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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
So you have probably seen those blue or grey tubey things that people roll around the floor on and thought to yourself, “What the hell are they doing?” They are foam rollers and are designed to help you loosen and soften your muscles to relieve pain and discomfort in various parts of your body.
If you have any of the following symptoms it's definitely time to start foam rolling:
✘ Back pain
✘ 'Pulling' sensation under your knee cap when walking
✘ Tight hamstrings (difficulties stretching)
✘ Neck pain (office job, anyone?)
✘ Shin splints
If you are new to foam rolling its best to start with a smaller, softer roller so you don’t feeling like you are smashing your legs with a mallet. Foam rolling is about releasing muscles and hitting trigger points in a tight or achy muscle by applying your own body weight over the roller and targeting a muscle or area for 30-60 seconds. Trigger points are little bound up pieces of muscle fibre that have not healed correctly (usually from injury or from being overactive and switched on). For example, if you have weak muscles in your back, your neck will be taking on more load to cope and will then develop trigger points that need releasing. Traditionally massage is the best way to release trigger points but not everyone has the time or money for a massage therapist frequently, so spending a good 15-20 minutes a day foam rolling can help ease headaches, pain in your lower back region, increase strength and reduce fatigue.
Ok, ok, ok, after all this blabbering lets get down to business. Here are 5 foam rolling exercises that can help you become more flexible, stronger and happier.
Place the foam roller on the ground and lay over it on your back starting at the base of your spine and slowly roll your back up the foam roller and let your vertebrae relax one by one. Once you have reached the top of the back, begin rolling back down to the bottom again! Repeat this for 30-60 seconds.
Sit up on the foam roller with your bum on top like it’s a chair, extend both legs forward and bent with your feet flat on the ground. Now bring one of you legs across your other leg, so your ankle is above your other legs knee and start bringing your foot that’s on the ground towards you until you feel a stretch in your bum. Now that its nice and tight start rolling back and forth slowly and repeat for 30-60 seconds and switch sides.
Still on the foam roller, cross your ankles over and extend your legs out all the way, start at the bottom of your… well bottom and roll down your leg till you get to your knee and go back up. Also you can roll side to side to hit different tendons.
ITB & Quads
To roll out your ITBs start by lying on top of the foam roller with the outside of your leg and roll between the top of the leg down towards your knee and then back up. After you've done that a few times start to roll over more (so that you are becoming closer to lying completely on your stomach) to target the outer quad, mid quad and inner quad. Time to roll over and pretty much do the same thing but on your front, start from your hip and roll down to your knee and back up.
Like the hamstring roll out, cross your ankles over each other and put the roller under your calf muscles and roll up and down from the knee to the ankle, have fun!
Now that you are feeling nice and your muscles are loose follow the stretching guide to get even more flexibility and recover better!