Twickenham Spartan Stadion

WoW. What. A. Total. Blast.

The camaraderie, the effort, the surprising myself going around and blasting through all the obstacles. Some with more style than others (let’s not talk about that first wall just yet). It was so much fun.

The Twickenham Spartan Stadion on 23rd November 2019 was the first in the UK and my first run in this type of events.

I went into this with little to no prep, a huge amount of support from an Elite athlete friend, who just did a full on one in Sweden, with her tips and whatever fitness level I have. I’m just about getting into half marathon training, my upper body strength training has been limited to say the least. The only other thing I’ve ever felt so unprepared for was childbirth.

Anyhow, OCRs are on the list of “things to do… one day” but I never really planned anything to make it happen. When my business associate and dear friend Davey G sent me a text pointing this race out; I made sure the kids could be looked after for the day and just went for it.

Fast forward 5 days later, race day. Nerves took over for a moment after registration, and I got a bit lost and panicky. I’m so grateful for the Usana crew, who sponsor Spartan races worldwide for being there. By the time I got to the start line, it was sheer excitement! The adrenaline buzz took over. Seconds later, I was adopted by an amazing team from around Wirral.

After the safety briefing, we had the hilarious pep talk by Spartan Phil and off we went running up these wet steps.

Spartan Phil’s little teapots. And me, exploded with laughter.

A few obstacles along the way such as little hurdles, slam balls (feels kind of cheating as a woman you only get the small ones), jump box (not my favourite but your allowed to step) and then my first point of concern: multi rig. I tried three times and didn’t get much beyond half way. Burpees it was. Followed by the monkey bars, where I missed the last one! They widen the spacing, cheeky so and so’s. More burpees. I promise myself to train for the next one. What follows is just good fun. Sandbags (again, the littlest ones for women, easy), some fat jump rope (I don’t like skipping but that’s actually alright), jerrycan carry (only one for women) up and down those steps, z wall and paracord crawl were a bit pointless and then I got my first go at throwing a spear. Aced it first time, yeah me (YouTube video helped, plus last minute brief from teamster).

Onto my favourite bits next, with the rope climb being so excited as last time I did it was in high school if that. Guess what, it’s just like a bike. Well you know not cycling as in the skill is there. I did find that it was pretty high actually, but I had already been up, hit that bell and slid back down before I realised. The cargo frame was fun, I looked forward to giving that a go. It’s huge, I could just fit through these net holes! Then there was that wall incident (OUTs?), anyway, I made it at my second go. Again a cheating weight thing to hoist, another climb through and under wall before a good old run up the tower and around the stadium, more stairs, back down, straight up a 7ft wall (gosh how easy is that now!), not sure of the point of the gauntlet, but still fun, and then… we’re finally here, already! Aww… it’s too short! Anyway up that inverted wall, up over the fire and finish.

Twickenham Spartan Stadion course map. Photo credits Spartan UK

What a blast. I didn’t want it to end. This makes you feel so alive. I can’t wait for the next one. I’d happily do this every weekend.

This race was an absolute collection of personal achievements and the best test of my health condition, a true testament to the Usana lifestyle, I feel a truly optimised human being.

Just one thing… the next weekend runs might feel a little boring after that.

It’s time to experience skincare that works as hard as you do.

It’s time to experience skincare that works as hard as you do.
— next event on 27 October at Diego’s in Southampton RSVP

usanacommunicationsedge.com/p/16d2ad110ce2d7fe5d2dda1ee63913f3

What it takes

This morning’s insta post is worth moving to the blog. It stems from hearing those who are not quite ready to commit to their health. Change is a scary thing, even if it’s for the best, so people come up with excuses to justify not undertaking the change to a healthier lifestyle.

But Sarah, I don’t have the time

⏰ It takes 5-10’ for an effective exercise routine.

But Sarah, I don’t have the space, can’t afford a gym, I’m scared of the gym

🕴🏿 It takes a length of your body space if you don’t have a gym. And if you don’t like exercising, any vigorous movement will do the trick really, but as a human, you’ve got to move that body for it to function.

But Sarah, I like sugar, wine, burgers, [insert processed food of choice] too much

🤯 It takes making a priority on proper nutrition.

It takes building habits to feed the right stuff.

That’s the bare minimum. It’s up to you. It’s what you’re happy with and feel you can sacrifice, which is very individual choice.

Next step is choosing your environment (spaces and people), and making the decisions to fight for what you want to keep and let go of what drags you down. That is the big one. But if you can start with the first three, the rest will follow. It’s worth it.

Stop making excuses if you want results. If you want help, let’s talk simple actions and building habits that work.

