Leeds Girls Can Clubbercise

LGC clubbercise

Despite the snow we enjoyed a successful International Women’s Day in Leeds! Our main event was the Leeds Girls Can Clubbercise session which took place in the middle of the Trinity Centre (yes that’s right, surrounded by shoppers and commuters) in the evening. Leeds Girls Can ran two hours of Clubbercise for anybody who wanted to take part. It was fantastic to see women and men joining in with the International Women’s Day celebrations. We had all ages amongst our ranks, the youngest and arguably the cutest being Sienna, age 4. She was definitely the best out of us all, she didn’t want to stop. Hopefully she will remember the event as she gets older, going through life knowing that girls can do anything. That is why we exist, to show people that they can achieve anything, even when it’s out of their comfort zone.

You may think that we looked like a bunch of crazy people dancing in the middle of a shopping centre but there was a very important purpose for it. We like to show that the women of Leeds are resilient, no matter how many eyes were on us it didn’t matter! We were having fun, getting a good workout in and proving that Leeds Girls Can.

Made in Leeds TV even came to cover the event and much to my horror I was interviewed as a participant. I tried very hard not to try too hard at the ‘clubbericising’ because I didn’t want to be out of breath to speak to the camera, I think I pulled it off… see for yourself and watch it here: Made in Leeds TV Clubbercise I hope you all had a fab International Women’s Day! Comment below with what you got up to! Em x Instagram: active.em.blog Facebook: Emily Ankers – Leeds Girls Can Ambassador

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Leeds Sports Awards 2018

LGC leeds sports awards

The Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors were very lucky and grateful to be invited to the Leeds Sports Awards 2018. It was a rare occasion in more than one way, we swapped our trainers for heels, the only problem was that we hardly recognised each other in all our finery away from a muddy park or sweaty spin studio. Held at the First Direct Arena, this was a highly prestigious event, just to give you a sense of the scale of the awards, it was sponsored by Leeds Bid, Banana Kick, The University of Leeds, ImageCo, Blacks Solicitors, First Direct Bank, Leeds Bradford Airport, Sport Leeds, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, Resource, SWPix, Leeds Sports Federation, Leeds City Council and the Yorkshire Evening Post. Quite a mouthful.

It was a wonderful evening celebrating the achievements of all sorts of people involved in sports in Leeds, with young, senior and special contributions awards, it was an extremely diverse line up. As Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors we were very interested in the female winners, celebrating their strength and determination in their respective sports. We were lucky enough to get to meet some of them, accidentally photo bombing Izzy Palmer’s family photo – sorry Izzy. Izzy won the Young Sportswoman – Disability Award for her amazing efforts and achievements as a para dressage rider. I’m actually quite terrified of horses so I’m in awe of her for even going near one but at age 17 with a list of achievements that would take up this entire blog post, she really is the perfect example of a Leeds Girl proving that she can.

We also met Charlotte Booth, winner of the Student Sport – Individual Award. Charlotte is also the first female rugby league player to receive the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) from Sport England. Charlotte plays for the Leeds Rhinos and has played on the England Squad. Now I don’t know that much about rugby but you don’t need to be an expert to realise that she is an absolutely phenomenal player, fantastic role model and literally #quadgoals. Charlotte is also a student at Leeds Trinity and we bonded over the joy that is Temple Donuts and Coffee (if you haven’t been you need to go, it’s on Kirkstall Road – have a cheeky Google). It just shows, if a pro rugby player says it’s fine to eat donuts, it’s 100% fine to eat donuts.

Another amazing female athlete that we met was Boxing Coach Sam Smith, Sam and her fellow coach Graham Mattison won the Coach – Participation Award. It was wonderful to hear about the positive impact their club (Alliance Boxing) has on the Leeds community. A highlight of the evening was when some younger club members started doing a demonstration of their boxing techniques on stage (not on each other, don’t worry). As much as the children entertained us, it was obvious to see that this confidence was a direct product of their experiences at the club. Sport doesn’t just keep us fit, it gives us confidence in day to day life.

