Exercise

Why Fitness is More Fun with a Friend!

One fool-proof way to keep yourself engaged with your workout is to pair up with someone! Just imagine…it’s 5.30am, it’s dark outside and there’s a light rain pattering against the window. All you want to do is stay lying in your comfortable bed, roll over and go back to sleep. But you’ve promised your friend you’ll join them at that new bootcamp this morning. You can’t let them down, can you? So up you get, get dressed and head out to meet your friend.

Now, imagine you didn’t have that friend you were going to meet, how much easier would it have been to just roll over and go back to sleep, just put it off until tomorrow. Tomorrow it’ll be so much easier. And then tomorrow never comes.

This is just one reason why your fitness journey is better and more successful with a friend. Here are four more reasons!

1. Accountability and Support from Others

Having accountability and a social support network are two of the biggest factors that lead to a successful lifestyle change. Knowing you have made a promise to someone else will make you much more likely to follow through and not bail on that bootcamp session. 

The importance of a social support network can easily be seen if you have ever taken part in one of our Clean & Lean Challenges. The support offered within the Facebook group, at the bootcamps and seminars is second to none. Having people around you who are going through the same experience is a great way to stay on track with whatever task you have set yourself.

2. Have Fun and Push Harder

The support doesn’t stop there. Once you are actually at a class, you now have a partner in crime to sweat with and suffer through anything that our coaches can throw at you. Bring a friend along and see how much harder you can push yourself. Working out together is a great way to strengthen any friendship, and gives you something new to discuss when going for that coffee afterwards.

3. Meet New People and Make New Fitness Friends!

Bootcamps are also a great way to make new friends. Get chatting to those sweating around you and before you know it, you might have some great new friends who share similar interests and you can push each other harder each session. 

Exercise is also so much more fun when you have friends to share the experience with! I know from personal experience that training alongside friends just adds another level of enjoyment to the whole experience and you end up working twice as hard with people around you than you would on your own.

4. Train Together, Stay Together

Why not bring your significant other along! Research shows that those who train together, really do stay together! Working out together can strengthen your relationship and enhance sexual attraction! If that’s not a good enough reason to get your partner along, I don’t know what is!

So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend you think would enjoy our UFIT Bootcamps, drop an email to bootcamps@ufit.com.sg and get them signed up to their first class! We hope to see you and your friends at a session soon!


ONE MONTH UNLIMITED PACKAGE FOR $99

Get fit, get healthy, get outdoors! Experience bootcamps, yoga, boxing, running classes, female only classes, weight training and obstacle race specific training. Introduction offer: 1 month unlimited package for $99. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robynne Smith.jpg

Robynne's passion lies in strength training, conditioning and nutrition. Robynne is a competitive power lifter, currently holding 3 national records in Singapore and aims to build on her own experiences of training when training others. 

READ MORE

Early specialisation of sports in kids - yes or no?

Most parents and young athletes know of Tiger Woods. Often, they’ll know about his route into the sport; hitting golf balls by the age of 2 and a half with razor sharp focus. In other words, Tiger was born to play golf, and everything he did was designed to make Tiger the Number 1 golfer in the world, and he achieved his goal.

But for most of us, and most of our children, early specialisation is not always a good idea. Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova – and for every sports star who made their entire childhood about playing and being the number one in the world at that sport or event - there are literally a million children who, being forced to play and play and play the same sport, fell out of love with it and never picked up a racquet again.

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But when to specialise? If we as parents or coaches feel the need to hit our magical “10,000 hours” of practice in order to be elite, when else can we hit these numbers? Children want to achieve, and how is swimming, basketball and cricket going to help with my 9 year old rugby prodigy?

Be careful of the misinterpretation of this “10,000” hour golden rule. Anders Ericsson, the researcher who is credited with the so-called rule states his work was misinterpreted and popularised by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers; it ignores the other elements of high performance and only focuses on deliberate practice. Top youth sport researchers suggest an alternative. Whilst competitors whose sports peak after the age of 20 - which, barring female gymnastics and some tennis players - covers most sports – they need to accumulate 10,000 hours of general sports participation. This does not mean 10,000 hours of that one particular sport.

