Wellness // Part Two. Fitness.

January 05, 2018

Part Two of this new mini-series talking about wellness. You can find Part one here with my food philosophies, recipes & batch cooking ideas. Today though I'm talking about my workout routine. 

On putting this together, I realised that I could hardly find any photos of me in workout gear. Probably because I tend to go out early in the morning, with zero make-up on or I'm a sweaty mess by the time I'm finished. There are some that my pilates teacher has taken over the past couple of years but I couldn't find any good running photos so forgive the grainy photos!. 

Anyway....  I could talk all day about fitness. I started running when I was around 13 and throughout my teens used to attend some tennis circuit sessions/PT sessions. At the time, I had an eating disorder so it was part of that control. As mentioned, I've talked before about the reasons that I started running here but these days running, and exercise in general gives me so much joy. I'm one of those weirdos who actually really loves working out. It's a huge part of my life and I feel like I wouldn't be me without it. So when people ask me on Instagram a lot how I stay motivated and how I can get up at 5.30am for a workout, to me it's just the norm. And whilst I of course have lazy days, or mornings where I really don't want to get up, I know that I'll feel all twitchy if I haven't had a workout and will regret it later. I have a couple of rest days each week where I really enjoy not having to get up but I'll still go for walks on these days. You'll never regret a workout {unless you're injured/ill in which case you should definitely stop and listen to your body}. I dedicate a good few hours every week to staying fit because it's important to me I guess to feel healthy & strong mentally and physically as well as to push myself. I don't want to build huge muscles, I just want to be fairly toned, feel strong in myself and have good abs. On holiday sometimes I want a complete rest for a week or so, which can you do so much good. But as I travel for work fairly often now I try to keep my fitness going as much as I can whilst away. If you're looking to get started then I'd say the main tips are to find out what time of day is best for you to work out. I'm only really a morning person, I can't eat before I workout. But you may prefer evenings/lunchtimes. Also set a plan in place and try your best to stick to it, soon it will become part of your routine. I find that morning workouts are less likely to be disrupted by other plans too. Just get up and go! 

From years of fitness, my body, touch wood, has a very high tolerance level so I have to keep switching things up to stop my muscles getting used to routines. But if you're starting out, then start slowly and build up gradually. Make sure you invest in good trainers that work with your gait {any good sports shop should measure this for you}, fuel yourself with enough of the right food, stretch well after each session and take regular rest days. This is so so important to avoid injury. I couldn't run as much as I do or do the explosive HIIT kind of training without both rest and pilates. I really don't want this article to sound preachy, it's not my intention at all. I also don't want anybody to read this and feel like they should be doing more - far far from it. You do you in all aspects of life. I'm literally just doing as some of you have requested which is to share my views of fitness and my workouts. I think I'm just a bit of a fitness freak... 

My weekly routine;

3 x running sessions. Typically 1 of these will be around 4 miles/30minutes, one around 5 miles and one around 6 miles/50 minutes. See the running post above.

1 x HIIT {high intensity interval training} session for 45 minutes at a local gym OR recently I've started doing a couple of Kayla's BBG abs/arms and a leg session each week that feels like a HIIT workout at home. This raises your metabolism and the explosive moves are varied with weights etc so it's partly strength training muscle build/tone as well as improving fitness and maxing your heart rate out. There's a lot of studies these days that say that you can get more benefit out of higher intensity workouts in a shorter time than one longer endurance session.

1 x Pilates advanced mat class OR Pilates Barre class. I can't stress just how much pilates has changed my life. I started after I'd got injured about 3 years back and had spent a ridiculous amount on physio rehab to be able to get back running. I also used to have to visit the chiropractor about once a month as my back was always bad both upper & lower. I knew that I had some weaknesses, I have a lordotic spine {bigger than normal curve at the bottom} which means that I'm prone to lower back pain and this can affect your hamstrings/glutes too. I'd always tried to do core work at home but it wasn't until I started pilates at an intelligent studio near me with a really really fantastic teacher that I realised just how much more I could be doing to add strength and flexibility but crucially protect my back. I started off in the beginners class and since then pilates has become such a huge part of my life. I've moved up to the advanced classes, and Barre work, which still work on protecting/stretching muscles but also aims to move and tone a lot more in a dance/fitness kind of way. My core is strong through this but also it works on strengthening, and lengthening, so many muscles. I didn't even know that I had a psoas or hip flexor before I begun, yet these are such important parts of our bodies.

1 x Pilates advanced reformer class. Again through the same studio, this is pilates but on a weighted, sprung reformer machine {see photos below} which strengthens and stretches whilst toning with footwork/abwork/arms/extension. It's so great to protect my knees and back, ankles and feet giving more flexibility too. Rehab wise I use it as almost an insurance policy, and my body can tell when I've missed a week due to being away or whatever. I love reformer so so much, it's one of my favourite hours of the week. In the advanced class we work towards pushing ourselves with balance/new exercises each week too. It took me a while to get the mind body connection that you need for the controlled movements but I know that I could never give it up now.

I also try and walk a minimum of 10,000 steps each day and track this on my iPhone. Most days, especially when I've run, it will be more like 16,000. Occasionally I'll have a proper rest day and might walk around 6,000 steps but I always need fresh air everyday. Especially when I've been working from home all day under a laptop and just need to escape outdoors for a walk for both my mental and physical health. Personally I feel like if you only do one thing, it should be a walk. Walking is so so beneficial to our health. 

I should note that with all of this exercise, I eat a lot. It's nice though to have some treats and know that you'll burn most of it off. Also take turmeric! It's really great for reducing inflammation and likewise with epsom salt baths for achey muscles. I think it's important also to just know your limits. I probably couldn't train for a marathon as it would just leave me injured. Likewise, when doing HIIT workouts, if anything pulls at my back I just stop. It's taken me years to build up to the amount of exercise that I do now. And it wouldn't be right for everybody. I guess the key thing is to find something that you enjoy, and that works for your body. 

R <3 xx 

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