The 7 Minute Workout… Are You Serious?

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As a gym rat and running enthusiast I have to say, working out for less than one hour has12well_physed-tmagArticle never felt like enough of a workout. I know that it’s not about the time, it’s the quality of the workout that really matters but we are constantly being told we need to be active for a minimum of 30 minutes every day just to maintain a relatively decent health.

So where did the 7-minute workout come from? And seriously, what can you achieve in 7 minutes?

The story of the 7-minute workout seems to have come out of The American College of Sports Science. It is a scientifically based high-intensity circuit training workout using body weight.  The approach combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout lasting approximately 7 minutes.

My Reality: Having tried and tested out the 7-minute workout for the past 2 weeks, doing workouts between 7 and 21 minutes long (1 – 3 circuits) I can honestly say I have achieved some decent results:

  1. Abs are beginning to appear again – thank you!!! It’s been a while and there is still some work to do but by combining this workout with my gym sessions and weekly runs the desired abs are on the horizon J
  2. My short distance runs feel easier. I am only running once or twice a week for 4-5 miles per run but my times have been faster with no effort to up the pace and I am pretty certain it’s that mix of explosive and strengthening work in the 7-minute workout that has had an impact.
  3. The 21-minute workout feels much harder than an hour in the gym – OMG! Although I opted for the HARD level I thought, being 21 minutes, it would be okay… mmmm, well, no point in doing it if I don’t challenge myself right? And I am saving time.

What I love most about this workout is:

  1. It’s free! You can download an app to your phone so no excuses. Take your kit and get the workout done – simple.
  2. I can fit in 7 minutes any day of the week and 21 minutes most. No more ‘I just couldn’t get to the gym’ syndrome.
  3. I can do it at home or, when I’m travelling, in my hotel room. No equipment required other than my trainers – sweet joy!

Highly recommended if you like to get more done in less time and highly recommended if you want to mix up your routine.

Check out some 7-minute workout app reviews at Narrato and the official 7-minute workout app by Johnson & Johnson.

Because I’m ‘Appy… Have fun, get fit!

YvonneB

Fitness Streaming Online – Yes Or No?

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Knowing I’d be spending the best part of May travelling I had to reconsider YBHealthyLifestyle_Resizemy fitness plan. Determined not to get out of my routine I spent time pre trip carrying out online searches for ‘on the go’ fitness programmes. Imagine my surprise to see such a growing choice!

What I love most about these online platforms is the ability to diversify my fitness routine – true cross training. I initially spent time doing the famous Insanity programme on the Beachbody platform (truly insane!!) then mixed it up with some running and gym cardio/toning work.

I didn’t get as much time to workout as I would have liked on my trip but the hard work pre-travel really paid off and the rest time played its part too. Since getting home I have noticed an increase in my energy levels, greater strength in my leg muscles (all that plyometrics me thinks!) and a zest for more creative workouts.

A quick review then of the sites I have found useful and trialed:

Beachbody: This comes with a 30-day free trial – plenty of time to have a good search around and test out their library of over 100 workout programmes with some top names in fitness. This is where I trialled Insanity and I have to say it has definitely been beneficial. At £38.87 per quarter it’s good value, way cheaper than the gym but also a nice mix with the gym. (Cancel anytime policy). You can also access some information on becoming an instructor for some of the programmes but this isn’t overly obvious/easy to find. That said there are additional bonuses such as fitness guides, nutrition plans and progress trackers.

Les Mills: This comes with a 10-day trial – not quite enough time to dig into all the different workouts but definitely worth doing. I have been testing out the Grit high intensity workout and Sh’Bam dance workouts (good fun) but there are many others and they have a schedule mapped out that you can follow, particularly useful if you are starting out. There is something for everyone here including kids so the whole family can enjoy this and at $9.99 per month it is great value. (Cancel anytime policy). Plus, if you are considering a career in fitness, Les Mills has instructor courses that are very well promoted and clear in terms of what you need to do.

Daily Burn: This comes with a 30-day trial – again, plenty of time to have a good look around and see if it is right for you. What I like about this platform is the mix of training session times, from 30 minutes upwards. Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to get to the gym (travel time) and once you’re there you almost feel obligated to spend at least an hour to justify going in the first place! Yet 30 minutes per day is sufficient to see change and have a good intense workout. I am currently trialing the Black Fire workout (simple routines but you go really hard) and I have to say it’s pretty insane too. For $12.95 per month and you can stream it or attend live. (Cancel anytime policy). They seem to have new workouts every single day so little chance of getting bored.

There are good reasons and benefits to join any one or all three of these platforms. In fact, if you work out the monthly cost of accessing all 3 it is as cheap as the cheapest gym memberships you are likely to find with the added bonus of being able to do the workouts from home with no or very little equipment… providing you are motivated enough to do the work on your own of course! They get a thumbs up ‘YES’ from me.

Hope you get time to test drive them and feedback plus if you have any other online fitness platforms you would recommend please do share them in the comments section – sharing is caring!

One life, live it well!

YvonneB

Power Up Your Fitness Mindset With These 3 Steps

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I’ve been back in the gym for a couple of months and so glad to be in the habit again. My Mental Fitnessrunning has taken a bit of a back seat but I’ll get the balance soon enough.

As I prepare to get back into a fit state I focus as much on building my fitness mindset as I do on creating my ideal workout.

What does a fitness mindset look like?

  1. Visual Preparation: depending on what you are working towards, have some images as a reference point to stimulate you. Using imagery to guide your workout is incredibly powerful. I have a portfolio of photos taken 18 years ago when I was competing in fitness figure shows that I like to flick through. They remind me of what I have achieved and help me focus on what more is possible. Even if you do not have photos, you can use your imagination. Picture yourself performing the exercises you intend to do or the end result you want. You can read more about this technique in detail with Dr John Rusin.
  2. Motivation: even though the photos are a good source of inspiration and help with the focus I like to reinforce them with audio. I was spending quite a bit of time searching YouTube for motivational videos to watch/listen to but have since found the perfect resource at Pre-workout TV; someone did all the hard work of pulling a list of great motivational videos together!
  3. Music: music really does it for me. Not only does it have the power to lift any mood, research has shown that it can aid pain by relaxing the body as well as improve your workout. I walk to the gym, maximising the time by listening to high energy music and walking at an energetic pace that prepares me for the workout ahead.

Mindset is as important as the physical activity itself; I fully understood that when running the London Marathon last year. My mind definitely got me over the finishing line!

What do you do to prepare yourself mentally for your workouts? Sharing is caring…

Fab Fit & Healthy

YvonneB

P.S: A recommended site for great tips and motivation is Breaking Muscle

Obesity Isn’t Going Away…

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Obesity isn’t going away… It is widely visible yet still under tackled. And the question is Obesitywhat are we going to do about it?

Some of the facts:

  • Approximately 2.1 billion people (30% of the planet) are overweight or obese (as stated in a 33 year-long study published in the Lancet Medical Journal)
  • The worldwide prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014
  • If nothing is done to reverse the epidemic, more than 1 billion adults are projected to be obese by 2030
  • 700,000 NHS staff classed as overweight or obese were told to shed their excess pounds in order to be a good example to patients (UK)
  • The rate of obesity in children ages 6-11 increased from 6.5 to 19.6 percent between the years 1980 and 2008
  • Medical experts claimed overweight Britons could be costing the health service £30 billion a year despite successive campaigns to educate people about healthy eating and exercise
  • At the turn of the 20th century, people were eating mostly simple, home-cooked meals. By 2009 about half of what people ate was fast food, or other foods away from home
  • All segments of the population are affected by obesity

And so the stats go on, each concerning and highlighting the need to truly educate people on health; prevention is and always has been better than cure.

What is the impact on health being overweight or obese?

  1. Being overweight leaves people more vulnerable to a host of health problems all of which place further strain on NHS resources, including Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes and some forms of cancer
  2. Daily activities become a chore and a burden. Whether it is looking after self or children, the things most of us take for granted, becomes hard work; getting dressed, bathing, travelling to/from work, picking up children, going shopping and so on
  3. It increases the likelihood of a person suffering from depression and dementia
  4. It can cause heartburn and urinary incontinence
  5. It can kill. It is estimated that up to 400,000 deaths a year in the EU are caused by overweight-related illnesses

If you have ever carried a few extra pounds you know how uncomfortable that can feel. Now imagine an excessive amount of body weight to carry and you can begin to imagine the struggle people are experiencing and how that affect them emotionally, mentally and physically. The cure is not just putting people on scales then telling them what to eat and what exercise to do; the approach needs to be holistic.

What are we going to do about it?

Educating people around health is vital and includes understanding:

  • Why certain foods are craved and how to manage those cravings (food content including sugar, fat and the different calorie values)
  • The mental challenges that go hand in hand with eating and how to become the master of their thinking (take control)
  • How emotions impact food choices and how by journaling emotions to see where triggers lie they can make small daily changes to a healthier life
  • Exercise is one part of a healthy lifestyle and not as effective as eating a balanced diet (the two work beautifully together!)
  • A healthy balanced diet is not about having to eat lots of boring or expensive foods (myths!)
  • Getting healthy is much more fun when done with others. The support and reduction in feeling ‘I’m the only one’ is priceless

We can bring about change together. The more we understand and pay attention to what we eat, the better. Leaving it to the food industry is NOT the way to go. Learning to read food labels, reading informative and well researched articles and making a decision to put health first is! I highly recommend the library of excellent articles available at http://thehealthsciencesacademy.org along with their courses. You won’t be disappointed!

Live Healthily!

YvonneB

References:
1. http://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/health-tips/being-obese/

2. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/

3. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-trends/obesity-rates-worldwide/

4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/10999437/Overweight-doctors-and-nurses-told-to-slim-down-by-NHS-chief.html

Detox Your Life

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15 days after the Christmas & New Year celebrations I was still experiencing side effects of the over indulgent eating and drinking (and yes, I take full responsibility).Detox-your-life

In fact up until 15th of Jan I was feeling sluggish, bloated and every little run outdoors felt much harder than it should have.

So this week I got on with implementing some simple changes to get back on track. No big over-promises to self, just small daily adjustments that have afforded my energy levels to rise and my bloated discomfort to subside… sweet joy!

And it’s all been about detoxing my life. If you’re going to praise healthy living best get to living it. And here’s what I’ve been doing…

  1. Drinking More Watersame old story, same old song but it works! As much as the late night bathroom visits drive me in sane I feel good; my skin is happier and it has definitely helped with the clean up from the inside out!
  2. Eating Regular Mealsregulate your meal times and get some quality food on your plate. I’m back on my banana & honey milkshakes for breakfast, eating little and often through the day (avocado, variety of fish, tomatoes and other tasty stuff) whilst keeping caffeine and alcohol intake at an all time low (my hand might be missing the glass but my body is thanking me for it!)
  3. Getting ActiveGet up offa that thing – Mr J Brown knew what he was talking about when he sang that. Dance, run, skip walk, it really doesn’t matter but get moving. As hard as those first few runs of the year were I can finally breathe normally on them again… Yay!
  4. Practicing MindfulnessFree your mind and observe your thoughts without judgement, worry or fear. 5-10 minutes per day is a good start (well, any start is going to be beneficial). It reminds me how useless worrying is and I definitely feel calmer and more in control…. interesting practice.
  5. Expressing GratitudeJust be thankful for what you’ve got. At any moment of the day acknowledge and express thanks for something… anything; family, friends, waking up, a warm bed, food on the table, work. It’s a healthy reminder of all that I already have.

5 days on and I am feeling pretty good, ready to head back to the gym at the weekend and up my fitness game.

I encourage everyone to detox their life in whatever way adds joy, energy and happiness.

Happy New Year and may health be your new best friend!

One Life, Live It Well

YvonneB

Festive Fitness!

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I was going to sign off 2015 by writing up my favourite health tips and then I remembered a similar post from 2013 and decided to rerun it (‘if it ain’t broke why fix it’ moment) along with some links to other related posts. So here goes…

Christmas can be a potential minefield with alcohol flowing, food aplenty accompanied by long Imagedark nights. It is so easy to forget about your fitness during the festive season but there are a few things you can do to save yourself from the New Year’s health laden resolutions…

Work That Body!

I must be crazy recommending this but just because it’s the holiday it doesn’t mean your body should have to suffer… too much! So whether it’s a power walk, a jog, a visit to the gym or an exercise DVD, fit in 2-3 sessions per week. It’ll feel a lot less painful than waiting for January and having a trainer work you to the bone!

Love Thy Self

Think December and not only can you imagine the festivities it’s also cold and flu symptom time. No one wants to be a kill joy however it is wise to ensure that you have a ‘pre flu plan’. Make sure you get your essential vitamins in place, in particular vitamin C and D. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!

Food Glorious Food!

Enjoy the wonderfulness of Christmas dinner, have the pudding you love BUT… start your day the healthy way. Having a nutritious breakfast will not only prevent some of the over-eating later on in the day it will ensure you get some quality vitamins and minerals in your body. Simples!Image

Themed Gifts!

If you know that you want to be fit and healthy over the holiday but are also aware that you will be tempted to laze around with the rest of your loved ones, get your
loved ones to follow you instead! Theme those Christmas presents to make them fitness related (hint, hint!) Skipping rope, trainers, football for the kids, Wii Fit if you love being indoors… there is something for everyone!

Cheer Up!

If you are unfortunate enough to be affected by SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – it is important to make the most of the daytime light by going for walks and eat food that positively affects your moods (dark chocolate, nuts, omega-3 fish).

Rest Up

Have fun but get some sleep! There is nothing great about facing the New Year with a sleep deficit that’s going to take a few weeks (or months) to put right. So whenever you get the chance to put your feet up (between drinks and rounds of turkey) take the opportunity to rest your eyes too.

And there you have it, your Christmas fitness plan in place. Enjoy!!

Happy Christmas to you all & I wish you the very best for 2016… Create the life you love & deserve!

Live Blissfully!

YvonneB