Monthly Archives: March 2016

Running For Beginners

Running is hard! Anyone who runs, who has ever tried to run, or who thinks they can’t run knows this only too well. If you’ve tried, but not succeeded at running you may well think ‘I’m not built for running’, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘it’s easier for them.’ The truth is running is hard!Anyone new to running will find it tiring, boring & maybe difficult to coordinate their breathing. You may hate the burning in your chest or the aching of your limbs. It’s important to remember that everyone has been here. Every runner has been a beginner at some point & it is easy to give up. But if you don’t, if you persevere, then once the running bug gets you, you will be so pleased you stuck with it because it will change your life. 

How Can Running Help Me?

Running will help to manage your weight, helping to prevent diabetes, heart disease & obesity. It will improve your confidence as you become aware of what you can achieve & how strong your body is. It is also a great way to destress, to offer you some headspace & to improve your willpower & determination. It’s a great exercise because it’s free, you can practice anytime & you can take part alone or with friends.

  
What Do I Need To Get Started?

You need a strong, determined mind & a good pair of running shoes. Many shops offer a service where they will watch or record your running style & then recommend footwear to ensure the most supportive running shoes for you. This is well worth the investment. A good pair of trainers will support your foot & ankle, helping to keep your hips & knees aligned when you run. There is little else that you need. 

  

How Do I Start?

If your new to running, be sure you can walk 30 minutes at once, at a decent speed. Build up to this if needs be. Once you are comfortable with this, you can introduce one to two minute running intervals & gradually build from here. Allow your recovery periods/walking intervals to gradually become shorter & runs to get longer, until eventually you can run/jog for the full 30 minutes. There will likely be times when you’ll think you can’t do it; I remember them well. Stay focused, keep trying & you will get there. And when you do: it feels fantastic.

Once you can run for 30 minutes you are well on your way. You can work to increase speed or distance, or stick here if you wish. There are races you can enter, groups you can join: whatever you wish, to keep you motivated.

  
Should I Run Outside Or On A Treadmill?

There are advantages & disadvantages to both & the truth is, you’re best running wherever you feel happiest. I mix it up & do some outside runs & some at the gym. The treadmill offers a more pleasant environment from the cold & rain. It’s great for hill training as you can choose & change the incline & is also a great way to train with friends of different ability. It can also be kinder on the knees than road running.

Road running offers a great variety of surfaces & also allows your body to work against the elements as you run. Both of these things allow your body to work harder than treadmill running. You naturally vary your speed & you may find outdoors running more interesting on the eye. The fresh air is also pleasant & it can be enjoyable to mix up your route to keep everything varied. Personally, I cannot choose between the 2. I enjoy both equally & enjoy the different challenges both bring. Long distance runs I enjoy outside, faster, shorter runs I prefer at the gym. There is no right or wrong, just see what you prefer.

  

Anything Else?

You may want to invest in a pair of headphones to keep you company whilst you’re out & about. If you’re not running on a treadmill you may also want to download an app (such as map my run – for free) to measure your time & distance travelled. Other options are to invest in a fitness band, such as a Fitbit or Jawbone, however these will not be able to give you accurate race times & distances. Personally, I use both. I have map my run on my phone & I wear a Misfit Shine.

Don’t be shy to shout about your achievements. Facebook or Twitter offer a great ground for bragging about how far you’ve travelled & how quickly. The support you receive from social networks can be a great driving force & keep you motivated. It’s also a great way to keep a record of your previous runs &, if you’re competitive, gives you your time to beat next time.

  

Your Challenge

How about we all take on a fitness challenge.

I challenge you to run (at least) 1 marathon in the month of April. No it doesn’t need to be done at once! You’ve got a whole month to add up those miles until you reach 26.2 miles.

  
Let me know your successes & challenges.
Good Luck! Xxx

http://www.fitnessyogawithemma.co.uk

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Perfect Arms

Wanting to increase those biceps, rid of or prevent bingo wings? Perhaps you want more definition in your shoulders, or perfectly toned triceps? All of these things can be achieved, and without the use of heavy weights as you may be led to believe.

