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Beat cellulite
 

The health benefits of coffee

Coffee often gets a bad press, which in some cases is for good reason, especially if you’re drinking lots of it or always using it as a pick-me up in the afternoon. However, there are lots of health benefits in these little beans too, when drunk in moderation and not in a calorie-laden white chocolate mocha with whipped cream on top from Starbucks! Let's start with the liver. Researchhas shown that drinking two or more cups a day can help protect your liver against certain diseases, including cirrhosis. Coffee is also packed full of antioxidants and, for big coffee drinkers, is often the biggest source of antioxidants in the diet. Antioxidants are important for many reasons, including helping protect against free radical damage and therefore diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. But that doesn't mean that coffee can replace the antioxidants from fruit and vegetables! We all know that the caffeine in coffee can help with energy levels, as it is often found in energy and sports drinks, and, of course, many people use it to help them get through that ‘4pm slump’. However, caffeine can also help improve your memory and mood. When you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. Once in the brain the caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, which in turn allows an increase in other neurotransmitters that help fire your neurons and increase your alertness and memory. There is also increasing evidence that coffee can help protect against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and reduce the risk of depression, too. Coffee also contains some essential nutrients including B vitamins, magnesium and potassium, and isn’t dehydrating on the body as some may think. According to research, coffee is in fact almost as hydrating as plain waterand counts towards your total daily fluid count, plus it’s low in calories when drunk black. Do be careful with coffee, though, as some people can be really sensitive to it. Even one cup can cause 'caffeine shakes' where the body feels a bit jittery and shaky, or cause nausea. It can also cause a slight increase in blood pressure, so if you suffer from high blood pressure then coffee is best avoided. GET YOUR COFFEE FIX! CREAMY DAILY COFFEEPut in a blender 240ml of your favourite coffee, 1tbsp coconut oil, 1tsp.organic unsalted butter (or non-dairy alternative) and ¼tsp vanilla extract. Blend for about 20 seconds and drink immediately for a deliciously creamy coffee with lots of good fats.  COFFEE-FIG COMPOTEIn a medium-sized saucepan, add 300ml brewed coffee, 200g dried figs, 1tbsp honey, ½tsp cinnamon, 2 cardamom pods, 2-3 cloves (to taste) and the zest of 1 orange. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with Greek yoghurt, or chill and use on top of your porridge on a morning. ESPRESSO BROWNIESPlace 110g chopped walnuts and 110g chopped almonds in a food processor along with 6 pitted Medjool dates and blend until almost dough-like. Add 60g cocoa powder, 1tbsp instant coffee, 1tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt and blend, ensuring it’s all mixed well. Line a loaf tin and pour in the nut and date mixture, pressing down firmly. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing into cubes and storing in an airtight container. SUPERFOOD STATS1 cup of black espresso (30g) provides you with approximately:1 calorie0g fat0g carbs0g fibre0g protein

Make Exercise a Habit

We all know that regular exercise is good for us, but actually putting that knowledge into practice isn’t always easy. While we may take out expensive gym memberships, splash the cash on new running gear and high-tech kit in a bid to feel healthier and slimmer, staying committed for the long haul is another thing. No matter how serious we are about achieving our goals or how good our intentions, our get-fit resolutions can often slip off our to-do-list. Need some motivation to recharge your get-up-and-go? Health and wellness coach Joanne Henson dedicates her new book to doing just that. What’s Your Excuse For Not Getting Fit? (£4.99, amazon.co.uk) provides easy-to-follow advice and smart tips to stick with exercise long enough to see some pretty awesome results. ‘I wrote the book to help people take a fresh look at their own self-sabotaging behaviours and limiting beliefs, and to motivate them to change their mindsets, and move forward,’ she explains. Here she shares the top reasons for skipping that all-important workout and her simple solutions to stay on track. Excuse 1: I don’t have time to exerciseWorkouts don’t necessarily have to be lengthy or laborious if you’re looking to lose weight or get healthier. A short, sharp sweat sesh will see you bid farewell to hundreds of calories while targeting a whole range of different muscle groups. ‘Three to four times per week is ideal – this still leaves another three to four days a week when you don’t have to exercise. High-intensity interval training sessions could be as short as 10 minutes, and the best way to ensure that it gets done is to prioritise and diarise. And if you think you don’t have time, try keeping a log of how you spend your time and re-evaluate what’s important,’ says Joanne.  Excuse 2: I live too far away from the gymBrrrr! When it’s freezing cold and chucking it down outside you’d probably prefer a date with your duvet over dragging yourself all the way to the gym – especially if it involves an epic commute. We get it. Even those of us with the loftiest intentions can falter when inconvenience prevails over our fitness plans. ‘There’s no point in joining a flash new gym if it’s a 15-minute drive away, which you might not fancy after a long day at work. Much better to join the more basic gym at the end of your road. Then you’ve only got to find time for the workout, not the workout and a journey,’ says Joanne. Gym still not near enough? Try out a range of fitness DVDs and apps that fit easily into your lifestyle.  Excuse 3: I’ve lost my fitness mojoHaving motivational dips every so often is normal, and if that means you miss a few sessions, so be it – but don’t let that derail you getting back on track. ‘If you do skip a few workouts, remember that the longer you leave it the harder it’s going to feel when you go back. And consider how far you’ve already come – do you really want to waste the effort you’ve already put in? Capitalise on the progress you’ve made so far and stick with it,’ advises Joanne.  Excuse 4: I find exercise boringExercise doesn’t have to be difficult and unpleasant. Ease yourself into it and up the ante when you’re ready. ‘Find something you enjoy. This is an obvious one, but so many people treat exercise as a form of punishment, as something to be endured not enjoyed. But there are dozens of different forms of exercise which you might find more fun, from dancing to rock climbing,’ says Joanne. And if you get bored of your routine, switch things up a notch by trying new classes, working out different body parts and varying the intensity of your workout.  Excuse 5: I’m not seeing resultsLet’s be realistic; you won’t see results overnight, but the more dedicated you become, the faster you’ll see improvements in your overall fitness /and/ your figure. ‘Be patient, give it some time, and remember that exercise has long-term, ongoing health benefits beyond body shape,’ says Joanne. Try keeping a workout journal so you can chart your progress, writing down small achievements after every session, whether it’s going for two minutes longer on the treadmill or reaching your PB in press-ups.  Achieve your best-ever resultsTry Joanne’s shortcuts to help you stay on track. 1 Make exercise a priorityIf you treat exercise as an afterthought, and put it at the bottom of your list after checking Facebook, drinks after work and binge-watching a box set, you’ll run out of time every day.  However, if you schedule a workout into your day and plan your other activities around it, it /will/ get done. 2 Don’t expect miraculous resultsOne of the reasons people go so hard at first and then give up so quickly is that they are looking for a quick fix, and when they don’t get one, they become disillusioned. In fact, you’re not going to undo months or years of unhealthy living with a month of exercise, nor are you going to dramatically change your body shape in that time. But be patient, give it some time, and you will see results. 3 Make sure you’re doing it rightIf you have a specific goal, and you’re going to invest time and effort in exercising, make sure that time and effort is well spent. What is it you want to achieve?  Be honest with yourself and then, if necessary, get some advice on what would be most effective (e.g. if you want to tone up your bingo wings, target that area with resistance training rather than going running).    Get-started kitMake a trolley dash for these must-have fitness buys Blackspade Thermal Sports TopDefy the cold weather with this insulating top. It’s super-breathable, lightweight and moisture-wicking.£20.95, amazon.co.uk Anita Active Air Control Sports BraA good sports bra is an essential investment for every budding fitness enthusiast. This stylist number by Anita Active minimises bounce whilst maximising comfort.£51, figleaves.com Adidas Supernova Glide BOOSTKeep morale and performance at an all-time high with these sleek running shoes. Designed to complement the shape of your foot, they also offer good grip and ultra-soft cushioning.£105, adidas.co.uk

Beat cellulite

Beat cellulite

Whether you're off on a late-summer hol or just fancy getting your legs out, the appearance of cellulite can be pretty frustrating. Luckily, we've put together a quick and easy Power Plate workout to combat signs of that stubborn orange peel effect. So, wave goodbye to any dimples!Power Plate master trainer, Caroline Pearce says if you perform specific moves on the vibrating platform that directly target the cellulite problem areas – bottom and thighs – then you’ll stimulate blood flow to the area and increase lymphatic drainage. This, Pearce says, should help you see a dramatic improvement within just six weeks – or faster if you combine H&F’s Power Plate moves with your existing cardio regime.Exercise 1: BridgeHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 30-35htz on low settingWorks: Bottom and coreHow to do it: Lie in front of the Power Plate with your back on a mat. Place your feet in the centre of the platform and adjust your position so you can lift your hips off the floor and balance your body weight between your shoulders and your feet. Try to keep a straight line running from your shoulders to your knees. Pull your belly button ‘up and in’ to activate the core of your body and maintain a strong back.Exercise 2: Lunge with lateral raiseHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 30-35htz on low settingWorks: Gluteals, quadriceps, shoulders and coreHow to do it: Stand on the floor facing the Power Plate, one stride’s distance away. Holding a strap in each hand (adjust to your height requirements before you begin), place your right foot on the middle of the platform. Ease your left foot back on the floor until you form a lunge position, and lift the left heel so you are balanced on your toes. Drop your knee down towards the floor, keeping your front knee behind your toes and your torso up straight. Lift your arms straight out to the sides, level with your shoulders, to form a ‘T’ shape keep your wrists, elbows and shoulders in a straight line with a slight bend at the elbow and maintain tension in the straps by pulling upwards throughout.Progression: Increase the depth of the lunge as you exhale and turn your palms to face the ceiling.Exercise 3: Squat with bicep curlHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 30-35htz on low settingWorks: Quadriceps, gluteals, and bicepsHow to do it: Holding the straps, stand in the middle of the platform with the controls behind you. Ensuring your knees stay behind the line of your toes, lower your hips into a squat position. With your palms facing up, lift your arms in front of you, keeping a slight bend at the elbow. Focusing on your biceps, continuously pull on the straps as hard as you can. Try not to let your shoulders come forward as you tire.Exercise 4: Quad massageHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 40-50htz on high settingWorks: QuadricepsHow to do it: Place a mat in front of the Power Plate. Position yourself onto the base with the front of your thighs resting on the platform. Rest your forearms on the mat in front of you to support your upper body. Keep a strong, flat back. You can also place a step underneath your torso and arms to aid rest. Close your eyes, relax your breathing and enjoy the massage. You deserve it!To find a fitness centre near you, to try out these fab moves, visit powerplate.com

