• Fact vs Fiction: 10 common health and fitness myths debunked

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    There is a colossal amount of information available to us about fitness, which is frequently contradictory. It is often hard to decipher fact from fiction which leaves us all in a state of confusion but, when in doubt, it is important to turn to science. 

    In a world of fad workout trends, sport science serves to discern fact from fiction with in-depth research and testing.

    Myth 1: Long sessions at a lower intensity burn more body fat

    Our bodies are always working to turn both carbohydrates and fat into energy which our cells can utilise. This energy production is constant, and the dominant energy source changes depending on what we’re doing and what we have most recently eaten. 

    It is true that when working out at 55-70% of your maximum heart rate, your body will utilise more fat than carbohydrate for fuel. The more intensely you exercise, the more your body turns to carbohydrate stores for energy. However, as higher-intensity exercise puts more strain on the body, it requires more caloric energy. And so, if your goal is to solely lose weight, it isn’t necessarily more effective train at a lower intensity to stay in a so-called ‘fat-burning zone’

    When it comes to exercise, a mixture of intensities is important. Striking a balance in your fitness routine is the best way to make it both productive and sustainable.

    Myth 2: Lifting heavy weights makes you bulky

    Lifting weights was previously associated with body building, strongmen, and professional athletes. It bred the longstanding misnomer that performing a low number of repetitions with heavy weights will result in an increase in size. It is important to dispel this myth because strength training is a vital component of any fitness regimen and will not give you unwanted bulkiness, especially if you are a woman. Women’s hormones aren’t conducive to ‘bulking up’, thus women have a greater handicap in putting on excess muscle mass.

    Don’t deny yourself the benefits of resistance training because of the irrational fear of becoming accidentally bulky. Instead, reap the rewards of improved cardiac and respiratory health, increased joint and muscular strength, better posture, more energy, and a faster metabolism.

    Myth 3: You can target areas for weight loss 

    The belief that fat loss in a specific region could be targeted by building muscle around it has evolved from the idea that gaining muscle increases metabolism. Whilst working out can help to reduce your overall body fat, you cannot control where that fat comes from.

    Targeting areas during exercise can be effective to build muscle and shape specific areas but directed fat loss will not occur. This is because, as you exercise your body breaks down stored fat, from fat cells distributed across your entire body, into chemicals that can be utilised as energy. No targeting is required because our bloodstream acts as a carrier for these chemicals to get the energy where it needs to be.

    Myth 4: Your workout must be intense and hard 

    Believe it or not, moving between different intensities and types of exercise is better for your body and fitness levels.

    Not every gym session has to leave you struggling to walk the next day and may be a sign that you are training too hard. It is not a good idea to frequently exercise at a high intensity because it can limit recovery and lead to overtraining. Ideally you should avoid putting too much stress on your body and limit high intensity workouts to 2-3 times per week.

    Myth 5: The more you can train, the better

    You might be relieved to hear that rest is key in fitness. When you work out, you are breaking down muscle fibres so that they can rebuild stronger. To do this, you need to give your body time to recover by scheduling in 1-2 recovery days per week. 

    Recovery days could incorporate complete rest or something which doesn’t put stress on the body, like a walk or gentle stretching.

    If you're looking for some new activewear to make training feel a little easier, check out Sundried's Gym Activewear today for gym wear that will support you and enhance your performance.

    Myth 6: Exercise will result in weight loss

    We have all been conditioned to believe that exercise is the most important element for weight loss but, in truth, it only accounts for a small portion of our daily energy expenditure. This means that it is hard to create a significant calorie deficit through exercise alone.

    Food intake accounts for 100% of the energy that goes into your body whilst exercise can only burn off 10-20% of it. And so, for weight loss, the focus should be turned to dietary intake and regular daily movement.

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    Myth 7: Fasted cardio burns more fat

    The thought process behind fasted cardio is that the body will use fat stores to fuel the session as opposed to dietary carbohydrates in the absence of a pre-workout meal, therefore aiding in weight loss. However, studies have shown that body composition changes associated with aerobic exercise in conjunction with a hypo-caloric diet are similar regardless of whether an individual is fasted prior to training. 

    Ultimately, when it comes to weight loss, an individual’s overall diet is far more important than a single fasted session. The body needs fuel to perform optimally, so eating a small pre-workout meal before a cardio session will only help improve your performance and may even prevent overindulgence later in the day.

    Myth 8: Exercising counteracts the effects of sitting at a desk all day

    If you are sitting at a computer screen or desk for most of the day, a 30-minute workout isn’t going to cut it. It is more important to take movement breaks every 30-60-minutes.

    It is time that we all start to become more innovative when it comes to movement in the workplace and schedule in calls on-the-go and standing meetings. 

    Myth 9: Body parts should always be trained separately

    The use of body part splits is frequently overused by lifters and can result in poorer results when done badly. What often happens is that people get too excited at the start of the week and train very hard, resulting in muscle soreness and a reduction in motivation the following day. Consequently, training the next muscle group will be at a much lower intensity, leading to a loading discrepancy between body parts.

    By hitting multiple body parts more often throughout the week, it is much easier to maintain an optimal muscle balance.

    Myth 10: A successful workout should be sweat inducing

    Sweat occurs when your core temperature rises to help cool the body via evaporation. Whilst your muscles will generate heat when you exercise, your internal temperature will largely depend on the temperature that you are working out in. For example, you will sweat less in an air-conditioned room compared to a heated studio. The humidity in the air also plays a role; you will feel like you are sweating more when it is humid because the sweat can’t evaporate from your skin.

    Don’t buy into the notion that sweating is a sign of a good workout. Instead, focus on other better indications of a successful training session like an improvement in fitness or enhanced technique.

    Final thoughts

    When it comes to fitness fads, it is important to exercise some caution. Especially if they seem gimmicky, sound too good to be true, offer ‘quick fixes’, or are trying to sell you something. 

    Take the time to do your own research and only invest your time and money into things which are backed by science. 

    About the author: Laura Smith is an elite level athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more advice from our ambassadors? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Small ways to make time for movement when you feel like you have no time

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    Regular exercise often helps to reduce stress and improve cognitive function; however, it is not always possible to make time for a training session. Well, perhaps it's time to re-frame what true exercise looks like and make time for movement.

    Many people fall into the trap of only moving when they have enough time for a training session but the long and short term benefits of simple movement should not be underestimated.

    If you find that you do not have enough time to hit the gym or go for a morning run, why not try the following tips for turning typical daily moments into an opportunity for exercise.

    Go for a walk during meetings

    Walking is one of the best ways to keep moving throughout the day. So, next time you have a scheduled meeting, suggest making it a mobile meeting whereby you can go for a walk outside.

    Take the stairs

    The elevator may go up, but it does not make your heart rate climb. Taking the stairs can offer you an additional dose of daily exercise.

    Multi-task

    Catch-up on reading, emails and admin whilst walking, pedalling or using the elliptical machine.

    Socialise on the move

    Next time a friend suggests meeting for lunch, counter with an active invitation. A yoga class, long walk or leisurely bike ride can be a great opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip whilst moving.

    Move whilst you wait

    Whether you are waiting for your dinner to cook or your next meeting to start, there are plenty of short periods throughout the day which can be used for movement. Next time you have a few minutes to spare, repeatedly do 10 push ups followed by 10 squats. Keep track of how many rounds you can do throughout the day and prepare to be amazed.

    Supercharge your chore list

    Whether indoors or out, do not underestimate the effectiveness of housework as exercise. Just throw on some music, pick up the pace, and throw yourself wholeheartedly into the efforts of maintaining your home.

    Stretch at your desk

    Sitting for long periods at your desk can not only affect your health but it can have a direct impact on your work performance and engagement. Try a few simple stretches throughout the day to help ease the strain of prolonged stillness.

    Transform your commute into an opportunity to move

    Walking, running or cycling to work is a perfect way to incorporate movement into your day. But, if your journey is a little too far, why not just park farther away and walk or cycle the remainder of the journey.

    When you start looking for them, you will identify lots of opportunities to be more active. Remember that every little counts!

    About the author: Laura Smith is an accomplished athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more training advice at your fingertips? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Sports and skincare - top tips on how to look after your skin as an athlete

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    As athletes our skin is exposed to the elements which can cause it to become reactive. But being an athlete does not mean that you have to sacrifice your skin! Here are a few top tips to keep your skin happy and healthy whilst you train.

