29.11.17

The Business of Fitness: From Precarious to Privileged


Over the past 5 years that I have been blogging, and the 10+ years that I have worked in the fitness industry I've noticed the trend of what feels like everyone, wanting to qualify as a Fitness / Studio Instructor or Personal Trainer. And by all means, if you think this is the career path for you then who am I to rain on your parade?! However, I've always lived by the saying that "a good coach doesn't always make a good player, and a good player doesn't always make a good coach" - which translates to the fact that just because you love working out doesn't mean you will love being on the other side of the transaction.

The Precarious Nature of Working in Fitness 
One of the major points I have wanted to highlight for some time now is the precarious nature of working in the fitness industry. If you don't already know, I'm currently undertaking my Masters in Management with Business Innovation. It's a way for me to gain new skills in an area I am very passionate about. I've taken out (another) student loan to fund my two year part time course because I am currently working Freelance and one of the many downsides to not having a Standard Employment Relationship (SER) is that you do not receive any training. 

When I worked in my Sport Development role some years ago now, training was provided via my employer as well as funding being available to complete external training. I completed a number of diplomas from the Chartered Institute of Management (which is how I came to find out this was a passion) and also completed numerous Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses with YMCAfit that allowed me to progress as a Fitness Professional.

Some of the Realties of Working in Fitness
The industry comes with a lot of uncertainty and instability; I currently work for two different companies in London and just earlier this year, one of my permanent classes was taken away from me with barely two weeks notice. When I contacted Management to discuss what had happened I got no response whatsoever. "Just a part of the job" is what my colleagues told me and I was given a harsh lesson in how not to ever really put my heart and soul into the job. I then spent my entire summer training in the Bests Bootcamp Academy (which you might have read about on the blog here); I taught my trial class just before I went on holiday in September and overall my feedback was good. Speaking to the master trainer before I left, she was keen for me to return, brush up on my areas for improvement and get on the timetable for what would be their two studios by that point. Upon returning from my vacation, I contacted the studio and never got a response. The time I invested into the academy was unpaid and now, unrewarded. So when training is offered in the industry, it is more often than not, unpaid and comes with no guarantees of being given work at the end of your time. 


Training up in new / additional concepts usually involves 2-5 hours of training followed by an audition or test before you are "signed off" to teach the class. At this point you are usually put on a cover list to pick up work when those with permanent classes need cover. Being offered your own permanent classes does not always happen; many a time I have responded to emails looking for a permanent instructor and am yet to have secured the class whilst not provided with a response to say so or to be given any feedback. 

In order to make a decent income, as opposed to "just managing" as Theresa May put it, you'd need to teach multiple classes per day, for the majority of the week (assuming this is your only source of income). Payment for classes can vary massively depending on where you are working; currently my average for a 45-60 minute class is £22 - £50. Teaching so much can also be detrimental to your physical health, leading to burnout or injury. 

Working in a precarious sector such as fitness means that you cannot solely rely on your income from the work you currently have; basically, you can't count your chickens before they have hatched! It means you're unable to plan for the future as you are unable to quantify your income beyond the work you plan to do. You do not receive any of the benefits that are afforded as part of a SER such as holiday pay or sick pay which means that any time off, for a vacation or illness, usually hits you twice as hard. There are however many benefits to this type of work which include, and are not limited to, flexibility which allows individuals to juggle other priorities in their lives such as childcare and caregiving roles in addition to greater levels of autonomy.


Why You Should Diversify Your Income
I recently went to an event hosted by the Health Bloggers Community about freelancing as bloggers and the panel made a really valid point about diversifying your income. And this is where the title of this post comes from, precarious to privileged. ‘Privileged’ sectors include health, IT, consultancy and law which have all seen increases in the number of self employed. This isn't to say that everyone in these sectors (who are self employed) earn enough to feel privileged. But I think it does help to highlight the point that it is very important not to rely on a single income source when you work in an industry of a precarious nature. This is one of the driving factors behind me completing my masters in order to transition into more managerial / consultancy roles in the business of fitness specialising in business innovation and marketing. I'm also keen to learn front end web development to complement my role as a blogger in an industry that is growing and thriving. 

So for anyone wanting to work in fitness, I would suggest teaching or Personal Training alongside your current job in order to build your reputation, build your client base and allow yourself to source enough work for a decent income before packing in your stable job. You could also take up part time work in the industry such as roles in front of house or retail (fitness brands are a good fit) that allow you to have a proportion of your income remaining stable and also allows you to meet people and get to know your community.

