"Life is more fun when you have the energy to live it." We asked personal trainers and professional athletes what it means to them to be 'healthy'.
Alice Hector – Elite Professional Athlete
Healthy to me is the ability to do your chosen activities freely and feel good about yourself. It does not mean dieting or restriction in any way, but subconsciously making good food and lifestyle decisions (good habits) and also being relaxed about chocolate/wine/treats when you fancy them.
From my stance as an elite athlete, healthy does not necessarily mean elite performance (as that can easily tip the balance into being unhealthy, just as a sedentary lifestyle can) but I believe you can be healthy and be a top professional athlete and drink wine - just not the whole bottle!
Anne Iarchy – Personal Trainer
Having a lifestyle that combines healthy eating, regular physical activity, and a positive mindset. Striving to be disease-free by leading that lifestyle. And being able to do whatever you want to do thanks to that lifestyle, e.g. not being limited by mobility, injury, size or shape.
Polly Hale – Personal Trainer
Being fit enough to do everything I want to do, from still carrying my kids when needed (the eldest is 10!) to recently joining pole dancing classes. Life is more fun when you have the energy to live it to the max without compromise.
Ken Byrne – Ironman Athlete
Being healthy to me means being happy, being able to be active, finding a good balance between work and family, and not being too hard on myself to achieve everything. Understanding others and trying to deal with life's stresses the best I can.
Alvaro Martin – Elite Triathlete
Being healthy means, for me, thinking about the right choices and acting on them. It's not just about food; it's about your whole life. Books, music, friends, work and everything makes up your life!
Leanne James – Personal Trainer & Triathlete
Being healthy to me would be feeling good about myself, making the right choices and creating the right balance between family, work, fitness and nutrition, and friends; which is never easy! And then not giving myself a hard time if it doesn’t always go to plan.
Making the right choices for me can be anything from the right food choices, or whether to push through a tough training session if feeling exhausted (and knowing when to stop!) to making time to go and have a coffee with a friend or watch my children play a sports match rather than being too busy.
Tim Harrison – Fit Food Writer
Being healthy for me has to be “whole self healthy”: mind, body and soul – holistic if you want. Your training should enhance your happiness and fuel the chance to train.
Thomas Hill – Personal Trainer
Being life-proof. Being able to do anything that life demands of me from running for the bus to wrestling with my kids to picking up all the shopping bags at once!
Being healthy, mentally as well as physically, to me means keeping healthy habits and with them striking a balance between work, life, and my sport allowing me to achieve my goals without depriving myself of activities that bring me joy. What society nowadays perceives as a healthy lifestyle with restrictive eating and an unattainable body-image of a healthy person is in my opinion unhealthy in itself. Celebrating what your body is capable of, regardless of what people think you should look like, should be the main goal. Healthy is to be kind to your body and soul.
From racing disasters to great achievements, Ian talks to us about life as a Team GB Age-Group triathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, even as a child I was competitive, playing football for many years as a goal keeper. I then moved into running in 2011.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I moved to triathlon in 2012 to add some variety to my training.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race so far is the Outlaw Holkham Half. We were blessed with hot weather, the race venue was beautiful, and the event was meticulously well organised.
And your proudest achievement?
Competing in the 2017 European Triathlon Sprint Championships in Austria, and more recently qualifying for the 2019 ITU World Sprint Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My biggest racing disaster so far was in one of my first races when I crashed my bike at the dismount line due to my shoe coming off the pedal when I removed my foot ready for dismount. Nevertheless, I finished the race, albeit covered in road rash and a torn trisuit!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I carry on and never give up.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Set your own realistic goals and try not to feel pressurised by others
What are your goals for 2019?
Competing in the ITU World Triathlon Sprint Championships in Lausanne, and the Royal Windsor Triathlon.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration from Tim Don, an elite triathlete who has been competing for many years and has recently fought back from extreme injury to race at Kona.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The ethical ethos of Sundried and its devotion to charities, plus the environmentally friendly use of recyclable material.
Sundried ran a public opinion poll and are here to showcase the most popular places to run in the UK as voted for by you!
