Are you fit enough to play?

Only a few days before the kids are off school for (some) an eight week holiday, a time when many of our clients find it almost impossible to keep up their fitness sessions due to lack of child care. So how do you maintain your fitness level over the holidays and keep the kids occupied?

The answer is…..The Power of Play.
active family

Yes, it’s time to get back to your childhood, join in with the kids and have some fun while keeping yourself strong and active, all with the added bonus of a fitter and healthier family. Now, you may think that kid’s activities have no place in fitness, but you’d be so wrong!

Balance, coordination, strength, movement and cardio can all be improved, plus there’s loads of fun to be had as well. Our Personal Training clients will recognise some of these “games” as we incorporate them into our sessions (fitness doesn’t have to be boring and serious with us).

Swingball Lunges

Ball games are very popular, in the back garden or at the local park. There’s the obvious, football and tennis but also volleyball, Swingball and simple throw and catch games. Add variety to throw and catch with different sizes and weights of balls and even add a rugby ball for more unpredictable bounces. These games will challenge your cardio system and help you move more freely. Rapid changes of direction will put your core muscles under pressure plus your hips and thighs will get lots of squats and lunges in multiple directions as you move around.

Want a more intense whole body workout? Try some crawl ball games. Bear CrawlYes, get on your hands and knees and try and score a goal against your opponents. Make it really challenging by doing a Bear Crawl (not having your knees on the floor) and I’ll bet you can’t last more than a couple of minutes! Keep practising regularly and your upper body, core, leg muscles and cardio system will ALL improve.

As we are based in Glasgow where we can have a whole summer without a dry day we have to be able to adapt our games for being indoors. balloonsSimple solution is to replace the ball with a balloon. This is one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment in our studios and one of the most effective.  Balloon tennis will have you lunging, squatting, stretching and laughing. Take that onto the floor for some Bear Crawl tennis and you’ll soon be too out of breath to do the laughing!

You don’t need to be using a ball, have you ever tried avoiding being soaked from a water pistol? Or think back to your days in the school playground and try games like hopscotch or skipping and see how your core and leg muscles improve with multi directional hops and jumps.

Games like these will also help to loosen up those tight muscles and you’ll soon realise that you have more flexibility and greater range of movement.

The only limit to The Power of Play is imagination and when it comes to imagination that tends to be where your children excel, so don’t organise them, allow your kids to invent games themselves and then join in.

Will you be having some family fun this summer? Have you got some great ideas for new games to challenge movement and fitness? Are the kids so used to video games that you need some ideas for active ones? Please let us know if you need some inspiration, have a great idea or would just like to share your experience.

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Part 2 – The Only Diet You’ll Ever Need!

Thank you all for your emails and comments last week about “The Only Diet You’ll Ever Need”. It looks like you want more detail so here’s Part 2 with loads more information:

Firstly, cutting down portion sizes will not leave you hungry providing you eat regularly. We know people who frequently miss breakfast and have their first meal at lunchtime or miss lunch and don’t eat till the evening. This will not only contribute to slowing your metabolism down, making weight loss difficult, but will make you feel sluggish, irritable and less mentally alert, affecting your work and decision making. By going long periods without eating you will also be more inclined to choose the wrong foods, eat far too much and feel hungry an hour or so after your meal leading you to snacking later in the evening. Does that sound familiar to you?

portion plate

Contrast that with having a substantial breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack and an evening meal spaced out every 2 – 3 hours and you’ll be bursting with energy, cope easily with difficult decision making and have a general feeling of wellbeing. Basically, eat small and often.

Secondly, water has to play a big part in your day. There are several scientific studies showing that drinking water regularly has a significant effect on weight loss. We lose water from our body all the time, even more when it’s warm or when you’re active, and it only takes as little as a 5% loss of water to experience some of the effects of dehydration such as, headache, weakness, incoherent feeling, irritability and fatigue. Fizzy drinks just make you worse so ditch those cans of Coke etc.

water

And that’s the “more detail and information” you’ve asked for! The emails and comments we got all seemed to think there should be lots more to it but, as I said in Part 1, don’t try and make it complicated. Cutting down your portion sizes, eating regularly, drinking (water) frequently, eliminating or minimizing processed foods and take away meals plus being more active, will result in a  significant weight loss as well as giving you a lifestyle that’s easy to sustain.

Are portion sizes something you’ve looked at before? Have you been missing meals to try and help weight loss? Did you realise the importance of water? We hope you’ll try this and would love to know how you get on. It is simple and it works!

The Only Diet You’ll Ever Need!

weight management

As we approach the beginning of May and thoughts turn towards the possibility of warmer weather and beach holidays, many people start thinking of losing weight to look their best in their summer clothes, so is it going to be the latest best selling diet book or perhaps back to Weight Watchers this time?

Diet books and diet companies all have one thing in common…they all make lots of money. If they actually worked in the long term that money stream would eventually dry up and they’d be out of business. Diets are restrictive, time consuming and overly complex. By “going on a diet” you are setting yourself up to coming off the diet with no permanent change to your eating habits. Here’s the Five Star Fitness answer.

Firstly, you need to stop making things too complicated by getting caught up with eating certain amounts of protein and carbohydrate, missing out entire food groups and counting every single calorie. Who has time or can be bothered doing that continually? Make it easy and it can be sustained for life without much effort and you’ll never have to go on another diet again. Sadly for the diet companies there’s no continual revenue stream but for you there’s success and overall wellbeing.

As far as the food is concerned, it requires just three things from you, cutting your portion sizes, restricting (or eliminating) processed foods and takeaways and finally…… a bit of self discipline.

Here’s an email one of our clients sent us to back up this easy diet idea: Well……. 4 weeks and I have lost 6.5lbs….. Almost half a stone!! I must say, I am rather proud of that!  Just cutting back on the oil and having fat free yoghurt when I’m having them, cutting all the fat off meats, even the fat off bacon if we have it.

This client was never one for processed foods, only had the occasional takeaway meal and she has now cut her portion sizes as well. Although she is addressing her overall fat intake, it’s done simply by cutting back and not eliminating.

The other factor is an increase in overall activity. Our lives tend to be quite sedentary but our portion sizes would fuel an Olympic athlete. By increasing your activity you’ll start burning up some of those calories and with a bit of patience, you too could lose half a stone in a month.

Are you going to clean up your diet and cut portion sizes? Are you going to get off the couch and increase your activity? Follow our simple idea and tell us about your success.

Introducing the new Five Star Fitness Blog!

Front

Introducing the new Five Star Fitness Blog covering all aspects of health and fitness, diet and weight-loss, the many different types of exercise and above all, busting the myths that surround all these.

By following our regular blog posts we hope you’ll learn that the mystery and confusion about how to lose weight, tone your body, gain lean muscle mass and enjoy a happy and healthy lifestyle is not really such a mystery but is made confusing by the media and the many companies out there trying to sell their own products.

So, I presume you’re asking, who are we to tell you what works and what doesn’t? Five Star Fitness Personal Training was started in February 1997 by me, David Sinclair and I was joined later by my wife Caroline. For many years before that we were both very enthusiastic (obsessive) exercisers so there’s a wealth of practical experience from both taking part and teaching. Over the years we’ve seen exercise fads take over the world, then disappear and the “best ever” diets become massively popular then totally disproved only to be replaced with the next “best ever” diet. Our thirst for knowledge is great and we enjoy keeping up to date with new studies and new skills but always keep a critical eye on things, new doesn’t always mean better and positive conclusions from one study are sometimes reversed a few weeks later.

We have a number of topics in mind for our first few posts. We’ll probably be casting a critical eye over diets, talking about vitamins and supplements, reaching out to the medical profession to widen their gaze and look at the bigger picture and we’ll look at the latest buzz around high intensity interval training.

If you have any comments about what we write we’d love to see them and discuss them with you. Do you have a topic you would like us to write about? Is there a question that’s puzzling you about fitness, diet, weight loss, weight gain, injury rehabilitation? Please let us know in the comments below. 

Please remember, we are only voicing our opinion on subjects and don’t expect everyone will agree.