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Another public holiday under the belt! The King's Birthday will be next and then we'll be halfway through the year. That might be a daunting thought if you're not making progress toward your goals. Conversely you may feel like 2024 has already been epic. I hope it's the latter, but if not it's not too late! Break your goals down into small steps and schedule them. It doesn't sound exciting, but it's a great way to find yourself celebrating your wins by NYE. 


If you're looking for a reason to get out of bed, the sunrises are amazing at this time of year. Wednesday put on quite a show. What a beautiful way to start the day!  



Exercising for longevity and good health makes a lot of sense, but many also hope to change their body composition, perhaps to become leaner or stronger. Unfortunately there's no quick fix to make your abs pop out, and no amount of tricep dips will give you lovely toned arms. If you're already doing some strength training, it's likely you've started to build the muscles you'll need, but you also need to reduce the padding that hides them. The only way to actually SEE the muscle is to reduce the fat. 


There are many factors to consider when altering body composition, and many ways to go about it, but in broad terms:


  1. Be in a calorie deficit while eating enough protein

  2. Do both cardio and strength training

  3. Prioritise rest, refueling and re-hydration


Strength training and sufficient protein in your diet will ensure you build the muscle it takes to achieve definition, but only so long as you also get enough rest. Eating enough protein will also help you feel full while being in a calorie deficit. The deficit and the cardio ensure your energy needs exceed your consumption, and the cardio helps to use up your fat stores. 


If you're showing up and giving it a go, but you aren't FEELING the changes to your strength and fitness, it's important to consider why. Perhaps you're lifting weights that are no longer heavy enough in relation to your increased strength, perhaps you're just going through the motions instead of exerting yourself and might need more rest, or perhaps your exercise frequency is insufficient to effect change. Exercising twice a week will always feel like work. Adding a third should feel more comfortable, but the magic is in the fourth. Change can be achieved with less, but it's harder to feel or see and therefore harder to stick with. In the long term its worth considering periodisation (which we'll look at in a future week), but if you're seeking change I'd strongly advocate for trying out a fourth session. Give it a month and see how you feel. When planning your week, don't forget to allow time for rest and recovery between heavy weight sessions. The muscle is built in between the work, but cardio is fine between heavy days.


In the next few weeks I'll look at the above ideas in more detail, but if you have something specific you'd like included, please don't hesitate to let me know!


Poppy will be in Balmain tomorrow and I'm sure she's got a great session lined up, for those who want to start the weekend out in the fresh air, with a welcome dose of endorphins. Enjoy this week's photos and have a fabulous weekend!







Exercise Review

Deadlifts


Another compound exercise engaging multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously. Through recruitment of the entire posterior chain, deadlifts offer the potential to lift heavier weights, making them efficient for overall strength development. Deadlifts also mimic everyday lifting movements, improving functional strength and reducing injury risk. If that's not enough, they enhance posture, increase metabolism, and stimulate bone density. Incorporating deadlifts into your workout routine can provide numerous benefits for strength, muscle mass, and overall fitness.


Please look past the fact this video was made by the guys at Men's Health, because it's spot on and to the point. A nice clear demonstration of what you want your deadlifts to look like. Most importantly, lower your hips not your head, and don't overextend your lower back at the top. I like the image of a puppet with string from the top of the head. Elongate your spine so that you are standing up tall, don't thrust your hips forward. 


Lastly, you can probably lift a lot more than you think. Here's a quick look at a tiny woman lifting more than three times her body weight, just to balance the testosterone in the video below. It's not for all of us, but it's possible!




Happy Friday, everyone! And congratulations to Ana, who got married last week and still turned up to training the next day. We hope you have a wonderful celebration in Brazil later this year.


Andy has altered the Red Lion booking for this evening, to accommodate those who've spoken to him during the week. The table is booked for 6.45 pm, but we're hoping to grab a drink beforehand with anyone who can make it. We look forward to seeing you!


Andy's confirmed that t-shirts and jackets are due to arrive ANY MINUTE. You should be looking sharp in your new clobber by next week!


I had to include this photo upfront, as well as a special mention to all those who turn up consistently, with a great attitude and the willingness to work hard. You guys are the reason Andy has stuck with it so long. Looking strong, Lisa!  



Just a reminder to let Andy and Poppy know if you aren't going to make it to your session. It ensures they know how much equipment to set up (especially in the rain), and how to structure the session to best serve those who will be there. 


This week's focus is gratitude. From improving mood and happiness to fostering strong relationships and resilience, research highlights the extensive benefits of regularly practicing gratitude. This naturally extends to helping you reach your fitness goals more efficiently.


Gratitude supports fitness by:


Reducing Stress and Improving Sleep


Gratitude lowers stress both psychologically and physically, enhancing sleep and helping you adhere to fitness routines. If you wake refreshed you are less likely to waver in your exercise commitments. Research found optimistic law students had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies, and gratitude journals have been linked to lower blood pressure and reduced inflammation. 


Facilitating Process-Based Goals


Achieving fitness goals involves ups and downs. Practicing gratitude regularly helps you navigate challenges and stay committed. Focusing on process-based goals, like working out three times a week, leads to greater success than outcome-based goals, like losing a specific amount of weight.


Building a gratitude practice is something we likely postpone while other things take precedence, but it doesn't need to be big or time-consuming. Consistency is crucial in exercise AND gratitude, and small changes add up over time. So commit to a small, achievable goal and add a beneficial habit to your weekly routine. 


Incorporating gratitude into your routine can bring numerous benefits, helping you stay motivated and achieve your goals while enjoying the process. Take a moment each day to reflect on what you're grateful for!


Here's the week in pictures. It looks like you covered a lot of ground, hopefully enjoying the opportunity to start your day in such a beautiful part of the world. 







Exercise Review

Push Ups


Another compound, functional exercise! This time engaging the deltoids, pectoral muscles, biceps, triceps, hip muscles, abdominals and obliques. 


Push ups can be modified to suit all levels. Starting with bent knees on the ground or inclined with hands on a raised surface, the goal is initially to build until knees can be raised off the ground. Once this is mastered, varying stability with a ball, decline with hands lowered or even clapping can increase the load to continue to build strength.


One of the most common mistakes usually relates to not bracing through the midsection, resulting in sagging or elevated hips (butt in the air). Another is improper neck alignment. Look directly forward, elongate your spine from the top of your head to the base of your heels. 


I love the way the video below shows incorrect alignment and the corrections. Well worth a look. 




What a difference a few days makes. From this...



To this...



Don't forget next Friday evening we'll be meeting at The Red Lion Hotel in Rozelle. If you'd like to come and you haven't let Andy know yet, now's the time! WhatsApp suggests we're a group of 13. We're meeting at 6-6.30 pm, but obviously come when you can. Chloe and I are looking forward to being a part of the group for an evening.


The yogi's will be pleased to hear the hall will be back in use for yoga through the cooler months, hopefully starting in May. Watch this space.


Everyone loves sleep, don't they? Yet studies show about 45% of Australians experience insufficient or poor-quality sleep on a regular basis. Getting adequate sleep is essential for optimal physical, mental, and emotional functioning, but it also plays a huge role in dictating training outcomes. Here's why:


1. Muscle Recovery and Growth: During sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, including muscles that have been stressed during exercise. Growth hormone, which plays a key role in muscle growth and repair, is primarily released during sleep.


2. Energy Restoration: Sleep helps replenish the body's energy stores. During deep sleep, the body restores glycogen and other energy resources, which are crucial for performing well in exercise.


3. Performance and Coordination: Good quality sleep improves physical performance, reaction time, and coordination. This is essential for both safety and effectiveness during exercise.


4. Mental Focus: Sleep helps improve focus, alertness, and concentration, which are vital for both exercise and other daily activities. Lack of sleep can lead to poor decision-making and reduced ability to focus.


5. Hormonal Balance: Sleep regulates hormones, including those that control appetite, stress, and metabolism. An imbalance in these hormones can negatively affect exercise performance and recovery.


6. Prevents Injuries: Adequate sleep helps improve coordination and balance, which can prevent injuries during exercise.


7. Immune Function: Sleep supports a healthy immune system, which helps protect against illness and infection that can interfere with exercise.


For many of us, sleep is hard to come by, but well worth prioritising whenever possible. It plays a key role in recovery, energy restoration, mental and physical performance, and overall health, all of which are important for effective and safe exercise and better quality of life.


Here's the photos from another week of training at Daybreak. Andy will be at Balmain at 7am tomorrow. Don't miss out on a great start to the weekend! 







Exercise Review

Squats


The squat is a fundamental exercise targeting multiple muscle groups. It increases strength in your legs, core and back, and because it works the largest muscles, it makes a very effective choice for raising your heart rate. It's also one of the most important functional exercises to maintain mobility into old age, as it mirrors movements such as sitting and lifting.


There are lots of variations on the squat. The first video below looks at a goblet squat, where the kettlebell could be replaced by anything (dumbbell, y-bell, medicine ball). The second video goes into more detail, particularly looking at the importance of a stable base.


Getting the most out of your squats can ensure you get maximum return for your time at training, without any injuries!




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