Thursday, 12 December 2013

Diving Back In

Whilst I've always loved it, swimming has tended to be something which gets put on the back burner for me. I loved swimming lessons as a child, and I was a proper water-baby until I had to move house in Year 5 and never managed to a join swimming club again once I'd settled into my new life. That said, I've been planning to dive back in to it for too long now - so enough is enough, 2014 is my year for swimming.

During my placement year I have free use of a swimming pool (right next to my work) so I am definitely going to make use of whilst I'm on placement so I can make the effort to fit swimming into my exercise routine at least once a week, if not more! With Christmas (and particularly January sales) coming up super fast it's the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in some sports-related retail therapy - and I have plenty of items on my wishlist to purchase.
Swimming goggles are essential for a great workout in the water, and along with the countless amounts of brightly-coloured swimming cozzies I'll be able to buy like the ones above from Nike, I'll also be able to make sure that I have ample amounts of awesome goggle-eyed loveliness to prevent me from getting the stinging, red eyes that I remember from my swimming lessons! There's no way I'll be going to work after my morning swim looking like I haven't slept for two days.

If I find my mojo and enjoy it as much as I used to - I'm also hoping to even attempt to enter Triathlons. It's looking a little way into the future, but after marshalling a Double Ironman when I was younger I always held a great admiration of those who could master not just one sporting discipline, but three - especially to the level which these guys had. I've never been so in awe of a persons ability to push themselves that hard and finish with a smile on their face!

If anyone has any tips on how they got back into swimming again, or even tips on beginning to train for Triathlons, then please send an email my way! I know that Zoggs have a great range of Predator Flex Performance goggles which are one of the first their kind - adapting to different light. Which would be perfect for open water swimming  - but it would be interesting to see if any of you lovely lot have recommendations of products and brands which you couldn't swim without!

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Virgin Active Press Event: 2014 Fitness Trends

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend Virgin Active's press event for the launch of some of the next big fitness classes that will be hitting gyms nationwide in 2014. Being the first press event I had ever been invited to, I was extremely excited and promptly treated myself to the afternoon off work so that I could pop along to the Virgin Active Classic Cub in Mayfair.
I'm not even sure that I can call the place a gym - more of a health haven chock-full of the latest innovations in fitness and well-being. Want to try anti-gravity yoga? They got it. Along with pretty much every other class you could ever think of - all under one roof of elegant, fitness-orientated sophistication and complimentary fluffy towels. But less of my lust for a luxury gym membership, and more about the three fantastic classes which I had the privilege to be one of the first in the UK to experience.

Fierce: The New Zumba

We all know of the Zumba craze which has consumed the British fitness world, breathing energy into what can sometimes be uninspiring dance-themed exercise classes. The enthusiasm of the instructors which spurred participants on, and the sheer fun which everyone was able to have (whether you could dance or not!) made it an instant hit with both avid gym-goers and newbies a like.
Well, now there's a new class in town and I'm 100% sure that it will be here to stay! Based on African dance, Fierce is an hour-long class which encourages you to arouse your inner warrior. Packed with tribal-style dance moves that get your body moving, giving you that sweaty workout feel in a truly uplifting environment. If you want an exercise class where you can make new friends, let your hair down and have heaps of fun then Fierce is definitely the class you should be trying in 2014!

24: The speedy workout that will have you on the floor

Whilst I may not have any images of myself or anyone else doing this workout, 24 is definitely number one in my books, being my favourite from the session. The half an hour HIIT session is more than enough to get your heart racing as you complete 24 body-weight exercises at your maximum for twenty seconds each with just ten seconds rest in between them. It's a crazy hard workout which uses all of your muscle groups in a short space of time as you switch from burpees to high-knees to crunches among many other exercises whose names escape me! Another aspect which I really like is the motivating music which is fantastic. An upbeat soundtrack with a voice over giving you countdowns between movement and rest periods. The instructors were also amazing for motivating the class and keeping everyone going, resulting in the class absolutely flying by as well as being suitably sweaty and weak-at-the-knees (and everywhere else!) by the end. When you can burn up to 500 calories in half an hour, who says you can't get fit when you're strapped for time?!

Gear3D: the latest in group exercise innovation

Using the brand new Technogym Omnia frame, Gear3D is a circuit class with a difference. And with it being another class which can be completed in a mere half an hour, you can work up a sweat in your lunch break with plenty of time to get showered and back to work. Whilst probably being my least favourite class of the three I tried, it was still an absolutely awesome workout with 16 of us working around the frame, completing various movements for thirty seconds with thirty seconds rest in between - including the use of ropes, punch bags and pull-up bars - giving a complete body routine in a fraction of the time a normal weights routine would take.
Along with 24, GEAR3D also burns up to 500 calories dependant on body stats and is one which I would still definitely do again. The two classes have an 'afterburn' effect which lasts up to 36 hours meaning that you will still be burning more calories than usual a day and a half later, and are part of Virgin Active's MAXercise routine which champions working harder for a shorter amount of time to achieve maximum results - something which I strongly agree with!

All classes will be rolled out to Virgin Active gyms across the UK throughout 2014, so keep a look out for them in a Virgin Active gym near you! Whilst I'm not currently a Virgin Active member, after having the opportunity to visit one it's definitely something which I'm going to do when I get back to Coventry next year as there's one pretty close by! :)

What do you think of the next big classes of 2014? Are there any you want to try? As always let me know if the comments below!

Monday, 25 November 2013

This Week I...

Thought I would try to find a really simple, new way of letting you guys all know what I get up to, and to help me get back into swing of things a little more again. So introducing my first feature on my return: 'This Week I...' where I'll be able to give you the highlights of my week and make myself seem a lot more interesting than I probably am!

1. Became a Bridesmaid

Okay so technically it was the Sunday before last week,  but who's counting? And besides, I was waiting for the photos to appear on Facebook so that I could shamelessly steal theme all! Last Sunday I was given the honour of becoming one of 6 bridesmaids for my best friend Robyn's wedding which will be in November 2015. I can honestly say that I didn't see it coming as both her and her fiancĂ© Matty both have pretty large families - but the fact that Robyn still chose me makes me feel even more privileged to be considered important enough to be a part of something so special. (I'm the bridesmaid on the far left by the way!).

2. Went to my first ever press event

This is another thing which I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend. When an email appeared in my inbox from Beige PR about the latest fitness trends, it didn't take much persuading for me to hop on a train to London-town. I had the opportunity to try some of the new fitness classes which will undoubtedly take over the UK next year at the luxurious (and I mean luxurious!!) Virgin Active Classic Club in Mayfair, and I was not going to miss out! Now that I've had some of the photos through from Beige PR who organised the event, I can finish off my post so it will hopefully be up in the next couple of days - keep a look out! :)

3. London for Kate's 21st

To top off a super busy week, the girls who I live with and I ran away to London for a girly weekend of chilling, dancing and mooching around Winter Wonderland. We stayed in the cutest apartment in Chelsea which we got for an absolute steal, and wined and dined at The Diner before heading to The Hoxton Pony in Shoreditch for drinks. It was such a lovely weekend and it's made us even closer as friends which I didn't even realise was possible as we're such good friends already! The only bad thing was coming back to Swindon on Sunday knowing that we had work the next day, but I guess that's working life for you. ;)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Crossfit: My First WOD!

The taster session team photo at Crossfit Swindon! 
So I finally got my first opportunity to try Crossfit! It's something I've been wanting to try for a while after hearing how much of a crazy workout it was, and luckily a new Crossfit gym has opened up in Swindon meaning I was able to have a trial run at one of their taster sessions.
In case you're a little unsure of what Crossfit is, it is essentially a strength and conditioning program where various functional movements like squats, box jumps and clean-and-jerks are performed at high intensity. These movements are formed into a WOD (workout of the day) which usually consists of three or four exercises which are either performed for a set amount of rounds (for example 10 rounds of 4 movements) or for as many rounds as possible under a set amount of time.

Harry and Luke were my instructors for the session and were so friendly and welcoming that they put me straight at ease and got us to warm up and do our own stretching whilst everyone else arrived for the session.
After we were suitably warmed up we were coached through the movements that we were going to be doing during the workout which for this session were squats and deadlifts.
There was probably about 10 of us at the session meaning that the amount of attention that Luke and Harry were able to give us was amazing. They were able to guide us through each part of the exercise and correct any issues with our form/technique - it was like having your own personal trainer guiding you through everything! I've done squats for a long time but it's always good to have others help you iron out any bad habits I may have developed, and to have proper coaching on deadlifts was amazing!

After practicing the movements we got into pairs and got stuck into our first ever WOD! This time its was as many rounds of possible of 7 body-weight squats, 7 deadlifts and 7 burpees, which because it was a taster we worked in pairs to do. Because it's weights-based, anything that involved them was completely customisable meaning that people of any fitness level can give it a go, and it was great being able to motivate each other whilst the other was completing their round before we swapped in - Harry and Luke were always on hand to correct any form issues and give us support if we were looking tired. :)

Me and my partner did pretty well for a first attempt managing 8 rounds in the 15 minute time limit and I despite being knackered I honestly don't think that I could ever enjoy another workout quite as much as I've enjoyed Crossfit - and I've done a lot of different workouts! The mixture of weights at a high intensity would be perfect for sculpting the lean, muscular physique that I'm desperate for!
There was such a lovely community that seemed to be developing too even though I had only been there for once session - there was such a sense of family and belonging which was so nice to have as you don't tend to get that in regular gyms!

Some are of the opinion that Crossfit is dangerous because of the timed aspect of it causing people to have bad form - but it my opinion this should never affect someone's decision on whether to try Crossfit or not. At the end of the day it's an individual's decision on whether to focus on form or not - everyone has the ability to make that decision for themselves and any sport can be dangerous if not executed correctly. Luke and Harry are great teachers so I don't think I would ever have the issue of incorrect form! :)

So my overall opinion? CROSSFIT IS AMAZING! If you have the money and have access to a Crossfit Gym I would 100% recommend joining, I absolutely loved every minute of it! The only drawback for me is cost - for myself it is just too expensive for me to be able to justify it unfortunately, and I honestly can't tell you how devastated I am that I won't be able to continue with it, as since I had to quit cheerleading I don't think I had ever found something that I have felt quite as at home with as when I was doing that WOD.

Friday, 20 September 2013

A (Re)Introduction

Before I get back into blogging again I really wanted to let you guys know that I hadn't just abandoned the blogging world without so much as a goodbye - you've all given me so much support over the past year or so and I've met so many lovely people through The Barbelle - I'm so so grateful for that!
I had thought about starting to blog again earlier, but I wanted to make sure that I knew exactly how much time I will be realistically be able to dedicate to you guys so that I'm not writing half-arsed or rushed posts - you guys all deserve more than that and I've never been one to do things half-heartedly! I've now come up with a new blogging schedule, and have given The Barbelle a bit of a re-vamp (new blog URL and all!) so I can really signify a new beginning, and have lots of plans for the future of this blog.

These past couple of months have been tough. Not necessarily tough in the sense that I've been having the worst time in the world or anything negative like that - when I say tough, what I mean that it's been such a big lifestyle change for me, it's taking me a long, long time to adapt!

I always kept myself super busy at University, but still found time to blog and chill out. Now going into a 9-5 job I've been finding it really hard to balance work, exercising, eating healthily, blogging and spending time with friends and the boyfriend. I can honestly say that it has been such an eye-opener to how hard some of you people must work - I don't understand how some of you bloggers with full-time jobs do it! I have so much respect for you all!
It's taken a lot of getting used to this new lifestyle, but I've come to realise that as always it just comes down to being organised and thinking ahead - something which I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be a pro at by the end of this year!

I hope that you'll all join me on my new blogging beginning, and that I'll be talking to you all soon, whether it's on Twitter, Facebook, or commenting on here! :)

Monday, 24 June 2013

Beauty | My Skincare Wishlist

Not going to lie, my skincare routine is rubbish and currently consists of washing my face when I get a shower and taking off makeup using makeup wipes. I occasionally apply moisturiser (more-so now that I use tinted moisturiser) and if I'm feeling particularly indulgent I'll slather on a face mask - although this normally only happens once in a blue moon! That's not to say I don't read skincare blogs - I'm well versed in quite a few of the rules such as NOT using makeup wipes and that you should always double-cleanse but thanks to a combination of having pretty food skin naturally and being pretty lazy as a result of this, I just find the whole routine thing a little overwhelming!
Thankfully though skincare guru Caroline Hirons has cleared it all up for me (literally!) with one of her recent cheat sheet posts on, you guess it, skincare routines! It really has helped me so much and I'm already beginning to build my skincare collection once more with all manner of skincare products which have previously either lay abandoned on my shelf (of which there are quite a lot!) or that I've never owned in the first place. What else is left for me to get? Here's my dream shopping list.

All of these products have been pretty hyped up lately in the blogging world, so I guess I'm well and truly jumping on the bandwagon once again. I'm not too fussed about becoming another addition to the expanding flock of sheep though because in my eyes if a product has been hyped that much - especially by gurus like Caroline - then who am I to completely disregard that?!
That said, the chances of my purchasing all of these products are slim-to-none thanks to the removal of a wad of cash from my bank account to pay for house deposits, rent, and other less luxurious expenses. So if you know of any more reasonably priced chemical exfoliators or SPF protection etc, then please let me know before I put my bank balance under any more stress!

So Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish in hand, I'm off to begin my first actual skincare routine, with hopefully some much healthier looking skin as a result! Do you abandon your skin at times or is your skincare routine set in stone?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Feel Good Tuesday

The past couple of weeks have been horrendously stressful for me and to be honest its made me feel pretty down in the dumps with me not sleeping properly and constantly feeling on edge. Sometimes events and occurrences can get in the way of being able to enjoy life and instead makes you feel mega crappy. When these negative feelings strike it's so important to take a step back and really think of the good things which are going on it your life however small they may be! It actually took me quite a while to think of these, such was the dreary mood I was in, but I'm so glad that I did because sitting here writing it really helped cheer me up and put things in perspective!

Despite it being quite stressful with finding housing for the year as well as wrapping up my old student digs I actually have such an amazing opportunity ahead of me with my year internship at Intel and I have to remember that it'll all be worth it in the end! I'm so excited to have the chance to work for such a big company and I can't wait to get moved into my new house and start my new job - it's a whole new chapter of my life! And although there's a lot to sort out before I can leave Coventry behind in search of new, exciting adventures it is definitely something to feel good about!

Considering that in January my body-fat percentage was 25.4%, I'm so happy that its dropped down so much over the past six months since changing up my gym routine a couple of times. I may not have rock-hard abs yet but I'm over the moon to be getting closer to it by lowering my BFP. I'm also still holding my goal weight of 125lbs which I'm super happy about, although with me doing weight training my own body weight has never been something which I've obsessed over that much!
It may seem like a random picture to have, but this is my gorgeous cat, Dolly, who I had to leave behind when I moved into my student house! Now that I'm back home - albeit for a short period - I've been catching up on all of the fussing and cuddling and snuggling that I've been lacking over the past year. Whether she's missed me as much as I have I guess I'll never know. ;)
I am genuinely so happy to be back in the family home though. It's nice to not have to do everything for myself (as lazy as that sounds!) and have some of the funny banter with mum, dad and my little sis again. Even when I was younger I was never one to get homesick and I still don't, but living out this year has made me appreciate being at home more!

And there we have it - 3 things that I feel good about. It's surprising how much this has put me in a better mood and whilst I'll still have worries and frustrations in the back of my mind, it's nice to have some happier thoughts at the forefront of my thoughts for once!

What things do you have that are making you feel good this week? No matter how big or small let me know! :)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

MyProtein Almond Butter | The Sweeter Nut

I've been wanting to post this for so long! But I've recently got a new camera which won't for the life of me connect to my laptop! It's such a nightmare because I was so excited to get it - hopefully it all gets sorted out soon so I can use my own images!

I don't know about you but I'm a huge lover of nuts - but out of all the nuts on the earth, I have to admit that peanuts are probably one of my least favourites meaning that whilst I do use peanut butter, it's never quite hit the spot for me. They're just so boring! I'm much more of a lover of brazil nuts and almonds, which is why when MyProtein asked if I would like to try one of their products from their sister website, ProBikeKit I just couldn't say no when I saw that their Almond Butter was on there!

Almond Butter is, for one, a lot sweeter than peanut butter which is perfect for me as I can have quite a sweet tooth at times! MyProtein's is also 100% natural meaning that you don't get any of the nasty chemicals and additives that can be found in shop-bought nut butters.
I've really enjoyed using it as a dip with apples, or as a way to bulk up smoothies and shakes that I have for breakfast sometimes. It is quite high in calories but as Jayne said in her review of their Cashew Butter, it's super rich so a little really does go a long way!
Would I recommend their Almond Butter? 100%! Although if you're not a fan of almonds in their usual nutty form, then I probably wouldn't recommend it haha. :) Trying this has made me so intrigued about their other nut butters - I'd love to see how their 100% Natural Peanut Butter compares to the ones that are shop bought because as far as I'm aware there aren't really any 100% natural peanut butters around!
ProBikeKit have heaps of offers on at the minute as well, so whether you're into cycling or participate in more endurance-based sports such as marathons or triathlons then check them out!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The #FitFam Tag!


The lovely Cantara from Gymbags & Gladrags tagged me in her #fitfam blog post, so I thought that I might as well give it a go myself to tell you a little bit more about my blog and myself! :) The tag itself was created by Chrissy from ChrissyLilly and is something a little bit different from all of the beauty and fashion tags which seem to be floating around the blogosphere at the moment. I'm so lucky to have found such lovely, like-minded people through blogging and I've really enjoyed reading everyone's answers to the questions, so without further ado, here's the answers that I gave! :)
If you want to do this tag then here are the rules: 1) State that it was made by ChrissyLilly and link back to her. 2) Answer all of the questions. 3) Tag 5 of your favourite fitness bloggers and let them know they've been tagged. 4) Share the tag on Twitter using the #fitfam hashtag! So, here are my answers...

1. Why and when did you start your blog?

I started my blog almost a year ago with the aim of sharing my journey to a healthy lifestyle as well as hoping to be able to inspire others to ditch the dieting and make food choices which are more sustainable over the long term!

2. Do you feel like having a blog has helped you stay accountable and motivated?

Definitely! It's really pushed me to find new recipes to try and given me that extra incentive when I don't feel in the mood to go to the gym/workout. I love writing posts when I've succeeded in hitting a particular milestone, or when I find a recipe that I love!

3. What are your overall goals when it comes to health and fitness?

Originally it was to get stronger and more flexible for cheerleading, however because I'm going to be on a placement year I've decided to give up the sport and move onto something new. This means that my goals for my workouts are going to change quite a bit and I haven't decided quite what direction to go in with my exercise yet!
I  do really want to complete a Tough Mudder or The Wolf Run at some point over the next year or so I guess my goals will probably be centred around that! :)
My general health goals are really simple in that I just want to be the healthiest and fittest that I can possibly be! I'm a big lover of clean eating and have cooking meals and nutrition is definitely becoming a passion of mine.

4. Who are your "fitspirations", if any?

I don't have any specific 'fitspirations' if I'm honest - they tend to come from all aspects of health and fitness. For example I'll really admire the amount of weight a female powerlifter might be able to squat or deadlift which will spur me on with my weight-training, but I'll be in awe of a long distance runners stamina and endurance in completing a marathon which will make me want to push harder with my cardio.

5. How often do you work out?

Probably about 5 times a week although it depends how busy I am that week as no matter how hard I try, life can definitely get in the way at times! I do try to be active in some way, shape or form every day though, even if it's walking to the shops instead of driving. :)

6. Do you take supplements?

I currently use protein powder as well as taking multivitamins and cod liver oil capsules. Depending on what I have coming up (holidays etc) I also take Thermopure and BCAAs, reviews of which you can find here.

7. What would be your advice for someone who wants to lose weight but is lacking motivation?

Find something that you love! Whether it's trying out new recipes or finding a sport or fitness activity that you really enjoy doing, it really does make all the difference! Cheerleading was what started it all off for me, but even now that I've stopped training I've still got the good habits to keep me motivated to keep my healthy lifestyle!

8. What's your favourite part of #fitfam?

The community within the #fitfam is absolutely amazing! Everyone is so supportive of each other and I've gotten to know some lovely people. It's nice to know that even if you're having a bad day there'll be someone who can push you through it, and there's always great tips floating around to take on board! :)

9. Do you set little goals for yourself and give yourself rewards when you reach them?

Haha I have to admit that I do! I'm a simple mind and the thought of something pretty or shiny at the end of the road is a great motivator for me to push myself that little bit further. I haven't quite decided what I want to treat myself with when I do finally fit my 50 miles in a month goal but I'm sure you'll be the first to know when I do!

10. What has been the hardest part of your weightloss journey so far?

Consistency! Sometimes I can let life get in the way far to easily and can end up not going to the gym or going for a run when I really should have. I'm trying really hard to treat it more like a job/something that is an appointment that I have to go to, but I haven't had much success so far! Luckily I have an amazing boyfriend who is also really into fitness who keeps me on the straight and narrow when I'm feeling lazy. :P

11. Do you prefer to do set workouts like Insanity, 30 Day Shred, TurboFire, Tone it Up etc. or do you like making up your own workouts?

I'd love to be able to get into workouts that I could do at home (it would save so much money in gym membership!) but I just can't get the motivation that I need to do them! I've tried doing the Blongilates workout calendar but doing exercise in my living room or bedroom really doesn't put me in the mindset that I need to do exercise. It's a shame because I'd love to be able to do something like Tone It Up but I need to remvoe myself from all distractions and put myself in that exercise-orientated atmosphere.
Thanks again to Cantara for tagging me, it's actually been really useful for me to answer all the questions and think about why I do what I do etc. There isn't actually anyone I can tag who hasn't already done this tag if I'm honest, so I'm opening it up and tagging everyone (cop out I know). If you do decide to do the #fitfam tag, post a link to it in the comments below and I'll check it out! :)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

June Fitness Aims

May has been yet another month that seems to have finished before it has barely begun. It's been super eventful with me working much more than I thought, with the boyfriend getting back from his deployment (cue the obilgatory trips to see family and friends combined with going everywhere and anywhere to spend time with each other), and then going on holiday in between extra shifts at work.
Needless to say, I've found it a bit of a struggle to do all I set out to do in my May Fitness Aims, and I've made a promise to myself to make my aims a bit more realistic/think about them a little more with the hope that I stand more of a chance of achieving them!

I saw on Twitter that Nic from Nic's Nutrition has created the hashtag #eatcleanjune, which I am most certainly going to be ALL OVER. Whilst I did watch what I ate on holiday I was most certainly not perfect so I'm definitely going to be using it to get back on the cleaning-eating bandwagon, and really focus on my nutrition again! I'm hoping to be able to update you all on some of the things that I've been eating in weekly blog posts so keep an eye out for those, as well as the new posting schedule which I'm planning on implementing the start of next week! If you're looking for some great tips, then you have to follow Nic on Twitter - her tweets are always a great source of motivation for me when they appear on my Twitter feed! :)

Exercise-wise, my main aim is to finalise my new workout routine so I can throw myself into in on Monday! I'm also going to be continuing in my mission to run 50 miles in one month. Yes I know that I've had this as my goal for the past couple of months, but I was a lot closer this month compared to the month before and I can see that I've improved so much distance and time-wise - I just need to put that into practice now to hit my goal!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend so far and that you're all having fun in the sun! What are your fitness goals for this month?
If you're taking part in #eatcleanjune then let me know! :)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Back from the Beach

After a week of sun, swimming, good food and relaxation I am finally back in the not-so-sunny United Kingdom. I'm really sorry for the lack of posts whilst I was away - my laptop decided to break just before I went on holiday so I wasn't able to schedule any! Thankfully it seems as though it's fixed now thanks to the boyf so hopefully I'll be back to blogging like normal!

I was super eager to get back to the gym and  also to get back to a cleaner diet as although I did watch what I ate and made use of the hotel's gym and spa facilities, it's never the same as being in more familiar surroundings! I've had so much time to think about my current gym routine and my lifestyle in general while I was away, and I've made the decision to shake it up quite a bit as my goals and reasons for exercising have changed a lot compared to this time last year. This means that I also have the opportunity to shake up my blogging schedule as well, so keep an eye out for a few little changes that will be appearing on the blog over the next month or so! :)

Anyway, I'd best get off to the gym/go for a run (I haven't decided which yet!) before it gets too late and I lose all motivation! Hope you all had a great bank holiday weekend, and have had a great week so far - not long until the weekend now! :)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Recipe | Protein Porridge

Not quite sure if I can really call this a recipe since it only has a couple of ingredients but I really wanted to share it with you guys so I thought I might as well bung it in with all the other culinary concoctions that I'm loving!
Since it has been my breakfast of choice for the past couple of months, I think protein porridge definitely deserves a post of it's own. Not quite sure how I came about it, but after deciding to whack half a scoop of vanilla whey protein into my brekkie I now can't imagine eating porridge without the stuff. It allows me to reduce the carby calories by using water instead of using milk with porridge by providing the sweetness whilst adding more hunger-curbing protein!
I've actually now worked up to having a whole scoop of protein powder (my current favourite is the bog standard vanilla whey by MyProtein), but I would advice mixing it in slowly to your (already cooked!) porridge to make it combine better.
To make porridge with water is super simple - all you have to do is use double the water that you do oats. I usually use 1/2 cup oats to 1 cup water and then cook over a low-medium heat on the hob in a saucepan. Once it's cooked just slowly mix in the protein powder and then fruit, peanut butter or any other extras you fancy! :)

N.B I wouldn't recommend using water to make porridge if you're not going to add any flavouring to it - it'll more than likely taste more like wallpaper paste than breakfast!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Recipe | Halloumi & Chickpea Salad

Definitely one of the yummiest salads that I've ever created! I can't remember for the life of me where I found this recipe as I have a tendency to scribble ones I find in magazines and online into a little recipe book which I have - I think it was from the Good Food Magazine though? ANYWAY. I thought I'd share my take on this dish as I did decide to add a couple of ingredients! :)

What you'll need:
  • 2 handfuls rocket salad mix (I used 1 handful rocket & 1 handful spinach)
  • 2 tbsp tinned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 80g green beans (blanched and chopped)
  • 1 tbsp grated carrot
  • A few sundried tomatoes
  • Some semi-sundried (I think!!) red peppers
  • 2 slices grilled halloumi ( I used low fat)
  • 1 tbsp low-fat dressing (I used low-fat balsamic)
My sundried tomatos and red peppers also had some feta and mini mozzarella balls thrown (advantages of using the deli counter at Tescos!) but I'm a huge cheese lover so just used it as an excuse for a bit of a treat. The rest is easy - simply throw it all together in a bowl, give it a toss and chuck the grilled halloumi on top!
If you've never cooked halloumi before it's super easy, just cut a couple of slices that are about 3-5mm thick, spray some low-cal spray into a pan and fry on a medium heat for a minute or two each side. Halloumi is also great at BBQs because you can grill it on there as well without it going all gooey and soggy!

I love recipes like this as it is SO easy to add and drop ingredients depending on what food you have in your cupboards and fridge. I also fed this to the boyf although I added some chopped-up chicken breast, and also replaced the balsamic dressing for some Sriracha sauce to spice things up a little which he really enjoyed! I even got the highly acclaimed comment of "You're starting to get pretty good at cooking to be honest.." which is high praise indeed coming from this fussy eater! (Love you really!!)

So there we have it I guess! If you have any recipes that you think I should give a go, then leave them in the comments below!! :)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Busy As Busy Can Be

I absolutely love this quote! I'm naturally a really busy person - I love to keep myself occupied with challenges and tasks I've set myself. I guess it's probably why I fell in love with fitness the way I have. - there's always another goal that you can set yourself, or an obstacle you can overcome. For me at the minute it's getting a respectable 5km running time!

I do feel as though it's been a lifetime since I last posted on here so I'm really sorry for abandoning you all! Things got pretty hectic as soon as the boyf got back from his deployment that I haven't really had the opportunity to sit down and actually write something. So I guess it's time for a little catch-up with you lovely lot - although it won't be for long as I'm jetting off to Tenerife with Ryan & some of his family for some much needed sun and relaxation before he goes back to work! Hopefully (time permitting!) I'm going to be scheduling a few posts to go live whilst I'm away so you can still get your Barbelle fix ;) Although I'm sure I'll bec back before you know it! :)

After the disaster that was my first attempt at hitting 50 miles-worth of running during April, I definitely seem a lot more on track this month having almost matched my mileage last month already! I'm still nowhere near running the distances that some other fitness bloggers run, but I'm noticing so much progress which is really spurring me on. :)

Ryan being back also means that I have someone else to test out all my food creations which I have been practicing whilst he's been away - and I can't wait to share them with you! My aim is to cook at least one new meal that I haven't made before every week so I think I'm going to try to revive my Diet-in-a-Day posts or perhaps something along the lines of Cantara's Weekly Eats posts.

Hope you're all having a fab week! I shall speak to you all again soon!! :) 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Review | MyProtein BCAA & MAX Elle Thermopure

Whilst I attempt to eat clean as much as possible, I do also have a place in my diet for health and fitness related supplements such as protein shakes and vitamin/mineral tablets. I've been taking multivitamins, cod liver oil capsules and also having protein shakes for just over a year now, and they have really helped me get any nutrients that I was struggling to get and I do feel as if they have really made a difference to my overall health!
Personally I am extremely brand loyal to MyProtein with regards to their whey protein as I genuinely think they're amazing value for money as well has having heaps of amazing flavours to choose from! So when Hassan from MyProtein approached me asking if I would like to give any of their other products a go I couldn't resist! After telling Hassan my goals of reducing my body fat whilst trying to maintain the muscle which I has already gained, he recommended that I try their Berry Blast BCAA* and their Elle Thermopure* capsules. I had heard of both of these before, and had actually almost bought the Thermopure on more than one occasion but had never actually bitten the bullet and pressed 'Confirm Order', as I was worried about wasting my money!
So, what are they???

What is BCAA?

BCAA stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acids, and are recognised as being the three essential aminos which humans need in order to survive. Unlike other nutrients, BCAAs are metabolised directly in the muscles instead of in the stomach, and help build lovely lean muscle tissue as well has helping prevent the breakdown of existing muscle mass (known as catabolism).
This makes BCAA super good for those who are on a calorie-deficit or those who are on fasting programmes such as Lean Gains to lose weight, as it will help prevent your body from breaking down muscle to use as energy when your carbohydrate and fat levels are low. This means that you will maintain that higher metabolism from maintaining your muscle mass, which will allow you to burn more calories even when you're body's at rest!

What is Thermopure?

Thermopure is slightly different in that it is based more around aiding the reduction of fat stored in the body through a fusion of natural herbs and ingredients. Ingredients include Green Tea Extract which has been proven to reduce the amount of fat yo are able to digest and store, as well as increasing the rate at which body fat is burned for energy. This is combined with other ingredients such as raspberry ketones, cayenne and caffeine to boost your metabolic rate meaning that more calories are able to be burned during your workout.
MyProtein have also added some B Vitamins into the mix will will help you keep your muscles working for longer, by increasing the release of energy to your working muscles.

My Experience

Starting with the BCAA, my experience as a whole was a good one. I was sent the Berry Blast flavour which I took once a day (due to me using it in conjunction with Thermopure) with a serving being a 5g scoop of product combined with 250ml water. The flavour was nice as it wasn't too sickly sweet - something I hate in a drink - and tasted just like a fairly dilute mixed berry squash/cordial.
The main thing that let this product down was that it was really hard to get some of the granules to dissolve properly and although I wasn't too bothered by it, I could see that it might be a problem to some people! MyProtein do have the option of BCAA capsules as well so if you are worried then you can always give those a try instead!
With regards to how it affected my exercise, I didn't feel that much of a difference at first, but after a week of using it I noticed that my I could push myself further with my workouts as I could lift more weight/run further before my muscles began to tire, something which I has never experienced in quite the same way before.

I've also seen a noticeable difference in my body since beginning to take Thermopure with my body looking a lot leaner since I started two weeks ago, as well as my body feeling super pumped for workouts. I have been taking the capsules every day, consuming 2 before a workout plus one later on in the day, and also having three spread out across the day on rest days. It literally gives me so much energy that combined with the BCAA I feel as if I can go forever!
Because it raises your heart rate, you do get A LOT sweatier during workouts when you have Thermopure beforehand, so make sure you have plenty of water with you so you stay hydrated. Because it contains caffeine I also wouldn't recommend taking it too close to bed time either or you may struggle to sleep as I found one time!

Would I Recommend Them?

