close up of 3 dumbbells

Living in the World of Fitness and Exercise

The other day I was running on the treadmill and an idea came to mind for a new topic on the blog, that being, the world of fitness and exercise. There are many reasons why exercise is good for you including a boost in feel-good moods and making you stronger. I don’t mean that it’ll turn you into Mr Muscle man, I mean it could do if that’s what you’re going for… but it helps to keep the strength up in different parts of your body.

Loving your own body is hard, isn’t it?

Well it sure is for me and there’s no doubt that you haven’t found at least one flaw with your body. On the fitness side of things is where it can get dangerous. You can damage your mind comparing your weight, capabilities and energy to others. The truth is, some people can run faster than others; swim lengths quicker than others, lift heavier weights than others etc.

Now I’m no fitness guru but I do know that it should be enjoyable. Once you see things from that perspective, it really does help. You live in your body every single day of your life, you shouldn’t be so harsh on something that helps you to develop and grow, mentally and physically.

My fear of going back to the gym since my teenage years was known very well by Danny. I would constantly say, “but they’ve got toned stomachs, they can go into the gym but no fear about who they see and what they can do in front of anyone…” I used to be with weighing myself every week. If I didn’t have a £1 coin on me, I’d ask Danny and he would say no straight away because I seen what I doing to myself.

I’m not overweight (and wasn’t then) nor am I underweight.

I’m actually in the ‘ideal’ weight category. But I mean, shouldn’t ideal be what we’re comfortable with? Of course, if exercise and diet tips have been advised on a health level by your GP, nurse etc. then that’s different but I’m talking about loving your body for what it is including those flaws you see, no matter how they may or may not appear to others.

I can’t emphasise enough how your body is YOURS. There’s so much influence online, some good, some bad. You don’t have to be like anyone but you. I slack with the gym from time-to-time; eat those snacks that aren’t ‘good for you’ sometimes. But guess what? Both of those things are good for me. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step away and be in little piggy mode as I like to call it.

It’s amazing when you do the simplest thing and that’s doing what makes you happy. Sometimes it’s nice to push limits like training for a run if that’s your thing. It could be anything such as lowering the weight of an applicator but increasing the number of sets.

In school, I enjoyed running, but it wasn’t my favourite thing.

I was more of a rounders, circuit, a bundle of activities kinda girl. I was chosen for the relay in high school on sports day and I used to love it. Cross country was a thing that everyone used to hate (usually a punishment if someone complained about a sport or forgot their kit) but again I didn’t mind it.

Back in 2017 I completed my first 10k run with Danny. It wasn’t about being the fastest, it was about finishing the run for our grandparents and the charities we had chosen in memory of them. It did take a lot of training. We surprised ourselves yet again at Race for Life where we beat our goal by 5 minutes. A little encouragement from each other was all we needed.

Fitness and exercise really can be fun

The main point I’m trying to get across is start doing what you’re comfortable with. One day you might want to try something new and push yourself further but it’s okay if not. Keeping fit and exercising should and can be enjoyable.

I hope you’re going to come away from reading this post and look at your body in a more positive way.

walking along the sea waves

Talking About Body Confidence with Women

Body confidence. One minute I’m okay with it. And the next, I find myself in tears wondering when I’m going to accept my body image for what it is. Body confidence with women is something that people don’t always talk about. It’s thought about so much. But you don’t always see people openly talking about how they feel about their bodies.

There’s always been something that I don’t like about my body. From my forever growing body hair, to my toes and feet. Then, I began to realise that as you’re getting older you can’t eat and eat and eat and just expect nothing to happen to your body image. Many people think I’m one of those people who can eat anything I want and not put any weight on. But sadly, that’s not true. If only.

Body confidence and food

I envy anyone who can. I absolutely love my food. And I’ve never been overweight. I’ve learnt the importance of a balanced diet. Part of this has involved sorting better lunches at work. I’ve always had sandwiches and a yoghurt (or something after it). Now, I see myself eating mackerel and salad; chicken salad; soup. And sometimes, I will have the odd chicken Caesar wrap. As much of a choice there is for bread including wholemeal and seeded, my body became bored with it. And actually, it began to feel the effects of it.

Bread is a massive cause of bloating for me. It’s so good. But I have to remember what’s best for my body. For instance, if I’ve had enough bread consumption for the week I might just choose poppadoms rather than naan bread with a curry. It doesn’t end there. I drink more green tea now rather than normal tea. Sugar isn’t in there anymore. But the odd time, I’ll add a sweetener if I feel like I need one.

Saying no the odd thing here and there. Having less of something but still enjoying a treat. There used to be stages where I would eat nothing one minute. And then eat this, that, and everything the next. It’s not too healthy at all. But, I think it’s okay to binge eat days once in a while (especially if you’re hungover or I don’t know, if it’s Sunday?!)

When body confidence affects you mentally and physically…

I’ve never been a really unhealthy person or considered to be ‘fat’. But it came to my attention that others thought my weight had increased a bit.  This lowered my body confidence. But surely, we all have occasions in our lives where our weight fluctuates? Here, I’m talking a few pounds, not stone. But those few pounds changed my emotions. Just yesterday when someone made a comment that I look like I’ve lost weight, later on in the day something got me down. I made a joke saying “Did I used to be fat or something because I got told I look like I’ve lost some weight earlier?” and their reply was, “Yeah. Well, you did have a bit of extra weight at one point.”

And that was me. I went upstairs quietly and started to cry. I started to go through my Instagram photos and delete more (as I always have). I find that I don’t start to like photos of myself anymore. A lot of us do this. But I start to look for things that people might see as a flaw. Sometimes, the angle a photo is taken or that double crease in the top/dress makes me see a picture of myself in a totally different way. I start to imagine what other people might see, even if it’s not necessarily the way that they do.

It isn’t always about weight and feeling bloated. Sometimes, it’s about your skin being too dry or too oily. Spots and pimples. Red faced bare skin without any makeup. There are so many things.

Keeping active increases body confidence.

Now that I go to the gym, 3-4 times a week, I’m feeling much happier. My body is one of those bodies that needs the regular exercise. The results make me feel better both mentally and physically. Many people will say, “There’s nothing to you.” or that, “You should eat what you want.” And that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m starting to see that there is a great choice of food you can have. It’s nice to try new things.

You don’t have to go to the gym. There are any strength and fitness activities you can do at home. For example, press-ups and sit-ups. If I can do a sit-up (never thought that would happen) then you can too. Try not to be too scared to experiment with other equipment. Some people keep fit to lose weight. Some people keep fit to become stronger. And others keep fit to tone up. I see myself in the increasing my strength and toning up category.

I’ve learnt to love my thighs and my bum. I never knew doing ab workouts could be so fun. Yes, you feel the pain the next day but it’s so worth it. And the same goes for cardio. which I’ve always loved anyway. Since doing a combination of both, along with arms. back, and a little chest, I feel like I can accomplish so much more than I ever did before. A big thank you goes to Danny here for always pushing me further because he knows I can do it.

Enjoy your food and enjoy being you.

Enjoying your food and still feeling good about yourself is how it should be. One thing I need to remember is that, it’s okay to not look like everybody else. You weren’t born to be like someone else. You were given your life to be you. I need to try not to criticise how my belly looks so bloated in that dress. Occasions like this have resulted to a lot of clothes being thrown away. And then I feel sad that I don’t feel good in anything I have. Or that, I don’t have enough ‘nice tops’ to throw on.

Oh, they’re a similar height to me so I need to have slimmer legs like them.

We all have days where we think, ah we’ll just eat this today. Or let’s miss the gym that. Don’t punish yourself for doing those things. Do the best you can. And maybe make up for the fitness you missed the week before next time. Pushing myself harder at the gym is something that I never thought I’d do. But it happens and I couldn’t feel better for it.

You have your own body shape and size. As much as body confidence affects all shapes and sizes, try not to compare yourself. I’ve done this way too often. Embrace your body. And next time you think that dress isn’t for you, put it on and walk with confidence.

woman standing while stretching

Why Exercise Is Good For You

Exercise can be fun! I’m not a fitness fanatic or someone who works out a lot. I’m just a young woman who likes to think that a little bit of exercise here and there can make you feel better.

I’ve found exercise to have many advantages on my body both physically and mentally. Whether you prefer to workout at home, go for a run in the park, or go to the gym, it’s what works for you.

There are some key benefits in particular which I’ve recognised exercise has done for me. Here’s 3 benefits that you could experience.

Exercise improves your strength

I used to joke a little with Danny by saying, you’re stronger than me because you go to the gym. Now he says, wow you can tell when you’ve been to the gym. I can finally open them lids on the protein shakers he has! But in all seriousness, I feel a lot stronger.

And I definitely try to make up for the times when I’ve missed the gym, even if it’s using the little weights I have at home. Improving your strength doesn’t have to take hours out of day. I feel that it’s better to do smaller workouts every other day. You find what’s best for you.

You feel a boost in your mentality

Oh we know those thoughts: I feel like a slob. Or, there’s the debate whether to ‘gym’ today. Sometimes I’ve tried to put the gym off but the majority of the time it’s not the best decision to make. There’s nothing wrong with missing it every now and again. But if you keep at it, you’re bound to feel a bigger and brighter spring in your step.

You don’t have to exercise to lose weight. I choose to exercise to maintain fitness and to feel better about myself all round. There were times where I had to conquer my gym fear in order to get the most of the workouts. It hits me a little but nowhere as much as it used to. I feel a lot more comfortable being seen with no make-up, sweating, and looking like a lobster! Who cares?! You’re exercising, not within the company of people at a fancy event.

Exercising helps to reduce hypertension

I went through a stage where my blood pressure went sky-high (stress related the doctors thought). Who knows?! But since exercising, it has helped me to take away stress. It’s such a good method of escapism. Blood pressure is important for everyone. Considering I’m young, I should have a normal level, and be fit and healthy.

Sometimes I want to do cardio and other times I want to use the weights. Either way, I always like to make sure I get my blood pumping around my body.

You won’t always make up raring to go each morning/afternoon/evening, as you may already be aware. But you’ll feel so much better when you’ve finished that great workout. I used to feel rubbish about how I looked compared to others in the gym but now I just go with it and think positive.

You might love swimming, running, or a sport such as basketball. Whatever it is, enjoy it! Try it out for yourself. Remember, you don’t have to overdo it but it’s always good to push yourself a little further than you usually would.

My First Experience of a 10k Run in Manchester

Sunday 28 May is a day that seemed so far away since the day I registered for the Great Manchester Run.

Training for the Great Manchester Run

We began to train at the gym on the treadmill and developing other fitness. We decided that we needed to train for the Great Manchester Run outside rather just on the treadmill.

The truth is, we probably could have done more training. But the day wasn’t about being a professional runner. It wasn’t about time and being competitive. Today was about running for our charities, for our grandparents. Hitting the finish line made me teary eyed. But I did completed the run with Danny. That made it such a special accomplishment.

There was such a positive and boosting atmosphere prior and during the whole event. We watched other waves getting ready to run after they did their warm-up and couldn’t wait until it was our turn. It didn’t rain, although we kind of wish it did at one point to cool us down. Luckily, there was two opportunities for the shower mists that were there so they helped a lot.

Fight for every heartbeat

Before we began to run we did the minute’s silence for the atrocity that caused children and adults to lose their lives in Manchester on Monday evening. Once we began to run, it took a few moments to get passed the stage, where you feel like you’re too close to everyone to move properly.

We were so happy that we got to see my best friend, Faye as she was representing Diabetes UK and cheering runners from all charities on. It was lovely and so heart-warming to see all of the other charities, children wanting us to hit their hand as we ran past, and KEY 103 cheering us all on. I felt a great boost in my step when I saw the British Heart Foundation team, which is the charity I was running for in memory of my grandad – they were very supportive.

I loved how we did it together.

– Danny

There was a lot of sweat but most of all there was a lot of determination to run for Manchester and for our chose charities.

An amazing feeling

We passed through the city centre and sights such as Manchester United. There were people ready to hand us bottles of water as we reached the aqua stands. They were nice and refreshing to have.

I couldn’t have ran through a more supportive city full of togetherness. My favourite moment was approaching the finish line. We held hands to make sure we reached the end together.

Thank you to each and every one of you who supported us for the Great Manchester Run.

If you haven’t done a 10k before or a run of any kind, I recommend that you do it. Take the plunge and do it for you, your family, a friend, or for a cause which is close to your heart.