Variation as a routine
Boredom, stagnation, physical exhaustion… We’ve got the miracle solution to support you through these problems: vary your workouts. In 2017, make variation your routine!Read the article
Rebooting your body
Do you want to kick-start your body for summer? Rebecca Bassof, Aspria’s Head of Food and Beverage, shares her detox tips with Nadine Zaydan.
I personally don't recommend short, intense detoxes. They can be dangerous, not to mention making you feel awful for a few days. Quite often you’re back to your old ways once it’s over.
Even if you start intensively, it’s much better to make sure some of your good habits stick – detox really can be a new way of life, using food as ‘medicine’. That might sound like a challenge, but don’t be put off – detox can be achieved simply and easily, both in our club and in our homes. And it’s worth the effort, as the benefits are numerous: increased energy, weight loss, healthier skin complexion, improved immune system, stable blood pressure, and even better sleep and mood – I firmly believe it’s one of the keys to happiness and mental wellbeing.
Here are Rebecca's top tips:
- Stay hydrated: This is crucial, so drink lots of water. If that starts to get boring, try adding wholesome ingredients to your water – cucumber, fresh mint, lemon (or lime), ginger, berries and cinnamon.
- Juicing: Consider replacing one meal or snack a day with a juice: fruit, but mostly vegetables – and preferably green vegetables.
- Give up all drugs: Caffeine and alcohol are the two biggest drugs after sugar.
- Power up the day with protein: Protein at every meal, especially breakfast, is the key to balancing blood sugar and insulin, cutting cravings, and giving your liver the raw materials to optimally detoxify. Start the day with farm fresh eggs or a protein shake.
- Eat unlimited amounts of vegetables: Non-starchy veggies are best – greens, the broccoli family (including cauliflower, kale and collards), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes and peppers.
- "Fight sugar with fat: Along with protein, have good fats at every meal including nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados and omega-3 fats from fish.
In addition, there are specific foods that can help us cleanse our bodies of everyday toxins – perfect for a detox.
Full of vitamins and antioxidants, high in vitamin C, lemon is a powerful detoxifier as it works on our liver, which takes on most of the cleansing of accumulated toxins in our body. Lemon also acts as a natural energiser that helps you fight the symptoms of toxic build-up in the body.
Tip: Simply squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a glass of warm water and drink daily in the morning on an empty stomach.
This vegetable helps protect the liver and the digestive system, helping the cleansing of the body. It also helps stabilise the blood's acid-alkaline balance (PH), which is widely recognised in the medical world as playing a key role in the prevention of many diseases.
Tip: Have raw beetroot in salads or freshly extracted beetroot juice daily for a few days or weeks.
This popular beverage helps the body get rid of free radicals and improves liver functioning.
Tip: Drink two to three cups a day over the period of a week to help flush out toxins.
A nutrient called glutathione, present in avocados, can block at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the liver perform its role in detoxifying.
Tip: Choose organic avocados and eat regularly – plain, in salads, or in smoothies.
A great and affordable superfood. Its glucosinolates help break down harmful chemicals in our body, from pesticides to prescription drugs.
Tip: Raw cabbage in salads or juices will provide the most benefits, but can be lightly cooked in stir fries or soups.
Regulates the body's detoxification enzymes.
Tip: This vegetable can be enjoyed sautéed, steamed or boiled. Adding raw cauliflower florets to salad is also a great way to enjoy its nutritious benefits.
Great for cleansing the colon, the liver (fatty liver, especially) and other organs.
Tip: Enjoy sipping on some ginger tea after steeping two teaspoons of fresh grated ginger in a cup of hot water for five to 10 minutes.
Variation as a routine
Boredom, stagnation, physical exhaustion… We’ve got the miracle solution to support you through these problems: vary your workouts. In 2017, make variation your routine!
Modern man, sedentary, with an instinctive fear of change. Studies prove it: moving house is one of the greatest causes of stress in individuals. The reasons? Change destabilises, involves leaving your comfort zone, confronting the unknown and always having to adapt. Life is a slow evolution and changes are rarely welcome. They’re more often something that’s forced on us. Obviously, sometimes they’re inevitable and absolutely necessary for greater progress…
The need for change
In fitness, change is synonymous with progression. The human body is intelligent and has a phenomenal capacity to adapt. An example: an overweight beginner is able to lose a few kilos in the first few months of a Cycling class and his metabolism adapts to the unaccustomed effort by deciding to conserve fat, to be able to face up to this overconsumption of energy effectively. The result is a stagnation in weight loss! The process for building muscle mass is identical. A muscle “broken” by muscle-building exercise will rebuild itself more strongly than before and will then need a new level of difficulty if it’s to continue developing: generally, that’s the time to add more weight to the bars.
If you don’t alter your training habits, you’ll almost always get the same results: boredom, loss of motivation, stagnation, even overtraining and deterioration. According to Frédérique Desse, former professional footballer, osteopath and physical preparation coach in Brussels, “the same workout repeated for months can cause micro-trauma in the tissues and can entrench problems, while variation helps to prevent and heal these types of injuries.”
The keys to success
For good general physical fitness, any workout programme should include the following five elements: cardio-vascular work, work on the power of the torso (abdominals and back), muscular strength, balance and flexibility.
This is only possible by building variables into your workout plan.
-Variation between work with weights and without, to allow development of muscular strength while also promoting flexibility and explosive power.
-Alternating the planes of movement (linear, frontal, lateral, rotational) to cover all the biomechanics of human movement, to develop proprioception and to ensure good postural balance.
-Other variables to refine this progression: the number of repetitions, weights, range and speed of execution, duration of workout, diet etc.
In order to be effective, the variation must usually be progressive, realistic with regard to your potential and consistent with your objectives.
Don’t ever skip stages and respect the time your body needs to adapt physiologically in order to avoid injury (6 weeks on average). Vasiliki Mela, sports supervisor at the club Aspria Brussels Royal La Rasante, explains, “adaptations in the human body take place slowly but rigorously, and there’s no shortage of profound changes. When you face difficulty, sometimes you just have to persevere, but always being kind to yourself, knowing that you might need to give yourself a second chance or even a third. A Personal Trainer can help you focus and will discuss your objectives and weaknesses with you, to create a programme that’s appropriate and evolving.
Cycles of variation
When you’re working within the framework of physical preparation specifically targeting performance in a given discipline, it’s crucial to respect the cycles where variation plays a part. Sarah Loko, elite athlete in judo (-63kg) and winner of the last Open Pan-American in Santiago, Chile in 2016 amongst other titles, explains: “the fundamentals and stabilisation play a very important role in my preparation. But when I have a competition coming up, my workouts become shorter and more intense. I do the full movements without using much weight. I also promote explosive power to push back my lactic acid threshold during my fights.” No elite athlete could aim to excel in every discipline because, however honed he is, his physique is programmed for a very specific performance. That’s why you never see a sprinter with the physique of a marathon runner!
According to Florent Rivault, senior instructor at the club Aspria Brussels Arts-Loi, working out in the gym should never become boring: “enjoyment should always be your key word and variation helps to avoid monotony. Functional ‘circuit training’ type workouts are ideal for motivation. They offer an excellent means of discovering new techniques and working on weaknesses in a fun and creative way! It’s also a method which means you’re not exercising in the corner on your own anymore because you’re making connections and you’re helping each other in a spirit of mild competitiveness. That restores confidence! And above all, it’s often about high intensity workouts which are remarkably effective when it comes to boosting your metabolism a bit! With a wide range of HIIT training formats and some innovative and fun equipment available (including TRX, skipping ropes, bosu, VIP’R etc), there really is everything you need to make progress and have fun in our gyms today!
Not familiar with burpees and kettlebells? There’s not a minute to lose: functional circuits are organised every day in your Aspria clubs! Many members who, for example, feel comfortable in a BODYPUMP class which they’ve been doing for ages, don’t dare to break out and try something else. Even if the choreographies change regularly, it’s not enough to avoid stagnation and can’t claim to provide a comprehensive workout. If you want to continue making progress, why not try a Cycling class from time to time? By the same logic, yoga fans should ideally include a cardio dimension which is lacking in their exercise regime.
From now on, change your workouts for good!
Sana per aqua
Classes held in the water have so many benefits. All the more reason to take the plunge.
When you finish an aqua class, you feel good twice over. Of course you feel good because of the work you’ve done, which can be intense. But you also have the sensation of well-being provided by the water,” explains Xavier Peirels, enthusiastic sports co-ordinator and aqua instructor at Aspria with 15 years’ service
It’s true that the wellbeing benefits of an aqua class are undeniable, but that’s certainly not all there is to it. Adaptability is another advantage: these classes are accessible to everyone according to their goals, with the water allowing the instructor to vary the difficulty of the exercises performed. “The principle is that your movements should work against the resistance of the water, which is greater than that of air,” Xavier tells us. “You can work through the movements fully for maximum resistance and an intense workout, or you can choose to train more gently.” This variety is perfect, allowing everyone to work out in the pool, from the athlete in his thirties to the person recovering from an illness or injury. Everyone can devote themselves to the pleasures of aqua sports, risk-free.
Another advantage is that it’s impossible to injure yourself when there’s no contact with the ground and all movements and shocks are cushioned by the water. There are no adverse effects. In the water, your body also feels lighter (three times lighter than on dry land) and movements are made easier, so you exert yourself much more strongly in the pool without (really) realising.
Exercising in the water also has lots of long term health and fitness benefits. Aesthetically, first of all: exercise in the water is an excellent way to actively combat cellulite, helping you to refine and tone your figure and to eliminate the orange peel effect. With 2 or 3 weekly sessions, the results are convincing.
There are numerous health benefits, because aqua classes mobilises both the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, improving the circulation, muscular strength and overall mobility. So you see, the reasons for adopting an aquatic attitude are numerous, and the obstacles non-existent. Let’s go to the pool!
Aqua classes available at Aspria
What? Focusing on cardio and muscular training in the water
Who for? People who enjoy an intense workout in the water
What? Dance and acrobatics around a pole in the water
Who for? People who want to combine fun and fitness together
What? Fitness using a raised platform in the water
Who for? People who want to get the maximum benefit for their muscles from stepping, with a special focus on toning their buttocks.
What? Muscular strengthening in the water using a resistance tube
Who for? People who are focusing on their abdominal belt and waistline