How to keep running through the colder seasons

Half Marathon Training with www.naturalmatter.co.uk

The thought of running in the dark and cold did not seem too thrilling this week. The nights are drawing in and the weather is cooling. Autumn has arrived. The question is, can I keep up the weekly runs that I have been doing through the winter months? How can I make sure I stick with my fitness plan?

As with any change or new training plan it’s all about getting prepared. Here are a few ideas on how to keep your motivation going through the colder months ahead.

1. Print out a running plan and stick it somewhere you look every day.

Running training plans are a great motivator. They are readily available for free on the Internet, depending on what you wish to achieve with your running. If you are looking to increase stamina, distance or perhaps complete your first 5km, there is a training plan for you. Print your training plan out and stick it on the kitchen wall. Offer yourself some kind of reward for sticking to your running plan. Try out http://www.coolrunning.com for free training plans.

2. Change your running route.

A change is as good as a rest, so its time to mix it up a bit. Negotiating a new route with new inclines and declines can help with motivation. Try planning out a new route. Make sure you choose well-lit routes and wear high visibility clothing. The dark evenings can be dangerous when negotiating traffic. Try www.mapmyrun.com for planning new running routes in your area. You can save runs and distances achieved.

3. A short contract gym membership.

Why not see if there is a special discount for winter only membership at your local gym. Many gyms offer a discounted rate for half of the year. You could be training on treadmills in a well-lit, air-conditioned gym, instead of slogging it out on roads in the rain.

4. Join a running club.

There are many running clubs all over the UK. Group running can be a great motivator. Not only is it harder to get out of running when you go with friends but it can inspire you to push yourself harder. Why not check out whether there is a local running group in your area. Many groups meet for free. It’s easy to find a free running group on some of the social media network sites. Make sure it is legitimate before you go. Perhaps you could try and persuade your partner or friend to start running with you.

5. Put your name down for an organised run in the spring.

Perhaps you have always wanted to complete your first 5km run. Feel like moving onto a 10km, half marathon or even the BIG one, the full marathon. Put your name down now and pick up a training plan to match. Having a goal is the best way to get you out of the front door on a dark, cold night. The www.naturalmatter.co.uk team is taking part in the Reading half marathon in March 2013. Have a look online for your nearest run.

6. Get yourself some new running clothes, reflective lightweight and waterproof.

The weather is likely to be less than desirable, so the less excuses you have for not running the better. Buy some nice running gear to go out in and you’ll want to use it. Why not ask for some running accessories for a Christmas present.

7. Build a home gym.

If you have a spare room or enough space at home to jump around in, why not build your own gym. Check out the free ad websites like www.gumtree.com for a second hand exercise bike, rowing machine or cross trainer. Do research before you buy and see if the exercise equipment you are interested in has had any good reviews. Perhaps you could buy a skipping rope, a cheap bench and a set of dumbbells. The amount you spend on the gym equipment will still be less than a year’s gym membership. If you don’t have the space for a home gym perhaps you or the kids have a games console. There are loads of fitness games available with personal trainers who tailor the workouts to your fitness level. Check this book out on using your own home gym. The great home gym handbook.

8. Change the time of day that you run.

Perhaps you can squeeze your run into a different time of the day. How about trying a half hour run three times a week at lunchtime. Why not walk your kids to school and run back every day if you live nearby. Maybe run home from work a couple of days a week instead of catching the bus or getting stuck in rush hour traffic.

9. Try a different indoor sport.

Join a sports club and start using the facilities there to try something new. Have you ever considered squash or badminton? There are fantastic facilities all over the UK. If you don’t have anyone to play with, why not try joining a team or choose a more individual based sport like swimming. swimming equipment.

10. Ever thought of becoming a sports volunteer?

Simply getting involved or being around people who are interested in sport will inspire you to get yourself moving. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in sport across the UK. Check out volunteering websites.  http://www.sportengland.org/support__advice/volunteers.aspx or http://www.sportanddev.org/toolkit/career_centre/volunteer_opportunities/

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Twinlab Ultra Fuel Fruit Punch 3.3lb for energy and recovery when training.

twinlab ultra fuel fruit punch for energy and recovery in training

twinlab ultra fuel fruit punch for energy and recovery in training

Natural Matter has great pleasure in introducing Twinlab Ultra Fuel Fruit Punch 3.3lb .

A Superior Carb Blend for Superior Performance.

Twinlab Ultra Fuel Fruit Punch maximizes Replacement of Glycogen to:
Extend Endurance
Speed Recovery
Help Improve Overall Performance

Product Specs:Size/Count: 52.8 oz. (1498g)
Form: Powder
Flavors: Orange, Fruit Punch

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Power Bar Fast Fuel Power Gel, 41 g Pouch Tropical Fruit

 

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powerbar gel ~ carb mix for faster energy delivery

Power Bar Fast Fuel Power Gel, 41 g Pouch Tropical Fruit . A carbohydrate gel that is great for an immediate energy boost. Excellent for endurance athletes that need energy fast. Please see more in the Natural Matter health and fitness shop for the entire Power Bar Pouch range.

Flavours available are, Black Current + Caffein, Green Apple + Caffein, Lemon & Lime, Strawberry Banana, Tropical Fruit and Vanilla.

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CNP Pro Energy Banana Bar 70g

CNP pro energy bars

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Natural Matter has great pleasure in introducing CNP Pro Energy Banana Bar 70g (Qty 30 = 1 Box) Put 30 in your basket if you want a full box.

Pro Energy Bars are high in time released carbohydrates for energy and low in fat. They are made from dried fruit and whole grains and are ideal to maintain energy levels. The Berry flavour contains antioxidants from cranberries.

Please see more in the Natural Matter health and fitness shop for the entire CNP range. If you have any questions regarding this product please contact info@naturalmatter.co.uk and we will try our best to help you.

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USN Epic Pro All in One Tropical 1000g ~ energy and recovery

USN epic pro all in one sports nutrition and energy drink

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Natural Matter has great pleasure in introducing USN Epic Pro All in One Tropical 1000g . A scientifically formulated all in one sports nutrition ultra endurance, energy and recovery drink. With PeptoPro, Waxy Maize Starch and other fast acting nutrients for peak performance and instant muscle recovery. (1kg)

The bodies evolutionary instinct is to immediately replace muscle glycogen (our primary source of energy) means that it will use whatever nutrients available, including amino acids present in the muscle tissue, essentially resulting in muscle wastage. By rapidly supplying carbohydrates to replace muscle glycogen, as well as fast acting proteins to replace amino acids, the body recovers quickly without compromising muscle tissue and wasting amino acid.

USNs Epic Pro All-in-One has been scientifically and precisely formulated as an elite post-training / event recovery drink and/or comprehensive energy amino acid and electrolyte replacement drink to be used during long periods of intense physical activity such as multi-day sports events, Ironman events, marathons etc. USNs Epic Pro All-in-One is also valuable in enhancing recovery from shorter-duration, high intensity activity such as sprinting, rugby, power-lifting/weight lifting etc.

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Epic Pro All-in-One has been formulated to form an isotonic drink (if prepared correctly), which promotes optimal nutrient absorption. It is a light, refreshing drink.  Please see more in the Natural Matter health and fitness shop for the entire USN range. If you have any questions regarding this product please contact info@naturalmatter.co.uk and we will try our best to help you.

Home Cardiovascular Fitness Test ~ how fit are you?

Hi there, I’m Victoria and I am one of the team here at www.naturalmatter.co.uk

I am approaching 40.

I think I have a way of getting over the looming 40 year depression. Get fit and ready for it. I’ve been putting my fitness off for too long now and so I have decided to get my act together and sort my diet and fitness out. I’m meeting my 40th year head on and with enjoyment rather than depression. I want that flat stomach, the flabless tricep and the stamina to match. I know its going to be tough but its not impossible.

I have been asked by the team here to document my rise to fitness at 40 and post it on the website.

Today I am going to take a cardiovascular fitness test which can be done at home.

Warning:- Should you have any medical condition, always consult your doctor, before undertaking any change in exercise or dietary advice.

Exercise can be hazardous. If you use any of the ideas, techniques or suggestions discussed in these documents, all are undertaken at the reader’s sole discretion and risk.

What you need is a very sturdy 12 inch box or a 12 inch step or bench. You will also need a watch or clock with a minute hand so you can check your time.

For 3 minutes step on and off of the step or box. First with one foot then the other. Try to step to a rhythm.  At the end of the three minutes remain standing and take your pulse for 1 minute.  Count the total number of beats. Then check the table below for your fitness assessment.

Fitness Test For Women

Age 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent <85 <88 <90 <94 <95 <90
Good 85-98 88-99 90-102 94-104 95-104 90-102
Above Average 99-108 100-111 103-110 105-115 105-112 103-115
Below Average 118-126 120-126 119-128 121-129 119-128 123-128
Poor 127-140 127-138 129-140 130-135 129-139 129-134
Very Poor >140 >138 >140 >135 >139 >134

Fitness Test for Men

Age 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent <79 <81 <83 <87 <86 <88
Good 79-89 81-89 83-96 87-97 86-97 88-96
Above Average 90-99 90-99 97-103 98-105 98-103 97-103
Below Average 106-116 108-117 113-119 117-122 113-120 114-120
Poor 117-128 118-128 120-130 123-132 121-129 121-130
Very Poor >128 >128 >130 >132 >129 >130

So I took the test and great news I am in the good category. Even if I missed a few beats on my pulse check I am still in the above average fitness range for a woman of my age. Fantastic news! The aim now is to improve my heart rate further with exercise. I want to be in the excellent category if I want to achieve my goal.

More on my diet and exercise regime shortly.

Healthy eating and my weigh in.

Hi there, I’m Vicky and I am one of the team here at www.naturalmatter.co.uk

I am approaching 40.

I think I have a way of getting over the looming 40 year depression. Get fit and ready for it. I’ve been putting my fitness off for too long now and so I have decided to get my act together and sort my diet and fitness out. I’m meeting my 40th year head on and with enjoyment rather than depression. I want that flat stomach, the flabless tricep and the stamina to match. I know its going to be tough but its not impossible.

I have been asked by the team here to document my rise to fitness at 40 and post it on the website.

Day 1

weight: 9st 13lb – not too bad but I need to lose a stone (14lb / 6.35 kg)

Eating Plan  : healthy eating, moderate portions, roughly based on the Zone Diet.

Fill your plate into three parts, one part protein, one part carbohydrates (above ground veggies) and one part fats.

Never in a million years did I think I would become a runner.

Never in a million years did I think I would become a runner. Here we are though, four months down the line and I’m still going strong.

I wanted to do an activity that didn’t need any major equipment. I didn’t want to sign up at the gym and I wanted to be able to exercise any time I liked. The answer was staring me in the face. There was a free treadmill right outside my front door.

The problem was, I had often seen runners as if they were from another planet. I saw runners as a strange group of Lycra-lovers, pounding the pavements day after day. Not quite the crowd I wanted to be associated with.

I chucked on my normal trainers and leaving my fears at the front door I took my first step into the cold early spring evening. I broke into a very light jog and I was off.

1. There is no need to buy loads of expensive clothing and equipment when you first start running. At least work out you are going to stick to it before you spend £50-£80 on a pair of new running trainers.

So, I decided to run to the end of the road and back. There was a slight incline but it felt achievable, and it was. I didn’t try to overdo it but I felt out of breath when I got back. The run was about ten minutes max.

2. Start slow. Physiologists believe that any running pace can deliver health benefits. Start slow and take walk breaks.

Going out in the evening was great. I aimed for three times a week. I loved the peace and quiet. How the rhythm of your breathing fell in with your step. It was hard but the endorphins were kicking in and they were giving me such a lift. Before I knew it I was back at my front door.

3. Keep an exercise diary, mark the calendar every time you do a run and for how long. It’s a great motivator.

I did a few calf and quad stretches and I was done.  Some nights the job felt easy and others it felt like you were lifting someone else’s legs but you still got the same buzz from it.

4. There is no need to stretch before you run. Stretch after your run or later that same evening. You only need to stretch for 10 – 15 minutes.

So, by chance I found a running partner. They showed me a nice route with a gentle incline, a tough finish but quickly followed by a heavenly downhill return home. Now I feel bad if I don’t run. Not only for me but also for my running partner.  I hardly notice the run any more.  I’m not sure if I’m getting fitter or whether my running partner is taking my mind off the hard work. Either way it’s good.

I expect some injury but I’m not worried as long as I treat it correctly with rest, ice, compression and elevation.  So, now I’m a runner. My kids know I’m a runner and I’m aiming for my first 5km and yes, I just bought some lycra!

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Warming up and cooling down for a safe exercise routine

Warming Up

You need to warm up for at least 10 minutes. Your aim is to increase your heart rate slightly and then move onto gaining flexibility. It is good to start with exercises that increase the heart rate so you are slightly warmer when you start your stretches. You are less likely to damage muscles this way.

Exercises that increase the heart rate slightly are gentle jogging, fast walking or jumping. You should feel that your heart rate is slightly raised as you begin your routine.

Exercises which increase flexibility include knee lifting, placing your hands on your hips and making a circular movement, raising and lowering your shoulders, gently tilting your head from side to side to stretch the neck and also gently stretching the back.

stretch mat      fitness mat      yoga mat

Cooling Down

Cooling down is also a vital part of your exercise routine. You want to return your cardiovascular system to its former level. When you are exercising your body is delivering a high level of blood to muscles. If you stop suddenly this flow continues when it is not needed, this could cause dizziness or even fainting.

Your aim is to cool down slowly and let the muscles cool down at the same pace. If you are running it is good to slow the pace to a walk, if you are weight training it is good to perform stretches of the muscles you have been using. Cool down should last for at least 5-10 minutes. Try to hold the stretches for a longer time than you did when you were warming up. Stretching the muscles you have worked also reduces post workout aches.

Back and Muscle Support during weight training

If you are weight lifting, it may help to wear a back support belt. This helps improve body mechanics and posture, ensuring that the back is supported when lifting heavy weights. Do not wear the belt expecting it to stop injury. It is a support. All support socks and knee braces are meant to support the body. They cannot prevent further injury. Make sure you do not exercise when your body is not 100%

lifting belt     weight lifting belt     reebok weight lifting belt

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Warning:- The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure or treat any medical condition. Should you have any medical condition, always consult your doctor, before undertaking any change in exercise or dietary advice.

Exercise can be hazardous. If you use any of the ideas, techniques or suggestions discussed in these documents, all are undertaken at the reader’s sole discretion and risk.