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I've been an avid gym go-er for about 5 years now. Previous to that, I'd never even set foot inside one. Slowly but surely, I became addicted. I've gone through various phases: cardio, working out at home, only wanting to run, just attending classes, and doing a lot of strength training. At the moment, I'm enjoying getting involved in lots of classes.
But how do I stay motivated?
- Feeling Strong: One of the aspects about working out that keeps me extremely motivated is how strong I feel. I'm proud to say that I can now perform between 10 and 20 full pushups in one go. Some days are better than others, but I can assure you that a year ago there was no way I could do that! The more disciplined I became with myself about working out, the stronger I became, the more I wanted to push myself to become stronger.
- It Becomes Fun: I'm one of those annoying people who looks forward to her gym time. I work from home, so there are some days where I don't move from my office or set a foot outside. Knowing that I've got a gym class to go to or that I'm hitting the gym at some point gets me out of the house. And I really do enjoy it! I've made friends, I know all the staff pretty well, and I love the feeling I've got post workout.
- Competition: I've always been competitive. Not necessarily with other people (I can be though!) but mainly with myself. When I began running, the main motivation to keep going and run faster was the Nike Running App that I had. I began to literally race myself, and see how much faster I could go. I still do that with myself, but less with the running. Now it's more about how heavy I can squat!
- MyZone Training Belt: St Michaels Hotel and Spa, the gym that I have been attending for almost two years, kindly gifted me with a MyZone Training Belt. MyZone is a strap that you wear around your waist which reads your heart rate whilst you workout. I was quite skeptical about it at first, because I'd had a bad experience with activity monitors in the past, but let me tell you, this thing is amazing. Syncing up to your phone via Bluetooth, you can use the MyZone belt no matter where you are. In my case, I've worn it to go running, spinning, to my weekly HIIT class, to my PT session, and even to do the cleaning (it was an experiment!). I love that I can see straight to my phone how hard I'm working in real time or whether I'm hitting my heart rate target. You can connect with others who have the belts and see how they're doing. You can even set up mini competitions between each other! I've found myself pushing myself way further than normal, and I can track exactly how many calories I burned. It's comfortable, and it's battery lasts for hours (I've used it 6x a week for a month and the battery is still at 80%!). In my gym specifically, they've even got massive TV screens which display everyone's heart rates. That's great when I've got a PT session and he can keep a close eye on how hard I'm working (or it's horrible because it means I can't get away with anything)! The best part though? You can win prizes! MyZone automatically enter everyone into cash prize competitions for people who earn a certain amount of points per month. So if you're looking for a bit more motivation to work out, maybe winning $10,000 will do it? It does for me!
- Boxing: Wow, I can't rave more about how much I love boxing! I've been boxing pretty regularly for a year or so, and at first I thought it was fun, but the stronger I became and the harder I could hit the pads, the more I love it. This is probably the activity that I'm having the most fun doing at the moment. It's really hard work, your heart rate soars through the roof, you pant and sweat, but the stress relief is immense, and you DEFINITELY feel like a bad ass. Just try not to hit your PT in the face like I did...
- Music: I find it really difficult to listen to music whilst working because I find it quite distracting. I love music, so heading to the gym has become my favourite way to listen to music now. I love to make playlists for myself which I use for months on end full of motivational, and quite up beat songs. I've considered making a Spotify playlist of my favourite workout tunes. Let me know if that might interest some of you!
- Apps: I'm never without my iPhone, so I like to put it to good use. Obviously I use the MyZone app all the time now, and it really is super effective. I recently discovered the Nike Training Club app, and it's awesome! Designed to be like a personal trainer, the app lets you choose a workout you want to do and then times you through it. It comes with images and videos on how to do each move, and let me tell you, these workouts are HARD! I did an abs and butt one a week or so ago, and I felt it the next day. I highly recommend it! Apps really help you to keep track of what you're doing, and motivate you to want to keep pushing yourself.
- Changing things up: One thing that I find really important is to keep changing up my routine. I get bored easily, so if I find something boring, I'm just not going to do it (or at least not with much enthusiasm). A good example for me was Body Pump. Last year, I was attending Body Pump classes between 2-3 times a week and at first, I adored it! However, after a few months, I knew each workout by heart, each song by heart and I was getting really bored. I stopped going, and started going to other classes instead, and the motivation instantly came back. If you're getting bored of your workout, take a break from it. Change it up. Try something new. Don't feel guilty for wanting a change!
