Balance is key

Have you ever been on a weekend bender and ate total junk during and after to cure that dreaded hangover, and then wondered why you developed a streaming cold immediately after?

The answer is simple: you’re not feeding your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly and recover. While McDonald’s and KFC may taste finger-lickin’ good at the time, they are lacking in micronutrients (found in vitamins and minerals) and therefore leave the body feeling hungry and deprived.

So although your weekly cheat night takeaway might leave you feeling full and satisfied because it’s calorie-dense and full of carbs, all the nutrients needed for body functionality have been refined out of the food.

If the thought of chucking away the chips and diving into a salad sounds daunting, there's no need to worry. Here's the simple way to achieve a balanced diet—all without compromising on delicious flavours.

balanced meal blog 1.png

The importance of good nutrition

Alongside sleep and exercise, getting sufficient nutrition is one of the fundamental pillars of good health.

A well-rounded, balanced diet includes all seven food groups; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water (yes, water is just as important as the others!). If your body is deficient in any of these food groups, it simply won’t function as well as it could—becoming more prone to all sorts of undesirables such as fatigue, disease, infection, cold and flu, etc. A balanced diet is essential for good health, and some scientists argue that it can prevent diseases like cancer altogether.

Our body takes energy from all these different food groups, breaks them down and uses them to function in lots of different ways.

In a nutshell:

  • Carbohydrates give us energy.

  • Proteins help build and repair tissue.

  • Fats give your body energy and support cell growth.

  • Vitamins and minerals are essential for so many different functions of the body and help protect the immune system.

  • Fibres help with digestion.

  • Water keeps us hydrated.

So with that said, it’s probably no surprise that if we don’t have one or more of these in our diet on a regular basis, our bodies will lack the energy to properly function.


Getting a balanced meal

If you want to improve your diet, the good news is that you don't necessarily have to give up your favourite foods. As with anything, moderation is key, and it's important to ensure you give your body the nutrients it needs and deserves.

The easiest way to achieve a balanced meal is to have a meal consisting of:

  • ¼ protein foods

  • ¼ carbohydrates

  • ½ vegetables

By following this simple guideline, you’ll ensure that the old saying “let food be thy medicine” rings true for you—regardless of any allergies or dietary restrictions that you might have.


Meat eaters

Instead of having meat as the centrepiece of your dish, think of all the elements of your meal as being of equal importance. Chicken, turkey, and fish are generally easy to digest foods (white meat). Shredded meat (pulled pork/chicken), poaching and baking are a few ways to cook the meat to ensure it can be easily digested. Frying and grilling on the other hand can often make the meat harder and therefore harder to digest. A top tip would be to make sure you chew your meat thoroughly before swallowing to allow your body to break the nutrients down quicker and easier.

Vegetarians & vegans

Vegetarians and vegans can easily find nutrients from a range of non-meat and dairy-free sources of protein to ensure maintaining a balanced diet. A great way to have a protein-packed plate of veggie goodness is to include beans and pulses in your meal. A useful tip is to use as many colours of the rainbow as possible in your meal—not only do they look nice, but different coloured foods contain different phytonutrients, which are vital for human health.

Gluten-free

If you are gluten intolerant, it’s still possible to maintain a balanced diet. Brown rice, gluten-free multi-seed breads and many pulses are all suitable for coeliacs. Most supermarkets now have a whole section dedicated to gluten-free eaters and other dietary requirements, meaning it’s easier than ever to make balanced meals with limited ingredients.

If you want more inspiration for your meals—breakfast, lunch or dinner—check out my recipes!


Food for thought

Of course, diet is a very personal thing that takes some trial and error to work out. However, if you stick to your five-a-day—and then some—you won’t go far wrong.

With this all being said, it doesn’t mean you have to become an obsessive killjoy. We’re only human, after all; so it’s totally fine to devour a plate of naughtiness from time to time, no questions asked. However, having better knowledge and understanding exactly what we get out of the foods that we put into our bodies can be extremely beneficial to our long-term health.

As the old adage says, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

Happy eating!

