Tag Archives: personal trainer

PROGRESS

5 Sep

What a good week!!

Last week I was in Cornwall, and even though I made sure I kept up the fitness side of things with the gruelling workouts Jonny and Olu planned for me on the sandy beach, I would be lying if I said  that the holiday food didn’t find it’s way to me! I was not too hard on myself because a holiday is a holiday, but I did prepare myself to really work when I returned to London.

This week it was straight back to the program and there was definitely no mercy to be had!! Monday was a lifting session with Jonny at The Lomax. I did this entire session with no shoes on so I could feel the floor properly and concentrate on where my weight should be. We worked up from a 50kg back squat to 70kg, which was my previous PB. Just as I was feeling very smug and pleased with myself, Jonny decides to add on more weight taking the total bar weight up to 80kg! My heart was racing at the thought of it and if I am completely honest, I instantly lost my confidence and didn’t believe I could do it. Jonny assured me I could and he promised me he would be there 100% of the way to help me. He was, and I managed to get 4 reps done, an extremely shaky 4 reps but 4 reps nonetheless! So, even though I could barely put my shoes back on after this session because my legs were so weak, I left feeling very pleased that I had progressed my squat PB from 70kg to 80kg (just about!)

Wednesday was a rigorous cardio workout with Olu. He came up with some weird and wacky exercises such as combining reptile crawls with extreme bunny hops across the gym floor. Whatever we did, it racked up a whopping 700kcals in one single hour so it must have been worth it and hopefully helping to build up some stamina.

My 3rd olympic lifting session showed some progress as I started off prepping for my power cleans with the weight I had used initially and it practically flew to the ceiling. Very quickly Olu loaded up the bar to 40kg and this did feel really heavy to me. It took some getting used to, but by the end of the session I could do a few full cleans. I still need to be much more aggressive in using my hips and arms but I can definitely feel a difference in my strength and technique. See the picture below for a comparison in technique from 3 weeks ago to now. Notice the extra hip movements…

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Gymnastics this week is where I really started to notice my progress. My coach was very pleased with my new found power and he said it was clearly making a difference to my technique in my tumbles and vault which is exactly what I wanted. Clearly all this hard work in the gym with the lifting is paying off!

Still a lot of work to get done over the next two months but I am getting there and it’s always nice to see some progress and get a boost in motivation! Big thank you to all the people helping me along the way!

 

It is always nice finishing the week with a good session, leaving with confidence and satisfaction. Now for a weekend of stretching and lots of rest!

 

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Taking a Break from Routine

4 Jun

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People talk about routine, about finding a good routine and then sticking to it. Now, this can work for certain things and can actually help to keep you on track but it doesn’t mean that breaking away from the routine sometimes will ruin everything.

When it comes to exercise and especially beginners I always say they need to find a routine because it will make it easier to monitor what they’re doing. I set their routine and help them to monitor the intensity, for example they may have exercise sessions set on mondays, wednesdays and fridays with a structured nutrition plan. This way they can tick off the boxes each time they complete a workout or eat something and it is an effective way of staying on top of things.

There are a few ways in which routine doesn’t give the desired effects however…

Your body becomes used to the intensity and doing the same things week in week out. You will start to see a plateau or decrease in results and this means that something needs to change, whether that means the type of exercise, the intensity or even the amount you are doing.

– If you start to feel guilty for having to change the routine for something that has come up unexpectedly. The idea of creating a routine is to help you, not to force you into a rigid schedule and it is certainly not there for you to punish yourself mentally over not sticking to it once or twice. Be realistic, there are always going to be things that get in the way but all you must do is figure out a way to fit in your workout another time, its as simple as that!!

– When you have been pushing your body to it’s limits in order to achieve results sometimes it can get over worked and can become exhausted. This is very important to take note of and sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore your routine and give your body the rest it needs to come back fighting.

I have certainly found that when I take a break from exercise and focus on letting my body recover (stretching, yoga, sleeping), I come back with a remarkable amount of energy and actually it always does my body a whole lot of good. I am guilty of over working my body at times don’t get me wrong, but I can tell immediately that my body doesn’t react well to it.

Taking a break from your routine does not mean abandoning it altogether and pigging out on the sofa, but it means giving it a break from working so hard, fuelling it with clean and healthy foods, and preparing it for hard work again!

Maintain that holiday feeling

5 Aug

 

 

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I know only too well that amazing feeling when you wake up on a summer holiday and have no cares in the world. The only decisions that you need to make is what beach to go to, where to read your book or what to have for breakfast! After a few days of catching up on sleep, your body starts to go into relaxation mode, refreshing the body from all the stresses of work life and helping it recover to it’s ideal state.

Do not let this go to waste, you want to keep this feeling for as long as possible. There are a few easy ways to prevent your body going back to it’s pre holiday state…

  • Get as many early nights as possible
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid processed, sugary foods
  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Drink lots of water
  • Keep your food as fresh as possible
  • Exercise

All these things make up the list of what we all know we should do anyway but after a holiday is can seem more important. You want to maintain that refreshed holiday feel if you can because this is when your body is least stressed.

If you revert straight back to late nights, early starts, boozy nights out, eating comfort foods and drinking coffee to get you through the day, then your body is going to lose those holiday benefits very quickly and you will soon be craving another week away!

Don’t waste it, treat your body well and it will treat you nicely in return! 

 

Exercise during nap time

19 Jul
Are you finding it difficult to find the time to exercise now you have a baby to look after? Babies have such a busy schedule so it is no wonder that you day is over before you realise it.
This is why I have created a home workout for you to do in the comfort of your own home while your little one is sleeping. It is very simple to follow and can take as much or as little time as you can spare. It is a mini circuit that you can repeat as many times as you’d like. I would ideally recommend 3 – 5 rounds if possible, but anything is better than nothing so don’t worry if you can only do 2!
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  • 5 walkouts – take a big breath in raising your arms above your head, bend over to touch your toes (or try) and walk your hands out until you are in a plank shape, then bend your knees to start walking your hands back up to a standing position.
  • 10 wide leg squats – legs a little wider that hip width, toes pointing slightly outwards, squat down as low as you can whilst keeping your back upright, feeling the stretch in your inner thighs.
  • 20 alternating leg lunges – hands on hips, or out to the side for balance, slowly step forward and lowering down to get a right angle on each leg, keeping the back up straight. Push off the front foot to come back to standing. Repeat this on alternating legs.
  • 20 Plank leg lifts – hold a plank position on your elbows, keeping the glutes squeezed and the legs straight, slowly lift each leg up just a small height off the floor. Make sure to keep you tummy pulled in tight all the way through.
  • 20 mountain climbers – This exercise in done in a plank position again, but on your hands instead of your elbows. Keeping the tummy pulled in, start crunching your knees up towards your chest, alternating legs.
  • 20 crunches – lying on your back with your legs in the air, bent or straight its up to you, pop your head in your hands. Slowly lift your head and tuck your chin into your chest, hold for 3 seconds and then release. These are tough so remember to breathe and take it slow. If you need to do 2 sets of 10 that is fine too.

There you go, 6 exercises to complete the circuit once. After completing it once, you will know how long it takes you and therefore how many rounds you are likely to fit into nap time!

I really encourage you to give this a a go. It won’t be easy to start with, especially if you are in the early postnatal stages, but take it slow, do it as often as you can to begin with and I promise it will get easier.

If you need any further explanations of how to do the exercises please feel free to contact me over email and I will be more than happy to help.

I will be posting more in the near future but get stuck into this one in the mean time!

GOOD LUCK LADIES!

Get your sweat on…

21 Jun

 

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London is trying it’s best to heat up, but this week we have just had “muggy” which gives us hot and sweaty journeys on the tube, sticky days spent in the office and even some restless nights. Sweating is mostly associated with feelings of discomfort and stress, whether it is physical  or emotional stress. I get asked about sweat regularly by my clients so I thought I would go through some basic facts to see if I can answer some of your questions.

 

What is sweat?

There are 5 million sweat glands in the body but not all of them produce the same kind of sweat.

Apocrine glands become active at puberty. From that sentence I am sure you can guess which sweat glands these are. They are mainly found in the arm pits and produce the smelly odour many of us worry about regularly, especially in stressful situations. This kind of sweat actually contains very little water, it is made up of proteins, lipids and hormones and is brought on in situations of high emotion, stress or exercise.

The second type of sweat glands are Eccrine glands. These are found all over the skin and start to function almost as soon as you are born. These sweat glands are responsible for keeping the body cool when it starts to heat up due to outside temperature, exercise, fever or anything else that causes the body’s temperature to rise by producing a dilute salt solution composed of 99% water. The eccrine glands produce a far larger amount of sweat that the apocrine glands in the arm pits but it is far less smelly!

 

Am I unfit if I sweat a lot?

For most of us, sweating is a pretty good determent of how hard we have worked when exercising am I right? It is actually a pretty good indicator as it shows you that the body has reached a temperature that it is uncomfortable at and it is attempting to cool down by causing the sweat to evaporate from the body as water. If you sweat a lot during physical activity, this is not a sign of decreased fitness!

 

Do men and women sweat differently?

Yes, this is absolutely true, men and women have different sweating patterns. The average male produces four times more sweat a day that a woman of the same age. Research is still ongoing as to why women need to exercise to a higher intensity than a man does in order to start sweating, but the guess is that the reasons are hormonal.

 

Does sweating burn fat?

In a nutshell the answer to this question is no. When you sweat, you are losing water, not fat however due to the loss of water the body is forced to find energy elsewhere, normally in the form of stored calories and body fat. So no, sweating itself does not burn fat but the act of sweating can help the body to burn fat in other ways. It is a sign of the muscles working hard if the body heats up to a temperature that the body sees as too high.

 

Remember that there is absolutely no reason that you should limit your water intake while trying to lose weight, in fact you should increase it. Feeling dehydrated can make you feel lethargic and lacking in energy, which leads you to reach for the comfort foods!!

Go and fill up that water bottle and … get your sweat on!

 

Caffeine – good or bad for you?

14 May

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As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant and a drug and we are all warned that if we consume too much of it, we are at risk of addiction and the associated health problems. However, the reason most of us are confused at how much we are supposed to have is because there are contradicting articles telling you that caffeine will help lower your chance of getting cancer and suffering from heart disease etc. Too much information leads us to huge confusion and so I am attempting to simplify some of the information out there about caffeine and the effects it has on your health – both the good and the bad.

 

  • Caffeine can be a mood booster. It stimulates the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine which activates the area of your brain responsible for productivity and alertness. The amount it may boost your mood and the time it lasts for depends on the amount of sugar consumed with the caffeine. For example, if your put a lot of sugar in your coffee, your mood may be boosted a fair amount however once your blood sugar level drops down again, you will notice a pretty sudden decrease in alertness and productivity!
  • Coffee has been proven to help lower the risk of oral cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that there is a strong connection between the increased caffeinated coffee consumption and the lower death rate from oral cancer. Research is ongoing on this topic.
  • Having too much of anything is a bad move and it is no different with caffeine. Too much of it can cause nervousness, “the shakes”, insomnia, irritability, upset stomach, muscle tremors and irregular heart beats. Everyone will have a different tolerance so the amount of caffeine that works for your body will be individual to you but any more than 500mg (equal to 4 cups of coffee) can produce these effects on most people, especially if you are not used to taking in this much caffeine.
  • A healthy individual should try to remain under 300mg of caffeine a day which equals around 3 cups of coffee or 4 cups of tea. Pregnant women should limit their intake to under 200mg and children should consume no more than 50mg daily. Remember caffeine isn’t only in coffee and tea, it is also in sugary energy drinks that you may give your children.
  • Caffeine may NOT help weight loss!! Although many people use the zero-calorie coffee as a diet aid, research has not confirmed that it helps with weight loss. Caffeine does temporarily speed up metabolism leading to a few more calories being burned, however it also leads to the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone which is linked to weight gain and of course stress!! Research has also shown that the extra calories burned does not equate to an amount that will drastically help with weight loss.
  • Be careful which source of caffeine you choose! Health professionals always prefer you the get your caffeine fix from a natural source such as coffee or tea. Energy drinks are design to give you a quick boost of energy, and generally do just that, however the amount of sugar that is added to them can add up to about 70g. That is the equivalent to 17 teaspoons of sugar. These energy drinks can be dangerous to consume because as well as the huge amounts of caffeine and sugar in them, there are additives and stimulants that are thrown in there as well. These can cause the shakes, anxiety, irregular heart beat and also decrease the effect of any prescription drugs or antibiotics being taken.
  • Caffeine is used by athletes for exercise benefits. When caffeine is consumed in a fasted state, it stimulates the release of fatty acids into the blood therefore making it the preferable source of energy over carbohydrates or lean muscle.

The list of positive and negative effects that coffee has on our health is ongoing and there is no way I could talk about it all today but I hope those couple of facts have perhaps taught you something new, or cleared up something you weren’t quite sure on. We do not have a clear cut answer to the question in my title, the answer is that in moderation there should be no problem but you have to find the right amount for you as an individual!

Enjoy your day, stay healthy, stay active and … watch that caffeine intake!

My first Hot Yoga experience

5 Dec

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Recently, I have been persuaded to try “hot yoga” similar to the well known yoga “Bikram”. The reason I say I was persuaded is because I was convinced it was going to be a swelteringly hot room full of people fainting and this did not appeal to me at all! I am also the kind of person who if I decide to exercise I was it to be fast and energetic, so yoga has never been something I thought I’d try. I have heard so many people say they love the benefits they feel from doing hot yoga so I had to see what all the fuss was about.

I went to The Yoga Haven in Clapham Old Town (Wingate Square) to sign up for the introductory deal that they have on offer. This gives me 20 days of unlimited yoga classes for just £25! There was absolutely no excuse not to give it a go. Here is my honest description of my first class there…

I went with a friend which was great as we both had the same urge to try it, but a fear of the unknown. We got ready in the silent changing room where I can only imagine that everyone was mentally preparing themselves for the hour ahead. We filled up our water bottles and made our way to the studio, frantically grabbing our last breaths of the cool air before we walked in. There was an immediate rush of heat as we entered but not as hot as I had imagined. We found a space, making sure not to be under an air vent like the receptionist had advised us, and we lay down on our mats like everyone else was doing. They all seemed to be breathing in a heavy and rhythmic way, so we started to join in with the occasional glance at each other with the look of “what have we let ourselves in for?!”

The teacher came in and calmly introduced himself and said that if at any time we felt like it was too tough we should lie down rather than leave the room. We then started straight away with some easy breathing patterns slowly moving different body parts to stretch them. From the moment we started moving the sweating started, I started to feel noticeably warmer and I couldn’t help but think how on earth I was going to get through an hour of this!

The poses started getting a little more difficult and I found that the ones I can hold perfectly still usually, were becoming more difficult with the intense heat. My balance wasn’t nearly as good as it is normally, but I was enjoyed the challenge and found myself focusing really hard on each pose.

One thing I found to be a challenge was that there was no clock in the studio, and because you focus so intensely on each movement, you become unaware of time and when you begin to get tired and overheated, you have no idea whether you are only half way through or nearly at the end! As a personal trainer I am used to counting every second of every exercise so this was new to me!

Towards the end of the hour, the breaks between the poses started to become shorter and I found my heart rate and body heat increasing lots more. This is where I finally understood why everyone had been breathing in such a rhythm. It is very common to hold your breath when you’re concentrating on holding a position, but as i started to join in with the breathing patterns I found it much easier to flow from one pose to the next.

We did a lovely set of relaxation exercises lying down on the mat right at the end which I really appreciated because I felt my heart rate slow back down again and my body start to cool off a bit.

As the class ended and we all walked out of the room, the cold air hit us and I felt a mixture of relief and accomplishment. I was relieved that I finally had something other that hot air to breathe in but I was so happy that I had made it through the whole hour without fainting or any of the horrific things I had previously associated with hot yoga. I couldn’t believe my body was able to sweat that much in an hour, my face was less than desirable to look at, but we had enjoyed the class and had huge smiles on our faces as we showered and prepared for the cold walk home.

The rest of the evening left me feeling so clean and energised, it was such a great feeling. I have since been back for 3 more classes and continue to enjoy the challenge. I am feeling more and more confident with the poses that I have learned and continue to feel great after classes. The staff at yoga haven are so friendly, I would recommend trying out their introductory pass to anyone!

http://www.yogahaven.co.uk/clapham/yoga/