Why Girls Should Be Lifting Weights (Sarah’s Story)

It’s nice to be strong…….

Lets clear one thing up for woman that want to get into lifting…….weight training isn’t going to turn  into a muscle clad monster with veins like electrical wire and arms thicker than your legs! This happens to men because of testosterone. As woman have less of this hormone they get all the benefits of weight training without lots of excess muscle. By benefits we mean, improved muscle tone, boosted metabolism, increased fat loss, better posture, higher lean mass, increased bone density, better immune response, and best of all….STRENGTH!

Enter Sarah…….

Last year Sarah returned from Australia with her husband and young baby and caught the bug for lifting weights. Before moving to Oz, Sarah had been coming into the gym with us for our group sessions. She laid down a good foundation in resistance and cardio training in these sessions , though it wasn’t until after having her baby in Oz Sarah really started enjoying lifting heavy weights! Back in England she was doing bootcamps, but hadn’t got back into the weight training like she wanted. So I gave Sarah a proposition…….

Bench

How’s this sound?…..

I thought it would be great to see what you could be achieved in a short time and no junk training! So could we improve the four biggest compound Strength movements with just one and a half hours of training a week?

Lets see what you’ve got……

We made a record of how much Sarah could lift for one rep in Squats, Deadlifts, Clean and Press, and Bench press. We also took her weight and body fat percentages. Over the next month and a half we had two 45 minute sessions a week. We had a Squat and Clean and Press specific session, and a Dealift and Bench press specific session. These sessions were about quality over quantity! We didn’t waste time with empty reps and constant repetition of the same movements. We chose appropriate exercises with weights to build motor patterns, reinforce movements and help areas of her posture that needed correcting….over the 6 weeks WE DIDN’T TEST STRENGTH, WE BUILT IT!

This is where she started…..

pressAt the start, Sarah’s stats were:

Weight: 57.5kg

Bodyfat: 25%

Squat:  55kg

Deadlifts: 80kg

Clean and Press: 30kg

Bench Press: 40kg

 

In 6 weeks……

DeadBy the end Sarah’s stats looked like this,

Weight: 58.4kg

Bodyfat: 24% = 1% drop….which means a 0.6kg reduction in bodyfat, and a 0.3kg increase in lean mass!

Squat: 70kg = 15kg increase

Deadlift: 90kg = 10kg increase

Clean and Press: 45kg = 15kg increase

Bench: 50kg = 10kg increase

 

squatThe outcome…..

Sarah didn’t change her diet, or dramatically change her training, she just added 1.5 hours of very specific, quality strength training. Her body shape has changed for the better, with a massive increase in muscle tone, shape, improved posture and a drop in body fat. The biggest thing to take away from this is Sarah’s increase in strength! She’s feeling more confident because she’s stronger!

 

Where do you start?

Getting started is the hard bit…Don’t know where to start? What you need to be doing? Don’t want to fight your way through all the muscly blokes in the weights section of the gym, or an injury or posture problem holding you back? We can help!

We can take you through the best way to train, show you whats safe and what are the effective ways to exercise with weights. All to getting you on the path to making you a leaner, stronger and better version of yourself

To get started and book in with us at BourneFit for a session just click here

The 30 Day Body Challenge….Week 2 Results.

photo 1So pretty much half way through, and haven’t murdered anyone for a Mars bar yet, so all is good! Last week went pretty well, training’s beginning to return to normal and energy levels are at an all time high. I kept to the same meals and routines, this has stopped me from over thinking to much about meals. I found the problem was when trying to add as much variety as possible to meat, vegetables and legumes, you end up letting loads of fresh food go to waste and forcing yourself to eat things you don’t like. Stick to things you’re allowed to eat and stick to the things you like…..it keeps it easy and effective! Cheat day I really went for it, donuts, ice creams, pub lunch, fizzy drinks, A whole slab of chocolate, chips and dips, rice pudding. Based on the measurements I took the day before and the today, the cheat day made no differences to weight loss! Just have to stick to the rules on the cheat day… if you have a perfect week there is only so much damage you can do between 1 pm and bed time on the cheat day!

So What’s the Issue with Caffeine?

Now I know I’ve gone on about caffeine a lot, and it is a bit of a double edge sword when it comes to health and weight loss. It is a stimulant and increases metabolism with can aid weight loss, and when consumed before exercises it increases performance and increases the rate glycogen can be converted. These benefits don’t outweigh the downsides though! Caffeine drives up blood glucose which in turn increases insulin sensitivity making you more likely to gain weight. Its also suppresses appetite, this is great in the short term, but this coupled with rises in blood sugar mean your appetite and cravings will come back with vengeance!  Caffeine is known to increase the production of the stress hormone Cortisol. This hormone plays havoc with weight loss and recovery, by slowing your bodies ability to use fat as an energy source. It also slows the rate of recovery as less glycogen can’t be stored in the muscles and liver when Cortisol  levels are high. To sum it up, if you’re a real caffeine junkie (like me) it’s best just to cut it out completely and let your body get used to living without it. For those that can take or leave caffeine, I would restrict it to it to just 30 minutes before exercise. This will aid performance and will also be flushed from the system in a shorter time.

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Week 2 Results

So here they are:

Weight – 76.5 kg

Chest – 107 cm

Waist – 83 cm

Body Fat – 11.1%

So compared to the starting week that’s:

Weight – 1.7 kg drop

Chest – 1 cm drop

Waist – 3 cm drop

Body Fat – 1.8% drop

Now I know these numbers don’t seem like massive reductions compared to the tv and magazines results we all see of “10 lbs lost in just 1 week!!”, but it’s all relative. Body fat percentage and waistline are the most important measurements to look at. A 3cm reduction in my waist line and 1.8% drop in my body fat, actually is about 40% to my target goal, so its all going in the right direction. If you’re trying this yourself, always make sure you work on percentages of you targets, this will give you a better gauge of how you are doing. Or for more advice and nutrition, training and how to track your progression, book in for a session and BourneFit

More to come next week guys, or search BourneFit Personal Training on Facebook and Twitter!

Luke

The 30 Day Body Challenge – Week 1 Results!

photo 1So it’s one week in and I’m feeling good! I’m not gonna say the first few days were easy, but it was all definitely maintainable. I’l take you through how the end of the week went first, the will get to the nitty gritty of what this week has done to me!

Days 5 and 6

Now these two days have their issues, and that’s because they’re Friday and Saturday….the most tempting days of the week!!!!! All of Friday was fine, standard morning routine as I mentioned in my last post. Little bit of circuit training, followed by some chilli and mixed vegetables for lunch, then the evening rolled round…..eeek! Now this is were it gets difficult, the secret is to keep your routine and eat as normal! I was meant to be going around a friends, and I knew this would normally feature dinner and snacks. It sounds really simple, but you just have to be good…..I kindly neglected dinner and had a beef stir fry before! The big hurdle I’ve overcome is the appetite…..it’s easier to say no to snacking now the urge to eat had gone. I will admit this was hard at first, but by about day 4 and the drop in appetite was huge! Cracked on with Saturday like any other morning, not having to go to work was the big difference. As great as having the day off is, the devil makes work for idle hands. I was out and about all day and temptation is everywhere (especially when the suns out and everyone seems to have a ice cold sugary drink or an ice cream in hand), but again the main difference was the temptation is more psychological. Decent lunch of fajita chicken and roasted veg and didn’t have the common urges for the sweet and savory stuff. Had a 10km trial run in the early evening, and it was horrible! My body still hasn’t adapted to not having the instant energy from the sugar and simple carbs. My time wasn’t much slower than normal, but my legs felt like lead the entire time! Really hoping my body adapts soon! Dinner was grilled Pollock and mashed cauliflower (fake mash potato), turned down an evening on the town and hit the hay……anyway Sunday is CHEAT DAY!!!!!!

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Cheat Day!

So here it is, the highlight of the week! The day were you can have anything you want to eat! The cheat day has a couple of important functions. The first are the psychological affects, its hard to eat like a saint for 30 days straight, this just gives you something to look forward to and allows you the foods you have been missing! The other is to maintain metabolism, by keeping the thyroid gland stimulated. This means the rest of the week you’ll be able to maintain fat loss. Now it is pretty much a free for all, but there are a few rules:

  • Still have a healthy morning until lunch
  • Make sure you have some training planned that day
  • Eat all the foods you craved in the week (make a list, trust me)
  • 90 second work out before and an hour and a half after big meals
  • A small glass of fruit juice before meals
  • No caffeine

Now here’s the logic……Having a healthy morning means you’re still setting you’re body up burning fat and regulating insulin, so this is essential. Training and the 90 second workouts are really important as exercise stimulates the production of a hormone called GLUT-4……In Leyman’s terms this hormone helps glycogen become absorbed into the muscle cells…this means less of what you eat will be converted to fat. 90 minutes after eating is normally when blood sugar is at its highest,  so the 90 second workouts help force blood glucose into the muscle. The fruit juice is designed to prepare your body for the onslaught that’s about to commence, so you’re bodies system won’t be caught by surprise when you fill it with junk food. I’d advice grapefruit juice, as this has been shown to buffer the affects of high blood glucose the best. The list helps as it means you won’t forget things you’ve been craving, this is important for the following week. If you forget something on you’re cheat day, the urge for it the following week will be even greater!

So my cheat day started like normal the lunch rolled around…….PIZZA!!!!!! The rest of the day followed suit, ice creams, milk shake, Paella round my mum’s, followed by pie and custard for dessert, packet of crisp and biscuits before bed…..and loved every minute of it!

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 So one week on…. 11.65%

So woke up today with some slight guilt of the cheat day previously, but physically feeling good. I was worried that one day of binge eating would ruin my hard work and bring back all my cravings, but just got straight back into the routine of things. Still maintained the lower appetite and cravings were almost non existent! So what’s this week done to my body….

Weight  = Last week – 78.2kg……This week – 77.1kg…….1.1 kg drop

Waist = Last week  – 86cm……This week – 85cm……. 1 cm drop

Chest = Last week – 108cm……This week – 108cm…….0 cm drop

Body Fat  = Last week – 12.9%……This week – 11.6%……1.3% drop

All in all a pretty good week! Body fat percentage and waist  circumfence are the best measurement of fat loss as weight alone can be easily affected by numerous factors, and these have taken a good drop. As well as the reduction in body fat, the maintenance of the chest measurement is a sign I am maintaining lean muscle mass. The biggest change I have found away from the outwardly physical ones, are my energy levels. I’m not having ups and downs through the day, I wake up feeling alert and I’m sleeping amazing at night! This is due to the regulation of insulin and being able to utilize fat as a fuel source. Sleep would have improved due to the more varied diet. Vitamins and minerals present in a variety of vegetables and proteins, are proven to regulate hormones and improve sleep. I came into this pretty fit and healthy, and already with lowish body fat. For others trying this, you may find your result are even greater, as some of you are starting from scratch.

So roughly another 3 weeks of healthy living ahead of me, I will keep you all posted on how it’s going. For those doing it with me good luck and keep up the hard work, and feel free to look back over our free advice on our previous blog post! Or even better, book in a session at BourneFit Personal Training where we can help nail your training and perfect your diet.

The 30 Day Body Challenge!…..4 Days In!!!

So why this plan?

photo 1This plan comes down to one thing….regulating insulin! Will try and not go ridiculously in depth and over the top with this. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. It causes glucose to be taken up by cells in the liver, muscles and fat tissues, where it is converted to glycogen to be stored. Insulin also lowers the use of fat as an energy source. These are both vital functions for the body, but things go wrong when these insulin levels rise too high or low. Almost everything we eat will cause a increase in glucose and insulin, but things like sugar, simple carbohydrates, fruits and caffeine cause insulin levels to rise higher than normal. This then causes a spike in insulin, which means you are less likely to use stored fat and more likely to store fat cells. On the other hand letting your blood glucose drop to low, will cause you to become tired and lethargic, and increase the production of stress hormones that will also affect how the body burns fat. Everything on this plan is designed to keep blood glucose and insulin at a stable level. It will also elevate those ups and down in energy throughout the day making you feel better!

Day 1

Lunch 24-06-2013It’s here and my cupboards look like they would happily feed the Animals of Farthing Wood. I bypassed the coffee and porridge, and went straight for the Brazil nuts and ice cold water! This was then followed by my shower……..of which the last minute was cold (I can’t exaggerate enough how long a minute feels when the water’s that cold). To my surprise I actually felt pretty good afterwards, well and truly invigorated! Breakfast, 3 eggs whites and 1 whole egg scrambled with smoked salmon (this has now become my breakfast of choice. Late morning……the serious urge for caffeine begins. Normally by now the coffee machine would be on, and I would have the sweet ringing in my ears of caffeine’s fake energy. Instead I was drinking hot lemon water! The 90 second workout helped with the urges……ish!  As the morning turned to lunch time I found myself for the first time in a while looking forward to lunch! Not because I was hungry, but because my healthy lunch wasn’t one of the typical options (pasta, sandwich, soup). Today’s lunch was Chicken breast with whole cloves of garlic, spinach and sesame seeds, and a side of mixed beans in balsamic vinegar…..Not to blow my own trumpet, but it was pretty good! By later afternoon I found myself getting pretty hungry, and I knew why! I had made the portion of beans for my lunch too small. Beans are going to be the biggest form of carbs in your meals, so making sure you have enough to keep you going to dinner is a big deal. I quashed the cravings with more water and a small handful of nuts and seeds. Had training planned today, decided to time it right before dinner. It means you have a nice sized meal right when your body needs the nutrients the most, and it alleviates the need for supplementing things into your diet after training. Training was resistance based, mainly leg stuff today…heavy squats, lunges, glute activation, core and elements of posture correction. Dinner was a chicken and chickpea salad, with lettuce and celery.Finished up work for the night and to my surprise I was still hunger free….result! I did my 90 second workout, pulled the ice pack out of the freezer and popped it on the back of my neck for 30 minutes. I also caught the start of “the man with the 10 stone testicles”, and while I sat there with a freezing cold neck I thought “It definitely could be worse!”.  So that’s day one over, apart from the odd wanting for caffeine it’s been ok! Though I’m feeling like most of the issues based on habit. Eating and drinking because I’m bored or frustrated with something have become second nature, Think a big key is going to be breaking routines

