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MMU Sport Photoshoot!

Lots of exciting changes are coming to the fitness timetables across MMU Sport, very soon! Sports photographer Molly Darlington (she’s really good, check out her Instagram: @mdarlingtonphotography – do it) took some photos of me leading various classes and PT sessions in the gym at Platt Lane Sports Complex, for the new timetable launch. Stay tuned for more info!

Just keep rowing:E6D4C048-578E-4EEC-9CCC-79F5C704AE65

How low can you go? Make sure those glutes are activated!61BF4372-132D-4E4F-B0CE-93EAC8F572E0

Shoulder press:99195FD5-4F0B-4236-BE79-92131B305CCD

Working the cross-trainers:E35B310F-6F49-4AF0-8A00-7590C4BD536B

Lat pull-down… Exhale on the pull, keep your back straight, and keep that core engaged!69BAA389-39A5-45DD-AE47-EAFCC46E37E3

Checking squat technique with the bar before we add weight! 609A8331-F63C-4673-AC3C-23380E889948

Making the ‘Y’ from the legendary ‘YMCA’ in military press!7FC7256B-F2AB-4536-A454-66F1925C4166

 

New Boxing Equipment!

Shiny new gloves, pads and skipping ropes from @ProBoxUk for our Box Fit sessions at Platt Lane Sports Complex!

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I’ve been learning some awesome new drills & skills for my Box Fit sessions, thank you @pullinpt 💪🏼 & @joc_sport 🥊

We currently run 3 Box Fit sessions every week:

Mon 17:30-18:15, Wed 09:30-10:30, Fri 18:15-19:00

New to boxing training? Seasoned professional? Everyone welcome! Call @plattlanemmu reception: 0161 247 5605 to book onto a class!

 

Wonderful feedback! Thank you and WELL DONE Georgia!

One of the students I helped train for The Great Run – the much loved Manchester 10K – did the run IN EXACTLY ONE HOUR! I saw the evidence from the GPS tracker on Georgia’s Instagram live! THIS IS AMAZING!

Here’s Georgia (in the purple T-shirt) on the day of The Great Run, Sunday 20th May 2018, raising awareness and funds for The Hospice of The Good Shepherd.

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A few months ago she told me that she would be doing the 10K Run for the first time, with members of her family. They have been raising funds for the hospice that helped Georgia’s auntie before she passed away. This is incredibly moving and such a positive thing to do, in the context of losing a much loved family member.

Georgia is one of the regulars in my fitness classes at Platt Lane Sports Complex and I have really enjoyed working with her, enhancing her cardiovascular endurance and stamina, increasing leg and core strength, training for a safe, enjoyable run, with the hope that she could get a good finishing time in her first 10K event.

It’s such an awesome feeling to see that she did the run in such a brilliant time and that she will continue to run from now on!

Georgia: “After telling Fiona I would be running the Manchester 10K, she offered to help me train for it and having had no previous running experience, this was something I came to be extremely grateful for.

We had 10 weeks to train before the run so we had one personal training session per week and she even let my two housemates who weren’t doing the run join in.

Fiona taught me different exercises and techniques that would improve my running style and help build my stamina, along with teaching me lots of different facts about running.

I managed to run the 10K in exactly 1hr which is something I would never have been able to do without the help of Fiona.

I can’t thank her enough for the amazing support she gave me in the run up to the event and she’s even motivated me to do more running in the future.

THANK YOU!”

THANK YOU GEORGIA! BIG RESPECT TO YOU AND ALL OF YOUR FAMILY! (And your mates who turned up to the training sessions!) Keep up the good work!

When was the last time you made time for real relaxation?

To mark the end of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 2018, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favourite pieces of deeply relaxing music.

This week The Mental Health Foundation chose to raise awareness around stress.

If we make time for relaxation, we are less likely to experience stress. Stress can be seriously bad for our health. It is so important to be able to feel calm, and to know – in such a ridiculously busy world – that we have the ability to find moments of peace.

E7E16B09-632A-48FE-A7B4-B366447F17A7I know for a fact that chilling out to music, meditation and exercise (specifically yoga and swimming) can really help me to feel relaxed.

I also love the healing power of gong vibration detox (group relaxation with large gongs being played around you). Click here to listen to my radio interview with Manchester based Gong Spa Practitioner Martyn Cawthorne.

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But if you’re struggling to find peace, make it simple. Run a bath, light some candles and play these tracks below! No bath? No worries! Simply make time to lay down with your eyes closed and listen!

