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fit4u Personal Training and Lower Back Pain Management

07956084047         [email protected]


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Make the most of Spring

Posted on April 9, 2015 at 6:49 AM Comments comments (38)
Wow, isn't Spring beautiful! The temperatures rising, the days are getting longer, there's blossom in the trees and wildlife is re-emerging all around you. It really is the perfect time to get out and kick start your exercise regime.

A simple and easy way to get started and enjoy spring is to go out for a walk at your local park or green space. Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes or trainers to walk in and off you go.

  • Plan a route beforehand, so you know how far you've walked, attempt to improve upon it either by distance or time taken to complete the route each time you venture out.
  • Keep up a good pace, one which raises your heart rate.
  • Get others involved, so your exercise becomes more social.
  • Take a drink with you, preferably water, sip at regular intervals.
  • Challenge yourself to march up hilly parts.
  • Include other exercise 'pit-stops', performing 10-15 squats or lunges. Or use a bench or wall for step ups or press ups.
  • Carry a back pack to increase your load.
  • Vary the terrain from tarmac to grass to woodland paths.
  • If there's some real steep hills and you're feeling ambitious bound up them a few times to really get the heart rate going.

There is so much you can do and it's free, so what's stopping you? Get out there and enjoy what this wonderful new season has to offer.

Post Easter burn up

Posted on April 7, 2015 at 9:51 AM Comments comments (10)
Did you eat too much Chocolate at Easter??? 
Scoff too many hot cross buns???

Get your training kick started after Easter with this simple fat melting circuit, you don't need any equipment and it will only take you 30 minutes from start to finish.

Warm up
Gradually warm up marching on the spot, increasing pace and range of motion across 5 minutes

Circuit
Butt kicks
Squats
Mountain Climbers
Press ups
High Knees
Lunges (1 leg at a time)
Squat jumps
Shoulder press ups
Plank

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 10-15 seconds between. Rest for 60 seconds at the end of the circuit. Repeat the circuit 3 times.

Make sure you cool down and stretch afterwards.

Enjoy

Fridays Fitness Blast - Obstacle Race Workout

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 5:58 AM Comments comments (29)
Obstacle Racing is fast becoming the fitness challenge of 2014, whether you decide to test yourself as a Spartan or discover if you are a ToughMudder, the challenge is there for you to take....but how do you prepare for such a varied event.

Completing any obstacle race requires good all round fitness levels, if you run regularly you may need to improve your muscular strength, if you lift weights a few times a week you may not possess the cardiovascular fitness to cover a 10 kilometer course.

Your training should prepare you for your event, it should include exercise that is specific for the challenges you will face from Monkey Bars and clambering over 10 foot high walls and leaping over fires and wading though chest high muddy water. You will need to put in a lot of hours to equip you to confidently tackle your chosen event.

Beginners Workout
Warm up - 10 minutes pulse raiser include upper body mobility

Perform each exercise for 1 minute as a circuit

Star Jumps
Press Ups
Butt Kicks (running on the spot, kick heels back towards butt, rather than lift knees)
Squats
Skaters (from a standing start jump right foot across left, immediately bounce back with left leg across to the right, lean forward to adopt a speed skater type stance)
Crawl outs (from a standing start lean forward and place you hands on the floor, walk your hands forwards until your body is parallel to the floor then walk back and stand up)
Frog Jumps (get into a squat position, power up out of that position and jump, land softly and lower yourself straight into the next jump)
Pull Ups/ Rows
Fast feet  (get into a half squat position with feet hip width apart, as fast as you can tap your feet alternately up and down, every 15 seconds drop to the floor to a press up position then bounce back up)
Travelling Lunges
Butt Kicks
Plank

Circuit will take 12 minutes, move from one exercise to the next without rest, if you cannot complete a full minute of any exercise rest during that minute before carrying on.

Rest for 90 seconds at the end of the circuit, complete 3 circuits

Cool down - 5 minute low level Cardiovascular exercise like a walk plus extensive stretching

Aim to complete circuits 2-3 x a week

In addition aim to complete 2 instances of Cardiovascular exercise for 40 minutes, (preferably running or run/walk intervals)

There are plenty of Obstacle course events to choose from, if you are not sure of your ability or are a complete beginner, some races start at 5km, check out www.muddyrace.co.uk for more information.

Good luck, make 2014 the year you unleash your inner warrior!

