• Joseph Thomas Athlete Ambassador

    running runner marathon

    Joseph is a runner who has his sights set on an ultra marathon. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I'd say I've always had an on and off relationship with sport. Through the years I did football, climbing, cycling, swimming, running, golf, tennis, cricket and anything else I got told to try! But the first sport I ever loved was windsurfing, which I started when I was 11. That love was swiftly accompanied by a love for running. Even if I fade in and out of fitness, I always find myself having that urge to get back to these sports and remember why I love them.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    Whilst I'd predominantly consider myself a runner, I have tried a few triathlons. The first one I ever did, I had to borrow a bike and only did it because of a semi-sarcastic suggestion in school when I was 15/16. I enjoyed it immensely and have done a few more whenever I've found the opportunity.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Probably the Chester Marathon. It was my first ever marathon and every second was painful bliss!

    What is your proudest achievement?

    I think it's coming through mental health issues I've suffered with since I was a teenager. Everything else aside, being able to come through incredibly tough times and improve and recover is a massive achievement, whoever you are.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I did an off-road race at the start of 2020, just a few weeks after having my tonsils out. I'd lost 3kg by being unable to eat properly and felt terrible. It took me over an hour to finish the 8km and at the start of the second lap I fell over and face planted hard!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    It's about re-shaping your perspective. If a race goes badly, it's still good training. If you have a rubbish training run, it makes you appreciate the good runs. If you get injured, it gives you chance to work on other things.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Buy the right shoes!

    What are your goals?

    In 2021, I want to do my first ultra marathon and set a PB in every distance from 5km to marathon.

    Who inspires you?

    I watched a documentary by Billy Yang about ultra running and since then I've been amazed by so many who run these incredibly long distances. I also love content creators who talk about bigger issues beyond just the running. If I had to pick three people it would be Kaci Lickteig, Tina Muir and Joseph Gray.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Our planet and its resources are finite and we need to protect it. Running is such a throwaway industry with clothing, gels, medals and everything else that we go through. Having sustainable and accessible running clothing is vital.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Alexis Lauga Athlete Ambassador

    fencing sport athlete fitness

    Alexis competes in the sport of fencing and has competed at an international level. He talks to Sundried about life in sport.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Absolutely! I tried quite a few different sports when I was younger, ranging from ice hockey to cross country to football. Mainly, I would say that my passion for sports stemmed from my love for the outdoors as well as from my competitive nature, both against others but more importantly with myself. I find the rush of energy you get from any sort of exercise exhilarating and pushing my physical and mental limits is what I find most addictive and where I derive the most enjoyment from.

    How did you first get into fencing?

    Actually, my father has always been a fencer and seeing him come back from training and competitions is what sparked that interest. I first tried fencing at a local club in San Diego, where I used to live. It was a lot of fun straight from the start, especially playing warm-up games and the sparring sessions and I really fell in love with the sport thanks to tournaments - first locally, slowly progressing to national, European and international ones.

    What has been your favourite competition up to date and why?

    My first ever European competition in Birmingham will always be a memory I look back on very fondly. It was by no means a good day in terms of my ranking at the end of the day, but the whole experience of seeing such a large number of talented fencers my age and the high intensity of the warm-ups and matches is very memorable to me.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    A few years ago, during my last year as a cadet (under 17s), I capped off the season with a bronze medal on the national circuit. I had never fenced so well in my life, nor had I ever gotten a medal in as big a competition. This was one of my proudest moments as a fencer and I hope I can continue to enjoy my fencing as much as I did that day, and hopefully aim for some even better results in the near future.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks can come in all shapes in sizes, the most obvious being not achieving the results I am aiming for competitively. In such cases, I find it useful to give myself a few days to cool off before coming back with a fresh pair of eyes to look back on match footage with my coach and analytically pick out weaknesses to focus on in training and individual lessons.

    However, eventually, it is crucial for me to move on from the event and start looking ahead optimistically to the next competition, knowing that the experience and training you have done has only made you stronger. As for most other setbacks - such as injuries - I tend to ask coaches, family and close friends for advice.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    When I first started fencing, I would let my competitive side show too much in training and my sole objective during my sparring sessions would be to try and win against every single opponent. However, over time, I have come to understand the importance of focusing on your own technique in training and to save the competitiveness for tournaments. Losing sparring matches is ok, as long as you have taken away something useful from it, which is something I only learned later-on.

    What are your goals?

    At the moment, I am aiming to get back onto the English national team. I was invited to compete with them a few years ago, but did not have the British nationality at the time to do so. Alongside this, I would love to achieve high results in the BUCS league with my university as well as on a personal level, hopefully getting another national medal.

    Who inspires you?

    Of course, there are plenty of Olympic-level fencers whom I admire greatly; their stunning work ethic and their drive to succeed and become the best in the world is something I look up to immensely.

    More personally though, my father is someone who never ceases to amaze me. He has found an incredible balance between having a family life and driving my brother and I to training sessions, fencing camps and competitions. Like him, I hope to one day pass my love for fencing down to my children and to make as much of an effort to help others push their barriers further than they thought possible.

    Why work with Sundried?

    As I said above, sharing my love for sports - especially fencing - is something I hope to do throughout my life, and I am so appreciative for Sundried’s support in doing just that. Financially, fencing is not a cheap sport, and so providing people with high-quality sports apparel for a reasonable price is something I am very thankful for; it means I no longer need to focus as much on what I wear off the piste because I know that I will be comfortable as well as happy with how I look. As well as this, I strongly support and believe in Sundried’s vision and work towards being sustainable in the production of their clothing line.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Emma Dickson Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried ambassador runner cyclist outdoors fitness

    Emma is a runner who is passionate about her sport and aspires to run a sub 4-hour marathon. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    No, I was never sporty or athletic when I was younger but I was always adventurous.

    How did you first get into running?

    I started running in 2015, started cycling in 2018, and took part in my first duathlon in 2018.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    The Swindon Half Marathon in September 2019. It is my home town race and not only did I get my first sub 2-hour Half Marathon, I smashed my PB by 9 minutes!

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Running a marathon – it’s a long old way to go when you haven’t always been a runner!

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I had an unpleasant experience with an energy gel during a Half Marathon in 2017... let’s just say I’m forever grateful for making it to the finish line (eventually!)

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I have a little sulk (don’t we all?) then I re-evaluate what went wrong, dust myself off, and carry on.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Invest in a decent pair of running shoes! Also, I wish I knew more about bikes. That said, if you’re a beginner cyclist, get a bike you won’t mind scratching if you forget to unclip!

    What are your goals?

    To get stronger on the bike and run a sub 4-hour marathon.

    Who inspires you?

    I am inspired by everyone who gets out there and gives it a go. Whether it’s a mile walk, a 5 mile run or a marathon, you are all heroes!

    Why work with Sundried?

    Since I discovered Sundried late last year, I have closely followed their social media accounts and feel inspired by their passion for all things sport and fitness and love that their apparel is designed with the athlete in mind. I absolutely love the cycling apparel and have quite a collection now – it definitely is my training partner for life!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Jem Brooks Personal Trainer

    personal trainer fitness

    Jem has always been sporty but was inspired to become a personal trainer after becoming a mother. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

    Tell us about any sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

    I love to run and be outdoors, so I’ve completed in numerous running challenges and triathlons. I was injured a couple of years ago and haven’t raced since. But I’m recovered and excited about my next challenge, a SwimRun event. It's sea swimming around bays in Anglesey coupled with costal running. Sea swimming is something I’ve been working on lately along with cold water, as I prefer swimming in warmer, fresh open water, so it’s an exciting challenge for me.

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

    I’ve always been the sporty one of the family, and fitness is something that’s in my DNA, I’m just programmed to do it. I remember pestering my dad to take me to the school running track to train for my upcoming 100m sports day race (age 8!) and wearing purple leotards and lycra at aerobics classes with my mum! Living in Canada at 18 years old also ignited my love for the great outdoor sports.

    I enjoyed a successful career in marketing and would regularly participate in 10k and half marathons whilst at the same time training hard in the gym. When I became a mum, I somehow lost my sporty spirit; my babies came first, then work, but I was struggling, tired all the time and only just keeping it together.

    I started researching what exercise was safe postnatally and gradually built up my fitness again, I started to come back to life. I knew I had a deeper calling to help women. So I qualified as a PT and my career helping women regain their fitness and start to value their body took off.

    What are your training goals now?

    Staying injury free by continually working on my imbalances, maintaining strength and flexibility. I’m still focused on my running endurance and transitions from the sea to climbing and running in a wetsuit. My current fun goal has been to be able to master crow to headstand, it's taking time but I’ll get there.

    Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

    My grandad was from Beirut, so I’m a quarter Lebanese.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Don’t worry about what the competition is doing, stay true to yourself, your beliefs, values and there will be enough people who will want to work with you.

    Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

    My dad is a dietician so I’ve been brought up to believe that everything in moderation is fine. I have tried different approaches over the years, but I try to eat intuitively these days and within a 10-12 hour window. If I eat meat, I choose the best I can afford, I like to make my plate look as colourful and tasty as possible and cook everything from scratch.

    What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

    I think it’s important to remind my clients what their ‘Why” is, I will repeat the exact reasons they used in our first meeting as to what they wanted to achieve from working with me. I find this is really powerful.

    I also focus on performance gains over the scales and measurements, this mental shift can be really empowering.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    I commit to a minimum of 3 weekly sessions that are just for me, they include a 5-7k run, 1,250m swim, strength-based workout, Pilates core and flexibility. I like variety and I manage my training intensity around my 28 day monthly cycle to maintain the optimum balance for my body and mind.

    I also teach MethodologyX and Post Natal classes during a regular week and on average take 15-20,000 steps daily.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I read books on subjects I want to find more about for my own development or my clients, I constantly have a fitness themed book by my bed. I also have a coach and mentor to keep me in check.

    I’m currently coming to the end of a mat Pilates qualification, I enjoy participating in Pilates, (it’s nice to be taught rather than be the teacher sometimes) and wanted to learn more about it as a discipline, so it seemed a natural step to become qualified,

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Listen and get to know your clients.
    2. Knowledge is power, so invest in your development, read, connect with other trainers and learn, constantly.
    3. Practice what you preach.

    If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    It would have to be sushi, I love the stuff.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I’m a coffee junkie who loves to run on beaches and swim in the sea. So wearing clothing made from recycled coffee grounds and discarded plastic from the sea couldn’t be more fitting for my workout pieces, playing to my need to buy more responsibly sourced clothing. Sundried have got me covered for all my outdoor gear so what’s more to love.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    "It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger."

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Harris Bell Athlete Ambassador

    ballet dancer fitness strength

    Harris is a ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet in London. He talks to Sundried about his passion and his journey.

    How did you first get into ballet?

    My grandma took me to my first ballet as a child which must have sparked something, as at the age of 8 I started dancing at a family friend's ballet school near my village. It started more as dancing for fun but once I tried a male solo with some big jumps, I knew this was going to be something fun to chase and it snowballed from there.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    I've had a few moments I could consider, but I'd have to say I'm most proud of where I am now. To be part of the Royal Ballet has been a goal from the moment I knew it existed, and to be here giving as much as I can to this craft sparks more pride than any specific moment.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks are always going to be hard to swallow, but once you step back and get some perspective you can navigate a route around it that can actually create improvement, so I wouldn't count it as a setback. Take a step back, look at the reality of the situation and figure out how you can use that situation as a springboard to success in areas that it doesn't affect. Refocus your efforts and set short term goals to get through it in high spirits.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Practise confidence and self affirmation every day. Like a muscle, train your self belief to be so strong that nothing can touch you or shake you from your place of absolute self belief. Another one I've stuck to is that you get out what you put in. Do more than is expected of you and great things can only come of that.

    What are your goals?

    My goals are to be the best I can, in whatever I do. That goal will never be reached but the further it is, the further I have to stretch myself. Whether it's my work, hobbies or relationships with family and friends, I want to maximise potential in all areas. Have fun in all I do and find a good balance to be deeply happy.

    Who inspires you?

    I'm so grateful to be surrounded by some of the most incredible dancers in the world every day. I'm lucky enough to call them my colleagues and friends but the people around me are constant inspiration, you just have to look around to realise the culture of skill and obsessiveness that is the Royal Ballet.

    Why work with Sundried?

    What first sparked my interest with Sundried was reading about their values and aims to maximise sustainability in their clothes. That's so important right now, and to be part of a team that has solid ethics as well as making some awesome active wear makes perfect sense to me. As a professional dancer and hobby-cyclist, to train in such well made gear is a treat.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren