Happy Valentine's Day lovebirds! If you're not going out tonight, why not try this couples workout with your loved one or even just a best friend? Training with a partner is a great way to increase motivation and to bond with someone too.
Lunge with Med Ball Pass
This exercise will torch your legs as well as your core and will require teamwork and co-ordination!
Stand next to your partner, both facing the same way. One of you holds a medicine ball or slam ball. Both lunge forward at the same time. Hold your arms out as straight as possible to work your core hard and twist your entire torso to face your partner. Make sure to twist from the waist to work your abs and keep your core tight. As your partner takes the ball, both of you step back to your starting position. Now repeat this by lunging forward on the other leg and receive the ball from your partner.
Try to stay synced up with your partner and stay in a good lunge as you pass the ball between you. Repeat exercise for 30 seconds if you're beginners or try 60 seconds if you're already fairly fit.
Press Up with High Five
This exercise is great for your shoulders and core and will really help create a rapport and bond with your partner. Make sure you don't slap each other in the face!
Both adopt a press up position facing each other. Both drop into a press up at the same time, then at the top, both using your right hand, high five each other. Drop into another press up and then high five with your left hands.
If you cannot do full press ups, you can do them from your knees (it doesn't matter if one partner is on their toes and one is on their knees). Try to stay co-ordinated and make sure the press ups are good quality.
Plank Jump Throughs
This one can be great fun to do together and will really test your trust! This will work your core but also acts as cardio as you will be jumping.
One partner adopts a plank position with their legs wide apart. While partner one holds this position, partner two jumps between their legs. There should be three jumps: outside the left leg, between both legs, and outside the right leg. Try to do two-footed jumps to get the most out of this exercise. You will need to jump your legs high so that you don't trip over your partner!
Do this exercise for 30 seconds and then swap positions. If you are more advanced, try it for 60 seconds.
Burpee with Med Ball Pass
Now we're really increasing the intensity! Burpees are an excellent full-body exercise and will get your heart racing for all the right reasons this Valentine's Day!
Stand facing your partner and hold a medicine ball or slam ball. Throw the ball to your partner who then throws it straight back and drops into a burpee. As soon as they stand back up, throw them the ball again and as soon as they throw it back they do another burpee. Repeat this for 30 seconds and then swap roles.
This is a high intensity exercise and requires team work and co-ordination. Make sure the throws to your partner are good ones so that you can keep the movements streamlined without dropping the ball. To make this exercise harder, stand further away from each other and see how far you can go.
Partner Russian Twists
Our final exercise will target your abs and really finish you off in style.
Sit on the floor next to your partner, fairly close to one another. Adopt the classic Russian twist position by balancing on your seat bones, lean back, and hold your legs and feet off the floor. Pass a medicine ball or slam ball between you and really over-exaggerate the twists to work the abs properly.
If you want to make progress with your fitness or weight loss, you need to have a goal. Otherwise, how will you measure your progress and know that you've succeeded? We take a look at how to set fitness goals and importantly, how to achieve them.
What is a SMART goal for fitness?
The most common and successful way to set a goal for fitness (or for anything for that matter) is to create a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and with a Time frame. By creating a SMART goal, you will avoid making unrealistic and unspecific goals which may not be achievable, and will help you to create an excellent goal that will get you where you want to be. By creating a SMART goal you are almost guaranteeing yourself success and you will be able to better assess your progress as you go.
What is an example of a long term fitness goal?
There are two types of goal: long term and short term. A short term goal is one which you aim to achieve in a relatively short space of time, perhaps within 3 months. A long term fitness goal is one which you will continue to tweak and work on progressively for an extended period of time, such as 1-3 years.
An example of a long term fitness goal would be to go from being overweight to completing a marathon in 3 years. You would need lots of short term goals in between, such as completing a couch to 5k programme, successfully completing a 10k, a half marathon, losing an amount of weight, eating better etc. By creating short term goals, you break down the long term goal and make it far more manageable. This will aid your chances of success and keep you focused and motivated the entire time.
SMART goals for weight loss examples
Having the goal to 'lose weight' is far too broad and you are very unlikely to succeed in it. There is no time frame so you won't know when you've achieved it, and there is no measurement so it could go on indefinitely as your weight fluctuates up and down. An example of a SMART goal for weight loss would be:
"I will lose 10kg in 6 months by running 3 times a week and going to the gym twice a week. Once I have achieved this goal, I will treat myself to a new set of activewear in a smaller size."
This is an example of a SMART goal as it is very specific, it is measurable because you can weigh yourself each month to make sure you're on track, it is achievable as that is a healthy amount of weight to lose in that time, it is realistic, and it has a time frame of 6 months. It even includes a reward at the end for extra motivation.
Examples of SMART goals for strength training
Another example of a bad goal is to say 'I want to tone up'. This is extremely vague and ambiguous and you are unlikely to ever achieve it. An example of a SMART goal for strength training would be:
"I will increase my squat weight from 30kg to 50kg in 3 months by following a strength training programme and lifting 4 times a week."
