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How Can a Running Buddy Help You?

There are three ways a Running Buddy can help you; whether you are new to running, looking to improve your speed or endurance, or you just want to explore new routes.

For new runners, the first few runs can be the hardest, both physically and mentally. Not knowing what is a sensible pace to run at, can often mean starting too fast and then having to stop quite quickly. This then affects your enjoyment and can often lead to people giving up within the first few runs as it is ‘too hard’.

Having me run with you, or run/walk for the first few sessions, I can keep you at a pace that means that you will be able to go further than you would if you were to go out alone. This will then build your knowledge and confidence so that you can get out alone and progress without the fear of going off too fast and having to stop at the end of the road.

Most people know how to get fitter and faster; it is just when it comes down to doing that interval session or hard tempo run, you just cannot muster the motivation to do it alone. Or, like a lot of runners that train alone, you will do the session but you know you are not quite pushing hard enough. Sound familiar? This is where I can help you with my Running Buddy sessions.

I will keep you company through those hard runs that you do not like doing alone, in order for you to hit your required paces, improving your speed and endurance. I will run alongside you at your required pace, providing the motivation and company for you to get the session done to its full potential.

Alternatively, now that summer is here, would you like to be able to run in areas where you would not feel safe running on your own? I can run with you on routes that you wouldn’t usually do alone due to safety concerns (canal towpaths, fields, evening runs, etc) or I can guide you on new routes or in areas you haven’t ran before.

Running Buddy sessions are available to runners of all abilities, whether it is for the first few runs you have ever done, or if you are a good club runner looking to improve.

With all block bookings of Running Buddy sessions, you will also get a personalised training plan (if you want one) so that you can continue to exercise and improve which I am not with you. You will also get a spreadsheet of exercises that benefit runners and help to reduce injury.

So, if you need that little bit of extra motivation or help with your running, please get in touch.

 

Do you want a personalised training plan or a Running Buddy?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Martin Hulbert

Personal Trainer & Running Coach Leicestershire

Why Resistance Training is Good For Fat Loss

As a Personal Trainer, resistance training is the part of weight-loss that I have to explain to people the most. Many people believe that eating less and increasing cardio exercising is the only way to lose weight. This is only half right.

Eating less, or ‘improving your nutritional habits’ as I prefer to say, is certainly beneficial to losing weight. Burning calories doing cardio training is also very important and I’m not telling anyone to neglect this. In fact, anyone who knows me will know how much I love cardio exercising. However, this is only part of the weight-loss story (and more importantly fat loss).

Resistance training should always be an important part of your exercise programme but is the one that often gets overlooked. The reason for this? The benefits of eating healthily and burning calories through cardio training are often published in the media, but resistance training is not so readily understood or written about.

So, if you are new to the concept of resistance training, it is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against a resistance. This can be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, or your own body weight as the resistance. It is also known as weight-training.

This, over time will increase the mass of any given muscle. This allows you to influence your metabolic rate. Many people are aware of metabolic rate and have some understanding of what it means, but may not truly understand what it refers to and how it is such a key factor in weight-loss training.

It’s a relatively easy concept to understand. Your metabolic rate is the level at which you burn calories. The good news, you can improve your metabolic rate so that you burn calories more efficiently. How? Resistance training, of course.

As previously mentioned, resistance training builds lean muscle mass, (importantly, we’re talking muscle mass, not muscle size), i.e. dense, lean muscle. Don’t panic, you are not going to bulk up as you need to eat more calories than you burn. So why build muscle mass? Simple, because muscle burns more calories than fat. Therefore, the more muscle we have the better our metabolic rate and thus the more calories we are burning.

The good news doesn’t end there. Muscles don’t just burn calories when you’re training; calories are being burnt 24 hours a day, seven days a week; so every bit of muscle gained increases the rate at which you’re burning calories around the clock!

Therefore, the conclusion is simple, if you want to lose weight, you need to improve your eating habits, do your cardio training, but also make yourself a more efficient calorie burning machine by incorporating resistance training into your training programme.

