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Fit For Life

Choosing & Using Your Ideal Treadmill

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Choosing a machine like a treadmill can be a daunting task. Most people don’t have much experience with equipment like this, and it’s not always easy to teach yourself what you’re going to need from it. One thing is for sure, though; you need a treadmill that you will be excited to use.

Taking this approach is a great way to keep yourself motivated with your exercise before you even start, with a machine that makes you want to work out being ideal for those who don’t like to perform physical activities. There is a range of factors that can go into making the perfect treadmill for you, and it’s worth thinking about this before you start shopping.

Entertainment is a big player, with treadmills that offer space for a laptop or tablet giving you the chance to keep your mind off of the exercise you’re going. Alongside this, some treadmills offer different modes, including games that can be played while you workout. Additional features like this will always make a treadmill cost more, but this is worth it if it helps you to do more exercise.

If you’re interested in getting your own treadmill, the infographic below is well worth a read. Covering everything from choosing a treadmill to finding new ways to exercise with it, it should give you a clear insight into the world of running machines. This could be the start of a new you, with fitness becoming a big part of your life.

 

 


Infographic designed by: Treadmill.run

‘4 Top Tips to Make Your Workout Safer (and More Enjoyable!)’

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The current lockdown has changed many aspects of our daily lives, not excluding the way we look after our bodies and minds. Of course, it is only positive to set objectives and goals for this time we are all spending indoors. However, without the necessary guidance of personal trainers and experts, it is easy to overdo it and underestimate some safety measures. Since an injury might require you to stop exercising for a while, it is a much better choice to take all the precautions you can to make your workout safe.

Give Time to Your Body to Adapt

While working out from home might give you the impression that you are not pushing as hard as you would at the gym, body weight can be extremely effective. At the same time, working out every day can cause your muscles to stay fatigued for days to come, something that can harm the rest of your daily activities. Additionally, as you start to get more tired, you will realise that you can’t work out for as long, which can lead to muscle strain. Instead, allow your muscles to recover between one session and the other. In doubt, opt to alternate your training with meditation and yoga sessions.

Avoid Slippery Surfaces

Without the right equipment for your workout, it is easy to face risks that you would not have to worry about in the gym. However, you can solve this issue by investing in accessories such as a non-slip mat or pull up bar wax. While inexpensive, these additions are an easy way to reduce the possibility of accidents while working out at home.

 

Even if you don’t have a large budget available to you, such accessories can make the workout safer and more enjoyable.

Have One Area of Focus at a Time

Creating a routine for your home workout might not be easy is you are not an expert in the matter. While spending some time training every day, it is essential to learn more about what the most effective ways of working out are. Otherwise, you might end up practice for hours without seeing the results you had hoped for. 

 

If you are in doubt, start by writing down what your goals are and researching the most effective ways of training a specific muscle group. Additionally, while you might be eager to see improvements, focus on smaller developments and then enlarge your area of expertise from there. This can also help you understand your body better and whether there are techniques more suitable for your needs.

Warm-Up and Cool Down Properly

Especially when working out at home, many individuals tend to skip the warm-up before the training and a cool down just after. Understandably, you want to make the most out of the time spent training, but skipping these critical phases can cause damage to your muscles and increase recovery time. Instead, it would be best if you opted to spend time warming up and cooling down properly to prepare the muscles for the workout and other tasks you will dedicate yourself to during the day.

 

5 Unbelievable Benefits of Squats

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If you’re not doing squats yet, today is the day to start. They can build strong legs and glutes over time, which is why squats are a part of the strength training routine of many athletic people. Here are some leading benefits of squats, and they just might surprise you!

Get Firm Glutes

The biggest muscle of the body, the gluteus maximus, is one that gets stronger when you do squats. When the glutes firm up, they’re getting strong, and that’s important for stability of the body, as well as power in the lower body. The great news is that you can even do squats during lockdown.

Build the Calves

As you do squats regularly, notice how your calves grow stronger, as well as how they increase in size. You will likely find more stability in your ankles, as well, than you may have experienced before. The reason for the changes with the calves is that you’re doing a wide range of motion with them when you do squats.

Mental Boost

While the benefits up until now have been physical ones, it’s important to note that when you notice positive changes in your body that you will likely become more self-confident. Notice the strength of your body that comes with doing squats and enjoy the feeling of being comfortable with the improvements.

Burn Body Fat

The more muscle you have, the more calories expended in a day. As the squat targets the glutes and calves, which are both big muscle groups, the number of calories burned will be significant. Interestingly, many of these burned calories happen after the workout rather than during it. As your body works to repair itself after the strength training session ends, your body will also build muscle and burn fat.

Better Mobility

Did you know that squats improve how mobile your body is? When your joints go through a range of motion, and you have proper form when doing the squats, then you will develop the ability to do many movements. The better mobility that comes from that can help you feel more limber, enjoy a range of exercises, and feel good about your body too.

There are Many Variations

While you might be thinking that you’ll tire of doing squats, that’s not true when you do different varieties of them, so that your training routine doesn’t feel stale.

There is the front squat, as well as the back squat. Variations include the Bulgarian split squat, pistol squat with medicine ball, lateral step out squat, side-to-side squat jump, and much more. Vary the ones you use to keep your workouts exciting.

Final Words on Squats

Now that you have read the many benefits of squats, you’re likely wondering why you haven’t been incorporating them into your fitness routine. Today is the day to start!

Don’t be hard on yourself if you struggle with the movement at first. It is a complex one that involves many muscles and proper form throughout it. Take it slow as you master the correct position and then start to include it in your workout. Always check with your doctor before making changes to your workout routine to make sure it’s safe for you.

 

‘Recovering After Working Out’

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There is nothing as invigorating and rewarding as a really good work out. Pushing your limits, hitting new person bests, and celebrating those achievements. Exercise is good for us, and we all know it. The process the body goes through during working out is one that prompts it to be better, stronger, and faster. Which is great. But there is always a risk of pushing your body too far, too fast, and it ends in disaster. 

This is why you must use the recovery period after your workout to heal and support your body. 


Hydration

It is never more important than after a workout to rehydrate yourself. We are supposed to consume at least two liters of water per day. If you are working out, you will be losing more of that due to sweating. So increase your water intake before and after your workout. 

Stretch 

After you work out, there will be a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles. By stretching, you reduce that lactic acid and improve circulation. Cooling down allows your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature to return normal levels. Stretching also reduces the likelihood that you are going to suffer from cramping and stiffness. 

Nutrition

Losing weight and building muscle both rely heavily on what you feed your body. You need to have enough calories to support your goals and enough to recover properly too. If you want to build muscle, then you need to be strict about your protein intake. Too few carbs, and you might find you don’t have the energy to get through a full workout session. If you are working with a personal trainer, they can often give you tips, advice, and a whole routine that will work for you. 

Massage

A massage therapist that specializes in sports massage will be able to relieve tension in your muscles. This is particularly useful if you are building muscle. Plus, the toxins from your body too, and leave you in a much more relaxed state. You should typically aim to have a sports massage at least once a week, or at the very least twice a month. Another type of therapy that many people enjoy is an ice bath after running, or after other high impact sports. They aren’t known as being the most comfortable thing but may have a great impact on your recovery. 

Sleep

It is important that you get a good quality sleep after a workout. A workout uses up extra energy sources, and if you are running a sleep debt, then you will notice a marked impairment of your usual ability. Take steps to make sure that your sleep routine is of benefit to you. Staying up late watching movies or eating right before bed isn’t going to give you the high quality sleep that you need to support your body when working out. Check room temperature, noise control, and the quality of your mattress and pillow. 

 

One of the most important things you can do is listen to your body. 

 

Creating a New Exercise Regimen for Lockdown

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Lockdown has got most of us bored by now. Since the start of 2020, increasing numbers of countries have been implementing new lifestyles in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has caused a worldwide pandemic and taken hundreds of thousands of lives. Rather than sticking to our usual routine, the vast majority of us are stuck at home, unable to see anyone who lives outside of our household and only able to leave our household for essentials and emergencies. It’s not all too surprising that many of us are bored and that many of us are getting out of shape with excessive snacking, unhealthy eating and a non-existent exercise regime. Let’s tackle the exercise element of this today! Here are a few ways you can work out in your own home and have a little fun at the same time!

 

Yoga

 

Now, you might not think of yoga as a workout. But it really is. All you need is a yoga mat and a video tutorial to follow along with – there are plenty of completely free options online likes complete yoga guide.

Yoga can help you to focus on and develop your breathing technique while toning, improving balance and working on flexibility. On top of this, some tutorials can teach and encourage the practice of mindfulness, which can be extremely useful during these difficult times where people are often feeling more stressed or anxious.

 

Pickleball

 

Now, this step might not work if you don’t have a garden, or if you live alone. But if you are lucky enough to have outdoor space and you have someone that you live with who you can play with, it could be a whole lot of fun. Pickleball is an enthralling sport that sadly relatively few people know about. This is a paddleboard sport and traditionally takes place on a tennis court. People will play this game, which combines elements of tennis, table tennis and badminton, with special equipment like pickleball shoes and the best pickleball paddles. Now, chances are you don’t just have a tennis court in your garden. But you can craft your own with some floor marking and a simple net that can be ordered online!

 

Cycling

 

Some of us haven’t cycled since childhood. So the idea of getting back on a bike can seem a little funny. But most of us find the experience exhilarating once we get back to it. Of course, you’ll have to be careful while cycling outdoors during your allotted exercise time. Maintain a two metre distance from others who may be out at the same time. Alternatively, you can invest in a static bike and cycle within the comfort of your own home – while watching TV can be fun and make the exercise seem less of a chore.

 

It really is important to maintain your fitness during these times – both for your physical wellbeing and for your mental wellbeing. Hopefully, some of the ideas outlined above will help to kickstart your lockdown exercise regime!

‘How to Improve as a Runner’

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Running is a fantastic way to boost your fitness, improve your physical health, and boost your emotional wellbeing. From the cardiovascular benefits to the release of endorphins you get; there are endless ways running can benefit you. 

Whether you’re eager to start competing, you’re training for a charity run or you simply want to beat your own personal best, take a look at these sure-fire strategies to improve as a runner:

Build your endurance

If you’re focused on timings, you may spend a lot of time practicing sprints and pushing yourself to move faster. While you’ll certainly need to be able to push forward if you want to race competitively, building your endurance is key to success as well. 

Increasing the distance you can run offers enhanced health benefits, such as modifying muscle fibers and using fat as fuel. If you’re using running as a way of losing weight or improving your fitness, focusing on your endurance is essential. By modifying your training regime to feature longer runs and upping the distance at regular intervals, you’ll be surprised at just how much you’re capable of in a relatively short space of time. 

Get the right equipment

One reason that running is so popular is because you require minimal equipment, particularly when you’re starting out. However, running is a high impact form of exercise, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Knowing when to buy new running shoes is important, for example, or you could succumb to avoidable injuries. Similarly, being properly kitted out for the weather will help to prevent heatstroke in the summer or frostbite in the winter. 

You don’t necessarily need a lot of equipment to improve as a runner, but you will need some. Visit your local running store or do some research online and you’ll find options for every runner and every budget. 

Prioritize your recovery

When you’re desperate to shave seconds off your personal best or hit your next distance marker, it’s easy to push yourself harder than you should. Although you’ll have to dig deep if you want to progress, it’s vital to listen to your body too. Without enough rest, you’ll succumb to frequent injuries. 

No-one wants to be forced to take a prolonged break from their routine due to the injury, so do everything you can to prevent it. Factoring in regular rest days and taking a long-term approach to your training goals will give you the stability and flexibility you need to work with your body, rather than against it. 

Becoming a Better Runner

The versatility of running means that it’s a great form of exercise for almost everyone. While you should always seek medical advice before beginning a new regime, running gives you the option to start at any level. Furthermore, running can be as social or solitary as you like, so there’s no pressure to perform in a certain way. Whether you’re running for fun, meeting up with friends, enjoying the solitude of running alone, or training for a competitive meet, there are always ways to hone your technique and improve your running.

Boosting Your Energy Levels Through Your Diet

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When it comes down to it, what you put into your body is your fuel. You want to put the best fuel in to get the most from it. If you’re not putting the right foods into your body, you may experience a lack of energy which could leave you feeling listless, heavy and tired. Sure, some people naturally have higher energy levels than others. But you can increase your energy levels to some degree with a well thought out diet. Here are a few different foods you should try incorporating into your diet!

 

Supplements

Let’s start by saying that sometimes it can be difficult to incorporate every one of the following foods into your diet. If this is the case and you find you’re lacking anything you need, supplements could be a good addition to top up levels where they’re running low. You can find more information on this over at supplementrelief.com.

