31.10.16

The Fitness Rockstars Journey: Q & A #JuliaBFit

The last few weeks have been a little bit crazy for me but in amidst all of that I was lucky enough to have been chosen to be a "Fitness Rockstar" on behalf of Julia Buckley, an amazing Personal Trainer / Instructor who has created an online gym to help others benefit from being active as we have been lucky enough to experience. Here is what Julia says about the Fitness Rockstars...

'The Fitness Rockstars are a collective of people with a mission to make the world a healthier, happier place. 

We’re not professional athletes, or even what many would consider typical “fitness people”, but we all appreciate the privilege of having the ability to move our bodies and we’ve all experienced having our worlds rocked by the astounding difference fitness and health has made to our lives. 

Neither are we celebrities, or in a position to spread our message to millions of people, but if something we post can help light the fuse that helps anyone to discover myriad of amazing benefits of doing what takes to be fit and strong which ripple out into all areas of life, then we’ll feel like stars for sure. 

Together, we think we can shine enough light to make a difference."


Here are my Q&A responses: 

1. For me, fitness is all about: 

...being healthy both in body and in mind. Fitness is a way to maintain or even restore balance. It's also a way for me to challenge myself, learn about what my body can do and achieve.

Photo Credit: Lolography

2. I get most excited to do my workout when: 

Usually I get most excited when it's something new or when it's an opportunity to hang out with friends and catch up while sweating.

3. When a workout really pushes me to my limit, I think to myself: 

It's usually a battle in my mind thinking I can't do it then using self talk to tell myself I can. It's an amazing feeling when you complete something you thought you couldn't do! It's surprising how much of it comes down to mind over matter. It might be a cliche but it's true!

4. I’m most likely to skip my workout if: 

...I don't have any accountability, if I'm feeling tired and especially when I'm feeling lazy. Also if I'm hungry! ...basically, I'm good at finding reasons to skip a workout.

5. In a group fitness session I’ll be the one who: 

Feeds off everyone else's energy. I kinda see a group session as a team sport so we're all in it together; so if you start to give up, I'll give up but if you give everything I'll be pushed to give everything too.


6. The item of exercise equipment I’d most hate to go without is: 

It would simply have to be a mat. I personally specialise in body weight training so equipment is just a bonus to me. I have a couple kettlebells and medicine balls at home though which come in handy. And maybe a foam roller counts?! As that's great for days where I'm feeling tight or sore in areas.

Photo Credit: Lolography

7. The last thing I usually do before starting my workout is:

If it's at home, the last thing I'll probably do is fill up a big glass of water to keep within arms reach and then get my Spotify playlist fired up. Oh and then start recording on my Polar A360 so I can track how hard I'm working through heart rate data.

8. My top 5 workout music tracks are: 

I never know the names of songs but my entire playlist (which I also use to teach) is on Spotify (and in the sidebar of my blog as a widget). I usually add a couple new tracks each week a lot of the time based on what Spotify thinks I will like or tracks I've randomly heard somewhere and just had to add!

9. If I start feeling meh about fitness I give myself a boost by: 

I don't remember the last time I felt meh about fitness to be honest. I sometimes feel meh about life or a situation and generally fitness is what helps me regain perspective and positivity. I always feel great after a workout and sometimes I need to remember that and visualise the feeling to get me in the mood for my workout!

10. The most important thing I’ve learned about fitness in the last year is: 

It's more about the journey than the destination. What's the point of it if you don't enjoy it?! I don't have any specific aesthetic goals such as weight loss or competition prep. I just enjoy being active, how it makes me feel and how I look is a byproduct of what I choose to do and an added bonus. My goals are usually based around events that challenge my fitness; the next one being the London Winter Run 10km in February 2017; once I get back to running regularly I'll choose a goal such as time (maybe a sub 60 minute will be a good challenge for me!).

You can now sign up to Julia's Online Gym FREE of charge and try out the workouts for yourself! Click {HERE} to be taken to her website and find out a little more about what she has to offer!

I'll be trying out one of Julia's workouts each week and will also be sharing more on my experience as time goes on! You can also read my review of one of Julia's first books The Fat Burn Revolution too!

Let me know if you check it out, or already use Julia's programmes!


Elle :)

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28.10.16

A Response To: "Great, But What Is Your Message?"

Photo Credit: www.lolography.com


***

My message is that I empathise with you. 

When I'm at the front of a room full of strangers, I feel the same feels. I feel the self doubt, the low confidence, the apprehension. 

When you come to me and say "this is my first time in this class" I feel the same feels; fear of the unknown, what it took to decide to do the class and then actually turn up. 

When I'm telling you to "keep going" it's because I know I would need to hear that. 

When I say "you got this" it's because I know that you can do it, and if you can do it, I can do it - you're my inspiration. 

When I say "We're done! You smashed that workout!", I'm in awe of everything you gave, your determination and your trust in me. 

When you come back the following week, I hope it's because you know we're on the same page. I want you to feel too ...feel good, feel happy, feel strong, feel confident... be in the moment.

Elle :)

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26.10.16

#KISE4Years: Four Life Lessons That've Become Clearer

July 2016 marked 4 complete years of blogging (although my 5th actual year!) here on KISE! The time has flown by and I honestly wouldn't change anything! ...at the same time though, I've done a lot of growing, the blog has done a lot of growing and it seems things are constantly changing!

Photo Credit: Lolography

So in honour of my four year blogiverasry, I wanted to share four lessons that have taught me the most and where they have played a part in my blogging journey and life:

Lesson #1. Learning When To Say No 

I think this is one I've seen a lot of friends and bloggers struggle with - finding that balance and not over committing oneself to a host of activities. Saying no actually isn't easy to do but it's something I've been practicing! It also doesn't have to mean "the end"... you can say no to one opportunity but maybe presented another way you would like to work together. Since becoming freelance (full time) I have to prioritise earning a living over attending events for the sake of it. Simple things, such as travel expenses add up so it's often appreciated if they are covered in order to attend events especially as I place a high value on my time.

Charlie recently wrote an interesting post about knowing your worth as a blogger after a chat we had and I couldn't agree more with her points. Every hour I spend travelling, being at an event, taking pictures and writing it up on the blog is time I could be earning money or at least creating opportunities to earn money rather than working for free. Having links placed on my blog, and getting your brand in front of the eyes of anyone who shares their time with me to read what I write is almost invaluable too. It does take strength to say no, but it certainly helps to take the pressure off at times.

Lesson #2. In A Year From Now, Will This Matter? 

This is a great question to ask yourself in those times that feel so bad. Once you realise that something may only seem dramatic / negative in the moment, yet 12 months later, you might not even remember it happened helps to put things into perspective. Will it matter 12 months from now that I didn't run a particular race? Will it matter that I didn't go to one event? Will it matter that I didn't blog my usual three days in a week??

Photo Credit: Lolography

Lesson #3. Doing What I Know I Must, Not What I Know I Should 

Now this is the biggest one for me at the moment. It all got stirred up, and easier for me to understand when I read This Article and then This Book.

I learnt to make decisions based on what was going to get me closer to my goals rather than what society expected of me. When I was growing up (how old does that make me sound?!) it was still a given that you go to college after school, then university, then get a job, dream of moving out of home, progress in your career... you get the picture. But actually I have bigger aspirations than all of that and I don't wanna look back in years to come having to regret not following my passions or giving things a go!

Lesson #4. If You Don't Ask You Don't Get 

First of all, you have to be okay with being told no. Get comfortable with it, because, what does no really mean?! So then, if you want something, why don't you ask? Wanna collaborate with someone? Why don't you ask? I mean, you could sit around waiting for opportunities to land in your inbox or you can go out there and create the opportunity you're looking for. It's easy to sit back and watch other people seemingly succeed without having the slightest idea what they've put into creating their own success. And it's all completely your own choice.

Do you have a blog?! How long have you been blogging and what are the biggest lessons you have learnt?! 


Elle :) 


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25.10.16

Why Go to the Gym Instead of Working Out at Home 


We all know that with a little ingenuity and the assistance of YouTube, we can turn our living rooms into makeshift gyms. But while home gyms may be able to support casual exercisers they can only fulfil so many workout desires. When it comes down to it, home gyms are often missing some of the crucial aspects of a bona fide sports centre. Here are some of the things you may be missing out on at home:


A Personal Trainer

Going to the gym doesn’t always mean you have a personal trainer but it gives you the opportunity to have one. We all want a little feedback sometimes; questions answered, postures critiqued, or some serious motivation to reach goals. Walking through the doors of a gym means having access to a personal trainer who can help you form a plan to fit your needs. 



Aerobic Equipment

Running outdoors can be a great way to get out, exercise in the fresh air and even connect with nature, but jogging in your local area also has plenty of potential downsides. Weather, unsolicited interactions, darkness, temperature, and other factors can really hinder your drive to run up a sweat.



At a gym you’ll find a treadmill and other aerobic equipment. Knowing how fast you’re running and for how long, maybe even while watching your favourite TV show, allows you to get it done without worrying about external factors. The only restrictions you’ll run into are your own stamina and the gym’s closing time. 




Like-minded People

If you close your eyes and imagine yourself in your living room, what do you see yourself doing? In all likelihood you’ll probably see yourself in your favourite chair without a heart-pounding thought on your mind. With that association it can be difficult to switch gears and turn your place of leisure into a place of activity. 



A place designated for the sole purpose of working out can really help you get into the right mind-set. At your nearest sports centre or gym you’ll find people coming together for the single purpose of breaking a sweat. Being in such an environment can help motivate you to keep up, or at least train your thoughts to working up a sweat. Here your actions are validated through the actions of others.

It can be tough to motivate yourself if you’re doing planks right next to the kitchen, but when you’re with a tribe of like minded people, pushing yourself physically becomes your prime objective.



A Social Affair

Working out with your cat has never made anyone new friends (lol). After the days of University it can be difficult to form new friendships or relationships. People have crazy work schedules and families to attend to, and any number of other obligations that limit their free time.

