Cheerleaders: #jigglingjugs 

Cheerleaders (week 2)

I am a runner. Tra-laa!

Ok, I use the word “runner” loosely, what I really mean is that I jog a bit, walk a bit and wonder how people can blithely skip through 5k races without needing oxygen tanks.  

But I am definitely running at a speed of 7.5 on the treadmill. There’s no rhyme or reason to my training, I basically run for as long as I can then when my lungs feel about to burst, I walk for a bit.

After chatting with Aimee about the Couch to 5k app, we decided I was doing ok by myself. I run for about two and a half minutes at 7.5 then walk for 30 seconds at 4.5. I repeat this for about 10 minutes. Knowing it’s a bite size chunk of really helps get through the pain barrier.

I’m still getting to grips with the treadmill mechanics. I’ve realised that I can’t run while reading subtitles on BBC News (it has the same effect of drinking cider while spinning on a Waltzer). I find myself gazing at the treadmill screen, not quite knowing where to look or what to think about and I don’t know whether I’m more concerned about having a cardiac arrest or tripping and breaking my nose.

What is fantastic is the support I’m getting. There are two lovely old boys at the gym in their 60s who often whoop across the room at me yelling “Go on my girl, you’re doing great!” I daren’t look around for fear of falling over so I simply grin and do a thumbs-up.

Learning to run is daunting so having your own cheerleader, whether it’s your mum, partner, mate or gym instructor, makes all the difference. Aimee is great, a brilliant blend of a highly trained profession who also makes you laugh and enjoys the craic.

If Aimee’s not there, the on-duty gym instructors will often give words of encouragement and plenty of thumbs up. Never be afraid to talk to them – they’re very chatty, friendly and advising you on techniques is all part of their job.

Strangers can also be very supportive. One lovely lady commented on my running and when I joked about my beetroot face and sweat, she said: “But that shows you’re really working, I hate these women who come to the gym with a full face of make- up as it intimidates me.”

And my husband is my biggest fan. During a romantic cuddle, he whispered: “Your back is getting muscular, like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.” I’ll take that as a compliment.

love #jigglingjugs x

The Start: #jigglingjugs 

The Start (week one)

When I was a kid I used to run. I’d play British Bulldog endlessly, do laps on the school field in PE and sprint for the bus without a second thought. Then I turned 13 and grew boobs.

All of a sudden, running was like a scene from Carry On. Sports bras weren’t common in the 1980s and the flimsy underwear from Chelsea Girl really didn’t do the job. My teenage self-consciousness, coupled with a few jeers and leers from pubescent lads, stopped me in my tracks.

Since then, I’ve stuck to exercise where my curves can be covered and contained, such as swimming. I have several lovely friends who run but are so slim they’re like woodland nymphs gambolling gracefully in pink lyrca.

My Facebook timeline is full of Map My Run achievements, the Couch to 5k app is a constant conversation topic with other friends while Park Run and Percy Pud should be phrases in the New Oxford English Dictionary.

But none of this ever inspired me. In fact, if a mad axeman was chasing me I’d probably stand and give bare knuckle fighting a go rather than breaking into a trot.

Then two things happened. First of all, I bumped into Aimee at the gym and as I was studiously avoiding the treadmill, I casually mentioned my hatred of running. I joked about the danger of getting two black eyes and that I wasn’t built for jogging with my #jigglingjugs Aimee raised an eyebrow and in that wonderful lilting Middlesbrough accent said: “Give over. Get on the treadmill and stop making excuses girl.” Or words to that effect.

Then a couple of days later, I was talking to a male friend about jogging and he said: “Yes, I never saw you as the running type.” There was no malice behind his comment but it had a resounding effect. I stood there thinking: “Oooh, I’m allowed to say I don’t run, but I don’t want you thinking that of me.”

