Strength training

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.

TRX Workout

TRX/Suspension straps are my new favourite fitness accessory. Suitable to use indoors and outdoors, light enough to pop into your hand bag, suspension training is a great way to add variety and extra resistance to your workouts.

The straps allow you to use your entire body in a series of cardiovascular and resistance based workouts and are way more cost effective than a gym membership. I filmed a video on my YouTube channel to show my favourite full body TRX workout so that you can see and try for yourself.

Get strong, lean, firm abs and full body with three super simple TRX exercises. Designed for all fitness levels, these exercises provide the perfect punch of strength training for your entire body. 

Perform each exercise 10 times, resting for 30 seconds while you transition to the next movement. When you finish all three exercises, run through the sequence two more times for a 10 minute full body workout.

XOXO


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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ADAY & Fierce Grace

ADAY is a lifestyle brand from London, launching in just two days time. After hosting their Inspire Series in NYC, ADAY invited me to join them in London as part of the same sequence. I got to workout at Fierce Grace hot yoga, chat to inspiring fitness bloggers and hang out with ADAY's founders, Meg and Nina who were lovely. Together they have created a brand that can only be described as a God-send! Why? Because they offer clothes that you can wear practically to exercise in and also stylishly to go out in. Genius!

Full of multitasking wardrobe wonders, ADAY have leggings that look good, perform well and promise not to compromise on function. Their monochrome and clean cut styles create a high-end finish and they even have more quirky pieces which include their shiney shorts, to suit those who want to stand out. It matches my active and spontaneous lifestyle and I’m so excited for their launch.

ADAY offer wear for an energetic and impulsive lifestyle and Fierce Grace, provide the ultimate blend of strength and flexibility meaning that their collaboration was very fitting.

Get exclusive offers to ADAY here. Check out Fierce Grace here.

David Haye's Top Five Boxing Tips

Boxing is a great workout; perhaps the most challenging of all sports as it requires speed, agility, finesse, power, endurance and ultimate mental strength. Recently, I got to step inside the ring with heavy weight boxing champion, David Haye who gave me six top boxing tips for beginners before putting me through my paces. The golden tips are listed below. Read carefully or risk getting knocked out! :)

1. Drink coconut water: I personally dislike the taste but David Haye highly recommends it. Coconut water is high in potassium, is low in calories, is naturally fat and cholesterol free and is super hydrating.

2. Rub some Vaseline onto your bare knuckles: This is where your skin rubs off, even with gloves on. (Ouch!)

3. Stay focused: Boxing is not just about physical ability. Concentration is vital, whether you’re tired or not.

4. Curl your shoulders over and arch your back for protection: The boxing ring is no place for straight postures. 

5. Work out those legs: Power comes from the ground upwards. Your legs push off in order to generate power throughout your body and pack a punch. Who knew?!

So there you have it. Page one of the boxing Bible for beginners. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down of course. 

My First Mud Run

I rose at 6am a couple of weeks ago to take part in my first ever mudstacle, Brutal 10 in Bordan Heath. As the title of this event would suggest, the demand of this 10K run was incredibly tough. I was wading through deep swamps, crawling up steep hills, splashing my way through water and running on a variety of surfaces including gravel and sand. It felt like a never ending, energy sapping route at times and I was surprised at how much I fatigued within the first kilometre. I had battle wounds too. Blisters, scratches, bruises, the lot! But before you get the violins out, ask if I would do this or something similar again? 

Well yes I would. As bonkers as it sounds I surprisingly had loads of fun and documented my experience on my YouTube channel. The code of honour at this event was to help those around you (which came in handy when I was stuck in mud up to my chest and two men kindly came to my rescue and yanked me out) and I believe this to be the case at most mudstacles around the UK. 

It was a really great, fun challenge too. I mean seriously, how many times do we get to test our strength and endurance whilst imagining that we're Angelina Jolie in Tomb Radar? How many times do we get our brand new running trainers completely dirty without caring? I started the race smiling and I finished the race smiling whilst proving to myself that I'm stronger than I thought. Bring on the mud run!