• 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 Common Fitness Myths (And Why They're A Load Of Rubbish)

    fitness myths debunked

    The world of fitness can be a confusing place and the rise of social media has now made misinformation spread even further. We debunk 5 of the most common fitness myths that personal trainers hear in the gym and explain why you should ignore them.

    You get a flat stomach by doing crunches

    Hopefully you will have heard this repeated a lot by now, but you can't 'spot reduce' a part of your body. What this means is that doing crunches and sit ups won't necessarily give you a flat stomach and doing lots of squats won't necessarily give you shapely legs.

    In reality, you need to do a healthy mix of cardio and weight training in order to reduce your overall body fat which will in turn slim you down, while full body workouts will help build muscle in key areas therefore giving you a 'toned' appearance. 

    Unfortunately, you can't choose where your body loses weight first and it will happen differently for different people. Things like genetics and hormones play a huge part and this is why some people have a thicker stomach and small legs while other people have a tiny waist but bigger legs. In order to attain your dream body, you need to eat a healthy diet which balances your hormones and live an active lifestyle which will condition your body. 

    While it's not true that doing sit ups and crunches will give you a flat stomach, it is true that you can change the shape of your body with the right training and consistency. 

    sit ups crunches flat stomach workout

    Runners don't need to do weight training

    This couldn't be further from the truth. If you want to be a great runner and improve your performance, it's hugely important for you to do regular cross training, which should include weight training at the gym. 

    While running lots of miles is of course important for runners, it's also paramount that you strengthen your muscles and increase your power so that when it comes to running uphill or running long distances, your muscles have the strength and power to carry you. In addition to this, core work is equally important as a strong core will help you reach the finish line just as much as strong legs.

    Read more: Cross Training Workout For Runners

    running strength training workout cross training

    Eating after 6pm will make you gain weight

    There's some interesting logic behind this myth and it's possible to see why some people might believe that it is true. Of course, your body doesn't need a big intake of energy in the evening if you are just going to be sitting at home and then going to bed. In this instance, a light dinner is indeed better for you but it doesn't mean that eating after 6pm will 'make you fat'. 

    The reason it's advisable not to get into the habit of eating too late is because people fall into the trap of mindlessly snacking in front of the TV and taking in way more calories than they need. 

    However, if you do an intense gym workout or run after work or just have a very active life, you should definitely eat afterwards to refuel and replenish any nutrients that you lost. This means you should definitely be eating after 6pm and that it will be critical to seeing results and not becoming injured. 

    In reality, the only thing that will make you gain weight is eating in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you expend in a day). If this means eating too much in the morning, afternoon, or evening the results will be the same. 

    eating after 6pm gain weight

    The gym is full of athletes who know what they're doing

    It's very common for people to find the gym daunting and not to go regularly for fear of being ridiculed by ripped bodybuilders who know everything there is to know about fitness. Quite the contrary is true, you may be surprised to learn. Many people at the gym don't have an inside out knowledge of fitness and are simply copying exercises they've seen on social media or that they've seen other people doing. 

    Everyone at the gym is in the same boat and are trying to achieve the same goals. Don't feel insecure or intimidated. If someone tries to intimidate you, it's just as rude as if they were rude to you in any other scenario and certainly won't be tolerated by gym staff. Just remember that everyone is on a level playing field and no one has any more power than anyone else within the gym.

    strength training bodybuilder gym

    You should copy what social media influencers do at the gym

    This is a relatively new phenomenon, but people have started to realise they can build quite a following on social media but they don't necessarily have any credentials to back up their claims and most of the time are simply fishing for views and likes. As such, you may well see some wacky and unusual things on social media being touted as 'fitness'. 

    It's important to check out the background of someone you are following if you are going to take what they say as gospel and make sure they know what they're talking about. Don't copy a crazy routine or exercise just because someone has a lot of followers. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Can Eating Protein Balls Aid Your Fitness?

    protein balls fitness

    Many thanks to The Protein Ball Co for this article

    Here at The Protein Ball Co, we like to think of ourselves as experts when it comes to protein. We know there are so many benefits of consuming protein in your diet, such as help with digestion, immunity, new tissue growth and tissue repair as well as providing your body with essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Personal trainers and fitness instructors will also tell you that getting enough protein into your diet is key to achieving your fitness goals. But is this really true?

