17 April 2014

5 Sports Bra Commandments

Teaching women regularly has brought a few things to my attention - number one being - the amount of women who exercise in a bra which does not have enough / the right support for them!

Luckily,  I blog, and can share my thoughts with you right here! And guys, you have wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters etc so no need to switch off!

Why Are Sports Bras Important? 

Sports bras are important because they minimise movement of the breasts during vigorous activities. It has been estimated that during high-energy, high-impact sports women’s breasts can move up to ten or more centimetres which means that anatomically there is not much natural support. Sports bras can provide this support as well as allow sweat to be wicked away and reduce chaffing of sensitive skin or nipples. For women who consistently run or jump these factors can go a long way towards avoiding or alleviate breast pain as well as fighting a sagging of the breasts. (www.breastadvice.co.uk)

I decided to gather some thoughts via social media to see what the consensus was! I asked:

Which helped me to create the 5 Sports Bra Commandments: 

1.  Wear a Sports Bra. 

Seems obvious but so many women don't even seem to think this is necessary. Not only does it save us all from certain sights, but it also will save your bosoms from sagging and unnecessary pain.

2. Get measured. 

For the longest time, I just wore the Small in Nike sports bras. Then I got measured and it turned out I should be wearing an XS for my back! Who knew?!

3. Choose a bra suited to your activity oh, and bust size. 

Running, aerobics and other activities which are high impact will need a high support bra. Yoga, pilates, ballet barre and other low impact activities will allow you to get away with the more fashion conscious bras which have little to do with support!

4. A sports bra should be...

Comfortable. Supportive. Allow you to breath and feel unrestricted. Fit. Non chafing. Sweat wicking. Keep you cool and dry. Looks good. Functional.

Never buy a sports bra before trying it on as that is the ultimate way to know if it is right for you!

5. Your sports bra won't live forever. 

Like us, your running shoes and other pieces of kit - nothing lasts forever. When you notice that it doesn't quite feel the same, the elastic starts to fray, it's stretched out...then it probably time to invest in a new ta ta tamer!

Anymore commandments to add to the list?!

Are sports bras the bane of your life?! or have you found THE perfect one! 

Let us know what does / doesn't work for you and why in the comments below! 

Elle :) x

15 April 2014

Living the simpElle life: Rishin

Spring has sprung, and now is THE time to set goals which we can truly commit to and achieve. Then, what better time to share some inspiration in the form of this mini series - Living the simpElle life - where I talk to someone who has inspired me with their story.

I heard a great phrase last year -

"The Universe is made up of stories, not of atoms"

 - so that is what I want to share with you, stories, to open up the Universe to us all!

Each individual we meet embodies what this blog is about. They have dug deep to find motivation, they have sought inspiration and in doing so become inspirational to others. They have been empowered with knowledge to change and that is what their story will do for the rest of us...

Meet: Rishin Paonaskar

I met Rishin at the lululemon Covent Garden showroom as a regular attendee at the community yoga sessions. Over time, and chats, I found out Rishin was actually a qualified yoga teacher himself. I then found myself tasked with finding teachers for the community classes and thought "what better way to give back to Rishin, than putting him at the forefront of our community?!". Rishin's class was a hit with everyone and the feedback I received from attendees was very positive! The extra touch was that Rishin brought along some of his raw food bars to class which were so good that none were left by the time I arrived...

- {THEN} - 

Elle: What made you decide to start yoga? ...What was your plan / goals?

Rishin: My first memory of doing yoga was as a five year old at school in India but I have to admit, I didn't enjoy it at the time! The style of yoga was a bit too slow for a bunch of young kids who just wanted to run around and play cricket or kick a ball about! As recently as four years ago I would never have considered doing yoga again. However, I tore muscles in both my shoulders when I fell off my bike cycling downhill in the Lake District and my physiotherapist strongly recommended yoga as a method of recuperation. I tried a "Yoga for shoulders" video on youtube which I quite liked and then signed up for the intro offer at Hot Power Yoga in Clapham and found myself hooked. At the time I worked for an investment bank in the City and would never have considered training as a yoga teacher but when I quit my job a couple of years later to start my own food business, I decided since I was spending so much time practicing yoga, I may as well learn to teach it so I signed up for the teacher training! 

