20.4.17

Elle About Town: Cycling Adventures (Apr '17)

I'd be lying if I said I couldn't be described as a fair weather cyclist for 2016/17. Since completing L'Etape London I've really only used my road bike to get me to and from Parkrun on Saturday mornings. I took the majority of my cycling shenanigans indoors when the weather started to turn, mainly so I could start getting some experience as an indoor cycling instructor. But now the weather is starting to get a little better and the sun is shining a little more (even if it is a little nippy), I'm more than ready to get back outdoors on two wheels.

Photo Credit: VeloVixen

Volunteering
I put my name down to volunteer at Hackney Half on 30th April as a sweep cyclist. My role will involve staying with the last runner / sweep runner throughout the event and keeping in communication with the Course Director. Following behind myself and three other cyclists will be the Sweep Van (with a medic onboard) and then the team that clears up after the runs so the roads can reopen.

City Commuting
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I'm a huge fan of Brompton Bicycles. Last summer I had the opportunity to borrow one for a few weeks and loved it (read about that here). It made commuting into the city that little more enjoyable.

Back in January, I attended the launch of Brompton Bicycle’s New York City Edition bike which was a sportier, more urban version of their usual bicycles. The bike is inspired by the city that never sleeps and comes with a whole heap of matching accessories. I took it for a spin round the block and found it to feel lighter, faster and more stable than I was used to! I had hoped to take part in the Brompton Championships this year in London but those plans sadly haven't come to fruition.


{ Check out more about Brompton Bicylces here }

Social Rides
As with running, I find cycling much more enjoyable when there is a social aspect involved - namely cake and coffee. I've got one group ride planned and will be checking out the Breeze / Sky Ride schedule soon to see if there are any local rides I can pop along to! These literally were my saving grace when training for L'Etape last year! Also, lots of my active friends seem to be signed up for triathlons this year so I'm sure I'll be able to tag along on their training rides - I don't have plans to compete this year but I am down to volunteer at the London Triathlon in July.

Sportive Plans
I'm hoping to be able to take part in L'Etape again in 2017 and am also keeping my eye out for rides that would work based on location and timing. It's a lot harder travelling to races with a bike in tow when you don't have a car and restrictions apply on public transport. I'd love to do a women's only ride at some point (maybe a Cycletta) and train towards Ride London (for 2018). I know Ride London also have a shorter distance so I'll be checking that one out too!


And news just in... I've just put a date in the diary for an exciting challenge! But you're gonna have to stay tuned to find out more about that in the coming weeks... just know that it's on two wheels, and it might well be my biggest (but most fun) challenge EVER!

Are you a cycling fanatic?! or fair weather like me?! 


Elle :) 

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19.4.17

WIN Tickets To Be:Fit London 2017!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!! ...It's nearly time for @befitlondon_ (28-30th April) and I've got a little something for those of you who haven't got your tickets yet! . I've teamed up with @linwoodshealthfoods to give away a ticket for you aaaaand a friend ...oh and you'll get a selection of Linwoods seed blends, Snackettes and the brand new Hemp Protein+ mix! . Linwoods is the UK’s leading producers of healthy super foods, nuts and seed blends, providing a natural source of Omega oils, dietary fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. You can literally sprinkle on serving onto your food and nearly double your nutrition intake! Boom! . HURRY though... as you've only got till 6pm on Thursday 20th April to enter! . 1️⃣Follow me on IG (@ellelinton) and @linwoodshealthfoods 2️⃣Tag the friend in the comments below you would like to take with you . GOOD LUCK everyone! ...and if you're already going, let me know and tell me which class / brand you're looking forward to catching below! . 📷 @healthyfitfran #keepitsimpElle #london #londonbloggers #NaturesProtein #SprinkleAwesome
A post shared by Elle | Fitness Pro & Blogger (@ellelinton) on


Head over to Instagram for the full information and to enter! 

Elle :) 

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***Full Terms & Conditions
Open to entrants based in the United Kingdom only. Winner will be picked by Elle of keep it simpElle. Winners will be chosen on Thursday 20th April 2017 at 630pm. The winner will be contacted immediately upon being picked and will have until 10am on Friday 21st April 2017 to respond. 

The prize is supplied by Linwoods Health Foods, via W Communications. 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.

14.4.17

Introduction To Barefoot Running With Vivobarefoot


A few weeks ago, I popped along to the Vivobarefoot flagship store in Covent Garden to hear Michael Lemmel of Otillo SwimRun speak about the rise of SwimRun events.

Now I know I'm not the strongest swimmer yet but a girl can dream, right?! It was inspiring to hear about how the event came into existence and what the future looked like. I was fascinated to hear about the unpredictably of the courses (basically a combination of trail running and open water / sea swimming), how you work together as a team (you enter the event as a pair and must complete the entire event within a certain distance of each, so together), the gender split and the equipment and apparel required for such an event.

Otillo and Vivobarefoot joined forces to design and manufacture a shoe specifically for SwimRun events (the Ultra III) based on the barefoot concept. A shoe you can run on the trails in and then jump straight into the water, then run again. A shoe that I guess I hope I'll have the need for one of these days...


Until then, I'll make do with a pair that I can use day to day, exercise in and maybe even run in. Now I don't know if it's just me but when I go to events where I know I'll be surrounded by knowledgeable people I try to make smart choices. So I chose my most appropriate shoes for my day and went about my business. I got chatting to Mark from the Covent Garden store and just by looking at me he could tell that a) my trainers were too small for me (on one foot especially) and b) they were causing me to ???pronate, which in turn was causing pain on the outside edge of my foot and in my knees. It's funny how we've all become so unaware of these simple cues but when he pointed it out I became a lot more tuned into how my body was feeling. Needless to say that pair of trainers went straight in the bin and I was as intrigued as ever about Vivobarefoot and the barefoot concept...

I arranged a visit to the store to meet with Sue and Pete to learn a little more about the range and also have an assessment on the treadmill to have a look at my running technique and gauge how ready I was to go barefoot. Before I got on the treadmill though we went through a variety of things including standing on a pressure plate to see how my weight is distributed through my feet (note to self, must engage toes especially big toe more!) body weight squats and single leg squats all to see my range of motion, flexibility and assess any areas of weakness.


On the treadmill, Pete had a look at my running wearing the shoes I'd brought along for run club later that evening. We spoke about how I was landing in my stride (I tend to land on the balls of my feet) and why I should consider working on this. We also talked a lot about posture, rhythm and relaxing. I then swapped into a pair of Stealth II (£100) shoes and got back on the treadmill. Taking all of the points into consideration about being more upright, not over striding, increasing my cadence and relaxing I could feel a difference instantly! I physically felt a lot lighter as if there was more of a response between the ground and myself and taking this into run club that evening made for a fast and enjoyable session.

I've had the shoes for a while now; when you're new to the barefoot concept you're advised to start by wearing them just day to day before running in them. I've worn them about 3-4 days per week since and regularly teach in them. It's a new experience being able to feel the surface that you're walking on and literally waking up the proprioreceptors in your feet! I haven't yet run in them as I think I know how much harder it'll feel initially without the cushioning and energy return I'm used to from my trainers.

Spending time in the Covent Garden store and watching the constant stream of people that come in and shop you kinda start to realise that maybe you're a little late to the game. It's been a secret and no one has let you into it till now...

Have you ever tried barefoot shoes or barefoot running before?! 


Elle :) 

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p.s thanks to Fran of Healthy Fit Fran for taking the pictures for me ;) x

10.4.17

Kitchen Empties #4: My Morning Routine

Back at the start of 2016, I started this Kitchen Empties series. I got the idea from the beauty bloggers and make up artists I follow who all do these posts with their "empties" chatting about all the products that have finished in their beauty cabinet. I'm not a beauty blogger, and even so, I don't have enough "smellies" to create such a post ...but what I do, do, is eat a lot of food. A LOT. So I decided to save some my my kitchen empties and share them with you if I especially loved them. Here is #4, picking up from from Holland & Barrett edition in March.

For this post, I have a few items that have become a part of my morning routine, which is something I have been trying to master for a while. I started with a simple task of starting every morning with a full glass of water and have taken it from there...


Revive Active [find out more here]
Well, if it's good enough for Paula Radcliffe (she is an ambassador) then it's good enough for me. That was my thinking when I decided to try this daily supplement. I had kinda hoped it would be in a pill form but when I realised it came as a powder sachet which needed to be added to water first thing in the morning I realised it would just be another way to remember to start my day with water. Another reason it caught my eye was that it contained L-Glutamine which is a supplement I have talked about previously and was just thinking I should get back to taking it; I figured having it in this supplement left me one less thing to think about. The supplement actually contains 26 active, performance boosting ingredients in total, in each sachet, encompassing your full daily dose of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the flavour but it is palatable... I drink it really fast to help combat the issue! So Paula credits Revive Active for helping keep her energy at optimum levels, and preventing her from getting sick despite her busy lifestyle... and I really can't say different to be honest as (touch wood) I've not been sick and have survived my massively long days and busy schedule!

Better You Magnesium Oil Spray Original [find out more here]
I think I first ever got this spray in a goody bag and recently picked up a (large) bottle in Holland & Barrett. It literally is a life saver if you're used to tired and sore muscles. As well as using it in the evening after a workout, I also use it in the morning directly in the areas of muscle that feel sore and tight as it naturally relaxes muscles. Even for things like when you sleep funny and have a sore neck in the morning (which I'm suffering from right now) and its hard to move your head and relax but that is exactly what you need to do to help recover... well, this is magic.


Botanic Lab Isotonic Refuel Drink [find out more here]
So, I know you see the word refuel and think how can I be refuelling after a heavy session in the morning?! Well, incase you missed the memo, I started teaching bright and early on Thursday mornings at Frame in Shoreditch. I teach two classes back to back so when I finish it is still on 830am... and they are pretty darned hard sessions as I actually do the classes (albeit on lighter weights). Anyway, this cold-pressed juice contains charcoal, raw cane juice and Yuzu fruit... all things that I'm like, what?! But what I do know, is it tastes damn good. It also contains salt and lemon so your tongue literally does not know what is going on it your mouth! It's kinda like a gentle detox being high in vitamin c, plus charcoal binds with toxins to speedily eliminate them from your body (...not that I'd know, but it sounds like a good hangover cure too, huh?!). You can get the juice as part of various 'cleanses' from Botanic Lab as well as various retailers in and around London Town.

What have been your favourite "found and finished" products recently?! 

Elle :)


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5.4.17

The Personal Trainer vs The Studio Instructor In Me

Photo Credit: @Lolography

This is one of those posts where you have the feeling you know what you want to write but actually putting the words down "on paper" doesn't come as easily. It's not even a linear, tangible story that I can just regale from beginning to end but I think it's relevancy lies somewhere in the reason why I blog and the future of my blog.

When I first started writing this post I hadn't posted much since the start of this year and quite frankly that's was for two reasons. Number one being that I was suffering a bit from writers block coupled with a lack of motivation (as there were posts scheduled for me to write) and two, I was a little late to the arena for reevaluating what it is that I'm doing and I don't want to write just for the sake of it.

Then what I realised one night, is that this post couples with another subject I wanted to talk about. Everyone has become so consumed with being open, honest and transparent about their battles that sometimes I feel on the back foot because I don't (perceive myself to) have any real or distinct issues to share about. My personality also means that I'm not able to put myself into a box for any specific sport, area of fitness or food choices (other than being lactose intolerant). I mean, we've had the flexitarian conversation already...

Photo Credit: @Lolography

What I did realise when I got to thinking though, is that sport, exercise and fitness are the few things that have been consistent for me (kinda) my entire life. And that's mostly been as a Fitness Professional. I had my ups and downs with being active in school as any girl does, then I chose Physical Education as an A Level having not studied it at GCSE, because I loved the scientific aspect of it. I then went on to study and graduate University with a BSc (Hons) in Exercise Science before joining the world of work in various Sport Development roles.

To be honest, I never really imagined being a Personal Trainer or Studio Instructor. I had once taken on a position as a Personal Trainer and after one day I never returned. I also worked once as a Gym Instructor and I didn't enjoy that much either. Then the opportunity arose to be trained up with Nike as one of their Nike Training Club (NTC) instructors when they first launched the programme in Universities and I took on my first part time teaching job alongside my office job.

There was something about NTC that I loved. I loved that it was a challenge but accessible to everyone no matter their fitness level. I think what I loved most of all was the opportunity to learn. I got to spend time with some of the best instructors in London and further afield from whom I could learn drills, learn how to show my personality when I teach and be inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Photo Credit: @Lolography

So, ever since I got my Personal Trainer certificate (which technically I got from doing my degree but had to do a couple extra assessments to get awarded my certificate), I've also labelled myself as a Personal Trainer. I have however mostly been teaching classes at various gyms since NTC in what must've been 2010 yet I've rarely ever taken on any Personal Training clients and that has been by choice. Then chatting to a fellow fitness professional not so long ago I realised why everyone would always choose to label themselves as a Personal Trainer, and that's because being a PT is a higher level of qualification than being a Studio Instructor. And this is when I realised that I was letting what other people think affect the way I brand myself.

In a post some time ago I shared the why behind what I do and I don't think that will ever change. But what will change is the little box I put myself in. All of my goals as a Fitness Professional are aligned with being a Studio Instructor - I want to refresh my skills in indoor cycling and have my own permanent class(es). I love learning new class concepts so am busy finding studios that share the kinda vibe I can bring and love and I'd love to be involved in a retreat somehow either UK based or abroad. I also love chatting all things about the industry with those who are new to working in fitness and most of all would love to find or create a community where Fitness Professionals can chat about things like 'how to look after your voice if you teach without a mic' ...or chatting through the process of acquiring classes at a new studio and just generally making new connections...

Whether you work in fitness or not, is there a topic you'd love to know more about?! I'm keen to increase the professional angle of 'keep it simpElle' and would love to know what you'd enjoy reading about...

Elle :)

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3.4.17

How I'm Swapping 5km On The Road For 1km In The Pool


On the phone to my mum a few weeks back I shared with her that I was taking up an opportunity to have some swimming lessons and she asked "Are you going to have swimming lessons for the rest of your life?!". I laughed and responded, "Yes, if I need to!".

I don't know how long you've been a part of my journey so I'll fill you in quickly. I learnt to swim aged 30; just two years ago and it has been one of the best things I've ever done. I decided that it was a life skill and I needed it. I decided to do a triathlon too.

In 2016, I hit the pool every now and again but not working in a gym with access or having a membership it was something that didn't get much attention. At the end of 2016, after founding the Winter Run Club I was approached by Speedo about their new campaign which has just launched- #Make1kWet - it's all about how swimming can make you a stronger runner.

As I sat listening to more about the campaign at their recent launch I realised that I had in fact been swimming (albeit very poorly in lessons) when I achieved my half marathon PB at Brighton Half Marathon in February 2015, and wondered if there was any correlation.

Basically the challenge shows you how to swap 5K on the road for 1K in the pool (40 lengths of a 25m pool), helping runners to become fitter and stronger while enjoying the benefits of a full body workout through swimming. Take a look at this video about the challenge and to find out how I did on my first attempt:


A huge shout out to everyone at Winter Run Club who joined me for the filming of this! And also to TinyTY for letting us descend on their space that evening! Filming in the pool was fun too as it really was the first time I'd been in the water in a long time! 


In Charlie's words (read her post here), where do I go from here in terms of my swimming training? 

I started by taking a couple swim lessons with Swimming Nature based at Fitness First London Bridge (among many other locations). Each of my 60 minute lessons were with Sam who is a keen triathlete himself, and previous County Champion in swimming. The standout difference between Swimming Nature and other swim schools is that instructors train in the water with you. This was definitely new for me! ...I found it invaluable being able to see what "swimming" or the drills I was given should look like in the water (after reading, watching is my next preferred method of learning). It also means that your instructor is able to work with you to ensure you attain the correct positions and get an understanding of what it should feel like when you are in them. I took away a lot from my lessons in terms of technique and areas to work on so I'm excited to put those into practice when I next go swimming... 

I'll also be using the beginner training plan for the challenge to help me structure sessions in the pool that I will do on my own. The programme lasts for 3 months but I think I will still have to play around with it to build up to being able to complete the sessions they have set. I'll need some swimming buddies to keep me accountable so gimme a shout if you're up for this!

I don't have any short term goals to take on a triathlon again; I'm keen to master swimming in a pool right now so there is a little less chance of everything flying out the window when nerves hit at the start of the open water swim. Been there, done that! It is however in my longer term goals... I'd love to complete the Sprint distance again to work on my technique and time, then take on a longer distance.
 
So, who's gonna give this a go?! ..if anyone is keen for a little accountability I may create a little "leaderboard" in this post to keep track of your 5km times, 1km times and any progress! 

Elle :) 

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