All, Featured, Lifestyle, Workouts & Routines

Hilarious Gym Faces: What Expression Do You Pull Most Often When You’re Working Out?

July 24, 2015
Lawrence Price FaFitSake

Let’s face it, who doesn’t have a special gym face when they’re working out? The fact is, when we’re ‘in the zone’; we’re totally focused on the work-out, and completely oblivious to what our expressions are doing in the meantime. The result? Some genuinely hilarious facial movements that are always sure to raise a smile from other fellow gym buddies!

Classic Gym Faces: A Brief Guide

  • The ‘fear’ face. You know this expression. It’s the one every guy or girl gets when they know they’ve over-stretched themselves. It’s that look of wide-eyed panic as they survey the heavy weights above their heads and wonder how the hell they’ll get them back down again without their muscles collapsing. We’ve all been there. We feel your pain!
  • The 6am face. It’s a common face to see in the mornings at the gym. The weary, defeated gaze, the clenched lips; the expression that says quite clearly to the world ‘I’d rather be quite literally anywhere in the world right now than here, working out in the gym at the break of dawn.’ That’s what we call the 6am face. However, respect is due for managing to crawl out of bed in the first instance.
  • The PB (personal best) face. You see that bloke over there, with the look of distinct, unmistakable smug satisfaction in his eyes? The one who is surreptitiously glancing round the room, hoping others have witnessed his achievement? Because yes, this guy has done something very impressive indeed. He’s beaten his personal best, and he wants everyone, including you, to know it. Go on. Give him a smile. He deserves it.
  • The vinegar face. They’re going for it, and they couldn’t be more in the zone if they tried. You can tell this by the look of uncontrolled, unadulterated aggression in their face; the squinting eyes, poochy mouth and sweat dribbling down the forehead. Yes, they look like they’re right in the middle of an activity of a rather more intimate nature. But hey, they’re going for it, and we respect that. The vinegar face is okay by us.
  • Last reps failed face. The look of wounded hurt, that’s a strange blend of upset puppy and enraged gorilla… that’s the sure sign that their work-out isn’t going to plan. They’ll probably follow up on this face by throwing their water bottle angrily down to the floor, or by whipping their towel across the nearest bit of gym equipment, before clenching their fists in an upset ‘why me… WHY?’ Have a bit of sympathy here. It’s happened to the best of us. In reality you want your final reps to be a struggle and to hit failure if you’re building muscle…otherwise you’re not lifting enough. Just make sure you’re training in the right way and you won’t feel dejected when you reach muscle failure at the right moment…

Share Your Gym Faces…

If you’ve got a hilarious gym face that you’d like to share, do send them in!

All, Featured, Guest Blog, Workouts & Routines

How to Build a Budget-Friendly Home Gym (Guest Blog)

July 16, 2015
lawrence-price-fafitsake-motion-blur-guest-blog-home-gym

My Canadian friends from Health Perch wrote a great article about how to build your very own (budget-friendly) home gym, they thought you guys would love to read it too. They talk about long commutes, expensive membership fees and bad weather (sounds familiar ?) Hope you’ll enjoy it!

 

How to Build a Budget-Friendly Home Gym

Long commutes, expensive membership fees, and bad weather are just a few excuses that stall a regular workout routine. Consistent exercise promotes better health, improved energy, and a positive mood, so why not create a space for exercise where it’s most convenient: at home.

Though elaborate at-home gyms sound dreamy, these budget-friendly ideas are sure to keep a body moving without breaking the bank. Home gym equipment doesn’t have to be bulky. Build a killer routine using items that stow away under beds, pack in bags, are portable around the home, and can be crafted using items found at the hardware store.

The Savvy Home Gym Dos and Don’ts

Do:

  • Make use of what you find around your home. Old gallon jugs can be refilled and used as weights. Chairs, tables, and stools are also great pieces for plyometric, elevated, or decline moves.
  • Purchase items that store away so your gym doesn’t take over an entire room. Look for items you can tuck beneath the bed, store in baskets, or tuck on a shelf in the closet. For travelers, look for portable items you can pack up when you are on the go.
  • Scour garage sales, online resell sites, and gym closeout sales. Used gym equipment is often just as sturdy as brand new equipment, but at a fraction of the price. Many people get rid of equipment to make more room in their homes or because they don’t want to move it when they relocate. This is an opportune time for a bargain. Additionally, gyms that are moving or going out of business often hold fire sales.

