The most underated form of exercise

The most underated form of exerciseDuring these challenging times that we have found ourselves in, people have had to make changes to their fitness routines as gyms still remain closed, and equipment has been hard to get hold of. So more and more people have been taking themselves outside and turning to one of our most common primal movements and natural form of exercise … walking!

When people think about working out, more often than not, walking is not an exercise that they think to include in their weekly routine. But they should. Walking is actually the safest, least expensive, and overall, most beneficial way to lose weight and improve cardiovascular health. All ages can take part and it’s absolutely free.

I have been running for the past few years now as part of my cardiovascular workouts, and training to enter various events. But over time I have had to deal with various injuries which have stopped me from consistently being able to run. But I still really wanted to enter a challenging event, and it was at this time as I was trawling the internet for something to do, that I came across the Oxfam Trailwalk, a 100k walk over the South Downs that had to be completed within 30 hours. Walking I thought, yeah, I could do this. You had to participate in a team of four people, and you had to have a support crew throughout the whole time you were out there. So, I recruited three other girlfriends to walk with me and pleaded with our husbands to join us and support us throughout the event. I started to include training walks into my fitness schedule most weekends, slowly building up distance, and alongside this performing strength exercises in the gym to help keep my legs strong enough to endure the ever-increasing distances and the different terrain we were going to experience.

I have to be honest, always in my mind, I thought this was not going to be so hard, it was, at the end of the day, only walking. But how wrong I was. It was a hard and exhilarating challenge, not only on the body but mentally tough as well. A challenge that had us all laughing, crying and proud to have walked and completed 100km (62miles). I loved it so much that I am due to walk 3 marathons in 3 days over the Jurassic Coast, hopefully later on this year.

But don’t think that just because walking is a relatively easy form of exercise that you should jump headfirst in, especially if you’re new to exercise. You need to take it one step at a time! Create realistic goals and build up your fitness level.

So, let’s look at some of the benefits of walking:

  1. It is a gentle low impact exercise so therefore creates less stress on the joints and bones. For some people, those with ankle, knee, back pain, and those classified as badly overweight to obese, this would be the recommended form of exercise over running.
  2. It can help with reducing weight and body fat and gaining muscle. By picking up the pace and introducing hills will increase your heart rate which in turn will burn more calories. Try interval training, short bursts of increased speed or incline gives a little variety to your walk and helps to work you harder.
  3. It helps to strengthen the heart by increasing the heart rate, which in turn makes it more efficient at delivering oxygen and nutrients to the body’s organs.
  4. As this is a weight-bearing form of exercise it is helpful in maintaining bone density and strengthening muscles, which is incredibly important as we age.
  5. Exercise can help to boost your mood and alleviate depression symptoms by releasing endorphins which trigger positive feelings in the body.
  6. A good walk can do wonders for our mental wellbeing. It can help to improve self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality. This type of activity helps to reconnect to nature, and it has been documented to increase people’s level of creativity. And you can exercise with others making it more social and keeping people in contact with each other.
  7. It’s simple, it’s free, and can be done anywhere, therefore making it easy to incorporate into busy days.

Here are some tips for starting out:

  1. Get a decent pair of trainers

    There are so many brands out there it can be a bit of a minefield, but find a pair that gives you the correct support and impacts your comfort whilst exercising

  2. Start slowly.

    If you have been inactive, then start gently with 5 to 10 minutes at a pace you are comfortable with and build up over the following weeks until you have reached your goal.

  3. Set goals.

    Set realistic goals for yourself, such as 20 to 40 minutes of walking five days a week.

  4. Fail to Plan … Plan to Fail.

    Plan strategies for incorporating short walks into your day to keep your plan on track. And try and stay as consistent as you can.

  5. Plan several different routes.
  6. Having several routes to choose from will add variety to your walking so you don’t get bored. Plan inclines into your walk and include several intervals where you up the pace a bit to make your walk more challenging. Remember to start at a comfortable pace and slowly build from there, increasing pace and distance.

  7. Make walking a social event

    Invite friends or family to join you so they can also enjoy the benefits of walking with you. Making plans with others is also a good way to keep you accountable so you always turn up

Techniques for Walking that can help when increasing power and speed

Starting with good posture – standing tall with a nice straight back, suck in the stomach just a little to engage your ab muscles, look straight ahead of you with your chin parallel to the floor, and relax your shoulders.

Arm Motion can help with increasing power and speed – Keep your elbows at 90 degrees by your side and as one foot goes forward the opposite arm goes back, your hands should stay quite low and keep elbows close to the body

Walking Stride – don’t take too long a stride, strike the foot down on the heel and roll through to push off from the toe. As you become comfortable with your stride you can start to increase your speed and take smaller strides.

It’s a great opportunity to get out there and explore and appreciate some of the beautiful green spaces that we are lucky enough to have around us. Happy Walking!

habit of the month walking image

This months habit is again something which we often overlook in terms of its impact. Walking has numerous physical benefits for us, such as burning calories helping us to maintain a healthy body weight. Regular walking also has great benefits on our cardiovascular system and immune system. What’s more, it helps to prevent joint issues such as arthritis by lubricating the joint.

But the benefits go beyond the physical. The mental benefits of going for a walk, particularly in nature are profound. Studies show it can reduce anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.

Walking may also help clear your head and help you think creatively. A study that included four experiments compared people trying to think of new ideas while they were walking or sitting. Researchers found participants did better while walking, particularly while walking outdoors.

These are just some of the benefits of walking regularly, making it a no brainer to adopt as a consistent habit

Training around your menstrual cycle image

Training around your menstrual cycle picture

The menstrual cycle represents a unique series of hormonal changes that underpin female reproductive capabilities, but when it comes to exercise we too often deem these physiological fluctuations as something that may impair our ability to move. Instead, by becoming aware of the changes occurring at each phase, it is thought that we can ‘cycle sync’ our training to match our individual cycles, and so maximize our health potential regardless of the time of the month. Whilst research into this area is still somewhat in its infancy, studies do exist that offer validity to this practice, and so it definitely warrants some closer consideration.

Let’s start with some cycle fundamentals

The menstrual cycle, as the name suggests, is a repeating sequence of phases that can typically take anywhere from 28-35 days for one complete cycle; that being said, every woman is different, and so variation will exist between females, and even any one individual will often experience variations around this average.

These phases are typically categorized as menstrual, follicular, ovulation,
and luteal phases and a woman will go through each of these in any one cycle.

The menstrual phase

What is it?

This is the phase we commonly refer to as the period. It typically lasts between 3-7 days and results from the lining of the uterus breaking down. Levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop during this time.

Exercise focus

Strength training

-Since progesterone is suggested to suppress the rate at which muscle growth and repair can occur, the relatively low levels of this hormone during the menstrual phase means that this could be a great time to focus on your strength training.

-Moreover, testosterone which is a hormone involved in building muscle, is higher during this phase, again suggesting a strength training focus.

The Follicular phase

What is it?

This phase starts with your period and ends at ovulation i.e. when an egg is released. During this phase, estrogen and testosterone reach their peak and energy levels are likely to be increased.

Exercise focus

Strength training

-Studies suggest that estrogen improves the quality of muscle tissue, and so the force that the muscles can generate. The high estrogen levels and relatively low progesterone levels during this phase may provide a great opportunity to work on your strength goals and increasing muscle mass.

-Ovulation occurs towards the end of this phase, during which there is a rapid rise in hormones. As testosterone also increases during this time, some females may find this is when they are most likely to be achieving those strength PRs.

-Additionally, by acting as an antioxidant, estrogen has been shown to limit muscle inflammation post-exercise and so aid recovery. Whilst adequate recovery time is still critical to factor into any training programme, the body’s superior recovery during this time means that higher volume training can be factored in.

The Ovulatory Phase

What is it?

This phase lasting roughly 12-48 hours is marked by the release of an egg into the fallopian tube and occurs approximately 14 days into your cycle. There is an initial dip in estrogen levels, whilst progesterone increases here.

Exercise Focus

Endurance training

-Whilst there is no need to slam the breaks on your strength training, the higher levels of progesterone have been suggested to negatively impact muscle growth potential, and so it could be a good time to include some endurance training here.

The Luteal Phase

What is it?

This is the interval between ovulation and menstruation and can be divided into the early and late luteal phases, spanning approximately 14 days. Progesterone initially rises to reach

its peak as your body prepares for the egg to be fertilised; if the egg is not fertilised, there is a rapid drop in both estrogen and progesterone.

Exercise Focus

Lower intensity

-Whilst your energy may feel relatively stable during the first few days to a week of this phase, the rapid drop in hormones towards the later luteal phase often results in the PMS symptoms experienced by many women. You may notice your energy wane, your mood to drop and increased appetite to name just a few of the enviable symptoms (eye roll). Whilst exercise may be the last thing you want to do, partaking in more gentle exercise or incorporating a de-load week here can be a great way to boost those endorphins, whilst still honouring your body’s needs during a time when it is doing some pretty amazing work behind the scenes.

-The increased inflammation that occurs during this phase can negatively impact recovery, and so whilst it is great to keep moving in any way you feel appropriate, be sure to factor in enough time for a good recovery.

So, is it worth practicing cycle syncing?

Crucially, everyone is different, and each individual female will be impacted differently by their menstrual cycle. As such, whilst broad recommendations such as those discussed herein definitely provide interesting points of consideration, a one size fits all approach almost certainly does not apply here. As aforementioned, research is limited; whilst the above information is supported in the literature, at the other end of the spectrum are studies that suggest that for the general population the menstrual cycle shouldn’t impact performance, and hence contradicts the idea of cycle syncing. This isn’t particularly surprising, and it is often the case in research that for every study that suggests one thing, another will exist that suggests the opposite.

With that in mind, regardless of whether or not science currently supports this practice, only you as in individual can know exactly how you are impacted by the remarkable series of hormonal transitions that occur within your body month on month. It is important to honour how you feel physically and emotionally at each phase, and train in a way that best suits you. It could be a good idea to start recording how you feel throughout your cycle, and on the back of that, design your exercise routine to respect your individual needs throughout the month.

The bottom line is that by tuning into our bodies and understanding the incredible changes that occur throughout our cycle, we are best positioned to work with rather than against our physiology. This in turn will help us to strive towards, and succeed in our goals regardless of the time of the month.

References
Toth MJ, Poehlman ET, Matthews DE, Tchernof A, MacCoss MJ. Effects of estradiol and progesterone on body composition, protein synthesis, and lipoprotein lipase in rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001;280:E496–E501

Sung E, Han A, Hinrichs T, Vorgerd M, Manchado C, Platen P. Effects of follicular versus

Springerplus

Constantini, N.W., Dubnov, G. and Lebrun, C.M., 2005. The menstrual cycle and sport performance. Clinics in sports medicine, 24(2), pp.e51-e82.

Is Cardio necessary for losing body fat image
Is Cardio necessary for losing body fat imageMany are still under the impression that in order to lose substantial body fat that they need to be doing hours on end of cardio. However, this isn’t the case. While it is advised that you incorporate some form of cardio within your training program, if your goal is focused on building strength, muscle and aesthetics, you will best be served by prioritizing progressive weight training.
A key thing to consider is also the type of cardio that you do. A good target to hit consistently is 10k steps per day which will burn roughly around 500kcals. What’s more within your actual sessions, you will get more bang for your buck by performing HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) cardio rather than LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) cardio. This is because you will burn more calories in a shorter time frame and continue burning calories up to 72 hours after a bout of HIIT 💪🏼🔥
Nutrition variables image

Nutrition variables image

Nutrition variables in order of MOST important to LEAST important for fat loss:

  • Calorie Deficit: fat loss will not happen unless you sustain this. A general consensus is that you should not have a calorie deficit of any more than 500kcals.
  • Adequate Protein: If your goal is fat loss you should try to aim to have 1gram of protein per pound of Bw. This will ensure that you maintain and build muscle. Also, protein has a metabolic effect whereby 30% of the calories in protein are burnt in digestion.
  • Food Quality: Once the above are ticked off then food quality should be your next priority. A general rule is to aim for 10-12g of Fibre for every 1,000kcals you consume e.g if you consume 2,000kcals then you should be getting 20-24g fibre.
  • Meal Frequency/Timing: People often think they must eat every couple of hours to keep their metabolism working, but in reality, this won’t have a massive impact on you’re fat loss goals. As long as you are maintaining a deficit and getting adequate protein, you can fit your meals around you’re lifestyle. Of course, common sense prevails here, as if you know you have a workout then you want to make sure you are eating to fuel yourself before and after.
  • Supplements: these are as the name states supplements – therefore should be used accordingly. They are not meal replacements or magic formulas, they can be used to increase you’re protein intake or improve overall bodily function which in turn support you’re fat loss goals.
New Year New Me 2021

It’s 1st of January 2021…so hold onto your hat and buckle in for what will inevitably be a month of fitness secret reveals and weight loss tricks enlightening you on how to finally “GET THE BIKINI BODY YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED”, “DROP 5 LBS IN JUST 5 DAYS” and “SHED THAT XMAS BELLY”.

