Turn your home into a gym by reaching for your smartphone, as a new generation of revolutionary workout apps place expert fitness instructions at your fingertips.
Millions of people are now turning to their phones to keep in shape, ensuring an effective session wherever and whenever they want.
And with sky-high gym membership prices putting many people off, these cost-effective workout apps for Android and iPhone users make it cheaper than ever to keep in shape.
While there are hundreds of apps out there, seeing positive results on your body is a key element for those who exercises.
One of the market leaders is the free to download Nike+ Training Club app (N+TC), with approximately 15 million members following the same exercise routines as tennis superstars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, footballer Hope Solo, British 400 metres runner Perri Shakes-Drayton and American sprinter Allyson Felix.
It’s a convenient and effective alternative to a personal trainer with access to a range of activities that work for some of the finest athletes out there?
The app also provides a cure to the problem of trying to fit exercise into a packed schedule, allowing you to break sweat at a time most suitable to the hectic demands of juggling work and family.
Users will also never be short of motivation despite the absence of human interaction according to Marie Purvis, who is a Nike Training Club master trainer and one of the original architects of the N+TC app.
“The four-week programmes encourage the female athlete to keep pushing herself to be better, just as a personal trainer would,” she said.
“By following the advice in the app and sticking to the programme, she’ll be able to achieve her goals.”
She added: “The app is a powerful tool in large part because of its impressive library of workouts.
“But its value also lies in its ability to educate, inform and inspire athletes through training tips, fitness knowledge and motivational messages.”
Although it’s aimed at women, this shouldn’t put off men downloading the app, which is packed full of very demanding and intense exercises.
The full-body training app caters to every fitness level and this is shown when you go on the homepage after downloading the simple and easy to understand application on your smartphone.
You can choose from four exercise options that you want to work on – ‘Get Lean’, which are high interval cardio drills, ‘Get Toned’ – which consists of lightweights, ‘Get Strong’ – which features increased weights and reps to build your strength and ‘Get Focused’ – a series of 15-minute workouts to target specific areas such as drills on hips and building speed and stability.
Whichever category you choose, there are different fitness levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced – for a workout which can range from 15 to 45 minutes.
The aims of the workout is introduced at the start so you know what parts of the body will be tested throughout the session.
Before you begin the workout, you can see how each exercise is done with photos, a how-to description (step by step) and video demonstrations with voiceover. The routines are properly described by the narrator, who also motivates you during the workout.
After completing a tough workout, you will see how many calories you have burned, how many minutes you’ve taken and be incentivised to keep on pushing with a breakdown of how many points you have earned on your way to unlocking future rewards.
You can also work out to your own rhythm as the app allows you to play your own music, with an added bonus provided by the fact you don’t need to use the Internet to access it.
With Nike’s high-profile athletes featured in the app it provides motivation to work hard like the stars and make a positive impact on your body.
Rufus, our beloved black Labrador, has had a number of health issues these past few months, including cancer. He doesn’t smoke, drink or eat junk food.
He gets plenty of exercise, rest and affection and is definitely not overweight. There’s very little stress in his life and he is very happy, positive and optimistic.
Around 50 per cent of older dogs will die from cancer and I’d rather Rufus wasn’t one of them, so I’m taking a closer look at what exactly I’m feeding him.
What I’m finding applies to humans too as we and dogs are omnivores. The modern way of feeding a dog is a scientifically produced dry food, balanced and easy to control from a portion size point of view, but a couple of things bother me: lack of variety and three of the five top ingredients being grains.
We humans know that a balanced diet is good for our health and there is plenty of information out there to guide us.
I have written about the need for variety and trying to “eat a rainbow” when it comes to fruit and vegetables. So it may come as a surprise to know that even when striving for a varied diet, we could improve.
A pretty typical daily menu amongst family and friends is cereal and toast for breakfast, a sandwich at lunchtime and then in the evening something quick like pasta.
Each option is nutritious enough, but every meal contains wheat (and gluten). Unless you have an allergy to wheat or gluten it’s fine to eat, but not so often.
