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SFN goodies

I promise! The SFN blog posts are coming to an end, so if you’re tired of them you’ll be glad to hear this is probably the last one for the time being.

I couldn’t leave SFN without some goodies. There were loads of other amazing stuff I wanted to buy but I stuck to the things I knew I really needed.

MissFits Nutrition Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder: I’ve been using Neat Nutrition’s vegan protein powder for so long but after their courier has lost one order I had and then for some reason all of a sudden couldn’t find my office in the middle of Glasgow, which they have delivered to before I got a bit tired of of all the difficulties and felt like I wanted to try something else. They did send me another pouch (which of course arrived the day after I bought this protein but oh well, now I’ve got loads).

I’ve seen MissFits pop up in different on social media and liked the idea of it being specifically for women. After talking to them at the expo I thought I would give it a try. I liked their simple ingredients list and that they try to keep it as natural as possible. With me eating a more plant-based diet I was very happy to see it had B12 in it, something that is usually recommended to supplement if you don’t eat a lot of meat. I was choosing between them and Free Soul (they were right next to each other) and ended up going for Missfits because I feel vanilla protein powder is more versatile and Free Soul only had chocolate and berry flavour which made the decision quite easy. I did get some chocolate pouches from MissFits too to try so we’ll see if I get converted. I’ll let you know what I think of the powders once I’e tried them properly.

Maple Drink: As I mentioned previously, this lovely company gave me two maple waters to try out and write about. I had a little sip of a sample at the expo but am so excited to give them both a proper try. I’ll be of course sharing what I thought here.

Smart powerbank: You can tell WordPress is a blogging platform because they were giving away the ultimate bloggers dream tool, a portable powerbank so you can charge your phone on the go. This is a godsend for a social media nerd like me. I’ve already tried it once and it’s a game changer for me not having to worry about having charge on my phone. I love it so much!

Wrist straps: I’ve been looking into getting a pair of wrist straps for a while but it’s one of those things I haven’t really been bothered to look into and been a bit too lazy to order. When they were right there in front of us at the expo for five pounds at Strength Shop, Faye and I thought it would be a good idea to get some. I’m excited use them and see hot it feels.

I think that’s everything from the show, I also walked around and tried loads of food and snacks as well of course.

Now it’s time to get ready to go and see Zara Larsson at O2 Academy with Emma. I’m so excited, I think she’ll brilliant live!

Have a lovely evening,

M xxx

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SFN EXPO day 2

Shona Vertue’s class

Talk about women and weightlifting

A really fun Q&A with the guys from Lean Machines, John and Leon

I was over the moon that I had to the chance to listen to and talk to inspiring guys like them

These beauties Linsey and Gwen came to say hi and try out the hang challenge. Was so lovely to see them!

Faye challenged me to a hang off, team Faddie style 😛

At this point I was so exhausted and my hands were sweaty so couldn’t hold on. Plus Faye is ridiculously strong! One day I’ll beat you Faye! Haha

Had an acai bowl at Acai & Co

Then SFN was all of a sudden over and it was time to pack up and leave. Faye and I headed to Jamie’s work for a tea and to give them some of the leftover doughnuts we were giving out at the expo.

Hi guys! It was a bit quiet here yesterday. I was going to post this but it got late and it was Jamie’s last evening before he left for Kentucky so I thought it was way more important to spend time with him than stressing over a post. Also because the days he’s away it’s our five year anniversary. I’m sure you understand. I’d rather do both things properly, spend time with Jamie and then writing a quality post. I think I’ve made up for it with this ridiculously long post… Sorry it’s so long! There’s just so much to be said.

Yesterday was a bit of a back to reality day. It’s almost as if I’ve been on holiday and had such a great time and now I’ve got that feeling of going back to normal life. SFN EXPO was amazing and I really felt like I was in my element, surrounded by incredibly inspiring people doing amazing stuff in the health and fitness industry. It made me feel so happy and Jamie said when he has seen me this past weekend he could see a real spark in my eyes. I felt so much joy I couldn’t contain it in any way. I wish I could go to more expos like these but it would require me going down to London which I unfortunately can’t really afford to do very often.

The second day of SFN was just as fun! My amazing colleagues knew that I was dying to take part in some classes and talks and were so nice and understanding and said I should just go for it. So in the morning I arrived quite early for Shona Vertue’s class. I hadn’t booked in and the class was booked out but I was hoping I would fit in somewhere, which I did luckily. The lovely Leanne who was hosting the Sisterhood area where Shona was teaching who I’ve met before a couple of times said it shouldn’t be a problem and yes I fit in. Wohoo! Shona’s class was fantastic and she said the reason why she has shaped her form of training to combine include both yoga and HIIT style training into one is because you tend to neglect the things you like doing less and by including it all in the same class you can’t avoid it, which I thought was a very interesting and great take on it all. It’s very much in line with my beliefs that you need both strength exercises in form of weightlifting and cardio in combination with yoga, mobility and stretching. Both aspects compliment one another and will benefit your training the most in the long run. The class was great and very sweaty. My triceps could feel it yesterday after all the narrow push ups we did. Her chat was amazing and made me crack up several times throughout.

After the class I stayed for her talk together with Niko Aligieri who is the owner of a gym down in London called Equilibrium. The talk was about why women shouldn’t fear strength training, something I’m very passionate about. The audience brought up some super interesting questions, which both Shona and Niko had some great insights into. There were some PE teachers there who asked about how they could help their kids realise that being strong is important and I thought it was incredible for them to be there and ask for advice to help influence these young children to have a healthier relationship to their bodies and to fitness. Go you PE teachers! People like you are going to change lives for these kids and in turn change the world.

I was then technically meant to go back to the voomfit stand but the guys that I really wanted to listen to were going to have a talk, Lean Machines. I love John and Leon’s Youtube channel. They train Crossfit down in England and their videos are so inspiring, insightful, positive and upbeat. Their approach to fitness feels so fresh, healthy, fun and easy. I thought I’d stay for a bit of the talk and have my lunch and then sneak off. Before the talk I was sort of on the fence whether I should go up to them and tell them how much I appreciate their presence online and in the end I decided to get over the fear and just do it. I went up to them and said I watch their channel and love their video content.

They were so nice but as the talk was about to start I went and sat down with my lunch box. It must’ve looked good because they asked if they could have some haha. I felt so bad when I had to sneak away and silly of me, I sat at the front and couldn’t smoothly sneak off without being noticed and made a scene haha. I felt bad but I think they understood. Back at the voomfit stand I was saying to the team I was so sad I couldn’t finish listening to the guys talk. So they told me to go back as nice as they are so I did. I tried to be smooth again but I’m not smooth so sort of interrupted the talk again when I came back and the guys got thrown off entirely and forgot what they were saying. Oh dear haha, at least it made everyone laugh.

I even managed to ask a question, something I don’t always dare to do and I got some really great tips. It was in regards to staying inspired with content with social media channels and providing quality content consistently. They said taking a break sometimes really helps to get you inspired again, and don’t fear taking a break, which I do because I hate letting you guys down as I know you guys want new stuff everyday and I do like writing everyday even though I’m busy. This is what I love to do. It felt reassuring that they also face this dilemma and that it’s okay to take a break and leave your social media blank for a while to ensure it’s quality things you’re posting. It’s a fine balancing act between posting consistently on social media and providing quality content because quality usually takes longer time, time that I don’t always have unfortunately when I only do this on the side of my full time job. Afterwards I got a photo of them, which made my day. They are such lovely guys and I was so happy to have met them. Thanks Leon and John for being so inspiring and amazing! I couldn’t believe it when they started following my page on Instagram as well, so crazy. Meant a lot to me!

The rest of the afternoon I was at the voomfit stand cheering people on for the hang challenge! Faye was there and Ross helped us out for a bit on Sunday as well. It was so much fun having them both there! Some of the G5 crew came along as well as Faye’s mum Carole. We went and watched the Throwdown again for a bit and it looked so intense but I felt extremely inspired by the teams who showed such great effort! It’s good to see and get into the competition spirit again seeing as I’ll be doing Rainhill before I know it.

I finished off my day at the expo with buying some goodies which I will share with you in another post because I really feel like I’ve been rambling on for forever, which I have. Sorry about that but I just had to share how amazing this weekend was and I wish it didn’t have to come to an end. I need something new to look forward to now! What I loved the most was how there was something there for pretty much anyone and it definitely felt welcoming to all types of training and perhaps even people who are not very into their fitness but are looking to get inspired.

Okay okay, I’m going to stop typing now because this post is becoming an essay. Sorry guys! Don’t even know if anyone is still reading this haha.

