• Paola Raho Yoga Instructor

    yoga instructor outdoors fitness

    Paola stumbled across yoga by chance but soon found it was her calling. She talks to Sundried about life as a yoga instructor.

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

    I became a yoga teacher because I was struck by the completeness of the yogic path. You work using the body, but the goal is much higher; getting a fit body is only a consequence of the practice.

    It all started by chance, walking through the centre of Bologna in Italy. I felt a scent of incense coming out of a door so I went in, attracted by the smell. It was in this strange way that I found my first yoga studio. From that moment, it was an on-and-off practice for some years until I realised that this was my calling and I began to deepen the path more and more, even going to India to study further.

    What are your training goals now?

    I’m practising and teaching Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, but now I’d like to advance in my Ashtanga Vinyasa practice.

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

    Don’t be in a hurry to get results. I demand a lot from myself and I had to learn patience. I discovered that the best results are obtained with patience and consistency.

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

    I follow a vegetarian diet. I try to balance my diet with plant foods that contain a high amount of protein.

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

    Yoga is all about internal motivation, determination and training of willpower. We can help with the consistency and observation of the small visible improvements we see from week to week.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    I practice yoga every day, preferably early in the morning. Alongside yoga I also do climbing and running.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I’m a teacher, but I am also (and always will be) a student. I love to learn new things following workshops and retreats.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Listen to your body. It knows what it's doing. 
    2. Always practise joyfully and lovingly towards your body and your path.
    3. Keep the full picture in mind. Yoga is not a path that is an end in itself, it’s a path that enriches us mentally, emotionally and physically. The attitude we have on the mat will be the same that we have in the life.

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


    Why work with Sundried?

    Because I really like the Sundried products and I like the strong brand ethic.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    "You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than yesterday."

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Ryan Cochrane Personal Trainer

    personal trainer gym workout fitness

    Ryan is a personal trainer dedicated to getting results. He talks to Sundried about life in the fitness industry.

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

    At present I have no sporting events planned because my sole focus remains helping others to improve their health and live more productive lives.

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

    I have always been interested in fitness. The first book I purchased was Arnold’s Bodybuilding Encyclopaedia which kick-started my interest in bodybuilding. I previously worked with my local authority supporting adults with physical disabilities and brain injuries before making the plunge to operating a small fitness studio.

    I have always been a people person and I wanted to help others to improve their lives for the better. The thought of working in an office for 50 years made me unhappy.

    What are your training goals now?

    My training goals are to maintain my current health and stay as strong as possible.

    As a father of two daughters I want to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible and want to set a good example to my children.

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

    I am the second oldest of seven children; I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers.

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

    It takes a lot of hard work, commitment and consistency to operate a successful business. As a professional, your learning never stops.

    gym training workout fitness

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

    I like to follow a balanced diet. I am not a believer in demonising food by not eating certain food groups. I believe a balanced diet is the best approach to a healthy life.

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

    I like to get to the client's deepest reason for wanting to change. I then try to use those deepest reasons as an anchor to move the client forward. If you ask yourself why you are doing something then that should be motivation enough to move you forward.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    My training regime varies depending on how busy I am and how much time I have. I am a great believer in building a regime around the larger compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, presses and rows as they will always give you more bang for your buck regardless of how much time you have.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I am always looking for learning opportunities to further develop my knowledge. I have recently travelled to London and Nottingham to learn from the best coaches in the UK about Body Transformations and training the 'average Joe' client. I also like reading about fitness in my spare time as well as following industry leaders on social media.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Always have a goal
    2. Be consistent
    3. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day

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

    Oh that is a very tough choice but it would have to be pizza!

    Why work with Sundried?

    I like the fact it is an ethical company who has its pulse on the environment.  The activewear looks fantastic.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    "It’s not about how hard you’re hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, that’s how winning is done!" – Rocky Balboa

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Team52 – Challenge Yourself To Get More Active

    Annie Ross Sundried ambassador Team52 challenge portal

    Sundried ambassador Annie Ross tells us about her challenge portal, Team52, which is designed to make it easier for busy people to get active.

    In a few words, what is Team52?

    Team52 is the challenge platform that makes it easier for busy people to spend more time outdoors.

    Why might someone want to get involved with Team52?

    Team52 is great for people who know they are made for more and are looking for something to give them purpose. If you’ve got activities you’ve been meaning to try for ages (surfing, climbing, open water swimming, yoga, cycling to work), but haven’t got around to doing, then Team52 will help you get on and do them, no matter what life throws at you. Check out founder Annie Ross' 52in52 story for an example.

    By getting involved in Team52 you are joining a community that believes in the power of people, meaningful goals, and the magic of getting outdoors and active. The name Team52 comes from the framework we have built to guide you. You rally a team (of friends, family or colleagues, or join our central team) and you have 52 weeks (a year) to do whatever you want in terms of challenges. Your team target can be 12, 26 or 52, and you contribute 1, 2...5…10 personal or group challenges – it’s your team’s cumulative target that counts so you have complete flexibility over what, when and how many.

    The team dynamic is key for encouragement, efficiency and accountability. The 52 weeks is vital as it’s a manageable horizon, that gives you flexibility to fit things in when they suit you, but gives you a fixed time frame to take action.

    What sort of people is Team52 suitable for?

    We love action-takers. Team52 is great for people who are stepping into life with a positive can-do attitude and want a helping hand with ideas and planning, as well as a community to share the journey with. Each person chooses their own challenges, either from the Team52 database of work-friendly challenges or from their own bucket list, so any fitness level is welcome.

    We have members who are looking to get to their first ever exercise class or to start running, and others who are ramping up from a marathon to an ultra. We have members who love doing solo challenges, and others who know they prefer the social element so opt for group activities. We have members in central London, in North East England and in Hong Kong.

    What can someone do if they want to get involved but don't have anyone to do it with?

    They’re not alone - they can join our central team and feel that sense of belonging straight away. Not having people to do cool challenges and mini adventures with is one of the obstacles that Team52 addresses in our Challenge Mentor, Members Group and our Meet-ups.

    Once you’ve created your account at www.team-52.com, you choose whether to start a team, or join one.

    If you’d like to get a taster for what it feels like to be a member, you can set up a one-to-one call with us or join our ‘everyone welcome’ meet-ups (swimming, bouldering, walks, obstacle courses, relays – something for everyone) on our @team52challenge Facebook page. 

    What are some of the most exciting challenges people have done as part of Team52?

    Our members love the Everest Stair Challenge – climbing the height of Everest (8,848m = 50,000 steps) by stairs over a month, solo or as a team. We organise cold water swims, we have a couple of members learning to do the splits, taking on their first trail race, hiking Hadrian’s Wall, the three peaks, flying trapeze taster sessions and doing walking tours of statues.

    The great thing about picking challenges you really want to do is that you find time, energy and purpose that you can then take into other areas of life. Anything counts as a ‘Team52 challenge’ as long as it’s active and is something new, different, or out of the ordinary for you. There is no judgement as we know that one person’s ‘normal’ is another person’s ‘nemesis.’

    What are some of the benefits of joining Team52?

    The primary benefit of joining Team52 is the time and stress you save between wanting to do something cool and actually doing it! We support in dreaming up, committing, self-doubting, organising, doing and celebrating phases. We help every step of the way – always available on the phone to help with cost, convenience or company. It is our mission to make it easier for you to spend time outdoors and live a life less ordinary.

    As soon as our members join, their world looks and feels a little bit brighter. They are welcomed to the community by existing members and know we’ve got their back. Each person is a trailblazer in their own right.

    As soon as you add your first challenge to your personalised Team Page, add your profile photo, inspiration and perhaps a link to your chosen charity, you know that nothing will stop you. You have a progress tracker and can add photos of your completed challenges so your team page becomes your digital trophy cabinet!

    We offer partner rewards, a huge database of work-friendly activities, complete with detailed guides to facilitate the planning phase and a range of organised challenges with other members. Members share ideas and can join forces, share gear and pick each other up when we’re feeling down.

    Each Team52 member gets personalised support to keep them on track and energised. All that, for the intro offer of £20 for a whole year’s membership – quite the bargain so sign up quick! We know life can get in the way of your best intentions but Team52 is here to buck that trend with a practical and positive helping hand.

    What are some challenge ideas for people on a limited budget?

    Lots of the tried and tested challenges in our Discover Challenge portal are either totally free or at least less than £10. We love homemade activities – nobody can judge your time, and you get off the beaten track, exploring your interests and creating shared moments. For examples, have a play around and filter the Challenge section of www.team-52.com.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Annie Ross Athlete Ambassador

    Annie Ross womens training vest Sundried recycled sustainable fashion

    Annie decided to do 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks back in 2015 in order to help her get more active outside of her demanding job in banking. It led her to create her own company – Team 52 – which aims to encourage other people to get more active. She tells us about her challenges and how you can get involved too.

    Were you sporty as a child? Does being active come naturally to you?

    I have loved moving for as long as I can remember – all kids love moving, and I guess I never grew up. Swimming after school on Fridays, Sunday walks with my dad, cycling on country lanes, and school sports. Being active does indeed come naturally to me. But it can be tough when I’m tired and rushing around. I have a little rule: if I have a choice (which is most of the time for all of us!), I opt for the more active route; so that’s stairs instead of taking the lift, walk-n-talks instead of meetings, and cycling instead of public transport.

    Please tell our readers about your 52in52 challenge.

    Deciding to take on 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks has turned out to be the most significant choice I have made to date (the second was ticking a box on my UCAS form to study in Spain as part of my degree. The third was taking a job in banking a year after leaving university).

    The 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks was a slightly nutty project I created to share my joy of being outdoors and active. Born of the frustration of sitting down so much, and having an overflowing calendar, the year-long project was a bid to get busy people active – I took on the challenges alongside my full-on career at Deutsche Bank.

    They included: cycling from London to Paris to run the Paris Half Marathon, sea kayaking in Devon, Llandudno Sea Triathlon, a 5km swim, bouldering, flying trapeze, rollerblading….basically a bucket list of activities that I had been meaning to do for years. The 52in52 paved the way for the company I now run, Team52 (www.team-52.com) – a challenge platform that makes it easier for busy people to spend time outdoors.

    What was your favourite 52in52 individual challenge and why?

    My favourite challenge of the Exerk 52in52 (I nicknamed the 2015 project Exerk - Exercise and Work!) was the 7 lidos in 7 days for several reasons. The first was the people that joined me. This swimming challenge was when people started to get the gist of why I was doing the 52in52 and what it entailed. By the end of the year, over 450 people had joined me – so my mission to get busy people active was quite successful in its own little way, and continues in its own big way now with the legacy, Team52.

    The second reason I loved the 7 lidos in 7 days challenge was that we explored the amazing venues we have on our doorstep. I hadn’t been to Brockwell, Tooting Bec, Parliament Hill or Hampton Lido before then so it was a great kick-start to try them out. The third was that I got to talk about the challenge on live television. London Live invited me on to talk about the 52in52 project just after the challenge and I used it as an example of how much fun we can have if we carve out time to get outdoors.

    Who was the most inspiring person you met on your journey?

    Danny Bent. I was introduced to him by someone I got talking to in a toilet queue (I heard her talking about triathlons and I was keen to try one so asked her a few questions)…it’s funny how those tiny moments can lead to such great things.

    Danny founded Project Awesome, has organised two relay runs across America in aid and was my biggest support during the 52in52. He joined on 22 of the 52 challenges, making some awesome videos along the way and introducing so many people to the challenges too! Both of us are on a mission to bring people together through physical activity, with both of us working on the inaugural London Relay together.

    How did you keep motivation up not to skip any of the challenges?

    By making myself very publicly accountable! Not only was I posting about the challenges, but I also had strangers and friends signing up to join me – so I had to show up as I was hosting them, whether it was trail biking in Surrey or cycling Greenwich to Bushey Park through all the Royal Parks. It’s a technique we use to help people stick to their best intentions at Team52. By making the cause bigger than ourselves, we make it easier to keep going, one challenge at a time – a great life lesson!

    How did you come up with the ideas for the challenges?

    By following my curiosities. The first few challenges I committed to were activities I’d been wanting to do for ages. The rest came as I went. If someone said they’d wanted to try velodrome cycling, I said, ‘well let’s do it together – it can be one of my 52 challenges’ – so we booked it in the diary, gathered other people and did it. There wasn’t time to sit, ponder and procrastinate.

    A few ideas were generated in the pub – like the reverse sprint triathlon (running a 5k Parkrun backwards, cycling 20k (forwards) along the canal to swim backstroke for 750m in the Serpentine), and the Circle Line Relay – running as a team via all the Circle Line tube stops. Challenges are a great way to be spontaneous and creative – it’s one of the reasons we set up Team52 – to break people free of the perception of exercise as a chore, done because you ‘should’. We want to help people live a life less ordinary, and think challenges are a great way to kick-start that.

    What was the hardest challenge and why?

    The hardest challenge was the mammoth feat of juggling everything. I had to make trade-offs, learning to be strategic about what I said yes and no to. My career at the time was an 11-hour-a-day desk-based one, with the odd work travel abroad. My dad passed away between challenge 6 and 7 – 2 months after being diagnosed with leukaemia. His diagnosis was a core reason I chose to take on the challenges in the first place. You’ve got to get on with living. He did, and I do too.

    Are there any skills or sports that you tried that you will keep up now that the challenge is finished?

    Wild swimming and bouldering were two of my favourite takeways from that year. I will always love exploring new areas by bicycle and running or hiking trails. I became much more social in my sport – learning the value of sharing the experience – for fun at the time, shared memories for ever and accountability to make sure I actually turned up!

    What do you wish you'd known before you embarked upon this journey?

    I feel that I learnt, and am learning, everything I need as I go, at the right time. The importance of sleep, the power of saying no, the value of videos for capturing and sharing – you learn those by doing, making mistakes and growing from them.

    I listen and read a lot so absorb guidance and advice like a sponge. This means I am sometimes too affected by other people’s opinions and can be swayed by what other people think, taking myself off my path as a result, then taking time to get back on it. Only I experience the world in my skin so I believe it’s important to do and be what you need to be. Knowing that you’re not tethered to the past, and we have a choice on how we spend our time and energy has been the best lesson I’ve learnt, and continue to relearn every few months – it’s an easy one to forget!

    What's next on the horizon for you?

    Six months after finishing the Exerk 52in52, I left banking to see what else was out there. I used the skills I had discovered during the challenges, namely journalism and event operations, to travel and work on new and different things.

    2019 is all about Team52 – the challenge platform that helps busy people spend more time outdoors – which I founded with Georgie Akin-Smith (@g_who_dares). Fitness is often the first thing to go when life gets busy, so we’ve built a framework to make it easier for you to stick to your best intentions, bringing people together to do awesome challenges and spend more time outdoors. Do find out how to get involved by following me @annieross5252 and @team52challenge.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Q&A With The Triathletes Of Nuneaton Triathlon Club

    Nuneaton Triathlon Club Sundried brand ambassadors activewear

    Sundried chats to the members of Nuneaton Triathlon Club who will be partnering with Sundried as brand ambassadors. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    Lee Harper: Yes I've always been into sports, football, tennis, swimming and athletics.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Amanda Harris: Due to knee injuries in the past, I was advised to cross train. It then made sense to compete in triathlons as I enjoyed the combination of the 3 sports. 

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

    Debra Suffolk: Definitely the Sandman Triathlon in Anglesey, Wales! It's a hard event and testing course but in beautiful surroundings and you get a real sense of achievement just finishing. I love it. 

    And your proudest achievement?

    Andrew Downes: When I crossed the finish line at the Outlaw Full 2018 iron distance triathlon. Having a heart condition and a pacemaker it just went to show that conditions like these don't have to mean you can't enjoy life to the full. I am a member of several pacemaker groups and I felt extremely proud that other pacemaker patients found my ironman journey truly inspiring and gave hope to new patients that they would after time still be able to achieve their goals. 

    Nuneaton Triathlon Club Sundried race belt

    Your toughest race yet?

    Helen Talbot: The toughest race for me was the Ironman World Championship in Kona. The race conditions, humidity, and the high level of competition were quite intimidating. Closely followed by Ironman Wales because the whole course was very draining: a rough swim followed by a hilly bike course and run. 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Martin Shuttler: I attempted Ironman UK in Bolton in 2017 and didn't quite make it so competed and finished it in 2018. In my personal situation, not wanting to be beaten, determination and perseverance, knowing that I could do it if I focused on those areas where I struggled but at the same time, not forgetting the others.

    Paying more attention to nutrition and better quality training sessions were always a big factor. I made sure that I filled the training time with the best effort I could rather than just completing the training time. Ultimately, I know its a cliche but a lot of overcoming setbacks is mental strength and shear strong mindedness. 

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

    Phil Harris: Don't try to achieve everything at once. Take the time to understand your own strengths and weaknesses and look after your body, you only have one! 

    What are your goals for 2019?

    Chloe Croft: I would love to get a sub 25 minute Parkrun and a sub 6.5 hour 70.3 (half iron distance). 

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Zoe Brown: I take inspiration from people who have overcome something and still succeeded. Katie Piper, Billy Monger, people who show the world they can do anything regardless of their limitations.

    Also my other half Andy who has a pacemaker but nothing stands in his way. He has competed in the Outlaw Full and Half and also run marathons.

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

    Spencer Truscott: I love a new pair of socks and you can't beat the Sundried running socks. I also highly rate the Sundried padded jacket; it's fantastic and is especially great before and after a race.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren