How many times today have you looked down on your phone like this? 50? 100? 200? 500 times? Then if we start multiplying that number with weeks and months you quickly see that we spend quite a lot of time in this bad position.
I am just as bad as most people, but wanted to put focus on something that is becoming an increasing problem in the whole population. For many years therapists talked about the so called "office shoulder" posture with rounded shoulders and upper back. This is still a huge problem in the desk based population, although I am convinced that the "mobile phone neck" will cause at least as much problems for people over the next years. The trouble is that kids down to 3-4 years old (or younger!!) are using mobile phones or ipads down on their laps and therefore adapt this awful posture from an early age.
Our spine is an extremely amazing part of out body, it holds our body together and basically gives us the ability to move. The head is naturally supposed to sit fairly central on top of the head in an ideal world, although this if clearly not the case in the above photo. An average head weighs around 4.5 - 5 kg, his might not sound like a lot, and our body is designed to handle this weight - providing the head sit on top of the spine lie it should do. The problem arises when you sit for prolonged time like the photo above - my head is way too far forward and therefore this posture puts a lot more added strain onto the shoulders and neck muscles.
In the next example you can see that at least I'm looking more straight ahead, although still looking down a bit too much.
In the last example we are getting into a much better neck position as you can hopefully see. Although holding your arm up like this for long periods of time will ultimately cause strain on the shoulders, it puts your neck in a more neutral and better position. The message is pretty clear: Think about your posture every single day, cut down on the amount you look on your phone (note to myself as well!) and basically try to move a little bit more everyday!
Happy neck and shoulders= less tension headaches, less muscular pain and better overall wellbeing!
For many years there has been a misconception amongst women (and still are with some), that lifting anything more than the lightest dumbbells in the gym will make you look muscly and big! This couldn't be further from the truth and I would like to explain why this isn't the case and also put aside a few myths regarding this topic:
1. Small amount of testosterone
In comparison to men, women does not have high amounts of testosterone and therefore find it much harder to gain muscle mass. It is of course possible, but it takes generally a lot longer and you need to follow systematic strength training over time, in combination with a very good diet with enough protein in order to be able to gain muscle mass as a women.
2.Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat (look at the photo at the top)
Probably one of the most common things I hear in gyms when speaking to women. Muscle DOES NOT weigh more than fat, it is just larger in size (higher volume) - 1 kg of muscle/versus 1 kg of fat weights exactly the same. This means that you can have two women with the same height and weight, but they might be a completely different clothes size as their muscle fat percentage can be very different. This is why it is important to take measurements and ideally fat percentage (if you have an accurate machine to do so) if you are interested in good feedback and progress and not just looking at the total amount of weight on the scale. The other easier way to track how your shape is changing is just looking at your clothes - once they start feeling looser, you can be sure that the total fat mass will be on it's way down too!
3. Muscle mass will increase your metabolism
One big reasons why a lot of men (and more women) wants to have more muscle mass; is because it increases our resting metabolism (metabolic rate). This means that you can burn more calories day to day, even when resting! This also means that it is much easier to sustain a certain weight for a long period of time, instead of going on calorie restricted diets, which will do the opposite. A larger engine needs more fuel to keep going!
4.Lots of reps to get the “toned look”?
Your muscles will not get “long and slim” by doing lots of repetitions with lighter loads, versus lifting heavier weights and less reps (strength training). In fact if you want to get stronger and increase your strength, you also need to lift heavier weights (as long as your technique is good) in order to see progress. Getting the “toned” look that so many women are longing for really means building some muscle mass and reducing the body fat percentage. Most women doesn't want to look big and bulky, so it is about finding that magic balance where you can be healthy and fit and at the same time make you feel strong and healthy to get the confidence you want.
5. Strength training to support the joints
It is a fact that as we get older, (even as early as in our 30s!) muscle mass start to decrease unless we do our bit to try and slow down this process. Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men and it is therefore even more important to do strength training to support our joints.
We all know that being to skinny or too overweight is not good for our health. In terms of exercise it is about finding something that you enjoy and something that you will feel good for doing. Not everyone is designed to go running 50 miles per week and equally not everyone enjoys hardcore strength training, but the message is to not be scared of doing resistance training with the fear that it will make you look like a beast!Unless you start eating a lot more than before (which sometimes happened when people start doing strength training) you will not gain size! The total weight might just see small changes, but you might just notice that your clothes are getting looser and you start to look firmer! What a bonus!
Look after your body (and mind), if you want to stay mobile and active as long as possible!
From Monday 23rd October I will be running an extra Strength and Conditioning session on Mondays at 6;15pm.
I keep the group numbers small in order for me to be able to focus on everyone's technique and give individual feedback. Sessions take place at Heavy Metal Gym in Ilkley
Monday evenings at 6.15pm and 7.30pm
Thursday evenings at 7.15pm
Not sure Strength and Conditioning is for you? Find out more here
Sessions are on a first come, first served basis - please message me in advance to book your space - 07942461440 or email me. Sessions cost £8 per session.
All levels and abilities are welcome!
It is common knowledge that leading an active lifestyle incorporating regular exercise can have several positive physiological benefits. I will list a few:
Mental health has become an increasing topic in the news recently and rightly so. After exercise your body releases endorphines which makes you feel good. One of the big reasons why exercises can help you overcome stress, anxiety and general well being.
No matter what type of exercise you choose to do, you can always train together with someone if you like being part of a group. There are hundreds of sports clubs, walking clubs, exercise classes, swimming clubs etc all over the country you can be a part, if you like the social aspect of exercise. Some people prefer to train alone and get away from the busy lives they live, but others love being part of a group where you can motivate and support each other. Whichever way you prefer to do it one of the big reasons (coming from teams sports) I love training is that it is a time to spend with other like minded people.
Whatever age you are and whatever type of exercise you prefer I would highly encourage you to find something you enjoy and do it on a regular basis. The benefits of doing exercise can not be underestimated, and with an aging population it is more important than ever that we do our share to try and stay fit and healthy for as long as possible!
Get up of the chair and do something today, your body and mind will thank you!
"Take care of your body,
it's the only place you have to live" - Jim Rohn
Just over 6 weeks ago I started the first Fit and Fabulous ladies training group. So far I have been really lucky and received some great feedback from a lot of the ladies I have worked with, either through training them, giving them massage treatments or both. I wanted to highlight a couple of the testimonials that really stands out for me at the moment as I want to show people that I don't just work with athletes and serious sports people (although I of course love that!!). As well as working with already active sports people I really enjoy helping people getting into exercise and let them feel for themselves all the benefits that comes with being active and also being part of a group. This alongside helping anyone who might have some individual challenges due to injuries is so so important to me!
The women from my latest Fit and Fabulous group have given me some really nice reviews, so I just wanted to show that it doesn't matter if you have never exercised before, if you have an injury of if you are just returning after pregnancy, anyone can do it!
"Monica is amazing! This is the first exercise class I have stuck to and believe it or not really enjoy. I am coming into my second month now and was so pleased when Monica took my measurements after month one and I had lost 3 cm from my waist!!
Monica is so friendly and puts you at ease straight away, she always has really good advice to give and goes the extra mile to help with any concerns you have (mine was my hip). I look forward to many more sessions full of exercise (and lots of giggles). I would 100% recommend Monica to a pure beginner (like me) or to a super fit seasoned pro!"
My next great review is from lovely Linda who finds exercise a challenge due to an injury which causes her a lot of pain on a daily basis.
"Monica is amazing and lovely, she is not only an experienced fitness trainer, but a sports therapist and expert at deep tissue massage; she really knows her stuff so I know that I am in safe hands. She has magic fingers which really hit the spot with her massage techniques so that the benefits are long lasting.I hobbled in badly and walked out feeling great. She offers different types of fitness classes and training sessions; something for everyone which I think is great. From a specialist classes for the already fit and sporty, to a class for those who, like me, are the trying to get to fit variety and this helps to make me comfortable as it's more tailored to my level.
I have a substantial injury and even I can be accommodated including modified exercise options. Sessions are brilliant, they are friendly, motivational, varied and enjoyable as well as focused. Monica creates a lovely atmosphere, she's encouraging but also supportive and kind.
I absolutely highly recommended Monica, she's fantastic; I'm already benefiting from improved mobility, balance and fitness; I'm really enjoying it and we even have fun and laughs!"
Last but not least Annie's review is also very important to me as she is just building herself up after two pregnancies, and she has finally find the love of exercise!
"I am 38, I have a 3 year old and 5 month old. I like being active but hate exercise! I have started numerous fitness classes before but given up after one session and paid a lot of money for gyms that I have never used. Mainly I have lacked motivation and in the fitness classes I couldn't keep up with the rest of the really fit people there! So I would do too much too quickly then hurt for a month and be put off going again. In addition I would find excuses such as too tired, work or simply can't be bothered.
But, I realised after having two kids my tummy muscles and pelvic floor have been wrecked! Not to mention my pregnancy during which I felt so ill I lost a lot of weight but also muscle mass, core strength and general fitness. I joined Monica's personal training group classes on Wednesday and Friday mornings 4 weeks ago. The first two weeks I only did half an hour each time but now I can manage a full hour both days! I didn't think I would ever say this but I LOVE IT! And most importantly, I look forward to going! The group is small, the venue is great and Monica is an incredible motivator!!! She gives her full attention to each and everyone in the group! 4 weeks ago I could hardly count to three trying to hold into a press up before collapsing on the floor. Now I can count to 15 and even dare to take one hand off the floor (even if briefly). I also feel I have more energy and my core muscles are starting to strengthen. Monica, thank you!"
Any ladies looking to get fitter, be pushed and motivated and be part of a great group - don't wait! Come and join us for a trial session!
Contact me on 07942461440 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I wanted to show you how to do a great core exercise called Renegade row. You can use a dumbbell or a kettlebell like I got in the video. Or alternatively you can just do it with your hand. Key points to think about:
1. Keep the body as still as possible whilst pulling the kettlebell up
2. Avoid twisting your body
3. Try to keep you hips stable and don't let them drop too low or too high
It is challenging, but very good! Give it a try and see how you find it.
Feel free to share it with any friends you think what to try a good core exercise.
We focus on a lot of big movements for the key muscle groups including the core in the S and C sessions I run at Heavy Metal Gym on
Mondays at 7.30pm and Thursdays 7:15pm
Give me a call - 07942461440 or drop me an email on email@example.com if you want to come!
Today I wanted to show you how to do a front plank on a swissball. This is a good exercise if you want to challenge your balance and already feel confident in doing a normal plank exercise on the floor. Key points to remember:
1. Keep your core engaged and don't rest on elbows
2. Keep your body in a straight line as much as possible from head to toe
3. You can add in small movements with the arms to make it even tougher
Give it a try and see what you think!
***Spaces filling up fast***
Are you a female living in and around Ilkley?
Do you want to lose some unwanted bodyfat?
Do you want to get stronger and fitter?
Want to be pushed and motivated in a group environment?
Want someone to guide you and help you achieve results?
If this is you – look no further!
I am looking for 8 females wanting to train with me twice a week for 4 weeks (8 sessions in total) – in a fun, motivating environment where I will track your progress to ensure you achieve what you want! £60 per person for 4 weeks!
Sessions will take place at Heavy Metal Gym in Ilkley on:
Wednesdays and Fridays at 10am
Contact me on 07942461440 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your space – first come first served!
Starting on Monday 2nd October!
Do you want to start training in the gym, but got no idea where to start?
Do you want to get stronger and improve your fitness at the same time?
Need someone to help with your technique to keep you injury free?
Looking for a more affordable personal training option and don't mind training as a 4?
From 2nd October I will run Small Group Personal Training sessions for women (max 4 people per group)
Sessions will take place at http://www.heavy-metal-gym.co.uk in Ilkley over 4 weeks on the following days and times:
Session 1 – Mondays 9.30am - 10.30am
Session 2 - Mondays 10.30am -11.30am
Session 3 – Thursdays 9.30am - 10.30am
Session 4 - Thursdays 10.30am - 11.30am
1 session per week cost £45 per person (for the 4 week block)
2 sessions per week cost £90 per person (for the 4 week block).
Contact me now on 07942461440 or email@example.com to book your space!
Only limited morning sessions available so it will be first come first served!
Today's blog post is specially aimed at runners, but also any other sport which requires repetitive hip flexion movement. It is in fact very relevant if you don't do that much sport or exercise at all, but sit down for a good 8 hours a day in your job! So actually that means that a lot of people might find today's post helpful, and that it can possibly give you a few ideas of what can be done to try and counterbalance all the daily shortening of the hipflexors a lot of us are exposed in our day to day lives.
Why is it so important?
The hipflexors job is to flex the hip and keep our pelvis in a stable position. Unless we do something to try and change the constant shortening of the hip muscles, you can end up with your pelvis in an anteriorly tilted position. This means that when you go running it will eventually lead to shorter stride length as you will struggle to get full extension of your hip- due to the glut and hamstrings muscles unable to work properly to extend your hip. This can lead to several different problems further down the chain, but a lot of the times the calf muscles ends up over-working and can lead to frustrating problems such as shin splints and Achilles injuries to name a few. And also more importantly your performance and speed will be reduced as you are not able to utilise the biggest muscles in your lower body to produce power.
That was the why part of why we should do it - now I will show a few examples of what you can do to improve it. First we start with a way to mobilise and open up the hip before your activity:
Then the next video and photo is two other ways to stretch the hip following a session or even as a separate recovery/mobility session. I prefer to do the stretching as separate sessions or after an easy training session in order to hold the stretch for longer - 45 secs per muscle group, but always make sure you are warm prior to doing any stretching.
Sorry about the extremely serious look, I am concentrating hard!Not the most flexible person in the world myself, but working on it!
Give them all a go and see how you get on!