• How To Make The Most Of Group Exercise Classes

    group exercise fitness zumba body pump

    Taking part in a group fitness class like spin, Insanity, or Body Pump is a great way to get fit. However, it can be easy to get lost in a big class, especially if it's your first time, and you won't have the full attention of the instructor like you would with a personal training session. Follow our guide to make the most of your classes so that you can get fit, make friends, and create memories!

    Don't hide at the back if it's your first class

    This is one that happens all the time, so you're not alone if you've done this! It's a common scenario: your friend talks you into doing a class, you're nervous, you're worried about how you'll look or making a fool of yourself, so you hide at the back and kind of do what you think the instructor is doing. But here's the problem: you can't see the instructor properly and they can't see you. What this means is that you won't make the most of the class because you won't be able to follow the movements and exercises properly and the instructor won't be able to correct you if you're doing it wrong.

    For your first class, it's best to head for the second row. This means you won't feel like you're exposed at the front, but the instructor will still be able to see you and help you, as well as you being able to follow the movements better. Once you've been a few times, you'll learn the routine, so it won't matter as much if you can see the instructor or not.

    group training fitness Pilates

    Be honest with the instructor as much as possible 

    It can feel so intimidating going to a new class for the first time, especially on your own. Especially for high intensity classes like circuit training or HIIT, it's vital you tell the instructor that it's your first time so that they can give you any advice you may need to know and can keep an eye on you.

    Additionally, it's crucial that you tell the instructor if you have any underlying injuries or anything that might affect your ability in the class. Be completely honest with the instructor so that they can make adjustments for you if necessary. As well as this, take breaks if you need and don't over-exert yourself just because everyone else in the class is bouncing off the walls and jumping like crazy! Don't be embarrassed or ashamed if you can't do all the moves perfectly the first time. It'll take time, and a lot of the other people in the class probably do it every single week so know the routine inside-out and have built up their stamina over time. 

    group training fitness Body Pump Les Mills

    Don't try to show off

    When working out with others, it can be easy to want to show off and go over the top. However, this is how injuries happen! Every group exercise class is very different and instructors will also be putting their own spin on the routine, too. Strength from powerlifting or CrossFit won't translate to a Body Pump class, and cycling fitness as a triathlete or duathlete won't translate to a spin class. Even if you feel like you're a pro or have good fitness, go into a new class with the view that you're still a beginner and take your time. You might be surprised!

    cycling fitness spin class

    Have fun and don't take it too seriously!

    The whole point of group fitness is to make exercise fun. This is an opportunity to meet new friends who are like-minded individuals all doing the same thing. These people are all here for the same reason as you and you're all about to do the same class. If you can't master the dance routine in Zumba or the boxing combos in Body Combat, don't worry about it! Just have fun, follow the routines as much as possible, but most of all just enjoy yourself.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 5 Ways To Get Motivated (For When You Really Don't Feel Like Hitting The Gym)

    gym motivation workout training exercise fitness Sundried

    The energy and excitement of making new year's resolutions and getting fit is well and truly burnt out and the gym is starting to empty out again. How can you stay motivated when all you want to do is melt into the sofa and eat? We're here to help. Follow these tips to boost your motivation when it feels like there's no hope.

    1. Partner up

    If you have someone to let down, you'll be less likely to flake. Having accountability means you have more of a reason to get to the gym and it will be more hassle to have to text your friend or personal trainer to say you're not going and then get an earful from then than to just go. Plus, you'll know that once you're there you'll have a great time because training with a buddy makes training more bearable

    2. Get changed

    How many times have you been sat on the sofa watching TV after work telling yourself "I'll go in a minute" or "I'll go when this show is finished" and then it never happens? By getting changed into your activewear you're getting the ball rolling and getting into the right frame of mind to work out. Once you're changed into your sportswear you're already halfway there and will be much more ready to get out there and go train. 

    3. Take your gym gear to work

    If you go to the gym straight from work, you won't have a chance to talk yourself out of it. If you pair this with point number 1 of partnering up and telling your friend you'll join them at the gym, you'll be well on your way to success. Get changed at work and go straight to the gym instead of going home first. It's much harder to gee yourself back up once you're home from work than if you continue the momentum from your day at the office. 

