Healthy Living

Running Tips For Beginners by Laura Scanlon

We all have to start somewhere and there is no time like the present. I have compiled the answers to your questions about how to start running.

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Lets Talk Running

 

How do I start?

It is as simple as putting your trainers on and leaving the house. Anywhere from 10-30 minutes is great. Just start walking then jog for 1-2 minutes then back to walking again. Keep doing for the amount of time you wish. A minimum of 10 minutes initially, working up to 30 minutes. Do this 3/4 times a week until you can run for 30 minutes with no breaks. It will take time but persistence is key. A stop watch is handy but alternatively I like to use lamp post to lamp post if on the road for speed training but the same concept can be used when training to run. Walk to one lamp post then run to the next and so on for the duration of the run/walk.

Should I do other training as well as run?

Yes. Bodyweight and weight training will really help with your running. The stronger the body is, the better you will carry yourself when running. Core and glute activation exercises are extremely important, look at exercises that isolate the glutes and abdominal areas. Planks, glute bridges, dumbbell arm exercises are a good start. These exercises can do done on the same day as you run, either before or after or alternatively on a day you do not run. 

Should I take rest days?

Yes. Rest and recovery is essential in order for your body to adapt and muscles to grow. Self-myofascial release is a term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball. By foam rolling specific muscles on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. This is also known as active recovery, so on your "day off" don't sit around feeling stiff and sore, get up and get foam rolling. 

Do I need proper running gear?

Not necessarily, but what you do need (for women) is the correct training bra that fits well and supports. Correct running shoes are also essential for preventing injuries.

 

Should I warm up before I run?

Yes. The body will run and feel more fluid when you have gently warmed up. Here is a warm up I like to do before I head out. 4 Rounds of the following. 

  1. High Knees on the spot X 40

  2. Kick Backs X 40

  3. Jumping Jacks X 40

  4. Air Squat X 20

See my video for this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TXwWzk7f80&t=5s

Complete some light stretches after the warm up and after your run.

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Listen to Your Body!

If you start to feel aches and pains that don't go away after a few days, it's time for active recovery like we spoke about in the above post. Pushing too hard will only set you back. Ease up a bit, and you'll continue to improve without injury.

Happy running :)

Laura

 

Healthy Sweet Potato Cottage Pie by Laura Scanlon

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

This is the perfect Sunday dinner or easy mid week dinner. It is honestly so tasty you won’t want to stop eating it.

Ingredients

  • 500g extra lean beef mince

  • 1 small onion finely diced

  • 1 carrot peeled and finely diced

  • 1 stick of celery finely diced

  • 2 cups salt-reduced beef stock

  • 1/4 cup of peas

  • 1 clove garlic crushed

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce Or Tabasco

  • 3 large sweet potatoes cut in half longways

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method

  • Preheat oven to 170C

  • Line a baking tray with baking paper and place sweet potato halves on tray.

  • Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a little cinnamon and place in the oven for 50 min.

  • Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan over a medium/high heat.

  • Add mince to the pan and break up with a wooden spoon to remove lumps. Cook, stirring regularly, until mince has changed colour and is cooked through.

  • I like to drain excess fat off meat before next step.

  • Add garlic and onion to the pan and fry, stirring constantly, until the onion is transparent.

  • Add carrot, celery and peas to the pan and continue to stir mixture until vegetables have softened.

  • Pour beef stock, worcestershire sauce OR tabasco and tomato paste into the pan and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce to medium/low heat and allow to simmer and thicken for 10-15 minutes.

  • While beef mixture is simmering, remove sweet potato from the oven (when cooked through and soft) and allow to cool slightly.

  • Being careful not to burn yourself, scoop sweet potato flesh out of each half using a large spoon and place in a mixing bowl. Discard the skin.

  • Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potato with a little butter until smooth.

  • Pour beef mixture into a large baking dish and top with mashed sweet potato.

  • Place in still hot oven for 15min to turn sweet potato golden and thicken the meat mixture further, then serve.

  • Enjoy

Don’t forget to #laurabodyzone if you post your delicious meal on on Instagram ;)

Laura xx

How to stay Motivated by Laura Scanlon

Motivation

No matter what time of the year it is, we all reach a slump at some point. It can be for any reason and once you miss a couple of days training, your food choices usually suffer and then a vicious cycle starts. It is ok to take days off but only when you feel they are needed, for example when you are sick, feel like your coming down with something, your body is tired etc. It is when you start to feel lazy, this is when you need a kick.  

What motivates me

I get asked a lot "what keeps me motivated" and my answer is simple, to be better, faster, stronger. I love the feeling after a workout, the sense of achievement, the endorphins, it is a feeling money can't buy. Yes I have days where I feel unmotivated, we are all human, but I try my best to still make an effort, especially with my food choices.

I read an article recently that really struck me and it was actually on a day I wasn't feeling so motivated. It was an article about overthinking situations, and overthinking about life in general and how we should all try live in the moment. What really struck me the most in the article was the last part where the author spoke about comparing yourself to others and how people moan about having to exercise daily. She said that any able-bodied person who can wake up in the morning, put their trainers on and go for a run has struck gold in life, Why? because there are people who simply can't. I hope this thought motivates you as much as it did for me.

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Be your Own Motivation

Stop comparing yourself to others. Be You.

 

Motivational Fitness Tips 

 

1.  Forget the saying "Summer bodies are made in winter" our health should never be a seasonal thing. Fitness should play a role in your life daily, even if it is a "rest day" you should be consciously aware of your food intake and how your body is feeling.

 

2. Don't set your alarm an hour later in the winter than summer to skip the gym. Keep your routine the same. If your waking later than usual it is likely your body is more sluggish and tired, which will ultimately lead to bad food choices. 

 

3. Try out a new class to keep you motivated. There is such a variety of classes to choose from and most gyms offer at least a first free class so why not avail of them.

 

4. Train with a buddy and get fit together. Nothing beats getting up in the morning when you have a friend counting on you. 

 

5. Buy yourself some new activewear to motivate you. 

 

6. Set a goal for yourself. Whether it is a 1 rep max for a squat, a faster 5k time or just to feel fitter. Give yourself 4-6 weeks to see changes and go for it.

 

7. Update your music, get some energetic music to help you through your workout.

 

8. Get outdoors and embrace the fresh (sometimes wet) weather. Rain, hail or sunshine, stay committed and get moving.

 

9. Up your daily water intake, if you struggle with water, chances are you may be dehydrated and you don't even know it. Buy a 2 litre bottle and sip it throughout the day. Avoid putting any sweeteners into it.

 

10. YOU get the opportunity to wake up and move, some people don't.

 

Laura x

 

 

My simple tips for summer fitness by Laura Scanlon

 

Article published in Irish Sunday Independent May 2017 Life Magazine

1. Join a club

What's better motivation than working out with friends while potentially making new ones? Join a tag rugby group or a running club this summer.

2. Breakfast

Prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before to avoid grabbing something quick and unhealthy on the run.

3. Snacks

Keep nuts, seeds and fruit on you throughout the day to avoid snacking on chocolate and sweets.

4. Coffee

Change your cappuccino/flat white to an Americano.

5. Frozen grapes

A delicious low-calorie alternative to sweets, without the extra sugar.

6. Water

People who consume sugary drinks regularly (One to two cans a day or more) have a 26pc greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks, according to a recent study at Harvard School of Public Health. The recommended daily intake of water is two litres per day. Cut all sugary drinks from your diet and sip on water throughout the day.

7. Alcohol

Although the bright evenings are screaming at you to go to the beer garden for a few drinks, this can play havoc on your midline. Avoid cocktails and beer, which are full of empty calories. If you are going to drink, keep it clear with a vodka soda with lots of fresh lime. Be warned: tonic water does not mean less sugar; one can of tonic has nine grams of it. That's two teaspoons of sugar.

8. Implement fitness Friday

The end of the week can sometimes mean meeting a friend for a sneaky lunch-time burger, which can often be the start of a downward spiral for the weekend ahead. Instead, why don't you and your friend meet and try out a new fitness class close by, such as yoga, spinning or Pilates. Your body will thank you.

9. Fitness tracking watches

I find mine very motivating and they help keep track of your sleep pattern, calories, steps, heart rate and mileage. Pretty cool.

10. Juice

Adding a green juice to your diet daily has many health benefits such as healthier skin, improved digestion, not to mention nutrients. There are many health shops and cafes now stocking fresh juices. I like to combine a handful of spinach/kale, one green apple, ginger, celery, lemon, chia seeds and flax seeds.

11. Body

Focus on athletic changes in your body rather than aesthetic changes. Focus on building strength and stamina rather than what the scales says.

12. Recovery

Rest and recovery is essential in order for your body to adapt and muscles to grow. Self-myofascial release is a term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This can be performed with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball. By foam-rolling specific muscles on your body, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment's notice. This is also known as active recovery, so on your 'day off' don't sit around feeling stiff and sore, get up, move and get foam-rolling.

13. Bodyweight training

Bodyweight training (using your own bodyweight for resistance) helps increase lean muscle mass in individuals, especially when combined with aerobic activity. Its doesn't cost you anything. You literally need your body and some space.

14. Get planking

Give yourself a new daily challenge by planking. Hold a low plank for 30 seconds, then go straight into high plank for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat four times. Always ensure you're using the correct technique for the plank and don't forget to breathe.

How to do the basic plank

• Get in the push-up position, put your forearms on the ground with your hands straight in front of you.

• Squeeze your glutes, thighs and your abdominals.

• Keep a neutral neck and spine.

• Create a straight, strong line from your head to your toes.

• Hold that position.

Plank Hold

 

 

15. Burpees

Love them or hate them, the benefits are real. This full-body functional exercise acts as a fat-burning machine. Burpees are a great exercise to do in a HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training). You can also do them as a warm-up exercise. The basic burpee is performed without the press-up, as, for beginners, it is best to modify the exercise and leave the press-up out. For the more advanced among you, the press-up is an extra benefit. Try three sets of 10 burpees with 20 seconds rest between each set and feel your chest burn.

16. How to do a burpee

• The classic burpee is a four-point move.

• From a standing position, drop into a squat with your hands on the ground just in front of your feet.

• Then kick your feet back behind you, keeping your arms extended so you are in a raised plank position.

• At this stage, the more advanced can throw a press-up into the mix, which really ramps up the difficulty.

17. Change

The body responds really well to change, so if you have been doing the same form of exercise for the past few months and feel like you are stuck in a bit of a rut, then try something new. Ramp up the intensity like HIIT, fast interval running like hill sprints, or higher repetition resistance training at a lower weight.

18. Skipping

It's an incredibly effective, versatile workout tool. You can pack a rope and bring it away on your holidays to keep up your cardio fitness. Bring it to the gym or just use it in your own back garden.

Skip for cardio

 

 

19. Major muscles

Target your major muscles with compound exercises like back squats, deadlifts and lunges. Moves like these burn more calories during and after exercise. You can make these exercises more of a full body workout by adding in planks (see point 14, below left) and sit-ups between your sets. For example, after completing your amount of back squat repetitions, hold the plank for 30 seconds low, then 30 seconds high.

20. Core

Although the core is engaged while doing compound exercises like squatting and deadlifts, it is always good to add in core toning exercises to your routine.

21. Positivity

Being positive about your workout will help get the results you are looking for. Use exercise as a form of therapy. During exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling in your body and help reduce stress levels.

Article piblished in Irish Sunday Independent May 2017 Life Magazine 

Not feeling so summer ready? by Laura Scanlon

Summer is just around the corner and if your fitness regime hasn't exactly gone to plan over the last few months it's not too late to start making some changes. Life can get in the way of exercise, whether it's work related or family related, but that doesn't mean you need to neglect all areas of health. Here are my top tips for you to add into your life now.

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Fit Tips

 

 

 

  •  Cut the crap - stop eating sugary snacks, just stop. I know what it is like to have a serious sweet tooth but genuinely you will feel so much better for saying no. Keep an apple in your bag every day also nuts & seeds. Protein balls are sold in almost every coffee shop I go to so swap the muffin for a protein ball on your coffee break.

 

  • Water, water, water - up your water intake and cut out sugary drinks. Your skin will thank you and so will your waistline. Save yourself from unnecessary empty calories. 

 

  • Hangover food - cut back on the cheat days and hangover cravings. Lets be honest with ourselves, if you haven't been hitting the gym but hitting the dancefloor at the weekends whilst over indulging on alcoholic beverages then technically you are not eligible for a cheat day. Instead opt for scrambled eggs, avocado and bacon. Yum!

 

  • Go easy on yourself - life happens and although your intentions may have been to exercise 5 days a week and that just didnt happens for whatever reasons, don't dwell on it. Move forward with a positive attitude and make healthier changes going forward. Leave the past behind.

 

  • Do not diet - I am a firm believer that you can have everything in moderation once you are exercising at a good level at least 3-4 days a week. One thing I am not a firm believer in is dieting. There are no quick fixes but if you implement the points above you will start to see changes. Dieting only tricks the body and mind for a short period and usually ends up in weight gain when you fall off the bandwagon.

Its never too late to make healthy changes, 

 

Laura xx