Class update – Thursday December 4th 2014

Regrettably, I will have to cancel the mountain classes tonight due to a family commitment and I am unable to find appropriate cover for this class. There are still spaces availible for tomorrow night at 6.30pm or Sunday 9am,

Sorry again, Lloyd

Sometimes he knows what he’s talking about…Sometimes!

Enjoy the quiet

Enjoy the quiet

There’s been a lot of conversations lately about running alone vs. running with others. I’ve spent the last three years running with others. I’ve maybe done the odd run alone, but the bulk of them are with friends. And every single one of the long ones has been accompanied! Most of you who run will know Lloyd’s feelings about running with other people – He feels quite strongly about it. ‘Don’t do it Spicer, because one day you’ll run around the corner, and they won’t be there. Where will that leave you?’. Sadly, I had to find this out for myself recently and it subsequently left me in a bit of a rubbish place.

I’ve never attested to being a great runner. I’m certainly not built for it. Being short and dumpy has no benefits for endurance running! But I persevered nonetheless and would say, have come quite far. I’ve completed a marathon, so can probably get away with saying I do OK! But I’ve never really relied on myself. I’ve always looked for others to keep me company. But recently I’ve come to realise that actually, Lloyd might be right! When it comes to running, you have to ask yourself why you’re doing it? Is it to get fit? Lose weight? Complete a half marathon? Whatever the reason, it’s YOUR reason!

It’s great to have the company, especially on those long jaunts out, but ultimately, I’ve realised with Lloyd’s help, that running alone will make you a better runner. Here’s why:

Between morning alarm calls, screaming children, noisy neighbours at work and constant mobile phone pings, it’s almost impossible these days to squeeze a moments peace and quiet into your average day. When you run alone, with no phone, no watch, no music, it’s just you and the road or the trail. Your thoughts are your own. All the niggly little snippets that have been bugging you can be thought over calmly without the worry of having to entertain a co-runner. While it’s sometimes nice to have an ear, or indeed be an ear, it’s also incredibly important to learn to take heed of situations yourself and deal with them in a calm and effective way. How many times have you heard someone say ‘that run has cleared my mind’ – and it’s so true. That time to yourself is priceless.

From a performance point of view, running on your own will make you a better runner. You’ll breath properly and pay more attention to your breath. Having a conversation with someone, regardless of how slowly or comfortably you’re running, will affect your form. It will make you breath more shallowly and in turn your muscles won’t get the oxygen they need to stay at peak performance. Your pace is unlikely to be natural for you. Whether you run at the same sort of pace as a friend or not, you will undoubtedly alter your natural rhythm . It’s just what happens. And when all of the above take effect, your form will suffer, leading to an increased risk of injury. Running alone is therefore of particular importance if you’re returning from injury or illness. You need to listen to YOUR body to avoid future setbacks.

If you’re training for an event, running alone is almost imperative. It will help you feel comfortable and prepared for race day. It will let you move into a familiar pace and listen to your body to know when it needs fuel and hydration, not when your running partner tells you that you do! I cannot tell you how many stories I’ve heard from people who have been on track for fantastic race results having trained with friends, only to get to race day to run alone for the first time and it go wrong! It’s not familiar. It’s different. There’s no one to rely on but yourself.

It might get lonely, but it depends how much you want it! If you want that medal or that time, enough, you’ll do what needs to be done. You’ll endure the quiet and the sometimes painful, head messing moments. You’ start to realise that running is 20% physical and 80% mental. It’s all up top! If you get into the habit of going it alone, you’ll only have yourself to answer to. And ultimately, that’s the way it should be. The only person you should ever be competing with is yourself. Because at the end of the day, you’re the only one who cares. Everyone who cares about you will be proud of you no matter what!

Spicer :-)

September Class Update

Ladies and Gents…

This week (1-5 Sept ’14), Family Partner will be taking a well deserved break with the kids before school resumes.

Classes will continue as normal with our very own Dave Phillips so any bookings, queries or general ‘Hellos’ should be sent to him ☺️ 07906 954776

We’ll be back Friday – see you then.

We’ve climbed the mountain, we can see the view!

Our opening ceremony

Our opening ceremony

It’s been a while since we’ve written a blog – but as most of you know, we’ve been busy moving into our brand new premises in the basement area of Activ. We spent four and a half years at The Shed, built a wonderful business, met some great people and helped change lives. So for us, the move came at the perfect time :-)

We started our planning for this at the end of last year. I wanted to be able to continue to offer my customers a first class spinning experience and, while The Shed was a great starting venue, I felt we needed some fresh space, some new equipment and some decent air con! I was lucky enough to be approached by Steve Burton, the owner of Activ, and offered the space under his shop. With the help of two very dear friends and support of handfuls of others, Nat and I have been able to create the studio of our dreams :-)

The new studio, if you haven’t been yet, is, as they say, the nuts! Twenty brand new, top of the range Schwinn spinning bikes with optional performance technology. In laments terms, you can see how far you’ve ridden, how fast and how many calories you’ve burnt (amongst other things!). A brand new music system with speakers that literally drive the bass right through you and top notch air con, making your ride even more comfortable. We’ve also now got a fantastic PT studio with treadmill, watt bike, rower, boxing equipment and weights. All in all, we’re pretty chuffed!

Feedback so far has been fantastic. Customers old and new are telling us how much they love the bikes, which makes our day.

As for me, well, I’m now enjoying seeing the hard work of the last eight months come together. Our opening event really showed me how lucky I am to have such supportive and loyal customers. And for that, I am truly thankful. In addition, I just want to publicly say thank you to my Dad, Neil and Spicer, who have been invaluable throughout the moving process. ;-)

We hope to see you soon if we haven’t already and remember, if you don’t climb the mountain you won’t see the view :-)

Lloyd :-)

Breakfast – The most important meal of the day!

You’ll have often heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ – and for very good reason!! Lots of people make various excuses for not eating breakfast, including not having time, not yet feeling hungry, would rather save calories – But skipping breakfast can lead to many a problem when trying to lose weight and get fit. So if you’re on a diet plan or simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, consider the following for reasons to start including breakfast in your daily regime.

    It stops you for snacking

Skipping breakfast may save you a couple of hundred calories, but it sets you up for a daytime fail! Consider this – You ate your dinner at 7:30pm the previous evening following a spin class. Your body sucked in all the goodness from the meal to replace the energy used during spin and you go to bed feeling content. You get up at 6:30am the next morning, get dressed, get the kids dressed, make lunches, put the washing out, take the kids to school, go to work – It’s now 9:30am. You’ve not eaten for 14 hours!! You’re tummy is grumbling. You’re feeling a bit lightheaded – what do you do?? The likelihood is, you’ll grab the first thing you see and start tucking in! What have you got on your desk? Packet of crisps? Biscuits? That’ll do! NO IT WON’T!! And when lunch time rolls around, you’re more likely to choose something high in calories to satisfy your body’s need for food, because you still feel so ravenous. Eating breakfast prevents your blood sugar from plummeting and feeds your appetite enough to stop you craving the wrong things.

    It speeds up your metabolism

Eating breakfast is the perfect way to get your metabolism working well for the day. When your tum receives that first bit of food in the morning, it tells your brain that you need to start working to digest it – bit like turning the ignition in a car tells the engine to start working! Breakfast wakes up your engine and warms it up so it’s ready to work throughout the day. So when you skip breakfast in the morning, your body thinks that it needs to conserve energy because it isn’t getting fuel from anywhere! This actually slows your metabolism down, which results in a reduction in the amount of calories you burn throughout the day – Nobody wants that!

    It puts a spring in your step!

I don’t know about you but when I don’t eat, I get grumpy!! It’s not just because I’m a stroppy mare as others will have you believe – It’s actually for very good, scientific reason! When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re blood sugar levels plummet. You’ve likely not eaten since your dinner the night before and this leads to a serious reduction in blood sugar which in turn, affects the release of ‘happy’ endorphins. Your body is too busy trying to source nutrition to stop this. Eating breakfast regulates your blood sugar levels and allows your very clever bod to concentrate on making you smile! It also gives you lots of lovely energy – so the mundane tasks you have to undertake as part of your daily grind won’t seem so unbearable, therefore reducing the risk of an unhappy chappy!

So basically, eating something for breakfast is better than eating nothing at all. Even if you can only manage a slice of toast or a granola bar, do it. But eating a balanced, healthy breakfast really will help you achieve your goals. Instead of bacon and eggs, why not try a healthy bowl of muesli and yogurt with lots of lovely berries to sweeten it up naturally. It will set you up for a blinding, healthy day. Everyone who crosses your path will be sure to thank you for it!

Museli with yogurt and berries

A great big bowl of goodness

Why not try our big bowl of goodness

Serves 1. Prep time 5 min

75g muesli or plain oats
2 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt
A handful of blueberries
A handful of raspberries
Half an apple, sliced
100ml coconut milk
1 tsp honey


1. Place the muesli or oats in a bowl and add the yogurt, fruit and coconut milk.

2. Mix everything together and drizzle with raw honey to serve. Enjoy!

Wholewheat Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche, Lemon & Chilli

We’re absolutely thrilled to have so many PH&F clients participating in marathons this year. And with the Virgin London Marathon this coming Sunday, we know those running will be well into the ‘Carbo Loading’ phase. So for the last recipe of the week, we thought we’d share a fantastic, high carb, high protein, low fat pasta dish that provides all the nutrients you need pre-race and is super easy and quick to make.

Wholewhet Spahetti with Smoked Salmon, Lemon and Chilli

Wholewhet Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Lemon and Chilli

The dish uses wholewheat pasta, a healthier alternative to white pasta because it contains complex carbohydrates and is a good source of fibre. The Smoked Salmon is high in protein and contains Omega 3 fish oils, a must for runners, who’s joints need extra care, and the added chilli boosts your body’s ability to burn fat, not a necessity but certainly an added benefit :-)

    Wholewheat Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche, Lemon & Chilli

Serves 2. Prep time 5 minutes. Cook time 15 minutes


200g Wholewheat Spaghetti
Splash of Olive or Rapeseed Oil
1 x Large Shallot, diced
2 x Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 x Birds eye chillis (or less if preferred)
200ml Pot half-fat crème fraîche
Zest of 1 large lemon
25g Fresh Parmesan, grated
120g Sliced Smoked Salmon, cut into strips
Few wild rocket leaves, to serve (optional)

Step 1: Cook the pasta according to packet instructions
Step 2: Add the oil to a pan, heat, and add the shallot, garlic and chilli. Cook on a low heat until the shallot is softened.
Step 3: Add the Creme Fraiche, paremsan and lemon zest and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 4: Drain the spaghetti and add to the sauce, mix together, adding the salmon and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Let us know what you think.

Aimee :-)

Mid Workout Energy Snacks

With the Virgin London Money Marathon this coming Sunday, we at PH&F have been looking and sampling some mid run or mid workout energy snacks. So not so much a recipe today but more of look at some alternative treats you may not have thought of, to use whilst doing your long run or double spin sessions ;-)

Firstly Fuel up….
Drinks such as coconut water, are full of the ‘Big 5′ electrolytes, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. It’s also more easily digested than most sports drinks.

1 banana contains nearly 30 grams of fast digesting carbohydrates that can be just as effective as a carbohydrate drink in terms of performance, blood sugar and oxidative stress.

Dried fruit is a terrific choice in the middle of a run for the same reason that it’s an iffy choice the rest of the time! They’re very high in calories and barely feel like you’ve eaten anything. Raisins have been found to be as effective during endurance based cardio workouts as sports jelly beans.

Dates are also great and easy to chew and high in potassium.

Dried Cherries
With more carbs than any other dried fruit on the list, they also help to reduce muscle soreness.

High in re-fined carbs and packing plenty of sodium, pretzels aren’t a bad choice for replenishing your energy and salt stores, particularly since theyre low in fibre and won’t take long to hit the bloodstream.

Frozen Grapes
Easy to carry, high in sugar, relatively low in fibre, and refreshing as hell.
Grapes also are a great source of vitamin C, which may increase the amount of fat burned and reduce exercise related damage to the body’s cells.

Of course, there are many more ways to re-fuel mid-run or mid-workout, such as energy bars, drinks, gels etc, but we thought we’d share these healthy alternatives you may not have tried yet with you.

Let us know what you think of them and perhaps share with us what you currently use?