I don’t have time…..

There is no denying that we all lead busy lives; working, looking after family, managing the house, meeting friends or family, catching on on the latest box set, keeping up with social media – not to mention the rest! What about improving your health and well-being through exercise? One of the most common barriers to exercise is lack of time. I commonly get asked by friends, family and clients “how on earth do you train for an ultra or a triathlon with everything else going on?” The answer; I plan, prioritise and I enjoy it!

  • I plan my time carefully! I share a google calendar with my husband as we prioritise our professional and personal commitments differently. This enables us to see what appointments we have at the drop of a hat and ensures ‘down time’ together as a family. When I first started back exercising after having my eldest child I set aside ‘me time’ as an appointment in the diary; as I would going to the dentist. I tried to be accurate in my timings; for example 35 minutes for a run (5 minutes to get ready, 20 minutes to run and stretch then 10 minutes to shower and change). I have to be a little more flexible these days due to an increased volume of training and two very demanding kids. On a Sunday evenings I take 10 minutes to plan my training for the coming week. Watch the film The Pursuit of Happiness or, if time is of the essence, this short clip from from TedTalk on time management for inspiration.
  • I set realistic goals! I love having a goal to aim for as it keeps me motivated and less likely to find an excuse not to get out here and do it – yes, we are all the same and only human! Build in time for holidays, injuries, other more pressing matters that crop up unexpectedly so you have flexibility in your training plan.
  • I enjoy it! Anything you do that you don’t enjoy is a chore so if you don’t like running don’t sign for a 10km race as your goal.  There are lots of options for cardio and resistance training whether it be racket sports, exercise classes, individual pursuits or water sports – its about finding something that is right for you and that you will enjoy and be likely to stick at. If you don’t know a good approach is to give everything a try, see if ‘the shoe fits’!
  • I train with friends! Before I joined a running club I ran with a friend who happened to start at the same time as me. We blossomed together, both in our fitness and friendship. Many of us have a well established social circle however you can never have too many friends. I would not have had the pleasure of meeting some of mine if it wasn’t for our shared passion for health and fitness. I look forward to going to my clubs not only for the exercise but for the comradery! As a personal trainer I have also made great friends along the way, helping clients break down their barriers and achieve their fitness goals. Combine fitness with friendships and meet for a brisk walk and catch up instead of the local coffee shop.
  • The bigger picture! Most of us have many roles to fulfill; a mother, a wife, a business owner, a daughter, sister and a friend and time is precious. I want to do all these to the best of my ability and by being happy, healthy, strong and confident I can achieve all these and more. Start by being active most days, whether that involves taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking instead of the car or carrying the shopping bags back to the house. Think of the impact your current lifestyle will have in years to come and if you don’t like what you see ‘take the bull by the horns’ and, with small steps, start to make some changes.  Fit + Fabulous is a very good way to get you started, break down your barriers and maximise your health and fitness!

 

Fitness Testing – April Challenge

Monday 3rd April I will launch my ‘Get Fit For Summer HITT Challenge’ which is free to all Fit + Fabulous Facebook friends @fitfabul0us. In order to track progress and see results I suggest that this week you carry out one or 2 of the following fitness tests. There are several that you can can do for resistance or cardiovascular fitness and require little or no equipment; take your pick:

  • Squat test – as many as you can with no rest until unable to continue.
  • Sit up test – as many sit ups as you can in 30 seconds with no rest.
  • Press up test – as many as you can with no rest until unable to continue.
  • Rockport test – walk 1 mile as fast as you can without stopping.
  • Cooper test – run for 12 minutes continuously without stopping at the same pace.

By carrying out these tests at the start and then repeating the same ones at the end of the month, will enable you to monitor your fitness results clearly. You can also take body measurements at the start and then at the end of the month if your goal is for weight loss.

If you have any queries please contact me!

I practice what I preach when it comes to nutrition…..

