"Happy people don't have the best of everything. They make the best of everything"

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

4Fitnessake and Tezenis New Activewear Launch

Picture the scene. One of your favourite personal trainers. The launch of her new workout routine. Combined with the launch of a new Activewear line. Followed by food and goodies. 

Chiara and Tezenis

Yes, basically my version of heaven! So when the beautiful Chiara (AKA 4FitnessSake) decided to hold an event at the Tezenis on Oxford Street to celebrate the launch of their new #Fitness_City clothing line, needles to say I was there in a heartbeat!

As an Italian born company, Tezenis has over 300 stores in Italy and over 100 in other countries around the world. Now, to be honest, I have walked past the store a number times outside of Oxford Circus tube station and, although there's been things that have caught my eye, I've never really made the effort to actually go inside. But when there's a new activewear line on the cards - well, naturally that changes things - and as a group us fitness enthusiasts climbed up to the top floor one Wednesday evening, we were a little in awe at all the beautiful new outfits on display.

Then of course, out appears Chiara, absolutely rocking the Teens colour splash leggings and matching sports bra. As we took to our mats, she lead us into a gentle warm up before beginning the new series of her very own 'Total Body' workout....

Created by Chiara herself, Total Body is a head-to-toe workout created exclusively for women. Having worked at top end studios Barrecore and Psycle, and now as a PT at luxury London gym The Third Space, Chiara knows the ins and outs of how to sculpt and tone the body - and her workout certainly backs that up! 

Set to music, the class alternates between intervals of cardio aerobics and resistance training using barre inspired moves to lengthen, strengthen and elongate the body.  Yes, the workout is high energy. Yes, it's challenging, and your legs/bum/arms/everything WILL burn (that's all those isometric moves thank you very much), but with Chiara's bubbly personality, encouraging words and killer body herself - she manages to motivate you to work through the pain!! So, whilst our 'water bottle' weights might not look like much, with tiny isometric moves working deep into the core stabilising muscles, trust me, the burn was real....

Whilst the first two parts of the class comprise of endurance and power, the last part of the class is all about 'letting go'. Here, Chiara encourages you all to have fun, play around, discover what works for you and your body. This is why I love Chiara's attitude to fitness so much - rather than forcing you to rep out sets of your least favourite exercise, or encourage you to slog away for hours on the treadmill,  Chiara turns working out into something you can actually love. 

Fighting those bingo wings!

With this in mind, Chiara is now holding monthly events, bringing together groups of females to workout, sweat, laugh, chat....and well, everything else happens when a gaggle of girls combine!

You may remember my last review on the here previous event with Women's Health editor Kate Mulloy, which focused on the importance of a balance (if not, here it is). This month, however, Chiara is focusing on 'self love', joining forces with Liha Beauty, a natural ethical skincare brand. After a 45 minute session of the Total Body Class with Chiara herself, everyone at the event will then be able to make their very own natural body scrub (yes, you get it take home with you!) and, throughout the event, both Chiara and the founders of Liha Beauty (Abi and Liha, FYI) will be talking everything about self-love and how to practice it everyday.  

Tickets for the event are limited and there's only a few left, so visit this link quickly if you want to reserve yours!

Wheel Barrow laughs!

If you have missed out, don't worry, there will be another event next month too :)  Maybe I'll catch you there!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The curse of insomnia...

OK, so this is a bit of a different post to my usual ones, so bear with me. Before you start to read, I want to firstly declare – this isn’t an article lecturing you on the importance of sleep. Trust me, I’ve read enough of them. This also isn’t an article to tell you about all the magical ways to aid your sleep. Trust me, I’ve tried enough of them. Herbal tea? Check. Lavender pillow spray? Check. Paul McKenna ‘I can make you sleep’ self-hypnosis CD? Play it every single night, as I lie in bed…awake.

The clock watching...

You see, the most frustrating thing about all these articles highlighting how important sleep is to our bodies, is that they fail to recognise some of us are desperate to do so…. if only it were that easy. They amplify that sense of desperation, which only becomes counter intuitive as we lie awake in angst, watching the clock counting down the hours until its ‘safe’ to wake up again. I do everything I should – no caffeine after 4pm, avoiding heavy dinners, black out blinds, blue light ban in my bedroom. I could pretty much recall the full 28 minutes of Paul McKenna’s "I Can Make You Sleep" hypnosis to you - I might put you to sleep... unfortunately not me.

Sorry Paul, not me

I know what you’re thinking right, how come I can be so active during the day with so little sleep at night? Actually, mornings are fine - it's a funny but common misconception that the worst part of insomnia is the daytime grogginess – that’s minor in comparison that feeling of frustration in the dark hours after midnight.  Checking the clock only amplifies the anguish. Often, it’s a relief when my alarm clock begins to ring at 6am – the signal it’s finally a reasonable hour to begin my day.

Attempting yoga to quieten my mind

Having always had a very can do attitude, the fact sleep isn’t just something you can ‘make’ happen doesn’t settle easy with me. Unlike any other goal or achievement, the more you try motivate and force yourself, the more difficult it becomes. Switching off isn’t an easy option for a lot of us. When I lie next to someone sound asleep in bed, I begin to feel a small amount of envy. Worse yet, people asleep on public transport... I can’t even sleep in a bed, let alone on a busy London tube at 7 am!

How about night-time meditation?

The thing is, we end up making things worse with these continuous value judgments ("I should be asleep"), ongoing comparison to others ("he is asleep, why amn't I?"), and our uncompromising standards for ourselves ("If I don't get six hours' sleep, I'll be a wreck tomorrow"). But these statements, they're nothing more than unhelpful interventions in what is already a frustrating situation. If I had one super power, one thing I could change about myself, it would be the ability to sleep as and when I wish.

Maybe if I stand on my head long enough I'll drift off?

What is my point here, why am I telling you all this? This isn’t a sob story, far from it. But it’s something that I struggle with. And struggles are something we all have.

In social media, our struggles are rarely portrayed. Our Instagram pages are a conglomeration of our ‘best bits’, the highlights of our lives even further manipulated by a glossy filter and a kick ass comment. I’m not going to pretend I don’t have a good life – I do. I have a good job, a great group of friends, an amazingly supportive family – and, most importantly, I’ve always looked on the bright side of things. Because sometimes that’s all you can do. What I’m trying to say is, no matter how perfect someone elses life appears, everyone has their own thing going on… As much as I would like to, I’ve learnt that you can’t control everything that goes on, but what you can control is your reaction to it.

Instagram, that's all it is

So allow yourself those shitty moments, those times when you just want to give up, scream, cry - whatever. Whether you find yourself feeling like this when your pounding it out at the gym, arguing your partner, lying awake at 4am in the morning…. recognise it, accept it, and allow it. But don’t let it bring you down. Because in life, there’s a hundred and one negative things you could focus on, but there’s also always at least one positive going on too… why not focus on that instead? Try it, even if it’s just for a split second, that split second of positivity could soon become a lifetime….

Smile. You earned it.