Kayla’s Bikini Body Motivation & Habits Guide

Now I’ve never believed in the term ‘bikini body’ or ‘bikini body ready’ – for me, a bikini body is any body in a bikini, simples. I’ve also never really trusted these fitness influencers or Instagrammers as I’m very wary of some of the products and diets that they endorse, so when it comes to Kayla Itsines I’ve generally not paid much attention.

However, I saw this book in the supermarket the other week; Matthew pointed it out as we’re trying to keep healthy and active in preparation for our trip to Hawaii in April, and at first I kinda scoffed, but then I had a little flick through and noticed that despite the title suggesting otherwise, at least half of the book is recipes, and I’m a sucker for a good recipe book, so it ended up in our basket.

Spoiler alert, I’m now treating this book like my bible.

The book is actually so insightful. The first part talks about habits and motivation, and some of the psychology that goes behind it, and how you can combat the set-backs and hurdles that many of us face day in day out. I must admit that I haven’t read all of this as I’ve got a lot of other books and journals that I use for habit tracking, so I didn’t feel this was particularly relevant to me, but after this bit, the book gets really good.

The next section of the book is all about nutrition and meal-planning. I went into this with a pinch of salt ready to read things suggesting certain foods are really bad for you, or you should cut down on this or that, but there wasn’t any of that and I did a little happy dance. Everything written is informative, well researched and completely balanced, and the nutrition part covers everything from your basic food groups to micronutrients to non-dairy, vegetarianism and veganism, so it covers a pretty good range of dietary needs, but what I love the most about this book is the meal planning.

Now the book itself has a 4 week food plan, including 3 meals and 2 snacks every day over the 28 day period, so if you like to follow something by the letter, this is absolutely great – it even includes your weekly shopping list! However, if like me you struggle to stick to an exact plan day in day out, Kayla also includes an example meal plan, that is a guide of how many portions of what food groups you should be eating each day, and how you can mix and match these to suit. Did I mention how much I love this?

Also included is a big glossary of example foods for every food groups, and portion sizes, so if for example your meal is going to be 2 grains, 2 veg, 1/2 dairy/alternative and 1 meat/alternative, you can simply flick to the back of the book, have a look at what these could includes and make up a meal from there. This makes everything so flexible and easy, and there’s absolutely no calorie counting, or cutting out certain foods – its all about getting the portions and proportions right. Its a meal plan, not a diet.

The recipes offer so many options, and not only have you got every recipe for the 28 day meal plan, there’s also extra recipes that you can substitute in if whatever’s on the menu doesn’t take your fancy! All the recipes are quick, easy, and based on a single portion, which is great because I hate having a recipe designed for 2 or 4 people and having to go through and scale all the ingredients down. Oh, and there’s also a section at the back for desserts!

I have been following the meal plan, in my own way, for two weeks now and I’m already noticing a difference (along side my regular gym workouts and running). Some meals I haven’t changed at all from what I was eating before, but I’ve just got a better balance in what I should be eating and the size portions I should be having. Its so easy to break down every meal into groups, so all I count is the number of portions of each group I’ve had – absolutely no stressing over calories or not eating this or that. Most importantly, I feel so good within myself because I’m eating well.

The final section of the book is workouts, and you get a little 28 day workout guide poster that you can follow along with your meal plan – again, given that I go to the gym 4-5 times a week as it is and know my stuff quite well, I wasn’t so bothered by this, but it is a good little plan.

So while the title of the book didn’t endear me to it in any way, I guess its just proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover!

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Fitbit Flyer Earphones Review

I have been a Fitbit girl for about 5 years now, give or take some time off in between killing my little Zip in a washing machine and replacing it with my current Charge 2. I have always loved their fitness trackers, so much so that I have never been tempted to try any other brand, and so when they announced last year that they were releasing their first pair of wireless headphones, I was pretty convinced that I was going to want them. Lo and behold, they came in a copper/rose gold kinda colour, and I knew that I wanted them.

I got the earphones for Christmas, and have been using them for running/working out at the gym ever since, although I tend to alternate a little bit with my Urbanista headphones when at the gym, but I guess its been about 6 weeks of using them at least once or twice a week.

The only real concern I had with these, or any wireless earphones for that matter, is whether or not they would stay in my ears. Typically in the past I’ve never bothered running with earphones because of the endless struggle of having to push them back into my ears every 30 seconds, and I really didn’t want to be doing the same with these. However, the great thing about the Flyer is that they have an interchangeable design, so each pair comes with a few different sizes of the ear buds, and then also two sizes of both ‘fins’ and ‘wings’, which are both different fittings to help the earphones stay in your ears. I’d watched some YouTube reviews before deciding whether or not to take the plunge with these, and more than one review said that the fins were not great, but that the wings were awesome, so I’ve always used the smaller of the two wing sizes.

The wings tuck underneath the little inner loop of your ear – when I googled it, I saw a lot of websites referring to it as the rook, but that was mainly in terms of piercings, but maybe you know what that means! Because they’re rubbery and flexible, this means that they bend to fit the space and then keep a pretty firm grip there, and as soon as I tried this type of fitting I knew this would be the best type for me. What I really like about this is that there’s nothing going around your ear, like many wireless earphones have, so you don’t feel any real weight or pressure on your ears.

There’s a little on button on one of the ear pieces, and whenever you turn them on a little voice tells you how much charge the headphones have, which is really handy, and if the battery is running low during your workout, it will also pop up to tell you, and also tells you roughly how much time you’ve got left, which is pretty neat. There’s a little control panel on the adjustable cable for volume, and you can also press and hold each of the volume + or – to skip tracks, so you can keep your phone tucked safe away.

I’ve not had a single problem with the Bluetooth connectivity, and can easily walk from one side of my gym to the other before experiencing any sort of skipping. Before getting these, I have on occasion used my boyfriend’s Beats wireless earphones, and found that they skipped a lot more than the Fitbit, even when in close range with my phone, so that’s something! Once set up to your phone, they instantly connect every time you turn them on, and I’ve never had to faff around with having to reconnect them if I’ve not used them in a few days.

Sound wise, I have absolutely zero complaints. The music is clear, there’s no distortion from the rubber buds and they even do a little bit of noise cancelling too. Apparently there are actually two different sound settings, but I’ve always been pretty happy with how mine have sounded so I’ve never looked into how you change settings or what the other setting gives you!

Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with these earphones, and I certainly haven’t experienced the annoyance of constant readjustment and pushing them back in every time I go for a run. The one thing I would say is that it does take a little bit of time getting used to how you want the fit in terms of the attachments and the strap, so there’s a bit of trial and error in the first week or so, but honestly I do think these are a great pair of fitness earphone, which is ultimately what Fitbit designed them to be. My colour is officially called Lunar Grey, but there’s nothing grey about them, and I think they’re a really good looking pair of earphones, and they do also come in Nightfall Blue if the copper thing isn’t really your style.

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‘Celebrity’ Books That I Loved

When it comes to books, I generally don’t gravitate to those with a ‘celebrity’ author, and by that I mean a TV personality, film star, sportsperson etc. I’ve never really been one for autobiographies, and I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to famous people writing about stuff that they’re not so famous for. (Yes, I know they probably know the subject very well and all that, I just can’t help but think they’ve had some other person do most of the research and even if that’s not the case, I’ll still think it). Basically, I’m probably most celebrity authors worst nightmare.

