Mindful running…

Running most definitely has its benefits; it is good for our hearts and our heads. I, and many others, have turned running into a habit that is undertaken more than once a week, not only for the exercise but for ability to slip in to another world and switch off.

I find it pretty normal for my mind to wonder whilst running; if someone I knew were to drive past me, I probably wouldn’t notice them. And the thoughts? Well, they can be related to absolutely anything; the run itself, work, life or just how beautiful the day is!

IMG_0151

Why do I find mindful running helpful?

If before I get ready to go out running I am feeling anxious, during my run, I will take the time to think about why I am feeling like that, how I can resolve, is there any reason to actually be feeling that way?

If I’m feeling happy, I will use it to push myself further; quicken the pace, push my legs and lungs and really get the best out of my run.

Either way, I finish the run with endorphin’s that are making me feel more positive.

What do I/ can I focus on to run mindfully?

I often focus on my breathing; making sure I am taking nice deep breaths, rather than shorter, snappy ones.

Once I have focused on that for long enough, and have got in to a rhythm, I will begin to take in my surroundings. Admire the beauty around you and the things that when life is speeding by, you may miss.

Top Tip: If I get stitch, I focus on breathing out every time I stride forward with my right foot. This way, I am no longer focusing on the issue. 

enertor 2.jpg

Try to relax: 

As silly, and as hard, as this may seem, I try to relax when out running. I choose an object of focus, whatever it may be (my stride, bird song, cars, people, trees, my breath) and relax my mental attitude towards exercise. During the week, I push my body really hard when doing HIIT and weight training exercise, that I take this time to just go with the flow and allow my body to enjoy exercise!

How can you do it?

I’d say, follow these four steps:

  1. Focus on your breathing,
  2. Encourage yourself to focus on what is going on around you.
  3. Have a positive attitude towards yourself when you run,
  4. Relax and enjoy it!

Finally, reward yourself after you run! Be it a nice breakfast, a bath, shopping.. make it worthwhile! I love a stack of pancakes!

12934933_531664210338350_1527790717_n

I hope this helps!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Body Weight HIIT Workout (Guest post by @Bitesbybecs)

‘High Intensity Interval Training’ is a great form of exercise – it is a perfect way to squeeze a workout into a busy day and even better it can be done at home! So if you fancy burning some calories in a short amount of time, give this a go! All you’ll need is yourself and a bottle of water!

Before you begin, ensure you have warmed up and stretched to prevent any injuries occurring.

Complete each exercise for 40 seconds and then rest for 20 seconds. Rest for 2 minutes between each set. Complete the whole workout twice. The whole workout will take you 30 minutes.

Don’t forget to cool down and stretch after the workout too. GOOD LUCK!

Set 1

1. Skipping (If you have a rope that’s perfect, otherwise just complete the motion that you would with a skipping rope!)

2. High knees sprinting on the spot

3. Side skaters (Begin in a squat position. Jump to the left side landing on your left leg and bring your right leg behind your left ankle without it touching the floor. Then jump to the right landing on your right leg and brining your left leg behind your right ankle without it touching the floor).

IMG_9056.JPG
3 squat pulses in to full burpee..

REST 2 MINS

Set 2

1. 3 squat pulses into full burpee

2. Around the clock lunges (Start with feet together. Lunge forwards with one leg, then return to the centre. Then lunge sideways with the same leg and return to the centre. Then lunge back and return to the centre. Switch legs and repeat).

3. Duck walks (In a squat position walk forwards five steps and then backwards 5 steps. Repeat).

REST 2 MINS

IMG_9063.JPG
Skaters…

Set 3

1. Squat jumps

2. Mountain climbers

3. Glute bridges (Lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift hips off the ground until knees and hips are in line. Squeeze through your glutes and ensure your core remains tight throughout the whole movement. Ease back down.)

REST 2 MINS

 

IMG_9057.JPG
Mountain climber ready…

 

Please do tag both Bec and I if you give this a go!

 

Hannah x

Bellum Active and Runderwear; my thoughts.

Wearing the right gear, not just for aesthetics but also for comfort and ultimate performance, is important to me. Essentially, I want my clothes to look and feel great and both my Bellum Active and Runderwear active wear, do just that!

Bellum Active:

When my Bellum clothing arrived, I was SO excited! After trying the leggings on, and slowly walking away empty handed at BeFit London, I knew I needed to purchase some in the future! Why? Well, I’m about to let you know!

Appearance: 

Venus Capri: To look at, the material of the capri’s is as shiny as they are soft; they are just beautiful! The mesh at the back of the calf looks really tasteful when on and stops you from feeling uncomfortably sweaty when you’re working out! The pattern is lovely; not too in your face but enough to feel that you’re looking good in the gym!

Endurance and odour control run top: I LOVE THIS TOP. It looks and feels so soft and is just as snug yet breathable when it is on! I have worn it both in the gym and on a run, and in both cases, it was just as good at the job it states it does.

IMG_0798.JPG

Practicality:

For both running and the gym these garments are both ideal.  I love that, unlike most run tops, this one has a zip on the back; ideal for your keys! The capri’s have a pocket on the back too! The top has lovely thumb holes; ideal for colder runs and great to stop the sleeves riding up!

IMG_5529.JPG
The hand zip on the back of the run top! 
The Wear Test:

  1. Both items are SO SOFT when they are on; almost to the point that you don’t want to take them off!
  2. The capri’s feel really smooth when they are on and this stops you from feeling all sweaty and horrible.
  3. The top is great to run in outdoors and for warming up in the gym (you could wear it the whole time but I get too sweaty in long sleeves!!!).  Outdoors, it added a great, extra layer in the cold and kept my hands, that easily go blue, warm!

Price: Both of these items were on the slightly pricier side BUT I feel that you pay for what you get, so they are great value for money and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying more Bellum items. The Capri’s are priced at £50 and the top £55!

Runderwear:

According to the website, Runderwear is ‘seamless, moisture wicking, breathable and chafe free’, and I can concur  that this is absolutely true.

What I like about Runderwear is how they effortlessly blend practicality with a modern, tasteful appearance. The products come in multiple colours (I naturally went for the bright pink look) and styles; you really can choose what you like best so that you run in ultimate comfort.

Appearance: When you think running underwear, you think granny like and ugly, but I was very pleasantly surprised when my delivery arrived. The bra is REALLY soft, eye catching, practical yet looks good too.  The knickers are the same; they don’s show a knicker line either (always difficult when you’re wearing Lycra)!

img_4891

The wear test: Once on, you almost feel as if you are wearing no underwear! The elastane within the clothing keeps your underwear in place as you run; no chaffing or movement of clothing once you’re moving! This is ideal as I am often having to hoick up my underwear in a very un-lady like manner when I  run! Once working out, and nice and sweaty, neither pieces rubbed.. ideal!

Price:  At £16 for the briefs and £25 for the bra, I feel that both items are great value for money. Essentially, you pay for what you get and by paying more, you really are running in better comfort.

If you are an outdoor runner, treadmill pacer or HIIT lover, Runderwear will be ideal for you! They work in both a practical and aesthetic manner; 10/10 from me!

 

 

Bodybuilding.. What is it? (Guest post: @leishamulveyfit)

Bodybuilding? A bro sport exclusively for the biggest guy in the gym or a diverse sport for dedicated men and women?
I obviously agree with the latter as a female bodybuilder competing in the bike fitness category. In this blog I’m going to outline what Bodybuilding is, what competing involves and how a bodybuilder approaches nutrition.
What is Bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is the use of resistance training to develop and grow your muscles. There are varying levels of muscle required for different categories, the three female categories are
  1. Bikini Fitness
  2. Body Fitness
  3. Physique
They are each marked according to different criteria regarding muscle size, muscle shape, definition, leanness, symmetry and stage presence. On stage you are required to perform a posing routine to show off your physique in the best possible way (This is by far the hardest part I think… Posing hurts)
Nutrition
image3
PRE COMP
Everyones ‘prep’ is different some people diet for 20 weeks, some people just 8. It all depends on how much weight/fat mass you need to loose. Generally during the diet people will often eat fairly frequently 5-6 meals ensuring a protein feed in each meal so they are continually fuelling their muscles. Food is based on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats (Just as any healthy diet should be) Some people carb cycle, some people have ‘high’ and ‘low’ days but essentially you have to be in a calorie deficit. Refeed meals can be implemented to spike certain hormone levels and also to maintain adherence to the diet. But I believe that in those dieting weeks the occasional treat can still be incorporated, the closer you get and the lower your calories the less this can happen though.
PEAK WEEK
You’ve probably heard of al sorts of crazy things about this week in particular. The 7 days before your competition are important for getting your muscles full so they appear better on stage and also ensure you look ‘shredded’ and the abs are popping as they say. This week tends to be more bland food with Chicken, White Fish, green beans and rice firmly on the menu. Show day gets as exciting as rice cakes and peanut butter though and we all love peanut butter !
POST COMP/OFFSEASON
In the offseason a certain amount of fat mass needs to be restored to put your body into a healthier state. Some people incase their calories slowly and some people quickly go back to their maintenance and gradually into a surplus. In the offseason the aim is to be in a calorie surplus where you can build muscle. I follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of my food comes from whole food ingredients and 20% comes from more processed slightly more delicious foods. I bake my own versions of classic desserts like doughnuts, brownies and cakes and this helps keep my sweet tooth satisfied.
Overall in the run up to a competition yes your diet does need to be on point, it requires dedication ,time and planning. The offseason allows you to live a more balanced healthy lifestyle that is balanced and more sustainable, Bodybuilding is not 12 months of Chicken and broccoli being hungry and depriving yourself.
Bodybuilding is not for everyone and i understand that, we all have our own interests, our own sports and our own ways of being active. I hope this has given you an insight into the bodybuilding world to see what it is and what goes on off stage.
image2
Leisha is a health and fitness blogger who creates lots of healthy recipes. Leisha is studying sport science at university and shares her knowledge to dispel nutrition myths. Having recently competed in bikini fitness, and also studying to be a PT Leisha has lots of different aspects to her fitness journey. To see more from Leisha, visit her bloginstagramtwitter and facebook.

Wholesome Gingerbread Stars (Guest-post: @guilt_free_gabs)

Wholesome Gingerbread Stars

By Gabriella Evans (Instagram: guilt_free_gabs)

It is never too early to start baking Christmas treats! These gingerbread cookies are guilt-free and full of goodness. They are so fun to make and you don’t need heaps of different ingredients. The result… deliciously crisp cookies and it will have your whole house smelling of Christmas!

I decorated mine with melted white chocolate (my weakness- I just love it) and I made my own powdered sugar. Its so simple I can’t believe I haven’t done it before!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp all-spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150g wholegrain flour
  •  200g wholegrain pastry flour
  • 120g coconut oil
  • 30g coconut syrup
  • 100g coconut sugar
  • 1 egg

METHOD:

1.     In a mixing bowl, mix together the pastry flour, wholegrain flour and the three different spices.

2.     In a different bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and coconut syrup (use the microwave if the coconut oil is set, we want it nice and runny) then add the coconut sugar and whisk until completely combined. If you’re struggling to get the three to mix together don’t panic! Just ad the egg and whisk some more and it should all blend together perfectly. Make sure there are no lumps of sugar.

3.     Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until the dough is smooth and you can form a big ball with it. Then divide the ball into two and leave to set in the fridge for an hour wrapped in Clingfilm.

4.     Pre-heat the oven at 170c and line two baking trays with baking paper (you can also use foil just make sure to spray it with a little oil to prevent the cookies from sticking)

5.     Once your two dough balls are set, remove them from the fridge. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and start rolling! I don’t have a roller at university so I improved the only way I knew how, with a bottle of wine! I can confirm it works perfectly fine- as long as the lid is screwed on properly!!

6.     Moving on… role your dough out until it is approximately 1 cm thick. Use any cookie cutters you like, I recently bought these star ones from Tesco. Keep using the left-over scraps of dough to make more cookies, and repeat until there’s non left.

7.     Place the cookies in the oven for 11 minutes, then take them out and let them cool down completely until you decorate them.

8.     Melt 50g of white chocolate with a tsp coconut oil in the microwave until its nice and runny (approx. 40 second- stir half way). Fill a sandwich bag with the chocolate and cut a TINY hole in the corner so you can decorate your cookies with precision (a proper icing bag would be better, but this technique works fine also)

 

9.     HOME MADE ICING SUGAR!!

–       1 tablespoon coconut sugar

–       1 tsp cinnamon

Place the sugar and cinnamon in a Nutribullet or blender of choice and just whiz it up until it is light and powdery then sprinkle it all over your cookies!

 

Massive thank you to Hannah for letting me feature on her blog and Instagram!!

I hope you guys give this recipe a go and let me know if it worked out well for you. For more guilt-free recipes (also some not so guilt-free) check out my Instagram @guilt_free_gabs!

 

xxx

Raw Chocolate and Coconut Protein Bars

When it comes to protein powders, I am REALLY fussy.  You won’t find me in the bargain basement section searching out the cheapest protein as I am all about quality and knowing that I am feeding my body with whole, nutritious and safe sources of food is key to me.
Although it is better to get as much of the protein in your diet from foods naturally high in protein, take eggs and piece of steak for example, sometimes it is easier to reach for a high protein source that comes in a packet, especially to aid my running.
As stated by Puriton on their blog ‘Eating enough protein is essential to maintain a healthy body; it provides us with energy, helps the body fight off illness and disease and keeps the immune system functioning properly. It assists us in maintaining healthy muscles and helps build skin, hair, nails and cartilage.’ And, if you exercise a lot, you need more than average.  But, not only does Puriton protein powder provide to you a protein source, it also contains fibre and healthy fats.
The fibre and fats come in the form of nuts and seeds that are mixed within the 100% natural whey protein.
And, the flavours are delicious! You can have:
Almond,
Pistachio,
Coconut,
Chocolate,
Macadamia and Vanilla,
Strawberry.
So, if that’s not enough, here is a recipe that I have made (Based on a very similar one by @Spamellab) using the Coconut Whey protein.
Raw Chocolate and Coconut protein bars
14145500_1945408709019594_1138995317_n
You simply need to blend together:
-25g of sesame or coconut flour,
– 25g of desiccated coconut,
– 1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil,
– 35g of tahini paste or nut butter of choice,
– 20g of liquid sweetener,
– 25ml of milk (Dairy or dairy free- just base on personal preference)
Put in to a cling film lined tin and pop in the freezer.
Whilst your base is in the freezer, melt 100g of your chocolate of choice and pour over the top.
Pop back in the freezer and leave to set before cutting in to slices!
Enjoyyyyy
xxxx

 

Run, Run, Run, Run, Runnnnninggg…

Yes. That is me. I love to run and, on this page, I will feature the highs and lows of my training, alongside blog reviews of products that I love to use!

So, as post number one, I figured I would tell you my favourite running clothing products that I could not live without…

  1. My Brooks Adrenaline GTS trainers… They have supported me through many a half marathon and through wearing the correct support, I have not had any knee niggles in the past two years! 13722224_1224455950932397_265555752_n

2. My Sweaty Betty zero gravity run leggings; they help compress my blood flow, stop injuries and keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer,

3. My Garmin and strava- What were the days when you went for a run and didn’t track it? Ludicrous; if you didn’t track, you didn’t run!

4. Running gloves; in these colder months, the dark mornings can be FREEZING, so gloves are an essential and no fingerless ones please; they’re far too useless!

5. Sweaty Betty running socks; they are AMAZING! So comfortable and I don’t ever get blisters!

What are your favourites? Please let me know.. I’d love to try!

xxx