Tis the Season to Make Resolutions, innit?

It’s this time again: New Year, New Me! The list is out. The lines 1-10 duly filled. Lovely jubbly. THIS time I will actually DO them. All those things. Get fitter. Be healthier. No alcohol. Don’t use the credit card.

Yes, I know I start a new year the same way every year. But 2016 will be different! Or will it?


Are you the kind of person that does do a list? Even if only a mental one? Don’t get me wrong: lists are great. Goals are great. Without goals you can’t get anywhere. They give you directions. How can you reach your destination if you have no directions? But setting goals can be tricky.

For any goal to work, it has to be SMART.

S is for SPECIFIC. “I want to be fitter and healthier”. GREAT! Now what does it actually mean?

Tip: test your fitness level, measure your body fat %, blood pressure, weight, waist whatever it is that you think you should improve. Then you can set yourself a target. But you need a starting point.

M is for MEASURABLE. No, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with weight… How many push ups can you do in a minute? Or if you are really starting your fitness journey set yourself a goal of doing a series of 15 proper push ups. Do you know your FTW/FTP number – we are talking about indoor cycling?

Tip: If you have a PT ask them to give you a bleep test. Or go on a treadmill and see how fast you can run 5km. Make notes of these numbers and then retest every 6-8 weeks. (FTP test should be done much less frequently – even every 3 months).

Numbers are important but don’t get fixated on them and start measuring your waist and weight etc every week. Pay more attention to what changes you introduce to your lifestyle, including what you eat, so you can work out what brings results.

A is for ACHIEVABLE. Jan 1st “I will not use my credit card!” Jan 2nd – SALES! “Oh, Ok, after the sales. Jan 10th – Oh what’s the point. I am over the limit already. I will do that next year.” Don’t set yourself up for a failure. January sales are great for bargains especially gym gear and cycling shoes, even bikes.

Tip: be SMART with your spending. Shop around, buy stuff that will help you achieve all the other things on your list. If you plan to really get into the spin classes, buying cycling shoes is the best thing you can do. It’s an investment that will pay off in abundance. It also serves as an additional motivation: “Bloody hell I spent £60 on these babies I may as well go to take the class…”

Tip: If your initial test showed that you can only do 2 proper push ups before your form goes down south, don’t set your target at 100 push ups in 4 weeks, OK?

elephant in sand[1]

That ties up nicely with R for REALISTIC. Don’t aim for 15% body fat. Just don’t. Women athletes are between 14-20%.

Tip: Get some advice from your PT, GP even reliable sources from uncle Google but not the likes of Kim Kardashian etc.

If you like a glass of wine don’t say NO ALCOHOL with immediate effect. Unless you are going for a personal challenge or a charity thing. If you have a sweet tooth suddenly cutting out all sugar may feel like mission impossible and cause you so much stress you will fall off the wagon by day 4. Not to mention you becoming impossible to be around…

Disclaimer: if you are the type of person who CAN do cold turkey quitting anything, then please do. But if you are known to fail over and over – change the strategy. Be SMART. Get some data and then get the numbers down 🙂

Finally T for TIME BOUND. If you are on a mission regarding your fitness, your goals must have time limits. It’s good to have a long term goal: 6 months or 1 year down the line but it’s important to break it down into smaller chunks.

Tip: Testing in a gym environment is great but things happen, excuses make appearances… That’s why signing up for events is fantastic to keep you going: 5k run, 10k run, half a marathon and a marathon. And if you do it for charity it makes you even more accountable.

Sign up with the local cycling club. Tough mudder? Gym challenge? We are halfway through Izabela’s 50 Class Cycle SMART Challenge – you can still join us. We have two more months to go 🙂

One of my favourite songs of 2015 was Changing by Sigma. There is a line there: “I don’t understand playing by the same hand how you find something new”. So in 2016, instead of a new list get a new approach.

Happy New Year 2016

What a year it has been!

As an indoor cycling instructor I have come so far with 11 permanent classes a week. Sometimes I miss doing mainly covers as it made things a bit edgy 🙂 and exciting never knowing where and who you were going to teach. But then I love building rapport with my riders so having regulars is great.

I started teaching on Matrix IC7 bikes which was a challenge in itself as I had to educate myself on training and teaching with power (previous post). I still have a long way to go to get where I want but I am on the way. From this month at Fitness First Clapham Junction we are rebranding one of my regular slots as PowerCycle. It will be a bit more educational and training orientated than a usual class. I am really looking forward to it.

I have done the mind blowing cycling trip to Costa Rica (here) and completed my first Gran Fondo in Cambridgeshire that you can read about here. This year I have signed up for the Etape in Scotland (Lord have mercy!) – you can check it out here. Then repeat of the Gran Fondo in June.

Last but not least I started this BLOG! I was toying with the idea for a long time and finally took the plunge and it has been great! Thank you to all my lovely readers and followers for your lovely comments. Keep reading it 🙂

But the main challenge of 2016 will be the sports massage course that starts at the end of March. Back to books for me! What this means for you my class participants and friends, is that you may be the lucky ones to be my case study subjects and get some sports massage for free! 🙂

I have a couple of other ideas that I won’t mention yet until they are more solid but watch this space. Definitely my website is coming up very soon.

So thank you for reading. And thank you to fellow instructors – both the ones I have met in real life and through online groups and Twitter. The social media has been instrumental in me evolving as an instructor. Thank you Tom Lahoud, Jennifer Sage, Lean Lena, Neil Troutman, Richard Collier, Sandro Morelli, Barry Ross and all other people from the FB forums. Most of the people mentioned above have blogs that I follow so check them out.

Here is to a great 2016!

Ride on!