- {HOW} - 

Elle: What's your favourite style of yoga? favourite yoga pose?

Rishin: I've tried loads of different styles of yoga since I took it up 3 years ago but my preferred styles are the more dynamic or powerful styles of yoga such as Vinyasa flow, Power Yoga, Broga and Rocket which get me into my breath and get me working up a sweat but which are also different each time I come to the mat. Having said that, I have now developed a healthy appreciation for slower styles of yoga and I enjoy yin yoga and restorative yoga just as much.

I don't have a favourite yoga pose as I find when my practice evolves so does the pose that I like the most. When I started yoga it was wheel, then it was crow and now it is handstand. It tends to be the pose that I find the most challenging at the time and am working towards getting better at!

Elle: What's your typical weekly schedule?

Rishin: I exercise around my teaching/cover schedule and my food business, both of which have fairly irregular hours! I try to fit in at least one yoga session a day. If I cant make it to a studio, I'll do a home practice. Sometimes, when checking out new studios and "abusing" their intro offers, I'll squeeze in as many as four classes a day as its a good way to try out different teachers.

I am training for the London Triathlon in Hyde Park this summer so try to run, swim or ride my bike 4-5 times a week depending on my schedule. I'm doing the Tough Mudder event in October which is a half marathon distance obstacle course so when I finish the triathlon, I'll probably switch things up a bit and switch my focus to include more running. 

Elle: What / who has been your inspiration?

Rishin: There are so many inspirational people out there that it is hard to pick just one or two or even three!

Having left a relatively stable career in banking to start my own business, I draw inspiration from people who have taken risks and stepped into the unknown to do something they are genuinely passionate about rather than following the conventional path that society expects them to. The commencement speech that Steve Jobs made at Yale in 2004 is particularly inspiring (www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

The poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling has always inspired me as each line from that poem can be applied to so many different situations. 

Elle: What was the first big difference in you, that made you feel proud and excited?

Rishin: With any kind of physical activity, I guess each time you hit a goal, there is the next milestone to keep you on your toes! With running, I was really pleased the first time I did 10k in less than 60 minutes but I immediately set my target on running it in 50 minutes and was just as pleased when I managed to hit that goal! I feel a sense of pride and excitement each time I hit a PB as it is an indication that the hard work is paying off. 

Similarly with yoga, I was delighted when I first managed to come into crow but immediately began to set my sights on variations of the pose such as jumping back to high plank and moving from crow to headstand! Thats what I love about yoga. My practice is always evolving.

Elle: Did you make any changes to your diet once you started training?

Rishin: Yes and No! I am known amongst my friends for my gluttonous ways and although I am a lot more conscious now about what I eat, I do indulge from time to time. I find with triathlon training that its not just the calorie content that is important for fuelling me but also the quality of what I eat so I do eat healthily most of the time. 

Before I do any endurance training I will eat a meal that provides me with slow release energy and I also carry energy bars (which I also sell!) on long rides as they are a compact and filling energy source. After a training session, I will eat something high in protein along with a carbohydrate source.

- {NOW} - 

Elle: How do you track your progress?

Rishin: I use a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch for my runs and bike rides which is one of the best training tools out there. I can upload details of my rides and runs to a website which compares speed, average pace, heart rate amongst a number of other criteria to previous sessions. It is great as I can track progress and identify personal bests as and when I achieve them. You can also see how you compare against other cyclists and runners on the same route so its quite a fun toy if you are competitive. This might seem at odds with the non competitive nature of yoga!

Elle: Have your goals changed since you started your journey?

Rishin: Massively! My initial goal when I started to run was to lose weight. I remember the first time I went for a run in Clapham around 2007. I did one lap of Clapham Common which was about 3km and it took me almost 30 minutes. I was in pain for over a week because of that run. At the time, I couldnt even imagine running 10km but in 2012 I did an Olympic Distance Triathlon in Stockholm (1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run) and I remember thinking after the bike ride "thank god I only have another 10km to run"

I was hoping to do a half iron man triathlon in 2013 but unfortunately tore my calf 2 weeks before and only started to run again a couple of months ago. I'm hoping to do a couple of olympic distance triathlons this summer and improve on the time I set in Stockholm and next year work towards doing that half ironman.

