Balinese Wanderings, Waves & Wanderlust

There seems to be little that gives me more joy these days then trussing up my backpack and hitting the road, surfboard bag under arm and a dog-eared map of the world stuffed down a pouch.  Setting off for another Indonesian oddessy this December, I was hungry to find somewhere that felt like a home-away-from-home, where I could mix my love of the yin of high-energy, outdoor pursuits in Bali like surfing, with the yang of needing (and wanting) r N r, chill time, and a place to maintain my healthy eating, love of yoga, and a place where you can make friends .

Enter The Chillhouse in Canngu.  Owned by the brilliant Alexander, a German surfer and stoker of life of the highest order, and armed with my best friend, radio presenter Georgie Rogers in tow, we set off for the secluded mecca that is The Chillhouse.   Nestled off of the hipster high-road Pantai Batu Balong leading to the seminal surf spot of Berawa, Batu Balong, The Chillhouse has a near Alice-In-Wonderland-esque feel as soon as you arrive, tumbling down the rabbit-hole through the lush and verdant pond-spotted paths to your room.  Exploring through our stay, we happily stumbled across the yoga studio, two swimming pools, massage spots and numerous chill-inducing dotted long beds.

Armed with the keys to our Treehouse canopy, the Gerry Lopez (an ICON of surfing, who near single-handedly put Bali on the map as a staple surfing destination) Treetop Canopy is a room that has both relaxation and fun written across it.  The turquoise painted (as is all the branding and decor of The Chillhouse, apparently it helps to open the lines of communication between the heart and the spoken word, and also reflects the colour of Bali's stunning Indian Ocean) retreat was so exciting to take our first steps into, climbing the stairs (heck, I always wanted my own tree house) to a beautifully nestled haven.

I loved the outdoor bathroom with double shower and double sink - perfect for couples, a laugh for two best friends, and balcony with long couch to toast a surf with a local Bintang beer looking across the pink and peach dappled sunset sky.    

Handily, The Chillhouse easily provides a full-run down of all the different activities they they organise daily, including surfing lessons, trips to dive with Manta rays, mountain biking, excursions to the centre of the Island (including the infamous Ubud), even PT sessions and grooming (manis and pedis) and of course, massages to sooth surf-weary bodies.  We had one thing on our minds, and surfed until our sun-scorched bodies couldn't take anymore.  Once at that point of exhaustion we both had incredibley soothing massages to sort our happily knackered bodies.

Even though I was travelling with a friend, I always love to meet people during my travels, and in my eyes, this is one of the highlights of travelling.  Communal-style long dining tables, epic barbecue evenings with freshly grilled fish. prawns and more, and coffees at breakfast made for a perfect setting to toast a cup of coffee to the surf ahead or bintang at the end of the day with newly made friends.  And with a menu selection bursting with healthy, nutritious meals, it is easy to keep up healthy habits, and try local specialities like dragon fruit smoothie bowls (drool).  

Check out my health-hot tips for visiting Canggu!

MAD TO LIVE TIPS: CANGGU

FITNESS

-Surfing is obviously activity number one once you hit the shred-heavy Indonesian island.  There are a multitude of incredible breaks to choose from, and Batu Balong, just a scoot down the road from The Chillhouse, is a notorious beginner friendly spot (once you've had a lesson on dealing with currents, etiquette and where the reef is!).  Can get PACKED but consistent, warm waves and a number of surf schools by the beach + rental make this a great choice.  I won't mention my other favourite breaks to let any secrets out!

-Working out whilst away on your holiday and maintaining your training routine is totally feasible thanks to numerous gyms dotted in and around Canggu.  Bali Fit boasts a number of awesome conditioning classes and surf-specific training.  Ask for trainer Claire, she is the BOMB

-Volcano hikes leaving in the dead of the night so you arrive as the sun is rising are sure to blow your mind and are a must-do

-Yoga is a huge draw for visitors to Bali.  If you aren't heading to Ubud, fear not, for there is a proliferation of brilliant yoga spots around the island.  Resort Desa Seni in Canngu right by the ocean front has some of the best classes in town

-Bike life:  You will notice an abundance of motorbikes and scooters zipping round: It is the best way to get around and avoid the traffic congestion, but be careful: accidents can be rife.  Go drool over the sexiest wheels in town at The Deus Temple Of Enthusiasm.

HEALTHY HOT SPOTS

-The Shady Shack is one to check out if you're feeling parched after a long morning surf: icy coolers, shakes (duh) and iced coffees in a cool and verging on too-trendy spot make for a chilled out stop-off

-Poke Poke is as the name states, a damn delicious poke-bowl (fresh raw fish layered over rice/veg + toppings) spot where you can stuff your shmoosh on these insanely good bowls of radness

-Having conducted extensive research on local massage spots (without complaining ;) ) I found my favourite spot for soothing out surfed-out muscles: Therapy by Echo Beach. Seriously, their masseuses have magic hands. Check. It. Out.

 

Check out the full adventure of my Balinese trip below!

With thanks to The Chillhouse, www.TheChillHouse.com

 

 

 

SHRED READY: SURF FITNESS DATES IN LONDON!

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Shred Ready: Surf Fitness is BACK for the 2017 season and I am so excited to announce the dates you can book now book on to!

Shred Ready: Surf Fit is a bespoke workout that will improve your stamina and conditioning with highly targeted movements that work to boost your performance and ultimately enjoyment in the water.  Focussing  on the critical factors crucial to developing your dynamic surfing ability, we will be looking at:

-Improving your dynamic surfing focussing on honing power movements including pop ups

-Flexibility - improving your range of movement and mobility and protecting against injury

-Balance - enhancing your ability to stabilise and maintain positions

-Understanding your surfing movements and the muscle groups that drive them- sharpening fast-twitch muscle fibres  and muscle memory

-Targeted strengthening exercises and movements to boost power and condition

-Aerobic fitness - conditioning the heart and muscle tone, paddle stronger and tire less

My friends over at Quiksilver and Roxy will be hosting us in their awesome digs in Shoreditch. Full details below:

DATES: 9TH MAY, 23RD MAY

LOCATION: Quiksilver & Roxy Showroom, Shoreditch *

TIME: Arrive 6:45pm for a 7:00pm start.  One hour workout, 15 minutes stretch, followed by drinks 

PRICE: £20 pre-pay via Bank Transfer

INCLUDED: One hour workout plus 15 minute stretching, a free drink (turbo-charged juice to replenish your body) all set to an awesome surf-infused playlist with big screen surf flicks playing in the background

BRING: Wear fitness gear/trainers, stoke and a smile, a water bottle

Email me at sophie@madtoliveblog.com to sign up - places are extremely limited so get in quick! Please specify which date you would like to attend,

* Full address disclosed after booking is complete

Cruise to my Instagram for more fitness, adventure, surfing and radness!

#ShredReadySurf

Thanks and see you soon! 

Fat Burning Workout for Grazia Magazine

The next workout I created for Grazia Magazine, 10 moves For Fat Burning, is now live!

Complete 8 repetitions of each then repeat 3 times

1. Goblet Squat
2. Swing
3. Dead Lift
4. Tuck Jump
5. Bear crawl
6. Walking Lunge
7. Explosive push up
8. Skaters
9. Plank thruster
10. One arm Sandbell snatch (repeat other side)

Threads: @nikelondon 
Kicks: @nikelondon Metcon 3

Killer Ab Workout for Grazia Magazine

Check out this workout I created for Grazia Magazine's #7in7 challenge at Another Space London, 7 killer moves for killer abs!

Moves 1-7 increase in difficulty, and repeat circuit 3 times:


1. Dead Bugs - 5 reps each side. As much of the spine on the ground as possible. Tuck the ribs down, chin down.
2. Bird Dogs: 5 reps each side
3. TRX roll out: 8 reps
4. Sandbell woodchop: 8 reps each side
5. Overhead slam: 8 reps
6. TRX anti rotation: 8 reps
7. Sandbell dragon flag: 5 reps


Threads: @nikelondon 
Kicks: @nikelondon Metcon 3

WHY I: OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST SNOWBOARDER JAMIE ANDERSON

I’m at the LAAX European Open Switzerland, a definitive stop on the World Snowboard Tour at the home of snowboard freestyle, LAAX.  Attracting the biggest names on the global tour, the LAAX Open has long been one of the most critical and enjoyed stops of the tour, with the riders stoking out on LAAX, which was purpose built for snowboarders.  It’s incredible facilities include the world’s biggest halfpipe, indoor training hubs, and of course, the unparalled and stunning riding terrain.  I’m here to see for myself the incredible highs snowboarding has come to in this leg of the European Open, and to chat to none other than slopestyle QUEEN, the reigning Olympic Gold slopestyle medallist, the incredible Miss Jamie Anderson.

A name that reached the mainstream consciousness following her crowning glory of winning the first ever slopestyle snowboarding competition at the last winter Olympics in Sochi Russia, 5  time X Games gold medallist, World Champion and all-round bastion of positivity, Jamie Anderson is a name both synonymous with being at the forefront of progression in snowboarding, and always doing it with an infectiously rad positive energy and unrelenting stoke and smiles.  After taking a podium spot at LAAX, I headed off with Jamie to chow down on some well-earned pad Thai and talk snowboarding, successes, mindfulness and what is next for the 10 year dominant force in women’s snowboarding.

Photo: jamie anderson instagram

Photo: jamie anderson instagram

If there is ever an athlete that not just is a beacon of showing what hard work and tenacity, combined with an unrelenting, clear, earnest, and honest love of her sport, it’s Tahoe-native Jamie Anderson.  26 year old Jamie has been been a stalwart of competitive snowboarding the last decade.  With her list of never-ending accolades, including of course, her Olympic Gold Medal in the last winter Olympics in Russia, Jamie has enjoyed a career of which her hard work and honest love for her sport has been steadily reflected in her haul of bullion in her trophy and medal cabinet.  Reflecting that she is “extremely thankful that I found snowboarding at such a young age…it’s the number one passion of my life. And it’s so fun because you have that fire to keep going and pursuing."

It’s clear that when talking to Jamie, it isn’t just competitive drive that has propelled her to such successful heights, but heck, it’s her genuine love of strapping onto her board and riding which is her driving force.  I wondered what, after such a long and steadily rewarding career which sees her on the top of podiums regularly some 10 years down the line, continues to spur her on, to motivate her, when she has conquered every competitive challenge on the snowboarding circuit?  “I think just personal perseverance.  My own challenges that I have, and trying to overcome them and not...let fear get in the way...I’ve been competing for like a solid 10 years, but I’m always inspired to learn more, grow, try new shit and progress, so I think that’s kind of the motivation to continue to do it.”

Many of us, when approaching a competitive sport, or any challenge for that matter, can focus on the want of that success and end goal.  Sage advice from the Olympic Champion, who suggests that:

“Instead of thinking about just being successful, think about finding something that really lights your heart on fire and makes you stoked to wake up every day and pursue it."

Seeing the unrelenting smile on her face when she is at the top of the park of any competition, it’s clear snowboarding sets Jamie’s heart on fire, and that these could be wise words to follow.  There are of course, challenges, difficult moments and testing times, especially in the fast-paced world of competitive sport.  What, I ask, does she do in those moments, to move past them?  “Those moments when you’re feeling discouraged or challenged… (I) usually try go back to gratitude, thinking of how lucky I am to get to do this and be in Switzerland, or Colorado, or wherever I’m at on the planet…I think that an attitude of gratitude is pretty powerful...remembering to stay humble and thankful for all the gifts”. 

"Learning to not let get your head in the way, women are like…we got crazy minds (laughs) so learning to…embrace that feminine power, but not let it… make me afraid, because that’s the only thing holding me back”. 

This makes me smile, for there is a beauty in our innate “feminine power” as Jamie attests, which surely when harnessed, makes us unstoppable forces.  I love Jamie for showing that to be at the top of your game in a sport, and not just from a female perspective, but both perspectives, it doesn’t have to be about being a testosterone charged individual.  Jamie embraces this feminine energy, and in my opinion, this is a critical, and highly important, influential ideal to share with women, with young girls, showing that it is possible to embrace this and be a champion, why the heck not?

Jamie in action at the LAAX open

Jamie in action at the LAAX open

Standing at the side of the slopestyle competitive at the LAAX open, it is clear to me, having worked in the action sports industry for some 12 years now, that women’s snowboarding is at an incredible juncture, whereby the athletes are embracing this power, where they are bonded by a love of their sport, of genuinely supporting each other and of welcoming progressive raw talent to the game.   It feels electric right now in women’s snowboarding, and Jamie is in the thick of it, agreeing that "Oh my gosh, it’s really cool... it has changed so much in the last couple of years with girls just getting inspired and tapping into their power and realising what they are capable of.  I think the number one thing that limits us is the mind and fear of course, but once you see your friends, going through and persevering with challenges, it is so enlightening.”

Younger girls looking to start a career in competitive snowboarding have some pretty powerful role models like Jamie Anderson to look up to at this point in time.  Though a difficult industry to truly make it to the top, Jamie shares some meaningful advice to younger girls, suggesting that :

"Make sure you’re down for the cause, have fun, be around good people that lift you up and trust yourself… Listen to your intuition most importantly. Don’t try too hard. Don’t listen to what other people say. Listen to yourself. “

Seeing Jamie on the podium with first place rider, the insanely talented Finish rider Enni Rukajarvi, and hot-new talent and new podium regular, Anna Gasser, cheering them on with genuine happiness for their successes, it is apparent that this field of support in women’s snowboarding is a powerful and potent field. 

Sitting with Jamie’s boyfriend, fellow rider and podium-placer, American Tyler Nicholson, I ask Jamie is she equally inspired by riding with her boyfriend?  “He definitely inspired me a lot when we first started dating he was the first one to really encourage me to do a lot of the new tricks I tried just because he had that belief…having someone give you that courage is what we need the most.   Just having someone actually believe in me, then I’m like yeah, I guess this is possible .and I can do it.”

With so many podium spots and so many wins, I wonder what in Jamie’s illustrious career has stood out as a moment that has perhaps meant the most to her?  “Getting to go ride Alaska even though it wasn’t obviously a contest, it was just to shred, it was so empowering just to be able to fight my fears and not be discouraged…the mountains are so powerful and it just inspires me to keep charging and even if it is not a competitive realm, snowboarding has so many different realms… it’s not all about double corks or 1080s and the Olympics…

"It’s just about being your true self and having fun and living for the moment and charging. Namaste!”.

With athletes like Jamie who have had such sustained and enduring success (when measured in terms of wins), I wonder what therefore can be defined as success to her now, and what are her hopes for the future?  “I look at older people and think I just think success is measured in happiness and groundedness and being…stoked on life every day, regardless of the situation.  Practicing that, (and) not being attached to always winning or doing a certain trick, just being okay with what what is, living in the moment, and embracing what is.  I hope to just like continue having fun hopefully land some new progressive tricks and make them look fossy and flow and with grace and then I want to make some films… I want to make some really cool like documentary films travelling around to cool places connecting culture, lifestyle and just spreading the love and epic vibes.  I’m so thankful to be in this epic industry...and the people in snowboarding…we are really lucky”. 

Even though Jamie is one of the most successful athletes ever to hail from the US, and whilst it could seem hard to relate to a champion of her level, I love having explored Jamie’s honest motivations, stoke, and love of her sport, and how, just like many of us when a snow day comes, she “just love(s) bundling up and being in the mountains. I’m definitely a mountain girl at heart I grew up in northern California just outside of lake Tahoe and we used to just jump off roofs into powder...

"Still to this day I’m 26 and I still go play in the snow every day and it’s so fun, it brings me so much joy".  

Myself, peacing out with Miss Anderson

Myself, peacing out with Miss Anderson

With thanks to Jamie Anderson, the LAAX Open and Canoe INC.

Stay tuned for the next WHY I interview!

 

 

 

 

Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica Round-up & Wrap Video

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The latest leg of Mad To Live Retreats has just wrapped and I have waved off a group of some of the most incredible women I have been fortunate enough to spend time with, let alone be part of their adventure.  Experiencing the highs of catching waves, pushing their limits and more, in the wildly raw and beautiful Nosara, Costa Rica. 

With an all-time crew of ladies jetting in from around the world, the agenda was set, a full 10 days of heart-racing and stoke-inducing adventure in one of my favourite places in the world, Costa Rica, staying with my friends at Surf Bikini Retreat, who collaborated with me on Mad To Live Retreats.  A noted rare blue and green zone on the planet, I couldn’t wait to share the stunning natural beauty and adventure with the chicks, and for them to find out just why it’s one of the happiest places in the world.

The chicks arrived at the Retreat HQ to a bed of goodies courtesy of our awesome partners Roxy, Plenish Cleanse, SeaFolly Australia, Pip N Nut & Ombar Chocolate. 

Fuelled daily by wholesome and fresh meals sourced straight from the local organic farmers market, the ladies went head on into the adventure, embracing the awesomeness of the “Pura Vida” life, taking on their first 5k run of the week and stretching out travel-cramped limbs with a restorative sunset beach yoga session under peach melba dappled skies.

The Costa Rica leg of the Mad To Live retreats adventure sees our surfing instruction led by insatiable head coach Monty Murphy, who, with over 55 years surfing experience, has an incredible wealth of knowledge to share. 

Head Coach Monty Murphy

Head Coach Monty Murphy

 

Fellow head coach Adilia Zuniga and co-owner of Surf Bikini, a Vice President of the local surfing association, has long led the charge in Nosara for women’s surfing (you can read all about her and how she introduced surfing to the local female community here). 

Kicking off our surf sessions with a land-based in depth land training session, looking at the fundamental movements of surfing including the pop up, and how through land training you can better execute these movements on water, the ladies were fired up for their surf sessions.   

Shooting the girls for land analysis

Shooting the girls for land analysis

Later on in the week busting a sweat out with jungle-based HIIT classes, the women were pushed hard, training perched next to the jungles edge, exploring new training methods including tag-fit training and martial art/yoga fusion workouts.

One of the most rewarding parts of my creating the Mad To Live Retreats is by far, being a part of these ladies’ adventure, seeing the stoke on their faces when they catch their first wave, the reward of a hard climb up a hill or wall, conquering fears and realising just what they are capable of, and how incredibly rewarding it is for them.

The women charged at the waves all week, absorbing the in-depth coaching and I was so stoked to see their progression, from paddling into white water waves, popping up, and all of them scoring a head-high wave in the week.

Mad To Live Retreater Stephanie on a bomb

Mad To Live Retreater Stephanie on a bomb

Right on!  Surfing in an incredible sport in that it provides so many highs, no matter your level, whether its paddling into your first white-water wave, the first pop-up, or carving on clean green waves. 

The flora and fauna of Costa Rica is unparalleled, and setting off in kayaks later in the week, we headed deep into the mangroves of the Boca (river) of Nosara, meeting local wildlife including howler monkeys, herons, and wild horses, a few crocodile eyes may have even been spotted mid paddle.  Setting off on a nature hike to the local bio-park, the ladies darted amongst trees, climbing amongst the rough terrain to the sounds of bird song, monkeys playing and ancient trees rustling. 

The Surf Bikini HQ seemed to be the place though this trip for spotting wildlife – at the villa alone the ladies got up close and personal with some of the natives who tentatively crept over to us much to the chicks’ stoke, including both howler and white faced monkeys, an armadillo, a possum, iguanas, squirrels, pizotes (raccoons), and of course Pipeline, the camp sausage dog who rules the roost. 

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Embracing their inner monkey, the ladies were set loose on the local climbing walls, nestled on the side of the verdant jungle.  With the highest walls some 50 ft. tall, these challenging climbs were tackled by the crew,, surpassing a few fears along the way.  It was incredible to see the progression of the group, going from the first lower wall, to embracing the belief that they could and did boss the final steep ascent.  Tears, high fives, and a zangy margarita later to toast, this was one of many moments where I was so incredibly proud and inspired by this badass group of women.

Toasting the adventure with an epic sunset sky-dappled horse ride across the beaches, with hair flying, charging as the sunset, what a crew of women and what an adventure. Here is to your next one ladies.

Check out the full video re-cap of the Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica adventure below, and let me know what you made of it in the comments!

Pura Vida!

Sophie x

With thanks to Roxy, Sea Folly Australia, Ombar Chocolate, Plenish and Pip N Nut

Mad To Live Retreats collaborated with Surf Bikini Retreat

Book now for the Portugal leg of Mad To Live Retreats here!

Follow the adventures on Instagram @SophieMadToLive #MadToLiveRetreats

YouTube Blogger Carly Rowena's Video Round-Up of Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica!

We've just wrapped an incredible leg of Mad To Live Retreats Costa Rica.  Having just waved of an all-time crew of the most incredible women, guest and YouTube blogger and all-round righteous babe Carly Rowena has shared her round-up of the trip on her YouTube Channel!

Check out Carly's wrap-up of #MadToLiveRetreats Costa Rica for an in-depth look at what goes down at the Retreat, and what Carly made of it (hint: stoking out, monkeys, dancing around fires and adventuring your soul and heart out features!).

Thank you Carly we LOVED having you at Mad To Live Retreats, and also stay tuned everyone for my wrap-up of the action landing soon.

 

 

 

 

AN EPIC DAY EXPLORING NUSA DUA

Bali has stolen a little piece of my heart and on my last trip there in January this year I set off for a few days exploring the azure waters and cruisy waves of Nusa Dua.  I decided to try out the awesome new Chanel J12 watch, captured by my great friend and insanely talented photographer, Crille Rask.  This is the result of our day playing in the water.  

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Check out the dreamy video edit below of exploring and cruising the waves at Nusa Dua, Bali.

MAD TO LIVE RETREATS PORTUGAL DATES AVAILABLE TO BOOK!

SOUND THE CLAXON.  IT IS HERE.  I AM SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE NEXT DATES OF MAD TO LIVE RETREATS PORTUGAL, AN INCREDIBLE COLLABORATION WITH EUROPE'S ORIGINAL SURF & LIFESTYLE COMPANY THE SURF EXPERIENCE!

Find out how YOU can join the adventure of a lifetime with 3 separate retreats happening over the summer - booking open now - all details below!

Always wanted to learn to surf or progress to the next level? Sun salute as it sets in front of you? Ride horses, scramble & charge up hills with the rising sun, get sweaty & stoked with tailored beach workouts, have the adventure of a lifetime with a group of like-minded souls?

Fitness instructor & lifestyle expert, Roxy ambassador, surfer and adventure-nut Sophie Everard of the Mad To Live blog is collaborating with the Surf Experience, the original surf & lifestyle company based in the heart of Europe's thriving summer surf scene, Lagos, Portugal, to create the ULTIMATE women's fitness, surf and adventure retreat in 2017.

Set to be a heart-racing, unforgettable adventure with a focus on physical and mental wellbeing and learning new skills to take home with you, you will immerse yourself in the vibrant Portuguese surf scene and culture and leave feeling charged, healthy and invigorated by the experience of a lifetime.

Hosted by fitness and sports coach Sophie Everard (CV includes Another Space, Move Your Frame & The Soho House Group), the retreats are a jam-packed 7 days of surfing with expert tuition, sunset beach yoga sessions, horseback riding and sunrise trail running through the rugged and stunning Roman and Moor-settled Algarvian landscape. Throughout the week enjoy outdoor fitness classes, including surf specific training, adrenaline-pumping mountain biking and the opportunity to have one on one training with Sophie.  The on-site chef will prepare locally-sourced nutritious meals at the luxurious boutique townhouse accommodation with free gifting from SeaFolly Australia, Plenish Cleanse, Roxy, Pip N Nut & more. You will also have the opportunity to kick back and relax, enjoy the Portuguese culture, beaches and beautiful surroundings.

Limited spacing to join this incredible adventure with Sophie and the Surf Experience is now open!

4 RETREAT DATES

3rd – 10th June 2017

10th – 17th June 2017

23rd September – 30th September

*** NEW DATES ADDED!  30th September - 7th October 

All the above are SELLING FAST book quick !

INCLUDED

  • 4 days surfing with expert tuition
  • Surf fitness focused workouts
  • Energising beach circuit sessions
  • Sunset yoga classes (dependent on weather)
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nutrition focused meals from the on-site chef: All meals except 2 nights out
  • Portuguese culture: Opportunity to visit local fort
  • 1 on 1 PT sessions with Sophie!

 

Free gifting from SeaFolly Australia, Roxy, Plenish Cleanse, Pip N Nut and more!

COST

£995 (Not including flights, and 2 dinners out)

Transport to and from Faro airport included free of charge

Please aim to arrive at Faro airport in the afternoon of the arrival date, and departure morning of departure day.  You will be greeted by the team at the airport, and taken straight to the accomodation, ready for the first welcome yoga session of the retreat!

 

ACCOMMODATION

Stunning luxury accommodation in the Surf Experience Mansions, a Portuguese townhouse in the heart of Lagos.

