GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “running”

Winter Running; Don’t Get Caught Out In The Cold

Hi there!

So, today marks the 3 week countdown until I’m finally home. This also means 3 weeks until I’m back running in less than warm temperatures. Here are some useful tips if you’re like me and will be keeping the Santa weight off by outdoor, winter running!

  • Get decent shoes. You don’t want slush from snow or horrible rain making it’s way into your shoes and making your feet ice blocks. This will make it hard to warm-up and can be incredibly uncomfortable! Shoes with very little mesh are better. Also, socks designed to get rid of moisture but keep your feet warm may be a good investment, for example, SealSkinz.
  • Dress to impress. You don’t want to go out looking like Eskimo, because sweating heavy will cause you to get a chill. Best to do is to dress as if it’s warmer outsider than it actually is, you should be a little bit cool to begin with, that’s alright. You will heat up on your run, just make sure you’re not going out there in shorts and a vest top, because you could catch a chill before  getting the opportunity to warm up. Clothes that vent when you heat up are perfect for this. Also, wear a hat and gloves if it’s particularly chilly.
  • Get bright. Visibility and daylight are more limited in the winter. Invest in a hi-vis vest or a headtorch or any reflective material to help vehicles and other people see you.
  • Prerun Warmup. Best do this inside your house without ending up dripping in sweat. Do some jumping jacks, run up and down the stairs, anything to get the heartrate going with minimal sweating. You want your body to be prepared for a run.
  • Quick post-run change. Change out of damp clothes as soon as possible. A warm shower will be great as well if you can. Try get a hot drink too. Just try get warm again as soon as possible because you start to cool down the second you stop running. If you’re running in a place where you need to drive home, take a flask of tea/hot chocolate/coffee/hot water to have when you get back in.
  • It can be too cold to run. It’s best to gauge this yourself, but a rule of thumb for me is if I can’t go outside and walk without fear of slipping, I’m not going to manage a run. Also, if the cold makes breathing harder/painful, it’s not going to happen. I’d rather do a H.I.I.T session inside instead!
  • Running with a cold. If you just have a case of the sniffles, “I have a cold” isn’t a super solid excuse not to go. However, if you have a fever or these symptoms spread to below the neck (chesty coughs, bad throats etc) it’s probably best to take a rest day!

That’s it! A few tips I’ll be using when I return home and endure the wonderful weather Scotland has to offer! Hope this is helpful to a few people out there who will be running through the cold too!

Have a great day!

Gym Bug

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H.I.I.T

Hi there!

This is anther one of my older post from my previous blog, but I’ve mentioned HIIT a lot so I thought it’s best to upload again! HIIT standards for High Intensity Interval Training and is an excellent way to get your heart rate and fat burning capabilities through the roof!

The idea behind HIIT is simple; short bursts of high intensity activity followed by a short rest, this is repeated until the desired time is up. The best thing about HIIT is that you can do it with anything! (Note: when I say “on” I mean as hard as you can go, when I say “off” I mean recovery where you allow your heart rate to drop). I thought I’d convince the un-convinced by doing some research to get some scientific evidence in front of your eyes!

Simplyshredded refer to a study conducted in Laval University. They kept it basic, 1 group followed a 15-week HIIT training plan and one followed a 20-week steady state cardio plan. Steady-state group burned 15,000 more calories than HIIT group BUT HIIT group lost significantly more body fat! The science behind it is that because HIIT is tougher on the body, it requires more energy (calories) to repair itself afterwards. HIIT essentially has a more effective after burn.

Still not convinced? The same post also stated that short bursts of high intensity cardio help us hold onto our hard-earned muscle mass! You just need to take a look at Bradley Wiggins legs (who competes in long, steadier races such the Tour De France) compared to those of Sir Chris Hoy (who does short bursts of intense cycling around a velodrome).

All of this is further emphasized by Jim Stoppani, PhD, who refers to the same studies conducted in Laval University and Ontario University as well. Just  do a little research yourself if you need further convincing. However, please give these (or your own versions) a go, HIIT is amazing!