The social atmosphere at a gym puts individuals with a shared interest together in the same room, and this shared interest can be a huge part of building friendships. And if you feel like you’re not seeing enough of your current friends, invite them to join the same gym. Wives and husbands are unlikely to be opposed to their partner joining a gym to stay healthy and fit, even if it is just an excuse to socialise, right?!

If you’re hesitant to commit to a certain gym membership, you can always test the waters with a temporary gym pass. Once you see what you’re missing you may just ditch your living room in favour of the gym floor.

So, workout at home?! Or do you head to the gym?!

Elle :) 

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24.10.16

What's Your Run Signature?

When it comes to running, I feel like we've all been schooled that there is a good way to run and there is a bad way to run. But much like everything else (like diet and exercise) maybe there is no one size fits all?! We are all different at the end of the day so why is it a surprise that maybe we should run the way our bodies have individually designed themselves to run?!

I'm lucky to have tried out an array of trainers over the years I've been working in fitness and when it came to running, I ended up relying on how I felt to determine if a shoe was for me or not. I could reel off a list of shoes that feel good to run in, but not great. And just recently, I got a deeper understanding of why that is when I visited Brooks to check out my 'Run Signature'.

Run Signature is a relatively new fitting method that utilises leading-edge technology to assess the way a runner’s body wants to run and then recommends the right shoe to fit. It challenges the traditional approach we're all used to as it's very much a more holistic and individual view, combining biomechanics and desired experience from your running shoe.

This all fits well with the more intuitive footwear categories that Brooks created to take into account running experiences and support. The new categories - Cushion, Energise, Connect and Speed - resonate with runners of all abilities making it easier for you to find a shoe that fits the biomechanics and experience of your run; and this doesn't just relate to Brooks running shoes themselves. The research behind this suggests that each and every one of us, no matter what level we run,  has our own unique way of running and by embracing our natural movement we can be more comfortable, efficient and happier.


Brooks recently took this concept out of the lab on their Run Signature Tour with a custom mobile app to analyse data from key motion zones of runners. It's as simple as completing a squat and short run,  from which the app identifies the degree of change as more force is applied to the body. The degree of motion signifies the level of support needed to keep the runner’s body in its preferred position.


My analysis suggested a neutral shoe for me which I was happy with. I spent years running in supportive shoes which as I mentioned before felt good, but not great. I eventually switched over to an Energise shoe (in the neutral category) after attending an event and literally fell in love with one particular shoe which then took me on to run my Half Marathon PB back at Brighton Half Marathon in February 2015.

Brooks Launch 3 (Energise, Neutral) Photo Credit: Lolography

If you're keen to see what your Run Signature is keep an eye out at your local running shop (or ask them to give Brooks a call?!) or at Brooks Sponsored Events.

If you're up for running with me, I'll be leading the new Winter Run Club from Shoreditch every Thursday evening! Check out my Facebook page for the weekly event information!

What difference does a running shoe make to you?! 


Elle :) 

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21.10.16

The Business of Fitness: What Does It Mean For The Consumer?

Off the back of last week's post on The Business of Fitness, we wanted to share with you some further trends and what it means for you, as a consumer, going forward.



We’re all a lot more clued up 
It’s no longer about being thin; it’s about being fit and healthy. ‘Strong Not Skinny’ is not just a hashtag. No longer are people who go to the gym first thing on a Saturday considered weird: Millennials (those born no earlier than the late 80’s) are more likely to spend their weekends around health-based activities. Think swapping a drunken Friday night followed by a crippling all-day Saturday hangover with a spinning class followed by a juice-bar meet up with friends and an early night as we’ve got yoga at 8am. We’re all about achingly fashionable gym gear: Sportsluxe and athleisure aren’t just made up fashion words. It’s totally acceptable to socialise straight from the gym in your ‘coming-from-a-workout’ workout clothes.

Gyms, not spas
Large, budget gyms with more equipment have replaced the ‘health spa’ fitness centres. The LA Fitness I was a member of in a fancy part of London has been replaced with a PureGym, costing less than HALF of my previous membership fee, and I’ve never been happier. The swimming pool, sauna and steam room (all huge costs for gyms from a profit/ loss perspective, and always practically empty) have been replaced by an entire floor dedicated to weights and S&C equipment. And it’s not full of Gym Douchebags… 



… Women are lifting. 
Let’s go back to ‘Strong Not Skinny’. No longer confined to the cardio area and the studio for classes, women have invaded the weights room. Kayla Itsines, Jen Selter, TwoBadBodies (Jennifer Forrester and Kaisa Keranen), Massy Arias and even Tammy Hembrow – I’m sure I’ve missed out your favourite so please post below and let us know who you follow and why – have inspired us to balance our previously cardio-heavy workouts with some weights to get the butts/ abs/ arms/ whatevers of our dreams (or their Instagram feeds). 

Now we know our way around a weight rack, and with online workout programmes available for under £30, no longer are we drawn to a gym because of fluffy towels and sauna. We want to work hard. 

Fitness Pick ‘n’ Mix
Budget gyms offer classes that tend to be – honestly – pretty rubbish. Classes at more high-end gyms such as Gymbox or Virgin tend to be better as the instructors are of a higher quality (they have to be to justify the membership fee). Most no-frills gyms don’t even offer classes. Why? Because we like to mix it up. We don’t like to be tied into a 12-month gym membership, and with many boutique gyms offering reasonable no-contract packages; we can afford the budget gym membership for gym workouts and then visit another studio for far superior yoga/ Pilates/ spinning/ barre classes. 

And then there’s ClassPass, whose entire marketing strategy is built around enticing us away from brand-loyalty (well, except to them, that is) and becoming Lycra-clad studio-hopping exercise-bunnies. “Fitness consumers are becoming more promiscuous”, says Ray Algar, author of a 2015 fitness industry report that identified the change in market. Algar calls it “de-coupling”.



Instagram happened 
Studios and gyms need to bear in mind that growth will only occur if the customer leaves class so jacked up on endorphins that they post about it on social media and tell their friends and colleagues how life-changing it was. 

Ray Algar’s report recommends that fitness businesses cash in on this. It’s hard to culture an experiential workout from traditional marketing and advertising campaigns. With the right blogger – or influencer – posting the right content, you’ve got your product slap bam in front of your next potential customers with the added benefit of it coming from a trusted and admired source. Case in point, how many of you have tried a workout or studio based on your favourite bloggers / friends report or endorsement of it? How many of you have stayed away from something for the same reason? Sponsored content should always be marked as what it is – advertising – but even paid-for posts have more influence than an ad on the side of a bus. 

Inspirational ownership 
We’re more attracted to organisations that seem to care. A boutique offering where the owner is not only visible, but is so bang on brand you actually want to be her (or him) is a ton more inspiring than a chain fronted by bored receptionists and stressed so-not-on-brand Duty Managers. 

Algar’s report features a case study on SoulCycle founded by Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler, who were dissatisfied with the spinning studios on offer, so they opened their own… And the rest is history. SoulCycle isn’t solely responsible for steering the fitness industry towards a boutique-style market, but it showed many people who’d dreamt of opening their own studio that it was possible without selling out to a chain (which they did eventually, to Equinox, but hey; no judgement. Fitness is business).  

In a lot of boutique studios, the owner teaches classes, takes part in classes and can often be found behind the reception desk. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, giving feedback to your gym was unheard of. Got a complaint? Call head office and be put on hold. In 2016, if we want the coffee bar in our Pilates studio to stock coconut milk (As if it wouldn’t already!), we can catch the owner after class or drop a note via Twitter.  

What are your thoughts on the fitness industry? What do you think will be the ‘next big thing’ ? How have your fitness habits changed over the last few years? 

I'd would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below or tweet at @X_eLle_S

Elle

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All photos taken by Lolography

19.10.16

5 Fun Days Out That Will Give You A Workout!

Not everyone is interested in the latest museum exhibitions and sometimes we’d rather not spend our day off exploring yet another 400 year old building. If you are an avid reader of this blog no doubt you would occasionally prefer a weekend activity where you get your heart pumping, have some fun and keep fit at the same time. London is surprisingly well catered for active days out and there are a number of activities that could easily quality for a workout, but are so fun they really don’t feel like it (till the next day of course).

Photo Credit: Corey

Chelsea Clip’n Climb
You may have climbed before, but not like this. Chelsea Clip’n Climb is like a climbing wall on steroids. In fact the centre has over a dozen colourful, crazy climbing walls that are all over 30 feet high. Each wall provides a slightly different challenge and you must quickly learn how to climb each one. Should you get stuck you’ll be able to abseil down or let the safety harness glide you back to earth. There are also a range of added extras like a giant vertical slide and a ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Often filled with excitable children, there are adult only days if you would prefer to not be out-climbed by an 8 year old.


Oxygen Free Jumping Acton
Probably the most fun I’ve ever had in London, and also the biggest workout. Oxygen Free Jumping is a trampoline and free jumping park in a quiet corner of Acton, just a short walk from West Acton station. The two floors of giant trampolines and free jumping courses allow you to bounce and flip your way around the massive warehouse for an hour. After 10 minutes you’ll probably need a break, after an hour you will feel like you’re near death. Who knew trampolining was so exhausting, but also so utterly fun?! If you happen to live nearby they also do a weekly Oxygen Fitness session which would do absolute wonders for anyone’s fitness regime.

2020 Archery
Not the most exhausting of activities, but entertaining and still technically a sport. 2020 archery offers ‘have a go’ sessions that allow you to try out your archery skills in a welcoming and helpful environment. Even if you’ve never fired an arrow in your life it doesn’t matter, the tutors teach everyone the basics before letting you have a few practise sessions. At the end there is a small friendly competition and by this point you should at least be able to hit the board, if not score a bullseye. Whilst archery isn’t exhausting it does require a fair bit of upper body strength to really master, not to mention laser accuracy. 2020 archery is located in the Downside Centre a short walk from Bermondsey Station.

Vauxwall
This is another climbing centre, but this time of a more professional nature. The centre is usually packed full of professional climbers and enthusiasts who recognise that climbing is a brilliant way to build strength and burn fat. Even if you rarely or never climb, Vauxwall hosts regular sessions for beginners were they will teach you the basics and let you climb at your own pace. The centre is absolutely huge and feels like a maze of climbing walls; some going up, to the side, over your head. Located almost opposite Vauxhall station, the centre is central and easy to find.


Velodrome Taster
If team GB’s performance at the Rio Olympics has shown us anything, it’s that us Brit’s love to cycle. Why not test your own abilities on the fastest cycling track in the world? The London Velopark, built for the 2012 Olympics, offers taster sessions to anyone who wants to try their hand at track cycling. Either bring your own bike or hire one, either way you’ll be zooming along the track that helped team GB achieve greatness. Anyone who cycles to work will tell you how cycling is great for fitness, well this is cycling on a whole other level. If after one session you find you love track cycling, the VeloPark offers a structured course that allows you to get accreditation to enter races; who knows, you could be booking a trip to Tokyo in under 4 years.

***

This post was written by Daniel; he's a London based writer who created Day Out in London to help people explore the best parts of the city. You can catch up with Daniel on Twitter too! 

18.10.16

5 Changes I Made To My Nutrition Based On My DNA

A couple months ago, I attended an event where I had the opportunity to speak to a few specialists in health, beauty and wellness. One particular conversation with a facialist made me really curious about the food that we eat; more particularly the fact that (once again we all know this but) there is no one size fits all for "dieting". And truth be told, it really isn't a one size fits all for exercise either. She told me how our heritage plays a large part in how we should eat as individuals and this really got me thinking.

There is so much conflicting information out there from a variety of sources (qualified and unqualified) about what's healthy and what's not, so I decided to contact FitnessGenes to do a DNA test which checks for 40+ genes that are related to fitness, health and nutrition.

"Structuring and sticking to your diet can be hard work. We look at genes that influence how you respond to particular foods and ingredients, that may cause you to put on weight, or which affect whether you feel full after meals. We use this genetic information to create a nutrition plan tailored to your needs" FitnessGenes

My Daily Calorie Intake Was Much Higher Than I Imagined
Based on medium activity levels, and taking into account my measurements (weight, height, age, body type) the FitnessGenes nutritional calculator estimated my daily calorie intake to be 2142kcal. Adjusting this to -10% (just incase, as I'm not looking to put on weight), that equals to 1946kcal per day. FitnessGenes recommend that I split this into 4 meals plus one snack each day for optimal results.



I Quit Whole30 (Again)
I was about ten days into a whole30 when my results came back and they suggested that I should ensure that saturated fat makes up no more than around 12% of my total daily calories. Typical on whole30 I end up eating a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. My nutritional recommendations also suggest my macronutrient breakdown should be 48% carbohydrates, 27% fat and 24% protein. When I tracked my calories and macros on MyFitnessPal on whole30, I was finding it difficult to hit my protein and carb goals whilst massively going over on fats.

According to FitnessGenes, my insulin efficiency is average and as long as I am getting the majority of carbohydrates from healthy sources then I do not need to overly worry about the amount of carbohydrates I am consuming. Then they stated that, if legumes (beans, lentils, peas and peanuts) don’t make up a significant part of my current diet, I should consider adding or increasing them as these are a great source of carbohydrates and also a great source of protein (especially for vegans, vegetarians and those of you who don't enjoy eating meat, fish or protein supplements). So that was another blow for whole30 as legumes are not allowed on the programme.

I've significantly cut down on the amount of coconut oil I use as well as consuming less red meat, or even meat in general.

I Cut Down On Snacking
FitnessGenes recommended that I should avoid snacking between meals as much as possible; my genetic variation makes it very likely that I feel hungry very quickly so one way to help manage my hunger would be by consuming lots of water. Increased hydration is always a good thing anyway and has been a goal of mine for quite a while.

In situations where I work out and can't consume a full meal in the few hours following, then a snack can be great for recovery and to keep me until I do eat my next meal so I am still recommended at least one snack a day. Considering my gene variations it should contain at least 20-30 grams (80-120kcal) protein along with some carbohydrates. It's ok to have some fat in there too.

...And Then I Updated My Supplements
In relation to the whole hunger thing, they suggested mixing 1-5g of glutamine with water which can help curb hunger. I picked up a bag of L-glutamine from MyProtein which I usually add to my glass of water each morning / evening. In the first two weeks of taking this supplement, not only did it curb my cravings, it basically curbed my appetite all together. I didn't even put two and two together for ages and for a short time thought there was something seriously wrong with me! I continued supplementing with glutamine and my appetite has improved somewhat. I'm generally sticking to three meals a day and a snack when needed and my hanger has reduced to almost non existent! Just last week, I forgot (yes, forgot!) to have lunch and ended up grabbing a salad from Vital Ingredient at about 345pm!

