• Vikki Roberts-Caiger Personal Trainer

    Sundried activewear ambassador personal trainer

    Vikki is a personal trainer who uses her experience as a runner and triathlete to help her clients. She talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

    Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

    Running was my first love in the world of sport and fitness and I have gone from strength to strength since my first 5k, taking part in all manner of running events from Parkrun to ultra marathons and 24-hour events.

    It took quite a bit for me to overcome my nervousness about cycling and to re-learn how to swim as an adult but doing that opened the doors to duathlon, aquathlon and triathlon. I did my first Ironman triathlon last year (my husband signed me up as a Christmas present - that was a bit of a shock) and completed the London Classics (Swim Serpentine, RideLondon, and the London marathon).

    I'm prone to over-committing myself with events so I'm trying to do a bit less this year, however I've still racked up a middle distance triathlon, a handful of sportives including RideLondon and still have three running races to look forward to (10 miles and two half marathons). Next year I've already got a middle distance triathlon, a 10k, and a 6-hour endurance run booked... I don't think I'm slowing down anytime soon!

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

    It started in my early twenties with a Race for Life. Before then I had zero interest in sport or fitness but that event sparked something in me that gradually grew along with my ambition. As I started to do more events, friends and family would ask me for tips and advice. I didn't want to just give my opinion, I wanted to give real advice based on research and evidence so I decided to study for a diploma in Personal Training alongside my office job, purely for my own interests. I got involved with Run Mummy Run and their running fitness program which, along with some wonderful opportunities with my local authorities and an independent gym, gave me enough reason to think that I could make a career change. I spent a year building my business on the side before making the leap and it's now been four years since I left the 9-5 completely. I've never looked back; fitness is now a complete lifestyle for me!

    I'd found something I was completely passionate about, working with all sorts of people, young and old, beginners and experienced athletes. I love that my work as a PT, fitness instructor and running coach gives me such variety in my work life and the ability to help so many people find something they enjoy doing, helping them stay fit and healthy, and to challenge their limits.

    What are your training goals now?

    I'm planning to use the autumn and winter to develop my cycling and swimming skills with sessions that my triathlon club put on, to lay down a base for next year. I'm also chasing a 5km PB so speed work is starting to feature more often. I don't find the gym terribly inspiring so I've made a pact with a friend to go once a week to work on upper body strength and the sort of conditioning work that will help my running.

    However, life's too short to always be in "training mode" so I'm trying to do something fun once a week too. For me this means yoga or indoor climbing.

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

    • Have patience – it takes time to build a client base.
    • Don't try to be all things to all people – work out what you are good at and don't be afraid to market yourself.

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

    No, I try to focus on having a generally healthy and well-balanced diet with all things in moderation. I'm vegetarian and I really enjoy cooking so vegetables feature heavily in most of my meals and I'm trying to eat fewer processed foods. That said, I'm partial to cake and chocolate and probably eat more than I should! I'm experimenting with limiting my caffeine intake to the mornings only and eating within a 12-hour window each day. I occasionally use sports nutrition products but prefer to use "real" food. I fuel my bike rides with sandwiches, my runs with flapjacks, and post-workout I refuel with milk, yogurt and nut butter.

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

    I try to keep the sessions fun! It's boring if you know what to expect each time so my classes feature games and team efforts while I try to use different equipment like battle ropes or slam balls in my PT sessions to keep it interesting, without making things complicated for the sake of it.

    The bottom line is that if you're not enjoying what you're doing, you won't keep doing it and you won't see results. Setting small goals and re-evaluating them regularly is key too, something I apply to my PT and running clients as well as myself. It's OK to decide that a goal isn't right for you and change it.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    It depends on the time of year and what events I've got coming up but if I'm not focusing on anything specific then I'll usually run 2-3 times a week up to 10k each time, hit the gym once and do some yoga either at a class or at home. Sometimes I'll put myself through a metafit workout if I'm short on time or away from home as it only takes 20 minutes and no equipment!

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I make it a rule to take at least three courses a year to top up and refresh my skills. I also spend an hour or two a week listening to podcasts and reading around the latest trends. I find taking part in classes and talking to colleagues in the industry helps to keep things fresh and relevant.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Engage with other trainers in your area and share tips and advice. When I started, I was amazed how helpful others in the industry are and I've tried to pay some of that back to others starting up. There is space for us all if we are considerate.

    2. Be prepared to be a beginner again sometimes and never stop learning. It helps to keep you fresh and enthused.

    3. Look after yourself. It can be tempting to work all the hours and not take time out for yourself but that won't serve you or your clients. Give yourself cut-off times from work and allow space for relaxation.

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

    Pesto pasta salad.

    What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

    I love Sundried's ethical outlook. We all need to be doing what we can to be more responsible in our purchases and impact on the planet. I've long been a supporter of Surfers Against Sewage so it's great that Sundried works with them too. I'm especially enamoured with the Les Rouies 2-in-1 shorts. They look great and have top notch green credentials too!

    Favourite fitness quote:

    Understand that your limits may not be where you think they are

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Stephen Dunnett Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried running ambassador

    Stephen is an older athlete who competed in the second ever running of the London marathon. He talks to Sundried about all things running. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    No! At school I was the kid who hid when it came to PE. I think I am what you call a late bloomer.

    What made you decide to enter the world of distance running?

    I was into rock climbing when I was in 6th form and beyond. I then watched the 1st ever London Marathon on TV and thought ‘yep, that looks cool, I might have a go at that’! Never having run before, I got an entry and completed the 2nd running of the event.

    What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

    I now compete as a V60 athlete. I won my category in the 2018 Eden Project Marathon after 2nd places the previous 2 years in the half marathon. It is a really well organised event and uses small lanes and trails as well as a superb finish right by the Eden domes. I have many V60 1st places but I feel this one was hard won.

    And your proudest achievement?

    After a serious illness and time in hospital back in 2009, my 2 sons and I completed a non- stop Lands End to John o’ Groats cycle relay. The three of us completed this in 68 hours 15 mins with my wife doing all the support driving. We raised a lot of money for Cancer Campaign in Suffolk.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

    Not one of my longest races, but I did the Motatapu Trail Marathon in New Zealand a couple of years ago. I had done it before and wanted to get on the podium in my category. I felt ‘a bit off’ before the race and at the highest point in the race with 10 miles still to go, I got the worst cramp I have ever had. A helicopter that had landed to evacuate an MTB competitor waited to see if I too needed a lift! I don’t do giving up so I did get to the end under my own steam but the lesson is, if you feel unwell leave the heroics to another day.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks make the successes all the sweeter.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

    When I reached V55 I based my performance (or lack of) on what I was doing when I was 28. A coach friend of mine gave me the simple advice to start V55 as a ‘new career’ - forget all PBs before that. Simple yes, but it got me into the right place mentally.

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    My major goals for 2019 are almost completed including the Keswick Mountain Festival Ultra Trail Race and the International Snowdon Race. It is now back to cycling for my major 2020 goal which is the Tour Aotearoa in February. Luckily it is in New Zealand so it is summer there!

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Anyone who overcomes adversity to compete or simply enjoys taking part in sport.

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    I first became aware of Sundried when they supported the Clacton Half Marathon, shortly after their launch. I liked the idea of sustainable sports kit and the use of coffee grounds had me hooked. I own several of the original tops which just last and perform so well. I have now ordered a full set of Cadence cycling kit and can’t wait to put it through its paces.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Sacha Rowlands Yoga Ambassador

    Sundried yoga ambassador

    Sacha got into yoga by accident but it's now her way of life. She talks to Sundried about all things yoga.

    Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

    In the past I’ve taken part in 10km races and Tough Mudder, which certainly was tough but the camaraderie on the day is amazing - everyone helping strangers overcome obstacles and working together. I also love trekking. I’ve hiked in the Himalayas, to Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain.... I love the beauty of nature and the sense of achievement you get when you reach your goal.

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

    So although I’ve always taken care of myself, exercise was never something that came naturally to me, and it took me a long time to find something that I love. I’ve always needed to take part in group exercise where an instructor shouts at us and a sense of extreme competitiveness stops me from being the first to stop or slow down. Or where I felt as though I was being tricked into exercising, such as through a dance class. I still love dance classes or a boot camp, but once I found yoga I found my jive - something that nourishes my body and soul.

    I actually came to yoga by accident. After a knee injury meant that my annual skiing trip was off the cards, I was invited to a yoga retreat instead. I was still suffering niggles in my knee and leg but after a couple of days suddenly this had eased. For the first time in a year I had no pain at all! From then I was hooked and the more I practised, the more I knew I needed to share this amazing practice with other people!

    I also run. If I’m honest, I like running because it’s free and starts the moment you leave the house. And you can’t bail once you think you’ve had enough - however far you’ve gone, you have to get back home! It’s amazing how much further you can go than you believe you can. It’s also a great opportunity to plug into a podcast and have some me time. Or, if I’ve no podcast on, the simple action of putting one foot in front of the other and finding the rhythm of my breath is almost like a meditation. I’ve done some of my best planning on runs!

    What are your training goals now?

    I’ve entered the ballot for the 2020 London Marathon and I’m really hoping to get a spot! I’d love to complete a marathon.

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

    I can’t really ride a bike!

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

    That not everything is a competition. You don’t need to compete with everyone around you or with yourself. The yoga mat is a great leveller and teaches humility and patience - with yourself and others.

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

    I’ve always been a believer in everything in moderation, rather than following a specific diet plan. I do follow a vegan diet, for ethical reasons rather than health reasons, which means I get plenty of veg in me. But I get plenty of dairy-free ice cream in too! The move to a vegan diet means that I’m just a little bit more conscious in making sure that I have a source of protein on my plate, but it’s easy to do. To be honest, since moving to this lifestyle, I’ve become stronger than I’ve ever been before.

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

    We all have days where we don’t want to work out or get on the yoga mat. We’re tired, it’s cold, it’s hot, it’s raining, we’re busy. Listen to what your body wants. If your body is crying out for a rest, give it a rest. If your mind is telling you to rest, ignore it and ask your body. If the body wants to work out, give it what it needs - you’ll feel so much better for it. No one ever says ‘I wish I hadn’t gone to that yoga class!’

    Talk us through your training regime.

    I practise yoga most days. Some days it’s a full hour session, other days it might be 20 minutes, but I aim to get some strengthening and stretching postures in most days. My running is much more sporadic, depending on my schedule, but yoga is important to me because of the emotional benefits as well as the physical ones, so that’s prioritised.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I read and research things on the internet. I listen to the experiences of other yogis and get inspiration and information from classes. I’m naturally inquisitive and interested in the human body, so I’m always trying to learn more. 

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Listen to your body. This is probably the most important one that I can think of. Your mind will lie to you. It’ll tell you you need to stop when you don’t. Or it’ll tell you that you can’t possibly stop, even though your body is crying out for you to. The mind lies; the body never does. 

    2. Hydrate. You’ll always feel better when you’re doing anything if you’re hydrated before you start. In yoga, we spend a lot of time upside down and if we’re gulping down loads of fluids mid-class it can make us feel a bit queasy. That said, if you need to drink during the practice, do it - I wouldn’t listen to any instructor that tells you not to. But take small sips and then re-hydrate afterwards. 

    3. Don’t compare yourself. It’s YOUR body and YOUR practice. We’re all built differently, with different experiences and different challenges. Don’t worry if your pose looks different to someone else’s - it’s all about how it feels, and not about how it looks. 

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

    Oh my goodness, I don’t know how to answer this. One food? Forever?! I love spice so maybe a vegan chilli. Extra spicy. 

    What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

    I love the ethos behind the brand. The fact that it cares about the health and well-being of its staff and that your order is traceable is wonderful, and something that all brands should do. Plastic is a huge problem, and the Eco Core range is made from recycled plastic bottles. If they’re in my leggings that means they’re not in the ocean! 

    Favourite fitness quote:

    "Healthy isn’t a goal, it’s a way of living."

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • James Bacon Personal Trainer

    Sundried personal trainer ambassador

    James is a personal trainer who uses his own weight loss journey to help him motivate his clients. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

    Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

    I am taking part in a charity Truck Pull on 1st September. I am also undertaking Powerlifting and British Weight Lifting qualifications in the next couple of months.

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

    When I was about 17 I was very overweight. I started training at the gym and over time I lost over 6 stone. From then I knew I wanted to be a personal trainer. I continued my journey and started my qualification and qualified in 2008. I have been a PT and Strength & Conditioning coach ever since.

    What are your training goals now?

    I am training for strength mainly, I'm just getting into Olympic lifting which I really enjoy.

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

    I used to be a chef.

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

    How to market my personal training business.

    Read Sundried's expert guide on marketing your personal training business online.

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

    I follow a flexible eating plan.

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

    I stay in regular contact and do check ins to make sure they are staying on track.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    I train strength 3 times a week, one is an Olympic lifting session with my coach.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    Regular education.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    • Plan out your program.
    • Stay consistent.
    • Find something you enjoy doing .

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

    Steak.

    What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

    I like the brand, it's nice clothing and looks smart. The zip hoodies are my favourite.

    Favourite fitness quote

    "Sweat is fat crying."

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • The Worst Mistakes To Make During A Race

    running mistakes race marathon professional athlete Sundried

    From forgetting something to going the wrong way, we've all been there. Sundried asked our ambassadors "what is the dumbest thing you've ever done at a race?" and these were their answers! Have you ever made any of these racing mistakes?

    Helene Wright - Triathlete

    I was once on the bike leg of a duathlon and knew I was second lady so was chasing down the leader. I saw a cyclist in the distance so pushed on to catch them. As I got closer I soon came to realise they weren't wearing a number so they weren't even in my race... But worse still I'd followed them off course and down to the bottom of a hill!  Fortunately, after getting back into the race, I hadn't lost a place but didn't track down the leader in time to win first place.

    John Wood - Team GB Triathlete and Coach

    A client of mine raced Cardiff Triathlon as part of training and forgot his wetsuit.

    Dominic Garnham - Triathlete

    I trained hard throughout all of last winter for a race early this year. I felt very confident and very excited for the race and I was in the best shape I've ever been. I turned up to sign in at registration on the day only to find I had forgotten to actually enter the race! 

    Nick Lower - Celebrity Trainer

    I fractured my ankle 7 miles into ‘Man v Mountain’ (a 20 mile race up and down Mount Snowdon). I stupidly just strapped it up and completed it!

    Alice Tourell North - Team GB Triathlete

    At a recent race I forgot to put my race belt on! I had the best swim I’ve had this season, flew into T1, got to my bike... and then had to stand there for over 3 minutes whilst the race officials tried to find my husband who had the race belt in my bag. Total nightmare!

    Steve Sayer - Triathlete and Coach

    My swim hat pinged off and I lost my goggles at Ironman 70.3 Wimbleball, but I had the fastest swim stroke ever!

    Martin Owen - Team GB Triathlete

    I had an issue until recently of not being able to pedal and drink at the same time. I used to have to coast very slowly to drink. In a standard distance Duathlon, my bottle wouldn’t go back into the holder and it dropped out on the first lap. 35 more miles on 1 gel and no water...not nice!

    Anne Iarchy - Personal Trainer

    I hadn't ridden my bike for a couple of years due to injury. I had entered a triathlon last year, hoping I would have the time to get back on beforehand. Unfortunately that didn't happen. As I got onto the bike leg, I had totally forgotten how to change the gears on the bike. I managed to take them up, but not down. So when pedalling into the wind, it was really hard work. Thankfully I managed to figure something out on the 3rd lap!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren