Articles By ladies

What benefits should you expect when you start to exercise regularly?

Everyone is different, but here are the sorts of results we see at Ladies Workout Express all the time:

 

After 10 days…..

 

You’ll likely have more energy, be sleeping better and generally feel more in control of your life. You may be motivated to eat more healthily, or cut down on cigarettes or alcohol intake as you start to realise the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

 

After 30 days….

 

Your fitness levels will have improved – you’ll be able to take the stairs more easily, your resting heart rate will have come down and your blood pressure reduced if it was high.

 

You’ll start noticing changes in your shape – your clothes will fit better or even become loose. You may have lost a pound or two – especially if you’re combining exercise with a weight loss diet.

 

After 3 Months….

 

You’ll be suffering from fewer colds and aches and pains.

 

People will start to ask if you’ve lost weight. You may have to invest in smaller clothing sizes. You’ll be feeling a lot happier and more confident. If weight loss was your goal, you’ll be making good progress.

 

After 12 Months….

 

Your risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, dementia and certain cancers will have reduced dramatically. You’ll have slowed your body’s ageing process and given yourself more years of active life.

 

You’ll be fitter, stronger and more self-confident than you’ve ever been!

 

If fitness is your destination – welcome to the journey!!

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Getting Fit and the Importance of Familiarity

I was chatting today with a member of Ladies Workout Express, who has just re-joined us after a spell at a local authority gym. She mentioned that she’d found it quite off-putting at the local authority gym because the faces kept changing, whereas here, she knows she can come along for a workout and see people she knows. That means that she feels very comfortable and welcome, so she’s very happy to be back..

We often underestimate the value of familiarity, and the feeling of belonging, when we choose a gym. Instead we’re impressed by the array of equipment, the pool and the Jacuzzi! Those of course are great, but if you don’t feel a part of the gym, then you won’t feel welcome or valued and will instead feel uncomfortable. After a short while, your attendance will drop off, and your hoped-for results will never come.

So be careful when you’re choosing a gym. Trial it for a few days to make sure you feel comfortable and confident there before you make the decision to join.

At Ladies Workout Express, you can trial us for 3 days for free. Just call 0161 401 0794 to book a chat with one of our friendly instructors.

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Too old to take up exercise? Try telling this 80 year-old!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
Henry Ford

The Britain’s Got Talent show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but every now and again there are lessons to be learned. If Susan Boyle taught us not to judge a book by its cover, then Paddy & Nico have shown us that age is no barrier to exercise. Watch this video if you’re one of the people who hasn’t yet seen it!

80 year-old Salsa queen

While salsa dancing may not be for you, finding a mode of exercise that you enjoy will benefit you in so many ways. Physically, you will be stronger, fitter and healthier, meaning that you will be able to enjoy independent living and everyday pleasures for so much longer.

Did you know that research has shown that the older we are, the more relative benefits we can get from regular exercise?  Muscle & bone loss, and increased cancer risk are all consequences of ageing that we can control and even reverse through exercise.

And the psychological benefits are just as great. Regular exercise makes us happier, and helps to defend against dementia. Plus there are huge social benefits to be gained from exercising with others.

Ladies Workout Express offers the ideal solution. The equipment is very safe to use and gentle on the joints (imagine swimming without the water!). You go at your own pace, and there is plenty of support from the instructors You’ll also meet other like-minded ladies so it’s a great social outlet.

If this has inspired you to take up exercise, after years of inactivity, then do be sure to start slowly and build up gradually. It’s also best to check with your GP before starting any new exercise programme.

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Forget the 5:2 Diet – Try the 6:1!

There’s no doubt that the 5:2, or intermittent fasting, diet works for a lot of people, and it seems to have positive health benefits.

But if you’ve tried it and found you wanted to gnaw your arm off and just could’t operate on 500 calories (can’t concentrate, nausea, driven to distraction by hunger), then there is an alternative.

We’ve called it the 6:1 diet. This is where you stick to a healthy eating programme (we recommend the low GI approach) for 6 days a week, and then relax a bit on the seventh day. Apart from unintentional biblical references (but if the idea has been around for thousands of years there must be something in it!), there’s a mathematical reason why it works.