Elle: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Rishin: I was recently going through a list of poses on a chart and identified more than 50 poses which I wasn't able to do when I first started doing yoga but can now do quite comfortably. There are probably still hundreds of poses which I cannot do at the moment but seeing how far I have come always gives me the motivation to keep plugging away. Similarly with running and cycling seeing how much I have improved only reminds me how much further there is to go. I think its important to enjoy and celebrate success but not use that as an excuse to stagnate.

Elle: If you could go back and give advice to the "before" you...or any other person contemplating changing their lifestyle...what would you say?!

Rishin: I swam regularly when I was in my teens but I spent most of my twenties doing very little if any exercise. With hindsight I wish I had spent that period of my life being more active. Having said that, hindsight is a wonderful thing and I imagine my "before" me would scoff at any advice I gave him. I think most people know what they need to do to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Very often people say they haven't got the time or the money to be healthy but thats just a convenient excuse. You can always find some time to do a bit of exercise. For instance, cycling to work is cheaper and quicker than getting the bus or tube and you also arrive at work more energised. I worked with someone who was a senior executive at a bank and working 12 hour days who still found the time to train to climb Mount Everest proving that as long as you really want to do something, you will be able to find the time to make it happen! 

...so what d'ya think?! 

If you'd like to leave Rishin a comment below please do so or you can connect with him here:

Facebook: facebook.com/rishinyoga
Website: www.yogasites.com/rishinyoga 

...and if you would like to share your story please get in touch with me here: {Contact Elle}

Until then, keep living that simpElle life ;) 

Elle :) 

14 April 2014

From the Sidelines of the London Marathon 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014.

I didn't run the London Marathon but I did rock up to the sidelines to cheer on those who commited to the 26.2 miles of running.

My initial plan was to join the lululemon london cheer squad at mile 11 but I forgot I had to teach so by the time I could make it into town I would need to be further down the route in order to see everyone!

lululemon london cheer squad

After teaching at Clapham Common, Laura, Alicia and myself jumped on the London Underground and met some other friends just before Mile 22 outside of Monument Station!

spot number 1

kiera and her fab sign to make the runners smile!

moving on...

The sun was out in force - perfect for us supporters - maybe not so great for the 36,000 runners who didn't have this weather to train in and might not have been prepared. We arrived in time to see the runners around the 3hr 15 min pace which in my opinion is pretty speedy! They were looking strong heading into the final 4 miles of the race.

The crowd was too thick to be able to get a great view at that point so we decided to grab a drink and walk up the route towards the finish line.

Our next spot was on a bridge where we had a birds eye view of the runners. We managed to spot someone we knew at this point but were too far away for him to hear us cheering for him. So we decided to move further on.

guiness to keep my energy levels up :) 

We found a little area of grass to eat some food and I had a quick look on Facebook. I saw a friend posted a picture of another friend running at an earlier point than where we were then so decided to resume viewing! After a short while, people dressed as a phone box, rhino, super mario, pink lady apple, male bride and the man in a blue thong (just to mention a few!) we spotted another friend! At this point, runners were heading towards a 4hr 45min and later finish with many struggling with injuries and fatigue. We cheered for anyone who had their name printed on their running outfits to help give that extra bit of encouragement...

band on route

It all got too emotional when we cheered on a great granddad who was walking at that point. He looked up to wave and smile at us then as he went to carry on, he stumbled a little, but was helped by a passing runner and was soon on his way again. I can't lie, at that point, I started to cry! Just watching all these individuals who I'm sure have their own special stories was a real inspiration. Watching those battle on despite their pain was even more so...

By the time I saw someone else I knew, I was gone again! More crying and laughing all at the same time!

Although I wasn't quite moved to the point that I am going to sign up for a marathon right this minute, it nspired me to continue my running efforts and journey in 2014! It did however make me want to volunteer at the London Marathon next year for sure...

