FAQs on Instagram DM

These are some of the most commonly asked questions on my Instagram and YouTube. I try to reply to everyone who messages me, but it may be quicker to find the answers in the content I have already produced. Enjoy!

 

Where do you work/what do you do/how can I get into it?

Edit: I now work as a social media consultant, freelance writer and as a blogger 🙂 Left this up in case you would like to go into science comms! It’s an amazing job and I would recommend it to anyone.

I work in science media and PR – in short I act as a go-between between scientists/doctors and journalists, to make sure the journalists understand any important research coming out, and to make sure that exciting new research is getting into the press. I absolutely love my job – I think it’s so important that the public understands scientific and media research, and it empowers people to make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives.

I am currently working at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which works on women’s health globally, but especially in the UK. I run their twitter account and do a bunch of other stuff too, to do with communicating Obs and Gynae research and news to the general public.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy (science communications could be to do with anything from environment to medicine to engineering), then I would really recommend getting some work experience, including writing about relevant topics for your student or local newspaper and maybe starting a blog on your favourite topic, if you enjoy writing. Show how keen you are – I did months of unpaid work experience just because I loved it and wanted to show that. I would also recommend joining ABSW and STEMPRA to hear about job opportunities and get the chance to talk to people who have the job you want to get 🙂

 

What are your favourite activewear brands?

I’m not sponsored by any particular brand at the moment, but I love sharing other brands that I use. I have two vlogs on my favourite activewear – for everyday and winter running.

In terms of shoes, I wear a combination of different running shoes. Everyone is different, so I am reluctant to recommend shoes for others, but my favourites are Asics Gel nimbus 20, Adidas Ultraboost, Hoka One One Clifton 6 and for trails Columbia Caldorado II.

If you’re looking for new trainers, give this vlog with my coach a watch before buying and remember, everyone is unique!

 

Are you vegan?

No, not technically. However, I find labels unhelpful – I would call myself ‘plant-based’ if I had to label how I eat. I have been pescetarian since I was 4. I gave up fish in 2017 for environmental reasons (I studied marine and conservation Biology at uni and couldn’t really ignore what I had just learned). Shortly after that I also cut down significantly on dairy and cut out eggs totally. Now I eat a totally plant-based diet, but since I occasionally wear leather I don’t call myself vegan. In my eyes, every small step someone makes to make better decisions is a step in the right direction.

I share a lot of vegan food on my Instagram and my YouTube to show people that there are a lot of vegan options out there, even if you don’t associate with being vegan, or even vegetarian. Read my blog post on the topic here.

 

How can I cure my injury?

I get asked everyday about resolving injuries, especially those from running. I am not a physio, so can’t provide advice except my personal experience of ITBS. If you have niggles, you may find this vlog with my physio helpful, or this blog post on shin splints. Nothing beats visiting a physio though, so if your niggles continue, please do speak to a professional.

 

Do you have a YouTube?

YES! I finally have YouTube after around two years of deliberation. Check it out, watch and subscribe – enjoy!

Check out my twitter, instagram and blog too.

 

How do I lose weight/tone up/look like you?

I’m not a dietitian or a personal trainer, so I don’t like to give out personalised advice. I couldn’t anyway, since I know nothing about your diet, activity levels, metabolism or anything else. My Instagram aims to help you find enjoyment in living a healthy lifestyle – I am not going to give someone a personalised plan to ‘lose weight’.

I look like I do through a combination of working out in a way that I enjoy, eating a diet that I enjoy and genetics. Even if you followed everything I do to the letter, chances are we’d still end up looking pretty different.

 

How often do you workout/how do you train?

I’ve also got plenty of vlogs on my YouTube on my workout split (which changes according to my goals). However, please read above for what I think about copying workouts and expecting the same results – that’s not how it works sadly.

I always like to incorporate a mix of resistance training, HIIT and cardio into each week, whether that’s though boxing, running, weights, physio, classes or anything else. I think everyone should have a baseline fitness in strength training and cardio for all round health and fitness and to avoid injuries.

 

What are your favourite podcasts?

I have a vlog and blog post on my favourite podcasts. These need updating a little but are a great place to start! I love running with podcasts 🙂

 

Can you promote my product?

If you’d like to collaborate, please contact my agent at hannah@wmodel.eu.

