Wonder Woman Fitness

Posts Tagged ‘achievement

Increase your core strength without 100’s of sit ups

 

sit ups

Time for a change from sit ups

 

Your core muscles have a lot to do with your posture.  In today’s society a lot of us spend time sitting (or slouching) in front of computers, tv’s, driving cars and leaning over things which can put a lot of stress on your lower back and effects your posture and how you hold yourself.  Your core muscles are actually the centre of your bodies strength.  Having a strong core will give can give you a flat stomach but more importantly it will make you more powerful, it will maintain stability for exercising and all other physical activities.  The benefits of a strong core are:

  • Improve your posture and prevent low back pain
  • Helps avoid back injury
  • Improves your physical performance
  • Improves your balance

 However, if like me the thought of doing loads of sit ups fills you with dread I may have the answer for you.  I have put together some exercises that work your core muscles (abs, stomach and obliques) and may help you lose your wobble and your muffin top.  I have included a video showing you how to do these exercises and also instructions so give them a go and see how you get on.  Stand tall and keep active folks…….

Complete all exercises slowly and under complete control and in good technique at all times.  Oh and the main thing to remember during this session is to engage your core, so pull your belly button into your spine and hold that contraction.  This is NOT the same as holding your breathe you should be able to breathe and hold the contraction, I don’t want you going blue, enjoy.

 Lunge with a twist – Begin with standing with your feet shoulder width apart.  Step forward with one leg and come onto your tiptoes of your back foot and lower your knee to the floor.  With the medicine ball or the weight lift from the inside of your knee to your opposite shoulder bringing the weight across the front of the body.  Push up with your front foot and return to the starting position.  Do 10 altogether 5 each side.

Overhead Squat – Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Hold the weight or the medicine ball above your head.  Sit into the squat making sure your knees don’t shoot past your toes and keep your back strong and your stomach in tight.  To return to the starting position straighten your legs and stand up.  Keep the weight above your head at all times.  Repeat x 10.

Swiss ball Roll in – If you are a beginner to exercise the have your shins on the ball during this exercise and if you are more advanced then put your feet on the ball.  So hold yourself as if in the press up position by locking out your arms and keeping your back straight and strong, stomach nice and tight.  With your feet or shins on the ball bend your knees and roll the ball into your chest.  Straighten your legs to return to the starting position.  Repeat this 10 times.

Overhead Knee up – Standing with your feet together, hold a weight or a medicine ball above your head.  Lock the arm to hold it in place.  With the opposite leg drive up with the knee and return to the starting position.  Lift your knee up 5 times each side with the opposite arm holding the weight above your head at all times.

Double crunch – Begin lying on your back with knees bent and up off the ground at 90°, your arms should be straight up above your chest.  Lower your arms and legs down to the ground without touching the ground and pull them back in to the starting position.  If you would like a more advanced version of this exercises you can use a weight in your hands and finish with a crunch when your knees and hands come back in.  Do 10 of these.

Russian Twists – Begin seated in the half sit up position.  Keep your feet on the floor if you are a beginner and if you are more advanced take you feet off the floor and keep your balance.  With or without a weight rotate your upper body from side to side.  Try hard to keep your lower body still whilst you twist from side to side.  Do this 20 times – a twist on each side is counted as 1 rep.

Swiss ball leg raises – Begin seated on a Swiss ball then walk forward so your upper back, shoulders and head are supported by the ball.  Your knees should be bent at 90°, knees directly over your toes with your hands resting on your hips.  Transfer your weight to one leg and lift your other leg off the floor keeping it in line with your body.  Hold for a count of one and repeat on the other side.  Do 10 altogether, 5 each side.

Cable twists – Standing side on to a pole or something you can attach a resistance band to, wrap a resistance band around it so it lies in line with your chest.  With both hands grip onto the band and bring straight arms across in front of your chest so you twist your torso around.  Try to keep your hips and legs facing forward and just move your torso.  Repeat 10 times on each side.

 Plank leg lifts – Begin in the plank position, with shoulders over hands and your body in line from shoulder to feet.  Keeping your stomach fully engaged, lift your left foot off the floor slightly, keeping your hips level.  Lower your foot to the floor then repeat on the other leg.  Complete 10 of these – 5 each side.

 Lateral plank with twists –  Begin in the lateral plank position with one foot on top of the other and one elbow directly below your shoulder and keeping your body in line at all times.  With your free arm start with it straight in the air and twist to bring it under your body aiming for under your arm pit.   Return to the starting position and repeat 5 times on each side.  Keep your back straight and abs engaged at all times as this will help with your balance.

 Back extensions – A great exercise to finish with.  Lie on your front keeping your feet together and on the floor at all times.  Keep looking at the floor at all times and with your hands by the side of your head, gently lift your chest and shoulders off the floor.  Slowly lower your body to the floor.  Repeat this exercise 10 times.

If you are a beginner to exercise do this circuit once, if you are at an intermediate level to exercise do this circuit twice and if you are advanced do this circuit 3 times.  You are aiming to complete each exercise one straight after the other without a rest until you have done all 11 exercises, then you are allowed a 2 minute rest.  Try and incorporate core exercises like the ones in this programme 3 times a week into your usual training schedule.  Good luck………….

 

Never give up – How to motivate yourself

 

 “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going” Beverley Sills

 

Anyone who watched the US Masters recently will have realised that it can all fall apart for the best of sportsmen/sportswomen.  It was too painful to watch, Rory McIlroy’s meltdown as the media were calling it.  So what happens when you are aiming towards something, doesn’t have to be the famous green jacket, maybe you are aiming to lose weight, to gain fitness to complete a half marathon, so what happens if you fall off the wagon? How will you stay motivated?

Rory Mcilroy 

My theory to this is a never give up attitude and set yourself goals.  I have on plenty occasions slipped up with my training by giving myself cheeky wee days off when I shouldn’t, eaten much more than I needed on my binge days and suffering from injury and illness which have all set me back.  But no matter what is thrown at me be it my troublesome achilles, my colitis or my pathetic food will power I have always stuck in and tried my best.  The reason?  Probably because I have a lifetime goal in mind and small goals to get me there, plus I secretly enjoy the pain and torture with fitness.  My goal is to complete triathlons and to be at my physical best in 2 years.  This blog is written to inspire you and help you set goals for yourself and how to stay motivated.

 “You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone” Percy Cerutty

 I will start with one of my favourite inspirational sportsman stories of all time by one of my favourite sportsmen.  Like Ali without a world heavyweight championship belt, Red Rum without the famous grand national wins, the world of motor racing without Michael Schumacher or Jack Nickalaus without the green jacket this man needed a grand national triumph to mark his already sporting greatness.  However it was not without trying.  I am of course talking about AP McCoy. The 14 time champion Jockey who has ridden more than 3000 winners, yet a Grand National win still remained out of his grasp that was until 2010.  AP McCoy claimed a famous victory that year after his 15th attempt on board Don’t Push It.  Although you may argue that it’s his job to race horses, this man was at the time 35 years old racing in a very dangerous sport where broken bones are the norm and where you have to be hard, brave and unbreakable.  It meant everything to him to win the national and he always believed in himself that he would win it but also trainers and race horse owners believed in him too or he would never have been given a mount that day.  So it took this highly talented sportsman 15 years to win the Grand National, to get his hands on that elusive prize, how’s that for not giving up! And in the words of the man himself ‘If you get enough goes at something and you keep going, once your in there you’ve always got a chance’

 Tony McCoy

Keeping motivated and sticking to an exercise and diet regime can be hard with demanding lives, exercise burn out, and illness being a few of the things that may interrupt our training programmes.  Do you feel that you work hard but don’t ever seem to get anywhere? If you are struggling with motivation it can be as simple as following a few simple rules of goal setting.  Whether it is running a 10k, losing a stone or increasing your strength, you have to figure out how you are going to reach your goals.  Goal setting is a process where you think about your ideal future, how you will achieve your results and how to motivate yourself to turn your vision into reality.  However goal setting doesn’t work if you don’t know what you precisely want to achieve.  So what is your ultimate goal?  Got one?  Then read on….

 “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, but hard to beat” Herschel Walker

 Goal setting is used by top athletes, successful business people and achievers in all walks of life.  Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short term motivation.  It helps you to organize your time and focuses on your goal so that you can make the very best of your life.

 How to set your goal:

 Ask yourself this: Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve? Do you want to lose some weight? Or do you want good health in old age? So, what steps are you going to take to achieve this? Well……..

 First you create your ‘big picture’ of what you want to do in your life (or even over the next year, 5 years etc) and identify the large scale goals that you want to achieve.  For example by the end of next year I would like to have done some triathlons so I can call myself a triathlete lol

Then, you break this down into smaller manageable chunks and targets that you can reach.  For example I have to be able to swim the distance in a sprint triathlon comfortably, I have to buy and test the kit, I have to work on my leg strength for cycling, I have to be able to complete the transitions smoothly before I enter a competition etc.

Finally, once you have a plan you start working on it to achieve these goals

 “Nothing will work unless you do” John Wooden

 Once you have set your lifetime main goal then you need to set smaller goals to achiever your ‘big’ goal.  Create a one year plan, 6 month plan and a one month plan of progressively smaller goals that should allow you to reach your ‘big’ goal.  I actually do this every month, things I need to do to reach my goal both in my career and my training and it really helps.  If I don’t manage everything that month I just put it into next months to do list.  However I try not to have more than 5 things on this list so that my mini goals are achievable.  Sometimes you may want to do weekly and daily to do lists that will help you get closer to your dream.

Kelly Holmes

A useful way of making small goals is to do SMART goals:

 Specific or Significant goals

Measurable or Meaningful goals

Attainable or Action-orientated goals

Relevant or Rewarding goals

Time or Trackable goals

 State each goal as a positive: Express your goals positively “Work on losing 2lb this week” is a much better goal than “Stop eating cake”

Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts that you have to do and try and measure them.  Keep a diary, jot everything down and when you have reached a certain goal you will feel complete satisfaction from achieving it.

Set priorities: When you have several goals, give each a priority of importance.  This helps you to avoid being overwhelmed with too much to do and helps direct your attention.

Keep small goals small: Keep the low level goals that you are working towards small and achievable.  If a goal is too large then it can seem that you will never achieve your small goals never mind your ‘big’ goal.  Plus if your gaols are small and achievable = more rewards for you.

Only set goals that you have as much control over as possible.  It can be quite disappointing when you fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control.

Remember don’t underestimate your ability and your determination.  You can make goals too easy as well as too hard.

 Here is an example of how my goals will hopefully pan out for me:

 2 year goal: To have completed a few triathlons and be able to call myself a traithlete

12 month goal: Be able to complete all 3 disciplines together without exhaustion

6 month goal: Increase leg strength, leg power and core strength

3 month goal: Drop 7-10kg to become lighter for racing (following a diet)

1 month goal: Be able to ride my bike without falling off, be able to swim more than 2 lengths of front crawl without passing out, sort foot injury out

1 week goal: Follow new eating plan, train 4 times this week

 So maybe use the above plan for your own goals.  Change the timescale if you wish and elaborate on how you are going to achieve each goal.  Try your hardest to stick to your goal and timescale and it will give you focus and purpose.

Success 

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking your potential” Liane Cardes

 So if you have a wobble like Rory McIlroy just keep going at the end of the day your end goal is all that matters if you have to take the long road to it with a few pit stops then so be it, but never stray from your dream and from your goal.

Keep active folks………………………………….

Personal Training – What’s all the fuss about?

Personal Training

 Have you ever wondered what its like to get some personal training?  If you are training for a specific event, need extra motivation or are stuck in an exercise rut personal training can be the answer for you.  Depending on their experience they will design programs and sessions around your own personal goals, give dietary advice, do specific types of training, motivate you and make your sessions fun and worthwhile.  As a personal trainer myself I really enjoy my job as I can let my clients see their own potential, its amazing how people do not realize their own ability until pushed.  I have a great time with my clients and I try to make it as fun as possible, well if I’m going to train you hard then lets do it with a smile on your face.  So if you have ever thought about personal training and want to know what goes on then read on….

 I have asked one of my Personal training clients to make a blog of her sessions and her experiences with me:

Session 1:

“I have tried various types of exercise in the past, but as the date to my civil partnership celebration approached, I realised I needed some more expert help to help me feel in better shape.  I did a series of sessions with Kelly, and although it was a bit late to make a significant improvement, it did make me feel more confident for my big day.  It also left me wondering what if I continued?  Could I actually get rid of my wobbly bits, and even tone up my belly? 

