Taking training to the next level.

Will you just let go of summer” my sister has said this to me on a number of occasions and today she got her wish. With the day booked off of work, my wonderful, amazing boyfriend took me to my favourite coffee spot for a coffee date where we proceeded to order a pumpkin spiced latte. Our coffee order had put an official end to summer. In our minds there was still plenty of summer time left after all, our holiday wasn’t booked until it was over; another realisation. A mere two weeks left on the holiday countdown! Boy, has that come around fast!

The coffee order that ended summer 🍁🍂

 

Though beyond excited for the holiday, I find myself kind of wishing that it was a couple more weeks away. The Summer Preppin has not quite gone to plan. Just looking in the mirror it is clear to see that I have not achieved the goals intended. There is only myself to blame. I could sit here and make a million excuses but at the end of the day, it’s on me.

Throughout the past few months, the focus has remained on weight training with the addition of more HIIT, stairmaster cardio and even a few plyos sessions (Tarzan was to thank for plyo’s – I wanted the power to launch myself through the jungle like Tarzan).
The levels of effort and intensity when in the gym have still been at a good standard; the substantive part of that sentence being ‘when in the gym’. Recently, I have let life take over a little bit and that has resulted in an accidental reduction of workout sessions.
Fortunately, I recognised the error of my ways before it go too late. My routine changed recently so it was just a matter or re-organising my day to create time for the gym again.
Even with these changes, I felt like I needed more. I decided it was time to bring in the big guns.

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The Big Guns AKA Chris Gee 

As of 6am tomorrow morning Chris Gee of Urban Instinct Personal Training is gonna be my personal  trainer. Oh lord, what have I let myself in for?!

But he’s your boyfriend. Yes, he is my boyfriend and in all honesty, he is one of the best personal trainers I have ever come across. He is dedicated to his clients and does everything in his power to help them achieve results (he even gave a couple of free sessions out to one client when they hit financial hardship. They had been consistent & dedicated and loyalty goes a long way). Keeping up to date with all the latest research, technology and training methods, he keeps his programs current and effective.
This is Chris’ profession; he has been in the business for almost 10 years. He has worked in London, Cheshire and Canada. He has played many sports at a high level, won at many, many competitions and is currently a semi professional Ice Hockey player . The man eats, sleeps and breathes the industry. I have absolutely no doubt that with his help I will achieve my goals.

Train Together, Stay Together

I used to feel like getting a trainer was admitting that I didn’t know what I was doing. How stupid is that mentality. No matter who you are in this world, there is something you can learn from every single person you meet in this lifetime. Coming to understand this has improved my life in tenfold buts as the saying goes, you can’t make someone do your push ups for you; but you can maximise your results by using the knowledge of others.

Chris’ knowledge alone will not sky rocket me to my goals. That is all dependent on the effort put in from me. This is where the additional benefits of a trainer come to light.

Much like have a gym buddy, having a trainer instils a higher level of commitment. It becomes more of a challenge to skip a session through not wanting to let the person down, taken a step further with a trainer it skipping sessions essentially means throwing money away (usually cancelled sessions incur a charge).

If this is all you need then simply getting a gym buddy maybe all you need to help you achieve your goals. Be aware, choose your gym buddy wisely! Further details here. You have been warned.

The key reason that I have decided to get a trainer is perfectly demonstrated by the one and only Kevin Hart. Now don’t get me wrong, I have zero desire to start dancing around gyms (dancers with two left feet have better rhythm than me) but I have been known to take unnecessarily long rest periods or browse twitter for a rather extended period of time. I have also slacked on weights, skipped sets and completely gone off of my workout program at times simply because I wasn’t feeling it. Having seen Chris train others, I know there is no way he is going to be letting me get away with any of that m’larky under his supervision nor would I want to. Chris will push me in times where I am struggling to push myself. We are all guilty of this and if you say you’re not, then you’re lying!

Bring on tomorrow morning – first session will be focusing on back.

Wish me luck and I will let you know how it goes.

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S’nofun like Snow Fun!

To some, it may come as a shock to hear that there are many out there who live for the winter season. I used to think it was complete madness too, until I skied for the first time that is. Now, it totally makes sense. It’s the snow sports that are the attraction or I should say addiction. Those that have already experienced one snow sport or another already get it. To those who have never had the luxury of such experience as of yet, you simply have to get out and give it a go. Luckily, this does not involve an expensive trip to the Canadian Rockies or the Alps.

Right on our door step, here in the grand city of Manchester, we have the Chill Factore, home of the largest indoor ski slope in England complete with real snow. Yep, don’t know how they do it either but the only logical explanation is magic!

There are a number of snow activities you can get stuck in with at the Chill Factore, skiing, snowboarding, luging, sledging, airboarding and snowscoot to name a few. The only downside is that the main slope is only to be used by those that can already ski or snowboard, understandably so due to obvious health and safety reasons, as perfectly demonstrated in this clip.

Not to worry though, book a lesson or two, learn the basics – pizza slice and fries, I mean how hard can that be?! Complete the lessons and away you are!

Personally, I have been a regular attendee of the Chill Factore in the past (pre moving to Canada) but since being home I kind of forgot it was there and haven’t actually been until last Thursday.

The Chill Factore’s corporate events team invited us for a tour of their facilities & to showcase their Christmas party packages. Honestly, I accepted the invitation not really knowing what to expect but with a promise of food and access to the snow park it was a no brainer!

It ended up being myself and my favorite person in our offices attending the event so the night was already off to a fabulous start!

The mere mention of food played a big role in our attendance that evening but we were ready for a few butties and some crisps, imagine our surprise when we walked into the Eiger Room, which makes you feel like you’ve been transported into a winter wonderland, a top a mountain in far away lands where the snowmen sing,  there were snowboards on  a table with a full Christmas Dinner buffet laid upon (including some tasty vegetarian dishes), complete with slush puppies to drink and an amazing selection of Christmas deserts. it was so good we almost forgot that outside it was sunny, warm and September, heck we almost forgot the reason we were there in the first place!

underneath those scrumptious cakes is actually a snowboard
The room from Banff? Nope, the stunning Eiger Room at the Chill Factore!

The snow park. Ah the snow park. surprisingly, once you are stood in front of it is bigger than it first seemed!

Helpful hint: get your snow boots 2 sizes smaller than your normal shoe size! Those things are monstrous! 

After getting kitted up, protective head gear and all. We were lead to the slopes for free run of the snow park.

Ready to go! Not nervous atall and maybe a tad giddy!

 

Guys, when you get out there, don’t go crazy and follow the crowds, hang back for a moment and let them all run off, chances are they will all go to the same slope giving you clear access to the others! That’s efficiency right there!

We have all done sledging before on various bits and bobs we have been able to get our hands on, on the odd occasions we have been in snowy conditions so this activity was not top of our list. Especially given it was a pretty straight run. Thankfully, that was the first activity everyone headed to.

Naturally, my friend and I headed in the opposite direction. Well actually, I followed her and for some reason she led us straight to the luge, walking up those stairs I felt like I was walking to my death. We have all seen the “we are Jamaica we have a bob sleigh team” movie (Cool Runnings) so you can imagine how I felt staring down that tunnel of ice. Okay, okay, maybe this is a little dramatic, it is a minute run in comparison and it’s not quite a bob sleigh but more a body board that you lie on. Nonetheless, the luge is terrifying.. terrifying and one of the most fun experiences you’ve ever had whilst lying down!

Helpful hin: on the luge, keep your hands turned in or risk losing your knuckles. You have been warned! 

By this point, people had cottoned on to the ‘free roaming’ aspect and each activity was equally as busy as the next so we headed for the dohnut run.

If you haven’t already drawn the conclusion that I am a bit of a wimp, let me tell you that I am a bit of a wimp! The dohnut run has 2 tracks, a smooth and a bumpy. Of course, we took to the smooth first. Gotta suss these things out before you throw yourself down a bumpy track right?! Good job really, given that the next time up the only option was the bumpy track, where the  guy overseeing the safe operation suggested that we take a running jump down the track, which we did and we regretted.. until we got to the bottom and ran straight back up to do it again. Only this time, the ‘safety guy’ pushed us down backwards! Yeah that one, way more terrifying than any of the other. Genuinely thought we were going to take off, legs were flying everywhere! Not even being dramatic for once.

There is so much fun to be had on this big-little snow park and it is definitely worth the visit. If you’re a little nervous or fancy changing things up a bit, chat to the ‘safety guys’ they are full of good ideas! 

If you want a bit of a sneak preview, I have uploaded a video or 2 to my instagram (@contourallure).

For an even better time, get some pre-agreed forfeits ready for the losers of the races! Take it from me, trying to plan some at the top of a slope is just too much pressure!

Oh also, if you go to the Christmas party here you get access to the snow park too! There are changing rooms so you can get pretty again afterwards but honestly, who cares about being pretty when you can be racing down slopes! Hands down beats any other Christmas party. Can’t wait to get the friends on board and hey if you wanna join, it’s a shared do so why not?! Call the Chill Factore and speak to Jen or Lori in the corporate events department.

But even if you’re not feeling getting in on our Christmas shindig make sure you still get down and experience this place! Further details of events, times and prices can be found Here.

Have Fun!!

The Fittest On Earth…

Chris & I don’t actually watch much TV but we do enjoy a good documentary type watch every now and again. A couple of weeks ago we decided to watch ‘The Fittest Earth’ documentary based on the CrossFit Games. 

Basically, you get a bit of an overview of the sport and quite a bit of the behind the scenes; interestingly from both the athletes and the organisers, mostly from the athlete though. 

Like so many others, I have completely dismissed CrossFit purely due to the bad press and the lack of respect it received from the weightlifting/bodybuilding community. 

I am so disappointed in myself for allowing this to happen. My entire academic education has been built around critical analysis and I have just done what I condem other’s for, and that is not doing your own research or even looking at both sides of the argument. 

I hold my hands up to that mistake, my opinions were entirely misguided. 

CrossFit is even more insane than I initially thought but now that is meant it in the positive sense of the word. The athletes are inspirational and maybe a tad super human. Heck, if there is ever to be a zombie apocalypse those people are the ones that will survive! 

