Category: Fitness

Forget Zumba, have you ever tried KONGA fitness?

This high-intensity workout can help you burn up to 600 calories and take over 7000 steps in one class! KONGA Fitness Instructor, Katherine Hubbard, shares everything you need to know about this amazing workout…

What is KONGA fitness?
KONGA is an easy to follow, high intensity work out designed for the most uncoordinated people. It is a mixture of cardio, dance, squats, toning, boxing and Hip Hop. The class is for an hour and there are 6 rounds. There are only four moves per track to make it easy to follow and I break down those moves before the track starts; so you can concentrate on the intensity and technic (rather then 10 complicated moves that are done with little impact).

Who can do it?
KONGA is for everyone. The class I teach is suitable for 16-60 year-olds, offering a lower intensity option to those who are older.

How many calories can you expect to burn in one class?
You can burn anywhere from 350 calories to 600 calories. On average I burn 400 calories which is a lot compared to many other fitness classes which tend to hover round the 100-250 mark. For an example, a run on the treadmill for 45 minutes will burn 250 calories and that’s without having all the fun of KONGA! You will roughly do 7000+ steps in an hour of KONGA – anyone who has a fitbit of some sort will appreciate how many that is!

Can you describe what a class is like?
The class is in the dark with disco lights and loud music, before each track I will break down the 4 moves for that song and we will do a quick transition from song to song, to ensure your heart rate doesn’t drop too quickly. It’s extremely fun, fast and fierce and it makes you feel good. Plus, I’m with you every step of the way, working out just like you are. KONGA is a class you can do with your friends or with your mum.

Can Konga fitness help you lose weight?
Absolutely but like any fitness it is about consistency, to see any change in your body you need to allow for 6-8 weeks of consistently working out. The temptation after 2-3 weeks is to jump on the scales, however all weight lose takes time and must co exist with a good diet. I personally have noticed the difference in my body shape. I don’t weigh myself, but I want to feel good and like most women I go by my how my clothes fit. I am a lot leaner than I was before KONGA, and I’ve got more definition from it. If I was to go to the gym I know I would need to separately work out those muscles to get as toned.

What would you say to those keen to try it but are nervous they have no rhythm?
You don’t need it! I am not a dancer myself and have little to no rhythm. It was designed to be for those uncoordinated who love working out to loud music. I think that’s the great thing about it being a mixture of different types of exercise you maybe be great at the HIIT based moves, great at dance moves or great at the boxing moves. It’s for everyone!

What parts of your body is it good for?
It’s a full body work out. You will always be using your arms, legs and core muscles.

What do you love about KONGA?
I have never been a fan of the gym but I love loud music and getting a good sweat on, so when I trained to be a Jungle Body Konga instructor I fell in love with it straight away. I feel a great sense of achievement after each workout, it’s not easy but it’s not meant to be! I guarantee you will fall in love with it over night… even if you can’t walk the day after.

The Jungle Body with Kat
Kat teaches Konga in Wimbledon, London on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm – plus there’s parking.
To book yourself into Kat’s class, click here
To learn more about Konga Fitness, check out www.thejunglebody.com

Could KONGA help new mums get fit, too? Click here to read more.

Could KONGA help new mums get fit

Finding an exciting and effective workout to do post-baby can be a challenging thing. On discovering KONGA fitness and what it has to offer, I was keen to find out from instructor Katherine Hubbard, if this could be an enjoyable, full body workout for new mums.

Is KONGA fitness suitable for new mums?
It’s recommended that all new mums do not undertake any intense work out until their pelvic floor muscles have strengthened and this will be differ from mum to mum. I would rest your body for at least 8 – 12 weeks, but your GP is best placed to advise. KONGA is a high intensity work out I would recommend using that time to do low impact cardio such as walking and lower pelvic toning, STAY AWAY FROM SIT UPS…  Swimming is really good but you must wait until you have had a check up.

If you wanted to join a KONGA class after 12 weeks or so you are more then welcome to try it, just take it easy and ensure you tell your instructor. I would recommend joining in on a floor rotation cycle to build up you pelvic muscles. I have a lot of new mums in my class and they love it but I recommend wearing a sanitary towel for all the jumping around!

How do new mums shape your KONGA class?
I work on 6 week rotations and we are currently in an arm and bums rotation as per a request from one of my mums in the class, after 6 weeks it will be stomach and bums or arms and stomach. I really like class feedback on what areas of their body they want to work on. However, each class will focus on working your whole body. The class is broken into 6 rounds which looks a bit like this –

Round 1 – Warm Up track
Round 2 – 4 Cardio boxing tracks
Round 3 – 2 Squatting tracks
Round 4 – 4 cardio squatting and dance tracks
Round 5 – 2 arm tracks
Round 6 – Cool down track

For effective weight loss, how often would you recommend new mums head to a KONGA class/workout?
You would want to be doing a KONGA class 3 times a week, however that’s not always possible so do 1 or 2 classes a week and perhaps take away some of those moves and do them at home.

What would be your top 3 tips for mums wanting to lose their post-baby weight?
1. Time – don’t put pressure on yourself to loose the weight straightaway… do it the right way.
2. Losing weight is about consistency, consistently working out and consistently eating the right types of food.
3. Find a class you love, it shouldn’t feel like a chore or punishment for what you have eaten. You should enjoy it!


The Jungle Body with Kat 

Kat teaches Konga in Wimbledon, London on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm – plus there’s parking.
To book yourself onto Kat’s class, click here
To learn more about Konga Fitness, check out www.thejunglebody.com

Can you walk your way to weight loss?

In this post I’d like to pay homage to walking – yes, that free and simple thing you do to get from A to B. It’s the first form of exercise I did after having a baby and it definitely helped me build my fitness, lose weight and feel better (especially when I had no idea what I was doing as a new mum).

Plus, there are a lot of other benefits for you and baby…

Walking and weight loss
Like lots of women I really struggled to walk towards the end of my pregnancy. Walking was uncomfortable, awkward and terribly slow. Once my little one arrived I thought things would go back to normal fairly quickly but that wasn’t quite the case.

I had my recommended six week check up with a doctor and was given a thumbs up to start being more active. I thought I’d give running a go (as I used to jog pre-pregancy), but that really wasn’t a good idea. It hurt a lot and definitely didn’t resemble any kind of running style I’ve ever seen before! I had to start from the beginning – step by step – and that’s when I really became obsessed with my Fitbit. Walking was my main form of exercise and even now when my weight goes up a little or stays as the same, it’s often when I haven’t walked as much.

Is 10,000 steps achievable?
The recommended number of steps to walk each day is 10,000, which may sound like a crazy amount, especially if you desk bound with work and so on. That said, I’m often surprise at how many i’ll complete just getting ready to go out and about, or if Ii’ve given the house a clean the house. If you couple that with a ‘scheduled’ walk, it doesn’t take too long to reach that 10,000 step goal.

Walking with a baby
When my daughter was small, walking with the buggy was also a good way to encourage a nap if needed and she slept really well during our walks. She’s now 2-years-old and likes to walk (run) just as much as me. Nowadays we’ll take the buggy with us as she still gets tired after a few sprints, but it’s a great excuse to get out, feel as though I’m exercising and I’m sure it helps her sleep through the night. (Which has taken us a long time to achieve!).

Plus…
Walking often can dramatically decrease how at risk you are from type 2 diabetes, a stroke and even certain types of cancers. So it really is pretty amazing. For a full list of the benefits take a peak at the NHS website.

Can you walk your way to weight loss?
Yes! I strongly believe you can and walking is definitely an underrated form of exercise. With that in mind, let’s go for a walk!

Phil & Teds Sport buggy review

I have a new running buddy – my almost 2-year-old daughter and it’s all thanks to the Phil & Teds Sport buggy. I didn’t think I could ever be so excited by a buggy, but it’s honestly been so exhilarating to use, and here’s why.

Before children, getting my arse in gear to exercise was just a case of motivation – these days it takes that, plus coordinating nap times, feed times and my husband’s schedule – because apparently you shouldn’t leave a child at home alone.* However, I feel that could change a little now that I’ve got my hands on a Phil & Teds Sport buggy and I can run during the day with my daughter in tow.

