Tips & Advice

Weight Training for Indoor Rowing

I am very often asked about weight training and its effectiveness for improving indoor rowing times. To answer this correctly, in my opinion, I need to know more about the individual asking the question as it is rarely a one size fits all scenario. It is a really grey area as there have been very fast rowers who have never lifted a weight and there have been very fast rowers who include plenty in their training schedule, and many combinations in between.

There are generally 2 categories of people asking the question. The first are those who have a very limited exposure to weight training in their life and they have started to plateau with their rowing times. They want to know if becoming stronger will give them a further boost in improving their times. The second type are those who have a longer history with weight training and want to know if they are doing too many weights sessions or the wrong type which are potentially getting in the way of progression.

I personally fit into the second category, where for the most part of my adult life I have probably lifted weights 5 times per week – with varying goals. For me to incorporate those levels into my rowing schedule was too much and never allowed me to be fresh enough to progress my rowing. So I slowly lowered the frequency and have settled on 2 sessions per week. I briefly flirted with 3 again, but it was clear to me that upset the training harmony so 2 it was. One of my sessions is more strength based – higher weight, lower reps and longer rest. The other session is more conditioning based – lower weight, higher reps and less rest. I always train with compound movements and both sessions will utilise my whole body including pushing movements that are not necessarily used in rowing, but give your body an overall balance. This system has allowed me to keep the vast majority of my strength, stay in decent shape whilst not impacting my rowing negatively. This feels perfect for me at this stage.

Those who fit in to category 1 would almost certainly benefit from being stronger. However this isn’t an overnight process and needs guidance and structure to achieve, choosing the correct exercises best suited to those muscles used in rowing is very important although with no previous experience this may be preceded with a period of conditioning so your body adapts. Then ideally training would be periodised so that strength was a priority at set times and rowing was very much secondary. Clearly rowing is still a good idea, but excelling on the rower at these times will be unlikely. These gains are best achieved in the off season then the frequency and volume of weight training would decrease as rowing performance becomes more of a priority. Hopefully at this point the increases in strength can be felt resulting in further gains on the rowing machine.

To summarise, and in simple terms, the longer your history and experience with strength training, the less the need for them to help improve your rowing times and potentially they may hinder your progress. Conversely if weights are a new thing then, if done correctly, they may really help you progress. In either category, I am speaking in general terms and it would also need to be considered the distance the individual was training for. Raw strength for a 500m is more relevant than that for a marathon. However, as with most things, it comes down to priorities and consistency is the best approach.

Happy rowing.

Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness for Rowing Performance.

‘It’s OK for you, you are mentally strong’.

‘It’s OK for you, you are good at rowing – you love it’!

I have heard people say these things to me on many occasions. Whether they are true or not is a different story, but what is certainly true is that we are not born with these qualities. They are developed over time with effort, discipline and personal experiences.

In rowing terms mental toughness is often attached to those individuals who keep going when things get tough and where others would perhaps give in. I think it is widely accepted that rowing performance is at least as much a mental battle as it is a physical one, if the brain starts to give in then the body will nearly always follow. A positive (and realistic) mental approach will not guarantee success, but a negative one will almost always lead to a struggle and this is something that we are in control of. I have had many days where I have had a double session scheduled and the morning felt terrible so I feared the evening, yet it went well. This has taught me that there are so many variables in how we feel and perform that we must aim for a mindset where we take each session as it comes. Work with facts and not emotions.

Why do we feel we need to stop?

Putting the handle down (HD or stopping) is common terminology in the rowing community. Some people are more guilty than others, but we are all human so I think it is a situation and subsequent feeling we can all relate to at some point. Generally after an HD we feel angry and wish we had carried on as the pain of giving in is mentally far harder to deal with than the short term pain at the time of the physical effort. Nearly always this is NOT because of the pain that we are in, but because of the perceived pain that lies ahead. It happens far less in training sessions than it does in a time trial when we see our target time drift away as things get tough and the doubts set in. Yet we have been in as much, or more pain, in many training sessions before. The danger of stopping is that will slowly become a habit and more acceptable in the long term

The desire to stop also happens more as our individual performances improve and we near our capacity. The margins we are chasing become finer, meaning the greater the mental and physical effort that is required from us to hit our targets. With improvement and experience also comes greater expectations from ourselves and/or others. With so many variables (energy, mood, nutrition, sleep, hormones, hydration, time of day, health) these fine margins are easily effected so the need for mental toughness grows to ensure those and those greater expectations don’t seem further away.

So what should we do to start to overcome this?

The biggest factor (not easy at all) is to try and work with facts at the time and not your emotions of what you perceive to lie ahead. Be mindful. The pain will rarely be as bad as we imagine and when it does hit, you are close enough to the end by then for us to embrace it and get across the line. There is a critical point (often half way, but not always) where the finish line goes from seemingly miles away to within our reach. This is the first point to aim for when we start to struggle as getting to that point changes our outlook. If the desire to put the handle down is still too big then rather than stop, just back off the pace for a short while. Count strokes in groups of 10 then reassess, even take it a stroke at a time if necessary. These tactics will have a far greater effect on recovery than you think and will also get you mentally and physically closer to the finish.

What happens if we still get the same mental block repeatedly?

If you have applied all the above then quite simply you must at some point carry on when you want to stop. Nobody else can do this bit for you. Even if it means slowing down to below your target. This builds belief for the next time that you can get through also and perhaps at a faster pace. Toughing it out through the hard sessions is in fact building our future performances and the sessions we struggle in are far more important than the straight forward ones for building our physical and mental strength.

Mental strength comes in many forms, from having the discipline and consistency to train when it feels like the last thing we want to do, to not stopping at those vital times when we desperately want to. One thing for sure is that becoming mentally strong doesn’t happen overnight, but takes time to build. We also must recognise that many of these mental hurdles that present themselves will not go away no matter how experienced we get, it is a case of learning how to best deal with them. The good news is that you can make a start with your very next session.

Happy rowing.

Keep Going at Rowing … Sam’s 5 Top Tips

I was recently asked my opinion on the very general topic of ‘Top Tips’ for rowing. Rather than focus on issues related to the use of the machine or technique, I instead focussed on a lifestyle approach to answering the very pertinent question ‘What are the things that are going to contribute to motivation, progress and sustainability when it comes to rowing?’. Essentially  ‘How will you keep going?’.

1.The most important thing for me is consistency. Sporadic, short term goal focussed training won’t equate to much in terms of long term overall progress. Initially of course if you’re new to the sport, short term gains can be massive . Over time however the margins dwindle and it can get difficult to stay patient and consistent with your journey. Dip in and out like a yoyo dieter and your results won’t be sustained and you also won’t progress further. Find a level of training that is sustainable and enjoy the effort and discipline required to execute it.

2. Be clear about the reason you’re rowing. This will be the ultimate motivation for keeping going. What’s your end goal? It could be to get faster, be as competitive as you can, improve general fitness, relieve stress, or a whole host of other personal motivators. Whenever motivation starts to waver look beyond what’s difficult in the moment and remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Focus on all the things that were important to you in the moment you decided to give this a go. You’ll likely find that although something is telling you it’s easier not to train right now, there was a really good reason you decided to row, so commit to it wholeheartedly and train regardless (blog – What’s Your Goal).

3. Deal with adversity. Acknowledge and accept that the journey will not always be smooth. Some days are far harder than others for no apparent reason. It’s these days more so than the easier ones, that contribute to growth both personally and athletically. Insightful athletes train smart and know that progress comes in many forms. In my experience training gains come and go in waves . Giving up when things are more difficult simply delays the next wave of progress even further. Surf the urge to give up and you will be rewarded far sooner (blog – Catching a Wave).

4. Aim to complement exercise with a healthy lifestyle. The two go hand in hand and addressing both will multiply your chances of success. Prepare in advance for your sessions, recovery and nutrition. Sleep more, hydrate better. The more we want something, the more perceived sacrifices we will need to make. In time those sacrifices bring reward and no longer seem such a big ask. Lifestyle changes are fundamental to success.
5.Have a structure or follow a training plan. Be accountable to, and motivated by yourself and others. Random, unstructured, mood dependent training is less rewarding and by no means yields the same results. It’s like taking the scenic route in the dark. Know yo ur destination, plan your route and stay patient with your journey (blog-The Importance of a Training Plan).

