Health: Buddyfit Fitness Regime

Article by Jessica Kiddle: There are many things that I usually do with my friends on a Thursday night -- a trip to the cinema or a spot of late-night shopping, for example. Rolling about on a 'Swiss ball' in the middle of Edinburgh's 'Inverleith Park' is not one of them. But that's exactly what I found myself doing while taking part in 'Buddyfit' -- a fitness programme designed for four participants. The idea behind 'Buddyfit' is that working out with friends will motivate even the most reluctant exercisers. To be honest, I was born with a strong aversion to working out and I did not see how making it a group activity could possibly convert me. But, determined to break the habit of a lifetime and armed with three girlfriends, I enlisted in the programme before the winter sloth set in. WHAT IS 'BUDDYFIT' ? A ten-week health and fitness programme designed for groups of friends. It was devised by Coventry-based personal trainers Mr.David Fleckner and Ms.Rebecca Winters two years ago and they have since franchised out their fitness package. Personal trainers across the UK use the programme to work with groups of 'buddies'. HOW DOES IT WORK? Our coach was Lothian-based Ms.Paula Jenkins. She came to a location selected by us and brought all the equipment with her. We chose to work out in the local park, but you can go anywhere there's plenty of room to move. No week was ever the same, but we mostly did circuit training that included weight-lifting, boxing, hurdling and lots of toning work on the medicine balls. Most of these exercises are designed to build muscle (that consumes lots of energy which will, in turn, helped us to lose weight) and they bring new meaning to the phrase 'feel the burn' -- your muscles hurt both at the time and the day after. WHAT IS THE UNIQUE SELLING POINT? The sessions are not all that different from other personal training sessions, apart from the fact they are designed for groups of friends. So, instead of stomach crunches and lunges being a chore, they become a giggle. And, because I didn't want to let my friends down, I religiously kept my Thursday nights free. Admittedly, I did need a little encouragement from the rest of the group on some occasions, but we all kept each other going. WHAT ELSE DOES IT OFFER? As part of 'Buddyfit's' holistic approach to fitness there are some DVDs to watch containing expert advice on diet, herbal supplements and stress management. While the DVD is a good idea in theory, it is rather amateur in its presentation and quite basic. However, we all loved keeping the food diaries we were given, and I became fanatical about jotting down everything I ate. Ms.Jenkins analysed them halfway through the course. Getting personal feedback about my diet was invaluable. She told me to try to eat little and often to control my blood sugar levels better. I no longer skip breakfast and have swapped my afternoon chocolate stop for handfuls of nuts and dried fruit every few hours. Ms.Jenkins also told us to eat straight after we exercise because our metabolism speeds up. Now none of us feels guilty about a bowl of pasta after a workout. WHO IS IT FOR? Anyone who lacks motivation when it comes to exercise. It doesn't matter how unfit you are either. At first, I did not relishing the prospect of training with two marathon runners and a dedicated gym bunny -- would it really do my 'self-esteem' any good to stand in Lycra leggings alongside them? Would they get annoyed with me not being able to keep up? But, much to my surprise, training with people fitter than me was motivating. And, because we were working against the clock with each exercise, we all did as much as we could in the allotted time and nobody was left standing around waiting for anyone. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The hour-long sessions are 40_GBP. Between the four of us it worked out at 10_GBP/week -- cheaper than a gym membership and well worth it for the instruction. IS IT WORTH IT? Yes. Not only did I learn a lot but, just by following the nutritional advice, and attending the weekly sessions (interspersed with a few runs), I lost 19_mm of fat from each arm, markedly improved the tone of my stomach and legs, and lost 11 per cent of my total amount of body fat into the bargain. For the first time in my life I actually enjoyed working out. • For more information visit www.buddyfit.com or call 0870 002 0171 Three top Buddyfit exercises
  • THE BENT-OVER ROW Working your trapezius and rhomboid muscle (the postural muscles, upper-back and biceps), this exercise mimics the movements that you would make on a rowing machine. With a 'power bag' in your hands (a sand-filled plastic tube with handles), stand with your knees bent and, keeping your back straight, bend over until your upper half is almost parallel to ground. Now raise the 'power bag' up to the middle of your chest, keeping your elbows out until they are level with your shoulder blades. From this position, slowly lower the bag back down. Once you have mastered this exercise, repeat 15 times.
  • THE POWER LUNGES These strengthen and improve the power in your whole leg. Building on the traditional static lunge (where you step forward with one leg, bending down low and up again before stepping back and doing the same with the other leg), power lunges are a little bit harder. Instead of just stepping back to switch legs you jump back and bring your other leg forward -- swapping your legs in one solitary movement. Repeat 15 times.
  • SINGLE LEG CURLS Using the exercise ball, this movement works your hamstrings as well as improving your balance and building on your core strength. Lie on your back with your lower legs resting on the medicine ball and your hips slightly elevated. Lift one leg into the air and, with the other, slowly roll the ball inwards with your foot, drawing your legs in towards your bottom before rolling it back to the starting position. Then do the same with the other leg. Once you have mastered this routine, repeat the sequence 15 times with both legs.
The eating plan EAT LITTLE AND OFTEN Snacking on nuts and seeds between meals is the best way to stabilise the body's blood sugar levels throughout the day. It eliminates the need (and the urge) to reach for a sugary treat mid afternoon. PORRIDGE This is the perfect power food with which to start the day. Low in fat and calories yet full of complex carbohydrates (which release energy slowly), a bowl of oats will keep bodies energised all morning, and helps prevent unhealthy snacking between meals. FRUIT If the thought of a big breakfast doesn't appeal, fruit smoothies are a lighter option, but still a healthy one. Use a banana to fire up your metabolism and then throw in as many other fruits as possible. Berries are rich in anti-oxidants and mangoes are known as the happy fruit because of their mood-elevating properties. DON'T GO HUNGRY AT NIGHT Contrary to popular belief, eating before bedtime is not bad for you. Our body needs fuel to do its repairing work overnight and we can help this by having a small snack an hour before bedtime.
'Buddy, can you spare the time to work out?', Jessica Kiddle, The Scotsman, 2005-11-17, Th


Blogger Blog World said...

Faith is spiritualized imagination.
Henry Ward Beecher- Posters.

11/22/2005 07:18:00 pm  

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