3rd March 2016 | Nottingham
It’s my favourite time of the year…SPRING! The nights and mornings are starting to get lighter, the sun is shining more and more, and dare I say I’ve noticed a lot of you with a little bit of a Spring in your step.. is your new year gym routine paying off or have you already got your rest and recovery schedule mastered?! If not then read our article this month for some great tips on how to rest your body properly.
It’s been busier than ever in club during the past 3 months with lots happening such as our great #makeithappen campaign, Buddy week and not forgetting our family open week which we hope have kept you motivated with your January fitness goals. Stay focused and on track as that beach body is just around the corner, if you’re getting bored with your January routine already then book in for a Touchbase with a member of the fitness team and let us help you stay on board.
Keep going and make it happen
Julie Bowley & your Roko Nottingham Team
Invite your friends & family to join you at the club this month with a 2 week membership for just £20.
Visit www.roko.co.uk/nottingham/offers/2weeks for details or forward this offer to a friend now!
It’s mother’s day on Sunday 6 March 2016 and we think that your mothers deserve a pamper and some relaxation time… so for the Month of March we’re offering you to chance to purchase a one day guest pass half price.. at only £5.25 why treat your mother to some ME ME ME time in our Spa area! She most certainly deserves it…
Group Exercise News
The next edition of the group exercise timetable will be available in club shortly and there will be changes to our regular timetable on Good Friday 25th March and Easter Monday 28th March so look out for those details in club.
Teen Fitness Classes
Remember teens aged 12 – 15 are able to use the club from 09.30 – 18.00 following their Teen Touchbase with the gym team. We also offer supervised classes in the gym on a Monday at 4.15pm and Wednesday at 5pm should they need a little extra motivation! Our latest addition to the timetable is Teen CYCLonE. Get on yer bikes and RIDE!! Fridays at 4.15pm with Kyle.
We like to think that everyone who comes to Roko loves to exercise – or at least loves to hate it but this month we’re looking at something just as important as maintaining your exercise focus…Rest and Recovery.
It goes without saying that we put our bodies and minds through stress when working out. Couple that with a hectic week at work, traffic, social media, family obligations, blah blah blah… and we have a recipe for chronic fatigue.
In an article published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it was reported over 60% of American adults suffer from a variety of sleep disorders; and I’d bet that British adults are no different.
Sleep and proper rest are two of the most over looked and underrated performance strategies that we know. It is not only the amount of sleep you get (experts say that we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night), but the quality of your sleep that matters.
Let’s face it… sleep is not as exciting as learning a new technique in the gym, or beating a previous best time. But it is one of the easiest single items we can perform without the use of a personal trainer, group exercise instructor or extra funds withdrawn from the bank account.
Improved sleep equals improved performance. The key is in how you sleep and rest.
It has been reported that we are sleep deprived and caffeine-fueled nation (sounding familiar?!), as we get on average only six hours of sleep and drink three and a half cups of coffee a day. Coffee is the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed every day.
In the UK, we drink approximately 70 million cups of coffee per day - Mintel Coffee UK 2008 Report.
In 2011, consumers retail spend on coffee was £941 million - Mintel Coffee UK April 2012 Report.
In 2012 the estimated turnover for coffee shops was £5.8 billion - Allegra Strategies UK Retail Coffee Shop Market Report Dec 2012
All of that is not a good combination for long-term rest to your mind and body.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” Dalai Lama
Check out these tips to help your restore your body and mind and hit your peak performance.
1. Most days, plan 15-40 minutes of intense training in your routine. But once a week take that time and schedule some quality shut-eye.
2. On a recovery day, try scheduling 15-40 minutes of extra sleep.
3. Do a short and slow mobility workout before going to sleep. Drink half a litre of water and keep the other half next to the bed. The mobility work will help your muscles to release toxins and lactic acid. This prevents you from waking up in the morning feeling so sore that you can’t get out of bed. And we’ve all been there.
4. Sleep in a cool room or one with a fan or with the window open (with a screen if needed) in the warm months. A cool room is helpful because body temperature drops during sleep. Sleeping too warmly increases the pulse rate, which then makes it more difficult for the body to relax enough to sleep soundly.
5. Take breaks during the day if you can. Our lives are hectic but lying down on the couch for 30 minutes can rest your mind and help rejuvenate you.
“Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.”
-The National Sleep Institute
6. Vigorous exercise for at least an hour a day ensures the body will be tired at night. I don’t think many people who train regularly and at a good intensity will have to worry much about that one.
