Why Spin?

Why Spin? Have you recently woken up from a comfortable night’s sleep and opened your curtain, only to be greeted by an ever-darkening morning sky, the feeling of cold coming through the glass window against your face and thought to yourself, “Going out there for my morning walk just doesn’t look too enjoyable today.”? Despite this, you go anyway. Happy that you’ve stayed true to yourself and your fitness goals. But all the while wondering if there’s an easier and more comfortable way of doing this at such a time of year. Fortunately, I have a solution for you! Indoor cycling classes can go by many different names. Spin, Spinning and Spin class are frequently used and what you may have heard your friends, family or other gym members speak of. Spin classes are typically 30 – 60 minutes long and simulate riding a bike outside by increasing and decreasing the “spin bike” resistance dial. Up hills, down hills, flat roads, standing or seated. You name it, a qualified indoor cycling instructor can put it into a Spin class! Whether you’re a novice gym goer, aspiring athlete or somewhere in between, spin classes can be of huge benefit to your mental and physical health, and overall wellbeing. In addition to these benefits, here are some reasons to make it a part of your weekly routine at Personal Best Fitness.
  • The cycling action offers a low impact form of huff n puff exercise. Spin classes are perfect if you’re recovering from an injury, starring down the barrel of knee surgery or just feel as if you need to take things a little more gently on your joints. Regardless of your fitness goals, you will still achieve a great workout. A well-designed class by an experienced instructor will allow you to go at your own pace. Afterall, fitness and physical activity is about improving the way you look, feel and function.
  • Whether you’re looking to increase your huff n puff fitness, lose weight or increase leg and core strength, spin classes can offer it all in a single workout. The action of pedalling with resistance will help your body deal with any instability as a result of weaker muscles. Increasing your heart rate will help you burn calories and increase your metabolic rate. You can burn up to 600 calories in a spin class. That’s the equivalent of 6 glasses of wine.
  • Increasing heart rate for prolonged periods like you will experience in a spin class will help to increase your bodies tolerance to other physical activities such as weight training, bush walking or hanging out the washing.
  • Beyond the physical benefits you gain from a spin class, you will not find a single person arguing about the benefits exercise can have on mental health. Increasing your heart rate and moving your body is scientifically proven to relieve stress and anxiety. This partly occurs as a result of the body producing endorphins, sometimes known as the “feel good” hormone. Spin classes are a great way to do this, along with the added social benefits of being in a room with like-minded people and the affect it can have on your mental well-being.
Here at Personal Best Fitness, we currently offer two spin classes per week. Both are 45 minutes in duration. This gives you enough time to properly warm your body up, enjoy a good workout and finally a cool down and stretch to aid the bodies recovery process. I invite you to join me for Spin on Wednesday at 6.15am or Saturday morning a 8am.  We will help with your bike set up and teach you all you need to know. Tristan North Certified Spin Instructor  
Personal Trainer Hobart

How much is too much?

