womens blog

What is bloody show?

Bloody show is a type of vaginal discharge that occurs during late pregnancy. The discharge is a mixture of blood and mucus, and it is a sign that a women's cervix is preparing for labor. Learn more about bloody show here.

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The Best Women’s Running Tops

Camilla Artault
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 11:39

There’s no excuse for training in your favourite threadbare band T-shirt because as soon as you work up a sweat, cotton becomes heavy and waterlogged. If you haven’t tried one yet, a proper technical running top will be a revelation. A good one is virtually unnoticeable but keeps you warm when it’s cold, cool when it’s hot and comfortable even when you’ve clocked up some serious mileage.

Whether you’re after long- or short-sleeved, something you’ll use as a layer or worn singly, you’ll find what you’re looking for in our selection of the best running tops for women. Who knows, the right running top may even make you run faster – parkrun PB anyone?

Under Armour Women’s UA Qualifier Long Sleeve


This long-sleeved top will keep you warm in the early stages of your run and cool once you’ve broken a sweat. Its fast-drying fabric has great sweat-wicking properties to ensure you stay dry. It looks like a plain long-sleeved black T-shirt from the front, but the Qualifier’s cut out ventilation panel at the back will either win you over with its unusual style or make you recoil in horror....

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The Ballot For The Royal Parks Half Marathon Is Open

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, January 28, 2019 - 14:35

January is almost over, which means healthy New Year’s resolutions are slipping left, right and centre. If your fitness flame is fading, one surefire way to ignite it again is to sign up for an event – and there are few better options than the Royal Parks Half Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 13th October in 2019.

The ballot opens for the event on Tuesday 29th January and will remain open until 5pm on Wednesday 6th February regardless of how many people enter, with anyone who throws their name into the hat during that period having an equal chance of gaining a spot.

Sign up for the ballot on the Royal Parks Half Marathon website and you can expect the results to be emailed out a few days after it closes on 6th February.

There are few city-centre events that can match the impressive route of the Royal Parks Half Marathon. The closed-roads course takes runners through four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens – and past notable landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

There is always a large, supportive crowd...

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This Mobility Workout Addresses The Big Problems Most People Have

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 13:17

Why do you need improved mobility? The reasons vary. If you’ve ever felt a twinge touching your toes or loading a bag into an overhead locker, some basic hamstring and shoulder work might make all the difference over the next decade. If you’re lifting big, better mobility can help you train injury-free for longer, or get more range in moves like the squat, leading to improved gains. There’s more to it than just stretching, though: mobility is about being strong in your new range of motion, whether you’re doing a rock-bottom squat or the splits between two chairs (not recommended).

Sounds like a luxury? Good news: it’s easy to combine mobility work with another goal, like strength or fat loss, since throwing in some dynamic stretches before your session (or on non-training days) won’t mess with recovery too much. Alternatively, you can mix mobility moves with some bodyweight work and create your own routine, allowing you to work on strength and stability wherever you go. In this guide, we’ve combined the latest science on flexibility with targeted bang-for-your-buck moves that’ll fix your body whatever your starting...

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Natural ways to boost fertility

People can increase their chances of getting pregnant naturally by reducing alcohol use, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking. Learn more here.

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Three Stretches To Do Before Your Next Flight

Nick Harris-Fry
Friday, February 1, 2019 - 07:24

Even if you pull out all the stops and get yourself a berth in first class, flying is not great for your body. Sitting in one position for hours on end leads to stiffness and fatigue at best, and at worst you can find that flying can affect your mental health by causing stress or anxiety, and can even cause serious physical conditions like deep vein thrombosis.

You can lessen these negative effects by moving around a little on the flight, but also by getting your body ready for it by being active at the airport beforehand. To help with this, London Stansted Airport has partnered with fitness studio FRAME to offer exercise classes in the terminal three times a day from 5th to 7th February. These will aim to improve your circulation and stretch key muscles ahead of the journey.

That’s great news if you’re flying from Stansted on those days, but we aren’t, so we enlisted FRAME’s co-founder Joan Murphy for some advice on how you can help your body better cope with the rigours of a long flight. Murphy’s advice starts in the terminal.

“It’s tempting to check in your bags and head straight for the...

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The Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 Has A New Retro-Inspired Look

Nick Harris-Fry
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 17:51

These days, more running shoes than ever before can reasonably claim to be stylish enough to wear when you’re not training, but the Nike Epic React Flyknit is our pick of the bunch. That’s because its style has in no way impinged on performance, with the React being a lightweight, comfortable shoe that’s great for all types of running.

Given how much we liked the first edition of the React we can forgive Nike for merely tweaking the colourways of the shoe with its updated version rather than making wholesale changes to its design. The shoe is available to Nike members through the app and will launch on the Nike website on 31st January, priced at £129.95.

There are two new Epic React Flyknit 2 colourways available at launch. According to Nike, both are inspired by the colour palette commonly found in the nineties tech world, and have names to match – 8-bit and Pixel. This nineties vibe reveals itself though splashes of colour like the lime green on the midsole and pink on the outsole of both the 8-bit (the white, above) and the Pixel (the black).

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The Best Running Bras

Camilla Artault
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 12:31

We all like to feel supported, don’t we? So do our breasts, especially while we’re running. Whatever your cup size, it’s important to find a good sports bra that fits and gives you the support you need while running. Not only will it make for more comfortable runs right now, it will also minimise the chances of sagging later on.

When choosing a sports bra for running, there are three main things to consider: it should be comfortable no matter how far you’ve run, it should offer adequate support, and it should also look good, because sometimes little things like that can make the difference between going out for a run or not.

Sports bras offer different levels of support. As running is a high-impact sport, it’s best to opt for a high (or super-high) support level, especially if you have larger breasts.

Broadly speaking there are two types of sports bras: ones which use compression, a tight band which flattens the breasts; and those which use encapsulation, with separate cups for each breast. Compression bras are more commonly found in general sportswear shops and can offer great support...

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How To Cook Meat Like A Pro

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 15:16

Preheat your meat

Apart from tiny things such as squid, prawns and so on, protein cooks better if it’s at room temperature first. Jacob Kenedy, Bocca Di Lupo

Stop smoking

If you need a very hot pan because you’re cooking, say, a steak, add your oil after the pan has been heated to the required temperature or the oil will burn. Shirin Kouros, The Good Life Eatery

Soak and serve

If you perfect your marinades, meat will taste so good you won’t need a rich sauce. Blitz lemongrass, ginger, garlic, spring onions, coriander, salt and olive oil together in a blender for a perfect Asian-style marinade. Caroline Mili Artiss, The Gorgeous Kitchen

Use the shoulder

Pork shoulder, or blade, is very versatile. It can be fried, or slow-roasted for as long as six hours. Cook it with apples and carrots. Allan Pickett, The Globe

Nice cubes

Freeze cubes of lamb or beef to make kebabs. Coat them in yogurt before freezing – it will make them more tender when you thaw and then grill them. Tony Kitous, Comptoir Libanais

Super soaker

Use acidic marinades to make meat tender. Marinate small cuts for one to 24 hours, or big ones for one to...

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How To Do The Sled Push

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, January 28, 2019 - 18:16

One way to ensure you never leave a workout feeling that you haven’t put enough effort in is to use the sled push as a finisher. No matter what you’ve done beforehand, rattling off a few 25m pushes at the end or your training session will leave you absolutely wrecked – it’s a move that takes no prisoners.

We hope that hasn’t put you off, because it’s a move that’s undoubtedly worth doing to strengthen your lower body. All the major leg muscles work overtime, along with your glutes and core, as your drive the sled along, and they’re doing so in a functional manner that will benefit your performance in sports and make everyday movements easier.

The sled push also works well as a relatively low-impact cardio exercise, which is especially useful for runners. Pushing the sled along mimics the movement of running and challenges the same muscles without stressing the joints so much. It makes a great addition to a HIIT workout or your leg day strength session, and as mentioned above, as an all-out finisher it will floor you.

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Upper-Body Exercise Upgrades

Monday, February 4, 2019 - 15:56

Suspension press-up

Why Doing your press-ups holding suspension training handles allows your muscles to move through a greater range of motion to hit your chest, triceps and shoulders harder. It also forces your abs and lower back to work more to stabilise your torso.

How Hold a handle in each hand with your body in a straight line from head to heels. The more upright you are, the easier the move is, so lower your chest towards the floor to make it harder. Make sure your back is straight before starting a set, whether you are standing up straight or starting in more of a traditional press-up position with your chest closer to the floor. Keep your chest up and core engaged, then bend your elbows to lower your chest. Pause in the bottom position for a second, then press back up powerfully to the start.

It’s essential to keep your core braced for the duration of the set because it will improve the stability of your torso and so minimise the risk of stressing your elbow or shoulder joints.

Landmine press

Why Working each arm independently is a smart way to achieve balanced gains and works each limb harder than when...

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This Map Shows All The Cancer-Related Services Near You

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 10:38

There are thousands of cancer support services available in the UK that address a wide range of areas, including emotional support and practical help with day-to-day tasks as well as medical aid. Unfortunately, large numbers of people are entirely unaware of them.

