Triathlon an obsession – my true northΒ 

Finding what makes your heart sing is so important and what I believe I have found.

I am blessed for sure… since 2009 triathlon has been a joy, a passion, an obsession, not only for my own personal pleasure but my passion extended for others to enjoy too. 

I’m not really sure why it’s excites me so much. When I look back to pre-tri days, times when I would just read the triathlon magazines wishing that I was an ironman (which incidentally I can now proudly say I am), I can remember exactly how it made me feel, I would tremble inside with giddiness every time I opened the pages. I guess I can only explain it like, we all have an internal compass and when we find our true north the needle goes twitchy, really twitchy. I remember only having this feeling a few times in my life, when I met my husband, when I left a steady job to start my own business and as I’ve said, upon finding triathlon. 

   
   
I have been incredibly lucky in my career to have been in the right place, with the right experience and enthusiasm to have triathlon as part of my day to day life. Becoming founder member, head coach and chairman of my local Tri club and becoming a BTF level 2 coach has brought real joy to my life. I like to think that it’s all coincidence, and my spiritual side likes to think … Be careful what you wish for! However my life got sucked into the vortex of triathlon I am truly grateful.

Surrounding myself with triathletes as most of my close friends are triathletes, means that when I’m relaxing and letting my hair down its generally with fellow obsessors! You’d think that this may be tiring, but to be honest life without tri would be quite distressing. 

The point to this blog post when I decided to write today, was to highlight the fact that I’ve evolved, my passion when I started this blog page was all consumed with making change, motivating and inspiring others to live healthy and stay well. I still feel deeply about encouragement and support for others success, losing weight, doing your first 5k is valuable, valuable as a catalyst to a greater you. But as I look back through old posts, I feel something different, I feel a sense of my own evolution. How I’ve grown, not to mention the eyes wide openedness of being a university student, doing a Bsc in Exercise and Sports Science. 

I am excited and looking to the future, with my coaching business being moved into a new home at The Fell, home of Beacon Bikes and the new triathlon superstore and performance centre. An opportunity to work alongside some great experienced minds and meet some truly fabulous elite and recreational athletes, who share the obsession. 

So I suppose it’s a farewell post, to the old me, and welcome post to the new me. 

If you read this and it made you think about what your true north us, or even what triathlon means to you, leave me a comment or drop me a line, and maybe we can discuss in my next post. 

As ever .. Love ya xx

How to age successfully!Β 


This week I had the pleasure of speaking at a conference on successful aging and well being, 

This article is just part of the talk I did without too much technicality in it,

The ACSM position stand for exercise and the older adult us where I draw my information.  The purpose of the Position Stand is to provide an overview of issues critical to understanding the importance of exercise and physical activity in older adult populations.
 This can be found www.acsm.org in position stands. 

Normal aging, we have to face it, is going to happen. Ageing is non negotiable and we must accept it. The external signs we can see most days, when we look in the mirror, and, to a degree we can modify. We can dye our hair, botox our wrinkles, enhance our bosoms, and other things too, but none of this is slowing the aging process. 

Internally structural and functional changes are occurring and these impact our activity levels.

Our bone density declines with age, making them more prone to fracture as we get older, our muscles start to deteriorate (sarcopenia) making regular movements less easy. Our blood pressure may rise increasing our risk of heart disease or a coronary event, our maximum heart rate drops and our body composition (body fat) increases, along with a reduced aerobic capacity, making everyday tasks such as walking feel more challenging. 

 As we age we may favour lower impact activities such as golf and walking over running and high impact activities that we may have previously enjoyed. Our lives also change in that they may become less physically demanding, for example our children need less physical care, and our jobs may become part time. 

With all these factors happening within the body and in our lifestyle choices and daily circumstances, the risks of chronic disease increase ( hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease ).

So it leaves the question of; is it the fact that we slow down, that aging and its effects increase? or the aging process itself makes us slow down? As we do less we age quicker, things get harder, so we do less, its a downward spiral. 
Both paradigms affect your ability to successfully age. 

Although we cannot reverse the aging process we can slow down the natural decline. With regular exercise we can hold on to our muscle mass, bone density and improve our fitness levels. 

Bone density cannot be increased with exercise in older age but increased exercise can significantly reduce the rate at which it declines. The more we do resistance exercise the more we can improve our muscle quality, strength and power. With increased muscle quality and strength our daily activities are obviously going to become easier. It has been shown that relative percentage strength gains are similar to younger counterparts. So we can always improve our strength no matter our age. Our aerobic capacity can also be improved with regular aerobic exercise. The more we increase our muscle mass and strength, the easier aerobic exercise will become especially in previously sedentary individuals. 

