All posts by gb-admin

Hate Running? Me TOO!

If you hate running, you are in good company right about here lads.

I huff and I puff and I get relatively nowhere.

You see, weights for me as easy peasy. I enjoy the challenge of lifting heavier and testing myself. Cardio, on the other hand, I could take or leave…

So when my coach Chris said he wanted me to start running I was NOT impressed, but actually, would you believe I am already seeing lots of nice changes in myself since he ramped up the dreaded cardio…

This is what I’ve noticed:

  1. I’ve shaved time off my rowing and don’t feel as breathless
  2. I started running with no headphones and find it WAY easier. Typically I’d have to run to Prodigy or very up tempo dance tracks but when a song came on that I didn’t like, I tended to slow my pace. No music, no problem. In fact I like that it makes me clear my head properly with no distraction now except my breath.
  3. I run at night. Mostly because I hate other people seeing me run. Yeah. yeah I know. But I also hate running behind someone or having other people run behind me. Empty footpaths are my new therapy.
  4. I feel more trim, a little tighter and my mood is better. 3 pretty important changes.
  5. I’m actually starting to LIKE running. I know- who am I???

 

Now don’t go getting any fancy notions of me running a marathon, but I do like the changes I’m seeing- and hoping to see some nice changes in my legs too as that’s where I have the most difficulty in stripping body fat, regardless of how much weight training sessions I do- WAH!

Do you have any running tips for me?

X

Simple at-home leg exercises

So the weather isn’t exactly in our favour the past few days, so the temptation is to stay at home and hide away instead of getting out to the gym!

Here are some easy and fun at-home leg exercises for  strong, toned and healthy legs, and best thing is- you don’t even need equipment to get started!

Sexy Leg Program

Sumo Squats x 20

Side-Leg Raises x 40

Deep Side Lunges x 20

Leg Extensions x 20

Side Leg Extensions x 20

Side Leg Raises x 40

Repeat x 2 with a rest of approx 1 minute in between!

Beginners can aim for 1 round to start!

Enjoy

X

Really simple healthy smoothie

I get so many DM’s asking what kind of smoothie is good for energy, health etc, when really you want to make sure yours contains a good source or protein and is vegetable based – or low GI fruit based!

Here are my suggestions for a really simple healthy smoothie recipe:

1 Cup of Liquid:

Water/Milk/Iced Coffee or Iced Green Tea

 

1/2 cup Vegetables:

Beetroot (cooked and peeled)/Spinach/Lettuce

 

1/2 cup Fruit:

Berries/Mangoes/Bananas/Pineapple

 

1/4 cup to Make it Creamy:

Protein Powder, Greek Yoghurt (I use 0% Fage!)/avocado/banana/nut butter (just 1 tbsp)

 

1/2 tbsp Sweetener:

Raw Honey/maple syrup/dates (2/3)

 

1/2 tsp Punch:

Dried ginger/cinnamon/vanilla/cacao

 

1 serving Energy Boost:

Hemp Seeds/Chia seeds/Matcha powder/Spirulina Powder/PB2 Powder

 

Make it:

Add your protein powder, liquid, fruit and vegetables to your blender and blend on high with your preferred ingredients above. Add ice if desired- I prefer mine room temperature but most people theirs icy!

Enjoy

X

5 Resolutions for a Happier, Healthier 2018

So, you’ve counted down to zero and a new chapter has begun. It’s not too late to forget your traditional ‘to-do’ list and start working on a list that actually makes sense- and one that you can adopt year-round.

1. Make goals based on fitness and strength- not based on the scales.

Most people get fixated, very easily, on a number and get scared when the scales doesn’t co-operate with this (sometimes) unrealistic timeline we set ourselves.

Stop while you’re ahead and make sure you include some solid health goals- totally removed from any number you might or might not have in mind.

2. Meal prep in advance and bring your lunch to work or school

I’m putting my hand up here to say that 2017 was one particular year that I probably ate out nearly every day. I probably brought my lunch with me most days. We are lucky in our new office that we have a heavily subsidized menu at work and it includes healthy options but I have probably spent at least a tenner every working day on food and coffee since January of last year. That’s scary for my wallet and I’d also like to control what goes into my food a little more too. Though, to be fair, my choices are without dressing and low carb too. Coffee though…

3. Set a routine and stick to it

Some people, especially women, tend to think that sticking rigidly to a routine means we are being selfish or not allowing enough time for others. Trust me, start to put yourself others first and it will be amazing how others start to respond. This goes for time in the gym, walks, time out, rest, sleep, naps, reading, eating, time with friends and time in the outdoors. Set boundaries and allow people to work around them- within reason of course!

