29.5.15

Update Your Top Workout Tracks

Anytime is a good time to update my playlists for working out. At the moment, I mostly use music when I'm teaching and when I get lazy (a lot) I just put my old iPod touch on shuffle so never know what track is gonna drop next! I never know if those in my class enjoy the music; they never complain so I can only assume that no news is good news?!

When I was asked to write a sponsored post about my favourite workout tracks, I initially declined; I'm just not that on top of music and these days don't even run with music / podcasts / external sounds!

So to freshen things up a bit, I did what I do best! I took to Facebook and Twitter to find out what tracks are at the top of your playlists and am sharing my favourite responses with you here!

Tunes to request from your Spin Instructor: 


Rhymes - Hannah Wants & Chris Lorenzo
Kaiva, Wild Honey & Bear

Right Before My Eyes - Little Nikki
Lucy, Lucy Lunges


Hit the gym with these bad boys: 


Higher Ground - TNGHT
Chi-Chi, Life of Chi

Harder Than You Think - Public Enemy
Bethan, A Pretty Place to Play

Faint - Linkin Park
Georgina, Fitcetera

Work B*itch - Britney Spears
Laureen, Peachy Lau


Run with these tunes: 


Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
Zoe, London & Me

Roar - Katy Perry
Leah, Naturally Leah

Turn Down For What - DJ Snake
Sophie, This Blog is Sophie's Blog

Holiday - Green Day
Andrew, via Twitter

...what an amazing list! Listening to them all to put together this post got me all pumped to work out (even though it's 10pm and I'm really tired!).

Add these to your playlists NOW, then find your nearest gym to lift heavy, run fast or spin it out!

What's you top track right now to workout to?! Any of your favourites already made the cut for todays list?! 


Elle :)  

p.s I will be compensated to write this post (you can catch all the details in my May Blog Stat's post coming soon!); the little money I make goes straight back into my blog so thank you for reading! All opinions remain my own! ;) 

28.5.15

Top Tips For A Better Nights Sleep

Over the past few weeks, I made a commitment to myself to ensure I go to bed on time so I could wake up feeling refreshed rather than face a day seeking out doses of caffeine.

It also was important for my training. Resting, and getting enough sleep is as important as going hard when working out.

With the amazing success of #HillarysWeekOfSleep recently held by Hillarys, they have teamed up with Wellness expert Dr Lauren Kita to put together her top 10 sleep tips to help you get a better nights sleep.

When I was contacted about trialling out a sleep kit and sharing said top tips, the answer was most definitely yes. I mean, I surely can't be the only one who is looking to work out how to get that sought after great nights sleep?!

So, if you already had a click of the link and read the tips, you'll fully understand the reasonings behind the contents of my sleep kit:

Lumi Bodyclock
Lavender Oil
Yoga Mat
Notebook


I was most excited about the Lumi Bodyclock - it's been on my Amazon Wishlist for a while (and we all know how serious that is, right?!). It uses a light to gently wake you up from your sleep in the morning. Having never tried it before, I opted to also use the additional alarm sound because I did need to be at work on time! Just in case! I've found that I've been waking up feeling well rested and haven't had to use the snooze button as much. It's also replaced me using my mobile phone as an alarm clock meaning I don't spend my last few minutes before bed staring at the bright screen! Win, win!?

I then changed my bed clothes (fresh sheets, dreamy!) and doused them in lavender oil. Lavender is such a calming fragrance, making my room smell like a spa and helping me to wind down when I jump into my bed.

One of Dr Lauren Kita's tips is to do things that energise you during the day.

"Yoga is another great way to integrate exercise and mindfulness. The more you can be mindful during the day, the easier it will be to switch off at night. Over time, you can literally rewire your brain so that this process becomes second nature – allowing you to drift off effortlessly! "

I haven't given this one a go yet as I've been busy hitting the pool, running and trying my hand at triathlons recently so have been pretty exhausted when it comes to the evening anyway. I am planning on adding 15-30 minutes per day of functional training to my workout schedule just to boost all the cardio I'm doing. Stay tuned to see how that one goes...

Last but not least, I put the notebook to good use. I keep it on my bedside table with a pen so I can jot down whats on my mind before I go to sleep. It usually consists of things to remember to do the following day. I also love to read as opposed to watching tv - the bright light of the screen actually stimulates your brain, going against your efforts to get to sleep once you switch off! Reading a chapter of my book, in a low light helps me to relax and start to wind down my mind.

All in all, my commitment to sleep is paying off. I can make it through the day without desperately needing a caffeine hit and I have the energy I need to train. Such a small change makes such a big impact; makes me wonder what other little tweaks we could all make on a day to day basis!

So, what are your top tips for getting a good nights sleep?!


Elle :) 

26.5.15

Elle Loves... May 2015

After my first 'Elle Loves' post went down so well, I decided to do one for May. Featuring some of my favourite products I have tried this month in all different categories - workout gear, food and gadgets! 


1. Speedo Fit Body Positioning Kickback Swimsuit* 

This costume has been a staple in my swimming wardrobe for the last couple of months. It offers light compression around my core which is supposed to help you keep the right position in the water. It's super comfy and flattering without showing off too much. They come up pretty small though so you may need to size up to get the right fit.

2. MeasuPro Pulse Oxometer* 

I've had this little device (pulse ox) for a few months now which coincided nicely with me doing some hours at the Altitude Centre in London. It measures the oxygen saturation levels (SpO2) in your blood and also gives you your pulse (HR). When you train at altitude, your SpO2 levels decrease and your HR tends to increase.

This pulse ox comes with its own little carry case and a lanyard which is useful if you use it when exercising like I do. It's useful to keep an eye on your SpO2 levels when training at altitude to ensure they don't go to low. Over time, you'll be able to see how you acclimatise to training at altitude and working out at sea level will seem so much easier!

3. Abel & Cole Fruit and Veg Box

Here's a short diary of an Abel & Cole medium fruit and veg box:  

Apples - Carrot, apple & ginger juice
Baby spinach - Spinach 
frittata 
Bananas - Smoothies, w/ almond butter 
Green cabbage - Gave to Mum 
Leeks, Potatoes - Leek and potato soup 
Strawberries - Chia pudding topping
Fennel - to be used (
probably will juice)
White onions - Leek and potato soup, Spinach frittata

Everything is organic and fresh. I love that you can see what's coming in your box via the website where you can also substitute things that you may not want / need that particular week. Delivery takes place on a specified day and if you are not in, they leave it somewhere for you (outside my private front door for me).

I haven't fully gotten through my second box, so I've postponed my third box for another week. At £18.75 plus delivery (£1.25) I don't really want anything to go to waste. There was also the option to get a smaller box or just fruit / just veg but I'm keen to increase my fruit and veg intake so the more the merrier!

Abel & Cole also sell meat boxes and quite a few other alternatives which I am keen to try out in addition to regular groceries!

4. ProteinWorks Diet Protein Truffles *

What a treat for when I finished my whole30 and great for my post triathlon munchies! I tried out the Mint Chocolate flavour which has to be a favourite combination of mine anyway! They come individually wrapped so you can pop a couple in your handbag / training bag to snack on when you'r ready. Idid make the mistake (only once, never again) of putting one in my cycle jersey during my triathlon and the combination of body heat and good weather meant it looked less than appetising when I went to eat it!

Each individual truffle (30g) is just 96kcal with 10.2g of protein. Such a simple and healthy indulgent way to boost your protein intake during a day! {check them out here}

5. TomTom Multisport Cardio GPS Watch* 

I've been wearing this watch on my wrist almost religiously for about 8 weeks now. The main reason being that it can track all the activities I currently take part in - swimming, running and cycling. Swimming was the side of the watch I was most keen to get to know - as a new swimmer I find it hard to keep track of my laps so I wanted to be able to do so with the watch. I haven't found it too be 100% accurate for swimming; I'd say it misses off a good 30% of the laps I do. This may be down to switching stroke and / or not pushing off hard enough from the wall.

Tracking runs is pretty straightforward. It uses GPS so once you update the maps regularly it doesn't take too long to lock into the satellites. I love that it also measures heart rate when running (and cycling, but not swimming unless you choose the freestyle mode but you need to be outdoors!). Recently, TomTom integrated with Nike+ so you can upload your runs to the Nike+ website. This was a huge win for me as I have the last 8 years of running and fitness data on my Nike+ account so would rather keep it going than switch over to a completely new system.

I used the watch in my triathlon the other day on freestyle mode. It was great to be able to see how I was performing in cycling as I've never had a bike computer since taking up cycling again in my adulthood. I also have a record of all my splits for the different events so will be able to compare when I do my next triathlon. This only worked though because the swim was open water so GPS was available.

