Creative Play; Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag

I can’t tell you how many toys Lacie has. It’s not been intentional but she gets hand-me-downs from her cousins, then gifts here and there from her grandparents – and from me too. It’s so hard to resist,when  you just want to keep them stimulated and keep their little minds challenged.

Guess what though? I should of brought her some building blocks a LONG time ago. We recently went to a soft play centre and no joke, she sat on the floor for hours with some building bricks. Sod the slides, the racing track, the ball pit and the wendy house, she was super happy just putting bricks together, then taking them apart and then putting them together again. Who would of thought?

So with that, I would like to welcome  you to the newest addition to the toy collection, a Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag. If you haven’t heard of Mega Bloks before they are big blocks for little hands to build and create. I was sent a Big Building Bag of blocks – and thought, what better way to test out these products than after bath time, whilst we wait for Daddy to get home. The time, I usually resort to ‘In The Night Garden’.

And guess what? The TV didn’t go on once that evening and I managed to cook dinner without a toddler wrapped around my legs (can you imagine!?). My husband was impressed that dinner was on the table when he got home and I was impressed that Lacie was super happy to play on the floor and create colourful towers and colour-coded her creations. I challenged her to go all green for one, and all yellow for another. A great way to learn her colours eh?

I found the Mega Bloks really strong and durable, and exceptionally easy for Lacies’ hands to grab and maneuver. I also love the bright primary colours and the bag they come in – again, it’s great for encouraging them to tidy up and count as you put them in….1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10. We’ll get there!

The Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag is ideal for ages one and up and features 60 First Builders blocks. 

RRP £14.99 

 

Advertisements

Review – The Fisher Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo

Let’s dance. Let’s sing. Let’s learn to count! Yes, the new Fisher Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo does all this. It’s so much fun!

I don’t know about you, but I can get really bored of children’s toys. Lacie doesn’t, but I do, so when the postman knocked on the door with this big box of entertainment, I couldn’t wait to crack it open. Lacie was asleep, so I literarily had to sit on my hands!

The Fisher Price BeatBo is the latest educational toy from Fisher Price, and aimed at toddlers aged 9-36 months. It offers three incredible modes to play and learn for little people: Dance ’n Move, Learning & Games, and Customised Sing-Along.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 13.25.15

We played with our fun looking robot as soon as she woke, and what with it being a dull and rainy day, we kept the lights off and took full advantage of the flashing lights on its large, multi-colour LED grid tummy.

First of all, we explored the musical  button on his foot – the first button of three. We had a ‘dance party’ were we clapped to his instructions, and jumped up and glided. Lacie did the moves, whilst the BeatBo shook his head from side to side – and wiggled. Very funny! She found it hilarious.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 13.27.56

Next we played with the ‘123’ button and sang about colours and the ABC. So far the ABC dance has to be my favourite. It’s really catchy and Lacie has already grasped the first verse. The only thing I hate has to be the fact that I wake up in the night singing the song. These baby songs are so catchy – ahhh!

You can also press BeatBo’s tummy for more catchy tunes and learning phrases and record your own phrase that the baby toy then remix’s into his favourite song. A great way to repeat a word or phase that you’re little one is trying to learn without sounding like an obsessed mother – or a broken record!

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 13.29.52

So in more detail:

BeatBo’s fun and energising music encourages baby to move around.

By pressing his tummy, or one of the buttons on his feet you can play learning songs and games, which introduces your child to ABCs, colours, counting and instructions like jumping, clapping and ‘shaking it up’.

The music, songs, phrases, lights and bright colours helps strengthen your child’s gross and fine motor skills, which aslo help give baby’s senses a boost.

and

the different songs, phases and beats that the BeatBo plays each time you press a button encourages curiosity and discovery. There are around 50 phases all in all – I’m not bored yet!

How to stay clean and lean on holiday – or whilst moving house in my case

Last weekend, we moved house. My perfect little bubble is now a building site, and I am living with the in-laws for five weeks.

From this.....

From this…..

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 22.13.40

To this!!!

This is fine. But I don’t have a gym. That’s like me not having oxygen – and I won’t lie, it’s totally taken me out of my comfort zone! So this is what I have been doing to keep myself on track. You can apply this to when/if you go on holidays or if like me you are moving house and your routine is all over the shop. There truly is no reason why you can’t get your workout in or eat healthy, EVEN if you are away from home. This is what I’ve been doing….

* Find a local gym
I found a local sports center – it’s an school in the day and gym at night. Yes, we did a class in a school hall, but never the less, it was an INSANITY class and actually pretty tough. It will keep me busy on Monday nights for the next few weeks, so that’s one workout taken care off. The gym there is awful, so for now I will stick to the class.

* Follow a workout DVD 
Push the sofa over, pop in the DVD and VUALA!! My current favourite is the Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred. Tough but quick!

* Try an online workout…
like BarreCore. I love their barre classes but it’s impossible to get to a class in London and schedule it around Lacie too, so I love their virtual classes, which allow you to experience the barre burn in the comfort of your own home! I also love the Dan Roberts Methodology X plan, a 21-day plan, a fun and friendly holistic workout, which has been designed to help you look and feel supermodel fit. It starts pretty easy, but Boy, get to day 14 and you’ll notice the change in pace!

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 15.19.51

* Have a resistance band or kettlebell to hand.
All you need is a bit of space and you can do a full body workout outdoors or in your living room. My personal trainer, Gideon Remfry from KX Gym has given me a challenge of doing 5 minutes of kettlebell swings, followed by 5 minutes of Clean and Jerk, followed by 5 minutes of kettlebell snatches. My body was screaming for Merci afterwards – and it took literally 30 minutes with a warm up and cool down.

* Body weight!!!
NEVER underestimate the power of your body!! Think pushups, squats, lunges, dips, the list goes on and on. Try 30 seconds of squats, 30 seconds of burpees, 30 seconds rest. Repeat this cycle for 10 minutes. Ouch!

* Know your surroundings
find a path and go for a run – or in my case, take Lacie for a run. I pop her in her Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport V4 and off we go. I found a nice big hill, which I walk up for my warm up and then have been doing a few laps of the local park.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 15.07.46

* Stick to Protein
If time is tight and I don’t have time to have breakfast or in my case, don’t have a kitchen then I will grab a Protein shake or Protein Bar. My fav this month has to be Maxitone Sculptress Bars. They come in a caramel crunch flavour and contain 16 grams of protein in each bar, which not only supports my muscles after a morning workout but also keeps me feeling fuel to at least midday! My rule of thumb is to have protein with every meal. Think boiled eggs, a handful of almonds, some chicken pieces, A protein shake, some coconut yogurt (CO YO) or slices of goats cheese.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 15.02.29* Remember that abs are made in the kitchen!
If there are days when you can’t workout – don’t worry, I’ve had a few! Try to keep your diet in check and eat little and often. You should also try and move as much as possible (walk to the shops, rather then drive, or chase your little one around the park). Locate your nearest supermarket too and stock up on water, fruits, veg, nuts, hummus etc, so there are always healthy options to hand.

Despite being worried about coming out of my comfort zone, It really is possible to make healthy choices, smart choices and get your exercise when you aren’t in your usual environment or their isn’t a gym around. Just do a little homework and be prepared, it will only lead to a better and healthier you. Good luck!

How to work out with your baby

I’ve heard it so many times, “I can’t work out,” “There’s no time with a baby,” “I don’t want to leave them in the creche at the gym.” But believe me you really don’t need a gym and you don’t need to miss out on quality time with your bubba either. I USED to go the the gym 6 days a week, more if I could. Now I’m lucky if I manage once a week in the evening whilst Lacie sleeps. I just don’t have the energy once i’ve put her down at 7:30pm. There’s bottles to be washed, dinner to be eaten and a bath every now and then is nice too!

But what about working out involving your little one in the day? There’s no harm in them seeing you working out. It can only create healthier habits for them in the future. When Lacie was first born, I would always pop her in her swinging chair, whIlst I did a quick 25 minute HIIT workout, or pop her on her play mat (when she was happy to sit still :)) and chat with her in between sets so she didn’t feel left out. I often chat with her whilst I’m doing my workout, telling her what exercises I’m doing and then counting my reps out loud. I will sing to her too and encourage her to bop about. So much fun.