How often have you made it to the end of the week and thought ‘thank god it’s the weekend’? Or not wanted to do a workout only to finish it and feel a whole lot better? High intensity exercise has been a prevailing force in the fitness industry for the past 10 years. We get this big endorphin rush, it makes you sweat, feel good and forget your problems. Movement is anti-inflammatory, hydrating and energising. It creates resilient tissues, hydrates, efficient mitochondria and cellular function, and is vital for the brain, mood and self confidence. However, we have seen a massive boom of exercise programs such as P90x, Crossfit and F45. All of which are types of HIIT training and are great programs when implemented at the right intensity, with the right recovery and with the correct frequency. Gym Hobart Unfortunately, a lot of these training methods aren’t true ‘HIIT’ sessions. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is designed to get your heart rate up or above 90% of its max, followed by an equal or longer period of time in your recovery zone, the ‘interval’ aspect of HIIT. It can help with fat loss, reduce your heart rate and blood pressure and results in an increased metabolic rate. The often misconception is that going harder means going for longer periods and resting for shorter periods. I’d definitely agree that these types of sessions are tough, but are they productive? A better description of the types of workouts listed above would be High Intensity Steady State Training, or fatigue sessions! I.e. you’re likely getting your heart rate into a moderate zone (not as high as a true HIIT workout), while not allowing yourself sufficient recovery. It can take up to 48hrs for our body to recover after a high intensity training session. We create a high level of acidosis, resulting in the breakdown of muscle cells and the decrease in immune function.  So by completing multiple of these sessions within a week, you are not only creating muscle breakdown, but you are releasing higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline into the body. The thing is, our body doesn’t differentiate between physical and mental stress. So what are the repercussions of this constant cycle of our stressful, sedentary working life, interspersed with many bouts of high intensity training? Just like any form of stress, exercise releases cortisol and adrenaline into the body. In the right doses our body is able to adapt to this release and create positive changes, however if we’re not giving our body adequate time to recover (i.e. completing HIIT sessions often), this becomes detrimental to the system. Being super fit and punishing yourself at the gym doesn’t equate to longevity. In fact it can do the opposite. Over training, under recovering, repetitive movement, too much muscle mass, and chronic cardio, are all examples of how movement can hurt you. There is no denying that people who chose to practice one sport are highly competitive in their chosen sport, however they’re rarely able to adequately replicate this ‘fitness’ across other sports. They’re often missing one key component; variability. When it comes to longevity, the key component in training is variability. This means being strong and resilient for whatever comes your way. It means you can go fast, or slow, lift heavy, or light, move and adapt to awkward and challenge angles, etc. Variability means your tissue has the strength, tension and elasticity to respond to different speeds, loads, positions and vectors. Our heart rate is a great responder to variability. It is important to have the ability to get your heart rate high (above 90% of heart rate max), for SHORT periods of time and it is just, if not more, important to have the ability to get your heart rate back down quickly and keep it there for sustained periods of time. We have looked at one form of heart rate variability training (HIIT), however we will have to save the full discussion for another time. For the time being, I want you to have a think about whether all of your training sessions are ‘smash fests’ in the gym or whether you are incorporating variability into your training and in fact aiming for wellness and longevity. Signs you need to switch up your exercise and focus on wellness and longevity are:
  • Chronic stiffness and pain
  • Lack of mobility and strength in varied positions
  • Lack of heart rate variability – HR stays high, won’t go up, or takes longer to recover!
  • Unable to get down to the ground and up again with ease
  • Coordination and balance challenges
  • Are you struggling with complex movement sequences?
If any of these signs ring true in your ears, think about changing up your exercise routine or book in a personal training session with us to move and exercise more effectively and efficiently. Sofia Tsamassiros Senior Personal Trainer
Personal Trainer Hobart

Half full or half empty?

mental We’ve all read that exercise is great for mental health and there is exponential research to support that claim. Exercise releases ‘feelgood’ hormones such as endorphins and serotonin, boosting your mood and reducing stress and anxiety. What if I were to suggest that you can approach exercise in a more effective manner in order to reduce these symptoms? Having recently reading ‘How to Change Your Mind’, a book about psychedelics and their potential as a treatment for mental disorders and higher thinking, it intrigued me from both a personal and professional aspect. I definitely recommend the read! One such discussion was that on low entropy state. Essentially explaining how excess order (eg. Rigid thinking and obsessive behaviour) results in a hyperactive ‘default mode’. This ultimately traps us in a repetitive and destructive state of rumination. – Think classic signs of Obessive Complusive Disorder, anxiety and depression and to a lesser extent, obsessive eating or exercise habits. If on the other hand, we are able to access a high entropic state, the brain becomes less specialised and more globally interconnected. Learning entails the establishment of new neural networks (neuroplasticity) – If we are able to boost the diversity in our mental life (ie. high entropic state), the more possibilities the mind has and the more creative our solutions will become. Where am I going with this, and what does it have to do with exercise? Most of us understand that we need to change our exercise program routinely in order to see improvement; whether it be increasing the resistance, trying a new exercise or trying a completely different sport. When we first try something new, it’s hard and we’re rarely a natural at it. It is this same concept that we can employ with our workout routine. We want to ‘surprise’ our body as often as possible, not only to improve our physical function, but also our mental function. If you always exercise on the same day, at the same time and do the same routine on those days, try changing it up. Come to Personal Best Fitness at a different time or try a different workout routine or class. The members in my small group personal training will know I love using ViPRs and will often introduce a few group activities or exercises in which they’re made to focus on what they’re doing and creating ‘game’ based training. This can be as simple as throwing a tennis ball or other games you used to play as a kid such as Simon says. You’d be surprised about how quickly this kind of exercise can get your heart rate up, all the while putting a big smile on your face. And better yet, you’re improving your brain’s ability to wire itself and improving your mental health. Sofia Tsamassiros Senior Personal Trainer

Here is some further reading on the research discussed in the article:

Dufek S, 2002. Exercise Variability: A prescription for Overuse Injury Prevention. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal. Mohan, Akansha, Aaron J. Roberto, Abhishek Mohan, Aileen Lorenzo, Kathryn Jones, Martin J. Carney, Luis Liogier-Weyback, Soonjo Hwang, and Kyle A.B. Lapidus. 2016. “The Significance of the Default Mode Network (DMN) in Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Disorders: A Review.” The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 89 (1): 49-57. Pollan M, 2018. How to Change Your Mind. Penguin Group, United States. Ross R, Goodpaster BH, Koch LG, et alPrecision exercise medicine: understanding exercise response variability. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 12 March 2019. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100328
Gym Hobart yoga

Be Activated

Activation

“What’s in the mind is in the body and what’s in the body is in the mind.”

Have you ever caught yourself suddenly gasping for air or getting out of breath quickly? 
Be Activated
Be Activated 
In a society filled with stressors, we believe we all too often get stuck in a “fight or flight” state, resulting in poor health, such as sickness or injury and fatigue, both physical and mental. We use a system based approach termed ‘Be-Activated’ to help the body fire in the correct sequence. This helps to reduce the highly alert state of living into a more relaxed state, thereby allowing us to handle and overcome our stressors more efficiently and effectively. Be-Activated can help you interrupt these stress evoked patterns and find a state of balance. We can help you identify and more easily manage stress, resulting in increased productivity.   What is Be-Activated? Based on the concepts of muscle activation and sequencing in movement, ‘Be Activated’ is a powerful yet simple hands-on system developed by physiotherapist and kinesiologist, Douglas Heel. Be Activated is the science and art of getting your body to work the way it is meant to, and in doing so allowing it to break free from pain and dysfunction. From here your body can move into higher states of performance on all levels allowing you to not only move, function and feel better but also giving rise to massive shifts in strength, speed and flexibility.   Why have an Activation? Whether you are in pain or want to feel, function and move better, activation will help you get there. Our body’s ability to overcome the stresses and pressures of life can result in reduced movement and exercise, putting us at risk. Through systematic manual therapy, activation techniques are simple to teach and offer unique, powerful tools for control over your own health.   Who would benefit from Activation? Everyone. Whether for athlete performance or stress relief, activation can help you find centre. Postural muscles of the body are all slow twitch muscle fibres as they need to hold up the body for sustained periods of time with minimal movement. Slow twitch muscle fibres are oxygen dependent, which means they require oxygen to operate effectively. If we are not breathing correctly and therefore not getting enough oxygen to the muscles, they cannot function correctly to support our body’s continuous fight against gravity. This means that if we can influence our breathing we can influence our ability to maintain good posture.   How is Activation different from massage? Where massage is looking at muscle tightness, activation is a systematic system designed to prioritise the two necessities for survival; to breath and to move. Without both, we will die. Our body finds ways to meet those priorities and is willing to sacrifice anything in order to do this. That is when we see dysfunction and/or pain.   How often should you be Activated? Everyone is different. The idea of activation is to teach your body new (correct) patterns of movement – essentially creating new habits. You may have significant gain and hold this pattern effortlessly, or you will need more intervention and reminding. This is why we also teach you to activate on yourself, to take control of your own health and maintain the new patterns of movement we have taught the body.   Written by Sofia Tsamassiros – Movement Specialist and Personal Trainer 
Gym Hobart

Dealing With Stress

Stress in the 21st century is almost as common as the flu. What is stressful for me may not be stressful for you. So what is stress? For most of us it is when the demands we place upon ourselves or those we allow others to place on us are greater than our ability to cope. Some people thrive on stress and can achieve a great deal when under pressure, but others are totally debilitated by it. The challenge in today’s society is to obtain a stress or arousal level which provides the benefits of good health, satisfaction, general well-being and motivation. Taking time out to relax in our lives from work is just as important as maintaining a regular physical activity program and decreasing caffeine, alcohol and sugar intake. Having a calm and relaxed outlook can make a great difference to how your body reacts to stressful situations and events and to your overall energy levels. When you feel good you are more likely to look after yourself and therefore less likely to suffer anxiety, depression and ill health. In Australia approximately 70% of patients visiting a doctor are suffering from stress-related conditions. Recent evidence suggests that 80% of stress is brought on by how we use our minds. Think about the statement is the glass half full or half empty. We all know people who complain no matter how good the situation is, the ‘knockers’ of the world and others no matter how bad or tough things are always find something positive to say. If you want to stay or become a positive person, you need to minimise your association with the ‘half empty glass’ types of the world and surround yourself with the ‘half full’ people of the world. If the worst case scenario dominates your thoughts it will happen, but if you change your focus to the best case scenario you will start finding good things happening to you. When things don’t go as we want we often sabotage our lives with various behaviours, such as eating too much, drinking more alcohol, working more, decreasing our leisure time and/or retail therapy. Such behaviours tend to leave us worst off. De-stress-headache-remedy If your lifestyle is hectic or unbalanced, then taking time out to relax could mean planning times especially to do this. Sometimes you need to put yourself first and NOT feel guilty about it, close the door and listen to the silence. Doing things that you enjoy can help you feel relaxed and this needs to be prioritised as part of a healthy lifestyle. Some activities that can contribute to a feeling of relaxation include having a bath, walking along the beach, having a massage, playing with your dog, talking to a friend, listening to music, gardening, meditation and yoga. Good time management will also assist with stress management. Plan your week on Sunday night, get up 30 minutes early four mornings a week and you will gain an extra 2 hours to do the things you have been putting off. Leave the office at lunch time and say no when someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do. Being able to detect the warning signs of stress is an important skill in preventing the build p of tension in your mind. Some warning signs are sleep disturbance, migraines and headaches, aching back and shoulders, heart palpitations, irritability, depression, impulsive behaviour, fatigue and the loss of the joy of living. When dealing with stress it is important to realise you can’t change other people and that the only person you can change is yourself, your attitude and your reaction to stress. Try not to let those things that you can’t change interrupt your life. Be realistic about situations and events and try not to blow things out of proportion. If nothing appears to be working seek professional help. Written by Amanda Coombe who is considered a national expert in lifestyle coaching and personal training having 5 times been a finalist in the Australian Personal Trainer of the Year award. She is the founder of Personal Best Fitness, Tasmania’s Fitness Business of the Year and is recognized as a leader in corporate health programs. Her corporate clients include Nyrstar, Tasmanian Collection Services, RACT, Hydro Tasmania, Norske Skog, Parliament House, Tasmanian Audit Office, SEMF and Tasmanian Fire Service.