Still not enough to be a Proclaimer…

The 100th day team: Helen, Duncan, me, Becca

The 100th day team: Helen, Duncan, me, Becca

It’s done. 100 days of 5km runs completed. In all in aid of the 100 Day Fitness Challenge.

In summary

  • Over 500km run since the 23 September 2013.
  • More than 51,000 calories burned (according to Endomondo)
  • Two pairs of trainers run through.
  • Three parkruns completed.
  • One epic fall into a ditch.
  • 7 minutes off my slowest to quickest time.
  • 2.5 inches off my waist and belly.
  • 2 inches off my hips.
  • 99 washes of my sports bra each night.
parkrun 21 December 2013

parkrun 21 December 2013

For some of you it’s a stupid challenge. All that repetitive exercise, no rest day, no cross training…

For others it’s just ridiculous to even contemplate it. Running for the train is an issue.

And there are those who shrug and say ‘yeah I could do that’.

But it’s not about what you all think, it really is all about me. And not in a ‘look at me’ kind of way, because I wouldn’t recommend it or suggest you do it! But in a ‘what can I learn from this?’ way, what can it teach me about me that I can use in future endeavours.

So what have I learned?

That I need, need, need to make my goals public. As soon as it’s out there I am all over it. I won’t let myself down if I have to answer to others.

That there are no short cuts or ways out. No, there was not one day that I didn’t run. No, I didn’t miss a day then run twice the next day. No, I never walked one of them. Why? Because that wasn’t the plan.

That whilst many people will remind you that the journey to a goal has to be enjoyable too. Sometimes the achievement of the goal has to be a bigger pull than the pissy, boring journey (which at times it was).

That you need people around you who won’t let you give up. There were times when it was late in the day, dark and cold outside and my husband never once uttered the words “well it’s up to you”, or “you don’t have to go”.

That starting out with a goal in mind doesn’t mean you’ll know how you are going to get there. Just start it and see where it takes you. After all I started out as an unhappy plodder, I’ve finished as a happy runner.

Compared to last year’s burpee challenge this one was definitely mentally tougher, it needed more planning as it took more of my time each day but is more likely to become a lifestyle choice whereas the burpees weren’t likely to!

What next? Well, I won’t be hanging up my running shoes that’s for sure. It has been a fantastic boost to my health and as I love being outside I’ve benefited from the extra time outdoors.

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Other than that I really don’t know. I know that as you get to the end of one target you should have your next one in place so that you can proceed with gusto into the next success story of your life, but I think for now I will be focussing on my business, keeping my running going for my own mental and physical well-being and deciding what little challenge I can focus on next.

If you’d like to donate to the 100 Day Fitness Challenge Charity in support of this ridiculous challenge, I’d be very grateful. You can donate via Just Giving here
–> – thank you 🙂 — We’ve already raised an amazing £1626.57 from the Sunday Wake Up! sessions.



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The perfect Christmas Food

Last night, in a moment of whimsey, I asked my facebook community what their favourite Christmas foods were and why.

There were some unusual suggestions like jelly with your mince pies and cream, roast pork and crackling and cracked crab from an American friend.

But of course there were the usual suspects like pigs in blankets, Christmas pud swamped in brandy sauce/butter/cream and, my own favourites, Brussel sprouts and roast potatoes.

This year I have discovered sprouts all over again. I’ve always liked them, but I where I would usually steam or boil them, I have now discovered the perfect way (in my opinion) to cook them.

Wash and remove the odd outer leaf or two if necessary. Trim the base a little.

Then cut into 3 slices from top to stem.

Either roast them in the oven with other root vegetables, or my absolute favourite, fry them in coconut oil or lard or dripping and season generously. My word! There is no going back from there!

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No more slightly-squishy-and-yellow-because-you-steamed-them-too-long-sprouts. But good-golly-they’re-fab-I-hope-there-are-seconds-sprouts.

As for roast potatoes, what would a roast dinner be without a golden, crispy roast spud? So the question is what fat to cook them in?

Despite all the health claims about animal fats being bad for our hearts, you’ll be doing yourself a big healthy favour if you DITCH the sunflower oil this Christmas and cook your potatoes in a good, tasty animal fat like goose, duck or the fat from the turkey.

