workout

In Need of Some Workout Motivation?

In Need of Some Workout Motivation?

Ever find yourself hunting for that desire to go and workout? Searching for a reason to get up early and go for a run? Longing for that kick that will get you into a gym routine? You and 100% of the population feel that way sometimes.  Here I’m going to talk to you about that shiny buzzword known as motivation – the electricity that gets us out of bed and on the pursuit of our goals. How do we get hold of it? How do we use it to our advantage and most importantly, how do we keep it if we find it?

It all starts with you. Your motivation process is going to be completely unique to you. That glorious motivation that you want lies within you already. To find it we need to observe and become aware of what we see and what we hear to reprogramme our thoughts, away from any negative ones, towards positive ones.

SO, LET’S GO LOOKING FOR IT.

Just How Much do Stress And Hormones Stop Us From Reaching Our Goals?

Just How Much do Stress And Hormones Stop Us From Reaching Our Goals?

We're a group of hard working, goal smashing, well warriors through and through, right?! But, do you ever just feel like you could quite literally sleep for a week and it still wouldn’t be enough? Do you sometimes feel that no matter what you do, it's not enough?

Yes?

Thank goodness, me too.

Then this blog is for you honey.

Are We A "Get Your Kit Off" Generation?

Are We A "Get Your Kit Off" Generation?

"The contemporary designation of the body as 'meat machine' is merely the latest iteration of a long tradition of self loathing" - Marina Benjamin

I've noticed a thread or should I say, a new 'norm' laced through my Instagram feed recently. 

More and more accounts seeing both men and women turn up the heat and drop the clothes. It's -1 outside baby so there's got to be more than meets the scantily clad eye on this new societal norm. 

Are we forming a culture defying sexual oppression or are we simply shifting the paradigm of what is 'okay' to post online? 

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

Want to Practice Yoga in the Snow? Now you Can!

Words by Frou Williams.

People have been practising yoga outdoors since its origin but this season, the latest trend has been all about taking it to the extreme.

We’re not talking being stifled by the heat of a 40 °C bikram class, we’re talking winter seasons, ski slopes and sub zero temperatures.

They call it snowga.

But what exactly is it?

It’s been dubbed the grown-up version of making snow angels and meditation in motion. Snowga is the fusion of snow and yoga and the organic connection between the two. So you’ve mastered the art of sweating out your eyeballs in hot yoga? Then why not try your hand and your downward dog off piste?

But how far are people taking snowga?

Some teachers are even altering poses so they are doable with skis or snowshoes. Classes have proved so successful that people are considering bringing in night time snowga with headlamps.

According to the New York Times, Anne Anderson first paired yogic breathing with skiing as an aid to calm students nerves before hitting the slopes. Happy with the results, she then spent the entire summer in her shorts, ski boots and on skis to work out what poses worked whilst using ski equipment.

The use of ski props really aids in peoples practise, helping them push that little step further into a pose.

Carin Gorrell, editor in chief of Yoga Journal, said “People who are passionate about practising yoga want to do it everywhere - they’ll tell you yoga goes with everything.”

If the premise of snowga is to enjoy your practise in chilly climates with stunning mountain views why limit yourself to just the slopes? Why not headstand from your balcony, chaturanga straight from apres or heck, why not warrior pose from the hot tub?

It seems that snowga is yet to stand the test of time but if you’re tempted to get your snowga on, you might just want to get a move on and head to the slopes before the end of the season is upon us, when all that’s left is the equivalent of a slush puppy. And nobody got time for slushga.

Hugs,

Frou xo