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Ever Been on a Pants Rant?

Words By Geraldine Ruffle.

It's All Pants...

It's all pants, and bras and crop tops and socks and more hanging around my room at the moment, on the back of chairs, edge of desks, door handles, door frames, literally anywhere where they may actually get dry.

If you're a gym addict like myself this will be a familiar setting for you, I'm sat waiting for my third load of washing to finish and I've already run out of space on the line to hang all of it up.

Is it a case of there not being enough gym clothes in the world to get me through a week or there not being enough hours in the week to do enough loads of washing? I feel like a mum with 3 messy toddlers to look after, just constant laundry. Is anybody with me?

Anybody else wondering if it's enough of a workout just doing the weekly wash? Will it ever be acceptable to see 'Friday, laundry day - whole body' on my weekly workout planner? No, too sneaky?

As an instructor I do tend to get through more than one outfit a day in the gym which is obviously above average but then I must own an above average amount of sportswear to compensate. And I do, oh boy I do. I have a separate dresser for it in fact, away from the daily clothes closet so it can all be easily pulled out in my early morning zombie like state before the day has started. And it's bursting at the seams, it's not an empty dresser by any stretch of the imagination, so how do I still run out of workout gear by around Wednesday?

It's the sports bras isn't it, they're the main culprits, they're the main source of drama as you get towards the end of the week and are praying your 'B list' bras can hold up against whatever workout you had planned today, praying the now dodgy clip on the back isn't going to snap during a Zumba shimmy or that hole in the side isn't going to suddenly rip open while you're kicking ass in BodyCombat (could you imagine the horror, unsupported chest!). I find myself coming home with new sports bras on such a regular basis too, it's like it's becoming virtually impossible to do any form of shopping without grabbing one, even in the grocery store (one that has a clothing line obviously, I'm not just fashioning support garments out of avocados and coconuts). Soon I may have to have a section for sports bras in my weekly budget planner, it's getting that serious.

Another wonderful positive about life here in Byron bay is that everyone is hugely against bras for daily life, they've swapped them for these super comfy bralet things that although supportive, feels like you have nothing on, simple things hey.

Speaking of simple things....pants, pants are the worst when you're a gym bunny, right? They're actually not simple at all, for something that can be so tiny they must contribute a vast majority of my daily wardrobe dramas (we're deep into talking about first world problems right now aren't we). I'm hoping at least some of you are still with me here but, gym appropriate underwear, what a palaver. Ones that fit, aren't too tight, don't disappear (nod if you get me), don't cut your hips, don't move and aren't visible (vpls still aren't cool are they?) we must have all had at least one of those days where you unfortunately realise slightly too late that you're wearing the wrong underwear, you try and ignore it but it gets to the point where it's just too uncomfortable, you're going to have to do something about it. So trying to look inconspicuous we try to wiggle or squat or lunge it into a better position and completely fail at both (awkward face)? Don't worry fit squad, we all do it! We can all breathe a slight sigh of relief there, go on it feels good.

Getting dressed for the gym is not as easy as it may appear then is it, despite the fact that we probably just grab our kit with the intention of throwing it on after work or when we wake up properly. Plus all this extra thought comes before we have even given an ounce of brain space to contemplating how to navigate the fashion runway that appears to have overtaken most gyms lately (don't get me started, that's for another day. As much as I'm all for a fluoro pair of trainers or tights)

We must live for the days when this isn't an issue, when you don't have to scramble around looking for the perfect seam free workout thong. On those days I practically jump out of bed to get dressed because I know that at the back of my draws is a collection of big, comfy, Bridget Jones style pants and I cannot wait to get them on! Please tell me that you do it too, it's not just me?

Then there will be those of us, who like me, get really excited for these golden days, rest days or days off because you don't have to wear sportswear and we can look nice and clean and fresh and swan into our closets in an excited manner ready to pick out an outfit and face the day. Only to end up in a pair of leggings and casual trainers......what? Maybe because I can no longer remember what real clothes go well together and look good, just have a craving to be comfortable or I'm tired of ending up in a rocking, shaking, paddy like state on my bedroom floor an hour late for something and contemplating not going at all. Does anyone else just play it safe and put those comfy familiar leggings on again? Thinking after all, active wear as a fashion statement is pretty big these days? Yes I thought so, me too, me always in fact! Rest easy on that one guys, leggings make your bum look great anyway so keep rocking that look!

One pro tip though, save yourself from sitting down to try and total up how much money you've spent on laundry detergent, water, sportswear and potential labour costs of getting it all washed in a week. It's a scary and depressing thing to do with your free time and take it from me, you could end up embroiled in a big, all consuming first world problem, gym addict rant. However, here's hoping after getting through mine you all at least feel a weight has been lifted from your shoulders and you're saved from any longer stressing about sportswear dramas by yourself.

So, throw some workout gear on and get back out there team. And, think of me when you get stuck into your sports laundry this week.

Keep lifting :)

The 101 on Being Comfortable in your Own Lycra.

 

Words by Geraldine Ruffle.

Time off is not a dirty word...

Naturally, as women, our weight fluctuates regularly.

That's just a fact.

But, does anybody else beat themselves up every time we're "not looking quite our best"? Regardless of hormones, stress levels, exercise or diet? Of course you do, we all do. It's nothing new that the media and social pressures affect the way we feel about our bodies but why should that affect our happiness and our health. There's more to it than weight right?

I know what you're thinking, oh look another post telling us that the media is wrong to body shame and everyone is beautiful. But, can there ever really be enough of those? Why should you pay any attention to this one?

It's not about teaching you to believe that all bodies are gorgeous, it's not about convincing you to love however you look. It's about pushing or pretending to love our bodies when we don't. It's about letting go of the need look and feel a certain way.


Some background:

I've done it all, I've gone from daily heavy training and a shiny six pack to rarely moving off the beach for days and going up a dress size (or two). The difference, I've also gone from being stressed, moody, exhausted, burnt out, injured and ill to being relaxed, feeling free, content and downright happy in my own skin. That's what we all need to learn right, that happiness and self confidence doesn't come from 'looking right', right? That 'looking right' comes from having self confidence and being happy.

The fitness industry is a tough career choice for your self confidence. You're inherently programmed to always care about your weight, your diet, your workouts and your body image, and you're judged on those things all day every day. Every social media post, every outfit, every workout, it's definitely a tough industry to be a comfortable person in.

Don't get me wrong, from day one I loved my job! Waking up every day to teach classes and train clients was often a real joy and not a chore. Notice that I said often, it had its moments of course like any job. I am human too ;) 

Adding a physical job into a life of tough competition training for sport and dance was a definite challenge. There were of days when I physically dragged myself out of bed because my body was so stiff and so sore and just so damn exhausted that the thought of getting up on stage to teach a class almost had me in tears, and some days it probably did!

We've all been there right? Days when either mentally or physically or both, you just don't want to get up and get out but you smear that brave face on anyway and plug on until you can next have a day off. This ever repeating maybe weekly or monthly cycle of over exhaustion was just too much.

So what did I do?

I changed tact. I left it all behind and travelled to the other side of the world to take a breather, explore new ways of finding confidence and experience fitness from a different outlook.

An Australian Perspective

When I first landed I was all jittery and stressed because I'd sat on a plane for almost 2 days, had eaten only stodgy aeroplane food and had barely moved a muscle except to shift seat position. I felt awful. I needed to go for a run. As usual when I didn't get enough exercise I was agitated and moody and not the sort of person that would easily make friends on a solo travelling adventure!

After my 6 week Aussie gym tour (catch the whole thing in my Insta. Shameless plug there) I settled down in Byron Bay, well known for its 'slow down, chill out, cheer up' motto. It became so easy to fit in their relaxed, care free lifestyle and I soon found myself comfortable barely training and spending most days laid out on the beach or frolicking in the sea.

I soon admitted to myself that I had put weight on, I had lost strength and fitness. But, for the first time I actually didn't care. Previously when I'd gained weight I would have been moody and depressed and embarked on intense diets and exercise to help get me back to my normal look, convinced that I'd be happier when I lost weight.

This time though, I still felt so great. So relaxed, so calm and still more than happy throwing my bikini on each day. When I'd video call my friends and family from home they would tell me how much healthier I looked and how much happier I seemed. Naturally straight away I just thought, but how can they be telling me I look better when I know I've put on a dress size?

Because happiness looks good on everyone (cheeeese)

Kelly Clarkson (what a queen) is famous for saying that she feels her happiest at her biggest, she's been in the papers at all sizes and unfortunately shamed for being a larger dress size these days. However, she claims in every interview and every magazine that she's never been so happy and was really unhappy thin. We all know that every body is different and no two people will ever look the same way (identical twins aside, let's not get pernickety now).

As soon as I realised how happy I was inside despite being a different body shape, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and freedom. Removing the stressors and pressures of trying to have my body look a certain way has done wonders for me. Back to exercising regularly and into a training plan designed around fitness rather than aesthetics I enjoy my gym time so much more, I'm so much more confident every day and I'm still a dress size larger than I ever was in England.

So shock horror

My life didn't fall apart just because I took time off training and time off 'looking perfect'! There were no emotional outbursts about my looks, no hiding in baggy clothes for a while and no filling my own head with excuses when I caught myself in the mirror. Seriously, how is that an ok way to be, how is that a healthy mindset. It's scary to look back and think how much pressure I used to put on myself in those competition days.

I look after myself, I train. I just train less, I socialise more, occasionally I eat cake, I go out and enjoy myself and sometimes I even skip the gym to do it (some days I skip the gym and eat cake) but now I worry less, I'm not stressed, I'm not over trained, I'm not exhausted and I'm not injured.

Mostly, my mind just feels so happy and free.

My focuses are entirely different and they centre around keeping that great big smile on my face, that's the type of person I want to be known as, that's the type of person people want to meet while they travel the world, and that's me, just feeling like me.

So why share this with you?

Because you don't need to run off to another country to discover true self confidence, you just need to realise what makes you the happiest version of yourself and the rest comes naturally. It wasn't about trying to be body confident, it wasn't about accepting that my body is beautiful regardless of weight. For me, it was being less stressed out and having the mental capacity to enjoy daily experiences, including my workouts that did it and the rest just fell into place.

We all need to be comfortable in our own skin. Time off was all I needed to discover that I'd been doing the wrong thing all along. Truth be told, now I'm a little more settled into my workouts I have lost weight and I have regained some definition and fitness and I know this trend will continue if I do, but it's not my focus so I don't drive myself crazy if I can't see results straight away.

So go find what it is that makes you happy regardless of looks, go chill out and discover why you should always be comfortable in your own skin (or your own lycra as we like to dress here).

Gebs xo


How to Flatten Abs after Pregnancy.

Words by Frou Williams.

Many women have distended abdominal muscles years after they have given birth. This quite frankly is unnecessary.

But what actually happens to the abs when a woman is pregnant?

The abdominals go through a unique lengthening process. As the baby grows there's an increased stretch on the abdominal wall.

That stretch forces the body to add functional units to the ab muscles which makes them longer.

Naturally after childbirth the stretch force is reduced and the muscles should return to normal length. This should take around 8 weeks.

Now, as life happens this isn't always the case and the natural rebounding may not happen as quickly, if you become pregnant soon after giving birth, gain excessive weight or have a cesarean section.

Don't panic! That's not to say you can't get pregnant quickly again, enjoy eating that chocolate bar or worry if you've had a cesarean. That's not the case at all. It's actually a great starting point to look at how you feel in your body, to be mindful and kind to yourself as you navigate through your own individual post natal journey.

Check in with how you feel. There is no one size fits all return back to pre baby bod nor should there be. You've just grown and housed a human for the last 9 months. You did good girl.

To restore the abdominal muscles I would recommend the following:

And the first thing doesn't even involve a gym (yay)!

Nutrition - that's eating high quality foods and drinking adequate water.

Core work - working on core stabiliser exercises and strengthening your pelvic floor.

Plenty of sleep - I know, I know...you just had a baby, you're thinking, "what sleep?!" But we all know our bodies are built and restored when we sleep so try and sleep as much as baby will permit.

And finally, listen to your body - this might sound like an obvious one but it's amazing how often we don't pick up on the queues that our body is giving us.

For any post natal questions or advice, feel free to leave a comment below or email me frou@deathbylycra.com

Hugs,

Frou xo

The Art of Yoga : How to Win at Yoga

Words by Frou Williams.

Feeling confused and utterly overwhelmed with all the yogie terms? Don't know your asanas to your pyjamas? Oh wait, was that pranayamas?

Worry not. We all have to start somewhere. Perhaps you may have been practising for a while but you never felt you could ask what each term meant and now it's loo late and well you don't want to look stupid now do you? Relax.

Grab a green juice or whatever floats your boat.

I've got this one covered.

Got your green juice ready?

Okay let's roll...

There are four parts that make up the complete system of yoga.

Raja

Bhaki

Karma

Jnana

 

It is elements of raja yoga - the yoga of the mind - that are mostly practised in the West.

Raja Yoga:

This yogic path is considered the easiest of the four to acheive. The only requirement for bhakti yoga is an open, loving heart. Because the theory behind the practise is so simple, the idea is that everyone can practise bhakti yoga.

In essence bhakti means devotion to the Lord but when I teach others and indeed my own practise, I believe it’s more important to focus on your own heart and self. We need only surrender our doubts, fears, worries and express genuine love and devotion to ourselves through our practise.

Karma Yoga:

Karma yoga is a path of purification. Purification of the heart and purification of the mind. Owing to avidya, the original spiritual ignorance, which suggests that we are all affected by egosim and selfishness.

Practising karma yoga is developing selflessness by performing actions without any expectations of any rewards or results of any kind. We can begin to explore this through our practise but also take this into everyday life. Most of us will never renounce our possessions in the pursuits of living in an ashram so for the most part we can make our karmic yoga about things such as household chores or helping a neighbour (you get this gist). All it takes is awareness. You’re probably already doing it now without even knowing. Well done you my friend!

Jnana Yoga:

The path of wisdom and knowledge. The jnani uses his will and power of discrimination to cut through the veil of ignorance and attain the truth. Essentially this is about self realisation.

 

Yoga Directory:

Asana: seat; yoga posture

Ashtanga: eight-limbed yogic path; for Ashtanga/Power yoga

Ayurveda: the ancient Indian science of health

Bandha: internal lock; used for controlling the energy within the body during yoga practise; the three bandhas taught in some lineages of hatha yoga are root lock, abdominal lock and throat lock

Chakra: energy centre; the basic system has seven chakras (root, sacrum, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown), each of which is associated with a colour, element, syllable, significance, etc

Dharma: truth, the teachings of the Buddha; the path of truth

Dosha: physical body type; there are three doshas in Ayurveda - pitta (fire), vata (wind) and kapha (earth)

Drishti: gazing point used during asana practise

Karuna: compassion

Kula: community

Mantra: a repeated sound, syllable, word or phrase; often used in chanting and meditation

Mudra: a hand gesture; the most common mudras are anjali mudra (pressing palms together at the heart) and gyana mudra (with the index finger and thumb touching).

Namaste: which means "I bow to you'; a word used at the beginning and/or end of class which is most commonly translated as "the light within me bows to the light within you"; which is a common greeting in India and neighbouring cultures; a salutation said with the hands in anjali mudra

Niyama: five living principles that (along with the yamas) make up the ethical and moral foundation of yoga; they include Sauca (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (burning enthusiasm), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvarapranidhana (celebration of the spiritual)

Om: the original syllable; chanted "A-U-M' at the beginning and/or end of many yoga classes

Prana: life energy; chi; qi

Pranayama: breath control; breathing exercises

Samadhi: the state of complete self-actualization; enlightenment

Savasana: corpse pose; final relaxation; typically performed at the end of every hatha yoga class, no matter what style

Shakti: female energy

Shanti: peace (often chanted three times in a row)

Shiva: male energy; a Hindu deity

Surya Namaskar: Sun salutations: a system of yoga exercises performed in a flow or series

Sutras: classical texts; the most famous in yoga is, of course, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Tantra: the yoga of union (much more than just tantric sex that is popularised in the media)

Yama: five living principles that (along with the niyamas) make up the ethical and moral foundation of yoga; they include Satya (truth), Ahimsa (non violence), Asteya (not stealing), Bramacharya (self control and sexual responsibility) and Aparigraha (not grasping)

Yogi/Yogini: a male/female practitioner or yoga

Yoga Etiquette:

  • Don't take yourself too seriously, none of us are getting out alive!

  • Smile. Laugh. Dance if you like :)

  • Be in your mind and your body. Be present

  • Arriving on time is always appreciated

  • No mobiles please it interrupts the flow, there's time for selfies after

  • Listen to what your body is telling you

  • Try not to eat a mahoosive meal within 2-3 hours of your practise

  • Savasana (relaxation pose) is an important element to your practise, please don't skip it

  • Be a nice human!

  • Above all, ENJOY!