GJS Tries Pole Dancing Fitness

August 25, 2013

Yesterday I went to Urbantrix, Birmingham for my first session of Pole Fitness. Note I said pole FITNESS not pole dancing – there are no stilettos, glitter or thongs involved so some of you may want to stop reading now if you were expecting a different kind of result from your internet search 😉

The class started with a warm up of star jumps and press ups followed by some stretches using the pole. Then over the course of an hour the instructor Lucille and her colleague Emily worked through the Bronze syllabus (yes there’s a syllabus) with us which included spins, climbs and lifts.

We started with easier things such as just gripping the pole from a static position and raising the knees to chest (much harder than it looks) and gradually built up over the hour to attempting more complicated moves which included; spinning with the pole locked behind one knee and other leg outstretched, being upside down (or trying to be) and climbing the pole and outstretching the arms in a ‘crucifix’ position, gripping the pole for dear life with your thighs.

Lucille and Emily are incredibly strong, controlled and graceful and made every move appear easy. The reality was very different and although I am strong, I found most moves physically challenging, not to mention having to remember to point my toes, straighten my legs, push my hips forward etc etc. Dismounting the pole needs a blog post all of its own but let’s just say, I was in a pile on the floor!

It was a pretty good workout, a lot of fun and very satisfying when you master a move. My only criticism would be that with 10 girls to 4 poles there was a lot of ‘rest’ time. It would have been more cardiovascular if the effort was continuous.

Lucille is a fantastic instructor, motivating and encouraging. Between her and Emily, everyone received some 121 instruction and support. The session was completed with some brief body conditioning to strengthen the core.

A day later and my biceps, triceps and core are starting to suffer from DOMS. I am sporting a mysterious, huge bruise on one arm and the backs of my knees are sore from being hooked around the pole. It’s good pain and I’m definitely going back.

Classes are run at various locations around Birmingham. For more information visit the Facebook page BodySynergyUK or http://www.bodysynergy.co.uk/services/polefitness/class-information-poledanceclassesbirmingham



GJS Tries Meditation (unsuccessfully!)

August 14, 2013

I like to take an holistic approach to my health & fitness. With this in mind, I attended a guided, group session in ‘mindfulness & meditation’ today. The benefits of meditation are widely reported but for the uninitiated, take a look at the info contained in this link:


There were about 20 attendees and the instructor asked us to sit with our feet planted on the floor & our eyes closed and coached us to concentrate on our breathing. We were instructed to let anything entering our minds be registered as thoughts and immediately let go of. Cycles of in breath were counted, then out breath, then both together.

I sat quietly, listening to my breathing……this lasted for approximately 1 minute.

For a further 19 minutes I sat and thought about the noises I could hear outside, the day I’d had, a gift I’d forgotten to purchase, whether I could open my eyes without being caught, what time I could catch my train if I left now, ways to leave without appearing rude…… Eventually I did a runner and no doubt my rustling bags and stiletto heels disturbed everyone.

I think it’s fair to say that meditation is not for me. I find it impossible to quiet my mind and be still. Even at home, I have to be active and cannot just sit and relax. I am probably exactly the sort of person who would benefit from meditation!

If you are a meditation practitioner and can offer some tips on how to do it successfully, please leave a comment below or tweet me @gymjunkieshell

New Gym Kit

July 26, 2013


Call me shallow but I always feel a little more motivated to train when I have new kit to wear. I’ve treated myself to a few items from http://www.bodybuilding.com and the package arrived today – see pic.

I love the tongue-in-cheek slogans, great colours and soft feel material. It’s something a little different and a change from my usual Nike ensemble.

Check out the website. I’m not a bodybuilder nor do I want to be but there were plenty of great items that caught my eye.

GJS Tries The 5BX Workout

July 21, 2013


A recent issue of Ultra Fit Magazine (UK) included a simple workout requiring no equipment and less than 30 minutes to complete. It is five basic moves, each performed five times before moving on to the next, at 30/30 intervals (30 seconds effort/30 seconds rest). The moves are:

Press Ups
Bicycle Crunch (chinnies)

I gave it go, reducing the rest period to 15 seconds to increase the challenge and save on time. The squats and crunches felt comfortable (I’m fairly strong in these areas) but the press up and burpees were tough, by the third set of each of these I was feeling very fatigued. Set five felt impossible. Completing five rounds of skipping straight after burpees just about finished me off!

It’s really straightforward and can be done at home or on holiday, no need for a gym. Well worth a try. Beginners and intermediate will be sufficiently challenged. If you are advanced you may want to add equipment such as a barbell on the squats or ankle weights when skipping.

The advantages of this workout are its simplicity and the ability to easily increase (or decrease) the intensity by altering pace, depth or height – try doing the press ups with your feet raised on a bench or adding a tuck jump onto the burpee.

Must-Try Circuit

June 4, 2013

I have restarted my weekly personal training at Fighting Fit City Gym and the circuit I was given in my first session back was so bad (but good!) I have to share it. Without a rest between stations:

10 Press ups, bear crawl across a ladder, 10 more Press ups

5 TRX Rows & 5 TRX Jump Squats – alternate for 1 minute

Walking lunges (with oblique twist) carrying a Bulgarian bag for 1 minute

10 Press ups, bear crawl across a ladder, 10 more Press ups

1 minute on the Burn Machine

5 Medicine ball throws against a wall & 5 Squats – alternate for 1 minute

Flip a punchbag over continuously for 1 minute

It was tough but energising. Its now the morning after the night before and there are some twinges going on in my shoulders and core. I suspect tomorrow the DOMS will have really kicked in.

The equipment is available in most gyms but as an alternative you could complete dumbbell punches instead of the burn machine, use a power bag/barbell for the walking lunges and a tyre/ heavy powerbag for the flips. Give it a go.

GJS Tries the 300 Kettlebell Challenge

May 24, 2013

I recently came across this free app called the ‘300 Kettlebell Challenge’.


It is a Kettlebell workout consisting of 50 double handed swings, 50 high pulls, 50 snatches, 50 clean and presses, 50 reverse lunges and 50 squat presses. A timer records the duration of your workout and there is an option to upload your result to a ‘Hall of Fame’.

There are short video clips to demonstrate each move which you can view at the start and also as you go along if you need a reminder on technique and form. These vids are optional, you can just jump straight in and start the challenge if you wish. After you’ve completed each exercise you select ‘next’ and you will be prompted for the next exercise.

It’s a really simple app which requires minimal fuss and faffing for a fairly tough (but quick) workout. The time for my first attempt was 12:48 and I used a 12KG bell. By the end of it I was hot and sweating. I was tempted to take a break several times but knowing I was on the clock motivated me to keep going (albeit slowly). My aim now is to complete the challenge every day and start to sped up and gradually increase the weight. The best time in the Hall of Fame is currently 07:30 so I’ve got a way to go yet.

For a freebie it’s pretty good and well worth a try. Give it a go and let me know your times at @gymjunkieshell on Twitter.

Kettlebells are a really effective functional training tool that offer fast results without hours of slogging it out. If you live in the Sandwell area, come and try my express kettlebell class on Thursdays at 0745 am at the new Tipton leisure Centre off Thursfield Road.


GJS Tries BuggyFit

April 16, 2013

It can be difficult getting to the gym regularly when you have a newborn. Finding the time, energy and babysitter isn’t easy. Then there is the military-style planning required to express milk, pack gym and baby essentials and get yourself and your mini-me out of the house not only on time but without mishap (milky mouths and exploding nappies to name a few). So I was pleased to be offered a free trial session of BuggyFit – an outdoor workout for mums where baby comes along.

I went along on a dry, fresh April morning which was perfect for training outdoors. The session began with straightforward mobility moves (toe taps, heels digs, step touch) and then a walk. It was in the local woods where there were lots of hilly paths to follow and after a few minutes of pushing myself, buggy and baby up & down the peaks, I was very warm. Regular attendees were encouraged to pick up the pace whilst the instructor strolled with the new recruits and explained how the class worked, ability levels, pricing and safety.

Once warmed up, the main component of the session was a circuit-style workout involving press ups, lunges, squats (rolling out the buggy as you lower down), planks, triceps dips and shoulder presses. Between each station there was a power walk (with baby & buggy). The instructor bought along resistance bands to add intensity and we moved around to different locations within the woods to use benches, logs and kerbs as ‘equipment’. The instructor knew most of the babies individually and was happy to buggy-sit for the mums who wanted to run.

I enjoyed the variety, location, fresh air and ability to have baby with me whilst I exercised. The instructor was friendly, knowledgeable in post-natal exercise and offered different things for different abilities. As a new mum of relatively good strength and fitness, the session was not quite challenging enough but beginners and intermediate would get a good workout. Another plus is the social aspect. Almost all of the mums had been coming for some time and established friendships. BuggyFit offered lots of opportunities to chat to one another as there was work in groups and pairs.

No special kit is required and you don’t need a particular kind of pushchair . Just turn up in your trainers, weather appropriate clothing and bring a drink. The pricing offered was to pay for 6 sessions with a 10 week period in which to use them, perfect if you cannot commit to going every week.

For more information visit http://www.buggyfit.co.uk


Come to the gym, work your a$$ off

March 12, 2013

In need of motivation to go to the gym? Take 10 minutes to check this video out (contains bad language):


Body Conditioning Choreography

March 3, 2013

Whilst planning choreography for my classes for the week ahead, I came across this blog post from Pure Energy Digital. Its a handy read for fellow instructors and also gives participants an insight into what goes in to putting together a body conditioning class that hits the spot.


The Blog is Back

February 21, 2013

Welcome back to the blog! I hope that you are stuck in to working towards those New Year fitness goals and making good progress. Late Feb/early March is usually a ‘make or break’ period when motivation either surges as you get into the rhythm of your new regime or it crashes completely as your good intentions start flagging- just look around your gym and consider how many of the new members that joined in January are still there.

As you know, I took a break towards the end of last year to start maternity leave. Now that baby is here I have recently commenced working towards my own set of new fitness goals in a bid to regain my pre-pregnancy figure whilst juggling new commitments. I am also returning to work – In March i’ll be teaching the following classes:

Mondays 1930-2030 Legs, Tums & Bums at Tipton Swimming Baths

Tuesdays 2000-2030 Extreme Abs at Tipton Sports Academy

Tuesdays 2030-2100 ViPR at Tipton Sports Academy

Fridays 1730-1830 Thighs, Tums & Bums at Dough Ellis Sports Centre

Once I’m back into my stride there will be some blog posts coming up on fitness trends, workouts to try out and other fitness related bits and pieces I come across.

%d bloggers like this: