My Current Favourite Workouts

So its been ages since I’ve blogged anything fitness related, and that’s been for multiple reasons. Firstly, I’ve been struggling a lot with talking about fitness for a number of reasons, which I talked about in this post, and secondly because at the start of April I broke my ankle and I’m still very much in recovery.

Even after the ankle situation happened while I was at the gym, I was itching to get back. I actually can’t imagine my life without being in the gym at least 3 times a week and it was torture being on crutches, then having to wear the ugly boot cast, and I got so desperate that I actually went to the gym in my boot several times. Problem is, I’m still not fully healed, and I’m still going to physiotherapy, so my marathon training has also been thrown really out of whack, and I’m even having to adjust my usual gym workouts so I don’t put too much pressure on my foot and cause any more damage to myself.

Its forced me to try some slightly different things, and in doing so I’m finding some new things that I love, and also seeing results I didn’t expect!

Sit down bike

I’m trying really hard to keep up some cardio activity while also keeping my body weight off my feet and keep any impact to a minimum, and cycling has been great for that. Its also got some strength back in my thighs (which are seeing some shape come back as a result as well btw!) and the movement is helping stretch out the ligaments in my foot that are healing at the moment.

Boxing

Little known fact about me is that I’m actually a black belt in Taekwondo, but I had to give that up when I was 18 because of hip problems (isn’t my body fab?), but it does mean that this girl knows how to throw a punch! I’ve been doing a lot of boxing with my PT lately, because it gets my heart rate up, works a lot of my body but also doesn’t have to involve moving around on my feet too much.

Lunges

I’ve never been that much of a fan of lunges, but for a long time after my accident I wasn’t able to squat, so I switched to lunges, and they’ve become a really important part of my physiotherapy exercises because of how much they stretch out the ligaments and are helping to increase my flexibility again

Battle ropes

I’ve always liked flinging battle ropes around the gym, but I’ve just found myself using them a lot more lately and loving it. I can also feel how much stronger I’ve got because I used to get tired with them so quickly!

The road to recovery isn’t easy, but I’ve been so much happier getting back into things, and even though I’m not where I want to be right now, its all about those baby steps!

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My Favourite Lower Body Exercises

So despite starting the year with a promise of monthly fitness update posts, that literally only happened in January. Oops, my bad.

I’m a little bit ashamed to say I’ve yo-yo’d a bit this year. I started the year on a high, but various aspects of life have been challenging my fitness journey and this has led to inconsistencies and going backwards at times, and while I’m a little bit annoyed about this, there’s nothing I can do looking back on it so all I can do is move forward.

My gym recently went through a big refurb, and while it never looked back in the first place, it looks so much better now! We have new equipment, new areas and a new pink wall that I’m particularly fond of, and the update has done wonders for my motivation.

If you read my new fitness plan back in May, you might have seen that summer is the time when I tend to focus more on my legs as I’m not running as much (and hate running during summer heat), and these are some of my favourite workouts for my lower body at the moment:

Plyo Box Jumps

The most popular new piece of kit in the gym is our new PlyoSoft boxes, and while I’d always considered them to be torture before I’d actually used them, but now I’m obsessed! I start off on a 45cm, the quickly moved up to 60cm and now I’m on 75cm and I’m aiming for 90cm by the end of August. Its a great bodyweight-only workout and I’m already seeing results!

Bosu ball squats

Because squatting isn’t tricky enough at the best of times, I’ve now taken to doing them on top of a bosu ball.. While this might not seem too different to squatting on solid ground, you’ll be amazed at how many more muscles you get working while you’re trying to maintain your stability!

Donkey kicks

While it may seem very cliche gym-girl, I love donkey kicks, and all the different variations of them. I have a little donkey kick routine that’s my go-to on days when I’m focusing on lower body, and I will do it over and over until the backs of my legs are screaming just cos for some reason I really seem to enjoy it..

Wall sits

Wall sits are probably the easiest possible exercise for your legs ever, and its amazing how much you feel the burn afterwards. If my legs aren’t already knackered, I’ll try and get in a few minutes of a wall sit at the end of a workout just to push myself right to the end – and then probably fall down the stairs out of the gym.

Swiss ball leg raises

These are killer for both abs and legs! Gripping a Swiss ball between your knees/calves, then raising your legs straight up and down while lying on the floor; I’ll tell you now its a killer!

What are your go-to leg moves in the gym?