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So why all the cold stuff?

I know the cold showers, ice packs on the neck and drinking ice cold water seem mental……and yeah they are a bit! But there is some logic to this madness. Swimmers, mountain climbers, arctic explorers all have 2 things in common…..massive calorie consumption and cold exposure! All these people consume massive amounts of calories daily, but not all of these calories are used just for movement and activities. A big portion is used for the maintenance of core temperature. Research has shown that cold exposure can increase the production of a hormone called Adiponectin. This hormone increases the oxidation of fatty acids and the uptake of glucose into the muscle. Cold exposure also stimulates brown adipose tissue to burn fat and glucose to produce heat. Now I’m not implying that we all need to start going for cold walks in our pants, but the odd cold shower, ice pack on the neck and drinking ice cold water can have some great effects on fat loss.

Day 2.

lunch 25-06-2013Today is always going to be a pain as I spend all day at work (7:30am-9:00pm). So have to resort to Tupperware boxes, to stop the urge of using any number of Charminster’s eateries. So had prepared 2 boxes of food in advance.  One of prawn and bean salad, the other of tuna steaks, spinach salad and lentils. The morning started the same as the day before! I’m going to try and keep the morning routine…..Wake, ice water, almonds, cold shower, eggs and salmon, 90 second workout! Hopefully that will be set to autopilot in a few days! About 11 o’clock and a headache from behind the eyes hits like a steam train! I’ve been denying this would happen, but this was inevitable……This is the withdrawal from sugar and caffeine! This is because of an increased susceptibility to a neurotransmitter called Adenosine. Adenosine widens the blood vessels in the head, but is normally suppressed by caffeine. When you cut out caffeine in one go, the effects are exaggerated and BANG!…..massive headache! Lots of water and a power nap definitely helped to take the edge off. Training in the afternoon and pushed for time so had to stick for intervals on the spin bike. 5 sets of 5×30 second sprints, with 30 second rest between sprints and 4 minutes rest between sets. This training is normally brutal, and today was definitely no exception!

photo12The change of eating hasn’t seemed to have affected the training, I felt a bit sluggish before, but once I started all was fine (as fine as you can be when your heart rate’s peaking at 190bpm). Finally made it back from work, Tupperware boxes empty, and knackered! Though that annoying stomach gurgling began, late night hunger had kicked in! Now normally in these situations I’d be stirring up a big bowl of milky porridge. Tonight I went for a small bowl of prawns and smoked salmon…..this did the trick! I am amazed at how much my appetite has decreased in just a couple of days! Chewing food and getting rid of the stodgy stuff has got the stomach back to normal! Ice pack on the neck and some New Girl on the tele, then off to bed! Day two survived!

 

Day 3

5Routine as normal this morning, slowly becoming a habit, so can just roll out of bed and get on with it. Had a break early this morning so swapped the 90 second workout for 30 minutes of resistance training. H.I.T. weight training, I highly recommend it! Lunch rolled around a few hours later, mashed Mexican beans stuffed and roasted in peppers, with fajita chicken….seriously hit the spot! Again switched the 90 seconds work out for 15 minutes of posture rebalancing and glute activation work (can find more info in the Power of the Buns blog).Slightly annoying timing for dinner tonight, decided to eat earlier. Its better being full rather than getting hungry later at work…..bad decisions happen if you let yourself get hungry! Chicken, bean, spinach and cashew nut stir fry for dinner, really quick, easy and filling! Made it through the late night at work with no hunger pains….though still could murder a coffee though, but that’s getting better! Home, ice pack on neck, water and an early night…..3 days in and still ok!