Don’t:

  • Splurge on expensive and clunky equipment you may never use. It’s better to start small and work up to more expensive equipment as you expand your home gym. It can be tempting to purchase equipment because it sounds convenient, but it may turn into a bulky dust bunny cavern instead.
  • Set up a workout space in a room you rarely visit. When training at home, try to allocate an enjoyable space that feels like a sanctuary. Working out next to the washing machine or in a dank basement has less appeal than a cozy corner in the bedroom or a sunny spot on the patio.
  • Get too much too soon. Only purchase items you plan to use in the next few months. Wait to purchase heavier weights and more advanced equipment until you are ready to use it. Home gyms are meant to grow over time as you learn new exercises, increase strength, and become more proficient at training. Think of gym equipment as a reward for all that hard work. It feels great to go out and buy heavier kettlebells or a pull-up bar when those muscles get stronger.

The Savvy Home Gym Dos and Don'ts

The Home Gym Starter Kit

Bands

Resistance bands pack a lot of power into your workout without taking up space in your home. Exercise tubing, loop bands, mini bands, and power bands are just a few types of these affordable exercise tools. These bands are available in different levels of resistance: generally light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy.

Step bench

Aerobic step benches provide a useful platform that adds variety to your training. These sturdy surfaces aren’t just for step aerobics. Use them for step-ups, box squats, bench press, lateral lunges, incline push-ups, and so much more. For some moves, depending on the sturdiness of the piece of furniture, you can sub in a stool or chair you already have in your home.

Yoga mat

Not limited to yoga, a quality mat offers a padded, stable surface to perform floor exercises. Mats also protect your flooring from sweat and dirt that may build up while you exercise.

Kettlebells or dumbbells

Bodyweight exercises alone can build strength and endurance, but adding weight elevates training to a whole new level. Kettlebells and dumbbells each offer their own unique benefits to training, and both have pluses and minuses. Kettlebells require a slight learning curve, but once mastered, they often become a preferred resistance-training tool for many because a single kettlebell can be used for multiple exercises. Kettlebells are also more compact as they go up in weight, so a 30-pound kettlebell takes up less space than a 30-pound dumbbell.

Medicine balls

Another versatile resistance training tool, medicine balls can be used for explosive movements, core work, squats, and sports-specific training. Medicine balls come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. It’s best to research which type works best for the exercises you plan to incorporate into your workouts.

Pull-up bar

Though it can be added, a pull-up bar helps build a strong upper body and core. Bars can be mounted into the wall or hung from a doorframe and easily removed after each workout.

The Home Gym Starter Kit

DIY Alternatives

Kettlebells set

Kettlebells are great tools for strength and resistance training, but they can cost a pretty penny. Not all kettlebells are created equally and less expensive brands may have imperfections that can cause injury when using them for certain lifts. On average, kettlebells cost a dollar per pound used and sometimes two dollars per pound brand new. They are worth the investment, but not always budget friendly.

The alternative: Adjustable T-Handle

A homemade adjustable T-Handle is a great tool for swings, deadlifts, and squats. With just a few pipes and a set of weight plates, you can fashion a DIY kettlebell that adjusts to several different weights. Weight plates typically cost less than a dollar per pound (when purchased used) and can be found at used sporting good stores or on sites including eBay or Craigslist.

Step bench

Aerobic step benches are a great addition to any home gym. A good step bench set with two risers costs around $100. Any additional risers cost more. That can add up quickly and take a huge chunk out of your home gym budget.

The alternative: DIY boxes and steps

The local hardware store has everything necessary to build steps and boxes. Most stores will cut a certain amount of wood, so arrive with your measurements ready to go.

This video shows a basic step bench tutorial. Build several of these and stack them to create the same effect as risers. Start small and add more as you progress with training.

This blog post shows a tutorial to make a homemade box for squatting, hip thrusts, and step-ups. Adjust the length and width to suit your space and needs. Depending on how you finish them, these boxes can also double as a multifunction ottoman or coffee table in tight spaces.

Barbell set not dumbbells?

