Higher Tone

Variety is the spice of life and the fuel for fitness


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Will the Commonwealth Games come to Cardiff?

Cardiff bids for Games half a century after hosting Empire Games.

Cardiff Arms Park

It is 55 years since the world watched athletes march onto the field at Cardiff Arms Park for the opening ceremony of an event which Cardiff Council is hoping to recreate.

The sixth Empire Games, now the Commonwealth Games, were hosted in Cardiff in 1958. Over 1,000 athletes competed from 35 nations, in 94 events. Today, more than 5,000 competitors take part from 72 different countries and Cardiff Council is planning a bid for the 2026 Games.

The bid has raised questions over the potentially damaging costs of holding the world’s third largest sporting event.

During the past few weeks, proposed closures of Splott Pool and Pontcanna Riding Club, have dominated headlines as public concern over council cuts to community sporting facilities mounted.

A Cardiff bid for the Commonwealth Games has been viewed as bitterly ironic, considering the cost of the £1.5m bid alone could save many of these services. The Games has been given a price tag of £530 million, based on figures from the 2014 Glasgow Games.

Leader of Plaid Cymru, Councillor Neil McEvoy, said: “This decision borders on criminal.  It is nothing more than an ill-advised PR stunt which makes the brutal cuts seem unnecessary.”

“This council hasn’t got its priorities right.  One the one hand it is closing down basic facilities and trampling on all that’s good about grassroots sport, whilst at the same time trying to reach for the stars.”

Cardiff council’s tight budget means the subsidies for many adult sports have been reduced, along with the closure of a number of facilities.

Cardiff-born Paralympic icon, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, said: “The cuts to sport in Cardiff are really such a shame and very disappointing.  Cardiff will feel the impact of this massive dent 10 years down the line, but if the money isn’t there it’s very difficult.”

“This Commonwealth bid will benefit Cardiff by putting it on the International map and encouraging more kids to go and enjoy sport.”

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Many comparisons can be drawn between Cardiff in 1958 and 2012. Historian Daryl Leeworthy, said: “Councils were not in a position to spend a lot of money so local fundraising committies ran events to raise money.”

Mr Leeworthy added: “The Empire Pool is best remembered.”

In 1958, Wales was the smallest nation ever to host the games. The event was remembered for protests surrounding apartheid, as well as the official proclamation of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales. But more importantly the games gave a sense of confidence to Wales who secured a best-ever 11th place finish.
Cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport in Cardiff, Councillor Huw Thomas, said: “The Empire Games in 1958 did a lot for Cardiff. People are asking questions about the financial commitment but we are driven by the economic benefits and regeneration possibilities.”

Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games, with great success in inner-city regeneration. All of the venues are still being used, including the main stadium which hosts Manchester City Football Club.

Leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Sir Richard Leese, said: “The 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games left us with a legacy of first class sporting facilities catering to the community and elite athletes. It created enormous pride throughout Manchester and across the region. It had a very positive impact on the city”

The Cardiff proposal has promised to “develop a bid to host the Commonwealth Games which in itself delivers immediate and lasting benefits.”

The council hopes it will provide more tourism and sports participation for Cardiff than the London Olympics.

Welsh Paralmypic cyclist, Mark Colbourne, who won gold in the 2012 Paralympics, said: “I am sure the bid will encourage more people to take up sports in Wales and build on the legacy of London 2012.”

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week

BEAT Cymru is encouraging people in Cardiff to wear silly socks to help raise funds as part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The national campaign is taking place this week to improve the understanding of serious mental illnesses and challenge the damaging stereotypes associated with anorexia and bulimia.

 

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The number of people who suffer from eating disorders in Wales is estimated at more than 50,000 and this number is increasing with around 1,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
Despite such high figures, there is no specialist in-patient unit in Cardiff to provide feeding clinics and concentrated psychological treatment for severe cases. Patients from South Wales must travel to Marlborough in Wiltshire to receive such treatment.

Natalie McCulloch, 24, who lives in Cardiff, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and now works hard to overcome her anorexia and regain a normal weight and eating habits. She said: “I definitely think there needs to be serious service development in Cardiff for eating disorder services. Having a specialist unit in Wales is extremely necessary and something I really hope will develop soon, there certainly is a call for such.

“Just seeing the amount of Welsh people (in fact Cardiff people) who ended up in the specialist unit with me in England says a lot.

“I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. I only got through this because of my amazing friends and family.”

Beat Cymru is carrying out a campaign to increase understanding during Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The organisation will be holding a sock puppet workshop on February 14 at Cardiff University Students Union to raise awareness and help support people suffering from eating disorders.

Manon Haf Lewis, 23, from Carmarthen spent one and a half years of her life at the specialist treatment centre in Marlborough. After being diagnosed with anaorexia at 14, she is now an ambassador for Beat Cymru and hopes to raise awareness in schools and the NHS about the realities and misconceptions surrounding anorexia. Ms Lewis lost a friend to anorexia because she did not receive the treatment she desperately needed.

“I don’t want what happened to my friend to happen to anyone else. I have only got through this because of my amazing friends and family.”

“It is a massive jump for people leaving the in-patient unit in Marlborough because they are used to receiving one-to-one support 24 hours a day. In England they have day centres to help the transition, but there is nothing like that in Wales.”

Adriana Copland, South Wales project officer for Beat Cymru, said: “It is vital facilities and support are developed to enable sufferers to be treated as close to home as possible and not be referred to services outside of Wales.

“This distance can make the situation even more upsetting and traumatic for families who are already going through a tough time. There is a real gap in services in Wales for severe cases.”

Student Run Self Help (SRSH) Cardiff is also raising awareness by hosting a Mind Your Head gig at the North Star on February 12 and organising a two-day charity clothes shop.
A spokesperson for SRSH Cardiff said: “One of the main problems is accessing even primary care as vulnerable patients need to go through a lot of hoop jumping in order to be assessed and referred to a specialist.

“The lack of services in Wales for severe anorexia cases also creates problems for workers who have to travel to Wiltshire to carry out regular checks and treatments.”


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Richard Parks flies home for the Six Nations

The superhuman challenge of skiing solo from the coastline of Antarctica to the South Pole in 40 days has proved too great for former Welsh international rugby hero, Richard Parks.

The Pontypridd born explorer has already made history by climbing the highest peak on each continent and travelling to all three poles within just seven months.  This record-breaking 737 challenge was clearly not enough to satisfy the ex-rugby union star.


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The Antarctic expedition was the second time Parks has faced the hostile weather conditions and extreme sastrugi (irregular snow ridges) near the South Pole.  He was forced to abandon the solo ski mission after 39 intense days because of time constraints and unforgiving conditions.

“Although I am gutted, I am at peace because I know I have done everything in my control and it is the right decision.  Of course I am bitterly disappointed because of all the time, effort, money and preparation my team and I have put into the expedition.”

Parks has revealed he was close to starvation for 40 days and has lost between 13 and 15kg, which equates to around two-and-a-half stone.  He also suffered cold damage to his face when he removed his facemask in the -27C conditions.

He said: “I looked in the mirror for the first time at myself and it blew my mind.  I didn’t look like myself.”

“I was pushing my body mentally and physically to the absolute limit during this expedition and I am now the weakest and lightest I have ever been.  My body is incredibly run down and I have lost a significant amount of body weight.”

Richard was forced to retire from professional rugby in May 2009 because of a career ending shoulder injury.  The former flanker made a name for himself as prolific tackler, earning caps against South Africa, Fiji, Scotland and Ireland.  In his 13 years as a professional player, Richard was a crucial member of the Newport Gwent Dragons and represented the Barbarians and Wales Sevens during the World Cup.

The life-changing injury compelled Richard to reassess his personal goals.  Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ book: ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know’, inspired him to design the pioneering 737 Challenge.  At this point, Richard had never even set foot on a mountain.  The gruelling challenge began in Cardiff Bay in December 2010 and Richard made history by completing this world first in 6 months, 11 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes.

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Richard was able to keep his loved ones and loyal followers regularly updated during his latest mission using his Antarctica blog.  He stressed how using this technology in the hostile environment was one of the biggest challenges he had to face.  Richard was overwhelmed with the supportive messages he received from people in Wales.

“To receive so many messages of support makes such a difference.  I am so grateful and proud to be Welsh and I am truly humbled by all the support.”

Richard remains positive and philosophical about the success of the expedition.

“As a younger athlete I thought success was black and white, but as I’ve got older I now realise there are many shades of grey in-between.  This type of challenge is not for everyone, but I am privileged and grateful to come back to Antarctica.”

This expedition has formed a crucial element of the research and development for his next secret world first project, which is planned for 2014.  The challenges Richard continues to set for himself act as a beacon of hope for anyone who has ever suffered a major set back.

Richard spent some time recuperating in Punta Arenas, Chile, but he has flown back to Wales in time for the Six Nations.


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Get fit in Roath Park

Roath Park in Cardiff is the ideal setting to kick-start your January fitness regime and keep you motivated all year long. This popular park retains its classic Victorian charm and attracts runners and fitness enthusiasts from all over Cardiff. The vast playing fields, pleasure gardens and stunning 2.1km running track around Roath Lake makes this park the perfect setting for outdoor based exercise classes. The Terra Nova Cafe and Penylan Community Centre also provide leisure facilities for indoor classes, especially during the winter months. I will endeavour to introduce you to a number of different and unique classes based in Roath Park which were highly recommended to me from a variety of people committed to fitness in Cardiff.


roath park

Roath Park is an idyllic setting for an exercise class or jog.

  

Outdoor Fitness Ltd

When: Monday and Wednesday at 18:15, Friday at 18: 15 for high intensity threshold training.

Where: Roath Rec playing fields, meet at the Penylan Library and Community Centre.

This challenging outdoor fitness programme combines cross-training with military training techniques and endurance work.  Every class is different, but the aim is to provide a general level of fitness which could be applied to any sport.  The ability groups are not split up, instead everyone works together so you could have an unfit 40-year-old training next to a young athlete.  The instructor will demand different numbers of repetitions from people depending on whether they have a basic, intermediate, advanced or elite level of fitness and experience.  Expect sprint intervals, military style burpees, planks, press-ups and rolling around in the dark and mud.

“This class will push you to your absolute limit and beyond.” – Catherine Morgan

Outdoor Fitness held their first classes in Roath Park in 2008 and since then the sessions have grown in popularity and expanded to other parks in Cardiff including Pontcanna playing fields, Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd and Morgan Jones  Park in Caerphilly.  The community has grown to more than 100 members and there are a number of affiliated running clubs and triathlon cycling and swimming groups.  The high intensity threshold training (HITT) session is based on the Tabata method of short, maximum intensity exercise bursts with a short recovery period.  This workout will hit your anaerobic threshold hard and provide effective cardiovascular training.  A typical class will only last between 10 to 20 minutes, but it will be some of the hardest minutes of your life.

“Outdoor fitness classes are designed to build self-esteem, confidence and also add a social aspect to your workout.  Our ethos is to have fun whilst getting fit.” – Jeff Webb Managing Director of Outdoor Fitness

Exercising outdoors adds variety and energy to your workout and it has been proved to boost levels of endorphins and serotonin during and after exercise.  It can be extremely invigorating and place you in an almost euphoric state.  The Roath Park Outdoor Fitness classes attract a high standard of people, but the instructors make sure to cater for all fitness ability levels and the first class is free.

Fit 4 Two and Buggy Fit 

When: Monday and Friday at 10:00 for Buggyfit, Saturday 9:30 for Fit Chicks Bootcamp

Where: Meet at the children’s play area by Roath Park Lake

Website: http://www.fit4two.org.uk/index.html

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A buggyfit class in action next to Roath Park Lake

“I don’t know why anyone would want to train inside.  Roath Park is the perfect location.” – Clare Wheeler, Founder of Fit 4 Two

The Buggy Fit class is a total body workout, combining cardio with resistance band exercises, core training and a specific focus on pelvic floor muscles.  It is ideal for new mothers who want to get back into shape and still spend time with their child as the babies are brought along for the ride.  The Saturday morning bootcamp is a more challenging session which includes boxing, kettlebells and lots of abs work.  Roath Park is the ideal setting because the gradient is varied and there are a number of little hills and benches for stretching.  There are so many different routes in the surrounding area, so you could never get bored.

These classes are designed for women who want to focus on their fitness before, during and especially after pregnancy.  Fit 4 Two has been incredibly popular, with the average attendance at 15 to 25 per class, sometimes reaching as high as 35.    New mothers are encouraged to wait at least 6 weeks after a normal delivery and 10-12 weeks after a Caesarean section before they start to exercise, but this completely depends on the individual.  It is best to build your fitness level back up slowly and steadily after giving birth and not rush into a demanding routine.

“I am passionate about helping new mums get back into shape and encouraging them to feel better about themselves.” – Clare Wheeler

Bootcamp Pilates

When: Everyday except Sunday, see timetable:

http://balance-fitness.weebly.com/timetable.html

Where: Terra Nova Cafe next to Roath Park Lake

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The Terra Nova Cafe is a beautiful venue for a pilates bootcamp class

This unique class combines tough kettlebells strength and endurance training with the flexibility and toning elements of Pilates.  The founder of Balance Fitness, Michael Jones, describes the session as combining the Eastern and Western principles in a mind and body pursuit.  The high number of repetitions associated with kettlebells training really improves endurance and cardiovascular fitness levels.  Michael Jones decided to integrate kettlebells with pilates to combine two different ideologies and demonstrate how different disciplines can compliment eachother.

