The Ultimate Skinny Jeans Workout with Siobhan Byrne
Welcome to week three of our Ultimate Skinny Jeans workout. Today, we look at the importance of stretching.
Stretching is an important part of any workout for many reasons, and your range of motion can be greatly improved by using the correct stretching technique.
This improved range of motion can give you a better performance in the gym and make you less prone to injuries. Ideally, we stretch after any workout, including after your cardio workouts.
Stretching also improves flexibility, brings blood flow into the muscle and can also help to achieve better posture. Stretching even has benefits throughout the day. If you sit at a desk all day, a five-minute stretch of your neck and shoulders can help you feel more relaxed and less tense.
If you want to bring some form of stretching in before a workout, I recommend dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is a great way to warm up the body, but it also helps stretch the muscles to get a better range of movement.
So what is dynamic stretching?
The easiest way of describing dynamic stretching is a way of combining stretching with controlled movements to stretch the muscles. Dynamic stretches can be done with a variety of movements and are great not just for run or sprint warms-ups but also for many activities including strength training, athletics and any active sport. The important thing about dynamic stretching is not to launch straight in. I would always advise a light run/warm-up before you start. Dynamic stretching can create a good range of movement.
How to stretch correctly
Each major muscle group should be stretched holding the stretch gently for 20 seconds at a minimum and then gently releasing and repeating the movement three or four times.
Always consult your doctor before stretching if you have any injuries.
What will inevitably happen if you don’t stretch ?
• Your muscles will all seem tighter
• You will be more prone to injury
• Injury will lead to pain, so for a
pain-free ache free body, stretch.
• Don’t overstretch
• Don’t rush your stretches
• Don’t bounce the stretches
• Never stretch when the body is cold and the blood is not flowing
Why eat every three hours?
One of the biggest mistakes we can make when trying to achieve our fitness and bodyshape goals is to stop eating. This simply puts our body into starvation mode, burning muscle and leaving the bodyfat. Consistently eating tricks our body into not going into fast mode, which keeps the metabolism fired up and the body burning body fat, not muscle.
The best breakfasts
There has been much talk over the last few years of whether breakfast is as important as once thought.
I have always found that clients who maintain a healthy balanced approach to their daily eating, starting from breakfast, tend to have better long term results.
For me, starting my day on sugar is the beginning of the end. Now when I say sugar, I mean anything refined or with sugars added, such as white bread, cereals and pastries, for example.
These instantly make me feel tired and sluggish, and I find it hard to focus on the day ahead — not exactly an ideal start.
When I start my day with a green smoothie and a protein breakfast, I feel fuller longer and filled with energy. Protein is a great way to keep the body in a state of satiety. An ideal breakfast would have a good protein source, carbs and a fat source, just like any meal.
• Scrambled eggs with some greens and other veggies and a small amount of oats finished with some milk
• Poached eggs on whole grain toast
• Porridge made with mashed banana, cinnamon and chopped berries
In a rush? Easy breakfasts:
• Homemade breakfast oat bars
• Green smoothie
• Muesli (no added sugar) with dairy-free yoghurt/natural yoghurt
• Wholegrain pittas with peanut butter and banana
Importance of strength training for women
I can’t stress enough that if you are a female one of the best things you can do is get into a strength training programme. The benefits are huge and there is no reason not to do it.
As women, we do not have too much testosterone, the hormone required for building muscles. If you think developing muscle is easy, you are very much mistaken.
Building strong muscles — note ‘strong’, not big, unless you have Arnold Schwarzenegger genes — will only help you develop strength around your bones to help prevent the bones from deterioration and create tone in the muscle.
Strength training also stresses the bones, making them stronger and somewhat less prone to osteoporosis.
Some of the side-effects from strength training will mean you will feel stronger and more full of energy, and with that you will develop a confidence of feeling strong.
One of the other side-effects of strength training is a higher muscle mass, which means that you burn more fat all day long.
As a mum to a toddler, strength training has been invaluable. Constantly picking up children and running around after them all day could easily leave you with chronic back trouble, but you can avid this with strength training.