• 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. 

    Shop Sundried's Swim Collection

     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
  • 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.

    Shop Sundried's BPA Free Water Bottle

    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
  • 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
  • How To Create The Perfect Training Plan

    how to create the perfect training plan

    There are numerous ways to keep fit, some individuals enjoy the movement within a yoga practice whilst others prefer to run for miles. Not only do you require a plan that is conducive to your goals but it is essential that the regimen is enjoyable and attainable.

    Step 1: Identify your goals

    Whether you are training for an event or are striving to become more active, it is important to identify ‘why’ you want exercise. Try to focus on one goal at a time and keep it realistic; early success is instrumental to build confidence which can lead to long-term results.

    It is important that your goal is measurable, specific, and time bound so that you can keep a track of your progress and have a clear pathway for improvement. Wanting to ‘be stronger’, for example, is a great start but very vague. Wanting to ‘be able to do 50 deadlift repetitions with 50kg in 3 months’ is more specific, has a deadline, and can be measured.

    Within your larger goal, schedule in smaller goals that are achievable in a shorter time period. For example, say that you want to run an eight-minute mile. During your training, you should identify a smaller goal, like running half a mile in four minutes. It is all about those small victories which will keep you on track in the long run.

    Finally, consider recruiting a support system that will encourage you when an extra boost of motivation is needed.

    Step 2: Find an enjoyable workout routine

    Movement does not have to be an unpleasant experience; it can actually be great fun.

    If you are someone that likes exploring new places, then try walking or cycling. If you enjoy socialising with others, then an exercise class could be the right type of exercise for you. By choosing enjoyable workouts, you will become invested in your fitness journey and appreciate the process.

    Step 3: Create a routine

    Planning a week of exercise can seem a little daunting but it is actually pretty simple.

    Firstly, decide how many days per week you can dedicate to training and which days would be best to take off. For example, if you are usually out on a Saturday night, make Sunday a rest day so that there is no pressure to head to the gym when you are feeling a little delicate.

    Ensure that you have regular rest days within your week to facilitate recover and adaptation. It is easy to push through training and negate taking a day off but this will only hinder progress and risk an injury or illness occurring.

    Maintain a similar plan each week in order to build a habitual routine. Try to space out the higher intensity/impact workouts throughout the week and ensure that 70% of your training is a lower intensity/impact type of activity.

    Training plans needs to progress over time and be completed consistently for results to occur. Keep things realistic but do not be afraid to push yourself when the time is right.

    Step 4: Keep track

    Tracking your workouts (whether it be with a workout journal, a fitness app, or something else) should accomplish three goals:

    It should be quick and easy. Spend the time exercising, not recording it.

    It should be useful. Only record the essential information and admit anything that you will not act upon.

    It should be versatile. The recording system should be able to adapt to any style of training.

    An effective workout tracking system will help keep you accountable, stay motivated, and maintain focus. Get it right and you will reap the rewards of being able to measure progress and plan accordingly.

    Step 5: Manage your expectations

    It is great to be ambitious and set the bar high with your goals- after all, what doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you! However, progression can be slow and it is important to not expect huge changes overnight. This can really hurt your self-esteem and hinder any further advancements.

    It is very easy to think that we are not progressing but do not be discouraged. The speed of improvement does not matter, improvement is improvement.

    Think of fitness as a lifelong experience, get your routine right and you are halfway to leading an active lifestyle.

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

    Posted by Guest Account
  • Everything You Need To Know About Getting Fit

    How to get fit

    We are forever being told we need to get fit and the question on everyone's lips is 'how do I get fit?' We look at what it means to get fit and all the ways we can get there. Your go-to guide for all tips to get fit.

    What's Covered in this post

    How long until I Get Fit?

    This question is one that most people will ask at one time or another, especially if they are keen to lose weight, tone up, and are working hard to achieve this. We all want to know when we’re going to see results, but unfortunately there is no clean cut figure which we can place on our fitness. We can, however, predict general patterns, though it is important to consider that everyone’s starting level of fitness differs and therefore so will the duration of time it takes to get fit.

    Asking how long it will take to "get fit" is a difficult question to answer as it is not quantitative; there is no template to say what is and isn't 'fit'.  Results can be seen as little as a few days, but typically it takes a few weeks for your body to adapt to new stimuli, whether that’s diet, training, or both. This is why if you don’t see results in the first week, you shouldn’t feel disheartened.

    Typically, the most measurable results follow after a minimum of 6-8 weeks. There is a common saying that it takes 4 weeks for you to see your body changing, 8 weeks for friends and family, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world.

    The best way to determine how long it will take you to get fit is by setting fitness goals. You can also undertake fitness testing by doing physical fitness tests like a VO2 max test. There are other ways to test your fitness such as the sit and reach test or Astrand treadmill test.

    get fit physical fitness testing

    Testing VO2 Max

    Your VO2 max is an indication of how much oxygen your body can uptake during exercise. You can do several gym-based tests to determine your VO2 max. Alternatively, smart watches such as the Garmin Forerunner 235 running watch can calculate your VO2 max based upon your performance whilst wearing the watch. If running is not your thing, the Wattbike also calculates your VO2 max based on your performance during cycling.

    Time trial Ideas

    Time trial inspired fitness rulers are great for those who lack the technology to test VO2 max, as they are accessible to all. One example could be completing as many reps as possible of an exercise, for example burpees, in 2 minutes, or running a particular distance and measuring the improvement in time. Remember those awful beep tests at school? That’s just another fitness test and let’s face it you probably pushed that bit harder not because your PE teacher was shouting at you, but because there was an opportunity to beat your mates at something.

    Get Fit

    How long does it take to get unfit?

    According to Dr. Edward Coyle, director of the Human Performance Lab at the University of Texas, in highly-trained athletes, VO2 max decreases by 7 percent in the 12 to 21 days after stopping training and another 9 percent during days 21 to 84.

    So after just 3 weeks of inactivity, your fitness could decrease by up to 20%.

    VO2 max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use. It is measured in millilitres per kilogramme of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min).

    Can you be fit and fat?

    Being thin on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean you are fit or healthy on the inside. Whilst getting fit should be about maintaining the ideal weight for your height, it’s possible to have a healthy BMI and be unfit. You have to work at your fitness, it really is a 'use it or lose it' scenario.

    Can you be fit and fat?” was a question posed by Professor Steven Blair of the University of South Carolina. For eight years, Blair and his team studied the health of nearly 20,000 men between the ages of 30 and 83. He put them through complete physical assessments including treadmill tests for cardiovascular fitness and body composition assessments. The results concluded that fitness turned out to be a far more reliable predictor of health and longevity than either weight or BMI.

    Unfit men with BMIs of less than 27 had a death rate that was 2.8 times greater than men with BMIs of 30 or higher (considered obese) who were moderately fit.

    Blair also published a study on the role that fitness vs. fatness, or higher BMI, plays in women’s long-term health.  Among 9,925 women who had been patients at the Cooper Clinic at the Cooper Institute, moderately fit women of all weights averaged a 48 percent lower risk of dying prematurely (from all causes) than unfit women. Highly fit women (those who could walk longest on the treadmill) had the lowest risk of premature death of all, nearly 60 percent lower than thin but unfit women.

    can you be fit and fat

    What is Fit?

    According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, physical fitness is defined as "a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity."

    There are 5 recognised main components for fitness:

    Cardio-respiratory fitness

    Cardio-respiratory fitness refers to how well our bodies can supply fuel during physical activity via our circulatory and respiratory systems. Any activity which increases your heart rate for an extended duration of time will help to improve your cardio-respiratory fitness. Exercising increases cardio-respiratory endurance in a number of ways: the heart muscle is strengthened so that it is able to pump more blood per heartbeat whilst at the same time additional small arteries are grown within muscle tissue so that blood can be delivered to working muscles more effectively when it’s needed. Cardio-respiratory fitness has been found to help ward off the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, type 2 diabetes and stroke, among other diseases.

    Muscular strength

    The US Department of Health and Human Services defines muscular strength as "the ability of muscle to exert force during an activity."

    Generally, muscular strength is measured via comparing a person's ability to lift or push a given weight against the ability of the general population to do the same. If a muscle is worked consistently, it should increase in strength.

    Related: How To Get Stronger

    Muscular endurance

    Muscular endurance is similar to muscular strength, but requires the ability to repeatedly execute strength. What do we mean by this? Whereas with muscular strength luck or adrenaline may push you through a single lift, here it’s how long you can keep going before your muscle tires.

    Muscular strength training induces hypertrophy (muscle building), whereas muscular endurance requires a different energy system, which can last for longer.

    Body composition

    Body composition refers to the levels of muscle, bone, water and fat that make up your body. Two individuals who weigh the same could have completely different body compositions, which is why there is so much debate whether BMI is accurate as it only considers weight against height.

    People with a high muscle mass will weigh more than those who are the same height with the same waist circumference because muscle weighs more than fat. The most accurate way of measuring body composition is through water submersion, and measuring volume and disposition. This is a long, tedious process and for most of us is inaccessible. 

    There are some smart scales and body composition monitors available on the general fitness market and whilst the accuracy of scales such as these often comes under scrutiny, it still gives the user a good idea of their body composition.

    Flexibility

    Flexibility is defined as the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. It also refers to the mobility of your muscles, which allows for more movement around the joints. Flexibility can be increased by a variety of activities designed to stretch joints, ligaments and tendons such as stretching, foam rolling, and yoga.

    There are three types of exercise that are generally utilised to increase flexibility:

    • Dynamic stretching: the ability to complete a full range of motion of a particular joint. This type of flexibility is used in standard "warming up" exercises as it helps ready the body for physical activity
    • Static-active stretching: holding the body or part of the body in a stretched position and maintaining that position for a period of time. One example of static-active stretching is doing the splits
    • Ballistic stretching: only to be used when the body is already warmed up and limber from exercise, it involves stretching in various positions and then bouncing while holding the stretch. Some governing health bodies, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, believe that ballistic stretching can cause injuries. 

    A combination of these 5 elements will make a good overall level of fitness, although some may excel at some principles and not others. Fitness is largely subjective and it is important to balance good fitness and health.

    To “get fit”, focus on any of the areas above which are weaker for you personally and work to improve them while also setting goals so that you know if you are making progress.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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