As promised a little while ago, here is part 2 in my "Functional Calf Care Series". In this edition we take a look at the biggest muscle in our calves and the one that is most visible, the Gastrocnemeus.
In the video below I take you through the role of the gastroc in during running and share some really cool foam rolling and dynamic mobility drills that will help you keep this and the other muscles in your calves healthy. Not only will it help you avoid injury but also help improve your running efficiency too. Click Here to check out Part 1 and click on the video below to view the latest installment in my Functional Calf Care Series...
FASTER RUNNING Boot Camp
WEDNESDAYS 7:15PM @ Faster Fitness Solutions, Unit 5 Denby Dale Industrial Park, HD8 8QH
£25/Month (FIRST SESSION IS FREE)
Boot Camp designed specifically for runners to help them avoid injury and become more fluid and efficient when running.
On the camp you will learn:
- The real factors that contribute to running injury
- How to Warm up effectively for running
- Why strength training will make you a better runner
- How to integrate strength training into your training schedule
- 3 key running technique cues that will transform your running gait
There are just 10 spaces available on the camp so please book quickly to avoid disappointment.
As well as the weekly coached sessions you will also be provided with comprehensive training videos to help you improve your technique and work through strength and conditioning drills that are guaranteed to make you a better runner.
Hit the link below to find out more and get in touch to book your free session
Now, before we start, I want to be clear that I am not having a go at fitness classes.
I go to some and teach a lot myself. They are a great way to meet people, have fun and get moving. If your consistent with your attendance, they will probably help you get fitter and stronger too.
Instead, what I want to do is to help you understand the reasons why you might of failed to lose weight and hit your goals in the past and to manage you expectations of what to expect if all your doing is attending a couple of fitness classes per week.
If you are after a simple workout and you don't really have any specific goals, then classes are great but this blog is probably not for you. If however, you have struggled to drop fat for a while and really make changes to your body and long-term health, this blog is all about the 3 reasons why you need to be thinking about something more structured with accountability and a support package that helps you outside the sessions.
1. Exercise is just the tip of the iceberg
You probably heard this before but the actual exercise and training you do will only be responsible for around 20% of your weight loss results. The other 80% comes from a combination of your nutrition and changes to your mindset that will help you change the way you think about food and your lifestyle.
2. There is no nutrition advice or coaching
You will be surprised by how many people tell me they have a good diet but with further inspection, we find that much of what they think is healthy is not getting them results. With so much of your goals dependent on what you put into your mouth, not having coaching and support on this will probably see you failing.
3. There is no accountability
FACT! "It is much easier to justify skipping a fitness class than a personal training session".
Fitness classes are a low cost product, either thrown into your gym membership or you will pay a small fee of £3-8 per class. For most people, even if they have already paid, they will not be bothered about missing one of these sessions because there is nobody making you go or calling you to find out why you didn't attend.
Another fact for you. "The bigger your investment, the more you care about your results". Everyone wants to get their money's worth right. So if you have paid a bit more for a service, you are far more likely to take advantage of it. What's more, is that higher priced programs simply offer more.
So next time your weighing up the price of a program, think about what you are comparing it to. Do not compare a focused 1:1 or small group training program to a gym membership, a poorly run boot camp or a fitness class.
They cost a bit more because they give you so much more than just a 30-60 minute workout that you only do whenever you feel like showing up.
14 day kick start program just £29
These are for men and women who are tired of going round in circles and want a proven strategy to lose weight and transform their body image.
My 14 day program gives you the chance train with me for 14 days so you can see what I do and find out how I get great results with all my clients. By training in small, focused groups (max 4 people) I can give you all the help and support you would get in really expensive 1:1 training packages. Plus you get a load of comprehensive nutrition resources and a whole host of other cool stuff that will guarantee you get results
Hit the button below to find out more....
So this is something I see a lot in the fitness industry. Planks being performed incorrectly, even when taught by personal trainers. People's posture is all wrong, either their ass is too high in the air, meaning they get very little benefit from the movement or their hips are sagging in the middle, putting a great deal of pressure on the lumbar spine.
In the video I share with you a great little adjustment, where you can really target your abs and improve your strength and stability in the plank position.
WARNING! THIS WILL CAUSE YOUR ABS TO WORK VERY HARD
Over the weekend I participated in a discussion about stride length on the Running Discussion Board on Facebook. Basically it was about a keen runner who wanted to increase his stride.
There was a bit of a mixture of advice if I am honest. Some good, some not so good but it did give me a great idea for a blog post so I think everyone is a winner.
Heel Strike, Forefoot or Mid-Foot?
