Monday, 24 September 2012

Legs & Lungs Workout in the Gym (1)

As we know sometimes time is of the essence in the gym, ideally you want to be burning fat and creating lean muscle in the least time possible (or I do anyway).  You also want to get a response quickly and hit all your major muscles in an effective way, job done!  So here's my 'Legs & Lungs' workout utilising both the rowing machine and kettlebell (or dumbbell) swings. 

You'll be performing a down or descending pyramid with both the rower and the swings.  Both exercises are cardiovascular and although they both are working your legs, the rower is seated and the swings are of course standing.  But believe me every muscle and energy system will be fired up. Do not underestimate this workout towards the end you will really be feeling it! 

                                    Rower                    Rest                       Swings

                                    500 m                     3 mins                      50
                                    400 m                     3 mins                      40
                                    300 m                     2 mins                      30
                                    200 m                     2 mins                      20
                                    100 m                     1 min                        10

As you can see you have a rest period, but sadly thats not your total rest as this is the time for you to perform your swings.  If you are proficient at swings you should be able to get through them in the allotted time with some to spare as rest.  If not you may give yourself more time, like 3 minutes could be 4 or 5 minutes.  As you can see I have also reduced the time towards the end as you are doing less swings.  Again you can adapt this to your level, the important thing is that you keep correct form especially with the swings (please make sure you have correct technique, speak to an instructor if you are unsure). 

I usually use a resistance of 10 (so my rower feels like a slow power boat), below 5 is your quick, sleek, fast boat. But experiment with the damper setting, find one that suits you.

So by the end you will have completed 1500 metres and performed 150 swings! 

If you do not use a gym, an outdoor version could be to set yourself a distance between two points.  Perform travelling lunges (you can hold weights if you like) one way, dump the weights, then run or sprint there and back.  Grab the weights and repeat.

Do this as many times as possible. You could progress this by carrying heavier weights or repeating more times. 

These examples are simple and effective, helping you to achieve greater and longer term weight loss and improving your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Give them a go and post your results.
Till next time, all the best


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A blog all about me.............

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a bit of a chatter box especially when it comes to anything about health and fitness.  In fact a funny story comes to mind, last year when I launched my Thump Boxing for Fitness class, one afternoon in the gym as I was talking to one of our lady members Helen about how excited I was about the prospects of this class.  So I draw breath and off I go, I never really know when to stop, I hardly pause, just keep going and going (I'm like a Duracell battery!).  Helen couldn't get a word in, till about 10 minutes later when I'd finished, she stared at me and said "Amanda I'm completely exhausted just listening to you".  So I think that shows the passionate kind of person I am, but I will safely say if you are lucky enough to work with me I can rein it in and I promise not to bend your ear too much :)

Me and my earlier years.  Some Personal Trainers come from a sporty background, I gave most sports a go at school, I was pretty good at things like shot putt and discuss and I ran well.  Liked both cross country and shorter sprint distances like 100 and 200metres. At 5' 1" found things like netball bit frustrating, wondered why I never made the grade! 

Me and Sunny in our back garden.
Was active at home, I was lucky enough to have a pony on loan, Sundance (see embarrassing photo left).  Use to go to the shops on him for my mum (aw them were the days) and mucking out every day is bloody hard work!  Then my first job here in the South (if you didn't know I am a Northern lass) was working with horses, again see photo (not working in this one par se) but 6 day week, sometimes 10 hour day out in the yard again is back breaking work.  And I had to share another photo, because I think I look pretty good and so does Talisman, again another horse on loan at a local gymkhana.  You never know one day when I've retired from Personal Training we may don the jodphurs and boots again:)

Working as a groom in Oxshott (well chilling with a mother and her foal here)

Tally and I competing

Back to the Personal Training bit, so where did it all start, unlike a lot of Personal Trainers that may qualify as youngsters, I came into the industry quite late, I took my first qualification, Level 2 Gym Instruction in 2005 at the age of 39.  And that was quite by accident, at the time I was working as a Receptionist at the Leisure Centre in Cranleigh, I'd done that since 1999.  As you do, was looking for a change in direction, I was an avid user of the gym and someone suggested that they thought I'd make a good instructor.  And as I love the interaction with people and keeping fit, I thought why not combine both of them together, kill two birds with one stone so to speak.  So the Summer of that year did my research and signed up for a long distance learning course with Focus Training, qualifying in the December with honours.  Infact the course trainers said, 'I had a bubbly personality, and was well suited to the role'.  Well that was nice to hear, it spurred me on, so gained some experience on the gym floor and went for next stage of the ladder which was Level 3, where I qualified in early 2007.  Never really looked back, love my job, and am now at Specialist Level 4 status, and still continually learning more.

The fitness industry is huge and there are 19,00 registered Personal Trainers in the UK alone on The Reps Register (my number being ROO34234).  Fitness and exercise to music qualification providers are vast and in some cases you could be fully qualified in less than 8 weeks!  Some Personal Trainers may have Sports & Science Degrees, been mentored by the best in the world, written articles for magazines, trained celebrities and so on and so forth.  I haven't done any of these (although I know Charlotte Ord from The Biggest Loser fame:) so does that mean they are any better than me NO THEY ARE NOT! 

