Spinning Around

You spin me right round, Yes, I am about to review my first spinning fitness class. After recently joining my local gym (when i say local – i mean about 50 steps away from my flat local!) I have been trying out the fitness classes they have to offer, this is my first gym membership which includes fitness classes in the monthly subscription and which i have most definitely taken advantage of this benefit!

There are definitely mixed reviews on spinning and out of the three classes i have attended so far, i thought this one would be my least favourite by far. How wrong I was…

Although I think it is very dependant on what kind of instructor you have on how much you enjoy the class. So far i have attended two spinning classes, one far better than my most recent class.

My first ever spinning class, I was pumped and so motivated. I really pushed myself through the entire 45 minutes, which flew by. The instructor mixed up the different “moves” and changed the rhythm to match the bet of the music. She was smiling and working with you the entire time, giving you praise, when you really needed it! I was so impressed that I kept up the pace of every other member the entire time, I left the class feeling so pleased with myself and wanting to book in for the following week.

clean and green girls

Instagram: @cleanandgreengirls Post spinning & still smiling!

Following my first class, i was really looking forward to my next, the usual instructor was on holiday so we had an alternative, I kept an open mind until we finished the warm up. What i loved about my first class was it wasn’t focused on “imagining we are riding along a road” or “riding up a mountain, racing to the top”  which is exactly what this class turned into. Although i still pushed myself, i definitely found myself taking the resistance off during some of the interval training. I have realised I am not motivated by “imagining to overtake the person next to me” on an exercise bike. I have learnt i am motivated by the energy of the instructor and moving to the beat of the music.

This is most probably where the mixed reviews come in, everyone is motivated in different ways, I would 100% recommend trying a couple of spinning classes (preferably that are held by different instructors) to see if the class/ which instructors method works for you.

Jo x

Legs, Bums & Tums: Bottoms Up

Got buns hun? You will after this class!

Make your fat cry with this low intensity Ab shredding and butt burning fitness class. I am talking about Legs Bums & Tums, you will squat till you drop!

 

Legs Bums & Tums is the perfect full body aerobic workout aimed at specifically toning up your legs, bum and tum. These are notoriously the worst parts of your body when it comes to shifting fat, so by targeting them one after the other you’re tackling all three key problem areas in one fun-packed but very effective 45 minute class.

 

Starting with a stretch warm up to some get pumped music, then moving into the core of the workout, a circuit repeated 3 times, including: Squats, lunges, ab crunches and mountain climbers.

Is Legs Bums & Tums right for you? Are you looking to:

  • Start exercising and not sure where to start?
  • Mix up your regular workout routine
  • Tone and firm Legs Bum & Tum
  • Raise stamina

This class went hand in hand a day after boxercise. Unfortuantely I can’t make next week’s class, but i have already booked myself in to the following week.

 

Can’t get to a class? Try these at home: (Link courtesy of My Protein)

http://www.myprotein.com/thezone/training/training-womens/home-workout-best-legs-bums-and-tums-exercises-to-do-at-home/

 

44829eae9d11f5c5c6438a3a1b673132

Boxercise: Worth a punch?

This month I signed up to my local gym and I have already been 10 times!   Tonight, I thought i would take advantage of the fitness classes my membership includes, so I went to my first class: Boxercise.

I had heard of Boxercise before, but I had no idea what to expect from the class (other than boxing). The class duration was 45 minutes and wow did I feel every minute. It was 45 minutes of intense training and I loved it!

Firstly, we were divided into pairs for the warm up, which included sit ups and light punches , squats and press -ups

Then 3 different circuits, including: jumping squats, kettle bell lifts and boxing. repeat x 2 times

Last high intensity exercise before the cool down: Abs. Oh yeah!

Finally, the cool down and stretching never felt so good!

I was extremely impressed with my first fitness class, I was looking to mix up my work outs to keep me motivated and on my toes, this class will certainly become a regular activity for me!

If you are looking to:

  • Improve upper body strength and muscle tone
  • Release stress and improve overall fitness
  • Learn boxing moves without the worry of getting hit
  • Vary your usual workout

I think you have found your new favourite class!

 

Badasses on roller skates

Have you ever felt intimidated and welcome at the same time? Been around a group of people who are so badass but also ridiculously kind and supportive? Were they on skates?

If the answer to all three of those questions is yes, then you probably already know a lot about the amazing sport that is Roller Derby! If the answer to any of those is no, what are you doing with your life? JOKING!