Nutrition is key to success whether it be in sports performance or weight loss. I get asked regularly to share what I eat with my clients to help inspire them with their diet. I don’t cut anything out from my nutrition and instead I have everything in moderation. Control is not something I have always had over my diet, as a teenager, for 7 years I suffered from an eating disorder.  I was severely under weight, food controlled my life and I did anything I could to avoid eating. Now, I appreciate the value of a healthy, balanced diet and the importance it has on my mental well being and active lifestyle as a mother and personal trainer.  

As a mother, I hope my son and daughter enjoy their food and have different cultural influences, expanding their experience and knowledge in order to make informed decisions about what is a healthy diet. As a personal trainer, I want my clients to identify the importance food has on improving their mental and physical health and and reduce the risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancers and obesity;  all of which are on the increase in the UK and associated with poor diets and lack of exercise.

All clients with Fit + Fabulous complete food diaries on an online application which I monitor and analyse weekly. My analysis is based on UK government and NHS guidelines in conjunction with my knowledge of sports nutrition. I am looking for each client to gain an understanding of portion sizes, food groups (fats and sweets; dairy; meat fish and alternatives; fruit; vegetables and pulses grains and cereals) and macros (protein, fat and carbohydrate). Each client depending on their energy intake are allocated a recommended portion amount per food group which replaces counting calories. All of this is related to weight loss or enhancing sports performance.

For the last week I completed my own food diary to give an example of what I persevere as a balanced diet for an active female with my build. I class myself as very active, doing at least an hour of moderate to intense exercise per day. My macros change daily depending on the exercise I undertake, for example on the days I lift weights my protein levels will increase to help aid recovery and build muscle.  Portion sizes are not given as this would be individualised depending on your personal statistics. Please note that this is for example purposes only and not to be copied. Please get in touch for your own personal analysis.

Monday

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, wholemeal bread, tea with milk

Snack: Cashew and brazil nuts with dried mixed berries and coffee

Lunch: Giant couscous and quinoa salad and oven baked chicken breast

Snack: 4 seafood sticks, peanut butter with breadsticks and coffee

Dinner: Pasta in a home made tomato and spinach sauce with chicken and green beans

Snack: Melon and grapes

Tuesday

Breakfast: Weetabix minis fruit and nut, skimmed milk and tea with milk

Snack: Sunflower and pumpkin seed mix, 300mls skimmed milk and banana protein shake

Lunch: Spiced lentil warm salad with breast of chicken and mango

Snack: Black grapes, peanuts, banana and coffee

Dinner: Baked salmon fillet, sweet potato, broccoli, peas and mangetout

Wednesday

Breakfast: 2 poached eggs, wholemeal bread, tea with milk

Snack: Carrots, sweet peas and low fat hummus, coffee

Lunch: Homemade chicken and vegetable soup with wholemeal bagel and banana

Snack: Frozen strawberries, raspberries and pineapple, 300mls skimmed milk protein shake, coffee

Dinner: Homemade lasagna with mixed vegetable medley

Snack: Dark chocolate and ginger biscuit with green tea

Thursday

Breakfast: 2 poached eggs, wholemeal bread and tea with milk

Snack: Apple, brazil and cashew nuts with dried berries, coffee

Lunch: Oatcakes, homemade smoked mackerel pate with cherrie tomatoes and mixed leaves

Dinner: breast of chicken, bulgar wheat and bean salad with sweetcorn, peas and carrots

Snack: Grapes, melon and green tea

Friday

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs on wholemeal bagel and tea with milk

Snack: melon and avocado with coffee

Lunch: Brie, cranberry and bacon wholemeal seeded toasty with side salad

Snack: Homemade banana loaf and coffee

Dinner: Homemade beef and mixed bean chili, basmati rice, corn chips with cheese and 250ml glass of red wine

Saturday

Breakfast: Eggs Benedict and glass fresh orange

Snack: 1/2 danish pastry with coffee

Lunch: New potato, prawn and avocado salad

Snack: Cashew and peanuts with coffee

Dinner: Homemade tuna stir fry with egg noodles and 300ml of white wine followed by creme brulee