There is so much I could tell you about this watch, it probably warrants its own post so I will potentially look to do that in the near future.

What products have been loving over the past month?! What products are on your wishlist to try?! 


Elle :) 


p.s products with a *, I received complimentary either for review or just by chance (yes, this happens!) but as always all opinions are my very own! 

25.5.15

#Whole30 with The Whole30 Book

Hooray! I have officially finished my fourth round of Whole30! Unfortunately I woke up on Day 31 a little under the weather so didn't feel much like celebrating. I did however treat myself with 3 Lindt truffles and one diet protein truffle from Protein Works. 

For this Whole30, I decided to freshen things up a bit; it's easy to get stuck in a rut cooking the same old recipes over and over again. So I updated my cookbook library and decided to take inspiration from each book on a weekly basis. 

For the first part I used Hemsley & Hemsley; The Art of Eating Well

For the middle 10 days or so I took inspiration from Deliciously Ella


The third and final book was the new release from Whole30 called The Whole 30: The official 30-day guide to total health and food freedom

The last few times I did my Whole30 I have to admit I wasn't fully in the picture. I knew I wanted to do it, so I just did. I scanned through the book, It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways and dove straight in the deep end (quite unlike me!). 


Recipes I tried included, sausage patties with sweet potato mash and caramelised onion, beef brisket, romesco garlic prawns with courgette noodles (pictured below), steak with garlic shallot relish (pictured below), greek salad (pictured above), spinach and tomato frittata and coconut curry chicken. 



What have I taken from the last 10 days? 
These ten days were probably my favourite due to not having to work out which recipes were compliant and which weren't. All of the recipes were easy to make, I even got to whip out my slow cooker for the beef brisket.

One part of the book I love is the section on sauces - it can be a big deal when you do whole30 and can't add ketchup / BBQ / sweet chilli sauce to your meals for a little added flavour! I love making my own mayonnaise and using it to make quick meals like jacket potato with tuna mayo.

What have I taken from the whole experience? 
Since completing whole30, I'd say I have been about 50% non compliant; a few days after finishing, and then being unwell, I took part in my first ever triathlon and used my tried and tested methods of fuelling myself. After my event, and some more swimming, and running I just feel like I can't calm my hunger. I'm happy to have a relaxed week or two and then get back to 80:20. I think part of the issue has been that I haven't been using a structure or a book so I guess I'll have to choose another book and get meal planning to get me back on track. 

Each time I complete whole30 I think I learn a little more about myself, my body and the way I eat. This time, I focused heavily on post workout nutrition and worked hard to add more vegetables to my meals. I also tried to mix breakfast up a bit and not rely so heavily on bacon and eggs - my new breakfast crush was chia pudding!

Doing whole30 always refreshes my awareness of what is in the food I eat, what I don't need and how I can make healthier choices for long term results. I've even started making my own almond milk this time round and started buying more organic ingredients (within my budget). It's not cheap, but we only get one body. 

Are you considering a whole30? What is holding you back? 

What's your favourite whole30 recipe?! 

Check out my whole30 Pinterest board for inspiration! Beware though, I'm not afraid of a little SWYPO (google it!).

Elle :) 

22.5.15

Garmin Eton Supersprint 17.5.15 #MyMoments

It's the day after I've officially become a triathlete and I don't quite think it has sunk in yet. It's crazy (good) how much went into preparing for this day, all in the lead up to Windsor Triathlon in June.

Forty eight hours before I was due to be on the start line, I woke up feeling very, very unwell. I had an uncomfortable stomach, a headache, felt tired lethargic which totalled to not feeling capable of going to work never mind taking part in a three disciplined event. I spent the next 2 days resting, hydrating and feeding my body with nourishing foods.

It meant I woke up on Sunday 17th May able to make my way across London and take part in my first ever triathlon.

Swim 400m | Bike 21.2km | Run 5km 

Transition

Image Credit: Human Race FB

Setting up for the race start went quickly. We entered transition with just under an hour to go and before I knew it, we were in the water ready to go!

I used the time to set up my transition area with all the kit I would need. So my bike kit and running shoes, plus towel and snacks to keep me going. I also finished getting dressed for the swim and squeezed into my wetsuit. Wetsuits were optional but there was no way I was going to be swimming without mine!