Running;
If you’re interested in giving HIIT a go with running to mix it up and maximize calorie burning then best start off with an “easy” HIIT run to get a sense of you’re own capabilities. Doing this until you pass out is ill-advised, for obvious reasons. When I gave it a go prior to being injured I ran hard for 30 seconds and took 30 seconds off. I repeated this until I had doing it for 15- minutes in total. The run itself was 30- minutes (7.5- minutes warm up, 15- minutes HIIT, 7.5- minutes cool down). HIIT is great because it never gets easier! You can alter the length of the intervals or the intensity as you see appropriate!

I now tend to do 15-20 minutes of HIIT (1 minute on, 1 minute off) with 5 minute warm and 5 minute cool down.

Cycling;
This would be applicable to a typical spin class for example. It’s intense, short bursts followed by recovery. Then you sob as you’re told to do it all again. If you’re not part of a class you can still do this, indoors or outside! I have 2 sessions, each lasting 45-minutes.

Session 1: This is a sprint session. Take 5-minutes to gradually increase your heart rate through increasing the resistance. Once the 5-minutes are up it’s 35-minutes of work! I tend to follow the same (monotonous, yet effective) pattern, 1.5-minutes on with 1-minute off. You repeat this a total of 10 times, then it’s a 5-minute cool down. (Note: feel free to lengthen the warm-up and cool-down as you see fit).

Session 2: This one uses hill & seated climbs, sprints and jumps (alternate between 10-15 seconds standing, followed by 10-15 seconds seated, repeat for desired length). Again, I do a 5-minute warm up, 35-minutes of work, 5-minute cool down. The 35-minutes of work consist of 2.5-minutes of either a hill climb, seated climb, sprint or jump. Mix it up to enhance the work-out. This is harder, in my opinion, than the solid sprinting because it’s uses different muscles, for example, when I hill climb there’s a lot of burning on my glutes, which is less severe when I do a seated climb.

Aerobics;
Aerobics aren’t new and they’re great, but not as challenging as they could be. This is where “HIIT-ifying” it comes in. Give yourself 30-minutes and split it into 5-minute warm up, 20-minutes work, 5-minute cool down. I’ve written out an example below for a HIIT workout I do (no equipment needed, but if it has a * next to it, you can use a dumbbell(s) to make it harder). Work for 40 seconds with a 5 second rest between each exercise, then take a 1-minute rest between each set.

Repeat each set three times. It’s 3.25-minutes per set with 5-minutes break in total, so it’s 19.5-minutes of work! Remember 40 seconds on, 5 seconds rest between exercises with a 1-minute rest between each set.

Set 1:
Jumping squats
Press ups
Bicycle crunches
Russian twists*
High knees

Set 2:
Running on the spot (go as hard as you can)
Tricep dips (overhead tricep extensions with a dumbbell works too)
Push up plank (explained below)
Superman (explained below)
Burpees (explained below)

A really good idea is to mix it up! Write out your own HIIT aerobics plan that targets those large muscle groups you’re aiming to improve/tone/strengthen/shrink. Now a quick explanation on some of the moves.

Push up plank- start in a normal plank position with your elbows on the floor. Move into a raised plank position with your hands on the floor and your arms straight. Return to original plank position with elbows on the floor. Repeat for stated length of time.

Superman- lie on your stomach, arms and legs stretched out. Lift your head, arms and legs together and hold for a few seconds/the whole time. If you hold it for a few seconds before returning to the start position, repeat until the specified time is up.

Burpees (I hate these, but they’re a good exercise)- start on your feet. Jump as high as you can and when you land go straight into a crouch. Kick your legs back (so you’re in a raised plank position) and then bring them back into so you’re in a crouched position again. Jump back up, making sure to explode from the ground and repeat.

Anything that is unclear best go onto youtube/google to double check. As always, best to be completely clear on the technique and the moves to avoid any injury. It’s also possible incorrect technique means you’re not actually benefitting from the exercise. Nothing worse than wasted effort! (except injury)

HIIT is a great way to mix up your exercise regime and can help keep you away from the weight-loss plateau or the horrible repetitive strain that can occur. Otherwise it’s another way of keeping fit and healthy! Be careful though, this is a very intense form of exercise if done to highest of ability, so limit yourself to how many you do a 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

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