dance, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, wellbeing

The time we tried Barre @ Studio Velo

So recently it has become pretty clear to me that I am indeed, a fitness junkie. I may not look it, as believe me, I’m no size 8. But I don’t do it for that. I don’t do it for a beach body or a summer body, or anybody. I do it for myself, for the way it makes me feel. I do it to challenge myself, break comfort zones and insecurities and to increase my confidence. I love the feeling of working up a sweat, I prefer my gym gear to normal clothes, I spend my days waiting for my next ‘fix’, my next ‘hit’ and I’m forever on the look out for a new class to try.

New exercise classes pop up all the time,  and with each class I venture along to, my confidence increases and I feel ready to try something else. So yesterday I headed over to Studio Velo to try their barre class – an exercise programme that intends to ‘create a longer, leaner physique through stretching exercises both on the floor and on a ballet barre, using the same techniques and postures as traditional ballet.

Barre caught my eye as I felt it’s something way out of my comfort zone. I love working out to loud dance music, I like to sing, I like to really move about.  Although a little unsure what to expect, I felt Barre would be more low impact, require grace which I don’t feel I have, and less energy than I usually have or like to burn.

I have been along to Pound a few times, and I thought Barre may be similar in the way it focuses on strengthening and conditioning and isometric movements, but would I still enjoy without the rock tracks and rip stix?

I arrived at Velo with my friend Debra. I’m not afraid to go along to new classes on my own, I did just that last week trying out Cycle. But it’s great to have a friend there for moral support, and to go for coffee with afterwards.

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We met Melissa our Barre instructor in the reception area, then went upstairs to the mirrored dance studio. I took a mat, removed my trainers, (but kept the socks on as I can’t deal with feet. Not my own, anyway) and chose a spot on the floor. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of mirrored walls. Purely because the image I have in my head of me rocking my gym gear, is a far cry from what I actually see. But the mirror was there and I just had to suck it up and move on.

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We started off with a warm up on our mats to tracks I’m familiar with from other classes, but slow versions. Meaning I could still have a sing along in my head. Sometimes I forget I’m at an exercise class, not a rave. I did a block of ladies kickboxing sessions recently, and had to consciously remind myself to stop dancing to the music and I was there to kick and throw punches, not boogie.

We then moved on to planking and push ups. I’m still at the on your knees push up, level.  I kept looking over to Debra as she looked at me. I was exhausted after the warm up. We both were

Then it was time to hit the barre, where we stated working our quads using plies in first and second positions, the moving on to arabesques and lunges. Now to watch our workout, it may have looked easy since these exercises included just tiny pulsing movements. It may have looked like we were doing nothing, but let me tell you, we were.

After about 30 minutes on the barre we were back to the mats, but this time using the bar to concentrate on the core and upper body. Melissa explained we would lie on our back and pull ourselves up using the bar. Sounds easy, I thought confidently as I’ve done similar in the gym and feel I have quite good upper body strength. So, I lay on my back, feet flat on the floor ready to pull myself up, but nothing. I couldn’t move. I looked at Debra as she said to me ‘I can’t do it’, feeling quite relieved I replied with ‘Me neither’. Melissa then showed us a way to do it curling our core in rather than pulling up. I managed that. Just

We finished off with the core by staying sat on our mats, holding the barre above us, straightening and lifting then lowering our legs. Again, I’ve done similar during Pound, but obviously without the barre. I struggled then and I struggled again, but I still gave it my all.

The 60 minute class then ended with a cool down, and boy was I ready to cool down.

Despite its difficulty, I thoroughly enjoyed my Pure Barre experience. The playlist was good, the work out low-impact and it did felt very different to the sweaty high intensity kind of work out I’m used to. But it’s now the afternoon after, and I am aching. My arms, my legs, my back, I can feel it. Barre obviously has immense benefits, especially for your lower body and core.

If you’re interested in trying out Barre or any classes at Velo, then check out their facebook page for details

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diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, wellbeing

Indoor Cycle at Studio Velo

Thismorning I went along to my first ever Cycle class. I love trying new things, and switching up my cardio routines, and have wanted to try spinning for a while. I’ve looked through the windows of a gym curiously and wondered if it was for me, but never felt brave enough to go along, worried I wouldn’t last the whole class. But a new studio has just opened in my hometown, and decided to give it a go.

The 45 minute session was held at Velo in Whitley Bay, and the studio iteslef has only been open a few weeks. It’s a small fitness studio with its own distinctive style, providing classes for all ages and abilities in studio cycling, Pilates, yoga, barre and dance.

I was greeted by Steph, the lady behind Velo with the idea was to open somewhere local, friendly and a little bit different to exercise. Ascetically, the studio was different to any others I have been to. I instantly noticed the trendy and modern design I have never seen before in any gym, and this I liked.

I then went up the stairs to a bright and well conditioned mirrowed studio with the bikes all set up ready for class.

