Month: May 2017

Fit Bride Bootcamp, Month 4: Power Hour

Fit Bride Bootcamp, Month 4: Power Hour

Last month marked the halfway point of the Fit Bride Bootcamp. With the race to the finish line in sight Staci and I have upped our weekly sessions. We’re now training at least twice a week. That’s on top of Staci’s regular exercise habits of… well of dog walking, yoga and shopping..

With an imminent wedding, a high pressure job, a fiancé, a blog and a dog to take care of, Staci has about a million and one to-do lists. Although she’s hyper organised and will easily take care of it all, it’s a lot for anyone to have on their plate!

As a PT it’s easy to tell when a client is stressed. They fatigue quicker, feel weaker and basically don’t make as much progress.

Because of this, we made time this month to have some girly catch ups and coffee outside of the gym. I want to make sure that Staci has some regular down time where she isn’t focusing on work, work, work. Easier said than done.

Fit Bride Bootcamp Month 4 Power Hour

In terms of our workouts, I’ve been including some brilliant stress relieving exercises into our weekly sessions.

My aim was to get Staci to the point where she physically couldn’t do the exercises unless she turned her brain off and focused all her attention on her body. We did them in a HiiT style circuit formation to really up the intensity. No rest in-between each exercise, and a 45 second rest between circuits. That’s just enough time to reset and get your breath back. She definitely slept well that night!

All of the exercises I’ve chosen for this month’s workout are big, powerful exercises that require a LOT of energy and focus. You can really get your anger out!

There’s a few tips and teaching points below and of course make sure to check out Staci’s commentary too!

The Workout

Stress Relief Circuit

Tips & Teaching Points:

Battle Ropes: Make sure you’re in a nice strong stance, with the core braced and the chest high. Legs should be just wider than hip width apart and with a slight bend at the knees. Hold the ends of the ropes in each hand and make waves by slamming the ropes as hard as you can down into the floor. The movement should be powerful and explosive. You can either do one hand at a time, or both together. Keep the movement sustained for the duration of the set.

Burpees: Drop down to a crouched position on the floor, then jump both feet out so you’re in a plank position. Either drop or push up all the way down to the floor, before jumping the feet back in to your crouch, and jumping from the floor all the way to a standing position. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Don’t skimp on the jumps (unless you actually have an injury or a reason not to). They’re supposed to be tiring!

Kettlebell Deadlifts: Stand right over the kettlebell with the feet hip width apart. As you go down to pick it up, sit right back into the heels and bend from the hips and knees – the spine should stay nice and straight. Grip the handle of the kettlebell nice and tight before driving up to standing – push through the heels and squeeze those glutes!

TRX Squat Jumps: Have the legs just wider than hip width apart, and hold onto the TRX handles. Bend the legs and push up powerfully into a strong jump. Bend the knees as you land and make the next jump join on to the landing of the first – so they’re nice and continuous. Think jack in the box!

Renegade Rows: The key to these is focus. You should start in a straight arm plank position with your hands gripping two dumbbells. One arm at a time, row the dumbbells up by pulling the elbow up. Try to do so whilst keeping the hips steady – prevent them (as best you can) from rocking to side to side. Your body wants to stay straight whilst the arms do the moving.

Sandbag Clean and Squat: Have the sandbag in front of you and stand feet just wider than hip width apart. Bend down to pick it up by hinging at the hips, bending at the knees and keeping the back straight. In one smooth, powerful movement, you want to pick up the bag from its handles and swing it over your arms, so that you’re holding it nice and high up to your chest. From there you can. squat nice and low, holding the bag up high.

Bear Crawls: A great finisher, and deceptively exhausting. You’re essentially just crawling on your hands and feet (not knees). Right hand-left foot, then Left hand-right foot. Try to keep the hips nice and low and bring the knees nice and close to the chest.

The Commentary – By Staci

Two sessions a week. Sounds simple enough, well- it’s not. Not only do Roslyn and I have crazy schedules but when they do overlap it seems like every second is spent in the gym. So this month, we made it a point to have a coffee date as well. Although it meant we cut a session a little short, the laundry didn’t get done and the house was a mess for another week, it was oh so worth it.

I am a chronic over-worker. For example, right now I’m writing this as I throw a ball for the dog on my left, a stick for the dog on my right, and in the background I’m uploading photos to be edited. I hate wasting time, which means I’m basically on ten 24/7. It also means I crash really really hard. So hard that I sleep for 12+ hours to reboot. This isn’t the healthiest of life choices so I’ve been trying to relax more.

You may have noticed I’ve been off social media for nearly a week – which for me is a lifetime. But one thing I realised was sometimes we just need a break, we need less distractions and we need to take a minute for ourselves.

So yes, this month was the start of two sessions a week. Did that always happen? Not exactly – but we tried really hard and I listened to my body telling me I need to just take it easy.

This was by far the best month yet. I’m (secretly) starting to enjoy them a bit more. Even though I roll my eyes and moan every time I see Roslyn reach for heavier weights, I’m continually impressed with myself and how I can get through ⅔ of the reps by myself – as opposed to the maybe ⅓ when we started.

It’s a satisfying feeling knowing that my muscles are being pushed to edge. Even if I hate it when it’s happening and the next day when I’m sore and can’t tie my hair up because my arms hurt so much from doing the most ridiculous exercise ever. I have no idea what it’s called – let’s call it the Michelle Obama.* Seriously y’all it’s the death of me, I hate it so much. I hate everything about it, just thinking about it right now my arms are aching and my blood is boiling. It’s seriously THE WORST. But determination is at an all time high. More to come next month…

*Just in case you’re wondering, the “Michelle Obama” exercise that Staci hates so much is overhead dumbbell tricep extensions. Great for toning and getting some great definition in the arms (hence Staci’s apt choice of nickname).

Fit Bride Bootcamp Month 4 Power Hour

A Beginner Guide to PreWorkout (feat PhD Pre-Wkt: Burn)

A Beginner Guide to PreWorkout (feat PhD Pre-Wkt: Burn)

The first time I tried PreWorkout, I felt like an absolute rebel.

I mean, come on. You only need to read the first line of my About Me profile to understand that I’m a bit of an introvert whose idea of a wild Saturday night is managing more than one glass of wine or (on rare occasions) a full bottle of cider. And by full I mean circa 500ml.

I’m genuinely not trying to be a goody-two-shoes. This isn’t me saying “look how wonderfully healthy I am”. I’ve always been like it, regardless of the health aspect…I don’t like getting into trouble! Yes I loved clubbing whilst I was at University- still do occasionally- but that’s about the dancing, not the drink, drugs or rock and roll. The truth is, that sort of thing has never appealed.

Yes. I realise that PreWorkout doesn’t actually count as drugs.

I was (and still can be) just a little put off by the idea of forcing a load of chemicals and caffeine into your body to create a synthesised buzz of energy. It just feels a bit unnatural. More so than protein supplements- which I have been au fait with for a while, under the right circumstances.

So that’s why the first time I furtively mixed that little white scoop of powder and shook it up in my purer than pure Evian bottle, (which, alas, would never taste the same again) I felt like I was kinda ruining my own innocence somehow.

Lo and behold, I hated it.

I got the shakes. The sweats. A massive high, followed by the worst crash. I felt sick halfway through my training session. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t see properly at one point, or the lights seemed really bright or something. Worst of all, unbearable tingles that came on after 5 minutes. An unsalvageable itch behind my ears, on my neck and in-between my shoulder blades.

I’ve tried a few different PreWorkout supplements since that grim loss of virginity. I’ve also done a lot more research. I struggled for a long time to find a decent PreWorkout that gave me the boost that I needed without at least one of the aforementioned side-effects.

Enter PhD…

Then, quite by chance, I was invited to an event hosted by PhD Supplements at 1Rebel in Broadsgate. A community of bloggers, journalists and fitness industry professionals gathered together for a quick workout, a free breakfast and an intro to some of PhD’s newly launching products.

