August 27, 2022 at 2:32
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Many of us were sold the idea that just a bit of walking a few times a week would help us get in shape. It is better than nothing but if you really want to lose weight, change body shape and improve your health, it’s not just about consistency but HOW you exercise that makes the difference…
What does strength training even mean? It could be body weight, you could use a kettlebell, dumbbells, anything that is heavy enough to create a challenge to your muscles so that they are forced to adapt and change.
If you’re NOT lifting weight and only running or doing yoga, then you’re missing out a major part of your fitness training that helps to balance your hormones (did you know that lifting weights increases your levels of testosterone which can be beneficial if you are going through a particular hormonal stage of life?), and lowers your risk of type two diabetes, stroke and heart failure.
And for all those women who worry that it will make them look bulky, it is very hard as a woman to bulk up. Strength training helps to generate muscle mass, which is more active than fat tissues, meaning that the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn.
If you are not lifting weight regularly, particularly if you’re in your forties or over, re-think your workout routine. Strength training will radically change how your body looks.
Trying to lose weight by running? Cardiovascular exercise (when combined with healthy eating) CAN help you lose weight BUT the crucial factor is that it needs to be of moderate intensity – about 85% of maximum heart rate.
For a very few people, walking briskly will represent 85% of max heart rate but for the majority of us, this or running at a conversational pace will not.
So, if you want your running to help you lower your health risks, and your weight, you need to increase the intensity of your runs a few times per week.
Studies show that loneliness, or social isolation can increase your health risks by up to 32 percent. So, not only is exercising with others or being part of an online group easier because you’re motivated and inspired by others, just being with others could help increase your ability to avoid health risks.
If you would like to work with me online or in person to lose weight and feel great, email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how I’ve helped hundreds of women transform their body shape, fitness and confidence since 2009.
Do you struggle to stick to healthy, nutritious ways of eating because you’re busy, have no time to prepare or just don’t quite know what you should be eating for your goals? Worry no more, our next course is in conjunction with Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen, who deliver all your meals direct to your door for up to 10 days. Whether it’s getting in shape, hormonal support, or you simply want to infuse your body with the wholesome, nutritious food, support don’t miss our exclusive Fit Summer Bodies
Our current course is midway through and already, some of our clients have recorded up to five centrimetre losses off their waist circumference, 1% fat loss and an increase in muscle mass. This is all to do with our exercise prescription, which we gear, each and every course, to the individuals that we see and what their goals are. We create as personalised an experience as possible, while making it much more fun than personal training because you do it in a group.
Now, imagine all of those benefits and combining it with an exclusive retreat-like feel that you’d get with a meal delivery service. Plant based nutrition expert, Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen creates the most delicious, healthy meals and works around the world for exclusive health retreats, as well as creating incredible meal delivery products for personal clients.
We spend money on clothes, facials, magazines, chocolate and holidays to make ourselves feel good yet often baulk about spending money on looking after the most important thing we have – our health and bodies.
To really eat well, you need to engage with food and having a meal delivery service can be a great way of setting your foundations, weaning yourself off bad habits and learning new ways of creating healthy, wholesome meals. And by the end of it, you WILL feel fantastic.
Spaces on our Fit Summer Bodies, are restricted to just 14 in each time slot, 6.15am to 7am or 7am – 7.45am and runs from 23 July – August 16. Or you can do a Fit Body Blitz, July 23-August 2nd or August 6th-16th. The five or 10 day plan with Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen must start on 23 July.
We have a 10% early bird discount on the four week course ONLY, which expires 1st July. Input the code FSB at checkout.
For details of the Fit Summer Bodies with Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen, which costs £25 per day, click here.
Our courses help start many women on the path to fitness and the fantastic feeling of achievement that you get when you take on an event that challenges your mind and body, such as the Race New Forest Olympic Triathlon…
‘It’s going to be freezing.’ That’s what you heard most of us worrying about as the New Forest Triathlon date got ever nearer. With a freak snow storm and photos of ice covered water in the New Forest area just four weeks before the race date, it scared the five of us who had entered into getting into the sea in April to try and get used to the cold. Alas, it was so freezing none of us lasted longer than 12 minutes or 400 metres before scarpering out.
Thankfully, on the weekend of the triathlon the weather was fantastic and we arrived down on a Friday so that we had the chance of a quick Saturday morning swim in Ellingham Water Park where the swim was taking part in a bid to get used to the cold. It was absolutely gorgeous. Still, with a 7am water start the following morning with the temperature hovering at 8 degrees, we all looked a bit pale and green around the gills as we listened to the race briefing and then entered the water.
The 1.1km swim was over for all of us in under 30 minutes and then it was a quick strip out of the wet suits and time to pull on trainers to run the 1km to transition. This is not usual for a triathlon as the water is usually located near the bike transition but with the weather heating up, it was the chance to get blood to the feet before hopping on the bike.
In triathlon, the advice is ALWAYS keep things simple at transition, don’t have lots of kit to put on – or worry about putting on. I ignored all of that and faffed about with wondering whether to put a jacket on, putting it on, then taking it off and adding arm sleeves and even putting on winter overshoes over my cycle shoes (I was the ONLY one wearing overshoes). But then I have history with footwear and triathlon. I once ran 10km after the bike leg with a full gel packet in my shoe. I thought it was a blister.
From there, it was on to one of the most beautiful bike legs of a triathlon I’ve ever done, up and over into the beautiful smooth roads of the New Forest, yellow gorse as far as the eye could see. It must be the only triathlon in which you ever have to stop for cows and horses who calmly wander into the road, totally unconcerned that you’re trying hard to keep to a certain FTP.
It is on the bike stage where you can make some big gains and it’s here where one of our members, Cath Bevan (almost zero bike training – gah!) steamed past on the bike like a pro athlete, leaving me panting and pounding the pedals behind her, feeling like a slow moving tractor.
One of the great things about a triathlon though is that there are usually lots of people taking part who are doing different distances so you have no idea where you stand in the ‘listings’ of the event. You only have yourself to challenge rather than worrying about whether you’re last.
From the bike, it was back to transition at the beautiful race based at a beautiful Georgian boarding school, off with all the kit, and into running trainers for a beautiful off-road out and back route. Thankfully, with temperatures reaching the mid 20s, it was largely shady. The great thing about racing a triathlon as a big group is that it’s on the run where we you get to see EVERYONE, and we all managed to encourage each other as we passed at different parts of the run before cheering each other over the line.
If you’re considering doing a triathlon this year (and don’t forget the Brighton and Hove Triathlon), Race New Forest are a fantastic company, offering a well organised event in a beautiful part of the UK with great race t-shirts.
If you’re interested in joining our Fitbitch performance training group, join our FREE Facebook group here. Our list of Dream Challenge events will include a triathlon, adventure race, open water swim and obstacle race.
November 10, 2017 at 2:09
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Whether you’ve just run a fast 5km personal best or done a long, slow cycle, lifted kettle bells or stretched out in a yoga class what you eat afterwards is important if you want to nourish your body. Here’s our guide on what to eat…
Tortilla with veggies is the perfect brekkie, lunch and snack
Protein pancakes with full fat Greek Yoghurt are perfect post Strength workout
Don’t overdo it after yoga – a protein ball is sufficient fuel
What: High intensity
Spin, sprint or boxing session? This uses fast twitch muscle fibres which depletes your energy stores, rather than your protein. You’ll need to fuel aftwards with a higher concentration of carbohydrates to protein, such as two poached eggs with wholemeal toast.
If you’ve got another high intensity session coming up the following day (although, you should always follow something like this with a different kind of training, whether it’s a different energy system or body part), try something like yoghurt with some fruit and nuts or it could be something like pasta with a tomato and meat sauce.
If you’re training for weight-loss, always stick to a slow release carbohydrate to keep blood sugar levels stable. Good rule of thumb? Avoid anything white or beige.
What: Long, slow run or cycle
Running or riding for 90 minutes or longer? Then your body is fueling on the energy stored in your blood muscles. Once you’ve finished, you’ll need to replace this with high glycaemic index carbohydrates so that energy is released quickly to help you recover. Protein is still important too for muscle recovery. Scrambled eggs on a white bagel with avocado and bacon or almond pancakes with banana and a tsp of peanut butter with berries. (the recipe for these comes with our Fit & Glow course). Eat within 30 minutes.
What: Strength workouts
Your body works in the anaerobic system when doing strength work, which means it uses energy from the muscles to power the movement. This creates microscopic tears in muscle fibres, and it’s when these are repaired that you build strength – and you’ll see a desired change. Don’t eat right after these workouts, which can include kettle bells, TRX workouts (or our Body Athletic classes) and you’ll undo all your good work. Eat protein after such a workout, which could be eggs, a mackerel salad, Thai beef salad, anything that adds some good quality, lean protein. (This does NOT include all the so called chocolate bars that have suddenly hit the shelves with added word protein to them!).
What: Yoga and Pilates
Unless you’re doing an advanced athletic Pilates class or a powerful yoga series like the Ashtanga Primary and Secondary series, be very careful that you don’t overeat after these kinds of classes. They use minimal energy, so a light snack of a raw protein ball (on our recipe sheets) or an egg salad should be enough.
September 7, 2017 at 12:39
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Girls Run the World, founder Rachael Woolston in Women’s Running this month with her piece about how quickly you lose your running fitness when you take time out…(psst, don’t worry, you get it back quick!)
Over the last eight years, we’ve coached hundreds of amazing women who have gone on to become firm friends who have continued exercising and racing together.
And to them, we owe the fact that the name of Fitbitch has become synonmous with motivated and inspiring women, who are inclusive of others no matter what their size, shape or fitness level.
To celebrate all the marvellous women of Fitbitch, past, present and future, we are launching a members only area, where you can connect or re-connect with those you have done camps with. It’s a place to share news, feel inspired by the challenges that others are taking on, get inspired to join in challenges as well as a space where we will offer exclusive discounts and member only events.
To join, you need to have attended at least one boot camp since we started in 2008. It’s free to join.
Join now to access our first Fitbitch Sports Day 22nd July by clicking here.
After a winter break, we’re back in Lewes this Monday May 8th for a three week course that will leave you feeling fantastic
As a coach, I’ve now trained women in lots of different locations and few beat the beautiful Lewes. Situated in the playground adjacent to Pells Pool, our summer courses are the perfect way to get in shape and feeling great.
With the sun bathing the area in warm light, it’s a peaceful, beautiful place to exercise in. And, as with all our courses, we keep you guessing as to what is to come on each session.
You may be using the playground equipment one day, another, exploring the riverside on a beautiful trail run. Whatever the case, and whatever your fitness level, this will help you get fit, strong and supple.
Our final booking day ends tomorrow, Saturday at noon. Come and join the Lewes ladies for some life-affirming – and butt firming – fitness and healthy living.
Psst…and if you don’t have to rush off to work, Pells Pools opens on May 13th and they have early morning swims 7-9am. It’s fab!
The course costs £120 for three weeks, running Monday, Weds and Friday at 6.15am-7am or 7am-7.45am).
April 13, 2017 at 11:58
Posted by Rachael Woolston
At the beginning of this month, we celebrated our 8th birthday, welcoming back 42 women, of which 90% have been with us since we started which means we must be doing something right!
It was amazing to see what these women have achieved, many who started with Fitbitch simply wanting to lose some weight after having a baby or to feel fitter. Now, many of them are running 5km or marathons, taking part in triathlons and obstacle races, all things that they never even thought that they wanted to do back on day one, feeling terribly unfit and apprehensive about signing up and what they’d got themselves involved in.
I launched Fitbitch as a way of offering busy women a one-stop course that provides everything you need to get fit, in shape and to have fun. No having to book a yoga session at one place, a running session at another; simply pay your course fee, turn up and every session is covered, meaning that you learn more about your body and what is possible in four weeks, than you ever could with a year of trying to make it to the gym.
