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New Year, New Goals Well, it’s that time of year where traditions are all around us. We have the holiday season of family gatherings, parties and indulging in sometimes excessive amounts of food and drink. It is also traditionally the time of year where people reflect on where they have been and where they are going. It’s a time of year where we get fired up with enthusiasm to get going for the new year. It’s new beginnings, new habits, new routines and new goals. Even with the best of intentions and having high levels of enthusiasm and motivation, for some people, that does not last for long and as January slides into February, the activity and attention on those goals slide as well. Midgie Thompson will outline the positive reasons to set goals particularly at this time of year, as well as how to guarantee success!

Reason for Goal Setting The primary reason to set goals, in any area of your life, is that it provides a focus for your action and for your efforts. You can direct your attention, your efforts, and your energy in such a manner that it helps take you closer towards what you want. It’s like a goal post that gives you something to aim for. By have clearly defined goals with milestone signposts along the way, you can monitor your progress and assess whether you are going in the direction you want to be going. Have you deviated off-course and need to do something to get back on track? It is easy to get side-tracked with other things in life because ... well, life happens. However, with clearly defined goals and milestones along the way, you can take stock to see whether you are on, or off,

track to achieve what you want to achieve. When you set a goal for yourself, part of the process is to clarify what that goal is for you. By clarifying and defining the outcome you want to achieve, you are defining what you need to do to be successful. It is your definition of success, rather than anyone else’s definition. Having your own definition of success is a powerful thing to boost your confidence and self-esteem because you compare yourself with you, and not against anyone else. Goal setting is also beneficial to you as it’s an opportunity for you to set priorities in your life. Looking at the big picture of everything you have in your life, and everything you want to do, you then decide which goals will take precedence over another. One way to consider what your priorities are to look at the end result, when you have achieved each goal, consider what difference it will make to your life when you’ve achieved that goal. How will having achieved this goal benefit other areas of your life? Considering these questions, you can then determine which has the most significant impact and which ones you will make a priority to do. Goal setting can of course be done at any time of the year, however, traditionally, at the beginning of the new year, we set new goals for ourselves. New year is like a fresh start with things, a clean slate in which you can write your future out.

Knowing that setting goals is beneficial to you, to your confidence and to your success, how can you set goals and guarantee success?

How to set goals Many of you have heard about setting SMART goals. Goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. So, knowing what you want is one step in the process. Write out your goal is important and a powerful part of the process. So, write out your ultimate goal as if you already have achieved it. What specifically have you achieved? The next step is to make a plan. A different way to set your goals is to use the ‘backward planning’ approach. Begin with the end in mind, as if you have already achieved your goal, and then work backward. What steps did you take (and when) and what milestone goalposts did you achieve to get you where you are now. When you finish, you will have a plan as to what to do, starting today, to achieve that goal. Although this plan looks the same as if you were to start planning from today forward, it is very different. From the end-result perspective, you may identify different and more milestones achievements and steps along the way. The saying goes that with hindsight, we have 20/20 vision. So, why not



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MIND use this 20/20 vision for the goals in your life to help you achieve more success.

We all start off the new year with new thoughts of things we want to achieve, we’re motivated to get going and start new routines, to go after new goals and have new beginnings

Guarantee success Once you have a plan in place, now it’s up to you to take regular and consistent action. Success does not happen just by chance. It takes time, effort and consistent action to ensure your stay on track and keep on moving forward. To guarantee success, here are a few tips to help you along the way. ■ Set goals that motivate you. Know the reasons WHY you are going after a goal and the difference it will make to your life when you achieve that goal. ■ Set SMART performance goals, rather than outcome goals. Focus on those things that you can control and let go of those things where you have no control. ■ Use language carefully ensuring your goal is positively stated of what you will do, rather than what you would like to do. ■ Make a plan and let everyone who needs to know about it, know about it and ask for their support. ■ Stick to the plan by having regular monitoring of progress so you do not allow yourself to get to far off track. Another thing you can do to guarantee success is to get a friend or family member to hold you accountable. You say you are going to do certain things, well then ask them to regularly check whether you’ve done them or not. Being held accountable for your actions is a very powerful mechanism to keep on going, to keep on track and to keep taking action regularly towards your goals.

On a final note We all start off the new year with new thoughts of things we want to achieve, we’re motivated to get going and start new routines, to go after new goals and have new beginnings. Yet, many of us falter along the way because we may experience some unexpected things or become distracted with other priorities.

By using the backward planning method, you get a different perspective and may highlight things you might not have thought of otherwise. Once you have your plan, you still need to take regular and consistent action. To guarantee success, it is important to set goals that motivate you … making sure that it is something you want to do for yourself, rather than doing it for someone else. Knowing the reasons WHY and knowing the difference it will make in your life is important.

Key Points *Be Clear on the outcome you want Outlining specifically what you want to achieve will help you focus your efforts towards achieving it.

*Use the backward planning method Imagine you have already achieved your goal and as you look back, see what step you took to get you there.

*Hold yourself accountable to someone else Seek support from someone to hold you accountable to do the things you say you are going to do.



Also, being held accountable for your actions is a powerful mechanism to keep you going and keep you taking regular and consistent steps towards your goals. So, ask someone to hold you accountable. You can achieve anything you set you mind to, all you need to do is make a plan and then stick to the plan. Even with minor deviations, you can still stay on track and move continually forward until you reach your goal. UF

NEXT ISSUE: Creating motivational magnets that draw you forward towards your goals. About the author Midgie Thompson of Bright Futures Coaching is a Mental Performance and Lifestyle Coach. She works with passionate and energetic individuals to help them develop the mental skills and strategies to be the best they can be while maintaining a healthy balance in their sporting, professional and personal lives. She is also a recreational marathoner.

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Gym’ll fix it By Caroline Sandry

Without a doubt, this is the time of year that has the vast majority of us promising to be healthier and better to our bodies. Winter blues, too much socializing and too much Christmas nosh has us reaching for our gym bags with renewed vigor! Now, being a smart Ultra Fit reader, you will want to maximize your training effect in the minimum time, so we have come up with four different gym plans to make sure you do just that… 22


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WOMEN’S FITNESS techniques and tips. Most gyms now have a lot of information available, and posters showing different muscle groups used and so on. Take time to use these tools, and also check out what the ‘fit bodies’ are doing – you might learn from them! Always warm up. Start out on the treadmill as this is easy to use and will build your confidence as you familiarize yourself. As a general beginner guide to working out at the gym, I am focusing on a well rounded programme which should be followed 2 to 3 times per week, and updated at 6 weekly intervals.