    What is protein?

    Protein is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs and glands. Every cell in the human body contains protein, making up more than 50% of the dry weight. Protein defines what an organism is, what it looks like, and how it behaves, because the body is made of thousands of proteins. Clever little things!

    yoga fitness workout beach outdoors

    Why do we need protein?

    Protein is needed in the body to repair muscle after exercise - so if you exercise regularly you will need a higher protein diet. Your glycogen levels deplete after training and the best way to replenish that is through consuming carbohydrates and protein. Therefore it is best to eat a high protein, high carb snack or meal between 30 minutes to 1 hour after exercise. Simple enough, right?

    But if you’re like the rest of us and have a super busy schedule with no time to stop and think about eating exactly 30 minutes to 1 hour after exercise, then you need to get into the protein ball craze!

    protein balls

    How do protein balls aid fitness?

    Protein balls are made with nuts, fruits and added protein powder. The fact that they are made with a few clean ingredients means they are great as an all-natural, healthy snack to replenish your body with protein and carbs after exercise. Due to the natural high sugars in protein balls, they can also be consumed as a pre-workout snack around 30 minutes before exercise to give you that energy boost you need to really achieve your fitness goals.

    In a nutshell, if you’re looking to get stronger muscles, consuming protein 30 minutes to 1 hour after a weights workout is a great way to ensure your muscles repair quicker and stronger.

    If you’re looking for a quick protein snack to eat after your gym session or fitness class, grab a packet of our delicious protein balls in our online shop. If you’re not sure which of our eight unique flavours you’d like, try our taster box which has at least one packet of each flavour!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 3 Ways Anyone Can Get Involved In Fitness

    National Fitness Day BBC Sundried UK Sport

    Today is National Fitness Day, so to celebrate we're sharing with you 3 ways that absolutely anyone can get involved - for free!

    1. Parkrun

    Taking part in your local Parkrun is a great way to get into fitness for the first time, surrounded by local friendly faces who are all there for the same reason. Parkrun is free for everyone and is an organised 5k run around your local park starting at 9am every Saturday. There is a nifty barcode system which means you get an official time whenever you run and this can motivate you to improve your fitness and get a better time. On the other hand, it's also just a great excuse to take a stroll or a jog on a Saturday morning and make new friends.

    2. Find A Running Club

    Joining your local running club can be a really easy way to get inspired and find new ways to get fit. Running is one of the most accessible sports out there as most people can do it and it's free to put on your trainers and get on the road. If you are differently abled, there is still a good chance you'll be able to get involved with your running club in some way. Running with friends or a running club can take the boredom out of it and will help keep you motivated when you're feeling uninspired. It'll also help you make new friends and find new routes in your town or city that you never even knew were there!

    3. Cycle With Friends

    This is another widely accessible sport if you have the right bike. If you cannot ride a standard bicycle, you should be able to adapt and find one that suits your needs. Cycling with friends is also free (after the cost of the bike) and can be a fantastic way of seeing new sights and finding new spots in your town or city. It is another social way to get fit that doesn't really feel like you're having to work too hard! You can push to make big changes to your body or you can go at your own pace and let the results come in time. It's all up to you!

    National Fitness Day aims to make fitness more accessible for everyone. Let us know what fitness means to you by tweeting us @Sundried with the hashtag #Fitness2Me. The best will get featured!

    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. How can you fit in exercise when you have no time? We give you all the tips you need along with with a home workout for you to try.

    How can I find time to workout with kids?

    Finding time to exercise as a 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 too. 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 to the local park or playground. 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

    Home workout routine for parents

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

    Looking to get a great workout done at home? Make sure you have all the kit you need!

    Buy the Sundried Yoga Mat here

    Buy the Sundried Skipping Rope here

    Buy the Sundried Resistance Band here

    Buy the Sundried Gym Rings here

    Posted by Alexandra Parren