Strength training is synonymous with barbells and they are a much-desired addition to any home gym. The cost of a good set can add up quickly, and they also take up a great deal of space—which doesn’t work well in tight quarters.

The alternative: DIY sandbag

Sandbags are a great alternative to barbells since many of the same exercises can be done using these homemade tools. For around $50, this tutorialgives you all the advice you need to build a good sandbag for home workouts.

An alternative to one heavy sandbag is to pack smaller amounts of weight into several bags. Take out and add weight to your larger bag as needed for a more customizable piece of equipment. Not in the mood for messy sand? Try this no-leak sandbag trick using wood pellets or ropes instead.

Medicine balls

Medicine balls store easily, work for many routines, and are great for kids to use, too. Just like any sports equipment, having just one may not cut it (and these aren’t cheap).

The alternative: DIY medicine ball

Put that flat basketball in the garage to use with this DIY medicine ball. Supplies cost less than $10 (minus the ball). Fill multiple balls to different weights to create a full medicine ball set.

Jump rope

Jumping rope gets the heart revved, but finding the right length is a little like Goldilocks finding the right porridge temperature. Rather than splurging on a custom jump rope that can cost upward of $50, try making your own.

The alternative: DIY jump rope

This tutorial demonstrates how to make a custom length speed rope using materials from the hardware store. The materials shown cost less than $5 and can make up to six jump ropes.

Equalizer

The Equalizer is a portable exercise tool that adds variety to everyday training. From dips and rows to lunges and split squats, it ramps up any exercise routine, but costs more than $100. 

The alternative: DIY Equalizer

The hardware houses all of the necessary items for this at-home alternative to an expensive piece of exercise equipment. This blog post demonstrates how to craft an Equalizer out of PVC for a fraction of the cost.

DIY Budget Home Gym Equipment

Get Working

That awesome home gym won’t do much good unless it’s put to use. Check online for loads of home workout videos that fit the needs of any lifestyle. Find routines that fit your fitness level, offer plenty of variety, and also work with your schedule. With a few essential pieces, you will be well on your way to enjoying workouts right in the comfort of your own home.

BY

All, Featured, Fit Food

Juicing: Celebrity Fad or No-Brainer for Everyone Who Works Out?

July 6, 2015
Healthy Juicing Recipes

Everyone from film stars to world-class athletes seems to be banging on about juicing at the moment. Sure, some of them aren’t in bad shape, but they haven’t got there from downing the odd glass of liquidized fruit and veg, have they? Well, certainly not without a lot of working out on the side. However, in spite of this, one thing’s for sure. You should never underestimate the power of the humble green. Get it right and juicing can be a game-changer.

What’s So Great About Juice?

Juicing doesn’t just help you to get your energy level back up after an intense workout. Get the right ingredients, and they can have a pretty intense effect on the body. Without too much fuss, simple produce can be transformed into a nutrient-packed super-drink. It’s a fast, easy way to get a mineral and vitamin boost – so it’s no wonder celebrity fitness fanatics around the world are raving about juicing.

You only have to look at glass of fresh, green juice to tell it’s not going to be a bad idea for your body, but what’s in it that’s so good for you? Let’s investigate.

  • Electrolytes– Orange-coloured fruit and veggies like sweet potato and carrot are full of electrolytes, which can take the edge off muscle cramps, fatigue and headaches.
  • Magnesium– Another one that’s good for post-workout cramps, you’ll get your fill of magnesium from juices with spinach, kale and other veg.
  • Vitamin C – Keep your immune system on its toes with Vitamin C-packed juices with orange, kiwi fruit and broccoli.

Get Ready to Juice…

You don’t need to be Gordon Ramsay to throw together a decent juice. All you need is the right ingredients and – you guessed it – a juicer. Here are a couple of recipes to get you started.

  1. Green Machine. This one’s perfect if you’re looking for an energy boost and it’s full to the brim with vitamins and minerals. Just throw 3⁄4 cup fresh pineapple, 3 cups of baby spinach, 1 table spoon of fresh ginger and 1 medium cucumber into a juicer and enjoy.
  1. Brilliant Beetroot. Juice 1 beetroot, 1 carrot, 1 pineapple ring, 1 piece ginger, half a lemon and two apples for a refreshing, energising vitamin-boost.
  1. Kicking Carrot. For a blast of nutrients with a real kick, try 11 carrots, 1 piece of ginger, half a lime, a quarter-cup of coriander, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt.

Taking Your Fitness Regime to the Next Level

Juicing can be a brilliant part of a well-rounded fitness program. Visit our Categories menu for more great tips on how to get fit this summer.

All, Featured, Lifestyle, Motivation

It’s Time to Get Ripped… Here’s Your Essential Fitness ‘Man-Kit’!

June 24, 2015
man-kit

Summer is finally here, and that means only one thing… it’s time to get your kit off! Obviously, I don’t mean literally… unless of course, it’s in the privacy of your own home; then by all means, go right ahead. Just don’t show us, cheers.

Instead, I’m talking about hitting the beaches in your swimming trunks, running round the park in your vest top, and playing an impromptu game of football with just your jeans on. I’m referring to all those occasions when you want to feel good about your body, instead of feeling pressured to cover up in order to avoid embarrassment. More importantly, you want to feel healthy and strong enough to get the most out of the summer so getting fit NOW can make all the difference to your upcoming happiness.

Too Self-Conscious? It’s Time to Get in Shape!

If you’re surveying the summer season with a sense of dread, due to the fear of exposing your beer-gut, man-boobs and love-handles; then it’s time to take action… and fast. Hey, you’ve only got a few months left to get in shape, so you need to get started right away.

In addition to a killer fitness regime, you’ll need your essential man-kit; your toolbox of fitness equipment, designed to whip your body into shape faster than you can say ‘I’ll have a Mr Whippy with a flake please’ when you’re next at the beach. Here’s what you’ll need to invest in…

The Essential Man-Kit for Fitness

  • A Bungee Cord. No man should be without a trusty bungee cord. These wonderfully portable fitness cords are perfect for promoting correct movement and activating muscle firing patterns just before you go into your heavy lifts. This will allow you to perform at a higher level and thus create the most change when it comes to your body composition. Also…apparently they are useful for getting a slight muscle ‘pump’ on before you hit the beach by performing lots of reps before you leave your hotel room, but in all honesty who actually does that, uh hum, cough cough?!
  • Quality Zinc and Magnesium supplements. As a man who trains hard and often you need to focus on allowing your muscles to grow and recover! A quality magnesium supplement before bed and some decent Zinc in the morning will help encourage this to happen. Boom.
  • A Chain Belt. Lifting your own body weight with pull ups and dips is great…but we want to aim higher than that because it all starts with strength! Loading up a chain belt when you perform these exercises means you will be able to develop strength more efficiently and also have your own portable strength gym. Take your belt to the outdoor park gyms and hit some pull ups – dips supersets in the sunshine…lifting heavy in the sun, who doesn’t like doing that?!?! Its a great way of improving your body mass to strength ratio whilst soaking up some Vit D.
  • Steel Mace. This is another form of portable training to do anytime anywhere that perfectly compliments your strength push/pull movements from your chain belt sessions. Originally developed by the ancient Persian warriors, this style of training promotes ‘real world’ movement, i.e. its functional. Another benefit is that you are unlikely to be mugged whilst performing this style of training in public!
  • As a man on a mission you are going to need meat, lots of meat. Seeing as this is your ‘Man Kit’ list we want your protein to be easily transportable and as convenient as possible. Therefore we recommend getting your hands on some grass fed Biltong to snack on regularly during your working day. Feed your muscles and they will reward you in kind.

Achieve Results for Summer

If you’re panicking about stripping off for summer, now is the perfect time to get active and make the changes. Start getting the body you want now!

All, Featured, Motivation, Workouts & Routines

Want That Mighty Fine Beach Body? Here’s the Essential Ladies Gym-Kit

June 17, 2015
lady-gym-kit-fafitsake-fitness-and-healthy-blog

Is that some sun we see? Whether it’s here to stay or not, one thing’s for sure, those blue skies mean that summer is well on its way. And you know what that means, ladies, don’t you? It means it’s time to start feeling good about yourself and loving your body, especially if you’ve got a particular bikini in mind.

If you’re feeling depressed by the sight of that muffin-top and love-handles (why are they called that? Does anyone actually love them?) then it’s time to start working on getting your body fit and healthy.

Timing Issues?

