Posted in fitness, Uncategorized

Workouts in the last week or so…

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I have been the worst blogger the past week or so. I’ve had so many uni deadlines that I just haven’t had the time but the dissertation is just about done and due on Monday so the workload will quieten down a bit, finally!

So last Monday I went for a run, it feels strange saying this now but it was actually snowing! Hasn’t the weather been so bipolar the last couple of weeks? Today it was glorious sunshine and I have the beginning of a tan, yay! I had my head stuck down in uni work all day and badly needed fresh air, so I forced myself out into the half blizzard and managed to run 3.5 km. The weather took its toll on me after a while so I did not manage a full 5 km. I find a run is a great way to de-stress from revising all day, regardless of the weather try and get out if it is safe. Trust me it will help a million!

Then on Wednesday I trained legs. Just my usual workout that you will find in the most recent leg workout post. My squat wasn’t as heavy but I am trying to work on form more just now to prevent lower back pain. A guy in the gym told me I do bend my lower back slightly even though I don’t think I am, so he suggested I try squatting with the Smith machine. Personally I find it difficult to squat on a Smith machine with the bar fixed, so I have opted for lowering the weight instead. I do a max of 45 kg just now.

Friday was upper body day and I slightly changed things up.:

I started with a 15 minute run to try and up the cardio

I then did face pulls 3 x 10 at 13.5 kg

Tricep extensions with cable 3 x 10 at 12. 5 kg

Lat pull downs 3 x 10 at 23 kg

Overhead press 3 x 10 at 15 kg

Upright row 3 x 10 at 20 kg

Body weight press ups 2 x 10

Ab work to finish.

Then the weekend exercise consisted mainly of steps at work and then a night out for May day.

Today I was back at the gym for legs and again this did not differ much from the norm except I used dumb bells for straight legged deadlifts and one 10 kg dumb bell for hip thrusts. This was due to part of the gym being closed to the public. I also did hip abductors instead of pull throughs for this reason.

Have a great week everyone!

 

 

Posted in fitness, Uncategorized

Last week in workouts.

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Last week was a great week of workouts for me! My first week of being 22 wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Firstly on Monday night I went for a run. This is a rare occurrence for me but hopefully it will become a weekly thing. Although this Monday a run hasn’t happened, maybe later in the week. Cardio is something I find difficult to implement into my week because well I’m pretty bad at it. But got to tell myself that practice makes perfect right? The run was just under 5 km but did involve a lot of active rest in the form of speed walking. It averaged at 6 minutes 19 seconds/ km.

My next workout was Wednesday and it was legs. See my last post of a leg workout to see what I did. My leg days often consist of the same exercises and are very glute focused.

On Thursday I was going to try Functional 45 for the first time with my friend but unfortunately the class was cancelled so I did an upper body session. This consisted of:

5 minute treadmill run warm up

Face pulls 3 x 10 at 13.5 kg

Tricep extensions with cable machine 3 x 10 at 10 kg

Overhead press 3 x 10 kg with 15 kg barbell

Upright row 3 x 10 with 20 kg barbell

Overhead tricep extension with 7 kg medicine ball

2 x 10 body weight press ups

Core work to finish.

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Then Easter Sunday was a family day. We went for a lovely walk along the beach and then had lamb for dinner. Most importantly this weekend was the opening of the Easter eggs!

Happy Easter everyone!

Posted in fitness, food

Catching a cold and turning 22.

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This past week hasn’t been the best quality in terms of fitness. Firstly it was for a bad reason – I caught the common cold. But thankfully the second reason was more joyous – my birthday.

