Exercise

Top 5 Running Tips

As the dates for the London Marathon come closer it's not uncommon for people to feel inspired to pound the pavements to improve their fitness. Running is hands down one of the greatest ways to keep fit. It's the best aerobic exercise for physical conditioning of your heart and lungs, as well as a great way to relieve stress, tone your entire body, lose weight and quite simply, it's convenient.

Whether you're a seasoned running pro or early in your journey, sometimes we all need a bit of encouragement. So grab your running shoes as I give you my top five tips to get you running happily ever after.

Adidas Boost Trainers White

1. Find Fitness Motivation

The first hurdle to confront is motivation which, unsurprisingly, is easier said than done. I challenge you to write down some goals. Maybe you’re training for the London Marathon or Great North Run, maybe you want to shift a few pounds or it could be that you want to simply be fit. Write them down and stick them up on your mirror or somewhere you look often, as a daily reminder. On a more immediate note, try keeping your fit kit by the door before you go to bed, as quite often it’s the thought of exercising and lack of preparation that puts us off.

Quad stretch adidas

2. Improve Your Flexibility

Tight hamstrings? Sore back? Stiff hips? Loosen up! You don't have to be a bendy yoga bunny but your flexibility is important when it comes to running. During your runs, your flexibility enables your joints to move through their full range of motion, helping your muscles work more effectively and therefore, boosting your performance whilst reducing your risk of injury. Quad, cobra and standing lunge stretches will improve your flexibility greatly and if you can make it to a yoga or pilates class weekly, even better.

Marathon Training

3. Boost Your Endurance

Naturally when we fatigue our running form weakens. We curl up our shoulders, hunch our backs, our arms tend to flap by our sides and our breathing pattern becomes irregular. Weakening our technique means our performance suffers whilst putting us at risk of injury. However, improving our stamina reduces all of those side effects, enabling us to run for longer before fatigue kicks in. Try combining strength training with cardio whilst reducing your rest times in between workout sets, in order to boost your endurance.

Stretch adidas

4. Get Stronger

Running is a high impact workout and high impact exercises aren't always kind to our joints. Luckily, strength training will increase the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand the high impact of running. Weight training dramatically increases the strength of your muscles when done so safely and even adding small amounts of resistance to your workouts with a resistance band will strengthen your muscles. The stronger you are the better you get.

 

Plank Core Workout

5. Improve your Stability

When running, muscle strength in your hips and glutes are really important for stabilisation and your core strength is important for your posture and so the stronger and more stable you are in these areas, the better your running form and performance. Try push-ups with your feet on a medicine ball, a one-legged squat reach, single leg dead lifts and raising one leg off the ground when planking.

If you want to find out more, I created an entire workout series of workout videos to get you ready to run which can be found by clicking here.

Happy running!

XOXO

Photographer: Sam Travis

AJ Odudu adidas UK

 

 

 




Best App To Keep You Fit & Healthy | Endomondo

Like many people, what I  expect from a personal trainer is quite a lot; tailored workouts, training plans, encouragement, support and of course results. But  all of that comes at a cost. That's why I was pleased to hear about the Endomondo app which promises all those things and more. But does it deliver? I put it to the test at the Energy Lab, London and here's what I found out.

Endomondo Founder

Getting started was easy. It took  just two minutes to download and sign up. The interface is clean and fairly straightforward. There's an enormous play button begging to be tapped and so I jumped into my running gear and gave it a whirl.

Running AJ Odudu

Before you start, the app allows you to set a goal (e.g. your first 5)k. Then it creates a plan to help you get there. It even gives you the option to make a commitment (a feature that let's you make a public declaration to achieving a goal) which is great for socialising or if you're akin to a bit of mild peer pressure. 

Endomondo App

During my run there were lots of notifications and words of encouragement and after the run there was a clear display of my statistics/results, with the option to share my activity on social media. Brilliant but there are loads of fitness apps on the market so what makes this one so unique? 

Rowing Machine

Well, for a start they have a long list of sports you can track and the calorie calculations adjust accordingly. "I wanted to make the app fun for all, regardless of their chosen sport or activity" says founder of Endomondo and former competitive horseback rider, Mette Lykke. "We're continually developing the app thanks to the daily feedback that we get from our 4 million users and I'm so inspired and motivated by their fitness journeys. This app has changed lives and will continue to do so." 

Spin class

There's also an  inbuilt audio coach that tells you how well you are doing while you're tracking and the GPS function not only tracks your regular running route but also introduces you to other routes  nearby that you may like to try, enabling you to keep your workouts varied and fun. 

Bike riding

To me however, the most impressive feature about this app is the fact that it has the ability to  consider all the factors that may affect your workout; from the weather to the altitude, duration to distance, this app even considers how hydrated you are when creating your results. What's more is that it's completely free of  charge with the option of upgrading to Premium at any time (which offers even more advanced statistics, interval training programs and is advert free).

So there you have it. One easy fitness app for the data loving, activity seeking people out there. Go forth and download. 

AJ

XOXO

Endomondo is FREE of charge.

Endomondo Premium is £3.99 per month OR £22.99 per year. 

Sign up to Endomondo by clicking here



Half Marathon Race Plan with Barry's Bootcamp

Over the last three weeks I have been training with Barry's Bootcamp in preparation for the Royal Park's Half Marathon, which took place over the weekend. Here's a little bit about my journey.

Barry's Bootcamp AJ Odudu

I've only ever ran one half marathon before. I'd trained for months by simply running for miles on pavements, usually carrying a bag containing my laptop and spare clothing, as I'd journey from A to B. All I did was run and needless to say I was bored.

Admittedly I found this dull routine to be very effective (running a time of 1 hour and 37 minutes on race day) but in fact, all of that running was too strenuous for my body. I was constantly exhausted and often injured my knees. My back was sore, I was limping for a week after the half marathon and all in all it took quite a while for me to recover.  

What possessed me to sign up for another half marathon a year later after feeling so shoddy the last time was the charity I ran for, Tommy's. But when I signed up for the Royal Parks Half his year, I wanted to remain injury free by taking on a different training approach, regardless of the great cause.

AJ Odudu Tommy's Charity

I wanted to focus on strength and weight training (something I'd skipped the previous year) whilst incorporating short but fast runs to increase my cardiovascular strength and improve my stamina whilst maintaining my energy levels throughout the days.

Whilst I do maintain my fitness levels all year round I've been out of the country a lot, skipping training sessions and so when it came to race focused preparation, I had less than a month to train. I was so nervous but in this dilemma was born a challenge; How To Get Race Ready in 4 Weeks with Barry's Bootcamp.

I'd done Barry's Bootcamp before, picking up classes here and there and knew that Barry's master trainer Anya Lahiri sessions where brutal but brilliant. She knows exactly how to push her clients so I took all of my training advice from her.

AJ Odudu Instagram

How many training sessions did I do?

Although Anya had advised me to take 4 classes a week for 6 consecutive weeks, because of work commitments abroad I could only attend 4 classes a week for 3 weeks, and they weren't consecutive.

Who did I train with?

Anya mainly. She is Barry's Bootcamp master trainer in London and does the 8:20am slot at Barry's Central in addition to numerous slots at Barry's East. When I couldn't attend her classes I took Taylor's class (he has hardcore treadmill sessions too) and Sandy's class (with challenging leg sessions).

How fast did I run half marathon last year?

Last year it took 97 minutes for me to run the 13.1 mile half marathon course with a few injuries and 2 weeks recovery needed.

How fast did I run the half marathon this year?

I ran it in exactly the same time of 97 minutes despite less race preparation. This time I ran injury free and with no need for 2 weeks off exercise. 

Royal Parks Half AJ Odudu

Why did Barry's Bootcamp work?

During the 30 minutes of high intensity treadmill series in each Barry's Bootcamp class you move through sections of intervals, hill work and sprints which challenge both your endurance and your speed. The treadmills are specifically designed to absorb impact when you run on them. Much safer than pounding the ground and thus preventing injuries caused by big impact.

Barry's Bootcamp Treadmill

There was also the addition of strength training, which is the key to remaining injury free. The 30 minute strength sections would include compound movements (such as dead-lifts, squats, pull-ups, chin-ups, bench press, and step-ups. These exercises target functional movement) bodyweight exercises (such as lunges, planks and push-ups which build the core strength you need to prevent injuries and get stronger) and hip straighteners (exercises focusing on the glutes and hips; two of the most important stabilising muscles that are used while running).

Barry's Bootcamp Resistance Training

So there you have it, proof that runners need to do more than just run, that reducing injury rate isn't that difficult and that Barry's Bootcamp is both a safe and effective workout.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

Here marks my next challenge with Barry's Bootcamp: Six Weeks To A Six Minute Mile. Stay tuned!

xoxo

How Much? £20 per individual class but prices vary between £14-20 depending on the class package

How long? Each class is one hour long

Where? Barry's Central is a 2 minute walk from Euston Station and located at 163 Euston Road
London, UK NW1 2BH
 

Barry's East is located at 2 Worship Street (entrance on City Road) London, UK EC2A 2AH | It's a 5 minute walk from Moorgate Station and 10 minutes from Liverpool St and Bank underground stations

Would I recommend it? 100% YES.  You can book a class by clicking here.

The London Gherkin Challenge | NSPCC

Have you ever tried tower running? No? Me neither, until today.

I along with hundreds of other fundraisers ran up 1,037 steps inside one of London's most iconic buildings, the Swiss Re Tower, affectionately known as the Gherkin, to raise money for the NSPCC. 

Gherkin Challenge NSPCC

I was really looking forward to the event as I'd never been inside the Gherkin before. It's only open to the public occasionally and when it is, the queues are seriously long. Naturally I thought that running up 38 floors for charity was the best way to experience this famous masterpiece from the inside, and I wasn't wrong.

aj odudu nspcc gherkin run

The only race preparation I did was listen to Miley Cyrus's single, It's The Climb, Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross and Step On by Happy Mondays. That playlist was I needed at the start line and with a smile on my face, up I went. 

The London Gherkin Tower

Although going up 180 vertical metres was a lot tougher than I imagined (the last few hundred steps were leg-sappingly uncomfortable and spiralling up 38 floors made me feel extremely dizzy) I enjoyed the elation that I felt when I reached the top to rapturous applause, a glass of champagne, Panoramic views of London and of course, the knowledge that it was all for a good cause. 

aj odudu nspcc gherkin run

Soon my stiff legs were being massaged and I got chatting to others. Through conversation I found out there's actually a vertical world circuit, with runners racing up skyscrapers including the Empire State Building in New York, The Sydney Tower in Australia and the 2,046 steps of Taipei 101 in Taiwan. Having just accomplished my very first vertical race, I felt inspired to add some of those global races to my bucket list...just not before I had taken the lift back downstairs. 

aj odudu nspcc gherkin run

The run was over surprisingly quick for me (8 minutes 12 seconds to be precise) but it wasn't about fastest times, with finishers reaching the summit in anywhere between 6 and 45 minutes and I am now proud to call myself a Gherkinneer! With a jar of pickled gherkins to prove it!

XOXO

The Gherkin

The NSPCC hopes to help protect vulnerable children through its projects and services, including the free, confidential 24-hour ChildLine helpline and online service.

Where To Eat In London | West Thirty Six

Situated in the heart of West London by Notting Hill, West Thirty Six is an all-day grill house and cocktail lounge and I swung by there for a delicious lunch with a couple of my girl friends, Mollie and Chloe.

The venue is beautiful, featuring  an open grill, quirky lounge spaces and an incredible roof terrace, the latter being where my friends and I dined. 

I ordered the salad, lamb cuttles and chocolate bar and peanut crunch which was all, sensational. If only pictures could capture  the wonderful flavours on my palette. Luckily, food envy wasn't a problem as I sampled the girls's lemon sole and chicken dishes too which were equally as pleasant. The salads are sexy, chips are chunky and West thirty Six plays the likes of Alicia Keys in the back ground. My idea of heaven.

Whether it's a dinner date venue you're after, a relaxed environment for a business meeting or simply somewhere to pop in for a drink, this venue ticks a lot of boxes. I think this just might be my new favourite place.

Let me know if you know of any other nice places to eat in London. I'd love to try them. 

Lots of foodie love, AJ 

xoxo

Where: West Thirty Six, 36 Golborne Road, North Kensington, London, W10 5PR | 0203 752 0530

Favourite dishesHeritage tomatoes, cheese and avocado salad (starter) |  Lamb cutlets (main) | Chocolate bar & peanut crunch (dessert) | Cauliflower & pomegranate (side)




WIN ADIDAS FIT KIT

Today's the day; the launch of the bespoke workout I created for adidas as part of their #WorkIt campaign.

For the next 6 weeks you can expect two weekly videos on the adidas Facebook page, giving you a step by step guide on how to incorporate fresh new fitness moves into your workout regime.

adidas Boost AJ Odudu #workit

I designed the workout so that it caters to all levels of fitness, and it is effective even if you are pushed for time. It's aim is to boost your energy levels while strengthening and toning your entire body.

adidas #workit AJ Odudu

It's a great way to flex this summer, with workouts I would love for you to try and as part of this exciting collaboration, I'm giving two of you the chance to WIN an entire adidas outfit to workout in so that you can be active in style!

COMPETITION TIME! 

Two of you are going to win a brand new adidas fit kit complete with a top, sports bra, bottoms and a pair of trainers. The lucky winners will be sent the fit kit directly to your doorstep so you can just sit back and wait!

If you want to WIN all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of this page (or my Home Page) and sign up to my updates. Simple.

The winners will receive an email to state that you have won and asking for your sizes. Let me know you have signed up by commenting below or by Tweeting/Instagramming me @AJOdudu 

This competition closes at midnight on Thursday 9th July, so GOOD LUCK!!!

adidas #workit crop top & shorts AJ Odudu

Lots of love,

AJ

xoxo

Watch workout videos on adidas Facebook page by clicking here.

Sign Up to my website by clicking here

Modelling For adidas A/W15

OK so adidas have chosen three females to model key pieces of their new Autumn/Winter 2015 training collection and I'm one of them. Needless to say this pleases me. 

Ever since I was a little girl I've enjoyed adidas. From the adidas poppers that exposed my naked legs to the harsh winds of Blackburn, Lancashire, to the adidas Gallaxy football boots that I remember my older brother saving up for, only for me to be the annoying little sister and unscrew the studs before misplacing them. Quite literally, adidas is a brand that I have grown up with and so naturally, I'm excited to be working with them.

I'm passionate about all areas of fitness and promoting a healthy body image for females and the new collection from adidas certainly adds to that confident feeling you get from working out. It also shows off my individual style. Bright colours and matching two pieces? Yes please! Activewear that not only looks good but performs well. 

Shooting the look book and modelling this range was so much fun and as well as flaunting my stuff,  I have created a bespoke series of instructional workout videos with adidas too, the first of which goes live on Tuesday 30th June right here. This is for their #WorkIt summer campaign, which aims to encourage women across the UK to try out fresh fitness moves so expect fun, energy boosting workouts that incorporate dynamic and explosive exercises.

Hold tight for more exciting news as you could be in with a chance of getting your hands on this amazing fit kit and whilst you're holding, tell me which items you are looking forward to getting your paws on?

To get involved and access the free workouts head to Facebook and like the adidas Women page 

The brand new AW15 Women’s Training collection is available here. Don't forget to check out my adidas girl gang Cat Meffan and Em Sheldon. 

Lots of adidas shaped love from AJ Odudu

xoxo

Race For Life: Pretty Muddy

I'm excited to announce that I've partnered with the wonderful charity, Cancer Research for their Race for Life series, where I'll be taking part in their Pretty Muddy run, this June 13th. 

Over this 5K trail, I'm envisioning a muddy obstacle course where I (and thousands of women of any ability) can run, walk, climb or crawl to the finish line, all while dressed in Race for Life's signature colour pink, making it the prettiest event ever! 

Better still, it's for a fantastic cause, Cancer Research. I'm delighted they've asked me to team up with them as one of their official UK bloggers because it's a charity that is very close to my heart and one that I've actively supported before, the most recent being when I took part in London's Winter Run.

Over the course of the coming weeks I'll be sharing my entire training programme from start to finish. I'll also be showing you my complete step by step nutrition and food diary. This will certainly keep me on track but hopefully, inspire you to join me too. 

If you're already up for the challenge, join me on June 13th in London for Pretty Muddy. If that doesn't tickle your fancy then there's a whole host of activities taking place across the country, including UK's first ever female only marathon. 

To twist your arm I have a reader discount code which can be applied not only to the Pretty Mudder race that I'm doing, but also to any of the 300 Race for Life events taking place this  year too, so take your pick and get involved. You can sign up by clicking here.

Reader discount code: RFLAJ

I'd love to know how you're getting on or what event  you decide to do so Tweet me, Instagram your progress pictures, join me on Snapchat (AJ.Odudu) and of course, donate to Cancer Research.

In the mean time, wish me luck!

xoxo

 Sign up by clicking here.

Don't forget to enter reader discount code: RFLAJ

Help to keep me motivated and donate here.

 

Fitness Date with John Lewis and Women's Health

Women's Health AJ Odudu
John Lewis AJ Odudu
Yoga AJ Odudu
Yoga Crab AJ Odudu

Tweet Me: @AJOdudu | Instagram me: @ajodudu | Watch me on YouTube: AJOdudu

John Lewis and Women’s Health Magazine have collaborated to introduce their #JLLiveBetter campaign and I went to it’s launch at the John Lewis Live Better Loft, overlooking the Olympic Stadium in London.

The morning kicked off with a mini-session of awakening yoga led by Colby Hanks, which was swiftly followed by a healthy breakfast of bircher muesli, matcha porridge, cardamon buns and fresh organic smoothies made by nutrition’s woman of the moment, Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy. I’m a mere mortal human who loves to eat, so this was one of the highlights of my morning.

Elite Barry’s Bootcamp trainer, Anya Lahiri put us through our paces with a fitness training session before personal trainer Rich Tidmarsh shared the secrets on how to exercise better.  He had us doing crabs and all sorts which was a lot harder than it looks but loads of fun. I got to hang out with a number of amazing fitness and health bloggers and the icing on the alkaline, sugar-free cupcake was a money-can’t buy personalised front cover of Women’s Health Magazine. 

There was something particularly special about coming together with a bunch of women (most of whom I’d never met), to work out together, laugh together and learn together. Essentially, it felt really empowering. Mental stability is just as important as physical strength which is exactly the message this #JLLiveBetter campaign is trying to send. It was a Saturday morning well spent and a campaign well worthy of recognition.

For more information about #JLLiveBetter click here  and in the meantime, love yourself, eat well and feel fabulous!

Nike Zoom Agility Fit Launch

Nike Zoom Fit Agility Trainers in Ivory Volt | Nike Crop Legging | Nike Pro Neon Sports Bra | Tweet Me: @AJOdudu | Instagram Me: @ajodudu

Last night I was invited to the launch of Nike Zoom Fit Agility trainers and what better way to celebrate the birth of a brand new show, than working out in them straight away eh?  I changed into a kit that exactly match my trainers (always a plus) before doing a gruelling but fun workout with Anya of Barry’s Bootcamp. If you haven’t tried Barry’s before you really must. You work up a proper sweat and feel fantastic afterwards.

The new Nike Zoom trainers are specifically designed for gym workouts and the bumpy hexagon bits on the sole are called ‘zoom pads’ to help cushion your feet. I personally have flat feet so always need an extra bit of support in all of my workout trainers and these bright numbers are perfect for my hooves. Colour wise, I personally love neon but if you’re not so keen on your feet looking like highlighter pens then they also come in blackpink and turquoise too.

Enjoy jumping, squatting and lunging with feet that glow.