Thursdays Training Technique - Swiss Balls

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 5:27 PM Comments comments (22)
Swiss balls are a great training tool, relatively cheap they can be a highly effective way to train your entire body

This workout is designed to work all aspects of your core and will strengthen and stabilise for everyday life as well as improve fitness.

Warm up with a gentle pulse raise, step for 5 minutes include arm swings and rotations.

Perform 12-15 repetitions of each exercise in a circuit format. Perform 2-3 circuits.

Bridge - Targets lower back and glutes. 
Sit on the ball, slowly walk yourself forwards and lean back at the same time until your shoulders are on the ball. Lift your hips up to create a straight line from knee to shoulder. Slowly lower hips back down, keep your stomach tense throughout movement, and contract glutes to increase involvement.

Sit Ups - Targets abdominals
Sit on the ball, slowly walk forwards and lean back at the same time until your back is on the ball, allow your back to copy the curvature of the ball. Place your hands beside your head, bring your head and shoulders up, curling your spine forwards, ensure that your hips stay in the same place. To increase intensity move your hands above your head extending your arms will further increase intensity but ensure that they do not swing in front of your face.

Dorsal Raise - Targets lower back
Start with your stomach on the ball and legs extended behind you. Place your hands besides your head, using your lower back lift your upper body up as high as you can, slowly lower your body back to the original position. To increase intensity extend your arms over your head.

Oblique Curl - Targets Obliques
Start with the ball by your side, place one hip on the ball, keep legs extended and feet apart by a couple of feet. Place your hands beside your head and lean over the ball, slowly lift your upper body by bending sideways at the waist.

Roll Back - Targets entire Core
Lie on the ball on your stomach with your hands straight out in front, hands on the floor, walk your hands forward until your thighs are on the ball, keep your core engaged throughout, walk your hands back until you are back in the start position.



Wednesday Fat Loss - 'To lose body fat, do you have to exercise?'

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 9:13 AM Comments comments (23)
Is it right that in order to lose body fat you must exercise?

To lose body fat you must create a calorie deficit. You can create that deficit by 

1. Exercising, which will improve your overall health and fitness.
2. Eating fewer calories                                                                                                          

Even someone who is injured can lose body fat, despite a lack of exercise. The complaint "I gained weight whilst I was injured because I wasn't able to exercise" could more correctly be stated as "I gained weight while I was injured because I mindlessly overate for comfort and fun".

Adding exercise to your life does not necessarily mean losing body fat at a significant rate, you may exercise 3 times a week for an hour, you may burn 600 kcals each hour adding up to 1800 a week but this may only be 900 kcals of body fat, it will take you 4 weeks to burn enough calories to lose 1 pound. this is also relying on you not falling into a habit of eating more because of the exercise. Or you will have to quadruple your effort, 12 hours of exercise a week!

There is also a possibility that the hours not exercising are sedentary, you are recovering, your legs are sore, you've worked hard so deserve a break. This all points towards less calories being used during your time not exercising. 

You are someone who is active, not someone who exercises. Use every opportunity to burn some extra calories, walk wherever possible, do the gardening, take the stairs, be as active as you can all of the time.
 
or

Creating a deficit of 500 kcals in your diet every day may lead to a weight loss of 1 pound a week. 

or

Do both, exercise to be fit and healthy and limit calorie consumption to get the most that you can out of life, following such a regime gives you so much more opportunity to lose body fat.



Tuesdays Training Tip - Buns of Steel

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM Comments comments (97)
Lateral Lunges are a fantastic addition to your leg routine

The lateral lunge is a lower-body strength and mobility exercise. It is an effective exercise for improving strength and stability in the knees, hips and ankles. The primary muscles utilized in a lateral lunge are the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors and abductors. The lateral lunge requires both strength in these muscles as well as a great deal of mobility in the hip joints.

Technique
Position your feet on the floor so they’re hip-width apart with your toes pointed directly forward. Lift your right leg and step to the side. Once your foot is fully planted, push your hips back and bend your right knee to lower into a lunge. Descend until your right thigh is about parallel to the floor, then extend your hips and knee to come back up. Return your right foot to the starting position and then perform the next repetition, this time stepping to the side with your left foot. Continue back and forth until you complete all of your desired repetitions.

Technique variation
As you step to the side turn your foot out at 45 degrees, as you bend your knee ensure that it follows the line of the foot. This outward rotation will work your glutes in a way that other forward moving leg exercises don't.