This year I started the Fresh Meat programme with Surrey Roller Girls. From day one I was hooked. I had a spell of bad luck which meant that I almost had to drop out within the first few weeks of the learn-to-skate prerequisite sessions due to a concussion and a very badly injured foot (both courtesy of sparring at Taekwondo, both separate incidents). I’m so glad that I was given the opportunity to continue, thank you Rachael!

SRG FRESHIES 2016
Some of my fellow Fresh Meat 2016 graduates and me after our first sock scrim! Photo Courtesy of the SRG Facebook Page

Roller Derby is a sport for everyone, no matter your gender, race, sexuality, body shape/size or anything else. There’s no other sport quite like it.

In Roller Derby, having a team of diverse players not only means you have a lot more fun off skates, but it makes you a better team on them. Different body shapes and sizes are advantages, because different people can be put in to different positions and often naturally fall in to them. Saying that, there are some incredible skaters who are double threats [can block or jam] who you really do not want to cross.

The way Roller Derby works is as follows:

You have two teams on the track, each team has 4 blockers and a jammer. The jammer has to get through the blockers, referred to as the pack, and skate around the track and back through the pack to earn points for their team.

There are about a thousand other rules and conditions for earning those points, but I won’t go in to that here. If you’re interested, you can visit this page.

The players on track will hit each other, hard. They will hit each other to try to get other players to leave the track or to slow them down/move them out of the way to let their jammer through. Derby players are HARDCORE. There are specific safe target zones and parts that you are allowed to hit with to ensure that people don’t die, basically.

To run a game, the players aren’t the only people needed. Literally anyone can get involved in Roller Derby because there are so many officials needed for a bout. NSO’s are non-skating officials and help run the game in set positions (you can read about the positions here although I’m sure I’ll post about it some time in the future!), so you don’t even have to skate to be a part of the derby community! Refs are also needed, and a lot of them. There are up to 7 referees to a game. You need a lot of refs with Roller Derby because there is SO. MUCH. ACTION. An unbelievable amount of action, and it would be impossible for one or two refs to be able to see it all.

SUN'S OUT GUNS OUT
SRG’s upcoming Champs home game, SUN’S OUT GUNS OUT! Photo Courtesy of the SRG Facebook page

I’m still a n00b, and I am loving it. There is so much to learn, so many skills that I hope to one day have and I am enjoying every step of the journey.

Thank you to all of the Surrey Roller Girls for making me feel so welcome and empowered and thank you to my fellow Fresh Meat for being just as excited, nervous and nerdy as I am! I feel like I have friends for life already and it’s only been a few months.

If you’re interested in becoming a Badass on Wheels™* then keep an eye out for your local Fresh Meat sessions.

Don’t forget to follow Surrey Roller Girls on Facebook and Instagram!

Peace out,

Tilly xo

*not actually trademarked

Three Mountains, 2 legs!

On top of the World!

Hi all!

We’ve both been busy training, working hard, moving houses and changing jobs so we haven’t had much time to post recently.

We’re committed to bringing you the latest news in our fitness journeys and beyond so will be posting more frequently! YAY!

This weekend I took part in the Three Peaks Challenge with my work colleagues. We had 24 hours to climb 3 of the biggest mountains in the UK; Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. 

We ascended (and therefore descended) around 3000m across the three mountains with 44km walking and 2000km driving. This was no small feat and was way more challenging than we imagined it would be. The only sleep we could get was in the van between the mountains which doesn’t sound too bad, until you realise that the van is going to be quite erratic to get us there on time and there are 6 other sweaty bodies in there with you (I think the smell of man BO is going to be forever in my nostrils). You can’t stop for decent meals so you have to bring a lot of snacks with you, carbs carbs carbs for between the mountains and high sugar snacks and energy gels to carry up the mountains. All of this plus wet weather kit, lots of water and any additional kit you might need in your pack and you’re looking at carrying a fair amount of weight.

Minibus seat
My bed for the weekend

As someone who doesn’t eat meat, I also didn’t have any particularly high protein snacks with me. The lads were carrying things like biltong to add that extra bit of protein when their bodies were craving it. I survived on a diet of pasta, Mini Cheddars, Skittles and Veggie Percys as well as energy gels, Lucozade Sport and about 6 litres of water.

It was tough, really tough. I didn’t carry walking poles as I found that they slowed me down on our training weekend. This was a double edged sword; I would have been slowed down by the poles but I would have taken a lot of pressure off of my legs and knees should I have decided to use them. I’m glad that I didn’t.

I am so proud of my body and I feel incredibly strong, my legs held out the whole way, I achieved a time that most people can only hope of getting.