Let’s say for example that you follow a 1500 calorie a day diet for 6 days, and your daily calories expenditure is 2000. In 6 days you’ll create a deficit of 3000 calories (6 x 500 calories). So to undo all that on day 7 would mean consuming 5000 calories in one day, which actually takes some doing!

Now let’s look at what happens when you follow your diet for 5 out of 7 days. Using the same maths, you’ll create a 2500 calorie deficit. To undo that in 2 days is much easier – you’ll only need to consume 3250 calories a day, which isn’t difficult, especially when there’s alcohol involved.

As a general rule of thumb, if you stick to your diet 6 days a week, you’ll lose weight over time. 5 days a week, you’ll stay the same and 4 days or less a week, you’ll likely put weight on.

So let’s hear it for the 6:1 diet!

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Have you no time to exercise?

Are you one of the millions of people that have no time to exercise?

There was an interesting programme on Radio 4 last week, that looked at how our decision-making is affected when we have too little time. It began by asking the audience of students how many of them felt they had enough time. Surprise, surprise, no-one put their hand up!

Professor Eldar Shafir has conducted experiments to assess how being short of time affects our decision-making ability. As a result, he believes that being short of time may change the way we think and that leads us to making things worse for ourselves.

When you feel a shortage of something, it creates a scarcity mindset; that means that you use a lot of your brain’s “bandwidth” worrying about what you don’t have enough of, so you can’t give enough attention to other important decisions. Professor Shafir found this actually lowers the IQ by 13 points on average – which is more than the effect of losing a night’s sleep! As a result,  you will forget or neglect some important activities which mean you end up worse off tomorrow!

So that got us thinking. Pretty much everyone accepts that regular exercise is something we should do, but many of us say we have no time to exercise. But it may not actually be a lack of time, just our inability to prioritise it, due to other issues crowding out the planning of it.

So if you are short of time, how can you increase your chances of making the right decision? Here are five tried and tested methods

1.       Establish a routine. Once you don’t have to think about something, you’ll do it automatically. So that may mean putting on the running shoes as soon as you get up and going out for a run before the rest of the day crowds in. Or perhaps you put your gym kit in the car so that you can go straight from dropping off the children, or on your way home from work. It takes a bit of effort to establish the routine, but then it’s much easier to maintain
2.       To do lists. Make a to do list and put exercise on it. Cross it off when you’ve done it. Your to do list can be daily or weekly, but the act of planning everything in advance means you don’t have to waste time re-thinking it
3.       Have a strong vision. The stronger your vision of where you want to get to, and the more desperate you are to achieve that, the more likely you are to do what it takes. Heighten that vision by putting a picture of what you want to be somewhere prominent
4.       Plan exercise into your day the night before and set an alarm
5.       Leave half an hour free every day (planned into your diary), to cope with the unexpected tasks. That way you’ll feel more in control of your time

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Think running isn’t for you? Think again

Runner

We see them all the time – super-fit people out pounding the streets in all weather. We don’t know whether to admire them or pity them, but we do know that you’d never see us out there, because we can’t run to catch a bus.

But are we doing ourselves a disservice?

Unless you have very dodgy knees or struggle to walk more than a few yards, then the chances are that you too can become a runner.

But why would I want to, we hear you ask?

Quite apart from all the wonderful health benefits – stronger heart, lungs, muscles and bones, weight loss, better blood sugar utilisation etc, etc, there’s another reason, and it’s the one that keeps runners running.

Sheer unadulterated fun! OK, the wheezing and lung-burning that accompanies over exertion isn’t so great, but the buzz you can get from being out in the fresh air, running within your capability is intoxicating! Just look at how children love to run around. Remember when you did too? You didn’t do it for the health benefits, you did it because it was fun. And now just because you’re a grown-up, doesn’t mean that child-like pleasure is lost.

If you want to give it a go, the key is to start slowly, even very slowly if that’s what it takes, and to build up gently. Try following the 10 week beginners’ running plan below and adapt it to suit your circumstances. If you can, persuade a friend to join you so that you can encourage each other. There really is no need to push yourself to the point of exhaustion, which can be dispiriting and risks injury. Instead, take it at a pace that allows you to enjoy the experience so that you will really look forward to getting those running shoes on again!