So I went to the gym and I ran. Now this wasn’t some Chariots of Fire moment, when I say “ran” I mean I jogged a bit, walked a bit, panted, went bright red and sweated all over my husband’s t-shirt which I’d worn to cover my figure. I managed 10 minutes, one minute walking and two minutes jogging. The evidence is below!


But the #jigglingjugs behaved themselves impeccably in my sports bra. No one laughed, commented or even glanced in my direction. The added bonus was I didn’t keel over and die either.

So that’s how it all began. Next time, I’ll fill you in on my progress, how I’ve acquired some fab cheerleaders and why I’m definitely getting a t-shirt saying: “I know my face is red….”

Love #JigglingJugs x


How To Be Healthy In Sheffield

Whether you already live in Sheffield or you are just visiting, there are lots of ways to stay fit, healthy and active in Sheffield. In no particular order, these are my top ten websites to check out to help you stay fit and strong in Sheffield!

1 Nourish – This place is the go to place for lush healthy food in the city centre. All of their meals are made fresh daily and they can even deliver it to you!

http://www.nourishrestaurants.co.uk/

2 The Outdoor City – Sheffield is The Outdoor City, with lots of opportunities for you to spend time in the great outdoors and learn new skills such as climbing or mountain biking. Search for the #theoutdoorcity on social media.

http://theoutdoorcity.co.uk

3 Park Run – Sheffield parks are wicked. Not only because they are cool places to hang out but also because we have 4 different Park Runs to choose from. These free timed 5km runs start in the parks at 9am every Saturday.

Concord Park
Endcliffe Park
Graves Park
Hillsborough Park

http://www.parkrun.org.uk

4 Hallam Barbell – If you want to get strong but not sure where to start, Dave and his team at Hallam Barbell run regular courses and workshops, including ladies only. Like them on Facebook to keep up to date with upcoming sessions.

http://https//www.facebook.com/HallamBarbell

5 South Yorkshire Sport – If you want to get involved with sport in South Yorkshire, then the SYsport website has all the info. There are volunteering opportunities listed on the website as well as an activity finder and a jobs section.

http://www.sysport.co.uk

6 Pedal Ready – Sheffield is a busy and hilly city , especially if you are on your bike. If you need a bit more confidence have a free 1:1 session with a pedal ready instructor. You tell them where you want to go to and from and they will plan the safest route and then ride with you to help boost your confidence.

http://www.pedalready.co.uk

7 Beanies Health Food Store – Selling wholefood and organic produce in walkey as well as gluten free foods.

http://beanieswholefoods.co.uk

8 Breeze ladies only bike rides – Ladies only group bike rides. If you want to find new routes in and around Sheffield get booked onto a Breeze ride. I’ve heard they have regular cake stops on the way too!

https://m.facebook.com/BreezeNetworkSouthYorkshire/

9 Decathlon – I love this place! They sell everything you need to be active plus they have decent coffee in the foyer!

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/en/store?store_id=PS_UK_340

10 The Climbing Works – A really friendly, chilled out climbing and bouldering wall. They run courses too if you are looking to learn or just to practise your technique before heading into the Peaks!

https://www.climbingworks.com

Let me know how you get on in my ladies only lifestyle support group on Facebook. Click here to join. PS the group is for ladies anywhere not just Sheffield!!

What Is Your Biggest Fitness Challenge?

So last week in my wonderful Facebook group I asked my ladies a question.

What is your biggest fitness struggle at the moment?

And the biggest response was the option, the motivation to keep going. Which got me thinking. Why do we feel the need to brand ourselves An Exerciser?

If you are genuinely struggling with motivation to work out I want you to re frame your thoughts about exercise.

  • You do not have to go to a gym
  • You do not have to rack up miles of running
  • You do not have to stick to the same schedule every week

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Being physically active should not be something you dread, it should be part of your lifestyle. You do not have to attend structured exercise sessions to be fit and healthy. Even 20 squats in the living room makes a difference. Forget exercise and focus on being more active everyday. Live a life full of movement and adventure with sitting less around.

