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Thursday, 23 February 2017

An Honest Chat About Health, Fitness And How To Get Back On Track With Health & Fitness


We're not even half way though the year yet, but for some reason, I find, February to be quite a slump, fitness and health wise. As soon as Christmas is over, we're all keen to get on the health bandwagon, but I feel like as soon as February comes, we hit that slump again. For me, eating well and working out hasn't been as straight forward as it usually is. I pride myself on being Mrs motivated, getting up, shaking it all on that spin bike and keeping my food balance on point. My routine is what ensures I stick to my workouts but this year so far, my routine is here, there and everywhere, making it difficult to stick to a regime. 2017 has been difficult for many reasons, starting with a number of devastating family issues (read more about that here as I've finally opened up a little) which means I've been emotionally exhausted and therefore, haven't been able to work out as much as I'd have liked to. Secondly, I somehow injured my leg in December and it took around 10 weeks to get better. Every time I did anything physical it went, again. I'm the girl who never takes a day off and certainly doesn't go a week without exercising so for me, this was torture. Once I got better, I had the worst rib and chest pain for a few weeks, unable to bend over and now, I have a kidney infection. It seems to me like it's one thing after another at the moment and I'm almost certain it's down to this emotional stress, but I refuse to let this stop me from being strong and healthy. I wrote a blog post about how to juggle everything and you know what, it is doable, but trust me, you've got to put your health first. You might be the size you've always dreamt of but if you're not healthy on the inside, does it even count? No, no it does not. Read on...

When I talk about working out and eating well, it's not just for aesthetic results, but it's for a clear mind too. Obviously I love it when I see my muscles growing and becoming toned, but what I love more, is the endorphins I get when I walk off a spin bike and that's truly what takes me back to the gym, every single time. 

Reflections: One thing 2017 has taught me is to sleep more, recuperate and take me time. I measured myself on the BodiTrax machine in my local David Lloyd recently (it's great because it doesn't just weigh you, it gives you water weight readings, body composition and loads more data) and actually, I have gained absolutely no weight and lost no muscle, proving that eating well, works. This is when I've completely lowered my exercise levels recently, so it goes to show, you don't need to hammer a treadmill every single day, all day, to see results. I absolutely love working out, it's part of me, but, you don't need to work out 5-7 days a week to be 'fit'. It's taken me until now to realise that actually, my body hasn't even changed from only working out 2-3 times a week, sometimes, when I've been ill or busy, god-forbid, zero times. I wrote a post a while ago talking about why I never weigh myself, and looking at body composition. It makes me really sad when I hear about people weighing themselves as if that is a measure of their health and weight, it isn't. People become obsessed with the scales and we shouldn't: I can honestly say, apart from the Boditrax machine, I have never weighed myself in my life. I still couldn't tell you what I weigh, I ignore that figure entirely. Body composition is a much better way to understand your body, for example, the machine once told me I'd gained weight from a scales point of view, but when I looked closer at the breakdown, I'd gained lean muscle and lost fat. It's really important not to step on a scale and think that is a reflection of your health. 

Pressure: I'm trying to avoid all pressure of 'Summer bodies are made in Winter' and the thought that I have to be in a bikini next week after months off, but you know what, our bodies certainly don't thank us for overworking them and sometimes, rest is essential. I may not feel my most confident, even though, on the outside and the inside, nothing has changed, exercise just gives me that confidence boost and the lack of it recently due to illness has just made me lose a little bit of that body confidence, that's all. Our bodies know when enough is enough and if your body needs to sleep, let it. This isn't a race and you can't really be as fit as you wish if your well-being isn't on the right track first. Avoid all pressure, focus on you and your situation and then, when your rested and ready, you can tackle your 'Summer body'. I guess what I'm trying to say is, taking time off, isn't the end of the world. Trust me, this is coming from someone who has never taken time off and now, my Boyd has crashed. It's important. So important. But now, my little legs are itching and ready to hammer the ground. I work out because it makes me feel incredible, mind, body, head - everything and I want to feel well and feel like that again so these kidneys better fix up, sharpish! Let's talk about getting back on track, in a healthy way this month onwards ready for Spring.

Top Tips To Getting Back On Track:

You may have lost your mojo, you may have like me, had a tough time with illnesses and emotional trauma, or, you may just have fallen off the bandwagon. It's okay, here are a few things I do to get myself back in the zone. Let's do this together! 

Clear The Cupboards: My first step is clear the cupboards. If you have your cupboards stocked with nutritious food all the time, then you're halfway there. It means when you are craving something, you'll grab something nutritious rather than something not-so-nutritious. My go to snack at the moment to curb my crisp cravings are Popchips. I'm a woman obsessed, they taste so good and they're low in pretty much everything too. I buy all my healthy food in bulk from Amazon too, such as Nakd bars, it makes it way cheaper and means you can always be fully stocked and grab them and go. Don't forget to read about some of my favourite healthy snacks. 

Simple Choices: There are small but simple choices you can make in supermarkets, such as checking out the sugar in things. I always check saturated fat and sugars when I'm buying things as so many supermarket items are deemed healthy but they have so much added sugar. I was shocked recently when looking at the cereal bar aisle, I can't believe how much added sugar is in each bar. Making small changes like this really helps. I've been doing a lot of healthy, home baking from books like Deliciously Ella and Leon recently because their ingredients don't use added sugar. When I'm out and about, working remotely, I know the places I can rush into now to get healthy and on-to-go snacks, unfortunately, none come cheaply, but Leon is my go-to in London for healthy but filling food, and Pret anywhere else is usually pretty good for nutritious food. 

Get A Water Bottle: It sounds simple, but get a water bottle and keep filling it high and hydrating. Water does wonders for you, from skin, hair, nails to flushing toxins out. The doctor told me that I need to keep drinking to flush the kidney infection out so I'm making it my mission to be the water queen from now on. 

Sleep Better: I know it's dull, but the more sleep you can get, the better. It means you'll be energised throughout the day but you're giving your body time to repair. Sleep is so important. 

Get A Soundtrack Ready: I cannot work out well without a good soundtrack. I put together playlists on my phone and they get me through that last minute on the treadmill, for me, it's so important. 

Move More: Whether it's getting off the bus one stop early, running up the tube steps rather than standing and letting it take you up or getting the stairs rather than the elevator, little things make all the difference! Plus, fresh air is great for the mind. 

Find What Works For You: Lastly, reflect and see what worked for you and what didn't. Are you a gym bunny? Do you work better in gym classes? (David Lloyd do the most amazing 30 minute HIIT synergy classes where they push me to do things I would never push myself to do!) Do you prefer swimming? Are you more of a power walker? Whatever it is, find what works for you and keep doing it! Make it part of your routine. If you are looking for workouts, I've filmed loads of them on my YouTube and you can watch them all on a playlist here. 

Remember, this is a lifestyle, not a fad and once it becomes part of your lifestyle, it will feel weird not eating well and working out. It's all about balance, moderation and never deprivation.

Thanks for reading guys! How do you feel about everything above? 


Lots of love, Em x

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