29.9.16

The Benefits of Compression Wear with #SKINSorNOTHING

When it comes to compression wear, I've dabbled. When I used to frequent long distance flights I invested in a pair of flight socks. Then I started running longer distances so invested in a pair of compression socks after I got a set of calf sleeves in a goody bag somewhere and felt that they worked really well for recovery.

Although I worked with a sportswear brand for a while, we didn't really use the word compression as to be classified as such it needed to meet specific standards. But I watched as compression gear became more and more popular even if people didn't fully understand the benefits and thought it was just a great way to make your butt look fabulous.


Leggings || SKINS Womens DNAmic Compression Tights (Junkyard Geo), £70

Compression Wear Is Not Just For Professional Athletes
So when SKINS contacted me about their range, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take my use of compression gear to another level and I picked out a pair of leggings (I'm not a fan of crops) and a matching bra. The pieces I picked out are from their new DNAmic range; an exciting collection in which they collaborated with a Sydney based street artist – James Jirat Patradoon. What really caught my eye though were the bright and bold prints which are perfect for us everyday athletes!

Why Size Matters
I spent a fair bit of time on the website figuring out the sizing as they use a unique sizing system which is based on a Body Mass Index (BMI) / anthropometrical algorithm. Since I've had the outfit (I got the leggings before the bra as I actually needed to go down a size in the bra) I've worn the leggings everywhere and for everything; spin, HIIT, running. The sizing is pretty important as you only get the full benefits of the gradient compression if your SKINS fit you properly!

The basic premise behind compression wear is that by applying pressure to particular areas of the body you provide more force to help propel blood back to your heart which increases blood flow without having to use up more energy. Dynamic Gradient Compression increases oxygen delivery to active muscles while in motion and reduces lactic-acid build-up for more power and less recovery time.

Improved Recovery And Beating The Heat
All the garments uniquely wrap and support your key muscle groups to reduce movement and focus direction for less vibration in your muscles, less soft tissue damage and therefore less soreness after you workout! ...and we all want less DOMS right?! Then you can train again sooner and get results faster! ...And having kinda had a summer in the UK it was great to know that the leggings (and all products) have built in UV protection of 50+ as well as moisture wicking properties drawing sweat away from the body quickly.


Top || SKINS DNAmic Womens Compression Vest Crop Top (Junkyard Geo), £35 

Yup, I picked the matching crop top to the tights. And yup, I have worn them both together on occasion. Usually I throw on a baggy top over the top to help break up the pattern at least until I get in the gym / studio. The bra has plenty of mesh which makes it even more breathable and the high neck means is pretty "on trend" and a style that I think suits my shape best. I've mostly worn this bra for spinning classes and teaching as it's perfect for low - medium impact workouts. I suggest you use the size calculator on the SKINS website to help you choose your size and save any faffing with returns and exchanges!

SKINS use the very bold hashtag #SKINSorNOTHING as they are confident that their scientifically proven compression wear can more than rival all other functional base layers out there! ...and to be fair, I think I might agree!

If you wanna pick up a piece or two yourself, you can use the code SIMPELLE-SKINS20 to get 20% off your purchase valid until 13th October 2016 (on all web purchases excluding already discounted products). Do let me know if you make a purchase and your thoughts once you've tried them!

Do you use compression wear when you workout?! Have you tried any SKINS products before?!


Elle :) 

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28.9.16

#InspiredBy How to Get Legs Like a Track Cyclist


If you saw an Olympic track cyclist stand on the podium earlier this year and wished you had their legs as much as you had their medal, this guide to building a world-class pair of cycling legs is for you.

Aside from having exceptional stamina, a fierce competitive streak and a quality bike, riding to victory requires strong, toned and reactive leg muscle groups but they can only be built with a solid, on and off-bike training regime.

On-Bike Training: Road Cycling
Track cycling requires particular skills suited to the smooth, sloping, circular terrain of the velodrome, but those skills are built out on the open road where cardiovascular endurance and leg strength are developed.

City biking is good for practicing sprint starts and tight corners. Endurance and muscular strength can be achieved by taking to a variety of on and off-road terrains while turbo rollers at home can help develop balance.

Of course, maintaining a well-rounded road bike training regimen requires a bicycle that can comfortably handle all kinds of environments and for that, something like the Specialized Hybrid Bike is ideal.

Depending on your current fitness levels, you should aim to complete 4-7 hours road cycling per week that includes a variety of short, intense rides of 10-30 minutes and duration rides over flats and hills.

Photo Credit: my buddy Anneleen

Track Cycling 
As already mentioned, track cycling requires particular handling and acceleration skills and the only way to develop them is to head to your nearest velodrome.

There’s a choice of indoor and outdoor venues across the UK and most of them offer training sessions, club membership and track accreditation courses. If you’re serious about track cycling, it’s worth taking advantage of these services.

If you can, aim to spend 1-2 hours of your overall weekly cycling hours at the track.


Off-Bike Training: 
Olympic cyclists like Chris Hoy don’t develop “colossal 27in thighs” through cycling alone and neither can you.

Gym Training 
Squats: They’re one of the easiest ways to build muscle in the thighs, hamstrings and glutes but you don’t need to do hundreds of them. Try 2-3 set of ten reps but do them slowly. Plant your heels, keep your back straight and focus on activating and controlling muscle groups on the way down and on the way up for the best results.

Deadlifts: Lifting weights will challenge your legs to work harder causing the muscular hypertrophy responsible for cellular growth, but while powerful thighs are the aim, remember that bulk and power should be complemented with flexibility. Do 5-8 sets of 3-5 reps with a rest period of 1 minute between them, once or twice a week.

Sit-Ups, press-ups and pull-ups: Track cycling requires great balance and that can only be achieved with a strong core and upper body so vary your gym time to incorporate exercises that work all the muscle groups.

Swimming 
Because it’s low-impact, swimming helps you build cardiovascular strength and adopt good breathing technique while developing joint and muscle tone and flexibility without putting any stress on them. Swim once or twice a week and vary your stroke, distance and speed to maximise the benefits.

Rest and Recovery 
Obtaining the best results from any kind of training regime means balancing exercise with rest days, quality sleep and good nutrition.

Rest and Recovery: Taking one or two days a week off from exercise is advisable but it doesn’t mean being completely inactive. Go for a walk, do some yoga or get a deep tissue sports massage. Giving your muscles time to recover will help achieve maximum power from them in your next training session.

Nutrition: Strong, responsive and healthy muscles require the right kind of fuel so take care to eat a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins and complex carbohydrates.

Whether you want to invest in a hybrid bike, turbo trainer and new cycling accessories or just get quality advice on the right biking equipment for you, contact the experts at Formby Cycles.

Have you tried track cycling before?! 

Elle :) 

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p.s this is a collaborative post with Formby Cycles, but you know me, all views and opinions are always my own ;)

27.9.16

Elle About Town: The Launch of Bests Cycle

September sees the launch of Bests Cycle... indoor cycling classes brought to us by one of London's newest but banging studios located in Charing Cross, Bests Bootcamp


I was lucky enough to get to go along to a preview class in the week before launch so check it all out! On the other hand, I wasn't so lucky as the air conditioning wasn't working so I can't differentiate the sweat caused from working and from the heat - we were assured it would be fixed by launch so you lucky lot will have a much cooler experience! 


Truth be told, on the evening of class I wasn't quite feeling myself; I felt a little devoid of personality, tired and unenthusiastic. I was just days away from L'etape London and quite frankly I think anxiety was beginning to get the better of me. I also partied the evening before, feeling a little worse for wear and having slept funny my neck and shoulders were ridiculously tight and sore. Anyway, I put on my tights du jour and dug deep to get in my final minutes on the saddle before my ride. 


Prepare for an intimate experience; the studio is a moderate size and I literally spent ages (probably 20s) trying to pick which bike would be the ideal spot for me! I love to have a good view of the instructor and other people in the class too. 

I'm sweating right now just thinking about this class; a 45 minute full body workout on the bike broken up with a track using hand weights to work your upper body and core a little bit more! Our Instructor for the evening, Abi, was full of infectious high energy which was just what we needed to be honest. That and all the tunes. The music wasn't really to my taste (I clearly like it a bit grimier! haha! and with more of a deep baseline!) but that's half the issue with spin - finding an instructor who plays the tunes you like and has the attitude that you also like in an instructor! 




Our much needed post workout fuel came courtesy of their own fuel bar in the form of protein smoothies. I can't remember which one I actually had, but it wasn't half bad and vegan protein (on this occasion at least) came as standard. That, and the chilled towels were perfect to kickstart our recovery! 

If you can make it down for a class, your first is just a tenner, so grab a mate (these things are always better with a friend, huh?!) and get down there!


What's your favourite class right now?! If you're a fan of spin, what's great about your favourite class?! 


Elle :) 

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20.9.16

Elle About Town: Adidas #PUREBoostX Launch Run

Thinking back, I realise that I jumped on the hype of these trainers when they were released earlier this year I think, but never actually got around to writing anything about them on the blog.


But a couple weeks ago whilst I was scrolling through Twitter (as you do) I came across an event at Runners Need in conjunction with Adidas and 1Rebel. Being a free event I jumped in and booked myself a place before actually really contemplating if I was physically able to run right about now. Anyway, the day came and I was knackered... But I went along anyway. Because, you know, the social side of running makes up for everything else!


The main point of the event was to have the chance to trial the Pure Boost X; a female specific training shoe which features a floating arch (basically a gap between the upper and the sole of the shoes) that is advertised as hugging and supporting your arch and moulding to your feet.

In the excitement and training of the days leading up to to event, I actually forgot I owned these trainers (I got them at 50% off via Sweatshop and My Vitality Insurance discount). On the schedule after swapping out my shoes for the Pure Boost X was a 45minute RESHAPE class at 1Rebel with Master Trainer, Melissa Weldon. I was so tired and sore (it's rest day y'all!) that I had to take it super chilled in class; normally the class is a mixture of treadmill and floor workout but on this occasion I did a double floor session. Once class was done, we had a little 3km run to the Runners Need Kings Cross store with fellow fitness blogger, Adrienne of That's My Mum where we set about to cool down and the have a little in store party.



First stop for me was the food (I'd had no appetite all day but that little run brought it back), then the gif photobooth, then the food again before grabbing a goody bag and heading home for my head to hit the pillow.



But the shoes. I do love them. They've been my go to shoes when I need something comfortable and flexible. I also can wear them for short runs but anything over 10km and I physically need a more supportive shoe to help protect my form as well as protecting me from injury. I also don't wear them for training / teaching as I need more lateral support when doing movements such as ski jumps or just changing direction quickly (as opposed to running which is just in the one plane of motion).

If I could choose again, I think I'd choose the all white colour way 😍 or the all black. I've also heard that they're releasing colour ways where they can now change the colour of the foam that makes up the sole.

I remember when the boost technology first was released and I lived in my pair cos they basically made me feel like I was running on clouds. It's been a long time since I've consistently run in adidas though but they're still in my kit box for shorter, faster runs!

Have you tried the Pure Boost X running shoes?! What do you currently run in?! 

Elle :)

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Photo Credits: © Photography by Jake Davis for Here & Now

19.9.16

Elle About Town: Riding The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit


Sometimes, the actual thought of doing something is way more realistic / achievable than actually doing it. Or at least, in my mind, I'm superwoman and can pretty much do anything. It was until i was at the top of the chute for the worlds longest and tallest slide that the nerves kicked in...

Before I continue, I just wanna let you know that I rode the slide. Twice. And yes, I would do it again. And again. And again.



Still to this day, 4 years after the majority of the London 2012 Olympics took part in Stratford, I marvel at the fact that the area has come 360 and become a destination. Growing up, I would pass through Stratford to get into central london but not once did I ever really disembark the train there to go anywhere or see anyone. But since Westfield and the Olympic Park opened, it's continued to develop into what I could possibly call the commercial heart of East London.



