It’s time to get your sweat on, girls, as we bring you another blitz body workout from our AYBL Athlete fam.
This time round, we caught up with Abby Mace to shine a light on her go-to core workout. Consisting of hip dips and ab rollouts, it goes without saying that this is the real deal. Not to mention, if you’ve seen her incredible gains, then you’ll know for a fact this workout is well worth your while.
Ready? We just know you are!
Your core is your centre of gravity and core exercises, such as V-hold, help to build a strong core and sculpt your abs.
A strong core not only allows for stronger functional movement during exercises and everyday life, but can also help prevent injury, reduce lower back pain and stiffness and promote more efficient workouts overall.
So, let’s get to it! Over to you, Abs…
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL WEEKLY WORKOUT SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
My workout schedule for the week usually consists of the following:
- Mondays: Push
- Tuesdays: Pull
- Wednesdays: Legs
- Thursdays: Push
- Fridays: Pull
- Saturdays: Legs
- Sundays: Rest
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR TYPICAL CORE WORKOUT, WHAT EXERCISES DO YOU RECOMMEND?
Plank, hip dips and ab rollouts are my go-to core exercises and I like to do 4 sets per exercise. This is the set I tend to follow and what I’d also recommend to build abs:
- Plank x 1 minute
- Ab rollouts x 12
- Hip dips x 80
Step 1: Plank
Planks primarily target the core, but also work the back, shoulders, chest, glutes and legs.
- Start in the press-up position and bend your elbows until your forearms are on the floor beneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Engage your core and look at the space between your hands to ensure a neutral spine position. Don’t let your head drop or stick your bum in the air.
- Hold this position for 1 minute or as long as possible and remember to breathe!
Step 2: Ab Rollouts
Also known as ab wheel rollouts, this exercise is highly effective in teaching you to activate your core stabilisers and in strengthening your abs in the correct way.
- Kneel down on a mat or pad and get an ab wheel and position it in front of you.
- Grab the handles of the ab wheel and place your full weight on it.
- From this kneeling position, cross your legs behind you and lift your feet off the mat. This will help stabilise you whilst also making the movement more challenging.
- Roll out only as far as you can keep your lower back straight.
- Pause here for a second whilst keeping your core engaged.
- Reverse the movement by squeezing your ab muscles even more and returning to the starting position.
It’s crucial to keep your elbows straight the entire time and to not change your lower back position in any way.
Step 3: Hip Dips
This exercise targets the abs, obliques and lower back while enhancing the flexibility of your spine and helping to improve balance, stability and posture.
- Start in a low plank position (see above).
- Rotate your hips to the right and dip your body almost to the floor.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side.
- Keep alternating sides until the set is complete.
Make sure to keep your core engaged at all times, breathe slowly and deeply and keep your head and neck in a neutral position.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAIN ABS?
Typically, I train abs once or twice a week.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TRAIN ABS?
Training core provides your extremities (limbs) a stable foundation to push and pull against. Think of your core as a protective girdle around your spine and, remember, the core doesn’t just include the abdominal muscles, it’s also the pelvic floor muscles and the erector spinae muscles in the lower back.
Training all your muscles to work together and stabilise your spine will help to prevent injuries and allow you to generate more force in your lifts.
IS THERE A CERTAIN ELEMENT OF CORE WORKOUTS THAT YOU LIKE?
I particularly enjoy core stability exercises, as this type of exercise is made to stabilise the spine during movements.
Core stability exercises include:
- Hip bridge;
- Side plank.
HOW DOES YOUR DIET HELP YOU TO ACHIEVE MORE DEFINED ABS? ARE THERE ANY FOODS THAT YOU RECOMMEND?
Your diet can reduce body fat which can help your abdominal muscles become more visible. Everyone has them, but sometimes they can be hidden underneath excess subcutaneous fat.
I recommend eating whole foods, such as fruit, veg, whole grains, certain meats and fish, and limiting your intake of processed foods, sugar, gluten and dairy.
HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED TO WORKOUT?
The truth is I’m not always motivated, but I made a commitment to myself meaning I show up no matter what. Dedication is more important than motivation.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE OUR FEMALE COMMUNITY TO HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS?
My most trusted mentor one told me ‘procrastination is the thief of health’, just keep showing up, be consistent and remember, everyone has to start somewhere.
We think Abs (or should we say Abs of steel?) has done an excellent job of inspiring our next abs session, are we right?
But don’t forget, girls, in order to ‘get abs’, you need to maintain a healthy diet, which as Abs said means eating plenty of whole foods and limiting your consumption of processed foods.
That being said, we never want to tell you what you can and can’t eat, instead, do what makes you happy! Besides, fitness is all about working towards goals that are attainable for you.
Psst… If you loved Abs’ core workout, then you’ll love our full body HIIT session with Katie Becknell. Check it out here.
What You Need To Pack For A Holiday
The season to catch flights (not feelings) is here and to help you make the most of your vacay, we’ve done the hard part of compiling your holiday checklist, so you can fully focus on bagging your fave summer ‘fits.
Oh and there’s also the small matter of how to fit it all into your suitcase, of course, but let’s worry about that later…
Believe it or not, girls, packing for a holiday is all part of the fun - especially if this is the first time you’re jetting abroad since before the pandemic.
So, whether you’re hoping to take some time out with your SO or are prepping for your long-awaited girls holiday, we’ve got your holiday packing list covered. Because there’s nothing worse than spending hours deciding on what clothes to bring only to realise at the airport that you’ve left something vitally important behind - like your passport.
Keep on reading to discover exactly what to take on holiday.
1. TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
If there’s one thing you absolutely cannot afford to forget, it’s your travel documents. Make sure you have your passport and any other travel documents to hand. We’d also recommend making a copy before you travel just in case anything goes missing. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting to the front of the check-in queue only to realise you’ve misplaced your boarding pass.
It goes without saying that travel money should be at the top of everyone’s holiday checklist. Even if you’re planning on using your card abroad, it’s always worth keeping some currency and change on you for cash-only situations, like a cheeky cocktail or mocktail on arrival.
You may wish to check your bank’s policy about using your card abroad beforehand, so you’re not caught with any surprise fees.
3. TECH ESSENTIALS
Need we remind you that your phone and charger are among the most important things to pack for holiday? Besides, how else are you going to take those all important holiday pics? Don’t forget you’ll also need the relevant plug adaptor for your destination.
If you’re heading on a long-haul trip, you’re going to want to save plenty of room in your hand luggage for entertainment. We’re talking headphones, tablets and/or laptops. If you want to be extra prepared, we suggest downloading a few films or episodes from your favourite series beforehand.
When you think of summer holidays, the first thing that springs to mind tends to be white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters. It’s what we live for!
And no beach trip would be the same without some gorgeous swimwear. Are we right or are we right? So, make a splash this summer and show off your beautiful bikini bod that you’ve worked so hard for. It’s like we’ve always said, those superset sessions are worth it in the end.
5. CROP TOPS & SHORTS
As tempting as it is to take your entire wardrobe with you, it’s just not feasible, girls. Your suitcase has a limit after all, so only pack clothes that you’re certain you’ll wear. Think cosy and cool - the last thing you want is to overheat when you step foot off the plane.
Our Crop Tops and Shorts Collections house a range of cute and cosy attire that is guaranteed to have you jetting off in style. From beautiful brights to pretty pastels, there’s something for every kind of jet setter.
Talking of holiday attire, comfies are equally important too and should, without a doubt, be on your holiday packing list.
Whatever your style, our comfort-first ‘fits are sure to turn heads at the terminal and provide enduring comfort during those day-long excursions.
READ MORE: Airport Outfits For Your Spring Getaway
While most hotels will provide the basics, it’s always better to be prepared and pack according to your needs and skin type. Here’s a few holiday essentials we suggest packing in your suitcase:
- Deodorant and fragrance
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Cleanser, toner and moisturiser
- Sun cream and aftersun
- Shampoo, conditioner and body wash
- Hand sanitiser
- Makeup and makeup remover
- Face masks
Don’t let your medication be an oversight. Make sure you get any prescriptions before you travel and ensure you have enough to last for longer than the duration of your trip. That way, if you get delayed or stuck abroad for longer than expected, you won’t be left short.
It’s worth taking some paracetamol and ibuprofen too - just to be on the safe side.
9. BOOKS & MAGAZINES
Last but by no means least, it’s always a good idea to add books and magazines to your holiday packing list. Besides, there’s nothing like relaxing by the pool, soaking up the rays with a feel-good book in hand. Holidays are all about escapism, after all!
And the best part - it gives you all the more reason to spend a few extra minutes (or hours) topping up that golden glow.
Now that we’ve covered what to take on holiday, it’s time to put your packing skills to the test. Because while we can help with what to put in your case, unfortunately, we can’t help with fitting it all in. Sorry, girls. Just think - lightweight, but practical!
Full Body HIIT Workout With Katie Becknell
With fitness being at the heart of our community, we thought what better way to bring the hype than with some expert fitness tips from the people who know best, our athletes.
