Don’t forget leg day, ladies

In love master2Short shorts and flip-flops aren’t exactly around the corner. But it’s never too early to start giving your legs the attention they deserve. To get them summer-ready, try these 5 moves stat!

Top 5 killer leg moves to master

1. Squat

– Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Your toes should face forwards. Squat down bending your knees, as if sitting on a chair.

– Your knees should be in line with your toes when you’re in the squat position. Hold for three seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat.

2. Lunges

– Begin in a lunge position, in a split stance, with both of your knees bent.

– Bend both your knees to 90 degrees, then return to the starting position. Repeat.

3. Standing cable hamstring curls

– Stand facing the cable with your foot in the foot strap and your knee slightly bent. Curl your foot up towards your glutes.

– Straighten your leg controlling the cable back to the starting position. Repeat.

4. Step up

– Stand in front of a bench or step and place your left foot firmly on the step. Press your left foot into the step and push your body up until your left leg is straight.

– Lower your body back down until your right foot touches the floor and repeat.

5. Squat jump

– Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging at your sides. Squat down until your knees are bent about 90 degrees [A].

– Immediately swing your arms overhead and jump upward as high as you can [B]. As you land, gently bend your knees and sink back down into the squat position. That’s 1 rep. Do 10.

For more moves to try, or videos on how to do these moves, visit myvirginactive and check out the exercise library.

25% off tickets to the 2015 Discovery Vitality Summit

VitalityMailer_HeaderFullYou can be part of the wellness revolution. Get valuable insights and challenging ideas from the rapidly-developing field of wellness and book your tickets for this year’s Discovery Vitality Summit.

The 2015 line-up

– Eric Friedman, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Fitbit.

Sam Kass, world-renowned chef and former White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition.

Lindsey Parry, Head Sports Scientist at the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Sports Research

– Head coach of the 2015 Ladies Comrades’ winner, Caroline Wöstmann, and more.

Date: Thursday, 6 August 2015
Venue: The Dome, the Wanderers Club, Illovo, Johannesburg
Ticket price: R 1 500 (Vitality members get a 25% discount, so they only pay R1 125.)

Hey Vitality members, get your 25% discount
All you have to do is use your ID number when you book your ticket. Visit www.vitalitysummit.com for updates on speakers and other important details.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Stay fit with your family

shutterstock_106049021We know you don’t have loads of spare time and energy. And you don’t want to choose between your workout and your family time. Which is cool. Because you can do both.

And while you’re at it, you’ll show your kids what an active lifestyle looks like, so they’ll be more likely to stick to it when they get older.

Find something you all love doing together

Because enjoyment is a massive part of actually sticking to something in the long run. What can you do that makes you and your family happy but also gets your heart racing?

If you and your family are quite outdoorsy, how about a hike? If you like doing fun things for a good cause, how about a walk to pick up litter, or taking a shelter dog for a run on the weekends?

Are you and your family homebodies? Create obstacle courses in the garden. Don’t let winter stop you. Get muddy. Remember, the goal is to make it really fun for everyone. If you really don’t want to go outside, move the couch and bring the fun indoors. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re getting that heart rate up.

Start healthy habits

Start fun, active routines. Saturday mornings at your club’s pool. If your kids are old enough, how about taking them through your routine with you. It’s a fun bonding experience. Here are a few other ideas.

Do a class together. Ride. Kick. The Grid. Teens are welcome to take part in any group exercise class. Just check your club’s timetable.

A Saturday swim. No matter what the weather is doing outside, our pools are always heated. So there’s no excuse.

– If the weather is too good to stay indoors, step outside. Take the dogs to the beach. Go for a hike with a picnic basket.

– Make an after school walk a new tradition. Or bike ride. Or make it an after dinner thing. It doesn’t matter when you do it as long as you do it.

Enjoy Meatless Mondays. Vegetarian meals can be so tasty and good for your health. Try making these recipes together.

It’s not easy. But with some thought and dedication, you can stay fit and spend quality time with your family.

Build muscle the natural way

shutterstock_276666779You want to bulk up fast. You’re working out and you’re working out hard, but you’re not seeing the results you want to see yet.

It’s tempting to try all the products and supplements in the display windows to help you get there. But. It’s way better getting the results on your own. The natural way. And the only way to get the body you want? Discipline and dedication.

How to build muscle the right way

– Start slowly. Build up to lifting heavier. It’s all about progression. If you don’t go this route, you could end up injuring yourself, which may mean some time out of action and out of the club.

– Focus on moves that work more than one muscle group at a time. Think squats and deadlifts and a lot of them. This way, you’re getting more out of your time and your energy.

Eat. A lot. Of the right foods. Like protein, carbs and vegetables. Eat more on training days. Less on non-training days. But don’t overdo it or you could end up just gaining fat and not muscle.

Muscle and fat are two different things. Be careful of putting on too much weight that’s not muscle. We’ll say it again: Watch your diet.

Track your progress on myvirginactive. Tracking is a great motivator. How? If you can see, right there in black and white, how far you’ve come, you’ll be more inspired to keep going.

– Get enough sleep. Try for 7-8 hours a night. It’s the time your body needs for rest and recovery. It’s also the time needed for you to be mentally ready for the next day’s challenges.

– Be consistent. Everybody’s going to stumble and back track from time to time. Don’t let a few bad choices ruin all the progress you’ve made. Just. Keep. Going.

Lastly: Experiment. Figure out what works for you through trial and error. No body is the same, or works the same, as another. And that’s pretty great.

Up your skills on fitness equipment

GGPVWF-19Yes. Free weights are more functional. And functional fitness can help condition your body to move more efficiently through your real-life activities. But no matter what your goals are, or where you’re at in achieving them, there are benefits to using fixed equipment at the club. Check it out.

