• Andy Ross Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried athlete ambassador cyclist

    Andy is a cyclist who is looking to get into competitive racing this year. He talks to Sundried about the thrills and spills of cycling.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, I have always been involved in sport in some way. I played rugby at school followed by general training and weight training within my local gym as due to work I was unable to commit to a team sport. Since taking up cycling a couple of years ago, I have been consistent with training and look forward to racing this season.

    What made you decide to enter the world of cycling?

    I started to miss the competitive aspect of sport, which is something that's hard to come by when you just train in the gym 5 days a week. Someone told me about road cycling and I thought I would give it a go on my brother's old road bike. As soon as I went on my first ride, I was hooked. From that point on I have followed all aspects of the cycling world.

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

    I have yet to compete in an official race, but my best competitive stage would have to be the Dromara Cycling Club Hilly 125, which is classed as one of the toughest sportives in Northern Ireland. It consists of around 10,000ft (3,000m) of climbing over 75 miles. This was something that was challenging but at the same time very rewarding and encouraged my thoughts towards racing the following year.

    And your proudest achievement?

    My biggest achievement so far in the cycling world is completing my first 100-mile ride at 19mph average speed. It was a difficult day in the saddle but once completed I still felt like I had some more in the tank. To complete that challenge was a great achievement for me.

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

    When out on a club ride, we were navigating a steep descent. The roads were very greasy and wet, which led to my back tire skidding and sending me straight over the handlebars into a field. Luckily I came away uninjured and was able to ride my bike home. It is a constant reminder that no matter how much control you think you have on the bike, there is always something that can happen in a split second to change that.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I am currently overcoming a sickness setback so I am trying to adapt my training. I have had to stop training for the moment, but I will attempt to ease back into it and incorporate small amounts of interval training until my overall bike fitness reaches a satisfactory level. From that point I will start to push harder each week to then get back to racing fitness.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    My main goal for 2020 is to progress from A4 racing level to A3. This is my main target and I hope to have completed it before the middle/end of season. Other than this I want to enjoy my season and make sure I get through it safely.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    There isn't one person in particular who inspires me, instead all athletes inspire me. The fact that people are willing to give up nearly all aspects of their life to fulfil a purpose in the sport world is crazy in my eyes and that inspires me greatly.

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

    I feel the best thing about Sundried is the fact that they are one of the most environmentally friendly in regards to producing and supplying fitness clothing. Alongside this, the fact the Sundried produces high quality products at the most reasonable prices to me is the best. I don't see why you have to pay premium prices to get the 'best' products when Sundried's products are of professional quality at affordable prices.

    For me, the standout product is the cycling bib shorts. It is hard to get bib shorts that tick all the boxes in regards to comfort, sweat wicking, staying in the same place and gel padding for long days. One product that I can't wait to get my hands on is the waterproof jacket for cycling. It looks like it has been produced to very high quality and I can't wait to test it out on the great Northern Irish weather.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Neil Stewart Athlete Ambassador

    open water swimming

    Neil is an open water swimmer whose big challenge this year is to swim the English Channel solo. He talks to Sundried about life in the water.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I’ve been a huge sports enthusiast since I was a kid. If there’s competition, I’m on it, if it's live, I’m there.

    What made you decide to enter the world of swimming?

    I swam competitively from the age of 8 with my local swimming club representing the club, county and country over a period of 9 years. My foray into open water swimming and more specifically marathon swimming was about taking on a new challenge.

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

    My favourite organised event has to be the Big Welsh Swim (Lyn Padarn) which is 9km (or 3 lengths of the lake!) Despite cramping up after 7km, the beautiful scenery and camaraderie around the event was amazing, and it was my first!

    In terms of favourite swim locations, it has to be the Lake District. I was part of a relay team that swam Ullswater and Windermere 2-way, non-stop last year. Windermere in the dark is magical!

    And your proudest achievement?

    The most recent would have to be completing the three-person English Channel relay in under 12 hours with two of my best swimming buddies. But my proudest of all time is seeing how my son has been inspired by my swimming and his determination to be the youngest to swim Windermere (he’s 8!)

