One of the goals I set for myself in 2014 is to do ten unassisted pull-ups in a row, and for a little while I was using the dip & chin assist machine though I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere. In a PT appointment with Jamie Ann I told her of my pull-up goal, and she’s given me a simple plan I can use to work towards my ten pull-ups, which I’ve added and tweaked a few parts of.
To warm up, I do ten minutes of short intervals on the cross trainer, then use the multi-station on low resistance to do straight-arm shoulder flies.
Then it’s the lat pulldown. I do sets of 20-12-8 reps with increasing weight with narrow underhand grip (the aim here to lift my own bodyweight on the machine, I’m about half way there now), then I do wide-arm overhand grip, again 20-12-8 reps. Learning to use my shoulderblades and back rather than just arm strength is the toughest part for me.
Onto my main exercise, which is on the functional trainer, the big thing shown in the pictures that looks a little like a torture device. I:
- Pull down the small step on the right and grab the bar closest in with underhand grip.
- Launch myself up to grab the other handle whilst also tucking my body up high – this is now the highest point of the pull-up.
- Lower myself down to straight arms over 4 seconds.
- Jump down and repeat for 10 reps!
Cooldown is a couple of intervals on the stationary rower. I’ve been doing this routine for a little over a month now and found that I can pull myself up from about three-quarters of the way up, which is huge progress considering how weak my upper body was initially. I totally accept this is going to be a long, tough process – though I now firmly believe I will be able to do ten underhand pull-ups by the end of the year. I’m already thinking of 2015’s goal: ten wide-arm overhand pull-ups!
Nike Miler tee, Adidas Response tights, Nike Free Run 2 EXTs.
It was only a matter of time before Topshop sealed a sportswear deal, and this week it was announced they have designed a collection in collaboration with Adidas Originals. With sorbet colours and graffiti-inspired prints, the kit performs well for the gym, but its modern, slim silhouettes are perfect for the street, too.
In a fashion world mad on joint ventures and collaborations, I’m not surprised that this is Topshop’s way of dipping their toe into sporty waters. But I also think an own-brand luxe, trendy sportswear line is on the cards for Topshop: they’d be daft to miss the fitness boat that’s so strongly sailing right now.
I have my eye on the running shorts.. But I hope they come in pink as well as coral! Shop from March 20th.
As a blogger myself, it can hardly be a secret that I love to read others’ blogs. But one of the reasons I started this blog is because I struggled to find fitness and health blogs I related to: many were not personal enough, with how-tos and recipes – which are great, but I want to hear about you, too! – and some were way too personal with a constant stream of self-indulgent ab and bicep photos.
I like bloggers who are fit, healthy, and happy; but who also have a life outside fitness and keep it real. I also love to see shiny bright new kit, but that’s the fashionista side of me coming out! Check out my three favourites below…
1) Blogilates: I won’t patronise you by explaining who Cassey is. Everyone knows she is the Queen of internet fitness, thanks to her chirpy, friendly manner and tough (but manageable!) YouTube workouts. Ever positive, the Blogilates community is growing exponentially and this has caused a few hiccups lately, but they’ve been handled beautifully by Cassey.
2) Lydia Elise Millen: Lydia has newly integrated her successful fashion blog with fitness content; she is relatively just starting her fitness journey and takes you along with her complete with gorgeous photographs. Despite being an absolute babe and clearly working hard for her body, Lydia is the first to admit it’s been a struggle for her, and inspires others with her honesty.
3) Fitness On Toast: Faya trains hard, and will happily explain to you how to eat and work out right; always in brightly-coloured, highly enviable workout kit. A personal trainer by trade, you know you can trust in her advice. I’d love to be a client of Faya’s!
Who are your favourite fit bloggers? I’d love to find some new ones so drop links in the comments below.
Neon pink LunarGlide+ 5s by Nike, neon pink face courtesy of the Women’s 5K series at Manchester’s Alexandra Park
That twinge in the shin after a run is a feeling that sends anxiety coursing through the most seasoned of runners. I experienced that last Saturday, so I gave myself a week off pounding the pavement and promptly bought some new running shoes – my New Balances have been extremely well loved (ie, they are now old and the midsole is probably non-existent) so it really was time for a new pair, shin twinge or not! I love the feeling of running on the treadmill in Nike Frees but I also need stability for mild pronation, so after reading a ton of reviews I went for a nice bright pair of LunarGlide+ 5.
Firstly, I was really pleasantly surprised by the colour. Shopping for trainers online is hard because I find the colour is often misrepresented – although the purple is darker than shown in my photos, it’s accurate to the colour shown online, and the pink highlight is eye-popping. We all know how I love my pink workout gear!
When walking around my flat in these to test for size I was a little worried they’d be too cushioned for me – after all, the whole reason I’d bought these was because I liked the barefoot feeling of my Frees. Realistically stability shoes are always going to be quite well cushioned, and when running in them I found this translated to a nice, smooth ride. Speaking of size I’d read online to go half a size up. Being a 6.5, and finding size 7 Frees a bit of a struggle to get in the first few times, I decided to get a 7. There’s plenty of room around my toes without any movement around the heel when the laces are tied up tight, and I didn’t get any tingles in my toes that I often get with new running shoes.
I ran a 5K time trial today and clocked in at 26:45 with the first and fastest kilometre being 4:30, which is an excellent time for me. Whether it was the power of the new shoes or attempting to keep pace with my super fit running buddy was irrelevant (I suspect the latter, but we’ll give the new shoes the benefit of the doubt) I was just pleased to have a comfortable ride without any shin pain afterwards!
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!