THE SHAME ABOUT BODY SHAMING

In this world of selfies, social media and instagram filters it seems that every day there is a new story of online bullying going too far with horrible consequences. Having recently been the recipient of some nasty online body shaming I wanted to explore my thoughts on it and see what you all think.

A couple of weeks ago this blog post of mine went viral, you might have seen it on the Daily Mail, Eonline, Buzzfeed or Yahoo amongst many other places. The key image that most sites decided to feature was this one unsurprisingly:

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LADIES WHAT CRUNCH AND BRUNCH

The other day I ventured outside of my usual territory and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be! I was invited down to try out Core Collective, a new gym in Kensginton that promises no commitment with no membership fees, no sign-up charge and no contract, you just book in and workout.

When I first got there I walked past the gym because on the street it looks like a welcoming and relaxing café, not a gym but when I saw a group of nervous looking women I knew I was in the right place. Continue Reading…

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

London is hot today. And not just in that ‘aw look at the little Londoners thinking it’s hot’ way, it’s actually really hot. I’m sweating just sitting still.

I’m planning on a couple of hour’s of cycling tonight and a yoga class balanced on surfboards so I’ve got some ways below that you can enjoy the heat and still workout. I’ll be using these later!

1) Hydrate hydrate hydrate

I know it’s obvious but you need to be drinking 2 litres of water minimum everyday, even more on days like these and even more if you’re going to be working out on days like these. A 60 minute workout can dehydrate you by 500ml-1litre so make sure you’re putting this back in your body

2) Pay attention to your electrolytes

Electrolytes (potassium, sodium, magensium, calcium) are lost when you sweat so if you sweat heavily through prolonged exercise you might start to experience fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches (my most common symptom) and tummy issues. The best thing to do is to add a rehydration tablet to 750ml of water after your workout and sip on it as you recover.   Continue Reading…

NIKE COURT WITH SERENA WILLIAMS

Yep, you read that right. SERENA WILLIAMS. Fangirling over here so hard…

I was very lucky to have been given a place at an amazing session at the new pop-up Nike Court in London Bridge. I’ve applied for loads of the Nike events in the past and this is the first time I’ve been given a place. Totally worth all of the other disappointment at not getting places…  Continue Reading…

THAT TIME I WENT VIRAL

So it’s taken me a couple of weeks to fully digest what happened when this blog post went viral and to write this post in response.

The post went viral across the world being featured on news sites, entertainment magazines and even being posted by celebrities (thanks Zooey Deschanel!) which blew up my social media channels and phone as people got in touch for interviews.

Ultimately it’s a brilliant piece of exposure for me and my new business (www.thefitologyway.com) but it’s been a massive learning curve and a stark reminder of the importance of self-belief and confidence.

As well as some amazingly positive and supportive messages I also received some negative, unpleasant and downright abusive messages.

Yeah, ouch.

Luckily (and I have the fitness world and my friends and family to thank for this) I’ve come to a point in my journey where I love my body and that love is unshakeable enough to deal with people telling me that I’m fat, stupid, ugly and vacuous (that last one is my personal favourite, I mean, really?).

I still stand by my message that fitness and health comes in all shapes and sizes and you don’t need to look like a ripped god or goddess to be fit and healthy (but it doesn’t matter if you are).  Continue Reading…

Debunking Fitness Myths

As a Personal Trainer and a fitness blogger I can see a lot of pressure in the industry to look and act a certain way which can be rather stressful and damaging for some people.

The world of perfect abs, long legs and sweat-free faces on Instagram portrays an image of fitness that is fun, easy and full of happiness. It can be all of these things but it can also be tiring, tough, demoralising and grump-inducing when you’re getting up and it’s still dark outside. Plus, no one actually looks perfect if they’re working out properly! Continue Reading…

CHALLENGE YOURSELF

Life is a battle. We’re constantly fighting against other people growing up, at school, in social situations and in family life. It’s always about getting more attention, being better and just generally winning.

Well I’m here to say STOP. It’s time to start looking at yourself, not at other people. We’re all different and however much we strive and work to look, act or be like someone else it’s not going to happen. Continue Reading…

Debunking Fitness Myths

As a Personal Trainer and a fitness blogger I can see a lot of pressure in the industry to look and act a certain way which can be rather stressful and damaging for some people. 

The world of perfect abs, long legs and sweat-free faces on Instagram portrays an image of fitness that is fun, easy and full of happiness. It can be all of these things but it can also be tiring, tough, demoralising and grump-inducing when you’re getting up and it’s still dark outside. Plus, no one actually looks perfect if they’re working out properly! 

Here are some of the top misconceptions of the fitness industry:

1) Selfies show the truth 

Even I have been guilty of only posting the most flattering selfies but don’t trust what you see. There are various things you can do to create the perfect selfie:

All I did in the 3 minutes between the two photos was to turn off the overhead light, put on underwear that fit better, twist my body slightly to the side to show off my best angle, flex and, of course, add a filter. So don’t pay much attention to those ‘before and after’ shots!

2) To be healthy and fit you have to have a six-pack

Having a six-pack just means that your body fat percentage is low enough to be able to see your abs. Also, the shape of your abs is totally dependent on your genetics, some people can get a six-pack, some can’t. For the majority of people the lifestyle you have to live to achieve and maintain them would stop them living a normal life free from counting every single calorie. Also, ladies, having such a low body fat percentage might stop your periods. Surely that can’t be good for you…

I prefer a bit of definition and that’s about it for me!

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3) Personal Trainers & fitness bloggers live like saints

Anyone who knows me will know that this just isn’t true. I love to eat anything and everything. Pizza is probably my favourite food and although I don’t really have a sweet tooth I can eat sweet n’ salt popcorn or ice cream for days. I may not drink that much but that’s because I don’t like the taste of most alcohol! However give me a margarita (or 3) and I’m a happy girl… It’s all about living a balanced lifestyle. Indulge when you want to but get to know your body and understand what it wants and when. 

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4) Exercise is easy

Exercise is not easy. And if it is easy then you’re not pushing yourself. And if you’re not pushing yourself then you won’t make any progress and reach your goals. Even if your goal is just to clear your head you need to put in a bit of effort to achieve that. The real side of fitness is early mornings, freezing hands and ears in winter, ridiculous sports bra tans in summer, stinging sweat in your eyes, not bothering to wash your hair because you’re only going to get sweaty again tomorrow, permanent hand callouses, blistered feet and stiff muscles. But all of this adds up to feeling alive, proud and on top of the world.

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5) You have to able to run really fast

Nope. Have you seen me run? It’s not pretty, it’s not fast but I get the job done. If you run you are a runner, if you lift you are a lifter, if you spin you are a spinner, it doesn’t matter how fast, how heavy or how much you do it. Just get out there and give it a go, you’ll amaze yourself.

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Challenge Yourself

Life is a battle. We’re constantly fighting against other people growing up, at school, in social situations and in family life. It’s always about getting more attention, being better and just generally winning. 

Well I’m here to say STOP. It’s time to start looking at yourself, not at other people. We’re all different and however much we strive and work to look, act or be like someone else it’s not going to happen. 

I had a totally epiphany as I was slogging my way round the triathlon course a couple of weeks ago with a bloody great grin on my face. Every person on that course (apart from one man who was 3 times my age) overtook me and with each one that flew past my smile got bigger and bigger. 

I was racing for me, against my previous personal best and no one else. I was the last woman to finish that triathlon and to be honest that only made me prouder that I’d gone in there for myself, conquered some demons and given it everything. 

Here are some of the methods that I’ve used to challenge myself and not compare myself to others:

– Take comparison photos of yourself if your goal is a physical change. Use ‘instababes’ as motivation rather than goals

– Note down PBs if your goal is a strength or speed change

– Fall in love with yourself. I know it sounds cheesy but rather than beating yourself up about your weaknesses try and identify your strengths. Then champion your strengths and be proud

– Surround yourself with positive people who will celebrate your victories, however small

– Listen to your body and don’t push yourself past what you can do at that point. Rest when you need to, reduce weights or resistance and eat that piece of cake if your body needs it…

How do you make sure that you’re challenging yourself rather than comparing yourself?

Race Report: The Gauntlet Games

A 10k race? With gladiators? And obstacles? Hell yes, was my response. Get me there now.

Which is how a group of 5 over-excited intrepid Gauntlet Girls came to be in Trent Park, North London early on a Saturday morning.

This isn’t going to be a regular race report because quite frankly it wasn’t a regular race. For a start there was no timing at all which meant that everyone could take it at their own sweet pace. Oh and there were also lots of things and people to slow you down on course.

We’d opted for the 10k version which meant that we did 3km of obstacles before turning off for a 5km trail run and joining back up with the course for a last 2km of obstacles, although it felt shorter than a full 10k. I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking but here is a summary of my feelings about the race:

– long queues to pick up race numbers & race t-shirts suck

– half-naked men are great until they’re pelting balls at your legs

– laughing until my stomach hurts is great

– trail running is way more interesting than road running

– water mixed with poster paint is really slimy and then really sticky

– water is cold. Like, really cold

– wet trainers are gross to run for an hour in

– a wet lycra-clad bottom results in a very satisfying noise when slapped

– races with friends are infinitely more fun

– I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN

Warming up:

Getting friendly with the gladiators:

Never trust an Aussie and a PT armed with sticks:

Water is cold part I:

Water is cold part II:

Foam gets in your ears:

Apparently my go-to obstacle race face is this:

Charlie’s Angels eat your hearts out:

Never forget to stretch:

In summary, we heart The Gauntlet Games.

