YearOfFit: Putting Your Body First

Healthy Little Changes

Some of you might be aware that on Sunday I was meant to be running the Bournemouth Half Marathon. Here’s the thing: I didn’t.

After all the problems with my foot over the last two weeks, I made the decision on Sunday morning that running another half marathon on metatarsal damage was just going to leave me in a worse off state than I was already in, and with exciting races planned for next year and training to be done over the autumn/winter period, it just wasn’t worth the risk.

In any aspect of healthy living, its really important to not only understand your body and its needs, but to actually listen to them. This can be anything from knowing when you need to take a break from your workout routine to knowing when you’re starting to feel a little dehydrated, and this comes from developing a sense of mindfullness, and a closer relationship with your body. You might think I’m talking crazy. Its your body, you can’t get any closer right? Well you can be sceptical if you like – I used to be! – but actually its one thing to understand that you’re feeling hungry, but another thing to think about what your body actually craves. For example, I have hungry moments where I can eat as much junk as I can get my hands on, but still not feel satisfied, and these are the times that actually what I really need is a load of veggies. I’ve gone off topic a little, but my point is that the body has fascinating little ways that it communicates with you, without you even realising, and what your body needs is what you need.

For this reason, I’ll be taking this month off running, and relaxing a little with my gym training. While my foot does seem to be improving slowly, the last thing I need is to push myself too much and cause any long lasting damaging that might ruin my training for next year. And d’you know what? That’s ok.

A few months ago, if I skipped a gym day I’d be feeling horrendously guilty and worry, as if my whole body was going to explode just cos I’d missed a workout in favour of a lie in, but recently I’ve discovered that sometimes I’m better off for a bit of rest, maybe a treat day, and often I’ll go back to the gym feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next workout instead. I think the point I’m trying to make is that no one can tell you what your body needs, only you can truly understand that, and there’s nothing wrong with putting your body’s needs first.

I 100% recommend Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson (pictured), its such an interesting read on this subject!

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A Fitness Bucket List

Tips for buying running shoes

You may have noticed I love writing bucket lists (and lists in general), and as I’m gearing back up to get back into training properly in the run up to Christmas and next years races, I’ve been thinking a lot about things I’d love to do – hello fitness bucket list!

Attend a Sweaty Betty class

Did you know that Sweaty Betty put on a bunch of FREE fitness classes across the country? I’m not particularly close to any of the locations but I’m still totally up for going to one one day!

Run a marathon

This is something on my 5 before 25 list, and I’ve still got 3 years to achieve this! To be honest, I just want to be able to say I’ve done it, even if it takes me a whole day to finish!

Go to a spinning class

I have no issue jumping on a bike, either on the road or at the gym, but the thought of a spinning class really scares me for some reason! I’ve heard lots of great things about them though, so it might be something I need to try!

The Color Run

I really wanted to do The Color Run this year – I was aiming for Brighton – but the timing wasn’t right and I couldn’t find anyone to do it with, so another year it is!

Do a forearm headstand

Ultimate yoga goals right here! I know its gonna take a lot of practice but to be able to do it one day would be awesome.

Compete in a triathlon

Sure, running is my jam, but I’m never one to turn down a challenge so I’d be pretty interested to see how I cope with running after a swim and cycle ride..

Climb a mountain

Ok so I very much doubt it’ll be Everest or anything, but it would be pretty cool to say I’ve done one!

Be able to do unassisted pull ups

I’m aiming to be able to do just one by the end of this year, but to comfortably be able to knock out a few sets in the gym would be pretty awesome.

What’s on your bucket list?

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YearOfFit: Small Healthy Changes

Healthy Little Changes

Becoming healthier can seem like a really daunting prospect for some people; you feel like you have to change your entire lifestyle, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, shocking your system by trying to change everything at once can make it even harder.

The fact is, there are a load of little changes that you’ll hardly even notice making, that will actually do you a world of good, and here are just a few to get you started:

Stop drinking your calories – try and get rid of as many of the sugary, or even ‘diet’ drinks in your life. Drink more green and herbal tea, and stick to water as much as you can.

Speaking of water, drink more of it – 2 litres a day if you can! A great way of achieving this is by drinking a pint of water with each meal, and straight away thats about 1.7 litres straight off the bat. The human body is 50-65% water, so keeping yourself topped up is ensuring you’re staying on top form.

Eat your food in order – start with protein, then your veggies, and leave your carbs for the end. It’ll stop you filling up on carbs early on, and missing out on the goodness in the rest of your meal.

Do it in the morning – if you’re gonna workout, try and do it first thing. Your body is rested, it gets your metabolism booming and it gets your day off to a great start!

Pack a lunch – generally speaking, anything you make at home will be healthier than a supermarket equivalent – or at least have fewer artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Bring a pack lunch will also save you making unnecessary purchases and save you quite a bit of cash!

Take a walk – even if you’re not super into exercise, just getting outside for a quick walk – whether it be to the shops or just around the block – means you’re getting active, getting some fresh air and absorbing that vitamin D.

Have some veggie options – vegetarians actually have some pretty great food you know! Swapping out red meat for a veggie equivalent like Quorn just once a week can cut a fair amount of fat from a dish and you might find you don’t even notice a difference!

Don’t skip meals – and listen to your body when its telling you its hungry; that empty stomach is telling you that its lacking nourishment, so don’t ignore it. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually lower your metabolism, as well as messing with your concentration and other fun little things.

Reduce the booze – you don’t have to go tee-total or anything, but my cutting down on regular drinking, you’ll save yourself a whole lot more calories than you probably realise, as well as letting your body have a bit of a detox every now and then.

You’ll be surprised what little changes you can make to get just a little bit healthier!

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YearOfFit – Virtual Running Explained

I feel like recently I’ve been talking a lot about virtual races, and it kinda dawned on me that, being a relatively new concept, a lot of people probably have no idea what I’m wittering on about!

What is a virtual race?

Virtual races were design to eliminate the logistic or geographical issues with the traditional fun run; rather than having to be at a certain place on a certain day, these races allow you to run, or even walk, the required distance in your own time, at your own pace, and submit proof of completion to earn goodies like medals and t-shirts.

For some races, you might be required to complete the distance on a specific day, others may have a time-frame like a week or month, and some of these allow you to split your distance over multiple runs, eg. five 1K runs for a 5K.

Why should you take part?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me ‘isn’t it just like buying a medal?’, and yeah, I guess it kinda is, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Its really a way of motivating people to get out and be active, especially for people who may not be able to take part in actual races, and its also a great way to encourage children to get into running.

Also most races are organised as charity fundraisers, with a proportion or all profits going to a good cause. What have you got to lose?

The Happiest Fitness Co are holding the Frying Pan 5K virtual run in July, sign up here today and use VIRTUAL10 to get 10% off registration!

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YearOfFit – Marks of a Good Personal Trainer

Fitness is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and with more and more people taking their health more seriously, personal trainers are on the up and raking in the cash!

I know this because I have one. I met Steph through a class she takes at my gym, and we became friends through that long before I started training with her, which I began doing in August last year. I see her 1-2 times a week, not because I need help working out, but because she gives me variety, and because I’ve come so far through training with her, I’m excited to see what I can be capable of.

There are plenty of supposed ‘good traits’ to look for in a personal trainer, but today I’m going to tell you what I think makes a PT great.

They don’t spoon-feed you

If your trainer is giving you everything on a plate, then it doesn’t encourage your personal development. You should be making your own diet and workout decisions; if they provide everything then you can’t always learn it.

They work you how you want them to

Personal trainers should be just that; working at a personal level. That means if you want to work on a particular area, that’s what they should be doing. They should never ignore your requests.

You can workout without them

Your PT should be giving you enough information about what they do with you that you should be able to go to the gym without them and still get a good workout in. They should be teaching you their techniques, like drop-sets and HIIT, and also explaining what areas you target with what moves, so that you know exactly what you’re doing, even when they’re not around.