Sunday

Brunch: Grilled tomato, portobello mushroom, 1 slice bacon, 2 scrambled eggs with coffee

Snack: Mixed berries and seed protein smoothie

Dinner: Homemade fish pie with peas and crusty bread

As you can see I try and eat a variety of foods from each food group to ensure that I am getting as much vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables and the appropriate amount of non saturated fats, proteins and carbohydrates I need to fuel and recover from exercise.  Drinking water regularly throughout the day also helps me feel hydrated, carries those essential nutrients to the working muscles and avoids me mistaking thirst for hunger.  I eat every 3-4 hours a day to avoid fatigue from drop in blood glucose levels. This helps me curb any cravings for high sugar foods. I eat a mixture of low to high glucose index foods to ensure I get enough fiber in my diet and when required quickly replace carbohydrates that I burn through exercise.  glucoseindex.com

The following chart gives a good indication to what the UK guidelines are for tallying up your own portions per food groups to see if you are getting a healthy balanced diet.

foodIf you would like further information on macros or portion sizes or have any comments regarding the blog please get in touch as I’m keen to hear from you.

A puppy is not just for Christmas….

“I want to run a 10km in September.”

“We get married in the Autumn and we both want to lose weight.”

“Its my 40th birthday in June and I want a six pack.”

Just some examples of client’s goals when they come to Fit + Fabulous for personal training. These are perfectly normal short term goals and achievable for most if they apply hard work and dedication. However, if this is you, ask yourself what happens after my holiday, wedding or birthday party? Do I apply all my effort to achieve that goal and then return to my previous state?

I feel a more advantageous view should be longer term and, dare I say it, more of a lifestyle change. We all live for the moment, driven by busy and demanding lifestyles with fads and trends dictating our culture. But what about our future? I want to live long enough to play with my Grandchildren, if I’m blessed enough to have any. I want to create more beautiful memories with my frienddads and family and not have to worry about illness, medication or treatments. Yes, I have short term goals  to keep me motivated and some a little crazy, but they are all part of my long term plan; to live a healthier lifestyle, creating memories and teaching the next generation that health and fitness can be fun and exciting. One of my biggest joys, is a morning cycling on my road bike with my father aged 68 before stopping for coffee and a cake; its a real honor!

Exercise is not a new phenomenon nor should it be intimidating or hard to get started; it should be exciting! I’m naturally impressed by the elite in the fitness industry, who isn’t? Exercise is for everyone and everyone has to start somewhere. What impress me more is when one of my clients, family or friends try something for the first time. They might not like it but at least they have given it a shot and created a memory for themselves. I challenge you to try something new and exciting this year. Something that you have never done before or haven’t done in years.

A good Personal Trainer should encourage their clients, constantly demonstrating empathy, offering support and encouragement along the way. As a personal trainer, I like to suggest trying something a couple of times and not giving up on the first hurdle. If you don’t succeed, if you have done your best, then you have not failed.  Try again! Try approaching it from a difference angle the next time and give it another chance.

 

Fit + Fabulous measuring success.

My previous blog was all about how to make goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed) so lets turn “I want to lose weight” into a SMART goal:

I would like to reduce my waist circumference from  87cm to 77cm by adding cardiovascular training twice a week in the form of running and HITT; and core resistance once a week.  I will start a daily food diary and reduce the amount of fats, oils and sweets I eat from 4 portions to 2 and increase my fruit and vegetable from 1 to 5 portions per day. I would like this to happen for my holiday in June which is in six months time.

On the assumption that I have established that is is a achievable and healthy goal for you I would look at different methods of measuring your success during the Fit + Fabulous personal training programme over short, medium and long term periods:

Physical Measurement Assessments.

Physical measurements can be assessed to monitor progress and make adjustments to the end goal if required. Measurements such as BMI, body measurements, waist to hip ratio, photographs, body composition using skin caliper or bio-electrical impedance and scales are all methods used to help monitor weight loss. For example, by taking physical measurements at the start of the programme and agreeing re-test dates such as 2 months, 4 months and 6 months, these figures can map the progress of hitting that all important end goal.  Don’t make your weight the only assessment as it is not the most accurate; ditch the scales and purchase a tape measure.

