Category Archives: exercises

Fit to ski… or just fit for life

If you have been following my weekly column in the Bath Weekend Magazine, that comes with the Bath Chronicle, you will have seen a variety of bodyweight exercises in January that make up a short workout you can do anywhere. There are  7- 8 exercises that you can put together into a short routine with the help of the video below. This routine would be a great way to prepare for skiing or if you are not off to hit the slopes it is a great way to get fitter, stronger and burn some calories – there is a warm up video at the bottom of this blog post so be sure to use it 🙂

There are a few options with this “ski fit” workout – you can either work on a time based format or repetitions. I’m going to suggest the workout below for you to start with which involves doing 30 seconds of an exercise and then resting for 15 seconds before you do the next exercise.

  1. 2 feet glute lifts x 30 secs *
  2. Squat front kicks x 30 secs
  3. Reverse lunges – either alternating x 30 secs or 30 secs one leg then switch
  4. Ice skaters
  5. Wide squat hold
  6. Jump Jump Squat
  7. 1 1/4 squats

rest 45 – 60 seconds then repeat 3 – 5 sets in total so it should take you somewhere between 15 – 30 minutes to do the whole workout.

  • If you don’t find this too challenging I suggest you do the single leg version of glute lifts and do 30 seconds each leg which is much tougher.

Be sure to do your lower body stretches afterwards holding each for at least 30 seconds and really thinking about what you are stretching to get the full benefit.

If you have a medical condition please consult a doctor before performing any of these exercises 

If you’d like to know more about technique then please read the section below and remember anyone can do these exercises even if you are not off to ski, infact that is why these kind of exercises feature at our group outdoor exercise classes at Zest Bootcamp in Bath.

GLUTE BRIDGE

Lie on your back, feet hip distance apart, legs bent, knees in line with feet and hands by your side palms facing up (so you don’t push into the ground). Gently squeeze your bottom and lift your hips off the floor inline with knees whilst relaxing neck and shoulders. Push into the heels rather than the toes to engage the glute muscles (imagine you are lifting you toes slightly). Keep your deep abdominals gently pulled in. You can also place your arms across your chest to make it more challenging as you can’t push into your arms.

SINGLE LEG GLUTE BRIDGE

Once you have mastered the above you can do a single leg version which can help address any inbalances with a stronger or weaker side. Often we are stronger on our dominant side, e.g. right side if you are right handed because you probably use that side more. Bend your left knee and take your leg off the floor whilst pushing into your right heel (to work the right side). There is also an option to straighten your leg to do these single leg glute lifts if your hamstring flexibility allows.

SQUAT FRONT KICKS
Start with feet shoulder distance apart and squat down, then as you come up you lift up your right knee inline with your hip then kick out the foot infront of you. Return the foot down to the floor, squat then repeat with the left leg so you alternate the leg kicking between each squat. Be sure to keep your chest lifted, your back straight and look forward as you squat down, keeping the weight into heels.

This video shows you how to do squat front kicks:

Don’t forget to do a little warm up before you exercise – there is a video at the bottom of this blog post.

ICE SKATERS

Stand on your right leg with other leg off ground and slightly behind you then jump to left and land on your left leg (without putting the other leg down) and jump back onto right leg etc. Be sure to land with a bent knee as that works the stabilising muscles of the hips and use your arms to burn more calories. Imagine you are a speed skater dressed in lycra from head to toe!

REVERSE LUNGES

Start with feet hip distance apart, hands either on hips or behind head, chest and head up with shoulder blades squeezed together step your right leg behind you and bend your knee until it almost touches the ground, keeping head and chest up (think good posture). Focus on keeping knee aligned with your shoe laces rather than letting it travel inwards as this puts strain on the knee. Push from the front heel and squeeze your bottom to return to start position and repeat the same leg for required number of repetitions then do same with other leg.

WIDE SQUAT HOLD

Feet wider than shoulder distance apart, toes turned out 45 degrees, hands either on hips or in prayer position infant of body, keeping your core braced bend your knees so your hips drop down inline with your knees, whilst you keep your chest lifted, shoulders pulled back. Ensure the knee cap tracks out in the direction of your shoe laces and don’t cave inwards. You should feel your inner thighs more in this  exercise than in normal squats.

Sometimes the static hold exercises known, as isometric, feel more challenging than the ones with movement and they are great way to get stronger.

Top Tip … If you have trouble squatting low try folding up a mat and placing under your heels as this will help you if you have tight ankle joint (which many people do have).

1 AND 1/4 SQUATS

Feet shoulder distance apart, arms infront of you for balance or in prayer position, keeping your core braced bend your knees so your hips drop down inline with your knees, whilst you keep your chest lifted, shoulders pulled back. Ensure the knee cap tracks out in the direction of your shoe laces and don’t cave inwards. Many people have tight calves and ankles which means they struggle to get low down on a squat so one way to help this is to fold up a towel or a mat and rest the heels on the edge to allow a greater range of motion. Really squeeze your bottom at the top to engage the powerful glute muscles for strength and a nice shaped booty 🙂

For this version of a squat you will squat down to your maximum depth then come up only halfway then go back down to bottom of squat then come all the way up – that would be one repetition. This version keeps the muscles in your thighs working for longer so a nice challenge.

JUMP JUMP SQUAT

Start with feet together and do 2 small jumps then jump feet out into a squat then back into the middles for 2 jumps so the rhythm is… in, in, out or jump, jump squat. As you jump back in from the squat to the jumps with feet together really squeeze your glute muscles (cheeks together ladies!) Be sure to keep an eye on you knee caps and make sure they track inline with your shoes and don’t cave inwards as you squat – always think of knees outwards.

Here is a 2 minute WARM UP VIDEO you can do anywhere and especially important to do if you are exercising early in the morning.

So there you go – enjoy….. and for anyone in Bath who isn’t very motivated to exercise on their own and would prefer to be in a group of like-minded women, with a coach to help with technique and to get the most of out each individual, then come to our next trial week at Zest Bootcamp on February 27th. We work with all ages & abilities and are poles apart from any kind of military style shouty bootcamp that you may have seen around – we are more like group personal training. To book a space on the next trial just fill your name and email in the box here on the home page and we will get you booked on…. if not now when?

Zita x

ps for anyone who hasn’t yet downloaded my free 10 minute CORE WORKOUT – click here to get your copy.

8 year anniversary

Time flies when you are having fun!

This is very true when it comes to Zest Bootcamp – this month is our 8th year anniversary  – whoop whoop… did someone say cake!

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In my previous career I was actually nicknamed the cake monster  – no wonder I was several clothes sizes bigger!

When I set up Bath Bootcamp (as it was originally called) back in 2009 I had no idea if it would be a success as I had only ever done 1-1 training and I wasn’t that familiar with outdoor exercise but what  has fuelled me over the last 8 years is my PASSION to help more people to feel great.

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It hasn’t always been an easy ride and we have gone through a variety of changes which included expanding to other areas including Marshfield and Peasedown St John, but I decided that I wanted to focus just on Bath so that’s what we’ve been doing for the last few years. Ironically I rebranded to Zest before I decided to just focus on Bath but I think the word suits us – full of energy and vitality!

Even the bootcamp van has gone through a few changes, from Bath Bootcamp, then Zest Bootcamp and then the logos came off as I was going to sell it but I didn’t in the end so all the logos are back on!

Zest Bootcamp van

Getting up in the early hours, especially in the dark, cold winter can be a challenge but it is because I absolutely LOVE what I do that it is never a problem (think it’s worse for my “night owl” husband).

What really makes me happy are the fantastic members we have at Zest Bootcamp, many of who have been coming for several years, one lady has been with us for 6 years and she previously did no exercise at all.

Friendships, fresh-air, fitness and fun is exactly how I’d sum up what we offer.

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I often get asked why I don’t change the name to something less “scary” sounding as the word bootcamp generally conjures up an image of a drill sergeant shouting at you do do more press ups in the mud.

What we offer is more like group personal training but the reason I have kept the word bootcamp is to demonstrate that we mean business – you come 3 times a week for a month and work hard for 45 minutes.

Everyone is so busy these days that I want people to get the most of their sessions so I have ways of making sure the fitter members are working to their maximum alongside newer members who often need more help and also a less intense workout to start with.

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What is evident as much now as in the past is the friendly, supportive atmosphere created by all the members and it is often as much about the atmosphere they create as much as the energy and vitality I ensure I bring to classes. We have social events together and I know that many people have made good friends through coming to bootcamp and also several business connections which is a great by product. We have done charity workouts, pumpkin workouts and loads more fun whilst always focusing on the fitness. You can see photos of some of what we get up to on my Instagram page here.

Lebanese cooking event

It’s great to witness the support that the “old timers” give the new people as they all remember being there themselves – the achey legs that mean you have to think twice about whether you really need to go upstairs to get something (as you ache a lot!) we’ve all been there. I also love to see how after just a few weeks the new members already notice an improvement in their ability and once they pick up the boxing technique they are on fire!

For anyone who has only just heard about us here are some of the awards I’ve received since starting Zest Bootcamp …

In 2011 Zest Bootcamp was highly commended at the prestigious Bath Life Awards.

In 2015 Zita won the Independent Business Award for best fitness business in Bath and also the Women’s Business Club “Healthy Business of the year” at the Maximise awards.

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2016 saw Zita as a finalist in the Muddy Stiletto awards for best Fitness Instructor in Somerset and in the same year she won “Product of the year” at Maximise event for the Total Body Shape Up Plan.

Maximise

So as we head into our 9th year I’m excited to help more people, I’m expanding my fitness repertoire by taking a fitness yoga qualification to add a different dimension to some of the classes and certainly with my 1-1 classes.

In summary I’d like to share my gratitude for the opportunity I have had to create a family of healthy, fit, happy men and women and spread my passion.

THANK YOU to those of you who have contributed in any way at all, and here’s to many more years of the same.

Zita x

ps Although since we started many other bootcamps have come (and many have gone) I am proud to say that we will always be Bath’s original outdoor bootcamp and hopefully the best 🙂 If you have never been and are curious to find out whether you’d like to be part of the fitness fun then come for a trial week – it’s only £10 for 3 sessions. Our next trial week starts January 30th and then after that it will be February 27th – all you need to do is complete your name and email on the home page HERE to start the ball rolling to the best version of you… if not now, when?

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Special Charity Bootcamp in Bath

After all the mince pies, mulled wine and bubbles we consume in the run up to New Years Eve it’s no wonder we start to feel heavy and sluggish so what better way to energise your self before the big end to the year with a fun workout outdoors to get that body moving. On Fri 30 Dec we are running a special Zest bootcamp class that is open to everyone (you don’t have to have previously been to one of our classes) and all proceeds will go to Cancer Research UK. screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-06-51-02

The class will be suitable for all abilities so don’t worry if you think you are not fit enough, I promise you will have fun and just do what you can do. As a highly experienced personal trainer I have worked with hundreds of people of all ages and abilities over the years so rest assured you are in great hands. We do need you to register though so we know how many people are coming, other than that just bring a mat or towel to lie on and a big bottle of water. (If you are new to Zest Bootcamp I will send you further joining details once you have registered your interest via this link below.)

Fill out my online form.

The class will run in beautiful Alexandra Park in Bath at 7.45am which may be early for some of you but I wanted to make sure you could come to the class and still have the day with you family and friends etc as I know many people are still off work. We will also go for coffee after with anyone who’d like to join us. A suggested minimum donation of £5 per person is required and why not bring a friend (over 18 years only) to help us raise more money .

If this class doesn’t work for you but you’d like to try out one of our regular classes then why not book a trial week starting in January (on Tue 3rd as Monday is a bank holiday).

Click here to complete your details for our next trial week

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Pumpkin Workout

Yay it’s pumpkin time again so before your carve yours for halloween check out some simple exercises you can do anywhere using a pumpkin as you would a medicine ball. A medium size pumpkin is perfect as it is about 3kg so a good weight to challenge you without being too heavy like some of the crazy huge pumpkin.

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You can either just do these exercises or mix them up with some other bodyweight exercises like press ups, mountain climbers, Jacks, burpees, high knee sprints, skydivers, step ups, tricep dips or literally anything.

pumpkin-workout

Why not start with 30 seconds of work with 15 seconds rest between each exercise and if this is too easy increase it to 40 seconds of work with 20 seconds rest. You may find that a heavy pumpkin is ok for lower body exercises but more challenging for the overhead press.

At bootcamp yesterday we did a whole session with the pumpkins so included several more exercises with them for a challenging workout.

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If you haven’y yet downloaded my free 10 minute core workout click the image below to get your copy.

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Our next trial week at Zest Bootcamp starts on Monday 21st November if you’d like a little kickstart before the January rush with all the new years resolutions. Click here to book your space by filling in your name and email address.

I’ve been nominated for “Active Business Woman of the Year” at Maximise awards and I thought I’d share a couple of the reviews that people have left on my page to help you understand why joining us for a trial week might be something you really ought to do 🙂

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Health is wealth

Health is wealth….or as I prefer to say – healthy is happy 🙂

I recently asked a few of our Zest Bootcamp members why they joined our classes and here is the video where they also share what they have achieved so far…

It’s often not until people lose their health that they think about what they do to their bodies whether it is the food and drink they put it, lack of sleep, stress, toxins put onto their skin, lack of any regular exercise or movement or anything else.

That’s why I love to see people coming to bootcamp, having 1-1 training, joining the shape up programme or even just enjoying my regular health & fitness column in the Bath Weekend Magazine. If I can inspire people to eat better, move more or anything else that can improve their health & happiness then that makes me happy.

No matter how wealthy you are, your health & fitness is one job you can’t really delegate – you have to take control and do it yourself – yes I know Madonna has chefs, personal trainers etc but no-one does the workouts for her right?

The ladies in the video decided one day to get out of their comfort zones as they wanted results – they came for a trial week at bootcamp and have never looked back.

So if you know about Zest Bootcamp and want to feel better then we’d love to have you join our next trial week on Mon 24th October. You can sign up anytime before then and as a bonus you will get my weekly hints, tips and stories. Click here to book your place now … no more excuses as it’s less than 100 days until the end of the year so don’t wait until January, you can make a real difference now.

For anyone who doesn’t like the idea of training in a group then 1-1 training might be better for you – just like Veronica whose story you can read below

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