Running is great, but you don’t have to do it if you don’t like it! You don’t have to do any form of exercise or activity if you don’t enjoy it! Walking is so beneficial to your health, both physically and mentally. Having a walking buddy will make a massive difference to your motivation and energy levels too. Share this post now and write what days/times/ distances you want to do each week and find a local friend to go walking with you.

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Sticking to the same fitness classes each week is a good way to build up your confidence as a beginner, however once you start to get stronger your body will respond better and continue to make changes if you mix up the sessions. Keep the brain engaged and don’t let any session switch you into autopilot mode.

It is true that your body reduces its fitness and strength at a quicker rate than it takes to build it up. This should not put you off resting and recovering. Your body needs rest and time to recover. If you have a few weeks of reduced activity THAT IS FINE! Just listen to your body and when you feel like being more active go for it. Don’t feel guilty for having some time off.

Walking, climbing, playing, swimming, dancing are all things that benefit your health and can be done anywhere. If you enjoy it, do it!

So if you ever find yourself thinking “I cant be arsed” ask yourself what needs to change. And then do 20 squats!

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Postnatal Depression and Exercise

This week, 6th – 10th June, is infant mental health week, raising awareness of the importance of the first 1001 days of a babies life.

But it’s not just the first 1001 days of a babies life, it’s 1001 days of a mums life, of your life.

    • 1001 days of change
    • 1001 days of learning
    • 1001 days of tiredness
    • 1001 days of adjustment

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For some mums these 1001 days can be dark, scary times. It is difficult to admit that you are struggling to bond with your baby or finding it hard to cope, maybe feelings of being inadequate and overwhelmed and maybe even having thoughts of harming yourself or baby. For some mums the first 1001 days is clouded by Postnatal Depression. PND can also affect dads and the information below is just as relevant. 

Getting through the day with Postnatal Depression is an hour-by-hour task and exercise is often the last thing you feel capable of.

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But exercise can play an important role in the recovery of a parent with PND. Any type of exercise or movement is beneficial as long as its enjoyable. If putting your favourite song on repeat and dancing in the living room feels good, do it every day! Focus on doing what makes you feel good rather than how your body looks.

Exercise and physical activity helps to produce feel good hormones called endorphins. Exercise can also play a big part in your self care or “me” time, giving you time out from the daily routine.

Walking is a great place to start as the fresh air will help boost mood enhancing hormones. Baby can come with you in a sling (which also helps to support bonding and closeness for both parent and baby).

Exercise classes like my Sling Fit and Fit Mums sessions are also a great place to meet new friends and build your confidence and self esteem. The sessions are relaxed, informal and social and you can bring baby along with you.

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Enquire at your local leisure centre if they have an exercise referral scheme. This will give you access to trained fitness professionals who can help to build you a programme in the gym and support you on your recovery.

If you think you may be suffering from PND please read more information on the NHS website or the Tommy’s baby charity website.

I want you speak to your health visitor or GP if you think you have PND.

I want you to speak to me if you think you have PND.

I want you to speak to someone if you have PND.

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It’s ok to not be ok. Postnatal Depression is an illness. It says nothing about you or your abilities as a mother. You don’t have to go through it on your own. Please speak to someone.

Kind thanks to Forging Families for the use of their images and infographics.

Crobar Protein Bar Review

I am always on the look out for snacks that I can throw in my bag and have between sessions or hiding in the kitchen so I don’t have to share them with the kids. This can be tricky sometimes (finding tasty snacks, not hiding in the kitchen, I have that down!) being gluten and dairy intolerant. I do have a fairly laid back approach to my diet and I do eat small amounts of gluten and dairy but I just have to be careful how much.

So imagine my intrigue when I came across a snack bar that was

a) suitable to be thrown in to my bag and last the day without turning into a crumbly mess
b) gluten and dairy free
c) made with CRICKET FLOUR!!!