10 ways to turn your home into your gym without spending a penny

Want to work out but hate the hustle and bustle of the gym, or you simply can’t afford a membership? Don’t worry if the gym just isn’t your thing, because there’s a cheap and easy workout option that’s hiding in plain sight: your home!

There’s no need to buy expensive equipment - all you need is some floor space and a little enthusiasm. Here are some life hacks to help you work out at home - free of charge and all in your own time.

Give these a go, and try to aim for a whole body workout. Why not try two or three sets of 12 to 15 reps for each exercise - making sure to drink lots of water as you go along!

1. Pull up a chair

Grab a sturdy chair to perform press-ups, tricep dips or step ups. If you want to add resistance and weight, carry a backpack full of books or anything else you have lying around.

 
Tricep dip

Tricep dip

Press up

Press up


2. Tie up loose ends

Use a pair of old tights and tie them in a knot at the toes. This will act as a makeshift resistance band that you can use either for stretching (an example exercise would be a lying hamstring stretch) or for placing around your thighs to perform squat exercises that will engage the glutes.



3. Knowledge is power

Use a book or DVD instead of a block in between the thighs and squeeze to engage in your plank, chair pose or bridge. This will increase strength in the inner thighs and deep in the abdominal muscles. Maintain a strong core throughout keeping your back nice and straight and think about drawing your lower abs in.


4. Bottle it up

If you don’t have any weights at home, use water bottles filled with water or sand instead. This will do the same job as standard weights for bicep curls, shoulder presses and any other muscle-building exercises!


5. Let things slide

For this home workout, use towels or oven gloves on your hands to challenge your core by sliding your hands out in front of you (similarly to how you'd use an ab wheel).

Alternatively, slide your hands out to the side and bring your hands wider than your shoulders, either one at a time or both at the same time (whichever you’re comfortable with).



Plank (sliding hands forwards)

Plank (sliding hands forwards)

 

6. Up your plank game

You can use the towels or oven gloves in a similar way by placing them on your feet to challenge your plank.

Try planking on your hands by placing the towels underneath each foot and sliding one foot out to the side one at a time. Try to really engage through the core and keep your hips still. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders.


7. Ab fab

Another way to challenge your plank is to start in high plank and, keeping your legs straight, slide your feet inwards towards a pike position. You can also draw your knees in towards your chest in an alternating ‘mountain climber’ motion. These exercises will really fire up the lower abs!

 
Plank (sliding legs in, pike position)

Plank (sliding legs in, pike position)

Plank (mountain climbers)

Plank (mountain climbers)

8. Increase your load

Use a heavy backpack full of books or, even better, get your kids to help you out: get playful with them on your back and perform squats or lunges to activate your quads, hamstrings and glutes. Make sure your back is nice and straight, keep your knees knees out and in line with your toes and don’t forget to breathe!

 
Side lunge with bag for extra weight

Side lunge with bag for extra weight

Squat with bag for extra weight

Squat with bag for extra weight

9. Upstairs, downstairs

Run up and down the stairs to get your heart racing. If you’re comfortable doing this, try running up and down for 20 seconds as fast as you can and then recover by walking for 1 minute. Try this intermittently for 10 to 15 minutes. 


10. Carry that weight

Just done your shopping? Grab a heavy carrier bag or two full of shopping in each hand and walk around your house, flat, garden or wherever you are as if you’re doing a farmer’s carry. Remember to take short, quick steps and keep your back nice and straight. Again, don't forget to breathe!


Stay in your comfort zone

I hope these simple yet effective home exercises will inspire you to get moving this week.

However, while being fit and healthy is important, you don’t want to overdo it. If you have a medical condition, speak to your GP before attempting any vigorous exercise at home. As Jim Rohn once said,

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.”

Happy training!






 

London Marathon 2018

How not to train for the London marathon... 

The London marathon has been something i always wanted to do, i remember watching it as a kid with my parents and talking about it with my fellow running friends down at the track every Tuesday and Thursday. Knowing i'd run it one day, and when the time came i'd be fully prepared and ready...  

Earlier this year George and I travelled around India, the Philippines and Malaysia for two months. Totally letting go of daily routine, eating curry three times a day and doing little to no exercise, bar walking and carrying a huge backpack. So you can understand my excitement mixed with actual fear when a friend of mine managed to bag me a place for the marathon in April. With little over 2 months to train, get my diet back on track and feel prepared i obviously took on the challenge. 

All was going well, i started my training off nicely with small runs and progressed to longer runs weekly, i was actually starting to enjoy running and the time to think and just be alone. I was following a 2 month training guide i found online until... 

Those 14 plane journeys, nights of air con and going from hot to freezing cold temperatures really did me over big time and i got a terrible fever which resulted in tonsillitis. Great, so i'm just over a month away from running the marathon and i'm bed bound for 2 weeks, can hardly walk around my flat, so the thought of running 26.2 miles actually sounds like a bad dream and something totally unachievable. 

There was absolutely no way i was not going to run, i can be slightly strong willed at times!

So after my 2 weeks in bed, i have 3 weeks left before the big run. I quickly bounce back from my illness and get back on track... totally not on track but somewhere on my way. I started small and built my runs up, almost starting again with my training. Building my strength and endurance. The longest run i did before the marathon was 15 miles, so i only had to add almost another 10... easy right? 

The big day arrives, i'm ready, i'm feeling fit, i'm nervous as hell but pumped with adrenaline and got a smile on my face like a cheshire cat. My family have come down to support me, i have a crowd of friends dotted around the course, Georges family are all out supporting me throughout the City. I probably have the biggest fan club out there and i feel such a huge rush of emotion as i stand at the start line buzzing with pride. I'm here, i made it this far i just have to get through the next few hours, i tell myself self confidently. 

Here we go, i bounce about like i'm Usain Bolt about to run the 100 metre sprint in the olympics.

"Have you ever ran a marathon before" a fellow runner asks looking shocked by my enthusiasm. 

"No! But i'm so excited!" I say with huge confidence and ease. 

A few runners laugh and look at each other with worried expressions, now i know why... 

Mile 6- I have 20.2 more miles to run.

Mile 12- I see my family and friends and cry like a baby, i'm feeling good and pretty sure i'm going to be able to do this. 

Mile 17- Feel like utter dog shit and can't breathe from the heat, why the hell is it so HOT!

Mile 18- I'm going to faint... ok i'm fainting. Very subtle and elegant but nonetheless i find myself in a bundle on the floor being splashed in the face with water by the spectators and being fed jelly babies like i'm a child at a birthday party. Every bone in my body telling me to stop, every muscle and joint screaming and my head absolutely refusing to believe i can make it over the finish line. A fellow runner stops and waits while i come around and realise what the hell i'm doing. She grabs my hand and just like that i'm back up on my feet, running hand in hand with a complete stranger who's stopped her run to come and help me finish mine. The power of humanity. 

Mile 22- This is the hardest thing i've ever done. My legs feel like lead and i think i'm actually running slower than if i was walking, but when i walk for a step or two it hurts more. 

Mile 26.2- Nobody can prepare you for how you feel after you've ran a marathon. The emotions you feel before, during and after are like nothing i've ever experienced before. I felt an overwhelming sensation of love. Love for the woman that helped me finish the run and crossed the line holding my hand. Love for my friends and family for being so supportive and amazing in anything i set out to achieve and so much love for all the hundreds of thousands of spectators all over London screaming and shouting all day, keeping you going round every turn. 

My advise to anyone wanting to run a marathon or taking part in anything that's a big strain on the body is to train consistently and leave plenty of time to prepare, not only physically but mentally. Visualise yourself running, how you're going to feel and what you're going to tell yourself when your body gives up. Running the marathon is no joke, as we saw this year with the death of the talented Matt Campbell a fit, young man used to running long distances. I will run another marathon, in fact i've signed up to run next years. Hopefully the lead up to the next one whenever that may be i'll be in good health and prepared for what's to come. 

But for now i can say i completed my very first marathon, the hottest on record in fact, in 4 hours 49 minutes. No record by all means but something i'll be proud of forever. 

Big shout out to my real life hero Gemma Poole, i couldn't have done it without you girl and i'll be forever grateful for your unconditional kindness. 

Wearing our medals with pride.  

Wearing our medals with pride.  

Gemma getting me through those last miles.                                MY HERO!

Gemma getting me through those last miles.                                MY HERO!

C L E A N S E

So... Here i am a year later. I'm so rubbish at blog posts! 

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Don't get me wrong i love a party, always have, always will! All your mates together having a laugh, a drink or five and dancing into the early hours, fab. The hangovers however, are not so desirable. Lazy Sundays wasted lying like a beige couch potato, eating beige food and feeling... well, beige about the dreaded Monday that is going to be inevitably painful. Why? Why... do we do this to ourselves? I spend Monday to Friday living a super healthy active lifestyle and then on the weekend i drink loads of alcohol and eat my body weight in carbs. 

So here goes- I'm detoxing! 3 weeks sober today, and i plan to go for it until Christmas. I want my insides to feel clean and pure and i want my Sundays to be colourful, and Mondays to be fabulous! I've never actually done a proper detox, only for maybe a weekend or two. What's scary is that if i think about it since the age of "cough" 18 of course... i have drank. If google is correct binge drinking is "the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time." Surely were all guilty then? Most weekends? Without sounding like an absolute alcoholic (i don't actually have a problem) basically for a decade i have been binge drinking most weekends, along with most of the population of 18-30 year olds, ouch! Not to mention the money spent on partying-that's a lot of booze, a lot of beige Sundays and a whole lotta hangovers. 

Here's to having a larfff without the booze and doing something because I want to do it. Not for anyone else or for a pat on the back, but purely to test my own self control, commitment and will-power. They say- healthy mind, healthy body. Let's see if being sober really does have a big effect on how i feel inside. 

Cheers! 

 

 

My guide to surviving Winter

Apologies for being a stranger, this blog post is way overdue! How is it nearly the end of October already? From boat trips and volcano hiking to scuba diving and Paris City breaks my Summer has been an unforgettable one to say the least. I was away for 2 months travelling around Thailand and Indonesia with George, and met up with a few different friends along the way, i absolutely love travelling and get such a kick out of being away and emersing myself in culture, food and people that surprise me. We saw some absolutely beautiful places, and i will definitely be returning to that part of the World (just another one to add to my list) My trip was the perfect combination of culture and chill... and boy did we chill. Many a day spent lying by a beautiful pool, doing absolutely diddly squat. That's what holidays are for right? I actually surprised myself with how chilled out i felt, and how happy i was doing absolutely nothing. It's such a rare feeling, and when you feel like you have no to-do list or no emails or invoices to send or no clients to squeeze in to that free hour in the day you have, and the list goes on.. you can finally put your feet up and say to yourself, i deserve this. 

George enjoying the view in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia. 

George enjoying the view in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia. 

In a previous blog post of mine I talk about how it's important to switch off from the real World and find time to relax in some way. Work is so important... obviously, we all have to pay the bills. But in todays society i see so many people rushing around and not actually stopping to appreciate what they have right infront of them. We are so eager to strive for the best and want everything, but does this leave any time for relaxation, enyjoyment, spending time with people that love you?... probably not much. Which is why i'm going to say it again, yes work hard, pay your bills on time and cram the work in while your young and able, but also chill the fuck out.

So now the Winter coats are out, the tan has completely faded and i'm back to the grind after a nice long break (got to earn some pennies for the next trip) i do it with a smile on my face after feeling totally relaxed, spoilt and full of love for the World. Feeling motivated as ever after my body has had a very welcomed break and so eager to build my business. I know i personally feel less motivated in the Winter months, mostly because of the weather, so i'm using that as a basis that most other people may feel the same, so we are not alone. Let's do this and make the lead upto Christmas a good one, so we don't feel like absolute Christmas puddings come boxing day. 

So with all this said here is my guide to surviving Winter..

First and foremost, KEEP WARM. Invest in a new Winter coat, get your one out from last year, borrow your grandma's or grab one from a charity shop. I recently purchased a really nice Winter coat for only £26 so it is still possible to keep warm on a budget. Keeping warm will prevent the dreaded winter cold and flu and also it is said to keep depression at bay.

My second tip is sproose up your happy place. George and i have shown our flat a little bit of love and purchased some new furniture, most of which is either second hand (gotta love Gumtree) or from IKEA. We managed to give it a full make-over for under around £200. Which between two people is hardly breaking the balance. This has made it so much more homely and cosey, making it an even nicer place to come home to as the weather drops even more. If you have a lovely cosey happy home to snuggle up in, there is less urge to go out and spend money.

Our new happy place :)

Our new happy place :)

My third tip is kind of against what i said about staying in, and it is to go out to an all you can eat and drink lunch! I am absolutely loving these at the moment. I was first introduced a few months ago, and it was great! I went to the Botanist in Liverpool street with some friends, and it was amazing food and such a good deal. I recently went to PIX in Covent Garden with my mum, again an all you can eat and drink lunch and it was only £33 the food was delicious and we managed to drink our way through a bottle and a half of Cava. Another great find is Oregano Stef's italian in Angel. The staff are amazing, the pizza is unreal and they will make sure your glass is full! I don't go out for lunch/dinner or breakfast much purely because i don't have the cash, but i personally think this is the perfect treat and such great value, especially as the weather is dropping so quickly, going out in the daytime seems so much more appealing than hitting the streets late at night.

So keep warm, make your home a happy one and treat yourself every now and again, or better yet get someone else to treat you, because you're totally worth it. Don't feel guilty for having time off and enjoying a rest but make sure motivation isn't lost and get back on it once you feel ready and rearing to go. If you need help with motivation please don't hesitate to get in touch. I offer personal one on one, group and online coaching and if motivation is something you struggle with and you need a kick up the bum from time to time, then i'm your girl. 

Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live in... 

CKS BOOTCAMPS

My journey...

Ever since i started my personal training course i wanted to run my own bootcamp, something i could build upon and watch grow. So Katie (one of my good friends who is also a personal trainer) and I decided to take on the challenge. We started planning back in 2015, with big ambitions, conjuring great ideas up over the Christmas holidays. It was after Christmas where things started coming together, and our bootcamp dreams became reality. 

This meant putting some hard work in, not just into planning and getting everything prepared in time but physically and mentally feeling ready to deliver and produce something clients will love, benefit from and want to do again. Training hard together has always been something Katie and i have enjoyed. Having a training buddie is so much fun, they help to motivate you on the days you can't be bothered and sharing ideas and training techniques gives you a confidence boost you can't get from training alone. So this was the easy part, the hard part was all the admin that comes with setting up a new business.

As a freelancer i am used to running my own business, it's a way of work that works well for me personally so i was expecting bootcamp to run smoothly, especially with two pairs of hands instead of one. We also had a huge boost and fantastic ongoing support from a good friend of mine Rosie, who was kind enough to provide our bootcampers with FREE pre and post exercising juices, THANKYOU ROSIE! 

So as April 3rd came around and the first bootcamp was due to start, despite only having one client lined up for the very first session and the rain POURING down, we were prepared to give it our very best shot. The 6.30 am starts proved to be a challenge on those rainy miserable days, as we ran through the month of the April showers. The great British weather being as reliable as ever... Despite this our bootcamp began to grow, with thanks to my fantastic and supportive friends, who showed increasing strength and determination. Huge big up to you bootcampers who dragged yourselves out of bed on those wet, dark mornings to come and roll around in the mud with us, you are AMAZING!! Sophie, Lilly, Lottie, George, Charlie, Becky R, Becky M, Izzie, Pearce, Rosie B, Natalie B, Rosie H, Tracy, Scarlett, Emma, Katie, Liam, Susan BIG UP YOURSELVES. It's so heartwarming seeing someone you've guided and encouraged improve and challenge themselves. Small adjustments they've made to their posture or technique that you've engrained on them, something as small as the positioning of the feet in a squat. I get such a boost from seeing clients, friends and family surprise themselves by their own strength and determination. 

This whole experience has taught me the biggest lesson in patience... 

"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again"

Ups and downs and successes and challenges, challenges we learnt to overcome and challenges i will continue to learn from. No, the bootcamp has not made me a millionaire, but i wouldn't change any of these great experiences for cash in my pocket. As cheesy as it sounds, i really love my job and i get so much out of it, if it was easy everyone would be rich and wouldn't that be boring. 

So 3 months later as i write this post, we are coming upto our very last week of bootcamp and i am pleased to say i will finish with a smile on my face and a feeling that everyone involved helped to create something really positive. All the amazing feedback we've had from the bootcampers has been so uplifting and encouraging, making me even more determined to come back next year with a bigger and better bootcamp. I will miss you all and thankyou again for your love and support, we couldn't have done it without you...

So watch this space... we WILL be back Summer 2017! 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Attack Grill

So scrolling through my Facebook news feed on a Thursday morning, as you do, i came across this post from LADbible.

https://www.facebook.com/LADbible/videos/2723991544314685/

To sum up the video advertises a restaurant diner in Las Vegas USA called the 'Heart Attack Grill' that sells quite insanely large burgers... to be precise 20 THOUSAND calorie burgers. The video also celebrates the fact that if you are over 350 pounds you can eat for absolutely free. Along with other pretty gross things, the menu offers a bacon fat shake... yep, bacon FAT shake. If you are defeated by your hideously large meal, you are spanked by one of the waiters, who are dressed as sexy nurses while you as a diner wear a pretty gross hospital style dress/scrub. 

I have been to America a few times and i'm quite aware that portion sizes are large and American style diner food is typically quite beige. Along with the fact that an all you can eat buffet of pancakes and waffles is totally normal for breakfast. But this video really surprised me and actually made me feel a bit sick. The fact that people are rejoicing the fact that they can eat a burger for free, that goes by the name of... the octupale bypass burger to me is bizare and extremely disturbing. With the addition of a good spanking from the sexy waitress, which makes this whole ordeal, in my opinion quite twisted and perverted. Many Brits head to America in search of the famous American diners and fast food chains like Hooters, the Hard Rock Cafe and McDonalds, and i totally get why! A holiday isn't complete without a total pig out and treating yourself to food that you wouldn't usually eat day to day. But sadly, i think the heart attack grill has taken American dining just a little too far. in 2014 results showed that 61.7% of adults were overweight or obese in the UK, 25.6% being obese. Taking into account the rate at which obesity has continually grown, it is predicted that in 2050 obesity will affect 60% of adult men, 50% of adult women and 25% of children. 

"Childhood obesity is best tackled at home through improved parental involvement, increased physical exercise, better diet and restraint from eating." Bob Filner

I agree that childhood obesity can be tackled, but unfortunately i don't think it's as easy as that. I think ultimately it comes down to lack of education about healthy eating and potential health risks which is where we're seriously going wrong. Anyway that's a completely different topic and i'm going off on a tangent, so i'll save that for another post! 

This video has been made to spark a bit of outrage and get people talking, and it's definitely done its job. Well done LADbible. But when something that could potentially cause us serious harm to our health and the fact that this video glorifies the extreme dining experience, is it something that should be glorified? You wouldn't see a drinks company advertise a drink that had ridiculous amounts of alcohol, because there are restrictions against such advertisements, for health reasons. So where are the restrictions when it comes to food? Aren't the health risks of eating yourself morbidly obese just as serious to drinking yourself to oblivion? Don't get me wrong i used to love watching Man vs Food and i wouldn't say no to a spicy wing challenge but this video really got me thinking. There's no real evaluation to this post, I just wanted to share this video and hear what everyone else's views are on this particular topic. So share and comment if you have an opinion, if not at least watch the video. 

 

 

 

 

 

Work work work work work work

London life is so busy, whether you work a 9-5 job, freelance or just generally do your thing nothing is easy going. The pace of life is something i've gotten used to after being here for almost three years now, but i must admit when i go home and visit my family i absolutely love the slower, less frantic atmosphere that surrounds you. I feel like everyone is always on fast-forward in London, rushing from place to place and never just taking a moment to take everything in. I'm a culprit of this too don't get me wrong, you will quite often see me running through the underground station to catch the train that departs in one minute and not three, how silly?! But with all this rushing around and working our butts off trying to earn them p's, do we ever fully switch off and relax? I honestly think that finding the time to relax or doing something you enjoy is extremely important, separate yourself from the demands every day life throws at you, forget about the trivial things and just take a deep breath and put your feet up.  

I am desperately trying to work and save and work and save so i can enjoy my Summer. I am lucky enough to have really exciting things planned over the Summer holidays, George and I are heading to South East Asia to explore Thailand, Indonesia and possibly Cambodia for 7 weeks... July the 15th cannot come soon enough. With a few of my best friends heading that way around the same time we will be meeting and making old and new friends along the way and i'm so excited! With this said... my bank balance is taking a beating. It's never particularly happy with me anyway but with travel plans around the corner i am TRYING to be very careful with my pennies. Thankfully my days are jam packed with teaching classes, clients and bootcamp until i go away which is great, as being a freelancer, work can sometimes be quite sporadic. 

As the bank balance rises and my holiday is fast approaching all is well and good, but my free time and time for personal development takes a bit of a back seat. As a freelancer, i have always cherished the little pockets of free time it gives me; whether that's time for me to train, go to a class, do some admin, spend time with friends or just chill. So with the next few months being super busy i am making sure i spend my free time doing things that i find relaxing and enjoyable. 

So here's a list of my 5 favourite things to do when i'm not working. 

  1. Take a bath or shower. After a long day out and about, travelling for hours throughout the day from place to place and just generally feeling a bit gross. I find real satisfaction in being clean. It's amazing what a few scented candles and a dimmed light bulb can do, i instantly feel relaxed, calm and ready to collapse.
  2. People watch. With my work being dotted around the day, i often find myself with a free hour in between classes. Now the weathers picked up you will usually find me taking refuge in a nearby park, kindle in hand and tucking into my lunch. People watching is so fascinating and for me a very interesting and relaxing way to pass the time.
  3. Cooking. If you know me at all, you will know that i am a MASSIVE foodie. I love everything to do with food; sweet or savoury, breakfast, lunch or dinner i love it all. It's probably what i think about 50% of the time.. when my next meal is and what it's going to be. I love coming home and cooking a delicious meal for George to come home to. 
  4. Chill with friends. Thankfully although i am away from my family i have my own little family here in London, spending time with my girls who mean the absolute World to me is a great way to chill and detach myself from work. Whether it's a breakfast catch up, a big night out or a sweaty gym session, i always love the time we spend together and they never fail to put a smile on my face. 
  5. Watch a good documentary/tv programme. I love that feeling when you get into bed (all clean from a nice long bath) and get totally sucked into a really good documentary. Bedtime cuddles and in my case probably falling to sleep before the end of the programme calls for a perfect way to end a long day working. 

So here's to working our butts off to save the pennies but to also enjoying and cherishing the free time we have and spend it how we damn please, doing what makes us the most happy. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and your day is a little less stresfull than yesterdays. 

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How to get over your gym fear..

A few years ago i wasn't a gym go-er, in fact i probably only attended a few times a month. Yes i've always been very active but the gym wasn't my go-to choice to fill my exercise kicks, instead you would find me in the dance studio. Only in the last few years has my interest in the gym grown, hand in hand with the knowledge i have about it. So here i talk from experience when i say, when you don't know what you're doing, the gym can be a very scary and intimidating place. But why? Well often we are greeted by... 

  1. Machines that look scary and robotic, that we have no idea how to use and look like they could crush us if not used properly. 
  2. Intimidatingly big muscles. 
  3. Overcrowding and mostly male population. 
  4. People that look like they know exactly what they're doing. 
  5. More likely than not, bad music. 

There is no wonder why if you're new to the whole gym thing, you feel completely and utterly useless, not only embarrassed that people will be looking at you and judging but mostly just anxious at the thought of doing something wrong and looking like an idiot. You are not alone, odds are there are probably a lot of people (actually some of those you put in the-'People that look like they know exactly what they're doing" proportion) that actually just like you, don't really know what they're doing or haven't ever been shown what to do or how to do something but are just doing it anyway. I will be honest and say before i started my Personal Training course, when entering the gym i would walk straight over to the treadmill, have a steady 15 minute run, maybe a quick bike ride and then proceed to the floor area where i would do some bodyweight core exercises, all of which would require no equipment. The reason for this is because i literally had no idea how to use any of the equipment, resistance machines or more technical cardiovascular machines, so sticking to what i knew was a safer option. If you are having the same problems, hopefully the following 5 steps will help you finally get over your gym fear. 