Race Report: Eton Dorney Sprint Triathalon

So yesterday I conquered my 2nd sprint triathlon and it couldn’t have been more different to the first one that I did back in 2012. I’d signed up for that one to lose some weight and get moving again, which I did until I went into denial 6 weeks before the event and stopped training. Needless to say that I struggled through the race and genuinely thought that I was going to die in the middle of the swim. Continue Reading…

Race Report: Eton Dorney Sprint Triathlon

So yesterday I conquered my 2nd sprint triathlon and it couldn’t have been more different to the first one that I did back in 2012. I’d signed up for that one to lose some weight and get moving again, which I did until I went into denial 6 weeks before the event and stopped training. Needless to say that I struggled through the race and genuinely thought that I was going to die in the middle of the swim.

This time I raced around with a massive grin on my face because I loved it. I loved everything about it. But more on that at the end. 

Let’s start with a tutorial on how (not) to put on a wetsuit:

Step 1 – after you’ve lubed up with Bodyglide, start with the feet

Step 2 – once the crotch of the wetsuit is vaguely near your own crotch start shimmying the top of it upwards and over your lubed up wrists

Step 3 – Don’t use your nails to pull the wetsuit up because you’ll make holes in it. And those holes will leak water during the swim and it will be cold. Anyway, get it over your shoulders by wriggling like hell

Step 4 – well done, you’ve got it on. Now stop sweating from all of the effort and go and do a triathlon

Onto the race report. 

After racking my bike and laying out my bike and run kit I waddled down to the lake with a couple of other nervous triathletes and I promptly slipped straight onto my arse on the ramp and had to choke back a tear from the pain. Great start. 

The swim was slow and cold but delightful! I tried out a bit of front crawl before I realised that it was not going to work and I settled into a comfortable breaststroke while I watched the rest of my wave stretch out in front of me. 

Accompanied by the amazing kayak marshals I plodded my way round the swim course enjoying the beautifully clear and fresh waters. 

When I eventually made it out of the water everything was shaking from the adrenaline. I fumbled out of my wetsuit and shoved my socks and trainers onto wet feet. At this stage I was struggling to keep my legs going in a straight line but I knew that once I was on my bike I could settle down.

The course at Eton Dorney is very flat so I put my head down for 4 laps of the 5km course. There was a headwind cycling up the right-hand side which I really felt in my legs but then as soon as I came round the top of the lake the wind dropped off and I flew down the other side. 

3 laps in and I chewed on half a coconut and macadamia Bounce energy ball washed down with water to keep me going. At this point there were lots of people flying past me and with every one I smiled a little bit more because this was my race and no one else’s. 

I turned off into transition knowing that the worst was over and I just had a little run to do and then I could sit down. My legs felt tired as I ran out of transition so I took the opportunity to walk through the water station before setting off up the side of the lake for 2 laps of a very straight, very boring run route. 

At this point I was really feeling the tiredness and my legs had switched to autopilot, which was especially tough because there was no support (apart from my superstar number 1 cheerleader amazing Mum). Everyone was cheering for their own runners and no one else which was so at odds with my experience of Run Dem Crew. Having cheered at a few races now and run one race being cheered by the crew I fully appreciate the power of Cheer Dem and it was sorely missed here. 

I slogged through the run and tried to gear up for my customary sprint finish. Unfortunately my legs only responded for a split second before I had to resort to my arms to carry me over the line. 

As I crossed the line I stopped instantly and tried to catch my breath. I simply didn’t have anything left which made me very proud. I’d left everything on the course and couldn’t have given it anything else. In fact, Mum you nearly got me by telling me how proud you were of me. Remember when I had my head down on the barrier? Yep, choking back a triumphant tear. 

As I said in my last post my main aim of the race was to enjoy it and I did. I loved it. I loved feeling strong and fit, I loved being part of something amazing and I loved seeing how far I’d come since the last one. 

I also managed to come in comfortably under 2 hours for a massive 21 minute personal best. I knocked 1 minute off my swim (yes, this needs some serious work), 6 minutes off my bike and a massive 10 minutes off my run as well as a huge 4 minutes off my transition times. 

With 9 weeks to go before I take on the Olympic distance triathlon at the London Triathlon I can now see my weaknesses and I’ll be signing up for some swimming lessons next week. Can’t wait to ramp up the training! 

I live to Eat

I had an interesting discussion while running last night with Run Dem Crew about how someone’s friend had asked her incredulously why she was eating a Kitkat when she was a RUNNER. A runner of all things! Like it would be ok if she was a javelin thrower… Continue Reading…

I Live To Eat

I had an interesting discussion while running last night with Run Dem Crew about how someone’s friend had asked her incredulously why she was eating a Kitkat when she was a RUNNER. A runner of all things! Like it would be ok if she was a javelin thrower… 

My response was ‘as a Personal Trainer I reckon you’re fine’. Yes, I don’t advocate eating chocolate every day but as a pre-run snack it’s not the worst. It’s a quick energy fix which will go straight to your muscles to be used while you’re running. As an afternoon pick-me-up whilst sedentary at your desk it’s probably not the best. 

Anyway, it led me to think about how much rubbish there is out there about eating but also how important it is to figure out for yourself the way of eating that suits you best.  

Over the last couple of years I’ve tried all sorts of ways of eating (I’m hesitant to call them diets) and I’ve settled on the way that suits me best. Here is my typical day’s worth of food:

Breakfast

– Heavy workout day: porridge with rye flakes, flaxseed, chia seeds, coconut oil, scoop of protein powder and berries

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– Rest day: green smoothie with banana, frozen berries, almond milk, spinach, cucumber, flaxseed, chia seeds and lemon juice

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Snack

– Apple

Lunch

– Salad (spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, pepper, spring onion), steamed greens, baked sweet potato and mixed bean salad (red kidney beans, lentils, olive oil, lemon juice, onion) or baked chicken breast/tuna/turkey breast

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Snack

– 3 x gluten free oat cakes, sliced apple and a tablespoon of organic peanut butter 

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Dinner

– Thai green chicken curry made with loads of vegetables and herbs, 1 chicken breast, full fat coconut milk and served with 50g basmati rice

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So yes, I eat 4-5 times a day and drink 2 litres of water because that works for me. It means that I never feel hungry, I always have energy for workouts (even if I have to dig deep to find that energy…) and my body feels fuelled with good wholesome food. It can be tricky to fit around workouts because I don’t like to exercise on a full stomach but with a bit of planning and meal prepping it’s possible. 

What works for you? 

How To Exercise When You Don’t Want To

Let’s face it, if we all just exercised when we wanted to then we’d sweat maybe once or twice each week, which is fine if you’re not working towards anything but if you have goals (whether physical, mental, challenge-based etc.) then chances are you’re going to need to be training more than this.

It’s not just the volume of training that’s important (or not, depending on what you’re working towards) but it’s the quality and diversity. Some of it is going to hurt, some of it is going to be within your comfort zones and other bits are going to be plain boring.

Continue Reading…

Triathlon Training Update

You know that feeling when you book in a dentist appointment a couple of months in advance and then put it to the back of your mind because you’re actually really dreading it….? Yeah, that. But with a triathlon…

With just over a week to go before this year’s first triathlon I thought I should give you an update into my very disorganised preparation.

1) Swimming

This is still the part of the triathlon that’s scaring me, not because I’m a bad swimmer but because swimming in a wetsuit in open water is a whole new ball game. It’s the bit that screwed me last time, taking twice as long as I’d hoped.

I’m also still swimming breaststroke 90% of the time which is fine in a lovely pool like the Olympic Aquatics Centre but it’s pretty heavy on the legs which is not ideal when you have a bike and a run phase coming up next.

I’ve swum no more than 3 or 4 times in the run up to this triathlon between 1km – 1.7km but not in open water and not in a wetsuit. Whoops. Continue Reading…

The 10 stages of every run

Every run starts and ends the same. You start running and then you stop running. It’s what’s in between that’s the ‘fun’ part…

However long my runs are I always seem to go through the exact same thought patterns and it becomes a mental as well as a physical challenge to keep going. I thought I’d share them with you because let’s face it, running is ridiculous.

Stage 1: Right, I’m going to step out of the door and this is going to be great even though I don’t want to go because it’s cold and rainy and stuff.

Continue Reading…

It’s time to step off the scales

We’re a nation of scale-obsessed weight watchers and I’m saying that it’s time to stop.

From a young age I’ve also been scale-obsessed and I’ve seen the numbers on the scale going up and down as a direct contributor to my happiness. At the start of my fitness journey I jumped on those scales every Monday morning without fail and recorded the numbers. Every week for over a year. I even took photos.

Until I realised that it’s not about those numbers. It’s about how you look and feel.

I know that I’m getting stronger, fitter and leaner but I was getting frustrated that the numbers on the scales weren’t going down. And then my belt reached the last hole. And my abs started to pop out again. What was happening?  Continue Reading…

Summer Kit Lust List

With the warmer weather and that lovely sun starting to make an appearance my mind has turned to summer workout gear so that I can work on that runtan (because everyone loves sports bra tan marks right?)

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