Sunday thoughts: 28th September 2014

Would you believe that I almost didn’t write Sunday thoughts this week? I know, right?!

See, I spent yesterday at VegfestUK and came back all full of thoughts and tastes and photos, and thought – why don’t I just post my Vegfest round-up and leave a Sunday thoughts-style post for later in the week?

But then I remembered all the awesome things about this week and of course, I realised that Sunday thoughts are great because they are a chance to reflect on the week before gearing up for another. So, here are the last Sunday thoughts of September!

And breakfast is served! #vegan

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First, thank you to everyone who donated to the Alzheimer’s Society on behalf of Ben! He hit his target within 4 days of setting up his JustGiving page thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and clients. I feel so humbled and I know Ben does too, so again a big thank you! Unfortunately he finished behind his target time, due to an injury about two-thirds of the way in – a runner ahead threw his bottle cap onto the road rather than launching it wide, right under Ben’s shoe – but at least the box is ticked and he now has no desire to tackle distance running ever again.

Anyway, let’s get on with these thinkings! Don’t forget to scroll all the way to the end – whether you read this whole post or not – to find out who the winner of the Nakd bar giveaway is!

New things I have learnt this week

  • Plugging away with my recertification-oriented research, I tackled an article I had irrationally been dreading. It was entitled (well, it still is entitled), “Focus of Attention for Strength and Conditioning” and I assumed it would be full of ultra-technical terms and experiments on sports-specific drills and talk of winning matches. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I was hooked! In a nutshell, the article referred to a number of studies around different components of athletic performance – such as strength training, strength-endurance, speed, agility, and balance – all of which found that an external focus yielded greater results than an internal focus. For example, thinking of reaching the finishing line as quickly as possible is more effective than thinking of moving your legs as fast as possible. Interestingly, shifts as subtle as “think of clawing the ground with your shoe” vs. “think of clawing the ground with your foot” produced more successful results. Unfortunately, I use the exact opposite technique with my clients, trying to get them to feel their bodies and understand their movements… But then I guess I am more focussed on developing the sort of mindsets that will stay with them for life, in and out of the gym, than I am in achieving one outstanding result at a time. But maybe I shall try to implement the shift and see how that works!
  • Another surprisingly interesting article which I had been skirting around: “Are All Hip Extension Exercises Created Equal” – sounds thrilling, right? Well, actually, I was fascinated. Basically, the article reminds coaches to consider at what part of a particular movement the tension on the muscles is greatest. Even if we perform the same exercise, placing our bodies at different angles to begin with (think, seated hamstring curl vs. lying hamstring curl) uses gravity to create a greater pull on the muscles being used, at different points in the movement. So, if you are training for a sport that places significant demand on a muscle when it is extended, say, you are better off selecting an exercise that creates the greatest tension when your muscle is extended. Not immediately relevant to me or my clients, but all very necessary food for thought!
  • I also read this highly interesting and valid piece on Doctor Skeptic about the importance of replicating experiments, and why so few are. Revolution please.

New things I have eaten this week

  • Can you believe I had never had a mocha until this week? As a lover of all things chocolate and all things coffee (especially espresso chocolate…!), I am more than a little surprised at myself. It’s not something I would make a habit of having as it is obviously higher in calories than my usual oolong tea order, but it so completely hit the spot that it will undoubtedly be my go-to treat in the cooler weather!
  • With my parents visiting on Friday evening, we had dinner at Le Comptoir Libanais, which I expected to be very vegan-friendly as most Lebanese food tends to be. Oddly, I was told that none of the mains were vegan except the falafel wrap and the falafel salad (in the end, my dad ordered the aubergine tagine I had had my eye on, and it was about 85% couscous so I think I got the better deal). The wrap was generous and for an extra pound or so you can upgrade to a “platter” and get hummus and a salad with it. The wrap was pretty dry, but a smear of hummus solved that problem quite handily.
  • Last but not least, I tasted my way through no small amount of samples at VegfestUK, but those will have to wait until this week when I can tell you all about them! I was going to give you a sneak preview of the inside of a ConsiderIt Chocolate truffle bar, but I ate it all before I could get to my camera.

Other highlights this week

  • Training more! Ben is piloting a training programme on me which has involved some pretty taxing balance work and some cross-trainer sessions, and although that is all horrible at the time, it really does make me feel a lot more like myself. This is the best I have felt in months.
  • I got the bestestest parcel this week! A new hoodie and sweatpants from BAM‘s new autumn range, plus they chucked in a whole bunch of fun colourful socks, and some super comfy briefs. The hoodie is so perfect, just the right cut, nice and cosy for cooler mornings, and the funnel neck means I don’t have a hood bunching up all around my neck so it’s much more comfortable to work in. I will be writing up a more comprehensive post on their range, and attempting to take some decent photos of myself wearing their products, over the next few weeks!
  • Seeing my parents on Friday evening, after a bit of training and a bit of work. Everyone was in good spirits and we laughed a lot. And my parents brought us two beautiful slates from their travels, which are perfect for breakfasts!Welsh slate and croissants
  • VegfestUK was fun, but that goes without saying. I love the vest I bought from the TeenVGN stall, which I got to wear today as the weather was so surprisingly pleasant, and I’m super excited about my bold and bright Benecos nail polishes – “green way” (teal green), “sparkles” (royal blue), and “mighty orange” (that one is self-explanatory)! It was great this time to chat to stallholders and connect with the businesses a little bit more.

That’s about it for the big highlights, but really it’s been a good week; the right amount of busy days and lie-ins, tasty wholesome food and fun treats, research and mindless TV. But let’s not forget we have a winner to announce!

Nakd bars

Christine, comment number 1, you are the winner of the Nakd bar giveaway!

You told us your go-to snack is pre-portioned bags of fruit and nuts, so I hope you will enjoy the bars. Just drop me an email and let me know where I’m sending them to!

On that note, I’m off to sift through VegfestUK photos and memories. Have a lovely, relaxing and hopefully sunny Sunday! xoxo