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You can be healthy on a budget How to get rid of your muffin top Prep your bike for a cycle event Train like an Olympian! Don’t suffer in silence! 5 reasons to get on your bike How to get rid of love handles You can be healthy on a budget Swimming Workouts Arm toning exercises
 
You can be healthy on a budget

You can be healthy on a budget

Fancy gyms and high-end fitness wear are awesome. Who doesn't love to browse the fancy pants on the Lucas Hugh website or get their sweat on at Barry's Bootcamp? But splashing the cash is in no way essential for healthy living or a hot bod.Don't get us wrong we all love saving up for that must-have Sweaty Betty gym bag, treating ourselves to a few classes at a posh new spin studio, or splashing out on on a pre-hol delivery diet, but you're every day healthy regime needn't come with such a high price tag.Don't believe us? This issue we've made it our mission to get you the very best results, with the absolute minimum spend. And it's not as difficult as you might think!But first you have to get in the right mindset! Get started with our top tips:1. Be inventiveSometimes being healthy on a budget means you have to think outside the box. For example, eating lots of veggies is key to a healthy diet – but if you pick frozen over fresh (which are equally as nutritious) you'll save a packet. And if the cost of a gym is crippling you, take your workouts outside instead. You'll have to use your imagination a bit, but a park can provide hundreds of opportunities for a great workout – you can use steps and benches for step-ups, jump squats, bulgarian split squats or tricep dips; do mini sprints up any inclines; use playground equipment to do pull-ups; and let's face it, you can do burpees anywhere!2. Be preparedOn of the essential aspects of getting in shape on a budget is – as the Scouts would no-doubt agree – being prepared. We're talking making your own healthy lunches at home rather than buying them; making and carrying your own healthy snacks; always bringing your own water bottle from home for classes/workouts and having a well-planned workout schedule so you don't lose interest and head back to the gym.3. Do your researchHalf the battle when trying to keep costs down is being well informed. So in this special we're aiming to just that, giving you all the tips and tricks you need to smash those goals with minimal outlay. But it's worth doing your own research too. Check out cheap fitness options in your local area like free run clubs; hunt down bargain bulk-buy shops; suss out which friends you can persuade into doing park workouts, home workouts and runs with you; and check out healthy food bloggers for some healthy/cheap inspo.4. If, thenHaving a plan for any unexpected scenarios is also key. For example if rain means my park workout is off then I'll do an online workout at home instead; or if my friend fancies a meal out after our workouts then I'll invite them round for a healthy meal at mine instead. It's a strategy top psychologist Walter Mischel recommends in his book The Marshmallow Experiment and it's a great option for helping you stick to your regime when circumstances change unexpectedly.5. Go onlineOne of the best things about the internet is that it gives you so much access to free information and inspiration. Who needs to splash out on a new cookbook when the internet is awash with healthy food bloggers sharing their amazing recipes? We love naturallysassy.co.uk. And, if paying for a PT is way out of your budget right now, why not sign up to one of the awesome free fitness providers online? Fitnessblender.com and Carly's Rowena's youTube channel have some great optiosn – and they're completely free! And if you're looking for food/fitness or just general healthy living inspo, instagram and twitter a packed with fit bods looking to share their top tips – we love Helle Hammonds on Instagram and @TaraStiles, @LottieLMurphy and @CatMeffan on Twitter.

How to get rid of your muffin top

How to get rid of your muffin top

That weight around your middle sure can be stubborn to shift. Anyone who's tried to get rid of their muffin top can vouch for how difficult it is to get rid of. If you want to tackle your wobbly tum and sides, or just want to tone up your middle area, use these tips along with a healthy diet (think nutrient-dense veg, high-quality protein and LOTS of water) and you might be on to a winner...Rounded tum:Get good abs with... crunches and a clean diet! Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90o 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. Do three sets of 25 reps.Baby belly:Target your baby belly with... the tummy tucker. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor and your hands on your abs. Take a deep breath in, exhale, and then draw your navel in to your spine, aiming to pull your belly button into the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Do one set of 5 reps, working up to 15.Love handles: Target love handles with... a one-legged plank hydrant. Get 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. Do two sets of 10 reps on each leg.Belly button fat: Relieve stress and tone up with... the downward dog to plank sequence. Start 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. Do five rounds, holding each pose for around five breaths each but rest if you need to. For more fitness tips subscribe to Health & Fitness. We'll give you 3 issues for £1! 