At AYBL, we’re constantly working hard behind the scenes to empower women through fitness and someone who shares this vision is AYBL Athlete, Katie Becknell. Katie uses her social platforms, including TikTok, to share her workout tips and videos to help others with their own fitness journey.
Today, we invited the fitness influencer to give the lowdown on her go-to HIIT workout (that’s High Intensity Interval Training FYI!)
As you may have seen across your socials, the HIIT workout hype is still going strong and for good reason. Not only can you work up a sweat from the comfort of your own home (or the gym - whichever takes your fancy), it’s a seriously speedy and efficient way to exercise. For those of you who don’t know what (HI)it is, HIIT entails short bursts of intense exercise, performed at maximum capability, followed by periods of rest.
So, if you’re looking to take your cardio workouts to the next level, you’re in the right place! Take it away Katie…
TELL US, WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL WEEKLY WORKOUT SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
I have a five day workout split, which is as follows:
- Monday: glutes and hamstrings.
- Tuesday: chest, shoulders and triceps.
- Wednesday: active rest/recovery. This tends to include going for a walk, stretching and mobility work.
- Thursday: glutes and quads.
- Friday: back and biceps.
- Saturday: full rest day.
- Sunday: cardio and abs.
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR HIIT WORKOUT?
Step 1: Warm Up
First things first, we need to warm up. Start by doing 5 minutes of dynamic stretching, specifically stretches that target your hamstrings, quads and calves.
It’s essential to warm up before every workout to ensure your muscles are ready for the work they are about to put in.
Step 2: Treadmill
Let’s move over to the treadmill. If you need more of a warm up, you can do a few minutes of walking at a moderate pace - I’d recommend between 2.5 and 3.5 mph - but if you’re good to go, we’re going to get right into treadmill sprints! Let’s go, girls!
Top tip: If this is your first time doing interval sprints on a treadmill, I’d recommend starting at more of a running pace and working your way up from there. It will take some practise to get used to jumping on and off the treadmill whilst it's running, but here are some tips:
When you’re ready to start, step off the treadmill with one foot on either side of the moving belt and increase the speed to your desired speed. I typically start at 9 mph, but for beginners, I’d recommend around 6 mph.
Once the belt gets up to speed, place both hands on the side rails and hoist yourself up, holding your own weight above the belt, and start moving your legs like you’re running. Slowly lower yourself, transitioning the weight off your arms and onto your legs.
Keep holding onto the rails for as long as you need until you’re comfortable enough to run without the support.
- To stop, essentially you do the opposite of getting on. Place your hands on the side rails, lift your body up and place both feet on either side of the treadmill.
Exercise: 10 Minute Interval Sprints: 20 seconds on, 40 seconds off
- Start at a moderate run/sprinting pace. I typically start with 9 mph then increase the speed by 0.5 each time until you hit your maximum pace. For me, this is usually 12.0. Your maximum pace should be a pace where it is challenging to finish the full 20 seconds.
- Repeat this 10 times (10 minutes).
Step 3: Core
After we’ve worked up a sweat on the treadmill, we’ll move over to some core work. Complete the following set and repeat 2 to 3 times.
- Plank, 1 minute.
- Mountain climbers, 30 seconds.
- Alternate knee tucks, 30 seconds.
- Bicycle crunch, 30 seconds.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAIN CARDIO?
I have one day dedicated to intense cardio and then every weight training day, I add 10 to 20 minutes of low-intensity cardio, such as incline walking on the treadmill.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO INCORPORATE CARDIO INTO YOUR TRAINING?
Cardio is a crucial part of my training. Not only does it help to burn fat, it’s also key in improving your cardiovascular health.
IS THERE A CERTAIN ELEMENT OF CARDIO THAT YOU LIKE?
I like cardio because I can get in and out of the gym in less than 30 minutes, yet still feel like I got a good sweat on.
The beauty of cardio is that it can be done anywhere, so if I don’t have access to a gym, I can easily run outside and get a good workout in.
@katiebecknell today’s cardio 💦💦 speeds may vary depending on your machine! #cardio #stairmaster #sweat #gymtok #fyp ♬ woo x i was never there - xxtristanxo
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO WORKOUT?
I’m going to be honest, I’m not motivated every single day to workout - and that’s perfectly normal - but some things that tend to help me include watching videos of other creators doing new exercises. This then gets me excited to go to the gym the next morning.
Planning my workout ‘fit the day before also gets me amped up because ‘look good, feel good, lift good’ - am I right?
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE TO OUR FEMALE COMMUNITY TO HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS?
