• Guide to using microgoals in your training

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    Have you ever started a long run and thought, ‘I am never going to get through this!’ Or finished the first effort of a turbo session and wondered, ‘how can I do this over and over again?’ 

    Ultimately, it can be really difficult to motivate oneself when the finish seems so distant and the effort to get there is so great. The good news, however, is that there is a way to ‘trick’ your mind into thinking that the end is near.

    Micro-goal setting is something that I have been unknowingly implementing into my training for many years. The act of breaking up a workout into more manageable chunks really helps to alleviate the daunting prospect of having to work hard for a prolonged period of time. 

    Below, I have detailed some examples of micro-goal setting that you can try out for yourself. You will be amazed by just how long you can keep your body moving when your mind has mini targets to hit.

    Micro goals for a long run

    Next time you are heading out for a 90 minute run, why not think about it as six 15 minute chunks that feel infinitely more doable. Or perhaps you might find that three 30 minute chunks is more approachable. The way you break down a run will depend on your personal preferences and the way your mind works.

    Micro goals for a turbo session

    Sitting on the turbo and repeatedly hitting the correct wattage for a specified period of time can be both physically and mentally challenging which is exacerbated when fatigue sets in. If your session entails nine 3 minute efforts, break the nine efforts up into three. Three lots of three 3 minute efforts certainly sounds more doable than nine 3 minute sets!

    Making sure you have the right kit can also play a huge part in getting you through a difficult session. Try Sundried's Cycle Kit today, suitable for all abilities.

    Micro goals for open water swimming

    Plunging into open water is possibly one of the most daunting scenarios a triathlete faces but micro-goal setting can make things seem much easier. When swimming, concentrate on getting to the subsequent buoy in the loop and once there, focus on arriving at the next. 

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     Micro goals for a race 

    You can use this same strategy in a race too. After logging all those training hours and miles, you should have a good idea of your goal race time; use this information to break things up. For example, if you plan to run 40 minutes for 10k, then split it into four 10-minute chunks. 

    It is amazing just how long you can ‘trick’ your mind into carrying on by focusing on the next mini goal. Remember to try out different approaches during training so that when it comes to race day, you know exactly what method works for you. 

    Connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app for more advice, workout tips, training plans and more. 

    About the author: Laura Smith is a high level athlete and has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • May Ling Perry-Foo - Yoga Instructor and Ambassador

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    How did you first discover your love for yoga?

    Wanting to release tension from my back and shoulders, I was told yoga might be a good way to address that. So there I was at my first yoga class ever and after 90 minutes I felt amazing. As I continued to practice more regularly to primarily release physical tension, I got absolutely hooked to it because I noticed how my body became stronger and flexible, and I always felt so much better after class. As my practice developed, so did my love for yoga and the only regret I have is that I didn’t discover yoga sooner!

    What sets yoga apart from other fitness disciplines?

    There’s something for everyone! Yoga can be calming and relaxing, but it can also be sweaty and challenging... and all the aforementioned at the same time! While yoga can be done as a single way to keep fit, it’s also a great way to complement any other fitness regime, not only to build strength, but also focus.

    How has yoga improved your life?

    Yoga has mostly taught me confidence. Through yoga I discovered that I’ve got a level of strength within me, both physically and mentally, that I didn’t even know was there. Also, yoga was what kept me sane when I was working in my previous corporate career in market research and consulting, eventually making me realise my purpose in life was not to be working on research projects, but to be sharing the magic of yoga with everyone!

    How often do you practice yoga?

    Every day! 

    What advice would you give to someone thinking of trying yoga for the first time?

    Go for it! There’s so many styles of yoga, be open to try out various styles and classes to see which ones work for you.
    Go into a class without expectations, keep an open mind and focus on what you’re feeling, rather than how you look. Listen to your body and don’t feel the need you have to do every single pose.

    And most importantly: breathe!

    If you are interested in getting into Yoga, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. Shop our Gym and Yoga Collection today. 

    Tell us something unusual we may not know about you:

    I love horror movies, especially the cheesy slashers from the eighties. Probably not something you’d expect from a yoga teacher!

    Do you follow a specific diet plan?

    I start every morning with some warm lemon water, and throughout the day I keep myself hydrated with water and green tea. I try to include as much fruit and veg into my meals every day to complement the steaks and burgers I enjoy so much!

