GYM & TONEIC

Importance of a warm up & cool down

Static-Stretching

Warm your muscles up before you work! This is something I’ve wanted to blog about since I passed my PT and started working in the gym. I was guilty of not warming up sufficiently before I understood the importance of it, and as a consequence have had a fair few injuries over the years. Since working in the gym I could probably count on both hands the number of people I’ve seen warm up before they workout (this does not include anyone I’ve trained), I’ve become obsessive about it, that and drinking water… The number of people I’ve seen come in the gym and jump straight on the weights, heaviest weights too… You’re going to do yourself a serious injury, seriously!

If your muscles and joints aren’t warm, supple and ready to work, brace yourself to hear/feel a snap, ping or pull… Research generally agrees that the main way to prevent muscle injury is to raise the muscle temperature, as muscle is more elastic when warm and will stretch without damage.

Warm up

Start with CV. If you’re in the gym jump on a piece of cardiovascular kit – bike, cross trainer, treadmill… for 5-10 minutes, increasing the level/intensity gradually. You could also do a number of bodyweight exercises including jogging on the spot, high knees, butt kicks, star jumps and so on… Starting with CV gets your heart rate up, blood and oxygen pumping around your body which lubricates your joints.

And stretch… Now you’ve increased muscle temperature and got blood pumping around your body, lubricating your joints and limbs, stretch the muscles that you’re going to use in your workout. Stretches should be specific to your goals and workout, a mixture of dynamic (involving motion) and static (no motion).

Cool down 

At the end of your workout it’s important to do a cool down, gradually taking your heart rate and blood pressure back down to near resting rates. Research has shown that performing a cool down can reduce stiffness (DOMS) that can occur 24-72 hours after exercise. It also helps maintain circulation, preventing blood pooling (when exercise stops abruptly the heart continues to beat fast, pumping a lot of blood that pools in the lower legs). A cool down should be done over a 5-10 minute period, gradually decreasing intensity. You can do this by jumping back on the CV kit you used as part of your warm-up, followed by more stretches.

Some of the go-to stretches I do include:

  • Squat to overhead reach
  • Wood chop
  • Standing pectoral stretch
  • Standing latissimus and mid trapezius stretch
  • Standing quadriceps and hamstrings stretch
  • Lying glute and oblique stretch
  • Lying sphinx stretch
  • Cat stretch (my favourite!)

I also regularly use a foam roller, an instrument of torture (until you get used to it!) that I now can’t live without. Read all about the benefits of using one here…

Read more about the importance of drinking water here…

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Manchester Three Rivers Gin press launch

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Rivers of gin in a city full of sin! Sin of the best kind that is… alcohol… Manchester people are good time people, who love the vibrant city that’s full of trendy bars and cool eateries, there’s something for everyone! And now Manchester has its very own gin distillery, how exciting is that!? A first of its kind in modern times. The gem that is Manchester Three Rivers Gin distillery is hidden away under a railway arch in the resurgent Green Quarter, under the very railway that Dave Rigby, Master Distiller and brainchild behind the super-premium sups grandfather worked many moons ago. An area that is alive with industry, innovation and creation.

I can tell you first hand that this new cultural attraction is very exciting indeed and most definitely worth a trip, as last night I had the honour and privilege of attending their press launch event, to sample Manchester’s newest gin experience for myself and share it with you lovely lot… I attended the event with my gin twin and fellow gin-fanatic, Dawn, along with other Manchester bloggers and local media, ahead of their official opening to the public next week, on 18 August.

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On arrival we were greeted with small samples of the gin to try neat, yes neat! And given a couple of drinks tokens to try their G&T perfect serve. We talked all things gin with Dave, learning about his background, how he started off as a university lecturer teaching film, before he took the decision to follow his passion and leave university life to create his own café bar. This was a great success, and lead him to the realisation that it was the products he was interacting with behind the bar that really ignited his passion, in particular modern craft gins. This was the start of his gin journey… Dave is a proper Manc (down to earth, friendly chap!), a proud Salfordian that wanted to create a gin that represented the history and heritage of Manchester, listening to his story was and is totally inspirational. The gin and the experience he has created is a labour of love… it made me proud to be a Manc and inspired to create something, do something – pull my finger out and crack on with PT’ing and maybe give gin production a go myself someday…  watch this space!

Pour me a river…

Manchester Three Rivers Gin, named after the three rivers Manchester sprang up around – the Irwell, Medlock and Irk, is produced and bottled by hand in small batches by Dave and his team on-site. It’s made with 11 botanicals which include the obligatory juniper, as well as coriander, angelica, orrice, Madagascan vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, almonds, dried Valencia orange peel, black pepper and oats. According to Dave, it’s the inclusion of oats that gives it its smooth and creamy mouth-feel, so smooth and delicate on the palate that it can be enjoyed neat. Its unique and exquisite taste is matched by its unique accompaniment – cherries! With the gin revolution in full swing I find myself equally excited about the garnishes, as I am to try new gins, lemons and limes simply don’t cut it for me anymore! Gin-soaked cherries bring to mind the bakewell botanicals and make for a very nice boozy-bite to nibble on at the end, a truly perfect serve.

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The spirit is made on-site in a custom-built Arnold Holstein copper pot still named Angel, which is a nod to the historic Angel Meadow area the distillery calls home – she is a thing of beauty, the queen of stills. Dave tipped his hat to all homebrewers, distilling in make shift stills in their bathrooms, but said for him if he was going to produce the finest of gins Manchester has to offer, it had to be made in the best of the best, to ensure the greatest quality possible!

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I thoroughly enjoyed the night, the experience and the company, and was very impressed by the look, layout, concept, team and most importantly the taste – so much so I purchased a bottle to take home for myself (which I may share with friends!). Thanks guys for the invite and hospitality, I have absolutely no doubts that this is a concept and gin that is going to be BIG news across Manchester and beyond!

People of Manchester… if you love Manchester and love gin – drinking it, learning about it and want to have a go at making your very own blended batch to take home, you’ve got to experience Manchester’s newest gin school for yourself. Tickets for the 3 hour tour and gin education cost £95 and are on sale now, find out more at manchesterthreerivers.com and show them some love on social Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I’m always open to and up for a gin jaunt, all recommendations and invites accepted with much love and gin-appreciation – share, comment and post below!

‘For Manchester is the place where people do things…’
Judge Parry, 1912

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