89
The full team! Naïvely smiling away.

Our final times were:

  • Ben Nevis Car Park to Pen-y-pass Car Park: 26 hours, 20 mins
  • Peak of Ben Nevis to Peak of Snowdon: 20 hours, 38 mins

We were told before we took on this challenge than anything under 30 hours was an achievement. We smashed that.

The individual mountain timings were:

  • Ben Nevis – start 15:00, summit 18:18, 5 hours 31 mins total climb
  • Scafell Pike – start 02:30, summit 05:20, 5 hours total climb
  • Snowdon – start 12:20, summit 14:56, 4 hours 59 mins total climb

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 13.58.09

I learnt a lot about myself on this journey, I am stronger than I ever could have imagined and my willpower and stubbornness can be a blessing. I can sleep in a van (something I couldn’t do before) and dribble a lot when I do so. My sense of humour can withstand the toughest of challenges.

Unfortunately, we hit bad weather on both Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike. At the top of Nevis we were shrouded in clouds which decided to pour hail, sleet and rain on us as soon as we began our descent. Scafell Pike is hell on Earth and we almost got lost due to the low visibility whilst we made our way through the fog of clouds that surrounded us. Fortunately, another group were coming up at the same time as us and one of them knew the way and helped us get back on track (THANK YOU KIND STRANGER). With drops of thousands of feet hidden around us, we had to make sure that we didn’t put a foot wrong. The wind picked up on all three mountains and was bitingly cold, it whipped around us and we had to keep firm footing to keep from being swept away.

It wasn’t just tough physically and mentally, it was incredibly dangerous too. Thankfully we managed to do it with no casualties and no major injuries. Though there were a few sore bums when some of us fell over on the descents. The paths (when you’re on a path) are made of uneven stones which are very slippery when wet. I was lucky to only fall down on the grass bank which I decided to climb to avoid the dodgy rocks on Scafell Pike.

An idea of the treacherous paths
An idea of the treacherous paths

As we descended Snowdon, with sore knees and heavy eyelids, our spirits were still strong. We reached the finish line after one more bend, just one more, oh wait, yeah, one more bend! And we were full of pride for the stellar effort that we had put in. I think we’ll be feeling this sense of achievement for a few weeks yet and I am so proud of the team that I was with for suffering through the pain and reaching the finish line.

Would I do it again? Maybe, when I forget how horrible Scafell Pike is to climb in the dark and what a disgusting climb it is.

Would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely. You’ll never do anything else like it.

Keep an eye out for more posts soon!

Tilly xo

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 14.15.44

This challenge was undertaken in aid of the Haemophilia Society. A UK based charity who do excellent work in supporting those with blood disorders and their families. You can see more about their work here: http://www.haemophilia.org.uk/. You can sponsor us at the following link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Mem3peaks2016

Exciting stuff coming in 2016…

Hi Everyone!

In 2016 I will be embarking on a collection of adventures, these aren’t ‘New Years Resolutions’ and have been in the works for a couple of months already.

The biggest challenge 2016 holds for me is the Three Peaks Challenge. In just 24 hours (although we’ll be happy with under 30!) we will climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. My soul will be broken and my muscles sore but  I am incredibly excited to have this opportunity as it is something that I have been looking to do for years. I will be doing this with a team from work and training for most of us has already begun. Unfortunately, due to a recent bout of illness, my training is already behind! This means I’ll be working twice as hard to catch up over the next few months. The climb date is set for 2nd July 2016. Watch this space for updates on my progress during training and information about the charity we are supporting, as well as information on the best kit to use and the food etc that I will be taking with me!

snowdon
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 

The second challenge of note was a stroke of luck! Thanks to an Instagram competition, my sister and I are going to be some of the first to try the new Green and Lean workout and meal plan. We won this competition through @honestlyhealthy and will be updating on progress and reviewing the workout plan as we go along!

Green and Lean Winners
Photo Courtesy of @honestlyhealthy on Instagram

On top of these fitness and food adventures, I have a holiday to prepare for! I want to be looking my best on the beach, so I’m going to be working hard to feel confident in my bikini! We fly on 30th March, so I have just 3 months to get ready to #RockThatSwimsuit!

This year also marks the 3rd year I will have been doing taekwondo and the year I can finally obtain my black belt. Thanks to the training and support I receive every week at the Taekwondo Academy I’m feeling ready to hit this goal and to approach 2016 with more determination and dedication than ever before! Today I’m a red belt, by the end of 2016 I hope to be a Black Belt Level 1 Senior Instructor. Bring it on, Travis!

I’ll also be signing up to a collection of races and challenges throughout the year, likely including the Colour Run and the Colour Obstacle Rush. More on this as they get booked up.

I hope everyone is feeling as excited as I am about the New Year and as usual, we would love to hear your goals! Feel free to chat to us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Happy New Year!

Tilly x

The Summer Struggle

I find that normally people talk about the ‘Winter Slump’. The time over winter when Christmas hits and you eat loads and exercise less. For me though, the real struggle is summer. Friends are around, the sun is shining and the gym is absolutely sweltering.

I haven’t been to the gym for approx 3 weeks… this is why I don’t feel guilty:

  • I’ve walked along the beach
  • I’ve had a long kick about at the heath
  • I’ve been surfing and swimming in the sea
  • I’ve continued training Taekwondo
  • I’ve done boxing practice down the field near my flat
  • I’ve done some of the most fun, social exercises and been so much happier for it

Hitting the gym in winter is easy for me, I get to use a wide variety of exercise equipment where it’s light and quiet because few people are trying to get their ‘beach ready bodies’ (what does that even mean?!).

Fitness and exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, you should enjoy it! The This Girl Can campaign has been advertising this a lot lately and it’s so relevant to everyone – the gym is not for everyone, neither is running or basketball or football or any particular sport. Trying different activities is the only way to find the one for you and I promise there’s an activity or exercise out there that you’ll fall in love with!

My favourite thing about the exercise and fitness I’ve been doing for the past three weeks is that it’s the most social I’ve been for ages and I still get to have the endorphins flowing! If I asked most of my friends to hit the gym with me I would get nowhere, if I ask them to join me for a walk on the beach or a kick about they are much happier to join me and (apart from travel costs) most of these activities are FREE too.

FREE EXERCISE, SUN AND HAPPINESS – what more could you want? The summer slump is a thing of the past for me now… A walk in the countryside or at the beach or any number of other activities is the way forward for anyone who suffers from the ‘Summer Struggle’.

Get social, get active, get motivated. (I’ve even managed to get a tan which is really quite shocking to anyone who knows me and I’m not quite sure how no one tried to send me back to wherever it is ghosts come from).

I’m also really excited to meet some new people at Fitness Academy, the new fitness class I’m heading up on a Monday night in Petersfield. It’s a whole new venture for me, unlike anything I’ve done before, and I can’t wait to help people achieve their fitness goals!

This summer is gonna be my favourite summer yet; I’d love to hear your stories about fitness and if you’ve found what works for you so please comment below to get in touch.

Grading Night!!!

Tonight was my 6th experience of grading, with only 4 left to go until I reach 1st Dan (or to most people – black belt) so I want to give you some background in to what it is that I really do.

Please be aware that different schools have other criteria and the following is all based on my experiences at the Taekwondo Academy in Petersfield.

There are many different types of Taekwondo, all of which have different focusses (Eg some styles focus mainly on technique, some lean more towards sparring etc). The variation that we learn is a mixture of technique and sparring, with a pretty equal focus on both. Taekwondo is a mixed martial art, it has no particular bias towards the hands or the legs as some other martial arts do; you use what you can, but you use it correctly. (Although some would argue that it is more of a kicking sport; those people have never sparred with us).

What a grading (generally) entails

The basic thing you need to know for any grading is your form (sometimes referred to as a pattern), which is a sequence of moves performed in a specific order and can be difficult to remember. Each form has a different amount of moves and is particular to the belt for which you are grading. For instance, my form this evening, Joong-Gun, had 30 moves of varying complexity but my first form, Chon-Ji, had only 14 moves.

Other things you may need to know for your grading include;

  • Escapes – for self defence purposes if you are grabbed
  • One Steps (or sparring drills) – a series of moves performed with a partner to help develop muscle memory during sparring and to improve technique (this is done in a defensive manner, one person will ‘punch’ the other who would then perform the moves)
  • Target drills – to practice technique and help develop muscle memory for sparring
  • Sparring – during grading this helps the instructors to see areas that need to be improved upon, particularly complex moves such as jump kicks, spin kicks and jump/spin kicks
  • The name of your form (in its original Korean) and the amount of moves in your form
  • Pressure points and other trivia
  • The 7 tenets of Taekwondo – Honour, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage, Community

As you can see, there can be a lot involved in a grading and although not every topic above may be covered, there is much more to it than you may originally think. A lot of hours need to be put in and any opportunity to practice must be taken (you only need to check the CCTV around the side of my office building to see how serious I am about this!). So imagine being an instructor and having to know all of the above topics… but for 10+ different belts.

The belts (in order)

I get asked a lot what belt I am and when I tell people they generally have no idea where that falls on the spectrum but still say ‘oh cool!’ anyway. Please find the belts we use at the Taekwondo Academy in order below.

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Senior Green
  • Blue
  • Senior Blue
  • Purple
  • Senior Purple
  • Red
  • Senior Red
  • 1st Dan (Black)
  • there are many more beyond this, but I will leave it here for now!

On top of this are the Instructor qualifications which range from Level 4 to Level 1 (Level 1 being the most senior you can get).

At the time of writing this, I am a Senior Blue Level 4 Junior Assistant Instructor. I will find out if I passed my grading and if I have achieved my Purple belt tomorrow evening.

So what is it like?

Grading is terrifying, whether you are prepared or not, but so very worth it. There’s just something about the formality of it, with a panel of people judging you and trying to remember so many things all at once, that really gets the adrenaline going.

Yet nothing beats the feeling when your name is called and you tie your new belt around your waist because you know that you earned it.

The Man. The Myth.
The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Norris made history in 1990 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master.

Stay tuned for more Taekwondo related information and news.

Train insane or remain the same

I am so pleased with my workout routines, I have been pushing and pushing myself to train harder and more often. If someone had told me last year that I would be able to run 10KM this year, I wouldn’t have believed them.

As well as my regular runs and gym sessions, I have recently incorporated “Insanity” into my regime, it is tough as I’m sure most people are aware of, but the buzz I get after completing each session is unreal!

I also found a free app in the app store, which is a calendar for your insanity workouts, it’s great to see those days go down day by day and I can’t wait until I can say I have completed the insanity challenge!

IMG_2068

One of my most recent purchases has been a Fitbit Charge HR,IMG_2018I absolutely love this product and I find it extremely accurate. I was checking my heart rate yesterday evening and could not believe my heart rate was so low, I thought I would just double check this was correct, so I sat for a minute and found my pulse and counted… SPOT ON!

IMG_2065

Although the price tag is quite steep, I would strongly suggest to anyone that if you are serious about logging your exercises and keeping track on your day to day activities, then this is the product for you. It’s light, small and neat and doesn’t disturb any of my everyday movements.

The moral of this post is:

Don’t give up, don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. You can.

Go get the results you wish for.

Jo x

Clean&GreenFitness

#GetHenchMonday

#GetHenchMonday started as a bit of a joke; I was in my car after completing Taekwondo and an hour at the gym and feeling good about it, so I took a classic bicep curl selfie and plastered it across social media. I’ll even (begrudgingly) post the offending photo here for you:

How embarrassing...
Oh dear… How embarrassing!

Please don’t hold it against me…

Since then, however, #GetHenchMonday has started to mean more to me. It’s become a motivator, a way to start the week off right and to clear my head after (everyone’s favourite) work day.

On Mondays I always push myself harder and continue going for longer, I can’t plan anything social on a Monday anymore because the Iron Paradise and the dojo are the only places I belong! It’s silly and it’s cheesy but it’s become a lot more than just a hashtag – it’s the reason I rush home from work to run to Taekwondo, the reason I am willing to run 3k to the gym after an hour and a half of Taekwondo, push the weights hard for an hour and run back home. It’s the motivator behind exercising from the moment I get home until around 10pm (approx. 5 hours every Monday!).

It also helps me get back in to the swing of things during the work week, reminding me how much I enjoy the exercise, the training, the discipline so I don’t miss a night at the gym. This is especially important if I’ve had a lazy weekend or start trying to make excuses in my head!

I’m also a self-confessed over thinker. We could have a seemingly innocuous conversation about nothing in particular and I may dwell on it for hours, thinking I should have said something differently – or was how I said that rude? Did I come across as pushy? Or a thousand other questions that pop in to my head. This doesn’t happen with every conversation, of course, and it doesn’t happen with every single person. (It isn’t always limited to specific people either though.) Exercise is the BEST and the ONLY way I have found to stop this, and it’s great! Not only does #GetHenchMonday discipline my body, but my mind benefits considerably as well.

As silly as it sounds, I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, start your own hashtag for something you enjoy or something you want to do, do it every Monday and you’ll become more enthusiastic about and learn to look forward to and love it! It doesn’t have to be exercise either – it could be studying or knitting or cuddling your cat. Give it a try and see how you feel – don’t forget to comment your results below!

I’ll leave you with the results of tonight’s #GetHenchMonday here:

Resistance Training
Resistance Training 08.06.2015 (Jefit Pro)
Fitbit Screenshot
Fitbit data 08.06.2015
MapMyRun data screen shot
MapMyRun data 08.06.2015
MapMyFitness data screenshot
MapMyFitness data 08.06.2015