Being Dutch means that me & a bike pretty much go hand-in-hand. As a little girl I learned how to bike and there was no looking back after that, because growing up in the Netherlands means you use your bike every single day! And even now that I live in London; I have a big Dutch bike that I use as my main form of transport around the city. I bike to work every day and will avoid using the tube where possible. I only really take the underground if it’s pouring down with rain or if I am planning to have a few drinks that evening ;)
However, I still don’t see my daily commute or biking around London in the weekends as exercise. Sure, it keeps me healthy and it’s a lot better for me then just sitting on the bus or tube, but I still don’t count it as a workout. No lycra outfits for me on the bike – just my regular clothes, and by that yes I mean even skirts and heels; the true Dutch way! Now when it comes to exercise it’s no surprise,being a bike-lover and all, that I am a big fan of spinning as a way of keeping fit. The high pumped energy of a spin class is a great workout and will definitely make you feel the burn. But a few months ago I discovered something even better….let me introduce you to my new fitness obsession; Psycle!
January has been all about health for me! Doing Dry January has meant I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since New Years Eve and I have been eating very healthy and trying to fit some form of exercise into my week at least 3-4 times a week. Because I am still struggling with my knee injury I have also been looking at different ways to exercise and yoga and pilates are some of classes I have been trying.
When it comes to yoga, I haven’t done much of this in my life. Last year I tried some sessions of Bikram Yoga because some of my friends swore by it! However I wasn’t a huge fan – I found the 90min sessions a bit too long, too boring and too hot. But the strengthening results and the relaxing, warmth and stretching aspect I did enjoy. So when I came across the concept of Hot Pod Yoga I was instantly intrigued.
“Hotpod provide pop-up hot Vinyasa Yoga classes – an intensive and balanced physical workout, restoring calm and clarity in a soothing environment. The (not too hot) 37°c heat warms the muscles and aids flexibility as well as making the heart work harder.”
The sessions are only 1 hour long and whilst the heat not as intense as Bikram Yoga, you will still work up a sweat because the ‘Vinyasa flow’ Yoga is a lot more active.
“The classes combine a real aerobic and cardiovascular workout with meditative and relaxing elements. Sequences of active and passive postures rebalance the body, strengthening weak spots and easing tension. Blood flow to muscles, ligaments and organs is increased and the body benefits from better flow of energy. So as well as toning muscles and aiding weight-loss, the postures purify and heal the body and mind.” Oh and they say you can burn up to 700 calories a class…uhh yes please!
The other difference about Hot Pod Yoga is that the sessions are held inside their unique pop-up studios. The portable studios are like blown up big tents with glowing walls, making it all cosy and warm and dark to really get you into a lovely tranquil environment to practice yoga. Let’s step inside shall we?
This is Dionne, the lovely trainer in their Notting Hill location. Some of the poses she manages to do are hugely impressive but who knows maybe after a few more sessions I will get a better and a bit more balanced too! I have done two sessions so far and have really enjoyed it. I’ve been going to studio in Notting Hill (not far from my house – how convenient) but they also offer classes in Brixton, Hackney, South Birmingham and Swansea.
Another bonus is that you can book online to attend a class and that their classes are quite well priced; starting from £12 for a single pass or only £9.60 when you buy a pack of 10. For a full timetable of classes, prices and further details, visit www.hotpodyoga.com.
Have you had a healthy start to January and does this Hot Pod Yoga sound like something you’d be keen to try?
OK let’s talk diet. Now to be honest, I reallydespise the word diet. Dieting is horrible and no fun at all. There are so many diets out there; think no carbs and all protein, weight watchers, restricting yourself to only eat soups, counting calories, or maybe some crazy lemonade juicing detox?! You name it and most likely you or one of your friends are bound have to tried one of these at some point to lose weight.
Just like any other girl there have been times in my life where I have struggled with my weight. I either have felt unhappy about how I look or feel or was just keen to lose those few extra kilos to feel good in a bikini or try to squeeze myself back into that favourite pair of jeans! We all constantly feel the pressure to be thin and many of us of girls think (too much) about what we ‘allow’ ourselves to eat or feeling guilty for having that piece of cake.
And now that is my main problem right there; I LOVE FOOD! Eating cakes and chocolate, going out for dinners, fun nights out drinking cocktails or indulging in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream when at the movies. I just wouldn’t want to imagine my life without it. And most people know you could pretty much wake me up for a perfectly warm oozing chocolate fondant any time of the night! So as a real foodie the thought of some restricting diet just doesn’t work for me.
Now I am no expert (so this is just my personal opinion and experience) but for me I have given up on diets. Diets can be soul (and body) destroying. These days my focus is all about being and staying healthy. Diets are hard because when you restrict yourself, it makes it easy to fall of the wagon. For me I have found the best way to lose weight and keep the weight off is more about a lifestyle change. A wise man (my dad) once told me you can eat ‘everything in moderation’ which pretty much explains my diet. So here it is. I don’t diet, I eat healthy….most of the time!
