Jodie Marsh – Beauty or Beast?

Standing by Jodie Marsh in matching black bikinis waiting to go on stage is rather intimidating to say the least, with her heavily bronzed tan and lights, Jodie’s body was a far cry from the Page 3 look we are accustomed to seeing in the pages of glossy magazines, but is it a step too far for the price of fame? Where does one draw the line of beauty?

No stranger to fame Jodie has spent 10 years in the public eye and appeared in numerous lads magazines and TV programs, even marrying for attention, but this was different, this time she sculpted her body with heavy weights, an intense and grueling cardio regime and a super strict clean diet of high protein, low complex carbohydrates and good fats for several months, culmination in a few final days where carbohydrates are eaten and water is depleted from the body, resulting in a muscular defined body that earned her fifth place and a trophy at the Natural Physique Association (NPA) Mike Willaims Classic and Pro-Am Bodybuilding  Championships.

Many may say her new body is less attractive than before and rather off putting, but few have seen the hard work and dedication it takes, the weeks of dieting, restricting yourself to certain foods, abstaining form drinking, changing your workouts to keep your body guessing, the early morning cardio sessions, the dehydration the night before, this is no easy way to gain the publics attention.

Surely a muscular toned body displays signs of strength, power, virility and health, and with the shift from size zero models isn’t a healthier look more attractive? Should we really be criticizing her for eating carefully albeit extreme, and for training hard?

With the Olympics looming even non sport related companies such as insurance companies are using athletes and sports models to promote their products, implying that an athletic look is in fact appealing.

As obesity rises in the world and in particular theUK, the latest Health Survey forEnglanddata shows us that nearly 1 in 4 adults, and over 1 in 10 children aged 2-10, are obese. So perhaps instead of sitting on the sofa complaining about someone who has altered their body dramatically, reduced their body fat from 25% to 10% and increased their lean muscle – which is hard enough for a man with a healthy amount of testosterone to do, let alone a vegetarian woman over 30 to do, we should be commending her.

After all, what better role model is there to young anorexically inclined girls who are influenced by celebrity magazines and bombarded with usual pictures of skinny gaunt celebrities, than someone who has changed their life for the better and has the confidence to stand in front of a panel of Pro bodybuilder judges against a number of other elite athletes, to be criticized, scrutinized and pulled apart.

And who’s to say that muscles on a woman are unattractive? Woman often join a gym or hire a trainer because they want to be “more toned” so they take up running or spinning or some other form of cardio, but what they really mean is they want to build a little muscle and lose some body fat as Jodie has done. Most will avoid the “mens” area of the gym, the free weights section, in favor of the recumbent bikes and the stepper or cross trainer, but what Jodie has realized is that it’s the weight training that makes you more toned and sexy without becoming butch or resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger in a dress.

To slate Jodie for the clothes she used to wear on a night out in her hometown Essex, or the TV appearances she made or the men she dated is one thing, but to criticize someone for changing their life, taking a stand and creating a body that they are entirely happy with is unfair. Few women can say they are a 100% happy with their figure, most have some body part they would like to alter or improve, their belly, bingo wings, flabby thighs or less than pert behind, Jodie however has meticulously crafted her body using hard work and sheer determination, if that does not inspire people than what does…

Jodie Marsh: Bodybuilder premieres on DMAX in  January 2012.

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The 3 Body Types: Endomorph, Ectomorph & Mesomorph

Ever wondered why a training routine that appears to be followed by a celebrity doesn’t seem to be working for you? Or what may work wonders for your friends figure has no effect on your shape whatsoever? This is because we all have different body types and need to account for this when planning a workout or nutritional plan.

To begin, identify what somatotype (body type) you are, untrained. This means what your body would look like without any training.

Ectomorphs are naturally thin with a small bone structure, meaning small wrists, narrow shoulder width and thin muscles. This makes it difficult to put on weight, both fat and muscle.

Endomorphs are softer and curvy, naturally hefty with a round shape and thick joint. It is easy to put on weight, both fat and muscle.

Mesomorphs have a naturally athletic physique with an upright posture and broad shoulders, small waist, T shape or a rectangular shape with thick skin. They can even have good definition and muscularity without lifting weights or doing much exercise.

It’s possible to be a combination of the above somatotypes. It is rare to find a person who is at a total extremity. The term phenotype is defined as “The observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences.”

This scale uses three digits, each of which describes how prominent a certain body type is. For instance, a pure endomorph (hefty build) would be a 7-1-1. A pure mesomorph (athletic build) would be a 1-7-1. A pure ectomorph (thin build) would be a 1-1-7. A totally average person would be a 4-4-4 and would have a little of each body type.

There is a clear visible physical distinction between the three phenotypes, but what is not visible and often ignored is the biochemical and metabolic differences between the three phenotypes.

Each phenotype has its advantages and disadvantages with regards to training and these need to be respected in order to achieve a goal or a change in body shape.

An ectomorph will find bodyweight exercises easy with practice such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, chin-ups due to having a lighter weight than a meso or endo. Ectos are also able to achieve the best definition because of the ease of losing fat, and the natural lean structure.

Ectomorphs may have a disadvantage in gaining muscle mass, but find it easy to stay lean and are better suited to lower intensities. Losing fat can be more difficult as they have less to lose and will inevitably lose a small amount of muscle which they have less of. Endos will find losing fat easier as they can afford to lose some muscle, as with mesomorphs.

Endomorphs have the most limited range of effective workouts and may be unable to do some effective exercises such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, and chin-ups due to being heavier.

However endos are able to solely focus on strength gains at first since they are naturally big and can often put on size quickly, shortening the time needed for muscular gains. Endos trying to lose weight can do a variety of exercises.

Mesomorphs advantages are broad shoulders, small waist, thick skin, hard body, strong posture and the readiness to gain muscle and lose body fat and can push their bodies very hard.

Training to your body type will work on your strengths, improve weaknesses and help you achieve your goal without overtraining or injuring your body with wasted hours doing the wrong kind of workouts.

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Training Advice for Mesomorphs

This is the best body type to be in and is characterized by the presence of broad shoulders, a small waist, thick skin and a hard body. Also a strong posture, the readiness to gain muscle and lose body fat, the mesomorph is naturally very strong.

Mesomorphs have bodies are actually designed for the stress of sports involving strength and power such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, rugby and other sports that require great physical exertion, but are unlikely to excel at pure endurance sports such as triathlons or marathon running.

This body type can handle high intensities well and respond better than with low intensity workouts. Needing less rest than other body types they can handle high frequency training efficiently due to their finely tuned recovery systems.

This can be because they are advanced lifters or athletes though an untrained mesomorph will still have a good posture with a decent amount of muscularity even without ever looking at a dumbbell.

Their bodies are physically stronger and therefore less prone to injury. Because of this they can attempt advanced training programs such as HTF (High frequency training), Hypertrophy specific training, German Volume Training, Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty HIT Program.