A Beginner Guide to PreWorkout

Ahead of the mini fitness class, we were given samples of PhD’s new PreWorkout products. I was quite disproportionately excited when I realised that one of the samples was Pink Grapefruit flavour. Grapefruit is one of my all-time favourite fruits (which some people find weird). It was as if I knew even before trying it that I’d finally found the PreWorkout for me.

PhD don’t do what a lot of other companies do, and just cram AS MUCH CAFFEINE AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE into their energy boosts. Instead they have conducted extensive scientific research to create 3 unique PreWorkout powders that are individually tailored towards the goals of the user.

Ok, that sounded very sales jargon-y.

Basically they avoid pumping caffeine into their powders and focus on different ingredients depending on whether the user wants to have sustained energy whilst preventing muscle loss (PreWkt Burn), get a better muscle pump (PreWkt Pump) or perform better/recover quicker during bouts of exercise, like a sports match (PreWkt Perform). They focus on using chemicals in their supplements that are already naturally created by the body.

The PreWorkout Burn was my favourite. I had a good level of sustained energy throughout our workout. No bright lights, no sweats and no massive crash afterwards either. Best of all, the Burn blend doesn’t contain any Beta-Alanine, that god-awful chemical responsible for the tingles.

It works for me. I also know that the PreWkt Perform blend, which has Beta-Alanine and Creatine added, but no B vitamins or Branch Chain Amino Acids, does not. The tiniest difference in ingredients can have a huge effect on performance.  It just goes to show how individual these things are and how important it is to do your research.

 

The Beginner Guide to PreWorkout:

If you’re a newbie thinking about trying an energy boost supplement for the first time, make sure you figure out what you actually need and where you can actually get it, rather than mindlessly accepting the first scoop of buzz-inducing powder that comes your way.

Here’s a couple of quick infographics that should (hopefully) cover the basics.

A Beginner Guide to PreWorkout

A Beginner Guide to PreWorkout

 

Home Away from Home: AirBnB in Lari, Italy

Home Away from Home: AirBnB in Lari, Italy

A review of our AirBnB in Lari, Italy. Please be aware that this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are a) true and b) my own. Life’s too short to speak other people’s words. 

If you read my April update, you’ll know that Tom and I spent the beginning of this month celebrating our birthdays in the Tuscan countryside.

I’m not a fan of the all inclusive lifestyle. Having a place to settle into and call home for a week is much more my idea of a relaxing holiday.

We struggled to find the apartment on the trip from the airport- on the windy country roads, we just kept on missing the turning! Still, we eventually found the right street and made it up the hill in our little car. Having done so, we were rewarded with spectacular views of the Tuscan hills. Che bellissima!

It was nice and easy to walk into the centre of the Lari when we wanted some fresh air and exercise, but we were only a short drive from plenty of larger towns such as Lucca and Florence.

Lari, Italy - Review & Guide

Lari, Italy - Review & Guide

Annalisa and Tommaso, our hosts, lived in the next door apartment. They were wonderfully friendly and welcoming. We were even greeted with a bottle of fizz and breakfast for the next day. They were always happy to answer questions but let us get on with our holiday in peace once the introductions were over.

It was a typical Tuscan apartment, with stone walls, painted shutters and lemon trees in the garden! It was precisely what we needed. Not overly fancy, glamorous, high tech or modern, but clean and cosy with plenty of space- indoors and out. The wifi was decent, there was plenty of hot water the kitchen was functional and the whole place was clean. We were given toiletries, dressing gowns, cooking utensils- even flip flops for the trip down to the wooden hot tub!

Lari had plenty of delicious restaurants to choose from but it was nice to be able to stay in and cook for ourselves as well. The quality and value of fresh produce that you get at European markets will never fail to amaze me!

We would start our day with some resistance band training. This would be followed by a jog (or fast walk!) up the steep hill into Lari for our morning coffee.  After an espresso or two we’d head back to the apartment. Enjoying some fruit, yoghurt and poached eggs on the veranda, we’d sit and plan the rest of our day.

If you’re looking for luxury and glamour then this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you just want to relax for a while in a place you can call home, with easy access to everything that Tuscany has to offer, this apartment is as good a choice as any.

Lari, Italy - Review & Guide