Protein is known for its numerous benefits including fighting off hunger and preventing the loss of muscle tissue associated with weight loss (generally two-thirds of this is fat tissue, other is lean tissue). It is a repairing macronutrient and a regenerative for skin, nails and hair – although some people only associate protein consumption with ‘gains’.
How often have you skipped a warm up before a weights or resistance training session, simply because you:
a) Don’t know what to do;
b) Don’t have the time;
c) Don’t think it’s necessary; or
d) All of the above
If you can relate to any of those, you’ll want to read on.
Let’s start with the why; why do we need to warm up before a weights session?
We need to prepare our body for exercise by increasing our heart rate, loosening our joints and increasing blood flow and circulation. We need to perform a warm up prior to training to increase the blood flow to our muscles, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and promotes the energy releasing reactions used during exercise. Warming up also raises our muscle’s temperature (hence the term ‘warm up’) for optimal flexibility and efficiency.
So, does that mean we just need to do a few extra km’s on the treadmill?
Not necessarily, there are multiple ways to help our body prepare for a weights training session.
These aren’t just your average stretches – what we need to achieve with dynamic stretching is activation! Dynamic stretches mimic sports-like movements, prepare the body for activity and increase range of movement (ROM). Unlike static stretches, the end position of the stretch is not held therefore is felt further with each motion. Some examples of dynamic stretches include walking lunges, arm swings/circles, plank windmill/twist, toe touches, hip raises, high knees and bear crawls.
Joint Mobility Exercises
We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t want to jump higher, run faster and move without pain. All of this can be made possible by increasing our range of motion through joint mobility exercises. Increasing the flexibility in our muscles and tendons allow for a greater ROM. Joint mobility exercises are similar to that of dynamic stretching or stretching while moving through movement. Examples of these exercises include walking hip openers and thoracic spine windmills on the floor.
This is something that we do during our training, so think of it as a pre-exercise warm up – or a gradual increase in intensity during sets. In order for our muscles to grow we need to provide them with stressors to adapt to. Start with your bare minimum, whether it’s body weigh bench dips, squats using a barbell without weights or using the 4kg weights before hitting the heavier weights for your bent over rows. This will assist in preparing your body through the proper range of movement to achieve hypertrophy, strength, power and endurance. This is when it can be important to write stuff down: click through to Rachel Aust’s #plantraincreate journal.
Try to keep conditioning as your warm up to a minimum – after all, we want our weights to be the thing that takes up our strength and energy! Skipping, walking with gradual incline on a treadmill, step-ups or using the step machine should be kept to 2-5 minutes before training and are better kept for your HIIT sessions. If you find that you have some energy left after your training and before static stretching you can add your 2km row here. After all, it’s shampoo (exercise) and then conditioner.
Completing a warm up is essential for the time (and sweat) you are putting in to your weights training. Make sure to avoid static stretching (where you hold the stretch in one place for a few seconds) cold muscles before your session by opting for dynamic stretching. Spending 3 – 5 minutes before your training session to increase your blood flow will increase your range of motion, help decrease muscle stiffness and lower the risk of injury (see my 7 Trainer Approved Tips to Prevent Injury here!).
Whether you’re a student, saving for a holiday or already spent your hard-earned money on a pair of training shoes (no seriously, these are important!!) exercising on a budget is super easy! You don’t always need weights to achieve your goals.
1. Exercise From Home
Body-weight exercises come in many variations, and simple home equipment such as resistance bands and skipping ropes can make a huge difference. Most of these things can be found on Amazon or at discount stores, even your local Buy/Sell/Swap page might have something available.
2. Get Out There
There are so many great ways to get fit for free! Try walking or jogging laps around your local sporting ground, swimming laps at the beach, go for a bush walk or hike – not only will you burn up some energy, but you can also get some enviable snaps to share on social media of lush rainforest or waterfalls. Outdoor gyms are also popping up all of the time – hello muscle beach!
