5 ingredient ‘Nutella’ fudge cake from My Clean Treats


150g coconut oil
3/4 cup cacao powder
6 eggs
1 cup rice malt syrup
1 cup hazelnut meal


  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line a circular baking pan with baking paper.
  2. Place coconut oil and cacao in a saucepan and stir until combined and melted.
  3. In an electric mixer, combine eggs and rice malt syrup.
  4. Add hazelnut meal and the chocolate mix to eggs and rice malt syrup and fold lightly until combined.
  5. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool, dust some cacao powder over the top and enjoy!


About My Clean Treats

Jess Lirosi is the creator of healthy dessert blog My Clean Treats. Featuring simple, guilt-free recipes, from chocolate cacao cake to traditional white chocolate and raspberry jelly slice, Jess’ desserts are made with no refined sugars or plain flours as she makes natural alternatives to her favourite treats.

You can find more of Jess’ clean treats at mycleantreats.com or follow her on Instagram @jess_mycleantreats, like My Clean Treats on Facebook or Twitter @jeslirosi for more healthy sweets.

Featured post

Getting back on track after the Winter slump

The dark mornings and nights, and the moody weather of Winter can cause motivation to be at an all-time low. Now that spring is here and the days are looking a little brighter here are a few tips to help you get back into your gym routine.

Set Your Next Goal

Organising your next significant goal is one of the best ways to keep you on track. With a challenge planned for the near future, you will be less likely to give in to the urge to skip a session.

Here are some examples:

  • Harcourts Cooper and co Takapuna Beach Series (Every Tuesday starting  5th November) – 5km beach walk/run, 7km Coastal Run, Ocean Swim and Stand up paddle board.
  • Eukanuba Tails & Trails at Riverhead Forrest – Take your dog with you for this event and complete either a 5km or 10km trail run/walk
  • Tough guy and girl challenge. An obstacle course-based run in Auckland. (29th June 2020) – One to train for over Summer and just some great muddy fun!
  • Womens half marathon – Villa Maria Estate (19th Jan 2020)
  • Coastal Challenge – (22nd Feb 2020) Run walk/ wade and rock hop down the North Shore coastline – 6km/11km/17km/22km/22km relaz/33km/33km relay

 Plan tomorrow, tonight

Spending a few minutes at the end of each day thinking about what you’re going to do tomorrow, and physically writing it down, increases your likelihood of completing the task.

  • Plan your workout
  • Plan what time you will train
  • Write a mini goal for your session
  • Have everything you need laid out and ready to go – gym gear/clothes, alarm set, food and snacks prepared etc.

Train with Others

Making a commitment with a friend or a group not only makes the workouts more fun, but also keeps you accountable. Knowing that your meeting someone will make you less likely to skip the gym. Convince a friend to join with you and take turns at planning your workouts to keep things interesting. Joining a group fitness class is also a good way to make friends at the gym to keep you accountable.

Change your workout routine

Repeating the same routine and exercises can become boring and contribute to motivation loss. To avoid this, try out a new workout style, new exercises, or a new group fitness class. By switching things up you’ll keep your mind and body engaged. Doing the same routine continuously will also result in your body adapting, and slow your progress. “Shocking the body” with a new gym routine is a great way to see results. Come see us for a new complimentary personalised weights program for the gym.

Treat yourself to some new gym gear

A term called “enclothed cognition” refers to the psychological influence that clothing can have on us. It suggests that “dressing for the part” subconsciously changes our behaviors and attitudes. Basically, if you’re dressed for the gym, you’re not only more inclined to be active, but you can feel more confident in your abilities, leading to improved focus, motivation, and gains. So yes, this is your excuse to go buy some new gym wear that you feel good in 😊

Activewear – What are the best brands?

What to look for when buying Activewear:

  • The Fit – you want to make sure they are a good length on you, and that they are tight enough to stay up while you are working out, but not so tight that they make you feel uncomfortable when you sit down.
  • Colour – make sure it is a colour or pattern you will wear! As well as checking that they are squat proof and that your underwear won’t show through, you can do this by holding them up to a light and stretching them, or popping a squat and looking in the mirror, you shouldn’t be able to see through them.
  • Ethical/Sustainable – This may not be important to everyone, but it is good to know where your clothes come from, and if the people making your clothes are being treated fairly. (Keep in mind I’ve used an American ethical fashion report, so some of the activewear retailers’ grades may not be accurate)
  • Material quality – You want to make sure your activewear is fit for purpose, such as breathability and performance. An example of this is the lululemon align leggings, their purpose is to be used for light activity like yoga. I used to own a pair of these for strength training 24/7 as they were my favourite pair, and they didn’t hold up very well, because they weren’t made for strength training! Although, most standard sports tights are made to cover any level of activity, just be sure to read the description of the different tights online!


Cotton on Body

  • Most of their leggings are quite thick material, however they do get fluff or hair on them quite easily, they often need a lint roll!
  • Their activewear tees, joggers and shorts range in material and quality. Some of their material is not the best in terms of breathability , so if you get very hot exercising or sweat a lot, they may not be the best fit for you.
  • Cotton on Body Activewear are cheaper than most other brands of activewear out there.
  • Most of the leggings are black, and they offer a couple of different lengths for their leggings.
  • Their sports bras are pretty good, they work well for me!
  • They don’t last forever, but with their pricing that should be expected.
  • Cotton On have many stores available so you can try their activewear on, or buy them online.
  • Scored an A- in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report.


Lorna Jane

  • Most of their activewear tights are quite thick and very good quality material.
  • Their tights are very stylish and a great fit.
  • I find their sports bras to be the prettiest, but also the most supportive and very comfortable! Although I would recommend looking at the descriptions of their sports bras, as some may be designed for more low intensity activities, and these won’t be very supportive!
  • Good variety of lengths for their tights, for your taller or shorter girls.
  • They only scored a C+ in the 2019 Ethical Fashion report according to most sources, but it does show up as un-rated on the actual report website, so I’m unsure on this one!


Lululemon –

  • Most of their leggings are squat proof, but you’re best to ask or look at reviews incase!
  • Some are very thin material so normal underwear lines can show, be sure to try them on if you can.
  • Varying lengths in their leggings.
  • Good quality and long lasting, especially the Tight Stuff Tight and the Fast and Free Tights from my personal experience.
  • Rated an A- in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report.


Aim’n –

  • Most of their leggings are squat proof
  • They have some cool colours and patterns!
  • Varying lengths in their leggings – they also do little matching leggings for toddlers!
  • Some of their leggings can be quite long on me which I’m personally not a fan of
  • Do not have a grade in the Ethical Fashion Report


Gymshark –

  • Some of their tights are not squat proof, check reviews!
  • Have some cool colours and patterns.
  • Good quality, relatively long lasting.
  • Most are quite long, which is great for your taller girls, but not so great for your shorter or even standard height girls, often their Gymshark athletes/models’ leggings are shown rolled up.
  • Surprisingly does not have an ethical rating despite being such a popular activewear brand.


Under Armour

  • Good quality, long lasting sportswear
  • I personally love their shoes when it comes to training! I find that they’re good quality and long lasting.
  • Rated an F in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report, however this is the rating of Under Armour in the U.S. and may not 100% reflect Under Armour AUS/NZ



  • High performance sportswear
  • Flattering on all body types
  • Squat proof and apparently very sweat proof, even their lighter coloured leggings!
  • Ethical (Check out their Instagram page wearetala), and sustainable! Made from plastic bottles and factory offcuts, highly rated among many, do not have an ethical rating as of yet as they are a brand-new company.



  • Both are very similar in prices, quality and length.
  • Adidas have a C grade in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report, and Nike have a D. These too are the American ratings.
  • I am a fan of their shoes more than their activewear, all of my Nike/Adidas shoes seem to last me quite a long time in the gym.


