Sport'n Style: February 2013

My winter boots
I'd like to be able to tell you that the weather is warming up in London but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case! We've had our fair share of snow so far in 2013 but I have been prepared :)

Luckily I recently purchased some very sensible shoes which have served me well in this unpredictable weather! They look like Caterpillar boots but are actually by Nike! They have a soft furry inner lining which keeps toes and feet warm, with a durable upper to keep out the wet and cold.

This month, I also purchased a few key pieces for my own personal workout wardrobe. I got a stunning emerald green sports bra in Forever 21. I actually had my eye on the cobalt blue version but they didn't have my size left. On my Intermediate 2 pole course, some of the moves require contact with our stomach region so if I must sport a sports bra alone I want it to be hot! In addition to this bra, I got a pair of print leggings from Nike. So far I have been running in them and taught my NTC class in them. I love the mesh panel at the back of the knee; looks stylish and also creates more breathability!

Forever 21 Sports Bra - around  £7.50

My final, and most favourite February items are the Nike Sphere Hoodie that I now own in black and my Nike Free's TRIII. The hoodie has an awesome diamond shaped texture with beautiful details such as silver tips on the strings and zips. It also has the thumb holes on the sleeves which help to keep the wind out in the chill. Every time I have worn it someone has complimented me on it so it must be pretty special :) The trainers are so comfy, flexible and look good. My pair are grey with magenta laces and accents.

Sphere Hoodie

What has made it into your wardrobe while you wait for Spring to arrive? Or is there something you have your eye on?!

Elle :) x


Guest Post: Exercise Your Lady Marmalade

Burlesque… Yes, it’s a work out!

I'm a bit of a fan of an evening class, and a huge fan of dancing, so imagine my excitement when amongst the offers of hair removal, novelty USB sticks and manicures, a discount email offered me a deal on a six week Burlesque course with Twist & Pout.

I turned up at my first class with no expectations other than to feel fabulous and perhaps pretend, for just a few moments, that I was Dita Von Teese... In a basement bar in the City, my classmates (about twenty women of all ages, shapes and sizes) and I met our teacher, the beautiful and bubbly Lauren, a trained dancer with a mega-watt smile and endless legs.

As a bit of a front-row keeno, I was quick to immerse myself in the Burlesque ‘personality’ warm-up, the aim of which was to get us all relaxed, unembarrassed and embracing our inner Immodesty Blaize. For those not as keen (read ‘show-offy’) as me, the entire class and the atmosphere is very relaxed, with no pressure to perform perfectly, and Lauren never, ever singles anyone out. If you were happy to bumble along quietly on the back row, there was no need to come to the front.

I wore what I felt most comfortable in: Black leggings, a leotard (I did say I was a front-row keeno!) and my black work heels. My classmates were in everything from their office suit to the full burlesque get-up, complete with elbow-length gloves and a fluffy boa. One routine is taught per hour-long class, and several of the routines require props such as gloves and boas, and these are supplied.

Elle's take on Burlesque for an evening out :)
The music is what really made the class fun for me- that and Burlesque the facial expressions. Sing-a-long classics by Etta James and Peggy Lee helped get us all into character; it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself when you’re shimmying your shoulders to ‘Fever’ by the mighty Peggy Lee.

The facial expressions – or poses – are hilarious and a chance to really get into the Burlesque state of mind: Lauren teaches the wink, the ‘c’mere’ beckon, the cheeky face and the naughty bum-slap. Combine these with learning how to own a room with a strut that would put Beyonce to shame, and using your thighs to work slow hip circles down to the floor and up again, Burlesque is a workout. I didn't sweat buckets, but I definitely worked hard and with some of the faster routines/ combinations, there was an obvious cardiovascular element.

Aside from the exercise element of Burlesque, the most important thing for me was how much fun I had. It was a great release after work, with no pressure on performance, just sheer good fun. If your inner minx has gone astray, Burlesque is an excellent way to rediscover a flirty, playful side to your personality, as well as giving you confidence in your body and your personality.

So if you see a woman, strutting down the street with a playful smile on her face, she’s probably just come out of a Burlesque class. Why not join her?!

Written by Lex Rees (@Lexilicious21)


Pole Position: Your Kit Bag

So I hope I've inspired a few of you to try Pole after writing about My Pole Story and also about my journey through the last course I completed (Intermediate 1). Yesterday I started the next course, Intermediate 2, which was one of my goals for 2013.

I realised that preparing for your Pole class, including packing your kit bag, is not exactly the same as packing your kit bag for the gym; so here is a little post to help.

