How I keep motivated

It’s a question I get asked time and time again – just HOW do I keep motivated? Mostly it’s in reference to fitness, but we require motivation in all walks of life, from work, to household chores, to the gym.

I don’t believe there’s any secret to motivation – it all comes from practise, prioritising and learning to do what you love and love what you do. Regardless, here are my top tips for staying motivated day to day.

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Learn to love what you do

Easy to say, harder to do. But when you love what you do, motivation to do it comes easily, 75% of the time. The reason I didn’t say ‘do what you love’ is because I know it’s not feasible for people to constantly be doing things they enjoy – if we did, no one would have issues with motivation. The trick here is finding things you love about what you do. Finding meaning in your work has been shown to lead to the highest levels of job satisfaction, whether you find meaning in helping other people (customer services, doctors), teaching the next generation or earning money to help support your family. The same goes for exercise – if you don’t particularly enjoy the gym but have no alternative way of exercising at this time, think of the specific benefits of what you are doing. I love doing mobility work because I know it’s going to help me move long into my old age. Find meaning in your workouts, and change your mindset from ‘I have to go to the gym’ to ‘I get to go to the gym’, rather than ‘I haveto go t the gym’. No one has to go to the gym, it’s a choice that’ll make you feel good. If it doesn’t make you feel good, really question why you’re doing it and think about looking for other alternatives.

 

Get into a habit

Habitually doing something means that your brain doesn’t have to make the decision to do it everyday, it’s just habit. That makes it so much easier, because it’s just the status quo. Of course, forming the habit in the first place is harder, but use the other tips on this page to get started. You won’t regret it!

 

Find a friend

You become the average of the closest people to you – a cliché but 100% true. We adopt habits and lifestyles of those closest to us, which is why a toxic friend can be so damaging. Try to surround yourself with people who are also trying to better themselves, whether that’s working hard at work, eating a healthy diet or heading to the gym everyday. In those days you lack motivation, just hearing that your friend is going to the gym after work can be enough to motivate you to head there too, even if just for a short session. Since hanging out with my fitness-focussed friends in London, I’ve taken up several new sports, have been eating healthier and I also now drink less!

 

Rest up

Motivation can be hard to come by when you’re utterly exhausted and/or burned out! You can love something and still not be motivated to do it if you’re too tired, and for that reason I would really recommend incorporating rest into your routine. Whether that’s a mental break from your job or a physical break from exercise, rest is equally as important as working out itself! Realising the difference between being physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted is also of utmost importance. If you’re not going to the gym because you’re too tired after work, chances are you’re mentally drained, not physically drained. Tired from a toxic colleague? You’re probably emotionally exhausted, and no amount of coffee is going to sort that. In these situations, working out can be one of the best things you can do, as it gives your brain a total rest from the day. Realising the difference between these three types of tiredness really helped my motivation to do things. It’s sometimes as simple as realising that you’re actually not tired, you’re just fed up!

 

Discipline

A lot of ‘motivation’ is actually discipline. The above tips help a lot when it comes to actually wanting to do something, but discipline makes up the other proportion of getting things done. People who make real progress are those disciplined enough to get into good habits. I will never say that discipline should come at the expense of enjoyment, but it takes some trial and error to realise that sometimes it takes doing something you don’t want to do now to be happier later. Discipline also makes the rewards of doing boring/painful things so much better! Seeing progress after working hard for something is a feeling far better than lying in bed everyday rather than gymming (obviously there is a time for this too!).

 

Forgiveness

We all lack motivation from time to time. In reality, whatever you see on Instagram, I am not always motivated, and although I find it relatively easy to get myself to the gym, other work (such as writing blog posts and editing YouTubes) requires huge amounts of motivation to get myself to do. I started this post about 6 weeks ago, for example – we’re definitely not all perfect, and forgiving yourself for that is SO important for your long-term happiness.

 

As with everything, motivation is about the fine balance between doing what you want to do now and remembering what you want to happen later. The great thing is that it can be practised and improved, so no need to worry if you feel like you lack motivation! The above tips will hopefully help you find something that it’s easy to be motivated to do, and then progress will come 🙂

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Eight tips to supercharge your workout

It can sometimes be easy to fall into a routine of heading to the gym a few times a week and pottering around, without really getting much out of it. Implementing a few of these simple steps can really help increase the amount you get out of your workout, helping you to start seeing progress and enjoy your workouts again!

