Can You Train Without Your Garmin?

Can you train without your Garmin title image

As technology progresses we have more and more fitness data available to us from taking part in a sport. ‘If it’s not on Strava, did it even happen’ being a phrase regularly thrown around the fitness world. Cycling with a Garmin or running with a watch, we all get that Kudos on Strava afterwards. With the recent glitch with Garmin Connect, it made me think what happens when you take that technology away?

I never use to ride or run with a watch when I first started out, but the original push to get a watch was to record how far I’d gone. I didn’t know what a good time to run a mile in was, or what a good speed on my bike was either. I just wanted to know how far I’d gone.

When I started taking road cycling more seriously, that was when I got my first Garmin cycling computer. Fast forward to now and I have a Garmin Edge 1030 directing me round pre-plotted routes off Garmin Connect. All of a sudden I’m getting told how much water I should drink and what calories I should have consumed on the ride. My point being, the data I now have access to has grown profusely.

As I got use to having so much data to go through telling me if I’ve improved or not, it wasn’t until Mallorca this year something dawned on me. What would happen if I took the cycling computer away? On the training camp back in March, one of the tasks was to ride Sa Calobra without looking at the numbers on your Garmin. That stomach turning phrase making you wonder how on earth you’d pace yourself without knowing how many Watts you were putting out.

After a week of analysing data in Mallorca clocking a 300+ miles, we were leaving Spain at the beginning of their Lockdown. The UK obviously followed suit shortly after, which put me off going out on my bike. I could train indoors and not put myself at risk of crashing (reducing the risk of A&E), so it was a good few weeks before I got back on my bike outside after that.

I can still remember my first ride out when everything seemed to calm down slightly. It wasn’t a ‘training’ ride, but it was just riding. Cycling along country lanes with just a map on my Garmin. It felt like it had been months since I’d done that. Just ride.

When I got home I found my ‘data’ to not be that much different than normal, so why does the lack of a Garmin still fill people with dread? My point being is…what if you have a technology malfunction on race day? I’ve heard it happen. A chain snap affecting your performance I can understand, but blaming a poor performance on the fact your Garmin died is a bit harder to believe. Whilst data can help, can you ride and assess your performance by tuning into your body and how you’re feeling?

Do you know what riding at X amount of Watts feels like? Or do you just rely on your Garmin to tell you?

So whilst you might not want to leave your Garmin at home completely, why not try turning the numbers screen off for a ride or two and see how you get on?

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5 Skin Care Tips for Athletic Women

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5 Skin Care Tips for Athletic Women

5 Skin Care Tips for Athletic Women

Trawling the internet for a foolproof skin care routine can leave you more confused than you were originally. When you add on the fact you spend most of your time outdoors doing sport, your DIY skin care routine might just not cut it anymore. You might just be able to ditch the make-up too.

I met Leah through mountain biking a few years ago and since she’s set up Alpha Aestetics. An Aesthetic Nurse Specialist and Registered Nurse Practitioner, she wants to help us all enjoy the outdoors, but look after our skin at the same. So what are 5 tips Leah  would give to help look after your skin?

Sun Protection

LeahAll day, everyday. Premature ageing and leathery skin does not demonstrate your athletic success.

Cleansing Skin

Leah Try to exercise make-up free and hair off your face. Cleanse as soon as possible after exercise, even swimming.

Clean Your Sports Equipment

Leah Helmet inserts, glasses, caps. They will retain sweat and bacteria. 


Leah Stay hydrated with plenty of water, but also choosing a suitable moisturiser is key. Even for oily skin.

Get Expert Skin Advice

Leah The regime you need depends on your skin and the activities you do. Dry skin from swimming needs different products than breakout-prone skin from gym workouts.

If you want to know more about looking after your skin, ask Leah for a consultation by heading to her website, Alpha Aesthetics.

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Training As A Female Athlete

Training As A Female Athlete

Training As A Female Athlete

Navigating fitness as a female can sometimes have its troubles. Especially when we only really ever get taught what will happen on our period and not necessarily how to deal with it. So I decided to put this post together and ask some industry experts on getting the most out of your body as a female who does sport. Every female has to deal with their menstrual cycle and doing sport at some point in their lives, but it’s not something that is openly spoken about.

Who Have I Spoken To

Renee Mcgregor who is a leading Sports and Eating Disorder Specialist Dietician. With 20 years of experience working with every level of athlete up to Olympic level, as she’s a strong believer nutrition is something athletes overlook when it comes to their training. She focuses heavily on over training and REDs in female athletes and how not getting your period from over training is NOT healthy.

Nikki Brammeier is a former professional cyclist who was on the Olympic team in 2016, but is also a 4x Cyclocross Champion. 15 years as a professional cyclist, she now talks openly about dealing with her monthly cycle whilst training and racing around the world. Now a coach through Mudiiita Coaching, she makes sure her past experience results in happy, health athletes.

Bianca Broadbent runs a physio led bike fitting service. With a background in sports physiotherapy spanning 10 years, she is highly experienced in cycling medicine.

Feeling Low Prior To Your Period

When speaking to the ladies above, this was a topic that regularly popped up.

Renee “Firstly, it is completely normal to feel low in energy in the few days prior to and early days of your period. This is due to your levels of oestrogen and progesterone falling. So during this time, it is actually really important to listen to your body and do easier, more gentle sessions. Once you get to the end of your period, you will notice that your ability to train hard goes up significantly and continues to until just after ovulation, where you once again may notice that all training feels more like an effort.

Understanding these patterns means you can tailor your training accordingly which not only helps you to get the most out of your training, but also stops you from beating yourself up when you have those tougher days.”

Nikki “Yep, my periods often affected the way I raced. It was more the PMS (the time before I would get my period, which would cause the most issues).  I had never thought about it, and then once I began using apps like “Flo” and tracking my period, I began seeing patterns of how I would be feeling both on and off the bike in the 7-10 days before I had my period. Usually I would actually feel better once my period had arrived. I always struggled with heavy legs, feeling flat in my riding, tired, not sleeping and feeling light headed and not being able to hit my max in training, it often felt much more of an effort and it would literally be like a light switch, I would go from feeling great one day, to pms hitting and feeling terrible. Once I began seeing these pattens, I could accept it and work with it.”

Adapting Nutrition To Your Cycle

A question put to Renee, this is what she had to say.

Renee “Generally what we notice is that in the 7-10 days prior to our period, when progesterone is rising and reaching a peak, our need for carbohydrate goes up. This is because our body’s metabolic rate increases and the influence of progesterone means your body is more reliant on carbohydrate for fuel than fat. This is why we have cravings and an increased appetite prior to our period.

When we are on our period, it is important to provide your body with food that helps to nourish it, so wholegrains that are high in B vitamins, fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants, foods rich in iron such as red meat and eggs but also essentially fatty acids which can reduce inflammation.”

I’m currently reading Renee’s book ‘Training Food’ to help me get the most out of my training by looking at what I fuel my body with. It’s helped change my view on food by not just seeing it as something that my body uses to repair itself with, but also using it as fuel to get the most out of my training sessions.

 Nikki “Often women would lose periods due to an imbalance with training a lot, and maybe under fuelling. Maybe some women on the pill would skip a period. But I can only speak from my experience. I had a big chunk of my time as a rider without periods, because I was training a lot. I never used birth control pills as I had a really bad experience with them in my teens and never seemed to suit me so I just didn’t want anything like that going in to my body and affecting my hormones in any way.”

A Period Falling On Race Day

It’s something I still dread, even more so when I was at downhill mountain bike races and you had to face the dreaded porta-loos. Here’s what the experts had to say.

Renee “I think understanding why we are more clumsy, feel more tired and generally find training hard just before and those early days of our period can help our mindset as we know there is a physiological reason for this. Also having this awareness means you can be more prepared so knowing how to fuel appropriately to maintain good energy levels as well as preventing blood sugar fluctuations; ensuring good recovery options and enabling sufficient rest around your event will all help. If anxiety is very high, you may find it useful to use an app such as calm or breathe.”

Bianca “Hormonal changes that occur pre/during menstruation may affect pain tolerances. In addition to this we may experience pain in our lower back that is not musculoskeletal in origin – it is in fact referred from our abdomen – so managing symptoms here is key e.g. heat, oral pain relief if required.

Some individuals may also report particularly strong cramping sensations along with heavy bleeding, it’s important in these cases to consider the wider impact on your health and whether or not you need to seek professional support, like Elinor Barker did.”

Back in 2019 news stories were released about Elinor Barker suffering for years with Endometriosis. You can read more about that here.

Want More Info

Something I asked Nikki about, as it can often be the norm that coaches feel one size fits all when it comes to coaching.

Nikki “I think that a lot of male coaches don’t approach the subject of menstrual cycles, maybe they just don’t have the information to know what kind of a huge impact it has on female athletes, and its always been a bit of a taboo subject. I only know all I do, because I’m a female, I’ve been through these situations so I can relate to other female athletes and I like to be open and have these conversations when I’m coaching riders. It’s part of our make up and our physiology, we are not small men and so shouldn’t be treated that way.

I’m not sure whether it has anything to do with girls dropping out of sport, maybe they just lose interest and find other passions. But I do think that having more open conversations about these things from a young age would help both young males and females stay in cycling longer. Between the ages of 12-20 our bodies are all changing so much, you can be in one body one week and then a couple of months layer, you’re in another. Hormones are fluctuating, there’s a lot of changes going on. If young riders know this, they accept it and work with it. It could be you’re more tired from a growth spurt, or for females it could be their period. There is so much going on with young athletes. The most important thing is them having knowledge about their own body, they enjoy what they do, and they have good support around them.”

Want More Info

Flo App – mentioned by Nikki which she used to track her cycle, it is the #1 mobile product for women’s health.

Training Food by Renee McGregor – with no fads or diets to follow, it’s about seeing food as fuel for your training.

The Female Athlete Training Diary by Renee McGregor – if you want to learn more about your cycle and those pesky hormones.

You can also find Renee, Nikki and Bianca on Instagram:

Renee Mcgregor

Nikki Brammeier

Bianca Broadbent

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Workout Videos I’m Loving Right Now

5 Workout Videos I'm Loving Right Now Title Image

Training from home is obviously the norm now, so I thought I thought I’d put a post together sharing some of my go-to fitness videos off the internet.

Alice Liveing

Having graced the front cover of Women’s Health Magazine three times, Alice is someone I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time. She’s not about calorie-counting and transformation photos, but more about exercising to make you feel your best. That fitness should be measured by that weight increase you’re now lifting, not how long you need to run to turn a cupcake off.

Her feed is full of easy-to-follow workouts you can do at your own pace. How Alice puts up her workouts by uploading each video individually means it’s a lot easier to focus on using the correct form and avoiding injury.


View this post on Instagram

UPPER BODY PUSH | Movements can be broken down within strength training into push and pull movements. These are exactly as they as described, push movements involve pushing something away, whilst pull movements involved pulling something towards (think bench press vs pull ups). ⁣ ⁣ These are some of my favourite push movements put together in a simple sequence. ⁣ ⁣ A1. Tall kneeling shoulder press (beginners I’d advise doing this seated) 3×8-10⁣ ⁣ B1. Floor press 3×8-10⁣ ⁣ C1. Push ups 3×4-6⁣ ⁣ D1. Single arm Arnold press 3×8-10⁣ D1. Lat raises 3×12-15 ⁣ ⁣ If you’re after some gym inspiration for the week ahead, then look no further! ⁣ ⁣ 🎥 @themediabros ⁣

A post shared by Alice – Daily Live Workouts (@aliceliveing) on

The Pilates PT

I’d just finished a Pilates beginner’s course before lockdown, so I was gutted when lockdown happened as I was just starting to get going with it! After noticing the Women’s Health Virtual Live event last month, I’ve logged on to Zoom for some Pilates classes with Hollie.

A Pilates instructor from London, she offers a variety of Pilates classes throughout the week. The video below is an example of her ‘Pilates PT Method’, which mixes Pilates exercises with a high-intensity workout. I’ve always known Pilates to be a slow exercise, but I love that classes like this one get your heart rate up.

Classes come at £10 each, which I feel is reasonable when you look into how much training costs to become a fully-qualified Pilates instructor. And a good Pilates teacher at that who will know how the muscles of the body work inside out.

Hollie’s a big advocate for using Pilates pre and post-natal too, which I think is amazing. She’s got lots of classes on her app for new Mum’s and Mum’s-to-be. Being a Mum herself, she also knows what everyone is going through. Drop her a message before you book onto a class if you are pre or post-natal, so you know if it’s safe for you to workout yet.



A link sent over by a friend, this video was a good addition to the Pamela Reif workout next on the list. Making use of resistance bands, it was great for some at-home glute activation.

I’m not massive fans of resistance bands if I’m honest. I find them rather fiddly when I just want to get on with it. If I’m feeling patient that day I might give them a go…ha.


Pamela Reif

One that just popped up on my YouTube feed by chance, it turned out to be a great video to use as a warm-up. It starts out with things like squats, which are great for getting the heart rate up and your muscles warm.

One caveat I’ve found with fitness videos on YouTube is that they’re quite abs intensive from the start. I tried one video earlier in the week and it was something like crunches for the first exercise. For me personally, I feel this puts a lot of strain on the abs and back when they’re not warm yet. It might be just my technique, but that’s my opinion at least.

I find this particular work out from Pamela a great one to use before a strength session. It uses no weights so helps get the muscles warm before you start adding weights to the equation. Something I’ve done this week is use Pamela’s workout followed by Alice’s workout above followed by stretching for a cool down.


Boho Beautiful

A channel that has probably appeared on my blog before, but Boho Beautiful is just my go-to when it comes to wanting to do yoga. I don’t do it as often as I should, but I always have a clear head after a Boho Beautiful yoga session.

There’s a few firm favourites I always go back to, but they’re constantly uploading new videos so you can’t get bored. I find this video particularly useful for loosening muscles prone to getting tight as a result of being a cyclist.

I hope everyone is keeping safe with everything going on. I’m definitely starting to go a little stir-crazy, but workouts like these give me something to do each day at least!

Feel free to drop your favourite workouts below. 

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Why I’ve Swapped The Gym for Pilates

Core strength is key for cycling, so why is Pilates best for it?


I’ve been thinking about starting Pilates for so long. I tried some classes a few years back, but that was in the middle of downhill racing I think. The result being it didn’t really last with me being hooked on adrenaline…

Despite trying everything to get back into some sort of strength routine recently it felt like I wasn’t getting all that far. Dumbells that previously felt light are now rather heavy and my core strength is pretty much non-existent. I searched Youtube and tried old workout sessions I’d always love doing, but the interest just wasn’t there.

Just after Christmas a beginner’s course for Pilates popped up locally, so I managed to sign up despite it being a course in high demand. Pilates must be the thing to do where I live. London has spin classes and North Wales has Pilates I guess.

Anyway, that was that and I was signed up to a 5 week course of beginner’s Pilates. I’d looked for videos on Youtube for Pilates and Yoga before, but you don’t realise how wrong you’re doing things until you go to a class with an instructor that has years of experience. Youtube fitness videos can sometimes be fab, but then at times I think they can actually do you more harm than good.

The biggest battle for me with Pilates was not falling asleep. Not because the class was boring, but just with how deep you have to breathe to do all of the exercises. Your ribs open just as wide as they would in a session on the Wattbike, yet at a third of the pace. How I find lying on a Pilates mat comfy I don’t know. I’ve obviously got the family trait of being able to sleep just about anywhere…

Pilates has been a rather big eye-opener if I’m honest. There’s obviously a big trend in yoga at the moment and your not part of that yoga ‘cliche’ unless you can get your leg by your head, but I’m actually starting to think Pilates is a better place to start. With a knowledgeable instructor, you’ll actually start to use muscles you didn’t know you had and use them properly.

Being a cyclist I quickly noticed my quads are very quick to take over when I’m meant to be using my core strength for an exercise. Something the instructor told me would go over time the stronger I get with Pilates.

It’s the go-to recommendation for GP’s when people have issues with things like their backs and shoulders. Our daily lives aren’t really beneficial to things like posture and using our bodies as they’re intended. The thing that shocked me was just how deep your core muscles go, something I’ve only noticed from doing Pilates. You can be ‘toned’ like all of the influencers on Instagram, but if there’s actually any strength there is another question.

I’m excited to be coming to the end of my Pilates course and making it part of my training routine each week. Yes, I’m more familiar with things like running and cycling, but it’s good to mix it up I think. Especially when it’s something as beneficial as Pilates. After only a few weeks I’ve noticed I’m using my body differently, from carrying out tasks at work or how I run.

So you’ll probably see Pilates pop up on my blog from time to time now it’s part of my routine again. Who knows, it might even help when I’m on the bike. I’m just waiting for all of these storms to disappear first…

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Speedo Tri Suit : First Look

Speedo Triathlon Suit

When I was on the hunt for my first Triathlon suit, Simply Swim helped me find what I needed!

I’ll be letting my lovely readers know how I get on with it after using it for my Triathlon in April, but I wanted to write a few first thoughts down first.

On the initial try on of the suit I’m not going to lie…I wasn’t sure where to start! The built in sports bra that zips up the front under the main body of the tri-suit meant there was an ‘order’ that made it much easier to get on than any other way! There was a lot of squeezing and twisting involved…but eventually I was in and it fits surprisingly well! I’m always a bit hesitant to get clothing/kit off the internet because I’m always worried it won’t fit. But the Speedo Tri Suit didn’t disappoint.

Despite it being mainly black I love the pink and high-vis detailing. There’s a bit of colour, but not over the top and maybe the high-vis detailing will make me more visible when out on the ride and run. It even has two handy pockets on the rear to hold gels!

When it comes to leg width of lycra shorts I often have issues, but I was happy to find out this Tri-Suit could accommodate my cyclist quads…despite being a Small! They even have a men’s equivalent with green detailing…have a look at it here.

For £80, to me it seems the perfect suit for someone wanting to have a go at a Triathlon. From experience, I know it’s easy to get carried away looking at all of the kit you think you need, but for your first Tri? Does it really need to be more complicated than it needs to be?

Looking through Simply Swim’s vibrant range of products for all ages, I might even pop an order in myself to get some brighter swim suits to use in the Summer!

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