week 28 & 29 : what have I been learning about this week? Plus the trials and tribulations of a Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur in training

Right let me update you on what has been going on in Abi’s world…week 28 & 29…

SORRY SORRY SORRY

I am so sorry that I didn’t manage to get a post up last weekend. Everything just got on top of me and writing up this wasn’t at the top of my priority list!

As you can see I am actually now away on holiday and am writing this from my airbnb in Venice!

The last two weeks have just been a bit of a blur, with lots of clients getting ready for their own holidays, me trying to get things prepared before I go away, plus work on my own secret project. My anxiety levels were through the roof, and there were a couple of occasions where I just had to sit and do nothing as I just didn’t know where to start with anything. However, after speaking to mentors and a couple of other people, I came to realisation that what didn’t get done, just wouldn’t get done and that wouldn’t be the end of the world. Life would still go on. All I could do was my best.

I went to Leeds to see my friends from school and celebrate Charlie’s birthday, it was so lovely to see them and really did give me a welcome day off and chill out.

My sister went to Spain and surprised my parents which was so lovely of her and I was super jealous of all the photos they were sending me through! But I am so excited for my own adventure this summer, we have spent past couple of days in Venice, before heading to Slovenia, Croatia and then Montenegro. A little bit of a European road trip! I will be trying to blog quite a lot and get some youtube videos up so stay tuned!

In terms of trying to ‘stay on track’ whilst I am away; I have brought with me some resistance bands and a skipping rope as I am not sure how much access I will have  to gyms. This means it will more than likely be lots of bodyweight work and dare I say it even some running! But as I have mentioned previously, I live this lifestyle because I enjoy it. I love the feeling of being fit and healthy, it helps with my mindset and inner peace as well. So I know if I was to take 3 weeks off entirely then I would go completely doolally! If I don’t feel like exercising one day then I won’t, but I like to have the option. In terms of food, I will be sensible but you can bet your bottom dollar there will be plenty of ice creams happening!

Right, time to get on with the day! Speak next week!

Double whammy of what I have learnt in the past couple of weeks!! Weeks 28 & 29 coming up…

24th: Spar shop originated in the Netherlands.

25th: Stephen Perry patented his idea for the rubber band in 1845. The London businessman came up with the invention after Charles Goodyear introduced rubber to the world in 1839.

26th: G-rated family films earn more money than any other rated films; however, only 4% of Hollywood’s output is G-rated.

27th: Zythology is the study of beer and beer making.

28th: Contrary to popular belief, there are no wild tigers in Africa.

29th: Pearls dissolve in vinegar.

30th: The white part of an egg is called the albumen.

31st: There are 314 Ikea stores in 38 countries, 30 of which are franchises. IKEA is an acronym which stands for the founders initials and hometown (Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd)

1st: The busiest airport in the world is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport with more than 106 million passengers in 2016. London Heathrow is only number 7.

2nd: In the summer heat, the iron in France’s Eiffel Tower expands, making the tower grow more than 6 inches.

3rd: There are 60,000 habitants of Venice, and 55,000 tourists descend on the place every day!

4th: Both “equinox” and “solstice” refer to the path of the sun throughout the year. During a solstice, the sun is either at its northernmost point (Tropic of Cancer) or it is at its southernmost point (Tropic of Capricorn). An equinox is either of the two days each year when the sun crosses the equator and both day and night are equally long.

5th: There are more than 400 bridges in Venice —but only four to five bridges span across the mighty Grand Canal.

Love Abi xxxx

 

Week 19 : The trials and tribulations of  Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur ‘in training’

Week 19 began after a whistle stop 30hour trip to Stockholm in order to see Bruno Mars in concert at the Globe Arena. My friend Laura really wanted to go and see him, so as non of the UK dates were possible for us both, we investigated whether it would be possible to jump on a plane and see him elsewhere; hence why we ended up in Sweden’s capital for the night. He was incredible live. I wasn’t all that fussed about seeing him to be honest, but he surpassed my expectations and then some.