Day 4

1Morning off today! Little lie in, but same drill as normal! I knew I was going for a run in the afternoon, so was going to have to time lunch. Lunch today was seared Cajun tuna steaks and peas……lots of peas! Run at 3pm, so lunch at 1pm. This gives enough time for the stomach to empty, but also still to have the slight rise in blood glucose to help with training. I’m not going to lie, training was horrible! 3.5km around the off-road Meyrick lap! If you’ve never done the Meyrick park lap I would recommend it. Hilly, varied terrain and very fast once you get the feel for it. My legs felt like lead from the first minute, but this was to be expected! Every training session has been powered by high energy, fast acting foods and drinks. This diet is designed to make the body more efficient with the stored energy it has, but this does take time (from what I’ve experienced in the past, about a week). Finished the run, and only fractionally slower than normal, but definitely felt harder. Treated myself afterwards to a hand full of nuts, seeds and some berries as a recovery snack. Dinner tonight was a Tupperware box with tuna steak salad. Really looked forward to it after today’s run as I was feeling a little flat. 2Finished work and quickly did some stretching and posture exercises before heading home. Normal evening finish with an ice pack on the neck, and cold water before bed. Definitely starting to see and feel some changes. Reduction in bloating, water retention and weight, all of which are definitely noticeable around the stomach. Also a massive reduction in appetite! Not getting those hankerings for snacks throughout the day. All seems to be heading in the right direction! And not far from the cheat day!!!!!

Sport Massage

Sports massage isn’t just reserved for elite athletes. It’s now widely used by people participating in all levels of sport, and even those with just aches and pains. So how can it help you…….

Sports massage is designed to relieve muscular tension and restore balance to the musculo-skeletal system. Tension and muscular imbalances can be caused by sports, but can also be caused by daily activity, like sitting at a desk or driving. Improving these issues with massage is achieved with techniques designed to manipulate the muscle and it’s components.  The physiological and psychological benefits of sports massage can be immense. Teamed with good training and nutrition, it can lead to significant improvements in health, performance and well being.

The Benefits

  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved performance
  • Reduced muscular tension
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved circulation
  • Increased recovery time
  • Realignment of scar tissue
  • Enhanced muscular awareness
  • Increased the permeability of the muscle tissue
  • Improved posture

 

In and around sport

Massage can be used before, after and even during sports. Used effectively it can improve performance and allow quicker recovery after!

Pre-workout

This is normal done in and around the warm up. It is used to help increase circulation to the muscle and make them more supple. It is also helpful on the more problematic areas affecting performance, i.e tight muscles and areas of previous injury. It can also help psychologically, giving the muscle increased sensitivity and help mentally prepare for the activity.

Post-workout

Sports massage directly after exercise is used to improve recovery. It helps remove waste chemicals from the muscle, and realign muscle fibers. The quicker the body can return itself to a recovered state, the sooner you can get back to training! The sooner you can get back to training, the fitter you will become!

Between training session

Sports massage between training session is used to work on problems areas. Participating in any sport will cause certain muscle to have increase tension. These muscles vary depending on the sport, your posture and your flexibility. These sessions tend to be a lot deeper, but yield some of the best results. They can be help with current injuries, or help identify and treat areas susceptible to injury. This treatment will aid performance and help reduce your chance of injuries in the future……meaning you can train better and more consistently throughout the year.

Sports massage massage isn’t just for when aches and pains spring up. Used properly it can be done all year round to maintain health and well being in and out of sport.  For more information or to book a session check out www.bourne-fit.co.uk

Exercise and Recovery

Recovery from training is without doubt the most important part.  No matter how hard (or easy) we train, if recovery is poor the gains are compromised.  This article looks at how we can improve recovery.

What is recovery and what happens?

Recovery starts from the time we finish a workout.  Typically the main portion

of recovery would be a couple of days, with some evidence pointing to full and total adaption from any one workout weeks after the session.  It is probably best to consider recovery as the former – a few days, a  ‘tough’ workout will normally need close to 36 hours.

Clearly the workout will dictate what recovery is needed.  On a superficial level, a weights workout will require lots of muscular repair, a cardio workout more of an entire system recovery including muscular.  This will always depend on the usual factors – intensity, type of training, muscle groups used and duration.

Some of us recover faster than others. 

A seriously positive side effect of having fast recovery is that we are fresh for the next workout sooner, over time we get a lot fitter. Someone who can train 4 times a week will get much fitter than someone at twice a week.   Top athletes through regular training and lucky genetics have a huge capacity to recover.

 

The perfect way to recover

With that in mind we would all love to recover faster.  There are a number of things we can do.

BEFORE TRAINING

  • Eat well before training, it improves recovery and give the body a head start
  • Warm up thoroughly – warm muscles get less damaged during training

DURING TRAINING

  • Train smarter, not harder – do what’s necessary for improvement but don’t overdo it!

AFTER TRAINING

  • Eat and drink as soon as you are finished, before even getting in the shower
  • Have some protein at this time
  • Get good quality sleep, even a daytime nap
  • Great nutrition will always help recovery – ever seen an Olympian eating a burger?
  • Doing some ‘light’ activity the following day using the same muscle groups will speed recovery
  • Have a massage – all the pro’s get this every day
  • Stretch to alleviate muscle tightness and increase blood flow

 

For more information on training, recovery and nutrition or for expert advice, visit BourneFit – our  Bournemouth Personal Training Studio website is at www.bourne-fit.co.uk

 

 

Get fit to play sport, don’t play sport to get fit!

Whether you are gearing up for a ski holiday or a kick about on the weekend, solid physical preparation can make the difference between having an incredible experience, and having an incredibly painful experience.

Before considering a sports specific program for any sport, it is absolutely vital to achieve a certain degree of base strength and fitness. Though many sports primarily utilize the legs for power, strength must be developed across the whole body in order to move solidly as a unit. If a car is front wheel drive, it doesn’t mean you can drive with the back tires deflated.

CORE STABILITY.

A focus on core development is very important.  Strength and mobility in the TRUNK are vital components to moving dynamically and powerfully in sport. By learning to “move from our centre”, we take the stress away from our limbs and put it into the power source of our body. Developing control in this area enables us to initiate movements in safer and ultimately more powerful ways.

X TRAINING.

While it is good to develop a certain degree of cardiovascular fitness, don’t get carried away with monotonous activity (long runs, bike rides and 90 minute gym sessions!!). Repeated cyclical exercise puts our nervous system to sleep and many sports demand agility, quick reflexes and explosive power, so it is important that you imitate that type movement in your preparation. Taking part in other sports like soccer, squash, volleyball or chasing a dog along the beach can satisfy this criteria. Just try and mix up the pace and use a variety of exercises.

FLEXIBILITY

Flexibility training is probably the easiest area of physical development to totally NEGLECT. There is nothing fun about stretching, and let’s face it, it’s boring! But I assure you that stretching 15-20 minutes a day is less boring than waiting for recovery from a knee reconstruction, dislocated shoulder, neck strain or groin tear. Take time after each workout to stretch and be sure to focus on areas you are LEAST flexible in.

When it comes to sports, take time to warm up properly and don’t be too overzealous first time or first day.  Spend time stretching afterwards and use ice or hot and cold treatment to relieve any potential soreness.

How to get your Beach Body Abs!

Summer’s back in town and everyone wants the same thing………….that flat toned stomach so we can wear our swimwear with pride. Keep reading and you find out how it all works, and what to do to get your own washboard stomach!

 The abs are broken up into 4 main groups. They all have slightly different functions, but making sure you train each one will give you much better looking results!

Rectus abdominus – These make up the “Six Pack” running down the middle.  Their job is to bring the ribs closer to the hips, so simple sit ups and crunches work this area best!

Transverse abdominus – This is the deepest ab muscle, its job is to suck in the belly button! The best way to work this is with “vacuum exercises”, simply pulling the belly button inwards! These can be be done on their own or during other ab exercises. Working the Transverse abdominus will help flatten the stomach and help your posture!

Internal & External obliques – These muscle are located diagonally around the sides of the abs, and work to twist and bend the body side to side. These can be worked with side bends and by adding a twist to your crunches

Quality, Not Quantity!

Many people seem to feel more is better when it comes to abs. “I did 200 situps this morning” is something we hear alot, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you! When it comes to really working the stomach, slow your movements down and really think about “squeezing the abs”. This will stimulate more abdominal muscle and stop the larger hip flexors taking over! 3-5 sets of 20 reps when done properly will be more than enough to get your abs going!

The three S’s…..Suck, Squeeze and Stability!

Doing standard crunches is just going to work the rectus abdominus! Sucking in the belly button and squeezing the abs will stimulate the transverse abdominus. This will not just tone the stomach, but flatten the belly! Introducing a Bosu or a Swiss ball into your ab workouts will  help you build your core stability. This not only helps posture and your other exercises, but it also means you will hit more areas of the abdominal muscles! Exercise like the Plank are also brilliant to hit all the deep ab muscles, and a great way of improving posture that will help your beach body look!

Balance.

Posture is so important to a good physique! Working the lower back and hip muscles as well as the abs is vital. This will help maintain a healthy posture and emphasize your abs! Nobody’s belly looks good if they’re hunched over!

Showing off what you’ve got!

The best was to to emphasize your abdominal  muscles is by maintaining a low body fat. This is done with a healthy diet and regular exercise! Don’t just focus on your abs, make sure you’re getting all round, good quality exercise! Make sure you vary your abs exercises! Don’t keep doing the same old things. Change things up to make sure your hitting every part of the abs!

Try this on for size!

Here’s a basic circuit to give you an idea of how to train all the parts of your abs quickly and efficiently!

1) Bicycle crunches – 12 reps – These are like standard crunches with a twist! Perform a normal crunch, by bringing your left elbow to your right knee, then vice versa! Again really focus on squeezing the abs!

2) Side Plank – 20 seconds, both sides – This is performed by facing sideways and placing your elbow on the ground. Your feet are planted sideways on the floor, then raise your hips up. Try and make the body as much of a straight line as possible, then after 20 seconds repeat facing the other way.

3) Leg raises – 12 reps – These can be performed differently depending on your level. Leg raises involve bringing the legs and hips closer to the ribs. These are great at working the bottom on the abs! For beginners start by performing these on the floor. Lay flat on your back and raise the legs upward and towards the torso. For those feeling more advanced they can be performed hanging from a chin bar, leg raise station, or simply off the end of a bed.

4) Plank – 30 seconds – The exercise our clients hate the most, but we don’t know why, we love it!  Facing down, elbows on the floor, raise the hips off the ground and hold a nice flat body position. Its really important to relax the back and shoulders, and really suck the belly button in.

5) Swiss ball crunches – 12 reps – Sit on a swiss ball with your hands over your head. Slowly begin to lie back until your body is flat with your thighs. Then slowly begin to raise back up without hunching the back. Really focus on squeezing the abs and try to keep the ball as still as possible.

Repeat as many times as you needed.

For more advice book in for a free trail session at www.bourne-fit.co.uk

Circuit Training at Home

We are always advising our clients about exercising at home between personal training session. Even performing some low intensity body weight exercises in the morning will be enough to jump start the metabolism for the day and allow you to burn more fat. A great way of upping the intensity of these workouts at home and stop them becoming too repetitive is to create your own circuit training routine.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is a form of body conditioning that combines resistance training with high intensity aerobics. It is designed to increase strength, muscle tone, improve muscular and cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. The exercises are performed at a high intensity with very short rest periods between stations. These factors then increase stress on the body, and yield better all round results than just performing exercises in a conventional fashion.

How to build your circuit?


A circuit can have anything from 4 to 12 stations, and can have a variety of different exercises. You choose the exercise based on what your goals are. F
or fat loss and all round toning, circuits made up of full body movements will be best. For those trying to work on specific areas you can build your circuit for just the upper body, legs or core. The best way to build your circuit is to write down the exercises you want to include, and order them in a way that gives each muscle group a rest between stations. So if you are doing squats on one station, it’s best the next station doesn’t directly work the same muscle. Once you have your stations laid out, chose how many times you want to repeat the circuit, then it’s time get started!!!

How to perform your circuit?

Your main consideration is do you want to perform your circuit based on repetitions or time? This means do you want to set a time limit on each station or have a set amount of reps to perform? Personally we would chose to do time. Having a time limit on each station means you will be able to push as hard as you can for every exercise, and not cheat yourself if the reps are set too low. A good starting time would be 30 seconds on each station, this can then be changed as you improve. Start your watch and begin the first station, perform the exercise with good form for the entire 30 seconds. When the time is up, move as quick as you can to the next exercise. Its important to take little to no rest between each station to maintain the intensity. Perform each exercise until you reach the end, then take your rest. Your rest depends on how long the circuit took. A good rule of thumb is about a third of the time it took to do the entire circuit. Once your rest is over repeat the circuit again. You can repeat the circuit anywhere up to 5 times, starting with 3 laps is normally a good starting point.

How to change your circuit over time?

