How to be happy

2017 | Three Ways To A Fresh Fit Start

You’ve hammered the Christmas parties- hard. You’ve hammered the chocolates- lard. And New Year’s Eve was so boozy your flatmates walked in on you licking the base of an empty tin of Celebrations. We’ve all been there.

New Year

So it’s fair to say the season’s festive hurdles have been a serious impediment to your progress at the gym- I get it. My gym lately has been ghost town. Even the ghosts have been slacking. So we just need to put the guilt behind us. It’s now all about the new year and the word on the street is it’s 2017! Here are three simple things that you can do to kick start the next 12 months and engage the “new you” ethos. *Fit kit at the ready*

1. Single leg kick backs

Many people sit at desks most of the day, which allows their glutes (butts) to get weak because they're not using them. An effective exercise to tone your glutes is single leg kickbacks. Do this exercise two or three times per week for 8-12 reps and 3-5 sets and not only will you notice your legs are stronger, but your derriere will be perkier. This exercise will also work your hamstrings. Let’s kick it!

Single Leg Kick Back

2. Run

If you can; RUN! Not only does it benefit your cardiovascular system helping to improve stamina and function with all internal organs, but it also combats mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. If you’ve never ran before, grab a bottle of water, your headphones, press play and walk for  1 minute before breaking into a light jog for 1 minute and repeat for 20 minutes. You’ll be surprised how quickly you build the stamina and confidence to run. 

Run

3. Flex & Smile

To most of us flexing is somewhere between vain and embarrassing, yet I can’t help but smile when I pop my hip out and bring on the “gun show”. Research shows that smiling is really good for you as neurotransmitters called Endorphins are released when we smile and they’re responsible for making us feel happy and even help to reduce stress. So my advice? Find somewhere outside the gaze of judgemental strangers, get your favourite fit kit on and get FLEX HAPPY! 

Flex Friday

Happy New Year everyone!

XOXO

Wearing New Look Crop Top & Leggings, Trainers from Next

How To Sleep Better | 3 Tips For Good Sleep

No joke; beauty sleep is a legit thing! After all, puffy eyes were made for sleepy heads but as well as your appearance, sleep is heavily tied to your physical and mental health. It helps to balance your hormonal wellbeing, stabilise your blood pressure and repair your muscles.

Everyone has different needs but here are three simple ways to reward yourself with 7-8 hours of the good nights kip that you so well deserve.

How to sleep well

1. UNPLUG

Sorry to spell it out but your bed should only be reserved for sleep or sex. I know it’s easy to get distracted by Instagram and YouTube videos right before bed but using your bed as a home office can keep you up. Avoid that by not watching TV or using your phone in bed, responding to emails in it, eating in it (...you get the gist).

2. MAKE SURE YOUR BED IS COMFORTABLE

Your bed could be the cause of your lower back pain, your plateauing fitness performance and your mood swings so investing in your bed is really important.

I recently got a great Sleeping Duck mattress and love it because;

  • It was easy to order: You simply choose your size, how firm you want your mattress and then voila, you’re ready to place your order.

  • The delivery was quick: My mattress was tracked and came vacuum packed in a (very heavy) box within 1-3 working days.

Sleeping Duck Mattress
  • It stays cool at night, especially important on warmer evenings and
  • You don’t need to try before you buy because Sleeping Duck offer customers the opportunity to swap the firmness of your mattress free of charge within 100 days if you feel your selection was not right for you.

How to find the perfect mattress

3. MAKE A FEW SMALL CHANGES

Wear an eye mask, read a book, drink some camomile tea, try going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time 6 days a week and treat yourself to a lavender filled bath a couple of hours before bed to help send you off.

Sweet dreams!

Camomile Tea can help you sleep

XOXO

This blog post was brought to you in collaboration with @sleepingduckhq #SleepHappy

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

 

 

 




Race For Life | Pretty Muddy 2015

So at the weekend the moment finally came for me to head to Finsbury Park , London, join the #PinkArmy and run 5K for Cancer Research's Race For Life Series, Pretty Muddy.

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

The clue was in the title but 3K into this pink obstacle course I was wondering where this mud was. It soon came in abundance. 

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

Mud slides, pools of muddy water, tunnels leading to more (you guessed it) mud and even having a group of unsuspecting "helpers" shovel mud onto us, meant that the mud was completely unavoidable. 

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

It was lots of fun though. A well sign posted obstacle course, around a beautiful park and so naturally,  I was delighted to be getting muddy for money, helping to raise cash for Cancer Research the only way I know how; running about!

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

There's still plenty of time for you to donate or sign up to a race near you so join in if you dare. You'll get a pretty medal to go with your pretty muddy hand and well deserved it shall be too.