I also started taking Perfect7 capsules again for the omega-3 supplementation. Although there is no scientific association between my gene variations and polyunsaturated omega-6 fat intake most of us don't consume enough omega-3 which is an important polyunsaturated fat. Typically, I eat salmon which is rich in omega-3 twice a week but no other foods such as sardines, mackerel, fresh tuna, herring, halibut, flax seed oil, walnuts or chia seeds) so I chose to supplement daily with fish oil through the Perfect7 range. I tried buying mackerel one week but I was still suffering from appetite issues so ended up not eating it. I have been adding chia seeds to my weetabix / porridge breakfasts over the past few weeks though.

My results also identified that I have a greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency so I ensuring I include adequate amounts within my diet is particularly important. Supplementation was also recommended to help achieve this which is covered in my Perfect7 capsules.

Photo Credit: Lolography

My Caffeine Intake Is Now Strategic
My results determined that I was classified as a slow metabolizer of caffeine but this isn't all bad! It means though that I might benefit from caffeine pre-workout and from my experience I think this is accurate. I remember the first time I used a pre-workout before spin class; my legs have never moved so fast!

What I do need to remember though, is that as a slow caffeine metaboliser,  it can take up to 11 hours to clear my system. So to avoid it disrupting my sleep, I now either have a matcha latte in the morning with breakfast and / or any other caffeinated drinks before 3 or 4pm.

All of this barely scrapes the surface of the amount of information I got back from my test results! I also got a lot of information regarding my DNA and fitness, how to train etc which I will slowly work through and apply to my training on a day to day basis.

Tests start from £129 - to find out more, visit their website.

Are you curious to know what your DNA says about your nutrition and training?! 


Elle :) 

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p.s please note that I was gifted my FitnessGenes test after I reached out to them, in return for sharing my experience and results. As ever, all opinions, are my very own ;) 
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17.10.16

Elle About Town: Winter Run Club { + GIVEAWAY }

Okay, so it's kind of official now - Summer is over (sorry!) and there's a distinct chill in the air. Now usually, this would have me running to my wardrobe to dig out my cosiest jumpers but for some reason, this year, I'm doing the direct opposite.

It's time to get back into running. And I don't plan on doing it alone.

On Thursday 27th October, I'm bringing my latest idea to life. I'll be launching the newest run club on the block - Winter Run Club - hosted by TinyTY (tiny Timberyard) which opened just a few weeks ago in Boxpark Shoreditch (easily accessible from Liverpool Street, Old Street and surrounding). Each and every Thursday evening we'll be meeting at TinyTY to set off at 630pm sharp.

We've all read a million articles about how to stay motivated to exercise right?! They always remind us that accountability and training with friends is one way (check). Next? Set yourself a goal (check). We sorted that one too! ...The TinyTY pop up is gonna be sticking in this location for 6 months, so that gives us more than enough time to get in shape for the London Winter Run which will be taking place on Sunday 5th February 2017 (and then leave us a few weeks at least to celebrate!).


The 2016 Cancer Research UK London Winter Run saw over 15,000 of us runners hit the closed winter streets of London raising over £600,000 for Cancer Research UK and now for 2017 the race is set to be bigger and better than ever before. This event is too much fun and includes (optional) Polar Bear hugs, Penguin high-fives and winter themed zones; all set against the backdrop of our favourite London landmarks { find out more here }


Winter Run Club - Know It Nows

***

Launch Date:
Thursday 27th October

Location: TinyTY, Unit 27, Boxpark Shoreditch, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GY

Distance: Starting between 4-6km for launch, week by week, we'll be building up our running fitness, chatting all things running and getting social.

Time: meet 6.15pm for 6.30pm departure

Run Club Leads: Elle Linton along with Running Blogger & Iron(wo)Man in training, Helen Garcia.

Bag Drop: Yes; however space is limited so please try not to bring more than one bag

Rules: Everyone is welcome, no one gets left behind, okay?! (That's the first rule of run club).

Everyone who comes along on launch night will be entered into a prize draw to win one of two complimentary places in the London Winter Run. But I realise not everyone will be able to make it and I don't want anyone to miss out on the fun! So I have one extra place to giveaway to you...


Here's how you can enter:

1. Share the image below on Instagram and / or Twitter along with the following hashtags (so I can find all entries) #TinyTYRunClub #WinterRunClub (each share is equal to one entry) 

2. Share the Facebook event on Facebook and / or Twitter along with the following hashtags  #TinyTYRunClub #WinterRunClub (each share is equal to one entry) 


You have until the end of Wednesday 26th October to get your entries in! I'll be picking a winner on Friday 28th October 2016 so keep an eye out to find out if you are one of the lucky winners!

(Other terms & conditions: Open to entrants based in the United Kingdom only. The winner will be contacted upon being picked and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. There is no entry fee to enter this competition. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason. No cash alternative to the prize will be offered. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions)

Cannot wait to get running again; hopefully see as many of you as possible at Winter Run Club!

What race are you training for next?! Are you gonna make it down to Winter Run Club?! 