 

10 WEEK BEGINNERS RUNNING PLAN

Week

3 Sessions eg Mon/Wed/Sat

1 Session eg Thu

1

Jog 1 min, walk 3 mins x 4

Brisk 30 min walk

2

Jog 1 min, walk 2 mins x 6

Brisk 30 min walk

3

Jog 1 min, walk 2 mins x 7

Brisk 30 min walk

4

Jog 1 min, walk 2 mins x 8

Brisk 35 min walk

5

Jog 1 min, walk 2 mins x 9

Run 1 min, walk 2 mins x 9

6

Jog 2 mins, walk 2 mins x 7

Free session – 30 minutes, activity

7

Jog 2 mins, walk 2 mins x 8

Free session – 30 minutes, activity

8

Jog 3 mins, walk 2 mins x 7

Free session – 40 minutes, activity

9

Jog 3 mins, walk 2 mins x 7

Free session – 40 minutes, activity

10

Jog 3 mins, walk 2 mins x 9

Free session – 40 minutes, activity

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Spring into Action – Today!

Spring into Action

Now’s the time to start planning how to look your best on holiday.

At long last, all the rain has stopped and at least for a few days we can enjoy some lovely spring weather. It also means that we’ve all been given an early reminder to start on our summer body preparation, so if you’re ready to get started, here’s a step-by-step plan to feeling energised and full of confidence.

Although it may be a few months until your holiday, it’s easy to let time slip away or to get distracted by life along the way. So the key thing is to resolve now that you will be feeling great. Decide what you want to achieve and write it down, along with the date you want to achieve it by. Be realistic; set yourself a goal that should be relatively easy to accomplish provided you stick to your plan. So if weight loss is your aim, base the goal on no more than 1lb per week. It may not sound much but it will all add up to a significant amount. Plus you may even exceed it which will keep you super motivated.

Now find a friend or colleague who also wants to achieve similar goals to you. Agree to check in with each other weekly so that you can share your progress and encourage each other. For added incentive, choose a treat that you can enjoy together if you BOTH achieve your goals. That way you’ll be letting him or her down if you stray off track too regularly.

Next, work out what you need to do to achieve your goal. For weight loss, find a diet that you are confident you will be able to stick to. Avoid faddy or rapid weight loss plans, but instead choose natural foods, with lots of fruit, veg, lean protein and complex carbohydrates.    For fitness, decide how often and for how long you will exercise, and consider what form that exercise will take. If you can, aim to include outdoors activity whether that is sport, brisk walking, jogging or cycling. Being outdoors brings extra benefits – you’ll feel more in touch with nature and will find your routine a lot more enjoyable. If toning or muscle gain is your aim, then ask your gym instructor to design a programme for you and review it monthly. Alternatively get yourself a home exercise DVD or book, or sign up to one of the excellent online/e-mail training programmes.

Then take a full length photograph of yourself from the front and side and put it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. If you have a favourite piece of clothing you would love to be able to wear, then dig it out of your wardrobe and hang it somewhere prominent.

If you’re good with spreadsheets or graphs, create a means of recording your progress each week visually. Most of the online diet programmes will do this for you.

So now you have your target, your plan and the discipline and support in place, so just get started.

Record your food intake and/or exercise completed on a daily basis. Don’t cheat. This will act as an extra discipline for you and prove a useful review tool if the results aren’t as good as you’d hoped.

Each week, review how you did the previous week. What was easy and what was difficult? How can you avoid the difficult situations or make them easier to handle next time? Do you need more help? Do you need to adjust your diet or exercise programme or add more variety so you enjoy it more?

Remember the following:

  • It almost certainly won’t be easy so decide now that you are strong enough to forego the short term temptations and that you will instead enjoy the feeling of being in control
  • There will likely be occasional bad days; just minimise the degree of badness, then put it behind you and get straight back on plan
  • It’s best to enlist support wherever you can; tell people what you’re doing so they don’t undermine your efforts – plus you’ll want to avoid the embarrassment of failing

Make this the year you look your best yet!

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Strength Training for women – won’t that make me look too muscular?

Arnie

If you’re a woman, the answer to that question is almost certainly no! As women, we have too little testosterone to build bulging muscles, plus you would have to do a lot of it with very heavy weights, so you’re not going to look like Arnie!

