We can’t promise these tips will turn you into rugby sevens pros like England captain Michaela Staniford (pictured below) and her team-mates Alice Richardson and Sonia Green. However, they might just inspire you and go some way to improving your general fitness and wellbeing.
The three girls managed to fit in a quick off-pitch catch up ahead of the Marriott London Sevens event at Twickenham Stadium next weekend to chat muscle tone, energy levels and stamina boosts. We’re feeling more motivated already!
How to stay motivated
MS: Make sure there is lots of variety in what you do, don’t be afraid to try new things. Definitely take a friend; things seem that little bit easier with someone you can have a giggle with. It also promotes a bit of healthy competition.
AR: Set small goals for yourself over set time periods. Make them realistic!
SG: Find something that you enjoy like a sport or a class where you can socialise as well as get fit. Zumba is a great way to have some fun with friends and get a cardio workout. Setting yourself goals is really important. The ‘SMART’ targets help with this. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
How to get back into shape and boost energy levels
MS: Keep yourself busy – it’s so common to get bored and fill time with snacking or eating something you don’t really want or need. You need to be organised, I’ve found myself eating convenience foods when I simply haven’t been able to get to a shop. Also keep an eye on portion size and letting yourself get into a hungry state. If you’re hungry you will binge, regular little snacks keeps energy levels high and keep your metabolism ticking over.
AR: A balanced diet is key, you need to make sure you are consuming enough nutrients and energy to meet the demands of your training and busy lifestyle. For boosting energy levels having protein at every meal and reducing your sugar and heavy carbohydrates is a good way to get started. Snacking on nuts and low fat/low sugar foods can help maintain high metabolism and energy levels without over eating.
SG: Small meals little and often help with energy levels. Plenty of vegetables and fruit are important for recovery, fast metabolism, energy levels and general health.
How to boost stamina
MS: You don’t have to ‘go for a run’; this wouldn’t appeal to me either. Walking, cycling, taking the stairs, replace a drive to the shops if it’s possible. It doesn’t have to be intense or long to begin with. Whatever you do, make sure it’s a positive experience; if you don’t enjoy it or feel good about doing it then you’re less likely to continue.
AR: Playing a social sport like touch rugby or five-a-side football or joining in on group training sessions and classes is a great way to enhance fitness whilst enjoying exercise. The social element will also add an element of competition to make you work harder than you would on your own.
SG: I cycle to work for a energy boost in the morning and some fresh air. Get some decent waterproofs and it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing. When I can get to the coast, long walks and surfing are others ways to improve endurance but enjoy the outdoors.
How to improve muscle tone
MS: So many people neglect the legs – big muscle groups burn lots of body fat. Find exercises in areas you want to improve, when you start to see an improvement, you will be more motivated to continue to better yourself in others areas.
AR: Doing high repetitions of exercises will enhance muscle tone – use as wide a range of exercises as you can to help prevent boredom and make sure the whole body is working evenly rather than training one muscle group repeatedly.
SG: With a balanced diet low weight and high reps will help with muscle tone. Change the exercises for each muscle group every four weeks and always do plenty of core stability work. Try out old school exercises as well as something fancy on a Swiss ball.
How to fit training into a busy schedule
MS: Personally if I go home after work I find it very difficult to get back up off the sofa. Take your kit in to work, keep some at the office or in the car and go straight to the gym or wherever you choose to exercise. Regardless of how you feel on the way, you will feel so much better about yourself once you have burnt a few calories, even if you sit on the bike for 20 minutes. You just need to DO IT.
AR: Try to be as organised as you can with time. Cycling to work is a good option if you really can’t fit enough training in. Take gym kit with you so you can train where you work before or after or even during your lunch hour. Going home might tempt you to sit down and watch television for the evening. Try to cut out that option; once you get started you’ll be glad you decided to fit it in!
SG: I cycle to work or train at work and shower there. If you have the option to shower at work, little things like planning to have your wash bag and a few changes of clothes at work can help plan some fitness at the start of your day. Although it is horrible getting up you feel energised for the rest of the day once you have trained. Can you walk, run or cycle part of the way to work?
Jessica Whittington, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Tickets for the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium on 12th & 13th May 2012 are on sale now via www.rfu.com/londonsevens. Like the Marriot London Sevens at facebook.com/londonsevens. (Tickets are subject to availability and booking fees apply).