A popular model of youth development is the Long Term Athletic Development Model, and its evolutionary successor the Youth Physical Development Model. Whilst in depth analysis of these models are beyond the scope of this article, there are certain stages of sporting development; the sampling years (6-12), the specialising years (13-15) and the investment years (16+).

Research has shown that multiple sport participation in the sampling years leads to better overall motor and athletic development, longer playing careers and increased confidence, as well as a reduced injury risk. Whilst the LTAD is by far from a perfect model and bases recommendations on chronological rather than maturational age, it gives us guidelines (+/- 2 or so years) that are good starting points.  Specialisation in a single sport accounts for 50% of overuse injuries in youth athletes. Young athletes who specialised were 70-93% more likely to be injured than those playing multiple sports! Variety of movement patterns, variety of opponents and sporting actions allow the young athlete to move in a myriad of patterns, meaning when things do change they have the ability to adapt and overcome the movement problem in front of them without potentially injury inducing compensations.

Playing multiple sports for as long as possible lends itself to greater creativity when out on the field, even during those later investment years. If a rugby player for example has spent his early years playing basketball and tennis, chances are his or her lateral movement and hand-eye coordination will be significantly developed, allowing a more creative movement to beat an opponent or find ways to get the try scoring pass away. In the US, a 2013 American Medical Society for Sports Medicine survey indicated that 88% of college athletes participated in more than one sport as a child.

Psychologically speaking, a child that plays multiple sports is far more likely to play sports into adulthood, either at the elite or non-elite level; and those who specialise early are more likely to suffer stress, burnout, decreased motivation and lack of enjoyment. The focus on only one sport means that their athletic confidence hinges on one thing and potentially one event! If a young athlete performs less than expected or desired at a swim meet, and all they do is swim, it has a huge negative impact. If the athlete performs less than expected at a swim meet but has a great time playing volleyball the next weekend, chances are they’re going to be far less worried about their swim meet!

Remember, sports are not academics; if a child falls behind in school, it can be hard to catch up. In sports, the opposite is often true. Trying many different sports throughout the year will almost certainly enhance your child’s ability to play their chosen sport when they begin their investment years; the science also dictates they might have more fun and be healthier when they get there, as well. Which is almost certainly the real challenge.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joe is an Masters level UKSCA Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, with a wealth of experience working with athletes of all ages and standards from professional sportspeople to 6-9 year old youth athletes.

Joe’s training style focuses on the underpinning quality of strength and movement quality to assist performance of sporting goals, body composition, and general health and wellbeing. He focusses on evidence based programming, training smart and getting the basics right before all else. Joe believes in coaching with intelligence, training with intent and keeping things simple.


UFIT KIDS CAMPS

They’re back! UFIT Kids' Camps are on these Easter holidays!

Get your kids active and outdoors this Easter break at our popular Athlete Development and Rugby Development Camps. Running from 3 to 14 April for boys and girls aged 7 to 18 years, these camps will help your kids develop their physical and sporting abilities while they make new friends at the same time. Sign up now to secure their spot!

For more details see our website at www.ufit.com.sg/kids-camps


YOUTH ACADEMY

The academy is designed for 11-18 year olds to help improve their sports performance and overall fitness and health whilst having fun and being part of a motivating group setting.

The sessions enable participants to build a solid athletic foundation to excel in your future sporting or active life. Sessions run throughout the week, please see relevant times below. All levels and abilities are welcome.

Join us every weekday at UFIT one-north,  4pm to 5pm *except Wednesday. All levels and abilities are welcome.

For more details see our website at www.ufit.com.sg/youth-academy

Taking our nutrition on holiday

The holiday season is here again and we are just about to take a flight to another exotic destination or are on our way to another dinner party. 

In many cases, the minute we are on the plane, we forget everything we know about proper eating and let go of our boundaries and discipline. 

No matter where you are travelling to and for how long, you need to keep paying attention to what you eat. It doesn't mean you need to ban yourself completely from carbohydrates, alcohol or trying local special foods. Nor does it mean you need to spend your entire holiday at the gym or swim across the ocean every day. However, here are some basic things you CAN easily do without putting too much effort into it and will help you prevent collateral damage:

1.  Set your goals and keep them realistic:

When going on a holiday a reasonable goal will be to keep your weight steady as opposed to keep losing weight. 

If you set yourself a goal that is unrealistic, you set yourself to failure. Failure leads to disappointment, which in many cases can make you fall off the wagon as an act of rebellion. On the other hand, succeeding in keeping your goals will motivate you to keep going.

2. Set yourself defined boundaries:

Humans act better when they have boundaries. Set some boundaries, however, have some freedom within the limitations you set. 

For example I decided that I am going to limit my sugar intake this holiday, however, I won’t totally abstain it.  Hence, on one of the days during my holiday I will go ahead and try this nice dessert and on another day I will drink a tempting cocktail.  Alternatively, for example, I will avoid eating carbohydrates, on the other hand I will allow myself to drink a glass of wine every evening during my holiday. This practice enables me to enjoy different food/drink variety without losing my head completely. 

3. Planning ahead:

Planning is a key factor that enables one to succeed. It will prevent you from being too hungry and giving into temptations that will make you feel bad later on.

Plan your holiday from the moment you are at the airport. Pack a box of vegetables for the flight, take some snacks such as nuts, almonds, seeds, grain less granola with you. If you are off to an active holiday such as trekking or skiing, take some dried fruits with you to keep your energy levels up.

Plan your meals!

 For example, if I plan to spend my holiday in a nice resort I will have eggs and vegetables for breakfast and avoid the other goodies.  As snacks I will have my nuts and seeds and occasionally fruit. For lunch I can have a big salad with a protein such as tuna or chicken and for dinner I will enjoy the local cuisine and a glass of wine.

Plan the Christmas dinner, visualise the dinner, think about your choices. If you are hosting and cooking, make sure to prepare something that is suitable for you to eat. If you don't want to eat too much make sure to eat all your daily meals as per normal and don't starve yourself because you have a big dinner ahead. This might cause you to overeat and feel very heavy. 

4. Make the right food choices:

Most of your plate should be full with vegetables. Other than that the emphasis should be on proteins (eggs, meat, chicken, fish, tofu) and good fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, butter, coconut oil). Some legumes and whole grains can be eaten in smaller portions. Remember that proteins, fats and food with high fibre content will enhance feelings of fullness.

As for desserts, try to avoid or plan in advance to enjoy a nice dessert on a specific occasion, and then just enjoy it without guilt feelings.

5. One plate is enough:

Whether it is Christmas dinner, a hotel meal, or any restaurant meal, remember that one plate is enough. You do not have to try all of the food varieties. Look and assess your options, choose and fill up your plate only once.  As mentioned before, if you are starving you will end up eating without control, so make sure not to skip meals. 

When you finish your plate it is better to step away from the table, help clear it and go for a walk. The more you sit around the table, it's more likely you will be tempted to keep on eating. 

6. Eat slowly, chew well, relax and enjoy your meal:

Remember it takes 15-20 minutes from the first bite, till the satiety signals reach the brain. Eating too quickly will make you eat much more than you really need. 

7. Limit your alcohol intake:

The problem with drinking alcoholic beverages is not only they contain lots of sugar and calories, but also that they stimulate your appetite and it’s even worse once you are tipsy you forget about your intentions to keep a healthy diet. 

I’m not suggesting to avoid alcohol completely, however, limiting it and sticking with wine or white spirits will minimise the damage. 

8. Keep moving:

It is totally fine to rest from your routine training regime. However make movement part of your holiday. This will help you relax, ventilate and stay fit. 

You can go for a walk (including shopping), hire a bike, take the stairs instead of the lift, swim, scuba dive, kayak, ski or anything else that gets you up and about. 

9. The swimsuit trick:

This is the best trick in the book! 

If you are off to a sunny beach holiday, wearing your swimsuit, and specially your bikini most of the day will help suppress your appetite, try it!!

Remember, it can take you up to one month to fix the damage done by one week of uncontrolled holiday of eating and drinking. Be good and most of all enjoy your holidays wherever you are!!

Noa Harari - UFIT Nutrition Team


ABOUT NOA

Noa has been practicing as a Clinical Nutritionist for the last ten years. Her specialties include weight loss, Celiac disease, digestive system problems and metabolic diseases.

Noa understands that no human being resembles another.  She believes that each one of us is created differently and has different needs. She recognises that the best way to get long term results is by creating a personalised program for each individual client. Read more here.


For more information for UFITs Nutrition programs get in touch with us here. Join our next Clean & Lean Challenges that we run 4 times a year providing you with the opportunity to change your healthy habits into a lifestyle.

Ramp up your warm up

When it comes to warming up, what are we trying to accomplish? The name itself is a bit of a hint, but increasing body temperature is just one element. It might be easier if we rename the warm-up to training preparation. Now if we ask what we’re trying to accomplish, it should be obvious - we’re preparing our bodies for the training to follow.

But is it necessary? Or how necessary is it?

There's ongoing discussion about this, as with so many other topics in physiology. I'm not going to discuss it further here, but I know from experience that the more prepared I am for a session the better I feel during and after the session! If you’re not sure, try it out and see for yourself.

Why is training preparation important?

We've seen an increased focus on mobility and proper warm-up protocols amongst trainers and athletes in the last ten years.

But the search for a "quick fix" is still ongoing, and in today’s society everyone seems to strive to succeed both economically and personally. On the personal side, a strong, lean and healthy body range is high up on the list.

But that requires a lot of time, or so it seems. And time is money. Lots of training concepts and adverts promise you an amazing body if only you spend money on it!

Time - no problem... ummm, too good to be true? Yes.

There simply are no short-cuts when it comes to achieving a strong, lean - and may I add, supple body. It takes some thinking, assessments and planning to progress towards this goal.

So skipping the "warm up" to save time is not a good idea. You end up losing in the long run. To rush the warm-up so you´d actually need to warm up before your warm up is not very wise either. You get the point - skipping the warm up is taking short cuts, and short cuts will not give you optimal results.

So let’s look at some ways to prepare the body for the training session ahead.

I reckon if you read this, you're training with us at UFIT already, and one of the reasons you train with us is to achieve the above-mentioned healthy and awesome body.

For us coaches we have two main priorities - to help you make the most out of your time spent on training - in the safest way possible. The fun part comes as a bonus!

When I speak about safety I'm talking mainly about injury prevention through training preparation and good form.

But there is so much more to training preparation. It´s also vital for a good overall experience. Like a good movie, it should have a beginning - a main part and an end. Without one or the other, the movie experience wouldn’t be the same, right? The popcorn only goes so far...

How to ramp up in an adequate way

There are tons of mobility drills and training preparation exercises, and there´s not a single answer to what good preparation is.

An ideal warm up protocol depends on the goal with the training session. There are different preparation methods depending on what kind of session you are ramping up for.

However, the first part of the session should involve drills that gets your blood circulation going and that fires up your Central Nervous System (CNS). The second part should prepare your body to work in a full range of motion. The third part should activate your main muscles to make sure they´re fired up properly before going into specific movements. The fourth part depends on the activity and the main goal of the session.

Is the session ahead a pure strength session? A running session? A HIIT session? Or a mix of all these; a so called Metcon session? Is it a performance/skill session?

