Higher Tone

Variety is the spice of life and the fuel for fitness


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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

buggy fit

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

Balance1

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
roath
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.

 

booty

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.

booty 3

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

make sport fun
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 

suspension
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

jumping
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

kettlebells

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 

SmallGroup_main
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

aerial yoga

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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The Art of Kicking Ass

Martial Arts have an impressive number of exercise and health benefits as well as being great forms of self-defence, stress relief and a boost to confidence.

martial arts

Benefits

1) Cardiovascular health- high intensity martial arts exercise programs and fights will significantly increase your heart rate and test your rate of recovery.

2) Reflexes– to be a good martial artist, you must have very fast reflexes. Research has found that by participating in martial arts, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times in other every day activities.

3) Increased muscle tone- by participating in martial arts, you can greatly improve the amount of muscle mass in your body and consequently look more toned.  The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic demands will be which means you will burn more calories each day.  High levels of muscle mass also lead to increased agility.

4) Weight Loss- during martial arts classes and fights you will burn a high number of calories with the diverse range of movements and footwork.

5) Improved Mood-  you will definitely leave any martial arts class on a high.  Performing martial arts is a great way to relieve stress and frustration.  The endorphins released by physical activity appear to be active in your body for as many as four hours after exercise.

kickboxing-woman-abs

With so many different types to choose from how do you decide?

Unarmed martial arts can be broadly grouped into techniques focused on strikes and grappling:

1) Strikes: Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Karate, Capoeira and Boxing

2) Grappling: Jujutsu, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling etc

It’s also a good idea to decide whether you just want a good workout without learning any intricate moves of techniques.  If this is the case then it might be better just to try a Kettle-bell workout class or cardio kickboxing.

If you want to be the next Jade Jones (2012 Olympic gold medallist), then try:

TAEKWONDO

Olympic Games 2012 Taekwondo

Jade Jones (blue) won the 2012 Olympic gold medal in Taekwondo and the BBC Cymru Sports Personality of the Year

Translated from Korean, “TAE” literally means to jump, kick or smash with the foot, “KWON” means to punch or destroy with the hand or fist and “DO” means art, way or method.

This sport will really improve your co-ordination and flexibility.  Many of the moves require core and spinal strength for upright kicking moves. Range of hip and shoulder motion is also important, as is balance. Whether balancing on one foot, performing a front or side kick, or striking, many moves require your legs and arms to work together to either defend or attack.

Taekwondo is all about the kicks, so it is really important to target, strengthen and stretch your hamstrings.

One Leg Dead-lift Balance (from about.com):

onelegdeadliftbalance

  1. Stand on the left leg with the right foot slightly back, resting on the toe.
  2. Hold a weight or barbell in front of the thigh and tip from the hips, keeping the back straight and the abs braced, bring the weight towards the floor.
  3. At the same time, lift the right leg up as you lower the weight, taking the leg up to hip level.
  4. Squeeze the glutes of the left leg to pull back up and repeat for 8-16 reps before switching sides.
  5. Keep the move slow and controlled and concentrate on keeping your balance at the same time you keep the core braced. If you feel wobbly, keep the back foot on the floor.

Taekwondo classes in Cardiff:

United Taekwondo International Wales: Wednesday and Fridays at 6:30

St Peter’s RFC, Minster Road, Roath

Cardiff North Taekwondo

http://cardiffnorthtkd.com

Training at Heath Sports and Social Club, Heath Park on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Cardiff Martial Arts

Training at Channel View Leisure Centre, Llanrumney High School and Pontprennau Community Centre

http://www.cardiffmartialarts.com

KICK-BOXING

kickboxing

Kickboxing is a great way to target your core muscles

This will really knock out the boredom from your workout and blast body fat fast with a range of toning and body-sculpting moves.

Kick-boxing burns an average of 500 calories an hour, some estimate 810.  The exercise targets your arms, shoulders, abs, thighs and bum all in one workout.  It is also an incredible form of stress release.

Kickboxing keeps you moving at an intensity that you probably not be able to replicate while doing cardio exercise on your own, so take advantage of the group energy of the workout to get the most out of this form of exercise.

Roundhouse Kick

kickboxing

Warning: Do not perform this move without first thoroughly warming up and stretching

The roundhouse move is a as your leg moves in an arc.

  1. Stand with right foot forward in fighting stance.
  2. Bend your right knee bringing your heel towards the glutes and pivot on the left foot, turning your hips to the left.  This is not shown in the picture.
  3. Strike from right to left in an arc with right foot, extending kick from knee, toes pointed.
  4. Retract and return to fighting stance.

Classes in Cardiff

Vitality Gym:

Wednesday 20:00-21:15

http://www.vitalitygyms.co.uk

This class will really help you to bring strict discipline to your everyday life.

Cardiff Karate and Kickboxing Academy

http://cardiffkarateandkickboxing.com

These award-winning classes are designed for men and women of all abilities and ages.

Boxing and Boxercise

Boxercise is an addictive exercise class based on the training concepts boxers use to keep fit.  A typical class may involve shadow-boxing, skipping, hitting pads, kicking punchbags, press-ups, shuttle-runs and sit-ups. Most boxercise classes are aimed at men and women of all ages and fitness standards.  It is a fun, challenging and safe workout because no class actually involves hitting an opponent.

Woman boxing and exercising

Bonus:

Increased mental agility and decision-making

Improved hand-eye coordination

Increased stamina: High-level boxing boxing is around 70%-80% anaerobic (high-intensity) and 20%-30% aerobic, therefore training increases stamina in heart and lungs

Raised core strength: To take a punch and hold your balance, your abdominals need to be strong and toned – this strong core stability can reduce the risk of back pain and improve posture

Arm Exercise

Strengthen your upper body and blast those bingo wings with:

Tricep Dips:

  1. Sit with your back to a bench or chair and have your legs either bent (beginner-shown in picture) or straight (advanced)
  2. Place hands on the bench so they are pointed towards you
  3. Raise body up into a seated position
  4. Bend elbows out behind you to lower your bum to the floor
  5. Push back up until arms are straight
Classes in Cardiff:
Elite Fitness       http://www.elitefitness.co.uk/
Boxercise– punch your way through a variety of pad work and bag exercises.
Friday 17:30 with Kyle
Pads and Abs– a studio based women’s only boxing and Ab’s workout with pumping music.  Get ready for your summer vest top and leave on a high.
Tuesday 17:30
Boxfit Express– Learn to box and get your body fighting fit.
Monday 18:45
Or
Vitality Gym
Boxercise 17:15


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RESULTS: BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year

WINNER: JADE JONES 

Won Britain’s first Taekwondo gold medal

Jade Jones

The 19-year-old really put Wales on the map when she kicked ass in the 2012 Olympics, beating Yuzhuo Hou 6-4 to take the women’s 57kg title in Taewkondo.

Her courageous win was Great Britain’s first Olympic gold in the sport.  Born in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, Jones managed to give us one of the most iconic moments in this year’s Olympics.

“I’ve already started thinking about defending my title in Rio de Janeiro [at the 2016 Olympics]. I’m not competing again until next year and my coach has given me until January to be a normal person.”

Jade Jones

2nd Place: Dan Lydiate

Dan Lydiate

The Newport Gwent Dragons blind-side flanker was also named the Six Nations Player of the Tournament.  This was after featuring in every game except the opener against Ireland and receiving man of the match awards against Scotland and France.  

“To be part of such a talented Wales team and win the Grand Slam in Cardiff was incredible in itself but to then be voted player of the championship [was] absolutely unbelievable.”

3rd Place: Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

Cyclist Geraint Thomas became one of only four Welshman to win multiple Olympic gold medals when Great Britain’s team pursuit quartet smashed the world record at the 2012 Olympics in London.

“It was a lot of sacrifice, I missed a lot on the road and put all my eggs in one basket… the Olympics was everything.”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Lynn Davies 

Lynn Davies

‘Lynn the leap’ won the Olympic gold medal for long jump in 1964 with an impressive leap of 8.07m.  He also competed in the 100m and 4×100 relay.

He became the first man to win two long jump titles at the Commonwealth Games in 1966 and 1970.

Daves was also a two-time winner of the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year award in 1964 and 1966.

Team of the year: Welsh Rugby Team

wales-rugby_2151012b

Winners of the male and female Carwyn James Award (Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman)

Ieuan Lloyd: He competed at the 2012 Olympics in the Men’s 200m freestyle event.

Leuan Lloyd

Elinor Barker: won a silver medal in the junior women’s time trial at the 2011 UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen.  She was promoted to the Great Britain senior squad for the Glasgow round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup series

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - JUNIOR WOMEN TT

Unsung Hero Award: Arthur Wood

Long-term volunteer at the Swansea Rifle Club has been honoured with this grassroots award.

arthur