GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “abs”

12 Days of Christmas

Hi there!

So Christmas is almost upon us! Which means chocolate, cake, alcohol/soft drinks and an incredibly indulgent Christmas dinner! Cannot wait! However, you don’t want to un-do heaps of hard work in a few weeks so here’s a little Christmas challenge! It’s the 12 Days of Christmas.

12 Days of Christmas will start on the 26th December. It’s the day after you’ve eaten until you literally can’t eat anymore. Presents have all been opened, merriment was had, games were played and everything. One thing? Time to get back to business. It’s not a difficult challenge at all. It’s just a way to keep motivated and do a little something each day to keep in the swing of exercise.

It’s very straightforward, there are 12 exercises listed below. Each day choose a different one and do 100 repetitions of it through the day. I plan on doing 10sets of 10 repetitions throughout the day sporadically. I’m not going to set an order because I think being told exactly what to do makes it so much easier to convince yourself not to do it.

The Moves

  • Push ups (modified or normal)
  • Tricep dips
  • Superman (Total of 10 minutes throughout the day)
  • Plank (Total of 10 minutes throughout the day)
  • Squats #
  • Calf raises
  • Kick-backs (100 each leg)
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Lunges (100 each leg)
  • Bridge
  • V-sits *
  • Side plank pulses (100 each side)- this is where you are in the side plank position, then pulse upwards 10 times each side. *

That’s it! 100 repetitions for 12 days! Not so hard right!? If you’re feeling adventurous, exercises with a * can be made harder with dumbbells and exercises with # can be made harder with a kettlebell.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a fabulous New Year! Posts will become more sporadic from now until after Christmas because I have exams and then I’m off home! I promise to try be as active (in more ways than one) as I can though.

Gym Bug

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Slow or Fast; who wins this weights race?

Hi there!

Another weight training session today and I tried a slightly different technique based on some research I’d done. I got curious as to whether it was best to do fast repetitions or slow ones, so I researched it and tried out a slower routine today than normal.

Women’s Health Mag has discussed that both can have great benefits for the body. The key is the point in your training you’re at. If you’re a beginner, going fast will likely lead to injury. Going slow is also great if you’re looking to build strength. What you want to do is really focus on slowing down on the “release” stage of the lift. For example, doing a bicep curl, really focus on slowing the rate on the way down rather than on the way up.  By going too fast, too soon you risk injury to muscles and joints, especially if your technique isn’t quite on form. However, when performing the repetitions it’s best that you slow it down on the ‘release’ phase. I tried it today and I could definitely feel more of a burn, particularly with my abs. By doing the repetitions slower (for example, with a bicycle crunch) I could really feel my abs working hard.

Men’s Fitness also discuss this and state that lifting slow will see you develop more muscle mass. Again, it’s all about going slow on the ‘release’ phase of the repetition, this way you’re really working the muscles hard and developing more strength. Don’t worry ladies though, going slow won’t mean walking out the gym one day a bodybuilder, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it takes more than just lifting to get those types of muscles. Females lack testosterone, which is what’s needed to give you those bulging muscles. Always remember female bodybuilders or very muscular females are probably taking supplements to enable that type of muscle growth!

But does that mean fast isn’t beneficial? Not at all, however, it’s only wise to use faster repetitions when you’ve got the overall technique nailed down. This will help prevent injury. It’s also pertinent you’ve got muscle strength to maintain a safe technique whilst going through the more intense workout. By going faster you improve power and burn more calories but you need to be physically capable of maintaining a proper technique when more fatigued. By forcing the weight to move faster you’re using more energy, so you will notice you’re more tired, sweaty and out of breath by following this technique.  Be careful though!  Jerky, poor controlled movements will cause injury. You must remain in control of the weights to reap the rewards!

Here are a couple of exercises you can do both fast and slow;

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bicep Curls
  • Squats (maybe not too fast if you’re using a bar)
  • Push Ups
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Tricep Dips

I’m going to do a session of 10 slow repetitions of different exercises, then next session try 15 repetitions in the same time frame for the same exercises. This way I’ll get to experience both! Hopefully it’s a new way to mix up my workouts. You should give it a try too!

Almost Friday. Keep going!

Gym Bug

Mixing Up Cardio

Hi there!

