I’ve read quite a few fellow bloggers’ “Year in Review” posts, and I’ve really enjoyed them. Some reflect on their favourite races and running accomplishments, some highlight their favourite blog posts of the year, giving an interesting round up of experiences. Most include the good and the bad. I’m going to call mine my “2015 Storybook” – a summary of my highlights, and the not-so-good bits. I feel as though it’s an opportunity to look back, reflect and learn.

2015 Goals

I started off with best intentions, setting myself a big ol’ list of things I wanted to work on in 2015. I chose things from each area of my life, whether that was work, blogging, social or family, and many people told me I’d taken on a lot… they were right. Fast forward to now and I haven’t kept up with my goals. Yes, things went wrong along the way, which didn’t help, but I now realise that I didn’t plan well enough – I was trying to focus on too many different areas at once, rather than tackling one thing at a time, then moving on to the next.

My Storybook

Family and Friends

My family grew quite considerably in 2015. There were two big weddings in my life this year – the first was my dad’s, giving me a step-mum and four step-sisters, and the second was my own, giving me a husband and a mother- and father-in-law.

After my parents’ divorce in 2012 it seemed a challenge to keep my time balanced between mother and father. I didn’t want either to think that I was spending more time with the other. And I don’t see my friends as much as I like. I know the answer is making time, and not just hoping for it, so I’m actively looking for ways to see my family and friends more in 2016.

Keeping up with everyone all of the time is just not possible, but I hope they can see how much of my life goes into making something of myself, not just for me – but to make them proud.

Relationship

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I married the love of my life in October. Yes, wedding planning was stressful at times, but we made an effort to keep calm and not let the planning take over.

Now I can honestly say that things just couldn’t be better. Perhaps we’re still in the honeymoon period, quite literally, but I don’t think that’s it – I genuinely think marriage has made our relationship stronger and we are more in love than ever (sorry for the soppiness!).

Work and Blog

 

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I’ve put these together as I see them both as the “professional” elements of my life. Work is going really well – the team I work in is great to be a part of, and I feel I get a good balance of being given direction, while still working somewhat independently.

The blog has been, like many things, up and down. I’ve been fairly consistent in posting, but had two to three months in the year where I dropped off the radar a little. Sometimes I question whether I still enjoy it or not, other times I wonder why I ever thought that. What it has brought me, though, is some fantastic opportunities.

This year I’ve been proud to write for various different publications, including big websites and print and digital magazines. I took part in a photoshoot for an active wear company, and was shortlisted for top fitness blogger lists and awards. I was also featured and interviewed as a top fitness blogger for a national magazine.

Education

As you may already know, I’ve gone “back to school” this year, picking up degree study with the Open University. I’m working towards a BSC Hons in Sport, Fitness and Coaching, with my current module on Sports Psychology, and it’s so interesting! I’m also part way through my Personal Training qualification with HFE, which I’m loving, and I hope to complete this early in 2016.

Studying on top of a full time job, keeping up a house, blog, relationship and social life is not easy. But I think education will always factor in my life – I love to learn and take in new information. If I never had to work again, I would probably be a full time student!

Fitness

This has been where most of my ups and downs have come from. I seem to have a continual love-hate relationship with fitness. Working out can make me feel both on top of the world (when I achieve a new skill, or get a personal best) and at rock bottom (when I get injured, or struggle with something I should be able to do). I’ll split my fitness storybook into four main sections – what makes up my fitness DNA.

Running

 

 

 

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I had races booked up throughout the year, from 10k to Half Marathon and everything in-between. With a fun start of the year of the London Winter Run and a last-minute appearance at the Brighton Half Marathon, I started to rack up the medals on my new medal rails. I then tackled Reading Half – achieving an almost PB – took on yet another obstacle race, the Warrior Adrenaline Race (something I may have to make more time for!), the Colour Run, and ran the very novel Wings for Life race (chased by David Coulthard in a catcher car!). I ran my fastest 10k for years, again narrowly missing out on a PB time, and then my mid-point race became my last race of the year with an injury sustained half-way round. My second stress fracture.