How to take body measurements:

body

 

It is easier if you get a friend or partner to do the measuring if you don’t have a personal trainer.

Stand tall with your feet together and try and find an identifiable mark like a mole or scar that you can use to re take the measurements again.

Do not hold your breath and breath in, your only kidding yourself!

Exercise.

From the SMART goal we want to establish what you enjoy doing; if its not what you enjoy then there is little chance that its going to be sustainable and you will lack motivation. Exercise for weight loss should be a combination of cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility exercises. A balanced approach will enable the reduction of fatty tissue, tone muscle and improve flexibility within the muscles and around the joints.  It is about being inventive and continually increasing the difficulty of each exercise throughout the course of the programme.

For running, there are different training methods that can be used rather than continuously running which add variety. Fartlek and Interval training are excellent ways of fat burning, training different energy systems and muscle fibre types and increasing aerobic fitness. There is also an excellent assessment to monitor general cardio-respiratory endurance for trained clients which is called the Cooper Test. This involves running the fastest sustainable pace for 12 minutes on treadmill or flat course then comparing your statistics to the relevant norm chart.

There are multiple assessments that can be used to assess muscular strength or endurance, depending on your goal. A common example would be working out your 1 repetition maximum (1RM) which is the heaviest weight you can lift once. For weight loss, muscular endurance tests would be more applicable and these generally involve high repetition of an exercise over a period of time. Lets say we apply the sit up test for you, as its specific to your weight lose and toning goal around the waist. This involves doing full sit ups for 1 minute in a correct and fluid movement and comparing it to the norms chart.

Flexibility can be monitored using many different assessments depending on what area of the body. There is no mention of flexibility in the above goal however I can guarantee if probed a little there will be an area that requires improvement whether its movement at specific joints or muscle groups.  A good test to try is the sit and reach test to assess lower back, hip joint and hamstring flexibility.

Nutrition.

I have said it before and I will say it again “Food is Batman and exercise is Robin!” What do I mean? You can do as much exercise as you like but to get the best outcome whether it be weight lose or sports performance, food will play a vital role in the end result. To change your diet and introduce exercise is no mean feat and really what you are looking to do is completely change your lifestyle. That is not easy and takes time however it is very achievable. Nutrition is about balance and finding something sustainable, not a quick fix.

Start with small steps and change one thing at a time.  For example, if you only eat once piece of fruit a day increase that to 2 and continue with this for a week, then add in another fruit or a vegetable until you hit your goal. Write down all the fruit and vegetables that you can think of, pin it in the kitchen and experiment with them in your diet; make it fun!  To assess your eating take a food diary and plan your meals in advance. The Eatwell Guide is a great starting point of reatwell plateeference.

Assessing progress over short, medium and long term periods enables keeps you motivated and map progress more closely.  Why not give some of the assessments a go for your own 2017 resolutions and keep track of results. For any enquiries please get in touch. Good luck!

The right amount of protein.

A regular conversation I have with clients is when is the right time to add protein shakes? Firstly, lets talk about the average daily protein need. For a healthy, sedentary adult their daily protein requirement is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight per day; this is approximately 10-15% of total calories consumed per day. There are a few training cases when protein requirements may change and possibly require supplements. However in many cases, additional protein can be sought through a balanced diet.

  1. ENDURANCE TRAINING – Long distance, endurance athletes running 60 minutes or more of moderately hard training may require additional protein to compensate the breakdown of muscle tissue due to depleted glycogen stores, a process known as gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is the body’s way of maintaining blood glucose levels when muscle and liver glycogen have become depleted during exercise or at times when there is a low energy intake. Another reason for an increase in protein is to help repair and recovery of the muscles. After a long run I always have a pint of skimmed milk as its a fast and effective way of getting adequate protein into my body quickly. Daily protein requirements 1.2-1.4g per kg of body weight.
  2. STRENGTH TRAINING – When strength training you are creating micro tears in the muscle which requires increased amounts of protein to help repair and enhance recovery. Strength training requires more protein than endurance training due to the higher rate of muscle synthesis and increased demands placed on the muscles. In order to achieve effective muscle hypertrophy (muscle bulk) an increase in protein must be met with an appropriate workload. Some of the highest protein foods are chicken 39g/130g, salmon 30g/150g and beef 28g/100g. Daily protein requirements are 1.4-1.8g per kg of body weight
  3. FAT LOSS PROGRAMME – Clients of mine on a weight loss or weight management programme benefit from a slightly higher daily protein allowance of up to 20% of their total daily calorie intake. Proteins such as poultry, meat, meat produce, dairy products and nuts, seeds and pulses are high in protein which keeps you fuller for longer. When increasing protein in your diet it is important to accompany it with exercise to maximise the benefits. Some low fat examples are low fat yogurt, salmon, chicken, eggs and skimmed milk.
  4. VEGETARIAN ATHLETES – Many vegetarian clients of mine through a balanced diet will achieve 10-15% of their total calories through low fat dairy product and meat and fish alternatives such as tofu, nuts and seeds. Plant sources are generally lower in protein so it is essential to eat the right combination of plant-based proteins. It maybe relevant for a vegetarian to supplement their diet particularly when training for a marathon or strength training. Some good examples are quinoa, quorn, tofu, soya milk, eggs, kidney beans, chick peas and baked beans.

Many protein-based meal replacements are designed to have a wide range of nutritional combinations than a protein only supplement so it is important to understand why you are taking it and for what purpose. It is important to know the side effects of too much protein in the diet such as excess protein intake can be stored as fat, some animal products are high in saturated fat and therefor can increase cholesterol and increase the risk of Chronic Heart Disease and can be dangerous to individuals with kidney or liver disease.

If you have any questions related to protein intake why not get in touch!

Are we a nation who drink enough?

How much water is enough?

Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. Hyponatremis is a condition when too much water is consumed over a short period of time and the kidney does not have time to filter out the excess. This leaves the sodium concentration in the blood very low and symptoms can include headache, confusion, muscle spasms, nausea or in severe cases swelling in the brain cells.  Electrolytes can be used to replace lost sodium stores and there are plenty well-known brands on the market.

Not having enough fluid can be serious and the importance during exercise of replacing water cannot be over stated. At 3% dehydrated an athlete will have inefficient kidney function, dry mouth, headache and a measurable reduction in exercise performance; at 5% heat exhaustion will result and require medical assistance.

1 liter per 1000 kcal you expend = your daily water requirement

How to assess hydration levels?

It is important to drink before you feel thirsty. When you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated and performance will be affected. It takes time for water to be absorbed into your body and transported. A good indicator is the colour of urine:

Sports drinks are an excellent way of improving performance by improving hydration and glucose replacement. Isotonic drinks contain the same amount of glucose as the body and are absorbed by the gut quicker (4gramms/100ml).

One of my biggest inspirations in life is my Father.  A retired General Practitioner and fitness fanatic, he taught me years ago how to make my own isotonic drink with half fresh fruit juice, half water and a pinch of salt to encourage me to drink more.  It really does the trick and by far cheaper than the shop bought drinks. Give it a try after a hard session and see for yourself.

Cut your food bill on Superfoods…..

Goji berries, chia seeds, coconut oil, kale and quinoa are to name a few that have been branded superfoods in the recent years. Promising to be cancer protecting, immune boosting, protection against heart disease and helping burn more fat. They are expensive! 6 times more expensive than the alternatives.