You can’t hate them, even when they’re super mean

All PTs can be tough, in fact quite often they have to be, but a great trainer is one that you like enough that even through the blood, sweat and tears, you still want them there.

You’re not checking the time

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Well it also flies when you’re kicking butt on the gym floor, but you shouldn’t be wishing time would go faster.

They’re always there for you

Without you taking advantage of it, a good trainer should be there to support you away from the gym, whether you need nutrition advice or want to know what area you should focus on when you self-train.

They make you to surprise yourself

A great personal trainer is one that helps you achieve things you never thought you could. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be as strong as I am now, I’d probably have laughed in your face.

You feel so much more confident in the gym

Like many women, the free weights area used to be super intimidating for me, and the thought of wearing a crop top even more so. Now though, neither of them bother me in the slightest!

They tell you how proud they are

None of this tough guy act, your PT should share how they feel about your progress. It such a great motivator to know they’re proud of you.

They make fitness a fun, important part of your life

Ultimately, a good personal trainer is one that helps you become a healthier person, whether you train with them over a short period of time or more regularly. You should see results, you should be amazed with yourself and you should be excited to be getting fitter and healthier.

Hands up, who loves their PT? *raises hand*

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YearOfFit – 7 Things You Need to do After Finishing a Race

You’ve spent all this time training, and now you’ve run the race, so now what?

Rebel Challenge 2016

1. Walk it off

I know how much its taken for you to cross that finish line, but you need to keep moving. I’m not saying you need to walk miles, but just don’t stop completely once you’re done – otherwise you may not be able to start up again!

2. Stretch!

I also know how much your body is going to want to just sit down and curl up for the rest of the day, but I guarantee as soon as you do, your muscles are gonna start to cool and you’re really going to feel the effects of the distance you’ve just run. Just do a quick 5-10 minutes of stretching once you’re finished, and then maybe a bit more a few hours later. You’ll thank me, honest.

3. Congratulate those around you

I hate runners who don’t join in with the community spirit. You’ve all just completed the same course, so give someone a pat on the back or tell them they did a great job. Its not much, but its a nice gesture and you’ll feel better for it.

4. Take a finishers photo

Grab that medal and strike a pose. It doesn’t matter if you think you look too sweaty or worn out, preserve that proud memory!

5. RE-FUEL

This is totally dependent on your body’s needs, but especially after a long distance, you’re probably going to need to take on some food pretty soon after crossing that finish line. Grab a banana!

6. Collect any sponsorship money

No, not the second you’ve crossed the line, but if you did your race for a charity, try and get your money in as soon as you can after the event; its just good manners, and saves them having to chase you.

7. Feel proud!

It doesn’t matter whether you were first or last to cross the finish line, or whether its your 1st or 50th race, you should always feel incredibly proud of your achievement!

Remember, a 12 minute mile is just as far as a 5 minute mile, so just get out there and enjoy it!

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YearOfFit – Why I’ve Already Failed the TIU Bikini Series

This is a bit of a rambling post if I’m honest, and in no way am I slating the Bikini Series, I just want to talk about why it hasn’t worked out for me.

I love Tone It Up. Karena and Katrina are so inspiring and I’ve loved their videos for a while now, so I was really excited to sign up for this year’s bikini series. It’s an 8 week programme that is totally free to join, with daily workouts, check ins and support from all the other participants, and even healthy recipes to get you on your way. Its a fabulous programme, and I was so excited to be a part of it.

I lasted a week.

Here’s the deal. Yes, its an great programme; the workouts are perfect and the videos are so much fun to work along with, but it just didn’t fit in with me and my regular workout schedule and my lifestyle, for these reasons:

You have to follow it to the day

This may have been my own misunderstanding, but I thought it was an 8 week programme that you could start whenever you fancied, but because the daily workout moves are only available on the website on that day, then *poof*, new ones appear the next day. This meant that given I was in Disneyland Paris in the first week of the series and planned on starting the following week, I ended up having to check the workouts, write them down, and then do them the following week, which was a bit silly.

I have my own running schedule

The programme includes a running planned called 100 by Summer, which I think is great; running is so good for you. My run training schedule, however, is something that I carefully devised for myself based on my upcoming races, and as an existing runner, not all of my run days matched up with the TIU run days.

I don’t have equipment at home

Again, I reiterate: I love the Tone It Up workout videos, they’re ideal for doing at home. The problem I had with them, however, is that often they include equipment such as dumbbells and kettlebells, which I have access to at the gym, but not at home, and personally, I think I’d feel a bit silly doing a YouTube video in the corner of my gym.

I train a lot

I already visit the gym 3-4 times a week, and do at least half an hour with a personal trainer each week, so sometimes my leg day doesn’t link up with leg day on the programme etc. I’m also stupidly injury prone, so I know that I need a rest day every week or two; I could easily take a rest day on the programme by just skipping a day, but there aren’t any particularly stated, so I’d just kinda feel like I’m cheating!

I live in England

The weather here sucks sometimes. I’d love to get down the beach or out in the garden to do the workouts, but when its bucketing down in the great British summer, its not exactly appealling..

I really hope this post hasn’t come across as too negative about the programme; I do honestly think its great and I’ve seen so many amazing transformations through it, it just didn’t work out for me. I wish it did because its a lot of fun, and I have and still will be using some of the videos and workout moves in my regular fitness regime, but I’m taking it more as inspiration than a routine!

Have you tried the TIU Bikini Series?

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YearOfFit – Top Tips for Buying Running Shoes

Running is a great way to keep fit. Its a good workout, its versatile and the selling factor for a lot of people is that its cheap – but your running shoes shouldn’t be.

Tips for buying running shoes

I’m all for a bargain, but I strongly believe that getting a good pair of running shoes is an investment, and you shouldn’t just rock on up to Sports Direct and pick a pair based on the colour matching your favourite yoga pants. Trust me, your feet are worth it.

1. Get accessed

This isn’t as scary as it sounds, promise! If you go to a proper running shop, they’ll put you on a treadmill and get you to run a little bit to access your running style, meaning they can recommend a pair of shoes that will suit you best. It may be that you turn your feet out a little while you run (an over-pronator, like myself!), or you have weak knees or ankles, but by getting a professional to look at your gait, you can find a pair of shoes that are going to work with your body.

2. Shop around

Once you know what sort of shoes you need, you’ve got the freedom to shop around a bit! Try different brands, get a feel for all your options and check out outlet stores!

3. Always wear good socks

Even when you’re just trying on potential shoes, you should try to wear the right socks. Special running socks are available to give your feet more support, and you like to wear these, then be sure to take them with you when you try on new shoes; they can make a big difference to the fit! Wearing the wrong socks can also lead to blisters!

4. Know sizes

I always used to think it was as simple as knowing your shoe size, but some brands of running shoes recommend you size up or down. Asics, for example, recommend you buy their shoes half a size bigger than your regular size. General rule of thumb is a thumb – you should be able to press down about a thumb’s width at the end of your big toe, to allow space for your feet to move happily.

5. Don’t be afraid to be afraid of change

If you find a pair of shoes that work for you, don’t be afraid to stick to that same make and model. My dad, for example, always buys the same pair of Asics, because he knows they suit him, and that’s a totally normal thing for runners to do!

6. Know your shoe mileage

Believe it or not, running shoes have a sort of use-by date. Different companies may say differently, but in general you should be replacing your shoes after about 300-450 miles, just due to general wear and tear, and to keep you running at your best.

Do you have a favourite shoe brand?

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YearOfFit – Home Gym Essentials

These days there are a million ways for you to stay active without paying out for a gym membership.

There’s workout videos, YouTube, dancing, Pinterest, and you can even buy your own machines so you don’t need to share with smelly strangers, and if you’re doing any of these things, you might be thinking about setting up a little ‘home gym’. Yeah? Well here are a few bits of kit you’ll want to consider!

Home Gym

1. Swiss ball

There are a lot of things you can do with a Swiss ball, from pilates to core work; you can even use it as a chair or bench!

2. Skipping rope

Skipping is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories, and a rope is a really cheap piece of kit!

3. Resistance bands

Another budget piece of kit, but a great way to save paying out for pricey strength training equipment

4. Kettlebells

Although I really hate them sometimes, kettlebells are a really versatile option if you’re thinking of buying weights

5. Foam roller

Most people, runners especially, have a real love/hate relationship with the foam roller. Personally, although it can hurt, my foam roller is my go-to for tight calf problems and general muscle aches and pains.

6. TRX/Suspension cables

If you’ve got somewhere safe and strong to secure them, suspension cables are a great piece of kit that utilises your body weight for strength training. The possibilities can be endless!

7. Step box

Whether you’re using it for an aerobics workout, a weight bench, or just a general prop, a box can be a great purchase for your home gym area

8. Dumbells

Dumbells can be a pricey piece of equipment, but if you want to take your home gym to the next level, a pair or even a set of dumbells is the way to go!

9. Mat

Save yourself from workout out on cold or uncomfortable floors with a foam or rubber exercise mat!

Do you prefer to workout at home or at a gym?

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#YearOfFit – 5K by Summer

If you read my post on fitness goals that everyone can achieve, you’ll have seen that one of them was running a 5K.

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I genuinely believe that anyone is capable of finishing this distance, and to prove it, why not give this programme a go? Its six weeks, and what do you have to lose? Get those shoe’s on and let’s go!

Week 1

Tuesday: Walk for 1 minute, run for 30 seconds, and repeat 5 times. Easy right?

Thursday: Run for 1 minute, then walk for 30 seconds, and repeat 5 times.

Saturday: Run 1km, taking walk intervals if you need to

Week 2

Tuesday and Thursday: Run for 2 minutes, then walk for 30 seconds. Do this for 10 minutes.

Saturday: Run 1km. Try and walk as little as possible

Week 3

Tuesday: Run for 3 minutes, walk for 30 seconds x4

Thursday: Run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times

Saturday: Run 2km in 2 minute/30 seconds run/walk intervals

You’re halfway!

Week 4

Tuesday: Run for 10 minutes, then walk for 2 minutes x2

Thursday: Run for 5 minutes, walk for 30 seconds x3

Saturday: Run 3km. Aim for 5 min/30 second run/walk intervals

Week 5

Tuesday: Run/walk 10 minute/1 minute three times

Thursday: Just run for 15 minutes

Saturday: Run 1km, walk 0.25km x4 (hello 5k!)

Week 6

Tuesday: Run 2km

Thursday: Run/walk 10 minute/30 second intervals for 3.5km

Saturday: Run your 5k!

I read somewhere recently that an 15 min/mile is just as far as a 10 min/mile, and this is such an important thing to remember; it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you might be, you’re still getting out and doing it!

So now you’re 5k ready, why not sign up for a virtual run? The Frying Pan 5K is raising money for the Rainbow Trust, you get an awesome medal and did I mention that I’m organising it?!

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#YearOfFit – Let’s Talk Fad Diets

This post is probably the one I’ve been most looking forward to writing so far this year. I’ve done a bunch of research and interviewed people and everything, and the reason I’ve put in so much work is because this is something I feel so passionately about.

Now before I get into things, I’m just going to say that while I’m not an expert/dietician/nutritionist, I’ve studied a lot of the areas that are involved in this topic: food science, diet psychology and human biology, so I’m not just sharing opinions here. I’m also going to be using my own terminology, so let me just explain that.

Fad, of course, just means something that’s popular for whatever reason, but I’m going to be discussing the main two different types of diet that people do: restrictive diets and lifestyle change diets. Restrictive diets are just that – purposefully cutting out or restricting the intake of a certain food type or group; think Atkins, Slimfast, juicing, fasting 5:2 etc. Lifestyle change diets are the ones where you aren’t necessarily cutting anything out, you’re just looking at your diet more carefully, maybe working on a point system for foods etc. These are your classic Weightwatchers or Slimming World style.

Ok, so I’m gonna start with restrictive diets.

You’ve seen your favourite celebrity drop from a size 14 to 6 in the blink of an eye and they’re putting it all down to this new diet. Naturally, you’re intruiged, and with summer just around the corner and the thought of your bikini looming, you figure why not give it a go, right?

All of these diets offer quick results – big weight drop in a short amount of time. Now this seems great, and short-term, sure, they’ll do the job, but I’m gonna let you in on a not-so-little secret: as soon as you go back to your regular habits, all of that weight is gonna come speeding back to you, and might even bring a friend, sometimes leaving you heavier than you were pre-diet. All of the people I interviews put some weight back on, and most put it all back.

The biggest issue with RDs is that you are denying your body, which is something you should never do. You NEED carbohydrates for energy. You NEED those good fats to protect your organs and maintain a healthy metabolism. You NEED protein to repair and grow. I could go on. Now your body can go a certain amount of time working just fine if you cut back, but after a while, you’ll start noticing that you’re not on your A-game.

Now everyone’s body works differently, and this is where the effects of these diets can differ hugely. Take my mum for example. A good few years back, my mum did LighterLife – a shake based diet – and was loosing a fair amount of weight. Woo, right? Well yeah, until she started to find her hair was falling out.. Lots of my interviewees experienced breakouts, some felt sluggish all the time, I could go on.

So apart from denying your body vital nutrients (which not all of them do, but still), there are mental ramifications to these diets too. By cutting certain foods out of your life, even if only temporarily, your brain will change the way you perceive this foods, and this will generally go one of two ways. First up, and this is more common with sweeter foods, it can lead to a ‘forbidden fruit’ mentality; you can’t have it, therefore you want it even more. Hello cravings. A ‘slip up’ here will normally result in a response of – and this is a genuine thing – the ‘what the hell’ effect; ‘you’ve had one Pringle, you may as well eat the whole tube’ thinking. This mindset is NOT HEALTHY.

Alternatively, and more dangerously, it can lead to certain food having negative connotations attached to them, and this is association is most common with carbs. You’ve been ticking along on Atkins just nicely, but someone brought home a pizza and you had a slice, and now you feel horrendously guilty and you’ll spend your whole day tomorrow on a cross-trainer in an attempt to ‘atone’. This mindset is NOT HEALTHY.

We’ll move onto lifestyle change diets.

No, these diets can’t promise you a drop of 3 dress sizes in 2 weeks, but the average member can expect to lose 1-2lbs a week, which is still pretty impressive.

Notice how I said ‘member’? Well that’s because all of these diets promote a community aspect, whether it be weekly meetings, online forums or just support from other members, and this community plays a really key part in the success of the diet. Sure, you don’t have to attend the meetings to see the results, but having other people with you doing the same thing can be a real help and motivator.

So why are these diets better for you? For starters, you’re still eating properly. Yes, you might be cutting back on certain things, indulging less and watching what you eat very carefully, but you’re still eating real, balanced food. Balance is important. You might be counting ProPoints, or syns or even just counting calories, but you’re making your own choices and staying in control. I call them lifestyle change diets because over time, you’re just developing better eating habits, and the more you stick at it, the more eating better becomes a part of your lifestyle. We’re talking being healthier for life, not just until summer is over.

Talking to some people who have done these diets, they loved how they never felt that they were missing out on anything and how easy they were to stick to, compared to RDs they’ve tried. Now my interviewees did still have some negative comments about these diets. For example, one person struggled with how liberal the diet was, and due to over-eating some foods didn’t lose as much weight as she felt she could have.

But really, after reading all this, do I even need to tell you what’s best? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a hundred times if that’s what it takes: eat right and live healthy and your body will reward you. It is, first and foremost, your body, and it can look however you want it to look.

Being healthy and happy is so important, please don’t forget that.

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#YearOfFit – Meal Prep 101

Be honest with yourself now, how many times a week/month/year do you say or think the words ‘ok, I’ll start eating better again tomorrow!’? Mmhm.. We’ve all been there.

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In reality, the trick to successfully maintaining healthy eating is all in the preparation. Just taking a few hours out of your week to get yourself organised will save you so much time, stress and slip ups, and you’ll feel like a superhero for being so on top of things!

1. Sort yourself out with the right containers

The right container can be different for different people. My collection of lunchboxes is incredibly varied, but are generally all cute and quirky because that makes me excited to use them. For some people, having matching containers is more important. Design is really a preference thing, but what matters is that they do the job!

There are also a bunch of really nifty lunchbox hacks – for example, I use silicone cupcake cases to split up my lunch!

2. Know your portion sizes

The most common mistake people make with healthy eating is incorrect portion sizes. Yes, you can eat veggies until your heart’s content, but sometimes there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! You can find so many portion guides on the internet.

3. Work with variations

Sure, a lot of people see meal prep as making a big batch of one thing for several days worth of meals, but I guarantee it won’t take long before you get seriously bored of your regular chicken and rice dish. Instead of doing this, I generally make batches of meal components, eg grilling chicken pieces, and then I can mix up my meals by using different sauces, a different salad mix, making a wrap etc. This way you can look forward to your lunch everyday, rather than feeling a bit blah.

I do, however, have my favourite meals that I could eat all day every day, so I generally throw them in every now and then!

4. Think about reheating

The dangers of reheating certain food items are fairly well known, but be sure to look up anything you’re unsure about – rice is a surprise high risk item!

5. Freezers are your friend!

I don’t know why a lot of people are so anti-frozen food; its such a good way to preserve food without additives! Supermarkets offer so many frozen products that you can just microwave now, making them ideal meal-prep ingredients!

Are you a meal prep pro?

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#YearOfFit – Fun Runs That Really Are Fun!

There are two types of people in this world: those who enjoy running and those who don’t.

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For the latter, the term ‘fun run’ generally seems like the furthest thing from it, but whether its a charity fundraiser, New Years resolution or mid/early-life crisis, most people will probably take part in at least one during their life, and today I’m going to tell you something that might surprise these people: some races really are fun!

Race For Life/Pretty Muddy

These ladies only races for Cancer Research UK are the ideal first race for any new runner. They’re laidback, there are normally a lot of tutus and people dancing, and you don’t even have to run it, so there’s that too!

Colour Runs

There’s a few different runs that do this now – The Color Run, Run or Dye etc – but the aim is pretty simple: show up in white, run around and have paint and coloured powder thrown at you, finish with an awesome party! I was gutted to miss our local Run or Dye last year, but I’m hoping to do the Brighton Color Run in September, and I’m so excited!

RunDisney

Do I really have to explain why these races are so much fun? Firstly, you’re running around the Disney parks. Secondly, there are character meets along the course, as well as a tonne of great entertainment and supporters cheering you on, and lastly, YOU’RE IN DISNEY. As you well know if you’re a regular reader, I have four RunDisney races under my belt already this year, with two more in September, and I’m already buzzing to do more in future years!

Virtual Runs

This is a fairly new and upcoming concept, and some people really don’t understand the point behind them, but I’m obsessed with virtual runs! Virtual races came about to combat the geographical and logistical restrictions of official races; the organisation of large events, participants having to sort travel etc. So how do they work? Just like any other race, you sign up online and pay your entry fee. This may be a charitable donation, it may also cover goodies like medals and t-shirts, all depends on the race. Your race may have a particular day, or a time period for you to complete it over, and all you have to do is complete the distance on that day or during that week or whatever, then submit a proof of run, like MapMyRun stats, photos etc to the organiser, and then you’ll receive your medal/shirt/certificate/whatever through the post. Its the satisfaction of a race without the hassle!

I’ve already completed one this year, and have 6 more coming up this year so far. I’m also thinking about organising one – if anyone would be interested please let me know!

ParkRun

ParkRun is an international organisation that holds weekly races all over the world, but there’s probably one pretty near where you are too! Its totally free to take part, with events run by local volunteers, and its a great way to get into running and join a community. Once registered, you’ll be issued with a personal barcode, which serves as your identification when you complete each race, linking your time to your account. I have two ParkRuns near me; I’m a regular at one and have visited the other once, but they’re both really great and its a real community, plus when you hit milestones (25/50/100 runs complete etc) you get a free t-shirt!

Are there any races you’d love to take part in?

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#YearOfFit – Fitness Goals for Everyone

Happy Wednesday! Are we all feeling good today?

I guess, following the previous introduction post, this is the first ‘proper’ #YearOfFit post of the year, yay!

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If you’re planning on joining me and having your very own year of fitness success, you’ll probably have set yourself some goals or targets for the year – I know I have! – but today I’m going to talk about the goals that anyone can have and achieve, even if it takes a little bit of hard work! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: fitness is for everyone, whether you’re hitting the gym every day or just trying to walk more; it all counts!

Learn to swim

As far as I’m concerned, this is about more than just fitness, its about safety. An article in The Guardian last year said that 1 in 5 adults in England can’t swim, and to me that seems crazy! Swimming is not only a great way to keep fit (especially for those with injuries), but knowing how to hold your own in the water could save your life one day. I’m not going to get morbid, but please, if you can’t, promise me you’ll learn to swim this year?

Run a 5K

Yes, I’m bias, but a 5K is a great goal if you’re taking it up running this year. My best tip on how to get into running? Step outside your front door. It doesn’t matter if you start off running for just 10 seconds at a time, and walking in between; you’re still trying and it will get easier. Is that the finish line in the distance? Yes, yes it is.

Plank for 2 minutes

Planking is a great way of working your whole body with minimal risk of injury and minimal effort. Start by holding it for 10-20 sec, then add a few more seconds on every day. You’ll get there in no time!

Incorporate weight training

Weight training seems to have such a negative connotation with many people, but seriously guys, ITS REALLY GOOD FOR YOU! Try and add some weights into your workouts, and I promise you’ll find yourself feeling better and noticing results!

I truly and totally believe that every single one of these goals can be achieved by anyone. Go, surprise yourself!

#YearOfFit 2016

Welcome to #YearOfFit 2016!

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New-ish series, following on from my previous #fitfordisney posts last year, this is going to be all about keeping fit and healthy, and enjoying it!

Now I just want to start off by saying I am no personal trainer, nor am I a nutritionist or expert; I am just a girl who loves keeping fit. If you’ve followed me for the last year or so, you’ll know that I spent the whole of 2015 training up for the two half marathons that I ran at the beginning of this month, along with another 5k and 10k. I love going to the gym, and tend to do so 3-4 times a week. Long story short, I am really enjoying my fitness journey so far, and I want to share more of it with you, and would love for you to have your own journey this year.

Another thing I want to clear up before this series really kicks off – there will be no body shaming here. This is about fitness and health, not size, but also your body is your body, and it can look however, and do whatever you want it to. Skinny? Good for you! Consider yourself a little on the larger side? Great! Fitness and a healthy lifestyle looks good on everyone!

So what can you expect from #YearOfFit this year? Well I’m going to be writing a combination of fitness tips and advice, sharing some of my favourite workouts, and also covering diet, from meal prep advice to some delicious healthy recipes, and if there’s anything you’d like to see, get in touch!

So right now I want you to think about what you want to get out of your #YearOfFit. You might want to run your first 10k, you might want to take up a new hobby; whatever it is, write it down, take pictures, whatever, and please please PLEASE get in touch to tell me what you’re up to! I’m excited to see who’s going to be with me on this adventure this year!

Ready?

Let’s do this!

(Want a little head start? Read my previous #fitfordisney series for some of my older posts!)