And the Winners are...

The March YMCAfit Newsletter hit my inbox and here is what they said...

"We are delighted to announce the winners of our ‘Become the face of YMCAfit’ competition. After receiving an overwhelming number of applicants, these lucky eight were selected:

Mark James Barton Hill
Amanda Drake
Nathan Howes
Sonam Bligh
Megan O'Neil
Natalie Sant
Danielle Linton
Wendy Walker

The winners took part in a photoshoot on 12 February 2013. Keep an eye out for our new adverts to see the outcome of the day. We’ll also have blogs and videos coming soon which will give you an insight into our winners.

For those who can’t wait, visit the YMCAfit Facebook page for a few shots from the day."

My image also featured in their story about new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and is on their website for the High Intensity Training course!

I used one of their images as my LinkedIn profile picture and also on the About Elle page here on Keep it simpElle...

Keep an eye out for more to come...
Elle ;) x


Kicks: Training versus Running

So remember the tips I shared with you about running?! Number 1 being to have the right footwear for running?! ...well it's just as important to have the right shoes for training... And they should most definitely not be the same shoe! The reason being that specialist moves need specialist shoes.

When you run, you move in just a forward motion. Therefore, running shoes are built with support for that plane of movement. They then have cushioning to allow for shock absorption as well as thicker heels and midsoles. The sole should also have a slight curvature to aid your toe off when running and help speed you up a tad bit! The only flexibility needed in a running shoe is through the toe area. 

I've been running in the same pair of asics for years now! They seem to do a great job for me! I also have a pair of flyknits which come under the neutral ride in Nike shoes. This means they have the cushioning required of a running shoe but aren't very supportive around the foot. People with injuries or running styles which include over pronation require a more supportive shoe. So it was time for an upgrade...

To the Nike Lunarglide 5's ...a shoe in the stable ride category and pretty in pink. I featured them in my Sport'n Style Summer Wish List and was lucky enough to win a pair through the Zico App competition :)

running shoes 

Then we move onto training. This includes anything from your aerobics classes to weight lifting. Training exercises differ to running in that they are multi directional. So you don't just move forward...you move backward...side to side...jumping even. A training shoe is designed with all these things in mind including flexibility, lateral support and cushioning. You want your training shoe to allow you to stay agile whilst absorbing shock and providing support. 

The latest shoe to hit our wardrobes from Nike are the Free Bionics perfect for use in Nike Training Club classes and such. They are designed for high intensity training and are the closest to barefoot you can get to date!

training shoes

Oh and then life isn't all training and no play... So here are my choices for when I'm not running or in the gym! 

Air Max 1 Essential 

Dunk Sky Hi
So forget diamonds...I just need kicks! 

Elle ;) x


I like to move it - Kettlebell Swing

We've all seen these hunks of metal sitting there...just sitting there at the side of the gym floor. It seems no one is brave enough to pick up this piece of equipment and get the workout of their life...

The Kettlebell 

Some though that tackle this, use the wrong technique which we know can cause injury. So here I am with a little advice on the first exercise you should try with a kettlebell - the (double armed) kettlebell swing. 

Its a simple exercise that burns fat, builds strength and improves cardiovascular fitness all at the same time. What more could we want?! 

The kettlebell swing works the muscles in the hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, pecs as well as grip.


nb: images adapted from Nike Women Pinterest


Beginners - 5 sets of 5 reps using <12kg kettlebell
Intermediate / Advanced - up to 10 sets of 10 reps using >12kg kettlebell

I completed my kettlebell training with YMCAfit some months ago enabling me to incorporate many different kettlebell moves into Personal Training sessions or even deliver an entire class using a kettlebell...which is a fabulous workout!

If you want results, all you have to do is add this simple move into your training...

Elle :) 

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. 


A Runners Need...

Last night, I popped along to the Runners Need Southwark Bridge store for an exclusive women's event all about running!


Not a bad start being greeted by cupcakes...and champagne...

welcome ;)

The event consisted of a few short talks from Christina MacDonald ( Women's Running Magazine), a run coach, physiotherapist, Nike EKIN (talking about footwear) along with 15% discount in store and the opportunity to be measured for sports bras by Shock Absorber. According to the programme I had, Yurbuds were supposed to be there...but nothing was said...

Nike EKIN talk

Anyway, I found the first talk to be the most interesting...and came away with quite a few tips to share with you guys...so here goes...