All of my Personal Training programmes include resistance training, as do all of my online training plans. My Running Buddy sessions and running training plans also include resistance exercises to make you stronger and leaner.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Should I Do a Cool-Down After a Run & Why Do I Feel Dizzy After Racing?

The short answer to both of these questions is yes, you should do a cool-down. Cooling down after a hard session, race or realistically, any exercise, helps with the recovery process. It allows your body to get back to, or certainly closer to, it’s normal resting state more gradually instead of finishing quickly and then suddenly stopping. This will keep the blood circulating with the lower intensity finish and help to clear the metabolic waste products of exercise (lactic acid, etc). It also prevents the pooling of blood in the legs because your blood pressure is allowed to return back to normal and your veins can constrict.

Have you ever finished a race really fast, stopped after the finish line and suddenly felt dizzy? This is due to the sudden lack of muscle action when you stop suddenly. This is why keeping walking, or a slow jog is more beneficial and will help the blood return to the heart.

Here’s the science:

As you run, blood vessels dilate, muscles contract and the heart pumps faster in order to meet the energy demand of running. In addition to providing movement, these muscle contractions also serve to pump blood back to the heart, assisting with the venous return of blood flow. This pumping cycle helps meet the increased oxygen demand running requires. 

 When you cross the finish line and stop, the heart loses the pumping assistance of these muscles. With blood vessels dilated and no return pumping action, blood quickly pools in your extremities, causing your blood pressure to drop.

 Also, your race effort typically means a faster run pace than a training run, and this increased intensity means a higher heart rate and an increase in sweating. Race effort also may mean a lower fluid intake during the race as you speed through water stations, pushing for a PB. This minimal fluid intake combined with heavy sweating results in lower blood volume, which means lower blood pressure.

 It’s best to keep moving after crossing the finish line. Keep walking if possible, and, if not, pick up your legs like you are marching on the spot for several minutes. You can also contract your upper-body muscles by clenching your fists, or pressing the palms of your hands together.

Pick up water and a sports drink if possible at the finish and start drinking immediately to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Also, wearing compression socks can assist with venous return to the heart, so you may want to consider giving them a try, even if you put them on after you finish.

 If you do feel faint or dizzy, lie down immediately and elevate your legs. This helps the blood flow back towards your heart.

 

In my running training plans I always advocate at least half a mile (usually a mile or more) of easier intensity running to finish a session. In my one-to-one or group training sessions I will always incorporate a cooldown to ensure everyone leaves the session feeling great. All sessions also finish with some stretching.

Not only will this stave off blood-pooling, it will also make you feel better immediately (you don’t want to be hobbling around all day) but it will also help to stave off the dreaded DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). You know; the stiffness that appears the next morning and lasts for the following two to three days.

Remember, finish a training session with the next one in mind. Preparation for the next session always begins towards the end of the current one. Keep this in mind and you will be able to train more consistently, meaning you will get fitter, faster and healthier quicker than if you have to stop exercising while you recover from your last workout.

 

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

How to Start Running

Running; almost anyone can do it and at this time of year is the perfect time to start.

The weather is getting better (in general), it is free once you have the right pair of trainers and you can do it virtually anywhere. What could be better? Running is excellent for improving your mental wellbeing and is great for your physical health.

While experienced runners are happy to go out and run, people new to running can find their first few runs quite intimidating and stressful. It doesn’t need to be that way. Follow my tips to help you get out there for the first few times, make it a habit and soon running will feel like second nature.

 

Slow Down

One of the main reasons people give up within the first couple of weeks of running is that they start too fast. Whatever running ability you have, if you start too fast you will not be able to sustain it, it starts to hurt and you have to slow down or stop. This doesn’t mean you are a bad runner; it just means you need to slow down.

Start with walking as a warm-up, then progress to a pace that is too fast to walk but where you can still hold a conversation, or, if you are alone sing to yourself.

