I like to move it - L stand

Love this move...so had to share!
The L-stand is awesome for gaining strength in your handstand and working on your form. As part of my pole training, I'm relearning how to handstand. I remember in my school days I could handstand with no fear whatsoever...these days...well...
It also works your core to help towards that flat stomach...
L stand
The L handstand is surprisingly difficult; I came across it in the Nike Training Club app as part of Leah Kim's workout.

Stand facing a wall. Place one foot flat on the wall at hip height. Swivel your body to face away from the wall and place your hands down on the ground underneath your shoulders. Bring your second foot up onto the wall. 
There are two key points to remember for the L-stand: 
1. Focus on getting a 90 degree angle
2. Push down through your arms and don’t let your shoulders collapse
5 to 10 seconds x 6 sets and adding 5 seconds per set as you can. Work up to holding this for 1 minute per set.

Elle :) x

P.S Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP. 


Faces of YMCAfit Video

Earlier this year, I shared the news with you that I had won the competition to become one of the Faces of YMCAfit. YMCAfit are the company that I completed all of my health and fitness training with over the past 10 years. I promised to keep you posted on what came of it, didn't I! The new campaign is about to launch...here is a little teaser of what is to come...

Here are the previous posts...

And the winners are...
Become the face of YMCAfit

Elle :) x


Guest Post: Glöanna Run

Well, well, peeps! Looks like I've been missing a lot whilst I've been out of London! Last weekend saw a great event go down...my friend Sharon did a little write up for us... Elle ;) x

Sharon's Bib
"Glöanna is a 5k run experience like no other. Join other Londoners in inspiring surroundings as you test your agility, strength and heart in a 5k run and 45 minutes flow yoga session before basking in your glö with a live DJ brunch party."

That was the blurb for the run, what caught my eye was that it sounded like great fun. So I signed up with a few of the others girls from various Nike Training Club classes and run clubs.

The communication for this event was brilliant on their Facebook page and also by email a few days before the event. It included information about the event, which wave I was in and the time to arrive, directions, what to expect on the day and a map of the course.  I had a couple of questions that needed answering, so I emailed the organisers direct.  Unlike other events/races I actually got a response from a real human being! Which was definitely a bonus!

The day of the event came, I was praying for sun or just a dry day because the day before we had torrential rain in London.   

The event was set in Alexandra Palace.  I have never been there before and I thought to myself, why?! It's a very beautiful park and you can see the whole of London from the Palace...it was also very hilly!  That I didn't even realise until later....

Myself and Rachel found the event village as we walked down the hill (yep hill..still didn't click) it was easy to spot because we were greeted by our favourite tent..Vitacoco!!! Oh and also the bright red finishing line.
Meet Sharon
As we were in the first wave, we were told to arrive for 9am to allow time for bag drops etc with a warm up at 9.45am. The vibe I got as I walked through was very relaxed and the event had quite a "hippy" vibe.

Everything ran smoothly on the day; our bags were safely dropped off and we were told what was going to happen after we had finished the run.  We were told we'd be handed a piece of paper with 'Tent 1 yoga' or 'Tent 2 yoga' and which ever one we were given that's the tent we needed to be for our yoga session.  It was a very calm and happy environment..

Time for our warm up with Clinton; he walked us through different types of stretches and the benefits of each one. Stretch done it was time for our run..as predicted we had a little chant first and then.... a shot of prosecco! nice touch!This type of run I could get used to! The attitude of the day was to enjoy ourselves and embrace the community and our surroundings. We were not there to smash PB's!  

Remember the hills...well we started running through grass and then through woodland and hills and then more woodland and HILLS!!  Twice round the course!  I haven't done any training since Nike We Own The Night 10km run; this run now absolutely killed me, not just because of the killer hills and off road running it was because I needed to get back in training again! Anyway the second time round up the massive hill I was ready to give up and stop but thank goodness for my friend Sue being there and encouraging me by telling me not to give up! Big up Sue!  We finished and were given some coconut water which is as good as a medal hehehe!  

The yoga was smelling of incense sticks, this was to relax us.  The instructor asked if any of us were new to yoga and told us not to worry because there was another instructor on hand to make sure we were doing the moves correctly. The  session was 45mins long, as a novice in yoga I found the moves very fast.  By the time I'd got my balance it was straight onto the next move.  At times I couldn't hear the instructor because the music was too loud and also some of the music choices (me personally) were not appropriate for yoga.  But saying that I got into it and was knackered after that session and was definitely ready for my brunch.

Yoga tent
Brunch was a packet of sushi, edamame beans, fruit salad and a glass of prosecco. Very nice. 

Food :)

Food :)
My overall experience of the event was that it was well organised, everything ran to time, which is quite important.  The organisers and volunteers were smiley, happy and very eager to help.  It's such a great idea of having yoga straight after a run..why hasn't anyone thought of that before?!  

Even though I didn't get a medal,  it was all for charity.  I would definitely do it again and it does exactly what it says on the tin....I left with a glo :)



Let me run with Nike+

Over the past few months, each morning I wake up to about 5 new Nike+ friend requests. At first I thought it was through my blog, which would be lovely. With a few weeks of feeling low and reduced training, I was finding that I had been relegated to the bottom of my own Nike+ leader board...being trashed by people I didn't even know!

I don't mind making friends over social networks...but if you're gonna add me, please say "hi"! Let me know who you are! I put my concerns out there, and it seems I'm not alone! Although some friends accepted the requests, others didn't. So I chose to start again, keep just those that I know and communicate with! I mean, what's the use of 200+ Nike+ friends if its just my faithful few who cheer me on while running?! 

Whilst thinking about this, my mid started to wander on how the running app could work better for me. I thought back to a couple of weeks ago when I did a sprints session. I recorded the session using the app but could get no useful information from it as I hadn't chosen to stop the app after every sprint and start again for the next one. 

sprint session

sprint session
With interval training being such an important part of any runners schedule, why doesn't the app cater for this?!

Even something simple, like, I choose...

>Distance Run 
>1min run / 2min walk

A sound and voice alert could be used to inform you of times. Previously I've had to rely on either spending my run focusing on looking at my arm to check the time or using a separate stopwatch which I still have to check. 

That's a real simple version. It could include things like, you choose your distance run, and add the option of 50m sprints at random intervals. Keeps your training fresh...keeps your body on its toes, improves your speed, and works on your anaerobic capacity. Whilst giving your brain a chance to just focus on your run...

What do you think of my suggestion?! ...how could the Nike+ app work better for you?! 

...maybe you use a different, more functional app...tell me about it in the comments! 

Elle ;) 


Top Posts of All Time...

The statistical version anyway!

It's fast approaching 1 year since I started keep it simpElle so I was taking a look at some stats and thought I would share them with you! If you have only just found me here, there is a high probability you haven't read the posts aaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way back in July / August  or September of 2012...where there are some golden oldies!

In reverse order (click image to be taken to post)...





and in the top spot...don't ask me why (although I think it has to do with one of the images I used)...



Sport'n Style: April & May 2013

Better late than never?! I agree. It's June, I know!

The last two months have been a little different with my relocation to Finland. Therefore, money could not really be spent on too much kit...remembering also that I would need to transport said kit to Finland, or buy outrageously over priced kit in Euros.

However, some necessary purchases were made. Like base layers / thermals from the heattech range at Uniqlo...my favourite! Erm...and the best purchase (and probably only other) were my pair of Nike Studio Wraps (before I type on check out my little video I made on Vine whilst waiting for my pole students...below...)

Here are the Studio Wraps in all their boxed glory...whilst also being pink and black. 

The complete studio wrap pack

This isn't a review...it's my ElleView ;)

...Maybe I missed an important side note somewhere, but when my pack arrived, there was not a strung together sentence to be found in the pack explaining what each bit was. Included were the studio wraps themselves, ribbons, bag, pumps and soles. I later established that the soles were for the pumps...the bag is to wash the wraps...and the ribbons can be tied any way you work out to supposedly support your arches and ankles. 

Okay, so the first outing my Studio Wraps had were at Leah Kim's NTC yoga class in London. Interesting. I found the useful for grip, and I always feel a little more confident if I'm wearing pretty kit. Don't judge me. 

Next we went to Body Balance (a mix of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi). Again, useful for grip. 

Then, Yin Yoga. Not needed. 

Pole. Great! Look nice, save my feet from dusty floors (why is it pole studios find it hard to keep up with floor maintenance?!)...but then I needed to climb the pole...I needed the front of my foot to grip with, right where the straps were. Wraps off. 

To this day, I still haven't used the ribbons. I haven't found myself with time before a class to fiddle around to get them right.

do my feet look big in these?!

What I do love though, are the slip on ballet pumps. Useful that when I finish class, I am ready to leave in no time at all. I cycled in the pumps to the gym, slipped them off, did class, and then off I went! I find they are super comfortable just on their own and a little less comfortable with the wraps on too. I also hate looking at my feet in pumps as I have wide feet but I usually walk looking straight ahead so I'm alright most of the time ;) 

They are sold as a "bare foot" experience...but frankly if you want that...maybe just go barefoot?! As I wouldn't want to be (actually) dancing around with no support for high impact activities just yet with the exception of Ballet maybe!

