19 July 2016

Lean, Bulk, Gain, Shred: How to Build the Physique You Want this Summer! Q+A with MaxiNutrition

   Have you ever noticed that upon the arrival of summer, we all start eating healthier & becoming more active, trying to follow all or any trends we read online, all in the hope of achieving the body we've longed for all winter! The only problem with this is do we really understand what we are doing or why we must do it for our certain body types? I personally have been struggling for years, following blind advice from 'health' magazines or googling answers that just don't help my situation. So what has changed this year compared to last year that has helped me progress far more than ever before? It's simple - it's my knowledge! From the type of exercise I need to do to achieve my goals with my body type to what type of healthy meal plan I need to follow. And most importantly I now have a basic knowledge of why & how it'll help me reach my goals.
   With so much fitness advise now at your fingertips however, it can be hard to know what really works for you & what is just clever marketing. With millions of fitness related questions typed into Google each month, MaxiNutrition has curated a Q+A to bring you the facts & a solid starting point to how you can build the physique you've always longed for!

  And before we start, remember one thing... It's not how you start, it's how you finish!

You Googled: How do I Loose Weight Fast? 
40,500 average monthly searches!

   MaxiNutrition: Quick weight loss is a huge query online. Unfortunately, the best way to loose weight is to healthily change your diet & your exercise habits. There's no quick fix - but you can loose lots of weight & build a better body by changing your lifestyle.
   My Tip: If you are desperate to trim down fast, a quick fix would be a clean eating detox or a teatox, which will flush out toxins & reduce bloating. However these can be teamed with a healthier diet & more exercise, to keep the results for the long term & to kick start a new healthier lifestyle. Check out The Best Diet Plan? Common Diets Explained for more information on diet plans.
YG: What is the Best Way to Loose Weight?
14,800 searches/month
   MN: The second most common question is also centred on weight loss. While there's no easy answer, one of the best ways to lose weight is to work out your calorie intake & make sure you are eating at a deficit. Combined with good exercise, the weight will fly off.
   My Tip: Nothing beats a clean diet & increasing exercise. Use an app like My Fitness Pal to calculate the average amount of calories you are currently eating in a day & how many you actually need; then start eating with a small daily calorie deficit (I deduct 300-400 calories when I'm trimming down, don't over do it or you'll plateau). For ideas of how how to eat healthier, read Healthy Food Guide for Exercise.
YG: How do I Get a Six Pack?
12,100 searches/month
   MN: One of the most common signs of a high standard of fitness, lots of people in the UK want to know how to get a six pack. You might be surprised to learn that almost everyone has ab muscles - but getting them to show is the hard part. Far from lots of sit-up's you'll need to slim down to around 10-12% body fat if you're male or around 16-18% if you're female.
   My Tip: Start with basic core exercises to gain strength & endurance in your abs. Try to isolate each area & do all over exercises too - for example a plank is great for the whole core, use crunches for upper abs, leg raises & reverse crunches for lower abs & Russian twists for obliques. Do high reps & bodyweight exercises for a trim waist or add weighted exercises for a thicker core. Once you've got the strength, it's time to eat clean & get leaner to show off the abs! For more detailed advice, read Six Pack Diet Advice.
YG: How Can I Gain Weight?
6,600 searches/month
   MN: Gaining weight is a less common search, compared to those wanting to lose it, but if you're trying to pack on the weight you'll need to eat a calorie surplus. Consuming lots of protein will help aid muscle growth.
   My Tip: Increase your intake of protein & complex carbohydrates. Don't just think that gaining weight means you can eat tones of junk food. You'll gain weight, but not the strength you'd ideally want. If you find large meals hard to eat, fit in your extra calories with 5-6 meals per day instead. For more Nutrition Tips - How to Build Muscle & Size is a great article.

YG: What is the Best Exercise to Loose Weight?
5,400 searches/month
   MN: The problem with this question is that it can depend on the person. However, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is often considered the best way to put your body into fat-burning mode - and it takes less time than steady state cardio.
    My Tip: I hate long periods of cardio! So HIIT is a good option for me & can be built into my weight training, so I'm building strength & fat burning in one workout. Not sure where to start with HIIT training? Check out The 6 Best Dumbell HIIT Exercises.
YG: How do I Build Muscle?
4,400 searches/month
   MN: Building muscle is a matter of training - putting your body under tension to promote the process of muscle breakdown & subsequent repair. Ensuring you get enough protein to help aid this natural process is key.
   My Tip: From my experience... make sure your protein intake is enough & focus on doing 4-6 reps to build strength or 8-12 reps per set for growth, where your last couple of reps feel almost impossible, then take a 1-2 minutes rest in between sets. This will ensure you're working your muscles to their full capacity. For a greater insight, read Training Tips for Hard Gainer Muscle.

YG: What is the Best Foods for Weight Loss?
2,900 searches/month
   MN: The best foods for weight loss are questionable, because if you're eating at a caloric deficit you'll lose weight. However, there are lots of foods to avoid such as sugary, saturated fat-filled junk food. Good examples of food to help aid weight loss are low-GI carbs such as brown rice, quinoa & wholegrains, lean protein such as chicken or tofu & plenty of fruits & vegetables.
  My Tips: Try to avoid fad diets & focus on a more long term, attainable, healthy balanced diet. This will keep you on track, see long lasting results & will still allow you to eat foods you enjoy. For more ideas of how to enjoy food healthily, check out How to Maintain Your Summer Body.
YG: How Much Protein do I Need?
2,400 searches/month
   MN: The answer to this question is tricky, because it depends on your goals. Most fitness websites recommend around 1.5g per kg of bodyweight. You can get this from dietary sources & supplements like protein shakes.
   My Tip: Firstly, what is your goal? Your protein intake will depend greatly on this. You can then use a protein calculator to work out the suggested amounts. For ideas of how to increase your protein intake, read Healthy Protein Snacks for a Healthier You.
YG: How Can I Get Bigger Arms?
1,900 searches/month
   MN: Evidently people in the UK want good abs & good arms. Growing your arms is the same as growing any other muscle - focus on heavy lifts for fewer reps to add mass. You can then use a higher rep range to cause hypertrophy & build definition. Lift heavy weights & eat plenty of calories to see your biceps grow.
   My Tip: Don't just focus on one part of your arms, because they happen to grow quicker - for example biceps, or you'll end up front heavy! Make sure to work the whole arm, along with shoulders, back & chest, which all contribute to a bigger upper body. Try finding a good starting point to build from, such as The Full Arm Workout exercise plan.

YG: How Can I Get Toned?
590 searches/month
   MN: 'Toning' is a term that doesn't technically mean anything - but is searched more than 500 times a month by UK users. Essentially, the process of getting toned means losing weight & then building lean muscle on top of it. By combining a good diet with weight lifting, 'toning' will occur naturally.
   My Tip: The best place to begin is to eat cleaner, to reduce bloating & cut over eating. Then find a training plan that works for you - such as the Lean Definition Training Plan.
   I hope you've found this Q+A useful - I really liked how to the point & factual it was. Use this as a solid starting point, to help guide you towards the more accurate advice online & to build your routine around. If you want any further fitness plans, diet ideas or tips, MaxiNutrition has a lot more to offer than just supplements! So check out their website. Alternatively, if you'd like a mini series or just one off advice on how to lean, bulk, lose or gain weight & what food & exercise is the best, let me know & I shall deliver in time for summer!

* Research curtersy of MaxiNutrition, Google AdWords & Google Trends. To find out more information, please visit MaxiNutrion's website.

11 July 2016

Are You Crowd Surf Ready? with Gymbox + Stubhub!

   With festival season now in full swing, I was lucky enough to be invited along to trial one of Gymbox's new summer fitness classes, in association with Stubhub, called Crowd Surf Ready. Now I don't know about you, but I had never previously visited a Gymbox before, so I was more than excited to receive this chance & to trial the gym itself as well as the class. 
   On first impressions, the entrance seemed like any other chain of gym, but it was when I was directed down the 4 flights of stairs that I realised what a hidden gem it was. Think clubbing, meets lazor quest, teamed with a hard core adventure playground for adults... with a sprinkling of adrenaline. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before from a gym, with so many levels & corners to explore so many different types of fitness.
   As for the class itself - it aimed to teach endurance, strength & correct technique, to achieve fail safe crowd surfing this summer. We started with a few circuits, to get the blood flowing & the muscles alive - it was first thing in the morning after all! We were told each section of the class was symbolic of festival activities - for example the warm up was getting us ready for the dancing & jumping around at festivals. We then moved onto core & upper body strength, to ensure we had good form & endurance when it came to lifting weight above out heads or later a real person above our heads! Then came the scary part - the crowd surfing - in which we were taught techniques as a lifter & as a surfer! Overall it was a fun workout & one completely different to anything I have tried previously!
   Is this class right for you? If you love trying new things, enjoy festivals or music events or prefer fitness classes over cardio machines or free weight, then I'd say yes! You might get a little sweaty with circuits to begin with, but it combines a great mix of cardio, weights & loud music, to allow all fitness backgrounds to enjoy it. Not only will you learn to crowd surf like a pro, but you'll also come out of the sessions stronger & fitter!
   If you are interested in attending the classes, which are running for 6 weeks at Gymbox Farringdon, they start on the 14th July - but spaces are limited, so book in advance via Gymbox. Are you #CrowdSurfReady?

6 July 2016

The 14 Day Tea Challenge - How to Teatox Like a Boss! #BeGoodToYou

   With so many teatox promises out there, today I wanted to share with you how I like to teatox, for the ultimate results & why I do it! So lets start with why first... Nothing can beat a clean diet & hard work when it comes to achieving your goals, but I believe that you should be healthy from the inside out. So once every 2-3 months I like to add a detox to my fitness regime, to cleanse my body of all the bad toxins & excess water weight. Think of it as starting afresh! Now I'm not saying I eat a strictly clean diet - I do get sidetracked once in a while - or that I am forever binging, but whatever stage you are at, a tetox will help to flush out all the unwanted toxins.

   Before we continue, lets clear up a myth here... Do teatoxes make you loose weight? The short answer is no. You can loose weight, but this will mainly be excess water weight & toxins that you are washing out, which will in turn reduce bloating also & loose inches. But these effects are only temporary, if you don't try to live a healthier lifestyle.

   As for all the different brands out there - it is really down to you & your preference. Try to look past fancy marketing & focus on whether it's 100% natural (which will give you better results) & if there are any bonuses of choosing that brand. The brand I am using for my current teatox is Begu Tea - why? Because their 100% natural, ethically farmed, made in the UK & are environmentally friendly. PLUS they offer that added bonus I was talking about... with the purchase of 1 packet, you get a months free membership to their nutrition & fitness guides, which give you all the support needed to continue living a healthy lifestyle & achieving you goals!
The Simple Formula to Help You Tetox Like A Pro for Real Results
   Now for the important part, the how. These are the tips I followed to achieve my goals, it will take hard work & commitment but it's worth it! So here is my 5 tips of how to get real results from a teatox & how you can keep those results long after.

DIET + DRINKS + EXERCISE + GOALS + COMMITMENT = RESULTS

Step 1. Diet - No one says you have to only eat plain meat & veg, so get rid of that illusion immediately. The best thing to do is download an app like My Fitness Pal & calculate what you eat roughly in a day, just to see how many calories etc you consume. The app will do the hard work & tell you if you are over or under you macro nutrients. Your aim then over the teatox is to stick within as many of your macros as possible & to eat as clean as possible! I find three meals a day, plus 2-3 small snacks prevents any cravings & keeps me full. Don't know what to eat or cook that is clean & healthy? I like to use recipes from Fit Men Cook, Get Fit With DavinaBegu Tea. Also Joe Wicks' Lean in 15 book is on my wishlist - it has tones of clean recipes! Just see bellow some of the meals I've cooked that are delicious & healthy. By sticking to the healthy eating regime (note I am not calling it a diet, as it is not a fad, but a lifestyle!) you'll really see results during your teatox.
Step 2. Drink - Much like food, drinks can be just as bad for you. I love sugar in tea & this massively ups my daily sugar intake! So now I've replaced tea with green tea (any herbal tea is a good substitute, but green tea is known to decrease bloating & improve energy levels), coffees with black coffee after lunch (as it boosts the metabolism, spikes energy & is easy to gulp down cold if you don't like the taste at first) & drink as much water in the day as possible. Think of all those calories, sugars & fats you're avoiding by ditching juices, fancy coffees & fizzy drinks! I do treat myself however to a sugary tea & a homemade cappuccino once a day!
Step 3. Exercise - If you hate the idea of running on a treadmill for an hour or doing boot camps, just don't do them. Find exercise you enjoy, it could be weight training, cardio, yoga, dancing, fast walking, dog walking, swimming... the list goes on. But find something you enjoy & mix it up if ever you get bored. The main thing is that you are increasing the amount of exercise that you were initially doing, but with that said, if you're already down the gym 2hrs a day 6 days a week, I think you've earnt a break! It's important to have at least 1 rest day a week.
Step 4. Goals - Set yourself personal goals & don't try looking for results immediately. On a teatox, you are likely to see changes within 2 weeks, but realistically give it a month or two before looking for big changes - they will come, I promise. You need to set yourself 2 main goals - What is your long term goal? What would you like to achieve overall? And a smaller goal that you can work to within a month. For example my long term goal might be to drop my body fat percentage & get toned abs, but my short term goal might be to improve in an area I'm weakest (eg. upper body strength) or to loose some of the stored fat from my lower body through weight training & HIIT. However be realistic with your goals, if - like me - you're short & curvy, you will never have a body like Taylor Swift, so admire other's, but try to find similar body shapes to aspire to. I also find it helpful to take measurements, weigh myself & record my body fat percent, so that I can get a true picture of my results, rather than getting disheartened by gaining a few pounds because of extra water weight.
Step 5. Commitment - Nothing will effect your teatox more than your commitment! Be strong for those 14 days (or however long). I now stick to a regime where I eat clean & within my macros during the week & eat normal (including a cheat meal) during the weekends, as I find this easier to stick to & it increases my commitment. Likewise with exercise, my commitment would waver when all I was doing was cardio, because I did not enjoy it, but now doing weight training, 90% of the time I'm excited to go & work out.

'What do you want more? The snack you've been craving for an hour, or the body you've been crazing for a lifetime?'

YOUR 14 DAY TEATOX CHALLENGE
   So now that you are armed with all the vital information of how to see real results from teatoxing, it's time to begin! Firstly find your teatox - mine being Begu Tea System Cleanse & take your measurements & photos. Then I want you to stick to these simple steps...
1. Eat clean 5 days a week. See the suggested recipe websites above for ideas. The main focus is to eat nothing processed for the 5 days a week & to at least stick within your calorie allowance, if not all your macros which can be found via the My Fitness Pal app.
2. Cut out at least half of your naughty drinks! If they're sugary, creamy, fizzy or fatty, cut the number of them you consume by at least half & replace them with green tea, black coffee & water.
3. Increase your exercise. Get a free trial at the gym, go for a brisk walk or cycle to work. Just do more physical activity than normal - aim for 2hrs a week if you're a beginner or 5-6hrs if you're more experienced.
4. Write your goals. Where do you want to be in a year? Where could you realistically be in 1 month? And how will you work towards them?
5. Commit, stay focused & stay strong! This is only 14 days, it's not forever - but please feel free to make healthier changes in the long run too!
Let me know how you get on after your 14 days - tag me on twitter or instagram @sallylouisep & hashtag #BeGoodToYou. Good luck & let your 14 days to a healthier you begin!

28 June 2016

Get Fit With Davina - The Ultimate Guide + End Review!

