25 July 2014

What's The Best Diet?


When I attended FitPro Live, I had just started Whole 30. However, when I chose my sessions for the event, I had no idea I would be doing a Whole 30 so it was interesting to be attending a talk entitled "What's the best diet?" when I technically was on a diet. In my mind, I'm thinking, would the answer be Whole 30? Or will this session make me think I'm mad for even doing a Whole 30? ...There was only one way to find out.

The talk was delivered by Dr John Berardi; a very knowledgeable Canadian. 


My fellow FitPro, Juliana with Dr John Berardi

When clients / friends ask me "what's the best diet?"...I usually share with them what I've been up, what I've recently learned and some basic starter points / principles such as eating breakfast each and every day, staying hydrated and being mindful of what you are snacking on. But these are what's known as 'best practices'...things that generally work but may not suit everyone. I'm not a nutritionist after all!

John made some very valuable and thought provoking points during the 1.5 hours that we all had together. One of the most important for me had to be about the "macronutrient debate". Each and every diet that is put out there, is just another version of how much carbohydrates / protein / fat they believe our diets should consist of. However, research shows that no matter the macronutrient content of a "diet", the results are always the same!

As John pointed out...

"Do you know a vegan who is in great shape?!"

"Do you know someone who follows the Paleo lifestyle who is in great shape?"

"Do you know someone who eats what they want and is in great shape?!"

...I certainly can answer "yes" to all three questions! Can you?!

Therefore, maybe, just maybe, this isn't about macronutrients. And if it isn't about macronutrients, why is there still such a big debate?!

"Put an end to the macronutrient debate".


This is my effort towards the above. I'm putting an end to the macronutrient debate, here on keep it simpElle. I'm becoming a nutritional agnostic who will respect anyones choice of diet. ...Why?!

Because all the "diets" worth their weight in salt, may actually have far more commonalities than they do differences if we throw out the macronutrient debate. ...What makes a diet work?! How do you achieve success on your chosen diet? What do all these diets actually do for you?!

Here are the secrets that you've been wanting to know...

What makes a diet work?!


....Adherence. Consistency. Sticking to it.


What do diet interventions have in common:

- awareness and attention
- focus on food quality
- eliminate nutrient deficiency
- control appetite and food intake
- promote regular exercise


Let me regress a moment here and go back to my current choice of completing a Whole 30. I wrote a blog post entitled 'Why Whole 30?!' where I shared with you my reasons for wanting to complete it. After having read about the program and seen the results that could be achieved I decided I would like to see what it could do for me. Remember though, that I changed my diet quite drastically this year already; since January 2014 I have been (mostly) following the principles of Alkaline eating. I upped my intake of fruit and vegetables and introduced a plethora of new foods into my kitchen repertoire. What I found though, was after a few months, I was still suffering from anaemia symptoms, my skin was still not clear but there had been other positive changes as a result.

Therefore it seemed to me that although some principles of eating alkaline had worked for me, wholly, it was not THE "diet" for me. What I did learn though, was what place this approach had in my life - I learnt which principles worked well for me and which did not. Looking back at the list of commonalties of a successful diet, it had achieved 4 of these. So now, it was time to see what place Whole 30 has in my life, and what principles I can take away from the experience that can be incorporated into my lifestyle on a permanent basis.

"Train how I train, eat what I eat, and you can look just like me!" ...Is that what would pay a Personal Trainer to tell you?! ...that's basically what we get when we see "X (insert celebrity name here)  4 week diet and training plan to get the body you've always wanted" in that weekly magazine or generic blog post. Will following that plan meal for meal, exercise for exercise make us look like "X"?

If you are thinking about changing your diet, there are some considerations you should have in mind:

"Change one thing at a time and commit to this change"


This 'change' should be the biggest limiting factor, the most important change that you need to make there and then. For example, ensuring you drink enough water each day as dehydration can be physically and mentally debilitating. From personal experience, when I am dehydrated I feel tired to the point of exhaustion and often end up sleeping any spare time away. I have slowly learnt to recognise the symptoms and am able to reverse the effects quickly and simply by just drinking more water!