The session * 1 Warm up for 5 minutes on the treadmill at an easy pace 2 Raise the incline 2 levels and increase your speed to a brisk pace for 8 minutes 3 Cross trainer – work out at a comfortable, moderate pace for 8 minutes, using upper and lower body effectively. Focus on your posture keep your abs drawn in and your spine tall 4 Stationery Bike – pedal at a moderate level for 8 minutes with a resistance that is easy enough for you to stay in your seat, but challenging enough to work your quads (large muscles at the front of the thigh) and raise your heart rate. Ensure the seat is the correct height – so your legs are almost straight but never locked in the down position. You should keep your back straight and your shoulders back and down, eyes forward. Try to keep your hips and upper body still in the seat and drive the pedals with your legs. After 8 minutes, decrease the effort, cooling down for 2 minutes. 5 Move to the free weights area, and select a reasonable weight (I start most beginners on 3 or 4 kg dumbbell) you should aim to be tiring the muscle by the end of the set. Once your muscles have adapted to this exercise you can start to up the resistance and increase the challenge.

Plan 1 Starting out...

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

his is a general plan for any newcomers to exercise, or for those of you who have taken a break from your training for a long time. The gym is a great place to work every part of your body, whilst learning


Chest press – 1 set 10 3-4kg Squat – 1 set 12 reps (or use leg press machine) Shoulder press – 1 set 10 3-4kg Lunge – 10 on each leg Triceps extension – 1 set 10 reps 3-4kg Abdominal crunches – 1 set 12 reps Oblique crunches – 8 on each side

After two weeks, build up to 2 sets of 10 – 12 repetitions, and once this feels very achievable, increase the resistance. Spend at least 5 minutes stretching all the major muscle groups of the body.

Plan 2 Eradicate mince pie belly! his plan is for those of you who do train regularly, but have taken a short break (two weeks or so) over the festive period and who have eaten far too much and ended up with a few extra kilos hanging over your waistband! Some women can easily put on a stone in just a few weeks if they over indulge and lay off the exercise, but the good news is as that if you are already fit, and you get back to training hard – you can shift the excess very quickly.


Trying a new activity challenges the body in a new way and will bring better results than doing something familiar and comfortable The Cardio * As you have a good base level of fitness, we are going to go for some interval training here which can be performed outside running, or on the treadmill/ rower or stationery bike – Minimum per week 1 Interval session – 30 minute interval session – warm up 5 minutes, 4 x 5 minutes intervals (effort level very hard) with 2 minute recovery intervals in between (effort level easy to moderate) and cool down for 5 minutes 2 Your regular CV training – 45 minutes steady state aerobic session that you are comfortable and familiar with, for example run, bike, cross trainer, swim or aerobics class. 3 Make a change – if you usually run, then cycle or row. Try to make this session different from the norm and work at a medium to high intensity for 40- 60 minutes. You could try a circuit session (check out the circuit below in plan 3) or a new class. Trying a new activity challenges the body in a new way and will bring better results than doing something familiar and comfortable.



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Getting the





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MOTIVATION The word habit is an interesting one. Biting your nails is a habit, and so is smoking. For most people they’re reflexive, unbending behaviours that can be very difficult to break. Can you get to that point with your exercise routine? Possibly – but would this be a healthy habit? I don’t think so. Possessing the unconscious compulsion to exercise, with no ability to control its scale, wouldn’t improve the quality of your life, even if it improved your bench press. To maintain the joy of exercise, we need to create a desire to work out, whilst keeping a sense of perspective: to allow for time off, for life to happen outside the gym. So forget about pursuing your personal best with a zeal that

advertising all the time. We can utilise this technique by linking the feeling of satisfaction, or motivation, or enthusiasm, (or all three) to a stimulus. The stimulus can be anything, but smell works particularly well because it goes straight to the emotionprocessing part of the brain, i.e. you can’t choose not to respond to it, it’s automatic. One way of doing this is to pick a smell you like that you can carry with you, on a hankie or a wrist band. Every time you feel motivated, take a moment to savour that feeling strongly, and then take a few deep breaths of your chosen smell. After doing this a few times, breathing in the smell will automatically bring back the feeling of

To maintain the joy of exercise, we need to create a desire to work out, whilst keeping a sense of perspective: to allow for time off, for life to happen outside the gym destroys everything in its path (i.e. the rest of your life). Instead, aim to create a sense of focus, regularity and purpose that motivates you in the direction of the gym instead of your couch; to run past the pub, not into it.

Recruit your unconscious

Cognitive hypnotherapist Trevor Silvester explains how to use your unconscious to develop the exercise habit – and how to control it once you have it

People come to see me for help with motivation because their conscious desire isn’t enough; knowing you should be doing something, even something you like doing, doesn’t always get the job done. If you want to establish a regular pattern of exercise, you need to recruit the unconscious, and this process needs to be approached in a certain way. From the perspective of the unconscious, all behaviour has a purpose: it’s intended to take us toward reward, or drive us away from pain or danger. To accomplish this, chemicals we experience as feelings get dumped into our system to guide our actions – things like serotonin for rewarding experiences (the warm fuzzies), and adrenalin for the run/fight stuff. The trouble is, we can like the feeling of both; that’s why it’s possible for the exercise habit to become like smoking cigarettes: our brains can get confused and end up seeking more of the bad stuff. You end up addicted to the pain of exercise and not the pleasure it brings, without being able to tell the difference. Until something in your body breaks down…

Training your brain So, how do we get the brain trained to release the warm fuzzies in response to exercise? Try using a technique from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) called anchoring, a process in which you associate something with a trigger; it’s used in

motivation. Top athletes use this regularly to help them enter the peak performance zone. After a while, by ‘firing’ the anchor whenever you contemplate a training session, the feeling of motivation transfers to the thought of going training. What you’ve succeeded in doing is tuning the brain’s pleasure principle into associating your workout with a pleasurable feeling. As we naturally do more of what we like, the urge to exercise becomes a healthy habit – but firmly within your control.