But…whilst the notion of quick fixes may be tempting, particularly so in a society obsessed with instant gratification, is it time that we finally stop falling into this dated annual trap perpetuated by the media and diet culture? Let us not forget that it’s the very same media moguls who on December 31st are actively encouraging a laissez-faire, let your hair down and eat that mince pie attitude, are then the very next day pedalling rituals of how to run off that Christmas excess.

Now, let’s get one thing straight…this is not to say that the turn of the New Year doesn’t represent an opportunity to clean the slate so to speak, but the huge pressure and expectation that we will or should become fundamentally different people in 24 hours is profoundly flawed. Maybe it’s time to shift the focus from drastic and so often short-term resolutions and begin to dig a little (or a lot) deeper into what it is that we truly want, and perhaps more importantly, why.

So, this new year, why not try these three steps…

  1. Reflection

Let’s be honest, 2020 hasn’t exactly been the smoothest of rides, but that’s not to say that it was all doom and gloom. Take some time to reflect on the past year. What were the victories? No matter how small you may perceive them to be, a win is a win and should be celebrated as such.

Watching the ADC family come together for the six-week challenge, encouraging and supporting one another, with a touch of friendly rivalry along the way, demonstrates perfectly how each of you triumphed in the face of adversity. ‘Oh, but it was just 10,000 steps…that’s hardly a victory’ I hear you say. Wrong. 10,000 steps, to use that example, very often represents so much more than just the physical act, and probably something different for each of you. The mental battle, self-discipline, and the act of carrying on even when a Baileys and season 4 of The Crown (insert alternative drink and programme as necessary) is far more tempting, is a huge feat. It is in these smaller habits where great things are borne, so give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back and a nice dose of credit where it’s due.

  1. Let’s set goals, not resolutions.

Having reflected on the past year, it’s time to think about what you want for the year ahead. Here, however, I’ll challenge you to set yourself some goals rather than the familiar resolutions. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with resolutions, a word that actually derives from a Latin expression meaning ‘to simplify’, it seems that our modern approach to setting these resolutions has taken on a very black and white, all or nothing mentality. The focus too often revolves around what we are going to eliminate from our lives rather than what we can add. If we don’t stick to our too stringent plans, we often use this as proof of failure and give up on the resolution altogether.

This is where goal setting comes into play. Goals provide direction. Goals provide focus. Goals provide actionable steps. Crucially goals allow for a degree of flexibility such that any obstacles that may arise along the journey need not stop us from attaining our goals. Much research has been conducted demonstrating that the world’s best athletes all share one common feature: setting clear and concise goals. Here at ADC, we operate on an ethos of training all of our clients like athletes…so, now it’s time to start thinking and acting like one too.

Whatever your personal goals may be, a powerful way of setting them is to make them SMART.

  • S– Specific (or Significant).
  • M– Measurable (or Meaningful).
  • A– Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
  • R– Relevant (or Rewarding).
  • T– Time-bound (or Trackable).

See our post on ‘SMART goal setting’ under the Mindset Education tab for more info.

  1. Identifying your why?

Brilliant, you’ve got a list of your SMART goals, all ready to be stuck to the fridge under your Ibiza 2018 magnet. Job done. Let’s get going…. carpe diem and all that. Well, not just yet. We have one more step which is arguably the most critical of all. Finding your WHY.

It was the German philosopher Nietzsche who said ‘He who has a why can endure any how’; indeed, it is in finding this reason or ‘why’ behind any ‘what’ that will ultimately propel you invincibly towards your goals.

Why How WhatWe tend to work backwards when it comes to finding our why. In the fitness industry especially, people often come to us with a clear idea of WHAT it is that they want to achieve. Maybe it’s fat loss for one person or muscle gain for another. Some people want to accelerate their sports performance to the next level, whilst another may want to reap the psychological rewards that exercise provides. Whatever your personal goal may be, it is now time to really ask yourself why do you want this? It is by really digging deep and being honest with yourself about your personal reason and motive for having a certain goal that will ultimately provide you with the momentum to get there. Without this resolve and a solid awareness of your why it is unfortunately very easy to give up when you hit the first hurdle. And let’s be clear that is no failing or weakness in you; it happens to all of us, but it doesn’t need to.

Take some time to ask yourself WHY do you want your personal goal. Write that down. Then ask yourself again…why? And again. And again.

There is a lot to be learnt from a toddler, one of which is their incessant use of ‘but whyyyyyyyy?’, but really and truly they are on to something there. We need to get this deep level connection to our goals, and fundamental understanding of our goals. Once we have this unwavering foundation, we become unstoppable.

*cue Eye of the Tiger* 2021, team ADC are coming for you!

how to track progress image

how to track progress image

 

When it comes to tracking progress, whether it be in terms of your nutrition or training, it is important to consider what metrics we are using to do this. For example, a personal goal may be to simply reduce bodyfat and they might use the weight on the scales as the determinant as to whether they have made progress or not. However, the weight on the scales will fluctuate daily and weekly due to a host of factors, including, water levels and hormonal changes. Therefore, when trying to measure progress, it is best to use a range of sources. While weighing yourself can be an indicator, the most important way to track your progress is from Progress photos, measurements and body fat percentage tests, and collectively all these methods will give you a much more well-rounded l, reliable result. 👌🏼

For more information about our Fitness Programs please click here.

 

how exercise affects our mental health image

how exercise affects our mental health image

At ADC we appreciate that Physical and Mental health go hand in hand. As much as we like to put things in boxes and separate different systems in the body, the reality is that they are all interconnected. Just like a line of dominos, one thing leads into next and so and so forth. We are living in very psychologically challenging times, and an extremely powerful way you can change your physiological state within minutes is by EXERCISING. Here are just some reasons how exercise impacts your mental health

  • Exercise stimulates the release of “feel good” hormones such as endorphins which boost your mood, relieving depression and anxiety.
  • Exercise controls cortisol levels thus reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body and brain.
  • Exercise helps you to “get out of your head”. By doing something physical you are able to become more present within your body.
  • Exercise is good for the brain. Moving your body in different and increasingly challenging ways builds new neural connections to be made in the brain and improves cognitive function.
  • Exercising regularly helps you to maintain a healthier, fitter and stronger body which in itself provides you with confidence.
  • Exercise is social. Exercising with others helps builds strong bonds and relationships with others which is great for your mental and physical health.

For more information about personal training please click here.

WHAT IS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE? Image

The start of each day is an opportunity for you to set yourself up in the best possible way. Even simple habits can have a big impact on how you think and feel. Simply drinking a glass of water or doing a few minutes of exercise can transform your energy levels and get you in the right frame of mind to bring your best self.
Here are 5 simple morning rituals to kickstart your day:
1️⃣ Make your bed
2️⃣ Meditate
3️⃣ Glass of water
4️⃣ Nutritious breakfast
5️⃣ Exercise
Win your morning… WIN THE DAY! 💯💪🏼

supporting your immune system image

There may be some things we cannot control when it comes to the coronavirus, but one thing for sure we can take control of is making sure we stay as healthy as we can to protect ourselves from the virus. –
Sleep
Getting good quality sleep is essential for proper immune functioning and recovery. Quality is just as important as quantity here so try to avoid caffeine in the evening as well as going on your devices before bed.
Stress management
Research shows that long term stress reduces immune system function. Yoga, mindfulness and meditation have all been found to help with this.
Exercise
This is probably the number one thing you can do to help keep your immune system functioning the way it should. Exercise helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.
Fruit&veg
Fruit and veg offer a lot of vitamins and antioxidants that help our body absorb nutrients and function properly.
Vitamin C & Antioxidants
Vitamin C and antioxidants support various functions of the cells involved in our immune response. However, some people may suffer stomach issues with too much vitamin c, so if you are getting enough from your diet there is no need to supplement.
Omega 3
Omega 3 is something we generally lack, especially in western society. Getting adequate amounts enhances the activity of immune cells known as white blood cells. Oily fish such as salmon is a great source of omega 3.
Limit processed foods
We have trillions of tiny bacterial cells in our gut which actually help us to break down food, absorb nutrients and keep toxins out. So when we feed them processed food with large amounts of salt, sugar and trans fat, the wrong type of bacteria and yeast starts to grow to impair our immune system.
Limit alcohol & smoking 🥃🚬
Alcohol and smoking affect the respiratory system. Excessive drinking and smoking impair the function of immune cells in the lungs and upper respiratory system, leading to increased risk for pneumonia.
Vitamin D
Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to infection.
#stayhealthy