Thursday, 4 July 2013

Fitness not fashion

I’ve never been a sporty person. In fact, while doing PE at school I would often be the one you found hiding behind crowds of people in attempts to get out of playing, or on the floor after being made to play and falling over. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t want to be amazing at football or basketball or netball, I’m just not. This lead to much embarrassment and certificates from PE staff that stated “Bethany has been given this award for trying her best this term”. We all know what that means.

Regardless of my inability to be successful at any kind of sport (unless shopping is a sport?) I’ve recently been pushing myself to get fit and healthy. It’s not a case of attempting to loose weight, but I feel that healthy means happy, and surely the pursuit of happiness is what life’s about. So I’ve been making some changes. My diet and exercise routine, or lack thereof, have both been under scrutiny and I’ve made some small, manageable changes in attempts to boast my health.

Obviously, I’m no health expert but I thought I’d share with you some tips that have helped me out. Who knows, maybe they will help one of you too!


Finding what works:
As I mentioned before, I’m truly terrible at group sports, so there’s no way I would ever join an amateur footy club. Instead, I decided to try something that is more independent and it seems to have worked – running. I’m not fast and I can’t go for a long period of time, but it sure beats sitting on the sofa.

If you don’t enjoy the exercise your doing the chances of you completing a workout are severely decreased. Running and jogging gives me a chance to tidy my mind; many blog posts have been written whilst pounding that pavement! That makes it the perfect form of exercise for me, as I feel I’m not only working out but I’m also doing something I enjoy.

I usually run for about 30 minutes (with a few breaks) but also do some general muscle workouts when I get home – crunches, squats, planks – which I will admit is less fun. Each rep only lasts about 30 second though, so it’s over before you know it!

It’s really a case of finding what suits you. Try running, swimming, the gym, yoga, or workout DVDS. Everything. Eventually you’ll find what works for you and getting active won’t seem so much of a chore. Even if it’s dancing around your living room for half an hour like a maniac, moving is moving and will ultimately lead to a healthier you.

And stretch...
Never forget to stretch before and after every single workout. It doesn’t matter how strenuous your exercise routine is, allowing your muscles to stretch is absolutely essential. Here’s a basic stretching program that I found online

As much as going straight into a workout may save time, in the long run you could be left injured and unable to do any kind of activity for a prolonged period. That could completely mess with your exercise plan.


I’m not encouraging you to sit on your laptop all day instead of working out, although resting is important, but I has found a great motivational tool in the form of Tumblr. Surprisingly, some of my best workouts have been because of the pictures and quotes I've seen online. I feel that the “Fitblr” and “fitspo” community are a really encouraging group, that can help you achieve the best of your fitness ability as well as healthy eating.

Here are some of my favourite health inspiring blogs:


It’s very simple, you have to eat. No matter how determined you are to loose weight, cutting food or meals completely won’t help at all. It will mean that your body won’t have the nutrients it needs to function. This could lead to an inability to perform any kind of exercise successfully, so you could actually be making yourself gain instead!

Just remember,your body needs fuel. You don’t have to deprive yourself of the food you love! You can still eat chocolate and cake just as long as, I know you've heard it before, it’s all in moderation.

Keep it smooth:
Fruit and vegetables aren't as appealing as a chocolate bar or packet of crisps, I know. Still, I have discovered a fail safe way of getting some of those essential 5-a-day. Smoothies! Lately, I’ve been having smoothies or fruity milkshakes almost everyday. After seeing this creation chart on a fitblr, coming up with ideas for combinations has been a lot easier.

If smoothies aren't your thing you still have to work superfoods into your diet. These include – Kale, avocado, nuts, dark chocolate and blueberries. Simply type “healthy recipes using [insert superfood here]” and a world of good nutritious food will open up.

Drink to good health
Water. Lots and lots of water. It’s very important to give your body around 2 liters of fluid every day, preferably good old H20! Green tea also has amazing health benefits and is an alternative to normal tea or the caffeine filled hot drinks that we Brits love to relax with. If you’re looking for something to do the opposite of relax you, something to drink during a workout, go for milk if you don’t want water. The minerals are proven to help regain energy, much like a sports drink.

Always search for the lesser of two evils. If you don’t want a drink like water or milk, then always check the labels of soft drinks for sugar, fat and salt content. Bare in mind though that drinks of a higher sugar content may have other health benefits. For example, a smoothie will always be better than a coke zero! 

Trust me, If I, the uncoordinated and originally extremely unfit chocolate adict can improve my health, so can you! 

Good luck,
Bethany Paige X

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