Prep your bike for a cycle event

Prep your bike for a cycle event

Prep your bike for a cycle event ArticleHealth & FitnessMay 14, 2015 You pay have put in the hours training, but your bike needs attention too...Hands up who has a cycle event over the next few months? We're guessing a lot of you. Whilst you've probably put in the hours training for the race or sportive, its just as important to make sure your equipment is on top form, to prevent injury and any disasters! In preparation for any long distance ride, Halfords share some last minute maintenance wisdom to help ensure cyclists have a mechanical free event.Get your bike professionally serviced: Pay particular attention to tyres, chains and brake pads and ensure that any parts that show signs of wear are changed. After the service, ensure you get plenty of miles in on the new parts to bed them in. Avoid making any last minute set up changes: Don’t be tempted to change your seat height or fit that longer handlebar stem the day before your event. If you feel the need to change things, do it in very small stages and well in advance.  Practice a tube and tyre change at the roadside: It may sound silly but changing a tube or tyre at the roadside is completely different to the comfort of your garage. Remember that all important technique when re-fitting the tyre, fit over the valve first and work equally away around the tyre until your hands meet. For that last tight bit use the palm of your hand to push the tyre onto the rim. Avoid using levers if at all possible.  Keep your tyre pressures up: A lot of people ride with too little pressure in their tyres, but know that correct pressures will help resist punctures, protect your rims and keep you rolling along. There are some variables such as rider weight and road conditions, but as a guide run 90 – 110 psi after taking these into account.  Carry the right kit in your seat pack: Nobody likes to hang about waiting for help in the event of a mechanical emergency, so carry the right kit and you can get yourself moving: 3 inner tubes Multi tool that includes chain link extractor Tyre levers (tyre removal) Chain link (power link) Tyre repair patch Good quality mini pump And last but not least, don’t forget the all important cycle lights Women V Cancer Ride the Night, an all female 100km night time bike ride through central London, will take place on 30th May and more than 2,000 women will be raising money for cancer charities. Entries for this year’s Women V Cancer Ride the Night have sold out, but entries for the 2016 event, which takes place on Saturday 28th May 2016, are now open. For more information and to enter, please visit www.ridethenight.co.uk.

Train like an Olympian!

Train like an Olympian!

London 2012 – remember that? Of course you do! As a nation we were swept up in two weeks of sporting triumphs and patriotism like never before and, two-and-a-half years on, it is those triumphs and star performances that still keep so many of us motivated to hit the gym or head out for a run. And now, thanks to Fitness First and its discovery that the desire to train like an Olympian was so prominent during the Games, its legacy looks likely to live on long into 2015 and beyond, too. The nationwide gym and health club chain has recently opened its doors to a brand new branch in London’s Bishopsgate with an athletic slant firmly in mind.This amazing, state-of-the-art club boasts three new fitness programmes devised by Team GB athletes and coaches, and its new track, interactive Move studio and ceiling-mounted coaching camera are ideal for gym-goers who continue to be inspired by the athletes of 2012. The club even had its opening ribbons cut by three of Britain’s best young sports stars: Nicola Adams, the world’s first female boxing Olympic gold medallist; Ed Clancy, Olympic track cycling gold and bronze medallist; and Max Whitlock, Olympic gymnastics bronze medallist. But, of course, you don’t have to work out in the gym to train like an athlete (though if you live in London we definitely recommend a visit to the Bishopsgate club), so Fitness First has devised this fantastic workout that’ll boost your speed, power, agility and athleticism. You’ll be running faster than Usain Bolt in no time! (OK, we can’t quite promise that, but a girl can dream…)How to do itPerform the first move continuously for the time period allotted for your level. Rest for 15-30 seconds depending on your fitness level before moving on to the next. Once a full set of each move is complete, go back to the start to begin the next set, following the same structure.Beginner: 5 x 30 secondsIntermediate: 5 x 45 secondsAdvanced: 5 x 1 minuteTreadmillsAreas trained: hips, legs, coreTechnique-From plank position, bring your right foot up to the outside of your right hand, letting the hips drop. Keep your left leg straight and right leg bent.-Jump to switch sides so that your right leg is straight and your left leg is bent with your left foot outside of your left hand.-Continue to alternate for the allotted time for your level. Safety tipKeep your head in a neutral positionFast armsArea trained: shouldersTechnique-Stand in a stable position with legs slightly bent and back neutral.-Position your arms as if you were to begin a sprint, with one slightly in front of the body and one behind, both bent.-Switch positions so that the opposite arm is now in front instead.-Repeat this as fast as you can continuously.Safety tipKeep your shoulders back and gaze forwards Lateral move + T press-upAreas trained: Core, sides, chest, rear upper arms Technique-Lie face down on the floor with arms extended out to the sides.-Bring your hands to your sides under your shoulders, palms flat on the floor.-Keeping your core tight and body in a straight line, push your body off the floor to complete a press-up.-Rotate your torso to the side to bring one arm up to the ceiling, taking your gaze with it.-Bring it back to the floor and bend your arms to lower yourself back to the ground to repeat, switching sides for the next rep. Safety tipDon’t let your hips drop lower than the rest of your body Plyometric lungeAreas trained: legs, bottomTechnique-Take a large step forwards and bend both knees to about 90 degrees with your back knee just above the floor.-Generate as much momentum as possible to jump as high as you can, switching the position of your legs mid-air to land with the opposite leg in front.-Repeat fluidly. Safety tipKeep your torso upright throughoutIsometric squat holdAreas trained: thighs, bottomTechnique-With your back resting against a wall, lower yourself until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, keeping feet flat on the floor.-Hold. Safety tipKeep your knees in line with your toes Press-up holdsAreas trained: core, chest, rear upper armsTechnique-Start in plank position on your hands.-Bend your arms to lower your chest to the floor, keeping your body in a straight line throughout.-Push back up to the start.-Without tilting your body, tap your left shoulder with your right hand.-Lower, your hand back to the floor, then tap your right shoulder with your left hand.-Return to the start and repeat.Safety tip Keep your hips square throughout SprintersAreas trained: hips, legsTechnique-Run on the spot as fast as you can, driving your knees high, for the allotted time for your level.Safety tip Keep your back straight and shoulders back

Don’t suffer in silence!

Don’t suffer in silence!

Don’t suffer in silence! ArticleMay 21, 2015 Why 'putting up with' an injury could be a bad ideaIf you’ve ever been injured, you’ll know it’s all you can think about.But did you know that chronic pain could actually change the way you think?Well, according to a study in mice carried out by researchers at Stanford University, it seems long-term pain can alter the part of your brain that controls motivation – which could explain why those who suffer from chronic pain become less active and often feel unmotivated. Formerly fit bods can become crisp-eating couch potatoes in a the blink of an eye when motivation hits a real low!So, don’t put up with persistent pain – get it checked out and get your motivation back.

5 reasons to get on your bike

5 reasons to get on your bike

What’s not to love about cycling? There’s no greater pleasure than the feeling of freedom you get pedalling out on the open road. And let’s not forget that cycling – whether on an indoor bike in the gym or touring the streets – is the perfect way to get your exercise fix. Here are our favourite reasons to saddle up today. Reason 1: Stay slimWant an awesomely fit body? Hit the spin bike! High-intensity spinning classes offer a great head-to-toe toning workout and they’re suitable for everyone – regardless of your fitness level. The interval sessions really challenge your lower body and the calorie-burning potential is pretty impressive, too. ‘The most beneficial part of spin classes is the intervals, as they challenge the body so you can get the most out of your workout,’ says Chris Foster, professional head of fitness at nuffield health (nuffieldhealth.com). Looking for a fresh alternative to your regular spin class? Check out BOOM Cycle, it’s an awesome indoor cycling class with an emphasis on fun and great music, it’s a firm team WF favourite (boomcycle.co.uk). Reason 2: It’s better for the environmentNobody wants to live in a world clogged up with unhealthy carbon emissions that wreak havoc on health. So ditch your car and get on your bike instead. A study by the European Cyclists Federation found that Europe could reduce its CO2 emissions by a quarter if its population cycled as regularly as the Danes. In Denmark the average person cycles almost 600 miles annually, while the average Brit logs in a meagre 46 miles each year. Reason 3: See the worldWhizzing around on two wheels is the perfect workout to take you away from home and out exploring new places. ‘Cycling lets you see the world – whether you want to hit the MTB trails or head out for a ride on the road. You can travel to places that you didn’t even realise existed and appreciate buildings and views that you have only ever bypassed in the car,’ enthuses Wiesia Kuczaj, cyclist and Sigma Sport Team MuleBar Girl (mulebar.com).Reason 4: Add years to your lifeTurn your commute into your workout and not only will you save money, you could also lengthen your lifespan. A 20-year study by Copenhagen’s Bispebjerg University Hospital found that women who cycled every day at a vigorous pace lived on average 3.9 years longer than slow cyclists. So get pedalling hard, people!Reason 5: Improve joint healthThe low-impact nature of cycling makes it an accessible sport for those who are at risk of joint injury and also enables them to increase the volume and intensity of their riding at a faster pace. ‘Consequently, cycling may help you to reach your health and fitness goals more quickly than is possible in more technical and/or weight bearing sports, such as running,’ explains performance coach James Hewitt (jameshewitt.net).

How to get rid of love handles

How to get rid of love handles

If you want to look and feel great, there's a lot of things to consider. Whilst diet and exercise are two powerful tools in the pursuit of a healthy body, sleep patterns, stress levels and body confidence all have their own part to play. Learn how to make the most of what you've got (and disguise those love handles) with our top expert tips.Eat up, slim downAlways thinking about your next meal? Not anymore! The secret behind fat-loss success lies in properly fuelling your body with nutrient-dense food. Number one on the list is fibre – both the soluble and insoluble types. Fibre helps slow down digestion and recharges your body with a steady stream of energy, but worryingly, a whopping 90 per cent of us don’t have enough roughage in our diets, according to a new study by Warburtons.To win the war against wobbles, it’s important to go back to basics. Eat meals high in protein, which helps preserve lean muscle mass, and omega-3 fatty acids. These turn on fat-burning enzymes in your cells and help regulate the appetite hormone leptin, which keeps you feeling satiated. Finally, spice up your meals for the ultimate metabolism kick. Chilli and paprika both contain a compound called capsaicin that helps speed up weight loss, while cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.Fight fat: Government guidelines say we should consume 24g of fibre daily, so fill your plate with a variety of colourful fruit, veg and wholegrains to ensure you reach your quota. Boost your omega-3 intake with nuts and fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel, and add chilli, paprika and cinnamon to soups, stews and curries.Sleep easy, stay slimThe secret to maintaining your slim figure? A good night’s sleep! The link between sleep and staying slim is often underestimated, but you can double your chances of reaching your ideal weight if you get between six and eight hours sleep a night. ‘One third of the population of the UK is sleep deprived and this puts people at an increased risk of being overweight,’ says naturopath Sybille Gebhardt (sybille.co.uk). ‘Your body derives its energy from food and sleep. If one is lacking, then the other needs to increase to sustain your body’s necessary energy levels.’A recent study by researchers at the University of Chicago found that sleep deprivation plays havoc with fat cells, reducing their ability to respond to the blood sugar balancing hormone insulin by 30 per cent.Ever wondered why a bad night’s sleep leads to a day of bingeing? Lack of sleep also lowers levels of the appetite-controlling hormone leptin, sending signals to the brain to increase appetite. When you get enough sleep, leptin levels are higher – so you’re more likely to feel full when you eat.Fight fat: Make sure you get a proper night’s rest by going to bed at the same time each night to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. Apply a spritz of lavender essential oil to your pillow and enjoy a soak in the tub before lights out to increase your chances of shut-eye.Beat stress, lose weightBeing dedicated to your job may improve your career prospects, but it might not be such good news for your waistline. Even if you eat healthily and exercise regularly, leading a stressful lifestyle can stop you from losing inches. When you’re under stress, your body pumps out adrenaline and high levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol affects appetite, causing you to crave sugary, high fat foods that stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. This has a soothing effect on stress, but, obviously, it’s terrible news for your body. A high level of cortisol also promotes fat around your middle, known as visceral fat. This fat surrounds organs and releases fatty acids into your blood stream, raising insulin levels and increasing your risk of diabetes over the long term. ‘Many of us reach for food when we’re stressed,’ says Sybille. ‘Try meditation or yoga to calm your mind.’Fight fat: Melt your muffin top with stress-soothing foods such as oily fish, which helps to regulate cortisol levels, or turkey, which increases serotonin levels. Practise yoga at least twice a week.Feel confident, look greatYour biggest fat-loss obstacle? You’re looking at her in the mirror! Looking good is all about feeling good, so if you boost your body confidence you could send your fat-loss rate soaring. A study by scientists at the Technical University of Lisbon and Bangor University discovered that women are far more likely to shed pounds if they work on improving their body image issues. You might not have your dream body (yet), but embrace your best bits and you’ll look and feel your best.Fight fat: Been blessed with long legs but a paunchy tum? Opt for skinny jeans with a smock top and a wow-inducing pair of heels. Hate your bingo wings but love your killer cleavage? A long-sleeved top with a scoop neckline will give you a lift. Want to read more about fat loss? Subscribe to Women's Fitness. We'll give you 3 issues for £1.

You can be healthy on a budget

You can be healthy on a budget

Fancy gyms and high-end fitness wear are awesome. Who doesn't love to browse the fancy pants on the Lucas Hugh website or get their sweat on at Barry's Bootcamp? But splashing the cash is in no way essential for healthy living or a hot bod.Don't get us wrong we all love saving up for that must-have Sweaty Betty gym bag, treating ourselves to a few classes at a posh new spin studio, or splashing out on on a pre-hol delivery diet, but you're every day healthy regime needn't come with such a high price tag.Don't believe us? This issue we've made it our mission to get you the very best results, with the absolute minimum spend. And it's not as difficult as you might think!But first you have to get in the right mindset! Get started with our top tips:1. Be inventiveSometimes being healthy on a budget means you have to think outside the box. For example, eating lots of veggies is key to a healthy diet – but if you pick frozen over fresh (which are equally as nutritious) you'll save a packet. And if the cost of a gym is crippling you, take your workouts outside instead. You'll have to use your imagination a bit, but a park can provide hundreds of opportunities for a great workout – you can use steps and benches for step-ups, jump squats, bulgarian split squats or tricep dips; do mini sprints up any inclines; use playground equipment to do pull-ups; and let's face it, you can do burpees anywhere!2. Be preparedOn of the essential aspects of getting in shape on a budget is – as the Scouts would no-doubt agree – being prepared. We're talking making your own healthy lunches at home rather than buying them; making and carrying your own healthy snacks; always bringing your own water bottle from home for classes/workouts and having a well-planned workout schedule so you don't lose interest and head back to the gym.3. Do your researchHalf the battle when trying to keep costs down is being well informed. So in this special we're aiming to just that, giving you all the tips and tricks you need to smash those goals with minimal outlay. But it's worth doing your own research too. Check out cheap fitness options in your local area like free run clubs; hunt down bargain bulk-buy shops; suss out which friends you can persuade into doing park workouts, home workouts and runs with you; and check out healthy food bloggers for some healthy/cheap inspo.4. If, thenHaving a plan for any unexpected scenarios is also key. For example if rain means my park workout is off then I'll do an online workout at home instead; or if my friend fancies a meal out after our workouts then I'll invite them round for a healthy meal at mine instead. It's a strategy top psychologist Walter Mischel recommends in his book The Marshmallow Experiment and it's a great option for helping you stick to your regime when circumstances change unexpectedly.5. Go onlineOne of the best things about the internet is that it gives you so much access to free information and inspiration. Who needs to splash out on a new cookbook when the internet is awash with healthy food bloggers sharing their amazing recipes? We love naturallysassy.co.uk. And, if paying for a PT is way out of your budget right now, why not sign up to one of the awesome free fitness providers online? Fitnessblender.com and Carly's Rowena's youTube channel have some great optiosn – and they're completely free! And if you're looking for food/fitness or just general healthy living inspo, instagram and twitter a packed with fit bods looking to share their top tips – we love Helle Hammonds on Instagram and @TaraStiles, @LottieLMurphy and @CatMeffan on Twitter.

Swimming Workouts

Swimming Workouts

It's easy to overlook swimming when planning your weekly workouts, but did you know that just 30 minutes of swimming can burn over 200 calories?  A Department of Health report in 2004 found that a person weighing 60kg can expect to burn 240 calories in half an hour by doing a slow crawl, equivalent of cycling at 12-14 mph for the same length of time.  Swimming is also a great way to get moving if you're new to exercise, as well as an excellent means of maintaining fitness levels if you are recovering from injury. Hitting the pool provides a whole body workout, but it's also much kinder to joints than high impact exercise such as running. According to the ASA report, Swimming, taking the plunge for a fitter lifestyle, this is because water can support up to 90 per cent of a person's bodyweight, regardless of their size. And getting a good water-workout doesn't just mean swimming lengths either. The report also states that exercising in water provides 'full-body' resistance that is 12-14 times greater than air, so group fitness fans can take advantage of this with classes such as aqua aerobics or aqua jogging. The ever-popular Zumba workout now also has an aqua equivalent. Expect the same high energy, loud music and bottom wiggling of a normal Zumba class, but with the added splash factor of being in the pool! Why not grab a friend this weekend and give it a go? 