In research it was found that there were three important factors that applied to those who aged well in relation to others who didn’t. They are;
Social interaction
Physical activity 
Positive attitude 

Interestingly, exercise is the major factor that has impact in a physiological aspect but without the other 2 factors may not occur. The body will clearly do what our brains ask of it but without a positive can do attitude, how likely is it that our bodies will achieve great fitness? Social interaction is valuable in the sense of comradeship, competition and fun, that it brings to enhance the motivation of regular exercise. Training with someone else is much more fun, sharing experiences is what can make them valuable and worthwhile. 

So in summary exercise is worthwhile no matter your age, you can always improve your strength and aerobic fitness and the benefits out weight the risks.
To have a fitter and healthier body, with a reduction in risk factors for chronic disease comes a greater quality of life and sense of worth. Life can be more independent, and enjoyable rather than a decline into lack of movement, muscle wastage, depression, and complete dependence on others for daily care. 
The research on exercise and dementia is also very strong suggesting that exercise helps cognitive function and has great psychological benefits as we age. 

The specifics for exercise prescription for exercise and the older adult can be found at www.acsm.org 

Exercise can be enjoyed in so many different ways and needn’t be formal as in structured sessions, exercise can be just daily activities, done more often. Sweeping, cleaning, DIY, gardening etc. Seated exercise is great for those with physical impairment, there are many resources available for everyone. 


In a nutshell, never stop exercising! 
Have a great day x 

Are you really tired?

Hiya

Yesterday I had the joy of going into BBC radio lancs to chat with Gilly, I’m not shamelessly showing off here there is a point to this,

We were discussing his upcoming world record attempt of a 24 hour broadcast with the most interviews (topping 300) so he asked me to help him prepare himself for staying awake,

Now with the change of seasons I sometimes feel really lack lustre and lifeless, this can be due to many reasons, studying , working, coaching, not sleeping well, not hydrated enough, lack of daylight etc, many factors influence us all daily.

But as we chatted in the studio and we did some positive discussion about feeling energised, whilst physically standing with good posture during our interview, my own energy began to rise.

We discussed the power pose, which I had seen on a Ted talk (if you don’t know what they are Google them they are amazing and inspirational talks from a wide range of people across the world) the power pose is said to increase feelings of confidence, and raise the hormone levels associated with achievement and euphoria. When we see champions of sport (elite and everyday athletes) crossing the finish line, their bodies reflect the power pose with arms high, head up ,usually smiling.

When we adopt these physical positions of power we can raise our physiology to be more energetic. The wonder woman pose is effective, with hands on hips, feet slightly wider than hip width (you really should watch the talk if you get chance). I guess it’s a little of ‘fake it till you make it’ and in a physical way, it’s like flicking on the switch to change your mood.

So what I’m getting at is if we get home after a long day at work and we know we have our ‘should list’ to get to, and we are telling ourselves we are not in the mood, using the power poses and self talk we can trick our senses into feeling good and positive. Try it and you may find your in your workout gear faster than wonderwoman in a phone box πŸ˜‰

Because really when we say we are tired, physically, that’s rarely actually true, to be physically tired (provided we are well, and have eaten, drank and slept in the last 24 hrs) we need to deplete our resources.

After watching the ironman world championships this weekend, even after 16 hours of constant exercise those guys still managed a final line sprint, or a leap over the line or a forward roll, then they walked through the finishers area to collect their medals. So 16/17 hours continuous movement does not take all your energy, we are amazing at storing our fuel.

Our thoughts on how we perceive our energy is the key, just think, how many times per week do you say I’m tired? How many years of the phrase,repeated,has it taken to make you believe that when you finish work your done? Yes you may be mentally wrung out, I’m not saying work is easy by any stretch of the imagination, I know you work hard. But are you physically unable to do a workout? We may not ‘feel’ like it, and that is the crux of what I’m saying here.

We are a product of habit, in what we say and what we do, you know that,
but when you say and do the right things you can tap into that energy resource you dutifully fill up daily.

Tell yourself, I have more energy than I can use, I can handle 1 hour of training, and at the same time change your physiology, your body language, slap a smile on, lift your head, shoulders back, become wonderwoman and do something good for your body. Try it right now! πŸ˜‰ I dare ya!

Oh before you go, just a question …

Are you really tired?

See you very soon

Aimie xxx

Sent from my iPad

Only read this if you REALLY want to give up your comfort eating!

