Consistency is the key? Really though?

Yup. ‘Fraid so. True dat. key

 

It appears there’s just no getting away from it.

Yawn.

Or is it really ‘yawn’? When starting out at the beginning of a ‘fitness journey’ you’ll hear that phrase again and again, choke on it, dream it and, at some point (honestly), start to believe it.

Like many things we resolve to do (like write a blog), training can fall by the way side; life gets in the way; shit happens, you know? Life. So how do people do it? Scroll through Instagram and you’ll see the same faces with their selfie videos and workouts and you think: how in the name of all that is reasonable do they get round to doing it? Enjoy it even?

Bloody mindedness. Grit. Determination.

Set yourself a goal. Make it real. Make it just out of reach. Make it happen in the next 3 months. Honestly!

Write out your dream and get a calendar. What action do you need to take in order to get you heart’s desire underway? Write it down and make a list of things to get done, then prioritise them: what can you do today? What can you tick off tomorrow? The point is that you need to keep the dream in the front of your mind, revise it, write it out every morning and remind yourself that you are going to get there. You can do it and you will achieve it.

 

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If it really is about training then think about incorporating a little extra exercise in your day: if you have a spare 10 minutes get yourself up and down the stairs as many times as possible. That’s free. There’s a myriad of free home workouts on Youtube and Instagram; it’s not easy getting on with it (speaking as an expert procrastinator).

You’ll feel good. I promise; it’s a ‘thing’ and it’s called ‘endorphins’. They will buoy you up no end, add that to a teeny sense of achievement that will grow every time you work up a sweat and you’ll begin to find that that ‘consistency is the key’ phrase will soon become part of your mindset.

Now where’s my notebook…

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Buggy running and hill sprints: Beast Mode.

Believe it or not, doing hill sprints with a buggy are the BOMB! If you’re a mum without time or childcare to cover a solo trip to the gym, these need to be in your rep as super muscle building and fat burning beauties.

I’ve been a bit down on running at the moment; I like the idea of it but actually getting round to putting my trainers on is the struggle. The bathroom needs a clean; I’ve got a pile of work to get through; I really need to get to the supermarket. I know right? Utterly pathetic procrastination. Supermarkets are the Worst!

16735033_10154134152031237_1596305048_oSo, with the Beast going through a nap-refusal phase there’s no option but to wrap him up like Michelin Man, pile him into the City Jogger buggy (best investment ever) and get the hell on with it. After a quick pause to check out the diggers at a near by building site he’s snoozing happily and it’s time to stick the headphones in and crack out an easy 6k jog.

Inevitably, these have to start at the bottom of the hill, it’s a thing. There’s no getting around it: find a hill.

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It looks so innocent: The hill of Pain

As a warm-up a slow trot up with knee-ups and butt kicks and alternating mini side steps is a great start to get the up-hill muscles going. I tend to do a very gentle, slow trot back down as a recovery. Some sort of dynamic warm up is essential, squats, lunges (in all directions), arm circles are all going to get you ready to go.

Form for sprinting is important, especially if you’re pushing a buggy:

  • Keep your eyes forward – don’t look down
  • Do not put your weight on the buggy, push it forward not down
  • Keep your chest up
  • Get your knees high and forward – don’t run side to side (you’ll give your small one motion sickness!)
  • Push off with the balls of your feet and keep it that way, your heels shouldn’t touch the ground

It’s important not to over-do it – these are HARD! Aim for 3 sprints followed by a gentle cool down – walk it off before a good stretch out at home. These are AWESOME power builders and fat burners. They don’t take long so you definitely don’t have to start with a 6k jog (I dreamt up the hill sprint finish as I ran!). If you can get 2 sprint sessions in per week you WILL notice the difference, aim to increase the sprint number and frequency to 3-4 times a week as you improve.

Surprise, surprise! Preemie bambino and finding time and energy to train…

Wow! TIMG-20150301-WA0000he last five months have really been overwhelming to say the least; a year ago I was focused wholly on training and thinking about setting a new fitness goal. As it happens I am about to set a new fitness goal albeit rather different. Now I have a bouncing five month old baby boy who takes up 99.9% of my time, fitness needs to fit around my life now. I’m working on it, it hasn’t been easy but I know that maintaining training in my life is essential to my wellbeing both physically and mentally.

The coaster sums up a mutual feeling...

The coaster sums up a mutual feeling…

Pregnancy is a wonderful thing and I have a new found respect for my body but I have a few areas that need work for me to get properly back into training at pre-preggo standards. I have bad pain in my knees which is my first fitness goal: get the buggers working properly again!

Getting to the point where I am acting on achieving goals has been a struggle over the last months, and I have had to recruit the husband to remind me to stretch and use the foam roller as part of the re-habillitation process. Adapting exercise has been a really interesting process, at times frustrating and I haven’t managed it easily; having been very fit was hard to take baby steps in the beginning (and still in some areas). I no longer have the time to spend hours researching exercises and techniques (another part of my goal is to get back into the habit of this… bye-bye Facebook time wasting!)

Support is essential when trying to achieve a goal in life – any goal. When it comes to exercise I have always been determined to the point of bloody minded, so now, when I have a new priority in my life I find that my drive to exercise and train is now somewhat hampered by my awesome responsibility. I need support! Sometimes I need telling to “Go to the gym!”.

1. Decide on your goal

2. Know WHY it is important that you achieve it (how much better will you feel for doing it?)

3. Decide on your support crew – it’s essential that these people really will support you and that you explain your reasons.

4. TiME – give yourself a time limit to complete your goal or see change.

I’m working on number 4 at the moment, I know that when my knees are healed I’ll be set to go but I’m not sure how soon that will happen so the goal is under construction. In the mean time, my focus is on developing my overall strength and fitness. I’m using a mixture of circuit training, exercises that cover all the planes of movement – rotational, sideways and up and down (transverse, frontal and saggital) and compound exercises (the big muscle groups that employ more than two joints at a time – squats, bench presses etc.). What I am not doing are abdominal crunches, I want to strengthen my core through whole body movements, I do not want to risk greater separation of my abdominal muscles (I have escaped with a very small separation, Diastasis Recti, and I definitely don’t want to damage that area further and it’s too big a subject to cover in this blog).

Well, it’IMG_20150614_143654s good to be back on the blog, I’m looking forward to going from strength to strength once again and, however cheesy this may sound, these bodies are there to be lived in and I want to be fit for life!

**Please note, I am not training to lose weight or re-gain my pre-pregnancy body but to balance my mind and body and this is the focus of the support from my husband and family** 

Getting in shape for the Big Day! Why this preggo is staying in the squat rack…

“Don’t lift that!”

“Stop! You’re pregnant!”

These phrases are becoming ever more common to my ears now that the bump is well and truly on display and, if I’m honest, there are times when I’m happy to let someone else do the lifting while I put my feet up (shhh!). However, there are so very many reasons why it’s important to keep fit and active during pregnancy and why weight training can be a real benefit to the pregster’s health; allow me to elaborate…

IMG_20150212_094940Pregnancy is an interesting time and, for many, the first 12 or so weeks can be very debilitating (imagine a 24/7 hangover combined with travel sickness and the inability to consume anything other than Haribo sweets, crisps and chips and you’ll be en route to understanding – the ‘morning’ part of ‘morning sickness’ is a complete lie) and energy levels are likely to hit an all time low but hey! You’re making a human! Give yourself a break!

As the second trimester gets underway energy levels begin to return – oh blessed relief! It was about half way through the second tri that I was able to really get back into training regularly (pelvic pain joy slowed me down for a while – if you have it then see a physio!). Now I’m feeling the benefits and am confident that these will continue during and after the birth. Of course, it’s important to remember that everybody and every pregnancy is different and if you hadn’t exercised beforehand then definitely err on the side of caution: speak to your doctor and, if finances permit, get some help from a personal trainer; Google can also be a serious support – there’s a plethora of adapted exercises (and many demo videos) for pregnant women in all stages of pregnancy and all levels of fitness.

Some serious benefits of exercise during pregnancy are:

  • Generally feeling better – get those endorphins going and you will reap the rewards
  • Greater muscle strength which can help with carrying the extra weight and the changes in balance as your bump grows
  • As the body produces more relaxin to help the body’s tendons and ligaments stretch for child-birth, exercise and weight training in particular can help provide greater muscular stability for the joints during pregnancy
  • Booty building squats and glute bridges can help promote stability in the pelvis (again, careful here if you have pelvic pain) and decrease aches and pains
  • A woman who exercises may experience a quicker, smoother birth
  • Can lead to a speedier recovery after the birth
  • Functional exercises like pushing and pulling, lifting and lowering can help prepare you for when your minion arrives – correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure most new mothers don’t have much time for bouncing on a Swiss ball…

Of course there are more reasons but the one which I am benefiting from most is that I always feel great when I work out! Exercise has always been like medicine for me and if I were to stop then I know my energy levels would slump as would my general mood and well-being. I’m no longer training with the aim of getting stronger, leaner, gaining muscle, but to maintain the level of fitness that I’ve worked hard to achieve and that will benefit both me and the minion.

