After many years away from Athletics I was very excited a few weeks ago when Tonbridge Athletics club accepted my offer to do some voluntary coaching. When I turned up the first week, the adrenalin rush that hit confirmed to me just how much I had missed the whole world of Athletics.
I have to say that there is some serious talent there (including I’m sure some future Olympians!) and they are a delight to teach! I’m now starting to get quite excited about the Brazil Olympics!
In the meantime my Claygate team are going great guns and their fitness sessions with me should see them in peak condition for the Christmas parties!
My outdoor classes on our local common also continue despite the new chill in the air, it’s been a good measure of general hardiness though as I’ve seen numbers drop off as the drizzle has set in. Unfortunately we have to accept that we live in England not the Carribbean, and have started devising a new workout that can be done whilst wearing Wellies and rainhats!
Well, the season of mellow mists and general sogginess is upon us once again but I have some lovely memories of September’s Retreat in Deia, Majorca to keep me warm for a while longer. As usual we had a really lovely bunch of ladies of varied ability and with very different needs but by the end of the week they had all achieved a lot and felt fabulous!
We were lucky to have picked a week when the fresh fruit and veg on the Estate was at its best and every morning I started the day by doing the rounds with a basket ‘harvesting’ goodies to make big fresh salads. The little organic tomatoes especially were incredible and we all gorged ourselves on Persimmons growing wild on the terrace trees.
Of course every trip has its funny moments and ours was getting lost on a hike – we had to be rescued by the lovely Monika with her car. Please be assured that on the next Retreat I will have thoroughly pre-checked the route and gained a mastery of both map and Sat Nav!
Bloom Fitness Retreat May 19th – May 24th 2014
Sept. 26th – Oct. 1st 2014
Please contact the lovely Monika to book your place( Monika’s e mail is on the website, I can’t post it for some reason!)
May 19th – May 24th 2014
Sept. 26th – Oct. 1st 2014
I love spas. I’ve been to loads of them all around the world and have to say I’m now something of a connoisseur. So when I moved away from London I confess I was very worried that I wouldn’t find anything that could match the heady heights experienced in the big smoke. Happily I was wrong. My husband gave me a voucher for The Green Door in Marden, Kent shortly after we moved and a month later I was a confirmed regular. To find this gem in a small village in Kent that ticks every box is a delight. Everytime I go, Kelly and Nicky make sure I’m buff and ready to face the world. Trudi, Director of the Green Door, started her career at the Sanctuary Spa in London before managing The Mandarin Oriental Spa in Hong Kong for 5 years. On her return in 2000 she dreamed of opening a day spa and now the dream has become a reality in Marden in Kent. I am a lucky girl indeed
This year I booked my pre holiday session with the lovely Nicky. As a special treat Nicky gave me a free treatment from their new range and it was wonderful. I’m booked in the salon in September and will make sure I add it to my list.
If you happen to be in the area or simply want a wonderful spa day out I would highly recommend the Green Door
I know I nag you all every summer but it really is important to try and stay healthy on holiday! All that work you put into getting a Bikini Body – it’s madness to then spend two weeks being totally inactive and stuffing yourself with chips – you’ll come back feeling tired and bloated. It makes far more sense to use the opportunity to exercise in different ways in different surroundings.
This summer we’re going to Gozo and I shall be combining work and play – I especially need to keep in shape this summer as I have filming for my new series of fitness DVDs when I get back. I have lots of favourite ways to do this out there – the beach is a half hour walk from the house for a start (for those of you that have to climb down a cliff to get to the beach you’re even luckier!). When we get to the beach, the inflatables we use (a Mantaray and a Killer Whale) were craftily chosen by me to be difficult to get onto – plenty of exercise is obtained through repeated climbing on and falling offs!
Big Girl will come training along the beach with me – usually either an early morning power walk or run-walk combined with circuits on the beach (incorporating wave jumping etc). Walking knee deep in the water along the shoreline for a mile to buy healthy snacks is a fantastic cooling exercise.
I also find that digging myself out of live buriel in the sand by the kids provides quite a lot of exercise!
Every evening we might even round off the day with a game of frisbee or rounders on the beach.
Away from the beach, we always go Self Catering so that I can make sure we eat healthily. Around the house itself, I’ve devised cunning plans to keep us in shape – every other day we do a 20 minute circuit round the house and I wear pads on my feet to polish the floor – it looks a bit as though I’m auditioning for ‘Dancing on Ice’ but it definitely gets me moving!
The sun is shining and Festival Season is upon us! we’ve just returned from the wonderful ‘Latitude’ festival in Suffolk – it bills itself as ‘more than just a music festival’ and it certainly was – a mixture of music, theatre, comedy, caberet and dance to name just a few. I would describe it as totally magical – from the pink painted sheep to the woods lit up at night.
It was the kid’s first festival and to be honest I was a bit apprehensive about taking them but needn’t have been as it was SO family friendly – they were able to experience a new level of freedom as it was such a safe environment – in fact Eldest Maxwell and her friend would disappear off on their own for most of each day.
I was also able to experience something totally new – a ‘She Wee’! For the uninitiated among you, this is a disposable plastic contraption that allows us ladies to use a urinal. I have to say it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life – I won’t go into to much detail but in short it involved standing on tiptoes to wee frontways into a trough in a ‘shower cubicle’ needless to say I made a complete hash of it – it’s definitely a technique that needs a lot of practise – perhaps I should incorporate it into my Pelvic Floor routine?
Anyway, moving swiftly back to the festival… we didn’t get much sleep (the music went on until 3am) but I was expecting that and we would have Siestas with earplugs every afternoon before all the events started at 4pm. I did find sleeping on an airbed hard going and every morning I would wake up really stiff as if I’d done a really heavy workout the day before. I spotted some other fit looking people around the site in the morning doing their stretches, on chatting to them I found that they were all experiencing the same thing – it’s interesting that if you train regularly you really do notice inactivity!
However – on the whole we managed to keep quite healthy. We would have a big breakfast every morning (cooked on our gas burner which decided to die on us half way through and we had to buy another) but during the day the selection and quality of food on offer was amazing. We got a fair amount of exercise as we were on the go the whole time – either walking between Arenas or jumping up and down to the music. We even took part in a dance lesson at one stage in a bid to improve our Saturday Night Fever routine.
I even switched from wine to cider (it was organic though, wink!)
For a while now, I’ve been writing articles for the family fitness magazine ‘The System’ (if there are any PTs reading this blog, the magazine is always on the lookout for new articles). Please contact Steve via his website www.stevegreenfitness.co.uk to get your free copy or to submit as article.
This wonderful freebie is edited by one of the best conditioning coaches in the world, Steve Green who has trained some of the Greats: Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and … Cliff Richard. Steve has always been a hero of mine, I have learnt a huge amount from him over the years and it’s wonderful to see that his fitpack system is taking off in schools and showing kids how to exercise in a fun, safe way.
I remember back when I lived in London I used to watch him training Cliff on Wimbledon Common. Cliff would appear at the beginning of the session looking pristine in super clean whites and reappear an hour later looking like the Swamp Monster! The training worked though – at the time Cliff was playing Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and he did actually look rather hunky – I have to say though that for me, nothing beats Colin Firth and his dripping shirt.
It is a little known fact that I hold the National Powerboat certificate Level 2! I only mention that because I have been helping to train some of the Grey Ghost power boat racing team who have been taking part in a ‘rerun’ of the great London to Monte Carlo International Powerboat Grandprix. This is known to be the longest and toughest powerboat race in the world and I’m so proud to announce that they came 2nd in the final leg yesterday!
I was also tickled pink to discover that my name is painted on the side of the boat and printed on the official Team Jacket – when I showed Kate my assistant she said it looked so good that I should bring out a range of Sarah Maxwell branded fitness equipment. I think that one’s going on the back burner for a while. Lots of ball juggling at the moment and a few being dropped regularly!
It’s finally finished and it’s out and available to download! (www.sarahmaxwell.co.uk/media.php) – it’s a bargain at £1.99 . So far it’s been flying off the internet and we’ve had some lovely feedback, plus a fab write up in Hello Magazine! (see above link).
As part of the launch I gave an ‘inspirational talk’ at the B.hive female business club located in London’s Covent Garden. I’m a huge fan of the B.hive network – set up by the incredible Lynn Franks, they are a network of business lounges specifically for women to use for networking and meeting. (www.bhiveclub.com). I’m definitely going to be using the Covent Garden one more often. They’re perfect for women like me who work primarily from home as they are a great way of getting out and meeting people – like the lovely Emma Slade Edmondson who has set up her own very impressive personal styling business (www.backofthewardrobe.com) and who uses B.hive to meet other business women.
Talking of meeting people – I recently extended my local fitness class to include an early morning outdoors session. I had originally envisaged this to be like the scene in ‘Calendar Girls’ with birds singing in the beautiful morning sunshine – I hadn’t reckoned on the typical British summer weather though! The lovely ladies were however very upbeat about rolling out their mats on the soggy grass and performing squats in the drizzle. All in all, it was really good fun with one of the highlights being the warm up using the play equipment in the local toddler playground!
Well it’s a bit of a shock to be back in Blustery Blighty after my wonderful week away on Retreat in Deia, Mallorca! Although I was obviously working, I feel as though I’ve had a holiday! – it wasn’t just the weather it was the warmth of the lovely people that joined us on the retreat that made such a difference. As is the way of these things, everyone had a different level of fitness and a different story to tell but all were looking for guidance on how to fit exercise into their lives and eat more healthily and I really enjoyed being able to work with them on an individual level. As it was a Retreat and not a Bootcamp, everyone was able to go at their own pace while at the same time enjoying fun and laughter in amazing surroundings – hopefully for some of them it has changed their attitude to exercise for the rest of their lives!
I’ve had some lovely feedback from the ladies:
“Waking to the sound of the spring trickling and the scent of jasmine growing outside the bedroom window was heaven.”
“Sarah was great at tailoring the exercise to each of our needs both during the one-to-one sessions and the group workouts The program that she set really fits into my busy lifestyle.”
“Having a flexible timetable for the day made it feel like a holiday not a boot camp. Spending time chatting over meals was a real luxury that I don’t normally get time for.”
I shall now be counting the weeks until the next one which is planned for the autumn and I shall keep you posted as the details are finalised.