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Fitness & Training

Guide to Reach your Health and Wellness Goals

posted by FitnessFirst Team April 10, 2017 0 comments
How many times did you say it to yourself..

“this is it, this time I’m really gonna do it!”?

For many times we keep saying to ourselves and to our friends and family that this is the time that we are actually going to achieve or start doing something for our health and fitness, start working out, gain this amount of muscle, drop this amount of fat, run every day in the morning, etc, etc, etc..

but in reality we only do it for a couple of weeks, if we actually even start it, and then it starts fading out.

fitness-stretch-run-male

I’m pretty sure that most of us have heard about goals and the importance to set them, but do we actually do it? We can easily say we want to run a marathon in 6 months, but what is the breakdown and the actions that will take us there? Where do I have to be in 3 months in order to achieve that? What about in a month? What about next week? What do I have to start doing tomorrow? There’re many ways to set your goals but the one that has been more effective for me over the past years is the SMART structure, that each letter represents a specific word that will help you set your goal. Let’s see below how it works:

On the acronym A some people use the Attainable, I preferably like to use Action plan instead, because it gives you the idea of what you need to do in order to achieve that. So now that we know what SMART goals are, let’s use the marathon example to see how it works:

It’s very common that you first select the time based and then you go to the realistic one, it can get confusing if you think that your goal is realistic but then the timeline that you put into it might not be enough, so I always recommend to get the deadline first and then realize if it is realistic or not. But this is just the beginning, this is the part where everybody can get but then the motivational side starts breaking down, “well, in reality it’s only in 6 months down the line, why do I have to start now? I can only start next week, actually I’m pretty busy with work at this point”, or even worse, “a Marathon is too much for me, what was I thinking?”

This is when you need an action plan and baby steps to get there..

fitness outdoors

You know you’ll be training 5 times a week, but where do you have to be in 1 month? Nothing better than breaking down your big goal into small goals that will help you, and for that you can always use a timeline draw, from a point “A” to “B”, starting from the future until today, let’s see below how it works.

Point A (Today) _________________________________________________Point B (Marathon)

Being “A” today and “B” the Marathon day in 6 months, you start on the Marathon point and go backwards to understand which steps you’ll need to get there. You can start by selecting where do you have to be half way there:

 

Point A (Today) ___________________________|_____________________Point B (Marathon)

3 Months – Run 21KM

By setting up this structure it will start giving you the idea what the steps are, so now its time to break that one into smaller ones:

Point A (Today) _1______2_______3__________4_________5______6____Point B (Marathon)

Now you have your big goal, in SMART goals, with an action plan and a breakdown of smaller goals that you can track your progress and keep you motivated throughout the process, as I mentioned before, if the goal is too big or too far away from today, it’ easy to get demotivated, but more important than that, you have to celebrate and reward yourself by the time you achieve those accomplishments, after all, they are great accomplishments that are taking you to the big picture. We apply the same in real life, we just don’t think about it, take babies as example, we know that eventually they will run, but we also know that before that they will walk, and before they will try to stand up, but never before they crawl, so we know the “baby steps” are there, and how much do they practice? Daily, we just don’t realize that but we’re always keen to celebrate, take pictures and videos and share with our families and friends. Do the same with your small baby steps for your wellness goals.

cardio-machines

Regardless of what is your wellness goal at this point, either exercising, start eating healthier, having a more active lifestyle, always ensure you know exactly what you’re chasing, have an action plan for it and you know where you have to be in short period of time, if necessary print out a piece of paper or even write it down on a sticker, put it on your desk, on your fridge or even or your mobile phone wallpaper, but make sure you see it everyday.

Andre Fox-Martins
Fitness Manager

Fitness & Training

6 High Intensity Interval Training Exercises for Heart Health

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 29, 2016 0 comments

Cardio exercises are necessary for any effective training program, not only for fat burning, but also for overall good health. Your heart is a muscle, and we all know that to keep our muscles in shape we need move them.

The best thing about cardio workout is that we can do them anywhere and anytime. What we need is a little imagination and functionality of our own body so that we can run an infinite number of different movements, different intensity and contribute to our cardiovascular health. It is important to keep our body moving and choose a lifestyle that will help us avoid injuries.

Benefits of the Cardio workout:

♦ Faster metabolic system

♦ Decrease in cholesterol levels

♦ Increased secretion of growth

♦ Hormone increase blood flow to the brain,

♦ Improving concentration

♦ Improve digestion

♦ Stress reduction

♦ Strengthening the immune system

♦ Relief from depression and anxiety.

♦ Better sleep

♦ More confidence about how you feel and look

A side of the all advantages, there are people who love cardio exercise as much as “tooth extraction” and sometimes they find it boring to run, ride a bike, row or walk.

Today I choose a different type of cardio, High Intensity Interval Training that will help you to lose body fat, shape and feel great:

1. Lunge single Leg ( 15 second each leg )

2. Jumping Jacks X 30 second

3. Squat MB ball hold X 30 second

4. Shuttle run side 5mX30

5. Row machine Pike X 30 second

6. Burpee X 1 min

Repeat 3X/Max Repetitions/Monitor your progress

1. Lunge Single Leg:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Step forward with one foot and lower yourself by bending your knees
  • Your back should be straight throughout the whole movement
  • Stop when your front thigh is parallel with the ground

lunge-single-leg

2. Jumping Jack

  • Stand tall with your back straight
  • Jump outward with feet wider
  • At the same time raise your arms overhead

jumping-jack

3. Squat MB ball hold

  • Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Adjust feet to face slightly outward
  • Lower yourself by bending knees and pushing your hips back
  • Keep back straight
  • Stop when your thighs are parallel with the ground
  • When you return press the ball and keep back straight

ball-hold

4. Shuttle run

  • Place 2 cons on a distance of 5m
  • Start from right or left side
  • Explode laterally
  • Run either to the right or left and touch the line with your hand

shuttle-run

5. Row machine – pike

  • Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe
  • Pressing down through your palms, lift your hips up towards the ceiling by drawing your legs towards your chest until you look like an upside-down V, or as high as you can go
  • Slowly lower your legs and return to the starting position 

row-machine-pike

6. Burpee

  • Start with standing position
  • Lower yourself by bending knees to squat position with hands on the floor
  • Drop your feet back into plank position and keep your shoulders extended
  • Return back to the squat position by jumping forward

burpee

Your Hearth Rate Zone should be between 75-90%.

myzone-zonesDon’t forget to monitor your workout. Set and write down the goal and track your achievement. Be proud of every movement you do, this is a gift you are giving to your hearth and your health.

Don’t forget that “The Body achieves what the mind believes”.

Ivana Sargic
Assistant Fitness Manager
Fitness First Ladies Only, Marina Mall Abu Dhabi

Innovations

Stay on top of your game with MYZONE

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 22, 2016 0 comments

The prospect of traveling, sounds like a blessing for some but might be actually a curse for others! Some people travel way too often, sometimes every week and it can get quite overwhelming. It’s hard to maintain your life balance and hobbies and if you are a regular gym-goer and you pay attention to what you eat, this can get very challenging and health concerning.

Unsurprisingly, if you travel a lot you generally don’t have the chance to eat fresh, healthy meals or to workout in your favorite gym. Also, time zone changes, busy schedules and different environments just don’t motivate you to push yourself to workout more often.

Like eating on the road; the key is to start strong.

My advice is to workout on your first day because you are much more likely to maintain that habit, book a hotel with a gym if you can and take advantage of it. If you are staying in a runner-friendly place; running outside can be a great way to see some of the city you’re visiting while burning calories. And to step it much further and benefit the most out of it, you can use your heart rate monitor device. In our case, fellow Fitness Firster’s, it’s the MYZONE belt we are using!

myzone-belt

MYZONE is a very clever fitness device which measures the frequency of your heartbeat to ensure you are exercising at a safe and effective level.

A transmitter strapped around the chest sends information to your smartphone or your smart watch and gives you constant updates. It lets you know if you are not exercising hard enough or if you’re pushing yourself too hard, and you can use this information to adjust your routines. While traveling, it’s a precise, accurate and great way to monitor your effort and progress and to stay motivated.

myzone-mobile-stream

MYZONE weights only 58g and is relatively inexpensive for wearable fitness devices in the market, so there is actually no excuse not to own one and to bring it with you when on the road. Also, don’t worry about running out of batteries; it lasts for a long time and then you just simply recharge it via USB.

There are many ways how to use your MYZONE effectively. One simple way would be to estimate the calories burned during exercise. This can be especially handy if your workouts are part of a weight-loss program. For ladies, easily achievable would be 500 kcal and for gents could be 750 kcal.

To get more creative, or, let’s say more ‘advanced’; you can use MYZONE to target a specific zone for a specific goal. The target zone is a percentage range based on your maximum heart rate. The simplest way to calculate your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. Say if you are 40 years old, your max heart rate would be around 180 beats per minute.

myzone-body-image-7

Know your MYZONE zones and your goals:

Blue Zone
Blue Zone is Endurance (60%–70% of your max heart rate): Considered ideal for endurance and weight-loss programs. Develops cardiovascular and muscular efficiency. The body learns to use stored fat as fuel.
Green Zone
Green Zone is Aerobic (70%–80%): Ideal for overall cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and weight management. The body burns mostly fat and carbohydrates in this zone.
Yellow Zone
Yellow Zone is Anaerobic (80%–90%): Used for interval workouts or consistent speed. At this zone, your breathing will be heavy and your muscles tired. Enhances lung capacity and increases lactate tolerance.
Red Zone
Red Zone is VO2 Max (90%–100%): Helps enhance speed in athletes (who exercise at this level only for short periods as muscles quickly go into oxygen debt).

So, whether you travel for business, pleasure, vacation, world domination, or epic questing, at some point in our lives we all depart from our homes to visit another location. It might be a quick trip to the next town over for a business conference or a massive adventure halfway around the world for months at a time. No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing is certain: you need to stay on top of your game and pay attention to your health and well-being. Your heart rate monitor will be your best friend or your worst enemy but one thing is for sure, it will take you much further!

Pavel Olsar
Assistant Fitness Manager
Dubai International Financial Gate

cardio-machines
Fitness & Training

7 reasons Fitness First is more than a gym

posted by FitnessFirst Team August 22, 2016 0 comments

For many people, a visit to the gym means following the same routine: warm up, 40 minutes on the treadmill, some weights and then cool down, home. This routine will maintain your fitness, sure! But you may find yourself stuck in your own routine with less motivation in your workout, and perhaps most importantly, you may begin to lose the enjoyment that can be gained from working out.

What a lot of people don’t know is that your gym membership can be your best friend on the journey to a healthier life. With your Fitness First membership, you can experience the advantages of working alongside people who care about your success. A gym does not need to just be a gym, and here’s how we achieve that:

Freestyle Classes

We hold Freestyle Group Training sessions that challenge your body to move, increase everyday mobility. Each session is different which keeps things interesting, and focuses on different parts of the body and planes of motion. Everyone can get involved, and groups of 4-8 club members will enjoy the interactive 30 minute workout on the gym floor, which provides lots of time to get to know your fellow fitness fans.

Personal Training

If you feel like you need a bit more information about how to get fitter, increase your strength or lose some weight, we have accredited personal trainers who can help. They can design a custom program just for you, to assist you in reaching your goals.

Core Juice Bar

Once you’ve finished your workout, you don’t need to rush off – a protein smoothie is the perfect way to end a training session. There is so much variety to choose from, or you can even just make up your own! After a workout is one of the best times to get protein into the body so that the protein can be delivered to your muscles and repair any micro-tears, and of course it helps that the smoothies are delicious! 

MYZONE

Sometimes it feels like there is no obvious change to your body even though you’ve been working out hard. Using a tracking system allows you to keep note of your progress online, with a system that monitors your heart rate, burned calories, and time spent exercising. MYZONE then converts your workout into MYZONE Effort Points that can be exchanged for rewards.

Swim Academy

Did you know that we have a swim program? We operate all over Dubai, from Uptown Mirdif, to Burjuman to Emirates Living. Kids of all ages and abilities can learn how to swim confidently, develop their strokes or even join a competitive team. Adults & teens can also enjoy the water, with swimming based fitness classes.

Discounts and Privileges

What if your gym card didn’t just work in the gym? Well, your membership card provides you with discounts in multiple restaurants across the city, as well as leisurewear outlets such as Adidias, spas and salons, and loads more. Not only that, but you can collect Shukran points when you sign up, and when you purchase any additional services or products from Fitness First. Work hard and shop harder.

International Passport

Fitness First is an international brand, with gyms and facilities all over the world. We know how important a fitness regime is, and travelling can sometimes throw you off-track. But whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, you can rest in the knowledge that you will have access to a Fitness First club wherever you go. Just speak to a member of staff before you travel!

Never again does the gym need to be a monotonous exercise.  Everything you need to keep yourself on a focused and fun fitness journey is available with one card, so make the most of it! Join a new class and try something different, relax in the sauna, socialize in the members lounge, travel and maintain your fitness across the globe, while tracking your amazing progress online.

Our gyms offer more than just a gym. They offer a lifestyle. So start living it!

mtag

Fitness & Training

This Ramadan Aim to Maintain with MYZONE

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 13, 2016 0 comments

The aim of Ramadan is to maintain your fitness and MYZONE can help you do just that. Nicky Holland, Fitness Manager shows how to utilise your MYZONE belt to get the most from your workout during the Holy Month.

For more information on MYZONE please visit our website.

Fitness & Training

Get XFit this Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 7, 2016 0 comments

Dinis Timoteo, Assistant Fitness Manager at Fitness First Motor City explains how XFit workouts can really help you improve your technique during this time.

 

Fitness & Training

4 Best Times to Train during Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team June 6, 2016 0 comments

Over the thirty days of Ramadan, you need to do some exercise in order to maintain your fitness, but you don’t need to do what you are used to. The aim is to maintain and not gain. In order to do this, you need to have a strategy and work out a schedule according to your timetable.

There are 4 schools of thought when it comes to training during Ramadan.

All of them agree that you must cut back on the amount of exercise you usually do, particularly if you are a long distance runner or someone who does a lot of cardio work. During the fast, with high temperatures and no liquid from sunrise to sunset, you will compromise your health by pushing yourself too much. It is not recommended to do intensive cardio workouts and heavy weight-training exercises while fasting.

The recommendation is that you cut back to 2 cardio workouts a week. For weight training, the best times would be after Taraweeh prayers at night or about 1 hour after Iftar. Make a schedule for yourself and plan on exercising two times a week. If you really are feeling strong, you may want to add an extra day to that regime if you feel up to it.

When to exercise on those days is where the differing opinions come in.

1.   Exercise 90 minutes before sunset

This will make it towards the cooler part of the day. You will exercise on an empty stomach. The routine will be low key with more resistance training, stretching, less repetitions with slightly lighter weights and slow short jogs or brisk walks. Don’t exercise for more than an hour. The benefit of this is that when you have completed your workout, you are very close to sunset and you can drink water to rehydrate yourself. The disadvantage is that you are exercising at a time when you may be very hungry and thirsty. You do not want to compromise your health by vigorous exercise when you are dehydrated.

2.   Exercise after your evening meal

It’s never easy exercising on a full stomach but during the fast, after food seems the most logical time to get a routine in. As you are only exercising two or three times a week, on those days, you may want to eat a little to refuel your body, being sure to drink enough water to rehydrate yourself and then break your meal to do the exercise. That way, you will have more energy for the workout, but still have the opportunity to return to the meal.

ff-fitness-2

3.   Exercise between 11pm and 2am

There is a train of thought that suggests exercising a couple of hours after the evening meal. If you are a night owl, you may discover that the best time for exercise is between 11pm and 2am. Once your night meal has settled, you will have energy and will be hydrated. You can try and sleep after work, so that you will not be overtired by midnight. Exercising at that time is cooler than day time, which is also helpful. If you exercise at between 11pm and midnight, you are still able to get a few hours more sleep until you get up to start the day.

4.   Exercise between 3am & 4am.

Early birds may want to go to sleep early and wake up early to exercise on an empty stomach prior to your early morning meal. This way you will have energy from the previous night’s meal, yet still have an empty stomach. You can hydrate while you exercise and on your return have your early morning meal. This method you get energized for the day ahead.

Conclusion

Whichever time you choose, remember not to overdo it. Force yourself to go at a slower pace than usual, continually reminding yourself that you are exercising to maintain and not to gain. Stop if you feel dizzy or lack energy. Rest frequently and do a low impact workout.

Fitness First Team

workout-ramadan
Fitness & Training

How to Make your Workout more Effective in Ramadan

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 30, 2016 0 comments

Ramadan is coming soon, and time of fasting is approaching. It is a totally different state for our mine and body. The best thing we can do is to adapt to new conditions which our body will go through. For some that means it is time to have a break from the gym. Not at all.

New conditions require new training methods as well. I will give you some advice on how to make your workout during Ramadan more effective.

First, what time is the best for workout?

Most of the food and water intake will happen during the night, and working out during the day can be hard, but we can use the new environment and take the most of it for productive workout.

My suggestion is to follow the work of hormone of stress (cortisol). Cortisol is a hormone who keeps us awake and who is speeding our fat burning process. Cortisol is having his strongest peak from 5am till 11am. And that is the perfect time to have your workout. If you are not morning person last peak of cortisol is at 5pm, and that should be ideal time to work out, just before breaking the fast.

Second, what is the best type of workout?

You should use more static and isolation moves, such as machines, weights and body-weight exercises instead of cardio exercises. The body will retain water, so I rather chose exercise that doesn’t require that much of a sweating, but at the same time to be productive. This type of exercise using proteins and carbohydrates (ATP, creatinine phosphates, glucose) the primary energy source, but while you are resting, your body is using fat as primary fuel.

With this type of workout your body will get energy from all resources and it will carry you out through rest of the day. You will feel more energetic and effects on your body and mind will be visible. That is one more reason to continue your training during fasting.

Outdoor Group Training main image

Hope these tips will change your perspective of working out during Ramadan time and will help you out to reach your goals.

Training never stops 🙂

Best of Luck,

Ivan Dimitric
Assistant fitness manager
Al Fardan Sharjah, Fitness First ME

Outdoor Group Training feature image
Fitness & Training

Boost your training with a breath of fresh air and sunshine

posted by FitnessFirst Team May 10, 2016 0 comments

‘Gym’s’ in the traditional sense are an excellent place to get in shape and improve your general fitness, however if like me, you enjoy the chance of being able to train outdoors in the fresh air whilst catching a few rays of sunshine then Fitness First has the training environment for you.

As of the 1st of May, Fitness First Middle East have launched our first Outdoor Training concept at Fitness First Dubai Media City.

Outdoor Group Training main image

This innovative concept incorporates the latest in outdoor group training equipment utilizing a bespoke outdoor training rig from Beaverfit alongside cutting edge freestyle training equipment from Vivo Group.  As you can see from the images below, you can enjoy a multitude of training modalities including boxing, calisthenics, Olympic lifting, sprint training, XFit and Freestyle training.

Not only have we created a beautiful environment for you to train in, we have also produced two bespoke training programmes for you to enjoy; Outdoor Group Training ‘HIIT’ & ‘TEAM’ classes (OGT for short).

OGT: HIIT is a 30 minute high-intensity-interval-training group class which will incorporate all of the elements of the outdoor training rig and equipment through a structured format that will improve your general fitness and body composition.

OGT: TEAM is a 30 minute class that combines high-intensity-interval-training alongside team based exercise where you will work together through fun yet challenging drills and movements.

All in all outdoor training is fresh, fun and full of new challenges which we hope you will enjoy, however please take into consideration when training outside that you hydrate yourself sufficiently, wear sun protection and also be conscious of temperature, humidity and sufficient rests throughout your exercise.

Here is a video of one of our challenging night sessions!

 

Outdoor Group Training Team_1

We hope you enjoy our new outdoor training concept!

Yours in training

Steven Gillespie

Steven Gillespie
Regional Fitness Manager UAE Mixed
Fitness First Middle East

5 CORE exercises to build your engine - A Beginner's Guide!
Our Experts

5 CORE exercises to build your engine

posted by FitnessFirst Team March 14, 2016 0 comments

As athletes attend their training sessions they often neglect the core and stretch sessions…here’s why the core sessions are equally if not MORE important than a regular training session.  Core muscles are vital and they don’t always get worked enough with just regular training sessions.

Think of your core muscles – the chest, back, abs, and obliques – as the link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. No matter what your movement, the motions either start from your core, or is transferred through it.

Weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Good posture trims your silhouette and projects confidence. More importantly, it lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply.

No matter what movements you do or where the movement starts, your arms and legs all stem from the core, the strength in your limbs are intimately tied to the strength in your torso. Having a strong core sets a solid foundation for strength in the rest of the body the power is transferred upward and downward to adjoining parts of the body. For example when running, core strength allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly, with less rocking & thus, less excess energy expended.  A strongly built-up core will considerably increase the power, posture & speed.

Core strength for endurance athletes is especially important! Towards the end of long training sessions or races, when you are extremely fatigued, your form begins to suffer if the core has not been trained – it is a fantastic feeling when running to know the core engages and is enabling you to stay strong. Poor form not only slows you down, it also opens you up to potential injuries.

While it’s important to build a strong core, the program must be structured to involve all muscles, over training only abdominal muscles and neglecting muscles of the back and hip can set you up for injuries.

5 CORE exercises to build your engine:

You can use your body weight or the Bosu for a harder option.

1. V-Sit
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

2. Plank
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

3. Bicycle Abs
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

4. Mountain Climbers
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

5. Roll Outs
5 CORE exercises to build your engine

Your arms and legs are the wheels of your body (vehicle), without a strong core (engine) you will never go faster, hit your top speed and achieve your best performance!

Lisa Hancox
National Swimming and Programming Manager
Fitness First MENA