SupaChick

*GUEST BLOG* – Matthew Wallden: The benefits of wearing Vibram FiveFingers

Matthew Wallden is the Founder and Managing Director at Primal Lifestyle Ltd and the sole distributor of Vibram FiveFingers in the UK. Today he has joined us here on SupaChick to discuss the fantastic benefits of wearing Vibram Fivefingers during exercise…ENJOY!

Have you ever wondered what those shoes are that you often see at the gym which look like foot gloves are for?  How is it that people can run in little more than a  strip of rubber contoured to their sole?  Surely there has to be a reason all the fitness professionals seem to be wearing them?  Why the Special Forces are using them, and why many elite sports teams from Premiership football, rugby and cricket, to International sprinters and World Championship Ironmen using them?

The story behind the Vibram Fivefingers footwear is an unusual one; where the product was designed by a young lumberjack who simply enjoyed the sensation of walking the mountain trails barefoot, but found it a little treacherous and uncomfortable.  He reasoned that if he could develop a shoe that just acted like a second skin, it would offer a little additional grip and make the sensation just perfect.  Little did he (or Vibram, the eventual manufacturers) know that as soon as their product was launched to market, that it would be the consumer to tell them what the shoe was good for.

Within months of launch, Vibram were inundated with communications from runners and from fitness professionals explaining how great their product was for conditioning.  The rationale?  For many years runners at the elite level have used barefoot running as a staple component of their training to keep their feet strong, prevent injury and optimise technique.  Unfortunately for most of us “not quite elite” runners, access to smooth debris free running tracks can be limited, so the option to run barefoot poses a series of other challenges.  In the fitness world the notion of “functional training” has been the core focus of the last 15 years; finding ways to strengthen the entire kinetic chain from neck to toe… The issue being that, for some strange reason, we have been under the impression from sports shoe manufacturers that the only part of our body that is not able to support itself is the foot…

The foot, just like any other part of the body, only gets weaker if you support it.  If you allow the foot to work (under sensible loading levels) then it will get strong – in exactly the same way that if you work your biceps under sensible loading levels they, too, will get stronger.  However, if you pick weights that are too heavy or you do not allow yourself enough time to recover and repair, you can eventually damage or injure your biceps; as any training is essentially a form of intelligent and controlled damage and repair. The same is true of the foot.  Ramp up the mileage too quickly in a pair of Vibram Fivefingers or barefoot, and you might find your foot or Achilles getting sore… but rest it and it will recover and get stronger.  If you keep pushing through the pain, this is where injury can occur.  Counterintuitively, though, research shows that running barefoot with good technique actually halves the loads going through the body compared to running in a cushioned shoe!

If you are going barefoot or using Vibram Fivefingers in the gym environment for more functional training the transition is typically quicker and smoother (as when you run you have multiples of bodyweight going through one foot at a time with every step), but you still need to take it easy in the first few weeks and allow up to a few months for full adaptation if your training is heavy and intensive.  Power generation starts at the foot in almost all sports and activities of daily living, so you need to ensure that you don’t “stumble at the first block” by having a weak foot.

So, if you want to train like the elites, to ensure your are strong, stable and able to transfer power from the ground upward into your body, to run with optimal technique and minimise injury through strengthening the foot and minimising impact, there’s no better time to start barefoot or minimalist conditioning.

Why not CLICK HERE to purchase either the 4 week, 8 week or 12 week SupaChick Fitness Programmes available on the SupaChick shop, and try out these workouts wearing a pair of Vibram Fivefingers to feel the amazing benefits of barefoot training today!

Matthew Wallden

www.primallifestyle.com

@PrimalLifestyle (Twitter)

/primal-lifestyle (Facebook)

SupaChick

SupaChick Online Fitness Programmes – what are they, how do they work and what’s so great about them?

Let me break it down for you so that you understand where the idea behind SupaChick and it’s Online Fitness Programming came from and what exactly the exercise cycles are…

My Qualifications:

  • Registered Exercise Professional – Advanced Personal Trainer
  • Registered Exercise Professional – Group Exercise Instructor
  • Nutritionist
  • Les Mills Body Pump Instructor
  • Les Mills RPM Instructor
  • Les Mills Body Balance Instructor
  • Circuits/ Bootcamp/ HIIT Instructor
  • Group Cycle/ Freestyle Spin Instructor
  • Kettlebell Trainer
  • TRX Trainer
  • ViPR Trainer
  • Masters of Arts (M.A) in Business and Management

The idea behind SupaChick

I came up with the concept of SupaChick because throughout the last 8 years of being a qualified personal trainer and working in senior positions for major fitness business’, I have been asked for advice from fellow “SupaChicks” on how to get fitter, look and feel good or generally look after themselves better.

My day to day job gave me insight into many sectors including the latest innovations and women’s fitness market, but I always maintained a hands on approach with personal training face to face and online through various channels.  The results I gained with clients were amazing and the formula I used has been proven time and time again – this had to be shared outside of my client base and so I chose to develop…SupaChick!!

My online training programmes together with my weekly blog forms the SupaChick website that now provides a hub for all female fitness, health and lifestyle needs!

What are SupaChick’s Online Fitness Programmes?

SupaChick’s Online Fitness Programming is powered by Bodireel – the next generation application for a healthier lifestyle. The app is an innovative fitness training platform, scientifically focused and perfectly designed to get you results – it is the tool of choice for training and managing the lifestyle of SupaChick’s online clients.

Bodireel enables SupaChick to send tailored programmes via an easy to use app on your mobile phone device (or laptop) in the form of 3D animated movement videos showing you how to perform the relevant exercises in the workouts (as shown in the image for this blog). SupaChick programs the app to tell you exactly how many repetitions, time, rest periods and sets to do, as well as recommended weight selection based on your level of fitness for each exercise. In addition to the programming element of the app, you can also to track your metrics and organise your SupaChick programmes in your personal diary and it allows Supahick to analyse your data and monitor your progress.

SupaChick Online Fitness Programming – Cycles 1, 2 and 3

 

The SupaChick Online Fitness programming comprises of 3 x 4 week cycles – Kick Start; Change; Sculpt and Define. You can opt to purchase all 3 cycles up front: “SupaChick Complete Bundle” (20% less costly than buying the packages separately) – here you will complete all 12 weeks of training (recommended to see best results). Or you can purchase the Kick Start package, see how you get on and then decide whether you want to continue following the initial 4 weeks…I can pretty much guarantee you will 😉

Cycle 1: SupaChick Kick Start (Weeks 1 -4) – The starting point of your SupaChick journey, where we will work together to establish your goals and ensure you are on the right path to achieve results. The structure of your initial 4 weeks is 2 days on (exercise) 1 day off (complete rest or recovery session).

Cycle 2: SupaChick Change (Weeks 5 -8) – Your 4 week foundation is set and it is now time to take your training to the next level and create significant change to your body and lifestyle. The structure of these 4 weeks is 3 days on (exercise) 1 day off (complete rest or recovery session).

Cycle 3: SupaChick Sculpt and Define (Weeks 9-12) – Finish off your masterpiece with the final phase of your SupaChick fitness journey. Your body will be well and truly in the phase of change and now it is about refining your fitness routine to tweak and fine tune your body and mind. The structure of the final 4 weeks may vary depending on you as an individual but is likely to be 4 days on (exercise) 1 day off (complete rest or recovery session).

1-2-1 Skype Consultations – In addition to the SupaChick programming via the Bodireel app, there is the option to purchase 30 minute Skype call time if you are struggling to find motivation, unsure about elements of your workout or perhaps just have some general health and wellbeing questions.

I hope this gives you a good understanding of what the SupaChick programmes entail and I look forward to working with you in the near future to help you achieve your goals and become a SupaChick 😉

BE FIT, BE WELL, BE SUPA!

SupaChick x

Cardio – should it be a regular requirement in your exercise routine?

Most SupaChicks know that we should try and work out no less than three days a week in order to reach our goals, but what you might be wondering is how important cardio training is to your weekly workout routine? Not just that, but you might want to know what workouts qualify as cardio?

What The Heck Is Cardio Training?

Cardio training refers to any physical activity that increases your heart rate by a moderate level. Increasing your heart rate is essential for working out an often forgotten muscle—your heart. Working out your heart will help to improve blood circulation, which is essential for setting off a chain reaction of positive health benefits!

To ensure that your workouts are balanced, cardio should be mixed in with strength training and holistic wellness sessions (yoga, meditation, stretching, massage etc.) The result of this balanced exercise schedule is a body that is Supa fit and Supa fabulous!

The Great Thing About Cardio

One of the many great things about cardio is that if you already participate in any form of fitness or extracurricular sports, the odds are that you are already getting in your required cardio training. While running, aerobic fitness classes, and cycling are some of the most common “cardio” activities, brisk walking, light weight HIIT, dancing and many yoga fusion classes provide you with the cardio benefits you require.

Cardio facts:

  1. If your goal is to lose weight, 45 minutes of moderate cardio 4 to 6 days a week is essential. For maintenance and general cardio health, 20 to 30 minutes of moderate cardio is required 4 to 6 days a week. By “moderate” that means you need not overexert yourself, but that your heart rate increase should be notable.
  2. Cardio training not only exercises your heart rate, but also reduces your risk of many major health concerns—including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
  3. Cardio training will make you feel good! This includes increasing metabolism and  increasing your body’s production of mood-boosting endorphins – click here to read more from live strong.com.

SupaTips:

  1. Cardio training refers to any physical activity that increases your heart rate by a moderate level.
  2. To ensure your body is Supa fit and Supa fabulous, your workouts should be balanced – combining cardio, weight training and holistic sessions – this is the training structure SupaChick’s online programming follows.
  3.  Cardio training increases your metabolism as well as giving you the “feel good” factor as it releases positive mood-boosting endorphins!
  4. Last but not least, the key to any successful workout routine is to find fitness solutions you enjoy.

Why not CLICK HERE to purchase either the 4 week, 8 week or 12 week SupaChick Fitness Programmes available on the SupaChick shop. Throughout the programme cycles there are designated cardio days, alongside weight sessions and holistic wellness sessions such as yoga and stretching…and of course  you are encouraged to have fun whilst you are doing it 😉

BE FIT, BE WELL, BE SUPA!

SupaChick X

The only “bad workout” is the workout you missed…is this always the case?

Time and time again I see fitness fanatics put up posts such as “the only bad workout is the workout you missed” or “rule number 1: never skip a work out,” but is this necessarily true?

Don’t get me wrong, doing something is usually better than doing nothing. However, there is an exception to this rule…it is possible for your body to be so run down that an extra workout or over exertion can be detrimental to your health and fitness journey. The main rule of thumb is “listen to your body”. If you are feeling fatigued or ill, the best option is to rest, recover, recharge the batteries and come back feeling healthier and stronger!

I am a true advocate that exercise is key to enhancing your quality of life, as not only does it release positive endorphins, you feel healthier and stronger through physical activity…so “move” if it feels right!

The best advice I can give anyone looking to improve their health and fitness is to plan ahead where possible and listen to your body. I’m all for following an exercise routine and monitoring your progress, but I am also a big believer in planned weekly rest days as well as unplanned “needed” rest days when your body tells you to do so. Plan your week, fortnight, month training routine so that your health and fitness goals are in sync with real life and are achievable…Good luck, and remember LISTEN!

SupaTips:

  1. “Move” if it feels right.
  2. Plan your health and fitness regime ahead.
  3. Monitor your progress.

Why not CLICK HERE to purchase either the 4 week, 8 week or 12 week SupaChick Fitness Programmes available on the SupaChick shop, and allow me to provide you with a monthly exercise routine that is structured enough to reach your goals but flexible enough to allow you to have a perfect “work hard, play hard” balance ;).

BE FIT, BE WELL, BE SUPA!

SupaChick x

SupaChick

*GUEST BLOG* – Michael Watts: The benefits of TRX Suspension Training for Women

Michael Watts is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for England Women’s football and is also a Nike training ambassador – offering consultancy and support to Nike Training online content and practical delivery. Today he has written a piece for SupaChick on The Benefits of TRX Suspension Training for Women…ENJOY!

Suspension training has been reported to be an effective form of body weight exercise, which allows loading and unloading of movements, on stable and unstable surfaces in a variety of different planes of motion. This makes the modality of suspension training suitable for anyone of varying abilities from the first time gym goer all the way up to the professional athlete.

TRX suspension training can be an effective method of training and there is evidence to support its role in the reduction of injuries and increase of performance (Bettendorf, 2010). TRX suspension training can not only help you stay injury free but if your training for an event such as a 10k run the benefits could also help increase your performance.

If it’s a more aerobic workout your looking for, combine a number of different exercises to get the heart rate up and create yourself not only a strength workout but also a metabolic workout.

Exercise programs that incorporate instability exercises can be effective in reducing the risk of lower and upper limb injuries, including lowering the risk of acute knee and ankle injuries (Hubscher et al, 2010).  The female athlete is more prone to knee valgus type injuries so the ability to reduce this risk in a modality of training which is controlled and challenging is essential.

So what is TRX suspension training and how does it work? 

A single anchor point generally supports the users hands or feet while the opposite end of the body is in contact with the ground. Muscular strength, endurance, metabolic conditioning, core stability, balance and flexibility are all areas, which can be worked on using the TRX suspension trainer.

TRX suspension training exercises are predominately closed chain kinetic exercises, these type of exercises result in greater joint stability and decreased shear forces through increased muscular co-contraction/co-activation compared to open kinetic chain exercises (Kibler and Livingston, 2001).

TRX suspension training system can be used to condition the core muscles, the upper and lower body and even flexibility exercises. The versatility of the system allows the TRX to be used in a 360 degree environment.

The fact that all TRX exercises activate the core also make this an excellent choice as you get more bang for your buck! This allows you to save time during your workout and everyone wants a strong core – thats a given!

Why not CLICK HERE to purchase either the 4 week, 8 week or 12 week SupaChick Fitness Programmes available on the SupaChick shop, and try out a number of TRX moves for yourself!

Michael Watts

@MCW_fitness (Twitter)

michaelcharleswatts (instagram)