Work hard, play hard, fuel right

What do pro athletes and professional parents have in common? Dreams and passion to do well in all they do, and the hard work it takes to show up no matter what. Such dedication can take its toll on our immune system.

What surprises me as a health coach is that while we take it for granted that athletes owe it to themselves to feed right, there seems to be an acceptance that professional working adults don’t take their body as seriously. Yet the demands are so similar… The relentless running around school drop off and/or pick up, clubs, running a house, leading a successful career comes with its share of challenges.

//usanacommunicationsedge.com/p/3d8dfbfc596ef05fbe84a9e8616f20fb/4875531?mcplayerstyle=embed

Athletes testimonials video

The change of seasons are particularly demanding on our immune system, and we see an increase of colds (man flu, because guys do tend to have worse).

Yet there are so many ways to prevent not only the fatigue but also dips in immunity.

Sarah’s 10 tips of the day to keep well

  1. Hydrate, it’s somewhat more difficult when it’s colder or humid outside
  2. Know your limits, and respect them
  3. Move your body, you’re a human, not a sloth
  4. Know your essential macros (natural carbs of the green type, protein of the lean type, fats of the mean type). I fancied a rhyme, just avoid processed crap at least.
  5. Know your essential micros (look for independently verified quality). See here to cover the basic needs whether you’re a sport athlete or a corporate pro parent.
  6. Rest and sleep
  7. Surround yourself with people who lift you up
  8. Follow your dreams, make a difference,
  9. Be “selfish” in your responsibilities, no one is coming to save you, you know what makes you happy, so get on to it.
  10. Be kind to yourself. Remember it’s about progression not perfection. Aim for the above, don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.

My passion is to build a better world and fill it with healthy people. If I can make it easy for you or you want to know more about how holistic health coaching can help, do get in touch.

12 Tips to Survive Thesis, Reports, Case Studies and Other Big Writing Projects

One of my Facebook friends asked for tips on writing her thesis. As three and a half years of research (and with that sweat, existential crisis stress, fears, tears…) come to a close, now a potentially more daunting task begins. Writing a thesis, a final year report, or just any type of big writing exercise summarising a major piece of work is a huge undertaking. The output will be all that’s left of it, it is life defining and a learning opportunity in itself. I’ve got years of experience whether through my studies or work life, and every single time I have to write on a significant project there’s yet a new journey. Here’s the 12 tips I’ve come up with. Please comment with yours, they will help.

  1. Facts. Facts. Facts
  2. You actually know more than you think.
  3. Take breaks. Loo breaks. Screen breaks. Food breaks. Hug breaks (Partner, best buddy, be weary of random strangers). Schedule some regular breaks.
  4. CTRL+S every 5-10 minutes
  5. Work on the cloud, and/or evolve the versions
  6. Some days will be tough, especially just before a breakthrough of thoughts. It’s ok. Part of the process. You need a step back before you leap forward.
  7. Sometimes, especially towards the end, you may feel like giving up. Don’t. See points 2, 3 and 6.
  8. If you haven’t done so already, build your support network. Call someone who will lift you up.
  9. Nutrition is everything. Feed your brain (protein, greens, fats) as a human being. Supplement with omega 3 (check the shop for Biomega, but register first as a preferred customer for discounts!)
  10. Sleep. Unless you’re inspired, then indulge in a few more hours, but then have naps.
  11. Probably should be number 1, hydrate. With water, obviously.
  12. ENJOY! Every. Single. Moment. Of. It. The rough and the smooth.
Biomega
Biomega recommendation by freespirit.usana.com

Let’s talk skincare, shall we?

Sleep, hydrate, exercise, feed, supplement, repeatTips for a healthy glow

Hands up who’s got skin, AND who wants their skin to feel sooo good they don’t even need to think about it anymore.

Gosh do I love wearing little to no make up! I was never super keen on slapping the war paint on, but for the past 20 years i was feeling it was necessary. Except that every morning, as I was putting on the foundation, then the powder, and the blush, and the eye shadows, and the highlighter, and the bronzer… every layer, every brush stroke was reinforcing “I have imperfections I want to hide to the outside world” and it never felt right.

It’s quite a powerfully negative message when you think about it. It spells out “not good enough”. And we all fall for it. The make up industry is built on these insecurities.

Then there’s the whole issue about what we put on our skin, which is the largest absorbing organ in our body. Ever thought about that? A decade or so ago (ok 15+) I noticed how certain cosmetics were better than others for my skin. It was well worth the expense I thought. Rhetorical question, but how many people can afford lugging £500 worth of war paints around, to hide their skin, plus the regular expense in a bid to solve the concerns?

I toyed around with many things, wearing no make up wasn’t really great and pamper sessions are nice. Anyway back in 2016, when my eldest started playing with essential oils, we started making lotions and potions. Fun activities for the kids, brilliant use for mum, here I was making my own skincare (and teaching the children some good life skills!). The improvements were noticeable. That’s due to using natural products from reliable sources. No more rubbish on my skin. Within a few weeks, I had somewhat of a Botox effect, and I finally started going without makeup. It was fab, a good start. My skin tone still wasn’t super even, and my skin could feel raw at times. It just wasn’t ideal, and I’d have to reach for Bobbi’s support every so often. It was progress, but I was still looking to optimise the wellbeing of my skin.

If you know me, then you know that I tend to dig to the core of an issue and I will always look for a holistic solution. That healthy skin glow is the reflection of your total health, therefore achieving the glow starts deeper. It takes care from both inside and out

Tips for a healthy glow from inside:

  1. Sleep – 7 to 8 hours and practice relaxation. One may be able to survive or even function on less, but to thrive and get that healthy glow, that’s non-negotiable.
  2. Hydrate – drink for your bodyweight and activity level. (Papa, I mean water!) Think 2 litres a day for your average human.
  3. Exercise – move about, do something that you enjoy, use that body of yours, it doesn’t have to be in a gym or even sports, but move that bum about.
  4. Eat real food – stick to a human diet preferably, it’s bad enough that our vegetables don’t quite bring all the vitamins they did 50 years ago, please use common sense before depriving your body of nourishment.
  5. Supplement – Food: not that rubbish from so H&B, or worse the supermarket. If you value your health truly, then please use the real stuff that’s pharmaceutical grade, with a guaranteed manufacturing standard. Do your research, do the tests yourself.
  6. Repeat – daily action is required. The cumulative effect of daily action is what yields results.

The finishing touches

That’s not where the story ends. The tips above are simple, but they are not easy for everyone. We need to look at the external care better… In March 2018, something else came along. A skincare that’s not only clean, made with natural ingredients but also boosted with the latest advances in cellular health science. Eeek!!! That’s my boxes ticked straight away. A few of my “health friends” had been trying it out, in particular Joyce, whose cheeks had turned baby-bottom-soft in the space of a few months really made me want to try this regimen out.

Oh the bliss. Here I was, at my sink, and my skin was feeling like I’d spent an hour at the spa. The freshness from the gentle cleanse, the plumpness from the hydration, the overall wow… just that from washing my face, apply a toner, serum and face cream?! At home?! Say whaaat?

Fast forward 4 weeks, the only makeup I’m wearing is mascara and lipstick. The big win is that my husband’s wrinkles are reducing, his rosacea is nowhere to be seen, heck he looks younger! Ok it’s easier to see the difference on him since he’s a smoker and likes a drink. The only thing he changed that month was his skincare regimen. It’s kind of striking.

The difference in my pics is more subtle, in the “I am happy having a selfie taken without makeup now” kind of way. For me it means the world. Sorry Bobbi, I think we’ve just parted, my bank account is happier already (it isn’t, I now spend the money on massage or reiki, it’s awesome!!!

So… who is keen on luscious skin with no makeup?

As I was saying earlier, hands up who’s got skin, and wants it to feel good by making a simple swap in their skincare? If you know anyone fitting the description, send them my way. If they’re in Southampton or London, I’ll happily give them a live demo, let’s have a party!

From A to K: Your Complete Vitamin Guide – Ask The Scientists

Photo by askthescientists.com

An introduction to the basics of vitamins and how they help your health provided by my favourite bunch of PhDs.

Discover more about the vitamins your body needs. The explain everything you need to know — Read on askthescientists.com/qa/vitamins/

The topics covered include:

1 A Crash-Course in Vitamin Basics

2 The Two Main Categories of Vitamins

3 VITAMIN A

4 VITAMIN B1 (THIAMIN)

5 VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN)

6 VITAMIN B3 (NIACIN)

7 VITAMIN B5 (PANTOTHENIC ACID)

8 VITAMIN B6

9 VITAMIN B7 (BIOTIN)

10 VITAMIN B9 (FOLATE)

11 VITAMIN B12 (COBALAMIN)

12 VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

13 VITAMIN D (CALCIFEROL)

14 VITAMIN E (TOCOPHEROLS and TOCOTRIENOLS)

15 VITAMIN K (PHYLLOQUINONE, MENADIONE)

16 Time to Meet Vitamin’s Nutritional Companion—Minerals

— Read on askthescientists.com/qa/vitamins/