We also got to meet Hannah Cockcroft MBE winner of the Sportswoman – Disability Award, an absolute legend. Her numerous successes include her multiple Gold medal wins at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in wheelchair racing. She was lovely and so happy to have a picture with us as Leeds Girls Can. It really struck me how all of the athletes that we met were so happy to talk to us. It felt like they were instantly part of the Leeds Girls Can and wider This Girl Can community, because we were all there for the same reason. To show our support for the achievements and efforts for men and women in sports, regardless of gender or age, everybody equally deserved their awards.

Thank you to Banana Kick for inviting us! We had a great time representing Leeds Girls Can amongst such a vibrant, energetic and fun Leeds sporting community.

Em x

Insta: @active.em.blog

Facebook: Emily Ankers – Leeds Girls Can Ambassador

Twitter: @active_em_blog

Pilates with Oov for International Women’s Day 2018

LGC pilates photo

As you might already know, Leeds Girls Can had a very successful International Women’s Day on 8th March. Unfortunately, because of the snow some of our sessions were cancelled but Headingley Pilates were extremely kind and rescheduled for us. Myself and my friend Molly (shout out to Molly) went along to find out what on earth Oov Pilates is!

You can see us holding our Oovs in the group photo. When I first saw it I honestly thought it looked like some sort of foam Loch Ness monster. Seriously, how were we going to incorporate that into our Pilates?! Jenny our instructor was very informative and lovely, she quickly showed and explained to us what it was for. Taken from the Oov website, an Oov:

‘… works by activating the user’s core stabilising muscles while also gently extending the spine to stimulate healthy intervertebral disc lubrication. This active response in the user helps achieve ‘neutral spine’, a widely used concept in the treatment and assessment of spinal conditions.’

It was fun trying to get onto the Oov, I’ll tell you that, but the difference that it made to how your back feels was really incredible. It sort of supports you in a way that means you can stretch better and further. It also challenges you to keep your core steady in a different way which made the moves that little bit harder. We also used it for balance practise, standing on it on one foot whilst raising our other leg. I am surprised that I didn’t fall off but it really helped me work on my balance, something that has gone a little bit out of the window since I don’t practise Karate regularly anymore. By the end of the class I felt like I had used my muscles properly, engaging them as best as possible, nicely stretched and ready for the day ahead.

We had a fab session and I would strongly recommend that you give Oov Pilates a go!

Thank you to Headingley Pilates and Jenny for looking after us so well and for introducing us to the wonderful world of the Oov.

Em x Headingley Pilates: Headingley Pilates Website

Facebook: Emily Ankers – Leeds Girls Can Ambassador Instagram: @active.em.blog Twitter: @active_em_blog

Uni Girls Can Post-Workout Nutrition Workshop

Here at Leeds Girls Can we are all about getting out and active. Such an important part of leading a healthy and balanced life is nutrition and post-exercise nutrition is absolutely key to seeing and feeling results. Today (Thursday 30th November) I attended a workshop run by Uni Girls Can who had teamed up with some of the ladies in the Food Science department at the University of Leeds. It was super interesting and helpful with lots of nifty tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your food.

Chloe, Maika, Diana and Yoana took us through the importance of nutrition after exercise for recovery and also general healthy eating. They had us take part in a fun quiz asking questions about what which foods we thought had more protein in (pumpkin seeds actually have more protein per 100g than chicken breast!?) and general ideas about nutrition that we might have.

They then did two demonstrations of a snack and a meal. The post-exercise snack was a simple smoothie, made with fruit, yoghurt and milk (vegan option provided too!) – this smoothie actually had 16g of protein in it – perfect for replenishing energy and aiding muscle recovery. The second demonstration was of how to make Quorn meatball vegetable pasta. What was really great about both the snack and the meal was that we were given lots of options for making it home – different pasta to use, different vegetable ideas, how to save money when buying fruit and vegetables. We discovered a red lentil pasta that exists which is a) delicious and b) has 20g of protein in per serving!

