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A compound resistance exercise is a multi-joint movement which works several different muscle groups simultaneously.   Examples include the “daddy” of all bodyweight exercises – the squat – and the deadlift.  Unfortunately, a majority of gyms are full of equipment that is geared towards resistance exercises that isolate one or two joints to target specific muscle groups.  For example, in a leg extension machine, you sit down and move the knee joint alone using the quadriceps muscle group in isolation.  There are many negatives to this sort of exercise:

  1. You have probably been sat down  at work all day, then sat down in your car seat to drive to the gym.  You have been sat down all day – you need to MOVE MORE, not sit down again!
  2. The seated position reduces the need to stabilise the body using the core muscles, an area which most exercisers are keen to target.
  3. The fixed weight hides any imbalances in strength between your left and right sides, so it may exacerbate rather than correct such problems.

In contrast, compound exercises (using bodyweight alone or with free weights such as dumbbells or kettlebells) mimic real life functional movements, where all muscle groups are required to fire simultaneously.   A great example is the everyday activity of picking up shopping bags, which is basically a deadlift.  It certainly isn’t a hamstring curl!

This isn’t to say that fixed resistance machines don’t have their uses.  If you have a lower body injury, for example, they can be used to continue to strengthen the upper body during this time, without having to hobble back and forwards to the weight rack.  However, what may people tend to forget is that fixed resistance machines originally were designed and intended specifically as rehabilitation aids – not for general fitness!  Regrettably, their omnipresence in modern gyms persists as they require less staff supervision compared to free weights and other more functional equipment.  It certainly isn’t due to their effectiveness in helping the average gym-goer reach their goals!

So what is the alternative?  Ensuring that your resistance exercise is based around compound exercises brings many benefits:

  1. Burn far more body fat
  2. Strengthen the core
  3. Protect against injury in everyday life
  4. Shorter, more effective workouts

If you don’t have the equipment for deadlifts or kettlebell workouts, bodyweight exercises work just as well!  Squats, lunges, woodchops, planks and mountain climbers are great examples of effective compound movements that can be done anywhere with zero equipment!  If you prefer a group fitness environment, these exercises also feature in Metafit: Join the Fat-Burn Revolution, a 30 minutes bodyweight HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercise class. 

For full details and online bookings, visit our group exercise classes page.

 
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Wow! It has been an amazing year for the JB Personal Training community! As it draws to a close, Jules and Shona would like to thank all our loyal customers for their fantastic support throughout 2013. Here's a reminder of some of your fantastic achievements over the last 12 months!


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January:  2013 kicks-starts with the return of JBPT Ultrabox

2013 got off to an explosive start with the return of our hugely popular Ultrabox class! There is no better way to let off steam after a day in the office! Join the fun in 2014 with our growing range of both early morning and evening fitness classes in Swindon.


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February:  First winter Couch to 5K group completes first 5K at Parkrun Swindon

Our first ever winter Couch to 5K group showed tremendous determination to complete their training, with the occasional aid of treadmills during a bitterly cold couple of months! Huge congratulations to Caroline McCartney, Judith Land, Sarah Holmes, Sarah Strickland, Nick Ruddle, Kathryn Ruddle, Sharon Perkins, Adele Perkins, Sarah Nichols for running their first 5K (over 3 miles) at Lydiard Park Parkrun! The spring saw a return to Lydiard Park for the April course, when we welcomed Yvonne Parker, Zoe Brown, Jane Weston, Gaynor Moreton, Hayley Cronin, Julie Giles, Bev Owen Bines, Dawn Chivers, all of whom nailed their first 5K this summer! Hot on their heels were the July group who enjoyed by far the sunniest evenings! Congratulations to Sharon Randle, Helen Chisholm, Michelle May, Louise Farrow, Amanda Kemp, Jane Calverley, Jacqui Robbins, Jessica Painter, Linda Simkins who stormed the August Parkrun! Our final group of the year back at Shaw Ridge showed enormous camaraderie in training leading to well-deserved 5K success at December's Parkrun for Yvonne McColl, Sarah Nunn, Joanne Cooke, Dave Wilson, Jenna Wilson, Marie Cargan, Adrian Roberts and Jenny Gill, with Helen Rankin and Kerry Barrass bouncing back from setbacks to prepare for their first 5Ks early in the New Year.  Massive congratulations to all our Couch to 5K runners in 2013 - we are really proud of you all! As the Run JB community continues to grow, we would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at our next group Parkrun on 1st March 2014 at Lydiard Park!


