Category Archives: Gym

Muscle ups; progressions and transitions

I did my first muscle up in Thailand last year, I spent 20 minutes everyday on the rings for a month before I got my first one! It was such an awesome feeling, afeing of accomplishment. 

However, since that day I hadn’t done anymore. Muscle ups rarely come up in workouts, they are somewhat of a party trick that only really come up in competitions or Hero wods. 

Since last summer I had gotten a lot stronger but had also gained muscle mass so knew I wouldn’t just fly up on the rings. With this in my mind I spent my summer doing various progressions that would lead to more efficient muscle ups. 

  
If you want to muscle up you need to be able to do a pull up! Sorry to say but I believe you need to have that basic, raw strength to be able to pull your body weight up. In order to help you get your first pull ups, use a band to put your feet in and start practising them before every session.   

Dips are another exercise that you need to be competent with, I am not good at these but I keep practising. I practise these using a band and put one knee in the band and complete 5 x 5 at least twice a week. 

Ring rows are another brilliant exercise that can be used to practise pulling your body up to the rings, remember to keep your body and core right. 

A great exercise I have done this summer is a muscle up transition using a box. I placed the rings at just above hip height and stand on a box approximately 30cms high. On my toes I then go through the transition of a muscle up, dip, go beneath the rings, pull up to rings, head through and push up to extend arms. These were really tough when I started and made even harder by wearing a 14lbs weighted vest. 

 So then I came to have a go at a muscle up, a year later than my first one and to my surprise I did it and it was much easier than I thought. The time and effort I had put in to working both transitions and progressions had paid off. 

Both my transitions and my muscle up videos are on Instagram, check it out hannah_j_lewis 

 

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My love for all things avocado 

Yes I love avocado! I love to add them to lots of different dishes or to just simply snack on throughout the day. 

  
One of my favourite breakfasts is scrambled eggs mixed with half an avocado, it’s a really delicious way to kick start the day. 

Additionally I like to add avocado to my main meals, including adding to a basic chicken salad, stir fry and most recently to fajitas. Normally everyone adds guacamole but adding a chopped avocado adds to both the taste and the texture, it works brilliantly with chicken.

Obviously avocado is fairy high in fat, but it’s good fat, I need fats in my diet and would happily eat avocados all day long. 

Benefits of Avocado

  1. It’s high in potassium, it can be said that a diet high in potassium can lead to reduce risk of heart disease and blood pressure.
  2. It’s full of good fats
  3. They’re full of fibre
  4. They are full of antioxidants
  5. It’s yummy!

  


Blend blend blend

One of the best thing I have discovered this year is the good old fashioned blender! I had heard about the nutribullet but at roughly £84.99 thought it was a little pricey, I then found one that was very similar made by Breville and was only £29.50.

  
These blenders are brilliant because you add all of your ingredients straight into the bottle, therefore it minimises mess and washing up also! 

This blender has been a massive hit in my house with both my parents and my sister making themselves healthy shakes. I also like it for mixing my protein shake as it eliminates the yukky lumps you get from a shaker. The Breville comes with two bottles as well which is really hands, they have clip lids so are great for on the move. Simply plug the blender in, pour your ingredients in and then press go and it’s done. 

There are so many great shake recipes out there and so easy to make. I’ve included a couple of my favourite below. 

Chocolate protein & peanut butter

  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana 
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3-5 ice cubes

  
Blueberry smoothie

  • 2 scoops strawberry/ vanilla protein
  • 1 handful blueberries
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

  
For more great recipes check out this website they have hundreds.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/proteinshakes.htm


Protein wafers

I’m trying to increase both my food and my protein intake and thank heavens for MyProtein and their wonderful protein goodies.

I’ve recently become slightly addicted to My Proteins Protein wafers. They’re absolutely delicious and contain 15g of protein per serving which is great. They come in a range of flavours including vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. I’ve tried both the vanilla and the chocolate and love them both. 

They provide a brilliant snack, they contain 197 calories and 5.5g of sugar. I have a sweet tooth so these are perfect for helping to curb that crave and to give me that extra boost of protein.

These come in boxes of 10 and are £14.99 but My Protein always have deals on and at the moment they have 25% of use code flavours25. 

My Protein wafers
  
Check out their other goodies too, they do awesome muffins and cookies too! 


Thank you Mr security guard! 

Random title I know but today whilst in a little tesco express, the security guard called me over as I left. He didn’t want to talk about what I had just bought instead he asked me what exercises I did for my shoulders! I was shocked but also quite flattered, this guy was about 6ft 2 and yet he was asking me how to improve his shoulders. I explained what I did, to which he said thank you and that was that.

The whole thing made me giggle but also made me feel good that someone would look at my figure, not in a pervy way but in a way of admiration for the dedication it takes. Since lifting I love my body but one thing I do still struggle with is my arms and shoulders. Due to my gymnastic days I have always had broad shoulders and I have very defined arms, I am confident in my skin and I am my proud of my arms. I guess what I have the issue with is other people’s opinions on my arms. My other half and family are wonderful and always say be proud, you’ve worked for it, show off. And they’re right, I’ve worked for every muscle on my body, it represents hard work and dedication so I should be proud. 

I am getting better but do feel self conscious sometimes when I wear a top or dress that shows my arms, it’s fine in the gym but when I walk down the street people stare and I’ve even had people say things. Last week a guy said ‘geez you look like a f***in bloke’ I didn’t respond because I was so shocked. In fact I wish I had come up with some witty comeback, it left me angry. People get slated for commenting on ‘overweight’ or ‘underweight’ people, so why do others think it’s okay to comment on someone who is in shape. 

I’m beginning to embrace my body and every muscle it has and hope that young girls choose female sports stars as role models, such as Rhonda Rousey. 

   
 


How can I improve in crossfit? 

I’ve been asked a few times recently how I have improved over the last year, people want to know if there’s a hidden secret or a magic pill you can take but honestly it’s hard work and determination. 

I’m a dedicated person, having been a trampolinist and growing up in a competitive and driven world I’m used to pushing myself. Since starting crossfit I knew I loved it and I’m not one of those people who can coast along, I want to improve myself as much as possible. 

One of the biggest ways I think I’ve been able to improve is through setting goals and choosing specific movements that I want to improve. Crossfit is varied and includes so many movements that’s it impossible to say ‘ I want to get better at crossfit.’

Whether your aim is to make it to regionals or just get that first pull up, then always make goals for yourself. Set a target and then break that movement down, so if you want to do your first pull up then practice pull ups using a band, negative pull ups and other accessory work such as push ups. 
I’ve put some of my numbers down that I’ve recorded in my training diary as it’s always good to look back and see how far you’ve come. 
                    2014      2015

Back squat. 100kg.   135kg
Clean& Jerk.  65kg.    85kg
Snatch.      57.5kg.    67.5kg
Bench.           60kg.   85kg
Pull ups.           1.         15
How to make improvements 

  • Choose a movement or area eg. Gymnastics and turn up to sessions early so you have time to do the preps and build up
  • Make specific, achievable goals
  • Work your weaknesses, don’t just practice things your good at
  • Mobilise, look after your body, it’ll thank you for it
  • Don’t give up! You’ll have little niggles, you’ll get tired and perhaps a little deflated if you have a bad session but keep going 

Body fat measurements

I decided to have my body fat tested just out of curiosity, I am happy with my body now and have got used to my heavier, leaner frame but wanted to know the figures. 

A great, cheap way to have your body fat tested is through using calipers. It’s best to have a professional use them when they test you as they will really know how to carry out the measurements. 

  
The calipers work by taking measurements at various points on the body, these are then calculated to give you an overall percentage. 

  
So I had mine taken and was quite pleased that the person carrying out couldn’t seem to grab much on my legs and arms, back and tummy could’ve been another story though! 

Drumroll for the results… 14.7%! To say I was happy was an understatement i wanted to do cartwheels around the room, I was over the moon and a little shocked. I realised that all my hard work in the gym and actually increasing my food intake has had great results.