Friday, 24 October 2014

How To Stay Fit, Healthy and Motivated During Winter

As we get ready to put the clocks back this weekend and the nights have started to draw in, I have been asked a few times recently as to the best ways to keep motivated over the winter month and how to give a bit of life and energy into your current fitness programme.

This made me think about what I do this time of year with my own personal fitness programme to keep myself motivated and it is a very simple this I mean cross training, so mixing up the types of exercise that you do.

One of the major factors in keeping your motivation levels high during the winter is change, as this will ensure that you don't get stuck in that same old routine that you have been doing for the past year. For example if you like going out on long runs or bike rides then over the winter months avoid getting wet outside and head to the swimming pool. Swimming is one of those great exercises were you get a whole body workout (some cardio and resistance) and what is even better it is non weight baring so it doesn't have such a harsh effect on your joints as running.

Another way is if possible why not flip your day on its head? During the win
ter months as it gets darker earlier it becomes easier to talk yourself out of doing exercise after work and just to go home, sit in from of the fire and watch TV all evening. If you get your stuff ready the night before, set the alarm for slightly earlier then head to the gym, go on a run, for a swim, take a class before work. This will lead to you feeling more motivated and energised for the day as well as freeing up your evening too.

Buddy up. having an exercise partner with similar goals to you is great as you can motivate each other support each other and work together towards your goals. As well as bouncing different ideas off of each other. Why not try out some new or different group exercise classes. With this you will keep your training fresh and interesting and it can also be good way socially to meet new people.

One of the most important things that you need to think about as always is nutrition and hydration. It is still important to keep your hydration levels up during the winter, and I also say that it is better to take small sips throughout the day and try to avoid gulping it down. When it comes to nutrition then it is really important to think about what you are eating and my best advise to my clients is to make sure that you are eating a well-balanced diet.

Hiring a Personal Trainer. Having a PT over the winter months is also a great way to stay motivated as firstly you know that you have someone waiting there for you each session that you booked which makes it harder for you to talk yourself out of exercise. As everyone has different goals then as a qualified fitness professional it is part of our job to help you through your journey to achieving them, understanding your needs and goals, being on your side and giving you our best professional advice to help you stay motivated and reach your goals. Another advantage of having a PT is that you don't have to think about what you are going to do each session, just turn up, exercise and go!

Over the winter months we can often become fatigued and feel tired a lot quicker than we think so it is important that we give our body enough time to relax and recover and spend some time treating yourself. Think about taking the time for a deep tissue massage, which can be vital in keeping your motivational and energy levels high, but also giving you that time to just relax and let your body heal.

The benefits of having a nice soft tissue massage is that it will help remove lactic acid from tight muscles, breaking down tight facia resulting in better tone in muscle mass and relaxed body of muscle. This in turn can benefit and improve future performance, which is key if you are training for a long term goal such as a marathon next year.

I hope this helps you on your way to staying fit, healthy and motivated this winter.

Many thanks for Reading


P.S. If you would like any further information or to book Personal Training or a Soft Tissue Massage then please click here.


Monday, 28 July 2014

What Is The Best Way To Lose Your Belly?

One of the most common fitness goals that people come to see me with is.... 'I would like to lose my belly'. So what is the best way to help lose your belly? Below I have put down the best way to beat the abdominal bulge. As we have all been told you can't spot reduce fat on just one part of the body. So doing countless number of crunches is not going to get you that perfect flat toned stomach.

Research that was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning researched the effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat (September 2011). The study looked at the effect of specific abdominal exercise on body composition and abdominal muscular strength and endurance for 5 days a week for 6 weeks, as compared to a control group. All subjects followed the same diet during the study.

The results of the study showed that there was no significant effect of abdominal exercises on the body weight, body fat percentage, abdominal circumference and abdominal skin fold measurements in the abdominal exercise group. The only difference there was between the 2 groups was the ability of the abdominal group to perform significantly greater amount of sit-up repetitions.

What is the best way to reduce abdominal fat?

  1. Good Nutrition - We have all heard the saying you can't out train a bad is completely true!
  2. Resistance Training - Compound (large/number of muscles) Movements under load, which in turn will help to recruit maximal muscle fibres, which in turn will lead to a larger metabolic response as more muscles are working at once. For example you should consider - squats, lunges, deadlifts, pull ups, shoulder press etc
  3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - This is very popular at the moment and is one of the latest crazes in the fitness industry, it involves interspersing fast burst of effort with low intensity rest periods. this helps to boost your metabolism.
  4. Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT) - This is exactly the same as HIIT the only different being the speed at which the exercises are carried out. your work and rest cycles are much longer than when doing a HIIT approach.
  5. High Intensity Steady State Exercise - This looks a performing your activity at a steady, challenging but manageable pace (usually between 60-70% of your maximal heart rate) for 20 minutes or more and aiming for a heart rate between 120-150 beats per minute.
  6. Low Intensity Steady State Exercise - This can include exercises such as walking or jogging, without putting to much stress on the body. This method is good as it can be used on an active rest day compared to just sitting down on the sofa.
I hope this information has helped you and you can now go away and include some if not all of these training methods in your own exercise programme. If however, you would like me to put together all the above in an effective fitness programme then please let me know. We will first sit down and have a talk about your exercise goals, do a full body screening looking at body fat percentage, waist to hip ratio, body alignment. We will then both agree on the best plan of action to help you work towards your fitness goal. 

