#2 Inspire Interview Series – VENETIA FALCONER, TV PRESENTER, BLOGGER & more!

So last week in the first of our Inspire Interviews we heard from Kris Pace, the Branding Director of KOBOX. This week, we have a completely different inspiring story for you… and spoiler, she’s a total babe.

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Photo from venetiafalconer.com

Even if I have a tiny positive impact on just one person, I’m happy. Starting each day looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead is a pretty wonderful feeling, too.  – Venetia Falconer, TV Presenter, blogger, podcaster and influencer.

Not only does she create my all time fave podcast – Talking Tastebuds – and have the kind of voice I just want to listen to on a permanent audiobook, she’s a multi-talented(and titled!) career queen absolutely bossing the online content space while making waves and gently pushing positive change without preaching in her treatment of ethical eating and sustainable fashion. And that’s not to mention her impressive TV career and presenting chops… this week’s Q&A is with the smart and super-beautiful Venetia Falconer!

B: One thing I really love about the work you do is this amazing energy you bring to everything you do – I first saw you talk on The Future of Wellness Panel where you presented for YellowKite Books – you’re obviously multi-passionate and multi-talented – can you talk a little bit about your background and how you became a presenter, blogger, vlogger, podcaster and influencer…?!

V: Thank you so much! I worked my way up behind the camera as a producer at MTV learning how to write scripts, film, edit, work with presenters and hone my interview skills. A friend then put me forward for a presenting job at 4Music and I thought I may as well go for it and I got the gig! I spent 18 months hosting their daily live show which was the best training ground. I was then picked up by Tastemade and fell in love with the digital sphere, so launched my YouTube channel and then my podcast, Talking Tastebuds.

B: You’re also vegan, and make it seem so easy! How did you make the transition to fully fledged veganism?

V: I took my sweet time – 5 months to be exact! And that’s always my number one top tip, go easy on yourself and take your time. It’s a big change to your body (I was eating eggs, dairy or meat with every meal), so it was necessary for me to ease my way into it.

B: Do you ever struggle to balance career and wellness? Any top tips for keeping that balance?

V: Of course. I meditate daily and try to take regular digital detoxes. Friends are my favourite remedy and a huge part of my life, so I’ll spend as much time as possible hanging out with those who lift my soul!

B: What are you most proud of in your career so far?

V: My podcast. It’s really exceeded all of my expectations.

B: What made you decide to launch ‘Talking Tastebuds’? (I’m literally addicted!) Any highlights and/or struggles?

V: I’m so pleased to hear that! I was taking some time out in Sri Lanka and the idea literally came to me (another reason why time-off is so important if you’re a creative).

Highlights have been hanging out with my heroes! Going to interview the Happy Pear in their hometown was particularly spectacular. Struggles are trying not to overthink about where to take it next…

B: Can you describe a (working) day in the life of Venetia Falconer?

This is hard as it varies so much day-to-day. I like to wake up at 6am so I have time to meditate and do yoga or a TRX class at Equilibrium, before launching into emails and editing. Then I’m often rushing around London to meetings, events, shoots and interviews.

It’s important to me to have a good work/life balance, so I aim to have my laptop closed by 7pm before enjoying dinner with a friend.

B: Have you made any mistakes along the way to where you are today and what have you learned from them, if so?

V: That you can never take a short-cut. You want to be able to do each and every part of your job as well as your boss can. And not to rush. The journey is the most enjoyable part!

B: You’ve been very open about anxiety and the importance of mental health which is so inspiring and has helped a lot of people. What would you say to someone who is suffering and needs help or advice?

V: You are not alone. Talk to someone. Don’t suffer in silence. And if you’re stuck in an Instagram vortex of self comparison, please switch off your phone.

B: What does ‘success’ mean to you?

V: Even if I have a tiny positive impact on just one person, I’m happy. Starting each day looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead is a pretty wonderful feeling, too.  

B: Best and worst career advice you’ve ever been given?

V: Best: “It’s ok to say no”.
Worst: “Being vegan will make you less employable”. SEE YA.

B: What’s your life’s mission in a nutshell?

V: To spread a positive message around mental and physical well-being. And to encourage others not to mess with the animals and the planet… 🙂

**Quickfire Round**

Yoga or HIIT?

YOGA

Eggs or oats?

OATS every damn day

Pirates or Vampires?

PIRATES

Bali or Bora Bora?

BALI

Bikini or one piece?

BIKINI

Nature or nurture?

NATURE

Talent or hustle?

BOTH.

[vegan] chocolate or cheese?

CHOCOLATE

You’re doing cardio: podcast or playlist?

PLAYLIST – my own on spotify 😉

A good book or netflix?

Netflix

Fave quote:

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

It’s your last EVER day of your life. What do you do for the day?

Spend it on the coast surrounded by all of my favourite humans. There would be glorious sunshine and lots of incredible music. We’d dance a lot and have long rambling conversations about life. There would be exceptional coffee and food. I would be wearing an incredible boho-dress, but no shoes (minor but important detail).

And I have to ask your infamous podcast question – please can you share your ‘death row dinner’ (the last ever meal you’re going to have!):

This changes every single day. Currently it’s papaya drenched in fresh lime juice. Shared on a beach with David Attenborough, watching the sunrise.

I literally find Venetia’s podcast the most uplifting thing in the world and it’s so interesting and educational too – if you haven’t already gotten yourself hooked on Talking Tastebuds, get your fix here.

You can also catch Venetia on her websiteyoutube channel, instagram, facebook and twitter.

B xoxo

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The Secret to Meghan Markle’s Pre-Wedding Glow…?

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So this week an email landed in my inbox from Rhiannon Lambert (her Rhitrition newsletter has all kinds of interesting nutrition nerdy news and tips so do subscribe!) linking me to an article in The Independent about Meghan Markle’s favourite smoothie. But the article misses out another favourite recipe of Meghan’s that she mentions in an interview with The Chalkboard, so scroll down to unearth this extra little royal gem!

It’s no secret that this gorgeous, smart, soon-to-be-royal was a fan of all things wellness before she took up with the Prince… and all fairytales need to feature magic and potions somewhere, right?!

Rhiannon Lambert, as I’m sure you all already know if you’ve been around this blog/insta a while, is an amazing Harley Street nutritionist (info on her book here) and in the article mentioned above, she breaks down the health benefits of the ingredients to Meghan’s go-to smoothie. The recipe Meghan claimed she uses can also be found in this article in Hello Magazine, but Rhiannon highlights how the protein powder could be improved to a healthier one, so I’m going to share a take on the smoothie that’s more in line with these Harley Street guidelines ❤

Meghan’s love of health was formerly shared with fans on her now-defunct lifestyle website, The Tig, but you can find some more goss about her healthy living and lifestyle philosophy in this Living Well With… Meghan Markle interview by The Chalkboard.

With the Royal Wedding coming up, I thought I’d experiment and give you a recipe made with these ingredients that you can blend up in time for the celebrations along with the bonus extra the Independent missed out… who knows, maybe we’ll get Meghan’s glow if we drink enough of it 😉

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  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein – Neat is a fave of mine, but see Rhiannon Lambert Harley Street nutritionist recommendations here!
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsps chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • *Blend all ingredients*… & then:
  • Top with some unsweetened dessicated coconut, 3 blueberries and a mint leaf or two!

 

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  • 1 frozen mango
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • (optional: 1/2 banana or 1 Satsuma and 1 small handful of spinach)
  • *Blend all ingredients*… & then:
  • Serve with a little pineapple and/or a cherry, and voila!
  • (Also optional to serve: small wedge of lime/lemon)

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There you have it – two royally delicious smoothies fit for a princess!

If you liked having a little nose at this, you may also enjoy this piece by Best Health Meghan Markle: The Beauty of Balance for a Future Princess where Meghan discusses her yoga practice.

xoxo

Brand New Inspire Interview Series – launching on Friday!

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I am really excited to be launching an interview series with some incredible people. Whether your dream job involves burpees and barbells, boardrooms or business-meetings (or none of the above!), I’ve chatted to some reeeeally cool people who graciously agreed to share their stories about what they do and how they got there.

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Coming your way in these Q&As will be:

  • Top tips from incredible entrepreneurs, industry shakers and influencers
  • Their stories, insights and career tips
  • How they balance wellness and work
  • Secrets to their success
  • & more!

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Why?

While this blog is very ‘health’, ‘fitness’ and ‘nutrition’ focussed (I mean, “gymliving” features in the name!), I’ve also always been honest that fitness isn’t my whole life – career is important to me and mine is actually in law rather than the fitness industry (I’m “legallygymliving”, after all!). And another part of this picture is that ever-elusive ‘balance’ – maintaining mental and physical health, and enjoying interests, family, friends and loved ones rather than being chained to the grindstone.

A huuuuuge part of my view of the world and the content I try to share with you all is finding a way to make health and wellness and working out fit around YOUR lives. And also sharing non-fitness related content that can inspire and enhance your career and all the other things that are important to you, because there’s more to living well than matcha lattes and working on our abs!

I’ve been interviewing some incredible people who are just so inspiring for all kinds of different reasons – some work in careers related in some way to fitness or wellness, others don’t – from influencers & entrepreneurs to lawyers & financiers, I wanted to share with you all some of the people who have been generous enough to let me interview them, and share their amazing insights and stories with you!

Whatever you want to work in, I think you can learn a lot from exploring new areas (my marketing, events and account management ‘first’ career taught me a lot, for example, and while I may not use it while I’m drafting legal docs day to day, you can chalk everything up to life experience and you’d be surprised when things pop up!) so hopefully even if there’s not someone I’ve interviewed who you want to exactly-to-the-letter model your path on, you’ll find some inspo and top tips to getting to where you want to be!

First up we have a fab interview from the insaaaaaaaaane Kris Pace, Brand Director at Kobox (& formerly of Men’s Health)! Watch this space… it will go live on Friday 🙂

B xoxo

Clean eating: the good, the bad & the ‘dirty’?

pexels-photo-988865.jpegClean eating is something which has come under fire over the last year or so in wellness circles, and has more recently drawn attention from the wider public, originally picked up by Tatler (who published a report on the ‘trend’ sweeping society schools) and also reported in this Daily Mail article on clean eating in boarding schools.

Diet culture needs tackling. Where ‘clean eating’ feeds this – it’s a problem. Individuals need to be educated and supported. Perhaps the lesson here is all viral fads are unlikely to ever be holistic (when things go viral they’re not joined by the scientific papers and research are they?!) and so are potentially always dangerous because a fad, even if it sounds saintly and perfect and #wellness, is still a fad and the lifestyle that follows from it is unlikely to be as tailored, balanced and healthy as it needs to be if it comes from a buzzword, be it ‘clean eating’ or ‘Atkins’. – B, @legallygymliving

pexels-photo-461428.jpegClean eating: what is it?

The way I and many other fitness and nutrition enthusiasts understand it is the idea that certain foods are, for want of a better word, ‘cleaner’ than others… i.e. not processed, as close as possible to their natural state… Essentially from nature. I heard phrases when I first got into clean eating like: ‘if it didn’t die or grow in the ground, avoid it’.

And what’s the harm, right? We all need to be encouraged away from eating so much processed, junk and massively added sugar-laden food don’t we?

Well… to an extent. I personally believe the ‘movement’ started with these good intentions – to encourage eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods as much as possible, to try and ‘re-set’ what people regard as go-to foods to a healthier place. For example, James Duigan’s Clean, Lean cookbooks (he founded Bodyism and coached celebs like Elle McPherson).

But increasingly there’s been a backlash against the movement as it grew – let’s talk about why.

Clean eating: the backlash

Semantically, the opposite of clean is dirty, right? So the backlash can be summarised in a nutshell like this.

People begin dividing foods into ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’. It spirals out of control. Orthorexia rises (an eating disorder where people become obsessed with only eating ‘clean’), presumably triggered by the cultural prevalence of a movement that seems healthy but encourages binary thinking about food as GOOD vs BAD. Instead of being a balanced, encouraging tagline, the term essentially seems to encourage an either/or mindset and this catches on beyond the pockets of health bloggers and fitness professionals via instagram, and grows and grows into a clean eating frenzy – so we’re basically back to demonising certain foods on a fairly wide scale, because they’re not clean, and worrying about whether we can eat stuff – is it ‘clean and lean’ or is it ‘dirty’ or ‘bad for me’. It’s like the 80s and 90s fad diets all over again, but dressed up as balance and health. pexels-photo-236147.jpeg

This is pretty much how and why the backlash happened.

And I agree it needs to be discussed – it’s dangerous, particularly for impressionable young girls, boys and even adults who glean all their nutritional information from the media – to become brainwashed and let this kind of mindset spiral out of control.

Influencers like Alice Liveing realised the movement was having unintentional negative consequences, and distanced themselves – Alice famously changed her instagram username from @cleaneatingalice to @aliveliveing partially for this reason.

A nutritionist’s take

Read the Daily Mail article for Rhiannon Lambert’s (a Harley Street nutritionist) comments on this, as I think it’s key to read what actual nutritionists are saying about these issues!

pexels-photo-296879.jpegMy two cents: clean eating, orthorexia, & foodie language words have power, but also have (& need) context!

I am not a nutritionist, so I’m not qualified, I can’t advise, this is just my personal view! I am a nutrition and fitness enthusiast and I followed the clean eating trend as it rose, and fell. I see both sides of the coin. It didn’t trigger orthorexia in me, despite being an ex-eating-disorder sufferer (of bulimia and body dysmorphia). It has clearly triggered an increase in orthorexia, or at least been problematic for ED suffers and this really needs to be addressed.

I think we need to be so careful about how we talk about food and ensure we’re not promoting things that can make it easier for eating disorders to be triggered. But remember – they are eating disorders and it’s a mental and physical health issue. Describing food as clean isn’t a single cause, and the movement was initially, I believe, well-intentioned and an attempt to educate.

It’s hard to know what language to use because there’s no getting away from the fact that some foods ARE nutritionally more beneficial than others. The problem is, a description of food can’t be taken in isolation (and neither can a meal or a snack!) We need to look at the whole picture.

Yes, labelling foods as just clean or dirty is damaging in isolation.

You can have cake, burgers, pizza, nachos etc. in MODERATION and still be healthy (and lose fat if that’s your goal).

Just like you can eat a caloric surplus of ‘clean’ foods – nuts, rice, sweet potato, chicken, broccoli and gain weight.

Ultimately, it’s about the wider culture, and your wider nutritional intake, self-image, body confidence, the whole shebang. We can’t lie to ourselves and say pizza or chocolate are as great for our bodies gram for gram as broccoli, mixed veggies, potato and lean protein! I appreciate ‘dirty’ is a loaded word but we do need to be aware of the additives in our food.

So I think it’s all about context, balance, and trying to avoid saying ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ around food as much as possible, but sometimes I do say ‘clean’ and I think providing the context is there, it’s totally OKAY. The problem is the way people are educated about their diet in general, the way certain body types are idolised or vilified, the tearing apart of celeb bodies in the media (constant comments particularly with women in the gossip mags!) and the fact it’s ASSUMED all women WANT to lose weight… to name a few!

Diet culture needs tackling. Where ‘clean eating’ feeds this – it’s a problem. Individuals need to be educated and supported. Perhaps the lesson here is all viral fads are unlikely to ever be holistic (when things go viral they’re not joined by the scientific papers and research are they?!) and so are potentially always dangerous because fad, even if it sounds saintly and perfect and #wellness, is still a fad and the lifestyle that follows from it is unlikely to be as tailored, balanced and healthy as it needs to be if it comes from a buzzword, be it ‘clean eating’ or ‘Atkins’.

Where describing foods as clean can be helpful and is done in context, I think that’s fine.

What are your thoughts around these issues? It’s such a complicated topic! Let me know in the comments.

Ooh, and I also published a post a while ago you might like to read if you’re interested in this area (see ‘An Apology’ here)  in which I dealt with how I now feel about past bits of my fitness and health ‘journey’ (cringe), where I did promote clean eating and various things that at the time I loved but now don’t feel comfortable about…

B xoxox

Are you affected by anything in this post?

If you suffer with an eating disorder, think you do, or are struggling with your relationship with food or your body, please contact your GP and a nutritionist (and ideally therapist).

Some of the organisations below may help:

Beat, an eating disorders charity. (They have a helpline too!)

NHS UK Eating Disorders Page

Rhiannon Lambert BSc, MSc, ANtr – an ED specialist nutritionist

Laura Phelan – an ED Recovery specialist

Mind, a mental health charity.

Body Confidence & Fat Loss: new taboos, and some tips!

63F00890-78D0-4731-AA57-7DB8CA5E6AB7Over the course of, for want of a better phrase (!), my ‘health and fitness journey’ *mini cringe*, my outlook has changed a lot.

Ironically, I discovered that the influence slogans were true – trust the process, fall in love with the process, and you’ll get better aesthetic results.

I didn’t believe it when I first started either.

However, as I have become happier with my body, fitter, stronger, admittedly my goals have shifted towards process-driven ones (to be able to do an unassisted pull up, to improve my boxing technique, to be able to do plyo push-ups) which is a much healthier place to be instead of obsessing over body size.

I’m glad to be in a healthy physical and mental space, and to be trying to share that message more, instead of feeding the ‘must get skinny’ toxicity that still runs through society in a big way.

HOWEVER it does mean that talking about fat loss for me is difficult. How do I do it without promoting orthorexia (we can’t say clean eating anymore) or implying that fat is bad?

A poll on my Instagram lately indicated that loads of you are still super interested in fat

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From post bulimia weight gain to happy with Kayla Itsines BBG programme – the beginning of my fitness love!

loss so I wanted to address it as a topic in a healthy, balanced, sustainable way. Because I think it is possible (though perhaps tough!) to change your body composition and lose some fat in a body positive way… it all depends on your mindset.

 

As always, bear in mind that while I’ve had a successful weight loss journey to a place where I’m happy, that followed times of being underweight and bulimia before my excessive weight gain, and while I’m recovered and I have been active in the online wellness and health community for over 5 years, I am not a nutritionist or doctor. The only qualification I’ve done is a group exercise instructor REPS level 2 course where the nutrition content is minimal. My knowledge is from personal interest and research only, and so you can use it as a jumping off point to conduct research yourself, but you can’t rely on me for personal advice. Ok? 🙂

Fat Loss: how do we do it healthily?

You may or may not have heard the saying ‘you can’t out train a bad diet.’

This is totally true.

So if you really want to alter your body composition (i.e. lose some fat) then you need to address your nutrition first and foremost.

This can be a bit of a minefield as I think it is CRITICAL that you do this in a way that isn’t detrimental to your health (which is where so many people go wrong – fad diets encouraging cutting food groups, for example, are not sustainable long term and deprive your body of vital nutrients).

The way I have approached fat loss that I feel is most physically AND mentally beneficial is:

  • NO CALORIE OR MACRO COUNTING (however I know some people without ED backgrounds can count numbers and not obsess, and I acknowledge that maybe the reason I can eat healthily and intuitively is because I know a lot about the nutritional contents of food because I HAVE calorie counted and macro counted in the past!)
  • But DO address portion sizes! If you’re sedentary in your day job like me, you don’t need insane plates of food! I like to make 2/3 – 1/2 of my plate veggies (mostly greens!) and then a palm size of lean protein and hand-size of complex carbohydrates.
  • Educate yourself on the basics of what your body needs as a minimum – macro (protein, healthy fats and carbs) and micro (vitamins A-Z, magnesium, zinc etc!) nutrients. Books like ReNourish by Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert are the best place to start.
  • Spend a week (or ideally two) keeping a food diary which includes WHAT you ate, but also how you feel mood-wise (before and after eating. It can help you learn the difference between ACTUAL physical hunger, emotional hunger and psychological hunger, and assists you in cutting out ‘mindless’ eating.
  • Give up alcohol for a while. I think this gives you the mental space to assess your relationship with food and your body and confidence, as well as being an easy way to trim out non-nutritious food. I had a 6 month period without alcohol because its essentially of no nutritional benefit, it’s a depressant, and it makes you less aware of the choices you’re making. I’m not suggesting you quit for half a year! I’d say do a 2 week break and then introduce it back in a mindful way – have a drink as an indulgent treat, but stick to one or two and savour them.

Once you’ve mastered streamlining what goes into your body (think 80-90% foods that are top quality fuel – nutrient dense, natural, whole foods, try to limit processed food as much as possible and avoid additives – extra sugar and all kinds of stuff gets added in to things you’d least expect! – and 20-10% treats, because this is about sustainability long term – no food is bad, no food is out of bounds, but you need to get out of a binge-restrict mindset).

Mentally reset: leaning down safely

Once you’ve worked on your dietary approach, you need to check in with yourself about how and why you’re losing weight. You shouldn’t embark on any regime without consulting a GP or medical health professional, particularly if your goal is solely aesthetic – there are a range of health problems that can come from being underweight including loss of bone density, osteoporosis and infertility as well as heart problems, so have a think about why you want to lose weight.

Regularly mentally check yourself that you still love and appreciate your body for what it is and can do NOW.

Realise that losing weight isn’t inherently good or bad; it won’t ‘fix’ your life, and if you have self-esteem issues, for example, a perfect physique (what is perfect anyway?!) won’t solve those problems.

Every time you’re thinking about fat loss, try to tune in to how you feel emotionally. Are you anxious, stressed, self-loathing? These might be signs you need to take a break from this goal and talk to someone. Or are you happy, enjoying being full of energy, with a nice bonus of preferring some of your aesthetic changes, without obsessing about it? Then you’re in a good place.

The fat loss formula

Essentially, to assist your nutritional changes, you want to up your energy expenditure.

DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP of thinking you need to ‘burn off’ eating food.

DO try to find physical activity you enjoy, and build up slowly. 

Low intensity steady state training (brisk incline walking, swimming, cycling) may burn fewer calories overall but its technically most effective for fat loss as to use fat stores as fuel rather than stored glycogen in the body, you need oxygen available to do this. So while anaerobic exercise like HIIT burns more calories in the same time technically, less of this will come from stored fat.

When thinking about a workout schedule, here are some key tips:

  1. Be realistic. Don’t aim to train 6 days a week for an hour if you hate the gym and have a mad work schedule. 6 days is overkill even if you love training, probably… overtraining can be counterproductive.
  2. Try to pick exercise you enjoy. Basically, consistency is key. Don’t think about ‘I have to just do this for 10 weeks to get my dream body then I can stop woohoo!’ We’re talking LIFESTYLE CHANGES people, because otherwise once you hit your goal, you won’t stay there for long.
  3. Variety helps you stop getting bored. It can also be used if after 6 months of training you hit a plateau and need to re-set and boost results.
  4. SET PROCESS DRIVEN GOALS TO USE AS A FOCUS INSTEAD OF FAT LOSS. It will help you melt the fat off anyway! Examples might be to be able to do your first high box jump or pull up, to do 20 on your toes press ups, to run 2k, 5k, 10k, to go to a boxing class and not feel like death at the end…! Anything that means you’re working on something outside of the fat loss thing. Think about strength, agility, flexibility.

So what kind of training is optimum for fat loss?

The goal here is to lose fat without exercising solely thinking about that, right? I’d say DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BECAUSE IF YOU HATE THAT KIND OF TRAINING, YOU WON’T STICK TO IT. And if you can’t stick to it (i.e. see yourself being happy to do something similar for pretty much the rest of your life, obviously amounts will vary, but still…) then the benefits won’t stick.

Personally, I think balanced training is the way to go.

  • Increase your Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). This is energy you burn while not ‘exercising’, so taking the stairs, extra walking, that kind of thing, falls into this category. Do as much of this as possible – for health reasons as much as anything! I ALWAYS take the escalator at a walk / jog, climb stairs if I have the option, and add a 45 minute walk in to my weekend.
  • HIIT is a great way to exercise if you’re time poor. They say it’s great for revving the metabolism and torching calories in a short session. Just be careful not to overtrain in this way as it’s touch on joints where it’s super high impact and the central nervous system. If you’re a beginner I’d do some simple weight lifting first instead to make sure you’ve got the form and stability.
  • Plyometrics – often used with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) uses explosive, often jump-type movements, really rocking those fast-twich muscle fibres. As above with HIIT, while this is super effective and efficient, it can be tough on the body so don’t over do it.
  • LISS (low intensity steady state) – the bread and butter that you should try to get in as much of as you sensibly can.

How do I train these days? I’m not saying copy this, but this schedule works for me:

  • Most of my LISS is NEAT to be fair – weekend walks, climbing stairs. Sometimes I’ll do rowing, cycling or a high incline walk at the gym once a week.
  • HIIT / plyometrics – for my biggest weightloss period I used Kayla Itsines BBG programme which is basically this which involved 28 mins of this three times a week. Now I do boxing style workouts with my PT or at Kobox 1-3 times a week for 50 minutes.

Don’t start at max capacity. If you currently do nothing, schedule 1 high intensity and 2 low intensity sessions a week.

If you do some, up it a little.

But all of this goes hand in hand with checking in with yourself mentally (how do you feel? Are you feeling drained, stressed, desperate to lose some fat? You may need to stop, reassess and do some work on your mindset. I’d recommend Mel Well’s The Goddess Revolution here. Or are you feeling empowered and starting to enjoy the process more and care less about the fat? That’s the ideal!)

Consistency is key

This is probably the most important thing to remember. Consistency with both nutrition and training is the way you see changes in your body. Slow, steady progress means your results are likely healthier, and sustainable long-term.

If you’re struggling with motivation, maybe this will help.

Structure

Structure can be super helpful if you’re a beginner. I guide my own training now, but following Kayla’s programme in the past was perfect as it was basically three 28 minute workouts that fit around work.

There are tonnes out there – see the free workouts section on this site too! – so find something that appeals and give it a whirl.

Final thoughts

I hope this dive into trying to do fat loss in a body positive way was helpful.

As I said, I’m just a former group exercise instructor and fitness fangirl who loves to connect with people who have similar health and wellness interest. My tips aren’t a substitute for qualified advice.

Just try to remember that our bodies are here for the long haul (our whole lives!) in fact. Don’t sacrifice health and happiness to weigh 5% less people.

However, that said, you don’t need to feel bad for having aesthetic goals. While it’s not why I train now, I LOVED feeling on top form training hard last summer and seeing my abs and myself get leaner (although not my leanest!) whilst also getting stronger.

I’m looking at further study soon because I want to feel more able to advise and share information from a place that’s safe and sensible to do so. If you might be interested in coaching in future if this becomes available, let me know.

B xx

 

Why Kobox is the [@*%£*$&] BOMB


So I’ve kind of given it all away up front haven’t I, with the title of this post?! Sorry. Guess I’m that kinda girl 😉

I have tried a LOT of random boutique classes all across London as well as the standard stuff offered by gyms all over the place… Hell, believe it or not, I used to teach Zumba and body combat at VA and David Lloyd as a freelancer (!) Classes were where fitness started for me, before I got into managing my own training. And now I’ve come full circle…

Kobox is literally THE BOMB. As in potentially the best class I have EVER done.

THE LEGALLYGYMLIVING VERDICT IS IN:

 

Star rating: 5/5 *****

Cost: £££

Instructor quality: 5/5 *****

Studios: 5/5 Chelsea, 4/5 City.

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The Lowdown

Where?

If you’ve been living under a rock in London (or if you live elsewhere and can’t get to the city to try it out), Kobox have made flesh their ‘Fight Club meets Night Club’ tag line with swanky studios in City and Chelsea – perfect locations nailed? Check.

What?

Classes  combine rounds beating the hell out of a heavy-ass bag, and circuits which include anything from burpees (Ollie, I’m looking at you!), tuck jumps, weighted squats, lunges, and more vicious challenges depending on the day!

The trainers also offer one to one training, and depending on their expertise it seems you can do different stuff… I’ve seen Wayne mention Muay Thai on the gram, for example.

Is it really THAT GOOD?

If I had to give you one reason only, before we get into it fully… Kobox obviously  have the cool space, perfect locations, a great lighting concept (no-one wants to see themselves red-faced and sweaty in full on daylight!), banging tunes, shakes on demand, gorgeous products to de-sweat yourself post-workout… but the difference with Kobox is the instructors are the BEST of the BEST.

I promise there’s not a single word of exaggeration here. Which pains me a bit, because I know what it’s like on social media – people think a positive review is bought. This post is NOT SPONSORED. I’ve paid for all of my Kobox classes like everyone else, and the one to one training session I have I won during a competition over Xmas 2017 when I wasn’t writing this post.

But the people there absolutely make the place.

They are absolute machines.

They’re approachable.

They’re fricking fierce (however pint-sized they are – don’t be deceived!)

They’re so passionate not only are they bouncing off the ceiling, but you are too by the end of class… even though they’ve made you go balls to the wall and you have nothing left in the tank!

They’re crazy knowledgable. Like, I can’t even.

And I really love that they make boxing accessible to those of us who let’s face it, aren’t going to be training for a white collar fight or actually hitting someone ever potentially, but they open up this incredible way of training so you can reap some of the benefits anyway!

I mean, of all the people you’d think would box, I probably don’t fit the mould. I’m a short-ass girl with zero upper body strength. But I absolutely love it. My fiancé got me into watching it on TV and then suggested I train with padwork at our gym, so Warren got me started. Then a friend of mine wanted to try Kobox, so we went, and now I’m literally ADDICTED.

[scroll down for more info about this session! Footage kindly provided by Ian Streetz]

Which classes?

I haven’t tried 100% of the trainers’ classes yet, but I have tried most of them. And trust me, I’ve not had a SINGLE disappointing class. They’ve all been SO GOOD.

It would be mean to call favourites, but as I’ve said they’re all super talented so a lot of it is a matter of personal style and preference – tunes will vary, style will vary, their aggressive finishers / end of class challenges will vary… so while I love them all, I would say, personally, get to Maciela and Ian’s classes (check them both out on Instagram and you can see their timetables). I actually went to Maciela’s 18.45 City class last night and it was, quite literally EPIC. She’s an absolute pocket rocket (I also can’t believe how strong, stunning and fierce she is… as well as being the loveliest mama of two!) You can find out more about personal training with her here. I’ve given some info below about my one to one training with Ian but you can check out his details here on his website too.

That isn’t to say the others aren’t all amazing too, because they are fab – I’ve had so much fun at Kenny’s, Ollie’s, Antoine’s and Wayne’s (incidentally Wayne’s was my first ever Gateway Class that got me coming back, now that I think about it!) sessions so I’d say just rock up to whatever timing works for you and give it a go.

I prefer training in Chelsea as it’s closer to home, but when I’m back at work I’ll probably be in the City more. Both studios are pretty much the same in terms of where you’ll be working out; I just like the chill out area in Chelsea, and obviously the ring is the ideal selfie spot 😉 … did you even train if you didn’t get a sweaty selfie?!

What makes it different?

As I’ve touched on, the instructors and the energy are completely off the scale. There are a lot of other great studios out there too – the boutique fitness studio / concept has exploded across London (which personally I think is amazing as there’s loads of choice!) but I personally haven’t felt quite the same vibe elsewhere in terms of enthusiasm, energy and expertise rolled into EVERY SINGLE INSTRUCTOR ON THE ROSTA CONSISTENTLY.

On a side note, the Ren skincare stuff in the changing rooms is a lifesaver, for the ladies out there [or the soft skinned blokes :P]

I think combining boxing which circuit style training means you can maximise the benefits. With the boxing, you can really lose yourself and enjoy it, and do something that is empowering for its own sake, not just to ‘burn calories’ which is a pretty joyless way of working out (in my opinion!)

Just some of the things boxing is GREAT for are…

  • stress, anxiety and depression management. I can’t tell you how therapeutic it is – complete game changer!
  • improving your body composition – the conditioning means you train for total body strength, the whole workout gives you the fab cardiovascular benefits… and the dynamite combo of cardio and resistance is optimal for your metabolism
  • confidence – almost everyone I know who has tried it says they find it crazy empowering. How can you not?
  • discipline and resilience
  • improved hand-eye co-ordination
  • & learning a new skill!

The heavy stuff

As a woman, I feel suuuuuuper passionately that girls need to be taught it’s okay to be strong (or to want to be, and to train for it!) and you can still be feminine and train in these ways.

Boxing is one hell of a badass way to do it.

*TRIGGER WARNING*

As someone who grew up part-time in a house where I witnessed domestic violence (it didn’t happen to me save the person in question smacked my head into a radiator once when we were kids; I was lucky. I’m lucky I wasn’t a victim, and I only lived in this house with this person 50% of the time, so I didn’t have to suffer exposure to it as frequently as some). Whether or not you can relate to this, there is nothing more reassuring, more therapeutic, more confidence-boosting than learning to throw a punch or two. 

While some people may disagree, I think it also teaches resilience and integrity, and it teaches you a lot about yourself.

So how much will a Kobox class set me back?

There’s a BRILLIANT introductory offer with two classes and free hand wraps for £25 for anyone trying it out so I’d highly recommend that.

Then, if you want to be more of a regular, here is where you may feel a pinch. The beauty of the system, though, is there’s no membership or contract to tie you in – you buy packages, which you can select based on your requirements. For example, you can train in City (weekends only) for £10 per class. If you buy a bigger package (£180+) you get better value, reducing it to £14-18 per class depending on your selection.

Someone said to me they find it a bit steep as it can be almost £20 per class. I mean, in my head, the amount we spend on coffees and alcohol during the week… £20 for the level of expertise you get, the intensity of the full 50 minute session and the insane calibre of the trainers is totally reasonable. They’re bloody experts in their fields, maaaadly talented, super professional…

I get if you’re a student or on a lower income it’s not necessarily the easiest of access. I’d advise, if this is the case, doing two City weekender classes (£10 each) and then buying the 10 classes for £180 package which you can use over 6 months to boost your training to more than 2 sessions a week if you want to.

One to one training

I was lucky enough to win a cheeky one to one session with the legend that is Ian Streetz!  For all his deets check his website here.

It was suuuuch a fab session, and I really recommend trying at least one to try and get to grips with some technique. Ian, despite being insaaaaanely skilled is also so lovely and helps you correct and work on your technique without being intimidating. He’s also great at answering any silly questions you have (I always have at least one haha!)

He obviously knows so much about boxing and training and is just crazy energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about what he does. At the beginning of the session we talked about options which include focusing more on conditioning, technique, or a mix of the two (we did a combination).

For my first proper session back after being ill and doing exams for a couple of weeks, when my heart rate started to climb early on in conditioning I was like oh my god will I actually survive a session haha! But then I got back into the swing of it, and I really love being challenged and pushed and taught new stuff, so it was a really really great experience!

Definitely watch this space for more sessions!

Have you tried Kobox yet, or are you already a heavyweight?! Hopefully see you there! 

B xoxo

Fit Lawyers Unite: Get this limited edition (for 1 month only)

oie_zMjy5GcwzwEXJust a little thank you to all the amazing professionals I’ve connected with via Instagram, whether you’re studying or working… and since you all loved the meme so much on Instagram, I got Bruiser to sniff out and Elle to approve a cheeky brunch or post-workout snuggly bargain…

As of TODAY you can shop this brand new limited edition sweater! Shop now.

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You have 28 days from today to get your hands on one ❤

xoxo

 

An apology

DEE7D881-3233-469C-BE55-FA38D47677C7Something has been on my mind over the last few months, and exams and various things have meant it’s taken me FOREVER to get around writing this.

But over the last year or so, I’ve MASSIVELY re-educated myself about nutrition, about self-care, about the science of health and looking after ourselves. I’m so excited that Instagram is starting to have healthier advice from qualified professionals seep out there – from @thefoodmedic, a junior doctor to @rhitrition, a Harley Street nutritionist, and from there it’s trickling down to influencers and professional bloggers, and also out to the wider world – including your at-home-normal-girl-online (like me!) who just takes an interest but doesn’t work in the field.

This dawning realisation of how qualified advice is key, and of how to truly look after 12801480_10154017394389571_243980647230974058_nmyself made me realise something: even when I thought I’d recovered from eating disorders I was still obsessive, counting calories and macros made me miserable, I tried crazy tips and tricks I’d find online…  I was exhibiting damaging behaviours, but because I have always documented my journey on Instagram, I was sharing them. 

I am not an “influencer”. I’m just a girl online. I’m not a nutritionist. I’ve never pretended to be able to give advice in any official sense, but the problem with sharing our lives on social in the health and wellness sphere is inevitably there will be people who give something you’ve tried a whirl.

Social gives you a channel that if what you say reaches even one person, it can have an effect.

So I am writing this to say I’m sorry.

Obviously everything I’ve ever written is just my opinion and so I can’t be responsible for anyone copying or trying anything, I know that, but I still want to write this to make clear that moving forward I want to distance myself even more from the obsessive ‘weight loss’ and ‘clean eating’ online movements… clearly each and every one of us takes responsibility for our own health (unless you hire qualified practitioners who then presumably assume responsibility for any good or ill effects of you implementing their official advice), and I’m not under any ego-centric illusion that me essentially sharing my health and fitness ‘diary’ has changed lives…

12809559_10154022763194571_8624223923645781642_nBUT I am sorry for sharing things about my journey, my experience, any informal advice or tips when they were wrong (as I now believe them to be – obviously at the time I was excited by them, and believed in them! And there are evidently people who still do). I think posts of mine even a year ago mention macro counting. I’m sure that for certain people this works fine, but it’s not something I’d now want to promote personally at all.

It has never been my intention to mislead, but in genuinely believing stuff that was wrong myself, what I intended doesn’t matter – maybe I contributed to promoting unhealthy habits in the past entirely mistakenly. Trying to convince myself that obsessing about macros made me feel great might have made someone else do the same, possibly, and I’m sorry for that.

I’m sorry for sharing so much on #cleaneating in the past. (I think this movement started off as well-intentioned – to encourage increased consumption of whole foods, vegetables, and reduction of over-processed, super sugary products… but the way it caught on has led to the rise of orthorexia in recent years (see the book ReNourish, by Rhiannon Lambert, and also there are various documentaries you can watch on this) and it is tricky, to be fair, to find vocabulary to express these ideas without them being loaded and causing problems!).

I’m sorry for not finding the right path sooner, and for falling prey to pseudoscience and myths in the hope they’d be quick fixes.

I’m sorry that society hasn’t yet fully embraced sensible healthy living and still encourages diet culture.

Of course I’m still sharing my journey but I’m trying to cite sources, to seek scientific verification before I try things out for myself let alone talk about them in public online, and to constantly emphasise that we can’t take information we find on Instagram as correct without fact-checking from credible sources – and that includes not just blindly believing hobby bloggers like me!

We have all probably accidentally pushed material around in the public sphere that with hindsight we realise actually wasn’t the right thing. I don’t think there are many people out there who do this deliberately (maybe with the exception of skinny/detox/diet teas and body wrap products!) But I think we can all try to be more responsible about how we use social media and ground what we say in sources that aren’t dubious in origin!

I hope this helps, and let’s all do our best to join the revolution of evidence-based health and nutrition and counteract diet culture!

(And in the event that anyone comes out of this post feeling a bit blue about social media, have a little read of this where I’ve shared my musings on the dangers but also the AMAZING BENEFITS of social!)

B xxxxx

PS. You might also like to have a mosey of this post on boosting body confidence

PPS. all images here are of recipes which you can find on this site, or on my Instagram!

PPPS. As if I haven’t said it enough, I think we should ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS about diet, nutrition and fitness. The internet might be great for inspiration, but your health is the most important thing and you need qualified individuals to help you make sure you’re making safe and sensible choices for your body. 

Bloggers, randoms like me, instagrammers (who aren’t nutritionists and doctors, and even when they are, they can’t give tailored advice without seeing you in clinic!) and internet forums aren’t sources of info you should copy unquestioningly, or even at all. Use them to investigate, but always always always verify. Have I emphasised this enough yet hehe?!!!

Grapefruit

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I love half a red grapefruit in the morning for breakfast, and some studies show it helps burn fat! I like to have mine with a couple of blueberries and strawberries for the additional nutrients ❤

The only thing missing from this breakfast above is protein, so it’s good to have a protein shake, or a scrambled egg, or some smoked salmon alongside if possible. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t but it makes the above the PERFECT breakfast instead of just damn good 😉

If you have fruit in the morning, what do you have?

B xoxo

Coconut oil life hack – instant teeth whitening!

coconut.jpgcoconuts-with-leavesCoconut oil is amazing – I love using it as lib balm, shaving cream, body lotion, hair mask, for cooking… And today I discovered another life hack!

I was skeptical when I saw this on instagram and wish I’d taken before and after pictures.

I’ve always really struggled with yellow-y teeth despite being a non smoker because I am a tea and a coffee drinker, and to top that, I don’t have milk – I always drink them black.

For years I’ve been meaning to save up and go and get them whitened professionally as k2-_fa36bb73-3e87-4d20-a520-0778f017b222.v1you hear horror stories about the chemicals etc. in DIY kits – it’s important to use a professional dentist.

But then I saw a natural tip on instagram and had a spare 5 minutes, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

It seems to have worked!

Mix some coconut oil with turmeric. It will look crazy yellow!

Brush it on to your teeth, give them a good scrub.

maxresdefaultLeave for 5 minutes and swill any oil around your mouth, this is no time for swallowing!

When time’s up, spit, rinse your mouth a few times, clean your teeth as normal with toothpaste and voila! Instantly whiter.

It worked for me! I’m going to try it daily for the next 7 days and see if I can give them a real lift. I’ll let you know how it goes.

These aren’t my teeth by the way. But maybe one day 😉