Fitness achievement award – Autumn term 2018

Fitness achievement award at WinnieFitnScholarship award(3)ess goes to: Anna L.

Anna achieved her goals of getting back in shape after having a baby, recovering safely and effectively. She focused on nutrition habits, staying active while following a bespoke postnatal fitness programme.
Anna lost 9.8 kg in 3 months and is a very happy mummy! Congratulations!

Read Anna’s story here.

Prize: three complimentary personal training sessions.

8 Benefits of strength training

Strenkettlebellgth training is essential for anyone who wants to be fitter, stronger and healthier.

Many people are spending most of their workout time on cardiovascular exercise (treadmill, cross-trainer, jogging) and less time on strength training (also known as resistance training), with a common belief that the best way to lose weight is to count the calories that was burnt, and the longer the session the better.  The truth is, strength training may just be the missing piece of puzzle to take your fitness to another level. Moreoever, there are many health benefits associated with strength training.

Here are 8 reasons why you should include strength training in your workouts:

1. You will be be physically fitter and stronger

2. Feel mentally stronger and more focused

3. Lose body fat and become leaner, which also means your body will be toned and looke sculpted

4. Raise your metabolic rate with ‘after burn’ effect

5. You will feel more energized

6. You will develop stronger bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis

7. Help manage a variety of health conditions, e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, back pain, arthritis and obesity

8. Enhance performance which makes everyday tasks easier

There are many ways to do strength training, which can be done at home or in the gym.  My favourite choices are body weight exercises and using free weights (dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells).

When it comes to strength training, it is essential to exercise with good form. If you are new to strength training, always ask your trainer for a demonstration.

If you are based in Leatherhead, Surrey, why not book a free taster session to experience the benefits yourself?

What is abdominal separation / diastasis recti?

Abdominal separation is a common condition that occurs in pregnancy and postpartum, where the left and right halves of the rectus abdominis (six pack muscles) separate.  Diastasis means separation, and recti refers to the rectus abdominis muscles.

abdominal separation mutusystem

Abdominal separation is caused by overstretching of abdominal muscles, to allow to growth of the uterus and baby during pregnancy.  A small amount of widening of the gap happens in all pregnancies and is normal. Abdominal separation occurs in about 30% of all pregnancies.  The gap returns to less than 2 finger-widths spontaneously in most pregnancies, but for many, the tissue remains too wide, causing problems.  The abdominal muscles become weak, and therefore reduce the protection and stability of the whole body, not just the abdomen section.

How to test for abdominal separation / diastasis recti?

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor
  2. Place one hand on your abdomen, with your fingertips just above the belly button
  3. Lift your upper body a couple of inches off the floor, and gently press your fingertips on the abdomen
  4. Move your fingertips along the midline, above and below the belly button to check for separation
  5. A gap of two or more finger-widths is generally considered as abdominal separation

What exercises / movements should be avoided when abdominal separation is present?

Once abdominal separation is confirmed, you will need to focus on pulling the abdominal muscles closer together, and avoid any movements that pull the muscles apart on a daily basis.

Here’s a quick checklist of exercises / movements to avoid:

  • Flexion of the spine. Examples: crunches, sit-ups. Not only crunches and sit-ups make the separation worse, they are also bad for the back. So no more crunches or sit-ups ladies!
  • Crunching up to get out of bed or get up from the floor. Always roll over to your side, then use your arms to push yourself up to a sitting position.
  • Any movement that involves strong / resisted rotation or side flexion. Examples: side crunches, russian twists, ab ‘bicycles’, side-bends with dumbbells.
  • Plank.  The amount of pressure placed on your abdominals while holding a plank can be immense, it can easily make any gap in your abdominals worse.  As the separation heals, this exercise can be slowly introduced into your workouts.
  • Movements that stretch the abdominals. Example: back extensions. Not only these movements will feel uncomfortable, they are inappropriate for weakened abdominal muscles.

So you might be thinking ‘what can I do about my abdominal separation’? Luckily, there are specific exercises you can do to help your abdominal muscles recover, and I am here to help explain it to you. Find out more on our ‘Abdominal Separation Recovery Programmehere.