 

Walk before you have to

If you start too quickly you will have to stop and walk. You may then find it a struggle to get going again. The best way to do it is to have a plan in mind before you start (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k-plan.aspx is a good plan for beginners to follow). Aim to run for 60 seconds and then walk for 60-90 seconds to recover during the first week. Think of it as an interval session, much like the sessions the Olympic athletes do in training, just at a slower pace.

 

Be Patient

Everyone wants to be able to do things straight away. With running, unless you are a freak of nature, you have to start small and build up. Starting off running too fast or going too far can lead to injury, which will then force you to stop. Slowly increase the time you spend running and reduce the time you spend walking and in a few weeks you will be running for the whole duration.

 

Get kitted out

Unlike most sports, you don’t need loads of expensive kit to go for a run. However, the one piece of kit you do need is a pair of running trainers. It is worth visiting a local running or sports shop that have an expert who will be able to guide you in the right direction. Don’t feel intimidated, with the current boom in people taking up running they are more than used to having new runners asking questions. The rest of your kit is whatever you feel comfortable running in.

 

Running buddy

As a new runner, those first steps out of the door can feel like a challenge. Try to get a friend to join you for moral support and use it as a good time to have a gossip. Remember that if you can talk while running you are going at a sensible pace.

If you haven’t got a friend that can help you, please get in touch. This is the reason I started my Running Buddy service, to help people who need some moral support, guidance and advice to help them get out running and improve.

Once you are confident in running, think about taking the plunge and joining a local running club. Most clubs have a beginners section and then groups of all abilities. Most clubs have a great social side and everyone is really friendly. We all remember that we were once new to running so people are always happy to provide help, advice and support.

Running with another person, or group, means that you are less likely to quit as you then become accountable (in a good way) to the arrangements you have made. It also helps when there is more than one person wearing lycra!

 

Social media

The internet is also a great place to find like-minded runners in your area. On Twitter there is an online group called UkRunChat (@ukrunchat or use the hashtag #ukrunchat). There are runners of all abilities happy to provide answers to any questions you have and also to find runners in your area.

 

Have a goal

Once you are happy that you can now a runner (in my mind there are no joggers – if you are not walking you are running) you can look at setting yourself a goal. One that I would recommend is doing a local parkrun (http://www.parkrun.org.uk/). These are free timed events taking place every Saturday morning in local parks around the country (and in many other countries around the world). There is no commitment to run; you just print out a barcode, turn up and get your time in an email later that morning. It is not a race; new runners are welcomed each week and there are always people who will run round with you for a chat. You are also guaranteed never to be last as they always have a tail-runner.

 

So after reading this I hope running now seems less daunting. If you have any ideas yourself that would help, please drop me a comment on Facebook or Twitter (icons at the bottom of the page). If you need any advice, or a plan, tailored to yourself, please drop me a message on Facebook or by email.

Finally, if you see another runner out on the streets, please be sure to smile and say hello; trust me it will brighten their, and your, day.

Happy running!

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Contact me today to ask any questions or book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

 

Can You Tell Lies by Only Using the Truth?

If you thought Coca Cola was bad, wait until you hear about the stuff I saw being sold in bottles in our local shop today:

 

– It’s one of the primary ingredients in pesticides

– Over consumption can cause excessive sweating and frequent urination

– 100% of people who drink it will die

– It can be chemically synthesised by burning rocket fuel

– All convicted serial killers have admitted to drinking it

– It is also proven to be the leading cause of drowning100% of people who drink it will die

– It can be chemically synthesised by burning rocket fuel

– All convicted serial killers have admitted to drinking it

– It is also proven to be the leading cause of drowning

– It is the major component of acid rain.

– It contributes to the “greenhouse effect”.

– It contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.

– It accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.

 

Despite the danger, it is often used:

– As an industrial solvent and coolant.

– In nuclear power plants.

– As a fire retardant.

– In the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.

– As an additive in certain “junk-foods” and other food products.