Arm toning exercises

Arm toning exercises

Wave bye bye to pesky bingo wings and give your arms some well-deserved attention to ensure you can wear summer tops with confidence come the warmer months with our easy peasy workout.The secret to honing a shapely pair of arms is to work your chest and shoulders and both your biceps and triceps evenly. We’ve created a quick circuit that does just that, so you’ll be ready to reveal awesome arms in no time. Just make sure you team this workout with a healthy diet and some high-intensity cardio, as you’ll need to rev up that fat burn for slim and sexy arms.Add these four moves to your existing workouts, twice a week, taking 30 seconds’ rest between each set. Go for a weight that challenges you – but make sure you can perform each rep with good form. Your arms should be tired by the end, and you should feel as though you couldn’t do another set with the same weight.Beginner: 2 x 8 reps each moveIntermediate: 3 x 10 reps each moveAdvanced: 4 x 10 reps each move

Swimming Workouts

Swimming Workouts

27 May 2015

It's easy to overlook swimming when planning your weekly workouts, but did you know that just 30 minutes of swimming can burn over 200 calories?  A Department of Health report in 2004 found that a person weighing 60kg can expect to burn 240 calories in half an hour by doing a slow crawl, equivalent of cycling at 12-14 mph for the same length of time.  Swimming is also a great way to get moving if you're new to exercise, as well as an excellent means of maintaining fitness levels if you are recovering from injury. Hitting the pool provides a whole body workout, but it's also much kinder to joints than high impact exercise such as running. According to the ASA report, Swimming, taking the plunge for a fitter lifestyle, this is because water can support up to 90 per cent of a person's bodyweight, regardless of their size. And getting a good water-workout doesn't just mean swimming lengths either. The report also states that exercising in water provides 'full-body' resistance that is 12-14 times greater than air, so group fitness fans can take advantage of this with classes such as aqua aerobics or aqua jogging. The ever-popular Zumba workout now also has an aqua equivalent. Expect the same high energy, loud music and bottom wiggling of a normal Zumba class, but with the added splash factor of being in the pool! Why not grab a friend this weekend and give it a go? 

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Arm toning exercises

Arm toning exercises

27 May 2015

Wave bye bye to pesky bingo wings and give your arms some well-deserved attention to ensure you can wear summer tops with confidence come the warmer months with our easy peasy workout.The secret to honing a shapely pair of arms is to work your chest and shoulders and both your biceps and triceps evenly. We’ve created a quick circuit that does just that, so you’ll be ready to reveal awesome arms in no time. Just make sure you team this workout with a healthy diet and some high-intensity cardio, as you’ll need to rev up that fat burn for slim and sexy arms.Add these four moves to your existing workouts, twice a week, taking 30 seconds’ rest between each set. Go for a weight that challenges you – but make sure you can perform each rep with good form. Your arms should be tired by the end, and you should feel as though you couldn’t do another set with the same weight.Beginner: 2 x 8 reps each moveIntermediate: 3 x 10 reps each moveAdvanced: 4 x 10 reps each move

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‘It’s massively rewarding’

‘It’s massively rewarding’

27 May 2015

From the sea cliffs of Wales to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Hazel Findlay’s passion for climbing has taken her all over the world. She tells us how self-belief can spur you on to do almost anything you can imagine – even paragliding!How did you get into climbing? I started out with my dad on the sea cliffs in Pembroke when I was seven. I was lucky to start so early because climbing has really made me who I am.What is it that you love about the sport? I love how it takes you to amazing corners of the world that you wouldn’t get to otherwise. I also love the feeling of moving over rock and the mental battles associated with climbing.What’s the toughest thing about climbing? The toughest thing about climbing is believing that you can do something. It always feels really easy to walk away from a rock climb if you think it’s going to be hard, but it’s massively rewarding when you don’t walk away and you give it a go, even if you fail.You’ve climbed in lots of amazing places. Where’s your favourite place to climb? I really love the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The people are amazing and the scenery is something special – it’s very impressive and rugged, but also very peaceful.Who or what inspires you? All the climbers who love the sport and keep getting out every day despite injury, weather, work or life problems.Have you always been active? Yes, I’ve always been active and if I’m not climbing for whatever reason, I’ll be running or doing yoga or something. We are supposed to be active and I think a lot of the problems with the modern human are tied up in the fact that most of us live hugely underactive lives.What other sports do you enjoy other than climbing? Yoga, running and I’ve just taken up paragliding.What’s the best way for our readers to get into climbing?   Take a course where you will learn all the relevant safety skills you need to know to get out and about on your own. Climbing walls are great, but lots of people get stuck in them and find it hard to venture out – so if you can, start outside.  What’s your biggest goal? I don’t really have a biggest goal or dream, but since I’ve just recently started paragliding, one dream I have is to do some flying/climbing combined adventures. I think that would be really great.  Hazel is sponsored by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports (ellis-brigham.com)

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How to get rid of your muffin top

How to get rid of your muffin top

24 May 2015

That weight around your middle sure can be stubborn to shift. Anyone who's tried to get rid of their muffin top can vouch for how difficult it is to get rid of. If you want to tackle your wobbly tum and sides, or just want to tone up your middle area, use these tips along with a healthy diet (think nutrient-dense veg, high-quality protein and LOTS of water) and you might be on to a winner...Rounded tum:Get good abs with... crunches and a clean diet! Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90o 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. Do three sets of 25 reps.Baby belly:Target your baby belly with... the tummy tucker. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor and your hands on your abs. Take a deep breath in, exhale, and then draw your navel in to your spine, aiming to pull your belly button into the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Do one set of 5 reps, working up to 15.Love handles: Target love handles with... a one-legged plank hydrant. Get 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. Do two sets of 10 reps on each leg.Belly button fat: Relieve stress and tone up with... the downward dog to plank sequence. Start 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. Do five rounds, holding each pose for around five breaths each but rest if you need to. For more fitness tips subscribe to Health & Fitness. We'll give you 3 issues for £1! 

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Prep your bike for a cycle event

Prep your bike for a cycle event

24 May 2015

Prep your bike for a cycle event ArticleHealth & FitnessMay 14, 2015 You pay have put in the hours training, but your bike needs attention too...Hands up who has a cycle event over the next few months? We're guessing a lot of you. Whilst you've probably put in the hours training for the race or sportive, its just as important to make sure your equipment is on top form, to prevent injury and any disasters! In preparation for any long distance ride, Halfords share some last minute maintenance wisdom to help ensure cyclists have a mechanical free event.Get your bike professionally serviced: Pay particular attention to tyres, chains and brake pads and ensure that any parts that show signs of wear are changed. After the service, ensure you get plenty of miles in on the new parts to bed them in. Avoid making any last minute set up changes: Don’t be tempted to change your seat height or fit that longer handlebar stem the day before your event. If you feel the need to change things, do it in very small stages and well in advance.  Practice a tube and tyre change at the roadside: It may sound silly but changing a tube or tyre at the roadside is completely different to the comfort of your garage. Remember that all important technique when re-fitting the tyre, fit over the valve first and work equally away around the tyre until your hands meet. For that last tight bit use the palm of your hand to push the tyre onto the rim. Avoid using levers if at all possible.  Keep your tyre pressures up: A lot of people ride with too little pressure in their tyres, but know that correct pressures will help resist punctures, protect your rims and keep you rolling along. There are some variables such as rider weight and road conditions, but as a guide run 90 – 110 psi after taking these into account.  Carry the right kit in your seat pack: Nobody likes to hang about waiting for help in the event of a mechanical emergency, so carry the right kit and you can get yourself moving: 3 inner tubes Multi tool that includes chain link extractor Tyre levers (tyre removal) Chain link (power link) Tyre repair patch Good quality mini pump And last but not least, don’t forget the all important cycle lights Women V Cancer Ride the Night, an all female 100km night time bike ride through central London, will take place on 30th May and more than 2,000 women will be raising money for cancer charities. Entries for this year’s Women V Cancer Ride the Night have sold out, but entries for the 2016 event, which takes place on Saturday 28th May 2016, are now open. For more information and to enter, please visit www.ridethenight.co.uk.

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Train like an Olympian!

Train like an Olympian!

24 May 2015

London 2012 – remember that? Of course you do! As a nation we were swept up in two weeks of sporting triumphs and patriotism like never before and, two-and-a-half years on, it is those triumphs and star performances that still keep so many of us motivated to hit the gym or head out for a run. And now, thanks to Fitness First and its discovery that the desire to train like an Olympian was so prominent during the Games, its legacy looks likely to live on long into 2015 and beyond, too. The nationwide gym and health club chain has recently opened its doors to a brand new branch in London’s Bishopsgate with an athletic slant firmly in mind.This amazing, state-of-the-art club boasts three new fitness programmes devised by Team GB athletes and coaches, and its new track, interactive Move studio and ceiling-mounted coaching camera are ideal for gym-goers who continue to be inspired by the athletes of 2012. The club even had its opening ribbons cut by three of Britain’s best young sports stars: Nicola Adams, the world’s first female boxing Olympic gold medallist; Ed Clancy, Olympic track cycling gold and bronze medallist; and Max Whitlock, Olympic gymnastics bronze medallist. But, of course, you don’t have to work out in the gym to train like an athlete (though if you live in London we definitely recommend a visit to the Bishopsgate club), so Fitness First has devised this fantastic workout that’ll boost your speed, power, agility and athleticism. You’ll be running faster than Usain Bolt in no time! (OK, we can’t quite promise that, but a girl can dream…)How to do itPerform the first move continuously for the time period allotted for your level. Rest for 15-30 seconds depending on your fitness level before moving on to the next. Once a full set of each move is complete, go back to the start to begin the next set, following the same structure.Beginner: 5 x 30 secondsIntermediate: 5 x 45 secondsAdvanced: 5 x 1 minuteTreadmillsAreas trained: hips, legs, coreTechnique-From plank position, bring your right foot up to the outside of your right hand, letting the hips drop. Keep your left leg straight and right leg bent.-Jump to switch sides so that your right leg is straight and your left leg is bent with your left foot outside of your left hand.-Continue to alternate for the allotted time for your level. Safety tipKeep your head in a neutral positionFast armsArea trained: shouldersTechnique-Stand in a stable position with legs slightly bent and back neutral.-Position your arms as if you were to begin a sprint, with one slightly in front of the body and one behind, both bent.-Switch positions so that the opposite arm is now in front instead.-Repeat this as fast as you can continuously.Safety tipKeep your shoulders back and gaze forwards Lateral move + T press-upAreas trained: Core, sides, chest, rear upper arms Technique-Lie face down on the floor with arms extended out to the sides.-Bring your hands to your sides under your shoulders, palms flat on the floor.-Keeping your core tight and body in a straight line, push your body off the floor to complete a press-up.-Rotate your torso to the side to bring one arm up to the ceiling, taking your gaze with it.-Bring it back to the floor and bend your arms to lower yourself back to the ground to repeat, switching sides for the next rep. Safety tipDon’t let your hips drop lower than the rest of your body Plyometric lungeAreas trained: legs, bottomTechnique-Take a large step forwards and bend both knees to about 90 degrees with your back knee just above the floor.-Generate as much momentum as possible to jump as high as you can, switching the position of your legs mid-air to land with the opposite leg in front.-Repeat fluidly. Safety tipKeep your torso upright throughoutIsometric squat holdAreas trained: thighs, bottomTechnique-With your back resting against a wall, lower yourself until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, keeping feet flat on the floor.-Hold. Safety tipKeep your knees in line with your toes Press-up holdsAreas trained: core, chest, rear upper armsTechnique-Start in plank position on your hands.-Bend your arms to lower your chest to the floor, keeping your body in a straight line throughout.-Push back up to the start.-Without tilting your body, tap your left shoulder with your right hand.-Lower, your hand back to the floor, then tap your right shoulder with your left hand.-Return to the start and repeat.Safety tip Keep your hips square throughout SprintersAreas trained: hips, legsTechnique-Run on the spot as fast as you can, driving your knees high, for the allotted time for your level.Safety tip Keep your back straight and shoulders back

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‘It’s massively rewarding’

‘It’s massively rewarding’

24 May 2015

From the sea cliffs of Wales to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Hazel Findlay’s passion for climbing has taken her all over the world. She tells us how self-belief can spur you on to do almost anything you can imagine – even paragliding!How did you get into climbing? I started out with my dad on the sea cliffs in Pembroke when I was seven. I was lucky to start so early because climbing has really made me who I am.What is it that you love about the sport? I love how it takes you to amazing corners of the world that you wouldn’t get to otherwise. I also love the feeling of moving over rock and the mental battles associated with climbing.What’s the toughest thing about climbing? The toughest thing about climbing is believing that you can do something. It always feels really easy to walk away from a rock climb if you think it’s going to be hard, but it’s massively rewarding when you don’t walk away and you give it a go, even if you fail.You’ve climbed in lots of amazing places. Where’s your favourite place to climb? I really love the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The people are amazing and the scenery is something special – it’s very impressive and rugged, but also very peaceful.Who or what inspires you? All the climbers who love the sport and keep getting out every day despite injury, weather, work or life problems.Have you always been active? Yes, I’ve always been active and if I’m not climbing for whatever reason, I’ll be running or doing yoga or something. We are supposed to be active and I think a lot of the problems with the modern human are tied up in the fact that most of us live hugely underactive lives.What other sports do you enjoy other than climbing? Yoga, running and I’ve just taken up paragliding.What’s the best way for our readers to get into climbing?   Take a course where you will learn all the relevant safety skills you need to know to get out and about on your own. Climbing walls are great, but lots of people get stuck in them and find it hard to venture out – so if you can, start outside.  What’s your biggest goal? I don’t really have a biggest goal or dream, but since I’ve just recently started paragliding, one dream I have is to do some flying/climbing combined adventures. I think that would be really great.  Hazel is sponsored by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports (ellis-brigham.com)

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Don’t suffer in silence!

Don’t suffer in silence!

24 May 2015

Don’t suffer in silence! ArticleMay 21, 2015 Why 'putting up with' an injury could be a bad ideaIf you’ve ever been injured, you’ll know it’s all you can think about.But did you know that chronic pain could actually change the way you think?Well, according to a study in mice carried out by researchers at Stanford University, it seems long-term pain can alter the part of your brain that controls motivation – which could explain why those who suffer from chronic pain become less active and often feel unmotivated. Formerly fit bods can become crisp-eating couch potatoes in a the blink of an eye when motivation hits a real low!So, don’t put up with persistent pain – get it checked out and get your motivation back.

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5 reasons to get on your bike

5 reasons to get on your bike

24 May 2015

What’s not to love about cycling? There’s no greater pleasure than the feeling of freedom you get pedalling out on the open road. And let’s not forget that cycling – whether on an indoor bike in the gym or touring the streets – is the perfect way to get your exercise fix. Here are our favourite reasons to saddle up today. Reason 1: Stay slimWant an awesomely fit body? Hit the spin bike! High-intensity spinning classes offer a great head-to-toe toning workout and they’re suitable for everyone – regardless of your fitness level. The interval sessions really challenge your lower body and the calorie-burning potential is pretty impressive, too. ‘The most beneficial part of spin classes is the intervals, as they challenge the body so you can get the most out of your workout,’ says Chris Foster, professional head of fitness at nuffield health (nuffieldhealth.com). Looking for a fresh alternative to your regular spin class? Check out BOOM Cycle, it’s an awesome indoor cycling class with an emphasis on fun and great music, it’s a firm team WF favourite (boomcycle.co.uk). Reason 2: It’s better for the environmentNobody wants to live in a world clogged up with unhealthy carbon emissions that wreak havoc on health. So ditch your car and get on your bike instead. A study by the European Cyclists Federation found that Europe could reduce its CO2 emissions by a quarter if its population cycled as regularly as the Danes. In Denmark the average person cycles almost 600 miles annually, while the average Brit logs in a meagre 46 miles each year. Reason 3: See the worldWhizzing around on two wheels is the perfect workout to take you away from home and out exploring new places. ‘Cycling lets you see the world – whether you want to hit the MTB trails or head out for a ride on the road. You can travel to places that you didn’t even realise existed and appreciate buildings and views that you have only ever bypassed in the car,’ enthuses Wiesia Kuczaj, cyclist and Sigma Sport Team MuleBar Girl (mulebar.com).Reason 4: Add years to your lifeTurn your commute into your workout and not only will you save money, you could also lengthen your lifespan. A 20-year study by Copenhagen’s Bispebjerg University Hospital found that women who cycled every day at a vigorous pace lived on average 3.9 years longer than slow cyclists. So get pedalling hard, people!Reason 5: Improve joint healthThe low-impact nature of cycling makes it an accessible sport for those who are at risk of joint injury and also enables them to increase the volume and intensity of their riding at a faster pace. ‘Consequently, cycling may help you to reach your health and fitness goals more quickly than is possible in more technical and/or weight bearing sports, such as running,’ explains performance coach James Hewitt (jameshewitt.net).

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How to get rid of love handles

How to get rid of love handles

24 May 2015

If you want to look and feel great, there's a lot of things to consider. Whilst diet and exercise are two powerful tools in the pursuit of a healthy body, sleep patterns, stress levels and body confidence all have their own part to play. Learn how to make the most of what you've got (and disguise those love handles) with our top expert tips.Eat up, slim downAlways thinking about your next meal? Not anymore! The secret behind fat-loss success lies in properly fuelling your body with nutrient-dense food. Number one on the list is fibre – both the soluble and insoluble types. Fibre helps slow down digestion and recharges your body with a steady stream of energy, but worryingly, a whopping 90 per cent of us don’t have enough roughage in our diets, according to a new study by Warburtons.To win the war against wobbles, it’s important to go back to basics. Eat meals high in protein, which helps preserve lean muscle mass, and omega-3 fatty acids. These turn on fat-burning enzymes in your cells and help regulate the appetite hormone leptin, which keeps you feeling satiated. Finally, spice up your meals for the ultimate metabolism kick. Chilli and paprika both contain a compound called capsaicin that helps speed up weight loss, while cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.Fight fat: Government guidelines say we should consume 24g of fibre daily, so fill your plate with a variety of colourful fruit, veg and wholegrains to ensure you reach your quota. Boost your omega-3 intake with nuts and fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel, and add chilli, paprika and cinnamon to soups, stews and curries.Sleep easy, stay slimThe secret to maintaining your slim figure? A good night’s sleep! The link between sleep and staying slim is often underestimated, but you can double your chances of reaching your ideal weight if you get between six and eight hours sleep a night. ‘One third of the population of the UK is sleep deprived and this puts people at an increased risk of being overweight,’ says naturopath Sybille Gebhardt (sybille.co.uk). ‘Your body derives its energy from food and sleep. If one is lacking, then the other needs to increase to sustain your body’s necessary energy levels.’A recent study by researchers at the University of Chicago found that sleep deprivation plays havoc with fat cells, reducing their ability to respond to the blood sugar balancing hormone insulin by 30 per cent.Ever wondered why a bad night’s sleep leads to a day of bingeing? Lack of sleep also lowers levels of the appetite-controlling hormone leptin, sending signals to the brain to increase appetite. When you get enough sleep, leptin levels are higher – so you’re more likely to feel full when you eat.Fight fat: Make sure you get a proper night’s rest by going to bed at the same time each night to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. Apply a spritz of lavender essential oil to your pillow and enjoy a soak in the tub before lights out to increase your chances of shut-eye.Beat stress, lose weightBeing dedicated to your job may improve your career prospects, but it might not be such good news for your waistline. Even if you eat healthily and exercise regularly, leading a stressful lifestyle can stop you from losing inches. When you’re under stress, your body pumps out adrenaline and high levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol affects appetite, causing you to crave sugary, high fat foods that stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. This has a soothing effect on stress, but, obviously, it’s terrible news for your body. A high level of cortisol also promotes fat around your middle, known as visceral fat. This fat surrounds organs and releases fatty acids into your blood stream, raising insulin levels and increasing your risk of diabetes over the long term. ‘Many of us reach for food when we’re stressed,’ says Sybille. ‘Try meditation or yoga to calm your mind.’Fight fat: Melt your muffin top with stress-soothing foods such as oily fish, which helps to regulate cortisol levels, or turkey, which increases serotonin levels. Practise yoga at least twice a week.Feel confident, look greatYour biggest fat-loss obstacle? You’re looking at her in the mirror! Looking good is all about feeling good, so if you boost your body confidence you could send your fat-loss rate soaring. A study by scientists at the Technical University of Lisbon and Bangor University discovered that women are far more likely to shed pounds if they work on improving their body image issues. You might not have your dream body (yet), but embrace your best bits and you’ll look and feel your best.Fight fat: Been blessed with long legs but a paunchy tum? Opt for skinny jeans with a smock top and a wow-inducing pair of heels. Hate your bingo wings but love your killer cleavage? A long-sleeved top with a scoop neckline will give you a lift. Want to read more about fat loss? Subscribe to Women's Fitness. We'll give you 3 issues for £1.

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