Health Club Articles

Health Club Articles

New Matrix IC7’S Spin Bikes are here!

We are taking RPM and Cycle classes on an even bigger journey with brand new Matrix IC7 bikes in our cycle studio at MQ Sport. The Matrix IC7 bikes are top of the range in the fitness industry and with the guidance of your Instructor, the IC7’s will challenge you to train more effectively, efficiently and ultimately gain results faster!

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The Matrix IC7 bikes are all about setting goals and training smart with innovative technology:

  • WattRate® (power) meter accurately measures your level of resistance / effort. You’ll now be able to hit the optimal training zone for aerobic, anaerobic and strength phases with a quick flick of the wrist to dial-in the perfect resistance level.
  • Coach by Color® console displays five coloured zones to help you hit training targets. Your RPM and Cycle classes will be more colourful, more powerful and definitely more original.
  • You’ll feel like you’re riding a real road bike with two-stage drivetrain's 1:11 gear ratio and innovative belt technology that generates an incredibly fast flywheel speed for advanced performance.
  • Advanced ergo-formed handlebars deliver a comfortable ride while integrated bottle holders re sleek and durable.

Do you regularly attend cycle classes or are you new to fitness and need some cool training ideas? Perhaps it’s time to try something new but your nerves are stopping you?

In an RPM or Cycle class you’ll ride different terrains of flat road, hills, downhill sprints, you’ll even hit the race track and chase down your riding opponents; all to fun, upbeat and powerful music that will motivate and inspire you to the finish line. 

The Matrix IC7 bikes will help you achieve your training goals at all levels of experience. Check out the Group Fitness Timetable for the next RPM class. Remember to arrive at least 5 minutes before the class start time if it is your first time and you’ll need to bring your sweat towel and water bottle!

Mind Matters by alumni member Terry Kirkpatrick

BA Psychology (Hons), PGrad Dip Psychology, PhD, MAPS

Terry is an alumni of Macquarie University and a regular group fitness participant. He is a registered psychologist, with over 30 years clinical experience working in mental health across the public sector, non-government organizations and private practice. Terry is currently appointed by the Minister of Health to the Official Visitor Program under the Mental Health Act (2007) and works in private practice. As Deputy CEO of the Mental Health Association NSW he partnered with Macquarie University to run a community trial of on-line treatment programs for anxiety. Terry is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and sits on the Sydney Branch Management Committee and he is also a clinical member of the International Association of Applied Psychology.

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While recently training in some of the group fitness classes at the gym I realised just how much mental health is like physical health. Just as working out improves our physical health, regular ‘training’ can improve our mental health and resilience. Many people find the Christmas season particularly challenging emotionally. Becoming mentally stronger means we are better able to deal with any significant events we encounter while improving our mental endurance helps us cope with all the little negative things that crop up every day.

  
We’ve all felt sad, anxious or down at one time or another and it’s normal for everyone to feel anxious in a variety of situations. At other times we can find our reaction to life stresses and events distressing and it can impact on our ability to function day to day and it may even lead to a clinical disorder. There are 2 key processes that influence how we deal with negative and stressful life events:

1. There are individual differences in how we interpret events. Some of us see the glass as half full while others view it as half empty

2. There are individual differences in how we respond to life events. Some of us bounce back from negative events quickly while others struggle to cope.

Whatever our starting point we can all improve our mental health. When we go to the gym we have a workout plan. When we’re trying to lose/gain weight we have a meal plan and similarly, when we want to build mental strength and resilience we need a mental self-care plan. Just as there are lots of effective workout and meal plans there are lots of effective mental self-care plans. One self-care strategy many people find helpful is the ‘MAPS’ approach. 

M – take regular mindful moments throughout the day. This is the foundation for developing good mental health. Being mindful simply means taking a couple of minutes to stop the activity you are involved in so you can experience completely what is happening at that moment. Closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths helps you become centred so you can focus on what you are feeling physically and emotionally right at that moment. Are you tense, stressed, relaxed, happy, calm or agitated? By regularly practicing mindful moments you will begin to recognize how you respond to different events and what it feels like when you are in a good place. Over time it becomes easier to calm yourself and take control of your thoughts, emotions and behaviours when things seem to be getting on top of you. 

A – assess what is happening when you are in a stressful or difficult situation. Mindful moments are important when you are under stress, feeling angry or agitated as they can be a circuit breaker giving you a chance to take some control of how you are dealing with the situation. Often it is not only the situation that causes us to feel distressed. More often than not it is our reaction to what is happening that increases the distress and powerlessness we are feeling. As you assess what is happening try and identify your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and assess if these are helping or hindering you achieve the outcome you would like from the situation.

P – prepare and plan for positive ways to handle difficult situations. Just as we need to prepare ourselves physically before lifting a heavy weight in the gym we can benefit from preparing mentally so we can respond positively when under stress. When we are ‘off-balance’ things can go wrong. Our brains function differently when we are under stress and we find it difficult to think clearly. When you feel under pressure it can be helpful to have a mindful moment, take a couple of deep slow breaths and repeat this simple mantra a couple of times “cool head, calm body.” There is plenty of research evidence that demonstrates how this simple process can lower your blood pressure, slow your breathing and give you some control to deal with the situation more positively.
It can be helpful to review stressful events by identifying the thoughts, feelings and behaviours you experienced and if they were helpful or not. It can be useful to consider what mentally strong people would do in the situation and afterwards. How do they react under stress and what things would they say and do? If you could go back, what would you change and how would you like to handle similar situations in the future?

S – we all benefit from positive support to keep us mentally strong so we can follow through with the strongest possible response to stressful and difficult life situations. There are different types of support that are helpful in different situations. Sometimes we only need ‘instrumental’ support such as having someone to help us move a heavy piece of furniture or to be able to borrow something. At other times we benefit from ‘emotional’ support. Talking things through with a trusted friend and spending time with good friends who provide positive influences is always good to help us stay mentally well. There may also be times when we would benefit from ‘professional’ support from a psychologist, counselor or GP for our mental health. This can be similar to the help and guidance we receive from fitness instructors, exercise specialists and coaches who help us improve our physical training regimes and achieve our goals. 

If we damage a muscle, tendon or knee in the gym we use the first aid technique RICE and it it’s still sore after a few days we see the physiotherapist and with some care it is fixed in a few weeks. However, if we treat the initial injury with painkillers and keep on training for several weeks until it deteriorates it may end up taking a year of rehabilitation to get us back to where we were. In a similar way it is important to recognize when we need professional support to maintain our mental health.

Finally, self-care is all about making decisions to look after your own physical and mental health needs. Making time for exercise and practicing mental health strategies such as MAPS are important. So are preparing healthy meals, getting enough sleep and making regular time for yourself to do something you enjoy. It’s also important to surround yourself with positive influences and to be willing to ask for help rather than waiting for problems to get out of hand before you do something.

What is foam rolling? A form of self-myofascial release (SMR) used to aid in muscle recovery. (Myo’ refers to muscle and Fascia is connective tissue that provides support and protection for the muscles.) Why do it? Foam rolling produces a massage like effect on your muscles that causes your nerves to relax, loosens the muscle, increases blood flow and can help with recovery.

How to use a Foam Roller correctly

What is foam rolling? A form of self-myofascial release (SMR) used to aid in muscle recovery. Myoa refers to muscle and Fascia is connective tissue that provides support and protection for the muscles.

Why do it? Foam rolling produces a massage like effect on your muscles that causes your nerves to relax, loosens the muscle, increases blood flow and can help with recovery.

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How do you do it? Use your body weight to apply pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group by slowly rolling over the muscle on the foam roller. When you find a 'trigger point' pause on it, relax and allow the muscle to 'release' (you will feel the discomfort subside).

What not to do? Don't hold your breath while foam rolling. Breathing will help you to relax and NEVER roll a bone or joint.

You have probably seen people doing it, you may have heard of it and perhaps you've already tried it but what exactly is 'Foam Rolling' and what does it do for you?

Foam Rolling is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) used to aid in recovery. Foam rollers and other types of SMR, e.g. spikey balls, are used in rehabilitative settings and sports performance/general training programs. Regular use of SMR techniques, including foam rolling, is recommended for the best outcomes.

The idea behind this type of SMR is to apply pressure utilising the foam roller and your body weight to specific points on your body to assist with recovery. Basically foam rolling produces a massage-like effect on the muscles.