Tip: the most important pieces of kit when you begin running are shoes and a sports bra

Tip: don't compare yourself with other people 

Tip: start with a walk / run programme and build up gradually 

Tip: be consistent with training. Plan your sessions for the week in advance 

Tip: on days where you are lacking motivation, try and 'out and back' run - run to a certain place then try to run back quicker! 

Tip: cross training is important! 

Tip: vary your run route to eliminate boredom

Tip: don't do hard sessions back to back...utilise recovery runs. 

Tip: build mileage slowly. Use the 10% rule - don't increase mileage more than this per week

Tip: weaknesses can be magnified when you increase mileage. 

Tip: keep a running diary - note down emotions as well as your physical state

Tip: remember to hydrate

.....okay so there is a lot here! ...and I even have a few more that I can maybe share shortly! In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like me to expand on any particular tip just leave a comment below :) 

We also got a fab goody bag with lots of bits including some cliff bars, vita coco, sweatbands, blister plasters and more! You know if I end up loving anything in particular I will share more with you! 

goody bag!

Happy Running Guys & Gals!

Elle :) x


12 minute simpElle workout

Following my recent post about the effectiveness of a twelve minute workout, I decided to construct one just for y'all! ...no equipment needed whatsoever and of course, time efficient! So no excuses...give it a go and let me know what you think....

(p.s. see below for a link or brief description on how to perform these exercises)

12 minutes...

Squat jumps; Perfect Form: Squats

Walk outs; Start from a standing position with feet hip width apart. Bend from your hips and touch you toes; try to keep your legs straight. Walk your hands out until you are in a plank position...hold for 3 seconds, then walk your hands back to your feet (still keeping your legs straight) and return to standing. 

For other workouts, drill packs and general workout inspiration take a look at the Drill Packs page...

Enjoy and remember..you get out what you put in ;) 

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.  


Top Posts... In my opinion #blogiversary

Last month in the lead up to the keep it simpElle 1 year blogiversary I shared with you the statistical top posts of all time. Of course I love those posts, but there are a few that stick out for me, maybe for different reasons so I'm sharing my favourites with you as part of my blogiversary series each Friday in July!

First on my list...

survival tips

Elle's Top 10 Survival Tips; I wrote this post just as I was tackling my first and so far only half marathon last year! I followed my own advice and survived the event! These tips can be used for any half marathon and are a great quick guide. I guess they are worth a read even if you are just in the consideration stage of running a half. It was a very rewarding experience and I'm glad I had the pleasure of sharing all here!

The Pole Story; If you've been following this blog you will know I have a love for Pole fitness. It's a great full body workout and I have never stopped learning! I even got a chance to teach some beginner classes while in Finland. This post is all about how I got started in Pole...it even continues to inspire me on my journey in Pole. 

night run

Ten Minutes with Nicola Adams; Just a few months ago, I had the honour of interviewing 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Nicola Adams while attending the Energizer Night Run. It was a great event, and this was just a bonus! Have a read to see what questions I came up with to ask her...


Taking it to a New Level to Find Greatness; Last but not least, this day was one to remember! My most active day in 2012, inspired by a Nike campaign called #FindGreatness. As the title says, I took it to a new level! You'll have to read the post to find out how... ;) 

I could go on...I really could...but I won't! 

Maybe you have a favourite post you have read here on keep it simpElle?! Let me know; leave a comment below! 

Elle :) x


Life on the Up - Week 1

For the last 7 days or so I have been a fitness gadget fanatic :) that's what it felt like anyway, with my oh so loyal Fuelband on my right wrist, and my recently won Up band by Jawbone on left wrist. I won the Up via #TheEveryDayActive challenges run by Zico coconut water here in London. 

I don't know about you, but my knowledge of the Up was limited and it seems yours may be too as when I scanned my friends lists via the iPhone app it seems I have no friends who own one that I can compete or share this journey with. Nike Fuelband 1 point...Up...nil points! 

So here is a little write up sharing some of the features of the Up band in comparison with the Nike Fuelband (NFB)...

What do they measure?

welcome screen

Up: like the fuelband, it is a wristband and app that tracks how you sleep, move and eat - then helps you to use that information to feel your best. It measures your movement using steps, and also contains the option of a food diary. 
NFB: this device measures your moves and turns them into NikeFuel. It also measures your steps each day and calculates calories burned.

Talk to me about goal setting...

goal setting

Up: you can set a goal for the amount of steps you are aiming for in a day (I set mine at the recommended 10,000) and for the amount of sleep you would like to get each night (I set mine for 8 hours per night). 

NFB:  you set a goal for the amount of NikeFuel you want to earn each day (I set mine at 3,000 which is described as an active day). 

Tell me about the armband itself...y'know...is it pretty?! 

packaged Up

Up: the one I have is blue, you know I would choose pink if I could :) It's not unattractive at all, but it is kinda unique looking...just like a bracelet. The battery should last 10 days when fully charged depending on how often you sync (which is via the headphone socket on my phone). It has one button discreetly on the end and the plug bit has a cover which hides and protects at the same time. There are two symbols which light up when the button is pressed - a sun and a moon. It is splashproof by the way...not waterproof so no swimming!
NFB: I currently have the white ice (I previously had the original matt black) although it is a shade of grey / brown since being on my wrist for 4 months! The battery lasts a long time...can't remember how long exactly but probably on par with the Up. Useful that when the battery is low it does tell you via the display. It has one button which lights up said display - feature a series of lights which start of red and end in green depending on how far you have progressed towards reaching your goal for the day. The USB connection is hidden in the closure of the band so is also well protected. The NFB is also just splash proof and you sync via bluetooth. 

What is the app like?

tracking goals

Up: the app is great :) really sleek and easy to navigate. From the app you can sync your armband to see your progress towards your goals, view helpful tips to help you meet your goals, connect to other apps such as MyFitnessPal or Runkeeper and even set alarms!
NFB: after the recent update the app has been way more friendly. It has lots of graphs and leaderboards to get the ol' competitive spirit going huh!? When you meet your goal, the little digital guy, Fuelie comes to give you a shout out :) I know he is not real, but he is cute and a little motivating! 


sleep data

Up: yup. Because the band measure your sleep you can set it to wake you up...at an optimum time for your body. It does so by vibrating lightly which so far has been successful for me every time! It wakes you up in a window of time which means it chooses when you are in a light sleep which is better for your body! 
NFB: no alarms...

You mentioned hooking up to other apps...explain more...

Up: you can hook up to MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper and a host of other health apps which I haven't even heard of. You can also share your results via Facebook and Twitter. Not quite sure why it hooks up to the first two though as it seems none of the information transfers over...so if I enter my food in one, I have to do it in the other...sound pointless to you?!
NFB: you can hook up to Facebook, Twitter and Path where you can share your results and shout outs (y'know, like when you smash your daily goal say by 50%). 

Any extra features?! 

Up: extras include a stopwatch, idle alert for when you sit still too long, power nap to ensure you don't sleep too long and you can also log your exercise in a day. 
NFB: it tells the time! Believe me this has come in useful quite a number of times! 

So, what is your overall verdict?! 

Up: Love it! But as someone who well knows the benefits of being active and exercise I think it may not be aimed at me. 
NFB: I haven't been wearing it for over a year for no reason now! LOVE it :) makes me feel bad on lazy days...helps me to set targets for the week as well as just for the day and I find it motivating! 

Me thinks that Life on the Up - week 2, will be brought to you by Mum... what d'ya say Mum?! 

Elle :) 


The British 10km #MyMoments

I would like to start this post with some "Thank Yous". First of all, I would like to thank my hip flexors for staying strong until the final kilometre. I would then like to thank water for being an invaluable resource especially when mixed with kona cola nuun for a caffeine hit. Oh, and thanks to McDonald's for the breakfast of champions...

making my way to the event

So here is my race rundown from The British 10k London Run, Sunday 14th July...

The Good:
I was pleased to see this year that the bag drops were much more secure and better staffed; I didn't risk it anyway and took nothing of any value to me. I then took the 1.25km stroll towards the start line...

It was a bit of a slow start with the crowds but this is to be expected...all after listening to Katrina (from Katrina & The Waves) sing 'I'm walking on sunshine'...the irony...more like, I'm standing in sunshine...
The course was a mix of flat, gradual inclines and declines but nothing that made you have to dig really deep. Shade was minimal and the sun was strong (see The Ugly)...and some were even running in full costume!

Stupid me didn't wear a hat (or visor with my 'fro)...nor sunglasses...which I think would have helped. There were plenty of water stations though...at 3km, 4.5km, 7km at the finish. Believe me, these kept me going especially when I added the nuun tablets I packed in my T-shirt pocket (yup, T-shirts made for running can have a small pocket...useful!!). I also drank plenty of Zico Coconut water pre race and had a frozen bottle for post race which was perfectly chilled by the time I came to drink it :)

Music wasn't helping me one bit, especially as I spent most of the time fiddling with my headphones which repeatedly fell out! In the end I turned the music down, kept just one ear in and enjoyed the cheers from the ma-hu-sive crowds lining the streets and all the virtual cheers from friends via (Nike+) Facebook and Twitter. A huge Thank You again to my friends for the support! and this one guy who looked straight at me between 6km and 7km, gave me some motivating words, made me smile and kept me going...

I didn't see (notice) any official photographers around the course but I did notice plenty at the finish line. I hope I managed to crack a smile...we'll see if they caught it! The walk back to the bag drop was short and sweet...I got my bag, medal, changed my t-shirt and I was off! ...Not like RTTB last year where I think I waited 45 mins to get my bag back!

Then, the best part...the race bling ;) I think it speaks for itself in the picture! Am proud to add it to my collection...just my second for 2013!

race bling

The Bad:
Last year, I thought the weather was awful; hard, heavy rain. In hindsight, I would take that weather over the weather we had today! Today decided to be the hottest day of the year so far at 31 degrees. I set off for the race at 5:50am at which time there was a cool, refreshing breeze. Unfortunately, the breeze seemed to have diminished by the time I reached Central London, and even more so when packed in the middle of a crowd of thousands....and thousands. Standing in the crowd waiting to start for 45 minutes didn't help the situation much either...but I was lucky to be close to the front! ...My thinking was, the sooner I start, the sooner I finish...

I did contemplate crying at about the 6km mark! Rain would have been useful to mask this but instead I stayed strong. Usually I get into my stride at around 2km, but today I only came close to getting into my stride at past the 6km mark when I decided to carry on rather than cry!

The Ugly:
The start and finish was so confusing...I think they were the same place, marked only by two red double decker London buses. No signage that actually said start...and no motivating signage that said finish making me want to sprint to the finish line...jheeeeeez! In fact, signage was at a minimum all round...maybe less flags more signage next time!?

the start line...maybe the finish line too...I'm not sure

Today's race was nowhere near a PB and I am so grateful that I achieved my initial goal back in April at the Energizer Run. My official time came in at 1:08:24. I am a little disappointed, but proud at the same time for even finishing this race.

Still 5 months left in 2013 to work on improving my PB for 10k! I'll be looking into races (and gear) which I can use as a focus for training...

Elle :) x


Fitness is about keeping it simpElle

As part of my Blogiversary Month (July 2013) I will be sharing a post each Friday specifically relating to the past and future of Keep it simpElle :)

This is a repost from Fitblogger. The original can be found here.

I've heard it so many times before; Knowledge is Power. It's applicable in all areas of life including when it comes to your health, fitness, nutrition and well being. If you went to the doctor and (s)he gave you medication to take each day (I hope) you would ask why. Quite often though we follow programs from magazines and Personal Trainers (just like myself) without asking why or understanding how. Why not be empowered with knowledge?

I'm a theorist...I love to learn...and I love to share my knowledge. That's another fundamental of Keep it simpElle...sharing. I firmly believe that when you exercise, quality should come before quantity. So do you know how to squat? and why squats are such a good exercise? Wouldn't a squat be more worthwhile if you knew why and how?! ...What about when you have nailed a basic exercise such as Plank...where do you go then? Progress Your Plank, of course! ...Be empowered!

With all the empowerment, it's time to be inspired! Today you don't fancy a crazy, high intensity cardio workout?! That's fine! There are a plethora of activities out there that work as good as the next one! I personally am an advocate of Pole Fitness. My Pole Story began quite a few years ago and has contributed to me building upper body strength, core strength, grace and control of my body. You might find inspiration at Keep it simpElle to seek out a Ragga dance class, buy a bicycle or add yoga to your routine.

Lets not get ahead of ourselves though! Before we can be empowered, and before we can be inspired, we need to be motivated. We need good reason to get out of bed and (delete as appropriate) get to the gym / go for a run / hit up that Pilates class. That's my goal - to motivate you! Motivation is a 'dry weather' friend to me...always deserting me when the going gets tough. I want you to know that I'm not invincible...nor is your own Personal Trainer. We all have our strengths and sometimes we need to challenge ourselves and work on our weaknesses for a more rounded fitness experience. I decided to make 2013 the year that I take running seriously. I got a run coach, set a goal and share every kilometre of my journey, both highs and low, with you...to motivate you...

So come meet me and my friends over at Keep it simpElle; read what we have to share from drill packs, recipes to events and share your journey with us!

Be motivated. Be inspired. Be empowered.

Elle ;) x

Elle of Keep it simpElle can also be found on Twitter and Pinterest.


Train to Inspire: June Recap

So it's definitely summer...for the time being anyway! I guess this is what everyone has been working towards, huh?!Thankfully, my goals go beyond summer...which is a good job after the June that I had. Personal reasons made it difficult for me to remain active and I had what would be the most inactive month since I ever began records.  therefore, I'm keeping this brief, but positive with a short write up on what I did do along with my plans for July :)


Goal 1: Completed March 2013

Goal 2:
I attended one Yiin Yoga class which focused on the hips; lots of long deep stretching.

Goal 3:
Lots of cycling during June really did do wonders for my core :) I also taught 3 beginner pole sessions which ensured I worked on upper body and core strength demonstrating the moves over, and over, and over again!

pole practice

Goal 4:
I clocked up just under 14km this month

Goal 5: 
- I compiled and shared my first workout for y'all (Quick & SimpElle Workout #1)
- I moved back to London #HelloLondon
- No new activities this month :(
- The New YMCAfit campaign launched! You can see my pictures here and there and I'll be bringing you the full write up soon :)

YMCAfit Facebook banner  (c) YMCAfit

Finally here are my goals for July:

1. Meet my NikeFuel goal 4 out of each 7 days
2. Complete the July abs challenge 
3. Practice splits once per week (minimum)
4. Progress to 4 unassisted pull ups
5. Run once per week after the British 10km on July 14th
6. Try 2 new classes

july abs challenge
How are your goals going?! Have you had any set backs? and how have you dealt with them?! Leave a comment below and let me know how things are going!

Elle ;) x


GYMBOX Bloggers Champion Challenge

Just a few days ago, I managed to get myself involved in said event. It was what it said on the tin...7 health and fitness bloggers, pitted against one another in a workout to the death! ...okay...not quite death...but it sure felt like it wasn't far off!

Let me just tell you, here and now, I came in a respectable 4th place in this CrossFit style competition. I knew there was a reason I hadn't braved CrossFit before, and this confirmed my beliefs!

Rusty, our trainer for the session, came prepared with a full schedule of workouts to put us through our paces at GYMBOX  Farringdon.

Workout Of (the) Day (WOD) 1
Tabata Row - 8 rounds of 20 secs with 10 secs rest (4 mins total)
Score: Total calories burned 

instruction time

erm, did I volunteer for this?!
Sled push - maximum distance in 60 secs 
Rest - 60 seconds  Tyre flips - maximum in 60 secs
Score: Total distance in metres 

...I'm not going first!!

head down, knees up...

flippin' heck!

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) 5 mins of 'Cindy'
5 TRX rows
10 hand release push ups
15 squats
Score: Total reps

ready...get set...


row, row, row your boat...

Tabata sits ups - 8 rounds of 20 secs with 10 secs rest (4 mins total)
Score: Total reps

toes...and breathe...
Totally exhausted at the end, but totally enjoyed every minute of it which I'm sure was down to a great trainer and great (technically team) blogger mates ;) Emma from Lunges & Lycra came in 1st...she didn't just win though...she smashed it! Well deserved...and bagging herself a years membership at GYMBOX too. 

Emma (left) and Charlotte of @lunges&lycra
On the subject of GYMBOX. Remember my friend Gemma? We followed her journey into the CrossFit world earlier this year...well, just last week she launched a new class at GYMBOX Farringdon called Wonder Woman which is an Olympic weightlifting class. The class is available to both members and non members (at a cost) so I'm hoping to get myself down there as soon as possible!

Oh, and remember when I got my groove back at Ragga with Alicja?! Well, Alicja also just launched a Ragga class at GYMBOX too! ...sounds like GYMBOX is just my kinda gym huh?!

The old cliche, "it's about the taking part", was actually true in this case! Some of the ladies I had known from social media and others I hadn't (yet) but it was great to meet everyone offline and enjoy together what we spend so much time writing about! We left with huge smiles and a great goody bag filled with coconut water, DVD's and more...

Check out everyone who took part over on twitter...look out for their write ups too :)

7th - Charlotte @lunges&lycra
6th - Sya @SoniaYasminAli
5th - Lu Lu @gymwatch 
4th - Elle @X_eLle_S
3rd - Georgina @fitcetera 
2nd - Lorna @shoebird 
1st - Emma @lunges&lycra 

Rusty (our trainer) @motiv8rusty


team spirit :)

with our trainer, Rusty 
And today marks day 1 of my training for the next challenge!! ...you should be in it to win it after all ;) Marc who documented the evidence in photographs!

well I never, I survived :)

Elle :)

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