FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: July 2013


Sunday, 28 July 2013

5 ways to make your morning workout

I love a good morning workout - there's something really satisfying about getting down to the beach for a run or class before the rat race to work commences - really sets me up for the day. I used to be really good at dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn for regular early sessions - I say 'used to' as I've got a bit crap with it lately and have been doing more evening classes instead.

The problem with early sessions is it requires a lot of organisation. If you're lucky enough to have a shower at work like I am, then you can do your AM workout en route, and have breakfast/get showered and changed there before plonking yourself down at your desk for the day.

On good days, my bags are packed the night before, lunch made, sometimes even dinner is prepared so when my alarm goes off, before my brain has time to realise what's going on I'm up, dressed and out the door, 17million bags in tow on the handlebars of my bike.

On bad days it's like a scene out of a Benny Hill film, me running around the flat with 100 half-finished things on the go at once, leaving just five minutes to do the 15 minute journey to the beach as I've spent so long faffing about. 

So, bearing this in mind, and as a little reminder for myself to get back on it, here's my top five tips for early bird exercisers.

Be an early bird...

1) Get up! 

Goes without saying really, of course the getting up part is a fundamental point here - but it's easier said than done. So many times I hit the snooze button in the morning, and the more I do it the harder it is to get up. If I wasn't so addicted to my iPhone I'd put it over the other side of the room to make myself get out of bed to turn the alarm off.

Unfortunately I am addicted to it, and have severe separation issues if apart from it for more than five minutes, so I'm gonna buy myself an alarm clock and put that on the other side of the room instead. If you're not as technology-dependant as I am, feel free to do this with your phone!

2) Pack a bag the night before 

It's no fun routing around your drawers at 6am for kit or work clothes - get it sorted the night before to minimise faffing. As I shower at work I normally get my kit out ready to put straight on, and pack my bag with my work clothes, make up and shower stuff etc. - so in theory all I have to do is get dressed and pick up my bag. In theory...

3) Prepare lunch the night before 

All pretty self explanatory this stuff, isn't it? But like all good advice, it's easier said than done so I'll carry on anyway... The last thing you wanna be doing at the crack of dawn is making your lunch - get your lunch made the night before so you only have to grab it out of the fridge when you leave.

Sunday afternoons are my favourite time to plan the week's food and exercise - me and the boy are pretty good at overdoing the Sunday roast so there's enough meat for a couple of days lunches - combine that with a batch of roasted vegetables and job done!

4) Plan your workouts 

Make it easy for yourself - there's little point sorting out all the above if you get to the park/beach/gym and don't know what you're going to do. If you're stuck for inspiration get over to Tribesports and take a look at some of the challenges. There's loads of circuits and workouts to choose from and some are really hard work. You can share your experiences and training with others too, and join group discussions and Tribes for specific sports or disciplines. 

Here's the challenge I did on Friday morning, I managed 6.1 rounds (the .1 being a pitiful burpee-beginning of round 7)... Join Tribesports and take the AMRAP challenge yourself - how many rounds can you do?

I topped this off with some beach running - the tide was out and the beach clear apart from early morning swimmers and joggers, a perfect morning for some pebble sprints. Another reason why I love Brighton so much - if this was on your doorstep would you go to the gym?! 

5) Join a club/train with a friend

Joining a club is a great way to motivate yourself and make new friends, and also makes sure you get good, structured training. The thing about booking onto the early group sessions is that if you don't turn up you're not only letting yourself down, but also the group - it's much harder to skip a booked bootcamp session with others than it is to hit snooze and bail on the early morning solo run.

Apart from anything else, group training is much more fun, and I don't know about you but I definitely work harder when in a group. It's not so easy to slack when someone's shouting at you! Any Brighton people looking to join a fun club, head over to bfit and come and play!

So... see you bright and early?

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Back on the wagon with lots to train for :)

It's funny how exercise can make you feel right again. My week of day-long cider drinking, over-eating and raving at Glasto took its toll on my fitness and it was really hard to get back on it. My first post-Glasto session was the double whammy - Boxercise followed by HIT. And bloody hell was it hard.

I mean, of course it's never a walk in the park, but those first sessions were more than hard, they were nearly impossible. I was certain I would die most of the way through, I literally had nothing in me. Thankfully no one took a photo of me in that class, so here's one of me looking much happier to be exercising, taken just before the week of festival-shaped debauchery.

Back on the wagon

Since then I've got right back on it - the mojo has returned, and I'm feeling great. If you told me two years ago that the first thing I'd do post-Glasto is book onto multiple exercise classes and spend over an hour planning the week's healthy meals I'd've thrown my Dominos in your face. Actually, maybe only the crusts, as I wouldn't have wasted the good bits.

Me and the boy had a couple of days still pigging out once we got home until the day before work when I bit the bullet and got the recipe books and magazines out to do some planning. It took me nearly two hours planning the week's food against my nutrition plan, and nearly as long to get everything from the supermarket, but the results were yummy and definitely worth the hassle:

So now that healthy eating is back on the agenda and the daily grind at work has reset back in, it's time to get training for the many exciting races and fitness events I've got coming up. *happy face* 

Upcoming races/events

September 14 - Brighton Colour Run

I know it officially uses the American spelling but I refuse to do that on my blog. Anyway, OCD aside, how *fun* is this gonna be?! Running a 5k with your mates whilst having tonnes of multicoloured powdered paint lobbed over you... Anyone who knows me will know that this is right up my street - everything is so much richer with a splash of colour. I'm not expecting to be richer after this race, mind - it cost us nearly £30 each so it better be worth it! Brighton Colour Run - bring it on! 

September 27-29 - Hillmotts bootcamp weekend 

Is it wrong for me to be so excited about a whole weekend of fitness? I've been wanting to do a residential bootcamp for ages and when a deal came up on Living Social I couldn't refuse. The wedding fund took a back seat that day, (don't tell the boy), and I rounded up my two favourite fitties to book the Dorset weekend. (The swimming pool, sauna and hot tub had *nothing* to do with this location choice). 

On the agenda: Seven hours of exercise a day (kicked off with a HIIT session before breakfast!), with healthy nutritious meals in between. Chuck a bit of yoga in there to chill at the end of the weekend - it's gonna be immense! Hoping to come back invigorated, revitalised and absolutely bloody knackered. :)

Check out the website for a look at the venue and typical day's training.  

October 6 - Warrior Run (round 2)

April Warrior Run photos :)

I am SO excited for this! 6k of mud, swamps, cargo nets, rope climbs, mud, climbing frames, monkey bars, mud, slides, tyre lifts, mud, tunnels, mud and more mud - it's gonna be EPIC!

Me and the bfit massive did the Warrior Run in April and I managed to just about make it round in one battered and bruised piece, albeit with a little help from my friends (being 4ft10 makes it pretty difficult to master 8ft monkey bars and 6ft walls). Case in point:

November 17 - Brooks 10k 

When the fun of the Colour Run and Warrior Run is out of the way, it'll be time to get serious with the running and nail the Brooks 10k. When I say 'nail', I mean finish in an alright time, still with the use of my legs post-race, and definitely not being the last one in. It's a fast and flat course along the seafront so I'm sure there'll be lots of speedy pro's overtaking me.

I'm gonna try to get faster and stronger over the next few weeks in preparation for this one, alongside getting back into longer runs to start training for the Brighton Half and full marathon next year. Yes, I said 'full marathon'. To say I'm shitting it is a monumental understatement.

Best get training!


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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Awkward desk snacks - yes, I smell of egg.

I learnt the hard way last week that sunflower seeds are NOT to be eaten whole. After nearly a week of binge eating and replacing all bodily fluids with cider at Glastonbury it felt good to be back on the wagon, so there I was, sat at my desk, proudly pouring out a handful of big chunky seeds and feeling smug about the task at hand. I got pretty excited about how just big they were when I found them in Asda - like they were *proper* food or something.

No more pissing about with tiny little mixed seeds and berries. A handfull of these badboys to get me to lunchtime and I'll be well sorted. 

No spitting in the office

I must've worked my way through about half of them, persistently (but quietly) gnawing away at the hard shells wondering why the consistency wasn't changing before I eventually gave up and abandoned ship, spitting the half-mauled residue in the bin behind me. The rest of the packet lies discarded in my top draw of my desk, AKA the 'food draw' *. (Don't pretend to me you don't have a food draw. It's essential for any office worker).

It's just a shame I didn't see this beforehand. Ofcourse wikiHow knows how to bloody eat them - I should've known.

So that's that then. No more sunflower seeds at work. I can't be sat continuously spitting bits of seed around the room in between phonecalls and emails. These are definitely not a desk-friendly snack in any shape or form.

Which led me to think about other awkward desk snacks (but healthy snacks for work nonetheless!) that I indulge in and force upon my colleagues.

Egg o'clock

I love hardboiled eggs. Since (mostly) following a healthy, balanced food plan and learning about proper nutrition (thanks BodyOptimum), eggs are my new best friend.

Egg o'clock can strike at any time, but tends to be mid-morning if I've not had any protein for breakfast and need a quick hunger fix.

I like to think of myself as a considerate person, so I do announce to the room when egg o'clock is about to commence, and no one tells me to get the hell out so I assume it's OK. Sometimes it goes unnoticed, but other times, when someone's been out of the office and walks back in for instance, the eggy vapour surrounding my desk is unfortunately unavoidable, and causes a bit of a stir. *Edit: 8/8/13 -> egg o'clock just happened and war nearly broke out in the office. Thought someone was gonna punch me in the face. Today is not a good egg day.

What's that smell? Oh. It's Tess. And her egg. 

I suppose the good thing is that at least people don't mistake it for a fart and just accept that yes, I am taking bites out of an egg in between typing paragraphs in an email.

Fishy Fishy  

Another firm favourite snack of mine which I've only been brave enough to bring in once for fear of replacing the eggy vapours with fishy smells is tinned anchovies. Obviously I prefer the fresh ones, they're so much nicer, but needs must when convenience calls and I really do have a thing about the saltiness of the tinned ones. 

Now the tinned ones (or any tinned fish for that matter) are also NOT good desk snacks. You need to have about 1000 sheets of kitchen roll at the ready to soak up the oil before eating them, which means it looks like you've literally emptied a can of slimy lactating worms out next to your notepad. Your hands, desk, keyboard, mouse, face (what can I say, I like to touch my face) all get covered in oil and fish bits and then so does the bin when you chuck the tin away. 

I was too embarrassed to announce to the room that it was fish o'clock so I hid mine in my food draw on a bed of kitchen roll and never spoke a word of it. 

I'm sure there are loads of other awkward desk snacks out there that have yet to cross my path, any favourites of yours please do let me know so I can continue to annoy my colleagues with :) 

* Regular inhabitants of the food draw include deserted tins of Weight Watchers soup, mixed nuts/dried fruit, and an unlimited supply of Dr Karg Emmental Cheese & Pumpkin Seed Crispbreads, (not Emmental and *Sunflower* Seed Crispbreads for a reason). Said sunflower seeds are due to be evacuated from the food draw with immediate effect.  Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Why I failed monumentally at the latter stages of Juneathon: Glastonbury 2013

You might've noticed I haven't posted for nearly two weeks - there's a really good reason for this, and it's called Glastonbury.

AKA the Greatest Festival in the World.

The only festival that I'll allow to top it is probably gonna be WedFest 2014 and that'll be curated by me and the boy as we get hitched next summer. Although the Rolling Stones won't be playing, there won't be any weird trippy dance areas or massive mechanical spider stages and it'll be on a much smaller scale (in a pub campsite in the Sussex countryside), it's gonna be EPIC. Fact.

But more on that later - let me show you what made me fail monumentally in the latter stages of the Juneathon challenge...


This year was exceptionally good for seeing bands - normally we spend a lot of time raving into the early hours in the dance areas and miss most of the bands on the main stages, but this time we managed to do both so saw heaps of stuff. (Main bits of which I can remember, detailed below...)

Enter Shikari - The Lumineers - The Vaccines - Alt-J - The Courteeners - Arctic Monkeys - Portishead - Andy C @ Arcadia :D --> then into Shangri-La/The Common/Unfairground for some late night raves

Noah & The Whale - Alabama Shakes - Primal Scream - The Rolling Stones --> then a meandering and reluctant wander to bed to recover from the night before! Missed the Arcadia Spectacular so proper gutted, but couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and legs as heavy as lead!

Bruce Forsyth (!) - Of Monsters & Men - Vampire Weekend - Editors - Smashing Pumpkins - Mumford & Sons --> then over to Avalon and back to the South East Corner for some last-night raving to make up for our poor performance the night before. (Ending with no other than GOLDIE at the Shangri-Hell stage!)

2) LOTS of cider/beer/wine/gin

At Glastonbury it's OK to have a pint of cider on your way to your campsite at 8 in the morning. Not that I'm condoning binge drinking or replacing your Weetabix with a nice cold Gaymers, but when you're wondering back down from watching the sunrise up at Stone Circle after a night of jumping about like a maniac to some hardcore drum n bass, it's alright to open a can when you get 'home'. 

In fact, setting up camp at the back of one of the main stages, chairs, snacks, camera and suncream at hand, there's nothing better than a nice glass of red or cold pint of scrumpy to sway along with. We were well prepared this year, and had 2-litre camel packs filled with medium Somerset cider that the boys picked up from Middle Farm before we left. Much easier on the wallet having a constant supply strapped to our backs, and we'll definitely be doing it again! 

3) Lots of giggles and photo opportunities with friends :) 

This was my fourth time at Glasto, and the boy's third, but our first time going with friends as we normally go on our own. Although we always meet lots of interesting new people (and fail monumentally EVERY year to meet up with the ones we do know who are there - you know who you are, sorry guys!), it's nice to go together in a group and hopefully we'll do the same next year. 

4) A few seagull invasions, sprinkling of rain and a little taste of mud... 

It wouldn't be Glasto without rain and this year we were really lucky - it only rained on the Thursday evening, and although was enough to frizz up my hair and mud our boots it wasn't enough to dampen our spirits... 

You can still rave it up in a raincoat you know...


5) Speaking of raving it up... 

I can't take credit for these photos of Arcadia and Shangri-La obviously - but this is where we spent most of the early hours of last week, and where I think I left most of my mind. 


6) The aftermath

Nearly a week of uninterrupted glorious sunshine, day-long walking/gigging and all-night raves, the after effects are clearly evident. Cue copious amounts of aftersun, three days off work and a dirty burger (don't judge me), and it'll be like it never happened. Almost. 

I think the above clearly illustrates why I need to get right back on the wagon from today! 

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