That said, there are three books that fit this category that I completely worship, and I personally think that every girl – hell, anyone in general – should read, and here’s why.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

I will fight anyone who doesn’t like Anna Kendrick. I think she just so genuine in her personality, I think she’s crazy talented and she’s ridiculously funny, but also loves a big helping of sarcasm. When she released her book, I knew I wanted to read it straight away, despite my previously mentioned dislike for autobiographies. Well I took it on a flight from Gatwick to Orlando, and I’d read it cover to cover before the plane landed. I loved learning more about her career as a child – she was on Broadway as a teenager and was the second youngest person EVER to be nominated for a Tony Award for her role in High Society – did you know that? I sure as hell didn’t before I read this. The whole book just reads as Anna, like she could just be sitting across from you telling these stories. I doesn’t sound like someone just trying to plug their successes and just overall it gave me so much more respect for her, not that I didn’t like her already. Lots of fun, lots of sarcasm but ultimately lots of reality.

Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso

I hate to be ‘that person’ but I actually read this book before it became the enormous hit that it is now, but I do think it deserves every accolade. As well as being an autobiography, this book made me feel like I could take on the world. Sophia’s story is so impressive and its the true underdog story of Subway sandwich artist to CEO. Again, the writing just felt so genuine and not at all edited or scripted in any way, and also quite incredibly humble for someone who achieved so much. And while the book itself and the story that it told was a fabulous read, its the culture that it has inspired that makes it truly amazing. #Girlboss

Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson is another celebrity that I admire hugely, but I definitely think even more so since reading this book. This isn’t an autobiography but I also struggle to categorise it as its combination of health, lifestyle and positivity. What I love about this book is that it doesn’t focus in any way on one particular method to be healthier. It teaches the thing that I find most important when it comes to health and fitness and that is that every body is different and its all about learning how to understand your own body and what it wants and needs and using that mindfulness and understanding to learn what to do to become healthier. I think that this is something that anyone can read, not just people who are trying to become fitter or healthier. Kate really nailed it with this one.

I’d love to hear any recommendations you might have for similar books, so please drop me a comment if there’s any books you really love!

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Things You Need To Know About Tough Mudder

Its crazy to think that its been over two years since I took part in my first (and only, to date!) Tough Mudder event, and to say it was an experience is an absolute understatement!

I took part in a small team made up of a few people I knew from work and their friends, plus my dad, and had the craziest 12.5 miles of my entire life as I ran, waded, climbed and threw myself up, down and over the infamous obstacles that put the tough in Tough Mudder.

Its no easy feat, but its absolutely doable by anyone with determination and a bit of preparation, and if whether you’re already training, or thinking about taking on the course one day, here are a few words of wisdom for you..

Your team is much bigger than you think it is

Most people participate in the events in small groups and teams, but in reality, everyone on the course is on your side too. Total strangers will come to your aid if you need a leg up, hand over or just some moral support for anything that comes your way.

Label everything

If you want to run with a Go Pro, or a fitness tracker (only do this if its waterproof), or anything that could potentially fall off, label it. A friend of mine who regularly volunteers at the events says that after each race they scoop at least 10 Go Pros and more watches and sunglasses than you know what to do with out of the obstacles, and they do try and return them all, but that’s not easy if you can’t tell who’s from who’s.

You won’t be able to do it all alone, and that’s ok

I’m not being funny, but unless you can jump vertically 12ft in the air to get over some of the enormous obstacles in your path, you’re gonna need help every now and then, and people will be more than happy, as I’ve just said! Plus, its totally ok to fall/jump off everything!

You cannot prepare for Arctic Enema

Plunging into a container of ice water is like nothing I can describe. Its not like skinny-dipping in the English Channel on New Years Day, it will literally knock the breath from your lungs! Whenever I go out for a run in the rain, or complain about the cold I just think that I will never ever be as cold as I was in those moments.. But don’t worry, you warm up again pretty quick!

Cry Baby is not as bad as you think it will be

Crawling through an enclosure filled with what’s marketed as ‘tear gas’ is enough to fill anyone with a bit of dread – hell, I was so worried about doing this – but truth is, its actually laughing gas, and its not that far to crawl either!

But Electroshock Therapy really is

Probably the most infamous of all the torturous obstacles, and they love to save the best for last, running to the finish line through a structure with dangling electrical cables that are hooked up to car batteries is certainly an experience. Not all the cables will shock you, but when they do, oh my word.

You don’t have to do everything

All of the obstables can be bypassed, and there’s absolutely no pressure to participate, and no shame in saying no. I was prepared to skip quite a few, but I actually only missed one (which actually appeared in the course twice, so technically I did it once anyway!) which I was pretty impressed by.

It takes time

I did my event during the peak of my half marathon training, and I figured that 12.5 miles of obstacles wouldn’t take me much longer than just running the distance. Well it took us over 4 hours..

Bring a tonne of wet wipes and a big towel

After you’ve mudded up, you can wash off in a makeshift shower area, but this is outside (so unless you’re a bit of an exhibitionist, no stripping off), and the water is freezing (but warmer than Arctic Enema) and has no pressure. I showered fully dressed to get the mud off of as much as possible, then ducked into the women’s changing tent to put on as many warm clothes as I could, despite still being fairly muddy and wet, but all the veterans in there had wet wipes which seemed like a much easier way of doing things.

Enjoy the photos

I know that in many of the photos I look ridiculous, but seeing them makes me so damn proud of what I achieved. Never in a million years did I think I’d make it through that course, yet here I am, a Mud Legionnaire.

If you’re unsure about taking part, all I can say is just do it. You’ll amaze yourself.

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Why Has ‘Fit Shaming’ Become A Thing?

No, that’s not a typo in the title.

I, for one, cannot understand the shaming culture that we have created. We’ve had ‘fat shaming’ and ‘skinny shaming’ and unfortunately we still see this unnecessary viciousness every day, but what has really shocked me in recent months is what I personally like to call ‘fit shaming’.

This is something that I have personally experienced for a little while now, but whenever a new year comes round, I see this increasing across the likes of Twitter, and this is the bizarre concept that people seem to think its okay to try and make people feed bad about trying to be healthy. Not trying to be skinny, not fad-dieting or specifically trying to lose weight, this is just the act of trying to live a vaguely healthy lifestyle by going to the gym every so often, making a healthier food choice every once in a while or just trying to be more active.

Are you as confused by this as I am?

We all know that one of the most common New Years resolutions is people aiming to be a bit healthier or get fitter. Whether you manage the whole year, or just the first day, I think its a great resolution to have, and I don’t think anyone should be made to feel bad about setting this goal, New Years or not. Despite this, though, the keyboard warriors of the world love to try and make people feel crap about it.

Me? I’ve been teased by people I work with. Yep.. Snide comments about the fact that I went to the gym that morning, laughing about the fact that I packed a salad or teasing me and other colleagues when we compared Fitbits.

WHY IS THIS A THING?

I don’t really care about people making stupid little comments, but I just cannot comprehend why anyone thinks there is anything shame-worthy about fitness. I mean, I don’t think anyone should be voicing judgement on other people’s personal choices and decisions, but of all the things I just do not understand this behaviour.

I’m just gonna say it louder for the people in the back: LET PEOPLE LIVE HOW THEY WANT TO LIVE.

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5 Reasons I’m Excited to Start Marathon Training

A few weeks ago I announced that in January 2019 I will be running my first ever full marathon. This announcement should have been the start of my training, but the universe had other ideas for me and I was struck with a knee injury that’s had me out ever since.

Fortunately, I gave myself over a year to train, so this little set back doesn’t bother me too much, and instead of starting now I’m just gonna rest, recover and prepare myself for taking the bull by the horns come January, and I’m actually starting to look forward to it more than I am dreading it! Here’s a few of the reasons why:

Carb loading

For the most part, I will be concentrating on eating as well as I can come the new year, but while I’m a firm believer in eating what you want and not having to justify food choices to anyone, I’m pretty excited for big bowls of pasta with the excuse of needing to carb-load.

Getting to be ‘that’ person

Marathon runners are kinda like vegans, pilots and people who do Crossfit* in that they tell as many people as they possibly can that they’re training for a marathon as if you’re the first person in the world to ever do one. I don’t care, its a huge deal for me so you’re damn right I’m gonna spread it like Love Island gossip. (this is already the second post I’ve talked about running a marathon in the space of a month, so there’s the proof)

*Dear vegans, pilots and people who Crossfit, please know that I’m making a joke and I have the utmost respect for all of you!

Running regularly again

Sometimes I feel like the most pathetic excuse for a runner because in the past year I have been the furthest thing from consistent. Sure, I’ve completed 3 half marathons and 3 10K races, but I’ll be the first to admit that I did those with practically no training and only a few intermittent 5K ParkRuns and the odd short distance run, and part of the reason for this is because I knew I could get away with not training. Well that’s not gonna be the case for this.. I’m gonna spend the next few weeks putting together a proper training schedule (which I thoroughly enjoy making) and sticking to it like an octopus on your face.

All the fun runs

I currently have no actual races planned for 2018, so I’m on the hunt for as many shorter distance races and fun runs that I can do to keep myself motivated through the coming year. A few on my list are Race for Life, Run or Dye and the Great South Run, and if you’ve got any recommendations please drop me a comment!

The satisfaction of a good run

When Dad and I started training for our first ever half marathon, there was nothing like the feeling of completing the next milestone both figuratively and literally. Back then it was 8 miles, or 10 miles or 12 miles, but now I’m looking forward to the feeling of doing my first ever 15, 20 and 25 milers.

I’m sure there’ll be a million and one reasons that I start dreading training too, but for now I’m concentrating on the positives! Wish me luck!

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I Can Be Body Positive While Still Wanting to Change Mine

2017 has been a huge year for body positivity. Its been at the forefront of a lot of brand campaigns, its been discussed a great deal more in the media and I’ve seen so many more people I know talking about it on social media and embracing it.

I think every girl knows what its like to hate their body. From a young age we’re faced with pressure to comply to certain body standards, and made to feel awful about ourselves if we don’t fit in. I actually remember lying about my weight when I was in primary school. That’s right, I was no older than 10 or 11 the first time I lied about my weight because I knew I weighed more than the other girls in my class and I didn’t want them to make fun of me.

I remember being nervous about going shopping with my friends when I started secondary school because I didn’t want them to see me picking up clothes that were sized larger than my age, and I remember one time, when I was finally passing my real chunky phase, feeling so happy that when my friends said I should try on a dress that I actually fit into my age/size. I wore t-shirts over bikinis at the beach when I was a teenager, especially if there were going to be boys around, and I’d always make sure I was behind the camera to ensure I was never caught in any photos.

Let’s just say, body positivity has never come easily for me, but I have never judged anyone else on their body. If I see any girl of any size doing her thing I’m like YASS GIRLLL OWN IT; I love seeing body positivity in others, and even if that person isn’t particularly body positive themselves, I’ll happily be their cheerleader.

Over the last few years, however, I have been learning to own my body. My confidence has been growing courtesy of going to the gym, getting fitter and eating better, and seeing the changes that has come from these actions. You see, I’m still trying to change my body to make it look how I’d like it to look, but that doesn’t make me any less positive. The changes that I’d like to see in my body are purely for me, because I want to feel healthier, but also because I want to love my body a little bit more, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be body positive now.

This year, for the first time ever, I posted a photo of myself in a bikini on social media. Hell, I even stood up in front of a whole bunch of people in said bikini for that photo to be taken. I’m wearing clothes I never thought I could wear because I’m more confident with my body. Yes, I’d like to be a little less squishy round the edges, but the fact is I’d be perfectly happy if my size didn’t change at all. I am body positive now, and I think you are all beautiful too.

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