Because if I ate healthy all the time; my life (and me included) would be no fun. But if I treated myself to too much naughty food all the time then I’d be an unhappy fatso. So when it comes down to it, it’s all about balance! This brings me to my ‘diet’ – the 80/20 diet.
The 80/20 diet is super simple; The idea is to eat healthily for around 80% of the time and then you are feel free to eat the foods you love for the other 20% of the time!
What I try to do myself is to exercise and eat very healthily during the week and then I relax and treat myself at the weekends. But the 80/20 rule also works for me on a daily basis. Say I’m having something naughty like a greasy burger or cheesy pizza for dinner, then I’ll have a light breakfast & maybe a salad for lunch. Plus I will try to ensure I work out or go for a run the day before or the day after. It’s all a matter of balance, balance, balance!!
This way I have learned not be too hard on myself. For example when I go away for a weekend, I always want to try all the amazing foods from that country! So I treat myself and I ENJOY it (without the guilt) because I will balance it out by upping my exercise sessions and eating correctly before and after my trip! So just think; after couple of naughty days, just be good for the rest of the week. Très simples!
Victoria’s Secret model, Miranda Kerr also follows this diet saying, “I adopt the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy and organic, 20% indulgent and that works for me and my body personally. I indulge occasionally and avoid counting calories.”
Being good (80%) for me looks like this;
Fill up on lots fruits and vegetables
Exercise at least 30min a day
No ready-made meals
Drink lots of water
No starchy carbs for dinner (think pasta, rice, potatoes, white bread)
Eat healthy fats like salmon, avocado and raw nuts
Cutting out sugar, cakes and candy
Breakfast & lunch include healthy foods like porridge, sushi, eggs, butternut squash, quinoa, salads and soups.
No alcohol during the week
Plenty of sleep
I probably don’t have to explain what being ‘bad’ (20%) looks like. You can use your own imagination here but for me it looks a little something like this….
YUM!!! See, I never want to have to give up these delicious things and with the 80/20 diet I don’t have to as long as I just remember to balance it with healthy living. I love cooking and baking so on the blog here I will continue to share my favourite recipes for naughty treats but also some healthy recipes I use on a daily basis to give you some inspiration for the 80% part! People often ask me how I stay healthy/skinny and I hope this post helps or can inspire you in some way. In the end I feel it is all about loving yourself and your body and making a lifestyle choice to be healthy and fit instead of starving yourself to be a size 0!
LOVE your body
and repeat FOR LIFE”
What a great formula to live by. Life is too short so you may as well enjoy the ride right? Happy Hump Day everyone :)
Sorry I have been a little quiet on the blog the last few days. As some of you might already know, this was because I was back at home in The Netherlands to compete in my 1st Half Marathon! Now, I haven’t always been a runner, far from it really – growing up I was more into team sports and for years I was a keen hockey player. As I got older I started going to the gym to keep fit but even then I was more of a classes or cross-trainer kind of girl…and then we’re talking about 30 minutes max!
However, when I moved to London I found that so many of my friends were into running and training for long runs and races. I admit that for a long time I used to refer to these people crazy….especially when they tried explaining to me “but Roz, running is so addictive” Ha I just laughed! Then, finding myself getting bored with my exercise regime, I eventually caved and thought maybe I should give this running thing a go and see what they are all on about. I always considered myself to be a pretty fit person but I knew I was a useless runner; meaning I would be out of breath and struggling to go much further than 2-3km.
So I decided to download an app called Get Running (link) which trained me brilliantly to literally get me off the couch to comfortably be able to run 5km! So being a girl that likes a good challenge, I decided around November 2011 to set myself a New Years resolution that in 2012 I would complete my first ever 10km race. Which I did. In May 2012 I competed in the London BUPA and in September 2012 I took part in the London Virgin Triathlon as the runner (10km) as part of a team. I suddenly started to get what people had been telling me for years…running is addictive! I found it was great for my body and for my mind – being able to just switch off and run to my music and finding it an amazing way to clear my head. I felt this sense of power and achievement and wanted to push myself further and further. So for 2013 I felt I needed a new challenge and the CPC Loop – The Hague Half Marathon seemed the perfect one because it meant I would be able to join my family members at this famous sporting event in my own home town. For the last 4-5 months I trained a lot, pushing myself to 15-18 km runs (sometimes doing 40-50km in a week). Unfortunately because of this, in the last few weeks leading up to the half marathon, I ended up injuring my IT band, which is a common runners nightmare!