The Phil & Teds Sport Buggy in a nutshell
For such a sturdy buggy, the Sport is really lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. It’s a 3-wheel buggy and the front wheel can be locked for when for want to run – this makes it a lot easier to control when you’re jogging. You can then unlock it with ease for times when you may just be out and about on non-running business, which it is suitable for too. It has a lot of cool features that make jogging with a baby and buggy easy and safe, plus it looks very comfy for little ones.

Key features of the Phil & Teds Sport buggy

Easy to activate emergency stop
My favourite feature is brake functionality. This may sound odd when I’m talking about moving with my daughter, not stopping! Anyway, you’ll love this as any parent running with their child wants to feel safe and able to stop quickly if needed. You have two options here, the first is to hold a slim red handle tight to the main handle (both are parrael to one another) and once the red handle is released, the buggy comes to an immediate stop. The second option is to attach an emergency brake strap to your wrist. As soon as the strap is pulled, i.e. if the buggy came away from you for any reason, the strap would activate the brake and the buggy would come to a halt.

A generous basket
I love the basket of this buggy, as it’s surprisingly large. Friends of mine will know I’ve been through my fair share of buggies and I’m often disappointed with the basket size, as I carry a lot of stuff around and I may pick up a few treats on my travels that I like to stuff into the basket too. The large Sport basket is ideal for carrying baby or jogging bits and pieces, as you definitely wouldn’t want to hang a bag off the frame when you’re being active.

A comfy baby seat with a large canopy, sun shade and pockets
If I was a baby, I reckon I’d be pretty comfy in this sports buggy. My daughter can’t fully talk yet, but there were a lot of smiles when she first climbed into the seat and she’s had several naps in the buggy while I ran too.

It has a lovely padded seat, with various recline options (the strap at the back kind) and a 5-point harness – which makes it easy to clip in and clip out your little one. The large canopy has an extra sun shade that can be pulled down for particularly bright days or low lying sun. The hood also has fitted side pockets that are really handy for storing a phone, keys, headphones and water bottle! I did try attaching the Phil & Teds cup holder, but my running style must have been all too much for it, as it didn’t stay on once I got moving!

It’s bright green
There’s no hiding is this bright green buggy, which actually made me feel safer crossing roads as surely no one could miss me! Side note, I hadn’t noticed that my trainers and running jacket have the exact same green colour in them as the buggy, my neighbours must think I’m a little obsessed with neon.

Would I recommend the Phil & Sports buggy
Yes I would! It was really lovely to be out and about with it, and priceless* to be able to exercise without having to depend on anyone else for child care. That said, I’m quickly learning a few tricks to help make a jog with your baby or toddler a lot easier. Visit my blog again soon for my tips on running with a sports buggy.

P.S
I should also mention that this sports buggy folds down pretty flat too, which in my experience of other running buggies hasn’t been the case.

philandteds.com/uk
Available at johnlewis.com
Read more: 6 super easy buggy running tips for complete beginners

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Footnotes
*I’m trying to be funny here, please don’t think I would actually leave my daughter home alone.
*This piece of kit I not priceless, but if you’re keen to keep active with your baby or toddler by your side, then it is definitely worth the investment – especially as it makes for a lovely everyday buggy too and has lots of features ideal for very tiny ones. RRP £449.00

Pyscle London review – let’s do this

I’ve just experienced my first-time at Psycle – one of a few spinning studios that promises to offer you a full body workout on a bike and leave you feeling as though you have just been to a nightclub!

It takes inspiration from indoor cycling classes popular in the US, which are apparently adored by celebs such as David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham and many many more. There’s even been a reality TV show on E! about it all called Hollywood Cycle (everything on that channel is a guilty pleasure for me). I enjoy spinning so thought I would like it, but I was expecting to come away thinking it was all a bit gimmicky. However, I didn’t. Instead, I thought it was absolutely amazing and I might have fallen in love with the instructor just a little bit. She was incredible! Here’s what I loved…

The energy
The energy from staff and regular goers is infectious. People love the classes, so before entering the studio you already feel part of something special. (Yes, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true!) Then there’s the instructor and she was on a whole other level of positivity. Not only was she clearly superb at spinning, but she was actually managing to rock out on the bike like Beyoncé while giving directions and making you feel as though you’re doing the best job ever. She was so encouraging and full of life.

The darkness
Lights are turned down low for the class and when I say low I mean almost off and at times it was pitch black with a few strobe lights. Paired with the music, you really did feel like you were in a nightclub, but most importantly it hid the buckets of sweat pouring from everyone and all the red faces. I could see my silhouette in the mirrors in front of me, but not much else, and I’m thankful for that. I’m sure I looked like a monster but I could pretend I was a glamorous (sweaty) goddess riding the bike like a true athlete!

The music
Loud, it was so loud and a fantastic playlist of new songs and classic anthems and again, left you feeling like you were at a party – but also hid my horrendous panting from being out of breath!

The routine
This is a hardcore class, spinning plus aerobic moves and weights. If you don’t like anything else about this type of studio, you can not fault the actual spinning session you’ll receive.

The kit
There’s no need to bring towels or shoes with you to this class. On your bike in the studio is a towel waiting for you and after the class you can pick up a towel or two for the showers. Plus, at the door you’ll be given a pair of clip cycling shoes to wear. The changing rooms are also equipped with shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, GHD hair straighteners and even tampons if you need them! (I can only talk for the women’s changing rooms of course!) There are lockers to keep all your bits and pieces in and also the chance to buy water or healthy smoothies from the ‘Energy’ kitchen. 

All of which I give a huge thumbs up to, as the classes aren’t particular cheap* but worth the experience and all the little extras you get along with your actually spinning class. Thank you Psycle for a gorgeous ride and to my beautiful friend for inviting me along to experience it. I would definitely go again and would go regularly if the studio was close to where I live. Unfortunately it isn’t but I will definitely be up for making the trip again and I’ve already got some new recruits who would love to try it, after I shared my experience. I’m sure I saw they offer parties too… perhaps that’s how I can celebrate getting to my goal weight or my next birthday! 

Psycle London has two studios, one in Mortimer Street near Oxford Circus and another in Canary Wharf – this is the studio I attended and Alana was my instructor. *Classes are £20 a session but introductory and bundle offers are available.

Now to buy some ‘credits’ for the studio… 

Shake ya ass, but watch yourself!

Social sport adventures…

As much as I have certain weight and dress size goals, another huge milestone for me is getting my fitness back. The first run I went on after having a baby left me feeling as though I would never be physically fit again. That may sound a little over the top, but my body felt so alien to me – I could barely run for 5 minutes, whereas I had managed to jog for 5 miles at a time before having a baby.

I had to go back to basics and really build my muscle tone and cardio up from scratch. Having persevered with various exercise classes and routines, I finally feel as though I have my strength back – and it feels great.

Another welcomed bonus to feeling strong again is the ability to try out new sports for fun and make it into a proper social event. Recently I went skiing for the first time ever! I’ve always wanted to go but I’ve been a proper chicken about it. At school there was a ski trip but I didn’t go on it – I was too insecure  about my size (even then) and any sporting activity was not my strength – its haunted me ever since, why didn’t I just go! So, when a friend rallied a group of us to have a lesson on a dry slope I was so excited to finally give it a go – and to have got my fitness up to level where I felt like I could at least try – even if I was a bit pants!

I absolutely loved it, although I can not turn right! And, I loved being with my closest friends and having a laugh doing it. Which made me think how amazing it is to do something sporty as a way to catch up with friends and get fit!

There are a few new classes in my area that I’d like to try out with some pals to keep up the social sport adventures. One includes an aerobics class to 90’s music with glow sticks called ‘Clubbercise’!

Another lovely friend of mine even suggested doing a spin class together for our next catch up followed by lunch and a few drinks for a treat! I love that idea, especially as her spin classes sound like they’re way bigger than anything I go to – so I can not wait!

What else could I try? Perhaps a charity run? Ideas and friends are welcomed to join me!

P.S If you’re wondering why I called my post ‘shake ya ass, but watch yourself’ it’s simply because I’ve had this noughties song in my head for ages and thought it might catch your attention! Did it work?

Why walk when I don’t have my Fitbit on!

I’m currently obsessed with my Fitbit, to the point that it pains me to walk anywhere if I’m not wearing it!

That’s a little bit wrong I know but at least when it is on, it’s motivating me to walk more than ever before!

In the early days of my wearing my Fitbit I would be lucky to reach 10,000 steps – the recommended number of steps each person should take in a day. Fast forward a few months and I’m clocking up way over 15,000 and have even walked more than 20,000 steps on several occasions!

If you have no idea what I’m going on about, then let me take a step back. Fitbit is a type of pedometer and there are quite a few on the market, but I’m a big fan of this little guy. You wear your Fitbit (I’ve got a wrist one – Charge HR to be specific – but there’s also one you can clip to your waist) and use the free app to sync all the data. Through the app you can find friends (via your contacts or by syncing with your various social media accounts) and join in on challenges with them, too. I’ve currently got a few of these challenges on the go, including ‘Workweek Hustle’ – a five day challenge to see who can walk the most steps from Monday to Friday!

I’m in second place as we speak, so let me get up and get walking! (I never knew I could be so competitive!)

New love of fitness – thank you Rio 2016

There’s nothing more motivating than watching the girls and boys currently competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics. This is a short and sweet post to say that each and every competitor has made be feel inspired to get up and get moving. You are all incredible!

Mums on the run

That’s the name of the whatsapp group I’m part of with two close friends of mine, who also have young children. In the last few weeks we’ve ordered our other halves to be home on time from work, so that the three of us can hit the streets and run side by side. Running with friends has definitely helped me shed a few more pounds lately and I feel so much fitter. Here’s how I got back to running after having my little girl…

I started running for just 10-15 minutes once a week and would alternate between a jog and a fast walk. After having my daughter, my hips have felt quite stiff and so this felt a lot more comfortable for me to do. The first run I went on was tough and I finished thinking I’d never run properly again! The next run was better and I made a bigger effort to warm up and stretch off afterwards. Out of frustration on a few of these earlier runs, I continued jogging even though I was in discomfort – thinking that maybe I just needed to run through the pain so that I would get better quicker. Once I had stopped I realised how foolish that was, as I could barely walk after. Note to all – do take your time when getting back into exercise and listen to your body!

Once I felt I could accomplish a walk and jog with relative ease once a week, I challenged myself to jog for the complete 10-15 minutes. After a month or so of doing this I found I was able to run for 25 minutes without stopping. However, old habits crept in and I started to feel less motivated to get out and run – not sure why – and so making a commitment to others that we’ll all run together has been truly amazing. My friends really spur me on and there’s no more cancelling jogs I’ve promised to go on, as i’ll be letting my friends down as well as myself.

There are also loads of running training schedules you can find online too. These can be good motivators as well. Here’s an example – 10k Training Plan.

Spin spin sugar!

I wanted to pick a new activity to do so that I wouldn’t get bored of my current workout routine. I’ve dabbled in group cycling before and I’m always told it’s a great fat burner, so I thought why not!

If you’ve not tried spinning before, it’s basically an indoor group cycling class performed on stationary bikes. You all face the instructor who runs you through various exercises from sprints to standing hill climbs. You’re able to adjust the gears to mimic different road conditions and to vary how hard your workout is. The instructor will always play music to keep you going and thankfully the class I go to is always accompanied by an amazing playlist! The particular spinning class I go to can cater up to 10 people and there are a lot of new mums in the class, too. I like the size of the group but you can go to classes where there are over 20 or so cyclists – which could be a lot of fun.

I was also offered the option to pre-buy lessons for a saving and as another way to make sure I stick to these grand plans of mine, I took them up on the opportunity. I wouldn’t usually do this but I’m so glad I have as it’s made me attend and i’m loving it.

I’m lucky to have a wonderful instructor who explains absolutely everything so brilliantly and simply! Making sure the seat is set up correctly for your height is so important. Previously when I tried a class, I couldn’t have had my seat positioned right. I came away from aches in my back, wrists and knees! If you’ve not tried spinning before, I could recommend it. Just go at your own pace to start with and find a class whose music you enjoy – it makes such a difference!

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