Combining stretching and foam rolling is a great way to improve your mobility. Many flexibility-based exercises can be performed using a foam roller.

Sounds good? But you are probably thinking "How do I do it?"

Using your bodyweight to apply pressure to a specific muscle, or muscle group, you SLOWLY roll over the muscle. When you find a 'trigger point' pause on it, relax and allow the muscle to 'release' (you will feel the discomfort subside). Breathing will help you to relax so make sure you are not holding your breath. If an area is too sore to roll initially, apply pressure to the surrounding areas to help 'loosen' it. You may be sore the day after your session and it is wise to leave 24-48 hours before working on the same area again.

Never roll a bone or a joint and avoid rolling your lower back. Speak to our Accredited Exercise Physiologist or one of our Qualified Personal Trainers are great sources of information to help you develop a program specific to your requirements.

*Credit - content adapted from Les Mills March 2015 Newsletter article.

Protein will help you achieve your fitness goals. What does it do for you? Assists rebuilding of muscle tissue post workout Helps you recover quicker after exercise Balances your blood sugar so you don’t crave carbohydrates Helps you feel fuller for longer Supports memory and good sleeping patterns Boosts your immune system by aiding nutrient absorption Helps you maintain steady energy levels (reducing fatigue) Protein comes in many forms (eggs, chicken, tuna, chickpeas, tofu, cheese, milk). Try to include a palm size portion of protein in every meal and particularly post workout.

Why is protein so important?

Protein comes in many forms (eggs, chicken, tuna, chickpeas, tofu, cheese, milk). Try to include a palm size portion of protein in every meal and particularly post workout. 

The basic science of weight loss is if your calorie intake exceeds your energy expenditure you will gain weight. The simple answer is to eat less food or to do more exercise in order to create a calorie deficit so that you lose weight. The smartest way to approach weight loss is to take a two-fold approach and introduce more movement and exercise into your days and clean up your diet, trying to eat clean and green whenever possible and watch your portion sizes.

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What does it do for you?

  • Assists rebuilding of muscle tissue post workout
  • Helps you recover quicker after exercise
  • Balances your blood sugar so you don't crave carbohydrates
  • Helps you feel fuller for longer
  • Supports memory and good sleeping patterns
  • Boosts your immune system by aiding nutrient absorption
  • Helps you maintain steady energy levels (reducing fatigue)

Protein comes in many forms (eggs, chicken, tuna, chickpeas, tofu, cheese, milk). Try to include a palm size portion of protein in every meal and particularly post workout.

Most of us know that being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour is essential for our health and wellbeing. But what is physical activity? Physical activity is basically anything that gets your body moving, makes your breathing become quicker and heart beat faster.

How often should I be exercising?

Most of us know that being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour is essential for our health and wellbeing. But what is physical activity? Physical activity is basically anything that gets your body moving, makes your breathing become quicker and heart beat faster.

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Benefits of moving more and sitting less include:

  • Reduce risk of, and help manage, cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Maintain or improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels
  • Reduce risk of, and assist rehabilitation with, some cancers
  • Help prevent unhealthy weight gain and assist with weight loss
  • Build strong muscles and bones
  • Create opportunities for socialising and meeting new people
  • Help prevent and manage mental health problems

Adults aged between 18-64 years should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week (moderate meaning taking some effort but you are still able to talk while exercising for example a brisk walk, golf, gardening or household cleaning) or 1.25 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity (vigorous meaning activity requiring more effort that will make you "huff and puff" such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling or digging).

Try to include at least 2 sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises each week either at home (push ups, lunges, squats, digging, lifting, carrying) or here at the Health Club (resistance training program or Small Group Training).

Because of our busy lifestyles it is important to take every opportunity to be active, especially when you are probably sitting down all day at work and eating lunch at your desk or throwing yourself in front of the telly when you get home.  

The health benefits of increased physical activity and resistance training are proven so almost everybody will benefit from incorporating more into their work and home lives but the hard part for most people can be finding time. If you would like to take the guess work out of adding resistance training, cardiovascular training and flexibility into your day, check out the new EXPRESS WORKOUTS being offered in the Health Club. There is a huge variety of workouts to appeal to everyone and the best part (apart from being free for Health Club Members) is that they are all only 30 minutes, meaning you can easily slot one in at lunchtime or throughout the day.

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