To put it very simply, if your main goal with a session is to hit personal records on deadlifts, you don’t have to spend 10 minutes on running drills. Not that it will hurt in any way to do it, rather the opposite, but there are better ways to prep your body for a 1RM lift.

This general protocol is a-so called RAMP protocol. Now you get why we say 'RAMP UP' before your session!

R for Raising body temperature and heart rate to increase core temperature and local tissue blood flow

A for Activating key muscle groups and neuro-muscular coordination and stabilisation

M for Mobilising joints and stimulate joint lubrication

P for Prime the body for maximal intensities that the following session will require.

Some popular warm up protocols

Prior to HIIT and strength sessions, the following mobility protocols are great:

- Wrists (wrist circles, stretch)

- Elbows (elbow circles, elbow punch)

- Shoulders/upper back (dislocations, arm circles, over and backs (swing the arms up over your shoulders and chop your upper back, then swing the arms back down behind you) and bear hug swings (swing your arms out to the sides, then back across your body like you’re hugging yourself) are quick and easy.

A stretch we call the pat down is also great: get near a wall and put your hands against it overhead like you’re getting searched by an arresting officer. Keeping the abs tight to prevent hyperextension of the back, push your chest down and back from the wall to open the shoulders. Instead of just pushing, thinking of pulling down away from the hands as well. No equipment needed.

- Spine/trunk (standing trunk rotations, scorpion)

- Hip flexors/quads (leg swings, lunge variation with rotations, running drills)

- Hip extensors/adductors (bow and bend, Spiderman lunge, groiners which are like mountain climbers that reach the feet up to the hands and put you in the Spiderman lunge position. Walking leg cradles (knee to chest), side leg swings, walkouts (inchworm), the Kossack, the Russian baby maker,

- Knees (knee rotations, squats)

- Ankles/calves (heel-toe walking, ankle circles).

Key factors that will give awesome training preparation

  • Keep it dynamic
  • Movement through all three planes, sagital, frontal, transverse
  • Compound movements (the perfect stretch)
  • Primal movements (crab walks, frog jumps, duck walks, bear crawls, inchworms)
  • Unilateral movements
  • Full body dynamic ROM (range of motion) on all joints
  • Shoulder mobility
  • Mobilisation of thoracic spine and hips
  • Activations of glutes (the body´s powerhouse)
  • Core stabilisation and organization (spinal mechanics)
  • Prime the central nervous system
  • Co-ordination (concentration and good form)

By no means do you have to follow these exact protocols, but this gives a good indication that a proper warm-up is more than a few jumping jacks, knee tucks and push-ups.

And again - there are no short cuts that will help you reach your goal.

Only hard, smart work will. So next time, think your sessions through. You'll get so much more out of them.

Or even better - keep coming to our sessions, we've thought them through for you!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meet Mona Brisbane She’s had 15 years experience in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer and has done individual training and corporate group training. Since moving to Singapore 3 years ago, she fulfils her passion of training by challenging herself with kettle bells, plyometrics, cycling, running, in fact you name it and she’ll do it! She believes variation is the key to improving your health and keep the body guessing.  Mona has a contagious energy which we know will get passed onto you all!


UFIT BOOTCAMPS

UFIT PERSONAL TRAINING


BEST OUTDOOR BOOTCAMPS IN SINGAPORE,' COURTESY OF THE SHAPE SPORTS AWARDS 2017

We're SO proud to announce that our SHEFIT classes have been awarded the 'Best Outdoor Bootcamps in Singapore’, courtesy of the SHAPE Sports Awards 2017. 

We’re delighted they’ve recognised the amazing community spirit that exists amongst us, along with our high standards of coaching and our trainers' unique ability to motivate and encourage you all. It's been an amazing journey since we began with our awesome Founder Lisa Clayton who built UFIT Bootcamps to what it is today. Her energy and passion is contagious amongst our community with our coaches and UFITers. We can't wait to continue 2017 and deliver only the best for you!