From there, running ceased. I’ve now run a total of twice since – though one of these times was at a really fun adidas event ending in a rooftop photoshoot! I don’t know if I’ll pick up running to the same extent again. I’m considering sticking to obstacle races because, despite them theoretically being more risky when it comes to injury, I think they’re perhaps better for me with the broken up sections of running interspersed with stuff to climb over/crawl through/jump off. I’m undecided.

 

CrossFit

 

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Ahhh, my one true fitness love. CrossFit has been a constant for me over the last couple of years, and is still the place where I feel the strongest sense of community. I took part in the CrossFit Games Open for the second time, finishing 808th in my category in the UK. I also did my first Weightlifting Competition – something which definitely gave me an ego-check. I started looking more scientifically at CrossFit, and have been working hard to try and position myself as a point of trust in the UK community, helped by my articles for PT Magazine, Breaking Muscle, MyProtein and more. I hope this continues into 2016 as I have big plans for my blog in this area.

Unfortunately my injury mid-way through the year put a bit of a halt to my fitness goals for this year. I was getting really close to achieving my first full strict pull up, but when I stopped training for five weeks, and then only went back once a week for a further six or seven, this regressed considerably. I have also been pretty down on myself for not achieving skills that, in my opinion, I should have nailed by now. I started having Personal Training at the end of October, for precisely this reason, and I had a little whinge to my coach the other day about my lack of skills. He’s given me some advice which I aim to put into practice from now, and I WILL be nailing those skills this year.

Yoga

 

Having finally found a class that was both convenient and enjoyable towards the end of 2014, I was sure that yoga was going to be a regular in my life. But, unfortunately, the class was cancelled in early 2015 through lack of attendance. The instructor, Paul, is brilliant, and still teaches loads of other classes around the area in which I live, but unfortunately they aren’t as easy to fit into my schedule and so I’m not sure how consistently I’ll keep going.

I have, however, found Yoga Gym – the yoga training book written by Nicola Jane Hobbs, complete with home training programme – which I will be tackling to try and make yoga a more consistent part of my training.

New Fitness Concepts

I always say how much I love to try new classes and ways of working out, and this little section is devoted to that. I have tried an eclectic mix of classes and fitness venues/concepts, including:

And that’s to name a few! I will continue to try as many new and interesting ways to work out as I can – you never know what you might enjoy doing, or when what you currently enjoy might not be so much fun anymore.

Body Image

I thought I’d end on this topic, as it’s probably where most of my insecurities come from. This year I feel as though I have truly said goodbye to diets. I opened up massively in June about my body hang-ups and my troubled history of dieting and a minor eating disorder. Honestly, I received the most overwhelming response to this post – and I can’t thank you enough for every kind word I got. I’ve yo-yo dieted for years, and tried everything from intermittent fasting and detoxes, to meticulously counting calories. And quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as when I HAVEN’T been on a diet.

Finally now I’m starting to accept my body for the way it is: cumbersome (because I’m quite tall!), slightly squidgy, but strong and capable of almost anything I throw at it. What I’ve learned the most is that we all have “fat days”, it’s just learning not to beat yourself up about them that is the important part. As soon as we can learn to love our bodies for the things they allow us to do, the better. And I have an exciting project I’d like to get off the ground in 2016 in that respect too… watch this space.

Looking Forward to 2016

I haven’t settled on my goals for 2016, but I think I’m going to learn from this past year and take them as they come. Things change – goals change. And that’s ok.

First up? Pull ups… it’s time to really devote some effort and focus and get shit done!

Happy New Year!

Have you written a year in review post? Or decided on your goals for 2016? What have your biggest achievements been? Please feel free to post them in the comments below so I can have a read!

Christmas is now fully underway and I had two Christmas parties this week to prove it! Unfortunately exercise kind of fell by the wayside and I had more hangover related pain than I did DOMS, but it’s only Christmas once a year! I try to alternate alcoholic drinks with water to lessen the effects, as well as making sure I eat enough to sustain me without going overboard, but it’s fine to indulge every now and then, don’t you think?!

