Tag Archives: davina Mcall

The Joy of Crossfit

21 Aug

I love it when my friends send me emails saying “let’s do this”. As long as I don’t see a giant price tag I have a tendancy to just say yes and suffer the consequences later (see me running the London Marathon in 2013).

So in July Claudette sent me a Groupon link to a 30 day trial of Crossfit at the Royal Docks Crossfit Gym in Custom House for £30. Well with a bargain like that, how could I say no.

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For those that don’t know, Crossfit is a brand of fitness which incorporated HiiT, Olympic lifting, power lifting, calisthenics and various other techniques to give an all round work out and help you get fitter and stronger.

Watch some of the videos on YouTube. It is hardcore.  Also check out this super inspirational story. super inspiration

I am not a strong person. I can’t do push ups or pull ups and I hate burpees with a passion so I wasn’t sure how well I’d do in these sessions but if you don’t try you don’t know.

The aim was to take full advantage of the sessions by going three times a week, which was the maximum allowed on the deal.

We started on a Friday evening with a mandatory intro session which included a warm up, an explanation of the move we would be using that day. This was then followed by a strength building segment and then the Workout of the day (WOD). The session ended with a stabilisation session. All sessions ran in this format and the WOD would always be posted up on a board so you knew right away what you were in for.

I was really impressed with how the coaches taught the sessions. If ever I was struggling they would be right there on hand to either sharpen my technique or give me an adjustment to help make it easier but just as effective.

David and Bart were the main coaches and their enthusiasm for teaching the sessions really helped when I was struggling or not really feeling it. Everyone was greeted with a high five and a big smile.

The hardest parts of the sessions were the WOD’s. It would be a circuit of anything up to 30 mins and would involved the technique learnt in the session, HiiT and bodyweight excerises generally for as many rounds/reps as possible or AMRAP. I must say there is an acronym for everything in Crossfit lol.

I feel these circuits are designed to push you to the limit. Many times at the end of the session I’d just want to collapse on the floor and sleep to recover, the doms were hell but I knew it was worth it.

Over the 4 weeks I found myself getting stronger. By the last week I found my burpees were much more controlled and weren’t as awful. I still can’t do a pull up but I found myself hanging from a bar at least being able to lift my legs up higher.

My biggest challenge during the sessions was in my third week when they introduced me to box jumps. I’ve always been in awe of people who can jump up on boxes with what looks like minimal effort. I could never do that. The box was 20 inches high, just over 1.5 feet. I looked at it and braced myself and tried to jump.  My feet barely left the ground. I just ended up with my knees slamming onto the box very hard.

It didn’t even hurt but in that moment I felt defeated. My mind was clearly in the wrong place that day. David rushed over to check I was ok and I just teared up.  He pretty much told me to fix up, albeit in a very kind way. Still can’t believe I cried. 😦

We sorted me out a shorter platform using weight plates. It wasn’t that much shorter but it was manageable and I completed the work out. I felt so useless.  I wasn’t special or the only one using a shorter platform but I was super hard on myself.

I wrote a very sorrowful facebook post that evening and im very grateful to the encouragement my friends showed me.

Next session I was in a better place and I don’t think it was a coincident that the whole session seemed to be focused around box jumps. I used the proper box, at the prescribed height and towards the end of the session I even added an extra plate which I think gave me an extra 2 inches. I did 110 box jumps by my calculations.

This was my face at the end of the session.

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Once again I proved to myself I can do anything I put my mind to.

It showed me that as well as a strong body, I need a strong mind and being in the right place mentally is so important. In my last session we did box jumps again and I stacked it very early on but because my mind was right I was able to just get up and carry on. The bruise is very sore now though.

I would have loved to carry on but full membership is just too expensive for me at the moment at over £100 a month it would be too much of a push right now. I’ll be back as soon as I can afford it.

Here is a link to the Groupon deal for anyone interested. It’s closed for the moment but hopefully they’ll run the offer again. It is fully worth it.

David and Bart, I’ll see you guys again soon.

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Review: Oppo sugar free luxury icecream

18 Aug

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I love ice cream. I like nothing better than sitting and munching my way through a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. All of it. It’s a contributing factor to my weight.
Being sugar free means no icecream. Sugar is what helps ice cream form. It’s a key component, but I’ve come to realise there is a yummy alternative to pretty much everything I’ve cut out, be it home made or shop brought.

I can’t remember if someone recommended Oppo to me or if I came across it on the interwebs. Either way, when I saw it in my local Holland and Barratt I had to give it a go. With no refined sugars and only natural ingredients, it ticked all the boxes.

It came in on the pricier side of £5.99 for 500ml but what the hey, I wanted it and what Leeanne wants, Leeanne gets.

A little bit of reading about Oppo told me that it founders came up with the idea after a trip where they survived on the fruits of a country they were trekking and realised how good living off the fat of the land could be.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Salted Caramel with Lucuma (what even is that anyway?). The ‘gold of the Incas’ apparently. A fruit loaded with goodness that has a sweet, yet salty caramel taste. Those Incas knew tasty when they came across it.

I was so excited to taste the ice cream I grabbed a spoon as soon as I got home.
My mouth is watering as I write this. Slightly soft from the journey home I went to my happy place as I tried the first mouthful. So creamy with fab hints of caramel. Rich and full of flavour, sweet but not over sweet and it tasted real. It didn’t taste like a weird frozen yogurt substitute for ice cream, it tastes like real ice cream. Blindfold me and I’d think I was eating a Häagen daaz or Carte d’or.

It took all my might to only have a few spoonfuls.

I was super impressed with the nutrional info for the icecream. Taken from the website:

Salted Caramel with Lucuma
Energy (Kcal): 77.3
Fat (g): 3.8
of which saturates(g): 2.8
Carbohydrate (g): 7.6
of which sugars (g): 6.7
Protein (g): 3.2 Sodium (g) 0.1

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Nice. And definitely guilt free.

It’s a very happy treat for me and I’ve been very good at not scoffing the entire tub. I’m defo going to keep an eye out for other flavours and this may just be my regular payday sweet treat.

Well done to the makers of Oppo. What a winner!

You can find Oppo at Holland and Barratt, Waitrose, Ocado and Whole Foods.

Let her eat cake

17 Aug

One of the things I’ve missed during my sugar free period is cake! I love a good cake. Sponge, icing, butter cream, jam. All of it.

Whenever there is a celebration, there is cake, it’s social, it brings people together and people think you’re weird when you say “no thanks”.

Over the weekend I headed off to a family celebration and there was going to be a cake baked by my cousin. I asked if she could do a sugar free one (only half joking) and she laughed in my face (over Facebook messenger) :-(.

I know a few people in the family are trying to eat less sugar and I couldn’t have all of us missing out so I decided to bake my own sugar free cake.

I AM NOT A BAKER. Let’s make that clear. I have people who make cakes for me when need be. I do not make the cakes. But in a bid to be independent I went for it.

I found a recipe for lemon drizzle on BBC Good Food and thought it looked good. Made some additions and adaptations and voila.

My adaptations were to swap sunflower oil for coconut oil and I didn’t use any milk. I used Yeo Valley natural yogurt (not fat free) and I also used stevia instead of xylitol.

I added raisins also some mixed seeds, because why not.

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I must admit I was quite impressed. I’m not a massive fan of stevia. I don’t like that after taste but I didn’t notice it in the cake.

It rose quite a lot in the oven but sunk soon after.

It definitely passed the taste test with everyone at my nans giving it a go and all of us being pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was.

It came out very brown though and looked more like a malt loaf than a cake but that’s not really a complaint.

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As of today I have only a teeny square left which might be my little treat this evening.

I’d definitely make this cake again. It was quickish and very easy to make and really satisfied my need for cake. Yay!

P.s. I also discovered ready salted hula hoops are sugar free too. Another win!