Check out the Ethical ratings of any brand at this website: https://www.ethical.org.au/theguide/

The Science of Coffee – Friend or Enemy?

Arguably the world’s favourite beverage, coffee is frequently in the headlines for both positive and negative health effects. This can be confusing when new research constantly gives conflicting opinions. So, let’s take a look at the big picture and conclude whether coffee is our friend or enemy.

The Good

Improved Energy levels and Intelligence – Coffee contains a stimulant called caffeine. After drinking coffee, caffeine absorbs into the blood and travels to the brain where it binds to adenosine receptors. These receptors are involved in promoting sleep and when caffeine is bound, sleep promoting effects are inhibited – thus resulting in feelings of wakefulness.

Can help burn fat – Several studies show that coffee can increase your metabolic rate by 3-11%. However, other studies have shown these effects may be diminished in long-term coffee drinkers.

Can improve exercise performance – Caffeine increases adrenaline levels in the blood and release fatty acids into the blood to be available for fuel – these effects can improve physical performance. The best pre-workout aid around.

High in Antioxidants – Coffee contains high levels of antioxidants which are known to reduce oxidative damage in the body. This may be why some studies have found lower risks of liver cancer in coffee drinkers.

Contains Essential nutrients – Coffee contains small amounts of some vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B5, and B9 (folate); and minerals potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

May protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia – Healthy eating and exercise are the main preventative measures for these diseases, but coffee may be effective as well. Studies have shown up to 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s in coffee drinkers.

May lower risk of type 2 Diabetes – Observational studies have associated coffee with a decreased risk of diabetes. However, conflicting research has shown that in diabetics and those with insulin resistance coffee spikes insulin levels which worsens these conditions.


The Bad

Elevated Cholesterol – High consumption of unfiltered coffee has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol.

Heart Disease – Some studies have found two or more cups of coffee per day may increase the risk of heart disease

Caffeine Dependence – Another downside is that people may become dependent on the energy boost from coffee, rather than the bodies natural energy.  “Withdrawal” symptoms can include headaches, irritability, and fatigue

Stress – The caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines – your stress hormones.

Digestive issues – The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heart burn, and imbalances in your gut microbiome.

Decreased serotonin – Caffeine can disrupt serotonin synthesis in the brain – a hormone which controls mood, sleep, and energy levels.

Decreased both health – Studies have shown elevated excretion of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in coffee drinkers – these minerals are important for bone health.


The Verdict

Like all foods and fluids that we put in our bodies, everything is okay in moderation. It is clear that coffee has a multitude of health benefits, but, over indulging in too much coffee does have negative side effects. The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation recommends a limit of 3 coffees per day or 300-400mg of caffeine. Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than 200mg per day as pregnancy slows the rate that caffeine is metabolized in the body and has been linked to low birth weight. Breastfeeding mothers should also be aware that caffeine may have stimulating effects on their child. Children should not consume coffee or any caffeine as it has been linked to irritability, sleeping problems, aggression, and attention issues.

If you choose to drink coffee be sure to have it as part of a healthy balanced diet.

If you are dependent on 2 or more coffees per day to feel energized, you may need to implement some healthy habits into your routine to boost natural energy levels:

  • Make sure you are drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day, and instead of going straight for a coffee in the morning try having a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
  • If you are tired allow more time for sleep for a natural energy boost – if you have trouble sleeping see our blog on sleep for tips on getting to sleep naturally and the benefits of a good sleep.
  • Include a variety of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet. Vitamins and minerals all play a role in natural energy production in the body.


If you have lost motivation over these colder months, come book in for a complimentary revive appointment and we can sit down with you and set some new goals. Hope to see you in the gym soon!

Hannah x

Big Butts: How to grow your glutes

Hi ladies, Lauren here! I unfortunately did not win the genetic lottery when it came to my butt, and was blessed with a bit of a flat pancake (thanks mum and dad!). Looking through social media, big butts seem to be very on trend at the moment, and while some people may think it’s great and want to grow their glutes, others may not, and that’s perfectly okay, everyone has different goals for their bodies! But if you’re looking for some tips to grow those glutes, keep reading.


Anatomy of the glutes

The Glutes are made up of 3 muscles, the gluteus minimus, the gluteus Medius, and the gluteus Maximus. Each play a different role, so you want to ensure you are working all three, just like you would train the front and backs of your legs. The glute max is one of the largest muscles in your body, and is the most superficial (close to the surface) of your glute muscles, which means that this is the muscle that will give you some shape. The glute med is located on the sides of your butt, and your glute min lies underneath both of these muscles. The glute med and min work with the glute max, to provide stability, and assist with simple tasks like walking and running.

Why should you train your glutes?

It’s not just about getting a Kim K butt (although, I’m not convinced hers is 100% real…!) I personally would love to have bigger glutes, not only to have a bigger butt, but also because inactive glutes can lead to injuries in your hips and knees. A sign of inactive glutes can be knee pain, tightness in your quadriceps, or excessive fatigue in your quadriceps to name a few. Bear in mind that inactive glutes are not the only cause of these injuries, and you should always get these issues checked over by a doctor or a physiotherapist.

What a glute-focused leg day looks like for me/Key glute building exercises:

My glute focused leg days have the same 3 exercises always. These exercises are:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Hip thrusts

I then add in two or three more “specialized” exercises, such as:

  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Hamstring curls
  • Curtsey lunges
  • Donkey kicks
  • Crab walks

I use the first three exercises every single leg day (I do 2 a week), this is because they are compound movements, meaning they train a range of different muscles and joints, which will overall help you gain strength everywhere. This is different to a hamstring curl, which is an isolated/specialised exercise, which targets the hamstrings alone. After having done my fair bit of research, I believe having a majority of your exercises be compound exercises, and throwing in some isolation exercises at the end of a workout are the best way to overall gain strength (and lose fat!)


Resistance bands and glute activation:  

Glute activation is something I’ve only learnt about in the past year. When it comes to squats for example, you should be able to feel your glutes working, but there was a long time where I really didn’t feel them working, so I stopped doing them. Now that I’ve learned to activate my glutes, I never fail to feel them working! A lot of us are sitting constantly, whether we are at school, uni, or an office job. This means that our poor glutes get next to no use, which causes them to be inactive, so when it comes to doing your squats, your butt may not activate.

You can activate your glutes by using a resistance band (we have them hanging up by the dumbbells). You want to make sure that the resistance band is tight around your thighs, just above your knees. There are a number of exercises you can do to warm up your glutes, such as squats, clams, glute bridges, donkey kicks, and fire hydrants. If you’re lost on what sort of exercises to do, there are a lot of YouTube videos to help you get started! It should take you about 5 minutes to warm up your glutes, you don’t want to tire yourself out before you’ve even started your workout!

How long will it take to grow my glutes?

This will depend on genetics, how often you train, and what you eat. In order to gain muscle, you want to be eating in a calorie surplus. You can still gain muscle on your normal number of calories or even in a deficit, but it will take longer. While eating in a surplus, it is said to take around three months to really grow your glutes and see progress, however genetics also plays a part, for some it will take a lot less time, and for some (including me ☹) it will take a little longer. By adding some of those compound and isolated exercises to your next leg day, I’m sure you’ll start to see some results soon!

If you have any questions about glutes or want some ideas for exercises, don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll be sure to help you out!


See you ladies soon!

Lauren 😊



Carrot cake snack

This faux carrot cake mishmash can be rolled into a ball or enjoyed straight from the bowl with a spoon.
Serves: 1
Time: 5 mins


1 carrot
25 g rolled oats
20 g sultanas
3 walnuts
1 tsp honey


  1. Grate carrot.
  2. Roughly chop walnuts.
  3. Place all ingredients into a small bowl. Mix well to combine. Serve and enjoy.


Mocha hazelnut protein balls

Fans of Nutella and coffee will get a real buzz from these protein balls.
Serves: 1
Time: 20 mins


1 tsp instant coffee
35 ml hot water
15 g protein powder (low carb, high protein)
½ tbsp cacao powder
30 g dried dates
5 g raw hazelnuts


  1. Add the coffee, protein powder, cacao powder and hot water to a small bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In the meantime add the dates (make sure they are pitted) and hazelnuts to a food processor and process until well combined and dates have formed a smooth like paste.
  3. In a bowl add the coffee liquid mix and date mix and mix well to combine. Roll the mixture into a ball. Serve and enjoy immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge and enjoy when chilled.


Spiced apricot muesli balls

A sweet and healthy little treat to enjoy with your tea or coffee.
Serves: 1
Time: 60 mins


30 ml cold water
½ g ground cinnamon
½ g ground nutmeg
3 g sesame seeds
15 g rolled oats,
15 g dried apricots


  1. Combine the apricots, water, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes or until apricots soften. Add more water if required. Uncover and set aside for 20 minutes to cool.
  2. In the meantime, place sesame seeds in a saucepan and toss over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Set aside.
  3. Place the rolled oats and apricot mixture in a small bowl and mix until well combined.
  4. Roll the mixture into a ball. Toss the ball in sesame seeds to lightly coat. Serve and enjoy.


Berry oat protein ball

Make these balls in bulk to enjoy with your tea or coffee throughout the week.
Serves: 1
Time: 15 mins


10 g protein powder (low carb, high protein)
¾ tsp peanut butter
8 g rolled oats
20 ml water
6 g raspberries
10 g blueberries
¼ g bran flakes
10 g slivered almonds


  1. Combine protein powder, water, oats, bran flakes and peanut butter. Mix until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Roll into a ball and place onto a sheet of cling wrap and freeze or refrigerate until solid. Serve and enjoy.


How to take the dread out of the dreadmill (a.k.a treadmill)

Winter has just arrived and the weather certainly shows it! Rainy, windy and cold!! Outdoor running starts to feel like its not even an option anymore so its time to hit the treadmill. But to many people running for 45 minutes or so on a treadmill does not sound like a lot of fun.

So here are a few ways to mix up your running on the treadmill this winter:

  • The most common answer: BLAST the upbeat music. I would highly recommend creating a playlist of your favourite upbeat tunes or discover new upbeat music to listen to as you run. This can be really motivating and get you in a great headspace to beat your PB or even just get you past the first 10 minutes! Spotify has some great running playlists already made too.


  • Podcasts! I find running to a podcast so motivating and distracting from the fact I’m running. Find a topic you’re interested in whether that be health & fitness, crime stories, comedy etc. and I’m sure there will be a great podcast available.


  • Watch a video. Now you need to be careful with this one because you don’t want to fly off the end! Find a You Tube video or Netflix episode, set up your phone/tablet on the front of the treadmill, plug your headphones in and run! This is a great distraction which makes time go a lot faster. We all spend hours on the couch binge watching TV series at some point over winter so why not burn some calories too.


  • Interval train. Breaking your runs up on the treadmill can make it a lot more interesting and feel a lot quicker. Going for a slow distance run often feels like hours on a treadmill when its only been 20 minutes… so why not smash a half an hour session at a higher intensity and mix up your runs. Pick a speed that challenges you and run at that pace for 2 minutes. Because this is a higher speed than you normally run at, 2 minutes should be enough to get your heart rate up and leave you feeling puffed. Now break this run up with 1 minute of slower speed or power walking. Continue this for 10 minutes. Now increase the running time to 3 minutes and repeat. Mix up your interval training to what speeds and intervals suit you but remember to challenge yourself!


  • Find a buddy. If your bestie goes to the same gym then why not arrange treadmill running/walking dates and coffee. Walk and talk is something a lot of females love to do. So why not do it on those rainy winter days side by side on a treadmill. Challenge each other or even race to keep it interesting. Sometimes having someone with you to support you and distract you makes it that little bit better.


  • Set goals. Running on a treadmill is a lot different to running outdoors. You might discover you can run a lot further and faster on a treadmill. So, set yourself some goals to aim for and smash them before the end of winter. Whether that be distance goals, time goals or amount of times you run a week goals!

See you soon!

Sam 🙂

Fitness Gear I Can’t Do Without

Hi Ladies, Lydia here! What’s your favourite piece of fitness equipment to use? In this blog post, I’ll tell you all about my three most loved fitness gear to use in my workouts! Give these a try and let us know what you think!

Resistance Bands: At the start of every workout, I like to activate my lower and upper body with resistance bands. They come in two forms: mini bands and longer resistance bands. Mini bands are great for putting around your knees and doing glute activation exercises. You can do so many different moves like crab walks, seated hip abductions and squat pulses. I start every leg day with these exercises as they’re perfect for warming up those stubborn glutes!

The longer resistance bands are so versatile. Looping them around the cable machine or the Olympic bar can create a tool for warming up the shoulders and back. You can also use them to do squats, lunges, good mornings and donkey kicks to fire up the glutes! Ask us to show you the different ways to add some variety to your warm up.


Kettle Bells: One hand clean & press, upright rows, kettlebell swings; so many exercises to do with one piece of equipment! A whole-body circuit can be done with just one kettle bell. They’re awesome for explosive movements and are great to use during a class.


Olympic Bar: I used to be intimidated the Olympic bar, but once I learnt where to position it on my back, I was good to go! If you want to increase your strength and gain muscle, exercises such as back squats, deadlifts and hip thrusts are awesome to do with the bar. You do not need to put a lot of weight onto the bar if you don’t feel comfortable. Start with just the bar (20kg), then gradually increase your weight as you become stronger.

I use the Olympic bar every time I train legs as it’s great for compound movements (using more than one muscle group at a time). We now have a thick pad that will support your neck/back/hips and make it more comfortable to use.

Don’t forget that you can get a complimentary personalised weight program every 8 weeks. See us at reception to book in and perhaps we can show you some cool exercises with these pieces of fitness equipment.

See you in the gym soon!

Lydia x

Coke Vs Coke Zero… sugar free drinks for the win?

Hi Ladies!

Coca-Cola is a prime example of a high calorie, sugar packed fizzy drink that has very little nutritional value (vitamins and minerals). Many of us are already aware of this, and opt for Coke Zero instead. But, is this really the healthier option?

The main difference between coke and coke zero is the sugar content. When drinking coke zero as opposed to regular coke, you are consuming significantly less sugar which a positive for weight loss and reducing the risk of weight-related diseases. A study by the American institute of nutrition found that consumption of high sugar drinks was positively associated with progression of insulin resistance and prediabetes, but no correlation was found with diet sodas.

Regular coke has a direct effect on our health and weight due to its excess sugar and calorie content. However, diet coke may not be the best alternative. Research suggests that diet coke may have indirect effects on our body that leads to weight gain and other adverse health effects.

Several studies have indicated that diet sodas my increase appetite stimulating hormones such as ghrelin therefore increasing hunger. The artificial sweeteners in diet coke may also alter gut flora leading to reduced blood sugar control. Additives such as citric, malic, and phosphorus acid are present in both coke and coke zero, and have been linked to tooth erosion. Some research has also linked diet sodas to health conditions such as increased risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart and kidney disease.


Maybe we need to consider why we actually crave fizzy drinks in the first place?

The most common reason is dehydration – have a glass of water firstly, and see if your fizzy craving is reduced.

A less prevalent reason is a calcium deficiency. The phosphoric acid in carbonated drinks can leach calcium and magnesium stores out of your bones, which momentarily increases the calcium in the body but then creates a continuous cycle of depletion. This is the reason high soda consumption is linked to osteoporosis, as the leaching of minerals reduces bone density and increases the risk of fractures. It is important to have a good intake of dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards, bok choy, and broccoli. As well as quality dairy sources such as milk and Greek yogurt.

It is clear that there are negative aspects to both diet and regular coke. So, to maintain overall health sticking to good old water is the best bet. Both diet and regular coke should be consumed in moderation as a very occasional treat.

See you in the gym soon!

Hannah 🙂




What is the importance of stretching/flexibility?

Hi Ladies,

Lauren here. I wanted to talk about stretching and flexibility as i think its a really important aspect of fitness that often gets neglected.

We have all heard the trainers harp on about stretching after exercise and we often think it’s not important or you don’t have time. We all know if we  are one of the guilty ones who just doing a quick 5 second stretch (or nothing at all) and running out the door.

Benefits of stretching more:

  • Posture. You know, that thing that most people struggle with (especially if you have a desk job)? It’s not as easy as just “sitting up straighter”. Bad posture can come from tight muscles, and stretching therefore can prevent these muscles from getting so tight. Bad posture can lead to tightness which in turn can give you pain and cause injuries.
  • You will become more flexible. This is a pretty obvious benefit of stretching, but vital, daily tasks like bending over to tie your shoe, or throwing a ball for your dog, all become easier when you are more flexible.
  • Improved circulation. As you stretch, you increase blood flow, which allows your body to transport nutrients, and get rid of waste, faster.
  • Faster recovery. By stretching your muscles, you promote more blood to the area. The more blood flow, the more nutrients it will bring to recover and fix your muscles faster.
  • Better Coordination. This may seem like an average point, but coordination is so important, especially as you get older, as having this improved coordination and balance will prevent as many falls or accidents.

stretch pic

Should I stretch before I exercise?

Definitely! Before jumping into the weights or cardio, make sure you warm up and then do some dynamic stretches before the main part of your workout. Dynamic stretches are moving stretches that aim to put the join through its full range of motion and gets blood flowing to the right areas. An example of this is a lunge, swinging one of your legs back and forth or ankle, shoulder circles This warms up your muscles safely. If you try a static stretch, such as touching your toes, this actually cools the muscle down and can use up too much muscle energy performing this stretch, and then have a poor workout due to your muscled already being fatigued!

How often should I stretch?

The American College of Sports Medicine (some very important, knowledgeable people!) recommend that each big muscle group should be stretched at least twice a week. They also recommend holding every stretch for around 60 seconds for maximum benefits, however they claim holding a 15-30 stretch is very beneficial as well. The American College of Sports Medicine also recommend static stretching after every workout.

How should I perform static stretches?

  • Try to be symmetrical. You want both sides of your body to be at the same level when it comes to stretching. This is especially important for those with injuries.
  • Don’t bounce in your stretch (I’m guilty of this one). Hold a stretch smoothly, and don’t aim for pain, aim for tension. Pain can be a sign you have gone too far, and you should release your stretch a little bit. I used to bounce in my stretch to go deeper, to be as flexible as I possibly could, but I would often end up with very sore muscles the next day.

What about yoga?

Yoga is amazing for flexibility, it helps you strengthen and lengthen your muscles in a safe and effective way. You don’t have to be “naturally flexible” in order to do yoga. Yoga helps your body stretch in new ways, and it is also a great way to relax as well.  In saying that, you don’t have to practice yoga to become more flexible or to do a great stretch session.

Flexibility and stretching can greatly improve some aspects of your life. It can make day to day activities easier, improve your posture, prevent injuries and may even reduce stress. An excellent benefit of stretching is your performance. By being more flexible, you can increase range of motion in your exercises which in turn recruits more muscle fibers which can make you faster, stronger and fitter. You may think that is only important to athletes or people who play sport. However, it can help the weekend warrior or even keeping up with the kids a little easier.

Try incorporate more stretching in your weekly routine and you will feel the benefits in no time!

Lauren 😊

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