 

The name of this evil product? Dihydrogen Monoxide or as we know it; Water.

*Thanks to Scott Baptie for posting parts of this on Facebook this morning.

This hoax shot to prominence in 1997 when a 14 year old American student gathered petitions to ban ‘DHMO’ as the basis of his science project, entitled ‘How Gullible Are We?’

 

The point of this post is don’t always take everything you read, especially in the media where they can only report snippets so skew the information to make it more appealing, and sensationalist, to their readers.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Contact me today to ask any questions or book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

 

Will hill runs make me faster in flat races?

Definitely. Running up, and down, hills is a great way of building leg strength in a dynamic way, meaning less time in the gym not running.

The stronger your legs are the more force you can generate with each stride. Speed requires a fast cadence, which can be improved by running downhill and also requires a good technique, which by be developed by running both uphill and downhill, as you must use your muscles in a more co-ordinated way.

Increased dynamic leg strength will help to make your muscles more resistant to fatigue, and as a result more resistant to injuries.

So there you go, find a hill, run up it, run down it, repeat. Easy!

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How to Get Started

So, you haven’t trained for a while and you feel like you’ve a mountain to climb?

It can be even more challenging at this time of year, the summer holidays are booked and threat of wearing beachwear is looming. You don’t know what to do or where to start. Let’s think about how to avoid hiding away in baggy clothes! Where do you find the motivation to start exercising?

Think about some small attainable goals. Now write them down as you are more likely to achieve a goal that’s written down. Maybe start with two short walks a week – find a destination, i.e. a walk to the shops, round the block, to the post box, etc. The first goal is to make these first steps a habit.

Next, increase the goals slightly. An example could be to run for at least 5 minutes every other day. Now this is a bit of a psychological trick. Are you going to get your running kit on to run for only 5 minutes? Not usually, no. What you will find yourself doing is, once dressed, you will run for longer than 5 minutes as you have taken the time to get changed. You will also feel good as you smash your target of 5 minutes.

Buy some new kit; a nice new pair of trainers or new leggings/shorts will be surprisingly motivational. No digging out your old kit from five years ago from the back of a drawer. Invest your money and time in freshening up your workout clothes. This will give you much needed accountability with the added bonus of making you feel better too.

Confide in someone you trust of your new exercise goals. Tell a friend, partner, family member, or indeed someone outside of your personal life; for example, a Personal Trainer. But, don’t tell the world, too much pressure can have an adverse effect.

Don’t worry if you have little niggles and aches when you start exercising, it’s normal. Anyone who exercises regularly knows the feelings; your knee twinges, your back is tight, your muscles ache, etc. No need to feel put off or that it’s only you; everyone is the same. However, there are two things to worry about; something that is painful or gets worse over time.

Obviously if you haven’t trained for a while your muscles will be sore and ache afterwards. Once again this is normal. Rest for a couple of days and you’ll be back to normal and after a couple of weeks your body will be used to it and will get stronger.

Many people give up in the first two weeks because it feels too hard. Keep going. Results aren’t immediate and exercising can make you feel sore and stiff. Get beyond that and you will start to reap the rewards. You will feel stronger, fitter and healthier.

 

If you need help to start, or need some ideas and motivation of what to do and how, please get in touch and I’ll discuss how I can help you.

 

Want to know more?

 Contact me today to ask any questions or book your FREE consultation

 Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

 

The Problem With Crash Diets

“You are unhappy with the way you look and feel. The weight has slowing being piling on and you have now decided it is time to do something about it. You have done diets in the pasts and they have worked. You managed to lose a stone, or more, in a couple of months. Wonderful, let’s do that again. You google ‘diets’ and away you go; shakes twice a day, one evening meal, you get to eat somewhere between 600-1000 calories.

You start to lose weight fast and you love it. You are motivated and you stick to it for 2-4 weeks. Then it becomes harder; you are missing foods, especially the taste of them, and you are hungry. However, you are enjoying the results so you try to continue.

Then disaster strikes. Your weight loss slows down and then stops. All you can do is lower your calorie intake even more so you reduce this size of your one meal a day. It works for another week, but it is even harder to stick to, and then the weight loss stops again. At this point you are really hungry and missing your favourite foods and your motivation is faltering because you are no longer getting easy results.

You get invited for a night out with friends and you can no longer turn it down. You think you’ll be good and eat healthy food and not drink. However, when the evening comes, all of your friends are eating and drinking what they want, are having fun and so you give it to the temptation. You now eat and drink more that you normally would do, and so the next day you feel fat, bloated, hungover and basically ‘rubbish’.

You then decide that you are not happy with starving yourself any more as it is no longer working. You go back to eating how you were before the diet. A couple of weeks later you jump back on the scales and you have gained the weight that you had lost, but in half the time. Now what do you do? Do you start the diet again? Do you just keep eating and put on more weight?”

 

I hear this from so many people. They go through this process so many times throughout their lives. They always claim that these diets have worked for them and they always lose weight. So I ask them one question: why are you heavier and unhappier than you were when you started to diet? The one overriding reason is that almost all diets that have a ‘name’ are unsustainable. They restrict food to such an extent that it is inevitable that people will give in to their cravings, not to mention the potential health risks a lot of these diets can cause.

 

Diets are designed to put you into a calorie deficit. This is needed in order for you to lose weight. However, a lot of these diets are often aimed at putting you into a deficit of around 1000 calories less than you should be having. On top of this a lot of people combine dieting with a starting exercise. This ends up putting your body into starvation mode which can then lead to the down regulation by the body of hormones such as thyroid, leptin and testosterone. It can also up regulation of cortisol, the stress hormone that increases fat storage).

 

The down regulation of the thyroid makes you more susceptible to developing an underactive thyroid, meaning your metabolism slows down (plus other systems within the body), which means that you don’t burn as many calories as you should. This is where the slow-down in weight loss happens and what causes the increased weight-gain when you start to eat normally again. Some people may then be on thyroid medication for the rest of their lives due to dieting.

 

Going back to caveman times, our bodies have been designed for survival and conservation, withstanding prolonged periods of time without food. However, crash dieting goes against every natural instinct in your body and, as amazing as the human body is at surviving, it will react accordingly to bring you back to square one as quickly as you lost the weight. This means as soon as you start to eat reasonably normally, you will put the weight back on.

 

What is also bad in my view is that the meal replacement shakes usually contain so many artificial ingredients they cause even more health issues.

 

There are no quick fixes for long-term, sustainable weight loss. You must be patient and realise that if you continue to enjoy the foods that you eat, the weight will come off and it will stay off. You need to learn what the right foods are for you and then experiment with different recipes and foods. Once you get the hang of healthy eating, eating mainly whole, natural foods and ingredients, you will become healthier, happier and not to forget, a few pounds lighter.

Want to know more?

Contact me today to ask any questions or book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

 

How to Make Your Workout More Fun

Do you sometimes feel bored or unmotivated by your exercise routine? You are not alone. In all of the years I have been training, both in the gym and running, I have had my fair share of periods where my motivation starts to drop. When this happens you start to feel as though exercise is a chore and you lose the enjoyment that you previously had. It is often at this point people give up as they don’t know how to change their current fitness routine. So what can you do when this happens?

 

Find music that gets you pumped – I have different playlists on my phone for the different workouts I do. For instance, if I am going for a long slow run I will listen to podcasts, often listening to comedy shows or fitness information programmes (sad, I know). I find these help time drift by when I am out for a long time. However, when doing shorter, higher intensity workouts or weight sessions I will have some higher intensity music.

It is all down to your own choices, but create playlists that you know will help give you the motivation and enjoyment you seek. It also doesn’t matter if people see you singing or dancing along; you are happy and that is the main thing.

 

Get a buddy – Having an exercise buddy can definitely provide a good source of extra motivation. You are far less to miss a session when you know someone else is expecting you to show up. This is where I can certainly help and why I decided to offer my Running Buddy sessions. They provide the client with the knowledge that they have someone to help get them through sessions that you won’t do themselves. It is also a great chance to just chat away the time to make the time pass by unnoticed.

 

Get a little competitive – A bit of competition never hurts anyone, whether it is with yourself or an exercise buddy. I am super competitive with myself and love to push myself to beat my previous best efforts. I also know how to keep competition fun and light-hearted for others. I offer discounts for couples or friends group training sessions and there is no better feeling than when you smash your previous bests (and beat your other half in the process). Just make sure you congratulate everyone each time an improvement is made.

 

Become a kid – Kids burn so much more energy than adults because they are constantly active; running around and having fun. Don’t think of cardio as just running on a treadmill or spending hours on a cross trainer. There are so many fun things that will get your heart rate up and you burning calories. Take on the mind of a child and go and play outside. Go and climb some rocks, jump on a trampoline, run down a hill, or go and play with a ball with friends. Your options are endless (but remember to stay safe please).

 

Mix it up – One of the biggest causes for people getting demotivated is that they get bored by doing the same thing again and again. Make sure that you are mixing up your workouts and trying new things. I have lists of different runs and exercises I can do and constantly chop and change what I am doing so that my fitness doesn’t plateau and so I keep enjoying myself. If you are ever short of ideas, or want the motivation of someone else thinking of the workouts, please get in touch to discuss how I can help you.

 

Celebrate the small wins and reward yourself – It is really important to celebrate and reward yourself when you get better and stronger. Even if it is something small, always make sure you congratulate yourself. Remember that any improvement is an improvement, whether that is a 1 second PB over a parkrun, or adding another 0.5kg to your bicep curls; they all count.

I am not advocating you reward yourself with food, you are not a sea-lion who has performed a trick. Buy yourself a new piece of clothing, a massage or piece of gym kit instead.

 

Getting, and being, fit should never be a chore. It should be something that you enjoy because you have fun and it makes you feel great. I won’t lie, if you are training for a big event or have big goals you do need to work hard, but you can have fun while you are at it.

 

Want to know more?

Contact me today to ask any questions or book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Love Your Body

You don’t have to have what society perceives as the ‘perfect’ body to love it; or at least love bits of it.

To do this may take some work on your mindset, but the more you adjust your mind, the more you’ll feel at home in your body and the more you’ll want to move it. Then life gets better all round.

 

Remember:

There will be someone who envies parts of your body that you dislike. They probably won’t tell you; people don’t often offer compliments on the bodies of others, but for every part of your body you dislike, someone will want it.

Other people will see you as more beautiful that you see yourself. Your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend and friends; borrow their eyes (metaphorically only please) and make a mindset change.

If someone has programmed you with negative feelings about yourself; they are wrong. Were they an ex (hopefully)? You decide how you should feel about yourself, not somebody else. Delete those files from your brain.

Find one good thing to say about each part of your body that you currently dislike.   If you don’t like your bum, think that it helps you to squat more. If you don’t like your stomach, think of it as a soft place for a baby to nap. Use anything you can, it doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t, be about the look. You can’t change your body as quick as you can change your mind. Take advantage of this and make a change.

Working-out works better for your mind than complaining; so get up and get moving. If you’re out of breath, however hard you are working, it is harder to get down on yourself. Go for a walk, a run or just do some exercises and let the movements change your thoughts. Appreciate that your body is getting you moving while those that you perceive have ‘better’ bodies can’t do the same.

What looks good on every body type? Happiness. Happiness looks good on everyone. Find out what makes you truly happy and your body image will improve as well. Eckhart Tolle wrote in “The Power of Now”, ‘if you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place’.

 

Remember that you are not alone. Nobody has avoided body image issues all of their life. We all struggle at some point. Talk to other people. Seek out those that have a sparkle in their eyes and seem to be enjoying their life. They can, and will, help.

Want to know more?

Contact me today to ask any questions or book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com