Biscuits and cakes generally contain wheat too. In half the world, bread provides more than 50 per cent of the total caloric intake, and in a few countries of Southern Asia, Central America, the Far East and Africa cereal products comprise up to 80 per cent or more of the total caloric intake.
Rice is very popular and often eaten at every meal in some households. Again, there is nothing wrong with rice, although white options of all grain based foods have been bleached and processed.
The meals could be very different, but the basic ingredients are the same too often. Now lots of people and restaurants are aware of this and experiment with different types of carbohydrates: semolina, cous-cous, bulgar wheat, barley, corn-meal and oats to name but a few, which certainly tick all the boxes for variety, but these are all still grains.
Add to this the rapid rise of the industrial food animal production system where an increasing number of food animals once raised on pastures are now grain fed, and you have an overload of grains.
It is seemingly cheaper to grow grain feed for animals than let them roam free. No wonder we have to eat vast amounts of fruit and vegetables just to get an optimal amount of vitamins and minerals.
Have you checked the boxes of eggs lately to see what the chickens are being fed? Whilst we are consuming all these grains, we are often falling short of other important nutrients.
Next week: The Primal Blueprint
I am a Level 3 Pilates & yoga instructor and a member of REPS UAE and ICREPS. I have over 25 years experience in the health and fitness industry. Follow me on Facebook/Josie.McKenlay and on Twitter @JosieMcKenlay http://www.josiemckenlay.com/ http://www.yogapilatesabudhabi.com/
IMG and Daman’s ActiveLife have announced the world-famous five kilometre The Color Run will return to paint Dubai red, pink, yellow and blue, with the event set to burst back onto Dubai Autodrome on November 29.
Coming to Dubai for the second time, The Color Run is presented by the National Health Insurance Company – Daman through its ActiveLife initiative.
The popular event will see a kaleidoscope of participants showered in vibrant colored powder as they pass through the course’s four Color Stations, with only two rules to follow: turn up in immaculate white, and cross the finish line plastered in color.
“Following the tremendous success of the first two events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, we are excited to be bringing The Color Run presented by Daman’s ActiveLife back to Dubai Autodrome," said Dr. Sven Rohte, Chief Commercial Officer of Daman, presenting sponsor of the event.
“It’s clear that this event just keeps getting bigger and better, as do the smiles on the faces of the UAE’s Color Runners! There really is no better way to get active and have a great time with friends and family.”
The popular fun run with a twist of color first burst onto the UAE scene in December 2013, selling out in weeks and witnessing more than 8,500 participants walk, dance and cartwheel their way around the course.
“The Color Run delivers everything that people love – a chance to escape everyday life, to have fun with friends and family, and to let go and get a little bit messy!" said Greg Sproule, Managing Director of IMG Middle East.
"It’s a joy to organise because it ignites such great excitement and happiness in people. The feedback and inspiring stories we hear from our Color Runners as a result are extremely rewarding.”
In addition to Daman’s Activelife, Presenting Partner and sponsor of the Pink Color Station, a number of sponsors have already come on board to help spread the color fun.
Samsung has signed up as the Official Electronics Partner and sponsor of the Blue Color Station, as well as Dubai Sports Council as the Official Government Sports Partner, Fitness First as the Official Fitness Partner, Sport360 and Costa Coffee.
Exploding in popularity since its January 2012 launch, The Color Run has become the single largest event series in the United States and is gaining traction around the world.
Organisers are urging hopeful Dubai participants to sign up when entries open at 9am on Thursday August 28 at www.thecolorrun.ae or at Adventure HQ stores to ensure they are part of this unique event.
Online entries will close at 5pm on Wednesday October 15, with in-store entries closing on Wednesday November 26th, however organisers expect the event to sell out prior to these dates.
Entries cost AED 140 and include a Gift Pack, an event t-shirt, sweatband and color pack. In keeping with The Color Run’s tenet of giving back to the community, $1 from every registration will be donated to charity through Just Giving.