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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