I've got a few more Q&A style posts in the pipeline about working in the industry but if you have any specific questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or contact me via my social channels (linked below) or the 'Contact' page here on the blog

Did you transition from an SER to fitness?! What was your experience? Is this something you are thinking about for the future?!

Elle :) 

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27.11.17

Q&A: So you want to be a Personal Trainer? #1


\\ How do I remember every session plan for a client or a class?

So I actually have a post written all about working in the fitness industry that precedes this post, but if it’s good enough for the film industry, it’s good enough for me to put the beginning at the end... or the middle... wherever I feel like!

I’ve been wanting to write a post for ages about working in the industry; I mean, I think I’m experienced enough. As more and more people opt to become trained up as personal trainers it makes me wonder if everyone knows what they’re really in for?? I started a few conversations on social media asking some questions surrounding this and one of the questions that came up was how as a professional, do you remember what you have planned for a client session or class?

And the answer is: you don’t. Well I don’t anyway. I mean bravo to anyone that does; maybe they’re teaching the same thing week in and week out.

I typically write my session plan in notes on my iPhone which is usually hooked up to the music on the “instructors station”. I kinda remember little bits at a time during the session, keep the note open and refer back to it when I need to. I always keep the class informed of the time they have left and the work so that kinda helps me remember in the moment too cos I change my class format every single week.

Sometimes I scribble down a session plan on a record card in case my phone is not accessible but that is rarely the case.


I don’t do that much personal training (by choice) but I get to hang out with a fair few and they all typically have iPads on which they use spreadsheets to plan and record their client sessions. I know there is software out there you can get if personal training is gonna be serious business for you but I would personally start with a spreadsheet to figure out if it works and if it doesn’t, what I would need the software to do for me that a spreadsheet can’t.

The one caveat I have to this are my Lift classes that I teach at Frame. The class is choreographed so every three months we are provided with an update with the expectation that we will learn it off by heart to be tested on it before the launch date. It’s been almost a year now since I started teaching this class and I think it’s gotten a tiny bit easier to learn the choreography each time but I still have to dedicate time to make sure and then I run through it as often as possible in the first few weeks of teaching to help cement it into my brain.

I also sometimes wonder how I would ever remember my class plan for indoor cycling but tbh the times I’ve been in the instructor seat I’ve just had my phone in the handlebars. I guess my plan would be to start simple and as I get more confident and experienced it sure I could remember things better!

So as a studio instructor having to learn choreography is something you might need to factor in when deciding what classes and where to teach. Working to the beat of the music is a skill itself, then add to the fact you will be doing the class (and doing it all with good form) as well as talking / teaching / directing the class and correcting people at the same time. I think it’s an art form.

As a personal trainer, it’s not something you might have to worry so much about. I definitely think an iPad looks a lot more professional than walking around with your client looking at your phone. I guess in the days before technology we’d just use paper and a clipboard (I remember using them in my personal training exams!).

Peeps, if you’re considering training up to become a fitness professional or are new to the industry and have any questions please do leave them in the comments and I will get them answered for you directly or in a post!

If you teach or PT how do you, or do you, memorise your session plans?


Elle :)

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24.11.17

How To Deal With Failure and Rejection


Today I received the result back for my first masters level assignment and my result was a FAIL. The situation isn’t quite as dramatic as it sounds; it’s actually very black and white. The mark received was for a 500 word draft of an essay due in further down the line and I failed on a technicality. I didn’t complete my referencing to a satisfactory level (...my argument being that it was a draft) which meant an automatic fail. I should also point out that this mark has no bearing on anything whatsoever and considering none of my feedback was about the content I provided I’m gonna assume that I’m on the right track!

It got me thinking though, about how we deal with failure or rejection. Because to be honest I’ve not really failed at many things in my life to date and that can be as much a curse as a blessing. Notable failures include my first driving test (I put that down to bad luck as I passed when I retested 6 weeks later) or my Chemistry AS Level; I think I got an E? ...that’ll be down to sitting the exam in the midst of the death of a family member and not writing one single answer. And that’s it really. But the more success you achieve, the greater the fall when failure does come knocking.

