Showing all posts in ‘Exercise Tips’

Running – Increase stamina and endurance

Running – Increase stamina and endurance

For keen runners, or even for those less focused, it is more than often a goal to increase performance.

One of the best ways to do this is via a planned, targeted treadmill sessions. They focus being to split runs into dedicated sections which will push the boundaries and over time increase stamina and performance.

This can be done by creating three sections within your regular exercise. Each person will be different so setting speed levels and times will be something that can be trialled and perfected.

These sectioning technique are described a “Build up runs”. The idea centres on the bodies AT (Anaerobic Threshold). [Link]

They will start below the AT threshold and increase to above the AT threshold by the end. This will be challenging but will in time help you develop both speed and stamina.

As stated, this will need to be tailored to individual needs, and can be adapted as such, but a guided example could be as follows;

  • Start at 9-10 km/h and maintain this level for 10 mins.
  • Increase and maintain your speed at 11-12 km/h for the next 10 to 15 mins.
  • Finally, increase your speed again to 13 km/h for the last 10 mins.

It’s important to bear in mind that these increments of speed should only happen when and if you feel you can handle the additional pace. Do not increase pace if it means you will struggle and have to slow down prematurely.

As we said, tailor your own strategy and the results will come.



Should we all be buying Protein Shakes to stay fit?

SALES of protein shakes are booming, with celebrity bodies rather than muscle bound beefcakes leading the trend. Is this a fad, or a true necessity for a full and successful fitness regime?

In fact, experts will advise that a regular, light strength workout, combined with a well thought out diet is the most effective way to retain muscle definition and sustain long term weight control.

Already in the UK, in our daily diets, (source: The National Food Survey) women are generally eating around 65g of protein a day, which is 20g more than the recommended level. Similarly, men intake around 88g, which is over 30g more than the 55g required daily.

So, doesn’t this in fact show that protein shake supplements are not usually needed at all? Well, we do need protein for growth and to make and repair cells within our bodies, as we are not able to store reserves of protein. So we need to consume it daily, usually and traditionally as part of our regular diet, rather than via a shake.

Researchers in Denmark have revealed that milk is even more effective for controlling appetite than protein whey shakes. However at extreme training levels, undertaken by Olympic athletes for example, these supplements can make up shortfalls in what is effectively a much heightened need to protein. However for the casual gym goer, or those of us who just wish to stay trim, then sensible diet would be the easiest way forward, in combination with a regular fitness workout that you could design for your home gym, including the usual equipment such as a cross trainer, treadmill or exercise bike.

So, should we all be buying Protein Shakes to stay fit? The simple answer is no, but of course you can decide for yourself where you fit in the fitness world and if they may indeed be applicable to you!


So How do you Stay Healthy?

The biggest factor that will determine how long we live is not the genes you inherit, but the way we conduct ourselves during our lifetime.

A British Medical journal study suggested we could cut our chances of having a stroke by 50% by doing 3 simple things. Regular exercise, or activity, eating 5-a-day servings of fruit and vedge, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol.

These are now all well know factors for the public at large, but let’s look at a list of check points that can make a real difference to health and give a guide to life expectancy.

1. Don’t rush to retire – evidence shows the drop off activity can be very detrimental to health. So once your working days are over stay as active as possible.

2. Floss your teeth regularly – yes, flossing can actually keep arteries healthy by reducing the bacteria that enters the blood stream

3. Don’t stay still – it’s all about movement and activity. Exercise, waking instead of driving, taking stairs instead of lifts, gardening (etc) are all ways to beat inactivity.

4. Have a healthy breakfast every day – fibre rich breakfast cereal can halt age accelerators.

5. Sleep well – 6 hours daily should be the minimum. This will help your body and cells stay regulated.

6. Enjoy whole foods, not supplements

7. Try not to be neurotic – easier said than done, but try yoga or meditation. Those that live longest tend to be more relaxed in general.

8. Be good to your body – a general life message worth heeding!

9. Routine is good – a study of centurions found that they are often creatures of habit, with regular sleep patterns and diets.

10. Interact – socially active people are less likely to be depressed and more likely to stay mentally alert.

11. Believe it or not, one of the best predictors of longevity is conscientiousness— you are more likely to stick to routines and regimes that are good for you.


How to avoid injury

Even top Olympians and Premiership football stars need to stretch before training; it’s a basic requirement to help ensure you can steer clear of injury.

Of course, some injuries are unavoidable, but pulls, strains and ‘tweaks’ can be avoided with some simple precautions.

You should always look at your exercise as a three stage process. Warm up – Exercise – Warm down.

Warm up

You can increase blood flow around the body, to increase flexibility of the muscles and muscle tissue, allowing free movement and reducing the possibility of wear and strain.

You can start your warm up with some very simple aerobics, such as light jogging for 5 or 10 mins on the road or treadmill. Then move onto some stretching. Again for 5 or 10 mins, concentrating on the correct areas.

Finally push the limits with some three quarter workouts, such as short sprints etc.


You should now be ready for your fitness exercise or competition.

Warm Down

Once complete, don’t forget to warm down. This can replicate the first two stages of the warm up, i.e. simple aerobics and stretching. This will allow the muscles to slowly cool and relax, again avoiding injury.


Fitness and Health Gadgets

As we continue to strive to keep healthy, maintain regular fitness training, follow exercise plans and endure weight loss controlled diets, we all need as little motivation along the way.

Once way to maintain momentum is to add variation to your workouts. For example, using just one piece of fitness equipment can sometimes become repetitive, whereas circuit training and cross training can add the variety.

However, if you are the type of person who loves gadgets, then why not add a little high tech buzz to your planning, execution or analysis of your fitness levels? This can also be a great way to motivate.

If you are that gadget lover, then take a look at some of the most hyped fitness gadgets at CES 2012 (Consumer Electronics Show).


How do vibration plates work?

Of the different types of vibration plate available, in general, oscillating plates seem to be better received by those who are not regular gym goers, but are looking to simple lose some weight and tone, or reduce cellulite. They are the gentler, but no less effective, alternative to vertical movement machines, such as Power Plate, and would definately be our recommendation for a beginner to vibration.

Whole body vibration plates (WBV) use vibrations create from a base platform which transfers movement from the feet upwards.

The effect of the vibration is that your body will attempt to ‘stabilise’ itself in direct competition with the vibration. In effect, your muscles keep you in balance, although don’t let that worry you, in reality you will not feel as if you are being thrown off the machine, as the movements are slight yet rapid.

Your muscle fibres contract around 30-50 times a second, burning fat and strengthening. As a whole  resulting in weight loss, reductions in cellulite and many other benefits which would include  boosting metabolism rates and improving circulation.

The term oscillating vibration plate trainers describes they type of movement produced by the platform, or base. An oscillating machine will move in see-saw type motion. So, to use a simple analogy, imagine if you were stood on a see-saw, with one foot either side of the centre, then at any time one foot would be moving down, whilst the other would move up. On an oscillating vibration plate this would only be a very small movement of about 10-12mm, described as the amplitude. So as we said, you will not get the feeling that you are being thrown around! In fact, it should only be the pounds that come off!


How much do you really know about Core Muscles?

We hear an awful lot about core muscles, and the benefit of having a strong core.

It’s not only when we are exercising that we use our core muscles; we need them all the time in everyday life. They provide strength and support for all of us, all the time. But often too many of us don’t really understand in detail about conditioning of the core, in respect of the reasons and the methods we can apply.

So, as well as your regular cardio busting workouts on a Treadmill or Cross Trainer, or your outdoor or indeed indoor bike rides, it is always advisable to dedicate some time to developing core strength, to enable us to be faster, stronger, less susceptible to injury and to be generally healthier.

There is a great report on the Sports Medicine web site that will enlighten you to all aspects of core strength, and advise how you can achieve a balanced level of strength and fitness. It’s an invaluable read to all budding athletes and fitness enthusiasts.


How much should we exercise to improve our health?

Both UK and US government health departments recommend that adults should engage in at least 150 mins of exercise each week. Commonly suggested to take the form of 5 x 30 min sessions.

This would probably be considered a minimum level to the regular gym goes who may combine 30 mins on a treadmill, cross trainer, bike or rowing machine with an additional weight training session or swim to give over an hours exercise daily.

This is great, as both governments also say that more exercise is even better, but they are also clear that if you cannot do the 150 mins, then a little less is certainly better than nothing!

A relevant study recently published in Lancet has started to attract some attention. You can see the report detailed on the web site ‘ Science-Based Running ‘. It is an engaging read for any health enthusiast, or anyone thinking about improving their fitness.

The study was of huge proportions. In fact, a Taiwanese team led by Chi Pang Wen tracked over 400,000 Taiwanese adults for 8 years.

