Things My Personal Trainer Has Never Said

As part of my regular fitness routine, I do two 30 minute sessions with a personal trainer every week. I train with Steph not because I have to but because I enjoy it; she is as much a friend to me as she is a trainer, and she has pushed me further than I could have ever imagined.

PTs may be considered by most as paid torturers, but not only do they train hard in the gym, in order to gain their qualifications they also have to train hard and gain an incredible understanding of the human body, nutrition and training techniques, so they do really know what they’re talking about.

I’ve been training with Steph for 2 years now, and with all the wisdom she has shared with me in this time, there are some things she’s never ever said to me..

‘You can’t eat *insert here*’

Sure, a lot of personal trainers double up as nutritionalists, and many do help their clients put together meal plans and diets, but what I love about Steph is that she has never told me that there’s anything I shouldn’t be eating. Like me, she believes that treats are ok and holidays are for pigging out, and it’s so nice not having a voice in my head saying ‘you shouldn’t be eating this, what would your trainer think?’. In fact, she frequently tells me about the things that she’s eating! At the end of the day, food is fuel and if you’re still training and keeping balance, that’s all that matters.

‘You have to eat *insert here*’

As well as never restricting me, she doesn’t dictate. I get to choose what I eat, and while she’s always more than happy to offer advise when I ask for it, she lets me take the reins and learn things for myself.

‘You shouldn’t lift heavier than..’

Before I trained with Steph, I wouldn’t pick up a dumbbell heavier than about 5-6kg, and now I won’t touch anything lighter. There’s nothing she hates more than the belief that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, and the only time she would ever stop me from going heavier is if she felt I wasn’t ready or I could risk an injury.

‘Weight gain is bad’

About every 4 weeks we do measurements. This isn’t to make me feel good/bad about myself, it’s just to track my body, and while I do get on the scales, the number doesn’t matter to her. Primarily we look at change in my actual measurements, and if the scales do go up, I’m never made to feel bad about it.

‘You shouldn’t miss a training day’

There are mornings when I wake up and I don’t feel up for training, whether it’s cos I’ve had a bad nights sleep, I’m not feeling 100% or I’m suffering from an injury. I am never told that this isn’t ok. A big part of training is understanding my body’s needs, and if it needs time off then that’s fine, and in the same way I understand that sometimes she needs days off. Missing a day or a week isn’t the be all and end all.

‘You have to get smaller’

She understands that everyone has different goals, and that not everyone goes to the gym to drastically change their body. Sure, I ultimately would like to see myself get a bit leaner, but it’s more about getting fitter and healthier, and if I don’t see any change in my body when I’m doing that then who cares?

If a professional PT has never said these things, why should anyone else?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Why I Take Time Off From My Fitbit

In one form or another, I’ve been using Fitbits on and off for the last 4 years. I started off in 2013 with a Zip, which then had to be replaced with another Zip following an incident with the washing machine, and then when the second Zip met the same untimely demise, I went a little while without, until last year I upgraded to a higher spec device: the Charge 2.

I’ve always loved using Fitbits. I love being able to track my activity but I also find them so motivating as I’m forever wanting to hit my daily goals and targets, plus being able to log all my workouts as well as track my runs via GPS mean that I have everything I need to know in one place. I check my stats religiously, which is why sometimes I need to take time off.

Sure, its amazing when you sync your device at the end of the day and you’ve got that little green circle around all of your targets, but what about when you don’t? Sometimes its not always possible to hit every goal, you’re only human after all, but I often struggle with the disappointment if I’ve had a particularly bad day or week, and sometimes I can be a little obsessive – I’ve been known to spend 10-20 minutes walking round my bedroom in the evening because I’m only 500 steps away from my daily target and I don’t want to go to bed until I’ve hit it, and that’s not always healthy.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been struggling with a back injury; I had to take some time off work and could hardly move, let alone get to the gym, and that on its own really gets me down, so the last thing I need is something on my wrist to remind me that I’ve only done 150 steps all day and am at the bottom of the leaderboard of all my friends. Whenever I get an injury, one of the first things I do is take off my Fitbit, because I want to concentrate on getting better and healing, and not pushing myself too hard just because I feel obliged to.

I know I’ll always go back. Keeping fit and active makes me so happy, and my Fitbit is a daily reminder of that, but keeping a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body, and I always want to make sure that comes first.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

‘Healthy’ Words and Phrases You Need to Rethink

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, everyone is different, and that’s ok. Everyone’s body is different, and the fact is different things work better for some than others; its all about understand your body and finding what is best for you.

But when it comes to fitness and health, there’s something I feel very strongly about, and that’s people trying to do things in a way that isn’t healthy, and while it might not seem like it to some, the way we talk about food and fitness can be very unhealthy. What am I talking about? Well do you use any of these terms?

Cheat days

There’s an actual psychological term called the ‘what the hell’ effect, and this is actually used in relation to diet psychology. Essentially its the whole ‘oh, I’ve had one slice of pizza, I might as well eat it all’ thing that I bet we’re all too familiar with. Well the same thing tends to happen when people give themselves a ‘cheat day’.

More than that though, the unhealthiest thing about cheat days is they make us feel guilty. You’re allowed to eat whatever you like, and eating what you want to eat isn’t cheating – all you’re doing is creating negative association.

Guilt-free and guilty

On the back of cheat days, I’m tired of people referring to things as either guilt-free or guilty. I’ll say it again: YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU LIKE and you don’t have to justify what you eat to anyone. Food is fuel, and your body needs fuel to function, end of.

Weight loss

No, I’m not saying that you can’t think about weight loss if you’re trying to be healthier, but weight loss shouldn’t be your only goal. I am fitter now than I’ve been in the last few years, but I also weigh more, and that’s totally normal because while I have lost fat I’ve gained muscle. So many people, women especially, concentrate far too much on what the scales say, and get down when they don’t see that number dropping, but what you really need to be looking at is how you feel and look at measurements rather than weight.

‘Skinny’

Nothing gets me riled up more than ‘skinny teas’, ‘skinny pills’ or quite frankly any use of the word in relation to a product or food item. Chances are these products are full of chemicals, or just full of something that’s just designed to help you poop your innards out, and there’s nothing actually healthy about them at all.

Calorie-controlled

Sure, there’s evidence to say that reducing your calorie intake can lead to results, but if you limit yourself to 1300 calories a day but are still eating junk, that doesn’t make it any healthier. Calorie counting can also become an obsessive behaviour, and that unhealthy relationship with food that I talked about earlier, plus not giving your body enough fuel to function.

For me, the most important part of staying healthy is keeping everything in balance. We all have good days and bad days, but rather than stressing ourselves out over the bad days, we just have to relax and accept that it happens every now and then. Mental health is just as important as physical health, they both go hand in hand and you have to put yourself and your happiness first, always.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Photos to Take With your RunDisney Medals

Maintaining your fitness, a sense of achievement, or pushing your limits; anyone might think these are the reasons to participate in a RunDisney event. Sure, there’s an aspect of this in every race, but really its all about the medal at the finish line, and I’m definitely not the only Disney runner who thinks this.

If you’ve never seen a RunDisney medal before, let me tell you they are every bit as awesome as you’d expect them to be and more. For starters, they’re huge, and weigh a fair bit, but as well as they’re they are always so detailed and well themed, and well worth however miles you just sweated for.

For many, the completion of the race might be the end of the event in your eyes, but you’re gonna want to document everything perfectly, and in the hours and days after your race, medal photos suddenly become a priority. With 5 RunDisney weekends under my belt, I have perfected the art of the medal photos, and if anyone’s about to take part in their first event, here’s the definitive list of photos that you’re gonna want to take.

1. A finish line medal selfie

A volunteer has just hung that glorious medal around your neck and you’re stumbling towards the water table but what you really need to do is document that finishing moment with a good ol’ sweaty selfie!

2. A photo with the finishing board

Once you’ve picked up your free bottles of water and Powerade and grabbed your food box, the next stop before reuniting with your friends and family at the end of the race is to get that official RunDisney board photo.

3. A photo of your weekend medal collection

If you’ve run more than one race, or completed a challenge, be sure to get a photo wearing all of those medals at the same time, even if its too heavy for you to wear them all all day!

4. A photo in front of the castle

Sometimes this shot needs a helping hand of someone to hold the medal while you get the position of the photo just right, but its a classic!

5. A photo with the character on the medal

If you’re medal is themed based on a certain character, as so many are, be sure to go and see them to show off! They absolutely love seeing medals!

6. A photo in a themed location

If you’re in a park that has an area theme that matches your medal, grab a photo there too!

7. Your medal display at home

However you hang your medals at home, take a photo after every new medal has been added!

My next RunDisney event will be Paris in September when I’ll be running the 10K and half marathon for the inaugural Bibbidi Bobbidi Challenge and also getting my second Castle to Chateau challenge medal! Who will I be seeing there?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

My Favourite Lower Body Exercises

So despite starting the year with a promise of monthly fitness update posts, that literally only happened in January. Oops, my bad.

I’m a little bit ashamed to say I’ve yo-yo’d a bit this year. I started the year on a high, but various aspects of life have been challenging my fitness journey and this has led to inconsistencies and going backwards at times, and while I’m a little bit annoyed about this, there’s nothing I can do looking back on it so all I can do is move forward.

My gym recently went through a big refurb, and while it never looked back in the first place, it looks so much better now! We have new equipment, new areas and a new pink wall that I’m particularly fond of, and the update has done wonders for my motivation.

If you read my new fitness plan back in May, you might have seen that summer is the time when I tend to focus more on my legs as I’m not running as much (and hate running during summer heat), and these are some of my favourite workouts for my lower body at the moment:

Plyo Box Jumps

The most popular new piece of kit in the gym is our new PlyoSoft boxes, and while I’d always considered them to be torture before I’d actually used them, but now I’m obsessed! I start off on a 45cm, the quickly moved up to 60cm and now I’m on 75cm and I’m aiming for 90cm by the end of August. Its a great bodyweight-only workout and I’m already seeing results!

Bosu ball squats

Because squatting isn’t tricky enough at the best of times, I’ve now taken to doing them on top of a bosu ball.. While this might not seem too different to squatting on solid ground, you’ll be amazed at how many more muscles you get working while you’re trying to maintain your stability!

Donkey kicks

While it may seem very cliche gym-girl, I love donkey kicks, and all the different variations of them. I have a little donkey kick routine that’s my go-to on days when I’m focusing on lower body, and I will do it over and over until the backs of my legs are screaming just cos for some reason I really seem to enjoy it..

Wall sits

Wall sits are probably the easiest possible exercise for your legs ever, and its amazing how much you feel the burn afterwards. If my legs aren’t already knackered, I’ll try and get in a few minutes of a wall sit at the end of a workout just to push myself right to the end – and then probably fall down the stairs out of the gym.

Swiss ball leg raises

These are killer for both abs and legs! Gripping a Swiss ball between your knees/calves, then raising your legs straight up and down while lying on the floor; I’ll tell you now its a killer!

What are your go-to leg moves in the gym?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Glass Slipper Camp – Tiana HIIT

Hey Glass Slipper campers, are you ready for another workout?!

This month we’re gonna mix things up a little bit with a HIIT workout, so get ready to dig a little deeper because this month its all about Tiana!

So what is HIIT?

It stands for High Intensity Inverval Training, and the basic idea is that you give it everything you’ve got for a set length of time, then rest for a short space, then go again. Push, rest, push, rest; you get the picture. The best way to keep to your timings on this is to download an interval timer app on your phone, and set it to beep at each changeover.

The best part about this workout is it requires no equipment whatsoever, so find yourself some space and let’s get going! I recommend starting off doing each exercise for 20 seconds, and taking a 10 second rest between each exercise. If this is quite comfortable, push yourself to 30 seconds on, 10/15 seconds off, and try and get in as many rounds as you can!

This workout is designed to focus on your legs, so be sure to stretch well once you’re done!

Burpee jumps

While I often consider burpees to be torture, they are a great exercise for working your whole body and getting your heart pumping!

Frog Hops

To get the full effect, keep your body low and stick your butt right out as you hop in and out. (Apologies for my weak left knee!)

Frog Jumps

Like with the frog hops, try and keep low and movements small. Focus on just tapping the floor with your fingers each time, but keep your chest and head up.

Lateral frog jumps

Imagine you’re hopping from lilypad to lilypad. Really push up from each jump to drive sideways, and be sure to land on both feet at the same time.

Squat jumps

Finish off the set with a round of power jumps! Squat low and push up hard, little frog princess!

Congratulations princesses, you’ve just earned yourself a discount code! Buy either the Glass Slipper Camp or KettleBelle tank top, and get the second for just Β£5! Shop here, and just use ‘FITPRINCESS’ at the checkout!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Glass Slipper Camp – Merida

I love how much you guys are loving the Glass Slipper Camp series! Its so satisfying knowing that something I put a lot of work into and had a lot of fun creating is really being appreciated, so thank you all!

This month we’re gonna be shooting for our own hands in honour of our favourite fiery redhead princess, that’s right, its Merida month and we’re focusing on strong arms!

You can do these exercises with weights, or they all work really well with a resistance band! I recommend starting with 3 sets of 10-15 reps, but see how you get on and do whatever you feel comfortable with!

Pull the Bow

Load up your bow, aim and pull that arrow back! Keep your chest up and tuck your hips forward to keep the core engaged.

Bicep Curls

Work those upper arms andΒ build strength in those bear-ceps!

Quiver Pulls

Get ready to reload! Be sure to support your weight-bearing arm with the other.

Shoulder Press

Show how much stronger you are than those pesky clan first-borns, and be sure to touch the sky as you push up!

Tricep Kickbacks

Feet together, knees bent and butt out! Push those weights back and be sure to control them on the way back.

Now you’ve toned up your arms, will you be changing your fate?

PLUS this month comes with another discount code! Using ‘FATE30’ to save 30% on all orders at The Happiest Fitness CoΒ Β – valid until June 30th!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram