Project Bridesmaid

This is the year of the weddings. I have nine in total, four of which I’m bridesmaid in! It’s so exciting watching so many of my best friends get married, and I’m thrilled to have asked to be involved in them.

But it does mean that I am going to be in bridesmaid dresses, and have lots of photos taken of me (in the background, obvs) plus you’re standing with people in the exact same dress as you – so comparisons are going to happen. With that in mind, ‘shedding for the wedding’ has officially started.

Barrecore Hardcore

And just in time, Barrecore have launched their #hardcore workout, 20-35+ workouts between April 25th and May 30th with awesome prizes on offer. I don’t think I’ve ever been as toned as I was after taking 3 Barrecore classes a week last summer whilst training for the Chicago marathon, so it was a no-brainer to return to the Chiswick Barrecore classes regularly to help me get back in shape.

Plus the extra glute workouts will be great prep work for the start of New York City Marathon training in July.

Barrecore Hardcore

Other than my bum, an area I’m trying to focus on is my back and arms, areas I’ve never been too fussed about…until you put me in a floor length, strappy pale pink dress. Twice. It’s quite a difficult colour to wear so I’m going to have to perfect the sorority arm (hands on hips) to avoid squidge arms and get a decent tan before the big days!

My diet has been in need of some attention for a while, especially the amount of sweet, sugary items I’ve been eating. I’ve made a conscious effort to ensure my snacks are healthy, eating fruit, KIND bars (I bought 20 at Be:Fit London – whoops), nuts and crudités and dip. It became all too easy to blame lack of time or options on making unhealthy choices, but that’s not going to help when I have to get into a bikini or bridesmaid dress.

Matcha Tea Project Bridesmaid

Ok so this photo has nothing to do with weight loss, she’s just one of the cutie dogs I look after!

I harp on about the importance of proper hydration and sleep for improved sporting performance and weight loss. A bad habit I’ve picked up recently is watching YouTube videos just before bed (on the nights that Tom’s in Cardiff) and end up staying up until way past my bedtime. I’ve tried to swap this around to make it a breakfast routine, rather than scrolling through my phone while I eat my porridge.

Another addition/substitution I’ve made is swapping my coffees and teas – I was drinking at least two latte’s a day, which is actually quite a few wasted calories when you add them up. I’ve swapped to one Flat White and a tea.

Project Bridesmaid

Pukka Herbs sent me a couple of boxes of their new Matcha herbal teas to try. I was very sceptical to give them a try, after my disaster with the Matcha Latte that tasted like fish – bleugh. There are a couple of flavours in the range, so I started with the mint and lemon Matcha tea that I was surprised to enjoy, a lot. I have to admit, not all the flavours were exactly to my taste (I’m more of a mint than fruit tea fan), however the mint was perfect after a meal or as an afternoon pick-me-up and the Clean Matcha was really good as an iced tea in the morning!

Honestly, before I was sent the teas, I’d only tried Matcha because I’d seen other people on Instagram drinking Matcha Lattes, and let’s face it, they look cool. However upon receiving the boxes I decided to do a little more research into the benefits of drinking Matcha which I now know is a form of powdered green tea.

Matcha Green Tea

I learned back in AS Biology that green tea is a carbohydrate inhibitor, which is why it’s a weight loss tool. Apparently there’s more to it than that, it can increase thermogenesis aka calorie burning, increase fat burning for energy, and even helps reduce appetite.

Another bonus for me during my current revision/exam stress state is that green tea has higher levels of L-theanine than coffee, it’s found to have a naturally relaxing effect on the mind, help to reduce anxiety and improve focus and concentration – sign me up! Not only that but a study has shown that catechins in green tea can help improve memory, it seems almost too good to be true. I wonder how many Matcha Green Teas I need to drink before I ace my tests?

Matcha Green Tea

This post is sponsored by Pukka Herbs, as always, my opinions are honest and real. I genuinely think Matcha Latte’s taste rank, but really like the Matcha mint and Clean teas! 

Healthy Nutella?

After posting about purchasing Healthy Nutella at Be:Fit London I got a lot of questions – clearly you guys are big Nutella fans!

Personally, I can take or leave Nutella. I’m a marmite girl. And peanut butter. And almond butter.

But that’s not to say I wouldn’t love a piece of toast with thickly spread Nutella, better if it’s healthy, right?

Healthy Nutella

I bought these two chocolate spreads from the Planet Organic stall on Friday (and accidentally put them on my joint account card so Tom asked me what I’d bought…er £10 on chocolate spread, whoops).

The first was my favourite, the Chocolate Coconut butter-made with coconut flakes, cacao nibs and coconut sugar. It tastes a lot like dark chocolate treats that have been made using coconut oil instead of butter i.e. amazing. It’s so rich and decadent. I think it would be amazing added to a bowl of porridge, yogurt, berries, smoothies – oh the list is endless. When it gets cold it does separate because there are no emulsifiers in it – annoying in the chilly UK at the moment, I think I might have to store them in the airing cupboard!

I bought the Chocolate Hazlenut Butter on a whim, because there was a Be:Fit offer on them, because usually I’m not a massive hazelnut fan. But this is different, it’s so intensely chocolatey with a creamy texture, and no hint of artificial flavouring (maybe it’s just artificial hazelnut that I don’t like!). This would definitely be the Nutella swap that you might be looking for! The only ingredients in these vegan spreads are hazelnuts, cocao nibs and coconut sugar.

They also had a Chocolate Almond butter for sale which didn’t float my boat, however a Chocolate Peanut Butter would have been a different matter! You can buy them from Planet Organic on offer at the moment for £6.74 (25% off normal retail price), obviously a good deal more expensive that your giant tub of Nutella…but so worth it.

Deliciously Ella also has a dreamy homemade version or here’s a less healthy but equally tasty homemade recipe I wrote for Good Housekeeping Magazine. 

4y-homemade-chocolate-hazelnut-spread-270213-de__large

Image from Good Housekeeping – food and styling by me!!

The Weekend Edit: Be Fit London & Sasha’s Hen Do

Despite the fact that it’s actually a long weekend, it’s Sunday night/Monday morning so there’s a Weekend Edit video!

This weekend wasn’t particularly active because I was at my friend’s Hen Do – I’m a bridesmaid four times this year and so am organising four hen do’s – this was the first one!

Highlights of the weekend include;

  • Be:Fit London
  • Dinner with some friends
  • Spa with the bridesmaids
  • Sasha’s Hen Night
  • Yin Yoga

Hope you had a great weekend! I’m about to crash into bed at 9.30pm! I’m hoping that next weekend will be a little more healthy and active, however I have another wedding so I can’t make any promises!

Cross-training for Runners

I love running. I enjoy short runs, fast runs, long runs…but I don’t love running enough for it to be my only form of exercise. Not only that, but adding in cross-training actually make me a better running.

It helps me strengthen, stretch and improve my fitness, which in turn helps me run faster and stronger. (And helps reduce my risk of injury!) I use Classpass http://class.ps/dIx2W (you’ll get £20 off with this link) for almost all of my crosstraining, which means I don’t spend a fortune on classes each month.

Cycling at Woburn Abbey

Cycling

Whether you ride your bike to work, on the weekends with your friends/family, or attend spinning classes, cycling is a great low-impact cardio workout. It’s also a great interval workout (where you mix up the intensity) for all levels!

When I have a long run or speed workout planned for the next day I take it easy with the resistance on the bike.

Barre

My favourite cross-training class is Barre, as someone with weak glutes, barre classes are killer but so worth it. There’s a whole 10-15min bum section! Weak glutes can lead to a whole host of knee and hip problems for runners so this is one area not to ignore.

Barre classes or online videos are brilliant for helping you see how important small movements are, and that they really add up to get those muscles burning – in the same way that small gains in your running add up to big improvements!

Barrecore

Weights  

I’m not the best at doing weights on my own, but I do know how beneficial it can be for strengthening your legs, as well as working your often overlooked muscles such as your back & chest which can help improve running posture.

If, like me, you’re a little intimidated by the weights room, or have no real clue what you’re doing – classes such as BodyPump, circuits, bootcamps and TRX are a great way of including weights into your routine in a fun, teacher-led environment.

Yoga

Whether you sign up to a yoga class at your local studio or utilise the power of YouTube for an at-home practise, adding in some regular yoga stretches will help post-run recovery as well as teaching you to focus on the importance of breathing – helpful when you’re struggling to breathe as you run!

Areas to focus on are hip openers, calf and hamstring stretches and general stability work.

Yoga in the Shard

Pilates

As well as my glutes, I know my core is an area I neglect because it hurts to work it! However a strong core helps stabilise your, improves running posture and helps keep your hips aligned. Pilates – both mat and reformer – are great workouts to help work your trunk area (core, hips and bum) as well as providing a good stretch!

Other classes I love are the HIIT style workouts at Barry’s Bootcamp, Project Fit and 1Rebel, plus boxing which I really want to do more of! I did regular weekly boxing classes whilst training for the Berlin Marathon and it’s honestly the fittest I think I’ve ever been!

This post is in collaboration with Race for Life…these are not sponsored posts, Cancer Research UK is an awesome charity that I want to support through this blog and their Summer races. 

The Weekend Edit: London Marathon & Running with Paula Radcliffe

Wow a vlog that’s actually on time! This is the first of my ‘Weekend Edit’ vlogs, and I definitely have some more work to do in terms of remembering to film, capturing the right moments and having a beginning, middle & end.

My weekend included;

  • Running with Nike Run Club and the legendary Paula Radcliffe thanks to Pro Direct Running
  • Shooting with Will for a New Balance project
  • A night out with friends at a KYGO gig (there might have been some shots)
  • Watching the London Marathon
  • Trying to conquer my huge fear of driving

Running with Paula Radcliffe

I hope you like the vlog – would love if you could give it a thumbs up on YouTube, subscribe and comment if you did like it and want me to continue with my Weekend Edit videos.

Hope you had a great weekend! x