Core workout routine

Wouldn’t it be terrific to peel off your kaftan this summer and feel more confident about your abs than ever before? The good news is, you can; we’ve got all the moves you need to tone your abs to perfection.Bloated tummyGassy, bloated tummies don’t only look unattractive, they’re also uncomfortable and a sign that your digestion isn’t happy. ‘Focus on having your meals at the same time every day, and avoid carbs or fruit after a meal,’ suggests Winhoffer. ‘Eating fruits after a meal causes the food to ferment, which then causes bloating and gas. Making your meals consistent also allows your stomach to become accustomed to what it has to break down on a daily basis.’Beat the bloat with... crunchesBegin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Think of creating a concave stomach by pulling you belly button in towards your spine and then curl your truck up, keeping your head and neck tall and in line with your body. Keep pulling your navel in towards your spine during the whole movement. ‘You don’t want protruding abs,’ says Winhoffer.How many? Three sets of 25 reps.Fat around the belly button‘Belly fat is often a result of stress,’ says Lee. ‘Cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, encourages the body to release sugar into the bloodstream to fuel the “fight or flight” response. If you use this energy to get away from a physical danger, there’s little chance of the sugar being stored as fat, but if it’s released repeatedly through stress, it’ll be stored as fat, especially around your middle.’Relieve stress and tone up with... the downward dog to plank sequenceStart on all fours, with your wrists slightly in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees to hip-width apart and curl your toes under. Exhale, then lift your knees off the floor, reach your sit bones toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs in a downward dog position, pushing through your heels. Hold for five slow breaths. Inhale, then shift your weight forward into plank, with your core strong. Hold, then exhale and push into a downward dog. ‘This move is good for strengthening your core and elongating your hamstrings and back,’ says Lee. ‘It will also have a calming effect, helping to lower your cortisol levels and boost your circulation.’How many? Five rounds, holding each pose for around five breaths each but rest if you need to.Love handlesIf you love wearing jeans, but hate the bulges at your waistline, cut out sugar, saturated fat and white flour, says Winhoffer. ‘They metabolise quickly and cause soaring sugar levels, which result in fatigue and excess sugars being stored as fat. Base your diet on lean proteins such as chicken and fish, and plenty of vegetables. Chromium picolinate is my favourite supplement because it ups your metabolism and helps to stabilise blood sugar. Take 300mg a day.’ (£17; biocare.co.uk)Target love handles with... a one-legged plank hydrantGet into the plank with your hands on the floor. Pull one of your knees close to your chest then, without touching the floor, push your leg back out and up so it’s behind you at a 45o angle. Hold for two seconds, then bring the leg back into your chest. ‘This move targets your lower abs, love handles, inner thighs and bum,’ says Winhoffer. How many? Two sets of 10 reps on each leg. 

Why you should try out the TRXCore class

What is it? A circuit class that incorporates all the usual suspects – burpees, jumping jacks and the like – but with a little TRX thrown in for good measure. TRX is a suspension training tool that uses straps to turn almost every move you do into a core-stability challenge – inverted rows, lunges and even burpees can all be made more difficult using TRX. This class pairs regular floor moves using weights and ball slams with TRX moves, which will feature at least once in each superset you do. There’s very little rest, and lots of work.What are the benefits?The class is super high-intensity, so sweating loads and getting your heart rate pumping is a given. You’ll definitely get a cardio workout and find yourself huffing and puffing, but, more than anything, it feels like a body-conditioning class that really boosts your muscular endurance – especially in the core. The class lasts 55 minutes and sets (in which you perform the same move) usually last a minute each, so you’ll definitely be feeling the burn by the end!How hard is it?It’s pretty hard, but it’s all relative: even if you’re super fit you’ll find it just as challenging as a newbie, as you’ll train at whatever pace you can manage. And the great thing is it’s a small class so you’ll always get attention and advice – but this also means you can’t slack off! It’s not exactly interval training, as you don’t get many rests and normally have to repeat supersets of three to four exercises a few times over before getting a break, but somehow you pull through. Where is it?Heartcore studios across London (heartcore.co.uk). Single classes are £27 but prices reduce with block bookings.

The Power of 10

‘A 10K offers a good physical challenge without the commitment burden of training for a longer race’ ‘The impact that mastering a 10K will have on your running ability makes it the ideal race distance for every type of runner’It may not have the blister brag-ability of a marathon, or the hard yards of a half, but if it’s a test of speed, stamina and strength you’re after, look no further than the 10K. And it’s fast becoming the UK’s race distance du jour, with hundreds of thousands of runners entering 10K races every year. In fact, this year’s British 10K alone saw over 25,000 people take to the streets of London for just one race. Why? Because, at 6.2 miles, it offers a good physical challenge without the commitment burden of training for a longer race. Better still, the impact that mastering a 10K will have on your running ability makes it the ideal race distance for every type of runner – from haven’t-laced-up-my-shoes-since-school newbies to seasoned 26.2-ers. And even the queen of distance running, Paula Radcliffe, agrees! ‘10K is pretty much a perfect race distance,’ says the women’s road 10K and marathon world record holder. ‘It provides a great test for experienced runners because it’s a superb indicator of fitness for other distances. While at the same time it’s the perfect target for beginners because it offers a motivating, yet achievable, goal that can be worked towards quickly, with the added bonus that 10K road races are also loads of fun.’ Still not convinced? Here are 10 more reasons to tempt you…1. Anyone can smash it‘10K is a really manageable and accessible distance,’ says running coach Nick Anderson (@nickandersonrun). ‘It’s still a challenge at 6.2 miles and, for a beginner, running a whole 10K without stopping is a fantastic achievement. But because it’s such an achievable distance, you can run 10K more regularly than other races too, giving you the opportunity to get really good at it.’ 2. It provides a foundation for longer races‘For more experienced runners, if you’re going to run marathons or even halves once or twice a year, you need to run 10Ks in between,’ says Nick. ‘It’s an excellent distance to sharpen your form, speed and race strategy and, because you recover quite quickly from a 10K, you can almost do one once a month. It’s actually a great idea to do a series of 10K races before thinking about moving on to another distance.’ 3. You don’t need any special equipmentFact! No race gels, no fancy laces, no expensive training technology – just a good pair of running shoes and you really are good to go. Though, we’d /never/ discourage a fit kit splurge, obvs… 4. It’s the best distance to learn about racing environmentsThe more 10Ks you do, the less likely you are to be overwhelmed by the whole occasion if you tackle a bigger race. The adrenaline, tension, nerves, crowd – not to mention navigating your way through a sea of runners who might not be pavement pounding to your perfect pace – can all throw you off-kilter during your first half or full marathon. Getting a few 10Ks under your belt will prepare you for everything race day might throw at you, including those pre-race toilet queues! 5. It a great mental workout‘In some ways a 10K is actually harder than a half marathon, because you have to approach it mentally,’ says Nick. ‘It’s a balancing act – go off too fast, at say your usual 5K pace, and you’ll end up in trouble during the last few kilometres. Instead, you’ll need to pace yourself a fraction – not too much – slower than your 5K pace during the first half, ease yourself in, then commit to really pushing hard for the rest of the race. 10K pace is probably the hardest to judge because you’re almost pushing the boundaries and limits of what you’re capable of, but stretching it out for longer than you would during any other race.’ 6. It won’t take over your lifeUnlike marathon and half-marathon training, where the weekly mileage means you start to fit real life around your training regime, a 10K plan will slot effortlessly into your weekly routine. Think regular, manageable distances and time frames. No giving up your days off or sacrificing your fave TV shows to clock up the miles in the cold and wet. Plus, there’s the added bonus that even on race day you’re likely to be medalled up, showered and at the pub in time for lunch. 7. Mastering it will make you a stronger all-round runner‘I find 10K a great challenge, competing over that distance has definitely made me a stronger athlete,’ says Jo Pavey, current British 10,000m champion and four-time Olympian. ‘It’s tough both physically and mentally trying to keep hitting those lap/kilometre times. It can be very tactical, which makes it a really interesting race to run, too.’ 8. It’s the perfect pre-marathon prep‘Entering a 10K race is a brilliant sharpener in the last six weeks of half or full-marathon training,’ says Nick. ‘Even better, have a 10K season for a few months beforehand – you can race once a month and recover quickly from it. It will sharpen up your speed and endurance so that when you do go back to half or full-marathon training you’ll find yourself in much better shape.’ 9. There are loads of races to choose fromLiterally thousands, in fact, all over the UK. Fun races, charity races, muddy races, off-road races, all bursting with bragtastic Facebook and Instagram opportunities (see xx for our pick of the best). And it’s not just amateur runners who love a good 10K race, you might well find yourself on the start line in esteemed company. ‘I love 10K road races,’ says Jo. ‘Mass participation events are always so exciting – the atmosphere‘s amazing and it’s inspiring to run with people who have such great personal stories and are running for important charities.’ 10. It will feel like a genuine physical achievement‘Running a 10K hurts,’ says Nick. ‘It’s a short enough distance that you can commit to pushing yourself that little bit harder, but unlike a 5K, which is over pretty quickly, you have to keep your speed and effort up for longer.’ Safe to say you’ll feel pretty damn proud of yourself at the finish line. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a 10K today and tell us all about it @WF10IN10 10 of the best 10K runsFeeling inspired? Sign up to a race today! 1. Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run, Glasgow – 4 October 2015This run passes a number of iconic landmarks, giving you plenty to look at as you pound the streets of the city centre.greatscottishrun.com 2. The Festival Run, Pilton, Somerset – 11 October 2015Missed out on Glasto this year? This 10K takes place on the iconic festival site, incorporating the Pyramid Stage and Stone Circle.piltonvillage.co.uk/festival-run.html 3. BTR Wirral 10K, Birkenhead Park, Wirral – 13 September 2015The course for this run is mostly flat, so fast times are achievable – a great race for smashing that PB!btrliverpool.com 4. Brutal 10, Woolmer, Hampshire – 10October 2015Fancy a race with an extra challenge? Look no further than the Brutal 10, which involves running through mud and water up to waist height.brutalrun.co.uk 5. Bangor 10K, Bangor, Gwynedd – 17 October 2015This scenic run welcomes runners of all abilities, and even offers the option for you to run with your dog!runwales.com/events/bangor-10k-fun-run 6. London Self Transcendence 10K, Battersea Park, London – 24 October 2015Whether you’re looking to beat your PB, or taking on your first race, this fun run through Battersea Park is the perfect opportunity.uk.srichinmoyraces.org/races/london 7. Run in the Dark, various locations – 11 November 2015This run will light up the streets of five cities simultaneously – Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Manchester and London – with runners wearing flashing armbands.runinthedark.org 8. Brooks Brighton, Brighton, Sussex – 15 November 2015This is a fast, accurately timed run, which goes along the seafront – so don’t forget to enjoy the view!www.brooksbrighton10k.co.uk [NEEDS THE WWW. TO WORK] 9. Mo Run, Greenwich Park, London – 28 November 2015This run can be taken seriously with the chip timing, or as a fun run where you don a moustache in aid of Movember!london-greenwich.mo-running.com 5 accessories every runner needsTop-notch kit to help you on your way to 10K 1. TomTom Runner Cardio GPS WatchA bit of an investment, but this clever little number provides you with GPS, tracks your calorie burn and monitors your heart rate (without the need for a separate chest strap). It also allows you to programme your training goals, and offers guidance for optimum results.£169.99, johnlewis.com 2. Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld BottleThis transforms a drinks bottle into a handbag! The hand strap is moisture-wicking, resulting in sweat-free hands, and the purse is the perfect size for holding your essentials.£9.99, runnersneed.com 3. Nike Elite Cushioned No-Show Tab Running SocksYou may think that a pair of socks can't help your run, but these are cushioned, so they absorb some of the shock! The moisture-wicking fabric will prevent your feet from getting sweaty, too, and they’re also specifically designed for your left and right feet to fit perfectly!£10, nike.com 4. Yurbuds Inspire Talk for Women EarphonesDesigned with exercising in mind, these stay in securely while you run, and are sweat and water-resistant, too. Plus they include a one-button control for music and taking calls on your smartphone. We like!From £16.99-£44.99, yurbuds.com/uk 5. Sweaty Betty Skinny Rubbersied HeadbandThis has non-slip grippers and sweat-wicking fabric to make the perfect headband for running, and for keeping hair in place.£6, sweatybetty.com 