Week 50 – 7th – 13th December 2015

Monday – CrossFit 9:30am. I had the day off work so went along to the 9:30 class. Because I only usually go to 6am classes I hardly ever get to see other members of the box so it was nice to catch up with some of the other members. We started with a 10 minute EMOM of handstand push ups. Next up was wide grip press behind neck for 10-8-6-4-4-4. I worked at 35kg, and (as always) ended up with a nice bruise across the back of my neck! The WOD was the next Athlete Games competition WOD (#2):

21 pullups

9 GTOH (80/55kg)

15 pullups

6 GTOH (80/55kg)

9 pullups

3 GTOH (80/55kg)

I scaled to 40kg for the ground to overhead and jumping chest to bar pull ups for a time of 5:40. I really wish my kipping pullups were up to scratch enough for me to be able to RX WODs like this.

Tuesday – Rest day. Another day off work and I had a hair cut booked for the morning. I looked around town for a bit then went home to get ready for a journey into London for dinner for my brother’s birthday. We ate at Gaucho’s in Piccadilly and I had the most amazing steak!

Wednesday – Yoga 7pm. After eating so much last night I literally burst out of the zip on my jacket, I thought I should take it a little easy on the food tonight so yoga was sans dessert (unlike our yoga dessert combo a couple of weeks ago)!

Thursday – Rest day. Tonight was our work Christmas party so I hauled a bag of makeup and change of clothes into the London office – I had a meeting there in the day and our Christmas party was in London so it made sense to go straight from work. Our party was held at Temple Place, an amazing architectural delight! We drank and ate and danced (more of all of those than I had planned) and I caught the last train home.

Friday – Rest day. Usually I’d book the day after Christmas party day off work, but I had to be more careful with my holiday this year, and I had a client meeting, so I dragged my slightly hungover butt to work and ate my way through! The client meeting went well and I was lucky to be able to go home a little early so took advantage of the sofa time!

Saturday – Rest day/Ikea workout! I had to take a trip to Ikea at Lakeside to pick up a desk for our spare room – I really dislike going to Ikea and having to wonder around the whole store, but luckily I’d looked up exactly what I wanted in advance so managed to just go straight into the warehouse section, though it was a workout in itself lugging the desk in and out of the car!

In the evening was our CrossFit Christmas party so I got myself ready (short hair quiffed up for the first time!) and headed over to my friend’s for pre-party drinks. Yet another night of drinking, eating and dancing… what a combination! My feet were killing by the end of the night, and especially after two nights in heels this week… if only I could wear Nanos all the time!

Sunday – Rest day. Hangover number two of this week was short lived as I got myself ready for a family Christmas lunch. Every year we meet up with my mum and her sister and family for a Christmas meal and this year the celebrations fell on my mum’s birthday too. We had a lovely (festive!) Mexican meal and chatted for hours before heading home to prepare for another week!

How do you tackle evenings out? Do you pace yourself with drinks, or avoid them completely? Am I alone in wanting to wear Nanos for every occasion?! You can dress them up… right?!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 50 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg

The Zone Diet Mediterranean

The Mediterranean diet has long been put on a pedestal as the ideal way to eat if you want a long and healthy life, and for good reason – Italian, Greek, Spanish, wherever you look the cuisine is colourful, varied and full of nutrient packing ingredients. But, Dr Barry Sears, author of the Mediterranean Zone (follow-on to the very successful The Zone), argues that this may not be enough.

The typical Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet typically revolves around eating mostly plant-based foods, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, opting for lean meat choices, and using healthy fats, herbs and spices to add flavour. This usually equates to a macronutrient split of roughly 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein and 30% fat. Shown in many studies to lead to a longer, healthier life, including lower incidence of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, like stroke and heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, this sounds like a pretty good deal.

