Sunday, 30 August 2015

Jessica Ennis-Hill Winning Gold at the Athletics World Championships

If you've been watching the Athletics World Championships this weekend, you will most likely have seen some amazing sporting moments from Mo Farah to Usain Bolt and many, many more.  But the leading lady that I think deserves so much credit for her performance this weekend is the wonderful Jessica Ennis-Hill.

This is the moment she won Gold in the heptathlon during the Beijing Athletics World Championships. 


It has to be one of my all time favourite pictures too, as Ennis-Hill overtook Theisen-Eaton to win the race and overall first place in the women's heptathlon.  The support and joy between the two women in this photo is amazing to see.  That's what true sportswomanship is all about. 


I have been watching Jessica Ennis-Hills career since the Olympics in 2012 and she has achieved so much in life as well as in sports.  Which is also one of the reasons why no one was expecting her to win Gold this year, after the birth of her first son Reggie, so I am so pleased for her.

Here's some great footage (in case you missed it) that covers off Jess' amazing performance during the Athletics World Championships.


Of course, Jess isn't the only Team GB athlete to bring home a medal from the Athletics World Championships.  Greg Rutherford won Gold, Shara Proctor who took home Silver, and there were Bronze medals all around for Christine Ohuruogu, Anyika Onuora, Eilidh Child, Seren Bundy-Davies, Rabah Yousif, Delano Williams, Jarryd Dunn and Martyn Rooney.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

26 day challenge to get in shape

Over the last two weeks I have been struck with a chest infection, which has really taken it out of me.  Just walking up the stairs at work has left me completely out of breath, which has completely scarpered my plans to get in tiptop shape for my holiday next month.

I now have a total of 26 days (starting Saturday) to kill it in the gym and get my nutrition back on track.  So to make myself completely accountable and to stick to this plan, I am going to share every step of it with you guys.

There is no quick fix to lose weight, I have learned that they hard way.  It is hard work burning fat, but when you do it is so satisfying. 

Day one of my plan will start on Saturday and I already have all 26 days of my workout plan nailed, which I made with the help of My Fitness Pal, to make sure I am meeting all of my macros each day.


My current macro goal being: 20% fats, 40% carbs and 40% protein.

Here is my list of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.  Including my goal to drink the suggested 2 liters a day.

Measuring your success is always important too and I do this on both a weekly and a monthly basis.  Here is how I measure my success:
  1. Measurements – once a week I measure my arms, chest, waist, hips and legs.  This is important because some weeks, you may gain weight through muscle but still be losing fat.  Muscle is more condensed than fat, so you will still have lost inches even if you don’t lose any weight.  So don’t feel disheartened if the scales seem to be going up.
  2. Scales – once a week I do jump on the scales, just because I find it helps to see how my body is responding to the exercise and diet that week. 
  3. Pictures – taking pictures is a really good way to visualize your progress.  You look at yourself every day, so you see those subtle changes over a long period of time.  Seeing before and after pictures give you so much more motivation, but make sure you take them at least a month apart or you will only see very small differences.
Now, time for the meals. 

Breakfasts

1.    Oats with almond milk and honey
2.    Shake with banana, a scoop of protein powder, a tablespoon of cocoa and an optional tablespoon of peanut/almond butter
3.    Eggs (2), turkey rashers (2) and grilled tomato’s
4.    Quorn sausages, eggs (2) and grilled tomato’s
5.    Protein Pancakes 

Lunch or Dinner

1.    BBQ turkey mince in a pepper or a whole meal wrap
2.    Turkey, broccoli and sweet potato
3.    Mackerel, broccoli and sweet potato
4.    Salmon Salad
5.    Mediterranean turkey in a pepper or whole meal wrap
6.    Whole meal bread, smashed avocado, tomato and egg
7.    Salmon fillet, avocado and grilled tomato’s with salad
8.    Steak, egg and grilled tomato’s

Snacks

1.    Macadamia and coconut bounce bar (2 per week)
2.    1oz of Almonds
3.    Banana
4.    Apple
5.    Melon
6.    Protein Shake (2 per week)

So here is my deal with you guys.  I will be up at 6am every day for the next 26 days ready to do my squat challenge.


Outside of the squat challenge, I am going on a fat burning mission.  To do that, I will be pushing my way through:

-    5 HIIT workouts (30 mins each),
-    Two 5K runs,
-    Two full body work outs (which includes lifting),
-    A core workout
-    The option of doing a Zumba class on Sunday.

These workouts will be spread out across the days and will cover an entire week.   This is what a typical day will look like for me:

6.00:     Wake up
6.15:     Start squat challenge
6.45:     Shower and get ready for work
7.15:     Breakfast
7.45:     Leave for work
10.00:   Mid-morning snack
12.30:   HIIT Run
13.00:   Lunch
15.00:   Mid afternoon snack
17.30:   Finish work and make my way to the gym
19.00:   Start my circuit training class

After all of this hard work, I am planning to reward myself and there are a few things on my list.  Top of that list is a Fitbit and some new gym kit.  But I will tell you more about that in a few days time, when I update you on how the challenge is going so far.

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram too, where I will be posting a lot more regularly about this process!

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Running the Bupa 10K for The Eve Appeal

This year I am all for setting myself new challenges.  Back in December I decided to get strong and healthy rather than skinny and hungry.  This has given me a new determination and made me reach for new fitness goals.


In September I am taking part in my first run in 4 years, The Big Agency 5K.  It's only a small one, but it's a good starting point for me.  I have been running 4 times a week to train for it and have slowly worked my way up from running 1K all the way up to 4 and last week I managed my first full 5K in 32 minutes.  My aim in the next month is to now get this time down and run the 5K as quickly as I can.


My run during my lunch breaks is always something that I look forward to, while my runs at the weekend are more leisurely, during my lunch breaks I have the added pressure to run faster and quicker.

During my lunch breaks I run in Regents Park (one of the Royal Parks in London), so my view is always amazing, but it also has the added bonus of hills and obstacles to push me further and the view isn't too shabby either. 


If you run just outside the park too, you can see some of the animals in the Zoo.


Altogether the park is a pretty good training ground, which is why I am keen to continue training there in readiness for my second 10K in May, which I will be running to raise money in aid of Cervical Cancer with The Eve Appeal.  I will be running with my best friend Sam who is raising money for Alzheimer's and her sister Lorna who will be running to raise awareness of Sarcoma - three amazing causes.

We each have our reasons why we are running for these charities and I am running for a charity which is fighting for better detection and improved treatment of all five gynecological cancers.  This is a charity that is so important to me, as it has effected a number of very important ladies in my life including my mum and one of my best friends.

It's something that terrifies me to my very core and I believe more needs to be done in order to detect it, including smear tests happening from an earlier age.

If you would like to donate, the link to my page is here and my aim is to raise £500 for The Eve Appeal, but if we can smash through that target, then even better!


"Globally there are around one million new cases of gynecological cancers per year. But what is more shocking is that 500,000 die each year from one of these cancers, just 28,000 fewer than breast cancer.
That is 21 mums or daughters or sisters or girlfriends each day."


The route that I will be running covers a number of different and iconic London landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, so I will be sure to give the Queen a quick wave as we go passed.  Who knows she might be on the balcony with her pom poms cheering us all along.

 
You never know, if all this training pays off, maybe we will be standing on the winning podium in 2016.



But for now I would like to thank you so much for all of your support, my 293 days of raising awareness of Cervical Cancer starts today along with my 10K countdown.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The last of the binge drinking generation

Being counted as a millennial (someone currently in their 20s) I feel as though we have been given a bad wrap over the last ten years or so for our binge drinking and anti-social behavior.  While I admit that maybe some people's behavior is a lot worse than others, not everyone wants to go out and 'get mortal'.  But then again, watching people in the gym doesn't make for 'good news' or even 'good TV', so why would anyone want to film it and put it on prime time?

I use the gym as an example, because I was reading an interesting article in the Evening Standard last Friday about why all the 'good pubs' in London are closing down and being turned into luxury flats.  The reasoning in the article said it was due to the fact that millennial’s are more interested in fitness now than they are in drinking.  Here's the direct quote:

"It will come as no surprise to anyone who has encountered one of these ambitious, gym-honed twenty-something’s that, according to a new survey by Demos, young British people are turning their backs on alcohol in ‘unprecedented numbers’.  Out of those polled… two thirds say alcohol is not important to their social lives, while one in five don't drink at all.  The proportion of young people who are teetotal has increased by 40% between 2005 and 2013".

Now don't get me wrong, I have had a drink before and I have been drunk.  University has a lot to answer for.  But as soon as that phase in my life was over - drinking socially wasn't something that I was that interested in anymore and I actually began to enjoy the taste of a glass of wine.

But even while I was at University Sports had a huge influence on my life and my social life.  I was part of the Netball team and that meant training twice a week and playing every Wednesday.  On top of this, I would also spend time in the gym sweating out all the snakebite I had consumed at the union the night before.



I dread to think what would have happened if I hadn't played or joined in any sports because my old Facebook photos tell a story that I probably wouldn't want my children to get their hands on one day.

Don’t get me wrong, I was having a great time – but I wasn't thinking about the health implications at all.

I like to think that I have the new social media app Time Hop for this revelation, as recently it brought back a picture from 4 years ago – the year that I graduated.  It was a night out for my friends birthday in Derby and all of us girls are lined up looking beautiful in all of our Oompa Loompa glory for a picture.  Compare this to a photo of me now; you can see a huge difference.  The alcohol and fake tan have aged me so much in the older photo, where as now – with less make up and none of the glowing ‘fakeness’ I look a lot younger and fresher than I do in the original and this isn’t just because I have started going to the gym and have lost some weight.


Written down like this it all sounds terrible and I guess it really is.  But we were all doing the same things and your peers influence you massively during this stage in your life.  But looking back with one of my friends has made us realise how massively stupid we were and how much we wished we hadn’t conformed to that idealistic view of beauty back then.

Since graduating we have both turned our health regimes around, both opting to eat clean and go to the gym over going out and getting obliterated.  We tend to go for meals in different and beautiful restaurants now, like The Ivy Market Grill and are careful about our meal choices (mostly so that we can pick some form of dessert that we know we are going to have to work a little harder in the gym to shift that week).


I am sure that I will look back at this post in a few years and wonder what happened to the person that I am today, but that’s what happens in life I guess.

My point was though, that I am glad people are starting to favour the gym over the pub.  While it is good to socialise physically with your friends rather than just talking to them online all the time, social lives should not revolve around something like alcohol and family time should be just as important too.

This post has inspired me to write another: "How to live healthily as a student".  I am going to be doing some research over the next few weeks and trying to stick to the diet myself too.  Hopefully I will be able to update you all soon.

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Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Body Coach 90 day SSS plan - review part two

**Disclosure - this may be a bit of a rant**

My first month on the body coach plan is now over and my results are in, or rather they're not.  After spending 30 days on the plan, I have sent off my results and I got my second plan back.  But with it came no evidence of a before and after photo or the change in my measurements or weight.

After emailing back to find out where this information was, I was told that I hadn't submitted it in the first place - so unfortunately they were unable to give me this information.  I also said (when submitting my results) that from my own track record, I don't believe that the plan has worked for me and that I have put on weight.  Something I had been concerned about two weeks into the plan and the reply I received, was "it is impossible to put on weight during this plan".  Not very helpful.

Since this initial contact with my coach, I decided that I would message the help form on the website and someone from the customer service team contacted me.  He was very apologetic about the initial response that I had from my coach and said he would send over my before and after picture.  When the email dropped in my inbox though, I only had one photo and I have to say I was horrified by the difference.


However, I did only receive the one picture.  Not the back front and side shots I had submitted...

I don't want to turn this post into something massively negative, so I am just going to list a few points of why I feel this meal plan hasn't worked for me:

1. The lack of support from the coaches (not Joe - but the assigned coach you have from the beginning)
2. The time it takes to make the meals.  Most were taking me over an hour, which is a long time when you arrive home from the gym at 8.15 and you really just want to have a shower and get in bed
3. The portions, they were too big and making me crave more food than normal - especially sugar
4. The fad diet and alcohol 'telling off' I had from the coaches (I tried herbalife for a week 2 years ago and I have one night out a month - which I have around 3 drinks at maximum)
5. The pack is very complicated to comprehend
6. No exact exercise methods are provided, just a loose frame work of how many reps, etc...
7. The plan isn't really designed for people with eating intolerance's or hormone imbalances 
8. My second plan was full of dairy, which I am intolerant to
9. There are little to no breakfast choices for people who don't have a strong constitution first thing in the morning
10. There are too many monetary/marketing partnerships in the mix which are influencing the plan too

At this stage, I am pretty unwilling to try month two with such bad results in cycle one.  Especially if you aren't supposed to be able to put any weight on.

This week I have gone back to my own plan, something that was working for me before the 90 day SSS plan and already feel a lot better.

Has anyone else felt like this on the plan?

I would say that I have stuck to the plan around 80% of the time and I rarely ever drink, so have only had around 2 gin and tonics since being on the plan.

When I started I weighed 10 stone 3lbs and my measurements were as follows...

Chest: 35 inches
Waist: 29 inches
Hips: 34 inches
Arms: 11 inches
Legs: 22 inches

But now my measurements and weight is...

Chest: 37 inches
Waist: 31 inches
Hips: 37 inches
Arms: 11 inches
Legs: 22 inches

Weight: 10 stone 10 lbs 

So I have gained (by my records)...

Chest: 2 inches
Waist: 2 inches
Hips: 3 inches
Arms: 0 inches
Legs: 0 inches

Weight: 7 lbs

As you can imagine this has knocked my confidence slightly and I am working hard to gain back that loss with my sessions at the gym.  So I am back on my diet of fish, lean turkey, sweet potatoes and yummy vegetables in my regular portion sizes.

Eating well is a lifestyle change and I believe that while you do need to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly you still have to have a slice of cake once in a while.


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