• How To Train Like A Pro With Claire Steels

    Claire Steels Training Session heart rate data

    Claire Steels is a professional duathlete and has a World Champion title to her name. She gives Sundried a snapshot of a training session along with all the stats and data so you can see what it's really like to train as a pro.

    Training Session

    2 x (10 x 10 seconds effort : 50 seconds recovery)

    The majority of the training I have done on the bike is for TT (time trial) type efforts, however as I am looking to move into road racing I need to develop a bit more explosive power.

    This sessions was aimed at developing such power and improving my sprint speed.

    Short, sharp efforts with a longer recovery sounds okay, but by the end of the set the 50 seconds recovery feels far too short!

    I did this session on the Wattbike and then uploaded the data to Strava.

    The screenshots attached show my speed, heart rate and then the last shot shows speed, heart rate, power and cadence.

    Speed, power and cadence are fairly consistent across all of the efforts, although they drop a little towards the end. Heart rate spikes for each of the efforts but also gradually increases across the whole session.

    I find sessions like this challenging and frustrating but in a strange way it means I enjoy them more! Weird I know!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 3 Mistakes Which Are Stopping You From Losing Weight

    3 reasons you are not losing weight sundried

    When you're trying to lose weight, not seeing results can be very frustrating. These three fitness mistakes are making you gain weight.

    1. Using food replacement supplements

    We've all been tempted by them at one time in our lives. There are so many on the market, from Slim Fast to Herbalife, it seems like there's a quick fix and we want to take it. However, food replacement supplements are the worst thing you can take in your efforts to lose weight. Not only are they bad for your bank balance, they're bad for your waist line. Food replacement supplements work on the logic that if you are restricting your calories, you will lose weight. While this is completely true, the shakes and bars that you consume on these diets are full of sugar and lack essential nutrients which will leave you feeling tired, moody, and can even give you bad skin. 

    It is always better to get your calories and nutrients from real food, only taking supplements if you really need to on top of an already balanced diet. By reducing your calories from real food, you can easily lose weight without suffering from mood swings and having to buy expensive supplements. 

    2. Not tracking your food intake

    We can all be guilty of being 'secret eaters'. At the end of each day, if you were to try to remember every single thing you ate that day it would be almost impossible. There will always be one biscuit or cake that slips through the net that you forget about. It's also easy to make excuses for yourself in order to eat more than you realise, such as "I have a cold" or "it was my co-worker's birthday". Your portions may be a lot bigger than you realise unless you weigh your food. By tracking your food as you eat it and weighing your food, you are taking the guess work out of losing weight and you are far more likely to succeed.

    Let's take oven chips (french fries) as an example. Next time you put your favourite oven chips onto the tray, weigh them before they go into the oven. Chances are, it'll be two or even three times as much as is recommended. This happens easily and frequently and is definitely a reason you're not losing weight. Weighing your food may seem a bit neurotic and take a lot of effort, but it doesn't take long and will be worth it in the long run. Below is what 200 calories of oven chips looks like on a small plate. It's not much! And these are fairly skinny fries, if you enjoy those big chunky oven chips you'll end up with only around 10 on your plate!

    oven chips 200 calories weight loss

    3. Drinking too much alcohol at the weekend

    For a lot of people, being healthy ends on Friday. We want to relax after a long week at work and rightly so! We go out for dinner and drinks and forget about all our stresses, but this is when you'll end up undoing all your hard work from the week. Alcoholic drinks are full of sugar and calories and by knocking back a few glasses of wine, pints of beer, and pitchers of cocktails, you will be consuming a lot more calories and sugar than you realise.

    Calories and sugar in alcohol infographic

    You probably wouldn't eat 3 cheeseburgers in one sitting, but you wouldn't think twice about drinking 6 beers on a night out. Try to limit how much you drink on the weekend, and limit dining out and takeaways to just one per weekend. This may seem stingy, but if you are truly committed to losing weight and getting healthier, it's a compromise you'll be willing to make. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 5 Exercises Muay Thai Fighters Use To Stay Strong

    boxing Muay Thai fitness workout

    Muay Thai fighters are some of the fittest and strongest athletes in the world, wouldn’t it be great if you could find out what their workout secrets were? Luckily, they are quite well documented. Here’s a list of 5 tried and trusted Muay Thai exercises guaranteed to get you in fighting shape.

    1. Skipping

    There’s a reason why basically every fighter you see will devote large periods of their training to skipping. It just works. Jumping rope is hands down the easiest way to work up a serious sweat and build that long-term endurance that sets the elite apart from the rest of us.

    The best thing about it is that it only requires a skipping rope and your willingness to push through the pain barrier.

    Try skipping for 10-15 minutes following a workout and watch how much difference it makes to your performance and physique.

    skipping Muay Thai fitness workout

    2. Press ups

    Press ups have been around basically since the dawn of time itself, meaning Muay Thai fighters have been implementing these since day dot. Push ups work all the pushing muscles of the body – chest, triceps, shoulders – and even your core as you have to maintain a straight body throughout the exercise.

    Press ups can also help to build explosive punching power, a stronger resilience in fights and to top it off they make you look good too. That’s a winning combo if ever I heard one.

    Try doing 75 press ups at the end of a push workout to really burn out the muscles. Once you can do that in 3 sets (25, 25 & 25), try adding a weighted vest.

    3. Burpees

    Probably the hardest form of cardio and muscle building there is. But what an exercise! Burpees require you to sprawl to the floor from a standing position, then quickly shoot back and jump into the air.

    How To Burpee

    They have been a staple in Thailand’s fight camps for decades, and they work the entire body at once which is brilliant for building functional strength, unbeatable cardiovascular fitness and enviable aesthetics.

    Try doing 30 burpees every morning just after you get up. Doing this is a great way to get your heart pumping blood around the body, wake yourself up, and build that fight-ready fitness.

    boxing Muay Thai fitness workout

    4. Bicycle crunches

    It is common knowledge amongst Muay Thai fighters that a strong core may be what separates the good from the great. Having a bulletproof set of abs helps to generate extra power on your punches and kicks, it helps to brace when taking blows from an opponent and can even help your endurance.

    Bicycle kicks are a fantastic way of building your abs and core as they are a functional exercise that keeps the body moving. It is perfect when compared to something like a plank where the body is stationary and it is also a cardio workout if you do them intensely enough and at a high enough volume.

    If you want to challenge a fighters’ workload, do 150 of these back-to-back with a set of 50 burpees on a cardio day to really give yourself a test.

    5. Body weight squats

    Yes, heavy weighted squats can be good for building leg mass and power, but Muay Thai fighters want power and speed.

    Heavy squats can slow fighters down with too much muscle which is why they opt for lighter weights and higher reps. This still builds that power but with it comes speed and endurance – perfect for long bouts were you need to be able to throw kick after kick, round after round.

    Nothing fancy here, 5 bread and butter Muay Thai exercise that will boost your performance and have you looking like a pro fighter in no time - all you have to do is build the skill to back it up!

    About the author: Darren Mitchell is a Muay Thai enthusiast and writer for the BestMuayThai blog. Darren has trained Muay Thai for several years at gyms all over the world alongside some world-renowned fighters and coaches.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Angelo Louis Personal Trainer

    personal trainer athlete ambassador Sundried activewear

    Angelo grew up in Mauritius and has been into sport from a young age. 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 currently playing football for Catholic United in the Essex Olympian Division Four League.

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

    My journey started back in Mauritius. I began playing football from a very young age and then progressed to playing at a national level. I also competed in various other sports too – athletics, handball, and basketball – during school sporting events. Growing up, fitness has been in every aspect of my life and now I am trying to give it all back.

    What are your training goals now?

    My training goals are to get stronger, quicker, improve speed and agility, and get shredded.

    What's an unusual fact we might not know about you?

    I share the same birthday as my Father - 31st of December.

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

    That it all comes down to consistency and hard work.

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

    My top tips would be not to overthink or over-complicate your life. Everything in life is about finding balance, so too should your approach to fitness.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    My training regime is quite simple. I do weight training three times a week - push, pull, and legs, as well as 2 days of high intensity interval training (HIIT).

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    Watching webinars, reading books, going to workshops and via fitness newsletters.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Master execution.

    2. Challenge yourself.

    3. Stay consistent.

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

    My mum's chicken curry with white rice.

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

    I like the brand and the quality of the products.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Anna Maharg Yogi Ambassador

    yoga ambassador Sundried

    Anna is a marathon runner who discovered yoga as a way of improving her running performance. She talks to Sundried about training and racing. 

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

    The spring season is one of my favourite times for training and running. In January 2019 I finished my 16th Marathon within six years. Three of them I ran a Boston qualifying time. In 2018, I ran my first trail marathon as well as an international marathon in Ireland. Some years have more races than others, but I have enjoyed the progress and the adventure! While training and on the course I always learn something important along the way.

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

    My journey to teaching yoga and running marathons began as a way to relieve stress and a way to manage the transitions life was throwing. It began as just jogging around town until I found a group called The Dawn Crackers. As the miles climbed and my training improved, I found myself continuing to challenge myself. The distance lengthened and I set my sights on a marathon. Once that began, it opened an entirely new set of challenges. One of them was overcoming injuries, which is what began my journey into practising yoga. The self-care stretching evolved into me teaching yoga at various studios. Classes are for everybody, including some for those struggling with Parkinson’s Disease, and even a class specifically for the high school varsity cross country and track team.

    What are your training goals now?

    Currently, I have goals for my own improvement, along with goals for teaching yoga and the participants in my classes. Personally, I am trying to increase my speed in marathons to get a faster marathon time. My goal is to break 3:30, which is no record for the Olympics, but is substantially fast for THIS girl. I’ve been cross training with swimming, biking, and most of all, strength training. Weight lifting is part of my daily routine, to help keep balance and strength in my whole body. Weight lifting challenge: pull ups! 

    As for teaching yoga, I want to create a space and a class where everybody can work through their practice on their mat. I have to let go of “making” people better and instead create an opportunity for my clients. It is incredibly rewarding to see that progress though!

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

    I was never athletic as a kid. I was a total band geek in high school. Riding my horse was the only physical thing I did, and most of that included falling off, but being too stubborn to quit. I kept getting back on. I think that really helped me overcome set backs, and “falling down” while training now.

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

    I wish I had been told to listen to myself more and that my training and progress will be different to that of others, but that is okay. We are always comparing ourselves and I did that excessively. Instead of taking into account where I was at and what my body needed.

    I wish I had been told to be patient with myself and not beat myself up over every step along the way. Some runs are great, some days are strong, some days I can touch my toes; but some days are not. Realising this is part of the process, learning from it, and continuing forward; undaunted and not discouraged.

    I wish that I’d realised lifting, yoga, and running are all a bit of a marathon, not a sprint. Corny, cheesy phrase, but so very true. Focusing on long term goals and not getting bent out of shape over the bumps along the way.

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

    This is the hardest part! They always compare it to an iceberg, with 80% of training being nutrition. That’s another goal of mine: talking to a nutritionist. I try to have protein in three meals a day, with 3-4 healthy snacks. I hope this progress is notable going forward.

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

    Each person is motivated differently. That’s one of the beautiful things I’ve discovered about yoga. It has nothing to do with being able to do a “perfect pretty pose”. I like to offer new poses and new ways of getting into them. I like to challenge balance. But even more so, celebrating success along the way.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    Mornings are dedicated to running 3-4 days a week. One longer training run and the others are intervals and sprints. Swimming and cycling are on the off days, as well as a spectacular rest day. I lift in the weight room 6 days a week, focusing on different muscle groups. I usually do 4 sets and a drop set of each exercise, focusing on 8-10 repetitions. Yoga usually falls between the two and sometimes the morning. All the way up to taper time before the marathon, then everything changes! Also, this training schedule sounds mad and crazy when it is typed out like this.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I try to find reputable published information to read and I talk to athletes more successful than me! Occasionally, instructors coming through, I keep an eye out to take classes, I’ll never stop learning.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Try new things. Even if they are difficult, even if you struggle, keep trying new things. Keep your balance challenged, keep your mind engaged, and keep your muscles guessing what will be demanded of them next.
    2. Be consistent. Treat your workout time like a date or an appointment.
    3. Find a friend. If you can train at the same time, use your time together to do more difficult things than you would normally attempt on your own. Check in and keep each other accountable. It’s harder to skip if someone is waiting for you.

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

    Cheese. All kinds. Local regular cheese, string cheese, goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella cheese. Favourite place to get groceries in the city? The cheese counter at Pennsylvania Macaroni Co.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Their commitment to quality product and the environment is unlike any other apparel I’ve used. I love how the clothes are from recycled materials (especially coffee, because I love coffee).  Doing so and maintaining material that is flattering and comfortable to sweat in makes it unique and coveted. I like clothes that don’t shift on me while working out and teaching; ones that let me move unhindered. Nothing is worse than running and having to use a hair-tie to hold your pants up, or teaching a class and having your shirt flip up over your head.  Yes- both are true stories, neither times happened in Sundried clothes.

    What's your favourite bit of kit?

    Sundried Tour Noir Women’s Vest! Running, lifting, yoga – a favourite go-to for all.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they worked on it every day”.

    ~French Proverb

    Posted by Alexandra Parren