Are you anxiously looking at the calendar and thinking that you’ve got nowhere near enough time to get toned for the summer? Well, here’s the good news. There’s plenty you can achieve in these months leading up to summer; and trust us, you’ll love the results. And so will all those guys on the beach with their tongues hanging out when they see you strutting your stuff. Honestly… what are they like? Down boys, down!

Here’s the equipment you’ll need to ensure you’re looking phenomenal for the summer.

The Essential Ladies Kit for Fitness

  1. Set of weights. Few items of fitness equipment are as helpful at toning arms and shoulders as a good set of weights. Use them for added resistance every time you do any aerobic activity, or use them each morning for a great muscle-strengthening regime.
  1. Yoga DVD. Yoga is such a powerful way of toning those abs and lengthening muscles, giving you a lean, healthy look. Invest in a good yoga DVD, or you could even download an app on your tablet; whatever works for you, sister! Chanting and ‘omming’ is entirely optional. Hey, what you do in your spare time is entirely up to you…
  1. Resistance tube. If you want to start working those muscles hard, invest in a resistance tube. It helps you stretch your way to a super-fine toned look. Resistance tubes come in different levels, so you may want to initially invest in a beginner’s one, then work your way up.
  1. Swiss ball. Let’s face it, when it comes to that bikini, all eyes are on the stomach. As a result, you’ve got to work those core muscles, and work them hard. A swiss ball is a great way of doing this, and it will also help you improve your natural balance and stability too.
  1. Foam roller. A roller is a really versatile tool, and can be used to strengthen those back muscles (vital if you want an all-over sexy silhouette), stomach or legs. So get rolling, girls!

Make it Happen for the Summer

If you want to feel body confident, there’s only one person who can make that happen… and that’s you! Good luck!

All, Featured, Fit Food, Guest Blog

How to Eat Healthy when Time is Short 

June 10, 2015
Scrambled Eggs

Healthy eating is always going to be high on my priority list, but sometimes you find yourself in the position of needing to simply make the healthiest choice possible in situations or times in your life when you can’t eat ‘ideally’.

Lack of time can really de-rail your good intentions if you don’t get a handle on it. One huge thing for me was accepting that I can’t eat ‘perfectly’. As I said, sometimes all we can do is make the healthiest choice available to us and remember that a better, but not perfect choice is preferable to making a really bad one. Takeaway ring any bells?

Healthy eating when you are time challenged can fall into three different approaches: prepare ahead, quick and simple or spend more money. There definitely seems to be an exchange where time saved = more money spent in general terms.

Prepare Ahead

Preparing food for the week on the weekend, will not only save you time during the week, it will also save you money! When using this approach its very useful to meal plan for the week as well.

Even just making a pan of soup for lunches can be quick and easy. My favourite way to do this is basically to throw a load of veg and some red lentils in a pan with veg stock.

Don’t forget how handy a slow cooker can be too! They offer a healthier, low fat method of cooking and require minimum amount of effort. Really, what’s not to love?

 Quick and Simple

So many healthy meals can take just a few minutes to make! Scrambled eggs or an omelette, a salad with tinned salmon, tuna or mackerel or some tinned beans, a microwave baked sweet potato with topping, stir fries etc. I have a list on my fridge of quick and easy meals I can make as a reminder whenever I feel stuck. I try and always keep cartons of beans and lentils and canned fish in the cupboard and a bag of spinach or salad in the fridge for lunches. Frozen vegetables and beans like soya can be useful for throwing together stir fries or adding to omelettes.

Spend More Money

Although it can be hard there are a few good options when it comes to buying pre made meals and snack options and for me, the extra money I’ve spent has been worth it as I feel I’ve been able to eat fairly well and not get too stressed with having to prepare a meal, even a quick and simple one, from scratch.

Of course not all of these are super healthy by a long shot but I feel they are a good option when faced with having to make the healthiest choice when time is really tight and the prepare ahead or quick and easy options just aren’t realistic.

I hope these tips give you some ideas for eating more healthily when time is short!

By Laura Agar Wilson from www.wholeheartedlyhealthy.com

All, Featured, Lifestyle, Motivation, Workouts & Routines

How to Resist the Temptation of the Sofa and Stay On-Program With Your Training

June 4, 2015
stay-on-program-lawrence-price-fafitsake

Whoa, what’s happening here? You started out so keen to get ripped and get the body you wanted, and now I see you collapsed on the sofa, eating a Mars bar and watching Mad Men on TV? Okay, I’ll admit, Mad Men is good, but if you’re watching it when you’re supposed to be working out, something has gone badly wrong.

