On Two Wheels with Decathlon and B’Twin

I used to be a regular cycle commuter a few years ago. My little single speed bike took me from Islington to Waterloo station every day when I was studying for my post-grad degree, and for plenty of summer rides around London. As my knee injury got progressively got worse over the years, my poor bike became more of an ornament in my back yard, looking rather sorry for itself. In the last year or so, I’ve been keen to get back on two wheels, and when I joined forces with Decathlon, it seemed a great opportunity to take a look at a new road bike from their B’Twin range.

I’m not about to cycle mega long distances, or tackle the hills of Surrey, so a fairly basic road bike is all I wanted. I took a look at the wide range of bikes available at Decathlon, and settled on the beautiful, Triban 500 Road Bike, in pillar-box red. The colour had nothing to do with my choice…sort of. Here’s how I’ve been getting on with it.

decathlon, road bike, btwin, fitness, cycling

Photo Credit – Elle Linton

My new bike arrived just a couple of weeks after surgery, so all I could do was look at it until I was given approval to gently start with static training. Immediately I treated myself to a small turbo trainer (Amazon) and got to know my new wheels. It wasn’t long before my knee was strong enough to cycle properly, first around my block a few times, then down to Shoreditch to meet Elle from Keep It SimpElle – thanks for the photos! Since then I’ve been cycling to work once or twice a week, and enjoying life on two wheels again!

If you’re looking for bike specifics, here they are:
With a carbon forks and alloy frame, the Triban 500 is a mere 10.5kg and designed for short to moderate distances. 24 gears is more than I know what to do with, but I’ve found the perfect set up for my commute, with the occasional shift down for one or two short but feisty hills in North London. Once I found the right seat and handle bar height, which always takes a couple of goes in my opinion, I’ve found it to be a really comfortable ride, with no pain in my lower back. If I fancied an upgrade, I might opt for a slightly softer saddle, or simply invest in some padded shorts.

My old bike was custom built around a vintage frame (how hipster of me) so until getting the road bike, I’d never ridden with brakes on hoods on the handlebars. I actually love this riding position now as it’s a much nicer angle for the wrists and I found I get less impact though the joints as I go over bumps. Something important for me to think about with my joint condition.

decathlon, road bike, btwin, fitness, cycling

Photo Credit – Elle Linton

Thanks to Decathlon for helping me out with the purchase of my bike. Although I’d just had knee surgery, when I collected the bike in store (with the help of a friend and his car) staff were attentive and willing to help with the set up and finer details. Any time I need help with the bike, be it maintenance, equipment, or general queries, the team at Decathlon are always on hand to help. Add in their lifetime guarantee and free safety check, and I’m a happy commuter!

Stay tuned for a post on the cycling essentials coming soon, and in the meantime, perhaps get out on two wheels yourself!

decathlon, road bike, btwin, fitness, cycling

Photo Credit – Elle Linton

I am part of the Decathlon Blogger’s Community, they offered me a voucher towards the cost of the B’Twin Triban 500 (full value £349.99) in exchange for a series of posts. All views my own.

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Working Out With Esquared

This post is sponsored by Esquared, all words and photos my own.

With an abundance of fitness studios and classes available in London if can sometimes be hard to keep track of what’s around, what you’re booked into, what class package you’ve bought, and when it expires. Different apps and booking systems have been popping up in recent years to consolidate bookings into one handy location. Among these is Esquared, and I’ve been giving it a go for the last month!Esquared, fitness, app, london

Designed to give people access to premium gyms and classes without having to be a member, Esquared has a variety of partner studios across London. You can see in real time what classes are available, and book for the same day, next day, or even a week ahead. You get an access code, so all you have to do is rock up, give your code, and get your sweat on!

Esquared, fitness, app, london

In terms of classes, you can find anything from bootcamp in the park, barre, spinning and more. Get your cardio fix with Dime or Best’s Bootcamp, sculpt your muscles with Lomax or Define London, or simply zen it out with yoga at Fierce Grace, or Good Vibes. There really is something for everyone.

Esquared, fitness, app, london

Something that really stands out with Esquared for me is that not only can you book in for classes at boutique studios around London, but you can also book gym time. I found this super useful as while I’m working on my knee rehab, I’ve needed to use gym equipment that I don’t have access to at home. Joining a gym just to use the occasional leg press machine or bosu ball is borderline pointless, so having the opportunity to check on the app what gyms are nearby, and book for a couple of hours access is such a useful option. From basic gyms which are £5 to pop into, to luxury gyms at a higher premium, there’s lots to choose from.

Esquared, fitness, app, london

What’s different about Esquared from some other studio booking apps is that there’s no monthly membership fee, just a pay as you go top up system. Simply load money onto your Esquared account and each class or gym session you book takes the credit off. It makes it much easier for those who can’t afford a costly monthly membership, or if you’re often out of town and unable to take class. It’s true freedom, the chance to take a variety of different classes with no monthly commitment – perfect if you’re a bit of a commitment-phobe!

Thanks to Esquared for letting me try the app! It’s super handy for when I want to try something different, or simply have a good old gym session. Why not download it, give it a go yourself, let me know what classes you try and maybe I’ll see you there!

This post is sponsored by Esquared, all words and photos my own.

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How I Get Fit with Decathlon

There are lots of reasons you might want to improve your fitness. Whether it’s for mental health, family fun, losing weight, getting into shape, feeling great in your body or simply because you love moving, the team at Decathlon are on hand to provide anything you might need for your fitness journey. Finding time for fitness is no mean feat when you’ve got a busy lifestyle with an increasingly long to-do list, so Decathlon and their blogger community, including me, are determined to help their customers incorporate sport and fitness into their every day lives. Since getting injured, I’ve noticed how quickly my strength has seemingly disappeared, and I’m making it a priority to get it back.

Incorporate Fitness Into Your Commute

Before it became clear I needed knee surgery, I was all set to start cycling to work with my beautiful new B’Twin road bike*. Cycling is a fantastic way to increase your cardiovascular health, and avoid the squash of the crowded tube trains. If your commute is too long to cycle, consider riding to a nearby station instead.

decathlon, sport, fitness, road bike

If cycling isn’t your thing, you can still make you daily commute active. It’s an old school recommendation, but getting off the bus or train one stop early, and walking briskly the remaining distance would be a great start to your day.

10 Minutes is Better than None

If you’ve just got 10 minutes to spare at home, then try a quick HIIT workout. High Intensity Interval Training takes short bursts of cardio, interspersed with short rest periods, and will get your heart rate lifted in no time. Try this little circuit below:

  • High knee runs
  • Star jumps
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Squat + side kick
  • Jump lunge changing

As many as you can for 30 seconds, then a 15 second rest. Repeat two or three times for a brilliant, but speedy workout.

Not wanting to miss out on using my new bike, I’ve invested in a turbo trainer so I can use it in the house. Right now, 6 weeks post surgery, I am only using it on a low resistance to get the mobility back in my knee, but I hope to move on to interval training on the bike very soon.

Revisit an Old Favourite

There are so many new studios and class around, particularly in London, and the choice can be overwhelming. Why not go back to your childhood and revisit one of your favourite sports or activities. I loved swimming as a child, and it’s always one of the first things I return to after injury. I’ve been using the app PayAsYouGym to find local pools I can drop into and get some lengths in. I set myself the goal of completing a Swimathon for Cancer Research at the end of April, which is a good incentive to get me training! Decathlon has a wide range of swimwear and pool accessories which I’ve been putting to good use.decathlon, sport, fitness, swimming decathlon, sport, fitness, swimming

Swimwear, towel & pool buoy from Nabaiji – Decathlon. Googles – Speedo.

decathlon, sport, fitness,swimming
Bikini from Tribord – Decathlon. Goggles – Speedo. Pool Buoy – Nabaiji – Decathlon.

Maybe you want to get back to dancing, martial arts, netball, football or whatever you fancy trying but maybe didn’t get the chance when you were younger, the possibilities are endless and you could meet a whole new friendship group! Decathlon have teams of expert staff who can help point you in the right direction if you’re needing guidance.

Check out my lovely Decathlon Blogger Buddies to see how they choose to get fit. Maybe you’ll be inspired to try something new this Spring!!

*I was gifted vouchers from Decathlon towards to cost of this bike, all other products bought myself. No brand other than Decathlon is associated with this post.

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A Quick Kettlebell Circuit

Arrived at the gym at peak time all the resistance machines are taken, no space in the free weights area? Grab yourself a kettlebell, and follow my simple circuit for a quick workout with minimal space or equipment required.

* First things first, make sure you warm up with a 4-5 minute cardiovascular pulse-raiser, and some mobilising stretches for your shoulders, knees and hips.

  • Back Lunge with Overhead Press (bell in same hand as foot that steps back) – 10x each side
  • Side Lunge + Knee Lift (bell in both hands at your chest) – 10x each side
  • Oblique Windmill x10 each side
  • Single Arm Snatch – right side x10, repeat other side x10
  • Kettlebell Swings x10
  • Russian Twists x20 (not pictured)

Repeat the whole circuit two or three times depending on your time (and strength)!!

  • Finish with Turkish Get Ups (if you’re familiar with the technique) or Changing Single Arm Kettlebell Swings.

kettlebell, workout, fitness, natasha wynn pt, personal trainer

 

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How to Stay Sane When Injured

As you probably know by now, I am injury prone, and just had surgery to fix an ongoing problem in my knee. Throughout my career as a dancer, and now a fitness professional, I’ve faced various amounts of time off due to injures, and have slowly learnt to accept that when my body says stop, I need to listen to it. Being that my job has always been physical, time off often means a lot of time at home on my own, which can have a psychological effect too. Injuries can be so frustrating, but I’ve found some ways to stay sane when I can’t do the thing I love every day.Health, fitness, injury

Don’t Rush It

Hands up, who’s pushed an injury too far and needed to take more time off than was originally necessary. Yep, me too. As frustrating as it is, doctors and physiotherapists usually know what they’re talking about. If they say rest, then rest. By all means, smash out your rehab exercises, but don’t run before you can walk…literally.

Train What You Can

On the flip side of resting when you’re told to rest, do think about what you can do that won’t affect the injured part. For example, if you’ve broken your ankle, you can still do some light upper body work, maybe some core work too. If it’s a dislocated shoulder, then as long as you can keep your balance, get some lunges or squats in or pop into a static bike. Be cautious though, raising your heart rate can increase swelling in the injured area as blood rushes around the whole body. Keep an eye on it, and stop if you experience any throbbing or excessive swelling in the area.

Find a Non-Active Hobby

Take up something new, or dust off your old guitar, paint brushes, or knitting and practise something that doesn’t require physical exertion. You won’t just exercise your brain, but you’ll also find a means of distraction from pain, discomfort or boredom. If you’re really laid up, then something as simple as mindful colouring might be enough to stop the endless Netflix binge, just for an hour or two. If you can stand and cook, then try a new recipe, or bake a cake. You’ll be proud of your achievement, and who knows, you might discover a new talent.

Be Mindful

I don’t just mean be mindful of your injury, but be mindful of the world around you. If you’re forced to walk slowly, instead of being frustrated by this, take it as an opportunity to see the world around you as you walk. Take it all in, use all your senses and you might find a renewed appreciation for your local park, or even your daily commute. Practise meditation as well. If you’re stuck at home, potentially on your own, it’s going to be a time where anxious or negative thoughts are harder to dispel. Take 15 minutes each day to meditate, use an app if you need to, and you’ll find you can approach your injury and recovery in a more positive way.fitness, health, injury

I’m trying to apply all these things to my current knee injury, and it’s not easy! There are days where I’m grumpy, frustrated and bored, but that’s ok too. Life isn’t always calm, serene and blissful, but if you try and roll with the punches, be kind to yourself and accept what’s happening, you’ll come out the other side calmer and able to see the positives.

Photo credit: Elle Linton.

The Reversible Revolution – Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty’s Reversible Revolution is here, and you can get two awesome looks for the price of one from leggings to bras and even a jacket! Reversible leggings have been in stores for years, and I’ve always loved them, but this season Sweaty Betty have really pulled out all this stops on their reversible range. Here are some of my favourites:sweaty betty, sportswear, fitness, yoga1. Iridescence – I love the subtle pattern on these, and the mesh panels are so flattering, SB always gets this right. A plain back on the reverse makes them super versatile too.

2. Euphoria – If you’re going for a striking pattern on both sides, these are the perfect choice for you. The bold, geometric print will make sure you stand out on the front row of your next yoga class!

3. Jelly Fish – There’s nothing more to say here. A jelly fish print. What more could you want?! You can get this print in a full length, 7/8 and a cute yoga short.

4. Jackie Reversible Embroidered Jacket – SB’s reversible range isn’t just about leggings, I’m lusting over this jacket! Embroidered with SBLDN on the beetle blue satin side, and a fluffy faux shearling on the other, it’d be a struggle to choose which to wear.

5. Strappy Yoga Bra – A pretty lilac on one side, and wear-with-anything black on the other, this will become a wardrobe staple for me. I hope they bring it out more colours!

With these reversible items, and lots more in the range, there are so many reasons to expand your workout wardrobe. Not that I ever need much convincing! Keep reminding yourself that you’re basically getting two for the price of one…and what’s not to love about that?

I am a Sweaty Betty ambassador and receive gifts/discounts throughout the year. All views  my own.