 

I hope that helps answer your questions! Follow and DM me on instagram or twitter to find out more 🙂

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My week in workouts

I get asked all the time how much I workout, where I workout, what I do and how I fit it all in with work, so here’s a blog post about my week in workouts! I always do my best to workout at least 4 times in a week but sometimes life gets in the way and I just want to say that that’s OK (reading that sentence I should probably quit fitness and just become a poet rn). But in all seriousness, just because this is how I workout, it doesn’t mean this is how you also have to workout! Everyone has different commitments and preferences and I am super lucky to live near central London, so have so many classes available nearby if I want to go, which I am well aware a lot of people don’t have. However, a lot of the workout styles I do are replicable in the gym, so no need to pay for classes if you don’t want to!

 

I workout as often as I feel my body enjoys – I used to push myself excessively, which led to exhaustion, a lack of energy for everything else I do and plenty of injuries. Because of that, if I’m not feeling a workout I won’t do it, or will opt for a low intensity workout or stretch instead. I would definitely advise listening to your body. Working to a schedule doesn’t work if you run yourself into the ground and can’t continue! I work full time and often my schedule changes last minute – I workout intuitively and that’s what works best for me 🙂

 

These three weeks are typical – there’s an ebb and flow of what I’m able to manage in a week. The first week was a heavier than I usually do, the second week was perfect, and the third week a little less than I hoped, but that’s because I was busy.

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Week 1:

Monday
No workout (screw ‘never miss a Monday’)

Tuesday
5pm: Gym workout (glutes day – a short but heavy workout after 2 rest days). 45 mins, all high intensity.

Wednesday
5pm: Xen-do martial arts (a v sweaty HIIT workout). 60 mins, including 10 mins stretching.

Thursday
7:45am: Strength and conditioning at BXR (low intensity but lots of resistance band and some kettlebell/dumbbell work). 50 mins, including band work and conditioning stretches.

Friday
6pm: THE GAMES at KXU (strongman/crossfit style workout – very heavy, low cardio). 50 mins, including 10 mins warm-up.

Saturday
10am: Xen-do martial arts. 60 mins.

Sunday
11am: Filming (and doing) a strength-based workout (medium-heavy weights but relatively high reps). 60 mins, probably about 40 minutes of high intensity work.
4pm: A running shoot (not really a workout but a lot of time on my feet!). 3h.

 

Week 2:

Monday
Rest day!

Tuesday
6:15pm: Strength and conditioning at BXR. 50 mins.

Wednesday
8pm: A 1mile (1600m) race. 6 mins.

Thursday
7:45am: Strength and conditioning at BXR. 50 mins.
6:30pm: Yoga. 45 mins.

Friday
5pm: Gym workout (running and abs). 40 mins, all high intensity.

Saturday
9am – 5pm: Running shoot (again, I was on my feet all day but wouldn’t count this as a workout)

Sunday
10am: Boxing workout at BXR. 50 mins.

 

Week 3:

Monday
5pm: Xen-do martial arts. 60 mins.

Tuesday
6:15pm: Nok-out class at KXU (running, circuits and boxing – all cardio and HIIT). 50 mins, including 10 mins stretching.

Wednesday
Rest day

Thursday
Morning – climbing all morning. 3h.
Afternoon – yoga, strength and conditioning and acroyoga. 2h.

Friday
Rest day

Saturday
Rest day

Sunday
2pm: Gym workout (heavy glutes day). 50 mins, including 15 minute incline walk as warmup.

 

Balayage by salon 64

When I was younger I had so many experimental phases with my hair. Caramel, dark brown, really dark brown, highlights, bleach, even pink and purple at one stage. None of them really suited me, at least not in a way that was sustainable. It’s taken me about 10 years of messing around with my poor locks to finally find my look. It’s natural, girly and I only need to top it up once or twice a year, which is a huge relief on my bank account!

I’m sharing these hilarious pictures of me over 10 years ago as they’re pretty indicative of what I was going through hair-wise since I was 13. Look and laugh, please.

Since people are often asking me how I get my hair done and what I ask for, I thought I’d write a short post on it to explain.

Nb/ This treatment was given to me free of charge by Salon 64 however as always all opinions are my own. I absolutely love this salon and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little special! Amazing service, coffee and conversation.

 

What is balayage?

The word balayage comes from the French ‘to paint’ or ‘to sweep’. It is a method of highlighting the hair that leaves it looking naturally lighter, without being stripy or growing out into horrible roots. Balayage has softer, less noticeable regrowth lines (if at all noticeable) than traditional highlights, and highlights the parts of your hair that would naturally lighten in the sun, meaning it looks natural. You can get it done on any hair type and colour, and since it doesn’t grow out leaving roots, you can get it done infrequently, meaning that it ends up much cheaper than other highlighting techniques!

