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.

Start your week off right!

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Monday seems to be the hardest day of the week for a lot of people as it means that the fun of the weekend is officially over. Why is that? Surely it should be taken as the start of a new week to do great things and be great, no?

For today’s Mindful Monday post, take today as your day to catch up on those things that you know will make the rest of the week amazing and make this a weekly plan. Use this day to remember to move forward with purpose; if you believe that the week is going to be a rubbish one, based on your beliefs and in turn your reaction to those negative thoughts/actions, chances are the week will become a bad one.

Use the following quote from Daisaku Ikeda as your motivation this week. Print it out and place it somewhere prominent if you need to:

“Everything depends on what is in our hearts. If we decide to ourselves that something is impossible, then, consistent with our minds in thinking so, even something that is possible for us will become impossible. On the other hand, if we have the confidence that we can definitely do something, then we are already one step closer to achieving it in reality.”

Start the week as you mean to go on!!

Hold on, I’ll be five minutes …

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This is technically not a fitness post, but I’ve been known to throw in a couple of curve balls here and there so bear with me. Whilst I’m an advocate of exercise and being healthy, I extend this to the mind. I suffer with depression and have made efforts to ensure that the bouts I have are few and far between, staying active is a HUGE part of that. There is also another way that I work on staying in a good place and that’s through rest and relaxation, particularly meditation.

I know you probably now have images of me sitting in a room full of floaty curtains, pillows and such like, but unfortunately I don’t have a pretty room like that in the ghetto lol.
Jokes aside taking five minutes out during work hours, before bed, on the way to a meeting to put away your phone, closing the laptop and concentrating on just breathing does wonders.

Research conducted by a university in California which was part of a Telegraph article showed that meditating for five minutes before class saw a significant increase in the concentration and grades of the students. In a busy world where there “isn’t any time” to do anything, taking five minutes out a day could impact you in a positive way. You don’t have to rush out and buy whale sounds, incense and pillows with little mirrors on. Yourself, a chair and five minutes is all you require. Shoot, you don’t even need the chair!

So try this: during your break at work; turn your phone off, find a space if you will have someone trying to talk to you and break your focus, get relaxed and just sit for five minutes clearing your mind of the stresses of the day and see whether or not you feel better afterward, you may just be surprised.

Giving myself a daily boost

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As you know, I’m all about my fruit and veg. So much so I bung them into a blender raw and drink to my hearts content. But recently I’ve been taking a battering due to the air con at work being up so high that I feel I’m in Antarctica and its been circulating recycled air and germs.

To combat this, I’ve just bought and have been trying out a powder to add to my drinks which is packed full of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils and herbs. It is called Nature’s Plus “Source of Life” energy shake in a granola flavour that I picked up from South London’s finest health food shop Baldwin’s. if you live in South London, then I know that you are aware of this store, it has been there before I was on this planet and will probably be here long after I’ve departed. They have an online store which you can peruse at your leisure here.

In the coming weeks I will let you know how I fair, and give my verdict on what I like or don’t like about it and post.

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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!!

What a difference a year makes

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I just put my Amsterdam Half Marathon with the five others that I have collected over the past twelve months. To say I had a moment when I did would be a huge understatement.

This time last year I had just found out that I didn’t get a place at London Marathon (VLM,) I had just started to train after trying back in that March and kept getting injured so gave up. Wrong shoes (that’s for another post.)  I had decided on doing a bungee jump, a half marathon (Silverstone) and a full marathon. I almost gave up when things got really hard, but there was a voice in my heart that kept me going.

Fast forward twelve months and I have not only done those things, I have also added a second half marathon to that list, two 10ks and a five mile cross country a week after I ran Edinburgh marathon. My life has taken a real serious turn and it has been for the best. I will be finishing my level 2 Personal Trainer qualification next year, am in a permanent job and hopefully adding to the medal collection with the Paris Half, Edinburgh Marathon, running the VLM through the MS Society who I’ve already raised money for this year and the Royal Parks Half Marathon. Yes, an Ultra Marathon.

I cannot begin to tell you what my friend running has done to my life – as much as we have had huge ups and downs.  I have clocked up 400 or so miles in the last 12 months. Counselling has made a HUGE difference in my life and my spiritual journey has been nothing short of brilliant.

There are many people along this course who all have inspired, helped or even dragged me to certain points, but no-one has made me do any of this apart from me. It maybe crass to toot your own horn, but right now I am playing my own damn symphony and aint scared to play it loud!!

Here is to the next twelve months. If you have played a part in me getting to this point (you know who you are ‘cos I done told you so;) big up yourselves.

Ab Fab!

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I have been asked a lot over the past year, and particularly the last six months or so, about my core and what I do in terms of my workouts. I usually then send on a few components via email, which is usually well received.

Of late I have had loads of questions so thought it best to drop a blog with a 30 minute workout which I essentially do every morning before some yoga for you guys, and that way it’s out there and you can add suggestions or ask questions. If you need to start on a lower number of repetitions and build up as your confidence increases; do it!! Some is better than none!

I hope you like it!

One minute planks. (x 3)
Remember to pull your core in and keep a straight line from the back of your head, down your spine, all the way down your calves to your feet. Thirty seconds recovery then repeat twice.

Oblique leg Raises. (x 20)
Lying on your side (in side plank position) with your hand supporting your weight and the other arm either down your side or on the floor in front of you for balance.  With feet together, lift from the floor and hold for five seconds. Repeat twenty times then change sides.

Abdominal holds. (x 5)
Sitting up, hold your arms out to the front and lift your legs so that you are in a v position. Engage your core (pull your belly button in toward your back,) ensuring you aren’t slouching and hold for thirty seconds then repeat five times.

Scissor kicks. (x 50)
These are my favourite. (You may disagree!) Lie on your back with your legs up in the air. Ensure your back isn’t slouching and be careful with this or miss out if you have lower back problems (unless you consult your physician.) Using alternate arm to leg, swap sides and repeat fifty times each side.

V ups. (x 20)
While sitting, bring your knees to chest and hold with arms, release and whilst maintaining straight back with core engaged straighten legs until they’re an inch from the floor and lower back simultaneously. Repeat twenty times.

Russian Twists. (x 100)
Yes, grand finale time. The daddy of any bonafide abdominal workout. In “v” position with straight back and an engaged core, take arms across the body and touch the floor, repeat the other side. This is one repetition. Repeat one hundred times.

Thanks to Mr Trouble for the photo at the bottom of the collage.