Now Lacie is a little explorer, I tend to pop her either in her high chair and let her munch on her breakfast as she watches me jump around (she finds it super funny), pop her in her Fisher Price Sit-me-up Floor Seat during Milkshake on Channel 5, which she LOVES, pop her in the garden with a ball and her toys whilst I work out on the grass, or ideally I try and do it in the morning before she wakes. This requires me to get up at 7am – which to be honest isn’t the end of the world. I’ve also filled her travel cot up with ball pond balls in the past and let her play in there for half hour. She loves it (you can see it in the background of this pic!)

Someone kept me company in the gym today!

Watching Milkshake whilst Mummy Squats

By showing Lacie how to be active in any way I can, I’m hoping that she will develop a habit of being active from an early age, plus if I include her in a work out, we get to spend time together and learning things like how to count and how to jump. She already knows what to do with a dumbbell and likes to try and do press ups on my Reebok Step. I hope that it will also teach her that workouts don’t have to be a mysterious thing that no one should see you do. (Let’s be honest: we’ve all felt embarrassed about going to the gym and working out in front of people!)

Here’s a quick workout that you can do with your little one by your side. You don’t need any fancy equipment that can hurt them – or you don’t need loads of space either. If you don’t want to do it with your baby awake, then pop them in the pram come nap time, walk round the block to get yourself warmed up and then do it in a local park or in your living room whilst they sleep. You won’t of missed any quality time with them and it will inspire you to get it done super quick whilst they sleep.

Now I’m a mummy is definitely quality over quantity!

Here goes…..

* 30 seconds jog on spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up.
* 30 seconds of press Ups
* 30 secs jog on the spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up.
* 30 seconds plank
* 30 seconds jog on the spot -10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up
* 30seconds of squat jumps
* 30 seconds Jog on the spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up
* 30 seconds of burpees
* 30 seconds Jog on the spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up
* 30 seconds of triceps dips

Repeat three times through – once if you are short on time. Something is always better than nothing!

A quick walk around the block come nap time always does the trick. Now where's the nearest park?

A quick walk around the block come nap time always does the trick. Now where’s the nearest park?

* Always warm up before you do this workout and check with your doctor before embarking on any fitness challenge.

This week’s Lucy Loves…

Hello, Hello! Happy Friday!

Is anyone else excited for the weekend? I am, and I’m not. We’re in the process of moving house and this weekend, it’s all about packing up. I’m feeling super emotional about it all. It’s our first family home. The home where we brought Lacie home too when she was just a day old. The home where we have lived for 8 years. It’s really pulling on my heart strings! But onwards and upwards I guess!  Anyway, moving forward lets look at the things I’ve discovered and LOVED this week. Enjoy!  

Mothercare’s new spring range
I’m a sucker when it comes to buying new clothes for Lacie. I just can’t help myself. I love this pretty ra-ta skirt. Such beautiful colours and it looks super cute with her white boots and a plain white Tee. Check out the new range here. Hide your purse though. It’s lethal!
http://www.mothercare.com/

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.39.00

The ideal home show
Me, Lacie & mark went on the opening day and had great fun getting new ideas for our new home. See I’m excited really! The exhibition is on until April 6th, and is well worth a visit.
http://www.idealhomeshow.co.uk/

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.48.47

The Garden
Lacie has discovered the back door – and that there’s a whole new world outside the house. She loves her little swing, chasing ants with her finger and sitting on the wall chatting away with me. At the moment, she’s into perching on everything. It’s so cute!
Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.37.48

Very British Baby
The design of these smellies are lovely, and the products themselves are great too. They retail from around £2.50 and the quality is just fab. The are Very British Baby formulations are all dermatologically tested with a no tears and made from a paraben-free formula, which ticks all the boxes as far as I’m concerned. Try the Bedtime Bath, which is great for bubbles but also for winding Lacie down for a good nights kip (hopefully!)
http://www.verybritishbaby.com/

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.50.44

Raw Chocolate Pie
As you know – I like to eat healthily. I like my treats too, so I was well happy when I discovered Raw Chocolate Pie chocolate. It’s all dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and guilt free. Basically it’s made with raw cacao, agave nectar, coconut butter, lucuma, carob flour and nuts. That’s it! It’s the perfect treat for when I NEED chocolate. It’s certainly a goodbye to Dairy Milk from me. This stuff is rich and tasty and so chocolately, that one little bar (sometimes half, SOMETIMES!) is more than enough to satisfy a graving. It’s pure gold. I will be buying more that is for sure!
https://www.rawchocpie.co.uk

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.08.26

 

10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT

Last week  I was asked to help out with a feature for one of my favourite websites ‘Get The Gloss.‘ It’s a must read for everything health, wellness and women related!

The feature I helped with was called “10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT,” something that many women can relate too. Here it is! Enjoy…..

Working hard but stomach still not resembling a washboard? It’s time to bring in the experts…

Never mind ‘does my bum look big in this?’, stubborn fat around the tummy is probably the most common bodily bugbear, for both men and women. Shifting it becomes even more of a priority when you consider that, according to NHS Choices, fat collecting around your middle poses more health risks than fat that sits elsewhere:

“We store spare body fat under the skin and also around the vital organs in our abdomen. Fat around the abdomen causes more health problems than, say, fat carried around the bottom or on the thighs. Having a large amount of tummy fat (when compared to having fat around the bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”

Hardly joyful news if you have a few pounds to lose, but don’t panic if you’re developing a paunch- the following could explain why you’re accumulating belly fat, and tips from nutritionist and yoga teacher Libby Limon and fitness specialist Lucy Miller could help you to whittle down your waist once and for all.

STRESS
Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

“Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a part in laying down central adipose tissue (belly fat), so if you are in a stressed state then it will be very hard to shift. Stress can come from many sources- emotional strain, conflict at work or relationship trouble. Destress by building in yoga practice and mindfulness to your daily routine.”

If you suspect that stress is sabotaging your slimming goals, learn how to master meditation, swot up on calming yoga poses and halt negative thought patterns in their tracks.

SUGAR
It’s currently public enemy number one, and the link between muffin tops and actual muffins is, unfortunately, stronger than ever. Libby lays down the law:

“Cortisol is also implemented, alongside insulin, in blood sugar control, so a high sugar diet can cause belly fat to stick fast even if you’re restricting calories and trying to lose weight (excessive calorie restriction isn’t something I would recommend anyway.”

Personal trainer and obesity campaigner Lucy has some advice for addressing the issue, without going hungry:

“Try to cut down on sugar, saturated fats and white refined foods such as white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, as they metabolise quickly, resulting in soaring blood sugar levels, which promotes fat storage. Base your diet around lean meats, vegetables and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and avocados.”

SLEEP DEPRIVATION
It’s the c-word again- Libby underlines that ‘a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on cortisol balance’. If you’re struggling to get some shut eye, get to the root of what’s causing your insomnia and learn how to help yourself nod off using expert wellbeing techniques. If you’re in the following situation, however, you’ll be in no doubt as to what’s causing your sleeplessness…

YOU’RE A NEW MOTHER
First things first, never put pressure on yourself to spring back into shape, and definitely don’t rush things (that goes for weight loss full stop). Your belly has just housed new life and brought a wonder into the world; cut it, and more importantly, yourself, some slack. Up your activity levels slowly– Lucy advocates patience and TLC:

“If you’re a new mum then losing weight from around the tummy can be very hard- hormones take time to settle down and stretched muscles won’t knit back together instantly after pregnancy. it will take time, so give yourself as long as it takes.”

If you’re not feeling like you’re losing anything, try tracking your progress as you go and join a community of other mothers by using the Healthy Selfie app. It’s a great visual tool to reassure you that you are indeed making headway, and the photographic food diaries help you to monitor what you’re eating without exposing your entire Instagram feed to your daily meals. Co-founder Charlotte is even using the app to track the changes she’s experiencing throughout her pregnancy- we’ll report back on her post-baby plan!

Post-baby or not, overdoing it is never good…

OVER EXERCISING
There’s no doubt that slobbing out won’t do anything to diminish belly fat, but going overboard isn’t the answer either, as Libby affirms:

“Physical stresses such as overexercising and endurance exercise can upset cortisol balance. Switch gruelling cardio workouts for 20-30 minute HIIT sessions instead.”

