Ermana Skincare Review

After switching to "balms" instead of regular cleansers a few months back I was really excited to discover UK based skincare brand Ermana. Like I've mentioned in previous posts, I have combination skin which can be sensitive and prone to acne so initially I was wary of using balms. However, now I am a convert and with Ermana products using botanicals and all natural ingredients I was interested to give them a try. 

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I started with the Comfort Balm and the Tone Muscle Balm. Comfort balm for the purpose of adding a little more calm to my day and the Tone Muscle Balm because the days when I don't have some form of muscle tension are far and few between! 

One thing I find so impressive with these two products is the versatility. There are many different ways you can use them (which I'll discuss) which means less clutter around the bathroom sink. Great for people like me who get slightly overwhelmed with the amount of products there are these days!

Comfort Balm

The Comfort Balm is made using essential oils such as lavender - a scent I absolutely love, as well as Ylang Ylang and geranium. The balm is suitable for all skin types and can be used to relax the mind and calm down breathing by rubbing it into your wrists and temples. It can also be used for dry skin and chapped lips.

I keep it next to my laptop while I'm working so that when I'm feeling a little stressed I just unscrew the lid and take deep breaths in. 

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Tone Muscle Balm

Whether you're into fitness or not, most of us suffer from achy muscles. I've enjoyed using this post workout by rubbing it into my sore muscles or again when I'm at my laptop and my shoulders start to feel tense. The rosemary, eucalyptus and marjoram essential oils help to warm the skin, improve circulation and ease muscle tension. 

Both balms, as well as all their other products are hand blended in the UK and are cruelty free. 

You can visit their online store by clicking here where they have lots more beautiful products! 

xxx

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Mindful in 3 Steps

Step 1

Resist checking any social media as soon as you wake up! I've recently started to have a large glass of lemon water when I first wake up and I hold off checking Instagram until I've finished the whole glass. 

I've found that by delaying this, I have a better start to the day as my mind is clear of nonsense and I feel more aware of my thoughts. 

Step 2

Prepare at least one nourishing, home cooked meal a day. Whether this is breakfast, lunch or dinner. Taking the extra time to think about what you're putting into your body shows care for yourself. And the satisfaction of making something delicious is a great feeling. 

Step 3

Take some alone time. Life is busy and stressful, full of stimuli and energy. Spending time by yourself is just as important as spending time with family and friends. Learning to be content with your own company will have a super impact on your mental and emotional growth. 

xxx

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Setting Intentions, Surpassing Expectations

Hello January! And welcome all those recently joining the fitness community! 

Many, many people will have set resolutions to get fit, get healthy, quit this, quit that. And although we generally set ourselves great intentions in January, come February time the majority will have fallen back into old ways. 

It doesn't help that with these great intentions, come expectations. Your friends and family will be watching, judging and (some, not all) may be waiting for you to fail. Sad but true. 

If your resolution is to get healthier but the people around you aren't being supportive then you need to either take some time out from those people and/or surround yourself with other go-getters. 

Find yourself a bootcamp or a fitness class where you'll be amongst tons of other people also trying to get fit and healthy. Download apps that encourage you to stick to your programmes. Search YouTube for inspirational home/gym workouts

Intentions are all well and good but with them you need grit and determination. Nobody can give you this but yourself. Read my Winter Fitness Tips  to help set yourself a goal. 

It is the most satisfactory feeling to reach a goal after all that hard work. All that motivation, those sacrifices, that sweat, those tears have paid off. But why stop there?! Surpassing your own expectations is an even better feeling! 

Time to set new intentions, new goals - so that come January 2019 you're not starting all over again. 

For any questions or advice then go to my contact page and ping me a message. 

Good Luck!!

xxx

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Winter Fitness Tips

It's happening people. It's cold. It's dark. Classes are getting smaller. Winter Warmers are becoming more frequent. Motivation is slipping. 

After all the hard work you've put in during Spring and Summer, how do you maintain your efforts over the coming months? I'll tell ya - We need to muster up some grit and determination and to come up with a goal plan.

We've all experienced that first session back after a holiday or an extended period of time off of training… The 5,6,7 day DOMS that remind you you've been a lazy f*****! The effort it takes to even make it to that first session back can be tough! 

Instead of letting your fitness levels drop and your waistlines expand, try these simple steps for maintaining motivation and be ahead of the game come January. 

Set A Fitness Goal

Ok, so you might not be spending Christmas in the Caribbean, in which case it's unlikely you're going to have to wear a bikini any time soon. So maybe setting an aesthetics goal isn't for you. How about setting a goal that's going to improve your fitness or strength? 

Maybe you've never been able to do a push up on your toes or perform 20 squat jumps without stopping. Perhaps you've always admired the girls who can do unassisted pull ups? Or handstands? 

Pick something that is going to be challenging but realistic. If you have a wrist injury, then handstand push ups by Christmas might not be sensible. If you currently deadlift 50kg then 100kg might have to be a longer term goal. 

Plan of Action

Now you've decided, you need to make a plan. You probably have to mix up your current workout routine. 3 classes of barrecore a week isn't going to build the strength necessary for a pull up. This can be intimidating if you haven't made one before so don't be afraid to ask a professional. Consider it a Christmas pressie to yourself! 

Alternatively, do research online and find some good workouts on YouTube to follow. There's so much information out there available for free! 

Also, if your goal requires you to use a gym and you're not confident using a particular machine or you're new to using free-weights then again, don't be afraid to ask someone for help! You'll only be boosting their ego since they appear to know what they're doing! Caution* avoid asking the person with the pulled down cap, oversized beats, silently sipping on 3 shakes. 

Fuel Up Correctly

Alright, so you've got a goal, you've made a workout plan but now you have to make some decisions regarding your food choices. 

Again, I'll say it one more time - ask a professional for help! For weight loss and weight gain. If you want to get stronger, you have to be willing to eat more - so be prepared for a change on the scales should strength be your goal. 

Goal planning is essential whatever you want to achieve - I'm afraid winging it will probably only result in us having this conversation again this time next year! 

Just because the festive season has begun doesn't mean your goals have to drop on the priority list. Go get 'em!! 

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xxx

Love Lula Haul

As you may know, I've been trying to make more ethical choices with regards to my eating habits but what you don't know is that I've also been trying to make more ethical choices with my beauty and skincare .

I heard about Love Lula through a blogger who writes about ethical fashion and beauty so I thought I'd give some of their products a try! Love Lula sells organic, vegan, and natural beauty products which must be ethically sourced. 

Here are a few of my favourites!

Esse gel cleanser C5

I used this gentle cleanser as a second cleanse at the end of the day to really clean my skin and leave it feeling fresh. It has peppermint & spearmint oils in it which give a really nice scent and work really well for acne prone skin. I also liked that it has natural, biodegradable foaming agents but didn't dry out my skin. 

Ogario Shampoo & Conditioner

I went for the Hydrate & Shine for dry and coloured hair. For some reason I thought these were going to take some getting used to, maybe leave my hair greasy - I don't know why… In any case, they didn't! In fact they left my hair feeling so smooth and nourished and it's looking really glossy. You also only need to use a small amount so they should go a long way which means more for your buck!

Ere Perez Waterproof Mascara

I was pleasantly surprised with this mascara and liked that it created a more natural look. I went for the waterproof one and I have to say it did smudge a little bit under one eye but I was able to wipe it off easily and at the end of the day it removed really quickly as well. The applicator gets a little gloopy but for a natural mascara I think it's really good. 

Balm Balm

This 100% organic beauty balm was one of the biggest surprises. I've seen a surge of beauty balms on my social media feeds but didn't really know what they were for. As it turns out, this one in particular can be used as a cleanser, exfoliator and moisturiser. I started using this as a first cleanse and now it is my only cleanse. It removes my make up and leaves my skin feeling soft and doesn't irritate my skin or clog my pores. 

 

I would definitely purchase all of these products again but if you have any recommendations for me then please leave them in the comments below!! 

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xxx

 

 

 

Vegan Food Guide - Fulham & Chelsea

Simply Vegan

In love with this cafe which has only recently opened it's doors in Fulham. Perfect for catch ups with friends, hungry eaters (buffet heaven) and they have the best selection of vegan and raw desserts and pastries, I was lost for choice! - but in the end took home a raw carrot cake and an apple crumble loaf which were deleeeshus!

As for the buffet, the selection of hot and cold food was amazing and so well presented. And the couple running this cute new joint were so friendly and helpful. 

Picky Wops

This vegan pizza joint has won my heart and more importantly, the heart of my meat-loving fiancé that upon request I have had to make the same order three weeks in a row! 

Something about eating these pizzas feels slightly less naughty that regular pizza too! 

They have tons of topping choices and I love how you can pick your base, your "cheese" and add on any extras such as hemp seeds or extra "ham".

Soon to open a new Picky Wops in Peckham!

Wulf & Lamb

After drooling over their Instagram posts for far too long I finally went to see what all the fuss was about. I brought Eman along with me so the pressure was on because although I was certain I wouldn't be disappointed he can sometimes be harder to please - especially when trying to prove a vegan burger can be as satisfying as a regular burger to a meat eater.

Rest assured we both went for the Wulf Burgers which are made of seitan and let's just say we had a very silent lunch date! The mac 'n' cheese side was also incredible - easier to fool Eman on this one as he'd never had mac 'n' cheese before (whaaat?! I know.)

 

I am continuing my hunt for more vegan eateries so if you have any recommendations then let me know!! 

xxx

Vegan 1 Week Challenge

*Disclaimer* This was not an entirely successful mission and towards the end of the week I started giving in to choices based on convenience. However, it has made me more aware of the choices I make and I will continue to work towards an entirely plant-based diet. 

Tuesday

8am - Banana

9.30am Post Run Breakfast - 2 slices of brown toast w mushrooms, baby tomatoes, cucumber, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, herbs de provence, dried mint & seasoning. 

10.30am - Gentle Yoga Flow at home

11.30am - Whole Earth Barley & Chicory drink (coffee alternative)

12.30 Lunch - Steamed sweet potato cubes w salad leaves, black beans, steamed broccoli & topped with tahini, balsamic vinegar & chilli flakes, 

4pm Snack - 4 pieces dark chocolate w peanut butter 

8.45pm Very Late Dinner - Tofu Thai Green Curry (made earlier in the day) - I used the Tesco thai green curry paste and served it with basmati rice. 

Recipe : Serves 3-4

1 onion

Sesame oil

2 tbspoon thai green curry paste 

300ml hot vegetable stock (I used Kallo)

1 can coconut milk

1 head broccoli

2 kaffir lime leaves

200g tofu - cut into squares

1 green pepper - ideally green but today I only had a red one. Sliced thinly

50g green beans/mangetout

50g baby corn - halved 

juice of 1 lime

handful fresh coriander

basmati rice to serve

Method :

1. Fry onion in oil over medium heat for 2-3 mins. Add curry paste and fry for 1 minute.

2. Pour in stock, coconut milk and bring to the boil, then simmer 5 minutes. 

3. Add broccoli and kaffir lime leaves and cook for 10 minutes. 

4. Cook rice to packet instructions. 

5. Add tofu, green/red peppers, green beans or mangetout and baby corn with squeeze of lime and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. 

6. Serve with rice and sprinkle coriander on top. 

Tip

I live with a meat eater so I cooked the tofu separately and cooked some chicken for my partner and distributed the curry and vegetable mixture into separate saucepans towards the end so it could soak up the curry. 

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9.30pm Snack - Small bowl of The Coconut Collaborative dairy-free yoghurt. 

 

Wednesday

8am Breakfast on the Go - Starbucks Mango & Coconut Smoothie Bowl 

10.30am Second breakfast! - 2 slices brown toast, baked beans & raw mushrooms with herbs de provence. 

3pm Lunch - Leftover tofu thai green curry from night before. 

8.45pm Dinner - Homemade brazil nut pesto (prepped in the afternoon due to cancellation) served with wholewheat noodles, wilted spinach, rocket & watercress and topped with toasted pine nuts.

Recipe : Serves

Pesto Ingredients -

100g brazil nuts

juice 1 lemon 

1/4 tspoon garlic granules

pinch chilli flakes

1 packet fresh basil

1 tbspoon nutritional yeast 

pinch salt

drizzlin' olive oil

Other -

toasted pine nuts (5-10 mins fan oven 180)

wholewheat noodles

mix of veggies - I used spinach, rocket & watercress 

Method :

1. Make Pesto - put all ingredients into a food processor and blend till smooth-ish. 

2. Cook noodles

3. Drain water from noodles and stir in pesto.

4. Add veggies of choice

5. Put into bowls and top with the pine nuts

 

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9.15pm Snack - Small bowl of The Coconut Collaborative dairy-free yoghurt. 

 

Thursday

6.45am Breakfast - 2 slices brown toast with 1/2 avocado w fresh lime juice, ground pepper & paprika

7.30am - Whole Earth Barley & Chicory drink

9.30am Second breakfast (post home yoga flow) - Small bowl porridge made with Plenish almond milk & water, mixed with Sukrin Peanut butter powder, macs powder & cacao nibs. 

1pm Lunch - Big Ass Burrito Bowl made using mixed salad leaves, wholewheat noodles, 1/4 yellow pepper, half avocado, baby sweetcorn, chopped cucumber, baby tomatoes, black beans, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, seasoning, olive oil, lime juice & small amount of balsamic vinegar. 

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3pm Snack - Holland & Barrett banana chips and cup of tea

8.30pm Dinner *SLIP UP* - Eman ordered takeaway pizza - a veggie for me & a meat one for himself. There wasn't an option on this website (Dominoes!) to remove the cheese so I had a veggie not vegan pizza. 

 

Friday

6am Breakfast *INTENTIONAL SLIP UP 2* - Chocolate Croissant  

10.30am Snack - Piece of Bread w Biona Organic dairy-free coconut spread

2pm Post Yoga Lunch - *Leftover Pizza* 

5pm - Handful banana chips

8.30pm Dinner - Remaining thai green curry leftovers

9pm - Few teaspoons of coconut yoghurt

 

Saturday  

7.30am Post Run Breakfast - Porridge made with Plenish almond milk, turmeric & ground ginger and topped with banana, strawberries, homemade granola (recipe on my YouTube channel) and date syrup. 

1pm Lunch - Fresh pasta salad with black beans, Sainsbury's FreeFrom cheddar style cheese, tinned sweet corn, salad leaves, 1/4 yellow pepper and drizzled with olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar & herbs de Provence. 

2pm - T2 cup of chai tea

5pm Snack - Slice of brown bread with Pip n Nut crunchy peanut & maple

7.15pm Dinner at Ham Yard, near Piccadilly Circus

Starter - Avocado & Artitchoke  

Main - Butternut Squash, chickpea & olive bake

Dessert - *Conscious slip up* Grapefruit posset  

 

Sunday

10am Breakfast - 2 pieces brown bread, 1/2 avocado w lemon juice & paprika and small bowl of coconut yoghurt, homemade granola & strawberries

2pm Post Yoga Snack - Jacobs Crackers 

Afternoon/Evening Grazing - Coconut yoghurt, pumpkin seed butter on toast.

 

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustaining Calm in the City

City life is exciting. It's hustle and bustle, fast pace, continuous change, fashion, food, fitness, fun!!

It can also be stressful, lonely, impatient, unforgiving, overwhelming, pretentious. 

We all have our ways of calming the mind. It could be taking a walk, jogging, reading a book, meditating, having a cuppa, people watching, bird watching! But once you've found that inner calm, how do you sustain it for the rest of the day? Till the end of the working week? All the way through to Sunday evening and when you wake up on Monday morning?

How do you master the "not giving a shit" attitude? When things go tits up, how do you shrug it off? How do you laugh in the face of what feels like "hopelessness"? 

1. Are you aware of your breath? 

If you reach to 80 years old, you will breath about 672,768,000 times in your life. And majority of these breaths will be controlled unconsciously. 

Breathing consciously however, can help to improve sleep, reduce stress and improve health. So at the end of your chapter, or before you go to have a scroll through Instagram - stop to observe your breathing. Simply be aware for a minute or count to 10 and see if you can extend that state of calm for awhile longer!

2. Flight mode.

Not just while flying but try putting your phone on flight mode while eating or walking, reading or talking to a friend. Time is valuable and whatever the action, giving your attention to that one action will make it a) more enjoyable b) more stress-free and c) keep you more content for longer. 

3. Ditch the caffeine.

How many times have you or someone you know half-joked that you need caffeine to make it through the day? Personally I have a jumper with the slogan "Insert Coffee To Start" so I know how you might feel. 

Laying off the caffeine will help you feel less stressed and anxious as your body won't be going through constant "fight or flight" mode. You'll also save money in the long-term and that always reduces stress!

 

You will have good days and bad days but it's how you react to those bad days that determine whether you will have just an off day or an off week...

So give these a try and let me know how you get on. As always please send me a message via the contact page if you have any questions or more tips!

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xxx

Implementing Yoga into Your Daily Routine

It has been a looong time, due to a crazy busy few months. Can't complain! But I've been itching to get back to blogging - sorry if I'm a bit rusty! 

In case you didn't already know, I recently got back from a life-changing experience in India where I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training and a thai massage course which I can't wait to try on my clients! 

I've already been struggling to explain how I felt being there as it's hard to understand if you haven't been in a situation like that before. So in short - I had a fricking AMAZING time, I loved it, I loved the people I met, the school, the food, the everything! And if it's something you are considering either for your own personal practice or because you want to teach yoga then ping me a message because I can't recommend this place enough!

