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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.””