Tag Archives: spartan

Spartan Family Sunday Collaboration with Nike Fly Knit

20 Aug


I’ve been attending the Spartan family work-outs for almost a month now, so when Chaka told us about this special event Spartan Family Sunday in conjunction with Nike I knew it was going to be an epic day.

Up until just a few days before it was a complete mystery how the day would run. All we knew was there would be food, Vita Coco and hard work happening!
On arrival at Aske Gardens in Hackney on Sunday 19th August, the vibe was already electric. The sun was shining and I knew we were in for a treat. The small gated greenery had been transformed with music and giant trampolines. In the shade of the trees were massive bean bags ready for us to chill out on after our hard Spartan work outs.
As more people arrived T-shirts and training gloves generously supplied by Nike were handed out to us. We were now one! In our Spartan uniforms the community spirit was out in full force. A brief downpour of rain wasn’t going to stop us and as soon as the sun reappeared we were ready to roll. Spurred on by the enthusiastic and encouraging MC for the day, Rapper, Ty, we began.
The first work out started and we took over the tennis court. Chaka had been installed with a microphone and as his voice boomed out we knew there was no messing.
The gentle warm up soon turned in to a powerful body working session of core, abs and leg work, Push ups, squats and planks. Let us not forget the dreaded burpees.
I suppose that some of us thought, well since this was a “fun day” we might be given an easy time. Nope, this was as brutal as our Friday evening sessions. Perhaps even a little more so, since we were hear to prove to the people of Hackney that we are Spartans and this is how we really roll. The “games” followed next. Piggybacks and wheelbarrow races. Crazy hard work but so much fun. We cheered each other on with our mantra of “Ahooo”. The session ended with the traditional tug of war. Always a fierce competition with epitomises team work and joint strength. Every one was worthy competitor.
A sweaty hour or so later (and when I say sweaty I really mean it. It was approximately 30degrees and our bodies knew it) we ate. Amazing grilled chicken with salad and roasted veg. Insanely healthy and sooooooo nutritious. The adults replenished ourselves whilst the wonderful Spartan babies did their thing.
Kids aged between 4 and 14 showed us that it doesn’t matter what age you are, Spartan is within you. Supported by the Spartan family training team. They did almost the exact work out we did. They went hard and showed up so many adults. We have a new generation of Spartan superstars coming to get us.
ImageThe kids loved it. They felt grown and powerful and they certainly learnt a lot about what they can do with their bodies and health and team work too. So important in the kids of today. They too finished their session with the tug O war and it was amazing to watch. My nephew’s team won both rounds. I might be biased but they certainly did da ting.
During the break before the next adult session, everyone got to know each other and relax together. Soca music poured out over the gardens, early carnival vibes spread through the area and everywhere you looked there was a smiling face. One of the Spartan Family philosophies is that We are a community and Chaka stressed that when we left we should know the names of at least two people we had never met before. I think I went home with about 6 new names.
Most people who took part in the first session stayed and took part in the second as well as quite a few new faces. No time for apprehension or worry that our bodies wouldn’t hold up for a second session.
In we went, much like the first session, core work, cardio, abs and legs. Straight in to the games which continued along the same competitive themes. leapfrogs and more piggy back races and relays. People sprinting their hearts out.
Again the session finished with a smashing Tug O War match which was worthy of being televised it was so fierce. We lose as a team and we win as a team so at the end of the match we all dropped to the floor to do 20 burpees.
We ended the day with the traditional group photo and the call of “Spartans, what is your profession” The booming “Ahooo Ahooo Ahooo” I’m sure could be heard for miles around.
With thanks to all the Spartan Family team for setting up this great collaboration between Nike and the Fly Knit Collective, who gave us space, food and love as well as Vita Coco who kept us truly hydrated.

I’m Giving Up!

7 Aug



That’s right, I’m giving up, but it’s not what you think.
I am giving up certain vices which I feel might be hindering my progress.
I have come to the realisation that yes, I am losing weight but am I making enough significant changes to improve my health.
I may stick to my points allowance, but I eat more chocolate and sweet snacks these days then I did before Weight Watchers. A weight watchers Chew toffee Popcorn bars (one of my faves) is 2pro points per bar and I’ll often have one of these or a sister bar in the afternoon. The Honey Oat Morning Breakfast bar is another favorite. I  might have one of those a day as well. Over all I use about 6 – 8 pro points a day on chocolaty/sweet WW snacks.
It’s time to stop that. So I’m quitting the snacks. I already eat quite a bit of fruit daily but now I will be replacing these snacks with more fruit and more water.
I must say though, I am not giving up the cake completely, I do believe that its cool to have the odd treat or nice bit of cake but this daily sweet snacking is stopping!
I’m quitting!!!
Again, it’s not what you think.
I don’t drink a lot anyway, but I have decided to quit the booze. Last night, popped into a bar with the BF and some friends to watch the amazing Men’s 100m Finals. Went to the bar and thought, hmmm let me have a drink. I’ll be good. No wine (about 4pro points), a rum and diet coke (2 pro points). Got back to the table, took one sip, 30 seconds later managed to whack the glass off the table. A sure sign that I should not have been letting that booze past my luscious lips. I didn’t bother to buy a new one. I made the decision right there to stop drinking.
I’m walking away!!
It’s not what….oh, you get the gist.
I’m walking away from red meat. I find even buying lean products there is still a lot of fat in there and think I would benefit from leaning towards getting essential fats from fish and a more white meat based diet. So I’m walking away from the red meat. I’ll give it a go for a month and see what happens. To be honest I don’t eat much red meat anyway so this won’t be too hard.
So those are the changes I have decided to make diet wise which I hope will really really boost the next phase of my journey.
Now, let me tell you about my first Spartan Fam work out on Friday. I had so much fun. I was really nervous beforehand. I arrived at 1948 in Shoreditch (Shoreditch is way too cool for the likes of me) very early and was greeted by the lovely Alicia Creates. She told me to take a look around the shop and chill. People started flitting in one by one and every one was ridiculously friendly. I gained a real sense of community from them all. They were so excited to be there and really took the time to make me feel comfortable and welcome.
The leader of the Spartan Fam arrived and dished out free VitaCoco. I’m quite undecided about this stuff. The original flavour is not to my tastes but the pineapple one was divine. So hydrated and refreshed the group set out to the spot where the work out commences. A little park up towards Hackney. We took a leisurely jog over to get us warmed up.
In the park, people looked at us in amazement. A massive group of us took over the play park and set to work. I say took over but there was plenty of space for us and the kiddies already using the fun stuff.
Circuits commenced, using the play park equipment as our gym and our bodies as our weights. Squats, lunges, pull ups, press ups, planks, sit ups and dreaded burpees. We partnered up and there was no messing. It was hard. I have no upper body strength so found it a real challenge, but I was encouraged by the long timers and the newbie’s also looked out for each other as well. Sympathy glances and nods of encouragement. It was ace. Once that was over, we headed to the adjoining field where the cardio section began. Unfortunately, I managed to pull a muscle in my quad, which ruled me out of running but whilst the rest of the team did sprint circuits and what I feel was also a good bit of team building, I had one of the Spartan Fam organisers showing me how to do press ups and doing ab work drills with me, I might have been injured but the work out didn’t stop. I loved every second of it.
Work out done every one headed back to 1948 for a quick stretch and cool down and some exciting news updates.
Then like a true community we feasted! A hardcore group of us headed to Nandos where yet again that community bond was made tighter.
Bad leg aside, I really enjoyed myself, come Sunday I couldn’t fully extend my arms, so they definitely got a work out.
Chaka warned the group during the cool down that we have to do our homework. Of course, the hard work doesn’t stop just because we aren’t in class. Chaka is a man who wont suffer fools gladly. Be prepared to work hard or go home. His homework videos are a way of continuing to build on the Friday sessions.
He has a youtube channel full of fantastic videos which start right from the beginning. Introductions to pull ups and squats amongst over things.
There are 13 homework videos. I’m obviously starting at number one as I have been warned they get progressively harder as you go on, but I don’t want to go to class on Friday and be the one who clearly ain’t been studying.
I’ve come to realise over the past few weeks, that my journey is not just about losing weight because my doctor told me too, it’s about getting in to the best shape I could ever possibly be in. It’s time to step up my game.
Below is my new “before” photo. This is now the one I will be comparing all future photos to. It’s no longer about seeing less fat, but about getting stronger, fitter and being a better me!

My New before photo! yay

There are no excuses, so as the cool kids say… Leggoooooo!

Are The Numbers Important?

3 Aug
So from Wednesday’s post you can see that I’ve worked quite hard this week.
Running, cycling, training and eating much better.
To break it down a bit more, Sunday I trained with the Spartan Family. Monday I ran with the Run Dem Crew West, Wednesday I cycled 8.5k.
I also  cut out a lot of my weightwatchers snacks for fruit during the day.
So now we’re at Thursday and I wake up and think today is going to be a good day, then as I walk to the kitchen I spot the scales… I think to myself “I wonder how well I have done” Step on and BOOM 1lb ON! what the frick? How can I have put a lb on and this is when I’m starkers. It just put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
I know I shouldn’t have weighed myself but I’m glad I found out before the meeting as I had the day to prepare. At the meeting I told my leader what had happened and knowing a whole 10 hours had passed I told her I didn’t want to know what the final number was. So I have no idea how much I officially put on but I am so, so disappointed.
I can’t let it affect the week ahead though. I will stick with it. Train and track, train and track. It’s the way forward. Also, I did lose about an inch from hip and waist so I guess that’s something, but from a discussion with my leader, I don’t think it is possible to hit my goal of being under 15stone by the end of August
This had me so down that I forgot how far I have come and how much work I put in this week which although didn’t show up on the scales, must have done my fitness some major good. By its very nature with weightwatchers its all about the numbers and seeing the smaller numbers each week. Counting down to the ultimate goal weight and whilst I do need to get to that weight (12.7stone) surely after week like the one I have had I should take heart from the fact that I pushed my body this week. I came right out of my comfort zones and I went for it. Are the numbers really important or is it more about the benefits from putting my all in? I don’t fully know at the moment but I suspect its a mixture of the two. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
But moving on. Let me tell you about my bike ride. Ooooh I feel so proud of myself.
Picked up the bike, put on new lights and oiled the chain etc. Then rode 8.5km from Brixton to Lewisham. So glad I picked up the gel cushioned seat cover otherwise that little ride would have really bruised my poor toosh. Took me 45 mins, with a little break halfway through. I used RunKeeper to track the journey, but paused it on my stop and forgot to restart it until I was almost home so it only registered 6.5km of the ride. Oh well. I was quite nervous about riding on the roads so I had printed off a map which would have used quite roads and backstreets, but it was so confusing I decided to go the way I would have driven. It took me thought Camberwell, Peckham and New Cross, then Deptford in to Lewisham. The hardest part as always was Belmont hill. That was probably the slowest part of my journey. I did it though. Happy days I tell ya.
Thighs felt quite sore on Thursday but the good kind of sore. I just need to learn how to use the gears. I don’t understand them.
I am going to cycle my 10k running route this weekend. Up through Kidbrook, Blackheath and in to Lewisham via Deptford again. If anyone knows what a good 10k cycling time is, please let me know. Thanks.
I’m off tonight to my first proper Spartan Family work out session. I’ll try and post over the weekend with how it all went and how I felt about it.
For now, have an amazing weekend.

Spicing it up!

1 Aug

It’s taken me three days to write this post!

So, bad week last week. No actually, not a bad week. I thoroughly enjoyed the week, but I did eat and drink a lot!
Last Friday I had a family party and saw relatives I haven’t seen in far too long. There was lots of finger food and wine to be drunk.

Saturday was my boyfriends birthday. I held a little party for him. More precisely a wings and cocktails party. This, as you can imagine, consisted of chicken wings and cocktails. – I should have been a bar tender, cos I made some seriously yummy cocktails.

Sunday, lunch at the misters parents. A nice juicy roast

Monday, his actual birthday, dinner at Bodean’s a tasty rib joint. Super noms. Followed by dessert at Hagan Daaz.
Not forgetting birthday cake of course.

A truly indulgent weekend. and I didn’t track any of it. I hardly tracked all week. (smacks hand)

I did run a couple of times but nothing could counter all that food and I managed to gain a 1lb. I’m surprised it wasn’t more to be honest.

I also set a new running goal on my Nike+ running app. To run 3 times a week. So far I’m on track so good times. I really want to bring down my 5k time to under 30 mins. I currently hover around 32mins. frustrating.

And!!! I have managed to secure myself a bike. I am doing really bladdy well I tell ya.

This weekend was much more sedate and and less indulgent. I did go out, but didn’t really drink and more so, I tracked what I drank.

Sunday!! What a fab day. The Mister convinced me to come along to this Spartan Family work out day in a park in Shoreditch. I was really dubious about it all at first. Leeanne is not a Spartan. Leeanne is lazy. But it was so much fun. Indeed, I had so much fun I didn’t even realise how hard I worked. Push ups, Squats, Wheelbarrow and piggy bags. Relay races and OMG, a tug of war. I’m still in pain now. But that good pain which leaves me knowing I did well. So I have now been convinced to join their sessions on Friday evening. These, I’m sure are going to be even harder but I’m looking forward to it. My favourite part of the day (aside from not coming last in the tug-o-war) was during the rain storm there was a massive thunder clap. The whole group just turned towards the sound and shouted “ahooo”. That was cool!

MONDAY!!!! Run Dem Crew (RDC). Mentioned in my earlier blog post by Angel Dee. This is a running crew which meet weekly and quite simply….runs. I met a lovely lady at the Spartan Day who managed to convince me that I would have fun and be looked after. So after work I headed over to Paddington Rec where the RDC West meets. Such a friendly group of people. Obsessed with taking photo’s but then so am I. So we headed out towards Hyde Park. Not once did I feel too slow. There was always someone looking after the back, motivating me on. And it was hard. I think because I’m used to running continuously on my little runs and here we stopped often and it felt a bit like interval training. We did about 6 miles I think. I forgot my armband so no phone to track. I slept like a baby that night I tell you.

Had a day off on Tuesday, as my whole body was in mega after exercise pain but I did watch some of the Spartan training videos to learn how to do pull ups and push ups. Had a little practice. Good times.

Tonight, I collect the bike. I’m so grateful to my Charlene for allowing me to take her bike and so excited. I’m going to be doing about 10k from Brixton to Lewisham. I have sorted out lights and my helmet. I’m a bit nervous but it should be fun.

I’ll be doing another blog post after this weeks weigh in so I’ll let you know how it went then.

Finally, with August being the carnival month, I wanted the share the below piccy with you.

The first shot is me in part of my carnival costume last year, the second shot is me on the weekend just gone. For me I can see a difference on my tummy area. I still look at my carnival pics from last year and regret how big I looked in them. Not doing costume this year but maybe next year when I’ll be maintaining at goal.


Introducing Inspiration!

11 Jun

Since I have been doing me blog I have had a lot of people tell me how I have inspired them. I love all the positive comments I get from people and the fact that all around me I see people who are trying to better their health and fitness in various ways, but, I do not consider myself an inspiration. I wanted to show you all what I think real inspiration is. So although late coming, here is the first of hopefully many inspirational interviews for you to read and REALLY feel inspired by.

First up is an interview with one of my close friends, Angel Dee.


Angel is someone who over the few years that I have known her has really taught me that determination gets you anywhere. Over the past year she has taken up a series of health and fitness challenges to benefit her and others. Even in her down moments she is always looking for others to help and inspire and I can never forget all the help she has given me on various things. Pushes with out being pushy. Encourages even on her darkest days and cares unfaultingly.

People, I introduce to you, Miss Angel Dee.

Known as: Angel Dee/Angel Deelight/ Mum
Age: 32
Goal: Run a marathon

Can you tell us about you Angel Dee’s Year of Amazingness?

It was actually called the Year of the Unstoppabable, but we’ll go with this running title for now, lol. It has been a very long and tough road, but the goals I set myself have culminated in last Sunday’s Marathon in Edinburgh. It started off as signing up for the Edinburgh Marathon after not getting a place at Virgin London Marathon, I then decided to participate at Silverstone as a warm up, and on the spur of the moment decided to add to it by doing a bungee jump.


What events have you taken part in so far and how much have you raised?

I have now completed the three events and my target was £500 which I have met and exceeded, so pleased about that, it has not been easy so the donations from people who believe in you and what you’re killing yourself for means a great deal. Thanks to everyone that has, to anyone that still wants to, there is still time and every penny is well received.

When did your journey begin and what was it that kick started it?

I wanted to run a marathon as part of my bucket list, for a long time thought it would never happen. I watched the London Marathon as I always do and signed up as soon as the ballot opened April 2011 and waited for the result which comes out in the October. In the meantime, three of my friends signed up and we said we would train together. Long story short only one of us got in and I have been training with him ever since.

How did you go about achieving your goal?

It started with being able to run to the end of the road and round that corner without stopping. The next time I went out was was that plus two lampposts along, the next time a little further ’til I ran a mile without stopping. Very frustrating as I am used to seeing instant results from when I used to train as a 100m runner. People have a preconceived notion that you get up one day and just run 10 miles. If it were that simple, we’d all do it. I just wanted to be good at it so I kept trying. Run Dem Crew (rundemcrew.com) also helped immensely as it meant I was able to run with more people who have similar stories and offer much needed advice.

What kept you motivated?

Lots of things, family friends and this urge to not wanting to fail. My training partner and good friend Darren is always there when I contact him and ask “10 mile run Sunday?” with the words “on it” when we hadn’t run that far. The following week, we’d just step it up another notch. He nor I never said no or let each other know if we were unsure we could do it. Hard getting up in sub zero temperatures over the Winter but knowing I wasn’t alone was my motivation.

Did you have any turning points or moments of self realisation?

There have been a few, the standout point for me was when I started running in double digits and not dying when we finished our run. To me it meant my hard work was paying off.

My biggest standout was crossing that finish line on Sunday. The realisation that my goal had been achieved after working toward it for so long was a huge reward, a huge rush of emotion which days later is still with me is something I cannot describe, but I wish everyone could feel that.

How did your family and friends support you?

Listening!! The days where I was at a low point, simply listening and reminding me how far I have come is the best support.

What do you feel was your biggest achievement along the way?

Finishing the half marathon at Silverstone in March for me made me think I could finish a whole marathon, until then it was just hypothetical.

Can you tell us a bit more about your spartan work outs? How did you get in to it?

Chaka comes to Run Dem Crew and I met him there, he then started these classes and being interested in getting my core as strong as possible and wanting to get some upper body strength in general, I decided to start doing the videos daily first due to childcare issues and have been attending the Friday classes for a couple of months.

His workouts are body weight training, no equipment needed. You can follow the videos anywhere, around ten to fifteen minutes long and most of all are FREE!! Highly recommended. The workouts have progressively gotten harder, so start from week one and work your way up if you need to!

Going forward, how will you ensure you maintain?

Having a break from long runs for now, but will keep up running ‘for fun’ now I don’t have any races to do until October (Amsterdam Half) Spartan class and am going to get into Bikram Yoga as I have done ‘regular’ yoga, need a change and it will at least maintain my flexibility and strength in the meantime.

What advice would you give to people who are on a similar journey to you?

Push yourself, if you aren’t sweaty at the end of the workout then you haven’t trained enough to make those changes you desire! Workout with friends if you can. Don’t see exercise as work, the moment you do and it isn’t fun for you then it just won’t work.

What are your top three tips you would give to anyone who wants to become a marathon or half marathon winner?

1. Gait analysis. Go to an independent shop for this. The right shoes for your feet/running style are VITAL. I cannot stress this enough.
2. Give yourself small goals and build on it. The notion of getting out of your bed one day and running 15 miles is a lot of pressure on your shoulders if you’ve never run more than run for a bus since you left school.
3. This is twofold as I believe that they are SO important. Fuel and clothing. What you eat/drink before a run is what comes out as you run. Crap food and drink may mean a crap run. May not notice when you’re running 3 miles, but come back to me when you’re running 16. Get comfortable, sensible clothing and ladies, running in your usual bra ain’t the one. Sports bra even if you’re like me and have nothing. Again, talk to me when you’re running 16 miles without a good sports bra.

…And a Spartan?

Get in touch with Chakabars!! The class is currently full with a waiting list but there maybe opportunity at a different location soon. And most of all it is FREE!! Those who are on a budget, there’ no excuse for slacking on your fitness goals when you can workout at home with his vids and as a group in the park. @chakabars on Twitter and his blog is http://chakabars.tumblr.com/

Where are you favourite running spots?

London is a lot more than a lot of people give it credit for, we try to incorporate the river in and a park. Running past the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park out across the bridge toward Westminster is nice. I also like Hyde and Greenwich Parks.

Favourite meal for recovery after all your action?

Steamed salmon with broccoli and wholewheat pasta makes me smile. Also I live for coconut water.

Favourite indulgent treat?

Chocolate. If I eat clean during the week, I totally dive into Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Or Gu Hot Chocolate souffle.

What’s the next goal?

At this point, walking normally as my quads and glutes hate me, but I had a sports massage which has eased the pain. I entered the London Marathon ballot when it opened again this April so hopefully that will be my next full marathon. Talks of Ragnar Relay came up the other day, it’s pretty badass. If I could do that, it would be awesome. Otherwise just World Domination will do.

What is the link to your fundraising page?

http://virginmoneygiving.com/Ann-MarieTrotman – although I have hit my target, it would mean SO much if I could get a little more.

http://www.rundemcrew.com | @rundemcrew
http://chakabars.tumblr.com | @chakabars

Thank you do much Angel!

As always, love feedback and comments appreciated!