FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: November 2015


Sunday, 22 November 2015


I love a good cliche.

I'm a total sucker for positive vibes and don't care who knows it. Life really is far too short - you've gotta go out there and do what you want to, grab every opportunity with both hands or it'll be too late. (I'm going back for these tomorrow...)

I've got a lot to be thankful for right now - a gorgeous husband who is my world, an awesome network of friends and family, lots of exciting projects on the go, and starting next month - my dream job, working in sports communications.

At the beginning of the year I went to a Write This Run workshop and came out of it with a renewed motivation and kick up the arse I needed to draw up my masterplan and actually make shit happen instead of just talking about it.

Set yourself a goal, and make it happen

Do you want to be the person who wishes they'd done something, or regretted not trying harder when it mattered?

Have you ever started something you really loved only to give it up because it was difficult, or inconvenient, or you didn't progress quick enough?

Sometimes taking the easy way in life is too tempting. Just in case, you know, it all goes tits up.

When was the last time you said to someone who was doing something awesome: "I'd love to do that", even though you've never made any moves to actually try in the first place?

Don't you want to see what you're made of? 

As a writer and word porn aficionado, the December cover of Outdoor Fitness struck a chord with me.

They don't have to tell me twice. I'm on it, don't worry.

Embracing FOMO

Me and hubs popped into town for a roast today*, and came back with two skateboards. I started skating with Brighton She Shredders a few weeks ago and every time I learn something new I bounce home like an excited child (watch the video with #ThisGirlCan and ActiveSussex).

Although always hugely supportive of everything I want to do (and patient beyond words with my impulsive, everchanging must-do-all-the-things-now disposition), Chris was not the first person to have reservations about my dodgy knees and warn me about the risk of injury if I take up skateboarding properly.

"You'll definitely fall. What if you really hurt yourself? You won't be able to run." 

It took me the time taken to clear our plates to convince him that it's obviously a great idea and that he of course also needed to start skateboarding again too, after giving up a few years ago. He really does need to get a hold on that FOMO of his.

Work in progress:

Make your life count. Fill it with adventure. Do things that scare you. Try something new. A new skill you want to learn? Go do it. Now. Do it all.

You really do only live once, and all that... :)

* Pork belly at The Fountain Head, Brighton is the absolute sex. That is all.

What do you really want to try but haven't done so yet? 
How are you making your life count?


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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Why does yoga make you high?

Tonight I had the most nourishing, wholesome and goddamn beautiful experience of my life.

I'm not even joking.

There was a moment - alright, a few moments - where I was so flooded with serotonin, and peace, and (hold tight, it's coming...) love, I nearly burst into fucking tears right there on the mat.

Does anyone else float out of a yoga class on a bed of bliss? 

I haven't had time for yoga recently. Or actually, I haven't made time. I've been so busy with work, projects, training and general life that the idea of setting aside some time to just breathe was out of the question.

Which is funny because the one thing that would balance everything out is yoga.

I've realised, from flirting with it for a good couple of years now, that it's something I really *need* in my life. I've been dining out on amazing free classes and intro offers for too long.

It's time to invest. 

I'm gonna spend the next few weeks trying out different Brighton yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes to find the ones to commit to. I'll bring you my findings soon but for now, let's look at why so bloody awesome:

Why does yoga make you high?

Photo I took from Brighton Yoga Festival - read about it here.


1. Binging on oxygen 

All that deep breathing. That lovely, nourishing oxygen massaging your internal organs, easing your tight muscles, flooding your system with space. You breathe into every inch of yourself, starting the class closed, finishing wide open.

It's magic.

2. Treat yo'self 

We lead busy lives, always on the go. People are everywhere. Deadlines, to do lists, and chores; training plans, family commitments and social lives.

How often do you really take time out for you and only you?

There is no better way to reconnect with yourself than to practice yoga. Unless you're treating yourself to full on meditation, in which case - hang on - I want in.

3. Bloody good stretch 

I dunno about you but I work a desk job, and as much as I love it, I could really do with moving more. Apart from my workouts, I spend eight hours a day hunched over a computer before coming home to sit on the macbook or watch telly.

I rarely ever get my 10,000 steps (more on this later), and every time I stand up from my desk parts of me click and jolt back into place.

It's really not good for us to be so sedentary. I come away from every yoga class stretched out, realigned, and well and truly reset.

4. Let it go 

It's amazing how much tension you hold in your upper body without realising. How many times has a yoga teacher had to readjust your shoulders or prompt you to really let your neck and head go in a forward bend?

Or let go of the tension in your forehead and jaw in savasanah?

(And isn't it just glorious when you do?)

For me, yoga is the ultimate stress releaser. No matter how tough my day's been, how hectic my life is, I know that when I'm on the mat it's time for just me, and only me.

I'm so excited to finally make more time for that. 

Do you literally get high on yoga? Please tell me I'm not the only giddy, 
floaty yogi in the room! 


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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

[VIDEO] This Girl Can Tess Tries | Brighton She Shredders

See my skateboarding progress a few weeks in - learning to ollie! --> 

When I was 13 I was down the skate park every day – grinding rails, ollying kerbs, showing the boys how it’s done on the half pipe – with Bad Religion and The Vandals playing the soundtrack. You must remember that epic soundtrack.  

Behind the controls of my PlayStation I was quite the pro skater. 

My love for Tony Hawk ran deep, and I'd spend hours and hours perfecting my tricks and collecting the challenges, (who remembers the hidden tapes?!) not before meticulously kitting out my deck and trucks for optimum performance. 

It never really occurred to me to try it for real. Growing up in Hastings, I was surrounded by skaters, but all of them boys. I used to muck about on my BMX, hanging out down the BMX track and jumps in the woods, pretending I knew what I was doing. I had a lot less fear then. If only I could muster a bit more of that guts when throwing myself down the mountain bike trails in Wales to actually commit to some bigger jumps! 

I loved BMXing and kept the skating for the computer screen – too embarrassed to try it for real in case I bailed.  

Trying it for real: She Shredders Brighton 

Nowadays, I've got a bit more confidence to try out new things and join new groups. This blog's always been about finding fun in sport and fitness  after all, the key to staying active is finding something you love, not just something you feel you have to do, like pump iron at the gym or start running just because everyone else is. 

I’m excited to represent This Girl Can and Active Sussex to help encourage more women and girls into sport - whatever we're into, however old we are, wherever we are in our fitness - there's something out there for everyone. 

I figured pushing 30 is the perfect time to start skateboarding for real. Brighton’s got a huge skate scene with some really fantastic facilities to play about and practice new skills – for both male and female skaters, of all ages, shapes and sizes. 

It's a bit daunting to just rock up at The Level as a beginner, but I may just have found the perfect way in. 

She Shredders is an all-girls skateboarding group run by the UK No.1 female skateboarder, Lucy Adams. Every Thursday evening from 6.45-8.45pm, a friendly and close-knit group of female skaters take over the indoor skatepark inside Brighton Youth Centre. 

A few weeks ago I went along to have a go to make a film about it - and now I'm hooked! Any fears and hesitation I had were soon washed away as Lucy and the girls showed me the basics. Within a couple of hours I’d learnt how to push off, turn the board, and even had a go on a couple of the smaller ramps.  

Yes, I fell off a few times - of course I did. But I got back on for another go – and you totally would too. It's so much fun and is amazing how far you can progress in such a short space of time. Alright, it might take me a good couple of years to get anywhere near as good as I was on Tony Hawk, but I'm excited to give it a go and see what happens.

Since filming this video I’ve been back again and have already roped a couple of friends into it! I've also been perving on boards and am totally gonna treat myself pretty soon to a board of my own. 


Find out more about Brighton She Shredders on the Active Sussex website and also on their Facebook page

There's currently a Crowdfunder campaign going to raise money for a much-needed upgrade of the indoor skatepark at Brighton Youth Centre so if you can spare a few pennies please do! 

It's a really great facility that offers so much to the community - I'm excited to think about how brilliant it really could be with a bit of investment. 

Big thanks to Laura Evans for making this video! 

See my skateboarding progress a few weeks in - learning to ollie! --> 


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Sunday, 8 November 2015


I've lost it. My get up and go has swiftly got up and left, probably when the clocks went back and daylight did a runner, if not before.

I thought it was just my early morning mojo that I'd lost, but then it took me until gone lunchtime today to even entertain the idea of getting out for a run, let alone wake up early for any of the brilliant group runs going on around Brighton.

Incidentally, it didn't go well, but it got me out of my pyjamas nonetheless.

I love a good dose of early morning endorphins, I do. There's nothing better than getting out in the crisp autumn air while the rest of the city sleeps.

You get it all with morning workouts - clear roads and empty trails, proper peace and quiet, a sunrise if you're lucky, and a nice big shot of serotonin to see you through the day. When I work out in the morning, I'm energised, full of endorphins and raring to go.

I wrote about why I love winter training only last month, so why is it, then, at the moment I just can't be bothered?

Even the cat knows which he'd choose... 


Sometimes, when you're busy at work, with lots on in the evenings and weekend (events, blogging/projects, nights out, family stuff), running and exercise just has to take a back seat. As much as I try to be, I'm not Superwoman.

I can't have it all. I like to have a lot of plates spinning and fill my days up, but if I really want to do something well I have to focus on it, and that's what I've been doing this past few weeks. Just not on running and other training.

I've been really productive in my work life (read my five productivity hacks here), and am excited to say it's paid off more than I could ever hope for, but more on that later.

It's time to get back to fitness and find my mojo once more. Tomorrow is a new day and a brand new week. Let's make it a healthy one.

1. Get to bed earlier   

The main reason I'm so friendly with the snooze button these days is because I've been up late writing and working on things. Yes, I've been productive, but midnight or later bedtimes are not conducive to a happy, smiley Tess when the 6am alarm goes off. 

After a week of failed attempts I stopped pretending I was gonna get up and just set it for a normal time to get to work without a workout. 

