Eat Sweat Play – Why our twenty-first century obsession with exercise is all wrong

Anna Kessel’s book, ‘Eat Sweat Play’ covers everything from gender stereotypes and the societal view of women in sport to common sporting taboos such as periods, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause.

It is jam-packed with facts; to the point where I found myself flagging pages that had interesting viewpoints and writing down athletes names that are mentioned throughout the book so I wouldn’t forget to follow them on Twitter and read more about them afterwards. Eat Sweat Play covers so many different angles and aspects of women in sport but the topic that resonated with me most discussed why our twenty-first century obsession with exercise is all wrong.

The twenty-first-century notion of exercise being the whole #fitspo fashionista image where expensive juice bars, gyms and classes result in picture perfect toned legs, arms and abs.

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Swimming with World Champion and double Olympian, Katy Sexton! 

DCIM100GOPROI’m not sure what I else I expected, but wow Katy swim’s fast! Mind blowing-ly fast.

Last Saturday, Katy and I met at the Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex and started the set doing 8 lengths front crawl as a warm up. I obviously wanted to make a good impression so I attempted to swim at a decent effort-level to avoid being categorized as a “loss cause”. What actually happened… me thrashing-about in the pool trying to not look slow, while Katy effortlessly glides through the water and laps me in the process.

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Should you pace your next run with a GPS watch/ app?

When I was preparing for the Edinburgh Marathon I lived by my Garmin – I used it on every run and kept track of ALL my stats. I was borderline obsessive about my pace and my progress.

After the marathon, I stopped training for a couple months and by the time I decided to get back into a training regime, it felt like I had lost so much fitness. All of the sudden, I hated my stats. I was slower; it was harder; and it was annoying how quickly I lost fitness after working so hard to build it up. As a result, I started to dread going for runs. Something I loved turned into something I avoided… I quickly realised that if I want to keep running, I needed to leave the watch behind.

There are many benefits to tracking your runs though and I’ve recently tried to get back into the routine of it.

If you’re wondering whether you should start tracking your runs, or if you should step back from obsessing over your running data, check out my list of pros and cons below…

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The Transition from Year 1 of Triathlon into Year 2

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Last year the 2015 Crystal Palace Tri was my first triathlon EVER and I remember being absolutely terrified for about a month leading up to the start.

One year later, I face the race again. This year however, I had a busier than usual social calendar leading up to the race last weekend and as a result I ended up approaching the 2016 Crystal Palace Triathlon all very nonchalantly. It was kind of nice knowing I could just turn up and enjoy a fun race.

It really goes to show how comfortable I’ve gotten in the triathlon scene and how quickly you can adapt. I never thought I’d be able to race triathlon ‘for fun’ but I guess a lot has happened over the past year…

Last year was a year of firsts… My first wet suit, my first open water swim, my first Sprint triathlon, Olympic distance triathlon and my first Half Ironman. No wonder I was so motivated and focused — it was the fear factor. I enjoyed racing last weekend, but if I want to keep seeing improvement this year than I’ll need to re-focus. With fear clearly out of the equation, I need to find a new source of motivation to keep me on track.

So I’ve taken a step back and come up with some new goals and benchmarks for my 2016 focus in triathlon….

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Preparing for the British 10k + Adopt this racing mindset

Vitality British 10K London run

I am officially a race ambassador for the Vitality British 10k this year! Having run in this race before, I’m more than happy to sponsor the event.

With 15,000 runners, the course is a bit crowded at first but the atmosphere and the iconic landmarks that we pass along the way make up for the slow start.

Actually, regardless of the slow start, last year I managed to finish the Vitality British 10k with a personal best! I was completely over the moon about breaking into the ’45 minute club’ with a finish time of 45:30. My personal best prior to that was 46:26, which I had been trying to beat for some time (over two years).

I’ve now realised that I haven’t raced 10km since… which is a little scary. Knowing that I will be on the same course – doing the same distance – at the same time of year… There is no reason I shouldn’t be at least the same speed as last year right? Wrong!

Whether your personal best is on a 5k course, 10k course or longer distances, there are so many factors to consider during a race and you should never start a race with an expectation to perform the same, feel the same or realise the same results that you had in the past.

Here’s how I intend to approach the Vitality British 10k in July this year. A good mindset to have for any race…

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How to Execute an Active Holiday

I’ve always felt that exploring new surroundings is best done from ground-level.

If you’re a runner, put on your runners and run; If you’re a walker, walk; and if you’re a cyclist, grab your bike and ride.

As you may have seen on Instagram/ Facebook, Dan and I are currently in Mallorca!

Port (1)While Dan and Phil train for the Race Across America. Suzanne and I have been exploring the island.

I don’t want this post to spat out facts about the benefits of exercise, the mindfulness gained from travelling or the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors.

We all know these are good things.

I hope this post helps to promote active traveling and that you walk away feeling excited to execute an active holiday.

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What you need to know about ClassPass

Until ClassPass came along, my Class-IQ was very low. My fitness class experience was limited to a few yoga classes… I had never been spinning, never saw the intrigue in barre, and I never took Pilates.

It’s not that I had anything against taking fitness classes… I just thought they were over priced and it wasn’t clear to me what I’d get out of it, so I got used to doing things on my own.

ClassPass costs £79 ($99 CAN) per month and you can take an *unlimited amount of classes. This is what got my attention… for £79 I can take as many classes as I like… so if I take upwards to 15, than each class will only cost £5.26… that’s a bargain, and I love bargains.

I did go a little crazy with ClassPass to ensure it’d be a bargain… but as a result, I’d say my Class-IQ has sky rocketed. Here’s a summary of my experience: the pros and cons of ClassPass, and a list of my favourite classes around London.

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