GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “challenge”

My first 10k race

Hi there!

I did it! This morning at 8:30am in Madrid I began my first ever 10km race at the Madrid Rock n Roll event. It was really different from my usual 10k runs (obviously) mainly because I set myself a target of 50 minutes. I’m so glad and proud to say not only did I not surpass this target, I was under! According to my Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch I completed the 10k in 00:48:13, my official time (shown below) registered me at 00:49:48 with my “net time” being 00:48:21. This placed me 558/5408 overall, 48/2468 women and 4/128 category A!

Madrid Rock n Roll (4)

I’m not entirely clear on their timing method because some people with the same ‘official time’ but longer ‘net time’ were placed ahead of me in the official rankings! But it doesn’t matter! I ran a personal best for outdoor 10k (I ran 10k in just over 47 minutes on the treadmill) and I completed my first race, so I’m very pleased.

Madrid Rock n Roll (3)Madrid Rock n Roll

The atmosphere was brilliant. There was so many people cheering, great volunteers handing out water, medals, bananas, High5 taster packs and so on! Brilliant event that was well attended and everyone was in fantastic spirits despite the rain!

Madrid Rock n Roll (2) Madrid Rock n Roll (1)

I can’t recommend organised races enough! My next one is May 30th for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10k event!

Huge congratulations to all the racers today. And especially those who ran the marathon or half marathon, true inspiration!

Gym Bug

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Sleep Experiment Trial 2

Hi there!

Continuing on discussing the Sleep Experiment, I attempted option number 3 on my list; no screens 30 minutes prior to going to sleep. This was slightly unusual for me, unfortunately I will typically be on my laptop until the very end and then listen to music. I literally follow this pattern;

Bed Time Screen Joke

Just replace the phone with my iPod…

It’s not a briliiant way to wind down, according to some friends of mine. However, I do find music relaxing, but last nights experiment trial proved to me that maybe it’s not the most efficient way of getting to sleep.

Last night I turned my laptop off, got ready for bed, brushed my teeth etc. then read my book; Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Which is a book about how Mr. Gerstner turned mega-business IBM aroud after near collapse. It’s a business book I’m reading to try and spread my literary horions beyond Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. I quite like it, I’m finding it pretty motivating because I’m abl to understand the more business-oritented language and understand the concepts and why he made certain decisions.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand; did it help me sleep? Whilst it still took me 20-30 minutes to get to sleep, it was quicker than Trial 1 and my quality of sleep wa significantly better. I still get up once or twice to go to the bathroom because I consume a fair bit of water throughout the day and at night (the air can get really dry in my room here in Madrid) but overall I felt a lot better when I woke up to go to the gym!

Therefor, I’m going to rate this option at 7/10!

Tonight I am going to give option 5 a go; using a specific breathing routine.

On another note, I have signed up for the Edinburgh 10k on Saturday 30th May with my family! I reckon anyone who is free should give it a go, or there’s a 5k option, Marathon and Half Marathon. Younger enthusiastists can also get involved and run shorter distances! Check out Edinburgh Marathon Festival for more information! It’s all in support of MacMillan Cancer! I’ll do a more detailed post about this great event after my Sleep Experiment is complete!

EMF 2015

Gym Bug

Image 1 Source; https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRAx327COgNEeoWA5zlWtTaaIvqBdXDG_A5-xP1H3ZQ5WHNEZ96bl8HF5Pr 

Image 2 Source; http://www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk/en/content/edinburgh-marathon-2015

My first 10k event!

Hi there!

Just a quick post for just now to share my excitement at having signed up for the Madrid Rock ‘n’ Roll 10k in April! I’m super excited and have signed up with a friend to do it. I’ve ran 10k before a lot but never in an event setting. This race as well gives loads of great perks icluding photos, pasta meal, a huge fitness expo, a commerative gift, T-Shirt and medal! All for £18. It’s incredible and I can’t wait to be part of a big runnig event through Madrid in the sunny month of April!

I’ve written a post already on motivation which explains how signing up to these things can be a great way to kick start a healthy change! Set yourself some realistic goals and you’ll be amazed by how great it is at helping you stick to your plans!

                                               Let’s get training!

Gym Bug

Foodie Challenge #4

Hi there!

Trying lots of recipes recently! Classes are about to start so it will likely become less frequent but I will try maintain my one new recipe a month! Last nights dinner was a delicious Sweet Potato and White Bean stew, I got the inspiration to this from this recipe but made many edits. What’s great about this is it uses any leftovers from last Foodie Challenge #3!

Ingredients (for one);

  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into chunks.
  • 1 carrot, chopped.
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped.
  • 1 cup spinach.
  • 1/2 cup aubergine, cubed.
  • 2-3 mushrooms, sliced.
  • 1/2 cup brocoli.
  • 100g white beans.
  • 200g tinned tomatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes.
  • 100ml red wine.
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed.
  • Crushed black pepper.
  • Olive oil

Method;

  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and soften the garlic and onions (use a lid to do this).
  2. Add the cumin, black pepper and chili flakes and stir to coat over the onions.
  3. Add all the vegetables, sweet potato and tinned tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Add the beans and the red wine and stir it well.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook gently on a simmer for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender, the sweet potato is soft and the stew has thickened.
  6. Taste and season further as required.

This takes longer to cook than my other recipes but it’s delicious, filling and healthy!

It looks very similar to yesterdays post but it's sweet potato not prawns in it!

It looks very similar to yesterdays post but it’s sweet potato not prawns in it!

Not going to lie, I’m really enjoying this challenge!

Gym Bug

Un-dull the gym bike

Hi there!

Today was cardio day and I did a mix of treadmill work and bike work. Anyone that’s used a gym bike repeatedly probably understands that it can get quite monotonous and boring and the drive to keep pushing yourself dwindles away relatively quickly. However, today I tried a different type of bike session involving my gym playlist on my iPod. It’s almost like a little game you play against yourself. It’s really easy but can get your heart rate soaring at times, so it’s a really good HIIT workout.

Basically, after your warm-up start your chosen playlist. You want to have a mix of heavy, fast songs and slightly slower ones to achieve a mix of strength and speed work. Once you’ve started your HIIT session you cannot touch your iPod unless it’s to change the volume. The idea is that from now until cool-down you have to match the beat of the song that’s playing. No changing. To achieve the beat you need to change the resistance to allow you to match the beat whilst still working hard. If a really fast song comes on do not drop all resistance and let your legs freewheel. Make yourself work! What you’ll find is that instead of watching the clock you’re concentrating on the song and trying to think of any changes in the beat or how a particular song goes. It distracts you from the time and has you challenging yourself. It’s quite fun!

A couple of really good songs to have on your playlist can be found in my previous post here.

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Gym Bug

Foodie Challenge #1

Hi there!

So I decided to try a new recipe as part of my Foodie Challenge. I made an attempt at Runner’s World Endurance Boosting Pisto from their amazing book The Complete Guide To Nutrition. It’s filled with advice, research, knowledge and delicious looking recipes that are healthy and help you perform at your best! They have a whole array of books available to look at here. Now for the recipe.

This serves 2 people and takes approximately 30 minutes start to finish.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded, diced
  • 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chillies
  • 300g aubergine, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 200g courgette, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 400g skinned, chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • Pinch of hot pimenton (paprika)
  • Sea salt and frehly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the onions and peppers and cover.
  2. Cook them gently for 7 minutes or until golden.
  3. Stir in the garlic, cumin and chillies and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the aubergine and cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in the courgette, season and cook for 4 mins.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes, 150ml water and seasoning, simmer for 7 minutes (you want the veg to be tender and the sauce thick).
  7. Break the eggs on top and sprinkle with pimenton (paprika), cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer gently until the eggs are cooked.

Here is what I ended up with! Not quite like the recipe photo, but it tasted really good despite appearances!

la foto (1)

I had some variations, mainly portions, this does serve two but this was my dinner so I used 2 medium eggs instead and was unable to weight the vegetables so I just went for what I fancied. This is delicious and I really enjoyed it!

So there’s Foodie Challenge #1 complete! Stay tuned to see what I attempt next!

Gym Bug

A Foodie Challenge

Hi there!

So I’m back in Spain with mixed feelings. I’m missing home majorly but my whole family is visiting me at some stage this semester so I better get my act together! But in an attempt to keep myself busy I have set myself a challenge and I recommend you all to try it to!

I’ve decided that at least once a month I’m going to tackle a new recipe. Whether it’s from trust Pinterest, a cookbook, online or a nutrition book my sister gave me I want to try a new recipe every week. I shall be posting updates of new recipes I try out here on my blog so keep your eyes peeled! I say ‘once a month’ because I know that I wouldn’t be able to manage once a week once classes start again!

I intend to start this next week after my last exam (I really need to knuckle down for this one) so there may not be much activity between now and Wednesday (the date of the exam).

But if you decide to try out the Challenge keep me updated! I would love recipe inspiration too!

Gym Bug

Getting Motivated

Hi there!

Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year! Since it’s a New Year you may be looking to change up your training, do something different, explore a new way of fitness? Well, I have a few challenges you may be interested in trying out to get that extra kick you need to make 2015 a great and healthy year!

I’ve already written about Spartan Race and Tough Mudder and I recommend checking those posts out! (of course I do) but there’s also plenty more motivational challenges to take up!

If getting super filthy and electrocuted is not your thing there are plenty others to take a look at. If you’re a Rock ‘n’ Roll fan (or just keen to run) then ‘Rock and Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon & 10K’ could be right up your alley! They have events all over the world! I’m going to enter the Madrid 10km in April. Check it out!

Not a runner? No problem! What about doing a combination of cycling, climbing and canoeing in the Lake District? This one is a lot more expensive (£195 plus min. £2,000 sponsorship) but it looks incredible and all money raised goes to Action Medical Research (helping families cope with early babies, disabled children or caring for a child with a rare disease). You join a team of 3 other people to cycle 50 miles through the Lake District before climbing Mt Helvellyn and then finishing off with a canoe trip to Lake Thirlmere. Sounds tough!

If you’re more of a water baby then why not give the Great Swim a go? It proudly boasts the fact that it’s Europe’s biggest open water swim series in clean lakes, lochs and urban docks all over Britain. It’s the first year it has an official charity which is the phenomenal Macmillan Cancer Support, but you can raise money for any charity you wish. It’s throughout Britain between June and August.

For those of you that are up for a tough, gruelling triathlon that also raises money for blood cancer research then the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palace Triathlon is for you! (What a mouth full!) Again, it’s more expensive (but it’s a great cause) Registration costs from £82.50 and you need a min. sponsorship of £300. It takes place in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. You can race individually or as a team.

You should take a look at local runs too. Park Run is a brilliant organisation that free, weekly, timed 5km races around the world. The linked website is specifically for the UK but Google it to find out about any in your area! It’s a great way to meet runners and set yourself a weekly motivational goal!

This is literally a teeny, tiny teaspoonful of what’s out there in terms of charity sporting events, take a good look and pick your motivation! I’ve got Spartan Race in a few months and it’s constantly motivating me to keep pushing a little harder. With my injury my aerobic fitness is plummeting but with the knowledge that I have to endure a grueling 8 mile obstacle course I know I’ll be fighting fit again in no time!

So choose your challenge and get going!

Gym Bug

New Year’s Resolutions

Hi there!

Big gap in posts, I’ve been busy eating, socialising and studying! Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forward to ringing in 2015 soon!

This post will be about the dreaded question; What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
My older sister works in a sports shop and has many people come in and say “Getting back into it for the New Year”. We all know the majoriy of these people won’t stick it out. It’s the well known scene of walking into the gym anytime in January and it being absolutely packed. Come February, it’s back to November population. New Year’s resolutions are a great idea but I believe given the horrible “it’s going to fail” mentality, people don’t stick to them.

That’s why I think that anyone planning on doing a New Years Resolution related to getting fit and healthy should NOT SAY IT OUT LOUD. Don’t say it’s your New Years Resolution! Think of another resolution to give to people when they ask. A healthy lifestyle is exactly that a lifestyle. Not a challenge to be tackled because it’s a new year. I also don’t think you should start your fitness regime bang on January 1st. You’re probably still staring at festive treats, may have some social occassions to attend? My advice would be to set yourself a date after the first week of January (for example, I know someone who’s set January 10th) and then tell yourself that’s the date you get back on track. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution, it’s a deadline to enjoy the last of the holidays and indulge. I’m not saying only eat chocolate from now until your personal deadline, but enjoy it and relax. The festive period only comes round once a year, so you should enjoy it!

Happy New Year readers and let’s get ready for an excellent 2015!

Gym Bug

Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

Hi there!

A while ago, for my birthday, I was given the Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch. It’s been months since I received it but I wanted to give it a really good go before I spoke about it. And, since there’s been a couple of gaps in posts and I’m wide awake at 6am I thought I would tell you a little bit more about it! What appealed to me about it was the fact that it has a heart rate monitor, which is a more accurate measure of calorie burn and fitness improvement. It’s a great way to keep track of how well you’re doing throughout your training and that was a major appeal to me. The heart rate monitor is also not a strap around your chest (which I’ve heard can be annoying). The heart rate monitor is placed underneath the watch face and is an optical monitor. A rather bright green light (do not look into it) will appear when the watch is active and this measures your pulse on the top of your wrist to measure your heart rate. Another appeal is the GPS tracking device that is very accurate and can be paired with an app on your laptop, smart phone, tablet etc to get a really nice looking presentation of each of your runs and your progress.

Fit The fitting of this watch is important. The heart rate monitor will not work properly unless it’s placed in the correct place on your wrist, which is just above the wrist bone. It’s not uncomfortable fortunately, even though you have to fasten the watch in such a way the watch fits snugly. The fit is tighter than I wear a normal watch, but the wide strap makes it more a comfortable fit . The strap is wide and fastens very securely, so there’s no movement on the run (at least there shouldn’t be it you’ve tightened it enough). Once fitted, the watch is pretty quick at detecting your heart rate.

image image image

Use Once you’ve excitedly torn the watch from it’s impressively sturdy plastic box you need to charge it. It’s a relatively quick process and once it’s charged it’s very easy to get started. You can fill in all your details regarding your age, height, weight and gender to get accurate readings. It is also possible to have it in pounds or kilograms, miles or kilometres and centimetres or feet. Once fully charged the battery lasts between 4-6 hours, depending on length of your runs. Using the watch is really easy. There is one large button underneath the watch face that you use to navigate through the menu. There’s 3 options for running; run, treadmill or stopwatch. You can custom the run into sprint, speed, endure, fat burn and easy. It’s a super easy watch to navigate which is brilliant. Also, I know other runners who have touch sensitive watches and running in the rain makes it a nightmare sometimes to use them, this one does not have this problem! It is also waterproof (although I do not recommend showering with it on). The GPS element of the watch is also quick. I typically don’t initiate the GPS loading until I’m outside walking towards my gate and usually by the time I’ve gotten to the gate (about 30 seconds) the watch is ready to go. Once you start running you can have the watch display calories, distance, time, heart rate or average pace. If you have customised your run, for example to sprints, it will beep and vibrate to inform you of when to speed up or slow down, so you don’t need to be constantly looking down to monitor your pace (which results in a time check, which can be hard). During your run you can pause the run very easily by holding down the left button for 3 seconds, then to re-start the run you press the right button. The screen moves fluently through the menus and is easy to read whilst bobbing up and down. You can also activate a light by touching the actual face of the watch, the back light is powerful and brilliant for less than ideal visibility. Post-run you can check your run statistics on numerous channels. The first is the actual watch, via the ‘History’ option, you can also sync it via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet if you have the Tom Tom Sports app (recommended). You can also set it up on your laptop or computer and plug it in via USB. The bluetooth connection takes a bit longer than the USB but sometimes it’s less hassle to sync via bluetooth than boot up a laptop! Monitoring your progress is very easy with the Tom Tom app (laptop/smart phone/tablet version) interface. You can see all your runs in chronological order and by clicking on it you can see a map of where you ran plus graphs showing elevation, speed, calories and average pace. It also very easy to use.

Overall This is my first running watch, but I’ve used a couple of Garmin watches in passing and I’ve got to say, the Tom Tom experience for me has been a lot better. I find it a lot easier to use and the built-in heart rate monitor is the real deal breaker or me. I can’t imagine having to wear a chest strap (a sports bra is enough, thank you). The watch fits well, doesn’t rub and gives me an in-depth analysis of my run. You can also connect the device to websites such as The Running Bug, which allows you to track your runs and exercise on a social network. It’s both brilliant for the gym and running outside.

I won’t lie, I had issues with this watch regarding the heart rate monitor. Upon arriving in Spain the heart rate monitor started to cut out when I got sweaty (which was very quick, given it was 30°C or higher). However, I contacted Tom Tom support, who very quickly got the watch repaired for me! Tom Tom’s quick and careful service ensured I would actually review this watch. I can accept sometimes things malfunction and Tom Tom’s professional handling of the mistake makes me believe the watch is definitely worth buying because if something doe go wrong, Tom Tom will help.

So, if you’re looking for a new running watch and want good, accurate readings, go for this one! You can also get it’s sister Tom Tom Multi Sport Cardio GPS Watch, which has additional settings for cycling and swimming. The Runner comes in black and red or red and white and whilst it does have a high price (standard RRP of £219.99, I got mine on Wiggle for £190 on offer) it is worth it if you’re really focused on training and improving. The watch can also be a great source of motivation as it pushes you to keep trying to improve your performance. Looking at your progress on the app and seeing it displayed run by run really motivates you to try “shaves those last few seconds off”. It also helps you get the most out of your workout. I really love my watch and it’s easy use, comfortable fit and sleek technology definitely make it one of my better purchases! Last minute Christmas gift, anyone?

Hope everyone has an excellent Friday and an even better weekend!

Gym Bug

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