  • BATH TOWELS INCLUDED
  • WIFI AVAILABLE IN THE HOUSE
  • DOUBLE ROOMS AVAILABLE - PRIVATE FOR EXTRA COST 
  • TWINS AVAILABLE

BOOK NOW! EXTREMELY LIMITED SPACING, BOOK YOUR SPOT HERE AND SPECIFY IT IS FOR THE MAD TO LIVE RETREAT AND WHICH DATE OPTION.

Please email me sophie@madtoliveblog.com with any questions, or even a chat on +44 7803 628 736!

Need more convincing? Check out our testimonials here and check out a run down of a retreat last year below!

#MadToLiveRetreats

WHY I: TAHNEE SEAGRAVE

Competitive sport is an exciting arena.  Every so often a fresh and exciting, raw and disuptive talent emerges to shake the field up, and herald the arrival of a new crop of competitors vying for the top spot.  Enter Tahnée Seagrave, next up in the series of WHY I interviews delving into the minds, motivations and passions of a slew of diverse, talented, and highly inspiring women.  Downhill mountain bike racing could be fairly new to many of you, and with the first thing coming to mind normally being that this is one GNARLY sport, I was interested to chat to 21 year old Tahnée about her life in this adrenaline-charged world.  Kick back for a read with this progressive athlete, a young woman with a determination and focus of ferocity, balanced with a super approachable outlook that we can all relate to - heck, we all sometimes just need to just need to whack on the trackie bums and chill out on the sofa for days, right Tahnée? ;)

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21 year old downhill mountain bike rider Tahnée Seagrave, is, what some of us might describe, as “nails”.  If you’ve ever seen her in action during a competition or on video, the UK born, Wales-based rider’s raw talent has seen her demolish courses, be crowned the Junior World Champion and a regular face on the world-circuit podium.  As Tahnéeattests, downhill racing definitely isn’t for the faint hearted.  Hurling yourself down a mountain on a bike at high speed, dealing with jumps, sharp corners, rocks, roots, branches, trees and more makes for one of the most adrenaline-surging action sports out there, with, obviously, a high risk-rate of crashes, and perhaps injury.   Definitely not for the faint hearted then.  But for Tahnée, seeing her describe when she first started riding and how her passion was ignited at an early age at her family home at the time in Les Gets, France (a mountain biker’s mecca) it’s clear she loves this wild and challenging sport, that it gives her so much enjoyment and happiness, as well as a thrilling challenge to succeed.  Having been crowned the Junior World Champion in 2013 in Pietermaritzburg, I ask Tahnée what helps to continue to motivate her to up that title to World Champion, as she is now competing on the senior, world-circuit stage, and making quite a mark.

“I guess it's my thrill of giving my all, all the time, in everything I do, so I think tht really helps, the drive…”.

 

She has also helped to bring a more accessible, feminine and human side to the truthfully, male-dominated sport of downhill racing.  But hey , that is OK as she says, it isn’t a sport that’s for everyone because it IS “SO extreme”.  Rather than show or suggest that there are any extra pressures on her as a female athlete, Tahnée believes that actually

“If anything I like to push it forward and show girls that it's absolutely fine  and that it's not a a boys sport.  There’s no such thing as a “male sport”.

Self-admitting to be a “girly-girl”, which she “loves”, it provides an awesome constrast with battle-ready Tahnée on the world circuit, destroying the course and showing incredible levels iof strength, determination and talent in a quite frankly near-terrifying sport.    “It gives me a boost, I love being such a girly girl and then being like yeah I do that! To boys especially and it always intimidates them so it's quite funny”.

Following her racing and behind the scenes action on her Instagram account, it is clear she is a dedicated athlete, investing time into her progression through training, to reach her goal of being the World Champion.  

“The challenges in the gym are as good as the challenges on the bike, to feel the improvements is just a good a feeling.”

Taking some time out to recover after a few crashes on a busy season last year, it feels like even at her young age, Tahnée's maturaity in understanding when the body just sometimes says “hey, you know what? I need a rest right now, time to chill” is apparent, something some of us (ahemmmm…totally not myself included…ok yes me) who when we are older find hard to do. 

“It happened this year, I crashed race after race and my body was just getting worse and worse. I felt myself crumpling over like a little old lady race after race, it gets so emotional.  I honestly, don’t think I had any motivation towards the end which is why my results dropped…I got to a point where I was thinking god it isn’t worth it.  The body is like your most precious thing, you want to be fit and you’ve got to be fit for races…I took a month off, of nothing, (I) didn’t touch my bike, I didn’t see my bike, I didn’t want to talk about my bike.  It literally got to the point where if someone brought up bikes I would have to walk out the room.  If anyone talked about...Rache (Rachel Atherton, the dominant world Champion)…or her win, as much as I admire her…at the time I was so emotionally drained.   So yeah I think for me it's more time.   As soon as I have time to my self, and don’t touch a bike, I start to miss it…I miss the sport, and the competition…”. 

 

Ah yes, Rachel Atherton, the incredible force and dominant multi-world champion. One of the trio of the Atherton Racing family (brothers Dan and Gee), Tahnée’s greatest inspiration, and now, at this point, her biggest compeititon and hurdle to graduating from Junior to World Champion.  An indominable and highly progressive athlete, Rachel Atherton has been crowned Downhill World Champion no less than 4 times and been nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award for Action Sportsperson of the Year.  An athlete of precocious talent, who, now, has Tahnée Seagrave hot on her heels.  She clearly is a huge inspiration to Tahnée, who credits the fact that  

“You're not going to be a winner if you don't know what you want…She has just consistently won everything.  She can win on a bad day, and I think that’s what is so inspiring.  I want to be able to have a bad day and still win”. 

Tahnee on the podium with Rachel Atherton

Tahnee on the podium with Rachel Atherton

Tahnée clearly has a goal set in her sights, and after some time out from the circuit, has taken time to rest, reflect, grow stronger, and ready for action. 

“I want to dominate... I don’t want to just get one win... I want to consistently win”. 

With the talent pool of challengers to the illustrious Rachel Atherton a field that Tahnée has quickly progressed through, Tahnée despite her super-chilled demeanour and friendly attitude obviously is feeling the drive and has competitive motivation in abundance for her next stab at the title.

“I think that’s where my competitivenes comes from. I don't like losing, but more importantly, I don’t like underachieving by what I think I can do. For me its all in my head, its nothing to do with anyone else.”

It’s awesome to hear that when asked about what race in her career has meant the most to her, it is her fundraising work with the brilliant Coppa-Feel Charity that stands out.  Teaming up with the charity during a World Cup event, Tahnée and Coppa Feel created a limited edition bag, kit and helmet that she raced off, later raffling it, and the bike, towards the charity.  Raising £10,000 for the charity was “ really emotional…and that was my best World Cup race to date.  I got my first second place there so it was so hetic and so emotional, and the result wasn’t in my mind at all so to get second on top of all that was amazing.”

With such drive, determination, genuine positivity and raw talent, it’s clear Tahnée has been on an upward trajectory that is reflecting her hard work ethic and love of her sport.  

"I did get a lot of abuse when I was younger, saying I had all the gear and no idea, but I just kept to my gut feeling. I loved the sport, I didn’t care what people thought, and if you love it and have passion for it and are driven there's no reason you cant do it". 

Surpassing any hurdles coming her way, it’s clearly going to be an exciting future for Tahnée Seagrave.

With thanks to Tahnée and Richard King at Iconic Agency

Stay tuned, next up in WHY I, I speak to the incredible Jamie Anderson.  The reigning Olympic Gold Champion in Snowboard slopesyle, a multiple X Games Gold Medalist, Dew Tour winner, World Snowboard Tour champion, the list quite frankly, is endless with the Tahoe-native's accolades over her career.  Perhaps more so is her absolutely infectious positivity and down-to-earth, humble spirit, which exudes stoke and happiness.  Dropping in two weeks, do not miss this!

 

Jamie Anderson at the recent Laax Open Snowboard competition in Switzerland

Jamie Anderson at the recent Laax Open Snowboard competition in Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPERTS CHAT: TRAINING WHILST PREGNANT WITH EARN YOUR ROAST'S EMILY WILLIAMS

All-round wonder-woman Emily Williams isn't just someone I am lucky to call a friend, but an incredibly talented PT based in Brighton, sharing her extremely diverse range of knowledge across a range of sports and fitness.

I was delighted to find out Emily was expecting a baby, and was super keen to chat to her about training whilst pregnant, wondering how it evolves with someone as incredibly active as Emily, and the advice she has for any of you lucky mums to be who are wondering how to continue training whilst pregnant.  Settle down for a read with the inspiring and awesome Emily Williams. 

