Hormones: #jigglingjugs

Hormones 

It’s been a game of two halves this week, as these football pundits like to say. This blog was going to be about my breathtaking achievement of running over 4k without a break.

I’m so glad I didn’t boast about this glory as when I went back to the gym two days later, I crashed and burned. What the hell happened? I couldn’t do more than two or three minutes without stopping for a walk. I couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm or pace. How could I possibly go from running 25 minutes to not even running five minutes?

After 10 minutes of misery, I came off the treadmill and thought right, I’m obviously not feeling it today so I’ll just do weights instead. But I couldn’t settle doing weights as I was so annoyed with myself.

So I got back on the treadmill and managed another five pathetic, half-walking, half-jogging, half-limping minutes.

I stormed home in a temper and burst into tears with my husband, who was having a lie-in and thought we’d been burgled. I stood there covered in sweat and tears and snot raging about the randomness of running and the fact I’d gone back to square one. And my poor husband hugged me and said, “Bloody hell love, you’re talking like Jessica Ennis. Do you think you’re hormonal because you’re being irrationally hard on yourself?”

And it’s true, I was indeed hormonal. Instead of focusing on my major achievement earlier in the week, all I could do was beat myself up. Okay, it hadn’t been a great run but I’d still run and a few weeks ago, any kind of running was unimaginable.

I am truly my own worst enemy but I’ve learnt a good lesson that no one is judging me apart from myself. I need to be kinder to myself, I need to be my own cheerleader. Go girl go! Just make sure this rubbish running doesn’t happen again for another 28 days!

Love #jigglingjugs x

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Blade runner: #jigglingjugs

Bladerunner

We’re in Manchester on a Saturday night and we’re late for the theatre. We have shopping bags, three children and 10 minutes to make it to a show that has cost an arm and a leg.

The city centre is heaving and there are road closures everywhere. “Let’s get a taxi,” I tell my husband, but traffic is crawling.

Then my voice says, “We could run. I can run now.”

And there is a fundamental turning point in this whole story. For the first time since being a kid, I feel I can run in public, without being embarrassed and without the fear of collapsing after a few yards. I’ve gone from doing everything possible to avoid even the slightest jog to actively suggesting a run.

It’s all well and good doing the treadmill but this is the first time I’ve had to put my running into practice in real life and I’m amazed that I feel ready for it.

So, we grab bags and children and we run. Immediately I realise my rooky mistake – I’m not wearing my sports bra and my #jigglingjugs are in their element. Luckily, my big winter coat maintains my modesty.

My kids are fantastic little runners so I explain it’s just like cross country but with human obstacles (namely drunken blokes and one man laid out in a gutter in full fancy dress). We duck and dive through the Bladerunner streets of Manchester and I feel a little smug that not only am I running, I’m also carrying extra weight (through shopping bags) and manouvering in different directions.

We approach a group of tipsy men and I shout ahead in that awfully polite English manner, “excuse me please, could we possibly pass?” The group parts as we run through and a few of the men shout encouraging comments along the lines of “Go on love, let the lady through, keep it up.”

We arrive at the theatre in time and I’m a bit breathless but not bent double with stitch and not gasping for air. My seven- year-old gives me a high five.

My husband raises his eyebrows and says, “We didn’t need to run, we’d have made it in time walking. You just wanted to run because you’ve gone all Rocky since doing your training.”

He’s right. Bring it on!

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


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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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

My Year In Fitness – Day 346 #MYIF2014

Today I could have so easily sacked off my run to stay tucked up at home with a hot water bottle and some Christmas films! However I convinced myself to go out for a quick run. I ended up feeling really strong so I went a bit further than I’d planned. Its funny how the sessions you dread the most are the ones that sometimes turn into the best ones!

When I got in I had some of my Nuun Hydration Drinks. They come in a range of cool flavours and are designed to quickly replace electrolytes lost through exercise. This will help to prevent post exercise cramping, fatigue and nausea. I also found I wasn’t as hungry following my run so wasn’t picking at the fridge till I had dinner!

The Nuun drinks will benefit everybody whether you are a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior and ensure that you stay hydrated before during and after exercise. If you are exercising for more than sixty minutes (less if you sweat heavily) then you will definitely benefit from using an electrolyte replacing sports drink. If you are exercising in hot or humid temperatures then staying hydrated and replacing lost electrolytes becomes your main priority.

If you are exercising in the winter it is still important to stay hydrated, as you still sweat and lose electrolytes that need replacing. You could get away with just using the Nuun drink after an exercise session to replace electrolytes but ensure you drink enough plain water in the two hours before your session to stay hydrated.
 
Nuun drinks don’t contain any additional sugar or carbohydrates so you can even just enjoy them through the day to maximise your hydration and jazz up plain water. Today I had the fruit punch one and it was ace. It wasn’t fizzy or heavy like other sports drinks I’ve tried in the past. They do some trial packs on their website so I recommend getting some to decide on your favourite flavour before getting the bigger packs.

For more information and to buy Nuun please visit their website http://www.nuun.co.uk

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My Year In Fitness – Day 165 #MYIF2014

I’ve been looking forward to today’s session all week. Today Holly and I did a hill sprint session. Being in Sheffield we are not lacking on hills so we put them to good use today!

Hill sprints are great for everything. They are tough, they burn and they make you feel sick (if not actually sick) but they get you results quick. Excellent for reducing body fat and weight loss. Great if you only have half an hour to fit a session in.

There are lots of different ways to do hill sprints but basically you start at the bottom and move yourself up the hill as fast as you can!

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Today we did 5 sprints, walking back down the hill as recovery.

1 – half way up hill
2 – full hill
3 – full hill
4 – 3/4 hill
5 – 3/4 hill

I really pushed hard and had major jelly legs once we had finished (and felt really sick) but I loved it!

If you don’t feel confident enough to run up a hill start with power walking up the hill walking back to the start and repeat x 3. For maximum weight loss results repeat twice a week adding an extra walk up each week. When you feel you fitness and strength improving (within weeks) try running the first and power walking the rest.