Bokwa Fitness

Last week I noticed a few posters going up in my gym for a trial session of a new class called Bokwa Fitness. I’d never heard of it before, and the poster looked a bit Zumba-esque. Even so, I did a quick search and found Bokwa described as:

an intense cardiovascular workout combined with South African war dance, Capoeira, Kickboxing and Steps. It has been proven to burn a great amount of calories making it easier for weight loss goals. Through the use of fast paced extreme movement, a fun, challenging, and energizing total body workout was created

I had no interest in doing the class for weight loss, but the combination of dance, Capoeira (something that I’ve┬ánever dared to try) and Kickboxing sounded good. Plus I’m becoming more up for trying new ways of getting a cardio workout.

I’ve never done Zumba, but the fact the instructors of this class also teach it, makes me think they are perhaps similar. A quick flick through YouTube and I think they do look quite similar, but I’d say Bokwa is a bit more ‘steppy’ and a bit less ‘hip shaky’ than Zumba.

Here’s a clip of the Bokwa Fitness DVD to give you an idea:

I actually quite enjoyed this class – it basically used different variations of stepping forwards, backwards and side to side with jumping and kicking thrown in between. The videos I’d seen on YouTube all used quite generic music, but this was done to the gym classic of chart remixes. I can see how it’s a good cardio workout – my feet did not stop moving for the whole sixty minutes, in fact the balls of my feet were starting to feel it by the end thanks to all the bouncing. As it was a taster session I’m sure it could definitely be ramped up more to give even more of a workout.

There was a little bit of whopping (definitely not for everyone) and a small amount of booty shaking, for which my skinny little white girl ass was definitely not up to the job! The class moves at quite a pace and follows a routine which is built up to the end when all the movements were repeated together. Having danced a lot when I was younger, I was comfortable following all the sequences – but this is definitely a class that requires coordination and an ability to follow a basic routine. I’m definitely going to give the class another go and see how I get on, I’d say it’s one of those classes that you just have to give your all and not be shy to get the most of out it. As there’s some dance moves in it, you just have to go for it – you’ll get more enjoyment and more of a workout that way anyway.

NTC Live Festival

Back in November of last year, I went to my first Nike Training Club live class on Clapham Common. I’ve always been pretty scared to talk too much about the classes since, mostly because they are free but also because they are pretty awesome, and quite frankly I still want to be able to get a spot on them. But as it’s summer, the timetable has expanded massively, with loads of mid-week outdoor classes added – I highly recommend checking them out via the Facebook page.

Anyway, as a regular(ish) attendee of NTC – and after a little bit of Facebook registering and QR scanning – I got myself an invite to the first Nike Training Club live festival which was held this weekend at Old Billingsgate right on the Thames.

Me and my friend Lou turned up uber keen before the queue even formed or the doors even opened, but when we were eventually let in we were treated to NTC classes, a NTC yoga class, a WAH nail bar, a tasty healthy lunch, music, challenges, massages and my first ever taste of coconut water.

Vertical jumps, jump rope, foot fires

Nail bar

Yoga time

NTC Live class

Basically, what an awesome way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

GNR training: week two

Another quiet week on the blogging/running/training front, which has lead to week two not showing anything in the slightest in terms of progress.

One gym class (boxercise), one run (a measly 2.2 miles) and a visit to the NTCLive festival on Saturday (more to come on that) are all I can add to this week’s list of activities.

The list of excuses this week however includes: rain, a last minute invite to the Katy Perry film premiere, hunger, rain and the boyfriend’s birthday night out in Camden.

On the plus side, my snazzy new toy – a Garmin 410 – arrived mid week, so I’m looking forward to having a play with that, and working out how to get the most of it. After all, it was slightly more than the price of the Nike+ Running app.

The only thing that’s preventing me from panicking at this stage is that my Berlin training was only 10 weeks long from a fairly similar base of appalling fitness, so it can still be done! Onwards and upwards (again)…

GNR training: week one

Monday this week signalled the start of the 12 week countdown to this year’s Great North Run. And 12 weeks to go means the start of the training plan proper. So I thought throughout the course of my training I’d do a quick Sunday weekly round up to track my (probable lack of) progress.

I posted my training plan here a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to mix it up quite a lot from my Berlin training plan, but this has meant that my cross training is lumped together at the beginning of week, with a heavy running-focussed end of the week.

Last weekend was filled with fitness and friends. I did the Clapham Common NTC class on Saturday with my uni friends Charlie and Lou. Then on Sunday, it was a Berlin roomie reunion and a run with Maja, Soph & Jackie along the canal from Angel to Victoria Park, with a post-run brunch at Broadway Market. Loveliness.

But that was last week. I did just write a two whole paragraphs about the seven days that followed my weekend of loveliness – filled with no running and lots of excuses – but I’ll spare you. Excuses are not good enough (or interesting to read about). In summary, this week = one 3 mile run and one gym class. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Wrists slapped. Panic slightly more heightened. Week two can only get better.

The Olympic torch relay reaches Nottingham

On Thursday (28th June), the Olympic Torch Relay finally passed through Nottingham. I was, rather geekily, way too excited about this. In fact, a month ago on the 29th May I had a moment of madness and thought I’d missed it. Then I remembered it wasn’t arriving until June.

Last week, the usual panic stricken emails flew around the office warning everyone of travel chaos. Everyone just seemed bothered about their journeys to and from work. I was the only one subject to Olympics fever.

I do a kind of reverse commute – I live in the middle of Nottingham and commute three miles out of the city centre to get to work, so to get to the torch meant heading towards home. Anticipating grid lock later in the day, I left work just after 3pm. On my home I passed through the Old Market Square (the scene of the evening’s main evening’s celebrations), all the TV crews were setting up in preparation.

There were plenty of stalls set up, mostly run by the Torch Relay’s three main sponsors, but also this union jack cart.

In the Market Square, there was an awesome atmosphere, I couldn’t believe how many people were out. Loud music, big screens and road closures all added up to a festival atmosphere. I was in the same place to see the Queen on her Jubilee visit a few weeks ago, but there were more people out for the flame. I decided to head up to the Lace Market area for the relay as the route was a lot sparser.

The first police bike to come through stopped for a high five.

The thing that struck me most is the sheer amount of sponsorship surrounding the relay. I’ve been listening to all the coverage on the Chris Moyles show on Radio 1 and have even had a few quick views of the live webcam on the BBC website. Obviously none of this shows or mentions the mass sponsorship convoy that precedes the actual torch relay – we had three huge floats packed with promo guys and gals from the three sponsors pass by us about 10 minutes before the flame. There were promo people walking the route, and it became evident that their main job was to try and get in as many camera shots as possible. I know that none of the relay would be possible without the sponsorship, but it did seem to divert a little away from the real point of it all.

Just before the torchbearer came through the union jack lined route was the biggest police bike convoy.

Finally the torch came through our stretch. A quick look on the extensive BBC torch relay website and I found out that this was 64 year old Barry O’Dowd who set up and runs Bulwell Hall Boxing Club in Nottingham. All his friends and family were stood just to the left of me being interviewed for BBC Radio Nottingham – cheering very loudly, they were clearly very proud.

The flame heads off into the sun towards Old Market Square, where it then got handed over to Torvill and Dean who lit the cauldron which marked the end of day 41.