GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “exercise”

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

How I drastically cut my 10km run time

Hi there!

When I started running consistently it was during my Christmas break of 2012. I had put on weight in first year (the ‘fresher’s fifteen’) and was really uncomfortable with how my clothes felt and how unfit I was generally. I started running with my dad who had been at it for a while. When I ran my first 10k it was brutal. My time was around 1 hour 15 minutes. It was a struggle the whole way and my evening was spent with me on the couch. It was here I realised just how unfit I had been.

I started running regularly and more and more I started to enjoy my Dad’s and I’s Sunday 10k sessions. By Christmas 2013 we were running 12k’s and made the mistake of doing a 16k too (no one won that one). Our 10k always hovered around the 1 hour mark. My dad is over 50, so we never pushed it.

Fast forward to Summer 2014. I went on a family holiday to Nerja (below you see the view from our villa, which indicates the length of the hill I had to run up). It was here my sister introduced me to hill sprints. Brutal, heart-pounding hill sprints. We only had to do roughly 20-30 minutes to be as worn out as a solid 45 minute run! I fell in love with the new high intensity element, something that I had generally lacked in my running. I continued to do hill sprints when I got home over the summer and I noticed my 10k runs with my Dad were becoming easier and easier (but not faster, because my Dad is over 50, I was warned).

I joined a gym within my first couple of weeks of moving to Madrid for a year abroad for University. I started off with just using the bike, doing some intervals and things. Then I went onto the treadmill and slowly started incorporating more and more intervals and HIIT into my cardio. I now combine HIIT on the treadmill and the bike for 2 cardio sessions a week, I do about 45 minutes each session.
Important; my first stint in Madrid was September-December, and I lost far too much weight. A key part of this was doing too much HIIT and not fuelling my body properly. Even with weight training I ended up being scrawny and unhealthy. If you do HIIT, ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly too. This means good carbs, protein and fats.

Now, onto Christmas 2014. I was limited to my exercise routine because I was putting on weight (because it was absolutely necessary). However, I did go out with my Dad for a 10k during my tme at home. The second we were out the car he said ‘Just you go on and run at your own pace’. I initially resisted, because I enjoyed the time we spent together running, but he refuses to accept it wasn’t my fault we ran a 16k!
It ended up being a mistake anyway, I ran so far ahead he tried to reduce the distance between us and pushed himself to far. However, I ran 11k in 57 minutes! I couldn’t believe it. I thought back to what caused my sudden incrase in speed and realised it was the HIIT. Whilst I did not fuel myself, my fitness and times improved dramatically (the lack of fuel is really bad and embarassing, I’m not endorsing my stupidity, if you do HIIT or speed work, fuel it right)!

My most recent 10k which I did on a treadmill clocked in at 47 mins 35 seconds. I altered my incline and speed throughout to achieve this and I wasn’t wiped out by the end! (I was tired, don’t get me wrong).

So, after this long (hopefully not boring) story, what’s my point? My point is if you want to cut your time and improve your fitness, logging kilometers and kilometers of steady running will not do it quite the same as using HIIT, hill sprints and lots of intervals. You need to speed train to improve your times!

Here’s an example of what you could do on a treadmill;

Warm-Up; 5 minutes at 9km/h

Sprint; 1 minute at 13-15km/h (wherever you feel you won’t come flying off the treadmill)

Rest; 1 minute at 9km/h

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Cool-Down; 5 minutes starting at 9km/h then reducing by 0.5km/h every minute.

I do this often, I also mix it up with inclines in place of a sprint. The point is to challenge your body and your speed. You also don’t need to workout for as ong when doing HIIT because your sending your heartrate into a higher zone (if done correctly. Check out my HIIT post for more information on HIIT and routines!

Gym Bug

A step too far in tackling obesity?

Hi there!

I was on DailyMail (out of boredom, I don’t use it as my key news source) and the following article popped up; “Snacking ‘should be as shameful as smoking’. The article explains that Professor Susan Jebb has said that snacking on unhealthy foods and any meals served without vegetables should be seen as negatively as smoking in doors.