   So I have completed Davina's 5 weeks of clean eating & exercising! Plus an extra week of my own choosing. Did I learn anything from the experience? I learnt how to eat even healthier & how great you feel for it. I've learnt a routine that's perfect for me, to continue with a healthier lifestyle. Plus I've discovered some great recipes that I will use again & again! Did the program deliver what it promised? For me, I'd say yes. I wanted to feel stronger & leaner & I do; best of all I understand why I do & how to continue my progress. So here is my ultimate break down of the Get Fit With Davina experience...
4/5
   With an easy to follow plan & point system, the program allowed you to plan your daily meals without having to worry about macro or calorie counting - I counted myself & didn't go over my macros, other than sugar occasionally. The point system was tailored to  your weight & end goals & encouraged you to have smaller portions of 3 meals & a couple of snacks each day, which was a great way to keep hunger at bay. The recipes themselves showed that eating clean could be both tasty & fun, rather than bland! Most of them were delicious, however some were a little bland for my personal taste - my advice would be to read the recipe & ingredients first, if you think something is missing (e.g. tomatoes in the chilli sauce or added lean chicken to increase protein for workouts & prevent hunger) then go with your instinct if it is a clean food, if it's processed... try to resist! The main focus is to keep on track with clean eating, of which the recipes help to ease you into! After just a week, I noticed a difference!
3/5
   As with the food, the exercise was tailored to your experience & your end goals. Each 7 minute workout allowed you to rate it's difficulty, so that it could progress with you. Personally, I have had quite an active lifestyle these past few years, so I used the exercise with Davina as an add on to my original routines. At first they were quite easy, but within days, Davina picked up the pace & made them a little more challenging. The workouts were each themed around areas such as cardio, HIIT training, abs, legs, boxercise & even a little introduction into weights, which kept the exercises exciting & allowed you to try different types of workouts from the comfort of your own home, helping you find out what you enjoy doing. The rating is my personal rating; due to my experience level I found the workouts could have been more challenging, however it is a great program in general.
5/5
   A brilliant website, with all the support you would need for starting a new, healthier lifestyle. From the moment you sign up, the website is completely tailored to your starting point, your progress & your end goals. With 4 main sections - Eat, Work Out, YouSocial - it caters for all your needs. The Eat section contains hundreds of recipes, a guide to healthy foods & what to eat if you eat out. The points system makes it very easy to plan your daily meals, without having to worry about exceeding your macros, as long as you stay within or meet your daily points. The Work Out section shows you your daily workout plan & the exercises involved, while the YouSocial sections helps you keep track of your progress & connect with others also doing the program for support or to share tips. The website is almost like having an online personal trainer & nutritionist; it keeps you motivated & helps teach you a new, healthier lifestyle.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
5/5
   As my goal was not to loose a lot of weight, just to lean out, I decided to do with program for 5 days a week, eating normal (80% clean 20% normal food) at the weekend, with a cheat meal & working out on average 5 times a week. This was perfect for me, as it has encouraged me to take the routine into the long run. Why? because I now know how easy it is to eat clean during the week & normal at the weekend, plus I feel so much healthier & more confident within myself, which is something I wish to continue with. Davina's recipes were easy to follow & exciting to experiment with, plus the exercise was a great addition to my workouts. This program was definitely a worthwhile experience, one that I would consider doing again, if ever my healthy lifestyle got stuck in a rut, to help motivate & focus me again.
THE END RESULTS
   In case you don't believe my review, the results should speak for themselves. My aim at the beginning was to get leaner & stronger, not necessarily loose weight, just loose excess fat & to take a step towards eating cleaner. I definitely find it a lot easier to eat cleaner now & found that doing this for 5 days a week, is a much more attainable method for me. As for getting stronger, I feel stronger, I can lift more weight when training & I have noticed more definition. As for loosing excess fat, here are my before & after stats - 6 weeks apart.
                                                    BEFORE        AFTER
WEIGHT                                    9st 5lb             9st 2lb
B.M.I                                           23.3                 22.7
BODY FAT PERCENT             20.3%             21.2%
WAIST                                        66.5cm           63.5cm
LOWER ABDOMOND            77.5cm            73cm
HIPS                                           85.5cm            76.5cm
BUM                                           97.5cm            96cm
THIGHS                                    59.5cm            57.5cm