Today’s booty builder for Operation Haul Ass:

4×20 squats into curtsey lunges (alternating left and right)

4×15 straight leg sumo deadlifts

A1 4×12 side step lunges (left then right)

A2 4×20 glute bridges

4×20 fire hydrants

Then remember to streeeeeeeeetch out those muscles!

Enjoy!

Operation Haul Ass

So here’s the thing: our bodies change at different stages of our lives. Big deal huh? Well, actually yes, it is. My bottom is currently sliding south at a rate that I do not appreciate and I’m taking measures to at least slow this progress; hence ‘Operation Haul Ass’.

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Fitness, health and general wellbeing are important to us all and maybe your ass isn’t suffering from gravity the way mine is but I’m guessing there’s something you’d like to change or improve? Whether it’s losing weight, getting stronger, learning to say ‘no’, developing confidence – whatever it is – the only way to get there is to be accountable to yourself and start doing it! Stop procrastinating! What is stopping you from achieving it?

Seriously, write down everything that’s getting in the way of achieving your goal, 9 times out of 10 there are simple solutions to the problem. If you’re still not moving forward then ask yourself this: “how much do I really want it?“. The likelihood is that you’re the main obstacle and that it’s lack of confidence that’s holding you back. I know this is true for me – I get The FEAR!

What will people think of me? What if it doesn’t work? Other people have all the luck, I’m just not one of them, etc…

Are you the same?

How would you entitle your ‘Operation X?’ Write it down! Make it part of your day to do something towards achieving it. Be proactive and be an achiever. Don’t let those fears hold you back because, and be honest here, who actually gives a f*&^? If you get a comment, so what? If it doesn’t work, why didn’t it? Work it out and improve but the only way to learn and achieve is to DO and TRY!

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Now, to get back to my Op Haul Ass, I’m looking to make some big ass changes and not just to my derriere. 2015 will be the year that I stop worrying about what other people think because, really, that’s NONE OF MY BUSINESS!

Need to work your butt too? Try this out for bubbling that bootay…

Three rounds of the following should put a spring in your step and fire up those glutes at the start of your day!

Air squats x20

Glute bridge x20

Split squats x15 Left then Right (don’t alternate!)

Single leg deadlifts x15 Left then Right (don’t alternate!)

Jump squats x10-15

Step ups x10-15 Left then Right (don’t alternate! Use something stable)

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Ready to progress? Start adding some weight!

Getting back on the waggon and adapting to big changes

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Everybody needs a rest, a break, time to re-group, reflect and recover. It’s been the best part of two months since I’ve been a regular gym go-er and exerciser; probably the longest break I’ve had in the last 5 years and, surprisingly, I really feel the benefit!

I battled through the first 3 1/2 months of pregnancy with regular gym sessions and I didn’t change much except to slow down and lighten weights but it was a struggle and the fun was slipping away with every trip. At about 14 weeks my pelvis started to groan as my body started to change and loosen up. Stupidly, I didn’t listen to what my body was telling me: “go steady!” and carried on until I was mid lunge and had to limp out of the gym and spend the next few weeks in real pain struggling even to walk. I had started to feel hopeless as I’d read that there was very little that could be done about pelvic pain during pregnancy; ‘it’s just one of those things’ seems to be the popular message but this is so wrong. Finally sense returned and I called my amazing physio who fixed me up with just two sessions putting my squiffy hips back into place – hurrah!

The next weeks were taken up with moving house, Christmas, visiting friends and family and getting some seriously long walks in. Walking turned into my re-hab; as well as spectacular walks in Yorkshire over Christmas, the husband and I would go out for several hours at a time to explore our new area which was great! It wasn’t fitness driven but it was enough to kick start my desire to train again and actually to get my head around adapting training to suit my growing shape.

Growing a baby takes effort and it has taken me a long time to come around to this reality!

 

Fanny-packs and soundtracks

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has done it, Kanye West has done it, Madonna has done it; so I’m in good company with my fanny pack; strictly for the gym, my little music pouch is perfect for getting my Beast Mode on.

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When it’s Crazy Leg Day and I need some heavy music to get me through a super set of split squats and squat jumps. That’s where SoundCloud (@SoundCloud) comes in – it’s a brilliant app – whatever your tune of choice you’re bound to find something suitable to give you that extra kick. Unfortunately I’m just too lazy to put my own soundtracks together and Skinny Chimp  (@SkinnyChimp – makers of funky gym apparel) regularly post beastly compilations.

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But the fanny pack? I love it! Do you have any special requirements for a successful workout?