Quickie Workout #99 - with giveaway tease

Sunday, June 29, 2014

We will be having a giveaway for Quickie Workout #100. Be sure to check back next Sunday
 for all the details.  Confirmed partners include nuun, Lija Style, Brodie Skin care, and Fit Bug.  It's gonna be grand!

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min- hop-hop-squat, 1 min-running with high knees, 1 min- jumping jacks/star jumps
1 min- Stand in doorway and press hands into door frame, trying to create a letter T. Keep pushing for the entire minute.
1 min- Wall sit
1 min- Calf raises
1 min- Bicep curls with bottles of water or exercise band
1 min- Shoulder shrugs
1 min- Ballet plies-you can place 1 hand on the back of a sturdy chair to help with your balance
1 min- Still holding on to the chair, have feet hip width apart. Rise up to your toes. Drop hips into a seated position while staying on your toes. Then drop your heels and stand up straight. Repeat.
1 min- Push/Press ups against the wall
1 min each side- Side plank
1 min- In push/press up position, bring knee to outside of elbow on the same side.
1 min- Crunches

Weekend Challenge

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sports are turning up the heat this weekend.  The World Cup continues in Brazil while tennis at Wimbledon is ramping up the the UK.  Who are you rooting for?

If you don't know much about either one, spend some time this weekend learning about football (soccer ball) and tennis.

If you are lucky enough to live in the UK, check out Tennis For Free to get more info about where you can play.

Perhaps you are already a football and tennis champ? Consider supporting these charities who help bring sport to  kids:

Access Sport: Founded in 2004 Access Sport is a dynamic charity whose mission is to give more children, particularly in disadvantaged areas, access to a wide range of quality local sport.  We look to harness the proven power of sport to tackle social exclusion, inactivity and obesity in areas where help is most needed. We achieve this through empowering the inspirational community volunteers who set up and run local sports clubs with cash, expert advice and networking to help create thriving clubs which get more people positively engaged.

London Sports Trust: The London Sports Trust is a charity dedicated to helping young Londoners through sport. We work with local partners, schools and communities to help disadvantaged children and young people fulfil their potential. Our mentoring and training programmes give the confidence, skills and knowledge to achieve in all aspects of life.

United Through SportWe are a UK registered charity, established in 2004, dedicated to encouraging disadvantaged individuals and communities to develop to their full potential in sport, education and health.  United Through Sport is motivated by two core beliefs:
1. Every man, woman and child has the right to participate in sport and should be enabled to do so.
2. Sport is a unifying force for good and should be used to promote community cohesion and personal wellbeing around the world.

Race review: Electric Run

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Start line
26 April 2014
Wembley Stadium, London

This was the first Electric Run to hit London. Similar to Colour Run, Foam Fest, etc, this run is more of an experience rather than a time trial.  Tons of people (20k+ if you go by bib numbers) attended so I imagine it will come again next year.  The brand is now global with many race locations in UK and USA.

Water station is electric!
Registration process & fees: Register online on the Electric Run website. Many of my friends felt £35+ (fee went up as the race day drew near) was too expensive for an un-timed 5k without bling.  I was lucky enough to find a voucher on Living Social which saved me a few pounds as I didn't register until 2 weeks before the race. Packet pick up was in Covent Garden or at Wembley a few days before the race, which helped you avoid a £5 'convenience' charge for pick up on the day. There was a HUGE queue to pick up your race packet at the start line. One friend told me he wasn't charged the convenience fee when he got his t-shirt and race number.  I don't know if anyone was charged or of they gave up after too many complaints. Did I mention there was a huge queue for the packet pick up? Luckily my Swiss friend doesn't believe in waiting in line (for anything) so we walked by everyone to find we could enter the start area right away. Personally, I was really disappointed that there wasn't a bag check.  I didn’t have anyone cheering me on to hold my stuff.  And as the event was at night, it would have been nice to have a few layers handy for the party afterwards.
Kat nearing the end and still happy

Location: The course wound around Wembley Stadium and the car parks, which was super convenient for me

Course & bogs: We waited 30 min in a herding area to start as there was a variable start time (waves started every 5 minutes between 8:30pm-9:45pm). No bogs in sight and it was a bit cold after the sun went down.  There was 1 water station on the course with very cool glowing cups.  In the finish area there were at least 20 port-a-loos which my friend desperately needed.