Throughout the whole workshop everybody was getting involved by asking lots of questions, chatting about the kind of food that they like to make, the sports everybody is involved with. It was such a great way to learn more about nutrition and try some tasty food (always a bonus!).

Thank you so much to the Chloe, Maika, Yoana and Diana for teaching us some delicious recipes and giving us some very valuable information about nutrition. Thank you to all the ladies that came along to the workshop! Hopefully, in the near future Leeds Girls Can ladies might be able to attend one of these interesting and fun workshops… watch this space!

Em x

My First Post-Pregnancy Run (the second time around) – before, during and after

Before:

Right now it’s a week away from a very important day for me… the day when I do my first post-pregnancy run. Just like after my last pregnancy, I’ve waited until 12 weeks have passed and followed a mixed plan of physio and pelvic floor exercises to give myself the best possible chance of strengthening those core areas affected by pregnancy and birth. But now, the wait is almost over, and I approach it with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Excitement to get back out there and anxiety about how it will feel, how I will get on. Will I collapse in a heap after 30 seconds…? Whatever happens I won’t have to wait long to find out…!

Leanne Lane with Bump and Daughter

During:

Hooray! The day is finally here! Having stopped running early on in my pregnancy due to pelvic discomfort, it feels like a looooong time has passed. Feeling very excited as I put on my running gear and lace up my running shoes. Its winter, my favourite time of year to run, I much prefer the cold to the heat. I’m having to go early, and make sure my toddler is ok and that baby is full of milk and settled before I go, but then they’ll be snuggled up with Daddy until I get back. Once I’m out the door, there’s no stopping me and the feeling of freedom is unbelievable – I can’t remember the last time I went anywhere without taking at least one child with me! Off down the street following my usual route without even thinking twice, I haven’t planned in advance where I’d go, just wherever my legs take me. Legs that feel slightly stiff from not running for a long time and a body tired from lack of sleep – but it feels good, feels nice. It feels different but the same. No music. Just running to the sound of my own beat. 

Leanne Lane Post Pregnancy Run

Afterwards:

I hadn’t planned to run for long, and I didn’t. I was out for 20 minutes at most and yes my pace was quite slow (not that I ever run that fast). But oh what a run. A delicious, indulgent, time-for-me, RUN. I’m glad to say that I didn’t collapse in a heap as I feared that I might do. I can’t say I found it easy but I did find it enjoyable and that’s what I love about running. That it was there, waiting for me, once I’d had my baby and felt ok enough to put on my running shoes again, like a trusty friend who you don’t have to speak to every day but who you know is always there for you. And so, I’m pleased to say, my love of running continues…

 

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your pregnancy or post pregnancy running stories if you’d like to share any in the comments below.

 

Leanne Lane

Leanne Lane and Daughter

Eunice Walker: “I started running just before I turned sixty and will never stop!”

My husband came home from work one day and said, “come on we are going running, I want to lose weight”. I was fifty-nine at the time and has never ran before in my life! Anyway, off we went to the local park and after a few minutes I was struggling. I was gasping and couldn’t breathe properly. I carried on a bit more but I wasn’t enjoying it at all. I ran just a few more minutes but then I’d had enough.

We went again the next night but it wasn’t any better. Being the determined woman I am, I continued to try running just for a few minutes and after a week I had lost two pounds. I thought, “Okay- maybe I should carry on”.

I tried working on my breathing over the next few runs and found I was able to run just that bit further each time. I was only running for ten minutes and just let my husband get on with the rest.

Another week went by and I found myself starting to enjoy it. My breathing was getting better and I’d bought a sports bra which really made a difference! After the third week my husband said, “I’ve had enough so I’m not doing it anymore”. I told him I was actually enjoying it now so he encouraged me to continue running by myself. I won’t go to the park alone so I began running on the streets near my house. Just ten minutes a day and what a difference it made. I was really enjoying it and getting the benefits of feeling fit and healthy. It was coming up to my sixtieth birthday in four months so I wrote on a piece of paper that I would lose over a stone by then, and put it on the bedroom wall as a testimony.

