GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “bike”

Compression gear

Hi there!

This post has been inspired by my most recent purchase! I just bought Sub Sports RX Women’s Graduated Compressio Baselayer Calfguards (try saying that 10 times fast). They are currently reduced from £19 to £12 with free UK delivery, bargain! I read reviews and the general resonse was that they were good quality and great for helping muscle recovery. I shall update you on my own personal experience once I’ve tried them out!

So, why bother spending money on compression gear? I personally suffer from shin splints and started with a pair of calf guards when I got sick of the bike and wanted to run again. I found they really did make a difference. The idea behind comprssion calf sleeves or compression socks is to squeeze your legs and help blood move up. Ths helps prevet inflammation, improves muscle recovery and (to a much smaller extent) reduces blood clots*. Runners World explains that it helps reduce lactic acid build up and increase circulation to the muscles.

Compression socks are no longer the only kind of compression gear you can buy. You can now also get full upper body or lower body compression baselayers, arm compression sleeves and compression shorts. Prices tend to be high for the decent quality gear (such as 2XU, CW-X and so on).

Initially, compression gear can be wildly uncomfortable to put on and take off, but after seeing how much it helped me recover and prevent shin splints, I can’t preach compression gear enough! Take a look around at the options, read reviews and try out different gear for yourself!

Have a great day! Almost Friday, woohoo!

Gym Bug

*www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000597.htm

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Build your own playlist

Hi there!

I was in the gym today and listening to my iPod whilst running and it inspired me to do this post! I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best songs for warm-up, high-intensity, low-intensity and cool-down! These are my personal favourites and always help me power through a tough workout.

Warm-Up

Ideally your warm-up playlist should have good, upbeat songs to get you ready to rumble!

  • One Republic- Something I Need
  • T Pain feat. Teddy Verseti- Church
  • One Republic- If I Lose Myself
  • Jessie J- Do It Like A Dude
  • The Temper Trap- Fader
  • Avicii- Levels
  • 3OH!3 feat. Katy Perry- Starstrukk
  • Labrinth- Treatment
  • Cupid- 369
  • Zedd- Clarity

High-Intensity

This workout is likely to be tough, so you need good, strong rhythm to kee pyou powering through!

  • The All-American Rejects- Dirty Little Secret
  • Arm Van Buuren feat. Lauren Evans- Alone
  • The Saturdays- Not Giving Up
  • Enrique Inglesias feat. Pitbull- I’m A Freak
  • Tiesto feat. Matthew Koma- Wasted
  • Jessie J feat. Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj- Bang Bang
  • Pitbul feat. Ne-Yo- Time Of Our Lives
  • Axwell & Ingrosso- Something New
  • Porter Robinson- Language
  • Robbie Williams- Let Me Entertain You

Low-Intensity

Still hard but you don’t need to heavy beats this time round, think weight lifting type music.

  • Flo-Rida- GDFR
  • Hardwell feat. Jason Derulo- Follow Me
  • Fall Out Boy- Centuries
  • Fall Out Boy- Immortals
  • Alesso feat. Tove Lo- Heroes (We Could Be)
  • The White Panda- Midnight Life
  • Sigma feat. Paloma Faith- Changing
  • Paramore- Ain’t It Fun
  • Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora- Black Widow
  • Iggy Azalea- Bounce

Cool-Down

Phew!

  • Kelly Clarkson- Invincible
  • Alesso feat. Matthew Koma- Years
  • Jason Derulo- Undefeated (yeah you are!)
  • Kelly Clarkson- Stronger
  • Otto Knows- Million Voices
  • Hardwell feat. Mr. Probz- Birds Fly
  • Years & Years- King
  • Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko- Towards The Sun
  • David Guetta feat. Emeli Sande- What I Did For Love
  • The Script- No Good In Goodbye

There we go! 10 songs, 4 work out types or sections! You could compile all 40 into one big playlist or split them up, add your own and what not! You could also pile them all into one playlist, jump on a treadmill, spin bike or head outside and match your pace to the song! Lots of HIIT there!

Have you got any must have songs?

Gym Bug

Un-dull the gym bike

Hi there!