Common Mistakes
When you’re lowering into a lunge, your knee should never travel forward beyond the line of your toe. If it does, you place an excess amount of stress on your knee joint. To avoid this problem, initiate the lunge by first pushing your hips back and then bending your knees, your knee should point in the same direction as your foot. Don't let your back collapse as you lower into the lunge. To keep your spine safe, your back should remain straight and your head up throughout the exercise.

Weights
Increase the intensity of the lateral lunge by incorporating a weighted barbell or a dumbbell. To use a barbell, place it on the back of your upper shoulders. Grip the bar with both hands on either side of your shoulders to keep it in place. If you're using a dumbbell, hold in each  the opposite hand to the leg you are lunging on to, with your arm hanging down by your side, as you move to the side allow the dumbell to move into the area between your legs. If you have access to a powerbag you can take this exercise to a new level with the technique variation, place the powerbag on the opposite shoulder and twist towards the lunging leg as you lower.

Good luck and if used regularly you'll soon be showing off your 'buns of steel'

Monday Motivator - revisiting resolutions

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM Comments comments (13)
New year came and went 
As did most peoples resolutions, whether it was to get fit, lose weight, start using your gym membership or just to make a simple change like giving up chocolate, there is a good chance that your dedication has faltered.

Now is the time to make some real resolutions, some changes that are sustainable. Spring is in the air the dull wet days of winter are behind us, evenings are getting longer and the temperature is rising. This is the time to make a change.

Reflect on 2013
Think about 10 things that you achieved in 2013, think about what they meant to you and why, how did that achievement make you feel? 

Before you sit down to look at the months ahead and what you would like to achieve, pause for a moment, think about approaching things differently. If in the past you have set yourself targets, decided on resolutions which you haven't achieved, if you always say 'I am going to do this', ask yourself why you didnt, what would you need to do differently.

Ask yourself these Questions
1. What would you like to achieve by Easter 2015? Think of as many things as you can, from fitness and health to travel, relationships, family anything can be included.
2. Why do you want to achieve it? Really think about this, as this is your motivation and focus, this is what makes it specific to you.
3. What will you gain from achieving it? This is key and is your secondary motivation, so by becoming lighter, leaner and more confident you will be able to go and do something else and enjoy it more. The secondary motivation will keep you focused more when things get challenging.
4. Who do you need to help support you to make this happen? Don't be afraid to ask for help, this may be close family and friends or may be your GP or you may have to invest in a coach or Personal Trainer. If you cant afford to social media is a great help in logging your achievements and seeking support and advice.
5. When will you begin and when will you complete this goal? Being clear on the commitment to start, progress and complete. If you often start but don't complete, work out what you need to do differently to complete it this time.
6. Write it down, build a vision board, get a tune that represents success, surround yourself with positive role models, music and pictures all helping you towards your goals. If you have limitations, don't ignore them, face them up, work out where they come from and work towards solving them, its like breaking a bad habit.

Once you have answered these questions
Decide on 10 things from the list that you want to achieve. Choosing only 10 will allow you to commit and achieve. Split these goals down into a time frame over the next 12 months, work out which goals need to be achieved when, for example you may have a goal to run a half marathon which is in June, maybe complete a project at work due by end of May, learn a language for a holiday also in June after the marathon, so you may really focus on these three goals and other goals you may work on a bit each week, they are in maintenance but your focus for them may come once you return from holiday.

Next think of the 10 most positive people you know, share your goals and fears with them, listen to their response, ideas and fears etc, build a positive support network to surround yourself with. Record your achievements and progress, take note of things that don't work and figure out why. In years to come think how fulfilled and contented you will feel looking back on your achievements.

Good luck, never get disheartened, stay positive and keep moving forward.

Sundays Supplement - Protein Powder

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (5)
As a personal trainer I am often asked 'what supplements should I take?'  This is a big question to which I could answer, none? Too many to mention? My answer will change according to the person asking the question, their training needs, diet, age, gender.....There are certain supplements though, that in the right circumstances I would always recommend. Over the next few weeks I will look at those supplements that can enhance a strength training regime.
 
Protein powder
Probably the most commonly used supplement in strength training and the one I get asked about the most. In a lot of cases I would suggest that if your diet is high in good quality proteins you may not need to supplement but supplementing with protein powder does ensure that you are getting the much needed proteins at the right time. If you are going to use protein then there is little or no point buying it cheap, cheap normally says poor quality and the benefits you get are reduced.
 
