Claire Steels is a professional duathlete and has a World Champion title to her name. She gives Sundried a snapshot of a training session along with all the stats and data so you can see what it's really like to train as a pro.
2 x (10 x 10 seconds effort : 50 seconds recovery)
The majority of the training I have done on the bike is for TT (time trial) type efforts, however as I am looking to move into road racing I need to develop a bit more explosive power.
This sessions was aimed at developing such power and improving my sprint speed.
Short, sharp efforts with a longer recovery sounds okay, but by the end of the set the 50 seconds recovery feels far too short!
I did this session on the Wattbike and then uploaded the data to Strava.
The screenshots attached show my speed, heart rate and then the last shot shows speed, heart rate, power and cadence.
Speed, power and cadence are fairly consistent across all of the efforts, although they drop a little towards the end. Heart rate spikes for each of the efforts but also gradually increases across the whole session.
I find sessions like this challenging and frustrating but in a strange way it means I enjoy them more! Weird I know!
Read our interview with Sundried ambassador and personal trainer Amie who started exercising and her mind just clicked, it was the beginning of her love of exercise.
Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up:
I have recently started taking part in regular running with friends and signing myself up for runs and races. I have started to enjoy it so much more than I used to and so I recently took part in the Yorkshire Marathon Series York 10 Mile Race and completed it which I was super proud of considering it was the first time I had ever run 10 solid miles! I have signed up for the Leeds Half Marathon in May next year and so will be incorporating running into my weekly training regime to get me prepared.
I would also love to do a Triathlon one day but I think I need to work myself up to that!
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
It all started the day I put my work trousers on and they felt tight! I have never had a big frame but mentally and physically (inside) I was very unhealthy. Those trousers getting tight was the start of something new. My mind just clicked and that was it...I had to do something about it...soon! I joined a local kettlebell class and that was the beginning of my love for exercise. The love for nutrition came a little bit after this. I realised that just doing exercise and still eating quite a lot of high fat and high sugar foods weren't doing the job. Those trousers still felt tight! This is when the journey really began. I hired the kettlebell class instructor as my personal trainer and that was it really! 5 years later I am fitter, healthier and much happier! Every day is still a lesson as I learn how important it is to have a positive body image, eat well but still enjoy yourself and most importantly of all...be happy!
What are your training goals now?
I am mainly concentrating on my running at the moment- fitting in a couple of runs a week. One long one and one short one.
I am also working on building a little more muscle too. It's 'bulking' season as they say!
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
Not really unusual but I was born in Mallorca and lived there for 12 years. I am fluent in Spanish.
What would future you, tell yourself when you were starting out?
Be true to yourself! Don't aspire to be someone else, aspire to be the best version of you!
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I don't follow anything specific at the moment. I eat good nutritious food and make sure my body is fuelled for exercise and life in general! I enjoy a good mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats at each meal and I always make sure I re-fuel after any workout.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
My top tips would have to be-
New fitness clothes! What better way to make you want to work out?!
Training with friends/Join a class: Doing this makes me so much more motivated to workout.
Setting small achievable goals: There's nothing worse than setting a massive goal and then feeling disappointed because you didn't achieve it.
Talk us through your training regime.
At the moment I am concentrating on my running and muscle building so a typical week will consist of-
2 runs: 1 long and 1 short
Boxing class: Great cardio and so much fun! I also get a good leg workout from this too!
HIIT once in the week
1 leg session as I cover legs in boxing too
2 other weight sessions usually consisting of upper body and strength
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I am always researching and reading articles on health and fitness. I write my own blog too so I like to keep others up to date with training techniques, health foods, and just general life ramblings!
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
Be prepared! Exercise and nutrition- get that fridge stocked up so you have plenty to go at throughout the week. If you have a busy life and time isn't on your side then prepare- make some meals up at the weekend so you are never caught out. Plan your workouts for the week and stick to them.
Weight training- there is still that misconception that lifting weights makes women 'big' and 'bulky'. Weights are your friend! They make you stronger, fitter and healthier.
Be yourself- Don't try and follow the crowd or be like that girl you follow on IG. Your body is different, your life is different and you are you! Your goals are different hence the results will be different. Be the best version of you!
If you could only do one workout for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I love deadlifts!!! And training glutes in general. You can't beat a nice peachy bum right?!
What are your training goals?
Strength! I used to be able to deadlift 100kg with confidence! I need to get my backside into gear and step back onto the deadlift podium at the gym!
Why work with Sundried?
Sundried has the cool effect when it comes to fitness. The clothes are versatile, excellent quality and great prices! I love what Sundried stand for and that they give back to the world. So many other companies are all about the "fast fashion" so they skimp on quality, fit and most importantly how they are created. I am very excited to be a part of the team and look forward to what amazing things will be happening in the future!
Getting an injury can be both mental and physical in its negative affect on you. Not being able to train properly can be very frustrating, and oftentimes people just end up getting more injured by not listening to their bodies and pushing through the pain. Here's how to train smart when you're injured so that you can get back to health as quick as possible.
How do I keep fit with a knee injury?
The most common bane for runners, a knee injury is also one of the most common injuries that people try to just push through. However, it's very important that you don't push through the pain and end up making it worse. Wearing high heels for a long period of time, riding a bike in a bad position, and running with poor form can all contribute to weak or injured knees. But there are plenty of things you can do while your injury heals.
- Walk uphill. Either on a treadmill or outside, walking uphill can still get the heart rate up and the blood pumping so that you still feel you're having a good workout.
- Med ball slams. This exercise doesn't involve bending the knees at all, so if yours are completely knackered you should still be able to complete this exercise.
- Weighted step ups. You can do these with dumbbells, kettlebells, or just unweighted. These will get the heart rate up and act as a cardio exercise despite being low impact.
How do I strengthen my back after an injury?
Depending on the severity, a back injury could have you out of action for a long time. For this reason, it's extra important that you do all you can to keep your fitness up and stay sane while your body heals.
- Yoga. This is a very low-impact way of both staying in shape and strengthening your back after becoming injured. The flowing movements and body-weight stretches won't put unnecessary strain on your muscles and will help to stretch and alleviate any tightness.
- Brisk walking. You need to be so careful with a back injury so as not to jar it or make it worse. Brisk walking is very low impact and is accessible to everyone. Going for a 30-minute fast walk each day will still elevate your heart rate and keep you moving. It will stop your muscles from seizing up due to inactivity and will get you out and about to combat the mental effects of being injured.
How long does it take to heal a torn rotator cuff?
Shoulder injuries are one of the most common suffered by both athletes and non-athletes because there are so many tendons and ligaments supporting this joint. They can take a long time to heal if you have really torn them so you'll need to take it easy with this injury and give it plenty of time to heal properly before you dive back into your normal training.
- Stabilising exercises. Simple movements like squeezing your shoulder blades together can stabilise your muscles and kick-start your recovery.
- Wall push ups. Doing regular push ups would put too much strain on your shoulders, but by leaning against a wall and pushing off, you can lower the impact while still reaping the benefits.
Remember that above all else, rest will be the key to your recovery. Even once you're feeling better, you will be weaker than before you became injured, so scale your workouts and listen to your body at all times.
Training with gym rings has numerous benefits. It builds upper body strength, improves balance and agility, and works the core effectively. Try Sundried's gym rings workout to see for yourself how well it works!
Gymnastics Rings Circuit Workout
Training with gym machines all the time can be so boring. Mix up your training with our gym straps. With exercises like ring pulls ups and rows, there's a range of movements which will work the whole body.
Let's go for 3 rounds as a starting point. The key thing to remember is that you can make any movements easier or harder depending on the positions of your feet (the more you put them under the anchor point, the harder it will become).
- 10 Rows
- 10 Push ups
- 10 Bicep curls
- 10 Dips
- 10 One arm rows (5 on each side)
- 10 One arm push ups (5 on each side)
- L-Sit Hold (to failure)
Have a 20-30 second break in between each exercise. As always, form is key.
Good luck and have fun, this is what matters!
When you talk to people about powerlifting, they often confuse it with Olympic weightlifting or even bodybuilding. We take a look at this often overlooked sport and debunk some of the confusion surrounding it.