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March:  JBPT launch Metafit classes

We were buzzing in March with the launch of our new high-intensity interval bodyweight training class, Metafit!  Only 30 mins long, Metafit classes boost your resting metabolism so you burn more calories at rest for up to 24 hours after your workout! If you haven't tried it yet, make 2014 the year you discover what you've been missing! Join the Fat-Burn Revolution!


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April:  Kim and Sian run London Marathon

We were super excited in April as we headed to London to watch Kim and Sian tackle their first ever marathon.  Having only started running the previous August, we watched in awe as Kim stuck resolutely to her JBPT training plan, laughed in the face of black toenails and lost 3 stones on the way to the start line. A last minute charity place entry was bravely embraced by Sian, who showed tremendous determination despite late injury setbacks to make it to London. On a day to remember amidst a wonderful carnival atmosphere, Kim and Sian proved they have what it takes - becoming Team JB's first ever London Marathon medal winners. They also inspired Sam and Tony hardy to emulate their achievements by securing their entries for the 2014 race!


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May:  "Lake is the new Cake"

Wild swimming in the warm weather and picturesque Cotswold Water Park setting proved a great draw over the summer months, inspiring the classic comment "lake is the new cake"!  It really is a fantastically therapeutic escape from the rat race! Wetsuits are optional in the warmest weather but advised to get the most out of your lake swimming membership, extending the season from around April to October.


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June:  Cotswold Novice Triathlon

2013 saw Team JB embrace the UK's fastest growing sport - triathlon!  Clare Lindsay, Sian Rudge, Hayley Cronin and Sam Reed nailed their first ever triathlon in June, swimming 200m in open water, cycling a 20km circular route via Cirencester, and finally running the 2.5km around the Cotswold Country Park lake.  Alex Parker stepped up to nail the Super Sprint distance having completed the novice event the year before.  You did Team JB proud ladies!


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July:  JBPT Summer Bootcamp 2013

What a contrast from last year - sunshine galore for our evening bootcamp!  We made the most of it, and many bootcamp newcomers rose to the challenge of crawling, resisted sprinting, crab walking, ViPR flipping, farmers walking and hurdling though an array off obstacles, finishing off the fun with wheelbarrow and sack races!  Some of you even found the energy to join in an extra "Hanging Tough" challenge afterwards!


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August:  Wall Sit Fever spreads across Swindon!

JBPT's August Challenge really captured the imagination and got you wall-sitting all over Swindon (including as pictured in the Farrell School of Irish Dance!) Twitter went crazy with posts of personal bests with some really impressive times! However, in the end nobody could touch the amazing performance of Clare Farrell of over 4 mins!  If you missed out on our 2013 Challenges, full instructions on how to give them a go are available on our Challenge of the Month webpage!


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September:  Cotswold Sprint Triathlon

Team JB were out in force at the end of season Cotswold Sprint Triathlon! Superb performances by the team, many of whom were stepping up a distance having never done a tri before 2013. Great job Hayley Cronin, Alex Parker, Sarah Archer, Sian Rudge, Kevin and Tracey!


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October:  Bowood Duathlon

Having only started running back in July on our Couch to 5K course, Jane Calverley, Sharon Randle and Amanda Kemp were a bit late to join in the triathlon season. But that didn't stop them signing up for the Bowood Super Sprint Duathlon!  They did a brilliant job on a tough undulating 2.5km running course and 10km bike course on a beautiful October morning in the grounds of the stunning Bowood Estate. Congratulations ladies!


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November:  Team JB conquers Monster Race Charlton Park

Obstacle races like Tough Mudder and Men's Health Survival of the Fittest are growing massively in popularity and Team JB jumped at the chance to get covered in mud on a cold November morning! The excitement was all too much for Alex, who, unable to wait for the first proper obstacle, jumped straight into the middle of the first decent puddle with both feet. The real obstacles included the icy "Monsters' Marsh", and "The Wall" where fantastic teamwork saw us hoicking each other up and flinging ourselves over the top, winning top marks for artistic impression on dismount!  As Team JB's first venture into the world of obstacle course events, Monster Race was an exhilarating opportunity to confront and conquer a new challenge!


