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!

 

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!

Be fit + fabulous in 2017 with achievable goals!

The party season is over and it’s time to set those all important goals for the new year. Like so many people, in the past I have set high standards in the January and failed to maintain them throughout the year. More recently I have focused on making ‘SMART’ goals and applying the ‘FITT’ principles. I’ve found that by setting such goals, its more likely for me to stick to a training or nutrition plan for longer periods of time.  ‘SMART’ goals stand for:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating, results-based).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

The achievable and realistic components are are often very subjective and influenced by barriers such as motivation, injury, work and family commitments or unforeseen circumstances. It can be helpful to write your barriers down and have an understanding of what they could be. ‘FITT’ principles stand for:

  • Frequency (how often per week).
  • Intensity (effort level, heart rate zone).
  • Type (cardio, ressistance).
  • Time (minutes per training session).

dsc_7373Lets look at one of my goals I have set for 2017. At the end of June I will compete in my first ever open water, standard distance triathlon on Arran; 1500m swim, 37km bike and 10km run.  By applying the SMART goals and FITT principles I can break the goal down and question if it is appropriate for me.  Its important to note that I can cycle and run at a relatively high level and lets just say my swimming requires a little practice! I have already identified that this event is suitable however what I need to establish is how long I want to complete it in.

SMART SHORT TERM : 2 MONTHS MEDIUM TERM: 4 MONTHS lONG TERM: 6 MONTHS
FREESTYLE SWIMMING Freestyle swimming 1000m in under 25 minutes. Freestyle swimming 1200m in under 30 minutes. Freestyle swimming 1500m in under 40 minutes.
CYCLING Cycling 20km, similar elevation at an average speed of 20kph. Cycling 30km, similar elevation at an average speed of 22kph. Cycling 37km, similar elevation at an average speed of 24kph.
RUNNING Running 5km after cycling in under 25mins (5min/km) Running 8km after cycling in under 40mins Running 10km after cycling in under 50mins

An example of applying the FITT principle to the short term goals of 2 months would look like:

FITT – 2MTHS FREQUENCY INTENSITY TYPE TIME
FREESTYE SWIMMING 2x per week Moderate to hard intensity.

70-80% MHR

1x focus on technique/speed.

1x continuous.

30 mins

 

30mins

CYCLING 2x per week Moderate to hard intensity.

70-80% MaxHR

Short intense spin sessions in the form of HITT.

Continuous hill route.

30mins

 

 

60mins

RUNNING 3x per week Moderate to hard intensity.

60-80% MaxHR

 

Hills sprints.

Tempos session.

Continuous run.

45mins

60mins

>90mins

RESSISTANCE 2x per week Strength training. High resistance x low repetitions (60-75% 1RM x reps 8-12) 1x upper body.

1x lower body.

60mins.

 

runGoals should be reviewed and altered as and when required in order to maintain motivation. When Fit + Fabulous clients goals are established early on in Personal Training sessions, they are continually reviewed and discussed along with potential barriers to maximise individual potential.

Want to learn to run a 10km, build strength in your upper body or lose inches off the hips; why not apply the SMART goals and FITT principals to help you make those all important life goals for 2017 achievable?