Exercise Tips & Blogs

3 Tips for a Good Recovery

Rest days are underrated, sometimes seen as being ‘lazy’, or overlooked entirely. Sacrificing rest to appear ‘committed’ to something is an age-old travesty.  The truth is that rest and recovery is vital to all aspects of being healthy and any good personal trainer will tell you that it should be as high on your priority list as good nutrition and exercise. In fact, we have an excellent trio of recovery activities that will aid in giving your body plenty of chance to repair and grow after a good workout session.

  • Sleep

No surprise here that sleep is king when it comes to r&r. A good sleep has a plethora of benefits, such as strengthening our immune system, invigoration, boosting our metabolism and ensuring our blood sugars and pressure levels are optimal.

A good sleep will assist in muscular recovery and release human growth hormone, but often times it’s easier said than done to get good rest. Investing in a comfortable bed and mattress, cutting down on caffeine in the afternoon, keeping a good sleep routine (this also means not snoozing your alarm!) and a bedroom at the right temperature will all help in ensuring you have a good night’s sleep.

  • Stretches

Stretching should be treated as a vital part of any workout schedule. Too often people cast stretches aside or put them at the bottom of their priority list, but even just a few minutes of stretching pre-and-post workout will help recovery tremendously.

Stretching helps to evenly condition your muscle balance, minimise DOMS and expand your range of motion and flexibility. Especially as you age, it’s important to continue to train your muscles to be as supple and flexible as possible with regular stretching. Even on your rest and recovering days, a few minutes stretching will work wonders and won’t sap the energy out of you.

  • Sports Massage

It may seem like a bit of a luxury, but sports massages are one of the most used recovery methods by top athletes. It’s a fantastic way to boost recovery and physical conditioning. We’re not talking about a standard “cosmetic” type massage you’ll get at a spa – a correct sports massage is intense, focused and aimed at stimulating musculoskeletal and nervous systems and applied by qualified professionals. A sports massage will help to soften hard muscle tissues, correct imbalances and release tension around the muscle sheaths. This in turn aids blood flow and will cut down on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. After a good, thorough sports massage, you’ll be left feeling relaxed, rest more effectively or take on your next fitness challenge with efficiency!

5 Essential Pieces of Gear For Workouts on the Go

We appreciate that many of our clients have busy lifestyles, from business to family commitments. Hence, we are entirely flexible and work to your schedule, to ensure you can still work out and be healthy on a time budget.

However, some of you may also want to get a good workout in whilst out of town, be it on a business trip or family holiday. With that in mind, we have put together a handy list of equipment you can use to work out whilst on the go. Many of these pieces of equipment are great for even squeezing a workout in whilst in your hotel room and are easy and small enough to put in your carry-on or car!

  1. Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are excellent pieces of lightweight and affordable equipment. Honestly, we cannot recommend them enough! Even if you are in a small hotel room, you can add some effective resistance to your workouts; from squats to leg extensions to push-ups, they are a super simple addition that will work wonders.

  1. Skipping Rope

Even you’re planning on squeezing in a good cardio workout whilst travelling, a skipping rope (or jump rope) will be your best friend. They’re excellent for a quick 10-minute session that will be effective for burning calories. You may want to take it outside if your hotel room floor isn’t particularly noise absorbent though! Also keep in mind that skipping exercises are particularly impactful on your joints. Make sure to include a good warm-up and cool-down period to keep your workout effective and safe.

  1. Kettlebells

Portable kettlebells that you can fill with water or sand are great additions to your travel equipment. They can deflate for easy packing and mean you can take your kettlebell routine wherever you go. Kettlebell workout on the beach, anyone?

  1. Yoga Mat

A travel-size yoga mat will take up very little room in your suitcase. They’re lightweight, foldable and will ensure you have a practical and comfortable space to work out. There are plenty of free yoga instructional videos out there to pop on whilst you unwind.

  1. Apps

It goes without saying, but apps don’t take up any additional space in your suitcase! Make sure to install your favourite workout apps and streaming services. Even if it’s just for streaming music whilst you work out, or watching instructional videos, apps are a must. You can even check up on your progress on the Go-Fit app!

4 Awesome Exercises for Abs and Core Strength

Core strength is a vital part of overall fitness, and can be considered as a long-term investment in your health and well being. It will be of benefit to you and your body no matter your age, so there’s really no reason not to work on improving your overall core strength and abs. We have a fantastic routine that is geared toward your abdominal muscles and also giving your core a serious workout. What’s even better is that it can be performed anywhere you feel comfortable, as it doesn’t require any particular equipment or even weights.

The routine itself is quite basic, but when executed correctly and with good form, it is a really effective workout. Ideally you should perform the 4 exercises back to back with a one minute break before completing the round again. 4 complete rounds will result in a really good ab and core strength workout.

1. Hanging Leg Raises

This exercise will test your abs as well as help strengthen your upper body, including your arms, shoulders and grip strength.

  • Start out with a good grip on a bar, with both of your arms extended fully, shoulder width apart
  • Here comes the hard part – raise your legs in front of you before lowering them under control. Ensure that the rest of your body is stationary and avoid swinging your arms, hips or legs in order to trigger those stabilising muscles!

2. Side Plank

This movement tests multiple muscles simultaneously and is great at targeting your core, your internal and external obliques. What’s vital is that you maintain correct technique whilst holding the position. It may be the case that you can only hold for 10-15 seconds whilst starting out, but as you become more regular with the exercise that this time increases.

  • Start by lying on your right side. Place your left foot on your right foot, whilst keeping your legs straight
  • Keep your below directly under your shoulder before slowly lifting yourself up and spreading your weight across your body onto your right leg and right arm
  • Whilst performing movement, engage your core. Be sure to avoid pushing your hip too far forward or back – you want to keep your body in a nice straight line
  • Keep the position held correctly until failure, before slowly and gently relaxing
  • Repeat the movement for 5 total cycles
  • Post-exercise stretching will help oxygenate your muscles

3. Reverse Curls

A great exercise that uses body-weight, the reverse curls will help keep your lower abs and entire core strong. The lower abs can often be overlooked easily, so this workout will help you get back into a routine of keeping them tested. You may want to start out a little easier, and work your way up to a comfortable level at first. Be sure to pay attention to your body, and if you feel any discomfort or pain when performing the exercise, stop!

  • Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your palms on the floor, face down, for support, or use a bar
  • Picture that you are attempting to push your lower back down into the floor in order to stop your back from arching. You will want to tilt your pelvis slightly to make contact with the floor and breath in deeply
  • Raise both of your bent legs until your knees are directly over your hips, ensure your feet and shins are parallel to the floor. This is the starting position.
  • While exhaling, raise your knees toward your chest and slowly bring them back to starting position. It may seem like a small and simple movement, but when performed with correct technique, you will certainly feel it!

4. Mountain Climbers

Another compound move that will give you a tough but rewarding workout! Not only will you be training your core and abs, but you’ll also be raising your heart rate.

  • Begin the exercise in a high plank position. Move your right knee under your torso, keeping your toes from laying flat on the ground
  • Move back to the starting plank position
  • Switch leg and repeat. Keep this movement going as if you are running on the spot. Aim to do this for 30 seconds or about 10 steps on each leg, whichever you find most challenging.

 

Stepping Up Your Step-Ups

In some cases it can be difficult to see how certain resistance workouts translate to every day life and movement, however that’s not the case with step-ups. After all, most of us have to tackle stairs and steps on a daily basis and they can really rack up over time. But whilst step-ups seem like a very simply exercise to perform, considering it appears to be a movement we are all so familiar with, there is still technique and form to consider in order to perform them correctly. Putting these techniques into practice will not only make step-ups feel more difficult, but it improves their effectiveness tremendously. So let’s get to it and start stepping up our step-ups!

Step-Ups: What are the benefits?

Performing good step-up exercises will help you develop stability and strength through your core and lower body. The end goal of your step-ups is entirely up to you and will depend on your current technique, fitness and skill level, the amount of added weight you choose to use and the rep scheme you go with. It also depends where in your workout the step-ups are scheduled and therefore what other exercises they are paired with.

Generally the step-up is effective for:

  • Building muscle
  • Building lower body strength
  • Fat loss (when combined with effective nutrition and weight loss plan)
  • Conditioning

Do you need equipment?

It comes as no surprise that you will need some form of surface to step onto to, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be a specially designed piece of equipment. You can use a solid box, step (surprise!) or even a park bench. This will entirely depend on the height that you wish to workout at, however it’s advisable that you start out a little lower than you first aim for. You will need to be able to control your hips throughout the entirety of the movement, avoiding kicking your hips out to the side. Going too high can result in poor form and make your workout far less effective, so you will want to aim for good, solid technique over leaping for greater heights.

If you want to add resistance to your workout, you can hold dumbbells or kettlebells whilst performing the movement. A single or two dumbbells / kettlebells can be effective. IF you’re holding a single weight, hold it in the goblet position. If you opt for two weights, hold them by your sides and be sure not to swing your arms in the movement. Alternatively you can hold them at your shoulders in the rack position.

Proper Step-up Technique

Before looking to add more resistance to your workout, you should first focus on proper form and technique. When you do add more weight, try to challenge yourself whilst still being able to maintain good form and complete your full set of intended reps.

The setup:

  • Place your surface in front of you. Remember to use a surface that is a little lower than what you first think you can step on to.
  • Place your foot onto the surface, directly in front of your hip
  • Ensure that your hips are nice and straight and one isn’t kicking out to the side
  • Brace your abdomen and initiate the movement whilst thinking bout keeping your ribs down toward your hips
  • Avoid pushing off with your bottom foot

The movement:

  • Using the heel of the foot on the surface, drive through and pull yourself into a standing position by contracting your quads and glutes
  • Keep your hip and knee as stable as possible whilst stepping up, avoiding any side-to-side movement
  • The same foot remains on the surface whilst you lower your other leg back to the ground. Keep your abs braced and your pelvis tucked slightly, leaning your torso forward very slightly if needed
  • While performing the movement, keep your hips and shoulders level

When are Step-ups a good exercise?

Ideally step-ups should be performed near the beginning of your workout, so you are able to keep good technique more easily. If you are more advanced, you can also use step-ups as a good accessory exercise for deadlifts. If you are aiming to improve your strength, then you should repeat all of your reps on one leg, then switch to the other leg and repeat all reps again. By alternating legs you will be making the workout more of a cardiovascular exercise, which will be more appropriate for conditioning.

 

 

4 Fantastic Pre-Run Stretches

We can’t stress enough the importance of a good stretch before any exercise – it helps to minimise any risk of injury as your joints, muscles and tendons are warmed up and ready to go. Starting an exercise, like running, without prepping with a stretch can result in some nasty pulls and tears, and nobody wants that! You’ll often find that going into a run without stretching first also means you lack your usual pace and longevity, which not only means you’re not getting the most of of your workout, but it can be a demotivate and discouragement, making you less likely to put on your running shoes consistently.

But, even before you get into stretching, a good pre-stretch warm up is to take a brisk walk to get your joints used to movement. 5 minutes or so to take your body through the range of motion, with a 2 minute jog added when necessary, will get your muscles fired up and ready to go.

The key to stretching after you’ve warmed up is to keep it dynamic. Try to avoid static stretches where you hold a muscle for a long period of time. Instead we’ll be focusing on controlled, moving stretches for the legs.

So with that said, lets take a look at 4 simple but effective stretches you can do to warm up pre-run:

Stepping Lunge

Start out by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart in a parallel position, keeping a neutral good posture. Bend your left knee before lunging forward onto your right foot. Ensure your right knee doesn’t bed past the toes but aim to go as far as you are comfortable. Then, without locking the knee, straighten your back leg. Increase the stretch as much as you feel comfortable by lowering your hips. Keep the hold for a few seconds before stepping to a lunge with the opposite leg.

Leg Extensor Stretch

Stand tall and straight with good posture, bend your left knee behind you. Bring your heel towards your gluteus before swinging your left arm forward and your right arm back. Repeat this on the opposite side, while aiming for about 10 per side.

Leg Flexor Stretch

Stand with your fee parallel before extending your left arm forward whilst bending your right knee in front of you at 90 degrees. You should aim to extend your calf so that it is in line with your leg, straight and parallel to the ground. Try to thoroughly engage your quads whilst extending, and then return to the original position before repeating with the opposite leg.

Plantar Flexor Stretch

Start with your hands on your hips, then lift your left leg off the ground slightly whilst ensuring your knee is straight and aligned with the leg. Keep your toes pointed straight out in line with the knee before reversing the flex by pointing the toes upward before returning to the original position. Repeat the motion on the opposite leg, aiming for 10 movements on each leg in total.

 

4 New Fitness Gadgets to Re-Kindle your Passion for Exercise

As ‘smart accessories’ continue to grow in popularity, we’ve seen some fantastic additions to the world of fitness tech that can add a whole new level of immersion, tracking and excitement to your exercises. Are you ready to get all James Bond with your workouts?

Let’s take a look at some of the new amazing gadgets that will blow your mind;

Peloton

Once restricted to the US only, this high-tech bike takes at-home spin sessions to a whole different level. The built-in touch-screen looks more at home in a spaceship than in your front room, and gives you access to a variety of stats about your session (tracking your resistance, output, heartrate and more) as well as live streams to professional spin classes, giving you the feeling of a group workout in the comfort of your own home.  But with a hefty price tag in comparison to traditional bikes or gym memberships (£1,995 for the bike then £39.50 per month), you may want to think about whether a personal training session with real people would be more cost-effective and beneficial!

Zwift Run

Originally bringing some entertainment to your spin sessions, Zwift Run now plops your virtual avatar on digital roads and virtual courses with other fitness enthusiasts around the world. Whether at the gym or at home, all you need is a treadmill and a device that will be able to run the Zwift app. Go for a jog through a jungle or dash around a volcano; an interesting change to your regular morning workouts no doubt. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

Arion

Just when you thought your snazzy running trainers couldn’t get any snazzier, Arion will turn your shoes into hi-tech running machines. With smart insoles, footpad sensors and a nifty app, Arion will keep track of cadence, step length, balance, foot strike, stability and a whole lot more. For anyone looking to take their running technique and form to a different level, Arion could help you take that step up.

 Nutrifix

Whilst the Nutrifix app isn’t entirely new, there are some new premium features that are quite… in depth. The myDNA Wellness and Nutrition test involves a mouth swab which will then lead to an insight into how your body is responding to food, drink and exercise.  So if you really like to micromanage your nutrition and really tweak your meal plans then it could be of benefit. However, we do will recommend a personal and professional nutrition plan that is not only tailored to your body, but your overall fitness and exercise strategy too.

 

 

 

Cardio v Strength Training - What to do first?

We all know a healthy balance of strength and cardio training is needed in any good fitness plan, and you really shouldn’t focus 100% of your workouts on just one aspect. Even someone who runs at a professional level, for example, needs to incorporate a good strength training programme into their routine. But what about those on a busy schedule and only have a short amount of time to squeeze in cardio and weight training into one good session? Which type of exercise should come first? Well, according to research, weights can’t wait!

The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a very interested study where 3 different workout strategies were pitted against each other by researchers: just strength training, running followed by strength and also cycling followed by strength. The results of the research showed that exercisers who ran or cycled prior to strength training achieved fewer weight lifting reps; pure strength training with no cardio involved resulted in more reps.

There are a variety of research projects that have found similar results. Bouts of treadmill running decreases the number of reps and muscle power, as well as increasing heart rate and perceived exertion, particularly if resistance training follows a HIIT running session.

This is as a result of both a mindset and physiological change when participating in aerobic training first. Most people will “feel stronger” when they take on resistance training first and if they have done some cardio exercise first, their fibers and muscles will have fatigued, likely resulting in poor drive and form afterwards. LA trainer Lacey Stone has been quoted stating  “It’s vital that you lift before your cardio workouts, because you will have the most power and the most strength to lift heavier loads, which in turn will make you stronger,”.

But when does cardio take priority? Well, research shows that a strong combination of both cardio and resistance training leg to fat mass and waist circumference decrease, however so did aerobic activity alone. Just resistance / strength training however didn’t lead to significant weight loss. Therefore if you’re aiming for weight loss and don’t have a lot of spare time for a thorough, mixed workout, then cardio should take priority.

It’s also important to take ample rest time between your strength sessions so that your endurance isn’t effected. Just as cardio effects resistance training, strength training can in turn fatigue your muscles and therefore slow down the benefits of your cycling or running sessions. Your workout will feel far more vigorous and you will tire faster.

Of course, it all boils down to the individual in question and their fitness goals. Gauge which combination and order of exercise works best for you and what you are trying to achieve in your gym time. The general rule of thumb is cardio effects your size whilst resistance effects your shape. Lifting before your cardio will help you get the most out of your strength training, but strength training alone won’t help you much in weight loss. Ideally a mixture of the two is best practice, but if you’re aiming to burn fat on a busy schedule, then more aerobic exercise is key.

 

 

5 Ways To Get Motivated To Run

Running can be a staple of people’s fitness regimens, whilst others steer away from running totally. Regardless, it is growing in popularity year on year, and with good reason – it’s versatile and it can be great fun if you approach it in the right way; it’s fantastic for your health and your morale. However, if you’ve never put foot to path and gone for a run, getting motivated to do so in the first place can be a challenge. Here a 7 ways to help motivate yourself:

Set Yourself a Goal

Put the end in sight! Giving yourself a goal gives purpose to your activity and something to work toward. There are so many different things it could be and it is entirely down to you; it could be weight loss, distance or working toward getting in shape for an upcoming marathon. Whatever you set as your goal, keep it in mind whenever you start out on your run and continually track your progress toward that goal. Writing your progress down somewhere will give you a visible representation of your milestones and the achievements you’ve made.

Have a Routine and Stick to it

Include your run as part of your morning ritual, so that it can reverberate positive vibes throughout the rest of your day. Set your running shoes and clothes out the night before will ensure that you are prepared – set an alarm and place it on the other side of the room so that you can’t reach it from bed! You’ll be surprised just how easy your body can get up and ready in the morning. Your body clock will also gradually get used to the routine making it more like a habit. Developing a morning running routine provides a nice reset of the body’s clock; it can feel like adding hours to the day.

Buy Some New Gear

Purchasing some new trainers or some new gear can make you excited to try them out on your next run. You can also incorporate them into your goals, rewarding yourself with a new purchase at certain milestones. You’ll also find that having shiny new kid in your wardrobe will motivate you to put it to use, as to not feel guilty!

Change of location

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of getting bored with the same old route and location. Whilst getting into a routine is important, don’t be afraid to switch up your surroundings when going for a run. You’ll find yourself feeling invigorated and adventurous when you conquer a new route, and your mind will be actively taking in the new sights, taking your thoughts away from the physical workload.

Make the Perfect Running Playlist

Some argue that there is a science to putting together the ultimate running playlist, rather than throwing together a bunch of songs you usually enjoy. When put together correctly, your playlist can bring fun to an otherwise monotonous activity, and there really is some science behind it, as stated by Scientific American:

“Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency. When listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual — often without realising it. In a 2012 review of the research, Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music, wrote that one could think of music as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.””

4 Tips For Boosting Your Metabolism

A healthy metabolism will help your body convert the food and drink you consume more efficiently – if you boost your metabolism effectively, you’ll burn more calories even when in a resting state. So with that said, lets take a look at some ways to help give your metabolism that required ‘boost’:

Building Muscle

According to research, increasing your muscle mass will aid in boosting your metabolism when at rest. At Go-FitUK our personal trainers have proven and effective methods for building muscle through a variety of exercises and weight training. Not only that, but they will ensure you are working out in the most efficient and safe way possible, minimising the risk of injury and helping you look and feel at your best.

Add Protein

Protein is essential in any effective nutrition plan when you are looking to boost your metabolism. Include protein with meals and snacks to reduce overindulgence and speed up metabolism. It can be particularly effective when included in your breakfast to give you a kick-start in the morning. Try skipping on those carb-loaded breakfast bites like bagels or toast and have some eggs with sliced tomato or a few leaves of spinach.

In general we advise eating a palm-sized portion of protein of some kind like lean meat, fish, eggs, pumpkin, hemp or chia seeds. If you are vegetarian or vegan we would suggest you include a moderate amount of fermented soy foods such as tempeh, but no more than 50g per day. Please note while we agree certain soy foods eaten in moderation can be a healthy addition to your diet, women who eat soy at every meal or even every day may be putting their health at risk.  Soy has its good points but too many soy phytoestrogens do have an oestrogenic effect.

High Intensity

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is great for burning calories if you do it effectively. What’s great is that even after your HIIT session you’ll be burning fat for up to 48 hours thanks to EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). You can complete your HIIT workout in about 30 minutes or less, allowing for flexibility during your busy personal schedule. High Intensity Interval Training can be modified and scaled for different fitness levels and medical conditions. It can include a variety of workouts such as bodyweight exercises, cycling, swimming, walking, running and much more.

Get Your Sleep

Yes, we’re going to say it again! A good night’s sleep will help boost your metabolism. But not only that, if you get a good night’s rest you will be far more likely to get up and be motivated for your morning workout routine and have more energy to keep on moving throughout the day.  If you find it difficult to get to sleep early enough, try making sure your room is dark enough, cool enough and gradually make your bed time 10 minutes earlier each night. Having a “wind down” routine will also help get your brain ready for sleep; whether it be some hot tea, meditation or getting comfortable with a good book.

Stoke The Burn

All of the above tips will help to give your metabolism a kick-start, but it’s important to keep that efficiency going with an effective and structured workout and nutrition schedule!

How To Improve Your Push-ups

The push-up is one of the bread-and-butter workouts that we all know, and we either hate them or love them. Sure, they seem simple enough on paper – lower your body to the ground and push it back up again – but it’s not always that easy for everybody. Luckily there are a few exercises and techniques that our personal trainers regularly advise, that will help you get better at doing push-ups and doing them correctly. First up, the basics:

How To Do A Push-up

Before you can even improve your push-ups, the first step is knowing how to do a strict form push-up correctly:

  • Keep your feet together and make sure that your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Your head and hips should be in alignment with your spine throughout the movement. Your body should form a nice straight line from your heels all the way to the crown of your head. Lock your body into position by clenching your glutes and bracing your core.
  • Keep your elbows tucked close to your body when lowering yourself down. Try to form a 45-degree angle to your torso when viewed from above.
  • Your chest should be a few inches from the floor in your lowest position
  • Don’t twist your shoulders or torso on the way up; keep the weight of your upper body evenly distributed between your hands

With the above in mind, practice makes perfect. Once you’re confident you have the basics of proper form mastered, you can figure out what your push-up level is. Keeping to proper form, see what your maximum amount of reps is. This will be the foundation on which you can improve your technique and max reps.

If you struggle do any push ups at all, try try incline push-ups and push-up static holds

If you can’t do any push-ups, try with your hands elevated (about 12 inches at least), by using a bench, table or box. These are incline push-ups and are fantastic for beginners. Start by performing 3 sets with a minute rest between each set. Once you’re able to do 3 sets of 10 reps at your starting height, try lowering the height and repeating the workout.

If you can do 3 to 6 push-ups, try negative reps and low-rep sets

On your workout days, try to do some push-ups stopping a couple of reps shy of your maximum (even if this means just doing one push-up). Try doing this up to a dozen times throughout your workout or just during the day at random intervals.

On those same days, practice with some negative reps. Using perfect form, take 10 or 20 seconds to slowly lower yourself from the starting position to the floor. Return to the top position and repeat for a total of three slow but effective reps.

If you can do 7 to 10 push-ups, try low-to-mid reps

It’s at this stage that it’s most likely just the ‘sticking point’ at the bottom of the push-up movement that’s holding you back. To remedy this, try 3 sets of regular push-ups, stopping a couple of reps before your max. Then add a full set of low-to-mid reps; which consist of going from the lowest position to the midpoint (chest halfway between the floor and the top of the position), once again stopping a few reps before your maximum.

Don’t stop there!

No matter where you start on your road to push-up mastery, there’s always ways you can change up your workout and perfect your technique. Start small if you have to, but with dedication and practice, you’ll be surprised how much a simple push-up routine can increase your strength.

HIIT vs Steady-State

In the 1960s, a man name Kenneth H. Cooper came up with the concept of aerobics. Originally, aerobics, via the aerobics point system, measured the effectiveness of different exercises and activities for improving cardiovascular health. This lead to the coining of the term today known as cardio. Over time, however, the main focus of these aerobic-based exercises began shifting from improving cardiovascular health to helping people lose weight and burn fat. And it makes a lot sense since cardio exercises do indeed help people lose weight by burning excess calories and also help people burn fat by activating the fat-burning aerobic energy pathway in the body.

This aerobic energy pathway is the energy system in your body that uses stored fat- after being converted into fatty acids- in conjunction with oxygen and other chemicals to produce the body’s sole source of energy known as ATP. As long as this pathway is utilized, more and more fat will be burned. Early science believed that the best way to activate this pathway is by performing long-duration, low intensity exercises such as long-distance jogging, cycling, or swimming. This ultimately lead to the creation of other forms of cardio exercises today such as aerobic dance classes, step aerobics, and the extremely popular Zumba.

Although low intensity cardio is still the exercise king of weight loss and fat burning today, newcomers have arrived to challenge for the crown. The biggest gripe with low intensity cardio exercises is the duration, which often takes more than an hour. Cardio might seem to be fun and exciting the first time it’s done, but over time, it begins to feel way too repetitive and long. As more and more people become bored and lose interest, more and more people will quit. And for some people, they simply do not have the time. But are low intensity cardio exercises really the best option to burn fat and calories?

This is where the most prominent challenger to low intensity cardio steps in. This challenger is known as High Intensity Interval Training. High Intensity Interval Training, as the name suggests, is any “training” program that are performed in “intervals” at a “high intensity.” High intensity interval training, also called HIIT for short, are alternating periods of short high intensity activity with periods of low intensity recovery. The most popular exercise for HIIT is alternating sprinting with walking. Each sprint interval lasts between 5-30 seconds and each walk interval will also last between 5-30 seconds. The more fit you are, the higher the work to rest ratio will become. For example, if you’re really fit, you might be sprinting for 30 seconds and walking for 10. Someone that is less fit might be sprinting for 10 seconds and walking for 30. The total session length varies between 5-20 minutes, and because of the intensity, should only be done 3 days a week. When added together, that’s a maximum of only 60 minutes of exercise per week!

So what’s the science behind this? When the body goes through intense activity, it needs to be able to keep up with the energy demand. One way of doing so is by secreting high levels of fat-releasing hormones known as catecholamines into the bloodstream. The more catecholamines, the more quickly fat is broken down into free fatty acids. Free fatty acids are then used to replenish energy stores. Studies have also shown that HIIT creates a strong EPOC effect. EPOC, short for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, is the extra oxygen your body needs in order to recover after an intense activity. The more oxygen you take in also means more calories are being burned. This effect can last up to an amazing 24 hours after the workout. However, other studies have shown that the amount of calories being burned during EPOC isn’t all that much, where at most an extra 60 calories being burned.

There are also a few drawbacks. High intensity interval training is extremely strenuous. People might drop out of low intensity cardio because it’s long and boring, but people can just as easily drop out of HIIT because it’s just too hard. High intensity interval training might also cause joint pain due to the high impact, and over time, might lead to serious injuries if performed incorrectly. Also, low intensity cardio can actually be done every day. HIIT, however, requires ample recovery time, which can interfere other exercise routines. Although HIIT might challenge low intensity cardio for the crown, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks!

How To Improve Your Pull-Ups

The pull-up is one of the greatest muscle building exercises in existence, and is a solid inclusion in any strength-building personal training plan. To improve your pull-ups, let’s take a look at some easy tips to get the most out of this exercise.

The majority of strength for your pull-ups actually comes from your back and not your arms. This is why you should trigger your back muscles first before you bend your arms and pull yourself up.

Therefore you need to know the difference between the passive and the active hang. In the passive hang, you just hang from a bar with straight arms and nearly no activation of your back muscles.

In the active hang, you pull your shoulder-blades down and together which is called depression and retraction.

In both positions, you don’t bend your elbows at all!

The passive hang is mostly about grip strength and can also be used to stretch lats and pecs which will result in better opening of your shoulders. The purpose of the active hang is to activate your lats, traps and lumbars. So when you do a pull up the first thing you should aim for is the active hang position. You only use your shoulder-blades without bending your arms to get the movement started.

This is essential to engage a lot more muscles in your back and keep your shoulder girdles strong and healthy. You can do your pull-up with the release of the active hang and switch to the passive hang for each rep which is very good to learn a right technique.

But you can also hold the active hang during the complete motion. No matter which variation you choose, always fully extend your arms when you’re in the bottom position.

The next tip is also about optimal back engagement. When you do a pull-up, try to imagine that the resistance is right under your elbow. Driving your elbows down to your body as much as you can will activate your back muscles in an optimal way.

When you do this, your arms will bend automatically and of course you’ll work your biceps, brachialis and brachioradialis during the movement.

But to maximize the outcome in terms of back activation, you should visualize this elbow movement. To get the right image, you can practice this with a resistance band.

Fix the band right under your elbow and pull it down without grabbing it with your hands. By doing so, you only pull the band down with the elbow. And this will lead to right neural muscular input.

The last tip is about muscle tension; there are different ways to do a pull-up.

You can do them explosive or slow and more controlled. If you want to increase your explosive strength, it’s OK to quickly move up and down.

But you should never smash into your joints when you hit the bottom!

Most people want to do as many pull-ups as possible to set their new personal record. But when it comes to building solid strength and muscle mass, the “time under tension” is very important.

If you pull yourself up explosively and let yourself fall down quickly, your muscles will be under less tension than if you do your pull-ups slower and with the correct technique.

If you wondered why it takes so long to improve your pull-ups, check if you considered the above tips.

And if not, try and implement them into your workouts!

4 Fitness MISTAKES You Should Avoid

Whenever a fresh beginner finally musters up the courage to start their fitness journey, they often begin with a great deal of motivation but very little knowledge. Unfortunately, this often leads to mistakes that all beginners, and sometimes even more experienced people, tend to make.

For those of you taking your first steps on your fitness journey, our personal trainers have put together a list of five beginner mistakes that you should try to avoid if you want to maximise your efforts.

1: Going Too Heavy Too Quickly

Our personal trainers are supporters of heavy lifting for building muscle and strength, but often for beginners, the idea of going heavy precedes a much more important factor: doing it right.

Immediately lifting heavy makes it difficult to practice technique and these bad habits can stick with you. Eventually, it can lead to some unfortunate injuries and setbacks.

Best practice: go moderately heavy until you get the technique correct.

And since heavy eccentric lifting also tends to lead to a higher degree of delayed onset muscle soreness, going lighter first can cut down on recovery time so you can spend more time lifting and less time crying when you try to walk.

2: Too Much Cardio

Just like lifting heavy, cardio can be great, especially for your heart. But it doesn’t mean that you should ONLY do cardio. If you’re focusing on weight loss and all you’re doing is cardio, especially steady-state cardio, you’re only focusing on half of that equation: the fat. Not only will you not build any significant muscle with steady-state cardio alone, it also takes a long time to burn any meaningful calories. It’s much easier to skip that sugary treat each day than run 3 miles each day!

If you want to lose weight and be healthy, then the goal should be a mixture of cardio AND resistance training. Plus, you can still burn fat while lifting weights or with calisthenics.

3: Not Getting Enough Protein

It’s true that you can’t outwork a bad diet, but you also can’t outgrow a lack of protein. Protein is crucial in all physiological facets with the most pertinent being its importance to muscle growth.

Exercise alone won’t build muscle! A good nutrition plan feeds the stimulated muscle.

4: Not Getting Enough Sleep

Without a shadow of a doubt, you’re holding yourself back from getting the best results you possibly can if you don’t get enough quality sleep. Simply going to the gym tired and sleepy will cause your performance to suffer, you’ll feel slower, and probably make more mistakes. Your testosterone levels drop and cortisol levels rise, which slows down muscle building and recovery.

To make matters worse, lack of sleep can lead to an erratic appetite due to imbalances between the appetite controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. That means eating more and getting worse results.

Simply put, don’t mess with your sleep! Get your 7 to 9 hours, and reap all of your gains.

The Anatomy of a 30 Day Transformation

Are you struggling to lose weight, tone up,  regain your fitness or benefit from real results?

Is the thought of dropping a dress size or two well outside your collective thoughts and current belief system? More importantly, is it sustainable?

Just 30 days you say…

Today I want to walk you through the process and procedures for truly transformational change with our 30 day transformation plan.

Timeframe: 30 days or less.

Our lovely Anna below had just one goal in mind, to fit in her bridesmaid dress for her best friends wedding. She had 30 days to change, not only body but her mind and eating habits also.

That’s when she approached the personal trainers here at Go-Fit UK, and as such we accepted her challenge.

Stage 1*

Current circumstance and specific planning/goal setting.

It is imperative that you understand your current situation and circumstances. We must highlight the habitual traits and negative lifestyle choices. From here we create solutions to the above and formulate an accountability structure that will form the initial outlay to your coaching and for your 30 days ahead.

Your mind is EVERYTHING

Now rather than just saying I want to lose a few pounds or tone a little here and tone a little there, we need to be specific. Crystal clear.

As a whole, what are you looking to achieve? Be exact and have complete clarity in your vision.

Dress size?

Weight?

Inches?

Fitness?

Habits?

Lifestyle?

Confidence?

Timeframe?

Be REALLY specific. No flim flam!

Once you have your goals, timeframe and clear specifics you now reverse engineer the entire process.

For example:

If you want to lose “X” amount in “X” amount of time. Then what needs to happen and how much do you need to lose weekly to achieve this goal?

Once you have the specifics, you can now define clear and specific WEEKLY goals.

For example, if your goals is to lose 1 stone (14lbs) in just 30 days. Then your weekly goal is to lose 3.5lbs per week for 4 weeks.

Simple.

Stage 2*

Mindset

As with stage 1 you must understand your mind, lifestyle choices and habitual traits. To truly incite transformational change, it is your ability learn and develop on a personal and emotional level that will guarantee life long and sustainable change.

For example:

When stressed or feeling low, what is your emotional response? Is there a pattern and what needs to change?

Internal conversation, do you constantly tell yourself that you’re NOT good enough? Have you previously failed and now struggle with the thought of stepping outside your comfort zone and potentially failing all over again?

Do you hide away and/or struggle with self confidence/self worth?

What has stopped you in the past?

Once again you must be specific, like the art of painting by numbers you need to understand the habitual traits and reasoning for your current circumstance.

You MUST find the emotional tie, the angsts and the trigger points. Because without resolve they will unpin your entire transformation.

For example:

Writing down your goals each day, both short term and long term. This then aligns your mind with your goals/dreams ahead.

Emotions, lets say you had a bad day at work. Perhaps an argument/heated discussion. This will naturally result in negative feelings, but do not allow this to harbour and instead write it all down.

For example:

  1. The problem/circumstance?
  2. Why?
  3. What is the solution?
  4. Will said altercation mean anything in 7 days’ time, come on – REALLY?

Then with the TRUTH above write down your goals again and align your thoughts with your journey ahead.

Or let’s say that you’ve tired losing weight multiple times before, and for whatever reason you failed.

Now instead of just pinning this as a failure, you need to understand that really and most importantly. It is a lesson learnt.

It is NEVER a failure.

  1. What did you try before?
  2. Why did you fail? – (be really specific)
  3. What have you learnt and what can you apply for the future?
  4. Understand that fear is just your safety response and a mental flex to inhibit any potential emotion and/or emotional pain.

Develop, learn and move on.

Stage 3*

Nutrition

You must understand that this is an exact science, to lose weight you must be in a calorie deficit.

You cannot train well and eat poorly and still expect a great result. Forget it. However, you must ensure that the nutrient density of your foods is high and at every meal.