I hope that this post has given you a few ideas for getting motivated to hit the gym if you've been struggling lately. Motivation comes and goes for everyone, it's just about finding ways to keep yourself entertained and excited. If you've got any other suggestions, or things that you do to keep yourself motivated, I'd love to hear them!
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Ok, I don't mean literally naked. What I mean to say is: do I need to take photos of myself wearing minimal clothing to prove that I'm "fit?" It's totally unavoidable these days; you log onto Instagram and BAM there's a girl with a six pack, wearing nothing but a bra top, tiny gym shorts, who's perfectly tanned, and you guessed it: she's into fitness. She blogs about it, she writes about it, maybe she even makes a living out of it.
I'm not trying to say that doing that is wrong: you've got a great body, of course you want to show it off! But where does that leave the rest of us, who might be really fit, eat super healthy, train hard, but don't quite want to take such revealing photos of themselves all the time? I don't know about you, but the huge pressure I feel to "prove" to the online world that I'm fit is immense. I love to workout, I love to eat clean, I love to feel good about myself, and I love knowing that my boyfriend thinks I'm attractive. What I don't love is how often I find myself feeling self conscious about the fact that I don't often post photos of my six pack (disclaimer: there isn't one.) Am I only, truly, healthy and fit when I can confidently post a photo of an incredible six pack? I've posted photos on my Instagram account before of my progress, but did that make me feel good about myself? Honestly... most of the time I was ended up spending more time worrying that people would look at them and judge my new found confidence. You can't win!
Now, I'm not suggesting that all these amazingly fit, really attractive girls should stop posting photos of their incredible bodies (oh my goodness, please don't, I have so much admiration!) but what I'm trying to say it, can't there be some balance? One person who I've seen take this on really well is one of my favourite fitness bloggers: Zanna Van Dijk. She's young, super tall, and really, really fit. She shows off her great bod, but she writes very truthfully about the fact that she isn't perfect; and that reassures me. It shows that you can be fit, feel good about yourself, whilst not being 100% perfect.
[video width="568" height="320" mp4="http://www.oliviablogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/boxing.mp4"][/video]
The good news is that I feel fit and strong. I've never actually felt so good about what my body can do! The video above shows that (thanks to my PT Steve for filming!) I've got a few things I still want to sort out (like actually be able to lift that 60KG deadlift properly without passing out because I'm not breathing), and I definitely have body conformation goals... and that's ok! I'm just not sure I'll be posting on Instagram about my six pack all the time.
Anyway, I'm definitely rambling, but this has been on my mind. What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel pressure to prove to the world that you're fit? I'd love to know!
This is something which has been on my mind a lot recently. I'm someone who is interested in a lot of different things. I don't know why that is, really, but I find myself fascinated by so many different topics, I can't quite stop. Maybe it's the fact that half my family are teachers, so there is an innate desire to constantly be learning?
I've been writing this blog (sort of consistently) for a few months now, and I love it. It's my little happy place! But when you read any article about "How to be a blogger" (yes, I've read them - guilty), they always talk about "having a niche." I'll admit, I've tried that. I went through a couple of weeks where I told myself I'd focus on just health and fitness, and it was fun, but I found myself wanting to share other things: like my passion for fashion (lol), beauty, photography, art... So what do I do? I'm not really "blogging" with any particular goals, but I would like people to read!
It's 2016 now, so a new year has started. Although I don't feel any different, and I've basically just carried on as normal, I have been thinking a lot recently about what it is that I really want to do. My love for photography has come whooshing back into my life recently, and it's taken me totally by surprise. I got very sick about two years ago with depression and anxiety, and sadly when that happened, the main thing it took it's toll on was my photography. I just couldn't pick up a camera anymore. I've still not figured out why that happened, but it did. Now that my desire to create is back, I'm brimming with ideas. But I'm going to want to share those shoots I do here!
I thought about starting another blog, totally separate to this one, to share my work on, but with Atlas' blog/magazine/social media to run already, and this one, I can't begin to imagine starting a new blog. So I've made a decision to ignore the "blogging rules" (I know, I'm such a rebel) and share whatever I want on this blog. Be it health and fitness (I still love it, it's not going anywhere), or photography, or travel (it seems I'm going to be doing a fair bit of that this year...!) or any other new interests which arise (cause they seem to keep creeping up on me), then you'll most probably see it here!