Stockholm is a beautiful city, and we were extremely lucky with the weather, sunshine and 24 degrees meant just walking around the city was so lovely and pleasant. We stayed on a boat. Yes you read that right. Our hostel was STF AF Chapman, an old ship which had been renovated and is now a hostel! Our ‘cabin’ was bunk beds. It was such a lovely setting on the water, spotlessly clean and certainly an experience. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Stockholm, check them out for sure! People had told me it would be expensive, and all I will say is I am glad we were only staying one night! But the people, the food (see restaurant recommendations down below!) and the ambience were fabulous and I would highly recommend to anyone (just make sure you have some deep pockets!)

stf af chapman

The weather has been absolutely beautiful in England this week, unfortunately I think I have only managed about 40 minutes sat outside though due to work and clients. However just having the back door open and the sunshine streaming in has been so nice and my mood certainly alters with the weather. I walked to work and back for the first time this year and it is something which I need to start doing more. Just the simple act of popping on a podcast and 10 minutes in the fresh air does wonders for me.

I don’t know whether it was the sunshine or just one of those weeks but I had more than a few client cancellations this week. This is quite rare for me. It makes me question everything and probably gets to me a lot more than it should. There is usually a valid reason for the cancellations and they do all get rebooked in again, but it just reminds me not to get too complacent as this is my livelihood, if I don’t have clients then I don’t get paid. It has forced me to really think about my business model this week and what I could be doing better to ensure things like this don’t affect me as much.

Speaking of business, I have been working away at planning for my group sessions which took place again in week 19. More new faces amongst returning regulars has been brilliant. I put so much pressure on myself to make these sessions amazing, waking up in the middle of the night fretting and worrying that they won’t be good enough and people will leave disappointed. When planning I can sometimes just stare at a piece of paper for hours and not get anywhere, but then other times inspiration will take over and I will come up with something which I am proud of.

I really do enjoy putting these sessions on. The ability to be able to get in front of and help more people is one of my goals. Without giving too much away, there may be something on a larger scale in the pipeline sometime soon…..

Week 19 was rounded up by an extremely proud moment for myself. My sister was home this weekend and took part in her very first powerlifting competition; Lift for Cancer at Scarborough Spa. Hannah has been training for this for months and she did absolutely brilliantly. It was a Bench Press and Deadlift only competition. There were a couple of hiccups in the Bench Press, but she came away with a 42.5kg lift which is brilliant. In the afternoon, she hit a new PB of 125kg on the deadlift which was one of her goals so we were both incredibly happy and chuffed. I train Hannah online, she is probably one of the best clients I have in terms of adherence and following a plan! But seeing her succeed and being so happy got me all emotional.

I am so proud of her.”

lift for cancer

What have I been learning in week 19?

21st: There is a car accident every 18 seconds in Barcelona

22nd: In 1903, Australia became the second country in the world to grant the vote to women, New Zealand was the first, granting it in 1893.

23rd: One in every three people sitting in jail in Berlin are there because they didn’t pay their fare on transport system.

24th: 95% of black people who go to Ivy League Universities in America come from Africa for their further education.

25th: 60% of the US population have less than $1000 in savings. 60% of NBA professional basketball players go bankrupt once they have retired. 40% of divorces in America cite money problems as one of the main reasons.

26th: Nestle uses a different chocolate recipe in each one of its chocolate bars.

27th: The most expensive flower in the world is the Kadupul Flower which is only found in Sri Lanka. It is a white flower which blossoms at night and survives mere hours, meaning catching even a glimpse of it is next to impossible. This near-mythical species has never been up for sale, making it literally priceless.

Love Abi xxxx

This week has been tinged with huge sadness after the events of Monday night at Manchester arena. All acts of terrorism are completely barbaric, but this one certainly seemed to hit home and affect me a lot more. The number of concerts I have been to at that venue and used that exit to get out, I would have been in that exact spot had I been to see Ariana Grande that night. A concert is supposed to be a fun night, an evening enjoyed with friends and family, not something which we will forever be worried about going to. Frightful of what may or may not happen. My heart is heavy thinking about the number of lost lives and their affected families. May they rest in peace. 

Stockholm Restaurant recommendations:

Barrels, Burgers and Beers: We had one of the best burgers I think I have ever had at this little restaurant in the old town of Stockholm. It was hugely popular but luckily we got there early and were able to get a seat without much waiting! You can also get your burgers ‘naked’ i.e. without the bun and served up in a huge lettuce leaf.

week 19 update - greasy spoon stockholm

The Greasy Spoon: This little cafe is run by two english guys who saw a gap in the market for a proper breakfast in Stockholm, and it most definitely is not what you think of when you hear or see the words ‘greasy spoon’! We had read reviews online and knew that this was the place for us. Serving up classics like Eggs Benedict or your full english, but with a modern twist, this hugely popular spot was just great. There was a waiting list when we arrived so we knew it must be good. I had the Eggs Florentine and then we shared the Apple Pie pancakes special. Hunt this place down!

Pharmarium: Fancy a cocktail to remember in a backstreet swanky bar? Then this is your place. We found this little gem out after the concert for a late nightcap. The bar also serves food, but the cocktail menu will blow your mind. I don’t think I recognised over half of the ingredients on the list, but on recommendation from one of the waiters I opted for what would be ‘The Best Espresso Martini you will ever have!’ After the first sip, I agreed. Must visit for sure if you are in Stockholm!

Fitness Trackers. There are so many of them on the market now as the health and fitness industry is still riding the crescent of a wave. But a new study published this week in the Journal of Personalised Medicine, from a team of Stanford researchers states that there is a much higher margin for error than perhaps the majority had thought.

The study looked at the accuracy and reliability of 7 of the most popular trackers on the market; the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2.

60 participants were asked to wear the fitness trackers and were monitored while sitting, running, walking and cycling, whilst being simultaneously assessed via telemetry and indirect calorimetry.

The results were quite shocking.

‘Don’t rely on fitness trackers to track number of calories burned.’ The Register 26 May 2017

‘Why your personal fitness tracker may not be all that accurate.Consumer Affairs 25 May 2017

‘Fitness tracker fail: Research shows devices off by as much as 93 per cent when counting calories’ National Post 25 May 2017

I have always been very cautious over recommending fitness trackers to clients or anybody who asks my opinion, especially when it comes down to relying on them for how many calories you have burnt. But even I was shocked to read that when tested, the margin for error for calories burnt was between 24-90%!!! That is a whopping difference, especially for those people who use them to ‘eat back their calories.’

An acceptable error range would be 5%, so even 24% (which was the Fitbit Surge) is very high.

The study stated that the devices ‘adequately’ tested average heart rate, but there was still margin for error beyond what you might expect.

In my personal experience (I do not own one but some clients do), I think they are great for encouraging you to get more active, to strive towards the recommended 10,000 steps per day, to remind you to get up and move if you have been sitting for too long. However I have never liked the calories burnt aspect of them, and usually disregard what they say and tell clients not to use it as an excuse to eat more.

Example:
Somebody checks their fitness tracker at the end of the day and discover that they have burnt 1200 calories that day, when in actual fact they have only burnt 900. They may have an extra piece of cake or a glass of beer since they think they have done well that day and met their target. Overtime though this adds up, that is an extra 2100 calories every week which the user thinks they have ‘deserved’. If your goal is losing fat then this is could certainly be counterproductive.

SO SHOULD WE JUST THROW FITNESS TRACKERS AWAY?

No.

Hold your horses.

I am not saying fitness trackers are useless and should be resigned to your top drawer. I am just suggesting that you start using them with a little bit more caution. Track your steps, make sure you are being active. If you like seeing what calories you have burnt, great, but don’t use it as your tracking for food. Use it in conjunction with other measurements and look at trends over time.

Do you own a fitness tracker? What has been your experience with one?

Love Abi xxxx

Ps Have you read my April favourites blog yet? Click here. 

 

Week 17 Update and what I have learnt this week!

I know every week I seem to be saying it has been a really busy one for me, but week 17 has been no different! Last weekend I put on my second round of group sessions at the gym which were a huge success. I had 3 groups of highly motivated and encouraging ladies all giving their absolute best for a 45 minute workout. I am really enjoying delivering these sessions and really hope to be able to put on more of them in the future. I have received some really great feedback as well which is always lovely to hear. Need to finalise the next round of dates this week with the gym to keep the momentum going!

week 17 group session

I had 4 jam packed days of clients as I was taking Friday off to go to Birmingham for the Bodypower Fitness Expo. All clients did AMAZING this week, and we hit a few of incredible PRs.

Annie Hex Bar Deadlift 8 reps at 100kg

Lauren Hex Bar Deadlift 8 reps at 75kg

Hannah Bench Press PR 47.5kg

I am so chuffed with all of the above. I try and get my girls to focus on mini goals like these rather than just aesthetic ones. The looks on their faces after achieving something like this is priceless.