According to a recent YouGov survey 51% of people don’t know that there are emotional support services available for people with cancer, even though 49% of people diagnosed with the disease suffer from some kind of mental health problem. Men in particular were unaware that services like support groups and therapy are available, with only 36% of men knowing they were on offer after a cancer diagnosis.

To help people find the support they need, the charity Dimbleby Cancer Care has created the cancer care map, where you can enter your postcode and discover the range of services near you.

Frazer Scott, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2014, found a mindfulness course by contacting Dimbleby Cancer Care. This taught him techniques that helped him deal with panic attacks he had started suffering after chemotherapy.

See...

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The Best Pressure Cookers To Help You Make Healthier Meals Quicker

Caroline Preece
Friday, February 1, 2019 - 15:15

Faster is better. Healthier is better. So since pressure cookers allow you to cook healthier meals faster, are they the best? Who can say, but we can say that a pressure cooker’s tight-fitting lid allows the build-up of steam to cook food at a higher temperature and therefore reduces cooking times, which in turn lowers energy use and preserves more nutrients. According to a study in the Journal Of Food Science, broccoli retains more than 90% of its vitamin C content when cooked in a pressure cooker versus a 34% loss when boiling it in a pan of water.

If you’ve got space in your cupboards for just one kitchen gadget the pressure cooker makes a pretty strong case. Here are our picks of what’s out there at the moment.

Best All-Rounder: Sage Fast Slow Pro


Pressure cooker novices will appreciate the simple control panel on this model, while old hands will be attracted by the more advanced settings that allow you to sauté and sear. Fast and slow modes mean that you can adjust time, temperature and pressure settings to suit what you’re cooking. The six-litre capacity is a good option for...

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What Is Gait Analysis And Is It Worth Doing?

Nick Harris-Fry
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 19:38

There’s a whole world of running shoes out there, all making grand promises about what they can do for you. When you’re first starting out as a runner it can be very tricky indeed to work out which pair is right for you and whether it’s worth spending the big bucks.

If you enter a running shop during this selection period you might well be encouraged to try gait analysis to help determine the best footwear for you. This generally takes the form of a quick run on a treadmill to determine your running style, which can lead to shoe recommendations.

The cynical may well recoil, assuming it’s a ploy to get you to buy shoes. And it is, but it’s also an easy and usually free way to get a bit more insight into your running gait, which can be important in helping you to avoid injuries and fulfil your potential in the sport.

Below you’ll find everything you need to to know about gait analysis, starting with what running gait actually is.

What Is Running Gait?

"Your running gait, comprising five phases, is the way your foot strikes and leaves the floor with each stride,” says Gordon Crawford, a...

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Can DNA Testing Unlock Your Fitness Potential?

Mark Bailey
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 10:47

Twirl the cotton swab around your cheek, seal your DNA sample in the plastic tube provided, post it off to the laboratory, and await a personalised report on your deepest genetic secrets.

Thanks to consumer DNA testing kits, you can now pay to discover your genetic sensitivity to saturated fat and gift for muscle growth (DNAFit.com, £149), your ancestral ethnicity (Ancestry.co.uk, £79) or even the tastiest wines for your unique palate (Vinome.com, £46). With a single sample you can learn about your genetic risk of lung disease and Alzheimer’s while uncovering unexpected traits, from your susceptibility to mosquito bites to your earwax type (23andMe.com, £149).

Whether life-changing or playfully intriguing, personal genetic testing is big business. Over 12 million people have used these consumer DNA tests, and the market was valued at $359 million (around £284 million) in 2017 and is expected to hit $928.8 million (£734 million) by 2023. DNAFit was ranked in the Top 10 most innovative companies in data science by Fast Company magazine in 2017, while personal genome company 23andMe has been...

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The Best Vegan Protein Powders To Help Your Body Recover After A Workout

Nick Harris-Fry
Sunday, February 10, 2019 - 17:17

If you can’t or don’t want to use milk-based proteins to mix up a post-workout shake, there’s still a world of options out there for you to try. All kinds of different protein sources are used to create vegan powders, with soy, pea, hemp and rice being the most common.

Often these protein sources are combined to create a complete protein – one that has all of the essential amino acids. It’s by no means impossible to get a complete protein from animal sources, but it can be a little trickier with vegan powders, even though soy is a complete protein. Mixing a couple of different plant sources can get you what you need, however, with rice and pea a common pairing for that reason.

Aside from the protein source, vegan powders don’t really differ from animal-based options, with the usual variety of flavours available. Here are the best vegan protein powders you can buy.

FitDelis The Power

We’re big fans of the mixed berry flavour because it mixes easily to create a far lighter shake than you normally get, making it a more refreshing option after a hard workout. The protein is sourced from pea...

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How To Build Muscle: Use This Gym Training Plan

Sunday, February 10, 2019 - 21:01

If you want to build your best ever body, your first step is to find the perfect plan to help you realise your goal. Because with the best will in the world, embarking on a mission to build a bigger, stronger or leaner physique is doomed to fail without a smart and detailed blueprint that will get you to where you want to be in the fastest possible time.

The New Body Plan Plus programme is just that: an eight-week training programme tailored to your body-composition goal – whether that’s losing body fat or building lean muscle mass – with extra training time dedicated to those muscle groups you most want to improve. It also includes a supporting eight-week meal planner, with recipes, so you can eat the right foods at the right time for faster progress.

A two-week sample of the Muscle plan, which was used by Men’s Fitness editorial director Joe Warner to build a cover model body, is below. Pair it with this high-protein, muscle-building diet plan to help you add lean size fast.

How To Build Muscle FAQ

I’ve tried to add muscle in the past but failed. How did you get the results you wanted?

The most important part of...

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OnePlus Bullets Wireless Headphones Review: The Best Value Sports Headphones

Nick Harris-Fry
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 19:55

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless headphones are not the cheapest Bluetooth buds out there at £69, but for our money they offer the best bang for your buck, undercutting our previous favourite value options – the Jaybird Tarah and Plantronics Backbeat FIT – by £20.

That’s not to say the Bullets are perfect, but they get all the fundamentals of a pair of sports headphones right. The fit is secure, the sound is good once you get the right fit, and the quick-charge function nets you five hours of juice (of the eight total available) after just ten minutes of charging.

The Bullets have a neckband to help keep them in place during exercise. The band is heavy and balanced with thick sections on each side to keep it sitting on your shoulders while you move and relieve any tension on the buds, which could pull them out.

For the most part this works well, and even during a sweaty treadmill run I didn’t find that the band bounced around or the buds slipped out. However, the downside of the band is that it can fall off the back of your neck when you lie down to do exercises like sit-ups or bench...

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The No-Nonsense Full-Body Strength Workout

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 16:32

The best training programmes take into account the key variables for your goals. And if you want to get stronger, the key things to focus on are the weight you’re lifting and the volume (total work) you perform. Doing five sets of five reps is a great way to get the best of both. A five-rep set will simultaneously allow you to lift heavy while also completing a relatively high number of total reps. We’ve selected three moves for you to focus on and built workouts around them that will have a huge impact on your full-body strength. Do each workout once a week for six weeks, aiming to slightly increase the load on each lift every time you train.

Workout 1: Squat

1 Kettlebell goblet squat

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Why This will get you moving in the right way to gear up for your main lift of the session, the barbell squat. It’s a fairly light way to ease into the session, which will allow you to focus on depth. Having the weight in front of you also encourages you to keep an upright torso.

How Hold a kettlebell by the horns in front of your chest. Simultaneously hinge at the knees and hips to lower as far as...

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Morrisons Eat Fresh Review: A Great Value Recipe Box

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, February 11, 2019 - 14:28

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense for supermarket chains to get involved in the recipe box game. They already have all the food available, after all, so putting together some recipe cards and shipping out the ingredients in perfect amount seems like a pretty small step to take, especially as it might bring back customers who were ordering recipe boxes instead of shopping at said supermarket.

Waitrose has latched on to the idea, and so has Morrisons, which launched the Eat Fresh service in late 2018 and established itself as cheaper than its main rivals, including HelloFresh, Gousto and Mindful Chef. You can get three meals for two people for £25 (£4.16 per serving), or for £40 for four people (£3.33 per serving). For comparison, HelloFresh meals start at £3.44 per serving (four people, four meals) and cost £5 per serving for two people eating three meals.

There’s also value to be found inside your deliveries from Morrisons, because you’ll often get more than you need with certain ingredients. With the meals I tried I got a full tub of cream cheese when the recipe only called...

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The Ballot For RideLondon’s Shorter Route Is Open Now

Jake Stones
Monday, February 11, 2019 - 13:16

The public ballot for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 is long gone, but here’s a second chance to cycle past some of the London’s grandest sights on closed roads with the opening of the ballot for the 2019 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, the 46 was added to the main event in 2016, and is a shorter (unsurprisingly, 46-mile) version of the full 100-mile route, geared towards newer and younger cyclists. It also costs a pleasingly symmetrical £46.

It’s a great chance to ensure that those who’d find 100 miles challenging – or simply don’t meet the minimum age of 18 for the 100 – can still enjoy a similar experience.

The non-competitive event starts at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with a route that follows the 100 course for the first 27 miles to take in Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Thames crossings at Kingston and Hampton Court, then takes a neat two-mile shortcut to avoid the steep climbs of Box Hill and Newlands Corner, rejoining for the glorious final 17 miles. The route takes riders along the Embankment and up through Parliament Square, then turns...

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The One Thing You MUST Do If You’re Considering The Ketogenic Diet

Nick Harris-Fry
Monday, January 14, 2019 - 12:21

When you’re set on making a change to your diet with the aim of losing weight or getting healthier, it’s a good idea to consider both the short and long term. While an extreme change that promises dramatic weight loss by cutting out entire food groups and dropping your calorie intake massively might seem appealing, without sustaining the changes any drop on the scales is likely to be reversed – and even if you do stick with it there could be serious long-term consequences.

We mention this because following the ketogenic diet certainly falls into the category of an extreme change for most people due to the restrictions it places on your carbohydrate intake. You should ensure you get all the info you can on keto eating before trying it, so we spoke to Dr Luke Powles, associate clinical director for Bupa UK, for his assessment of the diet. And the one thing to do if you are considering it? “Get your health checked first, or speak with your GP or a qualified dietitian,” says Powles. Read on to find out why.

What does the ketogenic diet involve?

In the ketogenic diet you significantly reduce the...

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What is an OB-GYN?

An OB-GYN is a doctor who specializes in obstetrics (pregnancy) and gynecology (female reproductive health). In this article, we discuss what an OB-GYN is, the procedures they can perform, and their specialisms.

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The Basics Of Plyometric Training

Nick Harris-Fry
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 14:24

No matter what your reasons for going to the gym are, it’s worth adding plyometric training to your routine. This explosive style of training, which typically features a lot of jumping, is renowned for its ability to help athletes improve their performance – but it’s also a great way to liven up your training and burn boatloads of calories in a session.

However, it’s also a type of training that can be daunting to the uninitiated and risky to attempt if you don’t know what you’re doing. To get the scoop on everything you need to know to get started with plyometric training, we spoke to Niko Algieri, trainer and co-founder of studio Equilibrium Total Balance, which expands with a new studio opening in King’s Cross in January.

What is plyometric training?

“Plyometrics, or plyo, training is a method which combines strength and speed to produce power,” says Algieri. "Plyometric exercises involve a lengthening or eccentric contraction of the muscles, immediately followed by shortening or concentric contraction of the same muscles – hence the jumping.”

What are the benefits of plyometric...

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A Simple Mindfulness Exercise Everyone Should Try At Least Once

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 17:23

There’s no right or wrong way to do this practice. Try to accept whatever your individual experience is. The goal is not to achieve perfect focus on your breath, but rather to learn how your mind works! It’s normal for your mind to wander, but when you catch your mind wandering and deliberately bring it back, you’re learning to mindfully control the focus of your attention. Try this basic breath awareness meditation once or twice a day for two weeks, and observe what happens.

Step 1 Pick a comfortable, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.

Step 2 Sit with your spine upright on a chair or on a cushion on the floor. If you use a chair, make sure your feet are touching the ground. Close your eyes or maintain a soft, unfocused gaze.

Step 3 Focus on your breathing. Try to maintain an open and curious attitude. Pay attention to where your breath goes when it enters and leaves your body.

Step 4 Don’t try to force or change your breath in any way. It may change naturally as you observe it.

Step 5 If your mind wanders, note what it’s doing, and then gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Step 6 Continue...

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This Workout From Russell “Skinny Bitch Collective” Bateman Is As Nasty As You’d Expect

Nick Harris-Fry
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 16:45

In order to keep a fitness kick on track you need to freshen up your gym routine regularly. Even the most determined person’s motivation starts to flag when faced with doing the same two or three workouts week in week out.

We can almost guarantee that the workout below will bring something new to your routine, unless you’re already routinely doing burpees-to-pull-ups and sumo-deadlifts-to-backwards-reptilian-crawls. So, if you’re looking for a new challenge (and this really is a challenge) try this seven-step session from personal trainer Russell Bateman, who is a founder of the internet-famous Skinny Bitch Collective, has worked with the likes of Victoria’s Secret model Sara Sampaio and actor Chloë Grace Moretz, and recently launched his own supplement LYMA.

The Workout

This circuit incorporates sport-specific movements into compound exercises, meaning that every station hits a high percentage of slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibres for faster physical results. Or, in other words, it’s going to be tough, but it’ll make you strong as hell.

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Repeat the whole circuit...

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