Guest Blogger and competition winner, Meera.
So we are officially 1 month down on the #SupportWithEveryStep challenge and what a challenge it has been! Having been graced with the opportunity to try out ClassPass and having the assistance of an online nutritionist, to help steer me in the right direction, has been chaotic and exciting all at the same time.
When I first started this journey I won’t deny that I had major reservations using an online nutritionist. How would this person reasonably assess my eating, given that he doesn’t know my level activity, my body composition, my strengths, weaknesses or lifestyle? Would he just look at me like an overweight, lazy Londoner who stuffs her face with cakes and bread and just prescribe me some generic plan, stating the obvious? Will he realise that I am actually an educated woman, who is fully aware that shoving my pie hole with eclairs and McDonalds is obviously not going to do my body any good (I do neither, just to be clear!)? I won’t deny we started off on shaky foot. See, I’m training for 4 half marathons this year, with one coming up at the beginning of March and my schedule of training and eating has been fine tuned over the last few months, to ensure that I can reach my goal of 1) crossing the line alive and 2) in a time better than my last half marathon.
When I saw Sustain Nutrition’s Ten Commandments that I was to follow, I thought, ok well this seems fine, even doable… I eat clean daily, and try and find some sort of balance in the crazy life that I lead, working the hours that I do. I had already stopped drinking 4 months ago, a fact which my friends and family still find mortifying and funny all at the same time, and try to eat healthy fats and good proteins as much as I can. The 2 commandments that were going to be tricky for me, especially as running requires large stores of glycogen, were going to be cutting out wheat (my life recently has centred around avocado on toast) and only consuming low GI carbohydrates twice a day. I got this, I thought, smug as hell! Good god was I wrong! Over the last few weeks on top of these two commandments, keeping up with ensuring I drink 3L of water a day and trying to eat protein with every meal has been seemingly as tough.
When you start upping your water intake, you run to the toilet more frequently than Kerry Katona finds a new husband. This must be what pregnant women feel like (I have nothing but sympathy), anytime, anywhere it may strike. Nevertheless, I will say that my skin has never been so clear, and I am able to run for far longer distances without the constant need to neck a bottle of water. Secondly, eating protein at every meal sounds great, but when you wake at 4am, like I do, and eat at minimum 2 of your 3 meals a day at the office, the warped perception of bacon and sausages for breakfast or steak and veg for lunch dies away quickly and instead you are left with chicken breast or rolled up turkey with cheese at 9am with your latte (#gag), as opposed to my beloved avotoast and cold chicken with salad, or sashimi with edamame, instead of the newest Vietnamese noodle box, or god forbid some decent sushi or an artisan baguette. Yes I see you rolling your eyes, but for people like me that like food as opposed to using it simply as fuel, its like cutting off my right arm!
The other thing I was lucky to get in my #SupportWithEveryStep win was a 3 month subscription to Classpass. Essentially it allows you to attend various gyms all around London and try out all of their different classes. When I found out that panache had bagged me a membership, I was over the moon. There were so many classes that I had heard about and was dying to try out, but at on average £20 a class, a hefty bill would mount up, as my obsession were to grow. Over the last few weeks, with work being so busy and training for the half marathon, I have had to avoid HIIT classes and anything remotely west of Central London. Nevertheless, the plethora of classes offered has kept me super busy and I have already developed a schedule (because you can only visit the same studio 3 times per month with Classpass), and repertoire with some of the gym instructors. Having the pass has really helped to balance all of the running that I do and I have taken up Rumble at 1Rebel, a box fit class, which is perfect for distressing especially when my team is playing up and Hot Bikram Yoga. One of my old school friends is actually a HBY teacher and I happened across her, as I was browsing through the CP offering. Unlike other yoga classes, this one involves intense heat, which helps to relax muscles as you pull and stretch your muscles. NEVER have my worn out legs felt more simple and (relatively) flexible! With the half out of the way come the first week of March, I will have more time to try out other classes and I will be dragging my beloved friends, who are also on the pass, to try out some BarreCore!
Unlike a lot of runners I have quite a large chest, which makes running not only painful at times but severely reduces any amount of stealth I may have to help speed me on my way to a PB. For the last year since I started hitting the gym hard, I’ve tried just about every sports bra out there…wired, non wired, shock absorbing, minimising etc.
Many are not supportive enough, being made with very genetic material that stretches after a few washes, whilst others are so restrictive, compressing your breasts into your chest making it difficult to breathe.
As I run a lot, support is KEY and I usually train with 2 sports bras, a tank and a top on, just to ensure that “The Girls” as I lovingly have named them are strapped down, and don’t knock me out when I’m on a fartlek (Swedish running term) or doing interval sessions. Another thing runners find is that when going for long distance runs, (10km +) especially in the cold the chaffing becomes unbearable and let’s face it ladies, no one wants sore or bloody nipples after running that distance, when your legs are half dead. Also, like a lot of women, no one wants that “headlight” look through a top, at the gym or training outside, and many sports bras are made from such thin material that people will see you coming from a mile away, as the spot your nipples through your shirt. I know it sounds all very un-PC to talk about this, but let’s face it, we all have them, and we should all be real about it!
When I first entered #SupportWithEveryStep I didn’t even realise all that I would be winning, the main draw and most exciting part of the competition was having the opportunity to try out a new sports bra. For ladies with ample chests like me (36G) sports bras become expensive to buy, starting at £ for most non-wired versions. What got me when they first arrived was how sturdy they looked: good thick material, a full cupped wire and thick straps. I also noticed, after further inspection, the additional hook at the back to transform it to a racer back. I was giddy with excitement to be honest. Had I stumbled across a sports bra that FINALLY had everything I needed?
I decided to take it for a test run, at one of my more high endurance night run and strength sessions. As if it were meant to be, coach that evening, decided to put us through our paces, with lots of squats, jumps, hill runs and speed intervals. I remember vividly during the session, how impressed I was that I couldn’t feel the bra itself, even with a wire. It didn’t move, dig, slip or feel tight on my chest. My nipples were not visible, cold or painful during the session and I wasn’t left with indentations on my skin after we were done. I had found the holy grail of sports bras!
Since then I alternate them daily and will be wearing one for my longest run since winning the competition next Sunday, for the Semi de Paris Half Marathon in Paris. Panache you have changed my life and I couldn’t be more grateful, and neither could The Girls!