Learning to Olympic lift again

A few years ago I started Crossfit, and loved it! However, trying to keep up with Crossfit Wods and marathon training proved too much, and so sadly it had to go. What went with it was learning to Olympic lift.

Without anyone at the gym to coach me, I felt it was too tricky, and dangerous, to try and teach myself! However, I’ve wanted to get back into it for ages as I really enjoyed it and wanted to add it in to my training sessions for power and strength, as well as to learn a new skill.

So finally, almost a year-and-a-half later, I’m learning again!

I’ve started with push jerks and split jerks and have also begun perfecting my power clean technique. I’d forgotten how beautifully frustrating it was, if that makes sense?! It’s like any lift I guess, or any session in the gym, you want to lift more and get better and when you do, it’s so satisfying!

I’ve posted a few videos below. I’m aware that my technique needs a lot of work, especially on my clean, but hey, I’ll get there!


If you’d like to learn to Olympic lift, or want to perfect your technique, I’d always recommend getting a proper coach to help you so that you learn the correct technique and how best to build it in to your training.

If you’ve got any tips for me I’d love to hear them too!

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A brief training update & tips to maximise your training time

While I don’t like to start with an apology, I feel this post needs one. So firstly, I apologise for the lack of posts recently. In the last two months I’ve moved to a new city and started a new job – life has been hectic to say the least! With the love of a new job to keep me occupied, I’ve found that my priorities have shifted and as a result, training has taken a back seat.

I’ve been more than happy with this, much to my surprise, but with a marathon on the horizon and the drive to hit a new PB, I’m having to adapt my training slightly and make the most of the sessions I can do.

When you’re following a structured or dedicated training plan, it’s inevitable that aspects of life such as your job, house or a family, may mean sticking to that plan isn’t always possible. I thought I’d use this post to give you a quick training update and list a few of my top time saving tips to help you fit training in and make the most of training time.

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At the minute, my strength training programme is pretty much the same every week, for four weeks. I’m incredibly lucky that I have Dane to write me a new strength programme every month. At the minute I’m doing two strength sessions a week and I love knowing what I’m going to be doing every time I walk into the gym, for me it just means I get on with it instead of faffing about! The first session is made up of squats, rows, split squats, core exercises, calf work and stiff leg deadlifts. The second session involves sumo deadlifts, dumbbell step ups, more core work,calf work and hip thrusts. At the end of every session I do a glute circuit, which I’ll blog for you with some videos at some point.

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Now on to the running! The road to London Marathon is a long one, so I’m mindful of pacing myself. I’ve been doing a speed session once a week (last week I did 800m repeats with a 200m walking rest period in between) and then a couple of recovery runs, one longer one and a tempo one.

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As I mentioned earlier though, if something comes up at work or with my friends/family, then that schedule can change. Some people train with the mindset that it’s NEVER ok to miss training but personally I think that’s an unhealthy attitude to have. My training for the Berlin marathon definitely taught me the importance of balance!

So here’s a couple of my top tips on how to maximise your training time and fit it in to a busy schedule:

  1. Schedule training in the same way as you would with a dinner date. Drafting in a training buddy is beneficial in so many ways but if you use training time as a way to catch up with someone at the same time then you’re more likely to make sure you fit it in. The other evening, Dane and I wanted to see each other, but I also needed to train and eat so we ran to a restaurant!
  2. Utilise your lunch hour. I get 30 minutes at lunch which isn’t enough time to get a run in and eat, but it’s definitely long enough to get outside and stretch my legs. Getting some fresh air will not only rejuvinate you for the afternoon but can help fire you up for training later in the day. On the other hand, if you don’t get time to train, at least you’ve been out at lunch to stretch your legs and will feel far less sluggish in the afternoon.
  3. Make your quality sessions count. On days where you can afford to do a good session, find the motivation to do it. This is beneficial not only physically but provides you with some mental relief from the pressure of a structured training schedule. If you finish early one day at work for example, or don’t start until later, then make that the day of the week when you’ll do your biggest session. If the rest of the week doesn’t go to plan then at least you’ve got one of your main sessions done.
  4. Be as prepped as you can possibly be. It’s such a simple thing but having your food prepped, clothes laid out and gym bags packed saves so much time and just takes that hassle out of getting ready for the gym or thinking you need to go home to get your stuff or worrying about when you’re going to eat. Having your food prepped too will also help to fuel training.food prep 1
  5. Mix up your training. Similar to booking in a date with a training buddy, booking on to a boxing, spin or another fitness class will make sure you get a good workout in using a structured time period. I find that a spin class is perfect for this. It’s 45 minutes of solid hard work and forces you to work hard throughout.
  6. If you’re worried that you won’t have time to train at all, firstly, try not to worry! If you’re really pushed for time but eager to get something done, do one or two tabata sets. Burpees, kettlebell swings and even body-weight squats are all absolute killers! Equally though, if you don’t have time to train at all, don’t worry, just look ahead to the rest of the week.