    How do you keep your knowledge up to date?

    I attend additional yoga teacher trainings and listen to podcasts. I keep a collection of reference books around anatomy and class sequencing, and also continuously read up on the science and history behind yoga. And lots of self-practice, trying out poses and transitions to experience them properly so I know how to guide my students accordingly.

    Why work with Sundried?

    My aim is to keep yoga accessible to anyone who’s interested. Sundried offers clothing that is affordable, yet still maintains high quality with consideration of the environment. This proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to be able to keep yourself supported, comfortable, and looking good while keeping yourself fit and staying kind to the planet.

    Favourite fitness quote

    “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Sally O'Sullivan - Personal Trainer and Ambassador

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    After experiencing some inspirational fitness classes, Sally qualified as a personal trainer so she could help others have the same magical experience she did. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start? 

    I trained as a dancer from the age of three until I went to university. In fact, it was very nearly my career, but I didn't want to be forced to retire at 30! I rediscovered fitness in my late 20's after experiencing some truly inspirational - I'd even say magical - classes in London. One or two instructors have been pivotal in my motivation by showing me just what a journey a fitness class can be - physically and mentally. The highs, the lows, the excitement, the emotion - all condensed into one hour. It's both a talent and a finely-honed skill, and I knew I wanted to be able to deliver that… one day! 

    If you are interested in starting your fitness journey, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. Check out our Active Life Collection today.

    What are your training goals now? 

    Firstly, I've rediscovered my love for running and have joined a challenge with an online (at the moment, due to lockdown) running club called Force Velocity Running. Through live, guided runs, we're remotely but collectively running the distance from Big Ben in London to Ushuaia in Ibiza. There's a bit of friendly competition as we're split into teams and it's a lovely, supportive and very motivating community to be part of. 

    Secondly, I've been doing CrossFit for a couple of years now and although we can't be physically in our amazing box - TIO CrossFit right now, it's always there as a backbone to both my training and my life in general. Again, it's a community thing; I've made some of my best friends there, but of course we do also set goals! Both of my CrossFit goals for this year are strength-related - getting after a 1.5 x bodyweight squat and 1.25 x bodyweight clean and jerk!

    What sporting events have you taken part in and what have you got coming up? 

    Aside from the running challenge I’m currently doing, I plan to do the CrossFit Open again this year. It’ll be a little different as most people haven’t had access to their gyms as usual, so it’ll be interesting to see how that works out. Even the thought of those workouts makes me nervous. Good nervous though! 

    Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you: 

    I once briefly met Simon Cowell and he told me I was 'gobby'. Still makes me laugh to this day, as that's a proper insight to the 'real' Sally that he saw immediately. Anyone who knows me knows that day-to-day, I'm polite and courteous, a good listener, and generally very British - in the best sense. But he saw through to my cheekiness in the blink of an eye. Was that talent or a lucky guess?! 

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out? 

    When you get knockbacks, take a big, deep breath, pick yourself up and just keep putting one foot in front of the other - literally and figuratively! It can be really hard when something you had your heart set on doesn't work out. But experience has taught me that every single time, the alternative door that opens is a much better route for you. Things do work out for the best, naturally, in the end. And you will be a more rounded, resilient, confident person for having gone through those pitfalls and come out the other side.

    Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat? 

    My first PT educated me well about nutrition and how to eat for my shape and size. I'm tiny but I have a huge appetite so it's just as well that I'm very active. In the past, I've followed super-clean, super-regimented plans and got very lean, but these days I'm more focused on fuelling correctly and being able to live a full life which includes alcohol and cookies!

    Now that I'm trainer myself, I also want to lead by example for what I think is healthy. My current nutrition is very balanced with roughly equal amounts of carbs, proteins and fats and I eat three meals and two snacks a day - the 'little and often' approach definitely works best for me. I do eat meat and fish. And cookies! 

    What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated? 

    When it comes to classes, I find variety is the best way to keep things fresh and engaging, and that goes for me as a trainer too. If I'm bored coaching something, then you can bet my clients would be! I also don't believe in lazy programming and think clients can see though that. I could be wrong, of course, but I've stopped going to instructors myself in the past because it was the same old stuff and guess what? I got bored.

