• 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
  • 5 simple steps to develop your evening routine

    We have previously covered how you can master the perfect morning routine. This week is all about constructing an evening routine that is conducive to a restful night’s sleep. By improving your quality of sleep, you ensure that your mind and body are fully rested and prepared for the following day. This will not only make your training easier but you will find you reap many more benefits than if you were tired or lethargic. 

    The perfect evening routine should focus on two main goals:

    1. How do we wrap up the day with a clear mind?
    2. How can we set ourselves up for a deep, glorious, and restorative sleep?

    There is nothing worse than getting yourself cosy and ready for bed but not being able to switch off your thoughts about the things you did and didn’t do during the day. Follow these 5 simple steps towards perfecting an evening routine and this will never happen again!

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    1. List the positive impacts you left on the day

    This approach was first developed by Benjamin Franklin who would reflect on his day and ask himself, ‘what good did I do today?’ before going to sleep. Instead of stressing over how productive you were during the day, shift your focus into a more positive and fulfilled one.

    2. Take the time to wind down for the evening

    Research has found that our brains need about 2 hours to cool down before we can really get into a deep sleep. This means that about two hours before bed you should start winding down your brain. Classical music, meditating, journaling, stretching, and pampering routines are all great ways to relax before jumping into bed.

    Put away your phones and switch off the TV to make your evening more purposeful. It is worthwhile avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime and steering clear of rich meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks, all of which can trigger indigestion.

    3. Make tomorrows to-do list

    So often, we are completely overwhelmed by all the tasks we are facing over the next day. This anxiety can negatively affect those precious sleeping hours. By making a to-do list the night before, it helps to clear your brain so it can relax.

    4. Make your bedroom a sleep haven

    The Mayo Clinic has done a ton of amazing sleep research and found that we need to start thinking of our bedroom like a cave if we want to get a good amount of quality sleep. Consider using blackout curtains, eye masks, ear plugs, ‘white noise’ machines, humidifiers, and fans to keep things cool and quiet.

    5. Utilise Sleep Tools

    There are several apps out there which are specifically designed to help you sleep or monitor your sleep so improvements can be made.

    Sleep Cycle is a great app which will monitor your sleep cycles by movement. This can aid in learning about what evening ‘cool down’ gives you the best night’s sleep.

    HeadSpace is another app which takes you through various meditations and mindfulness exercises to help clear your mind and wind down before bed.

    Lastly, try to use lights without the blue spectrum. Research has found that the blue spectrum in lights and on our electronic devices actually keep us awake and can disrupt our sleep. Be kind to your eyes and use fixtures that have a more calming light or utilise your phone’s settings to disable the blue light during evening hours.

    Remember that an evening routine is just as important as a morning routine. Learn how to perfect both in your life and you will be on your way to a more productive, healthy, and successful day.

    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
  • 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
  • Why Magnesium Is Essential For Athletes

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    Whether you’re an avid runner, a recreational lifter, or a lifelong tennis player, you know that what you eat is key both for optimal performance as well as recovery. However, some people are so enthusiastic about fuelling their workouts with the right ingredients that they neglect the equally important role of their recovery. After all, this is when all of your muscle growth happens and the effects of your training take place to help you advance.

    In addition to your macros, which are always vital for your health and well-being, taking care of your micro-nutrient intake will help you recuperate faster and restore your energy more efficiently. One mineral in particular deserves more attention for improving your post-workout healing – magnesium!

    Magnesium’s main roles

    Just like every other essential micro-nutrient, magnesium is a meddler – it plays many vital roles in numerous metabolic processes in the body. This minuscule mineral takes part in over 300 biochemical reactions, from how your body generates energy, how it utilises other micro-nutrients you eat in your food, all the way to protecting your very DNA.

    Your vital organs such as you brain and heart heavily depend on your magnesium supplies to function properly every day. However, it’s also the building block of your bones, just like calcium, and it balances your cholesterol levels, allowing your muscles to relax and recover from physical strain. Even with just these several functions, it’s already clear how crucial magnesium is for everyone who leads an active life, since your energy and performance are based in magnesium availability, as much as any other essential macro and micro-nutrient.

    Deciding on your needs

    The general guidelines when it comes to this handy mineral state that an average man requires approximately 400 to 420mg of magnesium per day, while women need slightly less, in the realm of 310 to 320mg per day. However, these numbers fluctuate depending on your lifestyle, any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, how active you are every day, what your diet consists of, and whether you are pregnant.

    Then again, athletes – and endurance athletes in particular – may need more magnesium to help their bodies cope with muscle soreness and cramps as well as arduous routines. You don’t necessarily need to be a competitive athlete to find yourself depleted of magnesium, since you may need a higher dosage than someone who exercises significantly less in terms of both intensity and frequency – which is where your doctor should step in and check if you should up your intake.

    Sources of magnesium

    This crucial mineral is as hard to come by as it is essential to your well-being, making it one of those elusive dietary requirements that is hard to meet, especially through diet alone. Nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and dairy as well as dark greens such as spinach and broccoli have high amounts of magnesium, although its bio-availability may vary. Typically, your body will absorb as little as 30-40% of the eaten magnesium, which often leads athletes to rethink their diets. 

    For those who exercise vigorously, it’s often recommended to take magnesium supplements in order to improve their energy levels and recover faster. They are designed to be absorbed more easily without causing any harm to your digestive tract, increasing your daily intake without increasing your calories through magnesium-packed foods.

    Symptoms of a deficiency

    Although some of the following symptoms are very commonly associated with other health issues and they can be seen as mere reactions to a stressful situation, it’s important to listen to your body and notice if these symptoms persist:

    • General fatigue
    • Headaches
    • Muscle spasms and cramps
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Carb cravings
    • Numbness in your hands and feet
    • Irregular heartbeat

    If you feel that your workouts are becoming increasingly difficult even though you’re resting properly and not increasing the intensity of your workouts, chances are that you are starting to experience a magnesium deficiency. It’s best to talk to your physician and do a few tests to confirm if you have this particular issue in order to find the best solution – your body will thank you later!

    Key perks to expect

    Finally, as difficult as it may be for some to believe that this one micro-nutrient is so priceless for your muscles, bones, and energy, you can begin by getting a deeper insight into how you’ll feel when you actually provide your body with enough of this mineral.

    • Improved muscle gains – Since magnesium is one of those vital ingredients in the process called muscle protein synthesis, which occurs well after you finish your workout, it stimulates your muscles to repair and build new tissue. Without it, your muscles cannot repair and recover properly, making it very difficult to advance in terms of improving your physique with lean muscle.
    • Better carb and fat metabolism – Yes, this little rascal also plays a key role in how your body uses carbs to generate energy, and how efficient you are at burning fat. So, if your goal is to improve your body composition and replace those love handles with lean muscle, magnesium is your body’s best friend.
    • Quality sleep – As the third pillar of a healthy lifestyle, right next to diet and exercise, sleep is connected to your magnesium levels. Enough of this mineral helps your body relax after training, reduces inflammation in your body, replenishes energy stores, and soothes your entire central nervous system to sleep.

    There can be no muscle protein synthesis, or restored energy without sleep, so magnesium is the ingredient that closes this recovery cycle and turns it into a powerful bodily process you need to advance in your athletic endeavors and stay healthy.

    About the author: Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Gym Sessions

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    It’s common to find going to the gym a chore. It’s also common to feel like you’re floundering with no real direction and not making any progress. Follow these 5 expert tips so that you can make the most of your gym sessions and waste no more time in achieving your goals.

    1. Write your session plan in advance

    You'd be surprised at how many people get to the gym without knowing what they’re going to do. In the end, they wander over to a treadmill and do a few minutes of running. Then they lift a few weights and maybe copy a few exercises that other people are doing, have a chat, and then go home. Have you ever done this?

    If you’re serious about making progress and want real results, this is not the way to achieve that. In order to really maximise your time at the gym, write out what you’re going to do in advance and make sure it’s a coherent session that will take you in the right direction. You could write your session on a piece of paper, in a small notebook, or write it out on your phone which may be the most convenient.

    Make sure the session makes sense with regards to what you’re going to train; don’t wear yourself out doing sprints on the treadmill and then expect to be able to do a good weights session as well. If you're training for a running or cycling event, don't spend lots of time working your upper body.

    If you need advice, ask a personal trainer or find a pre-written session plan online. Make sure the session also makes sense in the bigger picture of what else you’re doing that week and how tired you’re likely to be when you get to the gym. If you’re doing an evening session after a busy and stressful day at work, you’re unlikely to hit a new squat or deadlift PB, so save those sessions for the weekend.

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    2. Time your nutrition

    There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym feeling ravenous and not being able to focus on your session, then spending £5 on a sugary shake from the vending machine just so that you can make it through your workout. Plan your nutrition in advance, especially if you intend to come straight from work. If you are going to go to the gym on a work night, try to eat a bigger lunch and then time a snack just before you leave the office so that you get to the gym feeling pumped and ready without being too full.

    If you’re training at the weekend, eat a filling and nutritious breakfast but leave yourself enough time before you hit the weights or cardio area. If you drink coffee, time this so that you can reap the benefits before they wear off.

    What you eat after you workout is also important. You have a 2-hour window in which it's the optimum time to take on some protein and carbs to refuel you and repair your muscles after a tough workout. Try to eat a healthy, balanced meal as soon as you get home so that you can maximise your results and make the most of the time you've just spent in the gym. If you do not eat at all, a lot of your efforts will be wasted as your body will start to break down the muscle you've just worked so hard to build in order to recover.

    Read more: Nutrient Timing

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    3. Talk to a fitness professional

    If you really have no idea what you’re doing at the gym, you’re far more likely to quit and never achieve the results you want. It’s natural to find the gym a daunting and scary place and if you don’t have anyone show you how the machines work, it’s perfectly understandable that you’d have no idea where to start!

    Most gyms will offer a free induction when you join, but if you’ve missed that opportunity, you will still be able to get one if you ask as there are always fitness instructors on hand to help. Not only this, most personal trainers will offer a free taster session as part of their services, so take advantage of this and ask them all the questions you’ve been wanting to ask. Get them to show you how the machines work as well as how to safely perform free weights exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. With this as a foundation, you will be able to build a great workout routine.

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    4. Don’t workout with a flaky friend

    It can seem tempting to go to the gym with a friend as it’s more social and is less intimidating. However, if you go with a friend who doesn’t share the same goals as you or who just wants to chat, you’ll never get anything done. Additionally, if your friend is at a very different level to you, you might end up spending the whole session explaining things to them and just helping them rather than making progress yourself.

    It may seem selfish and unsocial, but hitting the gym alone can potentially be the best way for you to make the most of your time there. That said, if you have a highly motivated friend who can enhance your session, this is of course fantastic and you should make the most of it. It can just be very easy to realise you’ve spent 45 minutes chatting or texting and not doing any exercise! Don’t fall into this common trap.

    Not only this, if your friend is flaky and often cancels on you, you’ll be less likely to go yourself. If you were relying on them for a ride they could be letting you down. You are better off relying only on yourself and setting your own goals so that you can be in charge of hitting them.

    5. Make your workout fun

    Doing the same boring routine week in week out is a recipe for disaster and you are far more likely to stop going to the gym after a short time. Once you know how to write a killer workout routine, make sure you mix it up frequently and keep it interesting so that your motivation stays high. Having a fun workout to look forward to is a great way to stay motivated and you'll end up working harder because you're enjoying yourself.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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