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On reflection, March has been an amazing month for weather and work outs. Cape Town has experienced a great variety of wind, rain and sun; and here at Women’s Fitness we have made it through every climate to reach amazing goals and achieve desired results. Whether you like to train at home, outdoors or in the gym there are always options for everyone to hit realistic targets.

Here I have documented my top exercises for March, 5 for in the gym and 5 for the outdoors, so you too can get the best out of March…

In the gym…

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1) Squats. Has to be number one no matter what! Not only are you working and shaping your legs into beautiful lifting machines; you are also using the biggest muscle groups in the body there fore burning the most amount of fat, and speeding your metabolism. A barbell squat in the gym also engages your core & back to provide a full body work out. Squats provide the body with an intense challenge of stability, alignment and overall strength. From beginners to professional athletes, they should always feature regularly in any programme.

2) Dead lifts. Yes ladies, you too! This compound exercise provides the body with a necessary functional movement, teaching good lifting technique which will therefore aid in everyday life. Also a heavy weighted leg, back and core exercise; targeting those big, main muscle groups; building lean muscle and stripping down unwanted fat.

3) Weighted walking lunges. The exercise that you laugh at, after all it is funny seeing people lunge around the gym, when in fact it is one of the best, most effective exercises for your body. Not only is it working those big leg muscles, getting the heart pumping and challenging your balance and stability; it is also a functional exercise for walking. That means the movement, strength and mobility of this move is needed for every single person with the ability to walk; if you want to improve (or prevent deterioration of) your fitness that is!

4) Pull ups. I know for a lot of people this is a seemingly impossible exercise, only used in the military; but it is the best upper body exercise. Again it is functional and compound, and uses large muscles in the back to lift; and with the weight being your own body, you need to focus on firing the back muscles and embracing the core muscles to enable this move. For beginners there are assisted pull up machines at most gyms, or try negative pull ups.

5) Tabata interval training. Finishing off with a test of high intensity cardiovascular fitness, on any cardio machine or using any chosen cardio exercise. This interval of 20 seconds flat out, 10 seconds rest, is designed to push you beyond limits; 8 intervals will only take you 4 minutes, so try and do 2 or 3 sets if you have time. If you feel like you can’t survive after the first set, relax you are done, as the aim is to push you to end of your threshold!

The outdoors…

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1) Squat jumps. Get the heart rate pumping and the legs burning. Squat jumps use plyometric principals with basic technique, to give a great cardio vs muscular endurance exercise. These can be used in between sets of other exercises, or as intense sets on their own.

2) Body weight row. There is often equipment in a park where is this possible, so avoid the funny looks and make the most of it. Working the large back muscles and the core stabilisers to pull your body weight. Great for posture and technique improvement of other exercises.

3) Body weight walking lunges. Yes, why not? There is always space to lunge outside; forwards, backwards, multi-directional. Not only is it working those big leg muscles, getting the heart pumping and challenging your balance and stability; it is also a functional exercise for walking. That means the movement, strength and mobility of this move is needed for every single person with the ability to walk; if you want to improve (or prevent deterioration  of your fitness that is!

4) Press ups. Ladies, try and get off your knees and onto your toes, even if it’s for just 1 repetition. Primarily press ups work arms and chest, though you will also find they are an extreme core work out; as well as working back as a secondary muscle group and legs are stabilisers.

5) Tabata interval training. Finishing off with a test of high intensity cardiovascular fitness, using any chosen cardio exercise. This interval of 20 seconds flat out, 10 seconds rest, is designed to push you beyond limits; 8 intervals will only take you 4 minutes, so try and do 2 or 3 sets if you have time. If you feel like you can’t survive after the first set, relax you are done, as the aim is to push you to end of your threshold!

No matter the training ground, time frame or ability, try a new exercise from this post and let me know how it goes! Each incorporates a range of big muscle groups and can be used as a workout on it’s own, or the 5 have been designed as mini-workouts for those of you up for trying it. My clients and I have had a lot of fun with these moves in March, now it’s your turn! Burn fat, build lean, shapely muscle and feel GREAT! From me to you…

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Salaams ❤

Safiyah Esack – 27/03/2013

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