Here's to 2016, and enjoying the things which make us happy :)
I'm not very big on New Year's Resolutions. I've never really made them before, because I know for a fact that I'm setting myself up for failure. A New Year's resolution kind of implies to me that in the whole previous year, I've been doing things wrong. I'm quite an ambitious person, though, so I'm always setting myself goals. With Christmas almost here, and New Years approaching fast, resolution stuff begins to pop up left, right and center, and of course that makes me start to reflect on what new goals (or current goals) I'd like to work on. Let's call it a "refocus."
- Work. I'm a work-a-holic. I've been "working" on some kind of project since I was 15, all the time. It started off with photography at 15 and it consumed me. Then Atlas came about, and that's been my primary focus since I was 20. We've got so many big projects for Atlas, and I won't go into massive detail about them now because this blog isn't really supposed to focus on Atlas, but I'd like to grow the business more, take our print issues worldwide, grow our audience, and collaborate with more brands in future. It's exciting! See what we're up to here.
- Photography. My photography took a bit of a back seat for a few years (for various reasons), but I'm feeling incredibly inspired lately and have been thinking about what kind of work I'd like to produce. My day to day work with Atlas involved reviewing submissions from talented people all around the world. It definitely gets me inspired, and I'd like to start shooting again, more frequently, working with local Cornish designers. I've seen some of the talented designers there are in the area, and it's so inspiring! I'd also like to use film more. It's a medium I adore to work with, but didn't feel confident enough to really test out when I was younger.
- Fitness. I'm currently working towards some new goals, which is ongoing and has started well before the New Year. In a nutshell, I'd like to finally push the excess body fat I have around my middle. No, it's not big, and no I'm certainly not overweight at all, but I'm someone who likes to see how far I can go, and I would really really like to be confident in myself in a bikini. I know it's very superficial, but this is a place for honesty, right? I'd also like to see how strong I can get! In the past 6 months, I can't believe how much stronger and fitter I am. Never in a million years did I think I'd be able to run 10 miles (16km), but I can! And I can just about deadlift 60KG (we're working on it), I've improved my sprint time by 5 seconds, I sit between 150 W and 160 W in my spin class, and I can punch harder than I ever thought I could before. Feeling myself get stronger and fitter is the most incredible thing and I can't wait to see where I am in 6 more months!
- Health. 2015 was a big year for me in terms of my digestive health. It's well known on this blog that since I was 15, I've struggled more and more with my IBS. It steadily got worse, then when I was 20 I made changes, and it got better, but it would still come and go in waves. I went on the Low FODMAP diet this summer, and it has been life changing for me. Hard, I'll admit, and there are certain things which still trigger my IBS (ie. stress) but overall, I'm so much better than I ever was. All I really want to do in 2016 is to carry on eating what makes me feel good, developing recipes that are Low FODMAP, and sharing them here! (PS. I have loads of new ones, but I'm currently visiting my parents in Switzerland, so I can't photograph any of them to share with you!)
- Happiness. One thing that I realized (big time) this year was how important it is for me to take the time to relax. I have a problem where I feel guilty if I'm not constantly working. I feel like there's so much to do, and I'm totally aware of it, so if I stop, sit on the sofa and watch Homeland with my boyfriend, I get a pang of guilt because, really, I could be at my desk hammering out more emails or doing more strategy work. But taking that time out every day to do something that I enjoy, even if it's as simple as reading a few blogs, or watching some YouTube videos refreshes me, and I'm so much more productive (and enthusiastic!) if I've been able to recharge my batteries. In 2016, I'd really like to continue to do that.
So there you go, some goals which aren't really goals cause I'm sort of already doing them, but things I'd like to carry on doing! I find the end of the year is, more than anything, simply a really good time to reflect, think about where you are, and what you'd like to continue working on.
What are your "resolutions?" Do you have any? What's your take on New Year's resolutions? Let me know in the comments bellow!
Hello! My goodness it's been far too long since I blogged here. Life got a bit crazy for three weeks, and when I say I didn't have spare moment, I really didn't. I know what my limits are before I burn out, and sadly, I was at them. But it's all good, cause everything is about to get a bit more bearable.
Onto what this blog post is actually about: facing your fears. I know, it sounds cliché, but I'm not someone who's particularly good at facing her fears. I tend to get comfortable and stick right where I am. What can I say? I hate change! But every once in a while, an urge comes about me: a little voice telling me to "give it a go." That happened a few months ago when my gym, The St. Michaels Health Club in Falmouth announced they were entering a team into the local Tuff Enuff race. I wanted to sign up, but sadly I got very sick with shingles right as the first boot camps started, so I couldn't participate.
A few weeks ago, a sign up sheet appeared in the gym for a new race: Kernow Killer. Without a second thought, I signed myself (and -without asking - Tom) up for the bootcamp and race. Did I check what it was? Nope. What came about me, I'm not sure. It wasn't until a few weeks later when I actually looked up what we were doing that I realised just how hard this was going to be. A 10 mile, muddy, dirty, hilly, wet obstacle course!
So what the hell was I still doing it?! To be perfectly honest, I'm a lot fitter now than I was a few months ago thanks to all the personal training I've been having, and I really wanted an opportunity to see how far I could push myself. I'd never run 10 miles in my life! 13 miles is a half marathon, so 10 is pretty extreme... let alone when you're crawling, crossing and climbing obstacles.
When the day arrived, I was really really nervous. Much more than I thought I would be. It had began to dawn on me just how far 10 miles was, and that I didn't have a clue if I could actually carry myself that far. But before I knew it, we were off! When I started, I'm not going to lie, I thought it was a piece of cake. The first 5 miles were great! I got muddier than I've ever been in my life and the fashion/beauty lover in me should have hated it, but I felt like a 5 year old kid again. It wasn't until mile 7/8 that I really began to feel it. Tom stayed with me the entire time, and it really showed how fit he was thanks to his crazy cycling addiction; he could have probably carried on going another 10 miles! I don't think I could have done it without him urging me to keep on going.
By the time we got to the last few obstacles, running was starting to really hurt. My knees were bruised beyond belief, my muscles ached all over, I was wet, muddy, and honestly, I stank. But that moment we crossed the finish line was overwhelming! We'd done it! I'd done it! Who knew that my body could do that?!
Kernow Killer was certainly killer, but it showed me that if I push myself just a little bit further, challenge myself to do something that I don't think I can do, that maybe, just maybe, I'll find that actually I can.
Have you ever done anything which terrified you?
We realised after looking at this that there were foot loops...
This is something I'm pretty passionate about, mainly because I can't even begin to think about working out without my sports bras (ouch!). I see SO many women in the gym, pounding on the treadmill or the pavement... wait for it...wearing a NORMAL BRA.
Ladies! Oh my goodness! First of all, how do you do it? Does it not pain you? I know I can't. And second of all, it's doing so much damage to your boobies! Most exercise will make your breasts move up and down, no matter what size they are. Let's briefly delve into the nitty gritty of it here. Basically your breasts are made up of lots of fatty tissue which are surrounded by ligaments. These ligaments are very sensitive, and if they get broken or stretched, nothing can be done to repair them. Whether your boobies are big or small, you've got these ligaments there, so when you're out buying a sports bra, consider what kind of exercise you're going to be doing before you purchase. Do you run a lot? You'll definitely need a few high impact sports bras. If it's more low impact exercise, then go for one designed for those activities. The bra photographed above is my low impact yoga bra (ie. the pretty one). Essentially, by spending a bit of extra money now, you're helping to preserve your boobies in the long run!
Everyday bras are also not designed for be worn during exercise. That might sound really obvious, but it's 100% true! The fabrics in them won't allow your skin to breath, so you'll end up with sweaty, very hot boobies. Sexy? Not really! On top of that, sweat is definitely going to ruin your pretty lace bra.
Need another reason? Sports bras can be so pretty! Just head into any sports store, and grab a few. Designs are improving all the time now. I recently bought a few new ones, and went from having lots of black ones, to pink, blue, and multicoloured. Such fun! This is your excuse to go shopping.. woohoo! My favourite brands are Shock Absorber and H&M.
Let me know what your favourite sports bra brands are. And if you've been wearing your normal bras for your exercise, I hope I've been able to convince you to invest!
PS. I've giggled every time I wrote the word boobie. I'm that immature. PSS. Yes, I giggled again.
Last week I had a bit of a burn out. Atlas was doing really well (but requiring a lot of time), work was busy, and I was feeling overwhelmed. I've always got so much on my mind between my part time job and Atlas that sometimes it becomes all too much. I usually don't realise I'm exhausted until I hit full on burn out. This is how it goes down:
- Olivia comes home grumpy
- Olivia begins to cry about something stupid
- Olivia eats a lot of dark chocolate
- Olivia goes to sleep
- Olivia wakes up still tired, and decides that actually, Olivia needs to have a day off
- Olivia takes the day off, feels a bit guilty about it, but actually feels great
All truth. That's how it pans out. It's a brutal experience. *Sorry Tom.*
I'm working on taking things easier, and allowing myself at least one day off a week. It's easier said than done; when you run your own business that you're working really hard to build and improve on, it's always on your mind. Work in progress is better than nothing though, right?
So what do I do when I'm having some time off (or just a bit of a more relaxed day)?
- Go for a walk. Theres so many places to go in Cornwall that theres never "no where to go." Getting fresh air does me so much good, and really lets me clear my head.
- Read a magazine. I know, I know, this may sound like work because my job is running a magazine... but theres nothing more relaxing than sitting down with a new magazine and getting absorbed by beautiful images and words.
- Watch TV. I don't do this a lot, but I make sure to sit down and watch The Great British Bake Off every Wednesday night. I can't watch TV in the day time, because I feel like I'm wasting valuable time to be doing something else (there I go again! work work work) but after dinner in the evenings, it calms me right down.
- Work out. Most people will say I'm nuts for finding a work out relaxing, but it's actually one thing I find helps the most. When I had said burn out I mentioned earlier, I has a personal training session booked in for that day. Needless to say I didn't feel like going, but once I was there and we got going, I felt revived. It was probably that session which gave me back my energy!
- Bake. There's a reason this blog exists!
- Meditation. I have a history of panic attacks (more on that another day), and did a few sessions of hypnotherapy to help me get over them. It was after doing these and noticing how big a difference it made that I began to meditate. I can't say I do it a lot, but when I'm feeling really panicky or stressed and need to calm right down, I find a guided meditation on Youtube, or use the app Headspace.
- Call my mum. Talking to someone about how you're feeling, or what ever it is that's stressing you out is really helpful.
- Write. I never used to enjoy writing, and I don't think I'm particularly good at it, but there's something quite therapeutic about it (this isn't a break through by the way, theres a reason people have kept diaries for centuries). This blog stems from that.
What do you do when you need to relax? Let me know if you have any advice for me!
The main way I got into health & fitness was by discovering other peoples' fitness journeys. I find stories of people better themselves or overcoming challenges extremely interesting and inspiring. So today I thought I would share with you some of my favourite websites to inspire you!
Tone It Up These were probably the girls that got me from thinking about gymming a bit, to taking it very seriously. First of all, just look at them! Who doesn't want to look like a Californian beach babe? I certainly do! I have their nutrition plan which I followed for a while, and still do to a certain extent. They encourage us all to live clean, green and lean, and it's a mantra I try to keep in my head. The nutrition plan is wonderful value for money: it's a one off fee, and you continue to receive the updates for the rest of your life. The sense of community these girls have created is out of this world, and the workouts are really really good! If you're looking for somewhere to get started with working out and starting to eat clean, Karena & Katrina are your girls.
Jessica Sepel Jessica's website is all about healthy food, and most of all, a healthy balance. She's somebody I only discovered recently, but it was love at first sight! I'm obsessed with her hair (WANT!) but also her food is just incredible. She writes lovely blog posts, and is really knowledgable about food and nutrition. She's recently released a book, but is only available in Australia for the time being. It's coming out in the UK next year, and I can't wait! I've got her EBooks, and they're really great.
The Skinny Confidential Lauryn is another cali beach babe, but she's all about keeping healthy living fun! I love her blog posts, and her writing style. It gets me chuckling every time. She's honest, and not afraid to get personal about her own body and I love that. If you're looking for a website that's got fitness, style, food and fun all rolled into one, this is one I recommend.
Fit Personality/Katy Gracefully I'm obsessed with Katy. I want to be her. This girl is fearless, hilarious and beautiful. She took her Freshman 15, and turned it on its head, only to become a seriously hot runner, whilst building up her blog. Katy comes across as the most genuine girl ever. I love her writing style.. but most of all I want her life! Running around in Hawaii sounds like a dream. Check Katy out if you want motivation to get out there and get fit, but have loads of fun while doing it.
Pinterest Sound weird? No but seriously, it may be obvious but Pinterest is brilliant when it comes to inspiration and motivation for healthy living. If I'm ever stuck in a rut with no idea what to make for dinner, one quick browse and I've got 1000000 ideas. Need motivation to work out? I'm not a massive fan of staring at women with six packs because, personally, it has the opposite effect on me and just makes me feel like poo. But one thing that Pinterest is full of is workouts and how to's, and they're usually so easy to follow, before you know it you've done a whole workout, and you're feeling great! What are you waiting for? Get pinning!