7. Take a yoga class and stretch the body and rest the mind. It is said that twenty minutes of yoga is equivalent to a two hour nap. At home you can perform a simple Legs-Up-The-Wall or Viparita Karani Pose if you don’t have time to get to one of our classes.
8. Drink a glass of milk. This helps the body relax and the carbohydrates help fuel and provide nutrition to the brain.
9. Treat yourself to a deep tissue massage along with a therapeutic recovery. This can help increase blood flow and heal injuries that may keep you up at night. It also allows for the body and mind to relax, enabling you to sleep easier that night. If you don’t have time for a massage then break out the foam roller and do it yourself as part of your mobility routine as suggested in point 3.
10. Sleep in darkness. Sleeping in complete darkness is important to getting a good night’s rest because darkness increases the production of Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain and controls the body’s sleeping cycle. Melatonin is believed to cause us to fall asleep faster and sleep better.
11. Eat healthy foods. Avoid excessive grains and processed foods.
12. Try resting your mind and avoid the excess daily chaos that comes with smartphones, a continual digital media presence of TV and traffic and congestion. Unclutter your life and disconnect from some of the excess tension to help rest your mind and body. Try not using your phone 60 minutes before bedtime and don’t fall asleep in front of the TV!
13. Eat very little within two hours of bedtime. Don’t stuff your face with a pound of steak thirty minutes before you lay down. Your body does not process food at the same rate while sleeping so avoid heavy meals before you hit the sack.
14. Long and deep breathing sets the stage for the body to wind down to enable you to fall asleep quickly.
Rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself and play a vital role in progressing your training plan. There are of course other components, particularly if one of your goals is strength. Take a look at this next article if you find you’ve hit a plateau in your strength training and find out why you just aren’t getting any stronger.
Strength is one of the most sought after fitness skills. The idea of moving heavy weight in a workout—not to mention the aesthetic benefits that getting stronger can have on the body is highly appealing. For want of a better word, and looking at latest trends on social media, getting stronger is sexy. Strength training should be a vital component of any workout, no matter what you’re training for (the difference being rep schemes and exercises utilized in programming to account for diversity in the overall goal). We know a lot of you spend a lot of time working to become stronger every week. But on occasion, our strength stalls. The records stop coming and the numbers aren’t moving in the right direction. What the hell is going on? Well, several things…
Your mechanics are broken
There are many ways in which your movement patterns and technique can break down: bad posture, poor form, improper weight selection, bad coaching (though I hope that’s not the case) are all possibilities. At first, you may be able to literally ‘muscle’ through a movement and build some initial strength, but there’s no way you’re ever going to be able to move as much weight overhead when you consistently hyperextend your lower back instead of tightening your core and keeping a neutral spine (just one example). This can also lead to other musculoskeletal issues and a high risk of injury, which means that you’d actually be regressing in your overall strength, not growing it. The fix sounds straightforward but requires consistent work. First and foremost, leave your ego at the door and lower the weight on the bar so that you can perform the movement efficiently—surprisingly enough, learning how to move the barbell properly will allow you to put more weight on it over time. Spend time working on your mobility and enlist the help of one of our fitness team as frequently as possible so that the proper mechanics of the lift are engrained in your mind. Once these foundations are locked in, you can start to progressively add more weight, eventually beating your previous record. The perfect example of this is the clean. A lot of people struggle with getting under the bar (due to poor flexibility, technique or fear—or all of them), so they power clean it instead. Unfortunately, there’s going to come a time where they simply can’t power up the weight that’s on the bar. It’s at this point they’ll have wished they learned how to perform the clean as it was intended, so they’ll have to go back to the drawing board while the person who took their time to learn the particulars of the lift surpasses them.
You’re only doing what’s fun, not what you need
Everyone has a favorite lift, and they’ll never miss a workout when it’s programmed in. But by that same logic, everyone also has a lift that they despise and/or they’re weak at, and avoid it like the plague. Being good in one or two lifts is only going to take your strength so far. Your split jerk is nothing without your push press; it’s going to be difficult to get out of a heavy clean if your front squat is weak, and so on and so forth. These lifts are more closely linked than you may think, and each builds strength in different areas of your musculature that you’ll need in order to break through a plateau. Of course, no one enjoys performing a movement they’re no good at, but that’s why practice, mobility, technique and accessory lifts are so important.
