Festive Fitness Bytes with Hannah Elizabeth

Welcome to another ‘Fitness Bytes’ your fortnightly dose of reality with the shining stars of the health and fitness blogging community. We may make it look easy on our blogs and Instagram feeds, but we’re only human and here’s why…

Who are you & how would you describe your current lifestyle?I am Hannah Elizabeth, a food & portrait photographer and founder of The Green Machine food & fitness blog. I’m a freelancer, which is unpredictable as I could be working from anywhere but exciting as it’s so variable. 

What type of exercise are you currently doing? Obstacle Course Racing, pole dancing, Olympic weightlifting, callisthenics and yoga. They all compliment each other wonderfully and the skills are interchangeable. I competed in the Obstacle Race (OCR) UK Championships in November 2016, which was my first competition in anything. I was focusing on functional training, running and mobility in preparation for that. I got injured at the OCR Champs though, by badly hitting my knee cap, which was just bad luck. After that I had to avoid training my lower body for a while and dedicate time to rest, recovery and rehab.

How many times a week?I exercise between 4 and 10 times a week, depending on work and whether I’m training for an event. If I can, I like to train in the afternoon and the evening. I don’t want to over train, so I wouldn’t do two exhaustive classes or train the same muscle group in one day. I would perhaps do HIIT and contortion, a run and yoga or Olympic Weightlifting and pole. Rest is as important as training, so even if I do exercise twice on some days, I’ll still have days off in between. I didn’t begin by exercising that much when I first got into fitness, I built it up over a few years and of course it’s not necessary for everyone to workout 10 times a week, that’s just what suits me personally, especially when training for an endurance race.

How long have you been doing it?Pole dancing is the sport I’ve been doing for the longest, which is 6 years, before that i didn’t do much exercise but after I found pole, I thrived on the feeling of getting stronger and being active. My first obstacle race was in May 2015 and after that I was hooked on them, so competing in the UK Champs this year was an amazing experience. 

Being honest, have you been consistent?Yes. If you want to see results, you have to be consistent. There’s no quick fix that’ll magically improve your performance, no matter what advertisers say. It has to be through regular and constant hard work, which is why it’s so important that you’re interested in your chosen sport, otherwise you risk losing motivation and don’t see the results you want, which can further demoralise you. Find an exercise you enjoy and even if it’s difficult, it never seems like a chore.

Are you getting the results you want – Yes or No?Yes, but there are always new goals I want to achieve, so the training never stops. Having met friends through exercise helps motivate me as I want to go hang out with the gang, who usually happen to be at the gym. Then we often celebrate beasting a class together by enjoying lunch or dinner as a team. 

How do you feel about your current level of fitness?I’m happy, in that I’m grateful to be healthy but there’s always more that can be done. I’m excited there is so much to be achieved, it keeps it interesting and ensures there’s always something to work towards.

What are you looking to achieve? Why?I want to achieve balance, which to me is having strength, flexibility, skill, mobility and endurance. I like to use my strength for a purpose. For me it’s not about aesthetics, that’s the result, but not the motive. I don’t train to look a certain way, I train so I can do exciting things. It’s incredible what the body can be trained to do… And it’s fun to have a party trick!

When are you looking to reach your goal by?I want to improve on my flexibility so I can do more pole moves and I’d like to do my first 42km obstacle race. That would be a huge personal achievement because 2 years ago, I couldn’t run 1km before being insanely out of breath. It was always just for fun. I’ll be running a lot more in 2017 because I need to improve that side of my fitness. I used to hate running but the more I practised and the more I improved, the more I enjoyed it. Now I run regularly as part of my overall training.

How important is it to you to achieve your goal(s)? Very important. Goals keep you focused and give you something positive to work towards. It’s a great feeling when you’ve accomplished something you may not initially have thought possible. Truth is, everything is impossible until it’s done. For example, I’d been practising a pole move called brass monkey lift at every class for 4 years. I found it impossible, I’d fail every… Single… Time. Until recently, one day I did it, after years of trying, all the training finally clicked into place. All the time I’d dedicated to failing, paid off. 

Finally … What would you say to inspire others?Be open to learning, set manageable goals that you can achieve step by step and keep practising, whatever your objective may be. Be true to your own values and don’t be afraid to change tactics to follow a different path, if needs be. Work as a team, even if you compete as an individual. Surround yourself with those who share a similar vision, passion and goals. Life is short, make it sweet 🙂

I love that Hannah believes in setting manageable goals and being flexible to achieve them, it is such a healthy approach to being healthy as opposed to being too strict with yourself! You can catch up with Hannah over at The Green Machine!

Are you looking to set some new targets for the new year? Let me know below and I’ll catch up with you again soon, until then though x


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