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!

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