However, as most people can't just up and leave to India for a month I thought I'd be generous and share a few of my learnings with you. Things that can be implemented into your lifestyle and that ultimately can make you a better, happier person!

Starting with...

Truthfulness (Satya)

Being honest with yourself and to others. As much as todays society might disagree, you don't have to be a perfect human being - just an honest one. Whether you're hiding behind feelings of anger, telling lies to people you love or not allowing the real you to shine through - denial!

You don't have to start insulting people because you don't like their hair or you think they're bad parents. Use your words to heal rather than harm. 

Non-Hoarding (Aparigraha)

Whether this is physical possessions, emotional baggage or maybe someone. Take time to evaluate what you actually need - what makes you truly happy, what is really important to you, who doesn't weigh you down with their own negativity...

We are consumed with material things and we get too attached to them. Create space in you head as well as your home. 

If you find something is holding you back, be that a thing, a person, thoughts or painful memories - take a deep breath…and let them go. 

Contentment (Santosha)

Not satisfaction. Contentment.

Learning to be happy with what you already have. Understanding that things will come and go and people will come and go but you can remain happy no matter what. 

Living in the present instead of constantly wishing for something better and thinking too much into the future. Practice remaining calm whether you've succeeded in something or not. And be content no matter the result :)

Discipline (Tapas) not the Spanish cuisine!

As Summer starts to fade I think Tapas becomes even more relevant for us in modern society. The days are getting shorter and our motivation may start to fizzle out. 

With a little self-discipline, observation of oneself and taking small steps we can reach the greater goal, becoming physically and mentally stronger and more flexible. 

 

Whether on or off the mat, we can apply all of these tools to enhance are daily lives. To help ourselves, the people around us and the environment we live in. It's not about drastically changing our lifestyles but making small changes.

Sure, none of what I've shared is revolutionary but I wonder how many of us actually apply these in everyday life...

For questions about my experience or if you're interested in practicing yoga then send me a message via the Contact page!

Namaste

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xxx

 

 

 

 

My Training Routine

People often ask me what I do to stay in shape so I thought I'd give you an insight into my current workout routine. I've always loved variation and mixing things up as it keeps things interesting for me and my body responds really well to this too! 

So here's what I do on a weekly basis:

Strength Training 

Over the Winter I was suffering more than usual from arthritis in my hands and found weight training really useful. I was able to pull and push as long as my wrists remained in a neutral position and while the gym was a graveyard to most, for me it became my playground!

Now I'm going 2-3 times a week - one upper body focused, one lower body and one full body, mixing weights with bodyweight exercises, pull ups and core workouts. 

Yoga

I try to get to a yoga class at least once a week. For me it's as much to unwind as it is to stretch out all the muscles that usually get neglected. I love the classes at The Power Yoga Company in Parsons Green as it doesn't matter which teacher I get, I'll always feel challenged and learn something new - whether that's a physical technique that I can apply on the mat or a mental piece of advice I can apply away from the mat.

Running

I literally had to sign up for a half marathon to get my ass running again. But after my first run of the year on a sunny, Sunday morning a few weeks back I remembered how much I actually enjoy it. Plus the feeling I get afterwards is amazing. Now I'm going for at least one run a week, increasing my distance every week and will gradually edge it up to two then three a week. 

I'm running for Street Child and if you would like to sponsor me by giving a donation here's the link:

https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/street-child-royal-parks-half-marathon

Classes

I try to go to someone else's class once a week. Not only is it a chance to get my butt kicked for a change but I always learn new tricks, methods and ideas which is really important as a trainer. Most recently I've been loving UN1T classes on Wandsworth Bridge Road. They're a mix of strength and cardio and different classes challenge you in different ways. I also really like the fact that you hop from station to station with two or three other people so they motivate you too. 

Quite possibly the sweatiest class ever! 

Relax

Even if I wanted to train every day of the week it's impossible with my work commitments. As a freelance PT, every week is different so although I have a rough idea of how my training schedule will look, I have to be flexible and so it often changes.

Switching off is just as important for your body and mind and I have recently started using the Headspace app to get into the habit of mediating daily. Although I'll admit I sometimes find it a struggle just to sit still for ten minutes I always feel the benefits afterwards. 

 

Remember! What I do may not work for you. Our bodies are different and will respond differently to different types of training. 

I strongly believe though, that a varied training programme incorporating resistance, cardio and stretching helps to build lean muscle, stops any boredom occurring and prevents any plateauing. 

For advice on training feel free to ping me an email!

xxx

Excuses and Their Underlying Meaning

While on your journey to becoming a healthier, happier person you are bound to come up against obstacles. But the main barrier getting in your way (get out the kleenex) is you. 

We all make excuses from time to time. It's very easy to do because it requires very little commitment. 

 

Here are a few of my favourite excuses and the real meaning behind them...

 

Excuse No.1 - I can't get to the gym

Underlying Meaning - I can't be arsed to work out today. 

Park, walk, run, jump, skip or hop - there's things you can do that don't require a gym. 

 

Excuse No.2 - Healthy Eating is Expensive 

Underlying Meaning - Health isn't my priority. 

Healthy eating is expensive if you're stocking up on Deliciously Ella energy balls and buying take out from The Detox Kitchen on a daily basis. Two words - meal prep. 

 

Excuse No.3 - I don't have time to meal prep.

Underlying Meaning - I'd rather watch Breaking Bad.

Spoiler Alert! Walter White ruins everything around him, loses his family and dies. Now go and boil your peas. 

 

Excuse No.4 - I don't know what I'm doing in gym. 

Underlying Meaning - I need to put my big girl/boy pants on. 

Screen shot the shit out of Instagram and YouTube. From gym to home workouts, zumba to frickin' line dancing I assure you there is someone out there to help and inspire you.

 

Excuse No.5 - I tried exercising but didn't see any results.

Underlying Meaning - I bought Scarlett Moffatt's dvd in January but now it makes a good coaster. 

Results take time, patience and perseverance. But I agree it probably makes a better coaster. 

 

Now it might seem harsh but in order to make change we need to be honest with ourselves. We're not always motivated, we don't always choose the salad over the burrito. We don't always choose to sacrifice our only lie in for a sweaty session but if you have a goal and you want to reach it then…(you know how to finish this sentence). 

xxx

Dr Christian Will See ME Now!! Part 2

Arriving to The Soho Hotel on Tuesday 28th February I was naturally a bit nervous. I've never interviewed anyone, let alone a celebrity. Not to mention he just happens to be one of the most handsome faces on British tv. And it turns out he's bloody lovely too! 

However, all nerves quickly evaporated when I was greeted by the most energetic and friendly doctor I've ever met in my life. I wasn't coming for a medical appointment but I couldn't help thinking that if all doctors made us feel this at ease we wouldn't dread going so much! 

After being away from our tv screens for far too long, Dr Christian is back with a brand new show on W TV channel called Dr Christian Will See You Now. In a state of the art clinic, Dr Christian and his group of on hand specialists not only take their time to listen and talk to the patients about their medical conditions but also to the friends, partners and relatives who've come with them. 

When asked about the importance of talking about concerns with your loved ones, he explained that although it's sometimes challenging, it's very important. "It's something we find hard to do. It's showing a chink in the armour - a vulnerability. Asking for help doesn't seem like an acceptable thing to do which is silly." He then went on to say that "talking is a healing process. An acknowledgement of something that's wrong." 

He then went on to do a very funny impression of his parents having a "rather joyous to watch [argument]" which was just an example of how most of us communicate with our partners due to lack of communication! We expect them to be able to work it out for themselves but "sometimes it's having to acknowledge that our partners are a bit useless and needing to help them!" 

The other prominent topic that crops up is low self-esteem. It seems in the show that they focus a lot on the psychological side effects but Dr Christian says that he trys to tackle the medical condition first. "Patients are more comfortable talking about it. To acknowledge low self-esteem is quite a profound thing to do." He also explains how some people won't even be aware that they have low self-esteem. "In the show, patients were convinced that they had a physical illness that became more apparent to me to be more of a psychological problem manifesting as a physical illness." 

Stemming from this idea that how we perceive ourselves can be detrimental to our mental health, I asked Dr Christian how one can prioritise self-care in an age where our phone is an extension of our arm. "I think you need to have a down-time agreement with yourself. One area of health that is probably least talked about and we're worst at doing is doing nothing." Dr Christian suggests giving yourself a cut off time from your technology as "playing on your phone is stimulating your brain, affecting your circadian rhythm" (I had to google that one later on) and "sleep patterns." 

So, after 10pm no more emails or "angry tweets"! 

A topic that has recently taken over the forefront of my social media is the discussion about hormonal imbalances - in particular how they can play a major part in weight loss/gain, acne and moods. While lots of women will turn to the contraceptive pill to regulate these problems, I wanted to know if there was a more holistic way women can deal with hormonal imbalances. 

"It depends if there's an underlying medical condition or not. Hormonal imbalance is a term that's bandied about and not always understood. Hormonal imbalance to me would be hyper/hypothyroidism which requires medical treatment. You can't eat more kale to treat your hypo or hyperthyroidism. It's a tricky one to define."

He also explains that acne could be a symptom particularly in women who have too many androgens (the more masculinising male hormone), which could also be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome - polycystic ovaries crops up in Episode 1. "The pill is a very reasonable way of treating that and also a very reasonable way of treating acne."

I'm happy when he mentions that hormonal imbalances respond well to good diet, good exercise and getting enough rest and sleep. "All those things will influence the way you respond to another type of treatment and the way you face an illness much better."

I ask if perhaps the term 'hormonal imbalance' is thrown around flimsily and he suggests that "it's not necessarily a hormonal imbalance. Sometimes it is used as an excuse and there's a massive sense of denial there. A classic example is with weight gain. We rarely find a medical condition underlying with overweight people which can make people very angry. It's very rare that we find an under active thyroid in a very overweight person. Polycystic ovarian syndrome more commonly, however weight gain is not directly caused by the hormonal imbalance." 

The bottom line is probably too much energy going in and not enough going out...

I wanted to know how common these polycystic ovaries were and if it's something women should get checked. "Reasonably common. However, it's not something you need to get screened. As women you have a lot of opportunities to access healthcare i.e smear tests, contraception, babies etc so those collections of symptoms have more than likely already presented themselves to a doctor or healthcare professional."

So, if you have the symptoms then go get checked but Dr Christian doesn't advise sending off for a blood test just incase. We double checked the number of women who suffer from PCOS and although it's difficult to know the exact number it's thought that around 1 in 5 women suffer from it. 

Mental health is becoming less of a taboo, although we still have a long way to go. I asked Dr Christian what advise he would give to loved ones who suspect their friends/relatives are suffering from a form of mental illness. "Talk about it. You'll think it's better not to mention it but it's not better. They're probably desperate for someone to say something.

I think too often we feel awkward and don't know how to go about saying something." But as he also mentions, you don't need to be a doctor or a nurse, you just need to be a friend. "And being a friend means saying the truth sometimes." 

So, pick a time and the place carefully and let that person know that they can talk to you. 

To finish I wanted to get his opinion on Othorexia Nervosa which has recently come to light with the clean eating movement and has been linked to negative social media 'influences'. "As with all fads we inevitably discover the negative consequences. The internet is wonderful and terrifying at the same time and people get lost." He suggests that it's the lack of knowledge you get, "bloggers writing very well meaning stuff, sometimes very educated but they can underestimate the power and the influence that they can have.

The constant posting of pictures and perfection can be very alarming to young people who are struggling and trying to cope with who they are and what they are." 

Detecting the signs can be difficult but he says to keep an eye out for obsessional behaviour, striving for perfection and any changes in behaviour or moods (that's not already typical of a teenager!) "Ask for professional advice, even without the person of concern present. Particularly with regards to young people, be aware of the fads and gently steer them away from that sort of behaviour because it's a dangerous behaviour."

To say that Dr Christian is passionate about what he does is an understatement. In fact, it was difficult to get a word in between the hand gestures and the slightly off on a tangent stories he told to demonstrate his opinion on certain matters - which were touching and amusing to say the least!

If you are interested in or can relate to any of the above topics then make sure you tune in to 'Dr Christian Will See You Now' on Wednesday, 5th April, 9pm on W Channel. 

 

 © UKTV

© UKTV

Dr Christian Will See ME Now!! Part 1

In the run up to the launch of his new tv show 'Dr Christian Will See You Now' on W Channel, I was given the pleasure of interviewing Dr Christian. We covered a range of topics relating to the show itself but also a few more personal questions about his views on health and wellness. 

For someone who has not just been known for Embarrassing Bodies but also for his own (rather buff) body, it was interesting to learn more about his own ethos behind living a healthy lifestyle. 

What's your approach to taking vitamins and supplements as part of a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle?

I don't think there's any need for it.

There's emerging evidence that these sort of high dose vitamins that people are taking can actually be quite damaging. We've seen increases in prostrate and lung cancer and people that are taking vitamin E in high doses. There's all sorts of evidence that this antioxidant fad in pill supplement form is probably increasing cancer risk. We kid ourselves into thinking that our morning vitamin pill cancels out all the crap of the day, for example your salad cancels out your chips. We all do that to a degree.

30 minutes on the treadmill doesn't atone for a night on the chardonnay! We're not short of food or nutrition so why do we need to take supplements? It's clever marketing. 

What is your opinion on training supplements such as protein powders, BCAAs?

Completely unnecessary.

None of us are protein deficient in any way. Our diets are excessive in protein in the West. A picture of some ripped abs on a bottle doesn't mean we're going to look like that if we take it. 

It's only really Olympian level athletes who could possibly have those sorts of energy requirements. Other than that, it's £40 for a tub of protein which is great marketing but not good for your pocket.

The one thing that we may need to supplement is conversation - which is free! One thing we're trying to encourage on the show is talking and communicating - what we need is a tub of communication pills!

Top tips to de-stress?

Do things you enjoy more and don't feel guilty about doing it.

Our down-time needs to be relished and enjoyed. So many people feel guilty about taking holidays and theres 101 examples I could give but I think relish that which you enjoy and don't feel bad about doing it. And give yourself time to do it.

You are as important as your work, your boss, your kids, everything. There's nothing selfish or egotistical or wrong about putting yourself first at all. Put other people first too but also put yourself first.

Saying that, it's no good listening to your favourite music if you're also feeling guilty about it cause it's not having the same effect. It's also no good listening to your favourite music while sitting doing your emails. Learning how to switch off and clear your head of all that nonsense is very important and all of us could do better at it. All of us feel a bit bottom-clenchingly awkward about it but it's a very valuable thing to do. 

Think of that which you enjoy, do it and feel good about doing it!

How do you stay in shape?

Laughing - I obviously watch what I eat (while munching on his 3rd biscuit!). I go to the gym. You need to work out what works for you and so often we look at someone we admire, usually some celebrity or Kard-ashy type person and we think that what they do is also going to work for us but it doesn't necessarily. And if it doesn't work for us we feel there's something wrong with us or we're not as good. And this sets up this cycle of negativity and I think you just need to have the confidence to work out what's good for you. 

So for me, cardio does not work - I find it boring, I don't enjoy it. I prefer weights and I know that weights do what I want them to do. But I think having the confidence to know that is important. When I tweet, "I don't do any cardio at all" there's a twitter melt down! It's like I've said the most offensive thing, it's quite bazaar! So I use weights, I enjoy that and I vaguely have an eye on what I eat and how much I'm eating but it's not an obsessive calorie counting thing. I suppose it's because I've always eaten well and it's quite natural. 

The extension for other people is to subtly work it out - if you've been slogging away on a running machine for 6 months and not getting anywhere why not have a look at some other things? We're very good at doing something just because we've read it in Men's Health and yet, if it's not doing anything for you then why are you still doing it? 

What will we find on your workout playlist?

The Wombats. Joking. 

What is your guilty pleasure with food?

I don't have a guilty pleasure because I don't feel guilty.

I don't think one should feel guilty and that's one of the big problems. Guilt is a terrible thing with food because why are you guilty? You like it and is that a bad thing? No. I think people who deny themselves the things they really like, let's say chocolate cake - saying "right I'm never eating chocolate cake cause it's clearly bad" is going to set up guilt and then you're going to crave chocolate cake because that's all you're thinking about.

It's just a horrible, negative thing so it's better not to feel guilty! 

So, does that mean you'll be having pancakes today? (It's Shrove Tuesday.)

Shit! Why haven't we had pancakes? I hope so!

 Telling Dr Christian about my ailments! 

Telling Dr Christian about my ailments! 

 

Tune in to Dr Christian Will See You Now on Wednesday, 22nd March at 9pm on W Channel. 

Fitness, Food & Fashion Faves

Fitness

1Rebel

My first experience of this studio was at an event doing the Reshape class. It was basically everything I usually hate meshed together in a 45 minute weirdly enjoyable sweat fest; treadmill sprints, lots of people, dark and little to no individual attention. 

Let me be honest with you, I don't sprint voluntarily. I save that kind of torture for my bootcampers and PT clients so unless a zombie on amphetamines is chasing me through a burning forest…you get the picture. However, during this class the instructor guides you through speed changes and inclines and just when you think you're legs might go out from under you, you change to a strength and conditioning section using weights, benches and bodyweight. 

Usually if I go to class it's because I want to be kicked up the arse. It's easy to stop when the going gets tough if you're training by yourself but in a class environment you're motivated by the people around you and a little bit of friendly competition can be the difference between burning 400 calories to burning 500 calories! The fact that the class was bigger than I usually like made me feel less pressurised and the occasional "whoop" from girls around the room kept it fun as well as physically demanding. 

