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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Things I'm Loving In January

This is the infamous time in January when New Years Resolutions get tough or have gone out the window. I hope you set some achievable goals and are enjoying pursuing them 👏

These are a few things I'm really enjoying; some fitness, health, beauty and nutrition gems 💓

  • Heck Super Greens Balls These look amazing and taste amazing, veggie and vegan friendly they are just a great way to add a bit more veg to your meals, yum 😋

  • Rawsons Retreat It was actually a client who recommended this non-alcoholic wine to me (we have both decided for health reasons to stop drinking) we are enjoying finding nice drinks without alcohol. Keep it in the fridge and enjoy at the weekends, or just on a Wednesday evening 😘 Okay it's a little sweet for my palate but so far it's the driest one I have found. If you are doing Dry January give it a go 🍷

  • Symprove I wrote in December about my nightmare with annually recurring chest infections for the last 5 years. I heard about Symprove via a Dr friend and as it's not the cheapest probiotic (for good reason) it was only this year I felt I needed to make the investment (I wish I had done it sooner!). I started taking it when I knew I had a chest infection and before my first course of antibiotics. The brilliant news is that despite two weeks of antibiotics and steroids I had absolutely NO gut distress! This has NEVER happened, I normally have a terrible time with my gut as I try to get rid of the chest infection. I am now committed to taking it until the end of February. In October I am going to start another 12 week course to see if it can help to keep me well, fingers crossed 😷    
  • Massage Balls All my clients have these little beauties! They are simply brilliant at keeping tight joints and muscles moving a lot better. A little every day goes a long way. If you are tight they aren't exactly "enjoyable" however, your hard working body will love you for the tlc you give it. Especially good for shoulders, back, glutes and hamstrings but really they can be used on most parts of the body 💜  

  • Lemon & Ginger Beauty - Oxford If you work or live in Oxford then this is a beautiful little salon in Headington. Issy set up her own business last year and she is truly flourishing. Her shepherds hut is fully fitted with a wood burner (!) It's so cosy and smells amazing as she uses Neal's Yard Remedies. She has an online booking system to book those last minute appointments. When you have been once you'll want to go back again soon, I promise 😍 

  • Martin "Nutrition" MacDonald  Okay, there is a lot of guff (technical term) out there about nutrition (especially at this time of year!) Do yourself a huge favour and visit Martin's Facebook page. In January he is doing a FREE Q&A every day to answer all your questions. To use Martin's words "there are no stupid questions" so go ask him your biggest concerns about nutrition. Yes, Martin has an academic background but I promise you he is also a real person who knows how to help real people with real lives. Think of it as a late Christmas present from me 🎅

Well I hope you have a look at some of the things I am enjoying this month. Good luck and keep up the good work with your Health and Fitness goals x

Friday, 5 January 2018

Healthy New Year

A few days into a New Year and I hope that it's been a super start for you. I'm finally free of my chest infection and enjoying being able to breathe easily, simple things huh!

I'm also challenging myself to eat my 7 a day, 5 veggies, 2 fruit and 2 litres of water. It's really made me realise I have to make some very conscious decisions to hit my targets!

For the past 5 winters I've had a very nasty chest infection every year. This year I am on a mission to understand a) why I am that person who gets a cold and then within 10 days has a chest infection via specialist medical advice b) try some natural ways to boost my immune system and see what impact that has on my ability to avoid another chest infection.

None of what I am doing is going to harm me so I feel there is no down side to trying these things.

This recipe is a favourite of mine and certainly makes it easier for me to get my veggies. I hope you like it too. 

Kale, Avocado & Pineapple Salad
It's a salad and a half. Serves 4 - Maybe!
100g Kale
1/2 cucumber, sliced into bite size chunks
1 red pepper, cut into bite size chunks
1 small pineapple, cut into chunks
2 small avocados, cut into chunks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
50g salted nuts.
Small bunch of basil and coriander roughly chopped

Dress with 50ml sweet chilli sauce, 1 tbspn soy sauce, 1 tbspn fish sauce, juice of half a lime and a pinch of salt.

I served mine with a slice of Crustless Quiche Lorraine and it's delicious on it's own :)

Scrumalicious x

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Here's To A Joyous January

I hope as you read this you are well and excited to have a fun Christmas. After almost 4 weeks trying to recover from a chest infection I finally feel a little human and have found some festive cheer, yay!