One of the things this post did spark was the whole debate about which part of your foot should be hitting the ground first. Let me tell you now, it really does not matter. You can land on any part of your foot you want, none of the options make you more or less prone to injury.
So what does make a difference?
Firstly, DO NOT try to artificially lengthen your stride. You will end up like the guy in the photo on the right. Over-reaching and landing on the back of your heel underneath a straight leg. This loads up your joints instead of your muscles and has been proven to be a contributing factor to knee injury, shin splints, hip tendon injuries and lower back pain among runners.
How To Fix Over-striding
Unfortunately this type of gait is very very common. It doesn't have to be permanent though. It can easily be fixed with some perseverance and a couple of simple gait tweaks.
All of the following are visible when you compare the 2 runners from the above photo...
1. Run Tall
Keep your head up, look straight forward and stay relaxed through your shoulders. Being tall will actually help you improve forward momentum.
2. Lift your knees and toes up slightly.
Add in a slightly higher knee lift like the guy on the left. While you are doing this, think about also pulling your toes upwards. This will give you a bit more air time and allow you to land underneath yourself more, making more of a mid-foot ground contact with a flexed knee rather than out in front of you under a straight knee
3. Use your arms
Do this by driving your elbows backwards in a natural running motion. I know this sounds daft but it will help you transfer momentum and core strength into your legs and actually drive you forward.
Give these a go for the next 3-4 weeks when you are out on your runs. You should immediately feel like you have more forward momentum and that you are running lighter and not impacting the ground as heavily
faster running Boot Camp
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS AT 7:15PM
£25 PER MONTH (FIRST SESSION IS FREE)
This is not a turn up, do some running and go home sort of session. Instead, each session on the boot camp is designed to help you develop a fluid and efficient running gait that will make you run faster and help you avoid injury.
It is perfect for beginners who want to make that initial start and for intermediate runners who want to get a bit stronger and improve their running style. Each session is run by a personal trainer and sports injury therapist who is a specialists in running gait training. You will be encouraged to work and develop at your own pace throughout the program so don't worry about competing with anyone else just turn up and let me help you enjoy running without having to worry about those pesky injuries holding you back.
Hit the button below to find out more
Calf injuries are a very common injury among runners and other athletes. In the video below we look at Part 1 in my "Functional Calf Care" series. Here we focus on the Soleus and Posterior Tibialis muscles and their role during the gait cycle, and in particular their role in absorbing impact forces during landing.
Please check out the video below and give the foam rolling and dynamic mobility drills a go to keep your calves healthy and strong for your runs.
Functional running assessment
At Faster Fitness Solutions, one of the specialist areas I cover is injury rehabilitation and running injuries. In these assessments I use a combination bio-mechanical screening drills, treadmill video analysis and hands on assessments to get to the bottom of your pain and help you devise a clear strategy to ensure it goes away and doesn't come back.
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch by clicking on the button below and filling out the short form.
So now Christmas and New Year are finally over, the race is on to get in shape, lose weight and get stronger. As a trainer with well over 10 years experience I have found that its not about the dietary or training advice you give someone, its the all about the belief you can instill in someone to take the steps needed to get results.
With this in mind, here are my top 5 tips to help you be successful in dropping weight and finally getting the real results you always wanted.
1. Avoid using the word diet
To me this means that you are looking at a temporary fix that is more than likely not going to last. It puts you in the mindset of denying yourself things you think are making you fat. You start in a negative mindset already, which means you will fail! Instead, think of it as a lifestyle change. I try to get my clients to think about the good stuff they will be adding to their nutrition rather than what they are taking out. Things that will give them more energy and benefit their health.
2. Make small changes
This will ensure your success and avoid you getting overloaded and bored with a program. Start by making sure you eat breakfast or targeting 2L of water every day. Then focus on how much better these changes have made you feel and how much more energy you now have. Once you feel like you have mastered these, move on to some other changes, like adding a source of good, lean protein to every meal to help you balance you blood sugar levels better.
3. Make a habit of being more active
Make a point of moving at least 10 mins per day, this could be going for a walk or playing with your kids. If you are embarking on a gym program, then this needs to be the most important appointment you have every single week. Book your training times in to your diary and make them set in stone. The only reason you cancel a session is because of a family emergency or you have been in an accident and almost died. Get yourself to the gym and quit making excuses!
4. Be accountable to someone other than yourself
This will help with motivation. Get a training buddy or hire a trainer. Basically someone to share your goals with that can support you and help you out when you need it.
5. Don't Beat Yourself Up
This is a big one. You must understand that your journey to better health will not be straight forward, there will be blips and there will be time you fall off the wagon a bit. The best thing you can do is to forget about it. Get yourself back on the horse and continue to work on mastering your mini targets.
14 day kick Start programs
If you would like a little extra help with this, why not send in an application for my 14 Day Kick Start Program. These are aimed at men and women over 30 who want to get the help and support they need to make positive changes to their body and mind.
The Kick Start Programs are an amazingly cost effective way of experiencing exactly what I do here at Faster Fitness Solutions. They are also a great way to help you get yourself motivated and ready to tackle your health and fitness challenges in 2018.
I have been running these programs over in Liverpool with amazing success. Clients have been getting as good if not better results than many of my 1:1 personal training clients. I think the reason is all about the sense of teamwork and support we are able to build with the small group training. Not only will you get all the help and support you need from me as a coach, you will also get 3 training busies that will spur you on and keep you on track.
Hit the button below to find out more and send me over an application.
7-10yrs 4:15pm Monday and Wednesday; Saturday 11:30am
11-15yrs 4:15pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, Saturday 12:30pm
First session is FREE
(Tuesday 2nd January 2018)
In January 2018 Faster Fitness Solutions will be launching a brand-new kids and teens fitness incentive designed to get the young people of HD8 more active (Click here to find out more about the founder, Darren Thomas).
Our Faster Fitness kids and teens programs are based around the most up to date and cutting-edge strength and conditioning protocols that are designed to give growing kids and teens a strong movement foundation before progressing them into safe and effective weight lifting and sports conditioning strategies.
HOW WILL THE COURSE WORK?
Well we will start with small group fitness sessions at the facility in Denby Dale. These will take place after school at 4:15pm and on Saturday mornings at 11:30am and 12:30pm and cost just £5. Over the course of 2018 I will then look to diversify the service and offer a variety of more specialist coaching options to aid sports specific development for young athletes to further enhance their sporting development.
WHO IS IT FOR?
They are not just for young athletes who play sport. They are for any young person who just wants to get more active and develop improved co-ordination, flexibility, balance and body awareness.
The sessions will be fun and engaging and involve a mixture of
ADDRESSING YOUR CONCERNS
Over the past 30 years or so there has been this stigma around strength or weight training among growing kids and teens. Accusations of stunted growth, increased injury risk and damage to growth plates have all been banded around with absolutely zero scientific backing. In fact, when we do look at the science behind using strength training with young populations, the exact opposite can be found. If you click on the button below it will take you to the UKSCA Position Statement on Strength and conditioning among youth populations. In it they highlight a significant amount of research outlining benefits such as:
My aim is to also provide the kids and parents with educational materials to help with things such flexibility and mobility drills, athlete nutrition and good habits for athlete development.
My aim is to provide a cost-effective service of the highest possible quality that will allow the young people of HD8 and beyond to stronger, more successful and healthier lifestyles
FIRST SESSION IS FREE
If you would like your child to come along to any of the sessions then please fill out the short form below. I will then be in touch to confirm you place.
1 in every 2 people will pick up a running related injury on an annual basis.
The most common site for injury to runners is the knee joint
Runner's knee is the most prevalent form of knee injury among all runners
In the video below I take you through the 2 different types of runners knee and give you a great functional lunge strategy to help strengthen your hips so you can restore balance to your knee joint and help you cope with running related impacts much better in the future.
.Hopefully this has helped shed some light on the condition for you and you now feel like you have a better understanding of the causes of running related knee pain and how you can improve these symptoms to get you back to running pain free.
If you are suffering from a running related injury, please get in touch through our contact page as I would be more than happy to help.
Please feel free to like and share the video and leave a comment to tell us what you think.
I know that shoulder pain can be a real nightmare, especially for those who lift weights and are trying to achieve a certain goal. This annoying and niggling injury can really affect a lot of your exercises and restrict your progress.
Having gone through this exact same thing this year I know how frustrating it can be. In the video below I share with you the most effective rehab strategy I used to improve my own shoulder function and show you how to integrate into your workouts to help you get back to training at full tilt again.
I hope you enjoy the video.
If you would like any further help with shoulder pain or any other type of injury, please get in touch via the contact page as I would be more than happy to help.
Please feel free to leave a comment as I would love to know what you thought of the video and how you got on with this exercise technique.
It’s getting to that time of year again. “The Dreaded January”. You, along with the rest of the western world are probably starting to think about getting healthy, losing weight and finally getting rid of that flabby gut or wobbly bingo wings once and for all.
You are probably thinking about starting a new diet and embarking on a fitness regime that will help you turn into a lean, mean fitness machine.
