Fitness Challenges – What are your’s?

People are seeking ever increasing fitness challenges, what are your’s? 5k, Marathon? Triathlon? Heavier weights? Mud runs/ OCR?

It may be to lose weight, walk around the park, build a booty, improve your health outcomes, Whatever your fitness challenges are they are your personal challenges or goals.

Running

I’ve done a couple of half marathons…..with about 25 years between them! The first when the girls were under 5 and time was tight. The second whilst supporting my eldest daughter in her C25k, followed by her half marathon training and later she did the London Marathon…….the latter definitely not my bag, so time consuming….not to mention the pain. I supported her with this one by taking her drinks when she was doing a long run, running out to meet her and running the last couple of miles back with her and giving her massages!

The second half marathon was not really a planned goal, it was however a challenge!  As I said I was running with Alice as she trained for her first half marathon. After running 12 miles with her I questioned why I didn’t do my second half marathon. Unfortunately I couldn’t get into the one she was doing so we both booked onto one for about 3 weeks after. It was a glorious day and a lovely run which I managed in a very respectable 2 hours 4 mins, not bad for a 53 year old with dodgy knees. Shame I didn’t break the 2 hour mark tho’ cos I don’t plan to run another one!

Fitness challenges running
Half Marathon 2hrs 4mins

Wolf Run

A couple of years ago I did the Wolf Run, now that was great fun, very, very muddy and one to do with friends as you need to push and pull each other up and over obstacles. Woods…..Obstacles…..Lakes….Fields: a 10k run with tough natural and man-made obstacles, actually not a lot of running, lots of trying to stay on two feet in the mud, climbing, swimming and crawling! Definitely a fabulous fitness challenge!

fitness challenges wolf run
Wolf Run – just washed off crossing the river!

Walking

Walking is now my thing: Coast to Coast, ( in 3 sections), Cotswold Way and now Offa’s Dyke Path piecemeal. These walks are fitness challenges, completing good mileage to reach your overnight stop, on Offa’s Dyke we are carrying our luggage including 3 days worth of dog food! and climbing over 100 floors – the health app on my phone recorded 105 floors, over 30,000 steps and 19km covered on one day 🙂

 

Fitness Challenges walks
Offs’s Dyke Path – the end of Hatterrall Ridge

Online Gym

Generally my fitness challenges are almost daily, personal and in the front room …..my workout space! 

Julia Buckleys online gym programmes have a mix of HIIT, weights, weighted HIIT, flexibility work and cardio. Great for doing in your own time and space, no one watching, fabulous workouts and excellent programmes done for you!! Fantastic camaraderie and support on the website too.

fitness challenges online gym
Post workout – online gym
Training in my front room!

Your Fitness Challenge

Don’t be intimidated by the guys that want to do ultra runs/massive cycling mileage/ strong people events ( delete/ insert as appropriate) if you struggle to jog to the end of your road.   It is your fitness journey, your life, have fitness challenges that will change you. You’ll be rewarded by health benefits, oh and great satisfaction.

Let me know what your current fitness challenges are in the comments below.

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram @jenafitlife

Read about the further challenge from long walks here ….Blisters!    https://www.jenafitlife.com/2017/05/30/blisters-when-walking/

Further blogs on running:

Running

Running – How To Get Going

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Blogtacular – Blogging Conference

Getting there

I spent a beautiful sunny Saturday in June at a Blogging Conference in London! It was very colourful, bright and cheery both in terms of the decor, the people and the presentations….oh and the food! It was indeed more than a Conference.

Blog Conference
Arriving at Blogtacular

When I booked on to the event I hadn’t realised there was a pre conference event on the Friday; a photowalk followed by a party at West Elm. This looked great fun but logistics (trains already booked and a dog!) meant I couldn’t make it.

I live a 50 minute train trip (and a 20 minute car journey) from Euston and a Virgin Rail offer enabled my to travel for £8 return…..YES £8 crazy! I had an early start as the Conference kicked off at 8.30 with Breakfast (you can see the day’s schedule here). My plan was to arrive at 9ish and partake in second breakfast – I am a hobbit and I can’t leave home without breakfast :).

Conference travel
Waiting for my bargain Virgin Train!

The Conference – morning session

Blogtacular Conference
Kat Molesworth welcoming us to Blogtacular

Things really got started at 9.40, after I’d consumed several Beurre d’Isigny pain au chocolate and pain au raisin, washed down with a bucket of coffee, with an inspiring keynote speech from Natalie Lue . The message promoted Blogging for yourself, doing it because you want to, not copying or comparing but LOVING IT.

