Month: February 2017

Partner Exercises: How & Why to Include them in your Workout

Partner Exercises: How & Why to Include them in your Workout

Partner exercises are a great inclusion to any workout. This is particularly true if you’re one of those people who can’t bear to exercise without a designated buddy.

In the interest of it being the 14th February, and on behalf of all those people (myself included) who don’t have a splashy, romantic evening planned, I’ve put together a quick list of my favourite exercises to do as a duo.

Partner workouts great for motivation purposes. There’s nothing like someone relying on you to force you to up the energy levels! Working out in a team can also increase skills such as coordination and proprioception – the knowledge of where your body is in space. This is because you’ll be subconsciously thinking about where the OTHER person is as well. More often than not you find yourselves instinctively working on the same leg/arm/side as the other person, falling nicely in sync. Personally, I also find it useful to watch other people’s technique to check whether what I’m doing myself could be improved in any way.

I’m super competitive, so I always have to remind myself that when you’re working out with someone else you need to find that balance between pushing yourself and sticking to your own limits. This is especially relevant when you’re training with someone who you absolutely know is bigger/stronger than you. I gave up competing with Tom a long time ago!

Take turns at these exercises and let me know what you think in the comments!

Of course, if your buddy goes AWOL one day and you begin to wonder just how you’re supposed to make it to the gym without them, check out my Novice’s Guide to Working Out Alone.

Partner Workouts

 

1) Pull Ups

How: If you can’t do a proper full range pull up yet, have your partner support your legs as you pull up. Go for a wide, overhand grip, which is tougher than the close-grip chin up.

Why: This will take a fraction of the load and all you to train your muscles how to actually perform the contraction correctly.

Difficulty: Relatively easy, but tiring.

2) Weighted Get Ups

How: Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell and lie on your back, on a mat. Have your partner hold down/sit on your feet. The aim is to get from the laid down position, to standing, all without using your hands – which should be holding the weight above your head.

Why: Having the partner there will anchor your feet in place, which will provide some stability and support. This is an all-over body exercise, that works your arms, chest, core and legs all at the same time. Why not!

Difficulty: Average. Practice without the weight at first!

3) Shoulder Press-Ups

How: Start in a conventional press-up position. Have your partner stand behind you and place your feet on their shoulders. As you bend & straighten your elbows in a press up, the standing partner squats with your feet on their shoulders.

Why: Having your feet raised in a press up position helps to target the shoulders, rather than the chest. Meanwhile, the standing partner is working their lower body so it’s a very efficient exercise to practice.

Difficulty: Takes Practice!

4) Pistol Squats

How: Stand facing your partner. Each of you should hold out your left leg straight infront of you. You should be able to hold your partner’s left foot in your right hand. Reach across and both of you hold each other’s left hand. Squat down as low as you can go, keeping the raised legs held off the floor. Create tension in the holding hands to allow yourselves to push back up.

Why: Great for teamwork, balance and coordination, as well as working the glutes and legs.

Difficulty: It’s a challenge!

Partner Exercises: How and Why to include them in your Workout Routine

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Valentine’s Recipe: Cashew-Coconut Truffles

Valentine’s Recipe: Cashew-Coconut Truffles

These Cashew-Coconut truffles are totally, nuttily, awesome. They contain just 5 main ingredients and are full of healthy fats and protein. A great alternative to heavily processed (and over-priced) Valentine’s chocolate, you can whip up a batch in just 30 minutes. And then eat them in about 5.

So if you read my post on Valentine’s date ideas, you may have got the idea that I don’t really go in for a big, OTT Valentine’s day. You’d have been completely correct, of course, and you’d be equally correct in thinking that gifts for this occasion aren’t really my thing either.

Since Tom and I are trying to be good at the moment – health and money wise – we both decided against the whole flowers/gifts/chocolates thing this year! However, I do think that it doesn’t always do to be so cynical about things – which is why I’m sharing this recipe.

I spent just 30 minutes (including 20 minutes refrigeration time!) whipping up these Cashew-Coconut balls of nutty goodness. They’re a present for both Tom and myself, to replace the whole chocolate/candy malarkey.

Completely raw and natural sugars (aside from the optional chocolate topping) these make an ideal, cute valentine’s gift for anyone who is still valiantly clinging on to those new year’s resolutions.

You can pop them in a box and tie them up with a ribbon if it please you. Or you can do what we did and eat them straight from the tray!

