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/

 

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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!

 

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.

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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

(C) Crème Fraîche on Ryvita

What you need:

  • Fruit Crunch Ryvita (the deep red packet)
  • Crème Fraîche (300ml pot, don’t buy the fat free kind – it’s packed with sugar)
  • Chia Seeds (3 tbsp)
  • Ground Almonds (1/2 cup/around 4-5 tbsp)
  • Rose Water (a glug – you’ll need to taste it to see how much you want. I got a 190ml bottle for approx £1.50 from ASDA)
  • Sunflower Seeds (to top with)
  • Berries (I used dried cranberries and fresh blueberries and again these are to top with)

This is so super easy and should make enough to last a full work week (5 days) and will take about 5 minutes if you’re super slow at mixing.

Method:

Empty the crème fraîche in to a mixing bowl, add in the chia seeds and ground almonds, mix this all together. Add a teaspoon at a time of rose water, stir and taste as you go, once it’s to your taste it’s pretty much ready to eat!

Spread the mixture on top of the Fruit Crunch Ryvita as thick as you want, top with sunflower seeds and berries and that’s it! A delicious breakfast that will last days! (Store just the additional crème fraîche mixture in the fridge to keep it fresh).

Crème fraîche goodness
The finished product

Give it a go and don’t forget to leave a comment below!

 

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.

(C) Dinner Parties – the clean way! (Part III)

I hope by now you’ve had a chance to try the starter and main course in this thread of recipes and enjoyed them as much as I do!

This is, by far, the simplest of all of the courses and is so ridiculously tasty. If I’m honest, I thought this would be the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten in my life and was very pleasantly surprised when I took my first spoonful and found the texture and taste to be incredible. This recipe should serve 4 people (but if you enjoy it as much as me, it may disappear before you get a chance to put it on the table…).

Dessert – Banana, Almond and Chia Seed Pudding

What you will need:

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 carton almond milk (if anyone has nut allergies you can use soya, coconut or oat milk)

Method:

Chop up the banana and put the almond milk and banana in to a blender/smoothie maker and blend until smooth.

Split in to 4 serving dishes – I used a fancy latte glass I had hanging around. Make sure there is some room in whatever you’re using… you’ll see why.

Put 1/4 cup of chia seeds in to each dish, mix, and place in the fridge to cool. The chia seeds will absorb the liquid and become soft, they will also grow. The longer you leave it, the softer they become. I left it about 30 mins and the texture was like mousse however you can eat it straight away, the seeds will just be crunchy.

Chia, banana and almond milk pudding
Looks weird, tastes great!

Serve and enjoy!

As usual, please leave your comments below.

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.

The Body Image Issue

I am aware that my view may be controversial but it’s one I think a lot of people secretly would agree with. My view is simple:

There is a difference between promoting body confidence and promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. 

And we’ve gone too far. In trying to promote self-confidence and a love of oneself, we’ve allowed people who are clinically obese to become ‘supermodels’ and role models, these people are celebrated for ‘breaking the boundaries’ and ‘crushing stereotypes’. These people are also wildly unhealthy – one comment I heard from a self-confessed overweight model is that celebrities don’t get criticised for smoking – so why should she be criticised for being overweight? The response was an outcry of people agreeing that she should be celebrated too. My response? You’re right, the person who is promoting smoking should probably be in some hot water too. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Celebrating obesity isn’t celebrating body confidence – it’s not letting people (especially impressionable young women) know that people come in all shapes and sizes and to be comfortable in themselves – it’s telling these people that it’s okay to be unhealthy. How can we, as a society and as a body image positive movement, justify allowing severely overweight and unhealthy people becoming models when we’ve worked so hard to stop (and in some countries, make illegal) underweight and unhealthy models being hired and shown in the media?

Just because it’s (generally) easier to be overweight than underweight it doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. This has to stop.

I absolutely believe that everyone should be comfortable in their own body, and will admit that I was not comfortable in mine  – I am still self-conscious but I didn’t realise it for years. The time I started to embrace my differences is when I focused on health and fitness rather than looks. The one thing I say to people and fully believe is that it’s okay to be any shape, size, colour, or whatever as long as you are healthy! I don’t mean you need to be as fitness obsessed as myself – rather you shouldn’t feel bloated all the time or fear the slightest bit of exercise. To me it’s that simple.

So PLEASE, let’s stop celebrating unhealthy people because it’s in fashion, let’s stop idolising overweight people because they ‘promote body confidence’. Let’s not undo all of the hard work that was put in to having healthy models in magazines rather than underweight ones. Let’s get real – let’s celebrate healthy, strong people.

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Photo from Nike Ad Campaign

#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