Interview with Fitness Fan’s Hayley Madigan

This week I speak to health and fitness expert Hayley Madigan, director of popular blog Fitness Fan.

After graduating from the University of Chichester in 2011 with a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science, Hayley started work as a personal trainer at Fitness First in Portsmouth.

She now works as a PE teacher alongside training for various fitness challenges, and also helps to run Fitness Fan.

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Hayley Madigan is director of the blog Fitness Fan

What do you think have been the most prominent fitness crazes of 2015, and have you personally tried any of them?

I believe that there have been many fitness crazes of 2015 but ones that have enjoyed trying out and highly rate are:

  • Tabata style training (20 seconds work – 10 seconds rest – repeat 8 times – short and sweet!)
  • PHA Training – Peripheral Heart Action Training – Lower body exercises straight into upper body exercises and repeat.
  • HIIT Training – Short bursts of maximal effort followed by short recovery periods
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Hayley was the WNBF Bikini Overall Champ 2015

What do you think have been the most prominent health food crazes of 2015, and have you personally tried any of them?

I love reading about popular health food crazes and also giving them a try for myself, this year I believe the ‘IIFYM’ diet has been huge!

I now personally follow this diet and I have had amazing results; it stands for ‘If it fits your macros’ and is a simple guide for any individual.

“This year I believe we have gone supplement mad!

It allows you the freedom of being able to eat anything you like as long as it fits your prescribed daily macros – macros are the amount of carbs, fats and protein in grams that you can consume on a daily basis.

Everyone’s macros are different because we all have different requirements due to our genetic make-up, metabolism speed as well as overall goal that we wish to reach.

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This year has seen an increase in the number of people using protein supplements

Additionally, this year I believe we have gone supplement mad! By supplements I am referring to protein powders, protein treats – bars, cookies, brownies, etc, and other protein enhanced products.

I am definitely one for enjoying the odd few supplements daily! It has massively helped with cravings as well as increasing my protein content. I am loving Whey Hey protein ice cream and Dr Zak’s Protein Bread at the moment.

“I love lifting weights and believe all women should do the same as the benefits are incredible!”

What is your favourite way to keep fit?

Strength training by weight lifting – I love lifting weights and believe all women should do the same as the benefits are incredible!

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Hayley says that weight lifting is one of her favourite ways to keep fit

What does your training for Tough Mudder UK involve?

When I was training for Tough Mudder UK I was completing long endurance running as well as HIIT training sessions with a few bodyweight circuit classes as well as a few upper body strength training.

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Hayley underwent gruelling training for Tough Mudder UK

Tough mudder requires a lot of bodyweight strength by requiring you to pull yourself up and over obstacles and hang from high heights. Not only do you need great upper body strength, Tough Mudder requires a good endurance ability as most courses are over 12 miles in length.

What first inspired you to get involved in health and fitness?

I have always kept myself fit and healthy especially from a young age as I loved every sport and was very competitive.

I played football for my local ladies team and after turning 18 I got into weight lifting and strength training.

As I went to University studying a Sports and Exercise Science degree I learnt more and more about the benefits of training and leading a healthy lifestyle.

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Hayley is at home in the gym

However, it wasn’t until I was 25 years old (and at the beginning of 2015) where I began to consciously choose healthy food options and started to notice my body change for the better by tracking the food I ate.

“I have always kept myself fit and healthy especially from a young age as I loved every sport and was very competitive”

From May 2015 I went on a prep diet in preparation for my first ever natural bodybuilding bikini category competition.

I have never looked back and love the life I lead now as a newly crowd WNBF World Champion and Professional athlete.

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Apart from competing in Tough Mudder UK, what are your other future fitness goals?

My future goals are to continue competing with the WNBF (Worlds Natural Bodybuilding Federation) as a Pro Bikini competitor and become an established professional athlete by gaining sponsorship as well as being able to work in the industry that I love.

Who else would you like to see me interview? Tweet me or message me on Facebook.

Back to basics boot camp

“Knees up! Higher! Move those arms faster! Don’t stop!”

Those are the words ringing in my ears as I’m half way through my  boot camp session. I can hear my heart pounding in my ears, I’m sweating from pores I didn’t know existed and I just want to sit down.

But no one likes a quitter, so instead I power on with the high knees set I’ve been instructed to do, gritting my teeth and silently praying for the fire alarm in the gym to go off so that the class can end.

Last week saw me sweat it out at hot yoga. Wanting to try something a bit more fast paced, this week I decided to go to a boot camp class at UFit Fitness in Cardiff.

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Before my boot camp class at UFit Fitness with some of the equipment Gerraint uses in his sessions

A fitness boot camp is a type of physical training program conducted by gyms, personal trainers and former military personnel. These programs are designed to build strength and fitness through a variety of intense group intervals over a one hour period of time.

“A fitness boot camp is a type of physical training program conducted by gyms, personal trainers and former military personnel”

Originally popular in the US, they were brought over to the UK in 1999 and have been growing in popularity ever since.

The class was run by the enthusiastic and encouraging Gerraint Webb. With a degree in Sports and Exercise Science and work with the Army’s Oxford University Officers’ Training Corps under his belt, Gerraint definitely knows how to run a boot camp session.

My first experience of boot camp seemed to speed by, with Gerraint keeping us working non-stop for nearly the whole hour.

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Gerraint had us doing a variety of exercises, including press ups

This non-stop workout is apparently the core of a boot camp class. “Boot camp is a fast paced class, which leads to high calorie burn and a more intense workout”, says Gerraint.

Rather than just focusing on one muscle set, boot camp saw us exercise various parts of our body in short, sharp bursts.

This included press ups, sit ups with weight plates, lunges and (my most dreaded exercise!) burpees.

“Boot camp is a fast paced class, which leads to high calorie burn and a more intense workout”

“It is this full body work out that is so unique to boot camp”, Gerraint informs me. He continues,”Whilst it can be hard, it is working all the muscles in the body that creates excellent results.”

But why would anyone choose to try such an intense workout?

After my body’s initial shock to the fast paced nature of the session, I actually started to enjoy the challenge, and really thrived off the enthusiasm of the others in the class.

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Feeling extremely broken after being put through my paces by Gerraint at boot camp

It is the group element that Gerraint believes lies in the success of boot camp classes.

“This is an extremely popular class, and there are quite a few regulars who come every week”, Gerraint tells me, gesturing to a pair of very out of breath women stood next to us.

“I love the quick speed that the session is run at. Although it can get quite tough I always enjoy myself”

“I reckon that it’s the social aspect that keeps people coming, there’s definitely a nice atmosphere in the group”, he says, a smile spreading across his face.

“This is my favourite class, I come nearly every week with my friend”, a young woman called Adele confides in me, affirming Gerraint’s sentiments. “I love the quick speed that the session is run at. Although it can get quite tough I always enjoy myself”, she continues.

Having popped my boot camp cherry, I can definitely see why it has amassed such a loyal following. Once I got over the initial shock of being shouted at I really started to feel focused and I even enjoyed the tough love feel of the instructor.

Have you ever been to a boot camp class? Tweet me or let me know on Facebook!

Boot camp is £5 at Ufit Fitness in Cardiff.

Check the timetable for the details of classes.

 

 

Midweek Mention

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With the internet filled with health and fitness bloggers, it’s hard to know which ones to follow.

This week I’m really digging That Squat Bot.

Run by Manchester based Sarah Harradine, this blog focuses on all elements of living a fit and healthy lifestyle.

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Try one of Sarah’s fantastic recipes, such as these tasty protein bars, or be inspired by her post on the art of moderation.

Keen on keeping active, Sarah also shares her insightful tips on running and yoga.

Follow That Squat Bot on Twitter

Some like it hot

The sweat trickles down my body as I take up the downward dog position. Trying to focus on my breathing to distract myself from the intense heat of the room, I wonder why I decided to put myself through this.

I have always been a fan of yoga, often resorting to it in times of stress. So when I had the opportunity to try out hot yoga, I immediately jumped at the chance.

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Hot yoga sees participants doing a variety of positions in 38 degree heat

Hot yoga is a style of yoga that is performed in hot and humid conditions. At the session I attended, at Yoga Fever studios in Cardiff, the temperature was cranked up to a sweat inducing 38 degrees Celsius.

Used by high profile celebrities such as Ryan Giggs, Andy Murray and the Welsh national rugby team, there must be something in this fitness craze.

So what is hot yoga?

Catherine Kelleher, owner of the Yoga Fever studio tells me that hot yoga is a derivation of Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury in the 1960s in the USA and was brought to the UK  by various students of his. Catherine informs me that Bikram is run as a franchise, so wherever you go in the world you will have exactly the same experience: the room temperature will be the same and it will consist of the same 26 postures.

“Hot yoga is a derivation of Bikram yoga”

Recognising the global success of Bikram yoga, various yoga teachers started experimenting with heated rooms whilst practicing yoga, and thus hot yoga was born. Whilst Yoga Fever uses heated rooms, Catherine is quick to inform me that she only teaches hot yoga as she doesn’t follow the Bikram sequence.

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Despite having owned the very popular Yoga Fever for five-and-a-half years, the diminutive Catherine still seems surprised at her success.

“When we first opened in Pontcanna it was just meant to be a hobby,” she confides. Having taken voluntary redundancy as an IT manager and with two little boys to take care of, Catherine spotted a lack of hot yoga studios in Cardiff and seized the opportunity to begin her own business. Already a trained yoga teacher, Catherine had all the resources to set up Yoga Fever.

“It was huge from the start,” exclaims Catherine. “The first week I had one person, but the second I had 21!”

“Hot yoga is really beneficial for people who are generally quite stiff or they struggle to get full range of movement”

It appears that Catherine has amassed a strong following, with some of the original people still regularly attending her classes.

Whilst she is keen keep her loyal followers, Catherine is always on the lookout for new class members. “The whole kind of marketing for Yoga Fever is get get people in  who would probably not try yoga in more traditional environments, such as in a church hall,” she explains.

Fans of hot yoga claim that it has many benefits.

Catherine says, “It’s really beneficial for people who are generally quite stiff or they struggle to get full range of movement.We also get lots of people who come to us through cross training, such as triathletes or long distance runners, who like to compliment their sports or other training.

The Yoga Fever studio is heated by lights placed around the room
The Yoga Fever studio is heated by lights placed around the room

Detoxification is also thought to be another benefit to hot yoga, as the heavy sweating that occurs is said to help flush toxins out of the skin.

Catherine believes that hot yoga can really help to ease the stresses of our fast paced lives. “The heat gives you an extra element of having to switch off from your day to day life, so you really have to focus on breathing and keeping going in a hot environment and not getting caught up in what everybody else is doing,” Catherine explains.

“The heat gives you an extra element of having to switch off from your day to day life”

“When you come into a hot yoga environment, because it is a bit more intense it really does force you to leave all of that other stuff at the door, and then hopefully, when you leave you’ve switched off from it, some of it is in perspective and you realise that you don’t need to worry about certain things!

In between wiping the beads of sweat off my brow I really started to embrace hot yoga. Eventually my body got used to the high temperatures, and I found like I was seamlessly able to move between positions.

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Some yoga essentials

Lying on my yoga mat at the end of the session, I feel complete relaxation. I think the intense heat definitely enabled me to stretch further and work harder than I usually would during a normal yoga session.

If you’re feeling a bit adventurous I would definitely recommend hot yoga, it is a completely unique experience and the benefits are definitely worth it!

Have any of you ever tried hot yoga? Let me know in the comments below, Tweet me or message me on Facebook.

Book your hot yoga session  today at Yoga Fever

Each session costs £8

Protein Power Pot

We all know the feeling: you’ve just come home after an intense gym sesh or a hard day’s work and you’re absolutely starving. What would you choose to eat?

Tiredness and time constraints can cause many of us to reach for convenience foods and ready meals. Whilst piercing the film and waiting for the ping of the microwave may seem like the best idea at the time, relying on ready meals can take a serious toll on your health. Often laden in sugar, salt and saturated fat, what you think is a quick, nutritious fix often poses many risks to your health.

Whether you eat a pre-packaged korma or spaghetti bolognese as an occasional treat or if you’ve accidently fallen into a ready meal rut, just one convenience meal can cause serious damage to your diet.

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One Tesco chicken tandoori masala meal contains a whopping 54% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fat and an even scarier 3.3g of salt, which is just over half of your RDA of the white stuff.

Throughout the years I have tried and tested many recipes claiming to provide a nutritional hit with minimal preparation time, but this recipe definitely comes out on top.

An ideal dish for breakfast, lunch or even a post-gym snack, this protein cup is ridiculously simple to make and has the perfect combination of carbs and protein.

Protein Power Pot

Ingredients                                                                                                                      

  • 1/2 bagelpic crop1
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 piece smoked salmon
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Handful spinach

Nutritional Info

  • 448 cals per servingfoodcrop 4
  • 20g fat (5g saturated)
  • 43g protein
  • 26g carbohydrates

Method

  • Rip the bagel into chunks and chop up the salmon and onion
  • Crack the eggs into a mug and whisk, stirring in some milk
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients and give it another whirl around
  • Cook on high for 2 minutes or until the eggs puff up
  • Enjoy your protein power pot!

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What’s your healthy go-to meal when you’re in a rush? Let me know in the comments below or Tweet me!