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Before I go any further i just wanted to say that The Crobar is less I’m a celebrity get me out of here and more hell yeah I want more of this! It really was delicious and because the bars are packed with protein it kept me feeling full for a surprisingly long time (for such a small bar). This high quality protein makes it an ideal post exercise snack to help feed and repair the muscles, bonus!

Full list of free from: Dairy, Gluten, Wheat, Egg, Soy, Corn, Yeast with only naturally occurring sugars

Full list of ingredients: Peanuts (37.7%), Sultanas (31.4%), Dates (12.6%), Sunflower Seeds (10.5%), Cricket Flour (6%)

So cricket flour! This information is from the Crobar website. You can read more here.

Cricket Flour contains

High quality protein
Animal sourced dietary protein is superior to that derived from plants. Unlike plants, animal protein contains all 9 essential amino acids

Iron
Crickets contain more than twice as much iron as spinach

Vitamin B12
10 g crickets contain your daily dose of Vitamin B12

Fat
Crickets contain half the amount of fat than beef

Omega 3 & 6 ratio
Crickets have an omega 3 & 6 ratio of 1:2.2, which is better than that of hemp, soy and whey

And it tastes delicious!!! The bars are very similar to Nakd bars and I will definitely buy them again. You can buy them direct from the manufacturer here

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Aimee x

Running To Work

I am a runner. I am also a mother. Therefore I can’t just casually announce that I am off for a leisurely trot around the park whenever the urge strikes. My exercise time is scheduled, bartered, planned and precious!

This post is to get you thinking about whether you could fit active travel into your schedule and some tips on how to do it.

I have to be clever about fitting my runs in. I don’t want to run at the expense of family time and I certainly don’t want to be waking up at 4am to fit my runs in. So I run to and from work. I walk the kids to school/nursery, leave them there and then continue my commute to work with a run. I then run home again once I’ve finished work.

What if I don’t have a shower at my work place?
I am lucky, I work in a sports centre. I have changing rooms and showers once I arrive at work. If you don’t have a shower at your place of work (or final destination) there are other options.

🔸Wet Wipe Wash
🔸There are some waterless shower gels coming onto the market that are aimed at active commuters (and festival goers!)
🔸Seal a wet flannel in a plastic zip lock bag
🔸A shit load of Impulse!!!

How do I carry my stuff?
When I first started running to work I bought a cheap running bag from Sports Direct. Once I had built up my confidence and I knew this run commute was something that I would be committing to doing weekly (if not more) I invested in a more expensive running bag from OMM. I luff it! 💗

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I have a toiletry bag that I leave at work with shampoo, shower gel, deodorant in so I don’t need to cart all this around with me. I also leave a spare pair of trainers at work so I don’t have to wear a pair of wet muddy trainers all day.

This is normally what I end up carrying in my bag to work. I’ll have space for some dinner too. The microfibre towel I got from Decathalon and its great, folds up really small and dries quick. Flashing lights and reflectors are always in my bag so I know I have them when needed. Be safe, be seen kids!

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If you are thinking about giving it a go plot a route to work using Google maps. It doesn’t have to be all the way. Get off the bus/train a few stops earlier and run the rest of the way in.

Also have a test run. Try the route on a weekend or day off when you don’t have any time pressures. See how long it takes you so you can be confident of the time you need to set off and run in without being late.

I highly recommend that you try running to work. There is no better feeling than being sat at a desk all day with those endorphins pumping and warm loving waves of smugness washing over you! Save all those bus fares and treat yourself to a new running bag or pair of trainers for your efforts!

Have I convinced you? Its really not as scary as you think. Let me know how you get on and send me some pictures! If you get stuck I’m always happy to help. Comment below or find me on Facebook!

Winter Fitness Training Tips

Winter Fitness Training Tips

Dark evenings, gusty gales and freezing temperatures are hardly alluring conditions for continuing your outdoor training sessions or active commutes this winter. However with a few additions to your kit, and maybe a shift in your mind set, you can still enjoy exercising outdoors.

Of course there is a simple solution when it comes to winter training which is staying inside on a treadmill, however I personally find this type of training boring and uninspiring. Continuing to train outdoors during the colder months doesn’t have to be horrible (well it might be horrible but think of the feeling you will get when you have done!). These are my top tips to help you to continue to enjoy the great outdoors in winter.

Be Safe, Be Seen

It still surprises me how many other runners and cyclists I pass on an evening that are dressed head to toe in black! Its so important to make yourself visible during these darker evening and early morning training sessions or commutes. You can buy any type of fitness clothing with reflective parts on it but you should also consider wearing a reflective bib or sash. These are inexpensive and helps you to be seen by other cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. Ideally invest in a band or flashing light that can be worn on your arm or ankle as this moving parts are easier to spot. Fluorescent pink or orange is better than yellow or green when it comes to hi visibility clothing.

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Even during the day in winter it can get pretty grey and murky. Wearing brightly coloured or fluorescent clothing increases the chances of other road users seeing you, keeping you safe.

Head torches are an essential piece of kit if you will be running through poorly lit paths and tracks. If you are cycling you should as a minimum have a front white light and a red back light. Consider taking spare batteries in your bag incase you need to replace them on your travels.

Layer up

You dont have to add loads of extra layers when the weather gets cooler. Even just adding an extra base layer to your fitness kit can make all the difference. Try to start out warm by wearing the base layer for a while before you start training, wearing it overnight if you are getting up early to train. Make sure the layers you wear are all breathable and wicking so the sweat can escape but the heat does not.

Also invest in a hat and gloves that you save specifically for training outside. They will help keep your extremities warm once you get going and the blood is shunted to your working muscles. Having a separate set will mean you aren’t worried about them getting sweaty and muddy!

Stay hydrated

Remember to keep drinking plenty of water when exercising. Some people have a tendency to drink less when exercising outdoors in the cold and especially the rain. Even though you might feel cold and not be visibly sweating its still as important to keep drinking and stay hydrated.

Rain Rain Go Away

Dont let the rain stop you from getting out and doing your session. You can now get trainers that have gortex to make them waterproof and you can even buy waterproof socks!

Wearing a waterproof jacket can be risky as what you gain in being waterproofed you lose in breathability increasing the chances of you overheating. Consider a lightweight waterproof jacket in only the longest of outdoor training sessions in the rain and remember skin is waterproof and you are unlikely to melt!

Dry out wet trainers by unlacing them and stuffing with dry newspaper. Keep replacing the newspaper to help dry the shoes out while retaining the shape and stability of the shoe.

Stay Connected

Regardless of the time of your session or the weather conditions you should always let someone know your route before setting out. There are a few apps on the market that can track you as you go or alert a chosen emergency contact if you are stationary for a predetermined length of time.

Winter might be the time to think about joining a local running group. Not only is there safety in numbers but running as part of a group will push you more physically and increase your motivation. The groups often provide additional technique training sessions and advice that can be beneficial to your fitness and strength.

If you must train on your own or you want to continue with an active commute to and from work, ensure you take a fully charged mobile phone with you at all times. Try and plan routes that are busy and well lit.

I recently did a self defence session with Paul Powers to learn some tactics to stay safe and fight off an attacker. I highly recommend attending one. If you aren’t from Sheffield, search for one in your local area. It might save your life one day.

Do I stay or Do I Go?

Winter is often the season when most people are struck down with a cold or flu. If you feel well enough to train and all the symptoms are above the neck, then give it a go but lower the intensity. Its important to listen to your body and adjust the sessions appropriately. The only time when you definitely shouldn’t train is when you have a virus and fever. This can put additional strain on your heart as the virus can spread into the heart muscles. Training while suffering from a chest infection is also discouraged. I think if you are feeling really ill the best thing you can do is stay inside in the warm and rest. The training can wait for another day.

Colder weather can often make asthma a lot worse because of the cold air entering the lungs. You can wear a buff or a scarf over your nose and mouth to help but again listen to your body and assess the weather conditions realistically.

Be realistic

At the end of the day a few missed training sessions won’t make a lot of difference to your fitness, you won’t be breaking any records in the snow and ice! Assess the conditions and either move your session indoors or postpone it for another day.

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If you start to experience any of the following, stop the workout immediately and move inside. These are the warning signs for hypothermia

Drowsiness
Weakness
Loss of coordination
Pale, cold skin
Confusion
Uncontrollable shivering
Slowed breathing or slowed heart rate

Strongman Competing for Women

Some of you will recognise Holly as she works with me in Revitalize Fitness, doing 1:1 sessions and also covering some of my session too. Holly and I often train together too, mainly because I get pushed to my max as she is a great fitness trainer but also because we like a good natter and chatting while we workout is the only option we have these days!

Holly recently took part in a strongman competition with her partner Ian and I asked her to write me a blog post on the event. Mainly to show you an aspect of fitness that you may never hears of before but also to say a massive well done to Holly for having the balls to do something a bit different and out of her comfort zone. Lots of respect for that.

If you are interested in learning more about Strongman or want some 1:1 sessions with Holly please get in touch.

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So I have played around at Strongman events for a few months as I like to train with my other half who is a strongman athlete. I’ve had a go at farmers walk, atlas stones, deadlifts and log but just having fun. My normal gym training is a mix of high intensity interval training and free weights focusing on certain muscle groups or whole body sessions. Then I love to run with my gorgeous dogs out in the Sheffield country side.

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A few months ago I saw an advert for a couples strongman competition and thought it looked interesting. I love a crazy challenges and to test my body physically. So I text the fella and said we should give it a shot and he signed us up before I could even think about it! (he’s been pestering me to do a comp for ages!)

So a month before the comp I thought I’d better get focusing on the specific events that I would be doing in the event so joined Titanium Strength Gym.

Thankfully the massive strongmen were super friendly and really helpful so I soon got to grips with the events. I trained four times a week practicing the specific events for the comp. When I started my fitness was there but not up to the standards that I needed for the comp.  By the end of the month of managed to achieve the weights for most of the events, it definitely wasn’t easy but I felt confident knowing I could do them, woohoo!

So comp day arrived………… Omg I was sooooooooo nervous!!!! To add to the nerves, Ian arranged for my family to suprise me and turned up to watch!!!! Then looking round at all the athletes I was even more nervous!!!!! After many trips to the loo and warm ups we were up!

First event was the farmers walk with 70kg in each hand for me and the yolk for Ian. The crowd were awesome, atmosphere was brill.

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After the first event my nerves calmed but the toilet was still my friend!

2nd event was the axel press 50kg for me and log for Ian.

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Wow this one was hard because the axel was set up very different to what I had trained on. So I had to experiment with the first lift and oh no it wouldn’t move!!!!! So I changed tactics and faced away from the frame and split my stance and somehow pushed it up! Phew!

3rd event was deadlifts, 100kg for me, not my best event but felt OK.

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4th event was farmers hold with 80kg in each hand. I had never lifted this heavy in training so was super psyched to make sure I tried my hardest to pick it up. Omg I lifted it up!! Lots of shouting, screaming and crazy faces later (46secs later) I let it go when my fingers had enough.

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Final event was stone over yoke, 50kg for me. I liked this one, in my head I imagined I was picking up medicine ball and chucking it over the yoke! In reality it was slightly harder!

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The day was amazing, watched a lot of amazingly strong men and woman show their true strength and determination. The atmosphere and support was so crazy and this is always the same at all the comps I have watched Ian in. Definitely the most friendly sport around.

So our result, we were hoping for a podium place but we came 5th. However the position didn’t matter because I achieved a lot of personal best’s and loved my first attempt at a strongman/woman comp. Competing with Ian was awesome too, sooooo much fun as u can see from the pictures we are a crazy couple!

So now I have entered a novice female comp in January 2016 so watch this space!!!!!!

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