Swim | 400m | 27:02 

Five minutes before the start, we had our briefing. This is where I started to struggle; we entered the water for the briefing and had to tread water to stay afloat and listen. For me, not being well and nervous, treading water was a huge waste of energy. So by the time our start was signalled, I was completely stressed out! I made a go for it, then had to turn back and just gather myself and my thoughts together. I had a quick chat to the race marshals who got one of the guys in the kayaks to stay with me for my swim. This made me feel much more comfortable knowing someone would be keeping an eye on me!

Image Credit: Human Race FB

I tried to get in a rhythm swimming breaststroke but I was so nervous it was insane. I reverted back to breaststroke with my head out of the water which had its own difficulties; the first part of the course was against the current so meant I had waves splashing into my face. I swallowed some water a couple times which made me cough and splutter but when I needed to I was able to hang on to the kayak to catch my breath and regain composure. I eventually made it to the first buoy for a right turn which meant I was swimming across the current. Somehow this was only the finest bit easier with the waves splashing one side of my face! I gave front crawl a go and it felt quite comfortable, I just wasn't relaxed enough to keep it going!

At the next buoy it was another right turn and heading for the finish line. By now I was relieved to be swimming / taken along by the current! I gave front crawl another go and managed to make it to the shallow part of the lake just before I got joined by the wave behind me! The kayak crew were amazing; they obviously knew the lake really well and instructed me where the lake was shallow and would get deep then guided me over to the ramp at the finish line.

I was a little overwhelmed finishing the swim and exited the water into transition with a banging headache.

T1 | 4:08 

My bike was positioned right next to the "swim out" area so took me little to no time to find it. I got a little stuck getting my wetsuit off over my tomtom watch on my wrist and the timing chip on my ankle but eventually it was on the floor and I was dressed to ride in my tri suit, socks, cleated shoes, sunglasses and cycle jersey. I removed my bike from the stand and made a run / walk for the "bike out". Next up was 4 (approx) 5km laps of the bike course...

Bike | 21.1km | 1:01:17

I used the start of the bike section to get hydrated, refocus, get my legs into the swing of things and get some energy down me; I took along shotbloks to use as they taste great, are easy to digest and I have used them before. The first half of the bike lap was a little uphill and into the wind which made it quite uncomfortable. The second half however was flat and less windy so I just relaxed each time at the start of the lap and pushed to fishing each lap. I kept an eye on my pace on the watch to see if I could keep it consistent.

Image Credit: SportCam 

T2 | 1:35 

I came through the "bike in" found my spot and switched into my trainers after racking my bike and removing my helmet. The "run out" was also next to my racking spot so I just glugged down a little extra water and made a run for it.

Use code KISDISCOUNT to get £5 off your Human Race Triathlon!

Run | 5km | 32:44

The 5km run was an out and back twice. It was the place where you were closest to other competitors and the support between participants was amazing. By this point I was running with all the guys in the waves behind me but that didn't put me off at all!

Image Credit: SportCam
Coming into the finish line was a guy next to me who said "lets sprint finish" ...I thought why not! Then he said "race me! ...beat me to the finish!" ...so I mustered up the last bit of energy I had and gave it my all....


It was at this point that I started to look for my medal ...only to then realise that our "medal" was a t-shirt which we received before we even started the event. I was a little disappointed, and still am (I'd planned on sharing an amazing photo of my new bling live on FB when I got it!) but at the end of the day it doesn't take away from the fact that I AM A TRIATHLETE. I also have a orange swim cap to remember my wave and the awesome memories of the morning!


Check out the Race Report from Human Race {here} - I even got a little mention ;)

A huge Thank You to the volunteers on the day, especially the guys in the kayaks who supported me through my whole swim, the guy on the bike course who counted all my laps and gave me words of encouragement every time I cycled past him, all the competitors who spoke to me and kept me going through the run, to the guy who challenged me to sprint and race him across the finish line.

I love that before this day, I had no idea what time I could do this in and now I have a time to work on and I know where I can improve in the future. By no means am I done with triathlon. Four weeks left till Windsor and I plan on being there and working for that medal...

What was your first experience of triathlon like?! 


Elle :) 


p.s a huge Thank You to Human Race for the place in this event and support along my journey to Windsor. Thank You also to SportCam for the photographs. As always, all opinions are my own :) 
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