"Change should be measurable"


...at one point this year, I shared with you how I would be working on upping my intake of water. I used a visual cue in my diary by drawing 8 empty cups on each day of the week. Each time I drank a cup of water, I filled in a cup in my diary making it easy for me to track my progress over the day, week and duration of the challenge.

"Changing one thing at a time has a 85% chance of success"


...don't those odds sound positive vs changing three things at a time which has a 10% chance of success.

"Start when you are ready and confident that you can succeed"


I watched Leah complete 4 Whole 30 challenges before I decided I was ready. I had to make smaller changes first before I could commit to an overall bigger change. I then set myself up for success by thoroughly preparing for the 30 days ahead. On a scale of 1 - 10, I am at 10 with confidence that I will complete the Whole 30 successfully.

After hearing everything above about "the best diet", I am even more confident in my decision to attempt a Whole 30. The difference being, that I'm doing this for me, I'm not saying you should try it, I'm not saying I will get the same results that others have reported, nor am I saying it is the best diet out there.

What I am saying though, is, I'm giving it a go to see which of it's principles work for me; I'm using it as an opportunity to learn how my body reacts to different foods and how my body works without the consumption of certain foods; I'm learning to not focus on counting calories and focusing on the five commonalties I shared above of any diet...

...and I'm saying you can be successful too with whichever diet / lifestyle you choose to follow...

Elle :)

24 July 2014

Whole 30 Days 1 - 10

Here I am on Day 11. I'm feeling pretty darned good to be honest.


The last 10 days have mostly revolved around food - when I eat and what I eat. I've also tried to ensure I am getting in all my training - both general and for the London Duathlon which is just 7 weeks away!

A typical day for me has looked like this - 

7am - alarm
7.30am - pre workout snack if I am hitting up an early class
8.30am - 10am - Meal 1
1pm - 2pm - Meal 2
6pm - 8pm - Meal 3
10.30pm - Bed

My main concern before I started my 30 day challenge was the fact that snacking was not a part of the program. I'd pretty much convinced myself over the past couple of years that I needed to eat every 2-3 hours in order to survive any one day.

Over the 10 days, other than a snack pre work out, I've probably snacked about 3 times. On those occasions it seems my prior meal had either just not been big enough, or I wasn't in a situation where I could eat my next meal when I needed it (i.e at work and break scheduled later, not home from teaching yet etc).


My favourite meal so far has to be the Citrus Pork Carnitas from the book, Well Fed. I had this with cajun sweet potato wedges, veg and fruit. I've had no cravings for "junk food" - my only craving has been for pineapple which is a compliant food!

One area that has been affecting how I feel has been my bed time. On average, I have been hitting the pillow between 10.30pm and 11.30pm. The latter makes it soooo much harder to get out of bed the next day. The night that I couldn't keep my eyes open past 9.15pm had me waking up feeling refreshed and invigorated! Over the next 20 days I will be working on ensuring I get to bed at a decent time consistently.


Since I started my Whole 30, white potatoes have become a compliant food. However, not in the form of chips and crisps. I have made a decision to still not include white potatoes in my Whole 30 - they were not something I ate a lot of and when I did, it was in the form of chips every now and again. I'm more than happy with sweet potatoes so that's what I will be sticking to!

So far, I've not had to tackle eating out but I think I will be ready! I have a date with a friend next week so we'll be choosing where we go in advance so I can plan my meal choice and get my script ready for the waitress with the substitutions I will require.

I have spent a day over at my mums place though and she made a great effort to accommodate my requirements. In all fairness to her, it wasn't a huge deviation from what she normally feeds me when I visit! She did recall her visit to the supermarket though where she got strange looks from the lady at the counter when asking about the different hams and what they were cooked in.

The last ten days has made me even more aware of how much sugar is used in food products. Seasonings, meat, fish...all have varieties with added sugar. It's made me a little disappointed in some of my favourite retailers but at the same time has made me value what I put into my body.

I'm certainly looking forward to the next 20 days of Whole 30! I've been lucky so far with no major side effects so I'm thinking it can only get better from here! 

Stay tuned to see how my next 10 days go! 

Elle :) 

22 July 2014

London (& Surrounding) Bloggers

What I've realised is that...

a) there are quite a few of us fabulous bloggers in London and the surrounding areas 

b) bloggers are very inclusive people 

c) we don't all know of each other...yet 

d) now and again we have a question we would like to ask other bloggers 

e) opportunities in the big blogger communities formed in the USA rarely ever allow for us UK peeps to get involved

f) sometimes we have things we would like to share with each other...

So I thought I would create that "sharing space" where we could get to know each other and see where this goes...

My BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) for the community are to host meet ups, celebrate what we do, develop our skills and expertise, create partnerships with each other (and brands, if that is something that interests you) and grow!


Here is how you can connect - 

Join our Facebook Group - {LINK}

If you have any further ideas please do get in touch with me either via the form on my 'Get In Touch' page or drop me an email at elle.linton(at)gmail.com

Elle :) 

21 July 2014

Living the simpElle life: Lucy

As we continue completing the steps towards achieving our individual goals, it's always great to hear about the journeys of others. What struggles have they faced? How have they felt? Where have they surpassed their own expectations?! 

No better way to find out the answers than to ask the questions 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: Lucy Edwards


I met Lucy through the Team Naturally, Run group of ladies on Facebook. The group was created by Leah of Naturally, Leah who recently guest posted here on keep it simpElle with an Introduction to Whole 30. I've seen Lucy do all sorts...running, cycling, swimming...even all three at the same time! But I had no idea of the full extent of Lucy's journey...

...here's Lucy's story...
- {THEN} - 

Elle: What made you decide to start training / running? ...What were your plans / goals?

Lucy: I had never been a very active person, I wasn't interested in exercise at all up until about 6 years ago. I decided I fancied trying belly-dancing as it seemed a gentle way to get fit without working up too much of a sweat (plus I loved the costumes)! I danced with a group for two years and performed in live shows, which I really enjoyed. As I gradually became fitter I moved on from belly dancing to Zumba, then onto gym classes, trampolining and yoga.

I got into running in 2011 after hearing good things about the Couch to 5k programme. I downloaded the app, signed up for a 5k race and a gradually built up my distances and speed. At the time, 3.1 miles seemed a huge distance and I struggled to get past the first few minutes of running, but I stuck with it as I was determined to run a 5k race.

- {HOW} - 

Elle: What's your favourite way to workout?

Lucy: Currently I am obsessed with indoor cycling (aka spinning). I'm lucky enough to be a Project Manager for a state-of-the-art indoor cycling studio which is opening next month, I've been involved in every aspect of the studio from branding, design, marketing, instructor recruitment, sourcing the bikes and planning the soundtrack! I'm passionate about the project and I've been living, sleeping, eating and breathing indoor cycling for the past few months! At Cycle Rhythm, our classes are all about an empowering soundtrack, passionate instructors, a luxury environment and no membership contracts!

Elle: What's your typical weekly schedule?

Lucy: I'm currently training for my next triathlon as well as a half-marathon, so my weekly schedule usually involves 3 runs, 1 swim, 2 cycles or spin classes and a yoga class or strength training session. I do alter and change things around to fit into my plans for the week, and I always try to include a rest day.


Elle: What / who has been your inspiration?

Lucy: I recently met four time world Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington- her story of determination and drive to suceed really inspires me to go after my goals and not to give up. I'm also inspired by members of my triathlon club who have completed endurance events in tough conditions. 

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

Lucy: I noticed big improvements in my fitness when I was working with a Personal Trainer last year, I went from not being able to complete one full press-up to doing about 40 in a row!

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

Lucy: I changed my diet around the time that I first took up belly-dancing. I lost 5 stone over a period of around 18 months, going from a size 18-20 to a size 12. I've maintained my weight-loss for almost 5 years now. Healthy eating and fitness has become part of my lifestyle, I couldn't imagine going back to the way I was before I lost weight and got fit! These days I try to focus on eating foods which will give me energy and sustain me for my active lifestyle.

Lucy - BEFORE

Lucy - AFTER

 - {NOW} - 

Elle: How do you track your progress?

Lucy: I use a TomTom Runner watch to track my running distance/time/pace. I also keep an exercise diary where I make a note of the training I have done over the course of the week.

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

Lucy: Yes, when I initially took up exercise I never dreamed I would be running a half-marathon, taking part in a triathlon or working in fitness one day! I've set new goals as I've progressed in my journey, I love a new challenge and I'm always signing up for events or races. My goal for this year was to take part in 12 races and so far I have completed 7 with several more lined up over the next few months. When I started my journey, my aim was to lose weight, but now I am more focused on challenging myself, feeling strong and improving my speed.


Elle: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Lucy: Signing up for a race keeps me motivated, I will definitely put in the training if I know I have a half-marathon or triathlon coming up. I am generally quite motivated, as I enjoy my training and look forward to each session.

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?!

Lucy: My advice would be to ease into it gently and don't feel pressured to change your lifestyle overnight. Try out lots of different classes and different types of exercise until you find something that is right for you. Exercise has to be enjoyable for it to be sustainable and I believe there is something which will appeal to everyone.

..so what d'ya think?! 

If you'd like to leave Lucy a comment below please do so or you can connect with her here - 

Twitter: @lucylunges
Instagram: lucy_lunges
Cycle Rhythm website: www.cyclerhythm.com

If you would like to share your own story please get in touch with me: {Contact Elle}

Until then, keep living that simpElle life ;) 

Elle :) 

18 July 2014

Introduction To Duathlon

Last weekend, I got to cycle at THE Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park velodrome which was built especially for the London Olympics in 2012. I attended a Women's Only session on Introduction to Duathlon.


It would be the first time I would learn all about how a duathlon works and get a proper chance to try out a BRICK session.

This was the agenda for the morning -

9:30am           Introduction
Bike, helmet and equipment check
Rules of duathlon racing
9:45am          Bike handling skills:
Mounting and dismounting your bike
Cornering technique
Acceleration
Effective changing gears
Developing efficient cycling
10:30am         Efficient run technique
11:00am         Transition set up and brick (run/bike/run) session
11:25am         Review with Q&As

Here are some notes on what I took away from the session:

# No helmet, no ride. Kinda goes without saying, but the amount of people I see cycling on the road without a helmet is surprising. I think they must surely not value their lives!

I currently have a Bern helmet which I love, but its not as breathable or aerodynamic as it could be! I've got my eye on a lululemon x specialized collaboration helmet which is coming out in August so that'll be my treat for completing all my training!


# No drafting allowed! Darn! I had just been told all about how much more efficient and easy your cycling is when sitting behind someone else only to find out I won't be allowed to do it in my event! I also have to take over a a certain distance, in a certain time! If only these rules applied on the road every day especially to four wheeled vehicles! (Oh wait, they do, they just never take any notice!)

# Transition. When you return from your run, you do not touch your bike until you have your helmet on securely.

Transition. There is a line, that MUST be crossed. You do not mount your bike before you cross the line to go for your ride. When you return, you dismount your bike before you cross the line.


# Transition. Having two pairs of shoes takes time. I now understand why I have been advised to get elastic laces for my shoes. I will definitely be looking into this.

