A few weeks ago, we had a chat with our friends at Shock Absorber about getting in shape for our summer hols! They reminded us that while we’re getting our bodies fit for our hols, it’s really important to be wearing a good sports bra to minimise our boob bounce and make sure we dont do ourselves more harm than good! To view the collection from the number 1 sports bra brand in the UK, click here.
We decided it’s time to feel confident about our bods and banish the fear of stepping out in our swimwear. So, armed with a load of questions… and the help of leading fitness and performance coach Kim Ingleby, we began our journey to a healthier mind and body… or as us online folk like to call it – a #beachbod Twitterview!
Loaaaads of people tweeted in their questions for Kim! It’s clearly a subject everyone’s talking about and something we need guidance on. After all, we want to know what we’re doing is right, don’t we?
Now we realise it’s somewhat of a challenge giving valuable advice within a 140 character limit on Twitter, so we thought Kim could expand on some of the common questions she received yesterday… and here they are!
“This really depends on your goals, but I really believe adding a couple of weights sessions to your workouts is really beneficial. Even if it is only for 10-20mins you will see results, more toned muscles, increased fat burning at reset, improved posture. And you really won’t bulk up unless you are eating a diet and training to make that happen, I promise.”
“For overall toning the most popular through the years has to be Body Pump. Now there is a huge range of specialist small group classes which get great results, try these out, Kettlebells, ViPR, TRX, Cross Fit, Sand Bags, Tabata High Intensity Interval Training, there is so much out there. They may sound like a foreign language but google and people will look after you. On a more gentle side, but equally effective Pilates Reformer, many Dance Classes, the new one Fit Steps is going to be really popular and box fit.”
“Without a doubt, mixing up your core training so you are working all the different muscles is key, so crunches, lower leg cycling, scissor leg crunches, plank, side plank, side crunch… and then working the back with dorsal raises, back alternates, gluteal bridge. I would always increase core strength by doing functional exercises using cables, TRX, kettlebells etc as this works all the muscles which link together giving you the best results. Exercises using the swiss ball are really effective too. Remember your posture, and engage the lower muscles from your tummy button to pelvic floors as this acts as your natural corset… great core strength is maintained by awareness through the day when you run, sit and stand.”
“Muffin Tops are related to many things as well as doing the right exercise, these include nutrition, stress, hormone imbalance, toxins, quality of sleep, good psoture & daily level of walking & activity. Check out your diet first, and get your hunger, energy and cravings balanced and reduce/cut out white foods, sugars & wheat, reduce diary and red meats to cleanse your system too. If your hormones are out of balance aim to eat organic, local meats, reduce dairy or go organic, this reduces the chemicals which can affect the oestrogen levels in the body. Aim to get good levels of sleep, 7 hours between 10pm and 6am if possible (unless you are on shifts) and walk for 10,000 steps a day. Think about good posture as if you are conscious of this area you often don’t stand tall, but this prevents good circulation and posture, enhancing the muffin top not reducing it, so stand tall & engage your lower core. Drink at least 1.5+ litres of filtered water, and avoid diet drinks and products…. then add in regular exercise with high intensity cardio & weights sessions… then the muffin top will go and you will have a flat stomach, it’s quite a lot to take in, so choose the area you think would help the most, or if you are stressed the easiest area to start with and go for it.”
“Similar to above once you have been given the all clear to start to exercise, depending if it is C section or natural birth return to fitness you have to be mindful of what you do first. Walking, light weights and core activation is key, especially to balance the muscles and posture, re align the pelvis and get everything balanced. Take your time, come back gradually and things will flatten. Once you have a good fitness level, try the TRX, Kettlebells or Alpha Bags for a session and then Pilates Reformer or Yoga for length and strength in the muscles and joints. Jenny Burrell is a brilliant pregnancy fitness expert.”
“Definitely thinking about your posture, engaging the lower core, relaxing the shoulders and working with your body straight, so there is no twisting. Standing up to take phone calls, going for a walk every hour for a few minutes around the office, doing buttock clenches (!), putting a mini trampoline in the office to bounce (without your heels) to raise your heart rate… .just moving a little amount every hour will make a difference, you could set a screen saver to remind you.”
“Eating the right carbs, correct portion size, hydration and good, healthy, fresh foods will help weight loss. Also, if you are training some form of good carbohydrates will give you energy to train effectively, it depends where you are starting from with your nutrition and what changes are realistic to start with. There is lots of differing advice out there, so it’s a case of listening to your body, how much energy you have and how your mood is and adapting your foods accordingly. I would recommend reducing wheat, white carbohydrates and all the empty carbs like pasta, biscuits etc. Then aim to reduce all your sugars (watch out for the low fat foods as they often have high sugars), processed foods, alcohol and non organic diary. Just do one thing each week so it is a permanent change and not too daunting. Aim to increase your vegetables, lean local meats, fish, beans, pulses, dark fruits etc.”
“Thighs link directly to the advice I have given around the muffin top for slimming down. Once you have cleaned up your nutrition and balanced your hormones this should help, combined with hydration and walking. For strengthening and toning the legs, you need to work the big muscles, consistently. Lunges, squats, deadlifts, step-ups, Gluteal Bridge combined with skipping, plyometrics (jumping), High intensity training etc. Work with the Swiss Ball, ankle weights for isolation exercises, ViPR for multi plane (so using the muscles in all directions) are all good too. As they are big muscles, don’t be scared of working them hard, and if you are really body conscious they may look a fraction (and I mean a fraction) bigger for a week or so but then they will slim down, you just have to keep consistent… go for it!”
“There are so many workout DVD’s, Youtube clips & features in magazines which make training from home much easier. If you buy a Swiss Ball, Resistance Band &/or a set of dumbells you can pretty much strengthen and tone all your muscles, and then get your heart rate up with skipping, trampolining, boxing, step-ups, shuttle runs, burpees etc! For an easy workout log onto my kimingleby YouTube (or tweet me!). You could also visit the Lunges and Lycra website (who tested one of my home workouts), Bodyfit, Zest, Health & Fitness all have workouts each month in their magazines, Jenny Pacey a good friend and ex Gladiator has a 15min Quick Fix DVD home workout series, as does Tracey Anderson and many others. There are lots of Apps coming out now too, which are excellent. Let us know if you use a great one! For home training get a friend involved to keep you accountable , or the kids, make it a competition and get everyone’s support.”
“Without a doubt, first off get the right, supportive Sports Bra to keep your bust well looked after and avoid any stretching of ligaments etc (Shock Absorber have a great range for all sizes and sports). Then make sure you work the front bust area, but also the back muscles, which people often forget… if the back is strong the chest will look more toned as the posture will be good. Try this mix: press ups (Full, half or box), tricep dips, bicep curls, pec flys, reverse flys, lat pull down, assisted chin ups… most of these can be done with a resistance band or light weights if you are at home and Matt Roberts has some great mini books to show the exercises (alternatively, you can find them online!). Add in a postural class – Body Balance, Pilates, Fit Steps, Yoga and you will be toned and walking tall with great posture and a great bust! Final key, good nutrition and hydration as hormones can also affect toning in this area for some ladies.”