What’s Your Goal?

What’s Your Goal?

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I’ve spent time this week reflecting on conversations I’ve had with several clients about motivation for training. Mainly from the perspective of how to approach things when motivation feels as if it’s lacking. It’s apparent that a lot of people start to become quite self critical and intolerant when motivation is harder to come by and as a result they begin to question the point of things, seem a bit hopeless and definitely find it hard to let go of all or nothing thinking. There’s certainly no magic fix in these instances, but it’s important to reconnect with what started you on your path in the first instance. What’s your goal?

There’s no one size fits all with this.  We all have different personalities and lead different lives and therefore our reasons for exercising will be dependent on many factors. Generally speaking though I think motivation for training falls into 2 distinct categories:

  1. Progression and improvement in performance.
  2. General health and well being, including:
  • Weight loss
  • General fitness
  • Lifestyle improvement
  • Improve confidence
  • Stress management
  • Interest/stimulation

It is very likely that your reasons for following a training plan or exercise regime will be as a result of one or more of the above, and quite possibly the case that these reasons change over time. All of these reasons are of course completely valid and it is possible to be following the same training plan as someone else whilst at the same time having completely different goals. That’s the beauty of exercise. Target one goal and there will undoubtedly be other positive benefits.img_7899-300x300

When motivation comes into question the best advice I can give is, concentrate on what you want from your training not what someone else is trying to achieve. They could well be on a separate journey. Training doesn’t have to be brutal, prescriptive and directive at all times. If it is, then resentment is the likely outcome…and since when has resentment helped with motivation? Take ownership of your training, approach every session with a clear goal for that session and make adjustments accordingly if that’s what the circumstances dictate. Let go of attachments to all or nothing thinking. Recognise the dangers of an inability to allow yourself some ‘room’. The only real failure is you sabotaging yourself by failing to recognise what’s genuinely needed on a session by session basis.

In my generic training plans I offer individual pace guides that cater for the whole spectrum of participants, from those who are trying to push on and improve their times, to those who are more focused on their physical, emotional and psychological well being. Ultimately training and performance goes in waves, nothing in life is constant.  There’s a natural ebb and flow to everything. The challenge is in striking the right balance between pushing when you can and being flexible when the circumstances change, whilst at the same time giving yourself the credit to know what’s best.

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Experiencing Pain without Suffering: ‘The Journey to the Dark Side’ A Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) Approach to Mental Toughness

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Experiencing Pain without Suffering: ‘The Journey to the Dark Side’ A Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) Approach to Mental Toughness

Yes, this struggle is real. Training through pure physical and mental pain. Definitely one I can relate to even early on in my indoor rowing career. I also know relative to others, my struggle is minor. Take my coach for example. Less than 6ft and still able to crush a 2k erg in 5.59.8. WTF. How does he do that? I’ll tell you how he does that. He goes to hell and back more times than you can imagine. He got me thinking about mental toughness in relation to sports generally rather than specifically to indoor rowing, although in my opinion rowing as a sport is one of the finest examples.

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Developing mental toughness is one thing, but seriously how do you keep going when you consistently achieve the goals you set yourself. Where do you draw the line when it comes to volunteering for pain? Is there any way of increasing your capacity to apply yourself in this way longer term without giving in to the urges to crash? 

‘Mental toughness’… “the ability to act in a purposeful manner, systematically and consistently, in the pursuit of the values that underlie performance activities ,even (and especially) when faced with strong emotions that we as humans naturally want to control, eliminate, or reduce” *

Just reading this you get a sense of the enormity of this task. Easy to see therefore that developing the skill isn’t straightforward. Yet some people have the ability to go head on into things using this skill or some other slight variation of the ‘mentally tough’ definition, every day. They’re likely to be big achievers in whatever context they operate…but at what price? What’s the impact longer term of being someone with a level of toughness that means regardless of thinking and feeling you consistently throw yourself at incredibly physically and mentally demanding situations? And how do you maintain the ability to be ‘tough’?

If you are indeed tough enough to embark on the process regardless, then you’re over the first hurdle of acting willing in a situation where willfulness, non-acceptance, judgement and emotion are rife so fair play to you, you obviously have some strategies for getting there. It could be that these strategies have been along the lines of skills training interventions offered historically by sports/ performance psychology (goal setting, mental rehearsal, arousal control, positive self-talk and precompetitive routines) with the aim of creating a better performance state through greater self-control of internal experiences such as attention, emotion, cognition **. But how long is it possible to maintain ‘control’ over these intense experiences given the energy they consume prior to being energetic?

More recently there has been a huge amount of literature across a range of psychological disciplines that have questioned the assumption that negative internal experiences invariably lead to negative behavioural outcomes. Is it possible that athletes experiencing negative internal states can still perform optimally? Well actually yes it is. It is now believed that strategies aimed at suppressing unwanted thoughts and emotions can have a paradoxical effect, triggering metacognitive scanning that actively searches for signs of negative or unwanted cognitive activity and brings it to awareness***. Studies have identified the value of acceptance based strategies as an alternative to change and control focussed techniques where the goal is to recognize internal experiences of all kinds as something that will naturally come and go and that do not have to be judged, labelled, managed, controlled or in fact understood if performance is to be enhanced. Enter the Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) approach* which promotes acceptance of one’s internal experience, no matter what it might be, while at the same time focusing the performer on the contextually appropriate behaviours required to fully engage in the valued activities and achieve the determined goal. A fundamental underpinning to this approach is the idea that a flexible approach to experience including thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations is essential for optimal functioning. An unwillingness to remain in contact with difficult internal experiences is a central factor leading to reduced behavioural functioning. In other words the control or reduction of internal experiences is not necessary for creating the ideal performance state, in fact mindful, non-judging, awareness and acceptance of moment to moment cognitive, affective and sensory experiences is evidently more useful*.

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 So in short there’s a useful way to move beyond the gates of hell day to day. Acceptance based strategies seem to fit nicely with the types of internal experience described earlier which occur in anticipation of the next ‘hard’ session whatever form that might take. Acquiring the knowledge and developing the skill obviously takes time, time that we don’t have here but at least we’ve identified the start line. In the absence of time here’s a couple of useful links to follow up at a later date about mindfulness and ‘Teflon Mind’.

What about staying on track without derailing at some point though? Once we’ve developed the skills of mindfulness and acceptance as a means to get on the train day in day out, how do we maintain the commitment to keep driving it in the right direction? When something really hurts, like physically, mentally, everything, how do we find the energy to invest in keeping going? When the going gets ugggggghhhhhh…can the tough really just keep on going?

How about setting goals? Surely when we lose the plot, the point, the purpose, the place to start is being clear on the goal because once we know that, we then know the ‘why’…actually maybe not. Despite the universal belief that goal-setting procedures are gold standard techniques for the enhancement of performance, only six studies have been found that evaluate the value of goal setting and only 2 met the necessary criteria for adequate research design, and NEITHER of these two studies found and significant performance enhancing effects for goal setting procedures* #noway #whoknew.

It’s a good job there’s an alternative. Let’s leave goals and look at VALUES and value-driven behaviour. According to MAC * “Personal values are the anchor point for all behavioural decisions that need to be made in the course of enhancing performance and achieving goals”. They’re the thing that keeps us committed to behaving consistently in line with things that have real worth. If something has REAL worth then obviously it’s much harder to dismiss or lose sight of when the going gets tough right? That makes total sense to me.

By being able to define values and live a life that is directed by these values (including performance related components of life) means the likelihood of performance goals being met is increased. The flip side to a ‘value-directed’ life is an ‘emotion-directed life’ where actions are not in line with what really matters to the individual but instead are in line with what the individual feels or is looking to avoiding feeling/experiencing at any given point…cue inconsistency!!!

“Remember, the JOURNEY is the value. The DESTINATION, is the goal” * If you can define values then you’re on a fast track to staying committed. Simply by asking the question ‘Am I acting in line with my values or am I choosing to respond in line with what might make me feel good right now?’ This ultimately leads to behavioural choices being made not on internal rules or emotions in the moment but instead on more consistent values.

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The first step then is surely to know what your values are. If you were to put me on the spot and ask me, I’d probably struggle to answer and I imagine it would be similar for most people unless they’ve undergone a thorough process of determining what’s important to them in their life and written it down at some point.

The following are some useful questions to consider in the process of defining values:*

  • What do you really want out of your competitive performance EXPERIENCE?
  • How to do you want to be known and remembered by co-workers/team mates/ clients?
  • What journey do you want to experience on the way to the destination?
  • Why is being a solid team member / co-worker important to you
  • What do you value about your activity? The challenge? The prestige? The enjoyment? The interaction with your team? Helping people?
  • Is developing your skill important to you? Why is this meaningful to you? Are there any skills you would like to develop more fully?
  • What issues or behaviours related to skill do you care about? What would you like to do more of?
  • What issues or behaviours related to tactical skill development do you care about? What would you like to do more of?
  • What types of activities do you enjoy? Why do you enjoy them?

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It’s important to remember that the answers aren’t meant to be a statement of goals you want to achieve. They are instead things of real value which you’re able to reflect on, that serve as the anchor when the ‘why’s’ and ‘what for’s’ start to creep in. Spend time on determining values and you will have your anchor. It’s much easier to stay committed when you know it’s because something holds value. Performance and in fact most human behaviour can occur “regardless of the content of thoughts and feelings as long as one stays focussed on the task relevant environment and continues to engage in value driven actions” *. If you’re scared of the dark then values offer a comfort, whether that be a blanket or a night light.

In short, mindfulness and acceptance based strategies along with consistent value directed choices and behaviours NOT emotion focused and directed behaviours are the essence of the elusive ‘mental toughness’ and therefore offer potential light in that often very dark place. So, go find your light and shine it…

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@Drvixtweets

@DBTtweets

Fitness Matters Indoor Rowing

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2402882415/

 

~Inspired by Sam Blythe

www.fitnessmatters.me.uk

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Ref:

* Gardner. F. L., and Moore. Z. E. (2007) The Psychology of Enhancing Human Performance. The Mindfulness- Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) Approach.

**Hardy. L. et al (1996) Understanding Psychological Preparation for Sport: Theory and Practice of Elite Performers.

*** Gardner. F. L., and Moore. Z. E. (2006) Clinical Sport Psychology.

https://lifewithnolimitscoaching.com/2012/09/14/mental-skill-of-mindfulness-training/

https://lifewithnolimitscoaching.com/2012/12/02/developing-a-teflon-mindset-in-tough-conditions/

3 Food Subscription Services to Help You Stick to a Healthy Diet

3 Food Subscription Services to Help You Stick to a Healthy Diet

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Subscription services have risen in popularity in recent years, often due to the way they make our lives easier and our personal budgets more manageable.

With our big focus on maintaining a sustainable diet, we wondered if subscription meal services can be an efficient way to make sure you get your nutritional fix each week… Especially if you’re short on time for long supermarket trips!

Here are three popular services we found:

Hello Fresh

www.hellofresh.co.uk

With Hello Fresh, subscribers can choose from a range of recipes from the website. Having made the selection, the exact ingredients will be delivered weekly in a chilled recipe box.

Positives and negatives…

Healthy recipes: A quick browse of the site revealed mostly balanced meal options with full nutritional info at hand. Remember, we promote the Paleo diet here at Fitness Matters so if you’re following along with us not everything should be included.

Convenience: The service could be a time saver and an efficient way to plan meals for the week ahead, especially after work.

Less flexibility? The rigidity of the recipe-based service might not be for everyone.

We couldn’t see anywhere specifying the exact contents of the boxes, an uncertainty which may bother some people. Perhaps this is made clearer as you progress with the service.

Veg in a Box

www.veginabox.co.uk

We’ve included Veg In A Box as they are a great local company to us. Despite their name, Clyst-St-Mary based Veg in a Box also deliver fresh fruit, meat & dairy to the Devon area.

Local produce: Veg in a Box is local and supports local farmer and producers.

Variety of healthy options: Veg in a Box have a whole section of their website devoted to ‘Healthy fruit & veg boxes’ – including the FitBox (Designed for People Looking at Eating Clean).

Too much choice? At Fitness Matters we help a lot of our clients with nutritional advice. If you’re not a pro-planner, you might find the plethora of different boxes a little overwhelming. Look for a balanced and sustainable diet!

Veg In A Box don’t yet offer a subscription service but many customers repeat their orders on a regular basis.

Graze

https://www.graze.com/uk/

Graze revolutionised the world of food delivery subscription by introducing the concept of a snack box. Subscribers rate food items to indicate what they would like to have in their box, which is then posted to them through their letterbox.

Less of an outlay: Compared to the relative expense involved with ordering groceries through Hello Fresh and Veg in a Box, Graze is on a smaller scale and therefore food subscription at its most affordable.

Personalised boxes, variety of snacks

Not for those with allergies: Graze warns on its site that snacks may contain traces of gluten, eggs, peanuts, soya, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, fish and sesame. Be careful!

You can’t live on snacks alone!

If you use any of these services, let us know what you think on social media.

 

How to plan for a great 2016!

How to plan for a great 2016!

A month of 2016 is already over and done with, and by now you will probably have a good idea of how your body is feeling after the early “Let’s get fit” New Year’s inspiration. However, the real test is maintaining this drive throughout the year. At Fitness Matters we’re all about sustainable progress.

Here are 4 top tips to help you achieve this!

Have an end goal

A clear purpose for your training, be it a general goal such as losing weight, or the challenge of an event like a half marathon, will focus your efforts and increase your motivation as the year goes on. Remember, it’s all about sustainable progress.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

Research has proven that those starting an exercise regime alone have a general dropout rate of about 43 per cent, whereas for those who train in a group environment, that figure lies around the seven per cent mark. Joining in group exercise classes can be much more effective and surrounding yourself with people with similar goals could help you with sustained determination this year!

Set realistic targets

This might seem like an obvious one, but failing to meet your fitness targets is often a confidence blow, and something that may cause your motivation to gradually ebb away. By giving yourself challenging but attainable objectives, you will feel good about yourself when your efforts are successful. Sustainable fitness plans are far better that unrealistic goals.

Change your workouts regularly

Regular alterations to your routine; from volume to stimulus and exercises, will shock your body and keep the gains coming. This will also have the psychological benefit of mixing things up and keeping your routine fresh, since there is nothing worse than fitness feeling like a chore.

 2016 Workout

At Fitness Matters we have a team of hugely experienced personal trainers: contact us now for a free fitness and lifestyle consultation and kickstart your 2016 in the best way!

5 Benefits of Indoor Rowing

5 Benefits of Indoor Rowing

Here at Fitness Matters, we’re big fans of Indoor Rowing. We’re building a thriving community both online and offline for beginners and experts alike. With the recent announcement of our second indoor rowing event, we thought we’d look into the benefits, both physically and mentally of the exercise.

 1. Conditioning for the Upper & Lower Body

As you might expect, indoor machines provide a great upper-body workout. They involve the rhomboids in the shoulder, trapezius in the upper back and lats in the lower back. You’ll also reap the benefits in your lower body – the main leg muscles involved are the quads in the upper front of the thighs, but the calves and glutes (buttocks) will also see improvement over time.

2. Efficient Calorie Burning

An indoor rowing workout burns an average of 600 calories an hour, a more efficient rate than most other gym equipment. On a stationary bike without arm involvement, you’d need to ride about an hour and 18 minutes to equal an hour of indoor rowing.

 3. Improves Cardio Fitness

Rowing is great for the heart and lungs because it engages every major muscle group of your body. That, in turn, requires your heart to pump more blood to your working muscle tissue to deliver energy and nutrients to your cells while buffering away waste by-products, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

 4. Low Impact

Because your feet remain in contact with the foot pads and your hands keep contact with the handles during rowing, there’s little to no impact being placed on the ankles, knees, hips, elbows or shoulders, all of which are prone to injury. This also makes it an appropriate form of exercise for those who are nursing an injury, or who feel physically uncomfortable during weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, or certain other aerobic activities.

