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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Endorphins: the best high you’ll ever have!

Credit: BBC http://bbc.in/1ZkGxrd

Endorphins – the legal high that’s backed and most definitely won’t be getting banned any time soon! Want to get high, euphoric, feel good AMAZING, de-stress, IMPROVE your health, fitness and general wellbeing? EXERCISE is the answer! It’s the miracle drug we’ve always had, but all too often people fail to take the recommended dose, and the effects of that can be fatal.

We know this… it’s not new news. So why is it that so many people are still missing out on this awesome high?

When you exercise your body releases endorphins ‘happy hormones’, morphine-based pain-relievers that are essentially like heroin… but so much BETTER… as an endorphin molecule is a hundred times more powerful! Note: I’ve never tried heroin! But that’s what the health experts say. When you take morphine, you feel dreamy and pain-free, this is what endorphins do too and that’s why people get addicted to exercise.

5 benefits of exercise

  • Relieves stress – healthy body, healthy mind. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress, a big motivator for me personally at the minute. It can also reduce risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Reduces risk of major illnesses – such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers by up to 50% and lowers your risk of early death by up to 30% (ref NHS).
  • Boosts self-esteem – get high on those happy hormones! Exercise boosts self-esteem and confidence, who doesn’t want to look and most importantly FEEL good.
  • Improves sleep – a biggie for me as I LOVE sleep. In my mind there’s nothing worse than a bad night’s sleep, I should be avoided at all costs if sleep deprived.
  • Increases energy levels – increasing your heart rate and working up a sweat will increase your energy levels. Activity fuels more activity!

There’s literally hundreds more!

Laziness fuels more laziness

It’s time to quit with the excuses… lack of time isn’t good enough! Make time, make the effort and you’ll reap the rewards. You are the one holding you back; you will be the one that suffers as a consequence.

Baby steps can lead to big changes!

What benefits do you get from exercise?

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5 top tips to maintain your mojo

Austin-Powers-Mojo

Mid-January sees flocks of new faces hitting the gym, come early March it’s only the reliant regulars that remain. A cycle you see year in and out – great for sales targets, but that membership is an expensive piece of plastic in your wallet if unused.

Maintaining your mojo can be tough at times! We’re all human, have off days, weekend binges and fall off the bandwagon. The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it and throw the towel in.

Writing a list of New Year’s resolutions as long as your arm probably wasn’t the best idea, as was thinking you would tick them off in quick succession. Don’t despair, take stock and review your goals.

Here’s 5 top tips to get back on track…

  1. Tone it down

All too often people go from doing no exercise, to training every day. It’s New Year and you’re on fire – but it’s only a matter of time before you burn out. Tone it down, build it up gradually over time. Create a routine that fits in with your work/life schedule, this may mean making a few changes here and there, but it shouldn’t be so drastic that you can’t stick at it.

  1. Try something new

Mix it up, try different exercises, classes, sports and activities; the gym isn’t always the answer for everyone. Exercise should be fun and enjoyable! Try out as many different things as possible, until you find your mojo.

  1. Review your goals

Be honest… Are they realistic? Are they achievable? Do you actually want to do them, or did you get caught up and carried away with the new you notion? It’s OK to change track and review your goals – that’s life!

  1. Prep like a boss

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite saying this… This is my first to do to get back on track. Plan your weekly exercise sessions in advance, so you know what you’re doing on what day of the week. Create a workout log to track weights, reps/sets, distance and time, to show your progression.

  1. Ask the experts

Ask a fitness instructor for tips, guidance and support, that’s what they are there for. In many gym facilities you can get tailored exercise programmes or a PT session as part of your membership package – take advantage of this! They’ll talk you through and show you exercises suitable for your specific areas of focus, to meet your personal goals.

Got more top tips to get back on track? Share your suggestions in the comments link at the top of the page…

#MaintainYourMojo

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