    Never train with makeup on

    Keeping your face clean allows its pores to breathe properly as you exercise and sweat. With makeup, your pores stay blocked which can lead to acne and blackheads.

    Drink plenty of water

    Always carry a water bottle with you, as it is important to replenish the fluids you lose through sweat. Hydration is the key to excellent skin!

    Avoid touching your skin

    When you are hot from exercising, your skin pores open up for perspiration. This puts you at an increased risk of skin disease breakouts caused by bacteria on your hands.

    Keep your equipment bacteria free

    Workout apparatus harbours bacteria which can easily reach your skin and cause breakouts. Ensure that you disinfect your equipment before use to avoid transferring any dirt or grime onto your face.

    Take a shower as soon as you finish a workout session

    Sweat is the body’s natural method of cooling and detoxifying, but if left on the skin, bacteria forms and breakouts begin. If you are short on time and cannot shower immediately after your workout, change out of your wet gym clothes and wipe away the sweat as soon as possible. 

    Replace your towels

    Household towels are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, so just imagine what your gym-bag towel looks like under a microscope. Keep your towels clean and avoid exposing your skin cells to unwanted toxins.

    Dry your skin gently

    Avoid harshly rubbing your skin after a shower. Instead, pat your face dry with a clean towel.

    Cleanse before and after exercise 

    If you let sweat sit on your skin, it can clog your pores and cause blemishes. Use a gentle cleanser to wash away the grime and sweat that’s accumulated on the skin’s surface. Oily skin can benefit from a cleanser formulated with glycolic acid, whilst dry skin thrives with an oil-based or nourishing cleanser formatted with ceramides. 

    Exfoliate your skin

    Exfoliation helps to remove the top layer of dead skin cells before they clog up your pores. 

    Use a mist to sooth your skin

    Use a soothing face mist after cleansing to help refresh and hydrate your skin. 

    Keep your skin moisturised

    Serums and oil-free moisturisers will keep skin hydrated without clogging pores.

    Protect your skin against UV rays

    Protect your skin from premature aging and uneven skin tones by choosing a water resistant, broad spectrum UVA/UVB blocking moisturiser with an SPF of 50. 

    An effective routine is essential to help keep your skin looking its best as, ultimately, preventing skin problems is easier- and less costly- than trying to fix them in the future

    About the author: Laura Smith is an elite level athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more training advice at your fingertips? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Training Tips: Knowing whether to take a break from your training or push on

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    Too much of anything is never a good thing, even when it comes to exercise. In the same respect that committing to a training regimen is admirable, so is knowing when your body needs a break because, inevitably, it will. However, acknowledging the signs can be difficult, especially when training seems to be going so well and you start to feel physically and mentally stronger.

    This blog aims to pinpoint a few tell-tale signs that your body needs a break so that you can decipher when it might be time to slow down.

    1. Training starts to feel obligatory

    Exercise should not feel like a chore. If it does, it is time to take a breather and re-structure your routine with the types of physical activities that you actually enjoy.

    Sometimes all you need to make your workout feel easier is the right kit. Shop Sundried's Gym Activewear today for gym wear that will support you and enhance your performance.

    2. Physical and mental fatigue

    Sometimes when we have a lot of motivation, we can push ourselves past a breaking point and get injured. There is a key difference between being tired and being lazy. Key signs of physical fatigue include poor sleep, an inability to concentrate, and difficulty in performing day-to-day tasks.

    3. An unusual heart rate

    Both an unusually low and high heart rate can be indicative of exercise burnout. If you are struggling to elevate your heart rate during training or are seeing it skyrocket with minimal effort, it is time to take a break.

    4. Movement patterns and form begin to suffer

    Form is an essential component of any training in order to improve performance and prevent injury. When your body is exhausted from overworking itself, your physical form will suffer. Aching joints, extreme muscle soreness, and impeded flexibility are all signs of an overworked body.

    5. Altered mood which impedes on day-to-day life

    Overdoing it can make you feel extremely down and result in a negative outlook on life in general. A lack of interest in food or social life is a sign that you may be exercising too much and need to take some time off until your mood improves.

    6.Workouts begin to take priority 

    It is not necessarily a bad thing if training is a priority. However, if the thought of taking a day off leaves you with feelings on angst then it has taken an unhealthy role in your life, and you need to take a break ASAP. 

    It can be difficult to strike the balance between working hard and working too hard but hopefully those pointers will be able to help. The bottom line is that rest and recovery should not be feared and should regularly feature in any training regimen. You will be amazed by what a well-rested mind and body can actually achieve.

    About the author: Laura Smith is an elite level athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more training advice at your fingertips? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Sally Talbot - Yoga Instructor and Ambassador

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    How did you first discover your love for yoga?

    In 2000, I was diagnosed with M.E. a chronic and debilitating illness. It took many years for me to recover fully. It was an illness that left me house bound and often bed ridden.

    In addition to nutritional changes (ones I still adopt to this day) Yoga played a huge part in my recovery. I found a local class and attended when I felt well enough. This weekly class gave me an insight into the importance of mindfulness and movement and what a powerful combination that can be when practised appropriately. As my health improved I became more curious about this ancient practise. I embarked on a 3 year Teacher Training Course with The British Wheel of Yoga. My passion for Yoga was ignited the moment I sat on my mat all those years ago, despite my ill health.

    What sets yoga apart from other fitness disciplines?

    The word “Yoga” means to unite. During a yoga class and by having a regular practise of Yoga we aim to unite both mind and body. This is achieved through posture work (asana), breathing exercises/awareness (pranayama), meditation (dharana) and relaxation techniques (yoga nidra). Yoga in essence is the ability to quieten the mind by working on all of the above principles. Unlike many other fitness disciplines, when practising Yoga, being competitive with either yourself or others is strongly discouraged.

    How has yoga improved your life?

    Yoga not only improved my life, I will always credit the practise for giving me my life back. Yoga allowed me to have a life. I learnt the meaning of listening to my body. I discovered tools we can use to quieten the mind. I started to understand how important the act of breathing is for our mental and physical well being. I cannot underestimate how important this practise has been in my life and continues to be. The philosophy of mindfulness that I learnt through this practise underpins everything I do both on and off the mat daily.

    How often do you practise yoga?

    I have a daily morning practise which includes mobility work, breathing and meditation.

    What advice would you give to someone thinking of trying yoga for the first time?

    You do not have to be flexible to practise Yoga. You just have to come on to your mat and breathe. Find a teacher you feel comfortable with and choose a practise that makes you feel good. If you don’t enjoy your first class, explore others. Find a teacher who offers you an experience you feel comfortable with. There are many different styles of Yoga. Some offer more breath work. Others will be more physical. Find a class, a style and a level that you enjoy.

    If you are interested in getting into Yoga, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. Shop our Gym and Yoga Collection today. 

    Tell us something unusual we may not know about you.

    I have an identical Twin Sister.

    Do you follow a specific diet plan?

    Yes. I don’t eat meat. I haven’t done so for over 20 years. I rarely eat fish. I am mainly plant based. I drink milk alternatives such as almond, oat and soya. I do enjoy a homemade cake post long cycle ride or run though, but tend to avoid sugar as much as possible. I also avoid processed food. Preferring to eat seasonally and healthily. I adopted this method of eating in order to support my recovery. For me personally, it works. I don’t advocate this specific dietry plan but I do encourage everyone to find foods that make them feel well. Foods that nourish them. And in that discovery, become more mindful of where the food comes from.

    How do you keep your knowledge up to date?

    I am a member of the British Wheel of Yoga. They are the UK governing body of Yoga in the UK and who I trained with. They offer fantastic training days, extra modular courses and In Service Training Days. Pre covid I have enjoyed Yoga Retreats in the UK and abroad with well known and respected Teachers in the industry. I hope that these will one day resume. Until then, it’s making the most of on line learning, reading resources and being part of the Yoga community via The British Wheel.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I am firm believer that how we treat the planet is equally as important as how we treat one another. At Sundried I have found a brand who shares this belief. Not only are their products built to last, they are created ethically and sustainably including a range of active wear made from 100% recycled plastic. I am also supporting a company that wants to give back to the community. This is demonstrated in the support to Water For Kids and Surfers Against Sewage. They are a brand that offers so much more than high quality, great looking clothing. And I am thrilled to be part of the team.

    Favourite fitness quote?

    Progress not Perfection.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
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