What inspires you to keep going?! 

Ever volunteered at a run event?! 

Elle :) x

11 April 2014

Elle About Town, March & April 2014

March was pretty much a blur of work, work and more work! It was difficult to fit training around it all never mind do anything exciting! ...I've tried hard to restore some balance come April and am focusing on events I have on the horizon...

Here's a little bit of what's gone down the last couple of months worth reading about!

Classes: Capoeira at Victors Lab 

I popped along to this new studio in Peckham, South London to see what it was all about! The owners are also designers who are currently working on a sportswear range! The prototypes looked pretty damned good so I am looking forward to seeing the final product!

The studio offers a basic timetable at the moment including yoga and capoeira. I popped along to their capoeira class one evening, and got the workout of my life! I love hoe capoeira works every part of your body as much as the other - making you strong, flexible and fearless!

I'm sure there will be lots of exciting things to come out of Victors Lab in the future so keep an eye out here!

Events: The Movement 

Taking place at the Royal Opera House in London, lululemon took over the joint and hosted 400+ yogis in a yoga class with the Philharmonic Orchestra playing live! The Jivamukti class was led by one of the lululemon ambassadors, Emma Henry in a most spectacular setting! In all the years I've lived in London, I have never been to the Royal Opera House! Post class, we were treated to prosecco, raw chocolate and a DJ spinning all the tunes into the evening! ...Once in a lifetime! That is all!

Events: lululemon london Grand Opening Party 

lululemon did it again and wowed London with their Grand Opening Party. This event was pure celebration after lululemon opened the doors to their first European store in London's Covent Garden. they marked the occasion by bringing their manifesto to life! Breathe deep and appreciate the moment?! Yup, that'd be the gin that I inhaled! LOVE...in big bright lights! They created their manifesto and we all got to live it for the evening...

Coming Up....

livability 5km Rabbit Run, Clapham Common 
First event (and medal!) for 2014 will be from this 5km fun run! I'll also be presenting the warm up for all the runners that morning so I am very excited! Check out the {event details here}

Geneva Marathon Weekend 
In just a few weeks, I will be jetting off to Geneva to take part in a marathon relay! Right now, all I can think about is my running outfit! Will be treating myself to something new I think! Am also looking forward to discovering a new city in a new country! Getting to run there is a bonus!

We Own The Night, London 
Last year, I missed this event so I'm ensuring I get fully involved in the 2014 version! Plenty of inspiration was in Nike Town London for a race night outfit...

...and a race pack to get me excited! If you are running WOTN in London, don't forget to go pick up your race pack before the event! 

What's do you like to treat yourself to when you have exciting events coming up?! 

Got anything interesting coming up in the next month you would like to share?! 

Elle :) x

10 April 2014

Some Hench Nutrition...

Since the start of the year I've made a conscious effort to get further on track with my nutrition. I've never eaten badly, but I took to buying not so great snacks when out and about as training ramped up and my appetite rocketed!

The guys from Hench Nutrition contacted me regarding their protein shakes and as ever, I was skeptical. Not about them, but my first reaction to protein shakes is "I'm lactose intolerant"...which counts out about 90% of products! They were kind enough to highlight the non whey options and also the whey options that could work for me! So I gave it a go! After all, I still eat chocolate and other products containing dairy which hasn't yet killed me! 

The first thing I popped open was their Vanilla & Honey Protein Porridge. Never have I had such a thick and creamy porridge! The serving size was amazing - it was REAL and kept me going till my mid morning snack (or beyond when needs be!)! I used soya milk and didn't add any sweetener as I found it sweet enough. 

My mid morning snack then became their Vanilla Crunch Protein Flapjack. It comes pre mixed with simple instructions! Two scoops, a little milk, a little honey, a little butter and voila! I also added cocoa nibs as I had them and didn't know what I could do with them! I found that the cocoa nibs tasted a lot sweeter after being roasted on the top of the flapjack! It takes about 3 minutes to mix it up, and then 15 minutes in the oven so I easily made them while preparing breakfast / packing my lunch for the day! 