The results found that even moderate levels of exercise, under half the recommended limit, produced significant health benefits over someone who was relatively inactive

You will see in the report that for every increment of exercise, there was a significant decrease in mortality. An in respect of timings, 30 minutes a day is better than 15, 60 is better than 30, and 90 is better than 60. Also, the gains occur even faster with vigorous exercise, such as running or jogging.

So, in summary, any exercise is better than none, and up to 90 mins a day will incrementally give a greater benefit. So there is hope for those who can only manage a few mins a day of exercise, but the fanatics are certainly not doing themselves any harm either!

Read the full report on the Science-Based Running web site.


Protecting those Joints during Exercise!

We all know how important it is to reduce wear and tear on your joints. Joint pains can be one of the biggest reasons to dampen a fitness routine, especially as we get older.

Like a gearbox in a car, it’s critical to look after your joints. Constantly crunch you gearbox and it won’t last too long, and your car certainly won’t be doing many miles! There are a few simply ways to keep you joints in top condition, and ‘prolong the life’ of these important parts, keeping you well and truly on the road to your fitness goals.

 Always warm up – Get your body ready to exercise. Even for less high impact equipment or exercise, like cross trainers or exercise bikes, always ensure you warm up. Try some stretching and dynamic movements such as shoulder rolls and ankle circles, and a brisk walk on the treadmill as well.

Don’t Rush – Progress gradually; rushing to do too much can place undue stress on the body increasing the chances of pain and injury.

Listen to your body – If it hurts, stop! If rest doesn’t help, then consult a doctor. Don’t try and push through joint pain, it’s not a barrier that you can break through.

Always wear the correct footwear – Maybe a no brainer, but you would be surprised. For example, if you are exercising in a Zumba or Combat class, you will need different footwear to a runner, or someone working out on a cross trainer. Also, protection deteriorates with wear, so try and change you footwear at an appropriate time. As a rough guide, running shoes will last about 500 miles before needing to be traded in.

Land lightly – When we are running or jumping, our body has to absorb forces equivalent to over 4x our own weight! Landing, with Knees and hips bent, and being in good alignment will minimises the risk of injury.

Watch your technique – Bad exercise techniques can cause injury over time. Have one eye on your positioning, technique and posture, especially as you near the end of your workout, when you may be tiring.

Maintain muscle strength – Conditioning and strengthening muscles will help protect the joints they surround.

Always cool down – As with the warm up, stretch and slowly allow the body to cool and fully recover from you work out.


Could you eat 9,000 calories a day?



Running with the Olympic theme for the last time, did you know that typically, Olympians eat six meals and consume 6,000 to 9,000 calories a day!……Wow! If there was ever a better way to show that fitness and physic is all about balancing exercise against calories consumed, then this is it!

Your daily routine my include structured fitness equipment sessions like, treadmill runs, Elliptical Cross Trainer workouts, Exercise Bike rides, or Rowing sessions, Sumba classes or even Combat sessions for the more aggressively challenged! But it will also include less measurable things like the stair climb at work, the run for the bus, the fast stride to the tube station etc etc.

As part of your fitness regime, it’s important to balance calorie intake against calories burnt. Most of us are aware of food labelling, and in respect of calories it is fairly easy to calculate how many calories we are consuming, by applying a little mental effort ‘totting up’ during the day.

It seems more difficult to assess calories burnt, but we have found a good calorie calculator at, which should help. Just plug in some figures and you should have a good guide to where you are.

So the good advice seems to be balance the calorie intake v calorie burn to achieve affective weight loss or fitness goals, and also be aware of the nutritional values of food which we will cover in subsequent blogs.

Out of interest, if your first calculation of calories consumed makes you feel a little guilty, then take a look at home some of the biggest Olympians compare.

For example, Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong eats a massive 9,000 calories every day! He says…”I like a lot of salmon and obviously, beef and chicken. I’m on a high-protein, low-carb diet. I’ll eat five or six times a day. I try to eat healthy. It does help performance.”

So, the good news is that you can eat like an Olympian without feeling guilty…as long as you exercise like one too! Good luck.


What does the average Olympian think about health, wellbeing and nutrition?

With an amazing 65 medals in total, including 29 Gold’s, out team GB really did perform fantastically at the London 2012 Olympics. To only be beaten by China and the USA on the medal table is a real feat for such a relatively small country!

With the games still in our mind, have you ever wondered what an Olympian thinks about health, Nutrition and lifestyle that gives them the edge?

Well, we can all learn from these guys, so whether you exercise ‘punishment’ is to pound on your treadmill or sweat on your cross trainer or exercise bike, this same thought process and help improve your performance and wellbeing. Even if you know you will never be stood on the podium blasting out the National Anthem, or crying with joy as would more likely be the case!

Recently NBC published a great video where they asked top US athletes what their thoughts were. Its definately food for thought!


Simple steps to improve your running technique


Good running technique comes more natural to some of us than others.

The good news for those with poor natural technique is that will a little work, your running style can be improved allowing for more efficient and effective fitness training.

Here are a few simple tips on how to improve your running technique, which are designed for the long distance targets, like 10k or marathon junkies, but can also help give the exercise novice a more effective and safe running experience, be it on the road or on your treadmill running machine.

Change one part at a time – Concentrate on one aspect of your style at a time, and try and alter that first, before moving onto the next.

Land on your midfoot – landing on your toes, your calves will fatigue quickly, on your heels and you are probably over striding and you will be wasting momentum and risking injury.

Keep your hands at waste level – let your hands slightly brush your hips

And arms at 90 degrees – To help with the push off and building momentum

Relax your hands – cup your hands and relax. Tension can result in tightness in the shoulders, neck and arms

Keep the posture straight – straight and erect posture will balance the load correctly

Don’t bounce – Keep you stride low to the ground to maximise forward energy and minimise wasted effort.

You can get more details on this and other great running tips at the runners guide.


At odds with your running feet?


Maybe you feel you could do with the exercise…. but sometimes your feet could really do with a rest!

Sore or aching feet after running is not uncommon. Even the most expensive, attractive, stylish, supportive and technically brilliant running shoes can leave your feet in some discomfort following a long road run or treadmill session.

The general rule seems to be the longer the run, the more the pain, but if you are new to running, or returning after a break, then even a short session can cause some soreness and discomfort.

Of course, if symptoms persist, then you should consult your doctor, but there are some basic home remedies can be applied which will give relief in most cases.

Rest – It all starts here as this is possibly the best cure for sore and swollen feet. Try and plan your workout to fit in before a period where you need to have minimal movement, and maximum rest. Try and stay off your feet for a period after your exercise to allow recovery. This sound common sense, which of course it is, however taking a moment to plan it, may mean it becomes reality more often than if it is left to chance!

Elevation – of course, you will know that soreness will be accompanied by its friend, swelling! Your feet will swell due to the amount of pressure applied during a run. This can cause blood to ‘pool’ in the area, as good circulation is reduced by the constant pounding of a run. This build-up of pressure will cause swelling.

So, once finished, during you ‘rest’ period, remove footwear and socks and elevate your feet above pelvis level. This should then allow the blood to circulate more naturally and effectively giving relief from the swelling.

Ice – Putting an ice pack on the affected area is often the choice of the aching runner. The cold of a towel wrapped pack helps relieve the pressure that builds up in your feet during a run, and should help reduce swelling, or even prevent swelling if you haven’t been affected already.

A 10 to m15 min session of ice should be long enough.

Immersion – Finally, try soaking your weary feet in a foot bath. Again 10 to 15 mins should be fine and the temperature can be warm, to sooth and relax, or cold, to work like an ice pack and reduce pressure.

All of the above appear simple steps, but the best possible approach would be to make sure you plan the time to see if they can assist in your recuperation time, after that hard treadmill session, or exercise run. Good luck!


Ever considered the ‘Exercise Equivalent’ of food and drinks?


Health & Fitness experts are suggesting that junk food and fizzy drinks should display ‘exercise labels’ on their packaging to advise consumers how much physical exercise is needed to burn the sky-high calorie and fat content contained in these products.

A research study out of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore suggests that ‘Exercise Labels’ On Food Packaging could actually be more effective than the current Calorie Counts.

To test the theory, researchers positioned three different posters outside corner shops to see which was most effective in influencing the behaviour of young people when buying high calorie fizzy drinks.

The first asked if consumers knew that an average fizzy drink contains 250 calories. The second asked if they understood that this single drink was 10% of their recommended daily intake. The last explained that it could take nearly one hour on a treadmill to counteract the soaring sugar and bur the equivalent calories.

Guess which was most effective? Yes, the ‘Exercise Equivalent’ message caused a higher drop in sales than either of the two calorie based information posters.

Dr Sara Bleich stated that “People generally underestimate the number of calories in the foods and beverages they consume”…“Providing easily understandable caloric information-particularly in the form of a physical activity equivalent, such as running – may reduce calorie intake from sugar – sweetened beverages and increase water consumption among adolescents”…“It is critical to explore the most effective strategies for presenting caloric information to consumers”.

So if we are looking for motivation to eat and drink more healthily, then maybe this conversion into time and associated effort, may be the best way forward for all of us?


Sweating to Improve your Mind?

It’s easy just to concentrate on the visual results of training and exercise.

Next time you are sweating on your Elliptical Cross Trainer, or pounding ‘the streets’ on your Treadmill, just take a moment to consider that all this work can make you smarter and happier as well!

Smarter and Happier? – If you think your exercise regime will only give you an advantage in respect of weight loss, stamina or cardio efficiency, then you might be missing the full picture.

It’s true that your efforts will help reduce the risk of heart problems, diabetes and cancer, but it’s true that your mind and wellbeing may benefit just as much from your effort and commitment.

Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, the author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, explains that “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.”

He adds that “Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.” So, surely, if you ever need any added incentive to don your trainers and climb onto your fitness equipment, then this positive message should be it.

If you want to explore these ideas in greater detail, then you can check out the book on Amazon. We recommend it as a great read for those looking to gain, or even re-build, inspiration for your fitness workouts.


DIY Physio ?


Craig Smith, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club physio, has developed some great homemade tips to deal with the minor aches and pains they you may just consider not serious enough to justify a trip to the doctors.

Here are 5 top tips for you to try, but of course he does point out that if the problems persist, then professional advice is always the route to take…

Hand Stretch – After a hard game of squash or tennis or squash, sometimes your forearms and hands stiffen slightly.

Try clasping your fingers together and interlocking your fingers. Then turn your hand over and outwards and push them away from you, leading with the palms. This extends the forearm muscles increasing blood flow which will help to reduce tension in these areas.

Raid the Freezer – If you need an icepack relief, why not raid the freeze for those obligatory pack of frozen peas? Cover the pack in a small towel and there you go! And remember, peas are a good source of Protein, B Vitamins, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Iron, and Potassium. So when they have defrosted, your evening meal will also be great for your health!

Tennis Ball Massage – When your feet are achy and tired after a long day, or a hard Treadmill workout, take a standard tennis ball, remove your socks (they should be relieved!) and sit down.

Put the tennis ball under your feet and roll it back and forward from the tips of your toes back to the heel. This should give your soles a relaxing massage. When you have finished, immerse your tiered feet in warm water for a few minutes which will finally boost the blood flow.

Throw the Towel In? –We have all woken up at some stage with stiffness in the back for no apparent reason.

Try taking lying on the floor, on your back and take either the well-used tennis ball, or a rolled up towel, and position it under the area that is affected.

Take 10, slow, very deep breaths. This will mobilise your vertebrae and chest cage which will loosen up any stiff back joints. Of course, if the pain persists, or gets worse, then a trip to the chiropractor or doctor is the next step.

Hot and Cold – Sprained ankle injuries can result in swelling for a long period after the injury itself and seriously restrict your recover. So if you are trying to get back on your Cross Trainer in record time, why not try this?

The heat and cold combined treatment theory will open and close your blood vessels helping to increase circulation. This should flush the area of excess fluid and reduce any swelling.

Get yourself two tubs of water. One with hot, but bearable water, the other with iced water. Starting and ending with the iced tub, alternate your ankle between the two about 5 times in each. Each ‘dip’ should last for two minutes.

That should have your swelling under control in no time!

Thanks Craig! (First published on the BBC Sports News web site, health and fitness section)


Motivation for your Treadmill Workouts!

Following on from our earlier blogs on the subject of Interval Training, we can highly recommend the Treadmill Trainer Blog by Yuri Elkaim, a true authority who provides excellent Treadmill Interval Training and general Running Tips.

Take a look at his new running programs. They are  tailored to suite every need, whether you using your home treadmill for regular training just to keep fit, or even if you have specific goals such as a 5k, 10k, half or full Marathon to work towards, there is great advice for everyone.

You will also see there are some great audio downloads and treadmill running video tips, so do take the time to look at the blog. It’s a ‘must read’ for all running enthusiasts.


