Santa gets a workout in on Christmas day so you should too else you'll find yourself on the naughty list! With all jokes a side, guys it is Christmas season. I could sit here and write how you should be super strict with your diet and hitting PBs in the gym over Christmas but I am all about practising what you preach and that simply isn't realistic for most.
A break is important:
Use it as an excuse to have a bit of a break from training and dieting! Sometimes sticking to a program for prolonged periods of time gets exhausting and mundane. A small 1-2 week break over Christmas can be what you need to spark your interest in it again when you return to it, just make sure you do return to it! It is also important to give your body a much needed rest from training. Sometimes after a rest period you will find yourself returning to the gym stronger than pre-break!
It is life:
A successful training program is a sustainable one. Life is about living, what is it all about if you can't have a few drinks and mince pies over Christmas? Don't waste 95% of your life to weigh 5% less is how the saying goes!
Re-feeds & Diet Breaks:
If you've been stuck in a bit of a plateau with your diet & training a weeks re-feed could be what you need to break it. Tying this in with Christmas is a great way to feel a little less guilty.
There are times to maintain and times to progress:
Sometimes there are times where you should be progressing your training, other times maintaining is fine. Try to do as much as you can but don't worry about hitting PBs at times you aren't quite taking it as serious.
New years resolutions:
There is a reason why gyms are most busy around the new years time and that's because people feel guilty about indulging so much over Christmas. Make sure you're not one of the people who give up on their 2018 fitness goals 1 month in, find a sustainable plan and stick with it. That way you'll be able to enjoy Christmas 2018 that little bit more!
We hope you have enjoyed our Blogmas posts everyone. We will be trying our best to release 1 blog post a week as of the new year as our little resolution. Have a great Christmas & you know where we are if you feel bursting at the seams come January!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Stuck inside because of the snow? Don't want to risk your morning run in the ice? Don't let that be your excuse not to get a good workout in! There are plenty of good exercises you can do, at home, with minimal equipment. Here are our top 10:
1 - Jump Jacks
Touch the floor and explode upwards forming a star shape with your body in the air
2 - Tricep Dips
Using a chair or sofa overhang your body to perform tricep dips as if you were in the gym
3 - The Staircase Stepper
Using the bottom stair step up and down as fast as you can
4 - The Burpee
Does this really need introduction? A great, all over exercise that can be performed anywhere!
5 - The Plank
Get onto your elbows and feet and keep a straight body, squeezing your glutes & sucking your belly button in
6 - Jump Squats
As you would normally squat but jump up out the bottom of it and land softly into the next squat
7 - Alternating Lunges
Standing straight step out and lunge so both your knees are at 90 degrees, bring the front leg back & alternate
8 - Pushups
Rather than flaring your elbows at 90 degrees with your body, try having them at 45 degrees and focus on bringing your arms together
9 - Crunches
A great ab burner
10 - Glute Bridges
Lie on your back as if you were doing sit-ups, now take your toes off the floor and thrust your hips up, squeezing your glutes at the top
Make them a workout!
Try doing each of these exercises 3 times 30 seconds on 30 seconds off. A great, all over home workout!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
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Back issues- Yoga prevents & rehabilitates!
Since teaching my yoga practice, I have had a range of students from farmers/ footballers/ rugby players/ cyclists/ runners & more come and say to me how much better their backs feel over their time in the classes.
It is very common to encounter some form of back issue as you go through life, whether that be sports/ exercise induced or naturally developing through genetic make up in curvatures of spines.
Here is a short blog displaying 3 simple yoga postures that help address the back and reduce stiffness and the chances of it ceasing up and causing sciatic problems.
Check them out below!
Revolved Triangle Pose
Bringing energy to your spine with this stretch & really stimulating the muscles in the back. Step your feet about 4 feet apart and turn your right foot out to 45–60 degrees, with your left foot facing forward. Bend your left knee and on an inhale, raise your arms overhead; on an exhale, turn your torso to the left, encouraging your pelvis toward the front edge of the mat. Now lean forward over your front leg, reaching your right hand down either to the floor (inside or outside the left foot) or a block; bring your left hand skyward. With your front knee still bent, squeeze your torso against your thigh. Hold this shape, and then gradually engage your quads to straighten your front leg (shown). Draw your hips away from your shoulders to lengthen your spine. Stay here for 5 deep breaths, and then switch sides.
Seated Forward Bend
To release any tension created in a twist, I like to follow up with a pose in which the spine is symmetrical. Forward folds—such as Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) or Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) —are great choices. For the latter, sit on the floor or a folded blanket with your legs extended in front of you. Press actively through your heels and slightly turn in the tops of your thighs, pressing them down into the floor. As you inhale, lengthen your front torso; as you exhale, lean forward from your hip joints and lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis to fold over your legs. Stay in the posture for 5–10 deep, easy breaths.
Practice Pose, before you twist is a nice way to expand the chest—a key action while twisting, too. Lie on your belly, legs side by side, and contract your glutes. Roll your outer thighs toward the floor to internally rotate your femurs, helping to broaden and lengthen your lower back and sacrum to protect them in this backbend. Set your elbows under your shoulders, and your forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Inhale and lift your upper torso and head away from the floor into a mild backbend. Stay here for 10 deep breaths, then find your way to Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog).
Deepen the stretch
If you have the flexibility in the armpits, chest, and groins you can move into a deeper backbend. Walk the hands a little farther forward and straighten your elbows, turning the arms outward. Lift the top of the sternum straight toward the ceiling.
Barbelle Personal Trainer & Yoga Instructor
Stress is a part of every day life for most people. Whatever the cause: work, family, college, etc. little things add up and become a burden. Stress levels are something everyone has to manage else it can lead onto other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Stress can also lead to physical problems such as low energy, malnutrition and dehydration.
There are things you can do to manage stress levels, but one of the most effective? Exercise.
Some people don't realise how strong the link is between physical & mental health. Even little things like walking, playing a sport or a touch of weightlifting/cardio can heavily impact your mental health in a positive way.
Exercise releases a thing called endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that act as a pain killer and help you to sleep better which in turn battles stress. Don't think for one minute that you have to have a super intense session to reap this effect, even gentle things such as yoga and walking can release endorphins.
Stress, anxiety & depression is usually due to being in a viscous cycle of letting your days worries build up to a negative spiral where in turn you neglect your physical health. Putting a routine with exercise in place can help to reverse this spiral. Try to put even 10 minutes a side each day to go for a fast walk or even jog to help build a routine with exercise and their endorphin benefits.
What you're putting in your body can also have a massive effect on your mental health. Trying to eat a little better can have physical benefits and in turn mental benefits. Next time you turn to food as your comfort try exercise instead!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Over half way through our Barbelle Blogmas now, we hope you are still enjoying our blogs! Today's edition is all about breakfast, but is it really "The most important meal of the day"?
Some preach breakfast to be the most important meal and some say it is the devil when it comes to gaining fat. But what is the truth? Well it's completely up to you as an individual!
We have established that losing fat is about being in a calorie deficit, meal timing itself is not important compared to the amount you are eating through the day. So if you physically can't leave the house without having breakfast chances are you're a breakfast person and should consume breakfast: If you can easily go through to the middle of the day without anything first thing in the morning chances are you're not a breakfast person so don't eat it!
Having said that, if you are going to eat breakfast it's a good idea to use those calories wisely as a nutritious meal rather than wasting 500 calories on a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast & jam that will leave you feeling hungry soon after consumption. Try to get plenty of nutrient dense content in your breakfast; lots of protein, good fats, fibrous carbs & vitamins. Breakfast time is also a good time to take any supplements such as omega 3 and multivitamins.
Here are our top 5 breakfast ideas:
1 - Nut Butter & Banana On Granary Toast
A slice of brown bread containing lots of fibre and low gylcemic carbs, 1tbsp nut butter containing fats and protein & 0.5 of a banana.
2 - Berry & Yoghurt Smoothie
Blend a handful of frozen berries and a frozen banana with a dollop of 0 fat greek yoghurt & a scoop of whey protein
3 - Eggs On Toast
Either scramble or poach your eggs and put them ontop of a slice of brown bread. Add avocado or salmon for added nutrition or take out the yolks for less calories
4 -Overnight Oat Jar
Make your oats the night before and leave them in the fridge overnight, in the morning top with your chosen fruit & seeds.
