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Exercises to get you started!

Posted on January 22nd, 2020 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

The New years resolutions have been made and now the problem is sticking to them. What to do, when and how to do it are all problems we are faced with when we start a new training program. Luckily we are here to provide you with some “get fit” training guidelines.


When the word “cardio” is mentioned – panic sets in and all that comes to mind is long hours of strenuous and tiring work. This does not have to be the case. Following are some fun and exciting cardio suggestions to get you started:

  • Skipping – it’s highly likely that the last time you jumped rope was a good amount of years ago. This is one activity that burns a large amount of calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • Boxing/ kick classes – Boxing and kick classes involve the whole body and nearly every muscle is used for most the session. It is a fun way to get fit with the high intense, vibey atmosphere.
  • Fartlek running – This involves alternating between moderate to hard effort running and easy running/walking. This allows your heart rate to pick up during the hard efforts and recover during the easy period.


Not knowing how to use gym equipment or what exercise to do, can be a daunting experience and something that may drive you away from training.

Do what you are comfortable with. Your body weight is more than enough to do a solid workout session. Adding in props and weights can come in once your confidence has built. Contact us to show you around a gym.

  • Body weight exercises – these are strength training exercises that use the individuals own weight to provide resistance against gravity.
    • Squats
    • Push/ pull ups
    • Tricep dips
    • Lunges
    • Step ups
  • Weight training – as you get comfortable with body weight training, adding some weights will ensure continued improvement and adaptation.
    • Weighted squats
    • Weighted lunges
    • Weighted step ups
    • Bicep curls
    • Shoulder press
  • Explosive training – this is a combination between strength and speed work to increase your power output.
    • Box jumps
    • Squat jumps
    • Jumping lunges
    • Explosive push ups
    • Ball throws


Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. During further activity, they are then weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

For more information on training, getting started and how to work your way around a gym, contact us!

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Getting started in 2020

Posted on January 16th, 2020 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

It is a new year and like most people we have all made our list of resolutions. Whether these are to get fitter and healthier, run your first 10km, cycle the 94.7 or run the comrades we all have to start somewhere. For those that are starting from scratch it can be daunting, but there are a few tips that you can follow to make the first few weeks that little bit easier.

Getting started

Getting started with a new gym program or trying to get healthy can be a very daunting task. Walking into the gym for the first time or trying to decide what foods to buy are things that all newbies fear. That is why we are here to offer you some advice on how to start your journeys and how not to become overwhelmed with this new way of life.

The first thing we going to talk about is that we don’t want you to see this journey as a 6/8/12 week program but rather as a lifestyle change that will lead to an overall healthier you. Setting yourself goals is going to be important. However, don’t only have goals around the numbers on the scale. We want you to have goals like improving your strength, running your first 5km, lowering your blood pressure, gaining core stability, improving your resting heart rate and so on.

For now, we want you keep these few simple things in mind as your start planning a new healthier you:

  • Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy
    • If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, then sticking to the program and adhering is going to be much harder. If you enjoy swimming instead of cycling, then do that.
  • Set SMART goals that are about more than just weight loss
    • Yes, losing weight can be one of your goals but we encourage you to have other goals relating to other aspects of your health and life so that once you are your goal weight you are still able to see the benefits of all your hard work.
  • Fuel your body
    • One of the most important aspect of healthy living is the food you are eating. Not only to help you lose weight and become healthier but also to fuel your body and give you the necessary energy that you need for when you are exercising.
  • Ask and seek out help
    • When starting out it can be daunting to do so alone. Therefore, ask for help at your gym if you are unsure how to use certain pieces of equipment. If you don’t even know where to start, then find a training program designed for beginners and start with that.
  • Set up a weekly schedule
    • Plan your training session into your week and book them out in your diary. Your health and fitness should be a priority to you and so if they are scheduled into your day you can no longer make the excuse that you don’t have time. Also, only schedule your sessions at a time that suits you. If you are not a morning person and keep missing that 5am slot, then rather try and make it later in the afternoon to ensure that you get there. Be realistic with your plan.
  • Find a gym buddy
    • If you still are nervous or are finding that you keep missing your early session, then find a friend who is on the same path as you and plan to meet at the gym. This can help hold you accountable as well as push you to improve. Just ensure that they are not much more advanced then you are otherwise this could be more demotivating then motivating.
  • Listen to your body and know when to push yourself and when to chill
    • Not every session you do has to leave you drenched in sweat, gasping for breath. Make sure you plan a few high intensity sessions, some strength, stability and flexibility into your training program. Cover all aspects of fitness in order to really see improvements, prevent injuries and get full enjoyment out of this way of life.

Just remember that you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great! If you want any further information or tips on getting started towards your 2020 goals do not hesitate to contact us!

Rest and Recovery

Posted on November 27th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

We’re always told to stay active and get regular exercise. But sometimes, more isn’t always better.
Taking regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair. It’s a critical part of progress, regardless of your fitness level or sport. Otherwise, skipping rest days can lead to overtraining or burnout.


1. Allows time for recovery

Specifically, rest is essential for muscle growth. Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. During rest, cells called fibroblasts repair it. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscles.

2. Prevents muscle fatigue

Rest is necessary for avoiding exercise-induced fatigue. Remember, exercise depletes your muscles’ glycogen levels. If these stores aren’t replaced, you’ll experience muscle fatigue and soreness.

3. Reduces risk of injury

Regular rest is essential for staying safe during exercise. When your body is overworked, you’ll be more likely to fall out of form, drop a weight, or take a wrong step.

Overtraining also exposes your muscles to repetitive stress and strain. This increases the risk of overuse injuries, forcing you to take more rest days than planned.

4. Improves performance

When you don’t get enough rest, it can be hard to do your normal routine, let alone challenge yourself. Rest increases energy and prevents fatigue, which prepares your body for consistently successful workouts.

5. Supports healthy sleep

While regular exercise can improve your sleep, taking rest days is also helpful. Physical activity increases energy-boosting hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Constant exercise, however, overproduces these hormones. Rest will help normalize these levels.

What to do on your rest day

To get the most out of your rest day, consider the following:

Low-impact workout

Like yoga, low-impact exercise is a great rest day activity. Low-impact workouts help you stay active without overstressing your body. They also let you enjoy exercise in a more relaxing way.

Examples of low-impact workouts include:

Signs you need a rest day

If you notice any of the following signs, it might be time to take a break:

  • Sore muscles. While it’s normal to feel sore after exercise, persistent soreness is a red flag. It means your muscles haven’t recovered from past workouts.
  • Fatigue. Pay attention to extreme exhaustion.
  • Pain. Muscle or joint pain that doesn’t go away might be a sign of an overuse injury.
  • Emotional changes. When you’re physically burnt out, hormones like serotonin and cortisol become imbalanced. This can cause changes like irritability, crankiness, and mood swings.
  • Sleeping issues. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline can make it hard to get quality sleep.
  • Reduced performance. If your normal routine feels difficult, or if you stop seeing progress, take a rest day.

The bottom line

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned athlete, regular rest is crucial. It’s necessary for muscle repair, preventing fatigue, and overall performance. If you are struggling with designing your own programme and would like some assistance, contact us and let us get you to where you need to be.

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The Hot and Cold of it

Posted on November 12th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

Ice and heat as recovery techniques:

All elite athletes know that it’s not only what you do in training that matters. In fact, those hours before and after training are just as important as the hours in the gym or on the field.

It is in these hours that using various recovery techniques come into play. Recovery can be a number of things, from the nutrition you eat before and after training, the sleep you get at night as well as using modalities such as heat, ice, compression or muscle stimulation that you use, that can help the body heal and recover in time for the next training session.

Using heat and ice can be very beneficial to your recovery. However, what is the actual science behind these difference techniques?

Heat Therapy:

The key to heat therapy is blood flow. When heat is applied to an area of the body, the body naturally sends more blood to the area. With an increase in blood flow there come an increase in oxygen and nutrients as well as an increase in the removal of waste products. All of this assists in the normal functioning of a muscle and in the healing of a muscle after being placed under stress. Heat therapy is also very beneficial in reducing pain as well as tension in muscle groups.

Heat can be specifically beneficial in helping with injuries, apply a heat pack for 10-15 minutes before or after training in order to help keep muscles fresh and recovered.

Ice Therapy:

In contrast to heat therapy, applying ice or cold to an area decreases the amount of blood flow. This may seem like a bad thing as blood flow is so good for healing but in fact it can be very beneficial. By slowing down blood flow to an area it will decrease the risk of injury, spasms, cramps and inflammation. By decreasing swelling, pain and inflammation it assists in allowing your muscles to function at a 100% come game time. Cold therapy can be applied in a number of ways, from ice packs and ice baths to cryotherapy and freezing chambers. It is best to apply cold after exercise and not before.

Combing the use of hot and cold therapies can be very beneficial to performance. It is advised to apply the cold first and then the heat, each for roughly 10-15 minutes. This will allow for optimal results but won’t cause any negative side effects. Never apply the heat or cold directly to the skin and don’t leave it on for more then 20 minutes as it can cause lasting nerve damage to the area.

For more information on recovery techniques give us a call and we can tell you what’s best for you!

Ankle Sprains

Posted on November 4th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Fathima Jeewa

Many people who have rolled their ankle’s know what an inconvenience it is, as the injured ankle will always present with recurrent sprains and weakness. Although the ankle will heal on its own, there will still be instability during play and walking. Ligaments, when strengthened can resist external forces and keep the joint stable. Thus, rehabilitation and specific ankle exercises need to continue after the injury and be incorporated during normal training. When an ankle sprain occurs, one needs to strengthen the ankle in all directions.

 Basic exercises to focus on when rehabbing the ankle:
  • Work on balance
  • Ankle inversion and eversion
  • Ankle plantarflexion and dorsiflexion
  • Stretching the ankle and Range of movement exercises
  • Functional balance exercises
Balance Exercises
Various balance surfaces to help improve balance and correct postural abnormalities.

Begin as soon as weight can be tolerated. Start on a stable surface then progress to an unstable surface with both legs, then one, then progress to having the eyes closed.

Ankle Inversion
Towards the middle of the body

Using a band that provides enough resistance but enough movement, keep the legs straight, extend the ankle inwards slowly and then back to the normal position. Repeat on each side.

Ankle Eversion
Away from the bodies midline

Using a band that provides enough resistance but enough movement, keep the legs straight, extend the ankle outwards slowly and then back to the normal position. Repeat on each side.

Ankle Dorsiflexion
Pulling the toes towards the thighs.

Using a band that provides enough resistance but enough movement, keep the legs straight, extend the ankle upwards slowly and then back to the normal position. Repeat on each side.

Ankle Plantarflexion

Using a band that provides enough resistance but enough movement, keep the legs straight, extend the ankle downwards slowly and then back to the normal position. Repeat on each side.

Ankle Alphabets

These are great for ankle mobility and range of movement. Have your feet hang over the side of a bed and trace each letter of the alphabet. Focus on form not speed.

Plyometric exercises

Once the ankle has been fully restored to normal, incorporate more plyometric exercises which stress the ankle with balance, agility and joint play. Some examples include jumping over cones, lateral jumps and speed drills.

If you are struggling with a new, old or reoccurring ankle injury- contact us for help to get it sorted before it starts affecting the rest of the body.

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How to treat tennis elbow

Posted on October 31st, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Lateral epicondylitis – known as tennis elbow is pain that occurs on the outside of the forearm near the elbow. This is a common injury which occurs when the tendons in the elbow are overloaded which causes straining and inflammation. Repetitive incorrect biomechanical movements often lead to the overloading within the elbow.

Exercises to help prevent tennis elbow:

  • Stress ball squeezes
  • Weighted wrist rolls – find an appropriate weight and tie it to a bar of some sort. Holding the arms out, slowly roll the weight up and down.
  • Finger web extensions – placing the fingers in the web, separate the fingers and slowly return to starting position.

Treatment exercises:

  • Wrist lift with palm up – grip a light weight, such as a small dumbbell or a tin of food, bend the elbow at a right angle, extend the hand outwards, palm facing up, bend the wrist up towards the body hold this position for 5 seconds, then release slowly.
  • Wrist extensor stretch – raise the arm straight out in front of the body, with the palm facing down, slowly bend the wrist downwards
    using the other hand, gently pull the stretching hand back towards the body, hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds
  • Towel twists – hold a loosely rolled-up towel lengthways, with one hand at each end, keep the shoulders relaxed, twist the towel by moving the hands in opposite directions, as if wringing out water, relax and repeat.

If the above exercises do not do the job in helping prevent or treat tennis elbow, do not hesitate to contact us for more information and help.

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Cure your Shin Splints

Posted on October 15th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, commonly known as shin splints refers to the pain experienced on the front of the shins as a result of exercise. Shin splints are most common among runners and individuals that take part in any high impact sports that involve repeated jumping. Shin splints are caused by repeated loading and stress, being placed on the lower limb while running or jumping.

Here are a few very simple exercises that can be used to help alleviate some of the pain and prevent the shin splints from coming back.


