Discover the truth of obsessions

Obsession – what’s the definition, it can be quite broad. Essentially it is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. Normally we can relate this to tangible things, cleaning, shopping etc.

But there is clearly a difference between obsession and OCD. Let’s not get that mixed up. OCD is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours to extreme levels, which is where the diagnosis comes in.  

Personally, I haven’t been diagnosed with OCD. However, after being diagnosed with an eating disorder many years ago, I wanted to touch upon the subject of calorie counting, calorie burning, and the obsession I had of the two.

So, where do I start? Calorie counting – it’s harmless right? 

It can be a great way to track your progress in fat loss and keep you more mindful of the quantity and quality of food you’re consuming throughout the day – and yes this does work! Afterall, fat loss is achieved through a calorie deficit, so, how do you know if you’re in a deficit if you don’t count? 

But the issue comes when you begin to answer yes to the following questions… Are you counting calories day in and day out? Do you find counting calories actually consumes a large part of your life? This is exactly where my obsession started.

It typically starts with calculating your maintenance calories using a basic app or platform. You input your ‘normal’ daily food, and then realise some huge changes need to be made to keep in your calorie goal.

At first, I loved the challenge, the organisation and structure of my days, it was a sense of achievement each day knowing I had hit my target goal. But then, the days of which I didn’t hit my target or went over on my calories, led me to feel like I had let myself down and that I wasn’t moving forward. 

Being the self-critical personaI I am, it then eventually meant that I would restrict myself more to get back on track. This could be sacrificing crucial nutrients or avoiding social events and meals out. As well as, finding myself exercising more and more to justify eating particular high calorie foods. 

Being obsessed with counting calories can be a great way to preoccupy and punish yourself for trying to be healthy. When you count calories every single time you eat something, you take what could be a happy, joyous and nurturing experience and turn it into a source of deprivation, stress and negative self-talk. When you consistently force yourself to do hours of exercise strictly to burn off a certain amount of calories, you take all the fun out of the journey. 

I always believedif I stopped counting calories, I’d gain weight, when actually looking back now, it was the loss of control that I feared, and the unknown. Now. I’m not saying calorie counting is bad. As I mentioned at the beginning, it is a great way to find your maintenance calories to know if you’re on the right track, or if you need to reduce or up your calories depending on your goal. 

However, it’s just a GUIDE kids! It’s not a concrete legislation to follow day in and day out. 

The act of counting calories can also potentially cause weight gain too. When we consciously count and limit our calories, our cortisol levels go up. As a result, our appetite increases, we crave processed fatty and sugary foods, and our bodies store body fat. So, the very thing we do to lose weight might have the opposite effect!

Counting calories damaged me on many levels, the obsession, self-criticism, insecurities and controllingness – it became a prison and trap that I couldn’t get out of, inevitably leading to larger mental and physical health issues. I would cut calories, lose some weight and be happy, but then become unhappy again, and decide to cut more calories, and lose more weight, it was a downward spiral. 

If I counted calories, I was disciplined, if I was disciplined, it showed strength. If I was strong, I was achieving what I set out to do? But in the end, it wasn’t just about having a “perfect & strong” physique — it became a way of measuring my worth. At the end of the day, I would add up my final number and it gave me a sense of whether I had a good day or bad day. My self-worth was determined by whether I kept my calories below a certain number or not. I would have achieved that short burst of happiness when it was lower than what I needed, but then I would also punish myself with insults and exercise if it was too high. I felt like a failure if my calories were ever over a certain amount and a deep sense of pride and satisfaction when they weren’t.

This is my journey and I strongly believe that this has moulded me as a trainer as well as helped me with my coaching style towards my clients. A structure that I now swear by and teach all my clients, is a more laid-back approach to nutrition. Avoiding in any way I can counting calories. Quality of food is key and using a technique which educates my clients on the importance of macronutrients, timing and performance-based nutrition is my vision into nutrition.

Now my journey has been tough, but it has led me to be the coach I am today with the strong community of women I have around me. Obsessions affect so many people and it can be difficult to see a way out when you are stuck in it. This is why I wanted to tell my story, to show you that you can come out the other side a lot stronger and healthier than ever before. 