Ensure that you do not moisturise for a day before your class. I find it best to take my shower the night before, moisturise then and by the time I come to class my skin is suitable. It's as much a health and safety issue as is is for enjoyment! It's gonna be no fun falling off a pole and frustrating if you can't do the moves because you can't get a good grip!

For the ladies; you'll be wearing shorts so ensure you shave your legs and other visible areas, cut and paint your toe nails! Maybe the toenails thing is personal to me? But I prefer to see pretty feet and toes!

In the bag
Sports bra
Outfit (vest, bra, shorts) and leg warmers
High heels
Warm up clothes (sweatpants and sweater)
Towel (to dry / clean hands, wipe down pole)
My favourite heels

I always take grip for emergencies :)
As before I'll be sharing my journey on the Intermediate 2 course with you all here on Keep it SimpElle so wish me luck and stay tuned :) Until then, check out my Yoga...Pole...Splits board on Pinterest which I use as my inspiration!

Elle :) x


Train to Run: Weeks 1 - 5 Summary


Train to Run #4

Now, this is the story all about how
My life got flipped turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there...
I'll tell you how I became to be running on air :)

Two more weeks have flown by, and my training schedule has been relentless (okay, maybe I am slightly exaggerating!) Week 3 was more of the same...complete a total of 10k but with 2 days rest. Well, of all the weeks to prescribe rest...NTC Supercharge Week! I had 5 classes to teach on top of my 9-5 job...

Well, I decided honesty was the best policy and emailing Coach G to tell him I only completed 7.5km for the week with one rest day took some courage...I eagerly awaited his response...I received it...the most diplomatic telling off ever... "Bottom line, the number of km's we have on your program at the beginning of the week is what we need completed by the end of the week in order to progress" ...

Run Club 5.5km - week 3
I did a 5.5km run on the Monday with the Nike Covent Garden Run Club; it was enjoyable to have the stunning evening views and night lights of London to run amongst in addition to the other runners and pacers. I enjoyed this so much, I signed up for a few Monday evening sessions with the Boutique Run Club in March. I completed another 2.1km during the week trying out the Cooper Run Test as well as my weekly yoga class.

Along with my week 3 feedback I also received my schedule for week 4: "14km over 4 days with 5km being completed on Sunday". No problem I thought, except I'm off doing the tourist thing in Madrid for 4 days! I managed to fit in a 3km run on the Wednesday and had to ask the boyfriend to pack his running shoes so we could do this together! So two more 3km runs and a 5km on Sunday added to all the walking made for some very tired legs...No time for yoga this week, teaching just the one class and a sore neck / shoulder from dodgy hotel pillows made this a difficult week. But heck...I'm proud for not letting my goals slip just because I was away for a few days...

Sunday 5km in Madrid
How do you cope when you are away from home? Does the support of your friends and family make the difference for you?

Before I leave you here is what's coming up in Week 5: Coach G says "This week will be lighter to let your body have a chance to recover and to let you see that light doesn't mean easy" ...So I have 5 days of sessions including intervals, Sunday 5km tempo run and a 30 minute NTC app session (Get Strong > Intermediate > Squat Party)...Tomorrow I'll post a Week 1 - 5 Training Plan Summary :)

Elle ;) x


The Early Bird catches the worm

...so they say. Is it time then to start an early rise revolution?! ...If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of a late start. Working 9 - 5 has been a stumbling block, and working weekends prevents me from sleeping past 8.30am (my new late start). One thing I have realised though is how much more I get done when I start earlier...it's just logic right?! 

Well for Supercharge Week, I taught an early bird NTC class at Nike Town London which kicked off at 7.15am. This meant a 5am alarm, out the door by 6am, at the venue for 7am. Whilst teaching, I was full of the joys of NTC barely remembering that most were yet to turn over in bed, never mind get out of bed! All to an amazing soundtrack mixed for me by DJ Cash ATM especially for the class! You can download a 60 minute mix perfect for a workout from the It's all about the TUNES post! 

By 8am when class finished, I had earned myself 2001 NikeFuel towards my 3000 NikeFuel goal for the entire day! Check out Leah's (of Naturally Leah) write up about the class I lead: Early Bird NTC with Danielle

#fuelcheck 9am

Picture from Naturally Leah
What could you achieve if you woke up 30 minutes or an hour earlier...? How can you stay supercharged?! 

“Establish a morning routine,” instructs Nike Master Trainer Sonja Moses. “A set 10-15 minute workout to start each day will keep you in training mode. Choose a variety of exercises that hit all the major muscle groups and alternate this daily with small intricate core focused exercises. The Get Focused drills on the Nike Training Club app are a neat 15-minutes and are guaranteed to wake you up.”

