If you’re a regular reader of FitnessOnToast, you’ll know that I hold breakfast in super high esteem! It’s the key opportunity to engage your metabolism and fuel your body with a serious meal that’ll keep you going for the day ahead. If you do it right, you’ll underpin the rest of your day, increasing the likelihood of staying on track and diminishing the temptation to snack! Given this, I’m always looking to devise interesting breakfast ideas, and when the invite arrived in my inbox to attend the launch party of Love Beets (a beetroot company with British heritage), I had a bit of a breakfast brainwave… This post is broken down into three parts; 1) The benefits of beetroot, 2) the Love Beets Voga session at the London Edition hotel last week, and 3) my healthy ‘Beetroot Breakfast Milkshake’ recipe which is loaded with fresh ingredients and healthy fats to nourish your body nice and early in the day. Click MORE to get it all… (more…)
Yesterday I was invited to a ‘guest blogger’ session with Strive, a Navy SEAL-inspired workout which focuses on functional speed, strength and coordination, and is run by a pair of Cambridge MBA endurance athletes who’ve previously worked with Navy SEALs (though the atmosphere of the class is anything but ‘bootcamp’).
As a healthy person, there’s a silent danger that you’re just going about your active life, following your fitness routine, and one day, you realise you’re Bill Murray and you’re living a gym-going version of ‘Groundhog Day’; same thing, same time, all over again, x 10… I think that the beauty of classes like the Strive experience are that they mix it up for the body and mind, in a social and encouraging group environment. The use of chains, tyres, heavy medicine balls, sprints, competitive time-trials, stacking boxes; you just cannot predict the random actions / motions that your body is asked to perform. I reckon that unpredictability is a genuinely effective way to shock the muscles into change mode!
Hot on the heels of being invited to the ‘Skinny Bitch Collective’ class, I also got the call to check out the newest London workout, straight from the United States – Barry’s Bootcamp. It’s a regime that’s tried and tested by the famous & glamorous, such as Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Katie Holmes, not to mention personal trainer Jillian Michaels who’s been bringing all her ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants to Barry’s for years. What could all the fuss be about?
Based in north-west London on the Euston Road, the entrance to this bootcamp-themed space (think dog-tags, camouflage wallpaper, metal military details etc.) is guarded by a friendly receptionist, and flanked by a FUEL BAR that serves up some very tasty protein shakes indeed! The studio itself, which caters for c.40 people is seductively lit in red and blue, and is equipped with 20 Woodway treadmills, who’s treads are more like the caterpillar tracks on a Howitzer tank than the belt on your average gym treadmill! They’re made from rubber T-slats, which give extra cushioning whilst maintaining the natural bio-mechanics of your stride, and are a pleasure to run on (relatively speaking!).
Though there are about 10 ‘drill sergeants’ in Barry’s London ‘platoon’, my class is lead by the beautiful Icelandic personal trainer Heidi (pictured above) – a former IFBB figure-fitness champion! I expected this class to be tough; Heidi did not disappoint. The Barry’s workout combines strength and interval cardiovascular training, leaving minimum recovery time and maximum exertion. I’d say half the time, the class was on a treadmill (c.10 minutes at a time) and the rest of the time was spent on the floor, tackling strength training. It is remarkably demanding, and you take it to your own level, but the atmosphere (lighting, group, equipment, motivating trainer, military theme) spurs you on to the next level up.
1) WHY INTERVAL TRAINING?
As discussed in my previous post HIIT ME AGAIN interval training is the optimal cardiovascular training to achieve fat burn goals. By not sticking to the same pace for the entire cardio session (whereby the body would otherwise go into a steady state and tries to conserve energy) HIIT shocks the body by introducing different intensities, maximising time and transforming it into a fat toasting 10minutes!!
2) WHY STRENGTH TRAINING?
I’m told that Barry’s always include strength training in the class. Today was a full body workout class, taking each exercise to failure with good form. There’s very little rest after each exercise, it is either followed by another exercise or some element of additional cardio, e.g. step ups. This keeps the heart rate elevated, gives the body hardly any time to think/get bored, or indeed to object. The additional bonus of not having much rest is that you burn even more calories – perfect for unwanted fat! And muscles burn c. 15 times as many calories as fat (even at rest) which increases your metabolism yet further!
Ultimately, the class is exceptionally high-energy, utterly exhausting, satisfyingly endorphine-releasing, and doesn’t allow you time to think, moan or get bored. The equipment is incredibly well-invested (really superb treadmills) and the grouped format brings out a competitive nature, encouraging you to push through those sickeningly tough sprints! Try it out!
Click here for some photos & explanations of what my Barry’s Bootcamp session involved.
Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym solo, especially in these cold winter months. When I feel like that, I go along to group classes, to up the motivation-factor! This week, I was invited to an all-singing, all-dancing, all-sweating, all-girl fitness class in London’s West End. With a catchy, cheeky name like ‘The Skinny Bitch Collective‘ how could I decline?! The class was held just off Baker Street, and is led weekly by the founder, Russell Bateman. Under his enthusiastic guidance (and stern yelling!) all ten girls had to put in 110% to keep up with this very demanding routine. The class is basically an intense metabolic workout including some unusual ‘primal movements’, and is set to classic Ibiza house mixes, which marks the aim and tone of the session!
Here are just 6 of these primal movements included in the ‘Skinny Bitch’ session – they definitely got my poor legs bitchin’!!