Black Widow Workout (Free!)

Well hey there lovelies! I don’t know about you girls, but it’s been HELL OF A WEEK! I’m so excited for the weekend, I’m not gonna lie. Luckily my workouts have kept me sane this week, and so as promised I’m sharing the next in my series of themed workouts… The Black Widow Workout! Get your black kit on, and go kick some ass.

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FREE Little Mermaid Legs & Full Body Valentines Workout

img_3437As promised, a DOUBLE WORKOUT SPECIAL (scroll down), since it’s Monday and all!

Whether or not Valentines’ Day is your cup of tea, whether you’re single, taken, other… what better way to love yourself (er, not like that… although no-one is judging you 😉 !!) than to show your body some love by getting a sweat on.

I like to mix up my workouts by theming them because it stops me getting bored, gives me different goals to focus on, and let’s face it… who doesn’t love Disney or an occasion as motivation?! You can see some of my other themed workouts here, all completely free.

Why not go the whole hog and create playlists that fit the theme? This keeps me interested and makes every workout feel different.

Also, whether you’re not a fan of The Little Mermaid because she basically gives up her voice for a man, or whether she’s the embodiment of your childhood and you always admired her independent spirit and going for her dreams, it’s a classic old school fairytale and love story, so it seemed Valentines Day appropriate!

Enjoy my lovelies!img_3495

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Am I having a baby?! | Life, fitness & diet update | The Pill & Weight

img_3351Baby News, The Pill Drama, Weightloss & Life

BOMBSHELL DROP! I had to take a few preggers (eek!) tests over Christmas!

To digress a little, we had our 20 month year old nephew up to stay last night (with his mum and dad, luckily haha!) and he is SO ADORABLE. Like, super super cute. I think it’s amazing how much energy my (pretty much!) sister in law Sophie is able to give him – it’s so impressive!

But back to the point – I LOVE kids (when they’re other peoples’!)  and have been broody occasionally in the past around babies, but there’s nothing like a pregnancy scare to clarify what you want!

Also having our nephew over watching them parent him for one night made us realise how 12923201_10154136317859571_5665512560369424144_nmuch work it would be and how completely our lives would change. We’re so happy right now and we love our lives sans bebe and need years and years more freedom (if not forever!) before we even think about kids. I don’t even know if I necessarily want my own children now – never say never though! But we have a lot more travelling to do, our careers are so important to us and because of work it’s going to be a minimum of 4 or 5 years before it would be feasible for me, and even then… I’m not sure anymore! I like the volunteering I do in a primary school, but like… a lifetime commitment to another being that doesn’t exist yet is huge, and it’s so dependent on you until about 16-18…!

We also want to have bought our house in the next couple of years so that would always come first for both of us, especially my boyfriend who feels strongly about this!

So how is this fitness related?! Well, part of the reason behind the scare was my faulty 12734021_10154007229759571_7609994661510553966_nbirth control plan, because the pill and implant over the last 10 years have been tricky for me, and I’ve been afraid of them affecting both my weight and my moods.

Luckily, the scare made me discover a new pill (it’s not new as in NEW new, but it’s new to me!) Yasmin which I’ve been on for over a month now, and it’s great! No side effects, and it hasn’t hampered my fitness or weight loss AT ALL. I love it – and have heard anecdotally from other women it’s helped them lose weight. So I think it’s CRAZY IMPORTANT to get your peach emoji down to the GP and make sure you have explored all the options to find a birth control plan you’re happy with if you won’t want to be breeding any time soon!

Fitness & Diet Update

I’m so happy the pill isn’t ruining my progress, as I’ve been working really hard lately.

While for life generally I’m a huge proponent of intuitive eating, as I mentioned before I’m on an 8 week plan with my coach Elle Darby to get myself back into the healthy swing of things post-Xmas, because she’s so supportive and great for keeping me accountable!

So that means I’m tracking macros! Which I know a lot of people aren’t sure about, so I wanted to link you to Elle’s video because it’s amazing. It’s a great jumping-off point for anyone curious about the world of IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and want someone who is a qualified PT to explain it to you!

There are a few reasons why I couldn’t track macros for life:

  • too restrictive
  • it makes me think about food more, and worry a bit
  • it’s a pain to keep weighing food
  • eating out becomes a challenge

BUT there are some reasons why I’d recommend at least a month to someone who was willing to try it (but by all means, if you don’t fancy it, DON’T DO IT! You can get great results without it!) but the benefits are:

  • it’s so educational – you really start to understand exactly what is in the things you’re eating
  • while you want 80-90% of your foods to come from clean sources, it allows ‘cheats’ while you stay on track within your macros – WOOP!
  • it is SO HELPFUL for adjusting your portion sizes
  • it ensures you stay full and get all the nutrients you need
  • it’s far healthier and more accurate than calorie counting which can be silly as sometimes people just don’t eat much and then eat a chocolate bar or two and say they’ve met their goal for the day – not good for anyone’s health!

My workouts are a combination of plyometric training (BBG at the moment via www.Kaylaitsines.com) HIIT (sprints and fitness blender) and Elle‘s and GracefitUK‘s lifting workouts. I think with workouts it’s important to find what works for you and stick at it – don’t feel pushed into copying people because of instagram pressure!  The Lean Lawyer (the lovely Alex Buckley) does a fantastic post on this here! The sentiment also very much links in or complements what I was trying to say in this post about Instagram pressure.

Some of the workouts I do are also my own, which you can find here – I love the Elle Woods workout and Temple Training. I’ll also be sharing an awesome Disney Little Mermaid Leg Day workout very soon 😉 ❤

I’ve been experimenting with lifting and at the end of my 8 weeks I’ll let you know if it’s for me or not. But if it is – it doesn’t mean you should do it. If it isn’t – maybe it will work for you!  #youdoyouboo haha.

Hope you’re all crushing your goals my lovelies! Tonnes of love

B xoxoxo

 

Is it Vain to have a Fitness Instagram? | Dangers of Social Media

11181782_10153949859619571_8033624568757458609_nAm I vain to have a fitness instagram?

Is social media positive or negative for health and fitness?

What are the dangers of social for the fitness industry?

In this post I wanted to look at some of these FAQs because I think it’s a super important issue!

Vanity, fitness and social media

12802977_10154035249349571_7392243785332497307_nDid anyone see the article in The Independent that was from last year, but recently re-did the rounds on Facebook? “People who post their fitness routine to Facebook have psychological problems, study claims”.

Their argument goes that basically fitness posters are more likely to be narcissistic. Personally, I think this is hilarious (and wrong!) because:

  1. When you think about it, all of social media is a bit narcissistic – it assumes anyone is interested in your nights out, holidays, cocktail photos, fitness, whatever.
  2. At least fitness posts are motivating and go to accountability too!
  3. In my experience, it has cured me of unhealthy habits and thoughts about eating and exercise, and motivates me to stick at a routine!
  4. Fitness bloggers create content that is more relatable 12932550_10154137349564571_8024763445942637539_nthan some expensive Harley Street doctor. I’ll deal with the dangers of this shortly, but it also motivates people seeing NORMAL GIRLS (and guys!) transform themselves.
  5. It makes health and fitness accessible!
  6. My friends who post about fitness are some of the least narcissistic people you’ll ever meet! #justsayin’

This is just my opinion, and I think Brunel might do well to widen their research into social media usage because by this token the entire world is narcissistic, because whatever you share is arguably to show people your life and for validation!

The Good, The Bad, The Highlight Reel, The Ugly: DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Can social media be dangerous for fitness and health? In a word, YES! I think people do need to use it with caution, for these reasons:

  1. A huge number of people dole out dodgy advice who ARE NOT QUALIFIED. It takes years to get a proper nutrition degree but these days anyone can get a certificate online and call themselves a ‘nutritionist’. Always check people’s qualifications. Go to your GP or a nutritionist to check any dietary advice you’re given. For example, I can give you my experiences of nutrition, and I have studied it during my gym instructor qualifications but I would NEVER recommend you follow my advice on nutrition without checking with someone properly qualified, and for this reason I’m looking at topping up my qualifications to PT.
  2. Social can be equal parts empowering but also self-esteem shredding. Sometimes seeing other peoples’ flat abs, or whatever, can feel soul-crushing when you’re not getting the results you want. I posted about this here, but remember comparison is the thief of joy. If you find yourself obsessing, take a social media break. Have a cheat day. Do things you enjoy unconnected with fitness. And make sure YOU DO YOU. Everyone’s bodies are different. Ok? Your health is PARAMOUNT.
  3. Instagram for example, can make you think you need to do certain things when you don’t! It certainly gave me the idea I needed protein powder, Carb Killa bars, protein bars and snacks and products… when you don’t have to! Take time to figure out what works for your body! What other people are doing may work for them and be a disaster for you. For example, I don’t have ANY milk (cows, alternatives, other!), I have water on my cereal… BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULDN’T! I basically don’t like it, and don’t see any benefits in forcing myself. It doesn’t mean it’s bad for you though – so don’t mindlessly copy other people’s regimes.
  4. PSEUDOSCIENCE IS SO BAD! Detox companies make such tenuous claims about how their teas will make you skinny and detox your body… but darlings, that is what your liver is for!!!!!! They’re dressing things up as ‘science’ that are essentially BS to sell products. Look for credible studies and scientific sources. And watch the documentary exposing this: Clean Eating: The Dirty Truth.

So that’s a lot of the dodgy stuff. But it can be a great learning tool too, used with moderation, research and common sense! My top tips for getting the best out of it are:

  1. Use it for accountability and motivation.
  2. Try your best not to compare yourself to others. It will happen naturally, but take regular social breaks, do yoga to help boost self acceptance, and keep life in perspective with this post on boosting body confidence.
  3. Stay safe! Use it for initial research and inspiration, but make sure you check credible sources, and always remember you can ask your GP or a nutritionist for advice.
  4. Remember that as much as people say they’re being ‘real’, content that goes up on any social platform can be heavily edited, and just a highlight reel. Even ‘real’ shots of peoples’ rolls may be selectively nicer than reality!
  5. Don’t believe everything you read online, anywhere. Take things with a pinch of salt and a healthy dose of scepticism.

Ok girls?! This isn’t meant to be a scary lecturey post, but something to hopefully boost your confidence in separating fact from fiction, and most importantly helping you STAY SAFE!

B xoxoxo

TEMPLE TRAINING WORKOUT

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For anyone who fancies a geeky, different workout or just needs to shake up their routine, try this TEMPLE TRAINING WORKOUT (Angkor Wat inspired – it’s my fave place in the whole world, that I’ve been to anyway!, and my sister is travelling there right now with her friend so here’s a Cambodia, travel, temples and tomb raider themed sweat sesh for you!)

Variety is the spice of life and sometimes theming circuits or associating them with certain places or travels is a great way to get more enjoyment out of your workout!

10 Ways to Boost Body Confidence on Bad Days (without workouts!)

If you’ve seen some of my Instagram posts this week you’ll see I’ve struggled with a few ‘down’ days. It’s totally natural to have off-days, but I’ve really been tough on myself and feeling terrible about my body, which is a shame because I’ve worked really hard over the last couple of years to channel that kind of negativity into positive action – workouts, doing something constructive, and slow self-acceptance.

However, while social media can be a blessing, it’s also a curse because it often shows you all the flat abs, big booties, toned backs that you don’t yet have! So today I wanted to do a post on getting back body confidence and self esteem – without workouts! Yes, workouts and eating clean are critical to a healthy lifestyle and looking the way you want to look, but we shouldn’t obsess to the exclusion of all else! Especially when it’s making us feel bad, not good. When you stop feeling inspired, try some of these tips to put your mind in perspective and stop focusing on this one aspect of your appearance.

1. Go for a green juice or smoothie

This always makes me feel healthier from the inside out, and is great for your skin and/or muscle recovery depending on the ingredients in your selection! Planet Organic is one of my faves!

2. Power lip

Lipstick is one of my favourite things. A power lip LITERALLY changes my mood, every time. I love Burgundy, plum, red, magenta, anything bold, but experiment! See what makes you feel better. One of my all-time favourite (and affordable!) shades is Rimmel 107.
3. Have a blow dry

This always makes me so happy! I feel soooooo much more together when I have a blow dry / blow out, and my hair looks so much better than I ever get it to look. I always swish it and keep checking my reflection in windows and mirrors haha! It’s so silly, but such a lovely easy way to feel good about yourself.
4. Or if you’re feeling more radical… go for a restyle!

Whether it’s a colour change, just highlights or a dramatic chop, a big hair change always makes me feel like a new person.

5. If the hairdresser is a bit expensive… do a hair mask!

There are super cheap options in places like Superdrug, or make your own! Coconut oil is a great way to nourish your hair.
6. Have a bubble bath

Take some time to pamper yourself. While you’re at it, give yourself a facialmanicure and pedicure. Make an hour or so about feeling good about things other than your weight / fat / muscle. Screw the scale – you’ve got pampering to do!

7. Buy shoes

Heels always make me feel good, but whatever shoes you fancy, your shoe size feels SOOOOO much less stressful than your clothing size!
8. Treat yourself

Buy some cute accessories, books, DVDs, something you’ve had your eye on for a while… you deserve it!

9. Watch a feel-good film

Whether that’s a chick flick or superhero movie, Disney or black and white, I’m not judging! Just don’t pick anything sad. The goal is to cheer ourselves up here ❤

10. Listen to this song and know all girls go through this, and you’re not alone! It may not be your cup of tea stylistically, but it’s lyrics are important (below).

Hope some of these help girls! xoxoxo

Activewear Valentines GIVEAWAY

12801307_535229466651547_8913664360817129029_nIf you follow me on instagram you’ll already have seen that I’m feeling all loved up this week (courtesy of a post-workout high!) and I wanted to share the endorphin buzz with all of you! So I’m planning an exciting giveaway that will run EXCLUSIVELY on my instagram so wriggle your perfect peach-emojis over to @legallygymliving and keep your beadies peeled for an opportunity to win some prizes (they’re beaaaauuuuutiful, I promise!)

The giveaway will open on Valentines Day (aw!) February 14th 1933934_10153892722214571_10975500865702357_n2017, and run until 15th March 2017. That’s a whole month and a day to get your mits on some free workout gear!

Details of how to enter will be announced on instagram, so keep an eye out… but a bonus 5 entries will go to anyone who can guess why the giveaway stops on March 15th. Hint: what’s special about that day?

Good luck lovelies!

In the meantime you might want to check out Resisting Temptation: Healthy Food Swaps,  Fitting Fitness Around Relationships or Motivation 101 to keep you going.

And since this is all about spreading the love check out today’s featured recipe: the Love That Body Chocolate Shake (protein powder free!). It’s DELISH and one of my favourites! Or sex it up with the Bootylicious Berry Smoothie. They both make great breakfasts, or post-workout options!

B xoxo

Motivation 101: get it, and keep it!

12987141_552182498289577_8596720344473536431_nMotivation to work out and eat healthy is SO EASY for all of 2 minutes. You see a picture of someone on instagram with flat abs, or your friend drops a load of weight and you’re like WOAH HOW DO I DO THAT, or January and February roll around after an indulgent Christmas and you begin a new year with the best intentions.

Then Netflix calls. Friends ask you to go for a glass of wine. Friday nights glimmer with the possibility of pizza. Stuffed crust not optional. It’s too good to miss.

Or you have a GREAT couple of weeks doing new workouts; you’re excited, you’re determined to make it last this time… but then it’s cold and dark in the morning and you’re SHATTERED. Sleep seems preferable. Colleagues start tucking in to Krispy Kremes right in front of you, you’re starving and forgot your nicely meal-prepped lunch, and to be honest you’re probably too busy anyway to faff with all this prepping healthy fancy meals.

Any of this ring any bells?

Ding-a-bloody-ling, right? And we’re all only human. So here are a few tips for grabbing motivation with both hands and keeping it. And the final tip is the biggest, but it’s a bit of a misnomer! Check them out 🙂 Some may appeal, some may not, so take your pick!

1. Write down your goals. Think about exactly what it is you want to achieve. Keep this on your phone or in a notebook, and write down little changes you can make (it’s all about step-by-step changes) to make it achievable.

2. Get accountable! Whether that’s through creating a fitness instagram or finding a 12799441_10154036120029571_3180138461961573348_nworkout buddy, or paying for a class in advance, do something that creates a real commitment to make it harder to wriggle out of.

3. Create a vision board. This can include aesthetic stuff – healthy delicious looking meals, flat abs etc, but it should also include REASONS why you want to get healthier – examples might be getting stronger, being able to do full push-ups, fitting into a new dress more easily, building self-confidence.

4. PLAN PLAN PLAN! If you plan your meals in advance at weekends, you’re less likely to cave to cravings at weak moments.

5. Modelling… nope, I’m not talking about the catwalk kind (I’d be terrified haha!) Find examples of people in your life who have made changes, or find girls on instagram who you can relate to and model what they’re doing. I find having ‘role-model’ people so helpful because when I’m feeling lazy, I just think what would so-and-so do?

6. Visualisation. When you’re reluctant to do that workout, visualise how AMAZING you’ve felt after previous workouts. Try to mentally recreate the high. Squueze a fist. Try to train yourself to associate this movement with feeling great, and create that link in your mind. Google CBT for more stuff like this. It doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I’ve started to experiment lately.

7. Find a motivating pre-sweat track. Play it LOUD, on repeat. GET AMPED UP. I’ve used various songs as my ‘get hyped up to workout’ anthems in the past – from Wings, Black Skinhead, and Formation to Do It Now… whatever you’re feeling at the time. I change mine every few months!

8. Mix up your workout routine. Boredom is a major motivation-vampire!

9. Find workouts you enjoy. What I mean here, is if you hate running… don’t do it! Find something you like more, be it dance and circuit training, boxing and swimming, yoga and CrossFit… there are so many options out there, and the second you start dreading your regime is the second your progress is ready to take a nose dive, if it hasn’t already.

10. Treat it as compulsory. Fitness is about health, pure and simple. Abs and a booty are a fab side effect, but nobody cleans their teeth for kicks! Exercise should be automatic, like cleaning our teeth. It’s so important for our bones, muscles, heart, and even mental health. PLUS it releases endorphins, unlike cleaning those teeth 😉

11. Stick motivational quotes and pictures or your vision board on your fridge. This isn’t to guilt you, girls. This is so that you always make choices with your goals in mind. Sometimes, you should STILL REACH FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE. But having your goals right in front of you reminds you do make those choices MINDFULLY.

12. DON’T RELY ON MOTIVATION. FORM HABITS! This is the biggest and best tip of all. Everything above should help you get revved up to get fit and healthy, but at the end of the day, we’re not happy cheerleading robots! Sometimes we have down days, lazy days, sad days, and that’s ok! But on those days, you still get dressed, you still clean your teeth right? Fitness should be like that – a habit. Once it’s a habit, you don’t have to rely so heavily on motivation.

Motivation is great to get you started. But habit is what really keeps you going!

 

Any other tips and tricks?! I’d love to hear them!

 

B xoxoxo