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Fitness: More than a six-pack

I often meet people hungry for a six-pack stomach. Almost always they’re frustrated they aren’t seeing the results they crave, despite cranking out countless crunches. If you want a six-pack, it’s no use just doing loads of sit-ups. No matter how strong your abs are, if they’re hidden away under a layer of blubber you still won’t

Top tips for gym newbies

As a personal trainer I realise how daunting it can be for a gym newbie. Here are my top tips for how to get the most out of your membership. Book an induction. You wouldn’t walk into a factory and start messing about with the equipment without any training right? Be open to learning new

Beware of fitness quick fixes

The other week I was watching a rerun of Dragon’s Den, one of my favourite TV programmes. For those who haven’t seen the show, it involves people pitching business ideas to rich investors. Out strode this guy, whose idea was a chair that, according to him, helps people lose weight. What a load of absolute

Top five new year fitness tips

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It’s that time of year when we all think about fighting back against the festive flab. Here are my top five tips.

1) Expand your horizons.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to fitness. Try as many training methods as possible.

Give classes a go, pump some iron, go for a run, take up a sport. The possibilities are endless.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular training method at the moment. This alternates short bursts of hard work with periods of recovery. Tough, but effective!

2) Monitor your progress.

This will help pinpoint what type of exercise is working and keep you motivated. One good way of doing this is with devices like Fitbit, which record your heart rate and the amount of calories you’ve burned.

It’s also worth taking measurements if you’re looking to slim down. And make use of fitness apps – Couch to 5k is a good one if you want to start running.

3) Avoid ‘new year, new you’ nonsense.

January always ushers in an onslaught of fitness marketing. We are bombarded with all sorts of magical methods and potions, claiming to be the secret to your perfect body.

If you see outlandish claims like ‘six-pack abs’ or a ‘celeb bod’ in six weeks, it’s almost always nonsense. If getting fit was easy, we’d all be in the Olympics.

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4) Seek help.

Even elite athletes need coaches to guide them. If you can find yourself a good trainer, they will be worth their weight in gold.

If you don’t have enough pennies in your pocket to pay for a trainer, tweet me your questions – @matwolstenholme – and I’ll do my best to help.

There are also plenty of workouts online – search for The Body Coach – who provides free exercise videos.

5) Prepare for hard work.

Exercise can sometimes be a hard grind. There will be days when you just don’t want to work out.

Find a way of dragging yourself off the sofa. Set a specific goal, find a training partner, do whatever it takes to get yourself going. You can do it!

Matt is a London fitness trainer and journalist. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

Five ways to jazz up workouts

Try something different! Matt doing his own special version of push-ups

Try something new! Matt with his own version of push-ups

Variety is the spice of life as the saying goes, and working out is no different.

Not only does trying new exercises prevent sessions becoming a snooze-fest, it also keeps you challenged and helps avoid that dreaded fitness plateau.

Here is a list of five rip-snorting training techniques that you might not have seen before, with videos of yours truly giving them a whirl.

1) Dumbbell thrusters: a great full-body resistance exercise, which will also get the heart and lungs going.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BAcjl60D6-9/?taken-by=matwolstenholme

2) Barbell overhead press: perfect for strengthening and sculpting the shoulders, with the back and arms joining the party as well.

3) Tuck burpees: a high-intensity jumping exercise, which will challenge just about every muscle in your body.

https://www.instagram.com/p/_B_6TOD6yP/?taken-by=matwolstenholme

4) Speed ladder routines: stepping in an out of the rungs is a fun way to get those legs moving and work up a sweat.

5) Plyo push-ups: fab for developing explosive strength and power in the chest (the clap is optional)!

Hopefully that’s given you some ideas to brighten up your workout. If you need any other fitness tips, please post a comment on this blog, or get in touch on social media via the links below.

Matt is a fitness trainer, football freestyler and world record holder. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

Get fit fast with sprint training

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Want to get in shape and torch fat fast? Then start channelling your inner Usain Bolt.

Research has shown sprinting is a highly effective way to improve fitness and fight the flab.

One of the best ways to incorporate it into your workouts is an approach called sprint interval training (SIT).

This involves alternating hard work with periods of recovery. An example of this can seen in the video below.

 

 

It’s important to say that this is tough stuff. It hurts. But it works.

The intensity means you won’t be whizzing around for long. There are many different forms of SIT, but you really shouldn’t be looking to do any more than a maximum of 20 minutes.

If you are able to do longer, chances are you’re not sprinting, you’re jogging. Or even crawling by that stage…

You’ll need some inner steel to really push yourself – repeatedly running as fast as you can requires mental toughness. But if you hurdle that barrier, sprint training can aid fat loss, improve your overall health and boost your fitness.

If you have any questions feel free to post a comment on this blog, or get in touch on Twitter or Facebook.

An amazing way to get in shape

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Weight-loss products often make wild claims

Fitness industry marketing is beset by reams of complete nonsense.

There are always charlatans who try to make money by selling dubious quick fixes.

As an ethical fitness trainer with a genuine interest in people’s long-term health, I feel obliged to try and redress the balance. So here is my two-step plan to help you get in shape:

1) Don’t eat or drink too much rubbish

2) Exercise regularly

If you need help with either of these things, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Email matt@mattpt.co.uk or connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

Fitness is for life, not just for Christmas

Many people will be familiar with the old saying: ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’.

It was coined in 1978 by the Dogs Trust in a bid to reduce the number of new pet pups abandoned just weeks after arriving in Santa’s sack.

It’s a great slogan and provided the inspiration for this blog.

With the festive period fast approaching, we’re bombarded with adverts urging us to ‘get in shape for the Christmas party’ with special ‘LBD workouts’. (LBD stands for little black dress, because saying entire words is just too taxing)

Despite being a bloke I’ve always wanted to look good in an LBD, but instead of getting my festive fitness on, I’ve had a revolutionary idea.

Rather than preening our feathers for the office booze-up, why not exercise to look and feel good all the time?

I know it seems a crazy notion, but it might just be the way forward.

Regular exercise is irrefutably a good thing. You will feel better. You will look better.

So do it all year round!

I know it’s hard to drum-up the energy. I know we’re all busy. I know it’s not easy.

But if you can motivate yourself to workout for the crappy Christmas party, surely you can do the same for a healthier life?

Make exercise a habit and reap the benefits. Fitness is for life, not just for Christmas.

For regular exercise tips, follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page.

Fitness: More than a six-pack

I often meet people hungry for a six-pack stomach.

Almost always they’re frustrated they aren’t seeing the results they crave, despite cranking out countless crunches.

If you want a six-pack, it’s no use just doing loads of sit-ups. No matter how strong your abs are, if they’re hidden away under a layer of blubber you still won’t see them.

The only way to get that level of muscle definition is high intensity cardio and weight training to lose that tubby tummy. And you’ll have to watch what you eat like a hawk.

Genetics also plays a role – some people naturally store fat around their stomach.

If this sounds like you, but you crave a six-pack, the only answer is hard graft down the gym and a strict nutritional plan.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nice set of abs, but I think it’s important to remember there’s more to fitness than what your stomach looks like.

Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to celebs and models with toned tummies. They don’t sit in an office all day – it’s a full-time job to look like that.

Fitness isn’t about living up to social stereotypes. It’s not about feeling guilty because you don’t look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie.

It’s about making you feel good in your own skin. It’s about your health, your wellbeing, your happiness.

The pressure put on people to look a certain way can mean they give up before they’ve even started.

They see exercise as a foreboding fortress and don’t dare to lift the drawbridge.

However, fitness isn’t the exclusive domain of models or elite athletes. It’s for people of all shapes and sizes and all ability levels.

Forget how fast the person next to you is running, or what the grunting guy in the corner is lifting.

The great thing about exercise is there’s no competition against others. It’s you versus you.

See how fast you can run, what weights you can lift and forget about everybody else.

Concentrate on staying fit and healthy for yourself because, as the L’Oréal advert goes, you’re worth it.

Beware of fitness quick fixes

The other week I was watching a rerun of Dragon’s Den, one of my favourite TV programmes.

For those who haven’t seen the show, it involves people pitching business ideas to rich investors.

Out strode this guy, whose idea was a chair that, according to him, helps people lose weight.

What a load of absolute tosh. He even had a ‘gym’ full of the things.

If anything chairs are obstacles to getting in shape – it’s getting people out of them that’s the hard part.

There are so many of these quick fixes around, making all sorts of outlandish claims.

I’ll let you into a little secret. There is no shortcut to getting in shape. If there was an easy way, everybody would do it and I would be out of a job.

The only way is the right diet and some good old exercise. That’s where I help people. It’s why personal training is worthwhile – expert advice and motivation.

If you’re ever tempted by a piece of quick-fix equipment, keep your money in your pocket. You’d be far better off hiring a personal trainer.

However, I often talk to people who balk at paying for PT.

But imagine if you were only allowed to own one car in your lifetime. If you write it off, that’s it.

You’d take pretty good care of it wouldn’t you?

Well, you only get one body, and it’s far more important than a car. So surely it’s worth paying an expert to help you keep it in tip-top condition?

For regular fitness posts please connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

Top tips for gym newbies

Try not to worry about what others think

Try not to worry about what others think

As a personal trainer I realise how daunting it can be for a gym newbie. Here are my top tips for how to get the most out of your membership.

  1. Book an induction. You wouldn’t walk into a factory and start messing about with the equipment without any training right? Be open to learning new things.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment or are unsure about an exercise, ask a member of gym staff.
  3. Try not to be intimidated. The gym can be a daunting place when you first walk in, but remember, it’s your space as much as anyone else’s. Fitness is for everyone.
  4. Set yourself a goal and plan your workouts accordingly. Having something specific to focus on will help keep you motivated.
  5. Try classes. Try every class they have and see what works for you. Even if you don’t take them regularly, you might learn new exercises you can do by yourself.
  6. Get yourself a training buddy. Working out with a friend can do wonders for your motivation. Just make sure you don’t waste too much time chatting!
  7. Hire a personal trainer. Well I would say that wouldn’t I?! Get yourself some expert advice for when you first start out. Nab a good PT and you won’t regret it.

Matt is a fitness trainer, football freestyler and world record holder. For more advice connect with Matt on Twitter or Facebook.