9 articles Tag exercise

A Little Bit of Self Improvement

A Little Bit of Self ImprovementI don’t know about you, but September for me always feels like a time for new beginnings. I think it’s the start of the new school year that does it, but I always feel like I should be embarking on a new project or job at this time of year. With both girls now in full time education, I have time to do something just for me, so I thought I’d share a few self-improvement things that I’m thinking of embarking on in the coming weeks:

NLP Training

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. ‘Neuro’ being your brain, ‘Linguistic’ the language we use with others and how that can influence their thinking and behaviour and our own self talk and how that impacts on our results. A good accredited NLP Training programme can help you to become more successful in many areas of your life.

Exercise

One of the single most important things that I need to do after the holidays is get back to the gym. As well as needing to lose a lot of weight and improve my physical health, exercising always seems to have a positive effect on my mental health, too, giving me an overall more positive outlook. This usually helps me to be more productive in other areas.

Learning

I really want to resume my OU studies and complete an Early Years Education degree. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a kid, and having spent more time in class with BB this year, I realise I’m never happier than when I’m in a school environment. I really want a job where I feel like I’m contributing to society.

Volunteering

Something that I’ve always enjoyed doing is volunteering my time to a good cause. Giving money to charities is essential, but giving time can sometimes be even more valuable. When I was younger, I spent my Saturdays volunteering in a Child Contact Centre, where parents with a court order in place could have visitation with their kids and although it was sometimes upsetting, it was also incredibly rewarding.

Find a Hobby

If I have any time left after all of my other attempts at self improvement, I’d really like to find a hobby. I spend SO much of my free time either surfing social media and the internet or watching TV and I think it might be making my brain turn to mush! I need to find something to do which actually helps me to engage my brain, or at the very least helps me to do something creative.

The True Cost of Staying in Shape

Eating healthily, exercising regularly, and staying in shape is something many of us aspire to. Unfortunately, the cost can soon add up. Gym memberships, healthy meals, personal trainers, apps, gadgets, clothing, and supplements are marketed as “essential”, and don’t always come cheap. In fact, online trainers can be hired to meet specific needs, especially those who’ve completed a personal trainer course from Discovery. This way you’re guaranteed to be taught by someone certified in the field.

If a lack of will power doesn’t put a stop to your healthy lifestyle, the cost just might.

Why Is It So Expensive?

The fitness industry is worth billions and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.

Marketers prey on our desire to look and feel great, encouraging us to dig deep and spend big on a whole host of health and well-being items. Protein shakes and pre-workout supplements used to be products for bodybuilders, but not anymore; they now line supermarket shelves and have earned a place in many ordinary homes.

While scientific studies do show benefits of many supplements, results can vary greatly and the cost can sometimes outweigh the rewards. If you’re buying cupboards’ full of the things, you might be wasting money.

How to Stay in Shape and Save Money

The cost of staying in shape should not be a barrier to leading a healthier life.

Luckily, it is entirely possible to keep fit without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. When it comes to supplementation, stick to the basics: protein, creatine, omega-3 and multivitamins show the biggest rewards vs. cost. While other sports supplements work well, they largely depend on your fitness goals and budget.
  2. Set up a home gym: If you’re on a budget, you can grab stuff second-hand from places like Gumtree. With just a skipping rope, a cheap set of dumbbells and some comfortable workout clothes, you can achieve amazing results. This can be done for under £100. This also saves on travelling costs to get to the gym.
  3. Hire an online personal trainer: Registering with a local gym is not the only way to access the valuable knowledge of a personal trainer. In fact, online trainers can be hired to meet specific needs. The combination of a budget home gym and an online personal trainer will come in far cheaper than a standard gym membership.
  4. Compare prices before you spend your hard-earned cash: Some retailers, especially supermarkets, sell protein powders and other fitness items at full retail price. This can sometimes be more than double what you might pay elsewhere. To check the huge differences, you can compare prices at Fitness Savvy.

Final Words

Gym memberships, sports supplements, and gadgets can add up to hundreds per month in costs, yet are mostly unnecessary. By sticking to the basics, setting up a home gym, checking

Staying Fit with a Toddler in Tow

You’d think that running around after a toddler all day would be enough to stay fit, but being at home all day and working from here too means that I’m often quite sedentary. I’m lucky enough to have a gym membership and an absolute SAINT of a mother-in-law who looks after BB when I want to work out, but I’ve been tryin to think of ways to be more active during the day, even when BB is with me. Here’s a few of the things I came up with:

Trampolining

BB got a trampoline for her last birthday and it’s basically her favourite thing in the world. I hadn’t been on it until about two weeks ago when I finally ventured on and absolutely LOVED it! Trampolining is so super fun and it’s something that I can do to really get my heart rate up. BB finds it absolutely hilarious watching me bounce and it means we get to have fun together at the same time.

Bike Riding

Sausage was a little late to bike riding, but it seems that BB is raring to go and really wants to learn how to ride her bike. Living where we do means that there are lots of walking trails and car-free routes that BB and I could use for little bike rides which would keep us both moving, get us out in the fresh air and help us to explore the local countryside. Brompton folding bikes would also be perfect for putting in the car and taking further afield!

Yoga

A while ago, BB discovered a YouTube channel which contained videos of themed yoga for kids, such as a Frozen yoga session and she absolutely fell in love with it. I’ve been doing yoga for a few months now and it’s basically my favourite hour of the whole week so finding a Mum and Toddler yoga video that we could do together would be the perfect activity for both of us and would also be something that we could still do on rainy or cold days.

Footie in the Park

Now that the weather is finally a bit nicer, taking a ball to the park and running around for a couple of hours is an amazing way to stay active. You’ll barely even realise that you’re exercising, the kids will end up burning off a lot of energy and they’ll be ready for a nice lunch and an afternoon nap (the toddler, not you!) giving you time for a coffee and 5 minutes of peace.

What do you do to stay fit whilst looking after the kids? Leave me a comment below!

The Good and the Bad of a Workout Buddy

Credit

Personal fitness is one of those things that we all care about in an abstract sense, without always following it through to reality. While walking is low intensity, it still helps us get moving – ensuring we have the correct walking shoes to stay comfortable. It may keep us walking (take a look at runner click for the best walking shoes) past the baked goods in a grocery store, it may make us pick out the “diet” soda rather than the full-fat solution. It’s harder, though, to make it stick to the point of actually hitting the gym regularly.

After all, it takes the same time and money to buy a different type of soda – for example. There is even a momentary feeling of reward by making such a choice, which you can pat yourself on the back for as you select the option that you figure is better for you (whether you are correct on that is another point entirely). But the principle is the same.

Where Things Get Rough

Yet when it comes to working out and actually living more healthily rather than just the easy options as above – well, that’s a lot more to deal with, isn’t it? It’s a far bigger change, a more substantial shift in the way you do things and the impact it has on your existence. That kind of change is a lot harder to maintain. So how do you keep going when such a regime begins to feel too tough to be worth bothering with?

Solutions

One piece of advice you might hear is to start working out with a friend. On some levels, it makes a lot of sense – after all, it’s harder to do anything new in life if you’re going it alone. It’s also great to be able to share information with someone. You can swap exercise ideas, the exciting real AlgaeCal reviews that you found and talk the best way of using kinesiology tape with someone who’s in the same boat as you. (Bear in mind too that if you’re advising a friend on supplements, you should first take advice yourself from a doctor and advise them to do likewise).

The truth is, though, that nothing is without its challenges. So if you’re going to work out with a friend, it makes sense to be ready for the primary issue this can present:

One of You Will Always Be Doing A Little Better

When two people embark on something together, the likelihood is that one will find it easier (or get better results) than the other. This can lead to frustration and resentment on the part of the person left behind, if the situation is not addressed upfront.

If you’re the one who is finding a new routine easy, indicate to your workout buddy that it’s not a competition. You’re both aiming for goals and it’s not about defeating one another.

If you’re the one lagging behind, don’t resent your friend. It’s petty. Just try and bear in mind that different people react in different ways, at different paces. Sometimes you will be the one behind in the dust, but in other activities, you might streak ahead. It’s all about balance and perspective.

If you feel you must be in competition, then be in competition with other people at the gym – not the person you’re close with! 

Are We Fat Because of the Weather?

Exercising in the SunshineFor the last couple of days, Husband and I have been getting out on our bikes for a few hours. In fact, in the last 2 days, we’ve ridden 23 miles, which is a piffling amount for my Husband, who’s a lifelong cyclist, but it’s a huge achievement for me, someone who’s been on a bike probably twice in the past ten years. Sure, I feel a bit like I’ve been repeatedly kicked in the perineum, but I’ve discovered that I actually really love cycling. Yesterday, we rode to Belfairs Woods and around the dirt track and I was knackered beaming by the end of it.

On our rides, I’ve noticed a lot more people out and about, exercising and enjoying themselves. Yesterday, we saw joggers, walkers, cyclists, even a whole bunch of kids taking advantage of the number of free tennis courts that we have around our area. Everyone seemed happy to be out in the sun and their energy levels were infectious. I couldn’t help but wonder if the reason that everyone was engaging in healthier activities was the fact that the sun was shining?

You have to admit, here in the UK, our weather can be appalling – this latest spate of good weather has only just sprung itself upon us after one of the worst winters on record and there’s no denying that cold, wet weather makes us all want to hibernate. When the weather is rubbish, we all like to stay indoors and indulge in comfort food and it’s infinitely harder to find the motivation to exercise.

When your house is warm and cosy, the thought of pulling on your running shoes and pounding the pavements in the cold drizzle is wholly unappealing. The other issue is the fact that we run out of daylight hours before we get a chance to exercise. Anyone who works 9-5 will spend the majority of daylight at work and running in the dark is not my idea of fun (or safety). So, the other option is a gym subscription, but even our local council run gym is now over £40 a month for a basic membership, which is out of a lot of people’s budgets.

Having said all of that, I looked into the statistics and was surprised by what I found. According to the latest data, 61.3% or UK adults are classified as overweight or obese, which is shockingly high, but by the same token 60% of Australian adults are also in the overweight or obese category, which goes to show that there are definitely other factors at work.

Obviously, I can’t blame the fact that I’m fat entirely on the weather, but all I know is this: I have been so much happier exercising in the sunshine this past week and I don’t seem to be the only one. Would we all live more active lifestyles if we had year-round sun?

What about you? Are you more active in the sunshine? Are you a gym bunny all year round or do you hibernate like me? Leave me a comment below.

Trampolining for the Whole Family!

One of the things that we’ve been looking forward to about the warmer weather maybe/possibly/potentially arriving is getting Sausage back on her trampoline. She’s been a bouncy child ever since she could first take weight on her legs (which, and I’m not exaggerating here, was at about 6 weeks old. We nicknamed her Tigger and everything) and when we were trying to come up with something to get her for her last birthday, a trampoline was the obvious choice.

The trouble is, her birthday is in August and we didn’t have a particularly brilliant summer last year, so the amount of time she actually spent on it was limited. We were hopeful that she’d be springing into action as soon as spring arrived (did you see what I did there..?!) but that was not to be as, despite being a fan of extreme sports, ‘Dodge the Lightening Trampolining’ is not my idea of healthy recreation for a four year old.

I was having a little Google up, as you do, and I found AllTrampolines, a site which does exactly as its name suggests and sells all things trampoline related. I saw this little 5ft trampoline and it got me thinking; trampolining doesn’t have to stop when the rain and snow starts! There’s even a smaller one on the website called a ‘Jogger’ which is specifically for keeping fit indoors and I’m genuinely considering investing in one for myself. I’ll need some serious sports-bra-chest-binding action before I even get near it, but I reckon indoor mini-tramping could be an amazingly fun way to bounce back to fitness. Not that I’d get a chance to use it, once Sausage got her mitts on it.

Another thing that looks amazingly fun is this trampoline tent – on more than one occasion last year, Sausage asked if we could throw blankets over the net enclosure of her trampoline and make it into an enclosed den for her, but this tent would be an amazing accessory to have for days when she wants to do that and it would save my bed sheets too!

So, here’s hoping for the scorching July and August that I keep hearing about from the grapevine of British Weather folklore so that we can all get bouncing again!

Lifestyle Change

I’ve resisted writing about this for a while, for two reasons. Firstly, I tend to have better success with weight loss and lifestyle change when I don’t make a big thing of it. Like, sneak up on myself with the healthiness. Secondly, I know hearing someone rambling on and on and on about their body issues can be a bit, um, dull, so I’m trying to hold back a bit. Having said that, there are a few little changes that I’ve made lately which have been fairly small but are making a big impact on not just me but the whole family.

Last week, we invested in Wii Fit and a balance board. It was a great buy actually, we went to a local shop looking for a new one and picked up a reconditioned unit for £15! We definitely need to invest in some rechargeable batteries as we’re using it every day, as a family, once Sausage gets home from school. It’s become a bit of a routine, I collect Sausage and then we spend an hour or two having a family session of yoga or competing against one another in golf, running, hula hooping, archery and loads else besides. It may not be intense cardio but it’s getting us all moving, instead of being sedentary, which is a great start.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is eating a lot less meat. I was very resistant to the idea of going entirely veggie as I worry that I’d get really bored of meals without meat but last week I went five days without eating any meat at all and I didn’t even realise! I’m finding that I can still enjoy meals I like, for instance, I had sausages, mash and peas but subbed out fatty pork for Quorn sausages, which reduced the caloric and fat content of the meal by LOADS.

My car has been spending a lot more time on the driveway this week. Because I’m not working now, I rarely need to go anywhere straight after dropping Sausage off at school, so we’ve been walking instead of driving. Actually, I’ve been walking, Sausage has been scooting, which is brilliant exercise for her and is doing wonders for her balance!

Last Thursday, I went swimming for the first time in about 20 years! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken Sausage swimming lots of times, but I mean proper swimming where I get in and swim lengths, not just splashing about in the kids pool. I managed 6 lengths of a 50m pool, which may not seem like a lot but it’s a huge achievement for me. The great thing about swimming is that it’s fantastic as a full-body workout but it’s very low impact, so I didn’t end up with painful joints afterwards, which is something that has stalled my interest in exercise in the past.

So, I’m taking it steady and making progress at my own pace and I’m really confident that I’m making changes for the better and changes that I can actually stick to. Wish me luck!

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The Argos Saga Continues…

So, on 1st August I was promised a £50 cheque within 7 days as compensation for the 7 months of rigmarole that Argos has put us through. Here we are, on 9th August and surprise, surprise; NO CHEQUE. But it gets better. Not only is there no cheque, but after spending half an hour being pushed from pillar to post on yet another 0845 number, there is apparantly NO RECORD of any such compensation being issued to us. I swear to goodness, our phone bill will show more than £50 worth of phonecalls after all this shit, so a £50 compensation cheque which isn’t ever going to turn up is starting to feel like a massive kick in the pants.

Excuse me while I sit in a corner and silently weep with frustration.

Small Steps…

This is obviously not me....but it will be one day.

So, I’m not going to do what I’ve done before. I won’t put my vital statistics out here for all to see, it’s not productive so it’s pointless. But today, I made a small step toward my goal. I used our new treadmill for the first time, and not only did I do 15 minutes of brisk walking, but I did 5 whole minutes of actual jogging. Now, I’m sure all of you healthy, amazing people who run 5km every day are scoffing at my minor burst of energy, but this is a big deal to me. I am totally unfit, and I surprised myself by even managing to jog for five minutes, I thought I’d manage about 2 before my lungs exploded, but once I found my stride it was easier than I thought it would be.

I also wore my Zaggora HotPants for the first time and I noticed more than one benefit. Aside from the fact, and I’m sorry to have to share this, but I definitely, *ahem* sweated more in the areas that the HotPants covered, which just shows that the fat and cellulite burning magic is in action, one of the other things I liked is that they seem to hold everything in. If you’ve ever been overweight and tried to exercise, you’ll do that there’s an unpleasant and off-putting jiggle that tends to happen if you go over a gentle canter, but the HotPants really eliminated this and gave me the confidence to go for it.

Oh, and a little tip? The HotPants have very specific washing instructions, but if you take them in the shower with you after your workout, turn them inside out and rinse them out with some mild shampoo, then hang them over the shower curtain rail it makes keeping them clean super simple (That’s not endorsed by Zaggora by the way, just my own tip, I’ll probably find out that I’m perishing the material by doing that, when my hulking great ass bursts out of the seams, mid-workout!).

I’m hoping this is the start of something good, and you never know, if I start to see decent results I may just share my new stats with you! (Oh, and if you want some HotPants for yourself, I have a voucher for anyone who wants it giving you 10% off, just comment below and let me know)