What is powerlifting training?
Powerlifting is a sport consisting of three lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. The goal of the sport is to lift as much weight as possible across the three lifts while following all the rules.
Powerlifting differs to Olympic weightlifting (or Oly lifting as it is sometimes called) in many ways and the two are completely different sports. In Olympic weight lifting, there are two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. For both these lifts, the weights end up above the athlete's head and a lot of skill and technique is needed to succeed. In powerlifting, it is more about brute strength and there is far less technique involved. Bodybuilding, on the other hand, differs yet again as this is all about sculpting the body and the muscles. Bodybuilders often do not have much strength at all as this sport is all about aesthetics and not about power or strength. Powerlifters may end up with big muscles as a result of training but it is not the primary focus, and many powerlifters do not look classically 'athletic'.
Benefits of powerlifting training
Apart from gaining strength, there are many benefits of powerlifting. Lifting heavy weights increases bone density which in turn reduces the risk of developing brittle bones and osteoporosis later in life. It also works every muscle group in the body in compound moves which improves co-ordination and develops the large muscle groups better than isolating exercises. Increasing muscle density also burns more fat at rest and so you end up losing weight without even trying. Being stronger overall will reduce the risk of injury in other sports like running and cycling and translates well to other aspects of life like walking up stairs or hiking, for example.
Is power lifting an Olympic sport?
Powerlifting is not an Olympic sport and is often confused with Olympic weightlifting, which does feature in the games. However, powerlifting does feature in the Paralympic games. In the Paralympics, powerlifters only complete the bench press discipline, which is considered the ultimate test of upper body strength. Some athletes are able to press more than three times their body weight which is incredible impressive.
It is open to male and female athletes with the following eight eligible physical impairments:
- impaired muscle power
- impaired passive range of movement
- limb deficiency
- leg length difference
- short stature
- hypertonia (a condition in which there is too much muscle tone so that arms or legs, for example, are stiff and difficult to move)
- ataxia (a term for a group of disorders that affect co-ordination, balance and speech)
- athetosis (a condition in which abnormal muscle contraction causes involuntary writhing movements)
A range of physical disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord injuries, Lower Limb Amputation, and poliomyelitis, also meet the current minimal eligibility criteria and athletes with these conditions can compete, safely and appropriately, according to the World Para Powerlifting rules. All eligible athletes compete in one sport class, but in different weight categories.
The bench press is the sport’s single discipline, with 10 different categories based on body weight. Competitors must lower the bar to the chest, hold it motionless on the chest and then press it upwards to arms length with locked elbows. Athletes are given three attempts and the winner is the athlete who lifts the highest number of kilograms.
How do powerlifting competitions work?
Anyone can enter a local or regional powerlifting competition. In order to qualify for a national or world competition, you need to achieve a certain total in your age and weight category. There are different powerlifting federations across the country and the world and these feature different weight categories. The overall governing body for powerlifting is the IPF.
Results are based on what's called the Wilks score, which takes into account body weight as well as weight lifted, to make for a fairer result, as someone with a heavier bodyweight will generally be able to lift heavier than someone who is lighter/smaller.
Being short is often an advantage in powerlifting as it means your levers (arms and legs) are shorter so you have less distance to move the weights. A higher body fat percentage also has this effect, but you need to find the right balance as a higher body fat percentage will also leave you with a higher body weight and therefore a disadvantage against lighter but stronger lifers.
There are two types of powerlifting: equipped and non-equipped (often referred to as 'raw' powerlifting.) In equipped powerlifting, lifters wear extremely tight body suits and lifting shirts as well as knee wraps and wrist wraps. This limits movement but also aids in the lifts dramatically. As a result, you are only allowed to wear wraps and lifting suits/shirts for specifically equipped competitions. For unequipped competitions, you are still allowed to wear knee sleeves, wrist wraps, and a lifting belt, but they must be a certain approved type. Some federations do not even allow knee sleeves so you must check the rules before you compete. Belts are actually encouraged during all powerlifting events as they protect your back and reduce the risk of injury when lifting extremely heavy weights.