Creative Meditation

Much of what passes for meditation is nothing more than good old relaxation. This is true of any app or service that asks you to focus on nothing other than your breathing etc. True meditation involves an increase in awareness, skill, knowledge or understanding.
You can go to many places around Manchester, such as Clifton Country Park, Monton, or Moses Gate in Bolton and use your surroundings to help guide a succesful meditation for personal growth or to combat stress. But you can also achieve this anywhere by using the Garden Meditation.

Garden Meditation
The garden meditation is a great way to relax, compose your thoughts and overcome any daily stress, anxiety or depression. There are physical ways to get the same effect – by building your own garden or even playing animal crossing.
To form the Garden Meditation, you may draw up in your minds eye a place you have already visited, a place you have read about or seen online or you can invent your own.

  1. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. As you continue to breath naturally you can start to notice yoursefl relaxing. Allow an image of a garden to slowly come into view.
  2. Focus your attention on building your garden as clearly as you can. Adding flowers, fountains, trees, walls, birds and more. Really see them, smell and hear them. Feel the grass, the petals and the breeze from the ocean, the smell of the sea, even taste a fruit from your garden.
  3. Explore & build. Create paths, plant more trees and flowers, explore as long and deeply as possible. Create landmarks, even a garden hut, create helpers of any form you like.
  4. Create a strong association with this garden so you can easily remember it for the next time you come.
    Your garden can help you relax, focus your attention and help with resolutions. If something is not right in your garden it may be a representation of something in your life, you may like to create something that is and then resolve to fix it. Maintenance of your garden will be a daily source of relaxation, organization and escapism.

For 1-2-1 guidance on powerful meditation try a Personal Training Session available in Manchester

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Using Amazon Prime for Fitness During Coronavirus Lockdown Manchester

While we may be saving on gym fees during lockdowns, many of us are still feeling the negative costs of the many lockdowns and restrictions, whether regional or local. So any time we can do something to save money certainly helps! Now, it may be of benefit to you to take a look at the following fitness videos available with your Prime sub, you may have a Prime account already or you may be able to use the 30 Day free trial.

Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System

Zumba is popular for a good reason, it’s a really effective and fun way to become fitter. You don’t need to follow the movements to the letter, especially if you are obese or have pains, just getting up and doing what you can is a great start.

14-Day Weight Loss Full Body Workout Challenge | Eliz Fitness

A rather decent short 14-day fitness series that you should comfortably fit in a free trial period, or as a less daunting commitment than the 30/90 day plans. Also doesn’t have the step ford wives rather robotic constant smiling super positivity that some people find annoying 🙂

STRONG by Zumba Intense Cardio and Toning

Cardio is great, but I tend to lean more towards developing strength, so it’s great to see Zumba do an albeit short video on building strength. It’s one session, so you should definitely try it out even just the once. Adding strength to cardio training will super boost your results

Jane Fonda’s Original Workout

An oldie but a goodie, and perhaps the best on this list. Don’t worry if you can do everything she does, do what you can while avoiding anything that may injure you – but don’t use that as an excuse not to push yourself. Do it multiple times during the trial period or if you’re already a subscriber try doing it once a week or month and track your progress in a diary.

Simple Fitness | Abs

While Manchester and the Rest of England face tough restrictions under Tier 4, with a potential National Lockdown coming with tougher restrictions, simple exercises to keep strong and fit can help during this period. Your core is one of the most important areas so I always like to start here. Below are a few simple exercises to challenge and work your abs.

Ab Rollout 

You may need an Ab Roller for this exercise

This simple exercise is a great way to build proper strength in your abs. It targets your abs, and lower back, as well as your Obliques, Hamstrings, Glutes and Forearms!

On your knees, extend your body forwards using your core to control the motion. Hold and then pull back.

Dragon Flag 

Made famous by Bruce Lee, this simple move is hugely popular with enthusiasts who want a super strong core. The tension that your abs are under will increase your whole body strength.

Lie on a Bench, Bed or floor. Reach Behind and grab the headboard / the end of the bench. If doing on the floor, you can use a kettlebell to grab hold of or any fixed / heavy item. Slowly lift your feet up, keeping your legs straight, until your body is almost vertical. Slowly Lower until your feet are inches away from the floor etc, then raise again. 

KBell Squats 

This is one of those moves that creates instability, challenging your core to get stronger quicker. A kettlebell or other weight is required, and will force you to keep your posture by engaging your abs.

