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?

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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.

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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?

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Cauliflower Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Do you ever have a real craving for something, decide to make it there and then, and then go to the kitchen and find your missing a vital ingredient? Well that was me last week. I have a homemade chicken nugget recipe that I’ve been using for years, and it was all I wanted to have for dinner.. Until I discovered I hate no breadcrumbs. Gutted.

I mooched over to the fridge to find alternative food options, and was greeted by the tub of cauliflower rice. Lightbulb. Twenty minutes later: happy Lottie with chicken nuggets.

Make them now, thank me later!

You’re gonna need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice (I used the pre-made stuff you can get from most supermarkets now, but you can just blitz up your own in a food processer!)
  • 1 tbsp fine parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Melted butter or a beaten egg yolk

Preheat your oven to 200C and cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the cauliflower, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper, and set to one side. Chop up your chicken breast into small nugget sized pieces, roughly 1 inch cubes!

If you’re using butter, now is the time to melt that, or beat up your egg yolk, then one piece at a time, dip the chicken into the butter/yolk, allow any excess to run off, then roll around in the cauliflower mixture.

Place each piece on the baking tray, leaving a little room between each nugget, and repeat until all of the chicken is covered. If you have any excess mix, you can use this to cover up any patches on any of the nuggets!

Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins, and be sure to check that the chicken is cooked through and juices are running clear.

Et voila – golden nuggets in less than 20 mins! Enjoy!

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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!

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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!

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My New Fitness Routine

I mean, I couldn’t stay at Muscle Beach forever..

In line with my post from Sunday, I’ve gotta get back on track with my fitness training. Having only just recovered from the jet lag, this morning was my first day back at the gym since before holiday, and although I did spend my holiday running a 10K and a half marathon, I’m definitely feeling the slump from a lack of workouts recently!

Now I’m a firm believer that the term ‘bikini body’ is a load of bull, and it really does grind my gears when health and fitness companies try to use the summer as a way to shame people into thinking they should be slimmer, but while my motivation has nothing to do with that, I do want to up my training heading into the summer months, for myself, my body confidence and no other reason.

Running

Personally, I hate running during the summer. I live on the beach and you’d think that would be perfect for running during the summer but I cannot stand it; it’s busy and the sun is glaring down and there’s no shade plus kids and dogs and bikes are everywhere. No thanks.

I also don’t do any big races during the summer, primarily due to heat, so I don’t have to worry about training too much, but I do want to maintain my consistency, so I’ll be aiming to do at least two runs a week – preferably a 5K and a 10K, just to keep myself moving and on form. I don’t see the point in pushing myself too much as I’m too prone to injury!

Gym

The gym is probably where I feel my most confident when it comes to fitness. I’ve seen such amazing progression that I don’t feel at all ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself, and I’m not stopping here. I’ll be aiming to visit at least 3-4 days a week, mixing both weight and strength training with some cardio options like spinning and rowing.

Given that I’m reining back my run training, I can get away with doing more leg training, as when I’m preparing for races I’m very cautious about what lower body work that I do, so I’ll definitely be stepping up with squats and lunges galore. My main focus has always really been upper body, especially my arms, and that will still be a big focus for me, but I also really enjoy finding more functional moves and workouts to get my whole body engaged!

Home Workouts

Where most people would probably have an area rug on their bedroom floor, I have my yoga mat rolled out at all times. I try not to waste precious gym time doing exercises that I can easily do at home, so evenings are the times that I generally do more calisthetics. I have both the Tone It Up and Blogilates apps on my phone, so I’m aiming to stick to the TIU daily moves every day, as well as one video by either K&K or one of my Blogilates faves.

I’m also hoping to fit some more yoga into my routine, both for strength and flexibility as well as time for meditation and relaxation, and praying I can master that forearm stand!

Fun Fitness

On top of everyday exercise, I’m hoping to squeeze a lot more fun into the summer months – Swimming, long adventurous walks, high ropes, trampolining, anything that’s a little bit different and a whole lotta fun really! If I’m enjoying myself and I’m being active then even better, right?

Do you mix up your fitness routine when summer comes?

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