Passionate about all things food and fitness, Alice Liveing - or ‘Clean eating Alice’ as she’s more popularly known - is an Instagram sensation, Personal Trainer (Level 3 REPs accredited) and author of bestselling book ‘The Body Bible’. Here she offers her top fitness tips:
Set short- and long-term gym based goals
I always try and set both short and long term goals within my training to keep me motivated. My short term goals can be realistic, weekly goals that keep me focused within a smaller time frame, for example doing an extra rep or two each week within a given exercise. My long term goals are slightly more aspirational to really keep me motivated, and these can range from competing in a 10k, nailing unassisted pull ups, or back squatting your own bodyweight for example. Both ensure that the focus is taken away from a weight on the scale, and instead brought into the gym environment, where physical gains are a far better indicator of improvement and progression.
Quality over quantity
Don’t use time as an indicator of a good workout. Putting the right amount of intensity into each exercise with correct technique is much more effective than just going through the motions, with high reps, but not really stimulating the muscle. This can therefore mean that you can fit a really good workout into shorter period of time.
They See me Rolling
Recovery is often overlooked. Foam rolling always features in my warm ups and cool downs. This is because foam rolling releases the fascia covering the muscle which once released will help to increase range of movement, and reduce the risk of injury. Foam rolling post workout, also aids recovery by releasing tension in the muscle, aiding muscle soreness and helping you recover effectively for your next session.
Embrace the Weights
If I had a penny for every time a girl told me they didn't want to lift weights in case they got ‘bulky’! Weight training can be beneficial to both men and women, to help build lean muscle mass, improve strength, increase bone density, and boost metabolism, so that your body naturally burns more calories. Women don’t produce enough testosterone to stimulate muscle growth anywhere near the degree that males do… So, don’t fear them, explore the weights section and embrace the benefits!
Don’t get Gym-timidated
The gym can often be a daunting place for some, with an array of machines and pieces of equipment that you’re not quite sure how to use. This can often deter people from returning, and believe me, I’ve been there too, but I think it’s so important to not allow yourself to feel intimidated within the gym space. Fitness instructors and personal trainers are all trained to help advise people on how and what to do in the gym, and I always think it’s important that you make the most of their services by asking for guidance if you’re not quite sure what to do. Classes are also a great alternative or starter for those who aren’t quite confident enough to step into the gym space, and they can equip you with great basic skills that can then be transferred into your own programme.
Have a Plan
We’ve all had those days where we go to gym with best intentions, but then end up either just repeating our favourite exercises that we excel at (I too am guilty), or do a few random sets of a few exercises and then finish. Having a plan in place for each gym session will ensure you get the most out of each time you train, but also ensures that you don’t neglect certain areas of your body, for example your weaknesses, in favour of focusing on your preferred exercises. It’s always great to out source your plan if you’re struggling too… Find a good PT, speak to a fitness instructor or look online for some credible sources who can deliver you a really good, balanced training programme.
Keep a Training Log
In order to progress it’s important to keep track of what you are doing and how much you are lifting week on week. Write down each session, and aim to have a progressive load whereby your weights are slowly creeping up each week. This is not only a great way of keeping on track, but also a brilliant tool to look at and see how far you’ve progressed!
Nothing beats working out with a friend, but it can also be the perfect motivation to get to the gym when you’re not necessarily feeling like it. Find a training partner, and make a plan together so that you can keep accountable to each other, but also enjoy the social time together!
HIIT and TABATA - What and Why?
These forms of exercise having minimum input in terms of time, but deliver maximum return, so are perfect for those of you who don’t have hours to spend in the gym. HIIT training and TABATA both focus on short high intense bursts of energy, followed by a period of rest, for example 40 seconds working, 20 seconds resting, or with TABATA, 20 seconds working, 10 seconds resting. They’re a great, time effective tool to use, and can be incorporated into a training programme to keep things interesting!
Nutrition and Training - Better Together!
As the saying goes ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’. Whilst we all have the best intentions when we work out, it’s important that we are also allowing our body to recover effectively with good nutrition and rest, to ensure that we’re achieving 360 wellness, and not just focusing on aesthetic changes.
Recipes taken from The Body Bible. Photography © Martin Poole.