GYM & TONEIC

What to wear when exercising…

My shocked face - raised eyebrow Rock impression.
My shocked face – raised eyebrow Rock impression.

I felt compelled to write this after a bank holiday hike in Malham over the weekend. Some of the sights I saw (not scenery) were simply shocking, my face said it all… as above! The scenery was stunning!

Now I’m no Gok Wan of the walking world, but some of the choice outfits left me speechless – which is unheard of! I honestly couldn’t believe what some people were wearing to hike up hills, through cow pat covered fields and scrambling up rocks… the ‘looks’ included:

  • Jeans – lots of people wearing jeans (to trek 8 miles!), jeans have no give and they’re not lightweight.
  • Converse or other streetwear footwear – don’t get me wrong Converse are cool, I own a couple of pairs myself, but you’d never catch me trekking 8 miles in them. They rub after wearing them for a few hours, and give no support for your feet/ankles on that kind of terrain.

It gets better…

  • A leather mini skirt and ankle boots – honestly! WTF…
  • Shirt, smart pants and nice shoes – this guy looked like he was going on a night out… he looked great, for a night out!!
  • A lovely summer dress and strappy sandals – serious!

I feel like my mother saying this (that transition is definitely happening), but it’s not a fashion show! Your first thought should be comfort, second thought should be care (for your joints) and finally preparation (for all weather conditions) i.e. light layers.

You don’t need to go all Bear Grylls, equally you don’t need to spend a small fortune. Think about it, you’re exercising, getting a sweat on, you don’t want to dress in your Sunday best.

Hillside chic
Hillside chic

Again, I’m no Gok Wan or active wear guru, and I don’t spend a fortune on sports gear myself (to sweat in for a few hours!). Nor do I own much of your typical outdoor gear, however, my outfit included:

  • Shock Absorber sports bra – the best sports bras I have tried and tested to date, I need decent support up-top. Check out my sports bra blog Sisters Need Support!
  • Strappy sports top and hooded base layer from Asda – most supermarkets stock decent sports gear nowadays, that doesn’t cost much at all.
  • Nike ¾ length leggings – I can’t remember where I bought these, but I’d imagine from a sports discount outlet. Google branded outlets and you’ll find a few around Manchester.
  • Karrimor walking boots – I got these from Sports Direct, I think I paid about £40 for them.

Things to think about when picking your exercise clobber…

  • Comfort and ease of movement – you don’t want to feel restricted, get friction burns and so on.
  • Support for your joints – ankles, knees, hips; wear suitable footwear. I’m a self-confessed shoeaholic, I LOVE shoes. But there’s a time, place and fittingness for every pair… unless they’re Crocs, they should be banned!
  • Layers – whether you’re in the gym or the great outdoors, lightweight layers are key! Easy to add and remove as required.

Check out more pics from my hike over on my Facebook page here.

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First day on the gym floor

the gym fat is burned

Yesterday I worked my first gym shift, back where it all began. Living back in Ramsbottom it seemed only right that the first place I work should be at Ramsbottom Pool and Fitness Centre, where I started out as a lifeguard many (many) moons ago!

To be honest I don’t think I ever fully left the leisure centre… once you work in that setting you’re part of it for life. You become family, with generations, siblings and partners working together, and customers that have been regulars for decades – it’s one big happy family. Both my sisters’ work for Bury Leisure, we all started out as lifeguards after swimming for the local club. I still remember harassing the centre manager (Phil) for casual hours way before I passed my lifeguard exams…

I have to admit I was nervous before my shift, despite knowing the people, set-up, procedures and so on. I helped implement a lot of the processes and membership offerings when I looked after the marketing of all three sports centres. Regardless, the gym floor is new territory for me, and putting theory into practice is where the real learning begins… like passing your driving test. I was eased into the role with just one induction booked in, but it was great to chat to customers, giving training tips and advice, getting used to new surroundings.

Lovely to work with familiar friendly faces and catch-up with so many customers from way back when. I’ve missed working on the front line, face-to-face with customers. I’m more certain that I’ve made the right move, coming out from behind the desk, retracing steps to pave new ones.

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Yesterday was the best day!

I want to inspire people quote

I passed my practical exam! It’s official, I can now say that I am a qualified Personal Trainer… even bigger YAY!

I’m writing this post today, because as soon as I passed my exam yesterday I came home and messaged my friends to see who was around for a much needed celebratory drink – G&T was calling! I had no time to write a post, as priority went on paying myself some long overdue TLC… in the form of dying my hair, shaving my legs and a host of other girlie grooming basics that I’d neglected to do for the last few weeks, having lived like a hermit with my head stuck in the study books… the crazy cavewoman look had to go!

I’m chuffed to bits, pleased as punch; all of the hours of studying and stressing paid off. The first and hardest part of my life changing plans is complete! Next up… put the qualifications to good use and bag myself instructing hours. Lots and lots more learning to do, every day will be learning day from here on in.

I can’t wait to start helping people to achieve their health and fitness goals, and see where this new career and fitness focus leads – exciting times indeed!

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. 

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Today is a good day!

IMG_3170 (1)

The impossible became possible! I passed my level 3 PT theory exams… YAY!

Chuffed to bits and so relieved, I can breathe again… well until Saturday, when I do my practical.

The pressure I’ve felt in the lead up is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, as everything in my ‘dream’ future is riding on this… I quit my job for this!

Stress, anxiety, fear, doubt, major doubt; is the toxic cocktail of emotions I’ve been swimming in for the last few weeks and months, since handing my notice in. Questioning my sanity, capabilities, life decisions (all of my life decisions to date for that matter…). I’ve looked like a walking corpse! So much so that my tutor/examiner said as much today, as I stood grey complexion, shaking like a leaf, waiting to go into the exam room.

I’m not a scientific thinker, I was crap at science at school, and the anatomy is bloody complex! So this has been no easy feat, no ‘winging it’ on this occasion. I’ve had to read everything hundreds of times for it to go in and ‘get it’, and I still don’t fully get it. I’m going to be studying and learning constantly from here on in… but I’m excited about that!

So that’s my good news for the day… fingers, toes and anything else that can be crossed, crossed for my practical exam on Saturday.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear!

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Drink more water

H2O Symbol in Water --- Image by © Matthias Kulka/Corbis

About 60% of the human body is made of water. Keeping fluids balanced is vital to ensure it does its job effectively – transporting nutrients, aiding digestion, regulating temperature and so on. Lots of people let themselves get to the point of dehydration and don’t drink enough water, myself included up until late. I’ve now made a conscious effort to drink more, and you should too!

You are not a camel Nicola!
You are not a camel Nicola!

This post is dedicated to my friend Nicola (Botty), who in the 20+ years I’ve known her I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen her supping a pint of water… wine and gin on the other hand… Nicola has signed herself up to do a crazy challenge in June (she has a habit of doing this, without thinking/training). She’s taking on a marathon challenge, to run 6 marathons in 3 days! Yep – she’s insane! She’s never done a marathon and she’s not exactly followed a training plan, but she used to be a decent cross country runner back in the day, she’s clinging on to this. Still – 6 marathons, 3 days, it’s going to be brutal! I keep stressing the importance of drinking more water, needs must to complete this latest feat my friend!

Chanting ‘hell no H20’ when you’re out on the lash is all well and good – well it’s not, but we do! But when it comes to everyday life (sober) and exercising, we should be drinking water consistently throughout the day, more so when we train. Getting to the point of dehydration (gasping and glugging) is not good, not good at all.

There’s loads of benefits of drinking water, some of which include:

  • Healthier skin, teeth and bones.
  • Healthier joints – water keeps cartilage around our joints hydrated and supple.
  • Improved digestion – water helps to dissolve fats and soluble fiber, flushing waste products.
  • Increased metabolism – water boosts our bodies’ ability to burn fat.
  • Increased energy – water increases ability to perform and reduces fatigue.

The amount of water we should drink depends on a number of things, like activity level, but it’s recommended that we should be drinking between 2 – 4 litres per day.

Drinking water on its own can be boring, so why not add fruit – lemons, limes, mint, berries and so on. I’ve just ordered a fruit infuser bottle from eBay, can’t wait for it to arrive (sad I know, but it’s the little things).

Put the coffee down and drink more water Nicola!

Hell yeah let’s hydrate!

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