Race for Life AJ Odudu

Lots of earthy love,

AJ 

xoxo


Live For What You Love with SNOG Frozen Yogurt

I'm all about following a passion and so are SNOG Frozen Yogurt. Aside from being passionate about making tasty frozen yoghurt, they're all about living for what you love.

#SnogYourHeartOut AJ Odudu

I've been fortunate enough to team up with SNOG and a whole bunch of creatives for the official launch of their frozen yoghurt pots to enjoy at home, in a campaign called #SnogYourHeartOut. 

#SnogYourHeartOut AJ Odudu

When shooting the campaign video earlier this summer, I got to hang out with my super talented jewellery designer friend, Cat Meffan and together, we shared our dressing room with Daisy Lowe before entering a giant, pink room where I personally demonstrated some of my favourite workout moves, spun some tunes on vinyl and sported my most colourful fitness wear. I was was also treated to a post video-shoot SNOG frozen yoghurt of course. Wonderful!

Now that the full video is ready for viewing pleasure, I realise just how many other talented people were involved in the campaign. Each person is completely different. From me, the TV host who adores all things fitness, to the majorettes, hula-hooping their way through life! 

#SnogYourHeartOut AJ Odudu

Tattooists, dancers,  professional doodlers and even those that create art on banana's (true story) are also featured, highlighting the fact that this campaign really is a celebration of what makes each and every one of us unique.

#SnogYourHeartOut AJ Odudu

Check out the full video here, I'm hoping it'll put a massive smile on your face. The track in the video is pretty awesome so turn it up!

Here's to smiling in the mirror, pursuing our passions and embracing the imperfections that make us special, facing new challenges as we go because that's what life's about.

Happy Monday!

AJ

xoxo

*This post is in collaboration with Snog Frozen Yogurt to promote their new frozen yogurt pots now available in most leading UK supermarkets in three flavours: Strawberry & Raspberry, Passion Fruit and Original, for you to enjoy at home. #ad

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)




Barry's Bootcamp | East London

To celebrate the launch of their eagerly awaited second London studio, Barry's Bootcamp invited me along to their brand new East London branch to try a full body workout with celebrity trainers, Anya and Sandy. I've tried each of their classes before in their Central London studio but location wise, this suits me better so I'm excited.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

Like their Barry's Central studio, the space at Barry's Bootcamp East has a modern, almost industrial New York feel, complete with a fuel bar (where they serve delicious protein shakes, Ozone coffee and nutritious in-house food) and swanky changing rooms bursting with lotions, straighteners and lighting good enough for those  pre-workout selffies.  This studio raises the bar however, providing those who forget their running shoes with three choices of footwear from the latest Nike running range. Genius!   

Barry's Bootcamp East London AJ Odudu

If you don't know much about Barry's Bootcamp then here's the story. They offer hour-long workouts, targeting specific parts of the body, that include 30 minutes of interval treadmill running and 30 minutes of strength training. The running has a mixture of different speeds, including varied inclines and is interspersed with strength workout on the floor.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

All of this takes place in a room that adopts a red hue and that is filled with motivating, thumping tunes. They play the kind of music that you would hum and sing along to if only you could catch your breath.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

It's brilliantly brutal! If there's an ounce of competitive spirit within you it suddenly surfaces and a bit of will power goes such along way in this class. Anya and Sandy push you just enough to ensure you break through those pain barriers and constantly encourage you to believe that you're always stronger than you think and will make it to the end of the class and guess what? You always do! Granted, you feel absolutely shattered at the end of it but you also feel proud and elated. Your endorphins really do go through the roof!

Barry's Bootcamp East London AJ Odudu

I've tried many a workout class but I must admit that I find this to be the most effective way to improve your cardiovascular system, lose weight and build muscle. With their very own in house dog, Crusoe and the friendliest team around, you can't help but feel like a member of one big happy fit family.  

Barry's Bootcamp East London AJ Odudu

Regardless of your fitness levels, you can burn 1000 calories each class so it really is no wonder that Barry's Bootcamp is the best workout in the world! I filmed a cheeky little YouTube video when I first tried Barry's so here's a tapas amount of what you can expect in motion.

Barry's Bootcamp are taking online bookings now so I hope to see you at a class very soon :)

Lots of sweaty hugs and kisses,

AJ

xoxo

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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? 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.

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Nike Women's 10KM Race | London

Today,  London was one of 20 cities across the globe to host a race as part of the Nike Women’s Race Series. This was a 10KM race in Victoria Park London, with a clear message; To unite us women and enable us to experience and celebrate the power of sport together.

I wrote a blog post in the lead up to this race (which you can read by clicking here), where I said that my running crew and I would start together, run together and finish together but in truth, we couldn't even find each other. We had all entered different waves with varying start times and so I adopted a new run crew member, Cythia Erivo, (not to mention the 10,000 other super women running behind, in front and alongside me).

Pre-race selfie done, we picked up our feet and ran! The race was really well sign posted with incredible words of encouragement on placards, spectators and live music throughout the 10KM course.

For me, crossing the finish line is always the best part of any race. That huge sense of achievement is indescribable and today I stopped to notice a sea of women giving congratulatory hugs to one another. It was really special.

Post race we collected our medals in the form of an exclusive Alex Monroe necklace, before being greeted by a glass of champagne and a Birch Box post race pamper kit. Had I have known all of these treats were waiting for me at the finish line, I'd have certainly ran faster.

Soon after it was time to eat and enjoy the live DJ sets on offer, one of which was by my friend and BBC Radio 1 DJ, Clara Amfo who was playing the likes of Kelis, N.E.R.D and all the crowd pleasers.

Ladies, today we came, we saw and we conquered. I couldn't be more proud to be a woman. Here's to many happy more run's together. #WeRunLondon

AJ Odudu

xoxo

Find out more about Nike Race Series by clicking here.

Daytime Outfit

What do I wear when going to Hoxton Radio to present my weekly chart show? A little something like this. 

Relaxed and casual, this yellow jacket from Very.co.uk is perfect for the unpredictable weather that is gracing the UK at the moment. I love the bright, pastel colour which softens the leather biker boots and trousers that I'm sporting and it works well against the Instagramable wall right behind me. Yep. A wall which matches my Instagram account. That's what I said. 

Catch my radio show every Monday 2-4pm live on Hoxton Radio.

How To Run & Make Friends | The LDN Edit Photo Shoot with Nike

OK so picture the scene, I wake up at 5:45am to get picked up and driven to Putney Bridge for breakfast, hair and make-up, to ready myself for a photoshoot with a team of photographers and creatives that I’ve wanted to work with for yonks.

Even though it’s a legit photoshoot with Nike, I’ve brought my own Cannon camera and my GoPro on a selfie stick. I’m loud, energetic and am currently pouring myself a bowl of granola, dried fruits and milk purely for Instagram purposes on my fully charged phone. I’m not hungry at this point, I’ve just devoured a full English breakfast but after the Instagram snap, I eat the bowl of granola too. I’m ready.

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I posed and the photographers snapped away before we all packed up and headed to our next shoot location in Shoreditch, East London. There, we had a room at The Ace Hotel where we would get changed into different outfits, stay warm and...eat scones. We took lots of action shots and still images on and around Boundary St before devouring the fattest lunch ever at Pizza East where I continued to bug everyone with my 2 metre long selfie stick. I wanted to capture as many magical moments of the day as possible and this is why.

On June 21st, London will be one of 20 cities across the globe to host a race as part of the Nike Women’s Race Series. This is a 10KM race that I have signed up to do in Victoria Park, not because I enjoy leading an active lifestyle and am quite good at running but because this is part of a race series that comes with a clear message; To unite us women and enable us to experience and celebrate the power of sport together

It’s this ‘togetherness’ that made me sign up with my squad of fit friends (pictured below), Natasha, Zanna and Tashi. For the purpose of the 10KM run we go by the name of Crew Run LDN Ladies and it is together that we posed for an exclusive shoot with Nike to flaunt our fitness fashion picks, ensuring that we’re all geared up for race day and to remind ourselves that it’s together that we will start the race and it is together that we will finish.

It sounds soppy but that message really strikes an emotional chord with me. Looking back, sport/fitness/exercise has always enabled me to make friends and build greater bonds with people, even within my own family. I remember vividly that my mum used to get my siblings and I to join her to do Mr Motivator’s workout VHS in the living room back in my home town, Blackburn. Even though VHS is long gone, my mother and I still talk fondly about our fitness dates in our tiny living room and it is that (amongst other things of course) that have helped me to maintain a great bond between my mother and I.

Outside of my home town Blackburn and away from my mum and childhood mates, I have found a new community of friends through sport. One of the first things I did when I moved to London was partake in a 5KM run along The River Thames with my work colleagues from the BBC. Those colleagues have now become lifelong friends. And it’s not stopped there.

I’ve also made mates with my Crew Run LDN Ladies. These girls are charming, hard working, witty and share my passion for an active lifestyle. I can’t wait to run with them and thousands of other women on June 21st because in the words of Beyonce, Who Runs The World?! Yeah...you know it!

Sign up to join our crew here: gonike.me/JoinUs_RunLDNLadies

Massive thanks to the awesome people I worked with on the shoot: Make up artist, Gia Mills | Photographer Ollie Adegboye | Photographer's Assistant, Bilal Mustapha | Creative Director, Niran Vinod | Producer, Sarah Tuxford | Producer, Charlotte Davis | Lulu Skinner | Sam Bloch