Can #officeyoga help you find your om?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Earlier this summer, The Telegraph published an article stating that a research study found that sitting for eight or more hours a day could significantly increase the risk of premature death.  We all know sitting is worse for you than being active, but it can be hard to fit it into a busy day that includes getting the kids off to school, commuting, working, cooking dinner, and relaxing in the evening.  Lately, I have been at a desk all day long without any time to get out the door for a run or stretch.  These are the days that I could really use some stress-relief.

Travelling can bring you to a more relaxing setting, but the journey there can be stressful.  On my trip over the weekend to France and Germany, I found myself sitting a lot in the airport, then on the plane, and finally in the car for a few hours.  I just couldn't get comfortable and found my lower back really knotted up.

The moves included in the infographic from Furniture at Work below can easily be done at your desk at work or on a plane or during a roadtrip.  (Please refrain from exercising if you are behind the wheel.  Focus on the road ahead!)  I highly recomend that instead of taking a 5 minute Facebook break, you instead give the poses below a try.

See larger graphic here

You can also check out this short video with some #officeyoga moves over on You Tube.

While our flight was delayed in Frankfurt, I came up with a few suggestions for exercises you can easily do at the airport.  These include:

Bulgarian squats (with one leg up on the chair)

Incline press ups (horrible angle, ugh!)

Side plank (add in a twist if it is easy)

Tricep dips (legs straight to make it tougher)

Remember to take a few moments every day to stretch at your desk.  Nobody wants to die young, especially if you are so working hard you don;t have time to enjoy life outside the office.

How do you relax and reenergize when you are stuck at your desk all day?  Leave a comment below with your tips or tweet me (@PTMollie) with #officeyoga.

This post was in collaboration with Furniture at Work, a company keen to raise awareness of the importance of movement at work.  Corportate wellness is important, so get in touch if you would like me to lead a fitness class or run club at your central London workplace.

12 Weeks Til Christmas online training program

Monday, September 5, 2016

Summer holidays are over and the kids are back at school.  The next break from work isn't until Christmas, but that will be here before you know it.

You might have lost your fitness routine and healthy eating habits during the summer, but I can help you get back on track with your health and happiness.  My new 12 week training program, 12 Weeks 'Til Christmas, is designed to give you enough time to gradually make changes (which means you are more likely to stick with them) and supports moving more while nourishing your body.

During our 12 weeks together we will:
  • Set and accomplish goals in a way that is empowering and exciting
  • Work to achieve and maintain your ideal weight
  • Increase your energy levels
  • Achieve strength and body shape goals
  • Discover enjoyable and fun forms of exercise
If you are ready to start an exercise program after taking some time off, this program is for you.  

If you have trouble sticking to an exercise program once you have started it, this program is for  you.

If you need accountability to stay on track with your food choices, this program is for you.

Open to anyone in the world with email access and a Smart phone, now is the time to get started.  The autumn leaves will soon be falling.  Winter is coming.

"A year from now you will have wished you started today."

We start on 12th September and finish on 12th December, just in time for holiday party season.
Twelve Weeks 'Til Christmas includes:
  • Digital app to consolidate your activity, sleeping and food so I can monitor your progress virtually
  • New full body workout emailed to you every week
  • Exclusive club community to support fellow group members
  • 3 day food diary analysis 
  • Health coaching
  • Free set of five motivational cards
  • 30 min goal setting call at start, and 30 min check in call during week 6
  • Weekly challenges
  • Unlimited email support
  • 20% off Fitness Genes test

Worth over £800, sign up below by 7th September 2016 for only £425.  Or register beween 8th - 12th September 2016 for just £525.  Average rates for personal training in London are £60/hour. This program is less than £44/week for a personal trainer in your pocket. 

Can you really put a price on your health and happiness?

This opportunity is limited to 10 people to allow proper individualised attention over the 12 weeks.  It will fill up quickly, so don't delay.

Email me to register:

Survival Tips for the Spitfire Scramble

Friday, September 2, 2016

I learned a few things from last year's Spitfire Scramble.  Even though I made a list of things to pack, I still forgot a few things, like baby wipes.  I did remember a hot water bottle and think that was more essential because if I smelled, I was camping alone.  Here are the Things that got me through Spitfire Scramble 2016.

2016 UK Fitness Bloggers team

Pearl Izumi kit is lush
Pearl Izumi*-Their Transfer Dry running kit is amazing!  I have the Pursuit Singlet and 4.5 in short.  Both dried out so quick after my first lap I left them on and wore for lap #2.  I even wore the shorts to Fierce Grace Yoga once and they never stuck to me or need to be adjusted.  They are now my go-to shorts in the summer.  The only change I would make is to add a zipper or Velcro seal three small pocket on the back waistband as I am always afraid my gel or keys will fall out.  The top is a flattering cut (as is my preference for a loose cut).

Runderwear- They quick dry too so you don't have to worry about swamp ass.  'nough said.  Here is my original review.

Knuckle Lights*- Team member, Corey from Learning Patience, was able to hook up the team with these.  She had used them last year and raved about them.  I used mine at high power and could see everything even though it was pitch black out.  I also had Night Runner 270's* on my feet, Million Mile lights on my waist and a head torch.  It was awesome to be so lit up because I got of lot of comments during my 2 night laps, which gave me the boost I needed.  One person said I was lit up like a Christmas tree, while a marshall said I made their night by being so bright.  The rechargable batteries didn't last me too laps though while on high power.  Next year, I will go with medium strenght.

Primal pantry bars*- Sabine, from My Life My Challenges, was able to share some sample Primal Pantry bars.  My flapjacks ended up sticking to the parchment paper when I took them out of the oven, so I was grateful for an alternative snack. We had 4 flavours but I stuck to the ones I knew and saved the rest for run commuting.

VITHIT water*- These were sent to me just days before the race. I chose to have them as a treat after my daytime laps as a way to rehydrate without having to worry about my body's response. (Runners are really superstitious about trying new things, if you haven't pick up on that yet). I tried Apple & Elderflower and Coconut & Pineapple.  Both were really nice treat after a hot 5.9 mile run. I still have 2 other flavours in my fridge and hope summer lasts a bit longer so I can enjoy them properly.

Primus Lite gas stove*- I harnessed it's true potential this year and had a hot water bottle while I slept, made Sabine a pot of noodles, and someone a cup of tea.  I was so relieved it didn't rust when we left it outside in a plastic storage container in the garden that became super damp when we had heavy rain.  The insulation on the cup went a bit mouldy but I was able to wash that off under the tap.  I was super impressed it wasn't damaged further.  Quality stuff right there!

elete Holistic Hydrate*- These were a lifesaver as it was very hot and sunny on Saturday afternoon.  All I did was pour 1/2 capful into my 750ml water bottle and added water.  It didn't taste that much different (but just a little bit, maybe just psychosomatic as I knew there were added salts in there?). The bottles are small enough (like an eye drop bottle) that you can travel with it or keep in your gym bag for hot days or super-sweaty workouts.

Stretch and massage in between laps
Massages- I had enough cash on me to invest in 3 massages this year. Corey's massage therapist said to get massages throughout the race. Our team was the first in line to sign up for our anticipated slots. God bless the Flying Physios as they worked for nearly 35 hours straight to keep all us runners going.  I don't know if it was mentally or physically a relief but I will do the same again next year.

Familiar faces- It is wonderful to be building up my friends in the London running community.  We had several other blogger friends at the race (Lisa, Lucy, and Frankie), my friend Clare and her gang of East End Road Runners, two ladies from Advent Running, and my local park run leaders.  Spitfire is so friendly and relaxed you really can't beat it.

I am already looking forward to next year.  My goal is to bring my own food rather than rely on the food stands.  During my laps, I had lots of time to strategize our rota for next year.  Returning to such a fun race year-after-year helps me check in with the community aspect of running and reminds me how fun it truly can be.

All items with a * were given to me with compliments in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

Life in the fast lane

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August has completely flown by! I had 2 more race weekends right after Ride London. My husband, his brother and fiancĂ©, and I travelled to Ireland where I ran the rock n roll Dublin half. We had a week long road trip and got back to London to I could join fellow UK Fitness Bloggers for Spitfire Scramble, a 24 hour relay race.  Those races tired me out and I came back to work to launch a huge project that I have been working on for nearly 3 years.  It has been a crazy, but rewarding, month.

