Happy Blogirthday To Me

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WordPress tells me it’s the third birthday of Health-e-Helen today. Anyone have a low carb cake I can test?

It’s not the only reason for cake around here – I do also have another reason to celebrate right now which I’ll tell you about as soon as I’m allowed. It’s quite exciting but it’s also the reason it’s been a bit quiet around here lately. As soon as I can reveal all you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, just enjoy the silence (which is a blatant play on words giving me an excuse to post the video to one of my favourite ever songs below)  I’ll be back filling your feed with news of upcoming must dos like flipping tyres and lunching on posh pot noodles as soon as I can.

Cyclists: It’s Time To Get Glo-ing

I am sitting in my office in the middle of the afternoon with the lights on. Despite the fact that it’s mid August one of the Weather Gods is having some kind of hissy fit and sending all manner of misery down on my garden. This, combined with the fact that I took a jumper out with me the other night reminds me that colder darker days are on their way.

Normally this causes a huge sulk on my part but, instead I’m looking on the bright side and realising I finally get to write a post I’ve been planning for AGES on ways to brighten up your bike ready for the darker evenings. See glo-cycling (as I’m naming it) is a thing. You can’t sniff near a crowdsurfing site at the moment without finding something that’ll make people more visible as they pedal. This week alone the news broke that London based designer Will Verity has created a cycling jacket that flashes as cars get near it. Look..

It’s not for sale yet, but that doesn’t mean you cant get your glo on in other ways. Check out the shiny things below……

1) Nite Ize Spoke Lights – how pretty do these make your bike look? But they also make you easier to spot. Priced from £6.95 for one wheel at glow.co.uk

From glow.co.uk

From glow.co.uk

2) Brainy Bike Lights: I’ve written about these before but they are awesome so they deserve a second mention. They are lights with little cyclist figures on them and studies show that motorists spot them faster than normal white or red bike lights because of it. £45.00 for two. Brainybikelights.com.

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3) Useeme wristbands: These  flashing wristbands create an indicator like effect at the end of your arms making it easier for motorists to see when you’re going to turn. After a successful Indiegogo campaign, they’re launching properly in October but you can sign up for early bird special offers on the price now at useeme.eu.

Oooh, flashy

Oooh, flashy

4) Glow in the Dark Bike Handle Tape: Also from glow.co.uk, it makes the front of your bike as visible as the back. £16.99.

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Happy pedalling people. Remember – Be Safe. Be Seen. Oops sorry, just turned into a public service announcement there for a second. Erm, I meant Get Glo-ing people.

 

5 Fun Ideas At Fitpro Live

The other weekend I went to the Fitpro exhibition at the Excel in London. It was a strange morning as I was on my high fat diet plan and at that point had not quite kicked into burning fat for fuel as such even walking round the handful of stands they had there was exhausting – there was no way I could do any of the classes on offer. This was a bit of a problem as what I didn’t realise about FitPro is you’re supposed to go for two whole days and jump about trying stuff. The other disadvantage of this was, because everyone else was jumping about trying stuff, it was really, really loud in there and so I couldn’t hear half of what the exhibitors I did get to chat to were saying to me. As such I didn’t come away with as many new stories as I thought I was going to but I did spot a few new fun things there. Here’s my fave five….

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1) Bosu Classes

You know Bosu Balls – they’re those half balls that sit in the corner of your gym that no-one really uses. Well that’s probably going to change as it seems a wave of Bosu classes are coming. I watched one called Double Up, Double Down which saw people doing squats and various other seriously wobbly moves as part of an organised class and it looked pretty tough. The day before there had also been a class called 3D-Extreme which has already launched in the US but is now enroute to us here in Blighty. This one combines the same wobbly moves but with an element of teamwork. Seriously check it out below – there’s a lot of concentration going on. I reckon you burn about 1000 calories in brain power just trying to workout how the heck you’re going to stay upright while jumping on these things.

 

2) Resistance Running

I caught a glimpse of this as part of a class being run by top US trainer Todd Durkin. The idea is simple, you are attached round the waist to another runner who tries to hold you back as you run against them. This strengthens your legs and increases fitness as you have to work harder to move.  I know it’s not super new but I’d never seen it used in a class environment before only outside on things like bootcamps. Durkin was using it as a part of a circuit training plan, using short very short distances (no more than 15m I would guesstimate) – and apparently short distances are the best way to do this approach. I can see lots of other trainers starting to integrate it into classes accordingly. I was trying to get a picture from Fitpro of this but it hasn’t turned up (and this post is seriously late enough), so here,  have my graphic representation of what it looks like until it does!

I missed my calling as an artist. I'm aware of that.

I missed my calling as an artist. I’m aware of that.

 

3) Clubbercise

I’ve had my eye on this for a while but it seems they’re about to go fully nationwide now. Choreographed rave classes complete with glow sticks, lasers and disco lighting – done in a dark room so no-one can see me going the wrong way or just giving up on the choreography and doing my best ‘big fish, little fish, cardboard box’ and waving my glow sticks like a I just don’t care. It sounds awesome – look………

You’ll find details of classes – including the pop up classes theyre running soon at clubbercise.com. I admit I’m tempted by the one on August 31st.

 

4) Powerblocks

Ever bought a full set of dumbells? Pain in the butt to keep round the house aren’t they. This snazzy little gizmo though is a square block that you lift in the same way as a dumbell, but it has a pin system allowing you to make it heavier or lighter – one lifty thing, loads of different weights, one small area needed to put them in. Excellent. Find them for home use at fitness-mad.com

 

5) Natural Sports Food Bars

I didn’t get to eat these at the show but they gave me a couple to try and I can state that really nice they are too. A tasty mix of coconut, nuts and berries, their USP is that they are a high protein, low GI, low sugar,  ketogenic snack bar.  Racking up about 156 calories each and with 5g of protein they’re really tasty. They also do a high-protein, low-carb food delivery service that looks very interesting. See more at naturalsportsfood.com

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So there you have it – my fave things at Fitpro. Which sounds most fun to you?

Rebecca Adlington’s Retreat – and more.

No I haven’t vanished, my weekends have kind of been taken up with a combination of long runs and a big work project which means less time for the fun bits of life like blogging, but hey, I’m back now. Admittedly, I’m back to tell you to head over to my healthista.com page where you can find out about seven of the hottest bits of fitness, nutrition and body news this month, but hey ho!. So, what’s on there you ask….

Bodhimaya - there's a juice with my name on!

Bodhimaya – there’s a juice with my name on!

Well I admit there is details on Healthy Nibbles – the UK’s first healthy snack vending machine – I really need to get out of this obsession with vending machines. I’ve decided it’s some kind of Freudian thing as my dad used to mend vending machines (that, or fruit machines, I can’t quite remember, I was only tiny).

There’s my new favourite treat – Indulge bars – nutty, seedy, chocolately creations that  live  up to their name.

Some stuff on pilates/yoga hybrid PiYo and a new rooftop yoga venue-  both of which tick the box marked ‘New Workout Craze Alert’

Science explains the possible reason why Park Run makes me eat everything in sight

And finally there’s details of Bodhimaya which is set to be THE retreat of the summer after athlete Rebecca Adlington visited them recently to get some nutrition tips before her wedding – and if they can teach an Olympian stuff about eating healthily I’m interested. Look, they even have a juice waiting for me above…….

So if your interest is peaked, then head on over to healthista.com and check out the Bodyologist section. Then come back here tomorrow for an update on the four funnest things I spotted at Fitpro Live this year. I told you I was back.

 

 

The 5 Best Bits of Running Advice I’ve Been Given

Today was my first long run in two weeks (high fat/virtually zero carb eating does not mix well with long distance running), I knew it was going to be tough but I had to do 6-7 miles according to my training plan. I decided to run the same route as I ran two weeks ago – but backwards. This meant I had one steady uphill for about 2 miles, then a long steady downhill, then one sharp hill for about 500 metres and lots more downhill – rather than what felt like about 5 miles of slow steady climbing with a big downhill in the middle. As I was heading up said sharp hill  desperate to stop I heard the voice of one of my running buddies from days gone by in New Zealand, a lovely lady called  Karen Justice.

Always run up the hills – you can recover going down them

There she was like a running angel speaking in my ears. Either that or I was having some kind of carb deprivation induced auditory hallucination. But anyway, theory is that running uphill strengthens you mentally and physically so if you can do it, you should – it’s something I always try and do, particularly on the short sharp hills.