Age Is Nothing But A Number!


If you could imagine the perfect advert to motivate you to your fitness goals, then Ernestine Shepherd would be it.

Ms Shepherd, or ‘Miss Ernie’as she is known, is a 75 year old Body builder who runs 10 miles every day, will tell you that exercise if the secret to everlasting youth. Well, it’s difficult to argue with that.

‘Miss Ernie’, has become the world’s oldest female bodybuilder, and insists that age is ‘nothing but a number’. It’s clear that this is not just talk, as she religiously gets up at 2:30am every morning for her training run and her enthusiastic gym workouts. She regularly works the Treadmills and Cross Trainers as part of her punishing routine.

The super fit pensioner from Maryland, USA, set the record in 2010 to 2012, while competing in bodybuilding championships, despite the fact that she didn’t come from a family of fitness enthusiasts, and even more remarkably, she didn’t start training herself until she reached her mid-50s.

“When I was younger, I was never, ever considered athletic. I was too prissy,” Miss Ernie told the BBC.

“But at age 56, my sister and I were invited to a picnic and we had to wear bathing suits and we didn’t like the way we looked, so we decided to exercise.

“My sister died of a brain aneurysm in 1992, I was so sad. She came to me in a dream and she said I wasn’t doing what I said we would do. So I did it.”

Now teaching a fitness class at her local church, Ernestine Shepherd is able to help women decades her junior, reach their own fitness goals and live a healthier, happier life.

Her belief and passion shines through, and to all that meet her it is clear.

“I always practice what I preach. I don’t teach bodybuilding. I teach health, happiness and prosperity – that’s the formula!”

It’s difficult not to agree with that!


The Fidget Project



If you have’nt seen it already, take a look at Michael Pinsky’s Fidget Project, which launched live in London at the end of June.

Michael’s live action gaming experience challenges the country’s obsession with the sofa

Famous as a UK artist, Urban Planner and Activists, Pinsky challenges our perception of what the body is doing when all we do is sit.

He explores why we should move more and explains that is exactly what our bodies want us to do!

If you are looking for interesting ways to ‘move’ more, then there is no better place to start than at home.  Orbus Leisure can provide a fantastic range of competitively prices exercise equipment for the beginner, through to the fitness nut! Such as Treadmills, Elliptical Cross Trainers, Bikes, Rowing Machines and Vibration Plates.

Take a look; you will be amazed at the value!


Has Your Cardio Workout Peaked?

As London 2012 looms ever closer, maybe we all want to strive to be a true Olympian?

However, if you are exercising 3 or 4 times a week, be it a 30 minutes plus Treadmill run, Cross Trainer workout, or Rowing Machine routine, yet appear to have peaked in respect of results, then why not try Interval Training?

“Interval Training?” you may well ask. Well, Interval Training is the new focus for many of the more enthusiastic trainers, looking really to push their workout to the next level.

Most people who work out have simple goals. Lose weight, feel fitter, look better etc etc. Yet they can often stick to their regular training regime without continual gain. This very much gives an impression that they have ‘peaked’ in respect of results.

Of course, this may well be to do with lifestyle and eating habits during the many regular hours you are not working out (!), but if we can assume a healthy and appropriate diet is in place, then how can this status quo be improved?

Of course, regular training will always be good for the heart, but you can add some additional fat burn and strength benefits by adopting an interval training approach

Interval training is where you perform high intensity burst of exercise, followed by longer periods or rest or and recovery. Of course the rest and recovery can take the form of simply reduced speed; however this allows the recovery from the intense periods which simply cannot be maintained.

This method of training can be more effective at inducing fat loss than simply training at a moderate intensity level for the same duration. This is due to the metabolism boosting effects of high intensity intervals.

Why not try it and see how you get on?


Are Vibration Plates Any Good For Losing Weight?

Vibration plates provide a form of exercise that make your muscles work against a vibrating force that affects your entire body while you sit or stand on the platform. It’s important to remember that standing or sitting on the vibration alone won’t trigger much weight loss, but if you combined vibration plate training with another form of exercise you could certainly lose more weight.

The Basics

Vibration plate machines differ drastically from the old-fashioned vibrating belt machines, you know the ones… those belts that you wrap around your waste which pulsated back and forth which basically did nothing more than slide your skin around. You don’t have to endure that kind of torture anymore becuase these modern vibration machines shake your whole body around roughly 30-50 times per second, this causes your muscles to contract and relax as your work to try and maintain your balance, the theory is that your working so hard to balance forces the muscles to work so hard to trigger significant weight loss. Standing or sitting on a vibration plate only causes you to lose those few extra pounds because the Vibration Plate doesn’t make you work as intensively/actively like the more conventional forms of exercise.

When you perform exercises such as squats, crunches and push-ups (known as calisthenic exercises) while standing on a vibration plate, you can substantially increase the weightloss potential of your activity. Studies have shown that the individuals that restricted their calorie intake and performed only conventional exercises didn’t loose as much weight as the individuals that restricted their calorie intake and performed calisthenics on a vibration machine. These individuals lost more weight around the abdomens. This is a major benefit because visceral fat (a significant form of abdominal fat) can considerably increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and a number of other health issues.


Additional benefits of vibration plate training exercise include increased muscle strength in older adults, adults with degenerative knee arthritis, and increased balancing abilities for the elderly and also improvements in bone material density that can decrease osteoporosis risks in menopausal women. To avoid putting your health at risk and to prevent the risk of injury you should consult your doctor for advice before you begin  using a vibration plate, and remember that you still need to engage in aerobic activity and additional forms of strength training in order to the get the maximum health benefits from exercise.

Visit Orbus Leisure to see our fantastic range of Vibration Plates!


The Importance Of Staying Hydrated Whilst Exercising

It’s common knowledge that you should drink plenty of water when you are exercising, but it’s like many things in our lives, the importance of this one small thing very often gets forgotten. It’s crucial that you stay hydrated while you are exercising, but it’s equally as important to make sure are well hydrated before you start exercising, and to keep hydrated after you’ve finished by continuing to drink . So many people don’t realise the importance of keeping hydrated before and after their workouts. A lack of water lead to dehydration, which can really affect your performance as well as cause other problems such a migraines and poor recovery.

To be able to function at its best your body needs to be well hydrated. Your body can still work perfectly well with low levels of dehydration, but you’re putting a lot of strain on your body which means that you will not be able to perform at your maximum potential. While everyone’s needs are completely different, it’s said that you should aim to drink around 1.5- 2 litres of water everyday in order to keep your body at maximum hydration. One way to check how hydrated you are is to check your urine. What colour is it? In an ideal world it should be very pale in colour. This means that your body has a god level of hydration, any darker and this is an indication that you should up your water intake.

Another aspect of hydration to think about is your electrolytes, this is particularly important when undertaking high intensity or endurance sports. Electrolytes are essential salts and minerals that your body needs to function, you can tell if you’re lacking these because you will be prone to muscle cramps and migraines. Sports drinks are a good way of getting these essential electrolytes as well sugars to help you go on for longer. It’s always important to check the ingredients on these types of drinks, because many of the use artificial sweeteners to replace sugar in order to keep the calorie content down. This defeats the purpose as more often than none when you reach for a bottle of energy drink you are doing so for an instant energy boost, which can only be gained through some form of sugar.

I’m not saying that it is necessary to consume this type of drink before you exercise, however there’s nothing wrong with having one at hand throughout the course of your workout, and remembering to consume a drink that contains electrolytes after your workout. However you choose to do it, it’s vital that you stay hydrated.


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Inspiring Fitness Tips For Getting In Shape This Spring/Summer

The days are getting longer and warmer, meaning it’s time to pull yourself out from the comfort of your winter layers and revive your sluggish energy levels and winter wobble with some exercise.

If you want to feel body confident this summer, now is the best time to begging your fitness regime.

But we all know that finding the motivation and feeling inspired to step into your exercise gear and get active can be a lot harder than you think. Motivation is a lot more complex that people realise. It is what causes us to act, it is a process that initiates, guides and maintains goal orientated behaviours, and it’s not a simple case of flicking on a motivation switch. It involves so many different aspects; biological, social and emotional being a few. This is why it’s hard to get motivated as you actually have to attack motivation from lots of angels to find the recipe to ‘get going’

However with a little help from these motivational workout tips, you’ll feel more inspired (and enthusiastic) in preparing your exercise regime, and more importantly, enjoying yourself while you’re at it.

Enjoy it – If you have no passion in what you do, even the greatest motivation power won’t get you over the first hurdle. Think of it like your job. Love your job and nothing everything runs smoothly and your motivation is constantly high, hate your job and the week s will drag by.

