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Warm Up With This Healthy, Hearty And Herby Stew from BOSH!


Jonathan Shannon

Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 15:43

Photograph: Lizzie Mayson

Before Greggs were wowing the good people of this country with sausage rolls that were both vegan and widely regarded as delicious, the foodies behind BOSH! were doing it for other traditionally meaty fare – burgers, lasagne, chilli and more – through wildly popular videos on social media and recipe books.

Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, are staying one step ahead of Greggs with their new cookbook, which focuses on the healthy side of vegan food, often by tamping down the fat content – Gregg’s vegan sausage roll, for the record, is high in both fat and saturated fat.

We don’t expect this healthy turn to mean the dishes will be any less flavourful: our experience of the previous cookbook, BISH BASH BOSH!, is that the BOSH! guys expertly call on herbs, spices, rich ingredients like yeast extract and simple culinary techniques to fill the flavour void left by the absence of animal fat.

While we’re digging into the new BOSH! Healthy Vegan this week for a forthcoming review, the duo have shared this winter warmer for you to try. As long as you don’t skip any ingredients we wager this will match any meat-based stew.

BOSH! Hearty, Herby Stew Recipe

Ingredients (Serves Two)

  • 3 echalion (banana) 
shallots (about 100g)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stick
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 250g new potatoes
  • 400g canned green lentils in water
  • 400g canned cannellini beans in water
  • 200g cavolo nero
  • 15g fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 50ml white wine
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 500ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1tsp yeast extract (eg Marmite)
  • 2tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Prep the ingredients. Peel and finely dice the shallots, peel and grate the garlic, peel and finely chop the carrots, trim and thinly slice the celery, pick the thyme and rosemary leaves from the sprigs and finely chop, and thinly slice the sage leaves. Slice any larger potatoes so they are all a similar size. Drain and rinse the green lentils and cannellini beans. Remove the tough stems from the cavolo nero and shred the leaves. Roughly chop the parsley and halve the lemon.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook, stirring, for four to five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Add the thyme and rosemary and stir for a further minute. Add the wine and simmer for one minute.
  4. Add the vegetable stock, water, bay leaf and mustard and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the new potatoes and cook for 12-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender, then taste and season to perfection with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the lentils and cannellini beans to the stew, along with the juice of half the lemon, and simmer for three to four minutes.
  6. Add the cavolo nero, sage, yeast extract, 10g of the parsley and stir for two minutes. Taste the stew, check the tenderness of the potatoes and season again with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle the stew into bowls, squeeze over lemon juice to taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with the nutritional yeast and the remaining parsley and serve immediately with crusty wholemeal bread.

BOSH! Healthy Vegan by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby is out now (HQ, HarperCollins)

How To Do The Hammer Press


Nick Harris-Fry

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 17:01

You can have too much of a good thing in almost every aspect of life, and weight training is no different. The traditional and ever-popular bench press and dumbbell bench press are both brilliant moves for bulking up your chest, but overdo them and you can place undue stress on your shoulders, an area of the body that you really don’t want to injure if you want to see the inside of the gym again any time soon.

If you are worried about the strain on your shoulders but still want to work your chest and triceps, the hammer press is a great alternative to the standard bench press. By changing your grip so your palms face each other (also known as a neutral grip), you reduce the stress on the shoulders. The move also moves some of the focus to the triceps over the chest muscles, but rest assured your pecs are still getting a good pump.

By using dumbbells instead of a barbell for your chest presses, you can also identify and then work on any strength imbalances in your body. If your right side is doing all the work in your bench press, the hammer press will quickly reveal that when your left side struggles to complete half the reps in your set.

How To Do The Hammer Press

Lie on a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bring the dumbbells up to the sides of your chest, keeping your grip neutral. Press the dumbbells up above your chest until your arms are fully extended. Bring the weights back down slowly until you feel a stretch in your chest, then press them overhead again.

Hammer Press Variations

Incline hammer press

If you do the hammer press on a bench set at an incline, the upper chest muscles will take more of the workload. Set up a bench at a 45° angle and then lie holding a dumbbell in each hand by your chest with a neutral grip. Press the weights up above your chest, then bring them back down under control.

You Can Now Save Your Apple Watch Workouts To Strava Directly


Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 15:31

The Apple Watch is the most popular wearable in the world, and that’s in no small way because of its sports and activity tracking features. Strava, for its part, is one of the most popular activity sharing apps in the world. Considering those two facts, it’s been more than a little annoying not to be able to sync workouts tracked in the Apple Watch’s native Workout app to Strava directly.

There are workarounds. You can use another app to track your workouts on the watch that did sync to Strava. You can even use the Strava app. However, the Apple Watch’s native Workout app is better than most third-party sports apps available – for one, it can make use of the Series 5’s always-on screen, something third-party watch apps like Strava cannot. The other solution is to use the Workout app and then pay for a third-party app like RunGap or HealthFit, which could take the workout data and export it to Strava for you.

From now on, however, you can use that Workout app and sync it to Strava! That’s because Strava is now integrated with Apple’s HealthKit, which is where your workout data goes after you save it on the watch.

It is not, however, fuss-free. It requires more faff than with most wearables. If you save a workout on a Garmin, Polar or Fitbit device, for example, you can have it set up to automatically sync to Strava. With the Apple Watch you have to manually import that workout to your Strava profile each time, taking you a couple of extra clicks. Looking on the bright side, some people might prefer to have the option of sending everything to Strava or just some workouts.

You also have to set it up in the first place if you want to take advantage of the new integration – it won’t happen magically. First you need to go to your Strava profile on your iPhone, select Settings, then Applications, Services, and Devices, and then Connect with Health. Apple will then jump in asking you to confirm the set-up – tick all the categories there to complete the link.

Once you’ve done that, the workouts you have done in the past 30 days will show up automatically on your Strava profile, and you can select which ones you want to import in your Strava feed. Then, in future, you’ll get a notification from the Strava app when you save a workout so you can pop in and then import it to your feed.

The ability to sync workouts from the Apple Watch’s native app to Strava easily really should have been standard on the device from the off – like it is on almost every other wearable – but better late than never. Enjoy all that extra kudos coming your way on Strava!

A Straightforward Gym Machine Workout Plan For Beginners


Jonathan Shannon

Friday, February 14, 2020 - 16:47

Setting foot in a gym for the very first time can be an intimidating experience. Most people gravitate towards a cardio machine like the treadmill or exercise bike, because we all know how a bike and our legs work. That’s all well and good, but there’s another set of gym machines that we recommend trying while you find your feet – the weights machines.

“Weights machines are really easy to execute,” says Dan Petersen, health and fitness manager at DW Fitness First on Tottenham Court Road in London. “They typically follow quite basic lines of movement. For example, a chest press is a straight push away from the body, and because it doesn’t require so much focus on stability compared with free weights, people find it a little easier.

“They’re what we call compound movements – two or more joints in action. Taking the chest press again, the elbow and shoulder joints move, which gets to work your front shoulder, pectorals and triceps. So with weights machines you’re able to hit large volumes of muscle at once.

“From a safety point of view, it’s easy to adjust the weight as well and most weight machines tend to have instructions.”

Petersen is quick to point out that weights machines shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of a gym-goer’s experience. “I like taking new people into bodyweight exercises, teaching them how to plank and do squats properly. Weight machines are in a very fixed seated position and especially for people who sit down all day, sitting them on a gym machine isn’t very proactive.”

But if you’re intent on going it alone, or your gym doesn’t offer individual instruction or you can’t afford it, here’s a simple, progressive plan you can follow to get started in the gym.

Gym Machine Workout Plan For Beginners

How To Select The Right Weight

“It’s a tough one for people coming in, so the first bit of advice is to do it with the support of a personal trainer who can give rough guidelines on where to start,” says Petersen. “But if you’re on your own, start with a certain rep range and then use the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale. Target reps for general fitness or weight loss would be around 10 to 15 per set. If you can complete 15 reps and your RPE is less than eight out of ten, increase the weight. If the RPE is ten out of ten and you can’t even get to 10 reps, you’re probably going a bit too heavy and need to reduce the weight accordingly.”

How Many Times A Week To Do This Workout

“This workout is a quick and easy introduction to weight training,” says Petersen. “Most people would be able to do it three times a week if they had a rest day in between. Training on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday suits most people.”

How Many Weeks To Do This Workout For

The short answer is until you reach your limits and stop improving. “Typically, most training programmes are eight to 12 weeks,” says Petersen. “You will adapt to the movements very quickly and over time you’ll be able to gradually increase the weight and the repetitions will go up as well. It will get to a point where the weight or the repetitions aren’t going up for a couple of sessions, which would indicate that you’re hitting a bit of a plateau.” Unless you have a great memory, it’s worth keeping a training diary of reps, weight used and a RPE score you can refer back to.

After a few months, hopefully you’ll have had a chance to try other classes and parts of the gym and will be confident enough to start trying new things. “We run gym floor classes called Freestyle Group Training. I always advise beginners to come into those classes because it gives them an introduction to different types of movements.”

The Workout

There can be subtle differences between weights machines in different gyms, so make sure you check the instructions and adjust the seat position every time.  

Warm up

Spend 10 minutes getting your body ready to work with light cardio and dynamic stretches. As an example, try this gym warm-up routine.

1 Chest press

Sets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Targets: Chest, pectorals and triceps

2 Lat pull-down

Sets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Targets: Lats, back and biceps

3 Leg press

Sets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Targets: Glutes, quads and hamstrings

4 Shoulder press

Sets 3 Reps 10-15 Rest 60-90sec

Targets: Deltoids and triceps

Kids Can Run At The Asics London 10K For Free With The Weetabix Protein Youth Challenge


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, February 14, 2020 - 15:45

Crossing the finish line at a mass participation running event is one of life’s great experiences. The combination of satisfaction at going the distance, sheer relief at being able to stop running, and the cheers of the crowd create a heady cocktail that makes the months of training worthwhile.

Most such races are reserved for adults only, but this year children aged seven to 14 can experience that heady cocktail (it’s a virgin cocktail, don’t worry) firsthand at the Asics London 10K by taking part in the Weetabix Protein Youth Challenge.

The challenge is free to enter and involves following a training plan in the weeks building up to the race, during which all runs contribute to an overall distance of 10K. Participants then run the final 1.8km at the event itself, so they can enjoy the crowds in the closing kilometres of the race.

That said, the event is open to kids of all abilities, so you can run more or less than 10K overall, with your final total tallied up after the final 1.8km on the day.

The Asics London 10K has a truly grand finale, with its closing section taking in famous landmarks like the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey before you hit the home straight on Whitehall, passing Downing Street on your way to the finish line.

The first 1,000 children to sign up for the challenge will get a spot at the race, which takes place on Sunday 5th July, and the next 1,000 children who sign up will be offered the chance to run the race virtually. Even if you opt for the virtual race, you will still get the same medal and T-shirt as those who run at the event.

Children aged 12 to 14 can run unaccompanied on the day, but those aged 11 and under will have to have a parent or guardian with them, so you’d best make sure you’re in shape as well so you’re not holding them back over the final 1.8km.

Speed is of the essence, both in terms of the running and signing up to make sure you’re among the first 1,000 to do so. You can register your child for a place in the event on the Virgin Sport website.

Register | Free

Try These Mental Health Tips If You’re Feeling Lonely On Valentine’s Day


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, February 14, 2020 - 11:17

While adding a little romance to the world is no bad thing, Valentine’s Day can also be hard for many people. If you’re single, it’s all too easy to feel lonely in the face of the onslaught of love and affection on social media.

If you are feeling down this Valentine’s, or have found that using a dating app has started to negatively affect your mental health, then heed this advice from Pablo Vandenabeele, clinical director for mental health at Bupa UK.

Can your mental health be affected by being single, on Valentine’s Day or at other times?

Valentine’s Day can be tough on your mental health, whether you’re in a relationship or not. Days which are supposed to celebrate love and togetherness can sometimes highlight how different, alone or low we feel.

Feeling lonely isn’t a mental health problem in itself, but it’s something that a lot of people with mental health conditions struggle with. Valentine’s Day is often full of people sharing their happiness on social media, and this could make you feel worse.

Feeling lonely can be very stressful and it can affect our wellbeing. Valentine’s Day can also be tough on our self-esteem, because there are a lot of unrealistic and idealised relationships to measure yourself up to.

Practising self-acceptance is a good place to start, if you’re feeling alone or low. Self-acceptance is about embracing all the different parts of yourself – both the good and the bad. Try to be compassionate with yourself. Tune in to your inner voice and take note of how it speaks to you. If you recognise that it isn’t caring towards you, practise talking to yourself in a way that you would to someone you care for. It might feel strange to do this at first but give it a try and see if you notice a difference.

How can dating apps affect mental health?

Dating apps can be great for meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone. They allow you to check compatibility before you meet in person, meaning fewer awkward dates. But if they’re not used in a healthy way, they could affect your self-esteem, body image and stress levels.

Feeling rejected can be a frequent experience on dating apps, and this feeling can wreak havoc on your self-esteem. As with loneliness, having low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself, but if you experience low self-esteem for a while, you may start to feel depressed or anxious.

There are many ways you can try to improve your self-esteem and it’s important to remember that different things work for different people, so try what you feel comfortable with. Aim to be kind at times when you feel like being self-critical, and surround yourself with people who help build you up, rather than those who criticise and put you down.

What can you do if your wellbeing is affected by dating apps?

If you notice that certain apps are consuming too much of your time, this could be a sign to switch off. Likewise, if you find yourself feeling worried, panicked or anxious when you use the app, it’s probably time to take a break. Experiencing low self-esteem or having worries about your body image are warning signs to watch out for, too.

Here’s a few tips on how to have a positive relationship with dating apps:

Remember, you are not your profile. It’s impossible to show all your unique and individual qualities in a handful of photos and captions, so be mindful that swiping left isn’t a rejection of your complete self.

Practice self-compassion. We all have an inner voice that comments on what we do and say. Think about yours for a moment: if things go well, do you mentally congratulate yourself or are you dismissive? Are you overly critical of yourself? Lots of us don’t talk very kindly to ourselves and it’s important that we change this.

Be mindful. Keep track of how you feel when you interact with dating apps. If you notice that certain apps leave you feeling anxious, worried or low, it’s time to switch off.

The Adizero Pro Marathon Shoe Is Adidas’s Nike Vaporfly Rival


Nick Harris-Fry

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 11:56

Before the Nike Vaporfly 4% and NEXT% came along, you would see a range of shoes being used by runners at the sharp end of marathon racing. However, if there was one shoe that did stand out as more popular than most, it was the Adidas Adizero Adios. The shoe was used to set many world records, including the recent marathon gold standard of 2hr 2min 57sec, run by Dennis Kimetto in the Adios 2 in 2014.

That time, along with many other records, has been obliterated in the past couple of years by athletes wearing the Vaporfly, which has a carbon plate in the midsole to help propel runners forward and run more efficiently.

To tackle Nike’s dominance, Adidas has launched its own shoe with a carbon plate – the Adizero Pro. Along with the Carbitex carbon plate in the midsole, the shoe uses Adidas’s Lightstrike foam to keep the weight down.

There is also some of Adidas’s durable Boost foam in the heel of the shoe, and Adidas has stuck with hard-wearing Continental rubber on the outsole, which again should help the shoe last a bit longer than some rivals – the Brooks Hyperion Elite marathon racer, for example, is only slated to perform at its peak for 50-100 miles (80-160km).

A prototype of the shoe was used by Mary Keitany at the 2019 New York Marathon, and you can expect the Adizero Pro to be used by all the top Adidas athletes in the major marathons and at the Olympics this year.

The shoe will be available from 1st April and has an RRP of €180. That converts to around £150 and though it’s unlikely Adidas will convert the price to pounds exactly, we expect the Adizero Pro to be significantly cheaper than its rivals. The new Nike Alphafly, the successor to the Vaporfly, has a price of $300 (which is around £230, but again expect a higher UK price), the Vaporfly NEXT% is £239.95, and the Brooks Hyperion Elite will be £210 when it goes on sale on 1st March.

Whether the Adizero Pro can break Nike’s dominance at the sharp end of marathons is yet to be seen, but it’s certainly one of the most exciting shoe launches this year. We’re hoping to put the shoe to the test soon to compare it with the Vaporfly in a full review.

Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 Running Shoe Review: The Best All-Rounder Money Can Buy


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 15:53

While committed runners assemble a rotation of running shoes to use for different training purposes, most will just have one shoe in their wardrobe to use for the sport. That means it needs to be a shoe that’s built to handle the rigours of training, with enough cushioning to make those long miles feel comfortable, but still lightweight and responsive enough for fast sessions and races.

There are many shoes that fit the bill, but none so well as the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2. It weighs just 220g (men’s UK 9) but has enough cushioning to let you log long and easy runs comfortably. The foam in the midsole is a combination of layers of Nike’s ZoomX and React materials, with the former in particular standing out with the soft but springy ride it offers.

That ZoomX foam is the same stuff that’s in the Vaporfly and Alphafly racing shoes (the ones that flirted with a World Athletics ban). In the Vaporfly a carbon plate is used to stabilise the soft foam and help propel you to PBs. In the Pegasus Turbo 2 the firmer React foam plays that role, while also increasing the durability of the shoe. The Vaporfly should be saved for race day to prolong its life, but the Turbo 2 is a shoe you’ll reach for every time you’re about to head out.

I used the Pegasus Turbo 2 for all kinds of runs while testing it for this review, and I logged over 800km in the first edition of the shoe, which has the same combination of midsole foams underfoot. While some might find it a little softer than they’d like for a true all-rounder shoe, it’s absolutely perfect for me, with the comfortable but responsive ride working well for all training and the odd race as well, though I still opt for the Vaporfly when pace is a priority.

The main change between the two generations of the Turbo is the upper. The original had a fairly well padded tongue and collar, and a roomier toe box. The new shoe has pared all that back to reduce the weight and make the Turbo 2 feel a little speedier on the foot. I prefer the sparser feel of the new upper during faster training runs, but the padding on the original was welcome on easy runs.

Nike hasn’t done a lot to overhaul the Pegasus Turbo with the latest version, and given how much I loved the original, that’s all right in my book. The only major fault I can find with the shoe is its hefty £160 price. Running shoes might be getting pricier, but still, £160 is a lot.

If you like a firm ride and fear the Pegasus Turbo 2 will be too soft for you, other all-round options like the On Cloudflow or Adidas Boston 8 might be better picks. If you’re just offended at the Pegasus Turbo 2’s high price, the Hoka One One Rincon is a cheaper well-cushioned option I enjoyed doing all kinds of running in, while the Brooks Launch 6 offers brilliant value as an all-round shoe under £100.

Buy mens’ from Sports Shoes | Buy women’s from Sports Shoes | £159.95

How To Do The Cossack Squat


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 11:16

Think back to the very first time you tried an unweighted squat. Was it like ours? A bit tentative with your thighs going nowhere near parallel? But of course that was a long time ago, and now you, like us, are bottoming out well below that marker.

The reason we mention it is that you’ll probably get deja vu if you ever try the Cossack squat. We did when this squat variation came up when we were trying a class at the new Barry’s Bootcamp location at St Paul’s in London. Once the class was over, we checked in with Barry’s to find out more.

“The Cossack squat is a squat variation used for mobility and strength,” says Barry’s Bootcamp master trainer Tee von Zitzewitz.

“Perform it using just your bodyweight first and then once the move is mastered, you can add weight. Doing the full Cossack squat might seem unachievable for those who lack flexibility at first, but over time, with patience and determination, you will get there and you'll see great results.”

How To Do The Cossack Squat

“Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and take a big step to the side, like with a side lunge,” says Von Zitzewitz. “Shift your bottom back and tilt slightly forwards from the hips. You should feel your glutes activate immediately. Keep your weight through the heels at all times, and imagine spreading the floor outward with your feet.

“If this feels comfortable, start to take your feet wider and move your weight further back into the heels and bottom. Your bodyweight should always be on one side with the opposite leg extended. If comfortable, start to lift the toes up on the foot of your extended leg, keeping the heel firmly on the floor. As with all exercises, progression takes time, and you should only add weight once the basics are mastered and form is correct.”

As Von Zitzewitz suggests, the Cossack squat is similar to the side lunge, but differs in that you don’t come up to standing between reps: rather, you maintain a wide stance, and you drop deeper with the exercise than you do with a side lunge. In the Cossack squat, the foot of your extended leg is also only grounded by the heel, rather than planted on the floor as in the side lunge.

The Best Running Buggies


Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, February 10, 2020 - 14:39

Whether you’re an obsessive runner hoping to keep up your favourite hobby after having a baby, or looking to take up the sport to get moving again after a new arrival, a running buggy can be a truly liberating purchase that helps you to get out and about with your toddler in tow.

All running buggies are lightweight and nimble, and have large wheels that handle bumps on the road or trail far more comfortably than standard pram wheels. They generally have air-filled tyres, though, which means they can suffer punctures, so when you do buy a running buggy it’s worth grabbing a couple of spare tyres too.

There are a few key features to look out for in a running buggy, the most important being a fixed front wheel, which is essential to keep your buggy stable and moving in a straight line when running on rough terrain in particular. If you can get a wheel that can also be set to swivel that’s a bonus, because that makes it easier to use when not running. Another thing to look for is a handbrake you can use to decelerate quickly, just in case. An adjustable handle can also be crucial – especially if you’re very tall or short – unless you’re able to take a buggy for a test run and have confirmed it’s not going to be uncomfortable and awkward. And as with all buggies you’ll want one that can be folded up easily to fit into a car boot or cupboard.

The Best Running Buggies

Best Value Running Buggy: Out ’N’ About Nipper Sport

UK brand Out ’N’ About has won the support of legions of devoted runners thanks to its terrific running buggies, which offer a winning combination of value and features. The Nipper Sport is lightweight at 9.8kg, has a handlebar brake and can be used for running with children aged from six months to four years (depending on your child’s weight – the maximum load is 22kg). The large wheels and fixed front wheel make it easy to tackle rough terrain, but the front wheel can’t be set to swivel mode, which means the Sport is a bit tricky for navigating the shops.

Buy from Out ’N’ About | £374.95 (currently reduced to £309.95)

Best Running Buggy Under £500: Mountain Buggy Terrain

A more versatile option than the Out ’N’ About Nipper Sport, this buggy has a front wheel that can be locked or set to swivel, and the max weight is a little higher at 25kg. This means if you’re looking for one buggy to cover running and day-to-day use the Terrain is a better all-round option, especially as it has more storage space than the Nipper Sport too. It comes with 12in and 16in (30/40cm) rear tyres so you can choose the most appropriate option for the terrain you’ve going to tackle.

Buy from Mountain Buggy | £499.99

Best Folding Running Buggy: Thule Glide 2

All the buggies on this list fold down neatly, but the sleek design and quick-release wheels on the Thule Glide 2 mean it packs down easily to be very compact despite the large tyres. The front wheel is locked, making it less versatile than the Mountain Buggy Terrain, but the Glide 2 does offer a decent amount of storage for your shopping if you do stop by the supermarket on the way back from your run. If you worry about your ability to reach and squeeze a traditional brake quickly, the Glide 2’s twist mechanism – which is integrated into the handlebar – might persuade you to splash the extra cash.

Buy from Thule | £575

Best Double Running Buggy: Out ’N’ About Nipper Sport Double

If having one child doesn’t stop you running, there’s no reason that two should. The Nipper Sport Double offers the same great range of features as the single version of the buggy, with each seat able to carry up to 22kg, large wheels that can handle any terrain and a handbrake on the handlebar, which will come in even more useful on a steep downhill when you’ve the weight of two children pulling you along.

Buy from Out ’N’ About | £564.95

Find The Right E-Bike For You At The Cycling Electric Demo Day


Jonathan Shannon

Friday, February 7, 2020 - 14:11

We’re big fans of electric bikes on Coach and can still remember the pleasant surprise we had when we first rode one, quickly followed by the thought that we could get used to this. While we could wax lyrical for many more words, nothing beats trying it yourself. If you’re thinking of getting an e-bike but aren’t sure what to go for, or even if you’ve just heard about them and want to find out what the fuss is all about, you can get saddle time on plenty of models on a traffic-free track at the Cycling Electric Demo Day on Saturday 4th July at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

Cycling Electric is a new magazine from the publishers of Coach. It goes on sale 29th April, will cost £5.99 and will be a vital resource for anyone thinking of buying an e-bike for work or leisure. (Side note: You should definitely consider buying one to get you to work because e-bikes can be bought through Cycle To Work schemes, saving you somewhere between 25% and 39%.)

Either way, the benefits are the same for commuters, road cyclists, bikepackers and mountain bikers alike – e-bikes offer an environmentally friendly way to get around that’s far easier on the legs. Whether you’re already an e-bike enthusiast or thinking of buying one for the very first time, you’ll leave this event with a better idea of what’s available and what will suit you.

Early bird tickets are on sale until 1st March for £20, saving you £5 on the full £25 ticket price. Here’s what your ticket buys you:

  • Unlimited cycling from 10am-4pm
  • An exclusive goody bag worth £25
  • Advice from our e-bike experts

Buy tickets | £20

If you have any questions about the event, get in touch with the team at cyclingelectricevents@dennis.co.uk.

Nike Announce The Alphafly, The Fastest Legal Marathon Running Shoe In The World?


Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 11:15

Just as several brands are readying the launch of their own high-end marathon running shoes with carbon plates, Nike has tried to stay ahead of the pack by launching the successor to the Vaporfly NEXT% – the Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%.

The world has been given a good look at this shoe, or a version of it, already. When Eliud Kipchoge ran the first sub-2hr marathon in Vienna last year he was wearing a prototype of the Alphafly. However, since then World Athletics has imposed a 40mm limit on the height of the stack of cushioning on running shoes. Kipchoge’s shoes seemed to be well over 50mm, but Nike is confident that the Alphafly that was announced in New York on 5th February is legal.

This means we’ll be seeing a lot of it in professional events this year. The shoe will surely be worn at the 2020 London Marathon where the race between Eliud Kipchoge and Keninsa Bekele, who are both Nike athletes, stands a good chance of producing a world record, and then at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Alphafly has a carbon plate and Nike’s lightweight, bouncy ZoomX cushioning, just like the Vaporfly, but two Nike Zoom Air Pods have been added in the forefoot to provide extra propulsion and energy return.

If the shoe does improve on the performance of the Vaporfly (and is legal) it’s fair to say that we can expect a sub-2hr marathon in an official event in the near future, along with a whole heap of new PBs at the amateur level as well.

Nike has also launched the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% shoe, which has been tweaked to make it a more comfortable option for general training. The carbon plate is replaced with a softer composite plate, while the ZoomX midsole is supplemented by React foam in the heel to provide extra durability.

The same Nike Zoom Air Pods are used on the Tempo NEXT%, though, so you’ll be able to enjoy the energy return they provide during training as well as racing. There will also be a FlyEase version of the Tempo NEXT%, which has an easy entry mechanism whereby you can unzip the heel and put it on without tying laces.

There’s no word yet on when the shoes will be available to buy, aside from sometime in summer 2020, and Nike is keeping schtum on prices as well. We’ll be trying to get our hands on a pair as soon as possible to compare it with both the Vaporfly and the Brooks Hyperion Elite, another marathon racing shoe with a carbon plate that has just been launched.

Power Through This EMOM Full-Body Finisher


Jake Stones

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 22:34

Sometimes you walk into the gym with a plan for a lunchtime workout, follow the plan, then realise you’ve got another ten minutes or so before you need to hit the shower. Other times you finish a workout and feel you’ve got a lot more left in the tank. Whichever it is, you need this six-minute finisher from Laura Hinchelwood, PT and spin instructor at Boom Cycle.

“It’s a full-body EMOM [every minute on the minute], which means every minute you have to complete all the reps and exercises before you can rest. It puts you under pressure to work quickly but efficiently. It’s no good pushing to the max in the first couple of minutes and burning yourself out for the remaining four.

“Pick your dumbbell weight carefully, so that it challenges you but you still get a bit of rest within each minute. If you get through all three exercises with 35-40 seconds to spare, then you’re going too light. Anything less than ten seconds of rest and you’re possibly going too heavy – unless you want to work with less rest! Ten to 20 seconds of rest each minute is the sweet spot.

“The exercises selected will work your upper body, legs and core, and your heart rate should start to pick up too after the second round.

“As your fitness improves you can either increase the weight or up the time.”

How To Do This Workout

Set a timer for six minutes, then complete the following every minute.

1 Dumbbell push press

Reps 6

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand by your shoulders. Bend your knees slightly and then spring up, pressing the dumbbells above your head. The motion should be continuous, so as you lower the dumbbells try to avoid pausing – go straight into the next rep.

2 Dumbbell goblet squat

Reps 6

Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold one dumbbell to your chest with both hands. Keeping your feet firmly on the ground, with your core braced and back straight, slowly lower, bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Once your knees are at a 90° angle, press through your heels to rise up again.

3 Burpee

Reps 6

Put the dumbbells aside for this move. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then drop your hands to the ground either side of your feet and jump your feet back so that you’re in the top press-up position. If you want to, and it’s appropriate to your level of fitness, add a press-up. Then spring your feet forwards so they’re by your hands again, and jump straight up.

Get Inspired To Take Part In Sport Relief 2020 By These Epic Fundraising Efforts


Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, February 3, 2020 - 17:30

Sport Relief 2020 takes place on Friday 13th March, but it’s never too early to start fundraising for the cause or dreaming up fundraising ideas, because the last thing you want is a stroke of genius but not enough time to execute it. If you visit the Sport Relief website you can order a free fundraising kit and create a JustGiving fundraising page in a jiffy, but what most people really need is some inspiration as to what they can do in order to draw donations from friends, colleagues and family.

Below we have three brilliant examples of what people have done in the past to raise money. Two of them are individuals and one is a team from a company, with the latter being a great way to share the fundraising load, as well as making the challenge you take on even more fun.


A team from Cornwall-based gift wholesale company Puckator took on the test of cycling 38 miles along the Camel Trail from Bodmin to Padstow and back. The firm’s team split the challenge between more experienced cyclists and those not as confident on two wheels to complete the full route, despite snowy weather.

In a mammoth team effort, everyone made it across the finish line where ice cream and cream teas were consumed – jam first – around a roaring fire. The team raised an amazing combined sponsorship of £585, which was matched by the company to bring their fundraising total to £1,170.

Think this is a bit much for you? You might be surprised how accessible big bike rides are. We spoke to people who have completed some of Sustran’s Challenge Rides to find out more.

Gwyn Dafydd Hughes

Left paralysed after brain surgery, Gwyn Dafydd Hughes from Cwmbran showed the world his strength of will by walking a hundred metres for Sport Relief. Cheered on by friends and family, the then 26-year-old took 302 steps to complete the distance at Newport Velodrome.

Gwyn’s father was by his side every step of the way. As he pointed out, “this is the equivalent of a marathon for an able-bodied person. The amount of effort required to walk, both mentally and physically, is immense for him.” Gwyn’s heroic resilience raised over £1,236 for Sport Relief.

Jason Fox

Jason Fox, then 29, from the Channel Islands set himself the task of high jumping over 1,000m in just 12 hours. The venue was the Les Ormes Sports Centre in Jersey. He smashed his target, jumping a combined 1,037m in 739 jumps.

Even for an experienced athlete like Jason, who has represented Jersey at high jump internationally, this was a formidable achievement. Even more impressively, he raised £1,045 for Sport Relief in the process. And never one to make life easy for himself, he wore a fox-themed onesie to do it!

Order a free fundraising kit from Sport Relief

The Brooks Hyperion Elite Running Shoe Is The Nike Vaporfly’s First Real Rival


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, January 31, 2020 - 14:34

Running shoes don’t normally make headlines, but the story of the possible World Athletics ban of the Nike Vaporfly running shoe has caught the attention. You may be wondering why Nike apparently has the monopoly on this kind of technology – can no other large sportswear companies compete with them?

While Hoka One One has released a couple of shoes with carbon plates (the Evo Carbon Rocket and Carbon X), neither were designed to be thoroughbred marathon racers, and New Balance’s first carbon shoe was designed for one-mile road races. But that is all set to change in the first half of 2020. Several brands are about to launch marathon racers with carbon plates, and Brooks is the first to do so with the Hyperion Elite.

A prototype of the shoe has been used by Brooks’s elite athletes for a couple of years – Desiree Linden won the Boston Marathon in 2018 while wearing a blacked-out version of the Elite – but it will be available to buy for the first time on 1st March. Like the Vaporfly, it will have an eye-wateringly high price – £210.

There are several other similarities to the Vaporfly as well. The high stack of lightweight cushioning for one, although Brooks’s DNA Zero EVA foam is not as springy as the ZoomX foam Nike uses in the Vaporfly. Then there’s the carbon plate, which provides stability and propulsion. And the shoe is topped off with a very light upper, so the Elite comes in under 200g, something Brooks told Coach was a prime goal when designing the shoe and a reason the midsole is not as springy – Brooks traded energy return for less weight.

However, Brooks does claim a key difference between the Hyperion Elite and the Vaporfly in the extra stability offered by its shoe. The Hyperion Elite has a wider base and is designed to help you maintain your natural running form even as you tire, so you remain efficient in the later stages of a marathon.

We have the Hyperion Elite to review but have so far only logged 400m in the shoe, which is not the ideal way to test a marathon racer. However, when you first run in the shoe it is noticeable that it doesn’t feel like the Vaporfly, which has an incredibly soft, almost squishy ride. The Elite’s foam and design provides a more stable ride, which we’re looking forward to trying out over some long, hard runs soon.

Not too many long, hard runs, however, because Brooks told us the Hyperion Elite is only built to be at its best for 50 to 100 miles (80 to 160km). That’s a startlingly low number, and certainly not an environmentally friendly one, and really emphasises that this is for race day with maybe one or two training runs in it beforehand to get used to the feel. We’d be very surprised if the shoe actually fell apart at 100 miles, and it will probably be good to run in for many more, but Brooks’ suggestion that it will be past its peak at that point is a little disappointing.

Brooks has also launched the Hyperion Tempo, a lightweight shoe designed for fast training runs. It doesn’t have a carbon plate, but the DNA Flash midsole is infused with nitrogen to make it a little springier than the DNA Zero foam in the Elite. It’s also a rather fetching shade of blue. The Tempo will be available 1st April and cost £140.

The Best Stretching Exercises That Everyone Should Be Doing


Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 17:16

Be honest now, how often do you stretch? For the vast majority of us, the answer is not enough. Whether you’re a keen runner, cyclist or gym-goer, or just spend your days sitting at a desk, stretching should be an integral part of your weekly routine. It’ll improve your mobility and flexibility, reduce your risk of injury, and help you excel at your chosen sport if you have one.

To help you introduce more stretching to your life we asked Richard Scrivener, PT and product development manager at TrainFitness, for his five favourite stretches. What are you waiting for?

1 Decompression dead hang

Time 30-60sec

“Gravity compresses us throughout the day,” says Scrivener. “This stretch helps the shoulders, spine and hips, making you taller and restoring your full stature."

To do the stretch simply hang from a bar. If you plan on doing these stretches at home, you can pick up a telescopic pull-up bar, which is easy to put up and take down, for as little as a tenner.

“Keep a tight grip and let your entire bodyweight drop,” says Scrivener. “Try not to fight it.”

2 Front line opener

Time 30-60sec each side

“We spend much of the day in flexion [hunched forward],” says Scrivener. “This is a great way to lengthen everything on the front of the body to create balance.”

Place the top of your foot on an exercise ball behind you – pin this against a wall to keep it in place – and the knee of your same leg on the ground directly beneath you. Plant the other foot in front of you with your knee bent at 90°. Reach both arms directly overhead.

“Keep the glutes engaged to avoid arching your back,” says Scrivener. “Breathe out slowly as you reach up overhead.”

3 Posterior hip

Time 30-60sec each side

“The capsule around the hip joint is prone to tightening,” says Scrivener. “Sinking into this pose helps mobilise this capsule to eliminate pinching sensations."

Start on your hands and knees. Lift your right leg off the floor and put the right knee on the ground behind the left knee, moving your left lower leg across your body to make space. Sink into the pose to feel the stretch in your hips.

4 Thoracolumbar fascia

Time 30-60sec each side

“The tissue surrounding the lower back is thick and dense and prone to getting stuck down,” says Scrivener. “This pose helps lengthen the tissues in this region.”

Lie on your back. Take your left arm up behind your head and your right arm out to point to the right side. Take your left leg across your right so it also points to the right side.

“Aim to keep pressing all your limbs into the ground as the leg sweeps across and up,” says Scrivener. “Find the stretch and take deep belly breaths.”

5 Pec minor

Time 30-60sec each side

"A tight pec minor tilts the shoulder blade forwards, which can cause havoc with shoulder health and posture,” says Scrivener. “Getting at this muscle is tricky. This is not the classic pec stretch, which targets the pec major.”

You’ll need to stand against a pillar or edge of a wall for this stretch, with the leg nearer the pillar in front of you in a split stance.

“First press the front of your shoulder into the post and then rotate your arm up above shoulder height so that the forearm and palm face forwards,” says Scrivener. “Lean in a little.”

How The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique Can Help You Relax And Get To Sleep


Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 16:19

The idea of harnessing the power of your breath to help you deal with stress or get to sleep at night is absolutely fantastic on paper, but it’s not so easy to do in practice. We all know a few deep breaths can settle us down at times, but there are certainly more benefits to be unlocked with the breath if you use established techniques like the 4-7-8 breathing exercise.

For more information about the 4-7-8 breathing technique and the benefits it can bring, Coach spoke to Stuart Sandeman, founder of Breathpod, which offers breathing workshops for individuals or groups.

What is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise?

You breathe in for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of seven, then exhale for a count of eight. It’s a breathing technique that will activate the parasympathetic state [putting your body in a state of rest], so it’s a very effective pattern for anyone to reduce anxiety. It moves you into that calm, relaxed state.

How long should you do the exercise for to get these benefits?

Even within one cycle you’ll notice the effect. Using 4-7-8 drops your respiratory rate to one breath every 19 seconds, so around three breaths a minute.

Where did the technique originate?

A doctor named Andrew Weil, who founded the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine at Arizona University, created the 4-7-8 breathing technique. He claimed that if you practise it you fall asleep in 90 seconds, which is a bold statement! But in my experience it has been very effective, and I use it as a go-to for a lot of people with sleep issues.

How does it work?

There are a few things that are at work. You’re using the diaphragm to breathe, and getting the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing in terms of calming the body and moving into a parasympathetic state. Then the breath hold allows carbon dioxide to increase, and when you start to increase that you’re pushing the body to balance out its pH. Often people who are anxious, or stressed and hyperventilating go the opposite way.

Is that why people who are hyperventilating should breathe into a paper bag?

Absolutely. If somebody is hyperventilating you give them a paper bag to breathe the carbon dioxide back in. You can do that by slowing the breath down and adding the hold. That’s how the carbon dioxide builds up, as well as slowing everything down and moving the body into a “rest and digest” state.

Along with anxiety and sleep, can the technique help with anything else?

I often get clients to use it if they have IBS. A lot of times IBS and other stomach issues are linked to stress. Stress is a fight-or-flight response in the body, a sympathetic response. If the body is sympathetic the body is responding like it’s an emergency, all the blood flow goes to the muscles and it puts everything else on airplane mode. Those who are stressed tend to find the digestion isn’t getting the attention it needs. Practising techniques like 4-7-8, which induces a parasympathetic state, will allow the digestion to start working more efficiently.

How do the benefits differ from other breathing techniques like box breathing?

It comes down to ratios. In layman’s terms, every in-breath increases your heart rate and your blood pressure. Every out-breath does the opposite, the heart rate and blood pressure go down. So in essence every in-breath switches us on slightly, and every out-breath switches us off. When your increase your in-breaths because you’re stressed, you hit this on switch.

If you balance in-breaths and out-breaths through something like box breathing – where you breathe in for four, hold for four, out for four – you balance on and off. It’s actually very good for accessing a balanced state. You’re balancing your heart rate variability, the space between the beats. It’s how you access flow, or get in “the zone”, if you like.

With 4-7-8 you exhale for twice as long as you inhale, and by doing this you’re hitting the off switch. In fact, if you can’t remember 4-7-8 then just exhale for double the time. If you do that, you’re going to get a similar effect, a parasympathetic response. The extra part of the 4-7-8 is holding the breath for seven, which is what sends the carbon dioxide up.

Saucony Triumph 17 Running Shoe Review: The Best Marathon Shoe For Beginners


Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 12:06

I’ve run in each of the past five editions of Saucony’s Triumph shoe. There’s only really one thing I don’t like about the line, and that’s the fact the numbering on them has gone 2, 3, 4, 5 and now 17.

The reason for that is that the 17 is the 17th edition of the Triumph shoe overall, the recent annual updates having been named Triumph ISO 4 or 5 because they’re the 4th and 5th edition of the shoe featuring the ISOFIT lacing system… which has now been removed. So there you go, the laces have gone back to normal and the numbering has too.

Putting that aside, I’ve loved running in all the recent versions and the Triumph 17 is my favourite Triumph shoe so far. That’s almost entirely down to the new PWRRUN+ midsole, which is springier and lighter than the EVERUN foam Saucony used on past Triumph shoes.

The main appeal of the shoe was always that it is one of the few highly cushioned and comfortable shoes that you can run quickly in – and the new midsole improves that. It’s a shoe that feels brilliant for long, easy efforts and tempo runs alike, and while there are faster shoes you could race in, you can feel comfortable using the Triumph 17 for all your training and racing, especially if you’re relatively new to the sport.

That’s in contrast to other cushioned options like the Hoka Clifton 6 or Brooks Glycerin 17. Both those shoes are a joy to wear for easy runs, but when you up the pace they feel unwieldy. Moving through the gears on a 90-minute progression run really showed off the Saucony Triumph 17’s qualities, and it felt as good at 3min 40sec/km pace at the end of the run as it did at 4min 20sec/km pace at the start.

It certainly helps that the weight has dropped by around 20g (305g for a men’s Triumph 17 compared with 323g for a men’s Triumph ISO 5), but the shoe feels even lighter than that on the foot.

The changes to the lacing system didn’t really affect my experience of the shoe, but the upper is certainly very comfortable, with loads of padding around the tongue and collar. Perhaps too much for some runners, who might find all the padding gets hot at times, but I’m a fan and on long runs it only added to the experience.

When you’re logging a lot of running during a training plan for a marathon or a half marathon, the Triumph’s combo of comfort and speed really come to the fore. If you’re a very keen and experienced runner who has two or three shoes in your rotation, you can use the Triumph for all your easy runs as well as tempo and long runs, reserving a faster shoe for intervals and race day itself. Beginners and heavier runners will find that it’s a shoe that can handle everything. Indeed, if I were to recommend one shoe for new runners taking on their first marathon, this would be it.

Buy men’s from Sports Shoes | Buy women’s from Sports Shoes | £139.99 (currently reduced to £125.99)

Wiggle Launches Three-Day Festival Of Sport In The New Forest


Jonathan Shannon

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 21:31

More fitness festivals are popping up each year, and online sports retailer Wiggle is getting in on the act with something a little different to the wellness weekend escape scene, or sport-specific events like RunFestRun. The Festival of Sport is a long weekend of open-water swimming, cycling and running events, centered around the Avon Tyrrell Activity Centre in Hampshire.

It takes place from 7th-9th August, and each sport spends a day in the spotlight with multiple distances available for each. The festival starts by laying on coach travel to the nearby New Forest Water Park for 500m, 1km, 1.2-mile [1.9km] and 2.4-mile [3.9km] open-water swims, although if you’re not getting your feet wet the main festival site will get going with various CrossFit, Zumba, yoga and Pilates sessions, mountain bike demos and rides, and live music. As the festival is based in an activity centre there are also adventurous diversions like zip lines, treetop courses and climbing walls to enjoy.

The main events on the Saturday are all in the saddle, with chip-timed and signposted 102-mile [164km], 82-mile [132km] and 38-mile [61km] sportives. The terrain is pretty flat so you should be able to speed along at a fair clip – just make sure you brake for ponies.

Running events close the festival on the Sunday, although if an ultra takes your fancy there’s one that starts on the Saturday evening and goes through the night. There’s a range of distances to choose from, but all are run on loops within the festival site because of New Forest restrictions on mass running events. That’s why the organisers are selling only single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday, to keep the number of participants down on the final day and make sure the experience is enjoyable.

There are other advantages to getting a weekend ticket too. Chiefly, if you swim, cycle and run, no matter the distance, you get three interlocking medals.

The festival culminates with a family-friendly colour run (remember that? A paint-splattered fun run!), and there will be plenty of diversions for young kids throughout the weekend, with free entry for under-fives.

Buy tickets | One day £50, weekend ticket £130, accommodation options available

Mobvoi TicPods 2 Pro Wireless Headphones Review


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 15:06

You don’t have to spend a vast amount of money to get a great set of truly wireless headphones anymore. Alongside premium options like the Apple AirPods Pro and Beats Powerbeats Pro that cost north of £200, brands like Mobvoi are making sure that those who want to spend around £100 are well catered for and there are even solid sets of truly wireless buds for under £50.

Mobvoi has launched two versions of the TicPods 2. The standard headphones will cost £85.99 and the Pro buds are £119.99, making both an affordable option compared with the likes of the Apple AirPods, which are £159.99. The comparison is apt given the name and design of the TicPods 2 and while the AirPods offer a slightly smoother experience, the TicPods – especially the standard TicPods 2 – offer tremendous value as an alternative.

I tested the Pro headphones, which differ from the standard TicPods 2 in offering some fancy voice and gesture controls as well as some degree of noise cancellation when taking calls. I did not notice this noise cancellation at all while wearing the buds, so I’d ignore that as a potential advantage over the standard TicPods 2.

The voice and gesture controls are more useful, especially when exercising. You can just say “next song” or “pause music”, and the TicPods 2 will, in theory, put your command into action. It’s sometimes handy when running to not have to double-tap the buds to skip a song. However, the voice controls are hit and miss, missing my commands about half the time, and you don’t really want to use them when you’re sitting in an office, for example. You also have to use the exact phrase – saying something like “skip track” will get you nowhere.

You can also nod or shake your head to take or reject a call while wearing the TicPods 2 Pro. This seems a superfluous feature in all honesty and the buds weren’t 100% reliable in picking up my movement.

To my mind, the extra features on the Pro don’t merit the extra £34. It’s the rest of their features that make both sets of buds great value, which just means the £86 price of the TicPods 2 is particularly enticing.

Mobvoi has changed the design of the headphones from the first-gen TicPods, which had a silicone ear tip that sat in your ear canal. The TicPods 2 do away with that and now more closely mimic the original AirPods design, in that they just rest in the ear. It seems like a move that would make the fit less secure, but I found the opposite was true. With the first-gen TicPods the silicone tip would slip out when my ear got sweaty, but the new design is so light it sits happily in place throughout runs.

However, that won’t be the case for everyone. I also found the AirPods would sit in place well for me, but other runners I know have had issues with the fit of both the AirPods and the TicPods 2 while exercising. It’s something that you’ll have to find out for yourself unfortunately, ideally by trying someone else’s buds rather than shelling out the cash and then finding they don’t work for you.

The IPX4 rating of the TicPods 2 means they can be used for exercise without worrying that sweat or a light shower will break them, even though they’re not dedicated sports headphones like the fully waterproof Jaybird Vista.

I have no real complaints about the sound quality of the TicPods 2 Pro. It’s not outstanding, and the open design means the sound isn’t as immersive as headphones with an ear tip, but it does mean you’re more aware of the outside world when running or cycling, and across a range of genres the sound quality never offended.

If you’re buying them to be your main office and travelling headphones as well as for exercise, you might want to upgrade to something like the Jaybird Vista or Jabra Elite Active 65t buds – or even the AirPods Pro if you can stretch to £250, because the active noise cancellation on the latter is brilliant. But the TicPods 2 are fine on the sound front.

However, the TicPods 2’s battery life is subpar. You get four hours in the headphones and another 19 in the case, which is fine, but you get at least five from most truly wireless headphones these days and some sets are offering six hours or more.

You can get one hour of playback from five minutes’ charging in the case with the TicPods though, which is handy, and the case is absolutely tiny, so you can slip it into a pocket with ease. It’s so small I’d even say you could take it on a run if you were worried that the TicPods would die before the end.

The TicPods 2 Pro connect through the left bud, so you can’t use the right one by itself. The connectivity was pretty reliable on the buds, though they suffer from the common problem of lagging audio when you watch a video on a connected device. To avoid this you generally have to splash the cash on top-end buds.

Aside from the voice commands there are also touch controls on the headphones. You double-tap the headphones’s stem to skip a song, or slide your finger up and down it to raise or lower the volume. Taking the buds out automatically pauses your music.

Assuming they stay in your ears, the TicPods 2 offer great value as a set of sports headphones. Some may prefer a set of headphones with ear tips for a more immersive sound, but I liked the more open design, especially when running.

For my money, the standard TicPods 2 are the set to go for rather than the Pro. The voice commands are occasionally useful, but double-tapping to skip a song on the headphones was generally quicker than saying “next song”, because the TicPods missed that command half the time anyway. Save the £34 and grab yourself a real bargain.

Buy TicPods 2 from Mobvoi | £85.99, Pro £119.19

Are Carbs Bad For You?


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 14:39

If you’re embarking on a health kick and casting around for advice, one of the first bits of diet advice you’re likely to receive is to reduce the amount of carbs you eat, or even remove carbs from your diet entirely. It’s not an entirely unreasonable move, especially considering many of us overindulge in certain delicious carb-heavy and calorific foods like chips, but it is also true to say that carbs take a little more than their fair share of the blame when it comes to people being overweight.

To find out why we need carbs and how you can adjust your intake of them to be more healthy, we spoke to dietitian Richard Chessor, speaking on behalf of the British Dietetic Association, who’s also a SENr sports exercise nutritionist.

Why do we need carbs in our diet?

Carbs are the body’s preferred energy source. Our brain and muscles tend to use carbs to supply the energy we need to function and as the intensity of that function increases, for example during exercise, the more we rely on carbs for energy.

Is cutting carbs a good way to lose weight?

It can be. Each gram of carbohydrate provides approximately 4kcal [four calories] therefore by decreasing our carbohydrate intake we can decrease our total calorie intake to create a negative energy balance and the outcome is weight loss.

However, removing too much carbohydrate from your diet could result in tiredness, decreased cognitive function and compromised exercise performance. Therefore, restricting carbs for weight loss should be balanced between the energy provided from the other macronutrients in our diet – fat and protein – and our requirement for carbohydrate to remain functioning effectively.

How much carbohydrate should you eat each day?

This entirely depends on your daily activity level. Those engaging in frequent high-intensity exercise may require 6-8g per kilo of body mass per day. So for a 75kg person this would mean 450-600g per day. Those with a more sedentary lifestyle may only require 2-3g per kg per day – for a 75kg person this would mean 150-225g per day. In the UK, the Dietary Reference Value [estimates for what healthy groups of the population should consume] for carbohydrate is set at 50% of your total energy intake. For example, if your daily energy intake is 2,500kcal then your carbohydrate contribution would be 1,250kcal or around 312g/day.

What is the difference between simple and complex carbs?

Essentially the difference is in the length of the carbohydrate chain. Simple carbs, or simple sugars, are short molecules which are readily broken down into glucose units and used for energy. Complex carbs are long chains of carbohydrates bound together, which are much harder to digest and in some cases, such as fibre, cannot be fully digested [fibre is still vitally important, however].

What switches would you recommend to eat healthier carbs?

Eating more complex carbs is not only beneficial from an energy provision perspective, often foods high in complex carbs bring with them various other nutrients – vitamins and minerals – and fibre, whereas foods high in simple sugars often contain few other nutrients. Quite simply eating more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains is a great place to start.

Staple foods such as pasta, rice and bread can easily be swapped for wholegrain alternatives. Refined cereals can be swapped for oats or muesli. Sweets and confectionary can be swapped for fresh and dried fruits.

Does eating protein make you feel fuller than eating carbs?

For most people, yes. For an equal amount of calories from protein and carbs, most people will feel fuller from the protein. This can be beneficial for weight loss or if someone is wishing to control their carbohydrate intake; including protein in a meal will help them feel fuller and hence reduce the desire to continue eating or eat again shortly after the meal.

The Ballot For The Royal Parks Half Marathon 2020 Is Open


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 06:37

January is almost over, which means healthy New Year’s resolutions are slipping left, right and centre. If your fitness flame is fading, one surefire way to ignite it again is to sign up for an active event to give you something to work towards. One excellent option is the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London, which takes place on Sunday 11th October in 2020.

The ballot opens for the event on Tuesday 28th January and will remain open until 5pm on Wednesday 5th February regardless of how many people enter. Anyone who takes a punt has an equal chance of gaining a spot. Sign up for the ballot on the Royal Parks Half Marathon website and you can expect the results on Friday 7th February.

There are few city-centre events that can match the impressive route of the Royal Parks Half Marathon. The closed-road course takes runners through four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens – and past notable landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

There is always a large, supportive crowd surrounding the course as well, even in 2018 when it rained for pretty much the entire race. The route is also flat enough to give you a good shot at setting a PB – we’ve done so twice at the event – though you’ll need an iron will for the 1km-long home straight which feels like it goes on forever.

Perhaps the best thing about the Royal Parks Half is that you can train for it through the summer. Ask anyone who’s currently training for a spring half marathon or marathon how much they’re enjoying slogging through the freezing wet weather and you’ll quickly realise what a bonus it is to prepare for an autumn race (although if a heatwave strikes, it pays to be a morning person so you can run while it’s still cool).

The one major downside of the Royal Parks Half Marathon is its popularity, which means getting a place is tough, but you can improve your odds by paying a non-refundable entry fee (£59). You risk paying for a place you’re never given, but this automatically enters you into a second-chance ballot if you’re not successful in the first round. This is for places left unallocated after the first ballot and the results are emailed out one or two weeks after the first draw. If you don’t pay up front for the first ballot, you don’t get a chance to enter the second ballot.

Of course, there’s a fair chance you’ll strike out in both ballots, but as a consolation you will get a 2020 Royal Parks Half Marathon reusable water bottle that will forever remind you of the race you failed to get a place in. It is a nice stainless steel bottle though. And the Royal Parks Foundation is a charity, so at least a gamble that doesn’t pay off has an ultimate benefit.

And if you crap out of the ballot system, you can try for a charity place – there’s a list of the charities with spots in the race on the Royal Parks Half website.

Once you have secured a spot, whether it’s through the ballot or through a charity, make sure to check out our guide to the Royal Parks Half Marathon. This includes free training plans for all abilities, plus advice on when you should start your training, as well as a detailed course guide. We’ve run the race twice, once in the sun and once in the pouring rain, so feel we have a pretty good grasp on the key parts of the route to consider.

Enter the ballot

What You Need To Know About Your Metabolism For Weight Loss


Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, January 27, 2020 - 12:05

“I can eat whatever I want – I have a fast metabolism.” The chances are you have heard that from someone in your life and the chances are that you liked them a lot less after you heard them say it. Unfortunately, you can’t even lay a scientific smackdown on them, because there is quite possibly some truth to what they say.

“Different individuals have different daily resting energy expenditures. It depends on a variety of things,” says Michael Gleeson, emeritus professor of exercise biochemistry in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University.

Gleeson is the author of Eat, Move, Sleep, Repeat, a book that grounds its advice about diet and exercise in science.

“I got sick and tired of reading books by people who are not really experts,” says Gleeson. “They don’t actually look at the scientific literature, and find out what has been shown to work and what hasn’t. If you go to the science you can find the answers. If you just make it up for yourself why should anyone take notice of it?”

Metabolism is an important part of the picture when you’re managing your weight, so we spoke to Gleeson to find out more about it.

What is metabolism?

It’s essentially the sum of all the chemical reactions that are going on in your body. Its main role is to provide you with the energy you need for your cells to survive, to perform their basic functions, and then to do additional things like exercise where we need extra energy

Another role is building new molecules from small ones. We get all our essential nutrients – the main ones are protein, carbohydrate and fat – from the things we eat and drink in our diet. These get digested down to small molecules in the gut so we can absorb them. Then those are taken up into the tissue and usually reassembled into different molecules we need to function normally. Some of the excess stuff that we take in is stored, either as glycogen if it’s carbohydrate, or as fat. That’s our long-term energy store we can use when we need it in periods of starvation.

From building muscle to producing neurotransmitters for the brain and supplying our muscles with energy – metabolism covers all of these things. If we think about the body as a series of organs and tissues that perform various physiological functions. All of these ultimately are underpinned by the metabolism.

Do people have slow and fast metabolisms?

Yes, the individual metabolic rate varies between people. It depends on a variety of things, primarily body size – the bigger you are the greater your resting energy expenditure is going to be, because you have a larger overall tissue mass that are metabolising all the time. It also depends on age, to a degree, and sex.

There are individual genetic differences as well. Some people are essentially more efficient at storing energy and becoming overweight when food is readily available or overconsumed, whereas some people can eat somewhat more than others and still not get fat. That’s probably down to the fact that their resting metabolic rate is a little bit higher.

It can also be influenced by things like hormones, particularly your thyroid hormone. If you’re a person with hypothyroidism and don’t produce as much of the hormone thyroxine, your resting metabolic rate tends to be lower than other people.

Can you change the speed of your metabolism day to day?

It changes transiently [for short periods]. We all have a certain basal metabolic rate, or energy expenditure – the rate at which you expend energy or how many calories per hour you’re burning throughout the day. If you’re resting and your muscles are relaxed, then your metabolic rate is the lowest it’s going to be. When you’re sitting at a desk you’re using postural muscles to keep you upright, and that expends a little bit of energy.

Then what and when we eat, and the composition of the food we eat, also affects our resting metabolism to a degree. When you consume, digest and absorb a meal, those nutrients in the meal then have to be stored. Digestion and absorption can be energy-requiring processes, but more energy is expended in storing your energy. This produces a temporary increase in your metabolic rate, which we call the thermic effect of feeding. A more scientific term is dietary-induced thermogenesis.

Essentially this can increase your resting metabolic rate up to about a third more than normal. This is during the first few hours after you’ve consumed a meal, and it’s different depending on the composition of your meal. Protein has a considerably higher thermic effect than either fat or carbohydrate. When you have a meal that’s predominantly protein then around about 20-30% of the energy in that protein will be dissipated as heat because it’s increasing your resting metabolic rate. For carbohydrate the value is nearer to 5-10% and for fat it’s even smaller, somewhere in the order of 3-5%. So the composition of what you eat for your breakfast or any meal will affect your metabolic rate differently, but all will increase it to a degree.

So if you want to lose weight, eating more protein can help?

That’s one of the reasons why having a relatively high-protein diet is probably best for effective long-term weight loss. The higher thermic effect of feeding means fewer of the calories you’re taking in are being converted into carbohydrate or being stored as fat.

There’s other reasons as well, because if you have a high-protein diet and you’re also doing some exercise, that’s good for building muscle. When you’re dieting, if you’re not on a high-protein diet, you’re likely to be losing some muscle as well as excess body fat. With a high-protein diet plus some resistance exercise, you actually maintain your muscle mass when you’re dieting.

If you maintain your muscle mass, you help to prevent what would otherwise happen, which is a 10-15% fall in your basal metabolic rate as you adapt to the diet.

Does exercise raise your metabolic rate in the hours afterwards – the so-called afterburner effect?

I think rather too much is made of this. Some people say if you do HIIT sessions you’ll get a bigger elevation of your resting metabolic rate and it’ll last for ten to 12 hours afterwards, but generally the studies that have actually measured people’s metabolic rates in respiration chambers after bouts of exercise have shown this effect on weight loss is not really significant – certainly not compared with the amount of energy you expend during the exercise itself.

If you do a five-mile run, say, you’ll expend about 500-600 calories. Even if that run then produced a 10% increase in your resting metabolic rate over the next ten hours, you’re only looking at an extra expenditure of 60 calories or so.

What approach to diet and exercise would you recommend for weight loss?

Exercise should be of moderate intensity – running, cycling, swimming are all great – and relatively prolonged if you have the time. Doing about an hour of that will burn around 500 calories or so. Combine that with reducing your dietary energy intake by about 500 calories per day. If you’re doing that you’re generating a 1,000-calorie deficit every day. Do that five days a week and you’re losing 5,000 calories. With that you can lose over 1-2 pounds [around ½-1kg] of body fat per week.

Don’t cut your protein intake – you can even increase your protein intake above normal – but cut down on fat and carbohydrate. I’m not an advocate of cutting out fat or carbohydrate altogether because you end up with an extreme diet and you don’t need to do that. Just cut down food intake by 500 calories a day, and do it with a combination of reducing fat and carbohydrate. Still maintain a balanced diet so you’re getting all the other essential nutrients, and make sure you’re getting more than enough protein.

Eat, Move, Sleep, Repeat is published by Meyer & Meyer Sport and is available from the end of January

The Best Gluten-Free Beers


Chris Miller

Friday, January 24, 2020 - 12:35

Not long ago, few people knew what gluten was, but now most people know someone who has a reason not to eat this type of protein. There’s coeliac disease, allergies to gluten-containing cereals such as wheat, following a Paleo diet, not to mention the people who simply say they feel better when they avoid gluten: not as bloated, less fatigued, fewer headaches.

But whatever the reason, sacking off the gluten means that most beer – made with gluteny wheat and barley – is off-limits. Don’t despair, though, because the good news is the brewers have cottoned on to this in a big way. Both big and small beer companies are now using brewing wizardry to produce gluten-free drinks that are just as good as traditional beer, if not better.

Since I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2017, I’ve been trying every gluten-free beer I can get my hands on – I’m up to around a hundred. It’s not quite the same as being able to walk into any pub and choose from all the beers on offer, but there are definitely options. At least it means I don’t have to suffer the fate of drinking cider all the time. Here’s my pick of the very best gluten-free beers.

Magic Rock Fantasma

IPA is the hero of the craft beer revolution and gluten-free drinkers can experience its majesty too thanks to this top-drawer beer from Huddersfield’s Magic Rock. Fantasma is a hoppy, smooth IPA with citrus and mango notes that’s delightfully easy drinking – a little too easy, perhaps, considering it’s 6.5% ABV. Pretty easy to find, too: it’s sold by Amazon as well as some of the UK’s leading online beer shops, although I get mine from my local M&S.

Buy from Magic Rock | £2.80 for a 330ml can

Firebird Festive 51

Fans of dark, malty beers aren’t that well served by gluten-free brewers, as opposed to lager and IPA drinkers. Thank goodness, then, for West Sussex brewer Firebird, which produces a traditional best bitter, Heritage, and this delightfully malty 4.8% ruby-red winner. It’s just one of Firebird’s ace range of GF brews, some of which come in cask and keg.

Buy from REDH | £2.75 for a 500ml bottle

Hepworth Prospect

Less than ten miles from Firebird is Hepworth, another Sussex brewer making a range of first-rate GF beers, from the Saxon lager to the toasty Old Traditional. Best of the bunch is this bottle-conditioned organic pale ale: tangy and refreshing at 4.5% ABV, it’ll satisfy any palate – and it’s vegan-friendly too.

Buy from Abel & Cole | £2.60 for a 500ml bottle

Daura Damm

The Barcelonian brewery that produces the popular Estrella Damm also makes this lager, which it says is the world’s most awarded gluten-free beer. It has claimed more than 40 international prizes and with good reason: it’s a classic lively, clean-tasting lager at 5.4% ABV, with a spicy edge. It’s an ideal summer drink in other words and available in many supermarkets.

Buy from Asda | £6 for four 330ml bottles (currently reduced to £5)

BrewDog Vagabond

Scotland’s self-described craft-beer “punks” may seem a bit less punk with all the private equity investment and smart new bars, but there’s no denying the impact BrewDog has had in the past decade on the beer scene in this country. It’s applied its impressive knowhow to gluten-free beers with Vagabond: pleasantly hoppy with caramel flavours and a distinct maltiness, it’s the best widely available GF pale ale, and squeezes into the session bracket at 4.5% ABV.

Buy from Sainsbury’s | £1.80 for a 330ml bottle

The Free From Beer Co Pilsner

While it’s pleasing that the likes of Stella Artois, San Miguel and Peroni now produce gluten-free versions of their popular lagers, there’s nothing particularly special about them for the beer enthusiast. Not so this 4.8% pilsner from the Free From Beer Co, a Dorset brewer with a mission to make GF beer as widely available as possible. Crisp, smooth and lively on the tongue, it’s a real treat, as is the same brewer’s IPA.

Buy from Asda | £2 for a 330ml can

Brass Castle Bad Kitty

Based in Malton, a town known as Yorkshire’s food capital, Brass Castle is one of the UK’s best-known and most esoteric gluten-free breweries, creating an ever-changing range of beers that have been winning awards since its launch in 2011. Bad Kitty, one of the first beers BC ever brewed, is a 5.5% ABV vanilla porter that has won 23 awards on its own and no wonder. It’s a robust, full-flavoured porter with agreeably sweet notes that’ll give you a warm tingly feeling on the filthiest winter’s night.

Buy from Brass Castle | £2.50 for a 330ml can

First Chop HOP

It’s not often I’m glad I have coeliac disease – mostly it’s a giant pain – but without the diagnosis I doubt I’d have found my new favourite brewer, Manchester’s First Chop. Its range of outstanding three-letter GF beers contains everything from hoppy blonde AVA to grapefruit saison PIP to vanilla stout POD; but the very best is HOP, a 4.1% “ultra pale” ale that’s so subtly malty it’s almost smoky, and is dry-hopped with Citra, undisputed king of the hops. The deserving recipient of two stars at the 2018 Great Taste awards.

Buy from Beerwulf | £1.99 for a 330ml can

Wold Top Against The Grain

Another Great Taste award winner, Against The Grain is an ideal summer ale – light, lemony and refreshing at 4.5% ABV, with plenty of hops and a classic bitter finish. If you’re in the vicinity of Wold Top’s Scarborough base you should find it in the shops – or even as a cask beer – but outside Yorkshire the internet is, as ever, your friend.

Buy from Wold Top | £1.99 for a 500ml bottle

Choose Your Own HIIT Adventure With This Full-Body Workout


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, January 24, 2020 - 07:03

We have a lot of great HIIT workouts for you to try on Coach, but this is the first that can be done one of seven ways. The exercises in the workout are listed below, but before you even get to them you have to pick how you want to approach the session.

It’s been put together by personal trainer and sports dietitian Kerri Major and is taken from her new book The Dietitian Kitchen: Nutrition For A Healthy, Strong, & Happy You, which features recipes as well as workouts.

How To Do This Workout

Gather some equipment, namely a couple of dumbbells or kettlebells, a bench or box to lean on during the hip thrust, and a resistance band.

Now select the type of workout you want to do from Major’s list.


Tabata involves doing one exercise at very high intensity for 20 seconds, followed by a ten-second rest, completing eight rounds in total – so four minutes of work.

To apply this training method, you can focus on one exercise at a time, doing each for four minutes, giving you 32 minutes of working time, although make sure you rest for at least two minutes between blocks. This is one to do when you have time and bags of energy.


An AMRAP involves completing as many rounds of a circuit or reps of an exercise in a certain time, taking as little rest as possible. The main aim is to focus on working at high intensity without compromising on your exercise form.

To apply this training method, set the timer for anything between ten and 30 minutes and perform ten reps of each exercise for one round, completing as many rounds as possible within the set time. It’s a good way to fit a workout into whatever time you have available.

For Time

Doing a workout for time means you do a certain number of reps of an exercise, or number of exercises, or rounds of a circuit until you have finished. The time when you completed all your reps or rounds is your score.

To apply this training method, do ten reps of each exercise, completing three to five rounds, depending on your fitness level and time available. This is a great format to do periodically, trying to beat your previous score to gauge how your fitness is improving.

EMOM (Every Minute On The Minute)

An EMOM workout involves doing a certain number of reps of an exercise, or number of exercises, every minute for a certain number of minutes. The quicker you complete the number of reps in each minute, the more rest you will have before the next minute starts.

To apply this training method, choose between one and three exercises, depending on your fitness level, and complete three reps of each exercise every minute for ten minutes. Your aim is to exercise for roughly 45 seconds in each minute so you have a short ten to 15-second rest before the next minute starts and you go again. This is a good way to fit a lot of work into a short space of time.

Ascending Ladder

Start by completing one rep of each of your chosen exercises, then increase this by one additional rep of each exercise, in the next round. This means the exercise gets harder each round as you add more reps. Work your way up the ladder to reach ten reps of each exercise.

Descending Ladder

In a descending ladder you start by completing a high number of reps of each exercise, then decrease the number for each exercise by one in the next round. This way the workout starts hard but gets easier with each round as you decrease the number of reps you are completing.

Start by doing ten reps of each exercise and work your way down the ladder until your final round is one rep per exercise.

Full Ladder

The full ladder incorporates both the ascending and descending ladders and is a good one to complete if you have a little extra time.

You begin with the ascending ladder, so you complete one rep of each exercise and increase the reps by one in each round, until you reach a target number of reps. Immediately after you have reached the target number, you begin the descending ladder and decrease the number of reps of each exercise in each round by one until you return to one rep of each exercise.

Full-Body HIIT Workout

Now you’ve picked your format, here are the exercises to perform.

1 Goblet squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing out slightly. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at your chest. Keep your chest up and engage your core. Slowly squat down, keeping you knees in line with your toes. Your weight should be back on your heels. Drive back up until fully extended, keeping your chest up, knees out and squeezing your glutes.

2 Kettlebell swing

Hold the kettlebell handle with both hands. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Pull the kettlebell between your legs, sending your hips back with as little bend in the knees as possible, keeping your chest upright and pinching your shoulder blades together.

Drive your hips back to standing to generate the force to drive the kettlebell up in front of you to eye level, keeping your arms straight. As the kettlebell swings back between your legs, send your hips back again and go smoothly into the next rep.

3 Lateral lunge

Stand tall with your feet positioned in a wide stance and your toes pointing forwards. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at your chest. Keeping your torso facing forwards and your weight back on your heels at all times, lower to one side until the knee of your leading leg is bent to around 90°. Keep your other leg straight. Always focus on bending and lowering from the hips, with your back straight and core engaged. Drive off the bent leg, pushing back up and returning to the starting position. Repeat, leading with the opposite leg

4 Hip thrust

Sit on the ground with a bench or box directly behind you. Position your shoulders and shoulder blades on top of the bench. Depending on the height of the bench, this may result in your hips coming off the floor slightly. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your knees should be bent at approximately 45° in front of you with the soles of your feet on the floor. Your torso should be straight, your body aligned and your spine neutral. Hold both ends of a dumbbell using both hands and place it at your hips.

Drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips and the dumbbell vertically as high as possible. Your weight should be supported by your shoulder blades and your feet. Tuck your chin towards your chest. Your tailbone should be tucked inwards and your ribs should be pulled down. At the top of the move, your shins should be vertical. Come down smoothly, with your core still engaged, to return to the starting position.

5 Floor press

Lie with your back on the floor, your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms bent at 90°, upper arms in contact with the floor and lower arms pointing up. Drive the dumbbells towards the ceiling so your arms are fully extended, with your palms facing each other. Pause at the top and then gradually return to the starting position, with your upper arms resting on the floor.

6 Renegade row

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, assume the high plank position with straight arms. Your feet should be set slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Engage your core by pulling your belly button towards your spine. Pull one dumbbell off the floor towards your armpit, keeping your elbow close to your body. Lower the dumbbell back to the floor under control to assume the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.

7 Pallof press

Loop a resistance band through itself on a rack at chest height. Stand side-on to the rack. Take the other end of the resistance band with both hands, one over the other and hold it at your chest. Take a step away from the rack so the resistance band is taut. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent and your core engaged. In an explosive movement, extend your arms and push the band away from you at chest height, until your arms reach full extension. Keep your feet planted, your core engaged and your hips square as you hold this position, resisting the sideways pull of the band, for one to two seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.

8 Mountain climbers

Start in a high plank position with your arms extended and hands underneath your shoulders. Bring one knee to your chest at time, keeping your core engaged, your hips square and your weight over your hands. Drive one knee to your chest at a time as fast as you can for 30-45 seconds of the time required by the workout format.

Buy The Dietitian Kitchen on Amazon | £19.95 (currently reduced to £12.31)

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Much of fitness revolves around the idea of maxing out every time you sweat. There’s this preconception that you’ve got to engage in all-out, high-intensity workouts that push you to the brink of your limits in order to be truly fit. But there’s been a pivot in the industry as of late that recognizes the importance of slowing down. Recovery has been a huge trend in the last few years, with integrated gyms popping up all over the world boasting specialized treatments—like red light therapy, physical therapy, and localized cryotherapy—to help people rehab and train like athletes. But we’ve also seen people seeking out low-impact workouts that target muscle weaknesses and work the entire body without causing a massive strain on all energy systems. One such workout that’s picking up steam is Pilates.

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