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Airborne Fitness at Oxygen Freejumping

I’m a firm believer in fitness being fun, otherwise its just a chore, right? So I, quite literally, jumped at the chance to try out the latest craze of trampoline fitness classes at Oxygen Freejump in Southampton.

Oxygen Freejumping

Now I actually have a background in trampolining (which made me even more excited to try this out), as I did it from the age of 3 until about 15, everything from weekly training to regional competitions, but I was definitely a little out of practice when I took to the springs yesterday!

Oxygen Freejump

Not only was I lucky enough to try out this class, but I was also able to bring my friend Jess, so after an early morning drive to Southampton, which is about 30 miles away for us, we arrived early and had a coffee in the little cafe.

Oxygen Freejumping

I had no idea how big it was there! In my head I had pictured a big room full of trampolines, but there were actually a bunch of smaller sections, as well as the main freejumping area, and it was in one of these little side areas that our class was held. Before we could get onto the trampolines, we had to get a pair of special grippy socks, which were £2 (but you get to keep them for future use!) then we were lead through to the hall by our instructor, Tyler.

Oxygen Freejumping Airborne Fitness

There were 16 little trampolines making up the floor, one per person, as well as three walls of trampolines and a small strip in the middle which is where Tyler demonstrated all the exercises. As with all good workouts, there was a warm-up consisting of 30 second rotations of different exercises – high knees, star jumps, lunges etc – before we got into things properly, and by the end of the warm up I was already feeling the effects; it was hard work!

Oxygen Freejumping Airborne Fitness

An hour flew by! Although we had quite a few little much needed water breaks, I’m not really sure where the time went; we moved from exercise to exercise, some were solo, some were done in pairs, and exercise sets were broken up by jumping laps around the room. We did everything from planking to bouncing off the walls, and while it was hard work, it was so much fun! I don’t think I stopped smiling and laughing for the whole hour.

Its worth noting that while the class is held in a separate area to the other bounce sessions, there’s just a net between you and the other Oxygen users, so its not entirely private! Not a problem for me, but if you’re not keen on public workouts, this may not be for you. I’d also recommend bringing a water bottle with you, it gets hot!

The class is £10/session, but I would 100% recommend it to anyone looking for something a little bit different and I’d love to go back; if I lived closer I’d probably make it a regular thing, and I’d also love to give freejumping a go!

Have I inspired you to book? Use discount code HERO20 today to get 20% off at your local Oxygen Freejumping centre!

I was able to participate in this class free of charge in return for this review. All opinions are my own.
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YearOfFit – Home Gym Essentials

These days there are a million ways for you to stay active without paying out for a gym membership.

There’s workout videos, YouTube, dancing, Pinterest, and you can even buy your own machines so you don’t need to share with smelly strangers, and if you’re doing any of these things, you might be thinking about setting up a little ‘home gym’. Yeah? Well here are a few bits of kit you’ll want to consider!

Home Gym

1. Swiss ball

There are a lot of things you can do with a Swiss ball, from pilates to core work; you can even use it as a chair or bench!

2. Skipping rope

Skipping is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories, and a rope is a really cheap piece of kit!

3. Resistance bands

Another budget piece of kit, but a great way to save paying out for pricey strength training equipment

4. Kettlebells

Although I really hate them sometimes, kettlebells are a really versatile option if you’re thinking of buying weights

5. Foam roller

Most people, runners especially, have a real love/hate relationship with the foam roller. Personally, although it can hurt, my foam roller is my go-to for tight calf problems and general muscle aches and pains.

6. TRX/Suspension cables

If you’ve got somewhere safe and strong to secure them, suspension cables are a great piece of kit that utilises your body weight for strength training. The possibilities can be endless!

7. Step box

Whether you’re using it for an aerobics workout, a weight bench, or just a general prop, a box can be a great purchase for your home gym area

8. Dumbells

Dumbells can be a pricey piece of equipment, but if you want to take your home gym to the next level, a pair or even a set of dumbells is the way to go!

9. Mat

Save yourself from workout out on cold or uncomfortable floors with a foam or rubber exercise mat!

Do you prefer to workout at home or at a gym?

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#YearOfFit – Fitness Goals for Everyone

Happy Wednesday! Are we all feeling good today?

I guess, following the previous introduction post, this is the first ‘proper’ #YearOfFit post of the year, yay!

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If you’re planning on joining me and having your very own year of fitness success, you’ll probably have set yourself some goals or targets for the year – I know I have! – but today I’m going to talk about the goals that anyone can have and achieve, even if it takes a little bit of hard work! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: fitness is for everyone, whether you’re hitting the gym every day or just trying to walk more; it all counts!