Focus on the reward Something else that can help you get past the moment when the direction you take – the sofa or the gym – is hanging in the balance, is a simple visualisation exercise. Without even realising it, when you catch yourself fighting over what to do, your mind is flicking between the choices to decide which one brings the most reward. Between slogging it out in the gym after a hard day at work or reclining in front of the telly with a can of lager - you can guess which one is likely to win. The trick is to focus on two images that represent your conflict, but instead of seeing yourself running along the road, or sweating in a bodypump class, focus on the moment after the session, when you’re walking away feeling pleased you made the effort and, (if you’re like me), superior to every other person who’s behind the windows I pass by on the way home, watching the X Factor and eating Kettle crisps. Focus on the reward of the exercise, not the struggle of it; go beyond it in your imagination, not into it. And I don’t mean fleetingly. If you’re struggling with your desire to be lazy, close your eyes and spend a few minutes visualising that reward moment, look for where in your body you feel that sense of satisfaction. The more you



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CHANGE Weight loss guru and life coach Pete Cohen and fitness professional Susan Cass have joined our team to address the issues surrounding weight loss – over the next 12 months they will be providing you with everyday practical solutions including breaking bad habits, staying motivated, improving your confidence, removing fears, managing your time and taking responsibility for your actions. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got – it’s time to change your mind set and secure your own understanding of what motivates you, finding those triggers that lead to a positive life change. We’re all unique, there’s no right and there’s no wrong – its all about your journey of self discovery, new experiences, the path you choose and choices you make. If low self esteem and social pressures to eat have brought you down in the past, caused you to put on weight or you just find it hard to say “NO” it doesn’t matter. You’re free to make up a whole new set of rules for dealing with situations in the future. Your circumstances might not change, the people around you might not change. But you can change! Over the next 9 issues we’ll be looking at ways in which you can beat social pressures, break bad habits, be positive and get the very best out of yourself.

The Ultimate Anti-health plan for 2009 What if someone told you that for 2009 you had to follow the ultimate health plan for 2009? By this we mean: ■ Slow down your metabolism by stopping exercise

eat when your not hungry and eat past the point of hunger You may well be laughing out loud at these but you may also be thinking that you do one of more of these on a regular basis. But don’t worry it’s not your fault!

We’re all unique, there’s no right and there’s no wrong – its all about your journey of self discovery, new experiences, the path you choose and choices you make ■

Go crazy and get addicted to sugar – eating sugar rich foods whenever and wherever you can ■ Eat more calories than you need – the more high calorie and fat filled foods you can cram into your day the better ■ Ignore your bodies natural instincts –

Obviously we can simply blame the supermarkets and their endless buy one get one free offers, restaurants for putting too much salt and sugar in their foods, advertising for the constant messages of temptation and even your parents for making you eat everything on your plate!



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fat-loss tips that work

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The only proven way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than your body uses as fuel for your activities. The idea is to find a diet and lifestyle that you can comfortably live with, rather than attempt to lose weight periodically with diets that are hard to maintain. Anita Bean explains….

When it comes to losing weight, those who exercise regularly have a head start. Whether you wish to lose a few pounds or have a bigger goal, exercise provides a healthy way to burn off extra calories. The problem is that even if you work out daily, it is hard to lose weight through exercise alone. Studies have shown that the secret to successful weight loss is regular exercise together with a healthy and careful calorie intake. Follow the following tips and watch those unwanted pounds drop off.


Eat several, smaller meals

Eating smaller meals more frequently not only reduces the chances of fat storage but also helps you recognise when you really are hungry. Spreading your meals more evenly through the day, as four to six small meals rather than two or three big ones, helps avoid blood sugar highs and lows and the resulting insulin surges. Insulin is a powerful anabolic hormone that drives glucose from the bloodstream into muscle cells and – when there’s too much glucose – into your fat cells. Your aim should be to keep your blood glucose and insulin levels stable, so your body can manage them more easily. Eat regular snacks of fruit, nuts or seeds to give you slow-release energy throughout the day.


Limit your food choices

Research carried out at Tufts University in Massachusetts, United States, found that when people are presented with a wider variety of foods they eat considerably more. Also, when eating a single food, the individual’s eating rate slows down, he or she is satiated more quickly and, therefore, he or she will eat less. The pleasure of eating a food increases up to the third or fourth bite then drops off. If you have lots of

different foods on your plate you prolong the sensory pleasure, which stops you feeling full. The message here is to simplify your diet: place fewer types of food on your plate.


Practice portion control

It may sound obvious but larger portions make you eat more. Researchers at Cornell University, New York, found that people ate 33 per cent more food when given a large portion even when they disliked the food. Try putting smaller portions of foods with a high-energy density (such as meat, cheese and pizza) on your plate and larger portions of low-energy density foods such as vegetables on your plate.


Don’t ban your favourite foods

Including your favourite foods in moderation will make your weight loss plan easier to stick to, if not pleasurable. If you know that you can eat a little of your favourite indulgence every day, you’ll stop thinking of it as a forbidden food and then won’t want to binge on it. So go ahead and include chocolate or ice cream in your nutrition plan but make sure it’s only a little.


Don’t skip breakfast

Starting the day with a healthy, filling breakfast dramatically increases your chances of eating healthily throughout the day. It also provides your body with fuel and kickstarts your metabolism, so you have the rest of the day to burn up those calories. The carbohydrates you eat at breakfast will be used to fuel your daily activities and workouts, instead of being stored as body fat (as they are if eaten in the evening). If you don’t eat breakfast, you are more likely to snack during the morning and overeat at lunch. Studies have shown that dieters who ate a highfibre breakfast lost more weight than their breakfast-skipping counterparts and consumed 100–150 fewer calories for breakfast and lunch.


Start with salad


Sleep more

According to a 2004 study at Pennsylvania State University, United States, eating a large portion of low-energy density foods, such as salad or fruit, as a starter can cut the number of calories eaten during the main meal by 12 per cent. The fibre and water in the salad/ fruit takes the edge off the appetite, causing you to eat less of the higher calorie foods. (Take care not to add too much salad dressing.).

Sleeping an extra hour or so may help you lose weight, according to a study published in the journal Sleep in 2004. The study found that those who slept nine hours or more had, on average, a significantly lower body mass index than those who slept five hours or less. This is because lack of sleep boosts levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry, while lowering levels of the hormone leptin, which makes you feel full. This hormonal imbalance sends a signal to the brain that more food is needed when, in fact, enough has been eaten. Research at the University of Chicago, United States, also shows that sleeping for four hours or less increases levels of another hormone, cortisol, which makes you feel hungry in the evening rather than sleepy.

Fill up with soup


Starting your meal with a bowl of chunky soup can cut your calorie intake by 20 per cent, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, United States. The idea is that fibre in soup fills you up so you’ll eat less of the highercalorie foods that follow. Avoid creamy soups, though: stick to vegetable varieties.


Switch off the TV

Don’t eat in front of the television nor while you are working or reading – you are less likely to notice what you’re eating. Studies have shown that the distraction of TV postpones the point at which people stop eating, with TV watchers eating approximately 12–15 per cent more than those who do not eat in front of the television. In addition, people who watch TV for more than four hours a day consume one-third more calories because they have more opportunity to nibble and less opportunity to exercise. Another study found that those who eat with family or friends consume up to 70 per cent more on average than those who eat alone. Social company, it seems, overrides satiety.


Distinguish between hunger and appetite

Unfortunately, it is easy to confuse hunger and appetite. Appetite is external



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best foot

Forward Asics stands for ‘sound mind, sound body’ an expression you may already be familiar with. But how about ‘sound feet, sound body’? Your feet are the foundation of your body, your contact with the earth, and the beginning and end of every step. Yet many people neglect their feet, wearing old or unsuitable footwear for sport, not realising that this can not only affect performance, but the health of your knees, hips and pelvis. Caroline Sandry went to the Asics flagship store to find out more… 44


As a trainer, I have seen first hand how a new and suitable pair of trainers can affect performance and pain. Many people give up trying to run due to pain and discomfort in their knees or legs, not realising that simply wearing the correct footwear could transform their experience. My first point of call with new clients is footwear – particularly if running, and whilst they may initially be opposed to spending more money (after all – they have a pair of trainers that they have been wearing for ages!) they soon understand that it is a very small investment compared to the return. Asics have a fantastic new flagship store in central London, which is dedicated to helping people be their best in sport and I went along to have my feet checked out and my gait analysed.

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Your lower legs are videoed while you run and then the information is again played back and compared to a set of ‘normal’ parameters

The experience I was met at the store by Danka Malicka, who as well as being an Asics representative is a PE teacher and has a Masters in Biomechanics and is incredibly knowledgeable. She started out by giving me a manual assessment of my stance and asking questions about my training and my joint health. She immediately noticed that I was self-correcting a natural imbalance in my body – my years of training have taught me to adjust my posture so that I squat and move correctly – instead of allowing my left foot and knee to drop in as they would so love to do! I am naturally knock-knee’d (lovely!) and although I can correct this in standing and deliberate exercise such as squatting, Danka was interested to see what would happen when walking and running. The next step is the laser machine. Your stand on a glass bottomed machine with

your foot and lower leg encased in darkness and keep very still while four lasers and eight cameras collect information and measurements. When both feet have been scanned, the data is e-mailed to Japan headquarters in Tokyo where it is analysed and results are sent straight back – the whole process taking less than ten minutes. The data is not only useful for the customer to see, it is also valuable to collect information for comparative studies – it has been shown that the majority of right handed people have a longer left foot (78% of people) and a slightly wider right forefoot. This is because when you are starting to walk, your brain picks up which is the most comfortable side of the body (the right if you are right handed) and applies more pressure as it is easier to balance. This extra pressure spreads the small bones of the forefoot making it slightly wider, whilst the left foot would typically grow slightly longer as there is less pressure applied to through it. The data and results including a full 3d image are displayed on screen, and printed off for the customer to keep. The image of

your foot is compared on screen to a set of ‘normal’ measurements (there are 43 marker positions and calculating points) and it is easy to see any obvious deviations in the Achilles heel, and the pressure points on the sole of the foot. This data gives the technician information to start working on a prescription for your shoes. Danka noticed that my left foot was very rigid (which in real terms will feel like my foot is very flexible) and would probably benefit from a stable trainer which has a different heel structure and slows the movement through the forefoot and thereby slowing the movement through the lower leg making it less vulnerable to injury. The data collected to this point is used to prescribe a shoe, which you then get to test on the treadmill. This is a crucial part of the test, as your lower legs are videoed while you run and then the information is again played back and compared to a set of ‘normal’ parameters. I found this fascinating as the film is slowed right down so that you can see exactly what is happening throughout each foot strike. I started out wearing a neutral shoe and proved to be a bit of an oddity (nothing



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Chest Instructional Photos: Ultra-Fit Images/Grant Pritchard

Over the next nine issues Fitness Express will take you through a series of workouts each designed to target a specific area of your body. Each workout is a session in its own right but, as the series goes on, it’ll build into an invaluable exercise resource from which you can construct your own programmes. In this first instalment we target the pecs in a Super Hero Chest workout. The chest is probably the muscle group that guys in particular spend most time training. I remember at the gym I used to work at we used to have “Friday Bar Club” that consisted pretty much solely of a testosterone filled mammoth session on the bench press to pump us up before hitting bars of a different sort. The reason why the chest receives so much attention is that it’s the most visible major muscle group when you look in the mirror and, in most cases, responds quickly to training giving noticeable and highly motivating results. It’s far too easy to get carried away though and become obsessed with training the chest to the

detriment of other muscle groups. Neglect the antagonistic “pulling” muscles of the back and you’ll rapidly develop the hunched rounded shoulder posture of a bench press junkie. Not only does this look awful but can quickly result in muscular imbalances and can even lead to injury. Try to balance every specific chest session with one for the back or, within one workout, perform an equal number of sets on each. In this workout we use a combination of tried and tested movements to hit the whole chest and variations in sets, reps and tempo to shock the muscles out of any plateau they might be in.

The Workout 5-10 minutes CV warm-up. The cross trainer is really good for this as you do 30 second blasts really emphasising the “push” of the handles to get your chest firing.

1) Press-ups X10-20 reps X3 sets (30 seconds recovery). Preparing the chest for the work to come. Concentrate on perfect form and stop 3-4 reps before failure. 2) Bench Press X10 reps, X12 reps, X15 reps (90 seconds recovery). Start with your ten-rep max. For the second set drop 2-5kgs and go for 12 reps and then drop another 2-5kgs for 15 reps on the last set. 3) Single arm “Boxer Press” X10 reps, X12 reps, X15 reps. Work in the same manner as the bench press by dropping the weight as the reps go up through the three sets. Work on a slow lower and an explosive punch. One arm rests while the other works. 4) Incline Dumbbell Press (X10 reps, X12 reps, X15 reps) and Med Ball Throw X10 reps X3 sets (60



seconds recovery) complex set. Again dropping the weight for the press through the sets. After each set on the press go straight into the med ball throw and then take your rest. 5) Dumbbell Flyes varied tempo X10 reps X3 sets (60 seconds recovery). First set work on a 2 down and 1 up tempo count. Drop the weight by 1-2kgs per hand for the second set but work 4 down, pause for 2 in the down position and then 1 up. For the final set, drop the weight again and this time work 6 down, pause for 4 in the down position and then 1 up. 6) Press-ups X1 set to failure. Back where we started and simply squeeze as many out as possible. Once you’ve maxed out on the full movement drop the knees and go to failure on 3/4’s.