HIIT the ground running (sorry) with these get fit fast workouts.

BELLY BLOATING
If a protruding tum comes with cramps, wind and bowel trouble, an unhappy digestive system is likely to blame and could be making a less than trim tum situation look and feel a lot worse than it is. Your first step is to beating bloat is to identify the cause of your tummy trouble, and Lucy suggests trying a meal tweak to see if it makes a difference:

“Avoid eating fruit after a meal, as fruit can cause food to ferment in your stomach, leading to bloating and lots of gas.”

CORE CONFUSION
The classic sit up has been sold to us as the best ab honer, but incorrect alignment can make them less effective, not to mention damage your back. A sit up alone also won’t burn fat that sits on the stomach. Get sweaty with a cardio blast and then mix up your core toning exercises by following Lucy’s drill:

“Do minute-long planks, three sets of 20 bicycle crunch exercises, two sets of 30 heel digs, three sets of 20 bird dogs and the mighty Turkish get up. These are all great exercises for working your deep core muscles, ab muscles and postural muscles, which will instantly make you look taller and slimmer.”

DUMBBELL DREAD
Traditionally many women skirt round the weightlifting section in the gym, and while body weight resistance training is highly effective, pumping a little iron pays dividends. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even when resting. which is good news for torching tummy fat. if you’re still hesitant, let performance coach and founder of Twenty Two Training Dalton Wong convince you.

FAT FEAR
It seems logical to assume that fat contributes to fat, but nutritionists are keen to point out that since the “low fat” revolution of the 70s, our waistlines have widened dramatically. As personal trainer and nutritionist Keris Marden and fitness expert and health coach Matt Whitmore point out in The Paleo Primer: A Jump-Start Guide to Losing Body Fat and Living Primally:

“Have you ever wondered what takes the place of the removed fat? Answer: heaps of synthetic, non-food chemicals that wreak havoc on our metabolism and digestion. What’s more, most low-fat and fat-free products contain loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of taste.”

For a flatter tummy and lower body weight in general, healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocados could well be your weight loss weapon, as Keris and Matt highlight:

“Fat can play a vital role in weight loss[…] the single most important aim of your nutrition should be to balance your blood sugar levels. Dietary fat helps you accomplish that by slowing down the release of nutrients into the bloodstream, so by all means, add a little olive oil or butter to your meals. This will help regulate your appetite and keep your energy levels consistent.”

Fewer sugar spikes, reduced cake cravings and a drip feed of health-giving nutrients into the body will seriously reduce the incidence of belly swelling binges.

SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS…
If you’re diet and fitness regimes are shipshape, but you’re still not losing any weight, it may be a good idea to seek medical advice. Hormonal disruption can affect fat distribution, so consulting a hormone expert such as Dr Marion Gluck and her team could help, but book an appointment with your GP first for a general health check.

Fisher Price Space Saver Jumperoo

Every parent I know raves about it. It keeps their child occupied for hours, it gives their child time on their feet, allowing them to be really active without getting into trouble and the lights and sounds keep them entertained and engrossed as they find new colours, hear new sounds and find things to spin and move back and forth.

Lacie has been a huge fan of the Fisher Price Jumperoo for months – me too, but I do hate how much room it takes up and that I have to keep it out as I can’t be bothered to take it apart and put it in the cupboard every time she doesn’t want to use it.

fisher price

Lucky for me, I got my hands on the new Space Saver Jumperoo, and despite the fact that it’s much smaller and folds away, she still loves it just as much and it still keeps her entertained and happy while I make the dinner. Yes, she is walking now, but she loves hanging onto my legs when I’m cooking dinner, which I find so dangerous – and a tad annoying! It holds children up to 25lbs, she is just hit 19, which means we still have some growing room despite the fact that she is 12 months.

The first advantage of the new model is that it just snaps together.  No tools required – everything just clips together making the install quite easy. The second advantage is that it folds away. Just remove the toy bar (which can then be stored safely under the seat), drop the seat down and move the back bar forward, and voila.

fisher price

fp2

So what happens when you want to use it again? Well, it’s simple. You just lift the seat up, the pull the front out, then clip the toy bar back on. Nifty!

fp

Baby Perfume – L’Odeur

It’s never to early to be girlie. That’s my opinion anyway. Lacie is a real girlie girl. I love dressing her in lovely dresses and cardigans (I just love the Baby K Range in Mothercare) and she always wears a matching hairband. How people still ask if she’s a boy is beyond me?