Never miss a Monday! I always try follow this, I think going to the gym if you can on a Monday sets you up for the week ahead and has you in the right mind-set. However, it is a Monday. Today, I was heading to the gym telling myself exactly how my 30-minute treadmill session would pan out. 5-minute warm up, 20-minutes HIIT alternating between 1-minute on (hill climb or hill sprint) with 1-minute off, 5-minute cool down. I didn’t fancy it. I’ve done it a lot this semester and wanted a change. So, whilst on the treadmill I decided to mix it up a bit. It’s as follows;

5-minute warm, 0% incline, set speed as desired.

Set 1

  • 1-minute sprint at 0% incline, 17km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery at 0% incline, 11km per hour.
  • 2-minutes at 6% incline, 11.5km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery.

Set 2

  • 1-minute at 6% incline, 13.5km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery.
  • 2-minutes at 0% incline, 14km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery.

Set 3

  • 1-minute at 11% incline, 11.5km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery.
  • 2-minutes at 6% incline, 11.5km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery.

Set 4

  • 1-minute at 11% incline, 11.5km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery.
  • 2-minutes at 0% incline, 14km per hour.
  • 1-minute recovery.

5-minute cool down.

STRETCH

Total time recovering; 8 minutes
Total time working; 12 minutes
Warm up & Cool down; 10 minutes

That’s it! The 30-minutes flew in and I added a new cardio workout to my repertoire. Obviously, change inclines and speeds as desired, but it was an intense workout. I think (and hope) that it’s also a good way of helping train my endurance, rather than 1-minute on, 1-minute off like I usually do, I’m going at a slightly lower intensity for longer. This mixes it up a bit and reduces my time running at incline 0% at 11.5km per hour, which should hopefully see my fitness go up a bit too! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

This was followed by a 15-minute HIIT session on the bike consisting of 1-minute recovery, 2-minutes work intervals. And the whole workout was preceded by some abs work (planks and reverse crunches today).

Have a great week!

Gym Bug

Bodyweight Workout

Hi there!

So, a few days ago I posted about my weights sessions in the gym, using controlled resistance training machines (find it here) and I mentioned I would do a bodyweight post for those who don’t have access to resistance training, or like to mix it up!

For exercises that don’t aren’t easy to explain, I’ve found some YouTube videos. Please note any of the YouTube content I put on here is not my own material and I have no desire to infringe on copyright. The videos are property of the uploaders, unless otherwise stated.

Okay, so here we go with a No Excuse Bodyweight Workout; The idea behind this one is that each set works each major muscle group (arms, shoulders,  back, legs, abs), you do a set, take a rest (aim for no more than 2 minutes) then move onto the next. You can then repeat as many times as you can (rest between complete circuits should be no more than 4 minutes, if possible)

Warm-Up
Whatever you prefer hear just to get your muscles awakened and blood flowing. Dynamic stretching or a quick 5-minute jog is great.

Set 1
10 x push ups
10 x mountain climbers
10 x tricep dips
15 x bodyweight squats
30-second Superman 

Set 2
10 x Pike push ups
1
0 x reverse crunches
10 x bench dips (like a tricep dip, but use a chair and drop below the seated part, and squeeze back up)
15 x lunges (each leg)
10 x chin raises (lay in Superman position, place chin on your hands and lift your chin off the ground)

Set 3
Choose an exercise for each body part from Set 1 or Set 2 and add 5 reps to it (or add 10 seconds)

Set 4 (Optional Abs extra, do this once at the end/beginning)
15-second side plank (each side)
30-second plank
10 x flutter kicks
10 x bicycle crunches
15 x leg raises (lie on your back, legs up, lower legs to the floor slowly, bring back up)

Cool-Down
Make sure you do a good stretch session. Target each muscle area that you targetted with the workout, or foam roll if you’ve got access to one!

Feel free to leave any comments (appropriate, please) and anything you would change/add to make your workout better!

Have a great weekend! Keep those goals in mind!

Gym Bug

 

 

Weights in a workout

Hi there!

