EXERCISE TO SUIT YOURSELF
We like to promote a more holistic balanced lifestyle here at Nutrition-Rocks, getting a strong, toned and healthy body does not have to revolve around hours in the gym nor only eating salads and celery sticks. The tips below apply to those that want to achieve strong and toned bodies, as well as those that just want to feel good and healthy WITHOUT having insane training regimes slaving in the gym (or swimming in mud...). Understanding what training to do and when, can optimise the minutes you do do, to achieve the best outcomes.
A lot of fitness professionals look at eating as a way to fuel exercise or optimise recovery. But here at Nutrition-Rocks, we see exercise as a tool to optimise well-being, get better bodies from the inside and use food to it's optimum.
So just an example… if we know we are going out for dinner and will have more calories than we need or normally eat, then by going for a long run before hand or doing a big weight training session* means the extra calories we consume will be used to recover our muscles, helping us get fitter and reduce fat storage associated with over eating.
This is great for those that want to just keep their body in balance, but also a great tip for those that are wanting to train for an event or want to get fitter and stronger.
Rather than thinking, “I am doing a big training session today so I HAVE to eat lots”, look at it like, “I am probably going to eat a lot today because we’re going for dinner so I will make sure I go the gym to balance it out and make the most of the recovery phase.” Or “I know I will eat a lot on Saturday, so I will make Saturday my big weight training/long run day”
Also, making sure we exercise daily or at least 5 times a week is super important for our health – for our bone, heart and lung health and also our mental well-being, so finding clever ways to fit it into everyday life is vital. Not to mention helping our body stay in shape, toned and strong.
So, whether you’re trying to lose some weight or tone up and increase your fitness, exercise can improve mood and reduce our chances of developing diseases like Type 2 Diabetes… but not everyone enjoys it, has the time or knows where to start!
Here are some quick tips and pointers for people of all fitness levels – for how to fit physical activity in around YOUR lifestyle and what suits YOUR needs! Try incorporating different types of training into the week for a variety – to stop you getting bored and to make sure you’re working different parts of your body.
Also, don’t forget – you aren’t exercising to try and look like SOMEONE ELSE, you are exercising to become the best version of YOU! You are exercising to keep your heart, body and mind healthy.
*p.s. women don’t ‘bulk’ easily! We don’t have the hormones for it. You have to lift VERY heavy weights and eat A LOT!
Not got much time?
Best type of exercise? HIIT
This probably applies to most people and let’s face it, we could all do with an extra day in the week sometimes. In these cases the last thing we can do, is find time to go to the gym.
HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training.
In essence, this means exercising intensely for 20-30 seconds and then a 20-30 second rest for 10-30 minutes. You can do these in the gym or at home! A lot of gyms offer 30 minute HIIT classes now too at lunch times.
Depending on your fitness, will depend on how many reps you do in the 20-30 seconds and will depend on your rest time; as you get fitter you will do more reps and have less rest periods!
Tip: as you get fitter and stronger, try adding some weighted exercises into the set to make it harder
- Press ups
- High knees jogging on the spot
- Squat jumps
- Mountain climbers
Do each exercise, as many times as possible in 20-30 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest and then move onto the next. Repeat this 3 times, with a 1 minute rest in between sets. You should be out of breath and sweating if you’ve done this properly!!
This sort of training is amazing as not only does it take little time (10-20 minutes!!), it’s intense so uses up lots of calories and your body will keep burning calories even when you stop – to the same extent as if you jogged for an hour! Also this type of training has been shown to improve heart and metabolic health more than any other training. Make sure you do some jumping exercises (e.g. burpees or squat jumps) if you can as well as body weight exercises like press ups, as these make sure you are strengthening your muscles too which is where the definition will come from!
If you have even less time and you are relatively fit already, try tabata training.
Planning on eating a lot?
Do a big weight training session!
Try doing some big muscle groups, like legs or chest. Incorporate some big muscle group movements like ‘clean and press’ which is a squat into a shoulder press.
By shifting some tin (gym rat word for weights) about, and really engaging your muscles, not only are you burning some serious energy but afterwards if you are planning on going for a big dinner, buffet or a family gathering (yes, we all indulge at these!) then the muscles will be recovering and using the excess food to repair themselves, instead of being stored as fat!!*
As mentioned earlier, women don’t ‘bulk’ easily! We don’t have the hormones for it. You have to lift VERY heavy weights and eat A LOT!
If you are new to weight training, it’s best to go with a buddy or ask a gym trainer first as if you lift too heavy or in the incorrect position you can hurt yourself. But if done properly, weight training is a great way to burn lots of calories, increase muscle tone and strength as well as improve bone health.
*Alcohol consumption will reduce this mechanism.
Don’t enjoy the gym?
Best exercise: Sports team, bootcamp classes, exercise classes, dance clubs
If you don’t enjoy the gym, try finding a local team sport like netball or touch rugby, hockey or tennis. These are great ways to meet people and have a great social aspect to them as well as playing sport that you enjoy, so it doesn’t even feel like you are exercising! Team sport normally enhances fitness, speed and endurance as well as reaction times and hand-eye coordination.
Alternatively you could find a local dance or salsa club or take part in circuit or fitness gym classes.
By all means, if you love running, cycling or walking in the outdoors then these also have their own benefits. These are great to add to your exercise regime – but if you are running for an hour on the treadmill and dread it every time you go to the gym, then change it up and try some of the ideas mentioned above – you’ll find it a much more enjoyable experience!!
Injured? Ache-y muscles or tight back after too much desk sitting?
Try Pilates, yoga or aqua aerobics.
These don’t put too much strain on your body and can be a great way to loosen up and do some light exercise.
Yoga, pilates and body balance classes are all great for improving posture, balance, core strength and flexibility.
Rule of thumb – if it is above the neck (e.g. sore throat or blocked nose) then maintain exercise as usual. If you are sick from below the neck (e.g. stomach ache or chesty cough) then rest until you are better.
Make sure you rest in between sessions and listen to your body. If you are new to exercise then resting a day or two in between each session may be needed; if you are already fairly fit try and only have 1 or 2 rest days a week – a rest day may still include a walk or some yoga but make sure you give your body some time to recover otherwise you may start to feel very fatigued!
Written by Hannah Norris