Running tips to push your limits

Do you love running? Are you the queen of the 5K and maybe even the 10K too? So what’s next – a half or full marathon tickle your fancy? After all, if you can run 5K or 10K successfully, what’s to say you can’t tackle a longer distance with the right training? Running your first ever long-distance race is a pretty incredible feeling. You train, you run and you realise that the adrenaline that comes with completing a longer distance is really something special. And with so many exciting races on the running calendar this year, there’s a /lot/ for runners to look forward to, whatever their level. ‘Obstacle races are continuing to grow in popularity. They are appealing to a new audience as well as seasoned runners, because of their stop-start nature, and focus on fun and teamwork. Ultras are also really popular, as more marathon runners are realising that going “beyond” may well be possible,’ says running coach George Anderson (runningbygeorge.com). If you’ve set your mind on going the distance, you have to be as mentally prepared as you are physically. We’ve put together our top solutions to common problems runners face to help you smash your goals. Problem 1: BoredomTraining can be tough, but the right music will psyche you up for your run, giving you the motivation you need to slip on your trainers and head out the door. ‘Running the same route every time can get a bit tedious. If you get bored when you’re on a long run, plug yourself into an upbeat playlist, run with a friend, or just pick a brand new route each time,’ suggests George.Problem 2: Lack of motivationVariety is the spice of life, so if you’re running the same training course or wearing the same gear each session no wonder you’re not excited to run! Regularly varying your routes for a change of scenery and splashing out on new gear will inspire you to get outside. ‘Having your /why/ firmly at the front of your mind when you are training for a particular event can also keep your motivation high. In between races, try running without a watch. “Freedom Runs” are a great way to reconnect with your running and remind you of the reason you fell in love with the sport in the first place,’ says George. Problem 3: Injury nigglesFrom shin splints to knee pain, injuries are often part and parcel of a runner’s life, but strengthening your weak spots can work as an effective preventative measure. ‘Injuries are the bane of the runner’s life. Avoid unnecessary niggles by investing in a regular strength and conditioning routine. Single leg squats, spine mobilisers and hip bridges will all help bulletproof your body,’ George says. Problem 4: Bad weatherWhile in Britain we’re all used to wind, rain and sun, the unpredictable weather can be a massive hurdle for runners. When the weather isn’t playing ball it can be tempting to skip a training session, but keeping your end goal in mind will help you to maintain focus. ‘A bit of wet and cold shouldn’t mean a cancelled session, but if the weather isn’t up to scratch, take your workout indoors. While treadmills aren’t the best way to train for a race, they can be extremely handy when you can’t get out onto the roads because of miserable weather conditions,’ says George. Problem 5: Too tiredTraining is tiring. Fact. And when your body can’t handle another training session you’re at a higher risk of injury. If you haven’t slept, feel light-headed and weak, it’s your brain’s way of communicating that your body is not ready for a hardcore workout that day. But don’t beat yourself up over it – just remember that allowing your body adequate rest will improve your overall performance in the long run.Problem 6: No timeWith our increasingly busy lifestyles, it’s not always easy to fit in those all-important training sessions. Put exercise high up on your priority list and block out time in your diary at the beginning of the week so that you schedule other events around your training rather than the other way round – and don’t worry if you don’t have time to run every single day. ‘Training for a 10K, half or full marathon immediately conjures up ideas of long hours spent trudging the roads several times a week. This can be enough to put some runners off before they even start, but if you focus on quality rather than quantity, including just three runs a week, you will still get great results. This makes it a much more practical programme, and also reduces the chances of over-training and injuries,’ explains George. Problem 7: Performance plateauCan’t seem to go that extra mile or shave off seconds from your current PB? Consistency and commitment is key to powering up your performance. And making sure you continually push yourself hard will help you take your running game to the next level. ‘Training your body through threshold workouts can be really effective,’ says George. ‘Holding your pace at a point where the intensity becomes “comfortably uncomfortable” for increasingly longer periods of time through a programme can have an incredible impact on your fitness. Your body becomes better adapted to dealing with lactic acid, making faster running feel easier,’ he adds. 5 ways to amp up running successTry George’s expert tricks to better your run 1 Follow a programmeIf you have a race coming up, make sure you have a structured programme to follow with specific weekly targets to reach. 2 Be organisedMake an appointment with yourself for your training. Trying to fit it in isn’t likely to be a good long-term strategy, but if it’s there in the diary, it’ll happen. 3 Mix up your training Running at the same pace all the time will get you /some/ results, but you’ll never reach your full potential. Mix in intervals, hills and threshold runs for the best results. 4 Strength and conditioningIt’s the bit that most runners ignore – until they get injured. Not only does strength training make you a stronger, faster runner, it reduces the number of runs you have to skip because you’re out of action with avoidable injuries.5 Connect with other runners Running may be an individual sport, but there’s lots to be gained from connecting with others. Sharing stories, asking for advice and finding motivation are all good reasons for joining a coaching group.

Core workout routine

Wouldn’t it be terrific to peel off your kaftan this summer and feel more confident about your abs than ever before? The good news is, you can; we’ve got all the moves you need to tone your abs to perfection.Bloated tummyGassy, bloated tummies don’t only look unattractive, they’re also uncomfortable and a sign that your digestion isn’t happy. ‘Focus on having your meals at the same time every day, and avoid carbs or fruit after a meal,’ suggests Winhoffer. ‘Eating fruits after a meal causes the food to ferment, which then causes bloating and gas. Making your meals consistent also allows your stomach to become accustomed to what it has to break down on a daily basis.’Beat the bloat with... crunchesBegin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Think of creating a concave stomach by pulling you belly button in towards your spine and then curl your truck up, keeping your head and neck tall and in line with your body. Keep pulling your navel in towards your spine during the whole movement. ‘You don’t want protruding abs,’ says Winhoffer.How many? Three sets of 25 reps.Fat around the belly button‘Belly fat is often a result of stress,’ says Lee. ‘Cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, encourages the body to release sugar into the bloodstream to fuel the “fight or flight” response. If you use this energy to get away from a physical danger, there’s little chance of the sugar being stored as fat, but if it’s released repeatedly through stress, it’ll be stored as fat, especially around your middle.’Relieve stress and tone up with... the downward dog to plank sequenceStart on all fours, with your wrists slightly in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees to hip-width apart and curl your toes under. Exhale, then lift your knees off the floor, reach your sit bones toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs in a downward dog position, pushing through your heels. Hold for five slow breaths. Inhale, then shift your weight forward into plank, with your core strong. Hold, then exhale and push into a downward dog. ‘This move is good for strengthening your core and elongating your hamstrings and back,’ says Lee. ‘It will also have a calming effect, helping to lower your cortisol levels and boost your circulation.’How many? Five rounds, holding each pose for around five breaths each but rest if you need to.Love handlesIf you love wearing jeans, but hate the bulges at your waistline, cut out sugar, saturated fat and white flour, says Winhoffer. ‘They metabolise quickly and cause soaring sugar levels, which result in fatigue and excess sugars being stored as fat. Base your diet on lean proteins such as chicken and fish, and plenty of vegetables. Chromium picolinate is my favourite supplement because it ups your metabolism and helps to stabilise blood sugar. Take 300mg a day.’ (£17; biocare.co.uk)Target love handles with... a one-legged plank hydrantGet into the plank with your hands on the floor. Pull one of your knees close to your chest then, without touching the floor, push your leg back out and up so it’s behind you at a 45o angle. Hold for two seconds, then bring the leg back into your chest. ‘This move targets your lower abs, love handles, inner thighs and bum,’ says Winhoffer. How many? Two sets of 10 reps on each leg. 

Make Exercise a Habit

We all know that regular exercise is good for us, but actually putting that knowledge into practice isn’t always easy. While we may take out expensive gym memberships, splash the cash on new running gear and high-tech kit in a bid to feel healthier and slimmer, staying committed for the long haul is another thing. No matter how serious we are about achieving our goals or how good our intentions, our get-fit resolutions can often slip off our to-do-list. Need some motivation to recharge your get-up-and-go? Health and wellness coach Joanne Henson dedicates her new book to doing just that. What’s Your Excuse For Not Getting Fit? (£4.99, amazon.co.uk) provides easy-to-follow advice and smart tips to stick with exercise long enough to see some pretty awesome results. ‘I wrote the book to help people take a fresh look at their own self-sabotaging behaviours and limiting beliefs, and to motivate them to change their mindsets, and move forward,’ she explains. Here she shares the top reasons for skipping that all-important workout and her simple solutions to stay on track. Excuse 1: I don’t have time to exerciseWorkouts don’t necessarily have to be lengthy or laborious if you’re looking to lose weight or get healthier. A short, sharp sweat sesh will see you bid farewell to hundreds of calories while targeting a whole range of different muscle groups. ‘Three to four times per week is ideal – this still leaves another three to four days a week when you don’t have to exercise. High-intensity interval training sessions could be as short as 10 minutes, and the best way to ensure that it gets done is to prioritise and diarise. And if you think you don’t have time, try keeping a log of how you spend your time and re-evaluate what’s important,’ says Joanne.  Excuse 2: I live too far away from the gymBrrrr! When it’s freezing cold and chucking it down outside you’d probably prefer a date with your duvet over dragging yourself all the way to the gym – especially if it involves an epic commute. We get it. Even those of us with the loftiest intentions can falter when inconvenience prevails over our fitness plans. ‘There’s no point in joining a flash new gym if it’s a 15-minute drive away, which you might not fancy after a long day at work. Much better to join the more basic gym at the end of your road. Then you’ve only got to find time for the workout, not the workout and a journey,’ says Joanne. Gym still not near enough? Try out a range of fitness DVDs and apps that fit easily into your lifestyle.  Excuse 3: I’ve lost my fitness mojoHaving motivational dips every so often is normal, and if that means you miss a few sessions, so be it – but don’t let that derail you getting back on track. ‘If you do skip a few workouts, remember that the longer you leave it the harder it’s going to feel when you go back. And consider how far you’ve already come – do you really want to waste the effort you’ve already put in? Capitalise on the progress you’ve made so far and stick with it,’ advises Joanne.  Excuse 4: I find exercise boringExercise doesn’t have to be difficult and unpleasant. Ease yourself into it and up the ante when you’re ready. ‘Find something you enjoy. This is an obvious one, but so many people treat exercise as a form of punishment, as something to be endured not enjoyed. But there are dozens of different forms of exercise which you might find more fun, from dancing to rock climbing,’ says Joanne. And if you get bored of your routine, switch things up a notch by trying new classes, working out different body parts and varying the intensity of your workout.  Excuse 5: I’m not seeing resultsLet’s be realistic; you won’t see results overnight, but the more dedicated you become, the faster you’ll see improvements in your overall fitness /and/ your figure. ‘Be patient, give it some time, and remember that exercise has long-term, ongoing health benefits beyond body shape,’ says Joanne. Try keeping a workout journal so you can chart your progress, writing down small achievements after every session, whether it’s going for two minutes longer on the treadmill or reaching your PB in press-ups.  Achieve your best-ever resultsTry Joanne’s shortcuts to help you stay on track. 1 Make exercise a priorityIf you treat exercise as an afterthought, and put it at the bottom of your list after checking Facebook, drinks after work and binge-watching a box set, you’ll run out of time every day.  However, if you schedule a workout into your day and plan your other activities around it, it /will/ get done. 2 Don’t expect miraculous resultsOne of the reasons people go so hard at first and then give up so quickly is that they are looking for a quick fix, and when they don’t get one, they become disillusioned. In fact, you’re not going to undo months or years of unhealthy living with a month of exercise, nor are you going to dramatically change your body shape in that time. But be patient, give it some time, and you will see results. 3 Make sure you’re doing it rightIf you have a specific goal, and you’re going to invest time and effort in exercising, make sure that time and effort is well spent. What is it you want to achieve?  Be honest with yourself and then, if necessary, get some advice on what would be most effective (e.g. if you want to tone up your bingo wings, target that area with resistance training rather than going running).    Get-started kitMake a trolley dash for these must-have fitness buys Blackspade Thermal Sports TopDefy the cold weather with this insulating top. It’s super-breathable, lightweight and moisture-wicking.£20.95, amazon.co.uk Anita Active Air Control Sports BraA good sports bra is an essential investment for every budding fitness enthusiast. This stylist number by Anita Active minimises bounce whilst maximising comfort.£51, figleaves.com Adidas Supernova Glide BOOSTKeep morale and performance at an all-time high with these sleek running shoes. Designed to complement the shape of your foot, they also offer good grip and ultra-soft cushioning.£105, adidas.co.uk

Running tips to push your limits

Do you love running? Are you the queen of the 5K and maybe even the 10K too? So what’s next – a half or full marathon tickle your fancy? After all, if you can run 5K or 10K successfully, what’s to say you can’t tackle a longer distance with the right training? Running your first ever long-distance race is a pretty incredible feeling. You train, you run and you realise that the adrenaline that comes with completing a longer distance is really something special. And with so many exciting races on the running calendar this year, there’s a /lot/ for runners to look forward to, whatever their level. ‘Obstacle races are continuing to grow in popularity. They are appealing to a new audience as well as seasoned runners, because of their stop-start nature, and focus on fun and teamwork. Ultras are also really popular, as more marathon runners are realising that going “beyond” may well be possible,’ says running coach George Anderson (runningbygeorge.com). If you’ve set your mind on going the distance, you have to be as mentally prepared as you are physically. We’ve put together our top solutions to common problems runners face to help you smash your goals. Problem 1: BoredomTraining can be tough, but the right music will psyche you up for your run, giving you the motivation you need to slip on your trainers and head out the door. ‘Running the same route every time can get a bit tedious. If you get bored when you’re on a long run, plug yourself into an upbeat playlist, run with a friend, or just pick a brand new route each time,’ suggests George.Problem 2: Lack of motivationVariety is the spice of life, so if you’re running the same training course or wearing the same gear each session no wonder you’re not excited to run! Regularly varying your routes for a change of scenery and splashing out on new gear will inspire you to get outside. ‘Having your /why/ firmly at the front of your mind when you are training for a particular event can also keep your motivation high. In between races, try running without a watch. “Freedom Runs” are a great way to reconnect with your running and remind you of the reason you fell in love with the sport in the first place,’ says George. Problem 3: Injury nigglesFrom shin splints to knee pain, injuries are often part and parcel of a runner’s life, but strengthening your weak spots can work as an effective preventative measure. ‘Injuries are the bane of the runner’s life. Avoid unnecessary niggles by investing in a regular strength and conditioning routine. Single leg squats, spine mobilisers and hip bridges will all help bulletproof your body,’ George says. Problem 4: Bad weatherWhile in Britain we’re all used to wind, rain and sun, the unpredictable weather can be a massive hurdle for runners. When the weather isn’t playing ball it can be tempting to skip a training session, but keeping your end goal in mind will help you to maintain focus. ‘A bit of wet and cold shouldn’t mean a cancelled session, but if the weather isn’t up to scratch, take your workout indoors. While treadmills aren’t the best way to train for a race, they can be extremely handy when you can’t get out onto the roads because of miserable weather conditions,’ says George. Problem 5: Too tiredTraining is tiring. Fact. And when your body can’t handle another training session you’re at a higher risk of injury. If you haven’t slept, feel light-headed and weak, it’s your brain’s way of communicating that your body is not ready for a hardcore workout that day. But don’t beat yourself up over it – just remember that allowing your body adequate rest will improve your overall performance in the long run.Problem 6: No timeWith our increasingly busy lifestyles, it’s not always easy to fit in those all-important training sessions. Put exercise high up on your priority list and block out time in your diary at the beginning of the week so that you schedule other events around your training rather than the other way round – and don’t worry if you don’t have time to run every single day. ‘Training for a 10K, half or full marathon immediately conjures up ideas of long hours spent trudging the roads several times a week. This can be enough to put some runners off before they even start, but if you focus on quality rather than quantity, including just three runs a week, you will still get great results. This makes it a much more practical programme, and also reduces the chances of over-training and injuries,’ explains George. Problem 7: Performance plateauCan’t seem to go that extra mile or shave off seconds from your current PB? Consistency and commitment is key to powering up your performance. And making sure you continually push yourself hard will help you take your running game to the next level. ‘Training your body through threshold workouts can be really effective,’ says George. ‘Holding your pace at a point where the intensity becomes “comfortably uncomfortable” for increasingly longer periods of time through a programme can have an incredible impact on your fitness. Your body becomes better adapted to dealing with lactic acid, making faster running feel easier,’ he adds. 5 ways to amp up running successTry George’s expert tricks to better your run 1 Follow a programmeIf you have a race coming up, make sure you have a structured programme to follow with specific weekly targets to reach. 2 Be organisedMake an appointment with yourself for your training. Trying to fit it in isn’t likely to be a good long-term strategy, but if it’s there in the diary, it’ll happen. 3 Mix up your training Running at the same pace all the time will get you /some/ results, but you’ll never reach your full potential. Mix in intervals, hills and threshold runs for the best results. 4 Strength and conditioningIt’s the bit that most runners ignore – until they get injured. Not only does strength training make you a stronger, faster runner, it reduces the number of runs you have to skip because you’re out of action with avoidable injuries.5 Connect with other runners Running may be an individual sport, but there’s lots to be gained from connecting with others. Sharing stories, asking for advice and finding motivation are all good reasons for joining a coaching group.