In the studio I was greated by Cycle Instructor Kim, who made me feel comfortable and welcome, and spoke to one of the other girls who told me she wasn’t new to cycle, but this was her first class at Velo. This made me feel so much more at ease knowing I wasn’t a complete newbie.

I chose my bike, and once everyone had arrived, Kim explained to us a little about our bikes, and how to adjust them. Explained that our hands would alternate three positions throughput the class, and how to adjust the resistance.

Once we were all set, the music was on and we were off.  There is a little screen attached to the bike, which I really should’ve taken more notice of, but I think this displays your changing heat rate throughout the class

The class was based on HIIT routines, and Kim talked us through a mental visualisation of an outdoor workout, including gear changes and pedal speed. At the start of a track we were at the bottom of the hill and reached the top by the end. I found this visualisation helpful, as I was determined to reach the top of the hill without stopping, and with as much power as I could. The uplifting tunes which I particularly enjoyed, both gave me energy and kept me motivated. I just love music and find it so much harder to exercise without. I quickly found that we were cycling to the beat, upping the speed along with the tempo during a chorus.

I’m not joking when I say 15 minutes in and I had sweat dripping off me. I do a lot of fitness, and a lot of classess but I’ve never felt so worked, so fast. I’m really proud to say I kept up with the whole class, as I was worried I’d need to pause for a break as I’ve heard how intense cycling can be. Although we were told to go at our own pace as this is our workout, I was up off the saddle and back on the saddle the same time as the rest of the class. I probably could’ve adjusted the resistance a little higher at some points, but I’m confident I can push myself a little bit more next time.

By the end of the class I felt awesome. Exhausted, but awesome. This was a well structured class, which I found challenging, with excellent positive communication from Kim throughout.

Class was 9.30 thismorning, and it’s now early evening as I write this and I believe me, I’m feeling it

Thank you so much to Velo for inviting me along.

If you’re interested in trying Indoor Cycle at Velo, then check out their website https://www.velofitness.co.uk/ or facebook page

beauty, general, lifestyle

My new iNails by AAB Shiremoor *

Regular readers of my blog will know that beauty blogging is not my forte. As much as I love make up and beauty products and a good pamper at home, I’m not one for beauty treatments and have never ventured further than a haircut (once a year. Shocking, I know) and a one off spray tan for a wedding. However, when invited to try the new iNails, I was more than happy to whip off my stick on drugstore nails and give them ago.

My nails are in awful condition. I’ve always been a nail biter. I did manage to grow them last year, purely because I started dental treatment with Invisalign meaning I physically couldn’t bite them. Until a few months in and found a way which I could start nibbling again, and they were back to looking ugly in no time.

I arrived at AAB Shiremoor, and was greeted at the door by Susan who then took me to her beautiful salon in her home. This is where I have to admit to being a bad blogger, as I forgot to take a pic, but the room was gorgeous. I sat down and first of all apologised for the tatty nails she was about to make pretty. Susan started by cutting and trimming my shamefully almost non existent nails, pushing back the cuticles, then selecting the correct size by dry fitting it into place

iNails are an alternative to gel and traditional acrylic nails, which take only around 15 minutes to apply a full set. They are kinder to your nails as there is no need to use an electric file. You could suggest they are similar to the stick on nails you can buy from Boots, etc, but they’re adhered with lyric acrylic, and much better quality.

Susan started to apply each nail by applying the liquid acrylic onto the nail, then placed it onto my natural nail, making sure the liquid spread across and down the entire nail bed, without any gaps or air bubbles. The nail was then held in place under a beam projector, and held for about 20 seconds to completely cure

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I’ve never been to a nail salon before, but I have noticed a strong smell as I’ve walked past nail bars, however there’s no solvent odour with inails

Any excess dry acrlic was then filed away from the side walls and cuticles, they were cut down to size, then buffed.

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I usually opt for short square stick on nails, but decided to go longer with inails, with a slightly more curved tip. Once finished I was surprised with how natural my new nails looked.

I then chose a gel polish finish of an extensive selection including chrome, glitter and marble effect. I had a Halloween themed weekend away with friends for my birthday planned that weekend, so opted for gray , with a white accent nail and a couple of Halloween stickers. Then finished off with a clear gel top coat.

I was thrilled with my new nails.

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I’m now 5 days in with my inails and they still look and feel as good as new. They feel so light, and exactly how I’d expect my nails would look if I were to grow them.

The nails are supposed to last up to 3 weeks, but I have read reviews where they’ve lasted even longer. After spending around £6-7 on stick on nails a week, which would last only a couple of days, I shall defiantly be sticking to inails as I know I will be getting more for my money, a much better quality of nail, and can leave the nail glue at home when I go out.

I’d like to give a huge thank you to Susan Ord for my lovely experience and fabulous nails.

To find out more about AAB Shiremoor and the range of treatments available, check out the Facebook Page or call 07949 510 588 to book an appointment

*contains gifted experience