Open Water Swim in the Serpentine Lido - Hyde Park

So on 25 May I joined my girls Chessie and Steph and a bunch of other awesome girls to take on an open water swim in the serpentine in Hyde Park in preparation for the London Triathlon. 

Now, I'm a strong swimmer (although not the quickest!) but aside from doing water sports, wake boarding, paddle boarding etc, I have never had to swim in a wetsuit, swimming hat and goggles in a lake. However you know me, thrive off a challenge especially one with my friends.

We all arrived and got chatting before we were given our wetsuits to put on. Now I have worn wetsuits before but with it being a beautifully hot and sunny day this seemly easy task suddenly became a lot tougher and there is me and Chessie standing with the thing at our ankles not sure on weather to battle or shout for help. Eventually we squeezed in and went back upstairs to be given the low down of what was going to happen next.  I must say, I have never felt sexier (not!) than in a wetsuit, bright yellow swimming hat and goggles but honestly, I am always up for a laugh and so I was pretty excited about getting stuck in.

Before we knew it we launched into the lake which wasn't quite as deep as expected and learnt about how to swim with efficiency, breathing technique and how to deal with the madness of the start line, which, makes me feel so competitive thinking about it as it reminds me go my sprinting days!

Although we only did 4 full lengths of the serpentine (400m), I bloody loved it. It was extremely tough since I haven't swam for 3 yearsand man did it give my lungs a workout but i was buzzing for days - I highly recommend it especially when you have the likes of the lovely Marsha and John from RG Active guiding you.

After we refuelled on all the pizza and hot chocolate and endless chatting before we all headed home. Its a night I wont be forgetting and I may even sign up to the London Tri!!

Why should you give it a go?

  1. Challenge yourself, you may find a new passion.
  2. You could make some new friends along the way.
  3. You will learn something I guarantee that.
  4. Its a new experience and that is what life is all about.
  5. It is a laugh, even if it does end up being a one off!
  6. You could find you are really good and didn't even know.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. Ronald E. Osborn.

I am definitely going to be jumping back in - if not yet but before my challenge on 28 July where I am swimming 2 miles in the sea so I need to get some practise in!

Sophie xx

To Lift or Not to Lift?

 

I want to inspire people, I want someone to look at me and say ‘because of you I didn't give up!’

All of us want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do: from fitting into jeans, to moving heavy furniture, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful career.

Being a Personal Trainer I get this question a lot.. ‘Will lifting make me bulky?’ and I cannot express enough that lifting will never make you bulky I promise you. I have been lifting for 7 nearly 8 years and I am a 6-8 in clothes .. no bulk here - lifting has actually make me fall in love with my body (and no, thats not being self obsessed!!!) Lifting has changed my life for the better, while literally saving my life from when I was in hospital at 19 years old and now it is part of my life for always. Why do I love it so?

  • It makes me feel strong and powerful
  • For the after feeling, the buzz (and the shaky arms and legs) and for the DOMS!
  • Makes me feel happy, clears my mind
  • When you start seeing results both physically and hitting PBs
  • ME TIME!
  • it's made me love my body NOT criticise or compare it
  • I've met some of my best most genuine friends through fitness and training
  • it's now part of my lifestyle, my routines and of course for my health
  • Keeps me focussed and disciplined
  • Inspires me to improve and challenge myself while helping me overcome obstacles
  • It has made me independent and confident and improved my self esteem
  • Stress relief 

If the isn't enough of a reason to give it a whirl then I hope I can convince you by giving you another 8 reasons why us girls should be lifting alongside the guys (and showing the men how it is done).