4. Make treats your actual treats

Ok, I’ve said it before and we do have a tendency towards treating ourselves every day. Some people say they can’t live without chocolate. If this is a square or two of dark chocolate, then sure it’s not the end of the world, but if your little hit each day turns into a Mars bar or a huge bag of jellies, then you probably need to add them to your weekly cheat/treat meal instead.

5. Get your sleep ON

I’m always talking about sleep as this is when our bodies and minds recover. A bad night’s sleep for me is about 6 hours- yikes- I know. This isn’t that bad and is enviable for most who struggle with their sleep. Again, think routine. Mine is to switch my phone off and turn it over about 30 mins before I go to sleep, if not an hour. I also limit my time watching any screens before bed, unless it’s a REALLY good series :). Try supplementing with magnesium or melatonin before bed to ease yourself into a natural pattern. A good stretch can also be added to get your body into wind-down mode!

Benefits of Working out in Winter

Yeah, I know, I know…

The LAST thing ANYONE wants to hear in the run up to party season is to try and get more exercise, but did you know there there are so many benefits to working out and exercising in Winter!

Exercise in Winter

1. You will burn more calories

You actually burn calories by just being cold- YAY! When the temperature outside drops, our bodies have to work that bit harder to keep us warm, so you have a mini-workout before you even tie your shoelaces. WINNING!

 

2. It boosts your immune system

We have naturally lower levels of vitamin d as our exposure to sunlight is decreased in winter time. The reason being, we naturally spend more time indoors. Trust me, as hard as it is to peel yourself away from the comfy sofa, get up 30 minutes earlier or go for a brisk at lunch while it’s still bright outside. 10 minutes of sunshine is all you need to get your daily top up!

 

3. It improves your mood

If like me, you are hugely affected by weather changes, you will benefit massively from making sure you don’t skip the gym. Your body release endorphins when you exercise and these little bad boys result in happier moods, less irritability and more positive energy! Try treating yourself to a little sauna or jacuzzi afterwards for an added buzz!

 

4. You can allow for more calories for your favourite winter warmers

We tend to crave more carbs as the weather gets a little more grim. By upping your game at the gym or ensuring you make that morning or evening run, you can allocate a little more grub (read: treats) to your meal plan and still reap the benefits. Just make sure you treat yourself in moderation and that it still fits into your plan, as specified by a Health professional.

 

5. It’ll get you out and about (or cosy inside)

As the weather changes we tend to stay inside and are only too pleased when plans get cancelled- is this just me??- so ideally if you buddy up with a pal, you will feel more obliged to get of the couch and turn up to your class/session/running group! I love a good weekend hike, for example…Join a group and you will feel much more motivated, inspired and you will be held accountable if you don’t show up! Alternatively, you can do a handy little at-home HIIT session if it’s too grim to venture outside. Here are some easy peasy routines you can try.

Hopefully you guys will continue to stay as active as possible over the coming weeks. Remember folks, strong, healthy summer bodies are built in Winter!

 

X

At-home HIIT for a winter’s day

So the weather is still relatively ok here in Dublin but as the evening’s get so much darker earlier on, it’s so easy to become complacent with training, going to classes or sticking to a fitness and health regime.

So, below you have a VERY simple at-home HIIT program you can do anywhere- in a hotel room, on a balcony,  in the sitting room or even in your bedroom!

This is a no excuses, no equipment workout for those tight on time and even tighter on motivation!

  • 15 static lunges (per leg)
  • 15 split squats (per leg)
  • 15 sumo squats
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 plank get-ups (per arm)

Do one round of all exercises as fast as you can, then take 30 secs-1 min rest (depending on your fitness levels!).

Repeat x 4 and you are DONE

X

 

How to get out of a rut

We’ve ALL been there lads.

The dread in the morning going to work.

The dread when people make plans and you just, quite simply, want to do nothing, say nothing and stay at home.

The dread when you find yourself in a space or place that doesn’t feel ‘quite right’…

So how do you know when it’s time to try and break the cycle and get out of that negative space you are finding yourself in?

Ask yourself these simple questions:

1. Are you happy right now? Really and truly happy?

2. Are you finding yourself always focusing on the past with rose-tinted glasses or the future with dread?

3. Do you ever feel comfortable in the moment?

4. Do you take time for yourself?

5. Do you invest in yourself? Your education, your skills, your hobbies?

6. Do you treat yourself and keep yourself well? Your hair, your skin, your body, your diet?

7. Do you take time to ‘just be’- really and truly relax?

8. Do you feel guilty if you spend money or time on yourself?

9. Do you feel stressed or anxious all the time?

10. Do you get enough sleep, naps or rest?

These simple questions will give the answers you need to start to make a change. The really easy thing is this. You can change any of them. Really easily. Read on…

Here are my suggestions to the above:

1. If you are you will feel it. Not perfect, but content. If you’re not, it’s not a bad thing, but life is short, so try a few of the recommendations below.

2. If you find yourself always looking back, think back to why. Was it that you did something you love that you no longer do, or was there a person in your past that you havn’t let go or don’t see often enough perhaps?

3. If you’re always on your phone, you are doing life wrong. I don’t care what age you are. It’s totally natural to be able to have a conversation without checking your phone. And if you keep doing it, don’t expect me to stay sitting across from you. It’s rude. (unless you are trying to meet up with someone or there is an issue obvs).

4. Making time for yourself is key. That might be washing your makeup brushes, going for a walk, baking, swimming, gym time, getting your nails done or just settling down with a good book. Give yourself at least15 minutes of this a day. Squeeze it in. I DARE you.

5. A healthy mind will nurture a healthy body. Give yourself the gift of knowledge as often as you can afford to. If you can’t, there are plenty of free courses you can sign up to. Just use your pal google.

6. For some people, it’s very easy for them to decide not to wash their hair or decide to put on a little makeup (and no I’m not recommending everyone needs to wear makeup) but some people simply get out of bed and go about their day. I’m telling you this for nothing. Put in the effort (even a tiny bit), get the nails done every so often, get your colour done by a professional, get your hair trimmed regularly, buy the shoes and use the fancy candles. Life is just too bloody short and if you can afford a takeaway at the weekend or a few drinks after work, you can afford to spend time and money on yourself!

7. For me, I only FULLY switch off on a sun holiday or a new place when I’m travelling.  I don’t know what it is but the sun makes me completely switch gear and I run on sun cream and terrible books and nothing else. I also switch off on big long hikes. Both of these are essential for my mental health and I do not compromise on them.

8. I find that quite a few mums I know tend to find it very difficult to spend on themselves- time and money. Believe me, if you give number 1 some self-love, you will be a nicer person to everyone around you. FACT.

9. We all suffer with stress and anxiety at various times in our lives. And as humans, we thrive on little dips in and out of this ‘fight or flight’ feeling. However, if this kind of feeling is preventing you from doing things, meeting people, or taking that next leap, it’s time to share your thoughts with someone. A problem shared is a problem halved folks.

10. I cannot stress how important healthy sleep patterns are. Your body does all of its recovery and repair when you sleep. So if you don’t sleep, your body simply cannot function properly.

I hope that sincerely, none of you feel stuck in this kind of space for too long. Get out of the house, even if it’s for 30 minutes, get up and move and you will feel better!

x

Fact + Fiction Gym Bag review

So I get sent products to review from time to time and try and be as honest as possible when it comes to giving my feedback to the brand.

Typically, there is no obligation for me to even do a review and I only actually do a review for products I really like and rate highly, as I’m aware that when people buy something I recommend, Ireland is small and I could easily end up  meeting them somewhere! SO best to be truthful guess 🙂

I’m a bag person. I’m not a girlie girl and don’t spend a huge amount of money on clothes, apart from gym gear obvs! But I do love bags. Fact + Fiction (previously known as Gymtote) reached out to me on Instagram (@gymbunnydublin) and kindly wanted to send me a sample.

Sophia_Black_Bottle_Gym_LOWRES

I said HELL YES and a few days later, my beaut of a bag arrived in the post AND so I’m itching to tell you all about it!

What is a Fact + Fiction bag?

A Fact + Fiction bag is a hybrid of the ultimate work meets gym bag. It’s also the makings of a super-stylish baby bag for any mammas’ out there.

What kind of styles are there?

So I was sent the Sophia tote and am actually running a competition to give it away, as I felt my followers would love it! I also felt that for my new commute it might be a little big- I’m just 158 cm (5 2.5!) so any bags look big on me but I felt I wouldn’t make the best use of this particular model. It’s so SO gorgeous though and you can literally fit in your gym gear, your work laptop, your trainers, your meals for the day, protein shakes, snacks and more. It’s for those of you, like me, who spend their lives lugging around 2 or 3 bags to and from work and just need one solid, yet super stylish bag in lieu. It comes in black, tan, red and blue but by far my favourite is the black. This bag is also ideal for nights or weekends away or even long-haul flights. THE DREAM!

 Gymtote

I’ve actually just ordered the Charli backpack as it’s a little more convenient for me size-wise, as it’s (well obviously) a backpack! It’s still very roomy but it’s a little smaller that it’s counterpart above. Again, it will fit your gym gear, your work bits and pieces, laptop and anything else you can squeeze in. I got the quilted one as it’s just that bit more ‘extra’ and really looks great with either gym or work wear.

Charli_Black_Bottom_

Lastly you have the Cali tote. This, to me, would make for an excellent baby bag for any fashion savvy Mum’s and Dad’s out there! It’s quilted, which I love and it’s equally roomy. It’s also a softer material so feels more ‘gym bag’ but it would still make for the perfect roomy day bag. Can you tell I LOVE these bags??

Cali_Black_Baby_Top_LOWRES_e9ab3e71-bc9b-48fd-83a5-4200fb88d14a

Why should  you buy a Fact +Fiction bag?

  • Are you always rummaging through your bag to find wallet, keys etc?
  • Do you carry several smaller bags with you each day as you go about your busy schedule?
  • Do you often go straight from home to gym to work or work to gym?
  • Do you meal prep and need to bring separate containers for all your meals and snacks?
  • Are you a gym bunny who always carries trainers, hoodies, swimming gear?
  • Does your baby bag look too ‘mumsy’ for your liking?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, these bags are for you! They are durable, stylish, functional, roomy, wipeble, breathable, don’t hold onto smells and are very good at holding your life together in one little place.

If I we’re you, I’d be adding one of these bad gals to your Santa list sooner than later!

Oh and if you do fancy treating yourself to a Fact + Fiction gym bag, here’s a little discount from me for anything across the site- simply use the code BUNNY10  🙂

X

My top 5 supplements to beat the winter blues!

So I’m typically sent all kinds of supplements to try out for you gym bunnies out there but I’ve decided to revise my favourites as there are quite a few game-changers currently on the market that I wanted to share with you because they are simply divine! Please note: These are not paid adverts but I did receive complimentary product to trial and test, with no obligation for review. (I was sent other samples from each brand but only chose my favourites!).

1. Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Powder XS™ Cocoa – Chocolate Flavour – XS Nutrition by Amway
A relatively new player on the Irish market, this whey protein packs a mean 29g of protein in each serving, compared to it’s 20/30g counterparts. I’ve actually asked the very hard to please gym lads I train with to give it a go and it’s gotten 5 stars all round. It’s very palatable, mixes well with milk or water AND you can cook very easy with it too. The reason it’s here is that I tend to become more ‘flexible’ with my diet when I don’t have any pending bikini holidays- I know!!!- so adding more protein to my diet makes for  less cravings and a more sated feeling. This is an excellent quality protein and also crams in 5 grams of naturally occurring BCAAs. You can buy it here.

2. Revive Active Beauty Complex – Revive Active
So anyone who knows me personally will know I am a skincare fiend! I use hyaluronic acid only skin of hydration so was SO excited to try this supplement which contains HA and collagen. You take it on an empty tummy first thing in the morning and mix with water. It tastes like pineapple and is actually gorgeous. My skin is brighter and is getting clearer (I’ve been using this for two and a half weeks) and  I feel like my energy levels are good and look more rested. I was sent this by the wonderful folk at Lloyd’s Pharmacy  and you can buy this online here.

3. Femme Omega – Ros Nutrition
Omega-3 oils have so many incredible functions in the body- including the regeneration of cells, the formation of cell membranes, maintenance of hormonal balance, healthy skin (needed in my case due to weather changes!) and the production of healthy cholesterol. These little bad boys may even help to maintain or improve cardiovascular health, cholesterol, and mood. This has been given the thumbs up by my nerdy other half who has an MA in Nutrition and is VERY hard to please! You can buy it here.

4. Vitamin D – The Edge: Clontarf
We all know that when the weather starts to change (bleeeeh!) we should be increasing our intake of vitamin d, but did you know that recent studies show a direct correlation with less sunlight and the influx of ‘flu season’ as we know it. Vitamin D is necessary for a healthy immune system, so with these deliciously chewy tablets, I’m sold. You can buy them here.

5. B-Complex – The Edge: Clontarf
So for anyone suffering from stress, leading a hectic schedule (ehhh Christmas much??), taking an oral contraceptive, suffering with mood swings- you need to give this a try. Our busy lifestyles can leave us often feeling tired and low on energy. B-Active is formulated as a one-a day capsule for just this situation. You can buy this here.