   You may notice my body weight percent has actually increased - which upset me at first. However, after looking at my measurements, I was more reassured, as everything else has decreased, plus I feel a lot leaner. So I decided to look into why my fat percent may have increased - turns out it can fluctuate a lot in a day, much like weight, depending on how much you drink beforehand (water weight & fat are less dense than muscle, so will both measure as fat), what you've eaten before & if you've exercised (which actually decreases it because of sweat!). As a result, I am not going to worry too much, just try to monitor my changes on a more regular basis, making sure I eat/drink/workout etc the same each time, to help my progress further. I definitely feel leaner, which is the main thing!
WHAT WILL I DO NEXT?
   One of Davina's main goals, is that Get Fit With Davina will encourage people to pick up healthy tips along the way, to develop a healthier lifestyle, rather than just a healthy 5 weeks. Personally, I plan to eat clean during the week, trying to stick to my daily macros. I will continue to try to workout between 5-6 times a week, but have learnt not to beat myself up about missing a session when life gets too busy. Plus I will be monitoring my progress better, to ensure my goals adapt as I progress, but I have also learnt not to obsess over measurements either, just use them as a guide. Get Fit With Davina has taught me a lot about living healthier; I would encourage anyone to at least try it & I would definitely use it again, if ever I needed a nudge in the right direction!
Still haven't started your fitness journey yet? It's not too late to sign up for a 4 weeks free trial on Get Fit With Davina now!

16 June 2016

It's Cupcake Day! Matcha Cupcake Recipe

Happy Cupcake Day! To help you celebrate a (guilt free) cupcake day, I thought I'd share with you one of my favourite new recipes, from Iron Chef Shellie! They taste delicious, look stunning & they contain all the goodness of a cup of green tea!
MATCHA CUPCAKE RECIPE

Ingredients
Cupcakes
150ml milk
4 green tea teabags
2 1/2 tsp matcha (green tea) powder
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, free-range or organic
125g self-raising flower
120g plain flower
Buttercream Icing
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
1 tsp matcha (green tea) powder

Instructions
1. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat & add teabags. Cover with clingfilm & let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cases. Remove teabags from the milk, squeezing out excess milk into the pan. Add the green tea matcha powder & stir.
3. In a bowl, with an electric mixer, mix the butter & sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, mixing them into the mixture. Sift the flours into a separate bowl & stir well. Add one-third of the flour mix  to the creamed butter & sugar & beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk/tea mixture & beat again. Repeat until all the flour & milk has been added.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases, so they're about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for a bout 25 minutes, until raised & golden brown.
5. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract & half the icing sugar until smooth, for the icing, gradually adding the remainder of the icing sugar & green tea powder.  When the cakes are completely cool, ice them & sprinkle a little green tea powder on top.

14 June 2016

Eat Clean, Shop Cleaner? 6 Steps to Making Your Gym Kit as Clean as Your Diet! With Sundried Apparel.

   These days, we treat our bodies with such care, paying close attention to what we put into it, so we can be the strongest, healthiest versions of ourselves. But have we considered paying as much attention to what we are inhaling on a daily basis? With the levels of air pollution rising dramatically, imagine the damage it is having on our 'clean bodies'! And what would you say if I was to tell you that the fashion industry has the second largest carbon footprint? And here's why...

1. It all starts with the material
Large factories produce cheap, low quality fabrics, using harmful gasses & toxins in the process & using tonnes of water.
2. From cheap fabric to even cheaper labour
Cheap overseas labour sees poor, unsafe working conditions, long hours for minimal pay & child labour, all to boost the profit margins. These factories are also notorious for their pollution, due to cutting costs at every turn & insufficient production.
3. Airmiles
The garments must then be transported from where they are sewn to the company, of which they will be distributed to stores & continuously moved around until sold, wasting high amounts of energy.
4. The fast fashion effect
The garments are sold cheap, are poor quality & last the season, before being discarded.

   BUT there is hope! The fashion industry is responding to your demands for a more ethical, sustainable future, with the active wear market being one of the leaders in this movement, including some of the companies bellow...
"How can you be a fitness & wellbeing brand when you are not promoting a healthy lifestyle throughout the production cycle?" - Sundried.

