• Fact vs Fiction: 10 common health and fitness myths debunked

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    There is a colossal amount of information available to us about fitness, which is frequently contradictory. It is often hard to decipher fact from fiction which leaves us all in a state of confusion but, when in doubt, it is important to turn to science. 

    In a world of fad workout trends, sport science serves to discern fact from fiction with in-depth research and testing.

    Myth 1: Long sessions at a lower intensity burn more body fat

    Our bodies are always working to turn both carbohydrates and fat into energy which our cells can utilise. This energy production is constant, and the dominant energy source changes depending on what we’re doing and what we have most recently eaten. 

    It is true that when working out at 55-70% of your maximum heart rate, your body will utilise more fat than carbohydrate for fuel. The more intensely you exercise, the more your body turns to carbohydrate stores for energy. However, as higher-intensity exercise puts more strain on the body, it requires more caloric energy. And so, if your goal is to solely lose weight, it isn’t necessarily more effective train at a lower intensity to stay in a so-called ‘fat-burning zone’

    When it comes to exercise, a mixture of intensities is important. Striking a balance in your fitness routine is the best way to make it both productive and sustainable.

    Myth 2: Lifting heavy weights makes you bulky

    Lifting weights was previously associated with body building, strongmen, and professional athletes. It bred the longstanding misnomer that performing a low number of repetitions with heavy weights will result in an increase in size. It is important to dispel this myth because strength training is a vital component of any fitness regimen and will not give you unwanted bulkiness, especially if you are a woman. Women’s hormones aren’t conducive to ‘bulking up’, thus women have a greater handicap in putting on excess muscle mass.

    Don’t deny yourself the benefits of resistance training because of the irrational fear of becoming accidentally bulky. Instead, reap the rewards of improved cardiac and respiratory health, increased joint and muscular strength, better posture, more energy, and a faster metabolism.

    Myth 3: You can target areas for weight loss 

    The belief that fat loss in a specific region could be targeted by building muscle around it has evolved from the idea that gaining muscle increases metabolism. Whilst working out can help to reduce your overall body fat, you cannot control where that fat comes from.

    Targeting areas during exercise can be effective to build muscle and shape specific areas but directed fat loss will not occur. This is because, as you exercise your body breaks down stored fat, from fat cells distributed across your entire body, into chemicals that can be utilised as energy. No targeting is required because our bloodstream acts as a carrier for these chemicals to get the energy where it needs to be.

    Myth 4: Your workout must be intense and hard 

    Believe it or not, moving between different intensities and types of exercise is better for your body and fitness levels.

    Not every gym session has to leave you struggling to walk the next day and may be a sign that you are training too hard. It is not a good idea to frequently exercise at a high intensity because it can limit recovery and lead to overtraining. Ideally you should avoid putting too much stress on your body and limit high intensity workouts to 2-3 times per week.

    Myth 5: The more you can train, the better

    You might be relieved to hear that rest is key in fitness. When you work out, you are breaking down muscle fibres so that they can rebuild stronger. To do this, you need to give your body time to recover by scheduling in 1-2 recovery days per week. 

    Recovery days could incorporate complete rest or something which doesn’t put stress on the body, like a walk or gentle stretching.

    If you're looking for some new activewear to make training feel a little easier, check out Sundried's Gym Activewear today for gym wear that will support you and enhance your performance.

    Myth 6: Exercise will result in weight loss

    We have all been conditioned to believe that exercise is the most important element for weight loss but, in truth, it only accounts for a small portion of our daily energy expenditure. This means that it is hard to create a significant calorie deficit through exercise alone.

    Food intake accounts for 100% of the energy that goes into your body whilst exercise can only burn off 10-20% of it. And so, for weight loss, the focus should be turned to dietary intake and regular daily movement.

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    Myth 7: Fasted cardio burns more fat

    The thought process behind fasted cardio is that the body will use fat stores to fuel the session as opposed to dietary carbohydrates in the absence of a pre-workout meal, therefore aiding in weight loss. However, studies have shown that body composition changes associated with aerobic exercise in conjunction with a hypo-caloric diet are similar regardless of whether an individual is fasted prior to training. 

    Ultimately, when it comes to weight loss, an individual’s overall diet is far more important than a single fasted session. The body needs fuel to perform optimally, so eating a small pre-workout meal before a cardio session will only help improve your performance and may even prevent overindulgence later in the day.

    Myth 8: Exercising counteracts the effects of sitting at a desk all day

    If you are sitting at a computer screen or desk for most of the day, a 30-minute workout isn’t going to cut it. It is more important to take movement breaks every 30-60-minutes.

    It is time that we all start to become more innovative when it comes to movement in the workplace and schedule in calls on-the-go and standing meetings. 

    Myth 9: Body parts should always be trained separately

    The use of body part splits is frequently overused by lifters and can result in poorer results when done badly. What often happens is that people get too excited at the start of the week and train very hard, resulting in muscle soreness and a reduction in motivation the following day. Consequently, training the next muscle group will be at a much lower intensity, leading to a loading discrepancy between body parts.

    By hitting multiple body parts more often throughout the week, it is much easier to maintain an optimal muscle balance.

    Myth 10: A successful workout should be sweat inducing

    Sweat occurs when your core temperature rises to help cool the body via evaporation. Whilst your muscles will generate heat when you exercise, your internal temperature will largely depend on the temperature that you are working out in. For example, you will sweat less in an air-conditioned room compared to a heated studio. The humidity in the air also plays a role; you will feel like you are sweating more when it is humid because the sweat can’t evaporate from your skin.

    Don’t buy into the notion that sweating is a sign of a good workout. Instead, focus on other better indications of a successful training session like an improvement in fitness or enhanced technique.

    Final thoughts

    When it comes to fitness fads, it is important to exercise some caution. Especially if they seem gimmicky, sound too good to be true, offer ‘quick fixes’, or are trying to sell you something. 

    Take the time to do your own research and only invest your time and money into things which are backed by science. 

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

    Want more advice from our ambassadors? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Small ways to make time for movement when you feel like you have no time

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    Regular exercise often helps to reduce stress and improve cognitive function; however, it is not always possible to make time for a training session. Well, perhaps it's time to re-frame what true exercise looks like and make time for movement.

    Many people fall into the trap of only moving when they have enough time for a training session but the long and short term benefits of simple movement should not be underestimated.

    If you find that you do not have enough time to hit the gym or go for a morning run, why not try the following tips for turning typical daily moments into an opportunity for exercise.

    Go for a walk during meetings

    Walking is one of the best ways to keep moving throughout the day. So, next time you have a scheduled meeting, suggest making it a mobile meeting whereby you can go for a walk outside.

    Take the stairs

    The elevator may go up, but it does not make your heart rate climb. Taking the stairs can offer you an additional dose of daily exercise.

    Multi-task

    Catch-up on reading, emails and admin whilst walking, pedalling or using the elliptical machine.

    Socialise on the move

    Next time a friend suggests meeting for lunch, counter with an active invitation. A yoga class, long walk or leisurely bike ride can be a great opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip whilst moving.

    Move whilst you wait

    Whether you are waiting for your dinner to cook or your next meeting to start, there are plenty of short periods throughout the day which can be used for movement. Next time you have a few minutes to spare, repeatedly do 10 push ups followed by 10 squats. Keep track of how many rounds you can do throughout the day and prepare to be amazed.

    Supercharge your chore list

    Whether indoors or out, do not underestimate the effectiveness of housework as exercise. Just throw on some music, pick up the pace, and throw yourself wholeheartedly into the efforts of maintaining your home.

    Stretch at your desk

    Sitting for long periods at your desk can not only affect your health but it can have a direct impact on your work performance and engagement. Try a few simple stretches throughout the day to help ease the strain of prolonged stillness.

    Transform your commute into an opportunity to move

    Walking, running or cycling to work is a perfect way to incorporate movement into your day. But, if your journey is a little too far, why not just park farther away and walk or cycle the remainder of the journey.

    When you start looking for them, you will identify lots of opportunities to be more active. Remember that every little counts!

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

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

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • 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
  • No equipment home workouts for all ages and abilities

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    Get your daily dose of movement with home workouts that require nothing but motivation to get them done. No matter what your goals or preferred method of exercise, we know that there is something for everyone.This guide also includes a general warm-up and cool-down that should be done before and after to any high intensity or strengthening workout, retrospectively.

    All of the following workouts include adaptations, progressions, and regressions to suit all abilities.

    Please note that this guide includes official names of exercises/moves. If you are struggling with what an exercise entails,then You-Tube have some great tutorials on how to execute them. Just type in the name of the exercise to find a demonstration.

    Shop Sundried's home training accessories to take your workout to the next level.

    10 minute pre-workout warm up

    Do each exercise for 60 seconds.

    1. March in place
    2. Jumping jacks
    3. Butt kicks
    4. Mountain climbers
    5. High kicks
    6. Side to side squats
    7. Alternating side lunge
    8. Big arm circles
    9. Hip circles
    10. Shake it all out

    10 minute post-workout cool down

    Do each exercise for 60 seconds.

    1. Alternate side toe touch
    2. Glute stretch on each side
    3. Quad stretch on each side
    4. Side bend stretch on each side
    5. Over-head triceps stretch on each side
    6. Chest-cross arm swing

    Workout 1: 10 minute Ab Blast

    Depending on your level of fitness you can choose to do anything from 30 seconds per exercise with 30 seconds rest, to 50 seconds per exercise with 10 seconds rest.

    Exercise

    Regression

    Progression

    Plank

    Push your bum up to the ceiling to create a V shape

    Rocking plank

    Side plank with one arm support

    Balance on your knee rather than the side of your foot

    Balance on one leg

    Slow dead bugs using alternative arm to leg

    Only extend 1 arm or leg at a time

    Hold in extensions for 5 seconds

    Slow bird/dog

    Only extend 1 arm or leg at a time

    Hold in extension for 5 seconds

    Slow aleknas

    Only extend both legs or both arms at one time

    Hold in extension for 5 seconds

    Slow bicycle crunch with both legs raised above the ground

    Keep one leg on the floor

    Hold in tucked position for 5 seconds

    Slow leg raises

    Bend the legs

    Add in a hip lift at the top of the leg raise

    Cross-body mountain climbers

    Go onto your knees

    Increase the speed

    V-sit hold

    Feet on the floor

    Straighten legs and lean further back

    Knee to elbow in high plank

    Go onto your knees

    Spider man push ups

    Workout 2: 10 minute Glute Activation

    Depending on your level of fitness you can choose to do anything from 30 seconds per exercise with 30 seconds rest to 50 seconds per exercise with 10 seconds rest.

    Exercise

    Regression

    Progression

    Squats with a single pulse at the bottom

    Remove the pulse

    Hold in a squat position and pulse

    Alternate leg reverse lunge with a single pulse at the bottom

    Remove the pulse

    Hold in a reverse lunge position and pulse

    Alternative leg side lunge with a single pulse at the bottom

    Remove the pulse

    Hold in a side lunge position and pulse

    Alternate leg curtsy lunge into a side kick

    Remove the side kick

    Make it quick and springy

    Pile squat with alternative heel raises

    Remove the heel raises

    Hold in position with heels raises

    Alternate leg glute bridge marches

    Glute bridge hold

    Single leg for half the time and then swap to other leg

    Side clams, half the time spent on each leg

    Lie on your back and drop alternate knees out to the side

    Add a band around your knees

    Side lying leg raises keeping the working leg raised, half the time spent on each leg

    Return to rest after each raise

    Hold leg up and pulse

    Donkey kickbacks, half the time spent on each leg

    Alternate legs

    Hold at the top of the kick and pulse

    Fire hydrant, half the time spent on each leg

    Alternate legs

    Hold at the top of the movement and pulse

    Workout 3: 20 minute HIIT Session

    Complete each exercise for 35 seconds and take 12 seconds rest before moving onto the next movement. 

    Repeat the entire sequence 4 x.

    1. Drop lunge
    2. Burpee crunch
    3. Plank jack hop
    4. Step to jump squat
    5. Pop jacks
    6. Triceps press back

    Regression: Take 30-60 seconds additional rest in between sets if needed.

    Progression: Increase working time, reduce resting time, or both!

    Fancy some new workout wear to help motivate you? Shop Sundried's Gym Collection today. Both men's and women's options available.

    Workout 4: 45 minute Full Body Strengthening Session

    Exercise

    Sets

    Reps/time

    Adaptations

    Squats

    4

    15x

    Banded around the knee, weighted, single leg, eccentric, or jump

    Press ups

    4

    10x

    On feet or knees, weighted, narrow stance, eccentric, incline, decline, triangle, or single arm

    Single leg RDL on each leg

    4

    15x

    Weighted, eccentric, or raise the knee

    Triceps dip

    4

    10x

    Straight or bent legs, weighted, or eccentric 

    Bulgarian split squats on each leg

    4

    15x

    Weighted, extended, or eccentric

    Extended plank shoulder tap

    4

    10x

    On feet or knees, wide or narrow stance, single leg

    Glute bridge

    4

    15x

    Banded, weighted, eccentric or single leg

    Super man with arm extension

    4

    10x

    Weighted

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    Workout 5: 30 minute Lower Body Strengthening Session

    Exercise

    Sets

    Reps/time

    Adaptations

    Squats

    4

    15x

    Banded around the knee, weighted, single leg, eccentric, or jump

    Pulses in squat position

    4

    20x

    Banded around the knees or weighted

    Forward, side and reverse lunges on each leg

    4

    15x

    Weighted, eccentric, or jump

    Wall supported sit and hold

    4

    60s

    Banded around the knees or weighted

    Step ups on each leg

    4

    15x

    Weighted, knee raised, or explosive

    Single leg standing calf raises

    4

    20x

    Weighted or unsupported

    Workout 6: 30 minute Upper body Strengthening Session

    Exercise

    Sets

    Reps/time

    Adaptations

    Press ups

    4

    15x

    On feet or knees, Weighted, narrow stance, eccentric, incline, decline, triangle, or single arm

    Inchworm

    4

    10x

    On knees or feet

    Triceps dip

    4

    15x

    Straight or bent legs, weighted, or eccentric

    Side triceps side push on each side

    4

    60s

    Weighted, eccentric or single arm

    Rocking plank

    4

    15x

    Weighted, single arm, or single leg

    Scapular wall reps

    4

    20x

    Weighted



    Workout 7: 30 minute Vinyasaa Yoga Sequence

    Before you start this workout make sure you have a comfortable flat space to use. Use a yoga mat if you have one or just a softer floor. If you're looking to purchase a yoga mat, shop Sundried's eco-friendly offering here.

