Celebrate World Egg Day With This Baked Eggs And Pulled Chicken Recipe

Yes there’s a World Egg Day and in 2018 it falls on Friday 12th October. There’s a day for everything, so why should eggs be any different? In fact 12th October is more than just World Egg Day, it’s also Old Farmer Day. And it’s part of Black Cat Awareness Month. It’s a big day all round, unless you’re a young farmer or a tabby cat, in which case WAIT YOUR TURN.

Anyway, you can mark the grand occasion by making this terrific baked eggs with pulled chicken recipe created by the team at meal delivery service Fresh Fitness Food. Fresh Fitness Food offer meal packages tailored to your fitness goals, whether that’s to lose weight, bulk up or even prepare for a specific competition or event, and there’s a purely plant-based menu available as well.

Aside from that plant-based option, this baked eggs recipe is available across all the Fresh Fitness Food meal plans, so you can be sure it’s a healthy meal worth whipping up even when it’s not World Egg Day.

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (pulled apart)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 25g tomato paste
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes

Method

  1. Dice the onion, slice the red peppers and finely grate the garlic.
  2. Place a large cast-iron skillet on the heat and add a little oil. Add the onion, peppers and garlic.
  3. Once the onion begins to soften, add the spices and herbs, stirring to coat all the veg.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  5. Once all the veg begins to colour, add the tomato paste and mix well.
  6. Cook for four to five minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes. Cook for a further 20 minutes on a low heat.
  7. Add the pulled chicken and mix well.
  8. Make four wells in the top of the dish and crack the eggs into them.
  9. Place the pan into the preheated oven and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the egg white is cooked and the egg yolk is still runny.
  10. Remove from the oven and serve.

Train Like A Pro With This Boxing Workout From BXR Gym

If you’re looking for a sport to get you fitter, stronger and leaner, there really isn’t a better option than boxing. The demands of lasting 12 three-minute rounds of throwing and taking punches means that boxers have to put in montage-worthy amounts of training– but even if you’re not a committed pugilist you can still steal tips to upgrade your own fitness routine.

To get a taste of the demands of training for the ring, take a class at boxing gym BXR London, or try this savage strength and conditioning workout designed by BXR trainer Olu Adepitan.

“This strength and conditioning session is designed to help an individual increase their punch force and improve their fitness,” says Adepitan.

“The lower-body exercises strengthen the hamstrings, quads and glutes,” says Adepitan, “which are vital muscles for creating forces from the lower body when throwing a punch. The upper-body exercises develop strength in the lats, chest and shoulders, which assist the transfer of force for a punch. It is also important so that they are strong to withstand the high-impact forces received from their opponents.”

Full-Body Boxing Workout

Warm-Up

“The warm up is non-negotiable,” says Adepitan. “A poor warm-up or the failure to do one can increase your chances of injury and reduce the quality of the workout itself.

“This warm-up is bespoke to the workout and has three components: to raise your core temperature, increase blood flow to muscles and mobilise your joints.”

Skipping

Sets 1 Time 3min

Start with the boxing classic to get the blood flowing. No need to throw in fancy moves like double-unders or criss-crosses unless you really want to.

Lateral squat

Sets 1 Reps 10 each side

The first of four exercises designed to increase your mobility for the workout to come.

“Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart then lower to the right, keeping your left leg straight,” says Adepitan. “Keep the weight on your right heel as you attempt to sit as low as possible while keeping your torso straight and tall. Hold the bottom position for one second, then return to the start and repeat on the other side.”

Stationary Spider-Man

Sets 1 Reps 10 each side

“Get into a press-up position and step forwards with your right foot so it comes up to just outside your right hand,” says Adepitan. “From this position, drop your right elbow to the ground. Reverse the move and switch sides. Hold this dynamic stretch for no more than one second in the elongated position.”

Quadruped T-spine rotation

Sets 1 Reps 10 each side

“Start on all fours with your butt on your heels,” says Adepitan. “Place one hand behind your head and then rotate your body so that your elbow points to the ceiling, then rotate your body back and bring your elbows as close together as you can.”

Inchworm

Sets 1 Reps 10

“Start in a press-up position,” says Adepitan. “Drop your hips to stretch the abdominal area then return to the press-up position. Walk your feet up as close to your hands as possible, raising your hips while keeping your legs straight. From this position, walk forwards with your hands without moving your feet, then finish by dropping the hips down again to stretch your abdominals.”

Lateral banded walk

Sets 2 Reps 10 steps each side

Use a blue/medium strength resistance band for this exercise, which will activate your lower body and core muscles.

“Double up a resistance band and step into it so it’s wrapped around your ankles,” says Adepitan. “Keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, sink into a half-deadlift position. Take ten steps to the left, then ten to the right, maintaining the tension in the band.”

Main Workout

The body of the workout consists of two tri-sets followed by the farmer’s walk exercise. You need a fair bit of equipment for the workout, including a barbell, dumbbells, a weight plate and resistance bands (or a cable machine), so make sure you have everything to hand before you begin.

For the two tri-sets do a full round of all three exercises before resting for 60 seconds. Complete three rounds in total.

1A Deadlift

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 0sec

“Stand facing the bar with your feet hip-width apart,” say Adepitan. “Squat down and grip the bar wherever is comfortable. Your arms should be fully extended, your chest pushed up and your shoulder blades pulled back and together.

“Inhale, contract your abdominal muscles and lift the bar by straightening your legs, raising it in front of your shins. Keep your back straight. When the bar reaches your knees, extend your torso so you end up standing erect with your arms straight down at your sides, exhaling as you complete the movement. Hold this position for two seconds, then return the weight to the floor, making sure you don’t hyperextend or arch your back.”

