Month: January 2017

To HiiT, or not to HiiT

To HiiT, or not to HiiT

In one of those frustrating, catch-22 coincidences, in the past couple of weeks since I made the shift to become a fully-fledged freelance fitness trainer, I’ve actually been working out far less often than I used to.

It’s driving me up the wall.

Back when I was an office minion, the gym was my respite. Every morning, like clockwork, I’d be up and out the house by 6.30am, fitting in a 45 minute session before the working day had even begun.

Now, I’m getting up even earlier so that I can be there for all the other 9-5 workers. Only this time I’m the one teaching their 7am HiiT or 8am Barre class that they diligently fit in before work.

To HiiT or not to HiiT

I think that somewhere in my head I took for granted that when I didn’t have a steady 9-5 job, I’d have much more spare time on my hands for my own training.

Urm, wrong. Me being me, (I have a compulsive need to be busy) I somehow managed to fill up every spare moment of my time either training clients, teaching classes or travelling from one to the other. Most of my blog stuff and writing gets done on the bus or tube in between studios.

When I do happen to have a spare moment to myself, I’m too shattered for a truly productive workout.

To HiiT or not to HiiT?

My clients often comment at the end of the class that I must not need to go to the gym very often when I spend so much of my time teaching back-to-back classes.

I see where they’re coming from. On the one hand, teaching a fitness class, particularly a fast paced one like HiiT, is both mentally and physically taxing. I always put my max into demonstrations: If a demo is half-arsed then you can hardly blame the class if they don’t go all out to push themselves.

I always do some sets with the class for motivation purposes- which, by the way, is a million times more exhausting when you’re also simultaneously timekeeping, talking, giving teaching points and making sure everyone is pushing themselves just hard enough. It’s a lot for your body and your brain to handle.

So add that all up and then take into consideration the fact that I normally teach at least two to three classes back to back, you would think that covers my own workout, somewhere along the way. I certainly am exhausted at the end of my working day!

The truth is, though, that I spend so long in a class stopping and starting, talking and teaching as well as demonstrating that I never quite get the same level of post-workout satisfaction as when I spend an hour solely focused on me.

To HiiT or not to HiiT

It’s no surprise really. Particularly as my own training is focused on strength training, doing lots of heavy compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts. My classes, on the other hand are primarily HiiT style- so lots of cardio, lots of speed, lots of power. I absolutely love teaching these classes, but in these past couple of weeks I have really missed my own good, old-fashioned weight training.

I guess it’s just one of those things that I’m going to have to figure out along the way – how to find the time to fit in my own training as well as keep up with all my classes and all my clients, without pushing myself to breaking point!
We’ll see how it goes.

To HiiT or not to HiiT

Recipe: Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Recipe: Peanut Butter Protein Bars

These Peanut Butter Protein Bars are ideal for if you need some fuel to keep you going throughout the day. Super easy to make and deliciously fudgy, they’re perfect for that post-workout muscle repair. They will also help to keep you full until dinner time! These bars have no added sugar and all-natural ingredients, therefore they’re definitely one to bookmark!

Protein Bars

All the rushing around from my first week as a freelance personal trainer left me, quite unsurprisingly, absolutely exhausted. Combine that with the dreary weather we’ve been having in London at the moment and it wasn’t too much of a shock that I spent my first weekend of my new life fighting to recover from a pretty horrible infection!

The moment I felt myself getting ill I truly realised the weight of responsibility that you have as a complete freelancer, which includes no sick-pay! So if I didn’t fight this thing then that’s money that wouldn’t be going into my bank!

Pretty much straight away I grabbed the nearest plate and piled it full of nutrients- starve a fever, feed a cold, right? That’s what my Grandma used to say, anyway.

I followed this on with the most delicious bowl of Pho at the weekend, because absolutely nothing clears the sinuses like veggie noodle soup with plenty of Sriracha!

It had been a while since I’d baked anything, so as I started to feel better, I decided that it’d be really worth having some healthy, nutritious snacks about the house. These bars are great because I can just grab one on my way out to meet a client, or save it for the break in between classes.