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

    The Channel relay was pretty horrendous. After my first leg I suffered from awful sea sickness and as a result didn’t eat for the rest of the challenge; I had to curl up and hold on to the boat for comfort! It's funny looking back on it but at the time all I wanted to do was get back in the water.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Over the years of my competitive swimming, I’ve developed a resilience and more recently become quite analytical in reflections on an event. I’m a positive person and I find that processing it all helps get it out of the system and identify areas I can be better at. Every lap, whether in a pool, lake or the sea, is a learning curve.

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

    This is a difficult one; you pick up lots on the way such as what to drink before and after an event, how to warm up, and how to cope with the cold. But for open water swimming, it would have to be to take time in the water to look around and take it all in. The water can be a healing place. However when racing, get your head down and go for it!

    What are your goals for 2020?

    I have several B swims this year including a 2-way solo Ullswater swim, a 36km overnight challenge, and a triple 10km sea swim. The big one is in August –The English Channel solo.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My open water swimming inspiration comes from the magazine Swimming Times. When I was 13 I read the edition when Alison Streeter had just completed her 3-way swim of the Channel – I thought, how could I do that? Since then, I have dreamed of completing it. More recently, I have drawn inspiration from the adventures and teachings of Ross Edgeley, the first person to swim around the UK.

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

    I came across Sundried whilst Christmas shopping. I wanted to find a practical, ethical product from a company that promoted the sustainable fashion culture. The more I read the more I wanted to tell people about Sundried. What I like is the look and feel of the garments is fantastic and it's all at affordable prices. I’m looking forward to showing off my new gear in Pilates class next week!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Christmas Time As A Personal Trainer

    Christmas personal trainer fitness exercise

    In the fitness industry we are all getting ready for the mad rush of people joining the gym in January and lots of enquiries for personal training, but what happens over Christmas? This is the first year in a long time that I haven’t slowed down in December in the run up to Christmas. I've been teaching classes and delivering personal training sessions and will continue over Christmas and New Year.

    This could be because people have more time on their hands because they have finished work, it could be a way to save the money being spent in the pub, or it could be because they don’t want to undo all the hard work they have achieved so far. The main things I get asked are how can I keep the weight off over Christmas and stay motivated over winter?

    Firstly – it's Christmas! Why be so strict with yourself? If you want an extra mince pie, go for it! However, if you need a bit of encouragement then follow my advice below.

    Stay consistent

    Even when you are not at work, start your day how you usually would with your usual breakfast at your usual time. We are creatures of habit after all. If you normally go to the gym or attend a class, check they are still on. Some gyms reduce their opening hours over Christmas but they will still be open for you to get a workout in.

    Speak to a member of the fitness team at the gym

    If you currently have personal training sessions and are likely to miss any over the Christmas period, speak to your trainer to see if there are any other days or times they can fit you in. If you do not currently have a personal trainer, why not ask if anyone has availability for a session to give you some ideas or a workout

    Be mindful with your food

    Christmas lunch is generally later in the day and you don’t want to fill up on chocolate so if you normally have a mid-morning snack – go for it! If you have cut your portion sizes down lately, then be mindful of how much food you are putting on your plate. A lot of us do not have normal dinners the size of Christmas dinner all the time, plus we know what is coming later that day; turkey sandwiches, dessert and sweets. Don’t deprive yourself but don’t go overboard.

    Make time for exercise

    Have you ever gone for a walk or run on Christmas Day? It's one of my favourite things to do. Everyone is always so cheerful and welcoming. Check your local Parkrun website to see if there is an event on near you on Christmas Day. Turn up in a Christmas hat and you’ll be glad you went.

    If you would rather snooze a bit longer in the morning, why not have an afternoon walk? Put your new fitness tracker to the test! You can also set yourself a challenge; if you are watching TV in the evening, during each commercial break hold a plank for as long as you can.

    Use your new 2020 diary

    Start planning your month! What do you want to achieve from January? Start the beginning of the month taking your measurements, keep a food and exercise diary, and maybe even take progress photos so you can see how far you have come.

    Remember your 'why'

    It's one of my most used sentences when I'm teaching classes or personal training, especially when people start to flag or lose motivation. Remember why you started doing this in the first place.

    plank abs exercise fitness Christmas motivation Sundried

    12 Days of Christmas Workout


    About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.

    Posted by Guest Account
  • Chris Macpherson Athlete Ambassador

    runner vegan athlete

    Chris is a runner who enjoys challenging pursuits. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I've always been interested in sport and fitness in general. I always enjoyed the usual sports like football but really enjoyed skating and BMX riding as a kid. I've always tended to favour the more extreme sports.

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

    The Wooler Marathon. This was my first marathon and I decided to pick a challenging one. This is one of the toughest trail marathons in the UK and to top it off, there had been an insane amount of rainfall leading up to the race, resulting in a slippery, bog-ridden mess of an alternative route! I was very happy to come 6th considering it was my first race of this distance.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Completing the above. Also, I won the Kirriemuir 10k Trail Race which really surprised me. This opened my eyes to the potential I may hold as a runner.

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

    Definitely the Wooler, tougher ones to come though.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I've had a few injuries; I treat them as opportunities to learn and use them to develop weaknesses into weapons.

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

    Take your time. Love the experience.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    To complete a Skyrunner UK Race.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Scott Jurek, Kilian Jornet, Rich Roll, this could be a long list.

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

    Sundried is a great ethical company and their products are of excellent quality. They use 100% recycled materials and are a very forward-thinking company. I love the Sundried Dom 2.0 Running Vest, it's a great running top made from recycled plastic bottles.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Louisa Edmonston Ambassador

    yoga Sundried activewear ambassador triathlon

    Louisa is an ex-professional triathlete who now works as a physio and yoga teacher. She talks to Sundried about life in the fitness industry.

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

    I don’t compete anymore but I was a professional long distance triathlete. My first long race was the European Championships in 2004 where I finished 1st in my Age Group and 8th overall.

    I then did my first Ironman in Lanzarote in 2005 and came 3rd (although the first woman tested positive for EPO but we were never upgraded in position). I qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona but due to an accident I didn’t go. Despite trying to get back to pro racing, my injuries included a fractured skull and moderate/severe brain injury which meant I just couldn’t get there.

    I re-thought life and retrained as a physio and now I'm a yoga teacher too. I love life.

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

    I was very active as a child, always out and about and although I wasn’t very good, I loved sport and fitness.

    I took up rowing in 2000, then did a triathlon and won it. I did some races and the Scottish coach asked me to the national centre and after spending some time training, he asked if I would go professional. At that time, I was offered redundancy or another position at work (I was an exercise physiologist/lifestyle coach working with F1 drivers and teams and CEOs). For me it was a no-brainer to follow the most amazing dream of being a pro athlete.

    What are your training goals now?

    To be fit physically, mentally and emotionally and to be strong and happy.

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

    I was a total metal head!

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

    Listen to your body.

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

    I’m vegan and have been vegetarian/vegan since I was 16. I'm careful to eat a well-balanced diet containing all essential amino acids and other nutrients hat are harder to get from plant sources. I eat regularly and take time to eat mindfully when I can.

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

    Most clients are motivated to get better as they want to get back to the things they love. If they’re struggling, I tell them this is what’s going to get you back to your sport. You need to be strong and have control in certain areas, dependent on sport, or the body may well breakdown. I tell them why and give examples so they understand. 

    For example, the importance of calf raises for runners. I explain what the muscles do, see how many they can do, and then ask them how many steps do they take on a run. If they can only do 10 single leg raises and run 10k, something's gotta give!

    Talk us through your training regime.

    In the morning I practise yoga and do some mobility and breathing exercises for 20-30 minutes to wake up the nervous system and get moving properly. The rest of my day consists of walking the dog, cycling to work, a full day of work, and then cycling home. In the evening, I do some form of strength training such as lifting weights, strong yoga, or a short run drill and shuffle session.

    The aim of my training is to feel connected and make sure I'm moving correctly, that I'm strong in the right places, to increase muscle and bone density, and to feel better physically and mentally. I get outside as much as possible in the mountains and fells.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I do lots of reading and sign up to training courses.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Do pre-hab and mobility to keep the body strong and mobile.
    2. Breathe correctly.
    3. Listen to the body; it whispers before you hear it scream. (I love this quote).

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

    This is a tough one! Either carrots or dark chocolate.

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

    I love Sundried's ethics. The clothing is long-lasting but most importantly the ethical garments that are fab but biodegrade quickly for when they are no longer of any use, even as a cleaning cloth.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    "Pain is temporary, quitting is forever."

    Posted by Alexandra Parren