The Benefits of Compression Wear with #SKINSorNOTHING

When it comes to compression wear, I've dabbled. When I used to frequent long distance flights I invested in a pair of flight socks. Then I started running longer distances so invested in a pair of compression socks after I got a set of calf sleeves in a goody bag somewhere and felt that they worked really well for recovery.

Although I worked with a sportswear brand for a while, we didn't really use the word compression as to be classified as such it needed to meet specific standards. But I watched as compression gear became more and more popular even if people didn't fully understand the benefits and thought it was just a great way to make your butt look fabulous.

Leggings || SKINS Womens DNAmic Compression Tights (Junkyard Geo), £70

Compression Wear Is Not Just For Professional Athletes
So when SKINS contacted me about their range, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take my use of compression gear to another level and I picked out a pair of leggings (I'm not a fan of crops) and a matching bra. The pieces I picked out are from their new DNAmic range; an exciting collection in which they collaborated with a Sydney based street artist – James Jirat Patradoon. What really caught my eye though were the bright and bold prints which are perfect for us everyday athletes!

Why Size Matters
I spent a fair bit of time on the website figuring out the sizing as they use a unique sizing system which is based on a Body Mass Index (BMI) / anthropometrical algorithm. Since I've had the outfit (I got the leggings before the bra as I actually needed to go down a size in the bra) I've worn the leggings everywhere and for everything; spin, HIIT, running. The sizing is pretty important as you only get the full benefits of the gradient compression if your SKINS fit you properly!

The basic premise behind compression wear is that by applying pressure to particular areas of the body you provide more force to help propel blood back to your heart which increases blood flow without having to use up more energy. Dynamic Gradient Compression increases oxygen delivery to active muscles while in motion and reduces lactic-acid build-up for more power and less recovery time.

Improved Recovery And Beating The Heat
All the garments uniquely wrap and support your key muscle groups to reduce movement and focus direction for less vibration in your muscles, less soft tissue damage and therefore less soreness after you workout! ...and we all want less DOMS right?! Then you can train again sooner and get results faster! ...And having kinda had a summer in the UK it was great to know that the leggings (and all products) have built in UV protection of 50+ as well as moisture wicking properties drawing sweat away from the body quickly.

Top || SKINS DNAmic Womens Compression Vest Crop Top (Junkyard Geo), £35 

Yup, I picked the matching crop top to the tights. And yup, I have worn them both together on occasion. Usually I throw on a baggy top over the top to help break up the pattern at least until I get in the gym / studio. The bra has plenty of mesh which makes it even more breathable and the high neck means is pretty "on trend" and a style that I think suits my shape best. I've mostly worn this bra for spinning classes and teaching as it's perfect for low - medium impact workouts. I suggest you use the size calculator on the SKINS website to help you choose your size and save any faffing with returns and exchanges!

SKINS use the very bold hashtag #SKINSorNOTHING as they are confident that their scientifically proven compression wear can more than rival all other functional base layers out there! ...and to be fair, I think I might agree!

If you wanna pick up a piece or two yourself, you can use the code SIMPELLE-SKINS20 to get 20% off your purchase (currently valid until 13th October 2016) to get 20% off your purchase (on all web purchases excluding already discounted products). Do let me know if you make a purchase and your thoughts once you've tried them!

Do you use compression wear when you workout?! Have you tried any SKINS products before?!

Elle :) 

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#InspiredBy How to Get Legs Like a Track Cyclist

If you saw an Olympic track cyclist stand on the podium earlier this year and wished you had their legs as much as you had their medal, this guide to building a world-class pair of cycling legs is for you.

Aside from having exceptional stamina, a fierce competitive streak and a quality bike, riding to victory requires strong, toned and reactive leg muscle groups but they can only be built with a solid, on and off-bike training regime.

On-Bike Training: Road Cycling
Track cycling requires particular skills suited to the smooth, sloping, circular terrain of the velodrome, but those skills are built out on the open road where cardiovascular endurance and leg strength are developed.

City biking is good for practicing sprint starts and tight corners. Endurance and muscular strength can be achieved by taking to a variety of on and off-road terrains while turbo rollers at home can help develop balance.

Of course, maintaining a well-rounded road bike training regimen requires a bicycle that can comfortably handle all kinds of environments and for that, something like the Specialized Hybrid Bike is ideal.

Depending on your current fitness levels, you should aim to complete 4-7 hours road cycling per week that includes a variety of short, intense rides of 10-30 minutes and duration rides over flats and hills.

Photo Credit: my buddy Anneleen

Track Cycling 
As already mentioned, track cycling requires particular handling and acceleration skills and the only way to develop them is to head to your nearest velodrome.

There’s a choice of indoor and outdoor venues across the UK and most of them offer training sessions, club membership and track accreditation courses. If you’re serious about track cycling, it’s worth taking advantage of these services.

If you can, aim to spend 1-2 hours of your overall weekly cycling hours at the track.

Off-Bike Training: 
Olympic cyclists like Chris Hoy don’t develop “colossal 27in thighs” through cycling alone and neither can you.

Gym Training 
Squats: They’re one of the easiest ways to build muscle in the thighs, hamstrings and glutes but you don’t need to do hundreds of them. Try 2-3 set of ten reps but do them slowly. Plant your heels, keep your back straight and focus on activating and controlling muscle groups on the way down and on the way up for the best results.

Deadlifts: Lifting weights will challenge your legs to work harder causing the muscular hypertrophy responsible for cellular growth, but while powerful thighs are the aim, remember that bulk and power should be complemented with flexibility. Do 5-8 sets of 3-5 reps with a rest period of 1 minute between them, once or twice a week.

Sit-Ups, press-ups and pull-ups: Track cycling requires great balance and that can only be achieved with a strong core and upper body so vary your gym time to incorporate exercises that work all the muscle groups.

Because it’s low-impact, swimming helps you build cardiovascular strength and adopt good breathing technique while developing joint and muscle tone and flexibility without putting any stress on them. Swim once or twice a week and vary your stroke, distance and speed to maximise the benefits.

Rest and Recovery 
Obtaining the best results from any kind of training regime means balancing exercise with rest days, quality sleep and good nutrition.

Rest and Recovery: Taking one or two days a week off from exercise is advisable but it doesn’t mean being completely inactive. Go for a walk, do some yoga or get a deep tissue sports massage. Giving your muscles time to recover will help achieve maximum power from them in your next training session.

Nutrition: Strong, responsive and healthy muscles require the right kind of fuel so take care to eat a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins and complex carbohydrates.

Whether you want to invest in a hybrid bike, turbo trainer and new cycling accessories or just get quality advice on the right biking equipment for you, contact the experts at Formby Cycles.

Have you tried track cycling before?! 

Elle :) 

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p.s this is a collaborative post with Formby Cycles, but you know me, all views and opinions are always my own ;)


Elle About Town: The Launch of Bests Cycle

September sees the launch of Bests Cycle... indoor cycling classes brought to us by one of London's newest but banging studios located in Charing Cross, Bests Bootcamp

I was lucky enough to get to go along to a preview class in the week before launch so check it all out! On the other hand, I wasn't so lucky as the air conditioning wasn't working so I can't differentiate the sweat caused from working and from the heat - we were assured it would be fixed by launch so you lucky lot will have a much cooler experience! 

Truth be told, on the evening of class I wasn't quite feeling myself; I felt a little devoid of personality, tired and unenthusiastic. I was just days away from L'etape London and quite frankly I think anxiety was beginning to get the better of me. I also partied the evening before, feeling a little worse for wear and having slept funny my neck and shoulders were ridiculously tight and sore. Anyway, I put on my tights du jour and dug deep to get in my final minutes on the saddle before my ride. 

Prepare for an intimate experience; the studio is a moderate size and I literally spent ages (probably 20s) trying to pick which bike would be the ideal spot for me! I love to have a good view of the instructor and other people in the class too. 

I'm sweating right now just thinking about this class; a 45 minute full body workout on the bike broken up with a track using hand weights to work your upper body and core a little bit more! Our Instructor for the evening, Abi, was full of infectious high energy which was just what we needed to be honest. That and all the tunes. The music wasn't really to my taste (I clearly like it a bit grimier! haha! and with more of a deep baseline!) but that's half the issue with spin - finding an instructor who plays the tunes you like and has the attitude that you also like in an instructor! 

Our much needed post workout fuel came courtesy of their own fuel bar in the form of protein smoothies. I can't remember which one I actually had, but it wasn't half bad and vegan protein (on this occasion at least) came as standard. That, and the chilled towels were perfect to kickstart our recovery! 

If you can make it down for a class, your first is just a tenner, so grab a mate (these things are always better with a friend, huh?!) and get down there!

What's your favourite class right now?! If you're a fan of spin, what's great about your favourite class?! 

Elle :) 

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Elle About Town: Adidas #PUREBoostX Launch Run

Thinking back, I realise that I jumped on the hype of these trainers when they were released earlier this year I think, but never actually got around to writing anything about them on the blog.

But a couple weeks ago whilst I was scrolling through Twitter (as you do) I came across an event at Runners Need in conjunction with Adidas and 1Rebel. Being a free event I jumped in and booked myself a place before actually really contemplating if I was physically able to run right about now. Anyway, the day came and I was knackered... But I went along anyway. Because, you know, the social side of running makes up for everything else!

The main point of the event was to have the chance to trial the Pure Boost X; a female specific training shoe which features a floating arch (basically a gap between the upper and the sole of the shoes) that is advertised as hugging and supporting your arch and moulding to your feet.

In the excitement and training of the days leading up to to event, I actually forgot I owned these trainers (I got them at 50% off via Sweatshop and My Vitality Insurance discount). On the schedule after swapping out my shoes for the Pure Boost X was a 45minute RESHAPE class at 1Rebel with Master Trainer, Melissa Weldon. I was so tired and sore (it's rest day y'all!) that I had to take it super chilled in class; normally the class is a mixture of treadmill and floor workout but on this occasion I did a double floor session. Once class was done, we had a little 3km run to the Runners Need Kings Cross store with fellow fitness blogger, Adrienne of That's My Mum where we set about to cool down and the have a little in store party.

First stop for me was the food (I'd had no appetite all day but that little run brought it back), then the gif photobooth, then the food again before grabbing a goody bag and heading home for my head to hit the pillow.

But the shoes. I do love them. They've been my go to shoes when I need something comfortable and flexible. I also can wear them for short runs but anything over 10km and I physically need a more supportive shoe to help protect my form as well as protecting me from injury. I also don't wear them for training / teaching as I need more lateral support when doing movements such as ski jumps or just changing direction quickly (as opposed to running which is just in the one plane of motion).

If I could choose again, I think I'd choose the all white colour way 😍 or the all black. I've also heard that they're releasing colour ways where they can now change the colour of the foam that makes up the sole.

I remember when the boost technology first was released and I lived in my pair cos they basically made me feel like I was running on clouds. It's been a long time since I've consistently run in adidas though but they're still in my kit box for shorter, faster runs!

Have you tried the Pure Boost X running shoes?! What do you currently run in?! 

Elle :)

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Photo Credits: © Photography by Jake Davis for Here & Now


Elle About Town: Riding The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit

Sometimes, the actual thought of doing something is way more realistic / achievable than actually doing it. Or at least, in my mind, I'm superwoman and can pretty much do anything. It was until i was at the top of the chute for the worlds longest and tallest slide that the nerves kicked in...

Before I continue, I just wanna let you know that I rode the slide. Twice. And yes, I would do it again. And again. And again.

Still to this day, 4 years after the majority of the London 2012 Olympics took part in Stratford, I marvel at the fact that the area has come 360 and become a destination. Growing up, I would pass through Stratford to get into central london but not once did I ever really disembark the train there to go anywhere or see anyone. But since Westfield and the Olympic Park opened, it's continued to develop into what I could possibly call the commercial heart of East London.

From the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit's in the viewing galleries, you can take in views of up to 20 miles across London. FYI, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the red squiggly structure in the park which you can probably also see for miles.

Then, you can get to the bottom via the 178m long slide which takes approx 40seconds to descend travelling at speeds of up to 15mph (means nothing to me so I translate this to super fast!) through light and dark sections as the slide loops its way around the sculpture 12 times taking in gentle curves, thrilling (I say crazy) drops and a tight corkscrew named 'the bettfeder' - bed spring in German.

Now I'm one for honesty, so if the truth be told, I screamed at the top of my lungs the first time. I then alternated that with roaring laughter and giggles all the way down to the bottom. The second time, I tried to be more composed but then I realised I actually liked it more when I was screaming and laughing!

The slide itself only opened in June (2016) and was designed by Belgian artist Carsten Holler. The ArcelorMittal Orbit itself was created by Anish Kapoor.

Tickets for the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the slide start from £10 (for kids) so you can take the whole family! There are of course a few restrictions in place (please check out their website for more info) but otherwise I feel like it's the best way to get a sweat on in normal clothes!

Have you already been?! Would you, even?! 

Elle :)

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