A Beginner Guide To Squats

Squat, Squat, Squat, Squat!

We are constantly told that we should do them but if you have never had proper instruction or coaching this is not a simple task. There is actually quite an art involved in mastering this popular move with incorrect technique leading to possible injuries to knees and lower back.

Below is a video with a detailed analysis of beginner squat modifications that will help you strengthen the necessary muscles and master the correct technique involved in a basic squat move without exposing you to injury risk. (listen with audio to hear description of each move).


 


You can add one or all three of these squat variations to your next workout.

Tips:

  • When performing both the Ball Squat and Chair Squat aim for 10-15 reps with 5 pulses at the bottom of the last repetition.
  • Aim to hold the wall-sit for 1 minute. Increase this time by 10 second increments each time you try until you can hold for 2 minutes straight!
  • As you progress feel free to add weight in order to increase the intensity. I still do these squat variations when I feel that my form is lacking. It is so important not to learn bad habits.

Teaching Points:

  • Start with your feet roughly at hip width apart.
  • Do not bend too far forward, try to keep your posture straight by pulling up through your core and lifting your chest.
  • Place your weight in your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes.
  • Make sure you knees do not extend past you toes.

Happy Squatting! Xx

My Top 5 Tips for ‘Achieving Balance’

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1. Efficiency is key

 If there is one thing I believe in it is “quality over quantity” particularly when it comes to training. There is no need to spend hours of your day working out. Thirty minutes MAX is all you need if you’re not afraid of a little intensity.

High Intensity Interval Training, Strength Circuits and Speed Based Cardio Workouts are my favourite ways to train. I love this type of training because it is a quick and effective way to boost your metabolism and condition your muscles without placing to much stress on your body!

This type of training works at such an intensity level that it sends your metabolism into overdrive due to an increase demand for oxygen consumption and energy in your muscular cells. So much so that you are still burning fat up to 48 hours after your workout! Pretty neat huh!

Train hard and train smart.


2. Variety

Interested in a new training technique, recipe or superfood? Give it a try! Trying new things will not only help keep you interested but it will also keep your body guessing.

Variety is important in a fitness program because it allows you to challenge your body on a consistent basis and overcome  the potential to ‘plateau’. A plateau happens when the body has become accustomed or used to doing the same repeated exercises over and over again . Spicing up your training regime or increasing your intensity will place new demands on the body, engage new muscles and in effect increase your metabolism.

The same goes for food! If you are eating the same foods at the same time everyday your body will begin to learn a pattern. As a result your metabolism will adapt by storing the consumed energy and fat and only burning what it knows it needs! You want keep your metabolism on it’s toes!


3. Lose the guilt

I find guilt to be one of the most detrimental things to a persons health. If you don’t workout or eat as healthy as you would have liked it is definitely not worth beating yourself up over. This can have far worst consequences to both your physical and emotional health.

Focus on what you have done that week and what you plan to do the rest of the week.  Also if you do make the decision to have a treat or skip a workout than back yourself, you made the decision for a reason now move forward.

Remember health and fitness is lifelong and it won’t last if you let it take over your life and control your happiness.


4. Get your friends and family involved

It is much easier to stick to your guns and make positive lifestyle changes if you have the support of those around you. Lets face it, workouts are much more enjoyable if you have someone to motivate you and what’s the fun of making that raw strawberry cheesecake if you have no one to share it with! Try to get your friends and loved ones interested your healthy lifestyle by getting them involved and making it fun.

Here are a few suggested ways you can make healthy living more social;

– Set a day where you can workout with family or friends

– Organise a walk/coffee date

– Attend a healthy cooking class together

– Bring healthy alternatives to parties or social events

– Call a friend on days when you don’t feel motivated

It is important however to try to not be too pushy. You don’t want to annoy people… (something I need to remember next time I’m trying to force feed coconut oil to my boyfriend).


5. Make the most out of every meal

For some of us eating the perfect, nutritious, organic, home cooked meals everyday just isn’t possible. Unfortunately factors such as time, cost and access can play a big part on what we eat, especially considering how expensive some ‘whole foods’ can be. What I have found that works for me is picking and choosing the specialty foods I buy for a certain (such as coconut oil, maca powder and cacao) and keeping the rest basic, choosing cheaper healthy options like brown rice, brown bread, wholemeal pasta, seasonal fruits & vegetables, canned tuna and legumes, eggs, nuts and buying my lean meat in bulk.

Another strategy I take is to try to eat as many nutrients in the day as I can and aim to make the most out of every meal. An example of this maybe adding spinach to a smoothie, adding vegetables to each of your meals, using avocado instead of butter or sneaking in some protein by adding quinoa, nuts and chickpeas. Aim to choose foods based on the nutrients they provide your body rather than what is low fat or low calorie.

In saying this I think it is also important to choose foods that will fit into your lifestyle and if that means eating the odd treat here and there then so be it. Like most I enjoy the occasional treat like pizza, chocolate and going out for drinks with friends. These are some of my favourite things in life and I’m not about to cut them out. For me it is a matter of just trying to be as healthy as you can, whenever you can.