September 2015 archive

Fitness Clothing – My Top 3 Pieces

I have a lot of fitness clothing. A lot. It’s as a result of the fact that I can’t control myself in the presence of pink or any bright colours that I think will make me look good while exercising. I want to say my fitness clothing wardrobe looks great and is colour co-ordinated but I’ll be honest instead and say that I have a big huge drawer absolutely jammers with stuff. The only problem is I don’t wear half of it. Why? Because most of the clothing and footwear I’ve bought is clearly designed for the looking good part but not so much the exercise part. So here are three of my favourite pieces that are actually functional too and a little about why I love them so.

Runners

Nike Free BlackNike Free Red Nike Free Blue

I get asked at least once a week what are the best runners for exercising and the answer is unfortunately I don’t know. I don’t know because what works for me might not work for you. That’s really annoying because it often means spending a fortune on a pair only to discover a week later that they are cutting the heels off of you or causing your feet to cramp etc but with a bit of luck it won’t take you as long as it took me to find THE ONE.

I have a flat foot. I have no arch whatsoever. I’ve been told by one sports shop that I need support and by another that I don’t so I was always confused when buying runners and often made the wrong choice. Thankfully however I picked up a pair of Nike Frees about 3 years ago and it was like a true Cinderalla moment as they fit and functioned perfectly. Some people find they need one type of runner for running and another for exercise classes but my Nike Frees work for everything. I have about 6 pairs now and am coveting my next purchase. I get mine in either Lifestyle Sports or Nike in Kildare Village.

Running Leggings (tights, pants whatever you want to call them!)

Nike Dry Fit Pants

There is nothing as annoying as when you’re out for a run and next thing you look down and your running leggings are around your ankles! Ok bit of an exaggeration but seriously some of them are made so badly that you spend most of your run trying to yoink them back up. A drawstring is your only man here. That’s why I love Nike Dri Fit. They come up nice and high, have the drawstring and also a little zippy pocket in the back where you can keep your phone (but not an iPhone 6 as you’ll se in my next piece), money or keys. They’re also full length but have a zip along each side at the bottom so if you get too warm up can open them, hoosh them up to the knees and make them capris. I have about 5 pairs of these and the oldest are probably as many years old. I wore them throughout my pregnancy and they never lost shape. Again Lifestyle Sports or Nike in Kildare Village are my go-to shops for these.

On a side note I’m kind of excited about the new Nike Sculpt Tights that have a lovely high waist and promise to suck in all the body bits women hate but at €90 I’m going to have to have a good look at these bad boys before I purchase. If I do I’ll report back and let you know what I think.

Phone Carrier Thingy

Nike Waistband

Officially known as an Expandable Running Waistpack this has been a lifesaver for me since a phone-left-on-car-roof-incident forced me to change my phone. I was really quite devastated when I realised the 6 didn’t fit into the back pocket of my Dri Fits anymore. I have to have music or a podcast on when I run and cannot bear carrying my phone in one of those arm straps. This little gem buckles around your waist and the material expands to allow you to fit your phone in. Lifestyle Sports again.

As I said I have loads of fitness clothing but these three are my favourites. When it comes to tops I have to give a shout out to H&M. They make lovely, affordable tops that wash really well and are just a lovely fit. I find the sports brand tops can often be either too tight or too loose. Life is hard enough at 5km or doing a Burpee without either losing blood supply to a limb or exposing yourself to all and sundry.

 

Jesus I’m dying to go shopping now.

 

Brídx

Home Fitness – Top 3 Pieces of Equipment

It’s been a busy few weeks for me as I’ve been setting up my new online fitness course. It kicked off this week and I have a lovely dedicated crew on board. As well as a balanced diet plan, each week I send them exercise sessions that they can do both in the gym and at home, depending on their preference. While all of the workouts can be done without equipment I have advised them to purchase a few small pieces to help them achieve better results. I decided to share on the blog some of these pieces so that people can see how it’s possible to get fit without spending lots of money or wasting time travelling. As the winter months approach getting outdoors can get harder also. You can spend as little or as much as you want when it comes to home equipment but the suggestions below aren’t very expensive and generally stocked in most big towns as well as online. See the video below for examples of exercises you can do with each piece.

Exercise Mat

Pink Mat

A good, thick exercise mat will never go to waste (not like a big awkward stability ball – anyone else have one of those in the corner of their room doing NOTHING?!). While you can usually pick up a thin mat for next to nothing you’ll pay for it in discomfort. The mat I’m using in the video above is from Physioneeds and costs approximately €50 but you’d nearly sleep on it it’s that comfortable. Similar can be found in Argos but Physioneeds are very fast with delivery. As you can see from the video clip you can pretty much use your mat for anything whether you’re looking to do cardio or resistance exercises.

Dynaband

Pink Dynaband

Untied this is a great piece for arms, shoulders and upper back for both strengthening and stretching. To help work your legs you can tie it up and use in various ways including as shown in the video. I get my dynabands from McSport but locally you can usually get them in the likes of Elverys, TKMaxx or Argos for less than €10. This is also a great little piece of equipment to pack if you’re going be travelling.

Kettlebell

Kettlebells

This is a very small but versatile piece of equipment which you can see from my video. I have a variety of weights but would use the 8 and 12kg’s most often. I use mine for both cardio and resistance exercise. I get my kettlebells from D8 Fitness in Dublin. Most sports shops supply them now too. Generally the fitness equipment suppliers will be a little cheaper than the sports stores. The average price of an 8kg kettlebell is €30.

You can spend lots of money on machines like a treadmill, stationary bike or crosstrainer but they aren’t necessary as you will see from my videos and I would only advise buying one if you are certain that you will use it and not have it become a clothes horse as often happens. If you’d like to get more information on my next online fitness course please go here and leave your details.

Hope you found this helpful!

Bríd

Post Pregnancy Fitness For All – Part 1

First and foremost you really need to get your medical clearance before starting to exercise again post pregnancy. General guidelines state:

Normal Birth – 6 weeks post birth provided there have been no complications and the woman herself feels good. The 6 week check-up is a great time to get the go ahead from your GP.

Caesarean – 12 weeks post section provided there have been no complications. I will allow women who are less than the 12 weeks to take part in my classes if they have medical clearance but will start them off very slowly and progress from there.

Every birth is different and everybody will recover in its own way. Like exercising during pregnancy it’s important to listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard too fast. You can read about my own post pregnancy story here.

First Stroll

My first steps out into the real world post pregnancy

Stage 1

Start slowly with walking. You will more than likely be looking forward to getting out of the house anyway and it’s great for you and your baby to get some fresh air (or to get a break from the constant stream of visitors). If you’re nervous at first ask someone else to join you and don’t go too far.

While you're making bottles

Core control on the go

Regaining control and strength of your core muscles which include your pelvic floor muscles is essential before moving on to other forms of exercise that may exert pressure. Practise your core control exercises as often as you possibly can. The maternity nurse will most likely have given you a leaflet with pelvic floor or kegel exercises to do and these are really important to do as early as possible. There will be days when you can’t seem to find time to eat let alone do exercise so I recommend trying to do your core control work at random times like when you’re making bottles. Tell yourself at the start of the day that every time you make bottles or boil the kettle you’ll do the exercises shown in the video below and soon enough you’ll get into a little routine.

Post Preg Ex 3DSC_8059edit

Stage 2

Increasing your walking pace and going for longer walks may be possible at this stage. Continue to practise your core control exercises and if comfortable add in some additional bodyweight resistance exercise e.g. modified press-ups, squats, short planks etc.

This is a great time to think about joining a post pregnancy or baby friendly class like Buggy Bootcamp (shameless plug I run such a thing – check out the details here) or Mother and Baby Yoga. Just make sure that you inform your instructor if you have had any pregnancy complications.

Be very careful before putting your body under too much pressure. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t run or do exercise of a higher intensity but remember the pressure your pelvic floor muscles have been under and how week they may now be. Your body will tell you in the most embarrassing way if you are ready or not anyway. Think of your pelvic floor exercise like scrubbing your body before putting on fake tan. If you skip that part you run the risk of looking like a big streaky mess. Put in the ground work and you’ll reap the rewards afterwards.

Stage 3

Once you are starting to feel your body regaining its strength you should be able to increase the intensity of your exercise routine but again listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Note that I said listen to your body not your brain which is so exhausted from the lack of sleep that all it can do is scream ‘COUCH!!!!’ Regular exercise will help to increase your energy levels and hormonal balance too so your brain will thank you eventually too. Take advantage of all the lovely people offering to mind your baby. They really really do want to do it and no you’re not putting them out.

Try to incorporate your baby in your workouts from as early as possible. I did this with Frankie and now he loves taking part or even just watching me from the buggy. If you don’t do it from early on they can sometimes get a little frightened but let’s face it a grown adult might be scared at the sight of us exercising some days too!)

If it’s not possible for you to get out of the house to exercise due to your schedule or the weather then you might like to consider an online fitness course to help you along the way. Shameless plug No.2 – check out details of my September 2015 course here.

Here are a couple of videos I put together to help you. The first includes some very basic core control exercises and the second to show you some of the things you can do with your baby as you increase your intensity (although I can’t promise the sunny day – it was the only one we had this summer in Ireland).

Bríd