3. Group Exercise
Whether it’s at a training studio, gym, or youth center – there are so many different options available when it comes to group training. Maybe it’s a group of 2-5 with a personal trainer or something bigger like mall walking. Some workplaces even have a corporate fitness program in place – if not, why not! Get in touch with a trainer local to you to see if they can get the ball rolling.
4. Apps & Journals
There are so many apps to choose from that are either free or very affordable. Apps such as Lifesum and My Fitness Pal will help you to track your nutrition, or a journal, such as Rachel's Train Journal, will help hold you accountable and on the right way towards your goals.
There are so many fitness specialists sharing their knowledge on YouTube – Rachel Aust has a number of different workouts including at-home and gym options. My fave? Her full body toning workout routine that can be done at home – click me to follow through! Be warned, some routines may not be safe – be sure to keep an eye for the videos that have a higher rating.
6. Cut The Junk!
How much is it hurting not only your budget but also your waistline each time that you’re ordering from a fast food chain? Especially when it’s so convenient to have the food delivered to you. Cut it out! Healthy food isn’t expensive – in Australia you can find fresh produce such as carrots for $1.50/kilo and tuna at 99c a tin.
7. Drink Water
I feel like this should be obvious. It’s basically free. Opt for a reusable bottle and you will save hundreds, if not thousands – not to mention you’ll reduce your one-use-plastic footprint.
A lot of online stores will offer a discount when you sign up to their mailing list (we offer a 15% discount for everyone on our list!) – plus you’ll be the first to hear about their exclusive offers. After a name brand pair of tights but can’t quite afford them? Wait for the end of season sales to snap up a bargain!
9. Change Your Routine
Park further away from the shop front, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus earlier, cycle or roller blade to work or school… get up 15 minutes earlier and give it a go.
10. Online Community
Accountability – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Have someone else keep you accountable! Get a workout buddy, share your progress on social media, read fitness blogs (you’re already off to a great start), join a group challenge and have some fun with it.
The Importance of Accountability: Why & How?
There are hundreds of ways to maintain accountability for your health & fitness habits, whether it be training with a friend, being active in an online group or posting photos and videos to a social media account. It’s the number 1 worst kept secret when it comes to achieving your goals.
noun | ac·count·abil·i·ty
the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's action
Let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s not that hard to work out – it’s all about getting started… and a touch of consistency. Picture this: your goal is to train 3-4 times per week, you’ve download a bunch of inspiration from social media and have signed up to the 24/7 gym down the road. The first 2 weeks go really well, you’re already getting the hang of most of the exercises and haven’t hit snooze on your alarm once!
Week 3 arrives and you’re starting to feel a little bored of your training. You can’t make up your mind about training your arms or your legs so you just stick to using the treadmill and maybe grab a cheat meal (or three) to make up for your efforts. Getting up before work to train no longer appeals to you, yet going after work means that there’s only that one bench left next to the guy whose nipples are hanging out of his stringlet and constantly takes selfies. Goodbye, motivation.
Having someone to help you stay accountable is a win/win situation. You don’t need to feel alone when it comes to your training – at Eat Run Lift we want to help you to achieve your goals, short and long term!
Online Coaching is on par to what we can offer in our Brisbane studio, just without the face-to-face contact. Connecting with your trainer on a weekly basis, they will help to make sure you are on track, maintaining consistency with your training and also help with any questions or concerns you may have during your training – they’ll even view and give educated advice on your food diaries! Your workouts are 100% personalised to help you achieve your goals and to suit your environment. If you’re after the convenience of an eBook, but the accountability of a personal trainer – online coaching is going to be for you. Email me (email@example.com) today to get started!
ERL12 is a challenge that we commit to twice per year (keep your eyes out for an announcement very soon!). Featuring Rachel Aust’s Mindset Coaching, ERL12 will set you up to achieve your short and long terms goals without fail. Each week you receive a checklist, a new set of workouts, articles that cover the important stuff (like the importance of sleeping!!), and much more. Having a challenge that sets you up to get active within a time frame is a great way to for beginners to start training and the perfect way to introduce new workouts for those who have hit a plateau or feeling bored with their current routine (aka cross-training). Sign up with a friend for a bit of friendly competition… even better, complete the workouts together for some extra social time!
Writing down your workouts is a great way to maintain accountable – especially if you’re a visual kind of person. Having your training and goals in one convenient place such as the Train journal can put meaning into your workouts and you’ll start to see a pattern in your training. Achieving your goals takes a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication – self-accountability is extremely important and possible with the #plantraincreate range (click me!).
1-on-1 Personal Training
Hands down, this is going to be your best way to stay accountable and reach your goals. Connecting with a specialist – whether it be strength & conditioning, injury prevention or recovery, pre & post natal or you’re just after someone who understands your needs. Your trainer will help you to achieve your goals! You can connect with our Eat Run Lift trainers (located in Brisbane) by visiting our studio website (click me!).
Eat Run Lift eBooks
Perfect for any fitness level, we have an excellent range of plans for you to choose from – including our brand new 8WTC 2.0: an at home training plan which can be done with or without equipment! We also offer our Get Lean guides which are split into the 3 different body types, My HIIT Guide, and our Simple 7 Day Detox (goodbye sugar addiction!). You can find these on our website by clicking here.
No more excuses. Get the accountability that you need today!
Whether you've just signed up to the gym or have been going for years, injuries can happen to anyone. Sure, you can cause yourself an injury doing just about anything these days if you're not careful enough! As a qualified personal trainer and head coach at our Eat Run Lift studio, safety is always a priority for my clients. From warming up, to avoiding poor technique - here are my top 7 tips to avoid injury when exercising.
1. Warm Up, Stretch - and Activate!
There’s no point in warming up muscles that you’re not going to use, sadly I’ve seen this before – literally, someone was doing bicep curls as a warm up on leg day. Cold muscles are more likely to get injured, by increasing your body core temperature you will promote blood flow to working muscles. Activating your muscles prior to commencing an exercise (hello, donkey kicks!) will assist in loosening up tight muscles. Eg; your goal is to gain mass in your glutes - if you fail to activate these muscles prior to a deadlift you are more likely to compensate and use other muscles through your lower back, hamstrings and quads which can lead to injury. Cooling down and stretching your muscles for just a few minutes at the end of your session can go a long way in preventing soreness or strain.
Tip: Dynamic stretches and rowing are perfect ways to warm up. Include foam rolling at the end of your training and to your daily routine to help with recovery and improve future performance.
2. Ease Into a Program
Always ease into a program, especially if you are not used to the particular exercises. Most trainers will write a program following three phases – building the foundation, increasing muscle, firming/fat loss. Don’t assume that by jumping straight into an advanced training schedule you’re going to achieve the best results! You may be tempted to train really hard during your first week back in the gym, but the recovery might be a killer if you've pulled a muscle or torn a ligament.
Tip: Is your program not working for you? Try cross-training to prevent overuse of your muscles and help avoid hitting a plateau.
Don’t sacrifice form for a longer workout or to squeeze out more repetitions. When you are not using the correct technique to perform an exercise you can cause your body to become misaligned, placing your tendons, muscles and joints in positions that can potentially cause strains or tears. One of the reasons why you repeat a set of exercises is so that you can perform it more efficiently and subconsciously.
Tip: Unsure of an exercise? Ask for help! Most gyms will have a personal trainer available to give you a hot tip or two about that squat form.
4. Wear the Right Attire
If you have to question how long you’ve owned those shoes for, the answer will almost always be too long! There are a number of different shoes out there in the market – training shoes, walking shoes, running shoes… Having a pair specifically for training can give you both the stability of a lifting-specific shoes and lightweight flexibility of a cross-trainer for HIIT. Opt for a lightweight t-shirt or sweatshirt made from breathable material, and for your bottoms wear something flexible with an elasticated waistband. Make sure to invest in a supportive sports bra as well!
Tip: Functionality should be your top priority when it comes to choosing your training outfit.
5. Fuel Your Body
Want to be faster? Stronger? Leaner? Your diet plays a key role. Proper nutrition will help fuel your muscles, keep you better hydrated and increase the amount of fat you burn. It's not possible to build new muscle tissue or increase your energy levels without an adequate protein intake!
Tip: Check out our Get Lean Nutrition Guide for more information about getting the right nutrients for training and the all-important nutrient timing.
6. Know Your Limits
Listen to your body! If you’re tired, feeling fatigued, sick or ill-prepared you won’t have a good time during your training. Already facing an injury? Make sure to have the approval from your specialist (whether it’s your trainer, physiotherapist, chiropractor or general practitioner) before exercising.
Tip: Wanting to train but you’ve had a big day at work? Grab a foam roller for 15-30 minutes. You can thank me later.
7. Invest in a Personal Trainer
Especially if you are interested in strength training! Not only are personal trainers excellent for that extra accountability, they are there for your safety – number 1!! They can help you correct your technique and form, as well as help to push yourself without going to far to risk an injury.
Tip: Make sure to find a trainer you connect with – most trainers will have a specialty, whether it’s strength & conditioning, boxing, pre/post natal or training for triathalons.
As humans, we already do enough dumb stuff to add to our list of things that do our bodies no good. With the launch of the new iPhone 7 and bigger and better smart phones, that weigh more and are a lot harder to handle than phones of the past I think we will see some subtle injuries arise as a result of you swiping right on tinder too much.
I’m not even joking, before I had met Rachel I had a bit of a flutter on the new-at-the-time dating app. The thing for guys was that you could just keep on swiping right until someone matched with you. I guess karma got me back. I remember flicking with my thumb and out of no where instant RSI. I had to wear a wrist guard when I did exercise to help support it was that bad (Rachel here editing this, and HAHA I had no idea this happened).
“RSI” aka Repetitive Strain Injury, comes from the overuse of tendons, muscles nerves; usually sufferers will get it from the type of work or activity that they do on heavy basis. Hairdressers are most commonly known for it, using scissors and holding other tools for long periods of time.
Along the same lines of RSI, a lot of shoulder problems come into play too from holding up your smart phone. With the upgraded iPhone 7 Plus, or any large phone (ie Samsung Note), the weight is slightly more than the 7 or the 6 or any smaller device, and this can put an extra load though your rotator cuff and back down the arm and though the elbow joint, eventually causing pain.
I found that now when I want to use my phone on one hand it sits in a man made groove in my pinky finger. The phone is too awkward to hold in one hand comfortably if I’m flicking though Instagram on the toil- um, I mean between sessions. The pain traveling up my finger and the outside of my arm made doing upper body training painful, yes I know that sounds ridiculous, but with Fibromyalgia, any added pain doesn't help me whatsoever.
Last but not least, the head facing down in the screen. You will see it on public transport a lot of the time when people are on the train or bus, yeah those rides can be long and boring, but look at what you are doing now (most probably) head down reading this blog post. Now you are looking up and noticing how stiff your neck is. Is this how we evolve? Our spines curved to this manner? With all the nerves that run from your head to your body, no doubt somewhere in your body, physical or mentally, its probably being impacted from over uses of your devices.
I'm not saying phones are bad and that we are all going to hell, just that we can do some things to help with the injuries.
Here are 5 tips on how to prevent injuries associated with Smart Phones, music devices and tablets:
1. Swap hands on the regular. Giving your hands a rest whether you are watching Rachel on YouTube, typing a message to a friend, change your grip, use your finger to type.
2. Place the phone up against an object or on the wall, you could even get a magnetic case holder.
3. Stretch your nerves. There are a few exercises I like doing, try spreading your fingers apart as much as you can 5 times. I'm sure with the internet at your finger tips you can find a few other stretches and exercises to help with phone injuries.
4. If you feel your body hunching over, stand up and try and touch the sky, or sit up as high as you can and squeeze your shoulder blades together for 10 seconds.
5. If it can wait, let it wait. If you have a long video to watch, just wait till you are home, trying to squint and look at the screen for a long period of time can cause headaches and hurt your joints. It's probably better watching it at home or computer on a more comfortable chair.
I almost forgot two other injuries. Pokémon, and driving, that can end badly for you and whoever is around you. And a less serious one, lying in bed with the phone above your face... don’t drop it, that can hurt a fair bit.
Have you got any niggling injuries that you think may have been caused by the over use of technology?
This is a preview of one of the additional articles we provide for our ERL12 participants. The next round of our online fitness challenge, ERL12 will begin in July 2016. Register your interest below this post.
Pain can usually be classified as one of three types, neural pain, muscular pain or skeletal pain. When doing a work out routine it's always important to make sure your body is mechanically sound to complete the exercise. Whether it's preventative, maintenance or repair it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a professional.
Most injuries are caused by overloading a muscle or joint, which in turn causes trigger points or inflammation. Commonly a lot of these injuries occur before even stepping into a gym. One we see quite a lot is usually caused by office or retail work, sitting at a desk all day or standing at a counter serving people is one way to create problematic postural abnormalities. Even for me right now typing this I know that I'm putting my neck under stress as I look down at my Macbook, which can cause a lot of back issues and then create pain in my shoulders, chest, neck, arms and much more. So next time you are doing work, study or even just flicking though Instagram, think to yourself, how is your posture effecting your spine?
I’m going to provide some tips on how to prevent pain from occupational hazards.
1. If you’re on your computer you’re more than likely using a mouse, this can create tightness in your upper traps, rotator cuff , arms and back, eventually leading to headaches or migraines. Make sure your chair isn’t too high, switch mouse from hand to hand time to time, stretch your arms, go for a short walk, or at least stand up and move around every 30 mins. Be aware of your posture, if you feel your self slumping, sit up straight and squeeze your shoulders together for 10 seconds. Not only will this remind you that you have poor posture, but will also strengthen the back muscles that cause slumping in the first place.
2. If you are standing at work, most probably you are leaning to one side, loading up your hip. This one may seem unlikely but it can cause a lot of pain in the future. Loading up your hip creates little contractions in your glutes, that can then tighten up your lower spine, for a lot of you who get a “Sciatica” pain that travels down your lower back, bum, and all through your legs, this is usually the cause. This is a nerve pain that is caused by the impingement of your sciatic nerve in your lower spine and through a muscle called your piriformis. It’s technically not sciatica, but can cause the same symptoms. Switch from leg to leg, be mindful of your posture, awareness is the key! Try and stand on both legs as evenly as possible, walk around, and when no-ones looking, stretch.
3. If your job involves lifting, your lower back is probably pretty sore, if you haven’t been to the gym, or taught how to deadlift properly, chances are you are lifting wrong. If your back feels like that of a camels, straighten that guy up and bend at the hips and knees, keeping a tight tummy and getting down low will help you lift any item safely, if it's too heavy get a friend to help.
4. Got pains already? These are some people to see:
For joint pain, niggling injuries, or sports injuries are the best.
For joint pain, stiffness, nerve pain, mainly through the spine.
For sore stiff muscles, tight necks, and shoulders, and lower backs.
For sore joints, poor mobility.
These are just the basics, but there are also many other natural healers, everyone is different and different methods work for different people. So try a few and see what works best for you.
A few things you can do yourself is to do isolated stretches, which you can find in the stretching guide [free download here], trigger pointing with a ball, or a friend. Self massage, and foam rolling. Natural remedies and minerals, that can help with inflammation and soreness like magnesium, glucosamine, turmeric, and many more.
Creating a pain management routine will not only help through your work outs, but your work and lifestyle too. Always remember to exercise safely, and if you're not sure on a technique, research or ask a professional.
Interested in taking part in the next 12 week online program?
It begins in July. Places are always limited so that we can provide people with one-on-one email support. Register your interest by entering your email in the form below, you will need to confirm your registration by accepting the confirmation email sent to you.