FitBits: 2017

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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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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

5 tips to be a better road cyclist (on my baby's 3rd birthday)



Me and Chris have seven babies in our household, and we love them all dearly.

They make a fair bit of mess, require a lot of care and attention, and are of course quite expensive to bring into the world and look after, but bring us so much joy every day.

My road bike is three years old today! Happy birthday babes, mummy loves ya xxx 

I remember when I first got it, how excited I was to upgrade from my much loved but chunky hybrid (Giant Escape 3) that I'd had for two years previous. That hybrid went to a very good home and was much loved too by my sis-in-law until some scrote stole her wheel :(

Our first ride :) 



My Giant Avail 3 may not be the lightest, or highest spec road bike on the market, but it's been so much more than a set of wheels to me. I've loved all my bikes over the years, but this one is a teeny bit more special - my trusty steed, race machine and partner in crime - she comes everywhere with me.

I've ridden my roadie every single day since I bought her. She's taken me to work and back, to the gym, to meet my BTRS buddies for a run or midweek duathlon, to town for shopping, coffee and mooching about with friends.

To the pub, but never left locked alone for too long for fear of her getting stolen by some cruddy Brighton bike thief (sadly they do exist).

First time scaling Ditchling Beacon!
Aside from the day-to-day we've been on so many long adventures together: from my first ever group ride from Velo Cafe, bringing up the rear behind a group of speedy boys, (this girl CAN, but she's a bit slow) or scaling the formiddable Ditchling Beacon for the first time with Chris ahead on his matching Giant Defy 3.

I was so excited to join the club and become a 'proper' Brighton cyclist.

She's made me learn to ride clipped in, seen me through my first two triathlons, giving me the confidence I needed to spend my energy worrying about surviving the swims safe in the knowledge that I'd catch the fuckers up on the bike.

Game face during my first triathlon at Eton Dorney



She confidently (and safely) weaves through traffic, relishes the wide open country roads on evening rides, and responds well when I push hard during races or midweek duathlons with the BTRS crew.

She makes me feel free AF and I love her with all my heart. Even though I do still perve over other bikes, (n+1, always n+1), I know she's still the one for me.

For now...


Be a better road cyclist - 5 tips

I'm not trained to give advice but speak from over 20 years experience of riding on the road, (learned when I was at primary school - thanks Dad), so let me share some of my wisdom if you're looking to improve your confidence on the road.


1) Buy a bike fit for purpose


Think about the kind of riding you want to do. Are you commuting every day, or just saving for racing? Do you want to pootle around the shops on a weekend? Or enjoy long and comfy weekend rides with coffee and cake stops?

For a first road bike, I chose the Giant Avail 3 (priced at £800 at the time) because it was sturdy, made with good components and capable of the daily short commute, long rides and triathlons thrown in for good measure - it's a great all-rounder.


2) Service regularly, or learn to do it yourself 


Whilst I'm really good at regularly servicing my baby, what I'm not very good at is learning what the hell I'm doing myself, and even though I've been on a great free course from Brighton & Hove Council, I can't really remember much of it so will have to do it again!

My roadie's long and happy life has been possible due to the various new cassettes, chains, pedals, brake cables, pads, tyres and everything else that it's had to keep it running smoothly, which which kind of makes me feel like Trigger proudly showcasing his trusty broom, but you get the idea.





3) Ease in gently 

Another great reason I chose the Avail 3 is the extra set of brakes it has on the handlebars, giving me extra options to slow down without having to move around too much.

Going from the nice wide handlebars and upright seated position of my hybrid to the more aggressive, narrow and forward leaning road cycling style was difficult at first so this extra functionality was invaluable as a beginner.

I'm actually really gonna miss them when I do finally upgrade to a bike with only one set of brakes! 


I also didn't go for clipped in pedals until I was completely confident in the new riding position, and practiced clipping in and out around the park with Chris holding me up! To this day I've still not fallen over at traffic lights too, so that practice must've done me some good!


4) Ride like you're driving

Whether you're a driver or not, you should act like a car when cycling on the road.

