GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “recovery”

Go Nutrition Academy

Hi there!

I’ve just been accepted into Go Nutrition Academy! I couldn’t more excited! However, I must refer at least 2 people per month in order to remain on the inside! This is a great opportunity for me to learn so much about nutrition and fitness nd if anyone is looking to buy protein, please give Go Nutrition a shot! I use their Whey Protein, their chocolate flavour is amazing (even with water!)

I know it sounds like I’m plugging them for the sake of staying inside the Academy but their protein is genuinly great tasting and great quality. They also have a fantastic range of other trianing goodies.

Plus, if you use my referral code you get 250g of free protein when you make an order! Can’t beat free protein!

My code is A5CJC5!

Free protein!? Hell yeah!

Gym Bug

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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

Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015

Hi there!

I’ve already mentioned in a post a while that I was running the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10K with my family, but I thought I’d tell you a little more about it!

There are 6 different events taking place on Saturday May 30th and Sunday May 31st. On Saturday the 10K, 5K and Junior Races take place. On the Sunday it’s the Marathon, Half-Marathon and Marathon Hairy Haggis Team Relay runs. There really is a distance for everyone!
Prices vary and can be found on their website. The price includes the run itself with all associated entertainment, a technical wicking finisher’s T-shirt, medal, accurate chip timing, training plan, online results and a race recovery pack! There is also stalls in the finisher’s area with companies marketing their products as well as delicious food and drink to be purchased! The course also has numerous water and energy stations, providing hydration and energy gels (the energy gels are for those running the Half Marathon or Marathon).

EMF 2015

The whole event is in support primarily of MacMillan Cancer Support, who you can choose to run and fundraise for when you sign up. You can of course choose to run for your own charity! It’s a great way to raise some money and get fit! My family are fundraising as a group for MacMillan because cancer has hit our family quite hard and we all know the value of support for the sufferers and their loved ones. I know it’s a big ask, but if you can spare anything please donate on our JustGiving page.

MacMillan are a brilliant chairty seeking to provide help and support. I can’t describe them any better than they have on their website;
“No one should face cancer alone. So when you need someone to turn to, we’re here. Right from the moment you’re diagnosed, through your treatment and beyond, we’re a constant source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you take back control of your life.”

                                                                      Enough said.

As someone who has watched loved ones go through diagnosis, treatment and (unfortunately not everytime) recovery, I know how important a solid support system is and how valued it is by everyone involved. MacMillan deserve funding and are a key source of care for those suffering cancer and their loved ones.

So if you’re looking for some fantastic motivation, go for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015! Get your running shoes and get going!

Gym Bug

Working out sore muscles; Yaay or Naay?

Hi there!

I’m sure we’ve all been there. We’ve lifted heavier, pushed harder or returned to training after a break. We wake up the next day and feel like we’ve been hit by a bus. The question some of us may ask is; Can I (or should I) work out? I read an article recently from Greatist that discusses this. The pain is called Exercise Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD) and typically results in the onset of Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness (DOMS). I’ve been there, worst DOMS I experienced was after Tough Mudder, which I completely expected given I ran 11miles and tackled 25 gruelling obstacles. I had to take 2 days off from intense exercise to recover. Greatist also mentions that if your muscles are restricting your movement or limiting your strength then it’s probably best to listen to your body and give it a break.

The reason for taking a break? The muscle pain you feel is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibres and overworking these can make it much worse and lead to greater injury, which would see you out of training for a long time (trust me, I’ve been there).

You can opt for light exercise, such as walking or low-intensity cycling. Just make sure it’s low-impact. You can also work different muscle groups, focusing on those that don’t hurt, this is good also for ensuring you have a varied routine to ensure all muscle groups are worked.

Other methods Greatist mentioned to alleviate muscle soreness is ice baths, a massage and good old-fashioned stretching! Personally, I usually go for stretching and foam-rolling to help my achey muscles. I also use a massage bar from Lush which works wonders!

A key thing to mention and trust me, it’s solid advice you must adhere to; do not exercise if the pain is intense, on-going or highly restrictive. You should seek a doctor or a physiotherapists advice if you experience intense pain during, before or after a workout. I found myself with a grade 2 groin strain in January 2014 and was unable to do cardio for 8 weeks and once I could do cardio, it was light cycling for a few weeks before I could build it up. I also had to endure sports ‘massages’ from a physio (unpleasant to say the least). That extra workout when you’re sore is not worth it. Listen to your body. Plus, a sneaky extra rest day is always enjoyable (and good for the mind and motivation).

http://amandastonebarger.com/2014/05/04/mile-806-why-you-shouldnt-feel-guilty-about-rest-days/

Gym Bug

Image source; http://amandastonebarger.com/2014/05/04/mile-806-why-you-shouldnt-feel-guilty-about-rest-days/

Alternative sources of protein

Hi there!

I drink protein shakes after any weight lifting sessions to help muscle repair and recovery. However, not everyone wants to do this or can (they aren’t great for people with sensitive stomachs, my stomach doesn’t always agree). So I thought to look for different sources of protein! I got these from Health online, which has recipes for each of these vegan/vegetarian alternatives.