When things are good do you celebrate with food?

When things go bad do you comfort eat?

When you’re bored do you eat?

Well it’s a tricky one!

Probably the most difficult question I have been asked, how to stop my
emotional eating?’ In a black and white approach I’d like to say get a grip,
find something else to do,
But that’s not helpful,

The answer lies in habits, and the fact that we have to eat, as it keeps us alive!

So avoidance won’t help,

But NLP might!

Neuro linguistic programming,

This type of therapy doesn’t need to know where the problem is from,
just how to change your habits, and emotional connection to things.

There are many techniques for behavioural change and emotional change,
I highly recommend looking into NLP especially if you feel that it’s actually your
mental habits which hold you back in any area of your life.

The NLP techniques are simple, (but too complex for a blog post to explain)
they take relatively little time and can be quite effective.

When we think of an experience we think of it attached to images and feelings,
sounds and smells.

If we can close our eyes and remember something vividly and feel as though
we are back there, we can just as easily, visualise it differently,

Basically it’s a matter of taking control of those images and emotions and
reprogramming that memory.

Take for example; you love chocolate, and would like to stop eating it , forever,
as you feel that you know it’s your down fall, and life would be better as you would
be slimmer and could enjoy the fruits of your training.

The following technique can be really powerful and affect your vice
consumption significantly! ( I have chosen chocolate for the example) .
BUT only do it if you’re sure you want to give up your specific vice,
You could use anything such as biscuits, alcohol, cheese, pies, Percy pigs, in the
following sequence, just be ready for it to affect your habit!

Step 1

Sit or lie in a relaxed position, taking a few slow and complete breaths in and out,
relax your body and close your eyes,

Imagine your chocolate, imagine it on a table in front of you, lots of it in a bowl,
unwrapped and ready for the tasting, focus on what it looks like, With the light
on it, is it slightly melting or crisp and shiny dark, you can smell it all the way from
the table, As you touch the bowl it’s in, you can feel is shift and hear the noise it
makes. You reach in a take a big piece, and place it to your lips, the smell is irresistible,
feel it in your fingers as it melts slightly in your fingers, you put it in your mouth,
savouring the texture, feel the melt on your tongue, the taste, the feel as it melts,
hear yourself, the ‘mmmm’ sound, the joy and the pleasure of chocolate.
Feel it in your mouth all silky smooth, swallowing the delicious taste, you take
some more from the bowl, feeling the bite of a new piece in your mouth.

You then break your mind state and switch off to the thoughts by opening your eyes,
recite your phone number back wards, stand up sit down,

Step 2,

Think of a food you dislike, I mean really dislike,

Think of something that made you really ill, rotten food or worse, vomited food.
imagine the taste it has, the smell, the texture, is it warm? Is it hard, lumpy, crunchy?
Is it slimy? Put some in your mouth, eel the feelings in your body, the tension as your
whole body tenses to keep it in your mouth, hear the gipping sound, feel your throat
close as you try to swallow it, remember how disgusting it really is. Even the sight of
it is revolting, the colours, feel your face frowning and wincing at the feel of it in your
mouth. Put some more in your mouth. Feel it in your mouth, taste it, How are you feeling?

Break state – open your eyes and then recite your
phone number backwards , stand up, turn round sit down.

Step 3

Think of a bowl in front of you , it’s full of your favourite chocolate all for you to eat,
you can smell it, and your mouth waters to taste it, now look closely in the bowl,
there’s a whole load of your ill inducing rancid tasting , vomit provoking food, it’s mixed
in with your chocolate, you can smell the rancid smell, you can still see the chocolate but
it’s covered in that awful stuff, it’s all melting in, now reach in and stir it round, smell the sweet chocolate mixed with the putrid smell, mix it round and round, feeling the texture,
see the colours of glossy chocolate mixed in with that awful stuff, changing to a
dark muddy dull smelly mess, grab a handful, place it in your mouth,
and chew the mixture, the texture of your hated food, the taste, the feelings, you can
feel the chocolate but through the gunk it’s making you heave, the smell of your beautiful chocolate is really overpowered till all you can smell is that chewed up awfulness, grotesque flavour and texture, Have some more, unless your feeling really really sick.

Break state, stand up recite your street name letter by letter backwards.

Repeat the steps again, twice if you can,

then …

Sit down again and think of your chocolate, can you smell it? Can you taste it?
Do you want it? If you have some in the house go and find it, do you want it?

If the answer is yes repeat the steps again until when you think of chocolate it
disgusts you,

Let me know how you go on,

Can I say I was nearly sick writing this!