Instead, regular strength training for women will produce strong, toned muscles. Not only that, you will also:

  • Halt bone loss
  • Improve your balance
  • Feel more energised
  • Improve flexibility
  • Burn more calories at rest

Strength training for women is often overlooked as part of a weight loss programme, and yet it’s critical to healthy and sustainable weight loss. That’s because the body has a tendency to lose muscle mass during weight loss, especially rapid weight loss, and the only way to counteract that is to challenge the muscles with strength training. 

Muscles are active tissues, which burn calories at rest, so losing muscle mass results in a lowered metabolic rate, making it harder to achieve and sustain weight loss.

Under-utilised muscles atrophy as we age, so over the long term, we lose the ability to do everyday tasks, and since muscles support the skeleton, we become more prone to trips and falls. But the good news is that muscle decline can be reversed, no matter how old you are when you start.

At Ladies Workout Express, our 30 minute workout combines cardiovascular work with a full-body strength routine. Our equipment is hydraulic, which means that it won’t build muscle size,  just tone and strengthen, and it’s also suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Done 2-3 times a week, you will soon start to notice a difference in your strength and shape!

Toned arms

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Why should you keep a food & exercise diary?

food diary

Whatever your health and fitness goals, you’ll find it easier to stay on track if you keep a food & exercise diary. Research shows that dieters who keep a food diary will lose on average 50% more than those who don’t.

It doesn’t have to be fancy – just a blank A4 sheet divided into days or a spreadsheet will do. There are also plenty of online food & exercise diaries (we like www.weightlossresources.co.uk) and Apps out there if you want to be a bit more scientific.

So how does it work?

Well, first of all, it acts as a discipline. It’s so easy to have an extra snack or drink and completely forget about it. These add up over the course of the week so you get to the end and wonder why you haven’t lost weight. If you have to write everything down, then you’ll think twice before consuming it.

It will also act as a way of pinpointing what’s gone wrong and where you have to make improvements. That might mean cutting out the biscuits, adding more fruit, or freezing leftovers instead of having second helpings.

A food & exercise diary will also remind you how long it’s been since your last workout, and you can use it to plan in your gym visits, and make sure you have your gym kit with you.

Yes, it’s a bit of a pain to do, but the results will be worth it!

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Should you exercise or diet to lose weight?

Diet or Exercise - what works best?

Diet or Exercise – what works best?

Here we are a month into 2014 and are you managing to lose weight?

Gyms across the country were jammed full of new members last month as lots of hopeful people put their new year resolutions into action. By now though, many have already have dropped off their attendance, and handed the gym floor back to the regulars.

So what went wrong? In most cases it’s down to unrealistic expectations. Losing weight isn’t easy and it isn’t quick, and half a dozen trips to the gym won’t cut it. So what is the answer?

As an industry, we only have ourselves to blame. We peddle the idea that a gym membership is the way to lose weight, when mathematics proves that it isn’t that simple..

What do we mean by that? Well, in order to lose a pound of fat, we have to burn off 3500 calories. For an averagely-fit, normal weight person, that would mean jogging for an hour, six times a week. Anyone starting out on an exercise programme is going to find that nigh on impossible, and so the eagerly anticipated results won’t come.

Contrast that with following a calorie-restricted diet. Saving just 500 calories a day ie cutting down 20-25% of normal intake, equates to a loss of a pound a week – hopefully of fat. To lose 2lbs of fat a week would mean roughly halving calorie intake, which for most people is unsustainable and often unhealthy.

So does that mean you should forget the gym and just join a slimming club to lose weight?

Absolutely not! By far and away the healthiest and most effective way to lose weight -and maintain that loss for the long term – is to combine exercise with a healthy weight loss diet. Exercise may not burn as many calories as you would like, but it’s the way it makes you feel that matters. By exercising regularly you will feel more healthy and in control, and will therefore find it a lot easier to follow a calorie-restricted healthy eating plan.

At Ladies Workout Express, we understand about the interplay between exercise and diet, so we will give you nutritional advice tailored to your own goals. Plus our 30 minute workout is designed to burn up to 500 calories, and to carry on burning calories for another 24-48 hours.

If you would like to try out our 30 minute workout, you can have a no obligation 3-day trial membership. Just call us on 0161 401 0794 to book your first visit.

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