The games have some ridiculous workouts that just reading them exhausts me. To see these athletes complete the workouts in all kinds of weather and keep pushing through, even on the verge of collapse, just goes to show that this is definitely a sport not intended for the faint hearted. You could be physically the strongest person on the planet but these games require a strong mentality and if you haven’t got that, well you wouldn’t have made it as far as qualifier rounds. 

An example of a workout. MURPH is named after a soldier and is completed on Memorial Day .

When you see these workouts, you know you would want to quit before even being half way through and it would show in every ounce of your being, at least it would me anyway, my face hides nothing. Nothing at all. These guys though, not these guys. Man, their determination to succeed is admirable. They’ve set their sights  on a goal and God forbid anything get in their way. 

During the documentary you see one of the organisers tell a competitor he can take a break for water if he wants, but the athlete refuses, even though you know he wants it, because he knows this is a trick and the second he steps away from his station he will be disqualified. This is next level! 

As soon as the documentary finished though, I found myself slightly confused. How do I have this new level of respect for CrossFit when all the industry around me has slammed it. Did I miss something?

Of course, I have heard the most common claim: that they cheat with the exercises but I watched them squat, I watched them clean and press, I watched them run and throw things and carry things and swim and do press ups. I saw them do a whole host of exercises. What I did not see was cheating them. 

I did notice however, that there was quite some swinging involved in their pull ups but, this exercise isn’t a pull up in the conventional sense. It is called ‘Kipping’. It is a different exercise altogether. Kipping has been slammed as being a dangerous movement but as with all exercise there are rules surrounding the correct execution of the movement to prevent injury. Yes, people have been injured doing CrossFit, just as people have been injured lifting weights or falling off of treadmills. It’s not the treadmills fault people fall off is it and the same goes for Kipping. It’s not the fault of the movement if injury happens as a result of improper execution.

My only criticism is that I question whether the athletes are ‘natural’ or not but that’s not really a criticism of the sport. It is no secret that the ‘natural vs not natural athlete’ argument carries on right through the sporting world from bodybuilding to cycling. 

Anyway, my point is CrossFit has a terrible rep but in my opinion this is completely unjustified. Now I want to give CrossFit a try. I have absolutely no idea what to expect, obviously they aren’t going to get me doing the Murph workout the second I get there nor make me lift my own weight above my head (at least I hope they won’t anyway!). 

It is also kind of intimidating to me the thought of even entering a CrossFit gym, which I already know is silly because they most likely will welcome me in with no bother. 

So I call upon you, my fellow fit friends, can you shed any light on what I will be letting myself in for? If you have ever given it a try, how did you find it? 

Live the Life of your Dreams

How many times have you watched one of those reality shows like ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ or ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ and just thought uh I wish I lived like that?!

Playing grown ups as kids was always so fun and exciting. I can’t be the only one who couldn’t wait to grow up nor fathom why grown ups said it’s not all it’s cracked up to be – like, OK, Joanne being a grown up and buying all the clothes you want must really suck! Jeez.

Oh, hindsight you wonderful thing you, the grown up’s were right. Peter Pan hit the nail on the head when he warned us “don’t grow up, it’s a trap”. There is absolutely no way I am the only one who feels jibbed, we are adults and can’t buy all the clothes we want – what kind of sorcery is this?! Payday comes around and before we can even get to the shops trusty old bills have swooped in and taken their 99% cut!

I blame school. School is the crusher of all dreams. Life skills or whatever 1 hour per week class it is we are supposed to plan the rest of our lives in. Can you imagine the reaction of the teacher and the class if your life plan was anything other than go to university, get a good degree, get a good job in a good establishment and work your way up? That plan itself is fine if that’s what your goals are and it is possible to make a good living this way, provided you are happy to make sacrifices in pretty much every aspect of your life – time, relationships, finance, experiences to name a few major areas and lets not forget that the world of business and employement is mean, cut throat and tough – working 100 hours a week does not guarantee you anything, not a promotion, not long term security, nothing.

I wonder where our imaginations and dreams went.

Add in a few really confidence boosting philosophies like “people like us dont make it in that industry”, “you gotta spend money to make money” and “the rich get rich while the poor get poorer” its a wonder many of us (particularly those of us that werent blessed with wealthy parents) even remember what a dream is.

When my boyfriend, Chris randomly suggested a book for me to read I had no idea that it was going to reignite the fire for my dreams. Before even getting half way through, my way of thinking and outlook on life had completely altered.

Over the past two years I have continued to develop this new mindset along with strategies for success that we aren’t taught about in school. I can say with absolute confidence that I can and I will achieve my dreams. All of them. The life I desire will be mine.

I invite you on this journey with me. I will share with you every twist, turn, success and failure along the way. I want you to take them, learn from them, adapt them and use them to chase your dreams because it is within us all. Whatever we desire, we can obtain. It’s not going to be easy and sometimes you are going to find alot of what you read will go against everything you have been taught but percevere. Whats the worst that could happen? You read a few blogs, think they’ve come straight from a unicorns butt and go back to life as you knew it or they inspire an exciting, positive change in your life?