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The Technique Press-Ups To really hit the chest you need to make sure that your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width in the start position. Try to keep a straight line all the way through your body and avoid dropping the head or sagging in lower back area. Holding this position lower your chest towards the floor aiming to get at least a ninety-degree bend in your arms. Ideally, your chest should come to within one fits height of the floor. Pause momentarily at the bottom before driving back up by straightening your arms but avoiding locking the elbows. The 3/4’s movement is exactly the same apart from your knees are on the floor. It is better to perform 3/4 press-ups through the full range of movement than poorly executed full ones.

Bench Press The king of chest movements that no pec session can be without. Working with a spotter lie on your back on a flat bench with your feet up on the bench. Grasp the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, palms facing forward and elbows bent. Your elbows, shoulders and wrists should stay in the same plane during the movement. Press the bar straight up by straightening, but not hyper-extending your arms. Breathe out as you raise the bar. The bar should travel in slight backwards arc finishing above your chin. Breathe in as you lower the bar reaching a bottom position just beyond a ninety degree bend at the elbows. Do not lower all the way to, or bounce the bar off, your chest. If you don’t have a spotter use a chest press machine. If using a chest press machine ensure the height is correctly adjusted so that the handles are level with your chest. Make sure you work through a complete range of motion bending the arms just beyond ninety degrees.

Single Arm/ Boxer Press A great movement that let’s you work your chest musculature right through its full range of movement. Lying on a bench, hold a dumbbell in one hand. Shift your body over a bit so that the side holding the dumbbell is slightly off the bench and the edge of the bench follows your spine. Use the hand on the other side to brace the position if necessary. Lower the dumbbell until it is level and parallel to your chest (palm facing side of body). Press up explosively and, as you do so, twist the dumbbell to return to more traditional palm facing feet alignment.



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‘THUMP’ is an exciting new Boxing for Fitness training system coming to the UK from Australia. Caroline Sandry packed her gloves and hit the road to see if ‘THUMP’ really packed a punch! I love boxing for fitness, and so do many of my clients – both male and female. It gives an amazing all over body workout, whilst letting off steam and releasing pent up frustration. But, I have never felt qualified enough in spite of attending several courses over my decade of personal training, and felt a bit fraudulent as I held my pads up! I have seen guys boxing – it looks awesome, but I never felt that I was simulating anything even close to it. Until I got ‘THUMPed’ that is!

The background THUMP training systems was developed in 2001 by Christian Marchegiani. As a young man, and an immigrant living in Australia, life was far from easy, and Christian found himself in numerous scrapes. Things came to head after some trouble with the law, who offered him the choice between jail, and boxing school. Christian took boxing school, and so began his amazing journey. Looking for a fresh start he headed out to New York and worked with the YMCA who impressed him with the quality of their training and knowledge. On returning to Australia, he decided to use this experience, and so THUMP evolved as a boxing gym above a garage in Christian’s hometown. Disappointingly though, although the gym was popular enough, it was not a profitable business and eventually the point came when the club accountant told Christian he had no money to pay the rent, and that he needed to make some decisions. However, instead of this being the beginning of the end, a chance phone call turned Christian’s life around: a gym in Northern Australia was looking for a trainer to run a boxing training course, and Christian’s name was one of the first that appeared in his search. His accountant took the phone call, and told Christian that she thought she had a way for him to pay the rent! So he drove the 9 hours north with no presenting experience, manuals or indeed expectations and turned his life around! The

Caroline with Christian Marchegiani

course was a storming success, and Christian knew that this was the birth of something special and that THUMP would become an internationally recognized leading name in Boxing for Fitness training. THUMP today has four certification courses for instructors, employs numerous staff, is licensed in gyms – including the Fitness First chain throughout Australia

and New Zealand and Christian and his team are very excited to bring THUMP over to the UK! I was met at the train station by Neil Henshaw – owner of Helio gyms in Blackpool whose background is in fitness with a passion for boxing. He told me “I’ve always loved boxing and really wanted to find a way to bring it into a fitness training environment. I did a big search looking for something different that would cover boxing and fitness, and I came across THUMP in Australia. I contacted Christian who was really positive about bringing the system over here, and I have been really impressed by every aspect of THUMP. The response has been tremendous – on the first instructor course we ran, a women who has been in the business for years said it was the best course she had ever been on! It is really exciting being involved in the project, and watching it evolve, and we hope next year that it will be in gyms across the country. Christian and his team are coming over to present the



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Weight Machines vs. Free Weights By Dr. Jason R. Karp, Ph.D.

Have you ever been intimidated by all the dumbbells, barbells, and machines that put you in awkward positions best reserved for the bedroom? You’re not alone. If you have never lifted weights before, it can be daunting. And with all the different types of equipment and exercises, how do you know which to use for the best results? Both machines and free weights have their advantages and disadvantages. So which type of equipment is better? Here’s the tale of the tape:

* Resistance Weight Machines – Weight machines use variable resistance, changing resistance throughout the range of motion. To accomplish this, weight machines have geometrically-shaped cams integrated with a pulley system that change the length of the lever arm of the external weight (the perpendicular distance from the weight to the machine’s axis of rotation). The cams are shaped such that, at weaker joint positions, the lever arm of the external

weight is shorter, making it easier for you to lift the weight. At stronger joint positions, the lever arm of the external weight is longer, making it more difficult to lift the weight. Manipulating the lever arms through which the external weight is applied allows weight machines to place more stress on the muscles at the angles at which they are capable of producing greater forces. However, given the differences between the length of people’s limbs and their ability to produce force at different joint angles, not all machines may be able to match their resistance to your strength.

Free Weights: Bench Press Ultra-FIT


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PEAK FITNESS Free Weights – With free weights, the resistance on the muscle remains constant throughout the joint’s range of motion. When you lift a five-pound dumbbell, it is five pounds at all parts of the lift— beginning, middle, and end. Since there are points in your joints’ ranges of motion at which your muscles are stronger and points at which they are weaker, and the amount of weight you can lift is limited by the weakest point, free weights only serve as a strong enough training stimulus for those weaker joint positions.

Weight Machine: Leg Press Machine

Advantage: Weight Machines

* Movement Specificity Weight Machines – Most weight machines allow only single-joint exercises with movement occurring in a single plane. Since weight machines guide your movement, they do not recruit muscles other than those specifically targeted by the machine. This apparent lack of freedom does confer one advantage— weight machines allow you to isolate specific muscles or parts of muscles, which is valuable if you want to shape a specific body part.

Free Weights: Barbell Squat

Free Weights – Movements using free weights occur in three dimensions. The added task of balancing free weights in the three-dimensional plane recruits other ancillary muscles. However, the greater instability of free weights may require the need for a spotter, which would not be necessary when using weight machines. In contrast to weight machines, free weights allow you to perform multi-joint exercises and therefore more closely mimic the activities of daily life and other specific activities for which you may want to train. Multi-joint movements also confer greater neural benefits in terms of acquiring specific skills. While multijoint, free-weight exercises require a higher level of skill and may take some time to learn, this slight disadvantage is more than compensated for by the gains in movement specificity. Advantage: Free Weights

* Strength Gains Weight Machines – Since the assessment of strength requires the use of either weight machines or free weights, the outcome of any experiment comparing the two types of weight training will likely favor the type of training that uses the same type of equipment as the strength measurement. Studies testing strength (one-rep max) using equipment or a type of exercise different from that used in training have found similar gains in



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Test of the Best Buying home gym kit can be a real minefield. Nik Cook looks at three rowers, three treadmills, three bikes and three cross trainers that span the price range and sees just what you get for your money. Buying an item of home gym kit can seem like a really good idea. It’ll provide a convenient alternative when you haven’t got time to go to the gym, allow you to squeeze in a few extra workouts into your busy schedule and give your training a real boost. In reality however, after an initial period of enthusiasm, you start using the kit less and less, it becomes a chore rather than a pleasure and it ends up either consigned to the garage or as a very expensive clothes dryer. This doesn’t have to be the case though and, with some forethought, it is possible to buy a piece of home gym kit that you will use and won’t just become an E-bay “item”. The first factors to consider are location and environment. One of the reasons you go to the gym to train is that it provides a conducive atmosphere, but too many people buy a piece of home gym kit and stick it in a cluttered back bedroom or a dingy garage. If your surroundings don’t inspire you, you’re unlikely to want to train in them. If you’re outlaying a considerable amount of money on a piece of kit put it somewhere decent. With this in mind, the appearance of the equipment is really important and must fit in with the space you’re putting it in. What might work in a contemporary urban



apartment is going to look totally out of place in somewhere with a more period feel. Look for a light and airy location, that you can control the temperature of and does not make you feel cramped. A friend of mine was looking to put a treadmill in an outbuilding and, although there was just enough head clearance, you would have felt decidedly cramped and it definitely would have impacted on workout enjoyment. Once you’ve found a suitable location then think about adding a fan and whether you’ll be able to set-up and see a TV screen or at least a stereo. Also, spare a thought for your neighbours and check that the noise levels of your kit won’t disturb them. Next, think about the item of kit you’re most likely to want to use. Everyone has their preferences and, if you enjoy doing something you’re more likely to do it on a regular basis. If you already run outside, there is very little point in getting treadmill. Similarly, if you hate using the exercise bike at the gym there’s no reason why you’ll suddenly be inspired to use one at home. Another stumbling block is that your home kit doesn’t live up to its commercial counterpart at the gym. Treadmills and cross trainers often fall foul of this and, unless you’re willing to part with a lot of

cash, is something to bear in mind. Finally, think of the type of workouts you’re going to do at home. Many people choose to do their long steady work at home but this sort of training tends to highlight any little niggles you might have about your kit or its location. The gym environment with its air-con, commercial quality kit and cardio-theatre is often a lot better for this type of training but, in my opinion, the great outdoors is best. You’re far better off doing short 20-30 minutes higher intensity workouts such as interval sets at home where the session is broken up and isn’t just a monotonous slog. Also, mix the workouts up and don’t just do the same thing every session. In this article I’ve looked at three treadmills, three bikes, three cross-trainers and three rowers. For each type of kit I’ve taken an example from the lower, middle and top end of the market to see just what you get for your money and how much you need to spend to get a good quality piece of kit. I haven’t trawled the very bottom end of the market though because I know that, when it comes to fitness equipment, cheap does mean nasty. The lowest priced pieces of equipment represent the very minimum I’d spend on that particular piece of kit. Before getting on with the reviews, a quick word about warranties. Especially with large mechanical items such as treadmills and cross-trainers look for a full parts and labour warranty covering at least 12 months but preferably lasting 3-5 years. Avoid like the plague “return to base” schemes as not only are you likely to get stung for transporting an 150kg piece of kit both ways but you’ll also be without your equipment for a large chunk of time.

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Treadmills I always play devil’s advocate when people ask me about getting a treadmill for home use and, more often than not, convince them that it’s not such a great idea. To get a decent one I wouldn’t spend less than a grand, they’re big and heavy, need a lot of space so as not to feel cramped and what’s wrong with running outside? However, if you do have the space, the money and really can’t deal with the British winter or running without MTV then here are three to think about.

LifeFitness T5-5 At just under £3000 this was the most expensive piece of kit on test and occupies the top end of home gym kit although you’d have to spend another 1-2K to get into commercial models. The first thing that strikes you is the quality of the build giving the feel of a commercial piece of kit that wouldn’t look out of place in a health club. The downside of this build quality is that it looks and is massive and would completely dominate all but the largest rooms. Appearance wise, a treadmill is never going to be pretty and the T5-5 looks ok but decidedly functional. LifeFitness have tried to jazz things up a bit with coloured clear plastic trim to the bottle holders but I felt this looked a bit cheap and dated. The controls and display were clear and intuitive and a full range of pre-set programmes were available. Once running the motor was quiet and even at full incline there was no feeling of instability. The deck felt supportive and well sprung but without being over cushioned or spongey. Although not sure about it when I first got on I really liked the additional handlebar controls and found them to be in exactly the right place for adjustments while running.


Bowflex 5 Series

£1299 With a price drop of almost £1600 a difference in quality was to be expected but it wasn’t as big as I’d initially thought. OK, the build quality isn’t as bombproof but it’s not at all bad. The slightly “space-age” design might not be to everyone’s tastes but its far from offensive. The controls and set-up took a bit of getting use to but, once up and running, out of the three treadmills on test the feel of the deck on the Bowflex was the one I liked best. Ramping up the speed and the incline it felt stable and the noise level was perfectly acceptable. All of the usual training programmes were available and it has the ability to fold-up for easier storage. The only thing that really niggled me was the amount of console space and the ugly appearance of the integrated fan. It might have been acceptable if it’d actually cooled me but, even on its maximum setting, it had no noticeable affect. Without it, the console could have been a lot sleeker and the treadmill possibly even better value for money.

Horizon Paragon 408 Another big price drop to below my usual £1000 threshold for a decent treadmill. I liked the styling of the machine and far from looking £450 cheaper than the Bowflex I preferred its more conventional appearance. Getting onto it, the console was clear, easy to operate and included eight pre-set programmes. Other pluses were the handle speed/incline controls and that it could be folded for storage. Starting it up though and the difference in price became apparent. It was far from shaky but did feel more flimsy than the other two machines on test. There was also an odd high-pitched whine that sounded like a rubbing belt but this may have just been a fault of that particular machine. Increasing the speed and the gradient the feeling of flimsiness was compounded and the bed felt too spongy for my liking.


Treadmill conclusion I still wouldn’t put a treadmill at the top of my home kit list but there is no doubt you do now get more for your money. For the occasional user the Horizon would be perfectly adequate and shows that considerable advances have been made at the lower end of the market. Unless you’re a super keen runner (but then wouldn’t you be running outdoors?), have a big budget and a lot of space then the LifeFitness is just too big and too pricey. The Bowflex, if you can live with the styling, represents excellent value for money and offers the added advantage of being folding.



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New Year

Fat Buster Instructional Photos: Ultra-Fit Images/Grant Pritchard

Too many mince pies and not enough time at the gym? Nik Cook shows you a do-it-all workout to melt away the Xmas pounds and kick start your New Year. With a plethora of rich food on offer, social engagements and family commitments the festive period can often leave you out of shape and low on motivation. Lots of people try to remedy this by starting a “New Year, New Me” type approach overhauling their entire life and setting long lists of resolutions. Such drastic changes are rarely sustainable and once the New Year zeal has worn off are often completely forgotten. The keys to making permanent lifestyle changes are to be realistic about them and to take one thing at a time. Many people tend to have an all or nothing mentality and so, making a goal of going to the gym every day is simply counterproductive as, if they miss one session, they usually end up binning it completely. Far better is to aim for 2-3 visits per week and to see anything extra as a bonus. Concentrate your efforts on changing one aspect of your life and routine and only move onto another area once the first has become a permanent habit. For

example if exercise is your priority, get into a regular routine with that before moving on to tackling your diet. Also, take the pressure off yourself a bit by not making it a New Year’s resolution. Aim to get into a 2-4 times per week exercise habit using the workout below and one pure aerobic session for the first six weeks of the year and then, once the habit is ingrained, you’ve made a dent into your waistline and upped your fitness, re-assess and fine tune your goals and training. Not only is this far more easy to get your head around keeping something up for 6 as opposed to 52 weeks but, from a conditioning point of view, breaking your training into blocks and shifting the focus keeps your body guessing and keeps getting you results. The routine described below is designed around simple familiar movements that will work through all of your body’s major muscle groups. Rather than doing repetitive sets of the same movement a variety are used to keep interest high and

to keep you moving. We work right through the rep range to tax all aspects of muscular fitness and use alternating upper and lower body movements to minimise the need for rest time and to keep a high overall cardiovascular effect. Finally, short sharp cardio blasts are dispersed through the workout to kick your heart rate up even higher and maximise the calorie burn. You should be aiming to complete the workout 2-3 times per week, allowing 48 hours between sessions. For your additional cardiovascular session the focus is long and steady to build base stamina and improve fat burning ability. You can run, use any piece of CV equipment or a combination to make up the time. The key is though to keep the pace steady and at a level of intensity where you’d be able to maintain a conversation. Aim to work for 40 minutes in the first week and add ten minutes each week so, by the sixth week, the session will last 90 minutes. UF

The Workout Warm-up. 10 minutes Cross Trainer. First 5 minutes at medium pace and resistance. Second five minutes keep resistance medium but alternate 30 seconds easy pace with 30 seconds sprinting. Dumbbell Press ..............x10 reps Dumbbell Squat ............x15 reps Press-ups............................x15-20 Jump Squat ............................x15 Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press ......................x10 6) Leg Extension ........................x15 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

CV 1. Rowing machine. 4x250m (1 minute recovery). Work hard but try and



pace efforts so performance does not drop significantly. 7) Lat Pull Down ................x10 reps 8) Dumbbell Lunge ....x10 (each leg) 9) Bent Over Row ......................x15 10) High Bench Dumbbell Step-ups ................x10 (each leg) 11) Upright Row ........................x15 12) Hamstring Curl ....................x15

CV 2. Exercise Bike. 5 minutes 0-1 medium resistance ..........80-90 rpm 1-2 medium resistance ............100 rpm 2-3 medium resistance ..........80-90 rpm

3-4 high resistance (out of saddle) ................50-70 rpm 4-5 high resistance (seated) ......50-70 rpm 13) Plank ....................30-60 seconds 14) Ball Crunch ..........................x20 15) Back Extensions ..................x20 Repeat 13-15 x2 CV 3. Treadmill 5 minutes. With the treadmill at a 1% elevation Start at a pace you find fast and then drop the pace by 1kph each minute so that by the last minute you should be at an easy jog. Stretch

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The Technique


Dumbbell Press Warm-up Cross Trainer


Lying on a bench, grasp one dumbbell in each hand, with palms facing forwards, elbows bent, dumbbells just to the side of your shoulders. Your elbows and shoulders should be in a straight line. Press the dumbbells straight up by straightening, but not hyperextending your arms at the elbow. The dumbbells should travel in a diagonal line so that when your arms are straight the ends of the dumbbells have come together. Focus on squeezing your pectorals at the top of the movement.

Dumbbell Squat Stand with feet shoulder width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Squat by bending your knees and sending your buttocks back as if sitting down onto a chair. Keep your weight back on your heels and try not to let your knees go in front of your toes. Ensure you keep your head up and maintain a flat back. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor and then return to the start position by straightening your legs but avoiding locking your knees.

Press-Up Standard press-up movement with hands shoulder width apart. Make sure you maintain a strong core throughout the movement and don’t cheat on depth. If necessary, complete the reps in good form by dropping your knees and going into a 3/4 movement.




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Gym Shoes By Andy Barber

Gone are the days where your only gym choice regardless of the workout you planned was an unresponsive, heavy, for-the-gym-only shoe. 82


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SHOE TEST Nowadays a large number of us planning our training sessions have very different requirements. That means while strength and stability are as important as ever we’re also looking for cushioned, flexible footwear that feels at home both on the stepper as well as on the treadmill for an hour as well as able to tackle multi directional activities such as circuit training. With this in mind, breathable, light and supportive are also categories you really need to consider when making your selection. But if getting the most out of your training session is what concerns you uppermost then a basic all-rounder shoe is not the only piece of kit you need to think about. They will do the job, to a very good level, for most workouts but lighter studio based workouts such as Pilates or dance really need a much more light and responsive shoe that mimics barefoot flexibility while providing some support

and cushioning that modern feet require! Key brands have recognised that and are constantly researching footwear that enables you to build strength in your feet.

lifting weights it is your feet providing the platform. Of course you can’t just wear the shoes, you also have to do the training... but you knew that!

Nowadays a large number of us planning our training sessions have very different requirements There are other shoes out there that also give you a close to barefoot feeling for exercise. It sounds like marketing talk, but there are shoes that exist that simply by wearing them you can you’re your feet become stronger and more mobile. Your feet are probably more important than you think as they deal with huge amounts of force and changes of direction in many forms of exercise and even if you are stood

Finally don’t forget the classic heavier cross training shoe we have come to love. These are now no longer as heavy and they too have a role to play in those multi directional type activities we mentioned at the start such as circuit training. For this type of exercise you’re looking for comfort, support and upper strength in the shoe. Classics have much to offer in this department, so fill your kit bag wisely!

The Shoes ASICS Gel Treadmill


This is a running shoe that has been designed specifically for treadmill use. Empirical evidence shows that on a treadmill your feet land slightly differently (possibly due to your perception that you are in a more confined area) and your biomechanics are also different as the belt drives itself backwards rather than you pushing off forwards in the same way as with outdoor running. This shoe takes that into account in the way the cushioning and support are set up. While supportive it ‘s really best to restrict its use to just the treadmill and to restrict the mileage you run in these shoes to no more than about 10 in any one go. For treadmill running it really is a comfortable and even has neat features such as added ventilation as heat build up can be greater on a treadmill due to friction.

£50 ASICS Gel 100 A long-standing favourite for gym-goers, this shoe copes with multidirectional forces during training, offering stability during weight sessions and cushioning and flexibility for cardio workouts. Good stability for multiple cross-lateral activities and plenty of cushioning if you are getting into higher impact training. While it is certainly not an out and out running shoe you are fine doing some running in it. The traction from the outsole opens up the possibility of some outside use, but could mean you find there is a bit too much ‘bite’ to it if you are constantly twisting and turning on a surface that already offers good traction.



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NEW SPORT There’s nothing like festive excess to drive scores of people to gyms nationwide as the New Year kicks in. But it’s no secret that after the initial surge of enthusiasm, gym memberships soon plummet come February, so why not use the New Year to get into a sport that’s so addictive you’ll never want to quit? Emma-Kate Lidbury introduces you to triathlon, the country’s fastest growing sport...



To spectators, the sport of triathlon might seem more than a little odd: seemingly sane people swim in chilly lakes clad only in neoprene before cycling and running around in lycra. How could such a sport be addictive and why would anyone want to put themselves through it time and again? Strange as it may seem, thousands of people leap at the chance with participation numbers rising rapidly and the UK’s biggest events selling out within days. So what’s the big attraction?

Fun and friendly Triathlon is one of the most inclusive sports around and much of its popularity lies in the fact it’s all about your own personal challenge. Although everyone begins at the start line together, most events are focused on having fun, achieving your own goals and savouring the sense of satisfaction which comes

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TRIATHLON which case, keep reading because training for triathlon will be easier than you think and brings huge health and fitness benefits. Regardless of your background or motivation, the triathlon world will welcome you.

How it works A triathlon begins with participants assembling in the water (a swimming pool or lake/river) and gets under way with the swim. The clock keeps ticking throughout both transitions (the first, from swim to bike, is known as T1, while

Getting Started

The order always remains the same – swim, bike, run – but the distances on offer are as different as the people who do them

For the newcomers among you, there are some key pieces of kit and equipment you will need in order to train for and complete a triathlon. Here’s a discipline-by-discipline guide:

SWIM Swimsuit, hat and goggles. If you plan to do an open water race, you will need a wetsuit, which can be hired for a season or bought.

BIKE the second, from bike to run, is known as T2) until competitors cross the line having completed all three sports back to back. The order always remains the same – swim, bike, run – but the distances on offer are as different as the people who do them.

Going the distance

from crossing the finish line. Although it can be as competitive as you wish to make it, most people are racing themselves or the clock, which makes for a great atmosphere at events and a terrific camaraderie among participants.

Open to all People taking part in triathlons are all abilities and ages, in fact, it’s not uncommon to see pensioners participating. You could be someone who used to play a lot of sport and want to find a new challenge, especially if you have previously grown bored of training for a single sport or if you’ve suffered with injuries. This is far less likely to happen with triathlon as you have three very different disciplines to focus upon which place different demands on your body. Alternatively, you might be trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and lose weight – in

One of the most famous is the muchtalked about Ironman, which involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride followed by a marathon. While some people have been known to undertake this mammoth physical test as their first triathlon, it is not recommended and is far more advisable to ease yourself into the sport gently. The standard distance (or Olympic distance) event involves a 1500m swim, a 40km bike and a 10km run. Novices can attempt an Olympic as their first triathlon, but it is more common to see first timers opting for supersprints or sprints which, depending on the race organiser, will involve a swim of 400-750m, a 15-20km bike and a 3-5km run. One of the most popular races is the Eton Supersprint, held at Dorney Lake, in May (see for more details). The 400m swim takes place in the rowing lake while the 20km bike and 5km run are set on traffic-free roads around the water. Training for an event of this distance can be slotted into a busy daily routine without making huge sacrifices to other aspects of your life and you will soon notice the physical and psychological benefits. Working towards such a tangible

A bike – it doesn’t need to be state-ofthe-art for your first race. A mountain bike is plenty good enough if you don’t have a road bike. The bike’s fit/set-up and the amount of cycling you do ahead of the race are more important than the steed you ride (see separate boxout on bike set-up). Bike helmet – you won’t be able to race without one and it is far safer to train in a helmet. Cycling shorts – these have padding which will make bike rides much more comfortable. Women’s specific cycling shorts are also available and highly recommended for optimum comfort and fit.

RUN Running shoes – go to a good running store and seek professional advice on which shoes are best for your running style. Try plenty of different brands until you find the pair that is right for you. Heart rate monitor – using a heart rate monitor will allow you to know just how hard your body is working and you’ll be able to see whether your training is working. There are some expensive, complex heart rate monitors on the market. Don’t overcomplicate things – all you need is a monitor that displays a continuous heart rate. Trisuit – although not absolutely essential, a trisuit is an all-in-one lycra suit which can be worn for all three disciplines throughout a triathlon so saves time and hassle in transition.



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Profile for Mat Harding

Ultra fit magazine 19-1  

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Ultra fit magazine 19-1  

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