I made it to the gym last Monday for a leg session. It was actually a great session. The attachment for the cable machine which I love using for glute kickbacks also turned up again. I was so glad because this is one of my fav exercises at the gym. My routine was pretty much my usual leg day:

Squats – 10 x 20 kg, 40 kg, 50 kg and 2 x 5 at 55 kg

Curtsy lunges – 20 holding 10 kg plate then 10

Pull throughs – 3 x 10 at 12.5 kg

Glute kickbacks – 3 x 10 on each leg at 10 kg

Glute bridges – 3 x 15, hold for 10 then pulse for 10 with 10 kg plate

American deadlifts – 3 x 10 with 30 kg barbell

Stretches to finish.

Then on Wednesday I did a HIIT session of my own outdoors with the sun shining. Yes the sun was shining in Scotland – haha. But Wednesday night was when the cold started to hit. It wasn’t just the common cold either, as my head was constantly pounding and my energy levels were at an all time low. I started to feel better on Friday but thought it was best to wait until my full recovery before working out again. I made myself and my brother a veggie filled lunch to get as many nutrients in as possible to help get rid of this flu.

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All I did was throw broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and spinach into a pan along with tuna, a packet of Tilda brown basmati and quinoa, tuna, a tablespoon of Philadelphia and some mixed herbs.  It tasted really good and the volume of veg produced a filling dish. (If you try and make this, microwave or boil the veg for a short time before pan cooking).

Then was Sunday, my birthday and turning the grand old age of 22. I had my fav breakfast pictured below of scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon. Delish!

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The day ended with a delicious bar meal and a few cheeky cocktails. This was very much an indulgent weekend so this week I plan to get more workouts in, in between my piles of uni work. Hope you all had a great week!

Posted in fitness

Review: Strong by Zanna Van Dijk.

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First of all, if you haven’t heard of Zanna or come across her YouTube channel go check it out now! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiwekT__lvIsNfPq9Ps2P8w

She is a great inspirational figure on a fitness, nutrition and general health and well being level. I often find myself stumbling upon her most recent videos when taking a study break or having some chill time.

Her book ‘Strong’ is great for workout ideas and how to go about starting up an exercise schedule. She goes over the basics of nutrition too and the book includes some great recipe ideas which I will definitely be trying out soon! Probably most importantly the book goes into the topics of mindfulness and self love which everyone should be adapting. When it comes to eating I, for one should adapt a more mindful approach. I find I more or less inhale my food and always finish before everyone else. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love food but perhaps taking a more mindful approach would increase this even more. There is a whole page of this in the book.

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The book is also filled with inspirational quotes, my favourite being: “Your mind will quit 100 times before your body ever does”. I feel so many of us can relate to this in a variety of situations, whether that is exercise – wanting to stop for a rest when running, not completing that last burpee of the set, or even in a real life work or uni situation where you are finding something difficult. Don’t give up! Take a step back, breathe and reflect, You will succeed a whole lot better.

Altogether a great informative book which will inspire anyone who reads it to make change. Highly recommend!

Posted in fitness

Workouts with more cardio and a 60 kg squat.

Yes yes this weeks workouts did include an outdoor run! 

My pacing is pretty awful so as usual my attempt at a 5k turned into interval runs. I think it will take practise to be able to run a full 5k again and get the fitness level up. 

I did manage to do 2km without stopping and this was in 10 minutes 50 seconds then I had active rest in the form of walking for 30 seconds, I then basically sprinted my third km with a stop of 10-20 seconds active rest in the middle of this km, and finally did the same with the last 1.66km. 

I did enjoy the run except the cold air affected my lungs slightly (and probably the fact that I’m not as fit as I want to be just now – oops). 

My other two workouts were the same as last weeks upper body and lower body workouts. Except I managed to get back to the old 60kg squat for 3 reps! I am trying to incorporate a cardio workout a week now so hopefully the weather stays nice and I keep up the outdoor runs!

Happy Monday everyone, have a great week of workouts! 

Posted in fitness

The importance of stretching.

Hope you are all having a week of great workouts!

I thought I would take the chance to talk about stretching. There are so many people I see that do not stretch in the gym, I mean maybe they go home to stretch but it is important to do stretches as part of a cool down at the gym to prevent injury. For one, I definitely notice a difference in my mobility after stretching. It helps get rid of the muscle tightness caused by lifting weights and improve flexibility!

Everyone is different and it is a matter of personal preference if you prefer stretching out with a foam roller or just carry out your own movements. Personally I do not own a foam roller and have never tried to use one so I can’t say if they work for me or not. I find static stretches work for me though. I do these at the end of a workout and on most rest days now especially if I feel tightness (mostly in my legs and back).

I have pictured some of my regular stretches above. The furthest left picture stretches the inner upper leg muscles so the abductors mostly, but also the back when you lean forward. If you push down on your legs with your elbows a more dramatic stretch will be felt. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touching and bring them in to your groin as far as you can. Reach over your feet with your arms so your back is arched over your legs. Hold for around 15 seconds. This is my favourite stretch as my inner thighs get quite tight after training legs!

The middles is mostly a calf and quadricep stretch. Sit with legs open and straight, grab one foot or if you can’t get quite as far as the foot, as far as you can go, with both hands. Hold this for around 15 seconds before switching to the other leg. With time and doing this stretch regularly you’ll probably find you can reach further.

Third is a tricep stretch, the harder you push down on the elbow the more of a stretch you will feel. Place the palm of your hand on your back so your armpit is basically in your ear. With the other hand push down on the raised elbow. Again hold this for 15 seconds.

These are just three examples of stretches, there are millions of different stretches out there. But trust me you will notice a difference in your flexibility if you start stretching!

Posted in fitness

This week in workouts.

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This week consisted of three workouts: lower body, upper body and cardio (well the best at cardio I could do). My energy levels were quite high this week which definitely helped me perform optimally at the gym.

Lower body workout:

Warm up on the treadmill for 5 minutes

Stationary lunges – 3 x 10 on each leg with 10 kg plate

Curtsy lunges holding 10 kg plate 2 x 20

Squats – 40 kg, 45 kg, 50 kg and 55 kg – 10 reps for each

Pull throughs with cable- 3 x 10 at 12.5 kg

American dead lifts with 30 kg barbell – 3 x 10

Hip thrusts – 3 x 10 with 10 kg dumbell then 2 x 10 pulses

Stretches to finish

This order of this workout was changed slightly due to the squat rack being in use when I first got to the gym but needs must, got to give your fellow gym goers a fair workout too! I usually start with squats first due to theses being a compound movement and my heaviest lift. Doing these first allows all your energy to be put into this exercise and hopefully lift as heavy as you possibly can.

Upper body workout:

5 minute warm up treadmill run

Upright rows 3 x 10 with 20 kg barbell

Overhead press 3 x 10 with 15 kg barbell

Face pulls 3 x 10 up to 16 kg

Cable tricep extension 3  x 10 at 12.5 kg

Tricep dips on Reebok step – 2 x 15

Press ups on Reebok step – 5 full, 5 on the knees x 2, 10 halfway pulses

Sit ups with 10 kg plate – 3 x 10

Russian twists with 7 kg medicine ball – 20 twists

Stretches to finish.

This workout was a bit of  a mish mash of exercises I had a feel for on the day. I actually really enjoy press ups as crazy as this sounds, but they are fun to carry out elevated on a step. Plus they are the only chest exercise I do!

Cardio:

My treadmill run is pictured above. Yes it took me 13 minutes run a mile! Long distance treadmill running just isn’t for me, and by long distance I mean 3 miles – haha. I admire those of you who can keep the run going for even 20 minutes. I just begin to get bored. This is a negative on my part and my poor attention span. Outdoor running is more enjoyable for me and I am determined to get an outdoor run in this week and to turn this into a weekly occurrence!

Hope you all had great workouts this week!

 

 

 

 

Posted in fitness

This week at the gym. 

This week my gym workouts have taken a slight detour from my usual routines. I still did an upper body and lower body day, just had to change up the excercises a bit.