In short, yes definitely! If you are attempting to lose body fat then I would definitely recommend giving them a try if you've reached a bit of a plateau and need that little something extra to give your body a little kick into motion again.
I'm going to be continuing to use both of these products in the run up to my holiday in a couple of weeks to help me shed some of that extra fat that's preventing me from getting that beach body, whilst still allowing me to weight-train effectively!

Some Important Last Notes

Overall I have had an amazing experience with both the BCAA powder and the Thermopure capsules but I do want to reiterate to you guys that these sorts of products should only be used as part of a healthy, balanced diet! I would never suggest that any supplement product should be used in replacement of 'real' food, and that they should only be used to give you that little extra boost when required.
In my opinion, I wouldn't suggest taking Thermopure for any real length of time unless there are considerble breaks in between. This is because you don't want your body to end up relying on the caffeine and other ingredients to keep going, or you'll start going backwards with your progress when you do stop taking them! I'm going to stop taking the capsules after my holiday and probably won't use them again until I next go on holiday, trying to reduce my body fat naturally in the mean time.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Fitness Aims

Wow I can't believe that it's May already! April seemed to absolutely fly by in a tornado of birthdays, coursework hand-ins, and everything else in between - if this is how busy my life is going to be then bring it on because I'm really feeling up to the challenge at the minute.
May is also going to be a busy one for me, with my boyf coming back from his tour (literally the longest 4 months of my life!), holidays and starting to prepare for my placement year. I've also got heaps planned on the blog including a (very belated!) 100 follower giveaway! I'm just sorting out the rest of the prizes, and then it'll be up quick as a flash.

Exercise-wise I did pretty well throughout April, although I am a little disheartened that I didn't manage to run all of the 50 miles that I pledged myself in this post. I won't let it get me down though, it's just given me even more drive to get there this month!
Other fitness aims for the month is to complete Cassey Ho's Blogilates calendar for this month on top of my usual gym routine (it hasn't gone live yet, but hopefully it'll be a good'un!). I'm going on holiday on the 19th May so I really want to give it that last push to get on top of my fitness so that I look super awesome in my bikini!

Anyway! I'm off to enjoy a green smoothie (I'm thinking banana, blueberry and raspberry!) and maybe some fruit and greek yogurt before heading off to the gym before work! Hope you all have an amazing fitness-filled week with lots of yummy, clean food! :)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

On Yer Bike.

Today I went to (and survived!) my first spinning class! I've been toying with the idea of getting involved in Spinning for SO. LONG but I've always chickened out after hearing the instructors shouting at the people in the classes whenever I walk past the room haha. I don't know why I've put up such a mental block with it, because when I actually got into the room and onto a bike I was absolutely fine!

If you hadn't heard of Spinning, it is a cardio-based class that uses Resistance Bikes (my gym uses ones made by LiveStrong) to get your heart rate up, and boy is it a killer! My class lasted half an hour although I know that some may last longer and would obviously burn a lot more calories - that said, half an hour was a good starting point for me! There are a few different positions on the bike which are combined together to create the workout, such as hill climbing ones which involve standing up, and sprinting ones which involve getting as low as you can with your head down, cycling for dear life! I had hoped to find an infographic or something which has an actual picture of each of the position instead of having me waffling on but alas - I'm sure one of the staff at Pure Gym will give me a hand create my own to show you another day! :)

If you were considering taking up a Spinning class or two, and wanted a couple of tips, then here are some that I've taken from my first ever class!:
    Literally I was so nervous about doing one that I didn't get the balls to for months and months and months, and I really needn't have because the instructor was lovely and whilst I may have died a little by the end, there is literally no need to worry whatsoever! And with regards to them shouting? They have to so they can be heard over the music! What didn't I think of that beforehand?!
  • Take water with you!
    Or at least some form of cold drink. The room is FULL of hot, sweaty people and so the room temperature can be pretty high, let alone your own body temperature. Try and get your drink as cold as possible beforehand (maybe freezing it the day before?) so that you can use the bottle to cool your face down as well as using it to re-hydrate I was literally boiling throughout the whole class and being able to hold something cool against my head was an absolute dream!
  • Don't wear shorts!
    I made this mistake today, and man did the insides of my legs chaff! I' definitely going to be wearing leggings or something imstead, and just put up with being a little hotter because the chaffing was ridiculous! (sorry for that but I just had to warn you haha)
  • Don't worry if you're struggling to keep up
    The people who took part in my class were of all different fitness levels, so if the instructor's told you to ramp up the resistance but you're really struggling to keep up, then don't be afraid to turn it down a fraction. That said, don't have the resistance really low just because you can't be bothered to work hard - you're only cheating yourself out of a good workout if you do!
  • Can't walk properly by the end of it? That's a good thing!
    My favourite part of any workout is the wobbly legs/arm feeling that I get afterwards (I don't know if that's weird or not!) because that to me means that I've worked my absolute hardest and that my muscles are well and truly tired. Luckily I didn't have to be anywhere in a rush afterwards so I just took my time getting changed and stuff afterwards before heading home. 
Do you do Spinning classes? Or are you super anxious like I was? If you have any tips that you think I should add on in another post then just let me know!! :)

Monday, 22 April 2013

First Day of the Green Smoothie Challenge + New Goals!!

The past couple of days have been absolutely outstanding for me. I woke up one morning a few days ago the a HUGE amount of motivation to up my game in the food and fitness stakes, and since then I don't think I can remember eating as healthily with the amount of temptation which I've had around me!
So far I've turned down cream tea, pizza, cake, rockie road, brownies and I've just turned down a Chinese takeaway! I'm putting my latest burst of extra enthusiasm to me starting the 7 day green smoothie challenge which I started a day early to test out a couple of flavours.

Yesterday I went for a raspberry, strawberry and pineapple green smoothie which I added some MyProtein Elle True Diet in Vanilla to, and also some spinach to give it that lovely green colour! Today's was a little different with my going for pineapple and banana, but I'm hoping to up the creativity and try some of the more 'whacky' combinations which I've been seeing on Katherine's blog - Am I ready to add things like beetroot and carrot? I'm not sure just yet!

Aside from healthy eating, I've also picked up the pace a bit more with my exercise regime as I've added the extra goal of deciding to enter my first 10K race! It isn't until October due to me having to have to relocate for the year when I start my work placement so I have plenty of time to prepare, but I'm really excited at the prospect of putting myself to the test to see how far I've come. :)

I have so so many posts in the pipeworks, I'm really glad that my coursework is now over for the year (handed in my last three pieces of coursework today!) so I can get down to some serious blogging - I hate it when I can't post regularly!
Let me know if you've ran any races and leave any training tips for me below! I only run 2 miles at the minute so I have a lot of work to do haha :)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

7 Day Green Smoothie Challenge!

I saw this last year, and after experimenting with lots of different flavour combinations I've decided to take part in The Real Food Runner's 2013 Spring Green Smoothie Challenge!
A green smoothie is essentially a healthy smoothie which has had either kale or spinach added to it to make it green! The challenge is to add at least one green smoothie to your daily eats every day for 7 consecutive days, and hopes to show that eating healthy isn't boring and can be super fun with some amazing flavours being created! My favourite last year was raspberry and chocolate but I can't wait to give some new ones a go and find a new favourite. :)

If you want to find out more about the challenge (and even sign up yourself if you're interested!) then click here to find out more!

Will you be taking part in the Green Smoothie Challenge? Comment below if you are!! :)

Monday, 15 April 2013

The #NottsBBMeet!

I'm sure you've seen plenty of posts on it already but in case you didn't know, Saturday was the Nottingham Beauty Blogger Meetup! It was the first time that I'd ever been to a blogger meetup and I was super nervous - but everyone was so so friendly that I don't know what I was worried for! I traveled down on the train with the lovely Charlotte from littlemisschickas and Gemma from Button's Blog - such amazing people by the way, check them out if you haven't already!! - and met up with the rest of the bloggers in Nottingham town centre.
Sophia had it all planned down to a T and made sure - with the help of Aiimee, Jessie and Sophie (I think that's everyone!?) - that we were all okay and that we got everywhere on time. The day consisted of shopping in Nottingham city centre and also a trip to Kiehl's for champagne, cupcakes and a skin consultation! I'd never actually had a skin consultation so it was really interesting to find out exactly what my skin type was (normal-combination, thanks to super dry cheeks and a slightly oilier t-zone!) and also to have a try of some of Kiehl's products. I now reaaaaalllllllyyyyyyyyyyy want their Midnight Recovery Concentrate!

After a long day shopping (and with our bank balances being considerably lighter!) we headed up to TGI Friday's for the meal. As with the day, Sophia has planned everything to perfection and we were all greeted with absolutely MASSIVE gift bags full or products as well as a separate Liz Earle good bag too! I was particularly excited for the Liz Earle products as I've been after their Cleanse and Polish for a long time now! All of the brands that were involved have been so so generous and I can't wait to try all of the products out!
Sophia had also taken the time out of her day to make us all little nail polish bottle and lipstick biscuits which were so yummy that I completely forgot to photograph them - she really is a lady of many talents! Everything about the meals was super personalised which was a lovely touch - she gave us our own little place cards and wrote us all a thank you card which she put in the press packs that she had put together to go with our gift bags. I don't know how much time that must have taken her to do but I'm so grateful of the time and effort she put into making the even a success, and I know everyone else is too!

As well as all of the amazing things that I've mentioned so far, there were also giveaways during the meals where our place cards were put into a bowl and picked out at random to win a lovely variety of products. I was lucky enough to win this lovely Rosehip Face Lifting Serum from Lulu & Boo which I've used every night since getting it, and have well and truly fallen in love with it!
Since getting home I've been able to have a good rummage through the goody bags and here are a few products which I am particularly excited about! I'd already mentioned before that I was super excited about trying out the Liz Earle products at last, but I'm also astounded at what amazing brands were lovely enough to get involved. I've been on the hunt for a shampoo and conditioner to love and I've heard so many positive things about Neal & Wolf so I'm really excited to give their Daily Ritual Cleansing Shampoo a try. And a full-sized bottle of Benefit's Porefessional?! There were definitely a few squeaks when people pulled that out of their bag!

Anyway, I'm sure you've seen enough #NottsBBMeet posts to last you a lifetime so I'll save you having to read any more. It was so lovely to meet everyone and I feel like I've made some really good friends that I'll hopefully stay in touch with! Thanks again to Sophia and everyone else who helped organise it - you've all done an amazing job and I can't wait to see you all again soon!

Friday, 12 April 2013

#NottsBBMeet Wishlist!!

The #NottsBBMeet is this tomorrow (it's come around so quickly!!) and I’m super excited to meet everyone! I’ve never been to a Blogger’s Meet before – I’m so nervous it’s unbelievable haha.
I’ve seen quite a few Wish List posts popping up on my blog feed over the past few days and whilst I don’t post about makeup much, I absolutely love the stuff! I’m not the sort of person who has hoards of makeup in my room as I prefer to try and keep it to products that I will love and use regularly. That’s not to say that I don’t have a little wish list of my own in the pipe-works with a few products which I fully intend to add to my collection!
2. Rimmel London Matte Finish Nail Varnish

Being the poor student that I am (hurry up student loan!!) I'm trying to be sensible with my purchases although I'm easily persuadable so it's more than likely that other bits and pieces will accidentally make it through the till!

The first to make it onto the list is Revlon’s Nearly Naked foundation. I’m a big lover of natural makeup and since my Chanel Perfection Lumiere is almost finished I’m on the lookout for a more purse-friendly foundation that gives a natural finish and is a little friendlier on the bank balance. I’ve been reading review after review of this product to make sure it fits the bill and it’s looking promising so far, so hopefully I manage to pick one up!
Next up is Rimmel's Matte Top Coat. This is another product I've heard quite a lot of good things about, with people saying it's helped stop their nails from chipping as well as creating that lovely matte finish to your chosen colour.
I'm absolutely loving bring coral-red/orange colours at the minute and have already bought a dress and a cover-up for holiday in a few varieties of the colour. Next on my holiday/summer/work clothing list is this simple double strapped vest top from New Look. I have a lovely monochrome high-waisted pencil skirt which this would look amazing tucked into with some cute flats when I start my internship in July. It'll also go perfectly with some denim shorts when I go on holiday next month so I'm definitely going to get my money's worth!

There are other bits that I'm going to be looking to pick up tomorrow such as a new concealer and a face wash, but I haven't actually decided what brand/product I want to buy yet so if any of you have any suggestions then let me know as I'm a bit of a loss at the minute! :)

Are any of you guys going to the #NottsBBMeet? Let me know if you are, I'm so excited I can't wait to meet everyone!! :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Diary Entry | Gettin' Old (Well, 20 anyway!)

It seems like I haven't blog in forever - I can't believe it's only been a few days! That said, I'm glad to be back; I have millions of ideas in the pipeworks with draft after draft in word documents dotted around my desktop.
In case you didn't know, it was my 20th birthday on Friday!! Although I didn't do anything spectacular (one of the joys of getting older I expect!) it was a lovely day nonetheless. I was left to my own devices during the day so I spent it tucked up on my sofa in my onesie doing bits of university work and watching Disney films, before my parents and sister arrived home and we went out for a Quiz and Curry night which was in aid of the MacMillan Cancer Support Charity. I think we came second from last in the quiz (no surprise unless everyone knows what a Bullace is?!) but it was all part of the fun and it was a nice evening out.
I won't go much into what I received for my birthday as despite the face that I greatly enjoy reading them myself, I always feel a little awkward writing one up! My mum did however make me an absolutely awesome cake which I have no shame in saying that it has set my clean eating back a little - but hey it was my birthday so who's counting?? I also went for a super yummy meal at Pizza Express with some friends a couple of days before where I had one of their Leggaro pizzas which has a lot less calories than their others but still tastes just as amazing!

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend! Normal posting will be resuming as of today! :)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Clear Skies, Clear Mind

In true Rhiannon style, the day where I set goals is also the day that I get started on achieving them. I'm never one to hang around in starting something new once I've got the idea in my head - although whether it's enthusiasm or impatience that fuels my eagerness for new things I don't think I'll ever know!
Not an hour after writing yesterday's April Aims blog post, I had already donned my running trainers and my Zaggora Hot Pants, and was outside in the most lovely weather I think we've had all year. It was the perfect conditions for me when running - beautifully sunny with clear skies and a cold breeze to stop me from getting too hot and bothered. It was probably the best run of my life - I could feel that it was probably one of my faster time and I also decided to step up the mileage a little, opting to try for 2 miles instead of my usual 1.5 mile route. Unfortunately I'll never really know thanks to my running app cocking up (#runnerproblems much?!) but I know it was under 20 minutes so at least I have something to go by, even if it's not a lot!

So that's 2 miles completed out of the 50 that I gave as my goal - I do have a little catching up to do as I started it a day late so I need to make sure I keep doing a minimum of 2 miles per day for a while to stop me from going off track.
2 miles might not sound like a lot for the those of you who are more seasoned runners, but considering I could barely run 1 a few months ago, I'm pretty pleased with myself! You could make a cardio bunny of me yet. ;)

Hope you're all okay anyway, it may be cold but at least it's still sunny! Fingers crossed it's a sign of better things to come eh? Hope you all have an amazing week - see you all soon! :)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April Fitness Aims

This has been completely hi-jacked from the lovely Katie's blog, Cakes Vs. Scales, but with me leaving the cheerleading world for at least the next year (if not forever!) it is such an awesome idea so that I can start to find new goals to measure my progress against - so thanks Katie! :)

Katie's statistics for March really are phenomenal, and I could never hope to aim for the mileage that she's planning to clock up during April in my first month - so I'm going to aim for a respectable 50 miles worth of running this month - which works out at roughly 1.5 miles per day. Definitely manageable as long as I don't take too many days off!

I'm also going to use this month to try and find other methods of keeping fit which I haven't really delved into before such as swimming, spinning and maybe even some other sort of team sport. I really want to try and reduce my body fat percentage as well (something which is definitely proving to be harder than I first thought!) so I'm going to be working super hard at my clean eating and fitting in plenty of cardio and high intensity resistance training to try and drop that percentage!

I do want to say thanks again to everyone who follows my blog - you have no idea how much it means to me! I love reading all of your comments and hearing your opinions, so for over 100 of you amazing people to take the time out of your day to read what I have to say really does warm my heart! Thank you! :)

Do you have any goals for this month? Let me know in the comments below!! :)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Diary Entry: Moving Forward + Giveaway Winner!

So BCA University Nationals is finally over after a long week that consisted of 13 hour days and taking whatever food I could shovel down my throat during breaks between sessions. I'm not going to lie and say it was all lovely, healthy food because it most certainly wasn't - but for the amount of exercise I was doing I think I'm going to let it slide, although I am a little disappointed in myself for not planning ahead more!

Because I'm going to be doing a placement year, the chances of me going back to cheerleading when I return to uni in 2014 are slim - mainly due to it being my final year so I'll have university work to focus on, and also because there aren't any cheerleading teams anywhere near where I will be living during my internship. This has left a massive hole in my exercise regime as I usually test how much progress I'm making in the gym by how I'm progressing in training with cheer - so I'm now on the lookout for something else that I can measure my progress against! The most obvious would be running and seeing if I can work up to a half marathon or something along those lines, but if anyone has any other ideas which are a bit more social then please let me know!! :)

I guess it is also about time that I announce the winner of my Zaggora Hot Pant Giveaway!! I had an astonishing amount of entries and I'm not surprised - this bit of kit is amazing for anyone who wants to go running in these cold spring winter-like weather, I know that it's been an absolute god-send for me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to Meredith, you've won a pair of Zaggora's Hot Pants! If you email me your size and postal address, I'll pass them onto Zaggora so they can send you your prize! :)

In other news Game of Thrones is back!! I'm sure I'm not the only one who is thrilled for it to be on the tele-machine again. The first thing I did this morning was search for a way of watching it! Anyone else as excited as I am for GoT to be back on screen?
Hope you all had a great Easter and didn't end up in too much of a chocolate-induced coma! I also want to say a big thank you to everyone! My lovely little piece of the internet surpassed 100 followers last week, but with me being so busy I haven't had the time to say thanks! I'm so amazed that even 1 person would want to read my ramblings, so I'm over the moon that over 100 of you do! THANK YOU! :)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Diary Entry: Death Week.

It's that time of year now where we are in the last week before our final competition with cheer, and that can only mean one thing...


Starting from yesterday (where I trained for 5 hours straight!) I have a full day of training every day until BCA University Nationals this Thursday and Friday. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to fit the gym and my normal food and fitness routine in around it yet (if I manage to at all) so I'm going to be paying special attention to how my body seems to be reacting to the change, and see how it goes. Obviously I don't want to burn myself out, but  I've been doing so well at the gym over the past month or so that I don't want to end up losing all of the progress that I've made strength and cardio-wise!

Diet is going to be the trickiest part of death week, as I will potentially be out of the house from 9am-10pm on some days! I'm going to have to be super organised in preparing my meals. As soon as I've written this blog post I'm going to be hunting around my cupboards making a 'menu' for what I'm going to be eating for the whole of the week (trickier than you may think when you've decided to give up bread for lent!) and will then go food shopping after training today to pick up and bits and pieces that I don't have. 
I've already delved into the world of apple slices with peanut butter thanks to Natalie from The Blonde Ethos which is the most amazingly yummy snack EVER, and I've been saving up my Graze boxes for this nightmare week too!

I guess more than anything, I'm just letting you know that I might not be around too much this week, although I'll try my best to schedule some posts for you lovely lot. :)
Wish me luck! No doubt I'll come back to you after competition horrendous battered, bruised and super tired - but hopefully it'll all be worth it in the end!

N.B: I don't know how much you know about competitive cheerleading, but there are most certainly no pom-poms involved! If you want to see the sorts of training we'll be enduring throughout the week, then take a look at this mini-series on YouTube! The team they're showing won the World Championships last year, and you can see why with how mental their training regime is!!

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