  1. More effective fat loss
    Yes, Ive said it.. its the truth! I realise the image we all get is biceps in tight shirts when it comes to lifting but think again. Weight training has sooo many advantages and big one being your body’s ability to burn fat during a lifting session and actually comes out on top of cardio! of course they both have their place and I enjoy both and do both to keep my lungs in order!  The reason being that after a heavy strength session, you continue to consume additional oxygen (EPOC) and when your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure and increases your metabolic rate so increasing fat burning!
  2. Quality of sleep!
    Strength training greatly improves sleep quality, aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night. Simples!
  3. More Muscle, More Calorie Expenditure!
    By increasing your strength and lean muscle mass via strength training your body uses calories more effectively.
  4. Increased energy
    Resistance training increases your energy throughout the day because of the hormones released after training. The more you out it into your training sessions the better!! So go grab a barbell. 
  5. Stress relief
    It has been found that those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not exercise. So, Next time you need to blow off some steam, hit the weights. I know it helps me and actually usually when I hit PB’s - thats when I hit my 107.5kg Deadlift!
  6. Bone health
    As we get older, naturally we lose bone and muscle mass. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
  7. Heart and lung health
    Throwing some weights around in an effective fashion can reduce your risk of heart disease and was approved as a healthy form of exercise for those at risk and improve your lung function and capacity as proved by yours truly!
  8. Confidence, happiness, and self love!
    Yes, i mentioned this earlier but i wanted to emphasis this again! It will make you feel confident, strong and powerful. It will make you happy with all those endorphins running around, especially when you realise you have lifted something you could 2 weeks ago. You will being to be proud and fall in love with the body you are sculpting and building and you will be constantly challenging yourself, pushing yourself and overcome obstacles while learning so much and you and your body! 

I am going to leave with you one of my favourite quotes by the man who has inspired so many, Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Training gives us an outlet suppressed energies, created by stress thus tones the spirit just as exercise trains the body!

Sophie xx

Are summer bodies really made in the winter? YES!


We’ve all seen those memes on social media, telling us to get out training in the winter, because that’s how we get our summer bodies fit and ready.  And it sounds crazy – I mean, who enjoys dragging themselves to the gym in the cold, dark mornings, especially when we can get away with baggy, woolly jumpers to hide the results of Christmas feasting?  Surely we can leave it till a little bit later…

However, in reality, it’s really not at all crazy because, despite every magazine issued in May sharing ‘the secret’ for a fit body by your holiday, I’m sorry to say it doesn’t quite work like that.  

Whatever we do or do not do over the winter months – especially from January onwards – will determine how we look on that beach.

There are three points during the year when gyms and personal trainers, like me, get their biggest influxes of new clients:

  • January – the result of New Year’s resolutions and post-Christmas attack
  • May – the result of everyone booking their summer holidays and realising they have to bare all on the beach in 6-8 weeks
  • September – the result of people overindulging on said beach and wanting to get back into shape!

The busiest influx is nearly always the pre-summer May influx, which shows how many of us wait till Beach Body Panic sets in to get into shape. 

Yes, the idea of prancing around in a skimpy bikini on the beaches of Marbs or Ibiza in front of tanned and toned bodies is a great motivator. BUT 6-8 weeks really isn’t enough to get the body so many of us expect, contrary to what many ‘short-term quick fixes’ would have us believe.

Because the truth is, any quick fix is just that – short-term.  The minute you get on that beach and start enjoying yourself again, your few weeks of exhaustion and deprivation begin to unwind, and it won’t be long before you’re back where you were before.

Short-term quick fixes are demanding and miserable, and rarely deliver what they promise.  Abs really aren’t the be-all-and-end-all (trust me, I’ve been there!), and the plans are often so restrictive, you won’t be able to keep to them.  

However, start your training a little earlier in the year and it’s a different (and much happier!) story.  Here’s why:

Winter training…

  • gets you the body you want over a slower, steadier timeframe,
  • is much easier to stick to,
  • means you can be more flexible with your diet, meaning no deprivation, (which makes me certainly very sad!),
  • is more likely to achieve long-term results, and 
  • encourages you to build exercise into your daily lifestyle, rather than having it as a last-minute add-on.
  • Learn to enjoy your training, enjoy the process of working towards that person you aspire to be and take the time to figure out what you love doing - you don't have to be lifting weights in the gym. How about try boxing or even spin a go!

So, those memes really are true – if you want the beach body of your dreams in the summer, you’re giving yourself a much better chance by training for it from January. 

Which means if you need some motivation now – just keep thinking of that holiday or challenge in the far-off distance.  It’ll be here quicker than you think!

I have already written a post on why there is no quick fix and also learning to love yourself - these will both enable you to work towards sustainable long term progress and results in becoming a happier, healthier and fitter you and the perfect time to start is now, in winter.

Sophie xx