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Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

  1. Get a good playlist

Music has been shown both to improve performance and enjoyment during sport, both of which are important if you’re looking for consistency in progress! You’ll be surprised what you can achieve when you stick on a good playlist – anecdotally I have achieved many of my best runs when listening to a playlist where the music matches the cadence of my stride. Spotify has a cool smart playlist that allows you to put in your tempo (of cycyling or running) and plays you music that matches that beat. If you’re looking for an extra boost, this could be worth a shot!

 

2. Sleep properly

We all know deep down how important sleep is for pretty much everything in everyday life, and yet it’s often the first thing to go when we are busy or stressed. Being well rested improves reaction times, reduces injury rates and fatigue, increases power and reduces mental errors – vital especially if you play a sport. Getting a good night’s rest can also increase your motivation to workout, which is something we all struggle with from time to time!

 

3. Mix up your sessions

Boredom can totally annihilate even the best intentions. If the gym (or wherever you workout) doesn’t inspire you, then why would you put yourself through it? I try to mix up my workouts daily, so I never get bored, and also work different parts of the body. I do cardio and HIIT for my heart, weights for strength and bone density and everything else just for fun. Mix it up!

 

4. Eat 2h before

You don’t want to head to the gym on a full stomach. When your body is still digesting food, it uses blood that could otherwise be used to carry oxygen to your muscles. Equally though, if you don’t eat and start a workout hungry this can leave you feeling lethargic and weaker than usual. Whilst this can be used as a training technique, it’s not recommended if you’re looking to get the most out of your workout! Check out what to eat pre and post workout.

 

5. Warm up properly

This one is SO easy to overlook. When we’re a little short on time, the warm-up can seem like an unnecessary waste. However, if you’re looking to get personal bests (whether that’s in cardio or weights) and hoping to not get injured, then warming up is essential. It prepares the muscles and joints for work, meaning that whatever you’re workout, you’re likely to do it better. Try warming up with dynamic movements and cooling down with static stretches, rather than the other way around.

 

6. Have a plan

There’s nothing worse than going into the gym and having no idea what to do, whether that’s because you’re new to it or because you haven’t organised your workout days. I have fallen into the trap of telling myself that I’m just going to ‘workout’ but not saying how, and then half-heartedly doing a million things until the 45 minute workout is over. Now I try to write down what I’m going to do in the gym, or set up a circuit so I don’t have to think about what I’m doing next. This also makes your workouts much more efficient, meaning you can go in, smash a workout and get out in record time!

 

7. Hydrate

“Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms.” – from Family Doctor. Water is needed for your body to produce energy, and if you’re dehydrated it literally can’t produce as much. To keep hydrated try to always have a reusable water bottle on you, and take sips throughout the day. When you exercise you lose water in the form of sweat and simply through breathing, so make sure to continually sip on water during and after your sessions. If you feel tired, you may just be dehydrated!

 

8. Dress appropriately

Have you ever seen someone attempting a run in totally inappropriate footwear or an un-supportive bra and think to yourself ‘WHY’. Turning up to the gym wearing non sports clothing is shooting yourself in the foot if you’re looking for progress. Girls, please invest in a well-fitted sports bra. Once the ligaments keeping your boobs perky are damaged (your Cooper’s ligaments), they’re damaged for life, and you’ll have saggy boobs by the time you’re 30. This is important even for small breasted women, so don’t think you’re exempt! Also if you’ve ever tried running properly without a good bra, you’ll know how uncomfortable this is – just spend the money on a good bra and be done with it. Having leggings/trackies that don’t fall down is also important, and a pet peeve of mine is having men unable to complete a set without having to pull up their trousers. The idea is to not be distracted from your workout at the gym, and having decent clothes is step one in achieving this.

For more tips head to my instagram and twitter!

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Setting up a good playlist can do wonders for your workout

Workout headphones

After the recent death of my beloved headphones (and a bitter battle with Bose to get a new pair within the warranty), I put out a call out on Instagram for all your favourite workout headphones. For me, it’s all about the sound quality, how well they stay on and stopping ears get too sweaty. I don’t work with any of these brands, I’ve literally just copied and pasted recommendations from you all, as so many of you asked me to share them!

I hope this is useful 🙂

Anker
Slim+ (but apparently they break)
Soundbuds sport

Apple
Airpods (x4)

Beats
Solo 3 (x4)
X
Powerbeats3 wireless (x2)

Bose
Soundsport
qc35

JBL
Everest 70
T450BT

Kinivo
BTH240

Marshall
Major II (long battery life)

Plantronics
Backbeat fit (burpee proof)

Sennheiser
HD
Momentum (but too sweaty and big)

Skullcandy
Crusher wireless (x3) (great bass)

Sony
MDR-zx220bt
MDR-zx770bn
MDR-1000X (but expensive)
WH 1000XM2

Sudio
Regent (x2)
Tre (x2)
Sweden

TaoTronics (cheap)

Urban Ears
Platten wireless (x2)

 

I hope that helps you all!

Fitness v uni balance

University – one of the best times of our lives, sometimes the busiest and often not the healthiest. I have been into fitness throughout my time at university, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been times when I’d rather be in bed, or at the pub, or just cooking dinner. Everyone struggles with motivation, but there are some things you can do to make it that much easier to get to the gym consistently enough to see progress. And as we all know, consistency is key!

Here are 6 points that I find really useful in keeping fit at university.

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1. Find your time

Some people are morning people. They spring out of bed bright and early ready to start the day. I am not one of those people, so going to the gym in the morning sounds a little bit like torture. Figuring out what time of day works for you allows it to become a habit. If you have a long day and end it totally exhausted, going in the morning may set you up for the day. If you have a hectic day morning to evening but get 1-1.5h for lunch, try going then to break up your work. I go in the evening, as I’m already in university so it’s not difficult to go!

2. Make it a habit

If you have to find time everyday to go to the gym, it’ll be really easy not to go. I always stop work at 5-6 and go straight to the gym, meaning I don’t have to think about when I can fit it in. A routine is absolutely key for keeping fit, and this includes having certain days for certain routines. This means you’re not left at the gym with no inspiration of what to do, and also means you workout every muscle group evenly over time.

3. Sign up for classes

I find that sometimes I’m at a loss of what to do at the gym, and it’s at times like this that I sign up for classes. Having someone shouting at me for 45 minutes to an hour means that I don’t have to think about what I do but still get the endorphin kick – win win! Classes definitely have their time and place, but tired, unmotivated days are definitely one of those times.

4. Find a friend

…. with similar goals. Having someone waiting for you at the gym is a sure-fire way to feel guilty if you don’t go. I go most days, dragged along by either my boyfriend or housemate. It also means that I have to stay for a certain amount of time which means I’m not tempted to skimp out after a 10 minute run and a roll around in the mats section. Having said this, don’t be tempted to talk to your friends for the entire session – I see too many girls and guys in huge groups sitting on the floor and doing no work for about 40 minutes. Arrive with a friend, stick your headphones in and get on with your workout.

5. Buy new workout clothes

I. LOVE. ACTIVEWEAR. – you know that ‘doing shopping in my activewear’ video? That’s me. But seriously, buying new activewear that makes you feel confident and comfortable in the gym is going to make it more likely that you head to the gym. Sometimes all you need is that little bit of excitement. But beware: the addiction is real.

6. Make an amazing playlist

If you create/find a banging playlist, you can forget that you’re working out. I listen to Muse, which I know not everyone is a fan of but every time I listen to it now, it gets me in the zone, makes me forget the day I’ve just had, and allows me to focus on working out for the hour I’m there. Find what works for you, plug it in and get going!

 

I hope they’re useful to you! What keeps you motivated when you’re busy with work?

 

I’ve also written a bunch of workouts for busy gyms on my Instagram – ideal for the uni gym!

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!

 

Guest post – Ally

 

Alice Miller runs the instagram @kaylaitsines.transformations. She wrote this article to answer the multitude of questions she gets asked on a daily basis (IG:(@kaylaitsines.transformations).

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Ally Miller is a keen advocate of BBG and has been doing it since 2014

“Hiya!

My names Ally, I’m a fitness instagrammer and affiliate for Kayla Itsines. If you aren’t familiar with who Kayla Itsines is (and have been hiding under a rock instead of paying attention to social media), let me get you up to date!

 

WHO IS KAYLA ITSINES?

Kayla Itsines is the face of a fitness brand created by herself and her partner, Tobi Pearce. This ‘brand’ has been changing women’s lives since their Bikini Body Guide’s (BBG) were released in 2014. Kayla and Tobi took an active role in the emerging health trend of ‘strong not skinny’ and produced workouts to help women build lean muscle; the BBG focuses on FITNESS, HEALTH & STRENGTH.

 

WHAT MAKES BBG DIFFERENT FROM OTHER GUIDES?

The true secret behind BBG becoming so HUGE (10million+) is, hands down, social media. The community that has evolved on instagram is immense; often referred to as “Kayla’s Army” you will see many women of all ages with handles including the abbreviation “BBG”. It truly is the most supportive and encouraging community you will ever be a part of. Women often tear each other down and in day-to-day life there’s a lot of negativity and judgement; however within the BBG community only positive vibes are tolerated. Many girls find that in their family or friendship groups they don’t have the necessary support required to stay determined with their new fitness lifestyle, and the BBG community provides this. Worldwide there are BBG meet-ups where girls can attend workouts and meet others with similar interests. Yes, instagram friends turn into REAL LIFE friends. I know personally that when I moved to Bristol it was amazing to have a group of girls to go and meet up with, originally I didn’t know anyone apart from some family and who I am living with, but due to BBG I’ve met some incredible girls (shout out to the BBG Bristol Squad).

 

I have been a member of the BBG community since July 2014 so believe me when I say I’ve heard every question under the sun, so here’s a quick FAQ for you guys!

 

WHAT FORMATS ARE THE GUIDES AVAILABLE IN?

The guides are available in PDF format for use on phones, tablets, pc’s and thus can also be printed if you wish. When you purchase the PDF format of the guide it will be immediately emailed to you to do with as you wish. I personally chose this format as I like to have access to it on iBooks (iPhone app), and being able to print the programme allows me to annotate my progress actually on the guide. The second format the guides are available in is through the apple or android App Store. The app is called “Sweat with Kayla” and allows you access to the workouts, nutritional information and extra little things such as a weekly progress photo journal.

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DO I NEED TO JOIN A GYM?

Absolutely not, and this is one of the main reasons I love this programme. You don’t need any fancy gym equipment, however you will need to purchase a few small things such as a yoga mat (thicker is best for back support), a medicine ball and a pair of dumbells (weights are shown on the guides themselves). Anything else in the programme you can easily find substitutions for in your home. I would also highly recommend purchasing a foam roller to aid recovery and reduction in muscle soreness.

 

WHAT IF I CAN’T DO ONE OF THE EXERCISES?

If you can’t do one of the exercises do not worry! It is a tough programme and it is built to challenge you. All you need do is use a modification, for example the most common people struggle with is push-ups, so to make the move easier you can do these on your knees instead. Once you have built your strength up you can then begin incorporating some full moves amongst the modified version until you can complete all the reps with the full move.

 

WHAT SHOULD I BE EATING?

A full BALANCED diet. This is a new lifestyle so it needs to be sustainable, don’t focus on restriction just focus on keeping your fresh foods higher and your processed food consumption lower. If you feel you need extra advice in this area Kayla has also created a nutritional guide called the “H.E.L.P Guide”.

 

HOW CAN I LOSE WEIGHT ON X PART OF MY BODY?

Suuuuperrrr sorry but you can’t pick where you lose body fat. It’s a concept called “spot reduction” and it is a total myth. Fat loss will occur over your whole body and dependent on the individual it may be lost in some places more than others, however there is no way to know this until it has begun. (RIP boobs & bum)

 

WHY DO I STILL WEIGH THE SAME?

The BBG focuses on building muscle, and boy muscle weighs A LOT. Therefore unless you have a very high volume of fat to lose it is likely your weight will remain the same or potentially it may go up. Original weight – fat loss + muscle gain = similar weight (typically). This is precisely why in BBG we take progress photos instead of using the scales. Quick tip: take your progress photos in your underwear/ a bikini and in good lighting so you have really clear comparison photos, also take these of your full front, full back, full side and any extra areas you want improvement e.g flexing arm muscles etc.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE MISSED A WEEK?

At some point everyone gets ill or has a commitment that stops them for a week or so. It is advised that you go back as many weeks as you have missed. E.g. if you completed week 6 and fell ill for a week you should restart at the beginning of week 6, or if you were ill for 2 weeks then you should restart at week 5.

 

I’M NOT SORE, AM I NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH?

Soreness does not directly correlate to how hard you have worked out, so don’t worry! In the first few weeks of the programme it is likely you will be veeeery sore due to all these new muscles being used, and then after a while your body will adapt and begin to get used to the increased level of exercise. This results in a mega reduction in soreness.”

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My (Flora) BBG transformation after just over 1 round

University – to drink or not to drink?

The rise of the twenty-something granny

Walking through the university gym at 5pm, picking my way over groups of people on the floor, it’s difficult not to notice the number of groups of girls doing a similar sort of workout. With sweaty faces and various weights laid out beside them, it’s easy to tell they too have joined the biggest female fitness community – Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide. And of course there are no weights left on the rack for me to start week 20. Back at home at the end of the day, I ask my friend what she has planned for the evening. Contrary to what outsiders might expect of a uni student with no current deadlines, her response doesn’t involve any drinking, or even staying out late. 10:30pm bedtime after a home cooked dinner is her day-off plan.

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24 year old Kaya Itsines (@kayla_itsines), creator of BBG – the bikini body guide. IG following: 5.6m

So why is this? Why are more and more people eschewing getting ‘hammered’ and passing out for early beds and the gym? At our weekly athletics socials, the number of people who are not drinking because they have a race, or a deadline, or simply because their body needs a rest is amazing. This isn’t to say that our socials are boring and quiet, and it’s certainly not saying that everyone is tee-total, but it’s hard not to notice that certain people are getting more “sensible” with their drinking habits.

As a nation, the UK has been decreasing alcohol consumption since 2002, and despite what the Daily Mail might have you believe, alcohol sales peaked way back in 2004, and have been falling since then. A ‘YouGov’ study showed that in the UK, “one third (33%) of those surveyed have cut down on their alcohol consumption in the past year with a further ten percent saying they have given up alcohol completely.” In addition, “the proportion of young adults (16-25) who reported that they do not drink alcohol at all [increased] between 2005 and 2013.” The stats go some way to explaining people’s views towards alcohol and drinking. 44% of those surveyed agreed that alcohol is bad for your health – perhaps a surprisingly small amount, but a start nonetheless.

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Amount of alcohol drank on the heaviest drinking day in the last week by gender, showing a gradual decrease in over drinking from 2005 – 2012. This fall is driven by the younger age groups (Drinking Habits Amongst Adults, 2012)

Speaking to some friends who don’t drink much, I asked why they had decided to cut back on alcohol. The answers could be split into two categories: maximising productivity and the ever increasing view that being drunk is unattractive. It seems that with the increasing pressures of today, taking a day off for a hangover, or even just working at a sub-optimal level is an unacceptable side-effect of drinking. As one person put it, ‘it’s just un-conducive to life’. If you think about it, spending £9,000 a year on fees for a university education means that every wasted moment costs money – money many people can ill afford. I believe more people are viewing university as an opportunity, not just academically but also with everything else university has to offer, such as sports. One friend stated that the choice of drinking or not drinking was all down to priorities. “Drinking leads to many attractive traits, such as… increased confidence and relaxation, but for me these are outweighed by the negatives”. For her, these include consequences to fitness and health, and understandably, anyone who takes their health seriously is not going to go out drinking to dangerous levels on a regular basis.

The second category I came across about why people don’t drink is one that denotes changing views of drunkeness. Interestingly, attitudes towards drinking in society vary across countries, regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed. In the UK, Scandinavia, US an Australia, drinking is associated with violent and antisocial behaviour, whereas in the Mediterranean and some South American cultures, drinking behaviour is viewed as peaceful and sociable. Therefore perhaps it is not surprising that the way drunkenness is viewed can change temporally as well as spatially. The view of a drunken man or woman, especially if they are young, is seen as unattractive, and somewhat tragic, in the same way that anyone out of control is negatively viewed.

The time that I started to notice youths taking more care of their health admittedly came from a slightly skewed portion of the population. I got my fitness instagram when I was 17, and saw a growing community of girls (and many guys), making health and fitness a high priority in their lives – much more so than (thought often alongside) popularity and partying. However, looking around me in school, then home, then university gyms, I saw the change spreading outside of instagram into the ‘real world’. Smiling at early 20-somethings running on the downs, we share a moment of recognition of the other’s effort to look after their body. Because let’s be honest – when you’re stressed with work and tired from everyday life, sometimes running is the last thing you want to do. But making the effort to get out, get some fresh air and get the endorphins pumping starts a positive feedback loop of self-improvement, that clearly is starting to take effect on more than just those who might consider themselves ‘fit-freaks’ or amateur athletes. Living a healthy lifestyle is truly becoming accessible for all. For me, reducing the amount I drink on a weekly basis has been a natural progression – if I have training planned, or a deadline, or really anything that requires full functioning of my brain or body the day after a night out, chances are I won’t drink (much). It’s surprisingly simple – and I’m a social sec!

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22 year old Jen Selter (@jenselter) – health and fitness advocate, known for her ‘belfies’ (butt selfies, don’t ask). Instagram following: 9.9m

So where is drinking culture at universities moving to now? I think that looking at social media accounts can give a good clue as to what is considered ‘cool’, and what certain attitudes are. Gone are the days of ‘heroine chic’ stick thin models – now it’s all about fitness and health, or at least looking like you’re fit. Social media celebrities such as Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines) or Jen Selter (@jenselter) are not going out of fashion any time soon, so perhaps the view that fit is good is here to stay. And with it is going to be the rise of the ‘sensible youths’ – earlier bed times, less alcohol, better nutrition, more fitness. I’m yet to find a university that’s filled more with fit-freaks than drunk freshers, but I have no doubt that that’s the direction it’s moving in. Maybe it’s about time for a bigger university gym.

Barry’s Bootcamp

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The central London bootcamp room. Photo taken from website

This. This is where it’s at. I absolutely LOVE Barry’s bootcamp. Last week I attended the bootcamp in Euston, having heard great things about it from multiple people, including Maiken (@maikenf) who I attended it with. There are two bootcamps in London – one right by Euston station, and the other in east London, near Old street. The one in Euston is somewhat smaller than the one in Old Street, but leaves plenty of space for everyone to workout safely without fear of being whacked by their next door neighbour with their medicine ball.

 

Upon arrival at the bootcamp, I signed in, was told to sign a medical questionnaire and offered the chance to order a protein shake for after the session, which I did (blueberry cobbler FYI). I was then told that newbies would have an induction five minutes before the class started, to make sure we knew what was what. Still not entirely sure I knew what was what, at 12:30pm I took my place at bench 12 for the first round of floor. The workout was 1h in total, alternating between floor and treadmill work (although you can choose to stay on the floor for the full time – or treadmill if you’re mental….). The day I attended it was abs day, using 5kg+ medicine balls (I used 6kg which was tough for me) to do minute long exercises, each working abs in a slightly different way. The instructor (@hannahlouiseluck IG) flawlessly instructed both the treadmill and floor group, shouting out instructions to each, which certainly made me at least feel like I was in a personal training session, rather than a group of 30 people.

The floor exercises could easily be made easier or more difficult by using different weights – a minimum weight for men and women was given at the beginning of the class, allowing everyone to work as hard as was comfortable for them. The treadmill section had three levels, denoted by different speeds that Hannah would shout out at each change of speed. This allowed less fit people to decrease the speed in order not to have a heart attack, and those cardio bunnies to jack up the speed to get the most out of the workout. As a very competitive person, I loved the row of treadmills, where if was possible to look at how fast your next-door neighbour was going. This really pushed me to my limits, which was way faster than I would go in my own workouts.

After the class, Maiken and I went to get changed and shower in the small but beautiful changing rooms (but alas, no sauna). Before leaving we went to collect our pre-ordered smoothies from the smoothies counter (and of course took a bunch of photos).

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Maike (@maikenf) and I post class, all sweaty with protein shakes in hand!

Good for:

  • The endorphin buzz was like something I’ve never felt before. I’ve had a ‘runner’s high’ after training before but this was something else!
  • The competitive aspect of this was great for me, and really pushed me
  • Hannah, the instructor knew many people’s names and would congratulate and encourage those who she knew by name and often those who she didn’t as well.
  • All round workout – I was aching all over the next day (in a great way). Although I went for abs day, this worked out my entire body
  • Cardio bunnies who want a little more than just a run

 

Less good:

  • This was TOUGH – good for fitties! Although it is possible to make it easier with lighter weights and slower speeds, so this isn’t really a negative.
  • Cost – this class is not cheap! At £20 per person per class, it’s not really feasible to do this on the regular.
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Almost worth the £5 they cost

Cost: £20 for one class, decreasing down to £15 per class if you book a block of 50 (£750 total).

http://www.barrysbootcamp.com

HIIT – Another Space

Another Space in Covent Garden is designed to provide class-based workouts to those who don’t fancy finding a workout plan and slogging it out in the gym. Gyms are great, but sometimes having someone push you harder than you could push yourself is needed to get the results you want. The ‘gym’ itself is absolutely beautiful – all white walls, clean lines, lots of greenery and a food/smoothie/juice bar. Included in the price of the class is everything you might need for a workout, from towels to shampoo and conditioner (Cowshed, no less), as well as boxing gloves, cycling shoes (cleats and all) and you can even pre-order a smoothies to be waiting for you in the fridge when you get out of the class! Another Space is from the same people as Third Space, which you might remember me reviewing before. It has the same feel, although it is smaller (yet somehow more spacious).

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Another (beautiful) Space entrance, Covent Garden

Another Space provides three types of class: Spinning (called Cycle), HIIT and Yoga. The HIIT class (the one class I have been to there) is described as “toning strength exercises with high-energy punchbag work, firing your metabolism to burn extra calories for hours”. It combines Muay Thai with boxing for the punchbag exercises, and high intensity body weight exercises for most of the floor exercises. The class was split into two, so the floor space wasn’t too cramped, and so that we got a punch-bag each. However, I was told by my friend, (a frequent visitor to the club) that the maximum capacity was around 17. We only had 10 in there, and as the space isn’t huge, this filled out the room – I think 17 would have been difficult to fit in comfortably!

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The HIIT room

The class began with stretches and a quick warm-up, before the class was split between the punch bags and floor area. Each group was given an exercise to do for a minute, before moving on to the next exercise for another minute. Every 5 minutes there was a minute break while the groups switched to the floor/punch bags. The exercises were tough, and probably a bit unfair to those who don’t work out a lot – 180-degree rotation jump squats for a minute aren’t easy for anyone, let alone a fitness newbie! The instructor (@Jayrayfitness IG) was fantastic, encouraging everyone in the class to get the correct form/body stance and to really go at it. The great thing about HIIT is it does give you rests, allowing a bit of recovery between exercises so the next minute can be as intense as the one before.

Good for:

  • Fitness addicts who are bored of the gym/want to mix it up a little
  • Workaholics who don’t want to be taking a huge bag of towels, food etc etc around with them all day – you can get everything there!
  • Anyone who wants a full body workout
  • If you need to workout in the morning/middle of the day and want to leave looking like you’ve just come out of a beauty salon, not a gym (GHD straighteners and hair dryers, cowshed moisturiser/shampoo/ conditioner/body wash and deodorant all free!)

Less good:

  • If you don’t enjoy being shouted at (although I doubt this happens in the Yoga classes). This class is quite bootcamp style in the teaching methods – if you want results, you have to work for it.
  • The cost – these are PAYG classes, and at £20 per class, it’s not something everyone can afford regularly. Recommended for the occasional workout boost.

Cost: PAYG £20 per class – no membership required.

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