This is opening an already wide open door to socially obliterating obese people. It’s unfair. It’s also further widening the very dangerous door of social media inducing eating disorders such as disordered eating, anorexia, orthorexia nervosa and so on. By shaming people from having ‘an unhealthy meal’ or having ‘an unhealthy snack’ a stigma is being created surrounding these foods. A stigma I’ve fallen victim to myself.

Now I completely understand that we need to start doing something about the obesity  problem. It;s giving rise to a generation of overweight children, increasing the instances of diseases and is a heavy burden on public spending in the UK. But I do not believe making unhealthy foods ‘shameful’ is the way to do it. What about the people who live a healthy, balanced life? Are they not allowed to go out and enjoy a burger or a donut or a slice of cake? I know for a fact when I turn 21 this year I’ll be enjoying a delicious slice of cake and other little, delicious extras!

I believe the key to changing lifestyles is making it clear what health risks obese individuals face, the impact it has not only on themselves but their families, educating these people about how to deal with the issue and trying to life these stigma’s around foods. It’s also important to highlight how easy it can be to make small, healthy changes and start living a healthier lifestyle.

For example, make this more widely available

                                                                       The Eat Well Plate (UK)

There’s also some great resources out there that many proably do not know about. For example, there’s Change4Life in the UK offering tips, recipes, vouchers, information on local activities and support! Eat To Perform is another excellent source for information and some hard to hear facts that are incredibly motivating. (Side note, they’re articles help me deal with having to put on weight).

Now, I’m not saying this is the easiest thing to do. But it’s a lot easier than people think! It’s not about dieting (terrible word and I hate it) it’s about making healthy, sustainable changes in your life. Going for a walk everyday, having an apple instead of crisps (potato chips) at lunch, walking to the next bus stop, the small changes you can make today are endless! It’s also important not to be ashamed of not “eating 100% clean, 100% of the time”. What does that even mean-clean? Google ‘clean eating’ and I guarantee you’ll get numerous definitions!

Just try focus on eating good food, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, protein and good fats. Get in a bit of cardio and weight training. Enjoy that slice of cake! Keep highly processed foods to a moderate amount, but don’t go cold turkey, trust me you’ll end binging, it’s not worth it!

If life becomes all about food and exercise (or not doing it) then it’s no fun. Again, trust me. I’m still coming out of some food and exercise related issues but I’m slowly learning food is to be enjoyed and 6-pack abs aren’t necesary to be happy!

Gym Bug

Calorie Requirement Calculators

Hi there!

I decided to take a look at online calorie calculators that are supposed to give an indication of how many calories you need to consume to lose weight. I’ve done this to show you that these can be widely different but can give you a very rough guide to the number of calories you should consume (not including exercise unless stated)

My Calorie Counter; 1942 calories

Calorie King; 1100 to 1300 calories

Fitness Magazine; (with exercise level included) 2395 calories

WebMd; (with exercise level included) 2000

Anita Bean’s Calculation; (with exercise level included) 2788 calories

These are 5 of many different ways of calculatng your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and required calorie intake. However, these are clearly vastly different from each other. It seems I should be aiming for around 2000, which is the guideline daily amount for adult females. You can also get it professionally checked by having a test conducted to measure your BMR using heart rate, CO2 production and working you to exhausting which is significantly more accurate.

I just wanted to let you see that these calculators cannot be taken as the law for losing weight! Eat well and exercise regularly and you can do this!

Gym Bug

Should there be a Sugar Tax?

Hi there!

Today the BBC released an article about how imposing a sugar tax could help fund public health. It got me thinking, “Is a sugar tax a good idea?”. Patient UK has given a decent summary on why this would be good.

I believe a tax on ultra-processed, high sugar content foods is a good idea. The UK has a shockingly high obesity rate and introducing a tax (according to the Patient UK link) could see a reduction in 100 calores a day (on average). The tax would also provide more revenue for the government AND hopefully reduce spending on obesity and related diseases (such as type 2 diabetes). Personally, I also believe it would help people live a healthier lifestyle. At the moment, looking at the prices of foods is incredibly frustrating. Why would someone buy the ingredients for a healthy salad when a microwave burger is a fraction of the cost? Or why would someone buy apples as a snack when a huge bag of chocolate is cheaper? Something needs to be done to help people lead healthier lifestyles. It is a choice but if healthier food is more easily available and unhealthy food less so, maybe people will start making better choices!

Apologies if this appears as a rant, but a salad should not cost an arm and a leg and a burger should not cost next to nothing. It encourages unhealthy habits and fuels the obesity epidemic we’re witnessing today. What’s worse is that marketing campaigns for junk food and sugary products are heavily targetted at children. They are the most vulnerable members of our society when it comes to marketing campaigns and ofcourse if they see Powerade advertised as a sports drink, they’ll guzzle one down straight after P.E, essentially undoing their work (given the amount of sugar in a Powerade). Don’t get me wrong, sports drinks can be incredibly useful sources of energy and recovery but only when you’re enduring hard, intense exercise. P.E is not hard nor is it intense. These children are being brought up surrounded by temptation, it’s not fair.

Everyone is feeling the financial squeeze given the crisis that unfortunately hit the UK and the world, so in theory, by increasing the price of unhealthy products, you’ll decrease the demand. It can only be beneficial for the long term health of the population and help generate further revenue to help the econom get out of this slump. (P.S I’m a business student).

So, that’s my idea on the whole subject. What’s yours? Is a sugar tax a good idea? Will it help?

Gym Bug

10 Diets in 50 Days

Hi there!

I found this interesting article from the Daily Mail (not the most realiable but it seems more of a diary from a general person). It’s written by Andy Leeks, who decided to try 10 different diets in 50 days after years of struggling to stick with any diet plan. He chose the following diets;

“the 5:2 diet; the Special K diet, where two out of three meals are replaced by Special K cereal or snack bars; following NHS guidance for a healthy diet; a juice fast; the high-fat, low-carb Atkins diet; a raw food diet; the baby food diet (replacing two out of three meals a day with tiny jars of baby food, in order to cut calories); calorie counting using a mobile phone app; the grapefruit diet, which involves having either grapefruit or grapefruit juice before or after each meal, supposedly to boost fat-burning; and the cabbage soup diet.”

I think what’s the most interesting, is that whilst he lost weight on all the diets, he said the NHS guidance for a healthy diet was the easiest and most enjoyable to follow. He lost a total of 4lbs on that diet, which was not the most he lost in 5 days (5lbs on the Special K and 5:2 diet) he said his mood was better and he enjoyed it more.

I thought I’d share this because this shows that you don’t need faddy diets to lose weight. It’s not a “2 week eat right, lose weight, be fine” type of thing. If you at a balanced diet and exercise regularly you can lose weight without eating cabbage soup all day (not fun I’d imagine).

The NHS Guidelines are great and have loads of tips, advice and recipes to check out!

Faddy diets DO NOT WORK. You’ll see short term weight loss and long run gains (somtimes even more than you lost). It takes time and effort to get a healthy diet going but once it’s your lifestyle, it’s dead simple.

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

New Year’s Resolutions

Hi there!

Big gap in posts, I’ve been busy eating, socialising and studying! Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forward to ringing in 2015 soon!

This post will be about the dreaded question; What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
My older sister works in a sports shop and has many people come in and say “Getting back into it for the New Year”. We all know the majoriy of these people won’t stick it out. It’s the well known scene of walking into the gym anytime in January and it being absolutely packed. Come February, it’s back to November population. New Year’s resolutions are a great idea but I believe given the horrible “it’s going to fail” mentality, people don’t stick to them.

That’s why I think that anyone planning on doing a New Years Resolution related to getting fit and healthy should NOT SAY IT OUT LOUD. Don’t say it’s your New Years Resolution! Think of another resolution to give to people when they ask. A healthy lifestyle is exactly that a lifestyle. Not a challenge to be tackled because it’s a new year. I also don’t think you should start your fitness regime bang on January 1st. You’re probably still staring at festive treats, may have some social occassions to attend? My advice would be to set yourself a date after the first week of January (for example, I know someone who’s set January 10th) and then tell yourself that’s the date you get back on track. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution, it’s a deadline to enjoy the last of the holidays and indulge. I’m not saying only eat chocolate from now until your personal deadline, but enjoy it and relax. The festive period only comes round once a year, so you should enjoy it!

Happy New Year readers and let’s get ready for an excellent 2015!

Gym Bug

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