On a recent blog trip to Coworth Park, I took advantage of the exceptional Equestrian centre by riding for a couple of hours one morning through the glorious Ascot woodlands. It’s something I used to do every day growing up in the Swedish countryside; the way it made me feel, both physically (my poor adductors) and mentally (the endorphin release) reminded me strongly of the reasons I used to do it so much – there are so many health benefits of horse riding; this post was an inevitable formality… ☺️ (more…)
Just a super-quick post to draw attention to a fabulous cause. My friends over at Aussie are supporting not only Movember, but also the lesser-known, yet equally awesome concept of the Misstache – a solidarity cause, for fellow ‘Mo Sistas’. The aim is the same: to improve the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems, and to date, the community has raised £346m. Girls – why not get involved for this super-important cause and show your #Misstache for #Movember – just post & share a cheeky little selfie with an intricate and/or gorgeous locket of hair as your ‘tache & share on Facebook! You could even get a couple of friends misstached up, to help spread the awareness & get Mo Sistas everywhere involved! I went for a bit of a Bjorn Borg 70’s look for mine 😀 Click MORE to see the other pics from my fun misstache shoot, & to see Aussie’s super-cute video on the efforts…
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.