Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Interval Timer

I thought for the blog today I'd take the opportunity to recommend one of the best training aids I've ever bought.

If you do any sort of training, an Interval Timer is priceless.

You can train without looking at the clock to time your rest periods, you don't have to worry about the timer during a set or run. There are no distractions so you can just get on with your set until the time's up.

I personally prefer using this method to counting reps - where poeple tend to stop at 10 (or a pre-designated number) even if they can do more.

This way, you keep going until the timer stops, so you can work harder, meaning better results!

It's as good as having someone next to you telling you when to go and stop.

The best Interval Timer I've come across is from Gymboss - it's cheap, easy to use, and can do whatever you want, with intervals from 1 second to 99minutes and 59seconds.

You can set it to run through once, to keep going until you stop it, or to stop after a set number of rounds (1-99).

Either set it to a single time to repeat, or have two times programmed in - for example you can set it to time 60 seconds for your work period, and then a 30 second rest before it starts again.

I use this for my own training ALL the time, with every Personal Training client I have, AND in all of my Bootcamp classes.

The timer's only $20 and ships quickly (you can get them on e-bay, but for the sake of saving £1 you're better off going to their official site here - much more reliable).

And you can also get them in 3 different colours now - Silver, Slate, or Hot Pink (nice!)

Click the link below and get your timer now - it'll be the best purchase you've ever made for your fitness training!

Purchase the Gymboss Interval Timer

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Moving throughout the day

After a conversation with a client the other day, I've decided to make this post short and sweet and explain the importance of keeping your body moving throughout the day.

Lots of common problems nowadays tend to be caused by a lack of movement.

Unless you remember an exact time when you got an injury, or know how it came about (i.e. you fell over/twisted an ankle etc.), chances are it's been a long time coming.

Unfortunately, due to modern society, most people spend in excess of 8 hours a day sitting down. They get up, sit and eat breakfast, sit on the train/bus or in the car to get to work, often sit at a desk all day, then drive/bus/train home to sit down for dinner and for a bit of TV.

Obviously there are exceptions, but most people (even the busiest mums) find time to watch a bit of TV.

Well spending this much time seated, means a lot of your muscles are either pulled taught, or left on slack.

Your body doesn't like slack muscles, so if they're like it for enough of the time it will start to "wind them in", pulling them tight (such as your hip flexors when seated).

Then, when you stand up straight, these tight muscles get pulled tighter, so to avoid ripping them, they'll pull your joints with them to avoid being stretched.

Again, using the hip flexors as an example, this means these muscles will literally pull your pelvis forward, causing a tilted pelvis, leading to an increased lumbar arch and general poor posture.

Mix this with all of the other muscles that get tightened due to prolonged periods of sitting down and you've got some major postural problems!

So how can you avoid/counter this?

Well the best way to correct these muscle imbalances is with a personalised correctional exercise programme consisting of strengthening exercises for the weaker, stretched muscles, and stretching exercises for the tight muscles, as well as some mobility exercises to keep the joints moving and healthy.

But that's for another time - consult with your local fitness expert if you're interested in getting a programme written.

For now, you can start to reverse these effects, or at least prevent them from getting any worse by performing some simple exercises throughout the day - avoiding sitting without moving for long periods of time.

The added bonus of this is that it will give your brain a bit of a rest from work too, meaning you'll come back refreshed and able to work better anyway.


Step 1
Get yourself a timer, either use a kitchen timer, a watch with a countdown timer, or go to and get their free countdown timer which you can leave running on your computer while you work. (see below)

Step 2
Set the timer to 50 minutes. You can set it to whatever time you want, but 50 minutes seems to be the best as it's long enough to get a good portion of work done uninterrupted, but you won't be sat still for too long.

Step 3
When the timer goes off after 50 minutes, get up out of your seat and do something!

This could be something as simple as a few full body exercises (Squats, lunges, twists and bends), some stretches for the muscles that are tight, or even just spending 5 minutes walking around the office.

If you can do this consistently every hour, every day, you will be keeping your body moving and prevent further imbalances occurring or getting worse.

I'll be posting some short video clips of exercises you can do in these "mini-breaks" here over the next few days so be sure to check back or bookmark and check it periodically.

Again, if you want to use the free online stopwatch like the one below click the link to download it now.

Get a Stopwatch like this or make your own! At: Online Stopwatch