Category Archives: Exercise

5 Home Items That You Can Use As Exercise Gear

1: HAND TOWEL
Try using small hand towels in place of gliders (sliders) on a hardwood or tile surface, they can add some instability to the move, making it more difficult.

Move 1: Towel Reverse Lunge

Start standing straight up with your feet at about hip-width distance. Place a towel underneath your right foot.
Keeping your left leg rooted, begin to slowly bend at the knee and bring the hips back.
Slide your right toes along the ground, extending your right leg behind you.
Lower your body until your left leg reaches about a 90-degree angle.
Then, with most of your weight in your left leg and glute, glide your right leg back to the starting position.
This move requires a lot of strength and stability, so don’t be discouraged if it’s too challenging! Feel free to hold a chair to improve your balance.

Move 2: Towel Hamstring Curl

Begin lying flat on the ground with your arms at your sides. Put a towel under your feet and place your feet flat on the ground with knees bent.
Come into a glute bridge, raising your hips up to the ceiling, while keeping your shoulder blades, arms and head on the floor.
Gliding along the floor, extend your legs out in front of you until they’re as straight as possible. As you extend, try your best to maintain the glute bridge position, keeping your hips off the ground.
Then, use your hamstrings to curl the towel back to the starting position.
Extend your legs as far as you can to keep good form and comfortably bring them back toward the body.

2: HEAVY BACKPACK
Find yourself a backpack and fill it up with random weighted items, could be old textbooks, heavy water bottles, heavy fruits or veg.

Move 1: Backpack Back Squat

Put the backpack on, tightening the straps so that it sits on the upper part of your back and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
With your hands straight out in front of you, shoot your hips back and begin to bend at the knees.
Keep your back flat and squat down until your thighs are about parallel to the ground.
Press through your heels and push your hips forward to return to standing.
If you want to get an even deeper squat, you can elevate your heels with two books about the same size.

Move 2: Backpack Bent-Over Rows

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, grab each end of the heavy backpack with your hands.
Shoot your hips back and with a flat back, bend your knees slightly and hinge forward.
Holding this bent-over position, extend your arms, holding the backpack.
On an exhale, row the back pack toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Then, bring the backpack back down.

3: CASE OF WATER
If you have a case of water bottles, they make an excellent heavy load for front squats and front-loaded lunges. If you don’t have a case handy, you can also fill a suitcase with heavy objects.

Move 1: Water Case Front Squats

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the case of water and hold it across your chest at shoulder height, bending at the elbows.
Shoot your hips back and bend your knees. Keeping your back flat and chest up and out, squat toward the ground until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Then, exhale and press through your heels to return to standing.

Move 2: Front-Loaded Forward Lunges

Stand with feet at shoulder-width apart. Grab the case of water and hold it across your chest at shoulder height, bending at the elbows.
Root your right foot into the ground and step forward with your left, leaving a few feet of space between your feet.
Simultaneously bend your right and left knee until your front knee comes to 90 degrees and the back knee hovers just above the ground.
On an exhale, return to standing and bring the legs back together.
Repeat on the other leg.
If front lunges feel too challenging, swap for a reverse lunge, which are generally easier to perform and safer on sensitive knees.

4: CANS OF FOOD

Move 1: Food Can Biceps Curls

Begin standing up straight with a can in each hand.
With palms facing away from your body, curl the cans up toward your shoulders.
As you curl, keep your elbows close to your sides.
Once the cans are at shoulder height, squeeze the biceps.
Then, slowly bring the cans back down to the starting position.

Move 2: Food Can Triceps Extensions

Begin standing with a can in each hand.
Raise the cans straight over your head and bring them together.
Keeping your elbows fixed, lower the cans behind your head, bending your elbows.
Then, extend the cans straight back overhead.

5: SOFA

Move 1: Bulgarian Split Squats

Begin standing three feet away from the sofa, feet at hip-width distance.
Face away from the sofa and raise your foot up onto the sofa, toes curled underneath your foot.
Keeping your weight in your left leg, bend your left knee to 90 degrees.
At the same time, bend your back leg until it hovers just above the ground.
On an exhale, straighten your legs to return to standing.

Move 2: Incline Push-Up

Begin in a high-plank on the sofa or chair, hands on the seat in line with your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your ribs and lower toward the sofa or chair until your chest touches the cushion.
On an exhale, press into the sofa/chair and return to the high plank.

2 Exercises To Strengthen Your Whole Body

Only two exercises…..but it’s definitely not easy.

Before you get going, make sure you warm-up properly. Jumping jacks, inchworms and lunges are just a few exercises you can perform to get your body ready.

The workout follows a classic couplet rep routine: 21-15-9. You’ll need either dumbbells or a kettlebell for the goblet squats.

You’ll start with 21 goblet squats and 21 burpees, followed by 15 goblet squats and 15 burpees, then finally 9 goblet squats and 9 burpees. Between sets, rest for a minute or two before launching into the next round of goblet squats & burpees.

Complete 3-6 rounds depending on how fit you are and how tough you want to make it?

Seeing as you’re most likely doing this workout at home, track how long it takes you to complete all the sets and try to beat your personal best next time.

Beginner HIIT Home Workout

If you’re new to HIIT, or just starting to get fit, this routine is a perfect place to start. You’ll use only your bodyweight, and every move is low impact, so they’re all manageable if you’re overweight or have joint problems.

Directions: Perform between 10-20 reps of each exercise in turn, resting 15 seconds between each exercise. After you’ve completed all 6 exercises, rest until your breathing is nearly back to normal and then repeat for 3 to 5 rounds.

Workout duration: 20–30 min.

1: SQUAT TWIST

Step 1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and cross your arms in front of your chest to help you balance. Try and plant your feet into the floor to create tension and feel your hips and glutes fire up. You should feel the arches in your feet rise.

Step 2. Begin to lower your body, pushing your knees apart and sitting back as if into a chair. Go as low as you can while keeping your head, spine, and pelvis in a long line.

Step 3. Come up out of the squat and twist your torso to the left, raising your left knee into the air 90 degrees. Squeeze your abs. Reverse the motion and repeat the squat, twisting to the opposite side.

2: REACH & CRUNCH

Step 1. From standing, pull your ribs down and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your core is braced. Raise your arms straight overhead, keep your core tight.

Step 2. Twist your torso to the left as you bring your left knee up and pull your arms down, as if delivering a knee strike. Crunch your abs, trying to bring your ribs and hips together.

3: SHUFFLE PUNCH

Step 1. Stand with feet together and your arms at your sides, ready to throw straight punches.

Step 2. Move your left foot out to the side, land in a deep squat and punch your right arm straight out, and then move to the right and punch with your left arm.

4: SQUAT & REACH

Step 1. Perform a squat as you did in the squat twist above, but start with your arms bent in front of you, as if you had just curled a barbell. Squat until your elbows touch your knees.

Step 2. Come out of the squat quickly so the momentum makes you come up on the balls of your feet. Reach your arms overhead while keeping your ribs pulled down and core engaged.

5: SIDE TO SIDE KNEE DRIVES

Step 1. Stand with feet outside shoulder width and reach your arms overhead and slightly to the left.

Step 2. Draw your arms down while driving your right knee up and to the left, as if delivering a knee strike. Repeat on the opposite side.

6: MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

Step 1. Get into the top of a pushup and then drive your right knee to your chest while keeping your hips level with the floor.

Step 2. Replace your right foot and raise your left knee to your chest. Continue alternating sides at a brisk pace.

How HIIT Works?

How HIIT works?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts can use any type of exercise, from cardio machines to bodyweight to free weights, so you can customise your workout to your own needs.

Here’s how HIIT works: you alternate fast, intense periods of exercise with bouts of light activity or complete rest. While it takes less time than aerobic workouts, HIIT can be just as effective for reshaping your body and it can be a lot more fun and challenging.

HIIT may be the perfect kind of cardio for people who can’t (or won’t) run anymore, as well as those who don’t have access to a gym. HIIT can be tailored to your experience level and the equipment you have available and works great for home training.

With HIIT you work hard to get your heart rate up, then take it easy to recover. The set is then repeated for between 3-6 rounds.

Because HIIT workouts are so intense, you can’t perform them for long, so work intervals are usually between 20-45 secs, with similar rest intervals, depending on how hard the work bouts are and the whole workout typically lasts 20 minutes or less.

HIIT workouts may not last long, but they can burn more calories per minute of exercise than aerobic training does, making it the better cardio option when you’re short on time.

The other big benefit of HIIT is the effect it has on your metabolism. Like weight training, HIIT increases post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This is usually a two-hour period after an exercise session where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels and therefore uses more energy. In other words, HIIT still burns calories and fat even when your session is over and you’re recovering after the workout. You don’t get this same effect with aerobic training.

How Many Times Per Week Should You Do HIIT Workouts?

As with lifting weights, HIIT is stressful to the body and requires recovery time, so the recommendation is two or three HIIT sessions per week, done either on the same day that you work with weights (preferably right afterwards) or on days in between.

For the best balance of exercise you should also try to fit some long-duration aerobic training into your week if you can. Steady-state cardio builds an aerobic base that your body can use to fuel all its other activities, and it’s good for your heart, as well as burning extra calories.

Home Exercises: Try This Stair Workout

Staircase workout

Even if you don’t have any equipment there’s still some really effective ways to workout just using what’s available in your house.

This workout can be done by just using your stairs.

Try It….it’s tougher than you think!

Stair Climb |Begin at the bottom of the staircase.
Climb up the stairs, then back down — that’s one lap.
Do 3 laps.

Push Ups | Start in a high plank position (arms straight) with your feet on the floor and your arms on either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd step, depending on how difficult you want to make it? Lower your chest towards the step, then back to start position. Reps: 5 – 10. To make it more difficult, reverse the position and put your feet on 1 of the steps and your arms on the floor, then begin your push ups.

Stair Climb | Begin at the bottom of the staircase.
Climb up the stairs, then back down — that’s one lap.
Do 3 laps.

Bulgarian Split Squat | Stand a few feet away from the bottom of your staircase, facing away.
Root your left foot into the ground and lift your right leg and place it on the second step (or wherever feels comfortable for your hip mobility).
Bend your left leg to 90 degrees, making sure that your knee doesn’t extend past your toes.
Keep your weight in your left leg and return to standing. If you struggle to return to standing, use the staircase rail for a little extra support.
Reps: 15 on each leg

Stair Climb | Begin at the bottom of the staircase.
Climb up the stairs, then back down — that’s one lap.
Do 3 laps.

Stair Step-Ups | Stand at the bottom of the stairs. Step up onto the first or second stair (depending on your ability and height) with your right foot. Straighten your right leg and let your left leg dangle behind you. Step back down off the stair, then step back up using your left leg.
Try to rebound as quickly as possible, going right into the next step-up.
Reps: 10 – 20 on each leg

If you’re feeling energetic and fit you could repeat this circuit up to 5 times.

Ab Strengthening Exercises Are Better Than Situps!

Here’s why…

Most traditional ab exercises like sit-ups and crunches involve rounding and/or flexion of the spine, which is not functional, which means that it’s not the way your body was meant to naturally move.

Think about it, what movement in your daily activity requires you to round or flex your spine?

Walking, running, and even when you sit, your back is generally straight (or should be, anyway!).  And when you have to bend down to pick something up off the floor, you’d bend from your knees and flex from your hips, but your spine is supposed to stay straight.

Excessive rounding or flexing of the spine is not only non-functional, but can also cause back injuries.  Your back was simply not designed for it.  The function of your abdominal muscles or “core” is to protect your spine from excessive flexion, extension, and rotation.  Basically, the job of your core is to keep your spine as rigid as possible at all costs.

If you want to functionally strengthen your abs, it’s best to choose exercises that stimulate your abs to have to brace and protect your spine from moving.  One very effective example is the suitcase squat.  You carry a weight only in one hand (just like carrying a suitcase, hence the name) and perform a full squat.  Since you’ll be lopsided, your abdominal muscles have to work harder to keep your spine from bending over to one side.

This is a great core stimulating, functional, full-body exercise that works your entire body.  So instead of doing crunches or sit-ups next time, try the suitcase squats.  You’ll not only burn more calories with this full-body exercise, but you’ll strengthen your abs the way they were designed to function—to protect your spine.

3 Important Fat-Loss Questions

Fat loss is often the number one priority for many people who are trying to get in shape, but there’s a lot of confusion on exactly how to ditch that excess flab.

Here are three common fat-loss questions

1. Do I Have to Exercise to Lose Weight?

When it comes to fat loss, regardless of the type of diet you choose, calories matter – and you need to be in a calorie deficit. Burning off more calories than you take in is the cornerstone of any effective fat-loss program.

Exercise is also essential to any fat-loss program because exercise makes creating the necessary deficit easier. Theoretically, you need to create a 500 calorie per day deficit in order to lose one pound of fat per week. To accomplish this, you could cut 500 calories from your diet or you could add four exercise sessions that each burned 500 calories and then you’d just need to cut about 215 calories (the equivalent of one cup of cooked rice) per day from your diet.

As your diet progresses and you need to create a greater and greater deficit in order to keep the fat coming off, exercise becomes an even more essential tool. Exercise helps make sure that you can create the calorie deficit needed without starving yourself and forcing your body to harvest its own calorie burning resources, like muscle.

2. Does the Type of Exercise Matter?

The number of calories you burn each day consists of your base metabolic rate plus the calories you burn from daily activity and this depends on the amount of metabolically active tissue you have (the amount of stuff you have in your body that actively burns calories).

A great way to achieve this is to build (or at least protect) the muscles we have in order to maximize the number of calories we are burning each day.

A 1999 study from Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise found that when people were put on a low-calorie diet 31 percent of the weight they lost was muscle. Other participants were put on a diet combined with cardio or endurance exercise. The addition of exercise allowed this group to hold onto a little more muscle but in the end, 22 percent of their weight loss was still muscle. But the addition of weight training proved to have a profound muscle sparing effect as the final group that added weight training held onto the most muscle and only 3 percent of their weight loss was muscle.

Exercise, and specifically weight training, allows you to hold onto more muscle while dieting, thus allowing you to burn more calories.

3. What Is the Best Combination of Diet and Exercise?

We’ve established that exercise, specifically resistance training, is needed to create the easiest calorie deficits while also protecting calorie burning muscle tissue. But does weight training pair with a particular diet work better than others?

Yes.

The pairing of weight training with a low carbohydrate diet is the best way to lose the most amount of fat for your efforts. A University of Connecticut study compared low-fat diets against low carbohydrate diets when combined with weight training. After 12 weeks, the low-fat team lost an average of 7.7 pounds of body fat, but the carbohydrate team torched an average of 17 pounds.

By combining a low carbohydrate diet with 3-4 days a week of weight training, you are going to be able to elicit the greatest amount of fat loss possible while also minimizing the loss of your calorie-burning muscles.

The Benefits Of Full Body Workouts

It’s time to ditch your old-school workouts and reap the rewards of a full-body workout.  Full body workout routines will have you building muscle and burning fat in much less time.

Here’s how they work…

More than likely, you’re used to seeing people perform isolated exercises that only work one muscle at a time. Not only are these body-builder style workout routines outdated, they’re so inefficient that you’ll have to put in A LOT of hours at the gym to get great results.

Luckily there’s a much faster, more efficient way to sculpt your body, getting you lean toned all over. Full-body workouts are made up of compound exercises (a.k.a full-body exercises).  These compound movements are sometimes referred to as “multi-joint” exercises because you’re using more than one joint while performing the exercise, improving your exercise efficiency by working entire muscle groups, not just one muscle at a time.

Here are just some of the benefits of full body workout routines:

  • Maximizes Your Fat Burning Potential– With full body workouts, you won’t just burn calories during your workout session,  you’ll continue to burn calories all day long—up to 48 hours afterwards! This effect is known as “EPOC” (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) and is also called the “afterburn”.  Basically, your body goes into an energy deficit that requires more energy to be restored—and that mean more fat burning!
  • Train Less, Lose More– Working more muscles at one time means you’ll be working out at a higher intensity since more energy will be required.  So yes, you’ll be working out harder, but you’ll get out of the gym faster.  With full body workouts you’ll be working out smarter, not longer.
  • Promotes Muscular Balance & Reduces Risk of Injury– Full body exercises are functional, meaning you exercise the way your body really moves.  For example, squatting, bending over, pressing overhead are all movements we do in our everyday lives, so it makes sense to incorporate these “functional” exercises into your workouts in order to make you stronger and move better.  Working your full body this way promotes muscular symmetry, getting you strong and lean in all the right places.  Isolated exercises on the other hand can cause a muscular imbalance – and that can lead to injuries.
  • Works Your Core– Full body exercises are the real “ab” exercises.  They recruit all your stabilizer muscles to really tighten and tone your midsection including your upper and lower abdominals, and your obliques.  To top it off, full body exercises burn more fat than crunches, which means you’ll be revealing your abs sooner.
  • No Fancy Equipment Required– If you want to get lean and defined all you need are free weights.  Free weights are great because unlike machines, they don’t restrict your range of motion.  So whether you work out at a gym or at home, dumbbells or barbells (or both), and a pull up bar are all you need for a full-body fat blasting workout.
  • Great For All Ages and Fitness Levels –  Young or old, beginner or athlete, full body workouts are great for anyone who wants to improve their physique or even athletic performance.  Just be sure you learn to train with good form before increasing the amount of weights you lift.  And of course, you should always check with your doctor before starting any fitness regimen.

7 Reasons Why Weight Training Is Important As You Get Older

All of us have bodies that could no longer do the things we once took for granted.

Below are 7 reasons why all of us should have weight training in our lives.

1. The older you are, the more important it is to lift.

Research at McMaster University has shown that strength training can reverse the signs of aging at the cellular level by as much as 20 percent. But that knowledge doesn’t do you any good unless you actually get into the weight room and improve the size and strength of your muscles.

2. No matter your age, the goal of strength training is to train something.

Middle-aged lifters have a tendency to go through the motions. If you want your body to look or perform better, you have to train it to do more than it can do now. You need to increase the weights you lift, and the number of times you lift them, in a steady, systematic way. If you want to be leaner, you have to train your body to use more calories during your workouts. That means working harder and getting more accomplished from one week to the next.

3. “Working harder” doesn’t mean beating yourself up every time.

Training is a process of imposing stress on your body in calculated doses. Too little stress and you get disappointing results. Too much and you don’t recover sufficiently from one workout to the next. It only works if you can train just as hard on Wednesday as you did on Monday, and at least as hard on Friday as you did on Wednesday.

4. Kids are stupid. Don’t train like one.

The average young person has a profoundly unrealistic view of how the human body works. But so does the middle-aged guy with a 40-inch waist who sits on a bench working his biceps and triceps, when his arms would look 100 percent better if his belly were 20 percent smaller.

No matter your age, you get the most benefit from the exercises that work the most muscle in coordinated action, and do the most to improve total-body strength. Those exercises–squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, presses and rows–also burn the most calories, both during and after exercise, while you’re recovering.

5. Heavy weights won’t make you huge, but they can make you lean.

Males don’t have the market cornered on unrealistic expectations. The woman doing presses and rows with dumbbells smaller than her forearms is trying to do the impossible: “tone” muscles she hasn’t yet built. She’s worried about getting “too big,” which is equally absurd. Muscle is hard to build at any age, for either gender, and it never happens by accident.

The good news is that the muscle-building process creates a stronger, leaner, healthier, and better-conditioned body even when the actual increase in muscle tissue is minimal. But it only works if you try to build muscle by using weights that are pretty close to the heaviest you can lift.

If the workout tells you to do 10 repetitions, for example, you need to pick a weight that you could lift, at most, 11 or 12 times. Studies show that adults typically choose weights that are much lighter than the workout calls for.

6. Muscle needs to be fed.

The older you get, the more resistant your muscles are to protein. So you need a bit more to ensure you don’t lose them before you’re done using them. Government recommendations are useless.

A better measure is to go for at least one gram of protein for every pound of your target body weight. If you weigh 140 pounds now and you hope to drop 20 pounds, you want at least 120 protein grams a day. Since a gram of protein is four calories, 120 grams would be a third of your nutrition on a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet, or a quarter of a 2,000-calorie diet.

7. A perfect workout should include five basic movement patterns.

The less you focus on exercises for specific muscles, and the more you focus on movement patterns that use lots of muscles, the better your body will look, feel, and perform.

The 5 basic movements to include are;

  1. SQUATTING | squats
  2. PUSHING | push ups
  3. HINGING | dead lifts
  4. PULLING | bent over rows
  5. LUNGING | lunges

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