December:  Our 2013 Biggest Loser is revealed!  Congratulations Amanda!

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Back in Jan 2013, we had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Kemp. With a big weight loss goal, we started training in Amanda’s living room slow and steady - no matter what your size you can work out!.  As our sessions progressed we watched Amanda open her mind to change and to exercise. A breakthrough moment was Amanda turning up at our boxing class, she had worried about it all day! Losing weight builds confidence and reinforces that what you are doing IS working.  By the end of 2013, Amanda had so far lost a huge 4st 7lbs and has changed her life completely.  She attends classes, runs regularly and even competed in her first duathlon! As trainers I cannot tell you how proud it makes us feel to watch our clients embrace exercise and life.  Could you be JBPTs biggest loser of 2014?


Inspired by these remarkable achievements?  Why not make 2014 an unforgettable year by reaching your health and fitness goals.  Personal Training can help you get there, whether you want to emulate such feats or simply lose weight and improve your health.  Contact us today to learn more.

 
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Team JB were buzzing with anticipation this morning at the prospect of taking part in Monster Race 2013 just a few miles up the road at Charlton Park Estate near Malmesbury (best known for hosting the annual WOMAD festival).  Considering how popular similar events like Tough Mudder and Men's Health Survival of the Fittest have become, it was surprisingly our first such obstacle race, and we were getting pretty excited at an excuse to get covered in mud on a cold November morning (can you tell we miss playing rugby??).

As we got ready, attaching our timing chips to our laces and writing our entry numbers on our foreheads, our group of 8 quickly became 9 as Kim from Chippenham joined our team.  Thankfully, there was coffee and tea available to warm us up before the race, and a handy bag-drop facility as the start was a fair walk away from the car parking area. Scheduled in the first wave at 10am, we were called to the event-organised group "warm-up" (if you call plyometric lunges a warm up!) and before we knew it we were at the start line!  The excitement was all too much for Alex, who, unable to wait for the first proper obstacle, jumped straight into the middle of the first decent puddle with both feet (surprisingly difficult to resist when you know you're going to get really muddy anyway).


After a pleasant trail run through a wood, we reached the first obstacle, "The Hurdles", a gentle introduction to the course which we negotiated with relative ease (although I did manage to muddy Sian's ear in the process with my foot - thankfully no harm done!).  Next up was one of the highlights of the course, "Monsters' Marsh" which did not disappoint! Lowering ourselves with the aid of a rope down the slippery bank, those of us who had spent our summer swimming in the Cotswold Water Park lake had a fair idea of what to expect - but it still always makes your heart skip a beat when the icy water hits your chest!  We were also lulled into a false sense of security when the water level was at first only up to waist height.  As we peered around the reeds and saw Sian and Alex disappearing up to their necks, any initial smugness at being a bit taller soon evaporated as the rest of us realised this was the eventual fate of us all (even the tall and brave team JB newcomer Karen)!

Onwards we went through the "Tyre Crawl" and "Log Carry" to the next big challenge - "The Wall".  Fantastic teamwork saw us hoicking each other up and flinging ourselves over the top, winning top marks for artistic impression on dismount!  A long interrupted run stretch followed, past a temporary film set at the edge of the estate (looking like a prisoner of war camp - anyone know what film?).  Then it was on to the "Sandbag Carry", which immediately inspired plans for a Tetbury Woolsack Race 2014 relay team, followed by the "Hay Bales Steps" where we were cheered on by star supporter Amanda, who we also have to thank for taking the awesome photos!  Only a couple of obstacles now separated us from our Monster Medals, and Alex progressed from two-footed puddle jumps to chest first swan dives whilst she still had the chance!

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The penultimate obstacle was the muckiest of all, with our mud-pit crawl under barbed-wire drawing wild applause from the crowd at the finish!  A final wall awaited, made all the more tricky by the mud which now lubricated and rendered the rope next to useless! Thankfully Hayles showed off her second-row lineout llifting skills to safely guide the team over (although by this stage Clare and our Kim were making it look easy).  All that remained was for us to proudly join hands to cross the finish line together, wondering what had happened to the "Pugil Pummel" Monster henchmen we had been looking forward to tackling (literally)! 

With no showering or changing facilities available, it was a slightly anti-social end to the event as everyone hurried off to their cars to get warm. We would encourage this to be improved for the next event, with perhaps an extra changing marquee and some buckets of water for hand-washing a reasonable expectation for an event of this size.  Nevertheless, as Team JB's first venture into the world of obstacle course events, Monster Race was an exhilarating opportunity to confront and conquer a new challenge!  See you next year then....

 

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Only eight weeks ago, our latest beginners' running group met at Lydiard Park in Swindon for the first week of Run JB's Couch to 5K course.  This Saturday morning, they got up bright and early to run their first ever 5K at Swindon Parkrun! And as these pictures reveal, they did themselves proud, successfully completing the two-lap course and having great fun in the process! Huge congratulations to Sharon, Helen, Amanda, Jane, Michelle, Jacqui, Jessica and Linda! Congratulations also to Run JB's Dawn Chivers and Simon May for smashing their personal best times! We had fantastic support on the day from previous Couch to 5K graduate Yvonne, who has become a regular since completing the course, and personal training clients Jeremy and Tony, who are leading the way in the number of Parkruns completed! Many thanks also to Hayley for doing a fantastic job as photographer!

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Check out the Swindon Parkrun results from the day (24 Aug 2013) and the complete historical Run JB Parkrun Results which include all previous Parkrun events.  Inspired by our latest group's success? You could be completing YOUR first 5K in December!  Join our next Couch to 5K course starting Wed 16th October and be fitter, healthier and happier this Christmas! After all, we were Born to Run!

 
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Eating out is no longer the luxury it once was for our parents' generation.  According to the government's "Family Food Report 2011", we each spend an average of £50 a month on eating out, with a third of meals taken outside the home.  So what we consume in restaurants is increasingly important to our overall standard of nutrition.

In accordance with a government initiative, a minority of British restaurants, including Harvester and McDonalds, have begun to publish calorie counts on their menus and food packaging. However, unlike some parts of the USA, there is not yet any legal obligation to do so.  Moreover, as we will discuss in a future blog post, all calories are not equal.  So here are some golden rules to help you stay on track with your weight loss or maintenance goals when eating out...

  1. Ditch the Fizzy Drinks.  It always amazes us when we look around in restaurants and see how many people are drinking Coke.  Diet versions are no better as they make you crave sweet foods.  Replace with free tap water and save loads of calories AND money at the same time! 
  2. Avoid the Bread.  Why spoil your appetite and ruin your enjoyment of your main course by filling up on bread whilst you are waiting? Most people are already eating too many carbohydrates.  Opt for olives instead, which are full of healthy monounsaturated fats and protect us from cancer and high blood pressure.
  3. Ask for Swaps.  Even if a dish is listed on a menu as coming with chips, there is often an alternative. Many restaurants will be perfectly happy to replace the chips with a healthier option such as salad or vegetables at no extra cost.  Remember - if you don't ask, you don't get! Ask for any salad dressings to come on the side, so you can control the portion size.
  4. Order a Fish Dish.  Eating out is the perfect opportunity to have fish without the smell invading your home.  Fish is nearly always one of the healthiest and least calorific choices on a menu (unless battered) and oily varieties such as salmon, trout or mackerel are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which protect against heart disease.
  5. Ban the Beige!  Variety of colour is a really good simple indicator of how healthy a dish is.  Anything beige will nearly always be covered in pastry or batter and/or fried and have very little nutritional value.
  6. Share A Dessert.   If you can't resist a dessert completely, then why not share one?  Most desserts in restaurants contain around twice as much fat and sugar as a chocolate bar, so half really is plenty for one person.
  7. Never Super-Size. Refuse Refills and Bottomless Chips.  If an establishment offers super-size portions, the nutritional quality of their food is likely to be very poor. As for refills and bottomless chips, anything that sabotages your weight loss efforts is never truly "free".
 
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