Sunday, 22 November 2015





 
PROSTATE CANCER UK CIRCUIT CLASS
 
Ashleigh is a new member to the gym I train the majority of my clients at. A vibrant, active and passionate individual, 
I knew that Ash (she insists! to be called) and I would get along well. After a few introductory sessions, Ash asked 
if could host some sort of training session for her and coworkers at Prostate Cancer UK.
Since (some) females can't take part in Movember, Ash and the team came up with the idea to do a different active 
challenge each day. 
I suggested a boot camp style circuit with my military background, it would be fun, yet rewarding.
 
A group of hesitant faces joined me in the studio but unfortunately Ash could not take part due to breaking her ankle
rock climbing earlier in the week... Excuses, I've heard them all!
 
After a bunch of burpees, mammoth mountain climbers and commando crawls the guys worked extremely hard! 
Great effort and energy in the room.
 
I believe in life you should surround yourself with positive people like Ash. Help others who need support or those not
so fortunate. I've done many charity challenges and will continue to, it gives you a real sense of care and 
achievement.
 
If you'd like to donate to Prostate Cancer UK, please use the following donation page

Sunday, 15 November 2015







MISFIT SHINE

Fitness & Sleep Monitor


Over the past month I have been using the Misfit Shine. This elegant monitor records your activity and sleep. I have always been interested in data recording watches but never made the step to try one out. On first impressions, I saw the Misfit Shine on a friend’s wrist and initially thought it was some sort of quirky bracelet. After quizzing about the Shine, I met one of the Misfit team to get more of an insight about the device and lucky enough to get my hands on one.
 Personally, I want to monitor my daily activity levels to ensure I’m burning enough calories against my daily calorie intake and improve my sleep time.


The misfit comes in three main parts.

  • ·         The Tracker
  • ·         Watch Strap
  • ·         Magnetic Clip
It is very well constructed and you can completely submerge it under water, which is great if you are a swimmer (unlike me).
Majority of the time the Shine is strapped to my wrist since I am on my feet most of the day at work.  I don’t even think about removing it when I got out to socialise because of its super cool subtle design and I can continue to monitor my activity. “Every step counts!”

I switch from the watch strap to the magnetic clip when instructing my spin class and attach to my trainer. The magnetic clip is very strong and I don’t have to worry about it coming off. Reviewing the class gives me an idea of the intensity and calories burned which helps my clients get an idea of the levels of activity needed to achieve their own goals.

The app is free to download and very easy to use. You set your own personal goals and at the simple touch of a double tap on the tracker it will light up and show how active you have been and then highlight the time. This feature helps encourage me to keep active to hit my goal. Once you have reached that daily goal and you hit with that double tap, the tracker goes into a brief disco carousel and you get that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Job Done! 

Other cool features in the app. I can link with my friends and we can monitor each other’s activity but more importantly if clients were to be wearing the tracker, it gives me an idea of their daily activity and I can provide a more tailored approach to their fitness and nutrition. It also allows you to link to other Fitness Apps, I have linked to MyFitnessPal app which I use to monitor my daily calories. These linked together it will automatically record my activity from the Shine into MyFitnessPal. This helps me to ensure I have the correct calorie intake against calories burned.

The sleep function is set up on the app before you crash out. On waking up you will be able to see how long and the quality night sleep you had. Since using this function it has highlighted that I really do need to stop being glued to the phone/tv and just hit the pillow.


Some negative points I found whilst using the Shine. I couldn’t fully trust the watch strap housing when I was surfing in Morocco. Which is a shame because surfing is a very exhausting activity but also very physical being thrown around by the waves and knocking the Shine on the board, I didn’t want to take the risk. There are other straps available which might be more durable than the standard one given. Same as trying to view your phone in sunlight it is very difficult to see your activity on the Shine when in strong sunlight.


The Shine is priced very reasonable compared to its competitors and I believe a very useful tool to keep you active during the day.

 View all Misfit products via the link below




Any questions or queries, please leave a comment.  

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


 


 
 
Morocco
 
Suitcase unnecessarily over packed and the usual poor choice of travel clothing is donned. Greeted on-board by the Tango lady the flight is short and sweet filled with a rented movie and casual conversation. Landing in the sunset musk of Morocco with the guilt from a big bag of peanut M&Ms, the air is close and dry. No rules exist on the road here as we are chauffeured an hour’s drive to the hotel. Passing through beige concrete towns dominated by men in 20c leather jackets slumped in café/restaurants chairs, it feels intimidating even for a male.
 
My first impressions is that Morocco is Afghanistan with a splash of western. Petrol stations with faulty neon lights and palm trees guarding the entry and exits.

I've been to few Arab countries, Egypt, Iraq, Dubai and Afghanistan. They do seem to have a lot of similarities.
  1. The most Dangerous driving ever!
  2. The eyes: fixed, deep and intruding
  3. Feeling of corruption
  4. Harsh dry landscape with jagged rusty steel protruding the dusty soil
  5. A Scooter Playground

Pulling up to the Hyatt Hotel I have the inner feeling this is going to be a lot more luxurious than I anticipated as a wave of excitement passes through me. Greeted and directed into a spacious modern reception with a huge chrome Ker-Plunk sculpture falling from the ceiling.  

The staff are very friendly and welcoming yet a sense of unseasoned experience is in the air. The hotel opened in May 2015 so this would make sense but is in no way a negative impact.

Welcome drinks are held outside to the rear of the hotel in a dark lagoon of shallow pools and moody white lighting. The sound of invisible waves crashing in the distance gives me the sensation of bliss and relaxation kicks in.
A split of French and English is in company and the atmosphere is professional yet a little sceptical. Seated to dinner with a set menu and the starter is colourful cold selection thrashed in coriander. The main is a satisfying slow cooked choice of chicken or beef. A petite selection of deserts is presented over tired travelled faces. To top off the day, on retreat to my room the gentle sound of crickets is played through the hotel audio and my bed is calling.
  
Waking up to an over cast west coast view of the hotels pool surrounded by tactical cactus and symmetry palms.   
Breakfast time, the marble and light wicker dining area is empty and I'm ready to stuff my face with North African sweet treats.
A very respectable selection of cereals, pancakes, pastries, fruit and hot food is presented by a chatty chef in a large open kitchen.
A morning spent by the pool relaxing and digesting the hotels tranquillity. A fresh BBQ lunch is laid on by the pool in private sections giving the feel of privacy yet community.   
The afternoon, team UK heads to Taghazout Bay. This small pink and terracotta mixed village sits on a surfer’s paradise. Essex would be jealous of the genuine noir tan and Southern Hemisphere lemon highlights. A quirky vibe surrounds this area whilst the waves swoop in catching those brave enough to tackle the white horses.  
The glowing red sun drops in a cloudy horizon and copious shutter snaps pass the next 30mins.
Dinner at L'Auberge café with a pleasantly lit eating terrace placed in the bay. Well portioned and priced meals on the menu to satisfy all hungry tummies. The polished plates and un-awkward table silences finishes a made day in Morocco.
A light breeze whips round my feet as I raise my head off the bright white pillow. Drawing back the Balcony doors to embrace the hotels view casting over well-watered greens and vast ocean carpet.
Earlier than the Germans we get our first meal of the day and a few cheeky cheese and ham roles are wrapped for an easy beach lunch.
The hotel host a morning surf 5mins away by minibus. The lesson is practical and brief, soon enough you are in the water trying to catch the wave and rise to your feet in some elegant fashion before being dumped and washed out. The beach is clean and wide with small waves for the rookies. An exhausting and rewarding morning I believe this is a must do in Taghazout.
It's a quick change to meet friends for lunch and playing it safe at L’Auberge café again. I grab the camera after demolishing a refreshing fajita wrap to watch how the pros carve the waves. I shuffle, step and leap across large rocks to as far as the white ocean spray slaps my face. I poise in the knelt position like I have a rifle ready to shoot the next sea rider. An hour of fixation passes trying to get that perfect clip/shot to show off to friends back home.
 
We regroup and each give a SITREP knowing the vacation is coming to a close.
A split between more surf and beach banter, I opt for casual cartwheels and poor handstands on Panorama Beach. This beach has an upbeat hippy Glastonbury feel with relaxed surf and Cuban cigar dreadlocks. The sun is low, bright and yet easy on the eyes. Walking knee deep into the African sea embracing with long breaths and hands skimming the surface, I have the inner feeling I will be returning to this destination for a short winter sun break. A wave crashes into me as the tide comes in and reminds me it's play time! We spend sunset fighting over powering waves, hurdling in shallow waters and capturing the moody horizon.  
A local friend of Lovaine’s invites us for dinner at the top of his hostel terrace. We sit on colourful soft Moroccan rug benches with single European travellers. I love the smart/scruffy dress code and multiple lingo air waves in the sea breeze. These moments on top of a beautiful day really feel like a blessing. I'm so sleepy and relaxed I don't remember how good the food taste and crash out in my fully lit hotel room.  
The typical perfect day starts as we awaken to our last. I reflect at breakfast on the recent days experiences. One factor that I didn't think would stand out was how genuine and nice the locals are and you are probably thinking that's because they are trying to sell me something. I had times to myself sat on sea rocks probing local emotions and views. Taghazout residents seem worried about the development of the seafront of modern hotels. It will strip the unique hide away feel and spoil its quirky coolness. I can see why, what single surfer traveller wants to stay in an over expensive hotel when their bed is the sea?
My advice visiting Taghazout Bay. For surfers and travellers, come here raw and stay in a hostel or if you like hotel luxury, spa and relaxation the Hyatt should be at the top of the list. 
10 x Travel tips:
  1. Sea & fresh water abroad can make you ill, so only drink and brush with bottled water.
  2. Medication: Probiotics, ibuprofen, paracetamol, laxatives
  3. Wear a seat belt at all times in transport, the driving style is crazy and you want to make sure you’re covered by insurance.
  4. Leading onto travel insurance, it only costs £10-£20 for good cover.
  5. Taxis will try to rip you off so ask locals what it should cost to your destination before you approach a taxi rank and then barter until you reach that approximate price.
  6. Check cooked meat before eating to ensure it is fully cooked through.
  7. Surfing, Agadir Market and Paradise Valley are the must dos.
  8. Top up the sun lotion when going in and out of the water.
  9. Majority of Agadir Airport only accepts Euros! Weird right?
  10. Last but not least, plenty of memory cards/space and batteries to capture the memories.
 

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