Athlete Lab

So by far my best find in London has been Athlete Lab on Canon Street! This is not like any ‘spin class’ you have ever been to.

London does have some incredibly fun and energetic spin classes that are sure to work up a sweat, but from a cyclist perspective I cant help but think half the time the instructor has never even been on a road bike and that the training will by no means help towards any cycling goals. I mean, when you find yourself in a headwind uphill tough situation, are you really gonna be glad you did those bicep curls whilst on the stationary bike? I doubt it. Are you gonna be glad you ‘ sprinted uphill ‘ (?!) to Beyonce? – probably ’cause Beyonce is always for the better, but you get what I mean!

That is until I discovered Athlete Lab. There is no question that these guys have been on a bike, even catering to national level athletes. It is a unique class that involves real bikes with proper groupsets, getting measured up for my stationary bike felt more legit then when I got fitted for my real bike! – I even left with my obligatory embarrassing chainring tattoo.

It involves a bit of science to measure progress, can automatically link it to your strava, and will send the data to you after every session, thanks for that Athlete Lab, I am now 110% certain that neglecting the bike this winter has been a VERY bad idea.

I picked the ‘HIIT HURT BOX’ which is an hour long and consisted of interval training at high resistance and maintaining cadence between intervals and ‘recovery’ blocks. It really did hurt, and I have already been back which proves it must be good, endurance athletes seem to be drawn towards pain I swear!?
I was so impressed with the service, the guy running the training session made sure to provide me with a towel and re-fill the water bottle that they provided. I was faced with a line of powerful fans to keep me as comfortable as possible whilst enduring the ‘Hurt Box’ – please note, you will still leave like a sweaty mess despite their efforts.

If you are a cyclist, triathlete, interested in learning some bike skills without risking your life on the roads in central London, or just fancy a watching The Giro on big screen then I couldnt recommend this place enough!
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Em x

Transition Zone -TRX

I have decided that some of these classes really are too good and deserve a full post to themselves.

I have always been one of those stubborn people who follow their own training plan, which before I started working a full time job for my placement year had always been to just do as much as you can, and then some more, with an extra session on top.

This last 10 months definatly didnt make that approach possible, but I have still been set in the way that ‘I know best’, and any suggested training classes would never be as challenging as I would want or need, or as effective!

How ignorant am I! I will never not be an advocate for the benefits (in my sport of Triathlon) of running/biking and swimming outdoors, doing tough hills and long mileage, there is just no comparisson! However, I am now in London with a full time job, I have no big event coming up until the end of summer and I have just finished the event I had been training for.

I have discovered this week that not only is there some training sessions out there that are great compliments to my sport and normal training, some amazing alternatives to my training which is more adapted to big city life, and just some classes out there that have you feeling great about yourself!

A favourite of mine this week has been TRX at Transition Zone. This was a 45 minute blast using just your body weight on the TRX bands. I really was skeptical about this, but I completly loved it! It was tough, challenging, exhausting and made me feel amazing in under and hour. I really felt like this is the kind of fast blast that will build muscle and strengthen everything that could get injured throughout my Triathlon based training.

Also, any place that gives me a good workout and a chance to recover with a superfood smoothie involving nutbutter’s is A-OKAY with me.

http://www.transitionzone.co.uk/

Em x

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A taste of Class Pass – Week 1

I was still back in Yorkshire on monday for the bank holiday weekend, so I didn’t actually start my month of class pass until Tuesday.. a shorter week to recap on.

If you follow my blog you are probably aware that I am a triathlete and so my training usually revolves swim/bike/run, with the odd gym session when I can find the time. I decided after just recently doing London Marathon that it was a good time to have a month off my normal training routine, to mix it up and also for an excuse to see more of London and try new things!

My first class on tuesday eve was an uppers session at 1Rebel, a combination for treadmill speed and hill intervals, with ‘shapers’ weighted and high intensity movements for the arms and full body! Basically  a HIIT 45 minute blast session to great music with an energetic trainer. I enjoyed it so much iv done two already in my first 6 days of class pass! I also have to add, the showers are the dream! GHD’s, moisturiser, cleanser you name it.

I also went to More Fit in Bank for a ‘super legs’ session, basically a small group session with a PT. I am really really lazy when it comes to gyming my legs because I really struggle to do tough runs or bikes if I’m waddling like a penguin from a gym session! Plus, id rather be able to run a marathon then look good doing a squat.. but I guess maybe I should be doing both! So at this leg session I didn’t have a choice, it involved a lot of weighted squats, lunges and deadlifts which has been a shock to my pins.. It made my weekend run a bit tougher for sure!

Friday I went west to Bootcamp Pilates Fulham for a session on those crazy looking reformers. For a clumsy person I felt very on edge about this, especially when I stepped off the machine by route of the moving platform and nearly broke my neck! I survived and really enjoyed it, it is such a different type of training to what I’m used to but I felt like its something that would compliment tri training really well to strengthen, avoid injury and aid my flexibility.

Excited to start a new week of different classes!

Em x

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A few Q’s with Annie Foulds – Fitness inspiration!

I first got the pleasure of meeting Annie simply by chance in a bar in London, the first day I moved here. Me and my dad got talking to her, having no idea who she was or how similar her interests and hobbies were to our own! I recognised Annie on another occasion when I was at work, for those of you that don’t know, I am currently on a PR placement year at Harrods. Annie came into the store as a guest instructor to teach a class during the launch of our Happy New You campaign over the New Year. I didn’t get chance to speak to Annie on this occasion, but I went home to learn exactly who she was and what her role was within the fitness industry.

Since then I have found and followed Annie through my fitness and nutrition Instagram, always in awe of her fabulously lean and defined bod, talk about a fitspo! By complete coincidence, I found myself stood next to Annie as we were about to set off for a little race around the city, also known as the London Marathon! I was totally excited to see her, we wished each other luck and that was it.

Annie is a former professional dancer, athlete, fitness competitor, fitness model, athlete, trainer and ultra runner! As you may have guessed I was particularly interested when I came to learn that Annie has taken part in the 100km Del Sahara – a gruelling ultra run that I have written on my own bucket list!

What started your interest in running?

I went to a great school in Suffolk, Northgate High School. It had the most fantastic sports facilities. I found my love for running there at the age of 11 years old. I represented my school and county in the 200 and 100 meters – I definitely preferred the 200 meters. I was also a member of the relay teams.

I didn’t start running marathons until I had my first son ‘Jack’ at the ripe age of 30 years old. I started off running 5k, 10k, half marathons to full marathons – then Ultras.

What made you want to enter the Marathon del Sahara?

I was doing my normal blog on social media and I saw an advert ‘do you think your are tough enough’ by Susan Nowell. She had previously won the event and I was looking for a tough Challenge to raise money for GOSH. (Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital). They saved our son’s life ‘Jack’. He had cancer at the age of 10 years old.

What would be your best peice of training advice for such a grueling event?

Allow enough time to train probably and work with a mentor.

What was the toughest part of the race? There can be a lot of practical issue’s in a race that long and tough, as well as emotional..

The toughest part of the race apart from the physical endurance was no doubt the mental challenges. Your emotions were constantly changing from high to low. The physical aches – I was used to, nothing new there. But, I actually missed the basics of home, hot water, bath and a proper loo. My family were greatly missed. However, I made some great friends and met some amazing people and grew a little more in character! I came back up graded.

What is your favourite type of training currently? you seem to do a bit of everything!

Yes, I do – I am a great believer in cross training. I think the three main elements should include some form of stretching (yoga) conditioning work (TRX, Pilates or weights) and cardiovascular (running, cycling, HiiT, or swimming)

My personal Favorites are running, Body weight conditioning and dance based stretches. I am an certified Insanity instructor which combines HIIT and body weight conditioning – fantastic workout. For some reason, people seem afraid of it in the UK. But, it is very similar to Tabata training, which has been around for over twenty years.

What are your sporting goals for the future? I know you are still running marathons..

Well, I have started my present goal list – I hope to complete the following races New York Marathon (completed 2014)
London Marathon (completed 2015)
Stockholm – 2015
Athens Marathon 2015
Florence Marathon 2015
Bupa 10k – May 2015
Run to the beat 10k – September 2015
Royal Park Half Marathon – 2015

What are your favourite sportswear brands?

I am a very proud Sweatybetty Ambassador (Harrods). I love wearing SWEATBETTY. I adore the zero gravity line – they are so great and look amazing on! Second choice would have to be NIKE, not for shoes, just clothing though. ASICS for running shoes.

What is your favourite go to nutritious meals or snacks?

I live on fish and vegetables – I should look like one, really! I enjoy bananas, nuts and jelly bellies as my snacks. Pre and post marathons – a bowl of chips are definitely my favourite snack!

You are such an inspiring and positive person over social media, what is your favourite quote to keep you going when things gets tough?

Ah – thank you! Wow!
Well, what I say to myself and my clients – is ‘don’t stop until YOU are done’ I am a great believer in the power of your mind – I have been through so many tough challenges – on a personal and professional level. When my mind is set – there’s very little to stop me.

This is why I am currently studying psychology masters. I want to share this amazing gift we all have – our minds and spirit.

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Find Annie on her Instagram: @ANNIEFOULDS

http://www.anniefouldspersonaltrainer.com

Em x

Chocolate orange chickpea brownies

I made these brownies this weekend for post sunday roast dessert to have whilst watching a movie with the family. They turned out to be one of my new favourite recipe’s and they got everyone’s approval, which can be a challenge in my house.. especially if they contain chickpeas.

These literally took 45 minutes from start to finish, I left them baking in the oven whilst I sat and ate my roast! Not only are they absolutely delicious, but so high in protein and fibre, with the added benefits of vitamin C from the oranges. These are a great alternative for anyone who loves brownies but is vegan, gluten free, avoiding refined sugar or anything processed.

To make a batch of 5 large brownies:

1 can chickpeas

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup raw cocoa powder

1 cup dates

Juice of 2 oranges

zest of one orange

4 tbsp honey

Start by peeling and blending 2 oranges into juice (I like to use a nutribullet for this, but any blender would work), then add with all the ingredients including the zest of one orange into a good food processor. Blend the mixture and pour evenly into a baking tray. Bake at 150 degrees for 40 minutes. Once the batch has cooled, cut into brownie shapes and top with some extra zest of an orange.

The brownies have such a lovely gooey texture that I enjoyed them without a topping, though I might experiment next time I make another batch with a healthy chocolate orange sauce!

Make sure to tag me in any pictures if you decide to make a batch!

Em x

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London Marathon 2015

The London Marathon really is such an amazing event that I would recommend anyone to take part in or just go to watch and support! The lead up to it for me was really negative, it has been my first year living in London without my beloved Yorkshire hills to train on, I had a 5 week never ending groin injury and I spent 7 days bed bound, unable to stomach any food or water only two weeks before the race!

I spent last week absolutely dreading the event on sunday, convinced there was no way I would be able to get anywhere near close to my previous marathon time, wondering how I would cope with the embarrassment if I ended up being half an hour slower then before!

On Saturday morning my family arrived in London, true to Young family fashion we were in no rush to go register like anyone else would be the day before a super busy event! Instead we start the day by strolling around Bond Street trying to find the shop that could service my dads watch!

Finally we make it to the Excel centre to register, which is a much smoother process then expected, and actually a really fun few hours that almost got me excited for the run. Adidas had such a huge display of clothes to buy, motivating walls to write on, and a marathon count down board that we posed in front of with our race numbers. (I also bought some shorts, which I ended up racing in). – I wouldn’t normally recommend racing a long distance in kit you’ve never tested before, but it worked out okay for me.

Despite the fact that I am now living in London, I wanted to stay closer to the start and with my family at the Olympic village in Stratford. We spent the afternoon and evening enjoying the shops in Westfield, and also grabbed dinner there at the Jamie Oliver restaurant.

Me and my dad set our alarm’s for 6 and headed to the hotel breakfast which was very accommodating for runners. i fuelled up on bananas and berries in oats (I brought my own coconut milk down to breakfast), and I also had an omelette sandwich and a side of pineapple.

We made our way on the tube to London Bridge, then got the DLR to Maize Hill whilst I continued to fuel up on the healthy delicious banana bread I bought from Roots and Bulbs the day before! Finally we arrived in the wind and rain to the start point, and spent pretty much the whole time stood in the huuuuge toilet queue!

I started the race following the 3:15 pacer – I didn’t expect to get 3:15 but I was aware I had started the last marathon I had done at a pretty fast pace, so thought this was a good compromise. I really enjoyed running with this guy, he was consistent, friendly, encouraging and a really good runner (he had a 2:45 PB). I lost the pacer at around mile 11 due to the mass of people (this really is a slow marathon in terms of the amount of people slowing you down), but now having seen my mile splits it looks like I kept up the same consistent pace, or near enough.

I think it was around mile 12 that we got to Tower Bridge, It was so amazing to spot my boyfriend and mum (even if she was looking for me in the opposite direction) at this point. This is the first time either had watched me do a marathon and it was such a boost to see them!

I continued to feel strong, I think it was around mile 14 that I had to say a few things to myself about pain being temporary, to suck it up,  that I was over half way there, I certainly wasn’t prepared to let myself “hit the wall” at this distance! The next few miles seemed to pass so quickly, I was in a good rhythm and decent pace and the mass of people and spectators were such a welcoming distraction.

Last year at the Gran Canaria marathon I didn’t use any gels, only water and energy drinks that got passed to me. I ran with 2 gels at London, I had a mouthful of one at 10 miles, half of the other at mile 17 (preparation for those last dreaded miles), and another mouthful at around mile 22 when I was still waiting for the big hard metaphoric wall to hit me in the face.

As I crept up to mile 18 I waited for the real pain to begin, where it had last time. The guys I run with at home all reminded me before that the race doesn’t really start until mile 20, which I remembered all too well. I got to mile 20 feeling strong, mile 21 and 22 the same. I hit mile 23 with a big crowd of spectators and Bruno Mars blaring out Up Town funk, I did my best version of Beyonce on the run which got everyone clapping me on.. such a buzz on top of knowing your only a 5k away from finishing!

Even feeling relatively good at mile 23 I didn’t feel safe and began working out how slowly I could plod if I hit the wall, and still make it under 3:30. I had estimated that I could run 10 minute miles at this point and I still might manage a time I would be happy with.

It was such a good feeling as I continued towards the last few miles feeling good, remembering how bad I had felt at this point at the first one I did. I got a final boost when I saw my boyfriend and Mum again in the last mile, then turning the corner to the clock to see that a PB was still achievable if I picked up the pace, which thankfully I had enough energy to do!

I scraped a new marathon time by just one minute (3:20), something I am so chuffed with considering the amount of people and the difficult training leading up to it. My amazing Dad beat me by 7 minutes, meaning we have both got Good For Age again for next year, and also at Boston!

I finished the marathon with a trip to Big Easy for lobster and chips, followed by a frozen yogurt, just what I needed.

Em x

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Nama Review

So this week I have been tapering for a little race at the weekend known as the London Marathon! ah! Tapering has been a fab excuse to try a restaurant I have been wanting to go to for ages, I have to fuel up don’t I??

So me and my amazingly, crazy beautiful Aussie pal who shares my love for all things health and fitness decided to go to Nama in Nottinghill. YOU NEED TO GO TO NAMA. It is sooo good! We had to ponder over the menu and send the waiter away for ‘a few more minutes’ about 5 times, despite having discussed the menu for about a week before!

Finally we made the decision to get Zucchini pasta, I went green pesto and Matilda opted for tomato, and obviously we had to test each others out. Both were absolutely delicious and I would recommend both, I also eyed up everyone else in the restaurants food.. all looking and smelling equally delicious!

You just can’t go to a place like that and not have a dessert, that would just be so wrong. Between the two of us we got the blueberry cheesecake and chocolate ganache. I also wanted a smoothie but the waiter said it would probably all be too much food (he clearly doesn’t know me and my appetite, next time I will get the smoothie too!) Both desserts were incredible and I could have eaten 5 times over.

We both came to the decision that for a cool Nottinghill located, healthy, raw, delicious foodie spot, it was fairly reasonably priced in comparison to most – (if you’re going to charge £7 for a peanut butter smoothie, it better be good!)

So Nama definitely ticked the boxes and we plan to go back, but first we have a big long list of fitness and foodie adventures to review, watch this space!

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Em x

Chocolate and Raspberry slices

If you read my last post and followed my moaning on Instagram, you will have noticed that I have recently been very poorly and unable to stomach any food! Once recovered, the first thing I did this weekend was get to the kitchen to bake some yummy goodness to make up for it!

I fancied something sweet, everyone needs some chocolate on the weekend! I created the most delicious chocolate and raspberry slices, which could also work as yummy muffins.

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut milk

10 tbs  honey/ date syrup

5 tbsp raw cocoa powder

1 egg

1 handful of raspberries

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor, leaving out the raspberries. Once you have the blended mixture, drop in the berries and pour into your cake tin/tray/muffin tray. I baked at around 150 for 30/40 minutes, until the mixture was no longer ‘wet’ in the middle (but lovely and moist).

I had with fresh strawberries and some coconut yogurt! Please tag me in any pictures if you decide to make!

Em x

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Home from Holiday

Hola! I am home from my holidays, and not exactly in the healthy state I expected to be from 9 days of sun, training and fresh fish.. with the occasional coconut ice-cream!

It was sooo nice to have a break from work and spend some time with my family. Me and my Dad went to the gym, made trips to the 50 meter pool, did some amazing runs up into the mountains, and I even did a surfing lesson! – I was absolutely ridiculously rubbish!

By Saturday we were in no position to give up our long run, given that we both have a marathon coming up. We set off before the sun came out, and did 18 miles straight up and straight back down.. climbing over 3000 feet! Safe to say it was a tough session! After we got back and had our mandatory home made green shakes, we headed out with my Mum and Brother to grab a bite to eat.

I am really into sea-food and couldn’t help but get a squid salad, knowing how high in protein it is and thinking it was a great post-run choice. I couldn’t have been more wrong on this occasion! Not only did I get a really bad case of food poisoning, but it lead to Gastroenteritis- inflamed intestines. Not only have I spent the last 6 days in bed, struggling to hold down any foods or liquids, but my stomach also looks about 6 months pregnant!

I am about 10 days away from my marathon and still not quite out of bed or handling food.. I am not sure what this means yet and still going to see how things go! Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!

Em x

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Banana and Blueberry buckwheat muffins!

Happy Easter weekend!

Today was the first day in ages that I haven’t had any plans! I got up and went to the gym, came home and did nothing but experiment in the kitchen! I fancied some muffins and ended up creating these delicious blueberry and banana muffins.

Ingredients:

2 bananas

1 cup blueberries

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup coconut milk

5 dates

5 tbsp honey

1 egg

For the topping:

1/2 banana

1 handful of chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)

I literally threw all of the ingredients into a food processor and poured into a silicone muffin tray, and placed the chopped banana and nuts onto the top and then baked in the oven at around 150degrees for 30/35 minutes!

These came out so delicious, great for breakfast, snack or dessert! Buckwheat is a fab substitute for anyone who is sensitive to wheat or grains, normally I would use GF oats or almond flour but I loved how these came out with buckwheat. Please tag me in any pictures if you get around to baking these, I would love to see.

Enjoy!

Em x

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