Author: jshannon

HardPuppy Fitness Gym 0

Carmelo Guastella’s Shaving Tips

Prep like a pro
“Preparation is key when shaving, so maybe have a shower first to soften your hairs,” says Guastella. “The softer the hairs, the easier the shave ,plus you’re going to add extra hydration to your skin. You don’t want to shave skin that’…

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The Best Smoothie Recipes

Smoothies are big business. First they were an indulgent way to get a couple of your five-a-day, then a high-end gym staple and now ubiquitous. 

But while enterprising supermarkets and juice bars are engaged in an arms-race of flavour combinations – mango and mint is surprisingly good – are they actually doing anyone any good? It’s tough to say. A typical bottle of Innocent, the UK’s biggest brand, packs in 33g of sugar, essentially the same as a can of Coke (possibly not surprising, since it’s been majority-owned by Coca-Cola since 2013). The obvious problem: you’ll only come back if they taste good, and our stupid caveman brains love sugar.

So what’s the fix? Simple: make your own. By sticking to a few simple rules, you can customise your smoothie to your own fitness goals, and only put in what you need to support your training. Or, to make it even easier, just use our recipes below.

The Pre-Workout Energiser

Step away from the double espresso and Metallica megamix: if you’re aiming to get the most from your workout, you want a more targeted approach. “The best pre-workout snacks make you feel satisfied and excited to exercise without leaving you feeling bloated or tired,” says nutritionist Lee Holmes.

“That’s exactly what this smoothie’s designed for. The frozen banana gives you digestible carbs for energy, but it also has a drizzle of healthy fats in the tahini, as well as a great source of vegetable protein from cacao and spinach, to fuel you up for a squat session.

“Cacao is also a performance-enhancer and can help with muscle recovery and growth. Besides, who doesn’t get excited when they’re drinking a chocolate smoothie?”

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth, then drink immediately. If you’re looking to economise, frozen spinach works almost as well as fresh.

Ingredients

  • ½ a peeled frozen banana
  • 45g baby English spinach leaves
  • 1tsp tahini
  • 1tbsp raw cacao nibs
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Build An Athletic Body With This Quickfire Home Dumbbell Circuit

You should know by now that you don’t need to spend hours slaving away in a gym to build a bigger, leaner and more functionally fit body. Indeed, more is often less when your training ambition is to look more like an athlete because you need to give your muscles the recovery time they need to adapt and grow.

But even though cutting down on your training time is the way to go when wanting a well-defined, athletic physique, you must also guarantee that what time you do spend training is 100% effective. That’s what this six-move total-body circuit offers – all you need is a pair of dumbbells and the right attitude, and you’ll get out of every session exactly what you put in. So start stripping away body fat and building new muscle mass today.

RECOMMENDED: The 4-Week Dumbbell Workout Plan To Build Muscle At Home[1]

How to do the workout

Do the six dumbbell exercises in order, sticking to the reps detailed, without resting until you finish all the reps of the sixth and final move of the circuit. Rest for two minutes, then repeat the circuit. Do four circuits in total.

Pick a dumbbell weight that allows you to perform the hardest lift for you with good form. Increase the weight weekly as you get stronger

1 Squat[2]

Reps 15 Rest 0sec

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your chin and chest up. Brace your core, then bend at the hips and knees to squat down as low as you can. Push back up through your heels.

2 Alternating lunge[3]

Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your chin and chest up. Lunge forward and down until both knees are bent at right angles. Return to the start and alternate leading leg with each rep.

3 Overhead press[4]

Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Keep your chest up and brace your core. Press the weights directly overhead until your arms are fully extended, then lower them back to the start position.

4 Hammer curl[5]

Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand, with elbows by your sides and your chest and chin up. Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, curl the weights up together. Squeeze at the top, then lower under control.

5 Renegade row[6]

Reps 6 each side Rest 0sec

Get into a press-up position holding dumbbells. Brace your core and glutes to keep your body stable. Row one dumbbell up, leading with your elbow, then lower it back to the floor. Repeat, alternating arms with each rep.

6 Press-up[7]

Reps 15 Rest 2min

Get in the press-up position holding dumbbells. Brace your core and glutes to keep your body stable. Bend your elbows, keeping them close to your sides, to lower your chest to the floor. Press back up powerfully.

References

  1. ^ The 4-Week Dumbbell Workout Plan To Build Muscle At Home (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  2. ^ Squat (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  3. ^ Alternating lunge (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  4. ^ Overhead press (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  5. ^ Hammer curl (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  6. ^ Renegade row (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  7. ^ Press-up (www.coachmag.co.uk)
HardPuppy Fitness Gym 0

Plantronics BackBeat FIT Review: Fantastic Wireless Headphones

I almost never run, cycle or do anything active without headphones (I’m sociable that way) and I’ve tried dozens of sets of wireless headphones. The Plantronics BackBeat FIT aren’t just good – they’re the first pair to finally convince me to give up my trusty wired Bose SoundSports when exercising.

The requirements of a set of wireless headphones[1] for sports are quite simple. They have to stay in your ear, be comfortable, have a decent battery life and sound good. However, I’ve found that most sets don’t hit even half of these targets. The BackBeat FIT delivers on every count, and throws in some extra features for good measure. And all for a very reasonable £70.40 on Amazon at time of writing[2] (RRP £99.99).

The lightweight headset is barely noticeable once on and didn’t shift at all over the course of a half marathon. The earbuds are not designed to be jammed right down into your ears, which I found far more comfortable than standard in-ear buds, and they also let in some ambient noise – always handy when running on busy roads.

The battery life is a healthy eight hours and every time your turn them on a voice notification tells you how many hours you have left. That’s an extremely useful feature and one that should be on all Bluetooth headphones. The BackBeat FIT charges fully in around 2½ hours, with a 15-minute quick charge delivering an hour of playback.

Given the ambient fit and modest price point, it’s perhaps not surprising the sound quality doesn’t quite match top-end headsets like the BEOPLAY H5, especially when it comes to bass. As someone who mostly listens to podcasts and embarrassing pop music when running, I value a comfortable fit far more than thundering bass, but for some it might not suffice.

The headset has controls for play and pause, and taking calls, although the latter will reduce the battery life by a couple of hours. The band is flexible and the whole caboodle is waterproof, which bodes well for its durability. A wide variety of colours is available and the headset also has some reflective detailing. It probably won’t be the difference between life and death when running at night, but every little helps.

Every time I tried to pair the BackBeat FITs with a device I had no problems connecting quickly – in fact, they turned out to be a little too good at this. It’s all too easy to turn the headset on accidentally when it’s in a rucksack and once on, it immediately connected to my phone, overriding the headphones I was wearing. It took a while to work out why my music had suddenly stopped.

Aside from that minor confusion, the BackBeat FIT was a joy to use, setting standards that I wish were met by far pricier Bluetooth headphones. Unless you’re an absolute bass fiend, or prefer an in-ear fit, it’s a fantastic headset at a very good price. plantronics.com[3]

References

  1. ^ wireless headphones (www.coachmag.co.uk)
  2. ^ £70.40 on Amazon at time of writing (www.amazon.co.uk)
  3. ^ plantronics.com (www.plantronics.com)