Following a short coffee break a choice of 4 workshops were available, each with enough space not to be turned away disappointed. I had met a lovely lady (Jo) at this point. We were going to different workshops, this meant when we met later we were able to feedback and share our workshop experiences. This added great value to the Conference overall.

I attended the Foundations of Marketing workshop led by Kayte Ferris ( http://www.simpleandseason.com/) . I have some marketing knowledge and was interested to get a bloggers view, not only does Kayte blog but she is a Marketing Consultant and Coach. The session was useful. Kayte made me think I needed to look more specifically at who I expect or want my audience to be and to develop a “Buyer Persona”. From this analysis you can develop your stories and how to communicate them. Lots of food for thought and work to be done. Talking this through with my new friend Jo and others in the lunch break started the process!

Conference workshop
Kayte Ferris Marketing Workshop

Lunch was spectacular, I chose roasted salmon pea risotto, lemon butter and pea shoots accompanied with a variety of salads. It was very well organised and plentiful. No hassle, no queuing and plenty of time to chat or peruse the market.

The Conference – afternoon session

Next I chose to go to the Working with Brands workshop presented by Lucy Nicholls (http://www.shinythoughts.net/hello/ ). Lucy has worked for ASOS and now Boden as a Social Media Content Producer. Being a Blogger herself Lucy knows a lot about Influencer Marketing. The packed presentation was comprehensive and a little bit “on the horizon” for me but one can dream! Again it made me realise a scatter-gun approach to my blog was not ideal and identifying my audience is paramount.

Jo had been to the Finding your Niche workshop and came away with a useful handout. Needless to say I stole a copy, a useful tool to help my post conference work.

A short break before the last workshop of the day. Jo and I had selected the same one, the Creative Business Masterclass. Three lovely ladies with successful creative online shops talked us through the importance of Community, Collaboration and Balance for you and your business. They were very lively and at times haphazard. This wasn’t the best session or presentation, the slides were illegible as they were too pale and the lighting in the room couldn’t be adjusted well enough to improve this. There is always a kernel of something valuable tho’ and we did come away with a list of great websites for tools and resources.

The Conference – the finale

The final break and a cup of tea was much needed, along with a smidgen of cake, all fueled up for the final keynote speaker Emma Gannon. Emma was great, very entertaining presenting the changes in blogging from 2010 to 2016 , making predictions for 2017 and championing playing to your strengths:
Ideas first, Platform second.

Blogtacular Conference Emma Gannon
Emma Gannon Keynote Speaker at Blogtacular

The Conference was rounded off by Kat Molesworth, co-founder and director of Blogtacular (http://blogtacular.com/team-blogtacular/) and a group photo. I pretty much missed the latter as a dash to the loo pre tube and train journey was a priority! Sorry Kat 🙁

Conference photo
Just too late for the Group photo!

In conclusion

Blogtacular promised to be “more than an event, it’s the catalyst to transform your career.   You will leave with the tools, ideas and inspiration to achieve your goals plus the network of contemporaries who’ll help you get there”.
I think it lived up to this. The Conference has helped me to really consider my audience and given me some tools and advice on how to go about this. It sent me away with lots to think about, lots of resources to research and lots of places to look for inspiration.

Have you been to Blogtacular?

Would you recommend any other Blogger events?

 

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram jenafitlife

Conference goody bag
The morning after! Tea in bed and my Blogtacular goody bag!

You can read the Blogtacular write up in their blog here  http://blogtacular.com/blog/

Do you want to make a change?

The Beech Tree

Do you want to make a change in your life? Do you cling to old habits and ways? Perhaps now is the time to take some action.

I’ve been watching Spring unfurl in my new environment and have posted on Instagram numerous pictures of blossom’s, flower’s and tree’s.
I was particularly taken by this one small beech tree on my daily morning dog walk.

Rufus on his daily morning walk.

When all the other tree’s were bursting into life this small tree was doggedly hanging onto last years leaves. Even when Storm Doris had ran rampant across the countryside these dead leaves did not budge.

Beech no change
Hanging onto last years leaves

It made me think how we can hang on to “stuff” that is no longer of any use to us. It may have had a valuable place and a necessary use but that no longer applies or is relevant to today just like last year’s leaves. Is it time to let go of some old habits, redundant activities or friendships?

Beginning to change
Letting go!