Beat cellulite

Beat cellulite

29 July 2015

Whether you're off on a late-summer hol or just fancy getting your legs out, the appearance of cellulite can be pretty frustrating. Luckily, we've put together a quick and easy Power Plate workout to combat signs of that stubborn orange peel effect. So, wave goodbye to any dimples!Power Plate master trainer, Caroline Pearce says if you perform specific moves on the vibrating platform that directly target the cellulite problem areas – bottom and thighs – then you’ll stimulate blood flow to the area and increase lymphatic drainage. This, Pearce says, should help you see a dramatic improvement within just six weeks – or faster if you combine H&F’s Power Plate moves with your existing cardio regime.Exercise 1: BridgeHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 30-35htz on low settingWorks: Bottom and coreHow to do it: Lie in front of the Power Plate with your back on a mat. Place your feet in the centre of the platform and adjust your position so you can lift your hips off the floor and balance your body weight between your shoulders and your feet. Try to keep a straight line running from your shoulders to your knees. Pull your belly button ‘up and in’ to activate the core of your body and maintain a strong back.Exercise 2: Lunge with lateral raiseHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 30-35htz on low settingWorks: Gluteals, quadriceps, shoulders and coreHow to do it: Stand on the floor facing the Power Plate, one stride’s distance away. Holding a strap in each hand (adjust to your height requirements before you begin), place your right foot on the middle of the platform. Ease your left foot back on the floor until you form a lunge position, and lift the left heel so you are balanced on your toes. Drop your knee down towards the floor, keeping your front knee behind your toes and your torso up straight. Lift your arms straight out to the sides, level with your shoulders, to form a ‘T’ shape keep your wrists, elbows and shoulders in a straight line with a slight bend at the elbow and maintain tension in the straps by pulling upwards throughout.Progression: Increase the depth of the lunge as you exhale and turn your palms to face the ceiling.Exercise 3: Squat with bicep curlHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 30-35htz on low settingWorks: Quadriceps, gluteals, and bicepsHow to do it: Holding the straps, stand in the middle of the platform with the controls behind you. Ensuring your knees stay behind the line of your toes, lower your hips into a squat position. With your palms facing up, lift your arms in front of you, keeping a slight bend at the elbow. Focusing on your biceps, continuously pull on the straps as hard as you can. Try not to let your shoulders come forward as you tire.Exercise 4: Quad massageHold for: 60 secondsHertz: 40-50htz on high settingWorks: QuadricepsHow to do it: Place a mat in front of the Power Plate. Position yourself onto the base with the front of your thighs resting on the platform. Rest your forearms on the mat in front of you to support your upper body. Keep a strong, flat back. You can also place a step underneath your torso and arms to aid rest. Close your eyes, relax your breathing and enjoy the massage. You deserve it!To find a fitness centre near you, to try out these fab moves, visit powerplate.com

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Core workout routine

29 July 2015

Wouldn’t it be terrific to peel off your kaftan this summer and feel more confident about your abs than ever before? The good news is, you can; we’ve got all the moves you need to tone your abs to perfection.Bloated tummyGassy, bloated tummies don’t only look unattractive, they’re also uncomfortable and a sign that your digestion isn’t happy. ‘Focus on having your meals at the same time every day, and avoid carbs or fruit after a meal,’ suggests Winhoffer. ‘Eating fruits after a meal causes the food to ferment, which then causes bloating and gas. Making your meals consistent also allows your stomach to become accustomed to what it has to break down on a daily basis.’Beat the bloat with... crunchesBegin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Think of creating a concave stomach by pulling you belly button in towards your spine and then curl your truck up, keeping your head and neck tall and in line with your body. Keep pulling your navel in towards your spine during the whole movement. ‘You don’t want protruding abs,’ says Winhoffer.How many? Three sets of 25 reps.Fat around the belly button‘Belly fat is often a result of stress,’ says Lee. ‘Cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, encourages the body to release sugar into the bloodstream to fuel the “fight or flight” response. If you use this energy to get away from a physical danger, there’s little chance of the sugar being stored as fat, but if it’s released repeatedly through stress, it’ll be stored as fat, especially around your middle.’Relieve stress and tone up with... the downward dog to plank sequenceStart on all fours, with your wrists slightly in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees to hip-width apart and curl your toes under. Exhale, then lift your knees off the floor, reach your sit bones toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs in a downward dog position, pushing through your heels. Hold for five slow breaths. Inhale, then shift your weight forward into plank, with your core strong. Hold, then exhale and push into a downward dog. ‘This move is good for strengthening your core and elongating your hamstrings and back,’ says Lee. ‘It will also have a calming effect, helping to lower your cortisol levels and boost your circulation.’How many? Five rounds, holding each pose for around five breaths each but rest if you need to.Love handlesIf you love wearing jeans, but hate the bulges at your waistline, cut out sugar, saturated fat and white flour, says Winhoffer. ‘They metabolise quickly and cause soaring sugar levels, which result in fatigue and excess sugars being stored as fat. Base your diet on lean proteins such as chicken and fish, and plenty of vegetables. Chromium picolinate is my favourite supplement because it ups your metabolism and helps to stabilise blood sugar. Take 300mg a day.’ (£17; biocare.co.uk)Target love handles with... a one-legged plank hydrantGet into the plank with your hands on the floor. Pull one of your knees close to your chest then, without touching the floor, push your leg back out and up so it’s behind you at a 45o angle. Hold for two seconds, then bring the leg back into your chest. ‘This move targets your lower abs, love handles, inner thighs and bum,’ says Winhoffer. How many? Two sets of 10 reps on each leg. 

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Why you should try out the TRXCore class

29 July 2015

What is it? A circuit class that incorporates all the usual suspects – burpees, jumping jacks and the like – but with a little TRX thrown in for good measure. TRX is a suspension training tool that uses straps to turn almost every move you do into a core-stability challenge – inverted rows, lunges and even burpees can all be made more difficult using TRX. This class pairs regular floor moves using weights and ball slams with TRX moves, which will feature at least once in each superset you do. There’s very little rest, and lots of work.What are the benefits?The class is super high-intensity, so sweating loads and getting your heart rate pumping is a given. You’ll definitely get a cardio workout and find yourself huffing and puffing, but, more than anything, it feels like a body-conditioning class that really boosts your muscular endurance – especially in the core. The class lasts 55 minutes and sets (in which you perform the same move) usually last a minute each, so you’ll definitely be feeling the burn by the end!How hard is it?It’s pretty hard, but it’s all relative: even if you’re super fit you’ll find it just as challenging as a newbie, as you’ll train at whatever pace you can manage. And the great thing is it’s a small class so you’ll always get attention and advice – but this also means you can’t slack off! It’s not exactly interval training, as you don’t get many rests and normally have to repeat supersets of three to four exercises a few times over before getting a break, but somehow you pull through. Where is it?Heartcore studios across London (heartcore.co.uk). Single classes are £27 but prices reduce with block bookings.

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Mix it up to shed those bingo wings!

29 July 2015

Do you often feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day, especially when it comes to fitting exercise in?If so, then you’ll want to know about the latest workouts on the block: combo classes. As the name suggests, these classes combine the best of two different workout styles in one session. Not only do you get a double whammy of a workout, but fusing two different styles of exercise together is also a great way to banish boredom. Plus, by mixing two workouts together you’ll be working on your all-round fitness rather than just one area, which makes them good value for money, too! From dancing to kettlebells, we’ve got it all. Fancy giving one a try? Check out our pick of the best of the combos out there.KettleCoreWhat is it? A super-intense class with Pilates on the reformer and kettlebell training in the middle – perfect for gym-goers who have Pilates experience, as well as a fairly good level of fitness. ‘Combining the reformer and kettlebell workout in one class offers a total-body workout with cardio, strengthening and toning elements,’ says Heartcore founder Jess Schuring.Why do it? If you have more fat than time to burn, this class allows you to blitz that excess without dedicating hours to the gym. You can expect strength increases from the kettlebells, flexibility and lengthening benefits from the Pilates and a great cardio workout – this is a high-intensity class so you’ll really get your heart rate up. Try it: £27,heartcore.co.ukNovaWhat is it? Yoga and Pilates combos have been done before. But Nova adds an upbeat tempo with choreography to music, creating a fun, high-energy class. ‘This fusion class can be less intimidating than the more traditional concepts of yoga and Pilates,’ says Gillian Reeves, national group exercise manager at Virgin Active UK.Why do it? Not only will you have to work hard to adapt to the moves, but you’ll benefit from improved flexibility, focus and balance from the yoga, and improved coordination and muscle tone from the Pilates. ‘It also maximises mobility by getting your body to move in multiple directions, encouraging agility,’ adds Gillian.Try it: Classes are only available to Virgin Active members. Membership starts from £40, virginactive.co.ukYogabombWhat is it? It’s hard to imagine an effective fat-burning workout teamed with the relaxing and unwinding elements of yoga, but Yogabomb from Hiitgirl has it nailed it. ‘We get sweaty for 13 minutes with burpees, tuck jumps and side leaps, going full throttle with 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest,’ explains Genny Wilkinson-Priest, the yoga ambassador at Hiitgirl and co-creator of Yogabomb. ‘There is a two-minute yoga resting pose on the mat where we shift focus, then practise yoga for the next 15 minutes, working on balancing postures as well as strength-based and muscle-extending ones.’Why do it? ‘The yoga portion of the class is designed to lengthen the muscles that are strengthened in the HIIT portion,’ Genny says. ‘But beyond the physical level, Yogabomb challenges the mind through your willpower and determination.’ If you want an all-round approach to fitness, book yourself in. Try it: £20, hiitgirl.comFrame BarreWhat is it? Exercises from the gym floor and dance floor fused into one amazing total-body cardio workout. ‘By mixing ballet and fitness in one class, you get the best of both worlds,’ says Pip Black, co-founder of Frame. ‘We’ve formatted the class so that it includes the perfect amount of floor work, barre work, arms, abs and glutes.’ Don’t worry if you don’t know your plié from your arabesque, though, this class is just as suitable for beginners as it is for former prima ballerinas.Why do it? If you’re envious of those gorgeously slim and slender ballerina bodies or guilty of neglecting your flexibility, then you need to try this class for yourself. ‘The fitness element means that you’ll get your heart rate up for a fair portion of the class, as well as burn calories,’ Pip adds.Try it: £15, moveyourframe.comBarry’s BootcampWhat is it? A classic combo of strength and cardio using resistance training and the treadmill. ‘Lifting, and running isn’t rocket science, but Barry’s combines the two in a fun and supportive environment,’ says Anya Lahiri, celebrity trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, London. ‘The red lights and night club setting are an added bonus!’Why do it? It’s a tough workout, that’s for sure, but getting both strength and fitness done and dusted in one hour is pretty appealing. ‘Fusing together strength and cardio effectively turns your body into a calorie and fat-burning furnace and also increases bone density,’ Anya explains. And the best part is, you push yourself as far as you can take yourself, so the class can challenge a beginner through to an athlete.Try it: £20, barrysbootcamp.comBollyActiveWhat is it? Pineapple Dance Studios is famous for its huge array of classes, so it’s the place to visit if you want to sculpt a dancer’s body. BollyActive is one of Pineapple’s fitness-based classes, so you can benefit whether you’re a pro or have two left feet. ‘BollyActive follows the basic principles of targeting fitness, core strength and the heart in a fun and healthy way through using interval and aerobic training with the fast and slow tempo of Bollywood dance steps,’ says BollyActive teacher Urvashi Patel. ‘It incorporates fun party rhythms and killer moves.’Why do it? The choreography works wonders for coordination, but the fitness burns cals, too. ‘The class was born from feedback from clients,’ says Urvashi. ‘They wanted to dance, enjoy music and stay fit and active while having fun, without having to attend a serious dance class.’Try it: £6,pineapple.uk.com 

