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The No Waffle Guide to Cost-Free Workouts

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Hands up how many people have already cracked on their gym routines? Finding it hard to stick to your lofty resolutions? Don’t worry; we’re right there with you. And given that Christmas and all that goes with it has left us flat broke – “I just found a euro down the back of the couch! Hooray!”, “Eh, that’s probably mine, I remember misplacing a euro” – it would quite literally pain us to hand money over to the likes of Ben Dunne. No offence, Ben. Thankfully, there’s an awful lot we can do at home, that won’t require a monthly fee, that we can even do in our PJs (though if you do head out for a trot, you might want to reconsider the jammies). Here, we enlist the help of Run Logic‘s brilliant Ash Senyk, otherwise known as The Guru on all things running (he’s an ultrarunner), to give us the zero bullsh*t lowdown on what we need to be doing. Here goes.

If you’re working out at home, what kind of tools are we going to need?
It helps to have fitness ‘aids’ to give you some variety for your home workout. Essential items for your workout would include:
A workout towel
Foam mat
Space around the area you plan to exercise
Proper apparel that enables you to exercise/stretch properly (That’s a no to the PJs then…)
Paper and a pen (so you can write up and follow a routine of exercises – otherwise its very easy to get lost/or forget what you need to do)

What should we invest in to make sure we’re getting a good variety of exercises done at home?
Products listed above and then:
Exercise Ball (inflatable)
Resistance band
Foam roller

Check, check and check. And is it worth investing in weights?
Small weights can be a good investment and add to your workout routine at home. Kettle Bell squats using a weight can increase strength in the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders and quads. Further to this, weights are valuable to building arm strength and shoulder strength. Over-shoulder rows, shoulder presses, etc.

What advice do you have for people looking to get fit after the Christmas season, when it can feel very hard to get back in the saddle?
You have to commit yourself. Sign up for an event, race or challenge so you have a target to train for. It can even be as simple as ‘losing’ a few pounds. Make sure you print up your commitment on paper so you are reminded of the goal. Stick it on your fridge.
Also, make yourself comfortable/ with the right gear. Buy a new outfit for exercise, or shoes. This will motivate you to get off the sofa and enjoy your new gear. It really does make a difference.

Do you find people bite off more than they can chew in January?
January can be the toughest month to exercise. The darkness, coldness and post-Christmas over indulgence can block your physical progress. The above ‘commitment’ and ‘fitness’ goal is crucial to reaching your objective.

 

OK, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of at home workouts. What do we need to do for better abs?
You just can’t beat old fashioned sit-ups for an abdominal workout. However without introducing a variety of exercises into your routine – so hip extensions, exercise ball rotations and back extensions – you won’t see the results you want. You’ve got to vary things during your workout to help with the overall strength of the abdominal area.

What is the best at home workout for better bums and legs?
Steps/squats are great for the backside. Stairs in your house are great for using during a workout.

Is there any particular move that is good for toning your whole body at once?
The Plank move done correctly can give almost all the muscles in your body a workout. Balance, structure and position are important to focus on when doing the plank to get the most out of your routine.

And what should we know about stretching?
ALL exercise should include a good deal of stretching. Being a runner, the foam roller is my favorite way ease the tension of my legs and back. Using my own body weight over the foam roller helps push out knots in my muscles and used in combination with stretching can be very useful. Likewise is the exercise ball for performing stretches. With age and all the miles affecting my flexibility affecting my range of movement, stretching is high up on my list of priorities.

If people choose to venture outdoors, but don’t want to spend money, it’s going to be all about running. What’s your advice for people going from the couch to 5k?
Start progressively. Set small targets for couch to 5 km. Ensure your plan is mapped out well and followed.

 

Why is running your preferred exercise?
I love the freedom of running and the feeling I get after exercise. It doesn’t matter if I go for 20 minutes of 6 hours, I always have a great time. (Ed Notes: Let’s just take a moment to consider that; SIX HOURS) Running is extremely simple. You don’t necessarily need anything more than your shoes and the right clothing. Then it’s just down to getting out the door and enjoying the changing scenery, climates and environment. Running correctly definitely reduces your chance of any injury, so I try and practice good running form and never put unnecessary stress on my body.

We read a lot about those protein powders, are they necessary?
A well balanced diet is my best friend. Protein powders can be used to supplement your training, depending on the level of intensity. But I would typically only use recovery products like protein when needed after strenuous activity over long periods of time. Otherwise, liquids and fruit and veg do the job for me.

And what about giving your body an extra boost to help you with your workout, is there anything natural that you would recommend?
During a long run I would typically enjoy ‘Stinger Chews‘ (organic energy chews) as my comfort food/energy source. If I am doing something at high intensity then good old fashioned cold water is my favourite. Only when energy levels start to drop I would introduce Nuun tablets to my water.

What is your philosophy when it comes to exercise?
Exercise is the most important mechanism for our bodies to stimulate our senses and activate growth, repair and recovery hormones. It is therefore very important to kick start these changes for our well being. It’s also a vital part of our processes as humans to metabolize our foods properly through exercise (so we don’t get big bellies which reduces mobility, movement and motivation). Plus the taste of a good meal after a run is about 10 times better!

Quiz Ash in person at the Temple Bar store: www.runlogic.ie

For more doable workouts at home, give http://www.twohundredsquats.com/ a go. And check out our recent article, Fitness Accounts you Need to Follow.

@CarolineForan

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