PROS: eye catching, hygiene
CONS: fiddly, costly

So don't rush out and buy them unless you are sure you will put them to good use...

Do you own the Nike Studio Wraps already?! What are your thoughts?! 

Elle :) 


Golf'n Girl: Round 1

Saturday 1st June was one for the history books. It was the day I played my first hole on a golf course. I'd never in my life imagined this day would even exist...

Hole number 1

To me, golf is a sport for the rich. Middle class, upper class...men of a certain age?! Stereotypically, it wasn't for me. Young, Afro Caribbean, female; not that I ever let this stop me from doing what I want. 

My knowledge of golf was limited until now. I'm thinking I may not be the only one to have judged this sport and relegated it to 'never gonna try' it pile. So whilst I'm a beginner, I can share with you what I learn and my journey.

Me in the golf car? cart? buggy? whatever!

Lets begin with my quick explanation of what the game of golf is. Just like many sports, it's a game of two halves. There are 18 (literal) holes located on a golf course. 1 through to 9, take a break, then 10 through to 18. Each hole has a par; the ideal number of shots to get the ball into the hole. You take your first shot from the tee (there are different tees depending on your level of experience). The hole is located on the green (the area with the really nice lawn) and contains a flag. There are quite a few different types of golf clubs depending on the type of shot you need to make - i.e. a really long shot from the tee, or just a small putt to get the ball into the hole. Ill leave it there as we're just beginning :)

taking my tee shot with a driver

So when I say I played...I did. But just within my limited experience to date of having practised my full swing, chip shots and some putting. I think in total, I've had about 3.5 hours of practice including 2 hours on this very day!


chip shot to get the ball onto the green

First and foremost, you must learn how to grip the golf club. I used a grip known as interlocking. Right now it works for me. If you want to find out more about grip check out this BBC webpage I found. Another two important things are posture and aiming. 

terrible grip but it's improved since then!

There's so much to remember; I've found that when I try too hard to remember it all my swing isn't as good. I make my main aim to just relax and hit the ball which seems to get me better results. 

Golf always looked like it was so easy, but as with all sports there is a lot of technique behind it. The professionals make it look effortless - I guess that's their job! It requires flexibility especially in your shoulders; core strength; mental strength and endurance. You can cover around 10km during one round of golf which can be played in 4 hours. 

One thing I'm not enjoying whilst playing here in Finnish Lapland are the mosquitoes! I wasn't fully prepared and have almost been eaten alive! I will be more prepared next time though! 

my pose was interrupted by a mosquito ;)

Elle ;) x 


Quick & simpElle workout #1

I finally decided to impart some wisdom on y'all in the form a quick workout using some of my favourite exercises in a combination I love!

You can check out my Drill Pack section if you need to know how to do a particular exercise or consult our good friend google ;) what did we do before google existed, huh?! 

It'll take a maximum of 30 minutes if you choose the intermediate / advanced option and allow yourself yourself a few minutes recovery. If you choose the beginner option...it's a maximum of 15 minutes. 

So give it a go!

workout #1

Elle :) x

P.S Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP. 


"not quite innocent" smoothie

Ladies, and gentlemen! I give to you, the "not quite innocent" smoothie! If you know why, you know...if not just google innocent smoothie ;)

Pin this ;) recipe card
So...this is what went in the blender:

quick glance recipe card
I did make a few adaptations though...
  • I substituted half the milk for water to reduce calories
  • I bought a red apple, next time I'll try a green apple 
  • Oh and of course, add your protein mix if you so wish! 

Looks like the green smoothie formula is working a treat for me ;) if you have a recipe to share, hop on over to the green smoothie formula page (click here too) and share your link in the Link Party at the bottom...or just your blog (if its health and fitness related!).

Give this one a go...let me know what you think! 

Elle ;) 


Pole Position: Back to Basics Week 3

As quick as this course began, it seemed to end. 5 one hour sessions over 3 weeks...and here I was with 2 sessions left.

Session 1, Week 3; we covered step pirouettes, fireman step and a fireman variation. Step pirouettes are simply a step and a turn finishing with your back to the pole and one knee bent - simple, glamourous and a great transition move for a routine to get from one side of the pole to the other, 

The fireman step; now this was onother move that I had not done before. Yasmin, our instructor made it look so simple and efforless. When I initially tried it, I felt like a teletubbie again (you'll remember my experience of this in Intermediate previously). Hard to explain this one, and I don't think I'm ready to recreate it so I can video it! But...it is a spin, your outside foot hooks onto the pole at the ankle whilst you step through with your inside leg. Sounds complicated...looks easy...

The session ended on a high though with the fireman spin variation. We tackled the original fireman in session 1 - this time, the spin was done wth one leg extended.

image from onlinepolestudio.com
Final session, and we covered the chair spin, a hold, and the pole climb. For me, this was ending the course on a high. In my last pole course (Intermediate 2) we had learnt the one handed chair spin. It's still hit and miss for me, but whilst trying to learn that, I actually just about managed to nail the chair spin with 2 hands. One great thing about pole too, is that you can do a lot of the spins as a static hold to allow you to get a feel for the position. You can see me pictured below doing the chair hold - I don't like this picture though - my shoulders are not relaxed enough, and the look of discomfort on my face makes me cringe :s

chair spin / hold
Then we moved onto a hold (pictured - and it's an old one). I'm unsure the name of this hold but I know I have done it before and it can also be done as a spin. Standing next to the pole, you hook your inside leg onto the pole at around waist height. By this point, your body is leaning away from the pole whilst you hold on with the arm closest to the pole. Then bring your other leg up behind the pole at the same height as the first leg. ta-daaaaaaah!

horizontal hold / spin
Last, but not least. A move I think every beginner poler wants to learn (dependant on bravery and fear of heights)...the pole climb (pictured - another old one). The way by which you can get to the very top of the pole...look down and wonder how you get back down (fireman slide of course!). This one reminds me a bit of a caterpillar...knees up, arms up, knees up...

pole climb...and pose ;)
Throughout the beginners course, I've also been testing out the Nike Studio Wraps and the pole climb was the first time I had to take them off. To climb the pole you need to grip the pole with the font of your foot, however, the straps on the studio wraps go right over the very place I needed grip which would have made it unsafe for that particular move. More on the studio wraps coming up in my next Sport'n Style post so keep an eye out if you are interested...

Nike Studio Wraps in black and pink
One week after finishing the course, and I feel a little lost without it. As usual, I will continue to train whilst not poling so that when I go back I will be stronger and ready to work hard! 

My pole story doesn't have an end...so sometime soon, there will be more ;) 

Yours in Pole, 

Elle :) x


Train to Inspire: May Recap

I'm back! ...We know April was a struggle...erm, May was a struggle too! I'm still enjoying working towards my goals for 2013, but I have decided to put together some short term (monthly goals) to help keep / get me back on track. First up, let me tell you how May went...

Goal 1: Completed March 2013

Goal 2:
I've continued to get as much stretching in as possible meeting my goal of stretching at least 3 times per week (after running, classes etc.). I attended Body Balance twice over the month, as well as stretching in the five pole sessions I attended. 

Goal 3:
I can report that I have gone from zero to hero. 3 actually...3 unassisted pull ups. That's what I can do now and I'm proud. I've had my pole classes over the last month, along with pushing myself hard using the Nike Training Club (NTC) app. My core has been worked hard during my NTC app gym sessions and we also did core work at every pole session over the 3 weeks. 
I ventured back to Body Pump last week. I had given it a rest whilst I was poling as I needed to save my energy. I now have DOMS in my chest especially and can confirm that I definitely did work hard in class. I'm ready for the new program to start to allow me to see how much I can improve over the 3 months. 

Goal 4:
I clocked up a mere 8.45km in May. But I'm ready to get back on track; I stopped hiding from Coach G, and we are about to go in. I was tasked with completing a 5km run as fast as I could on Sunday gone; I'll send the info over to Coach G, who will take a look at my splits and decide how to progress to get me race ready for July. Mind over matter, remember?! 

Goal 5: 
This has to be the best goal; the one where anything goes! In my bid to try new things, I gave climbing a go! It was blooming hard work but a great upper body workout! 

I also got going with golf which you can read all about soon!

I shared with you some fitspiration to help keep us on track for the rest of the year! You have to keep your eye on the goal! 

Part of my fitspiration was to try out smoothies as a way to increase my daily fruit and vegetable intake. I found a great guide on Pinterest which you can use to build your own perfect green smoothie! I also started my first link party here on keep it simpElle where you can share your recipes and / or your blog! Head on over and add your links! It's open until the end of June!

May did have some highlights though...

One of them being that I hit the 1.5 million NikeFuel milestone! 

Finally here are my goals for June:

1. Meet my NikeFuel goal 5 out of each 7 days
2. Attend a minimum of 3 yoga style classes
3. Practice splits once per week (minimum)
4. Progress to 4 unassisted pull ups
5. Complete weekly programs given to me by Coach G
6. Try a new class 

How are your goals going?! Did you find some Fitspiration in May?! Leave a comment below and let me know!

Elle ;) x
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