Posts on Bromsgrove Fitness Classes

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

Set a Goal, Make it Big if You Want.

Many of us have a vague notion that we want to “get fit” but never think it through further than that. Whilst it’s a good aim, its not a specific goal and although it might get us starting that new fitness regime every January its not enough to keep us going once the novelty has worn off.

Even setting a specific goal of running a marathon, for example, isn’t enough, there is no plan about how to achieve it. Setting smaller, quickly achievable goals on the way to that big one is key to keeping that motivation going. Every time you have that internal debate about whether you fancy going exercising tonight, that goal should pop into your head and get you out of the door.

Do Something Challenging That You Enjoy

Find an exercise you enjoy but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be challenging while you do it! The only way to improve fitness levels is to set the body physical challenges that it has to work hard to achieve. That sense of achievement when you get to the end of the class/run/game is the motivation that will bring you back next week. If the exercise is too easy boredom will quickly set in.

Take a Friend But Make New Ones Too!

Most of us find it easier to try new things when we have a friend with us, and you can encourage each other to keep going. But don’t fall into the trap of relying on each other too much and not getting to know others. What happens if your friend decides to stop going? If you always partner each other the chances are you’ll stop going too. Make an effort to get to know others and before you know it you’ve made new friends and getting to that class becomes an important part of your social life and takes priority over mowing the lawn or visiting the in-laws!

Measure Your Progress and Celebrate Your Success

Keep reminding yourself of how well you are doing. Challenging exercise always seems hard, that’s the point! However, it’s easy to feel as if you are never getting any fitter, which can be discouraging. I would recommend taking a fitness test right at the start of your plan and retaking it at regular intervals to show how your fitness is improving. Give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself on sticking to what you planned.

Exercise for life?

What happens when you’ve reached that goal? Hopefully exercise has become such an important part of maintaining your physical and mental health that you can’t imagine giving it up, but beware of complacency!

Keep setting small goals, either individually or with your new exercise buddies, for example charity events are great ways to push yourself that bit harder and make money for a good cause at the same time.

An excellent motivation as you become a seasoned exerciser is to look after newbies! Remind yourself how tough it was for you when you started and how grateful you were for encouragement and support from others. It’ll remind you just how much fitter you are now too!

Sharron Kibble
Bromsgrove Fitness Classes

Why Situps Don’t Work

Why Situps Don’t Work…

…and What to Do Instead

Fit Ball Plank Exercise

Most people associate a toned six-pack with fitness and strength and think the way to achieve that six-pack is with lots and lots of sit ups. Most soon find that, not only is this excruciatingly boring, but it doesn’t work. Sit ups only target the Rectus Abdominis (front abs) which, unless you strip off most of your body fat are hidden under a layer of fat anyway. Added to this, if you perform sit ups incorrectly, you run the risk of causing protrusion of the abdominal muscles and developing a pot belly or aggravating an existing hernia! Instead of concentrating on the six-pack it makes much more sense to focus on develop a strong core.

Core fitness isn’t just hype, many people are unaware that their core is actually their body’s centre of power. That’s why building core strength and stability is so important! The stronger your core is, the less strenuous physical activity becomes for you. This applies whether you’re a health buff participating in rigorous sports and games or just a normal person going about your daily chores. A strong core also lowers your risk of suffering physical injuries as it distributes body weight evenly and provides greater support and protection to your spine.

The main muscles that make up the core are the:

Rectus Abdominis

These are the six-pack muscles along the front of the abdomen that most people are familiar with. The exercise that best targets this group of muscles is the Abdominal Crunch performed on a Swiss or Fit Ball.

Erector Spinae

This group is made up of three muscles that stretch from your neck down to your lower back. The Back Extension (sometimes incorrectly called a hyper-extension) and Cobra Stretch are ideal exercises for improving strength and flexibility of these muscles.

External Obliques and Internal Obliques

The external obliques are the muscles around your waist, on the side and front of your abdomen. The internal obliques are located under the external obliques and run in the opposite direction. Perform the Side Plank and Side Bends to work these muscles effectively.

Transverse Abdominis (TVA)

These are often the most neglected muscles in many abdominal training exercises. Located deep down under the obliques, these muscles wrap around the spine and play an important role in providing stability and protection. Do the Plank for best results in improving core stability.

Challenge Yourself Further

It is important to note that, though each exercise engages a particular group of core muscles more intensely than the rest, more than one muscle type is involved in all the exercises mentioned above. This makes core training a very effective workout. And, if you’re no longer a novice and would like to challenge yourself further, check out the following equipment to move your regime up a gear:

Exercise Balls

Have a ball of a time working out with one of these! Exercise balls are great tools for enhancing flexibility, balance, coordination and strength. Use it for a full body workout or sit on it while you watch TV to improve your posture. Make sure you get one that is suitable for your height.

Pilates Classes

By far, Pilates has been known as the perfect programme to build core strength and stability. Try to find a Pilates instructor who takes the time to ensure that your techniques are correct and provides adaptations where needed.

Wobble Board

This is a fun and interesting way to work your core muscles whilst learning how to keep balance. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, try doing squats or twists on the board!

Resistance Bands

If you’re constantly on the go, these light and compact bands will help you maintain core fitness wherever you are. Resistance bands add tension to every move you make during your workout, and are great for helping to improve your posture.

Time for a Core Workout?

Still unconvinced? Then just take up core training as a new challenge! Consult a professional gym trainer and incorporate some suitable core exercises into your existing routine. After all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. However, I bet you’ll soon become an advocate for core fitness yourself as you start enjoying better health and strength. Have fun!

Tell us what you think about situps! Use the comments section below to give us your opinion.

Sharron Kibble