I know the feeling of going into the weights section of the gym for the first time and bricking it. Thoughts racing through your head, “What will everyone think? Won’t I stand out? Am I going to make a fool out of myself?” A little over a year ago, I was that person.
The benefits of lighting weights are incredible: improved muscle tone, increased bone density, inner and outer strength. By stepping in there you will gain access to loads of equipment to sculpt your body and build your strength. So I thought I’d share you with my shoulder routine to help inspire you. So, what are you waiting for?
Alternating Military Press – 3 sets of 10 reps (10 per arm)
Cable Rear Delt Row – 3 sets of 10 reps
Alternating Arnold Press – 3 sets of 10 reps (10 per arm)
Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Upright Row – 3 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Front Raise – 3 sets of 10 reps
If you’re not sure what the above exercise is then head over to YouTube. They’re a great resource for learning which means that it’s so much easier to get started if you know what to do.
I’m wearing both leggings and sports bra from Active in Style, Lorna Jane.
Thank god it’s finally starting to warm up in London! This week both of my meals are inspired by Asian flavours; I’ve made a Thai, Prawn, Noodle Salad and a Salmon Superfood Salad.
I love the fact that everyday at work I receive a free breakfast but all the cereals supplied are so high in sugar! This week I’ve made two portions of Mango Over-Night Oats and you can find the recipe here.
The Salmon Superfood Salad is my take on Pret’s Salmon, Kale and Quinoa Salad. It’s one of my favourite salads that they do and it’s so easy to recreate at home (and so much cheaper too).
If you’re like me, and you’re storing the salad in the fridge for a couple of days, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to eat it.
- 50g quinoa
- 175ml water
- 50g kale
- 100g edamane beans
- 1/4 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 cooked salmon fillets
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
For the dressing…
- 2cm piece of ginger
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons seasame oil
Cook the quinoa in a saucepan with the water for about 10 minutes with a lid on, take it off the heat but keep the lid on and let it steam for 5 more minutes – just to ensure that it’s light and fluffy.
In another pan blanche the kale, edamane beans and broccoli.
Whilst everything is cooking, prerpare the dressing. Simiply combine all the ingredients and stir.
Once everything is cooked add the veg and quinoa to a salad bowl along with the spring onions and radishes. Mix the dressing in.
Flake the salmon over the top of the salmon and finish by sprinkling the seasame seeds.
I know I’m not the only one who has started a new workout regimen only to get a little bit into it and then suddenly loose all interest. But at the same time, really wanting to improve your health, appearance and fitness. As this most things, you only succeed when the going gets tough.
Do not throw the towel in…
I now have a job that I love, I pour all my energy into it. By the end of the day I’m completely exhausted and don’t fancy hitting the gym. Starting next week I’m going to try and incorporate some sessions in before the working day starts. I know those 5am alarms are going to be rough, but hopefully I’ll be able to get a little bit more out of my workouts as I’ll be more alert and focused.
On a Sunday, I prep all my meals for the week. The weeks were I haven’t meal preped I completely fallen off the wagon. It’s a brilliant way of keeping costs down too. You can see a couple of the things I like to eat here and snack on here.
Create a Log
I try my best to keep track of what I’m eating and what workouts I’m doing. My Fitbit and My Fitness Pal and the two things I swear by – it’s so easy to keep track of everything with these two apps.
I always feel more excited to get up and get to the gym when I have something nice to wear. I love Active in Style and Lululemon for my gym wear – treat yourself. Don’t be put off by their prices because their stuff lasts!
Most gyms these days offer classes but I swear by using boutique gym classes as a treat. Now they are quite expensive, but it guarantees you’ll show up and that you stick it out for the full 45 minutes. My gym is near work and nowhere near where I live so booking myself into a class from 1Rebel or Another Space is the perfect way to get my arse moving on the weekend.
What are your top tips for staying motivated?
I usually try and go to the gym everyday on my way home from work – so this means lugging trainers, a water bottle, gym clothes, a padlock and makeup remover to and from work every single day.
Last Monday I got to work and realised I had left all my workout clothes at home, nightmare. Quality kit can be expensive and being the gym-freak I am, I couldn’t bear to miss a workout.
I hadn’t brought new sportswear since Christmas so during my lunch hour I quickly popped into Runners World, and purchased myself a new sports bra, vest and leggings.
Trying on loads of new lycra really got me thinking – how often should I replace my gym kit?
You need to start replacing your clothes when..
- they start to feel loose,
- when the moisture-wicking material just isn’t working like it used to,
- and when the fabric thins too much.
Not replacing your kit can cause chafing or muscle strain (especially if you’re sports bra is worn and it’s not doing it’s job properly).
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, I really need to go through the majority of my kit and replace it!
Sports Bar, Lululemon
Vest, Active in Style
June has been definitely been my month for trying out new gyms and shaking up my routine. This week, I finally got round to checking out Another Space and it’s stunning. I was so impressed with how clean and white the space was – it’s got a smoothie bar and cafe, with spacious changing rooms equipped with fluffy towels and cowshed skin and hair products, plus ghd straighteners and dryers.
