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Metafit for mums to be

Ok, so you’ve heard that Metafit is suitable for all thanks to the adaptability of the exercises – but what about for the pregnant client? A qualified Metafit coach can regress or progress each exercise to suit their client’s level of fitness, range of mobility – particularly if limited due to pre-existing conditions, and strength. The normal path is that we start with the regression and then progress as the client’s fitness and strength improves, but with a pregnant client this moves in the opposite direction.

“Pregnancy and Metafit- you wouldn’t think that they go together, but after support from my obstetrician and trainer Jacqui I have found metafit to be something that I look forward to as part of my regular routine.

Initially I was sceptical in thinking that I would be able to continue as I started to grow; thinking that Metafit would become less effective.  But as I am nearing the end of my pregnancy I have actually found my strength to increase and my control of each exercise improve as I strive to have the correct technique. My favourite part of Metafit is the endorphin rush after the final countdown on the finisher from Mr Metafit!

Thank you to Jacqui for reigniting my passion for exercise and I know if this baby can’t sleep it will be because it is missing the feel of burpees and squats!” Marie, Glen Iris

Let’s consider exercise during pregnancy. Physical activity and reproduction are normal parts of life. Pregnancy is a normal physiological state – ok so not all women have “normal” pregnancies (me being one of them!) – but the female species has been designed to conceive, grow and deliver a baby. Combining regular exercise and pregnancy for normal healthy women appears to benefit both the mother and baby in many ways:

  • Improve maternal fitness
  • Restrict weight gain without compromising fetal growth
  • Hasten postpartum recovery
  • Reduce risk of developing gestational diabetes
  • Improve self esteem and mental well being

Risks? Currently there are no known adverse risks to a pregnant woman or the developing fetus that are linked with participating in physical activity. However, as pregnancy progresses, the body goes through significant changes such as increased looseness of joints, changes in centre of gravity and an increased resting heart rate. Therefore, modifications to any exercise program need to be considered as the pregnancy continues.

Considerations – while most forms of exercise are safe, there are some general cautions:

  • Avoid raising body temp too high – interestingly adequate hydration, regular exercise and pregnancy combined can all improve a woman’s capacity to dissipate heat.
  • Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion
  • Avoid exercise if ill or you really don’t have the energy – listen to your body to avoid depleting precious energy reserves
  • Don’t increase the intensity of your exercise whilst pregnant – pregnancy is not a time to try and set a new PB or reach peak fitness!
  • PELVIC FLOOR health is vital. As pregnancy progresses and the pelvic floor muscles come under greater load and stretch, reduce impact to reduce strain on pelvic floor.

METAFIT & the mum to be

In its purest form, Metafit is high intesntiy interval training (HIIT) – pushing yourself to work at 85% max heart rate. It is also bodyweight training, using functional whole body exercises that work joints and muscles through their full range of mobility.

So for a pregnant client, we regress Metafit – reduce the intensity, reduce the impact, modify exercises to accommodate the changes in centre of gravity and of course being prone/supine. Although not really a HIIT session in later pregnancy, Metafit is still a very useful program for the pregnant client as she is completing weight-bearing exercises, working aerobically, and exercising under the supervision of a qualified fitness professional. Effective, efficient, functional training.

Ultimately, exercising whilst pregnant is a personal choice often determined by the health of mother, baby and progression of the pregnancy. Doing any physical activity is better than none. Listen to your body – if it likes what you are doing, keep doing it. If it tells you to slow down, slow down. When in doubt, seek the help of a professional. The goal is for a healthy mum to deliver a healthy bub!

Putting the spring in your step…..and a smile on your face – a little physical activity each day is good for your Heart Body & Soul.

 

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Focus on landing

Soft landings = safe landings

Metafit uses plyometric exercises (eg. jumps) to build strength and power. When performing plyometric exercises, landing technique is often overlooked, but it is AS if not more important than the concentric (upward) motion of jumping.

The untrained way to land is in a very rigid, stiff legged manner. As a result, all of the impact is absorbed between the hip, knee and ankle joints. It is much more advantageous to land softly and transfer the force to the glutes (butt), hamstrings, quads and calf.

One of the recent points of discussion in strength and conditioning communities focussed on people who are quad dominant v glute dominant. Quad dominant athletes tend to use their quads to shift their weight forward with squatting and jumping movements. This not only transfers a lot of pressure to the front of the knee, but puts a large load on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

By learning how to land softly without noise and controlling deceleration, you will significantly lower the impact forces, decrease the risk of injury and extend the life of your joints.

The key points in landing technique are:

  1. Land as softly as possible, making no noise when the feet come into contact with the surface. How many times have you heard me say “Absorb the impact through your butt and thighs, not your joints”!
  2. Land flat footed or slightly heel first, keeping weight evenly distributed over the entire foot.
  3. Shift your glutes or butt back and keep your knees behind your toes. “Butt out”

Jumping and landing training are highly demanding on the nervous system, so it is essential that the body is warm enough to perform the exercises efficiently. Please practice these key points when performing jumps in a metafit session – your joints will thank-you.

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High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 101

High Intensity Interval Training – in words & pictures

Here it is, the Complete Guide to High Intensity Interval Training – the training principle that METAFIT is built on. After reading this you’ll understand what HIIT is, the science behind it, examples of some of the different methods and protocols, and if you’re super keen how to do them yourself. Thanks to my friends at Greatist.com

The Complete Guide to Interval Training

More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.

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A dynamic warm-up will have you Metafit ready

Prep your body for METAFIT with a full body dynamic warm-up

Metafit sessions are tough – you work to your maximum for around 20 minutes – pushing, jumping, lunging, planking – moving your body through its full range of motion, using all of your joints and muscle groups. To get the most out of your body and your metafit session, a thorough DYNAMIC warm-up is essential.

Around 10 years ago, dynamic warm-ups started gaining popularity in the sports world as an effective method for professional athletes to prepare before an event.  Today, dynamic warm-ups are a standard routine for athletes ranging from amateurs to professionals…..even metafitters!

In this article, you’ll learn why a dynamic warm-up is so effective—whether you’re about to do a metafit session or play a sport.

What Is a Dynamic Warm-Up?

A dynamic warm-up uses stretches that are “dynamic,” meaning you are moving as you stretch. For decades, static stretching, which requires holding a stretch for 10 or more seconds while motionless, was the most popular type of warm-up for athletes and mere mortals alike.

Today it is recognised that dynamic stretching is ideal as the core of a warm-up routine for several reasons:

  • It activates muscles you will use during your workout. For example, a lunge with a twist is a dynamic stretching exercise that engages your hips, legs, and core muscles.  Whether you are doing alternate lunge jumps in metafit, or lunging for a soccer ball, the muscles involved have already been engaged during your warm-up.
  • Dynamic stretching improves range of motion. In metafit we aim to move our joints and muscles through their full range of motion therefore it is important to ensure we have moved through this range prior to adding intensity and impact so the joints and muscles are primed for action.
  • Dynamic stretches improve body awareness. If you don’t warm-up and hop straight into a metafit session, it may take a while for your body to perform optimally.  Moving as you stretch challenges your balance and coordination, skills that could help your performance and contribute to getting the most out of your session.
  • Warming up in motion enhances muscular performance and power. Studies reveal dynamic stretching before a workout can help you lift more weight and increase overall athletic performance compared to no stretching or static stretching. If you are trying to get stronger, build more muscle, or simply perform better, a dynamic warm-up routine is likely your best bet.

I hope it’s now clear why we spend a good 5-minutes at the beginning of each metafit session completing a full-body dynamic warm-up. I want you to get the most out of your session and your body. Add this type of warm-up to any pre-exercise routine and your body will thank-you.

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Make time to exercise and make time for #1 – YOU

“How do I make time to exercise when I’m so busy”?

Life is BUSY, and being BUSY is IN –  who has time to exercise? Running from one appointment to the next, working longer hours, being switched on 24/7 via social media and smartphones, cramming more into each day. It’s not surprising then that the number one reason (excuse) given for not exercising is lack of time – exercise is usually the first thing given away to make more time for being BUSY.

You can still be busy AND make time to exercise. All it takes is a little PLANNING, a change in your MINDSET to make EXERCISE A PRIORITY, and a COMMITMENT to do it. It’s really important that mum’s (and I’m one who struggled with this, even being an endorphin junkie) let go of the guilt associated with devoting and investing time in yourself. If you don’t look out for #1, no-one else will. Set an example, be a role model, make time for YOU.

Here are a few tips on how to make time to exercise and look after #1.

  1. PLAN YOUR WEEK – we all run to a daily timetable. Alarm goes, morning routine, work/kids/errands, meals, and evening routine, bed. Just as we timetable in appointments with doctors, tradesmen, hairdressers, etc, make a daily appointment with YOURSELF to exercise. Add it to your daily/weekly schedule FIRST and build your day/week around that time.

