21.11.14

FitPro INSIDER: Fake It Till You Make It


Just a few weeks ago I took over teaching a class at a new gym. When I turned up that Tuesday lunchtime, it dawned on me that I was familiar with this class. I’d been before and taken it myself. Why? Because the woman who taught this class was a Master Trainer. She was someone that I looked up to, who I sought knowledge from. Someone who had obviously built up a following in her classes. Someone who left big shoes to fill. 

I personally attend classes based solely on whether I like the instructor or not, so no doubt clients make the same judgements when I am teaching. It makes me a little nervous and brings to mind a couple of issues that have been raised in the past…

Be More Like…


Not so long ago, I worked in a private boutique establishment. When I first started teaching there my employer thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. As time went on though, my feedback would sound like this… “go to X’s class and see how they structure a session” …or “you should be a bit more like Z”. I did go to my colleagues classes and all it did was make me more like myself. I was never born to be a carbon copy of another instructor. I learnt that I had to be confident in my skills and my personality. I just had to be me. 

Imposter?


Imposter Syndrome? Heard of it? As defined by Wikepedia “Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalise their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.”

The first time I heard these two words together I did think the speaker was talking directly to me. On occasions I’ve wondered if I really know what I’m talking about when it comes to fitness. I was recently offered the opportunity to be the “Fitness Expert” for an upcoming event. Initially I thought, “really?! …me?!…what do I know?!”. Then I gave myself a good talking to and realised that maybe my certifications and experience do count for something. One lesson I learnt when teaching others to become qualified themselves as Fitness Instructors was that no-one knows everything. There is a wealth of information out there though if you want to find it. 

Angel or Devil


Back to my new class. So do I go in all tough?! Or gentle?! What do they like?! Do I ask for feedback yet? Maybe sow the seed that they can share their goals with me so I can tailor sessions to their needs? Luckily the class I teach is pretty versatile so I’m going in each week with something a little different to see how they respond. But at the end of the day, I think it comes back to just being me. That’s always the best we can do. It takes time to build rapport and maybe one day soon…they’ll just remember class with me teaching. 

Elle :) 

20.11.14

Sport'n Style: How To Layer For Chillier Runs

Many moons ago, I ran on treadmills and treadmills only. Once I transitioned to outdoor running for the good weather, I figured when it got wet, cold and chilly that I would have to head back indoors. I soon came to realise that there is no such thing as bad weather...

In the right gear, you can still get out and run...and enjoy yourself!

Here are my tips for layering up this Autumn / Winter from top to toe:

Long Sleeved Top


image from store.nike.com

- with thumbholes

Personally, this is my most crucial piece of kit. It's my mid layer in winter and outer layer in the autumn / spring. Thumbholes are a must as they keep your sleeves in place and keep the cold breeze out. A sweat wicking, fast drying fabric is important to keep you comfortable, warm and dry.

recommendations:

lululemon run:swiftly long sleeved  - Beki

UnderArmour ColdGear Compression Mock long sleeve tops for when it's really cold - Alexa

Long sleeved tops that have a half zip are great - means you can unzip and get some air to the chest when you start getting hot - Leah


Jacket


Image from lululemon athletica FB page

  • with thumbholes
  • ventilation zippers 
  • pockets
  • reflectivity
  • showerproof / waterproof
  • hood

If you are gonna be out there no matter the weather then a jacket is a must! If you get hot easily, a thin waterproof jacket may work for you. If like me, you hate being cold, then something a with a little more substance will come in handy. It's sometimes hard to remember that even though you may be cold as you step out the door, once you get moving you'll start to warm up quickly!

recommendations:

Ronhill Vizion Photon - great for evening runs, lightweight but waterproof and has a cool flashing light on the back to make sure you're definitely seen! - Beki

A windbreaker really is a game changer, I've got a Saucony vizipro one. So much warmer immediately. Then layer it up depending on how cold it is. - Mari

Pants 


  • full length / cropped 
  • brushed fabric (internally)
  • reflectivity
  • pockets

As with the rest of your kit, you want your pants to keep you warm but be breathable at the same time. Sweat wicking fabric will remove the sweat from your body quickly and disperse it. This help you from getting cold if you slow down. Look for extra details like reflective panels / trims to keep you visible in low light. 

Accessory Options:


  • Hat
  • Ear-warmers
  • Neck warmer
  • Buff
  • Gloves
  • Bag 


For me, ear warmers are a must; as long as my ears are warm I can usually cope! If I'm run commuting I like to have as many reflective items as possible with my bag being the number one. You can also purchase rucksack covers which keep your bag dry if it rains and usually come with reflective panelling. They are versatile if you have different bags. 

recommendations:

A buff is great because you can wear it around your neck, pull it up to cover your face and nose, or use it as a full hat or just a headband. Very versatile for winter. - Leah

I am a big fan of the thick headband - covers your ears to keep them warm, and doubles up as a sweat catcher/ fringe securer/ earbud holder too - Leah

But, if all all fails...I've been told "run faster...that'll warm you up"!

See you on the London Winter Run start line! 

Elle :)


18.11.14

Velopark Women's Autumn Duathlon #MyMoments

November 16th finally came around. The day of my second ever duathlon. This time though, I hadn't spent all year getting ready for it. Since my first duathlon in September, I've still been cycling a fair bit but running on average once per week and no multisport stuff!

I turned up, and really had no expectations other than to not come last. I realised there and then that some of the participants were taking it seriously - they had aerodynamic helmets and all. Okay. 

Simply organised, we got ourselves labelled up before we headed to transition to drop our bikes off (one sticker in seat post, one wristband, one sticker on helmet - check). 

The event took the format of run-bike-run. The first run being a 2mile (2 lap) run then a 10mile (10 lap) bike section before finishing with a 1mile (1 lap) final run at the Olympic Velopark.  It was also chip timed with medals for the places in 16-19years, 20-39years, 40-49years and 50+years age bands.

Picture courtesy of velopark duathlon 
The weather was kinda perfect! Dry and chilly...but I knew I'd soon warm up when I got moving.

I set off on the first run with the group (about 40 strong). I soon realised how fast everyone was. Faster than my comfy run pace. The course was up and down, man made hills but hills none the less. I focused on my breathing which was tough to start with the air being so cold. I also didn't run with music (probably not allowed anyway) but I've gotten so used to being present to my run and not drowning out everything with the latest tunes! 


I ran into transition to pick up my bike and bike shoes. Last minute I decided I would use my clip in shoes - I could do with the extra help on the hills. 10 laps of the course was fascinating; I spent most of my time thinking about which lap I was on as we had to count ourselves and keeping an eye out for Anneleen (friend and colleague I'd asked to compete with me) and Georgina (of Fitcetera).

You know when you are racing and find that one person who seems to be at about the same pace / level of fitness as you?! Maybe, just maybe a little fitter in some cases! ...You keep your eye on them and vow not to let them out of your sight. Well I'd spotted mine. She was on my heels for the whole cycle after I just about shook her off in the first run. Then when I came to cycle my 10th lap I noticed she was running already! I knew she'd skipped a lap and this knocked the sails out of me completely as I thought the timing chips didn't count each lap.


The final run, just one lap was the toughest. I had to stop briefly to walk a couple of times especially after the major hills. Anneleen and Georgina had finished by this point and cheered me on as I dragged myself past them. The end of the duathlon involved running through the transition zone (which I thought was the finish line - past my bottle filled with nuun) to a medal. We stood and cheered on the few runners behind me before collecting our belongings and watching the medal giving for the top 3's. 


Anneleen surprised herself (but not me) and picked up 3rd in our category - aged 20-39! I was so proud of her - this being her first ever duathlon! 

Here are my stats: 

Overall postion: 25th of 31
Run Mile 1: 8:37
Run Mile 2: 9:55
Cycle (total): 41:05
Run Mile 3: 9:47

This event was the perfect place to spend an active Sunday morning! Sadly I can't make the next women's event which is on 15th March (as I'll be running a half marathon that day!) – but you can enter online via the following link:


This was also the first event I completed using my own road bike! I realise I still have a lot to learn especially when it comes to working out the gears. I'll be looking out for bike maintenance workshops over the next few months to get to grips with everything! 

What did you get up to last weekend?! 

Elle :) 

17.11.14

Recipe: Green Banana / Plantain Porridge


I came up with this recipe for a few reasons:

1) Speaking to someone about Whole30, she shared with me how she couldn't imagine giving up her oats porridge

2) Being my second Whole30, this time when it's cold, I'm finding it harder to eat cold foods such as salads

3) I'm getting a little bored of eggs, avocado and bacon at breakfast


Green Banana porridge is a very old and traditional Jamaican recipe. My mum remembers her mum making it for her as a child. I'd never had it myself but it sounded kinda good. I looked up the recipe and noticed that it was not Whole30 compliant so I decided I would make substitutions and create something new...

Here goes...


Ingredients


4 green(ish) bananas / 2 large green plantains
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of water
1 1/2 teaspoons (tsp) Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Salt or to taste

Toppings: ripe banana, desiccated coconut, raspberries, almond butter, blueberries, cacao nibs

Method


Pour the coconut milk and water into your blender / food processor. Peel the plantain / banana one by one chopping into 2 inch pieces. Add to blender and pulse till pureed until all bananas have been aded.

Transfer the mixture into a pot over a low / medium heat. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt, stirring continuously.


Continue stirring until the porridge thickens. If required add extra water until you reach your desired consistency.

Serve into bowls and garnish with toppings.

Makes 4 small servings / 2 generous servings

I haven't calculated nutritional information as that is not something you are encouraged to focus on when doing Whole30. Hey, it's a couple of bananas and some good fat in the coconut milk.

I found it tough to get my hands on really green bananas - the ones I used were half green - too green to eat but not fully ripe! This helped as no sweetener is added. The version I made with plantains though were all out green - so green it was tough to peel! This made for a more savoury version. Remember this is not oats, and it's more of a savoury, mildly spiced porridge.

Maybe experiment with adding some more of the traditional Christmas spices such as ground cloves and ginger. Top with some cranberries and indulge in a Whole30 festive spirit!

Let me know what you think when you try it! Happy Whole30! 


Elle :) 

Recipe inspiration from Cook Like A Jamaican. 

14.11.14

Whole30 #2 Days 1 - 10

Here I am on Day 11. I can't quite pick one word to sum up how I'm feeling so I'm gonna write up the past ten days and see what I come up with!


I was due to start my second Whole30 on November 1st. However, I forgot to inform my Mum that I'd brought it forward and she'd already planned a not quite compliant meal for the Sunday (2nd) so I resolved to start on Monday 3rd November. I got my shopping delivered and was all set.

With this time round being Autumn / Winter, I've found I've been craving warm food more than I needed in the summer. I've been experimenting with soups (leek and potato, butternut squash, sweet potato and chilli) with salads / veg on the side to bulk it out and keep me full.

A typical day for me has looked like this - 

7.45am - alarm
8.30am - 10am - Meal 1
1pm - 3pm - Meal 2
6pm - 9pm - Meal 3
11.00pm - Bed

This time round, I have decided to include white potatoes in my Whole30 and am happy with this decision. I'm not gonna go crazy with this...it's use has been minimal so far.

I've been finding my cravings a lot more difficult to handle. I felt like I was depriving myself when I went to the theatre and couldn't buy a big bag of sweets / popcorn / chocolate to keep me company through the show. People who sit in front of me and proudly announce that they are "tired" so bought a huge bag of sweets...cause me to breathe deeply...

On a positive note, I'm sleeping better the last few nights - not waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and rising just before my alarm goes off. I press the snooze then realise I don't need it and can utilise my time better than "pretending" to sleep for another 10 minutes.


I'm also finding it easier to throw meals together but am being a bit lazy when it comes to cooking hearty meals. I have been experimenting though and came up with this creation below...


Green plantain porridge topped with banana, almond butter and desiccated coconut. It's a spin on a traditional Jamaican recipe for green banana porridge. It worked a treat for me, but I'm hoping to tweak it a little then share the recipe with you!

As far as training goes, I've not done anything out of the ordinary. In fact, I have had a sore wrist for over a week so avoided crossfit. I've been to run club as usual, hit up a reformer pilates class, a yoga class and stuck to cycling.

I'm looking forward to the next 20 days of what Whole 30 has to offer! It can only get better from here! 

Stay tuned to see how my next 10 days go! 

And if you have any Whole30 recipes you'd love to share please leave me the link in the comments below! 


Elle :) 
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