• 5 Body Weight Exercises To Add To Your Workout Routine

    plank push up gym workout fitness

    You don't need weights to get great results as body weight exercises can be hugely effective. Add these 5 bodyweight exercises to your workout routine to boost the burn and ramp up your results.

    1. Lunge Kickthrough

    If you want to torch your legs without doing squats, this is the move for you. This exercise will target every muscle in your legs from the glutes to the calves and can even target your core if you do it correctly.

    Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Step back into a lunge on one leg, making sure you bend the knee at a 90 degree angle and keep your chest proud. Using your arms for balance, bring that leg forward and instead of placing it back on the floor, kick it in front of you. Really squeeze your glutes as you kick and then step straight back into a lunge on the same leg. This will also test your balance! Complete 10 reps on one leg and then swap to the other.

    lunge leg workout fitness gym

    leg exercise home gym workout fitness sport

    2. Two-Footed Jumps

    Not only will this exercise tone your legs, it will increase your power and therefore help your sports performance. This is a full body exercise utilising your arms, core, and legs to achieve the best result. It will also work your cardiovascular system and help to improve your lung capacity and VO2 max.

    Mark your starting point with something; this can be anything from a jacket to a towel to a water bottle, anything you have nearby. Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Slightly bend your knees and draw your arms behind you. Jump forward with both feet as explosively as you can. Once you land, shuffle back to your marked starting point. Jump as far as you can and try to beat it each time. 

    3. Pull Ups

    This is a classic exercise that will be found in all good strength training routines and is well-loved by those who do callisthenics, CrossFit, and free running. This is an upper body move and will target your lats and shoulders mainly with a little of the core being hit too. 

    Place your hands wider than shoulder width on a bar and dangle your body so that your feet don't touch the ground. Pull your entire body weight up until your chin goes over the bar. Pull your elbows in and tighten your lats. Breathe out as you pull up to assist in the movement. If you cannot complete this move unassisted, have a friend hold your legs to help you or use a resistance band

    pull ups

    4. Plank Get Ups

    This is a killer exercise which is perfect at the end of your workout. It will target your shoulders, triceps, core, and chest. It is a mix between the classic plank hold and push ups and will really test your strength both physically and mentally.

    Start in a push up position with your wrists under your shoulders and your feet slightly wider than hip width. Lower yourself down onto your forearms one arm at a time, then push yourself back up onto your hands, again one hand at a time. Keep your core squeezed tight and don't rock your hips as you move. Complete as many reps as you can in 30, 45, or 60 seconds. 

    the plank exercise push up core abs strength

    5. Back Extensions

    The posterior chain refers to the muscles down the back of your body, from your hamstrings to your glutes and into your back. This is a really important set of muscles to work as they will help keep your posture correct and can often be neglected during a workout. Back extensions are the perfect way to really target your posterior chain and help to tone your legs and butt as well as reducing back pain.

    Start by laying on the floor face down with your fingers by your temples. Keeping your eyes looking at the floor and your elbows high, lift the upper part of your body off the floor. It will feel quite tough and you might not be able to move very far, but really squeeze through your back and glutes. Take the reps slowly and really focus on every movement. 

    back extensions posterior chain glutes workout fitness

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Summer Scorcher Workout To Melt Fat And Increase Fitness

    beach workout summer fitness

    As summer approaches there's always more pressure to lose the excess pounds and look your best for beach trips and holidays. Try this summer scorcher workout which is guaranteed to burn tons of calories and get you fit for summer.

    How it works

    This is a type of circuit workout, but instead of doing each exercise for a certain amount of time, you do a set number of reps and use a stop watch to time how long it takes you to complete the entire workout. Once you've completed it, try it again the following week to see if you can improve on your time!

    For the first exercise, you do 10 reps. Then 9 reps for the second exercise, 8 reps for the third, then 7 reps, 6 reps, then 5. After the 5 rep exercise, you go back up; so you do the 6 rep exercise again, then 7, then 8, 9, 10.

    You can rest whenever you need and for as long as you need. The point is to keep doing the workout each week and improve your fitness so that after a while, you don't need to rest as much (if at all!) and can smash through the workout in a much quicker time than your first attempt. 