Check out the shiney wheels!
I want to go back though and tell you about the kit I was given to test during Ride London.  First off, Merlin Cycles were kind enough to send me the Forza Stratos RC23 Road wheelset. At a price point of £149.99, they are a good example of how you can replace certain components on your entry-level bike to make your riding more efficient and enjoyable. My new best friends at Bike Trax kindly squeezed in my wheel swap days before Ride London.  I took my bike to Victoria Park to try them out and I how amazed at how easy it was.  I didn't know if it was the adrenaline or excitement that I might actually be able to go fast enough to ride all 100 miles this year, or just the fact that I had rounder wheels.

The wheels themselves have Shimano hubs and Mach1 spokes. Noah the Wheel Smith was surprised at that quality components were put under a different name as the brands stand for themselves in terms of reputation.

On the day of Ride London, I felt like I was faster than my previous training rides.  You can see my training log, along with Ride London files (segment 1, segment 2, segment 3) over on Strava.  I didn't have much of a chance to draft anyone but feel I did well enough on my own.  After all, I did get all 100 miles in.  :)

Of course I had to get a manicure to match
I can't wait to get out on the bike again once Berlin Marathon is over.  James and I are headed to Cape Town in February and plan on touring on bikes for a few days while we are there.  It will be a good time to break out my Altura cycling kit again. Zyro and Altura sent me some fab pink kit for Ride London, including the Women Peloton Progel Bib Short.  I have never had such padded cycling shorts (all mine are for triathlons and indoor cycling) and what a difference it makes! Holy cow. Plus, I never had to adjust the shorts from riding up on my legs.  They always stayed in place.  I am not a huge fan of bib shorts because going to the loo requires disrobing in a small gross port-a-loo.  But what can you do when nature calls?

I was between sizes on the jersey so I ordered one size up which meant it ended up being too big for me (as compared to a traditional slim fit jersey). It was still able to hold all the food I needed and my wallet without anything falling out of the back pockets.  The zipper was easy to adjust as I rode, which helped me regulate my body temperature.  I was also sent new gloves and a base layer but I received the items too late to try out properly before the big ride.  I tried the shorts, socks, and jersey in a spin class, and also on the test ride for my wheels but felt I was still breaking the 'nothing new on race day' rule.  When I changed out of my bibs at the end of the day (after a tube ride to Olympic Park where we collected our bikes and rode home) I noticed the webbing of the suspenders (braces for you Brits) had left a light impression but the marks were gone the next day.

My husband said the pink made it easy to spot me in a crowd, and it totally goes with my branding. This kit still has plenty of life left and I cannot wait to get back on the road and in the saddle.

Did you try any new kit this year that contributed to your success at Ride London? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Thanks again to Merln Cycles for providing the wheels and Zyco and Altura for the pink kit.  As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

Prudential RIde London 2016 #ScoreSettled

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kit courtesy of Altura. Review soon!
This year was my third attempt at Prudential Ride London.  I have been very lucky enough to have won the ballot entry for three years in a row.  You can read my review of the inaugural event here.  2014 was the year of the hurricane, in which the entire course was cut short to 86 miles.  I was so waterlogged, I didn't write up a review.  Last year, we moved house so training got pushed aside.  We ended up volunteering at the start line, which was a lot of fun even it was early in the morning. Luckily I was able to defer to this year and I am so glad I did.  Read on!

Registration process & fees:  The event is ballot entry, with plenty of charities offering space in return for fundraising.  I have been lucky enough to win a place every year I entered.  I am not sure if that is because I am a woman, or just lucky.  As I had deferred, my money was not refunded from last year and I had to pay again this year.  While not ideal, I completely understand it must cost a fortune to close down to many roads and having staff for 100+ miles.

Note: Registration is now open for 2017.  I am not sure when the ballot will close (either a date or limited number of entries).  Registration for 2017 is £58.

Standstill at Mile 38
Location:  The course has remained the same since the first event.  The start line is in Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford, from there the course goes out to Surrey, and it ends on the Mall just before Buckingham Palace. This year you could have your bike brought back to Copper Box Arena for £5 after your race.  It was a bit hard to find the truck at the end of the race, but it was really convenient for us otherwise as a way to get our bikes back home after a long day.

Course & bogs:  It is still amazing to ride through London streets without traffic or red lights.  You go passed many iconic sights before heading out to the country with the first food hub at Hampton Court.  The big hills to worry about are Leith Hill and Box Hill, with a few other ups and downs.  Be sure to train for these inclines!  Declines are still a hazard, so please ride responsibly.  Remember, other riders around you might be less experienced.

Numerous portaloos at start area and also at every hub.  I barely had to wait and there was always loo roll.  Good work organisers!

Fuel was provided by Clif Bar and hydration by ORS tablets.  There was also rice cakes, bananas, Haribos, malt loaf, etc at the food hubs.  Drinks hubs had a limited selection of food.

THIS YEAR I RODE THE ENTIRE COURSE!  I have been working towards this for 4 years and felt such relief as I crossed the finish line.  True, it wasn't my fault in 2014 that I didn't ride 100 miles, but now I can proudly say I have.  Would I have been able to without my 1 hour rest?  I would like to think so, as I limited my rest stops otherwise.

Atmosphere:  Even though it was an un-Godly hour on a Sunday morning, everyone was excited for the event.  Along the way, there was friendly chatter between friends and strangers.  When I was held up for an hour at Mile 38 after a bad crash, folks were still talking to one another and although they were frustrated, they always got out of the way for police and ambulance without any negative words about the victim.
Drinks Hub at top of Box Hill

Bling/goody bags:  Another big shiny medal with the course on it.  Goody bag included the usual flyers and a few snacks.

Tips if you decide to take part next time:  Ride the guidance provided on how to cycle safely and share the road.  I recommend checking out my blog posts tagged 'Ride London' for training and kit tips.  You need to take the training seriously to make it around the course.  It took me 8 hours (one of which was waiting for crash to clear) and I feel like I spent a lot of time in the saddle.  Don't forget to add in strength training to complement your cycling.  Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride!

Will I take part again?  I am going to skip the ballot for 2017 and let someone else give it a try.  I really enjoyed the training aspect and will continue to keep it up after the Berlin Marathon in September.  Using cycling as cross training has really benefited my running too.

Thanks to Altura and Zyro for the cycling kit and Merlin Cycles for the new wheels.  Honest reviews on these products up soon.

I did it!

Rio 2016 Interview with Team Canada's Kim Gaucher

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back in 2012, Kim Gaucher (nee: Smith) was kind enough to spend a few minutes with me for an impromptu interview, which you can read here.  Gaucher is back at the Rio Olympics as Team Canada Basketball captain.  Before the games got underway, she was able to email with me for a quick interview.

How did you cope after 2012 Olympics ended as it had been a goal for so long?
It was the best two weeks ever!!! There have been a lot of experiences over my basketball career that I have built up in my head, then when you get there/achieve something, it never quite lives up to the buildup. Well London and it’s Olympics surpassed every wild fantasy and was better than could have been expected. Nothing to cope with, just an amazing life experience that I will always have with me.

Image source: Edmonton Journal
Looks like you have been on the court a lot in the last 4 years. When did you decide to aim for Rio?
After the games, my career was sort of at a crossroads. In the couple of months following the games I told myself I was done with basketball and it was time to move on. However our team and myself sort of exceeded expectations. I took one of the many opportunities presented to me and played that following year in Southern France. Turns out I could still play, I’ve always enjoyed playing and I love representing Canada. So I guess once I got a ball back in my hand after a month off I knew I was ready for another Olympic cycle. People never realise how much work it takes to get to a point like this, but once you get to a level like this you realise just how much fun it is!

Have you prepared any differently in terms of training or mental prep for Rio vs London,  now that you have experienced the Olympics once?
I’m very lucky in that I really love my job. Not just saying that cause we are down here in Rio. When I go a day without some type of basketball it just doesn’t feel right. I’m competitive, I love to work out, I love being part of team – I am very lucky.

When you get a little older, now being in my 30’s the workouts are structured a bit differently. Physically it can be a bit tougher, day after day month after month, but with age also comes wisdom and maturity. My coaches rely on my decision making and leadership now more than ever. I’ll take whatever role they give me as long as I get to compete.