   Sundried is one of key active wear lines supporting the sustainable movement. Partnered with The Low Carbon Innovation Fund, the premium quality British brand is a benchmark for ethical apparel; handmade in Portugal (to lower the carbon footprint), by happy workers in sustainable production, each item sold then donates a certain percent to the charity Water for Kids. And the cherry on top of the cake, the team all have an active lifestyle, from personal trainers to athletes.
I have teamed up with Sundried to give you our
6 tips to becoming a guilt free, ethical fashion consumer!
1. Pressure apparel brands to reform!
Sign petitions for better working rights, embarrass the companies on social media for poor ethical standards & ask the questions that they may not want you to know. Force the companies to be transparent with their manufacturing process & embarrass them publicly for bad conduct - some high fashion companies have been publicly shamed for their treatment of animals - in order to use their skins/fur, others on their amount of waste, & by publicly disgracing them, it has forced them to change.
2. Expect Longevity
Buy clothes that will last, not just in quality but also aesthetically, not just seasonally. It may cost a little more, but it is an investment, rather than buying ten times more.
3. Only buy if you will wear it at least 30 times
This encourages you to buy less, spend less & waste less.
4. Wash Cool & Sun Dry
Did you know a cotton t-shirt can use up to 2,700 litres of water in it's lifespan (according to the WWF), of which 80% of it's impact occurs after purchase, with water use, energy use & immissions from washing & drying. Plus imagine the money you could save on bills by filling the washing load, using a shorter, cooler wash & air drying...
5. Reuse, Recycle & Resell!
If you don't want something, either sell it on, give it to charity or recycle it! There are recycling banks that will resell wearable clothes with proceeds going to charity & unwearable textiles will be remade into fibres & reused.
6. Rebuy Recycled Garments
Companies have now started marketing their ethical lines & are quite transparent with how they've reused fibres from unwanted textiles. M&S do a high quality line with Oxfam, H&M are known for their ethical collections & even official football shirts have been made out of fibres from recycled plastic! This is called a closed circuit, where the recycled items have successfully found a new use.
I hope you have found this of interest, it is a matter close to my heart & an important issue to be tackled. If you would like to learn more of Sundried, visit them at https://www.sundried.com/

10 June 2016

5 Steps to Bikini Confidence This Summer! With Kendall + Kylie Swimwear

   I don't mean to be repping the Jenner/Kardashian clan, but HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW KENDALL & KYLIE SWIMWEAR AT TOPSHOP?!? I have been searching long & hard for a new bikini for the summer, only to buy 2 within an hour of seeing their collection! And why? Not because of the celebrity connotations, but because of their strong, confident cuts & how complimentary they are to the female form, without trying to hard. Seeing the girls radiate confidence in their new line, made me reflect on just how far I've come, since last year, to achieve true body confidence. And here's how I did it...
MY 5 STEPS TOWARDS A BODY CONFIDENT SUMMER...
1. Find exercise you love & stick to it!
Don't start expecting results too soon, apply yourself, enjoy the feeling of your body getting stronger & the results will follow in a couple of months. Set achievable short term goals & plan how you'll achieve them, to help keep the motivation up.
2. Eat well, not less...
Be aware of your daily macro allowance, eat clean & you will find you can eat a lot more than you'd think. My top tip, allow yourself a treat a day to keep yourself going & a cheat meal a week. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up for indulging or 'slipping up', just get back to working hard the next day! Honestly, by sticking to this, you'll feel leaner, cleaner & healthier than ever.
3. You are what you drink
Drink fizzy - feel bloated, drink juice - feel sugary, drink Starbucks fancy pants coffee - feel stodgy. One or two a day won't make any difference, but try to stick to drinks that are good for you & not containing lots of sugar. Water & lemon to flush out unwanted toxins & water weight in your system, green tea to encourage debloating or a couple of black coffees to increase the metabolism, for example.
4. Love your body!
Easy enough to say right? Treat yourself to some pampering or buying clothes that suit your body, to help you feel your best. For me I feel my best after shaving, exfoliating, moisturising, putting on my make up & a pretty dress. If I was going out in a bikini, I would probably use a bit of tanning lotion too. Treat your body & you'll immediately feel a boost in confidence.
5. Believe in YOU
If you fall at a hurdle, get back up & try again. If you set yourself a goal, you can achieve it with a little hard work. If you feel good, don't let that silly voice in your head tell you otherwise. If someone pays you a compliment, believe it. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, hold your posture tall & walk proud. Just by believing in yourself, you'll find your self confidence grows a great deal. Also everyone is different, so stop comparing or judging yourself & others, as this will forever hold you back.
And just remember, work hard, keep at it & you'll soon feel the benifits...
EXERCISE = ENDORPHINS = HAPPINESS = BODY CONFIDENCE

7 June 2016

Week 5.1 - Clean Eating My Way to Bikini Confidence with Get Fit With Davina

WEEK 5 REVIEW
THE FOOD
   Despite the fact I was travelling on 6 days last week, from Oxfordshire to Kent to Surrey to Cornwall & back to Surrey, I planned in such detail that I think I was drove everyone around me crazy! HOWEVER, by planning exactly what I would be eating, depending on whether I could cook or was travelling, it was one of my cleanest weeks so far & was far easier than expected. So there's no excuse for me in the future!!! Here's a break down of what I ate last week...
Breakfast: Porridge with Honey, Cinnamon & Coconut Milk 5/5 While I was travelling I had overnight oats (oats & milk left over night & you don't even need to heat it up!) which was just as tasty.
Lunch: Spinach & Feta Frittata with Salad 4/5 Could benefit from a few more ingredients within the frittata instead of a side salad, but tasty otherwise. This became a salad, using the exact same ingredients, other than adding half a can of tuna & raisins instead of tomatoes & eggs.
Dinner: Grilled Lemon Chicken with Potatoes & Salad 4/5 A perfectly clean meal, the chicken was delicious, but would prefer veg instead of salad. This turned into a salad too, using the same ingredients, adding the egg from earlier & half an apple, instead of the potatoes.
Snacks: Banana & Peanut Butter 5/5 Always a good energy boost!
Dessert: Greek Yoghurt with Honey & Cinnamon 5/5 One of my favourites!
THE EXERCISE
Definitely made up for last week & worked even harder this week - I completed 1 set of Davina's 21 minutes & 40 minutes of bodyweight workouts, then a further 4 weight training sessions at the gym, all at least an hour, for core, glutes, arms & legs.
MY CHEATS
Despite all the travel, I stayed very clean this week - no specific cheat meals. I did enjoy some wedding cake & a couple of drinks to celebrate, as well as an M&S meal deal, but the weekend was more about celebrating with friends & having the occasional treat, rather than one indulgent meal.

WEEK 5.1
Why week 5.1? So Get Fit With Davina recommends a 5 week plan, however last week was so busy & unusual, that I have decided to do a second, more controlled week 5, including the cheat meal!!! Haha. So here goes...
MEAL PLAN
My weekly food shop cost only £20.35 from Lidl, with the addition of a few leftover bits at home.
 With 2 eggs, 2 slices of wholemeal toast & no butter.
With virgin coconut oil spray instead of oil & broccoli & cauliflower instead of beans & nuts.
 With extra chicken for added protein, cooked in virgin coconut oil spray & served with cauliflower & broccoli instead of a salad.
I decided to have cashew nuts instead, just for preference & reduced the amount to 15 nuts, as I felt the suggested portion was too much for me.
Greek yoghurt again!!! Yum, yum, yum!

EXERCISE PLAN
I plan to workout 5-6 times this week, mainly 21 minutes of Davina's workouts, followed by 40 minutes bodyweight workouts, with hour long weight training sessions instead when I have the opportunity to go to the gym.

Some of you may have already finished your 5 weeks - if that is you congrats on all the hard work! If you're joining me on week 5.1 - it's not long now & hopefully you too are feeling the great effects its having. And for those of you who are thinking about starting Get Fit With Davina? Get 4 WEEKS FREE NOW, to kick start your way to bikini confidence this summer.