5. Mental and social benefits

Much like spinning classes, indoor rowing sessions have transformed what is usually an individual workout into a fun, highly social environment. We are actively building our community and it’s so great to see everyone helping each other, discussing their workouts and having fun, both online and offline. Here are three ways you can get involved:

  1. Join our Indoor Rowing Facebook group
  2. Come along to our next rowing event – open to all ages and abilities
  3. Become a member with Fitness Matters to receive more personalised feedback and support

5 Benefits of Indoor Rowing

5 Reasons to get a Personal Trainer

5 Reasons to get a Personal Trainer

We know all people approach their daily exercise in different ways. Some people naturally crave for movement whilst others need a bit more of a push to get started. Do you feel like one of the latter? Don’t worry, you are not alone, and the right push can easily be provided by a personal trainer. Below are 5 reasons to get hooked up with a professional:

PT Reason 1

Is it ever tempting to ignore your gym visits if it gives you time to do something you would rather at that moment? One of the best things about a personal trainer is that you have them at the gym waiting to welcome you. This works great as a trigger, in the same way as you don’t want to miss out on meeting a friend.

PT Reason 2

A personal trainer will infuse change, new activities and goals into your schedule. The greatest threat for health motivation is getting bored on the way to achieving your goal, but a personal trainer will be there to help you spice up those practices which you may find a bit dull.

PT Reason 3

When it comes to your body, it is terribly complex. There are a lot of muscles collaborating to function, and they get particularly pressured when working out. Personal trainers are experts when it comes to how the body is built, and they will know exactly what to do in order not to hurt yourself for the following year.

PT Reason 4

Unfortunately many people who are trying to get in shape hurt their body in process. It is your one and only body we are talking about here, a construction which you will ever be able to change for a new one.

PT Reason 5

When health is a hot potato discussed in the staffroom, who will be updated with the hottest news? You. So go on, get yourself a new friend as well as a well-trimmed body and contact a personal trainer ASAP. They won’t bite, but your muscles might.

Beating the Christmas bulge!

Beating the Christmas bulge

So that time of year is once again approaching

…you eat two weeks-worth of food in half that time, just to then sit around watching Christmas TV specials in trousers that have suddenly become very tight-fitting…

Experts estimate that the average weight gain over this period is anywhere from 1kg to 4kg! So why not try to combat that by following these simple steps to avoiding that horrid “I’ve eaten too much” realisation?

1) Don’t forget your usual exercise routines…

It goes without saying that just because Christmas gives you lots of presents it doesn’t give you a get-out-of-jail-free card to stop exercising. Even if your routine is reduced in intensity, burning those few calories will go a long way to preventing that weight gain and make you feel that little more refreshed. With this winter set to be one of the coldest on record, it might happen that you can’t go out on your usual exercise route (whether cycling or running), so just find an alternative? Don’t forget FM has a fully private gym available…

2) Moderation, moderation, mmm…turkey?!

Saying to watch what you eat doesn’t mean ditching the food that MAKES Christmas. A decent serving of turkey is good to boost protein and zinc intake, and its one of the least fatty meats around. When hitting the buffet, don’t hold back, but try where you can to swap for alternatives, for example – peanuts for olives, Pringle for Twiglets etc.. Get the gist? Obviously here at FM we would never promote these sorts of non-paleo unhealthy foods, but you’re going to dig in anyway right? It’s Christmas!

3) Share the love…

Don’t keep that delicious tin of Quality Streets to yourself, share the love. Let everyone take a pick. Not only does it stop you from scoffing down the entire tin whilst watching the Downton Abbey special, but it also means you can get rid of the ones you don’t like which you would otherwise be forced to eat too?!

Follow these steps and you’re on your way. Don’t follow these steps and it’s probably best you get the turkey-trousers out now. Remember, it’s far easier to stay fit and healthy than it is to start from scratch.