Toe taps seated on Swiss Ball or chair:

  1. Seated on a chair or Swiss ball, place your feet flat on the floor with your ankle directly underneath your knee joint.
  2. Keeping good posture and the rest of your body completely still, lift the toes and ball of the foot off the floor or as high as you can.
  3. Keep the heel on the floor the entire time
  4. Repeat this exercise as follows:
    1. 10 double leg toe lifts, slow
    2. 20 double leg toe lifts, fast
    3. repeat x 3
    4. You can also perform this exercise on one leg at a time

Heel and toe walking:

  1. Rise up as high as you can onto the ball of your foot
  2. Then keeping your heels this high off the floor, knees straight and ensuring your ankles do not collapse, take a step forward.
  3. Repeat this for 20-50 steps, and for 3 sets
  4. One you have mastered this you can add moderate weights into each hand to progress the exercise.
  5. This exercise should then be repeated on the heels, lifting the toes as high off the floor as possible and walking on the heels with straight knees

Towel scrunches:

  1. For this exercise you will need to be bare foot.
  2. Seated on a chair or Swiss ball, place your feet flat on the floor with your ankle directly underneath your knee joint.
  3. Place a towel underneath your feet.
  4. Using just your towel and keeping the heels and feet as flat on the floor as possible, scrunch the towel up and towards you.
  5. Do 5 complete towel scrunches 3 times.
  6. The towel does not have to be completely flat and can have ridges in it.
  7. To progress this exercise place a light weight on the far end of the towel to making the towel heavier to pull.


Standing calf stretch

  1. Standing with one leg forward and bent and the other straight out behind you
  2. Keep the feet straight forward and the both heels pushed into the ground
  3. Bent forward to stretch the Gastrocnemius muscle of the calf of the back leg
  4. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds
  5. Then bend the back knee and sit back into the back leg to stretch the Soleus muscle of the calf
  6. Hold this for 30 seconds
  7. Repeat this twice per leg

Shin splints can be cause by numberous things; tight calf muslces, weak shin muscles such as Tibialis anterior, poor running biomechanics, inappropriate footwear, pronation of the feet, etc. Depending on the cause behind the problem there will be different avenues to follow when it comes the exercise treatment. Therefore these are very generic simple exercises that can assist with the problem. However, it is advised that if you are experiencing severe pain to get an individualized exercise program that will target your specific cause.

To book an assessment and get your personalized rehab program contact us here.

How to be the best Warrior!

Posted on October 7th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Nicole Harran

Are you seeking the new FAD of adventure races? These crazy new obstacle races consist of trail running, military style obstacles and putting your fitness and strength to the ultimate test.

As one can assume from all of the above, these obstacle races are not for the faint hearted. Training should not be taken lightly, so here are some tips to help you prepare for your next challenge!

Depending on your fitness status:

Rookie racer:

When starting off training for obstacle course races, you need to focus on strength as well as cardiovascular training. Majority of the obstacles involve propelling or carrying your own body weight.

Body weight exercises to include:
  • Body weight squats
  • Push ups
  • Tricep dips
  • Lunges
  • Pull ups (modified push ups)
Cardiovascular training:

Start by gaining a general base of fitness (ie. running for time – 30 min run). Include some sprints, as well as hills and speed work.

Weekend Racer:

If you do these types of races on a weekly occasion, you should have your general fitness down. To now push yourself to a new level is your next mission.

Exercises to include:
  • When doing your strength training, start adding in some weights. It is important to perform exercises that recruit large muscle groups.
  • Core exercises and strengthening the lower back are paramount.
  • Include some exercises which incorporate strength and cardio: burpees, box jumps etc.
Cardiovascular training

To increase the intensity of your cardiovascular workouts – include some HIIT (high intensity interval training).

This can include things like:

  • Sled pushes and pulls
  • Resisted sprints
  • Hill sprints

The Professional:

If you have completed a number of obstacle courses and are going out to set your PB, the most important thing to include into your workout is sports specific training.

Things to include:
  • Hand grip strength exercises.
  • Explosive exercises for all body regions – plyometrics.
  • Balance and agility – single leg exercises and quick changes of direction.
  • Hybrid workout : which pairs running and strength training intervals.

If you are seeking to do some obstacle races and are struggling with you training or would like professional advice and assistance contact us or pop in for a consultation so we can help you.

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Top Tips for Training for your Marathon

Posted on September 30th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Jennifer Steele

For many people the desire to run a marathon or take part in a big sporting event is all about the personal challenge. To test your limits both physical and mental, prove you can do the distance, lose weight and get healthier or simply tick it off your bucket list. The personal drive has to be present in order for you to get over the finish line.

However as with all big events there comes one simple questions. How do I go about training for it?

Getting Started:

If you have just decided that a marathon is your new goal then there are a few simple things you need to consider before you take even the first step of your first training run:

  • Do you have appropriate shoes?
    • As you are going to put a lot of mileage onto your shoes, you need to wear appropriate ones. You also need to considered if your feet pronate, supinate or are neutral. This will determine the type of shoe that you need to wear because if you wear the wrong shoes for your foot it can lead to numerous problems and injuries later on.
    • For more information on appropriate footwear it is best to contact a podiatrist.

  • Do you have any injuries
    • It could be an old injury, new, or anything that might start to flare up as you start to increase your mileage.
    • It is a good idea to consult a health care physician, a physiotherapist or Biokineticist should you have any issues that need to be addressed. They can assist you in correcting any bio-mechanical abnormalities, strengthening and stretching the appropriate muscles and advising about any training program tweaks or cross training exercises you should be considering.

  • How much time do you have before the event?
    • One of the most common causes of injury leading up to a marathon is upping the mileage to early. It is advisable to start training early. This will ensure you can develop a good base and up the distances you run slowly. If you are starting from scratch then you need to develop a good running base for roughly a year before you start a serious training program for a marathon.

  • Start small.
    • The best thing to do is to start with shorter goals before a marathon. In the early stages of training start with a 5km race and slowly over a few months build up to 10 and 21kms. These shorter races are a great way to start physically and mentally preparing for the marathon event.

5 Important areas to consider:

  • Base mileage:
    • It is advised to slowly build up the mileage you run each week. Most training programs range from 12-20 weeks. It is advised that you do 3-5 runs a week. Each week increasing the total mileage slightly.

  • Long run
    • Once every 7-10 days a long run should be done. Each week increasing the distance of this run slightly by 3-5 km. Then every 4th week decrease the distance again so as to avoid injury and allow the body a recovery week. On the 5th week increase the distance again.
    • For most training programs the maximum you will run in training is around 32 km. On race day all being well you will be able to do those last few kilometers as your body will be in good shape and will have recovered from training during your taper.

  • Speed Work
    • Speed work can be done either using interval training or tempo running.
    • Interval training:
      • Run a specific distance (usually around 400 m) as fast as you can.
      • Then run the next 400 m at a recovery pace.
      • Repeating this 4-10 times.
    • Tempo running:
      • Run a longer distance, between 5-15 km at a challenging pace that you struggle to maintain.
    • Both types of training will increase your bodies work capacity and make your normal running pace feel much easier. It will also improve the speed at which you are able to run long distances at without becoming exhausted.

  • Cross training
    • Cross training is importance to prevent injury. It can be a variety of different things from strength training, cycling, or even rehab exercises.
    • As with anything in life to much of one thing is bad. The same can be said for running. Including leg strengthening and stability exercises, as well as doing some cardio work on the bike can help improve your fitness levels, strength, as well as your running form and ability.

  • Rest and Recovery
    • Maybe one of the most important and overlooked aspects of any training is rest and recovery. For your body to adapt to any form of training it needs time to rest and recover.
    • Taking 1-2 days off from training each week or including 1 day of active recovery is essential. This will allow your body to adapt, prevent injury and allow you to stick to your training program.

For more information on training, and on how to prevent injury as you take on your marathon don’t hesitate to contact us.

Add a Spring to your step

Posted on September 9th, 2019 by Andries Lodder

By Fatima Jeewa

We have officially reached the month of spring!

It has been a long couple of cold months and many of us have been hibernating away, not doing much exercise.

How can we effectively return back to our routines or start a fitness program?

Exercise and routine tips:

  • Consult a GP to gain clearance before starting exercise.
  • If you are on medication, don’t stop taking your medication but find out when would be the appropriate time to exercise as certain medications can cause a low heart rate or dizziness during exercise.
  • Include a cardio component in every session. This will help to increase your cardiovascular fitness levels, allowing you to cope with longer routines.
    • Cardio exercises include: swimming, cycling/spinning, running, rowing and even boxing.
  • Find an exercise/class that you enjoy and a trainer that encourages you to come back and keep working hard. Reasons to come back will be reasons to continue!
  • Encourage a friend or partner to train with you so you can encourage each other.
  • Remember safety and injury prevention.
  • If you have existing injuries and you are unsure on how to manage them, speak to your GP and consult a Physiotherapist and Biokineticist to treat the injury first before continuing. Unattended injuries are prone to come back more frequently.
  • Form and posture are everything. Perfect the art of the exercise before doing many reps and sets as an exercise done wrong many times has no benefit.

Implementing a healthier lifestyle:

  • Exercise and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand. Feeling energetic and seeing results will motivate you to stick to your goals and work hard!  
  • It’s not always easy changing your lifestyle and habits that you’ve had for many years. The decision to change needs to be a conscious decision.
  • It starts small and continues with consistency. Start with small daily goals and weekly goals that are realistic and achievable. Reward yourself with each milestone you make and you will reach your goals.
  • Encourage friends and spouses to adopt a healthier lifestyle with you as having support makes it easier to stick to a goal.

For more advice on how to kick start your new healthy lifestyle don’t hesitate to give us a call.