    4. Have a workout to look forward to

    There's nothing worse than finishing a monotonous day at work and thinking about now having to go and run on a treadmill for half an hour while staring at a wall. By planning out a fun and exciting workout, you'll actually want to go to the gym and do it. Try circuit training or functional training to mix things up and talk to a personal trainer if you'd like to try something new like Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit. If you're dreading the workout, getting motivated can be impossible. Whereas if you're actually looking forward to it, exercising can be a joy instead of a chore. If you enjoy something like Zumba, sign up for a class! Group exercise can be a great way to stay motivated too.

    5. Use the 10 second rule

    If you find yourself making terrible excuses like "it's raining" or "I'm too tired" then use the 10 second rule. It's very simple: count to 10 and then go anyway! This will eliminate your mind telling you that you can't do it and 9 times out of 10 you'll find that you actually enjoy the workout and will be pleased that you went.

    Articles related to getting motivated:

    The Benefits of Joining A Running Club

    How To Exercise When You Have Kids

    7 Ways To Make Winter Training More Bearable

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 10 Tips To Get The Best From Your New Fitness Tracker

    Fitness Trackers Smart Watches Wearables

    Fitness trackers and smartwatches are enjoying huge success at the moment. With 1 in 3 people set to own one within a few years, it's important you know how to make the most of yours! More companies than ever are hopping onto the bandwagon, with giants like Apple, Garmin and even Epson getting involved, it seems everyone wants a slice of the action. If you have a tracker wrapped around your wrist, here are some top tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your device.

    1. Wear the watch on your less dominant arm

    Whilst a lot of fitness watches have apps where you can enter which hand you're wearing the watch on, there are multiple advantages to wearing your watch on the less dominant hand. Fitness trackers can be an expensive investment, so placing it on your less dominant hand means it is less likely to get bashed and bumped while you move. Your less dominant arm moves less, which means you are less likely to get incorrect data from your tracker thinking you're taking steps when you're not, for example. Finally, wearing your fitness tracker on your less dominant hand can provide more accurate sleep data.

    2. Make sure you can connect your wearable via Bluetooth

    If you find that your fitness tracker is struggling to connect to your phone via Bluetooth, make sure your phone is not also connected to lots of other apps via Bluetooth (ie car speakers or wireless headphones.) 

    3. Don’t be fooled by inaccurate data readings

    It's important to take your fitness readings with a pinch of salt. Particularly if your tracker has a built-in heart rate monitor, it will never be as accurate as a chest strap. Your step count may be slightly out and your calories too, so just make sure you are relaxed about your readings and don't let them affect the rest of your training and your nutrition.

    4. Keep it charged

    Never start the day with low battery because you know by the time you make it to the gym, your battery is going to have died. Many wearables will have settings in the app which can optimise your battery usage, such as switching off all-day sync or swapping to battery saving mode, but really it's a matter of scheduling an appropriate time to add into your routine for wearable charging. If your watch isn’t waterproof, why not charge your watch when you're in the shower? It will help you to remember to take it off before showering and prevent breaking it as well as getting you into the routine of charging it regularly.

    5. Utilise and sync with other apps

    Leading fitness apps such as Myfitnesspal, Strava and Map my Run work with most fitness wearables to give you a more rounded picture of your health and can enhance your tracker’s data to help you reach your full potential. If you really want to get the most out of your tracker, sync with other apps to enhance your experience. 

    6. Create an accurate user profile

    With most wearables apps, you're asked to set up your user account before using the device. Data such as your age, weight, height and gender are entered before you can get started so that your tracker can analyse your profile and give you accurate readings. Make sure that you keep your measurements as accurate as possible so that you can get the most from your tracker - if you're not sure of your weight, go and weigh yourself, if you're not sure of your height, ask someone to measure you. It'll be worth it!