Starting tomorrow, bed times are 10.30pm or earlier. You should do the same - it's amazing what a couple of hours extra sleep a night can do for your health. 

2. Book a class / PT   

One great way to get you out of bed even if you can't be arsed is to book onto a class, group run or PT session and pay for it. Same goes for evening workouts too. 

You won't want to let people down or be the one to bail out, so will be more likely to make the effort. Make yourself accountable to others and enjoy the company! 

If you can't get to a class or group run, well then you'll just have to take drastic measures to make it fun for yourself, won't you... 

Last week's fun and games :)

3. Prep your food  

Eating in Chez Agnew this past couple of weeks has been far from ideal. Lots of long days, busy evenings and heavy weekends on the go has meant we haven't been bothered to cook and have opted for the easy option of the pub across the road, takeaways or shop-bought lunches. 

Plan and prep your meals for the week as much as you can. Think about snacks too, and don't try a new recipe the evening you're back home late. 

A bit of time spent planning our meals and training for the week, and prepping tomorrow's lunch means I know exactly what I'm doing when I wake up and don't have to faff about. 

A crappy photo of tomorrow's his 'n' hers tuna nicoise salads for lunch 

4. Try something new 

I'm a big fan of trying new things, especially when in a bit of a rut motivation-wise. The key to staying fit and healthy is finding something you love to do, not something you feel you have to do.

Working with Active Sussex as This Girl Can Ambassador will open doors to lots of new and exciting fitness escapades across the region over the next few months, so I'm looking forward to sharing these with you. 

(Stay tuned this week for my new favourite playtime - skateboarding!)

5. Buy new kit 

There's lots to be said for a nice bit of retail therapy. I don't know about you, but when I have new kit I can't wait to get out there and give it a spin. I haven't bought new kit for way too long and my staple items are looking a bit sorry for themselves. 

Being so busy I haven't had time or money to actually go shopping yet but I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Brooks' new Jungle print Ghose 8 shoe this weekend, so stay tuned to my Twitter and Instagram if you're a neutral runner and Brooks fan to hear the verdict. 

How do you stay motivated when life takes over and the winter closes in? 


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Wednesday, 4 November 2015


You know when you're running and your mankini falls down? It's annoying, that is.

Alright it's not quite a mankini, but the Bandolier reflective vest from Nathan Sports sure does look and feel like one. I get that its minimal design is meant to be more comfortable and 'won't interrupt arm movement while running', but unfortunately there was quite a bit of additional arm movement going on my end to pull the bloody thing up.

Not sure if I had it on the wrong way round - at least if it was a mankini that would be obviously (and painfully) clear. But yeah, sorry Nathan, this one's not for me.

Just as the clocks went back and daylight swiftly legged it, Nathan very kindly sent me a box of winter running goodies to test out and report back on. The Bandolier vest is unfortunately not something I can get on board with, but the rest of the kit is pretty great actually and works brilliantly for cycling as well as running.

Me and my mankini about to do some serious product testing


To see: Zephyr Fire 100

I've always carried water when running so have never been bothered about holding something in my hand along the way. This little beauty is lightweight, comfortable and nice and bright, with two brightness settings and one strobe - making a perfect companion for a winter trail run. 

It's got a weird 'head turning siren' too that scared the shit out of the cat when I accidentally pressed it and I hope I never need to use it on any humans in the near future.   

The light straps onto your hand and weighs pretty much nothing so I hardly noticed I was 'wearing' it. Except when I put it on before trying to tie my laces. It's not great for tying laces and being strapped onto your dominant hand. Reckon it'd be pretty rubbish at trying to brush your teeth whilst 'strapped in' too. 

I'll let you know. 


To be seen: Hyperbrite & Pulsar Strobes & Light Spur

These handy little clip on strobe lights have been a life saver on the cycle commute as it's got darker. I spent a fair chunk of money on expensive bike lights but never got round to replacing the battery in my rear one so these have come at the best possible time. 

They clip on to your clothing or bag, have a variety of settings, and kick out a good bright light for visibility.

The Light Spur, £19.99, is my new favourite toy for winter cycling. You can never be too visible on the roads in the dark, and it's surprising how little drivers can see you if all you've got is one red rear light. Some cyclists in Brighton don't even have that. 

I like to dress up like a Christmas tree so this is great. Just need to dig out my high vis vest and I'm sorted. It's great for running too - with proper running shoes you can't feel it even though it's a very tight fit.


As well as these ace lights Nathan also sent me a set of lock laces (great for triathlons) and a Fire & Ice insulated reflective bottle. I also received a couple of pairs of Feetures socks.* The Elite Merino+ Light Cushion ones are like running on ACTUAL CLOUDS.

I never ever run without running socks nowadays and these badboys are just BEA UTIFUL. If they don't get me a PB at Brooks 10k in a couple of weeks I want my money ba- Oh. Wait.

Visit to find out more about these products and find your nearest stockist.

*Disclaimer: I was sent a box of goodies by Nathan to review on my blog. All views, hatred of the mankini and awkward video shots are my own. 

What do you wear for winter running and cycling? 

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