It’s the new pay-as-you go concept gym from Third Space and it’s located on Tower Street, Covent Garden. They offer Cycle, HIIT and Yoga and the idea is that you should do all three in balance.
I tried the HIIT class with Naomi on Saturday morning and it was amazing! It was super intense and our trainer really pushed us and demonstrated all the moves before hand, so there’s no getting lost. It’s a boxing / circuit training class and you’ll spend your time between the bags or doing resistance training. You’ll do a 5 minute warm up, then alternative between the bags and the floor for a total of 3 rounds on each.
Their HIIT class only started this week, so no doubt they’ll be some tweaks – the gloves were rubbish and remove quite alot of skin from my knuckles but they’re being replaced asap.
I’m yet to the the Cycle and Yoga classes, but both the studios look fab. If you’re ever in the area I’d definitely recommend checking out at least a couple of classes. It’s a great place to kickstart your weekend on a Saturday morning before feasting on some of the many brunch spots nearby.
Another Space, 4-10 Tower St, London WC2H 9NP
Activity trackers are everywhere these days and I for one am a huge advocate. I’ve had the Polar FT4 for a couple of years prior and I wasn’t completely sold on it. I found the chest strap itchy and incredibility hard to wear with a sports bra. So when I landed my first real job after university I decided to treat myself to the FitBit Charge HR.
It’s incredibility small and uses wrist based PurePulse technology to track your heart rate, meaning you can wear it 24/7. It does more then just track your heart rate, it also monitors your steps, distance walked, calories burned and eaten, floors climbed, active minutes, and hours slept. Its smart track feature is brilliant which automatically recognises if you’re exercising and what type of activity you’re doing.
Your tracker syncs up to the FitBit App using bluetooth technology and you’re able to set goals for pretty much everything – to how much water you want to drink, to how much weight you want to lose, or how many steps to aim for in a day. It notifies you when you’ve reached these goals which is both motivating and encouraging.
One of the two things that I find slightly frustrating about it is that you can’t wear it in the pool as it’s not waterproof. I also still use My Fitness Pal to record my food and calorie intake as its got a much larger database and it’s easier to track your macros – you seamlessly sync this app with your FitBt though.
It’s made me very aware of how active I actually am. I no longer feel like a grandma when I’m in bed by 10pm because I’m shattered as I tend to average at 15,000 steps a day and a calorie burn of 2750.
I’ve been raving about my Charge HR so much that Scott brought me the Aria for Christmas – I think might be only girl who would get excited by receiving a scale as a gift. It allows me to accurately track my body fat and lean fat. It’s a bit off a faff to set up as you have to connect it for your WiFi but one you’re over that hurdle you’ll love it too.
Their customer service is great – My activity tracker started to come away from the wrist band and within two days they had replaced it free of charge. The FitBit family is definitely something you should invest in if you’re serious about improving your health and fitness.
Last summer was tough. I had just finished university and was experiencing that graduate slum like so many others before me. I was working a 9-6 job in the city whilst studying for my event management diploma. I could barely afford my oyster card, let alone scrape enough money to afford a gym membership.
The cheapest way to keep fit is running, but most days I was out of the house by half 7 and home around 9 and I don’t enjoy running in the dark. I refused point blank to let all my time be sucked up by work, commuting or studying, and the last thing I wanted was for my fitness levels drop.
The best way to get some of my time back was the use my lunch break to work out. I was lucky my office had a shower and started run during this time. This is a habit I’m really glad I picked up – If I make plans for after work I don’t feel guilty about canceling my date with the gym as I can easily throw on my running shoes and do a quick 5k loop during my lunch hour.
My dad had dug out his ancient set of dumbbells for me and I was using these at home for weighted workouts – but I soon felt like these weren’t doing enough for my legs and I was losing all the muscles I had worked so hard to achieve.
I then found out that most gyms in London offer an introductory pass so I was keen to use as many of these as I could:
- Fitness First – they’re everywhere in London and they offer a free session per email so of course I used multiple emails and used various venues so the staff didn’t recognize me.
- Anytime Fitness – a really small gym near Aldgate and I was noticeably the only women there. I used my one day pass and didn’t look back.
- LAX Aldgate – they offered me a free trial and it was by far my favorite gym, but there was no way I could ever afford the £70 per month price tag. Unfortunately as it has been brought over by Pure Gym and they no longer offer this pass.
- Fit4Less – again, a really small gym but they gave me a 3 day consecutive pass. I forgot my gym lock on one of these days and they kindly let me use one of theirs for free.
- Fusion – as a local they offered me 3 day trial to be used at any time.
- Pure Ride – a spinning class and they offer your first two rides for free.
- Orange fitness theory – an interval class which really gets your heart rate going and is something I’d consider going back to.
All in all, I went a month without ever having to pay to use a gym. If you’re strapped for cash I’d definitely recommend calling up your local gyms to see if they will offer you any trial passes.