GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “gym”

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

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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

I’m trying something new!

Hi there!

So I’ve decided to mix up my gym routine completely in an attempt to tone up more and put on more muscle mass. I’ve decided to now have “body part days” in the following format;

Day 1; leg and bum day
Day 2; arm, back and shoulder day
Day 3; cardio

I will then repeat this process again to maintain my usual 6 days a week at the gym!

I decided it was time to change up my routine and doing 3 days of cardio was seeing me not gain enough muscle mass (I was losing weight, didn’t want that). Mixing up also means more motivation as I’m not stuck doing the same again.

I shall keep any readers updated on how I think it’s going! First time I focus so much on my weight lifting!

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/

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

Music Motivation

Hi there!

The end of the year is (scarily) fast approaching. Christmas is literally just around the corner which means New Year’s is peaking round too. If you’re like me, the gym is getting a bit tiresome. I have a (potential) solution! Music. I find it’s a great way to motivate myself and it can help change up a workout!
How can it help change up a workout? For example, instead of doing your usual bike session of solid cycling for 45 minutes you could cycle in time to the music. Try to keep the rhthym with your pedals to match the beats in the song! If you’re runnng outside this is also a great way to mix it up. Both these methods incorporate HIIT too!

Below is a list of songs I love to have come on when I’m in the gym. My actual “gym playlist” is 433 songs long, so they’re not all listed!

  1. Anywhere For You- John Martin
  2. Battle of One- Thirty Seconds to Mars
  3. Brick by Boring Brick- Paramore
  4. The Calling- Alesso & Sebastian Ingrosso
  5. A Call to Arms- Thirty Seconds to Mars
  6. Dare You- Hardwell feat. Matthew Koma
  7. The Fighter Remix- Gym Class Heroes remixed by Dj Reidiculous
  8. Gentleman Remix- The Saturdays remixed by Alias
  9. Ignorance- Paramore
  10. Just One Last Time- David Guetta feat. Taped Rai
  11. Kings and Queens- Thirty Seconds to Mars
  12. Little Bad Girl- David Guetta feat. Taio Cruz & Ludacris
  13. The Other Side Remix- Jason Derulo remixed by Jump Smokers
  14. Our Time Now- Plain White T’s
  15. Pump It- Black Eyed Peas
  16. Reload- Sebastian Ingrosso
  17. Under Control- Alesso & Calvin Harris
  18. Wasted- Tiesto feat. Matthew Koma
  19. When You’re Looking Like That- Westlife
  20. #Selfie Remix- The Chainsmokers remixed by Botnek

This is just 20 songs, but they have excellent rhthym and a variety of different beats. So add to this with some of your favourites and get back on that treadmille/elliptical/spin bike/pavement and keep going! A one hour workout is a teeny, tiny fraction of your day but you’ll feel great after it and be improving yourself day-on-day!

Anyone got any must haves on their playlist?

Gym Bug

Heavy v Light; Which weight wins?

Hi there!

Today was weights day and it’s not been an excellent week in terms of recovery and my ability to push myself (I’m sure there may be others who experience this from time to time) and when I was doing my weights training I started thinking about the debate of what’s better; heavy weights, fewer repetitions or light weights, more repetitions?

The common thread for this debate really divides women and men in terms of how they lift. Men will pump iron using the heaviest (and sometimes more) weights they can lift, where as women will opt for the lower weight and more repetitions to avoid ‘getting bulky’. Firstly, this myth needs dispelled, lifting won’t make women super bulky on its own, we simply do not have enough testosterone to bulk like men.

In order to get long, lean muscles you need to reduce fat. Lifting heavier weights will increase muscle mass compared to fat in the body, which will boost your metabolism and lead to an even faster fat loss. So lifting heavy can help women because toned and lean because it helps burn fat.
However, some studies, as summarised in Huffington Post, states that you can do either type of weight training and essentially see the same results! Which means you can go for your heavy (85-90% of your max weight) for 8-10 reps or go light (40-50% of your max weight) for 10-15 reps and still see similar results by the end of a set period! Womenshealth Mag and Building Muscle 101 also discuss this and argue the same.

What they also say however is that you must lift heavy enough to cause muscle fatigue. If you do bicep curls for 30 reps and there’s no burn or exertion required you’re lifting too light and you won’t see a difference. There needs to be some form of muscle fatigue occuring. You also need to be improving week on week to see a difference. For example, when I started at this gym here in Madrid, I was using the bicep curl at 10 x 15kg, I’m now at 10 x 25kg. That has taken me roughly 9 weeks of 3 weights sessions a week, but I progressed. Sometimes, I would only be able to increase the weight by one set, then drop it for the final two, but I increased it when I could. This is key to see improvement and toning. Hoever, you can improve using other methods too;

  • Lift the same weight but with more repetitions within the same time frame and rest times
  • Go for the same amount of repetitions but a heavier weight using the same rest period (but you can extend the overall time taken)
  • Lift the same weight with the same repetitions but reduce the time frame and rest times

I would recommend mixing these up to prevent it getting boring. It’s a good way also to challenge yourself. You won’t see change if you don’t face challenge.

Something els you can do is mix up your workouts between heavy sessions and light sessions. For one week, do a heavy weight session, lifting between 70-90% of your max weight for 8-10 reps. Then the following week reduce it to a light week, lifting 50-70% of your max weight for 10-15 reps. Again, this may help prevent repetitive strain, plateuing and down right boring-ness from creeping in to the workout. Also, studies have found it won’t affect your long-term gains! Win-win.

As always, watch technique. Lifting weights can incur serious injuries if done incorrectly. If you’re lifting and something hurts beyond the usual muscle burn stop immediately and try figure out why. Technique is key to avoiding injury here, don’t push it and do not use something you don’t know the technique for. This is especially true for free-weights.

Overall, I’m pleased I discovered this researchbecause my main struggle in the gym is accepting lifting lighter than last session or not doing a HIIT cardio everytime. I will elaborate in another post about the benefits of not doing HIIT every session. However, now armed with knowledge that if I need to drop the weight (for whatever reason) then I can increase the repetitions and I won’t be compromising my overall long term goals of lean, toned muscle mass.

Also, you may experience ‘bad workouts’. Remember, any workout is better than no workout at all!

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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