Adidas Runners hits Abu Dhabi

IMG_8097I am happy to share the exciting news that Adidas Runners has now arrived in the capital.  It is a great way to get fit post summer holidays whilst meeting like minded people. There is a great community spirit amongst Adidas Runners and you are free to run at your own pace.

IMG_8100There will be weekly sessions that you will not want to miss so head on down and meet new people and the Adidas coaches that will help you attain your fitness goals. The first run will be held on the 16th September 2019. For more details and to get involved download the runtastic app

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I hope to see you there.

Phuket and a Baby

_DSC7331Kata Beach at Sunset

It has been a while since I blogged between moving apartment, growing a human who is now a Baby Boy called Anraoí and finishing an MBA, there was not enough time to fit it all in. For the past few years, we have gone on holidays in October/November, so sticking with tradition we decided to venture back to Thailand with Anraoí this year. Unsure of what to expect, we packed the suitcase and off we went to Phuket.We stayed in the Chalong district. There is a strong focus on health and fitness there, so that was right up my alley.

Travelling with a Baby

IMG_9797These are my personal tips, other parents may do it differently. I have learned over the last few months there is no one size fits all approach to parenting. At the time of travel Anraoí was four months old, so I am sure as he ages the travelling experience will change. We travelled around by taxi or tuk tuk all week but we did see fellow travellers with their baby in a sling on mopeds. The choice is yours to make.

IMG_9768Morning Balcony View

What I learned is that when travelling with a baby the day starts early and can end anywhere between 7pm-9pm. So you learn to work the day and activities within that time frame. You need to consider nap times too. Therefore, try get accommodation that has a balcony where you can chill, practice yoga, tan, read a book or nap too. Source out restaurants that have air conditioning.

IMG_9791Attempting hollow back pose

It was a morning flight from Abu Dhabi, this helped with morning routine. The return flight was a night flight and this was brilliant as it accommodated for night time routine.Prior to leaving we arranged pick ups with our accommodation and a baby cot. For safety reasons we packed the car seat and it was helpful throughout the week. We packed a stroller and a baby bjorn sling. I know what you are thinking all this equipment for one week!

Other essentials included baby sleeping bag, suncream, baby shower gel, coconut oil, plenty of muslin cloths, light clothing, sunglasses, swim shorts and toys. The local supermarkets in Phuket stock nappies, there is even a Tesco but I brought my own supply and stocked up there too.

Eat & Drink

Munch on Protein Pancakes from The Shack

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Enjoy sunset and drinks at Kata Rocks, Phuket.

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IMG_9736Whiskey Sour 

Other places I recommend are:

The Boathouse, Phuket

The Red Duck

Santosa Phuket they offer a vegan buffet.

Pure Vegan Heaven

Greze Healthy Kitchen

Nommy Frozen Yogurt

Sweat

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You can join Unit 27, Thailand for a multitude of fitness classes every day. I joined the Primal Fitness Unit for the week because I am restoring that pelvic floor post baby, so no jumping or running movement, just yet. They have a cafe called Muscle Bar which in my opinion had the best smoothies of the week. Check out Unit 27 website for full list of classes and prices.

Fun & Frolics

Head to Nai Harn Beach and drink fresh coconuts by the sea shore.

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Old Town Phuket has beautiful architecture, street art, colourful buildings and coffee shops.

Street Art by Alex Face

There is an Cat Cafe in Phuket Old Town for cat lovers.

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IMG_9654Kata Beach, Phuket 

We survived the first holiday as parents and here’s to many more.

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Grecian Adventure Part I: Athens

AcropolisArcopolis, Athens

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” 
― Jack Kerouac

Last week I travelled to Athens and Santorini. I had heard mixed reviews about Athens but Santorini boasts a glowing report. Why wouldn’t it, have you seen the pictures? I put the opinions of others to the back of my mind regarding Athens and decided I would make up my mind after my adventure. Needless to say, I appreciated Athens for all that it offers. It is a diamond in the rough. Santorini will be discussed in Part 2.