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 14.32.33

My husband laughed when I said I got her some perfume, but you can’t beat that fresh baby smell right? Which is exactly what L’Odeur smells like. It’s lovely. It’s very light and designed to compliment and enhance that new baby smell. It’s also Alcohol free, and dermatologically tested so it’s gentle on Lacie’s skin – although I only tend to spray it on her clothes the morning before she puts them on. I have yet to spray it directly on to her.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 14.29.59

I love it when someone has that signature smell – and she definitely has one now. Her clothes smell gorgeous – a combination of verbena, orange blossom, and muse. That’s my girl!

How to train for a 5K

As you all know, I am a Journalist and have had a massive project recently with WebMD.
Here is my first feature of the year with them, which takes you through how to train for a 5k.
I’ve always gone for longer distances in the past, but since having Lacie, I always do a 5k on a Thursday with my running buggy. It’s the perfect distance for getting some running in, without it taking over the morning – and her getting too bored too!
Here it is. The original can be found here at WebMD, a website jam-packed with trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information

Sofa to 5K
By Lucy Miller
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Caroline Cross, a running buff, is the first to admit that she didn’t enjoy running The Berlin Marathon as much as she thought she would. Towards the end of her training she was counting down the long runs and early mornings, and literally hobbled over the finishing line – “the last 10k, was the worst,” she says. The achievement of running a marathon is amazing but it’s certainly not for everyone. You not only have to be fit, but you have to be super committed to your training – no more Sunday morning lie-ins!
In preparation for her first marathon, Caroline had run plenty of half marathons and 10k races. She also did a short and sharp run most Saturday mornings, particularly the Parkrun, a free organised 5k run, where she could monitor her time each week and race against other runners. “5k’s are great for speed training and building stamina,” she says. “I have always found that by adding in 5k’s to my training it has helped my performance with longer distances.”

A 5k community
Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2004, the idea of Parkrun originated from the initial Bushy Parkrun event, in Teddington, Middlesex.
It started when Paul had a knee injury. He was bored and wanted to stay involved with the running community, so on October 2, 2004, he got 13 of his friends to turn up at Bushy Park and timed them over a 5km course. They went again the next week and then the next, and slowly the word spread and the number of runners turning up grew. It became a regular event, then, during 2007, six more events started up and Parkrun was born.

Parkrun is now one of the most popular runs you can do, and as of March 2014 there have been over 500, 000 participants, with around 375 locations to choose from. Who would have thought so many people would be up and about at 9am (9.30 in Scotland) on a Saturday morning, looking forward to a community-based 5 kilometre run?

“It’s a great start to a Saturday morning and there’s a great atmosphere with a real sense of community with runners from the local area,” says Caroline. “I like the fact that it is also open to everyone and you can run as a family. It is even better when you break a personal best (PB).

Why 5k?
According to Runner’s World, 5k – 3.1 mile’s is the perfect distance for beginners. It’s short and snappy, and “you can fit it quite easily into your day as it doesn’t take up much time,” says Caroline. “It’s also an extremely accessible distance for everyone and for all abilities. Even if you are new to running you can have a go and run it at a pace you are comfortable with.”
Here, the expert’s talk about how you can join Caroline in going from the couch to a 5k course, paying attention not only to your physical training but also your mental attitude. (It’s always recommended, especially for adults over 50, that sedentary people check in with their doctor before starting to train.)

Getting started
When sticking to a training plan, the best thing to do is find a time to train that suits you. Lots of people find that running first thing fits in best, “the whole day is then at your disposal without the need to go for a run hanging over you,” says Nick Anderson, running coach at The Run Lunge. “Most races are usually early on a Sunday morning, so you will start to train your body to respond to an early run in the right way. Remember, the early bird catches the worm!”
“Build up slowly too,” suggests Alex Rahim, Personal Trainer at Virgin Active, “and try not to increase your speed or distance too early. It won’t take you long to prepare for a 5k, so don’t panic.”

