How to stay motivated

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

 

 

 




Top 5 Winter Fit Tips

Winter makes most of us want to snuggle up in bed but sadly, hibernating isn't going to keep us fit. Here's how I exercise to beat the winter blues.

Nike Zip Top

1. Wrap Up Warm

I still enjoy outdoor workouts if I get the right fit kit. Lightweight windbreakers, thermal leggings and lightweight gloves that keep your paws warm without getting sweaty are the answer to all my workouts. There are even long sleeved tops that cover the palms of your hands if gloves aren't for you. 

Sit Ups

2. Workout At Home

I personally love going for a brisk winter run in the fresh, cold air but for those days when leaving the house is all too much, I stick on an exercise DVD or playlist a load of YouTube workout videos and do that for 30-60 mins 3 times a week. The benefit of exercising this way is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home. The difficulty with exercising this way is that it can always be put off until another day. I suggest scheduling it into your diary to reduce the chance of avoiding your work out. 

Outdoor winter workout

3. Get stretching

For a mood enhancing fix try yoga. It's not all about being flexible (thankfully). In fact, it helps to combat fatigue whilst strengthening your body. If (like me) you often find being in a silent room full of tree poses very dull, try a class that plays music while you flex or, if you really need an incentive to brave the cold weather, take up hot yoga. Either way, it's sure to increase your energy levels, realise some tension and strengthen and tone your entire body. Three cheers for Namaste!

Yoga

4. Make a music playlist

Let's face it, you need to be in the right frame of mind to workout. Playlist a bunch of songs that make you feel happy, strong and invincible and crank it up just before you workout. Beyonce's Run the World, M.I.A's Bring the Noize, Missy Elliot's Lose Control and the theme tune from Rocky- You're the Best NEVER fail me so...press play.

Workout Playlist

5. Workout with friends

Sign up to a workout class with a friend or few and turn it into a social event. After most of my workouts I often catch up with friends over a healthy smoothie, a post-workout protein shake or a healthy brunch. It's a great way to get fit, get chatting and eat food. What's not to love?!

AJ Odudu Fitness

So there you have it. My top tips to keep you training, even al fresco.

XOXO

Photographer: Niran Vinod

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



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


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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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.

ajodudu.com selfie stick.PNG

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