Like the beech tree letting new life in, starting again and relishing a fresh start may be the BEST thing for you too. Do it NOW, embrace Spring and like the Beech Tree really begin to flourish, feel proud of your revived outlook and elevated approach to life!  The new buds seemed to miraculously dismiss the redundant leaves, getting rid of them in a way Storm Doris couldn’t!

new growth/change
Let new life in 🙂

The process of change doesn’t happen overnight for anybody (or the beech tree)
It takes:

But you have to get started, set the wheels in motion and keep moving forward. You have to believe in yourself  and your ability to achieve. Change can and will happen be patient, but be consistent.

 

   The Beech Tree in full bloom!

Let me know what you’re going to change in your life.

Good luck.

Thanks for reading.

 

Jen x

Further reading on the changes I’ve been dealing with in 2017
http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-waters-part-1/
http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/calmer-water-part-2/
http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/work-update-variety-jobs/

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram jenafitlife

How I deal with my blisters from long walks

Do you suffer from blisters when on a long walk or any walk for that matter? I have had my walking boots for about 5 years and wear them regularly. However when I go on a walking holiday and put in up to 20 miles I usually can expect to get sore feet and blisters 🙁

Walking boots
My trusted walking boots

Over the years I have developed a system of plasters and “padding” to try to prevent this, to no avail. I have lost toenails in the process too. I’ve had blisters on the balls of my feet, where the nail meets the toe, on the heels and on the toes. My boots are not ill fitting, they are comfortable (until a blister forms) and I wear two pairs of socks.

Historically I applied blister plasters, other plasters after the event. Now I have a blister strategy!

My Blister Strategy

When walking the Cotswold Way last Spring I applied this fantastic fleecy padding along my toes and this did a great job at protecting this bit of my feet. Sadly it was then that I got blisters under the ball of my foot, sort at the big toe joint. Some of these issues are due to my feet changing shape as a result of bunions, which in themselves are not painful and do not cause me any other issue……………….oh apart from choice of shoes, mainly from an aesthetic viewpoint.

I further enhanced my foot preparations with the purchase of these life-changing or at least foot/blister changing “Gel Ball of Foot Cushions [which] absorb shock, reduce friction and redistribute pressure with each step while taking up little space in the shoe”] http://www.superdrug.com/Superdrug/Superdrug-Toe-Loop-Ball-Of-Ft-Cushion-X2/p/536303 wearing these alongside the fleecy padding (which you can cut to size) on the toes revolutionised my feet experience on the most recent leg of the Offa’s Dyke Path (http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/) . When we walked over 50 miles in 4 days,including 17 miles on the first day and I was blister free. RESULT 🙂

blister prevention
Gel shock absorbers!

My Blister/First Aid Walking Kit

This picture shows the stuff I carry with me when walking;

  • plasters, blisters and normal
  • fleecy padding (cut to size)
  • anti-histamine
  • tick tweezers
  • antiseptic wipes
blister kit
My Blister/First Aid kit

and generally for the end of the day

  • paracetomol
  • ibuprofen
  • ibuprofen gel
Blister/ ache aid
Post walk medication!

Not a Walker?

Take a read of my blog post Do you walk regularly? to find out why walking is good for your health and how I get my walking in!

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenallenmassagetherapy/

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram jenafitlife

National Walking Month – Do you walk regularly?

May is National Walking Month, here you can find out more about why walking is good for your health and how I get my walking in!

Dog walk
Regular dog walk fun!

Do you get in 10,000 steps a day? Should you? Is that the recommendation?

Walking is a great way to get fitter, lose weight and begin to take charge of your health. It is simple, needs no equipment and can be done anywhere.

Most people are able to walk, it is a low-impact exercise – easy and free! It is shown that walking can have very valuable health benefits:
– reduces your risk of heart disease
– reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
– helps with weight loss
– exercise improves your mood
– improves your sleep
– it is energising
and getting outside will boost your vitamin D
(Source http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/09/11/daily-walk-benefits.aspx )

Interested in doing more walking? The advice is simple comfortable clothes and shoes and take some water if it’s hot or you’re out for a long time. Try to make walking part of your daily routines – the school run, walk to work or the shops, take the stairs, go for a stroll after dinner, in your lunch break or when you get home from work. For more advice and suggestions take a look here http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx

So 10,000 steps? We are advised to do at least 150 minutes of moderately intense activity such as fast walking every week (as well as strength exercises on two days a week) . 10,000 steps equates to about 5 miles, and will generally include 30 minutes of moderately intense walking thus meeting the suggested healthy activity.

