5 Bad Fitness Habits To Break This Week

Being consistent with your workout regime will help you stay in great shape for the long-run. However, sticking with a routine that is getting sub-par results could make you frustrated and likely to give up too soon.

Whether you’ve been working out for years or are just getting started, make sure you haven’t adopted some bad fitness habits that could be doing more harm than good. If you’re not seeing results or seem to get bored of your routine too quickly, it’s time to take stock of your current regimen and make some changes.
Here are five bad fitness habits you need to break this week:

1. Under-training

You don’t win points just for getting to your workout. While it might take some motivation to get going, make sure your energy is on pushing yourself to your limit — and beyond — whenever you can. Under-training will make your workouts just another activity in your day, not an effective workout. Make sure you give it your all and break a sweat for at least 30 minutes.

2. Doing the same workout

Resist the temptation to just do the same workout routine you did last month. Your body should be challenged or you’ll be stuck in a workout rut. Try a Body Basics class this week or walk outdoors to challenge your muscles.

3. Poor form

When you’re circuit training, walking or doing another exercise, it’s best to use proper form. Try and perform these exercises with a workout partner or coach so you’re doing them correctly every single time. At Curves, there’s always a coach on the circuit to help motivate and correct your form if necessary.

4. Getting distracted

When you’re doing your workout, be present in the moment. Whether you’re walking or strength training, don’t lose focus on the movements and make sure you are keeping good form all the way through. Chatting about last night’s TV show or even checking emails on your smart phone are both distractions that can take the value of your workout down a notch. Save your conversations for after.

5. Holding your breath

This is an easy habit to adopt when you’re trying something new. Pay attention to your breath so you’re inhaling and exhaling deeply throughout your workout. Your body needs oxygen to keep those muscles moving and keep blood circulating. Holding your breath for even a few seconds too long can make you feel lightheaded and will also make it harder to push through those difficult exercises.

By Sabah Karimi

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Exercise Tips For Women Over 50

“Women over 50 can benefit from increased recovery abilities after exertion.

Although we all understand the benefits of daily exercise, women over the age of 50 in particular may need to take some additional measures and precautions before engaging in a new exercise regimen. As a natural part of ageing, muscles weaken and joints get stiffer. Don’t fear, exercise may help lessen this decline.

Women over 50 can benefit from increased recovery abilities after exertion, and enjoy a wellness-oriented lifestyle just from pursuing a moderate and active exercise regimen.

Variety is key

Women 50+ should not be afraid to exercise, but instead learn to incorporate exercise into their daily routine at moderate levels. Almost all exercise types can be enjoyed, including running, swimming, biking, stretching, and weight training. A variety of exercise patterns throughout the week is ideal, as it will encourage all muscle groups and organs to work at different rates and levels. The goal is to establish a regular and comfortable routine.

Stretch it out

Balance and flexibility can be greatly increased with stretching exercises. Stretching on a daily basis can help keep joints and muscles flexible, but they will not build endurance or contribute significantly to cardiovascular health. An additional benefit of stretching is the ability to open up the lungs and encourage deep breathing patterns. This not only helps the body detoxify naturally, but helps to keep pain to a minimum, reducing the risk of minor aches and pains. Body weight resistance exercises are also beneficial for flexibility, as they build strength and resilience in a gentle way.

Don’t be afraid of weights

Any weight bearing exercises should be moderate and well controlled. The Curves circuit training programme is a safe way for women to begin or continue weight-bearing exercise. The movements are smooth and within a safe range of motion, and Curves coaches can help modify for individual needs. Strength-training can help increase bone density, a key element for healthy aging.

Work on cardio health

Endurance exercises are primarily cardiovascular and can include walking, jogging, swimming, and biking. Anything that gets the heart pumping for at least 30 minutes can be considered an endurance exercise, and the amount per week to engage in these activities will vary by each person. Endurance exercises significantly improve cardiovascular health, and are encouraged for a healthy lifestyle. Power-walking outdoors is a great benefit, and taking the time to breathe deeply and truly enjoy the moment is a great opportunity for stress management through endurance exercise!

Exercise is one of the keys to long-term health and vitality, and can contribute greatly to a healthy lifestyle. Women over age 50 can get the most out of their exercise regimen by understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and adjusting their workouts accordingly.

By Sabah Karimi

Want to lose weight but keep muscle? We tell you how!

Weight loss – achieved by consuming less food, fewer calories and doing more cardio, correct?

Sure, all of these things will help you to lose weight. But it will also most likely result in a loss of muscle mass which means a slower metabolism and an increased likelihood of regaining the weight back once you stop dieting!  This can encourage what is known as “yo-yo” dieting.

When we start dieting and restricting our food intake, our bodies will start to break down its muscle as energy. This means that when we lose weight, we not only lose body fat but also lean muscle. However, by increasing our protein intake, following a healthy diet and combining both strength training for muscle development, as well as cardio exercise to burn calories, we can better lose weight (body fat) and build &/or maintain lean muscle mass. More muscle mass = faster metabolism and the more calories our bodies burn even while we are resting!!

Eating more protein doesn’t mean you need to be drinking 6 protein shakes every day and eating only chicken breast and broccoli! It means including a quality source of protein with every meal and snack while also enjoying a wide variety of other nutritious foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds and low fat dairy products.

*It is important when consuming a high protein diet that we are also consuming plenty of dietary fibre to prevent constipation and drinking at least 2 litres of water every day. 

How To Start A New Exercise Program

The key to making your exercise program work for you is consistency. You need to choose a program and schedule that you can see yourself sticking with for weeks and months at a time. You’ll also need to make some tweaks to your current lifestyle to ensure you stay on track. Changes like these can be overwhelming — especially if you’re a busy mum with a tight schedule as it is. Here are some ways to integrate a new exercise program into your weekly routine.

1. Plot out your calendar.

Make an appointment with yourself to complete your new exercise routine and workouts at least one week in advance. Booking yourself for a 30-minute workout (as if you had an appointment you could not cancel) will help you make this new routine a habit in no time. That’s why Curves is perfect for busy women – our strength training workouts are just 30 minutes.

2. Get the right gear!

Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for injuries and pain when starting a new exercise program. Take the time to purchase the right types of shoes, clothing and any accessories you need to do your routine with good form. Even simple things like the wrong type of shoes or wearing clothes that are too restrictive can make it hard to get through your workout and may prevent you from enjoying the benefits of your new exercise regimen.

3. Set realistic goals.

Be realistic about how much weight you want to lose, what size you want to be, or what energy level you want to have with this new exercise program. Start slowly and track your results. If you think you can push harder after a few weeks, increase the intensity and continue working out on schedule. Setting goals that are too far out of reach can be discouraging, so set small, attainable goals and build from there.

4. Plan for a rest day.

Avoid workout burnout when starting a new exercise program by giving yourself plenty of time to rest. If your body and mind don’t have a chance to rest and recuperate from the new routine, you could end up avoiding exercise altogether and may even injure yourself. Recognise your limits and plan to work out only a few days a week if you’re just starting out. If you’re already very active, schedule at least one complete day of rest so that your body can heal.

5. Pay attention to nutrition.

Make sure you’re eating a variety of healthy, energy-boosting foods that support your training routine. Cutting out too many calories can be dangerous and may even prevent you from getting the most out of your workouts. Make the most of the Curves Complete meal plan as it works hand-in-hand with our strength-training and cardio fitness program to help you increase metabolism and burn fat. It’s simple to use, but flexible enough to help you incorporate your favourite foods.

By Sabah Karimi

7 Ways To Reach Your Fitness Goals Before The End Of The Year

How well did you stick to the fitness resolutions you made on January 1? If you got side-tracked and haven’t made much progress with exercise routines, it’s not too late to get things going. The few months left in this year can be a great time to kick start that fitness plan so your next New Year’s resolution can build upon your recent success. It’s never too late to undergo a diet or fitness overhaul, and starting something new now could mean you’ll be in great shape well before the next January 1.

Here are seven ways to reach your fitness goals before the end of the year:

1. Set a short-term goal.

Since you only have a few months and weeks left until the end of the year, set a short-term goal and visualize yourself reaching it. If your goal on January 1 was to lose 8 to 10 kilos, cut down that goal to just five kilos and focus your efforts only on that. Remember, you can set a bigger goal once you’ve reached this milestone.

2. Keep a food journal.

Start keeping track of everything you eat so you can keep yourself on track. Adopt mindful eating habits so you know exactly what you are eating each day, and aren’t overdoing it in the calorie department.

3. Share your goals with a close friend.

If you need support to stay on track, enlist the help of a workout buddy or share your fitness goals with a close friend. Having someone else hold you accountable can make it that much easier to reach your goals. At Curves, this is easy – your coach is there to be your sounding board and keep you on track. Not to mention our clubs are filled with inspiring women just like you, working towards a healthy lifestyle.

4. Be realistic about your workout schedule.

If you don’t currently have an exercise plan, don’t immediately force yourself into working out five days a week. Make sure you choose a full body workout that you can stick with and be realistic about your schedule. Can you block off 30 minutes to hit the gym just three days a week? Start there. Just two? Try that for a week and then add more days as you get into the new routine.

5. Modify your grocery shopping list.

Your nutrition needs to support your active lifestyle. Eating too few Kilojoules or loading up on unhealthy food can negate all the hard work you’re putting in at the gym. Make changes to your grocery shopping list so you’re eating healthier in the upcoming months.

6. Be consistent.

If you work out first thing the morning, make sure you stick with that routine through the end of the year. Consistency gets results. Choose a time that you know you can commit to for at least six to eight weeks.

7. Identify your triggers.

Self-awareness can help you make better choices when it comes to your diet and workout routine. Do you tend to skip workouts when you’re stressed? Find ways to stay organised so you don’t have an excuse to miss your workout routine. Do you tend to overeat on weekends? Stock up on healthy foods and prepare your entire weekend’s worth of meals ahead of time so you don’t have the option to overindulge.

The year is not over yet! Recommit to your New Year’s resolutions and meet your goal before the year is over.

By Sabah Karimi