That means stopping at lights, (yes, every time), never riding up the left hand side of a larger vehicle (bus, lorry, van - it's a massive blindspot and the driver cannot see you), always indicating to cars when turning corners so they actually know where you're going.

When I first got my road bike, looking behind me before I stuck my arm out to indicate used to throw me off balance with the narrow positioning but I practiced in the park so I was confident on the road and now it's second nature.

When indicating, look behind you to make sure they're not right on your arse, put your arm out straight in the direction that you're going (not a pissy little point with your little finger - do it like you mean it, and they'll slow down for you to turn).


5) Join a HSBC UK Breeze cycle ride



OK so you can only do this if you have a vagina as it's a women only group, but I went along to one with Active Sussex and it was great - watch the video below, and check out the other This Girl Can videos we've made here.

If you're not in the know, Breeze is a nationwide initiative from Sport England and British Cycling offering free, women-only rides across the country, for all ages and abilities, building confidence and skills on the road.
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Any other tips I've missed here for beginners?

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Finding the fun in fitness



I've been on a mission this past few weeks to find the real fun in fitness, and I'm glad to say it's been a stonking success!

I'm talking pure, unadulterated, jump-up-and-down-excited kind of fun - the sort where you don't realise how hard you're working out until afterwards and you bounce home like a kid on Tangfastics. (Cherries, always the cherries).

The mission commenced at the Virgin Sport Hackney Festival of Fitness & 5.5k last month, a couple of weeks after a difficult Brighton Marathon where none of my plans came to fruition thanks to the glorious bloody weather we had.


The Hackney 5.5k was to be my first bit of exercise since the marathon, but never mind the running - the festival village was WICKED. As a true festival fiend (I'd literally live on site at Glastonbury forever if they'd let me), I was in my element. They'd thought of everything - dance classes, yoga, fitness sessions, food and drink, chill out areas, walkabout entertainers, flower crown making and even a barbers doing free beard trims and haircuts!

Unfortunately they weren't taking any more bookings when I went to ask if they could tidy up my side shave. Top tip: don't let your husband shave the side of your head when he's in a rush / too scared to go to the edges.


A post shared by Tess Agnew (@fitbits_) on

I arrived a little over an hour until the 5.5k start, which was just enough time to wander around grinning at everything before picking up my race number at the media tent and catching the end of the Thriller dance class.

Before I got into running, I started my fitness journey in a flurry of fun and frolics, with dancing, boxercise and fitness games, and Zumba was the first exercise class I ever went to. I LOVED IT straight away - just pure, unadulterated, don't-give-a-shit-what-you-look-like fun.

Joining the many others on the Go Fit Yourself to learn the steps to Thriller and Beat It with Fight Klub's Troy Dureh reminded me of those heady days, and that's what kickstarted my promise to rediscover more of that joy in the things I do this summer.

So, with that in mind, here's how I've kept that promise to myself over the past few weeks (and how you should get in on the fun too!) 

** Check out the other VirginSport Fitness Festival events at virginsport.com.

 

Zumba face 


After the dance classes at Hackney I booked straight onto the Brighton Zumba class that I used to go to a few years ago. I loved it just as much as I did back then and left dripping in sweat, 425 calories lighter, with a shake in my hips once more.



I didn't say anything about it being in time to the music, though, did I?!


A post shared by Tess Agnew (@fitbits_) on





Hitting the trails

Throw me down some singletrack and I'm the happiest you'll find me (as long as I don't break myself). After much faffing about we've finally taken the bikes to hit the Surrey Hills trails, getting some awesome guiding from Sean at Marmalade MTB - read more about our 121 ride last week here.

Two weeks in a row of mountain bike mayhem and we're ready to take our rediscovered flow to the trail centres in Wales this Bank Holiday!


A post shared by Tess Agnew (@fitbits_) on



Fight Klub 😝

A live drum n bass DJ, MC, high intensity boxing workout and kickass venue with lights, lasers and loud beats. I literally cannot describe to you the immensity of this workout! 90mins of epic, jump up, YES MATE beats that rain so hard you just have to keep punching.

I love dnb anyway but never go raving any more unless at festivals really so this was just brilliant. Never mind the boxercise, I skanked my sweat-drenched heart out.

870 calories burned, thank you very much!


A post shared by Tess Agnew (@fitbits_) on



Rugby!! 

A day after we had to put my beautiful boy Scabbers to sleep (Harry Potter cat no.3) I needed some serious cheering up so dragged my heartbroken self to have a go at rugby. It was pissing with rain, I hadn't played for more than 13 years, didn't know anyone and couldn't catch the bloody ball to save my life.

I had one of the most fun workouts I've had in a looooong time, and left soaking wet, caked in mud and full of smiles.

This week was week one of a four week beginner / returning players course at Hove Women's Rugby Club (every Thursday evening 7-8pm from now until 8th June, FREE!), and I have a feeling I'm gonna have to make some choices about which fitness escapades to fill my time with this summer...

triathlon or rugby? triathlon or rugby? triathlon or rugby...

A post shared by Tess Agnew (@fitbits_) on


In between all these shenanegins I've actually been able to run some pretty fast and comfortable runs which has relieved me no end as I thought I was doomed to a future of painful plods after the marathon.

It seems that sometimes, not training, not having any real goal other than to just enjoy yourself is the best way to exercise! I'm all up for this kind of fun for the summer until training for Beachy Head Marathon gets underway in August.

Until then, it's all about the smiles.


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Friday, 19 May 2017

Surrey Hills mountainbiking with Marmalade MTB




Video below 👇

There's a post in my drafts that I've not yet published about doing more exercise that makes my heart sing (stay tuned this weekend for it to go live). For me, riding my bike(s) has always brought me unparalleled joy, I've loved cycling all my life.

The kind of joy I felt as a kid, when my Dad bought me a new BMX for Christmas and instead of 'just' wrapping it up, he made finding it into one massive game - a treasure hunt around the house and garden following a piece of string to my prize (nice one Dad).

I've never let go of that magic.

Everything I need part 1

 

Practice makes badass


This year I'm determined not to break any bones and do myself out of a summer on the wheels. I can confirm that apart from devouring the entire Breaking Bad collection in the first seven days being a particular highlight of those boring, rested weeks, there wasn't really much else to be happy about.

So, if I'm to keep all my bones in tact this year, including the metal plate that's now stapled to my clavicle (BFFs forevs), I need to get better on the trails.

That means more riding, more practice, more punching fear in the face and not letting my accident stop me from doing what I (really, really) love. I need to work on that bit when the fear takes over on the steep bits, but it's a work in progress.

We ride the trails in Wales and Forest of Dean a few times each year, but that's not enough if we want to really get better, and be more confident, capable mountain bikers.

It's time to get some proper, regular practice - on trails that don't take four hours to drive to.

 

Hello Surrey Hills  

 


We live less than an hour away from the wonderland of singletrack delight that is the Surrey Hills, but had never ridden there until last weekend as we had no idea where where to start. The 'problem' with only riding trail centres in Wales and Forest of Dean is that we're used to nice waymarked, managed, graded trails, and visitor centres with maps, jacket potatoes and bespoke ale for refuelling.



We're not very good at turning up to the woods and finding the local trails, and we didn't want to suddenly come across any massive jumps or technical sections that we couldn't ride, so decided to do a Surrey Hills tour with mountain bike guide Sean from Marmalade MTB.

His awesome videos and photos from his group rides and 121s have been invading my social feeds for a few months now, so we were excited to finally hit the send button on a message to book in for ourselves.

Everything I need part 2


Now, before I go into the brilliant bike fit and guiding that Sean took us through I'd just like to share one top tip for anyone looking to book in with him. It's quite a simple tip really, but pretty fundamental to the cycling enjoyment of your day I'd say, and I'm sure anyone who exists in the world, ever, would agree.

Here it is. Are you ready?

TOP TIP: WHEN DRIVING FOR AN HOUR TO A MTB GUIDED RIDE, REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR WHOLE BIKE. 