The steps: bleach, leave and blend, rinse and olaplex and then dry.

How it was done:

  • Section the hair into 4 equal sized sections
  • Starting at the back of the hair with smaller sections, each quarter is roughly 1.5 inches thick and is free hand painted with bleach. An extremely visual technique is what makes each balayage slightly different and bespoke to each individual head of hair. This technique is repeated starting at the back of the head working the way up to the crown. The hand painting also allows for a natural look to suit the individual, or a stronger look if desired.
  • This is then repeated on the 2 side areas.
  • Leave the colour to develop for 15 mins – this is much shorter than traditional foils, so balayage is often done and dusted much quicker than streak highlights.
  • Once the colour has developed, hair is rinsed at the backwash and the colour is blended together with a sponge to blend the newly placed blonde into the virgin hair. This technique is known as mash technique. This creates the gradation from darker to lighter hair that you don’t see in dip-dyed hair.
  • Lastly shampoo condition and style all using MR.SMITH – Hydrating shampoo, conditioner and styled with volume mousse. Olaplaex was used on my hair to repair broken strands and improve hair condition (this stuff is amazing).

Before and after: I didn’t want a huge change, just a subtle lightening at the back and around my face. The salon did a perfect job – a combination of the weak bleach used and olaplaex treatment left my hair in great condition after the treatment!

Visit Salon 64’s website to learn more and book.

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Once you visit this place you’ll be coming back all the time!

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10 reasons to lift weights

When I first started playing sports, the idea of a girl lifting weights was laughable. The only girls who did were the rowers and field athletes– everyone else thought it was manly, and my secondary school weights room was literally only for boys. The main gym was mostly cardio equipment, and without a doubt cardio was what was expected of the girls, if they went to the gym at all. Seven years on and the attitudes towards women being fit and healthy rather than skinny have changed so much. The rise of social media stars who incorporate weights into their routines has undoubtedly helped. But what are the benefits of lifting weights, and why do people swear by them for getting in shape?

Nb/ As a disclaimer I’d like to say that I also condemn those who shame anyone who does cardio – there are health benefits to all exercises, and I for one love a good sweat session. However, this post will be focussing on the health benefits of lifting weights. If you’d like to read more about cardio, please check out my post on how to get better at running.

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I got into weights late in the game because I was afraid it’d make me ‘bulky’ – it didn’t and won’t for you either!

  1. It’ll strengthen your bones

Most of us don’t think of our bones as living things, but they are. They respond to how we live, especially when we are young. As we get older, our bones lose density, becoming more brittle and prone to osteoporosis (this is why older people are more likely to break and fracture bones). If you lift weights, your bone density increases, meaning you’re in a better position to protect yourself from these issues later in life.

 

  1. It’ll make you happier

Whilst all physical activity is great for mental health, strength training has been linked to lower levels of anxiety and depression, as well as fatigue. In addition to the benefits of just getting moving, watching yourself progress with strength training can help you focus in other areas of life and give you a sense of achievement.

 

  1. It’ll give you a higher BMR

Your BMR is your basal metabolic rate. It’s the rate at which you burn calories when you’re doing absolutely nothing. So not only will lifting weights burn calories when you’re doing it, lifting also increases your muscle to fat ratio, meaning that you’ll burn more calories just lying there. And guess what that means… More food!

 

  1. It helps other sports

If you’re not lifting weights because you’re focusing on other sports, you could be harming your progress rather than helping it. Lifting weights strengthens both supporting muscles and the muscles you may use for your sport, meaning that whatever you do, lifting weights can help you do it harder, faster and better. It’s one form of cross training you don’t want to miss out on.

 

  1. It doesn’t take a long time

If you’re short on time, having a 30 minute workout is perfectly fine when lifting weights. My glutes sessions are around 40 minutes long, but when time-restricted 30 minutes works absolutely fine. Lifting can work around your schedule in a way that running a 5k can’t.

 

  1. Muscle is denser than fat

But what does this actually mean? It means that if you do lots of strength training and gain some muscle, it’ll take up less space than fat does. This is what allows people to get leaner leaner when they weightlift. You may not weigh less, but you’ll definitely look like you do! This is also why lifting weights as a girl certainly won’t make you look bulky. Whilst you probably shouldn’t be doing something purely because of aesthetics, there’s nothing wrong with wanting some toned curves!