We’ve got this kids ❤️

 

Continue ReadingDiscover the truth of obsessions

Discover the effects of music 🎵

Our latest Strngrl podcast episode is all about music; so, I thought I would give you a little insight into this topic in my latest blog post!

After such a great summer, with plenty of festivals, parties and bootycamp classes, I have realised how important music is, not only to training but also on a personal level. 

For me, music is the solid foundation of any type of feel good activity and I strongly believe it always will be. I am always the ‘DJ’ in my friendship group, responsible for the speaker at any parties and I always have a great playlist for the bootycamp sessions and at the bunker – it is crucial! 

But why I find it so exhilarating inside and outside of the gym and training, is what I want to discuss with you. 

Firstly music in a fitness environment… Who has ever walked into a gym or workout studio and not heard any music playing? I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever experienced this. I have most certainly heard some questionable playlists but it’s never completely silent. 

Why is this? Now this is where it gets interesting… Research indicates that music helps us to not focus on the physical sensations of fatigue, particularly during lower-intensity exercise. So to put it simply, music distracts us from the physical and mental pain of tedious exercises. Of course this can vary from person to person, and fitness level does play a part, as well as the genre of music… I don’t think listening to classical music whilst running or lifting weights would quite have the same effect.

Listening to music whilst exercising is also proven to reduce your RPE. RPE stands for your rate of perceived exertion, it’s a term us PTs use! It basically means us looking at our clients and estimating on a scale of 1-10 how they seem in terms of breathing/heart rate etc or how the set was performed. Music helps to reduce RPE, due it’s distraction. 

Another interesting point, which I hadn’t really thought of before is that for some people the lyrics or tone of a particular song or genre can identify and match an emotional state. The beat and melody may not actually be as important as the lyrics and story. I found this so interesting, and when I think of it, it is definitely something that I do subconsciously. I guess that is why I always go for empowering house music, the lyrics and stories are always positive, happy, confident and optimistic. 

There’s also the Psychological Effect that listening to music can have on us.. exercise or not! There could be a specific song that takes me back to a point in time, a memory, a moment, good 

or bad. This can have an effect on your thought processes and your behaviour, which can create a shift in your hormone levels. Our serotonin and dopamine levels work hand in hand and are responsible for how we feel in terms of pleasure. It also helps us strive, focus, and find things interesting. Dopamine production is key in helping us release endorphins (that happy feeling, I always mention we get during exercise), music can have the same effect. There have been numerous studies over the past decade that have shown that participants who listened to music (which they deemed “pleasing” to them – specific to the individual) had higher levels of serotonin. 

So boom! There you have it kids! Music and exercise is such a powerful cocktail, making you feel the best you can feel! 

I can use this as another justification for my partying lifestyle – festivals, raves and house parties! Music always makes me feel good and helps me to have a little break from reality! Some turn to sports, some like reading, going to the cinema, playing computer games, cleaning etc. Well, for the reasons I have just stated, music and exercise is my go-to. Within my journey, the hurdles that I’ve jumped and the barriers I’ve overcome in my life, music & exercise have saved me, it has brought me out of dark places and helped me feel happiness again.

I hope that music can do the same for you. 

Listen to our latest podcast episode to hear me speak more on this exact subject!

Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-strngrl-series/id1571044897 

Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2qy93OrVUl1mNtuvvYWAYC 

I hope you found this blog helpful and will enjoy our podcast episode, let me know what you think!

 

Continue ReadingDiscover the effects of music 🎵

All about PCOS

What it is and what you can do to manage it

Back in 2012, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This is a complex condition that affects how your ovaries work and how your hormone levels balanced. PCOS is linked with a resistance to insulin and raised levels of testosterone. They say that the exact cause of this is unknown, but I know exactly what caused mine – my extreme weight loss. Most women begin to notice common symptoms in their late teens or early twenties.

What’s the difference between Polycystic Ovaries and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

I have done so much research over the years to try and find a simple answer to this question. However, I still remember to this day, a nurse explaining it to me in the simplest way possible ‘‘Polycystic Ovaries you can see, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome you can’t’. I know this statement is pretty basic in scientific terms, but to me this made sense. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance; whereas Polycystic Ovaries are harmless follicles – the follicles are underdeveloped and unable to release eggs due to PCOS, which means ovulation does not take place.