Here is a list of cheaper alternatives to try out that and they offer the same health benefits:

  • Coconut oil         Rapesead oil or vegetable oil
  • Chia seeds          Pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds
  • Kale                      Cabbage or spring greens
  • Goji berries        Frozen summer fruits
  • Quinoa                Pearl barley

A few other foods that have claim to protect against heart disease and some cancers are:

  • Eggs – high in protein, vitamin A, D, E, K, B6 and B12 and inexpensive.
  • Oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardiens)- high in protein, omega-3 and vitamin D and B.
  • Blueberries- high in fiber, vitamins K and C and also high in antioxidants.

I like to tell my clients that food is like Batman and exercise like Robin; no matter how much exercise you do if your diet is not balanced and controlled you will struggle to meet your health goals.  Not sure if you are getting a good balanced diet and would like to have a food analysis done please get in touch. Fit + Fabulous will deconstruct your current diet and offer healthier suggestion to help you achieve your goal.

 

A day in a life of a Personal Trainer

The fitness industry is worth nearly £4 billion in the UK and a difficult industry to govern. It is important to question those who are giving fitness and nutritional advice and on what recommendations they seek their findings.  When hiring a Personal Trainer or joining a gym don’t be afraid to question what qualifications they have or dig deep about their principles or industry and life experiences.

I want my clients to have fun, relate to me and most importantly get the results they desire. I individualise all my clients sessions, I participate and keep in contact with them on a regular basis. My aim is to understand their goals, likes and dislikes; understand their busy lifestyles and how fitness fits in. What are my goals?

  • Respect – for you to seek help to get fit, lose weight or change your lifestyle it is a big step and one not to be sniffed at. Many of my client are anxious and nervous when we meet for the first time as it is a step that they have been thinking about for a long time. It is a huge investment of their time and money which has not been taken lightly and I value that.  A PT should spend time getting to know their client, understanding their lifestyle, their family life and what motivates them.  Its about you!
  • Flexibility – as much as we plan things, obsticals are thrown in our way; such as life! Being a mum of two and wife of a very hard working husband, time is of the essence. I know so many people that have gym memberships and use them once or twice a month, its a huge expense.  I work as a mobile personal trainer so I come to you. There are so many local parks that are great spaces to use as training ground in all weather. Despite the unpredictability of the Scottish weather you would be surprised at how much fun it is to train out doors. There are so many training methods to accommodate short periods of time. There is no need to spend hours training; effective weight loss and health benefits can be done in as little as 30 minutes at any given time.
  • Fair but firm -I train hard, I don’t always enjoy it at the time but when I get the results I want, it is all worth while.   In the past I have competed in races where I have pushed my body to its limits and tried to do it in the name of my children. In the end, despite my love for my kids, I only every perform when I want it for myself. I believe what you put in is what you get back. I would never ask any of my clients to do anything I would not do myself. All I ask is that you try your hardest and you do it for yourself! When you don’t succeed, try again!
  • Approachable – I have spent a lot of time and money to be industry qualified, setting up my company and helping my clients achieve their goals. I have been a sports enthusiast since school; I grew up having a very active, outdoor family lifestyle and principals.  However, I am not unique or indifferent to you;  I have a family, a career, friends and hobbies that consume my time. I am not here to judge you! I am here to help you meet your goals and expectations and most definitely have fun.

Never had a personal trainer or a gym membership but want to find out more? Why not follow me on Facebook or Twitter to get up to date information. Get in touch for more information or even try my exercise videos on Youtube.

 

 