Right here should be the obligatory bloggers finished product photo right?! Well, what happened is, I forgot to set the timer and left them in ten minutes too long! Luckily they were still edible but I wanna show my best side here, eh! lol 

What else was left to try?! The Hench Nutrition Soya Protein shake and their Protein Pancake Mix. 

I'll keep you posted on the protein shake as I haven't yet got round to that. The pancake mix was interesting though - it was easy to make - I made it into one (not so big) pancake. I wasn't too fond of the taste though - I could taste a lot of egg coming through. So I lathered it in banana and honey, which didn't do much for me - doesn't help that I'm not a huge fan of bananas anyway! I gave up in the end...I may give it another go when my tastebuds are less sensitive / I'm really really hungry cos you know how good everything tastes when you are properly hungry! 

If you're interested to know more about how much protein should be included in your diet then check out my post on {MYPROTEIN Prescription}

Check out the Hench Nutrition website to find out more about their products and all the nutritional information! They even have Protein Pizza and Hot Chocolate! 

The world is your protein powered oyster! 

Elle :) x 

8 April 2014

Run Strong: We Own The Night, London

This time one year ago, I had just left London. Not long before, Nike had announced their new 10km women's only running experience - We Own The Night (WOTN) - which I wouldn't be in town for.

After the success of last years event, WOTN is returning to London on Saturday 10th May and I will be running! 

WOTN is set to be a night run and although many were disappointed last year as there was no race medal, this year there will be a race necklace and tote bagged filled with lots of amazing goodies! Hopefully there will be at least a glass of Prosecco waiting for me at the finish line too! 

There's not a thing Nike haven't thought of; we know they have the gear, but they also have training plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced, running groups specifically for WOTN training, studio classes to complement your run training and all the apps / accessories you could need such as Nike+ running app, Nike Training Club app and the Nike Fuelband SE. 

Are you ready to own the night?! 

Let me know if you have signed up or are planning to so we can run and party together! 

Elle :) 

Nike We Own The Night 10km Night Run | London 10th May 2014 | £28 entry | Details {here}

7 April 2014

Powerplates with Elle - Part 2

I'm back with Part 2 of 'Powerplates with Elle' - a second video created exclusively for 'keep it simpElle'.

After writing the 'Power Plate EssentElle's' post, I realised how little this machine was used! There is usually one tucked away in the corner of your gym which is always free as no one really knows what to do with it!

I utilised one of my weekly 25 minute session plans and broke it down into a series of 3 short workouts which can be added together (at the end of the series) to make a full 25 minute session!

Check out Part 1 {here}.

For now, you can repeat each section individually 3 times to make a 15 minute workout which can be done alone or added onto your regular gym workout! You can now also complete Part 1 & 2 for 10 or 15 mins each.

What you will need:

1 pair of dumbbells (I'm using just 2kg in this video)

Here is the workout - you can pin this for later too!

Check out these posts for tips on technique: 

Slow mountain climbers: Progress Your Plank

Single leg lateral raise / frontal raise: Stand on one leg with dumbbells by your side and the raised leg at 90 degrees. Lifting your arms up straight up until shoulder level, palms facing down, lower and repeat. For frontal raises, arms start in front of thighs and lift up straight in front of the body until shoulder level. lower dumbbells and repeat.

Perfect Form: Push Up

Agility shuffle: Stand with feet close together and a slight bend at the knees. Start by going to the right - pick up the right foot and step, step left, step right and then the left knee drives up towards the chest before repeating to the left. Left, right, left.

Calf raises: Stand with feet close together and raise both heels as high as possible. Lower heels and then repeat.

Tips to make your power plate session more enjoyable: 

1. Always keep a micro bend in your knees; this helps to reduce the vibrations that make it up to your head and give you a funny feeling 
2. Place your tongue to the roof of your mouth to help with head vibrations too! 
3. Here is a short {video} showing you how to set up your Powerplate so it vibrates continually for 9 minutes

Last but not least, here is the video...

Give it a go and let me know what you think! Leave your thoughts and comments below or share them with me via Facebook / Twitter! It's because of your comments that I created this workout video...

Elle :) x

P.S Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP. 


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