5 Days Until The Great Run! Vee Uye talks about her Love of Running

Vee Uye is a friend of mine who inspires me greatly. She’s like a superhero.  She is a prolific runner, she’s totally knowledgeable and passionate about running. She motivated me to get into running, which changed my life.

I asked her to answer a few questions to get people psyched for the Great Run (the much loved Manchester 10K) happening this Sunday, and to also offer some advice to people who might be new to running.

She’s a physiotherapist, she’s just completed her Level 3 Sports Massage qualification and soon she will start a Masters in Running Biomechanics!

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How did you get into running?
I was never particularly good at sports as a kid. By the time I hit adolescence, I’d completely lost interest. Fast forward to university and I was living a very unhealthy life. I wasn’t active, I was overweight, I drank, I smoked. I remember catching sight of myself one day and thinking, ‘how have I got to this?’.
I headed to the nearest newsagents and picked up a fitness magazine. It contained a running plan it it for absolute beginners. I figured that running was the cheapest activity I could get into to try and lose weight.
I started the plan. The plan nearly finished me! I was running for 1 minute and walking for 3 mins and I thought I was going to die!! But I stuck to it and started running further and further. But the end of the plan I could run for 5k straight so I found a plan that took me from 5k to 10k. I started to legitimately love running and the mental and physical benefits it gave me. I entered the Great Manchester Run for the first time and absolutely loved the vibe. It was like I’d found my people! Since then I’ve run loads of races from 5k to marathon distance. It’s safe to say that running is now a massive part of my life. It inspired me to retrain as a physiotherapist, and in September I’ll be starting a postgraduate degree looking at how running biomechanics relate to injury.

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Out of all the races and marathons you’ve done, which is the most memorable so far?
Tough one. I think that has to be the Brighton Marathon in 2014. I ran with my best mate the entire way round. He is a much better runner than me but hadn’t really trained that well for the distance so we ran the same pace. We’ve known each other since we were teenagers and we had similarly difficult starts to life, which translated into us both being a bit too into partying for such young people. So to run the marathon with him, as healthy adults, meant something really special. During the race, there were times when I struggled and he kept my motivation up. Then, he would start to flag, and I’d chat to keep his spirits up. We crossed the line hand in hand. I’ll always remember that.

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What are the 3 most interesting insights you’ve learned in all your years of running?
First off, running is excellent therapy. It is meditative and mindful. You can think about absolutely nothing whilst running, or you can work through problems in your head. You can run on your own for some ‘me time’, or you can get out with a group and chat it out. My partner Lucy knows when I haven’t been running much and will practically order me out of the door as it affects my mood that much. Sometimes, when you are feeling low, lacing your trainers up is the last thing you want to do. But that is your cloud talking. If you get yourself out of the door, 9 times out of 10 you come back feeling better than when you left.
The second thing I have learnt is that no one cares! What I mean is that I used to be really paranoid I’d be called out for not being a proper runner. Or laughed at in the street when I was doing my 1 minute wheeze/cough/splutter running. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. I realised that the only person judging my speed, size, or technique was me. No one else cared! They were all busy with their own lives. You are highly unlikely to be last in a race, if you enter one, and even if you are, no one will care! Run because you want to. That’s what counts. That’s what people admire.
Lastly, you can’t just run. This took a while to sink in for me, but it is really important that you are also strong. The forces you will subject your body to whilst running are pretty big. Modern sedentary life has robbed us a bit of our natural capacity to absorb these forces so we need to counteract that by cross training. I’d recommend doing something resistance based at least twice a week. Yoga, or bodyweight exercises, or using the machines in the gym, whatever you enjoy. The bonus is that not only will you reduce your risk of developing a running related injury, but you can carry the many benefits of strength training into other areas of your life.
Which other runners, if any, inspire you?
If I had said Yuki Kawauchi a few weeks ago, you probably wouldn’t have known who I meant but he’s big news at the moment after winning the Boston Marathon. The reason he is a big deal is because until this prestigious win, he worked a full-time job, and raced multiple marathons each year as an amateur. He always, always pushes himself to the absolute limit. ‘Zip up your Yuki suit’ is a saying popularised by a podcast called Marathon Talk. It basically means stop complaining and get it done! Such is the character of Kawauchi. I try to zip my Yuki suit up when I’m in the middle of a tough session or race.

E7E932A4-0F3E-46C9-971A-DF32DF994C87Photo by Kyle Hightower

I also admire Paula Radcliffe. Mary Keitany tried to break Paula’s 2003 marathon world record of 02:15:25 in London this year and in failing to do so, she reminded us of just how spectacular an achievement that record is. It’s stood for 15 years and looks like it will stand for a little longer too. 53336837JM032_IAAF_World_AthleticsPhoto from Getty Images

The other runner I have to mention is Eliud Kipchoge. This guy IS running. He is poetry in motion. Super humble, monastic in his approach to training, totally zen. I recommend checking out Nike’s Breaking 2 documentary for an insight into, I believe, the greatest marathon runner of all time.

C96031F1-6CBD-4948-9242-44087527A567Photo by Matthias Hangst / Getty Images
What sort of things do you eat the day before a 10K Run?
I think people can get a bit hung up on what to eat before races. There’s a big emphasis on stuffing yourself full of pasta and taking sports gels. Personally, I think you don’t need to. Eat healthy, well balanced, meals the day prior to the race. Your body will have more than enough fuel to get you through. There’s no need to load up on gels or anything like that. I wouldn’t eat anything unfamiliar as it is likely to upset your stomach and that’s the last thing you want while running. You also need to make sure you eat breakfast at least 2 hours before the race. I check the start time of my wave and work back from there. If I get peckish after that, I might have half a banana.

How do you motivate yourself to train throughout the week?
Motivation is a finite resource. I can’t always count on being motivated to get me out of the door, especially when it’s raining, or I’m busy, or stressed. The way I manage this is by making it difficult not to go on a run. For instance, if I know that I have limited time in the morning, I get everything ready the night before so I just have to roll out of bed and into my running gear. Or I might plan to run to work, turning a session into a commute. If I feel that my mood might be getting low, I’ll arrange to run with friends, or with my club. That’s usually enough to ensure I get out as I don’t want to let people down. The bottom line is, it isn’t always a beautiful day, your mind isn’t always in the right place, and time isn’t always on your side. But with a bit of pre-planning, you can usually make it work.

What’s your favourite piece of music to run to at the moment?
Controversially, I tend not to listen to music whilst running. I know some people can’t run without tunes but if I listen to anything, I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts related to running and fitness. I do this for a few reasons. The first one comes back to making runs work for me. I’ve got limited time and it’s a way of maximising my day by learning. The second reason is that I find my feet locking to the tempo of songs I’m listening to. I like to keep my cadence above 175 steps per minute and music that matches that tempo…is usually not what I want to be listening to in the morning! The final reason is that I like to train my mind as well as my body. The marathon is my main distance and to run 26.2 miles, you need to be comfortable in your own head. More often than not, I’ll take my headphones out and just let my mind wander.

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What advice would you give to runners doing their first Great Run experience this Sunday?
Enjoy it! It’s probably the best supported 10k you will ever do so soak it up. Also, pace yourself. When you cross the start line, your adrenaline will be pumping and everyone around you will take off like a rocket. Try to remember your training. You aren’t going to be able to magically run 2-3 minutes per mile quicker on race day than you could the day before so stick to your pace and if you have something left in the tank at the end, you can put your foot down then. It’s not easy, everyone gets pulled a bit faster by the occasion and the atmosphere, but try to resist the urge to set a world record. It will only end in tears!3DB400F5-2667-45C7-A3EB-219DF31E2F80
What would you say to someone who is interested in getting into running, but not sure where to start?
The best advice I can give is to start a structured running plan for beginners. Something like the Couch to 5k. Or send a message to running clubs in your area to see if they have any beginners sessions. Both Chorlton Runners and Manchester Frontrunners offer beginner sessions periodically so find out when their next programs begin. The benefit of starting a structured plan is that it will help you gradually increase the time/distance you are running for. One of the biggest risk factors for developing injuries is doing too much too soon, and as an inexperienced runner, it might not be clear how to gauge how much is too much. If you are considering taking up running, go for it! I never looked back. I wish you the same joy and peace of mind running brings to me.

Thank you Vee! Keep up the excellent work, and good luck with your upcoming Masters!

ALL THE BEST TO ALL RUNNERS THIS SUNDAY! 💚

Shall We Dance?

“If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Revolution” Emma Goldman

EDE323FB-B5C5-4999-A8E1-DC16E19F7306Tomorrow I’m going on a course to become a ZUMBA INSTRUCTOR! I am beyond excited. Dancing is one of my favourite things to do in the world. Dancing makes me feel FREE and ALIVE. The feeling I get – from going out dancing and experiencing connection with others, dancing in my room when getting ready, or taking part in dance classes – can genuinely empower and energise me for days and days.

E7BE0BE8-182C-4C15-BF0B-7AAD7158F9BFHere’s a photo of me rocking out wearing an eye mask, losing myself in music aged 6!