So, about 1 year ago I went to the gym with my older sister (who will be doing a special post about Cross Fit soon). It was Christmas holidays at the time and I had returned a little bit on the lighter side. I had just started rowing and the competition was intense, and it saw many weekly weigh ins and “weight adjusted times”, essentially my worst nightmare. I watched my weight plummet from a healthy 64kg to 54kg in a shocking space of time. I was in trouble from my family. I wasn’t “underweight” but I wasn’t a healthy weight either. The speed of the weight loss was also a negative factor. I didn’t look good; I had no curves, was a bit drawn, pale, tired, boney, etc. It wasn’t good, I turned it around it though when my sister introduced to me to weight lifting.
Now, initially I thought “But I don’t want to get super muscly”, I can’t even believe I’d thought it, it was a silly thought. My sister promptly put me right as well.
The issue is that I will not be the only one who thought that and people will still think it today. Something everyone should understand is weight lifting will NOT make you look like a body builder unless you force it to. Body builders take things to induce that kind of muscle definition.

Studies have shown that by just introducing 2 weight lifting sessions into your workout can vastly improve metabolic rate. Why? Because muscle burns more calories than fat! You can get toned, lean muscles with burns more calories than fat, so you get increased metabolism and a healthier physique.

Now, when I say weight lifting, I don’t necessarily mean pumping iron with the big boys who are huffing and puffing with their giant olympic bars. You can use the controlled weights (which I do). You also don’t need to lift excessively heavy. Here’s one of my weight lifting sessions as an example;
Note; 3 sets 12 x 20kg = 3 sets of 12 repetitions at 20kg)

  • Seated Cable Row (Upper back); 3 sets of 12 x 20kg
  • Leg Press (Thighs, glutes, calves); 3 sets 10 x 100kg
  • Easy Delts Pull Ups (Centre back, biceps, shoulders); 3 sets 12 x 30kg
    (It’s an assisted pull ups machine, you select a ‘supporting’ weight, so I’m supported by 25kg, so I’m pulling 35kg of my own body weight)
  • Calf Rotations (Calves); 3 sets 15 x 40kg
  • Easy Delts Tricep Dips (Triceps, chest); 3 sets 12 x 35kg
    (Here I use the same machine as pull ups but I’m going down, in a tricep dip motion)
  • Lower back (Lower back); 3 sets 15 x 1kg
  • Shoulder press (Shoulders(; 3 sets 15 x 15kg
  • Plank (Core); 3 sets 15 seconds
  • Bicep curls; 3 sets 12 x 20kg
  • Oblique crunch with kettlebell (Obliques); 6 sets 15 x 16kg (3 sets each side)
  • Arm extension (Triceps); 3 sets 12 x 40kg
  • Reverse crunch (Lower abdominals); 3 sets 15 reps
  • Chest press (Chest, shoulders, triceps); 3 sets 12 x 20kg
  • Bicycle crunches (Abdominals); 3 sets 15 reps
  • Lat Machine (Lats, or the muscle around your ribs, back); 3 sets 10 x 35kg

This kind of workout takes me roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure to stretch after!

Now, I used lift free weights; squatting, deadlifting, bent over rows, cable flys etc but I stopped once I got injured and have found that I save time by using the controlled weights. Time I need to save to fit in studying and things, but body weight or free weights are great ways of developing strong, lean muscles too. A key thing to be aware of with controlled weights however is that you don’t plateau. You’ve got to move out your comfort zone and increase the weights to see a difference and improve toning!

As always though, if you’re unsure about anything ask instructors and trainers. It can be very dangerous if you start lifting without proper technique, even using the controlled weights. If it’s your first time, don’t go for what you think you can lift, go a couple of kilos below that, make sure you’ve nailed the technique, then focus on lifting more. Practice makes perfect.

If you become super serious about weight training and do it often, also make sure you’re packing the protein to maintain muscles and aid recovery. I currently use My Protein Chocolate Smooth Impact Whey. It comes in a fantastic range of flavours and students get 10% if they go through My Student Beans and have an active University account.

So that’s it! Weights are a great way to mix up a workout as well. I alternate between a cardio day and a weights day to keeps things interesting. Tomorrow will be a weights day for example. It breaks up the monotony of cardio, and since doing solid cardio got me in trouble last year it has helped me put on weight. However, I’ll admit I’ve lost too much again, but I’m working on sorting that. Packing my protein and healthy fats!

I’ll make sure to do a post about body weight exercises soo for those who don’t use a gym.

Have a great week everyone!

Gym Bug

P.S Any machines names you didn’t know, check out Technogyms list of products to see photos, my gym (and many, many others) stock their products, so it’s likely you’ll have access to similar machines at your gym.

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