Learn to swim

As far as I’m concerned, this is about more than just fitness, its about safety. An article in The Guardian last year said that 1 in 5 adults in England can’t swim, and to me that seems crazy! Swimming is not only a great way to keep fit (especially for those with injuries), but knowing how to hold your own in the water could save your life one day. I’m not going to get morbid, but please, if you can’t, promise me you’ll learn to swim this year?

Run a 5K

Yes, I’m bias, but a 5K is a great goal if you’re taking it up running this year. My best tip on how to get into running? Step outside your front door. It doesn’t matter if you start off running for just 10 seconds at a time, and walking in between; you’re still trying and it will get easier. Is that the finish line in the distance? Yes, yes it is.

Plank for 2 minutes

Planking is a great way of working your whole body with minimal risk of injury and minimal effort. Start by holding it for 10-20 sec, then add a few more seconds on every day. You’ll get there in no time!

Incorporate weight training

Weight training seems to have such a negative connotation with many people, but seriously guys, ITS REALLY GOOD FOR YOU! Try and add some weights into your workouts, and I promise you’ll find yourself feeling better and noticing results!

I truly and totally believe that every single one of these goals can be achieved by anyone. Go, surprise yourself!

#YearOfFit 2016

Welcome to #YearOfFit 2016!

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New-ish series, following on from my previous #fitfordisney posts last year, this is going to be all about keeping fit and healthy, and enjoying it!

Now I just want to start off by saying I am no personal trainer, nor am I a nutritionist or expert; I am just a girl who loves keeping fit. If you’ve followed me for the last year or so, you’ll know that I spent the whole of 2015 training up for the two half marathons that I ran at the beginning of this month, along with another 5k and 10k. I love going to the gym, and tend to do so 3-4 times a week. Long story short, I am really enjoying my fitness journey so far, and I want to share more of it with you, and would love for you to have your own journey this year.

Another thing I want to clear up before this series really kicks off – there will be no body shaming here. This is about fitness and health, not size, but also your body is your body, and it can look however, and do whatever you want it to. Skinny? Good for you! Consider yourself a little on the larger side? Great! Fitness and a healthy lifestyle looks good on everyone!

So what can you expect from #YearOfFit this year? Well I’m going to be writing a combination of fitness tips and advice, sharing some of my favourite workouts, and also covering diet, from meal prep advice to some delicious healthy recipes, and if there’s anything you’d like to see, get in touch!

So right now I want you to think about what you want to get out of your #YearOfFit. You might want to run your first 10k, you might want to take up a new hobby; whatever it is, write it down, take pictures, whatever, and please please PLEASE get in touch to tell me what you’re up to! I’m excited to see who’s going to be with me on this adventure this year!

Ready?

Let’s do this!

(Want a little head start? Read my previous #fitfordisney series for some of my older posts!)

RunDisney 2016: 13.1 (5 Weeks to go!)

I know that I post my RunDisney training updates on Sundays normally, but this week is a special exception for two reasons: 1) I have a special Christmas post for tomorrow, and 2) today’s run needs talking about.

Quite simply, we did it.

13.1 miles.

2:40:40.

Done.

13.1

Despite many people believing that you shouldn’t run the distance you’re training for before the race itself, given that Dad and I have been physically ready for this distance for a good while having trained for almost a whole year, we wanted to just get out there and do it, to feel 100% confident in our ability to do it, and also to set our first PB, and a time we can work from.

Knowing this was our goal for the week, we kept our midweek runs short – around 30-40 minutes each, and pretty much entirely flat, leaving us in a good position for this morning.

Conditions today were not ideal. The wind at the seafront was ridiculously strong, which despite giving us a nice extra push for the first 5-6 miles, it was kicking up all the sand from the beach which got into our face and shoes, forcing us inland for the second half, at which point we had to turn around and start running back against the brick wall of wind. It was hard work, and had conditions been better we would have been totally fine, but the extra work took its toll mentally as much as it did physically.

In terms of pacing and split times, we remained fairly consistent. For the first 7k, 1/3 of the total distance, we kept an average of 11 min/mile, and completed it in just under 50 minutes, and despite feeling much longer, the second and third 7k splits only actually took 55 minutes, so we were pretty well paced the whole time, even if fighting against the wind drained us of energy.

After finishing, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, although I was too exhausted to do either! I’m honestly just so relieved and impressed, and 100% feeling prepared for January now!

°o°