The ELLE Fitness Blog: Post Twelve

Rebekah Billingsley, Deputy Digital Director, I am superchick

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Now, I only sprint for my morning train these days which is on a needs-must basis, so it’s a bit of a shock to hear I’ll be sprinting for any other purpose. In public. However, we get a full and clear introduction on how to sprint from Cat which really isn’t just a case of putting one foot in front of the other as quickly as possible.

In fact, sprinting is all about core strength and is fabulous for the abs (which makes sense if you think about those buff female athletes). Sprinting properly involves lifting the head high, pulling the shoulders back, pulling your tummy in and working your arms. The secret is actually all in the arms; you need to use them by pulling them back, keeping elbows in and the faster you move your arms, the faster your legs will automatically go. And like all the other things Cat has told me, it’s true!

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In two groups, we’re given the starting orders and run about 100 metres each time before walking leisurely back to the start. Each time, we’re asked to focus on only our posture and our arms and sure enough, we see our speeds increasing. I also felt that by concentrating on my arms, I didn’t feel my legs get tired.

In fact, we did about five sprints then a mini circuit of sit ups and planks, another set of sprints and another set of ab exercises. When I thought we were about halfway through the session, we were actually finished. Amazing.

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But the best surprise was at the end of the session after we’d cooled down when Cat produced one of the most welcome facts I’ve ever heard when exercising. The best thing to have as soon as you finish working out is a chocolate milkshake. That’s right, our trainer was telling us to down a chocolate milkshake. Apparently, the combination of ‘things’ are exactly right for building muscle as long as you drink it within 30 minutes of finishing your workout and it’s low fat. Frijj is the best and I should know, as Cat whipped one out of her bag and gave it to me as a prize. Sprints and milkshakes, I’m am loving being a superCHICK.

Alice Watt, Fashion Intern, Kettlebells at Virgin Active

After a somewhat gluttonous week of eating, drinking and socialising, I had neglected the gym and began to feel extremely guilty. When a free evening came along, it was time for an overdue work-out.

First up was a short kettlebells session with my personal trainer. Using a mixture of the 4kg and 8kg weights, it was a much more energetic class than usual. As well as the usual squats and stretches, I incorporated jumping, lunges, twists and sit-ups as well as lifting the weight in positions varying from lying on the floor to lunging and passing the weight through my legs. Surprisingly I didn’t find it as difficult as I had expected- perhaps the week off had spurred me to work extra hard. Noticing I wasn’t sweating as much he’d hoped, the trainer really pushed me in the final stages. The dreaded opposing ball was brought out and this time I was forced to squat while lifting weights- not enjoyable at all but it’s always good to be pushed, and I probably wouldn’t have done this without the trainer’s enthusiasm.

After a short break I decided to push my heart rate higher with some cardio. First up was the bike. I haven’t used one of these in years and I’d forgotten how much I hate them! After ten minutes I’d had enough so headed on to the cross trainer and running machines. With my headphones plugged in, I sweated it out to EastEnders and then, with rather wobbly legs, headed home. A good, all-round work out, but well overdue. Now it’s time for it all over again tonight!

Click here to see Alice's last post

Amy Lawrenson, Web Beauty Assistant, British Military Fitness

The lovely Laura, BMF’s PR decided to intervene in my training. I have been pretty down in the dumps in some of my posts about being the slowest at running club; so she decided to take me to one of BMF’s military classes. Split into low, medium and high blue, followed by low medium and high red, Laura decided we would go in at the middle and join the high blue team. The hour consisted of jogging to different points in the park and then stopping to do all manner of military-style exercises from lunges and sit-ups to team-work relay races and squat thrusts. An hour later I felt like I had done a good work-out but the whole thing was very manageable (dare I say easy?)

About three years ago I tried out a BMF class, started in low blues and couldn’t walk for three days after. What a difference three running classes make. I spoke to Chris, the running instructor, after my class and he agreed his running classes have been called “a bit of a killer” and I have to agree. I don’t feel bad about being at the back of the running club now. Also, I can see where the running club fits into BMF. Between each slot of exercises the groups have to run to get to the next point. In the blue groups there is quite a lot of recovery time; in the reds that time is reduced. Running club is there to help blue team members improve their running to make that next step into the red teams. Not only that but it gives members a bit of variety.

I’ll be attempting a red class next Wednesday, so I’ll let you know how I get on then.

Click to read about Rebekah and Amy's results...

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