What could be better than the Mediterranean Diet? The Mediterranean Zone Diet... Click To Tweet

However, while Sears agrees with the majority of this way of eating, he also challenges certain elements of the Mediterranean diet. Namely our beloved starchy carbohydrates. He claims that these are a big part of why our modern lives are so threatened by obesity, illness and disease. Read on to find out why…

The concept of The Zone

Having written at least 8 books on the topic, Sears clearly is passionate about The Zone. So just what is “The Zone” and how do you get in it?

The Zone Diet Mediterranean Review

What is The Zone?

The Zone is a state of balance, where levels of three key markers are within a certain range – believed to be the ideal state for avoiding chronic inflammation, the suspected cause of obesity and many of life’s dreaded diseases. These markers give you a quantifiable measure of your health. Sears suggests getting blood tests to determine your position relative to The Zone, though this sounds a little clinical to me.

How do you get in The Zone?

How you get in The Zone is a little less black and white. According to Sears, chronic inflammation is so prevalent because of two main factors, both related to diet. We now eat in such a way that:

  1. encourages a pro-inflammatory response
  2. limits our anti-inflammatory response

Pro-inflammatory response

What encourages this pro-inflammatory response is, apparently, a double whammy combination of excess insulin and omega 6 fatty acids in the blood. Insulin, along with glucagon, is a vital hormone for the regulation of blood sugar levels, but in excess is a major cause of inflammation. Teamed with omega 6 fatty acids, the inflammation response is accelerated.

Our western diet is the fuel to this fire, with high sugar and foods high in omega 6 fatty acids, such as fried foods, cakes, pastries and corn and vegetable oil, but according to Sears, also white carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice.

Our western diet creates a pro-inflammatory response. Find out how to reverse it... Click To Tweet

Anti-inflammatory response

Meanwhile, we now supposedly don’t eat enough of the foods that encourage the anti-inflammatory response – foods rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are a chemical compound found in plants, and are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to prevent disease. Foods such as colourful vegetables, fruit, and even wine (and yes… chocolate!) contain polyphenols. But apparently these magical anti-inflammatories are only effective in vast amounts, and unfortunately vast amounts of wine and chocolate are not the answer!

The Mediterranean Zone Diet Book Review

The Mediterranean Zone

So just what is Sears’s advice? The answer is how you proportion your plate. Whereas in the original Enter The Zone book, Sears talks about calculating “blocks” to ensure you have the correctly balanced meal, the catchy reference he makes throughout The Mediterranean Zone is that “all you need is a hand, an eye and a watch”.

Y’what?

  • A hand – to measure the size of your protein portion.
  • An eye – to visually check the rest of your plate for bright colours, two-thirds of vegetables, a small amount of fruit and a dash of fat.
  • A watch – because, according to Sears, if your meal properly gets you in The Zone, you shouldn’t need to eat again for 5 hours.

Now I have to admit to only ever making it 5 hours without eating when I’m asleep… but apparently it’s do-able with the right balance of carbs, protein and fat. The idea is that this will result in a macronutrient split more like 40:30:30, or in block currency, three x 9g blocks of carbohydrate, three x 7g blocks of protein, and three x 1.5g blocks of fat (four of each for men!). Luckily Sears also includes a whole section of recipes, pre-calculated to the macronutrient split required.

Follow the Mediterranean Zone plate portions and you won't need to eat again for 5 hours! Click To Tweet

And just in case you do get hungry again within the 5 hours? There’s even a The Zone compatible range of snacks and supplements you can tuck into, courtesy of Enerzona. I was kindly given a selection of snacks, and some omega 3 capsules, along with the book. Personally I found the snack bars a little artificial-tasting, but the minirocks are lovely for a nibble! Though I doubt they contain any polyphenols…

The Mediterranean Zone Diet Book Review

The Mediterranean Zone Diet Book Review

My Thoughts

I won’t claim to be a nutrition expert – I’ve only done two short courses with the Open University on nutrition, and studied it as part of my Personal Training course with HFE – but I have got experience of my own eating patterns, what works for me and what doesn’t.

I think the idea of a decent serving of protein, and balanced carbs and fat is a good one. The macronutrient split that Sears proposes also looks pretty good for someone wanting to lose fat, however he makes it very clear when you dig into some of the detail of the book that you would probably end up eating only around 1200-1500 calories, which in my eyes is just not enough for someone who exercises 4-5 times per week.

Not only that, but I don’t really understand where the anti-starchy-carbs movement has come from. White rice, potatoes and pasta are on the naughty list, and even the brown alternatives have been given a yellow card. Sears states that this is because of the high glycaemic index (the amount of available sugar compared to glucose in its purest form) causing a spike in insulin, but my understanding has always been that combining carbohydrate with protein slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, meaning a steadier rise in insulin. Perhaps I need to do more reading in this area? Regardless of that, without starchy carbs there’s no way I’d function for training sessions. 

What I’ll take from The Zone

The evidence Sears pulls together on the benefits of polyphenols, and the damage caused by too much sugar and omega 6 fatty acids, has definitely changed my outlook on food. I think my body takes care of me quite well on its own, in that if I have a particularly carb-and-fat-rich meal I’ll always crave fruits and vegetables later in the day or the next day… it must be my body’s way of trying to reduce inflammation naturally.

Interested in following the Mediterranean Zone? Check out my take-away tips: Click To Tweet

I won’t be cutting out starchy carbs any time soon, though perhaps I’ll look to lower consumption where I can. But, I will pay more attention to:

  • Choosing omega 3 fatty acids, from sources such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and supplementing where necessary.
  • Going for a range of different coloured vegetables, rather than sticking to just my trusty greens.
  • Consuming omega 6 fatty acids (from cakes, biscuits, vegetable oil, etc.) less frequently.
  • Looking to control my blood sugar with low glycaemic load foods, and combining protein with my carbs (which I almost always do anyway).

What do you think of The Zone? How does your diet compare? The Zone has been particularly popular in the CrossFit community, with it being heavily recommended in the CrossFit Journal – if you’re a CrossFitter who’s tried it I’d especially love to hear from you!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Mediterranean Zone, and some Enerzona samples, for free. As always, my opinion is my own and not affected by items gifted to me. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links – if you make a purchase through clicking this link I will receive a small commission, but the price you pay is not affected. Affiliate links help contribute towards the cost of running this website. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page.

This week saw the second week of my personal training course so I knew I’d have to try and get all my planned workouts in during the week if I was to get enough exercise in. I managed a couple of challenging CrossFit sessions and a yoga class – a good balance of high intensity and mobility work!

Week 49 – 30th November to 6th December 2015

Monday – Rest day.

Tuesday – CrossFit 6am. We started with a 15 calorie row for time, which I completed in 43 seconds. Next up was jerks off the rack for 2×3, 2×2, and then heavy singles. I got up to 55kg. The WOD was the Athlete Games competition WOD #1, which was:

0-1 – 5 burpee over bar, then 1 front squat.

1-2 – 5 burpee over bar, then 2 front squats

2-3 – 5 burpee over bar, then 3 front squats

Continuing the same pattern until you can’t complete the round in a minute.

The score was total reps x load (athlete chooses the load). I worked at 40kg and got 36 reps in total (minute 8) for a score of 1440. I had managed to finish the round of 8 in time to start the round of 9, but my back started to hurt so I dropped out.

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Wednesday – Yoga, 7pm. Another of Paul’s fantastic Ashtanga yoga classes. We always work on such lovely, deep stretches, and he throws in a few really challenging moves, which I love.

Thursday – Rest day.

Friday – CrossFit 6am. I made the stupid mistake of telling our coach about a hands on hips rule that my instructor on a bootcamp certificate course I went on had – every time someone put their hands on their hips everyone had to do five burpees. Joel took this and ran with it… making us all do burpees in addition to the WOD – the moral of this story? Don’t make casual conversation about forms of punishment with coach Joel!

We had a 7 minute EMOM of 5 strict pullups (with a band) and 5 toes to bar. Next up was 6×3 shoulder to overhead at 80-85% of 1Rm, supersetted with a 30 second handstand hold, every two minutes. I worked at 47.5kg. The WOD was a partner 10 minute AMRAP of:

12 calorie row

Max reps OH squat 43/30kg.

The score was the total number of overhead squats you completed in the time. I worked with Debs and we scaled to 20kg. Our score was 98 reps.

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Saturday – PT course. Day one of the second weekend of learning to be a personal trainer with HFE. The morning started with our Level 3 Nutrition exam. I’d been nervous about this because I didn’t feel as though I’d spent enough time revising, but I finished up with some time to spare so did a quick pullup and TRX workout before morning break. Then we recapped some of the previous weekend’s topics, and then went on to looking at resistance training training concepts, including different types of sets and training methods. After lunch was a practical session, which is great for getting you out of that post-lunch slump… but not too great at letting your food settle! For the last part of the day we looked at cardiovascular training. This included aerobic training, intervals, fartlek, and HIIT. We had the opportunity to get hot and sweaty practising what we had learnt.

Sunday – PT course. Day two and we started the day off putting our “client” (eachother!) through 10 minutes of one cardiovascular workout, followed by 10 minutes of another cardiovascular training concept. After morning break we moved on to core stability exercises. We looked at different progressions and regressions you can do for core exercises, from isolated all the way up to integrated movements. The afternoon was spent learning PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching.

Have you done a Personal Trainer qualification? Or are you studying now, or thinking of starting? I’d love to hear your experiences of PT study!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 49 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg

Christmas. My favourite time of year! Cosy evenings, beautiful lights and decorations, time spent with family, and the giving of gifts – all bringing a sense of comfort and happiness. If you need a little helping hand in your decision of what to buy your loved ones, this gift guide may just be the thing you need… well, if your loved one is into CrossFit, running or yoga, that is!

I put this list together with the hope of helping you find a little something for your fitness friends/family, and also to showcase a few of my favourite items, or those I’m coveting myself. Products marked with an asterisk (*) are tried and tested. Everything else is based on personal opinions of style and/or usefulness!

Struggling with Christmas shopping? Check out this gift guide for CrossFitters, Runners and Yogis! Click To Tweet

I’ve included a range of products, from stocking fillers and more affordable gifts, right the way up to luxury/high-end items, to help you choose something appropriate for your budget. But enough chat… let’s get shopping!

Christmas Gift Guide – What to Buy CrossFitters, Runners and Yogis

Luxury gifts

Luxury Christmas Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Liforme Yoga Mat. £100. This is on my “to-buy” list… as soon as I can justify the £100 to get it! The markings on the mat help you to achieve perfect alignment in each of the postures, meaning you can focus more on getting the most out of your practice and less on whether your hands and feet are level in downward dog.

For the CrossFitter… Reebok CrossFit Fleece. £110. This may seem a lot for a fleece, but the design of this baby has taken WODs into consideration meaning you can train in it without compromising performance. Reebok also spent a long time working out the shape of CrossFit athletes in order to get the best fit possible. No more shoulder or lat constriction!

For the runner… adidas Ultra Boost Trainers.* £130. These are just a fantastic running shoe. adidas’s Boost technology has been around for a few years now and their shoe design seems to be going from strength to strength. The Ultra Boost shoes are their greatest shoe yet, with bouncy cushioning, stretchweb outsole and a knitted upper for the perfect fit.

High-end gifts

High-end Christmas Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Lululemon Bring It Om Tote. £68. Firstly, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the name! This bag has room for all your yoga bits – strap, blocks, water, cover-up and yes, even your mat. Though the bag is super-sleek in black, I would love if they had a choice of colours, but there’s no denying how functional it is. A great gift for yoga class regulars.

For the CrossFitter… inov-8 Fastlift Shoes.* £69.99. I am in love with my fastlifts. Having tried Reebok lifters I thought my luck was out getting a comfortable lifting shoe (sorry Reebok, I just wasn’t a fan), but inov-8 certainly lived up to their usual standard of delivering the most comfortable fit, complete with an extremely sturdy heel and sole. These shoes have been an absolute godsend for my lifting, and the new AW15 colourway is just lush.

For the runner… Pace Run Leggings.* £75. Give your loved ones cosy legs for their winter runs. These leggings are not only beautiful to look at, but also toasty with a thermal fabric. Sweaty Betty can be known for their great fitting clothing and these leggings are no exception. Plus, they make the wearer’s bum look uber-peachy… surely a benefit to the buyer too?!

Mid-range gifts

Mid-range Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Yogasphere Yoga at the Shard.* £40. Not a material gift, but one your yoga-loving loved one will remember forever. Imagine doing yoga at the dizzying heights of over 1,000 feet! This is an experience not to be missed, and… yogasphere plant 10 trees for every class booked so you can feel nice and smug for saving the planet at the same time.

For the CrossFitter… RX Smartgear Jump Rope.* Approx. £35. These jump ropes are brilliant – the cable rotates freely and the handles are comfortable to hold. You can also get varying weight cables for a faster or more controlled rotation. They are custom made and from America, but if you order now you should expect delivery with time to spare before Christmas. You can even pre-pay the taxes to save more time!

For the runner… Redbear Sports Christmas Jumper Running Top.* £28. I don’t think this running top even needs a justification… it’s a technical running top, that looks like a Christmas jumper. Oh, and did I mention it’s technical? What more can you want?! You may have seen a very similar item on my Christmas wish list last year – clearly this idea will never get old to me! Make sure you size up though – they come up small and you won’t want your loved one thinking they’ve just eaten too many mince pies.

Affordable giftsAffordable Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

 

For the yogi… Yoga Gym: The Revolutionary 28 Day Bodyweight Plan for Strength, Flexibility and Fat Loss.* £12. A must have for yoga lovers who want to take their yoga to the next level, or equally for newbie yogis who want to learn how to supplement their yoga practice with postures and techniques that will make them stronger and more flexible. I was lucky to receive an advance copy and I’m loving it already. Released on 17th December… just in time for Christmas.

For the CrossFitter… Be Better Athletic Wrist Wraps.* £11.99. When strength work gets heavy, the front rack position or snatch grip can get painful on the old wrists. These wrist wraps are little gems, helping to hold your wrist in a safer position and limited the stress on this complicated joint. Ideal for any CrossFitter looking to move onto heavier lifts.

For the runner… Led Lenser Neo Headlight.* £20. When the evenings get dark at this time of year, visibility is essential. You want your loved one to see and be seen, right? This headlight is superb… no doubt about it. The rectangular shape of the light casts a widescreen beam, meaning you can see the full width of the pavement ahead. It’s also light and comfortable, so your loved one is less likely to care that they look like a miner.

Stocking Fillers

Stocking Fillers For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Yummi Yoga Cookie Cutters. £6.50. How adorable are these?! Available in a range of shapes, your yoga lover can enjoy making cookies (healthy or not!) in their favourite yoga postures. A great novelty gift for that Christmas stocking or Secret Santa.

For the yogi… Activbod Mind Over Matter Balm.* £7. Perfect for helping focus and calm, this little balm is great for a pre-workout sharpener, or to pop on before laying down in savasana. Oh and it smells AMAZING.

For the CrossFitter… Goat Tape. £9.99. WTF is goat tape? Well I can’t explain the name, but I can explain the purpose! CrossFit can get a little tough on the old hands – this tape can be used to protect problem areas on the hand where the bar or rig might cause tears, or even to hold grips in place. Still confused about the name? Me too.

For the CrossFitter… Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll-on Lotion. £5. This stuff helps loosen tight spots which, let’s face it – us CrossFitters have a-plenty. A handy little roll on makes it easier than ever to apply deep heat right where you need it for that muscle soothing action.

For the runner… NATHAN StrobeLight. £9. You may have seen my post on the range of Nathan Sports goodies to help #fireupyourrun. This baby is perfect for a Christmas Stocking filler that will help keep your loved one safe this winter.

For the runner… Feetures Elite Cushion No Show Socks. £10. I can’t be the only one who used to routinely get socks in my Christmas stocking? Keep a shoe in (get it?!) with tradition by popping these comfy little socks in your favourite runner’s stocking this Christmas. They’ll thank you with cosy feet!

What’s on your Christmas list this year? Why not share this list with your friends or family if there’s something on here that you want… there’s nothing like a subtle hint in the form of a Tweet or Facebook comment!

Christmas Gift Guide for CrossFitters, Runners and Yogis

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After such a crazy week last week the last thing I wanted to do was study so I took a break from the books and got my butt back into training. I went to a couple of CrossFit sessions, a yoga class, personal training and my strength and power programme – the only thing missing was a run… but let’s not talk about that right now, shall we?!

Week 48 – 23rd to 29th November

Monday  CrossFit 6am. We started with some snatch technique and worked up to 3×3. We then moved on to snatch doubles, adding weight. I got up to 35kg. The WOD was 6 rounds of 1 minute work, 1 minute rest:

5 power snatch (43/30kg)

Max down ups

The score was the total number of down ups over the 6 rounds. I managed 62 reps at the RX weight.

Tuesday – Rest day. After such a busy week last week, and then a jam-packed studying weekend, I needed the break so vegged out on the sofa with dinner!

Wednesday – CrossFit 6am. We did some pull up practice, supersetted with dips. I decided to work on strict pull ups, using a purple band, and used a thin red band for the dips, managing 5×5, every 90 seconds. The WOD was 10 minute AMRAP of:

30 DUs

10 alternate KB snatch (24/16kg)

I scaled to single unders (x 60), despite having a battle with myself knowing I should have taken the time to practice my nemesis, and used a 12kg bell. I shouldn’t really have scaled the skipping, but because I’d already scaled the bell I took the excuse to scale everything. Poor show! I managed 6 rounds and 48 reps.

Yoga 7:30pm. I went to my favourite yoga class with Laura. We both managed to do a side crow for the first time! After class we went for dessert… as you do! We each had a sundae and nattered the night away drinking diet cokes until getting kicked out of the pub at closing time!

Thursday – Gym 1:30pm. I was on a half day today for a Fitness Writers’ Association event with Action PR at Transition Zone, so I took the excuse to get a lunchtime workout in. I did power cleans, wide grip deadlifts, hip thrusters, dips, face pulls, split squats and single leg dragon flags – all from my PT programme by Joel.

I went home to shower and eat before heading into London for the event. Getting to the Transition Zone with time to help prepare the goody bags, I snapped some of the event as it happened – we had a nice group of journalists and bloggers, all there to try out Power Plate and have a run with Phoebe Thomas, who shared her winter running motivation tips. The event was then finished off with some healthy snacks from the Transition Zone menu, and a prize draw for four lucky people to win a Grid STK or STK X.

Friday – Rest day. A late night last night meant a tired Friday – I definitely needed the rest!

Saturday – PT with Joel, 1pm. We did an evil superset of 6×6 push press @ 75% of 1RM, followed by a 30 second handstand hold, repeated every 2 minutes. I worked at 45kg and my wrists and shoulders were killing! I then had a WOD of 4 rounds of:

1 minute burpee over box (24/20″)

1 minute barbell OH lunge (40/25kg)

1 minute TTB

1 minute calorie row

1 minute rest

The score was max reps and I managed 171 reps. I was pretty disappointed as I just got worse and worse on each round, but it was pretty killer looking back at it!

IMG_0659

In the evening we had some drinks at Darren’s friends’ house now that they have finished renovating it, complete with lots of nibbles!

Sunday – Rest day. I did some work around the house, then got ready to go out for dinner with my good friend and Maid of Honour, Vicky – it was the first time we’d seen each other since the wedding!

Is it just me and my friends who go out for dessert?! Do you keep a training diary? If you do please feel free to post a link below – I’d love to have a read!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 198.3 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 15 out of 48 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Need to work on confidence away from a wall.
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Regressed since injury and infrequent training.
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) Clean and jerk 60kg, clean 67.5kg. BW ~72.5kg.
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg