Christmas can be an anxious time for fitness folks as we spend so much of the year being pretty disciplined (and enjoying it) that Christmas can feel like everything is out of your control. My advice here is to embrace Christmas and enjoy it – you know it’s coming so look for all the positives and welcome in Christmas with open arms. Here are my top tips for navigating the next few days.

1. Eat whatever you want. Especially if you’re the kind of person who is normally very careful or conscientious with your food. Pretending you like drinking kale is fine for 50 weeks of the year – take two weeks out to let your guard down and have whatever takes your fancy. As a bonus, your workouts will be supercharged on all those wonderful energy filled calories.

2. Don’t wig out about missing workouts. Spend time with loved ones instead. They are precious. Yes, you could go for a run on Christmas day and brag about it on social media, but also you could spend that time snuggling inside with people you love drinking Baileys inappropriately early. That is an opportunity that comes around once a year – you can run every other day.

Shut up Santa

Shut up Santa

3. You will gain weight. Probably water weight. Accept this now and move on. No self-hating, no drastic new year resolutions decisions to cut sugar/dairy/carbs. Just stretchy waistbands and the safe knowledge that you’ll fix it when the time is right. That right time being January at the earliest.

4. Sleep lots. If you have time off from work then use the opportunity to rest. Life is pretty full on the rest of the year and Christmas is the perfect time to catch an extra couple of hours sleep, spend all day indoors sitting and catching up with your family. Rest and recovery is not ‘failure’ and you don’t have to switch on ‘beast mode’ every damn day.

5. All that said, don’t be afraid to take the healthy option. Don’t feel you have to eat healthily but equally don’t feel like you have to eat junk because everyone else is. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to the sweets or having double roast potatoes just because you’ll get given a hard time. Just as you shouldn’t feel you have to be healthy at Christmas, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re being judged for wanting to get your vegetables in. Food guilt of any kind is unacceptable at every time of year; don’t be afraid to do what you want to do!

Have a lovely Christmas pals x

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Like a graze box for badasses. This is how I would describe Fuelify.

Fuelify is a subscription box service that delivers fitness nutrition and sports snacks to your door. Or desk, if that’s the life you lead. You choose the frequency, select your gender, tell Fuelify the way you train (you can choose from cardio training, weight training, high intensity circuits and muscle endurance) and they’ll do rest. Ta-daa, a shiny new box of treats delivered directly to you, tailored for your activities.

I was very kindly delivered a cardio training box to support my running and I was pretty happy when it arrived. A whole box of food, just for me! I liked the mix of food and hydration support, and was excited to try some of the things I hadn’t bought before. I liked the focus on recovery too – the box contained a Beet It Sport Bar and a CherryActive Concentrate sachet, both of which are designed to aid muscle recovery. A well rounded box indeed!

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The Pulsin bar was really nice (a huge improvement on my previous Pulsin experience) and the Osmo hydration sachet was yummy! And who doesn’t love a little parcel of jelly beans?

You can choose from fortnightly (£8.99 per box), monthly (£9.99 per box) or one-off boxes (£11.99 per box), which is the same monthly price as Graze or even more of a bargain if you go for fortnightly deliveries. I like that you can have more frequent deliveries to suit your training and I love the idea of getting different snacks each time. I will usually go to Holland & Barrett (or similar establishment) once a week or fortnight and stock up on the same old nutrition, so it’s great to get to try new things. For example – the strawberry waffle from Honey Stinger. Who knew these delicious beauties existed?! Will definitely be keeping an eye out for these in the future.

Also – if you like the things in your box, Fuelify have a shop on their site where you can bulk buy products! Genius.

Thanks so much to Fuelify for sending me this box to try out – I’ll definitely be popping a subscription on my christmas list!

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Staying hydrated is really important, especially in this amazing hot summer weather we have been having. Hydration doesn’t necessarily mean just water though – electrolytes are really important too to ensure you stay healthy. Electrolytes are helpful little critters that naturally occur in the body but are lost through sweat. They help to control fluid balance and blood pressure control and if you lose too many and don’t replace them you can become really ill, starting with cramps, headaches and fatigue but it can get more serious.

I learnt the importance of electrolytes first hand when I was out in Dubai. I’ve told this story on here before so I’ll keep it short, but running 18 miles or so in near 40 degree heat is no small feat and, unsurprisingly, requires a lot of rehydration. I flooded my system with water but no electrolytes and found myself with a migraine like a head vice, throwing up bile and unable to stand or talk. It was genuinely very frightening and I learnt my lessons about the importance of electrolytes in rehydration. Obviously this is an extreme situation but I have had less severe instances in the UK too. Just last week I was feeling exhausted and run down with a horrible recurring headache – I had 500ml on nuun and finally started to feel better (THEY DIDN’T EVEN PAY ME TO SAY THAT IT IS TRUE).

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There are lots of different rehydration tablets on the market (I have also used High5 and gu tablets) but I like nuun because of the huge variety of flavours. I’ve been trying out some new (to me) flavours recently and am a big fan of cherry limeade and lemonade. I have always loved strawberry lemonade and lemon and lime will also always have a special place in my heart! If I am honest I’m less keen on grape – my least favourite. Each to their own!

nuun is sugar/carb free (and only 6-8 calories per tablet, if calories are your bag!) and so is perfect for use in rucksack water bladders. The lack of carbohydrates also means that the speed of absorption is a lot quicker – carbohydrates slow down the rate at which the stomach empties, delaying the absorption of water and electrolytes. nuun contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B2, covering pretty much all the bases in terms of essential electrolytes needed for effective recovery. I’ll be honest, the design of the tubes is also pretty cute which makes me like them more (I’m sorry but it’s true).

In addition to kindly sending me some new flavours to try out, my friends at nuun have given me a lovely discount code for my readers. Use ‘beprettyfit15’ at the checkout of their online shop to receive 15% off your order! You can also click on the nuun logo to the right of any of my blog posts to go straight through to the nuun UK shop. I know, I am very kind and generous with my hyperlinks. Stock up fitness babes!

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It’s been a little while since I have done a loves post, and so instead of focusing on just one thing I am going to round up a few new favourites from the past couple of months!

HALO HEADBANDS 

I have a whole loads of hair on my head. Loads of it. As a runner it is a total pain in the butt trying to keep it under control. I have found that a super tight french plait is the best of the bunch for keeping hair off your face for multiple miles, but then the baby hairs work their way loose and want to join the party. I have tried so many things to try and keep my hair under control. I am a loyal disciple of Boots’ non-slip non-snag little rubber hair ties – if they didn’t loosen up after you’ve used them a few times they’d be ace, but currently they are essentially a disposable item. I have never, though, found a hair band that did the trick – I’ve tried different sports brands, beauty brands, widths, styles…they all seem to slip off, or give me a headache with their unrelenting head pressure.

Here's the 1/2inch non-slip headband

Here’s the 1/2inch non-slip headband

Halo Headbands clearly telepathically felt my pain and sent me a couple of their headbands to try out. One a magical thick band designed to stop sweat running in to your eyes, the other a little skinny band designed to keep your hair up and away from your face without slippage. I’ve given both a run for their money and can said that I am suitably impressed with each of them. They’re comfortable, come in nice colours and do exactly what they promise to do. I particularly love the non-slip headband – I barely noticed I was wearing it (no too-tight-headband headache) and it kept my wild hair firmly in its place. I love the colour selections too – not just pink, but pink if you want it! I went for teal and blue. Highly recommended.

You can buy Halo Headbands over on their website, and I have also seen them for sale at various running expos!

TRX AT HEARTCORE 

A little while ago Heartcore, a boutique chain of Pilates classes based in various locations in West London, invited me to try out one of their classes. I have been desperate to have a proper go at TRX since what feels like the dawn of time and so jumped at the chance. I went to an early class with some of the ladies from the Sweaty Betty team at Heartcore’s newest studio in Fulham and enjoyed it immensely.

