Happy New Year! 2013 is here!

Here are some words from William Arthur Ward...
"This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!"

Happy New Year! and Keep it SimpElle!

Elle ;) x


The 2012 lowdown

I think the one word I'd use to sum up 2012 is EPIC! This post is just a few of my highlights for the entire year!
  • February: Nike Training Club (NTC) class on the London Eye to mark the leap year. Check out the video below...

  • April: Saw the launch of the Nike Fuel Band. This was the beginning of my journey to keep track of my activity levels on a day to day basis and compete with friend via the app and Facebook
My NikeFuel stats (n.b Decembers data is not complete)

  • April: We trained Super Natural with Katy B at Westfield London; the pictures are all here :)
  • April: I began teaching my first NTC Live Class at Westfield London in Shepherds Bush / White City

  • June: We trained NTC with Serena Williams
  • July: I STARTED KEEPITSIMPELLE! Here was my first ever post...about what I do!
  • July: Saw the first ever NTC Live Festival take place in London. You can read all about it in that specific post...click here
  • July: I ran my first ever 10k in a time of 1:05:52 at the Nike British 10k. Click here for the full story.
  • July: The Nike weekender ended with the FuelFest! An event in which the attendees fueled the night through the Nike Fuel they earned! We Fuelled the night!!
  • September: I became qualified in Ante and Post Natal Fitness. Check out all of my qualifications on the 'About Elle' page
  • October: I ran my first ever Half Marathon. Read about #MyMoments of Run To The Beat 2012
  • December: I completed the Intermediate 1 pole course after an 18 month break. Read about the course and journey in the Week 5 post

Now it's time to look forward to 2013 and set my goals for the year ahead!

Hope you achieved some great things too in 2012! Please feel free to share in the comments below or send me the link to your blog posts about your 2012!

Elle :) x


Wishing you a Merry Christmas ;)

Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Hope you have a fabulous day tomorrow and get everything you wished for! 

If you do anything today, make it some core exercises for an instant (temporary) flat stomach before you don your celebration outfits! Check out my Drill Pack (1) with 3 of my favourites! 

Elle ;) x

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So how'd you do on the NYBP?!

That's it! 2 weeks...done! I'm actually very proud of myself for being successful and not succumbing to weak moments where I felt food would be a comfort! The worst thing I did was buy ice cream..but I put it straight in the freezer and it's still there today!

First of all, if you haven't already, please read the first post which tells you what this is all about: What's this NYBP you've been on about?!

Now we're all on the same page, I can continue!

Well, the week didn't pan out exactly as I had planned it but I got things done. Exercise wise, I did NTC, Zumba and Pole. Some days I got over 2 hours of exercise in, and others only 30 minutes. I stayed as active as possible through lots of walking and doing my housework too! It all counts ;)

Here are some breakdowns of what my food intake has looked like over the past 2 weeks:

I've mostly been having protein shakes for breakfast and also for dinner on a number of occasions. My meals  and snacks included roast chicken, salmon, sea bass, salads, protein bars, almonds and lots of vegetables.

So here are the numbers:

Start weight: 65.7kg
Weight after week 1: 63.5kg
End Weight: 62.4kg

I'm extremely happy with the results; my healthy weight range has always been between 61kg to 62.5kg so I'm back within that range again!

Now it's all about the maintenance plan. I'm going to start with reintroducing foods back into my diet slowly; each day I will add only one serving of the previously forbidden foods e.g porridge for breakfast and the rest of the day as per the last two weeks. This will also ensure I don't overindulge on Christmas Day and will still be feeling great when the New Year arrives and everyone else is wondering how they will reverse the effects of Christmas!

Remember, one bad meal won't make you fat, just like one clean meal won't make you lean!

Elle ;) x


Missions...in progress or aborted?!

By the end of 12.12.12 I had completed Mission 3 and the bonus 12.12.12 mission!

Mission 3: Easy: Earn 600 NikeFuel in 45 minutes. One mid length zumba class for 44 minutes on the Wii and I had racked up 1233 NikeFuel even though I was tired and couldn't give 100%.

12/12/12 Singularity Bonus: Total NikeFuel earned in 60 minutes. Because I wanted to get this done on the day in case it disappeared I just ran it for an hour before I went to bed getting a measly 277 NikeFuel! But this meant it was still there the next day; I ran it during my lunchbreak while walking around the shops and got 502 NikeFuel! It seem's you can redo them as many times as you want with the app taking your highest score so I'll save that for when I have completed all the challenges!

Mission 4: 850 / 1275 / 1950 in 60 minutes...So how annoying is this, when you start the mission, work your butt off for 60 minutes only to find out when you finish that the app is down and you can't sync all that hard work?? I decided not to stress about it and went to sleep hoping they would have fixed it by the morning. Seems they have, but not for those who were having issues the previous.Take 2. Ease: Earn 850 NikeFuel in 60 minutes. Started this up before teaching Nike Training Club (NTC) on Sunday morning in Clapham Common! All done with 881 NikeFuel!

Mission 5: Easy: Earn 550 NikeFuel in 30 minutes. I did this with 25 minutes of Zumba a little housework ;) Housework counts ;) earning me 614 NikeFuel.

Mission 6: Easy: Earn 850 NikeFuel in 45 minutes. I did attempt this during my pole class but only got 500+ which is not surprising as a lot of the moves were not very active so wouldn't count :( So as soon as I get some rest and recover I will be back to this and the final 2 missions at easy before I move on to better my scores at medium, then hard!

How are your missions going?????! How have you been earning that Fuel? Let me know what has counted for you! 

Elle ;) x 

p.s Here is the link to the Event page on FB: NikeFuel Missions: Make it Count
It seems to have disappeared as the event was only scheduled for 11th December but everyone is still actively using it to share their achievements!


Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 5)

Usually, these courses are 6 weeks long but due to the Christmas holidays mine was just 5. This is a real shame because I followed a learning curve much like that pictured where week 5 is the massive dip and I'm certain week 6 would have been an awesome week! But hey, pole life goes on ;)

So trying to do the routine was a task in itself considering my body seemed to have forgotten a lot of what I had learnt the previous 4 weeks. There were some moments of clarity and lots of laughter! With just two of us in attendance for final week it meant Christina was even more eagle eyed picking up on toes not pointed and wrong hand positioning.

With a few minutes left before the end of the class, Christina taught us some basic moves on the SPINNING pole! This was exciting for me as I had never had a go on the spinning pole before...and my first attempt almost made me die laughing! I mounted the pole with a leg swing into a standing position and the pole started spinning, with me on it, faster than I ever imagined a pole could spin! I closed my eyes with fear, whilst Christina instructed me to "sit" which at the time of fearing for my life meant nothing! Eventually I realised she meant to lower my hips and I did so making the pole slow down considerably! I stepped off and fell to the floor laughing...one of those laughs where you can't even breathe...

Image from Pole Dance Adventures
We got the hang of it though...and I even made a short little video of corkscrew to standing with some twists and backbends :)

Before we left, Christina very gracefully and beautifully performed the routine from Intermediate 2; to me, it felt like a huge step up from Intermediate 1 with lots of inversions, moves based on the straddle and one handed stuff! I think I will aim to repeat Intermediate 1 in the New Year and work on some conditioning during that time before I move onto Intermediate 2!

Yours in Pole, 

Elle ;) x
The rest of the story:


Sunday Brunch: Banana Pecan Pancakes

Good morning! It's Sunday as I'm writing this post! So it's either your rest day, in which case you deserve a treat or it's your long run day if you're in training, in which case you also deserve a treat!

This is a recipe I love to use for Christmas Day breakfast / brunch as well as any weekend that I have to time to make something a little above and beyond 3 minute porridge!

Banana Pecan Pancakes served with crispy bacon
Serves 4-6, 30 minutes

225g self raising flour
300ml of milk (or substitute)
1 ripe banana about 200g unpeeled
1 large egg
75g of pecans roughly chopped
Oil or substitute for frying
12 rashers of streaky bacon
Maple syrup, to serve

1.Preheat the grill. Peel and mash the banana with a fork then set aside. Soft the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Slowly whisk the egg and milk into the flour until smooth. Stir in the mashed banana and half the pecans. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and fry small ladlefuls of the batter in batches. Cook until the tops are dry and set then turn and cook for a further two minutes until golden. Keep the pancakes warm.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until the preheated grill for 8-10 minutes turning halfway.

3. Stack 2 or 3 pancakes on each plate , top with bacon, the remaining pecans and finish with syrup.

Nutritional information: 474kcal, 24g fat (6g sat fat), 53g carbs, 23g total sugars, 1.9g salt

I recently used this recipe when I was carb loading for my half marathon! It def made carb loading enjoyable ;)

I am not a fan of bananas so I never add it when I make this myself. In all my recipes I use soya milk too as I am lactose intolerant. This never alters the taste or texture and means I don't miss out on cakes and treats! You can also freeze these pancakes and use them at you will by either defrosting them or toasting direct from the freezer if your toaster has that option!

Happy Sunday!

Elle ;) x


What's this NYBP you've been on about?!

I've been going on and on about  New York Body Plan (NYBP) for the last week now and understandably people have been asking questions! So I noted them all down, with the answers and am sharing them with you here...

Question: What is NYBP?

Answer: In a nutshell, it's a 2 week exercise and nutrition programme devised by David Kirsch, Personal Trainer.

Question: Why are you doing this?

Answer: Since realising a couple of weeks ago that my weight had increased somewhat, and focus had been lost on my nutrition, I decided something needed to be done about it. NYBP is that something. I started on Wednesday 5th December.

Question: What exercise do you need to do? and what have you done?

Answer: NYBP works on the basis that I do 60 - 90 minutes of exercise each day. I've been doing all sorts this past week including Pole, yoga, Pilates, Zumba, NTC and more! I wrote about a lot of my weeks activities in my post Keep Calm and Do Pilates.

Question: Tell us more about the nutrition side of things...

Answer: Well, it's all about lean protein, lots of green vegetables, no alcohol or carbohydrates and eating little and often.

Question: Have you been sticking to it? And what have you been eating?

Answer: I've done pretty well! I even had Nando's for lunch! I had a quarter chicken (135 kcal), side salad (9 kcal), macho peas (168 kcal) and a bit of Nando's sauce! This week I've eaten grilled salmon, broccoli, green french beans, protein shakes, turkey bacon, egg white omelettes,stuffed roasted red peppers, and roast turkey. I even tried a couple of new recipes: sesame chicken fingers and almond crusted chicken!
Sesame Chicken Fingers & Broccoli 
Question: Haven't you been temped?! ...just a little?!

Answer: Oh my gosh! Every advert on TV right now is for Christmas food or chocolate  But at the end of the day, my goals are worth more than eating unhealthy food! I'll have completed the two weeks before Christmas and I'm sure I will be careful not to over indulge! I believe that moderation is key!

Question: So what have you got planned for your second week?!

Answer: I've scheduled all of my workouts so that I am more likely to adhere to them! I have booked Frame Camp class, Dancefit class, NTC - Train to Run, Ragga dance class, Pole and more! I've also planned my meals for the whole week taking into account when I will be eating out or home late.

Question: How are you feeling so far? and have you had good results?

Answer: I feel great so far! My abs are becoming more and more defined with each day! One of the real tests will be when I weigh myself. As a Personal Trainer I understand the scales are not the best indicator but they are a good place to start! So far, after 1 week I have lost 2.2kg! Not bad, eh?!

Stay tuned for the full results in Week 2...

Elle :) x


Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 4)

Me in a "pole sit"
So I had this master plan to video myself doing our routine in class yesterday and then, if it wasn't too cringe worthy I would share it here with you guys! Unfortunately, I was told we aren't allowed to film the routines due to copyright! Hmm. So just a couple of photo's with my update this week!

Week 4 reminded me of Week 1 a little; I had a tired and achy body which made it hard work to do any and everything! 

Each week after warming up we do some conditioning, usually starting with "pole pull ups", 3 with left hand on top, 3 with right hand on top. I can now do my 3 full pole ups on each side breaking only a minor sweat! 

Wrist Seat. Source
One more week to go after this, but we still had more new moves to learn! We learnt how to do a "wrist seat" (see picture) when you hold the weight of your lower body on your wrist. We practised our handstands again with knee slides, into a stag (pictured). 

Handstand stag
Back to the routine, and time to focus on the dance moves and not just the pole tricks! Tricky when you're knackered and achy! By the time we got to doing the routine, I had to leave out the pole tricks! We did work our way through the entire routine though, and I requested that next week we do the routine first so we have a chance to doing the dance moves AND pole tricks before exhaustion sets in. Maybe once my body recovers, and I have finished the course, I can get some practice in at home to get some good photos ;) 

Me in an "attitude layout"

Yours in Pole, 


Keep Calm and Do Pilates (Move & Prove)

Currently I've been evening out my workouts between teaching and me time. In the last week, I had my third week of pole course. I also attended a Pilates class and Frame Work (a mix of ballet, dance, Pilates and yoga).

It's been a long time since I've been to a Pilates class after the timetable at my work place changed in the summer. It's a class I really need to help me with my posture, lordosis (curvature of the lower spine) and to increase my core strength. This class at Shoreditch Pilates was different to any I had ever been to before! Sure we did lots of core work, but it was also dynamic and included a lot of arm work which is great progress towards my personal goals.

I rocked up to Frame thinking I knew what was in store having done the class before but when we got started I realised this was the one class in their signature series that I had yet to experience! Our instructor Natalie was great though; encouraging and motivating us through tough sets of arm, core, leg and cardio drills! (There was nothing we didn't do; downward dog, burpees, crunches, plank, split kicks, hip abductions, stretching...)

On top of all this, I attended yoga on Tuesday which is great after pole to stretch out my shoulders and upper body. I also unlocked Leah Kim's advanced yoga workout on the NTC app at 2000mins! It was an enjoyable 45 minute routine but I found some of the cues a little off time and confusing! I topped that up with the Jeanette Jenkins 15 minute ab blast and that was me for the day! A 45 minute Zumba core class on the wii another day topped up with a 15 minute NTC get focused abdominal workout and that was another day!

How are you making it count before Christmas?! Move and Prove here!

Elle ;) x

By the way: I attended the Shoreditch Pilates class using the 0calendar free class in December offer. I paid to attend class at Frame.


Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 3)

I spent the entire tube journey to my pole class on Monday evening staring at the hand rail in the middle of the carriage wandering what moves I could execute on it! Then I spent the entire walk to the studio examining lamp posts and all sorts wandering if they would work for pole...

I was in the right frame of mind for week 3...

Good job too, as the learning curve is steep in Intermediate 1! Only 2 weeks ago we first attempted basic inversions, and now we are onto handstands with knee slides! One good thing is that I am feeling stronger in my upper body already. I think I am also learning to tolerate some of the discomfort that comes with certain positions such as the 'pole sit with balance' - I did manage a smile as opposed to a grimace for once.

My straddle from standing has improved; I can now actually do it myself!! I just need a little more control as I return my legs to start position. I managed to do a few more 'pole pull ups' (pull ups on the pole) this week too which I am very proud of!

In everything though, we have one side that is stronger than the other due to usage throughout life e.g writing with your right hand, brushing your teeth with one hand; and this is evident when doing pole. Certain moves I can do without thinking on one side, yet on the other side, I can barely take my own weight! I hate using my weaker side when doing pole, but the fact is... "if you hate it, you need it" as I read in the AKR Conditioning blog.

What exercises do you love to do? and which ones do you avoid?

Elle ;) x

The rest of the story:
Intermediate 1 (week 2)
Intermediate 1 (week 1)
My Pole Story
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