 

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Ingredients

 

  • 220g Dates
  • 2 Teaspoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 Medium Bananas
  • 1 Tablespoon Cacao Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Coffee
  • 90 Grams Protein Powder (I used Raw, Unflavoured Pea Protein)
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Water (or just regular water)
  • 100 Grams Cacao Nibs, or Dark Chocolate Chips (optional- roughly chopped walnuts would also work very well)

 

For the Topping

  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 100g Ground Hazelnuts

 

Method

Line a square baking tray with greaseproof baking paper, then leave to one side.

Blitz all the ingredients (except the cacao nibs) in a blender until nice and smooth. You may have to take the blender off and stir every now and then so you can make sure that there are no lumps.

Now you can stir in the cacao nibs, if using (these can be replaced with roughly chopped nuts). Spoon it all into the baking tray and level it all out with a fork or spatula.

Freeze for 1 hour.

After the hour is up, take the tray out and drizzle with the peanut butter and ground hazelnuts. At this stage you can also add any other toppings of your choice. Dried cranberries would go very well, if that’s your sort of thing. 

Freeze for a further 2 hours, or overnight, before cutting into small squares or slices.

I’d definitely advise that you keep these ones in the freezer so that they don’t lose their shape and go all squishy.

That’s it! I was a bit doubtful at first about the whole freezing method thing, however it works an absolute charm and gives the bars a lovely smooth texture. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

Protein Bars

Protein BarsProtein Bars

Going Solo: Taxes, Takeaways and Tube Strikes

Going Solo: Taxes, Takeaways and Tube Strikes

Have you ever had one of those moments where you just stop and think to yourself: Yes. This is it. I’m a genius.

Those glorious, “best decision ever” moments that come in the most bizarre places (usually the shower).

I’ve been having that feeling a lot lately.

More specifically, I’ve been having that feeling at the end of every class I teach, or every session I train a client. I’ll find myself on the train home smiling to myself like a halloween pumpkin, bursting with a sense of job-satisfaction that for the past year I honestly didn’t realise existed.

So if you’ve been following me at all on Instagram (or indeed if you actually know me personally) you will probably already know that just before Christmas, I made the very big, and very scary decision to quit my sensible, reliable, salary-paying job to commit fully as a freelance Personal Trainer and Fitness professional.

Going Solo

Week 1: Going Solo

Crazy times. Gone is the annual-leave and the statutory sick pay and the relatively easy-but-not-exactly-stimulating day job.

Instead, on Monday of this week, I found myself stuck in deadlock traffic in Elephant and Castle, mildly frustrated but mostly just inexplicably smug, caught up in the 24-hour TFL tube strike.

Because now, if I’m late to work, it actually matters.

Two months ago I wouldn’t have turned a hair at the tube strike. I’d have just been somewhat grumpy that there was more traffic on the roads as I drove to work in my little old car. Needless to say, I no longer drive now that I’m shooting off all across London (typical freelance-style) to teach classes here and there in Moorgate, Notting Hill or Piccadilly. Congestion Charge No Thank you.

All this rushing about has inevitably resulted in me drinking a whole lot more takeaway coffee. My daily expenditure has rocketed and it’s mostly on Flat Whites from Pret A Manger. Not something I’m too keen to continue, although a nice strong coffee is pretty much an essential after teaching back-to-back HiiT classes from 7am. Does that make it tax-deductible? Probably not.

Of course, that’s the other thing that comes with self-employment: complete responsibility of your own finances and tax responsibilities, which I’m ashamed to say up until now I’ve been blissfully unawares.

Nonetheless, the whole point of this post is that despite the traffic and the tax and the steadily-growing caffeine addiction, those moments at the end of a class that fill me full of pride, satisfaction and adrenaline…well, I wouldn’t dream of trading it back for an office job, no matter how steady or reliable!

I’m not bragging, or at least, I hope I’m not. I quite genuinely have butterflies in my stomach as I’m writing this because I’m just so happy with how things have panned out. A whole lot of hard work paid off.
Do what you love, love what you do.

 

Workout Wear of the Week

Going Solo