This is me now, lovely, personable, friendly, mature (40 something, but don't feel it :) sympathetic, caring personal trainer.  I will not criticise or beast you within an inch of your life.  If this is the kind of trainer you are looking for then I may not be the trainer for you.  Instead I will work with you and any limitations you may have, encourage, motivate and support you every step of the way.  I don't see myself as providing you with personal training services, I give you the tools, motivation and encouragement to make positive changes to your lifestyles.  See me more as an investment for you and your families future.

In turn I invest in myself with courses and workshops so I can expand my knowledge to continually support you.  All I ask from you is a willingness to give it a go, personal training is not just for the rich and famous, anyone from 9 to 90 can benefit!  Please click on the link to read some testimonials from my happy clients

If you like what you've read (sorry a lot of content) then please view my website read my other blogs (you can get to these from my home page).  I can see I get many views at the blogs, so if you think the content is good, join my site, tell your friends and leave me a comment. 

Also if there is something health and fitness orientated you want me to blog about, please let me know, I'd be more than happy.

Till next time, all the best


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Are Barbecues Healthy?

Any excuse to fire the barbie up is great, we've been quite lucky with the weather and eating outside just feels so right.  But are barbecue's healthy, even though there isn't any real proof as yet some people believe that very char cooked burnt food done on the barbecue may potentially be carcinogenic.  And carcinogens are linked with some cancers.  I found an interesting read on the subject, click the link to read more:

My view - I read the above but it won't stop me from barbecuing my food, if anything I usually start things off in the oven and finish them on the barbie for that just done on the barbie smoky flavour. But some things we'll cook from scratch such as steak.

And as the link also states we come across carcinogens in the environment daily.  Many household cleaning products contain carcinogens, as does paint, solvents and adhesives.  Carcinogen chemicals are also often used in the manufacturing process of plastics, textiles, cosmetics, dyes and pesticides.

The most well known of carcinogens are cigarette smoking and over exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation (i.e sun beds).  I think I'd be more concerned with avoiding or limiting the latter two. 

So back to the the barbecue, the following is what we had on Saturday, and hopefully the weather will stay okay so we can get a couple more barbies in before Autumn is upon us.

Very thin minute steak
Mixed peppers
Spinach, rocket and red onion salad

Very quick and easy, the steak (protein, iron, zinc, creatine and alpha-lipoic acid) was seasoned with a little sea salt both sides, and was cooked for a minute each side then was kept warm while the peppers (fibre, Vitamins A, C and K, anti cancer antioxidant lycopene) were cut length wise and cooked also on the barbie.  Threw the spinach, rocket (protein, folates,Vitamin A, K, B2, B6, iron, calcium and loads more) and red onion (high in brain boosting quercetin, Vitamin C, manganese and fibre) together in a large bowl together with a touch of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil (high in polyphenols, best had at room temperature).

Easy, quick and very satisfying. 

Till next time, enjoy.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Healthy version of Sausages, beans and mash................

So last night for tea we had sausages, beans and mash, yummy traditional moorish food which would normally set you back around 600 calories!  So how can we still enjoy this meal and cut calories at the same time?  Here's a few tips;

The Sausages

I try and buy sausages that have more than 70% meat in them either from my butchers or Tesco Finest Range, a little more expensive but Tesco are always doing deals on these, so I can buy several packs and freeze, more economical. 

Now sausages by rights are a very fatty food, and most of the fat is held in by the sausage casing which is made from animal intestines or manufactured artificial casings made from cellulose or collagen.  Therefore if we take the meat from the casing hopefully during the cooking process we'll lose some of the extra fat as well.  So snip the ends of the sausages then squeeze all the meat out into a bowl (alternatively just buy sausagemeat).  Take a bit of the sausagemeat with floured hands and roll into a ball then squash slightly into a pattie.  Grill or oven cook sausages for 10 -15 minutes, turn them once.  If you are cooking them in the oven sit the patties off the bottom of the baking sheet so any excess fat will drain away from them (there will still be some). 

The Mash

Yum the mash, the best bit in my view, but again we can knock a few calories of this also.  As we know potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate, which should be eaten moderately if your goal is losing weight.  We could slow down the overall Gi of the mash by combining it with another slow to medium sugar release root vegetable such as cauliflower, sweet potato, onions, or garlic.  Experiment with combinations of the vegetables stated or make up your own version.  If you want to turn your mash into more of a pureed state add a little coconut milk, (read my previous blogs to find out why I like coconut milk) omit the butter, sorry.  Also by adding herbs fresh or dried like parsley, thyme and chives you won't miss the butter.

The Beans

Sausage and mash wouldn't be sausage and mash without the beans, now would it?  You could try some reduced sugar and salt beans, but personally I don't like the flavour, so we had a 420g tin of Tesco beans between four of us.  Something I don't have that often so I wasn't going to skimp on my beans!

So don't feel guilty next time you fancy sausages, beans and mash just follow my suggestions and tuck in :)