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.

#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