No Summer Bodies around here

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As the Summer/holiday season is underway you’d be hard pressed not to find a magazine that doesn’t encourage you to “get that Summer body” you’ve always wanted. But what happens when the tan fades and you’re sat at your desk reminiscing about the wild weekend you had with Julio while you and your girlfriends were away in Corsica? Does the work of starving yourself since April and going to every body blast class fall at the wayside until the following April? Was that constant feeling of hunger even worth it? I’m guessing not.

The motivation to be fitter and healthier should be a motivation and that would then ripple out to wanting that all year round. This doesn’t mean constant starvation, feeling unhappy or any unhealthy patterns as a lot of these seasonal plans tend to be, as weight loss in a short space of time is usually just that.

Make this Summer season the start of you leaving behind the Summer body and taking on a healthy attitude to your mind and body which is for life.

Mysogyny in Fitness

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This post has been a long time coming; I’ve been so disgusted with the way social media has been a platform for people to be very mean to others, particularly on their appearance. I’ve waited a while to write though as I didn’t want my anger to allow the piece to become a rant, so apologies to those who have been waiting to read my thoughts. In a short space of time there seemed to be so much going on where women were getting attacked on blogs, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and it became too much. Unfortunately I haven’t really calmed down as it seems there is something else that crops up daily that reinforces my angst in how women are constantly attacked.

I follow a fair amount of fitness people and with my aspiration to enter a fitness competition which has been put back until next year due to my operation these include women that lift weights. It isn’t for everyone I get that, but the really nasty comments I witness all the time about more muscular women are totally unnecessary and are very toxic. So working out “too much” is a no no, apparently … Women are suddenly unattractive when they become stronger, many of those making such comments don’t seem to even run for a bus. Hmm.

Then we have those imbecilic folk that post photos of those that don’t work out at all or are clinically obese making vile comments. One person who does this regularly even defended his position by saying ‘they’ve eaten themselves to that place’ and pointed out the fact that he also posts “inspiring” photos as if that cancels it out before declaring ‘no fks are given’. Many of those photos are women who have clearly injected their breasts and bottoms with silicon and then claim to have squatted their way to fitness. Very fitting from someone that decided they would change their appearance having no sympathy/regard/empathy for those that haven’t gotten to his stage yet. While this is one example, there are many other douchebags that constantly post photos of obese folk and use it as a licence to be nasty. A classic example I personally came across was by a male Personal Trainer who claims to be for the people trashing anyone that didn’t agree with his ethos and described people who went out drinking at the weekend as “tramps” with his own hashtag on Twitter/Instagram no less. Needless to say, I’ve removed myself from that negativity as trying to reason with him fell on deaf and ignorant ears.Then we have another type of trolling that I honestly will never EVER understand. Especially from fellow women. Attacking pregnant women.

I don’t follow many celebrities, but it was difficult to miss all the backlash that went with Kim Kardashian’s (bad) choices in maternity wear and more specifically to her size.
Yes, her clothing has been quite bad considering she is supposed to have stylists around her, and she does insist in wearing clothes and shoes that are far from flattering, but the attacks on her size while she’s pregnant are in my opinion extremely horrible. Before the rise of the “celebrity” culture, women were allowed to look however they wanted. But not now. If you walk into a shop and browse the magazines, there are TONS of front covers with people who have lost their baby weight in six weeks, not to mention the myriad of regimes/programmes helping you “fight the flab” and similar nonsense as if mothers don’t enough on their hands with a baby to look after, they now have to get some start jumps in while expressing Junior’s next feed whilst vacuuming as he sleeps. Where is the time to rest after such a very physical and emotional experience? Just pop out the baby and keep it moving, yeah?

Women are already at a loss where fitness is concerned as we are targeted with fluffy pink dumb bells weighing less than our handbags, being bombarded with images of the perfect body (but only if you’re White, I won’t touch on the very alarming lack of Black faces/images used as inspiration as we clearly don’t work out or anything *side eye*) and patronised by pretty much every angle without this nonsense. Women sweating is a HUGE no-no. We “glisten”. It’s about time we took a stand. Lifting isn’t going to “make you huge” as we simply do not have enough testosterone in our bodies, AND it does the world of good for metabolism. If Zumba is your thing as you like dancing, go for it!! If you prefer kickboxing, do your thing. if you prefer yoga, I’m down with that. My abs have made a come back as a result of that post op. Find what makes you tick and do YOU.

We need to stop listening to men who have no idea whatsoever about women’s bodies telling us how we should look/feel. We also need to stop competing against each other and become more encouraging instead of tearing each other down. We also and most importantly need to realise that whatever way we decide to train as long as it is done properly is the right way if it makes us feel great.

“Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”

My Headstand Challenge

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A challenge was set a month ago to see whether I could teach myself to do a headstand in thirty days.
I wasn’t able to balance well at all, which I put down to recovery and though this would be a fun way to get that back and keep occupied. At the time I was happy to get to the point where I would be able to get into a headstand and remain there for thirty seconds or so. How did I do?

Well it is safe to say that my confidence has been boosted immensely and I have taken it even further with another goal of being able to perform an inversion whilst in a headstand and also in a forearm position. While its very early days with the secondary challenge and technique needs to definitely be fine tuned I’m am ecstatic with the progress I’ve made in such a short space of time.

It is so rewarding to set small challenges and be able to achieve them with a little hard work, I cannot wait to see how far I get with my new found love for all things upside down! I guess you’ll find out when I do just how far I can go. ;-)

(Above photo is the beginnings of a headstand inversion and below me working on ‘scorpion’ pose.)

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Yogis vs Meatheads

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During my recovery I have been trying to stay active, I’ve never not kept fit and despite being limited to no weight bearing exercise, I wasn’t going to let that stop me exercising at all.

I have dabbled with yoga over the years and mainly utilised it to stay supple and aid in core strength, but have since relied on it a lot to aid in my comeback. So when I mentioned it to someone who is what you’d call a typical meathead guy that spends hours in the gym pumping iron and he scoffed that I “needed to work harder than that to get back to where I was before my operation”, I was a little (read that as a lot) offended.

I love bodyweight exercise as it means I’m not a slave to a monthly subscription, I can work it around the diary; as a parent that’s quite important, but on the other hand I do love a barbell squat and will be returning to the gym to take on a challenge I’ve set myself which you’ll find out about soon.

I do find that yoga is looked upon as not being ‘hardcore’ enough by a lot of people as the movements aren’t explosive/dynamic enough. I will tell you from first hand experience that this isn’t the case. In fact slow, controlled movements such as a slow mountain climbers (not the yoga term, but I’m not trying to be overly technical here) are far more beneficial than 100 sit-ups. Fact. Spending three minutes in a half split like I did yesterday afternoon during my Vinyasa Flow class was as painful as I’ve felt squatting deep with 80kg on my shoulders. Headstands aren’t to be sniffed at, either. The photo above is cool, no? You should see the outtake photos …

I totally understand that not everyone will enjoy every fitness discipline, but lets be clear here. Whilst it may not give you quick results like say dead lifting 100kg, yoga can build a strong body. Putting my bodyweight training aside, I know I could plank the heck out of the meathead friend based on the fact that yoga helped me get there, and I challenged him to a plank off.

Sadly he declined to take me up on the offer …

Why I’m standing on my head

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You may have seen me tweet or post Instagram photos as I work on getting my headstand game up recently and thought I was crazy, or wondered why I was going back to my roots of performing these in the playground.

As you may or may not know, I had a major setback with my fitness and am still in recovery mode at present. I’m not able to train and whilst I’m now able to run, I have lost my running mojo which hasn’t been helped by my knee. So while pottering around, I saw a yogi posting some really cool forearm poses and decided I would work on getting to that stage again by first working on my balance while toning my arms, shoulders, back and lightly on my core. Balance is to me very important in general as it means body and mind work better together.

After a few days into what is going to a month long challenge, I decided to research the benefits of headstands when practiced properly. I discovered the following:

1. It is very good for the digestive system, the pituitary gland which is important in creating energy is stimulated whilst chilling upside down.

2. The lymphatic system is improved; lymph fluid is a major player in building the immune system.

3. Helps your brain! With the blood flowing towards the brain easier, it gives it stimulation when endorphins are released, enhances concentration as well reduce anxiety and stress.

4. Boosts cardiovascular and lung function.

5. Improves strength in the neck, shoulders, back and core region of the body.

I’m seven days in and I have to say it has been quite fun. When my mum isn’t shouting “boo!” Or “she fell over,” I am seeing improvements already. Will be nice to see how far I get by day thirty.

** update** to make sure you’re doing it correctly, best you give this link the once over

#AbsLikeAngel – Week Two

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Well hello there!!

I have been more than chuffed with the great response from you all with this challenge, thank you all so much.

Am working on the video, due to some difficulties the vid won’t be available until next week, so I have listed a workout below and I will grab a willing victim tomorrow while I’m with my running crew for some photos to assist your workout and will edit this page accordingly.

Any questions, please ask!! Twitter/Instagram: @Angel_Deelight or drop the questions in the comments at the bottom of the page.

If you would like to do the Week One workout you can find it by clicking here. Love and Light. Angel xx

Superman Planks

Like the photo above, smiles are optional. Get into plank position (as always adopt good position with straight back and core engaged.) Lift left arm and right leg, extend and hold position ensuring arm and leg are straight in line with torso. Slowly return to plank and swap sides. Repeat for a minute, rest and do two more minute sets with thirty second recovery in between.