Benefits of using fixed equipment

– Fixed strength equipment focuses on specific muscle groups and provides an easy initiation into strength training.

– Helps to build isolated muscle strength or size in a safe way (the machine guides your movement).

– Helps with weight loss goals. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

Top 5 machine moves for men

myvirginactive has videos to show you exactly how to do these moves. So don’t stress if you’re not sure.

1. Machine arm curl

– Sit in the arm curl machine, placing your upper arms on the pad so that your elbow joints are aligned with the lever fulcrum.

– Grasp the handles with an underhand grip and pull the levers by bending your arms, then return to the starting position.

2. Machine-seated lat pulldown

– Sit on a bench with your knees supported. Take hold of the bar with a wide, overhand grip (fingers curling around the bar away from you).

– Lower the bar to your chin level and return slowly to the starting position. Repeat.

3. Machine seated chest press

– Sit on the chest press machine. Adjust the seat to position the middle of your chest at the height of the handles. Grasp the handles with an overhand grip, keeping your elbows aligned between your wrists and shoulders. Use the optional foot lever to release the weights.

– Press the lever until your arms are almost extended. Return to the starting position. Repeat.

4. Machine low row

– Sit slightly forwards on the seat and grasp the cable attachment. Place your feet on the vertical platform and slide your hips back, positioning your knees with a slight bend.

– Pull the cable attachment to your waist while straightening your lower back. Pull your shoulders back and push your chest forwards while arching your back. Return until your arms are extended, your shoulders are stretched forwards, and your lower back is flexed forwards.

5. Machine abdominal crunches

– Adjust your seat height so that the centre of your hip joint is directly in line with the centre of rotation of the lever. Begin in a seated position with your knees and hips flexed at 90 degrees.

– Push forwards with your chest against the padded bar, as if curling your shoulders and upper back so that your chin moves towards your chest as your upper body is curling towards your thighs. Slowly control the weight as it returns to the starting position. Stop just short of the starting position, then repeat the movement as you exhale and crunch forwards.

Try the Super Circuit

You can up your fitness and burn calories in 30 minutes or less by trying out some of the different pieces of equipment in the Super Circuit. Check your club’s timetable and see if you can make a class.

The best vegetable recipes ever

shutterstock_76855774You want to eat healthy. But you don’t love vegetables. And that’s putting it mildly. Luckily, myvirginactive is loaded with easy, tasty, and healthy recipes that anyone can make. Because reaching your goals doesn’t have to mean steamed chicken and broccoli every day. But before we hit the recipes, let’s be reminded why veggies rock.

Top 5 benefits of vegetables

1. You can eat as much as you want. Veggies are the best low calorie options, plus they can fill you up. Tip: Don’t counteract the goodness of vegetables with high-in-fat sauces or gravies.

2. Vegetables are high in fibre. Which means they’re good for your digestion. You’ll notice the difference pretty much straight away.

3. Vegetables can give you vitamins and minerals, and loads of them. Think of veggies as the cornerstone of your diet. Add them to most meals if you can.

4. You don’t have to cook them. If you’re feeling lazy, all you have to do is chop. It’s tastier than you think. Just try it. Tip: Raw carrots and hummus make a super healthy, delicious snack.

5. If you’re really not a fan, you can hide them in things like lasagne and stews (recipes below), smoothies, and omelettes. The main thing is: get them in!

5 easy vegetable recipes to try today

1. African vegetable stew
If you don’t have these exact ingredients, don’t stress. That’s what’s so great about this dish. It’s tasty with anything you can scrounge up.

2. Greek style butternut
The ingredients are simple and perfect for this time of year. Butternut is incredibly healthy and offers you a tasty leftover option as well.

3. Green beans
Good news. No matter what you do, this dish is going to be healthy and easy to make. It’s the perfect no-fuss side dish.

4. Vegetable curry
Don’t let the word “curry” overwhelm you. This is super easy to prepare and cook. Impress your partner and just try it.

5. A classic with a twist: Vegetable lasagne
1. Lasagne is a delicious way to make sure you get your daily quota of veggies. 2. It’s freezer-friendly. So make loads for leftovers.

Tip: Even if you just find ONE veggie you do like, it’s a start. Experiment.

Healthy soups you must try

shutterstock_98050478Because fresh soup tastes so much better than the canned stuff. And it’s way better for you too. Try these quick, easy, packed-with-vitamins-and-no-hidden-calories recipes to help combat the winter months.

The awesome benefits of soup

1. There’s so much variety. You can use anything you have laying around. Perfect for veggies about to expire.

2. It’s one way to eat more vegetables. And more vegetables is always good.

3. Soup is a great post-workout snack. If you add beans, lentils, or lean meats, you can get a massive protein punch.

4. Get full on less. Soup has loads of water, so it can fill you up with less calories. Perfect if your goal is weight loss.

5. It can be quick and cheap, but it doesn’t skimp on the good stuff.

Soup recipes to try ASAP

1. Butternut soup
Warm your family up with this delicious recipe. It’s perfect on chilly, windy, winter nights. Plus it makes great leftovers.

2. Chicken Corn soup
What’s better than a hearty bowl of chicken soup when you’re feeling flu-ish. Not much. Ill or not, this recipe is tasty and easy to prepare.

3. Tomato and basil soup
The ultimate comfort soup. To make it more of a treat, you can include the classic toasted cheese as a side.

4. Leek and potato
Potatoes get a bad rap, but they’re full of vitamins and minerals, plus they’re nice and filling. This recipe will warm you right up.

5. Sugar bean and corn soup
The easiest, tastiest bean and corn soup you’ll ever make. Fibre. Check. Vitamins. Check. Delicious. Double check.

Tip: Stick to tomato based soups rather than creamy ones if you’re watching your calorie intake.