    Starting Meditation (10 minutes)

    In a seated position, close your eyes and fold the sides of your tongue inward for Sitali Pranayama (Cooling Breath). Inhale through your curled tongue like a straw. Close your mouth and exhale through your nose, creating a “ha” sound in the back of your throat. Concentrate on your breathing, and try to keep your mind clear of distractions. Repeat this cycle for several minutes.

    Yoga Sequence

    Pose

    Time

    Breaths

    Seated cat-cow Pose

    1 minute

    8-10

    Seated half-moon pose

    1 minute

    8-10

    Seated spinal twist

    1 minute

    8-10

    Seated forward with mudra

    1 minute

    8-10

    Cat-cow pose

    2 minutes

    16-20

    Downward facing dog

    (adho mukha svanasanna)

    1 minute

    8-10

    Low lunge 

    (ajaneysanna)

    1 minute each side

    8-10

    One-legged king pigeon pose

    (eka pada rejakapotasana)

    1 minute each side

    8-10 each side

    Wild thing

    1 minute each side

    8-10 each side

    Warrior II

    1 minute each side

    8-10 each side
    Warrior II variation

    1 minute each side

    8-10 each side
    Childs pose

    (balasana)

    2 minutes

    16-20
    Bridge pose

    1 minute

    8-10

    Concluding Meditation (5 minutes)

    Extend both legs and lie comfortably on the floor, turning the palms open. Press the back of the head into the ground as you deeply inhale and focus on sinking into the group. On an exhalation, gently close your eyes and soften. Observe the breath as you absorb the benefits of this practice.

    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
  • 5 Fun Ways To Get Fit That Don't Feel Like Exercise

    get fit without trying

    If you dread your workout, chances are you're not going to do it. Slogging away on a treadmill for hours may be good for your body but it's not great for your mind. We've put together 5 awesome ways to get fit and burn calories without even realising it!

    1. Gardening

    Gardening is a great functional fitness workout as it will have you squatting down, stretching high, lifting your arms, and carrying heavy loads, all of which will challenge every muscle group in your body. A 140lb (10st) woman can expect to burn up to 300 calories from 1 hour of gardening!

    This is a great way to keep fit as it is free, you don't have to leave the comfort of your home, and in the summer you will be exposed to revitalising vitamin D from the sunlight. Not only this, it's a great skill to develop and you will have a beautiful garden to show for your efforts!

    gardening fitness workout

    2. Playing a musical instrument

    It may not feel like it, but playing a musical instrument can be a very energetic activity. Especially instruments like the drums where you use your whole body to play, you can expect to burn between 100-300 calories in an hour!

    Learning to play an instrument is an excellent skill to develop as it'll focus you mentally and this should help you in day-to-day life. Not only this, it can be very social as you can then join a band or orchestra to share your passion with others.

    playing an instrument exercise fitness workout

    3. Playing with your children

    It can sometimes feel difficult to exercise when you have kids as finding time can be almost impossible. Playing with your children by chasing after them in a park or playing football or another sport with them is an awesome way of getting fit yourself while also allowing your kids to expend all their pent up energy. Forget lifting weights, lifting your kids will give you a great workout without having to hit the gym!

    Playing with your children gives you an opportunity to bond and you won't even notice how many calories you're burning. Another benefit is that you'll be helping your kids to get active from a young age which will really help them in the long run.

    carrying children workout burn calories

    4. Walking the dog

    If you have a furry friend or two, you can expect to burn up to 200 calories an hour by walking them. Depending on how energetic your dog is, you could even go jogging with them to help them exercise better. 

    By having the company of your dog, you won't feel as self-conscious while out and about and knowing that you have to walk them will be all the motivation you need. 

    walking the dog burn calories lose weight get fit

    5. Cleaning

    Finally, spending time cleaning your house can be a great way of burning calories, toning up, and you'll have a beautiful sparkly house at the end of it! Just like with gardening, cleaning will act as a full body workout as you'll be squatting down to scrub low surfaces, reaching high, bending and twisting in all directions in order to clean. This will mean that all of your muscles are worked – even ones you may never have worked before!

    cleaning the house burning calories get fit

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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