The TRX studio in Fulham (photo courtesy of the Heartcore Facebook page)

The TRX studio in Fulham (photo courtesy of the Heartcore Facebook page)

The class is definitely not the faint hearted. I felt absolutely shattered towards the end (I don’t tend to do well in the early AM without breakfast at the best of times!) and had serious DOMS all over for a good few days afterwards. Our instructor was encouraging and informative without being patronising or pushing us too hard – a fine balance to strike – and I felt like he responded well to the group’s experience. The instruction was intuitive and definitely didn’t feel like a cut and paste class (i.e. cutting back on the burpees when it was clear we were all on the brink of vomming). The studio is lush and new and the bathrooms are beautiful. A lovely little luxe studio offering great classes.

TRX classes are currently offered in Heartcore’s Fulham and Chealsea studios (check the timetable for exact details) and they’re offering a free trial class when you register! A no-brainer, ey?

THE CHIA CO 

I’ve heard a whole load about chia seeds but never really understood why everyone was wigging out about them. In early July Australian company The Chia Co invited me to their summer garden party and I went along to find out more about these little seeds. Turns out that chia seeds are full of omega-3, fibre and protein, containing all 8 essential amino acids. A tablespoon provides 100% of your daily omega-3 ALA, 25% of your daily recommended fibre intake and nearly 10% of your calcium, magnesium and iron intake (all essential for active women).

Pretty impressive little guys.

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On their own I find them pretty tasteless with a nice crunch, so they’re perfect for sprinkling on all sorts of things to gain lots of nutritional kudos without having to suffer through ingesting it (“greens” drinks I am looking at you). I’ve had them on salad, in sweet potato mash, in scrambled eggs, on top of granola, with yoghurt and fruit…lots of different ways! And I have felt very smug about it the whole time.

The Chia Co sell Chia Shots (small individual serving size tubes of chia seeds) and a new Oats + Chia ‘Porridge’ (a blend of oats, chia, powdered coconut milk and fruit bits), both of which are perfect for putting in your bag or desk drawer. The Oats are ready in a minute and pretty yummy – a great easy healthy breakfast option. They also do single-serve chia puddings – Chia Pods – which are more of an acquired taste due to the texture. The banana flavour is pretty banana-y – the mango one is much better if you ask me.

At the garden party the founder of The Chia Co, John Foss, spoke to us about his background as a farmer in Australia and his desire to produce food that would benefit the people eating it and benefit the health of consumers worldwide. He was a passionate and genuine speaker and his love for healthy, natural food really came across. I loved the background of the company and love their ethos of wanting to make a positive contribution to public health. They also threw a mean garden party with excellent Pimms. I like them, and I think you should too.

 

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For the record, I had a lot of fun at the Currys juicing event last night. There were lots of blog pals there (blog pals in real life is one of my favourite things about blogging) and I even met some new blog pals too. We did a rad body conditioning class over at Urban Kings – it was full of sweaty topless men and smelt terrible (can’t decide if I loved or hated this) and Derry from Temple Training had put together a killer circuit. We did lots of burpees and it was cool. I also got to play with a juicer which I have never done before, which is pretty cool too.

Team Pic group 1

Right in the middle with my teeny orange shorts. They were a mistake.

Did it change my mind about juice fasts? No.

Did it make me want to shop at Currys? Not really Currys in particular, no, but I think it’s great to see a big company reach out to people interested in health and fitness and pay attention to what they’re interested in.

Did it make me want a juicer? Yes – they are absolutely ferocious. I know if I owned one though I would break it by trying to pulverise non-juicable objects. Also, juice is delicious and I love the idea of being able to chuck in whatever I want. I juiced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, green apple, carrot and spinach and it was delicious (yes I ignored the vegetables because vegetable juice is gross).

Did I have a lovely time? Yes, and I am grateful to both Currys and Greenlight for their hospitality. It was a well organised event and a great opportunity to meet lots of other bloggers. Thank you for having me!

Dabbling with the juicer (FYI: apples bounce up and down, you need to shut that shit down with the lid)

Dabbling with the juicer (FYI: apples bounce up and down, you need to shut that shit down with the lid) (Photo courtesy of Charlie Watson)

It felt good to have made this myself.

It felt good to have made this myself.

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