In my opinion, the most important aspect is consistency. As long as you are consistently showing up and putting in the work, you will see results! The hardest part is getting yourself there, but once you start showing up consistently, it will become a part of your routine and it will get easier and easier every time.
Also, progress takes time and patience. You are not going to see results overnight, it will likely take at least six weeks for you to start seeing real changes, but do not let that discourage you.
Take progress pictures every week or every day because with fitness, progress happens slowly and sometimes it’s difficult to notice changes when you’re used to seeing your body every day. Once I started taking progress photos I was more confident and felt reassured that what I was doing was in fact working.
@katiebecknell me vs me baby #pump #fitcheck #glutes #gymtok #fyp ♬ original sound - Anthony
Phew! Wasn’t that great, girls? Katie certainly knows how to keep us on top form.
Remember, consistency and patience are key. Yes, goals are important, but everyone deserves to train at their own pace and work towards goals that are attainable for them.
Want to hear more from our athletes? Check out our Athlete Spotlight with Elena Stavinoha.
How To Pick The Perfect Sports Bra For Your Workout
As uplifting as your morning cup of coffee and as supportive as your bestie, a sports bra is a serious game-changer when it comes to working out.
But did you know as many as 80% of women in the UK are wearing the wrong bra size? Well, ladies, we’re here to put that right because there really is nothing worse than suffering through a workout in the wrong sports bra. Trust us!
From finding the right level of support to understanding how a sports bra should fit, here’s everything you need to know.
WHY DO I NEED TO WEAR A SPORTS BRA?
To put it simply, when you move, whether you’re running, training in the gym or doing a set of mobility exercises, your boobs move too. Without the right support, this can cause some serious discomfort, including soreness and over-stretching of your ligaments.
A sports bra is designed to reduce this movement without restricting your workouts, so you can work towards hitting your next PB without any distractions.
As with all of our designs, our Sports Bras are created with your comfort in mind, so you can unlock your full potential and move with confidence.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT SPORTS BRA
First things first, you need to consider the level of support required. This will depend on the intensity of your workout. The higher the intensity, the more power there is behind your movement, causing your boobs to, well, bounce around more.
When to wear a light support sports bra:
Low support bras are perfect for LISS, such as yoga, walking and pilates, as they provide the perfect balance of support and ease of movement.
Opt for a style with endless flexibility, such as our Motion Seamless Sports Bra. Designed with an ultra soft and stretchy material and adjustable cross back straps for added support, our best-selling sports bra is the picture of comfort.
When to wear a medium support sports bra:
Prepping for a spin session or a dance class? For harder-hitting workouts, you need a sports bra with more support, like our Evolve Speckle Seamless Sports Bra. Complete with thick supportive straps and a flattering racer back design, this sports bra is designed to stay put even when the pace picks up.
If you prefer something a bit more classic, our Training Bra is a workout staple. Featuring an open back detail and mesh panelling to keep you comfortably cool, this is made for those who make a pledge to progress.
When to wear a high support sports bra:
High intensity workouts require high-performance, reliable activewear, which is exactly what our Balance V2 Seamless Bra provides. Combining unbeatable support with a premium compressive fit, this most-loved style is designed to give you the confidence to achieve it all.
Just like our Sportive Zip Up Sports Bra. Made from a flexible fabric that will allow you to take your performance to new heights, this sleek style provides support like no other even during the most intensive workouts. Complete with adjustable cross back straps, you can adjust the fit as you please.
If you’re blessed with bigger breasts (D cup or above), we recommend wearing a high support sports bra for every kind of workout.
HOW SHOULD A SPORTS BRA FIT?
Support comes from three aspects of a sports bra: the straps, the cups and the band, so it’s important to pay close attention to these details when trying on your new ‘fit. Here’s some top tips to help you find the right sports bra for you.
HOW TO MEASURE FOR A SPORTS BRA
Step 1: Measure around your rib cage, just below your breasts. The tape measure should be snug, but loose enough that you can fit two fingers underneath. Round down to the nearest whole inch.
Step 2: Use the table below to find your corresponding band size.
Step 3: Measure around the fullest part of your breast. As before, the tape measure should fit snug, but not too tight that it restricts breathing.
Step 4: Subtract your rib cage measurement from your bust measure. The difference is your cup size. See below.
Step 5: Use our size chart to find your sports bra size.
As you can see, girls, there’s a lot more to finding the right sports bra than ‘liking the way it looks’. It may be that you need to try a number of styles and/or sizes before you find your perfect fit. Luckily for you, we’ve got plenty of comfort-first and performance-focused pieces to suit every shape, every style and every workout. Because finding the right fit is just as important to us as it is to you.