From the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit's in the viewing galleries, you can take in views of up to 20 miles across London. FYI, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the red squiggly structure in the park which you can probably also see for miles.

Then, you can get to the bottom via the 178m long slide which takes approx 40seconds to descend travelling at speeds of up to 15mph (means nothing to me so I translate this to super fast!) through light and dark sections as the slide loops its way around the sculpture 12 times taking in gentle curves, thrilling (I say crazy) drops and a tight corkscrew named 'the bettfeder' - bed spring in German.


Now I'm one for honesty, so if the truth be told, I screamed at the top of my lungs the first time. I then alternated that with roaring laughter and giggles all the way down to the bottom. The second time, I tried to be more composed but then I realised I actually liked it more when I was screaming and laughing!

The slide itself only opened in June (2016) and was designed by Belgian artist Carsten Holler. The ArcelorMittal Orbit itself was created by Anish Kapoor.

Tickets for the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the slide start from £10 (for kids) so you can take the whole family! There are of course a few restrictions in place (please check out their website for more info) but otherwise I feel like it's the best way to get a sweat on in normal clothes!

Have you already been?! Would you, even?! 


Elle :)


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p.s I was kindly gifted my slides free of charge thanks to Attractiontix.co.uk, but you know me, all opinions are my own!

17.9.16

London Winter Run 2017 - Entries Are Open!

Incase you haven't heard yet, the London Winter Run is back for 2017 on Sunday 5th February 2017! ...I know it's barely the end of Summer, but a) the race isn't that far away if you think about it b) we have enough time to train for a decent 10km time, maybe even a PB and c) with the early bird rate available until 19th September you can get your entry for £35 - if you also use the code SIMPELLE3

So basically, don't waste any time! Sign up now and join me for this challenge... and our motivation to keep pounding the pavements when the weather gets colder, duller, darker...yup.


You can still use the code after the early bird price ends, but using it now gets you the best price there will be!


See you on the start line! 


Elle :) 

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16.9.16

Looking After My Bones & Joints

Recently, in a misunderstanding with a courier company, they had asked the courier to confirm where and whom he left the parcel with. They came back to me and said...

"He says it was signed for and accepted by a black female mid 20's about 5'5, slim and very polite."

...which made me smile as it was so accurate but for the age! A though I may look in my mid twenties, you might well be aware that I'm actually in my early thirties. Somehow, along the way though, no one ever really stressed how important it was to look after your insides as well as your outside.

I've been on a mission for around one year now focusing on what I put in my body especially in the form of supplements. One supplement I really rated were prebiotics (check out my post here) but I haven't taken any recently because the ones I have are such huge tablets and every now and again I get a mental block and am unable to swallow them. I kid you not.


So when I was offered the chance to try out LQ Joint Care Supplements I jumped at the chance especially because they are a liquid and come packed neatly in individual bottles. LQ joint supplement is supposed to promote joint, cartilage and bone health whilst increasing flexibility and mobility. I received one months worth of samples so my post is based just on that period of time.

The supplement contains key active ingredients such as Peptan marine collagen, hylaronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, copper, ginger and vitamin c. It also doesn't taste too bad (it has a pleasant cherry flavour) so can either be taken as a daily shot on its own or blended into your morning smoothie


I put together a little breakfast smoothie recipe which incorporates your daily shot:

LQ Joint Care Supplements Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

1 cup almond milk
1 LQ Joint Care shot
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1tsp chia seeds
1 scoop Impact Whey Strawberry
1/2 banana

Method: Add all ingredients to your blender and whizz until smooth.

***

After a month of taking LQ Joint Care Supplements I can't sit here and tell you they worked any kind of magic or that they were directly responsible for how I was feeling but at the time I remember thinking how much better my neck, upper back and shoulders felt in comparison to the same time the year before; those areas are where I carry the most tension and tightness in my joints especially when 'stressed'.

Would I continue taking them? I sure would as I think joint and bone care is an important area especially for women and those who are active. However, they come at the cost of £24.99 for 10 servings (available from Holland & Barrett) equating to just under £75 per month (which is out of my price range at the moment).

Do you take any supplements for bones and joints?! Any other ways you look after your bones and joints?!


Elle :)

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15.9.16

Breakfast with POM Wonderful Juice

My favourite meal of the day has got to be breakfast I think. Breakfast in bed is an even bigger winner. Breakfast cooked by a chef in your own home ...well I'm not sure I knew this was a thing, but it is and I was lucky enough to get the chance to experience it for myself, on a Monday morning of all days (MONYAY!!).

This came with a catch though. I'd have to swap out my usual morning coffee for a glass of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice which is packed with polyphenol antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, fibre, potassium, foliate, copper, iron, calcium. As if that isn't enough, POM Wonderful also contains no added nasties. Just 100% pomegranate goodness!


Incase you didn't know, September is actually said to be the new New Year. It seems it's a much better time to make changes as you're refreshed coming out of summer and probably getting settled back into the routine of work, school or studies. It's a great opportunity to implement small changes which can contribute to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. And breakfast is the perfect place to start when you're looking to create positive changes.

POM Wonderful Breakfast with La Belle Assiette
I opted for an 11am breakfast / brunch so our Chef, Kasia from La Belle Assiette*, arrived at around 10am. Our menu had already been sent through to me prior to the day so I was all ready for (although clearly no-one read the legume and grain free bit?! lol):



Kasia was super friendly so I was immediately put at ease having someone else in my kitchen! I got on with answering emails and doing some admin whilst waiting for our food to be ready. Everything was served together and by 11am, I was pretty hungry (I saved myself for this!). It was such a simple menu but it was perfectly healthy, filling and delicious!

Kasha did all the preparation and left my kitchen spotless when she had finished! And as if like a dream, she was gone before we knew it! We enjoyed chatting to her about sourcing ingredients (she is a firm believer in eating organic as much as possible) and talking about supplements for looking after yourself from the inside out!

***

And you don't just have to read about my experience! You can win your very own breakfast experience (for two) right here! Entries are via the rafflecopter widget below (please ensure you take a moment to read the terms and conditions). Best of luck; I can't wait to hear what you would all choose, who wins and what they think of the experience!

***CLOSED*** 


What would you choose a chef to cook you for breakfast? What's your favourite beverage to have with breakfast?! 

Elle :) 

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p.s  I was gifted this amazing experience by POM Wonderful, who have also kindly provided the prize. But you know me, all opinions, as always, are all mine ;) 

p.p.s *this is my referral link so when you use it, you get £30 off your booking and I get £30 off my next booking too! 

14.9.16

I'm Sweet Enough But I Have a New Ugly Habit

August was a bit of a crazy month. Back at the beginning of the month, I shared that I would be taking on whole30 again; technically my fourth, maybe my third (you can find out why I quit the last one here)! Whole30 basically boils down to cutting out processed foods and refined sugars; it also coincided well with a fizzy drinks swap challenge set by Ugly Drinks. In the first couple weeks of August I had consumed a fair bit of Diet Coke which came free with some shopping I got delivered from Ocado (I mean, it was free and I'm not one to waste anything) so the challenge was perfectly timed.

Whole30 was going okay until I got my Fitness Genes results back (I'm gonna write a separate post or more on those so hang tight) which were the final push I needed to pretty much quit whole30 again. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for eating healthy etc, but what I am more for is eating in a way that suits your body as perfectly as possible and somehow, even though I felt like I was eating a ton, I actually wasn't eating as many carbs as my body needs nor even hitting my suggested daily calorie goal.
Anyhow, over the past month, I literally got myself a new habit - two a day - thankfully with something that could do me good! Ugly Sparkling Water is a brand new range of unsweet, naturally infused sparkling waters. As each drink is made with sparkling water infused with natural fruit flavours, you’ll find no sugar, no sweeteners, no calories and nothing artificial in these guilt free, beautifully different waters.

They come in two flavours and I can't even choose which one is my favourite! Either 'Lemon & Lime' – which makes a great alternative to sugary sweet lemonades or 'Grapefruit & Pineapple'. With both flavours being 100% natural and free from sugar, sweetener and calories, the drinks also contain no carbohydrate, no fat and no salt.

Photo Credit: Ugly Drinks FB Page

Every evening I would restock my fridge (they recommend you drink Ugly ice cold for maximum refreshment) ready for the next day. I usually enjoyed one between breakfast and lunch and a second mid afternoon (so essentially, at the times you would usually snack to help reduce cravings).


The full Ugly Sparkling Water range is available from Selfridges, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended, Vital Ingredient and other leading independents (RRP £0.99, 330mls)

There literally wasn't a better time than this summer to say no to sugar and sweeteners and refresh my hydration habits! Once you train your tastebuds to not need sugar, there is no turning back!

Have you ever taken on a sugar challenge?! What little changes do you make to reduce your sugar intake?! 

Elle :) 

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13.9.16

WeTRAIN: Making Fitness Social


Some of the many reasons I love teaching group exercise classes, are some of the same reasons I attend group exercise classes for my own training. I love that you're not in it alone and if you pick the right class you can even get that community feeling.

I can't speak for every class or every studio out there, but many times, once class is over, everyone just leaves and thats that. Whereas with Personal Training, the connection between client and trainer actually goes beyond your weekly session(s).

So, maybe, you could get the best of both worlds? The camaraderie and the social aspect?! The attention to detail from your trainer and the ability to have the session tailored to your own goals? Yup. That is basically why WeTRAIN exists. To bridge the gap.



The sessions are all small group so there will only ever be a maximum of 7 other people with you. From a Trainer or Host (as they call us) perspective, this means I'm able to keep a good eye on everyone during the 45 minutes and ensure they're working to the level they committed to (you can choose 'Chilled', 'Medium' or 'Beasting').

I've been leading Tuesday evening sessions (630pm & 730pm) with WeTRAIN on Clapham Common throughout the Summer; it's been an amazing opportunity to get some fresh air, soak up the sunshine and meet new people. There is so much going on in the area too - check out the blog post I wrote for them of places to get your weekend brunch fix.



With the cost of living currently so high in London, it can literally be a struggle to find money to spend on fitness so I think WeTRAIN have a bright future ahead of them offering a quality service at an affordable price.

There are so many different sessions available (currently only in SW London at the moment) that you will be spoilt for choice! Yoga, Barre, HIIT... and WeTRAIN have so many things up their sleeves for us...

Stay tuned....!

Have you ever used a Personal Trainer?! What do you think of the WeTRAIN concept?! 


Elle :) 

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12.9.16

My 3 Top Tips For Staying Active In a Desk Job

It's been a good three and a half years since I gave up my desk job but it seems I have come almost full circle. Now being self employed / freelance and in the midst of starting a new business, I've needed to spend hours at a time "chained" to a desk - be it at home, in a cafe, at the British Library or in a co-working space.

Photo Credit: Lolography

On those days, it can literally be embarrassing to upload my fitness tracker data so I've been coming up with ways to keep me moving during work hours and thought I'd share a few with you:

1. Set A Reminder On Your Tracker
My Polar A360 has a function whereby it vibrates and displays a reminder to move if I've been still for a certain amount of time. You can use that reminder to move as a chance to go and get yourself a glass of water / cup of tea which'll also help to keep you hydrated.

2. Take A Walk On Your Lunch Break
I know plenty of people don't even take a lunch break and if you're working at home it sometimes can be a little more difficult to remember to stop. Take some time out to walk to a nearby shop and get something healthy to cook for lunch.

3. Movement At Your Desk 
Instinctively, I think we all do some stretches at our desk when our back, neck and shoulders start to feel a little tight. Furniture at Work teamed up with a yoga teacher to devise some yoga inspired movements that you can do without even leaving your desk - check them out in the infographic below:

Office Furniture experts Furniture at Work bring you Office Yoga with how to stay healthy at your desk and chair

They're all super simple ways to keep moving, but sometimes you do just need to start small to create a habit and allow it to naturally become a part of your routine. 


Do you work at home or in an office job?! What little tricks have you come up with to help stay active? 


Elle :) 

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p.s this is a collaborative post with Furniture at Work, but  you know me, all views and opinions are always my own ;) 
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7.9.16

Summer Cycling Kit Essential For A Sportive Adventure

In the run up to my first sportive, L'Etape London, on 25th September, I've been getting out on my bike more often especially to clock up the mileage as best I can each Sunday. I've also used every ride to try out kit, test nutrition strategies for race day and figure out what the bare essentials are I need to carry with me each time I go out to ride. After weeks (if not months in some cases) of testing I have a few items that I'd love to share with you:

- Stolen Goat Jersey -

Before I got this jersey, I'd come across the brand once or twice on IG. The pink jersey immediately caught my eye and I figured it'd go towards helping me be extra visible when on the road.
I chose a small which is my usual size in regular fit (as opposed to professional fit) cycling clothes; it's a really close fit but not tight. The short sleeved arms have no seams so it helps them to sit flush on your arms without creating sausage arms (in addition to the potential sausage legs you may have from your shorts).


One of the most important factors for me in a cycling jersey is the addition of pockets on the back; if you're out on a ride and don't want to carry a bag then they're useful for stowing your food, phone (& selfie stick), keys, tissues etc. The first time I wore this jersey it did seem to ride up at the back a bit but I think this may have been a combination between the bib shorts I wore (not from Stolen Goat) and the drawstring bag I had on my back for the entire ride. On the day when the sun eventually peeked out, I was able to just unzip the zipper at the neck and allow myself some extra air to cool down.

- HipLok FLX - 

After attending SPIN Festival again earlier this year and bumping into the awesome peeps at Hiplok again I was more than pleased to see the newest addition to their range, the FLX.



I'm already a fan of their locks (check out my post about them here last year) but since moving to Essex I mostly go out on rides as opposed to commuting so the need for a heavy lock has been reduced. The FLX must be the smallest lock I think I've ever seen - a three digit combination and a wire with an added light and clip so you can easily attach it to your clothes or bag. Having an extra light never hurts especially if you end up being out after dark and not planned for it! It's nice and lightweight too meaning it can be used as an additional lock when you're out and about. I've used it on a group ride when we've locked our bikes up outdoors (to head into a restaurant for brunch, obviously) and then secured all of our wheels with the FLX.

- Threo Cycling Shorts - 

Threo were a brand I was aware of already but I used the opportunity of SPIN Festival again to meet them in person and also check out the kit for size and quality. I choose a pair of the Richmond Park cycling shorts and after having worn them on numerous rides, I'm 99% sure they're gonna be my choice for race day.


I love that they're not bib shorts so I don't have to get fully undressed each time I need to use the bathroom. Come race day, I don't wanna be scrambling around in a portaloo. However, the waistband comes up nice and high, especially at the back and never moves - I never notice them when they're on and that is always a good thing! There's also a zippered pocket in the back waistband which is useful to store a small set of keys safely.

I'm wearing them here, you just can't see that much of them ;)

Of utmost importance too is the chamois; the pad that sits in the crotch of the shorts and provides extra cushioning for what will be hours on the saddle. When I wore the Threo shorts, there was nothing notable to report; when I wore a different pair and spent a considerable amount of time adjusting them I realise how much I appreciated the Threo ones!

As an aside, I'm not sure if this is a cyclist thing but I despise wearing shorts and jerseys that don't match. I wouldn't wear an outfit to workout or teach that didn't match so it really hurts my heart when I have to do so on the bike. But bike kit doesn't come cheap so I can understand why people do it. I'm lucky enough to have an official Tour de France jersey that pairs amazingly well with the Threo shorts which is another reason I'm likely to wear them on race day!

- Quad Lock Case -

After a few weeks of long Sunday rides I realised I had a problem that needed solving. Whenever I was cycling to a destination that I wasn't sure of the route, I had to stop every so often to get my phone out and check the route. This added considerable time to my journeys and almost made me miss a ride one particular week!

Image Credit: Quad Lock Case FB Page

So I reached out to the #UKCycleChat community on Twitter and asked what device they recommended to attach my phone to bike and this is what they suggested. I picked up mine online from Evans specifically for an iPhone 6/6s as I don't plan on changing my phone anytime soon  (check out the full range here). If I should change my phone though, I'd just need to get a new case or an adaptor to stick on my new phone as the bike mount would still be fine.

Image Credit: Quad Lock Case FB Page

I think this was one of the best improvements to my rides in recent weeks; it takes 60s to fit and when I tested it out on a fickle day (rain and sun alternating) it was no issue as it also comes with an extra cover to put over your phone to protect it. It's looks and feels secure when cycling and once you get the hang of attaching and removing it, that takes just a moment.

- P20 Sun Protection -


So I never really thought I'd be talking about sun cream when I'm still on the island of Great Britain but I am. Over the past month we've had some half decent weather with a good dose of sunshine. Even when the clouds have been out (don't be fooled) the sun is still getting through even if you can't see it. I've been using P20 suncream as you only need to apply it once a day, 15 minutes before you become exposed to the sun and then the bottle can be left indoors while I head out on the road for the morning. It's part of my pre ride routine now after I get out of the shower. I should also note, it's not really a cream, more of a clear lotion so there are no streaks left behind and it absorbs quickly and thoroughly. I love it because it's also safe for use on your face (prob the most exposed part of your body when out and about). It's also classed as 'very water resistant' so you don't have to worry about the rain or sweat compromising your coverage! BUY IT from Boots || Wiggle || Amazon

***

So that's my run down of the kit I've been testing over the last few weeks for the sportive. At this stage, I'm pretty happy with everything I have got. The only thing I would consider updating before I get to the start line are my shoes; I find they start to get uncomfortable after a long time as I think my toes are a little squashed in them. Hopefully I find the time (and money) to update them before my event but if not, I will make do for now. I'm off to an evening at a bike shop in a couple of weeks with Chris Boardman in attendance and they will be doing bike checks here so that will be the final check for my little blue bicycle.

Any kit tips for me?! Anything that will make me more comfortable or make life easier?!


Elle :)

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5.9.16

Two Minute Toast - The Toasted Sandwich

Back in June, I started this #TwoMinuteToast series when I got my hands on a Tefal OptiGrill to review and literally, haven't looked back since! If you haven't checked out the series yet there is Two Minute French Toast (from #leanin15) and Two Minute Avocado & Bacon on Toast all followed by todays recipe of The Toasted Sandwich.


What You Need: 

Butter or ghee
Cheddar cheese
Rosemary, to serve
Balsamic vinegar, to serve


Simple As: Turn on your OptiGrill and choose the Manual Mode. Whilst the grill heats up brush each slice of bread on both sides with butter or ghee. Grate your cheese and place on one slice and sandwich together with the second slice.



Place your sandwich onto the grill plates and close the lid. Set a timer for two minutes, by which time the bread should be golden, crispy on both sides with the grill marks visible. Once the two minutes is up, plate your sandwich ready to be served. Place balsamic vinegar (and optional olive oil) in a bowl together to dip your sandwich in as you eat it.


***

Before I leave, I have a little competition for y'all! In the last post of the series so many of you shared that your favourite toast topping was a nut butter of some sort that I put together a little prize of just that - a little stash of MyProtein High Protein Bread which has featured in the entire series and the choice of one of their amazing 1kg nut butters! They've recently added a few new varieties so you'll be spoilt for choice! Check out the range here, right now, so when you're contacted you know which one you want and can let me know asap! You can enter via the rafflecopter widget - the competition closes on Sunday 11th September 2016 (all T&C's can be found via the rafflecopter widget). Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Elle :) 

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