Saturday, 24 October 2015

Lightening the load

It's been one of those roller coaster weeks of emotions, for various reasons. Normally if I have a particularly stressful/bad/sad week, I have a tendency to get anxious and feel like a black cloud is hanging over me. Since I started going to the gym, these weeks are now few, however, this past week has been a tough one.

All week I've been getting up, going to the gym and going to work so I haven't had much time to think. Today was my first day in a long time where I had absolutely no plans. I woke up feeling very low and pretty tearful, and that black cloud was very present. I got up but went back to bed and tried to sleep. I felt even more grey so I decided to get out of my pity pit and put on my gym wear. 

Instead of wallowing in the thoughts in my head, I charged the wasted energy into a workout. I can't tell you how much better I feel from just an hour in the gym, getting my heart pumping and my skin sweaty.

I've spoken before about exercise being a mood lifter but this is the strongest elevation I've felt. I feel more level and myself again. It was nice to see familiar faces too... What I love about my gym the most is the friendliness of the staff and people there. 

I had a particularly great session at the 6.30am class on Thursday where we did circuit training. I knew a few of the lovely people who go to the class each morning and everyone made me feel so welcome. I admit I felt nervous beforehand, mainly due to the thought that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the uber fit early birders! The circuits were tough but we got through it together, and people took breathers when it got really tough. I surprised myself with how far I could push myself. My mood was very much lifted as I left feeling strong and rejuvenated.

I truly believe the gym and gym goers have kept me sane this week. Last night, we all went out to say goodbye to my wonderful trainer, Anna, who has helped me so much. She is sadly moving to another gym but us loyal followers are going to do road trips to her new gym to attend her classes and continue having our 1-2-1's. 

We had a really good giggle and it was nice to see each other out of the gym and out of our sweaty work out gear! We are all different ages and do different jobs, but we have one thing in common, a love of staying happy and healthy through exercise.

It's so important to have an outlet from your working life to ensure you don't get wrapped up in the stresses that come with everyday life. Whether it be playing the piano, learning a new language, reading great novels, or going to the gym!

Tomorrow I have a 1-2-1 with new trainer Jon, last time I saw him I couldn't walk the next day! Wish me luck....

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Official Gym Bunny

I've been going to the gym for nearly a year now and I'm glad to say I haven't lost the motivation or interest, I've only gotten more addicted to the power of the endorphins and seeing the changes I'm making to my body and general health.

In all honesty, I didn't think my will power was as strong as it appears to be. Will power is what makes me drag myself out of my bed and get to the gym 3 mornings a week. I prefer going to the gym at the crack of dawn. Call me mad, but it starts my day off so positively and gets my metabolism going. I sometimes will go after work or later in the morning at the weekend but generally I'm definitely a morning girl!

 I have my days where I really 'can't be bothered'. Like this morning - my alarm went off at 6am, it was pitch black, I heard the rain tapping on my window, the wind rushing through the trees, and I just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.

But I didn't, I had a glass of water and splashed my face because I knew I would only be lying in bed for one more hour begrudging myself that I didn't go to the gym and would instead have to go after work when I'm tired and drained. I would start the day on a less positive note, that's for sure.

(On the left) Out at The Midlands Fashion Awards on Friday (on the left) Back in 2007, cooking in Portugal
When you start going to the gym on a regular basis, at the same time each day, you start to get to know people. It's that community spirit that human beings need, and you can find it anywhere, whether it be in the workplace or your neighbourhood, or the gym! I love my gym for the fact that people of all ages, sizes and backgrounds, come together to keep healthy and spend time doing something so positive for themselves. It helps to keep you motivated too. You can be inspired by what the ultra fit lady is doing next to you with the kettle bells or stay focused together in a class. If the person next to you is continuing to lift those weights, it will spur you on to do the same.

 This past month I have really seen a difference in my body. My arms are becoming more sculpted, my bum is firmer and my tummy is even getting more toned! I also have seen a difference in my health.  I would always get ill with my asthma and have horrendous sore throats and coughs when the colder months kicked in. This year I have had one cold. That's it! And even when the dreaded time of the month looms and you're feeling agonised by cramps, just get on the cross trainer, they soon disappear.

The gym may not be for everyone but it really has turned my life around for the better, and the more I feel the benefits of keeping fit, the more I want to push myself. I've even signed up for a Body Combat Circuit training class (I think that's what they call it?!) first thing tomorrow morning.... Wish me luck!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Interview with Jezz: the muscles from Digbeth!

In Digbeth where I work in Birmingham, along with being a buzz of creativity, it is also becoming the place to come and train. The gyms in Digbeth, such as CrossFit Digbeth, are a world away from rooms filled with treadmills and bikes. Instead it's all about focusing on training the body to move the way it is meant to through a mix of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics and core training.

I got to know one of the lovely guys who trains down in Digbeth, Jezz Freeth, a university student in Birmingham and also a personal trainer. He comes into our cafĂ© at work, Fazeley Social, for a post-workout protein fix. Jezz has got a case of the fitness bug like me but Jezz is on a whole other level! He is even going to compete in Men's Physique 2016, for which he is now focusing on getting in the best shape possible along with a bit of fake tan!

I follow Jezz on Instagram, he inspires me to keep motivated and he also posts fantastic nutritional foodie shots that have really inspired me when I've struggled with knowing what I should eat following a workout.

So I thought I would interview Jezz to get some advice for all of my lovely followers, in case you have gotten bored of me rambling on about green juices and my sugar addiction...

Have you always been into health and fitness?

I was always active from a young age. Me and my older brother were into wrestling and admired people like Arnold Schwarzenegger for his physique. When I was 15 I got into cage fighting, which we had always been fans of. This really stepped it up for me being so physically demanding.

Me, my brother and my dad would train together and eating well was also always important at home.

How has going to the gym helped you?

Going to the gym has taught me the essentials in fitness and strength. At Athlete Box in Digbeth, I love that there are people of all ages and backgrounds working out together. I have different people I train with and then there are the classes which are good as you are not in control of what you are doing. You're less likely to give up and push your body further. Everyone is around you and you have to rise to the occasion.

You shouldn't be afraid of going to the gym, there is a place for everybody and everyone has different goals. Do what works for you and make sure to mix things up so your body doesn't get used to the workouts you do.

With all the hard work you put in at the gym, do you make sure you're putting the right food into your body?

When you eat a cleaner diet, you do notice a difference. It's like putting the right petrol into your car. I'm currently studying nutrition as part of my University course and do my own research as well. I follow what works best for me and the goals I want to achieve. It won't be the same for everybody!

I eat a lot of protein, to build muscle, and eat good carbs such as brown rice, quinoa and sweet potato. I don't believe in cutting any food group out of a diet. It's all required for a healthy body you just have to make sure it's balanced.  Add extra vegetables onto your plate alongside your chicken or steak rather than making it carb heavy. 

I work at the Juice Bar at the gym too and smoothies are a good boost for pre and post workouts at the gym. Add sweet fruit such as mango to sweeten the taste of the bitterness from the veg. And always make sure the ratio to fruit to veg is the same as too much fruit will spike your blood sugar level.

Do you follow 'rules' such as not eating after 7pm and working out in the morning rather than late at night?

I have a very fast metabolism so I can get away with eating late at night, I don't really follow the rules of when you should and shouldn't eat.

As for what time of day to exercise, you have to do what works for you to make sure your lifestyle change is sustainable. Exercise when you can and fit it into how you live your life.

You post these delicious photos of Protein Pancakes on Instagram, can you tell us your recipe?

These are a good way to start the day or to have after a workout as they keep you full for ages and are full of goodness.

Protein Pancakes:

One Banana
2 eggs
One cup of oats
Protein powder

Mix and blend the above ingredients together and cook as you would normal pancakes! You can ass honey, cinnamon and peanut butter to the mix too. Add some colourful berries too.

Can you give us one top on starting the day right?

I always start the day with a glass of water, you need to rehydrate after a nights sleep to get your body ready for the day!