Metabolic circuits are useful with little rest as the mesomorph body can withstand a great deal of stress. Whole body movements with free weights or suspension kits rather than fixed pathway machines will use more muscles and keep the body in postural alignment rather than accentuating deviations with isolation exercises.

Weight lifting techniques will boost your progress whether your goals are sporting related, or in the pursuit of a better body. Techniques such as drop sets, rest pause training, eccentrics, forced reps, burns, negatives and variations of supersets keep the body guessing and challenge the muscles. This increases the intensity and overloads the muscles to a greater extent. The more stress your muscles are under, the more they will become stronger and grow to respond to that extra stress.

Changing the repetitions during your workouts will also aid strength gains by preventing your body from adapting to a certain rep range and more importantly it works different muscle fibers. Increasing the quantity of muscles fibres recruited during a workout leads to greater muscle growth and quicker body composition changes.

Any alterations in the speed of lifting and lowering of any exercise can help vary the workout so the body is always being challenged and making progress.

Flexibility can be an issue with mesomorphs due to the large amount of muscularity. Regular deep stretching such as Self mysofacial release will help increase the range of movements and so increase the amount of muscle fibers used.

Changing the workout style is an important point you should consider. Different workout programs challenge and exert the body in different ways that will increase your progress and make your body more physically able.

Although mesomorphs are capable or training super hard, explosively and with heavy weights at high intensities, a new comer with little or no experience of training would benefit from a 2 months introductory program.

As for cardiovascular exercise, a mesomorph should do approximately 2 cardio sessions a week that last anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes to keep the heart and lungs healthy.

For this body type high intensity interval training is the most beneficial. Not only will it help speed up gains, it helps to burn fat and stay lean without losing important muscle mass. Interval sprints and other explosive exercises should be used.

Mesomorphs have the easiest task at gaining muscle and keeping it but still need to do resistance training regularly. They can push their bodies very hard without overtraining and will see results fast.

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Are You “Skinny Fat”?

We all know someone at work or socially, who spends hours each week doing cardio, be it running, cycling or on the cross trainer at the gym, who stays very thin, with long skinny arms and legs and appears to have low body fat.

But look closely and you may see a little fat around the belly area, this is known as “skinny fat”. A derogatory term, it is used to describe people who are usually underweight but hold fat around their midsection or in the case of men, have a small amount of man boobs, or “moobs”.

Though not the desired effect, nor the logical result of hours of cardiovascular training, these people are at a loss to understand how their body becomes this shape. Surely reducing the calories eaten and plodding along for their morning runs and training sessions, the spinning classes and legs, bums and tums would turn their initially soft body into a honed toned body with Kate Moss’s quads, Abby Clancy’s abs and Kylie’s behind.

And the more flab they see in the midsections the more they increase the distance of their runs, or the volume of their training. In doing so they increase the stress on their already over trained bodies and they increase the load on the tendons and joints. Whilst in this state of constant of atrophy, or muscle wastage, they may well be losing weight on the scales, though little of this loss is body fat.

A similar body shape can be achieved with dieting and limited exercise, when unhappy with the fat stored in the belly area, the person will just diet for longer, restrict their eating even further, resulting in even skinnier limbs, and the same amount of fat in the belly area.

This can all be changed with some careful thought. Instead if depleting the glycogen stores in all the muscles, eating slow release complex carbohydrates around training will bring fill the glycogen stores in the muscles, making them look fuller and more defined. Carbohydrates at the optimum time of day will fuel the body when it needs it, and keep energy levels up. Also once the body gets used to having a regular injection of carbohydrate every 2-3 hours, it will allow the fat to be utilised. When the body is in a state of overtraining and under eating, it will go into a type of “starvation mode” and cling onto any fat that it can.

Good natural protein sources eaten regularly throughout the day will help prevent muscle breakdown. These can be seeds, nuts, eggs, cottage cheese or lean meats.

Resting is incredibly important. Sleeping for 7-8 hours a night and having a day off training at least a couple of days per week will enable the muscles to grow, so that each training session can be tougher and more intense than before.

Weight bearing exercise preferably with free-weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, suspension kits and ViPRs will build muscle and tone the body, changing the composition from skinnyfat to lean and toned in a matter of months. All this can be done outside with only a small amount of equipment and a little know-how, without even stepping foot in a sweaty gym or forking out for a monthly membership.

Instead of jogging or cycling at one steady state pace, reduce the volume and the total time spent, and increase the intensity. Add some sprints in to the mix to strip the body fat and retain the muscle.

Everyone has a right to be completely happy with the way they look and shouldn’t have to settle for second best.

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Training Advice for Endomorphs

Endomorphs carry more body fat than other types and tend to be softer and curvier. While this may sound like a disadvantage, they can lose fat with correct eating habits and by training hard, they can afford to lose a small amount of muscle on the way. In fact many of the best fitness models are endomorphs with a little mesomorph and when trained can have a curvy shapely toned body.

Endomorphs aiming to burn body fat need to eat a hypocalorific diet. In addition to controlling your caloric intake, as an endomorph it is vital to control insulin secretion. This can be done by limiting carbohydrate consumption, especially high glycemic carbohydrates. Managing insulin levels will aid fat loss and avoid crashes and cravings.

One way to control your caloric intake is to eat frequent small meals. Waiting for long periods of time with no food causes your body to send signals to the brain telling it the body needs food. Sporadic meals encourage overeating on those meals.

Smaller frequent meals with the right quantity of carbs, protein and fat will prevent overeating. Including fat and protein in a meal will slow down the digestion of carbs, and slow down gastric emptying.

Eating smaller meals controls the secretion of insulin. For instance, eating a 400 calorie meal will result in less insulin secretion than eating a 1,000 calorie meal.

One of the physiological mechanisms that cause endomorphs to gain fat easily can be poor insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity refers to the cells response to insulin or insulin’s efficiency on cells. A cell that is very insulin sensitive needs less insulin to uptake glucose than a cell that is insulin insensitive.

The hormone insulin is anti-lipolytic and prevents fat oxidation increasing fat storage. Therefore, if one has poor insulin sensitivity then more insulin will be secreted and fat oxidation will be blunted and fat storage will be increased to a greater degree than if their cells were more insulin sensitive. In order to lose fat or keep fat gains to a minimum one must control insulin.

The consumption of carbohydrates leads to a large output of insulin since insulin is necessary for the uptake of glucose into cells. Eating large amounts of carbohydrates throughout the day will lead to elevated insulin levels, thereby decreases fat oxidation.

Limiting carbohydrates to times when your body needs them and so earning your carbs will aid in muscle growth and limiting fat gains. Endomorphs should limit their carbohydrates to breakfast and pre/post workout and obtain their carbs from green vegetables in other meals throughout the day.

Training for an endomorph should include cardiovascular exercise to increase stamina and endurance and burn calories. Cardiovascular training is very important for endomorphs, as they are prone to storing and carrying excess body fat. By implementing cardio into your regime, expect an increase in metabolism, a greater feeling of well being, an increase in fat reduction, and increased endurance.

The use of low-intensity cardio, done before breakfast allows one to burn more calories while not hampering recovery and tapping into fat stores when glycogen depleted.

HIIT is more intense than low-intensity cardio. Interval training involves alternating periods of work and rest (or lower levels of work). Bursts of power walking, jogging then walk recoveries or even sprints with walk recoveries shift body fat and retain the muscle and shape.

Since your basal metabolic rate accounts for such a large component of your daily calorie burn, the more you can do to increase it up higher, the better off you’re going to be.

A solid running sprints workout can boost the metabolism for a whole day after it has been completed, and so is very beneficial for endomorphs.

Endomorphs should focus on increasing their metabolism through their training.

A short intense routine that focusing on circuit training using whole body movements rather than fixed pathway machines should take place. Using kettle bells, medicine balls and Olympic lifting gear will help to increase the endomorph’s metabolism. This can last for 25-30 minutes and be repeated 3 times per week for maximum benefits.

For maximum EPOC circuits should be fast and intense. Short rest periods (45-60 seconds) with moderate weights will increase the heart rate, resulting in a greater breakdown of fat tissue. Compared with cardio, circuits will increase EPOC, calories burned after training for up to 72 hours after a session.

Endomorphs are strong and do not need to concern themselves with the risks of overtraining such as with ectomorphs. Endomorphs can push themselves far harder and need to do so in order to shift fat that they naturally store.

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Muscles and Exercise

1. Quadriceps
2. Hamstrings
3. Calves
4. Chest
5. Back
6. Shoulders
7. Triceps
8. Biceps
9. Forearms
10. Trapezius
11. Abs

 1. Quadriceps

The thigh is formed of 4 large muscles hence the term “quads” or quadriceps. These are easy to work effectively using a range of exercises, the most popular ones being:-

  • Squats
  • Overhead Squats
  • Clean and jerk
  • Lunges
  • Barbell hack squats

Runners tend to have relatively weak quads and building them up will improve performance. Working on your quads can also help reduce knee pain.

2. Hamstrings

The hamstrings are a huge muscle group on the back of your thighs, the antagonist to the quadriceps.

They are the biceps of the lower body yet many people never work them.

Enormously useful when running, and should be trained regularly.

They are used during squats, but you should give them more attention with:-

  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Stiff legged deadlifts

3. Calves

The calves are the one major muscle group that most people fail to train. The calves are a very stubborn muscle group and can be very tough to build without hard work.

The key to building calves is to work each major muscle group in the calf area: the gastrocnemius, the soleus, and the tibialis anterior.

Calf raises are the best way to train them such as:-

  • Standing
  • Seated
  • Donkey calf raises
  • Block calf raises

 4. Chest

The chest is one the muscle group most often trained as it is very important to both men and women. However training the chest more often than other body parts will cause injury, pain and a rounded posture. Bench press repeated again and again will not improve your chest. Instead try varying your routine and ensure you train each major body part equally.

There are a variety of exercises including:-

  • Pressups
  • Pec flyes

5. Back

The back is one of the largest muscle groups and needs to be trained as much as the chest. Pulling exercises generally involve the back, and pushing exercises generally train the chest.

To work the lower back, deadlifts are great and increase thickness. They also strengthen your back to prevent injuries when lifting, and train your body to squat down and lift using your legs rather than by bending over, causing injury.

To widen your back chose pullups and chin ups.

Bent over rows work on increasing width and thickness in your back.

6. Shoulders

The shoulders consist of front deltoids, side deltoids, and rear deltoids that make up the shoulder muscle.

The overhead press is the best overall exercise for the shoulders. It works all 3 heads of the shoulder muscle well when the exercise is done with proper form and technique.

Although sometimes ignored, it is important to build strong shoulders to avoid injury and pain and learn how to lift with proper form and technique.

7. Triceps

The triceps make up about 2/3 of the upper arm as opposed to the bicep biceps which only makes up about 1/3 of the upper arm. However most men especially work on the bicep alone in an effort to build bigger arms.

Women tend to work on the triceps as it’s the part often called ”bingo wings” and can be worked by a variety of exercises.

  • Rope/bar Pushdowns
  • Dips
  • Extensions

Compound exercises are much more effective than isolation exercises as they allow you to lift heavier.

Don’t be afraid to use heavy weights, you will get results much quicker.

8. Biceps

The biceps help with back exercises such as chin ups, rows and pull ups.

Compound exercises are the best for developing the biceps such as the close grip pull up with palms facing towards your body. Alternate dumbbell curls also allows you to lift the heaviest weights of all the curl variations.

The biceps get worked very hard during back exercises like rows, chin ups, and pull ups.

9. Forearms

Even though many exercises involving holding, lifting or gripping weights work on the forearms, there are still a few exercises to increase size and strength including:-

  • Hammer curls
  • Wrist curls
  • Pinwheel curls

Improving your forearm strength will enable you to lift more weights and positively affect the rest of your training.

10. Trapezius

The trapezius or ‘traps’ for short is the large muscle in your upper back. It makes a triangle shape with the point in the middle of your upper back.

The deadlifts work the traps very effectively, as do upright rows. Another important exercise for the traps is the power shrug.

11. Abs

Most people dream of getting a perfect 6 pack but unless your body fat is super low, below 9%, the 6 pack wont show.

As long as you train the rest of your body hard with free weights and functional core exercises, you don’t need to invest too much time doing ab exercises.

One myth is that doing ab exercises burns fat, spot reduction is not possible. The best way to get your abs to show is to reduce bodyfat slowly by training hard and keep the lean muscle by fuelling your workouts.

Doing 100 sit ups or crunches a day will just accentuate a bad posture. One should never work one muscle more than the rest as this will result in postural deviations.

As long as your routine includes compound weight lifting exercises like squats, deadlifts, overhead press, rows, and pull ups, your core strength will increase and your abs will stay strong.

A good cardio fat burning workout or metabolic circuit will help get that elusive 6 pack!

How to Avoid Cellulite

We are all familiar with the term cellulite which has been around since the 20’s, also known as orange peel and cottage cheese skin. We find it often on the thighs and glute areas, mostly in women after puberty, and for many it is the bane of their lives.

The dimpling effect occurs when herniation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue, leading to an orange peel–like appearance.

Cellulite is often classified using three grades:-

– Grade 1 classification sees no clinical or visual symptoms, and cellulite is only visible with the help of a microscope to view anatomical changes.
– Grade 2 has the above symptoms plus the skin is pasty, cooler than the rest of the skin and less elastic.
– Grade 3 has the above symptoms and also includes rough orange peel skin.

No matter what size or shape, anyone can have cellulite as it occurs in the layers of fat just under the surface of the skin, when the connective tissue is stretched or pulled, restricted in some way.

Genes can determine your susceptibility to getting cellulite. Race, gender, fat deposits, metabolism and circulation also affect the likelihood of cottage cheese thighs.