    7. Be consistent

    The more data you give to your tracker, the more accurate the analysis will be. If you have an all-day activity tracker with built-in heart rate monitor, step counter, sleep tracker etc then make sure you do wear it all day and make the most of the features. The more you run, bike, and walk, the more your tracker will be able to analyse your habits and give you a clearer picture of your health and fitness stats. For example, Garmin trackers that offer VO2 Max readings will need you to run consistently to get an accurate reading and they can offer race predictions after a few consistent training runs. 

    8. Add friends

    Sharing your progress with friends can inspire you to work harder, and can incentivise them to get involved too! Most fitness apps allow you to add friends so that you can view each other's progress, but not only that, you can get competitive and race against each other. Start competitions or challenges and go head to head with friends or running club buddies to encourage you to stay consistent with your training and push yourself harder than if you were training alone. 

    9. Update your progress

    As you gain or lose weight, your training stats will change. For example, if your starting weight is 140lbs but you drop to 120lbs, you will be burning fewer calories by doing the same things. Make sure you let your tracker/app know when you have lost or gained weight, had a birthday, anything that may affect your training stats.

    10. Remember to wear it

    As mentioned above, consistency is key. It'd be a shame to get a good streak going and then forget to wear your watch. Try to wear it every day (and every night if it tracks sleep) so that you can make the most of the data. However, remember that the stats are just a guide and try not to get too bogged down! It's all for fun and is supposed to help you lead a healthier life, not get stressed because you're constantly checking your heart rate or sleep pattern. 

    Related: Are You Addicted To Your Fitness Tracker?

    Looking for a new smartwatch or fitness tracker? Check out our ‘Wearables Review’ section to get the latest info on which watch is right for you!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How To Exercise When You Have Kids

    How to exercise when you have kids at home working mom

    Having little ones at home can leave you feeling like you don't have a spare second in the day. Between rushing to and from school and picking the little ones up from activities and trying to squeeze in daily errands too, it's no wonder that the average mother only gets 17 minutes of 'me time' each day. So how can you fit in exercise when you have no time? We give you all the tips you need along with with a working mom workout routine for you to try.

    How can I find time to workout with kids?

    Finding time to exercise as a working parent can feel almost impossible, but it doesn't have to be! Try some of our ideas and see if you can fit exercise into your busy day.

    1. Get a training buddy

    One of the best ways to stay motivated is to partner up. Whether it's a work colleague, your husband/wife, a friend, or a family member, working out together can make things more fun and interesting. Not only this, but if you have someone to be accountable to and someone who you will let down if you skip your session, you'll be more motivated to get that training session done!

    2. Utilise playtime

    When it's your child's playtime, get involved and burn some calories! If you have an energetic toddler, run around with them by playing adrenaline-fuelled games that involve running or chasing. If your children are a little older, find games where you can both get active, especially in the garden if it's summer time as there are lots of benefits to training outdoors.

    3. Try dancing

    Dancing is something that burns a lot of calories, will get you up and active, and can be very fun! If your children are very energetic, put on some music and dance away. This will not only help them burn off that extra energy and get you moving, it can be a great bonding experience. 

    4. Swap your car for walking or cycling

    By combining your errands with exercise, you can make the time to get active without compromising any of your daily activities. Try walking or cycling to the shops instead of driving, or walking your children to school. It may be easier than you think to get around without your car!

    5. Exercise before you start your day

    By getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual, you could fit in an entire workout and start your day right. There are lots of workouts you can do in under 30 minutes, like this 5-minute punchbag workout, 10-minute tabata workout, or this 20-minute home workout. Even a short workout is better than no workout at all, and it'll energise you for a productive day. If you don't want to get up earlier than you already do, try this lunchtime HIIT workout instead.

    How can a working mom lose weight

    How can a stay at home mum lose weight?

    There are lots of tips and tricks to losing weight if you are a stay-at-home parent. Follow these dos and don'ts to make sure you're staying healthy while at home with the little ones.

    1. Don't eat anything you wouldn't feed to your kids

    There are lots of things you wouldn't feed to your children because the salt or sugar content it too high, so why feed them to yourself? A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you wouldn't give it to your child because of the ingredients, you should avoid it yourself too. Stick to whole foods and try to avoid anything overly processed or pre-packaged.