NB Always be sure to consult your doctor or midwife if pregnant before embarking on a training programme

MY BACKGROUND IN SPORT

I have always been an active person. From a young age I was forever throwing myself into things (quite literally …sorry Mum!) and wanting to try new sports. I competed in as many things as I could as a child and continuing to enjoy sport and competition into my late teens and early 20’s through snowboarding. It was this that really got me into ‘fitness’ as I started to take a real interest in what I was putting in my body and how to train to get the best performance and flexibility in my body. 

AS A PT

My love for sport turned into a love for all things fitness and movement. After working in adverting in central London for 4 years, I lost my way in the world a little as I had no focus on a sport. I found this really hard and it resulted in a troubled few years of feeling very down and out of control. I felt like I’d really lost my identity and without looking after my body and focussing on what made me happy, I spiralled into a mess of really hating my body and mind. I decided enough was enough, I had to get some direction again, and the only thing I knew made me happy was being fit and active. I found my love again and genuinely believe getting a routine of training and setting some realistic goals saved me! 

Becoming a PT was the best thing I have ever done and I have enjoyed every single moment from my PT training to today where I have a long list of clients that are benefiting from my relatable and realistic approach to health and fitness. Its extremely important to me that people get outside, breath some real air, clear their mind from the mess life can create and build a positive and realistic approach to becoming the best person they can be through correct exercise and nutrition.

I believe with all my heart that having a balanced lifestyle in your diet and training can heal so many stresses and mental ills. 

PREGNANCY

Finding out I was pregnant this year was a wonderful surprise! Many of my clients have children and this only brings me closer to understanding their lives and bodies. Going through pregnancy and having a baby with give me a huge insight into the lives of so many women trying to get their post baby bodies in shape and understanding the biology of the female form. I’m so exited to go through this process (although slightly scared at times!) I’m looking forward to seeing how my body reacts and changes over this incredible journey. 

 

IM PREGNANT! DOES THAT MEAN I CANT TRAIN ANYMORE?!

Finding out you are pregnant is NOT the end of the world for your body! You do not have to become a couch potato and forget about all goals and aspirations for the rest of your days! In fact… quite the opposite!

Whether you’re pre-baby body had a rippling six pack or exercise wasn’t even on the agenda for you, exercising during pregnancy is vital for a healthy mind, body and baby.

You just have to make a few adjustments to your usual training program and work towards maintenance rather than the gains! This is a time to feel more empowered than ever before. 

As your baby starts to grow, the rectus abdominals muscles (the six pack) will separate in order to make room for the little sprog.  This separation is called diastasis recti and can take some time to re-connect again after you have given birth. This is why people panic about training core during pregnancy, but DON’T PANIC! Having a strong core is very important for your posture and for giving birth so you can continue to do core work but only on the remaining abdominals, (Transverse, oblique’s, internal oblique’s). If you are unsure about any movements, don’t just guess! 

WHAT CHANGES TRIMESTER BY TRIMESTER OCCUR TO THE BODY? HOW DOES THAT IMPACT TRAINING? 

During the first trimester, so much is happening in your body. There is a tiny human making themselves comfortable and your hormones are having a party. I was quite lucky and felt pretty normal in terms of my energy and body. I WANTED to keep training as per usual and didn’t feel like I needed to really change my routine. However, I started to read a lot and soon realised that although I felt normal, I had to be a little careful and change a couple of things. 

At the second and thirst trimester, your body is growing and growing and this will mean more changes to your routine. It is more important than ever to keep your pelvic floor and core strong for your posture, birth and recovery, but you will start to find movements become more difficult when your tummy starts gets in the way. It is also important not to let your heart rate get too high or your body temperature to increase too much. So hit the intense HIIT’s on the head and opt from some longer cardio based workouts or some slower circuits instead. 

 

WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO BE THE FIRST THING YOU DO WITH YOUR TRAINING REGIME WHEN YOU FIND OUT YOUR PREGNANT?

The first thing you should do when you find out your pregnant is read! There are so many different opinions out there about fitness during pregnancy and its up to you to work out yours! Once you have seen your midwife (around 7 weeks) she will be able to talk to you about exercise and nutrition and what you should do to keep you and your baby healthy.

You may feel unwell, sick or tired so continuing your fitness routine may be completely unrealistic right now, and that’s fine… it wont be like that forever.

Even if you feel 100% normal and able to continue your normal routine, it would be a good idea to leave your workouts knowing you have a little more in the tank. If you’re doing any contact sports such as martial arts, rugby or gymnastics, it would be wise to stop as you have a little human trying to make a nest, and too many harsh movements may make it difficult for him/her!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF STAYING FIT WHILST PREGNANT, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? 

There are countless benefits to staying fit and healthy during pregnancy, just as there are in life without a child! Keeping a healthy heart, body and mind should be taken even more seriously when it isn’t just you to think about. You want a chilled, healthy and happy baby and providing it with the best cocoon means maintaining a healthy body and mind.

ARE YOU FINDING IT HARD TO TRAIN WHILST PREGNANT? 

My training has continued (almost) as normal and I have been able to workout through the whole of my 17 weeks of pregnancy. Many people don’t feel well enough to train through the first trimester but I advise getting out and doing what you can, even if it is just a 30 min walk. There’s a lot changing in your body at this stage such as increased heart rate, increased blood flow and this may cause dizziness or fatigue when working out. Listen to your body if it’s struggling, avoid the urge to ‘push through’. If your body is staying stop, then stop. Drop the gains chase and focus on making your body the best it can be for your baby. I’ve dropped the intensity of each workout down to about 70%, and I train 4-5 times a week rather than 6-7 times. You MUST listen to YOUR body and its limitations. If like me, you enjoy a physical challenge… get ready for the biggest physical challenge of your life and get your body and mind ready for child birth! 

 

HOW DO YOU MANAGE TRAINING IN THE THIRD TRIMESTER WITH A BIG BUMP?

When your baby bump starts to get bigger, working out and movements will become. …different. I wont say hard, (mainly because I’m not there yet) but it will definitely be different and adapting to that will mean different things for different mums. You may have to move slower, take longer breaks and adapt some movements. But you can still get through it! So take your time and do what feels right. Put baby first and know that you can become the fittest you have ever been once the baby is born, but for now… you are your baby’s home and pushing for gains or PB’s isn’t the priority. 

HOW LONG AFTER BIRTH UNTIL I CAN TRAIN AGAIN? 

The recommended time to wait after childbirth is 6-8 weeks. This is for your body to get over the trauma of birth, for you abdominals to contract a little and for any tares (EEK!) to heal. This, like many other things you will hear, is a guideline and you should 100% listen to how you feel. If you are still not well after 6 weeks, do not feel like you must start training. Take things easy and be patient… having a tiny human to look after will soon have you up and active! 

 

Thank you Emily and congratulations!  Stay tuned - I will be dropping more from Emily, workouts you can do whilst pregnant, over the next few weeks!

LINKS: 

Instagram: @earnyourroast

Twitter: @earnyourroast

Website: www.earnyourroast.com 

Email: eanyourroast@gmail.com

Winter's First Turns At The Forsthofalm

After a near two month hiatus from snowboarding through a combination of injuries and travels, come the first goldening of the leaves this autumn I had one thing on my mind: mountain adventures.

With a desire to combine an epic adventure of winter's first few turns on the snow with a nourishing and relaxing break in the wake of a pretty flat out autumn, the wellness hotel Forsthofalm , tucked in the narnia-esque, snow-capped mountains of Saalbach Hinterglemm, was the perfect fusion of wellness-meets-adventure through it's ski-in-ski-out nestled spot.

Laden with all that you need to nourish the mind, body and soul, from it's comprehensive spa facility with outdoor pool, varying saunas, spa treatments utilising locally sourced herbs and ingredients, relaxation rooms with stunning panoramas of the mountains, incredible restaurant using the best of local ingredients and freshly baking bread in front of you in the morning, Forsthofalm's laid-back approach to wellness and wellbeing immediately makes you feel at home and relax into the family-owned spot.

The Hotel Forsthofalm 

The Hotel Forsthofalm 

Checking in to a glass of bubbles by a roaring fire, my co-hort in travel Kazmira and I were guided to the kitchen, meeting head-chef Peter Weiber who talked us through the concept of the award-winning chef's approach to cuisine.  A creative approach with a focus on natural ingredients cooked over wood fire and with explosions of colour on the plate, our 5 course dinners were something to look forward to every evening.  A resplendent wine cellar which owner Marcus is happy to talk through, which includes a selection of red, white, organic and orange wine, allows wine pairing through the meals if so desired.