We pride ourselves on our camping set up. We've pretty much mastered it to leave everything permanently in the van (sleeping bag, stove, tea, crockery, cutlery, etc), apart from food and bikes.

The idea is, when we take the van away, it's just a case of packing the food, ice packs, beer and bikes - everything else we need should already be in there.

So far so good?

What we didn't think about was the fact that Chris had previously borrowed my wheel when he had a puncture and we forgot to put his axle back on, so although we threw both bikes and all wheels in the back to leave, what we'd actually done was to drive to Surrey with no way of securing his front wheel. And didn't realise this until we'd all spent half an hour faffing about with the punctures that we didn't have the foresight to fix before we turned up.

So Chris had to drive ALL THE WAY HOME to get this crucial component, leaving me to have a proper bike fit with Sean and practice some bike handling skills such as track stands before we headed out on the trails.

Every cloud, and all that.

A proper bike fit 




We've had our full sus mountain bikes for a year now, and have never actually had them fitted. A few simple adjustments to the dropper seat post, break and gear positions, and suspension made my bike feel so much better.

Sean worked wonders:

  • Moved the break levers and gears out and adjusted the angle to minimise reaching and wrist flex 
  • Adjusted the seat post so that when the dropper was fully up it was measured for my seated position (much less faffing on the trails trying to get the right height up hill!)
  • Repositioned the seat post angle so I don't have to keep pushing myself back when I slip forwards
  • Made sure the front and back suspension had the right air pressure in (psi should be equal in kg to your weight - my front suspension was less than half of what it should be and I'd been riding like it for months!)
  • Adjusted tyre pressure (better to have lower pressure for the trails unlike the rock solid tyres I turned up with)
  • Showed me the 'attacking position' for good weight distribution 
It's about giving you as little to think about as possible when riding the trails so you can concentrate on your flow and not be faffing about getting comfortable again.

Makes total sense in theory, and once I got on my newly fitting bike, it made total sense in practice. 

 

Punching fear in the face? Nearly... 





Once Chris got back we did a 10 mile loop taking in the only waymarked trail on the Surrey Hills: Summer Lightning and headed to the pub for the all-important liquid debriefing 😆.

It was really helpful having Sean behind me giving tips on how to ride and also in front showing me the best lines on the harder sections. There were still a few steep and technical bits that I couldn't get over the fear enough to ride though so took the chicken runs and let the boys get on with it.

On the Sunday though I 100% got my confidence back on two other fast and swooping trails, Yoghurt Pot and Telegraphs, both of which you can see in the video above.

Lots of work to do to get over my post-accident fear it seems. I think I'm fine but then it stops me right at the top of a steep drop and proper mucks up my flow, and confidence for the rest of the ride.

Like I said though, it's all about practice practice practice, and we're going back for Sean's 20mile tour of the trails this Sunday, so to be continued!!!



If you fancy a guided tour of the Surrey Hills trails or South Downs get in touch with Sean at Marmarlade MTB. He also does bike maintenance workshops and bike fit too! We paid £60pp for our 121 guided ride, but you can join the monthly group rides for just £20pp. 

Not sure yet? Follow him on Facebook or Instagram and let him infiltrate your social feeds until you give in. 

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

My first float | The Float Spa, Brighton


The irony of rushing home from an hour of meditation to get straight back on the Macbook to blog about it isn't lost on me, don't worry.

I started to write this down before I went to bed last night as I didn't want today's To Do list to barge right in and fill up my brain again. When I got home it was pretty spacious up in this head of mine, let me tell you. I left the mini headache that'd been threatening to multiply all day behind in the floatation pod, (is that what they're called?), along with most of the thoughts that had been busying said brain for what seems like forever.

I say most of the thoughts.

It was my first session, a work in progress.

I loved 70% of it. 

The other 30% was spent thinking about work, trying to make my eyes see in the pitch black (very difficult and didn't happen), and seeing how gently I could push myself around the pod with my fingers.

When your senses are deprived like that and you cannot see a thing, it takes a surprisingly long time for your toes to reach the other side.


 

How often do you just lie still, and do nothing? 


It's Mental Health Awareness Week and meditation is something I've always been fascinated by, but not very good at. I'm one of those 'ohhh I'm so busy' people. You know, the ones who claim to be full on multi-taskers, 100 tabs open at once, the self-proclaimed productivity ninjas, getting shit done with no time to do anything else, and 100% unable to just sit and do nothing.

After a difficult year last year and my first taste of what I realise now was probably chronic stress and anxiety (did you watch the BBC's 'The Truth About Stress' last week?), I went into 2017 making a few promises to myself:

1) Reclaim my time

2) Focus on my wellbeing

3) Prioritise my health and happiness

That means making time for yoga, exercise, hanging out with friends, seeing family, not being a dick to Chris.

Always, always always... making time to run, ride and write, because that's always been the best kind of therapy for me.





 

So what about a float? 


That'll fit in quite nicely, right?

I have to say, hats off to The Float Spa in the first instance, for getting their email marketing bang on. As a digital marketer things like that please me immensely.

An email landed in my inbox on my birthday offering me a discount on my first float, reduced from £65 to £45. I know what you're thinking - £45 to basically lie still and do nothing? Say whaaa?! 

I kinda thought that too, but then I tried it.

At the time the email was sent I was mid way through a glorious five hour ride along the South Downs Way, but I knew I'd take them up on it when back in the land of the living.



I booked onto a yoga class at the Float Spa for MoveGB's Big Day of Move to check out where it actually was and have a nose at the pods.

The yoga class was epic and the lovely Assistant Manager Sarah showed me round, putting me at ease (not that she needed to, I was fascinated by the look of the pods and knew I would have to do it).

I left with the One Float monthly membership (discounted to share with you guys how I find it, so stay tuned).


A date with yourself

This is what a post-float, chilled AF Tess looks like



Last night was the night. I was quite nervous throughout the day, hoping to God that I'd be able to actually shut my mind down and relax in there.

What if it's weird?

Verdict? It is weird. 

And lovely. And all-encompassing. 

But sort of hard work, if, like me, your mind won't shut the hell up. 

It can be everything you want it to be, or nothing at all, and very much depends on how much you surrender to it.

Someone summed the experience up pretty well in the guest book by reception: "Elevated and expanded." I definitely felt both of those things coming out of there. I was relaxed and refreshed but not in the same way as when I come out of a good Savasanah at yoga.

You get more involved in yoga, moving your body, focusing on your breath, holding poses in what can be quite intense practice. Savasanah is your reward. I crave it after a hard class.

But floatation is just that - surrender your body to the water completely, surrender your mind, and do nothing. There's no 'reason' to reward yourself with your relaxation, you just do it.




The light in the room has a motion sensor so goes off once you close the pod. I had the blue light on inside for a bit while the meditation sounds (waves, seagulls), eased me into the float.

The music goes on for the first five minutes and then nothing, pure silence, until five minutes before the end so you know when it's nearly time to get out.

Half way though the music I turned the blue light completely off and it was 100 times better. I took Sarah's advice on trying different arm positions, (Savasanah, up over my head like a baby, palms down), and explored different movements in the water.

Because it's full of salts and magnesium the water makes your body feel different. It holds you up and envelops you in a silky smooth cushion (much to my delight).

I managed to quieten my mind eventually and sunk into my subconscious for a while, which was amazing. Somewhere in between (not sure when, time has no meaning in there), I lost it and completely woke up, got a bit angry with myself and laughed at what I was doing before settling back down again.



Literally, if you think about what you're actually doing in there, it's quite hilarious. 

Oh, and you're naked, by the way, which is just as Britishly awkward as it sounds at first, but then you really don't give a shit.

Afterwards you shower and freshen up in the Vanity Room before enjoying herbal tea and homemade sorbet in the chill out area by reception, which is a really nice touch.

I could've stayed there all night but they had to close so I cycled home on a wave of calm with my brain basking in space that it rarely gets to feel.


What did I learn? 


1) You do actually float

This was one of my main concerns and as someone who most definitely sinks I'm still surprised by it now.


2) It's better with the light off

I spent a fair amount of time trying really hard to make my eyes see in the pitch black, but they just couldn't do it. It was literally a black hole in there, and much easier to get in the zone in the dark than with the blue light on.


3) You should go to the loo beforehand. Twice

I did go to the loo before I got in, on Sarah's advice, but towards the end, maybe in the last 10minutes (or seconds, who knows in there?!), I started to need the loo again and that would've been annoying AF had it been any earlier.





4) An hour is a LONG TIME

I've never done any sort of meditation for longer than the Savasanah at the end of a yoga class, which, is what, about five minutes, on a good day? Just like I train my body to run marathons, it looks like I'm gonna have to train my mind to shut down.

Anyone got a training plan for that?!


5) Surrendering yourself completely is amazing

The moments where I did fall into it mentally were incredible.

In the shower afterwards I couldn't believe how many muscles it takes to stand up. When I changed arm positions in the pod (from above my head to Savasanah), my arms felt heavy like lead. Doing star fish motions with my legs was really surreal, my feet took forever to touch.

Don't worry I wasn't trying to do jumping jacks in there, just exploring the movement and feeling of being held up like that. Like when you do a figure of eight in table pose (with your eyes closed for God sake), it's nice to just explore and feel what it's like to be present in your body.

6) I need to do it again. Right now would be nice 💙


My first float wasn't perfect, by any means. I couldn't hold the relaxation for the whole time and I did find myself wondering what the time was and ticking off To Do lists in my head. 

But the moments where I was able to (WARNING: floatation wanker phrase coming) give myself to it fully were incredible. 

Elevated and expanded? Fuck yeah. 

*Oh, and by the way, I had the run of my life this morning at 6am - related? Who knows... 


As well as floatation The Float Spa do yoga, meditation and mindfulness workshops, massage and chiropractic therapy.  I'm paying for my One Float per month membership on a discounted rate in exchange for writing about my experience. 


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floatation therapy?

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Sunday, 30 April 2017

If you don't take part, you're gonna fail

FitBits | If you don't take part you're gonna fail - Anthony Joshua - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

Wise words spoken by World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua, moments after he knocked Wladimir Klitschko out in the 11th round.

90,000 people packed into Wembley Stadium to see this £30million pound title fight, with millions more watching online, in pubs, and on the live Instagram streams of people who'd paid to view it.

19 fights. 19 wins, all by stoppage. An opponent has still never made it past the 11th round. Incredible.

Joshua was knocked down himself in the sixth round but he got back up, mustered everything he had to finish the job, and when mic was handed to him as 90,000 people screamed his name, what did he say?

"I'm not perfect, but I'm trying. If you don't take part, you're gonna fail.

Anyone can do this."

I'm not gonna pretend to know lots about boxing.

I've done a little bit myself, and found it utterly terrifying, all-encompassing and brilliant in equal measures.

It's the most difficult thing I've ever done, on a physical and mental level, and I'm not sure I'll ever get in the ring again as I just don't have the mental capacity to dedicate myself to it enough to do it well right now.

That, and I don't want another repeat of my blood pressure putting a stop to me fighting just hours before getting in there.

But what I do know is this: Anthony Joshua's words should be a mantra for all of us. 

He's totally right - if you don't take part, you really are gonna fail.

Too much holds us back from achieving our true potential in life. It stops us experiencing things that would stay with us forever, never letting us build the memories that would live on in the tales we'd share with others.

Fear is healthy - we should embrace it. Or as I like to say, (but have forgotten a bit these last few months) - we should feel the fear, then do it anyway. There are so many things I've stopped myself doing recently, for one reason or another.

How about you? What are you faffing over? What are you scared of?


That race you're deliberating over entering but don't think you're hard enough? Enter it now.


That blog or project you're thinking of starting but scared of no one reading it? Do it. 

The conversation you've put off for ages in fear of the outcome? Get it done. 

That leap you've been dreaming of taking for years? The time is now. 

Time waits for no one. Don't waste your life wishing you could do something.

Just do it (or #JFDI), and do it now.

Thank you AJ, that was just the push I needed. 😊 👊


Part 1 of #JFDI: (part 2 to be revealed shortly...)

FitBits | Beachy Head Marathon 2017 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger


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What are you putting off doing, and what's stopping you?

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Birthday bike rides and spring training goals



I'm 31 today guys. Thirty bloody one.

That means I'm definitely a proper adult by now, right? Oh God I really don't feel like one. I remember when I was a kid, looking at my Dad (hero) in his mid 30s thinking Christ that's old, I've got ages until I get there. 

I honestly thought that by the time I hit my 30s something would click and suddenly I'd be a responsible grown up, with a house, kids and husband, a good job and a pot of savings to whip out for loft conversions or new boilers or whatever these adults spend their hard earned money on these days.

Probably not *another* bike, right?


 

Breaking the exercise fast 


I celebrated entering my 31st year with a solo mountain bike adventure up on the Downs. With the sun on my back and a carpet of rolling green hills and bright yellow fields as my playground, it was the perfect way to break the exercise fast following my less-than-perfect Brighton Marathon.

So many of my awesome running friends have been smashing workouts and getting back to it since last Sunday but tbh all I've smashed is Easter eggs and a right good sleep binge, and I'm not even sorry.

Today marks the end of six glorious days off, which we started by sacking off the planned Forest of Dean trip in favour of some localised chill time in the van and at home / with the fam.





 
We took the road bikes camping but couldn't be arsed to ride and it set the tone for the days thereafter - hence I've done zero exercise until today's day-long adventure.

That five hours on Strava below, that's moving time.

Add another couple onto that for me basically sitting about up on the Downs eating sandwiches and taking in the view because I had all the time I wanted and had nowhere else in the world to be.

There were only about 10 people up there for the whole duration and it was bloody marvellous. (Can you spot where I lost the South Downs Way and had to double back on myself?!) 


  


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If you want to read more about cycling the South Downs Way, check out the posts below from our trip last August Bank Holiday. We did it in sections over the long weekend because a) we're not hard enough to do the whole thing in one go *yet*, and b) we like to take our time and enjoy these things, not batter ourselves into oblivion...

Part 1) Eastbourne to Brighton  
Part 2) (because fuck headwind) Petersfield to Amberley 
Part 3) Amberley to Devil's Dyke
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What's next? Spring & summer training goals

Now that the marathon's done I'm really excited to get stuck into other goals for the year. For me, spring and summer has always been about cycling - it's when we start our regular camping trips to Wales and Forest of Dean to hit the trails, and next month we're finally checking out the Surrey Hills which is much closer to home and apparently has a great network of singletrack to ride for playtime. 

We're doing a guided ride with Sean at Marmalade Mtb so stay tuned to see how that goes! 

Other cycling goals this year for me are to get 100-mile fit for RideLondon in July, and me and Chris are also hopefully doing the BHF London to Brighton road and off-road rides too. 

Check out my vlog from last year's London to Brighton off-roader - 75 miles and quads of doom! 

I saw a sign for the full BHF South Downs Way 100miler today which is fully supported but one hell of a ride - it's very tempting but will have to think seriously about whether I'm hard enough for that one just yet... 


Aside from cycling it's all about triathlon this year, after having to bail on everything after last year's collarbone and wrist break, I'm pretty much starting my swimming from scratch to get strong in the sea for the Brighton & Hove Triathlon in September.

Not giving up on running altogether, don't worry - taking on the Virgin Sport Hackney Half at the end of this month to see what all the buzz is about since Virgin took over. There's a 5.5k too if you fancy, as well as yoga classes and fitness bootcamp / dance sessions too on the day. 

Oh, and I'm also starting a 12 week body transformation soon to get rid of this marathon flab and sculpt a stronger me heading into all this training so stay tuned for that too!

Man I do love a change in season for a renewed sense of motivation! 


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What are your spring/summer training goals, and what's your perfect way to spend your birthday?

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