Workout

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.

WORKOUT HAIRSTYLES

Gym hair don't care :) Here's my mate Tasha Green and I,  unleashing our locks and showing you how we wear our hair to the gym.

We have a laugh too!

GYM HAIR STYLES

How do you wear yours?

XOXO

WORKOUT WITH FRIENDS

I find that recently, the easiest way to hang out with my friends is to workout with them. We meet up, exercise for an hour before catching up over a healthy post workout breakfast or lunch before going about our business. It's the best! Here I am with my friend Tasha Green doing wall-sits...

MOTIVATION MONDAY

running...

WORKOUT WITH FRIENDS

gazing into each others eyes (she's such a babe)...

HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED AJ ODUDU

and laughing at the fact that we are totally (and intentionally) wearing matching outfits.

workout with Tasha Green

Fit dates are awesome! Get involved.

XOXO

DJ'ing & Dancing with Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars

DJ AJ Odudu

OK so maybe not with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars...more like to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. When H&M invited me to do a dance class with them and SOS Fitness (Seen On Screen Fitness)  I jumped at the chance. I’ve read all about SOS who create and teach dance routines inspired by the the biggest pop stars (some of which they have actually worked with) to help you get fit whilst having bags of fun.

It was to celebrate the launch of H&M’s new fitness range which includes matching co-ords, funky sports bras and a range of trendy outdoor gear for hiking. The prices are pretty snazzy too. With SOS you can learn how to dance like pop stars such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kylie, Britney Spears or in my case, Mark Ronson. Genius!

I worked up a sweat by sticking out my bottom, flicking my hair in the wind machines, strutting and twerking for an hour straight. Not to mention all the smiling and laughing I did which, if you ask me, is a workout in itself. It was so much fun and I can still remember the dance routine…(well, at least half if it). After gyrating to Uptown Funk with a load of sassy ladies I stepped behind the wheels of steel for a quick spin myself. Britney medley anyone?!


Juicy Couture: 5 Day Fitness

If you’ve ever wondered who your best workout buddy should be then look no further. I teamed up with Juicy Couture and Trace Publicity to host my very own workout class in London yesterday. As a TV presenter  I love being on camera and as an energetic woman I enjoy keeping fit, which is why I wanted to create something that combined my two loves for this special event.

I kindly asked Louis Spence to step aside so that Pineapple Dance studios could welcome me in to lead a memorable fitness class that I titled, “How to Look Good On Camera”. This aerobic, bodyweight workout involved selfy sticks and giant emojis (naturally) and I soon had everyone working up a sweat, all in the name of the perfect selfy. After all, be it on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram… Tinder, we’re all on camera these days so why not spruce up our selfies and get fit at the same time?

Dressed in Juicy Couture sports range the class was full of LOL’s as we mastered the Laugh Out Lunges, incorporated some Selfie Stretches and even did some Kim Kardashian butt squats. We didn’t break the internet but we did break a sweat. I always knew that giant emoji’s would make great workout companions so keep your eyes peeled for more fun fitness classes avec moi in London later this spring.

In the meantime, try out my 10 minute workout below, which is a tapas amount of the exercises taken directly from my class. Oh and if you happen to have a giant emoji knocking around, then feel free to pick it up 

  • 20 Star Jumps
  • 20 Burpee Jumps
  • 20 Squats
  • 20 Push Ups
  • 20 Second Plank
  • 20 Bicycle Crunches
  • 20 Russian Twists

1 minute rest. Repeat.

You can shop the Juicy Couture sport range right by clicking right here.

Recent fitness blog post: Working out with Ellie GouldingWinter RunWeight Loss TipsWomen’s Health Campaign

Working out with Ellie Goulding

Tweet me: @AJOdudu / Instagram me: @ajodudu / Watch me on my YouTube channel: AJOdudu

I attended the exclusive launch of Ellie Goulding’s brand new Nike+ Training Club app at London’s Tobacco Dock a couple of weeks back. The evening commenced with Ellie Goulding serenading us with five of her hot singles including her recent UK chart topper, Love Me Like You Do. In between tracks she spoke to us of her shyness, her love for Bjork and confessed that she always forgets the words to her own songs (as she revealed her book of lyrics). She didn’t tell us however, that she was going to do a costume change from pop star glam to Lycra gym wear (to be fair she still looked glam) in order to lead us in a 40 minute full body workout. We soon found out.

Yes you heard me, just when I was getting comfortable Ellie Goulding and her personal trainer whipped us into shape by leading a sweat-inducing workout which really did leave me feeling starry eyed. It was sort of surreal working out with a pop star, especially as she’d just sang to us. I mean talk about a sweaty serenade. I can vouch for the fact that Ellie Goulding is one pop princess who isn’t afraid of a few burpees but the fact that I was working out with a bunch of strong, focused women right ahead of International Women’s Day made those squat jumps extra special. Us ladies were showing our strength in side planks.

The circuit we did is written below. We basically did six exercises for 60 seconds each before recovering (in my case, panting) for 1 minute before repeating the whole thing three-four times times in total. Give it a whirl!

1. Running on the spot (60 seconds)

2. Seated scissor kicks (60 seconds)

3. Burpees (60 seconds)

4. Pike push-ups (60 seconds)

5. Alternating scissor squats (6 seconds)

6. Side plank with leg lifts (60 seconds)

Alternatively you can download the user friendly app by clicking here to see Ellie Goulding demonstrate each exercise herself. The app can connect with your music so you and even gives you words of encouragement. It’ll be like you’re working out with her too!

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!