• Get Garter Ready Legs

    Part of our wedding workout guide.

    Create slender thighs for your garter to slip over. Wedding workout four ups the ante, we’re working on legs - your biggest muscle group. Why do we work the biggest muscle group? Bigger muscles mean more energy is needed to use them and what does that equal? More calories burned. Warning - What I wouldn’t do is train legs in the last few days before your big day, not unless you fancy tumbling down the aisle like a newborn calf.

    Wedding Workout

    Before we start:

    Before we get ahead of ourselves, there is an important rule one must abide by when completing this workout.

    Let me hear you say it ladies:

    “Thou shalt not wear see through leggings”

    When you're squatting, lunging and with this workout, jumping all over the place, you need to be able to trust that your leggings are protecting your dignity and see through leggings could see you making your big debut long before your wedding night. Sundried Ruinette tights are not only comfortable, they offer complete coverage of your behind through a full range of motion. They also have a double fastening waist secured with both a flat elastic band and a drawstring, for that personalised fit you can guarantee will go no where, so you can squat down low without your gym tights following suit. Now we’ve got that one cleared up, it’s time to get going.

    Warm up:

    Jog on the spot: 3 minutes, this is a light jog to start elevating your heart rate.

    Pelvis and hip openers

    This workout requires a lot from your hips and pelvis, so it’s important you warm up effectively. To wake up your hips and pelvis we start by bending one leg to bring your knee up in front of your chest and then circle your knee out away from your body, opening up your hip flexors. Repeat this 10 times per each leg.

    Deep squats

    This time we’re going for deep squats, taking our legs gently through the full range of motion. Start with your feet just outside of shoulder width and point your toes out. Squat down as low as you can, your bum should be hovered over the floor, with your thighs and calves pressing. Complete 10-20 deep squats to give your legs a preview of what’s to come.

    Lunge with Torso Rotations

    The final warm up exercise is a lunge with torso rotations. With each lunge forward, twist your body towards the outside of your hips. Complete 10 per side.

    Legs workout - AMRAP

    For this workout we suggest you go for 30 minutes - AMRAP - as many rounds as possible, however if you’re a wedding warrior, please feel free to bump up the time!

    Squat jump with floor touch

    Start by standing with your feet together and jump both legs into a squat simultaneously, as you do, touch a hand to the floor before jumping back to the start position. Complete 20.

    Jumping alternating lunges

    Jump into a lunge sinking down until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Explode up and switch legs, so you land in a lunge on the alternate side. Same deal, 20 reps, but we will let you off with 10 per side.

    Front kicks

    Facing forward lift your knee up and extend the lower leg to snap into a front kick, with your toes facing up, leading with the heel. No wussy kicks, imagine you’re kicking someone away from you, making sure to alternate between legs each time. 20 reps, 10 kicks per leg.

    Donkey kicks

    Try this one standing for an extra balance challenge and calorie burn. Bend your supporting leg to provide a bit of extra stability and then lift the other leg off the ground. Kick backwards leading with your heel. You should feel this one in your glutes (aka bum) if you’re not, have a check of your form! 10 kicks per leg.

    Stair runs

    It’s time for a cardio interval. For 30 seconds go flat out as fast as you can running up and down your stairs, if you live in a bungalow and can’t find a step, high knees will serve the same purpose, just keep the intensity high and get that heart rate rocketing!

    Travelling squats

    For travelling squats, every step you take becomes a squat. Squat and step ladies, squat and step. 20 steps, 20 squats.

    Dumbbell swings

    Grab a dumbbell in both hands, the heavier the better, with a minimum of 5 kg. Sink into a squat and swing the dumbbell through your legs and then up to in front of your face with your arms extended. As the dumbbell reaches in front of your face you should thrust your hips forwards, before returning to your squat position as the dumbbell passes through your legs.

    Hip thrusters with pulses

    Lay on your back and raise your hips up to the ceiling, lifting your bum off the floor. With your feet on the ground. Return your bum down until it hovers just above the floor before thrusting upwards again. Complete 20 of these full reps, followed by 20 small hip pulses at the top of the movement.

    Those are all your exercises, but it’s not over yet! Whizz back to the start and carry on, remember it's a war against the clock so keep going until your time’s up.

    Cool down Yoga

    Once your 30 minutes are up, however exhausted you are don’t skip the cool down, it’s part of your recovery. Yoga poses can be a great way of relieving tired muscles and these stretches will help prevent stiffness post workout, although you should expect to ache when you’ve worked that hard.

    Recline hero pose

    The recline hero pose provides a deep stretch to the thighs, hip flexors and ankles and is an easy move to master - once you get the hang of it. Start by kneeling on the floor with your legs pressed together and feet very slightly wider than your hips. Keeping the tops of your feet flat on the floor with your toes facing towards you. Exhale and sit back in between your feet, without changing their position. From here you can then place your hands on the floor behind you and lean your weight backwards. Gradually lean back and shift your weight from your hands, down to your elbows and then lay yourself back against the floor completely opening your hip flexors and resting your arms by your side. Continue to the next pose by supporting yourself back up onto your elbows and then hands.

    Butterfly pose

    Sit down and bend your legs so that your feet are lined up touching. Now grab your feet and bring them as close to your body as possible. Now push your knees and thighs down as close to the ground as possible, gently lift and lower your knees (like butterfly wings) and then repeat, pushing your thighs to the ground. Exhale and bring your torso to the floor, inhale when you’re ready to return your chest slowly back up.

    Wide angle seated forward bend

    Staying in your seated position, now open your legs as widely as possible keeping your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Exhale and bring your torso forward, folding in half with your chest as close to the floor as possible. Inhale as you return to the start.

    Half frog pose

    Start by laying on your front and lift your chest up to the ceiling using your hands. Supporting yourself on one hand, use the other to reach and raise your foot towards your bum, folding your leg in half. Relax as you return the leg back down and reach to the opposite side with the opposite hand.

    Thread the needle

    Lay on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Cross one foot over the other leg so it rests on the thigh. Lift the other leg off the ground and feed your hand through the gap in your legs to pull your back leg up towards your face.

    Whilst these stretches will aid recovery, it’s inevitable your legs are going to ache, to improve any discomfort you may experience, grab yourself a torture device… I mean foam roller. Foam rolling your calves is particularly important if you’re walking down the aisle in heels.

    And when your partner laughs at your aching pins, warn him, next week we’re bringing in reinforcement, so he’d better grab his trainers!

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Say ‘Yes’ to Sculpted Shoulders

    Part of our wedding workout guide.

    That’s right ladies it’s time for week 2 of your “make your ‘something new’ your body” wedding workout regime.

    After last week's aisle ready arms, it’s time to take things up a notch, so get ready to say ‘yes’ to sculpted shoulders.

    Boost your confidence with this shoulder focused workout, perfect for those going strapless. All you need are a couple of sets of dumbbells, I suggest a light pair and a heavier pair and then a mat, or clear space to move around freely.

    Plank Hold

    Warm up:

    Your warm up’s the same as last week, so you should be pros at this by now. The moves are simple and effective, taking your heart rate over 130bpm to get the job done.

    Read this article to understand why you should use your heart rate when training.

    The 100: Complete 20 of each of these exercises to warm your body up so you are limber and ready to exercise.

    • 20 x Forward and Backward Arm Circles
    • 20 x Trunk twists
    • 20 x Star Jumps
    • 20 x Heel Flicks
    • 20 x High Knees

    Workout:

    Now you’re good and ready, let’s get to work!

    Last week you were working on 10 reps, but this week, we’re going for a dirty dozen!

    Pike Push Ups

    Start as though you were about to complete a regular pushup, with your arms extended beneath your shoulders in a plank position. To complete a pike push up you now bring your bum into the air as high as you can and complete a push up from this position. This puts more focus onto the shoulders. You’re going for 12.

    Up and Down Planks

    Start in a plank from your hands. Keeping your balance and control, lower one side so that you are in a plank from your forearm, match the other side and then pick yourself back up into a extended plank one side at a time. Both sides up and down counts as one rep, let’s get 12.

    Side plank

    Lie on your side and place your elbow directly underneath your shoulder with your forearm flat on the floor. Push your side up so you’re propped up on your elbow, keeping your body streamlined with your hips lifted. Hold here for 30 seconds, before switching and repeating on the other side.

    Plank with Renegade Row

    For this move, you’ll need to grab your pair of dumbbells. Now holding a dumbbell in each hand, come into an extended plank. Leading with the elbow, lift your dumbbell up towards your armpit for a row. Return the dumbbells to the floor in an extended plank position and then repeat the other side.  You should complete 12.

    Arnold Press

    This one requires your heavy weights. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your dumbbells held in front of your face. Your palms should be facing towards you, with your weights held as though they were in a static bicep curl, you then bring your dumbbells round until they are at the start point for a shoulder press. You’ll be shaped like a Y with your arms at a 90 degree angle, palms facing out, from here we then push above the head, without pausing. As you return the weights to their start position, you turn your palms back in to face towards you. Palms face in, out and then in again. Complete 12.

    L Raises  

    Back to your lighter dumbbells. Grab a weight in each hand, palms facing towards you. Raise the dumbbells up in front of you with straight arms until they are in line with your chest, from here split your arms and bring each dumbbell back until they are extended in line laterally with your shoulders. 12 reps.

    Arm Circles

    Grabbing a lighter dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms out by your sides and draw little circles in the air. Continue circling for 30 seconds. Push through the burn, think wedding bells. You can do it.

    The Finisher: Dumbbell Press Burpees

    These are tough. Grab your dumbbells and hit the deck, jumping your legs out and in for a burpee. Now as you jump up to finish 1 rep, lift your weights above your head for a shoulder press. Killer. 12 to finish!

    Complete this circuit 3 times over for shoulders ready for showing off in your wedding dress.

    Cool Down:

    Shrug and Roll

    Relax. Raise your shoulders up towards your ears and give them a roll, circling forwards and backwards.

    Bend and Stretch

    Bend over and let your upper body hang loose, if your arms are dangling against the floor, grab your forearms to allow a further stretch.

    Cross Body Reach Behind The Head

    Lift your right arm straight up, then bend at the elbow and let hand fall behind your head, bend your left arm round and reach towards the right hand. Your aiming for them to meet by your shoulder blades. Swap and do the same for the other side.

    Perfect Your Posture

    Top tip: Work on your posture to create better looking shoulders. Slumped over shoulders make you look smaller and tired. Practice keeping your chest lifted by relaxing your shoulders with this 3 part routine. Shrug, Push, Drop. First, shrug your shoulders up as high as you can to your ears, then push them right back, sticking your chest out and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Finally, drop your shoulders back down. Think up, back and down and always try to stand with your sternum facing up.

    Have fun girls, you can do this!

    Next week… “I do” want a flat stomach...

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Fitness Fact or Fiction

    When it comes to fitness, we are surrounded by friends telling us the best way to do it, or the internet telling us another, and even the professionals change their mind about what we should be doing or eating. How do we know which is fact and which is fiction? We decided to separate the fact from the fiction to help you out.

    Fitness Facts and Myths

    Myth 1: Women who weight lift bulk out.

    Fact: In truth you need testosterone to bulk up. Women have testosterone, but it is such a low level that we just are not as capable of building such large muscles as men. If anything, the opposite is true for women. Muscles take up less room than fat, so when we strength train, we are more likely to loose inches rather than gain them!

    Myth 2: We need to exercise hard every workout.

    Fact: This is absolutely not true and can actually be damaging. Pushing yourself to new limits is brilliant and we all know the benefits of exercise. However, pushing yourself so hard every workout will end up causing you much more damage in the long term. You can suffer from muscle damage and strained joints. Shake up your regime with some yoga and pilates, or a swim. If you run one day, cycle the next and so on. Let muscle groups properly recover.

    Myth 3: Working specific target exercises will take weight off in those areas.

    Fact: Your body decides where you loose fat from, not the exercises you do. You could spend hours doing crunches hoping that you will loose some weight from that area. It simply isn’t...well...it isn't that simple. You will get stronger abs, without a doubt, but it wont immediately burn stomach fat. Running, for example, burns fat from all over your body, not just your legs. The key is to work out your whole body, mix cardio and weights, and you will gradually tone up.

    Myth 4: No pain means no gain.

    Fact: Exercise should never, ever cause you real pain. You should work hard, sweat and feel it, but you should still be able to breath and carry on a conversation. You need to know/learn the difference between when your muscles are just tired (the “burn”) and actual pain, which is sharp and, simply, painful. Always listen to your body and if in doubt stop what you are doing. 

    Myth 5: Burning fat at the right zone means you should keep doing just that.

    Fact: Of course fat burns better at a lower intensity, but the important factor is the number of calories burned, rather than the percentage of fat calories burned. The basic fact is, the faster you run or cycle, the more calories you burn overall. And it is the total calories burned that will help weight loss ultimately.

    The truth is, if it hurts stop and if you are unsure, just ask. These facts will help keep you healthy and injury free.

    Posted by Steph Mann
  • The Gym Versus Outside

    With mince pies and festive feasts coming up, a lot of us will be considering our exercise regime. You may be a seasoned runner or just thinking about taking it up to help keep that Christmas excess down. The problem with this time of year is the weather. Do you run inside or out, or a mixture of both?

    Outdoor Training

    What are the differences?

    Gyms: Gyms tend to be very accessible and plentiful. They usually always have a good stock of treadmills waiting to be used. The downside is that you will need to pay a monthly (or per use) fee.

    Outside: The outdoors are always there, it will never be too busy and it is free. All you need is a little motivation and a 30 minute run. It is incredibly accessible. The downside here is, of course, the weather and the surfaces. You may have to work harder and be careful.

    Outdoor Running on the beach

    What are the pros and cons?

    Gyms: Treadmills offer a very tailored running experience. You can pre-program a run to suit your training needs. The incline function allows you to push yourself harder, and can mimic the outdoors by adding some resistance to your run. The downside is that treadmills are repetitive and lack changing scenery, you could find it boring.

    Outside: The great outdoors offers endless routes from flats to hills, so you can pick and choose wherever you want to run too. The downside, again, is the weather. You need to be committed to any program you do, because irregular exercise can deter you, whereas regularity encourages you to keep going.

    Treadmill Running

    How fast do I need to run?

    Gym: We all know that a treadmill is computerised, and allows you to set your own pace. This makes it ideal for winter training because you can set it to offer a mixture of resistance and you can monitor your progress and speed as you go. The downside to this is that you may become reliant on those figures, and you become to focused on them rather than the run itself.

    Outside: It goes without saying that you can try and set your pace when you are outside, and this pace depends on the terrain. You can use this time to escape from technology and immerse yourself in the experience of running. The downside is that you will find it difficult to step away from technology. Simply because it makes sense to keep an eye on your pace to maximise your workout. There are plenty of gadgets and apps available, so you can get the best of both.

    Plank Outdoors

    The ultimate question is...Which is better?

    Gym: Treadmills are great for setting and maintaining a pace. You can use them in any weather and they are brilliant for endurance training. You can develop and maintain a good stride and have a tailor made run. The downside is boredom and it may well put you off going back.

    Outside: There is a lot to see outside and once you get so far into your run, you still have to run back, so motivation is a huge factor. It is free and you can do it with other things, such as (literally) running errands, running with friends and so on. The downside is the weather. It can be cold and damp. There are also hazards like cars and people getting in the way that you need to consider.

    Squats in the Gym

    In the end...

    ...it is up to you and your preferences. Running is a great exercise and done correctly, it will improve your fitness. If you cant decide, then you can use both methods and use the gym and the outdoors. If you like to tune out to music and just run thought free, the gym could be for you. Or if you need changing scenery, consider outdoor running, just get the right kit.

    Posted by Steph Mann