Archive | November, 2012

Your body doesn’t know!!

27 Nov

 

 

It’s less than a month away, all the shops are stocked up with goodies, the lights are on, the songs are being played… yes it’s less than a month until christmas day!!

I say “day”, but we don’t just celebrate for a day do we? The parties are already well underway from the minute halloween is over and we find ourselves in christmas mode!!As lovely as it sounds to celebrate for a month, your body has NO IDEA what is going on! You’ve been working hard at eating right and exercising well and suddenly THIS happens! We start to forgive ourselves for eating things we wouldn’t normally eat because “oh well, its christmas” and we skip out exercise sessions because “there is no time”. The reason there is probably no time is because your priorities have changed. All of a sudden drinks parties and christmas shopping have creeped to the top of the list.

I am by no means saying do not get in the christmas spirit and enjoy this festive season, but just remember that your body doesn’t treat you any better during christmas and will not forgive and forget the missed workouts or extra indulgences! Keep working hard and let yourself deserve these treats and by not slacking, you won’t find yourself in that January  panic and back to square 1!

Here are a few of my top tips for staying on track over the festive period….

– Plan ahead. There is nothing worse than turning up to a party hungry. We all know what happens and its best avoided so eat something healthy and filling before heading out!

– Make time to exercise. Just because you’re feeling festive and there is lots to do, doesn’t mean you don’t need to exercise! Pop some christmas songs onto your gym playlist and off you go!!

– Choose your drinks wisely. By all means indulge in some mulled wine but remember that just because it is christmas doesn’t mean that its not full of sugar 😉 There is nothing to say you can’t enjoy a vodka lime soda or a gin and tonic in December! These will bring your sugar intake down drastically!

– Sleep. As we know the christmas period is a busy one, filled with late nights and hungover mornings! Don’t let yourself get over tired. When the body is sleep deprived, it will look to food to give it the extra energy it needs to function and when you are tired, a salad is probably not going to win over a bacon butty!!! Make sure you get as many good nights sleep as you can!!

– Balance! This is the answer to everything, especially when looking after your body! If you know you’re going to indulge on lots of goodies then make sure you deserve it!

Enjoy christmas and do the things you love to do, but make sure you don’t let all that hard work go to waste!! 

 

 

 

3 must-do stretches

19 Nov

Like I said in my previous post, the importance of stretching cannot be ignored. No matter whether you are exercising or not, stretching can benefit you in so many ways.

There are thousands of stretches that you can do for each part of the body and coming from a background of artistic gymnastics I have a whole library full of choices. To avoid overloading your brain with too many stretches I have picked the ones that I feel are the easiest to do for all levels and will stretch the important areas.

1. Hip Flexor stretch 

This stretch is vital for those of you who spend the day sat down. Sitting down all day will tighten the hip flexors and overtime this tightness can cause other problems.

To progress the stretch, push the foot in front further away from you and really push down on the hip behind. You can even put your hand on the hip to give it a little extra push.

Hold the stretch for 15 seconds in a static position (no bouncing) and then switch legs. Repeat each leg 2 – 3 times and push a little further each time.

 

2. Quadricep Stretch

This stretch is a progression of the hip flexor stretch. It requires good balance so if you feel the need to, hold onto someone or something whilst performing this stretch.

Quadriceps are used more than you might think. They are responsible for helping you sit down and stand up from a chair, walking up or down the stairs, cycling, walking… even going to the toilet! You need to treat them well to keep them in good working order for the day to day tasks.

I prefer this one to the standing quadricep stretch simply because you can get much more of a stretch due to the angle at the hip being wider.

Place your right hand on your right knee, for balance, whilst the left arm reaches back to grab the left foot. Slowly lift the foot until you feel the stretch and hold it for 15 seconds. Do the same thing on the other side, holding it for 15 seconds also. Repeat each leg 2 – 3 times trying to progress each time.

 

3. Hamstring Stretch

“Can you touch your toes?”

This is something I get asked a lot, especially when people find out I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was little. The answer is yes! I can touch my toes, but it’s not just because I am ‘naturally flexible’ I also work very hard on maintaining this flexibility by putting in lots of stretching time.

In this picture you can see I am holding small weights. This sometimes helps to keep me in the position I want to be in. This picture shows me with my legs together however this is something to works towards.

Start with your legs a little wider than you would have them for a squat. Keeping them straight (this is a must!) slowly lower yourself down trying to keep a straight back. Wherever you get to, grab that part of your leg and pull yourself closer to it. If its just below the knee, thats ok. Just grab the knee and gently pull yourself closer. Hold in this position for 15 seconds and slowly come up allowing your knees to bend on the way up. 

This stretch wont improve over night. It needs lots of practice so give it time. Gradually move your legs closer together and follow the same procedure of pulling yourself closer to your legs and soon you will find yourself able to touch your toes with no problem!

 

These 3 stretches are a great place to start when trying to make time for stretching in your day. Do them as often as you can and I promise, you will start to see results. It is very important to be sensible when you stretch. Do not push yourself too far into a stretch as this will cause injuries. Move slowly, breathe deeply and stop when you feel a good level of resistance!

 

Don’t forget to stretch

15 Nov

Most of us struggle to make time for exercise and so the thought of adding extra time for stretching sounds ridiculous but it is so important.

The body needs to be stretched  and you will notice yourself stretching throughout your day without even meaning to. Think about that nice big stretch you do after waking up in the morning, or getting up from the sofa… this is a natural reaction and helps your body in many ways.

There are many benefits to stretching, it isn’t just about trying to touch your toes! (although it can help with that too!) Here are 4 reasons to stretch that everyone should be able to relate to…

 

1. Improvement your flexibility. This will help you in everyday life, not just in the gym! You will find day to day tasks easier with a wider range of movement to make use of.

2.Improvements your circulation. Stretching will increase the blood flow to the muscles allowing the blood to flow more easily around the body. 

3. Relieve stress. You can release tense muscles that may be preventing you from getting enough sleep and becoming part of a vicious cycle that causes you less sleep and more stress. 

4. Injury prevention. Referring back to first point we discussed, by having an increased range of motion in your everyday life, as well as for exercise purposes, there will be a reduced risk of suffering from an injury due to tight muscles tearing or straining whilst attempting to do certain activities. 

 

Stretching can be dangerous if you push yourself too far, too quickly! Ask for some help from someone in the gym and ease yourself into stretching at a pace that you feel comfortable with.

I will be sharing my personal top stretches in my next post so keep an eye out and in the mean time … listen to your body and keep stretching!

 

A more effective way to exercise?

6 Nov

How many of you are stuck in the same old routine and have stopped seeing the results you are working for? Change it up! The body is very quick at getting used to something and it will get bored… give it something new!!

High intensity interval training describes a workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity with fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest!! These kind of workouts can be far more effective than just running on a treadmill for an hour and will take up less of your precious time.

Here are some of the reasons why HIIT workouts are worth doing….

1. Time efficient – You can burn more calories with this kind of workout than you could doing double the time of continuous cardio! This means you can always find the time to fit it into your day.

2. Burn more fat!! – Fantastic news!!! Not only do you burn more calories, but the effect of all that intense exertions kicks your body’s repair system into hyperdrive which means that you will carry on burning more fat and calories for up to 24 hours after your HIIT workout!

3. Healthier heart – Most people don’t regularly push themselves into the anaerobic zone, (that’s the place where your heart is pumping so hard you feel like its going to pop out!) This will actually make your heart work harder and as a result become a lot stronger and enable you to push harder in the future.

4. No equipment needed – running, jumping, lunging, squating are just some of the bodyweight exercising that are perfect for a high intensity workout!!

5. Lose weight, not muscle – While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Winner!!!

6.Increase metabolism – As well as increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, a high intensity interval workout will stimulate production of your human growth hormone (HGH). This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!

7. Do it anywhere! – You can do this workout in the gym, your living room, your garden, the park… its up to you!! 

8. It’s a challenge – how often do you finish a workout without breaking into much of a sweat? If you’re bored, its not working! This type of workout will definitely not leave you with a second to feel bored. You will be so working so hard that before you’ve had time to think about it, it’ll be over!!

These benefits are insane and its hard to believe that more people aren’t trying HIIT workouts. Push the boundaries, get out of your comfort zone… then the hard work starts and the results will appear soon after!!

If you have any questions about it or need a bit of advice then don’t hesitate to send me a message on launder.charlie@gmail.com and I’d be happy to help you out 🙂