You keep me hanging on …

FeaturedYou keep me hanging on …

… I hear you cry!

I’m so sorry for the radio silence. Real life got in the way – again! My social media agency – Jenny Hall Social – has really taken off, which of course I’m absolutely delighted about! I have three clients who are amazing and interesting to work with. And I’ve been juggling work with looking after my two littlies while they’ve been off school for the Summer. I also found time to take a lovely two week holiday. (In Albir, Spain. Would thoroughly recommend it if you have children and like somewhere inexpensive, a little quiet, but close enough to the action (Benidorm!) if you fancy it.

But what about the fitness challenge? Did I achieve my #121tofitmum goal?

Well …

My sessions with George ended after 10 weeks, as planned. After that the idea was I continue the working out and healthy eating on my own until I reached the 121 day mark.  But … I didn’t! And so that’s why I haven’t achieved my target body fat % and weight reduction goals.

In a perverse way it’s good news for George. It demonstrates just how valuable a PT can be in helping you maintain your fitness goals!

But all is not lost! The good news is that I’ve had a chat with George, he’s re-motivated me and now  I just need to actually DO it! And I will. Starting not tomorrow, but today.

So no more takeaways, or wine. And later I’ll do one of George’s home workouts. It will be the first one in ages. It’ll be tough, but it will be done. And experience tells me it’ll get easier each time I do one.

I was going to say sorry again for letting you – and myself – down. But I won’t and do you know why? Women in general, whether you’re a mum or not, are always apologising. But I did the best I could and, for a time, I achieved great things. And I will again. And of course I will come back and tell you all about it. It’s likely I’ll need to book more sessions with George  at some point, just to keep on the straight and narrow, and so he’s definitely on speed dial!

PS. I am still more than one stone lighter than when I started and my body fat % means I’m now classed as being ‘overweight’ rather than ‘obese’. And these are definitely steps in the right direction. More importantly I feel great about myself, and I’m enjoying life so much more – and that was also one of my #121tofitmum challenge goals.  So perhaps I am a winner, after all?

PPS. GPFIT is still offering an exclusive Mumsnet Barnet and Mumsnet Enfield 10% discount on your first block booking. Just mention us when you contact.

Good luck everyone & speak again soon!







A Queen is born!


fitness queen blog 4 image gpfit londonAs one Queen turned 90 this week, another Queen was born.

Jenny Hall, Fitness Queen. Ha!

So it was last Thursday that I had my first workout session with George at GPFIT London. It was a blast! Goodbye slummy mummy; hello Fitness Queen of Fit Palace!

Um, actually that’s not quite true. The woman in the picture above is not me (clearly). And George – marvellous though he is – has not managed to transform my body with just one workout!

BUT, I actually FEEL like a Fitness Queen. I really do. And after reflecting on it, I think I know why. I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve finally started on a fitness journey. I’ve only gone and bl**dy done it, haven’t I?

Rewind to last Thursday. I woke up with a few butterflies in my stomach. What would today bring? Would the workout be difficult? Too difficult?

My first #121toFitMum challenge – Greek pastries

I had a meeting prior to the workout which took my mind off things a bit. The meeting was in Aroma Patisserie, a lovely family-run café in the heart of Palmers Green that specialises in Greek sweets, savouries, birthday and wedding cakes. Uh oh! Somehow I managed to resist temptation, and while my lovely social media client, Alison, indulged in both sweet and savoury pastries and creamy coffee, I settled for a very respectable honey and lemon tea! I felt rather smug, actually (sorry Alison)!

aroma patisserie pastries.jpg
Amazing savoury and sweet pastries from family-run Greek cafe, Aroma Patisserie in Palmers Green! I will have to wait 121 days to eat one but my client, Alison, can vouch for their yumminess! (Am I being mean, including this photo in a blog about getting fit??)

Then it was time to rush back to Muswell Hill because I had shopping to do – sports clothes shopping! Not done that in, ooh 20 or so years. I’d found my (slightly too small) cross trainers the night before, and had a t-shirt, but that was it. Thankfully I remembered seeing sporty stuff in my local Tesco Superstore so Alison dropped me off so I could take a look. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute, eh?

Tesco love!

I was rather impressed with what Tesco had to offer actually. I grabbed a pair of grey leggings in size 16, and then these rather funky Space Dye leggings in size 14. No time to try anything on so I thought I’d hedge my bets with the sizing. I also spotted some sports bras – I hadn’t thought about needing one of those – and decided on a grey/neon number that sort of matched the grey leggings.