    The exercises

    This is a complete full-body workout and will target every part of your body so that you get great all-round tone while also working your lungs and heart to improve your fitness and burn maximum calories. This workout includes some weighted exercises and some body weight exercises. All of these exercises can be done at the gym or at home, so long as you have dumbbells and a kettlebell at your disposal. 

    10 reps - Dumbbell Burpees

    For this exercise you will need a pair of dumbbells in a fairly light weight. Anything from 2kg to 6kg will be plenty. Hold one dumbbell in each hand, bend down so that they rest on the floor, then jump your legs back while still holding the dumbbells in place. Jump your legs back in and stand up with the dumbbells still by your side. As you stand fully upright, push both dumbbells to the ceiling and then return to your starting position. That's one rep. 

    9 reps - Jumping Lunges

    Drop into a lunge on one leg, then jump into a lunge on the other leg. Use your arms to help with balance and momentum and make sure you keep good form on each and every lunge. One rep is a lunge on each leg, so you will do 18 lunges in total.

    8 reps - Kettlebell Swings

    This exercise is a classic and for good reason, it works the back and core while also targeting the legs and arms. Use a heavy enough weight and you'll be feeling the effects in your lungs and heart too!

    Start by holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of you. Bend your knees and swing the kettlebell between your legs and then up above your head. You can swing it high than eye level, but shoulder-level is safest, especially if you are a beginner. Keep the movement controlled throughout and do not let the kettlebell pull your shoulders forward as it swings down each time. Keep your back straight and your core tight. 8 reps!

    7 reps - Jumping Squats

    This exercise will target all parts of your legs and give you great tone and definition while also challenging your cardio fitness. Drop into a squat, then as you come up, jump as high as possible. Keep your ankles and knees flexible and try to make the movement as fluid as possible. As with the jumping lunges, use your arms for momentum and to help with balance.

    6 reps - Inch Worm With Upright Row

    To start this exercise, place your kettlebell on the floor in front of you, keep it the same weight as you used for the kettlebell swings. Bend your legs and pick up the kettlebell while keeping your chest up and looking ahead. Stand up and pull the kettlebell up to your chin, keeping your elbows high and squeezing your upper back.

    As you lower the kettlebell, put it back down on the floor, then - keeping your feet firmly planted - walk your hands forward along the floor until you are in a press up position. Then, walk your hands back in and pick the kettlebell back up. This is 1 rep.

    5 reps - Burpees

    Enjoy the pain!

    Once you've done these exercises, go back up the ladder, so after the burpees do another 6 inch worms, then 7 jumping squats etc. 

    Your time

    Compare your times to get an idea of how you did!

    Beginner - a beginner will do well to finish inside 20 minutes

    Intermediate - someone with intermediate fitness would do well to finish between 10-15 minutes

    Advanced - someone who trains regularly should be able to complete this workout in under 10 minutes

    Elite - an elite athlete should be able to complete this circuit in under 5 minutes

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How To Stay Fit On Holiday

    stay fit on holiday

    Going on holiday or taking a vacation can be a welcome break from the stresses of everyday life. But worrying that you're going to lose your fitness can be a deal-breaker. Follow our tips on how to stay fit on holiday so that you can get the best of both worlds and not lose any of your hard-earned progress.

    Find a hotel with a gym

    Your first port of call to staying fit on holiday will be staying in a hotel that has a gym. Check to see if you have to pay extra to use the gym or if you can use it whenever you like. Also check its opening hours and see how big it is, as you don't want to be fighting other guests for use of the equipment!

    So that it doesn't feel like a chore while you're enjoying your time away, set aside some time each day to use the gym. First thing in the morning will usually be best as it means you can then enjoy the rest of your day (and the unlimited food!) guilt-free. It will also mean it's not too hot as the sun won't have warmed up too much yet and so you won't overheat during your workout.

    Do a beach workout

    There are lots of health benefits to running on the beach such as working you harder than on pavement and being easier on the joints. Head down to the beach for a run or workout, like our 20-minute beach body workout

    You could do this either in your swim wear or in activewear. Sundried's women's activewear is super fast drying and sweat-wicking so it won't matter if you end up drenched, and is made with 4-way stretch materials so you won't be uncomfortable working out somewhere hot. 

    beach workout running swimming hawaii

    Swim in the sea

    Any triathlete will happily talk to you for hours about the joys of open water swimming, especially in a lovely holiday destination. Take the plunge and go swimming in the sea as this will be a great way to strengthen and tone your whole body as well as burning off those excess calories from the all-inclusive drinks and food. 

    sea swim open water

    Do a workout in your hotel room

    If you can't hit the beach for a workout and your hotel doesn't have a gym, you can still do a great and effective workout in your room. Try our no equipment workout which will help you get great results and burn lots of calories without needing lots of space or any gym equipment.

    You could also workout with a resistance band as these are easily portable so you could chuck one in your suitcase and then do a killer resistance band workout in your hotel room each day.

    hotel room workout

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • What Is A Healthy Lifestyle?

    How to live a healthy lifestyle work stress exercise workout

    We often read about living a healthy lifestyle and there are countless 'lifestyle bloggers' making a fortune from advocating this way of life. But what actually is a healthy lifestyle? And how can you live a healthy lifestyle?

    Why is having a healthy lifestyle important?

    A healthy lifestyle is all about the choices you make regarding your daily habits. Do you slump on the sofa and eat an entire packet of biscuits when you get home from work or do you go for a run and eat a healthy dinner? These daily choices determine whether you're healthy or not, and can affect nearly every aspect of your life. Not only will you feel better mentally, living a healthy lifestyle will lower your risk of developing chronic illnesses and diseases meaning you are physically healthier too.

    The benefits of living a healthy lifestyle

    • Reduced risk of developing chronic illnesses and diseases
    • Improved mood and brain function
    • Improved work performance and concentration
    • Better self-confidence and happiness
    • Improved appearance due to better quality skin and hair
    • Improved relationships
    • Reduced frequency of minor illnesses such as common cold
    • Improved immune system

    How can I live a healthy lifestyle work running happy

    How can I change to a healthy lifestyle?

    Diet

    Probably the most obvious thing to address when changing to a healthy lifestyle is improving your diet. For a lot of people, the first thought is to make a complete overhaul and take extreme measures such as doing a detox or following an extreme diet. However, this is not a viable or sustainable way of changing to a healthy lifestyle. Consistency is key, so you need to make your changes for life and make sure you get into daily healthy habits that you can stick with long term. Take control of your diet by learning about macronutrients and how counting them can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

    Eating a snack or a treat every now and then is also part of living a healthy lifestyle, as a restricted diet is not healthy and not sustainable. Balance is important, so make sure you don't remove entire food groups from your diet.

    One way to improve your diet is by going vegan. This can be fairly extreme, so make sure you do your research first, and it certainly isn't suitable for everyone. Find a healthy diet that works best for you and your unique needs and you'll be well on your way to having a healthy lifestyle.

    • Eat plenty of protein
    • Limit unhealthy foods but still allow a treat from time to time
    • Limit processed foods
    • Cook from scratch wherever possible
    • Do not take extreme measures to lose weight

    Drinks

    When changing to a healthier diet, many people tend to neglect what they drink and focus only on what they eat. You could be drinking lots of sugar in your drinks if you enjoy branded soft drinks, and there are even worse health effects associated with drinking large volumes of alcohol. If your lifestyle currently consists of going out drinking with friends every weekend, or drinking regularly as part of your daily routine, this is not healthy. In order to change to a healthy lifestyle, you will need to reduce or even eliminate altogether the amount of alcohol you drink. There are many benefits of giving up alcohol or even just drinking less, such as better skin, reduced risk of cancer, and improved mood. Not to mention no more hangovers!

    • Limit sugar drinks
    • Limit energy drinks
    • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
    • Drink more water

    Drink hydrate healthy lifestyle

    Sleep routine

    Third in the pecking order of living a healthy lifestyle after diet and drinks is sleep. If you have poor quality sleep or do not get enough each night, your health will deteriorate quickly and you will have a poor quality of life. The average healthy adult should aim for an absolute minimum of 6 hours each night, but 8-10 hours is optimum for healthy brain function and performance. 

    Not only is it important for your daily functions, sleep is important for recovery too. If you do a great workout at the gym or go for a long run or cycle, having a good night's sleep is vital for recovery so that your muscles can grow and your tissue and immune system can stay healthy. 

    Not getting enough sleep is not the only unhealthy habit you may have; the quality of your sleep is important too. If you sleep with a television or music on, this is not conducive to a good night's sleep and it will mean your hormones are negatively affected. If you are continuously awoken throughout the night by loud noises, a baby crying, or a snoring partner, you will definitely suffer from bad moods and lack of concentration the next day. You can track your sleep using a fitness tracker or wearable to analyse the quality of your sleep and see if you are constantly being disturbed throughout the night. Getting a good 10 hours of high quality sleep every night is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, you cannot 'catch up on sleep' at the weekend - you have to be consistent!

    • Try to get 8-10 hours sleep every night
    • Don't try to catch up on sleep at the weekend
    • Get into a consistent sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time 7 days a week
    • Eliminate disruptions to your sleep by not sleeping with television or music on

    Work habits

    We spend a lot of our time at work, so your healthy lifestyle needs to translate into the office as well as at home. If you can, try to work out while at work, as working out at work can help prevent health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If you sit at a desk all day, try to get up and walk around every hour and if you have a manual job where you are on your feet all day, make sure you take rests.

    There is lots of advice out there on how to workout at work and it is easier than you think. By following healthy work habits, you will greatly improve your chances of benefiting from a healthy lifestyle.Try to avoid snacking and avoid the temptation of all the unhealthy food in your workplace! Bring a homemade lunch with you each day so that you can control your portions and know exactly what you're eating. 

    • Get up and stay active while at work
    • Avoid temptation by bringing your own food to work

    workout at work sleep routine healthy habits lifestyle

    External factors (family, friends, stress)

    After all is said and done, there will always be external factors that you cannot control and which can undo all your hard work. If your home life is hectic and stressful, there is not much chance that you will be able to live a fully healthy lifestyle. Try to address the things that are causing you to have bad habits, such as grabbing a ready meal because you don't have time to make a healthy dinner or not getting enough sleep because of stress.

    There are ways to manage depression which don't involve going to see a therapist, such as meditating, doing vigorous exercise, and finding a new hobby. All of these are very important for living a healthy lifestyle, and can make a huge difference to your well being. You can manage stress with exercise by going for a long run to clear your head or taking your frustrations out at the gym. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 5 Minute Punch Bag Workout

    Punch Bag Workout Boxing HIIT Training

    If you're looking for a short but intense workout, this is the one for you. Lasting just over 5 minutes, you don't even need a punchbag as you can just punch the air.  

    The Punch Bag

    I use the Lonsdale Authentic Bag in Vintage Brown. It weighs 34kg so it is a heavy bag meaning a tough workout. It is a premium bag, but one built to last. 

    Lonsdale Heavy Punch Bag

    The Gloves

    I will be using the Everlast Evergel Handwrap Boxing Gloves. I purchased these as bag mitts and they offer amazing protection at the wrists, a very common place for people to pick up injuries. However, the stitching is already splitting at the knuckles so I'm not sure they would last very long.

    punchbag workout 5 minute quick get fit

    The Interval Timer

    You can find many interval timers for your phone in the app store. The purchased version of ‘IntervalTimer’ I have found useful to so many workouts. You can create your own customised workout timers including rests, bell ring noises and it will save them into a calendar. Of course, you could just use a stopwatch, but using the app I have set up a little ‘last 10 seconds remaining’ for each interval to mimic my personal trainer encouraging me to ‘push through the burn’.

    Interval Timer

    The Workout

    20 seconds punching, 20 seconds rest.

    30 seconds punching, 30 seconds rest.

    40 seconds punching, 40 seconds rest

    50 seconds punching, 50 seconds rest

    60 seconds punching, 60 seconds rest

    The total workout lasts 5 minutes 40 seconds. It will work your shoulders, arms, lungs, and heart. My heart rate hits a maximum of 150 bpm during this workout which is about 80% of max. Heart Rate Chart from 5 minute punch bag workout

    Posted by Daniel Puddick