Primary Muscles involved: Abs, obliques

Secondary: Hamstrings, Quads

Hold a heavy weight/ bell in front of your chest and lower into a squat, go as deep and as close to the floor as possible. Hold the puch back up. 

Hanging Pike 

Very much like the hanging leg raise. You will need a pull up bar for this exercise. 

Without bending your legs, slowly raise your legs, aiming your toes at the bar. When your legs are vertical pointing up to the ceiling, slowly lower back down. If you start to swing, stop and start again. 

Get Up 

You will need a Kbell or other form of weight. 

This functional move employs your entire core and never lets your abs rest, to build sufficient strength. It quickly burns calories for a lean look too. 

Lie down holding a Kbell in your right or left hand. Roll to a kneeling position, then stand up, keeping the weight high above your head the entire time. Reverse the move then repeat with the weight on the other arm.

Alternative Tech for Fitness

ROXi: Music Entertainment System

While many gadgets are capable of performing many functions, it still pays to have some dedicated to a single idea. They tend to be more simple, effective and provide something unique. Music is perhaps the most used fitness accessory, providing tempo to train to, motivation, focus, energy and just more fun. For home workouts with or without a personal trainer, the Roxi Music system is a good bit of equipment to have.

It provides millions of songs to train to, worldwide radio and therapeutic sounds for yoga and meditation

Taking Up Photography to Improve Fitness

Manchester and Lancashire have many areas that are very photogenic, and some of these places are only possible to reach with a good amount of walking – an often overlooked but amazing exercise with one of the most health benefits compared to other forms of exercise. One of the easiest ways to getting fitter and doing more exercise is to take up a hobby that includes some form of exercise, especially if you don’t have to think about it. Photography is one such hobby. Below is a curated selection of cameras to help you get out there and start taking pics and getting fit!

Upgrade your mobile

But not with your network (if possible). It usually works out cheaper in the long run to buy mobiles out-right and the get a sim only plan. One of the best phone makers on tha merket today is Nokia, providing excellent camera phones at good prices. My pick is the Nokia 7.2 (click the image to buy)

Upgrade FROM your mobile

It is well worth investing in a true camera, and one of the best and easiest to use is the Olympus OM-D Mark 4. You WILL notice the difference in your images, plus you have the option of many different lenses that will give you different abilities. Cameras on phones are still no match for Oly’s (click the image to buy)

The Best Games Console for Fitness

Local Croronavirus Spikes mean there is the reuglar possibility of local lockdown’s in Manchester, Bolton and other areas around the North West. This can make maintaining fitness or starting fitness a little more difficult. While local lockdowns in Manchester usually mean you cannot visit other peoples houses and certain public spaces like gyms, you can usually still go to parks and other open spaces.

As winter is coming and that usally means lots of rain in Manchester one of the better ways of keeping fit (aside from a personal trainer :)) is to use technology, and video games are proving immensley popular.

The clear winner is the Nintendo Switch with the Ring Fit Adventure, I have it myself and can confirm it is super. It is such a great way to get into exercise and maintain fitness levels.

click the image to buy
Click the image to buy

But the Switch has other great fitness related titles as well. Here is a quick look at some of my faves:

Fitness Boxing

Click the image to buy

Just Dance

Click the image to buy

Zumba

Click the image to buy

3 Top Places to Walk or Go Running In / Near Manchester

The beauty of living in Lancashire is the abundance of places to go walking or running which just happen to be the best ways for starting and maintaining good fitness. Going for a walk or run is a great way to start losing weight and just improving overall physical and mental health. Below I will reveal my top 3 places for walking or running, including Lanacshires very own secret Japanese Garden and the Norths only Wetland. All images taken on the Nokia 9 Pureview Smartphone which you can buy here.

Clifton Country Park

Clifton Country park may not seem like much at first, but start walking left as you reach the lake and soon you will come up on the small and secret ‘Manchester Beach’ . The trek around the entire lake represents a decent walk and a good run. Be sure to do as many ‘laps’ as possible and for anyone interested in building muscle, try completing walking lunches all the way around.

Rivington Terrace Gardens

Type Rvinington Terrace gardens into google maps and make sure you arrive at entrance C. This will give you the chance to climb up to the terrace gardens – this will not only reward you with a very good exercise, but also some fantastic views. Be warned it is very steep and a long trek, but the rewards are great. Try not to miss anything out when you reach the Gardens, and make the most of all the stairs!

Kersal Wetlands

Park by the casino and you can go straight into the wetlands, or go further and go through Kersal Dale for a more adventurous trek through some pleasant surroundings. Kersal Wetlands are perfect for walking, running and biking. Again try to complete as many laps around the wetlands as possible, and for strength training make sure to include walking lunges.

Trips out to these places and more included in all regular personal training plans

Time to Get Going; The Best Running & Walking Accesories

Walking and running are great exercises that you can start doing with little set up cost, without a gym or a personal trainer. You also get to discover some of the UKs most amazing spaces. Take a good camera with you and you can even combine 2 new hobbies in one! A great camera is th Olympus E-M10 IV

HUAWEI Band 4 Smart Band

Perfect for counting steps and tracking kcals burnt, and for around £20 it is a fraction of the cost of many smartwatches, while still doing everything you need to track and push yourself to your goals. It also supports SpO2 which keeps track of oxygen in the blood.

Ascics Trainers

It is vital to have comfortable well made shoes for running and walking. Too many times I have had a client tell me they don’t like this kind of exercise because they have pains afterwards in different areas of their body. Most of the time this was the cause of inproper shoes and not the exercise itself. Ascics are roughly the best brand I have experienced and many of my clients recommend the most.

Hydration Belt

Staying hydrated is most important, especially in hot weather. Choosing a good belt that lets you keep some water with you is a good idea. It’s also a good choice to have some form of glucose to help rebalance some your energy levels and replace the glucose that you will lose. This can be in the form of a few sweets like gummy bears, or you can choose those pouches of energy.

The Best Action Cameras To Buy

One of the easiest and most enjoyable forms of fitness to get into is action sport or adventures. This can be as simple as going for a run in different places, as opposed to always running in the local park or by the main road where you live. Of course the more adventurous you make it the better. So I have curated the best action cams to buy right now so you can get started in your favourite sport and show off your adventures

Go Pro Max

Great for VR and almost like having 2 GoPros in one. It acts as a regular GoPro to film your action plus you can also use it to film in VR so that you never miss a thing. Great for more adventure type activities and for group activities. You may even film your group or family workouts!

Go Pro Hero 8/7

The main GoPro to buy for most people, and more suited to activities like cycling, windsurfing, climbing & running etc. Sign up to GoPro plus and get all your videos stored in the cloud and money off all of their accessories.

Insta360

A popular brand of action cam, which has the benfit of having some very cool features. One being a modular design so you can customise to your needs. It can get expensive, which you might want to consider. Action cams should have a balance on price due to their main use scenario. If one breaks or gets lost you don’t want to be buying another very expensive camera.

Osmo Action

A great option if you want to monologue like a villain, or want the attention focused on you during your action sports, due to the nifty screen on the front. Like the GoPro it strikes a good balance for price that all good action cameras find.

Action cameras can be a great way to really invest in a new sport or adventure activity. And these in turn are a great addition to any health and fitness routine. You can even use the above cameras to film your team sports or family exercise. You can even have a great time filming your workouts at home and then creating a cool youtube timelapse video of your tansformation.

Best Streaming Devices for Health & Fitness

Chromecast

Best for Less Cluter & Ease of Use

The more ‘TV’ devices you have the more remotes build up and then theres also another box sitting by your tv, more wires going in and around the TV. It can start to look messy and its hard to organise. This is one of the reasons why Chromecast is the first on this list, plug it in your TV and its your phone that is the streaming device. Download your compatible fitness apps and cast them to the TV.

Roku

Best for Apps

This one has pretty much every app you can dream of. There is even a dog calming channel. So this is a great choice if you are interested in subscribing to a diverse range of fitness channels so that you always have something fresh and new to try.

Nvidia Shield

Best For Power

Fast, Really Fast: The latest advanced NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor makes SHIELD the fastest and most powerful device here. Dolby Vision·Atmos: The fusion of Dolby Vision HDR picture and Dolby Atmos sound transforms your TV into an entertainment powerhouse. AI Upscaling: Upscale HD video to 4K using the power of AI. Crisper, clearer video enhanced to 4K resolution in real-time. 4K HDR: The most 4K HDR entertainment. All your favourite shows in the highest possible quality.

Fire TV

Best For Prime Members

The only real reason to get Fire is if you have a prime membership or are interested in getting one. The device is good and is well supported. You can buy many fitness shows as with the other devices in this collection.

Apple TV

Best For Apple Users

If you are already invested in Apples devices then this is probably the best choice for you. As with Amazons fire TV there is an ample selection of fitness shows that you can buy and with Apple you can always rely on it being a good quality device.