There’s something about losing yourself in the moment, because of the way that the music makes you feel – in your mind, body and soul – where you forget about everything else, but you become more aware of your self. Studies show that dancing can help people increase their self esteem to get better at public speaking! Dancing can help people feel more comfortable in themselves.

7A6847E3-953A-43C4-BEB7-CF298CFC8634Posing on the floor at a @justdivad vogue workshop at Airborne Studios Manchester.

Movement in the body can ‘create the space in our minds necessary to bring us back in touch with the natural intelligence of our bodies, and ultimately with each other and the planet.’ Natasha Blank of ‘Get Your Dance On’ also based in NYC.

‘There was a time when mankind was primitive, a time when the sun was an object of worship and human beings were in sync with the earth. In these ancient days, the indigenous people didn’t only use language or drawings to express themselves – they used dance. The old, shamanic ritual of uninhibited movement as a means to heal and energize’ and nowadays, many people and collectives try to recreate this magical skill. Experiencing something like this place in Texas is on my bucket list!

But you’ve gotta laugh. This scene from British sitcom ‘Peepshow’ has had me crying with laughter TOO MANY TIMES!

I’ve always loved dancing, with all my heart. I am by no means a professional dancer, but the enjoyment of dancing and watching others dancing has always been there. My mum and my nanna have always taken us to see live stage shows and seriously, the all singing all dancing musicals have always made me feel high-on-life. Favourite musical? That’s a whole other conversation!

7820E35B-9812-418B-9D44-BC16CC43779BHOW AMAZING IS THIS?! Combining some of my favourite things: Rhythm, movement, singing, nature, women’s collectivity and community. Footage of women using their hands to splash the sea Vanuatu Islands. Stunning.

There is something so special about watching people express themselves dancing. Ever seen the most heartwrenching scene in The Green Mile? Where the innocent protagonist requests to ‘See the moving picture’ before he is sent to the electric chair on death row. He sees footage of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers dancing ‘Cheek To Cheek’ and compares them to angels.

A7A32390-FB14-462D-A2C8-52F46BDF2840Dancing is the ultimate feel-good form of exercise. So many health benefits. Did you know that dancing can relieve anxiety and even boost brain power?

C7074DBD-0A76-4927-A60C-26E07F350C9EPhoto by Christopher Dresden Styles, Bollox at Legends (2012)

Below are some of my favourite music videos, YouTube videos and scenes in movies, where dancing has either inspired me, moved me to tears or made me smile from ear to ear.

The best film I’ve seen recently without a doubt is 120 BPM. It is a beautifully powerful French film about ‘Act Up’ the gay rights campaign group during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The dance scenes throughout the film represent rebellion and community. This scene really stayed with me.

Fatboy Slim – Praise You is one of my favourite music videos ever. A work of genius. Comedy gold.

I will always remember how the music video for Jason Nevins remix of RUN DMC’s ‘It’s Like That’ made me feel when I was 10 years old. It was released in 1997, and it exploded. Everywhere. That thumping beat is infectious, and the music video is too. Featuring all different kinds of people having a breakdancing dance off. This was the first time I saw women breakdancing and it did something to me. We heard this track at every school disco at Middle School (on Friday lunchtimes! – I went to every single one!) and friends birthday parties. I’m now 30 years old and I still think the original, the remix and the video are so cool.  ((SPINBACK)) – “CHECK THIS OUT!”

How much excellence can you see in one performance? See Jabbawockeez at the NBA Finals last year, above, to find out more.

PULP FICTION: UMA THURMAN & JOHN TRAVOLTA IN JACKRABBIT SLIM’S TWIST CONTEST!!!  They don’t even dance for that long on screen, but the dancing comes across as so flippin’ effortlessly ICONIC. Intoxicating to behold.

Shoutout to the northern powerhouse, spellbinding dancer and choreographer that is Joshua Hubbard of The House Of Decay. Follow him on instagram. His performance in the video for the Young Fathers track SHAME needs no introduction. Just watch.

Great memories and lots of lessons learned in various vogueing workshops with Joshua! Below is a photo of some of us, post-workshop at Hype Dance Studio, Sheffield.

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The above disco scene in The Get Down. Thrilling.

Check out this DISCO CLASSIC: Musique – Keep On Jumpin’

Word. I could talk for DISCO for days, but for now… Here’s Grace! At Studio 54.

792A0375-EE37-4E39-B140-FD12E0127414Someone once said about the feeling of experiencing the closest thing to what heaven might feel like on the dance floor at Studio 54. LOVE IT! In the future, if they design some sort of App where you can actually time travel, the 70s disco scene in New York City will be one of the first places I go.

Of course I need to talk about my love of vogueing and ballroom culture. I am so grateful to know about vogueing. We must always acknowledge and celebrate the Black and Latino gay community who started this incredible form of expression around the 1970s in NYC. Paris Is Burning is an exceptional documentary. And now, following the legacy of Willi Ninja, Paris is OFF THE SCALE. Vogueing has gone completely global. It’s without a doubt my favourite form of dancing.

Vogueing combines elements of elegant poses like those in Vogue magazine; styles like old way, new way and vogue-femme, with a whole load of amazing categories for vogue ball participants to channel and OWN IT. Watching other people vogueing, especially people from the LGBT+ community, expressing themselves and LIVING really does inspire me.

Shoutout to OH-SO-FIERCE Darren Pritchard, the Mother of The House of Ghetto who’s has taught me and my friends so much about vogueing and working the floor in his high energy vogue-femme workshops. All the best to everyone involved in tonight’s SOLD OUT Deep In Vogue documentary’s fundraiser at TriBeCa in Manchester!

There is so much to touch upon, Manchester has such a wealth of historical importance when it comes to music, dancing and the power of collective consciousness. Check out the MDMArchive for ongoing (highly dedicated) documentation.

DFC4B99C-085B-4242-A22B-9CDD1B18DD55One of the MDMArchive Co-founders is the ever-so-passionate-about-music-and-culture Abs Ward. Listen to her awesome show on NTS Radio. Keep up the good work Abs!

Back to dancing.

This scene in Billy Elliott makes my heart beam with joy.

This scene is also intensely powerful. The whole soundtrack is brilliant.

I watched Mary Poppins on repeat when I was little. I was always absolutely mesmerised watching this particular scene with the happy chimney sweeps. Then I became an adult and studied sociology, and I enjoy challenging inequality and exploring representation of different social groups. Great film though!

Watch these awe-inspiring Lindy Hoppers HAVING IT! Pure energy. Pure skills.

‘Shall We Dance’ from The King and I has moved me to tears many a time. I feel that the film is problematic and dated, but I used to watch it loads as a kid. I’m sure my mum bought it on VHS for my sister and I, with some colouring books, for us to chill out one Easter Holiday. I remember thinking that the king is a horrible person, but this particular scene and other scenes with music and dancing really fascinated me as a child and still do. This scene makes my eyes fill up – it’s when they realise they’ve got feelings for each other! And it’s is just so extravagant and old school!

Sometimes it’s the simple things: The Snowman animation, specifically this jubilant dance scene with the uplifting violin folk music moved me as a kid. Still does. What a heart breaking film though!

When it comes to talking about the power of dance, there is so much more to say, and I will be blogging about dance and movement again, watch this space.

23BCC832-7F8B-4A89-812B-89B2CB07FD42The next *HIGHLY* recommended night out in Manchester for dancing ALL NIGHT LONG in a safe space with nothing but love and hugs (and kisses) on the dance floor? Come to Kiss Me Again Saturday 5th May at Soup Kitchen with guest DJ sets from *the legendary* Kath McDermott and Philippa Jarman!

Tickets here. See you on the dance floor!

0C9E68A3-4CFF-40A8-9B35-3769944B71BDIn the words of Belinda Carlisle:

“In this world we’re just beginning, to understand the miricle of living…

… They say in heaven, love comes first. Ooh Heaven is a place on Earth!”

Top 10 Spin Tracks!

“I feel like I’ve been to a rave!”

“When I come out of your spin class I feel like I’ve been clubbing!”

“I sweat more in your class than ever!”

“I can feel my fitness level getting better because of your spin classes.”

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I keep receiving wonderful feedback for my spin classes. I love teaching spin at Platt Lane Sports Complex. Every time I come away feeling truly energised after a real workout!

I mix it up with the music and the moves, so no two classes are the same. I work with the beats, the bass lines, the climatic builds and the drops.

Here are my 10 favourite tracks at the moment, that fill me with joy and drive me to motivate people to push themselves (and keep pushing themselves) to sprint, hill climb, ‘cycle through the tunnel’ and much more!

Want to come to a class? Here’s the timetable. You can book onto classes by calling the reception. Then come to the Leisure Dome at Platt Lane Sports Complex, walk through the reception, turn down the corridor to the right, keep walking and you’ll find the spin studio and lots of friendly faces.

Reception: 0161 247 5605

Bring your towel, a water bottle and LET’S HAVE IT!!!

Post-Easter Bank Holiday Gym Workout Motivation

Ready for a detox? Wanting to reconnect with your mind, body and soul? 3 words: Yoga With Adriene. Fit regular yoga sessions with this awesome instructor into your weekly routine and you will never look back.

A lot of people have over indulged over the Easter bank holiday weekend. Many  people in the gym have expressed that today is their first day back after quite a few days off!

I spoke with one of our gym regulars: Austin, a pro-basketball player for the Manchester Giants! He’s over here from Dallas and he always looks like he’s in-the-zone as soon as he comes to train in the gym.

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I asked him if he could say 3 TOP TIPS for workout motivation. He came up with some great answers:

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1. Your biggest struggle with motivation is if you start initiating, doubting or coming up with excuses. The moment you start to second guess, grab your gym bag and move!

2. Create a motivational playlist. 15-20 songs that fire you up.

3. Get a workout buddy, someone to hold you accountable.

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What motivates you to train? Why not write a list, so that if you lack motivation one day, you can read your words and feel gym-ready!

I always tell my PT clients to have a strong idea, a vision of what they want to look like, at the front of their mind when they are finding reasons not to train. Visualisation techniques can work for motivation and inspiration for all kinds of activities.

Also the more you train, the more you’ll see the results you’re working so hard to achieve, you’ll lift your mood and feel good too.

It is so important to train regularly, for mental wellbeing, sleep, to maintain strength and muscle tone, and to ultimately continue to improve your fitness level.

Did you know that we can lose our fitness level quite quickly? The good news is that muscle memory is a powerful thing and we can get our fitness level back quite quickly too!

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I always find This Girl Can really motivational and inspiring! What an amazing campaign. I can’t still remember the tingles I got down my spine when I saw the first This Girl Can video in 2015!

This Girl Can did more video campaigns, and this particular video is off-the-scale! With Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Women spoken word… Just watch, learn and feel your motivation to get physically active RISE!

Training for the Manchester 10K Run on Sunday May 20th? Check this out for a THRILLING track to run to. Thank you for the heads up Deb Jump! It really inspires me to find momentum and keep pushing through. I enjoy working out (and teaching classes) to this so much.

If you’re training for a run, wanting to learn more about running techniques or increase your cardiovascular endurance, download the Nike+ Run App. Or if Apps aren’t your bag, check their Nike+ Run Club website. It’s simple, easy to use and it WILL inspire you!

I’m about to smash out a workout myself, so keep it locked for my next blog post which will be my favourite musical motivators in my spin classes at the moment at Platt Lane Sports Complex! COMING SOON 🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️

#getyourfreakon #getupgetout #staymotivated #stayhealthy

Spring is here! It’s time to get more DAYLIGHT and NATURE!

The clocks go forward tonight, the days are getting longer and everyone should get out more!

I took this photo this time last year in Chorlton Water Park:

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Check out Lauren Laverne’s SPRING THEMED PEOPLE’S PLAYLIST to get all enchanted by the fact that spring is here!

As someone who spends a lot of time working indoors in a gym, I absolutely love embracing daylight, getting out in nature and breathing fresh air into my lungs.

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Living in Manchester is amazing, but is so important to get away from the buzz of the city, to notice both stillness and movement in nature.

Getting in touch with nature really is so good for you. It can even enhance kindness and creativity.

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Being outside in daylight can relieve anxiety, reduce depression, enhance memory, boost your immune system, treat skin conditions, strengthen bones and much more.

Tree-hugging: Yes, I’m not messing! Evidence shows that experiencing genuine connection with nature, specifically tree-hugging can be highly beneficial.

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Nature is spellbinding. It is no surprise that Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II was critically acclaimed and had the highest viewing figure in 2017.

Let’s get cosmic. Attenborough has now been honoured with a blue whale constellation! This is brilliant!

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Let’s get deep. In order to celebrate the change of season – and the fact that we can actually get outside and get active without being ice cold – I asked friends to share poems about the great outdoors, and stories of special memories in nature. I hope these words encourage you to think about your own happy memories in nature / outdoors / at this time of year, and inspire you to dust off your walking boots or running shoes, and get out more!

But first, I urge you to look around you, and think about where you can go and get close to nature.

If you like walking outdoors, why not try out the group exercise experience known as Walkfit?

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Walkfit is all about mixing walking with fun and challenging activities, low impact team games and paired exercises.

In Manchester, you can do Walkfit in Bruntood Park:

Wednesday 19:00 – 20:00 / Friday 10:00 – 11:00 / Sunday 10:00 – 11:00

Or you could just go for a stroll in any of these wonderful parks and gardens in Manchester. Fletcher Moss is especially magical and enchanting, exemplified in this fantastic video, filmed and directed by Lee Baxter, featuring David Hoyle & The Co-Dependants… Let Go & Move On:

Hulme Community Garden Centre is just brilliant. GET DOWN TO THEIR BIRTHDAY PARTY – Saturday 31st March!

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Fallowfield Secret Garden Community Project is also really beautiful and friendly. The entrance is a pathway situated between two houses on Wilbraham Road. Blink and you’ll miss it, but if you find it, you’re in for a real treat.

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Here are some truly special words from friends and famous writers about being at one with nature:

Thank you Bindi:

‘The time I wept before a waterfall. I  found its beauty pained me to the point I kept having to look away, and it was a simple waterfall not near as ‘majestic’ as many I had come across and yet there I was, situated in the foothills of Northern India near the banks of the Ganjes, crying before it and having to look away at junctures.

But added to this and important, as I am not sure it would have happened like this otherwise, were two things and the most important comes last. First was I had entered the cavity of it, into the cave, its womb if you prefer, with its ancient drip by drip stalagmites and stalactites. It was after when dressing in the open air and looking at the velvety moss covered outside with its twinkling drew drops and falling water that I broke open from the inside and wept (This a new way of seeing it as write to you about it now! So thank you!)

The most important factor I feel was the fact that I was a few days in of a 5 day personal vow of silence and I have come to know that it is in these time of shutting out the chatter chatter that life springs more vividly and easy into a place of awe and reverence. I am certain that had I not been in a silent inner place and more observant to all, this connection would probably not have occurred. This, as you may well imagine, was a pretty big turning point for me, thus it was the first to spring to mind. After such an experience how can you not seek or attempt to have many more such experiences of connection such as this! It was a portal into new experience of the world (and no hallucinogens!)

It was a wow moment and even writing this very sentence has made my eyes wet! Perhaps without intending to I have made my share! Thank you for suggesting and encouraging such a beautiful thing that we remember and revere the beauty of original nature, and I hope in so doing that we recall our inseparable connection to and of it ❤

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Thank you Emily for introducing me to this Ted Hughes poem:

This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up –
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

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Photo by Lucy Oldfield

Thank you Rebecca:

Taking time to be green spaces or close to water is essential for the mind, body and spirit.

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Thank you Harri:

I am not a runner. I’m more like a sofa, energetically speaking. A sofa with lots of coins and lego bricks down the sides of it. Squashy and a bit worn.

It took a long time to become so comfortable. I started out OK, little bean bag full of beans, but I grew a lot of lumps and knobbles through my twenties, then spikes and wires and in my early 30s I lost my mind.

I was staying at Crisis Point in Levenshulme. It’s a mental health recovery short-stay place, a few days to re-solder your wiring and straighten your beams. For the first few days I mostly just cried and made minimal progress on a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

But one morning, I suddenly found myself running. I ran out of my room, I ran down the stairs, out of the door and down the road. I had no idea of a destination, but the sun was shining and the air was crisp and it felt good so I kept going.

A few turns, a couple of briges and I was on a tree lined lane, going uphill, and a voice in my head said quietly:

Stop.

I stopped, and for the first time in months, I looked around me. Really looked, and listened. I could hear birdsong bright over the soft sussuration of traffic far away, and leaves pattering on the trees. I could see shoots and buds on branches, pine cones on a dry old pine.

Perhaps I can’t explain to you, if you’ve never been a broken umbrella or a dangerously- soldered toaster, if you’ve never been missing from your body, if your soul has never threatened to give up on you. But I think these experiences are more common than we like to acknowledge.

That first moment of peace and happiness was like waking up and realising everything I thought was life, had only been a nightmare. Like I hadn’t realised I was thirsty until I started to drink clean cold water. Like I’d suddenly flipped the right way up. Running again with my arms out like an aeroplane, laughing and jumping.

That was the start of a long journey, of softening and finally shedding those painful edges, of learning to get on with the world. I’m still not a runner, but I take walks all the time, up the fallowfield loop, past that old dry pine tree, to Birchfields park, to smell the trees and hear the stream, to thank nature for making me well, and to feel truly happy.

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Photo by Pollyanna Crane

Thank you David:

More than once I wondered when and where I was most at home.

In the morning when the sun
Made me forget what I had done
And what it was I was to do
It seemed as though I never knew

In the evening when the moon
Made the past seem so soon
What had gone so long before
No more then would I ignore

Below this cosmic chandelier
What is there still for me to fear?
Over the fields where we walked
Of what was it there we talked?

Below those old old oaken beams
There I sank into my dreams
Sprawled on the sofa beneath your cat
Would once again I sleep like that.

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Photo by Zak Hane

Thank you Jane for introducing me to these words of wisdom:

“We have learned we are like amphibians: we can live on land, but not forever, not without trips to the water and to home. Overly civilised and overly oppressive cultures try to keep women from returning home. Too often, she is warned away from water, until she is thin as a dime and dimmed in light.”

Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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View story at Medium.com

During Nutrition & Hydration Week 2018 The Lovely Eggs talk about FOOD!

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In my opinion, they’re one of the best bands on the planet. Holly and David are from Lancaster. They make awesome music and  they tour the UK and beyond – living the punk rock lifestyle – all the time. They’ve just finished a pretty much sell out UK tour with support from Phill Jupitus and Mr Ben & the Bens. They’re everything a band should be, and of course, they’ve got amazing taste in music.

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Their live shows bring the wildest energy, with an infectious fun and down to earth attitude. I’ve seen them play many a time, and every time I leave a gig, my face is hurting from laughing and smiling so much! LOOK HOW HAPPY I WAS WHEN THEY PLAYED MY 30TH BIRTHDAY PARTY!

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Their dedication to keeping it real, keeping it DIY and supporting local music scenes is so refreshing. It is no surprise that they have such a massive following, and here is one of the many reasons why. They invite people to see the world from their eyes, and food plays a big part in this (as well as their obsessions with Twin Peaks, Richard Brautigan, and their passion for partying, and encouraging people to absolutley lose themselves in music) I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE for what this band is about!

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To raise awareness about Nutrition & Hydration Week, I asked Holly and David a few questions about food! Photos by Darren Andrews.

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Food pops up a lot in your music. Could you elaborate on your love of food?
I’m just quite interested in something that is a bodily function, like an actual live or die necessity but people take so much enjoyment in it. It fascinates me. I think it’s more a philosophical thing and what food represents than the actual eating of food itself.

What are your favourite kinds of food?
To be honest usually in the realms of junk. You can’t beat a good pizza or a veggie burger. Also chips, onion rings, maybe a pasty you know that kind of s**t. I mean don’t get us wrong we eat healthy too but we’ve been brought up on junk, lived on junk all through our partying days and you still can’t beat a bit of it!

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What sort of things do you eat when you’re on tour?
It’s usually pizza! And there’s a LOT of carrot sticks and houmous knocking about! Can’t beat a home cooked meal when yer on tour though. Just love a proper tea.

1BDFDC14-6DBC-4F97-B54A-F093E2BD9610Your music videos are surreal, psychedelic, playful and fun. Could you say a few words about the ideas behind the iconic music videos for your (food related) tracks ‘Food’, ‘Magic Onion’ and ‘Allergies’?
Well Food came really naturally cos it had LOADS of imagery about food in it. In that song I wanted to blur the lines between sex and food cos for some people they love eating so much they think it’s better than sex. So In that song I wanted to create a story around a couple who just come together once a month to eat!

That’s how powerful food can be! Food can make everything better. Can’t it? So I liked the weird idea of a platonic relationship based around food. So with that it was a bit slapstick, just bunging as many images of weird food there as we could and of course there’s the couple snogging whilst eating at the same time. They were complete strangers you know!

In Magic Onion, well the onion isn’t really edible in that one it’s just representative of the many layers of life and the universe.

In Allergies, Casey Raymond (the director) just did loads of egg related images in it cos he knew I hated them. He likes to find out what pisses you off and then does it. That’s why he put my face in an omelette. Cos he knew I hated egg puns. He might say different but I know that was the real reason! He is one of our best mates though and it is an amazing video so he is allowed!!

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

ANYTHING while drunk. It always tastes the best!!

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Thank you Holly and David ❤️

Listen to this beautiful track they wrote about their friend who passed away, using all kinds of food related language to show that they would have loved to have been able to protect and look after him:

One more thing! Watemelons is really cute too:

And if all of this wasn’t exciting enough, they have a new album out: THIS IS EGGLAND! Words can’t describe how much I love this album. From start to finish. It is perfection. It is a thing of uplifting psychedelic surreal pop punk bliss. It is their best album, ever.

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If you like raw originality, musicality and humour, and would like to hear more of their tracks about things other than food, check out their brilliant back catalogue, check out their new album and go see them play in Manchester on 5th May! They’re playing The Ritz with The Membranes, Sink Ya Teeth, The Cravats and more… GET YOUR TICKETS HERE AND GET INVOLVED!

Feast your eyes on this SPELLBINDING VIDEO for their latest single Wiggy Giggy! Eat your heart out!