    2. Don't snack mindlessly

    If you find yourself in a rare moment of calm when your child is playing happily alone or watching a television show, it can be tempting to mindlessly eat food that you don't really need. Avoid temptation by not having snacks in the house, and stick to eating at set times.

    3. Do make mealtime an occasion

    If mealtime is an occasion to look froward to when you eat together with your kids, you'll be less likely to have an unstructured day. Try to have at least one meal a day together as a family where you sit at a table and focus on what you're eating, rather than grabbing whatever is nearby because you're so rushed off your feet. This might mean deliberately making time for it in your day, but it will be worth it ultimately. 

    4. Don't eat through stress

    Being at home on your own with the kids all day can get pretty stressful. If tempers raise and tantrums ensue, make sure you're not reaching for food as comfort. Comfort eating is something that many of us do without realising and can be an almost impossible habit to break. As above, not having any temptation in the house will help with this and always count slowly to 10 before you eat a snack so that you're not eating it out of a stressed panic.

    5. Do make food fun and creative by getting the children involved

    Getting your kids to help in the kitchen is a fantastic way to bond and to help them develop vital skills for later in life. Let them get creative by coming up with new recipes and help them with the cooking. If you really want sweet treats, bake cookies or cupcakes together so that you really feel you've earned them and can have fun in the process. 

    how to work out with a kid at home

    Working mom workout routine

    If you have kids at home or are pregnant, try this working mom home workout routine by Sundried ambassador Carly Newson.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Sundried Summer Workout

    Shea Vegan Personal Trainer Sundried Summer Workout

    Summer is finally here, which means it’s the perfect time to exercise outdoors! Outdoor workouts are great because you can bathe in the glorious sunshine and reap the extra health benefits of the vitamin D exposure from the rays. Getting active in the sun can be social too; get your friends or family to join you so that you can all get fit together! No more hours spent staring at a blank wall in the gym, it’s time to get out there and learn to enjoy moving again!

    This outdoor workout can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any equipment so you can do it whenever the mood strikes. Maybe in your garden, while the kids play, or maybe in the park with your friends. Always remember to warm up properly before a workout and stay hydrated by always having a water bottle with you.

    Round 1

    The first round is a small circuit comprising of 5 exercises. Aim to complete each exercise for 60 seconds with no rest. If you are a beginner or you have an underlying injury, take it at your own pace and rest whenever you need. If you want more information on how to do an exercise, click the name of the exercise.

    1. High Knees
    2. Press Ups
    3. Inch Worm
    4. Plank Shoulder Taps
    5. Burpees
    Lunge Bench Outdoor Workout Body Weight Sundried

    Round 2

    The second round is based on a Tabata style of HIIT training. HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and is a great way to burn fat and get fit. Tabata consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, and you can repeat that as many times as you like with as many different exercises as you like. In this workout, you'll be completing 8 rounds (1 round = 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest) to last 4 minutes with all different exercises. Go straight from one round to the next until you are finished.

    1. Jumping Jacks
    2. Side Steps
    3. Shuttle Runs
    4. Curtsy Lunges
    5. Mountain Climbers
    6. Lunges
    7. Donkey Kicks
    8. Squats
    Press Up Garden Home Workout Sundried

    Round 3

    Your final round is based more on body-weight strength training. You don't need equipment to have a good workout! Complete 3 sets of 10 reps on each of the following exercises with 30-60 seconds of rest in between each one. This is a full body workout which will target every muscle group. Take the exercises slow and perform each repetition with care, focussing on the muscle under tension.

    1. Squats
    2. Lunge to kick through
    3. Press Ups
    4. Back extensions
    5. Crunches
    6. Glute bridges

    Well done for completing the Sundried Summer Workout! On completion of this workout, you should really be feeling the effects! If not, you can either work harder or make the exercises tougher! Remember, exercise is supposed to make you feel good about yourself, and you should fuel your body with nutritious food afterwards. If you find a particular workout boring, don't make yourself suffer by doing it! Find something you love, and you will find that staying fit has never been so easy.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren