FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: 2017

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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Brighton GoodGym is GO!

GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger

It's finally here, and it's been a long time coming. I remember registering interest a good couple of years ago when I first heard about the potential launch of GoodGym in Brighton, but nothing ever came of it.

For one reason or another, the launch has been delayed, until finally, last Tuesday, 39 runners braved the POURING rain to kick off the first session. And I mean pouring. There's absolutely no way I would've gone out in it had it not been for this.

But I guess that's half the point of it, isn't it?

GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger
GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger
GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger
GG Brighton Leader Tara Shanahan & Olympian Nigel Levine kicking off the session

For those of you not in the know, GoodGym is a collective of running groups across the country that do good, whilst getting fit.

Harnessing the people power of the running community to make a real difference in the towns and cities they reside in. Runners complete physical tasks for community organisations and visit isolated elderly people to combat loneliness.

It was born out of a frustration with normal gyms being a 'waste of energy and human potential' - all that effort going nowhere - why not use it to power our community projects and build friendships with people in need?

Over one million people aged 65 and over admit to always or often feeling lonely, and 17 percent of those living alone see family and friends less than once a week. 


GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger
GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger
We revamped the garden at the Brighthelm Centre - saving volunteers many days' work 
With GoodGym you can run to an isolated person's house for a cup of tea and kick up the bum to keep going. They're called Coaches - because they're the ones motivating the runner to carry on. Just like you wouldn't bail on a training partner for a session, you wouldn't want to let your Coach down if they'd got the Custard Creams in especially.

And think of the friendships you'll make, the stories you'll exchange.

As well as the Coach runs you can join a group run to complete a community task like I did on Tuesday, or even sign up for a Mission - individual projects and odd-jobs for older people who struggle to do things alone.

Stuff like clearing gardens, changing lightbulbs, anything they need help with.

GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger

The idea of it just makes me warm and fuzzy inside and I'm so excited to be involved. I completed my LiRF last Saturday and am waiting to do the specific GoodGym training so that I can help cover the sessions when the lovely Brighton Leader Tara (or Worthing Leader Julia) can't make it.

It'll be the first time I've ever led running groups and I've got a lot of practice to do to bring my confidence levels up - turns out it's a lot harder than I thought it'd be! I've always been a people person, and I love being the centre of attention, loud and proud, but when imposter syndrome strikes it's hard to overcome it and carry that confidence through to the task in hand.

Lots of time to practice and get tips from how Tara leads the Brighton sessions though so I know I'll get there in the end!


GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger
A soggy, smiley Tess got papped 

Get involved

As well as the Brighton GoodGym there's also the Worthing one, which started a few months ago and to date has completed own. You can sign up for both online right now, it's completely free, and you can make an optional monthly donation of £9.95 to help support the charity and get a t shirt.

Worthing GoodGym
Every Monday at 6pm
Meet at Splashpoint Leisure Centre, Worthing
Sign up here 

Brighton GoodGym
Every Tuesday 6.15pm 
YHA, Old Steine, Brighton
Sign up here

GoodGym Worthing 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger
GoodGym Worthing :) 

The vibe we have in Brighton is something really special and I love this city with all my heart. The people in it, and everything that running, amongst other exercise, has given me, in terms of fitness, friendships and belonging.

Now I can use that fitness and sense of belonging, with friends old and new, to make a real difference to my community - and you can too.

Find your nearest GoodGym here.

GoodGym Brighton launch July 2017 - Tess Agnew UK fitness blogger

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Friday, 14 July 2017

A hot & hard British 10k


Well that didn't really go to plan.

It's not often I walk in races. In fact the only events I've ever had walking breaks in have been marathons. This year's Brighton Marathon was a prime example of that, where I crashed and burned from mile 10 in the blazing heat, and that set the tone for the rest of the race.

Still had an amazing time though - read that and watch the vlog here


(BTW I'm totally not saying there's anything wrong with walking at all, I just mean it wasn't in the plan). 

