RAVE REVIEW: Project Fit

I’ve heard of various high intensity classes that offered treadmill workouts, but I never thought it was my kind of thing. I don’t really like being yelled at (I’m more of a soft encouragement kind of girl), and I have a strong loathing of treadmills – so I had purposely avoided trying these classes out.

Project Fit

However, after reading a review on Lunges and Lycra and buoyed by the offer of a free trial – I decided what the hey, and booked in for a one hour class at PROJECT FIT with Mollie, Kiera, Margaret and Emma. The studio was rather discreet, a small sign off Cornhill (near Bank Station) was the only indication of its presence. We headed two floors down into the basement (I would struggle to get back up these two flights of stairs later!), and met Joel, one of the owners/instructors at reception. He quickly assured me that I shouldn’t be too scared. The glint in his eye and cheeky smile told me otherwise!

Project FitThe before – no idea what we were in for! 

After stashing our gear in the changing rooms (small, compact, but functional), we watched the previous class come out (drenched in sweat, yes, but still alive) and nervously entered the studio. On the upper level were approximately 10 treadmills, lined up and facing a mirrored wall. Scattered on the lower level were bosu balls.

Project Fit

Ben (the other owner/ instructor) introduced himself and talked us newbies through what to expect – although if I am completely honest it did go in one ear and out the other – I was too busy taking in my surroundings, and wondering what on earth was coming for us! Ben switched on the music, adjusted his microphone, and launched straight into the warm up.

Project Fit

Kiera wasn’t nervous, much! 

I’ve never used a bosu ball before, but in the first 8-10minute set we became well acquainted. There was a cardio based warm up which involved toe taps on the ball, standing and squatting on it, and squats and lunges off the ball. At one point we picked it up and burpee’d with it (harder than it sounds!).

Project Fit

It wasn’t long before we were instructed to grab a set of dumb bells (various weights were lined up around the room for us to easily grab) and incorporate these into the short sets we were doing. My heart rate was up and the sweat was dripping – and we were only 8 minutes in. I shot a dirty look at Emma (whose idea this class had been) and gasped “how much longer?!”

Project Fit

At the end of the set, we were instructed to switch to the treadmills, where the other half of the class had just completed running drills. I had been so consumed with my bosu ball that I hadn’t been watching what was going on with the treadmills – but I was about to find out! Ben yelled out the incline number, and then three speed options… “12, 14, 16”. Around the room the words walker, jogger and runner were plastered – who the hell WALKS at 12 on a treadmill?!

Project Fit

Emma and Kiera managing to stay upright on the treadmills

Our incline started so high I thought I was going to fall right off the back off the treadmill, so I chose to stick to the lowest speed that Ben yelled. After a minute of struggling to stay on, we lowered the incline by 1 point, and upped the speed. Another minute passed, we reduced the incline, and upped the speed. I’d gone from clinging on to get up a steep hill, to twirling roadrunner legs and wondering how soon I would be spat off the back off the machine. Thank god the music was up so loud – I was audibly grunting with the effort! The 8 minutes felt like forever, but finally we were able to hit the red stop button. With jelly legs and gasping for air, I wobbled down the steps and back to the bosu ball for the next round of fun.

Project Fit

Another set on the bosu – this time focused more on upper body with shoulder presses and bicep curls and chest presses. I could feel all my muscles quivering, and before I knew it we were back to the treadmills again. I actually think I blanked out what we did in the second set – I can’t remember the speeds or the inclines or what we did, I can only remember that I swallowed back the bile a couple of times. I tried to focus on my grimacing face in the mirror in front of me, pump my arms, and KEEP BREATHING. Oh, and not fall off.

Project Fit

Am I dead yet?

Our final set was shorter (thank god) but not any easier. Planks and press ups and mountain climbers and more squats and lunges on the bosu. The treadmill set involved a minute sprint, then jumping off onto the sides of the treadmill for a minute of squats while it whirled at 14+ underneath us (and repeat). I was drenched in sweat, and absolutely wrecked – by the time the workout ended and we were taken through some stretches all I could do is lie face down on the metal floor with my eyes closed.

Project Fit

The after – still alive, still smiling, VERY sweaty!

So now that it’s a few days later, and I have recovered from the DOMS (ohhh, the DOMS! I was amazed at how much my quads hurt, obviously from the inclines) what is my overall verdict? I bloody loved it! Project Fit was the hardest, most sweaty workout I have ever done – but also the most challenging and fun. I am definitely addicted, and can’t wait to get back to Project Fit for my next torture session workout.

