Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Yoga vs. Pilates

Which do you prefer? 

I have a confession. I don't love yoga. Infact, I only sometimes like it- when I have a great teacher, am practising somewhere really cool or am taking a class with friends. A lot of the time I actively dislike it. I clock watch, I drink water, I take photos (for blogging purposes, not because I'm a creep). I think to myself that I wish I was more flexible, more zen. 

And then I leave class feeling like I should really go to more yoga sessions to become more flexible and more zen, and that I wish I could do the chanting without feeling like an idiot. 

I know loads of people love yoga, and plenty of my friends go regularly, and suggest that we go to classes together, something I'm usually up for doing as it does make the experience more enjoyable. I understand that they get a great stretch, they de-stress, and release tension both in body and mind. I however, often end up feeling more stressed. Stressed out by the fact that I can't do the moves, that my knobbly knees hurt in some of the positions, that I can't get anywhere near to touching my toes, and that I would rather be doing something else. 

Pilates, on the other hand, I get. I'm not good at it, but I enjoy it. I feel like I work up a sweat, using muscle strength as well as flexibility (or lack of) throughout the sequence of moves. It's less spiritual, which for me, is a good thing. 

I love reformer Pilates even more than mat based Pilates, although sadly not the price. The helping hand of the machine to contort my body into various positions is fun, if uncomfortable and a little painful at times. It stretches the muscles I most need stretching- ITB, hamstrings, quads and calfs (why yes, instructor I AM a runner). Not only does it stretch my muscles, but it builds strength and stability in my core and back which I am desperately in need of working. 

I recently sat next to one of the trainers from TenPilates at a wedding and his philosophy was similar to mine; 'I work hard in the studio so that I can reap the rewards outside of it and have fun' (said as he polished off our decadent dessert and poured another glass of wine). Well said. 

It may be a combination of factors, like excellent Pilates teachers compared to many of the yoga teachers I've encountered (don't get me wrong, I've had a few excellent ones) coupled with my impatience and unwillingness to dedicate the time to yoga that it need to see improvements, like I did during my 21 day challenge. I just don't want to. And that's the crux of the problem. When it comes to anything in life, if you don't want to do it, you're far less likely to dedicate the time and energy to doing it. 

I very much believe that if you don't like one fitness class or activity, rather than continuing in misery, you should try something else. You won't love them all, but you should find something you do love that's the right one for you. 

Typically, it seems that my preferred stretchy sessions are also the most expensive out there, so I'll have to take Reformer classes as and when I can, and take up friend's offers to drag me to yoga classes in the meantime.

I know that I'm probably in the minority choosing Pilates, but you can vote for your favourite  here on the Health and Fitness Education website. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Win Team Entry to Helly Hansen's Beauty and the Beast Relay

I've been wanting to take part in a relay race since reading a bunch of blogger's Reach the Beach relay race recaps back in 2012! There have been a few opportunities to take part in ones in the UK this summer, however they've happened to be whilst I was away, running 20 miles or climbing the Three Peaks. I was thrilled when Helly Hansen's team approached me about taking part in their Beauty and the Beast Trail Relay on September 20th.

It might be my final week before the Berlin Marathon, but with a 4.4 mile loop to tackle, (albeit with a few 'Beasts' of inclines on the way round), plus a group of girls that are in it for fun rather than a good time, I'm excited to be taking part, and finally tackling a relay race!

The hardcore race, held at West Wycombe Park in Buckinghamshire is raising funds for Walking with the Wounded. And you and your friends can take part too. I've got a Team of 2 or 3 entry to give away. Grab a group of friends and family and tackle the beast while enjoying the beautiful views and fabulous race day hospitality.

For entry to the competition- Like The Runner Beans on Facebook and leave a comment there. If you don't have Facebook- then leave a comment on the post below.

To find out more about the race visit

Winners will be drawn at random and announced on the blog and on Facebook on the 7th September. I was given complimentary entry to the race, as well as the competition prize. 

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