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This got me thinking of other tips I’ve picked up over the years from various runners, coaches etc and I came up with four more I always remember. They are…

Time on your feet is what counts – Arian Vitali, running buddy

Even if you have to walk sometimes, you’re still getting the miles in

The night before, the night before a race is the most important sleep – Gary Regtien, founder of the RatRace Auckland.

I always, always go to bed early that night now and never stress if I wake up on the hour, every hour the night before. Because I don’t stress, I fall straight back to sleep again and get a good night’s rest anyway

Unless you want to be out there all day, you have to work on your speed – Dean Hodgkin, personal trainer

Admittedly, this one I haven’t managed to integrate into my own training yet and I am out there all day – but I do think it’s something I need to integrate – soon!

Dead Last Finish beats Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start – motto of the WISH Team

Yep, proved that one the other week!

I’ll also add one more of my own

Sprint the last 100-200 metres (or even just the last ten) of every long training run

 If I can do that I know I’ve got more left. That gives me the confidence to up my mileage next week.

Admittedly this week that didn’t happen – me and The Wall, we met today at about six miles. My last one and a bit were torture and a mix of running and walking. Next week I’ll have more in the tank and will be back to my ‘sprint’ finish. 

 

So what’s the best tips you’ve been given or want to share?

How to Wake Up Happy

Studies show that those who workout in the morning are more likely to stick with their plans – but there’s now a new reason to move on first thing. Studies from the US’s Northwestern University have shown that people exposed to bright light in the morning seem to have a lower BMI than those that snuggle under the duvet for as long as possible. Exactly why isn’t known but it’s possible that it regulates appetite hormone and may even alter the way we metabolise sugars. But what if you’re not a morning person?

Gratuitous cute thing shot.

Gratuitous cute thing shot.

 

No, sorry I don’t have a miracle cure for that – but I do have a way to at least feel a bit enthused when you wake up. You see until recently my alarm was a nice tinkly bell sound, then I had to get up early for a flight and the only place to charge my phone was a long way away from my bed so The Boyfriend set the alarm to that horrible klaxon sound that you just can’t sleep through.

The problem is, I didn’t look at what he was doing and so I then spent six week waking up to the horrible klaxon sound. It did not start my day well. Eventually I decided enough was enough and made him teach me how to change it (it was remarkably easy if you know where to look – big hint, it’s not in sounds, it’s in the alarm app itself!) and as I was doing it I noticed I had the option to add a song as my wake up tone. More importantly the song that was being suggested was Best Day Of My Life by American Authors. Erm, talk about most motivating thought to wake up to EVER. Plus it starts with some jaunty woo woos and a woo woo makes everyone happy right?

So that’s it – my alarm ring tone is now Best Day of My Life and weirdly it does make me think ‘wow, what could actually happen today. Could it really be the best day of my whole life?’ As yet I admit they’ve more kind of been okay, than amazing,  but I’m still hoping. And hope is fun. Any day that starts full of hope and possibilities is a good one I reckon.

 

Cat image: freedigitaphotos.net

Remember the Broccoli Bread – now they’ve made pizza

Well my high fat diet is over – I lost 9lb in 11 days, now it’s onto low-carb maintenance to make sure it stays gone again. And what better way to start than with the new Pizza Slices from the team behind Plan Bread Broccoli Bread. You might remember I told you about this a while back (click here to refresh your memory) but in a nutshell, a gentleman called Paul Shackleton had invented a top secret formula that allowed him to make a gluten free bread heavily based around broccoli making it super low-carb. And very tasty it was too.

The Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato slice

The Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato slice

Now he’s started making pizza slices from a variation of the dough – and very tasty they are too. They come in a microwavable bag that you pop in the pingy thing whole. One minute later take it out, peel off the outside and voila, perfect looking pizza. It even looks all grilled and yummy. And it tastes like it too. Okay it hasn’t got that snappy texture of proper oven grilled pizza, and in places it was a tiny bit dry, but if you’re on low carb and you’re craving pizza, this, my people is your answer. It would absolutely and totally fill that cheesy shaped hole. And you get exciting green dough to amaze all your friends.

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The Chicken and Salami version

I still can’t tell you what it’s made of. In fact, now I think about it I feel that another attempt to quiz him on this matter might be why Paul decided to drop it off at a friend’s office rather than bring it me himself….hmmm, sneaky. What I can tell you though is that the Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato one I had yesterday had only 188 calories and 3g of carbohydrates per fairly hefty slice. There’s also a Chicken and Salami one that has 236 calories but still only 3g of carbs. Sadly the fact that it got dropped off at lunchtime and it was 10pm by the time I got it home meant I didn’t think eating that was the absolute healthiest idea I’d ever had. Apparently, though the slices tot up to around 50% less calories and 90 percent carbs than even the lowest cal/carb pizza out there.

Right now it’s only available for delivery in London, but if you want to find out more, the details are on their website here

18 Thoughts You (Only) Have on a High Fat Diet

 

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I’m back on Educogym. For those who don’t know, Educogym is a high-fat , super-low carb diet combined with heavy weight lifting. I did it 18 months ago and lost 9lb in 12 days which I kept off for over a year. Then I went on holiday to the US. The rest, like my waistline, was history and so I decided to go back on the plan for 12 days to reset things. It’s not easy (see my diary from last time I did it here). This time I haven’t felt as sick, but that doesn’t mean it’s plain sailing mentally – on which note I present to you….

18 thoughts you only have when on a high fat diet!

I promise that every one of these has genuinely gone through my head in the last week.

1) Does it count if I just lick the cake?

2) If I mash the avocado and cream cheese; that’s kind of guacamole. Guacamole is awesome. Winning.

3) I loathe you with every fibre of my being (upon seeing woman eating banana on the train)

4) Do I need mouthwash yet? I feel like I need mouthwash? How do I know if I need mouthwash? (Buys mouthwash)

5) Does mouthwash have carbs in?

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6) I am eating food purely as fuel not for pleasure or reward. This is what naturally thin people do…..naturally thin people suck.

7) What do you mean I only lost 100gm overnight (raises fists to sky) “why, why are you punishing me?”

8) Eh? bacon has sugar in it? Why? Do pigs eat chocolate?

9) Mmmm, chocolate (gazes off into the distance for 10 minutes)

10) Before you start burning fat for fuel: My ipad is downstairs. I don’t have the energy to walk downstairs…..I’ll just stare at the ceiling. I’ll call it meditation.

11) After you start burning fat for fuel: Can we go for a walk? How about a run? What time is the gym open? What can I clean till then?

12) There’s an awful lot of pictures of carbs on twitter (unfollow, unfollow, unfollow)

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13) Emmental. Why does it have holes?

14) Mmmm Pringle. I want that Pringle (said Pringle was on the pavement at the time)

15) Cheese mashed into scrambled eggs is amazing. I’m going to market this. I will call it Cheggs.

16) £15 for Ribeye. £15? Surely I get a whole cow for £15

17) I would sell my soul right now for an olive.

18) 7.5lb gone in seven days – this is the best diet EVER.

And it’s that last one that’ll keep me going (and probably thinking more slightly insane thoughts) for another 2.5lb.

 

Images: freedigitalphotos. net

Runner’s Toenail? The answer in a bottle

 

Miners London Calling nail polish Miners London Calling nail polish

I just painted my toenails with this polish. It was the closest one at hand. I looked down and realised now all my toenails look like the dodgy black one I get while training.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but hey, it’s camouflage. If you want to try it it’s Miners London’s Calling.

Yoga: At Selfridges. On the Roof. Okay!

It’s the year of rooftop yoga. Seriously, there’s going to be a whole load of seriously confused pigeons flying around London wondering why all their past perches are full of stretchy people in lululemon. Everywhere from a car park in Peckham to swanky bar Coq d’Argent are hosting sessions and now Oxford Street store Selfridges are in on the act. Their sessions take place in their rooftop restaurant On the Roof with Q – although don’t worry, they’re on a Tuesday morning (from 10-11am) so you wont have diners checking you out as downward dog. The classes are priced £20 when booked online in advance, £25 for drop ins and they’ll supply your mats etc.

Image@ selfridges

Image@ selfridges

 

Oh, and these are just with any old trainer either – they’ve teamed up with Triyoga to offer some of London’s favourite yogis. Check the list out below….

22 July – Yoga with Nadia Narain
29 July – Yoga with Bridget Woods Kramer 
05 August –  Vinyasa flow with Christina Singleton
12 August – Vinyasa flow with Kate Walker
19 August – Yoga with Mimi Kuo Deemer
26 August – Vinyasa flow with Celest Pereira
02 September – Vinyasa flow with Claire Missingham

If you want to find out more details, it’s all here. to book online go to triyoga.co.uk

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