How to become a better Personal Trainer: From a Client's View

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about personal trainers and what makes a good PT. There are so many articles out there for clients on how to choose a PT. But I want share with you my thoughts on how to better yourself as a PT, from my view as a client.

How to Re-Love Running

You all know I have such a funny relationship with running- one day you've found me running endless races. The next, I'm nowhere near my my run kit. Pretty much after Hamburg, I couldn't bear the thought of running, even though I really wanted to run another marathon. I'm finally in a happy place with running again and I think I've found how to find re-love running.


Catching Pokémon to Running: The Land's End to John O'Groats Fitness Challenge

There's a new fitness challenge you need to know about. Whatever way you want to do it, wherever you are in the world, it's up to you. The aim: to go from Land's End to John O'Groats. Can you do this? Yes, you can!

What To Expect During An OCR

Obstacle course runs have been long on my fitness bucket list. After Hamburg Marathon in April, I realised there's so much more out there for me to achieve. Conquer a marathon and you can achieve whatever you set your eyes on. It's what is motivating me during my current workout program and new round of marathon training. 

Photo by Epic Action Imagery ( <a href=""></a>)

A few weekends ago, I took part in my first obstacle course race: Dirty Dozen. The atmosphere was like no other running event I've taken part in. Think of obstacle course races and it conjures up images of  women with bodies that scream muscle envy and ripped, topless, bearded men. Yes. There were plenty of them. But it was also full of everyday people, everyday athletes. 

Here are a few things I learnt about obstacle course racing and what you should expect when taking part in your first OCR.

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It takes longer than a normal race

OCRs come in varying distances, just like normal races. But, the added layer of obstacles does mean they take longer to complete. By way of example, I ran the 12km Dirty Dozen race; 12km as a normal distance takes me over 1 hour to run. The Dirty Dozen 12km took me just over 1 hour 50 minutes to complete.

OCRs are challenging. Not just because of the layer of obstacles, but also because of the type of the obstacles placed on the course. I have one heck of a fear of heights and a fear of deep water where I can't see and feel the water bed. Guess what? Dirty Dozen's obstacles contained ones that involved deep water and heights.

Conquer your fears

A surge of adrenaline hit me when I ran-walked towards the wall obstacles. Part of me was scared, but part of me wanted to complete the course and all its obstacles. I was absolutely terrified when I swam in the lake, but what got me going was thinking about achieving this. You aren't forced to complete all the obstacles, so if you don't want complete an obstacle, you can skip them. Some OCRs will give you a forfeit, like burpees.

Wear the right clothing

Don't wear cotton during an OCR because the mud and water will soak it up and add extra weight. You'll probably feel like you're dragging extra weight around with you. Loose clothing might get caught in barbed wiring.

Trainers are equally important. Trail trainers are good to wear and ones with support. The Dirty Dozen course was on farmland: the mixed terrain did feel uncomfortable and strange at first, but you get used to it throughout the run. I wore my Asics Gel Fuji-Attack 4 trainers, which generally did provide sturdy support. 

Photo by Epic Action Imagery ( <a href=""></a>)

Elbow and knee padding are very useful

OCRs involve a lot of crawling and climbing. After completing Dirty Dozen, I realised that wearing knee and elbow padding is probably a good idea, especially if you're wearing shorts.

You may come out with lots of bruising, but at the end of the day it's all worth it.

Have you taken  part in an OCR before? What tips would you give to people? Put your tips in the comments below.

Mara xxx

My Fitness Bucket List

What do we want to achieve? What can we achieve when we set our minds on it?

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about challenges and what I would love to do to push myself out of my comfort zone, to question my boundaries and capabilities. My mind has been buzzing with so many ideas, I thought I'd share with you a few challenges I'd put on a fitness bucket list.

My Fitness Goals From Now Until December 2016

It's been a few weeks since my last post, so I thought I'd keep you afloat with my current fitness goals until the end of the year. Weirdly enough, I've planned my fitness goals until July next year, but life happens and I'll probably switch things around in January if I decide they aren't where I want to be. 

25 July 2016- 16 October 2016: 12 weeks fat loss program

See below for what it's all about.

5 September -18 November 2016: Marathon training

Overview of goals: 
  • Complete marathon in 3 hours 35-45 minutes.
  • Maintain doing hill sessions throughout training. Last time, I stopped doing them for no reason. Naughty, naughty. 
  • Include altitude training sessions.
  • Deal with hunger in the weeks after marathon.

November-December 2016/January 2016: Post-marathon training

  • Rebuild strength. Last time, I was taken aback by my loss of strength in the weeks after.

25 July 2016 - 16 october 2016: 12 Weeks Fat Loss Program 

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Why I'm doing it

I decided to embark on a transformation-type challenge to get away from running and incorporate more lifting into my workouts. After marathon training, there was a period where I was doing samey HIIT workouts, becoming demotivated and stuck in a rut. 

My program has been devised by a personal trainer at Gymbox.

  • Reduce my body fat percentage.
  • Work on my back. I've never specifically tackled this before.
  • Work on my hip flexors and glutes. They are weak!
  • Increase my overall strength. I've been successful in this on my own so far, but I want to see how much more I can build up on this with the knowledge of a fitness pro.
  • Improve upper body strength. My legs are a power machine, but my arms and core are weaker in comparison.
  • Increase lifting and working on my form: I find bend over rows particularly difficult in terms of technique for example.
  • Unilateral exercises to work on my imbalances; My right side is stronger than my left side. 
  • Do less HIIT and... more lifting!
Supplements I'm taking*


I'm counting my macros during the program, which my personal trainer has given me. At the time of this post, I am in the second week of the macros she has given me, and third week in the overall program.

At the time of this post, I'm surprisingly finding it hard to hit my carb macros (#thisgirllovescarbs). We're going to see how I am until the end of this week, and if I'm still significantly under them (though feeling full), she's going to change them again. 

Typical training week

Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: Legs and butt day. My favourite day.
Wednesday: Personal trainer session
Thursday: Rest day or upper body
Friday: Whatever I want to do.....probably something Crossfit-esque. I love a good tyre flip. 
Saturday: Personal trainer session
Sunday: Rest day or cardio

What are your current fitness goals and challenges?

Mara xxx

* Not a sponsored post.

Race Day Memories and Creating My Ideal Race Event

Over the past two years, I've taken part in a lot of races varying from the 1 miler (the most intense 6 minutes of my life!) to tackling a marathon. I don’t think of myself as a runner foremost, but rather someone who loves getting high off the adrenaline rush from racing and achieving new PBs. It's the race days that are what I love most about running more than anything.