Heavy weight lifting can often put unnecessary strain on joints & muscles in the body, however people think they need to put their body through this stress to get the desired results. This is not true.

Sexy arms can be achieved with home workouts, with just the use of your body weight. No equipment is needed. I’ve compiled a few moves & a suggested workout below to help you to develop your strength & improve the look of your arms.

Side Plank

Lay on your side. Place your elbow under your shoulder & your bottom leg straight. Lift your hip off the floor, leaving your elbow & bottom foot supporting your body. You can lift your top arm & top leg so that you are in a star position if you wish for more of a challenge. Hold here for 10 breaths. Switch sides.
If this is too much to start with, you may bend your bottom leg & leave your bottom leg from the knee down on the floor, and then build up.

Side Plank
Press Ups

Quite possibly the most popular of all arm exercises is the press up. There are many options for this though, depending on your upper body strength. You are welcome to stand near to a wall & do a wall press up. The further your feet are from the wall, the harder you’ll be working that body. You are welcome to get down onto all fours & do a standard box press up, or of course a full press up. Once you find these easy, you can do one arm, one leg…keep pushing yourself. Ensure you keep the movements slow. Working our shoulder muscles is the key here.

Tricep Dips

Grab a chair, or sit on the floor. You can keep your legs bent, or for more of a challenge straighten your legs. Keep your fingers facing forwards (towards your body) & gently lower yourself by bending your arm. This targets your triceps. It’s likely to burn pretty quickly. Repeat for 12 reps.

Plank Jump

You all knew the plank would have to make another appearance, right? This time you’ll be wishing for a standard plank! Get into full plank position & jump your feet out, keeping your hips tucked. Jump back in to start position & continue these jumps for 1 minute. If you’re feeling keen, why not add a full press up after each jump?

For the second part of this, hold in a plank position & jump your feet forwards, towards your hands (as though you are performing a burpee). Then again, jump back to the start position. Once again, continue these reps for 1 minute.

Arm Rotations

Stand with your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Palms face out, circle your arms forwards for 12 reps & then back for 12. Then hold the arms static, still extended & rotate from the shoulder (as though turning a door handle) forwards & back for 12 reps. Then alternate the arms, 1 forwards, 1 back for 12 reps.

Circle Press Up

Get onto all fours & tuck your hips into ‘easy’ press up position. Place your hands wide. Take your body in a circular motion: take the weight to your right arm, lower towards the floor to the left arm & then push back up & start again. 12 reps going one way & then 12 reps going the other direction.

 

Arms

Keep practising the above workout, several times per day if you can (although remember one rest day per week, & remember to stretch!). With Summer just around the corner, there’s no better time than now to start. Prepare to bare!!

Postnatal Exercise

  

  

So you’ve had a baby? Whether it was a week ago, a year ago, or more…some people struggle to lose that extra baby weight or to get back into shape after baby has arrived. Routines change, priorities change & our bodies change. I’ve put together a few top tips to help get you feeling confident, looking great & to strengthen your body again. 

Antenatal Exercise

I appreciate if you’ve had a baby, this could be too late to state the obvious. But if you can, try too keep up a good exercise routine throughout your pregnancy. Yoga, swimming & walking are excellent ways to keep fit without putting strain on your body. It’s also a great way to prepare your body for labour, & prevents you piling on excess pounds that you’d only need to lose afterwards anyway.

Kegel Exercises

You’re probably bored of hearing about them, but if you don’t want to be struggling from incontinence later in life, get squeezing!! Work in sets of 10…10 slow, 10 fast squeezes & then hold the last squeeze for as long as you can, for a maximum count of 10. Repeat these throughout the day at regular intervals. It may be easier to start doing kegels laying down until your pelvic floor muscles strengthen, then eventually you’ll be able to do them standing, & even squatting.

Mummy Tummy

The main thing most mummies ask me is how to rid of their mummy tummy, that newfound sag. Staying hydrated helps, both on the inside & outside. So drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day & moisturise the stomach at least twice per day. This hydration helps your skin to retain its elasticity, giving you a smoother & firmer look.
Exercise is also key. Core workouts are excellent for keeping your back strong & finding those ‘hidden’ stomach muscles once again. So get planking, crunching & target that tummy area to give you a body your proud of. It’s worth having a look at my previous blog on HIIT exercise to help rid of any excess weight too.

Back Pain

With the constant bending, lifting & twisting involved with raising a child, it’s common to hear of mum’s complaining of lower back ache. Core exercises help to keep your back strong to prevent these aches & pains. Spinal rolls & lay stretches are excellent ways to improve back pain by ridding of caught up tension. Finally, it seems obvious, but stay focused on your posture when moving around & ensure you bend your knees when lifting your baby. Your body will thank you for it in later life as well as now.

I appreciate it’s hard finding the time to exercise once you’ve had children; you can no longer nip to the gym on your way home from work, or go for a jog on your lunch break. If you can’t find childcare for you to be able to take time to exercise, why not incorporate your exercise into your daily routine with your little one.
You can exercise from home whilst your little one watches you, go for a stroll with the buggy or a baby carrier to feed the ducks, you could even grab some mummy friends & create your own circuits session at a nearby park or one of your houses.

Just please ensure you get your 6 week check before you take part in any exercise. 

Look after yourself. 

Get Beach Body Ready

Walking-Walk-sunset-beach-1082204_1280

Days are getting longer, Summer is growing closer: are you beach body ready or do you need conditioning to increase your confidence?
Let’s face it, whether we’re in pretty good condition or feeling more whale than whey, I’m sure there is something we would all like to improve on ourselves. Below are some great moves to increase body confidence when stripped down. Keep movements slow & controlled. Remember quality is more important than quantity.

Tone Your Abs

Probably the main area people like to focus on when thinking of a beach body is their abs. Here are 2 key moves to get you started.

Pilates 100 – Lift into a basic crunch position, keeping a gap between your chin & chest, and hold at the top. Extend your arms down the side of your body, palms face down & pump your arms up & down for 10 breaths. Lower. Repeat 10 times. Remember to keep your tummy pulled in at all times.

Leg Raises – Lay on your back with your legs extended straight up towards the ceiling. (Bend your knees if needed to protect your lower back). As you exhale, lower 1 leg down towards the ground. Inhale to raise it back up, alternating legs, or working both together if you feel strong enough. Keep that tummy pulled in & don’t hold the breath. Repeat for 24 breaths.

Men and Women Lose Weight with Kettlebells

Lift Your Buttocks

The key to beach body buttocks is to build muscle & lift the cheeks, giving you a lovely round, pert shape. There are a number of moves to get the look. Below are a couple to get you started.

Knee Openers – Lay on your side with your knees bent in front of you, knees together, feet lifted. Exhale pushing your knees apart, keeping the feet together. Inhale knees together. Repeat for 24 breaths on each side.

Rear Raisers – On all fours, extend one leg straight out behind you, toes on the floor. Exhale as you cross the straight leg over the bent leg. Inhale to start position. Repeat 24 breaths on either side.

kettlebell training for women

Shape Your Thighs

Exfoliate & keep those pins moving to help you ooze confidence. Try the moves below & enjoy the results.

Chair Squats – Stand with your feet under your hips, feet pointing forwards parallel to each other. Bend into a squat, exhale back to a standing position. Keep moving, but keep the movements slow, getting as low as you can without the knees passing the toes. Repeat for 24 breaths.

Walking Lunges – Keep your upper body straight. Step forward with your right leg, bending the knees to about 90 degrees, as you lower yourself to the ground. Exhale as you push back with the right leg, keeping the weight in your heels & then step forward with the left. Repeat for 24 breaths, ensuring the knee doesn’t pass the toes.

How to Get a Toned Lower Body

Repeat these exercises daily, more than once if you wish. Team with cardio workouts if you wish to see results faster.