Keeping track of the process and your progress is an essential part of reaching your fitness goals! If you’re not logging your workouts, or you’re bored of your notepad, read on…
Ready to dust off those cobwebs? Try something new this January with this high-intensity legs and core workout, which will get your heart rate pumping to the cardio zone in no time. It will help tone your legs and butt and work your core, but also targets an often overlooked muscle group - your traps - with the sumo high pull.
It’s been over a year since I decided to quit drinking alcohol for at least 365 days. With some exceptions (two conference trips away with work and my best friend’s wedding), I managed to stick to my own goal without too much difficulty. I’ve come out at the other feeling like I don’t miss alcohol much (at least most of the time), and deciding it’s a change I’ll probably make permanent. Of course, no rule without exceptions, so I’ll allow for special occasions and the odd drink here and there. A hot summer’s day sometimes just calls for an ice cold pint, doesn’t it...
I wasn’t drinking all that much by the point I stopped, but still enough to impact at least a weekend a month and make the occasional dent in my bank account.
Here are the 6 most impactful things I experienced during my year off the booze...
1. I sleep better
This was the biggest change I experienced, and relatively quickly too. Overall it feels like I’m getting better-quality and deeper sleep overall, and not just compared to the nights after I’d been drinking. I would imagine it’s got a lot to do with not messing up my sleep patterns after a night out drinking at the weekends, and that having a knock-on effect into the working week.
2. I have more energy
This one took a good few months to kick in, but once it did it was very noticeable! I have more energy at the work, more energy to perform better at the gym and overall feel more sprightly and “with it” than before I quit. It’s probably also got a lot to do with the first point!
3. My skin is clearer
My skin wasn’t terrible to start with, but I would get the occasional spot and my forehead would always have annoying little whiteheads. The whiteheads have pretty much cleared up 99% and while I get the occasional spot still, it’s a lot less than before. I can definitely put this down to drinking, because that’s the only thing I changed.
4. I’ve found new ways to spend time with friends
I’ve gone on nights out sober and as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s difficult. There’s been a real shift away from “meeting for a pint” to grabbing a coffee, meeting outside or doing physical things like going to the gym together. And my friends don’t seem to mind - at least not much!
5. My bank account is happier, to some extent
To start with I definitely saved a fair bit of money, but as a lot of people find, when you have more money to play with you start spending it on other things. I now probably spend more money on food than I did before, for instance, knowing I can treat myself to a nice lunch or dinner out if I’m not spending money on going out getting drunk.
6. I get more stuff done
A pretty obvious one! No Saturdays or Sundays spent hungover means I’ve had a lot more free time on my hands where I’ve felt restless if I didn’t do anything. This has allowed me to focus a lot of time on finishing my personal training qualifications, setting up my business and of course dedicating time to the personal training itself.
I have friends who have given up alcohol for a year and called it “life-changing”. While I wouldn’t go that far it has certainly made a positive impact on my life and one I’m happy to stick to. As with everything, I believe that alcohol in moderation doesn’t have to be too much of a hindrance in reaching your fitness goals, and it can enrich your life socially. There’s even some evidence that lower amounts of alcohol can impact testosterone levels positively in men, as well as increasing oestrogen in women, but it’s worth noting that these increases are related to liver toxicity and thus not exactly good for you. And, for men, post-workout alcohol also impairs muscle growth signalling - so don’t decide to run off to the pub after your weights session just yet...
Ensuring you get the optimal nutrition in before and after your workouts is essential to maximising your performance and recovering in the best way possible.Whether your goal is fat loss, muscle size or a strength increase, knowing what to eat and when to eat it is important. Making sure your body is fuelled with the right nutrients before you work out will give you both the energy and strength needed to perform better.
Stuck in the same old "3 sets of 15 reps" rut? With weight training it can be very useful to switch up the way you compose your workouts with different types of sets. Whether your goal is endurance, hypertrophy (increase in muscle size) or strength, here’s an overview of sets to help serve as some inspiration to push you further towards your fitness goals.
We’ve probably all heard of detox diets - a short-term dietary intervention that’s meant to help eliminate toxins from your body and aid in weight loss. They generally include fasting for a specific period of time and a strict diet consisting mostly of fruit and vegetable juices. But do they work? And are they even necessary?
Sometimes, as we strive and push ourselves to reach our fitness goals, it’s easy to forget that the body needs rest to allow us to hit reach that dream body we’re working so hard towards. It’s no secret that lifting weights creates microscopic tears in your muscles, that can only repair during rest. It’s true that you can train different muscle groups every day, but it’s not always advisable to do that without planning a rest day in between somewhere.