Sit-ups

Adopting good posture and using a chair to hold feet if necessary take your time and get as many sit-ups in within a minute. Core engaged and smile on face.

Side planks

Resting on forearm keeping body straight with core engaged, hold. Switch sides after thirty seconds.

Plank Rows

In plank position lift one arm and raise to chest and hold for a second whilst keeping back straight and engaging core. Swap sides and repeat for a minute.

Alternate Froggers

Adopting the plank position, bring right leg to the outside if the right hand. Bring back to plank position and repeat on the left. Three one minute sets with thirty second recovery in between. Maintain good posture throughout.

Sit-ups

Get as many as you can in a minute. Take care of your back and engaging your core whilst remembering to breathe.

Mountain Climbers

I know how much you loved these last week, as a reward you can go a little faster, but remember good form on these. Get into plank position and slowly bring knee to chest, repeat on other side. This is one repetition. Repeat for one minute.

Abdominal Hold

With your back straight and your abs engaged, hold in the position for a minute. Rest for thirty seconds and do this twice.

#AbsLikeAngel – Week One

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Greetings challengers, I hope you’re raring to go?

Please remember to stretch before and after your workout as well as hydrating. Both very important for your body and overall fitness.

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Abdominal Hold

With your back straight and your abs engaged, hold in the position for a minute. Rest for thirty seconds and do this three times in total.

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Plank

Keeping a straight line from head to toe, rest on your forearms and hold for one minute. Rest for thirty seconds and get three sets in.

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Slow Mountain Climbers

Get into plank position and slowly bring knee to chest, repeat on other side. This is one repetition. Repeat for one minute.

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Russian Twists

Getting into the abdominal hold position, take right hand across your body concentrating on keeping back straight and core engaged, repeat with left arm. This is one repetition. Repeat for one minute.

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Plank Rows

In plank position lift one arm and raise to chest and hold for a second whilst keeping back straight and engaging core. Swap sides and repeat for a minute.

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Sit-ups

Get as many as you can in a minute. Take care of your back and engaging your core whilst remembering to breathe.

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Side Plank

Resting on forearm keeping body straight with core engaged, hold. Switch sides after thirty seconds.

Now get tagging and posting #AbsLikeAngel !!

Twitter/Instagram: @Angel_Deelight

#AbsLikeAngel

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The time has finally come for the “Abs Like Angel” challenge to begin.

There will be workout set for you to do and a new workout will be posted weekly. Ideally try to do this twice a day if you’re able, but once a day as a minimum and add it to your current workout (where applicable.)

As always it is recommended that you consult your physician if you have any concerns and modify your workout if need be.

The “Abs Like Angel” tab will magically appear tomorrow and that’s the best place to post questions as well as under each workout post every week.

There will be a prize awarded to the individual that makes a significant effort. In order to be eligible you will need to tag your photos, blog posts, tweets etc with the hashtag #AbsLikeAngel. Take a simple self shot before you start the challenge and one at the end of February so you have an idea of your progress as well as something for me to judge alongside your online presence throughout the month. Terms and conditions will be on the tab on Monday.

Most of all, enjoy yourselves!!

How is your #PushIt challenge going?

Hello!

I hope you’re all well and well underway with your push-up challenge? I have been quiet on the online front – many apologies, but I have been keeping up with my daily goals and hope you have been too.

We are halfway through now, so a final push(up) for the last half. As always I am checking and am here for any help/cheer leading if you need it. Push-ups aren’t my favourite so know I’m probably going through similar feelings to you.

Here are the full and modified pics, taken whilst I was away:

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Can you #PushIt in 2013?

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Hello you!! Happy New Year.

As you’re aware (or should be by now) I am not a fan of resolutions or waiting until a new year to sink my teeth into a goal, desire or challenge, some of you joined me on December’s #DropItLikeASquat challenge and did very well I’d like to add!!

This month is no different. January is a new month meaning a new challenge; push-ups. Now I am not a fan of these at ALL, so you’ll be pleased to know that I will be battling through this one more than the squats.

As usual, I should stress that you should consult your physician if you have any concerns and to maintain the correct positions throughout.

    Technique

Back straight taking care to keep the weight in your upper body. From your head to the feet, ensure you maintain a straight line and engage your core (tuck your belly button in and hold.) Please also remember to breathe!!

If you’re not able to do a few push-ups, you may want to moderate your position so that your knees are on the floor (remembering to maintain strong back and core at all times.)

And one last thing, if you’re struggling, I am on Twitter, come and find me!!** If you’re tweeting #PushIt your fellow challengers can also offer support. The most dedicated and/or improved challenger will also get a little gift at the end of January so get pushin’!

Love and light.

Angel xx

(Twitter and Instagram: @Angel_Deelight)

Thanks to @RenoMethDAP for the picture/logo.

**I am away until the 14th with a family emergency so may not always be able to find you straight away, please bear with me!!