HINT: Book all your METAFIT sessions for the week on a Sunday night, put them in the diary and work around them. (Sneaky link HERE to book)

  1. WAKE UP & WORK-OUT – I’m an early bird so getting up before the family to exercise has never been too hard (although in mid winter when its dark and cold it can be a challenge). But when my 3 kids were young and all at home, early was the only chance I had to exercise without little people in tow. If you’re not a morning person, getting up early can be a challenge but you can retrain your body clock – just persist.

HINT: Heart Body & Soul has 6am sessions Mon, Wed, Fri. You’ll be back home by 6.45!

  1. EXERCISE ON MOST DAYS OF THE WEEK – I love MEATFIT and the whole HIIT principle, but its NOT something that should be done more than 3 times a week, BUT that doesn’t mean do nothing the other days of the week! On your off days try an activity that gets your heart rate elevated, gets your body moving, lifting, and stretching. Tennis, swimming, running, a strength training session, or one of my favourites yoga – all great options that get you moving.
  2. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – Some weeks you’ll be more tired, sore, maybe feel a head-cold coming on. Learn to listen to the messages your body is giving you and modify the planned exercise session accordingly. Maybe you had planned to do METAFIT but you aren’t feeling 100%, go for a walk instead and try METAIT the next day. Still plan for time to exercise, just change the activity to fit with your body’s message.
  3. SLEEP – probably THE most important part of your day. Without quality sleep we fail to function and thrive. Whilst the body is at rest it works to repair, restore, regenerate and absorb all that you have put it through whilst awake. Without rest the body is in a constant state of stress, and we all know what too much stress can do. Set a regular bedtime, SWITCH OFF mentally, electronically, and physically and rest. (Just set the alarm to wake up early before you fall asleep!!)

Do you have any tips on how to fit exercise and time for you into a busy schedule?

 

 

 

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DIY HIIT Workout #5

TABATA – 4-16mins of HIIT

Tabata – is the name given to an exercise protocol developed by Prof. Izumi Tabata in a study he completed using Olympic speedskaters in 1996. The protocol is a version of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 4 minutes. The basics of this protocol are used in a variety of HIIT sessions, but in its purest form participants work at 150% Max HR for 4 mins total!

In this DIY workout YOU can be the coach – you get to choose how many Tabtata sets AND which sets to do. Each set is 4 minutes duration, alternating between 2 different exercises – 20 sec on A, 10 sec rest, 20 sec on B, 10 sec rest REPEAT.

As with all HIIT sessions, a thorough warm-up is essential, as is working HARD in each interval – you need to be huffing and puffing, NO PACING and GREAT TECHNIQUE. Exercise descriptions follow and the exercise basics can be found here

Warm-up:

Arm circles – back/forwards

Leg Swings – fwd & back, side to side

Trunk rotations

10 Body weight squats

5 Push-ups from knees

Jog on spot – butt kicks 15 sec, high knees 15 sec, sprint 15 sec – x 3 each

Main HIIT set:

TABATA – 20 sec work/10 sec x 8 = 4 mins per set

20 sec on ex A, 10 sec rest, 20 sec on ex B, 10 sec rest – REPEAT

30 sec rest in between sets

Set 1 A. Sliders/Skater B. Mt Climbers
Set 2 A. 2-step dash B. Crucifix plank
Set 3 A. Burpees B. No-wall sit
Set 4 A. Sprint B. Split hand push-ups


Sliders/Skaters –
Lower into squat position, step sideways keeping weight in heels and butt back, bring feet together, step to other side, feet together. Repeat. Stay low, head & chest up. 

Mt Climbers – In plank position (shoulders over wrists, heels over toes), bring one knee up to chest, return to plank position, repeat other side.

2-Step Dash – Run forward 2 steps, touch flat palm to ground, run back to steps, flat palm to ground. Bend at knees to keep butt down, squeeze butt to stand up, use arms in run phase.

Crucifix plank – wide arm plank, feet together, squeeze shoulder blades together

Burpees – old fashioned burpee. Hands on ground, jump feet back to plank position, jump feet in to hands, stand/jump up explosively with arms raised overhead. Repeat.

Split hand push-ups – One hand forward, one hand in normal push-up position, push-up, change hand position, repeat. From knees alternative.

Sprint – sprint on spot, high knees, pump arms

No-Wall Sit – Hold static squat for 20 sec. Butt back, weight in heels, head & chest up.

 

Cool Down:

Static stretches that target quads, hamstrings, hips, groin, lower back

 

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