When to take
Consume half a protein shake immediately after training. The other half should be drunk 15-20 minutes later. My reasoning for this is no matter how advanced the formula and how much you are told it doesn't leave you bloated, for some people it still might if you consume the whole shake in one go. There is a lot of research to suggest that having a shake pre workout or just before bedtime helps with muscle growth and recovery, this may be true but the one essential time to consume some protein is always post workout.
 
Why take it 
Protein is the most important nutrient in the world when it comes to building lean muscle. As well as contributing to muscle growth, recovery and regeneration, a good source of protein is crucial for the development and maintenance of strong and healthy bones.
 
Brands I would recommend
Obviously I haven't tried every brand there is on the market but I have tried these and they generally get a good write up on strength training forums and publications like Mens Health. As for flavour I personally always go for a Chocolate.
 
Optimum Nutrition - Natural Casein or Platinum Hydro Whey
USN - Pure Protein IGF1
My Protein - True Whey or Impact Whey Protein (slightly cheaper supplier)

Fridays Fitness Tip

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 5:44 AM Comments comments (11)
Recording your efforts

Getting the results you want from your training requires a lot of time and effort, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of dedication and results in a lot of satisfaction but in order to get the results you want from your training one of the key elements is planning and recording.

You must plan what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it on a weekly and monthly level, even for many goals on a yearly level. Your planning may change as you progress or may be influenced by outside factors such as injury but ultimately you must plan to achieve your goals.

In order to efficiently plan you must record your achievements. As your body and fitness levels adapt and progresses, its good to look back at your training diary and see how far you've come. 

Plan your training in 8 to 12 week cycles, where you look to progress towards and achieve a goal. Record each and every training session and plan small incremental increases for the next session,

For example
Session 1 - Bench Press 40kg - achieved 11 reps, 10 reps, 9 reps (all to failure)
Session 2 - Bench Press 40kg - aim for 12 reps, 11 reps, 10 reps - if achieved then
Session 3 - Bench Press 45kg - aim for 10 reps, 8 reps; 40kg - 11 reps
Session 4 - Bench Press 45kg - aim for 11 reps, 9 reps; 40kg - 12 reps

After the planned 8-12 week cycle, take a week off to enable your body to fully recover, when you restart come back in where you were in weeks 3 or 4, then build again from there, planning to go beyond where your previous training cycle took you so you are still planning and recording your progression and achievements.

Thursdays Fat Burner Workout

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 6:02 AM Comments comments (17)
Todays workout is an all body triumvirate (3 exercises).  There is no need for equipment, except perhaps a mat or other cushioned flooring.  You can do this workout in the comfort of your own home. It is a challenge that you will set yourself then attempt to beat.

Warm up  
5-8 minutes of stepping, use your stairs, take it nice and easy, vary your lead leg, swing your arms in rhythm with the movement.  We are attempting to increase your pulse rate and bodies temperature.

Workout
12 x Jump Squats
12 x Press Ups
12 x Bicycles (each side)

How many full circuits can you complete in 15 minutes?

Jump Squats - With feet hip width apart, squat down making sure that you keep your back staright, so keep head and chest up facing forward, bum pushes backwards as you bend at the knee and lower your body.  Come back up with enough force to take your feet off the ground, a jump.  Land softly, allow your joints to absorb the impact by landing and going straight into the lowering phase.

Press Ups - I think we all know what a press up is, keep your tummy engaged, hold it tight whilst performing.  If you cannot complete 12 full press ups, do half ones, put a cushion on the floor and kneel on it, still completing the press up in the same up down motion, hands wide at the chest, bending at the elbows.  Dont worry half ones are not a cop out, they are still challenging.

Bicycle - Lie on your back, place your hands beside your head, in a single motion rotate and lift upper body and at the same time bring one knee into chest, perform at opposites so left elbow comes towards right knee, then reverse so that right elbown comes towards left knee.  As you switch legs kick the other leg out slow and low. Perform 24, 12 each side smoothly and slowly

Rest - Up to you.....the more you rest the less time to complete another round of exercises, the less you rest the harder it is.

Good luck, please post your results. 

Remember all physical activity carries risks to health, please consult your GP before starting any exercise.



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