Different zones along the course
Atmosphere: Electric! Everyone was there to have a good time. There were people of all ages and abilities. The course is open to walkers to (but I would suggest organizers let runners start first next year in case anyone wants to actually run the entire time). So much effort was put into fancy dress with flashing lights, glow sticks, and face paint.  I was amazed at the creativity!  At the finish line was an after party with a dj, food/drink vendors, and some cool places to take photos.  The lines were huge so we didn’t bother getting anything. 

Bling/goody bags: No bling, but everyone got a black cotton t shirt (I got a women's large, which was only longer, not wider, than the medium), glow stick glasses (I took off in holding area because they were annoying me), and a light up wrist band which lit up as you were running.  It has an on-off switch so you can use it all summer or at festivals.

After party stage
Tips if you decide to take part next time: Start planning your fancy dress now and don’t hold back.  Use the race to encourage friends to get active.  My friend from the USA was in town and it was her first time to take part in a race.  She loved it! Don't expect to get a PB as there are lots of walkers.  Plus the event is untimed and the course length varies depending on the location. Go to the bathroom before you get into line to queue for the start line as you won’t find a loo until the finish. One negative thing is that it is the most energy inefficient race I have ever been to due to energy used for the lights, blowers, and all the rubbish left on the ground. 

Quickie Workout #98

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We will be having a giveaway for Quickie Workout #100. Be sure to check back on Sundays for all the details.

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min skip rope (or hop if you don't have a rope), 1 min prisoner squats, 1 min walking lunges
1 min- Push/Press ups
1 min- Mountain climbers
1 min- Push/Press ups
1 min- Reverse lunges
1 min- Low pulsing squat
1 min- Plank
1 min each side- Clams
1 min- Overhead triceps extensions
1 min- Frontal raise
1 min- Shoulder shrugs
1 min- Calf raises

Weekend Challenge: Cheer 'em on!

Friday, June 20, 2014

There are loads of races going on in greater area London-area this weekend (I am doing 3 myself).  As it is spring (nearly summer)  I challenge you to be a friend or family member's #1 cheerleader.  Go to your cousin's softball game, stand on the sidelines of the local 5K, buy a ticket to your neighbor's concert.  These small moments are important to people and might even be fun for you!

If you are going to support an athletic event, put some coins in a plastic milk jug as a noisemaker or bring a whistle.

Or take it up a notch by creating some hilarious signs to help people forget about race for a moment.  Here are some examples from the lululemon blog or have a look at the photos here.

What signs have you seen along the way?

Race Review: Dorney Lake Winter Duathlon Series

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pretty location near Windsor
19 April 2014

Race 4 of the Windsor and Eaton Winter Duathlon
£37.50-£50 depending on distance (super sprint, sprint, or Olympic)
Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd male and female, 1st Junior male and female, 1st Vet male and female.

The day started off early and chilly for me, but it was nice to get out of London and explore a new city.  Dame Kelly Holmes took part in the race, as well as national level triathletes. The day also offered cycling sportives (90km or 180km) on open roads in the morning and 5k, 10k, and half marathon races in the afternoon (all organized by F3 Events).  Sky Sports was there covering the event too as Holmes works towards becoming a duathlon world champion.

Registration area with lots of knowledgeable staff.
Registration process & fees: All online with F3 events. I was lucky enough to have free entry thanks to F3 and Write this Run. The registration area was well set up and never too crowded. Packet pick up was on event day for all participants. The event was staffed with plenty of volunteers to help keep things moving throughout the day. Inside the registration tent was a small cafe with coffee, tea, pastries and sweeties. There was also a sport shop booth with energy bars/gels, spare inner tubes, and a few cycling jerseys.

My transition area
Location: The Olympic site near Windsor called Dorney Lake. Easy to get to if you have a car. I took an early morning train which required me to cycle a bit in Central London. Not so bad at 6am but a bit nutty on the way home. It was about a 15-20 min cycle from Windsor and Eaton Riverside train station to the start line over e pedestrian footbridge and down some side streets to uphold one way traffic laws. There were also some cow fields. 

Course & bogs: The course is flat with a small transition area. Bike is a loop on the south side of the lake. Run is an out and back on the north side.  One water station at the start line which you pass on each loop of the run.  There isn’t much to look at aside from trees and rowers on the lake.  It was windy and cold at the start of the race, which seemed normal for an early April date. The wind made a bit of the cycle tough but kept me cool throughout the event.  Six porta-loos were available on site but I am not sure if there was enough loo roll for the entire day’s events.

Atmosphere: As the location was a bit remote, there weren't many spectators. Personally, I like having random people screaming my name (makes me feel like a rock star). So the race was a bit challenging for me mentally was it was only me cheering ...err... me on. However, if you have a support squad join you at the course, it is a small enough area for them to walk around and see you on the run and bike portion.

My huge bling
Bling/goody bags:  A substantial metal was given to each finisher. It is so big, I thought the girl at the finish was handing me her mobile phone along with a water bottle. There was also a free copy of Triathlete Europe magazine and a voucher for Ashmei merino wool products who were on site that day too.

Tips if you decide to take part next time: Be sure your GPS is working if you decide to ride there from the train station. Consider the trains might be full of bikes so leave a bit early to ensure you can get there on time.  Bring some friends to cheer you on. I think this can easily be a course to get a PB on if the wind plays to your favour.  I didn’t do so well as I treated this as a training session.  I will definitely sign-up for it again next year.

Quickie Workout #97- Mat work

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Most of today's workout is on the mat and/or laying down.  You should still give it 100%!

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min walking lunges, 1 min inch worm, 1 min squats
1 min- Chest press while laying down (use exercise bands or water bottles for resistance)
1 min- Laying triceps extensions
1 min- Reverse curls
1 min- Push/Press ups
1 min- Hip raises
1 min- Plank with feet stepping in and out
1 min- Spiderman crunch- hold in press up position (on toes) and alternating bring knee to elbow on the same side.
1 min- Clams
1 min- Supermans
30 sec each side- Start on all 4's.  Lift leg out to the side keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees. Return to original position then repeat.
1 min- Toe touches

Weekend Challenge- What's your baseline?

Friday, June 13, 2014

This weekend's challenge isn't a big time commitment.  All you need is a timer and a bit of space on the floor.  Set the time to 1 minute and count how many push/press ups you can do before the timer goes off.  Then flip yourself over and set the timer again.  See how many sit ups (proper ones, you may need someone to hold your feet down) you can do.  Write this info down on a piece of paper as your baseline fitness level and repeat these tests in 4 weeks time.  Good luck!

Get fit with a 4-legged friend

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

As a dog-lover, it is hard for me to be renting my home.  I wish I could have a four-legged friend greet me when I walk through the door after work and encourage me to go for a run in the morning.  But I am also responsible and don’t want to give up a pet because I can’t find a new place to live.  That is why I was so excited to discover Borrow My Doggy last year!  It seemed to be the perfect match for my doggy cuddles needs while maintaining my semi-nomadic lifestyle.

Photo from:
About half of the homes in the UK have pets.1 Many people had cats and dogs growing up or have pets as adults.  Have you ever noticed how being around dogs makes you happy and calm? For many people, owning a dog is not possible (due to work schedules, housing regulations or allergies) and it can be very frustrating.  Petting a random dog on the street has a temporary effect and sometimes the dog could care less that you are there (the latter is what usually happens to me).  This is where the genius of Borrow My Doggy comes in.  When you are matched up with a potential playmate, you are also doing loads of good for your health too.

It has been shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure, better recovery after heart attacks, less stress and less incidents of depression.2 The hypothesis that dog owners getting more exercise (because they are taking their dogs for walks every day)3  is supported by the fact that dog owners have better cardiovascular readings, such as systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.2 It is such a simple thing to own a dog and yet your body responds so positively to the companionship and exercise.  Depending on your age, these health benefits might not seem important right now but one day they will be!

Dogs are also a great way to meet people.  They are an instant conversation starter and prevent people from experiencing social isolation.1 I am always talking to dog owners in parks and on the street (as I have a tendency to want to meet every dog I see).  Pets are an easy ice breaker and way to get to know someone.  The silent connection dogs have with people is one of the reasons why nursing homes and adult care residencies have therapy dogs visit.4 Dogs give affection and a loving touch without question.  They can improve the mood of residents who are lonely or afraid.  Their antics can also be very entertaining if they are a bit naughty.  Intrinsically, the companionship a dog brings also can spark spontaneity when playing or going for a walk, relaxation when cuddling, and of course increased exercise.

So if you have a dog already, congrats on a lifetime of good health. By sharing your pup you will greatly improve the quality of life of a neighbour and new friend.  If you are the one doing the borrowing, embrace the opportunity to be more active and receive unquestionable love from your new furry friend.  I have recently moved to the Mill Hill area and am need of a new doggy.  There seem to be many living on my street.  Please get in touch if you have one for me to meet!

1McNicoloas, et al. BMJ 331 p1252-1254. 2005.
2Cutt et al.  Health & Place 13 p261-277.  2007.
3Serpell. J. of the Royal Society of Medicine 84 p717-720.

4Therapy Dogs International website

Quickie Workout #96

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 3-5 minutes running/jogging (until you begin to break a sweat)
15 press ups
30 mountain climbers
15 leg lifts
30 sec side plank (both sides please)
15 jumping jacks/star jumps
30 squats (hold a weight if this is easy)
15 jumps up in the air as high as you can
30 lateral raises
15 squat thrusts
30 walking lunges forward
15 punches forward (cross/jab)
30 walking lunges backwards

Weekend Challenge

Friday, June 6, 2014

I am back on the fitness wagon this week and have started a new program (more details on that next week). Rather than change everything at once, I am slowly incorporating healthy choices into my life.  The next step is going to be going sugar free for 7 days.  In preparation for this, I have started paying more attention to the sugar content in the processed foods I eat.  Here is a typical day's intake for me:

Breakfast- Waitrose Nutty Cereal
Tea Break- Diet Coke and Go crackers
Lunch- Spinach salad with tomatoes and cheese (EVOO, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper), Activa yogurt, small dark chocolate Kit Kat
Snack- Apple
Afternoon caffeine as of left- Sugar free Mountain Dew I had given it up for so long!
Dinner- varies depending on our schedule but usually hummus and crackers or homemade veggie meal

This weekend challenge is two fold:
1.  Start paying attention to the sugar content in your food.  Most labels are easy to read these days.
2.  Keep a food diary Friday-Sunday with portion sizes

Let me know what you find out.

Quickie Workout #95 - Cardio blast!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min jog, 1 min skipping, 1 min running with high knees
1 min- Prisoner squats
1 min- Speed bag in the air while hopping back on forth on feet
1 min- Burpees
1 min- Plyometric lunges
1 min- Bicycle abdominal exercise
1 min- Dumbbell swings
1 min- Hop-hop squat
30 sec- Run in place with quick steps
1 min-  Star jumps
1 min- Burpees (because they are so much fun!)