The lack of light could be hazardous if you're a clumsy wotsit like myself but on the plus side, the fact that you can't see your red, sweat-soaked face in the mirror means you don't have to be conscious of the fact that you look like a baboons bottom. 

The only downside for me was the lack of individual attention as I know I could have worked harder if the instructor had come and said "one more!" or "get lower!" or "wtf is that?" (yes I like to be mentally abused during a workout). 

All in all though I loved the combination of sprint intervals, renegade rows and squat jumps and I got such an endorphin rush. It just goes to show that doing a little of what you don't like can be really good for you!

Food

Veganuary

If you read my last blog you'll know that I had been contemplating the idea of going vegan but had no real intention of starting anytime soon. Writing that blog post though actually gave me the kick start I needed - especially as I was contacted by a few of you with helpful advice and great reading suggestions. And so for the last three weeks I have been eating more mindfully and most days eating a majority of plant-based meals. 

It's going to take a lot more time and research before I'm ready to go full on vegan but for the time being I'm enjoying exploring different foods and experimenting with meat free recipes. 

Here are a couple of  links to recipes I found online which I particularly enjoyed!

Cookie & Kate - Sweet Potato & Black Bean Vegan Burgers

http://cookieandkate.com/2013/sweet-potato-black-bean-veggie-burgers/

Hummusapien - Vegan Lasagne 

http://www.hummusapien.com/easy-vegan-lasagna/

Follow me on Snapchat to see what I'm eating daily and get more recipe inspiration and please comment below and/or leave links for recipes or interesting reads that you recommend!

Snapchat - chelseasiegelpt

Fashion

Lorna Jane

I made the most of the January sales and kitted myself out with a head to ankle outfit from Lorna Jane. The item that I was most excited about was the sports bra as I'd heard from so many bloggers that they were the most flattering and supportive booby holders in the 'athleisure' world right now. 

Let's just say I'm shamelessly taking full responsibility for the fact that a male in the gym walked into a smith machine while being unfairly distracted. 

Wearing nice clothes while you workout isn't a necessity and hopefully your goals aren't just based around aesthetics - however, I'd be lying if I said I train better in my comfy faded trackies with the not too discreet hole in the crotch than I do when I'm wearing a pair of booty hugging, sweat-proof leggings that magically enhance your derrière.

You don't have to spend a fortune to feel good in the gym and I can tell ya that a staple sports bra and leggings will help you feel extra confident while you're working out. Lorna Jane have an ever changing range of activewear as well so you can always feel on trend. 

We all have days when we're less motivated and if it takes the magic of a gorgeous new sports bra to get the job done then why not? No judgement from over here!

xxx

Should I Go Vegan?

As usual I'm a little bit late getting on the band wagon but as with most things I preach - it's never too late to get started! 

So, am I going vegan? As of this moment…no. 

If you are a trainer you will understand the frustration of taking on a client who sets out with good intentions but has not really made the commitment. We use the '5 Stages of Change' to determine where someone is when going through lifestyle changes. 

1. Pre-contemplation - Also referred to as the "denial" stage.

2. Contemplation - Dipping your toe in but hesitant… 

3. Preparation - You've made your first step in the right direction i.e starting a gym membership or having a consolation with a PT.

4. Action - On the road. 

5. Maintenance - Congrats you've maintained and sustained for a lengthy period of time! 

Why I'm sharing this with you, is because I am still in the 'contemplation' stage. I know what I should do and more importantly what I want to do but in all honesty I'm not ready to make the change. 

It's easy to feel pressurised, especially when something almost feels like a "trend". And if you're only doing it cause it's what the cool kids are doing, you're unlikely to sustain it in the long haul. 

You have to believe in yourself and be ready to make sacrifices - because with anything health and fitness related there are going to be dinners you have to turn down because you're on a plan, or nights out because you booked an early yoga class on Sunday morning and parties because you and "Jack D" can't be trusted after the second or third drink! 

Yes, I've gone off on a tangent. However, the point I'm trying to make is that I don't think going vegan will be an easy journey for me. And I'd be surprised if next week suddenly all my IG posts are strictly plant-based. But I'm throwing it out there that it's something I'm considering for my health but mainly for environmental factors. 

If anybody is doing Vegan-uary or has been vegan for a while then please share your experience, tips, motivation etc as your girl here is needing a helping hand! or two! 

xxx

Life Update & Life Lessons

Happy New Year!! (Sorry it's rather belated…)

It has been a good start to the year with clients keen to get going and I'm back to my own training regime and regular eating habits! No more Lindt chocolate balls in my porridge unfortunately :( 

But with any break it never takes long for me to crave exercise and veggies and early nights! I did make it up till midnight on NYE you'll be pleased to know but only just and with the help of a coffee or three ;) 

Again, a little late on the bandwagon with regards to setting my 2017 resolutions but that's basically because I completely forgot and to be honest my fitness goals are still the same - get stronger, fitter, maintain a healthy 'diet', create more balance yadda yadda yadda… 

My 2016 goals were to be able to do pull ups and hold a handstand unassisted...

Pull Ups Progress - I completed my pull up goal early on in the year and have since then gone backwards in terms of progress. 

Handstand Progress - I have ganglion cysts in both hands which is preventing me from putting any weight on my hands so unfortunately I have had to put that goal on hold while I figure out how to get rid of these pesky (painful) buggers. 

Halfway through the year I decided I wanted to grow a bum and while focusing on that my general fitness started to drop. 

For the last month I was desperately trying to gain upper body strength, grow a booty and get to high intensity classes so that I could get it all back and in the meantime started neglecting my yoga practice and so my flexibility got worse. 

Lesson 1) You can have too many goals - Focus on one. Tick it off. Move on to the next.  

Lesson 2) Understand where you went wrong. Acknowledge it didn't happen this time round. Understand why. Learn from it. Kick ass next time. 

Lesson 3) Don't copy someone else's goal - Booty gains. Bonus. Not fitting into any of your jeans? Bad times. 

Aesthetic goals have never been my motivation to workout. Strength, power, endurance and balance are much more appealing to me and so that is what I will be dedicating my energy to in 2017. 

I will also be focusing on smaller things - my Mum gave me the loveliest book where I write 3 moments of joy every day and it's only Day 4 and already acknowledging the smaller pleasures in my life are making me appreciate everything around me so much more. 

Give it a try! 

So long story short, my 'resolutions' for 2017 are to keep looking after my body from the inside out and to stop worrying and take time to smile at all the good things around me. 

Don't underestimate the influence of small things. 

xxx

 

 

 

Fave London Fitness Studios

PHIIT

I bought their introductory offer of 3 for £45 and tried two of their Hybrid classes and one Pilates class. They have lots more classes available though and I will definitely be trying them out in the new year! I particularly enjoyed the Hybrid class with Aleksa as it got my heart pumping with AMRAP and then got my abs burning with the MOTR Reformer (which highlighted my terrible balance!). 

KOBOX

Again I started with the intro offer of 2 for £25 which includes a set of wraps. Although a little hesitant when the warm up started with squat thrusts it got me sweating like a mo fo and half dying/half questioning my fitness levels but loving every second. This is a seriously intense workout incorporating boxing with strength and cardio exercises using bands, med balls and more. If you like to feel destroyed after a workout like myself then go check it out!

BARRECORE

I teach ballet fit classes and was a professional dancer so I was curious to know what this place was about as I'd heard it was the place to go for barre classes. Unfortunately I had a teacher who moved up country but she was awesome and the structure of the class with great. If someone tells you, you won't get DOMS after a barre class they are either a) lying b) not trying hard enough or c) they're not going to Barrecore! When you think the teacher can't possibly add on any more they go and add on more so the entire class is not just challenging you physically but mentally too! I discovered I have a lot of will power and a high pain threshold :) 

9 Round

This was an unexpected gem of a find! I visited the one in Wandsworth - it is a 30 minute workout with guess what? 9 rounds. With a kickboxing theme the workout includes cardio, strength, coordination and core. This workout shows just how much you can do with just 30 mins of your day dedicated to getting your sweat on! Aaaand they are currently offering a 7 day free trial so what are you waiting for?!

Unsure of trying a new studio or nervous to try a different class? Leave suggestions below and I will be your guinea pig :) More reviews to come! 

xxx

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

This year was amazing (I know it's not over yet) but there was a lot of talk going on and not a lot of getting shit done. 

As trainers we encourage our clients to set goals and we set them for ourselves. And just like you we set ourselves fitness goals, nutrition goals and in my case life goals too. Personal and career. 

Now, I don't like to plan too far into the future but I do like to plan for the year ahead. For example 'This year I want to have achieved 'this' 'this' and 'this'. And 2016 has been a lot of planning but not a lot of doing. I know I'm not alone here! 

For myself, it's much easier setting fitness and nutrition goals because I'm in control of everything. I work for myself and freelance for other companies so every week is different and that's what I love about my job. I need variation in my life!

However, in one week I have stepped out of my comfort zone and started to make shit happen!

a) Booking myself onto a yoga teacher training programme in India next Summer!

b) Organising a health & fitness retreat for April!

If someone asked me what could make me even happier it would be to travel with my work more often and so I am so excited for both of these things to happen and for this to just be the beginning of Chelsea's Retreats. Fitness, Nutrition and Travel TICK!

There are risks everywhere in life and unfortunately a lot of the time it is money related (sad truth) but as this isn't going to change any time soon, that's shouldn't be the reason to duck from opportunities. 

Whether they're presented to you on a silver platter (rarely) or you have to create them from a crayon drawing on a paper plate that catches on fire and all goes to shit (fingers crossed this doesn't happen) then at least you tried! There's always Take 2…and Take 3… 

Basically, like with everything worthwhile in life it might take some effort, it might be scary but put on your big girl/boy pants and just do it. At least you'll never wonder 'what if...?'. 

ChelseaPT (454 of 548)-17mb.jpg

 

If you can relate to anything I've said then please share your comments below and for more information about my upcoming retreat on the beautiful Cornish coast then please get in touch by emailing: chelseasiegelpt@outlook.com 

xxx

 

 

 

 

Healthy Comes In All Shapes & Sizes!

Contrary to what is portrayed in magazines and on social media, 'Health' is not measured in six packs or booty gains. 

Just because someone is a certain size doesn't mean they follow a healthy diet or fitness regime and vice versa, someone who may not look like your typical #Fitspo might be able to run a marathon and get her macros in before you've even got your trainers on!

To be 'Healthy' you don't have to work out 7 days a week and live off green smoothies. That's choice - but not advisable. 

What someone looks like on the outside doesn't determine what they look like on the inside or how they feel. We have to be careful how we stereotype 'Healthy Living' because it's not the same for everybody and over-usage of hashtags such as #strongnotskinny is just setting a new idealism which to be honest isn't ideal for everyone. 

There are too many factors that have to be considered before you can define what or who is healthy. However, pursuing perfection is just setting yourself up to fail. 

I can't get enough of social media posts expressing someones self-love for themselves or for someone else! We need to start appreciating our bodies more - what they can do, how we can look after them better, how we can work on our insecurities but highlight our awesomeness!

Anyone who looks down on you for being happy in your skin is a) A green-eyed trivial person  not worth your time b) Insecure and a green-eyed trivial person not worth your time and c) Unhappy and would probably appreciate getting in on some of the bundles of self-love you have on offer :)

Don't judge someone on how many burpees they can do or how well they pull off a lycra all-in-one catsuit (for the record not many can but I'll high 5 any one brave enough to try!). 

Lastly, if you are interested in spending a week full of Sun, Sweat & Self-Love then get in touch for more information about my retreat next May!

Email - chelseasiegelpt@outlook.com

xxx