Tag Archives: healthy

Squats, squats and more squats

Squats are most definitely one of the best exercises you can do. Not only do they increase your heart rate thus helping to burn fat but they give you a really good bum! 

  
Far too many times I see people not doing squats properly, now I don’t claim to be the queen of squats and sometimes I’ve heard the ‘no rep’ from my coach but It is important to squat properly, to reap the benefits and to avoid injury.

  

I used to squat when I went to the gym by myself but never really knew how to complete a squat properly. You might think oh a squats easy, anyone can do it but you’d be wrong there can be lots of factors that prevent people from being able to squat.

After I started crossfit, I began to follow a programme with my partner Josh and soon saw my squat numbers increase by quite a margin. After all a good squat is crucial in so many crossfit movements from wall balls, olympic lifts to thrusters and even box jumps. If you know how to move well through a squat movement then you have a good base.

  I followed the Smolov program whilst training with my other half and my 1rm went from 100kg to 115kg which I was super happy with. If you want a link to Smolov have a look here, you work out your percentages and then go from there it’s a great programme that can help to increase your numbers. I followed the junior program.

Smolov
Ok so tips for a good squat. First you need to begin with a basic air squat.

Feet on the floor standing straight. Then push your bum backwards and squat down, you need to make sure your knees track in alignment with your toes and that your hips break parallel. If you struggle with the latter then try working on your ankle range and if you really find it tricky try squatting onto a bench or med ball first to develop better range. The ought the movement keep your weight on your heels and your back straight, try to engage your core. 

  
If you have a good air squat then build this up until your confident to move with a bar. Now I go for a high bar hold meaning I balance the bar quite high up on my back but this is just what feels comfortable for me you may prefer to have the bar resting lower.

Then complete your squat the same as you did with the air squat. Keep your core tight and knee tracking over your toes. You don’t want to see this at the bottom of your squat  

 
Here my left knee in particular is not where it should be!

Make sure you increase the weight only when you are comfortable with what you are doing. I rarely attempt 1rm but spend a lot of time working around 65-85% of my max. 

If you can squat and keep your heels flat on the floor then great, if you think you may need some help then invest in some lifting shoes but remember they don’t do all the work for you! 

Points to remember 

  • Knees tracking over toes
  • Feet shoulder width apart or wider if you prefer a ️Powerlifting stance
  • Engage your core
  • Tight back, engage your upper back
  • Weight on heels
  • Hips below parallel 



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Role models…

I’m writing this post because I recently posted a couple of photos on to my Instagram page hannah_j_lewis and was happily surprised at the response I got. I didn’t post it to get comments or anything but more to try and inspire other women.

  
The above is the photo! On the left I was 60kg and 20% body fat, I made sure I ran everyday and spent a lot of the time poorly. I skipped meals on a regular basis with the sole aim to be ‘skinny.’ That was my goal, I wanted to be under 60kg and punished myself for even eating a square of chocolate, not a healthy mind set at all.

Jump to the photo on the right, I’m now 10kg heavier at 70kg, I’m much healthier, I have more energy, better skin and nails and my body fat is even lower at 14%! 

What I’ve come to realise on my journey through weightlifting and crossfit is that skinny is not actually healthy. I used to look up to singers such as Cheryl Cole and think they look great but actually they’re a bag of bones, if that’s what you aspire to be then that’s fine but I want young women and girls to look up to be something healthy, strong and beautiful. 

I had lots of responses to my post, many girls thanking me for public ally saying it’s ok to put on weight/ muscle and to be heavier. I also had messages from girls who had eating disorders who also thanked me and that was really nice to see. 

The other day a girl I used to teach walked past me in my crossfit class. The next day her mum handed me a pencil drawn picture of me lifting weights with the words ‘when I grow up I want to lift weights and be strong like you Miss Lewis.’ This meant the world to me, if I can inspire any female no matter how old or irregardless of ability then I’ve done my job! 

I’m not saying it’s been easy, I still have mini freak outs that I’m heavier now but then i remind myself of what I can do, how functional I am and how healthy and I feel enpowered. I’m also lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful boyfriend, friends and family. 

If you’re reading this and struggle with your weight or body issues then please remember it’s more important to make yourself happy and to be healthy. Look up to those female sport stars not the catwalk models! 

After all if we were in the hunger games… Who would survive?! 

  


C9 Cleanse

Sorry for being quiet recently, I’ve just gone back to work and teaching has been pretty crazy!

Anyway I’m here to tell you about the recent cleanse I’ve been on, C9. 

  
I decided to do this cleanse because I wanted to lose a bit of weight but mainly wanted to give my body a really good detox.

The first 2 days you don’t eat a meal, you have lots of aloe Vera gel, fibre tablets and can snack on fruits and vegetables which in the booklet are called ‘free foods.’ To say I was hungry was an understatement, by the second day I really wanted to eat and I found that I lacked energy when working out.

Days 3-9 you can introduce a 600 calorie meal and I chose to have mine as an evening meal. I was so looking forward to this meal and it didn’t disappoint, however I felt the next day I was hungry and counting down the hours.

I was pleased with my weight loss I lost 2.5-3kg in 4 days and 1.5inches off my waist. But I do think this was due to a severe lack of food and the fact I was starving! 

All in all I wouldn’t really recommend C9 to people who train and who are in shape already. If you have a holiday coming up and have a bit to lose then it’s worth trying it because I think it does cleanse and give a kick boost in losing weight. 

I regret doing it now as my training has suffered but at least I have given it a go. I need to learn to be happy and be confident that what I eat is good for me and that I’m happy with my body. 

Good luck if you do the cleanse but I honestly would recommend just eating healthy, drinking water and exercising. 


Outdoor workout

I want to show everyone that you don’t necessarily need a gym or any high tech equipment in order to be able to complete a successful workout. 

Today the gym was closed so myself and my partner headed to our local park. Here they have put up equipment that the public can use, which I think they do at a lot of local parks in the UK. 

  
There was no one on it when we got there and we agreed to complete a partner workout of 150 pull ups, 150 press ups and 400 air squats. If you’re just getting started then these are quite big numbers, I would start out with the aim to do much smaller sets of 20 and see how you feel after each set. If you haven’t got pull ups then there will be probably be a bar low enough to have a go at jumping pull ups. 

  
Air squats are a brilliant exercise as they really work the large muscle groups in your legs and ladies they’re brilliant for the bum! 

If you struggle with press ups then again break it down try as many as you can, then have a go at going on to your knees. Try to keep your hips inline when doing this though to ensure your arms get a work out. 

If you go to your local park and there isn’t any equipment at all then try to incorporate some sprints. In addition if there are benches then try some steps ups, or jump ups if your feeling brave. Tricep dips can also be done using a bench.

Other exercise you can include are lunges, jumping jacks, sit ups, skipping etc. There are loads and I hope to post some videos soon. 

   
 


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!

  


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.