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5 ways to motivate that weightloss!

Are the scales doing your head in?

Well ditch the scale goals and choose instead:

Waist measurement – set a goal off dropping cm’s
instead of pounds. The guidelines for health ( measured in conjunction
with BMI, are 80 cm women 94cm for men, measured around your
umbilicus or belly button as you and I know it. When that moves
downwards, your body shape is changing! Much more motivational
don’t you think?

Body fat – focus on dropping fat not water weight
or muscle weight, fat is what gives your body the appearance of a bean
bag! Aim to drop to around the average for your age and gender,

50th percentiles ( average body fat, not lean, not over fat )
from ACSM guidelines

Women
Age
20-29 22.1%
30-39 23.1%
40-49 26.4%
50-59 30.1%
60+ 30.9%

Men
Age
20-29 15.9%
30-39 19%
40-49 21.1%
50-59 22.7%
60+23.5%

You can of course go below these figures but as the average joe is
more likely to be over this is why I posted these,
if you need more figures please let me know!

Fitness testing – this can be done in numerous ways,
( how long have you got? ) step test, walk/run test, cycle test, scientific
tests of vo2max ( how much oxygen your body can use per ml per kg of
body weight per minute) or heart rate tests, or time tests. You can devise
your own to mark improvements on, so long as your test is identical
each time you do it, you will see changes in your progress (good or bad).

Nutrition – set weekly targets of drinking more water,
eating only clean foods, not skipping breakfast, drinking less coffee,
make a chart for your fridge choose 1 habit to start or break and give
your self a tick on the days you do well,

Exercise – well this one is a common one, and so varied
you should never get bored- 5ks 10ks, mile swims, cycle sportives, triathlons,
mountain climbs, or even your daily commute of walk, cycle, etc. to play
a round of golf, to play tennis, etc. get creative!

The scales do not tell us how amazing we can be they only tell us the
weight of our body, not the truth of what’s really inside ( if you get me πŸ˜‰ )

Ditch the scales and start motivating yourself!

Love ya πŸ™‚

Your worst training nightmare!

It has to be the worst thing possible to happen,
You have overcome so much, the motivation,
the goal setting, the planning, the training,

Then bang!…

Injury occurs, and brings your training to a halt!
Omg!

What on earth can you do?

Well you could give up exercise as hazardous to your health?
You could carry on despite the pain and endure the ensuing
damage,

Or you can learn from it!

So with your training time now a black hole, you can use the void
wisely,

We are a physical product of our bodies daily habits

The way we sit in our chairs, position of our computer
The posture we adapt in sleeping
Poor technique in your regular training
The way we hold our bodies in walking and standing
The type of exercise we choose
The load of our training
The progression rate (spasmodic training rather than regular)

All these seemingly isolated and insignificant parts of your day
add up to the strain during your workout which produced
your injury.

You can get smart and learn about your injury, learn
about your posture.

Take a look at perfect posture
and then take a good look at YOUR posture.

Stand in front of a wall and get some one to take a front, side
and back view photo of you in clothes that enable you to
see your body shape. How do you compare?
Can you see which muscles are out of kilter?

Then stand in good posture for a few minutes,
How does it feel?
Can you feel pain tightness, fatigue?
Which muscles are you feeling?

If this is difficult on your own , find a well recommended
physical therapist to assess you, you may well have one
enlisted due to your injury.

It’s not me it’s you!

When such injuries occur it’s simple to blame the activity,
but the true cause is in fact you and your muscles. If the activity was
safe for others and is recognised for being so, then the truth is there
may be imbalances in your body and the loading of exercise was too much.
The repetitive nature of our daily activity and posture, has a greater
contribution.

Injuries occur because your body could not sustain the
movement you asked it to do. Injury occurs generally due to
tightness, weakness and imbalances in your muscles.
This is due to the amount you use each of the muscles.

Get fixing and in the long run when your training recommences
you will be in an even stronger position and will hopefully avoid
future reoccurrences!

The biggest danger

The biggest danger of injury is that you go off the boil and stop
altogether which makes restarting when your injury has healed
harder and more likely to reoccur.( sound familiar? )

There will be other exercises you can do, there are other new
things to try or re-learn,

See it as a new exciting challenge that you hadn’t thought of.

You will return to training, have faith, patience and intelligence!

Progress slowly and safely, look at your whole body during training
and use your body in different pathways of movement to recruit as
many muscles as possible. The more joints with good range of
motion and more muscles with strength, you will have the ability to cope
with unfamiliar loads (tripping over a kerb, or a new dynamic exercise
at your Bootcamp).

Get some good advice, get recommendations based on
the findings of your imbalances and follow them!

Have a great day,

Love ya πŸ˜‰

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6 Step complete beginners guide to running

Your complete beginners 6 step guide to running.

With every journey there are steps which must be taken,

You cannot fast forward to the end before you have begun,

These steps below assume you have never ran before or have dabbled
but never achieved consistency.

Step 1,

Decide upon your goal – ‘to run’ won’t keep you motivated – make it quantifiable
a mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon etc. give your goal a date to add more
structure. But be realistic Rome was not built in a day. Groundwork has to done for a
solid foundation. A complete beginner may require 6-12 weeks to establish running at short distances before embarking on long distance running. That said having your goals no matter
how lofty they seem are great motivators. Just be realistic about the timeline.
This is based on current fitness skill and ability. Be patient.

Step2,

Get a health check, a quick discussion with your doctor (especially if
you have concerns that it may be detrimental to your body) should give
you confidence to begin. If your not sure whether you need to discuss with a
doctor, a basic physical activity questionnaire should give some guidance.
See photo below the post, for a typical screening form, and answer the questions,
any YES answers need to be discussed with your G.P

Step 3,

Get the right trainers, now you may not want to throw money at running shoes,
particularly if you are scared and feel you are just going to ‘try it’ first.
But even if you don’t get into it, having running shoes that fit well and are right
for your feet will be money well spent even if all you do is walk in them.

But we are not supposing any fear – we are positive and you are going to love it right?
So find a good training shoe specialist and get fitted, this does not have to cost
the earth, there are generally a wide range of shoes to fit budget and foot type.
Get advice, go online after if necessary and get yourself a good deal.

(if you have read about barefoot running – even within my posts, don’t go there,
get experience of running and your body first, you have been shod all your life,
a massive transition to both unshod and running could cause more harm than good).

Step 4,

Start out walking,
If you have been sedentary for some time or just not used to being on your feet,
you need to adjust your body to cope with the demands of upright movement.
Walking is obviously the same movement as running but slower. Your foot strike
is different but we can focus on that later.

I would suggest walking for at least 2-4 weeks first, starting with 2-3 x per week
building to 5 days per week before you start running. Start on flat routes then
graduate to hilly routes within your routine.
Start with short bursts, say 20 minutes add in longer ones up to 1 hour. You could
time regular routes and see how you can reduce the time. Of course time is not a
necessary factor and if you feel apprehensive about challenges, then just get
regular walks in.

Step 5,

After weeks of walking your body should now be adapting and you may well feel
so much fitter and energised. So time to start with a progressive plan.
The couch to 5k plan is one I have used for years with clients, this has proved
successful EVERY time when followed properly.

Here’s a link couch to 5k and other useful stuff

Step 5b

Remember that alongside this running plan you need to maintain flexibility and
strength. Having strong and supple muscles will set you up for years of enjoyable
running. Most importantly to enjoy your running you need to remain injury free.
(Flexibility and strength for runners will be detailed in another post for you so keep
checking back)

Step 6,

Ensure you are running at a pace which is comfortable. In the plan detailed in the
link, it is predominantly intervals of walking and running. The common mistake I
see is that during the running minutes it’s easy to get carried away with what you
perceive would be classed as a running pace. Many novices start out way to fast
because they believe that’s what running is.

I had a great guy come to me years ago frustrated about his new love for running
but he couldn’t sustain it. He wanted my advice on why he couldn’t run more than
a few minutes. So as we set out on our first session I asked him to show me what
he was doing. Well I have to say for a beginner , he would have given Usain Bolt
a workout. He was sprinting his intervals and was totally and utterly wrecked
after the first one. He couldn’t see how he would ever be able to run.

As time progressed and he learnt more about running and realised it was more
about pacing, so he slowed down, he got much better and really started to enjoy
his running, I’m pleased to say. He even started to use a heart rate monitor which
in his case proved invaluable. However these can for some situations be a hinderance.
(But that’s another story)

But the lesson here is running is not about all out effort, running is a pace sustainable
over your chosen distance. Start off really comfortable as there will be time
in the future to work on getting faster.

So 6 steps – enough for now, there are many more aspects, but for now getting
started is the most important thing. Let’s keep it simple!

Go and enjoy your new hobby πŸ™‚

If you have any questions at all on how to begin please leave a comment or contact
me and I will help all I can.

Have a great day

Love ya πŸ™‚

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