Mastering the Art of Self-Motivating: The Mantra

There’s a reason top athletes work with top sports pscyhologists.  When it comes to sport, and to fitness in general, mental strength is as important as physical strength. Anyone else seen that classic #fitspo “Your body is not giving out, your … Continue reading

Some Not-So-Obvious Gym Bag Essentials

I like to be prepared.  In all honesty, I rarely am, but I’m working on it. I’m an anxious kinda gal and feeling like I’m ready for any eventuality helps to keep those butterflies at bay.

Thus (yes thus :s), my gym bag is an Aladdin’s cave, a tardis, a Mary Poppins style, never-get caught-short stash of everything I could conceivably need before, during and after my workout. So here are a few all-important essentials you didn’t know you needed…

Aloe Vera: GBE 1

Ever think: “Oh crap I need to shave my legs!” approximately 60 seconds before you need to head out the door to work out in those 3/4 length capris? We’ve all been there ladies! (Darn gender-biased social constraints!).

Inevitably there’s the odd knick and scrape as you simultaneously attempt to shave around your knees/shins/ankles and frantically scour the washing basket for a matching pair of socks (just me?!). Even if you escape the ordeal graze-free you betcha it’s still gonna sting when you start breaking a sweat.  Swipe on a quick layer of aloe and you’re sting-free and good to go.  It’s the little things!

20150129_113330

Tea Tree Wipes: 

If you need to rush somewhere fast after your workout, these can be a lifesaver.  The anti-bacterial, anti-sceptic tea tree neutralises any sweat related odours with a quick swipe.  I use these from Australian BodyCare and they are fab.

A Water-Proof Confidence Boost:

GBE 4Makeup at the gym seems to be a “controversial” (ish) topic.  Let’s not hate on each other ladies. Admittedly if it’s sliding down your face due to sweat (in which case good on you for working up a sweat guuurl) it can be a bit of a confidence killer.

For me, I find a quick swipe of (very) waterproof eyeliner just gives me a small confidence boost helpful when I’m walking into a room full of people, trying to bring my A-Game.  I might even brush on a bit of powder.  Yeah I’ll sweat it off but hey ho-we all know that getting in there is the hardest part of the workout

The Just-In-Case Energy Kick/Electrolyte Replacement: 

GBE 2

This depends on your training goals/needs.  Ideally you’ll have a nice healthy pre-workout meal or snack that’ll keep you bouncing along happily for the duration. However, if you had to rush there and hunger pangs strike long before you’re done, simple sugar energy tablets or chews can be essential back-up.GBE 5

Additionally, if you’re training long and hard (and sweating like a sinner in church #KeepinItReal), then replacing electrolytes lost through sweat can really help your performance.If you’re aiming to improve endurance/strength/fitness and don’t want your body going all catabolic on you (burning muscle for energy) because you’re, quite literally, going that extra mile, these can prove useful.

…and last but not least…

- a good quality arnica gel or cream -

– a good quality arnica gel or cream –

Arnica Gel or Cream:

One of my goals this year is to prioritise looking after my body and regular use of arnica is a great help!  If you caught my last post you’ll know that arnica is something I use often.  It’s widely available from various brands (SBC, Nelson, Kneipp and more).

I find it a great homeopathic remedy for bruising, aching and over-worked muscles and aches and pains in general.  I like to pop some on any injury prone areas straight after a session to keep those hardworking little muscles happy.

– Happy Body: Training Smart –

Boxing is an intense sport and I (try to) train intensely.  However, training SMART is just as if not more important than training hard.  Being active helps me stay strong mentally as well as physically and I want to be active my whole life long so it’s important to look after it, even while it’s capable of bouncing back.

We spend a lot of time these days insulting and being (sometimes profoundly) unhappy with our bodies, but remember, your body enables you to do incredible things: take care of it! 🙂

Workout Recovery : 5 Top Tips

Welcome back folks!

The importance of recovering well after exercise is often seriously underestimated.  Recovery is where the magic happens!  Although you might be done at the gym , your body is still working hard to repair the “damage” done during exercise in ways that make it stronger and fitter.  So if you want to maximise progess and minimize injuries recovering well is essential.  

“But how?!” I hear you say? Well I’m glad you asked…here are 5 top tips:

- two-ingredient chocolate quinoa: coming soon! -

– two ingredient, cheats chocolate quinoa: coming soon! –

1. Protein-  Intense exercise creates teeeeny tiny tears in your muscles.  Exercise breaks ’em down and the protein synthesis that happens during recovery builds ’em right back up- a little bigger and therefore stronger (over time that is).  This growth process is called muscle hypertrophy (yeeeeeeah science).  Your body needs the right tools to do this effectively so try and make a healthy source of lean protein part of that post-workout meal or snack.

Whey protein is one of the most speedily absorbed kinds and is widely available in various forms.  Low-fat chocolate milk has also been shown to be good for recovery- the simple carbs help in the protein synthesis process.  Quinoa is a good vegan and vegetarian option-look out for my quick and easy chocolate quinoa recipe coming soon!

2. Cool down and don’t skip those stretches-  Guilty as charged! I get it: you just finished a tough training session and you’re ready to go home, refuel and put your feet up-you deserve it right? Right! But 10-15 minutes cooling down and stretching out those muscles will likely save you days, weeks, months in recovery time later on when overuse and tight muscles turn into pesky sports injuries.  It’s not worth it folks!

Dial down the speed on that treadmill and enjoy a nice leisurly walk or jog and enjoy!  Put on your favourite podcast or cool-down playlist and bask in that sense of accomplishment!  For your stretches, there are tonnes of fab post-workout stretching videos available on youtube.  I also recomend incorporating yoga into your exercise routine for regular thorough stretching and increasing flexibility-bend don’t break! 🙂

3. Rehydrate- Your body functions best when well-hydrated.  Your muscles in particular are going to need plenty of water to perform well and recover properly.  Amongst other things, dehydration can cause bloating and there’s nothing like feeling puffy and bloated to dampen those post-workout spirits.

Bored of water? Coconut water tastes great and is a fab natural way to replace those all-important electrolytes lost through sweat.  Try some herbal or fruit teas-there are endless flavours on offer and many (ginger/fennel/peppermint) deliver extra health benefits too!

4. Cool any injuries- Icing injured and injury prone areas immeadiately after exercise reduces pain and swelling.  Try and be consistent.  For example, if you know you’re prone to shin splints then consider cooling your shins as a regular part of your post-exercise routine as a preventative measure too.

Cooling bandages and specialist ice packs that can be strapped to the area make this process easier (look out for a review of these Artic Ease Cold Therapy Wraps coming soon).

But if your budget doesn’t allow, never underestimate the power of the humble bag of frozen peas! Cool the injury prone area for 10-20 minutes at a time and be sure to keep a cloth between the ice and your skin (folded up bit of kitchen roll/tea towel etc. will do the job).

5. Nourish-  It’s not just protein your body needs to be able to repair itself well.  Anti-inflammatory fruits and veg are a great help! Pomegranate seeds and blueberries are two superfood super-yummy options.

- fresh juicy pomegranate seeds -

– fresh juicy pomegranate seeds: a perfect anti-inflammatory post-workout treat –

Another anti-inflammatory, pro-recovery food is tart cherries.  Studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice before intense exercise can reduce recovery time.  Tart cherry supplements are also available.

BONUS TIP- Arnica

I use arnica allllllll the time for relieving my aching muscles.  There are loads of arnica products available: gels, creams, bath soaks and salts.  I personally like the SBC arnica gel and bath soak and the Kneipp arnica range

I hope this helps! Do you have any recovery tips? What helps you recover? Comment below 🙂

Till next time!

xxx