After performing your circuit for a couple of weeks, you will begin to adapt. Its good to make a note of roughly how many reps you perform in the time limt, this will show you how well your progressing. Below is a list of things to change to maintain the intensity of your circuit.

  • Add stations
  • Increase station time
  • Decrease rest time
  • Perform reps quicker (maintaining good form)
  • Add weight to certain exercises
  • Increase the amount of laps
Things to consider
Make sure your perform each station with good safe form, when under a time limit its easy to start cheating, so don’t break into bad habits. Its also important to maintain the intensity, so if you ever feel the circuit is becoming easy, make some changes and keep the body guessing! You don’t have to be limited to the house, you can take your circuit to the gym, the beach or the park. This will help you throw in some new stations, like some hill runs, or jogging on the sand or taking on some stairs. The main thing is to enjoy it and set yourself some goals, this will give you more of a boost to keep going when it gets tough. Below we have provided an example beginners circuit, take a look and give it a go!
30 seconds per station – 1 minute rest – 3 laps
 
1. Squats
2. Push ups
3. Walking lunges
4. Dips on a chair
5. Burpees with a jump
 
Try it out and feel free to tinker with it so it suits you! For more exercise ideas check out the rest of our blog or book in for a free Personal training taster session at http://www.bourne-fit.co.uk/

How To Run Faster and Longer.

It’s getting to that time of year when everyone’s brushing the dust of the trainers, and taking to the beach or parks for a run. Running is a brilliant way of improving fitness, aiding weight loss and a great excuse to get off the sofa and out of the house, but everyone always wants to know one thing  “how do I run for longer without stopping?”.

 

Why you stop running?

This comes down to what is know as “the point of muscular fatigue”. This is when you are no longer able to maintain steady and constant muscle contractions, and once this kicks in, the legs start burning, heart rate increase, breathing rate quickens and you eventually stop! When this happens depends on factors like fitness level, speed, incline, energy levels, distance and hydration. Improving  this isn’t just as simple as running until you feel sick! There are techniques to help you run faster for longer!!!

 

Make the most of your arms!

Running isn’t just about your legs, generating power through your arms is key to going for longer. Bend the elbows at 90 degrees and really focus on driving forwards and backwards with your hands. Moving the hands will help generate power with the upper body and core, and give you more power in the legs!

 

Sprint interval training.

These sessions won’t be as long as your normal running session, but will be packed with more intensity! Short hard runs mixed with periods of very slow jogging for rest. For new runners this can be done with 200 meters of sprinting with 45 seconds of slow running for recovery, and then repeat until the end of your set distance. As you get better and feel more confident, begin to increase the sprint distance in 100 meter increments, or keep the intervals the same and increase the overall distance depending on your goals!

 

In the gym!

Building muscle strength in the gym can help when running. Extra leg strength and power means your stride becomes longer! This doesn’t mean you have to stick 200kg on the squat bar and have legs like a bodybuilder. Things as simple as box jumps, lunges and light squats for a few sets of 20 reps, a couple of times a week can add as much as 21% more endurance when running!

 

Getting your longer runs right.

Its good to have a longer run once a week, this will normally be 75-85% of your competitive distance. So if your training for a 10km run, training at 8km will be perfect. For marathon runners your long run would be 17 miles. These runs go hand in hand with intensity though. Going to easy too easy won’t give you the goals you’re after, and going too fast you will burn out before the end. Going at 80% of your fastest pace will get the best results, and still leave you something in the tank for a sprint finish to overtake your friends. 😉

 

Food and Drink.

An hours run on a warm day, you can lose over a liter of sweat! Being dehydrated will affect performance and cause fatigue to kick in sooner! So make sure you have plenty to drink before, after and even during! Your body uses energy from food to keep your muscles going, so remember to eat before and after your run.  It can be tempting to go running on an empty stomach when trying to lose weight, but if you run out of energy you’l have to stop sooner, and if you stop sooner you wont be burning as much fat as if you were still running! Eating properly after training will help recovery, and the sooner and better you recover,the quicker you’l be out running again! Read more on sports nutriton.

 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Stretching after training reduces the risk of injury and keeps your body supple. Flexible legs means a longer stride and that means going further! Make sure you listen to your body, its not hard for those little aches and pains to get worse. When you do have them, take a break and take it easy. These are normally a sign of going too hard too soon, so remember to ease into your training and slowly progress over time. If your injured, you can’t run! Fact! Read more…on recovery from exercise.

 

So just remember no matter what level your at with the right training and recovery you can improve! So whether training for a 5km fun run or the next London marathon, you’re all runners!!!