Rest is best

Rest! I am always banging on about the benefits of a rest day to my clients – how can your body benefit from the exercise you’re doing if you don’t give it time to recover and build? And I do practice what I preach, taking one or two days off out of every week. But then last week I had my Covid vaccine and the side effects wiped me out for four days. Which was hugely frustrating, but what a difference it has made!

There are some steep steps at the side of our house, which lead to our garden. I climb them several times a day to take our dog out for her toilet breaks. Every time I go up, my left knee grumbles. I don’t know how long this has been going on for, because I hadn’t even registered it was happening until, following four days’ rest, I climbed them and… nothing! My running and HIIT workouts have benefitted too; I just feel stronger and less niggly, and it just goes to show that having time off really can improve your performance and generally benefit your body! So now I’m still planning on a couple of days per week but will also factor in a few days in a row every now and then – my body likes it and I generally just enjoyed spending quality time with my sofa and Netflix.

(Or, another theory: maybe the vaccine has made me superhuman?….)

Professor Wiggles knows the secret to being an accomplished athlete.

Post-natal Pilates again

Round three starts on 22nd April and this course just gets better the more I do it. Every client I work with, every class I teach, I learn something too, and I put all of this back into the planning to improve the course further. Get in touch if you fancy joining us, it’s all on Zoom so location not an issue!

Post-natal Pilates

I’ve secretly already run this course and it went brilliantly! Over six weeks, we talk about pelvic floor anatomy, best toilet-going practices, breathing, all about ab separation and lots of other top tips, and then spend 30-40 minutes learning Pilates exercises to help rehab your body and help you reconnect with your core. I’m doing it again from Monday (and Thursday – the start date it wrong on the flier as we changed it last-minute) and it’s not too late to sign up! Contact me if you’re interested.

Feedback from the course:

“I’m SO glad you’re thinking of running the course again! I have absolutely loved it, and I know that other mums could really benefit from doing it. I’ve done Pilates on and off for years, but nothing that’s focused so closely on the post natal pelvic floor. I now feel like I’m so much more aware of how my body works, and making really achievable tweaks in order to keep things in optimal working order. I loved the format of each class where Amy gave us a bit of really useful info about at the beginning, and emailed us some brief literature afterwards so we could refer back if we wanted – it’s clear Amy has a really comprehensive knowledge of the post natal body. I wish every mum could take this course.”

“A friend recommended Amy and her post natal Pilates to me and I am glad she did. Amy is extremely knowledgeable about all things pelvic floor and post natal body changes and gives clear explanations and ideas for exercising alongside the class. I have enjoyed doing Pilates in Amy’s class having found it quite slow and dull in the past – I have been introduced to some new exercises and ways of thinking about how I am doing them which will make other workouts safer and more effective after having a baby. I would recommend the class to other new mums.”

New qualification!

Haven’t posted in a while, but over Christmas I got my head down and studied hard for my newest qualification in Pelvic Floor and Core Foundation. It’s an online course, which suited me really well as there is infinite access to the lectures (I don’t do well in live lectures – I drift and miss stuff and then too embarrassed to ask for a repeat!). So I did the course. Then I did it again. Then I dipped in to a few different lectures randomly. Then, once we got to February, I plucked up the courage to take the exam. And aced it! I have been trialling a post-natal Pilates course alongside and sharing my knowledge with them, which also went well so I am now ready to shout about it! More on that later.

Eden Valley Ultra

This is my fifth time running an ultra marathon, but by far my least-prepared for. I put myself on the waiting list months ago as I thought the route looked really nice and the completely forgot about it until, a week before, they emailed to say I had a place. I haven’t been doing long distances recently as I had nothing I was training for – and longer distance puts you in danger of injury, which in turn would burden the NHS. So my longest run had been 7miles in the previous week, but then I just thought ‘sod it, I can always walk’.

It was a perfect day for it, I was able to take the train and then walk to the start line and the toilets were really good, clean and properly plumbed in, so before I even started I was glad I had gone. The route itself is very hilly, but I live and train in Crystal Palace so I didn’t especially notice that, and just really enjoyed the countryside and being on my own – I find ultra marathons, although challenging of course and, sometimes, mentally breaking, for the most part are a lovely way to ‘find yourself’ and just meditate a bit on your own with no pressure to run fast, to talk to anyone to finish, even. And just being out in the fields away from city life, is fantastic.

I had an issue with my knee about 20 miles in and even called my husband to be on standby to pick me up, but it eased off after a bit of walking and I finished fine, even managing to walk to the train station again afterwards. Not my fastest ultra. My slowest in fact. But brilliant to be getting back out there and just forgetting about pandemics and stuff for a few hours. Loved it.

Try something new

I am a Pilates instructor, so my core is supposedly indestructible. Hmm. Why am I aching so, so much after trying a new class this week then? My friend Ali convinced me to join her at the local park this morning for a hula hoop class and it was a blast! But it was also a real challenge on the core muscles. Somehow, within minutes, the amazing instructor had us all hula-ing like we’ve been doing it all our lives and within the hour had taught as about 5 different tricks to impress our friends! The way you move to keep the hoop up is full body – not just hips – and blimey, my core muscles knew about it! Just goes to show that mixing things up is always a good idea for overall fitness and condition, so the moral of the story is to try something new whenever you get a chance! (And if you like it, keep it up – I now own a hula hoop haha.)

In suspens(ion)

It’s so good to be able to exercise with clients outdoors and today I dusted off the TRX for a spot of suspension training with one of my clients who is always up for a new challenge! Despite no jumping or intentional-cardio at all, she reported her heart rate soaring and feeling exhausted by the end! Job done. We laughed a LOT as well.

TRX (actually, mine is Auster, not TRX, but v similar) is a very clever system created by a soldier who was trying to keep fit and strong overseas with no access to a proper gym. Such a simple design lets you work your muscles in every direction with just your body weight and it is so hard! It’s not cheap, but keep an eye out for sales (got mine in Black Friday sales) or try a cheap one before investing in the plush, long-lasting version.

Me time

Apparently I’m a massive nerd, but I do love a jigsaw puzzle. At the moment, it’s a really nice way to ‘power down’ my brain and just spend some time not being stressed. I thoroughly recommend it, you can get lost in the picture for hours and thoughts of pandemics and finances and supermarket queues are shelved – so good for your mental health! And if anyone fancies a jigsaw swap with me, I’m up for it!
Here’s my current project:

Keep fit in your kitchen! (or living room… bedroom…)

It’s not looking good for one-to-one fitness at the moment but, now more than ever, it’s important to stay healthy and keep moving. I’m not a scientist or a doctor, obviously, but it’s GOT to be the case that you can battle an illness more successfully if you are in optimum health in the first place! So I’ve decided to become an internet sensation and start posting free workouts on YouTube – there’s nothing uber-challenging up there, but it’s going to hopefully keep people moving and hopefully help some people at least a little bit! Check it out and let me know what you think:

Pie advice for Christmas


For info, this is a Mr Kipling but I intend to try many more brands before January rolls around

Do you know how many calories there are in a mince pie? I don’t. And I don’t want to; it’s not going to affect whether or not I eat one.

At this time of year we are even more conscious of ‘bad’ foods than usual and it makes me sad. If you want the pie/wine/chocolate, in my opinion, you should just have it. But make sure you genuinely do want it. If you’re just stuffing your face because it’s there and you can, where’s the enjoyment in that? Equally, where’s the enjoyment in denying yourself if you really want it?

Sure, fitness, BMI, cholesterol levels etc are important, but so is mental and emotional wellbeing. Equally as important, actually. And by counting the calories of everything you eat or drink this season, you’re bringing stress into the equation. If you’re someone who struggles with their weight, with emotional eating or you have a tendency to obsess over healthy foods, counting the calories in every extra treat you have this season is going to make matters even worse. I suggest, if you’re worried about over-indulging, ask yourself this: ‘Will I get proper enjoyment from this?’ (or, ‘Is it worth it?’ if that’s more the way you think). If the answer is yes, then go for it! Life is too short to overthink things. If you feel like you’re maybe just eating and drinking things because they are there, perhaps it’s a good time to take a break.

It can be so simple really; listen to your body – if you’re honest, you know what it feels like when you’re overdoing things, so back off a bit and you’ll feel better. And if you’re really worried about putting on weight, factor in an extra run, walk or other workout, just for good measure.

Let’s not ruin the awesome relationship we have with that mince pie by over-analysing it; it’s there to make you happy, that’s all. Stop worrying about food, be kind to yourself and have fun!