I’ll say this, and I’ll say this only once, so listen up. Step away from the sofa. Now!

 

Losing Motivation

It happens to the best of us sometimes. If you’re not seeing results as quickly as you’d like, or you simply don’t feel ‘in the mood’, it’s all too easy to flake out in front of a film instead, and exercise your arm by lifting the remote control, rather than those weights.

If it’s happened to you, it’s time to put things right; and pronto. Here’s some great tips to get you back on track with your exercise program.

Insider’s Tips to Staying On-Program

  • Plan your week in advance. Never underestimate the power of a structured training plan. Good training plans aren’t just about exercising in the correct way to ensure progression, they are also about creating winning habits brought about from structure and accountability.
  • Hang up that summer dress/bikini you want to feel and look awesome in. This is a simple but effective method used by many people I have trained over the years, it helps to focus the mind towards the task at hand when motivation starts to wander.
  • Keep things exciting. The fastest route to quitting is to make it boring. Don’t do the same exercises all the time. If they’re making you yawn, that’s not good! Instead, make it varied and keep it exciting. There are so many activities out there that keep you fit, whilst offering high-adrenalin fun; such as kayaking, mountain-climbing and beach-running. Get experimenting and have a little fun with it.
  • Join a local work-out group. Having other people around can really help to galvanise you into action. Plus, you can guarantee that they’ll be the ones calling you up and insisting you get exercising. Now that’s what we call a true friend.
  • Never miss a Monday training session. I’ll say it again…NEVER MISS A MONDAY TRAINING SESSION. Whatever may have taken place over the weekend, if you always ensure a training session happens on Monday you are setting the tone for the rest of the week. In fact start strong, finish strong…and make sure you have a strong mid week too!

 

Set Your Goals… and Achieve Them!

Above all else, make sure you set yourself a goal, and keep reminding yourself why you want this so badly. That’s your best motivation, right there! Good luck!

All, Featured, Motivation, Workouts & Routines

Just how tough is the Tough Mudder assault course?

May 27, 2015
tough-mudder-how-hard-is-it

At first glance, and depending on who you speak to, the Tough Mudder assault course is one of the toughest tests of strength and endurance ever devised by man or beast.

Obstacles, such as: Everest, Mud Mile, Electroshock Therapy and Arctic Enema, are designed to strike fear into the hearts of contestants and it’s no surprise that taking part is only to be considered if you’re amongst the fittest and strongest of ultimate urban warriors.

However, the truth of the matter is, Tough Mudder ain’t all that tough. Seriously, if you’ve completed a marathon, a triathlon or even a half marathon then TM should be seen as an extremely achievable challenge as well as a great day out.

Having undertaken the event myself in 2014 I know what I’m talking about and although I’ve previously completed a couple of marathons my 40 year old sister-in-law hadn’t and she still managed to complete the whole thing without too much bother.

So, if you’ve got the fear of the unknown or you’re being put off by those big scary obstacle names then don’t be. Tough Mudder is an amazing event and a challenge that everyone can get their teeth into. Yes, it does require an element or training and yes, you do need to be relatively fit but, it is achievable and definitely not as tough as you might expect. And here’s why…

You might be surprised at just how non-competitive Tough Mudder can be

Unlike a marathon or a race, you’re not being judged on what time you finish the course. The essence of Tough Mudder is to just get round and help other people in the process. This sort of non-competitive spirit helps to create a really wonderful atmosphere and no sooner as you’re herded into one of the starting pens then you’ll quickly realise that you’re part of one big team and no one is expecting anything of you other than to do your best.

The Tough Mudder experience is all about camaraderie

The Tough Mudder ethos is all about helping out your fellow competitors as opposed to beating them. This helps to create a feeling of camaraderie that’s akin to being in the army rather than holding dear to the adage of: every man for himself. When you first encounter an obstacle there are loads of happy helpers who are willing you on and offering assistance wherever you need it. Everyone’s in it together which makes for a truly unique and pretty inspirational experience.

