Muscle recovery

I went to my first Body Pump TM class on Thursday, and although I am a strong, active 30-something year old, warmed up/ cooled down properly, and was sensible about what weights I used, I am still feeling it! 

A quick Google search comes up with 5 top tips to aid muscle repair:

  • Warm up and cool down properly
  • Hydrate (water is found in highest concentrations in active tissue like muscle. Water helps transport waste out of the body, and helps lubricate our joints too!) 
  • Rest (as well as having a rest day which is an important part of our training programs, sleep is vital as this is when the body repairs itself. You probably know that muscles grow because when we work them, they get microscopic tears. Our amazing bodies fix these tears while you sleep.)
  • Stretch -yoga, swimming, a soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil
  • Refuel- yes you need protein to repair muscles, but did you realise carbs are important to? It seems obvious: carbohydrates are the body’s energy store. However we are under pressure today to “cut the carbs”, go for the “skinny” option, etc. Research shows that some specific foods may be beneficial: blueberries, cherries, pomegranates, acai, cranberries and ginger have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Well for me I’m struggling to get 8 hours of sleep per night so I think that has something to do with the reason my arms still feel sore and heavy 3 days later. I’m going to make a nice antioxidant smoothie, and maybe I’ll go for a swim later!

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Top 5 free Fitness apps

1. MyFitnessPal


I’ve set a target weight and #MyFitnessPal advises a limited callorie intake. In addition, it lets me know if a food I’ve eaten contains a lot of a certain macronutrient (Vitamin a? Excellent! Sugar? Hmm maybe just the one then!) It’s been the most useful #portioncontrol tool, encouraging me to check the labels on what I buy, seek healthier alternatives, and cook #fresh more often.

2. Fitbit

I’ve already talked about how addicted I am to my #Fitbit in my post about #ViPR (here). I love the fact that it connects easily to other apps such as MyFitnessPal and #Bounts, reducing the amount of data input needed. It gives a good overview of general health including sleep, weight, hydration, nutrition and movement. I’m always motivated to move more by the challenges which I play against my work colleagues!

3. #David Lloyd


My club’s app is slick and easy to use. It allows me to browse, book and cancel classes (my workout staple) at the touch of a button.

4. #Nike+running 

I tried this out for the first time this week. There are some great features, like the ability to map your run and receive kilometre notifications as you go, and connect to a #spotify playlist. However I soon discovered that I was out of range for wifi needed for the pace-keeping playlist, so switched to one I’d previously downloaded. The problem was that every time I got a Km notification, it paused Spotify, and when I tried to resume Spotify it paused my Nikerun app! Combined with the inelegant battle with earphone wires and phone-holding armband, it all resulted in a bit of a faff. There must be a better way!

5. #Sworkit

This one might well become my go-to for rest days. So far I tried a 5 minute stretch (static stretches, better suited for cool down than warm up, unfortunately) and a 20 minute #yoga session. The yoga doesn’t flow terribly well (corpse pose to mountain pose in 0 seconds?) and the instructions would benefit from being delivered in more of a calm, explanatory yogi way. However the videos are good so you can perform the moves with a degree of confidence.

Review of UA underwear

I’ve not found sports-specialist underwear for women very easy to find. There seems to be a lack of understanding about why ladies need performance kit and I hope that more brands start paying attention and providing us with a greater range of cheaper products.

Unlike the boys, we don’t need any support in this area 😉 but I do expect my underwear to stay in place, not chafe, and not to show through my Lycra yoga pants. 

And on a busy day when I do loads of classes, I’d like to stay fresh, if you know what I mean! I started my search in earnest after a particularly embarrassing patch of sweat stopped me enjoying my workout a few weeks ago. 

I found a few designs online (mainly American) but wasn’t thrilled with the hefty price tag. I work out almost every day and the price of this most basic aspect of my outfit was soon going to stack up. 

I came across these UA briefs in the Fitco store in my gym, after screwing up my courage and asking the guy behind the counter. Inconspicuously packaged, I’d never have spotted them otherwise! 

I was dubious about the “one size fits all” label, but decided to give them a go especially as I’m now a size 10. I don’t know how well they would work for other people, but they fit me pretty well, stay in place, and I have no complaints about pantylines. Even better, they performed perfectly on my busiest day of classes, wicking sweat so I could avoid that nasty sticky feeling. 

Pleased with the trial run, I’m going back to get more, as Fitco currently has them marked down by 40%. I wouldn’t be too happy if I had to pay the £10 RRP but even that is cheaper than the brands I originally saw online.

Coconut energy balls

Saturday mornings are my favourite. I do four of my favourite classes at the gym, back to back. My body does need refuelling though, and I’ve taken to making some natural raw sweets to take along as they are really convenient- lots of power in a bite, and no smelly banana skin to dispose of.

You can buy ready made energy balls like Bounce, but they are also pretty simple to make (and a lot cheaper!) I wrap them up in a bit of greaseproof paper, and pop one in my gym bag when I know I’m going to be in need of a pick-me-up. They seem to last ages (like, several weeks!) in the fridge without spoiling. They can also be frozen.

Here’s my recipe: (makes 12)

  • 1/3 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 cup oats
  • 10 dates
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

I don’t have a food processor so I used my #nutribullet to powder the nuts and oats. I used a mini chopper to process the dates and coconut oil, then added the rest of the ingredients. I added a dribble of water to make the mixture come together. 

When I got the right consistency, I rolled the mixture into small, bite-size balls in my hands before finishing by rolling in a further 1/4 cup coconut. I put them in a airtight container in the fridge to set.

Nutritional* information:

I was pleased to discover that my recipe is lower calorie than the shop bought versions. They also contain some beneficial macronutrients which I struggle to get enough of in my diet.

Per 1 ball:

  • Calories 141
  • Fat 4.4g
  • Potassium 217mg
  • Fibre 3.3g
  • Protein 2.9g
  • Calcium 2.1 % RDA
  • Iron 5.3% RDA

*according to MyFitnessPal

ViPR

 I’ve been loving the newest class at my gym, ViPR. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should! Pronounced “viper”, the letters are an acronym for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning. 

What does it involve?

It’s a pretty basic piece of equipment, a rubber tube with a series of handholds. They are available in different weights. 

Ok, tell me more.

The class I go to is just 30 minutes long, and – set to an awesome soundtrack – you perform a series of playful moves (squats, jump jacks, upper cuts, sit-ups, lunges…) all of which are loaded with strength training. 

This is perfect for me as I find static weights very dull and often skip them prefering a cardio class which flows. The fun choreographed sequence is a challenge, gets me sweating and gave this blog it’s name – Legs On Fire (in a really good way!)

So, what’s the big deal? 

I’ve been using my Fitbit to track my workouts. Here’s today’s class data:   

  
Now here’s the really interesting bit. On Saturday I did 2 classes back to back. Look at how the heart rate time bar changes after the first class: 

  
I’d love to understand more about how the exercise affects my body. 
Heading picture courtesy of https://www.finishfit.com/

My favourite green juice recipe

There are tons of juice recipes out there. Sometimes I find some of them too bland, bitter, or (even worse) fibrous for my taste, or I haven’t got all the right ingredients. This one’s great since I’ve pretty much always got the ingredients in my cupboard or fridge, and it tastes amazing! You get an unusual, grassy (though very pleasant) taste from the parsley.

Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and keep cravings at bay, whilst the combination of vitamins derived from the other ingredients are excellent for your complexion and immune system.

  
Add the ingredients to your juicer and blitz with water:

  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • 1 handful parsley (stalks and all)
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 Apple (core removed)
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 small handful blueberries
  • A knob of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional- this adds a bit of protein, and apparently can help cleanse the blood)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

  

Zumba music

I love to work out to music. These tracks make me feel really happy, motivated, energised and sexy! Here’s the current playlist:

  • Sigala- Sweet Lovin’
  • Favourite Star – Dance Again
  • Priyanka Chopra – Exotic
  • Pitbull – Wild Wild Love
  • Don Omar ft. Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro
  • Gente De Zona – La Gozadera
  • Daddy Yanke – Ven Conmigo
  • Miami Hermano DJs – Que Viva la Vida
  • Zumba Fitness – Ya No Puedo Mas
  • Machel Montano – Remedy
  • Logobi GT – Un bail ke yes!
  • Yandel – Plakito
  • Jay Santos – Dale Morena
  • Machel Montano – Ministry of Road (M.O.R)
  • P-Square – Shekini
  • OneRepublic – Good Life

What are your favourites?

 

image courtesy of http://www.someecards.com