Dress for the occasion
If it’s dark and cold outside, then it will make it harder to get out the door. According to Caroline, “The most important thing is to dress sensibly by wearing layers – a bit like an onion.”
Chose a lightweight top for your base layer, then wear a light waterproof jacket or fleece over the top. To keep your legs warm, wear a pair of running leggings underneath a pair of shorts or go for some thick fleecy leggings that can be bought from most good running shops.
You tend to lose around 20% of heat through your head so make sure you wear a hat and a pair of gloves too. There’s nothing worse than fingers that are so cold they hurt – and if you get too warm you can always take them off.

Make training convenient for you
“Look to use your time efficiently, build running into your commute, consider the value of even a short, 20 minute run at lunchtime and skip work drinks and encourage colleagues to join you as well,” says Tom Craggs, UKA Running Coach and coaching advisor to Saucony UK, High5, Adidas UK and SenseCore. “Use your personal time efficiently. We all ‘waste’ time each day. Sleep or a good stretching session is of more value to both your training and your overall health than 30 minutes of ‘smart phone’ time in bed late at night.”

Staying motivated
The only way to stick to your plan is to “Examine all the potential barriers that could get in the way and work out in advance how you’re going to deal with them,” says Robin Gargrave of Central YMCA, the activity for health charity. “Look to train with other people – get yourself down to your local running club or Run England group or get a friend or family member to sign up with you,” says Tom. “Many studies suggest that our partners can have a big influence on our behaviour and our health, with a more recent study by University College, London, suggesting that men and women are three times or more likely to achieve their resolution when their partner joined in the challenge.

Set goals
“Always set SMART goals,” explains Alex. “These are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time frame.”
Write down the reasons you want to do the 5k. This could be as simple as improving your health, losing weight or looking better in your clothes.
“Without goals, training has a lack of direction and purpose meaning the performance outcome will not be fulfilled to its potential,” says Alex.

Break it down into manageable chunks
First, pick the date for your 5k. “Six to eight weeks should be fine, however bear in mind this is not as long as it seems.
“Once you have your date, then begin finding a comfortable pace and run for time as opposed for distance to get the body used to running for a length of time,” says Alex. “Do this for approximately 2 weeks then build in some interval sessions (where you run faster than your average pace for a period like 30 seconds, and doing a walk recovery for 90 seconds) twice a week for 2 weeks. Running hills are important in any running programme too and this can be included in the last 2 weeks of your 6 to 8 week plan.”
Don’t forget your rest days too. Your body needs time to recover in order to get faster. “Look to take a minimum of one complete rest day a week, more for less experienced runners,” says Tom. “Respect that your body progresses and develops through your rest and it’s an area most runners forget.”
If you’re inspired to lace up your trainers and start training for a 5k, then Alex suggests that you: “always try and do one to two strength sessions per week, plus three running sessions per week. Strength training will help prepare the body for impact, and the running sessions do not have to be any longer than 30 minutes at a time so will not affect time out of your day too much.”

Good Luck!

Day 6 of my 21 day fitness challenge

Ok, so the juicing has finished. I finished all my Purifyne Juices and decided to leave it there and not make my own for the next day or so. I do like the thought of juicing but actually I’m not sure it’s for me unless I’m in a bootcamp or retreat sort of environment. I felt hungry and tired the whole time and for the last few days just wanted to eat everything in sight. That’s just not me. I’m usually very disciplined and enjoy healthy meals and snacks. I felt a bit out of control!

Today I’ve stated the day with an hour’s workout, some lemon in hot water and a protein bar.
I then had chicken with 1/2 avocado, spinach & some pesto for lunch, an apple with a few handfuls of Paleo Granola and then a turkey breast with spiralized courgettes and carrots for dinner. For my snack I had some Sukrin bread with almond butter and 1/2 a mashed banana.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve wanted to eat everything in sight again today but had to be really strict with myself and fuel my body with the right foods and nutrients.

I really do prefer this way of eating. It’s all clean, it’s all tasty and most importantly I’m not going to bed hungry and obsessing about food!
The very way it should be!