“My classes are designed to help people workout more intelligently” – Michael Jones

The Terra Nova Cafe is an idyllic and tranquil setting for an exercise class with a beautiful view over Roath Park Lake.  The bootcamp class was brought to a close with a number of toning and balancing Pilates moves, designed to test core strength and flexibility.  Michael Jones is looking to add more of a social and community element to the classes both at the Terra Nova Cafe and The Discovery Pub as group classes can have a real sense of camaraderie.  He has 12 years of experience in personal training and fitness instruction in Cardiff and was incredibly helpful with technique throughout the session.

The Terra Nova Cafe is also home to a Yoga for wellbeing class.

Nordic Walking 

When: Everyday except Sunday, see timetable:

http://balance-fitness.weebly.com/timetable.html

Where: Meet at the Terra Nova Cafe in Roath Park or St Isans Road
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Nordic walking is a form of high-intesnity walking with specially designed poles.  The concept and technique were developed as a form of off-season ski-training activity.  This sport really helps to build upper body strength and improve endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Balance Fitness offers a number of Nordic walking classes and founder Michael Jones is hoping to build more of a community and social feel around the activity.

“Nordic walking is such a great group sport. I’m really trying to build a community around the classes in Roath Park.” – Michael Jones

Penylan Library and Community Centre

This community centre can be found at the end of the Roath Rec playing field and it offers classes ranging from Zumba to spinning.  A full list of all the exercise classes can be found here:

http://apps2.cardiff.gov.uk/leisureactivities/new_brochure_online.php?lang=ENG&brochure_id=75

Fancy a run?

Roath Park is the perfect location for a 5km run as the terrain is fairly flat and there is a track around the playing fields, through the gardens and around Roath Park Lake.  The route is fairly popular and you will have the chance to take in some stunning scenery.

Here is a map of a suggested route:



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Booty Camp Cardiff

Booty Camp has exploded onto the Cardiff fitness scene, attracting over 100 female members all looking to get in shape and have fun at the same time.  The group exercise classes aim to encourage women of all ages and fitness levels to commit to a healthier lifestyle.

booty camp cardiff

Instructor Abbie Skene (bottom left) and booty campers

Founder of Cardiff’s first female only fitness boot camp and personal trainer, Mark Tregilgas, shares his passion for more inclusive and motivational exercise.

“We wanted to create a place where all women could exercise comfortably in a completely non-intimidating environment. At Booty Camp we want you to be who you want to be and not worry about being judged.”

“Our target group is mainly women in their early 30s, often mothers with a few young children.  The ages range from around 28 to 40 and there is a vast range of fitness levels.”

 

 

Mark is an experienced gym and spin instructor with a diploma in personal training and a level 3 qualification in advanced personal training.  He is an inspirational example of the importance of dedication to fitness as he struggled with his weight as a youngster but is now committed to exercise and healthy nutrition.

 

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Instructors Mark Tregilgas and Abbie Skene

What to expect from a Booty Camp class:

This class couldn’t be further from the traditional Sergeant Major style boot camp hell I’ve experienced in the past.  We were encouraged to take the range of bodyweight exercises and high intensity intervals at our own pace as there was a diverse range of fitness levels within the group.  I decided to start with the beginners class, which combines some tough tabata routines with a mixture of toning exercises.  It was a gentle and relaxed introduction to the Booty Camp classes and I would be keen to try some of the intermediate and advanced sessions.

Date and time: Thursday 630pm – 7.15pm

Venue: Poletwisters, Eastmoors Road Industrial Estate.

Instructor: Abbie Skene

1)   Atmosphere and Fun: 7.5/10

Abbie immediately made the group feel at ease and we were guided and motivated through a mixture of resistance moves, cardio interval training and core exercises.

2)   Sweat and Pain: 7/10

The jumping jacks, side lunge jumps and mountain climbers were alternated with squats, lunges and planks, so there was a mixture of sweaty aerobic exercise and painful toning moves.

3)   Calorie Burn

I’d estimate about 250-300 calories per class, but this completely depends on your weight and fitness level.

4)   Toning Potential: 9/10

This class is a must for anyone looking to tighten and tone.  I really noticed my core working during the planks, side-planks and fully extended sit-ups.

