Benefits Of Weight Training For Women

You’re in the gym, what’s the first thing you go towards? The running machine? The bikes? A yoga mat? Women often go for cardio exercises as they might be best for them but including weights in your exercise routine may be the way forward. They can seem scary, but they’re really not. Here’s how they can help you!

Firstly, weight training is great for building muscles which helps metabolism increase. This means that you can burn more calories. Sure, cardio machines are great, but without the base of a good metabolism, it may take you much longer to reach your desired weight. By incorporating weight training, you can speed this process up. The more intense the workout, the more calories you’ll burn, so fitting in some weight training can really help your fitness routine. Not only does weight training build and strengthen muscles, it also strengthens your bones which can reduce the risk of breaks.

Continuing with this, weight training increases strength all over your body. Preventing sports injuries can be made simple by working at it to build strong joints to help with your everyday tasks and exercise. With a stronger back, shoulders and core, your posture should improve, and it can help prevent pain in your lower back. Your overall sports performance should get better too!

It’s also great for gaining strength. You may feel that weight training isn’t for you as you may bulk up, but women don’t have the testosterone levels to build muscle like me do. Instead, women develop strength and muscle definition, which is fantastic.

Finally, this is our last point, but definitely not the last benefit of weight training. As you probably know, exercise releases endorphins which can improve your mood and fight anxiety. Adding to your fitness routine with weight training not only helps your body, but can improve your alertness, boost your energy and just brighten your day. Your brain is just as important as your body, so you have to make sure to look after it. We hope weight training can help.

As you can see, weight training isn’t as scary as you think, and can really help your fitness improve as well as get you to your goals sooner. If you’re unsure, or don’t know where to start, speak to a member of staff and we’ll let you know what exercises to try, weights to begin with, and if there are any classes you might benefit from. Weight training is for everyone, so why not give it a go.

Benefits Of Weight Training In Older Adults

As you get older, it is so much more important to stay active so that you and your body stays healthy and strong. One thing that can really help is lifting weights. They may seem scary but can really help with your fitness. Here are some benefits of incorporating them into your workout routine.

Strengthening your muscles and body as a whole can help reduce back pain and symptoms for other things you may be suffering with. Building your strength is so important to help tackle problems like this. Making your body stronger is the first line of defence against these problems, so incorporating weight training in your normal fitness routine would be really beneficial.

Weight training can also improve your balance and strength, helping you with everyday tasks and other exercises that you may want to try. As we get older, it really is important to keep our independence, and by working on your strength and balance, you’re really helping yourself in all situations.

Increasing your strength and muscle mass also raises your metabolism, so if you’re aiming to lose weight, it’s a great thing to start. By training with weights, your cardio exercises will mean so much more, helping you to take control of your weight. So, if you already use the cardio machines at the gym, spend a few extra minutes with the weights and really push your routine to help you overall.

Finally, strength training can help you sleep better. By working your muscles, sleep is needed to help build them, so you should be able to sleep better, ready for your next day. There are a few ways you can incorporate weight training into your current workout, whether a class or equipment, speak to a member of staff at the gym who will be able to point you in the right direction for something that fits you.

What is CBD and Should I Use It?

Three letters are beginning to show up everywhere, CBD. Whether you’re in the gym, out with friends or even browsing the shops, CBD is popping up and everybody seems to be raving about it. There is no doubt that it is the wellness product of the moment. But what is it? And can it help you?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants. It’s naturally occurring and is used in oils, edibles, and other products to help the user feel calm and relaxed.

Cannabis, hey? Nope, it’s not like taking a crazy drug. CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so it won’t cause you to feel sedated or “high”. It is possible to feel affected by it as everybody reacts differently to everything, so make sure to take it under supervision the first time you try it, just in case.

There are quite a few benefits to CBD. As well as being able to treat certain types of epilepsy, it can help with back pain, and many other health conditions, even cancer. Many people use CBD to try and manage mental health symptoms, especially anxiety. As we said originally, it is used to feel calm and relaxed, which can help people feel better and not in a heightened state.

CBD won’t cure you, and you may have to take a higher dosage than your friends to feel the effects, but it can help to improve your life alongside a healthy lifestyle. It won’t fix everything, but it can assist.

There are so many ways to take CBD: edibles, vape pens, oils, and more. The best way to take it is however you feel comfortable to. If you already vape, it may be best to try that way. If it’s muscle pain that you’re trying to help, you could use a cream in the direct place. The best thing to do is think about what you want to achieve by using it and go from there. Always make sure that the products you choose to buy don’t contain strange additional ingredients.

So, there’s the basics of CBD. Whether you take it already and are wanting to learn more or are still feeling unsure, CBD is there to help you and not hinder. But you can’t let it do all the work on its own. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re looking for something that can help, it may be the product you’re looking for.

Will you be trying it?

Best Bodybuilding Supplements

The days when bodybuilders took steroids to boost their muscle mass have long gone, and those who attempt to use anabolic steroids in an attempt to get a competitive edge run a very high risk of being caught and stripped of any titles they have won – some would say that being caught is inevitable.

So how, then, do bodybuilders manage to build such huge muscles that seem far larger than those of other professional athletes? Is it because they spend so long in the gym and are very dedicated? Well, yes, bodybuilders have to have great dedication, but they also take supplements. These supplements are 100% legal and don’t have the nasty side effects of the old anabolic steroids, such as “roid rage”. You will find several products that are designed to boost your body’s levels of anabolic hormones or are describes as having an “anabolic effect”.

Unlike the old illegal steroids, these bodybuilding supplements do not add any hormones into your system. Instead, these supplements stimulate your body so it produces more of its own androgens and testosterone – the male hormones that enable bulky muscles to be laid down on the skeletal frame. Some of these bodybuilding supplements increase energy levels as well – common ones include creatine, NOx (nitric oxide) increasers, HGH (human growth hormone), and ZMA (which is a combination of zinc and magnesium, both of which are vital in testosterone production). These supplements are either used singly or in a “stack” or combination of several products. Some lines of bodybuilding supplements include products that come ready “stacked” for ease of use.

Of course, that’s not all. Muscles aren't built of air. All body builders take protein supplements and eat a very high protein diet. When building muscle mass – and this advice works for those who want to look a bit more toned or bulk up, as well as for those who want competition-level muscle bulk – taking a high protein supplement, usually in a shake or as a bar, is essential. This protein should be taken in combination with a small amount of glucose. The powder type of bodybuilding supplement is particularly handy for increasing the amount of protein in the diet, which all bodybuilders do.

Casting a glance over a discount supplier of these supplements, you can see that the protein supplements available to bodybuilders (and others) come from a range of different sources. Dairy-sourced protein supplements are the most commonly seen, with whey a popular choice, closely followed by casein (casein, just in case you were wondering, comes from the curds in the combination enjoyed by the legendary Miss Muffett before the spider arrived: curds & whey). Egg protein is also very popular and is suitable for those with dairy intolerance. Egg protein is sourced either from the whole egg or from the egg white only (just as an aside, powdered egg protein is also used in tree plantations – it’s applied to young trees to deter rabbits and hares from nibbling on them). And for vegetarians, soy protein supplements are also easy to find.

Other supplements that are commonly marketed as bodybuilding supplements but can be taken by anyone include multivitamin tablets and diet pills, especially the types of pill that increase energy levels and/or the metabolism, as this not only strips away excess fat (no point in having a really ripped torso and abs if those abs are buried beneath a spare tyre) but also supplies the extra stamina needed for the gym sessions (an hour or more) needed to build serious bulk.

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is one of the most rewarding types of exercise because it encompasses stretch, strength and improves flexibility in the safest way while avoiding injury.

Pilates started as a way of rehabilitating athletes and dancers but is now used by millions of people across the globe because it is one of the safest forms of exercise.

Forget going for a run, pounding on pavement with the potential risk of getting shin splints, a knee injury or worse, falling and getting an even more severe injury. Pilates is one of the safest exercise systems in existence. The only equipment used is a floor mat. But for more advanced pilates exercise enthusiasts, other equipment can be added to simple routines. Nevertheless, once you begin this solid workout regimen, you will begin to notice healthy improvements in your body.

Regardless of whether you are 20 or 60 years of age, Pilates can work for anyone – male or female, old or young. No matter what condition you're in, the health and fitness benefits are endless. Pilates improves flexibility, core strength and range of motion. It is also known to help alleviate chronic health ailments as well as fight back pain.

But the best part about Pilates is it’s fun!

It’s an exercise that bonds the mind and body allowing them to work together to establish balance. But the biggest benefit is Pilates improves overall body alignment, making it less prone to injury.

Here are some more benefits of Pilates:

• Improves breathing

• Corrects spinal and pelvic alignment through the concentration of slow, flowing, smooth movements with maximum power.

• Builds long, lean muscles that are less prone to injury, while building strength - without the bulk.

• Improves flexibility and range of motion.

• Improves back and abdominal strength.

• Creates balance between muscles - as weak muscles become stronger and the strong muscles also gain more strength never overtraining or undertraining any particular muscle group. This balance makes it easier to enjoy daily activities with less risk of injury. Pilates allows you to retrain your body to move in smoother safer, more efficient patterns of motion, which is essential in optimal performance and overall health.

• There is no pounding or bouncing in Pilates. It is the safest form of exercise. This is why it began as a rehabilitation exercise system for sports athletes and dancers. It is an intense exercise system working all muscle groups but still sustaining and improving overall balance.

If you are looking for a fitness routine that’s safe and easy to do - and that doesn't involve a lot of heavy equipment, Pilates is an excellent choice. But best of all, with the popularity of this system, it can be performed in the comfort of your own home! Many videos and DVD’s are available for rent at your local video store as well as for sale at your local supermarket.

Need the right exercise system? Pilates may be just the right thing for you. Fun, easy and relaxing exercise that strengthens and restores flexibility… Doesn't get much better than this!

Fitness Training – The Importance of Correct Warming Up

All types of physical practice, in fitness or any other sport, must begin with correct warming up. This activity, together with relaxation and the main stage, are the three essential parts of the training.

The types of warming up can vary a lot in length, intensity and structure of exercises, according to the sport or the training you want to start. Although there are many kinds of warming up, all of them have in common two distinct stages.

The first stage concerns general warming up, whose purpose is to gradually prepare the whole body for the effort which will follow. The body temperature also increases. At this stage, the inertia of the body is easily removed through aerobic exercises (running, cycling, etc.). This stage should not take more than 5-10 minutes; otherwise it will change into a real aerobic training. It is well known that during aerobic effort the body consumes a lot of glycogen, so, especially before force training (anaerobic), there is the risk of running out of energy.

The second stage of warming up is specific to each sport. This stage aims to warm up the main muscles and joints involved in the effort, but also to anticipate, by simulation, some movements from the main part of the training. This stage can be longer than the first one and includes different types of gymnastics for the joints, jumping, exercises at greater speed, stretching, etc. However, this stage shouldn't be very long either, because the sportsman needs to save physical energy and to avoid mental stress. In many sports (target shooting, fencing, tennis, etc.), mental stress can be bigger than physical effort.

These two stages of warming up must come one after the other very strictly. It is forbidden to switch their order, and also to skip one of them. Unfortunately, it is common in sport to skip the first stage and do just specific warming up, which is considered more important.

This is a big mistake, because this type of exercises does not rise the body temperature as much as the ones involving minimum aerobic effort. The result is that the body will be much more rigid and a lot less prepared for the main part of the training. There are cases, especially in sport games, when both stages of warming up are abandoned. Kicking the ball or passing a few times are supposed to replace a thorough, but boring warming up.

Not doing the warming up correctly or, worse, not doing it at all increases the risk of having accidents during training or competing. Possible accidents range from simple ones, like pulling a muscle or cramps, to some really bad ones (ruptured muscles, hernia, sprains, dislocations, etc.). Even if, luckily, such accidents do not happen, the body will experience a dramatic decrease of efficiency in performing the exercises.

It is very important for beginners to do the warming up. If they do not ignore it when they take up sport, they will form a habit of warming up and will, hopefully, keep this habit as long as they do sport. They must not assume the false idea that, being beginners, they shouldn't exercise so intensely.

All these problems are traps that correct warming up can definitely avoid.

What is Cardio?

Cardio is a word everyone at the gym seems to use. But what is it? And more importantly, what is the point of it?

Cardio is cardiovascular exercise. Simply, cardio is a type of exercise that keeps up your heart rate, burns calories, is brilliant for working your muscles to make the workout you do after more efficient, and is so important for a healthy body and avoiding disease. Cardio is intense, as it is meant to elevate your heart rate, increasing the number of calories you will lose and the fat you will burn. It also helps to improve your metabolism and strengthen your heart and lungs.

Whether you love it or hate it, cardio is a great addition to your workout and can make what you do so much more effective through increasing your heart rate. If you are one of those people, why not try it with a friend to build some healthy competition. You can read our article about gym buddies here.

It may seem difficult to some, but you do a cardio workout every day. Walking, running, and cycling are all cardio workouts, helping your body and muscles get moving so you can perform more exercises, as well as burn calories. Other workouts you can attempt in the gym that count towards your cardio are: using a rowing machine, swimming, doing a Hiit workout, or even skipping, which can burn over 1000 calories per hour. It’s incredible how much cardio you could be doing without even realising it.

