I say it all too often, "we need to learn to love fitness". I know I keep saying it on my fitness posts, but, it's true. I see so many people trying to find quick ways to lose weight, including starving themselves, doing crazy fad diets and trying to avoid doing exercise. Equally, the world of social media can be dangerous (read my post on the dangers of clean eating). I like to think I'm pretty balanced. It's my mantra. Exercise is hard work, exercise burns and tires you out but in a good way. We shouldn't hate on something that makes us feel fabulous. You never regret a workout and you feel great afterwards. I don't work out to lose weight, I work out because it makes me feel great, it boosts my confidence, boosts my mood and actually, means I don't have to feel guilty for enjoying my food either (not that you should ever feel guilty for enjoying food anyway but that's a whole different blog post). What's great to see is how many people are really embracing exercise nowadays, I definitely think social media helps with that. I'm forever seeing strong, fit women inspiring others to eat better and move more. That's what it's all about, moving more and eating better - not less. Today, I want to have another fitness ramble because you guys seem to like them! Let's go!
The Kit - On todays post, I'm wearing some more ELLESPORT, you may remember my post about how to get the most out of your workout in minimal time, I also wore ELLESPORT there. It's such a gorgeous, underrated brand and I honestly fell in love with this outfit so needed an excuse to show it off with this post. It's high quality and so beautiful. I always say how much easier I find working out when I have good gym kit on. I know it sounds crazy to some people, but with a fresh pair of trainers, new, beautiful gym kit, it inspires me to work out. This collection is one of my favourites as it can be mixed and matched to create more of a bold look or you can go for more of a casual look. I actually wore this to the supermarket after my workout and didn't feel like I stood out too much. The leggings are probably some of the best leggings I've ever worn! They're soft, comfortable but they hug my body perfectly. I often worry that sweat will show through grey gym kit but these are coated with DriACTIV technology to ensure you stay feeling fresh. No mishaps over here! I definitely think this is my favourite fitness kit yet, you'll see more of it as you read through this post! You can check it out online here.
First, I guess I want to talk about my fitness background. I feel fortunate that working out has been engrained into me for a very long time, since I could walk. Obviously I was never told I have to work out to lose weight, but my Mum always focused on the feel good factor of working out. She'd tell me how important it is to 'use the legs we were given' and because of that, I've never second thought walking pretty much everywhere and anywhere I can. We've been going out on walks as a family every Sunday for as long as I can remember, nothing beats the country air. In that way then, I guess it's easier for me to have working out as part of my lifestyle as I've always come from a really active background. I did swimming lessons as a baby, ballet as a toddler, athletics as soon as I got into primary school and I continued this all the way up until 6th form. I never looked at sport as a way of keeping fit, not until I was in 6th form anyway. For me, sport was so much fun. I was never one of the girls who sat out in P.E, in fact, P.E was my absolute favourite subject. I feel fortunate that at my school, it was 'cool to do exercise'. If you were sporty, it was seen as a good thing so yeh, I guess sport has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Whether it was athletics, cricket, basketball - you name it, I did it. I'm so happy I did so much exercise as a child as it really feels like it's a huge part of me.
As a young girl, my Mum worked full time (read a post all about my love for my Mum here if you missed that) so my brother and I were in childcare pretty much full time. This didn't bother me, it made me completely independent and I understood that my Mum had to carve a career (she's an amazing woman). Instead of us sitting and watching the TV though, we'd spend every day during the Summer holidays at an amazing Summer camp, it was called Camp Carnegie and I'll never forget it. We would literally do sport all day every day. Through this, I made friends and actually, it completely channeled any anger and stress I had. We didn't have a very good situation at home and my Mum shielded us by always making sure we were doing fun, active things and just enjoying life like children should.
As I've grown up, I obviously see exercise differently. As well as using it to maintain my weight, I also use it to make me feel great. When you work out, you release endorphins so even if you just go on a walk outside, for me anyway, I feel like it really does minimise my stress. I do feel like my workload can get stressful and I'm a pretty stressed person (oops) so working out for me is a moment for me to get rid of that. It's like magic for my brain and just clears my head. You seriously never regret a work out.
Another thing I say all the time but it's true, working out really is a lifestyle choice. Once you get into the routine of doing exercise every day, you feel weird not doing it and it's a really good frame of mind to be in. For example, I get really itchy feet if I go away and haven't exercised. I need to walk! I need to use my legs and I'll forever thank my Mum and Grandma for instilling that in me. Just like it's easy to become really lazy, it's also easy to become really active - you'd be surprised at just how quickly you get addicted to working out.
I love that so many women are promoting the idea of 'the strong woman'. It's so good to see, everyone has a different body ideal, my dream body may be completely different to yours and that's totally okay, we are all different and that's what makes us so special. I feel strong when I do sport and for me, I love going to the gym, I currently train at David Lloyd which is amazing because it's full of people who are working so hard towards their goals so it inspires me more, I love knowing that every time I go I'm making myself stronger. There's something brilliant about watching your body grow. I love that it's totally okay for women to lift weights now. No-one even stares because it's the norm now. I did some personal training with an exceptional PT at David Lloyd (Lois) and she taught me some amazing weight circuits. Doing weights is perfect for sculpting and toning the body and you get such amazing results. I'm working so hard to add more circuits in and moving away from constantly hammering that treadmill, fitness has evolved and it's no longer just about cardio. It's okay to be strong and powerful.
I never step on the scales, but the other day I stepped on them. I couldn't even tell you my weight because I take no notice of it. My Mum always says it's about how you feel in your body and clothes that matters and use that as your indicator. David Lloyd have a machine called BodiTrax which is pretty cool, it basically weighs you and then tells you lots of information about your body. For example, how much fat is around your arteries, your risk of obesity etc. Personally, I take no notice of those things but one thing I did notice is that this week when I stepped on the scales, my weight had gone up a little bit since the last time I stepped on the machine. At first, I felt a little disheartened and then I realised: this is why we don't weigh ourselves, it makes us feel rubbish. When I looked closer, I learnt that actually, whilst my weight had gone up a tiny bit, my muscle % had increased and my body fat percentage had lowered. This is my exact reason for not ever using weight as an indicator of health. It just goes to show, weight gain isn't a bad thing, as we know, muscle weighs more than fat so the reason my weight went up is because my muscles got bigger equalling more weight.
So what sport do I do regularly now? Hopefully you're up to date with my fitness posts and you can find all my favourite moves to do at the gym here and you can do my workouts in the comfort of your own home if you fancy too! But generally, as I've got older, because I don't have as much time to work out, I do classes at the gym. I find they push me so much, even though I'm massively motivated, sometimes you just need someone to push you that tiny bit further. Our heads often tell us we can't do something and we underestimate just how strong and capable our bodies are. David Lloyd is absolutely perfect for me as it's a ten minute drive from my house (they have them all over the country so definitely check them out to see if there's one near you) and they have multiple classes on all day. It means I can work them around my schedule so if I have a meeting in the morning, I can go to an afternoon class or if I have an event later that day, I can still fit my morning class in. It makes working out easier when it's flexible. I've also been doing some barrecore classes which are amazing. When I lived in Canada I did hot barre classes every single day, they use toning moves to really tone the body in ways you could never imagine and I felt my most toned when I was mixing my cardio up with barre classes. Lucky for me, they just opened up a barrecore in Leeds so I'm hoping in the run up to Christmas to do at least two barre classes a week for extra toning work on top of my David Lloyd spin classes! Like I always say though, it's about finding out what works for you but personally, I love doing a range of classes with brilliant music and even better instructors to push me that extra mile.
I hope that this post makes at least one person want to grab their gym kit and work out, whether that's at home, in the garden or at the gym. If this makes one person feel positive about working out and realise that working out is brilliant for a variety of reasons, my job is done!
Let me know how you're tackling the cold weather and still keeping fit this Winter. I'd love to know some more about your fitness background too! How do you stay motivated to work out? Do you like gym classes? Let's discuss these topics!
You can buy the kit from this post online here.
Lots of love, Em x
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