 

  1. It’s good for your heart

Cardiovascular exercise is undoubtedly excellent for your heart health, but lifting weights has similar benefits. It can lower blood pressure as effectively as cardio and can mean you’re at lower risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends at least 2 strength training sessions a week.

 

  1. It doesn’t require much space

Whilst getting to the gym is useful if you want to lift heavy, if you’re short on time and space, you can do bodyweight resistance training at home. Also when your gym is super busy, getting on all the machines can be a nightmare, but grabbing some dumbells and a small space for a mat is sometimes all you need. Lack of time/space isn’t an excuse here!

 

  1. It’ll help you sleep

All exercise can help with sleep – those who exercise frequently report the best sleep, both in terms of length and quality. In addition, getting good sleep helps with muscle growth, so the two work together perfectly. Do more of one and you’ll get more of the other. It’s a win-win!

 

  1. You’ll live longer (and heathier)

All of the factors above lead to a reduced risk of disease, meaning you’ll live longer, healthier and happier. What’s not to love?!

 

I hope you find this post helpful! To see more of what I do why not check out what I’m up to on Instagram or TwitterLIFESTYLE_1384.

My blogging story

I often get asked when/why/how I started instagramming and blogging, and in truth, the story is long and not simple. I’ve always been a writer, enjoying capturing emotions and events in a diary from a young age. But, ever efficient, if I could capture the same story in a photo, I would rather do that. So here’s a little overview of how I got into both blogging and other forms of social media.

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Throwback to my first ever shoot – for Sweaty Betty!

I started my current instagram at the beginning of 2013 (I had another one for a few months previously), following several years of struggles with body image, control and food. Instagram gave me a way to ensure I ate three meals a day – no under eating, no over eating, no purging. The community back then was small in comparison to now, but the support I received as a teen recovering from eating issues was phenomenal. Over time, however, I felt myself distancing from the community and felt better moving on from it all, as I’m sure others who have suffered have also felt during and after recovery. Remembering is good, dwelling is not, so I moved on.

The start of my fitness journey overlapped with the end of instagramming about eating disorders and food – I was a competitive squash player at school, and after deciding that my instagram would be about health and its role in my life, I started to include more fitness pictures alongside the food. However, I found myself increasingly opinionated on all things health and wellness, and was irritated at not being able to convey these feelings (and the facts and figures I feel are so important) in the space of an instagram caption. Not even a picture would tell the thousand words I wanted to tell.

That’s when I set up my blog. It was August 2016 and I had been storing up articles and recipes for some time. I was also getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of evidence based statements and abundance of pseudoscience being banded around social media. I hoped that sharing fact based, balanced articles might help people see themselves – and ‘influencers’ – in a different light. Essentially I want to share things that are important to me with a wider audience, and I hope it gives people a better insight into who I am as a person and what my values are!

After starting my blog I saw my followers grow. My first month of blogging received about 3000 views in a month. By January, 5 months later, I was getting 9000 monthly views, which coincided with my instagram growing from 10,000 followers on christmas day 2016 to about 20,000 followers around a month later. For reference, I now get an average of around 10,200 views per month, an audience that really means a lot to me.

I never really thought about twitter much, except to complain about the seeming abundance of trolls and stupid comments from various world leaders. However, partly out of perceived necessity and partly out of curiosity (and a desire to share more of what I was doing), I set up my twitter in November of 2016. Bizarrely I’m actually now quite obsessed.

Who knows what’s next – maybe a youtube, maybe a podcast? In a world where a woman is judged on one photo and opinions are crammed into 280 characters (admittedly better than 140), I want to slow things down and draw people in. Show them that life isn’t captured in a snapshot, and explain why truths aren’t one line quotes. It’s a mission that’ll probably go on forever, but in the meantime, I’m having fun and hopefully adding enjoyment to others’ lives too!

I hope this gives you a little insight into my journey through blogging. Read more about my story here, of check out my instagram or twitter to see what I’ve been up to!

 

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Throwback to my account almost a year ago – it’s grown a bit since then!

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Shoot with David Wren

Here are some photos from my recent shoot with the amazing David Wren, one of my favourite to date!

I look forward to sharing the rest of these on my instagram too 🙂 Hope you like them as much as I do!

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For shoot enquiries please email meldunbar@wmodel.co.uk or beatrice@wmodel.co.uk

easyGym 12w programme launch

The time has finally come! EasyGym has released its ‘Set to Sweat’ programme, a 12 week guide aimed at making women stronger, leaner and fitter. As you might remember, I took part in a four day shoot with easyGym in December (which you can read about here). The guide is weights based, but also includes body weight exercises and cardio, so there’s something for everyone, helping to increase overall strength and fitness.

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Oh hey there

It was amazing to be able to take part in the shooting for easyGym’s ‘Set to Sweat’ programme. After hearing that it included a lot of weights, both free weights and weight machines, I was very keen to be a part of the shooting and putting together of the programme. As many of you may know, I’m a huge advocate of getting women into the weights sections of the gym and lifting weights, small and big! The benefits of weight lifting as so extensive (read this!), and I believe not enough accessible programmes include weights.

The Set to Sweat programme will be available and free to download for both easyGym members and non-members, meaning that no one is excluded from getting stronger and fitter. I believe no one should have to pay extortionate amounts of money to be healthy, and whilst no doubt there are many good programmes out there that cost money and are amazing, not everyone can afford those, and fitness shouldn’t solely be for the elite!

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Do let me know if you get the Set to Sweat programme, or are inspired to use some of the exercises next time you’re in the gym. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can significantly speed up physical progress in other areas of fitness and physique. I know how awkward it can be in the gym when you’re trying to master a new exercise but have no idea how to do it, and you feel self-conscious that people are looking and judging. I get it all the time! But luckily, with this programme, every exercise is photographed step by step to make the exercises easy to understand, especially if you’re not used to free weights or weight machines.

Enjoy!

 

You can download the programme at: www.easygym.co.uk/set-to-sweat 

Behind the scenes – shooting with easyGym

 

As some of you may know, in December I was asked to model for easyGym’s new ‘Set to Sweat’ programme, a 12 week guide aimed at beginner to intermediate women to improve their fitness, strength and physique. The shooting was done over 4 full days, filming each stage of each and every exercise.

I wrote this post to share with you some insights into the programme and what it was like to take part in such a big shoot.

But first, a HUGE shoutout to Felix the photographer and Sarah the assist (and fairy godmother/coffee bringer) for keeping the shoot interesting, relaxed and endlessly hilarious!

You’ll be seeing the full results of the shoot on the 8th March when the full guide comes out (also conveniently women’s day!). I’m so excited to see the final product – as you might know, I’m a huge advocate of getting women into the weights room, so it was so good to be able to partake in such an amazing shoot! Watch this space.

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Day 1 – already in need of a stretch

 

The gym:

Our shooting was done at easyGym in Wandsworth, one of their many locations around England. On the first day I arrived and was swiped in by the photographer, Felix up to their first floor (deceptively named, as it was about 7 flights up – thank goodness for lifts)! The gym was laid out almost totally open-plan, with cardio, floor, weights and free weights sections allowing plenty of space. It also meant there was little to no terror whilst entering the weights section because it was a continuous floor plan (no testosterone room, yay!). One entire wall was a huge window, which was really nice on the cardio machines that looked out onto the view (although it left a bit to be desired!). During our 4 days of shooting, there was only one piece of equipment that we couldn’t find (ab wheel) and there were plenty of each of the other machines, which meant no waiting!

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Cardio day

The exercises:

The exercises ranged from isometric holds on the floor, to bodyweight exercises to some quite intense weights-based exercises: after 10 minutes of bench pressing I started to wonder if I was even fit enough to take the photos, let alone actually do the programme! But the range of exercises meant that no one body part got too tired to continue, and over the four days every part of my body was fully worked out!

 

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Final day of shooting

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Day four, outfit two

The modelling:

Fitness modelling does not come naturally to me (or maybe for anyone?). I’m more than happy to workout and for people to take photos, but want a nice face along with that? Reeeeeeally tough! My workout face is probably NOT something you want blown up on a billboard. BUT, with a lot of practise (and some snazzy lighting from Felix), I finally got the hang of letting my face relax while my body did all the work. It’s the little things like licking your lips, scrunching your face and holding your breath that are difficult to get rid of, because you hardly notice you’re doing them.

I was able to choose my own clothes for the workout, but as a classic girl I brought along about four outfits every day to let Felix and Sarah decide which I should wear. Nothing that might clash with the easyGym orange, and nothing with big patterns, so that left basically my entire, mostly monochrome wardrobe.

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It’s always very serious on set

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Over and out

Thanks to easyGym for the use of their amazing gym!