For more information please visit my website by clicking here 

Thanks for reading


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Why You Should Add a Conditioning Programme Into Your Running/Cycling Programme

So you have started a new running or cycling programme, however, what are the benefits that you are missing out on if you don't include a strength and conditioning programme.

Firstly lets have a look at what a strength and conditioning programme is and what it is not:

A strength and conditioning programme is not:

  • Finishing a run and doing sit ups and press ups
  • A random sequence of weight training exercises without a plan

The English Institute of Sport defines strength and conditioning as:
"...the entire development of an athlete and what is needed to improve their physical performance".

One of the major benefits of a strength and conditioning programme is that it will help with injury prevention. This is because as you follow a conditioning programme then the programme should reduce muscle imbalances, as well as strengthening tendons and ligaments, which will lead to fewer injuries.

Having a strength and conditioning programme will make you feel stronger, nearly every sport will involve the application of force. The best and quickest way to strengthen your legs is with squats and lunges, and this strengthening will in turn aid with leg endurance and stamina increasing the amount of force that you can apply.

You may feel that the only way to get faster is to just run and run or to just ride and ride. However, running and riding are both very technical skills which when broken down and looked at they can then be rebuilt and help you to run or ride in a more efficient way improving speed and energy usage. 

If you are wanting to improve at a sport then you should definitely be looking at including some sort of strength and conditioning programme that is specific to your sport. I have worked with people to help them with their running, cycling, swimming, triathlons, tennis, badminton and football, and they have all seen vast improvements in their reductions in injuries, increased flexibility, and general improvement in performance.

If you would like more information on getting a strength and conditioning programme from PB Fitness then please let me know or visit my website.

Many thanks for reading.



Monday, 10 February 2014

'Fitness Just Isn't For Me' - Here's What We're Going To Do About It.

When you think of a traditional gym members, a certain profile automatically comes into your head.  These people have high levels of fitness and participate in a lot of physical activity. If you think about an obese person, an ante or postnatal woman, or the elderly then you probably don't make the initial link with fitness.

It is a common myth that fitness isn't for everyone, and when I was setting PB Fitness up it was (and still is) my aim to smash that myth and make 'exercise fun and accessible for all'. 

As we all know people come in all shapes and sizes, and with their own special fitness requirements, medical conditions and exercise experience. These factors taken into account means that a one size fits all approach definitely doesn't work when it comes to exercise. Everyone has their own target and goals that they want to work towards, this could be being able to run 10 meters or completing an Iron Man, which is why at PB Fitness each target is considered just as significant as any other.

Another aim that I had when setting PB Fitness up was to make people aware that exercise doesn't necessarily have to be done in the gym or even involve breaking a sweat. For people that are continuously on the go then it is more beneficial for them to exercise their mind and body through yoga or gentle exercise. For post natal women, incorporating more movement into their daily routine is important. I always try to encourage my Postnatal clients to take the baby out for a walk in a push chair, to get them out of the house, active and it has a positive impact on building energy for the day.

As a fitness professional I understand the requirements of each individual and what type of exercise is appropriate for them, is important in helping me to reach my mission statement of 'making exercise fun and accessible for all' and getting more people to lead active lives. I believe that giving people the knowledge of what is available and appropriate for them will help to break down the barriers of exercise being something to fear, when it is really something that is accessible to everyone. This is why at PB Fitness you can have a free consultation to talk through what is the best way to go about reaching your goals.

One recent example of this is that I had a client come to me and say that they don't have much time, find exercise boring and dislike doing repetitive exercise. With all this information taken into account I designed a programme that kept the exercises short and sharp, the sessions were fun as they were design around single set training, circuits and game based drills. This meant that there was not much rest and enable us to pack in a huge amount of exercise into the valuable time we had.

Why not take that first step and book a free consultation with me to discuss how we can make your fitness goals fun and accessible to you.

Many thanks for reading


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Muscle Weighs More Than Fat - Or Does It?

I sure you've all heard the saying that muscle weighs more than fat. However, this is not true as a one pound of fat and one pound of muscle is still one pound. Where the difference between the two comes in is there density, with muscle being around 18% denser than fat. All this meaning that one pound of muscle will take up a lot less space within the body than one pound of fat.

This can also be seen in the below picture, which shows five pounds of fat (on the left) and five pounds of muscles (on the right). You can see that the muscle is a lot smaller than the fat of the same weight meaning that it will take up a lot less space, be less "lumpy" under the skin and between your organs, which is why it is a good idea not to just use the bathroom scales to record your success, but also other measurements too.