    Of course, there need to be some constant threads running through programming to ensure progression and that you're not just zigzagging aimlessly through movements with no direction. None of us would reach our goals if that was the case! But my top tip would be to find a trainer who can balance your progression with fun and variety and who can keep things interesting. 

    Talk us through your training regime. 

    Right now, I'm strength training five times a week, although each day has a different focus/body part. I'm also running 3-4 times a week as part of this challenge and I'm going to count sleeping as part of my training at the moment, since I seem to be getting record hours in. Lockdown does have its perks!

    When the world starts reopening, I'll be chomping at the bit to get back to my CrossFit box: TIO CrossFit in Barnes, London.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • 5 simple steps to develop your evening routine

    We have previously covered how you can master the perfect morning routine. This week is all about constructing an evening routine that is conducive to a restful night’s sleep. By improving your quality of sleep, you ensure that your mind and body are fully rested and prepared for the following day. This will not only make your training easier but you will find you reap many more benefits than if you were tired or lethargic. 

    The perfect evening routine should focus on two main goals:

    1. How do we wrap up the day with a clear mind?
    2. How can we set ourselves up for a deep, glorious, and restorative sleep?

    There is nothing worse than getting yourself cosy and ready for bed but not being able to switch off your thoughts about the things you did and didn’t do during the day. Follow these 5 simple steps towards perfecting an evening routine and this will never happen again!

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    1. List the positive impacts you left on the day

    This approach was first developed by Benjamin Franklin who would reflect on his day and ask himself, ‘what good did I do today?’ before going to sleep. Instead of stressing over how productive you were during the day, shift your focus into a more positive and fulfilled one.

    2. Take the time to wind down for the evening

    Research has found that our brains need about 2 hours to cool down before we can really get into a deep sleep. This means that about two hours before bed you should start winding down your brain. Classical music, meditating, journaling, stretching, and pampering routines are all great ways to relax before jumping into bed.

    Put away your phones and switch off the TV to make your evening more purposeful. It is worthwhile avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime and steering clear of rich meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks, all of which can trigger indigestion.

    3. Make tomorrows to-do list

    So often, we are completely overwhelmed by all the tasks we are facing over the next day. This anxiety can negatively affect those precious sleeping hours. By making a to-do list the night before, it helps to clear your brain so it can relax.

    4. Make your bedroom a sleep haven

    The Mayo Clinic has done a ton of amazing sleep research and found that we need to start thinking of our bedroom like a cave if we want to get a good amount of quality sleep. Consider using blackout curtains, eye masks, ear plugs, ‘white noise’ machines, humidifiers, and fans to keep things cool and quiet.

    5. Utilise Sleep Tools

    There are several apps out there which are specifically designed to help you sleep or monitor your sleep so improvements can be made.

    Sleep Cycle is a great app which will monitor your sleep cycles by movement. This can aid in learning about what evening ‘cool down’ gives you the best night’s sleep.

    HeadSpace is another app which takes you through various meditations and mindfulness exercises to help clear your mind and wind down before bed.

    Lastly, try to use lights without the blue spectrum. Research has found that the blue spectrum in lights and on our electronic devices actually keep us awake and can disrupt our sleep. Be kind to your eyes and use fixtures that have a more calming light or utilise your phone’s settings to disable the blue light during evening hours.

    Remember that an evening routine is just as important as a morning routine. Learn how to perfect both in your life and you will be on your way to a more productive, healthy, and successful day.

    About the author: Laura Smith is an athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more home workouts at your fingertips? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • 10 steps to develop the perfect morning routine

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    Establishing a good morning routine has been proven to have a positive impact on your day but this doesn’t necessarily mean you must drink a glass of warm lemon water and go for a run before the sun rises. Not all morning routines have to follow the same format or pattern. Whether you wake up at 5am or 11am, we can all establish a regimen that is conducive to our goals and lifestyle.

    I have recently started to listen to ‘The Power Hour’ podcast, hosted by Adrienne Herbert, which has inspired my newfound interest in morning rituals. I have since collated an assortment of data and evidence to support a 10-step way to get your own morning routine nailed.

    1. Understand and utilise your body’s internal clock

    To fully utilise your morning, it is important to know when you will benefit the most from waking up and starting your day. Some people operate best in the early hours, whilst others prefer a later start. If you follow your body’s natural cues as to when you should wake up, your circadian rhythm should stay balanced which will keep you feeling energised during the day.

