fitness

Core Activation Workout by Laura Scanlon

Resistance band exercises

Hey guys,

After talking about the importance of glute activation (core) in my previous blog post I wanted to share more exercises that can be incorporated in to your fitness regime. Ideally these exercises should be done before a run/weight session to prepare and activate the muscles for optimal performance and for injury prevention.

NB. Always warm up wth body before any type of exercise

What you need is a low to medium resistance band.

2/3 Rounds with 60 seconds rest between rounds:

1. Low elbow mountain climbers X 8 each side

2. Knees to chest - Legs apart X 12

3. Plank Jack X 20

4. High elbow mountain climbers X 8 each side

5. Glute bridge pulse X 20

6. Glute bridge (feet together) X 20

7. High plank glute kicks X 10 each leg

8. Flutter kicks X 10 each leg

Home Bodyweight Training by Laura Scanlon

Home Training

Life can be very busy at times and having spare time to go to the gym can be hard to find. That is why using your body as your gym can be such powerful tool and you can do this in the comfort of your own home. The idea behind my website www.bodyzone.ie is using your body as your own gym and having no barriers to entry with regards to exercise. I love the challenge and buzz you get after a bodyweight workout. Think of those wet, cold wintery mornings that you really do not want to leave the house. Well as hard as it may be to not turn over in bed, simple get up and get moving. Using gravity and your body's natural resistance is an amazing way to kick up your metabolism, while toning the body in all the right places.

Feel free to download my FREE bodyweight workout ebooks available on my website now. Sign up to receive all my latest fitness tips & workouts

Benefits of Home Bodyweight Training 

  • No monthly gym fees required.
  • Inexpensive (gym mat required)
  • Saves time by eliminating traveling to and from the gym.
  • Convenience — training in the comfort of your own home.
  • No queuing to use your favourite piece of gym equipment.
The plank is a versatile exercise that targets the whole body. Wearing  Fitgymwear

The plank is a versatile exercise that targets the whole body. Wearing Fitgymwear

Is Bodyweight Training Effective?

Simply put, yes. Once you are prepared to put 100% effort into your workout the benefits are real. Bodyweight training is low impact on the body, meaning you are less likely to injure yourself. People forget to realise that in order to back squat (with weights) you need to be able to perform a bodyweight squat with correct form. The same goes for push ups, do not underestimate how difficult and challenging a push up can be. These can be modified for beginners levels. (see video). 

See the workout below for one of my go to bodyweight workouts.

4-5 Rounds with 30 seconds between rounds

  • 20 Air squat
  • 10 Squat + leg side raise (10 each leg)
  • 15 Tricep dip 
  • 20 Plank arm raise (10 each arm)
  • 20 Low plank hip dips (10 each side)
  • 15 Sit ups + 2 punches
  • 10 Push up (modified)
     

Bodyweight Exercises to get the Heart Rate Up

Plank jacks, mountain climbers, jumping lunges, jump squat's and burpee's are all examples great bodyweight conditioning exercises. These movements will be sure to get you sweating in no time, which means you are increasing your metabolic rate (heart). To challenge yourself as you progress with bodyweight workouts you need to increase the rounds you complete and also reduce the rest time between rounds.

 

 

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Always stretch before & after a workout

 

My favourite GREEN juice recipe 

This is my favourite daily GREEN juice NUTRIBULLET recipe, you can use any blender you have.

 

Ingredients 

1.   Handful spinach

2.   Cucumber (aprox a thumb and a half)

3.   1 Celery stick

4.   1 Green apple

5.   Lump of ginger

6.   Lemon squeezed

7.   Cold water

Method

·      Peel the skin off all fruit and vegetables

·      Chop all ingredients into small parts 

·      Add to the blender and add cold water to the water line mark

·      Enjoy

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Add a green juice to your daily diet

Happy training, 

All the looks in this blog post are from Fitgymwear

Laura x

 

 

Top 5 Tips for Beginner Yoga by Laura Scanlon

Hey guys,  

Ahead of international yoga day this week (July 21st) I wanted to share my top tips for beginner yoga. I am not advanced at yoga but I like to incorporate it into my fitness regime for flexibility and a challenge. 