Are you setting yourself up to fail with the scales?

I am sure that we have all been there before, we start a new weight loss regime and the first thing we do is step on the scales to see our starting weight. We then go to the gym and sweat blood, sweat and tears and eat a healthy balanced diet as well. we then get back on the scales look at the reading and it has staid the same, even after a couple of weeks of training. This can then ultimately lead to disappoint and the termination of your new weight loss regime. How many of you are feeling this at the moment with new year resolutions that you have started? 

If you can relate to this feeling then my one suggestion to you is to get rid of the scales, start thinking positive thoughts again and lets start to think of over ways that we can measure the success of your new health and fitness regime.

firstly what you need to remember is that scales only tell you a numerical value for your relationship with gravity - It only calculates your total body weight, which includes fat, muscle, bones etc. It doesn't tell you the composition of that weight within your body.

One of my favourite ways to measure the success of a programme is the good old fashioned how to your clothes feel/fit. Are they starting to become to bagging or have you dropped a dress size? Taking waist and hip measurements. Again really simple all you need is a tape measure and for your waist measurement the tape just goes around the body at belly button level making sure that the tape is level and not twisted anywhere. For your hip measurement you need to stand with your feet together place the tape measure round the widest part of the hips and bum and again making sure that the tape is level and there is no twist in it. Each week/fortnight/month go back measure in exactly the same place and see as you increase your lean muscle the measurement size drop.

Another way to measure the success is by doing a body composition test. Body Composition/Body Fat percentage testing looks at giving you an accurate sense of how much of your body is made up from fat and how much of the body is made up from muscle. When it comes to starting a new weight loss programme then waist and hip measurements and body fat percentage measure sure form a vital part of your progress checks as when the body as a larger amount of body fat compared to lean muscle the body will appear to be heavier, than when the number is lower. High body fat percentage can also lead too a heighten risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

All of this is why when you sign up for Personal Training with PB Fitness then all will receive a free fitness consolation where we will sit down and have a chat about your exercise goals and go through a complete fitness assessment looking at you height, weight, waist to hip ratio and body fat percentage.

Thank you for reading.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Finding Time to Train

The most important piece of kit for many of my busiest clients is a stopwatch. I have clients who are regularly going away on business trips, and can't get to the gym on a regular basis, so I set them a bodyweight exercise routine - press ups, squats lunges and dead lifts - that they can do in their hotel room. Their stopwatch (usually an iPhone) is vital to them. By manipulating the rest and recovery time between exercises, they can easily change the intensity of their workouts.

I believe it is the failure to put fitness goals on the same level of importance as other goals, that hampers our attempts to get fitter, healthier and faster. When I first meet clients I am now initial trying to change their ways of thinking about heathly living, so they can make it high priority regardless of how busy they are. However with modern life and commitments this is much easier said then done. This is why I believe it is about educating and giving my clients the tools to make training an unmissable part of their life, as well as ensuring their workouts are of the highest quality. Many of my clients have very limited home exercise kit, however, if you know how to manipulate exercise variables such as tempo, volume, speed, rest and load you can still progress them effectively.

Here are ten tips for finding time to exercise:

1 - Prepare Your Kit
Lay out your training kit the night before an early start - and get your gear on before you look at the weather outside, so you won't be deterred.

2 - Diarise It
Log your training sessions in your diary and treat the as unmissable meetings. Once training is part of your routine it will feel peculiar to miss a session.

3 - Plan Ahead
Plot trails and cycle routes using local maps or digital software (try MapMyRun and MapMyRide0 to give every session, journey or commute a purpose.

4. Pal Up
It pays to buddy up with a running partner, club mate, colleague or personal trainer - someone you'll let down if you skip a session.

5. Double Up
Keep spare training kit in a holdall in the car or at work so you can never 'forget your kit' and can make the most of unexpected chances to squeeze in an extra session. Keep baby wipes with you, if you can't shower afterwards.

6. Set the Alarm

You can't make more time, but you can regulate your hours you're awake. So get up a little earlier, adding 30 minutes to your day for a run or ride. You'll arrive at work buzzing and won't need to motivate yourself in that early evening lull.

7. Make Every Second Count
Plan an out-and-back run or ride, then make it your aim to ensure the homeward leg is faster than the outwards leg. You'll race yourself all the way home. This is known as the negative split.

8. Flex Your Plans
Forget the all or nothing approach. If time runs out on the training you'd planned, simply re-calibrate your programme. A brisk couple of miles are still worthwhile.

9. Warm Up Indoors
A few stair climbs or runs on the spot will help you hit the ground running when you get outdoors, squeezing every ounce of benefit from whatever time you have.

10. Mutli-Task
Work on your proprioception and balance by standing on one leg while doing domestic tasks like brushing your teeth. You could even stretch your calf muscles while waiting for the train.

Thanks for reading