Simplicity is key; if the only thing you have to worry about is getting out of bed and to the seafront or the park, then success is guaranteed. There are no ifs and buts and what if it doesn’t work. It works. Two or three times per week, for a month creates guaranteed results. In fact, last month we did a five session, one week course and women lost up to four pounds. For some, it’s about weight-loss, others, getting fit or getting outside. Whatever your goal, you get there. Our courses are a financial commitment but then we aren’t like other gyms or bootcamps. We offer a lot; support, camaraderie, expert coaches, eating plans, goal setting and help with creating a healthy habit that stays with you even if you only ever do one course with us. Plus, there are only 12 women per course so you know you will get personalised support and coaching.
So, why not join us this Tuesday April 18th for the start of our next four week course at Hove Seafront or Queen’s Park? (No sessions on bank holidays). Or Lewes (Monday, Weds, Friday) starting 8th May for three weeks.
Founder of Fitbitch, Rachael will be back to take Hove seafront while Tara will be taking Queen’s Park and Amy will be taking on Lewes early morning course.
Get fit, feel fabulous and get your mojo handed to you in bucketfuls!
Whatever is going on in your life, most likely you’re juggling which is why HiiT training could suit you perfectly. A thirty minute blast of strength and conditioning exercise, it’s perfect timing for those getting on/off the train to London, juggling childcare or simply someone who knows it’s important to workout but just doesn’t have lots of time…
What’s more we are launching our special summer HiiT sessions with 20% off our 10 class pass – simply use the coupon SummerLoving at the checkout. But hurry, it expires midnight Sunday 2nd April.
The days are longer, the evenings are light and warm(ish) and everything is beginning to bloom ready for the summer. So why not join us this Spring-Summer for a 30 minute workout.
Suitable for all fitness levels, we provide a workout that will really help you achieve improved strength, aerobic capacity and a leaner look – if you commit to it consistently of course!
We launch our summer HiiT with a special 20% off a 10 class pass but hurry as the coupon, SummerLoving, expires on April 2nd at midnight.
Classes take place on Wednesdays at 6.15pm and 8.15pm at Preston Park playground, perfect if you’re coming off the London bound train/leaving work or can nip out down the hill from Fiveways.
And Fridays at 6.30am and 7am at The Level.
These classes are fun, challenging and effective. Turn up, get your glow on and feel like you’ve achieved your goals all within 30 minutes.
November 11, 2016 at 10:27
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Going off on a run gives you such a great sense of freedom. But it can also be worrying for some women – what if you get lost or something happens? Now Strava, the digital tracking phone app has come up with Beacon that will help people track your movements
‘Out running, be back by tea/breakfast/in time for work.’
For most of us,that’s as high-tech as safety notifications get, a Post-it on the fridge, a message to the kids or text to your partner. But we all worry about our safety, and our family and friends may worry even more.
Hence Strava has come up with Beacon, (although it doesn’t come on the free account) which enables known safety contacts to see where you are during an activity in real time on a map. If you aren’t back on time, they can check to see where you are or if you’re stopped. If something were to happen to you, they’d be able to see your GPS location.
‘Let’s say it’s 3:30, you said you’d be home at 3:00 and you’re not moving towards home,’ said Ethan Hollinshead, Senior Product Manager at Strava. “That’s a good indication that they should see what’s up.
‘Where it’s really designed to help the cyclist or runner is in that peace of mind scenario – to keep people from unnecessarily worrying about you.”
October 23, 2016 at 4:12
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Wind and torrential rain greeted runners taking on the Bright10 this year. But it didn’t deter Laura Marshall who ran her first 10 mile race…
I am not sure what persuaded me to enter the Bright10 mile race as previously, I had always set 10km as my upper distance saying I’d never run longer. A lot came down to the fact that it was not a half marathon (too big a leap from 10km in my mind), it was local which meant that I could walk to the event and the encouragement from the fellow Fitbitch community.
As the event neared and I was juggling commuting to London for work, setting up my own business and raising a toddler, I wondered how I was going to manage it. Then, the Fitbitch Learn to Run 10 miles course came along, that included trails, road, hilly and flat runs to help build mileage which also helped me keep to a plan and stay focused.
On the night before the race, I was feeling quite calm but then I awoke to the windows being thrashed with rain, and the wind whistling around the house. Not the weather conditions I really had in mind, cue the nerves. However, I stuck to my morning run plan; breakfast, running outfit, foam rolling, and it totally helped me to calm down. And thankfully, by the time I arrived at the race start, the rain had stopped.
The wind had not alas, and the first two miles were hard as we ran into the wind and it gusted sideways. But then the wind dropped and the sun came out! I ran with a fellow runner which worked well as we both had someone to chat to, which was needed when supporters petered out passed Kemp Town just when you needed them on the climb up to Roedean. Having said, that the coaching tips of “stand tall”, “shoulders back”, “small steps” and “use your arms” had been drummed into us and it helped me get up the hill.
At this point, I should say that it is an entirely road race and at times pretty unattractive if you looked the wrong way – coaches park one way but beautiful sea the other. But the marshals were great and cheering loudly as were the volunteers at the water stations (three in total).
As we headed west from Black Rock, I was familiar with the route and was counting down to the end. The crowds picked up again from the Pier to the finish, with one final double backing by Hove Lawns. “Sprint finish?” said Ness, my running partner. “SPRINT? I’ll go a bit faster,” was my response, although then I went a bit faster still when I saw familiar faces at the end.
It was a great race and I felt amazing to have achieved my ten mile race goal, even with poor weather. And the strangest thing is, that half marathon now doesn’t seem such a big leap!
If you wish to join our community in training for the Brighton or Worthing Half Marathon, our beginners training starts November 6th. Details here.
Race Goody Bag: Haul it or Hoard it?
Well, neither, as there wasn’t one. The medal is a beaut though and we were handed water at the end – I didn’t go for the sports drink on offer or the Clif Bar.
Even with the road closures, it was easy to get to and with the Race Village on Hove Lawns, nothing felt cramped.
Three water stations were ample.
I thought the double-backing would frustrate me but I enjoyed seeing familiar faces a couple of times.
I am glad I didn’t need the toilet as those queues were huge even with a few minutes until the start time.
There was nothing ugly. The day before, someone did mention to me that they no longer to pay to run in their home town/city. I can see their point as a lot of this was very familiar to me but it was the mileage that was my goal.
October 14, 2016 at 5:11
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Does your training largely consist of downloading a training plan off an event site and vaguely following it just to get up to distance? Take the stress out of training and achieve better results by training smarter and thinking about it NOW
Train smart for endurance
First off, there is nothing inherently wrong with doing the above if that’s all you can fit in, but if you really want to achieve your goal – even if that is to just reach the end smiling, then putting some thought into your training and doing it now BEFORE you start even thinking about adding running miles is essential.
Your training should include cycles, a macro, micro and mesocycles – this sounds more complicated than it is but as an essential start point, think about your overall goal – I want to run a marathon in April and get sub 4 hours/do it without getting injured/run it on 3 training sessions per week. Whatever it is, having the goal allows you then to work backwards and plan in your training to get you to that point, including putting in the races that will help you to reach that target and more importantly the FOUNDATION work that you need to put in now to build your strength.
It will also help you to take into account the changing nature of your training; it’s all very well having a set plan (which is better than not having one!) but injury, illness, busy work times all mean that you need to adapt your mesocycles to accommodate this rather than giving up on your plan entirely and winging it. Over the last eight years we’ve trained women to half marathon and marathon levels, this is where you see most people going wrong – wing it and you’ll end up with a broken wing!
Confused by all of this? To make it easy for you, right now (if doing a half marathon in Feb or a marathon in Spring) you should be entering your base training period, which means building the strength and stability, addressing any imbalances and working on your core.
October 11, 2016 at 6:19
Posted by Rachael Woolston
When Sarah Crosier joined us to learn to run back in the summer of 2015, little did she realise that within a year she would have found the confidence to enter an extreme obstacle event. Or a 24 hour relay race, or a marathon. Here she explains what motivated her and how to build your own confidence to take on a challenge …
When Tough Mudder was suggested as a possible Fitbitch team event, I was reluctant; the thought of running 5 miles through woods, jumping into deep water and crawling through mud was scary enough but most terrifying, was the idea of heights as I have an irrational fear of falling.
But, I teach my 9-year-old daughter to be challenge herself; to be brave, resilient, and to have the confidence and self-esteem to try new things and break out of her comfort zone. As a parent, sometimes you need to put into practice what you say.
To get prepared mentally and physically, I joined a a two-week Fitbitch obstacle training course which took place 4 times a week 6.15 to 7am. This was my first experience of Fitbitch bootcamps as I’ve only previously done their running courses and I can’t tell you how much fun it was.
Activities included running up skatepark ramps, climbing up rope nets and sliding down a fireman’s pole in the playground, plus, beach sprints and running into the sea whilst carrying tyres or my teammates! It was like being a kid again and every day I chipped away at my fears, with the support from the rest of the Fitbitch team.
It was such a fun way of getting fit and strong, playing wheelbarrows which I’ve not done for 35 years and building our team bonding all against the most amazing beautiful sunrises.
By the end of the training camp, our team all had different levels of fitness and skills – some were proficient runners, some were athletic and strong and others were just really fantastic team players who boosted all our egos and morale all the way round the race.
Talk about your fears
Those that attended the obstacle bootcamp were already pretty open about their fears, and after practicing climbing ropes and getting fully submerged under water with the support from the rest of the team, I think we were as prepared as we were ever going to be.
We also had an events page within the Fitbitch Facebook group (free to join) to plan what to wear (Capri pants, trainers, FB tshirts and plaits), arrange travel plans and most importantly discuss what we were worried about. I personally felt quite comforted that I wasn’t the only one getting nervous 24 hours before the event!
Do your best
We didn’t all know each other when we got to the start line but we soon did on race day! There was a lot of bottom pushing to get each other over the obstacles and while we all ran at slightly different speeds, everyone waited at the obstacles to help each other out. No one in a purple t-shirt was left behind – and we even picked up a straggler who lost her friends, on our way.
The most challenging obstacle for me was the Berlin wall which was 3-metres-high. The moment I saw it, I said I couldn’t and wouldn’t climb over it. Another member of the group did the same and then at the last minute changed her mind. So of course, I had to try. With the help of 2 women pushing my feet up, I was able to get high enough to straddle the wall and slowly release myself down the other side.
The funniest moment was the final obstacle, Everest, a 15 foot ramp coated in mud and grease which sloped back out at the top like a snowboard halfpipe. My legs were tired and I was cold having been in and out of water but after four tries, I finally managed to sprint to the top and grab the hands of my teammates, only to realise I couldn’t get my leg up. With the help of four team mates who dragged me up while we laughed hysterically, I was finally pulled to safety.
And don’t look down
So did my daughter and I fail our challenges? Well, I missed one Berlin wall out (there were two) and my nine-year-old was short of a few votes so didn’t get into school council this year. But we’ve learned so much from our experiences, feel a great sense of achievement and am ready to take on more challenges.
I’m even tempted (and maybe this was a mistake to put this in writing) to do a full Tough Mudder…. but only if I have my great Fitbitch team mates by my side. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it half as much without them.
Review in Brief: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Friendly event where everyone helps each other out. Time is irrelevant. Face your fears in a safe environment.
8am first wave was ideal. Clean toilets. No queues at obstacles. Not too slippery and muddy.
Warm cider at 10.20 in the morning? I think my head hurt more than my bruises.
Not enough Tough mudder event crew en route. A guy had fallen by a ditch in the woods. It took 10 minutes to get the crew to him.