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Variety is the spice of life and the fuel for fitness


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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.

gym

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.

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Top 10 fitness inspired Christmas gift ideas

These innovative gadgets and fun stocking fillers will have you sprinting back to the gym to get back into shape after the inevitable excess of the Christmas period.

1) Nike plus iPod Sport Kit

The smart device fits neatly in your trainer

Price: £22.50

Website: http://www.apple.com/ipod/nike/

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

2) Slendertone Flex Unisex Belt

You will see results in 4-6 weeks with this toning belt

Price: £49.99

Website: www.slendertone.com/en-uk/

This unisex toning belt from Slendertone uses 99 levels to work up to hard, firm abs. A great way to tone and firm in the comfort of your own home.  The 7 different programs allow you to tailor the workout and train your muscles, with warm up and cool down phases.

3) Ironman Triathlon 50-Lap Sleek Watch

This gorgeous watch comes in seven different colours

Price: £56

Website: http://www.timex.ca/en/sports.aspx

Stylish and streamlined watch in a variety of different colours.  This is truly a timepiece for everyone, with sleek ergonomics and ventilated strap enable the ultimate in comfort. Form is further embellished by function with the presence of two interval timers, multiple workout storage and three alarms.

4) H2O Audio Flex Waterproof Sport Headphones

Affordable and waterproof headphones

Price: £15

Website: http://www.x-1.com/

The headsets are 100% waterproof and sweat proof, which means you can still play your favorite music under the water.  One of the cheaper options on the market but still great quality.

5) Reebok EasyTone Trainers

These trainers will really work the muscles in your legs

Price: £75

Website: http://www.reebok.com

These trainers are specially developed to work muscles in you legs and bottom that wouldn’t normally get a workout.  The shoes have built in balance pods that make you feel slightly off-balance so your body has to compensate for this by adjusting your posture.  They also look great!

6) Neoprene Mini Sports Belt

This waterproof belt fits in your essentials for a run

Price: £15

Website: http://revelsports.com/iFitness/AF001.asp

This is high on my wish-list because I never know what to do with my keys when I go for a run.  It is designed to fit all your essentials, including: mobile, iPod, keys and credit cards. It will not bounce or shift during fitness activity and it comes in several different colours.

7) Little Buddha Yoga Mat

This gorgeous yoga mat is perfect for meditation

Price: £120

Website: http://www.little-buddha.net

This beautiful and luxurious silk yoga mat is truly made with love. It has a non-slip faux leather base and cosy fleece top to give comfort and reassurance for stretching or holding your pose.  The mat is filled with pure lavender that gently releases its fragrance as you practice.  Yes, it’s very expensive, but you will be the envy of the yoga class.

8) Adidas Skipping Rope

Skipping is one of the best ways to improve footwork

Price: £14

Website: www.adidas.com

Skip yourself slim and improve your footwork with simple skipping exercises.  Definitely not just for the playground, boxers always train with them to keep light on their feet.

9) Shake Weight Pro

See a noticeable difference in your upper body by using this for 6 minutes a day

Price: £20

Website: https://www.shakeweight.com/

This modified dumbbell is a revolution in strength training, you will really notice your arms, shoulders and chest tighten and tone.  It does get fast results, but you do look pretty hilarious whilst using it.  You can adjust the resistance from easy to moderate and then intense.

10) Studio Lux Quattro Leggings

Super flattering leggings are a must-have

Price: £46

Website: http://www.underarmour.com

Black leggings are the absolute staple for any woman’s workout wardrobe.  These are streamlined and stylish with a little extra detailing for enhanced silhouette.  They are lightweight and the signature water transport will keep you dry and feeling fresh.