I wanted to write about enjoying Christmas and my philosophy on the approaching New Year.

I am a big fan of Christmas, spending more time with my friends and family, eating delicious food and having time to recharge my batteries ready to start 2018 with great energy.

If you already have thoughts of your New Year health and fitness goals then I say write them down and put them on hold for a few days. Now is the time to enjoy a little or a lot of what you like with your favourite people.

Equally some people like to choose a couple of days to eat and drink whatever they fancy and then go back to normal eating. I like to fit in a bit of exercise, not to burn anything off but simply because I have time to do what I love and it's generally very quiet going for a run, riding my bike or hopping in the pool!

If you've ever been out on Christmas Day for a run (my personal tradition is a Christmas morning run) everyone you meet says Happy Christmas and I honestly think it's the one day a year when everyone is kinder to each other, big love for that!

Okay so let's move on to 1st January and those goals you wrote down. I don't train my clients differently in January to any other month of the year. I do however find myself giving the message of moderation in this month a lot more!

My personal advice on how to get fitter, stronger, healthier:
  • Have a sensible, achievable, longer than 4 weeks long goal
  • To make January joyous add a healthy dose of patience to your goals
  • Avoid anything extreme; extreme diets and extreme exercise
  • Try to keep your list of new habits to no more than 5. Overhauling your entire diet and exercise in one hit is mentally and physically challenging. Don't burn out in January!
  • Focus on achieving those new healthy habits rather than giving up everything you enjoy
  • With exercise, if it's been a while since you regularly worked out, start with a goal of being active 3 times a week, hit that for 12 weeks, that's consistency and it's key
  • Your body needs time to adapt so keep the workouts shorter initially and see how it responds
  • Mindset changes take many weeks so think longer than January, maybe set your first target for the end of February or 1st March
  • Where nutrition is concerned avoid cutting out major food groups and all your favourite foods
  • 3 Simple ways to feel healthier; walk more, drink more water and eat more green veg
  • It is possible to enjoy the process of becoming healthier. If there is no joy then rethink some of the changes you have implemented

This is a great article

By taking a more relaxed approach and focusing each day on implementing your new habits January can truly be more Joyous. That way you hopefully get to the end of the month with those new habits still a part of your life. I hope so!

Wishing you a fun Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2018 x

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

2nd Race of the season - A bit less faffing!

So my 2nd race of the season was at Dorney Lake and was an F3 Events Supersprint. In the 10 years I have been doing triathlon I have never done this distance! 400m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run.

This was also be my first open water race of the season. With my next race in two weeks time at the same venue it felt like perfect preparation to go to the race site and feel comfortable as well as having a bit of a hit out in the same water and on the same tarmac!

This is a mass start swim at 8.30am. I arrived at 7am because I do like to faff a bit! Got myself all set up in transition and then started to warm up.

Wow 13 degrees is pretty cold! I was glad when the gun went and I could get going, or not! I found it quite difficult getting my arms moving as fast as I wanted and took a while to get going. Once I felt like I was moving better I then had to fight off a couple of guys who had clearly taken the completely wrong line and were now trying to swim into me as I headed for the exit! I don't surrender my position in the swim just cos you are a guy :)
Less faffing, yay! But a reminder that I need to focus whilst trying to get my wetsuit off! All in all much better
It's pancake flat at Dorney so it's Vollgas all the way! There was a pretty strong head wind for part of it but a nice tail wind too. It took me until the 2nd lap to really find my mojo but it was good to find it and have a faster 2nd lap
Lesson learned from the last race and this time I got my shoes on much easier, yay!
I'm still giving myself too much of a hard time for not being able to run at the pace I want to (despite only running properly now for 5 weeks) BUT I did manage to change that in this race, yay! I had to have stern words with myself about the pace and just focus on working hard and giving it 100% effort. I'm happy to say it feels much better to not beat yourself up and focus on doing the absolute best you can and try to relax and enjoy it.

Another pain free race = happy days, still things to improve on as always but I'm faffing less and making fewer mistakes so it's all going in the right direction :)

I finished 1st in my Age Group and 7th Overall.

Next race is back to Dorney Lake on 21st May for a Sprint Distance World Championship Qualifier

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Consistency Is Key

It can seem very daunting to make the right changes to live a healthier life. I think we are all to a certain extent impatient and looking for the outcome quicker than is healthy.

Most of the people I see have tried to change too many things in their life at one time. It usually leads to despondency and believing you can't actually achieve that healthier life.

My top tip is to be consistent with one thing. If you currently aren't moving at all, start there. Find one way to be active every day. Walk to work, walk at lunch time, set up a walking or 0-5k running group with friends or work colleagues. It's a great way to fit in that activity and make it a lot more sociable and usually a lot more fun!

I'm often asked "what's the best type of exercise for me to do?" The simple answer is anything that you actually ENJOY :) If you were a great swimmer as a kid, get back in the pool for 20 mins. If running was your thing, then get your trainers on and go and walk and run for 20 mins! If you have no idea what you enjoy, then find out what classes are on locally and try a different class every week, yoga, body combat, circuit training, Pilates anything that sounds appealing! You won't know what floats your boat until you try! Ask friends and colleagues what they enjoy and give that a go!

Or if you know that you are not eating nearly enough vegetables or too much of the sweet stuff then start there. Make one change until that change has become a habit, then move onto the next thing. Cutting back is much easier than cutting out when it comes to food or drinks. So have less chocolate per week but don't go into monk mode and try to survive off lentils and kale (unless you find that idea really exciting!)

So, now you have found something that is enjoyable and (a little challenging maybe!) then it's time to sow the seed of consistency.

Building consistency is about making it happen every day (even when you feel tired or grumpy!) In fact, especially when you feel like that! You don't have to workout for an hour a day and it's probably too much anyway if it's been a while since you last exercised regularly.
I don't know where the magic hour number came from but it's perfectly achievable to work out for less time and be healthier.

Adding variety to the forms of activity you choose is great if you are someone who hasn't quite found a type of exercise you adore (but I hope you do in this process!) Being with others, sharing in the fun and the challenges is a great way to keep you coming back for more! It makes us feel we are part of a team. I love swimming with my squad or I would spend a huge amount of time training on my own each week.

It's much easier to make exercise consistent in your life if you can achieve 20-30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week for the long term. The government guideline is for 2.5 hours of exercise a week and it's okay to build up to that if you aren't already exercising.

The key is to make it completely achievable so that you can be consistent for months and years not for just 6 weeks! Do less, more often and you will be surprised how quickly it becomes easier to do. Don't think about things too much, focus on what you want to achieve, make it happen and fully believe it will be a consistent part of your life.

These days everyone's lives are full and being consistent is easier when it's small manageable chunks of time. So make one change to your exercise or eating, be proud you have taken action and enjoy the process of feeling healthier.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Injury Update & 1st Race of the Year Done!

I can hardly believe that it's been 7 months since I last did a triathlon but yesterday it totally showed!

I usually race Duston Triathlon in April because it's only about 40 mins from home and the faster you swim, the later you start! So I get a bit of a lie in compared to previous years! It's also really good to get all the jitters and mistakes out of the way before races that really matter to me :)

I first did this race in 2009 and I've done it 4 times since then. It's so nice to turn up to a race where you know the venue and the course like the back of your hand, it should (!) stop all the jitters right!?

This winter I have worked extremely hard swim, bike and serious amounts of physio! Not so much the run :(

After an MRI in January 2017 I finally discovered I had a trigonum on my left heel (causing my Achilles pain) and I just needed intensive physio to strengthen the ankles. I thought my injury worries were over, but sadly not. The same day my consultant did a scan on my right leg to discover that after the Parkrun on 1st January I now had a 0.8cm tear in the Soleus. No running for two and a half months ensued!

Thankfully during this time my coach Michelle Dillon helped me keep my head in the game! I used every mental strength strategy I knew and found a lot more via the internet and Michelle! At least we knew my swimming and biking would improve :)

Leading into the race I had started a walk/run protocol from my physio on 22nd March and did my first continuous 20 minute run on 30th March! Cutting it really fine to do the race yesterday!!!

Onto the race....