So that’s what cardio is. Simple, yet effective, especially in the gym. But how often should you do it?

Some people say to do a dedicated hour of cardio 3 times a week, and some people say to do 30 minutes 5 times a week. It really is up to the individual, as well as the current workout routine. Your regular training session may contain a lot of cardio without you realising, so assess your personal situation and see what works best for you and how often you can squeeze in a session at the gym. Whatever works out for you, remember to always take a rest day each week to give your body time to rest and repair so that you will begin to see great results.

What is your favourite kind of cardio workout?

2 Steps To Six Pack Abs

First off, I want to mention that, for most people, getting six pack abs is not an easy task. It requires dedication, but it is possible! Below is a general 2-step guide that, if followed religiously for 3 months, will produce results.

Step 1: Nutrition

This is the single most important part of the puzzle, hands down. You can have the most impressive set of abs, but if they're covered with a layer of fat, you won't see them! Break up your day with 5 or 6 mini-meals because this jump starts your metabolism. And stop eating the food that is preventing results: white bread, loads of pasta, soda, candy, fast food, hydrogenated oils, sugars and fructose corn syrup.

Instead, replace them with foods that will help you reach your goal: oatmeal, olive oil, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, natural peanut butter, chicken, fish, protein and water. Be realistic- you'll slip here and there, but make a conscious effort to radically improve your eating habits because getting a six pack will be impossible if you don't.

Step 2: Exercise

You need to concern yourself with 3 different exercises: cardio, weightlifting and ab exercises. And aim to workout 3- 4 times a week.

The cardio you do can be anything: walking, running, biking, swimming....whichever cardio you don't mind doing so that you'll stick with it. Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week.

Weightlifting is important because 3 pounds of added muscle burns as many calories as a 1 mile jog...and this is while you're just sitting around! Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week. If you're confused as to what exercises to do for each body part the Gym & Tonic fitness professionals have extensive knowledge and will happily share their tips.

The last exercise you need to incorporate into your workout is ab exercises. Aim to work your abs a minimum of 3 times a week. There are a ton of different ab exercises you can do so try to find 3 or so that you enjoy doing so you can mix it up. Click HERE for a good database of different ab exercises.

Tip: mix up your workout routine every 2 weeks to keep your body guessing and changing. Add or take away different weight or ab exercises, or at the very least, vary the weight, reps or form of cardio you do.

Well, there you have it. Follow the above for 3 months religiously, and while results will vary from person to person, you will experience improvement.

It will take dedication on your part, but imagine the feeling you'll get when you look in the mirror and like what you see.

Should You Have a Gym Buddy?

Whether you’ve been a gym goer for a while or are just getting started, there are days when we just have no motivation whatsoever and getting out of bed let alone going to the gym is painful. But having someone else there to inspire you and push you to continue can be incredible, and if you’re worried about going to the gym on your own, this may be the ultimate solution for you! Here’s some great reasons why you should have a gym buddy.

Achieve Your Goals

Like we’ve said, finding motivation can be tough, and if you start to fall behind your schedule and routine, your goals can feel a million miles away. By having someone there with you, you are inspired to work as hard as them, but also motivate each other when it feels like it’s all too much. If you’ve got a goal you’re working towards and you’re feeling motivated, you’re more likely to get to where you want to be quicker.

Fitness Becomes Fun

It can feel like a lot of effort to go to the gym, but by having a friend to chat and laugh with, working out will be fun. If you’ve got a friend to hang out with, going to the gym will become enjoyable and you’ll be happy to have it as part of your weekly routine. You and your gym buddy will be able to have a serious workout, with it feeling a little less serious.

Competition is Good

Now, we’re not saying you should compete with your gym buddy but having someone to workout with will push you to try harder. You could set small challenges with each other or time trails to push each other to work harder. Try building your own circuits or seeing who can complete a certain number of reps in the lowest time. Friendly competition is best, but whatever you do, push each other to punch harder, kick higher, and run faster.

Accountability

It can be easy to break promises to ourselves, especially if we're feeling tired or just can't be bothered with the gym, but if we've promised someone else, giving up is a last resort. By having a gym buddy, you become more accountable for your actions, and are more likely to stick to your gym routine if you don't want to let someone else down.