Fit + Fabulous top 5 running tips

1. Forget the glass slippers. I’m a sucker for exercise clothing! Generally, the clothing and footwear are very comfortable to wear due to the technical ability of the garment whether it be the flexibility, lightness or breath-ability. If there is one thing I suggest taking time over to purchase it’s footwear. I have 6 pairs of trainers in my wardrobe at the moment and all completely warranted (much to my husband’s disgust). I run on road, trail, cross country and track; all of which have different footwear and I have other pairs for training within the gym and studio environment.
For me, the correct footwear for running is key to help avoid injury and discomfort. There are many high street specific sport shops in Glasgow such as Achillies Heel, Sweat Shop and Run4It that will help you get the correct shoe to match your running style. Don’t scrimp on footwear, invest in your feet!
2. No ‘I’ in TEAM or maybe there is! When I first started running I did it on my own, two nights a week. After a few months I fatigued and I started to find reasons not to go out. I found a beginners running group at my local sports center and started running with them once a week to try and give me motivation. Guess what? It worked! Before long I needed to be pushed further so joined a local Running Club, Garscube Harriers and I have never looked back.
Running Clubs are an excellent way to get fit and meet like-minded people, they are substantially cheaper than a gym membership too. Having the company when training is an excellent way to stay motivated. There are running clubs for all abilities out there.
3. Get race day ready. Technology in all sports is moving at a fierce rate – Oh my, I sound old! GPS has added a new dimension for runners by helping to create an online social network, opening up new routes and helping runners set higher PBs. There are many applications that you can download onto your phone or watches that will keep you motivated by tracking your progress. I love going out a run and uploading my run from my Garmin onto Strava (there are other brands available). It enables me see how consistent I have run over the duration of time, highlight my achievements and set new targets.
The best motivation for me is booking a race in the diary, something to train for. There are a host of different races throughout the year across Scotland whether it be road, cross country, track, trail, hill or multi-sport races such as duathlons. Websites such as entrycentral.com and Scottishrunningguide.com make finding one easier.
4. Eat, drink, run, repeat. I know many runners who run on an empty stomach but let me tell you there are reasons why you need food and water before you run. Running is an aerobic activity and uses the food we eat to convert to energy. Energy is released into the body by the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The best sources of food to fuel the muscles in the presence of oxygen during aerobic exercise are carbohydrates and fats. Before a run I always stay hydrated by sipping water regularly and eat a snack an hour or more before a run. Carbohydrates feature high in my diet and even more so if I am training for a longer distance.
Dietary advice is something Fit + Fabulous really focuses on for all their clients. If you have any queries on what to eat to get the best from your running why not Contact Us?
5. Limber up and ease the throttle. When I started running and before I trained as a Personal Trainer I was not consistent with warming up and cooling down. Since doing it religiously it has made a huge difference to my performance, recovery and flexibility. Your warm up consists of a couple of components over 5 – 10 minutes so let’s break it down:
• Mobility – focus on releasing synovial fluid around the joints that are specific to running thus enabling smooth and easy joint movements and avoiding injury. This only takes 1-2 minutes to do. Try doing some shoulder shrugs, torso twists, side bends, abduct the hip joints and flex the knees before your run.
• Pulse-raising – warm up and increase blood flow to the working muscles and slowly elevate your heart rate. It is important to slowly elevate the intensity over 5 minutes or so until you are feeling moderately active and warm enough to do some pre-stretches. Your first kilometer should be your slowest one!
• Pre-stretches – should only be done after a warm up when the muscles are warm and held for very short periods of time such as 6-10 seconds if static or small range of movements if dynamic. This only takes 1-2 minutes of the warm up.
It is important to consider factors which affect a warm up such as environment, time of day, intensity of the session and your own level of ability. For example, if it is cold you may need a longer pulse raiser or if the session is going to be very demanding more time should be spent on the preparation to optimise the body’s readiness.
What about the cool down? It is just as important and should be done over about 10 – 15 minutes consisting of lowering the pulse and post-stretches. Again similar factors will affect the cool down but it can be summarised as:
• Pulse-lowering – involves tapering the run to lower your heart rate, reduce blood pooling and remove the metabolic waste products of the exercise (lactic acid, noradrenalin and carbon dioxide) from the muscle. It helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness in the muscles the next day and improves recovery.
• Post-stretches – aims to maintain or increase the flexibility of the range of movement within the specific joints. The range of joint movement is critical to good performance. Maintenance (to maintain range of movement) stretches should be held for 15 seconds and developmental (to improve range of movement) should be done over 30 seconds, progressively deepening the stretch. I would strongly suggest stretching the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and Illiotibial band after a run to help avoid injury and improve performance.
I hope you find my top tips helpful. Any queries, please get in touch to find out more. Happy running!

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