Nutrition is actually very simple, and always it must be tailored to the individual. One size does not fit all.

Remember, you are what you eat. Eat the foods as mother nature intended, above all else portioning is paramount.

Portion Control

Fact: there are no foods that will make you fat.

Neither are there foods that will get you lean, toned, ripped or even muscular for that matter.

It’s all about moderation, energy balance, macronutrient balance and providing the body with what it needs for the intended goal.

For fat loss/health – if you are in any doubt build your meals around these basics:

* 1-2 palm size portions of lean protein (organic if possible)

* 2-3 fist sized portions of vegetables (especially greens)

* 1-2 thumb sized portions of healthy omega fats

* 1-2 palm size portions of complex carbohydrates around your workouts

If you remain consistent, and on task you WILL lose weight and in time, completely transform your body.

So there you have it, other than the exercise and moving more on a daily basis (the easy bit) the process is actually really simple.

Just be mindful that a professional and periodical exercise plan is highly recommended.

Although the secret to all of this, the one thing that deep down you know is truly key. Is just accountability and consistency.

With the right coaching, the right attitude and the right community you too can achieve phenomenal results in a very short space of time.

 

 

 

The Keys To Staying Healthy With A City Lifestyle

Early mornings, late nights, long working hours and high levels of stress. All of these take its toll on the body and also cause your priorities to change, especially when it comes to your health and well-being.

If that sounds like this might be you, then listen up. I have some simple and easy tips to combat this city lifestyle, improving your health and well-being without making any drastic changes.

HIGH STRESS: 

Working in the city often comes with a very stressful job. Over the long-term this can lead to some chronic stress that is constant low-level stress that just nags away at your mental health. Chuck in a few other work stressors like new projects or delayed trains, then this can all add up to leave you feeling awful, run down and result in things like nutrition and training habits falling by the wayside.

Eliminating this stress is almost an impossible task without quitting your job, which I am pretty sure you won’t want to be doing anytime soon. So we need ways to be able to at least try and reduce our overall stress levels.

We can start to do this with getting some proper sleep (6-8 hours), getting some regular exercise like walking or biking to work. These little things will aid in helping to tackle that stress just a little bit and help ease your feelings of being so run down.

SLEEP: 

As I am sure you know, those with busy lifestyles have to work very long hours and so often means getting home last thing at night. That is without taking in to account meetings that may run over or trains that are delayed.

So me telling you to just get more sleep may be a waste of time. Instead I want you to focus on quality of your sleep.

So here are some tips to help you get the best night sleep you can:
• No work stuff within the last hour before bed. This will help you unwind and relax before you go to sleep.

• Avoid answering e-mails on your phone before bed. The light from the phone will mess with your brain and make it think that it is actually light and not dark, meaning your body will try and stay awake.

• Make your bedroom DARK.
• Limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
IMMUNE HEALTH:

High stress levels can wreak havoc with your immune system, and therefore it is no wonder why so many are regularly falling ill. But here are a few tips that you can use to try and keep your immune system on track and fighting fit.

• Eat your greens – getting your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day will make sure you are getting all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants you need to keep your gut and immune system functioning well. If you struggle to get your 5 portions in, then try taking a greens powder as this will help you get all you need in one fell scoop.

• Stay hydrated – the body is made up of mostly water, and so if we are dehydrated, then we are not going to be functioning at our best. Aim for 3 litres per day.

EXERCISE: 

Getting some regular exercise can be a massive help when it comes to keeping your body and mind well in check. Exercise is the leading stress reliever and will help you feel like you can tackle anything the day throws at you, in part; this is due to the massive rush of endorphins you get once you have finished a good workout.

There is no set rule for how much or how long you need to workout for, but if you can aim for 3 sessions per week, then that’s a great place to start.

However, the most important variable is to ensure that you actually enjoy your exercise. If it is not something you enjoy, then it is very rare you will ever stick to it and reap the stress relieving benefits from it. If you find yourself dragging your lethargic body to the gym each week, then you are just going to be miserable and end up worse off than when you originally walked in.

So I hope you can use these tips in an effort to combat your busy lifestyle and keep a hold of good health in body and mind.

Andrew James.

The Keys To Staying Healthy With A City Lifestyle

In recent weeks a lot has been mentioned in the media about the menstrual cycle and how it can potentially affect women and their physical performance. This has come following Heather Watson (British female tennis player) saying that her recent loss may be due to her menstrual cycle. She said that she suffered from dizziness, nausea, low-energy levels and periods of feeling light-headed. Sound familiar to you?

We would certainly struggle to be able to perform at the best if we were suffering from these symptoms, but there are ways to manage and of course the symptoms will be different for different people, so some may suffer more than others. However you can overcome some of the issues that may affect your gym performance by taking certain measures, the aim is to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

1. During the luteal phase the female body core temperature rises much higher than during the follicular phase. This means that when the weather is hot, it may be better to avoid intense workouts (i.e. legs day), which raise your temperature further. This is because you may otherwise become very hot and very uncomfortable and not be able to maintain your maximum effort and intensity.

2. It is always key to remain hydrated and maintain blood iron levels. During the menstrual cycle much iron in the blood can be lost and so may cause low-energy levels and fatigue. Consequently, it is important to maintain an adequate amount of iron intake through food sources such as red meat, pork, seafood and dark leafy green vegetables. This will help to maintain iron levels and subsequently, energy levels at this particular time of the menstrual cycle.

3. Hydration is also vitally important, particularly when the core body temperature rises during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The water can help to keep you cool during your workout and so can help to keep you hydrated and also less hot and uncomfortable. Enabling you to produce maximal effort each workout.

These are all measures that can be taken to help alleviate symptoms that may affect your workout performance, and enable you to perform as well as possible during the cycle.

But can the menstrual cycle also affect your weight and fat loss capabilities?

We are sure most of you have been victim of the weight gain associated with water retention during your period. Despite it happening all very quickly, it is also gone just as quickly. However, what we must highlight is that the menstrual cycle can actually have an effect on the body’s ability to burn fat.
Very simply, the first 14 days of the month during the follicular phase, heightening levels of oestrogen (female sex hormone) means the body is more insulin sensitive, and can tolerate carbohydrates more effectively. Meaning the carbohydrates are more likely to be shuttled in to the muscles rather than stored as fat. However, towards the end of the month, where progesterone (hormone that counteracts the negative effects of oestrogen) is more dominant, the ability to handle carbohydrates as effectively diminishes. As a result, it is then very important to limit the amount of carbohydrates (e.g. rice, sweet potato, pasta, new potatoes) consumed during the luteal phase to help sustain your fat loss results as much as possible.

With carbohydrates being dropped, this time is unfortunately the time where women will crave for them the most, due to lower levels of neurotransmitters responsible for feeling good and having focus. To combat this, it can be important to add sweet flavourings like cocoa on training days, and include more dark chocolate on rest days.

As you can see, this shows how much of an effect the menstrual cycle can have on the body in terms of performance and weight loss. It is therefore important to pay extra attention to the intricacies of the female menstrual cycle and its effect on both performance and weight loss. However, as we have shown, there are certain steps that can be taken to maintain your control over its negative effects on both weight loss and performance. So keep these actions in mind, and you can make the curse of the menstrual cycle a thing of the past.

The Keys To Staying Healthy With A City Lifestyle

Circuit Training consists of around 8-14 different exercise stations that are designed to work each of the major muscle groups. A participant will spend anything from 30 seconds to 1 minute on each station working at a good intensity before moving on to the next station with very little rest (20-30 seconds).
Once a circuit is complete then a proper 2-3 minute rest period is taken before starting again. For best results it’s good to complete 2-3 circuits in full.

Here are the 7 major benefits of circuit training:

1. It is a whole body workout as is designed to target all major muscle groups. Nothing is left out, but it can also be designed to have more emphasis on core and lower body if the ultimate goal is weight loss in the problem areas of tummy, bum and thighs.

2. You get maximum results in minimum time. For many people these days life is busy and time is an expensive commodity. So a well-designed circuit (lasting no more than 45 minutes to an hour) will deliver everything for someone who is looking to lose weight and tone up.

3. Wide variety of exercises to keep things interesting. One of the problems with going to the gym is boredom. It’s not uncommon for people to start getting bored with the gym within 3-4 weeks of going. Just turning up and doing the same exercises over and over again, using the same machines. The problem then is that the body hits a plateau very quickly, you stop pushing yourself and results are minimal. Before you know it you’re paying for a gym membership that you never use. This does not happen with circuit training as the intensity and the type of exercise are constantly changing.

4. Sends the metabolism into hyperdrive! You torch more fat in 45 minutes of circuit training than you would going out on a 2 hour run. But more importantly than this, due to the resistance routines within the circuit you make the most of the ‘afterburn’ effect. This means that your metabolism is still in an elevated state for 24 hours after the workout.

5. You work both cardiovascular muscles as well improving strength and endurance. The problem with those that only concentrate on running / cycling etc…is that their cardio improves but their upper body strength doesn’t. You also see bodybuilders that are very strong but their cardio is very poor because they only ever use weights with long rest periods. Circuit training combines everything so it all improves.

6. Helps tone and define body. By optimising fat loss and improving overall strength this is what helps to define the muscles and give that overall toned look.

7. You don’t waste a single second. Circuit training is about being on the move from the word go and the only seconds that you’re not doing anything are strategically planned rest periods between circuits. It’s an extremely time efficient 45 minutes.

This is what we specialise in here at Go-Fituk. It’s the main focus for most of our workouts. It is fun, varied and always gets results. If this type of exercise is combined with the right nutritional plan then everything is fast-tracked and the results are much more noticeable in a much shorter period of time.

Fitness After Injury: The Dos And Don’ts

There are few things worse than getting injured, especially when you’ve found a training flow. You have the momentum, you’re seeing results and then, usually from nowhere, an injury throws a spanner into the works. Not only is it frustrating, but it can be extremely demoralising as well.

Thankfully, there are ways and means to get you back to full health, be that sports therapy, pain treatments, myofascial release, or physiotherapy. Rehabbing an injury can sometimes take as much focus and dedication as a workout program, but this also means the results carry the same sense of pride – you had a goal and you achieved it. The next step is returning to your fitness regime of choice and making sure you do so in a safe and smart way.

The first thing to keep in mind is that even after you’ve recovered from an injury, you still need to ease yourself back into your training.

Your body may not be prepared

for the strain exercise puts on it,

so attacking with the same intensity you had before taking some time off isn’t a good idea.

It’s always important to push yourself, but do so in a way that’s sensible and doesn’t feel uncomfortable. You’d be surprised how many people ignore little aches and pains assuming it’s fallout from their recovery. Listen to your body: if it hurts, don’t do it!

Don’t assume being given the all-clear by your injury specialist is a reason to stop doing any rehab exercises either. Hurting a particular area of your body usually leaves it weaker than it was, even after nursing it back to health. The best way to prevent issues happening again, and to continue the strengthening process after you return to your chosen activity, is to continually focus on it. You’ll stop the injury returning and will get your body back to where it was before an issue was present.

Make sure to warm up the area before training, too. It’s all well and good jumping on a treadmill for a few minutes to get the blood circulating, but finding out how to directly focus on a weak spot will help no end while you get on with what matters: working out.

Taking care of yourself even after you’ve recovered is a must to avoid falling foul of the same injury and allowing you to train in the way you want. If half your mind is occupied with what could happen, you’re not going to be getting the most out of your workout and, worst of all, you’re not going to be enjoying it. So be smart, take care of yourself, and take a little bit of extra time to make sure you’re good to go, regardless of any previous ailments.

  • Taking care of yourself even after you’ve recovered is a
  • must to avoid falling foul of the same injury and allowing
  • you to train in the way you want. If half your mind is occupied

Taking care of yourself even after you’ve recovered is a must to avoid falling foul of the same injury and allowing you to train in the way you want. If half your mind is occupied with what could happen, you’re not going to be getting the most out of your workout and, worst of all, you’re not going to be enjoying it. So be smart, take care of yourself, and take a little bit of extra time to make sure you’re good to go, regardless of any previous ailments.