5 - Breakfast On The Go
Put some milk into a shaker and put a scoop of protein powder & instant oats in there, shake it up & go!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
We get it - weights can be an intimidating thing to get involved with, especially if you don't know what you're doing. But done with correct form, with a training program, resistance training provides a whole lot of benefits that you might not have even been aware of. Below we have posted our top 5 reasons to incorporate resistance training into your training:
1 - Strength
Who wants to feel weak and feeble? No one. There is nothing more empowering than lifting more than the last time you stepped in the gym. Whether you're an athlete wanting to increase your strength for a specific sport or just someone who wants to feel a little bit stronger within themselves weight training is what's going to get you there.
With feeling stronger typically means actually being stronger. Seeing as we use our bodies and muscular system on a day to day basis, if this system is stronger it makes day to day living much easier. Maybe you'll even make the shopping bag haul from the car in a 1er!
2 - Increased Muscle Mass
Girls don't be put off! You're not going to turn into a Russian looking shot-putter as soon as you pick up a dumbbell above 5kg. In fact, most of the bikini bodies you fantasise over in the magazines & social media are probably built through resistance training. We have covered this before, there are 2 aspects of having a toned looking body and that is:
Losing fat (Done mainly through diet)
Muscle Hypertrophy (Done mainly through training)
For both men & women it is essential to do resistance training in order to fully maximise the hypertrophy part.
3 - Increased Bone Density
There is a common misconception about weights and making bones & joints weaker, this couldn't be more wrong! If performed correctly weights can delay the onset of osteoporosis. No more brittle bones as you age!
4 - Improved Cardio Vascular Health
I hear it time and time again while training people:
"It's surprising how out of breath I get just from doing weights!"
Weights are also an extremely effective way to improve cardiovascular health. Resistance training has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and increase your VO2 max. If you aren't sweating or at least feeling breathless after a weights based session the chances are the intensity is not there.
5 - Improved Mental Health
One of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle is a healthy mind. People who suffer from depression and anxiety are increasing. Regular resistance training is an effective way to release stress, not to mention the extra feel good endorphins you get after a hard session. Having a programme in place can give you a goal to focus and work towards which will take your mind off other things. Health clubs & gyms tend to be a great place to meet focused, like-minded individuals (which is what we pride ourselves for, creating a friendly environment).
Barbelle Personal Trainer
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Because they are so calorie dense, it doesn't take much of them to add up to masses amount of calories. Like everything you need to eat them in moderation. They are a key part of a healthy diet, but shouldn't be abused to the point where you're smashing 1000 calories a day of nut butters.
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Photoed above is my super fit & keen group of mums who train with Barbelle at the studio 3x a week! While many people would say "how do they find time to do this?" realistically it is only 3 hours out of their week & there is enough flexibility to bring their kids with them. I have put together a list of tips so time is not an excuse to miss a training session as a busy mum!
Get up & go:
Get your workout in before your day begins. Some people never manage to find the time to train if they leave it to the end of their day as too many activities & arrangements come up. You'll be finished before the kids even wake up!
Write it in:
People are much more likely to adhere to a commitment if the are planned. So write out your workouts in your diary or on your phone. Preplanning when you are going to do your workout can help you avoid booking a coffee date over the top of them.
Plan your workout:
Setting a time to workout is a start but you also need to plan what your workout will entail. Without a plan you are much less likely to complete an efficient workout, have your workout written down in a notepad so your session is structured and you know exactly what to do and how long it will take. Whether this be a run, home circuit or gym workout plan it out!
You don't have to be a model in the gym:
If time really is limited, don't waste precious time making sure you have your best gym outfit on! Don't worry about hair or makeup, just rock up and train!
Include your kids:
Yes it may be hard to find time alone as a parent - but do you really need to be alone? Children really do love being active, get them off their iPad and get them involved! Not only will this mean you're getting a session in but it will be encouraging a healthy & fit lifestyle for your children.
Run with them:
Run & push the stroller with you! It doesn't need to be your 10km PB but at least you are getting some form of exercise in.
Sweeten the deal:
Make a deal with your kids that if they are well behaved while you train they get a treat.
Class for them, class for you:
If your child is about to have a football/music lesson then use that time! Your kid will be occupied for an hour and a good workout can be squeezed in during 30mins easily.
Be a ninja:
Kids eating, napping, playing or distracted for 15-20 minutes? Perfect! Get your HIIT workout in without them even knowing. Find some space and get your workout in every day!
Barbelle Personal Trainer