  • Green peas; 7.9 grams of protein per cup.
  • Quinoa; 8 grams of protein per cup.
  • Nuts and nut butters; watch here, 1 ounce of almonds, cashews and pistachios (examples) have 160 calories BUT do contain 5-6 grams of protein.
  • Beans; these pack a fair protein punch, for example, there’s about 13 grams of protein per cup of kidney beans.
  • Chickpeas; 14.6 grams of protein per cup.
  • Tofu; 40 grams of protein per cup (you don’t need that much, go for half a cup).
  • Edamame; 16.8 grams of protein per cup.
  • Leafy greens; spinach, brocoli etc. 1 cup brocoli has 8.1 grams of protein per cup.
  • Chia seeds; these pack 4.7 gram of protein per ounce (about 2 tablespoons).
  • Sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds; sunflower seeds have 29.2 grams of protein per cup, sesame and poppy seeds have 21.6 grams of protein per cup.
  • Non-dairy milk; soy milk has most at 8 grams of protein per cup, almond, rice and hemp milk have around 1 gram of protein per cup.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder; 1 gram of protein per tablespoon.

And there we have it! Some great alternatives to protein shakes for those who don’t like them, want them or can take them! A typical 25g scoop of protein with water yields about 100 calories and 25g of protein (some have more, I use MyProtein, GoNutrition or TheProteinWorks).

Do you have any great alternatives?

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/

The importance of a well-earned rest

Hi there!

Sunday is my scheduled rest day and I thought it was an opportune time to do a post about why these rest days are so important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I take one rest day a week (on average) but recommended exercise is between 3-6, so you can take more depending on your schedule, goals and other variables.

The type of recovery I’m discussing here is long-term recovery. Which refers to the scheduled planning of rest days throughout the exercise schedule. This will be the focus of the post.
Short-term recovery refers to the recovery immediately after your work-out and includes active recovery. Active recovery is doing low-intensity exercise to help the body recover immediately after intense exercise and also the days after.

So what makes them so important?

Professional athletes take rest days too. They appreciate the importance in allowing the body (and the mind) to recover, repair and strengthen. For those who do not complete on a professional level, it’ also a great way to maintain  a better balance amongst leisure, work and family life.
Recovery and rest is when the real training happens. Your body is able to adapt to the stress of exercise, replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues (for example, the breakdown of muscle).

Not allowing for adequate recovery opens a very wide door for injury, fatigue and illness. Lack of recovery leads to overtraining. Continuous training can actually hinder your performance. Overtraining results in depression, lack of energy, feeling drained, muscle and/or joint pain, insomnia, headaches, decreased immunity, injury, loss of appetite amongst other things. Overall, rest days are critical if you want avoid overtraining. By going too hard, you risk taking yourself completely out of exercise for an extended period of time, which is exactly what you don’t want.
I can give a personal example of this when I engaged in solid rowing training for 7 days a week for weeks on end. By the time January rang around I was struggling to walk without considerable pain in my right leg. Two doctors appointments and a physio visit later, I was diagnosed with a Grade 2 Groin Strain. 8 physio sessions and weeks off of cardio had me feeling annoyed, frustrated and disappointed. Trust me, it’s not worth it.

Rest days are also good for you mentally. I can’t imagine anything worse than having to get to the gym every single day. Whilst I love the post-exercise feeling I do value being able to lie-in and relax a bit more on my rest days. It keeps the gy from being repetitive, monotonous and downright dull.

How should I incorporate it into my schedule?

There are different methods for incorporating rest days. You can do what I do and select a specific day to have off, changing it as required by your commitments. You can also just pick and choose week by week depending on your mood (I’d be wary of this, as you may end up taking more than planned).

Men’s Fitness have a great article about rest days and recovery for weight training. Whilst this is a male fitness magazine I think the principles are applicable to both genders in their weight training schedule. To sum the article up, they suggest having “deload weeks” every 4-6 weeks, where you reduce the intensity to allow the body to recover. They also recommend incorporating stretching, core exercises and bodyweight movements into these weeks.
They also suggest taking 1-2 weeks a year for “rest weeks”. Here they emphasise a focus on doing things you enjoy, not exercise. Go walking, hiking, leisurely cycle, socialise, etc. These are really for after very intense sessions such as a marathon. However, I think it’s a great addition to any workout calendar. You get to escape the gym!

Women’s Health Magazine (keeping the balance) also recommend rest days. They state that strength does not come from training, it comes from the body rebuilding itself after the training. Their recommendations for rest and recovery include 1-2 rest days a week, alternating between intensities (e.g HIIT one day a week, endurance another), nourish your muscles (sleep right, eat right, stretch).

Again, rest days are needed, being a “gym rat” will not see you lose weight faster. It’s possible you may even retain more weight. Exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol which encourages fat storage. If you put your body under intense stress 7 days a week, you’re increasing the levels of cortisol in the body, encouraging your body to hold onto precious fat as a survival instinct.

Active recovery is a good way to allowing your body to recover too. On your rest day you could go for a walk as a way to get out the house, get some fresh air etc. You can also engage in low-intensity classes such as pilates and yoga. This way you are allowing recovery without any need to feel guilty. However, having a rest day is  NECESSITY so guilt shouldn’t really come into it (but I get that it can). Personally, especially when I’m home, I do some form of active recovery because I own a dog, so I walk him.

So, evidence has proven you do not need to confine yourself to a gym 7 days a week! Rejoice!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend and preparing to crack open their advent calendars tomorrow!

Gym Bug

Sources;

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/overtraining/a/aa062499a.htm

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm

http://www.builtlean.com/2012/06/05/overtraining/

 

 

 

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

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