Blast your arms with these 4 simple steps…
By Vicky Hadley and Deni Kirkova of bikinigirlsdiary.com
TRICEP PULL DOWNS
This exercise is for isolating the triceps.
How to perform the tricep pull down
Using either a straight bar or rope attachment, attach to a cable machine in the high position. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, pull bar down and keep your elbows tucked in. Push bar down, fully extending your arms. Slowly raise bar up back to the start position.
Key exercise tips
- Keep the elbows tucked in.
- Fully extend the arms.
- Exhale as you press down and inhale on the way up
-Too much movement of the arms – taking the elbows away from the body
- Shrugging the shoulders and using the trap muscles
- Going too heavy and using momentum
This is a great cardiovascular exercise that will trim and tone the arms whilst simultaneously working the core.
How to use the battle ropes
Hold the ends of the rope at arm's length in front of your hips with your hands shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and begin alternately raising and lowering each arm explosively. Keep alternating arms for one to 20 minutes. After 30 seconds instead of making waves start slamming the rope into the ground.
Key exercise tips
- Tense your abs tightly during performance
- Concentrate on keeping your speed fast
- Sacrificing technique with fatigue
This is an isolation exercise using a dumbbell.
How to perform the dumbbell curl
In a standing position, holding a dumbbell in your hand and keeping your elbow pinned to your waist curl your arm up to your chest, flexing your elbow then slowly extend it back down again. Repeat on each arm for ten-12 reps.
Key exercise tips
- Keep your elbow in a fixed position
- Fully extend your arm
- Moving the elbow out of alignment
- Going too heavy and sacrificing technique
TRICEP BENCH DIPS
This is a bodyweight exercise that you can do virtually anywhere! It’s a compound exercise that means it will hit all three of your tricep muscles as well as your shoulders and chest muscles.
How to perform the tricep bench dip
Position your hands at shoulder width apart on a bench with your hands facing forward. Extend your legs out, taking your bum off the bench balancing on your hands.
Lower your body down towards the floor taking your arms into a 90 degrees bend. Press your body upwards, extending out your arms back into the start position.
Key exercise tips
- Keep your core tight to maintain an upright position
- Make sure your elbows track in line with your hand
- Breathe in as you lower and breathe out as you press up
- If you find it difficult to perform the tricep dip with straight legs then bend your knees placing your feet flat on the floor
- Rounding/curving back
- Not going low enough
- Hyperextending the elbows
After watching her mother struggle with weight loss, Prea made it her mission to support her mother’s fitness journey, before she knew it, exercise was an integral part of both their lives and she knew she had to become a Personal Trainer.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
I have always had a passion in health and fitness. From a young age, I witnessed my mother’s struggle with her weight and health, and I learnt the importance of motivation, momentum, teamwork and support to achieve life-changing goals. To help my mother lose weight, I accompanied her to the gym and from that point on I took an active interest in exercise, lifestyle, health and nutrition.
Fitness, health and wellbeing are now a core part of my everyday life. Over the years I have amassed a vast working knowledge of exercise and nutrition, and my thirst for knowledge continues. I am a fully qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist through the globally recognised company, Premier Global.
I have spent a number of years, working as Personal Trainer (both online and offline), Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach, and have been successful in helping hundreds of people, of both sexes, varying ages and from all walks of life, achieve their goals – people just like you. I have helped and supported people to achieve weight loss, increase energy and vitality, build muscle, tone and condition their body, live a healthy lifestyle, train for sport-specific goals (such as Marathon Training), or to simply be in the best shape for their life, perhaps for a special occasion such as a wedding.
Specialising in Lifestyle Coaching (not just fitness and nutrition), I don’t only help people to ‘become’ fit and healthy, I help them discover how to ‘sustain’ it for a lifetime – so no more ‘yo yo’ results, no more New Year’s resolutions that last a couple of weeks and are then forgotten, but rather lasting change and a better quality of lifestyle and living forever.
I also write bespoke plans all to suit you including gym based training, home based training, race training plans and at all levels from absolute beginner (never exercised before) to advanced level (I am preparing for a photo shoot).
My Personal Fitness Achievements:
My own personal experience of numerous events including:
- 10Ks – with a PB (personal best) of 40 minutes
- Half Marathons – with a PB of 1 hour 38 minutes
- Full marathons – with a PB of 3 hours and 38 minutes
- Other extreme fitness races such as Total Warrior and Series Major
- Fitness competitions: competed MiamiPro - bikini fitness and fashion show (October 2016 - achieved first call out for the Bikini category and advised to do the fitness category in future shows) and WBFF - World Beauty, Fitness and Fashion show (November 2016 - placing 9th in the Fitness category).
What are your training goals now?
Since competing on stage in 2016 and achieving a fantastic result placing in the Fitness category the level above I had intended at WBFF I am now focussing on improving my body; focussing on my weaknesses so this means currently working to build more muscle in my lower body.
Competing has been an amazing experience and certainly a massive acheievement I am extremely proud of and loved.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I have an obsessive personality; I love to live by routines and rituals to the point I can sometime annoy myself with it ha ha!
What would future you, tell yourself when you were starting out?
- START NOW..... Do what you LOVE and you will do it A LOT and get VERY GOOD at it! Health and Fitness has always been my passion and my first wish is I started to take it more seriously with the right education a lot sooner in life.
- 3 words - Education, Inspiration and Accountability.
Education - learn to do what you love and learn from a variety of sources; never stop learning.
Inspiration - look at who is successful in what you want to achieve whether its fitness, business or life and learn from them - this is important to help create a vision in where you aim to be
Accountability & Tracking - be sure to be accountable to right coach or mentor in all areas of your life to ensure that you are measuring and tracking your progress - what gets measured, gets managed.
Essentially I would have told myself to get educated sooner, look for inspiration sooner and be accountable to follow a structured plan for success. Follow a process for sucess, plan everything starting with the end in mind then work backwards to plan the cycles.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan?
I practice what I preach - following a flexible diet approach - eating everything in moderation.
Unless I am prepping for a photoshoot or competition; I do not restrict myself of anything I want however I make sensible choices for example; I plan when I will have my cheat meals and otherwise always pick the better options for food and food groups; this comes with education and knowledge of nutrition.
I personally use MyFitnessPal to track my food ensuring I measure my progress depending on my goals, for example:
Muscle building: as I am currently building muscle I am in a calorie controlled surplus which is increasing weekly. I track at least 80% of the week to allow for meals and drinks out socialising.
Cutting body fat: when prepping for a competition or photo shoot I will work with a structured calorie controlled deficit which will reduce slowly weekly to bring myself to the desired condition / low body fat needed for the show or shoot. This is where I will be more strict and in the final weeks would track all my food and eliminate any alcohol.
Maintenance: during a period where I am not working to any specific goals (not been the case in a long time) I would be in maintenance calories tracking 80% (generally Sunday to Friday then relaxing at the weekends ensuring I am not in any surplus or deficit.
Sport specific: where I have completed marathons and other races these have been individual sports meal plans for the goals. It is important to ensure the right nutrition is provided for the sport and calories expended covered by calories consumed.
Flexible dieting means I EAT EVERYTHING! Any foods I like I can eat as long as it fits my plan for my goal.
Talk us through your training regime.
I structure my training depending on my goals and I do exactly the same for my clients ensuring that each Training Plan is changed every 4-6 weeks and includes volume and accumulation to get the very best results.
So, there is no set structure; currently in my muscle building phase I have:
2 x LOWER BODY sessions
MONDAY - anterior chain focussed - quads
THURSDAY - posterior chain focussed - glutes and hamstrings)
2 x UPPER BODY session
TUESDAY - chest, triceps and shoulders
FRIDAY - back, biceps and shoulders
1 EXTRA optional session
WEDNESDAY OR SATURDAY - HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) OR LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) and core exercises
My training plans change depending on my goals I am trying to achieve.
What are your current training goals?
Currently, I am focussing on building muscle especially in my lower body. I have a photo shoot and a summer holiday to prep for so I will be bringing myself into photoshoot condition for July 2017. I share my journey of muscle growth into phot shoot condition across all my social media including snapchat (@preafitness) and instagram stories.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
I communicate regularly with my online clients through coaching calls, weekly check-in feedback, a private closed Facebook community and response to any emails and texts.
I also send out weekly motivational texts and content emails to ensure regular communication is offered across my team.