First of all I went to do legs on Tuesday afternoon but the gym was packed. I thought this was unusual for 3pm but I realised some sports and exercise students were doing some strength and conditioning training. Anyway I wasn’t able to start with my usual exercise of squats but it was good to change up the routine a bit. Here’s what I did:

Stationary squats holding 10 kg plate – 15 reps on each leg x2

Curtsy lunges – 15 reps x2

American deadlifts with 30 kg barbell 3 x 10

Squats – 20 x 30 kg with weighted barbell (not on rack), 10 x 40 kg, 10 x 45 kg 

Hip abductors 3 x 10 at 70 kg

Stretches to finish 

A shorter and sweeter leg day but actually left me feeeling more sore than usual, perhaps due to working different muscles in some of the exercises. 

Today was upper body day and again the gym was pretty busy so I didn’t get a shot on the cable machines, but still managed a good quality but short workout:

5 minute warm up jog

Upright rows 3 x 10 at 20kg

Overhead press 3 x 10 at 15 kg

Overhead tricep extensions 3 x 12 holding 8 kg medicine ball

Press ups on a Reebok step  2 x 15

Sit ups with 8 kg medicine ball 2 x 15

Russian twists with 8 kg medicine ball 2 x 20

Stretches to finish. 

Today’s workout was more about listening to my body and just doing any exercise I felt like. My legs were still sore from Tuesday so I avoided any lower body work and stuck to the plan of upper body. 

Hope you’ve all had great workouts so far this week! 

Posted in fitness

A YouTube HIIT workout type of day.

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Okay so I have a confession to make. This weekend wasn’t the healthiest of weekends due to it involving a night out. Being a stereotypical Scottish person and also a student, I obviously went all out but felt pretty awful for it yesterday. Seriously hangovers do get worse with age even only at almost 22 they are so much worse than when I was 18. Anyway for this reason I had to get a lot of uni work done today that should have been done yesterday! I only have myself to blame – haha.

I did not have time to go to the gym without using up more time to do uni work so a home HIIT session it was. The FitnessBlender YouTube channel is one of my go to’s for HIIT workouts. Seriously check it out, they have loads of different workouts both weight and cardio based. A great way to get physical activity in if you don’t have a gym membership or are just looking for exercise ideas.

I chose a HIIT cardio and abs workout which really got me sweating. Great for sweating out that excess alcohol which I know should not be there in the first place! This workout did not include the same exercise more than once so there were a few exercises that were new to me and took a bit of time to get the hang of them. Plyo push ups for example are tough, I have only just recently got the hang of normal push ups never mind adding a clap in. Definitely something I’ll have to work at. Altogether a great quality home workout.

I hope this post has inspired some of you to try out FitnessBlender workouts!

Posted in fitness

My first try at dead lifts.

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I finally made the time to give dead lifts a go at the gym and they are great! I have tried a few times with the weighted barbells but have only gone up as far as 30 kg so I went the full effort this time and tried up 50 kg.

I watched a few YouTube videos on technique before trying them out with a higher weight just to ensure my form was correct to help avoid injury. The trick is to ensure your lower back is straight, if you bend here you may strain your back. Bend your knees and reach down for the bar making sure you keep that back straight, then lift the bar and raise until your legs are straight.Drop it back down in a controlled way similar to how you lifted the bar in the first place. Keep that lower back straight at all times! I cannot stress this enough.

I am eager to include dead lifts weekly in one of my workouts at the gym. They work a variety of muscles but mostly the back but also a lot of leg muscles. If you really squeeze the glutes when bringing the bar up you will feel it here!

My tips for doing dead lifts for the first time are to definitely practice form with a low weight such as 20 kg and build up from there. If you do other compound movements such as squats or bench press do not exceed your max for this the first time you try them out. Although with time and effort dead lifts should be your heaviest lift, to avoid injury it is best to start with a low weight.

Hope I have inspired some of you to give dead lifts a go!