As mentioned, I went to Bodypower on Friday, this was the 4th year which I have been now. I really enjoy the day. It is a chance to wander round, try out new products, listen to talks and network with like minded individuals. This year I really wanted to focus on networking and speaking to different people in the industry. I had a good chat with Jamie Alderton, who I look up to immensely and follow all of his work. Some of the information he was able to share with me I bottled up and will be implementing in the next few weeks as I look to progress myself and my business. (There is also a lot of beautiful people walking around as well 🙈)

I mentioned my sister Hannah got a Bench Press PR, she achieved this whilst we were training at Emporium Gym in Birmingham on Saturday Morning. We went here for the first time last year and loved it so had to return this weekend. It is an old school bodybuilding style gym, the machines and weights are old and well used, but the atmosphere is amazing. A lot of the athletes who come over for Bodypower train here, last year we met Dana Lynne Bailey and this year had the pleasure of training next to Calum Von Moger. This was the best training session I had had in a really long time, it reminded me why i got into this industry.

‘I love lifting weights, I love the process, I love the feeling of making myself better.’

I needed this session more than I realised.

I am now home, up early and planning for the week ahead, week 17 flew by. Week 18 will culminate in me flying to Stockholm (#30B430 ticklist!) for the night to see Bruno Mars…

What have I learnt this week?

7th: The Queen has two birthdays because it would be too chilly in April to have major celebrations! The tradition started in 1748 with King George II, who had the misfortune of being born in chilly November.

8th: Gelato and ice cream are different. Gelato uses a higher quantity of milk in comparison to cream which means it contains less fat, it is churned at a slower rate which introduces less air making it less dense (ie creamier!) and it is also served at a warmer temperature than Ice cream.

9th: If you earn over £75k per year, you are in the top 5% of UK earners.

10th: Olericulture is the science of vegetable growing

11th: There are 576 billionaires in the USA, the highest of any country in the world. The UK currently has 134.

12th: May 12th is International Nurses Day and is celebrated around the world. It is also the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

13th: In America, the most popular baby names in 2016 were Noah and Emma.

Have a fab week everyone!

Love Abi xxxx

 

WEEK 15 UPDATE AND QUEST TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY

This week I feel like I have just been chasing my tail as I try to recover after a weekend away in Dublin! Late nights are not something I make a habit of, so 3 in a row has left me trying to catch up on sleep all week!

I have had a really busy week of clients, including a couple of new ones which has been great! I am always so nervous on these first meetings, however need to remember that the chances are the new clients are much more nervous than myself. I am getting better and think it is probably only natural as I want to do my best and give a good impression from the off!

Dublin was amazing. I really loved the city. We had a great time, seeing new things, eating and drinking. I was able to tick off one of my #30B430 tasks as we dined at a celebrity restaurant whilst there, Fade Street Social is Dylan McGrath’s restaurant who is a presenter on Irish Masterchef as well as frequenting many cooking programmes her in the UK. It was amazing food, really lived up to expectations! If you want to check out my full trip vlog then click this link! 

In terms of progress, I feel like I have really had my head back in the game this week. After a few weeks of overindulging and sneaking extra bites here and there, this week my food and macros have been pretty much 95% on point! I feel TONS better for it, both mentally and physically.

Gym has also been great as I have been able to fit in 5 full sessions this week. I scaled the cardio back and this doesn’t seem to have affected progress. I can get into the mindset that I need to do more and more cardio, when in fact, if I just get my food under control I am able to track and see progress.

I tried to tick another thing off my #30B430 list midweek when I attempted to give blood….note the word ‘attempted.’ It turns out that my veins are actually too small for the needles so I won’t be able to do it 🙁 Instead I decided to join the organ donor register which literally took less than a minute to do and I highly encourage you to do so. https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk

Right, week 15 catch up done, so what have I learnt?

23rd: Annual sales of washing powders are over $3billion in the USA alone.

24th: Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument as its national emblem.

25th: 10% of American companies go bankrupt every year

26th: The bank used by the Queen, Coutts, receives the most number of banking complaints every year. 1 in every 100 account holders files a complaint against the company.

27th: In Jan 2001, Calcutta was changed to Kolkatta. It is believed that the name Kolkata fairly sounded like Kalikata, one of three villages in this area where today kolkata is present, before the arrival of British.

28th: Sales of cauliflower have declined by 10% in the past decade!

29th: One in every seven people in the UK is now a member of a gym, which is now at an all time high of 14.3% of the population! The fitness industry continues to grow year on year as people are releasing the importance and benefits of being active.

Next blog post will be my April favourites so stay tuned for that one!

Week 15 done, let’s hope week 16 is a successful one!

Love Abi xxxx