My clients check-in with me weekly (Sunday or Monday) which means that new photos are taken (front, back, both sides - head to toe) along with new measurements, weight and questions are answered about nutrition, energy, sleep and other factors. This ensures what gets measured, gets managed and any changes can be made as and when needed. I provide feedback every Tuesday.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
Education - I am very proud to say I continually invest in myself as I do not believe I know everything and I love to learn and advance myself. I am passionate about what I do so I love to learn continually.
Inspiration - It always helps to have someone to look up to whether its for thier way of life, generosity, strength, muscle development, discipline tenacity whatever it may be... I always look to improve myself and I find that looking up to others who are strong in areas I wish to improve help to focus.
I continue to keep qualified through recognised organisations; most of mt Training has been done with Premier Global and Virgin Active. I have more recently invested in mentorship from experts in the industry; I have almost completed a years mentoring with WBFF'S Coach of the Year who prepped me for my stage competition and has also been my business mentor.
2017 - I am currently reviewing options for this years education.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
Hard to narrow this to 3 as you will see I have so many tips available at www.preafitness.com/news however I would give my Top 3 tips to:
1) EDUCATION: get the right coach or mentor to help coach you to achieving your goals. We are all experts in our own fields so by working with the right coach or mentor who will devise the best plans for your goals will allow you to have structure to achieve therefore keeping you motivated.
2) CONSISTENCY: there is no secret that to be somebody different you have got to do something different. Results come with hard work + dedication + CONSISTENCY - follow the right structured plans for JUST 12 weeks and you WILL get results.
3) SMALL STEPS: don't try to commit to everything at once and making to much change is your life, if you take new small steps weekly you will make it more manageable and sustainable.
Week 1 - start a structured Training and Nutrition Plan
Week 2 - drink more water and eat more green veg
Week 3 - change tea with sugar to green tea
Appreciate that it is a journey, you must enjoy the journey and go at your own pace so it fits in with your life therefor this will become a sustainable lifestyle change.
If you could only do one exercise for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is SO tough!!!
For me personally, I would have to say
One for gym users:
Barbell Back Squats - an awesome exercise which you can adapt in many different ways. Again great for your legs, glutes, fat burning you name it... I LOVE A SQUAT!
A recommendation for all....
LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) - ideally power walking uphill - this is suitable for most people, is low impact and great for your legs gaining uphill is great for your glutes ladies ;)
Why work with Sundried?
Sundried care about the people and the planet they are connected to, which means I can now wear some amazing clothes while I train and know that they have come from values I hold.
Favorite fitness quote:
Hard work + dedication + consistency = results!
You can find our more about Prea on her website here.
Want to get beach ready?
Sometimes you have to take the mountain to Muhammad, so to get beach body ready this summer, it’s time to hit the sand with this 20 minute workout.
In honour of the better weather coming our way (fingers crossed) try this 20 minute beach blast to get ready for the sunny season.
The aim is to complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes, with every round followed by a sandy sprint. No rest, just give it all you’ve got for this high intensity workout.
Sand makes you work harder.
As the sand beneath you is constantly moving your central nervous system is forced to recruit extra muscle fibres to help you to stabilise. The sand works against you, as a soft surface absorbing more of your energy, particularly on plyometric moves such as the burpee lateral jumps or long jump. This means you’re forced to work that extra bit harder to push off, as you sink into the sand each time you move.
For those with weaker joints, the sands soft nature also cushions the impact of plyometric movements, meaning less stress on the joints and less time spent recovering.
Before you start:
Check the area for all of the following so you know your workout zone is suitable and safe to use:
- Is it level?
- Is there any glass or sharp objects?
- Dog poo. Enough said.
- Ensure you have water handy, if you’re training outside and it’s nice and warm, make sure you stay hydrated.
Sundried Sandy Sprints
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Bend over and place your hands on the sand in front of you, as close to your feet as possible. Now walk your hands out until they are underneath your shoulders and you’re in the full plank position. Reverse the exercise by walking your hands back towards your feet, bum in the air and then standing back up when you can’t walk your hands back any further.
Start in a small squat. Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg. Bring your right leg behind to your left ankle, without letting it touch the floor. Reverse direction by jumping to the right with your right leg. Swing your arms to help build momentum to propel you further, like you were ice skating. A jump in both directions counts as 1 rep.
10 Lateral jump burpees
Start by completing a regular burpee, but then instead of exploding back to your start position, launch yourself sideways. Keep your feet together and jump laterally before completing the next burpee.
