how to lose weight

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


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.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Let's talk breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. Breakfast provides fuel for your body and brain to function after an overnight fast by restoring your glucose levels. I always eat breakfast after an hour(ish) of being awake and in that time, I'd have already drank a pint of water. Here's a snap shot of some of the things that I've been eating for breakfast, which will hopefully help you decide how to tickle your taste buds in a healthy way, even before you've barely woke up.

Cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, a slice of brown toast, one poached egg and a small glass of orange juice.

Cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, a slice of brown toast, one poached egg and a small glass of orange juice.

One slice of rye bread with half and avocado, cherry tomatoes, 10 grapes, 10 almonds and a small handful of blueberries. Also drinking a cup of hot water.

One slice of rye bread with half and avocado, cherry tomatoes, 10 grapes, 10 almonds and a small handful of blueberries. Also drinking a cup of hot water.

Grilled mushroom, one slice of brown toast with butter, two grilled rashers of bacon, a poached egg with a sprinkle of pepper.

Grilled mushroom, one slice of brown toast with butter, two grilled rashers of bacon, a poached egg with a sprinkle of pepper.

Two poached eggs, one slice of rye bread with half an avocado crushed onto it. Cherry tomato, cucumber and spinach too.

Two poached eggs, one slice of rye bread with half an avocado crushed onto it. Cherry tomato, cucumber and spinach too.

To nip my sugar cravings in the bud bright and early, occasionally I have a small glass of orange juice also good source of fibre, energy and antioxidants. As you can see I love eggs for healthy fats and protein. Rye bread and grainy toast with butter or coconut oil on it are my carbs (which aren't the devil by the way) and avocado is full of healthy fats, vitamins and potassium.  I eat with my eyes too so I like to keep my plate colourful with whatever salad vegetables I have knocking around in the fridge and the bacon, grilled mushroom and poached egg combination is my healthy alternative to a greasy English Breakfast fry up. Yum! What do you have for breakfast?

xoxo

Waist Trainers | The Real Truth

Anyone remember those pics of Kim Kardashian wearing a waist trainer? Anyone remember the the trend watchers saying it was going to be the next big training fad? Well never one to jump on the band wagon late or anything, I thought it was finally time I gave it a go to see why Kim keeps taking selfies with one on.

I should point out, I'm not really one for exercise fads. I believe that to get in shape requires hard work, a balanced diet and regular exercise. I do however enjoy experimenting with different workouts and fitness techniques that can add to or enhance my workout regimes. I was also just damn curious! Does it even work??! Well, I teamed up with FemShaper to try theirs and to find out what the corset/waist training fuss is all about.

What is a waist trainer?

In case you don't know, a waist trainer or clincher is a band which you wear around your waist that makes you sweat bucket loads round your belly, the idea being that you shred and tone your waistline in the process. Think spanks but without the bottom half.

How did it look and feel?

Putting it on, as expected my waist appeared an inch or two narrower. You can adjust it, to cinch in your waist to your desired tightness. I kept it on the loosest notch, mainly because I wanted to be able to breath comfortably. If you've ever worn a pair of spanks before, it has a similar effect to that, only this time you get more of a curvaceous, hour glass look.

The lining is cotton so the material is soft on the skin and style-wise it looks really nice even on the outside of your clothes. It also sits discreetly underneath a t-shirt or vest so no one would know it was there. Top secret!

Can you exercise in one?

Well, I wanted to road test the waist trainer with a mixture of workouts so I wore mine in a spin class where I'm mainly sedentary on a bike and a body pump class where I'm bouncing about the place and using weights for added resistance. In the spin class I found I had to lean forward further than I normally would and found my breathing was inhibited slightly. I wouldn't describe it as uncomfortable, but I did feel quite restricted. It takes some getting used to.

As for the body pump, I had a few niggles. I found that when I wanted to engage my core during exercises such as lunges, squats and sit ups, those muscles around my core had switched off or disengaged because they were being squeezed meaning I wasn't able to properly work them out. As someone who is qualified in personal training, I would only advise really light exercise whilst wearing a waist clincher, specifically, brisk walking. 

What were the effects?

Well obviously I'd need to wear it for more than just two workouts to discover the long terms benefits. Apparently you should wear it for 3 hours a day for 4 weeks to get a figure like Kim Kardashian with testimonials claiming weight loss within just 7 days. One thing I would say is that you should certainly listen to your body. If you don't want to wear it longer than ten minutes. Don't. If you don't want to exercise in it. Don't! I've known people to sleep in these things. Just DON'T. 

Whilst a waist trainer is not something I'd choose to get sweaty in, I would wear mine occasionally because I like the discreet look, the flexible material and the fact that it instantly makes your waist appear smaller. It's pretty comfortable too and FemShaper deliver supper quick. It gives you an instant nip tuck, so if you were going out tonight and wanted a more svelte appearance with a waist that appears slimmer, you could slip this on and feel hot to trot.

Either way, whatever your stance is on waist trainers, you should try and feel comfortable and confident in your own skin and get used to the beautiful imperfections that make you special. So smile in the mirror because I promise it won't break :)

Keep an eye on my YouTube channel for a full demo on the FemShaper waist trainer.