You’re not performing accessory lifts
There are so many accessory lifts that you could work into your training to not only help improve your big lifts (squats, jerks, etc.), but also beef up your smaller synergists—your helper muscles—resulting in bigger strength gains overall. For example, a dorsal raise is an excellent way to increase muscle mass and strength in the back and the posterior chain, which will come in handy for any exercise that requires squatting and/or jumping. The behind the neck military press targets a specific group of your shoulder muscles (the middle deltoids) because your elbows move out to the side in the movement, rather than straight out in front of you as is done in a regular press. That means you’ll be providing an extra boost to your shoulder and latissimus dorsi, (a major muscle of the back) strength, which is important for any overhead work as well as skills such as muscle-ups, pull-ups and handstand push-ups (If you’re so inclined!). So if you’re still struggling with increasing your strength, consider spending more time working on your accessory lifts.
You’re not giving yourself time to recover
When you perform resistance training, your muscles undergo microscopic trauma—the fibres of the muscles tear as you move weight. When you stop working out, the fibres begin to repair themselves and the body adds more tissue to the muscle so that the risk of repeat damage is reduced. This is how your muscles grow and become stronger, but is also why progressive overload is essential to continued improvement, as the body adapts and becomes more resistant to stress. However, for all this to work effectively you need to allow time for the body to repair itself. This is where things like proper nutrition, sleep, mobility and active recovery (to ease the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which is a side effect of muscle fibre damage) come into play. These are vital elements of your recovery—and therefore your strength development—that can’t be overlooked. If you want to get stronger, put your body in the best position to be able to.
You’re not focusing enough on your mobility
We already know how important good mechanics are to being able to move weight efficiently—the better you can move your body around the bar (or with the bar), the more weight you’ll be able to lift. The problem is people forget that our flexibility and mechanics are intrinsically linked. The overhead squat requires good mobility in the shoulders, wrists, hips and ankles. If you’re lacking in any one of these areas, you’ll have a ceiling as to how much weight you can lift—if you can perform the movement in the first place. So then, it is imperative—IMPERATIVE—that you dedicate time to increasing your mobility and learning how to move your body effectively EVERY DAY.
You aren’t placing an emphasis on strength
On the whole fitness is all about being skilled across multiple areas - speed, coordination, flexibility, strength, etc. The aim is to create balance, but sometimes people will naturally drift towards improving certain skills at the expense of others, either intentionally or unintentionally. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to become a more mobile if you can’t put yourself in the correct positions to move heavy weight (as explained above). But if you’re spending the majority of your time working on your flexibility without actually moving heavy loads, your strength will stagnate. The same goes for people who want to improve their cardiovascular endurance. Yep, there is a thing as too much cardio. While your engine may be improving, your muscles aren’t being put under (heavy) stress and they aren’t moving heavy loads; which means your muscle fibers aren’t undergoing micro-trauma and repairing themselves as they should be. Of course the flipside to this argument is that if you spend too much time working on your strength you’ll decline in other areas. So the name of the game is balance—which can be tricky, especially for those who are relatively new to exercise but possibly even harder for those who have been training for a long time. If you know that you have a serious imbalance in your fitness and your strength is limiting you, speak to a fitness consultant who can help develop a plan to provide more focus on improving it without neglecting other areas.
You fear failure
Maybe you’re a strong lifter. But you could be even stronger. And the problem is fear of failing a lift. For example, fear of having to leave the weight on the rack and bail out of a squat and the other half, is your head telling you that you won’t be able to stand the weight up. Those are two powerful factors that could be limiting development. How can you ever grow in strength if you’re too scared to put an intimidating weight on the bar? You might actually lift that weight if you had the confidence to try, but the thought of failure means that you’re always going to be lifting 5, 10kg less than you should. I understand that for many people the idea of hitting the deck after a failed lift is a scary and embarrassing prospect. But no one is going to judge you for trying to hit a lift and failing, it’s a sign that you are stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to find new limits in the hope of becoming better - especially if you keep trying and trying. A great way to develop your confidence is by learning how to bail effectively with light weight. Once you’re confident that you can get out safely, you can tackle those more intimidating weights with more bravado. You shouldn’t be fearful of not making the lift—you should be more concerned as to why you are afraid in the first place. When you find the root of the problem then you know what to work on.
You’re not eating properly
Part of the process of increasing your volume, adding weight and letting your body recover is adding more fuel into your system. When you have an intense workout session your metabolism is increased for hours after you leave the box, so you need to provide your body with the proteins, carbs and fats it needs in order for your muscles to repair themselves and grow stronger. If you don’t, then your body will start burning both your fat and your existing muscle tissue, which obviously isn’t very good. You need to eat in accordance with your goals. If you’re having trouble breaking through a plateau in your strength, consider adjusting your diet to allow your body to handle heavier loads