10 Roll back sit ups
Lie on the sand and curl your legs up towards your chest, using your bent legs as levers roll up onto your shoulder blades. Rock forward into a sit up, using the momentum to carry the movement on until you are stood all the way up. Jump at the top of the movement and then lie back down ready for the next move.
10 Split leg thrusters
Start in and extended plank with your hands under your shoulders on the sand. Jump your legs forward towards your hands, splitting them to land towards either shoulder and then jump to return them to the start.
10 Hindu push ups
This move looks like a cross between a yoga flow and a push up. Start in a downward dog position. Hand under your shoulders, legs straight and bum in the air so your body forms a V shape. In a swooping motion, leading with the head, drive your head through your hands and lower your stomach, arching your back so you finish in up dog. Reverse the fluid movement leading with your bum. Try to keep the entire movement smooth and fluid and don’t hold your breath!
10 Mountain climbers
Start in an extended plank, hands under shoulders. Run your feet into your chest as fast as you can. One rep counts as each knee moving forward and back.
10 Jump squat reaches
Start by coming onto all fours and then hover your knees off the sand. From this position jump your feet into a wide squat, they should land either side of your hands. Once your feet land, sink all your weight back into your heels and reach both arms up towards the sky. Pause in this deep squat reach, before bringing your hands back down to the outsides of your shoulders and jumping your feet back to all fours. This move requires good flexibility as well as balance.
Option 1: Sprint as fast as you can between two markers for 30 seconds.
Option 2: Got no room? Sandy sprint on the spot, bring your knees up higher to add intensity.
That’s one round complete, the aim is to do as many as you can in 20 minutes, so GO GO GO!
Becoming a father inspired Mark to change, he ditched the office job and decided to follow a lifelong passion to not only become a Personal Trainer, but launch his own business. We find out how he does it:
How did you find yourself in the world of fitness?
After the birth of my first child I decided to turn my lifelong passion into my career. An office job wasn’t for me so I quit my role to re-train as a Personal Trainer before launching my own business. I now have the perfect work life balance, get to spend precious time with my children and do a job I love.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated?
It varies client by client as the motivation differs massively. Generally, we monitor and review performance and re-evaluate goals as we progress.
It pays to understand why a client wants to achieve a goal rather than what they simply want to achieve, that way we can break down long-term goals into short-term targets. Taking ownership of a realistic challenge can really motivate people to strive for achievement, you don’t need many gimmicks when you have a deep-rooted need or desire.
Talk us through your training regime.
I tend to vary my training day-by-day, depending on my latest goal or available time.
In the gym I’ll mix up calisthenics, suspension training, weight training, HIIT training and more. I tend to utilise different equipment and training methods to keep things interesting and my body guessing. Keeping it functional works for me.
If I have a spare 30 minutes to myself at home (working around a young family) I’ll happily squeeze in a good HIIT session with some kettlebells or if the children are taken care off I can venture out for a run.
I tend to cross train to support specific goals, so my gym work will compliment my run training if I’m aiming for a half marathon for example.
Do you follow a specific diet?
In a word no.
I like to eat pretty clean for the most part but I still like a treat as much as the next person, I just keep my treats to once or twice a week rather than every day.
I’m a decent cook so virtually everything is made from scratch, that way I know exactly what I’m putting in rather than relying on information a packet.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I read, watch and listen to a number of other fitness professionals and organisations both locally and even internationally. I find that it’s a great way of sharing ideas and monitoring trends within the industry.
I’m also fortunate that the gym I work with are happy to send me on plenty of training courses regarding different areas of fitness and new equipment so I’m constantly learning new things that I can apply to my training.
How do you balance work and a social life?
I’m self-employed so I balance out work and life commitments as I see fit. I always make time for friends and family and keep a bit of time free each week. I find it helps keep me mentally fresh and compliments my wellbeing.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Set yourself a SMART goal and use it as motivation
- Keep it simple
- Most importantly enjoy it!
If you could only give your clients one exercise, what would it be?
That’s a hard one! Walking / Running. Pretty much anyone can do it, anywhere, and you can make it as hard or as easy as required. Go faster, go further, do intervals!
What are your training aspirations?
I’m aiming for an obstacle race (Tough Mudder) this year to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Next year I aim to complete my first triathlon and finally crack a sub 3-hour marathon. I like setting myself different goals to keep things interesting.
Why work with Sundried?
It’s rare to find an aspirational ethical brand. My clients, friends, family and I all need quality training gear and I would rather recommend a product and brand I believe in. Looking after your people and environment is never a bad thing!
Can’t sleep because you had too much caffeine. Can’t function without caffeine because you didn’t get enough sleep.
Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world and in the world of health and fitness, it’s something we’re obsessed with.
Research by The British Coffee Association has discovered that:
- In the UK, we drink approximately 55 million cups of coffee per day. (Research by The British Coffee Association)
- Gimoka has found that people in UK drink 70 million cups of coffee per day, compared to 165 million cups of tea. Average British male coffee drinker drinks 13 cups per week, while average British female coffee drinker drinks 11.
What does caffeine do?
Caffeine is addictive, ask any coffee lover, but what does it actually do? Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant best known for it’s effect on tiredness, making you feel more focused and alert. For a coffee virgin, the increase in caffeine may give them the jitters, but after time a tolerance is developed.
Once caffeine hits your bloodstream (about 45-60 minutes after ingestion) it does more than just wake you up, blood pressure, pulse rate and stomach acid production are increased, fat stores are broken down and fatty acids are released into the bloodstream, but just like with the jitters, after a time a tolerance is developed and a regular user will experience little effect. It’s caffeine’s ability to break down fat which is particularly important in athletic performance which we’ll explore later on.
How long does caffeine take to kick in?
It takes 45-60 minutes for caffeine to reach it’s highest levels in the blood stream, however you will notice the effects of caffeine after just 10 minutes. The half-life for caffeine is 4-6 hours which explains why there’s no coffee after 4 to preserve a good night's sleep.
What is pre workout?
Pre workout does for me what spinach does for popeye. It’s the miracle juice that takes you from zero to hero. It’s the little voice in your ear that says “you can do this” and forces you to attempt one-more-rep. Pre workout are drinks or tablets designed for you to take prior to a training session, pumped full of ingredients to pump up your performance, the key one being, caffeine. Why? As well as getting you more alert, motivated and focused on your workout, caffeine has the ability to increase pain tolerance during exercise, meaning you can lift more before fatiguing.
Caffeine's effect on pain has been explored in more than just the workout world, with common pain relief tablets such as paracetamol and ibuprofen now containing caffeine, which is thought to make the pain relief more effective.
Is coffee the best pre workout ever?
The most popular effects of any pre workout are alertness, increased focus, minimal fatigue, boosted strength and fat loss. The average cost of a pre workout will set you back about £30, which we’d presume is the cost for all these special ingredients no-one can pronounce, right? However caffeine can have all of these effects at a fraction of the cost.
Research by the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that exercisers who had 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight burned more calories! During an hour-long cardio session they had an increased energy expenditure of 15% for up to 3 hours compared to those who only received a placebo.
The average coffee has anything from 100mg-200mg of caffeine. The additional calorie burn happens due to the extra energy costs of ventilation.
Caffeine gives you the energy to work harder and therefore burn more calories in order to recover.
The average pre workout has approximately 150 - 300 mg of caffeine.
Want to save your pennies? Try coffee pre workout for your caffeine fix.
How much caffeine?
Caffeine Content per 100g
65 mg (per serving)
Benefits of caffeine
A recent document published on the caffeine informer found that caffeine can potentially create effects such as:
- Increased memory. A study by Johns Hopkins University showed that a 200mg caffeine pill helped boost memory consolidation.
- Caffeine combined with carbohydrates helps replenish muscle glycogen concentrations faster after exercise.
- Caffeine helps keep you alert while driving during periods of sleep restriction.
- Caffeine can stimulate hair growth on balding men and women, however the amount of caffeine needed for this effect is the equivalent of about 60 cups of coffee.
- Caffeine relieves post-workout muscle pain by up to 48%.
- Caffeine helps improve memory.
- Caffeine increases stamina during exercise.
- People who consume caffeine have a lower risk of suicide.
- Caffeine improves reaction times
- Caffeine may help those trying to lose weight: Research out of Germany showed that weight loss study participants who drank 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day were more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off than those who did not consume caffeine.
Want to hear a really dark coffee joke? Decaf.