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The Power of 10

29 July 2015

‘A 10K offers a good physical challenge without the commitment burden of training for a longer race’ ‘The impact that mastering a 10K will have on your running ability makes it the ideal race distance for every type of runner’It may not have the blister brag-ability of a marathon, or the hard yards of a half, but if it’s a test of speed, stamina and strength you’re after, look no further than the 10K. And it’s fast becoming the UK’s race distance du jour, with hundreds of thousands of runners entering 10K races every year. In fact, this year’s British 10K alone saw over 25,000 people take to the streets of London for just one race. Why? Because, at 6.2 miles, it offers a good physical challenge without the commitment burden of training for a longer race. Better still, the impact that mastering a 10K will have on your running ability makes it the ideal race distance for every type of runner – from haven’t-laced-up-my-shoes-since-school newbies to seasoned 26.2-ers. And even the queen of distance running, Paula Radcliffe, agrees! ‘10K is pretty much a perfect race distance,’ says the women’s road 10K and marathon world record holder. ‘It provides a great test for experienced runners because it’s a superb indicator of fitness for other distances. While at the same time it’s the perfect target for beginners because it offers a motivating, yet achievable, goal that can be worked towards quickly, with the added bonus that 10K road races are also loads of fun.’ Still not convinced? Here are 10 more reasons to tempt you…1. Anyone can smash it‘10K is a really manageable and accessible distance,’ says running coach Nick Anderson (@nickandersonrun). ‘It’s still a challenge at 6.2 miles and, for a beginner, running a whole 10K without stopping is a fantastic achievement. But because it’s such an achievable distance, you can run 10K more regularly than other races too, giving you the opportunity to get really good at it.’ 2. It provides a foundation for longer races‘For more experienced runners, if you’re going to run marathons or even halves once or twice a year, you need to run 10Ks in between,’ says Nick. ‘It’s an excellent distance to sharpen your form, speed and race strategy and, because you recover quite quickly from a 10K, you can almost do one once a month. It’s actually a great idea to do a series of 10K races before thinking about moving on to another distance.’ 3. You don’t need any special equipmentFact! No race gels, no fancy laces, no expensive training technology – just a good pair of running shoes and you really are good to go. Though, we’d /never/ discourage a fit kit splurge, obvs… 4. It’s the best distance to learn about racing environmentsThe more 10Ks you do, the less likely you are to be overwhelmed by the whole occasion if you tackle a bigger race. The adrenaline, tension, nerves, crowd – not to mention navigating your way through a sea of runners who might not be pavement pounding to your perfect pace – can all throw you off-kilter during your first half or full marathon. Getting a few 10Ks under your belt will prepare you for everything race day might throw at you, including those pre-race toilet queues! 5. It a great mental workout‘In some ways a 10K is actually harder than a half marathon, because you have to approach it mentally,’ says Nick. ‘It’s a balancing act – go off too fast, at say your usual 5K pace, and you’ll end up in trouble during the last few kilometres. Instead, you’ll need to pace yourself a fraction – not too much – slower than your 5K pace during the first half, ease yourself in, then commit to really pushing hard for the rest of the race. 10K pace is probably the hardest to judge because you’re almost pushing the boundaries and limits of what you’re capable of, but stretching it out for longer than you would during any other race.’ 6. It won’t take over your lifeUnlike marathon and half-marathon training, where the weekly mileage means you start to fit real life around your training regime, a 10K plan will slot effortlessly into your weekly routine. Think regular, manageable distances and time frames. No giving up your days off or sacrificing your fave TV shows to clock up the miles in the cold and wet. Plus, there’s the added bonus that even on race day you’re likely to be medalled up, showered and at the pub in time for lunch. 7. Mastering it will make you a stronger all-round runner‘I find 10K a great challenge, competing over that distance has definitely made me a stronger athlete,’ says Jo Pavey, current British 10,000m champion and four-time Olympian. ‘It’s tough both physically and mentally trying to keep hitting those lap/kilometre times. It can be very tactical, which makes it a really interesting race to run, too.’ 8. It’s the perfect pre-marathon prep‘Entering a 10K race is a brilliant sharpener in the last six weeks of half or full-marathon training,’ says Nick. ‘Even better, have a 10K season for a few months beforehand – you can race once a month and recover quickly from it. It will sharpen up your speed and endurance so that when you do go back to half or full-marathon training you’ll find yourself in much better shape.’ 9. There are loads of races to choose fromLiterally thousands, in fact, all over the UK. Fun races, charity races, muddy races, off-road races, all bursting with bragtastic Facebook and Instagram opportunities (see xx for our pick of the best). And it’s not just amateur runners who love a good 10K race, you might well find yourself on the start line in esteemed company. ‘I love 10K road races,’ says Jo. ‘Mass participation events are always so exciting – the atmosphere‘s amazing and it’s inspiring to run with people who have such great personal stories and are running for important charities.’ 10. It will feel like a genuine physical achievement‘Running a 10K hurts,’ says Nick. ‘It’s a short enough distance that you can commit to pushing yourself that little bit harder, but unlike a 5K, which is over pretty quickly, you have to keep your speed and effort up for longer.’ Safe to say you’ll feel pretty damn proud of yourself at the finish line. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a 10K today and tell us all about it @WF10IN10 10 of the best 10K runsFeeling inspired? Sign up to a race today! 1. Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run, Glasgow – 4 October 2015This run passes a number of iconic landmarks, giving you plenty to look at as you pound the streets of the city centre.greatscottishrun.com 2. The Festival Run, Pilton, Somerset – 11 October 2015Missed out on Glasto this year? This 10K takes place on the iconic festival site, incorporating the Pyramid Stage and Stone Circle.piltonvillage.co.uk/festival-run.html 3. BTR Wirral 10K, Birkenhead Park, Wirral – 13 September 2015The course for this run is mostly flat, so fast times are achievable – a great race for smashing that PB!btrliverpool.com 4. Brutal 10, Woolmer, Hampshire – 10October 2015Fancy a race with an extra challenge? Look no further than the Brutal 10, which involves running through mud and water up to waist height.brutalrun.co.uk 5. Bangor 10K, Bangor, Gwynedd – 17 October 2015This scenic run welcomes runners of all abilities, and even offers the option for you to run with your dog!runwales.com/events/bangor-10k-fun-run 6. London Self Transcendence 10K, Battersea Park, London – 24 October 2015Whether you’re looking to beat your PB, or taking on your first race, this fun run through Battersea Park is the perfect opportunity.uk.srichinmoyraces.org/races/london 7. Run in the Dark, various locations – 11 November 2015This run will light up the streets of five cities simultaneously – Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Manchester and London – with runners wearing flashing armbands.runinthedark.org 8. Brooks Brighton, Brighton, Sussex – 15 November 2015This is a fast, accurately timed run, which goes along the seafront – so don’t forget to enjoy the view!www.brooksbrighton10k.co.uk [NEEDS THE WWW. TO WORK] 9. Mo Run, Greenwich Park, London – 28 November 2015This run can be taken seriously with the chip timing, or as a fun run where you don a moustache in aid of Movember!london-greenwich.mo-running.com 5 accessories every runner needsTop-notch kit to help you on your way to 10K 1. TomTom Runner Cardio GPS WatchA bit of an investment, but this clever little number provides you with GPS, tracks your calorie burn and monitors your heart rate (without the need for a separate chest strap). It also allows you to programme your training goals, and offers guidance for optimum results.£169.99, johnlewis.com 2. Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld BottleThis transforms a drinks bottle into a handbag! The hand strap is moisture-wicking, resulting in sweat-free hands, and the purse is the perfect size for holding your essentials.£9.99, runnersneed.com 3. Nike Elite Cushioned No-Show Tab Running SocksYou may think that a pair of socks can't help your run, but these are cushioned, so they absorb some of the shock! The moisture-wicking fabric will prevent your feet from getting sweaty, too, and they’re also specifically designed for your left and right feet to fit perfectly!£10, nike.com 4. Yurbuds Inspire Talk for Women EarphonesDesigned with exercising in mind, these stay in securely while you run, and are sweat and water-resistant, too. Plus they include a one-button control for music and taking calls on your smartphone. We like!From £16.99-£44.99, yurbuds.com/uk 5. Sweaty Betty Skinny Rubbersied HeadbandThis has non-slip grippers and sweat-wicking fabric to make the perfect headband for running, and for keeping hair in place.£6, sweatybetty.com 

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Reebok joins the mixed martial arts movement

29 July 2015

There’s no denying that MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world – it’s got everyone hooked, or at least intrigued, from athletes to pop stars, guys and girls all being included in the demographic of fans that the UFC boasts. The UFC can sleep sound with the knowledge that they’ve made massive progress both for the sport and as a company in recent years: in 2012, women were introduced into the organisation, and in 2014 a second women’s division was announced. Although the men’s division still has eight weight categories to shout about while the women can only claim two, it’s safe to say that it’s female bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, who’s the talk of the UFC town. Since claiming the title in December 2012, she’s become a true crossover star, with appearances on huge US show Jimmy Kimmel Live and cameos in Hollywood blockbusters The Expendables 3 and Entourage both firmly under her shiny championship belt. Despite how popular the UFC has been in the past though, it was only last week that it officially launched its partnership with Reebok. Prior to this deal, no major sportswear brand had ever made specific training gear for combat sports – hard to believe since MMA is seriously sky-rocketing the numbers of people taking up martial arts. More problematic though is the difficulty professional fighters have experienced in finding gear that actually works while training and fighting. And what makes it extra hard? Being a woman. ‘Being a woman who does combat sports, there has never really been anything designed for us,’ explains Ronda Rousey. ‘So I’ve always been forced to try and make do with clothing that was designed for something entirely different.’ Ever tried running in a yoga bra? Then you'll understand the issue. ‘Women have different requirements because we have different bodies,’ she adds. ‘I’d always get annoyed when my lats would hang out the back of a [sports] bra and it would just look terrible – so we needed something rigid at the front and loose at the back.’ It's not all talk and no action, either. Ronda made sure she worked hands on with the Reebok team getting this kit ready – after all, she’d be wearing the stuff day in, day out while training (4 hours a day!) for her championship bouts. ‘I went to the Reebok campus and talked to them about the shorts,’ she says. ‘They sent me several different types and I was going back and forth with them. We thought of having a grip on the inside of the leg – and they also came up with the no-seam technology.’ The result? A gentle grip that stops the shorts from riding up while allowing the thigh to maintain its natural shape – no adjusting, just comfort. Reebok’s deal with the UFC also just about confirms how MMA-crazy the world is getting. Dana White, President of the UFC, praises the women for being so integral in the deal, too: ‘There’s no doubt that the women have helped seal the deal,’ he says. ‘Ronda and Joanna [Jedrzejczyk – the female UFC strawweight champion] alone are so badass and changing the way everybody looks at women – definitely the way people look at women’s fighting, anyway.’ So what do you guys want to see next? A new weight division for women? We’d personally love to see Joanna – who hails from Poland – defend her title in Europe so we can see the champ up close. Let us know on Twitter!

