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Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece Boot Camp

Fit in five minutes whatever the weather!

Do not underestimate the power of fresh air!

Regardless of how miserable the weather may be, or even if we are blessed with a few moments of Southampton sunshine, the majority of the population spend their days cooped up indoors.

With so many of us up and out before sunrise, and home after it has set, is it any wonder stress levels, work-related absence and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter months are at their highest?

The solution?  GET OUTSIDE!

This post is by no means suggesting you risk yours or anyone else’s safety in the treacherous weather conditions we’ve had in Southampton and the majority of the country lately, but merely think how it can be used to your advantage.

Here are my top 3 ideas that my Personal Training clients have found work best for them:

Walk/Run for Function

It may sound cliché (or you’ve heard it before) but grabbing a brolly, getting out the office and briskly walking around the block even for 10-20 minutes can make even the baddest of days better.

Your mind will clear and re-focus from physically removing yourself from the environment, your mood lifted from the natural daylight and oxygen.

15 minute fat blast: Warm up by walking briskly for two minutes. Repeat the following x 4: 2 minute jog and 30 second sprint. Walk slowly to cool down, finishing with stretching.

Head for the Hills

Hill walks/sprints are a great interval training workout for the heart and lungs, allowing Get your family involved, exercising in Southamptonexertion and recovery at your own pace. Try your local park, woods or venture further, making a day of it at the beach or a national park. Vary the terrain: grass, gravel and sand all keep it interesting.

10 minute fat blast: run uphill (or up outdoor steps,) walk down and repeat. Record how many you do – and see if you can beat it next time to track your progress. Great fun for all the family so make a game of it!

DIY Boot Camp

As our Boot camp takes place outdoors and undercover, our attendees are fortunately always guaranteed fresh air whatever the weather!

Try making your own in your garden or local playground. Simple exercises like press ups and step-ups can be done on benches. Pull ups and mountain climbers can be done on climbing frame ladders.

PT Gen Levrant at Boot Camp Southampton!

PT Gen at Boot Camp Southampton!

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Southamton Personal Trainer Gen Preece Boot Camp

Don’t be a Plank…

Make your planks functional: Five variations for you to try

I could go on for pages about why and how a standard plank will not give you a flat stomach. Holding your abdominal muscles isometrically for as long as you can is not functional, nor something I would do with any personal training client!

Exercises for a flat stomach from Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Levrant

Exercises for a flat stomach from Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Levrant

Fortunately, there are ways to tweak the plank to make it functional. For a muscle to produce a powerful contraction, it first needs to lengthen. This does not happen in the plank, so here are five variations to ensure it does.

(Please consult with a fitness professional if you are pregnant, new to exercise or unsure of proper and safe technique. And as always, seek medical clearance from you doctor prior to beginning any exercises.)

1. Knee to chest: start in a standard plank position: elbows bent, forearms resting on the floor and abdominal muscles braced. Use your abs to pull one knee towards your chest, bending it at a right angle and exhaling. Repeat with other knee for 10-20 reps.

2. Tilting hips: start in a press up position. Keeping your feet together, tilt your right hip to the side as if trying to point it to the ceiling. The same side elbow will bend a little. Go back to the start and repeat with the other hip for a total of 10-20 reps

3. Reverse plank: start on all fours facing the ceiling with your elbows straight, knees bent and bottom off floor. Reach to  the ceiling with one hand, raising your pelvis to the ceiling and engaging your gluts. Dip your elbow and repeat for 10-15 reps before switching arms.

4. Up & under: start in a press up position, open one arm up as far as it goes. Bring it down under the body, reaching as far as you can before replacing it back at the start. Repeat with the other arm for 20 reps (10 each arm.)

5. Foot crossovers: start in standard plank. Cross one foot over the other to touch the floor outside of it, and bring back to the start. Repeat for 30 secs before switching legs.

These will hit your abdominals in three planes of motion, which is how we are designed to move. They can be added on to one of your existing workout routines or performed alone. Happy training and have fun!

Here’s a video demonstrating each plank variation

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Green Smoothie: Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece

Enjoying a tall glass of awesome

Green Smoothies in the Southampton Sun

Today was a bright beautiful sunny day in Southampton, our first proper one of the New Year!

After a very pleasant long walk with my fiance, I felt an alkalising green smoothie was the perfect compliment for a stunning day like today.

I try and put them together whenever I can and really feel the benefits; or more accurately, notice the difference in my energy levels when I don’t have one!

If I’ve got a long day ahead of Personal Training clients, I sometimes even blend one up in the morning and take it in to sip between sessions!

Being gluten-intolerant and previously suffering a lifetime of unpleasant symptoms I’d learned to live with (bloating, stomach discomfort, lethargy, difficulty concentrating to name but a few) I feel very fortunate to have and blessed to have learned about such a vast world of nourishing possibilities, all so simple. And cheap!

All you need is a blender…and some raw veg!

Green Smoothie: Personal Trainer Southampton

Green Smoothie: a tall glass of awesome

Today’s Alkalising Green Smoothie:

1 x large ripe banana

160g spinach

5 x celery sticks

1 x lemon

1 x thumb size piece of ginger

500ml filtered water

It kept me going for a good couple of hours and is such a great energy booster. The lemon and ginger aid digestion, so if you suffer from bloating or digestive discomfort as I used to, it truly makes a difference. More importantly, you will not get a blood sugar spike and be craving another sugary fix twenty minutes after the “high” has faded!

Try taking one into work for a mid-morning energy boost. It also makes a fantastic alternative to the ever-available sugar and gluten-laden snacks that often appear the only available option. If you prepare and plan, I can assure you there is always another choice 🙂

Enjoy!

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Southampton Personal Trainer Gen Preece with BBC Radio Solent's Katie Martin

Back at the BBC talking Gymtimidation!

I was so excited to be invited back on to BBC Radio Solent to talk Gymtimidation with the lovely Katie Martin!

Having began my career as a personal trainer working in public gyms, I feel I could have talked for HOURS about the endless array of problems that I used to see everyday! The biggest one being just how intimidating and daunting January newcomers used to find the environment and atmosphere. Just where did all these people come from?!

The first few weeks of January within a public gym can be like nothing; even the regular users, have ever seen before. A great friend of mine sent me this poster a few weeks ago which made me laugh a lot 🙂

Gen Levrant Personal Trainer SouthamptonAs a Personal Trainer, in January I would struggle to get on the equipment I needed for my client’s session, I would set up circuits to find someone had swiped the dumbbells I had laid out if my back was turned, and had trouble finding a sufficient bit of space to train my client in safely!

So all in all, not a great environment for members OR personal trainers (and one of the main reasons I now train my clients out of a private studio!)

The main points I felt I needed to stress while I was talking to Katie were if you don’t think the gym is right for you, then please don’t join one thinking you will change your mind, especially if you decide to join in January!

If you have never joined a gym before, it is not the be all and end all if your New Years Resolution is to be more active. Instead, think about what you WOULD enjoy. Try a few different things: if you enjoy being around nature, look into what nature walks are in your local area.

If you enjoy swimming, find a pool and go for a swim. If you like the idea of a class but are worried about lacking co-ordination, have a look for a class for beginners or all abilities. This is why we created our 6 Week Boot Camp class, so EVERYBODY could join in, regardless of age, fitness level and ability and have a great time all getting fit together.

And if you DO want to join a gym, my advice would be to get an induction with as many instructors as possible. The instructor can very much dictate your entire experience of the gym and it is their responsibility to make you feel safe, valued and comfortable. And, as a paying customer, you are entitled to nothing less!

If you are considering hiring a personal trainer, again speak to a few different ones and you will then know whether or not they are the right person for you.

You can listen to my interview with the lovely Katie here.

Until next time, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2014 free from gymtimidation!

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