the colder months, so that means getting good quality nutrition in.
Homemade soups, stews and plenty of fruit and vegetables are the order of the day here. Home made smoothies are also a quick, easy and nutritious way of getting your nutrients in. Whatever it is, make sure you aim for balance, just like the rest of the year.
4. Team up with a workout partner
This is really beneficial, especially during the winter. A workout buddy will not only make you more likely to go to the gym or take a brisk walk, it will also give you a sense of accountability. When you know someone else is relying on you to show up for your workout it's far more likely that you will actually show up and get that workout done!
If you are like most people, you'll want to get the maximum benefit out of each and every workout. Of course, the main phase of your workout is very important and consumes most of the workout, but what about adding a finisher at the end to really take your results to a different level!
In simple terms, a finisher is an advanced workout technique that involves quick, intense bursts of cardio and/or strength exercises performed at the end of your workout. These short bursts of intense effort are usually 4 to 10 minutes, and are meant to exhaust your body.
Of course, everybody's fitness level and capabilities are different, so it is important that your Personal trainer adapts the finisher to you. For some people, it may be a simple yet challenging finisher, such as skipping intervals, while for others it may be an all out dumbbell and cardio blast that demands a lot of effort.
Pushing yourself to do more work when you're already fatigued has mental benefits as well as physical benefits. Workout finishers offer a variety of benefits, from building extra strength, speed, stamina and/or endurance to improving general fitness and self confidence.
Workout finishers can be enjoyable yet challenging. Give them a try!
One of the most common questions that we get from clients is 'what should I eat before and after my workouts?'. The answer varies depending on the activity level and nutritional requirements of the person, but in general there are a few key truths that apply, whether your an elite athlete or totally new to the gym. If you can get your pre and post workout nutrition on point, you'll maximise your gains and feel great.
Pre workout is all about fueling the body correctly for the upcoming session. Carbohydrates are the best fuel for your body at this stage, and the harder your body works the more energy you will need. In an ideal world, you should fuel up your body 1-3 hours pre workout. Of course, we don't want to eat too close to our workout so aim to fuel up 1 to 1.5 hours before your workout. Some good suggestions for preworkout nutrition are 2-3 rice cakes with peanut butter, porridge with banana, and toast or yogurt with berries. You can of course add some protein into these suggestions but it's more important to include it post workout.
Post workout is all about muscle repair and replenishing your energy stores. Focus on getting carbs and protein into your body post workout. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your muscles rebuild and repair with the protein. Try to to eat within an hour window of completing an intense workout to get the greatest benefit. Some good options for post workout nutrition are a protein shake, low fat chocolate/protein milk, a turkey or chicken wrap with vegetables, or low fat yogurt and berries.
Many people think that you need to run several times a week or do spinning classes regularly or be on the treadmill for an hour to lose weight. This is far from the truth. Simply put, you don't actually need to do cardio exercise to lose fat. Of course cardio has its place in overall health, but it's not the be all and end all.
You lose fat by monitoring your caloric intake, through regular resistance training, or through a combination of both. The key factor in losing body fat is taking in less calories than you expend. Cardio can help you expend more calories, but is not absolutely necessary. Resistance training, on the other hand, will help you lose weight and bodyfat in a healthier and more sustainable and enjoyable way.
Your probably wondering why this is the case. You see, resistance or weight training is one of the best ways to get leaner and fitter primarily because it builds muscle. When you add muscle, you raise your basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories you burn when you’re at rest. Furthermore, muscle tissue requires more calories to function, even at rest, than fat tissue. Simply put, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn per day.
Cardio and resistance or weight training both have there place. If your looking to get leaner, feel good and look better however, then it's much better to focus on hitting the weights, not the treadmill.
NEAT, otherwise known as non exercise activity thermogenesis is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports/gym like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, walking around the house and cleaning the house.
While regular gym sessions are great at burning calories and keeping us fit, what we do in the other twenty three hours of the day are the key to achieving our goals.
Here's four ways that you can move more throughout your day that will make you leaner, fitter and healthier.
1. Stand when you can
Standing can make a difference. There's a growing body of evidence shows that sitting for too long can be detrimental to your health. Standing up is one form of NEAT that can help increase your daily caloric expenditure.
2. Do the household chores
Cleaning the house takes time and effort. Taking care of the things around your house that require physical effort is a great way to use energy and increase your NEAT.
3. Do your errands
Go for a morning walk and pick up a coffee on the way. Go to the supermarket for some shopping. Stroll through the aisles and carry your groceries in from the car. This will not only improve your NEAT, but it will give you satisfaction in knowing that you spent your day well. Simple errands keep you moving and can also bring simple pleasures.
4. Break up your day with some walks
Break up your day with short walks. Maybe go for a 10 to 15 minute walk around the block during your coffee break or lunch break to get your legs moving. Once you get into the habit of it, you’ll start to enjoy the extra movement. Sitting for hours every day is not only unnatural, it's unhealthy too. So get up, get out and get moving.
Compound exercises are an important part of any fitness regime, whether you are a newcomer to the gym or not. Compound exercises, such as the barbell bench squat or barbell deadlift are the foundation of a solid workout. Whether your looking to gain muscle, lose weight or improve your fitness, compound exercises can and should be a major part of your workouts or personal training sessions.
Compound exercises are key movements that require several muscle groups and joints to be working at the same time. They are different than isolation exercises, which are movements that only use one muscle group and joint at a time.
Some key examples of compound exercises are squats, push-ups, pull ups, deadlifts, and the overhead press, all of which engage more than one muscle and can be made more difficult by adding weight.
Of course compound exercises are great and will make you stronger and fitter, but isolation exercises should not be neglected at the same time. Isolation exercises (such as lateral raises or bicep curls) are also great for correcting muscular imbalances and targeting specific weaknesses. Ideally, compound and isolation exercises should be used in tandem for a well rounded and balanced strength resistance training programme.
It's been said that getting your nutrition on point is the key to a healthy weight and lifestyle. With that in mind, here's three ways that you can cultivate a more balanced diet and lifestyle.
1.Eat breakfast every day
Even if you don’t feel hungry for breakfast at first, getting a high quality breakfast in actually jump-starts your metabolism for the day. By starting your day with breakfast, you allow your metabolism to run at a higher pace, producing more energy in the process. A balanced breakfast should include a variety of high-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, nuts, eggs, and dairy. A good example of this would be porridge with fruit, or eggs on toast.
2. Slow down while eating
This is important. Set aside the proper amount of time to eat and appreciate your meal instead of cramming your food in during an already hectic schedule. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your hunger and satiety mechanism to send the signal to the rest of your body that you’re full. Try to slow down and enjoy each bite and allow your body to let you know when it’s satisfied.
3. Drink plenty of water
Let's be honest, most of us don't drink nearly enough water. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for 8 glasses a day which is roughly two to three litres. Water is essential for many reasons and is a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your organs in good working order. A few ways to ensure your getting more water in is to eat more fruits and vegetables and to keep a big bottle of water with you in the car or at work.