November 6th 2016
My fitness ethos is all about maintaining a strong, athletic physique. Being super lean is not my main priority, but rather to maintain muscle mass which declines as we age. My fitness journey really began after the birth of my daughter when I gained about four stone during pregnancy. I managed to lose it quickly but felt my body lacked tone and definition - I guess I was ‘skinny-fat.’ Working out with weights has really changed and improved my physique and now, I’m more toned than I was in my twenties.
I train with my personal trainer, Anna Maria Bodzas at The Armoury Gym in Hampstead, three times a week. On Mondays, we like to warm up for the week ahead with a complete body workout. For this workout, we usually focus on light weights and high reps with explosive plyometric moves [quick, powerful and high-octane exercises such as jumps and hops] thrown in to keep the heart rate constantly elevated. I must admit that cardio is my least favourite form of exercise, so getting the first session done always feels like a relief.
On the days I’m not training at the gym, I love to walk. I am lucky to have Hampstead Heath on my doorstep, so most mornings I wake up and walk for an hour in a fasted state. There is much research and debate surrounding fasted cardio and from a personal perspective, it works for me. My heart rate beats at around 130 - 140bpm which I understand is perfect for fat burning. A good walk clears my head and sets me up for the day ahead.
At least once a week, I always do a heavy, isolated glute session. At the beginning of the session, we perform glute activation drills with resistance bands: bridges, clam shells and side steps to get them fired up before the heavier lifts. The hip abductor machine at the gym is also great to use at the beginning of a glute workout.
Next we move onto the heavier lifts:
Single leg, leg presses - 10 reps on each leg for 3 sets;
Bulgarian split squats - 10 reps on each leg for 3 sets;
Incline reverse lunges with a barbell or dumbbells - 10 reps on each leg for 3 sets;
Sumo deadlifts - 10 reps for 3 sets;
Straight leg deadlifts – 10 reps for 3 sets;
Hip thrusts - 10 reps for 3 sets.
On a heavy training day, I always make sure to include a protein source within half an hour of training to try and build muscle. I love Form Nutrition’s Superblend Protein in Chocolate Salted Caramel, £24. It is a unprocessed source of vegan protein that doesn’t upset my stomach like whey and it was created by my talented husband.
I usually try and and do a quick blast of HIIT on either the bike or rowing machine. I warm up for five minutes and then do short 50 second bursts of all-out effort, followed by 15 seconds recovery. I repeat this 6-8 times. If I can’t get to the gym, then I might put on Shaun T’s Insanity DVD instead for a quick blast of cardio.
I’ve recently started trying to work my upper body in a more concentrated way. Last year was all about training my legs and glutes, but I think for the body to look balanced an upper body work is essential. I start off with compound moves, chest presses, assisted pull ups, lat pulldowns and then try and isolate the smaller muscles such as the triceps and biceps.
I believe that if you work out hard five days a week, your body needs to rest on the weekend. That doesn't mean being sedentary, but rather just a slower paced mindset. Long leisurely walks are what we enjoy doing most as a family. Food-wise, I tend to adopt a more relaxed approach as during the week I’m more mindful of calorie intake.
Sunday is a time to recalibrate and to make resolutions for the week ahead. I don’t do a specific exercise routine and do a fair bit of eating.
We go and have a traditional Sunday lunch at our local pub, The Wells - the atmosphere is great. It is also the day that I meal plan for the rest of the week.
November 6th 2016
August 13th 2015
February 28th 2015