 

Waking up in our stunning room after a great night sleep, thanks in part perhaps to the "moon wood" that the entire hotel is built from (the wood is only cut down at certain times in the moon's cycle, at dark, as it's energy promotes deep sleep), adventure was on our minds.

A breakfast spread of dreams including a smorgasbord of oats, seeds, fruits, berries, fresh breads, eggs, and raw juices and with, as per dinner, a full vegan menu available, filled us up, energised for a full day of adventure on the mountains.

Saalbach Hinterglemm is one of the largest ski areas in Austria, with over 270 kilometres of slopes and snowpacks, with something on offer from the amateur to the expert.  Kazmira and I had a full day exploring, making our way across most of the areas, taking a quick lap through the snow park and making the most of the near empty pistes to snowboard our hearts out.  

 

The wildness of the terrain, with thick tree patches, wide piste and stunning vistas of the alps was breathtaking, and we took it all in, toasting the day with a local schnapps in Saalbach town and a few rounds of Austrian apres-ski oompah music dance-offs.

With an authentic emphasis on local sourcing and natural ingredients in the restaurant, the construction of the hotel, and the ingredients of the products used in the spa, making our way to the spa we were shown the careful procedure of foraging for herbs, berries and other ingredients sealed in jars to create natural oils and products.  Bespoke treatments on offer are chosen depending on your mood, and after a full day riding, I was in need of some relaxation.  After simmering in the sauna and dipping in the outdoor pool, I had a restorative massage, choosing my own oils and brush texture that is run across the body pre-massage.

Excited to see snow falling as we set off for bed, we were rewarded with fresh turns in the morning, enough of a dusting to kick up some fresh snow to toast an epic few days of adventure and soul nourishing in Saalbach.

Check out my video-recap of my stay at The Forsthofalm and of snowboarding Saalbach Hinterglemm below!

I stayed at The Forsthofalm, which offers a range of packages across yoga, romantic, winter and summer fitness and girls-weekender packages all year round.

 

 

 

 

Shred Ready: Surf Fitness workout at the Chillhouse Canggu!

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Whilst staying at the EPIC surf-yoga/bike-all-round epicentre of radness in Bali, The Chillhouse (stay tuned for a trip report soon), I filmed a special workout from my bespoke Shred Ready: Surf Fitness workout that some of you may have already attended live at my bootcamps, or followed on my blog.

Shred Ready: Surf Fitness is a bespoke workout that improves your stamina and conditioning with highly targeted movements that work to boost your performance and ultimately enjoyment in the water.  

The programme looks at working on developing the specific power, proprioceptive ability, endurance and strength needed for surfing, and you can do it from anywhere, no equipment needed:

-Improving your dynamic surfing focussing on honing power movements including pop ups and cutbacks, even laybacks

-Flexibility - improving your range of movement and mobility and protecting against injury

-Balance - enhancing your ability to stabilise and maintain positions

-Understanding your surfing movements and the muscle groups that drive them- sharpening fast-twitch muscle fibres and muscle memory

-Targeted strengthening exercises and movements to boost power and condition

-Aerobic fitness - conditioning the heart and muscle tone, paddle stronger and tire less

Check out the workout below for a Chillhouse special Shred Ready: Surf Fit workout!

Do 15 reps of each exercise, with a 30 second rest in between, before repeating 2 more times.

-push up with clap

-clock lunges

-opening and closing the book

-forward lunge with twist

-supermans

With thanks to The Chillhouse

WHY I: DOUBLE OLYMPIC CHAMPION DAME KELLY HOLMES

There are certain people you meet in your life who proffer those serious pinch me moments.  As an ardent and voracious little runner when I was a child, and having grown up in Greece, home to the 2004 Olympic Games, Dame Kelly Holmes always stood out to me as someone of incredible inspiration, someone on that lofty pedestal of athletic ability and success, physical and mental prowess.

I am so excited to share Double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes’ WHY I interview on the Mad To Live Blog.  If you’re finding yourself at the beginning of 2017, ruminating on setting out on challenges, physical or other, Kelly’s advice on challenge and goal setting, surpassing obstacles, is truly both motivational and also practical: these are words of advice you can apply to your daily life.  Settle down for a read with the awe-inspiring Dame Kelly Holmes.

Kelly breezes into our hotel where we are meeting for the 5k run a lucky bunch of us are doing with her as part of testing out the new Garmin F35.  You can expect some champions and legends of her level, of which there are few, to have certain airs, graces, or a difficulty with talking to.  Not so with Kelly.  She is incredibly warm, charming, someone you immediately feel that you can talk to and shucks, want to be friends with. She is also still in incredible shape, and as we take on the 5k route around London’s finest, St James’ Park, fresh kit and watches tweaked to our personal preferences and live in action, we pretty much are pinching ourselves at the fact we are out for a run with the illustrious athlete.   

It’s no surprise that in the wake of her highly impressive athletics career in which she won multiple accolades including, of course, her crowning glory of 2 Olympic gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 800 metres and 1500 metres, multiple golds in the Commonwealth Games, records smashed and beaten, and being awarded the honour of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, she has taken on a role where she seeks to inspire the younger generations through initiatives including founding the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, a charity that supports athletes as they transition from sport, and uses their skills and experience to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people through mentoring programmes.

Considering her achievements to date, which aside from the above include being awarded the 2005 Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year and being inducted into the the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, it could be hard to try and quantify what she considers to be the races that meant the most to her.  When asked this, Kelly reflects for a moment before responding “I think the first one was actually breaking the British record…it stood for 12 years by a young girl called Zola Budd … I ended up breaking her record in Sheffield in front of all my family …there’s only a few things like that … that stand out like that”.

Kelly had “always dreamed of being an Olympic champion”.  Having left the junior international circuit to join the army, her time spent at the army near acted as a prepatory boot camp for developing an elite level of strength, fitness and endurance to propel her to the world stage.  She had always been incredibly strong, “for a female I was very strong, I was a physical training instructor and in a male dominated career you have to prove that you’re as good as anyone else you know, there’s no leeway so I got myself very very strong and that was almost the benefit of me coming back into running because I was powerful and at that time I didn’t really care who was in the race who beat me, I was just gung ho go for it.”

After using her holiday time to compete, seeing a former junior athlete Kelly used to race against in the 1992 Olympics on the TV spurred her on to take running more seriously, entering the UK championships and quickly defeating the existing field to become British champion and be catapulted to the world stage, taking the Commonwealth Gold.

In terms of relating to an Olympic champion with regards to goal setting and understanding how they approach targets, it can seem impossible to us mere sporting mortals.  But Kelly has an incredibly pragmatic approach that I can quickly relate to, and absorb as brilliant advice.  

“I think having a goal is really key. Knowing where you’re going is so important because it gives you the driver and the ability to work out how to get there. If you don’t have the end point then you just make rash decisions or give up really easily." 

"So to me, having a goal to be Olympic champion is obviously such a big goal, but you have to break it down and every year there was a championship that I was competing for, so commonwealth games, European champs, world champs…the mountain of the Olympics became less of a mountain by breaking down every year”.  

The beginning of a new year often heralds a plethora of promises in terms of fitness targets.    We’ve all hit the turkey, pigs and blankets and booze hard over the Christmas period (guilt free I might add, family feasting is epic).  It can be daunting, setting a goal like a 10k race if you’re fresh out the gates in terms of fitness and training. Kelly adds that “you can break it right down to people starting out in the gym or starting running for the first time, all they look at is oh my god I have to do 10k, they think about the mileage, they don’t think about the day to day progress and actually how that should be the driver you know."

"If you’ve never done anything before that day you start to do something that’s a massive achievement because yesterday, you were thinking about it. Today you’re doing it.  And then so I think for me its breaking it down, making it attainable and sensible in your life”. 

Athletes are commonly plighted by injury such are the stresses the body is placed under, and with Kelly being injured 7 out of 12 years which was according to her, understandably “demoralising”, her approach towards obstacles is refreshing.  Many of us (myself included in the past, especially with injuries) can tend to focus on the negative outcome.  But what if we focus on the positive that comes out of this?   

“You can go right I got injured, then maybe I need to work on something else so you have to find the positives out of the negatives.”

It was this approach that despite being injured 7 out of 12 years of her career, Kelly was clearly able to surpass the physical obstacles to achieve the levels of success she has as an athlete.  It is interesting to ask Kelly about the differences in opportunities for men Vs women in athletics, often a contentious subject.  She believes “ its evolved a lot.  I think it my sport of athletics we are pretty much on an even par.   I think there is as much opportunities for women as there is for guys, I think it’s really for females to want to do more, and to realise that there are so many sports out there, and activities out there now.  I mean you can do literally anything."

"The Olympics is a great platform to show young people if they are into sport, that you can do anything”.

The Rio Olympics were a resounding success for Team TB athletes, and also for showcasing the diversity of sports on offer.  As Kelly attests, “when you get medallists in trampolining to diving, to rowing to swimming to cycling…there’s something for everyone, and if you take it even lower than that, and go into fitness, look at all the outdoor boot camps, the tough mudders, the running events, the mass participation cycling, there’s so much for you.  This is a brilliant time for people to get involved and get active.”

 

With a huge surge in the mass participation of fitness events of the Tough Mudder persuasions, Kelly is correct in that there has never been more on offer to individuals across sport, the Olympics providing a critical platform for the younger generation to find inspiration.  With regards to female athletes and opportunities, she believes it is up to “women have to take them up and not be afraid to give something a go and challenge themselves, they might not like it so what, you’ve give it a go, it’s better than to think of if only I tried it out”.  Mental strength clearly plays a big role in Kelly’s psyche towards sport, and it is refreshing to see that an Olympic champion can attest to the psychological benefits and virtues of living an active life on the day-to-day.

“Sport should yes be a physical element but it should be a psychological mental element, … that emotional well-being is really important these days, and the mind set to feel more in-tune with you and to feel happy… like you’re doing something for yourself.  I think that’s a really positive way to look at sport and fitness.”.

Along with the rise of a profusion of accessible sport facilities and events currently on offer is the abundance of high-quality kit and tools to enhance sporting experience and assist in the monitoring of progress.  Elite level athletes fine-tune and hone their performances down to every last nitty, gritty detail, especially in terms of kit, which can literally make the difference of winning or losing. 

Kelly advices that “having the right equipment and clothing to start with is really key…it can make a big difference…also down to the tools, we’ve been talking about Garmin today, the Garmin F35 is a really great tool for people starting out… when I started out, there weren’t all these tools, so my coach would just grab me round the neck with his hands and take my pulse with his big old stop watch and then go GO you’ve recovered!... when tools like the watches came out, they’ve allowed people to really progress their running".

"If you start as a beginner, your beginning point has to be your baseline. You have to know where you’re at so what’s your pace, what’s your average pace, what’s your distance that you run and the time you’ve done it In, your heart rate, the calories, because then that…sets you milestones…I think people need to know exactly where they are going,I used to write it down, I had a diary for every single year of my athletics career, because it gave me a point where I could write in how I felt, you know what the time of day was, what the run was, so I could look back, when I was getting injured or not feeling motivated I could look back and be like well actually this time last year I was there or I was worse".

"Having guides of tools to help you, keep yourself motivated is really critical.”

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Kelly’s career now is incredibly active, and has solidified her place in sporting history.  One can wonder how an Olympic champion, who maintains consistent drive and motivation, takes time to switch off.  With her guilty pleasures including a very normal and down to earth combination of “chocolate and x factor or…whatever on the sofa...Chinese or Indian takeaway, that’s it, that’s my guilty pleasure”, it’s good to hear Kelly also takes moments for down time.  And that in the wake of her competitive athletics career, it is her standing as a figurehead of sporting inspiration, across generations, that keeps her progressing and propelling herself forward:

“I want to better myself.  I won 2 gold medals yes, but it I don’t want it to define my life… I hope that I’ve got a healthy life ahead and I think more importantly for me is to inspire people to be the best for themselves that they can.”

With thanks to Dame Kelly Holmes and Garmin.

I have a SIGNED photo by Kelly up for grabs for one of you lucky souls! To win, just share this blog post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at @SophieMadToLive, winner will be chosen at random!

Next up, I speak to prodigal super-talent, fearless downhill mountain bike Junior World Champion Tahnee Seagreave, who is currently tearing up the senior circuit and a regular face on the World Cup podium.  

 

 

DOING IT ANYWAY FEATURE WITH CHARLI COHEN

I was stoked to be a part of an inspirational series of content created by luxe sportswear brand Charli Cohen, WHY I, which looks at the life and passions of the individual, living their life to the full even if things are scary or a big undertaking, Doing It Anyway.

Check out the full edit below, in which my baby, my pet snake Naya makes a cameo!

MAD TO LIVE RETREATS COSTA RICA ANNOUNCED!

Always wanted to learn to surf or progress to the next level? Sun salute as it sets in front of you? Ride horses, scramble & charge up hills with the rising sun, get sweaty & stoked with tailored beach workouts, have the adventure of a lifetime with a group of like-minded souls?

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Fitness instructor & lifestyle expert, Roxy ambassador, free-surfer and adventure-nut Sophie Everard of the Mad To Live blog is collaborating with the Surf Bikini Retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica to bring the ULTIMATE women's fitness, surf and adventure retreat in February 2017.

Start 2017 with a life-changing 10 day adventure in breath-taking Nosara in the Guanacaste region of the lush and wildly beautiful Costa Rica.  The trip is set to be a heart-racing, unforgettable adventure with a focus on physical and mental wellbeing and learning new skills to take home with you.  From touch down get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the culture of “pura vida” and find out why the region is one of only 7 “blue zones” in the world.

Hosted by fitness and sports coach Sophie Everard (CV includes Move Your Frame, The Soho House Group and Another Space), the retreat will be a jam-packed 10 days of surfing with expert tuition, sunset beach yoga sessions, horseback riding and trail running, climbing, nature hikes, mountain biking, jungle-based circuit training, exploring the verdant and unparalleled native flora and fauna and getting up close and personal with some of Costa Rica’s infamous locals including the white-faced monkey.

Throughout the retreat enjoy outdoor fitness classes, including surf specific training, adrenaline-pumping exploration and the opportunity to have one on one training with Sophie.  The onsite chefs will prepare locally-sourced nutritious meals at the stunning villa perching over the jungle, with free gifting from Plenish Cleanse, Roxy, Ombar Chocolates and more.

You will also have the opportunity to kick back and relax, enjoy the restorative and calming setting of the treetop villa with swimming pool, the Costa Rican culture, beaches and beautiful surroundings, and toast a stunning sunset surf with a beach bonfire. Start the new year feeling revitalised, healthy and energized by the experience of a lifetime, recharging your mind and body after the busy and indulgent festive period.

Limited spacing to join this incredible adventure with Mad To Live Retreats is now open!

DATE

18th February – 28th February 2017

INCLUDED

  • Surfing with expert tuition from Surf Bikini's certified female coaches
  • Energising jungle-based circuit sessions
  • Yoga classes
  • Horse riding
  • Exploring the local nature, getting up, close and personal with some of the local residents
  • Climbing
  • Surf fitness focused workouts
  • Nutrition focused meals from the on-site chef: All meals except 3 nights out
  • 1 on 1 PT sessions with Sophie
  • Mountain Biking  

Free gifting from Roxy, Plenish Cleanse, Ombar chocolate and more!

 

 

ACCOMMODATION

Surf Bikini Retreat is comprised of  4 cabinas and a beautiful  Costa Rican “ tipico” Rancho , the facilities were designed utilising the  finest native woods of the Guanacaste region which creates true “Rustico Fino” design”.  The Surfers Rancho as we call it, connects to the pool  where you may want to use the WiFi , have a message or attend a morning yoga class and take in the breath-taking  panoramic  jungle mountain views.  Chances are good you will be waking up to the sound of howler monkeys playing in the trees outside your cabina or hear the unique sounds of the chachalaca.

All cabinas contain a/c private baths , towels, linens, – and  the usual common howler monkey sightings!

  • Air conditioning
  • Bath towels included
  • Wifi available in the house

COST $2600

Not included in the price:

⦁    3 x Dinners out at awesome restaurants
⦁    Alcoholic beverages
⦁    Flights to/from Costa Rica

Please email me sophie@madtoliveblog.com with any questions, or even a chat on +44 7803 628 736

HOW TO BOOK YOUR PLACE

BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW

Please stipulate your booking is for the Mad To Live Retreat!


Thanks and SO excited to hopefully see many of you on the most KICKASS retreat EVER! 

#MadToLiveRetreats

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WHY I: GEORGIE ROGERS

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Georgie Rogers is a prodigious talent in radio broadcasting, presenting and djjing.  With a CV resplendent of a veritable who’s who of top dog employers including BBC 6 Music, Virgin Radio, Apple Beats 1, Coca Cola, XFM, Topshop, Secret Garden Party, and a name synonymous with being a dogged champion of new talent, Georgie's tenacity and passion has cut her apart from the pack from the start.

Radio is a notoriously difficult business to make it in so I was very interested to chat to Georgie about her rise in her industry, an industry some have said is harder to break than making it as a popstar.  If there's a ever a lesson in showing what having earnest passion, drive and a resilient spirit is, it's with Georgie.  Settle down for an awesome WHY I interview with the astounding Georgie Rogers.

 

 

Tell me about where you're from and a little more about yourself.

I'm a radio presenter, music journalist and DJ from London. I grew up in Radlett, Hertfordshire just north of London. I had a great suburban childhood with the benefits of being able to sneak up to Camden for gigs or Fabric nightclub as soon as I hit my teens.  I've been living in London, east mainly for the past 10 years. 

Talk me through your career to date

I've been broadcasting since 2007, well 2004 if you count a slightly rookie but charming Sunday night student radio show on Burn FM in Birmingham. As well as being a music reporter on air on BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 2 and Apple Music's Beats 1, I've presented for Amazing Radio, Diesel, Secret Sessions, Strongroom Alive, Coca Cola, The Selector, Secret Sessions, XFM, Vevo and the newly re-launched Virgin Radio, which is my current home on Sunday nights with a show called Music Discovery.

I'm in the ultimate radio sweet spot curating and hosting three hours of music, mostly new, each week. I've been DJing party tunes along the house and disco spectrum for six years which has resulted in sets at some of my favourite festivals Secret Garden Party, Field Day, Standon Calling and for a bunch of brands like Topshop, Benefit, Hunter and the V&A museum for their Friday Lates series and new exhibition launches. Over the years I've been fortunate enough to interview some all-time heroes, a Beatle and a Zeppelin are two bucket list moments and then there was Ryan Gosling! I get to share my passion for music with other music lovers and call it a career so I feel very lucky.

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How did you break into the radio-presenting and the DJ industry?

After internships at BBC Birmingham, Channel 106 and Virgin Radio I started a placement doing music journalism for XFM. That led to my first paid job doing red carpet interviews, writing articles and putting together music stories for the website. It felt like my calling, I'd done English and Drama at Uni and I loved music, bands and gigs. A break came writing the news for the website at BBC 6 Music after a chance meeting at the NME Awards. I was a full-time music journalist there for three years, learning reporting and broadcasting skills on the job. I've been there ever since, freelancing regularly and occasionally popping up on Radio 2 to do Ken Bruce's Music News. 

Hosting my own shows came when I got the Breakfast Show on national digital new music station Amazing Radio in 2010. That then led onto Strongroom Alive, cover on The Selector by The British Council and later a return to XFM as a DJ at the end of 2012. I had my own show on XFM on Friday mornings,. This year I started on the newly launched Virgin Radio. DJing is something that started as my bit on the side.  Getting people dancing and proving a release for them is a great feeling so once I started I got hooked. 

 

Your achievements are incredible, you've had your own show on Virgin Radio, hosted on BBC 6 MUSIC, a debut show on Amazing Radio, host of numerous festivals...How have you managed this trajectory?

I've just kept working hard towards achieving my dreams. 

I'm a typical Scorpio when it comes to determination so I've tried to keep proving myself, listening to everything, improving, grafting and meeting people in my industry. It's amazing how things come full circle and people I met early on gave me significant breaks years later.

It took some time to find my voice and really feel comfortable putting myself out there transitioning from journalism to running the show but it feels so normal to me now, to be in a studio pressing buttons and nattering away. 

What achievements are you most proud of?

When The Rolling Stones' career retrospective 'Exhibitionism' at the Saatchi Gallery was announced I was asked to present the launch.  I grew up listening to their music so that was a genuine honour. Most recently it would have to be being asked to head up Music Discovery on Virgin, being trusted to curate a credible mix of new music while re-discovering the greats and having the freedom to be creative.

How do you believe the female voice can be better amplified within the male-dominated radio-presenting/music industry?  Is it important to do so?

Someone once said to me an excuse for there being less women on the radio is because some stats revealed that women don't like listening to women on the radio. What a load of BS!

Most of my favourite broadcasters are female. There's certainly more women on air these days and I'm so proud to work at a national station with Edith Bowman in the coveted Breakfast slot. Edith, Kate Lawler, myself and The Mac Twins are on air regularly, there's lots of female producers and broadcast assistants and I can only speak for myself but I feel we are counted and appreciated. At certain stations it can still be a boys club as with much of the music industry. Just last year Pitchfork's Senior Editor Jessica Hopper asked the people of Twitter for experiences in music where you felt you didn't 'count'. She got hundreds of replies, so many of them infuriating examples of sexism. Since I started it's encouraging to be surrounded by more women in radio production, music production, presenting and Djing.

It's so vital to show young girls that it is possible to make it your career. 

Most of my female contemporaries know the value of showing support, sticking together and helping each other out. Being competitive with each other is pointless. Looking back at my playlists now, it's an unconscious thing but I feature so many female artists so I guess I can do my bit that way.  Websites like The Pool are delivering intelligent content for women that not just about lipsticks, but lipsticks AND politics, feminism, fashion, the arts and health. It feels like it's a big talking point at the moment so let's keep talking about it. 

Have you had any role-models that have been critical to your career?

There are too many to write. For inspiration, John Peel, Sir Terry Wogan, Graham Norton, Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs - such a boss. I've always looked up to Claudia Winkleman and Zoe Ball for their warmth and character. Cerys Matthews and Tom Ravenscroft for their diverse music taste, their 6 Music shows are a must. I'm constantly amazed by Shaun Keaveny on BBC 6 Music Breakfast, when I'm working on the show or listening in the mornings. His natural gift, putting the mic up and letting his wit and humour flow. Lauren Laverne is a remarkable woman and broadcaster and I've loved her 6 Music show since it started.

What are your other passions?

Being outside, surfing, snowboarding, sailing, cycling, movies (usually a sob-fest or an action packed thriller), canal walks, coffee with friends, visiting galleries, a good night out dancing.

What led you to take up surfing quite late into your 20s?

Surfing was something I'd dipped in and out of, and as my friends were getting more into it I knew I needed an intensive week to break the back of it, so went to Morocco last March, then Costa Rica at the beginning of this year. Two weeks with incredible coaching at Surf Bikini Retreat in total paradise did wonders for my progression. I got myself a head height wave at the end of that time. I screamed the whole way! Next stop: Bali in January. 

What are your goals within your career for the future?

I'd like to continue doing it for a long time, for it to be my career. I've been filming some backstage videos with Vevo recently which has been so enjoyable so I hope to do more on camera bits next year. The daydream of presenting the Glastonbury BBC telly coverage doesn't seem to ever go away, or Desert Island Discs, but Kirsty's got that down for a good while and I'm in the queue of what... everybody else in music broadcasting!

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

There's that John Lennon quote, "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". This year has taught me to live for the moment and do everything that makes you the happiest, because your world can change so suddenly. 

 

What are your greatest motivations?

My mum, my harshest critic and biggest fan! Holidays...always. Travel. The women in radio running the airwaves, a family and everything else. 

 What inspires you?

Music (obviously!). Adventures. Visiting new places. A book you can't put down. Films that make you feel something on a massive screen. Pink skies over London and anywhere in the world for that matter. A well-made jacket. My 91 year-old Nonnie (grandmother). Times with family and friends telling stories. Eggs and avocados (I make a mean brunch). 

Thank you Georgie and for more on Georgie check her out at:

@georgierogers Twitter & Instagram

Facebook - @GeorgieRogersPresents

www.georgierogers.co.uk

Next time, I speak to the utterly incredible Lauren Cuthbertson, THE Principal Dancer with the Royal London Ballet.  A seminal force in the world of ballet, Devon-born Lauren has fought back from illness and injury to dance in a number of the most epic of productions including leading roles in classical ballets, Juliet, Manon and Anastasia, role creations as the lead in Alice's Advevnture's In Winderland,  Hermioine in The WInters Tale, and currently dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Peter Wright production of the stunning Tchaikovsky-scored The Nutcracker.   An ardent and voracious patron of the National Youth Ballet and London Children’s Ballet, stay tuned for an in-depth interview with the stunning Lauren Cuthbertson.