How about that early rise revolution?! 
Elle ;) x


Add (Nike)Fuel to your Fire...

Since the end of March 2012 I have faithfully sported my Nike fuelband every single day. It's been enjoyable, and quite a motivation but I haven't blogged about it as there has been nothing interesting to tell you outside of what has been written everywhere else...

{In a nutshell, NikeFuel counts all the activities in your daily life. Running, walking, washing up...your moves are measured and turned into NikeFuel by your Nike+ device. It's calculated the same way for everyone meaning you can compare and compete with anyone.}

Sporting my fuelband while teaching

Don't get me wrong, it's a great tool; how many gadgets would get you out of bed 10 minutes before midnight to do some jumping jacks to get you to your goal before midnight strikes?! But this is where I see a flaw...I set my own goal. I see everyone interacting with Nike via Facebook and twitter sharing their success stories of stupidly long streaks (the amount of days in a row you hit your goal). Nike claim that an active day is 3000 NikeFuel. I can hit this with a short run, an afternoon on the sofa and a little bit of housework so if I set my goal to 3000, am I really challenging myself?! Initially when I got my fuelband I spent a few days getting some base data about my activity levels. It seemed that I always came in just below 3600 so I set my goal for 3800. This was a challenge, meaning I have never had a streak longer than around 20 days whereas some people are into streaks of 200 days or more!

So I think it's time for Nike to up the game and add fuel to our fire! I think there should be a setting where the device randomly chooses your goal for the next day. Planned a lazy Sunday, but then Saturday night you get set a goal of 6k NikeFuel?! ...you're gonna have to work to hit that goal! Now THAT my dear friends is a challenge!

What do you think?! How do you set your goal?! If you were offered the choice would you take up the challenge?

Here is something else I have noticed about the fuel band:

The shoes you wear affect the fuel you earn! Wear shoes that cushion your steps and absorb the forces...get less fuel! The day I ran a half marathon (21k) I got about 6k NikeFuel due to running with light and small steps. My best day has been just over 10k...made up of running (8k) and Zumba! But then again it's all about intensity too...if two people travel 100m, one sprints and one walks, the sprinter should get more fuel!
So in 2013 I'm aiming for a 15k NikeFuel day! ...I've seen it done, but this is about challenging myself!

Have you got a fuelband?! Or maybe thinking of buying one?! ...what's your best day been so far?!

Elle ;) x


Silent Night...

I had heard all about silent discos but not yet had the chance to experience one fully. This was the night where Nike Training Club went silent disco style as part of Supercharge Week!

Attendees were greeted at the entrance with a t shirt, a bag of neon dress up goodies and a headset. Live in the space, on either side of the stage were the two DJ's...with the choice between house music or 80's throwback! I can't lie, it was tough choosing and I spent a lot of time switching back and forth. After all it is all about the tunes! ;)

At first I was reluctant to get dressed up, but I would have felt more out of place had I not! I donned my tutu, braces, leg warmers, gloves and everything else neon I was provided with! The girls all got to do a smashing workout led by Jos and Jamie, Nike Master Trainers, with the aim of earning 1000 NikeFuel using the Fuel Bands that each attendee was gifted for attending!

Me, in my dress up gear!
We ended the night with our Supercharge Week goody bag (pictured) and a lush dinner provided by Soulmatefood.
dinner by soulmatefood
dessert by soulmatefood

Supercharge goody bag 
All in all, a fabulous event with lots of NikeFuel earned! A Supercharged week indeed!

Elle ;) x


Training to Inspire: January Recap

Apparently last week was the week that most resolutions fail; hence the Supercharge week hosted by NTC! so I thought no better time to post an update on my 2013 goals! 

You can see the image on the right of my blog created for me by Nike highlights a few of the goals I am looking to achieve this year but every goal needs to be broken down into smaller more manageable portions! 

Goal 2:

I attended a Splits Workshop at Frame on 19th January; this didn't go all that great as we were in a very cold studio which is not the right place to be working on deep stretching :(. I have been attending yoga class once per week at a minimum, and also stretching after my workouts and training sessions. 

Goal 3:

Working on upper body strength w/kettlebells
I have been working hard on this area! All the girls I train have had no choice but to come along for the ride too with plenty of press ups and upper body drills in each and every class I deliver! I need to find an opportunity to measure how many full press ups I can do as a benchmark. I've been doing pull ups on the assisted machine using 40kg (meaning my weight is 20kg) so I still have a way to go there! I found this great article on how to achieve your first pull up.

The girls in class doing their press ups!
Goal 4:
I met with Coach G in mid January and talked through my goals as well as beginning my run training. You can read all about that in Train to Run #1, Train to Run #2 with more updates coming soon! My training is about to move up a gear in the next week or so...I'm half nervous with excitement and half with anticipation! 
The cheers I get during running keep me going! Thanks everyone :*
Goal 5: 
I recently got chosen to 'Become the face of YMCAfit' so I hope this serves to inspire others in the industry or those who are thinking about joining the industry! 

Goal 1:
I have not yet repeated the Intermediate 1 pole course or taken Intermediate 2...still got a couple of months to achieve this one ;)

How are your goals going?! Have you already achieved any? Or added more maybe?!

Elle ;) x

Click to read my goals:
Goal 5
Goals 3 & 4
Goals 1 & 2


Train to Run #3

So week 2 came on Monday 29th January and went in a flash! Again my goal was to clock up 10km; the reasoning behind this from Coach G is that "we need to build up endurance to make sure the body can handle the force over the race distance. Speed will come".

I ended week 2 by attending the Train to Run class with Coach G at Regents Park on Saturday morning (pictured). We side lunged, burpeed and tricep pushed our way through 60 minutes of class! We also had a track available to do lots of laps in between all of the get toned, get lean and get strong drills. I did my final 2km for the week by running to the tube station to go to class!
Train to Run class with Coach G
Monday and Saturday runs (approx 2km each)
The other 8km came on the Monday (2km) on a treadmill, and Friday (6km) also on a treadmill. I managed to fit in a yoga class, a 15 minute kettlebell session, a day of TRX training, stretching and teaching 4 Nike Training Club classes in the same week with one rest day on Wednesday!

Week 3, is another 10km in a week job, but Coach G has told me to "have 2 days of rest this week". I smiled sweetly while thinking, eeeek, how will I find two days to rest... After this "we need to make a little more progress on the endurance so this will be the last week of 10km". So I have a week to come to terms with this...

The phrase 'giving up' is NOT in my vocabulary so it's onwards I go! Afterall, I'm always telling my classes that 'pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever'...just got to work hard, stay positive, and have my end goal in mind!

Elle ;) x


Train to Run #2

My first week of training began on Monday 21st January 2013; I was keen and rearing to go! Having decided I would break up my 10km for the week into 3km/3km/3km, I thought I'd start sooner rather than later and get my first run in on Monday.

It had snowed all weekend, and after training in the snow on Sunday morning, and all run clubs cancelled for Monday evening I (happily) decided to run indoors on what some know as the 'dreadmill'! As you can see in the graph, I started off at 6kph increasing up to a 11.kph maximum (with a short lull after 2km). My run was actually 3km but I couldn't calibrate it for some reason on the Nike+ running app!

Tuesday, and I'm still rearing to go! The positive response, encouragement and faith from everyone towards my Train to Run #1 post has motivated me! That and the fact that I know if I knock off 6km by Tuesday, I have another 5 days to be more flexible with the 4km left! Again 6kph up to 11.2kph but a more steady and constant pace. I also used this run to complete the next stage of Nike Missions (check out my previous posts about these missions here and here)! I needed to earn 700 NikeFuel in 30 minutes; a mission I had failed a couple of times choosing the wrong activities! If anything would get me there, running would! 842 NikeFuel later and 7 missions in the bag, 1 to go! I finished off Tuesday with 60 minutes of yoga and 60 minutes teaching Nike Training Club.

Wednesday comes, and I'm sore with tired legs. I'm not worried though as I remember Coach G telling me that "recovery is crucial"; ...but I need to not go mad with recovery eh?! ;)

Thursday, I had 4km left to do! Lunchtime treadmill run again - I didn't trust myself to run at the weekend so I needed to get it done. My legs were well rested, and I used some caffeine shotbloks which had me buzzing! I started at 6kph and increased to a maximum of 12.5kph mostly to see what it felt like! I also taught NTC on Thursday evening which I still had plenty of enerygy for! 
The week ended with 6 hours kettlebell training on Friday (see Saved by the 'Bell), rest day Saturday (severe DOMS from kettlebells) and teaching NTC Sunday morning! 

Week 1 = sweet success! I emailed over my feedback from the week to Coach G. He said I need to include "a little more info about the way you feel after your training session"; hmmm....I did think so, but connecting feeling with training is new to me! I'm used to the numbers doing the talking! But, hey, I can but try...

How's your run training going? Which events are you working towards?

Elle :) x


So you think you're fit, huh?!

...have you ever tested your fitness though?! How do you know when you have made progress if you have no way of measuring it? The Cooper 12-minute run test is one way...

It basically predicts your VO2 max which is a measure of cardiovascular fitness (specifically cardiorespiratory endurance). All you need is a treadmill (or track) and a stopwatch. 

The aim of the game is to see what distance you can cover in the 12 minutes at a sustainable pace. SO, there's no up and down in speed throughout; you are permitted to increase or decrease the speed at the 6 minute mark only. Once you have reached 12 minutes, record the distance to the nearest 100 metres (along with age and gender) to calculate an estimate of aerobic capacity (VO2 max). 

p.s make sure you do a short warm up and cool down before you do the full 12 minutes. You can use the warm up to maybe gauge which speed you will work at during the test.

Here is the equation (it's an easy one!)

VO2 max = (distance in metres - 505) / 45 

Now check out the table below to work out where your distance places you...
AgeVery goodGoodAverageBadVery bad
13-14M2700+ m2400 - 2700 m2200 - 2399 m2100 - 2199 m2100- m
F2000+ m1900 - 2000 m1600 - 1899 m1500 - 1599 m1500- m
15-16M2800+ m2500 - 2800 m2300 - 2499 m2200 - 2299 m2200- m
F2100+ m2000 - 2100 m1700 - 1999 m1600 - 1699 m1600- m
17-20M3000+ m2700 - 3000 m2500 - 2699 m2300 - 2499 m2300- m
F2300+ m2100 - 2300 m1800 - 2099 m1700 - 1799 m1700- m
20-29M2800+ m2400 - 2800 m2200 - 2399 m1600 - 2199 m1600- m
F2700+ m2200 - 2700 m1800 - 2199 m1500 - 1799 m1500- m
30-39M2700+ m2300 - 2700 m1900 - 2299 m1500 - 1899 m1500- m
F2500+ m2000 - 2500 m1700 - 1999 m1400 - 1699 m1400- m
40-49M2500+ m2100 - 2500 m1700 - 2099 m1400 - 1699 m1400- m
F2300+ m1900 - 2300 m1500 - 1899 m1200 - 1499 m1200- m
50+M2400+ m2000 - 2400 m1600 - 1999 m1300 - 1599 m1300- m
F2200+ m1700 - 2200 m1400 - 1699 m1100 - 1399 m1100- m
Here is the VO2max chart for the guys:

Age (years)
excellent> 60> 56> 51> 45> 41> 37
above average47-5143-4839-4236-3832-3529-32
below average37-4135-3931-3429-3126-2922-25
very poor< 30< 30< 26< 25< 22< 20

And for the girls:

Age (years)
excellent> 56> 52> 45> 40> 37> 32
above average42-4639-4434-3731-3328-3125-27
below average33-3731-3427-3025-2722-2419-21
very poor< 28< 26< 22< 20< 18< 17

The last time I measured my VO2 max was in May of 2012 using the Rockport Walking Test in which I calculated my VO2 max to be 44.97 (above average according to the table above). So I think it's time to remeasure (using the Cooper test) and see if there has been any improvement! 

So who is gonna give it a go with me?! Let me know your scores in the comments section below...

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. 


Become the face of YMCAfit

Today I received a phone call to inform me that I had been chosen as one of the winners of the 'Become the face of YMCAfit'. They heldcompetition to find graduates to feature in their 2013 advertising campaign. I will be featured in  nationwide publicity across a range of online and printed media as well as having won a £125 CPD voucher. Successful applicants were selected for their passion for fitness, personal success stories and their suitability to represent YMCAfit as a brand.

I started my fitness career with YMCAfit in 2007 completing my Gym Instructor Level 2 course with them. Since then I have completed a plethora of courses and CPD all with YMCAfit including Exercise to Music Level 2, Keiser Cycle, Ante and Post Natal ExerciseKettlebells and most recently receiving my Certificate in Personal Training.  
You can read all about my qualifications and affiliations on the About Elle page.

Every course run by YMCAfit has been inspirational beginning with their tutors all the way through to the people that I meet on the course! On my Suspension Fitness course just yesterday I met a guy who once worked in a stressful city job who has given that all up to become a Personal Trainer specialising in triathlon training. There are so many different stories out there from fitness professionals about what made them choose this career path...

Personally my route has probably been a little convoluted! I began with a BSc (Hons) degree in Exercise Science graduating in 2006. I then completed all the elements of my Certificate in Personal Training separately between 2007 and 2012 fitting it in around my full time job and life in general. This route worked for me as it allowed me to work out what my areas of interest were and follow a path that was natural for me. Exercise for me, was something that I read about before 2007 but I use the inspiration of those that I train to motivate me to train and learn and share it all with those around me! 

So I'm heading off to the photoshoot in a couple of weeks! This makes me even more excited about what 2013 holds...

Elle ;) x
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