So how many January's is it now? If your honest, how many years has this been the intention? There has even been some years where you even kept going to the gym all the way into February.
I am aware that the intro to this sounded sarcastic and cynical. It was meant to, but only to highlight a massive trend that sees more than 90% of the people who start a health kick in January fail within the first 4 weeks.
This time, however, I truly do not want it to be YOU who fails again. That’s why I have put together a list of my top 5 tips to ensure this year’s health kick is a success and turns into a lifestyle choice rather than just another fad.
1. Run! Run away from anything that looks like or sounds like a quick fix.
Avoid faddy diets like Atkins or the maple syrup plan or anything else that tells you to be overly restrictive on your food choices. Personally, I would avoid weight loss groups like S******* W**** or W***** W*******. You might lose a few pounds here but unless you want to be obsessive about what you eat and bore everyone with talk of points and sins for the rest of your life, it is probably not a long term solution.
2. Set manageable goals.
Losing 2 stone by the end of January is not realistic. Aim for a weight loss of about 2-3lbs per week. It’s great to have a long-term goal but you need to break that up into manageable chunks.
P.S. Guys, you’re not gonna look like an athlete or a Men’s Health Model in 4 weeks either. So, don’t be disheartened when your body doesn’t radically transform and you don’t get a six pack or massive guns straight away.
Instead, make the first 4 weeks all about establishing habits. Being consistent with the little things like regular gym visits, drinking plenty of water and making sure you eat a good breakfast. This will help you form lasting habits that will put you in a great position to create long-term change.
3. Put together a weekly plan.
For most of my clients, this is where they fall down and need a bit of coaching. Sunday evenings a great for this. Spend 30 mins planning meals and shopping lists and set yourself appointments for your training or gym visits. Yes, I called them appointments. Even if they are not with a trainer, this is how you need to view them. Make them an absolute priority. Other than a work or family emergency you need to make sure you are getting your ass to the gym or making time for training and you need to do it, even though you might feel tired or you had a dreadful day. Power through because I promise it will make you feel better.
OK, this is a biggy. It means thinking a bit deep but it’s an absolutely essential part of the process if you really want to be successful.
Ask yourself WHY?
Why do you want to get healthy?
Why do you want to lose weight?
Why do you want to change?
Thinking about this will probably stir up some emotions and that is great. Emotions can be a great driving force behind our need to succeed. Understanding why you want to change will help you understand what achieving your goals actually means to you and help you figure out what you are prepared to do to achieve them. You may have to give up a few things or sacrifice a TV program, reduce you alcohol intake or the amount you eat of your favourite food.
Your success should mean more to you than any of these things. If it doesn’t and you find yourself making excuses, then you’re probably not ready to change.
Never mind! There is always next year…
5. Finally! Don’t beat yourself up.
Anything that is worth achieving in life is usually pretty tough. The road to success at anything is seldom straight forward and full of pitfalls and little blips that throw you off track. So, if you end up going on a bender or binge eating a whole packet of chocolate hob knobs half way through your plan just forget about it. Give yourself a quick slap on the wrist and move on. Wallowing in self-pitty never helped anyone and getting upset with yourself will probably end in you throwing in the towel and making shallow excuses to yourself to justify why you didn’t want to get in shape anyway.
For some of you, reading this may be a little too close to the bone, while some of you might think I am a bit of muppet. In truth though, this is pretty close to the bone for me. Not so much to do with my fitness and weight but more about self-confidence and my ability to build a business and be a good coach.
There are certainly times in the past where I have made excuses to not do something I know will help my business just because it makes me feel uncomfortable. In the end though, the regret of not having done it always bothered me more than sucking things up and just doing what I got to do.
So there you go, my resolution this year is to get out there and meet new people, introduce myself to the community and build a good business where I can help as many people as I can.
And for some reason, if I don’t manage to do this… I know that the only person ultimately to blame will be myself.
2 Week kick start program
If you would like a little bit of help to get 2018 started in the right way, why not give my 2 Week Kick Start Program a go.
You will get 4 personal training sessions plus a home flexibility workout and all the nutrition resources you need for just £29
Click the button below for more info
Darren has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, sports injury therapist and most recently as an educator to other trainers. Originally from South Wales, he went to Liverpool University to study Sports Science and liked the city so much, he decided to stay. Since finishing his degree he set up a thriving personal training and injury rehab business which continues to this day. He has recently moved over to Denby Dale in West Yorkshire and has opened Faster Fitness Solutions, a multi-purpose training and rehabilitation facility located in the heart of the village.