What are the common symptoms of PCOS?

Irregular / absent periods caused by an imbalance of hormones

  • Difficulty in getting pregnant
  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning hair on your head
  • Oily skin
  • Acne

The symptoms an individual gets will differ from case to case; however, my main symptoms are absent periods and acne.

 How can you manage PCOS day-to-day?

Whilst there’s still no cure for PCOS, the condition can be managed day-to-day with the right lifestyle choices (including a healthy diet and exercise) and medication, if needed.

PCOS is insulin and testosterone-driven condition. The increased levels of testosterone and insulin resistance can ultimately lead to weight gain, especially around the stomach area, and insulin resistance can also result in other health problems such as type 2 diabetes.

I want you to all know that if you are going through this, please don’t let the above information scare you, it’s okay, there are ways to manage this. Weight gain can be managed with a few simple lifestyle changes, and your insulin sensitivity can be improved with a healthier diet, to balance your blood sugar levels.

I want to make it really clear that this does NOT mean you have to start taking part in the next FAD diet ‘craze’, this is not going to do you any good. Extreme restrictive dieting is how I developed PCOS in the first place, this will only hinder your management of the condition due to the nutrition you’ll be depriving your body of.

How can training help?

We all know there are so many benefits, both physically and mentally, from exercising regularly. As mentioned above, increased levels of testosterone and insulin resistance can cause you to carry extra weight, but reducing your body weight by just 5%, can really make some significant improvements to your symptoms.

Personally, what I find really helps me, both physically in managing my symptoms, and mentally, is strength training. We all know I LOVE this type of training. Strength training is a great way to regulate the testosterone levels in your body, the higher levels of testosterone is what can cause acne and thinning of the hair, so by regulating this hormone balance with weight training, this should help to manage these symptoms better.

If you know me, you know I am really not a lover of cardio, give me a dumbbell over a running machine anyday! However, needs must, and HIIT training is a great addition to your training program if you suffer from PCOS. The quick, rapid and continual change of movement along with your heart rate continually ranging from higher bpm to lower, can play a massive part in improving your sensitivity to insulin. I aim to get in at least two 20-30 minute HIIT sessions per week. I do this to help me manage my hormone imbalance, but the mental effects are also great, I always feel so good after, those endorphins release right out of me!

What do I base my food intake on to help me manage my symptoms?

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body to use energy from the food you have eaten. Lots of women with PCOS are resistant to the effects of insulin, therefore, there is more glucose left in the blood to compensate.

I have a feeling you are all expecting me to say that you have to eat lots of veggies, high protein, low carbs, and low sugar treats. To a certain extent, this is absolutely correct; however, I am a huge believer in carbs!

The only thing I tend to go by to help me manage my PCOS is The Glycaemic Index (GI). For those of you who don’t know what this is, this is a ranking system that shows you how quickly blood sugar rises after eating certain foods. Due to the insulin resistance that PCOS causes, the release of carbs are important to regulate and incorporate low GI foods within your diet to help reduce your symptoms. See some examples of low and high GI foods below:

High GI Foods (meaning these foods aid in your blood sugar taking less time to rise)

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Potatoes

Low GI Foods (meaning these foods aid in your blood sugar taking longer to rise)

  • Certain fruits and vegetables
  • Pulses
  • Whole-grain foods, such as oats and brown rice

So kids, if you need more education on the types of foods that fit your dietary needs, look up The Glycaemic Index.

I hope you have all found this blog helpful. I think it’s so important to raise awareness of conditions such as PCOS, I know so many women suffer from this but it is not spoken about enough. I’m always only a message anyway if you want any more advice. Take what you need from this strong girls. I’ll see you all soon.

Steph x

Continue ReadingAll about PCOS

Travelling Solo

So, I am writing this blog from sunny Tenerife. I have decided to come on a solo trip for the first time – I’ve been longing to do this for a while and I thought this was the perfect place after coming here with family a handful of times. This was the perfect opportunity to FINALLY get some time just for me, after what has been a crazy year and a half.