Learn Something New

If you go to the gym on your own, you may get stuck doing the same things every time, worried to start new classes and routines as it’s new and out of your comfort zone. By having a friend with you, you can swap tips and routines, inspiring you to try new things but not feeling alone or awkward whilst doing it. Going to classes for the first time can be daunting but having someone with you can make it feel more natural and fun. Teach your gym buddy your favourite exercises, and they’ll do the same.

These are just a few short reasons explaining why having a friend at the gym can really help you get more work done and feel happy whilst doing it. You may be thinking how you can get a gym buddy, well, you could speak to a member of the staff at the gym and ask if they know of anyone looking for a friend at the gym, or even reach out to your friends and family members and ask if anyone of them wants to go to the gym with you. You may not find someone straight away, but you will find someone you get along with and motivates you to do better.

7 STEPS TO EFFECTIVE TRAINING

Dr Jinger Gottschall explains how to get the results you deserve.

Want to get the best results from the time you spend working out? Keep these seven tips front of mind.

Dr Jinger Gottschall is a university professor, studio owner, Les Mills instructor and former triathlete who has dedicated her career to academic fitness research. Here she shares some of her favorite fitness facts – highlighting exactly what it takes to shape a safe and effective training regime.

#1 CHOOSE THE RIGHT MOTIVATION

If you’re primarily motivated by external goals (how you look), it’s harder to maintain good exercise habits over time. You have a better chance of making a lifestyle change if you think about what internal factors motivate you. It might be lowering cholesterol, improving body composition, boosting energy, productivity and happiness. Choose internally-focused motivators like these and sticking to exercise will be much easier. Write your goals down. And if you want, share them. Sharing your goals with other like-minded people is proven to boost your chances of success through support.

#2 PROGRESSIVE TRAINING IS THE BEST BET

If you’re new to exercise or haven’t exercised regularly for over six months, studies show a slow, progressive training plan is the best way to build a habit and prevent burnout. Try not to do more than the plan specifies – by doing too much too soon you increase the risk of injury, not to mention frustration and the likelihood of giving up.

#3 VARIETY BRINGS RESULTS

The best results come when you follow a weekly regime that features a combination of cardio, strength and flexibility training. This was highlighted by a study involving 25 non-active, healthy adults who completed a training plan featuring a combination of LES MILLS™ workouts. After 30 weeks the exercisers saw an increase in lean tissue (+5 percent), a decrease in both body mass (-4 percent), and LDL cholesterol (-6 percent). And their cardiovascular fitness increased by an average of 50 percent. Thanks to results like these we can now confidently advise that a varied work out regime will significantly improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

#4 CHOOSE HIGH REP, STRENGTH TRAINING

Don’t shy away from lifting weights. Incorporating low load, high-repetition strength training can build strong, lean muscle and do amazing things for your fitness. We studied 20 non-active, healthy adults following a regime featuring three RPM™ cycling workouts and three BODYPUMP™ strength training sessions per week. After 24 weeks not only did cardiovascular fitness significantly increase, but bone density in the arms, legs, pelvis, and lumbar spine were statistically greater.

#5 LOW WEIGHTS MAXIMIZE CALORIE BURN

High repetition training with low weights can maximize calorie burn. Studies show the mean amount of energy expenditure during a BODYPUMP workout, using faster repetitions with lighter weights, is 29 percent greater than in the same duration of slower repetitions with heavier weights.

#6 ADD HIIT

If you already participate in three to five workouts per week, consider embracing the magic of high-intensity interval training. With the addition of just two 30-minute HIIT workouts a week you can see your health, fitness, and strength leap ahead. In a study of 84 healthy adults it took just six weeks of twice-weekly LES MILLS GRIT™ workouts for them to enjoy a decrease in body fat (-2 percent), a reduction in triglycerides (-16 percent), an increase in cardiovascular fitness (+6 percent) and improved back strength (+21 percent).

#7 DON’T FORGET YOUR CORE

Squeezing in the odd set of crunches isn’t going to give you the results you deserve. Core exercises that require shoulder (deltoid) and hip (glute) activity produce greater muscle activation in the abdominal muscles than exercises such as a crunch. Research shows that incorporating integrated core training into your workout regime can improve endurance, enhance stability and reduce injury.

Jinger Gottschall, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Penn State University, and former triathlete who learned first-hand the injury-inducing effects of doing nothing but cardio exercise. She has subsequently led numerous studies into the effectiveness of various exercise regimes and works closely with Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research, to test all sorts of exercise programming. When it comes to getting the best results from the time you spend working out, this woman knows the way to go.

This piece originally appeared on lesmills.com.