Project Fit

I spoke with Ben after class about the benefits of training in this way – he was super helpful and really knowledgeable, and I appreciated the time he spent getting to know the people in his class. Class sizes are kept small, with a limit of 18 – so if you are struggling or unsure in what you are doing he can be on hand quickly to help. A couple of times I did struggle to hear the speeds he was yelling (more from not paying attention/ grunting too loudly) and the minute I waved my hand he was there to give me a prompt. It’s a real workout for the instructors themselves –running two classes simultaneously!

Another thing to note is that no two classes are the same. We worked out with bosu balls, but other workouts might involve medicine balls, hand weights, TRX’s, steps, floor exercises etc. All the equipment is lined up around the room – ready and waiting – it adds an extra element of surprise to the class!

I would really like to add a class a week to my marathon training schedule (strength and speed training in one!) and was excited to learn they are planning a specific set of running classes in the New Year. Sadly (as all things seem to be) the class passes are expensive, and with every penny tied up in paying for a wedding and honeymoon – I’m going to have to see whether I can creatively squeeze any classes in to my budget. Project Fit do offer a 15% discount off multi-class passes if you purchase within 48hrs of your first class, as well as running a Saturday Special of £12 a class. I’m planning to hit up the Saturday classes until long runs take over my weekends in January.

For more info on Project Fit or to book your first free class click here.

Do you like high intensity workouts? Do you think Project Fit would be your kind of thing?

London Marathon: The Plan

London_Marathon.svg

I’m not entirely sure if it’s completely sunk in yet, this whole running-another-marathon thing. It feels like it is forever away. I’m not quite so petrified about the idea like I was when I entered Paris – I feel quite calm this time. I guess I know my body can get through it, it can do the distance if I put the training in, and so I’m just treating it as “winter training as usual”.

I’ve been reflecting on my training last season – what went right, what went wrong (injury), what I want to change for this time. My biggest adjustment is that I don’t want to run more than 3 times a week, and my biggest focus is NOT TO GET INJURED.

Paris Marathon 2014

For Paris Marathon I followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan – it came highly recommended, lots of other newbies were following it, and I didn’t really know any different. I wasn’t training for time – I just wanted to get around and finish – and that plan did that for me. It was 4 runs a week, of various distances – building up to the marathon. Except I struggled to get those 4 runs in – I was lucky if I got in 3 good runs, with the 4th always falling by the wayside. A lot of the time I was runcommuting or running junk miles just to get the run in. I was constantly tired (and hungry and grumpy), and by skipping that 4th run I added the extra emotion of guilt in to the mix. I didn’t prioritise ANYTHING other than running – no yoga, no strength training, nothing.

Marathon Training

This time, I want my runs to have purpose. Instead of just running and running and running to get the distance under my feet, I want to include different types of running workouts. I’ve seen a few people have really good success with the FIRST training plan, so I bought the book Run Less, Run Faster and downloaded the app. The plan revolves around 3 runs a week – a track repeats session, a tempo run, and a long run. You supplement these runs with strength and stretch workout sessions.

Team Naturally Run

I’m really loving the app – you pick your 5k time, and it automatically calculates what pace you need to run at for the track and tempo training sessions. This is especially good for people like me who are multi-lingual in miles and kilometres, but can’t convert EITHER into pace timings! I’ve never really run at a certain pace before, or paid much attention to it – preferring instead to plod it out and then be pleasantly surprised (or a bit disappointed!) so this will be a steep learning curve for me. I’m planning to do quite a few of these on treadmills (kill me now) as it’s much easier to set your pace and stick to it. Once I am more confident in my pacing then I will take these runs outside.

Team Naturally Run

The other interesting part of my plan is that only 50% of my training will be in London. I’ll be in New Zealand for the month of March – which adds a whole new element to the training. I won’t be working, which means I will be free to run whenever I want – and it also means I can shift longer runs around to do on different days, instead of having to wait for the weekends to have the time. Yes – this does mean I will be avoiding that 18miler scheduled on my wedding day, and the 20miler scheduled the day of my flight back to London – and doing those MUCH earlier in the week!

Being in New Zealand also means OMGEXCITEMENT at all the new places I can run. I wasn’t a “real runner” when I left home – and I cannot WAIT to run the beach at my parents place, along the Auckland waterfront, the Wellington waterfront, and the Hutt River trail. I honestly think I could sink a sweet 15miler easily by being distracted by all the amazing places I will now get to run. I’m already locking in some running dates with friends for when I am back – two birds and all that!

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The month of April could be an interesting challenge. We’ll be travelling through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Serbia in the three weeks immediately prior to the marathon. While I will be tapering at this time and the distances won’t quite be so big – there will still be 3 runs a week to do! Jase has agreed to do some with me and I’m going to start researching routes/ areas that will be safe and suitable for training. Our travel plans very clearly have training runs marked on the schedule – but I also realise I am going to have to be flexible and go with the flow as well.

Team Naturally Run

To keep up the strength and stretching side of the training plan I’m going to continue on the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (man how I wish that had a better name, from here on I will refer to it as BBG!). These workouts have been seriously kicking my ass and making me a hot sweaty mess – and I can do them easily in the space in my living room, without too much additional equipment. I plan to continue my Friday morning yoga date at The Power Yoga Company until I leave London, and then utilise youtube yoga video’s for on-the-go.

Team Naturally Run

My official start date for the FIRST plan is 5th January (perfect timing for returning from holiday, and starting my Whole 30!). However, my first long run that week is 13kms – so in between now and Christmas I am going to be working at getting my running fitness level back up. I’ve definitely let it slide since having my knee problems at Spitfire Scramble, and haven’t been regularly running since. It’s been good to have a rest (with a few fun runs along the way) but now it’s time to start working back up to my next goal – showing that marathon who is boss.

That’s the plan, anyway!

The Wrong Time for a Whole 30

Right now I am literally gagging for a Whole 30.

My skin’s gone to shit, I’m feeling lethargic and less than stellar (oh gee thanks Winter), and my insomnia is raging again. The waist line is feeling a little bit squishy and I’m just not sparking on all cylinders like I should be. Jase claims he is feeling the same. We’ve relaxed on our diets a little too much when we are outside of the home – eating out more than normal, getting takeaways or picking up food on the way home a little too often. Having a Sunday Roast with ALL the trimmings and THEN dessert. The sugar dragon is back.

Whole 30

Lost: my Whole 30 spark

Usually these would be my triggers to say “STOP, Whole 30 time!” and launch straight back in to the programme. But. Yes, there is a BUT. Right now, I KNOW I would fail at 30 days. It’s completely the wrong timing for me, with the various commitments we have coming up. You could argue that these are just excuses, that if I really wanted to I could plan ahead and find a way to eat Whole 30 around these commitments – and you know what, you would be 100% right. I’ve Whole 30’d my way through harder situations before! However I’m a massive advocate of living life, and right now, that involves food (and drink) too.

I want to have a beer while I watch the All Blacks play in Edinburgh next weekend, and in Cardiff the weekend after that (these are my first EVER All Blacks games, can you believe that?).

Mulled Wine

I want to drink mulled wine and hot cider, and eat Bratwurst at the various Christmas Markets we plan to visit in December. I bloody love Christmas and we don’t get Markets like these in New Zealand – so I want to enjoy the last winter experiences while I can.

Kiwi Christmas

I want to eat festive cheeses and kiwi dip at our kiwi orphans Christmas lunch. Every year we’ve celebrated Christmas one way or another with these friends-who-are-like-family and we like to indulge in both Christmas treats that are new to us (turkey and cranberry sauce) and our own New Zealand traditions (kiwi dip and chips).

I want to taste stars and drink Champagne when we are in Reims for New Years Eve.

Those things above mean that a true 30 days is not possible for me right now. It’s not the right time – and I think knowing that and accepting it means that I am not starting something, failing at it, and then feeling worse. Right now I want a Whole 30, but I am not so 100% set in my mindset that nothing would break me. I know those situations above would always be more important to me than a Whole 30.

Whole 30 week 4 meals

So, what’s the answer? Jase and I have resolved to stick to Whole 5’s – meaning we eat 100% Whole 30 compliant during the week, and relax on the weekends. It’s 80/20 if you will (although I strongly dislike that analogy – it involves a mindset of steel to correctly stick to it!). This is actually how we eat most of the time – we still have our regular eggs, chorizo & sweet potato for breakfast; we still eat salad with chicken or tuna for lunch; and 99% of our dinners are Whole 30 recipes anyway. But like I said above, we have been relaxing a little too much – accepting the chocolate cake at work, or snacking on crisps, or grabbing a sandwich on the go, or having a drink at night when we get home. If we tighten up on these things during the week and be strict on ourselves in the day to day – it means we can relax during our upcoming weekends away, truly taste, enjoy and experience the things we are doing and the foods we are eating.

If I am just shoving a bratwurst in my gob because I am hungry and it’s the first thing I see – well, that’s not exactly enjoying the experience is it? But if I am wandering through Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with Jase, seeing the sights and sounds of Christmas around me, and stopping to sip on a hot cider while it warms my hands through my gloves? THAT is worth it.

Our next Whole 30 will commence on Sunday 4th January. That’s the day we return from our Christmas and New Years trip, and I’ve always found a January Whole 30 is a great start to the year. It’s also the start of my marathon training, and I know I perform better and recover quicker when on a Whole 30 diet – so I am really looking forward to starting marathon training on the right fuel.

Does anyone else fancy a Whole 30 January with me? How do you stay on top of your diet over the festive season? 

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