exercise

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 

In need of some motivation? by Laura Scanlon

We all have times where it takes seeing something motivational to give us that lift we need. Below are my top tips for getting motivated this week.

My top fitness tips:

  • Bodyweight training - Bodyweight training helps increase lean muscle mass in individuals, especially when combined with aerobic activity. It was a big fitness trend in 2017  and although it has always been there right in front of us it is a simple but very effective way to workout and guess what? Its doesn't cost you anything. You literally need your body and some space. Click to the ebook section of my website for a range of bodyweight workout ideas. So tell me this, where is the excuse now? Visit my instagram @laura_bodyzone for more home bodyweight workouts. 

 

  • Slow & Steady - this is the pace you should go at. If you were all buzzed up in January and trained a bit too much, chances are you are feeling tired this month. That is why your goals should be at a steady pace and dont feel you have to try every fitness class out in the first month of the year. The risk you run is burning yourself out and getting sick. So please take it at a good slow & steady pace. 

 

  • Fitness tracking watches - I find my Fit Bit very motivating and they help keep track of your sleep pattern, calories, steps, heart rate, millage. Pretty cool.

 

  • Running -  Running is the most accessible type of exercise, if you own a pair of running shoes, then you have no excuse. Sign up to my latest FREE ebook and receive my favourite short and sweet fat burning workouts.

 

  • Personal training - is a great way to really learn from a fitness professional who is educated in the areas you may struggle with. Working with a personal trainer can also help change your attitude about training and your outlook on being physically active.

 

  • 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, 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 know as active recovery, so on your "day off" dont sit around feeling stiff and sore, get up and get foam rolling. 

 

  • Cut out the alcohol - I always try my best to practice what I preach because alcohol can really be detrimental to seeing results and also to performance. There is also a high sugar content in most alcoholic beverages and that doesnt help play a good role to your mid line. If you are going to have a drink, keep it clear like a vodka, soda fresh lime. While you are at it, really cut back on sugary drinks and sugar in general. (note to my inner sweet tooth)

Feel free to mail with any question laura@bodyzone.ie.

Laura xx

Target the booty NOT the legs by Laura Scanlon

It's hard not to obsess over certain body parts while browsing through instagram on a Monday morning. Girls from all over the world flaunting their washboard abs and toned and tight bums, but who is to say you can't be the girl that everyone is ogling over. As a trainer a separate concern for female clients when they are looking to grow the gluteus maximus is not to bulk up on their legs. Most women like to train compound exercises like back squat and deadlift for overall strengthening of the lower body but these movements do not necessarily isolate the gluteus maximus. Although they will help to tone the glutes they will most definitely build the legs too as compound exercises like these will target the lower body as a whole. Persistence and consistency is key, mixed with a good diet and cutting out junk food. You need to give 100% focus on diet and training to reach optimal level. 

Benefits of strengthening your glutes:

Your glutes are the largest and strongest muscles in your body. They consist of three different muscles: gluteus minimus, medius and maximus. The three muscles work together to abduct, rotate and extend the hip. Strengthening your glutes can help improve posture and make sitting down, standing, picking up heavy objects and climbing stairs easier. Developing strong glutes can also improve athletic performance and decrease your risk for injuries in the knees, lower back, hamstrings & groin and of course make you look great in the lbd (little black dress).

Challenge yourself 

You need to dedicated time to work on these exercises at least 3 times a week mixed with metabolic conditioning. Always ask a trainer if you are unsure how to execute the exercises correctly. Noticeable changes will happen within a few weeks if you stick to a programme and watch your diet. You gotta hustle for the muscle.

 

 

Booty Building Exercises - 4 Rounds

  1. Resistance band Clams - they cost next to nothing and most gym have them for you to use. Place the resistance band around your knees. Lay down with your knees pointed forward and bent at a 90 degree angle. Lift your top knee upwards 8-12 inches, foot stays in place against the bottom foot. Lower your knee back down to the bottom knee. This completes one repetition. Repeat for 12-15 repetitions and then switch to the other side of your body and repeat the motion. 
  2. Resistance band - Glute Bridge- helps to isolate the glutes. There are a few variations of this movement but all are good. Place the band just above the knees. Ensure to squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement and turn the knees outwards to ensure activation. Hold at the top of the exercise for 3- 5 seconds then lower back down and repeat by 12 - 15 repetitions  
  3. Kneeling Glute Kicks- In a plank position kneel down on one knee and extend the other leg. Kick up and squeeze the bum at the top. This exercise targets the gluteus minimus. (Add ankle weights for extra burn) 12- 15 repetitions per legs
  4. Elevated Treadmill - Put the incline up high and the speed at a controlled walk for at least 20 - 30 minutes. Use your arms to aid you and be aware of squeezing your glutes on each step. This is also a great fat burner. Walk with light dumbbells for extra resistance and challenge. 
  5. Fire Hydrants - Position yourself on all fours with shoulders wide apart and palms flat.
    Keep your knees, hip wide apart and bend them at a 90-degrees angle. Keep your back straight, raise your right thigh and bring it close to your chest as much as you can. Then raise the same thigh out to the side by keeping the hips still. Now, kick your raised leg slowly in the backward position. Use a band to add resistance. 12 - 15 repetitions per exercise. 

See full video of these exercises below.

So there you have my top booty building exercises. Feel free to contact me with any questions & tag me in your booty gain pictures #laurabodyzone (instagram @laura_bodyzone)

 Don't forget to check out my YouTube channel a whole range of booty & full body workouts.

 

Laura x

5 reasons you should workout today by Laura Scanlon

We all have those days were motivation is at an all time low and you are just feeling straight up lazy. Well I can give you 5 reasons why you should not sit on the couch after work today and why you should get up, get out and move.

  1. "you dont know what exercise to do" - Well that is NO excuse, try this workout, all you need is your body, space and a skipping rope. (always warm up first)
  • 20 Air squat
  • 20 Lateral lunges
  • 30 Mountain climbers (fast)
  • 15 Sit ups
  • 100 skips
  • X 5 Rounds

And G0...........:) (check my videos section for lots more exercise ideas).

2. You will sleep better tonight - there is no denying that after a hard days work and a serious sweat session you end up sleeping like a baby, unless of course you have a baby and that I cant help you with :D

3. Endorphins - oh please tell me you know what I am talking about? Exercise can literally take you from stressful and down to alive and kicking. GO FOR THE RUN

4. Be a role model- your friend might be feeling the very same as you so why don't you be the motivator for you both. Meet in the park for a HIIT session, a run or go to a yoga class. I know I always get motivated training with a buddy. Be the motivator.

5. You will feel bad if you don't - and probably end up binge eating. Do not go to bed and wake up feeling regretful. Your body will thank you for it. GO EXERCISE

 

Laura xx