So as you can imagine, this Sunday morning before the race, I was a bunch of nerves; my knee wasn’t properly healed, it was very cold (wind chill of -6), they were expecting snow and the wind was blowing fiercely…ahhhh help would I be able to do it?! Luckily my sister, her boyfriend and my sister-in-law were also competing in the race and for them this was the 2nd time round doing the City Pier City 1/2 Marathon. Their encouragement and support was so valuable and together we were able to pep each other up! Here we are yesterday right before the race feeling very excited, nervous but keen to just DO IT!
The last few moments when getting ready to go….the countdown, the atmosphere, it was just amazing! Being there in the crowds with 35,000 other runners and all the supporters around, music pumping, people jumping up and down; it was impossible not to be excited and wanted to start running and get this 21.1km over and done with :)
And I am proud to say….I DID IT! Yes it was cold (there was snow), yes it was windy (the parts along the seafront were a serious physical and mental struggle) and yes at points I thought my knee and my right foot were going to either collapse or explode from the pain – but I did it. I just ran, and ran and ran until I could no more and the moment I sprinted across that finish line…I was exhausted but I had the BIGGEST smile on my face and no one could ever take that achievement away from me! And here it is; my medal, woooohoooo :)
These are my official race results of the 21.1km Half Marathon. I was aiming for a time between 1:50 and 2:00 so especially considering my injury I am very pleased with my final time for my first ever half marathon!
As you can see below, I started really well but after 10km I hit a bit of dip – my knee was hurting and my right foot was suffering from a strange burning sensation I’d never experienced before (at one point I even had to stop to take off my shoe and give it some air for a while because I felt the blood in my foot was bubbling and boiling and I was convinced my foot might actually explode haha). At 15km, realising I only had about 30 minutes to go I felt my energy levels pick up again and I got excited once I realised, I could do this – I would finish it and I even managed a little sprint at the end, woop woop!
Now I realise running isn’t for everyone – trust me, I never thought I would be capable of running 21km, but I have to say I am quite proud of myself for this achievement and completing my first half marathon is a memory that I will cherish and will stay with me forever. My body is in quite a bit of pain today, I’ve hobbled around the office like a cripple! Running these kind of distances can be really hard on your body but hopefully with enough rest and taking care of my muscles the next few days I will slowly recover and can continue my running ‘addiction’.
Because YES it is official…I am one of the crazies now and I am not ashamed to admit it!! Next up?? The London Royal Parks Half Marathon in October! Here we GO :)
Only one week to go until my first ever Half Marathon! Next Sunday I will be back home in The Netherlands to compete in the The Hague City Pier City Half Marathon. I have been training so much in the last few months so fitness wise I am happy to say I feel ready and super motivated. Body-wise however, because of all my running training I have unfortunately now got a bit of a knee injury. It is quite a common running injury in that my IT-Band (side of my knee) is painful when I’m out running. As you can imagine I am very frustrated, a little worried and therefore am resting all of this week to pray that it will heal in time for my race next week. To help with my recovery I decided to book myself in for a sports massage this weekend. Through the helpful website Wahanda I found a great local spa (link) where I treated all my sore muscles to some extra loving and care on Saturday. I have also bought some strapping that I will apply to my knee during the run to hopefully help strengthen it and limit and further injuries or pain. Have you ever had this kind of injury? If so, any tips for my recovery would be really appreciated!
Talking about fitness, I attended my first The Fit Crowd event on Wednesday where I met some of the other members of the Fit Crowd, got to shop a storm in their Kings Road store and attended a Barrecore workout. I took a few photos but unfortunately this weekend my iPhone got stolen so I lost most of those pictures! Barrecore is mix of yoga, pilates and low-impact strength exercises; using a ballet barre to perform small movements, stretches with your bodyweight as resistance. Don’t be fooled, this sounds ‘easy’ but it was pretty hard – the next day I definitely felt some muscles I didn’t even know I had!
Also here are the lovely new fitness items I picked up from Sweaty Betty at the event…
2x Athlete workout vests in surprise surprise, my favourite colours; coral & turquoise. These lightweight vests retail at £29 and comes in 14 colours so there’s bound to be one you’ll love / Upbeat padded bra in Electric Lime (link) / Karma Yoga Pant – these are super soft and my new favourite lounge pants (link) / Pink Sweaty Betty Drink Bottle (link) / Shock Absorber Plunge Bra (link)
I’m so glad I found this sports bra! This is the first one I have ever found that is really supportive when running but attractive at the same time. The plunge doesn’t mean less support and it’s great for lower fitting tops and making you feel slightly more sexy and sleek than in your average sports bra!
OK enough fitness talk – now I need to rest up my knee and fingers crossed I will be all good to run my 21km next Sunday…..
HELLO! I am Roz and welcome to my blog. I hope you like it and I'd love to connect with you on social media.