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The back attack workout

29 July 2015

WHY IT WORKS: Created by Pierre Pozzuto, this programme has been created with three complementary 10 minute workouts, each serving a different function: Posture, Fat Burn and Hourglass. You will see that a lot of the moves in each exercise engage the back muscles as well as the core and abdominals, so they are working together.Complete each of the workouts twice a week (one hour per week in total) and compliment with 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise for a balanced, high intensity workout. You should start to see results in three weeks.EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:The workouts can be performed in the gym or at home.You will need a resistance band and hand weights (2/2.5KG), alternatively bags of sugar or water bottles will work. PROGRESSIONS:As you get stronger and fitter, there are a number of ways to keep the workout challenging and make sure your progress doesn’t plateau:Increase repetitions of the exercise per minute and over a longer period of time Increase weights Decrease rest time between exercises  Warm UpIt’s beneficial to do dynamic stretches before any type of exercise. These moves increase heart rate as well as warm the muscles, reducing injury risk. TORSO TWISTS – 15 secondsHold your torso tight, belly button sucked into your spine, chin and chest up and rotate side to side, allowing your head to follow.BACK SLAPS – 15 secondsLeaning forward with your back parallel to the floor, create a swinging motion with your upper body until your palm touches your back. ARM CIRCLES – 30 secondsChin and chest up, arms at shoulder height, perform small rotations in a forward motion, repeat in reverse. FORWARD PUNCHES – 30 secondsBring yourself into a guard position, one leg in front of the other, knees soft and raised onto the ball of the back foot. From the chest, with your elbows in, create a forward punching motion. Aim for a fixed position. UPWARD PUNCHES – 30 seconds // add jogRemain in the guard position, one leg in front of the other, knees soft and raised onto the ball of the back foot. From the chest, with your elbows in, create an upward punching motion toward the sky. Aim for a fixed position. Cool DownBecause we’ve reached a high intensity during the workout, it’s important to gently bring the heart rate down whilst stretching the muscles. Avoid stopping abruptly after aerobic exercise. SIDE SWINGS – 15 seconds Keeping active, create a pendulum motion with the upper body, reaching out to the sides as far as you can. HEEL KICK BACKS – 15 secondsStill keeping the bounce, kick your heels back to your gluteus muscles, “heel to bum”. KNEE PULL UPS – 15 secondsExtending the arms above your head, create a bouncing knee raise, trying to get your knee to your chest every time. HEAD AND TILT PULL – 30 secondsChin and chest high, hands to the opposite side of the head, create a pull motion to the side. SUMO SQUAT AND SHOULDER DROP – 15 secondsWith wide legs and knees and toes pointed outwards, place your hand on the inside of the knee cap, pushing down and out to create a stretch through the shoulder and the inner thigh. TIP: Try not to eat for 30-60 minutes after high intensity training – you will fool your body into thinking you’re still working out. Once you start consuming calories, your body will stop taking from it’s own energy stores. 1) PostureThis entire workout engages the back and core muscles (layers of muscle below those we can see at the body's surface). This in turn improves posture and helps achieve a tighter waistline.This 10 minute workout contains four exercises and looks like this:Set 1: 4 X 1 minute exercises (A,B,C,D)20 second breakSet 2 : 4 x 1 minute exercises (A,B,C,D)20 second breakSet 3: 4 x 20 second workouts (A,B,C,D) Equipment: Hand weightsA) THE DORSAL RAISELying on your front, raise your chin, chest and arms.TIP: Extending the arm backwards engages the upper back (trapezius muscles), making it an all-over back exercise. B) RENEGADESInto bridge position, legs shoulder width apart. Pull alternate elbow to ceiling without breaking form. Without twisting the body, keep shoulders directly above hands. Speed progression: how quickly can you go?! TIP: This is a good pulse-raiser, but fundamentally a core exercise. You should feel it in your shoulders and upper back and, because of the way we’re using it, it is a big ‘burn’ for the deltoids and romboids. C) PLANK AND KNEEIn plank position, bring alternate knees around to the elbow. Slow and controlled. TIP: This is technically for the ‘love handles’, engaging the core but creating an oblique exercise. D) BENT OVER FLYStand and grab weights, bend forwards to 90 degrees, arms almost straight. Raise up and out to the side squeezing shoulder blades together. TIP: This is tackling the upper body and back muscles but also engaging the core. Holding yourself parallel to the floor, the bent over lateral raise encourages the posterior (deltoids) and back muscles (trapezius) to work harder. 2) Fat BurnWith this workout we’re trying to burn body fat, the idea here is to constantly keep the heart rate elevated and remain outside of your comfort zone with every rep, aiming to burn fat and achieve a lean body.This 10 minute workout contains five exercises and looks like this:Set 1: 2 X 1 minutes exercises (A,B)20 second breakSet 2 : 2 X 1 minutes exercises (A,B)20 second breakSet 3: 2 X 1 minutes exercises (C,D)20 second breakSet 4: 2 X 1 minutes exercises (C,D)Set 5: 1 X 1 minute exercise (E) Equipment: Hand weights. A) STANDING PUNCHGrab those hand weights and resume the guard/boxing position. Punch and extend arms out at shoulder height. How many can you do?! TIP: If you fatigue, switch to use alternate arms. B) LYING PALM PRESSLie on your front, arms by your side, palms up. Begin with arms off the floor. Now push up as high as you can in quick pulse movements. TIP: This is a speed exercise, you will stay in the fat burning zone by completing as many reps as possible. C) FULL PARALLEL RAISEStanding with weights by your side, raise up above your head (but still slightly in front of you), keeping arms straight. TIP: Keep weights in your eye view to engage the deltoids and protect the lower back. D) BEAR CRAWLSOn hands and feet, walk a few paces forwards, then backwards. Go as quickly as possible without breaking form. TIP: Really focus on core and balance on the way backwards. It’s a game of technique, arms and legs need to be working in a synchronized form. After set 4, stay in this position, straighten the body and transfer to T- Plank for the final set. E) T-PLANKLegs shoulder width apart, bridge position into press up, twist and reach alternate arms (hands) to ceiling. Slow and controlled. Tip: Do not worry about achieving a very deep press up, bending your arms slightly will still engage the upper arms (deltoids). Keep toes and balls of the feet in a fixed position. 3) HourglassThis workout targets specific back muscles, the upper arms (medial deltoids) and waistline, so an hourglass shape is created. This 10 minute workout contains five exercises and looks like this:Set 1: 2 X 1 minutes exercises (A,B)3 X 20 second exercises (C,D,E)30 second breakSet 2 : 2 X 1 minutes exercises (A,B)3 X 20 second exercises (C,D,E) 30 second breakSet 3: 2 X 1 minutes exercises (A,B)3 X 20 second exercises (C,D,E) Equipment: Hand weights and resistance band. A) LATERAL PULL DOWNStand and grab your resistance band. Grip at each end, hold above your head and straighten arms. Pull down and apart until the band touches the lower part of your neck. TIP: This is focusing on the lateral muscle, which is the big V shaped muscle that allows us to create a ‘V-Taper’ in the body. This allows for a swooping toned upper back and encourages the look of a smaller waistline. B) LATERAL RAISEHold weights by your side. Raise straight arms up to shoulder height, tipping slightly forward at the top. SUPER SET CIRCUIT:C) Plank and Jack (20 seconds)From plank position, jump legs out to jack plank. Repeat as fast as you can.  D) Full bridge extension (20 seconds)From bridge position, move your hands forward lowering your chin – eyes to feet. Repeat. E) Mountain climbers (20 seconds)In bridge position, bring alternate knee between hands in running motion. Make sure your shoulders are over your hands. Go as fast as you can! TIP: these are technically little ‘fat burners’ to encourage a leaner waistline. The goal is to as many reps as you can in 20 seconds.For more information about Shock Absorber head to their website (www.ShockAbsorber.co.uk) or twitter @No1SportsBraUk    

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Running tips to push your limits

29 July 2015

Do you love running? Are you the queen of the 5K and maybe even the 10K too? So what’s next – a half or full marathon tickle your fancy? After all, if you can run 5K or 10K successfully, what’s to say you can’t tackle a longer distance with the right training? Running your first ever long-distance race is a pretty incredible feeling. You train, you run and you realise that the adrenaline that comes with completing a longer distance is really something special. And with so many exciting races on the running calendar this year, there’s a /lot/ for runners to look forward to, whatever their level. ‘Obstacle races are continuing to grow in popularity. They are appealing to a new audience as well as seasoned runners, because of their stop-start nature, and focus on fun and teamwork. Ultras are also really popular, as more marathon runners are realising that going “beyond” may well be possible,’ says running coach George Anderson (runningbygeorge.com). If you’ve set your mind on going the distance, you have to be as mentally prepared as you are physically. We’ve put together our top solutions to common problems runners face to help you smash your goals. Problem 1: BoredomTraining can be tough, but the right music will psyche you up for your run, giving you the motivation you need to slip on your trainers and head out the door. ‘Running the same route every time can get a bit tedious. If you get bored when you’re on a long run, plug yourself into an upbeat playlist, run with a friend, or just pick a brand new route each time,’ suggests George.Problem 2: Lack of motivationVariety is the spice of life, so if you’re running the same training course or wearing the same gear each session no wonder you’re not excited to run! Regularly varying your routes for a change of scenery and splashing out on new gear will inspire you to get outside. ‘Having your /why/ firmly at the front of your mind when you are training for a particular event can also keep your motivation high. In between races, try running without a watch. “Freedom Runs” are a great way to reconnect with your running and remind you of the reason you fell in love with the sport in the first place,’ says George. Problem 3: Injury nigglesFrom shin splints to knee pain, injuries are often part and parcel of a runner’s life, but strengthening your weak spots can work as an effective preventative measure. ‘Injuries are the bane of the runner’s life. Avoid unnecessary niggles by investing in a regular strength and conditioning routine. Single leg squats, spine mobilisers and hip bridges will all help bulletproof your body,’ George says. Problem 4: Bad weatherWhile in Britain we’re all used to wind, rain and sun, the unpredictable weather can be a massive hurdle for runners. When the weather isn’t playing ball it can be tempting to skip a training session, but keeping your end goal in mind will help you to maintain focus. ‘A bit of wet and cold shouldn’t mean a cancelled session, but if the weather isn’t up to scratch, take your workout indoors. While treadmills aren’t the best way to train for a race, they can be extremely handy when you can’t get out onto the roads because of miserable weather conditions,’ says George. Problem 5: Too tiredTraining is tiring. Fact. And when your body can’t handle another training session you’re at a higher risk of injury. If you haven’t slept, feel light-headed and weak, it’s your brain’s way of communicating that your body is not ready for a hardcore workout that day. But don’t beat yourself up over it – just remember that allowing your body adequate rest will improve your overall performance in the long run.Problem 6: No timeWith our increasingly busy lifestyles, it’s not always easy to fit in those all-important training sessions. Put exercise high up on your priority list and block out time in your diary at the beginning of the week so that you schedule other events around your training rather than the other way round – and don’t worry if you don’t have time to run every single day. ‘Training for a 10K, half or full marathon immediately conjures up ideas of long hours spent trudging the roads several times a week. This can be enough to put some runners off before they even start, but if you focus on quality rather than quantity, including just three runs a week, you will still get great results. This makes it a much more practical programme, and also reduces the chances of over-training and injuries,’ explains George. Problem 7: Performance plateauCan’t seem to go that extra mile or shave off seconds from your current PB? Consistency and commitment is key to powering up your performance. And making sure you continually push yourself hard will help you take your running game to the next level. ‘Training your body through threshold workouts can be really effective,’ says George. ‘Holding your pace at a point where the intensity becomes “comfortably uncomfortable” for increasingly longer periods of time through a programme can have an incredible impact on your fitness. Your body becomes better adapted to dealing with lactic acid, making faster running feel easier,’ he adds. 5 ways to amp up running successTry George’s expert tricks to better your run 1 Follow a programmeIf you have a race coming up, make sure you have a structured programme to follow with specific weekly targets to reach. 2 Be organisedMake an appointment with yourself for your training. Trying to fit it in isn’t likely to be a good long-term strategy, but if it’s there in the diary, it’ll happen. 3 Mix up your training Running at the same pace all the time will get you /some/ results, but you’ll never reach your full potential. Mix in intervals, hills and threshold runs for the best results. 4 Strength and conditioningIt’s the bit that most runners ignore – until they get injured. Not only does strength training make you a stronger, faster runner, it reduces the number of runs you have to skip because you’re out of action with avoidable injuries.5 Connect with other runners Running may be an individual sport, but there’s lots to be gained from connecting with others. Sharing stories, asking for advice and finding motivation are all good reasons for joining a coaching group.

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Mix it up to shed those bingo wings!

28 July 2015

Do you often feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day, especially when it comes to fitting exercise in?If so, then you’ll want to know about the latest workouts on the block: combo classes. As the name suggests, these classes combine the best of two different workout styles in one session. Not only do you get a double whammy of a workout, but fusing two different styles of exercise together is also a great way to banish boredom. Plus, by mixing two workouts together you’ll be working on your all-round fitness rather than just one area, which makes them good value for money, too! From dancing to kettlebells, we’ve got it all. Fancy giving one a try? Check out our pick of the best of the combos out there.KettleCoreWhat is it? A super-intense class with Pilates on the reformer and kettlebell training in the middle – perfect for gym-goers who have Pilates experience, as well as a fairly good level of fitness. ‘Combining the reformer and kettlebell workout in one class offers a total-body workout with cardio, strengthening and toning elements,’ says Heartcore founder Jess Schuring.Why do it? If you have more fat than time to burn, this class allows you to blitz that excess without dedicating hours to the gym. You can expect strength increases from the kettlebells, flexibility and lengthening benefits from the Pilates and a great cardio workout – this is a high-intensity class so you’ll really get your heart rate up. Try it: £27,heartcore.co.ukNovaWhat is it? Yoga and Pilates combos have been done before. But Nova adds an upbeat tempo with choreography to music, creating a fun, high-energy class. ‘This fusion class can be less intimidating than the more traditional concepts of yoga and Pilates,’ says Gillian Reeves, national group exercise manager at Virgin Active UK.Why do it? Not only will you have to work hard to adapt to the moves, but you’ll benefit from improved flexibility, focus and balance from the yoga, and improved coordination and muscle tone from the Pilates. ‘It also maximises mobility by getting your body to move in multiple directions, encouraging agility,’ adds Gillian.Try it: Classes are only available to Virgin Active members. Membership starts from £40, virginactive.co.ukYogabombWhat is it? It’s hard to imagine an effective fat-burning workout teamed with the relaxing and unwinding elements of yoga, but Yogabomb from Hiitgirl has it nailed it. ‘We get sweaty for 13 minutes with burpees, tuck jumps and side leaps, going full throttle with 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest,’ explains Genny Wilkinson-Priest, the yoga ambassador at Hiitgirl and co-creator of Yogabomb. ‘There is a two-minute yoga resting pose on the mat where we shift focus, then practise yoga for the next 15 minutes, working on balancing postures as well as strength-based and muscle-extending ones.’Why do it? ‘The yoga portion of the class is designed to lengthen the muscles that are strengthened in the HIIT portion,’ Genny says. ‘But beyond the physical level, Yogabomb challenges the mind through your willpower and determination.’ If you want an all-round approach to fitness, book yourself in. Try it: £20, hiitgirl.comFrame BarreWhat is it? Exercises from the gym floor and dance floor fused into one amazing total-body cardio workout. ‘By mixing ballet and fitness in one class, you get the best of both worlds,’ says Pip Black, co-founder of Frame. ‘We’ve formatted the class so that it includes the perfect amount of floor work, barre work, arms, abs and glutes.’ Don’t worry if you don’t know your plié from your arabesque, though, this class is just as suitable for beginners as it is for former prima ballerinas.Why do it? If you’re envious of those gorgeously slim and slender ballerina bodies or guilty of neglecting your flexibility, then you need to try this class for yourself. ‘The fitness element means that you’ll get your heart rate up for a fair portion of the class, as well as burn calories,’ Pip adds.Try it: £15, moveyourframe.comBarry’s BootcampWhat is it? A classic combo of strength and cardio using resistance training and the treadmill. ‘Lifting, and running isn’t rocket science, but Barry’s combines the two in a fun and supportive environment,’ says Anya Lahiri, celebrity trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, London. ‘The red lights and night club setting are an added bonus!’Why do it? It’s a tough workout, that’s for sure, but getting both strength and fitness done and dusted in one hour is pretty appealing. ‘Fusing together strength and cardio effectively turns your body into a calorie and fat-burning furnace and also increases bone density,’ Anya explains. And the best part is, you push yourself as far as you can take yourself, so the class can challenge a beginner through to an athlete.Try it: £20, barrysbootcamp.comBollyActiveWhat is it? Pineapple Dance Studios is famous for its huge array of classes, so it’s the place to visit if you want to sculpt a dancer’s body. BollyActive is one of Pineapple’s fitness-based classes, so you can benefit whether you’re a pro or have two left feet. ‘BollyActive follows the basic principles of targeting fitness, core strength and the heart in a fun and healthy way through using interval and aerobic training with the fast and slow tempo of Bollywood dance steps,’ says BollyActive teacher Urvashi Patel. ‘It incorporates fun party rhythms and killer moves.’Why do it? The choreography works wonders for coordination, but the fitness burns cals, too. ‘The class was born from feedback from clients,’ says Urvashi. ‘They wanted to dance, enjoy music and stay fit and active while having fun, without having to attend a serious dance class.’Try it: £6,pineapple.uk.com 

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Reebok joins the mixed martial arts movement

28 July 2015

There’s no denying that MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world – it’s got everyone hooked, or at least intrigued, from athletes to pop stars, guys and girls all being included in the demographic of fans that the UFC boasts. The UFC can sleep sound with the knowledge that they’ve made massive progress both for the sport and as a company in recent years: in 2012, women were introduced into the organisation, and in 2014 a second women’s division was announced. Although the men’s division still has eight weight categories to shout about while the women can only claim two, it’s safe to say that it’s female bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, who’s the talk of the UFC town. Since claiming the title in December 2012, she’s become a true crossover star, with appearances on huge US show Jimmy Kimmel Live and cameos in Hollywood blockbusters The Expendables 3 and Entourage both firmly under her shiny championship belt. Despite how popular the UFC has been in the past though, it was only last week that it officially launched its partnership with Reebok. Prior to this deal, no major sportswear brand had ever made specific training gear for combat sports – hard to believe since MMA is seriously sky-rocketing the numbers of people taking up martial arts. More problematic though is the difficulty professional fighters have experienced in finding gear that actually works while training and fighting. And what makes it extra hard? Being a woman. ‘Being a woman who does combat sports, there has never really been anything designed for us,’ explains Ronda Rousey. ‘So I’ve always been forced to try and make do with clothing that was designed for something entirely different.’ Ever tried running in a yoga bra? Then you'll understand the issue. ‘Women have different requirements because we have different bodies,’ she adds. ‘I’d always get annoyed when my lats would hang out the back of a [sports] bra and it would just look terrible – so we needed something rigid at the front and loose at the back.’ It's not all talk and no action, either. Ronda made sure she worked hands on with the Reebok team getting this kit ready – after all, she’d be wearing the stuff day in, day out while training (4 hours a day!) for her championship bouts. ‘I went to the Reebok campus and talked to them about the shorts,’ she says. ‘They sent me several different types and I was going back and forth with them. We thought of having a grip on the inside of the leg – and they also came up with the no-seam technology.’ The result? A gentle grip that stops the shorts from riding up while allowing the thigh to maintain its natural shape – no adjusting, just comfort. Reebok’s deal with the UFC also just about confirms how MMA-crazy the world is getting. Dana White, President of the UFC, praises the women for being so integral in the deal, too: ‘There’s no doubt that the women have helped seal the deal,’ he says. ‘Ronda and Joanna [Jedrzejczyk – the female UFC strawweight champion] alone are so badass and changing the way everybody looks at women – definitely the way people look at women’s fighting, anyway.’ So what do you guys want to see next? A new weight division for women? We’d personally love to see Joanna – who hails from Poland – defend her title in Europe so we can see the champ up close. Let us know on Twitter!

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Posted in Diets, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Nutrition, Sports nutrition, Weight loss0 Comments

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