  1. Make use of your gym induction. As a newbie you should be entitled to a gym induction, this is where you will be shown around the gym by a gym instructor, he/she will help you get to grips with how machines work, introduce you to equipment and help you understand a little more what things do. 
  2. Ask questions. There is always going to be at least one gym instructor on the gym floor at one time, they are there to help you with any questions you may have, as well as helping you with things like your posture and form. But unless you ask, they won't know you need help and will more than not leave you to it. As well as gym instructors there is also the general public, if you think someone may be able to help you then ask them, the ego boost will make their day. 
  3. Know the best times to go. If you are easily embarrassed and prefer to have less of an audience when you're working out then knowing the right times to go is key. Going when the gym is quieter will keep your anxiety levels low and give you space to breath and be comfortable in your routine, giving you the confidence to 'do your thing'. 
  4. Do some research. If you really do have no idea what you're doing, then let me introduce you to something called YouTube. If you know what you want to achieve but don't know how to do it, then chances are YouTube will have the answer along with a handy little video showing you a step by step guide to perfection. Do your research and find out the best exercises to achieve the perfect bottom or abs and know what you're doing before you even step foot into the gym, allowing your mind to have a clear focal point. Write down your plan and go for it. 
  5. Train with a friend. Training alone can be boring especially when you're completely winging it and your training routine is pretty much the same every time you go. Training with a friend however can bring something completely new to the table, for one they may not have your fears and two they probably have knowledge on areas you don't. Sharing ideas, workouts, exercises and new ways of training can quickly boost your confidence and repertoire. 

These 5 points are ones that have helped me personally during my exercise journey and ones that i will continue to make as i progress and learn. Even as a qualified personal trainer i still learn new things all the time and have questions i don't know answers to. 

There is no time like the present and starting is the hardest part, keep in mind that you have to start somewhere and the more you go and find your routine the more confident you will feel. 

If you have a question or would like my advise on anything to do or not to do with this post please don't hesitate to get in touch. 

GO FOR IT! 

From Winter rut to Summer strut

January, February and March... Who even invented these horrendous months? The weather, the sad post Christmas bank account and the general vibe that goes with the slog of life as you try your very hardest to stick to your New Years Resolution, and be the new improved you. Zzzzz... 

As April hits and the sun finally starts to shine, the Winter blues are soon forgotten about. With Summer just round the corner and a positive mental attitude that adds a Spring step to our walk, were getting there! Its surprising how much of an impact a few more hours of daylight can have on your mood, making those unbearable 6 o clock starts less of a chore as you peer outside your window to be greeting by blue skies and beautiful sunrises. 

As Gabrielle so perfectly puts it in what is always going to be an absolute tune.

"Sunshine through my window,
That's what you are, my shining star
Sunshine, making me feel,
I'm on top of the World, telling me i'll go far." 

So i have put together 5 ways to help you get out your Winter rut and into your Summer strut. 

  1. Make your bed. I must admit when it comes to tidying, i am a little OCD, and making the bed every morning is no exception. It is said that making your bed first thing in the morning gives you a sense of accomplishment and level of organisation, feeling ready to tackle the day ahead. 
  2. Switch up your routine. Your lack of motivation may be a sign that your exercise programme is becoming sterile, boring and easy! Add some variety and try a completely new class, buying a block of sessions will boost morale and paying upfront means your less likely to cancel. 
  3. Get out in the fresh air. Whenever possible get some fresh air, walk to work instead of getting the bus or go for a Sunday stroll to shake off that dreaded hangover. Fresh air can raise your immune system, increase happiness and bust stress. 
  4. Treat yourself. As we are all desperately trying to save money for that booked summer trip that we can't really afford, it's so easy to be tight with money and get into the habit of spending as little as possible. You work hard, so treat yourself every now and then to an overpriced fancy ice-cream or new cosmetics. 
  5. Update your playlist. If you like it... Shazam it and download later! Update your playlist and workout to your new favourite beats and match your music to your mood. Giving your training a new life and energy. 

All that's left to say from me, is enjoy your Spring and build up to Summer and make your bed.