1B Dumbbell row

Sets 3 Reps 8 each side Rest 0sec

“Begin in a wide squat stance, with your knees over your feet,” says Adepitan. “Lean forward and place one hand on a bench to stabilise your torso and take stress off your lower back. Your back should stay slightly arched and your abdominals should be tight throughout.

“Grasp a dumbbell with your free hand. Inhale, then move first your shoulder blades and then your elbow to bring the dumbbell to your hip. Exhale as you extend the arm back down.”

1C Pallof press

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

“Start by attaching a resistance band to a fixed point at chest height,” says Adepitan. “You can also use a cable system set at chest height. Position your body so that it is perpendicular to the band. Step away from the anchor point so that there is tension in the band.

“Clasping the band in both hands, pull your fists in to your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together. While keeping your abs braced, your lower back flat and your shoulder blades squeezed, slowly extend your arms out in front of your chest.”

2A Bulgarian split squat

Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

“With a dumbbell in each hand, assume a split squat position, but place the back foot on a bench or similar with the shoelaces down,” says Adepitan. “Take a moderately large step forward with the front foot. Your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet.

“Inhale, brace your trunk, and bend your front knee to lower your torso so the knee of your trailing leg descends toward the floor. Your trunk should remain vertical. Drive your lead foot into the floor to push back up.”

2B Half-kneeling alternating dumbbell press

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 0sec

“Get down on one knee with your other foot placed in front,” says Adepitan. “Grab two dumbbells in an overhand grip and lift them to your shoulders so your palms are facing forwards. Inhale and press one arm overhead until it is fully extended. Exhale as you lower the dumbbell, then press the other arm overhead.”

2C Woodchop

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

“Start in a squat position with a weight plate held outside your left leg,” says Adepitan. “Lift the plate and bring it across your torso and up towards the ceiling over your right shoulder. Rotate your hips while pushing off your left leg to extend your ankle, knee and hip.”

3 Farmer’s walk

Sets 3 Distance 24m Rest 60sec

“Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell tightly in each hand,” says Adepitan. “Brace your trunk and keep it vertical throughout the exercise. Walk forward 12m, then turn around and walk 12m back.”

Conditioning

You’re not done yet! There’s still some conditioning work to be done, with six rounds of battle ropes and then mountain climbers to finish off the workout.

Battle rope waves

Sets 6 Time 30sec Rest 30sec

“With your hands shoulder-width apart, hold battle ropes at arm’s length in front of your hips,” says Adepitan. “Keeping your core braced, alternate raising and lowering each arm explosively.”

Mountain climber

Sets 6 Time 30sec Rest 30sec

“Start in a press-up position,” says Adepitan. “Keep your abs tense and your body straight. Squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders away from your ears.

“Bring your right knee in to your chest. As the knee comes to your chest, pull your abs in even tighter to make sure your body doesn’t sag. At the same time as you take your right leg back, pull your left knee in to the chest.”

The Nine Best Things To Do In The Maldives, Ranked

If you’ve booked a trip to the Maldives the chances are your plan A is to kick back and relax on the beach. And that is a good plan, no arguments on that front. However, there are a whole lot of other things you can do in an island paradise, and filling your days with watersports and animal-based excursions will make a trip to the Maldives even more rewarding.

I spent a week at Coco Palm’s stunning Dhuni Kolhu resort, where you can try a wealth of different activities. Doing pretty much any activity in the Maldives is a great experience, because you’re on a tropical island for goodness’ sake, but below you’ll find the sports, trips and experiences you absolutely should not miss out on doing.

One thing you don’t find is diving. That’s because diving is an activity that tends to dominate a trip with courses and full-day excursions. I’m certain diving in the Maldives is a truly superb experience, but all the activities below are picked to fit into a regular holiday schedule, so you can spend a couple of hours trying them before returning to the beach.

9. Find An Even More Deserted Island

One of the great delights of being in the Maldives is the sense that you are truly getting away from it all, and the half-hour seaplane trip from Male to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu (pictured) only enhanced this on my trip. Once on these islands there are only a couple of hundred people there with you, but if you want an even more private experience, you can jump on a speedboard over to the completely deserted Embudhoo Island for a drink at sunset or an overnight stay in the only hut on the island.

8. Catch Fish, If You Can

For the record, I could not. Even as our guide reeled in fish after fish, the bait on the end of my hand-line was studiously ignored. On the odd occasion I thought for a second I had caught a whale, but my hook had actually snagged on some coral. However, even if you don’t manage to catch any fish, a trip out to try is an excellent way to spend an evening, because being on a boat gives an even better view of the sunset than you get from the island. And if you do get lucky and reel in a monster, the chefs at Coco Palm will cook it up for you to enjoy the next day.

7. Relax In A Kayak

I’m going to call this a must for couples on a romantic break. Jump in a two-person kayak and slowly make your way around the island, kicking back at frequent intervals to catch some rays and stick your head in the water to see what exotic animals are swimming around beneath you.

6. Eat Fish, Eat All Of The Fish

The yellowfin tuna is the national animal of the Maldives, which hopefully means they have a lot of them, because I ate so much I may have depleted their stocks. It’s not just tuna either, with all manner of reef fish and other delicious fruits of the sea to enjoy, cooked in every manner you can imagine – chowing down on barbecued lobster and calamari on the beach under a star-filled sky was a particular highlight. Even if fish isn’t your thing, make sure you try a coconut tuna curry, which is a local staple and an absolute delight.

5. Try Windsurfing

I was apprehensive ahead of my first attempt at windsurfing, which looked quite complicated with its surfboard and sail set-up, but it’s actually one of the simpler watersports to get to grips with in a short time. It’s also tremendous fun and, once you have got the hang of it a little, really quite a relaxing way to pootle across the water. That’s in low winds, of course. When the wind does get up, it’s an altogether more adrenaline-filled pursuit, and you can skip across the waves at speed if you have the skill required.

4. See Dolphins

Dolphins are normally the highlight of any aquatic animal excursion, but in the Maldives there are also turtles, which I like more (see below). I’ll also admit my opinion on this front might be coloured slightly by the fact that my dolphin trip was cancelled owing to poor weather. But, still, dolphins are immense. Get up bright and early and you’ll be treated to a spectacular sea sunrise as you go hunting for the aquatic mammals, with both bottlenose and spinner varieties found in the waters of the Baa Atoll.

3. Fly Over The Waves On A Wakeboard

Well, you can if you’re a more accomplished board-rider than me, which isn’t difficult. Wakeboarding, which is like waterskiing but on a board you’re strapped into, is quite tricky for newbies who don’t surf or snowboard, but over the course of my first half-hour learning the sport I did manage to stand up a couple of times for a few seconds – and and those seconds were exhilarating. The technique isn’t too tricky to learn, so give it a couple of lessons and even the most incompetent of boarders – I promise you – will get the hang of it.

2. Go Turtle Crazy

Did you know turtles can get fat? Neck rolls and everything. That’s just one of the turtle facts I learned from the vet at Coco Palm’s turtle rescue centre, which provides a temporary home for injured and ill turtles before they are hopefully released back into the ocean. Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is also a regular nesting site for turtles, with some almost unbearably cute wee ones hatching and making their way to the ocean during our stay. Several types of turtle frequent the reefs around the island so you can see them while snorkelling and diving, which is an awe-inspiring experience.

1. Snorkel, Snorkel, Snorkel

Dip your head beneath the waves and you’ll find a whole world waiting for you. The coral reefs around the Maldives are teeming with life, and it definitely seems like most of it is brightly coloured – even large clams have beautiful patterns on display. At Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu you can see an array of spectacular fish and coral on the house reef, and even the occasional turtle, ray and shark, but you can also go out with a marine biologist to explore more abundant reefs, and this was the highlight of the entire trip. Not only did we see a turtle and a huge variety of fantastic fish, we learned all about those animals and indeed the impressive coral itself from an expert while swimming around them. Unbeatable.

Seven nights from £1,949 per person in a Beach Villa on a half board basis or £2,399 per person on all-inclusive basis at Coco Dhuni Kolhu with Turquoise Holidays (01494 678 400, turquoiseholidays.co.uk), including return flights with Emirates via Dubai from London Heathrow to Maldives and return seaplane transfers.

How To Pick The Best Adidas Running Shoe For You

When you are new to the sport it can be baffling to see how many different kinds of running shoes a brand like Adidas has in its line-up. Rest assured, though, there’s a reason for this breadth of range, and with a little research you’ll be able find your ideal shoe within it.

More than anything else, Boost foam is the magic ingredient in Adidas’s running shoes that keeps people coming back to them time and time again. The springy and comfortable midsole is found in all of the German company’s most popular shoes, from the speedy Adizero Adios to the stylish UltraBoost.

Whatever kind of runner you are there’s a Boost shoe for you in Adidas’s range, so beyond the midsole there are a few other factors to consider. Start with what kind of running you want to do with the shoe. Are you a casual runner mostly doing runs of around 5-10km at whatever pace feels good on the day? Or are you training hard for a particular event like a marathon and undertaking a range of different training sessions like track, tempo, easy and long runs?

You should also consider whether you overpronate and therefore may need a stability shoe – getting gait analysis done at a running store can help identify this – and the surface you’ll be running on (road or trail).

Once you’ve armed yourself with a rough idea of the kind of runner you are and what type of shoe you need, check below to find the Adidas shoe that matches your aims.

Best All-Rounder: Adidas SolarBoost

Adidas’s range was crying out for a shoe like the SolarBoost, which is more cushioned than the racing-focused Adios and Boston trainers, but more stable and lighter than the UltraBoost. The SolarBoost is suitable for all manner of training, excelling on long runs in particular thanks to the bouncy Boost foam, and is fast enough to tackle races in as well.

Buy from Adidas | £139.95 | Read our review

Best For Marathons: Adidas Adizero Boston 7

The lightweight Boston is a great shoe for runners looking to nab a marathon PB, and it also has enough cushioning for daily training. If the SolarBoost is a trainer/racer than leans towards training, the Boston is one that leans towards racing, and speedier runners in particular will prefer the lighter Boston as an all-round option.

Buy from Sports Shoes | £95.95 | Read our review

Best For 5Ks And 10Ks: Adidas Adizero Adios 3

Even lighter than the Boston, the Adios line has long been favoured by fast runners looking to make a splash in races up to the marathon. For most amateurs the small amount of support on the Adios makes it a better fit for 5Ks and 10Ks rather than the full 42.2km, where some extra cushioning will be always appreciated. However, for short races and track sessions, you can’t go wrong with the super-fast Adios.

Buy from Adidas | £129.95 | Read our review

Best-Looking Shoe: Adidas UltraBoost

The UltraBoost was a game-changer when it was released, its bouncy Boost foam combining with a stylish and comfortable knit upper that meant the shoe could be worn anywhere while still being a great for running. We reckon the UltraBoost is a mite too heavy and the knit upper not quite secure enough for racing or speedy training runs, but it will carry you through easy days nicely while also being a comfortable shoe you can wear when not running.

There is also a Parley version of the UltraBoost, which is made from recycled ocean plastic, and the UltraBoost ATR version has more grip on the outsole and a water-resistant upper, making it a good pick for winter running.

Buy from Sports Shoes | £99.95 | Read our review

Best Stability Shoe: Adidas Adizero Tempo 9

The Tempo 9 is one of the best stability running shoes offered by any brand, with Boost cushioning that is firmer on the medial side to prevent overpronation during your runs. Despite the extra support the shoe still comes in well under 300g (278g for UK 8.5), making it a great option for faster runners in particular. Adidas also makes stability versions of the UltraBoost and Supernova running shoes, if you want more cushioning.

Buy from Adidas | £119.95

Best Highly-Cushioned Shoe: Adidas Supernova

A comfortable beast that any runner craving cushioning will thoroughly enjoy training in. The Supernova is heavy, but the springy nature of Boost cushioning means you can still run at a good pace in it if so desired, and the upper has a more secure fit than the UltraBoost. If you’re looking for a workhorse to handle a lot of training mileage, the Supernova won’t let you down.

Buy from Adidas | £76.96 | Read our review

Best For Trail Running: Adidas Terrex Agravic

Terrex is Adidas’s trail running gear line, and which Terrex you choose depends on the surface you’ll predominantly be running on and the distances you’re likely to tackle. The Terrex Agravic has a Continental rubber outsole that provides enough grip to take on technical trails at speed, and it’s slightly more cushioned than most trail shoes to keep you comfortable over long distances off-road.

Buy from Adidas | £109.95

The Symptoms Of Heart Disease You Shouldn’t Ignore

Would you be able to recognise all of the symptoms of heart disease? The doctors in the audience can put their hands down, this isn’t med school and you aren’t impressing anyone – especially as it appears that Joe and Jo Public hasn’t got the foggiest.

A survey commissioned by HeartFlow, a new piece of diagnostic tech that helps doctors identify coronary artery disease, found that the public weren’t that familiar with 12 symptoms listed by the venerable NHS. Of the respondents, 26% didn’t even identify chest pain.

To be fair, one of the symptoms was listed as “pain, tightness, numbness or a burning sensation in the back,” which sounds a bit like the type of pain you can get from sitting at your desk all day. To get more detailed advice, Coach spoke to Dr Timothy Fairbairn, senior cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

Fairburn is keen to emphasise that it can be beneficial just to be aware of the symptoms and not hesitating to get anything alarming checked. “Any contact with the GP may be beneficial,” says Fairchild, “even if the symptom doesn’t turn out to be heart-related. You can have a full heart MOT, and have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. What we really want to do is trying to prevent these things from occuring, so getting a full check-up from your GP in terms of your cardiovascular risk factors is very important.”

Fairchild’s top three symptoms of heart disease are chest pain or tightness, breathlessness, and palpitations, but keep reading if only to put your mind at ease. Turns out chest pain doesn’t automatically mean you’ve got a bum ticker…

We’re guessing chest pain is an obvious symptom of heart disease and you should see a GP quickly. Right?

The key thing to remember is that for the majority of people, chest pain won’t be because of the heart. However, for one in four it might well be the heart so everybody should be aware of the symptoms and take it seriously. But we don’t want people to suddenly panic – they should make an appointment to see their GP. The majority of people who come to get investigated with chest pains can actually be reassured it’s not their heart – it might be muscular, it might be heartburn, it might be something else and we can treat them appropriately.

About ten years ago the NHS did a big awareness drive, with the image of a middle-aged man with a belt around his chest. That chest tightness is the most important symptom.

Chest pain is the one that we worry about the most. It’s known as angina and it’s caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart – usually caused by furring up of the heart blood vessels – which can result eventually in a heart attack, and that’s something we obviously want to prevent. So first we diagnose whether someone has coronary heart disease, and then we try to get them on the right treatments so we can reduce the risk of any heart attacks.

The symptoms listed included pain, tightness, numbness or a burning sensation in the arms, jaw, neck, back and abdomen. That encompasses a lot, so when is it indicative of heart disease?

Typically the chest tightness associated with heart disease happens when people are doing things. If it’s occurring when you’re active, and then it goes away when you stop, that’s typical of an anginal type heart symptom.

If you get any other symptoms along with it, that increases the likelihood that it’s your heart. So if you feel sick, or sweaty, or the pain goes down your left arm and to your jaw, those are classic anginal type symptoms and that should be ringing warning bells.

The majority of back pain is musculoskeletal, and related to the fact that many of us sit in poor-quality chairs for long periods of time in front of computer screens. But if you’re getting back pain on exertion and it goes away when you’re resting, you should be thinking “this could be my heart”.

Heart palpitations were another major symptom. How would you describe that feeling?

A palpitation is normally what we describe as a fluttering sensation in your chest where you can feel your heart beating quite prominently. That usually means either you can feel your heart going very very fast or you can feel that it’s irregular – going all over the place, quite chaotic.

If you’re experiencing this ask yourself if your heart rate is going erratically fast inappropriately, ie not when you’re exercising, or if it’s inappropriately high when you’re only doing a mild amount of exercise.

If you have a Fitbit or an Apple Watch or Garmin or other device that tracks the heart rate and show that it’s going extremely fast, that is helpful. And people should know their maximal age-predicted heart rate, so when they’re exercising they know where their heart rate should be going to.

Is there a way to tell if you’re breathless because you’re unfit, or if it may be heart disease?

It is often useful to try to gauge what your symptoms are in relation to what you normally can do and what your peers can do. Often people will come in with symptoms and say they thought it was just part of the aging process. If you ask the husband or wife and they say, well they’re not keeping up the pace with me and I’m the same age, often that’s a tell-tale sign. You need to see what people of a similar age and maybe previously similar fitness are doing, and if things have changed you should seek some advice.

If someone is getting breathless and decides to improve their fitness, should they get a check-up first to be on the safe side?

If people are deciding to do competitive sports, particularly if they’re in middle age, then they should probably have a physical MOT. See their GP, have an ECG, have their heart listened to, have their blood pressure checked – nothing complicated. For the majority of young people, there’s no reason to suggest that that would be required. Most cardiac events during exercise are related to relatively rare, inherited cardiomyopathy conditions. The key thing with those is if you have a family history of someone having a sudden cardiac event or cardiac death, you should make sure you get an opinion from a doctor before you do any form of competitive sport.

How can you tell when heartburn is a symptom of heart disease?

Heartburn’s probably the one that’s the most difficult. It happens most commonly before meals or after meals – but we see that with angina as well. But if they feel they’re getting it because of exertion, that’s more of a red flag. That’s why people should go and get an opinion from a GP.

How about dizziness or light-headedness?

If you’re getting a bit light-headed when you’re standing up that’s most commonly due to low blood pressure and that’s not uncommon. People can do things to address that themselves, like making sure they’re staying hydrated. And if it doesn’t get better, getting an opinion from a GP would be sensible.

Dizziness or light-headedness on exertion depends on various things – your age and how hard you’re pushing yourself, for example. As you get older the potential for heart valve disease increases, so those kind of symptoms or fainting during exercise is more concerning.

Strava Now Syncs With PureGym To Log Your Workouts

Having conquered the worlds of run and ride tracking, fitness app Strava has turned its sights to the rest of your activities by announcing a trio of new partnerships. Gym chain PureGym, fitness class booking app Mindbody and boutique studio Digme can all now be connected to Strava so that your activities automatically sync to your account.

While many runners and cyclists are known for their aversion to the gym, cross training is an important part of any training regime, making you faster, stronger and more injury-resistant so you can reach ever greater heights with your main sport. Being able to get kudos on that activity is really just the cherry on top.

You can already log all manner of activities to Strava manually, but as Gareth Mills, UK country manager at Strava, explains, the new connections will make it easier to keep tabs on your indoor activities.

“Once connected, your time in the gym and number of classes attended will be automatically tracked on Strava, alongside your other activities,” says Mills. “You won’t need to choose any activities manually with your accounts synced, Strava takes care of that for you.

“Different partner integrations work slightly differently, but in each case the activity will appear in your profile with date and time, duration of activity, the class name and an image associated with that class.”

One of the benefits of Strava strengths is that you can find new running and cycling routes, and types of training sessions to try by seeing what other users are logging, and Mills expects that idea will transfer across to the gym as well.

“We hope that with the opportunity to share more of their athletic lives and log everything on the same platform, members and their followers will be able to discover new and interesting workouts, and experience a more interesting feed overall. Similarly they will be able to receive kudos and encouragement for more activities, and congratulate the friends that they take classes with.”

Setting up the new connections takes moments and is done in much the same way as you would link a fitness tracker or bike computer to Strava. You log into your member account for PureGym or the others, find the connections section and tick the Strava box. Once you’ve done that your booked classes will automatically sync to your Strava account. Sit back and wait for the kudos.

Tips For Pacing The Royal Parks Half Marathon

The key to a strong race at any distance is good, consistent training – but even if you have logged months of quality preparation, it’s still possible for your big day to go awry if you don’t pace your race sensibly.

If you’ve entered the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 14th October, you’ll probably have been told several times not to go out too fast. It’s the most clichéd piece of running advice going, but no less correct for that fact.

Moving beyond that basic advice you might also have been told that running a negative split is a wise race strategy. For more information on what that means, plus other key pacing tips, we spoke to ON Running Coach Andy Hobdell.

What is a negative split and why is it a good strategy for a half marathon?

It means running the second half of the race faster than the first half of the race. A classic example of this is Eliud Kipchoge’s recent world record [2hr 1min 39sec] for the marathon in Berlin, where he ran the first half marathon in 61min 6sec and then the second half in 60min 33sec. His 30 to 35km split was his fastest of the entire race.

Over the years I have seen people who were in the form of their lives miss out on running personal bests or winning medals because they have been too carried away with their pace in the first half of the race. It’s amazing how much time can be lost in the second half of a race by starting out too fast – not to mention how much time can be gained by starting conservatively! Sensible and in control is best.

You don’t have to run massively slower in the first half of the race. An easy approach is to aim to run five seconds per km slower than your target pace in the first half and then at halfway ease the pace upwards.

Do you have any tips for stopping yourself going out too fast?

Remind yourself of the training and the races you have done in preparation for race day. You have spent months preparing for the half marathon and covered many miles. Why would you throw away your chance of running your best race by getting carried away in the first five to ten kilometres?

Look at the course that you are going to race and plan your race strategy. Set yourself sensible splits to hit for the first five and ten km markers on the course.

Don’t worry about the people starting quicker than you. Know that with a sensible approach in the first half of the race you’ll be in a better position to have a strong run in the second half of the race, where you’ll start passing those who were not as sensible as you. If you wear a running watch, keep half an eye on the pace for the first few kilometres while you ease into your race pace.

At what point of the race should you start to crank up your speed?

So, you’ve run a sensible race, you’ve hit the first five and ten kilometre targets, you’ve just gone past halfway and you’re feeling good. This is the point not to get carried away but assess where you are in the race. If you’re running with a good group of people and are working well together, settle in for the next five kilometres. If the group starts to slow then push on.

I would then say the 15km point is a good position to start testing yourself with the pace and pushing a little harder. You’ve covered three-quarters of the race and are now into the push for the finish. You will have run many 5K runs in training, so having around 5K to go is a good point mentally to press for the finish.

If you have started out too fast and feel tired at the 10K mark or earlier, what should your strategy be for getting through the rest of the race?

Try to relax and ease back on the pace. Think about your breathing and allow yourself to recover. Break down the final part of the race, one kilometre at a time. Don’t become obsessed with the pace – focus more on how your body is feeling.

With all the work you have put into preparing for the race, the fitness is there. You just have to let your body recover and then you’ll be able to push for the finish using a more sensible rhythm.

How To Do The Reverse Crunch

It’s generally wise to master the standard form of an exercise before you move on to any kind of variation. When it comes to the crunch, though, you can skip right ahead to the reverse form of the move.

As we’ve pointed out before, the standard crunch isn’t the best move for anyone looking to strengthen their core or carve out a six-pack. They can be bad for your lower back and have little impact on your lower abs. In contrast, the reverse crunch hits all the showy exterior abs muscles you need to work for a well-defined six-pack, placing particular emphasis on the lower abs. The reverse crunch also puts your abs under tension for a long period of time, maximising the benefits to your stomach muscles – if it’s done properly…

How To Do The Reverse Crunch

Start lying down with your arms by your sides. Raise your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90° angle. Breathe out and contract your abs to bring your knees up towards your chest and raise your hips off the floor. Hold for a beat in this position, then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.

Moving slowly with complete control is key to the reverse crunch. This keeps the abs under tension for a longer period and prevents you from putting strain on your lower back, which can happen if you rush the reps. If you’re arching your lower back when lowering your legs, that’s a sign you’re not moving in a controlled fashion.

Reverse Crunch Variations

Medicine ball reverse crunch

Place a medicine ball between your knees and hold it there throughout the exercise. The weight enhances the muscle-building benefits of the reverse crunch and will also help ensure you are performing the exercise with control.

Seated reverse crunch

Sit on a bench and lean back until your torso is at around at 45° angle. Hold your feet out in front of you and grip the bench with your hands for extra support. Draw your knees up to your chest, then slowly lower them. This variation increases the challenge to your lower abs while enlisting other core muscles to help you maintain your balance.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Fitness Tracker Review

The Short Version

Garmin’s Fenix 5 Plus range contains the 5S Plus, 5 Plus and 5X Plus and sits at the very top of the company’s tracker line-up. The Fenix 5 Plus, the model we got our hands on, is a mightily impressive GPS sports watch ready to explore the wilderness thanks its pre-loaded colour maps, while also being stylish and smart enough to work as an everyday tracker as well.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Buy from Garmin | From £599.99

Things We Liked

  • The colour maps are clear, and it’s easy to follow directions while running and even create new routes right on your wrist.
  • It’s nothing new with Garmin’s top-end devices, but the Fenix 5 Plus is a brilliant sports tracker, with the ability to track an impressive range of metrics for many different activities.
  • The whole range is built from premium materials and the stylish design helps to makes them great everyday watches.
  • You can store music and podcasts on the watch, and Garmin have linked with Spotify (and Deezer) so you can wirelessly sync your playlists across to the Fenix 5 Plus if you have a Spotify premium account.
  • The range is compatible with Garmin’s TrueUp feature, which means that during set-up it takes all data from past Garmin devices synced to Garmin Connect and pops it on to your new watch so your training status and old activities are available.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The battery life seems to drain faster than on the Garmin Forerunner 935 and past Fenix watches, with a charge required every four to five days even if you’re not playing music on the watch.
  • The Fenix 5 Plus and 5S Plus don’t have the Pulse Ox Acclimation sensor to measure oxygen saturation of your blood at altitude, which is only available on the larger 5X Plus.
  • The list of banks supported by Garmin Pay remains very small, with Santander being the only major high street bank at present.
  • It’s hella expensive (although it does justify its cost).

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus In-Depth

Using The Garmin Fenix 5 For Running

The Fenix 5 Plus flaunts its exploration credentials by listing Trail Run as the first running option when setting up your sports modes, and it is fair to say that all the running features that set it apart from Garmin’s other trackers revolve around leaving the asphalt behind.

Chief among those are the colour maps that are preloaded on the device. These are a default screen in the running mode so you can scroll down and see your location and the paths around you anywhere. It’s fun (if admittedly fairly pointless) to do this in city parks, which is where I do most of my running, but when you do step even slightly out of your comfort zone the maps become invaluable. I followed a 25km trail route around Epping Forest on the watch without a hitch, and during an adventure race in the Scottish Highlands it was handy to bring up the map from time to time just to judge that I was indeed on a path, because it was often difficult to tell which patch of sodden grass was supposed to be the path.

You can also create round-trip routes to follow on the Fenix 5 Plus. Just put in the distance you want to cover and the general direction you want to head in and the device refers to paths and trails popular with other Garmin users to create a course that avoids busy roads. This is a feature that shines when you’re away from your usual haunts, but even around my house it was fun to try new routes.

ClimbPro is another new feature that will especially benefit trail runners and hikers who head for the mountains. This feature shows the profile of each climb you tackle during an activity, so you can see how much ascent you have left to conquer. It comes into its own when on a switchback trail where you can’t easily tell how far there is to go. This feature will give you a better chance of pacing your effort to complete the climb without having to stop.

The desirability of these map and routing capabilities is probably the best way to tell if the Fenix 5 Plus is the best Garmin option for you. Most city runners probably won’t get much from them, making the cheaper Forerunner 935 or 645 trackers more suitable options, because they have similar capabilities when it comes to run tracking. Let’s not undersell those capabilities, however, because the Fenix 5 Plus offers a remarkably in-depth range of data on your runs. You can set up a multitude of data screens and customise them to show every detail you could wish for, including analysis of your running form if you have a compatible sensor. One highlight of the data available is Garmin’s virtual race pacer mode, which will help you stay on track to hit your target time during races, marking where you are in comparison to your target and providing a predicted finish time.

You can also follow customised workouts on the Fenix 5 Plus. Basic intervals sessions can be set up on the watch itself, while more complicated sessions involving different distance and individual targets for specific intervals (such as a goal pace or heart rate) can be created on the Garmin Connect app or website and synced across to the watch. This feature is particularly useful for runners following training plans with regular workouts, because it takes all the thinking out of the session – just follow what it says on the watch… if you can.

The Fenix 5 Plus also provides feedback on your training status that’s updated after each session. This gives an indication of your overall training load and whether you are training in a productive manner or not. This section of the watch also provides predicted race times for 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon, although in my experience these are very optimistic.

Garmin’s new TrueUp feature means that this info, along with past activities, is synced across Garmin devices. This meant when I set up the Fenix 5 Plus it was all there already and I could hit the ground running (ahem), whereas in the past you’d need a week or so of tracking for the device to begin displaying your training status.

Having music, podcasts and audiobooks on the Fenix 5 Plus is also useful for runners, as is the ability to pay for items like a drink or energy bar while on the move using the watch. Both those features do have their limitations, however, which I’ll come to in the smartwatch section later.

Using The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus For Cycling

As with running, you can set up as many data screens as you could wish for to show all the stats on your ride. The Fenix 5 Plus also connects to ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors and supports cycling power meters, unlike the Forerunner 645. Support for several sensors is always useful for cyclists, because wrist heart rate tracking tends to be less accurate when holding handlebars, and a wrist sensor can’t provide the data on your cycling cadence and power.

If you’re chasing a Strava KOM you can also follow segments live on the Fenix 5 Plus while riding, so you’ll know if top spot is within range and if it’s worth making a huge effort to finish the segment strong.

Using The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus For Swimming

The Fenix 5 Plus is a full triathlon watch and has modes for pool and open-water swimming, along with a multisport mode for when you’re planning on undertaking different activities back-to-back. As on Garmin’s other watches, the heart rate monitor is disabled during swimming and you have to link to a waterproof chest-strap sensor instead. Optical heart rate monitors do struggle in the water, but many other companies’ trackers do make a stab at recording your heart rate while swimming.

Another small limitation of the Fenix 5 Plus is that the minimum pool size is 17m, which is pretty short, but not as short as many pools you’ll find in gyms. Once you’ve set the pool length you can use the buttons to scroll through your data screens while swimming, and you can also follow workouts on the watch while in the water.

In open-water mode you’ll get a GPS track of your swim, which like all outdoor activities on the Fenix 5 Plus can use Galileo or GLONASS satellites along with GPS.

Using The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus To Track Activity

The Fenix 5 Plus is designed to be worn as your everyday watch as well as for sports, so the chances are you’ll be keeping an eye on your daily activity with it. All the standard activity stats are available – steps, active minutes, calories burned, floors climbed – and you can set the watch face to show them in three little chronograph-style circles. You can pick your targets for each of them and the steps target can also be set to adjust itself automatically in line with how active you are.

More advanced everyday tracking comes in the form of 24/7 heart rate tracking and a graph showing your resting heart rate over recent days, and stress tracking using a heart rate variability measurement. Each day you’ll get a chart showing your average stress level plus how time you spend in low, medium, high or resting stress zones.

It’s all well done and easily available on the Fenix 5 Plus itself, as well as being engagingly presented in the Garmin Connect app. If you’re going to buy a GPS watch of this calibre you’re probably not hugely concerned about your step count, but it’s there if you want it.

Using The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus As A Smartwatch

Aside from the extra mapping capabilities in the Fenix 5 Plus range, the new smartwatch features are what set it apart from the previous generation. There is space for up to 500 songs and you can also link the watch with a Spotify or Deezer premium account and sync playlists across.

The link with Spotify is especially significant, because it’s something that Fitbit and Apple haven’t been able or willing to set up with their smartwatches. Samsung’s wearables are compatible with Spotify, but they are not close to being as good for sports tracking as the Fenix 5 Plus.

To get Spotify on the Fenix 5 Plus you first install the Spotify Connect IQ app on the watch, then sign into your account through the Garmin Connect app, like you would to link it with Strava. You can then sync your existing playlists to the Fenix 5 Plus, providing the watch is connected to WiFi and you have a Spotify Premium account. It’s easy and reasonably quick – a 50-track playlist will sync across in around five minutes or so. There’s also the option to “Update Downloads” in the Spotify app on the watch. Click that when you’re on WiFi and it will update your playlists to take into account any changes you’ve made to them on Spotify.

Music does hit battery life hard and you only get eight hours of GPS plus music playback compared with 18 using just GPS. That’s still enough to get you through most activities though, even a 100-mile cycle or marathon, though maybe take a separate MP3 player if you’re into ultramarathons.

Garmin Pay is also available on the watch and this is great news if you bank with Santander. If you use any other major bank you’ll have to keep carrying a wallet, though some smaller banks like Starling Bank are also on Garmin Pay. The Fenix 5 Plus is not a full smartwatch like the Apple Watch or an Android Wear device, with well-populated app stores to back them up, so you can somewhat forgive its deficiencies in this area. That said, it is a £600 watch and Garmin Pay has been around for almost a year, so it would be nice for contactless payments to be available to more than just Santander customers.

Using The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus As A Heart Rate Monitor

The Fenix 5 Plus tracks your heart rate 24/7 and uses that data to provide an estimate of your resting heart rate, which is a good measure of your cardiovascular fitness. During exercise you can see what heart rate zone you are in using the gauge data screen, which makes it easy to ensure you’re working at the right effort level. You can also set up workouts where different intervals have a set heart rate target to hit. A useful option for HIIT and fartlek fans.

How Often Am I Going To Have To Charge It?

This was slightly disappointing, especially since I’m used to the Garmin Forerunner 935, which offers up to 24 hours of GPS tracking or two weeks of life in watch mode. On paper the Fenix 5 Plus offers 18 hours of GPS and 12 days in watch mode, but I found it would need to be plugged in every four to five days when running most days and cycling once or twice during that period. Start listening to music during your activities and you’ll need two or three charges a week. It’s not a bad state of affairs, but it’s also not quite good enough that you can mostly forget about battery life, especially if you have a big activity lined up and do want to listen to music with it.

The Garmin Connect App

Garmin’s partner app does a tremendous job of distilling all the information recorded by the Fenix 5 Plus and showing it to you in an accessible and useful way. The homepage details all the activity you’ve undertaken that day in a series of colourful tiles that can be clicked on for more information. Dig even deeper into the app and you’ll be able to see long-term trends for stats like your VO2 max or resting heart rate.

You can also create complicated workouts easily on the app, including repeats and steps with intensity targets based on different factors like pace or heart rate, and sync them over to the watch wirelessly. Syncing with the Fenix 5 Plus was very fast 99% of the time, though every now and again I’d have to turn off my phone and the watch to get them to talk to one another.

Where Can I Wear It Without People Laughing At Me?

This is a terrific-looking watch and assuming you don’t opt for a bright orange wristband it can be worn anywhere. You can replace the straps on the Fenix 5 Plus for different-coloured silicone or metal bands, so you have something fit for all occasions. The only thing I would say about the design is that the Fenix 5 Plus is a chunky watch, so if you’d rather something more svelte then the 5S Plus might be more up your street, while those who want the biggest watch possible should check out the 5X Plus.

Should I Consider Buying Something Else?

The Fenix 5 Plus is an excellent GPS tracker that boasts a horde of impressive features, but it’s certainly not cheap and it’s worth asking yourself if you really need those features. Trail runners and mountain hikers will certainly benefit most from its mapping credentials, though those who are constantly in high places might consider the Fenix 5X Plus a worthwhile upgrade because it has a PulseOx sensor which will monitor how your blood oxygen levels are affected by higher altitudes. The 5S Plus might also be more attractive to many people because it has the same size screen and mapping capabilities as the 5 Plus in a smaller frame, though it has a shorter battery life as a result.

There aren’t many premium trackers like the Fenix 5 Plus around and outside of the rest of Garmin’s own range the main competition comes from the Suunto 9, which has similar tracking and mapping capabilities and 25 hours of GPS battery life. The Suunto 9 also costs £100 less than the 5 Plus at £499. However, it doesn’t offer space for music or NFC payments, and in general I’d say Garmin’s software is more impressive than Suunto’s.

If you decide you don’t need quite so many navigation features and that music isn’t a big deal to you, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is an excellent triathlon and running watch that is considerably cheaper than the Fenix 5 Plus at £439.99. If it’s the music and smart features you’re really after, the Forerunner 645 Music has them for £399, though it does not currently link to Spotify.

Is Joe Wicks’s 30-Minute Meals Cookbook Any Good?

Joe Wicks can shift books. His Lean In 15 series, which combine super-quick recipes with HIIT workouts, sold gangbusters, and last year he branched out into pure recipe books with Cooking For Family And Friends With Joe Wicks while his star continued to rise on TV and social media.

With his new cookbook, Joe’s 30-Minute Meals, he’s now on first-name terms with the public and after trying one of his books for the first time, I’m glad he’s so well known. There’s a lot to like in this book and not just the food.

The introduction is where many healthy cookbooks take considerable time to tell the author’s story and set out the supposedly revolutionary new approach to losing weight. Not Joe – he takes just four pages, and sticks to some simple but highly effective principles. He reckons your diet should be varied. He’s tried to make these recipes easy for anyone to follow. He’s also labelled each meal “carb refuel” or “reduced carb” to help you eat more carbs on days when you’re active. And finally, he thinks cooking and eating should be enjoyable and help you feel better. I can’t argue with any of that, and I’m someone who likes to find fault with most things in the health, fitness and wellness industrial complex.

Unlike a lot of healthy cookbooks, Joe’s doesn’t include nutritional information – the amount of calories, protein, carbs, fat etc in each dish. He evidently doesn’t want people to worry about that stuff (again, can’t argue with that; nothing takes the joy out of eating healthily like obsessive calorie counting), preferring that they just concentrate on finding recipes they’d like to cook and trust that he’s not cramming them full of junk on the sly. And after trying some of his meals I’m inclined to trust him, especially as it seems clear he’s kept the calories under control: I’m used to going back for seconds and often there wasn’t much left in the pan for me to go back to – no bad thing, frankly.

I tried four recipes from his book, one from each of the protein-based chapters – chicken, fish and seafood, pork, and beef and lamb (there are also all-day breakfast and sweet treats sections) – and I’m happy to report Joe surprised me with the variety of his flavours and ingredients. Even the all-day breakfast section includes things I wasn’t expecting. Dishes like masala eggy bread with tomato relish, or carrot fritters with eggs and halloumi, which alongside the more pork-heavy fare I expected.

The chicken and orzo rat-a-tat bake set the tone for all four meals I cooked. It was a tomatoey pasta bake with chicken that crammed in more veg (courgette and aubergine) than I suspect others would. That’s two thumbs up from me.

Crunchy polenta cod with white bean stew squeezed in cherry toms, spinach, carrots and celery, but the real revelation with this one was how easy it is to roll cod loin in polenta and cook it in a frying pan. And how tasty, too – it’s like fish fingers without the faff and mess of egg, flour, breadcrumbs and lashings of cooking oil.

The final two recipes surprised with the addition of sweet ingredients (raisins in the quick spiced beef and prunes in the chickpea and veg stew with pork tenderloin), and pleasant surprises they were too. And as if to prove there’s nothing controversial or outlandish about the recipes, my two kids – a pre-schooler and a baby – ate all four dishes. Clearly Joe’s catering to all palates.

While I found all the recipes straightforward to make, they took a bit longer than the promised 30 minutes – more like 45-50 minutes all in. I couldn’t get by in a professional kitchen by any means, but I do cook most nights so I guess most people would be in the same boat as myself. Still what’s an extra quarter of an hour between friends?

The only thing I would have added to this book is a vegetarian chapter, especially since Joe offers a vegetarian version of his 90-Day Plan, but I’m sure Joe will be back around this time next year with another cookbook. I can’t see the public’s appetite for him, or his food, diminishing any time soon.

Buy from Amazon | £10 (RRP £20)