However, the only downfall is the challenge of procuring a nice healthy breakfast in the Plaka district at 9am on the weekend because nowhere opens till 11am. What the Greeks do well is an espresso freddo , of course they do other things well but I loved an  espresso freddo or three on the regular. So much so, I am trying to re-create it now I am back in Abu Dhabi. A friend recommended places in Athens too, that appeal to the health and fitness fanatic in me.

Accommodation

For accommodation in Athens I used booking.com and stayed in the Plaka District. This was central and it was convenient for walking all around the city.

What to do

The city is huge and you can wander around all day admiring the architecture  of Athens, there are many cafes and bars throughout the city and the more you explore the more intriguing Athens becomes.

Derelict building.jpgDerelict buildings, there is many thoughout the city

_DSC5952.jpgStrolling through the National Park, Athens

Watch the Sunset at Parko Thiseio. As you can see numerous gather with wine, guitars and food to watch the sunset over Athens on a giant marble rock, do not wear heels, I wore trainers.

Parko Theiso

Parko Theiso 2View from Parko Thiseio, Athens

Walking Tour

Athens Free Walking Tour : This tour was brilliant it lasted about 2.5 hours which takes you to all the main areas around the city – see images below. The tour is free but you can tip. Entrance to Acropolis is not provided with the walking tour because it is free. I emailed a few days before arriving to secure places on the tour as spaces are limited. You will learn about the history of Greece.

Temple of ZeusThe Temple of ZeusStreet ViewStreet View, AthensStreet GraffitiStreet Graffiti , this is prevalent throughout AthensNational GardensPalm Trees in National Garden, Athensolympic stadium 2Flags at the Panathenaic Stadium, Athens

olympic stadiumPanathenaic Stadium, seats 75,000 peoplestreet artStreet Art in the Plaka District, AthensFlowers

red door

Blue DoorThe last three images are of front doors or gates to houses in the Plaka Districtwhere is my mind.jpgWhere is my mind? Plaka District

Food, Fun & Frolics

Athens is jam packed with restaurants. It is a late city and there is a great buzz about the place from 8pm onwards. Strolling the streets and from recommendations I discovered these little gems which will appease the taste buds of meat eaters and vegans.

Avocado, Plaka District- delicious salads

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Evgenia, Athens, Plaka – Dakos Greek Salad

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Nolan, Plaka District. Greek food with pan asian twist

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Ipitou the Bar – this bar is cool and plays good tunes, it is close to Nolan restaurant and surrounded by other chilled out bars.

Ipitou Bar

Other restaurants not pictured, I recommend include Koi which serves sushi at a great price and Pure Bliss which serves local produce and delicious salads, it is very laid vibe where you could sit for hours drinking espresso freddo, sampling local wine and eating scrumptious food. Located in the same area as Pure Bliss, there are countless bars and cafes.

Fitness

No trip is complete without a gym session. Whilst in Athens I got a chance to to break a sweat in Planet Fitness, they offer a pay as you service which is handy and the gym is  central. See Planet Fitness for more information.

Concluding, Athens was fantastic trip filled with history , long walks,  traditional greek food and wine, chilled out bars, street graffiti, espresso freddos,a few gym sessions and a new passion for front doors.

 

 

Build Your Body From Scratch: Phase Two

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Consistency is the key to getting fit and living a healthy and active lifestyle. I have been working my way through Phase 2 of the “Build Your Body From Scratch”, programme. It is a four-day programme for four weeks. I have two days of HIIT training per week or Reformer Pilates in Bodytree Studio or Ashtanga Yoga. It can vary but the main thing is to do some form of exercise that you enjoy and exercise positive lifestyle habits.

Warm Up – Lately, I am fond of skipping. Using my Gymboss timer ,  I skip for 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off. Set it to 15-20 rounds. Followed by a stretching session.

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*Always remember to stretch at the end of each workout. If you missed Phase One, click here.