 

Grains

 

Grains are the ultimate form of slow release energy. These foods are rich in carbohydrates, which your body can gradually convert into energy throughout the day. The type of energy you get from grains is slow release and long lasting, which makes grains the perfect breakfast food. It can reduce snacking and keep you going until lunch! Some different examples of grains include oats, brown rice and – for a snack – popcorn. So you can work them into any meal!

 

Fruit

 

We all know that fruit should form a part of any healthy diet. They supply your five a day and they also provide you with some healthy dietary fibre. But there’s also a reason that people tend to pack a piece of fruit in their gym bags and why football players are often seen having an orange at half time. The natural sugars present in fruit can give you a quick burst of energy as and when you need it. Just make sure to brush your teeth after, as the sugars can damage them.

 

Vegetables

 

Vegetables are another foodstuff that you should be incorporating into a health diet anyway, also contributing to your five a day. Vegetables like sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, dark leafy greens like spinach can give you a Popeye style boost and other carbohydrate-dense veggies like beetroot are great too!

 

Beans and Legumes

 

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, chances are you incorporate plenty of beans and legumes into your diet already. But these are a great source of energy for anyone! They serve as a great side dish to many meals and are packed with carbohydrates which will help you to power throughout the day. Options such as lentils are particularly cheap and easily accessible.

 

These are just a few suggestions. There are other less healthy options out there that can pick you up (coffee or energy drinks for example), but the options outlined above tend to be a whole lot better for you and your body. Try them out and feel the difference!

Wearing The Right Workout Clothes To The Gym Matters’

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Dressing for success does not only apply to the office and in job interviews. It can also be applied to going to the gym to workout. Yep, you heard right. What you were to the gym is just as important as the actual workout itself. Wearing those amazing
Curves leggings can do more for you than give you confidence while you are doing leg day. Experts say what you wear to the gym can affect your performance. Here are some reasons why you should reconsider going to the gym in khaki pants and a polo.

They can give you more confidence

Everyone could use more confidence, especially in the gym. When you are more confident about something, chances are you will perform much better and work a little harder. The same thing applies to exercising at the gym. When you know you look good, you will be more inclined to push a little harder, to do a little more, and to keep up the good work. Sports psychologies for the New York Mets, Dr. Jonathan Fadar, told Shape magazine, “When you put on new fitness gear, you begin to get into character like an actor putting on a custom for a performance. As a result, you expect to have a better performance, making you more mentally prepared for the task.”

They can enhance your performance

Sometimes it takes a little bit more than good looks to do a good job. Not only should you look for workout clothes that are cute and give you a boost of confidence, but they should also serve a function. If you are practicing hot yoga, you need something that is flexible, breathable, and dries easily. You would not want to wear skinny jeans and a t-shirt. The same thing goes for shoes. If you are running a marathon, you would not wear those same shoes on a basketball court. They serve two different functions and support different parts of the foot and ankle.

They can protect you from the environment

If you are exercising outside and you are in a climate that is warmer, you may need to wear something different than if you were exercising outside and you are in a climate that is colder. When it is hot outside, your best bet is to wear loose clothing with breathable fabrics. This will help keep your body cool so you do not pass out from a heat stroke. For places that are cooler, it is best for you to wear fabrics that are well insulated. You may even want to layer. This helps to easily regulate your body temperature, keeping you warm and safe from freezing to death.

They give you motivation

If you are wearing a workout outfit that makes you super confident, enables you to perform better, and keeps you comfortable while doing so, this alone is enough motivation to keep it going. This can keep you excited about going to the gym to work out. 

4 Exercise Classes To Develop Core Strength

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We all have different fitness goals, whether it’s losing weight or toning up. Many of us would like to build up our core strength, which is beneficial to protect our bodies from injuries. So what are the best exercise classes to build up core strength? To get you started, these four are excellent options.

 

1 . CrossFit 

 

CrossFit classes merge many different elements of fitness and sport. During a CrossFit class, you’ll perform movements that combine gymnastics, weights and cardio for a real high-power workout. You’ll develop flexibility, control and get in shape in no time. CrossFit classes are both challenging and high impact; with this in mind, you’ll need a good general level of fitness to participate. If you have any underlying injuries or health conditions, ensure to check with your doctor and the instructor before attending.

