FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: January 2015

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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Brighton Marathon Training Weeks 4-5

<-- Weeks 1-3

I did it again this week - got to Sunday night thinking I'm a week earlier than it is in my marathon training plan. Tomorrow is the start of week six. WEEK BLOODY SIX PEOPLE. Where has this time gone?!

I'll say it again though - I'm in a much better position this time round than last year. As I keep banging on about, the strength training is doing wonders for my running and general fitness, and I'll share the body fat results and measurements etc. with you next week but I just wanted to do a quick round up of the last couple of weeks before I forget.


W/C 12/1/15 - WEEK 4


Week four was a busy one for work and training, with double day workouts that proper knackered me out by the weekend. I wasn't sure if it was more than just being knackered though as on Friday night/Saturday day time I had a bad stomach and headache that wouldn't shift so I missed Saturday's hills session and had an afternoon nap instead. 

Hubs took this photo of me and the cat mid-snooze. This is week four - imagine what I'll be like by week 16!! 



My old weekly favourite bfit Core class is back on the menu for Mondays from now as I know I need to build my core strength back up and the only way to do that is go to an hour-long controlled class where I'm made to do it. 

The threshold and progression runs were done on a treadmill at the gym and the PT sessions were as ever, bloody hard. Amy got me doing TRX pull ups and clocked me using my legs to help me up pretty early on. Dammit. 

A photo posted by @fitbits_tess on



Sunday's long run was done on my own cautiously as I didn't wanna risk going up to the Downs with the RunBrighton crew in the rain in case my ropey feeling of the past couple of days turned into something shit. 

It was also my first experience of the Serial podcast, and I'm now totally hooked! (No spoilers please...)
Mon: PT 7am + bfit CORE PM
Tue: Lunchtime: Threshold run 45mins 4x(5mins threshold / 2mins jog) 
Wed: REST Cycle commute
Thu: PT 7am + lunchtime 40mins out and back - out for 20 / back 2-3mins faster
Fri: REST  Cycle commute  Sat: REST  Sun: Long run - 10miles  

*missed - Continuous Hills 45mins


W/C 19/1/15 - WEEK 5


Week five has been a cut back week on the running, so the midweek runs were at a nice easy pace, which was welcome actually, although I didn't realise how much I might've needed it. The last week of PT with Amy saw me moving up to 20kg for the barbell chest press which made me well happy, and Amy said I could've probably gone up to 25 too already. 

Maybe not for three sets of 15 just yet though...


A photo posted by @fitbits_tess on



The midweek runs were mere plods around the block with hubs and a quick runcommute to work (which was too short to finish episode six of Serial much to my annoyance).

In terms of the weekend it's been the BEST for running, with a parkrun PB (FINALLY cracking my 2013 record and coming in just under 26mins!), which has really shocked me as last year I lost the speed in my legs. Maybe all these hills, threshold sessions and weights are sorting me right out!

Sunday was a lovely sightseeing 11miles around London joining Leah, Charlie, Zoe, Lissy and Kathy for some of their run too.





I also went to the Write This Run A Bit on The Side workshop today so am bursting with motivation, enthusiasm and excitement for what I've got planned over the next year. Watch this space! 


Mon: REST

Tue:  PT 7am  

Wed: Easy runcommute 25mins  

Thu:  PT 7am + Easy run 20mins

Fri: Gym - weights
Sat: parkrun PB!! 25:58!!
Sun: WTR A Bit on the Side workshop + Long run (1hr45mins)  


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Heading into week six tomorrow and the threshold, hills and progression runs are back so best give these legs a rest! And I STILL need to fit in yoga and swimming. I will make this happen I promise.

How is your training going so far, whether for a marathon or not? How do you fit your long run in if you've got plans away from home at the weekend? 



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Thursday, 22 January 2015

8 steps to being a gym wanker

Well this is embarrassing.

There's a post on this blog that I really cringe about. It's from when I first started writing FitBits, in the summer of 2013, when I was head over heels in love with these amazing Brighton bootcamp classes and group exercise, and couldn't see the point in wasting time on my own at the gym.

In fact I was quite aggressive about how much I hated the gym. I called the treadmill a 'glorified conveyer belt' (fair comment though, standing by that one), and bitched about sweaty machines and 'bimbos' who sit on their phones not working hard enough to break a sweat (it's their choice, why do I care?).

I talk about grunters in the weights area, and people taking selfies in the changing rooms, as if it's some kind of heinous crime. I mean come on, like I've never taken a selfie before. 


How to know if you're a gym wanker

Every time I see this bitchy post pop up in LinkWithin when editing or looking at my blog I cringe and hope no one else will see. But it's actually one of the most popular posts on FitBits, with most traffic driven from organic search. Which basically means new people are coming here from Google, reading me being a misinformed cocky nob and then buggering off into the distance again.

So I'm not gonna delete it - instead, I'm gonna link you to it, but you have to promise to come back and read this post so I can put my 2013 self back in her place...


A 2015 confession


Are you back? Good. I've come a long way since that 2013 post. I'm now a fully fledged, selfie-taking, grunting gym wanker, and proud.

How to know if you're a gym wanker



I'm proud of the discipline and motivation I've held over the past few weeks of training with Amy from Love Life Fitness in Brighton. I'm proud of the strength I've gained and progress I've made in building up my weak hamstrings and glutes to make me a faster, stronger, better runner.

I'm proud of leaving a trail of sweat behind me as I lord it round the free weights and functional training machines. (I do wipe it clean though). I'm proud of the stupid noises, (grunts included), that escape my shaking body as I lift heavy and push myself harder than I ever would on my own.

Yes, treadmills are boring, but they are also great - for lunchtime interval training, steady pace work and progression runs.

I can't tell you if you still have to book in 10 years in advance to get onto one of the classes at the gym now - because I've never tried. I'm too busy in the weights room.

Basically what I'm saying, is I was wrong. When you know what you're doing, the gym is AWESOME. I'm everything my 2013 self hated about the gym and I'm never gonna change.

Are you a gym wanker? See how many of the below you can tick off...


8 steps to being a gym wanker 



1) You grunt like a boss 

Yeah you do. Good work. You grunt, and exhale loudly, and curse on the last rep, because that shit HURTS. You do whatever you need to do because you, my friend, are the BOSS.

TRX pressup into pike - repeat until failure
before going straight into 10 knee tucks (not pictured). Repeat x 3. Then die. 



2) You check yourself out in the mirror as you walk past 

Always suck in though. Always. And flex.


3) A quick changing room flex of the biceps 

Look what you made! You did that. Nice one. You better get your phone out and...


4) Take a selfie 

Or ten. Just in case.


How to know if you're a gym wanker - selfie - Tess Agnew


5) You race the person next to you on the treadmill

Hell yes you do. And if they're flagging, you up the speed once more whilst casually gazing around the room as if you're bored.


6) You're proud of your sweat trail  

Good for you, you're working hard. But please wipe it clean, and ladies, you wanna hope you haven't forgotten your work bra this morning...

How to know if you're a gym wanker




7) You're a hoarder 

Spreading out two barbells, several weights and power bags etc. across no less than three mats is what you need to do.


8) TELL EVERYONE 

The first rule about being a gym wanker, is you tell EVERYONE about being a gym wanker. Tell them on Facebook. Tell them on Twitter. And definitely on Instagram.

Never, in any circumstances, must a workout go unshared on social media. You stand there naked and sweaty before getting in the shower to tell everyone about your PB and you do it in a quick and controlled manner.


How to know if you're a gym wanker

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So yeah, I'm a total gym wanker, and I'm happy with that. I moved up to a 20kg barbell for chest press today and that makes me feel like a boss :)



Are you a total gym wanker like me? How many of the above things do you do? (Honestly!)
What do you love/hate about the gym? 


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Sunday, 18 January 2015

#ThisGirlCan - too right she can

I'm a bit late to the party to write about this - there's lots of chat about it on Twitter and in the media and it's just too awesome.

This Girl Can from Sport England epitomises everything I feel about keeping fit and healthy. It's about courage, and strength, fun and team work. It's about not giving a shit about what others think and how you look when working out.

It's about dripping with sweat and confidence, enjoying your quest for endorphins and loving being active, whatever it is that you do.

It's about getting out there and getting it done.

Just watch this and tell me you're not inspired:



About sex or sport?

Shockingly there has been some negative commentary about the campaign, calling it "patronising" and "about sex, not sport", which I quite frankly find ridiculous. 

Laraine has written a great post putting the Guardian journalists back in their place after the article that missed the mark so monumentally was published on the website. If anything, the article itself was more patronising than #thisgirlcan could ever be, and Laraine took the words right out of my mouth on this one so head on over to have a read.

Be awesome

I love keeping fit. I love being healthy and looking after my body. Even though I might moan at the time, I love pushing myself and breaking down barriers either in my mind or body and achieving new things. It took a lot of time for me to banish the demons in my head telling me I was 'too fat to run', 'too shit to box', or that everyone would be looking at me in a HIIT class at bfit Brighton Bootcamps.

Life's too short to worry about what other people think, and I really hope this campaign inspires those who want to be more active to break down those barriers and do something amazing.

I've tried loads of different sports over the past few years, faced my fears and pushed my limits in ways I never thought possible. I've achieved lots of awesome things and I'm bloody proud of my body and mind for doing it. Sometimes it goes wrong, sometime's it just doesn't happen, but that's OK - just keep going.



If I can run a marathon, get in the boxing ring, learn to swim, try climbing, kayaking and cycling - you can too.

Here are a few of my posts about the things that this girl did, because #thisgirlcan:

Running my first marathon
My first boxing fight 
Learning to swim 
Facing my fear of heights and learning to climb
Learning how to roll a kayak


For me, #thisgirlcan is what it's allllll about. I'm off out for my long slow run now, see you on the other side!

What are your thoughts on the campaign? What have you achieved that you're proud of, and what barriers did you have to overcome to get there? 

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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Healthy turkey burger recipe

There's something really satisfying about making burgers from scratch. They're bigger, fuller and far tastier than the pre-packed ones you get at the supermarket. You can experiment more with herbs and spices too, so it's always an ongoing experiment.

Over the next year I'm gonna try and post more recipes and keep them in the Food section of the blog so you can come and have a right old nose at what we eat at home. My phone and laptop is full to bursting with photos of all the sexy food we eat and I really should share more healthy recipes with you - mainly to convince hubs that there is actually a reason for me photographing every bloody meal.

This turkey burger recipe has been a staple of our weekly diet for a good few years now, ever since I first discovered (and bastardised it) in my Pro-Points-obsessed Weight Watchers days.



These days I tend to make them early in the morning before work so they're ready to chuck in the George Foreman when I get back from work in the evening. If you haven't got a George Foreman by the way, you're missing out. Same with a slow cooker - get right on that shiz.

If you get the seasoning right these burgers really do taste great and go brilliantly with a nice handful (or two) of homemade sweet potato chips, salad and half an avocado. I usually have two burgers, one with a wholemeal roll and one without, and there's usually a couple spare for the next day's lunch too.
They also freeze well, so if you're feeling organised you can wrap them up separately and freeze until you need them.


Anyway, here's how one of my favourite healthy recipes is done.

Ingredients (makes about 5 good size burgers, more if you go smaller)


  • 1 pack turkey mince (around 400g) 
  • 1 large onion or a good handful of spring onions, up to you
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 slice of bread (I use Vogel's)
  • 1 egg 
  • Plain flour
  • Dried herbs - either mixed herbs, thyme and rosemary
  • Chilli flakes (if you want) 
  • Salt & pepper 

Plus buns, sweet potatoes, salad and whatever else you want with them. I always chuck the sweet potato chips in the oven for 15mins before starting on the burgers as they only take a little while to make. Then you can let the chips cook for another 10mins while you sort everything else. 


Method


  1. Chop onion, crush garlic and add to turkey mince in large bowl.
  2. Mix together (I use a wooden spoon at this stage - no one wants turkey mince in their fingernails!)
  3. Crack egg in (helps keep it all together and adds a bit more protein).
  4. Grate the bread and mix into everything to soak up the egg (I never use the whole piece of bread, it gets too annoying grating it).
  5. Add herbs, chilli flakes, salt and pepper (seasoning is very important) and mix everything together well.
  6. Cover chopping board with flour and pat your hands into it so they're covered.
  7. Separate the mixture and shape into firm patties (because your hands are covered in flour it shouldn't stick - if it does, just add more flour.)
  8. I always pat the burgers down on the flour so they're coated too - this gives them a nice crispy outside when cooked on the George Foreman.
  9. (Optional) - chuck in freezer for 10mins to harden them up a bit. You don't have to do this, just if you've a) got time and b) they look like they might fall apart.
  10. Chuck on the George Foreman for about 7-8mins, sort your buns etc. out and serve! 

I always have salad in my bun and also a smidge of light mayonnaise. They also go well with sweet chilli sauce and a really thin slice of cheddar cheese (really thin so it melts a bit on the burger once taken off the grill).   

Enjoy!

Other healthy recipes and clean eating breakfast ideas I've shared can be found here. Lunches coming soon! 

Do you do a lot of cooking from scratch? If you make these please tweet me pics and if you experiment with any other ingredients lemme know so I can try myself! 



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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Brighton Marathon Training 2015 Weeks 1-3

Massive de ja vu.

I seem to remember sitting at my laptop on the cusp of week 4 of training for Brighton Marathon last year, wondering how the hell the weeks were going by so fast. It's different this time though - I'm not so terrified.

I know I can physically do the distance, it's just a case of how well I can this time round.


Getting stronger


Comparing weeks one to three of training between this year and last it's pretty clear that I'm in a much stronger position at this early stage. I've never really ran more than three times a week, and when I have I've been a bit broken, but I ran four times last week, cycled to work every day and had two PT strength and conditioning sessions, and I feel great. 

I'm on a mission this year to build a stronger me, and am currently in week four of a six week strength and conditioning programme with Brighton Personal Trainer, Amy, from Love Life Fitness.



"How are you with press ups?"
"Oh, I'm fine with press ups", *dusts shoulders, kisses guns*
Then she brought out the bosu ball...

She's been putting me through my paces in the gym, making me do all the things I don't like doing, things that hurt because of muscle imbalances like weak hamstrings and glutes. 

She's got me playing with heavy weights and barbells (much to my delight), doing weighted squats, single leg deadlifts, goblet squats, box jumps, a host of proper hurty TRX core work and shit load of upper body work (I *WILL* do at least one unassisted pull up this year).



Yes, I am growling at myself in the mirror...


We've had the Swiss ball, medicine balls and Bosu ball out (press ups on the bosu ball can feck right off). Then there's the machines too - the cable torso twists, pavlov press, hamstring curl, leg extension, all the things that HURT.  



A video posted by @fitbits_tess on



Basically, I'm making sure I'm as strong as I can be this time round and I'm already feeling the benefits (more on this later). 


Getting organised


I feel more organised, mentally as well as physically and am in a better position to take on the big 26.2.  

So organised, in fact, that I'm gonna lay my cards bare and admit to my (potentially obsessive) colour coded Google Training Doc. It's the only way I can easily plan out my weeks and see what's missing (or not) from my training. 

For example, for the last few weeks I've been adding swimming to the schedule (colour coded green) but it's been pushed out as things have got in the way or I haven't been arsed. It just seems a bit more of a faff than chucking on the trainers and going for a run. 

This is gonna change for the remaining weeks, I'm gonna try and fit in two swims a week, even if they're only 30mins each time. I also need to make sure I fit in at least one yoga session a week whether that's at home or in a class. I have a mat at home and have downloaded a yoga app so no excuses now.


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Anyway, sit back and behold the product of my pedantry as I take you through weeks one to three of training for Brighton Marathon 2015:



W/C 22/12/14 - WEEK 1


Christmas week. A lovely break in rural France eating, drinking, running and being totally merry with life saw marathon training off to an epic (albeit heavy, slow and sluggish) start.

Four runs down. One PT session. One bodyweight circuit. Infinite pieces of chocolate and glasses of wine to refuel.

Mon:                      Runcommute + PT S&C
Tue:                       Travel to France
Wed:                      Easy/steady 30mins   
Thu:                       Progression run (30mins - 10 easy, 10 steady, 10 threshold)  
Fri:                         Bodyweight circuit   
Sat:                        Long run 80mins   
Sun:                       REST (travel back from France)


*missed: Continuous Hills 4x (5mins/2mins)
*no swim


W/C 29/12/14 - WEEK 2


Week two was a bit hard to fit in the prescribed runs due to travelling back from France and having stuff to sort out once we got back. Still got my PT sessions in though and ran a tough but glorious Longman10 race over the white cliffs of Beachy Head.




Mon:                      REST - travel back from France   
Tue:                       PT S&C 
Wed:                      AM MTB ride around Stanmer Park
Thu NYD:              Progression run (30mins - 10 easy, 10 steady, 10 threshold)    
Fri:                         PT S&C
Sat:                        REST      
Sun:                       Longman10 mile race


*missed - Continuous hills 45 mins 3x(7mins effort/2mins jog)
   Easy/steady run 30mins    
*no swim


W/C 05/01/15 - WEEK 3

Week three has been the best so far. Back to work means back to routine and we all know that means better eating, sleeping and training. 

I've nailed the eating, just need to get to bed earlier.



I managed to fit in two PT sessions and four runs, three of which were hard sessions and the long run the day after the hills which NEVER happened last year - I'm definitely getting stronger. Also had the Brighton Marathon Training Day on Sunday after the long run - I blogged about this last year.