I hope you found this helpful and that you are soldiering into the winter in good health!

Please note, as with all of my posts, this is purely informational and before embarking on any radical dietary changes or new supplementary choices,  please speak to a health professional or your GP.

X

My experience on dealing with grief

Someone close to me and my family is currently going through a tough time with a family member who is very ill.

They reached out to see if I had any advice as to how to help handle the pain, the confusion, the anxiety and, inevitably I suppose, the grief that comes with loss.

And to be honest, I didn’t even know what to say until I started writing…

My Mum Lorna died in August of 2011. She was 54 years old and she had Lung Cancer. She smoked from a very young age, like most smokers, but her specific cancer was, ironically, the kind of lung cancer that non-smokers also get.

So, when  my family and I got the news about Mum’s illness, I was living a life I loved in Barcelona. I was about to move jobs and got a really exciting offer to make video content for high-end apartments across the Med. Sounded too good be true. And life had a not-so-nice way of telling me just that.

She was given 3-5 months to live and we managed to see her through 10 relatively pain-free months. We felt very lucky to have gotten that much time, and indeed the foresight, that she was ill. For some people, they get a call on the way home from work to say someone has been killed in a car accident. We got to say goodbye and were all with Mum when she passed away, quietly and peacefully, with the help of the amazing hospice in Raheny, who we are forever indebted to.

You see, that all panned out quite a lot ‘better off’ than some people’s stories. I can’t say that if someone gets similar news that their outcome will be as such. Look, it was far from easy, still.

I moved home to Ireland and had to learn to be a child again in my own parents house,  essentially. I had to learn, at the same time, that being the child was only required sometimes. Other times, I had to reverse roles, as Mum’s primary carer, and take care of her to make sure she was clean, comfortable and felt beautiful…despite her little body getting weaker and weaker. Being the adult and child meant I felt angry, upset, pissed off, filled with rage. But my heart felt full and at peace, as in other ways my whole family pulled together in a way I cannot describe. We all had one goal and one focus.

It was far from a Disney movie, but what I learned was this- you cannot do everything and be everything. If you try and fix the whole situation, you will end up broken, tired and of no use to yourself or anyone else. I walked or ran twice a day for at least 45 minutes to clear my head and I took a job twice a week in a family friend’s cafe in town. They were so kind and understanding about my timetable and knew that sometimes, at the last minute, I had to cancel my work at short notice.

My advice is to allow your head and your heart to feel whatever it is they are going to feel, but don’t let anything stick too hard. Be kind to yourself and allow others in. The hospice team are incredible, as are ARC, who offer free support and  talks with the likes of nurses and mental health professionals who can offer a supportive ear when you need it most. It’s not for everyone. One chat with one of the nurses was enough for me, but other people I know found regular chats with their support network also helped them hugely.

I found that things that bothered everyone else around me (outside my family) felt so, so trivial, but actually, for other people, I had to remember they were, still, ‘big deals’. The small fights with boyfriends, the stressful boss, the annoying sister…all of these things seemed so bloody trivial and, I suppose, you kind of switch off a little in social situations to allow yourself ignore what you view as petty, which is so unfair and so harsh to everyone else around you. Then the thoughts get ahead of you and suddenly you’re sitting there surrounded by loved ones and friends and you feel like you are all alone. That nobody else feels this way.

Well, they do. I did. And I hope that by sharing a little part of my story, that other people don’t feel like what they are going through or what they went through is the end of the world.

One of my lasting memories of Mum is her sitting by the windowsill she always sat near when she was drinking her tea and she turned to me and she was crying, which, despite her illness, she rarely did, or at least in front of us. She said she was upset because she was going to miss out on our (my brothers and my) future, on us having kids or getting married etc…

And she was totally and uncontrollably right. That was not the nicest thing to hear, nor the nicest thing to let sink in.

Does it get easier? Yes.

Do you forget things? Maybe a little.

Do you remember the great things? Absolutely. (Don’t throw away anything unless you want to and feel ready to).

Do you forget they are gone? All the time. Let me explain- I hear a song, see a film or read a book or eat something or meet someone and think ‘Mum would love that or them’. Then I remember she’s gone and get upset for a few minutes.

That’s difficult to process if you havn’t lost someone close, and maybe it’s just me who feels like that.

But, it’s also a nice little jolt which allows me to remember her, in the midst of a stupidly busy schedule. It gives me a little jolt.

It’s like her little phone call to say hi from wherever she is.

X