Everything has been super fast-paced back at home with work, lockdowns and restrictions. At home, I also have other holidays booked (with friends, which would mean the holiday is a lot more wild), social events with friends and absolutely no ‘me time’ in sight at all.

I find that to really get some time for me, I have to take myself away from all distractions. I am far too easily influenced and undisciplined to say no. However, when I take myself out of that environment, somewhere I know there will be no distractions – tada, I have some me time!

I’ve also learnt from being around such a mixed group of friends and family, who also have busy lives – if I wait for others, I’ll never go anywhere. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own happiness. Up until now, this isn’t something I have allowed for, so, here I am, going solo and doing me!

I have found it scary travelling alone, especially as I have never done it before. But, to me, growing old without experiencing everything you want from life is even scarier.

You’re never alone when you travel, I found that out as soon as I got on my flight. I have to admit I was worried that if I didn’t travel with friends or family, I’d be alone. But it turns out you make so many friends on the road, which definitely wouldn’t have happened if I was with other people.

I’ve also found that it has been a great way to learn how to survive with no one else having your back, who to trust and how to find your way around.

For me personally, the greatest reward of solo travel is personal growth. Being on my own is a true test, seeing as every single day I am surrounded by people, whether that be friends, clients, gym members or my housemate.  So learning to become a little more independent, confident, and in tune with my emotions is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone.

I think it really hits you when you wake up and it’s just you. It’s up to you and only you to decide what you want to do, where you want to go and when you want to do it. In that moment of freedom, you really find yourself. You can test your limits of what you like and don’t like, there’s no one to pull you in any direction or override your reasons. Want an ice cream? Get an ice cream. Want to leave a bar? Leave. Want to sleep? Sleep all day girl. The world is your oyster!

However, I do understand that travelling solo isn’t for everyone. Maybe you don’t have the confidence, maybe you’re not sure where to start, or you may even just be the kind of person who loves home. But, some advice from someone who is experiencing it right now as you read, travelling alone is a true way to find yourself, overcome battles mentally and become more independent.

I really would recommend that everyone tries out a solo trip at least once; whether that be a weekend away, a two-week holiday or 6 months of travelling to numerous countries. You won’t regret it!

I wanted to end on some top tips that I have picked up from this trip so that if you do decide to go for it you are prepared. Here goes:

  1. Understand and know your strengths: Play these to your advantage and get a head start on finding confidence in a few things.
  2. Be aware of safety: As much as you may think you can hold your own, and make the right choices and decisions, everyone is still a stranger to you. You are thousands of miles away from friends and family and what you know as normal.
  3. Learn the lingo: It’s definitely worth making the effort to learn a few words and phrases. I can tell you it definitely makes ordering a cocktail so much more fun!
  4. Don’t hide: You have the chance to really take in your surroundings, meet other travellers and locals along the way. Be content in your own company, but confident enough to introduce yourself to people when you want to socialise.
  5. Take pictures: This is such an important time in your life. Never forget the memories and trips that allowed you to grow as a person.
  6. Stay somewhere with multiple positive ratings: You need to know you can trust where you’re staying and reviews are the best way to find out.
  7. Stay somewhere with free wi-fi: It’s good to stay in touch with those back home, as well as keep up to date with the real world. Also, Netflix is key.

So, that’s it from me! I really hope you take something from this blog and begin to plan your solo trip to become the very best version of you, in so many ways.

 

Continue ReadingTravelling Solo

Golden Hour

Steph

Sun… Good or bad?

You’ve heard it enough.. sunburns and skin cancer are very much real threats. So yes, whack that SPF on kids.

However, there are also so many positive effects of sun exposure. Soaking up some sunlight and catching some rays can do wonders for you.

Here are four key benefits that the sun can do for your mental and physical health almost instantly.

  1. Get your dose of VitD

The sun is the best natural source of this vitamin, which is also very hard to come by in natural food sources. It only takes 5-15 minutes of sunlight a few times a week to notice a difference. Get outside and expose yourself to direct sun on your arms and face to soak up this necessary vitamin. Vitamin D promotes reduced inflammation and modulates cell growth. It’s needed for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth as it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. As well as this, it helps support the proper functioning of muscles. Just remember to use sunscreen.

 

  1. Lower Blood Pressure

Heard of Nitric Oxide? Well, this helps brings down blood pressure and improves heart health. Once that sunlight hits, our body releases Nitric Oxide. Maintaining healthy blood pressure can reduce your risks of cardiac disease and stroke. Feelings of relaxation may also naturally bring down blood pressure, so boosting your happiness by soaking up rays also aids in keeping your pressure down kids.

  1. An Instant Mood Changer

Researchers at BYU found more mental health distress in people during seasons with little sun exposure. On the contrary, days with plenty of sunshine were associated with better mental health. The availability of sunshine has more effect on mood than rainfall, temperature, or any other environmental factor.

Feel SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Getting some sun increases your serotonin and helps people with anxiety and depression, especially in combination with other treatments.

  1. Higher Quality Sleep

That mood improver hormone we were just talking about? Serotonin does more than boost your mood. It might also help you get more restful sleep at night. Another key hormone that works hand in hand with serotonin to help promote sleep function is melatonin. The sun also helps your body produce this hormone too! Who would have thought aye!

Suffering from insomnia? Try to stick to traditionally light and dark cycles, getting sunlight during the day so you can catch some zzz’s at night.

Soo Soak up that Sun Safely

Stephie x

Continue ReadingGolden Hour

The reality of coming out of lockdown

StrnGrl Fitness Steph Hey Kids, 

It’s been a while – but I am back on it with the blog posts!

With the craziness of the last year and a half, and things FINALLY starting to settle down, I thought it was about time I spoke to you all again to explain exactly what has been going down at STRNGRL. 

So when lockdown hit back in March last year, I had to realign my strategy completely, everything had to be online, and this was something I had never done before, but I gave it my best shot. 

I was still busy, considering the situation we were in. I was lucky enough to be still working a few days a week with a handful of clients, preparing and posting my online content, and also resting a lot more than normal. 

However, fast forward a year and a half, and I am the BUSIEST I have ever been! I am so proud to say I am now at full capacity with my 1-2-1 clients, the demand for my semi-private weights and boxing classes is HUGE, and our latest BOOTYCAMP is at full capacity with 35 ladies smashing it every week, getting super fit and strong! 

I am extremely grateful to be so busy, but I have to admit I have struggled getting back to normality. I am forever chasing my tail and creating endless to-do lists every day. I think the hardest part is that 4 months ago I was watching a whole Netflix series in a week!

Has anyone else been finding it difficult? Maybe it’s getting back into a new routine after such a long time off? Maybe it’s going back to work full time, and trying to juggle travel, a social life and getting to the gym 3-4 times a week?

So, how do we manage this? I am guilty of not giving myself enough time off, infact twiddling my thumbs throughout lockdown was not what I would call fun. I love being busy and working full days – but with this comes a lot of organisation and TIME OUT needed – this is so important!

In the whirlwind rush of getting back to a ‘normal’ life, please don’t forget YOUR time, you need time to yourself to recover and refresh. Going from 0 to 100 in such a short space of time, is never going to end well. So, here I am, telling you from experience, TAKE YOUR REST and thank me later. 

This is soo important for many reasons.

Heal your body – The human body is built to thrive in a series of short sprints. This is why taking a break, even only for a few minutes, can offer you the refresh you need to persevere through your day.

Decrease Stress levels – During stress, your body experiences fight or flight, heightening your senses due to perceived danger. You may experience an increased heart rate and blood pressure during this state, slowed digestive functioning, increased hormone levels and other responses. 

Resting activates the parasympathetic nervous system—the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, which is the flight-or-fight response, to help calm senses.

Boosts Creativity – When you take time to rest and relax, you are naturally more creative. Time off helps you refill your reserves. 

Improves Productivity – Similar to other muscles, your brain is less functional when it’s fatigued. You’re always more productive after a restful period.

Please keep checking back here for more updates on my blog, I am going to be writing a lot more content for you all to enjoy and hopefully learn from. 

Speak to you all soon. Stephie x 

Continue ReadingThe reality of coming out of lockdown

Find the time because now is your time!

This week I posted in our StrongGirl community group on Facebook about why we attend the gym. From health reasons to socialising, physical ideals to mental stimulation – the list is long, but fundamentally, we all have an overarching goal as to why we attend gyms.

More importantly, we can all agree that it has a profound impact on us psychologically. That hour or so we spend within those four sweaty walls becomes our haven to switch off, escape from everyday stress, and focus on just yourself.

It’s the sweet release from normality and boy, do we miss it.

However, just because the gym is closed, doesn’t mean your ‘you time’ has to evaporate. Little ones may follow you to the toilet, washing may be piling up, you may be inundated with Zoom calls but that ‘you time’ is still reachable (and doable), and here is how you can escape the insane:

The perfect spot: Find an area in the house, garden or shed that you can swing your arms around freely and without beheading anyone in the process. This will become your ‘you time’ spot so make it count.

Timing: Choose a time that you can stick to. Easier said than done? Think about when the house is the busiest and the quietest, when you feel ready to jump and ready to mong. Your body will soon adapt to the routine – all you need to do is choose the time!

Play that tune: Music is the key to the heart. From ear pods to Alexa speakers, put on your favourite tune, rock out the oldies, and watch your motivation peak a hundred-fold. Why not try creating a playlist of those all-time gym classics!

Circle time: Children are curious. Always will be. So why not make them a part of your routine. They’ll laugh, they’ll fall over, they’ll jump to their own beat – make it a time for bonding and crazy videos that you can speed up afterwards – a memory you’ll love to reminisce over.

Flour & sugar: Great weights believe it or not (put them in a bag to save your house from becoming misty!). The home has a fantastic collection of wannabe weights – use what you have and have fun with them.

Be creative: Make your daily outing an opportunity to do military style running (knees up, left and right movements), fast and slow walking, and not forgetting walking lunges – also a great way to bring a smile to a stranger’s face!

Distractions: Embrace them and change them to work for you. From the fridge to work schedules, children to nagging spouses, think about how they can help you get your ‘you-time’. Talk to them, set yourself reward goals, schedule work calls for a set period of time – make your distractions work for you.

Something different: Make ‘you time’ a chance to do something different. From an online class to a 90s hip hop video, 20 minutes of yoga to twerk classes; exercise to a different rhythm – you never know what gems you’ll uncover in the process.

These surreal times may be difficult to adapt too but they are not impossible. We work with what we have, we support each other, we laugh together, and we find ways to make the most of the time we have together and collectively.

We may be isolated, but it doesn’t mean we cannot have fun in the process (and get that psychological haven gyms give us!).

Keep going ladies, now is your time to develop a routine that works for you!

Continue ReadingFind the time because now is your time!

Now is your time!

Positivity – focus on what you can control, rather then what you cannot.
Why invest our thoughts, emotion and time on something we cannot control? Instead, let’s try to focus on our mindset, our health and fitness; the things we do have control over.
Focus on the positive.
To keep you going, below are 4 tips to stay active in self isolation:

Create your own workout space
Fortunately, a workout can make use of any environment and space no matter the circumstances. From press ups using a wall, to band work in the garden; star jumps on the landing to a full workout in your spare room – whatever the need, space is always available!

Pick up from gym equipment essentials
Own the time to get motivated. YouTube is a fantastic platform for inspiration. From full workouts to 15 minute exercise blasts, aerobics to Zumba, Pilates to yoga – it has every exercise move you need. Better still, it offers tutorials for using ‘home-based’ exercise equipment. My favourite is kettlebells!

Stay in touch with your Trainer
This will help you stay accountable, on track and guided by a professional who will know when to push and when to be at ease. We’re here to make sure you get the most out of your workouts with the equipment you have access to.

Stick to a schedule.
When you’re in your home environment, around your family, pets, children and/or house mates, it’s easy to get distracted. Stick to a schedule just like you did when you were attending gym. It can be as easy or as complex as you have time for! Routine, routine, routine!