Remember to stay focused and set goals – build your body from scratch. Keep me posted on your progress on instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch

Reformer Pilates at Bodytree Studio

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Boredom can be the biggest enemy when it comes to an exercise plan, to spice things up, I have recently embarked on a fitness journey of learning Reformer Pilates at Bodytree Studio. This will mix up my weekly physical activity programme which also includes strength training and high intensity interval training. Before taking the Reformer Pilates class it is recommended that you take the Pre-Reformer class which allows you to become familiar with the apparatus. This runs over 4 weeks, one class per week.

According to the World Health Organisation (2011) adults aged between 18-64 should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes and increasing to 300 minutes of physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of intense exercise and increasing to 150 minutes. The WHO (2011) stipulates that muscle strengthening exercises should be implemented 2 or more days per week. These guidelines will benefit bone health, muscular fitness, cardiorespiratory, healthy body mass and composition and depression. So the key message is to get active and get moving.

Background Information about Pilates

Joseph Pilates founded Pilates in 1914 during World War I. It was originally known as “contrology”, meaning the science of control. Wells, Kolt & Bialocerkowski (2012) suggest that Pilates is an exercise that encompasses the mind and body with a focus on core stability, strength and flexibility. Throughout the movements there is particular attention to muscle control, posture and breathing. Exercises can be mat based or specialised equipment.

Anatomy of a Reformer

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As you can see from the image above the reformer is a bed like piece of equipment. Evans (2003) states that the reformer utilizes 200 exercises with various settings. Exercises can be performed in lying, standing, sitting and kneeling positions.

  • The carriage , bed like piece – glides back and forth throughout the exercises.
  • Foot bar or can be used for hands – allow you to glide in the carriage during the movements.
  • Springs –  these provide resistance during the movements, there is usually 5 springs which vary in resistance.
  • Ropes and Pulleys – slip hands into the loops (see image) to work shoulder muscles and is used an alternative to the footbar.
  • Headrest – used to rest head during movements.
  • Shoulder rest – when lying down the shoulder presses against foam pad.

If you are looking for a fun and challenging workout Reformer Pilates could be exactly what you are looking for. I really enjoyed the class and I am keen to pursue my interests further.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”, ( Joseph Addison).

Bibliography:

  • Evans, B. (2003) “Anatomy of a reformer: What to look for in this classic piece of Pilates”, IDEA Health & Fitness, 21 (10) : 28
  • Wells, C., Kolt, G.S. & Bialocerkowski, A. (2012) “Defining Pilates exercise: A systematic review”, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20 : 253-262.
  • World Health Organisation (2011) “Global recommendations on physical activity for health”. Available at: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/physical-activity-recommendations-18-64years.pdf?ua=1 [accessed on 2nd March 2015].

Build a Body from Scratch: Phase One

Gym unicorn

Every now and then we need a fresh workout programme that inspire us to keep reaching our health and fitness goals. As a “gym unicorn”, I like to mix up my training to keep it fun. Training sessions can range from HIIT (high intensity interval training), weights, yoga or pilates; whatever your choice is get active and get moving. Over time you will progress, not overnight, the key is to remain consistent and dedicated; chip away the results will surface.

This training programme “Build a Body from Scratch”, is a 16 week programme consisting of four phases. Over the next few weeks I will be posting the workout for you to follow, I am currently in Phase One. If you aren’t familiar with the exercises, you can search on youtube to watch how the exercise is performed. If you do not have certain gym equipment, google alternatives, there is always a way.

Body from scratch

Phase one comprises of supersets. Supersets are two exercises performed in a row without rest – so be prepared to feel the burn! I love a workout the kills you but it will make you stronger. The programme is four days with three days rest. Rest is really important for growth and strength. So let’s have fun and remember to stay hydrated and follow a healthy eating regime.

Warm up: 

  • 2km Row (aim to complete in 1o minutes or under)

Phase One

Leg DayLeg Day (all sets are 5 x 12)

Chest DayChest & Back

Arm Day

Arm Day

Shoulders

Shoulders & Abs

*Always remember to stretch at the end of each workout.

Remember to stay focused and set goals – build your body from scratch. Keep me posted on your progress on instagram: @makeandbakefromscratch