So I thought I’d put my strategies in a post to share with you. Having been blogging for over 5 years now and working freelance in what is quite a cut throat industry (fitness) for even longer I’ve had my fair share of ups, downs and knock-backs but I think perception plays a massive part in how you handle each and every situation...


Allow Yourself A Set Amount Of Time To Sulk
I think it’s important not to get caught up in the emotions that you feel after a failure or rejection. It is of course completely reasonable that you might feel upset, angry or just down. But don’t allow it to take over for longer than necessary! That time could be well spent focusing on plan b or figuring out how to come back stronger and well as becoming clear on what you could learn from the situation this time round which leads me nicely into...

Try To Learn From Your Mistakes (providing feedback is provided and it is constructive)
It’s so important that you get feedback and if they don’t automatically provide it, ask for some. Job interviews or big pitches for brand collaborations are perfect situations to find out what areas you need to work on. Sometimes it is just that someone pipped you to the post but if you lost out because, for example, you didn’t sell yourself enough then you need to know so you can work on it for next time.

Open Up About Your Situation
Don’t be afraid to share your failures with friends, family or your support networks. It’s become abundantly clear that social media has become a space where we share just the best parts which actually serves to makes others feel a little less sure about how reality should feel. Y'know when everyone else just seems to have their sh*t together and just winning all the time?! I mean, I’m not saying you have to go and shout the not so great stuff from the rooftops (me failing my assignment did not warrant an Instagram post!) but just be aware of being balanced and use your real life friends or colleagues for a little mutual support. I’m pretty sure more than half my class failed too but it’s obvious some have taken it a bit more personally than others and each person has a different way of dealing with such a situation.

Make A Plan
So now we’ve had our time to feel emotional, what’s the plan? My plan for submitting an essay that will get me the pass mark I desire is to prioritise my time. I’m also not leaving all my referencing till the very end so that’s it’s a little less tedious and I can keep an eye on the amount of references I use (not using enough was some of the feedback). If you’ve found yourself not being successful at an audition or for a pitch, then find out when you can re-audition or pitch again using feedback you will have received. Because, we’re not gonna give up, right?!

Don’t Let It Stop You From Trying Again
Yeeees, don’t give up. Don’t let one rejection mean you’re not good enough. There’s a quote somewhere about when one door closes, build a new door. Or did I just make that up?! Well, either way, you can build a door, try another door, come back to the same door another time... you get the point!

And finally, on rejection...

No Doesn’t Mean Anything.
I learnt this one on a programme I took part in some years ago now. When we are told no, we automatically go into autopilot using our past experiences to make it mean something. We’re not good enough, or we’re not confident enough... y'know all the little things that voice in your head tells you. All the reasons why you got that no. But that no doesn’t mean anything other than “no, not right now”. So it doesn’t mean that you can’t try again. And it doesn’t mean you must give up. So if you approach a brand for a collaboration and they say (for example), “no sorry we don’t have the budget right now”, go back and ask when would be a good time to contact them and pop a reminder on your diary to follow up at the time they have suggested.

Basically, we have to just keep on keeping on. Don’t be afraid to talk to others and be as open as you can to allow others to talk to you openly and honestly. And smile at a stranger today or something, you don’t know their story and you never know, you just might make their day.

Do you have any fail-safe strategies for dealing with failure or rejection?? ...and eating chocolate does not count.


Elle :)


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22.11.17

Another Mother Blogger | Book Review: The G Plan Diet

Peeps, you know how we're all so busy. Wearing that busy badge like some kind of accolade?! Well, during the summer, I thought I was snowed under so when I got the opportunity to review what sounded like a potentially great book all about gut health... I thought "yes!"... then, hmmm can I find time to read it properly and then write the review. So I passed on the task to my Deputy Blog Editor, aka my Mum. Little did I know that my mum would take this role very seriously and take months... and months to send me through her final draft. But, people, behold... we have the review...

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The G Plan Diet - the revolutionary diet for gut-healthy weight loss by Amanda Hamilton and Hannah Ebelthite.

This book is written by Amanda, an experienced Nutritionist and Hannah, a health, fitness and wellbeing writer and consultant. They are therefore both well qualified to discuss the subject covered. The basis of the book is the fact that gut health is inextricably linked to one's physical and mental wellbeing.

The G Plan Diet (available here on Amazon) is comprised of three phrases - the rest phase which is like a detox giving the gut a rest lasting for five days. The "re-wild" phase then repopulates, nourishes and supports the gut with friendly bacteria. This phase lasts nine days. Phase 3 is about rebalance; it lasts for 7 days and is "about getting to the place where you can easily maintain your well deserved results, enjoy more freedom around food and most important of all feel happy". The book is researched / evidence based and the diet is validated by Hannah's lived experience of it which resulted in weight loss and a better mood.


Socks from Stance | shop womens here

Chapter 1 starts by explaining that there are trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria living in and on our bodies and the majority of these are found in our gut (large intestines). These bacteria are known as your microbiota and collectively form our microbiome. It goes on to discuss the origin of the mircobiome and its impact on health, immunity and emotions. Subsequent chapters cover subjects such as - whether or not the diet would be suitable for an individual, gut friendly foods and gut irritants, supplements, frequently asked questions, example menus and shopping lists.

Overall, the book is well written and easy to follow. Rationales are given for the phases of the diet and the information provided pre-empts any questions that may arise. The provision of example menus and shopping lists makes it easy for users particularly as most people lead very busy lives. I have been as objective as possible and tried very hard to find a weakness in the book but to no avail. I recommend this book as a 'must read' for those interested in improving their health and the diet as a 'must try' for health and fitness enthusiasts. Changing ones eating habits can be a challenging journey but because Amanda and Hannah have done the groundwork, all that is needed is to make the decision, go shopping for the ingredients (which are easy to find and relatively inexpensive), prepare meals and start living the rest of your life with a healthy gut and all its benefits.

***

To find out a little more about gut health, read this post about looking after yourself this winter from the inside out including the benefits of kefir on your gut.

Are you conscious about looking after your gut health?! 


Elle :)

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17.11.17

The Ultimate Bloggers "Fitmas" Gift Guide, Part 2

We're back... with more inspiration for fittie gift buying this Christmas. Part 1 (which you can catch here) went down really well, so I have three more ladies who have kindly shared their wish lists with me...

But first, I walked into a studio a week or so ago and they were already playing xmas music. I know, I know... here I am sharing all the gift guides but it's more about my love for shopping than the holidays! All of these would make perfect gifts all year round... wouldn't they?! So, you're welcome!

First up...

Sophie
Sophie is a body-positive personal trainer and fitness blogger over at The Fitology Way.
1) Queen of the Mountains - Winter Merino Jersey £130:
I'm normally a bit of a fair-weather cyclist but with a bit of merino wool in my life I'm sure I could be swayed to explore some lines in the winter sunshine

2) Cuddly kettle bells - £15:
As a stocking filler these would be perfect for the fitty in your life

3) Hey Holla 'Good Vibes Only' Sweatshirt £65
There's nothing better than a grey sweatshirt in my opinion and I love the slogan on the front of this one. It's one of my life mantras!

4) A subscription to Romwod $13.95/month (works out about £12/month)
Flexibility, health and muscle maintenance is the greatest gift you can give someone right? A monthly subscription to Romwod will provide your fitty with daily mobility workouts that will compliment any workout passion whether it's strength training, marathon running or triathlons.

***

Alice 
Alice is a fashion and lifestyle blogger over at Twenty-Something City. Her fitness passion is weightlifting.
For Christmas I’d love if Santa could put some ankle straps in my stocking - they’re great for attaching to a cable machine to work the glutes but I can never track one down in the gym! I’d also love some Gym Shark workout gear (like this leggings and sports bra combo),  pretty please. All my favourite fitness influencers live in their stuff and I love the way the leggings lift and shape the booty. As a little treat, I am obsessed with MyProtein’s vegan cookies. Their vegan range contains the best dairy-free protein products I’ve come across. And trust me, I’ve tried them all!

***

Anna 
I'm Anna from AnnaTheApple and I'm addicted to both running and cake, not sure which comes first! I'm a keen marathoner and my current aim is trying to complete all the Marathon Majors (just Chicago and New York left). I'm basically exploring the planet 26.2 miles at a time. I've done 11 marathons and by the end of 2017 I hope to have completed my 12th.
My Fitmas wishlist:
Hyperice Vibrating Massage Ball
Foam rolling taken to another level. As an injury-prone runner I'm always looking out for the next gadget or research to avoid being side-lined.