Benefits of Yoga 

  • Increased flexibility.

  • Increased muscle strength and tone.

  • Improved energy.

  • Cardio and circulatory health.

  • Improved athletic performance.

  • Protection from injury.

  • Promotes happy endorphins.

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Sukhasana Pose

Top Tips 

  1.  Free classes- Most yoga studios offer a free week or at least a couple of sessions before you make any commitment. Avail of this offer, go to as many as you can in the week, try out the variations of the classes and see which one you like most. Each teacher will have a unique style of teaching so see who you feel most comfortable with.

  2. Workshops - Most studios will offer a beginners’ yoga class workshop. I recommend taking part in at least one workshop. The workshops are designed to help you find proper alignment in your body and also help you get comfortable with terms and names before you head to class.

  3. Don't compare - this is a big one and even for me when I go to beginner yoga classes I see women extremely flexible (which I am not) doing these amazing poses. We all have unique strengths and weaknesses so try your best not to compare yourself to the others in the class. The reason you are there is to work on a weakness. 

  4. Go with a partner - bring a friend along and enjoy the new experience together. It will also make the experience less intimidating.

  5. Enjoy - Try your best not to take it too seriously and have fun learning a new type of fitness. 

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Trikonasana Or Triangle Pose

All activewear from OTG Active

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Vrikshasana aka Tree pose

Namaste, 

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 

11 Tips for beginner runners by Laura Scanlon

Hi Guys,

When it comes to fitness nothing happens overnight and this is especially true with running. Persistence is key and making that first commitment to wanting to be better is a great start. I started running when I was 7 years old, it is something that I thank my parents for getting me involved in. It has stood to me in many ways. Unbeknown to me back then it would be the start of a long fitness journey that I am still on 22 years later. Running can be a love/hate relationship, but once you get over the initial hurdle of where to start then it can be a journey you can take forward with you in your life.

I have compiled 11 tips for beginners and also for those who need the motivation to get back into it. 

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If I could give one piece of advice to someone who is new to running it would be........'have patience'

 

Top Tips:

  1. Invest in good running shoes - injuries from poorly supported running shoes can cause major setbacks. So get the proper advice when buying. 

  2. Always warm up - jumping jacks, jump squat, walking lunges, half burpees....just get moving before running straight into it. Light stretching is also good, hip opener exercises, quad stretches & calf stretches.

  3. Make it a habit rather than a chore - even if you only get out for a few minutes a day, all those minutes will add up to making you fitter.

  4. Go for distance rather than time - slow it down, don't stress about your pace or time, be patient. Try a 0.5 of a kilometre and slowly build from there. 

  5. Take breaks when needed - if you have only been running for a few minutes and feel you need to stop then do. Keep a nice walking pace, catch your breath and start to jog again. You should always be able to have a conversation when running, otherwise you are over exerting.

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Stretching is a vital part of  recovery.

 

 

6. Join a running club - what better motivation than having a coach tell you what to do and having a training group.

7. Keep a training diary - this is a guaranteed winner to motivate you as the weeks go by. It is like having a mini celebration each week.

8. Don't neglect other types of training - like resistance training, we all need muscle to help make us stronger while running and also to protect our bones. Also activation exercises for the glutes are essential to prevent injury. Click here to see my top glute activation exercises 

9. Remember why you started - it is very important to remember why you wanted to start in the first place. Whether it was weight loss, tone up, gain speed, gain endurance always remember that.

10. Set a goal- if you have a goal set in your mind you are more likely to be motivated to keep it, especially if it is something set in stone, like a race. Participating in a race is also a great way to meet people in the running community. Your goal can also be a smaller one like, just being able to run better and more fluid in 4 weeks time.

11. Rest days - are essential for recovery, over doing it will only slow down your progress. 

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"One run can change your day, many runs can change your life"

All running gear in images are new season OTG Active

Happy running guys, don't forget to comment if you have any questions. Or I would love to hear about your running journey to date. Be sure to check out my "Running Workouts" ebook, sign up via the pop up on my website and get it sent straight to your email.

Laura x