I hope you all have a beautiful day,

M xxx

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How Crossfit changed my life

Fitness is a journey, this is mine so far. I wasn’t sure whether I actually wanted to upload photos of myself like this as there is so much more going on beneath the surface but I thought it could be interesting to see that we’re always evolving and changing depending on what we do to our bodies. First pic: just before starting uni, 2012. Pic two: August 2015. Pic three: Today!

Hi lovelies! Hope you’re having a beautiful Saturday. I’ve had a great time with two Crossfit sessions. First I went down to G5 for my first ever Saturday class. We were working in teams of three and it was tough but so much fun. It ran a bit over time which mean I had to run to the underground to make sure I wasn’t late for the voomfit student session at Unit4 Crossfit. My sister was there and did her first ever Crossfit class. She struggled at first but did so well and  was so proud of her. It was really fun being paired up with her. So yes, a lot of training today which has mean a lot of eating hehe. I just love training so much and how it makes me feel.

Anyway, I thought it was time to share what Crossfit has done for me. This is a post I’ve been working on for ages and now it’s time to share it with you guys. Hopefully it can help in some way. For some reason I feel a bit nervous sharing this, it is a very personal journey.

I always emphasise on the fact that fitness, health and wellbeing is an ongoing journey. There is no final destination. Throughout my over four years of training and focus on improving my health and wellbeing I’ve been going through different stages and bumps along the way. It’s never easy. This past year has changed me more than I could’ve imagined, in so many ways.

Just over a year ago I started going regularly to Gym G5. I had heard loads about this place from the girls at lululemon and that it was a pretty intense place to train, absolutely amazing but intense. I went along with Faye to my first ever class (I was so nervous!!) and I thought at the time I was relatively fit. I was slim yes but boy, I was not fit. I had trained for years but the majority of my focus was on what I looked like and the size of my body instead of my body’s performance or wellbeing. I ate nowhere near as much as I do today and it was all very restrictive. Looking back I don’t think I had an eating disorder, my relation to food was just a bit messed up. I wasn’t sure of how much food I should’ve eaten to fuel the training I was doing.

From the moment I stepped into G5 my world changed. I didn’t know then and there that it had changed but it did. Looking back I can’t believe what a journey it’s been. Just looking at the images above you can see that there’s been a physical change. I’ve gained more muscle in the past year and thereby gained weight. I’ve gained about 5kg since I started at Stella’s. I’ve got more muscular legs, muscles in my back I didn’t even know existed (very weird when my tops started feeling a bit tighter) and bigger arms. My size allows me to lift heavier than I ever thought I would be able to. I feel so strong and I really love looking strong.

My mentality has changed, I don’t even care about those extra kilos, whilst before it would’ve made me nervous. Going through workouts not knowing how you’re going to come out alive (I joke, sort of…) on the other side does test your mentality and it’s made me so strong. I’ve really thrived in that environment. Crossfit also gives you an incredible confidence boost, whenever you run a bit faster or lift heavier.

The physical stuff is well and good but the main difference I’ve noticed is the shift in my mind. I focus less on the aesthetics of my body and more on its performance. The goals I’m focusing on now are more about my performance and getting stronger and less about how I look. I want to learn how to do handstands, a pull up, double unders, lift heavier and run faster. This has nothing to do what I look. Like anyone else I still have my insecurities and days when I don’t feel that way but I feel like Crossfit has helped heal my relationship with my body. Even if I do have days where I don’t feel comfortable it doesn’t get to me the same way as before because I focus on my training and other more important things in life whilst before it was the main focus of my training, to be more “toned”. Now I love feeling strong and I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin, it’s empowering.

Being around women in my gym who are insanely strong, who are all shaped differently and are all beautiful in their own shape and form has helped me realise that strong women are so stunning. Not only because of how they look but because how they carry themselves and the confidence they have. I was before under the impression that the goal of training was to become skinny and I was scared of heavy weights, now I love picking up a heavy barbell. I don’t know how many girls who have asked me whether I’m worried about getting too muscular or bulky looking but that’s not why I train. I train because I love it and if that means one day I get what other people call bulky, then let it be it. My body is there to perform and move. It needs to for it to feel good and if in order for it to achieve new things in the gym needs to build more muscle, then that’s what it needs to do. I will add that it takes a lot of training for a woman to start building gigantic amounts of muscle. I also think society needs to stop deciding what women should and shouldn’t look like. Having muscle doesn’t make you unfeminine in any way but for some reason people still seem to think this kind of look is less desirable.

Another way Crossfit and training at G5 has changed my life is all the incredible people I’ve met there who I otherwise wouldn’t have met. We work in such different industries that there is no way I would’ve probably met them otherwise. They have brought so much positivity and happiness into my life. They’re my family and they are always there for you. You can always find someone to talk to.

This is why it’s so important to find somewhere you love to go and train something you love to train. It will make all the difference in the world. I’m so happy I dared to try out Crossfit and I haven’t regretted it for a second. It’s been one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life and I really think it’s something I’m going to be doing for a very long time. Unless I for some reason loose interest then I’ll just have to find something else but for now I’m absolutely loving it and can’t see it changing anytime soon.

This is the current chapter of my training journey and I can’t believe how far I’ve come this past year. I can’t wait to see what happens next. One last thing, don’t let the fear of being new to something stop you from even trying. You need to dare to go to that new class or new gym and probably not be very good at it before you can actually get good at it. Please don’t let your fear stop you from even trying. You don’t know what you’re missing out on! I’ve been to a lot of gyms and every single time I’ve been given the warmest welcome by the people there. I promise you, you can do it and the people at that gym or class will be greeting you with open arms. If not, it’s not the place for you.


M xxx

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The oils I use

Hi lovelies! How are you? I’m in such a great mood because yesterday I received some incredible news and I can’t to share it with you when it’s all been confirmed. Today I thought I’d share the oils I use for cooking healthy meals. I haven’t used butter for years and when I stopped using butter I immediately switched to olive oil. Olive oil is great and is commonly referred to as a “heart healthy” oil but once you heat it up you run the risk of ruining it’s healthy properties.

The smoke point of any oil is very important to take into consideration when cooking, once the oil has reached this it breaks down, loses it’s health properties and can actually have a bad impact on your health instead. Therefore, I turned to other options that don’t de-nature at high temperatures. These are the two oils I mainly use: coconut oil and avocado oil.

Coconut oil

With my coconut oil I don’t really mind the brand as long as it’s organic, virgin and cold pressed. I just tend to go for whatever is on special offer in Holland & Barrett. Coconut oil has some great benefits such as energy boosting, prevent you getting ill and the lauric acid in it is believed to help improve cholesterol. I mainly use this for sautéing things in the pans such as stir fries and cooking pancakes. It’s used a lot in healthy dessert recipes. It’s got quite a distinct flavour so it’s definitely not suited for all kinds of dishes.

I also use coconut oil for my hair, once a week I put it through the bottom half of my hair in the evening and sleep with it and wash it out in the morning. It works wonders but you might need to shampoo your hair a couple of times to get all of it out. Coconut oil is also a great make up remover and it’s what I’ve been using for the past three months or so and works wonderfully.

The only thing really against this oil is the debate regarding it’s saturated fats. There are mixed opinions on whether saturated fats are actually good for you or not. I think the best thing to do is do your research and make your own decision. I use this oil but not excessively and mix it up with other options such as the next oil I’m going to talk about, avocado oil.

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is something I’ve only started using the past year and it’s my favourite. I think Jamie and I came across it at Waitrose for the first time and we were intrigued. We’d never heard of it before. I’ve used the Olivado brand and another one so far but found the spouty bit on the Olivado bottle poured far less and there was less waste. The Olivado Avocado Oil is extra virgin, organic and Fair Trade. All the good things!

What I love about avocado oil is that it survives high temperatures without de-naturing (up to 255 degrees). So it’s great for roasting vegetables but also for salad dressings, making it extremely versatile. It also doesn’t have any distinct flavours (many describe it as having a buttery taste) so you can basically use it for anything. It’s my go-to oil for most things that requires oil or butter when cooking.

Avocado oil has actually become a prescription drug in France for its anti-inflammatory benefits according to a couple of sources online and is prescribed to help patients with arthritis. It’s even said to improve psoriasis symptoms and is used in creams to treat severe skin conditions. Additionally, the heart loves this oil, it can help lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure thanks to its monounsaturated fats.

I could go on forever it seems with all the incredible benefits these two oils have but hopefully this helps you a bit when faced making healthy choices in the grocery aisles. Please remember, I’m not a professional within nutrition. This is all from my own reading when doing my own research for healthier options so pleas keep this in mind. I use these oils everyday but I always use small quantities as I don’t like oily food and I think it’s unnecessary to use loads of it when you don’t need it.

Have you got any oils you love to use? Please share them with me!