Give yourself plenty of options – Due to your natural peaks and changes in your mood (especially women due to menstrual cycle) you need to have 4 or 5 different activities to choose from depending on your mood. For example, if you’re feeling low in energy and don’t want to move from the comfort of your own house, then invest in a piece of home gym equipment such as a treadmill, cross trainer or a vibration plate, then you won’t have to magically find the superhero powers to motivate yourself.

Set Yourself a Challenge – However cliché this may sound, it works! This doesn’t mean signing up for a triathlon or climbing Everest. It might be trying to complete a lap of the park without jogging or walking.

Share Your Achievements – if you get feedback from another person, their enthusiasm can help you feel values. If you feel good about yourself, you naturally enter a self generating positive motivation cycle.

Have a Fitness Buddy – Sometime shaving a friend giving you that extra push is really helpful. You can actually motivate each other, especially useful if you can’t be botherd.

Don’t go over the top and set yourself unrealistic goals. You could end up burning yourself out, and getting yourself back on track will be hard work. It’s important that you get plenty of rest!


Resistance Training For Beginners

The point behind resistance training increases muscle strength by pitting muscles against a weight, such as a dumbbell, or other types of resistance for example, a cross trainer, resistance training can increase muscle strength and bone density and reduce body fat. A well rounded programme of physical activity includes strength training a, to improve bone and joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well mass aerobic exercise, to improve your heart and lung fitness.

It’s advised that you do things to strengthen your muscles at least 2 days a week. These activities should work all the major muscle groups in your body (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms.

It always important to talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise programmes, especially if your over weight, over the age of 40, or if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, or if you haven’t exercised in a long time.

Benefits of resistance training

Regular resistance training offer many benefits. You can:

  • Develop string bones-strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis
  • Starting resistance training
  • Build muscle – to protect your joints from injury. It also helps you to maintain flexibility and balance and helps you remain independent as you age.
  • Control your weight- as you gain muscle, your body burns calories more efficiently.
  • Boost your stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t tire as easily.
  • Get a better night’s sleep- people who take part in strength training programmes are less likely to have insomnia.
  • Improve you sense of well being- strength training can boost your self confidence, improve your body image and reduce the risk of depression.
  • Manage chronic conditions- Using fitness equipment can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions including arthritis, depression, back pain, diabetes, and obesity.

It’s important to pay attention to safety and good form to reduce the risk of injury. A registered fitness professional can help you to develop a safe effective program.

To start, a typical beginner’s strength training programme involves:

  • Performing eight to ten exercises that work major muscle groups of the body and are performed upto to three times every week.
  • Starting with one set or each exercise, comprising as few as five repetitions (reps) no more than twice a week.

Your aim is to gradually increase to one set for each exercise – comprising eight to twelve reps, every second or third day. Once you comfortably do 12 reps of an exercise you could look at progressing further.


How To Get The Best From Your Cross Trainer

The elliptical cross trainer is a hybrid of a treadmill and an exercise bike, and was first introduced to the world of fitness in the nineties. The unique thin about the elliptical cross trainer is that a non-impact standing circular movement. This machine is designed for an athlete who is unable to run any more due to not being able to handle the impact that the body is places under when running.

Believe it or not the cross trainer can provide the same results that a treadmill does with regards to the intensity that it places on the legs, hearts and lungs – If used in the right way.

There are two main positions that you can carry out when exercising on this machine, whichever way you chose, her is how you can get the most from your cross trainer workout.

The Bounce

This is the most common of the positions. Make sure you’re standing still, you can place your hand on or off the moving handles and during each upward revolution of the foot the heel lifts and the body follows, this shifts your body weight from one leg to the other. This exercise is great if you’re aiming to meet your cardio quota for the week.

The Hover

This position consists of holding a semi squat, bending your knees, at the same time making sure your feet are flat, and hands lightly touching the static handles to keep your balance. This creates a faster resolution on the legs giving you a much more intense workout than the bounce workout.

The Programme – 15 minute workout

1. Select “Quick Start” on your cross trainer

2. Select a challenging level while you maintain your revolutions per minute at about 70-80 minimum.

3. Begin by bouncing for the first minute at 70rpm.

4. Then hover 80-90 rpm one minute one, and then bounce for 2 minutes, continue this process for 12 minutes. As you gradually improve, maintain the rpm, but increase the level.

5. For the warm down bounce for two minutes at 60rpm for the warm down.