Today was cardio day and I did a mix of treadmill work and bike work. Anyone that’s used a gym bike repeatedly probably understands that it can get quite monotonous and boring and the drive to keep pushing yourself dwindles away relatively quickly. However, today I tried a different type of bike session involving my gym playlist on my iPod. It’s almost like a little game you play against yourself. It’s really easy but can get your heart rate soaring at times, so it’s a really good HIIT workout.

Basically, after your warm-up start your chosen playlist. You want to have a mix of heavy, fast songs and slightly slower ones to achieve a mix of strength and speed work. Once you’ve started your HIIT session you cannot touch your iPod unless it’s to change the volume. The idea is that from now until cool-down you have to match the beat of the song that’s playing. No changing. To achieve the beat you need to change the resistance to allow you to match the beat whilst still working hard. If a really fast song comes on do not drop all resistance and let your legs freewheel. Make yourself work! What you’ll find is that instead of watching the clock you’re concentrating on the song and trying to think of any changes in the beat or how a particular song goes. It distracts you from the time and has you challenging yourself. It’s quite fun!

A couple of really good songs to have on your playlist can be found in my previous post here.

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Gym Bug

Getting Motivated

Hi there!

Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year! Since it’s a New Year you may be looking to change up your training, do something different, explore a new way of fitness? Well, I have a few challenges you may be interested in trying out to get that extra kick you need to make 2015 a great and healthy year!

I’ve already written about Spartan Race and Tough Mudder and I recommend checking those posts out! (of course I do) but there’s also plenty more motivational challenges to take up!

If getting super filthy and electrocuted is not your thing there are plenty others to take a look at. If you’re a Rock ‘n’ Roll fan (or just keen to run) then ‘Rock and Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon & 10K’ could be right up your alley! They have events all over the world! I’m going to enter the Madrid 10km in April. Check it out!

Not a runner? No problem! What about doing a combination of cycling, climbing and canoeing in the Lake District? This one is a lot more expensive (£195 plus min. £2,000 sponsorship) but it looks incredible and all money raised goes to Action Medical Research (helping families cope with early babies, disabled children or caring for a child with a rare disease). You join a team of 3 other people to cycle 50 miles through the Lake District before climbing Mt Helvellyn and then finishing off with a canoe trip to Lake Thirlmere. Sounds tough!

If you’re more of a water baby then why not give the Great Swim a go? It proudly boasts the fact that it’s Europe’s biggest open water swim series in clean lakes, lochs and urban docks all over Britain. It’s the first year it has an official charity which is the phenomenal Macmillan Cancer Support, but you can raise money for any charity you wish. It’s throughout Britain between June and August.

For those of you that are up for a tough, gruelling triathlon that also raises money for blood cancer research then the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palace Triathlon is for you! (What a mouth full!) Again, it’s more expensive (but it’s a great cause) Registration costs from £82.50 and you need a min. sponsorship of £300. It takes place in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. You can race individually or as a team.

You should take a look at local runs too. Park Run is a brilliant organisation that free, weekly, timed 5km races around the world. The linked website is specifically for the UK but Google it to find out about any in your area! It’s a great way to meet runners and set yourself a weekly motivational goal!

This is literally a teeny, tiny teaspoonful of what’s out there in terms of charity sporting events, take a good look and pick your motivation! I’ve got Spartan Race in a few months and it’s constantly motivating me to keep pushing a little harder. With my injury my aerobic fitness is plummeting but with the knowledge that I have to endure a grueling 8 mile obstacle course I know I’ll be fighting fit again in no time!

So choose your challenge and get going!

Gym Bug

Getting oot’n’aboot

Hi there!

For non Scottish readers “oo’n’aboot” translates to ” out and about”. It’s highly stereotypical and I love the phrase, I have no idea why. Anyway, now that I’m home I do not have access to a gym, which is really, really, really nice. I get to spend my cardio days outside in the gorgeous (haha) Scottish weather.

I love getting out and going for a good run outdoors. My first run since returning was great and it didn’t feel like a workout. I ran at an average pace of 5.33 minutes per km, which was faster than I usually run and I really enjoyed being outdoors rather than looking at my reflection in the gym window on the treadmill. Not getting sweat in my eyes was also an added bonus.

Running outdoors is not only more aesthetically pleasing, it also has additional heath benefits that you can’t get from a gym. Outdoor running means you’re exposed to a variety of different terrains. This adds to the development of muscles in your legs and gets them nice and strong!
Anyone who has run outdoors will also have probably, at least once, faced wind. Running against the wind requires more energy which requires more calories! You won’t get that kind of natural resistance in a gym.
You get fresh air! The gym can become a hot box and the air becomes thick and warm, but outdoors your lungs, body and mind can rejuvenate and benefit from getting decent fresh air.
I also find that running outdoors leaves me feeling more refreshed. I can come in from a run outside feeling more energised. I attribute this mainly to the fact that I’m not drowning in my own sweat and I smell of outside.

If you can’t run, I still recommend trying to get outside as much as possible. There’s so much to do! Go for a walk, a hike, a cycle, even sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. A well-balanced, healthy lifestyle is not achieved by powering it out in a gym. You need nature to help keep your lungs and mind fresh!

If you do decide to go outside for a run and don’t want a monotonous run, try mix it up a bit. You can sprint for 1-minute and jog for 1-minute (or any length of time). I like finding a hill and doing hill runs too. There’s a long hill next to my house and I find a good, challenging run is to run one full length at a moderate pace, walk down, sprint half the hill, walk to the bottom and repeat for a maximum of 5 times. I don’t plan on going beyond 5 repetitions of this because it will most likely end in injury. Instead I focus on improving my speed and recovery.

So get out there and enjoy the fresh air!

Gym Bug

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/treadmill-vs-running-outside.html

http://healthontrack.info/outdoor-running-benefits/

Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

Hi there!

A while ago, for my birthday, I was given the Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch. It’s been months since I received it but I wanted to give it a really good go before I spoke about it. And, since there’s been a couple of gaps in posts and I’m wide awake at 6am I thought I would tell you a little bit more about it! What appealed to me about it was the fact that it has a heart rate monitor, which is a more accurate measure of calorie burn and fitness improvement. It’s a great way to keep track of how well you’re doing throughout your training and that was a major appeal to me. The heart rate monitor is also not a strap around your chest (which I’ve heard can be annoying). The heart rate monitor is placed underneath the watch face and is an optical monitor. A rather bright green light (do not look into it) will appear when the watch is active and this measures your pulse on the top of your wrist to measure your heart rate. Another appeal is the GPS tracking device that is very accurate and can be paired with an app on your laptop, smart phone, tablet etc to get a really nice looking presentation of each of your runs and your progress.

Fit The fitting of this watch is important. The heart rate monitor will not work properly unless it’s placed in the correct place on your wrist, which is just above the wrist bone. It’s not uncomfortable fortunately, even though you have to fasten the watch in such a way the watch fits snugly. The fit is tighter than I wear a normal watch, but the wide strap makes it more a comfortable fit . The strap is wide and fastens very securely, so there’s no movement on the run (at least there shouldn’t be it you’ve tightened it enough). Once fitted, the watch is pretty quick at detecting your heart rate.

image image image

Use Once you’ve excitedly torn the watch from it’s impressively sturdy plastic box you need to charge it. It’s a relatively quick process and once it’s charged it’s very easy to get started. You can fill in all your details regarding your age, height, weight and gender to get accurate readings. It is also possible to have it in pounds or kilograms, miles or kilometres and centimetres or feet. Once fully charged the battery lasts between 4-6 hours, depending on length of your runs. Using the watch is really easy. There is one large button underneath the watch face that you use to navigate through the menu. There’s 3 options for running; run, treadmill or stopwatch. You can custom the run into sprint, speed, endure, fat burn and easy. It’s a super easy watch to navigate which is brilliant. Also, I know other runners who have touch sensitive watches and running in the rain makes it a nightmare sometimes to use them, this one does not have this problem! It is also waterproof (although I do not recommend showering with it on). The GPS element of the watch is also quick. I typically don’t initiate the GPS loading until I’m outside walking towards my gate and usually by the time I’ve gotten to the gate (about 30 seconds) the watch is ready to go. Once you start running you can have the watch display calories, distance, time, heart rate or average pace. If you have customised your run, for example to sprints, it will beep and vibrate to inform you of when to speed up or slow down, so you don’t need to be constantly looking down to monitor your pace (which results in a time check, which can be hard). During your run you can pause the run very easily by holding down the left button for 3 seconds, then to re-start the run you press the right button. The screen moves fluently through the menus and is easy to read whilst bobbing up and down. You can also activate a light by touching the actual face of the watch, the back light is powerful and brilliant for less than ideal visibility. Post-run you can check your run statistics on numerous channels. The first is the actual watch, via the ‘History’ option, you can also sync it via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet if you have the Tom Tom Sports app (recommended). You can also set it up on your laptop or computer and plug it in via USB. The bluetooth connection takes a bit longer than the USB but sometimes it’s less hassle to sync via bluetooth than boot up a laptop! Monitoring your progress is very easy with the Tom Tom app (laptop/smart phone/tablet version) interface. You can see all your runs in chronological order and by clicking on it you can see a map of where you ran plus graphs showing elevation, speed, calories and average pace. It also very easy to use.

Overall This is my first running watch, but I’ve used a couple of Garmin watches in passing and I’ve got to say, the Tom Tom experience for me has been a lot better. I find it a lot easier to use and the built-in heart rate monitor is the real deal breaker or me. I can’t imagine having to wear a chest strap (a sports bra is enough, thank you). The watch fits well, doesn’t rub and gives me an in-depth analysis of my run. You can also connect the device to websites such as The Running Bug, which allows you to track your runs and exercise on a social network. It’s both brilliant for the gym and running outside.

I won’t lie, I had issues with this watch regarding the heart rate monitor. Upon arriving in Spain the heart rate monitor started to cut out when I got sweaty (which was very quick, given it was 30°C or higher). However, I contacted Tom Tom support, who very quickly got the watch repaired for me! Tom Tom’s quick and careful service ensured I would actually review this watch. I can accept sometimes things malfunction and Tom Tom’s professional handling of the mistake makes me believe the watch is definitely worth buying because if something doe go wrong, Tom Tom will help.

So, if you’re looking for a new running watch and want good, accurate readings, go for this one! You can also get it’s sister Tom Tom Multi Sport Cardio GPS Watch, which has additional settings for cycling and swimming. The Runner comes in black and red or red and white and whilst it does have a high price (standard RRP of £219.99, I got mine on Wiggle for £190 on offer) it is worth it if you’re really focused on training and improving. The watch can also be a great source of motivation as it pushes you to keep trying to improve your performance. Looking at your progress on the app and seeing it displayed run by run really motivates you to try “shaves those last few seconds off”. It also helps you get the most out of your workout. I really love my watch and it’s easy use, comfortable fit and sleek technology definitely make it one of my better purchases! Last minute Christmas gift, anyone?

Hope everyone has an excellent Friday and an even better weekend!

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

Gym Bug’s Simple Gym Rules

Hi there!

This post might come across as slightly “rant-like” in nature. It’s not my intention, but it could happen. Anyway, it has to do with gym manners and how to behave in a gym. I’ve noticed my expectations and my behaviours sometmes vary differently to others (as with all situations in life). But I thought I would give a run down of how I act and would like others to act towards me in a gym. I’m really interested in people’s opinions so leave a comment/tweet if you have any points to make!

The thing that gets me the most in the gym is when there is a whole line of machines available to use and someone strides along and uses the one right next to you. It’s a little creepy and very annoying. This happened to me the other day. I was using 1 of 10 treadmills and instead of selecting any of the 8 not next to me (I was at the wall) he went right next to me. It’s honestly incredibly off-putting and unnecessary. Also, if you do decide to break this rule, don’t make it worse by streching in the tiny space between my machine and yours (someone did this to me on the bike). So;
Gym Bug Rule #1 ; give a gym goer some space (if possible).

Something else that’s unnecessary? Staring. Yes, I’m dripping in sweat, very red faced, doing some strange stretches/abdominal exercises and pounding on the treadmill (HIIT), you’re allowed the occassional glance to work out what the hell I’m doing. But continuous staring? Especially when I make blatant eye contact? No.
Gym Bug Rules #2; stop staring, it’s damn creepy.

A point on cleanliness. At my gym, there is a clear sign asking you to clean machines with some paper towels and a cleaning spray (that smells very pleasant). It’s a matter of hygiene and politeness. If you’ve dripped/drooled/spat all over a machine, don’t leave it for the next gym goer to deal with. It’s uncomfortable and a little it gag-reflex triggering. Also, a towel can be handy to have to mop up drips off your head and body during cardio, this make clean up easier too! Towel during weights also means you can sit on it, preventing sweat transferring to the seats.
Gym Bug Rules #3; cleanliness is next to godliness, wipe machines after use.

Huffing and puffing. I get it, lifting heavy is hard and sometimes a little squeak or puff escapes me as I’m focusing on my breathing. But excessive grunting is seriously not necessary. Shouting is major no-go for me too.
Gym Bug Rules #4; indoor voices, you are indoors afterall.

Machine usage. This is particularly about strength conditioning machines (e.g chest press, leg press, calf rotary, shoulder press) and doing it in sets. If you’re using a machine and taking breaks in between sets, it’s only fair you get up and give others the opportunity to use the machine in between. Don’t sit there staring at your shoelaces (or other gym goers, refer to 2) and hog the machine when others can use it.
Gym Bug Rules #5; sharing is caring, don’t hog.

Those really are my 5 peeves and my personal rules that I try stick to. I think it’s important to consider other gym goers. For some, it can be uncomfortable working out in front of others, there’s no need to make it worse!

But it’s a Saturday. Have a relaxing weekend, friends! Anyone like me, enjoy rest day tomorrow!

Gym Bug

Monday Mayhem-Don’t Miss Out

Hi there!

So it’s Monday (boooooo), which means you’re returning to work, school, some form of unenjoyable activity perhaps? Maybe you’ve had an exciting weekend involving booze, too much food? Maybe it was super boring and you’re excited to have something to do? Either way, it’s the beginning of a new week and the one thing you shouldn’t do? Miss a Monday workout!

Why? Personally, I feel it sets me up for the week. Gets me on the right path for the rest of week workout and eating wise. My Monday’s consist of an early morning cardio workout (I shall explain in a minute) followed by Uni work and class. It helps me establish my weekly routine again after the weekend and gets me motivated!

So, I thought I’d share my workout, in terms of my experience with it, it’s relatively new. I started doing it a few weeks ago because I found the monotonous 45-minute bike or treadmill session unbearable, plus its get in super-fit-heartpumping HIIT in there too!

So here it is;

ABS for around 10 minutes

Set 1; 5 minute warm up on the elliptical maintaining 140-150 rpm

Set 2; 15-minute treadmil session (HIIT)
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km per hour)
1 minute incline (6%) at hard pace (13.5km per hour)
Repeat
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)
1 minute uphill climb (incline 11.5%)
Repeat
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)
1 minute sprint (16.5km)
Repeat
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)
1 minute of any of the three options above
1 minute recovery speed (10.5km)

Set 3; 10 minute HIIT bike
1 minute off
2 minutes on
*Use any technique in here to get your heartrate up. Mix it up with sprints and hill climbs.

Set 4; 5 minute elliptical session (140-150 rpm)

Set 5; 10 minute HIIT bike

RECOVER AND STRETCH

Make sure you cool down correctly and do some stretching. Flexibility is really important and can help prevent injuries!

I will do a post later on about different ways of getting your heart rate up whilst using the bike. It looks like a lot but this whole workout takes me an hour (45 minute cardio, plus 15 minutes (+/-) abs and stretching).
Typically, I grab a banana before I hit the gym then refuel with porridge when I get back! My days are varied but I always eat something before and after hitting the gym.

Tomorrow it’s weights day! For me, an exercise week consists of 3 cardio sessions and 3 weights sessions, with Sunday off. A rest day is important, don’t forget that!

I can’t promise I’ll post everyday but I have ideas for posts that I want to do so watch this space!

And remember, “perfect” is subjective, get happy, get healthy, don’t let others opinions get in your way.

Gym Bug

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