Joining the gym gave new meaning to my life

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Having suffered for years from an unsightly skin condition, the last place I expected to find the answer to my problem was at my local health club. I had been on the antibiotic, Tetracycline, for as long as I could remember. I was constantly reading online forums, medical websites, and my medicine cabinet was so full of ‘healthy’ alternatives from the health shop, I could have opened my own store! I was aware that proper facial cleansing with non abrasive, natural products, as well as drinking plenty of fresh water could help, but the extent of infection was too deep to be cleared by a couple of glasses of water.

Spurred on by the need to lose a few pounds, I joined my local London gym. An online search revealed over 60 locations to choose from. I was spoiled for choice as to which to join, but I plumped for the one with the best car parking facilities as I needed a quick in an out in order to maintain my busy schedule. Little did I realise that my very first appointment with the instructor would lead me on a path that eventually resulted in me achieving clear skin. Her knowledge and experience of all things healthy was an inspiration. Joining my local gym was my first step to achieving fitness, with the emphasis on feeling better about myself. But her insight into my whole lifestyle was the key turning point that eventually led me to not only getting fit, but also getting blemish free skin.

Joining the gymIt’s amazing how easily we can convince ourselves that we are leading healthy lives. I was getting my ‘five’ a day, but I was also getting about ‘fifty five’ a day of all the wrong things too. The message was simple. Take out the processed foods in your diet – and hey presto! It worked. Now it didn’t happen overnight, more like eight or nine months, but I could feel it improving almost from day 1. That might sound strange but any acne or rosacea sufferer will know what I mean. The ‘sting’ in the spot was lessening with every day. So motivated was I by this result that I embraced my new fitness regime with a new found passion. My instructor met me regularly to update my programme, tweaking each challenge so that I was suitably and appropriately tested.

If you have a mental image of sweaty people pounding on thundering treadmills, and lots of grunting and groaning at the pain of exercise, then think again. The facilities at my London gym were outstanding ,and included weights rooms, studios for dance and other classes such as yoga and Pilates; spinning rooms, swimming, sauna, and my favourite area, the freestyle area, given over to the latest in functional training equipment, as they call it, ‘the adult playground’! It’s a large space filled with all the ‘toys’ you will need to achieve core strength and top flexibility, allowing yourself to move the way God intended; twisting, leaping, bending, reaching and jumping.

The knock on effect was that the sciatic pain I had, resulting from a back injury, was also treated with targeted training as directed by my instructor. She looked upon me as a total package and suggested that all my gripes and groans stemmed from a single origin. Poor posture and habit induced behaviour. Gone are the painkillers and gone are the antibiotics. This wonderful London girl in this fantastic London gym gave new and inspired meaning to my life!

Why do I need a personal trainer

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We all have a dream of how we should look or feel, many of us have tried to achieve these goals and dreams by dieting, going to the gym, reading magazine articles etc.

But the reality is that the majority of those who start up with good intentions either lose interest due to lack of achievement or simply get disheartened by what others may think or say.

This is where personal training comes into play. We take all the guess work out of achieving your goals. No more wasted time and effort or losing your motivation. A personal trainer is there to push you along in a safe and exciting way, supporting you through all the exercise routines and healthy eating plans. There to ensure that all exercises are performed correctly and safely and in the manner that will gain the greatest performance.

Your time is valuable, a personal trainer should aim to see to it that it is not wasted.

To determine you goals and needs correctly a full consultation should be carried out, followed by a comprehensive health and fitness assessment.

Can I not get the same results doing my own routine at my local gym?

Well firstly, can you hand on heart say that you know exactly what your doing and what kind of routine will be most suited to your needs? If not, then chances are that you will probably not achieve what you’re hoping to.

Secondly, most local gyms only have a few pieces of each type of equipment for all the members to share. Which means waiting for equipment and losing time. What you need to ask you self is ‘Am I going to get results plodding along not knowing what to do?‘

What are the benefits of using a personal trainer?

  • Train at times convenient to you
  • Train at your local gym, office or the comfort of your own home
  • Work from an exercise plan that has been designed for your goals
  • Get constant support and encourage on the day when you just don’t feel like it.
  • Nutrition advice that is update and accurate.
  • Be assured that you are being taught to perform the exercises safely.

There are many more, but I’m sure you know what I’m trying to say. After all a personal trainer is there for a reason; to get results! If they can’t get results they don’t get paid, simple as that.

A few tips to help your 2014 fitness plan

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2014 is finally upon us and like me you have probably overdone it a little bit over the Christmas holidays? Well, I am firmly back on my healthy routine again and ready to take on the New Year.

One thing I have learnt over the last few years is to ease back into your health routine gradually. That’s right, don’t rush into going back to the gym right away. Take some time and plan how you are going to get fit. Here are just a few tips to get you started.

  1. Plan your Diet and shop for all your food one week in advance.
  2. Join a Gym (Paying monthly ensures that you get value for money)
  3. Make sure you treat yourself once a week and have a ‘Cheat Day‘ (Helps you keep motivated)
  4. Cut down on Alcohol (Alcohol is full of calories)
  5. Drink plenty of water (you need to keep hydrated if you are working out hard)
  6. Join a local Callanetics club (this is optional but if you read my blog you will know why)
  7. Set a schedule and stick to it (use a calendar for this)
  8. Download a calorie counter iPhone app as keeping track is a key to success.

The tips above will hopefully assist you a little on your journey to a healthy body. If I could give you just one tip it would be to organise yourself. Organisation has been the key to my own fitness success. I know what I eat and when to eat it. I know when I am to perform my Callanetics exercises and when to go to the gym. This might not work for everyone but I highly recommend you at least give it a go. Best of luck for 2014!

Sports Nutrition

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One thing our body needs to carry out any task is energy. Therefore to take part in sporting events or for general physical fitness, you need energy. This comes in the form of calories which is found in the food we take into our body, which the body then stores. What most people then go through is an energy balance whereby the amount of energy taken into the body is burnt through physical activity. If someone does not get the balance right they will either have no energy to stay active or they will have too much energy, which the body then stores as fat. However, this is dependent on why you are exercising. If you want to lose weight you need to burn off more than you consume.

The muscles in the body use a fuel called Glycogen, which keeps the muscles capable of going through exercises, both aerobic and anaerobic. Therefore your body needs to have a good amount of glycogen in the body so that the muscles can do their job and exercise does not leave you feeling tired and drained. It means you will be able to exercise for longer.

Another factor is water. You need to make sure that your body is properly hydrated whilst you are exercising. Water is very important with fluids playing a large part in staying alive, but during exercise it is also important that you have good water content in your body as exercise performance can be greatly affected if it is too low. How much water you need will depend upon your exercise plan, with experts recommending drinking water during the exercise itself if the activity exceeds around thirty minutes.

Sports Nutrition

Experts recommend a balanced diet at all times, but if you want to eat so that you can get plenty of exercise without burning up too much fat then carbohydrates are the answer. These are the foods that range from rice and pasta to potatoes, whole grains and porridge. Other food groups have their own advantages, with foods high in protein helping in building muscle and repairing them.

What you eat when you want to exercise will depend on why you are exercising. All fitness regimes will require you to eat healthily, but the amount of protein for example will be highly dependent on whether you are losing weight, maintaining weight or building muscle. In the case of the latter, you will still need carbohydrates for energy, but you will also need slightly more protein to help in muscle repair.

Everything You Know is Wrong

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Do you ever get that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach like you were being lied too?

I get it all the time when I watch the news. But how does this relate to fitness?

Every time you look at a muscle function book you are being lied too and like the news it’s not necessarily what is said, it’s more what isn’t said, the conscious perpetuation of ignorance.

Muscle function books tell the function of a muscle in an isolated, non-gravitational environment where, for example the hamstrings would flex the knee. In real life when we walk when we run when we do any type of functional activity the hamstrings do not flex the knee, gravity flexes the knee. The hamstrings in gait at the knee, decelerate knee flexion at the same time they decelerate internal rotation and frontal plane motion (knee collapsing inwards) and then start to facilitate knee extension, external rotation and the knee moving outwards and that’s just at the knee we haven’t talked about the hamstrings role at the hip.

All the muscles work synergistically to decelerate motion before they then accelerate a motion, and we have to be specific to what motion we are talking about because there are three planes of motion, sagittal plane motion (forwards backwards, up and down) frontal plane motion (side to side motion) and transverse plane (rotational motion) and within these planes of motion we have to articulate which end of the bookends we’re talking about.

Muskelaufbau Laufstudie MannThe difference between motion and position is critical, I could be flexing my arm up in the sagittal plane but as you took a snap shot of my arm moving, from by my side, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the photo whether I was flexing or extending. Every muscle in the body decelerates motion in all three planes concurrently and then uses some of that elasticity to accelerate the opposite tri-planes of motion, we can never get one pure plane of motion otherwise we’d look very robotic in our movement, in other words if we have one plane of motion that is dominant in the body performing a specific task, there’s still movement in the other two planes at the same time.

The deceleration of movement by a muscle is called the eccentric phase or tri-plane loading phase and the acceleration of a muscle is called the concentric or tri-plane unloading phase. The change of direction or the point at which we go from a loading to an unloading could be called an isometric phase but in function we never really see everything stop…….carry on. It’s a fluid motion like the golf swing for example, on the back swing we get to the platter position and then we see the follow through, that change of direction in golf, in tennis, in everything that we do is referred to as the point of transformation. And just by chance, as the body would have it, the point of transformation is the point at which the muscle is at its peak EMG activity, where the muscle is firing the most, therefore as a trainer and rehabilitator I am much more interested in how my athlete or client loads his or her body than I am with the unload and if I can quote the late Harvey Pennick perhaps the most famous golf coach when he once said, ‘ The follow through is a result of what has gone on before it.’

Again as a trainer how does your client or athlete handle their points of transformation? Continue reading

30 Minute Fitness Circuit

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ABS / BACK

Muscle Groups: Rectus Abdominis of the abdomen, Erector Spinae of the lower back.

Exercise: Sit down & grasp the handles with elbows pointing forward. Bend over, bringing your elbows toward your knees, then lift you upper body up to the starting position.

Proper form: Bend over only as far as you are comfortable. Concentrate on using your stomach muscles (rather than your arms) to pull you down.

Tips: Move deliberately – Do not jerk.

Keep your butt against the back rest.

BICEP / TRICEP

Muscle Groups: Biceps & Triceps of the arm

Exercise: Sit down & place arms over the pads with palms up. Reach down to grasp the handle & pull up to the correct length. While keeping your upper arms still, pull handle up by bending your arms toward you. Return to starting position by pushing handles down & straightening arms.

Proper Form: Be sure to line up your elbows with the apparatus´s point of axis.

Tips: Keep your back straight and neck relaxed.

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CHEST PRESS ROW

Muscle Groups: Pectoralis in the chest, Triceps & Biceps of the arms, Rhomboid & Latissimus of the back

Exercise: Select the handle-height for you. Grasp the handles & push away from your body; after full extension, pull the handles toward you.

Proper form: Keep your shoulders down. Your elbows should point outward (not toward the floor) & should stay at the same level as your hands, parallel to the floor.

Tips: Keep your back flat against the back rest; do not arch your back. Do not lock your elbows.

INNER / OUTER THIGH

Muscle Groups: Adductors & Abductors of the thighs

Exercise: Sit down & grasp the handles, then place your legs into position on the pads. Bring legs apart, then together.

Proper form: Knees should be slightly bent and toes pointing up.

Tips: Keep your back flat against the back rest; do not arch your back.

Be Careful: Please use extra care when entering & exiting this apparatus. The safest entry & exit is from the front, as the pads are spread apart. Continue reading