I rocked up feeling not too nervous (very good and something I have really worked on)

I did all my usual prep, including a really good warm up and I feel good and only a little nervous, just enough, not over the line :)

I can only describe the swim as feeling like someone was pushing against my chest, making it really difficult to breathe properly and that started to make me worry a little. I had to fight hard not to panic and just keep swimming strong. Having to stop as the faster swimmers got in behind me is a bit of a pain but I guess the norm for a pool swim!
Normally I don't have anything to say about this but I think I did more faffing in this T1 than EVER before!!! Hey ho, this is why we have some practice races!
My contact lenses were almost coming out, which is not good when the first part of the course is downhill and you have to negotiate roundabouts!!! Thankfully within a minute or two I could see properly! I will ensure next time NO water get's into my goggles! After 5k we were unlucky and had to stop at a set of temporary traffic lights (thankfully our times were adjusted accordingly) then I struggled to clip in and get going again, I was now getting annoyed at myself! I struggled with my breathing again on the bike and it took me probably to the half way point to feel like I was riding the way I wanted to at the start, better late than never that my legs arrived!
I couldn't get my shoes on, I think it took me 3 attempts to throw my feet in! No wonder I had a blister at the end (!)
Thankfully my run legs felt great at the start (sound familiar!?) I was enjoying being able to push myself as hard as I could with no niggles holding me back. It's been 18 months since I have been able to push this hard on the run and I am just so grateful that I could even get this run done! The back end of the run I started to struggle but I stayed positive and reminded myself it was just a lack of hard running and to keep pushing. I am so proud of my commitment to my physio exercises, my legs feel stronger than ever and I am hopeful that at some point in the near future I will be able to run closer to the times I think I am capable of.

I was 3rd in my age group and 13th overall.

Next up is a Parkrun on 29th April to start to put some much needed speed into my little leggies! :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

On Track October

The relaxation is over and I am now back on it!

One of my main goals for this winter is to stay healthy and I am extremely happy to have hit the target in the first month! I learned a lot in the early part of this year battling constant chest infections and taking antiobiotics for weeks and weeks. I am keeping my promise to stick to the things that worked to keep me healthy from June to this point.

They are in brief:

  • Taking Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Yakult, Omega 3 (2,000mg) daily (yes it's a pain but it's all keeping me topped up)
  • Taking my Super Greens daily. It tastes like dirt (not selling it I know!) but it's a good boost of antioxidants, especially on days when I don't quite manage to eat enough greens! Synergy
  • Limiting alcohol! By that I mean one or two at the weekend. When I had 6 weeks with no alcohol in the summer, miraculously my chest infections stopped! 
  • Ensuring my diet has as much quality to it as I can manage, consistently
  • Keeping on top of my prehab so that my Achilles and I remain on speaking terms (we are currently on a break!)
My Achilles started giving me a few issues when I returned to running from Cozumel, which was pretty upsetting and a bit of a downer. Thankfully I know exactly who to go and see. I trotted off to London to see my Sports Medicine Consultant and he diagnosed that the Achilles was a bit inflamed and said that sometimes if you take a total break the Achilles does get grumpy! So basically I can never have time off from the prehab exercises!

I have not run for 2 weeks and I'm taking anti-inflammatory tablets, wearing an anti-inflammatory patch at night and taking antibiotics! I have also resumed the heavy calf loading that my Achilles needs and have been doing that daily to get it super strong!

The two weeks is up tomorrow and I have no discomfort these days so hopefully I will be back to running next week with no problems :)

Training has been going brilliantly. Since I came back from Cozumel I have been more motivated that I have ever known! I have only missed 2 sessions this month, mainly because taking antibiotics for my Achilles sent my stomach into serious overdrive, I won't elaborate further!!!

I am back to swimming and loving it as much as ever :) I had a video analysis done in September with Ali at Tri Swim Coaching so I know where I need to focus my attention until the next video session. I love swimming with the squad and let's be honest now it's dark and cold we all need a little help to jump in the pool! 

I have been on the turbo a lot more than I would have liked but hey it's keeping me fit and thank goodness for You Tube and Netflix, helping to while away the hours. I am starting to build up my weekend ride and look forward to getting stronger with company on some group rides over winter :)

My weekly chats with my coach Michelle Dillon are helping me to keep striving to improve. She keeps my mind and training on the straight and narrow! It's not an easy job I can tell you!!! She does it with a huge smile, care and compassion. 

Next up.... In November, hopefully some 10k run races to start to really build my run strength. So much missed training this year means I need a strong, consistent winter :)