If you are interested in improving your health outcomes and grabbing some of these great health benefits, the NHS websites offer some good advice. Programmes like WalkActive offer scientifically effective walking techniques to ensure correct postural alignment. If you’d like to progress to running the Couch to 5k programme starts with a good walk!

I found getting a dog meant I easily walk my 10,000 steps and it certainly means I keep fit and healthy, although this option obviously comes with other obligations and responsibilities. I have explored some of these here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/get-a-dog/ .

stick walk
Rufus always likes a stick on his walk!

I love to take walking holidays, with friends and my dog! We have together walked the Coast to Coast, a 192-mile unofficial and mostly unsignposted long-distance footpath in Northern England, from St Bee’s to Robin Hoods Bay. You can read a little about that here on the Good Dog Guide website https://www.thegooddogguide.com/blog/a-big-dog-walk/.

C2C Walk
On the Coast to Coast Walk

We have also walked the Cotswold Way, a 102-mile long-distance footpath, running along the Cotswold Edge escarpment of the Cotswold Hills. Currently we are walking Offa’s Dyke Path, following the English/Welsh border for 177 miles alongside the 8th Century Offa’s Dyke. We have walked from Chepstow to Kington and have the next stage planned for July! Read about this adventure here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/walkoffasdykepart2/

OD Walk
Walking Offa’s Dyke

I’m not suggesting you need to start planning epic walking holidays, it is a great way to see our beautiful country, but adding more walks into your life is a fabulous way to get fitter and healthier. Why not give it a go!

Let me know about your walking experience.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Frustrating Day

I don’t like Monday’s and I’ve had a frustrating day! I’ve tried to make the most of it. I hate wasting time but that is what Monday 15th May made me feel like I was doing.

The morning was dull, damp and colder inside than out. I had a morning at home with 4 massages scheduled for the afternoon. I wasn’t feeling overly motivated to crack on with my new website setting up or writing blog posts. So after a little social media perusing I decided to get my workout done. Always a mood lifter and Julia Buckley’s latest programme is such fun, varied and challenging. You can check out some of her workouts here for FREE http://azalejma.juliabfit.hop.clickbank.net

It did the trick, I was revived and able to crack on with the website and drafting 3 blog posts. I was interrupted by a text from Massage client No.2 who had a poorly child at home and needed to reschedule 🙁  I thought I’d call Massage client No. 1 to see if they could come later, to streamline my appointments, only to find they were about to call me to rearrange as they had elderly parent issues to deal with! So 2 down but both rescheduled for next week. Frustrating but hey ho. 

I went off to my Massage practice to await Massage client No. 3 and wait I did, despite a text reminder 24 hours prior they failed to turn up 🙁 Frustrating. I was very pleased to see Massage client No.4 who now had all my energy and pent up frustration to contend with!!! Just kidding. So today’s “bread and butter” work barely covered my rent……but tomorrow is another day.

Massage Practice
Massage Practice

As I said I hate to waste time:

  • I don’t watch TV unnecessarily. I only put it on when I’ve checked to see if there’s anything I want to watch.
  • I don’t engage in gossip and I’m not good at idle chat. I am good at getting others to talk and I am a good listener.
  • I don’t like to feel demotivated or frustrated

But I do like to:

  • Use my time wisely and efficiently
  • Make everyday count in some way or another
  • Enjoy life, finding the joy and pleasure in what I am able to do

I hope you had a better Monday than I did.

If you’re interested in booking a massage take a look here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/   or book online directly here, be sure to scroll down to Deep Tissue Remedial Massage  http://www.blissandbeauty.co.uk/book-online

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenallenmassagetherapy/

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram jenafitlife

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Be:Fit London 2017 My Experience

Be:Fit London 2017 My Experience

Last week my daughters and I traveled to London to Be:Fit Health and Fitness Festival at the Business Design Centre, Islington.  My eldest and I had been to a previous incarnation of this event 5 or 6 years ago, at Earls Court, and had really enjoyed it.  At that time she was getting into running, really interested in food and losing some weight. I’ve always loved to be fit and have achieved this in many ways over the years (previous blog post).

 

work research!

Be:Fit 2017 – work research!

Both my daughters and I are currently doing combinations of weight training, HiiT and cardio work. They regularly go to the local gym and I workout at home with Julia Buckleys online gymWe are all interested in real food, good nutrition and home cooking. With all this in mind here are my thoughts on Be:Fit.

In the last 5 or 6 years the fitness industry has exploded with the 20-something year olds social media phenomena, particularly You Tube and Instagram reaching so many people and colouring the market. This means this Festival was dominated by these “influencers” * and a predominantly young attendance.

Be:Fit

Be:Fit Health & Fitness Festival for Women

This is no bad thing. I LOVE the message these ladies are sending out. They speak of empowerment, respect for your body, working out because you love yourself not as a punishment, eating to fuel your body and happiness.

We listened to Carly Rowena and really enjoyed her straightforward message. Carly acknowledged it is not  “one size fits all”,  you have to do what works for you and your body. Carly offered clear, sensible and sound advice with lots of options and alternative ideas for you to individually tailor. Similar messages were echoed throughout the day by the other social media fitness stars!

Be:Fit Influencers

#girlgains preparing for their Be:Fit slot

I think the Health and Fitness industry is currently lacking some basic nutrition and cooking advice. Many people are ill-informed in this area and the current trend seems to be over complicating our food and nutrition requirements. This leaves Joe Public in a confused state. The Festival trade stands did nothing to help address this. Perhaps there is a gap in the Market for some simplification or basic nutritional advice.

The Fitness Studio, Functional Studio and Yoga Studio provided an opportunity to get your workout fix during the day. However the queuing and lack of clear ticketing arrangements (unless you’d purchased a VIP entry) was frustrating.  Perhaps a deli counter ticketing mechanism would work for the Walk Up only events .We did manage to get into the #girlgains workout which was good fun.

Be:Fit Trade stands

Be:Fit Trade stands

One of the disappointing elements of the day was the trade stands, they were a bit “samey” . Too many “healthy” snacks, protein supplements, post workout drinks and not enough real food ( sorry Heck sausages https://www.heckfood.co.uk/)  but two food/recipe subscription services!  Not enough good offers to tempt you to purchase but lots of tiny tasters for you to try. The presentation was often dull, more variety and fun needed to be injected here.

KIND at BE:Fit

KIND bars did have a great offer on!

Also in relation to the stands, more variety was needed. Where were the purveyors of weights? Resistance bands? Gym Balls?  Also a more comprehensive range of active wear in terms of price range would be good.  Fitness wear is very expensive and much of the merchandise at the Festival  was prohibitive to the average girl (earning less that £20k pa). Particularly if they are on a weight loss journey and their body is changing shape continually! Not to mention  – not everyone wears fitness gear 24/7 and they need other clothes in their wardrobe! The clothing needed to cover more than the workout crowd, and the footwear more than runners.What about crossfit, cyclists, swimmers, tennis players, yoga ….?

Be:Fit purchase

My Be:Fit Festival purchase – no special deals from Reebok

Finally I think the Festival and the Fitness Industry should wake up to the growing interest in health and fitness from the over 40s and 50+, a huge market with possibly a greater disposable income.  Everyone needs to take responsibility for their health and fitness, and this sort of event is a fantastic showcase for empowering women and giving them the right tools.

In conclusion, this Festival was possibly marginally better than the one I went to a few years ago. I think the trade stands and the food/nutrition offerings were much better despite my misgivings. However on reflection some sort of hybrid of the two events would have nailed it!

 

*Check out
– Carly Rowena https://www.carlyrowena.com/about
– #girlgains –  aim to empower, inspire, educate and motivate women to be the best        versions of themselves.http://www.girlgains.co.uk/about
– The Food Medic – Dr Hazel Wallace https://thefoodmedic.co.uk/about/
– Clean Eating Alice https://en-gb.facebook.com/CleanEatingAlice/

Thanks for reading

 

Jen x

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenallenmassagetherapy/

Twitter @jenafitlife

Instagram jenafitlife

This post contains affiliate links

Hello

This site is currently under construction. You can find my latest blogs here http://www.jenallenmassagetherapy.com/blog/

 

Hello I’m a Remedial Massage Therapist with a great practice in South Leicestershire. I’ve been doing this for over 14 years, previously I was a Management Accountant and worked in the Finance sector for many years!

I have always been pretty active but never as fit as I am now in my 50’s!  I want to use this blog to share my experiences, my life and my fitness journey. I hope you may find something useful here.

I think it’s important to take responsibility for your own health, to be the best you can be.

Today society runs at a million miles an hour, take a step back evaluate what it is you want your life to be. Happy? Healthy? Fit and well? Relaxed? Stress free?

What do you need to do to support this? Where would you start? How could you start?

The realisation that your happiness is in your hands alone and accepting this means you can make it happen. Take that responsibility and do the things you need to do. Be that happier person.