Alice Liveing's Workout Plan - My Experience With The Women's Health Transform App So Far!

4 weeks in. 8 weeks to go. Today I’m sharing my thoughts so far on the Women’s Health Transform App with Alice Liveing.

If you wanna know more about the structure of the training app/programme, I got the chance to interview Alice recently on the podcast so give that episode a listen.

Before we look ahead to the next 8 weeks, let’s take a look at the past 4 weeks and how I’ve felt about Phase 1. I’m gonna summarise each point to make things easier for you to reference! 

Alice Liveing's Workout Plan - My Experience With The Women's Health Transform App So Far!

I’ve really felt the difference in my workout and how well my body moves


Training Split

I really enjoyed the split of upper body, lower body and full body. It was completely different for me and so great to switch it up. I already feel stronger, I’m upping my weights almost every week, and I finish every workout feeling fatigued but not burnt out. 

Phase 2 (and 3, I think) are 4 sessions, divided equally between upper and lower body ‘push’ and ‘pull’ muscles.

Time

I’ve found I can get through most of the workouts in around 45-50 minutes, including a comprehensive warm up and quick cool down stretch at the end. I imagine the next phase will be hitting the hour mark with the conditioning finisher added on (more on that in a second). 

The main workout structure goes roughly like this:

Dynamic warm up/foam rolling
Activation set with resistance bands
2 big compound exercises
A few supersets with more accessory work, including abs on some days
(Not included in the plan) but I always take 5 minutes to stretch at the end!

Mobility

What drew me to the programme was the mobility work. I love Alice’s mobility videos on Instagram, so I was really looking forward to a structured way to do it weekly. I love that the pre-workout is a dynamic warm up and foam rolling. I’ve really felt the difference in my workout and how well my body moves, having opened up my hips, back, etc. beforehand. 

Alice Liveing's Workout Plan - My Experience With The Women's Health Transform App So Far!

Doing 5 sets of 5 squats will have you checking your laziness at the door


Activation

Activation is a game changer. I think part of upping my weights has come down to proper form, proper rest periods and activating the muscles beforehand so they’re worked even more. It took me a while to find the right resistance bands, but I use the heaviest one of these (black) for my lower body activation, and the lightest one of these (red) for my upper body activation. 

Rest

The rest periods have been a real eye opener. Alice recommends 60-90 seconds rest between most sets. Having been addicted to HIIT in the past, it was so foreign to me to catch my breath for a good minute between lifts. But let me tell you, if you’ve picked the right weight you need it! 

Doing 5 sets of 5 squats will have you checking your laziness at the door and loading that bar up with weight. Seeing as every workout begins with 2 big lifts, I’ve been shocked at how much I can lift/squat/row/push for 5 reps - there’s something psychological about a smaller rep range and a longer rest period that really pushes you to get as much weight up as you can. 

Of course, the rest contributes to good form, which in turn means you’re getting stronger and stronger. Trust me, time your rest for the recommended amount and you’ll notice the benefit. A good playlist or podcast helps keep you entertained, or have a wander round the gym and go fill your water bottle. 

Cardio

The 15 minute conditioning session was a fun add-on that I did some weeks and not others. I like how the programme is structured in your weights sessions, but gives the flexibility of active rest days should you want them - yoga, long walks, something gentle that you fancy doing. 

In Phase 2, the cardio is an optional 10 minute ‘finisher’ at the end of each workout.

Not gonna lie, the word finisher terrifies me. Some days I finish the leg workout and feel like I can barely walk upstairs to get my bag. An extra 10 minutes of kettlebell swings, box jumps and god knows what else is gonna be tough. But that’s the idea! 

Alice Liveing's Workout Plan - My Experience With The Women's Health Transform App So Far!

So I hope that’s cleared up some stuff for you if you were wondering what the app and training programme was like.

To summarise, here’s my advice and takeaways from my first 4 weeks…

♡ It’s no joke, be prepared to work your butt off. 

♡ It’s really fun, rewarding and you’ll see a lot of strength and performance gains.

♡ Don’t skip the mobility and activation, it truly helps you have a better workout.

♡ Ease yourself in to the first few weeks. I usually train fasted but find sometimes I’ve needed a banana pre-workout or to go later in the day after a meal, because the intensity is that bit higher than my standard gym session.

♡ Likewise with the cardio - if you’re too sore in the first few weeks, go for a walk or do some yoga instead. Try and spread the workouts throughout the week as they recommend, that helps with recovery too. 

♡ To get the most out of the workouts, you need to be eating, sleeping and resting sufficiently. It’s so important. If you’re running on a few hours sleep each night or crash dieting and cutting calories, you’re gonna really struggle. Self-care needs to be a priority - work hard, recover even harder! I’ve gone from doing random workouts 5-6 days a week, to being in the gym just 3 times a week. The work I do in those 3 sessions is more than enough to have me taking it easy and re-fuelling my bod for the rest of the week. Quality over quantity! 

Have you downloaded the WH Transform App? How are you finding the workouts? 

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Pieces - Casual Holiday Items!

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Hello Out of Office! 


This week has me feeling the Summer vibes.

Not only are we enjoying a gorgeous sunny bank holiday in the UK - I'm also off to Turkey with Adam on Thursday for a week in the sunshine. 

Don't get me wrong, I've still got a fair few tasks to box off the to-do list. However, it doesn't feel as bad when you're sat in the sun with your laptop. 

To celebrate the sunshine, I wanted to share the capsule wardrobe I'm taking in my suitcase. I'm a bit rubbish with Summer fashion - but really happy with the items I've got to mix and match. As always, most of it's from H&M (my all time fave store) but not sponsored. If you're watching though guys, you know where I am. 😉

So that means I'll be a bit quieter around these parts for the next couple of weeks. Hope you don't miss me too much! 

Love & Good Vibes,
Kat x 

90 Day Goals Update for Quarter 2 of 2018

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My 90 Day Goals Update for Quarter 2 of 2018

If you've downloaded my Goal Setting Workbook, you'll know I love to take a quarterly approach to Goal Setting, alongside my big goals for the year. 90 day goals:

- Keep me motivated on a daily, weekly and monthly basis - they never feel too out of reach

- Feel tangible enough to achieve in the next 3 months - so I'm more likely to work for it, unlike yearly goals which many find overwhelming

- Help me achieve another milestone on the way to the bigger picture - small wins add up to big progress as the year goes on

As we're headed into the second quarter of 2018, I'm chatting about my 90 day goals in my latest YouTube video.

However, for those of you who don't have the 10 minutes to sit and watch - here's a quick summary of the 5 things I'm focusing on in my work and life in the next few months...

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I know my best and most productive work is created offline


2 hours of my workday will be spent offline

This one is tricky for me! I am so guilty of spending the day on Facebook, Instagram, emails, Twitter...constantly in my Chrome tabs, distracting me with pings, and icons and messages. As much as I love working online and connecting with others, the reality is I don't need to reply to everyone instantly. A lesson I need to learn this year.

Juggling multiple hats and roles on a daily basis, I know my best and most productive work is created offline - unplugged from distractions and quick fix tasks. Creating, planning, connecting - the list goes on, but all these things take a lot of mental bandwidth. One of my 2018 goals is to be more mindful and conscious when I'm consuming social media - so this is a practical way to hold me accountable to that in my workday.

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I'll be setting up and sending out my Media Pack

Eek. One of my focuses for this year on KatHorrocks.com is to get really intentional with sharing my personal brand and what I'm all about. This includes developing authentic, genuine connections with PR's, brands and the people who connect with my message and find my values align with theirs. 

The most professional way to communicate this on an ongoing basis is via your media pack. This is a visual summary of your stats, demographics, services you offer - generally, the things people wanna know before they work with you! So this month, Adam and I will be developing mine, before sending it out to new and current brands and other lovely people I've worked with.

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I've made a decision to focus on quality over quantity


2 pieces of thoughtful, intentional content will land on KatHorrocks.com every week

You've probably noticed my content schedule has fallen by the wayside in 2018. This is because I've made a decision to focus on quality over quantity of content at a time when my work is pulling me in many different directions. However, that's not to say I haven't missed making content or felt a negative impact from not showing up consistently. 

Which is why I sat down and set this SMART goal (again...if you've done my Goal Setting Workbook, you'll know what this means! But to those of you who haven't, it stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound) It's not just SMART, it also focuses on my quality over quantity ethos - as I want every piece of content I put out to be something authentic, intuitive and straight from my heart to yours!

Committing to two pieces of content leaves me open to creative flexibility - whether I'm in the mood to write, film or both. It also leaves me enough space to plan, organise and stay on top of things, whilst maintaining my tasks and to-dos in other areas.  

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Holly's Maternity Leave at WeBlogNorth will begin! 

Eek, what an exciting one. Holly is due to have her second baby in May - which means I'll be stepping it up and supporting her role whilst she has a few months off work. I'm so excited to challenge myself but also honoured to have been asked by Holly, whom I respect and admire as a woman, a colleague and an amazing friend.

I'll be holding the fort and keeping on top of events, emails, admin and social media - and whatever else comes up! This will challenge me to think on my feet and be as efficient as possible with my time  - making sure everything at WeBlogNorth is taken care of, whilst not letting KatHorrocks.com and my wonderful clients be neglected. It's a good job I'm organised and excited to get outside my comfort zone, although I am prepared for some hectic weeks working evenings and weekends.

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Finally, I'm committing to 3 weights sessions and 1 yoga session a week

I had to include a self-care one in here. This doesn't relate to my 2018 goals but is really important to me at this time in my life. Not only do I need my time at the gym or on the mat, to nurture my physical and mental health between long days at my desk. I also want to feel as confident, strong and sexy as ever once the weather starts heating up, especially when Adam and I are lying by the pool in Turkey for a whole week in May. Bliss.

Hold it there though! There's no fad diets or body shaming round here. I mainly want to get into a consistent workout routine and start seeing gains again - in my strength, in my form and yes, in my muscles and body composition. I'm excited to be in the gym consistently, lifting heavy things and feeling the DOMS. 


Do you use the 90 Day Goals Method and look at your year in quarters? If you'd like to try it out, sign up here to receive a free copy of my 2018 Goal Setting Workbook!

Taking Time Out With Adagio Teas

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A cup of tea is such a self-care ritual for me.

It’s those important pockets of time in my day, where I’m just taking a moment for myself. 
10 more minutes in bed before I start my day. 
An afternoon break when I’ve been slogging away on my laptop. 
Greeting a guest or loved one with the kettle boiling - because a cuppa just makes a good catch up that little bit more special.

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Which is why I jumped for joy when Adagio* got in touch and wanted to create a collaborative post together, featuring their beautiful loose leaf teas. 

There’s something about loose leaf that is extra special. When I make the time to pour a pot of loose leaf tea, I find it so relaxing, and you really do notice a difference in the quality.  You’d be surprised how much flavour you lose in a commercial tea bag, which basically contains the scraps at the bottom of the tea barrel. 

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Adagio teas are hand-picked and sourced directly from their origin - the flavour of their English Breakfast tea is so unique, with a subtlety that you just don’t get with supermarket brands. 

But don’t worry if black tea isn’t your…cup of tea hah! Adagio have green, chai, herbal, flavoured varieties and more.

Some of my other favourites from the range have been:

Earl Grey Moonlight (this one is aromatic, slightly sweet and creamy, perfect for a morning pick-me-up)
Lemongrass Ginger (ideal after an evening meal before bedtime - aids digestion and caffeine free).
Lemon Meringue Green - Wow! I would not normally pick out green teas, but this one I’m happy to make an exception for. Such a yummy Springtime treat - feel like I need to pair this one with a large slice of the tart its flavour is inspired by. This one is brand new and I can't currently find it on the website. Hope they put it up soon! 

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If you’re like me and always in a rush, Adagio have many solutions to brew with convenience at home. 

They offer the option to buy all their teas with teabags, as well as selling packs of 100 paper tea filters, so you can quickly make your own teabag at home. These are so convenient if you’re making tea for one during a busy workday. 

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However, their most exciting product for brewing at home is the IngenuiTEA. It’s a clear single serve teapot that allows you to see the tea steeping. Once you’re happy with the strength, you place it right on top of your mug and it pushes crystal clear tea down, leaving all the loose leaves behind.

Adagio have very kindly sent me an IngenuiTEA set for you guys to try, along with some of their sampler sets so you can pick your favourites before buying the full size. So, head over to my Instagram later today where you can win…

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An IngenuiTEA
A Glass Mug to pair with it
1 x Black Teas of China Sampler
1 x Orchard Herbals Sampler
1 x Orchard Green Teas Sampler
1 x Berry Blast Sampler

Basically…a box full of tea to enjoy with your new IngenuiTEA - a fellow tea lover’s dream! So fingers crossed, and please read the terms and conditions in the Instagram post before entering. Good luck!

*Thank you to Adagio for providing their wonderful hand-picked loose leaf teas and tea ware for today’s post and giveaway. 

Love & Good Vibes (and cheers to a good brew!)
Kat x 

The Power of Essential Oils

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If you didn’t already know this about me…I’m a bit of a hippy at heart.

Which is why I’m a huge advocate of using essential oils. Not only are they a customisable, natural way of scenting your home - their power goes beyond scent for me. 

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Ever wanted to create that spa-like feel at home?

Feeling a bit tense after a long day?

Got a particular niggle like allergies, or a cold, that you need some relief from?


A drop of this, a drop of that in my diffuser and I’ve instantly got a beautifully scented room that transports me to post-yoga zen.


Or maybe you love a particular ‘note’ in your candles - like Lemon, or Eucalyptus, or even Cinnamon? Essential oils allow you to go back to basics and create your own blend of fragrance from scratch. A drop of this, a drop of that in my diffuser and I’ve instantly got a beautifully scented room that transports me to post-yoga zen.

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Last week I had a flare up of my allergies - putting it down to feeling run down and being stuck inside because of the snow - which always worsens them as the air quality and lack of airflow in the room can really worsen my symptoms. 

A quick Google brought up a simple blend of oils that I already had in my collection. Lavender, Eucalyptus and Peppermint. Within 30 minutes, my breathing had improved, I could feel the congestion easing off and I was so chilled out with a lovely scent in my room. Is it a miracle cure? No. Should essential oils replace modern medicine? NO! But when it comes to simple ailments like mild allergies, hay fever, coughs and colds - they can really improve the air quality in the room and help alleviate symptoms. 

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Other ways I love to use my oils:

* When I’m cleaning and tidying to get that fresh, vibrant scent - citrus and mint work well (these blends are also great for getting started in the morning). 

* In the Autumn/Winter if I want a warm, festive feel - orange, cinnamon, frankincense! 

* When I’m in full on pamper mode and want that spa feeling - eucalyptus and bergamot are my favourites to create a blend. 

For anyone interested, I got mine from TK Maxx although there are loads on Amazon like this one. I also got my oils kit on Amazon here - I love the set as it’s nice to have the variety, it even comes with a helpful booklet with hundreds of blends and recipes for different areas - from cleaning, to illness to seasonal changes. 

Do you use essential oils in your home? What are your favourite blends?

Love & Good Vibes,
Kat x