Has being married changed your ability to train or play at all? Are you worried about the Zika virus?
I was with Ben for along time before we even got married, maybe 7-8 years. He knew what he was in for. It has never been easy, and long distance never works well, but we’ve always managed to make it work. I think if anything it’s easier now having the same last name so he isn’t seen as a groupie or distraction.

Yes Zika is something all the athletes are worried about. As an adult my two biggest goals in life were to become an Olympian and a mother. Maybe not at the same time, but still both. In the lead-up to Rio, all of us athletes are so focused on the present that we sometimes forget about the future. There are so many different messages out there it's hard to know what information to trust.

It has changed our plans. At one point we were hoping of conceiving just before or right after Rio, however it just does not seem smart or prudent to do at this point.  I’ve resigned with my club team in France for next season as a result and will take things as they come after that.

What tips are you giving your teammates who haven't been to the Olympics before?
As we say in Canada “ Just give’er”!! Having failed to make 2 Olympics before London, some of our younger player don’t realise how difficult it is to get here. Take it all in, it’s an unbelievable experience to have so early in life, but once that ball goes up its the same game just a bigger stage!

Have you learned any Portuguese for this trip? Are you concerned about Brazil being ready for such a big event?
I’ve been to Brazil now on 5 different occasions for basketball. An amazing country with amazing people and they LOVE and really appreciate womens' sports here. We want to put on a good show. But having said that, it’s kind of like going to another couples house for game night. You love the couple, but they are having a terrible fight just before you arrive. It’s a bit awkward. You know they’ll get through it, but they need to figure some things out before you arrive.

But these are the Olympics. They are what most athletes dream about competing in. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life to getting here and not much right now is going to stop me. If I have to wear long sleeves, not drink the water, go through a couple protests and not go swimming to compete for Canada- Well then that’s what Ive got to do!

Not sure if you met Bolt in 2012, but any other athletes you hope to see? Do you have tickets to any events?
Would have loved to meet Bolt in London but missed my chance. However when I am back in Utah training I always run into elite distance runners who are out there training. I’ve watched Mo Farah train and Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed get ready for the 10000m. Inspiring!!

I love watching the track and field along with the swimmers. And with the games in Rio, volleyball will be the hot ticket with everyone watching, so will I. I just love getting know the athletes, particularly the Canadian ones. Many of us seem to have similar backgrounds and face many of the same struggles with sport in our country.

With the games only being 2 weeks long and basketball playing games every other day, it’s tough to get out and explore. The organisers leave room for athletes to attend any event on a first come first serve basis. But unlike some of the other events where the competition has come and gone in one day, we will hopefully be playing for the entire two weeks, deep in medal contention!

What is your nutrition strategy leading up to Rio and during the games?
Whew where to begin. It’s amazing how much science there is out there. It also does not help playing in France when you’re attempting to be fit for an Olympics.

Basically I never limit myself on fruits and vegetables. I have a couple fruit smoothies a day and never have a problem getting those in. I’ve tried to not go the supplement route. More yougurt and chocolate milk seem to get the job done.

No red meat, and have tried to eat more fish than poultry lately. I’ve always eaten very clean and I think that’s why I’ve been able to stay at this level for such a long time.

Thanks so much to Gaucher for putting aside some time for me.  Tune in to watch Team Canada vs Team USA on Friday 12 August.

How to create a successful personal training business

Thursday, July 28, 2016

People often ask me if I would ever want to do personal training full time.  There is so much that goes into being a successful PT, especially if you want to be self-employed.  The folks at ICS Learn have provided a few tips here to consider if you are thinking about becoming a personal trainer.  If you have any additional questions about PT as a career, shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

If you’re thinking of running your own person training business, it’s likely because you dream of
being your own boss. It’s an appealing prospect – no one looking over your shoulder, setting
targets, or declining your three month mini-sabbatical to the Mediterranean.  However, the main pain of running your own business is also not having a boss – no one to take responsibility, deal with boring finances and schedules, and make sure everything is ticking over smoothly. That means that if you’re planning to launch a personal training company, it’s not enough to have a range of personal training courses under your belt – you have to be business-savvy in order to succeed in this business.
The same applies to PTs just starting out in their careers. After all, being a self-employed
personal trainer is essentially running your own small business (even if you are the boss,
accountant, secretary and canteen lady rolled into one).  So what should you consider before starting up your personal training business?

1. Your Business Plan 

Your business plan is your blueprint for success. If you don’t know where you want to go, how
will you get there?

Define your goals with concrete Vision and Mission statements.

 Vision: how do you see your company? How would you like others to see your

 Mission: what are you going to do to make your vision happen?
On a smaller scale, define realistic goals and the time period in which you want to achieve
them. That way, you can celebrate lots of little successes along the way until you’ve fulfilled
your ultimate ambitions.

2. Location, Location, Location

Analyse the feasibility of starting up a personal training company where you live. If there aren’t
many PTs working in your area, is this because of low demand or have you stumbled on a gap in
the market? If it’s the former, consider investing in high quality marketing to interest people in
what you do.

If there are already plenty of personal trainers in your location, business must be good, but
you’ll have lots of competition. In order to stand out from the crowd, try to find a niche. Who
do you enjoy or excel at training most? New mums? Runners? Older people? Gymnasts?
Geriatric mums who cartwheel marathons? Pour your resources into appealing to those people.
Soon, they’ll seek you out.

3. Availability of Financial Resources 

If your plan is to keep things small-scale, you can work at a gym or fitness centre – this will give
you credibility in the early stages of your career and allow you to learn from other PTs. The
centre will take a significant portion of your earnings, but there are generally good benefits as
gyms want to hold on to their best staff.

However, if you’re ready to go big, you’ve got a lot of financial planning to do. You may have to
look for investors who are willing to finance your company in return for equity.

If you’re going to build your own facility, how much will this cost? Would it be smarter to rent a
space on a long-term lease instead? Do you have a big space in your home which you can
convert into a fitness area and office for only the cost of the renovation? Whatever option you
go for, one of your biggest expenditures will be fitness equipment – budget accordingly.

Running a personal training company requires a steady source of capital especially in the first
year of operation. This should be carefully reflected in your budget plan. You have to consider
one-time expenses and recurring expenses, especially on the operational side of things.  Consider your monthly utilities, the remuneration for your staff, if any, and the cost of running
an office (including supplies).

4. Manpower Needs 

While you might be doing most of the work at the beginning, there will likely be some things
that you’re not cut out for (hello, taxes!). You’ll be more efficient and successful if you can
avoid getting bogged down in menial tasks.

If you’re a one person operation, there’s a huge range of apps that can help you keep on top of
schedules, accounts and plans.  If you’re aiming bigger, you might consider hiring non-PT staff to help your business run smoothly. For example, you might need the services of an accountant to make sure that all of your financials are in proper order. If you plan to run your own centre, you may want
maintenance and/or custodial personnel to make sure your facilities and the equipment are
running smoothly.

You could hire a dedicated marketer or get in touch with an advertising agency to make sure
you’re reaching as many potential clients as you can. You might also want to consider getting a
personal assistant or a secretary to help you with your scheduling, signing up new clients, and
managing accounts.

5. Hours of Operation 

Understand that your clients will generally be scheduling your services outside of normal
working hours – think 5am to 10pm, not 9 to 5. To attract the greatest number of clients, your
availability should include early mornings and late evenings when possible – when work is
slower during the day, use the time to work on marketing, planning, or making business

6. Availability of Social Support 

To give you a better understanding of the challenges you might face, seek out fellow personal
trainers who have gone through the same process. Ask them for advice on how you can start
your own PT business, whether that’s by working as a self-employed trainer or founding a new
fitness enterprise – no amount of research can beat the real-world insight of someone who’s
already been there.

7. Passion and Discipline

Many businesses fail because the owner doesn’t have a real passion for what they’re doing; or,
if they do have the passion, they don’t have the discipline to back it up. Many people think that
finding a job you love about negates the need for a strong work ethic, but even the most
motivated person will have days when they just don’t want to do what needs to be done.

Commitment to your goals is essential!


Whether you’re just starting out as a self-employed personal trainer or launching your own
personal training company, your central concerns will be the same: your plan, your finances,
your location, your hours, your staff, your support and your passion. If you spend some time
considering each area before you start going it alone, you’ll be well set up for success - and on
your way to that Mediterranean sabbatical in no time.

This post was sponsored by ICS Learn.