GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

How I drastically cut my 10km run time

Hi there!

When I started running consistently it was during my Christmas break of 2012. I had put on weight in first year (the ‘fresher’s fifteen’) and was really uncomfortable with how my clothes felt and how unfit I was generally. I started running with my dad who had been at it for a while. When I ran my first 10k it was brutal. My time was around 1 hour 15 minutes. It was a struggle the whole way and my evening was spent with me on the couch. It was here I realised just how unfit I had been.

I started running regularly and more and more I started to enjoy my Dad’s and I’s Sunday 10k sessions. By Christmas 2013 we were running 12k’s and made the mistake of doing a 16k too (no one won that one). Our 10k always hovered around the 1 hour mark. My dad is over 50, so we never pushed it.

Fast forward to Summer 2014. I went on a family holiday to Nerja (below you see the view from our villa, which indicates the length of the hill I had to run up). It was here my sister introduced me to hill sprints. Brutal, heart-pounding hill sprints. We only had to do roughly 20-30 minutes to be as worn out as a solid 45 minute run! I fell in love with the new high intensity element, something that I had generally lacked in my running. I continued to do hill sprints when I got home over the summer and I noticed my 10k runs with my Dad were becoming easier and easier (but not faster, because my Dad is over 50, I was warned).

I joined a gym within my first couple of weeks of moving to Madrid for a year abroad for University. I started off with just using the bike, doing some intervals and things. Then I went onto the treadmill and slowly started incorporating more and more intervals and HIIT into my cardio. I now combine HIIT on the treadmill and the bike for 2 cardio sessions a week, I do about 45 minutes each session.
Important; my first stint in Madrid was September-December, and I lost far too much weight. A key part of this was doing too much HIIT and not fuelling my body properly. Even with weight training I ended up being scrawny and unhealthy. If you do HIIT, ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly too. This means good carbs, protein and fats.

Now, onto Christmas 2014. I was limited to my exercise routine because I was putting on weight (because it was absolutely necessary). However, I did go out with my Dad for a 10k during my tme at home. The second we were out the car he said ‘Just you go on and run at your own pace’. I initially resisted, because I enjoyed the time we spent together running, but he refuses to accept it wasn’t my fault we ran a 16k!
It ended up being a mistake anyway, I ran so far ahead he tried to reduce the distance between us and pushed himself to far. However, I ran 11k in 57 minutes! I couldn’t believe it. I thought back to what caused my sudden incrase in speed and realised it was the HIIT. Whilst I did not fuel myself, my fitness and times improved dramatically (the lack of fuel is really bad and embarassing, I’m not endorsing my stupidity, if you do HIIT or speed work, fuel it right)!

My most recent 10k which I did on a treadmill clocked in at 47 mins 35 seconds. I altered my incline and speed throughout to achieve this and I wasn’t wiped out by the end! (I was tired, don’t get me wrong).

So, after this long (hopefully not boring) story, what’s my point? My point is if you want to cut your time and improve your fitness, logging kilometers and kilometers of steady running will not do it quite the same as using HIIT, hill sprints and lots of intervals. You need to speed train to improve your times!

Here’s an example of what you could do on a treadmill;

Warm-Up; 5 minutes at 9km/h

Sprint; 1 minute at 13-15km/h (wherever you feel you won’t come flying off the treadmill)

Rest; 1 minute at 9km/h

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Cool-Down; 5 minutes starting at 9km/h then reducing by 0.5km/h every minute.

I do this often, I also mix it up with inclines in place of a sprint. The point is to challenge your body and your speed. You also don’t need to workout for as ong when doing HIIT because your sending your heartrate into a higher zone (if done correctly. Check out my HIIT post for more information on HIIT and routines!

Gym Bug

Advertisements

Sports Pursuit

Hi there!

This post is in no way endorsed or sponsored by the company I’m discussing. I’m merely sharing this company because they have excellent deals on quality sports wear and accessories! They are called Sport Pursuit and they offer flash sales where brand such as Nike, SealSkinz and Underamour can have discounts of 75% and sometimes, if you’re lucky, more!

I definitly recommend at least signing up to their newsletter, where you’ll get their best flash sales of the day into your inbox and then you’ll never miss a deal. How many times have you been needing something but not bobught it because you were waiting for a deal? Sport Pursuit can help you get that deal!

I love it, especially as a student.

Happy spending!

Gym Bug

Foodie Challenge #8

Hi there!

I have a sort of dinner club with 2 friends here and we each take turns cooking the main every Wednesday. It was my turn this time round and I opted to make my own variation of sweet potato and white bean burgers! I wanted to try something healthy, fast and cheap.

Ingredients ( 2 large patties);

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 250g white beans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg (optional)
  • Olive oil

Method;

  1. Peel and cube the sweet potato and boil them until soft enough to mash.
  2. Dry the sweet potatoes and allow them to cool.
  3. Once cooled, mash the white beans and seasoning in together.
  4. Optional; add the egg. I didn’t use one, because I found they bound very well together without it, however, they didn’t crisp up excellently.
  5. Create either 2 large patties or more mini patties.
  6. Heat olive oil in a frying pan.
  7. Cook the patties until they are a nice, crisp, brown colour.
  8. Serve with side salad, vegetables, whatever you fancy!

I apologise for the photo, my phone died before I could get a finished product photo, but here’s a mini patty cooking!

Sweet Potato and White Bean Burger

You can also bulk them out a bit with breadcrumbs or have a burger bun with them!

Gym Bug

A step too far in tackling obesity?

Hi there!

I was on DailyMail (out of boredom, I don’t use it as my key news source) and the following article popped up; “Snacking ‘should be as shameful as smoking’. The article explains that Professor Susan Jebb has said that snacking on unhealthy foods and any meals served without vegetables should be seen as negatively as smoking in doors.

This is opening an already wide open door to socially obliterating obese people. It’s unfair. It’s also further widening the very dangerous door of social media inducing eating disorders such as disordered eating, anorexia, orthorexia nervosa and so on. By shaming people from having ‘an unhealthy meal’ or having ‘an unhealthy snack’ a stigma is being created surrounding these foods. A stigma I’ve fallen victim to myself.

Now I completely understand that we need to start doing something about the obesity  problem. It;s giving rise to a generation of overweight children, increasing the instances of diseases and is a heavy burden on public spending in the UK. But I do not believe making unhealthy foods ‘shameful’ is the way to do it. What about the people who live a healthy, balanced life? Are they not allowed to go out and enjoy a burger or a donut or a slice of cake? I know for a fact when I turn 21 this year I’ll be enjoying a delicious slice of cake and other little, delicious extras!

I believe the key to changing lifestyles is making it clear what health risks obese individuals face, the impact it has not only on themselves but their families, educating these people about how to deal with the issue and trying to life these stigma’s around foods. It’s also important to highlight how easy it can be to make small, healthy changes and start living a healthier lifestyle.

For example, make this more widely available

                                                                       The Eat Well Plate (UK)

There’s also some great resources out there that many proably do not know about. For example, there’s Change4Life in the UK offering tips, recipes, vouchers, information on local activities and support! Eat To Perform is another excellent source for information and some hard to hear facts that are incredibly motivating. (Side note, they’re articles help me deal with having to put on weight).

Now, I’m not saying this is the easiest thing to do. But it’s a lot easier than people think! It’s not about dieting (terrible word and I hate it) it’s about making healthy, sustainable changes in your life. Going for a walk everyday, having an apple instead of crisps (potato chips) at lunch, walking to the next bus stop, the small changes you can make today are endless! It’s also important not to be ashamed of not “eating 100% clean, 100% of the time”. What does that even mean-clean? Google ‘clean eating’ and I guarantee you’ll get numerous definitions!

Just try focus on eating good food, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, protein and good fats. Get in a bit of cardio and weight training. Enjoy that slice of cake! Keep highly processed foods to a moderate amount, but don’t go cold turkey, trust me you’ll end binging, it’s not worth it!

If life becomes all about food and exercise (or not doing it) then it’s no fun. Again, trust me. I’m still coming out of some food and exercise related issues but I’m slowly learning food is to be enjoyed and 6-pack abs aren’t necesary to be happy!

Gym Bug

Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015

Hi there!

I’ve already mentioned in a post a while that I was running the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10K with my family, but I thought I’d tell you a little more about it!

There are 6 different events taking place on Saturday May 30th and Sunday May 31st. On Saturday the 10K, 5K and Junior Races take place. On the Sunday it’s the Marathon, Half-Marathon and Marathon Hairy Haggis Team Relay runs. There really is a distance for everyone!
Prices vary and can be found on their website. The price includes the run itself with all associated entertainment, a technical wicking finisher’s T-shirt, medal, accurate chip timing, training plan, online results and a race recovery pack! There is also stalls in the finisher’s area with companies marketing their products as well as delicious food and drink to be purchased! The course also has numerous water and energy stations, providing hydration and energy gels (the energy gels are for those running the Half Marathon or Marathon).

EMF 2015

The whole event is in support primarily of MacMillan Cancer Support, who you can choose to run and fundraise for when you sign up. You can of course choose to run for your own charity! It’s a great way to raise some money and get fit! My family are fundraising as a group for MacMillan because cancer has hit our family quite hard and we all know the value of support for the sufferers and their loved ones. I know it’s a big ask, but if you can spare anything please donate on our JustGiving page.

MacMillan are a brilliant chairty seeking to provide help and support. I can’t describe them any better than they have on their website;
“No one should face cancer alone. So when you need someone to turn to, we’re here. Right from the moment you’re diagnosed, through your treatment and beyond, we’re a constant source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you take back control of your life.”

                                                                      Enough said.

As someone who has watched loved ones go through diagnosis, treatment and (unfortunately not everytime) recovery, I know how important a solid support system is and how valued it is by everyone involved. MacMillan deserve funding and are a key source of care for those suffering cancer and their loved ones.

So if you’re looking for some fantastic motivation, go for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015! Get your running shoes and get going!

Gym Bug

Snack time!

Hi there!

Sorry I’ve been absent, the weather is gorgeous and I’ve been spending a lot of time outside getting my daily dose of Vitamin D!

Getafe

Can’t help but be outside.

However, yesterday I discovered a new delicious, quick and healthy snack! It’s pretty basic but tastes like apple pie!

Ingredients;

  • 1 apple, chopped (go for any type you want)
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1/4 cup cornflakes/bran flakes/crunchy cereal
    Watch what you choose, remember some are high in sugar and calories
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

Method;

  1. Add the oats, apple and cornflakes/bran flakes/crunchy cereal to a bowl.
  2. Add as much honey and cinnamon as you like.
  3. Enjoy!
  4. Optional; if you’re looking for a punchier snack, add some greek yoghurt to it (proteeeeeein).
Om nom nom

Om nom nom

I know it doesn’t look like much but I swear it’s delicious!

Happy snacking!

Gym Bug

MyProtein Discount!

Hi there!

After an amazing and indulgent weekend I’m back! My sister has (unfortunately) gone home and I’ve now got 3 weeks to kill before my next visitors to Madrid! I got a supply of protein delivered to me (good flavours, cheaper delivery to the UK) but miscalculated how many scoops I will need between now and my return home in May. So I looked to MyProtein to help me out! I managed to get £26.56 worth of protein related goodies for £12.52 today, including delivery!

MyProtein is absolutely brilliant for quality protein in great flavours for great prices. My sister and I both use it, my sister finds it is the only protein that doesn’t upset her stomach! I usually buy Chocolate Smooth but have gone for Unflavoured this time because it’s cheaper and I don’t mind the unflavoured version at all, so I might as well save a bit!

So, my order consisted of ;

1kg Unflavoured Whey Protein
9 x Pro Milk Zero Chocolate
MyProtein Blender Bottle

I then applied the following code;

20% entire order when you order certain “Goodies” (in this case it was the Pro Milk Zero -£2.63)
Automatic discount of the Pro Milk Zero (-£12.99)

Then just add £1.99 standard delivery and I had an amazing deal on protein!

I really recommend MyProtein!

Gym Bug

Note; this was no way sponsored by MyProtein, these voucher codes are accesible by anyone!

Sleep Experiment Trial 5

Hi there!

So, unfortunately, for now at least, this will be the last trial. My sister is visiting me tomorrow and I won’t be able to continue because I don’t want to be focused on the posts when I only have 4 days with my sister in Madrid! I will go back to the final 2 trials though!

Overall, last night’s method of tensing and releasing each major muscle group one by one did help me relax and I did get to sleep within (what I deem) a reasonable length of time BUT yoga is still winning; I felt so refreshed after yoga!

Overall score for muscle tightening and releasing; 6/10

Family visits tomorrow so will be quiet over the weekend! I fully intend to indulge this weekend also! (Yippee!)

Have a great weekend and keep going!

Gym Bug

Sleep Experiment Trial 4

Hi there!

So I tried a yoga routine prior to falling asleep to see if it would help me get to sleep quicker and surprisingly I felt like it did! I went to bed much more relaxed and calm and my body felt heavy and ready to sleep. I slept pretty quick and slept soundly until I had to go to the bathroom!

Rating for yoga before sleeping; 8/10

YIPPEE a potential solution has been found. However, tonight I shall try and use a technique whereby I tighten muscle groups and release them slowing starting from my toes!

Until tomorrow!

Gym Bug

Sleep Experiment Trial 3

Hi there!

Last night’s option for the Sleep Experiment did not work at all. I had to follow the following breathing exercise;

  1. Breath in deeply for 4 counts
  2. Hold breath for 2 counts
  3. Exhale for 4 counts, gently forcing the last bit of air out at the end
  4. Repeat and focus on breathing, clearing your mind of all else.

I found myself focusing on how tired it was making me and trying to become aware of when I was falling asleep so I was hideously distracted. I eventually gave up and just there waiting for sleep to come. It took a while. When I finally got to sleep I slept pretty soundly but the whole process of getting to sleep was not improved via this method, for me at aleast.

Rating for the breathing execises; 3/10.

I’m going to give the yoga a try tonight! Fingers crossed!

Gym Bug

Post Navigation