    2. Identify your morning intentions

    It is vital to acknowledge what you would consider a successful day. Would a successful day entail more productivity? Or are you more concerned with getting your health in order? Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s then time to identify the behaviours that will fulfil these objectives.

    For me, personally, a successful day would be one in which I have an adequate amount of time to be productive and fulfil my daily tasks. Hence, my morning routine would consist of:

    • Waking up at 5am to ensure I can fully utilise my day.
    • Exercising to get my body moving and put me in a good headspace.
    • A morning skincare routine to ensure I am looking after my skin.
    • Eating a nutritious breakfast to give me the energy I need for my active lifestyle.
    • Ensuring that my house is clean and tidy, ready for the day.
    • Using my paper journal to list my daily tasks.

    3. Identify what is not on your ‘To Do’ list

    This may seem counterproductive at first, but the reality is that we often engage in morning behaviours that detract from our intentions. Whether you want to stop checking your emails or stay off social media, it is important to establish these behaviours so that we can replace them with more desirable ones.

    I identified the following behaviours which cause me to stray from a productive morning:

    • Checking social media and emails first thing.
    • Having a coffee to ‘wake me up’.
    • Starting work as soon as I wake up.
    • Having a quick fix breakfast that lacks creativity.
    • Procrastination, which prevents me starting my day productively.

    4. Prepare your environment for the perfect morning

    It is now time to set up physical barriers for the things that you wish to discontinue and implement reinforcements to help establish the desirable behaviours.

    Here’s how I ensure my mornings stay on track:

    • Putting my phone on ‘Do not disturb’ so that I am not distracted by notifications or messages in the morning.
    • Organising my workout clothes the night before, so that I can get straight into training when I wake up.
    • Preparing my morning water or herbal tea the night before, so that I’m not tempted by a quick coffee.
    • Preparing my breakfast the night before, to ensure that it is both nutritious and delicious whilst not taking up too much time in the morning.
    • Planning my morning workouts for the entire week so that I know exactly what I should be doing each morning.

    Shop Sundried's Active Life collection for the perfect morning workout gear.

    5. Do not hit the snooze button

    Once your alarm sounds, get up! Christopher Winter who is a certified sleep medicine physician has found that every time you wake up and go back to sleep, you enter a new sleep cycle. Any sleep you get from pressing snooze is too light and fragmented to be beneficial and could actually leave you feeling more tired.

    Following a prolonged period of a consistency, waking up will soon become a breeze. After years of early mornings, I now automatically wake up at around 5am and don’t need to set an alarm.

    6. Move before you start your morning routine

    Have you ever watched a dog or cat wake up? The first thing they do is stretch out. Give yourself time to move and allow your body to acquire some energy through the expansion of stretching. The gentle movement will gradually warm and awaken both the body and mind.

    7. Hydrate before you caffeinate

    Research has shown that your cortisol levels are naturally higher for the first one to two hours after you initially wake up. Higher cortisol levels will increase your alertness naturally and minimise the effectiveness of caffeine. A glass of water will rehydrate your brain which is composed of 75% water and in turn help you to begin your day feeling focused and clear-headed.

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    8. Get into a good headspace

    Allow yourself time to be still and focus your mind. Meditation, doing affirmations, practising visualisation exercises, and undertaking controlled breathing can be great tools to focus your positive energy for the day. Research has also found that our bodies have low levels of oxygen first thing in a morning, so a few deep breaths could help re-oxygenate your body, which will keep you more awake during the day. Regular meditation has also been shown to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and help relieve stress and fatigue.

    9. Multi-task your morning’s ‘To-do’ list

    Tackle two of your morning’s tasks at once and feel super productive in the process. Being time poor isn’t a valid excuse for failing to get things done anymore.

    I often listen to a podcast whilst exercising, catch up on the news whilst doing housework, and call various family members during my morning walk. There is always something so satisfying about getting two of my morning tasks ticked off at the same time.

    10. Maintain the routine to make it habitual

    Set up a routine that is reproducible and attainable 7 days per week to ensure that you get the most out of it. Routines can be the desirable balance of work and play, providing they are congruent with your goals and intentions.

    Spend this month perfecting your morning routine and enjoy the enhancements it brings to your everyday life. 

    About the author: Laura Smith is an athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more tips and tricks to aid in developing a healthy lifestyle? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
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