 

  1. HIT Classes

 

HIT means ‘High-Intensity Interval Training’. A HIT class entails a high-intensity workout followed by a low-intensity workout. Throughout a HIT class, this process is repeated in several reps. During a HIT class, you’ll be performing a combo of burpees, press-ups, squat jumps and kettlebell swings. It’s also likely that you’ll practice dumbell presses. HIT classes have significantly increased in popularity over the last few years, and it’s likely due to the weight loss and core strength potential. When it comes to fitness tips, taking up HIT training is the best advice you’ll ever get! HIT classes may not be suitable for those with certain injuries, so it’s best to check first.

 

  1. Boxfit

 

Boxfit is a boxing-based workout, yet unlike traditional forms of boxing, it’s non-contact. During a boxfit class, you’ll develop your strength, speed and agility. A Boxfit class is all the cardio you need to work your whole body and burn plenty of calories. These classes are based on boxing training concepts that boxing professionals use to keep fit. Throughout a Boxfit class, you’ll perform shadow boxing, skipping, kicking punch bags and press-ups. Many people find the idea of a contact boxing class intimidating. With Boxfit you can get a fantastic workout, with zero boxing contact.

 

  1. Yoga 

 

Yoga is pretty much one of the top exercises for improving your core strength in the long-term. When you practice yoga, you’ll also improve your posture, flexibility and tone up. Yoga also has benefits for the mind, as it helps us to relax and de-stress. If you are a beginner, it’s best to start with Hatha style yoga, moving onto Vinyasa once you’ve got the basics. Ashtanga yoga classes are the most challenging; you’ll sweat lots and build up your core strength.

 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, gyms and yoga studios are offering online classes. This is excellent news for those who still want to get their workout during the lockdown. The trouble is, you may not have any equipment home. It’s advisable to purchase those at-home workout essentials to get you started. Ensure that you perform a full warm-up and stay hydrated when practising online classes or home-based workouts.

 

The Simple Trick That Builds Bulging Biceps Every Time

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For some reason, the biceps are the muscle group that draws the most attention among the gym-goers. There’s something in the culture that puts them front and center in your mind. 

 

This post is a bit of an indulgence. Unlike many of the blogs out there, we’re not going to talk about how building your triceps is essential for big arms. And we’re not going to talk about the necessity of doing compound movements. Instead, we’re going to take a look at what you can do directly to increase the size of your bicep right now. 

 

If you’re like many people, you’ve probably spent a long time in the gym, focusing heavily on your biceps. But you may also have struggled to make them appear any more prominent. You train them to failure, but they just don’t seem to grow. Meanwhile, the other muscles in your body are increasing in size and strength. You’re confused

 

It turns out that there’s a simple trick that might be able to help you bust through whatever is getting in the way of building bigger muscles. And it all comes down to how you approach the exercise itself. 

 

Building muscle isn’t just about training the fibers themselves. It is also about how you apply your mind. The mind muscle connection is far more critical than many people imagine. When you focus on the muscle that you’re moving, it makes a real difference to the intensity of the exercise. 

 

Focus On The Muscle, Not The Weight

 

The basic idea here is to do the opposite of what seems natural. Our muscles exist primarily for practical purposes. We use them to lift and carry things, turn door handles, and do the washing up. So we think of movements as transitioning from one position to another. 

 

On a basic biological level, though, that’s not what’s happening. Instead, a series of contractions is taking place where muscles are becoming more bunched up, pulling on tendons, which then move bones, causing the movement we perceive. 

 

Focusing on the muscle while moving, therefore, requires a change in how you approach exercise psychologically. It’s not about just getting the weight into the air. You want to feel the muscle squeeze. 

 

Failing to do this is a mistake that some people make in the gym. There’s a belief that if you’re getting the weight into the air, you’re having a good workout. But, of course, you could just be relying on the momentum generated by bigger supporting muscles, like your back and shoulders. 

 

Improve Your Technique

 

Focusing on the bicep, therefore, forces you to become more conscientious in the way that you approach exercise. You’re continuously aware of the sensation in the muscle, providing you with valuable feedback. You learn which techniques activate the bicep, and which don’t. 

 

What’s interesting about this technique is that you can apply it to practically any part of your body. It could be the ticket you need to make better progress all over. Use it wisely.