Posts Tagged ‘Dream challenger’

Beginner’s Guide to Triathlon

July 7, 2014 at 4:16
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Starting with Fitbitch as a fitness novice just over three months ago, Bec Taylor weighed over 15 stone and had not exercised for years. Three camps on and she reveals what it was like to train and race in her first triathlon

Triathlon? That’s just for super sporty athletes, not for the likes of me. Or that’s how I viewed triathlons back in May. I admired triathletes in the same way I admired a heptathlete like Jessica-Ennis-Hill. Amazing, but super human.

Then, Rachael at Fitbitch suggested I train for the Ardingly Sprint Triathlon, (500metre pool swim, 24km bike ride and 5km run) as part of my Dream Challenge year with the Fitbitch free triathlon training group.

I’d swum as a kid but had never run 5km and had not been on a bike for years. In fact, I didn’t even own one. But, I was ready for my next challenge.

My first hiccup was trying to ride my friend’s road bike. The tyres were so thin, I thought they’d pop under my weight and it was so light, I was convinced I’d fall off. I swapped to a friend’s hybrid with a comfy seat, wide tyres and my feet touching the floor in time for our first training session.

It was pouring with rain, and there were winds of over 20mph. But there were still 15 other Fitibitches, all waiting at the swimming pool reception.

After swimming, we all dried off (pointlessly, as it happened) and it was on to a 23km bike ride, with two laps from Hove seafront up to Devil’s Dyke and back.

The faster group were off like a shot, leaving us slower ones to form a second group. Within 500 metres, I was panicking. My knees hurt and I wasn’t going anywhere.

One of the other women told me my seat was too low and so after a quick adjustment, we were off again.

I was so glad to be with a group as there is no way I’d have coped on my own. But on the top of every hill, we shared a few jelly sweets, congratulated ourselves and carried on.

I felt completely out of my comfort zone and there were times that I was unsure whether it was rain on my face or tears. But we survived, cycling back into the park to the cheers of other Fitbitches to face the run.

My legs were like jelly after cycling but somehow, I managed my first 2.5km training run.

I was so proud of myself for having got through it. As I told my friends later, it was the toughest thing I’d ever done. And I had to do it all over again, three more times including the actual event, the Ardingly Hedgehog Tri on June 1st, just three weeks away..

Fortunately, the following weekend’s training session was in beautiful sunshine, and knowing that I’d done it once already made me feel stronger.

That and the support of others helped me throughout my training, especially posting things on Facebook where my friends and even complete strangers would tell me what an inspiration I was. And hard though the training was, the buzz I felt after every session made it worthwhile.

On my final training session, I decided, on the advice of Rachael to try the road bike again. This time, I had it serviced first and adjusted for my height. It was a revelation.

Despite torrential rain on our last training session, I felt strong on the bike, able to push up hills easily and power down.

Finally, the night before the race arrived. I was so nervous, I checked my kit bag three times and started feeling stupid for having purchased an all-in-one Triathlon suit. I’m of the tracksuit and t-shirt ‘hide my body’ kind of workout wardrobe.

A Tri-suit makes it easier because you can swim, bike and run all in the same outfit without having to change. But I was just worried that everyone would expect me to be better than I was because I was wearing it!

I needn’t have worried there were men and women of all different shapes and sizes on the day. Some professional with expensive looking bikes, others like me.

There were 15 Fitbitches racing but we had all entered different swim times, with the slower ones going in first. I was nervous waiting in the pool but it helped to see that so many were as nervous. And while I was worrying about the run, I was better than some there at swimming.

Finally, it was my turn in the pool for 20 lengths,  counted by a marshall who had a noticeboard that he put under the water to signal when I had two lengths left.

From there, I exited the pool, grateful for my tri-suit and headed to collect my bike.

Having spent so many days feeling anxious about cycling, it was fantastic, whizzing through country lanes in the sunshine, with spectacular views of the Sussex countryside and the North Downs.

And this time when I got off the bike, I was prepared for my jelly legs. While they didn’t feel as bad as in training, the 5km run, involving 4 slightly hilly and off road laps of the school playing field, was hard.

To keep count of laps, we were handed elastic bands to put around our wrist every time we passed a checkpoint.

Finally I sprinted over the finish line to the cheers of some of the Fitbitches who’d already finished. It was  an amazing feeling.

As I hung the medal around my neck, I felt an incredible sense of achievement. And I caught myself thinking,  ‘Next time, I’m going to make sure my nose clip is fastened properly on for the swim.’

Yes, I was already thinking that there was going to be a next time!

This has been my biggest Fitbitch challenge so far and having achieved it, it’s given me an inner confidence and belief that my body really is capable of achieving things I thought only possible for athletes.

I was an overweight, unfit woman who didn’t own a bike, hadn’t ever run 5km and last swam when I was at school. But with support and encouragement, and the focus of having a goal to train for, I’ve achieved something that I would have thought impossible just four months ago.

My philosophy now is to just go for it. You will never know if your dreams are possible, in all aspects of life,  unless you at least try.


Taylor’s Tips for Beginner’s Triathlon Success

Test your bike: make sure it’s set up correctly for your height and if you’re unsure, ask. It makes a huge difference.

Be brave: don’t go for the comfy bike option but use a road bike. It will feel unbalanced to start but the difference in the ease and speed on a road bike is huge.

Pack all your kit the night before. And then double check that you have everything.

Invest in a tri suit. You may feel like you look silly but it makes the event so much easier.

Train with  group. They will help keep you motivated right up until the start whistle.


Since starting with us as winner of our Dream Challenger, Bec Taylor has lost over 2 stone and 6% body fat.

If you would like to be part of our next FREE training group for a Cyclo Sportive or MTB ride, join our online Facebook Group, Fitibitch Rides Series.



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Bec Taylor: Diary of a Fitbitch Beginner

June 29, 2014 at 3:58
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Since starting camp in March, our Dream Challenger, Bec Taylor has lost over 2 stone and 6% body fat. Not to mention taking on her first triathlon


Are you often put off doing something because you’re scared you won’t be able to do it? Welcome to the reality of life for Bec Taylor, and many millions of woman the world over. But since winning our Dream Challenger competition, Bec Taylor has learned that if you set yourself a goal, and have the support, nothing is impossible.

In her late thirties, Bec started with us less than 16 weeks ago, weighing in at 15st 10lbs with a BMI of 32.6,  which classified her as clinically obese. She hadn’t exercised in a decade.

Fast forward to today, and she has lost 2stone 1lbs, 6% body fat and her BMI has dropped to 28.4. Even more amazingly, she’s gone on to having completed her first sprint distance triathlon. Next up on her list? Our Advanced Body Athletic Camp, and taking on both the Brighton Half Marathon and Marathon.

Limits? The only limits are those that you impose on yourself, as Bec is beginning to realise.

‘I’m by no means a secrete athlete,’ she says. ‘I was an overweight, unfit person and wasn’t quite sure I could manage a triathlon when I took it on.

‘I didn’t own a bike, had never ran 5kms and  hadn’t swam front crawl since school.

‘But with Fitbitch support, encouragement, motivation, and the focus of a goal, I’ve come out the other side feeling amazing with such a sense of achievement.

‘Now, I look back on all those times when I  might NOT have done something because I wasn’t sure whether I could and realise how silly it is.

‘If you set your mind to it, and just decide to try it’s amazing how you can make all your dreams a reality. ‘

If you want to experience a similar transformation, don’t miss our Summer Body Beautiful Camp for beginners, start July 7th at Queen’s Park and Hove.  It includes a SBB nourishing eating plan if the full camp and assessments are booked.





June 2014

March 2014


June 2014

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Beginner’s Guide to Obstacle Racing

May 22, 2014 at 3:51
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Our Dream Challenger, Bec Taylor, reports from the front line on her first ever obstacle race

Nervous? I was by the time I started, having arrived 90 minutes too early. Plenty of time to survey the hills, the final obstacle walls and the barbed wire.
My team, who I’d had to bribe into taking part, mainly by not telling them what it involved, joked that we could just go to the nearby llama park. Instead, we made a secret pact that if we had to bypass an obstacle, it would remain a secret between us.

But there were a group of 15 Fitbitches taking part, some of whom had done obstacle races before. Being part of a team, and a big group, made all the difference as the fireworks, smoke and loud horn heralded the start of our race (we were the fifth wave of runners to set off) and we ran down a hill and entered a tight, narrow wood trail.

We were down to walking pace as everyone made their way over tree trunks and under branches, although the faster racers were off like beagles on a hunt.

I spent half the time jumping over muddy patches, little realising I was going to have to wade through mud up to my knees later on in the race.


The first obstacle was a big water slide, lubed with fairy liquid with haystacks to break the slide. We had to queue for 20minutes, which was frustrating but was good in one way as it meant we got to see others sliding down the hill, which was hilarious. Some whizzed down, others bounced and some just go stuck. One woman split her trousers and as I approached, I was just praying I wouldn’t fall victim too.

It was brilliant fun and then I was up and scrambling under a cargo net that forced you to drag yourself through a sticky, oozing mud pit. My team dissolved into giggles as we squelched our way through and I nearly lost my trainers.

All of my team mates had been worried about the running element, classing ourselves as ‘reluctant runners’ at best. But I didn’t even think about it on the race as I was so focused on avoiding logs, surveying the woodland carpeted with bluebells, dazzling in the sunlight.  Much more fun than road running, particularly having to go through streatms which were refreshing on such a hot day.

That said, the first stream I crossed was chest high and freezing. It was a lesson in how it is worth experiencing how your body feels in the cold and then trying to move afterwards! (read our post about how to train for an obstacle race here).

The race was challenging but never overwhelming, and even the difficult parts were funny, such as having to haul myself up a steep hill using a rope, straight after a river crossing. My team mate Laura was doing fine above me until I was told to grab the same rope and saw her nearly topple over as she lost her balance.

 What really stood out was just how friendly and encouraging everryone was along the way. As we ascended the final hill, we arrived at the obstacle area where all the spectators and those who had finished were waiting.
We had to crawl through a tarpulin tunnel, baking hot in the sun, under barbed wire, through a web of tangled rope and along a balance beam where children were invited to throw wet sponges to knock us off.

Over the Wall

Then it was on to my nemesis, the final 8 foot sloping wall, which I’d been dreading.
I’m 5ft 10inches and while I’ve lost over a stone and a half in ten weeks with Fitbitch, I’m still around 14 stone. ‘How embarrasing, what if I pull someone off the wall?‘ is all I’d been thinking .
It had been the one thing that had scared me about entering but having gone through so much, I was determined to conquer it.
My team mate, Laura went first. She hung there for ages , which made me more scared, but then all three Fitbitches from another team came running round the wall and used their hands to help push her feet up and she was over.
It was my turn. I sprinted and leapt, grabbing the hand of one of the men positioned on the top to help.  Fantastic. Only to then find myself stuck, hanging in no man’s land. I didn’t have the strength to pull myself up but was determined not to slip back down.
But longer I hung,  the weaker my arms got. But as I thought back on the event, and how we’d not missed out on any obstacles, I willed myself over and down the other side to my cheering team mates.

I finished with such a huge sense of achievement. For so many years, I’d been the person standing on the sidelines, spectacting, never believing I could do something like this.

This was my first ever event. Everyone is always talking about running races or doing a triathlon but I’ve never done one. Now, I’ve got the bug and I can’t wait for my next obstacle race. I’ve even got my first ever medal.

Fitbitch Obstacle Team Top Tips

  • Double knot your shoe laces so your trainers don’t get sucked off in the mud. Bec Taylor
  • In a team, take it in turns to take the lead, particularly useful when picking a route through tricky terrain. Laura Marshall
  • Wear old clothes, not your running best. Hester Lear
  • Don’t get too caught up in the obstacles and miss the scenery. Bluebell woods and cantering horses were some of the highlights. Hester Lear.
  • Get your nutrition right. I ate too early and could have done with a snack before I started. Paula Ford.
  • The Wall: Focus, commit and atttack the wall. If you struggle DON’T lie don’t lie down. Stay on your feet, particularly if holding someone’s hand and use your leg strength to ‘walk’ or jump off the wall. Lying flat means you only have your upper body strength to rely on which is much, much harder. Fitbitch founder, Rachael

Votwo Kamikaze’s next race is in Dorset on September 7th 2014. Visit for more details.

Meanwhile, if you’ve been #inspired by reading about Bec Taylor’s experience, why not join us at Nuts Obstacle Race on Saturday August 30th? Interested? Get in touch NOW – it’s almost sold out.



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DreamChallenge Diary: from sofa to Hollywood workouts

May 16, 2014 at 5:18
Posted by Rachael Woolston

When it comes to getting super fit fast, Hollywood celebrity trainers know all the tricks for their famous clients. So how did our Dream Challenger, Bec Taylor fare on the Fitbitch Hollywood Bodies Camp?

The story so far

Bec Taylor won our Dream Challenger competition in February this year. Mission? To become fit, strong and confident. In just TWELVE WEEKS, Bec has gone from 15st 10lbs, with a body mass index of 32.6 to 14st 4lbs and a BMI of 29. Not to mention entering her first Sprint triathlon and Ostacle race.

I had no idea what to expect at Hollywood Bodies camp, with workouts based on those of  Hollywood A-Listers from J-Lo’s butt busting moves devised by her trainer Gunnar Peterson to some of Tracey Anderson’s workouts. I was more nervous this time round about the Hollywood Raw 5 eating plan, based on eating raw, organic food five days out of seven.

On the one hand, I was thrilled about NOT  having to cook (I’m no Jamie Oliver) although there was more preparation involved that I expected. Within the first week, my body started to detox as it got used to no sugars and toxins with a headaches. It was tough at first but once I got into the swing of it, I became a dab hand at mixing fruit and vegetables together and blitzing soaked nuts into nutritious, yummy meals. I even made home-made muesli, (raw) carrot cake and (raw) ice-cream!

As for camp, it was completely new again from things I’d done in the previous camps, with a  mix of celeb workouts, including the Jennifer Garner, Hunger Games sessions, and the Million Dollar Baby boxing sets, courtesy of Hillary Swank. Brilliant fun, challenging and effective.

By the end of four weeks, I’d lost another 7lbs and a further 23cms off my body. That’s 1stone and 6lbs in 12 weeks. But it is nothing compared with the difference all of this has made to my life in general and self esteem.

I used to find it a struggle ot feel awake for my 7am log in time for work. Now, by the time I’ve logged in, I’ve done an hour’s  workout, I’ve walked the dog, made myself a poached egg with spinach and fresh juice and I’m raring to go.

I feel so confident with how much I’ve achieved that I have signed up for 2 races. This weekend I am doing the Votwo Kamikaze race, a four mile obstacle race involving trail running, water slides, and cargo nets, with two of my other Fitbitch campers.  And I’ve also signed up for the Ardingly Sprint Triathlon on the 1st June, which Fitbitch are doing free tri girls beginner training.

It IS scary but they are out weighed by the thought of how happy I’ll feel once I’ve acconmplished these challenges. Once upon a time, not long ago, I would never have thought capable of doing anything like this. But every day at camp, I think ‘Oh, I can’t do that,’ and then I do.

My only regret? Not starting on this path years ago.  I used to use every excuse in the book to avoid regular exercise; ‘I’m too tired.’ ‘I feel ill, I’ll wait until I feel better.’ ‘I’m too busy.’ ‘I’ll embarrass myself.’ ‘I’ll be the biggest there and boot camps aren’t for me.’

On every count, I’ve been proved wrong. Despite getting up for a 6am class, I feel more energised, I work more, sleep better and, I might be the biggest at camp but I’ve had nothing but support.

As for the Hollywood Raw 5 diet, I’m glad to get back to a protein rich diet but I’ve learned a lot. I’m now a lot more aware of the need for healthy fats and that I love juicing. Before Fitbitch, I ate sandwiches, crisps and snack bars. I couldn’t cook.

Now, I can cook things that actually get likes on Facebook.

The feedback I’ve had from friends, family and the other women I train with has been overwhelming.  Everyone keeps saying that I’m inspiring. But I think anyone can do this. You just have to start.

To read about Bec’s triathlon journey from total beginner to a sprint tri, return in June. Her first session involved 20mph winds and riding a bike too small for her with the brake pads rubbing.







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DreamChallenger: Diary of a beginner Fitbitch

March 12, 2014 at 7:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

 Last week, we announced our Dream Challenger 2014 winner, Becky Taylor. Here she reveals what her first week of Fitbitch was really like…

Thumbs up from Becs in her first week

I found out that I’d won the Dream Challenge 2014 competition, a year of camps and PT, a few days before the start of my first camp, Reboot.

The night before the first session, I could barely sleep because I was so nervous. ‘What if everyone else is super athletic? What if I embarrass myself? God, what if I don’t even wake up in time?!’

At 15 stone, having not exercised for years, I suddenly thought, ‘What have I done?’

But all my worries were gone within minutes of arriving at Queen’s Park,  just as the sun began to lighten the sky.

I wasn’t the only beginner, and even if I had been, everyone was so nice and the our coach, Kate made sure we all knew what we were doing.

Session one involved some fitness tests,  including a timed 1km run. I’m not a runner. Or so I thought.

I had to walk/run but I did it, overcoming a fear of running in just one session, which had kept me from trying it for years.

In fact the entire week has been a week of firsts. I’ve boxed, which I loved, swung kettlebells and done running intervals on the beach.

With the camp Reboot eating plan, I’ve completely overhauled by diet and thrown away all the junk.

I not only feel better but with the exercise, my long term issue with insomnia is improving. In fact, I’m ready for bed by 9.30am.

This is only week one, and I know that there will be some challenges and hard times along the way. But I’m excited about what the year ahead holds.

I used to watch other people running down on the seafront and feel so envious of their ability, and how liberating it looked. I never thought I’d ever be one of those women. But now, in just one week I AM one of them.

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