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The patient tree waiteth…

20 Aug

Sometimes there’s no better feeling than getting a new client. In this case I was grinning from ear to ear.

I has a consultation early this year with a couple. One side of the couple I clicked with immediately and we began working together pretty much straight away, and have been ever since. The client in question has dropped bodyfat in that time, and strength has gone through the roof – I’ve been very impressed.

The other side of the couple was a tougher nut to crack. We didn’t necessarily share the same training philosophies and she wasn’t entirely convinced I was the trainer for her. I understood completely – to get the most from your trainer, you need to have 100% belief in them.

I went back last week, and did an update for my client, I also saw my client’s partner, who suddenly said “I’d like to book in a session please” -I was grinning from ear to ear. Through seeing the progress made, she finally believes in me and we’re going to do a session together this Friday! I’m so excited, there aren’t many better feelings that can top that!

I hope you all have a great week, and remember, patience is a virtue.

Play hard, train harder,
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Guest blog! How to train for a Half Marathon

19 Jul

I thought this guest blog might be a great idea, as remember when I did my own Half Marathon? Well I think there’s some sage advice in this article, and I don’t think my 5km runs are anything to be repeated if you really want to run a marathon.

 

A half marathon is a great long-distance race to run if you want to challenge yourself but aren’t yet ready for the punishing preparation of a marathon.

Even if the half marathon is not as intense as the full, more training and preparation are required to run it in order to avoid injury. Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that you make it across the finish line of your first half marathon injury-free:

Start from a Good Base

No matter what training plan you choose, you should not decide to run a half marathon if you have not already established a running routine. Before you ever begin training, you should already have a regular running schedule that includes at least 15 to 20 miles. Those miles should include both short runs and a weekly long run.

Once you have a solid history of running this weekly mileage — at least several months, if not a year — the you can begin your training for a half marathon.

Choose a Training Program

Even if you have been an established runner for some time and have logged many long runs, you still need to follow a training program for a long run like a half marathon. A good training program can help you pace yourself so that your body becomes accustomed to the demands of the longer runs but also has time to rest and repair itself to avoid injury.

A good training program will slowly build the distance of long runs while also providing adequate rest time.

Vary Practice Runs

Running long distances everyday on a treadmill won’t help you develop the way you need to for a half marathon. A good running program should include a variety of practice runs that include hill work, tempo work, and pace runs. This variety challenges your muscles and helps your body grow stronger.

Cross Train

Running uses a lot of different stabilizing muscles throughout your body. Engaging in a variety of exercises helps your muscles grow stronger and improves your overall fitness so that you can perform better on race day. Incorporate cross training into your program, including swimming, cycling, hiking, and other activities. You will strengthen your muscles, reducing your chances of injury on race day.

Practice Racing

Your training runs are very different from race-day conditions. Make sure you get your body accustomed to what it will be like to run on race day by signing up for a few practice races. These should not be full half marathons, but rather shorter races such as a 5K or 10K that follow similar courses. Try to select races that are run on the same type of path (asphalt or gravel) or that have some of the same conditions (lots of hills).

Get Adequate Nutrition

Some runners use a half marathon or other long race as an excuse to lose weight rather than to meet their fitness goals. In the process, they may start eating less while also running more. Make sure you are getting adequate nutrition and eating enough food to fuel your runs. You need to eat a balanced diet that is full of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.

A deficit in your diet could compromise your muscles’ ability to perform optimally and could put unnecessary stress on your body, leading to injury.

Running a half marathon is a great accomplishment. However, proper training and preparation is required to make sure you finish the race as healthy as you started it. Your race t-shirt should be the only souvenir you bring home from the race — not an injured hip or a pulled hamstring.

Have you run a half marathon? How did you train? Did you suffer an injury? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Catie Keeler is the primary researcher and writer for mortgagerates.info. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a degree in business and communications. Her current focus for the site involves 30 year fixed and mortgage rates calculator.

Play hard, train harder,

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Why I don’t make New Years Resolutions

4 Jan

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I was pretty sure I hadn’t said that already and thought that now might be a good time to wish you a healthy 2012.

With thoughts of New Year in mind, that fateful question always seems to cross everyone’s lips: “Have you made your resolutions yet?”
I wanted to share my own take on resolutions – I don’t make them. The reason for which, is simply because I believe if you really want to do something, the magical date of 01/01 isn’t going to help you any more than any other day of the year. If you want to say, give up smoking, why don’t you want to give it up the day you even think of making the resolution to do it? If, of course, you want it that badly.

For me, resolutions are all about making vague promises to do things you don’t 100% believe you can do. If that’s really true, then what hope do we have of achieving our true dreams?

The answer? Make a REAL commitment, to YOURSELF! Not to the year 2012. Below, I’ll share some tips on how to do so.

What is a resolution? It’s a long-standing commitment towards a goal. You have to be in it for life – unless of course it’s a time-bound goal which is fine also. The ‘goal’ part is important, when you make a resolution, you make a commitment to make something happen – but how are you going to do that?

This is where SMART goals come in! For those of you who work, and do appraisals – stop yawning and keep reading it’ll be worth it I promise!

SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Realistic and Time. You do need to cover all of these points if you have any hope for your resolution to be achieved!

Let’s for instance take the beautifully vague resolution “I will lose weight”.
Specific – how much weight?
Measureable – will you measure it by stepping on the scales or taking measurements?
Achieveable – losing 2 stone in 6 weeks isn’t sensible people!
Realistic – What is? What could you do?
Time – how long do you want to achieve your target weight in? Again, be realistic! Set an achieveable goal!

Why do you need to set SMART resolutions? Mainly because how will you ever know when you’ve truly achieved them, if they’re vague, non-commited cliches?

 

SMART isn’t the only way to look at resolutions. You can also look at the how/why scenario – which is my own personal thinking. When you make a resolution – be sure you know why you’re making it, because it’s New Year isn’t a good enough reason! So, going back to the “I will lose weight” goal:
Why do you want to lose weight?
How will you lose the weight?
How will you feel when you’ve achieved the goal of losing weight?

Be clear on what you want, and why you want it! Don’t be one of the 78% who don’t achieve their resolutions!

 

Have you made any resolutions? Have you ever stuck to a resolution you’ve made? What did you achieve?


If you need further help on goal-setting or need some positivity to help you achieve that goal then contact me!

Play hard, train harder,

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Why getting back on a diet is hard

31 Dec

After over a year off from bodybuilding dieting, I decided to sort my eating out. I wanted to do it before the New Year as a mental achievement – that said, I was ill over Christmas and so really didn’t go crazy eating-wise at all.

Pre-Christmas, my diet really wasn’t that bad, but I noticed I was worrying less about how far apart my meals were being spaced and only eating when I felt hungry (which wasn’t as often as I expected). Treats were creeping into the evenings (yes, I suffer those same pitfalls as everyone else does!) and whilst I wasn’t gaining weight, I wasn’t eating productively, for my sport.

So, for all of these above reasons, I ate my last bit of Christmas Pudding with Rum and Raisin Cream (and yes, it was amazing) and then mentally, put down my spoon.

Yesterday was my first day and I overcame quite a few hurdles, as well as realising the things I need to put some work into.

The day did start late as I’m still getting over this bug so woke at 10am for breakfast – much later than usual. Hit the gym and attempted a workout (epic fail) and had my shake. My next meal of Jacket Potato and Tuna took a lot of willpower to chow down. I never used to mind eating slightly bland foods but my tastebuds must’ve been spoilt in my off-season.

Going for a coffee took thought. Americano with no milk caused the barista to look at my like I was crazy – followed by sugar-free syrup (Coffee Republic, Hove don’t have sugar-free Caramel bad times) was an ordeal too. No more Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream for me!

Afterwards I went to meet some friends in a pub. I don’t often drink so no problem there, but went to order a Cranberry Juice and realised it wasn’t on my diet sheet so hurriedly switched it for water – rock on.

Then my biggest achievement of the day. I went to the cinema. I chowed down Chicken and Rice with some oil en route and silently mourned the fact I would no longer be able to enjoy Chocolate-covered Popcorn whilst watching my movie. In the meantime, my buddy Laura crunched her way through a tub of sweet popcorn and quenched her thirst with a Costa Latte. I thought it would bother me a lot more but it didn’t so big slaps on the back to me.

Today is New Year’s Eve and I shall be doing some CV later to hopefully clear my lungs a little. Whilst everyone else gets drunk on numerous spirits, beers and alcopops; I shall drink my Sprite Zero, and my water, and remember what a good 2011 I’ve had and hope to build on that for 2012.

What do you want to get from 2012? How will you see out 2011? 

Play hard, train harder,

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Online training

27 Oct

I’ve recently embarked on work with my first online PT client! As a REPS-registered Personal Trainer, there are all kinds of codes of ethics we have to abide to when it comes to online training.

I felt comfortable in agreeing to training Sam online, because she’s actually one of my previous face-to-face clients, from Portsmouth. Since she left Portsmouth, Sam joined a new gym, but said she didn’t feel particularly ‘inspired’ by any of the trainers there – I know the feeling Sam! Her exercise knowledge and form when doing exercises has always been exemplary; she finds it easy to watch someone doing something, take on the teaching points, and then apply it herself. For these reasons, I was confident enough to take her as an online client.

Online training can take on a variety of forms, depending upon the individual. In this instance, I’ve had long email chats with Sam about her current situation, and where she’d like to be. From there I’ve designed a series of programmes for her, which I’ve then video-recorded the exercises for, including teaching points. I’ve given approximate weight selections based on our previous time working together, but Sam’s not afraid to adjust these accordingly.

We’ve also done an online, nutritional analysis – giving her statistical information about her current eating habits in line with Department of Health recommendations; and given her some tips and ideas/recipes if she wants to make improvements to her health.

We’ll do an online check-in once a fortnight, and she knows she can call me whenever she needs with any questions/comments.

Do you think you could cope with online training? Have you ever had any experience of online coaching in the past? Do you ever need your workouts spicing up, or just someone to be answerable to in your quest for your fitness goals?

Play hard, train harder,
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New exercises

13 Oct

I like to keep my workouts fresh, exciting, but most of all, to challenge my muscle fibres in different ways to be sure that they respond.

So, I thought I’d give you all an insight into some new exercises I’m trying at the moment:

BENT OVER SMITH MACHINE ROW

See an instructional video here but please note:
a) I prefer to use an underhand grip
b) I actually bend my knees, as opposed to keeping them locked as this gentleman does

I tried this exercise because I have tried, and failed, numerous times, to feel a bent over row. I think doing it on a Smith machine means you don’t have to worry about your body counter-balancing the weight (although it won’t be as good for your core this way either).

SINGLE LEG PRESS LYING ON SIDE

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0KFY/is_5_29/ai_n57801566/

I read about this in Flex magazine, and was intrigued. Dexter Jackson does it and says it helps with Quad Sweep so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s done in a 45degree leg press but I’d be intrigued to try it in one of those horizontal lying leg presses as it was quite difficult to get in and out of.

CHIN UP’S

Ok, so this isn’t the first time that I’ve EVER attempted these, but it is safe to say that I haven’t tried them unassisted for a longggg time. I’ll tell you a story, when I was little, I couldn’t do the monkey bars. One day I went to the park and tried, and my hands got sweaty, I fell off, and winded myself. I didn’t know that I was winded, I just knew I couldn’t breathe. It scared me and I think that’s where my fear of chin up’s comes from. Seriously.
I just can’t do them! It’s embarrassing! Last week, a training buddy set me a challenge to do 25 chin ups in a workout. I can take as long as I like to do them. I’ll update you on Friday (eek that’s tomorrow!) as it’ll be my first attempt! At least the gym will be quiet at 7.30am! I can use straps too to make sure I don’t fall/slip off.

So… these are my main, new exercises of the moment.

What do you do to keep your workouts fresh? What are your favourite exercises?

Play hard, train harder,
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Keeping a Food Diary

5 Oct

Do you keep a food diary? Have you ever kept a food diary? 

The words ‘food diary’ for some odd reason, fill many with fear. Maybe it’s the compulsive nature of cataloguing everything that goes into your mouth. Maybe it’s a secret underlying fear that you mightn’t like what you see.

Research has been doing in the US to show that people who didn’t keep food diaries, reported 25% less of their daily food intake – that is to say – they forgotten about a quarter of what they’d eaten during the day. That’s a lot of calories!

Why should I keep a food diary?

The most obvious reason is if you’re attempting to lose weight and it’s not coming off. I’ve lost count over the years of the amount of clients who’ve said to me “There’s nothing wrong with what I eat, I have a healthy diet” – only to later discover that this wasn’t quite the case. Easy diet mistakes include:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Having sugar in tea/coffee then drinking about 8 cups a day!
  • Having a ‘low fat’ diet that is actually full of sugar instead.

I’ve recently been keeping a food diary as I’m in my off-season ‘bulking’ phase of trying to gain muscle, but I actually realised through my food diary that I’m not eating enough!

A one-off food diary analysis from me including macronutrient breakdown and recommendations of changes to make is a cheap option, and a great way to check you’re still on track with your goals – so what have you got to lose?

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