Friday 12 February 2016

Escaping to Dartmouth + a HIIT workout

Last weekend I was in Dartmouth with my best friends from Bristol. It was so nice and chilled and an absolutely perfect weekend.

You know one of those weekends that makes you feel teary on the Sunday night when it's back to reality?

The weather was far from beautiful... (it was so windy we couldn't even go for a walk on the beach, cheers storm imogen) but the wind and rain didn't stop us from having a good time. In fact it made it even more cosy to hear the wind howling outside with a glass of prosecco in hand...

The highlights of the weekend for me were spending all of Saturday afternoon in a spa (with a HIIT session, pool and sauna), cooking up a few recipes from The Body Coach for dinner, and brunch at the cutest French restaurant, Saveurs.

When I was (sob) back at my desk on Monday, I received an epic delivery from Holland & Barrett full of 'heart healthy' products. As February is heart health month, the idea behind the campaign was to showcase the food that can contribute to maintaining a healthy heart, along with a cardiovascular workout for you guys, to get your heart racing.

I was thinking about where to get inspiration from for this particular workout and I decided to share the HIIT session I did with the girls last Saturday.

There are three parts to this workout, and you'll need a treadmill for part B. If you don't have access to a treadmill you can cycle through and do the body weight HIIT three times, rather than twice. I've also included weighted squats, so if you don't have a kettle bell or dumbbell, just do air squats.

This is a longer HIIT workout, and should take around 40 minutes to complete.

The Dartmouth Heart Workout:


Complete each exercise for 30 secs, doing as many reps as possible, with a 20 sec rest in between each set
  • Burpee tuck jumps
  • High knees running on the spot
  • Mountain climbers
  • Squat jumps
  • Upper body get ups (moving planks)
  • Jump lunges
  • Weighted squats
  • Push ups
  • Scissor split planks (plank position, jump your legs in and out in a scissor like motion, keep your bum low!)
  • Leg raises


Treadmill sprints

  • Jog for three minutes
  • 45 seconds sprinting at your max speed (I'm on about 17.5 at the moment)
  • Jump on to the sides of the treadmill (safely, obviously), and rest for 30 secs
  • Repeat until you reach 18 minutes
  • Jog for two minutes


Repeat part A, all over again!

*NB as you all know I'm not a PT, all moves in this workout are moves I personally do - make sure you've warmed up properly before this, some of the moves are quite explosive - I'd do a 5 min jog on the treadmill. 

It's a killer whole body workout; perfect for blowing away the cobwebs for five girls who had spent a day having not left the house, fire on and wine in hand.

What are my favourite 'heart healthy' products from this delivery? 

So, I've been trying out some of the products Holland and Barrett sent me, which included:
  • Rude Health spelt flakes
  • Rude Health puffed brown rice
  • Raw Health Flaxseed crackers 
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Oatwell crispy hearts 
  • 'Seeds for Sunrise' - breakfast mix of dried fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Roasted and salted pistachios (because who doesn't love pistachios)

The crackers are a definite firm favourite. Prior to tasting, my initial thoughts conjured up a dry, tasteless brown slab - but they are gorgeous! A lot of flavour - nutty and garlicky and would be perfect with hummous. Studies have shown that flaxseed has the potential to help reverse cardiovascular disease - these little seeds also contain omega 3, fibre and lignan (which can help the cardiovascular system).

I haven't tried the flaxseed oil yet, but I'm intrigued. I think it could be nice over a walnut and feta salad.. so maybe when the weather is a little warmer.

Another winner has to be the spelt flakes; I've had them before and love how 'light' they are. Spelt can also contribute to a lower risk of heart disease. They go really well with the puffed brown rice cereals (hello adult rice crispies (without all the crap!)) - brown rice is high in selenium which can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

For breakfast over the past couple of days I've been having oats, spelt flakes and puffed brown rice topped with a fruit and nut mix and a bit of honey, with almond milk. It's delicious, and a much healthier alternative to artificial sugar laden granola.

As well as feeling physically invigorated and rested after the weekend, it definitely did my heart and soul the world of good to be out in the countryside having a laugh with some of my nearest and dearest.

If you give the workout a try let me know how you get on!

Holland & Barrett sent me these products for free (cheers!) but naturally all opinions are my own!

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