Is it Winter? Is it Spring? Who knows at the moment! Yesterday felt like Spring has arrived but today Winter has returned and we woke up with snow again! March has definitely come in like a Lion. As I have trawled around all my favourite activewear stores (and even found some exciting new ones this month) there is definitely a very retro theme to some of the colours and styles.Read More
The simple answer, in the words of Fred DeVito, is this "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."
To improve your fitness, exercise always need to be challenging. This level of challenge will be different for everyone and may vary from year to year even for yourself.Read More
I have blogged about Freestyle Fitness Yoga before, mainly when I first trained, and then when I became an "Elite" Freestyle Fitness Yoga (I know - I was as surprised as you are!) but I thought it was time to update you. Not that this is entirely necessary, the yoga class is the most popular class on the Hope Fitness timetable and the one that attracts the most new customers.Read More
Do you find you have a lot of love to give others but forget about yourself?
Last week I set my clients a challenge to name 5 things about themselves that they love. It might sound easy but most people will find this challenge very difficult especially if they have to say it out loud to other people. I was stumped at 3!Read More
So today is Pancake Day...or Shrove Tuesday officially. This is a favourite day in the Hope household (except for Mr Hope, he can't stand the things!) and actually any day can be pancake day, we're not fussy.Read More
February is the month of love so this month I bring you lots of pink and cute prints and some ideas you might want to pass on as a hint for V-day next week.Read More
I used to run a lot. I was never very good at it, or even really enjoy it, but I liked taking part in events and have a whole stash of medals ranging from 5k's to Marathon's hanging dustily in my office.Read More
Metafit is a workout based on the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) principles. The fundamental principles of this type of training are the work/rest intervals, the idea being that you work out as hard as you can in the work periods knowing that this is followed by a rest. This type of training is used in all sorts ways and helps to work muscles and boost metabolism.Read More
I'm no fashion guru but I do spend a considerable amount of my time in active wear so I thought it would be fun for me to bring you my top finds every month. It seems that January 2018 is all about the grey. But unlike the weather, grey active wear is much more cheerful, mixed with lots of pinks and fabulous leggings.Read More
I'll be honest with you. 2017 has left its scars so I could spend this post moaning and complaining about my crappy year. I could whinge and whine about it all to you and cry (metaphorically speaking) over my laptop.Read More
When I had the original idea for a weekend retreat back in March, I had no idea how it would go, how stressful the planning would be or how perfect it could be. All I knew is that I wanted to plan a weekend away for clients and friends of Hope Fitness, which was both active and relaxing in equal measures.Read More
Many of us live and die by our activity trackers these days and used in the right way they can be your very own personal fitness trainer. If you have been undecided about your next purchase, here's my top 10 reasons why an activity tracker should be top of your Christmas List in 2017.Read More
What I want to tell you about myself today is that I am 100% brilliant at being average. I excel at being average. I base my whole existence around being average. I am so very proud to be average, I very often blog about it, it is one of my favourite topics!Read More
Ok, so you got me, this post has absolutely nothing to do with health and fitness but more a random conversation held during my fitness yoga class this morning [random being a completely normal occurrence at any of my classes!] An off-the-cuff comment made about non-matching bra and pants was met with unanimous horror around the class, but it got me thinking...Read More
If you follow me, then you are probably very like me. If you follow me, then you are probably a mum. If you follow me then you are probably a girl who likes her food. If you follow me then you probably enjoy the odd glass of wine. Basically you are likely to be just a girl doing her best to remain fit, healthy and sane, as a full-time mum in a part time job...or something along those lines anyway.Read More
March and April was marathon season. Not for me of course, if you've ever read any of my blog posts! I have so much admiration for anyone who completes a marathon, any marathon, under any circumstances. I have even more admiration for anyone who actually enjoys them! For me I have been left mentally scarred by my two experiences, but this of course is old ground that I intend to put firmly behind me.Read More
That's it. I just got back from teaching my last class of the year, Metafit, in the fog and ice, 1°C my car told me as I was driving there. 7 participants in total, far better than I would ever expect for the the week in between Christmas and New Year and more than double than this time last year...200% more, that's good growth right?? What a year. And I'm exhausted, more than I realised. I'm often the butt of many jokes at class, mainly aimed at my laziness, that I spend the whole time bossing them about and never really doing anything myself. Personally I prefer to call it instructing, i.e. my job. The truth is I never really stop working - always planning, plotting, designing, administrating - and I did truly need a rest.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning, I have loved every minute and I can't wait for the New Year to begin so we can do it all over again.
If I had to sum up this year in three words these would be: Metafit, Gold Stars, Mud.
The "new year new you" syndrome was in full force in January of course, busy classes, everyone working hard. At the end of the month we took Team Hope on a road trip to London to complete the Winter 10k, a now annual event on the Hope calendar.
The first themed workout of year fell in February - as Valentine's Day was on a Sunday - and I treated the class to a special kind of Hope Fitness love...and lots of burpees!
Three years on and it was time to renew my Freestyle Fitness Yoga certification. I passed with flying colours and became an Elite Freestyle Fitness Yoga Instructor. I'm still not a "proper" yoga teacher but that will do for now. I've been promising new material ever since, which hasn't quite happened but is definitely top of the ToDo list for 2017.
The first of the next batch of Hope Juniors arrived this month; baby Marnie. Mum Kirsty is one of my longest standing members. In fact Kirsty arrived at Hope Fitness (Buggy Workout at the time) when her first child, Alyssa, was 6 weeks old back in 2014.
In April, we had the first "active"social of the year. The choice this time was ringos at the local dry ski slope. Despite chickening out myself it was great fun watching everyone let loose with their blood-curling screams. Lots of fun had by all.
Although there are running events going on all year, the choice of events is much more prolific in the Spring and Summer. We had our biggest ever team out for the Kesgrave 5k, what is fast becoming a very important date in the Kesgravian calendar, and on our (my) doorstep. It's the 10 year anniversary next year and the organisers have promised bigger and better, possibly including a 10k.
We also took a big team to the stinky mud of Insane Terrain, great seeing the purple Team Hope tops out in force. We were all undecided prior to the event whether we would do the 5k or 10k (you can decide as late as the end of your first loop) but I think all-bar-one everyone did the 10k.
May also saw our first Hope Juniors event with the EACH colour dash in Christchurch Park. We'll do anything for a medal!
Midway through the year I was in desperate need of a kickstart and I took the opportunity to relaunch my fitness and nutrition plan; the Better Body Plan. Twenty of us embarked on the 21 day clean-eating plan and collectively we lost a fair few inches between us (the actual numbers are eluding me right now).
I was pleased to announce the purchase of a laminator, which revolutionised not only my life but also my workouts. The other big purchase was a snazzy new yoga mat - so pretentious that I have to spray it with water (filtered of course) to make it non-slip.
Just like the Queen, 2016 was a big year for Hope Fitness zero birthdays: Ali, Kirsty, Bridget, Rachel and Sarah all reaching one of the decade milestones (my apologies if I missed anyone - they are all so secretive). We helped Kesgrave celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday by putting on a Hope Fitness display at the Millennium Fields. I'm not so sure anyone noticed we were there but it was good to be part of a community event and something I hope we will be a part of again in the future (although next year we will have to miss out due my own big birthday celebrations).
Spring and Autumn are the time for the "active" socials, whereas Summer and Christmas socials are there for us to let our hair down a bit. The Farmhouse was chosen as the venue, mainly because most of us are within walking distance (and honestly, the drinks are really cheap). A fun and interesting night out, highlights including a perfect headstand in the middle of the conservatory room and a hysterical bike ride home....
The second Hope Junior of the year was born, baby Ezmay, to the lovely Sam.
The #hopefitnesssummerchallenge was back, tougher and stricter than the previous year. Bridget was well and truly knocked off her "most competitive" perch this summer by newcomer Gemma, an unstoppable force having practically secured the title in week 1, rippling with muscles by the end of her challenge.
And this was the month that Debbie nearly got her mojo back (#shehadherkitonaswell).
We completed the Ipswich Twilight 10k for the second year in a row. A road run around the centre of Ipswich starting at 7.30pm where the idea is to beat the sunset. I love this event but for some reason, this event always seems to be my nemesis. A stunningly pathetic performance by myself left me announcing my imminent retirement from running if things don't improve by May 2017....as of right now, my running career is teetering on the edge.
Debbie still hadn't found her mojo and the weather wasn't helping (#shestillhadherkiton).
A gaggle of us had an impromptu night out at the cinema to see Bad Moms, to celebrate the end of the school holidays. This was an utterly hilarious film that hit the mark with all of us, all sitting there with tears rolling down our faces throughout most of the film.
September was the big launch of Metafit - a 30 minute HIIT workout - and probably the revelation of the year. It was just what HF needed to give it a much needed boost. Every month a slightly different workout with a random name and some new tracks. We started with Ape Shapes (all is forgiven Ape Shapes), then Big Buff (way too much jumping), Beach Bum (a firm favourite) and Levante Power. Now we're all looking forward to Undisputed in the New Year.
Team Hope went on tour (I wish), a couple of them anyway, to New York no less. Look where these two bumped into each other!!
I also held my now annual "Free From" coffee morning, or Joyless baking party as it is now know, raising £50 MacMillan. The competition hotted up this year, with Carina taking first place. I have even higher hopes for next year now everyone's getting into the swing of sugar-free baking.
I'm still not sure if Debbie had found her mojo or weather Facebook was stuck in a loop (#itsatest).
The Autumn brought another "active" social night, this time we headed to Flux Freestyle, the new trampoline park in Ipswich. A good test of the pelvic floor muscles and I realised I'm actually completely rubbish at trampolining - those kids make it look so easy. Another one of Gemma's forte's!!
One of the highlights of the year was the Whole Hog. My third year in row but this year was the biggest team I have taken there. Lots of newbies to obstacle races too. The weather was completely rubbish but we had so much fun. I personally was relieved to find that the most undignified of obstacles that requires you to haul yourself up and over a very steep slope, had been moved away from the spectators at the end and we completed the course with dignity very much intact.
Debbie - have you found your mojo yet???? (#stillnotsure)
This was the month of #toiletpapergate. Of all the Facebook posts I write this was the one that got the most engagement!! Over or under? What are your thoughts?
It's no secret, I'm not a big fan of the Christmas period, or the C word as I prefer to call it. But this year with HF it has been pretty fab. We kicked off the festivities with a 5k Inflatable Santa run. Just to explain, the obstacles were inflatable not the Santas! And this event saw me adorn a red tutu and a Santa hat - that's a lot of embracing for me.
We went all out with our Christmas party this year; Moulin Rouge at Trinity Park. At what a fab night we had - you girls know how to party!! Jen's performance in the Can Can was a particular highlight.
But that wasn't the festivities over just yet. We didn't have just one Christmas party but two! We finished off the year with our awards evening at the Black Tiles. This year I asked members to vote for their winners. The results were as follows:
So that's it, what a year. I've probably missed loads out but as usual with my end of year post, I actually left it until the end of the year!
I promised more this year and I think that exactly what happened. The social aspect of Hope Fitness has really cemented the team and friendships within the team.
Next year will be more again, focusing on achieving goals and pushing outside of comfort zones.
Do I have any big plans?
Not right at this moment...I think I'm going to wing it!
Thank you to all of you for your support of Hope Fitness, and I wish you a happy and prosperous 2017.
Freestyle Fitness Yoga Elite Instructor - March 2016
I was recently reading through some old blog posts I had written and this one caught my attention (http://www.hopefitness.co.uk/the-start-of-my-freestyle-fitness-yoga-journey/) from way back three years ago when I qualified to become an FFY instructor in the first place. Reading it again has made me realise how far I've come as an instructor.
I had completely erased the trauma I felt heading back home on the train after that second workshop day - I was exhausted and in pain. I still get that pain, every Tuesday morning after the previous night's class, even after three years. This is the beauty of the class for me. It never gets easy. You can always go a little bit further, push a little bit deeper.
As I resolved to do on that journey home, I practiced...and practiced...and practiced a little bit more. There was no way I could teach a class to the public until I had mastered the tricep dip, hold the lunge with good, no...great form, and speak while flowing through the sun salutation.
Finally with venue and class prepared I offered a few free classes to friends, to get the ball rolling and build my confidence. It was scary! My mouth was always dry, I tripped over my words, got my left and rights in a pickle (nothing changes!) but I had very positive feedback and people seemed keen to continue participating and learning from me.
I quickly learnt that the class was a little bit "marmite". You loved it or you hated it. Those that loved it, really loved it. Otherwise my client retention was terrible, often demoralising, and if teaching the classes wasn't so beneficial to my personal fitness, I would have given up long ago!
Within that first year I picked up some very loyal followers, who are still regularly participating in classes today. The class attendance grew and I found a new, more convenient venue that allowed me to teach the class through school holidays. I also added another class to the timetable.
To say the new Thursday morning class was a slow-burner is an understatement! The first class I had zero participants - and I spent the hour playing around taking photos and videos of myself doing some of the postures (after all I had paid for the hall). After 6 months I was still teaching an average of three people per session and was ready to drop it. Then at the turn of the season it changed slightly and on a good day it was more like 6 - worth sticking to a little bit longer. 6 was almost the perfect number, it was fun. We laughed and chatted our way through class and I became friends with some lovely people over a shared love of yoga.
Last year was a strange year for me personally. I completed the London Marathon for the second time and, exactly as it did first time round, it completely destroyed my spirit (which is a whole other blog post!!). What I did gain was what a friend affectionately calls "thighs of steel". The running trashed my hips and knees but man, could I hold those warrior lunges forever!
My confidence as an instructor began to grow as I felt my own yoga practice improve. I realised that the more "me" I was, the better the class was. Not because of my ego but because being "me" ensured that I was relaxed and comfortable teaching the class so I enjoyed it more and therefore others enjoyed it more and my style of teaching. Then as if by magic, my client retention improved by 100%.
This year has been great so far and I've never looked back. And three years on I have proved my worth and have now become an "Freestyle Fitness Yoga Elite Instructor", the next chapter in my journey. Maybe it's time to build up another class?
My next goal (other than the indefinite crow of course)...I took a course in May to become an iMoveFreely instructor, expanding my knowledge of intrinsic biomechanics, using a series of movement techniques. As well as adding a new edge to my class, this will also work as a standalone clinic to help alleviate low-grade pain most of us experience on a regular basis.
I get asked, ALOT, about healthy snacks and I do believe that snacks can play an important part in a healthy style, keeping blood sugar levels up between main meals and curb over-eating at your main meals. However, get it wrong and you can quickly consume excess calories throughout the day. Here are some tips to healthy snacking:
Avoid sugary items at all costs. This includes sweet drinks, biscuits, cakes, sweets.
Snacks should never contain enough calories that constitutes a meal. 200 calories or less is about right.
Have no more than two snacks per day; one mid morning, one mid afternoon. Snacking quickly becomes a habit rather than a necessity. If you are regularly grabbing snacks many times a day, perhaps you need to review when and what you are eating at mealtimes. Your aim should be to eat enough at mealtimes to keep you going until the next meal, rather than snacking.
Snacks should be a good balance of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat - too make you feel fuller for longer. Aim to add to your overall nutrition intake that you may be missing from other meals.
The simplest method to cut unhealthy snacking is to avoid having these types of snacks in the house. This is not always easy when you have a family but the best option for everyone is to encourage your family to have healthier snacks too.
If you're feeling peckish then have a glass of water first. Wait 10 minutes and if you still feel hungry then maybe you are. Sometimes the feelings of thirst can be mistaken for hunger pangs.
Be mindful of what you are eating rather than mindlessly grazing. Fill a small bowl or plate with your snack and walk away. Once it is eaten, snack time is over. Never take the whole packet with the intention of stopping when you've had enough - before you know it you've eaten the whole lot.
Don't snack in front of the TV or at your desk. Avoid all distraction so that you can focus on eating and enjoying your food.
Plan your snacks as you would your main meals and if necessary prepare your snacks in small containers so you can grab them on the run.
- Chopped crudités (pepper, carrot, celery, cucumber) with guacamole, hummus or tzatziki
- Oatcakes/Rice cakes with nut butter or slice of avocado & smoked salmon
- Handful of mixed nuts or seeds and some dried fruit
- Fruit with natural bio yoghurt
- Dates and walnuts
- Fruit juice ice lolly
- Hard boiled egg
- Plain self-popped popcorn
- Small natural liquorice bar
- Two squares of dark chocolate
- Homemade vegetable crisps