GYM & TONEIC

Sleep is life!

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Rest, recovery and sleep are so important when it comes to your health and well-being. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) states that sleep is a basic human need and is just as important for good health as diet and physical activity. It’s a topic that is close to my heart, being a 10 hour girl that bloody loves her sleep, a girl who will happily call it a night and retreat to the land of nod at 9pm given half the chance. I never really have a problem falling asleep and if I do I consider it to be a big problem! I fall into the deepest sleep, so much so I’ve woken up to friends checking my pulse in the middle of the night thinking I’ve slipped into a coma or died – I cannot function without a lot of sleep!

I’m writing this post off the back of a horrific 5 hours broken sleep, after going round to my friend Nicola’s house (Botty, the crazy marathon runner) for a ‘quiet’ girl’s night in with two of my other good friends, Sian and Georgie. I say good friends… they were downing drinks and dancing on tables till 5.30am, I took myself off to bed at 2am and tried to get some shut eye, whilst they caused carnage around her kitchen table (the below picture a snippet of the night), scenes from an American frat party at number 23! I’m tired, grumpy and seriously contemplating un-liking and de-friending them in real life right now…

shots, shots, shots
shots, shots, shots

I bang on to them like a broken record that they need to get more sleep, as they regularly pull all-nighters (on school nights too!). Telling them they’re all going to look 90 by the time they hit 40, to which they hurl abuse back at me too obscene to repeat in public… when the mirror on the wall cracks in front of you at 40 ladies, you’ll wish you’d taken my advice 😉 I only say this because I love you!

The body is set to a 24-hour clock, the internal biological clock being fundamental to the survival of all living organisms (so pretty important!). It influences hormone secretion, urine production, regulates body temperature and blood pressure. A good night’s sleep allows the body to wake up fresh and invigorated, ready to face the coming day’s challenges. Too little sleep causes drowsiness, inability to concentrate, reduced productivity and performance. In the long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to premature aging (Nicola, Sian & Georgie take note!), digestive disturbances, psychological problems, behavioral disturbances and a host of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes and heart diseases (ref NSF). In short, too little sleep is NOT good!

Sleep scientists generally agree that most adults need 7 to 8 hours sleep a night – I’m an exception to this then! Getting too little sleep will create a ‘sleep debt’ that will eventually catch up with you and need to be repaid. Below are some top tips to get your sleep on…

Top tips for improving sleep

  • Exercise!
  • Set a scheduled time for sleep
  • Take a warm bath
  • Reduce stressful activities
  • Blackout your bedroom
  • Avoid caffeine before bed (up to 6 hours before)
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol
  • Don’t go to sleep too full or hungry
  • Relax before bed
  • Control room temperature (lower temperature improves sleep)

‘Sleep is the best meditation’
~ Dalai Lama

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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!

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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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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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Sisters need support!

Bra gate

This is probably one of my biggest bugbears when it comes to exercise – bra-gate! I cannot understand why/how so many women don’t wear a decent sports bra when working out.

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the biggest supporters of women in sport, encouraging more women to get involved is what I do! I’m all for #girlpower, curves, real women doing their thing.

As a big girl myself (34E), I know that struggle – I double up! Regardless of size, sport and exercise you do, a decent sports bra (that fits properly) is a must.

Yes breathing may be restricted, and you feel like your soul is being squeezed; but your boobs and back will thank you for it. When I’m in the gym, all too often I find myself staring at unruly bouncing boobs, grimacing with sympathy pain.

Benefits of the sports bra…

  • Minimise movement; unruly bounce is uncomfortable, distracting and hurts like hell.
  • Maintain shape; there are no muscles in the breast, only ligaments. Excessive movement puts strain on the ligaments causing them to stretch – no amount of ‘firming cream’ is going to rectify that.
  • Manage temperature; most decent sports bras are made of moisture wicking, breathable material, to regulate temperature and draw sweat away. You’re going to get boob sweat, that’s unavoidable.

I’ve tried a number of sports bras over the years, the best I’ve found to date are by Shock Absorber. Great bras, but you do need to be hypermobile (double-jointed) to get them on. I’ll often double up, and wear a crop-top style sports bra on top. Decent sports bras aren’t exactly cheap, you’ll pay around £20-£40 for one – but it’s money well spent!

Don’t be Katie…!

Bra

Always open to recommendations on decent bras, so ladies send them my way…

#LoveYourLadyLumps

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