Eddisbury Hill | A Running Route To The Top Of Cheshire

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One of my favourite things about working out is that bad-ass feeling you get when you smash a PR, lift heavy, or just do something you never thought your body could do.

This past Saturday’s trail run definitely achieved that feeling: I managed to run up Delamere Forest’s Eddisbury Hill with just three short stops. I like to call this place the top of Cheshire – whilst it’s not quite the highest point in the county, you feel very very high at 158m above sea level. And boy, is it ever hard work to get to the top! Combined with a winding route around the rest of the forest (ahem.. getting rather lost) this trail run was hard work, but felt amazing. I even had some left in the tank to run the last kilometre hard.

Way less muddy than the last trail run in Alderley, but definitely just as fun!

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My Fitness Progress & Goals | One Month In

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Top: January 4th. Bottom: January 26th. I don’t see a big difference in my body, but have I achieved any non-scale, non-measurement, non-aesthetic victories in that time? Read on..

Throughout my life my health and fitness has been sporadic, at best. I was a very active teenager, and in my late teens and early twenties I was a gym obsessive. Since then I’ve dipped in and out of fitness, never quite reaching the same body of age 21.

Until this time. Something just feels different. Whether it’s my determination to look after my health and body, or whether it’s my well-informed, nutritious diet, I think I am heading for the best shape of my life. I wanted to write this post to look back on whenever I have wobbles in the future, and remember the non-scale victories I have had the past few months.

I’ve been sleeping better.
No more sleep paralysis or pins and needles in my hands, and I sleep all night, provided my cat lets me.

I’ve been less tired.
Whether it’s the good quality of sleep I’m having or otherwise, I’ve definitely been less tired throughout the day, with less caffeine consumed and fewer energy slumps.

My determination has spread into other areas of my life.
I’m incredibly determined when working out, and this is down to my brain knowing full well that my body can do what I am asking it to do. I’ve realised this applies to the rest of my life, too, whether at university, work, or even just socialising (I can definitely suffer from a touch of social anxiety!).

And oh, all right. I’m pretty pleased I’ve gone down a size in yoga pants.
I know I shouldn’t be, and I sort of don’t want to be pleased. But at least it shows eating clean and training mean is working.

Though I’m happy about these victories I still feel I have a long way to go. My fitness goals for this year are, in no particular order:

To go to a CrossFit session.
There’s an amazing box just across the river from me, and it’s owned by Sam Briggs, the fittest woman in the world. I want to be able to go and not only complete a WOD but do it well!

To grow my butt.
This isn’t a very SMART goal I’m sorry, but I will be happy when I see my butt at least starting to fill my yoga pants. Patience and work, patience and work…

To do the Manchester 10K.
This is looking like a fairly easy goal to achieve now, so I am considering aiming for a half marathon in the autumn. It all depends what happens when I graduate – hopefully I will get a tasty graduate job and have more time and freedom at the weekends to train and race.

To do 10 unassisted chin-ups.
I can’t believe how weak my upper body is compared to my lower. I’ve been using the assisted pull-up machine the past couple of weeks building up to this but I still can’t do one unassisted. I’d like to be able to do these before I go to a CrossFit session.

To do an unassisted handstand.
Every night just before bed I have a bit of a mad half hour when I practice my yoga inversions. I am alright at tripod headstands and I’m getting the hang of the crow, but handstands still evade me. My boyfriend helps out when he is feeling amiable, otherwise the wall is my best friend.

Overall, I’d like to be consistent in my eating and workouts, and remember that a few days off working out or eating clean does not mean falling off the wagon. I have to remember the good stuff – the stuff from the beginning of this post – and how fantastic it feels to be fit, strong and happy.

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Nuts Over This Milk | Alpro Almond Milk Review

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For many, many years I was a big drinker of soya milk; as a teenager I was vegan and at that point there was less choice than there is now, then later just because I hated milk almost to the point of being scared of it. Of course, I’d heard all about soya’s darker side. I wasn’t keen on it messing around with my hormones, but I figured I’d do something about it, when I got a little older.

My 28th birthday hit, and with it a realisation of mortality. I can’t exactly call myself a young person anymore and I find I have to treat myself a lot better to feel and look the same the way I did even five years ago. It was about that point I noticed Alpro almond milk in the supermarket, priced at a very attractive £1 a carton.

That was a very roundabout, soul-searching introduction, but what I want to say is that I like almond milk, a lot. I like the way it doesn’t interfere with the taste of coffee, cereal or tea, which realistically are the only things I use milk in. I find I have to use more almond milk in my coffee than I would soya (and a lot more than I’d use cows’ milk) so I heat my coffee cup up pre-coffee with a cupful of just-boiled water.

I can’t say it’s made any difference to how I feel, though I’ve been feeling pretty strong healthy lately anyway so it’s likely to be another ingredient in a healthy mixture. My mind and soul certainly feel reassured, though, knowing I’m using a non-dairy milk that is unlikely to send my hormones haywire.

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Reebok Yoga Cloudpants Review

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I’m an avid follower of Tara Stiles on Instagram. She has a fantastic lifestyle, which comes from working hard as a yoga instructor, and her health and vitality just shine through. Ain’t no Insta-filter that can provide that glow.

Her lifestyle comes through sheer hard work, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a little slice of that? To be a little bit like your idols – whether it be attaining their form in yoga poses, or maybe wearing the same pants as them. That’s why celebrity endorsements work so well. And whilst I’m normally immune to that sort of thing, when it came to the Reebok and Tara collaboration.. I was sold.

These cloud pants showed up more and more in her Insta feed, and I gradually became obsessed. I was sad to find they weren’t available in my size on the European website – but I took a chance and went a size down. Now I’m glad I did, because they fit perfectly! They look tiny though are really stretchy when put on, but don’t go see-through at all; there’s also no draw-string which I thought would be an issue, as they are so high waisted I don’t foresee this being a problem.

I will report back post-workout to let you know how they fare! If you’re in Europe and a size L or XL, they’re still available here. Otherwise, America you have the full size allocation (if you’re a half size, go down). Lucky you!

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Image of Tara from her Instagram feed; also check out her NYC studios, Strala.

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On The Edge | A Running Route Around Alderley Edge, Cheshire

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Near my boyfriend’s hometown is a Natural Trust forest, Alderley Edge – rather ominously nicknamed The Edge (no, not the guy from U2). It’s a maze of pathways through trees, up hills and down gorges, all ending up at a sharply jutting rock formation which really does seem like the edge of forever. It’s supposedly the home of witches, where Merlin the wizard is buried, and also has an abandoned copper mine – you can see the evidence in the mint green coating on the ground and cliff faces – which all make for quite the epic running environment.

Since we were visiting my other half’s grandad this past weekend we decided to get some real fresh air in our lungs and go for a run around The Edge, not with any particular route in mind, though for this run it really felt best to go randomly: with hills and obstacles, not to mention the boggy pathways which in my opinion only added to the fun.

This run was approximately 6.5mph for 30 minutes, with a quick stopoff for photos on The Edge.. But who’s counting when it’s this fun and you get this caked in mud?!

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