Lululemon Totasty Tech Half Zip
I wish I could have my entire wardrobe full of Lulul clothing... but alas bills and food must be paid for.

Garmin Fenix 3 with Integrate HR Monitor
I love that this tracks your steps, sleeps AND your runs while looking like a regular (albeit chunky) watch. The display looks amazing...ALL THE STATS.

***
...and that concludes part 2 of our ultimate bloggers fitmas gift guide! Make sure you save this post and check out these ladies awesome blogs!

Whats on your Christmas wishlist?! 


Elle :) 

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16.11.17

Support Women in Sport and WIN Yourself Tickets To The Vitality Netball International Series!


Over the past couple of weeks, I've been enjoying reading blogs and Instagram posts from Georgina of Fitcetera, Tess of FitBits and Charlotte of Berice Baby chatting about taking part in a 'Women in Sport' campaign all about inspiring women to join team sports and the benefits this can bring to them.

One of the team sports that the ladies (I follow) haven't taken part in is netball. I'm not sure about anyone else's experience of netball in school but it wasn't as enjoyable for me as it really should have been! My main gripe used to be the fact that it was a winter sport, yet we were forced to wear shorts and a skirt. Made very little sense to me then, and even now... but I'm sure things have changed since then. My memories of actually playing though are great! I loved playing either GS (goal shooter) or GA (goal attack) mostly because I was pretty lazy and liked to just stay in that semi-circle where the goal was located!

Anyway, netball is a professional sport for women amongst quite a few others and England have their very own team incase you might not have been aware (I know I didn't know too much about them!) who are about to go head to head with Malawi for a dramatic three-match battle in the 2017 Vitality Netball International Series, sponsored by Go Girl. The matches are taking place in London (at the Copper Box Arena, no less) and Birmingham and Go Girl are offering 10 lucky entrants the chance to win a pair of tickets for the matches taking place on the 24th, 26th and 29th November

You can {enter here} to win or to find out a little more about the competition, event or sponsors.

As for the team, aptly named The Roses squad, they're made up of:
Ama Agbeze (Capt.), Jade Clarke (Vice-Capt.), Eleanor Cardwell, Beth Cobden, Kadeen Corbin, Sasha Corbin, Rachel Dunn, Jodie Gibson, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Josie Huckle, Vicki Oyesola, Natalie Panagarry

And the full match schedule: 
England Roses v Malawi Queens, Friday 24th November, Copper Box Arena, 7.45pm 
England Roses v Malawi Queens, Sunday 26th November, Copper Box Arena, 2pm
England Roses v Malawi Queens, Wednesday 29th November, Genting Arena, 7:45pm

...So peeps, what better way to support women in sport than getting yourself a seat in the arena supporting these amazing women?! 

Do you follow any professional women's sports teams?! 

Elle :) 

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15.11.17

Survival Tips For Your 5am Alarm

Photo Credit: Donna | Hues of Delahaye

I know plenty of you who wake up at the crack of dawn to get your workouts in. I even overheard a lady in the changing rooms saying she prefers a morning workout so she at least gets to spend the evening with her partner. I guess getting a morning workout in is also kinda awesome cos you know it’s done and don’t have to worry about losing motivation as the day goes on.

For me, I wake up at 5am on the days I’m going to be teaching those early morning classes that everyone loves so much. Up until this year, I avoided them like the plague but when I started teaching at Frame I took on a double each and every Thursday morning. I don’t mind adding extra early starts into my week every now and then, they just can’t be permanent! For months and months, I would come home from teaching those early classes to take a nap (which might actually have been down to being anaemic) then start my day all over again but since I started my masters in October and having lectures scheduled for that evening I’ve had to figure out how to boss my early morning alarm and sometimes stay awake for the whole day...

So I figured I would share with you how I get through a day like that (aaaaand share what’s in my bag when I’m out all day long).


Preparation Is Everything
The night before my 5am alarm, I make sure the alarm is set on my lumi bodyclock and I also set another one on my phone for a few minutes later just in case. It’s aptly named “Are you up yet?”. I then choose my outfit for teaching along with my outfit for the rest of the day and lay them out either on my bed, on the dressing table in my bedroom or on top of my bag along with everything else I’m going to need.

Next up, I prep my (first) breakfast for the morning so I don’t even need to engage my brain. Usually it’s something like weetabix, or granola which I pop in a Sistema Soup Mug (thanks Ryvita) with a handle so I can carry it with me on my commute. I get everything out on the dining table even down to the spoon I’ll eat with plus my vitamins and snacks for the whole day.

Some other bits I pack: portable phone charger, headphones, passion planner, notebook

Getting That Perfect Nights Sleep
I've written a whole post on this topic back in January 2017. You can check that out here or these are my tips for what to do before bed:
* Fresh bedclothes sprinkled with lavender oil can work a treat
* Avoid caffeine too close to your bedtime
* Gentle exercise such as Yoga, or a short meditation
* Remove technology (iPhones, TV's etc) from the bedroom
* Keep a notebook by your bed to write down anything which may keep you up / be on your mind
* Read a chapter of your book


------OUTFIT LINKS------ 

Adidas at Active in Style: http://rstyle.me/n/ctz7r8cckix

Trainers (similar): http://rstyle.me/n/ctvg2hcckix
Sports bra: http://rstyle.me/n/ctvg4bcckix
Trainers (diff colour): http://rstyle.me/n/ctvgytcckix

Get Out Of Bed When Your Alarm Goes Off
This is no time to snooze people! Cos with just 20-30 minutes to get ready, every minute is crucial. Having prepped the night before is a huge help but if I still struggle a little, the first thing I try to do is avoid caffeine. Yes, you read that right. Sometimes coffee / caffeine gets to my brain and makes me have a complete mind blank in the middle of teaching... which is inconvenient when the class is choreographed! If I do need an extra (gentle) kick, I opt for Vega Clean Energy!

Essentials For The Post Workout Shower
I always shower the evening before and then save my shower till post workout. If I’m not coming back home for that glorious shower then I have to pack all the bits I need... but keep it to a minimum (my bag is heavy enough already!). Most gyms / studios have the basics like shower gel, shampoo and conditioner so the only things I personally need in addition to that is moisturiser and deodorant. I’ve been using the E45 spray moisturiser over the past couple of months (if it's good enough for Nicola Adams... lol) as it’s made for dry and sensitive skin so now the weather is getting colder it’s perfect as the cold weather just dries skin out! Oh and it dries quickly which is useful when you make the mistake of trying to get into a pair of leggings post shower!



Then I pack my Alchemy Super Blends Sport Elixir: it's the perfect post workout mix of protein and other organic nutrients. Along with either some deep heat or deep freeze (I defo preferred deep freeze when it was warmer, but think I'll swap to deep heat now winter is here), and all my pills and vitamins to pop when I eat some more food. I started using bee pollen in smoothies / smoothie bowls in the summer then case across these capsules from Apibal. You can also open the capsules if you wanna add them to your smoothie or yoghurt on any given day to get all the benefits because it contains nearly all the nutrients required by humans! 

So, all y'all who get up at 5am "on a regs"... any tips for us?!

Elle :) 

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13.11.17

H.I.R.T at the Adidas Studio LDN


Earlier this month, I got to teach at the adidas women’s studio on Brick Lane. Their residency was due to be up in October but so far it’s been extended to April 2018. If you haven’t been down there yet, why on earth not?! They have women’s only run club every Wednesday evening and Saturday mornings as well as offering classes throughout the week on mornings and evenings.

I haven’t been able to make it to the studio in a while due to work commitments but I took part in the Shoreditch 10km and a few of the events in the lead up to that in October so when they contacted me to teach there I was so excited to get to hang out with all the awesome ladies again for the weekend...

The class I was drafted in to teach was H.I.R.T ...high intensity resistance training. Being supporters of creativity I was able to devise a session myself using the equipment available to me.

------OUTFIT LINKS------ 

Adidas at Active in Style: http://rstyle.me/n/ctz7r8cckix

Trainers (similar): http://rstyle.me/n/ctvg2hcckix
Sports bra: http://rstyle.me/n/ctvg4bcckix
Trainers (diff colour): http://rstyle.me/n/ctvgytcckix

For Friday mornings sessions, the ladies worked in groups of five rotating through five different weighted exercises. We then completed a block of 7 drills together before getting back into the groups for some more weights.

Saturday mornings sessions were also in groups (of four this time) rotating through 4 exercises, twice and completing three different blocks of 4 exercises.

If you know me, you’ll know I always bring the tunes for class so if you wanna know what songs were on my playlist you can follow me on Spotify (there's a widget over there > in the side bar on full web view, not mobile). I alternated between the Bests Bootcamp and Boys & Girls playlists. I update the Boys & Girls playlist regularly and just use it on shuffle!

Huge shout out to all the ladies I got to train with - your energy was insane (in a good way of course!)!

Keep up to date with my weekly teaching schedule via the pinned post on my Facebook page or via the Train With Elle page right here on the blog!

See you in the studio!


Elle :) 


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10.11.17

The Ultimate Bloggers "Fitmas" Gift Guide, Part 1

I know we don't really want to talk about it yet, but reality is that winter is setting in and that only means one thing... it's gonna be Christmas before we know it. For me, the whole holiday season doesn't officially start until Elf, the movie, has had the first of its annual viewings and I should let you know that I did go into my sideboard today to check I knew where to locate it when the time is right! 

With Christmas, comes gift buying... I'm not big on gifts but it doesn't mean that everyone else is like me. For 2017, I figured I would do what I do best and reach out to the community to see what everyone has on their fitness Christmas ("Fitmas") lists to help inspire you with what to buy for the ones in your life who like to get sweaty, or y'know, for yourself (I won't tell). 

First up... 

Bethan
I'm Bethan from A Pretty Place To Play and with some big challenges coming up over the next year I really hope Santa brings me some goodies to help me perform at my best!



GoPro Hero6 (to capture it all) 

A Stance sock subscription (because I always lose my socks)

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Laura
Spanish living in London. Traveller, blogger, aerial silks junkie, burlesque performer in the making, cat lover and quotes addicted | Unspeakable Thoughts Unspoken
A gift card to an aerial class at Flying Fantastic:
I started doing aerial silks over a year ago and I am hooked! I would love to try more aerial classes there like rope, aerial hoop or trapeze.

This yoga sweatshirt I found on Not on the High Street:
Because let´s be honest, we all want to look good on our way in and out of the gym.

This actvewear set from Oysho, the print is beyond pretty and I love the bra design

If there is a time when wires annoy me in whe running or at the gym, it´s time to invest in one of these.

I know it sounds like deodorant it´s not a gift, but this all natural formula is super gentle on skin and super tough on sweat! I got it in one of my monthly Birchbox and I am so impressed with it!

***

Amy 
I'm a cancer research scientist and a keen trail runner, enjoying off-road ultramarathon races and running with friends to explore new trails and have adventures | The Scientist Runs
The ultimate 2018 race season pass. I love RunThrough events and with a season pass you have over 45 races to enjoy, from 5k to half marathon distance

Who doesn't love a pair of socks in Santa's stocking and my favourite have to be from Stance, they're the perfect performance running sock with so many colours to choose from and now also available on Wiggle 

Pick and mix your favourite bars and shakes from this natural nutrition for performance brand 

The perfect run-commute bag so there's never an excuse to not squeeze your training in, just choose your size 

My relaxation tool of choice, don't be put off by the Bed Of Nails, this acupuncture mat is pure bliss and aids recovery and rest 

***

...and that concludes part 1 of our ultimate bloggers fitmas gift guide! Make sure you save this post and check out these ladies awesome blogs! 

Whats on your Christmas wishlist?! 

Elle :) 

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9.11.17

How To Defend Yourself Against Winter From The Inside Out






Anyone who knows me, my mum especially, knows that I will prescribe exercise for almost any or everything (within reason)! So, I was in my element when Lucy Jones, an award winning Dietician include keeping active, alongside a healthy diet, as a way to boost your immune as we chatted over the perfect post workout breakfast of granola lathered in Bio-tiful Dairy Morello Cherry Kefir, smashed avocado on toast and (for me) a decaf americano with almond milk.

Prior to breakfast at London Grind, we got to take part in a self-defence kickboxing class. It was a quick 30 minute blast of punches, kicks and lots of planks. Cos y’know, winter is coming and the evenings are especially dark now the clocks have turned back...

Bio-tiful Dairy conducted some research in the U.K which showed that almost 12 million of us Brits are entering into a Christmas and Winter "pre-tox" as we speak! Yet, it's at this very time of year that 47% of us say that we fall ill more often; I've already had a head cold in October so I'm keen to do as much as I can to avoid anymore illness before summer comes back! It'll also be no surprise to any of us that 49% of us, that's almost half, put on weight during the winter but the good news is that we're trying hard not to; 22% exercise more across November while 20% of us intentionally eat more foods to help boost our immune systems. And that's made a little easier by Bio-tiful Dairy and their range of Kefir products yet sooooo many of us don't actually know the benefits of Kefir or other health foods.

Did you know: Due to the fermentation process Kefir goes through, it's suitable for those who like me, are lactose intolerant! 



It's been big news recently how important gut health is and I was fascinated to hear from Lucy that microbiota in our stomachs accounts for 70% of ur immune system (...and weighs a whole 2kg by itself!). And although there is no quick fix to setting up your system right, there are of course things we can all bear in mind to help keep well this winter... 

> Eat a range of colourful, vitamin rich foods (pack in those fruits and vegetables peeps!)

> Consider supplementing with Zinc which helps support immunity. It can also be found in lean meats, fish, seafood, nuts seeds and beans. 

> Friendly gut bacteria found in fermented foods and supplements (probiotics, prebiotics feed the healthy bacteria in your gut) support your body's defences against viruses and can shorten any illness. 

> Keep hydrated! Remember that alcohol can suppress your immune system so drink plenty of water with all your festive drinks. 

> Make sure you eat enough; this is one I even struggle with sometimes. This is crucial for energy and mental performance. 

> Get enough sleep to complement all that good food you're eating. Research suggests that a minimum of 7 hours should be our target. 

...and then like I mentioned, earlier, keep active! Keep in mind though, that intense exercise can put increased pressure on your body which temporarily reduces your immune system making you prone to illness. 

...so sometimes, it's not all "go hard, or go home", eh?! ...You can pick up Bio-tiful Dairy Kefir in their original flavour in addition to Morello Cherry in Tesco stores nationwide (from 6th November) as well as Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Co-op, Ocado, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market and Selfridges (plus other independent health food stores). 

Have you tried Kefir before?! 

Elle :) 

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2.11.17

Elle About Town: Myofascial Release Therapy at Function360


It feels like yesterday that I went along to Function360 in Moorgate for a much needed Sports Massage but apparently records show that it was all the way back in August. Since then, I had a much needed vacation before I got stuck into my Masters degree at the start of October on top of my regular teaching and now minimal training for my own personal enjoyment. Having those couple of weeks off for a holiday though meant that when I came back to teaching, I actually felt sore the first few times!

So when Sonia joined the Function360 team at the start of the month, specialising in myofascial release therapy, it sounded right up my street.

And forgive me for thinking that I was gonna go into the clinic and spend 60 minutes rolling around on a foam roller with one person having to endure the faces and noises I would definitely be making. But to my surprise, Sonia was quick to inform me that this actually was a much gentler treatment than even a sports massage which works on relaxing the tissues that surround your muscles. Well, chuck me a pillow and expect me to snore...

After a quick chat with Sonia about what kinda things I do (apparently cycling, running and lifting; note to self: must do more) I stripped down to shorts (gold ones, yes) and my sports bra for a postural assessment. Sonia asked if there were any particular areas I felt needed some work so I suggested my neck / shoulders (that’s where I hold all my stress and tension) along with my calves (which are always tight) and maybe my hamstrings. Sonia’s visual assessment showed that yes, my shoulders could do with some work, along with my lower back (thank you lordosis) and then legs.

The treatment itself involves the muscles being stretched and then held in the lengthened position until they relax again. And as with foam rolling there are points where pressure is applied to particularly tight spots - Sonia managed to find one nestled somewhere around my collarbone and oh boy, firstly, I didn’t even know there was a muscle there but and secondly, it was so tight it was the most discomfort I’ve felt in all my treatments which is saying a lot! ...but it was that good kinda pain, where you finish feeling so much better for having seen it though!

Also, I dunno about anyone else, but my favourite part of yoga and of my eyebrow appointments at Blink Brow Bar are at the end when they give you the mini head massage and then gently pull your head away from your shoulders... it’s pure bliss. And the last part of my treatment with Sonia on my neck and shoulders was like an extended version of that!

By the time the sixty minutes were up I felt like my arms and legs were all an inch longer... they probably were. If you’re keen to try this out for yourself, or any other treatment at Function360 then give them a call and use the code F360EL15 to get yourself 15% off (I don’t get anything when you use the code other than the pure satisfaction that you’re treating your body to what it deserves!)

...and, again, you’re welcome.

Elle :) 

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