# When taking a corner, the weight is on your outside leg which is straight. Sometimes this came naturally, other times it was awkward. I practice this now on my cycle commute.

# Use the easy gears for uphill, and the tougher gears for downhill.

# You can cycle much more efficiently with clip in shoes. It allows you to PULL as well as PUSH in your pedal strike. This uses your glutes and hamstrings which are some of the biggest and strongest muscles in your body!

# Running efficiently after cycling can be tough. We did some drills including high knees, butt kicks as well as isolating each leg to see which was strongest.


# Transition. Consider using a bright towel in your transition area to help you spot your bike / run shoes etc. Keep a snack / gels in your transition area to keep you fuelled for your event.

# Transition. Place your helmet by your front wheel with the clips open so it's easier to put on. Helmet closet to you, and shoes behind.

# Practice running after cycling as much as possible even if it's only for ten minutes. It will help your body get used to the feeling. I'm thinking that I could cycle home from work, drop my bike off, switch into my running shoes and clock up ten minutes of running. This will help me meet my July goal for BRICK sessions too and make the actual event on the day much more enjoyable!

After learning all of this, we had an opportunity to try a short BRICK session - run/bike/run. This was great experience. I realised I was pretty slow in the transition area, but then I wasn't competing with anyone at all.

Any more tips for me?! Products I need to know about?! 

Elle :) 

17 July 2014

NET-A-SPORTER - New Sports Category launched


NET-A-PORTER.COM, the world's premier online luxury fashion retailer, launched a new activewear category earlier this month! 

NET-A-SPORTER now offers customers in over 170 countries a stylish solution comprising high-performing pieces that will span across 36 brands in 11 sporting disciplines: tennis, golf, equestrian, run, gym and cross fit, yoga and dance, swim and surf, sail, outdoor, ski and après sport. 10 new designers will be introduced to the category: Monreal London, L’Etoile Sport, Musto Sailing, Weargrace, Ballet Beautiful, Falke Sport, Live The Process, LAAIN, Bodyism and accessories brands Jawbone and Liforme.







They have some very cute luxe pieces (i've had my eye on the liforme mat since I first set eyes on them over a year ago!).

What d'you think?! 

Elle :) 


15 July 2014

Why Whole 30?!


Just yesterday, I began my first ever Whole 30! This post is the why behind it and my expectations from completing it successfully!

I've watched countless other blogger friends complete Whole 30's over and over, reporting their responses to the 30 days in blog posts that make for interesting reading.

I have an understanding of the power of food - I've seen changes in my body this year alone since eating the alkaline way. Just last year, I completed a juice cleanse for 5 days and felt amazing - my skin was glowing, my energy was endless....and then I went back to eating the same stuff that had been creating havoc with my skin and energy.

Here's what I'm hoping to get out of the next 30 days:

1.. For Clearer skin

2.. To wake up feeling energised with no need to hit the snooze button 

3.. Reduce cravings for junk food and empty calories

4.. Increased energy levels, reduce anaemia symptoms 


5.. To supplement my workouts, make the most of the training I do, value the training I do by respecting my body and what I put into it, fuelling well for training, improved performance 

So whenever my willpower begins to subside, I'll come back to this post and remember why I'm doing this!


I'll also be keeping a diary - I bought a notebook especially for Whole 30 to write down what I eat each day, how I felt, my moods and inspiration! I've also taken all my measurements; not because I want them to change. I just want to know be able to know if they do change!

I'm sure I'll be sharing all my cooking concoctions over on Instagram so join me there if you are interested - ellelinton - but I'll be posting about my Whole 30 here every 10 days so look out for my post on days 1 - 10 next week!


Day 1. Meal 1.

To find out more about Whole 30, check out Leah's Guest Post from a few weeks ago - Whole 30 Introduction with Leah. Also check out the Whole 30 website at http://whole30.com

Soooo...here goes! 
Elle :) 

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