So yeah, another boiling hot, beautiful summer's day, another race to run, and another undertrained and in denial Tess on the start line. I had Chris and his sister Katie by my side - the Agnew massive were ready to run.

These two were in better running shape than me though because, well... they've actually been doing some running over the past few weeks.

I know, Tess the fitness blogger who's not currently very fit. Tut tut. 


In the weeks before Glasto I left my job to go freelance (YAY - more on this later), and got really busy very quickly so ended up skipping runs to meet deadlines. Then when we got back from the supermassive 100 mile workout at the mighty Worthy Farm, I had to plough straight back into a ton of deadlines so running once again took a back seat. 

Suddenly the day was upon us and when a lovely Virgin Sport staff member asked me if I was going for a PB I scoffed in her face and said "no, but it's OK, I can normally always bosh out a 10k on minimal training".

Can you Tess? Can you really? 

Does this look like a happy runner? 

I think it was around 25 degrees on Sunday. I obviously didn't get the memo about it being the middle of summer so chose to dress like a ninja in all black, capris instead of shorts, and my Virgin Sport Run Hackney top because I thought it'd be nice to represent. 

Spoiler: it wasn't. Fellow blogger Marcus called me 'brave' for my excellent wardrobe choice, and about 2km in I realised he was right.  


Read about the wicked fun I had at the Virgin Sport Run Hackney 5.5km and Festival of Fitness here. 

After a welcome from Virgin Sport CEO Mary Wittenberg and warm up with celebrity PT Faisal Abdall and other media, we headed to the start. I'd never ran a race in central London before, so was excited to see the sights on the way and experience a mini taste of what it must be like to run the London Marathon. 



This Girl Can't 

It was a bit of a slow start as we had to funnel through and turn to get to the start, but once we got going I tried to settle into a steady pace and ignore the DOMS that was still in my legs from a heavy gym session and cycle ride in the days previous. 


I hadn't brought my earphones so didn't have any dnb or Biffy to pull me through but there was lots of entertainment on the course - with bands and live music at every km. Best bit was Chariots of Fire being played on the way to Westminster Bridge. 

It was just so hot though. I realised once again, like I did at Brighton Marathon, that I just can't run in the heat. I poured water on my head, drank loads, relished the mist sprays, but it wasn't enough.  

This Girl Can't. Or won't? I can't decide. 

Literally shouting "Oh fuck" at the photographer as I got snapped walking again

Either way, this girl needs to do a few things:

1) Actually do some running (I'm no expert, but this might help?!) 
2) Run in the heat - even if, and especially if, it's hard
3) Sort my diet out and get back on structured training - strength training and running / cycling (meant to be doing RideLondon this month but that's another story) 

Despite the heat it was great to run in closed London streets, and running / walking over Westminster Bridge was amazing - I can only imagine what it's like at the Marathon running over Tower Bridge with such iconic sights and amazing crowd. 

Six unsuccessful tries in the ballot this year - be kind, running Gods.

When the finish finally came into view I attempted some sort of tempo finish, but you can see from my face how thrilled I was at the situation 😂


Delighted to no longer be running - LOOK HOW HOT I AM.

Chris smashed it by the way, as ever. Mr Tree Surgeon, who works a physical job in the heat all summer. It's his fault I've signed up to my biggest challenge yet, even though I NEVER run in the summer and hate training in the heat, because I couldn't handle the FOMO.

Now it's mid July and time to start rebuilding a solid base to get out of it alive in October. 


The goodie bag was wicked, by the way. Not included in the tweet below is a technical t shirt (another black one, which I'll save for winter, promise), and of course the medal. 

Would I run it again? Definitely - and properly, next time! 


And if you fancy a nose at exactly where the walking breaks were...



Virgin Sport's next event is the Oxford Half, on 8 October. Sign up here.

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Got any tips on how to run in the heat? 
Do you prefer winter or summer training?

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Friday, 7 July 2017

The supermassive Glastonbury workout


One of the true highlights of my seventh Glastonbury was dragging my already shattered body down to the Raclette stall on a drizzly Friday morning to shovel a feck load of cheese into my face.