Above everything else: Tough Mudder is a good day out

Darn right it’s a good day out as from losing my trainer in a trench of sticky mud to watching my sister-in-law get pushed over the top of a 12 foot wall, there’s nothing like the TM course for a few laughs. Away from the course there’s plenty of good times to be had too with kids’ courses, beer tents and live music to keep even the most bored of spectators happy and entertained. If you think fun is all about getting down and dirty outdoors surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people then TM is certainly an event worth considering.

You can duck out of any number of Tough Mudder obstacles

There really is no pressure on completing any of the obstacles and as my sis-in-law will testify there’s still plenty to be proud of even if you duck out of one or two tough looking mudders along the way. As most courses are around 12 miles long, there’s still enough of a challenge to be had without having to undertake a single obstacle. Although, once you realise that the worst that’s going to happen is that you get wet, muddy or suffer a minor electric shock, you’ll soon get into the swing of things no matter what your normal levels of bravery.

How hard do you have to train for Tough Mudder?

As with most outdoor activities, you’ll get much more from the experience if you put in at least a few weeks training prior to the event. For me, Tough Mudder training involved running about 5 miles per week, circuit training on outdoor gym equipment and taking on the monkey bars whenever I took my kids to the play park. It does help if you’re fit but you don’t need to prepare too drastically in order to enjoy the day.

It’s good fun

It’s a challenge

It’s achievable

It’s for a good cause.

So, what are you waiting for?

All, Featured, Guest Blog, Motivation

8 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming an Endorphine Junkie

May 20, 2015
Fitness-Girl-Running-Endorphine-Junkie

8 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming an Endorphin Junkie

Have you ever spent some time perusing the latest Men’s or Women’s Health Magazine searching for a way not to dread working out? Do you look at those people who work 12 hours a day, have a family and still find the time before or after work to work out and feel a tidal wave of disdain? If you’re not a fitness fiend, I have bad news for you — there’s no shortcut to becoming an endorphin junkie. But fear not, where there’s a will there’s a way so grab a pen and paper because here are 8 ways to trick yourself into becoming an endorphin junkie:

1. Do Something That Interests You…
Do you hate running on a treadmill? Don’t run on a treadmill! Take the time to find something that excites and interests you. If you’re a number’s person, try a high tech spinning class that quantitatively measures your effort and exertion levels. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to feel like they’re working out, go for a dance class or an upbeat environment. If you love watching TV, join a gym with wifi access and bring an ipad to binge watch your favorite show while you work out. If you like working out outside, join a running or cycling club! The variety of fitness classes offered today are infinite and there literally are no excuses not to find one you actually kind of sort of like.

2. Make It A Group Thing…
There’s strength in numbers so why should you work out alone? From your significant other, co-workers to friends, make a standing weekly date to meet up and go to a class together. It doesn’t matter if its cross fit, spinning, running, dancing, or a conditioning class — make a plan, commit and do it together. You’ll not only have fun but you’ll have people to hold you accountable. Everyone wins!

3. Try Something New At Least 10 Times…
Between not knowing what you’re doing and feeling like a total failure, it’s easy to want to quit after the first few classes. Remember that you have to start somewhere and everyone’s been in your shoes (some people just hide it better). The longer you stick with it, the easier it gets. Give yourself time to build strength and learn proper form. Patience is key, you won’t regret it!

4. Make Your Goal Bigger Than Weight Loss…
Don’t be a slave to the scale! Sure setting a weight loss goal can be incredibly motivating but think bigger- sign up to run a 10K or Half Marathon, decide to try for 50 pushups by a certain date, set a goal to be able to hold a plank for 2-3 minutes in 2 weeks. Whatever you are doing, make both short term and long term goals to keep you motivated.

5. Bet On It…
Now take those goals and put your money where your mouth is! Join a program like Pact or Dietbet or bet a family member, friend, or significant other a significant amount of money that you will reach a certain goal by a certain date. Whatever you are doing, bet on it. Raise the stakes and make it a game.

6. Plan It Out…
Sit down every Sunday with your weekly calendar and pencil in which days you are going to work out and when. Speed bumps are inevitable but if you plan ahead you’ll be able to navigate those speed bumps without derailing your fitness plans.

7. Make It A Routine…
Make working out a part of your weekly routine. Maybe Tuesdays you take your lunch hour to go across the street to take a spin class. Or every Monday and Wednesday morning you wake up early to go to yoga at 6:30am. Find a way to make working out as seamless as possible so you don’t have to think about it.

8. Suck It Up And Do It Already…
Becoming an endurance junkie isn’t always fun but it’s in the discomfort that change lives. Time isn’t going to wait for you to find the motivation to go get active. It takes time to start to crave getting sweaty but once you can make it past those first few weeks, you’re golden. You’re in the driver’s seat of your life and you’re the only thing standing in your way. Don’t strive to be skinny but strong. Always remember that working out is so much more than just feeling confident in the way you look. You’ll have more energy, feel better about yourself, and it will have a positive effect on your mood. So make a lofty goal and start fighting for it. Don’t let time pass you by, if you can learn to fight through the pain and discomfort, you’ll be an unstoppable endorphin junkie.

Words from Kelly at Run, Selfie, Repeat- http://www.runselfierepeat.com/

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How can I ease myself into completing a marathon ?

May 12, 2015
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Okay, so you’ve just watched the London marathon and thought that you wouldn’t mind getting involved. How hard can it be, right? The short answer is: it’s hard! However, as with most things, there are different levels of difficulty depending on the targets that you wish to set yourself.

For example, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you want to run the whole distance?
  • Do you care about your finishing time?
  • Would you feel uncomfortable dressed as Batman?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above then perhaps you have the right sort of attitude to complete a marathon without really trying. After all, as long as you’re able to walk the entire 26.2 mile course then you’ve completed it. Box ticked.

And there in lies the problem. Undertaking a marathon is much more than just a box ticking exercise. It’s a chance to push your mind and body to its limits. It’s an opportunity to grasp life in both hands and do something remarkable. Which is why you want to be proud of your efforts and know that you’ve achieved something special to the best of your ability.

Training and motivation are both key factors required to ease yourself into a marathon. And, although you will need to be relatively fit and healthy before you start from the couch, there’s no reason why you can’t be marathon ready within six months to a year of preparation.

Below are just a few guidelines to get you started and if you’re looking to make a difference in your own and other people’s lives then here’s where the countdown commences.

Find a pace and distance that suits your level of fitness

In order to get ready for a marathon it’s essential that you stick to a regular training programme.

A couple of short distance walks or runs of 2 – 4 miles each week will be enough to get you into the swing of things.

When you feel confident and comfortable with your running then it’s time to add a longer distance to your weekly schedule. Anything between 5 to 10 miles is perfect.

So, now you’re running three times a week: two short distances and one longer distance.

Maximise results

Swimming is a great exercise to expand your lung capacity and work all of your body’s muscles. Add a weekly swim to your schedule for even better results, in fact swimming is also a great way of helping the body to recover from the impact of running regularly. For maximum benefit try and get into the pool within 48 hours of your longer weekly run.

Resistance training in a controlled environment (in contrast to the relatively hectic nature of running) is also extremely important for any runner. I have seen many people get so taken with running that they forget to strengthen and improve their biomechanics in a considered manner, which often leads to injury and disappointment. If you don’t integrate some quality squats and lunges (at least!) into your routine then you ‘run’ the risk of getting injured yourself and/or performing well below your potential. Remember, ‘prehab is better than rehab’!!!

Depending on your fitness levels you should now consider lengthening the distances the closer you get to the date of the marathon. As a beginner don’t even think about attempting anything over 20 miles as this can have a negative impact when it comes to the day of the event.

One key element to long distance running is finding a pace that suits you. Time yourself, not for speed but to judge your consistency. If you can run 5 miles in an hour then you’ll know that your average mile should take 12 minutes.

On the day of the event your adrenaline levels will be at an all time high. The runners, the crowds the sound systems, the charities, the banners – everything will be telling you to run, run, RUN!

STOP!

Relax!

Remember your training.

Remember that you’re running your own race. You know your average time per mile. You know how comfortable you can run a reasonable distance.

Stick to the plan and don’t get sucked into either competing with or running alongside other runners who might well be faster and more prepared than you are.

This is your chance to run an entire marathon and if you want to look back and say ‘I did it’ then you need to remember that it is hard but it is also achievable.

You can do it!

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