What are your time saving tips when it comes to training? Tweet me @HannahBryan or use #hannahshappypace on Instagram. Follow me on Instagram @hbryan91

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Crystal light balancing therapy at The Sanctuary of Healing

Before my visit to The Sanctuary of Healing I had no idea what a chakra was or whether mine were aligned. All I knew was that I was eager for some relaxation time and to try something different. 

  

The Sanctuary, near Blackburn, believes that our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies need to be able to flow freely through our body in order for them to be able to work together to heal the body. 

Spiritual healing is never something I’ve learnt about before or even believed in so I was excited to try one of the treatments and experience something different. 

My friend Liana and I opted for the crystal light therapy treatment which lasted for 30 minutes, although you can opt for a one hour treatment.

The Sanctuary told us that crystal light therapy ‘combines natural healing frequencies with the use of precious gem stones to bring balance and harmony’ to both body and mind. 

A treatment is said to help correct imbalances in the body which can manifest as an illness; in particular IBS, joint pain and sciatica to name a few. It also claims to help with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and asthma. 

The treatment uses chakra crystals and colour which are said to radiate energy to each chakra in our body. We had seven lights pointing to the main seven chakras in our body. Chakras are basically  the energy centres in our body according to ancient Indian medicine. 

They are: 
1) The root chakra at the base of your spine.
2) The sacral chakra in your lower abdomen. 
3) The solar plexus chakra in the upper abdomen. 
4) The heart chakra just above your heart. 
5) The throat chakra in your throat. 
6) The third eye chakra in your forehead between your eyes. 
7) The crown chakra at the top of your head. 

So basically what we did was lie on a bed with a ridiculously comfy pillow while one of the therapists adjusted the lights accordingly to align with our chakras. We then had the option of having the lights dimmed or not and whether we wanted soft music on. I opted for both. Then it’s time to relax for 30 minutes and it’s up to you whether you stay awake and watch the lights or go to sleep and let the crystals do the work.

Afterwards people are said to feel more energised, enjoy a better nights sleep, feel less stressed and more relaxed. I can definitely say that I felt more relaxed but I’m dubious as to whether the crystals had anything to do with that but all in all it was a lovely, relaxing and peaceful afternoon. 

Before our treatment we enjoyed some lunch in the café which was delicious! We had one of the chefs special pulled chicken and crispy pancetta salads which included a soft boiled egg, coleslaw, shredded carrot, yellow tomatoes and mung beans. In keeping with the treatments at the Sanctuary the menu is of course full of healthy yet delicious options with some delicious looking desserts too. 
The staff we met during our visit were incredibly helpful and answered any questions we had about the food and the treatments and even gave us a guided tour of the meditation facilities on offer. 

  
  
One thing I did take away from the experience was the importance of relaxation. These days even when we think we are relaxing, before we go to sleep for example, we’re actually not. There’s always something distracting us, from phones to our other halves! I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to relax properly before bed to ensure I get the best possible nights sleep, ignoring my phone and maybe putting on some of that soft soothing music! 

Have you tried crystal light therapy or are you a fan of healing? Let me know your experiences. You can Tweet me @HannahBryan91 or email me at hbryan91@gmail.com 

🙂 

On yer’ bike! Why cycling is good for runners

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There’s no doubt that cycling is one of the most popular cross training activities for runners. There are numerous benefits to getting on your bike from improving your vO2 max to building on leg strength and cadence.

Whether it be on the road or in the gym, time spent spinning those legs on the bike is valuable fitness in the bank.

Cycling reduces stress – I’m not just talking about the stress relief of endorphins firing but also the stress on your legs. Cycling let’s you add another high intensity workout to your training programme in place of a running session to reduce the impact on your legs. Trust me, your legs will thank you for putting less stress on your joints from pounding the road or the treadmill. This in turn reduces the risk of injury as well.

Cycling builds leg strength – I’ve been told by my physiotherapist before to build up the strength in my legs, particularly in my quads. Cycling will help to build up the strength in your calves, shins and quads which is beneficial for runners. Cycling also has the same triple extension that running does. In both running and cycling you extend your knees, hips and ankles which you can do at a similar cadence to running when cycling, or even faster.

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Cycling helps you to recover – While you’re working on other, maybe weaker areas of your body the over worked areas will feel plenty rested which in turn will help you to (hopefully) remain injury free. Not only that but if you’re well rested you’ll be able to perform better on your next run. That said, if you are unfortunate enough to have a running injury then cycling is great rehab for your legs and can help you to maintain a good level of fitness.

Cycling gives you a change of scenery – Cycling gives you a mental break from running and the mind games that come with it! This can be invaluable in helping you to get out of a training rut or can even help you to break through some important mental barriers when training for a race for example. It will also keep your legs guessing and they will then feel fresh for that next run. In a practical sense, you can also go further in a shorter time on a bike and can therefore have a literal change of scenery and see more!

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Cycling can’t replace running – However it is important to note that cycling can’t replace running. If you do choose to build cycling in to your running programme then you must keep up your long run and other quality session such as speed for example, especially if you’re training for a race! Easy pace or recovery runs can be replaced by cycling and of course, if your injured then adjust this accordingly as mentioned above in this post. I’d say it’s also important to keep up your strength work, too.  About 10-15 minutes is said to be the equivalent of one mile and try to keep between 90-100RPM to mimic running cadence.

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Delicious low carb tortilla pizzas

No stodge, healthy pizzas – yes you heard me! 

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Oh pizza! You can be a calzone, a deep dish or a crispy thin creation and I’ll still love you no matter what. However you’re served up you’ll always hold a special place in my heart!

So as you can probably tell, I love pizza! In my quest to be able to eat them a couple of times a week I’ve come up with this recipe. This pizza is low carb and you can make it as healthy as you desire. We’ve all been there when we’re looking at a menu in a restaurant and like the toppings on one but want to add some from another but with this recipe you can! You’re in control of what you want to throw on there so go ahead and chuck on whatever toppings your heart desires! That said, these are meant to be healthy pizzas so you are in control of how healthy you make them as well.

These actually feel as though you’re eating a “real” pizza with a delicious thin and crispy base topped with plenty of tasty offerings; you forget you’re not tucking into the real thing. Another plus is that they take no time at all to make and bake.

You will need:
– Wholemeal tortilla wraps
– Tomato purée
– Buffalo mozzarella
– Basically any toppings you want! I topped mine with chicken, olives, sundried tomatoes and loads of veggies.

To make:
– Pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees.
– Get a wrap and spread the tomato purée all over one side of it followed by a few slices of mozzarella. – Add the rest of your toppings.
– Pop the wrap on a foil covered baking tray (this just lets it slide off and on to your plate more easily) and bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until the wrap has begun to crisp up and the cheese has melted.

Voilà, that’s literally it! Enjoy your pizza and let me know what you like to top yours with!

Tag me in your creations on Twitter and Instagram using #hannahshappypace

Healthy pancakes with blueberries

Pancakes make the perfect Sunday brunch or weekend breakfast…

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They also make the perfect post-work out snack if you add some protein powder to them, making them the perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates. If you top them with some honey or golden syrup you’re making the most of that recovery window where it’ll go straight into your muscles to refuel rather than to be stored as fat!

You will need: 
– 1/2 cup of coconut flour
– 1 tbsp oats
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup of milk
– any fruit you want in there
– 1 tbsp of natural honey or golden syrup if you want to sweeten them

To make:
– Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender or by using a hand blender.
– Put a dollop of your chosen oil ( I use coconut oil) into a pan on a low heat and when the oil has melted add a spoonful of the mixture to the pan.
– Flip the pancakes when you see the surface begin to ‘set’/bubble. Stack them up and then add whatever toppings you fancied.
– I like to top mine with honey, blueberries and peanut butter!

Tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace and let me know what you top yours with.

🙂

 

Paleo mini muffins with peanut butter frosting

Peanut butter muffins that aren’t bad for me…I’ll take 10 please!

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I love baking and I also love turning my favourite treats in to clean bakes. However baking is not my forte, especially clean baking but these were a huge success!

When I’ve previously tried to create some ‘clean’ cakes I’ve used coconut flour and found that it’s a pretty hard ingredient and consistency to work with often leaving the cake too dry and crumbly. Never fear though for I have found the perfect ingredient to make your clean bakes as light and fluffy as a ‘regular’ cake should be! All hail almond flour.

Almond flour is a little more expensive than coconut flour but I’d say it’s definitely worth it if you’re someone who does a lot of baking and will use it regularly.

These muffins are possibly my biggest clean baking success yet and I’m putting it down to the almond flour.

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You will need: (makes 12 muffins)
For the muffins…
– 2 cups of almond flour
– 20 dates, chopped
– 6 eggs
– 4 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting…
– 4 heaped tbsp of smooth peanut butter – I used Meridian’s which I find is best for this icing
– 4 tbsp of icing sugar
– 1 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– raw cacao nibs for decorating

To make:
– Start by pre-heating the oven to 250 degrees. Then either using a hand blender or a smoothie maker mix the almond flour, chopped dates, eggs and maple syrup/honey together.
– Once the muffin batter is thoroughly mixed transfer to some muffin cases and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes. NOTE: check on them after about six minutes as mine cooked super quickly!
– Take the muffins out of the oven when cooked and leave to cool. To check if the muffins are ready insert a knife in to one and if it comes out clean then they are cooked.
– To make the frosting put the peanut butter, icing sugar and maple syrup/honey in a bowl and mix together. You may need to add more peanut butter or icing sugar if it isn’t the same consistency that regular frosting would be.
– Once the muffins have cooled spread the frosting on top and decorate with a few raw cacao nibs and enjoy!

Let me know if you make these and tag me in your creations on Twitter and Instagram using #hannahshappypace. My Twitter is @hannahbryan91

🙂