It was that non-rain kind of drizzle, the stuff that sits on top of your hair. The type that that in any normal circumstance would be no problem at all but at Glastonbury, you know if it carries on you'll be swimming in mud within a few hours.

My legs were already knackered from two days' walking around the site and kicking off Thursday night dancing to some proper 90s bangers courtesy of Rhythm of the 90s (If you haven't seen this band and you have a love for 90s cheesy dance music, sort it out).

So, yeah. Non-rain rain, knackered legs, and the second hangover of the week. It was definitely time for a Raclette breakfast.
For those of you not in the know, (I wasn't in the know until that moment, what the hell had my life been about until then?!), Raclette is delicious, melted cheese poured onto potatoes or fries. Or in the case of my Friday - sausage, beans,  chorizo, bacon and potatoes.

It was the absolute shiz, nothing less. I've been fantasising about it ever since and I'm really upset I didn't get a photo to Instagram it. I have literally just signed up to Brighton Cheese Fest to scratch that itch. Google it. 

 

The best one yet? 


I do say this every year, but I really do think this Glastonbury was our best yet, for many reasons:

👌 A WICKED line up - Radiohead headlining the Pyramid Stage will be an experience that stays with me forever. A bit like Massive Attack in 2008, or Blur in 2009. This year Elbow special guesting the Park stage, Alt J, DJ Shadow, Biffy Fucking Clyro and Roni Size smashed it too, but Radiohead, man. 

RADIOHEAD. Ahhhhhhh.  

For a minute there, I lost myself. 
DJ Shadow vibes 🙌

👬👭  WICKED crew - me and Chris used to go on our own and hook up with friends while there but now we camp in a big crew which makes it so much more fun.
😎  NO MUD! Nothing, nada, zilch. There must've been something in that glorious Raclette as the non-rain rain swiftly buggered off once I'd successfully inserted it into my face. I've never had a Glasto without mud. It really was exceptional.

   BEST campsite ever. Me and Chris camped in the Tuesday night queue and were one of the first on site for 7am so had our pick of where to camp. We chose Row Mead, with a direct view of the Pyramid Stage in case the crowds were too big for Radiohead. (Spoiler - they weren't, because evidently not everyone gets it).


    🚽 My own ShePee! I got sent a festival survival pack from the guys at Push Doctor.   Amongst the deodorant, dry shampoo, portable charger, baby wipes, a (not needed) emergency poncho and other goodies, was my very own ShePee to use the female urinals! I've been using ShePees at festivals for a few years but to have my own one meant no more hovering precariously over the long drops, or using most of my tissue stash cleaning up after the boys before using the toilet! 
    If you haven't tried it yet girls, get on it. Life changing. 
    Got a festival coming up this summer? Read Push Doctor's festival essentials guide.
    Straight out of the packet don't worry...

     

    The supermassive Glasto workout


    Anyway, the point of this blog post isn't to congratulate myself on the excellent time had whilst swooning over a soundtrack to my teenage years, but to tell you about the supermassive, neverending workout that is Glastonbury Festival.

    On the Thursday morning I kept the promise I made to myself when I packed my trainers and joined the annual run around the site with the guys from Actionwork. It was a massive group this year, and a great run because it hadn't rained AT ALL. 

    Found a Brighton run buddy!

    Read my blog from the last time I joined this run at Glastonbury in 2015.

    A slightly respectable 3am bedtime on the Wednesday meant I wasn't too fragile to make the 9am start, and even bumped into a familiar face from Brighton during the run! Small world guys. 

    We ran a loop of the site taking in the different stages, and had the obligatory trudge up the top of the hill for a photo, which was a bit more effort than it needed to be due to the amounts of cider in mine and a lot of other runners' bodies. 

    Steeper than it looks...


    It's a bit big (that's what she said)

    Glastonbury's the size of Brighton, by the way. And Manchester, and a good chunk of central London. 900 acres in total. 

    More than a mile and a half across, with an eight and a half mile perimeter. 

    In short: it's a bit big. 


    Props to blogger Richard Lartey for this & other Glasto comparison maps


    This year was the first time I tracked my steps, and I'm glad to say the Raclette, (and cider, chips, falafel, mac & cheese, pulled pork in Yorkshire puds, toasties and whatever else I ate during those five days) was more than earned.

    I walked / danced between 16-20 miles a day, mostly in sandals or Air Max's as there was NO MUD. It was bloody marvellous.

    No wonder my legs hurt!

    A total of 92.96 miles / 236,789 steps covered between Tuesday at midnight to Monday when we left the site. The runner in me is now really annoyed I didn't make that up to a round 100 miles, but hey ho.

    Check out the week graph below (annoyingly TomTom's week is Sunday to Sunday and you can't change it so it's split in two)



    Tuesday was low as we drove to the site and camped in the queue! 





    Daily breakdown


    If you break it down into the hours in each day you can see I totally smashed it as the weekend went on - both in steps and miles walked / danced, and also sleep, which progressively declined into Monday morning.

    Sleep when you're dead??

    I always knew we covered a lot of distance at Glasto as my legs are always achey AF, but I honestly didn't realise it was this much.


    The supermassive Glasto workout is real!


    WEDNESDAY

    Camping in the queue overnight on Tuesday (remember this is midnight to midnight), then a quick snooze, and walk to site (1mile @ 7am) to put tents up and wait for the others to get through the gates.

    I took my watch off once we started pitching so TomTom saying I got 11 hours sleep is BS.




    THURSDAY

    A Casual 16.25miles boshed out on the second day after a respectable 4.5hours sleep - bonus! Lots of wandering around the Park area and small bars in search of music and cider.




    FRIDAY

    17.56miles / 44,582 steps after a proper good sleep, evidently. Love how you can see exactly when I got up for my night time wee too! 🙈

    The dips throughout the day were when we stopped to watch bands - Glass Animals, Elbow, RADIOHEAD. Aaaaaaahhhhhhh.


    SATURDAY

    A stellar performance from midnight to 2am then I obviously gave in and went to bed! This was the day I ended up paying for the most as someone let me open the gin...

    When you have gin & a stranger lets you stand on their chair to see Liam Gallagher :)


    Acts seen: British Sea Power, Liam Gallagher, The Amazons, Oooooohhhhhh Jeremy Corbyn, DJ SHADOW!!!, Alt-J, Noisia! (and a feck load of house & dnb in between)


    SUNDAY

    Very nearly 19miles walked / danced - the climax of the weekend. 

    Blatantly killed it after Alt-J headlining the Other Stage (yes we missed Foo's, yes, it was intentional). Noisia at Arcadia sorted us out before an impressive 1hr46 sleep on Saturday night. 

    I was suffering on Sunday morning but was eased back into the game with Jamie Cullum on the Pyramid and some reggae and dnb in the Dance Village (now called Silver Hayes) as well as the soothing sounds of Rag n Bone Man. And CHIC before BIFFY FUCKING CLYRO! 





    MONDAY

    There aren't many rules at Glasto but one of them is that on the last night, you go hard, and only then, do you go home. 

    Justice on West Holts and Roni Size(!) at Arcadia with a wander around Shangri La made sure we were law abiding Glastonians, and with a respectable 2.5hr sleep before packing up, we left the farm, and left no trace. 




    See you in 2019, Glastonbury, my happy, happy place! 💚

    Love the farm, leave no trace.





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    Do you run and track your steps at festivals?

    Glasto's not on next year and we're looking for an alternative (abroad preferably). Any ideas? 

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    Tuesday, 13 June 2017

    REVIEW | Body Fuel Cafe Hove


    There's a new cafe in town and I want them to feed me breakfast, lunch and dinner every day until I die.

    It's in Hove (actually). As in proper Hove, Church Road side, past the Town Hall and everything. The dark side. 

    They do steak salad. You heard me. And salmon.