Valentine's Recipe: Cashew-Coconut Truffles

Cashew-Coconut Truffles

Ingredients

Makes 8-12 Truffles, Size Dependent 

  • 4 Tablespoons Cashew Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed
  • 4 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 quick squeeze of honey

 

Toppings:

  • 1 Tablespoon Desiccated Coconut
  • 50g Dark Chocolate (optional)

 

Method

Possibly the easiest recipe I’ve ever shared.

Simply mix all the ingredients (apart from the chocolate and the extra desiccated coconut) in a mixing bowl until well combined.

Leave to refrigerated for 20 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a pan and pour the extra coconut into a bowl.

After the 20 minutes is up, shape the cashew-coconut mixture into small balls, before dipping them in the chocolate and rolling them in coconut.

Dreamy.

Leave to chill in the fridge until you can’t resist any longer.

Valentine's Recipe: Cashew-Coconut Truffles Valentine's Recipe: Cashew-Coconut Truffles Valentine's Recipe: Cashew-Coconut Truffles

Valentine’s Dates in London for the Fit, the Fun and the Flirty

Valentine’s Dates in London for the Fit, the Fun and the Flirty

Valentine’s day is just one week away, and if you’re anything like me you won’t have even thought about what (if anything) you’re going to do to celebrate.

Actually, if you’re anything like me you will probably have actively resisted trying to think about Saint Valentine’s day of celebration.

If you’re single, Valentine’s is a pretty depressing day, because all of your non-single friends post photos of all their adorable presents/chocolate/flowers/cards, making you feel- well – just more single than ever. When you’re in a relationship, it’s also a pretty depressing day. Why? Because prices shoot up and you seem somewhat obliged to go out, spend a load of money, and play a big game of “who’s a better couple” with the unsuspecting strangers at the table next to you.

When actually, you’d quite like to have a cup of tea and an early night.

This is precisely why I decided to put together a quick list of ideas for interesting and fun Valentine’s dates in London. Ones that don’t include soppy music, pressurized gender stereotypes or a 20% ‘Valentine’s Special’ surcharge.

The best thing about these places? They’re just as fun (if not more!) with your friends – so there’s no need to panic over a dateless Valentine’s evening.

Valentine's Day Date ideas in London for the Fit, Fun and Flirty

Fall head over heels at Flip Out, Wandsworth

Tom and I both absolutely loved this trampoline park when we last went. It can get a bit kid-crowded at weekends but as long as you take care not to bounce into a small child, you’ll have a great time. It’s great for all jumping abilities, with reserved areas for advanced trampoliners and a big soft area suitable even for beginner-flippers. You can’t help but fall head over heels.

Who For? Big Kids

How Much? £12 per person for one hour

Where Next? Chill out after your Flip out at The Wandle Pub in Earlsfield

 

Raise each other up at The Arch Climbing Wall, Bermondsey 

Valentine’s day or not, this is an awesome date idea, as well as a good workout (you’ll feel it in your arms the next day!). Don’t worry if you’ve never been climbing before- there are so many different walls and routes that are suitable for all levels. If you’re a pro, The Arch offers a range of challenges, including circuits, tunnels and caves. The staff are friendly and it’s a good price, making it an ideal, if slightly different way to spend the evening.

Who For? Daredevil Duos

How Much? Ranges from £6.50 – £10 each for adult single entry

Where Next? Grab a post-climb cocktail at 214 Bermondsey

Valentine's Dates London

Valentine's Dates London
© The Canvas Cafe: Vegan Freakshakes

Get Up Close and Personal with Frame, Shoreditch

Frame is the cool kid on the block, offering awesome fitness and dance classes in their studios around London. What better way to celebrate a relationship than with some fitspiration? Frame offer couples Personal Training sessions (that you can do with friends, not just your SO) including a one-time-only free trial. After all, #coupleswhotraintogetherstaytogether

Who For? Serious Swolemates

How Much? One free trial, then £80 per session (just £40 each!)

Where Next? Undo your hard work and grab a vegan freakshake at The Canvas Cafe just down the road. It’s healthy if it’s vegan… right?

Crazy in Love at Junkyard Golf, Brick Lane

Crazy golf as you’ve never seen it before. Junkyard Golf in Brick Lane has completely redesigned the “family outing in a park”. There are four different courses (plus four different Bars) to choose from, each with their own themed holes. Spectacular surroundings and cracking cocktails make for a great date night.

Who For? Social Butterflies

How Much? From £8.50 per person (some concession discounts available) 

Where Next? Sitting down in a restaurant on Valentine’s day is so overrated. Instead, wander around the shops and grab a bite at BoxPark in Shoreditch, a short walk away. 

 

Valentine's Dates London

Do you have any weird and wonderful date-night ideas? I’d love to hear in the comments!