So I’ve submitted myself to the rigours of Kelly’s sessions again.  Kelly has designed a programme I can work on my own, and also comes up with different things to do with her each week. This week she got me running uphill, which is quite an achievement given my lifelong avoidance of running!  I felt a good sense of achievement in managing to complete the run, even if my face did match my pink top afterwards!  By interval training, the minute walking gave me the respite I need to continue, and the target to not need them in the future! There was also exercises on the Swiss Ball, which test my poor sense of balance to the limit, but I can feel it working!  I make the most ridiculous noises while attempting things I never thought I could do, but Kelly makes it fun and while it’s challenging, it’s not totally impossible!”

A bit of boxing

Session 2:

“Kelly has a wide range of tricks up her sleeve, which means the sessions always seem to go quickly, and there’s often something new to try.  This week, there was an emphasis on legs.  I’ve always thought my legs were reasonably strong, but that running uphill made me realise they need a bit of attention too!  So, just to make squats more difficult – and effective! – I was holding a kettle weight in the air while doing big forward squats, and then backwards.  Deceptively difficult, and one I’ll need to practice before I can actually manage it without making increasingly strange noises, and feeling it for days afterwards!  Back to working on my stomach, Kelly introduced another new exercise, stretching a band across the body, which gets those side muscles working – I like it when I can feel the right muscles working, it reminds me what this is all about!”

Session 3:

Kelly really tried to make me think this session, with the co-ordination challenge known as spotty dogs, followed by boxing to different counts – but when I’m thinking so much, it distracts me from how hard work it is! 

 We then tried peak running – when I was attempting to run longer and faster than before, but I didn’t quite manage to get up to 12, given I was running at 10 and 11 for a few minutes beforehand, and Kelly warned me there was more hard work to come! 

This included lots of steps – which started off not too bad, but soon my legs got pretty shaky!  So then there were sumo lunge, while heaving a medicine ball about, followed by arm weights, and more medicine ball action, while doing sit ups.  We finished with more arm weights, although at least I got to lie down this time!

Altogether it was another varied and challenging workout, and I’m pleased to have managed it!

Bit of fun

Session 4:

Circuits were the name of the pain this session!  Mixing up the cardio work with resistance type moves meant just as I was about to give up on one, we moved to the other!  Each set concentrated on one area, so we started with squats and lunges, interspersed with rowing – my legs certainly felt it!  It was then time to work my arms, lifting weights which felt pretty light to start with, but seemed to get heavier as I did more!  Just as my legs had about recovered, it was time to run!  We tried running faster, with slower jogs in between.  This is not something I could even have attempted a few weeks ago, and I was chuffed to find it not entirely impossible!  Running has always been one of those things I just didn’t do, but now I find myself wanting to see if I can go fast, go uphill or more – not that I’ll be running marathons any time soon, but maybe I managed to run continuously for  12 minutes the other day!

 The circuits continued with steps challenging my co-ordination to the max!  The last set combined the cross trainer with mat work working on my stomach – the Russian twists are getting easier and although my interpretation of “as fast as possible” is probably a little different to Kelly’s, I did get through the cross trainer as well. 

 Session 5:

We did various circuit type exercises, including leaping over a bench in practice for those movie chase scenes, as well as pull ups and press ups – also seen in movie scenes!  Hadn’t done any lunges in a while, and they didn’t seem as bad as I remembered!  After my legs had had just about enough, it was time for the treadmill. And still I managed to run slightly faster than before, even if it was for a very short time. But I did manage to jog and then run faster, which is one target – just need to keep going longer and not get quite so out of breath! But it is a definite improvement from earlier sessions. There was still boxing to go, and this time there were combinations that required me to think even when my brain was mush! I managed not to miss the pads and avoided inflicting too much unnecessary damage to Kelly- a certain amount is payback for all those push ups! Boxing is really satisfying, even when I’m knackered!

 Over the time I’ve been working with Kelly, I’ve noticed an improvement in my strength and there is now some definition in my arms, but had I managed to change my eating habits and get the the gym more often in between sessions, I’m sure it would have made more of an impact.  I have definitely worked harder during sessions with Kelly than I would do on my own, and I enjoy the variety and challenges that she puts me through!

 I may be biased here as I am a personal trainer, however, I really see the benefits that my clients get from my sessions.  They change in shape, they increase their strength and they increase their fitness as well normally all without them realising. 

You will be worked harder than ever

Give personal training a go I promise you will not be disappointed.  They will push you harder than you will ever train on your own, if you train harder then you will hopefully reach your goals quicker, so seriously give it a go.  Keep active folks…………..


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