    I'm talking proper steak and actual fresh salmon fillet, cooked to order, sat on a bed of whatever the hell superfood you want, with hard boiled eggs, baked sweet potato, feta cheese, and a whole load of tzatziki (or your dressing of choice) thrown in for good measure.

    YUMMERS.


    Super superfoods (salmon) salad with sweet chilli dip (I prefer with tzatziki now)  :) 

    I'm a sucker for good food, but have a habit of defaulting to unhealthy crap when on the go a lot at work, and if I'm busy and haven't had made time to prep lunches and snacks to take in for the week.

    To be completely honest, gone are the days of the regimented weekly shop and meticulous Sunday night food prep. In fact, it's been a long, long time since I've indulged in my weekly food prep ritual, mainly because I just haven't been bothered.

    Three things have been shining a beacon of healthy, nutritious light into my often grab-and-go world, and the Body Fuel Cafe in Hove is one of them.

    The others are M&S Food Halls at train stations and Hello Fresh deliveries (more on the latter, later!)

    Muscle maker (rump steak) salad - all the NOMS. 

    In a city where avocado and smoked salmon on sourdough is the norm for most cafes, the new kid on the block had to offer something a bit different to stand out.

    Actually the Body Fuel is the not-so-new kid on the block now as it's taken me bloody ages to write the review since they first invited me down a few months ago! Not that I haven't been back since then of course, I might as well move in tbh.

    protein packed - with feta instead of cottage cheese :) 

    I've been undertaking some extensive quality control over the last few months. I've tried the salmon (super superfoods), steak (muscle maker) and chicken (protein packed) salads and keep returning to them. The falafel salad is also pretty fit.

    I've had pancakes and poached eggs with smashed avocado on toast for breakfast, and a couple of the hot specials for lunches.

    I've tried the peanut butter milkshake (YES MATE) and tried the green juice (lovely stuff).

    And it's all been banging.  

    Sweet potato, edamame beans and coconut stew with broccoli & cauliflower instead of rice (my choice)
    It's all pretty cheap too, for the mahoosive portions you get. I'm a bit of a Brighton cafe wanker, I know all the best sourdough/avo haunts (there are many),  and you'll get way more bang for your buck at Body Fuel for your £6-8 let me tell you.

    Show me somewhere else in Brighton (or Hove, actually), where you can get a full on salmon fillet salad for £8. With baked sweet potato, and feta, and eggs. And poached eggs on sourdough for £4.50 (£6 with smashed avocado). 

    I'm not the only one who's in on the secret. 


    I've bumped into gym buddies on numerous occasions in the queue. Some of whom go off piste and make their own salad from the bar, but I don't like the responsibility so stick with the pre-selected favourites on the menu. 

    I still haven't made my way around the whole menu yet as I keep going back to my favourites - the chicken (protein packed) and salmon (super superfoods).

    They also do home or office lunchtime delivery too, with a minimum order of £15. I've not yet tried this but totally gonna.



    It feels like this cafe is there just for me, ready to reward me for my morning workout, or keep me away from convenience foods when I cba to prep my lunches. A big wholesome hug of healthy, batting off the carb cuddles and 3pm slump with ease.


    There's only three things that I'd change: 

    1) Get a proper coffee machine to furnish the post-workout crowd with the obligatory flat white (if they've got one now, I stand corrected).

    2) Open a bit earlier so I can refuel straight after some of the earlier sessions like 6.30am intervals with the BTRS crew.

    3) Open up a branch in our flat just for me and Chris to keep Deliveroo at bay and keep us on the wagon.

    Or maybe I'll just move in...

    The Body Fuel Cafe can be found at 123 Church Road, Hove and is open Monday to Sunday from 8am. Visit bodyfuelcafe.co.uk for menus and more info, and if you fancy a bit of food porn in your Insta feed head this way

    Disclaimer: I was offered two complimentary meals at The Body Fuel in exchange for a review. All subsequent quality control was done at my own cost, and the pleasure on all occasions is all mine. MINE I TELL YOU. STAY AWAY. 



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