So Xmas is over and the new year has begun, it’s that time again when lots of us make those new years resolutions to get fit, lose weight or just start working out. If you’re looking for a personal trainer to push you and motivate you and help you to achieve your goals quickly this year, then this January I am offering a 10% discount for new clients. This applies to all block bookings of 10 or 5 pt sessions for new clients signing up before the 31st of January. The normal discounted price for a block of 10 individual sessions is £300 so with this extra discount that brings the total price to £270 which is just £27 per session. If you would rather train with a friend then the discount also applies to the block bookings for two people. Check out my packages and don’t be afraid to get in touch with any questions you may have, remember the deal only lasts until the 31st of January so get in touch now and lets get started!
This is a video I made of a few exercises you can do on a suspension trainer to work the whole body in one session. The suspension trainer is a great piece of kit as it can be used practically anywhere and packs away into just a small bag so is convenient to carry with you. The one I am using here is called the Rip 60 but there are many others like the TRX for example. The great thing about suspension training is how almost every exercise you do on it hits your core muscles due to the free moving straps. Simply adjusting your feet position or the length of the straps alters the resistance instantly, so no need for heavy weights! I think this type of training is great for sports people as it is very functional with lots of multi joint and multi muscle exercises that can be done on it.
When you look around your average gym there seems to be a lot of people all doing the same type of training, particularly in the weights area. Now I’m sure that all these people don’t lead identical lives and have the same goals. When a personal trainer first meets a new client one of the first things the client will say is ‘I want to get fit’. This can mean absolutely anything and often a personal trainer will have to delve deeper to find out exactly what the client means.
The key question to ask yourself is “fit for what”. Why are you training? Is there a sport you are trying to improve performance at? Are you trying to make everyday life easier? Are you just trying to reduce general body fat or tone up a specific area of your body? There can be many different reasons why you have made that decision to begin exercising. All of these questions will lead to an individual training plan and it’s important that if you are not working with a personal trainer who can advise you on this, that you are aware of what your individual goals are so you can create your own plan. Most of us don’t have lots of spare time, so it is important to make the best of the little time you do have when exercising.
A good example of how people just go to a gym and train without really thinking of their goal is in football. Throughout my career I have seen footballers in the gym weight training just to get ‘big’. The problem with this is that getting big will not necessarily help them in their footballing performance. A lack of guidance and understanding means that they may be wasting valuable time and effort in shaping their body in an ineffective way for their sport. Strength is an important aspect of football but it is not the only one. You need to think about your outcome, if you want to improve your performance at a certain sport look at what skills and attributes play a big part in that sport.
I have put together a few tips that you should try to think about when putting together your training plan to ensure you make the most of your valuable time you have in the gym.
Training Plan Thoughts and Tips
- What are you training for, what is your goal? (weight loss, lower body fat, build muscle mass, build strength, increase cardiovascular endurance, increase flexibility, sport specific, reduce vital statistics (waist measurements etc))
- If sport specific, what energy system does the sport work? (is it aerobic, anaerobic or both)
- How much time do you have in the gym? Plan your session, how long will you spend on each exercise?
- Remember that your diet is just as important if not more important in helping you achieve your health and fitness goals.
I made this video from a couple of sessions I took with friends both professional footballers. The session was mainly speed, agility and quickness work (SAQ). There was also some plyometric training done.
Adam or ‘Newts’ to his friends and teammates has given up some of his time to give us a little insight into his footballing career where he has amassed over 300 league appearances. He has also represented England at U21 level and played full international football for Saint Kitts and Nevis. In this brief chat we talked about the different roles that health and fitness have played in his career so far and what motivates him.
So Newts, how long have you been playing football and at what levels?
“I started my career at West Ham Utd when I was just 16 signing a 2 year scholarship. I moved into digs and learnt a lot about the disciplines of football. I then went on to do 3 years as a pro there. I had a great time making appearances in the Premiership and in Europe. From there I moved to Peterborough Utd where I stayed for 6 years and became club captain. I then moved to Brentford for a season before then signing for Luton town for 2 years and now I am at Woking FC”
What do you normally eat on a Friday and Saturday before a game?
“I try to eat pasta based dishes on a Friday like spag bowl and pasta bakes. This has become a routine for me. The morning of a game I usually have porridge and a banana and then a pre match a bit closer to the game which would usually be some form of pasta again.”
Has this changed much since you have been playing football?
“It is a habit now so I have stuck mostly to what I have always done. Although on match days now that I have to leave a little earlier for a game it is sometimes a bit different. I generally only get to eat once so I will have a slightly larger meal with eggs or chicken for some protein and pasta.’
What does your general gym session typically involve?
“A bit of everything, I don’t have a great deal of time to get to the gym so I can’t do split sessions. I do lot’s of core work as this is very important for football. I’ve done more free weights as I’ve got older and learnt more. The majority of work I do though is done using my own bodyweight, stuff like pull ups, press ups and dips. I tend to not do a great deal of leg work as I’m working these quite hard in training anyway.”
How have you seen the game change in your time with regards to nutrition and training?
“I think its changed quite drastically in the last 5-6 years with the majority of clubs particularly in the league bringing in sports scientists and specialised fitness trainers. It’s meant that players at these clubs are educated with the importance of diet, hydration, stretching and specified weight training in order to bring out the best in your performance. They also help with making you aware of what supplements you may need such as recovery drinks after games. In a way I think its going to help many players prolong their careers. Fitness work has also changed a lot, the days of just running continuously round the pitch as many times as you can have gone! It now consists of a lot more short, sharp, agility type work. There’s also a lot more speed and explosive dynamic training now.”
What do you love most about football and what do you hate?
“I’ve always wanted to be a footballer for as long as I can remember. I love the personal challenge I get from it, I like the fitness side of it too. I also like the responsibility I have with the individual role I play in a team. The part I hate most is losing, I play to win as well as enjoying the game!”
How do you keep yourself motivated?
“I stay motivated through the enjoyment of the game and wanting to win. I also don’t like to let my teammates down.”
Do you have any superstitions?
“I used to have to wear under socks but as I’ve got older I’ve grown out of that, I guess now I don’t really have any superstitions!”
Thank you Newts for taking the time to have a chat, hopefully this will be an interesting insight for people into the football world!
The Importance of Core Work
We’ve all seen the guy in the gym who just bashes out a few reps on the bench, throws in a few bicep curls, and finishes off with a couple of sit ups. Not only is he wasting his time, but he is missing out on a very important factor of all training and exercise: the need to train and strengthen the core muscles.
What are your core muscles?
The core is a term used to describe the group of muscles around the mid-section of your body, in the main consisting of the transverse abdominal muscle, the pelvic floor muscles, the rectus abdominals and the obliques. Our core muscles are the root of every movement we make. They stabilize the pelvis, spine and ribs, which can improve posture and can reduce back pain and injuries. In football a strong core is as important as a good first touch. It plays a big role in your balance, speed and power. It provides stability for every movement you make and helps generate power, not just in the core, but throughout the whole body.
A six pack may look good but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a stable, strong core. It’s vital that you work all the muscles around the core to reduce the risk of injury and muscular imbalance and generally any exercise you do where your body is slightly unstable or unbalanced will activate your core muscles.
Top 3 Tips For Greater Core Strength
Lying on your front put your forearms on the floor so that your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Next lift your body of the ground so that only your toes and forearms are on the floor. Keep your body nice and straight so that you knees are in line with your hips which are in line with your shoulders which should be in line with your ears. Draw in your navel very slightly contracting your core. Try to hold this for thirty seconds. If you can’t manage this bring your knees to the floor but then keep your body straight from your knees to your shoulders.
‘The Back Bridge’
Lying on your back put your hands at your sides, knees bent, feet flat on the floor under your knees. Tightening your buttocks and abdominals very slightly raise your hips off the ground. You want to have a straight line going from your knees to your shoulders. Remember to draw in the navel very slightly. Hold for thirty seconds. If you can’t do it for this long begin with just a few seconds and build up gradually.
Lie on your side with your forearm on the floor. Elbow should be bent and directly below your shoulder. Next lift your hip of the floor until your spine is straight. Top foot should be placed on bottom foot. Hold again if you can for thirty seconds but you can build up to this.
How it Has Helped
It was only through working with a very good sports scientist at one of my first football clubs that I started to take the training of my core muscles seriously, and I have to say that I have noticed a massive improvement in my all round balance, strength, and power.
There are still lots of people inside and outside of gyms that are unaware of the importance of the core muscles. By following these three simple exercises you can slowly start to build up your core strength that will set you on the path to achieving your wider fitness goals.
• Using the gym ball for sit ups is great for the core
• Using the Bosu ball when doing squats is another great way of activating the core
• Pilates is also an excellent and relaxing way to train your core