F&F active space dye leggings 16 pounds
‘Space Dye’ leggings from the Tesco F&F Active range; £16. Note: this is not me. Yet!

healthy tesco food shop blog 4 gpfit londonWhile at Tesco I also purchased some yummy healthy treats to prepare for the weeks ahead. Raw cacao; raw honey; gluten-free oatcakes (George didn’t recommend gluten-free but I thought I’d try them);  goji berries; chia seeds by The Chia Co and much more.

Once home, I showered, moisturised face and body (can’t remember the last time I did the latter), painted fingernails and … plucked my eyebrows. Because that’s key to a good workout, right?

Then I tried on my new garb. I already felt better. So, I was all set for George’s arrival.

A tidy home – essential when you have a personal trainer

Oh no I wasn’t! The house was a total mess. Dirty dishes littered the kitchen surfaces; the kids’ breakfast was still on the kitchen floor; and the bathroom needed a bit of a spruce and some Toilet Duck.

So with 20 minutes until George arrived, I rushed around the house like a mad thing, doing some cheat tidying and cleaning. Ha, an unexpected benefit of a personal trainer – enforced tidying! Brilliant! (By the way, if you ever need to do a cheat tidy, here’s a link to very handy article by the rather fabulous Mums Make Lists, called Faking a Tidy Home. It’s enough to say it was one of the most shared articles on my Mumsnet Barnet Facebook page last year!)

But enough of my domestic goddess ways. You’re wanting to know about the workout, right?

The GPFIT London platinum programme

So, I’m on the GPFIT London platinum programme, which means George will put me through my paces twice a week, for ten weeks. This works out costing only £45 per hourly session, which is less than you’d spend on a good night out drinking and eating to excess!

In between my GPFIT workouts I’ll also need to do a home workout, and perhaps another class or activity on top. I found out my local Sweaty Betty runs free pilates courses at noon on Mondays. I might sign up for that because I’ve been advised pilates is better for people like me with Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos syndrome than, say, yoga classes. (More on this condition and its impact on my workouts in future blog posts).

I was a little concerned my house wouldn’t be large enough to accommodate a fitness workout but it was fine. George brought a few pieces of kit with him – a foam mat, step, resistance band, slam ball and light hand weights. He also brought a TRX suspension trainer, a piece of kit used by top trainers, athletes and the US military. I’d be training like the best!

Here the TRX suspension trainer is fixed to a tree. In my home, George fixed the kit to a door frame without causing any damage! Image courtesy of Note: this is not me! #wishfulthinking

The TRX works by leveraging gravity and the user’s body weight to help develop a solid core, increase muscular endurance and give a full body workout. It can be used by people of all fitness levels and set up anywhere. After warming up by doing five minutes of steps (which nearly finished me off!) and some challenging freestyle leg squats, George introduced me to this cool piece of kit. I felt a bit weird using it at first – doing exercise still didn’t feel like something that someone like me would do. Does anyone reading this understand what I mean? Being put through a fitness workout by a personal trainer still felt like being in a foreign land. And yet, when I really focussed on performing a particular exercise correctly, I soon forgot myself and the self-conscious feeling disappeared.

GP|FIT Personal Training Plans and Pricing: Choose a personal training investment option below that suits your health goals and fitness requirements

George also gave me some mat exercises. Push ups – on knees at this early stage in the programme; lunges and the superbly named ‘superman’! I won’t give you a full account of my workout because everyone requires a customised programme, and after your initial consultation George comes back with a plan that’s perfect for you.

It soon became clear I needed to work on my co-oordination and breathing – I kept getting my left and right confused, and forgot to do the latter! But George has the patience of a saint! We soon worked out I found it easier to follow if I stood next to or behind George, rather than facing him. Another benefit of 121 personal trainer support – the trainer can quickly and easily adapt the workout delivery to suit your exact needs.

All the while George was mindful of the issues I have with my abdomen. (If you’ve read previous blog posts you’ll know I’m concerned I may have Rectus Abdominus Diastasis (RAD). Just an update on that: my GP has referred me to a physiotherapist, although I have to wait until May so might consult a private physio in the meantime. If you have a personal recommendation please feel free to leave me a message below).

The verdict?

My workout lasted about one hour – if you don’t count my talking. Apparently I talk too much? Who knew? Despite finding the warm up difficult because I just wasn’t used to getting so out of breath, I was so pleased I persevered with it and all that followed. Even when I felt like my legs were going to give way, George’s firm but well-intentioned encouragement kept me going.

And wow, the feeling of achievement at the end was fantastic! My skin felt tighter, my hips and waist already felt slimmer. Also I drank LOADS of water for the rest of the day, something I’m usually really rubbish at doing.