5)   Morning After Muscle Ache: 8.5/10

The extremely high number of squats performed at the beginning on the class meant everyday movements such as walking and climbing stairs were very painful the next day.  Squats, named the “King of all exercises” by Abbie clearly have a dramatic effect.  The technical term for this type of muscle ache is DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and the best prevention is keeping active and not sitting still.

Highlight of the class:

The high intensity interval training (Tabata) was by far the most challenging part, as we alternated 30 seconds of side lunge jumps with a 30 seconds plank.  The combination worked several different muscle groups at once and caused my heart rate to increase significantly.

The ladies attended the class for a number of reasons including impending marriages and recent births and there was a great sense of camaraderie within the group.

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Beginners class at Poletwisters

Here is a list of the Booty Camp classes:

Beginners Classes

Tuesday + Thursday 630pm – 7.15pm at Poletwisters, Eastmoors Road Industrial Estate.

Regular Classes

Monday – Vitality, Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff Bay 7pm – 8pm
Tuesday – Cardiff Athletic Stadium, Lecwith Road. 7.30-8.30pm
Wednesday – Dragon Cross-FIT, Curran Road. 7.30pm – 8.30pm
Thursday – Llandaff Fields, Bottom of Cathedral Road 9.15am – 10.15am
Thursday – Universal Fitness, Ocean Way. 7.30 – 8.30pm
Saturday – Llandaff Fields, Bottom of Cathedral Rd. 10am – 11am

Ninja classes (advanced)

Friday – Dragon Cross-FIT, Curran Road. 6pm – 7pm & 7pm – 8pm

Online Group Detox: Gimme the Skinny

Cardiff Booty Camp’s New Year Cleanse: ‘Gimme the Skinny’ commences on the 14th of January.  This involves 28 days of post festive detoxification, health, fitness and fat loss from Mark and Abbie.

To find out more and sign up, visit the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bootycampcardiff?fref=ts

The weigh in for the detox will be on Sunday the 13th of January at the Holiday Inn situated in Cardiff City Centre.

“Trust in the programme”- Mark Tregilgasgimmie the skinny

Nutrition is the key factor to sustaining a successful fitness regime.  There are hundreds of fad diets, but unfortunately there is no quick fix.  In order to change your body shape and really notice a difference, you must commit to a balanced diet and an active exercise regime.

“You can’t out train poor nutrition” Mark Tregilgas

10 rules for optimum energy and fat loss

These are the key rules which helped Mark to change his shape:

1) Keep hydrated with bottled or filtered water

2) Bin the sugary cereal

This will give you an instant sugar high and the excess sugar will be stored as fat.

3) Do not fear fat

Avocados, nuts, coconut oil and olive oil are great sources of good fat and essential for energy and healthy living.

4) Eat plenty of protein

5) Let vegetables become your best friend

6) Eliminate stress and get your sleep

7) Eat within an hour of your workout

Immediately after your workout your body is at it’s most receptive to absorb vital nutrients in order to start the repair process.

8) Do not calorie count

Concentrate on eating more protein rather than a smaller amount of sugary foods.

9) Understand that booze

Alcohol is simply sugar and it de-hydrates you.

10) In a nutshell eat as much fish, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit as you like. Cook in coconut oil, drizzle your veg/salads in olive oil, wash it down with bottled water and you will begin to feel and look great.


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Top 10 fitness trends for 2013

My exercise predictions for 2013:

1) Crossfit

This is a hardcore strength and conditioning programme used to train the armed forces and athletes.  You can burn up to 15 calories a minute with this intense workout which involves timed challenges with squats, push-ups, gymnastic rings, intense runs and weightlifting.

http://www.crossfit.com/

2) ViPR: Whole-body movement

vipr

ViPR stands for “vitality, performance and reconditioning.”  You use a one metre high rubber tube that comes in seven weights, from four to 20 kg in a range of movements.

3) Outdoor gyms

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Image courtesy of: Makesportfun.com
Hundreds of public parks throughout the UK now have exercise machines which are completely FREE to use.  This is one way to beat the crowds in your local gym.

4) Suspension training 

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The is a type of strength training which uses a system of ropes and webbing called a “suspension trainer” to allow the user to work against their own body weight.

5) Rebound exercise

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Rebound exercise is a great way to tone up and get in shape, FAST.  It can help to increase agility, reduce body fat and provide a fun aerobic workout.

6) Kettlebell workout

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Kettlebell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders and the basic movements engage the entire body at once.  Kettlebell classes often involve large numbers of repetitions and you will really see the results.

7) Small group training 

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The idea of having one instructor to a group of between 4 to 10 is exploding in gyms all over the country.  It gives you the personalised attention of personal training (for much less money), plus the motivation and camaraderie of a group session.

8) Tabata training

Want to get fit fast but think you don’t have the time?  Try the exercise craze sweeping the nation, tabata.  The high-intensity workout, typically involves 20 seconds exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes or 8 cycles.  This fat burning miracle will burn calories fast, but it is not for the faint-hearted.

9) Fusion classes

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Fusion classes will be perfect for you if you’re feeling frustrated with your usual exercise routine.  Classes such as piloxing (pilates and boxing), water aerobics and aerial yoga sound hilarious.  They will also help you to train and tone a wider range of muscles.

10) Women and weights

This is one fitness trend that is here to stay.  More and more women are starting to introduce weights into their workout.  Lifting weights also helps to burn stored fat, increases muscle tone, bone density, and self-confidence.


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New Year, New You

How to make your New Year’s fitness resolution count this January.

fitness

Queues for the showers, zero mat space and a line for the treadmills which will take longer than the time you’re allowed to spend on it?  It must be January at the gym.  Every year this predictable phenomenon occurs due to thousands of individuals signing up to yearly gym memberships, full of good intentions for the New Year.  You can already start to see the numbers diminish in late January and by mid-February, things are back to normal.

I’m here to try and help you keep on track of your New Year fitness and health goals with a number of hints and suggestions:

1) Set a REALISTIC goal

Start by having an honest conversation with yourself and decide on a resolution which is achievable within a certain deadline.  It’s no good pretending you will have the time to run 10 miles everyday if you have a demanding job or schedule.  The number one killer for a New Year’s resolution is placing too much pressure on yourself.

Set a realistic deadline, for example: I would like to work my way up to a half marathon within 4 months.  The deadline can easily be changed along the way depending on your level of commitment and progress.

Take the next few days to set out your game plan.

dream

One of the easiest ways to stay on target over the next few months is to sign up to an event.  This will introduce a competitive element and added incentive to your training.  I’ve always been tempted by the gruelling Tough Guy competition, but this would involve an exhausting training programme and I’m not sure how well I would cope with burning obstacles and pools of freezing water.

If you think you’re up for a challenge, check it out:

http://www.toughguy.co.uk/    

Don’t go it alone

It can be really helpful to enlist the help of a training partner to keep you motivated and positive.  The alternative is to join a running/ cycling/ exercise group to make your workout more enjoyable and sociable.

Choose something you actually enjoy

This is probably the most obvious, but the most important piece of advice.  It’s best to focus on an activity, sport or form of exercise which you know you can really throw yourself into and have fun at the same time.

2) Track and reward your progress

My goal this year is to keep a workout log to make sure I meet my targets.

There are a few different ways to keep track of your progress such as the Nike Plus iPod Sports Kit.  This incredible device transforms your iPod into a personal trainer by providing real-time, spoken feedback that alerts you to workout milestones.  It fits inside your trainer and you can then track time, distance, pace, and calories burned by transmitting the information wirelessly to your device for instant feedback.  You can see it here on my Christmas gift wish list:

https://highertone.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/top-10-fitness-inspired-christmas-gift-ideas/

Another option is the Nike + Sports Watch which is easy to use and gives you great running data.

watch

Reward yourself with a little treat- a new gadget, running accessory or new music each time you pass a milestone.

3) Kick one bad habit

I’ll be giving up sweets for as long as I can bear.  What’s your weakness?

4) Go the distance

There’s always the opportunity to go further and train harder than you anticipated.  Don’t be put off by the January crowds in the gym.  Wait it out and you will be rewarded.  Remember- no one ever regretted a workout.

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My local gym at 5pm on 29th January

This really surprised me.  Saturday at 5pm is usually prime time, but clearly people have not decided to kick-start their New Year’s resolutions. Gyms are often really quiet around midday or late in the evening, so try and target the less busy times during January.

6) Change it up

Alongside your main fitness routine, try some additional exercise classes to avoid getting stuck in a fitness rut.  It is very easy to get bored of your usual workout, especially if your are just running alone or going to the gym.  Try a group fitness class, the camaraderie really helps, especially if you are lacking motivation.

What is your New Year’s Resolution?

I’d love to hear from you.  The 3 most inspirational goals will be posted up on Higher Tone on January 1st.  Feel free to send me as many as you like.