Elle :) 

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7.10.16

The Business of Fitness: The State of Boutique Fitness in London

On Tuesday 4th October, I attended the launch of the latest Courier Paper whose front cover story was all about the business of fitness. Myself, and quite a trendy bunch if I may say so, sat down to listen to the panel of boutique fitness studio owners including the likes of Bootcamp Pilates, 1Rebel and FRAME.

Image Credit: Courier Paper

It was a very interesting discussion and coming from the personal angle of being an instructor, a customer, a small business owner and also currently pursuing higher education in management and business innovation I was intrigued to hear insights from those who have been in the business for a decent amount of time and I wanted to share a few things I picked up from the evening with you all.

What Is Boutique Fitness?
On the night, Boutique Fitness was described as personalisation, the ability to pay as you go, based around classes. All customer touch points are considered and used to make the studio unique such as chilled towels, nice soaps and great instructor.

The Bricks and Mortar
When I worked in retail I found all the behind the scenes conversations eye opening. Renting a property for business shares many similarities with renting a home but then there are some distinct differences. Firstly, it seems that convincing a landlord to even allow your fitness business to use the premises (classified as D2) is the first hurdle. In times gone by, landlords were more swayed by retail and restaurants who could pay higher rents to occupy the space. Once you're in, you then have to consider other costs (above rent) such as service charge, business rates, waste / rubbish disposal before you even think about choosing a mains gas supplier along with other amenities like water and electricity.

What's Acceptable In London These Days? 
We spent a fair proportion of the evening talking about rents and rates in the capital. Some sage advice given was that your business rent and rates should never equate to more than 18% of the projected revenue. The panel also shared that when looking for new locations they try to seek out ones that maybe have more potential just off the beaten path (Bootcamp Pilates) and try to stick to under £30 per square foot for property (FRAME Fitness).

Did you know that 17% of the UK population have a gym membership? And that statistic is even higher for London by itself.
Image Credit: Courier Paper
Classpass
If you're into fitness and live in a big city then Classpass has probably been the topic of conversation a few times. Launched in london back in March 2015, Classpass can essentially be described as a "fitness passport". Customers pay a monthly membership and then have access to a large array of studios and facilities in their city. Sounds perfect, right?! But of course it does come with its limitations. Having experienced Classpass from both the studio and client point of view it's interesting to listen to the conversations that come up. For the studios, many believe they are not paid enough to warrant having Classpass members in; James Balfour of 1Rebel even spoke about that time he led a revolt against Classpass (but then essentially backed down after a lot of customer feedback). He also shared his suggestion of Classpass members paying a surcharge for using premium studios - the results of a twitter poll I conducted however, showed that people would be very against this idea but I guess the reality could be different. With just a 20% conversion rate of Classpass attendees to actual customers it may not seem like the best resource for studios unless there is a specific new studio or product which they are trying to boost.

From the customer point of view I'm aware that Classpass did have a recent hike in their membership fees which from what I could garner, they really need. Being an American based company, they're actually staying afloat using investment capital and it seems the model they're employing right now may actually not be sustainable for the longer term. But I mean, they still have circa 100,000 members in london so they must be doing something right?!

To sum up the evening, I'd say the vibe is simply that the business of fitness needs a shake up and I'm inclined to agree. And I'm not just talking about studios; I mean Personal Trainers, Fitness Instructors, regulations and standards. Considering the growth of the sector over the past few decades, you'd think we'd have gotten our shit together really!

Are you a fitness professional?! Ever considered opening your own studio?!

Are you a Classpass user?! Or have been previously? What has been your experience?!

I'd love your feedback on this post; it's very rare I talk about the business of fitness but it is something I'm passionate about having been in the industry for nearly 14 years now!

Elle :)

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6.10.16

My Journey To L'Etape London by Tour de France, Part 2


After leaving the feed station at the halfway mark, it took me a little time to get my legs used to the motion again and the hills were still coming. I continued with my strategy of taking on two shotbloks every 10km with a big glug of water to keep my energy levels from waning (cos I dunno about anyone else, but when I hit the wall after cycling I really hit the wall!). Soon after the feed station, the short route then merged with the other routes to head to the end. However, to me, the signage was either lacking or really unclear and with other cyclists on the road it was super confusing. So at this point I rode past the turn I was supposed to take and then realised thankfully not too far down before I turned around to rejoin the actual route (hmmm just a few extra metres my poor legs had to do!)

Photo Credit: SportCam

Photo Credit: SportCam

Back on the course I caught up with a lady who was much older than myself. I didn't wanna risk cycling behind her incase her pace slowed me down so I overtook. But then she would overtake me down the road and I kid you not, this went on for miles. I have no idea at which point I lost her but I guess the game of chase came to an end eventually as I found myself riding by myself for a large proportion of the ride back to the finish. My legs weren't feeling too bad so I attempted to push as much as I could, making the most of the downhills and then the flatter roads as we started to hit the city again. After what seemed like an endless stream of roundabouts and traffic lights I was back in Stratford for the final km sprint on the Olympic road track.

Photo Credit: SportCam

Photo Credit: SportCam

I didn't have too much in me by this point but I gave it a good go with a big smile. I came home to finish in a time of 4 hours 21 minutes 03 seconds ...which I am so very proud of! I hopped straight off my bike and headed to the nearest steward to be presented with my medal before heading to the Erdinger tent for a pint of celebratory non alcoholic beer (and the podium for a picture of course!)! By this point the sun was shining and plenty of riders were still making their way to the finish. Chris Froome was also back from his ride on the course taking official pictures with all the race village brands and any members of the public who were brave enough to interrupt for a selfie / autograph!

Photo Credit: Matt Alexander for Human Race

Photo Credit: Matt Alexander for Human Race

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire event and now I have a time to beat, I'm keen to do it all over again next year. I might even step up to the middle distance (but don't quote me!) of 96 miles! And sometimes I forget about the huge divide in male / female participation in sport due to the fact I'm surrounded daily by women who aren't afraid to sweat but taking part in this event, which has so few women compared men, really reminded me that the divide is still very much alive and kicking!

L'Etape London by Tour de France was officially smashed! I have a lot to learn (or remember because I used to be a dab hand with a bike) before next years events but I'm planning on getting out on my bike a fair bit more now that I'm in the swing of a new home location and routine.

Have you ever taken part in a sportive before?! What are your cycling goals for 2017?!


Elle :)

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5.10.16

My Journey To L'Etape London by Tour de France, Part 1

Just over a week ago, I accomplished something that had been on my radar for more than twelve months. I hopped on my bike on Sunday 25th September and completed L'Etape London by Tour de France, the short route (49 miles).


To some, 49 miles might not be a lot. But for me, it was the longest distance I've ever ridden. With only some basic training under my belt (6 weeks on the turbo and a few weekend long rides) my only goal was to finish the event.

In the month before the event though, a couple long rides got cancelled and I subconsciously started to feel anxious. I acknowledged this and just tried to ensure I ate well and slept plenty in the run up to event day.

On the day, I had a 430am alarm as I was lucky enough to have been invited to breakfast with Chris Froome before the event. It was at this point I was grateful for the night tube as without it I couldn't have been in Stratford so early. The early start was perfect as it meant I was up early enough to eat a decent breakfast and really get myself sorted without having to worry or panic. I ate everything, really slowly (croissants, bacon sarnie, fruit, cereal bars) and then got changed ready for my 8:45am start time.

Photo Credit: Matt Alexander for Human Race

The start line was located on the road track at the Olympic Velopark and was out of sight to those in the race village. I really wanted to see what the start looked like to help settle my nerves and had to persuade the stewards to let me go through early so I could just have a look before returning to the race village. I think it would definitely add some more atmosphere to the event if everyone could see the start (and finish line) from the entire village.

Photo Credit: Matt Alexander for Human Race

Photo Credit: Matt Alexander for Human Race

At this point it started to drizzle and I did start to worry I'd made a serious omission to my kit not thinking to bring a rain jacket but I did have my arm warmers which stayed firmly in place for the entire ride! Our start was a little delayed (I can't remember why right now) but before I knew it we were up and over a little hill on the road track before making our way out of the velodrome into Stratford and beyond.

My main concerns for this event stemmed from the fact that I was riding alone and I also am not that confident about fixing punctures or anything else that could go wrong with the bike. I also know that when the ground is wet, punctures are more likely. I was worried that if I got a puncture, it wouldn't be easy to get help and potentially could mean me not completing the race or if I did complete, it'd be a really shocking time. But thankfully, the cycling gods were on my side and I was lucky enough to complete the event with no issues.

Photo Credit: Sportcam

The route took us out through East London via roads that I've really only ever driven on. Another thing I wasn't aware of (but luckily confident about) was that the roads were still open so we were bound to the rules of the roads which included stopping at traffic lights. For any less experienced cyclist this could be a serious issue to consider when deciding whether or not to enter the event. I understand there probably aren't enough people taking part to close roads but maybe there should be a little more guidance in preparation?

Photo Credit: Matt Alexander for Human Race

Before I knew it, we were in Essex and literally just minutes from my house. I also knew that being in Essex meant this is where the hills would come in. For the first time in a long time I'd actually gone through every detail of the event including the route so I could note where the points of elevation were (mainly in the middle and start of the return to East London). I was also pleased to realise that I had cycled part of the route earlier this year (hello Toots Hill) so I felt more confident tackling it again with a tiny bit more experience under my belt.

The feed station was situated at the half way mark (salty boiled new potatoes, wow!) with bottles of water to refill my bottles on the bike and other supplies (energy gels, jelly babies etc). I also used this stop as a toilet break and although there were so few women in the event there was still a queue for the ladies (this must be some sort of phenomenon!). It was my first and only planned stop so I didn't stress too much about how long it was all taking and as soon as I felt I'd eaten enough I hopped back on my bike.

When I left the feed station though, I almost didn't know which direction to go! Left, or right?! But now I was back on the road with just half of the mileage complete...

Continue reading the story... { Read Part II here } 


Elle :)

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