In short, I felt bl**dy brilliant. And so very proud of myself.

And George said he was impressed with me, too. On the phone and during our consultation I’d described someone that could barely move from couch to fridge. But apparently I’m not as weak or unfit as I thought. So George is going to push things a bit more next Tuesday. Great – I think!

And what about the home workout?

Over the weekend I tried doing the home workout. I worked hard and could feel the impact, but it certainly wasn’t the same as having George by my side, urging me on. George’s easy-to-understand sheet (which included pictures) recommended three-four circuits. I managed two. That said, I kept putting things off and didn’t workout until 11pm so was very tired!  With a bit of forward planning I think I can get the home workout side of things sorted. I’m yet to book a group class but that’s on the to do list for next week!

Don’t forget your post-workout protein!

George reminded me that after each workout I should consume lots of protein. After a shower it was almost time for school pick up, so I made myself a quick smoothie to get the necessary hit. I already had some raw cacoa powder (which I mix with standard drinking chocolate powder to give my fussy eater some much needed vitamins and minerals) and looked to Nutribullet UK for some inspiration. I just adapted the recipes based on what I had stashed in my cupboard: chia seeds, unsweetened almond milk, rasperries, banana and a small handful of kale leaves.  It tasted amazing, and with every sip I felt more and more healthy!

A fitness workout gives a great, natural high!

I almost floated to school, I was on such a high. My entire body felt tired but in a good way, and my dodgy knee already felt less tight.  It was a lovely, sunny day and I decided to take the girls to the park straight after school, where we all did a few cheeky stretches and jumping jacks to continue the fitness! Even the kids were really getting into this! On the way home I bought some sunny yellow daffodils to match my mood.


Will you join me?

If you’ve not yet started your fitness journey but want to do so, I hope I’ve inspired you to bite the bullet. Go on, just do it! You’ll feel so fantastic for just starting. And just think, if you start now you’ll be beach-ready for Summer!  As an added incentive, I’m offering you a 10% discount on your first GPFIT London block booking – just quote Mumsnet Barnet or Mumsnet Enfield.

PS. Next Monday I’ll take you through my two workouts this week. I’ll also give you my downloadable ‘Protein Power’ feature packed full of ideas to ensure you consume enough protein post-workout. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years so there will be lots of plant-based ideas. Plus there’ll be more health, fitness home and style tips over the coming months, too.

PPS. OK, OK, I promised to share my Week 1 body pictures, didn’t I? I feel horrible just looking at them. Even the chin is embarrassing!

But then George said to dig out a photo of how I used to look, and to use this to motivate me, so here is that one.

jenny zanzibarMuch better! I was 36 here, and it was pre-children. But George thinks I can get pretty close to it, so let’s do this!

Until next Monday!

Jenny x

PS. To read the previous #121toFitMum blog post click here.




Win a prize from the #BestBarnetBasket – a signed copy of the new ChrisKitch cookbook, Big Flavours from a Small Kitchen!

Mumsnet Barnet is thrilled to launch the first in our series of eight weekly #BestBarnetSummer competitions to win something from our #BestBarnetBasket!

#BestBarnetSummer is the Mumsnet Barnet facebook and twitter campaign to ensure that the Barnet community has the Best Barnet Summer – ever! Over the next eight weeks we’ll be sharing content to help you find things to do and places to go, in Barnet and beyond, so your kids remain entertained and you remain sane! As we approach September, our campaign will also share loads of brilliant #BacktoSchool tips. (And of course you can continue to find all the What’s on and Things to do listings on our website as usual!)

The prize up for grabs from the #BestBarnetBasket this week is a signed copy of ChrisKitch‘s new cookbook, Big Flavours from a Small Kitchen.

chriskitch #winfromthebestbarnetbasket

You can enter our competition twice:

1. By visiting our facebook page here
To enter, simply Like the competition post pinned to the top of the page, or any Mumsnet Barnet facebook post mentioning the ChrisKitch competition. Be sure to share details of the competition with all your friends and family and also Like our facebook page to find out if you’ve won!

and by

2. By finding us on twitter here
To enter, simply RT (retweet) any one of the comp tweets mentioning ChrisKitch and the hashtag #BestBarnetBasket.
Be sure to Follow us on twitter to receive great content and find out if you’ve won!

Closing date for entries is midnight, Saturday 8 August. One winner will be chosen at random and announced on facebook and twitter on Monday 13 August at 9am.

The next #BestBarnetBasket competition will be launched at 12 noon on Monday 13 August!



Read the full terms and conditions on the Mumsnet Barnet website here