London Marathon 2016

I’m back! After a long 2 months of struggling to cope with the demands of my new(ish) job, last week I found out I had got myself a ballot place into the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. When I entered the ballot back in April, I knew I had a very slim chance of getting a place especially as a first timer into the ballot, and I kind of forced the concept of ever running the London Marathon to the back of my mind. Now it is a huge reality I am facing – I’ve actually got to run 26.2 miles in April! This shit has suddenly gotten very real!

If I’m honest I’m not sure how I feel about it. My emotions regarding the marathon vary considerably – one minute I can’t wait then the next I’m debating whether I’ll be fit enough to do it. My main concern is my shins. They are still not 100%. I can manage the pain currently, but I am concerned that as soon as I start training for the marathon they will flare up again. But I really want to run this. I want to make my friends and family proud. I want to know for myself that I can do it. I want to know I can push myself, stay determined and keep focused. I want to cross that finish line feeling strong and proud. I can do this. 
 So to all my friends and family, please bear with me! You will probably all feel like you’re running this marathon with me. Especially my parents, Dan and my work colleagues – you will hear about every ache, every pain and every milestone. You will be running this marathon with me.

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Kayla Itsines : The Second Time Around

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I have recently restarted Kayla Itsines BBG as I quit 8 weeks in last time. I didn’t quit because couldn’t be bothered, I didn’t quit because it was too hard and I definitely didn’t quit because I wanted to. I quit because sometimes life gets a bit too much and you just have to focus on something else for a change. This could be for numerous reasons, but for me it was changing jobs and relocating to London. Life was manic for a month or two but now it has calmed down and I couldn’t be more pleased! We’re still yet to be completely settled – we’ve only been in our new flat 3 weeks so we’ve got an excuse as to why there’s still some unpacked boxes loitering around! We also need to restock our kitchen cupboards to the point we had them in our old flat (we ran them down really well before we moved), but however much I’d love to raid the entire of Holland & Barratt for all my ingredients, my bank balance can’t work miracles! So it’ll take time but we’re getting there.

One thing I have stuck to is the BBG schedule. I’ve stuck to it like glue this time and I don’t plan on letting it slip. I’m about to start week 4 tomorrow, and I’m already starting to feel a world of difference from 3 weeks ago when I had done absolutely no exercise for well over a month. Yes, I get up at 5.15am to do my Monday, Wednesday and Friday workouts. Yes, I’ve had to join a gym to get my LISS training in. And yes, it’s not easy. But it’s worth it. I am feeling so much more energised, I am sleeping better and I can concentrate more at work. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that exercise is really effing good for you. Exercising also helps me make healthier food choices, which to anyone who knows me will know I can rarely turn down anything sweet (which reminds me, The Great British Bake Off starts this week..!).

So how do I feel after quitting the first time around? Well, I don’t feel bad about it thats for sure. I did to start with, the guilt was horrendous (who else can sympathise with that guilt from missing a workout?). But now I am feeling my strength coming back, my fitness levels getting better and body is getting more toned – I know I have come back to BBG better than ever. I’ve put 110% into every session so far. I’ve been sweating, struggling and cursing so much, but I’m doing it. This time I’m determined. I’ve found an exercise routine that I can solidly stick to, and I love it because it’s not boring. Every day is different which I love (however don’t love cardio in the gym…!) and it keeps me interested and looking forward to the next workout (not so much the 5.15am wake up call though!). I follow a lot of girls from all around the globe who do BBG on Instagram, and they are a constant source of inspiration. It’s funny how total strangers can have such a huge influence on your life isn’t it.

So anyway, that was just me ranting that sometimes even though giving up seems like it is the only option, just make sure when you do start again, you come back harder and better and put 110% in every time – you’ll thank yourself for it :)

Why is cardio in the gym so boring?!

I can’t be the only one that has to psyche themselves up to go on the treadmill?! Or kid themselves by breaking down cardio in the gym into manageable chunks (when I say manageable, I mean 5 minutes max) just to get through 30 minutes of pure torture?! I’ve never known time to go SO slowly. I’m sure as soon as I get onto the cross trainer some cheeky bugger with Bernard’s Watch slows time down! Why is it that I used to be able to run for an hour outside without even thinking of the time it had taken me? And why is it that every second on a treadmill feels like a minute?!

In fact I know I’m not the only one. In the gym I’ve just joined there are lots of girls also doing the Kayla Itsines BBG, and they all look like they hate every minute of cardio! But give them some weights and a mat and they’re as happy as Larry. I love doing the circuits as part of the BBG guides, and I love running outdoors (when my shins allow), but I hate every second of cardio in the gym! Does anyone have any tips on how to make the time go by a bit quicker? I try playing music, but I still find myself watching the clock. I do hot yoga once a week for one of my LISS sessions, but how can I make the other two sessions more bearable? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

*Image found on Instagram. Too funny not to repost!

Hotpod Yoga

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I love yoga. There’s no secret about it, I bloody love it and I love the benefits it has on my body. Yoga has helped me gain control my back pain, to loose weight and to increase my strength and flexibility. And I do like my yoga to be sweaty. That’s why when I found out about Hotpod Yoga I knew I had found a real gem.

I first discovered Hotpod Yoga whilst googling where to do yoga in East London. I’m not a fan of Bikram after my passing out experience (and the price tag), so that was off the cards, but hot yoga is right up my street. It’s hot, but not that hot, but still leaves you dripping with sweat. I’ve been to Hotpod Yoga a few times since moving to London, but yesterday Hotpod Yoga were hosting a Hackney HQ launch party and all yoga was free for the day (except a £5 donation to Kids Company). Obviously I jumped a chance and booked my spot straight away using their rather fancy app.

Hotpod Yoga use inflatable ‘pods’ which are heated to roughly 37 degrees to conduct their Vinyasa style yoga classes in. The ‘pods’ mean that they are portable and don’t require any fancy heated rooms, which is great especially in London. It is also quite cool practising yoga in an inflatable room! There are various locations around the globe, with Brixton, Hackney and Notting Hill being their London locations. The pods are unexpectedly roomy inside and have rather soothing purple lighting which makes you feel relaxed in an instant.

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The yoga class yesterday morning was taken by Rikke, who is simply brilliant and you can easily get lost in her gorgeous soothing voice. Rikke takes you through a series of poses, some more challenging than others, ending with the traditional Savasana. What I like about this class is that it incorporates sun salutation style moves without the boredom of doing the same thing over and over again, with more advanced moves. I was extremely pleased that I was one of the only ones to successfully go from Crow Pose, to a Tripod Headstand and back to Crow Pose all in one smooth swoop (I haven’t lost it, yay!). The class lasts for an hour and by the end my clothes were soaked through with sweat – the sign of a good work out! The classes are suitable for most abilities as you are encouraged to do only what your body can manage, just make sure you don’t watch any one in the class – it’s never good to compare yourself to others in a yoga class otherwise you’ll constantly be jealous of all the bendy people! (Sorry but I am one of those bendy people!) I love that during the class Rikke will walk around the pod making sure everyone is ok, and helping them if needs be. When I first went she noticed I kept letting my elbows slip out of line and told me to pull them towards each other which I certainly felt the benefits of. The classes are also extremely well priced, especially for London too. A one off class costs £12, which compared to other hot and Bikram yoga is a complete steal. You can buy various passes which bring the price down, and they offer an introductory offer too which is always good if you want to try it but aren’t sure whether it’s for you.

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Because this was a free class for their launch party, Hotpod Yoga had teamed up with the guys at The Detox Kitchen to provide delicious goody bags to end the class with. Inside the goody bags was a fresh juice, vegan brownie, vegan muffin and a vegan chia seed energy ball. I have to say it was all delicious and didn’t last very long – even my boyfriend agreed the brownie was especially delicious.

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Everything taken into consideration, it was a very enjoyable way to spend my Saturday morning getting sweaty and kicking my weekend off the right way. Massive thanks to Hotpod Yoga for putting on the free event, and thanks to The Detox Kitchen for the yummy goody bag – I’ll see you next week Hotpod Yoga!

*All images my own except for the photo inside the pod, which is from the Hotpod Yoga website.

I’m back!

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Wow, what a month! It’s been a little busy to say the least! Over the past month, I’ve moved out of our flat in Westbourne, moved temporarily back to my parents house, left my job in Bournemouth, went to a ‘festival’ wedding in Swanage, moved to London into temporary accommodation, started a new job, went to Glastonbury festival, got stuck on the M25 for 5 hours on my way back to London (on the hottest day of the year, phew!), moved into another temporary home, and then FINALLY last weekend we moved into our new permanent flat! It’s been a massive whirlwind and it’s been very exciting – I definitely couldn’t have done it without my parents that’s for sure – but I am now very pleased to have my life settle down a bit and get some routine back in my life!

We’ve moved to North London, our commute to each place of work is nice and easy (for London) and I can feel my life beginning to slow down and become normal again. This week, I’ve made a conscious effort to be healthier than I have been recently, and I feel ten times better already. I’ve restarted Kayla Itsines BBG from week 1 again and I am aching already! It’s funny how just being out of routine really can mess with most aspects of your life – normally I am the most organised and by clockwork person you’d meet, but recently I have felt like my brain is all over the place and I just can’t keep up! Over the last 6 weeks exercise went out the window, as did my ‘healthy’ eating, and I just felt completely lost! But now I am back on track. I’ve joined a gym so I can properly do my LISS training 3 times a week, and can hopefully coach my shins back into running and I am going to be back on it – back being the best version of me. 

Above is a little snapshot of the past month – new job, London living, enjoying the perks of having a boyfriend who works in Sports PR at Centre Court at Wimbledon and the sunrise from our new flat :)

Kayla Itsines : 8 Week Review

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I have just completed 8 weeks of Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, so I am 2/3 of the way in. I have to say, I really love the structure and variety of these workouts, and would definitely recommend them to anyone. I have really noticed that I am getting stronger and there’s nothing more I love than feeling strong. I’m not going to post it on here as it is something no one needs to see, but I have done an 8 week progress photo and there is a difference. My stomach is definitely flatter and my legs feel more toned than they have ever done. I have noticed since my last post about Kayla’s BBG that the workouts have got considerably harder, to the point where I have been tempted to cut the circuits short because I can’t breathe! I think this probably isn’t helped by the fact I haven’t been able to do any of my normal cardio recently as my shins have been playing up again, so I’m not doing the guides to their full potential. Also, being in the midst of relocating to London is meaning every spare minute is spent packing, doing house admin, searching for somewhere new to live etc so I feel like I don’t have the time. So I have decided that since the next month is going to be absolutely manic with a wedding to attend, starting a new job, Glastonbury festival and relocating to London, I am going to put Kayla’s BBG on hold whilst my life settles down. I can’t deal with the guilt of not doing the workouts to their full potential, so if I tell myself now I won’t be doing them I shouldn’t beat myself up too much about it. This is a shame as I have put so much effort in, but as soon as my life settles I will restart the guides from week 1 again. Sometimes you just have to assess what is important and what really needs to get done, and currently doing 6 workouts a week is something I simply do not have time for.

I am also coming to realise that my body just isn’t meant to run. I love running, but my body does not thank me for it and my shins do not enjoy running. I had a few good months of running at the beginning of the year, but for some unknown reason my shin spints have flared up again and aren’t getting better. So instead of causing myself an injury I am going to take it easy. I tried going for a light jog on the grass yesterday morning, which was followed by pain in my shins all day so that is my legs telling me to stop! One day I will run a marathon, but that day is not any time soon unfortunately.

I apologise in advance that my blog posts may be a little few and far between over the next month or so, but I promise I will be back once we are all set in London and I will be blogging about all the fitness things I will be getting up to in the big smoke!

Deliciously Ella : Energy Bites : Update

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Ever since I have been into trying to be healthy healthier, I have absolutely loved Deliciously Ella’s Almond and Chia Seed Energy Bites. I can’t get enough of them and have a constant supply in the fridge. I keep some in the fridge at work for that mid morning snack attack that a banana and a cup of green tea is not enough to curb, and always eat one or two before or after my Kayla Itsines BBG workouts. They are so tasty (especially now I have invested in proper cacao powder – hellooo penny sale in Holland & Barrett), versatile and good for you that I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to eat them! One thing I have discovered is that I actually prefer them being made out of Brazil nuts rather than almonds. This was a happy accident as I was making a batch one day and didn’t have any almonds so thought I’d substitute them for Brazil nuts, and voila – I preferred them this way! To me they are a lot softer in texture, and they also taste a bit sweeter in my opinion. So if you fancy a change try making them with Brazil nuts – or any other kind of nuts for that matter. You can find a similar recipe on Ella’s website here, however I actually use the recipe from her book which is slightly different that you can buy here.

Whilst we’re on the topic of snacking, I just have to mention Nakd bars. These little gems are 100% raw, vegan and dairy free, yet are so tasty it is hard to believe they are good for you. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive (as is most healthy food – why is that?). So imagine my utter happiness when I was in Holland & Barrett browsing the penny sale items and I discovered they were in it too! So I stocked up my snack drawer at work (they are perfect for mid afternoon when that chocolate bar is jumping out at you from the vending machine) and kept my OCD very happy too.

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Nakd bars are also very good if you don’t have the time to make healthy snacks at home. As I mentioned in my previous post, my life is currently a little busy as Dan and I are in the process of moving to London, so I don’t really have the time to be making nutritious snacks (I have started packing up the kitchen too which doesn’t help either). So for now, these will be my go-to healthy snack in the afternoons at work while everyone else is eating cake and biscuits. Go me.