They’ll taste delicious, be better for you and you’ll have no leftovers!

If you are a vegetarian or are entertaining one then cook their potatoes in coconut oil. These are just as good and just as healthy. Hooray! Everyone is happy.

coconoilRemember to pre-cook the potatoes first, pre-heat the oil in the pan and make sure you baste them during their cooking time. They’re ready when they are golden and crispy.

Mmm, I am getting hungry just thinking about them!

Whatever your favourite foods are this Christmas. Enjoy them 🙂


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Are you keeping up?

Whether it’s ‘5 a day’ for your fruit and veg intake or ‘10,000 a day for the steps you’re supposed to do to stay healthily active, 2 litres of water to be drunk a day or 8 hours of sleep to be taken, I do think that many of us are missing the mark and it’s to our long term detriment.

Flowery Salad

Flowery Salad

How many people do you know who really (honestly) eat 5 portions of fresh vegetables and fruit a day, every day? I bet it’s not very many. Given that 5 is the figure chosen by the Department for Health you may be surprised to learn that in France they’re advised 10, in Denmark 6 and in Japan 13 portions of vegetables and 4 fruit. That’s the equivalent of 3 days of British intake 🙂

The same goes for activity. I’ve been wearing a Jawbone UP! device on my wrist for about a week or so to track my activity and sleep. We’re advised to move for about 10,000 steps a day. But do you really know how many that is?

A 5k run takes me about half an hour. This alone is not 10,000 steps and even with errands, going to see massage clients and running Fit Camp there are days when I still don’t make the required amount.

I really wonder how many steps an office based worker, who does no exercise, actually manages each day. I’ll be surprised if it is much over 1500.



Sleeping is not much better with experts telling us to sleep between 7-8 hours each night. My UP! has shown that I am lucky if I get 6 1/2 each day. I am apparently seriously lacking in the sleep department!

So what does this mean?

In an ideal world we wouldn’t have guidelines as we’d all be able to tune into what our bodies need to thrive optimally. However the noise of technology, the numbing of social media and the continuous bombardment of fast food means that we’ve become numb and ambivalent to these basic requirements for our body.

  • Fresh food
  • Clean water
  • Movement
  • Rest

What do we need to do to make sure that these figures don’t demoralise us, but remind us that by making these few changes we can improve our health, our lifestyle and ultimately our longevity?

  • Do you make sure you meet these guidelines each day?
  • Do you have a strategy for hitting the target each day or week?
  • Maybe you have devised your own targets that you keep to?
  • Maybe you do nothing at all.

Whatever it is, share your feedback and let’s see if we can help each other to keep up for our own individual success.

Join me on Saturday 4 January for my FREE  ‘Let us make 2014 our healthiest year yet’.
Everyone has an ideal health or weight or fitness dream.
What’s your dream?
As a group we really can make our health dreams come true!



Strickers Blog

Keeping your eye on the prize

2013-08-23 14.04.46

Today is day 80 of the 100 Day Fitness Challenge I set myself to run 5km every day for 100 days.

Day 80. I can’t really believe it. The end is so close that it teases me as I work out how many Tuesdays are left or early morning runs I’ll need to do before I can have a day off on January 1st.

The thing is that I have just this week started to enjoy it. Not just like it, but really enjoy it. The kind of enjoyment that has seen me running with a smile on my face for the first time in 2.5 months. Where I have wanted to run faster, not just get around. Where I don’t mind what time of day I run, I just want to get out there and knock another one on the head. Where (heaven forbid) I was driving home one night from Fit Camp at 9pm quite sad that I had already done my run for the day and didn’t need to go out and do one 🙂

If I’d have listened to my inner chatter around day 35 I would have believed that it was a stupid idea and given up.

If I’d managed to get through that but then listened to my mind telling me to consider stopping the challenge at day 55 because my leg was getting painful to run on, I would have stopped and rested and missed out on this feeling.

So I am glad that despite the voices I created for myself nagging away at me I was able to stand resolute in what I set out to do. I set myself some values for this challenge which have kept me pursuing this achievement even when times got tough.

  • I value the achievement more than quitting.
  • Making it public meant it was never an option to quit early.
  • I value what the practice of doing something everyday does to you. You have good days and bad days, you get better and there are days when you are worse, this you can apply to anything in life that you strive for.
  • I never set out with the intention of liking or even enjoying running. It was the process I wanted to conquer. To prove how deliberate, continuous action will get you to where you want to go, even if you don’t know how you are going to get there.

And where did I want to go? To 31 December, 2013 with my last run ahead of me, 99 behind me knowing that I am going to nail it. That’s what it’s all about.

So what next? Well did you know that the best time to start planning your next goal is just before you complete the last one?

That’s what’s next. Finding a new challenge whether it be physical, personal or commercial to really get my teeth into. I’ll be chewing that over on my next run out.

If you’d like to set yourself some really exciting targets for 2014, come along to my free event on Saturday 4 January where you can set out exactly what you want to achieve for your health and fitness next year.

Join me on Saturday 4 January for my FREE  ‘Let us make 2014 our healthiest year yet’.
Everyone has an ideal health or weight or fitness dream.
What’s your dream?
As a group we really can make our health dreams come true!



Strickers Blog, Upcoming Events

Guilt Free Eating

How happily do you eat your food?

By that I mean, how often do you eat a meal without ever considering whether it’s good or bad for you, has too many calories, is too sugary or just plain ‘naughty’? You just eat it and enjoy every last mouthful?

Even those words we use to define types of foods are telling aren’t they?

Bad. Naughty. Sinful. Decadent.

It got me thinking about how emotional our response to food has become and how I really believe that the thoughts you put into your eating can be as damaging as poor food choices.

Take, for example, butter.

I love butter. I only eat butter and I have no problem with finding any vehicle I can to spread it thickly on and devour. There is never any question, guilt or should-I-shouldn’t-I conversations going on because I just love it.

However I have a client who only has butter on ‘special occasions’, feels bad when choosing it, says things like ‘ oh I shouldn’t’ or more interestingly ‘I know it’s bad, but …’

What message does that send to her brain as she eats it?

It will almost certainly send her body into a state of stress that will lead to her having digestive upset. This will then link back to how she feels about that food when she eats it. And that won’t be a happy memory. She’ll validate that the food is ‘bad’ and feel ‘naughty’ for eating it, not enjoy it and regret the whole experience.

How often do you say this to yourself? Maybe on cake day in the office? Or when out for a drink with the team? Words are powerful and I encourage you to change them when you’re making food choices.

If it is cake day in the office and you decide to have a piece that day, then have it and enjoy it. And I mean really enjoy it.

Because then you won’t have to worry about.

  • Deciding that you shouldn’t eat for the rest of the day.
  • Working out how much time you need to spend in the gym to work it off.
  • Criticising yourself for being weak, useless or a failure.

I’m not suggesting you eat crap all day long. That’s not it at all. But making conscious, happy choices about your food lead to a much calmer, more even behaviour around food, which leads to a healthier and happier you.

Food is to be enjoyed. Even a McDonald’s (if that’s what you like) or a Krispy Kreme doughnut (if that’s your thing) or butter…as that’s mine 🙂

Change your words, change your thoughts and change your health.

Join me on Saturday 4 January for my FREE  ‘Let us make 2014 our healthiest year yet’.
Everyone has an ideal health or weight or fitness dream.
What’s your dream?
As a group we really can make our health dreams come true!
Strickers Blog, Upcoming Events

Change the record

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My connection with people comes in many forms but a lot of what I learn about others comes from their contribution on forums and group posts. It is usually in these areas where people are more likely to say things they may not say openly to others and it’s where, I feel, people can show their more vulnerable side. And what I am noticing recently is how many people are focussing on the lack in their lives rather than being truly proud of all they have and have achieved.

I know many people (women mainly) who aren’t content with their shape or weight. But what they do have is energy and enthusiasm to get involved in every other aspect of life from running the PTA at school, to getting involved in charity fund raising work, to hosting home parties, running after-school clubs, being a taxi service, holding down a job and raising a family.

This is big stuff.

This is time consuming stuff that fills lives so much that there is no time to stop and congratulate yourself on being a super-multi-tasking-person. But isn’t it funny how you do find time to tell yourself that you’re not good enough / slim enough / fit enough / helpful enough or as good as so-and-so?

How cruel is that?

Time for criticism but not for praise.

How would children react if that’s all they heard?

It’s time to change the record.

Write down all the truly amazing things you do and are proud of. Keep this on your phone or as list in your bag. So the next time you catch yourself criticising yourself for not ‘being (enter your own personal put down here)…enough’.


Close your eyes and take a deep breath and take out your list and read it and remind yourself how bloody great you are in spite of everything. Because you are. 🙂

Strickers Blog ,

Things I like about running part 1:

2013-08-23 14.04.461. Being outside. I just love it. I love weather of all sorts but I especially like being outside when everyone else likes to be in.

2. I love being sweaty without being hot. So exercising outside in the autumn and winter is perfect for me. You won’t see me running in the heat, but cool and cold is lovely.

3. I love the feeling of my lungs working, really working to breathe deeply, drag the air in and fill my body up.

4. I love the ease with which you can go for a run. Pop a decent bra on, bung some shoes on and off you go. You can make it complicated with arm bands, earphones, music, tracker apps and keys. But basically you can just run anywhere.

5. I love running in the dusk and dark. Simple as that.

6. I love that it controls my eating and has massively improved my digestion. I can’t eat fewer than 3 hours before, don’t want to eat afterwards. What a fab appetite control it really is.

7. I do love to check my times and splits on endomondo. I am a running app geek.

8. I love the feeling of accomplishment. Fast or slow run, hard or easy’ish, I always feel good afterwards.

9. Half an hour is all it needs. Just half an hour day to get all that. I used to teach upto 7 classes a day and feel knackered. Now I can do 30 minutes and feel alive.

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Market Trader’s Tomato Soup

So I bought all those tomatoes from Woky Joe because I just love this soup.

2013-10-05 17.32.36
A great recipe if you have a glut of tomatoes or can buy some supermarket ones on marked down price! It’s a real favourite in the Strickers household.

Fresh Tomato Soup 


10 – 12 tomatoes (the riper the better)
1 bulb of garlic
2 red onions (white will do, but red are better)
2 litres of homemade or good quality stock (chicken works well as does gammon or vegetable)
1 tbl sp coconut oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

Pre-heat your oven to 190C, 375F, gas 5.

Wash and cut you tomatoes in half.
Peel the garlic cloves.
Peel and slice the onions.
Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray, sprinkle the garlics and onion over and around the tomatoes. Dib bits of coconut oil over the veggies. Season well with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes so that the onions start to tinge and the tomatoes are well cooked.
Transfer all the vegetables into a large pot with the stock in and heat through.
Whizz with a blender.

When cooking the tomatoes lay slices of streaky bacon on top of them. Before transferring to the pan, remove the bacon and save for chopping and topping on the whizzed up soup.

Recipes, Strickers Blog

Three unusual tips for boosting your immunity this winter

Three different ways to keep super healthy this winter

Keep stress down – 

too much stress (of any type) will produce an excess of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands and they rely on a lot of B vitamins and vitamin C for optimal function. These vitamins are also essential for your energy and immunity. Therefore if you are highly stressed, sleep deprived are over exercising or eating crappy food then you will be depleting these essential vitamins at a rapid rate. You will also be producing cortisol frequently and heading for the feeling of being run down, tired and prone to illness.

Tip: Eat fewer processed foods, especially the processed and sugary ones. Top up with a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral if you are already feeling that stress is taking hold.

Manage your gut health – 

the health of your immune system stems from the health of your gut and more precisely your gut flora. By ensuring this stays in tip top condition you’ll be setting yourself up for a much better level of health. Things that damage the gut flora are poor food choices, excessive sugar, excessive processed carbohydrates, too much alcohol, medication and gluten. If you suffer with bloating, wind, regular occurrences of thrush, skin problems, digestive problems like diarrhoea or constipation then chances are you have a damaged gut.

You can start to repair it by cutting out all processed foods especially the cheaper carbohydrates like cereals, cakes, biscuits, pastas, sweets, jams and puddings. Removing or substantially reducing sugar and alcohol will make a big difference too. If you can establish whether you have allergies or intolerances to foods will also help. When you cut these out you give your body the chance to repair the gut flora naturally.

Sometimes though that’s not enough, if you are on the constant roundabout of illness ? antibiotics ? more illness ? more antibiotics then your gut flora will be really struggling as the antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in your system.

The best and simplest way to maintain good bacterial health is by ensuring you eat a good supply of foods as close to their natural state as possible. In addition to this by selecting to eat a small amount of fermented food each day you will be promoting your gut health even more. This is foods like sauerkraut, kimchi or live natural yoghurt consumed each day.

If you are in need of major gut health repair after illness or a prolonged period of a poor diet you may want to take a pro-biotic supplement which will also help to replenish the good bacteria and start to rebuild your immunity.

Tip: When you are on antibiotics take a pro-biotic 2 hours after your medication and with a small amount of food. Never take antibiotics and pro-biotics at the same time, the pro-biotics will be killed off.

Cut out the bad fats – but boost the good (and it’s not what you think)

fat gets a lot of bad press and also gets a lot of conflicting information reported about it. It is however very simple, eating natural fats is beneficial and necessary. It is unfortunately the over consumption of cheap, processed oils and vegetable fats that have been shown to be the cause of inflammatory conditions like heart disease, clogged arteries and cancer.

Choose animal fats, coconut oil, butter and lard for cooking. Use cold pressed extra-virgin olive, seed or nut oils as dressings or supplements. These oils will be in dark, glass bottles and harder to find. The oil found in clear, plastic bottles is of a poor quality and damaging to our cells, so ultimately damaging to our health. They should be avoided.

Do eat butter, lard, dripping or duck and goose fats. These fats are not at all bad for us and our body needs them and uses them well. Saturated fat improves and enhances our immune system so we become more protected from infections. It is also the preferential energy source for the heart. Think of it as heart friendly, not heart damaging despite what you read in the papers.

Finally, and this is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but during the summer do make sure that you get sunlight on your unprotected skin. I am not suggesting burning in the sun, that is damaging. But the action of sun on the skin will produce vitamin D which has been shown to be especially important in immune health. Every time you cover up or slap on the sun cream you stop that effect and stop all chances of this perfectly natural process.

If you are lucky enough, have time enough or are inclined enough do take winter holidays in a sunny climate. Think of it for medicinal purposes!

Get yourself healthy with these few simple changes and you’ll be well on the road to a healthier, happier winter this year.

And not one mention of eating oranges or taking a daily Berocca.

Strickers Blog

100 Day Fitness Challenge 2013

100 day challenge preferred logoMany of you will remember that a year ago I came up with the idea of the 100 Day Fitness Challenge and made it a charity fund raising event. It was great fun, lead to me launching the 100 Day Health & Fitness Challenge product and generally pushed me into a whole area of new skills and activities I’d never done before.

My own personal 100 Day Challenge was to do 100 burpees for 100 days and this I did and told you how it felt to be 10,000 burpees down by the end of it – HERE.

This year I need a new challenge. I did consider doing burpees again, after all they are quick to get through, incredibly efficient in terms of changing your shape quickly and improving your fitness. But I thought “nah, because I’ve done them before I won’t enjoy it as much, won’t feel challenged and will probably give up on them”. I reckon that when you talk about giving up before you’ve even started then you’re never going to make that desire come true.

So I wanted something I could do every day, for 100 days that would challenge me, but not ruin me. It was also not to take over my life and I was going to have to be able to do it anywhere in case I found myself away from home during the 100 days.

So, I’ve come up with it.

I am going to run at least 5km every day for 100 days. I won’t miss a day and then do 10km the next. Every day at least 5km.

Now for some of you this is a doddle. But not for me. I am not a natural runner. I am merely ‘a plodder’ and I am an anti-social one at that as I don’t like to chat as I go along, I much prefer my own thoughts. In fact I don’t ‘do‘ running and I have said to many people this year that I have no interest in it. However that is the challenge, to get myself out there each day and tick the box. I like that kind of structure.

So if you see me from 23 September to 31 December plodding around Wokingham, give me a shout, wave or toot! It will keep me going and be all for the good of the charity challenge.

If you’d like to get involved in the 100 Day Fitness Challenge or the World Record Challenge on Sunday 17 November please complete this sign up box below and get yourself involved in some way!


See how we did it last year!

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