The Ridgeway is one of many beautiful National Trails in the UK which is maintained by the National Trust. This 87-mile route has been used since pre-historic times and features some incredible scenery as well as ancient relics and stunning secluded valleys. Annual ultra-marathon Race To The Stones follows this iconic trail which explains why it's such a popular event.
The Ridgeway is described as 'Britain's oldest road' and starts at the World Heritage Site in Avebury in the North Wessex Downs AONB, home to Europe's largest neolithic stone circle. The trail travels north for 139km and passes through the gentle woodland of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This trail has been used for over 5,000 years and provides runners with unending landscape to explore along with archaeological treasures to discover. The entire western half of this trail follows byways or bridleways that have no stiles or other obstructions so as a runner you can enjoy the freedom of running without having to clamber over obstacles.
The Lake District
One of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK, the Lake District is England's largest National Park and also now holds the prestigious title of being a World Heritage Site. The Lake Distric is home to England's highest peak – Scafell Pike – as well as its deepest lake, providing a stunning backdrop for any adventurer.
Fell runners have been using the Lake District to test their limits for thousands of years and any runner would be spoilt for choice when it comes to trails and routes to follow. The unspoilt and unadulterated views are your reward while the well maintained paths and trails will take you where you need to go.
The Quantock Hills in Somerset are perhaps a lesser known Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but are still a fantastic place to run nonetheless. Described as an area of wilderness and tranquillity, this area features rugged Jurassic coastline, deep wooded combes, and undulating farmland. This area is largely privately owned which is why it is perhaps not as popular as other areas, however it still attracts up to half a million visitors every year.
The undulating and sometimes challenging hills will provide any runner with a varied and interesting place to run and even if you're new to the area, you shouldn't get too lost. There is one 7-mile section that follows a ridge which will reward runners with uninterrupted views on both sides that will both inspire and motivate even the most casual of runner.
Undulating hills and expansive coastal paths make North Wales a fun place to run while Snowdonia and Garth Mountain add an element of wilderness and challenge if you're looking for something a little more intense.
A popular destination for active people, Snowdonia National Park in northwestern Wales is best known for hiking but of course runners will also be rewarded with the breathtaking views and scenery.
Lee Patmore is a Sundried ambassador who suffers from life-limiting illnesses. Along with his band of brothers, he took on the impressive challenge of travelling from Land's End to John O'Groats on a hand-cycle. Lee talks us through his incredible experience, which was in aid of Help For Heroes.
About The Challenge
In May 2017 I started on a journey that would take me from the northernmost point of the UK to the southernmost point. The legendary John O’Groats to Lands End adventure, but not the normal route that is around 874 miles, this journey has a major twist. I’m a military veteran and also a Help for Heroes beneficiary, and belong to the group within Help for Heroes know as Band of Brothers. Along with two other Band of Brothers and a support crew, we took on a journey that would see us cover 1,300 miles, along with close to 60,000ft of climbing. On our route we visited the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres and a number of active military bases. We started on the 1st of May and finished on the 29th of May. For me, it was all about arm power and the mental battle to push myself beyond limits I’ve never been to, and the daily battle just to get out of bed and get in my hand-cycle.
We started our journey in John O’Groats, which was very cold, very windy, and just miserable weather. Approximately two and a half months before we started, during what should have been the peak of my training period, I had a major flare-up with my Fibromyalgia. This ended up leaving me bed-ridden for two weeks. When I say bed-ridden, I got out of bed once per day to go to the loo, and the rest of the time I was in extreme agony with tiredness and just couldn’t function. The flare-up came without warning and basically ended my training prematurely along with removing the ability to tap into the full level of fitness I had achieved. At this stage, just before we set off, I could just about manage 2 miles in one go on a flat route. Nothing like the 40 to 60 miles per day needed, especially when you start in Scotland and know the terrain is anything but flat.
The first three days were hell.
The hills were relentless and seemed never ending. There were some great downhills that saw me coast at speeds of up to 40mph, but these were short lived and nowhere near enough time for a recovery to tackle the next hill. It was clear that I needed some help getting up the hills. The guys with me would get off their road bike and take the weight enough to allow my arms to continue to power myself uphill.
At this stage I had a theory. As long as my arms could physically move and power the cranks to get me up the hill, I was still working. If my arms failed (and they did) I would get off my hand-cycle and with a locked out left leg, I would drag my Handcycle and weak leg up the hill as far as possible. If my legs failed and I couldn’t get myself and my hand-cycle up the hill by my own doing, I would call it for that day and we would then need to decide if we stayed within the time frames and planned stops or if we would move the stop and then try to make up the time later on. Thankfully, it never came to that, as we made all the planned stops and even managed to get in a double-leg to give us an extra day's rest towards the end.
The real turning point was day five. Out of nowhere, my fitness came in again, and as much as I still needed the short recovery stops, I was not given help from this point on.
Day one was the farthest I’d ever cycled in one day, and day three was the first time I’d cycled more than two days in a row.
The never-ending hills
Before we got to Colchester, we had some of the worst sets of hills on the way to Catterick. We are talking a couple of miles with gradients staying between 10% and 15%. With many short recovery stops I took on each hill and made it to the top. My speed was very slow, cadence was also very low, but I powered up each hill and sections of each hill under my own power and was determined to not be beat.
The scenery was epic.
A memory to hold forever along with the achievement of the journey. I have photos that spark a memory, but I was in such a tired state each day that it was only about completing that day’s route. I wasn’t interested in where I was or what I’d just ridden up, it was about how far we still have to complete that day’s route.
For me, it was about each day was its own day, and a unique challenge in itself, with good friends and excellent support.
Ride to Recovery across the whole of Great Britain.
A trio of ex-servicemen is in training for an epic 1,400-mile bike ride through Britain to raise thousands of pounds for their wounded comrades. Former Royal Engineer Steve Craddock, Naval veteran Lee Patmore, and retired Royal Marine Brian Kilgannon will cycle from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall in a bid to raise money for Help for Heroes. But when their feat begins in May, the former warriors will not be content with the challenge that has tested the mettle of cyclists for decades. Instead of taking the usual 960-mile route through the western spine of Great Britain, Steve, Brian, and Lee have set themselves the added challenge of visiting seven military bases along the way. These diversions will add almost 500 miles to the route and will mean cycling up hills, totalling a whopping 63,000ft – the equivalent of more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
This is a tough ask of anyone, let alone for Steve and Brian who both suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from their time in services and will be fighting their own mental demons along with the physical toll the route will take. However, Steve and Brian will get inspiration from Lee who suffers from Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes heightened pain and extreme tiredness.
Lee, from Essex, is now mainly confined to a wheelchair and will take on this mammoth journey on a custom-made cycle he will power by his arms. He works as a disability fitness instructor at Brentwood Leisure Centre and qualified as a personal trainer after completing several courses with Help For Heroes.
Retired Sergeant Steve, from Chatham in Kent, said: “I hope you can begin to appreciate the sheer effort, guts, and determination that will be needed for Lee to complete this challenge. Lee will be in pain and discomfort the whole time. He will not know from one day to the next how his body is going to cope. However, Lee has his Band of Brothers with him, and we will be doing whatever is needed to get him to complete this truly amazing challenge."
Former Colour Sergeant Brian is no stranger to endurance cycling. He has already cycled from the most northerly part of mainland Britain to its most south westerly point via (as he puts it) ‘the easy route’. In 2006 he set a world cycling endurance record on an indoor turbo trainer, clocking up a staggering 1,017 miles in 60 hours.
Brian said: “I have volunteered to assist Lee and Steve in this epic ride, having cycled for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for the last twelve years. Since leaving the Marines I found that I had personal problems both mentally and physically, therefore the thought of doing this challenge with Lee will also give me fulfilment. Having already cycled from Land's End to John O’Groats and holding a world record for distance riding I am fully aware the problems we are all going to face.”
The planned route is as follows:
- John O’Groats.
- Livingstone (Gore Bike Wear).
- Catterick, North Yorkshire (Phoenix House).
- Colchester, Essex (Chavase House).
- Brentwood, Essex.
- Brompton Barracks, Chatham, Kent.
- Tidworth, Hampshire (Tedworth House).
- Plymouth, Devon (Hasler Company).
- Land’s End.
The Band of Brothers are hoping to complete the challenge within 30 days and are aiming to cover between 60 or 70 miles per day, with three rest days if required.