What Is Your Biggest Fitness Challenge?

So last week in my wonderful Facebook group I asked my ladies a question.

What is your biggest fitness struggle at the moment?

And the biggest response was the option, the motivation to keep going. Which got me thinking. Why do we feel the need to brand ourselves An Exerciser?

If you are genuinely struggling with motivation to work out I want you to re frame your thoughts about exercise.

  • You do not have to go to a gym
  • You do not have to rack up miles of running
  • You do not have to stick to the same schedule every week


Being physically active should not be something you dread, it should be part of your lifestyle. You do not have to attend structured exercise sessions to be fit and healthy. Even 20 squats in the living room makes a difference. Forget exercise and focus on being more active everyday. Live a life full of movement and adventure with sitting less around.

Running is great, but you don’t have to do it if you don’t like it! You don’t have to do any form of exercise or activity if you don’t enjoy it! Walking is so beneficial to your health, both physically and mentally. Having a walking buddy will make a massive difference to your motivation and energy levels too. Share this post now and write what days/times/ distances you want to do each week and find a local friend to go walking with you.


Sticking to the same fitness classes each week is a good way to build up your confidence as a beginner, however once you start to get stronger your body will respond better and continue to make changes if you mix up the sessions. Keep the brain engaged and don’t let any session switch you into autopilot mode.

It is true that your body reduces its fitness and strength at a quicker rate than it takes to build it up. This should not put you off resting and recovering. Your body needs rest and time to recover. If you have a few weeks of reduced activity THAT IS FINE! Just listen to your body and when you feel like being more active go for it. Don’t feel guilty for having some time off.

Walking, climbing, playing, swimming, dancing are all things that benefit your health and can be done anywhere. If you enjoy it, do it!

So if you ever find yourself thinking “I cant be arsed” ask yourself what needs to change. And then do 20 squats!


Postnatal Depression and Exercise

This week, 6th – 10th June, is infant mental health week, raising awareness of the importance of the first 1001 days of a babies life.

But it’s not just the first 1001 days of a babies life, it’s 1001 days of a mums life, of your life.

    • 1001 days of change
    • 1001 days of learning
    • 1001 days of tiredness
    • 1001 days of adjustment


For some mums these 1001 days can be dark, scary times. It is difficult to admit that you are struggling to bond with your baby or finding it hard to cope, maybe feelings of being inadequate and overwhelmed and maybe even having thoughts of harming yourself or baby. For some mums the first 1001 days is clouded by Postnatal Depression. PND can also affect dads and the information below is just as relevant. 

Getting through the day with Postnatal Depression is an hour-by-hour task and exercise is often the last thing you feel capable of.


But exercise can play an important role in the recovery of a parent with PND. Any type of exercise or movement is beneficial as long as its enjoyable. If putting your favourite song on repeat and dancing in the living room feels good, do it every day! Focus on doing what makes you feel good rather than how your body looks.

Exercise and physical activity helps to produce feel good hormones called endorphins. Exercise can also play a big part in your self care or “me” time, giving you time out from the daily routine.

Walking is a great place to start as the fresh air will help boost mood enhancing hormones. Baby can come with you in a sling (which also helps to support bonding and closeness for both parent and baby).

Exercise classes like my Sling Fit and Fit Mums sessions are also a great place to meet new friends and build your confidence and self esteem. The sessions are relaxed, informal and social and you can bring baby along with you.

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Enquire at your local leisure centre if they have an exercise referral scheme. This will give you access to trained fitness professionals who can help to build you a programme in the gym and support you on your recovery.

If you think you may be suffering from PND please read more information on the NHS website or the Tommy’s baby charity website.

I want you speak to your health visitor or GP if you think you have PND.

I want you to speak to me if you think you have PND.

I want you to speak to someone if you have PND.


It’s ok to not be ok. Postnatal Depression is an illness. It says nothing about you or your abilities as a mother. You don’t have to go through it on your own. Please speak to someone.

Kind thanks to Forging Families for the use of their images and infographics.

Running To Work

I am a runner. I am also a mother. Therefore I can’t just casually announce that I am off for a leisurely trot around the park whenever the urge strikes. My exercise time is scheduled, bartered, planned and precious!

This post is to get you thinking about whether you could fit active travel into your schedule and some tips on how to do it.

I have to be clever about fitting my runs in. I don’t want to run at the expense of family time and I certainly don’t want to be waking up at 4am to fit my runs in. So I run to and from work. I walk the kids to school/nursery, leave them there and then continue my commute to work with a run. I then run home again once I’ve finished work.

What if I don’t have a shower at my work place?
I am lucky, I work in a sports centre. I have changing rooms and showers once I arrive at work. If you don’t have a shower at your place of work (or final destination) there are other options.

🔸Wet Wipe Wash
🔸There are some waterless shower gels coming onto the market that are aimed at active commuters (and festival goers!)
🔸Seal a wet flannel in a plastic zip lock bag
🔸A shit load of Impulse!!!

How do I carry my stuff?
When I first started running to work I bought a cheap running bag from Sports Direct. Once I had built up my confidence and I knew this run commute was something that I would be committing to doing weekly (if not more) I invested in a more expensive running bag from OMM. I luff it! 💗


I have a toiletry bag that I leave at work with shampoo, shower gel, deodorant in so I don’t need to cart all this around with me. I also leave a spare pair of trainers at work so I don’t have to wear a pair of wet muddy trainers all day.

This is normally what I end up carrying in my bag to work. I’ll have space for some dinner too. The microfibre towel I got from Decathalon and its great, folds up really small and dries quick. Flashing lights and reflectors are always in my bag so I know I have them when needed. Be safe, be seen kids!


If you are thinking about giving it a go plot a route to work using Google maps. It doesn’t have to be all the way. Get off the bus/train a few stops earlier and run the rest of the way in.

Also have a test run. Try the route on a weekend or day off when you don’t have any time pressures. See how long it takes you so you can be confident of the time you need to set off and run in without being late.

I highly recommend that you try running to work. There is no better feeling than being sat at a desk all day with those endorphins pumping and warm loving waves of smugness washing over you! Save all those bus fares and treat yourself to a new running bag or pair of trainers for your efforts!

Have I convinced you? Its really not as scary as you think. Let me know how you get on and send me some pictures! If you get stuck I’m always happy to help. Comment below or find me on Facebook!

My Endurer Dash

Last weekend I took park in the Endurer Dash 8km event in Dronfield and LOVED it! As part of the 8km course I had to walk up streams, crawl through mud, scale fence’s, swim across a pond and trudge through lots of mud (as deep as my thighs at some bits!).

If you have ever had a fleeting thought that these events look fun and one day you might like to enter one, then please please do. Its so much fun and I was so proud of myself afterwords. The feeling was very similar to how I felt after I gave birth. Proud of my body when I have asked it to above and beyond!!!

The Endurer DASH is a test of your strength, stamina and the limits that you can endure. Two obstacle races, an 8km and a 14km course for you to thrash around. Don’t rock up and expect to be rubber necking at the amazing Peak District scenery, or sniffing the fresh country air on a gentle morning jog. Expect to become one with the mud and country. Expect an epic obstacle course pitched on some serious terrain. Challenge Yourself. Become an Endurer!

Upcoming 2015 events – get in there early for discounted sign up rates! Let me know if you sign up, I may be tempted to join you and do it again!!!

Endurer Dash 8km: September 26th Peak District

Endurer Dash 14km: September 27th Peak District









Upcoming 2015 events – get in there early for discounted sign up rates! Let me know if you sign up, I may be tempted to join you and do it again!!!

Endurer Dash 8km: September 26th Peak District

Endurer Dash 14km: September 27th Peak District

Garden Workout With Kids

I often get asked how I manage to fit in workouts with a toddler and a preschooler so I though this video would help! Make it fun and get them involved and you will get so much more from your workout.

Remember you are showing your kids that being active and exercising can be fun so mix it up and don’t worry about how many reps you are doing!! We were out for about 45 minutes and yes it was raining at the end! It ain’t training if it ain’t raining!!!!

Exercise names have been altered for the benefit of the game! Dinosaurs are much more appealing to to four year old than walking lunges!! Give it a try and let me know how you get on!

Why is fitness so confusing?

There are mixed messages regarding health and fitness everywhere we look.

Orange juice that is part of your five a day but shouldn’t be drank because its too high in sugar.

Do 1000 squats each day but only in a morning.

Eat a banana before each workout unless you have a protein shake after.

So who do you believe? What do you do? I think a good rule of thumb is to trust your instinct. If you have to ask yourself if you should be eating something then you probably shouldn’t! Same with exercise. If you feel guilty for constantly making excuses for your inactivity then stop and start with some small steps to get you back into regular exercise.


Have you ever heard the term KISS – keep it simple stupid? Well apply that to your health, fitness and nutrition.

In terms of food…

Stear clear of any foods that are advertised (apart from where the food type is promoted such as British Lamb)
Trust your instinct. If you find yourself asking “should I be eating this?” Don’t!
Eat less food that has been processed and more food that has either grown or once lived.

In terms of exercise…

Don’t over complicate things, just move more!
Workouts don’t need to take an eternity, decrease time but increase intensity (this must be done safely. Always speak to a fitness professional if you are unsure)
Build fitness into your lifestyle by embracing active travel, walking, biking, jogging to and from destinations.

I’ve created a new Facebook group where you can get support, advice and motivation in your fitness journey. Come and join in and feel free to share what you feel confused about in fitness.

Click the link below to join. And sorry guys its ladies only!


8 top tips for healthy eating on a budget


  1. Plan– plan your meals for the week before you go shopping so you can mix and match ingredients to avoid wasting leftovers. Having a list will help you avoid impulse buys.
  2. Go seasonal – fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season are often a cheaper option.
  3. Stock up on store cupboard staples – canned tomatoes, beans and pulses count towards your 5 a day and can bulk up any casserole dish. Choose low salt and sugar varieties.
  4. Top tins– tins of oily fish such as sardines and salmon and cheaper than fresh fish, have a longer shelf life and still provide you with omega 3s.
  5. Veg out – vegetables are cheaper than meat or fish so try adding more vegetables to your meat or fish based dishes and help towards your 5 a day.
  6. Fill up your freezer –frozen fruit and vegetables tend to be cheaper and can be used as and when you need them.
  7. Love your leftovers – don’t eat more than you need to just because it’s there.  Separate your food into containers and either store in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s lunch or freeze for a later date. This will save you time another day.
  8. Credit crunch lunch –take a small portion of last nights evening meal or make your own sandwich, this will allow you to control what you take to work and will save you money at the end of the week.

Do’s and Dont’s on Going Minimalist

This is the second in Julia Buckley’s series of guest posts on Minimalist Running. Find the first here.

In last week’s post I said that going along to one of the Vibram FiveFingers clinics would be the perfect way to get an introduction to minimalist running. But I’ve been getting a lot of messages on twitter from people who are keen to give it a try but can’t make it to any of the London clinics. I know that Vibram are planning a national tour in the near future, so hopefully there’ll be a clinic near you soon. But I thought I’d share some of what I learned at Monday’s clinic to give you a few pointers if you’re keen to get started right away.

Don’t be Afraid!

I’ll admit it – I was a bit scared of those weird looking shoes to start off with! Being so used to ordinary trainers I thought running in something with so little cushioning might hurt. I’d read a lot about making “the transition” to minimalist shoes and it sounded like quite a technical process. But I can report that it was fine. I put the shoes on and I ran. It felt good. The way I ran did change, but I didn’t have to think about it – my feet seemed to automatically know what to do!

Do Take it Slowly

Having said all that, you don’t want to go out, buy a pair of Vibram FiveFingers, and continue running your normal distances in them as if you’ve just replaced your shoes like-with-like. Because you will be changing the way you move, your body will need time to adapt and you should build up gradually.

As with most things, everyone’s different and you should listen to your body. But, as a general rule of thumb, Vibram advise people to start out running about 10% of their usual distance in the FiveFingers shoes for the first couple of weeks. Then you can gradually increase the distance by 10-20% every two weeks afterwards. They also recommend taking rest days between runs for the first month.

Don’t do Anything that Hurts

If it hurts, stop. That’s a rule you should follow whatever you are doing really! Never try and push on through pain when you run or you could turn a minor niggle into a serious injury that will keep you out of training for much longer than if you rested up right away.

Plus it’s supposed to be fun – as Corrado said at the clinic, “We already have a job, this is not work, running is to be enjoyed!”.

Do Ask the Experts

I know I had lots of questions for the guys at the Vibram Clinic and talking to them really helped me feel confident in the shoes. If you’d like to go along to one of the clinics you can get free advice and a training session with them too. But if you can’t make it in person you can reach the team on Twitter or Facebook and they’ll be happy to help.

Minimalist Running

The wonderful Julia Buckley has agreed to provide some guest posts for you all to learn more about minimalist running and Vibram. For more info on Julia please check out her website here – http://www.juliabuckley.co.uk/

I’ve done my first minimalist run! 

The first Vibram FiveFingers clinic was at the Run and Become shop in Victoria last night, where I got fitted out with a lovely pair of Vibram FiveFingers SEEYA (see photo).


You have to put them on a little differently than ordinary shoes, otherwise your toes don’t go into the compartments properly. It seems a bit fiddly at first, but coach Corrado showed me an easy way of doing it where you place the shoe on the floor and sort of press down and ease your foot into it… It’s probably one of those things that’s better demonstrated than described really! (I have some video footage of the fitting, which I’ll add shortly).

When I first put the shoes on they felt quite strange and I was very aware of the separation of my toes. I got used to them surprisingly quickly though, and after about half an hour I stopped noticing I was wearing them.

About 30 people showed up for the clinic and run. It was all very laid back and friendly. Corrado gave a short presentation on minimalist running before we all headed out for a mad-cap run around the surrounding streets. Corrado had us running forwards, backwards, around in circles, jumping in the air and crawling on the ground. London is full of visitors for the Olympics at the moment and I think some of them thought we were some kind of Olympic sideshow as they were stopping to watch and take photos!

I’d always thought you needed to learn to run differently and work on changing your technique before wearing minimalist shoes, as there’s been a lot written about how they encourage forefoot striking. But I was one of many first-timers there last night and no one suffered any ill-effects from the short run we did after a just few minutes warming up. I normally hit the ground heel-first when running, but I found that I naturally became a forefoot striker in the FiveFingers shoes. Surprisingly, it felt quite “natural” and I didn’t have to concentrate on running differently at all.

However, the Vibram team did stress that it’s important to make the transition to minimalist shoes gradually, so I won’t be trying them on runs of more than about a mile yet. But I am looking forward to wearing them for my gym workouts and finding out what differences they make there. Of course, I’ll be reporting details back you on that here too.

There are lots more Vibram FiveFingers clinics coming up across London over the next fortnight and everyone is welcome to go along. Last night the group was a real mixed bag of people, some totally new to the idea of minimalist running who’d come to find out what it was all about, and others who were barefoot veterans. It’s all free and there’s no obligation to buy the shoes. Some people joined the run wearing another brand of footwear last night and the guys didn’t mind. Those who didn’t have any minimalist shoes were given pairs to try.

I can’t think of a better way to get introduced to minimalist running, so do go along if you’re at all interested.

There’s an updated list of dates and times for the remaining clinics below (more might be added soon).

In the meantime you can see lots of photos of part one of my minimalist adventure on the Vibram FiveFingers Europe Facebook page.

Vibram FiveFingers are hosting free minimalist training clinics across London until 12th August. You can find a list of clinic dates here: http://www.fitnessrocks.co.uk/blog/vibram-fivefingers-clinics-dates-and-times