Hormones have been thought to greatly influence the chances of having cellulite. The female hormone oestrogen may initiate and aggravate cellulite hence why more women have cellulite and such few men.

Stress can cause the level of catecholamines which are organic compounds linked to the formation of cellulite. Catecholamines are hormones which include adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine among others.

Anti cellulite massages to breakdown the cellulite, deep tissue massages and sports massages are always popular, as are massages that stimulate lymphatic flow, heat therapy, ultrasound, radio frequency therapy, magnetic therapy, radial waves therapy, and electrical stimulation. Foam rollers (self myofascial release) may also help break down the cellulite and push toxins up towards the lymph glands. Sadly however, there is no scientific evidence that these methods are effective.

There are numerous creams and potions available claiming to cure cellulite, most include the ingredients caffeine, green tea and sometimes Ginko biloba. Pharmacists have other options of creams to apply topically, as well as oral and injectable medications, however none have yet to be given scientific approval and as yet there is no known cure.

Loose underwear that does not restrict blood flow to the arteries is essential in staving off cellulite; good options are G strings, thongs, boy shorts and hotpants, as long as the elastic is not tight across the glutes.

Diet is very important. Even a few months of eating junk food and carbonated drinks a couple of times a week can take its toll, changing the appearance of the skin.

Although not viewed as a medical condition by the medical community, it isn’t something we have to settle for, so here are my top tips for avoiding cellulite, and joining the 5% of us who don’t have any.

Tips for avoiding cellulite include:-

1. Dry body brushing with a stiff brush – this is my top tip as it improves circulation and prevents cellulite, it is simple and takes as little as ten minutes per day
2. Avoid eating or drinking toxins – processed food and drinks
3. Avoid fizzy low calorie drinks
4. Eating a healthy balanced clean diet, limit the quantity of fruits, plenty of dark green and colourful vegetables, and fibre
5. Staying hydrated with plenty of fluids, at least 3 litres a day
6. Exercising regularly using weights as opposed to cardio is the way forward to tone the muscles and decrease the body fat and cellulite
7. Keep a healthy weight and body fat percentage
8. Avoid crash diets
9. Avoid smoking
10. Avoid drinking coffee and tea excessively as this causes dehydration which will not help the cellulite
11. Rub ground coffee granules into the thighs and glutes to prevent cellulite. Cindy Crawford is a fan of this method
12. Keep moving – don’t sit or stand in the same place for too long
13. Avoid liposuction, this can actually worsen the effects
14. Avoid eating too much salt

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Diet & Fitness Goals

Michael Jordan, the famous American Basketball player, once said “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

So if you have a goal in mind, go for it but make sure you plan ahead.

To aim for a goal half heartedly will just cause frustration and the end result will be a loss of interest and possibly a waste of a gym membership.

How many of us have flicked though a fitness magazine and tried a few weeks of a workout before becoming bored or giving up because we are not getting the intended results? This look may be completely achievable with some thought and careful planning.

Aiming for one goal at a time is the first step. To aim to lose weight and improve fitness are two separate goals. Cardio may help with both of these but the body can only do one thing at a time.

If your primary goal is to lose weight, ensure you train simply for fat loss with cardio, weights, and a careful balanced diet.

For muscle building, make sure you eat enough carbohydrate and protein at every meal. Protein will only build muscle in the presence of carbohydrate. Keep the cardio low as that will just burn up vital calories and over stress the muscles.

For serious shredding to reduce already low body fat, carefully deplete your carbohydrate but watch your fat intake so that your total calories consumed stay above the Resting metabolic rate. This ensures your body doesn’t go into starvation mode and your metabolism doesn’t slow down.

For a more specific goal such as completing your first marathon, ensure you divide your training program into sections, changing your training every 4-6 weeks. This not only alleviates boredom but allows a change in intensity around the point that your workouts become easier as your body becomes used to them. Also remember that running or indeed any training for over around 45minutes will start to burn up muscle, so increasing your protein intake with each meal will help. Also energy drinks and gels will fuel the body over longer runs, minimising muscle breakdown or catabolism. Runners actually require as much protein as a weightlifter of similar weight.

The problems arise when goals are unclear. For example it is very difficult to build up muscle while partaking in hours of cardio. It’s also almost impossible to build muscle without increasing your calorie intake unless you have a large amount of fat stores to utilise. This is why bodybuilders and athletes tend to have an “off season” around winter, allowing themselves the extra calories and resting from the cardio sessions. The extra calories can then be used to fuel more intense workouts, increasing strength and power.

For serious athletes, triathletes, or anyone doing regular high intensity training sessions a healthy diet rich in sources of high quality protein, complex carbohydrates and super foods will help. Large amounts of exercise will cause free radicals to be released just like the effects of smoking or stress. The effects of overtraining as well as stress to the body can include wrinkles, low immunity, soreness, fatigue and insomnia.

Super foods which are high in antioxidants, plenty of water and strong good quality vitamin supplements will not only aid recovery but also increase your health and vitality.

Goals should also be realistic. We all have specific body types and just because we want to change a rounded body into a thin limbed version of ourselves does not mean the body will allow it. Work with what nature gave you and make the best of it.

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Do You Live It?

As a trainer and therapist, I constantly find myself being sized up when meeting potential clients. Being asked what I eat, how often I train, and whether my life is in order are questions I am asked on a daily basis.

The potential client looks me up and down as I answer and process the info, building up a picture in their minds, working out if I practise what  I preach, if I truly believe what I advise, if I truly live it.

As it happens I do live it. I am a personal trainer who has always trained twice a day – days a week even when working in exess of 60 hours a  week. I am a nutritioinist who eats superfoods 95% of the time and who recommends clients a similarly clean tailored program incorporating a weekly cheat meal to keep them sane, which is something I do and immensley enjoy.

Nadia Tejani

 I am a life coach who like many has had various ups and downs but has managed to get my life in order and get my dream job and lifestyle, and am lucky enough to be able to help others to do the same.

But how many nutritionists actually eat clean? Many dieticians and nutritioinsts are more than capable of advising clients to lose weight and maintain a healthy eating plan, whilst indulging in less than healthy snacks.

Gyms around the country are filled with personal trainers and fitness instructors of varying shapes and size all with a client base or following. Some trainers say clients seed them as more normal, more personable if they are less than in shape, but isn’t it hypocritical to tell a client to do something you wouldnt do yourself? Is it fair to be expecting a person to fit exercise into their lives when you can not or do not make time?

On the other hand, would a larger person prefer to be trained by a trainer who has been obese and has managed to lose the excess weight and so sympathises with the plight of the bigger person, or one who has always strictly controlled their food and kept fit.

Some people have more respect for the larger trainer, who they believe to be more sympathetic to their needs, who understands the reasons for their weight gain. Looking down at the more svelte trainer who would clearly have no idea of the clients struggles, putting the reasons for slimness of the trainer down to good genetics, not having a busy life, or the worst excuse, being fit because it is our job to do so. This couldn’t be furthest from the truth, we make it our job to train clients because of our immense love for fitness.

The truth is, that as trainers, therapists and nutritionists, we all have the tools to change and be the best versions of ourself, if we chose to use them, but can or should a client really respect a professional who does not practise what they preach?

Barefoot Running

Before roads were created and shoes were produced, humans have been running in the most comfortable and safest manner possible.

There are three ways to land when running, on the Forefoot, the Midfoot or the Heel

Studies show that forefoot or mid foot striking can alleviate injuries such as repetitive stress, plantar fasciitis and runner’s knee as less injury is caused

Heel striking is said to cause a higher impact and as the heel hits the ground 1st, sending shockwaves through the body.

We also know that forefoot running actually strengthens the muscles in the foot, in particular the arch, making it less likely to collapse. If you naturally pronate at all then it is worth considering trying forefoot running

When you spring off your forefoot you use less energy. The more minimalist shoes also weigh less so that each step will be easier than with a heavy trainer. Studies show fore/barefoot running uses 5% less energy

As long as you are careful when choosing the terrain, forefoot running can be very enjoyable as long as you are wary of twigs and sharp objects that minimal footwear will not be able to protect you from. A shoe with a flexible sole is essential to let the foot bend naturally. Though it is possible to forefoot run in standard trainers with a built up heel it is much easier in minimal footwear

To make the transition from heel striking to forefoot/barefoot running, make small changes to avoid injury. As with any changes in your exercise routine, do consult a Dr and take advice from a physician if you have had any injuries from running in the past.

Changing to forefoot or even midfoot striking too quickly can cause many problems including sore calves and Achilles tendonitis.

If you are a heel striker wanting to make the change, try a couple of minutes of forefoot running during your usual training runs. It is easiest to attempt when running up a slight incline. Try it when running at a moderate to fast speed, perhaps during a sprint session, it will be easier to pick up than if you attempt it jogging slowly or on flat ground. The incline/hill will enable you to lean into it and help your hips stay forward

If you develop lasting pain, stop and consult a physician. Attempt to increase the quantity of forefoot running by only 10% a week. Taking it slow will decrease the risk of injury. Make sure you stretch your calves out often after a run when muscles are still warm, preferably with a foam roller (self myofascial release)

There is no right way to forefoot run, but try to relax and land on the ball of your foot towards the lateral side. After the front of your foot lands, let the heel down gradually, bringing the foot and lower leg to a gentle landing as you dorsiflex your ankle under the control of your calf muscles.

Practise this by jumping off a small wall. When you land, you should naturally flex the hip, knee and ankle. The landing should feel soft, springy, and comfortable. Aim to land with the foot nearly horizontal so that the calves don’t need to work excessively. Land gently on your forefoot and gradually let the heel come down towards the ground

Next try running on the spot for a moment, or jumping with a skipping rope, striking the ground beneath your hips

Be wary of over striding while forefoot or midfoot striking. This style of running requires you to point your toe more than necessary, adding stress to the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and the arch of the foot.

When watching a forefoot runner, the movement is far more fluid and natural than a heel striker’s laboured motion. Conserving more energy, the forefoot runner can cover more ground efficiently and can move faster with practice.

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Functional Training

Functional training involves exercises which mainly focus on the strengthening of abdominal muscles and back muscles. As core strength increases so does balance and efficiency which reduces injuries.

Functional training involves primal movement patterns and multi-planar ranges of motion. These are movements that children do naturally. This improves coordination by re-training the muscles to work together in more efficient patterns. Instead of using fixed pathway machines in one plane of movement, free weights are used along with other equipment. This stabilizes the joints and allows a far greater range of movement.

Functional training is especially useful in our sedentary lives. We are not designed to sit at desks for up to 10 hours a day nor have we evolved to sit in cars and trains. Neanderthal man would have remained active throughout the day, hunting and gathering food, rarely sitting for any length of time.

This means that our hip flexors fail to develop and the gluteus (Gluteus Maximus Medias and Minimus) are not utilized. Calves tend to shorten from wearing heels and flexibility decreases. This makes anything even walking more difficult as the hip flexors do not properly engage.

Functional training helps to alleviate problems caused by a bad posture,  it prevents injuries later in life and improves back strength enormously. Lifting objects and bending become easier and fitness improves.

Even fit people and regular gym users can get injured if they do not incorporate some functional training in their routine. Training chest and biceps causes a rounded posture and weakened back. Using fixed pathway machines does not use the core which weakens further. Functional training can lead to better muscular balance and joint stability, in turn decreasing your risk of injury as a result.  Lifting heavy weights without having good core strength will make injuries very likely.

Runners often have knee problems due to overload of forces on certain structures in the knee joint or surrounding region –  namely the ilio-tibial band and patella-femoral joint. This is usually caused by problems in the hips.

As with every fitness program, once your body adapts to the program, gains slow down, so challenge yourself by varying the routine every 4-6 weeks.

Expect slow steady progress, an increase in coordination, strength and balance if used on a regular basis. Weightlifters often find it much harder than they would expect at first, using their own body motion to train, improve and extend. It is perfect for anyone no matter how fit, and has its roots in rehabilitation of people with injuries. In fact many of the pieces of equipment used including ViPRs were first used in rehab patients.

There is a large variety of equipment that can be used, all are easily portable and frankly a good deal more fun than fixed pathway machines.

Kettlebells, dumbbells, suspension kits such as TRX’s, gymnastic rings and even cable machines are very effective. It is even possible to do a functional workout in the park without any equipment.

A common myth about functional training is that it leads to an increase in muscle mass. Actually the muscle that is created by functional training is leaner and stronger, the ligaments and tendons are more effective than that created with generic bodybuilder type training regimes.

Another misconception is that functional training leads to a decrease in flexibility. On the contrary, functional workouts increase flexibility and often do not need to involve a stretch at the end of the session. The clean and jerk for example stretches all the major muscles, the overhead squat is great at increasing flexibility in the Lats. The stiff leg deadlift increases flexibility in the hamstrings.

To get started with functional training, carry out some research and locate a good trainer or coach. Once you learn all the basic moves, it’s time to start your new regime for a leaner, fitter stronger body.

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Yoga or Pilates?

Many people in their zest to improve their body shape will turn to a seemingly easier, floor based class, such as yoga or Pilates.

Whilst both have the advantage of not needing any equipment, and having the added social aspect of participating in a class with similarly minded people. Names of poses are similarly strange; yoga names are often called after animals, including downward dog and camel. Pilates exercise names include the Rocker, boomerang and leg pull. However the similarities end there.

yoga poseYoga has its roots in ancient India and the aim is to attain a state of permanent peace. Pilates however aims to achieve anatomical perfection and core strength.

Yoga followers adhere to a Buddhist set of morals, often going vegetarian. More than a weekly exercise class, yoga is a philosophy, involving karma and the “do no harm” Principle. Yoga claims to tone your muscles by stretching and improving flexibility by holding a range of poses. Primarily involving hatha yoga, it focusses on physical postures sometimes with aspects of meditation. Both of these can have some health benefits. However a percentage every year of yoga practitioners suffers physical sports injuries. In fact due to the risk of injuries, yoga is rarely prescribed for patients as a means to strengthen their backs.

Common yoga injuries include carotid artery tears, bulging intervertebral discs, rotator cuff injuries, ganglion cysts, compression of the spine, vertebral artery dissection and hyperextension of the neck.

Whether experiences or not, yoga can cause injuries. Strenuous yoga said to help weight loss has been connected to a form of stroke in some young women. Hyperextension of the neck is very common and may be a factor in cervical artery dissection.

pilates posePilates, instead of causing injuries aims to alleviate them. Neutral spine is key and any hyperextension of the spine/neck is strictly forbidden. The purpose of the different exercises, often done without any equipment is to ease the body into neutral alignment and to correct any postural deviations.

It has its background in Germany, created by Joseph Pilates, son of a Greek gymnast, a child at the time, born with rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. With the help of self-taught Pilates exercises, Joseph was the epitome of anatomical perfection by 14.

Whilst the exercises are childlike in nature, they aim to strengthen the entire core and realign the spine.

Neither yoga nor Pilates will give you a six pack, but Pilates especially works on the inner muscles with the help of Lateral thoracic breathing. The actual exercises can be as tough or as easy as the instructor allows. Generally the core should feel that they have been worked for 1-2 days after a workout.

Yoga conversely is a great way to get into mediation, spiritual enlightenment and aid relaxation. More of a holistic approach than just purely a fitness class, the poses are challenging and unusual.

With good technique Pilates is not linked to causing any medical conditions. Instead it heals rather than hinders. As such it is often recommended to back care patients and after a few weeks patients can expect to have some relief form pain and stronger muscles. Hip flexors feel more open after Pilates which is especially good for office works or those who spend several hours sitting at a desk, car etc.

Years of working on the chest and abs by doing only pushups and sit ups can cause havoc in the body, tightening up the chest, rounding the upper back and causing various imbalances which can all be alleviated with Pilates. Similarly desk workers with rounded shoulders and a head forward position will benefit from realigning their spine and opening up the chest with Pilates. The neutral spine will actually help to bring the chest out more and the person will look more confident.

Men often find hamstring and calf flexibility lacking, however Pilates improves these areas in a relatively short space of time.

More useful in older or overweight people than yoga, Pilates works on strengthening the inner core muscles, the TVA, RA and Erector Spinae so that the chances of breaking  bones when slipping or falling are somewhat reduced. Better able to stabilise through the core, Pilates students can stay strong and balance their bodies

Like with Yoga, the exercise in traditional mat Pilates use bodyweight alone and so help to increase bone density to some degree. This is naturally decreased with age, so bones are able to stay strong with either of these disciplines.

Also many of the exercises in Pilates, whilst challenging the core also work on strengthening the upper body which is something many people particularly the older generation and women do not actively work on.

The benefits of Pilates are endless when using good technique. The neutral posture once learned makes any other form of exercise safer.  Finding neutral spine is a major starting point in weightlifting, body building or indeed and free weights. It enables you to squat effectively and so any metabolic exercise will be easier to learn and safer to carry out. This will help you lift more and with a greater intensity as your core is fully engaged, helping you to achieve your fitness goal quicker.

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Training Advice for Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs have long lean limbs with a limited amount of muscularity. Whilst this gives them great definition, the ectomorph has a limited capacity for stress. Weight training with a hypercalorific diet will help gain muscle, but it’s best not to overtrain with many sets of many different exercises. Limit your sets to between 3 and 5 sets of one exercise for each body part.

It is easy to over stress and over train the slim ectomorph physique. Try not to remain in the same rep range for longer than 2 weeks or the motor unit will be overworked. Pyramid training allows the trainee to briefly tap into increasingly larger motor units from set to set without overworking them.

The ectomorph must rest longer than normal between sets, between 3 and 5 minutes to allow the nervous system to fully recover between sets, and allow for 100% effort in the following sets. Lifting heavy weights will increase muscle.

High rest periods coupled with lower reps (i.e. 5-7) increase the release of testosterone into your bloodstream.

An ectomorph needs to train briefly, intensely but frequently. An ectomorph cannot handle high volume workouts, so his volume should be spread across the week. Three times a week is ideal.

In order to avoid overtraining, an ectomorph needs to start a training plan slowly and steadily, building up volume gradually. Aim for 3 short sessions altogether the 1st week, then wait a few weeks before increasing the intensity or volume.

Overtraining causes stresses to the body and not only slows down any gains; it can also result in reduced muscle mass and strength. Plus each time you do not succeed it lowers your confidence about being able to gain some decent muscle. Also do not add more sets than necessary for your workout. Doing so will not increase gains. Each progressive set decreases in intensity since you get more fatigued.

If you over complicate things then you’re more likely to make mistakes and try the wrong training methods.

Keep workouts shorter, always under an hour each time to prevent overtraining which is a very important factor. Training over one hour increases the chances of overtraining since it taxes the recovery systems so much and adds unnecessary stress to the body.

20-30 minute workouts are more intensive since more is being done in less time. Shorter, more intense sessions are less likely to wear out joints and cause overtraining.

Changing the exercises is another key point to increase hypertrophy. If you keep the same workout for over 2 months, it is likely your body will adapt to those exercises. In this case you will hit a plateau and all your hard work will be in vain because you won’t be making nearly as much progress as when you initially started.

Continuity is vital. Regular training with scheduled rest days will aid recovery. This body type is the least strong and needs all the help it can get to recover and grow without getting injured.

The ectomorph can attempt a range of exercises as their bodies more suited to intensive weight training since it is anaerobic, requiring limited endurance. However certain types of workouts with little rest such as circuit training will not be beneficial.

Circuit training, whilst very effective at stripping body fat and increasing the cardiovascular system at the same time, involves very little rest and often high reps. For an ectomorph this constitutes overtraining.

Benefits are the ability to perform any exercise compared to an equally progressed endomorph or mesomorph due to a light bodyweight. (pull-ups, dips, push-ups, chin-ups) and are very able to achieve the best definition because of the ease of losing fat, and the natural lean structure.

Ectomorphs may have a disadvantage in gaining muscle mass, yet with the right diet they can put on some muscle.

Even though they may not be able to lift as much as an endomorph or mesomorph, they are still receiving the benefit of working out, which is isolated apart from other body types.

Because of their versatility in workouts, ectomorphs have the widest range of effective workouts.

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Rehydration – Remember the Electrolytes!

Have you ever felt a tingling sensation in your muscles during a work-out? Do you sometimes feel faint after heavy exercise? Are you sluggish after a heavy cardiovascular session and you feel more exhausted than you should?

Besides the fact that your training regime might be completely wrong, you may be dehydrated and your electrolytes might be completely off balance. Many of us also take protein shakes and energy drinks during and after the workout. These make the situation even worse and deplete you of even more electrolytes! Next time, why don’t you try to take some electrolytes such as Dioralyte which can can be ordered from Amazon UK.

The drink is very easy to prepare. Just dissolve one sachet in 200 ml of water just before consumption. Dioralyte comes in different flavours – Blackcurrant, although being the most widely sold, may not be to everyone’s pellet. The above advertised citrus flavour is much easier to handle. So next time you do heavy exercise, why not try replenish your electrolytes? You will see that it will make a world of a difference. In fact, even if you are not a sportsperson, this is a good addition to your diet and helps keep your hormone levels in check and your body retain the water it absorbs.

Fat Loss Myths – or How to Get a Flat Stomach

Getting a six pack can be a hard task and many people have tried to get a flat stomach doing lots of abdominal exercises. There are countless exercises for this muscle group and fitness models present their perfectly sculptured and flat stomach in almost every exercise video. But why do so many people struggle to get a flat stomach and what is the best way to achieve this goal? Are countless abdominal exercises really the best way to get this six pack and impress your partner? Do crunches burn fat?

You might be surprised to hear that abdominal exercises do hardly anything to flatten your stomach. Of course they help build muscles, but they do not actually help you loose fat.

It is first of all important to note that there are different body types, which contributes to how easy or hard it will be to have a flat stomach. The three major groups of body type are: endomorph (naturally short and stocky), mesomorph (naturally muscular and relatively lean) and ectomorph (naturally lean and slim). It is harder for endomorphic body types to obtain a flat stomach and ectomorphs often have flat stomachs.

This is genetic predisposition and part of the natural beauty of human diversity. It may not make your goals easy, depending on your body type, but you will have to work with this.

In addition, fat cells are deposited in the body at certain parts at a very young age, dependent on genetic factors and diet. These cells can increase in numbers and size but everyone’s “problem areas” are defined at young age. Again, as an adult you cannot do anything about that.

Fat loss is dependent on energy consumption and not muscular exercise. Thus, only cardiovascular exercise can really influence your weight loss, concomitant with dieting. It is an old myth that crunches will burn fat in the stomach. On the contrary, independent on what weight exercises you do, fat will be burned on the same spots of the body dependent on the energy consumption of the exercise.

Thus, it is important to perform cardiovascular exercise in conjunction with your weight training. For sure, crunches will always be important to sculpture a six pack, but it will be hidden behind some padding if you do not perform fat burning cardiovascular exercises in addition.

The intensity of cardiovascular exercise is important

What may also be against general belief, at least from my experience, is that long slow endurance cardiovascular training is the best form of exercise for fat loss. On the contrary, it has been shown that high intensity cardiovascular training (such as sprinting, fast cycling, high intensity sessions on the ergometer etc.) is much better at burning fat than prolonged medium impact exercise.

The Combo Work-out

A great way to loose fat is a combination of strength and cardiovascular exercise. This prevents loosing muscle doing prolonged cardiovascular exercise. If you’re after fat loss, aside from accelerating it, strength training will also preserve muscle. Thus, when the fat is gone, you’ll have a lean, athletic body to show for it.

In summary: Abdominal exercises make your abs look great— but only once that layer of fat on top of them is gone. But working your abs is not the way to a flat belly, and crunches are not even the best way to work your abdominal muscles. We will soon report on great exercises for your abs, which will help you define your stomach. In the meantime you may want to start your fat loss now …

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Fitness First – Energy Drinks

We recently reported on great ways to prepare healthy food easily. The readers of our fitness column asked us to complement the dietary suggestions we give with energy drinks, as they are a fantastic way to boost energy, feel healthy, live healthily and get full control over your life.

There are various ways you can prepare energy drinks and I will list a few that you might not find in books or the internet. The list is of course not exhaustive and I would welcome you to write to us if you want more advice or have comments and suggestions of your own. Obviously, there are also different philosophies and I usually do not advice people to use sugary drinks with caffeine or taurine to boost energy levels as they are not healthy if consumed too often. But of course, many energy boosters exist on the market. The drinks listed here are a bit more exotic and foremost healthy.

Milk with Cinnamon

A great energising drink that is also incredibly easily prepared is milk with cinnamon. Heat up a glass of milk and stir in a spoon of cinnamon or let a cinnamon stick steep in the milk for 5 minutes. Mix well. If desired, add a spoonful of acacia honey. Let the milk cool down and put it into the fridge. If you drink it warm, it might make you sleepy, but if you drink it cold it will give you tons of energy. This drink is very energising in the morning, or in the afternoon when many of us get tired after lunch.

Green Tea

Green Tea is a fantastic drink to give you energy. It is a “slow-releasing” energy drink and you will see improvements of energy levels during the day. Usually you will feel slightly more awake about 20-30 minutes after drinking it. Green Tea has great health benefits. Read here for more information.

Guava Juice

Guava Juice is a fantastic energy booster. You can prepare it using a blender or a mixer. Make sure you remove the hard seeds before you blend it. If you desire more sweetness, add half a spoon of honey per glass. This is a great drink in the morning!

Banana and Fig Smoothie

Blend one ripe banana, 2 to 3 sundried figs, one tablespoon of honey and a glass of water together. This drink is a wonderful energy booster and helps your nervous system too. You can drink this smoothie any time during the day except just before bed.

Flaxseed and Blueberry Smoothie

A fantastic smoothie in the morning as well as post work-out, is a smoothie made of flaxseeds, yoghurt, banana, blueberries and other ingredients as follows:

  • 1/4 cup yoghurt of your choice
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons concentrated fruit juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • ice cubes

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Coconut Smoothie

Blend the following ingredients for an empowering energy drink:

  • 1 small banana
  • some strawberries, blueberries or a peach
  • 1 cup of fruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons of solid coconut oil

Blend and serve immediately - best cold.

Of course, there are hundreds of energy drinks and smoothies that you may prefer. These are my favourites and work very well for me. We look forward to hearing what you think and seeing what works for you.

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Workout Series: Push Pull

This week I will talk about a great and effective workout to build up strength in the gym in a comparatively short period of time. There are many different ways to workout and not every training program works for everyone. Time is certainly a big factor these days and rather than consuming all your free time, you may want to spend less time in the gym and enjoy other past times such as following the football and formula 1 results. But how can one combine an efficient workout to get a great body your girlfriend or wife would certainly adore and still have enough time for her and your hobbies?

One very efficient workout strategy is a “push-pull” workout. The body is split into muscle groups that are either used to pull or to push weight. Each muscle group only has to worked out for about 5 minutes. Because a different muscle group is utilised for each exercise, you do not need any breaks between the exercises and can rotate swiftly. This saves a lot of time and makes the entire workout more efficient.

I would recommend to do all the pull exercises on one day and all the push exercises on another. This will give your muscles also the desired rest to heal themselves, as this is necessary for them to grow. The division of the muscle groups (and hamstrings) goes as follows:

Workout A: Pull

  • Back (Lats)
  • Hamstrings
  • Back (General)
  • Hip Abductors
  • Deltoid (Side)
  • Biceps
  • Hip Flexors
  • Trapezius (Upper)
  • Abdominal
  • Obliques

Workout A: Push

  • Quadriceps
  • Chest (General)
  • Quadriceps
  • Chest (Upper)
  • Hip Adductors
  • Deltoid (Front)
  • Calves (General)
  • Triceps

Because each exercise is only supposed to last for about 5 minutes, you can really exhaust your muscles using weights in the upper range. Try to use exercises with 12 to 15 repetitions per set and use heavy weights. This work-out is extremely time efficient as the actual workout time is only about 45 minutes. This workout works really well to build up strength and volume quickly and also tones your body.

I would recommend to do each pull and push workout twice per week. That is a total of 4×45 min and very easily doable. You can easily alternate this workout day by day.

Your girlfriend will love your increase in energy and how your body gets toned. Furthermore, this workout does not require you to be in the gym for such long times and is very time efficient.

We are looking forward to your comments.

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Get Yourself Fit for the Summer!

You know it! Spring is near and as soon as you get used to the warm weather again summer will be in front of your door! Now is the time to get fit and go running outside and go to the gym. If you haven’t got a membership yet, now is the time to join!

Cambridge offers many places that will help you get in shape for the summer! The renowned clubs David LLoyd and LA Fitness offer trial memberships and have something on offer for everyone.

The Stiletto Workout

A friend recently asked me if I wanted to do a stiletto workout for women who want to keep fit and put the glamour back in their lives. I’m all for a bit of glamour so I read the poster which claimed; ‘Girls can do what boys can, but we do it in heels!’ – I was intrigued. The poster also suggested that doing this workout would ‘bring my sexy back and coax out that hidden diva within’.

It’s been quite a while since I reached the dizzy heights in stilettos, I resorted to flat shoes a few years ago with the usual knee and hip pains associated with walking in high heels. Taking my past experiences teetering around in high heels into consideration – I had a sudden image of me wobbling around to Dizzy Rascal on 5 inch heels, bumping into someone and setting off a domino effect of other wannabe divas – I deliberated. Would a stiletto workout suit me? I reasoned that if I wanted something different to a gym maybe I should try belly dancing or Zumba classes instead, and googled a few in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. I was quite surprised at just how many dance and exercise classes there are.

However, the following day I read an article in the Daily Mail (Saturday October 6th) about Bristol Clinician Martin Bell’s ‘Perfectly Poised’ class, which involves filming clients walking in their heels. He then analyses their walk and, as well as encouraging them to stand straight and avoid slouching, gives them exercises to help strengthen weak muscles and ease pain. The part that interested me was that Mr Bell doesn’t advocate women ditching their high heels entirely. He claims that they just need to walk in them properly. This was good news. Most short women, like me, prefer to wear high heels. They not only give extra height and make me feel sexy – I always felt more confident in high heels.

The Stiletto Workout has been featured on Gok Wan’s ‘How To Look Good Naked’ tv programme and is getting rave reviews. With Christmas fast approaching and the need to lose weight, shape up and get fit I rose up to my full four feet ten inches and decided that the Stiletto Workout would make an interesting change from pounding away on a cross trainer once a week.

The Stiletto Workout instructor, Gemma Lisa Wingrove, aged 24, has been dancing since the age of nine. She has undertaken a number of fitness training courses including Fight Klub, which uses free standing punch bags and some ‘wicked tunes’ and is also a mentor for a healthy eating food plan called ‘Danceloss’. Gemma explained that the 60 minute Stiletto Workout session included conditioning exercises designed to improve women’s ability to wear heels comfortably and confidently, a seductive dance routine, a catwalk runway and a finale performance to unleash the newfound diva. Ever one to rise to a challenge I signed up for the introductory class – after all, I have nothing to lose except my balance, a spare tyre and a couple of stone.

Runkeeper – iPhone App for the Fitness Community

Fitness training is becoming more and more an integral part of our daily life. Gym memberships are increasing and more and more people, in particular young men, get personal trainers to help them built up their fitness on an endeavour to look healthier and increase their overall energy levels.

However, not all the time can we afford to get personalised and monitored training sessions as they may be time consuming and costly. Fitness training does not have to be confined to the gym and in particular during the summer we can enjoy outdoor sports.

There is a fantastic application on the iPhone, which can help you greatly to monitor your fitness and progress.

RunKeeper is a fantastic invention which enables you to track your runs using highly accurate GPS tracking. You can program the app to give you instructions, such as warm-ups, speed announcements, interval training and so forth. RunKeeper is also very easy to use and allows you to integrate a play list of your favourite running songs into your fitness program. You can program your runs by time or distance.

To make life really easy, all your runs are saved on the Runkeeper website where you can access the average speed, total time and distance of your run and even the change in elevation. The program automatically saves the runs by date and plots your performance over time. This gives you a very easy way to monitor your fitness and also build up a training plan.

Furthermore, you can invite your friends into your “street team” and train together, even over distance. This is a great way to motivate each other and put your training and training plan into perspective. For those who love social networking, one can also click the “like button” for facebook and automatically post your runs on your facebook wall for all your friends to see the progress of your fitness. This application has helped me greatly to monitor my fitness.

You will also need to get a iPhone Armband Case Holder to attach the iphone to your arm whilst you are running.

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From Boot Camp to Bootylicious!

Get ready this October for the launch of the Bootylicious Weekend Boot Camp by elite boot camps. The Bootylicious Weekend Boot Camp is a unique ladies only weekend boot camp run by a specialist team of personal training instructors who understand your limits and will provide you with the ultimate fitness experience.

These highly skilled instructors, led by elite boot camps owner and lead trainer Paul Jewiss, will support and encourage you to reach your personal goals.

You’ll be motivated to push yourself to your limits and inspired to work towards the body you’ve always desired.

If you are looking to kick start your fitness routine, need something different, want to feel good or just want to see what your boundaries are, elite boot camps is for you.

elite boot camps are run outside all year round in the beautiful Norfolk countryside and are aimed at helping you achieve your goals, push your physical & mental barriers whilst having fun with like minded people. Everyone is catered for no matter what their current level of fitness.

The team at elite boot camps provide everything you need during your boot camp weekend such as camping accommodation, nutritious meals, refreshments & snacks, equipment but most importantly bags of motivation and enthusiasm from the fully qualified & experienced PTI’s. The boot camp programme includes training sessions such as core strength & stability, cardiovascular training, kettlebells, powerbags and team building exercises.


elite boot camps are running their first ladies Bootylicious Weekend Boot Camp on the 1st & 2nd October 2011.

This unique weekend event is limited to 20 places and has been discounted by an amazing £100 to a special reduced price of just £200 per person!

Such an amazing offer means that you should book your place TODAY before spaces get filled up!

For more information about elite boot camps and to sign up to the Bootylicious Weekend Boot Camp, please click here or call Paul on 07919 202 282.