A photo posted by @fitbits_tess on


Again though, the swims were pushed out as I couldn't be arsed on the rest days, and no yoga but gonna sort this out for week four.


Mon:                      REST  Cycle commute

Tue:                       PT S&C / Progression run PM (45mins - 15easy/15steady/15threshold)

Wed:                      REST Cycle commute  

Thu:        PT S&C / Easy/steady run 40mins PM

Fri:                         REST Cycle commute

Sat:                        Continuous hills - 45mins including 2x(10mins effort/2mins jog)

Sun:                       RunBrighton long run (90mins) + Training Day


*no swim



This week there are four runs, two PT sessions and two swims on the plan. I'm gonna try to do some yoga at home and if this doesn't work, sort out a class. If someone would like to give me some money and pause time so I can do all the classes etc. I want to that'd be great!

Bring it on, Brighton!


Are you marathon training, and if so, how's your training going? Are you trying to fit in cross training and strength/yoga work?


If you're in Brighton and are looking for a good PT I can't recommend Amy from Love Life Fitness enough. I'm gonna continue training with her throughout the year to stay strong for Fort William Marathon too :) 

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Saturday, 10 January 2015

REVIEW | Sam's of Brighton

Being the massive foodies that we are, me and the hubs love a good Brighton restaurant and eat out quite a lot - it's basically where all our money that doesn't get spent on races, classes and running/cycling kit goes.

This year I want to write about our epic feasting across Brighton's many amazing restaurants. Huffington Post called Brighton the UK's No.1 Foodie Hotspot and I promise you it's no lie. You'll have to excuse my crap photos though as I don't really fancy taking my DSLR out with me over the dinner table.

Last night we went out for the most lovely meal at Sam's of Brighton, in Kemptown. There used to be one in Seven Dials which is nearer to us, but we never got round to visiting, and when a Groupon popped up just before Christmas for a Two Course Meal for 2 at just £29, I banked it for a January treat as I knew money would be tight.



We walked the two miles to get there a) to make room for the feast and b) because we couldn't be arsed spending a fiver each on two buses. The restaurant is tucked away off the main road, and has a really nice ambience about it.

Oh, and I totally broke the 'I'm-not-drinking-until-the-marathon' thing with a couple of glasses of a lovely Chilean Cab Sav with dinner. *happy face*



I was really excited all day about the food - I really do get far too happy about the prospect of good grub, you should've seen me on honeymoon on our Michelin Star restaurant escapades!

As we'd already paid for two courses, we of course had to have some oysters as a pre starter, reliving our Scottish honeymoon adventures where we devoured oysters everywhere we went.


Chris had the scallops with parsnip puree and cispy kale, and my starter was the organic salmon burger, fennel puree, spinach, squid and sundried tomato vinaigrette - it was as delicious as it sounds. 

I would LOVE the recipe for this as I reckon it'd make a perfect post-run dinner with a nice side salad and handful (or two) of sweet potato chips. 


For the main I had the free range chicken breast, Dauphinoise potatoes (HELL YES I DID), green beans, creamed wild mushrooms and tarragon. 

It was a toss up for me between this and the 10hr cooked beef and pancetta with button mushrooms and creamed potatoes on the specials board but the mention of a 'creamy mushroom sauce you could eat with a spoon' from the waitress made my mind up for me. 

It was totally, utterly awesome and I'm salivating just thinking about it now. 



It would've actually been illegal not to finish the meal with a dessert after demolishing our mains. I used to always order dessert when out for dinner but haven't for a long time so was a little too excited about this. 

I've been eating clean(ish) and training hard all week, and I'm all about the 80/20, so to end the meal in style we chose the warm chocolate fondant with caramel icecream and honeycomb to share. 

The sight of the warm gooey chocolate oozing out of the fondant when we broke it with a spoon literally sent me into a giddy craze. I think I need to get less excited about food! 

I didn't get a good enough photo of it but I can assure you it was the sex. 

A single measure of smokey single malt for Chris and a frothy cappuccino for me saw us on our way for the windy walk home with full bellies.  

It's been a while since we've been out for dinner and had such a faultless experience; the food and service were second-to-none and we'll definitely be going back for more. Especially as we signed up to the membership to receive exclusive offers and discounts by email. 

Well played, Sam's of Brighton. See you soon! 

(Now... I HAVE to get out for this bloody Kenyan Hills session... I'm going. I'm going now...) 

Are you a foodie who eats out a lot? Have you visited Sam's before? What's your favourite restaurant in Brighton (or elsewhere - let me know so we can visit if we're in town!)  

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