It’s very easy to fall into a trap of becoming fatigued, napping all day, snacking and quite bluntly, enjoying the LAZY train! We’ve all done it, but let’s try to avoid that happening with our current situation in the world.

Here’s are a few ideas to fight the ‘Lazy Phase’ and find motivation in the smallest of tasks:

Remember that it’s a job
When someone asked what you’ve been up to, instead of replying ‘nothing but surfing Netflix’, try stimulating your thought process by outlining even the most mundane of tasks such as ‘I’ve been working out’, ‘I’ve managed the house’, ‘I’ve tried cooking a new dish’, I’ve competed a workout and ‘I’ve found a new way to entertain the kids’. You’ll be amazed how much you will have to say that doesn’t involve the word ‘virus’ in the conversation!

Start each day with a similar routine
Whether it is working out, reading a book, going for a walk, or simply showering and getting dressed, find a routine to separate out the days!  Try to isolate the weekend as a time to work out, entertain, play, or even, relax – this will keep that ‘weekend feeling’ rolling no matter the circumstance.

​Find inspiration
Inspiration can be found in the smallest of spaces. From a motivational podcast to that new book that has gathered dust on your bookshelf, a YouTube video to an inspirational quote, utilise the resources that you have easy access to!

Don’t get discouraged

It’s easy to become demotivated when you spend hours scrolling through ‘Instagram influencers’ that make you realise how far away you are. Don’t be fooled. You do you! That’s their job. Put Instagram down. Step away from social and instead use your Search Engines to find tips for exercising and motivating yourself at home.

Together, we’ve got this!

Continue ReadingNow is your time!

Improve your mental health with exercise & travel

Good for your body, great for your mind
Who says exercise must be stationary and confined to a gym? By combining your favourite workout with an exciting destination not only alleviates stress from everyday life but radically invigorates your body and mind.

From running a home to raising children, work demands to life in general, just managing everyday life can be exhausting. Needing that escapism or that time to hand over control to another can be the most self-gratifying experience you never knew you needed.

And what better way to do this then kick-starting those serotonin hormones in your body that controls your mental state of mind, and in a location that evokes motivation and stimulation.

From trekking in one of the UK’s glorious country-sides to running on an American beach time wonders; exploring a yoga retreat for the weekend to a six-day swim safari in Crete, expand your options and hit 2020 with motivation and inspiration by your side.

Trekking

You may think of walking holidays as gentle strolls through the rolling countryside but include the word ‘trekking’ and it will blow your mind with opportunities.

From Novice to Pro, Machu Picchu to Kilimanjaro, there is a trek for everyone, and the sights are endless. Climb thousands of meters, push through the strong winds, and have a cheeky pit stop at the local, challenge yourself this year with gentle to extreme trekking trips that will combine adventure with your ambling.

Find your inner adventurer and check out these 37 top destinations to trek to at Wanderlust

Swimming

For a low impact activity that packs a multitude of mental and physical health benefits, you can’t do much better than take a swim. It’s also an activity that is accessible to a broad range of age groups and requires the minimum of kit to participate.

Whether you’re looking for a sea ‘safari’ of wildlife exploration to wild swimming experiences in the fjords of Oman, here is a tantalising selection of swimming holidays to pique your water bravery:

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Beach yoga

No longer the sole preserve of well-tanned Californians, beachside yoga is enjoying special popularity among travellers, day-trippers and globe-trotters alike. Perhaps it’s the soothing lull of those waves crashing against the shoreline or the bliss gained from relaxing under a golden sun- beach yoga is the ultimate in wellbeing experiences to savour on your travels.

Feel bendy? Get your retreat fantasy here: (and… breathe).

Running

What better way to see the true colours of your destination than to go running to explore your location? Running abroad can be a very budget-friendly way of touring and finding your bearings.

Whether you’re looking for a race experience, or just to immerse yourself into the local culture, the endorphins you’ll generate through this more strenuous form of exercise will be a reward in themselves. However, you will also definitely be able to justify that extra-large ice-cream at the end of it without a sign of guilt!

Trainers sorted? All you need to do is choose your running fave: Click Here

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Or why not, explore our 5-day retreat in Ibiza. Click here and register your interest for this Autumn dream retreat.

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