My husband is younger than me and walks a lot at work so I let him off for not being my running buddy. When my birthday came I had lost one stone and three pounds and was absolutely delighted! I was still only running for ten to fifteen minutes a day.

The motivation pushed me to stretch to fifteen to twenty minute runs and sometimes more. I entered my first Race for Life and have continued to enter each year for the last eight years. This year I was interviewed by the TV man and made it onto ITV Calendar News.

I am now sixty nine and have only gained three and a half pounds in the years I’ve been running, I’m chuffed with that! I met up with a friend from school and told her about my running journey- she now runs with me twice a week. I still run on the streets on other days in the week, and I now run with Dani Penney from Leeds Girls Can- Active Leeds for thirty to forty minutes every Thursday.

What would I say to other females thinking of starting running? Come on girls, you really CAN do it if you just give it a try! All girls together!

blog image Eunice

Go Tri Something New In Leeds!

Go Tri Logo

For some time now, momentum has been growing behind triathlon. As a city, Leeds is fast becoming a hub for the sport. The construction of world class facilities, the development of the grassroots Go Tri programme to encourage new people into the sport and the success of the regions athletes all playing a significant part.

Take a look at what Go Tri has to offer in Leeds:

Go Tri Something New- Ladies beginner cycling sessions in New Wortley

Go Tri blog image 1  These sessions take place at New Wortley community centre and are targeted at beginners or those who would like to build up their confidence on a bike.

The group attending were all largely local to the Armley/ Bramley area. One lady hadn’t ridden a bike before and was a total beginner- she was keen to learn, so she was able to go out on rides with her partner. Other’s hadn’t been out on a bike for a few years and some were fairly confident riders. The ride leaders had to be really flexible in their approach to the sessions in order to accommodate all abilities.

With the support of British Triathlon we were able to access more bikes for week two and we saw the numbers increase. Over the first three weeks we’ve supported three none riders to successfully complete short rides, we’ve had women turn up with others having spoken positively about the session with their peers and you can already see the group forming friendships.

Go Tri blog image 2 Participants discussed signing up for the city ride in September and also a couple arranged to get together to the session on Monday nights at the Brownlee centre. The programme has already proved a hit with local women and with the excellent guidance from the ride leaders, introducing them to a range of different routes within easy reach of their community, the sessions are going from strength to strength.

To find out how you can get involved and for more information, visit: http://active.leeds.gov.uk/communitysport/Pages/Triathlon.aspx 

World Triathlon Series Leeds 2017

Go Tri blog image 3.png On the 10th and 11th of June, the World Triathlon Series was back in town for a second time. The event was bigger and better than before. The event village in Roundhay park went down a storm. Activity challenges, a big screen, event stalls and the odd freebie all helping to create a real family atmosphere.

Across the Leeds, in the city centre, people lined the streets to cheer on the elite and amateur athletes alike around the famous blue carpet finish in Millennium Square. Triathlon mania had definitely set in!

As the sun shone on the Sunday afternoon, some of the world’s best athletes descended on Roundhay park to tackle the unique challenge that Leeds offers. But before they’d even tipped their toes into the (Cold!) water, something extraordinary had already taken place.Go Tri blog image 5Over the course of the weekend people had come in their thousands to take on the triathlon challenge for themselves. Some were experienced triathletes, some were as young as 11 years old, some were para-triathletes, some had never been swimming in open water before and some were taking part in their first triathlon! It was quite a sight. Wave after wave of people of all ages and abilities swam, cycled and ran their hearts out. Some out to set a personal best, others just set out to finish.

Go Tri blog image 4  For some time now, momentum has been growing behind triathlon. As a city, Leeds is fast becoming a hub for the sport. The construction of world class facilities, the development of the grassroots Go Tri programme to encourage new people into the sport and the success of the region’s elite athletes all playing a significant part.

Come and be a part of it and Tri something New!