This SMART goal is specific as it includes specific weights, it is measurable as you can measure the weights you use and keep track by writing down your progress each week, it is achievable, it is realistic as that is not a crazy amount of weight to increase by in the time, and it has a time frame of 3 months. You will know for sure if and when you have achieved your goal and can therefore be proud of yourself once you have accomplished it.
How can I achieve my fitness goals?
Staying motivated can be tough, especially for those who have made a fitness goal as a new year resolution. One of the most important things when trying to achieve a fitness goal is consistency. If you start going for a run every morning but then can't maintain it and stop after 2 weeks, you will never achieve your goal. You need to start gradually and make fitness a part of your every day lifestyle. By adding an exercise regime into your daily routine, you will be able to stay consistent and have a better chance of succeeding. Sometime it just takes sheer willpower and determination, so remember why you started and have an end goal and incentive in mind. Perhaps it's buying yourself new fitness clothing or taking yourself on a spa day, whatever it is, it could help you to stay on track and stay focused.
When it comes to running, there's more to it than just pounding the pavement. In order to avoid injury and stay strong, you need to cross train to keep your muscles and joints healthy. Follow our runner's winter workout to give you the base you need to succeed.
Indoor Winter Workout For Runners
Hold onto a wall or bar for support, and swing one leg in front and behind you 10 times. Repeat on the other leg. Make sure you feel the stretch in the hamstring as the leg comes forward, and the stretch in the hip as it goes behind you.
Lateral Leg Swings
This is the same thing, but now you swing the leg from side to side in front of you. Feel the stretch in the inner thigh (adductor) as the leg swings out to the side.
For this warm up, you imagine you are stepping over invisible hurdles. Lift up your left leg and step it sideways over an invisible hurdle, making sure as the right leg comes over it steps over too. Do 3-4 steps one way and repeat going back the other.
Banded Back Squats
Back squats are a great exercise for runners as they target all of the muscle groups in the legs. By using a resistance band round your knees, you will train your hips to stay open and encourage perfect form. This will also help to strengthen your IT band which is a common cause of injury for runners.
Place the resistance band just above your knees and keep your knees pushing outwards for the duration of the lift. Place a bar on your back and drop into a squat. Make sure your hips drop below your knees and then use your glutes to squeeze you back up. Complete 3 sets of 10 on a fairly light weight.
Banded Front Squats
Front squats also work all of the muscles in the legs, but they also encourage you to keep your chest up because the bar is on your front. Front squats will work your glutes harder as you can't cheat!
Place the resistance band just above your knees again but this time place the bar on your front, supporting it with your hands. Keep your elbows high. Keep your chest proud and drop into a squat. Make sure you really squeeze your glutes so that you can shoot back up without leaning forwards and dropping the bar. Complete 3 sets of 10 on a light weight.
Deadlifts are another important exercise for runners as they will strengthen your back and core so that you can stay strong throughout the race and not suffer from any aches as the miles rack up.
With the bar on the floor, place your feet under the bar so that it touches your shins and bend your knees so that you can grab the bar. Keep your bum down and your chest high, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pick the bar up off the floor. Lock out at the top by pushing your hips slightly forward and then bend back down to place the bar back on the floor. Do 3 sets of 10 on a fairly heavy weight. Make sure you keep your back dead straight throughout the lift and squeeze your core tight to protect your spine.
KB Single Leg Deadlifts
This is a fantastic exercise, especially if you suffer with pain in your feet and ankles when you run. It will correct any strength imbalances between your legs and help with your balance as well as leg strength.
Start with the right side: Find your balance on your right leg and hold the kettlebell in your right hand. Slow lean forward so that the kettlebell lowers to the floor while simultaneously lifting your left leg behind you. Squeeze your glutes so that your left leg lifts nice and high and see if you can lean all the way forward so that the kettlebell touches the floor. Slowly pivot back to centre. Repeat 10 times then switch to the other side.
KB Side Leans
Time to target the abs. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand and keep it by your side. Lean to the right, moving only your waist. Slide the kettlebell down your right leg and then squeeze your abs to come back up. Repeat 10 times then swap to the left side.
If you work at a desk job, you probably spend more time at your desk than anywhere else in your life and that comes with its drawbacks. The problem being that we know there is a problem, but sitting is so deeply rooted into office culture, it’s difficult to change it. So how can you stay healthy at work?
Be smart with your breaks
Sundried believe that supporting staff health should be part of our healthy company ethos, which is why we created the concept of EHOH. EHOH stands for ‘every hour on the hour’ and is simply the way we break up our long periods of sitting by adding workouts or just stretching our legs whenever an hour passes. The addition of exercise into your working day doesn’t have to cost your staff focus or paid time either.
A standard office worker will spend their entire 8 hours of work sitting down. Add to this another potential 2 hours each day commuting by car or train and you're spending most of your waking hours sedentary. EHOH proposes we shake up this regime. Instead of having a one-hour lunch break, we suggest breaking the 60 minutes into 6 10-minute breaks at hourly intervals throughout the day. This can help to alleviate back ache and other issues associated with long periods of sitting at a desk.
Research supports working out at work
Research published in the Journal of Workplace Health Management by the University of Bristol found that employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work or exercised during lunch breaks - were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them.
It also found that people's general mood improved on days of exercise but they became more anxious on days without exercise.
The research, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, is the first of it's kind to prove that exercise during work hours has mental, as well as physical benefits. Of those involved with the research, seventy two per cent reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days, seventy nine per cent said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised and seventy four per cent said they managed their workload better.
A study by the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that incorporating just 2.5 hours of exercise per week into the workday led to a noticeable reduction in absences.
So a happier more time efficient, focused workforce who get more work done can be achieved just by encouraging exercise at work.
But what about all the cakes and office snacking…
Working out at work can make you hungrier yes, but typically eating at the desk is brought on by boredom and not physical hunger. Therefore having the mental stimulation each hour of a short workout can help to encourage you to eat less and stay more focused.
Working out at work shouldn’t be a matter of frantically doing dips off your desk every time the boss leaves the room, exercise should be a priority for employers. Fit and healthy staff also means less sick days.
Workout at work to be all day active
Research has shown that even those who exercise after work are at risk of severe health issues if they continue to sit for the rest of the day.
Dr. David Alter, a heart expert from the University of Toronto and senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute found that sitting too much—even among people who exercise regularly—led to higher rates of hospitalisation, heart disease and cancer and even premature death.
The researchers looked at 47 studies that asked people how much time they spent sitting and exercising, as well as rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death from any cause. The more hours people in the studies spent sedentary—like watching TV or sitting behind a desk—the higher their risk of all of these negative outcomes. Heavy sitters showed a 90% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who sat less, an 18% higher chance of dying of heart disease or cancer, and 24% greater odds of dying from any cause. These rates were the average among people who both exercised regularly and those who did not.
The Sundried collection has been developed to encourage all day activity, where exercise is intrinsic. From working in the office to cycling to meetings our activewear is smart and functional.
It doesn’t have to stop at EHOH either, a pilot study on walking meetings conducted at the University of Miami discovered that office workers who swapped one seated meeting a week for a walking meeting added an extra 10 minutes of physical activity easily into their regular routine.
The research saw 17 employee’s from the university conduct one of their 30-60 minute meetings whilst walking. They were encouraged to bring water, sunblock and other necessities.
On average their moderate - intense physical activity increases as a result, from 107 weekly minutes to 117 weekly minutes by the third week following the new protocol.
The researchers also noted that whilst the walking meetings were not large calorie burners, what they did do was significantly improve the employees moods by breaking up sedentary spells.
"The data collected from this pilot study suggest that walking meetings were not only well accepted by our sample of workers but were easy to implement and feasible to conduct," Alberto Caban-Martinez and his team wrote in Preventing Chronic Disease, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We need to create a shift in office norms, instead of bringing in a cake on your birthday, why not have the birthday burpees ? Earn that cake! All it takes is one office worker to start EHOH and eventually the other’s will follow (even if they don’t want to, eventually the guilt will get to them)!
A shift in office culture has to start somewhere, so join us and get your office moving with EHOH and workout at work.
Sweating is the body's natural response to exercise. Water is a by-product of the aerobic training system, and sweat is also a natural way to cool ourselves down. But why do some people sweat more than others? And does sweating more mean you are burning more fat?
Does sweating help you lose weight?
When your muscles heat up as you’re training, your body works to cool you down which is why you sweat. The reason you may then experience a shift in weight is due to water loss, which needs to be replenished for your body to remain hydrated and avoid cramps and headaches. If you lose 1 litre of water through exercise, your weight will drop by 1kg. This is why you may see some bodybuilders at your gym weigh themselves before and after they've trained as it tells them how much water they've lost and therefore how much they need to replenish.
Sweating is caused by an increase in body temperature and heart rate. The act of sweating itself won't cause you to lose weight, but whatever caused you to sweat most likely will!
Are people who sweat lots less fit?
We are born with between two and four million sweat glands, the amount is determined by genetics and therefore, some people are destined to sweat more. Women have more sweat glands than men, but men’s sweat glands are naturally more active and so typically women sweat less. The amount you sweat has nothing to do with how fit you are, but is simply a matter of DNA. It can also be affected by your hydration levels, as if you don't drink enough water, your body won't have any to sweat out!
Sweat is a natural response to cool the body down so if it’s cold you could be training as hard as you possibly can and still not sweat at all. So sweat is not a measure of effort or calorie expenditure.