At this time of year it’s always difficult to maintain a healthy motivation.. but, hey, let’s not get all English and speak negatively about the weather, we knew it was coming, we know where we live. We just have to get on and deal with it, use it for what it’s worth.
Believe it or not, this is the perfect time to get stuck in and achieve a good baseline for your goals. Our body responds well to consistency and if you work hard now, you can reap the rewards come spring when you want to get out there and use the fitness you have gained, the weight loss you have achieved, or the strength for your sport.
Heading into the party season doesn’t mean that we need to let go of everything else, push hard now and maintain a positive state of mind. When I train at this time of year, I feel a huge boost in my mental state; it gives me the confidence, the positivity and the surge in motivation I need to fuel more motivation.
Here are a few tips on boosting your motivation:
Get up early – this increases your cortisol levels – this natural chemical can raise focus and productivity
Smile, even if you don’t feel like it – research suggests a smile has power – it can actually increase serotonin for both the giver and the receiver.
Running in the rain is a great stress buster – try it!
Change your routine – mixing up your routine can lift your mood massively – make some simple tweaks to your lifestyle, even if it’s as simple as walking to work a different way.
“Energy begets energy. If you’re dragging, start moving. Get up and get active. Before you know it, you’re hustling. You’re excited.”
You may have seen on the news this morning the cardiologist that has spoken out about saturated fats. Please read this article all the way through. Its easy to selectively hear what you want to hear. Just listening to the headlines will not give you the understanding.
I too believe that sugar and trans-fat are the cause to the ever rising obesity epidemic, and we should always opt for full fat ‘natural’ products, however, i do not want to encourage you to eat a block of cheese or butter a day. With moderation and balance obviously. You also need to remember that a lot of cheese you get from the supermarket are processed.
The answer to having a healthy body is all about having a healthy diet. This means eating LOTS of fresh vegetables and fruit and removing as many of the processed foods from your diet as possible. Drink lots of water throughout your day and exercise regularly and BOOM you have it!
I hope you have had a lovely summer holiday, whatever you got up to.
I had a wonderfully fun and restful break in Mallorca. There were tons of opportunities to keep active and soak up some well needed vitamin D – snorkelling, swimming and cycling to name a few!
Unfortunately, everything has to come to an end and the time to get back to work and school is upon us. Let’s embrace the good weather, the R&R and adventures and maintain this positive attitude and carry it forward from hereon. Remember that the body responds better to exercise when you have that positive mindset.
Get yourself back into your fitness routine by setting yourself a realistic goal for the next 3 months and sticking to it. Having a goal will give you the reason and the focus to reconnect with your training. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking..
If you are a runner, or you want to start running – sign up to a 10km, half marathon or marathon
Achieve 10 full push ups
Go 2 months without drinking alcohol or eating processed foods
Decrease your body fat percentage & visceral fat
Fix that niggling knee
Can’t think of a goal – but want one? Book a one-to-one consultation at In Touch Studios to discuss ways you can get motivated and set a realistic goal.
Remember that we will help and support you in achieving whatever goal you set yourself.
Early morning exercise gives you a whole new way to wake up and kick-start your day in the best possible way.
Here’s some top tips for getting the most out of your session.
Fat burning benefits
Training early in the morning is a great way to burn fat. Yes it is. Think about it. We worry, first thing, that we aren’t going to have enough energy to train on an empty stomach. But, guess where you have loads of lovely energy, all stored up, ready and waiting to be used? In your fat cells! If you don’t eat anything beforehand, your body will have to use up the stored energy, which is basically another way of saying you’ll burn up fat. The only time this might not be a good idea is if you already have a very low body fat ratio, and don’t want to lose any more, in which case make sure you get some of the right foods in you before you start.
Getting the most from your body and your food early in the morning
If you want to get the best out of your early morning training session, how do you prepare and what are you supposed to eat? Eat high energy foods, and risk sharing them during the session with your fellow exercisers? Not eat anything at all, and not have enough energy to make it through the session? Drink an energy drink to get you through? Have a protein shake?
So many choices, and so many ways to get it wrong. Here’s some things to think about in terms of eating before your early morning session:
Get some quality sleep the night before so that you are in top form when you wake up.
Drink plenty of water. Strangely, we forget that even though water is calorie free, it gives us a huge energy boost.
Get some anti-oxidants in your body to negate the (very natural) damaging effect of the free radicals you produce when you burn energy. Huh? Yes, exercise, without antioxidants is damaging. Not in a ‘help, my leg is on fire’ kind of way, but in the slow, inflammatory kind of way which can cause you to put on weight, get injured or create other long-term chronic illnesses. Anti-oxidants are in loads of foods, but to be a little specific for you, think fresh veg or fruit juice, a piece of fruit or some nuts or seeds.
Don’t eat/drink energy bars and gels for your training, but especially not before a morning session. In the morning, you should be at your brightest, most energetic best. If you need that kind of energy boost in the morning, you need much more than just a gel to sort you out.
Protein shakes…..hmmmm. If you are training because you want to get fit and healthy, a protein shake shouldn’t really feature in your routine. If you think I have gone mad, just check out the ingredients in most of those things. Yes, there is protein there, as well as a host of crazy ingredients which do nothing for your health at all. Granted, there are one or two protein shakes out there which are fine, but I’m willing to bet that yours isn’t one of them. You absolutely do need protein, but it’s best to get it in as natural state as possible, and it’s certainly not required before a session.
So there you have it. My five little pointers for eating before you hit the early morning session. I personally just hit a big ol’ veg and fruit juice 30 mins before my session, which gives me all the antioxidants I need, without filling up my belly. I then make sure I get a good amount of natural protein with my brekkie around 40 mins after the session, and it works a treat.
One of my favourite quotes is: ‘you can’t out-exercise a bad diet’ and this is so true. You need to eat well enough to get the best from your exercise. If you feel that you could do with a whole session that doesn’t just give you pointers, but gives you a personalised plan to get you in the right place when it comes to food, i’d love to hear from you.
High Intensity Training has been a topical subject in the news recently, with new research claiming that just three minutes a week will give us longer and healthier lives.
The BBC2 Horizon documentary The Truth about Exercise covered some interesting physiological points about this, but my feeling is that it is easy to take some of them out of context.
What the telly said…
New research has shown that just three minutes of High Intensity Training per week will lead to improvements in insulin sensitivity (the removal of sugar from the blood) and VO2max (the maximum amount of oxygen the body is able to use).
Insulin sensitivity and VO2max are the two most important factors in improving health and fitness; they influence weight loss, body composition and physique, so you can see how this research has sparked so much interest.
However, the research also said that this ‘three minute’ method of interval training will only benefit a ‘super responder’. A DNA test of 11 different genes would need to be carried out to determine a ‘responder’ from a ‘non-responder, and even after that as little as15% of the general population would be ‘responders’.
This is not to say that High Intensity Interval Training as a whole does not benefit a non-responder. It does benefit hugely, but it requires more than three minutes a week. The increase in organ, insulin and fat cell function all contribute to lower visceral fat stores helping to prevent illnesses such type II diabetes and heart disease. Within a few weeks a non-responder should see a change in their glucose adaptations and after about six weeks (depending on the individual) VO2 Max improvements should also be noticeable.
What Wendy says…
High Intensity Training is about working at extreme intensity for short periods of time. Three minutes a week may improve your fitness if you are a ‘super responder’, but many of us aren’t and unfortunately we don’t have much say in the genes we are born with.
It’s important not to get caught up in genetic make up; posture, diet, mood and personality all have an influence on how we respond to exercise. It’s about finding the best type of exercise to suit you and your make up and incorporating variety and interest into your routine.
Equally, the duration of your training shouldn’t be the most important factor, the intensity and reason should. Other forms of interval training can be incorporated into any routine to give you the intensity you need as well as being time efficient and fun.
Ask yourself these three questions based on your current training routine:
Why did I choose this training routine?
What results have I seen from training in the last 6 weeks?
How do I feel after my work out?
Many training sessions at in touch studios are based on the interval technique; they are intense and don’t go over 45 minutes, some can be completed in 30 minutes. Our ethos is to educate on the importance of why, what and how.
Many of our clients see results quickly; with regular training and healthy eating they also find short intense sessions fit in well with their lifestyle and are sustainable in the longer run.
We are approaching the most popular time of year to start or restart our running training.
Whatever your running goals – training for an event, rehabilitation, muscular imbalance or conditioning your body for overall health – the continuous repetitive impact of running can be harsh on your body, so getting a good training plan in place is imperative.
Here are my top two recommendations for your training plan:
1. Complement your running with quality resistance training. Done correctly this can be vital for muscle development.
2. Always include a muscle recovery plan. This can consist of many techniques, but the one I recommend for runners is myofascial release. When we run our muscles are hard at work protecting our spine, pelvis, and major joints such as our knees, ankles and hips. Myofascial release is designed to break down scar tissue and stimulate a relaxant to the myofascia; in other words softening tight areas of deep muscle. This helps reduce muscle spasms, restrictions and dysfunctions which can be brought on by the extreme impact of running, bad training posture or overload to the muscular-skeletal system.
The most common areas to release include I.T bands, piriformis and gluteals, hips, hip flexors, calves, feet and shins. The thoracic section of the back is also an important area.
Release can be performed in many ways; it can include rolling the affected areas over a foam roller or grid, tennis ball or squash ball, or getting a sports massage from a qualified practitioner. This blog will show you some good techniques on how to roll release effectively: www.lululemon.com/community/blog/find-your-trigger-point
Runner or not, anyone can benefit from myofascial release work – athlete, parent or office worker. We all get a build up of scar tissue and muscular tightness.
At in touch studios we specialise in quality training techniques to help you achieve your goals and get the best out of your body. For assistance with training plans, resistance or release work please get in touch. We also have a free running club for members.
To find that our obesity statistics are getting worse not only horrified me but also got me thinking about the way we are starting out in life. Children at this age should not be obese.
As a nation we have become influenced, largely by the major manufacturers of junk food and quick fix fad diets sending us as a nation on a road to obesity.
What can we do about this? I can only draw on my own experience to share with you what I think needs to be done.
I was brought up on simple, clean, healthy food. I remember the pantry shelves would be beautifully decorated with jars of orange, green and brown pulses, rice and pasta. There were spices and herbs and fruit and vegetables always on display. We had chives, gooseberries, mint and rosemary growing in our garden. The kitchen shelves had jars of baking ingredients, different types of sugar, flour, raisins and nuts. There was one red biscuit tin, which was positioned too high for us to reach. When we were old enough to try our luck the only biscuits you would find there were ‘rich tea’! yuck! We would bake and cook together and be out picking fruits together. This was all education and access to different food varieties, without even realising it.
My mother brought my sisters and I up not knowing what junk food was until we were old enough to discover it for ourselves and make our own choices. By this time my organs, metabolism, cell growth and circulation had completed its most important development. Little did I know, at the time of all my tantrums, that this stubbornness my mum was displaying wasn’t out of spite. This was going to secure my future health and prevent my body from obesity and breaking down.
I didn’t have a large television, computer games or consoles. Our friends did! Yes we were envious and jealous but we weren’t allowed. This forced us outside, in our garden, dressing up, in the street, at the park on our bikes. We were active. My body was developing and functioning at a rate it was designed to.
What I am trying to say is that my mother didn’t have much money, or a great amount of time, she brought us up single handedly, working and studying full time. Not only did this approach set my body up for my future, it taught me how important the value of simple food, exercise and good health is.
Now, I know that the reason I don’t put weight on easily, and that my total body fat percentage has always been below 23%, is because I have always eaten well. I have always exercised and my body was given the best start to life.
I’m not a party pooper and it’s important to keep it real and practical. We all like to indulge a little more during the festive season. However, you don’t have to completely over do it this year. Things in moderation won’t set you back too far.
However, if you let your exercise slip too much during this time then you will find dramatic drops in your fitness, strength and overall motivation. So, come New Year when you want to pick it all up again you will find you hit a wall in your performance. Use this time to maintain the current level of fitness you have achieved. That way, when everyone else is struggling to start afresh, you will have already pushed through that wall and you can use the New Year to get ahead and start to enjoy making real changes to your health & wellbeing.
Personally, I like to train harder in November & December and to really push myself ahead of my game. January is my worst month so I know I really need to prepare myself for looking and feeling good.
If you are new to exercise, now is the best time to start making changes to your life. Don’t wait. Waiting is putting off the inevitable. If you start making small changes to your life today then come January you will already be well into a new routine. It won’t feel as difficult to get used to. Then, when Spring comes and our bodies prepare to come out of hibernation, we will find that ‘spring’ in our step and the energy we have all worked for. The weight will start to strip off, the strength will increase and the fitness levels we all look for will appear from beneath. Our performance will surge forward and we will look to the summer.. this is when we will be at our best.. Are you ready?
Try some 30-45 minute effective training sessions 2 to 3 times per week, to start you off. This is achievable and will prepare your body for further exertion later on.
Training sessions at in touch studios are never more than 45 minutes. Every session is tailored to the individual and we work you to your own level of capability. It’s important to understand your threshold, your body’s capabilities and where your comfort zone ends. Every client is screened and assessed before joining so that the exercises can be tailored.
If you think this is for you, please get in touch for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0117 9396601.
Pain creeps up on us. We’ve been so busy getting stressed by work, or by the kids, or so busy getting comfortable in front of the television every night that we have neglected our body… then its too late, the pain has taken hold of us. So this then becomes the reason not to exercise! “I’ll wait and rest for a few weeks and start exercising when the pain has gone”… hmmm!
Back pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, knee pain, neck ache, foot pain, jaw ache…. I could go on. Pain comes in all sorts of sensations; deep & dull, sharp & jabbing, tight & throbbing, … again I could go on.
I work with a lot of pain sufferers, whether it is back, shoulder, knee or hip and in my experience and opinion there is an awful lot more pain out there these days, caused by, well not doing a lot. I’m not going to go on a rant, but we all know why: lack of movement and technology have sedated our bodies and made our muscles lazy. Our bodies were not designed for this. (To read more about this see my previous write up on core strength here.)
Most people seem to rest in response to pain. 20 years ago the general advice was to rest but now we know (and research has proven) that inactivity can make things a whole lot worse. I’m not saying you need to be walking about on a broken leg or doing press ups on a bruised rib. What I am saying is that movement is crucial to easing the type of pain that I am talking about: Musculoskeletal pain!
We have all felt pain somewhere in our bodies at some point in our lives. Whether it’s sharp or aching, it is our body telling us something.
What is it telling us? It depends on the sort of pain or the area of the body where it occurs, but overall it’s almost certainly telling us something is not quite right and needs addressing.
Do we ignore it or do we get it checked out? It depends on the severity and type of pain. If pain is acute and you find yourself unable to move then I would say get it checked out. If it’s a temporary pain then listen to it instead of panicking. Panic will make things worse causing the muscles to tighten up further. What you shouldn’t do is ignore it! Here’s why:
Our bodies were designed for movement. Our muscles enable us to move in a certain motion and they work in groups. If a muscle is tight or weak then this inhibits our movement. The other muscles in that group, that were ok, will now be held back or restricted by this one weak or tight muscle. Then our overall movement is affected and imbalances in other major muscles occur…the chain continues and, without getting too technical, the nerves and tendons get involved and this is when pain strikes!
If this pain remains unaddressed it can lead to further distortions and muscular imbalances and possibly to serious injury.
The root cause of this pain needs to be figured out. You can retrain your muscles to contract correctly, encourage movement patterns to work positively and ensure that posture is realigned. However, the choice and type of muscle movement needs to be correct. A physiotherapist or exercise professional should be able to tell you which exercises will make the difference.
A course of myofascial release or sports massage treatment alongside a corrective exercise programme will be sure to take you to full recovery.
If you have yet to experience pain and you don’t move very often or you sit down or drive all day, it will almost certainly catch up with you if you don’t start to include regular exercise into your daily life. Don’t wait to feel pain!