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

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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

Leeds Girls Can: Couch To 5K!

Leeds Girls Can blog image

It started with a meeting alongside Leeds Girls Can Ambassador’s and Run Leader’s- Natasha Hamlet and Kirsty Midgley. We wanted to discuss setting up a Couch to 5k beginners running group. We were all excited in sharing our passion to help get more women and girls active. After finalising logistics of the programme, we created a Facebook group and began promoting through social media and word of mouth. We received a lot of interest but assumed only a percentage of that would translate into actual ladies turning up. How wrong we were…

On the 21st of April 2017, I turned up ready to lead week 1 session 1, and was absolutely overwhelmed to be greeted by 116 women and girls. It was slightly chaotic to say the least. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have to shout the warm up to that many people, but somehow the other leaders and I got through it successfully. Over the next few weeks the numbers gradually stabilised to around 70 ladies. At the time I just thought we were getting into the swing of things and it kind of became the norm. Reflecting back now, I realise what an incredible achievement that was!

As the weeks continued to go by I were amazed at the level of commitment and determination I saw from the ladies. Although the leaders put on a regular Tuesday and Thursday session, the participants were expected to complete the third session of the week on their own. The Facebook group proved to be such a useful outlet and a place for the ladies to post about their achievements, to seek advice and support each other. Seeing ladies turn up at the sessions, week after week, and complete runs that they never imagined they could was inspiring to us all.

My running journey started back in 2005, following a similar Couch to 5k plan, and I have never looked back. I knew the Couch to 5k programme was a great tool in encouraging people to exercise and achieve their goals, but little did I think I would have a vital part to play in getting so many women active. As the ‘Pregnant Run Leader’, I was happy to lead the warm ups and cool downs. During the sessions you’d usually find me near the back walking, offering encouragement and chatting with the ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed every single session I was a part of, talking to some of the ladies and finding out their reasons for doing it was very inspiring and motivating for me.

So the 9 weeks flew by and the running distance continued to increase. It dawned on me the impact the group was having when Made in Leeds came down to film us, and show off the achievements of the group. At the final session I was able to attend, there were still around 35 ladies participating in 30 minute continuous running. I felt emotional thinking about the journey these women had achieved from struggling to run for a minute to doing it for a full half an hour!

I had an absolute blast with the Leeds Girls Can Couch to 5k ladies at Kirkstall Abbey. I am thankful to all the volunteer Run Leaders and Active Leeds Development Team for allowing me to be a part of such an inspiring and empowering thing. I’ve loved every minute of being part of this group and can truly say that I feel everyone who completed the programme is the epitome of #ThisGirlCan.

Ps. Watch this space for more Leeds Girls Can Couch to 5k programmes! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LeedGirlsCan to hear about more amazing opportunities you can get involved in.

From Crutches to Coast to Coast – My Cycling Journey, by Julia Davis

 

cycling blog images

Life before cycling- had you ever wanted to cycle before?

I have always liked keeping fit but in my 30’s I had a lot of health problems due to endometriosis, which meant years of no exercise. I had a number of operations, including a hysterectomy, and was advised to walk every day to help me recover.  I was unfit and felt worn down by everything. I started walking and gradually built in some jogging. This developed into running and before I knew it, I increased my distance until I could do a 5km Park Run.  I got stronger and fitter and joined the local running club. I had even signed up for a marathon because my training was going so well! My buzz came quickly crashing down shortly after when I had an accident and badly broke my ankle, and tore all my ligaments.

How did you first get into cycling?

Blog images 2 Five months after breaking my ankle, I was nowhere near being able to run and I was feeling very frustrated at being inactive again. I started to use my hybrid bike to exercise our lively dog as it was easier for me than walking. I enjoyed being out on a bike and found it didn’t aggravate my ankle too much.  My husband has always been a keen cyclist, and I always thought of it as his sport. But I woke up one day and decided I’d get a road bike and try cycling, so at least I could do something to help me get back to running.

Are there any barriers/challenges you have faced along your cycling journey?

I bought a road bike in the January sales and I can vividly remember my first attempt at going round the block. I felt very unstable and there was a lot to think about with brakes, gears and traffic. I could only manage with left hand turns as I was too scared to turn right and move across into the traffic! I also found it very cold and wasn’t sure it would be for me. I persevered and did a 10 mile bike ride, then 15, then 20 miles. I set myself the target of doing the 30 mile cafe ride at the cycling club, and felt a huge sense of achievement at getting to this milestone. I had a steep learning curve but I found other cyclists were supportive and happy to share advice. I started to cycle further and with faster groups, and after 6 months I completed my first 100 mile ride. It was then started to feel like a proper cyclist.

Tell us about Coast to Coast

My ankle was still causing me problems and last September I had an operation to remove bits of cartilage and bone spurs so it was back to cast, fracture boot and crutches. My husband signed up to do the Coast to Coast challenge,  150 miles in a day (from the West to the East coast). Even whilst I was on crutches I decided to sign up for it too! This gave me a real focus to get back on my bike. Just three months after surgery I was training and working to get my fitness back. It was hard to start at the beginning again, but my philosophy of just trying and doing a bit more each time gradually paid off. By Spring I was able to comfortably cycle distances of 70-80 miles. ‘Winter miles = summer smiles” was true for me.

How did you feel on completion of Coast to Coast?   

Blog images 3The journey of training for the event and doing this with my husband was as enjoyable as the event itself. But I had a huge sense of achievement when we successfully completed 150 miles from Seascale to Whitby. We climbed up many hills, including the well-known “Hardknott Pass”, starting and finishing together in 12 hours. It’s an achievement I feel extra proud of and especially because of the obstacles I’ve overcome.

Are there other proud cycling achievements?

In addition to completing the Coast to Coast, I am also competing in some of the Cycling Club challenges which include strava segments and a hill climbing league. I have also had a go at a Time Trial, a Circuit race and a road race. I never imagined I would do any of this and it has taken all of my courage to give these things a go. I’ve found there is a lot of learning and growth with each new challenge. It’s true that we tend to regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do.

Why did you decide to do the British Cyling Breeze Ride Leader course?

I only found out about Breeze when I was cycling regularly, and I wished I’d known about it when I first got started. I felt motivated to share my recent experiences of ‘being new’ to cycling with other women – to help them get on their bikes and improve their cycling. It’s a big leap from going round the block to joining a cycling club where the easiest rides are still 30 miles. Breeze offers a perfect solution – a safe, friendly, supportive environment for women to enjoy cycling together.

What are the next steps for you in cycling?

My next steps are to continue cycling with the club and competing in the various club challenges. I also plan to do some Sportives and trying more races – both Circuit and Road. I may even get my next level race licence.

For Breeze, I am looking forward to continuing to lead rides from Roundhay. I often lead slightly longer rides, 20-30 miles for ladies who cycle regularly or are looking for their next challenge.

I am also facilitating sessions at the Brownlee Centre closed road circuit. These provide a safe place for women to try road biking, improve their fitness and get advice from other Breeze champions.  It’s all free and bikes/helmets can be borrowed.

Blog images 4

When I first got on my road bike I had no idea I would achieve so much. I hope others will be inspired by my story to get out on their bikes, and that they will get as much enjoyment from it as I have!

Leeds Disability Sport News – January 2017

Happy New Year! Read on for the latest disability sport news in Leeds:

In Leeds

  • Leeds Lets Get Active leisure centre timetables for Jan to March 2017 are now available. There will also be LLGA community sessions within the South and East CCG area and more information will be available shortly about specific activities.
  • Leeds Sports Awards tickets are now available, with discounted Leeds Sports Club member tickets available from Monday 9th January. The awards are taking place at the First Direct Arena on Tuesday 7th March 2017.
  • FA Coaching Deaf Footballers workshop is taking place on Sunday 22nd January at Middleton Leisure Centre. If you are interested please follow the link above where you can see further details and enrol on the workshop.
  • Leeds Disability Sport Forum is taking place on Monday 23rd January at the John Charles Centre for Sport. This is suitable for practitioners, clubs, parents, participants and anyone else with an interest in disability sport. If you would like further details or to attend please contact: ross.bibby@leeds.gov.uk
  • DSY Annual Awards Dinner will be held at The Centenary Pavilion, Elland Rd on Friday 24th March 2017. The price of the event – a celebration of sporting achievement, participation and volunteering – remains £30 per person, to include a four course meal, speeches, entertainment and a raffle. Nomination forms are also available to recognise disability sport achievements in the county. There is a separate category for Paralympic level athletes, where you can nominate Yorkshire’s Paralympians in Rio.
  • Wheelchair Tennis CPD is taking place in Leeds at the John Charles Centre for Sport (Tennis Centre) on the 24th April 2017. This is aimed at accredited level 2 and above coaches who would like to develop their skills to work more effectively with wheelchair tennis players.

 

Outside Leeds

  • Safer Communities Fund (SCF) is a grant-giving scheme designed to make funding easily accessible for projects which aim to make West Yorkshire safer and feel safer. Round 10 of grants are available to apply for up to the 20th January 2017 and groups can apply for funding up to £5,000.
  • Cerebral Palsy and Sport Awareness Workshop is taking place in Nottingham on 22nd February, 17th May and 27th September 2017. This is ideal for teachers, coaches, physios, parents or those who lead sport and physical activity. The cost is £30 per person and for full information on Cerebral Palsy Sport CPD opportunities or to book your place now please contact CP Sport on 0115 925 7027 or email Lisa.morton-smith@cpsport.org
  •  Coach Education Courses held in West Yorkshire in 2017 are now available to view via the Yorkshire Sport Foundation website.

Middleton Park Duathlon Results

Provisional results from the Middleton Park Duathlon event on 8th October 2016 –

Find a full list of results on the Go Tri website.

Position Bib Number Name Time
1 11 Carl Hearn 33.18
2 20 James Nundy 33.34
3 25 Paul Bennet 34.05
4 4 Michael Melia 34.21
5 15 Mark Hayes 35.01
6 6 Mathew Higgins 36.01
7 27 Daniel Wright 36.32
8 3 Rachel Feather 38.03
9 7 Hayden Harrison 38.45
10 12 Steve Beckwith 38.51
11 1 Stacey Kite 38.57
12 13 Graham Hawden 39.08
13 14 Joanne Hawden 39.40
14 10 Jacob Thompson 40.03
15 26 Diane Hubber 40.25
16 5 Claire Higgins 40.55
17 19 Colin Render 43.32
18 17 Jon Osborne 43.32
19 16 Liz Pearce 43.33
20 22 Frank Wright 43.59
21 28 Hannah Roberts 45.26
22 21 Harriet Whiting 46.50
23 2 Tina Craddock 48.27
24 9 Lena Abe 52.11
25 18 Viv Smales 52.15
26 23 Laura Smales 52.15
27 8 Julie Abe 57.33
28 26 Diane Huber 57.38