What does it take for you to #CrossTheLine?

PUMA are launching their very own campaign to help us all find and explore our inner athlete. They want to know what inspires us, the everyday competitor, to excel in our own fitness and training regimes and quite simply, what does it take for us to #CrossTheLine?

I’ve thought about this a lot over the past few weeks and the #CrossTheLine is a fitting hashtag for my whole workout philosophy. I’m always striving to improve my last performance, every single time I hit the gym, go for a run, turn up for a dreaded “leg day”, my main competitor is ME, can I do one more rep, run one more mile, push for one more minute, add one more kg? What does it take for me to #CrossTheLine? Simple, it’s me competing against ME every time  I train. I always want to do better, be better than my last workout and for me this is paramount in achieving (and often exceeding ) my own expectations. I don’t compare my fitness to others – let’s be honest there’ll always be someone fitter, faster, leaner, so instead I focus on me and me alone, after all no one else is going to drag my sorry ass to the gym at 7am (or more often than not in my case 9pm).  I’m at my best when my heart is beating out of my chest and my muscles are crying (literally).

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Running alongside the #CrossTheLine campaign is PUMA’s latest footwear launch and it comes in the form of the Ignite Dual.  Inspired by the upcoming games and fronted by PUMA athlete – and worlds fastest man – Usain Bolt, It’s a running shoe that combines technology designed to improve function, as well as style. They’re pretty, there’s no doubt about it, the colour combinations alone are enough to get you reaching for your credit card and if my trial run is anything to go by, they perform too – it’s a winning combination!

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So as PUMA are inextricably connected to helping the fastest man on the planet cross the line and this new super shoe is good enough for him, then surely we want to get our little mittens on a pair too…Well wait for it, PUMA have given me and all of the #TEAMFASTER beauties, a pair for ME to give away to YOU  (yes you heard me right). All you have to do is leave a comment on my insagram competition post – you can’t miss it – explaining what helps you to #CrossTheLine and become the greatest version of YOU can be in terms of your fitness. For some of you it’ll be interval training, others speed work, after all as we’re not all armed with a  team of experts, nutritionist and physiotherapists, to analyse our performance like Usian, we need to find our own motivation to keep us on track. So what keeps us moving forward, what helps us to reach the next milestone in our fitness or achieve that extra pull up?

I would like you to share how you #CrossTheLine within your own training.What’s your physical or mental goal and how do you keep yourself on track and motivated to achieve it? Can you sum up what #CrossTheLine means to you with an inspirational quote (we all need a little inspiration now and then)? Don’t forget to leave your comments on my #CrossTheLine instagram post and one of you will be receiving a brand, spanking new pair of  Ignite Dual’s of your very own! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts…

 

 

 

 

My Fitness Love Affair with Instagram…

It’s time to come clean,  I’m in love with Instagram (and I’m not ashamed to admit it)…

Let me be honest, it certainly wasn’t love at first sight and I didn’t understand it to begin with, in fact it completely perplexed me. Why on earth did people feel the need to take photographs of their food and post it all over the internet? Why were there endless shots of feet in trainers,  various gym attire and constant streams of porridge bowls topped with, well quite frankly, anything and everything under the sun! My First thought was, how on earth do these people have the time and is there actually anyone out there who wants to see it? The answer in short is yes and I’m now one of them.

I’ve always been into fitness, I literally can’t remember a time when I didn’t do something that was fitness related.  It probably stems from being taken to my local dance class (aged 2) and going on to train as a contemporary dancer, but one thing’s for sure, it was way before it became trendy and “the thing to do”. I’ve always been my own motivator, my own cheerleader, my own fan club, because I’ve only ever done it for me and me alone.

In short, up until now it’s been rather a solitary affair and I’ve always been quite happy with that. None of my best friends are into fitness and as I’ve lived in Wales, Leeds, London and a multitude of houses in my lifetime, my gym membership has changed more times than my knickers (I mean that in the nicest possible way). But Instagram has opened up a whole new angle to my fitness approach, mainly because of the wealth of ideas and inspiration that are out there. There’s a worldwide fitness community  and at  just at the touch of a button, I have access to so many inspiring people to connect with/ learn from and they love the fitness world just as much as I do.

Often, if I’m travelling, people will recommend places to eat, classes to try, all of which were hidden before Instagram connected us (certainly they were not as easy to access). Also,  if I’ve had a cheat day (or two), because it is all about balance after all, Instagram reminds me to stay on track, in fact in forces me to as I know my followers are waiting to see my next food post, just as much as I’m waiting to see theirs.

I know there are many people out there who will completely disagree and I get it – it was me not that long ago because of course, there are the pitfalls too. Lots of people complain about the unrealistic, filtered images that can litter our feeds, but I’m quite happy to take that with a pinch of salt. None of us are perfect – we all know that, lots of us are impressionable, we know that too. But the people I choose to follow inspire me, even though lots of the images are in places I may never visit, with bodies I may never have…

And so the debate continues to rumble on and I’m sure will continue to do so…

Breakfast for Kings (and Queens)…

January has hit…when and how did that happen? My friends seem to have gone bonkers with “healthier and happier” resolutions, many going on health kicks to extreme levels. But we all know (yes all of us) that faddy diets started this month are rarely realistic or sustainable and often leave us feel utterly depressed…

Quite some time ago, I started to consider what changes I needed to make in order stay healthy, nourished and energised all year round and not just in January. It hasn’t always been easy, especially after the the birth of my two beautiful children. Finding the time to “eat well” always felt difficult and often resulted in me reaching for a quick sugar fix to get myself through the day. I’ve always been fit and active but we know that this isn’t coupled with a healthy diet and we’re just not going to get the results we want.

I long ago discovered that If my diet is good (mostly) then everything else falls into place too. Mainly because my energy levels are high, I sleep better and therefore I  more ready to face the challenges of the daily grind. However, I don’t have hours to prepare and research healthy, balanced meals so the food I make mostly has to be quick, easy and simple to make.

Many friends have asked if I’d share some of the “quick fix”  balanced and healthy meals and snacks that make up a large part of my weekly diet. After all, I get most of my inspiration from similar sources, mostly from Instagram, eat clean recipe books and fellow bloggers. So, after being nagged by friends to talk about what I eat on a day-to-day basis. Here we go…

Today, we’re starting at the beginning…breakfast! Where else would we begin?

Start the day right…

As someone who never used to eat breakfast (there I said it). This meal has always been my nemesis, so It’s taken me a while to build up a bank of “go to” dishes, to ensure that I start my day right. I think it’s important to say at this point, these dishes are not “rocket science”, they’re simple balanced and as far as i’m concerned, delicious.

I always start the day with one of the following, remember convenience is key for my lifestyle, so all of these dishes can be made quickly and painlessly with little effort!

Smoothies

I always mix mine with pure coconut water, home-made macadamia milk or hazelnut milk. This keeps the sugar content lower (instead of using a fruit juice for example) and, in my opinion makes the smoothie taste better too! If like me, you don’t always have time to prepare your fruit and veg before hand, Tesco (and I’m sure all the other leading supermarkets too) have already prepared smoothie pots, packed with fresh fruit and veg that you can pop in your blender ready to mix with the water/milk of your choice! Another option is to have a range of “go to”frozen fruit and veg in your freezer. If you’re new to smoothies, my advice is to start fruity and then slowly increase the veg content as you go. Don’t be afraid of veg like beetroot (it’s amazing with apple) and avocado (which gives your smoothie a milkshake like texture). A simple favourite of mine is macadamia milk, banana, dates and vanilla – simply delicious!

 

Porridge

Oats (made with a nut milk of your choice) then topped with your favourite, seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds, pulses are always a winner in my book. You can’t go wrong with slow released carbs that keep you full until lunch time. I often put my recipes up on Instagram, so make sure your following if you want some of my “go to favourites”. If you’re feeling adventurous you can use quinoa instead of oats (but you may want to soak them in water before you add the milk).

 

Soaked Oats

This is a new one for me, but trust me they’re delicious and easier than you think. Soak oats overnight in a nut milk of your choice (this literally means throw some oats and milk in a bowl and cover – no fiddly prep needed here!), then wake up and top. My favourites are  berries and chia seeds. But of course there re a whole range of combinations you can try! Absolutely delicious!

 

Eggs, Eggs and more Eggs

You really can’t go wrong with the these wonders. Have them any which way and combine them with some good fats like avocado or walnuts if you need an extra boost. You really are onto a winner with these!

 

If I start the day right, then I’m more likely to eat better throughout the rest of the day. But even if I don’t, then at least I’ve started the day right. If you have any recipes, ideas, suggestions on quick. simple, nutritious breakfasts, I’d love to hear from you! Post your recipes and comments below!

 

Striving towards a fitter planet: one step at a time…

I think its fair to say that Les Mills has allowed us all to fall back in love with studio fitness. I’ve been a fitness addict for as long as I can remember and I am always looking for ways to challenge myself and take my fitness to the next level. Personally, I love working out with other people; It drives me forward, keeps me motivated and quite frankly, it’s fun!

Since discovering Les Mills over 15 years ago (yes I am that old) I’ve never looked back! Les Mills provide a range of fitness programmes that cater for every fitness level and taste. The programmes change every three months, so your workout never has the chance to get “stale” or ” too comfortable”. They offer new choreography and the latest music, along with new challenges which are adapted to ensure that everyone can achieve and improve despite your level of fitness! No more excuses then!!

An important part of their winning formula is their instructors or “tribe” as they are fondly known. There are 100,000 of them and counting! Yes you heard me! Each and every one of them are passionate, skilled and motivated fitness professionals who exude passion, have boundless energy and keep us motivated every step of the way. They are not just informative, they’re inspirational. They fuel our enthusiasm as participants, drive our passion for fitness forward and quite frankly keep us going when all we really want to do is curl up in a corner and cry.

But have you ever looked at your Les Mills instructor and wondered how they got there? Where did their fitness journey begin? What are their favourite programmes? What exactly does a “fitter planet” mean to them? Well you lucky people, I took it upon myself to do some digging and find out. It’s time to get up-close and personal to one of the Les Mills instructors who are currently leading the way. Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire you to become one too, if you think you’ve got what it takes!

Introducing…

Nick Dutton

© Michael Wharley Photography 2014

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness philosophy

I trained as an actor and continue to work in the industry.  I predominantly work in the corporate sector as a roleplayer on behavioural change courses, and do voiceovers.  Les Mills is my “hobby jobby!”

My philosophy is to find something you enjoy.  Group exercise is not for everyone.  If you like running up a hill or dancing in your living room alone, do it.  Then, when you’re ready, try something different, so you don’t plateau.

Sure we may feel tired after exercise, but I’ve never heard of anyone feel worse than before they started.

Where did your passion for fitness originate?

I have no idea.  I’ve watched and played lots of tennis… and still do.

As a tiny kid (probably about 2 years old), I remember watching Michael Chang and Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario win the French Open at 17 years old.  They were the massive underdogs in both draws and totally different in how they played against all the big hitters.  They were tiny and quick and chased every ball down. They had this knack of grinding out the wins by being walls. Chang even chucked in an underarm serve at one point.
 As the small fat kid, maybe something resonated with me with how they put the miles in and hung tough mentally.

Tell us about your Les Mills journey – where did it all begin?

I remember doing LM classes here, there and everywhere.  I didn’t know what LM was then though – I just enjoyed these classes.  One BODYATTACK™class was particularly electric on a Monday night at Virgin Active Oxford Street.   50+ people would be jumping to the music whilst this Kiwi husband and wife instructor duo would have us high as a kite.  I would go along, hiding at the back in my baseball cap whilst never speaking to a soul.  I always thought that class should have been on the NHS prescription if anyone had depression.  Utter euphoria.
I was lynched at the end of one class and told I should be instructing.  I dismissed it, still didn’t speak to anyone for 18 months about it and just signed up secretly.

How many Les Mills programmes do you teach?

Three

Which one is your favourite and why?

Don’t make me choose or I’ll have to kill you.
 I’ve been having a sordid affair with CXWORX™ for some time.  It’s quick and effective. People think they’re coming for a six pack and get so much more. (Ssssh – don’t let my long term lovers BODYATTACK™ and BODYPUMP™ know – they’re my rocks!)

What are your best tips for finding consistency with workouts?

Les Mills!  It’s pre-choreographed so you have an idea of what you’re getting.  Depending on class duration, it should follow the same format globally.
 Whilst that can occasionally get bad press from freestyle instructors (they sometimes feel it lacks creativity), it can help you lift heavier or jump higher if you know what’s coming. Then you can see progression.
 With all that said, it’s great to mix up your training, so your body is constantly guessing and adapting.

What’s your daily diet and how important is the relationship between health,  fitness and nutrition? 

I try not to be too prescriptive about everything as it all depends on my current needs and goals. 
I read as much as possible (usually Poliquin articles).
 Juices, radical diets and the like may get short term results but they’re simply not sustainable long term.  What happens when you stop?
 You can work out like a demon but if you eat rubbish, you’ll look rubbish.You can’t out-train a poor diet.

Ultimately, it’s about sensible, healthy lifestyle choices. Be kind to yourself and don’t take photos to show the world how virtuous your meals are – no one likes a goody goody!

What does a “fitter planet” mean to you?

For me, it’s just about encouraging each other to do a little more than we already do.  Baby steps!  Without fail, we feel better when we’re fitter. Whether that’s feeling more mobile, or just less sluggish – it doesn’t matter how you do it. With better nutrition (not necessarily less but smarter) and more movement, you’re onto a winner.


Watch this space…

Over the next few weeks I’ll be featuring other Les Mills instructors right here AND I’ll be heading up to Manchester to take part in ONELive, a one-stop-shop for all things Les Mills. I’ll get to try out all the latest releases, mingle with the trainers, presenters and instructors, stock up on Reebok’s latest fitness essentials and generally sweat up a storm! Think studio fitness but on a global scale. Unfortunately this event is sold out (actually it sold out in a matter of days) but fear not, you can find more information on future ONELive events right here …you’re welcome!

It’s time to Ignite your training sessions…

This month I’ve had the pleasure of road testing (or studio testing in this case) Puma’s all new IGNITE XT trainers. Marketed as an adapted version of their super-responsive IGNITE running shoe, these have been specially engineered for cross-training and are geared for athletes looking to maximize energy and movement throughout their high intensity workouts. Want to know more? Here comes the science bit…

The IGNITE XT’s are packed with performance-enhancing features including, a full-length IGNITE foam midsole for optimal responsiveness and energy return; flex grooves to enable fast, multi-directional movement and agility; and additional heel thickness at the sides to support side-to-side movements. The shoe’s mesh upper design offers lightweight flexibility and an incredibly comfortable fit.

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Well it certainly sounds impressive, but science and research aside, I want to see if these training shoes really live up to the hype. Can they keep up with me and my jam packed training schedule? Will they adapt to my varying weekly classes and workouts, while providing maximum comfort and support?  I think it’s time I put these trainers through their paces to find out.

What better way to kick-start a test run than with an early morning boxing session with Carlos Moreno (a four-time international boxing champion) and his team from Moreno Boxing. Moreno Boxing is known for it’s emphasis on nurturing both fitness and boxing technique from the very basic beginner level through to the experienced boxer, with a focus on teaching correct boxing techniques and improve fitness. If anything was going to put these shoes through their paces, then this was it! They promised a high intensity, HITT style workout and they didn’t disappoint. We skipped, ran, boxed, sparred, performed burpees, press ups, sit ups, planks (to name just a fraction of what we managed to cram into an hour) and so far, so good. The IGNITE XT were everything they promised to be offering support and comfort throughout the workout and I would go as far to say they gave me an extra spring in my step.

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So it was time to up the anti and try these beauties in my usual (often overloaded) workout week. Would they hold their own when it came to my usual training schedule? IGNITE XT it’s time to meet  Body Step, Body Combat, Kettle bells to name just a few…My workouts are often diverse as I Iike range and variety, so have I found a training shoe that can keep up?

In short the answer – yes! As promised the IGNITE XT were light, supportive, very springy and as someone who is prone to shin splints (an old, reoccurring dance injury) I’m pleased to say that so far I’ve managed to workout pain free too, which for me is no easy feat and a huge plus point!

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So are the PUMA IXNITE XT everything they promise to be? Well for me it’s an unresounding yes! They feel great, offer fantastic support and they look good too, so you’ll be wearing them with pride in and out of the gym (especially if you team them with the new blue coral, pwrshape tights). Ladies and gents it’s time to ignite your training sessions.

What are you training for? The new PUMA Ignite XT range challenges you to put more energy into training, the more you put in, you more you get out #NoMatterWhat.  Find out more at PUMA.com/training

If you’ve also tried these shoes, I’d love to hear what you think. All comments are welcomed below, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

LES MILLS AND REEBOK: ONE LIVE WORLD TOUR

If you haven’t already heard the news then I think it’s about time I let you in on the not so secret, secret. Les Mills and Reebok have joined forces yet again for a brand new, global fitness tour – ONE LIVE. This is a tour like no other, involving hundreds of thousands of people, all working out under one roof and embracing all things fitness…think Glastonbury but of the fitness world!

Les Mills

Les Mills

But, and it’s a very big but, instead of stages you have rooms; each one dedicated to some of the most iconic group fitness programmes Les Mills offer. These full day events are quite simply festivals of fitness that will inspire, motivate and challenge you beyond your limits. They’re not for the faint hearted, but equally are suitable for all levels of fitness with instructors and participants working out together, as one tribe, under one roof.

You can try your hand at all of the iconic Les Mills programmes, led by the best instructors, trainers and presenters in the business! You’ll experience the world’s best group training workouts, the loudest sound system, the best lighting and staging and an all-star cast of leading Les Mills presenters. It’s an electric atmosphere, which you truly have to see to believe.

Les Mills / OneLive

Les Mills / OneLive

With 15 destinations worldwide, its more than likely there’ll be one near you soon! Having already hit Glasgow and London in the UK, the next event (in this country at least ) is in Manchester in November. So if you love nothing more than an epic workout with like-minded people then you’re going to love One Live. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed! For more information on future events visit Les Mills One Live and let me know what you think.

Nivea: Reasons to smile

A few months ago the lovely people at Nivea asked me one, simple question: What makes me smile? Why? You may well ask…

Nivea believe that every women has a reason to smile and are now on a mission to find out what those reasons might be. For me, when I really sit down and think about it, it’s the simple things: laughing with friends, spending time at the beach, going to the gym, taking a yoga class…But if I had to choose one thing that makes me truly smile, it is without a doubt my beautiful, crazy, gorgeous boys. They never fail to put a smile on my face: from their conversations with their imaginary friends, their inability to whisper or use an indoor voice and their constant need to run everywhere…literally! They truly are my reason to smile, but what are yours and why exactly is smiling so important?

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A Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Age Study has proved that smiling makes us look younger. To be more precise “the simple act of smiling takes an average of two years off a persons age”. I’m also a strong believer that the simple act of smiling does far more for us than just making us look younger (although lets be honest that’s a massive bonus) – it can change our lives AND the lives of those around us. Smiles do a lot more than simply let the world know we’re happy, they can change our mood, give us a natural high and in some studies, smiling has been proven to boost immune systems and lower blood pressure. When we feel great, a smile comes naturally. It’s an outward sign of joy, happiness, appreciation, amusement, excitement, or contentment. Well, if that doesn’t have you grinning from ear to ear, I don’t know what will!

So, Nivea have launched a campaign with a film that captures the reasons real women smile. This month I, along with 5 other wonderful bloggers from across Europe, got the opportunity to film the things that make us shed a genuine smile, reveal our biggest grins and laugh our loudest laughs. The result is a truly wonderful film that is currently being shared on Nivea’s Facebook page. The response to the film has been overwhelming with over half a million views and hundreds of people sharing just some of the reasons that they smile with confidence!

So now it’s your turn…Visit Nivea’s Facebook page and leave a comment about what makes you smile. Don’t forget to include the #makesmesmile for your chance to win a bunch of Q10 goodies. And remember, Nivea Q10 plus helps us feel more confident about our wrinkles (come on we’ve all got them) by making them vanish (well almost)! And when we look good we feel happy! Now if that doesn’t make you smile…

London:our fitness playground…Let’s play!

Want to be offered more than just fitness? Welcome to the world of Somuchmore

Lets take the age old quote “variety is the spice of life”; we’ve all heard it right? Well, what if we applied this thinking to our overall approach to fitness, health and wellbeing? What I’m talking about here, is a pick and mix fitness philosophy. What if we combined all three elements to really explore the infinite possibilities that could help us realise our full potential. Intrigued? Well so was I…

I’ve always loved mixing up my workouts; I’m a devoted yogi, practise mindfulness on a daily basis, like hitting the gym hard on the TRX machine and you’ll often find me bouncing around in a step or combat class. But sometimes I can limit myself by mixing and matching my workouts around the classes and equipment that my gym provides, thus, often feeling limited of choice. It’s by falling into routines and fitness regimes that can make our approach to fitness tiresome and quite frankly dull and it’s at this point we find ourselves at a crossroads. We either give up entirely (after all if it’s not fun then why bother) or if you’re like me, search out ways (which can sometimes be time consuming and expensive) to keep our fitness new, exciting and more challenging. Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 09.31.23 We all know that when it comes to keeping our fitness on track, motivation is key. We need to explore what truly inspires us to put on our gym kit and get up off the sofa. Whether we’re trying to lose weight, get in shape or just live a healthier lifestyle, finding exercise that excites us is vital to keeping our fitness journey on track. So why not try: boxing, tai chi, barrecore, swimming, cardio tennis, pilates, yoga, mediation… After all, the summer months are perfect for exploring what we can do to become a fitter and happier version of ourselves, with plenty of opportunities to get outside. But it’s finding a range of classes that don’t come with a hefty (and sometimes limiting) gym membership that interests me.

Well, what if I was to tell you that we now have the opportunity to choose which workouts we do, where we do them and how often we do them. For £89 a month we get to access the newest, finest and most sought-after classes at a range of top studios right across London. Not only this, but the classes are lead by trainers and practitioners who are the most knowledgeable in the industry! Too good to be true? Actual no; let me introduce to you the world of Somuchmore.

It’s a new approach and quite frankly a whole new philosophy to fitness and wellbeing that is taking the capital by storm! I liken it to a ‘pick and mix’ at a sweet shop (minus the sugar overload). Their approach is not solely about fitness but also about holistic wellbeing. They describe themselves as a ‘platform that combines disciplines like fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and alternative holistic therapies in one.’ I asked, Johannes Klose, its Founder to explain more: Somuchmore was created to enlighten peoples lives and open their eyes to the infinite opportunities in this world that can help improve their general wellbeing. We have the largest holistic offering in Europe we offer a one-stop-shop solution for an increasingly curious and mindful population. We offer the largest holistic wellbeing subscription in Europe and are the only platform that combines disciplines like fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and alternative holistic therapies. With such a vast variety of health, fitness and wellbeing classes available, our members can curate their own bespoke ‘self-empowerment plan’ when they want, with whoever they want.” Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 09.31.10 I was intrigued to see how this would actually work in practise, so I eagerly signed up to the two week free trial (open to everyone if you visit the website) and went out into the Capital so see what London had to offer. My journey started at TenPilates in Green Park, where I got to experience my first reformer class. Having done a range of mat classes in my time, this was a whole new experience to me and I loved every minute of it. As soon as I got home I logged onto the Somuchmore website to see what other classes were on offer and quite frankly, the list was endless. There is a huge (and I mean huge) range of classes running daily from 6am -10pm. I’ve already signed up to a boxing class in Great Portland street and a hot yoga class too!

The bottom line is simple. The most effective way to boost motivation is to love what we do; getting fitter, happier and healthier shouldn’t feel like a chore. That is what helps us to stay on track and to keep our fitness journeys exciting, motivating and above all fun! So why not see exactly what London has to offer!  What are you in the mood for today? Yoga, pilates or meditation? Pushing yourself to the limits with CrossFit, TRX or Barre Core? Feel like hitting up the dance floor with a spot of Tango, Hip-Hop or Salsa? Or want to slow it down a little, reconnect and strengthen your core and concentration with Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Kung-Fu? Fancy learning more about Nutrition and Biomedicine? Or simply want to chill out and unwind in the Sauna or Spa? 

London has become our fitness playground…go and play!

For more information visit www.somuchmore.co.uk

The food edit: Eatfirst

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get in shape or just live a healthier lifestyle; eating fresh, balanced and tasty meals have huge benefits for us all. No matter what motivates us; weight control, increased energy, boosting our immune system, to name a few, there are many reasons why we should strive to include a few more nutrient-packed foods into our diet. I’ve been eating “clean” (which for me means a largely unprocessed diet) for a while now and the results speak for themselves. My energy levels have soared, I sleep a lot better and most surprisingly of all, I’m not missing my daily sugar fix one little bit! For me it’s been an easy transition – tired of being tired, I knew I needed major overhaul, so reassessing my diet seemed like the logical place to start. However, although in theory the idea of eating healthy is an appealing and exciting one, in reality it can be a lot trickier than we think.

Take my husband for instance. He works in London and although he has absolutely no problem eating a balanced diet when at home, at work it’s a whole different ball game! Working long hours and often unable to leave his desk at lunchtimes he often finds himself reaching for a fast food fix to keep the hunger pangs at bay. Mainly because it’s convenient but also because there aren’t many other options available to him. Sadly he’s not organised enough to prepare delicious, nutritious meals at home to take to work with him, so what he really needs is a food service that offers quick, convenient delivery of healthy food that’s fresh, balanced and tasty. Ahhh, if only such a place existed? Well actually, it does…

Cajun Spiced Tilapia

EatFirst’s delicious Cajun Spiced Tilapia

EatFirst has been designed for people living or working in London who are looking for delicious, healthy and nutritious food delivered straight to their door. Yes you heard me correctly and there’s more! With a rotating menu to keep things interesting, the guilt-free experience allows you to choose a meal (that has been cooked by a Michelin star trained chef!!) and have it delivered straight to the office. They only use fresh ingredients and source them from trusted local partners. EatFirst is everyday food, served in the most convenient way and at £7 a meal (which you can pay for directly through the app using your bank card), its certainly value for money and pretty simple too! So if you’re looking for freshly prepared, balanced meals with “lightning-fast delivery” (within 15 minutes of the order being placed), then EatFirst may be your first step towards a healthier, more balanced day! If only we all worked in London…


Yoga, Tara style…

Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Iyengar – yes ladies (and gentleman of course) I’m talking about our dear friend yoga! If like me, you’ve been slightly confused by the plethora of different yoga styles on offer (and there are lots) there’s one thing we can all agree on;  whatever style you choose, yoga combines strength, flexibility, breathing techniques and comes with the added bonus of boosting our physical and mental wellbeing – what’s not to like about that?

It should therefore come as no surprise that there are millions of people worldwide currently practising yoga in one form or another, and yes I’m one of them! Everyone has an opinion of what the focus of yoga should be, some focus on the physical and health aspects and others the spiritual and philosophical. As with all of my workout regimes, I prefer the pick a mix approach and like to choose what’s right for me. So imagine my excitement when I heard that Tara Stiles (who in my opinion has the most refreshing and unpretentious approach to yoga to date) was in the UK. Not only that, but she was going to be teaching a one off Strala yoga class at the Reebok FitHub King’s Road, in London. Where do I sign up!

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(Picture Credit – Reebok)

Tara Stiles is the founder and owner of Strala, the movement system that ignites freedom. She has a host of videos, aptly named “yoga rebel” which are available on her YouTube channel which show you how to do yoga, anytime and anyplace. She is a collaborator with Reebok and works closely with the design team on their Reebok Yoga lifestyle range, and has authored several top-selling books. She has been profiled by The New York Times, Times of India, The Times (UK), and featured in most major national and international magazines. And on top of all that, she’s partnered up with Reebok as part of their #BreakYourSelfie campaign which I’ve been following with great interest over the last few months. The list goes on and as an expert in her field, this was a class I needed to try.

After securing a spot, I bounced, yes bounced, out of bed and took my place on a jam packed rush hour train and headed towards London Victoria. It may have been cold, it may have been wet, it may have been a Monday morning, but if ever there was an incentive to move with a spring in my step, this was going to be it!

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(Picture Credit – Reebok)

Frankly, I was not disappointed. With a room filled with like-minded yoga enthusiasts we flowed through posture after posture, with music blaring through the speakers, which some would say is unconventional but I found totally invigorating. Tara’s approach was refreshing, she walked around the studio as we dipped into a series of freestyle sun salutes. She demonstrated the trickier poses and allowed us to move through each posture at our own pace. Although there was never any pressure to push to our extreme, I found myself working to my maximum output. Outside, onlookers pressed their noses against the shop window (probably wondering what on earth we were doing) but quite frankly I was too busy to notice. I was totally immersed in the yoga experience and quite frankly, when all was said and done, I was left wanting more. With a spring in my step I was ready to start my week, If only every morning could start this way…

Having been a devoted yoga enthusiast for many years, I always try to find time to fit a class (or two if I’m lucky) into my weekly workout routine. I’ve seen huge improvements in my strength, flexibility, posture and muscle tone as a result of practising yoga. It definitely seems to compliment my cardio and strength workouts by making me feel longer, leaner and fitter in every sense of the word. However, I’ve also discovered a happy by-product of my yoga practise; it has given me the opportunity to focus on, well nothing. Yes you heard me correctly! When I do yoga, my focus is completely on the moves I’m performing. When I’m moving mindfully, there is complete coordination between my body and mind. It allows me immerse myself in the present moment so I can totally indulge my mind without the usual daily overload of worries and to do lists coming into play. For two whole hours I can take time that’s just for me and I love it! It makes me feel, dare I say it, enlightened! I know, I know; but seriously it works!

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(Picture Credit – Reebok)

Yoga’s popularity continues to grow and its place in the 21st Century fitness world has been well and truly cemented into the landscape of gyms and fitness centres throughout the world. Some would argue that this boom has been inspired by the scores of celebrities who have taken to the mat, thus promoting the huge health and toning benefits of this ancient system; but for me it’s personal.

Tara is currently partnered with Reebok as part of the #BreakYourSelfie campaign. The movement is a rebellious social campaign with the aim to challenge the notion of what beauty is as part of Reebok’s pursuit for us to all ‘Be More Human’. #BreakYourSelfie encourages fitness enthusiasts to rebel against the millions of shiny, happy selfies and instead post images to of themselves at their most depleted, raw, broken post-workout state using the hashtag.