We asked personal trainer Shona Vertue, creator of the hugely successful ‘Vertue Method’ and all-round ‘bad ass with a good ass’, for her top 5 picks to complement any fitness regime, wherever you might be on your wellbeing journey. Here's what she had to say...
"One of the best ways to track your fitness progress with definitive data, is to monitor your heart rate both during training, after and also first thing in the morning.
Your heart rate can give you clear indications about your cardiovascular health in relation to a given activity, be it running, walking biking or even resting. Less commonly practised, but still extremely important is taking the measurement of your HRV (heart rate variability), which measures the variation in the time interval between heartbeats. This is an important measurement because over time it can offer insight into the state and health of your nervous system. I have recommended the heart rate strap and Garmin watch because it will provide the most accurate reading."
"I am a big believer in resistance training, however, I understand that dumbbells and barbells in the corner of a lounge or bedroom room are quite the eyesore. A weight vest can offer a great amount of resistance without taking up too much space. It also distributes the weight in a more natural way so that you can execute common bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, even running and walking with added resistance to help build strength and stamina."
"Back pain is incredibly frustrating and can really hijack your motivation to exercise. One of the most common causes of back pain is underactive gluteal muscles (your butt). I recommend that everyone activate (wake up) and strengthen their gluteals every day to ensure they don't atrophy (disappear). This band can be tied around the lower thighs (above the knee) to increase the resistance on exercises such as clams and squats, helping to ensure the glutes get involved."
"In yoga there is a common saying, you're only as young as your spine is flexible. Your spine's ability to flex and extend, as well as bend and twist, is extremely important for the health of your body and nervous system (as it obviously houses a big part of the Central Nervous System). When I wake up in the mornings I love to mobilise my spine by stretching over a swiss ball. It's also a great piece of equipment for training your core and glutes."
"One of the best ways to stay fit in the winter time, when you can't face the cold outdoors is to skip. A skipping rope is easy to keep, takes up very little space or weight (so perfect as well if you want to bring it with you abroad) and can help you to achieve a very sweat inducing heart rate raising workout. It's also great for developing ankle stability (a commonly neglected but important aspect of training for health)."