Health Kicks from my Friends
I’ve had lots of requests for health and fitness posts over the years so thought it was about time I gave it a whirl. Given I’m far from an expert on these matters, I thought I’d do something a little different and enlist the help of some friends and fellow bloggers for my first foray into the realm of ‘health’ posts. I asked four of my healthiest, glowiest peers for their top 5 tips for looking and feeling that bit healthier every day, as well as offering up a few things I’ve personally learned that work for me. I like to think I’m reasonably healthy in the kitchen and know a few things about nutrition here and there, but my knowledge has massive gaps, so I loved hearing how others cook, eat and move to look after themselves.
I’m really excited to share this as I think its the first time ever I’ve had personal contributions from others on FMN so I hope you enjoy reading their tips as much as I did.
You probably already know Anneli from her blog What I Bought Today, but if that wasn’t enough, this talented lady recently launched new health and wellness site Sustain the Glow. And if anyone’s an advocate for working out and eating right, it’s this glowy, Nowegian native.
1. Sleep & Hydrate
This is my number 1 beauty tip and best of all, it´s free! I’ve struggled a lot with sleep in the past, but have made it my number one priority to focus on – and my skin, health and body is looking, and feeling better than ever. Hydration is also so important; I easily drink 3L of water a day, not including the countless amounts of herbal/green tea I sip on throughout the day. It helps clear your skin, keep you awake and boosts productivity.
2. Keep it Varied
2. When it comes to fitness, I have my go-to favourites (Pilates, Ashtanga Yoga, Spinning, HIIT, boxing and weight training) – but I always make sure I mix it up with classes and activities that are out of my comfort zone so I don’t get bored and challenge different muscle groups. I vary up my food groups and supplements depending on the season, and mix up my skincare products every 2-3 months too so my body keeps reacting positively to the good stuff.
3. Drink your Greens
I feel lost without my morning green juice! Granted, being a freelancer I usually have more time in the morning, but if you take time to prepare it’s doable for everyone. If you´re limited on time, bulk buy your greens for the week and juice a load for the following 2-3 days, store in an air-tight container (this is important), and you have your morning green fix sorted.
4. Balance, not Perfection
This is so important to me and what ultimately inspired us to create Sustain The Glow. Finding that balance in your every-day living is essential in order to achieve a sustainable lifestyle in the longterm. Seeking out the 80/20 rule in your diet, fitness, work load and overall day-to-day life, will create a happier, healthier you. Personally, it hasn’t been an easy journey to achieve this – but after quitting all diet fads and finding a balance that works for me – I am much more content and happier then ever (and more fun to be around, might I add!).
5. Make Coconut your Best Friend.
I am obsessed with coconut in all shape and form; I use the oil for cooking, conditioning my hair, moisturising my skin, make-up remover – you name it. I hydrate with the water and snack on dried coconut flakes. It´s unbelievably good for you and such a multi-purpose – definitely one of my must-have lifestyle staples.
Freelance writer, journalist and blogger Poppy spends her time researching and writing about new gyms. trainers, techniques and spas, so it goes without saying she’s got more than a few pieces of advice up her sleeve. Forever asking her what she does to get that killer bod, I thought it was about time I got her to share some wisdom on here.
Know Your Goals
1. First of all, have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-scaled) health and fitness goals. Yes, I know I sound like a business bore but this is so vital if you want to maintain your focus with being fit and healthy. Ask yourself why you want to be fit and healthy, how you’re going to achieve it and what it will do for you when you do achieve it.
Nail the Necessities
Every day try to eat clean, sleep eight (or more) hours a night, breathe deeply and quietly for a few minutes at some point in the day, drink at least eight glasses of water, and do at least 20 mins of exercise – (this can be walking if you haven’t time for anything else). I know these points seem obvious but you can’t expect to maintain momentum if your mind and body aren’t fit for the challenge. And if you manage to do all the above, then congratulations, you’re already streaks ahead of most people on the planet!
If you can afford it, invest in a personal trainer. I’d never had a consistent one before Dan Roberts who I’m currently training with for a special project, and it’s made the most amazing difference to my performance, motivation and physical results. You can’t beat getting one-to-one expert guidance tailored specifically to your own unique body. PT’s don’t have to cost hundreds of pounds; I know some amazing ones who charge £20 or £40 per hour.
Mix It Up
There’s not one single ultimate exercise that reigns supreme – it’s all about using your body in as many different ways as possible to utilise every single part. Keeping exercise varied will also keep things fun, which is equally important. Go for a run, lift weights, do some yoga/pilates, walk, go mountain climbing, swim, dance – and enjoy it!
Be Kind to Yourself
Listen to your body, take a rest day (or 2 or 3) should you need it and don’t hate yourself if you over indulge on occasions with chocolate, crisps, chips and/or all kinds of beige food. We all do this every now and again and I believe this is is healthy. Lastly, try meditation to enable deep relaxation. I’m attempting to master it right now, which is a challenge because I love to whizz around at the speed of lightening but that’s exactly why I need it in my life. I’m hoping it will help me stay balanced mentally and physically in the long-run.
London Health and Fitness Girl
Xochi is a true natural goddess. She founded street food truck Rainbo with her husband-to-be, supplying festivals, events and the streets of London with healthy, homemade Gyoza, and is now studying Naturopathy while also catering events, creating natural beauty products in her kitchen and running her blog The Naturalista.
1. Meditate each day
It doesn’t matter where you are or how little time you have, finding a space to light some incense or palo santo and turn inwards each day is so important in hectic 21st century life. Five minutes of staying still, connecting to the breath and scanning what’s going on in your inner sky creates so much awareness and space for the day ahead.
2. Stock up on Superfoods
I am a big fan of superfoods. Lucuma, maca, reishi, ashwaganda, shilajit, cacao and algae are my go-to antioxidants – I throw them in my morning smoothies and then no matter what the day brings, I know I’ve given my body the best boost I can. I like to think of my morning green smoothie as my daily natural medicine, keeping me primed and ready for whatever comes next.
3. Drink herbal teas
Herbs are such a great source of nourishment and in teas they make the perfect way to hydrate more while getting some extra goodness. So many health issues stem from insufficient water intake and taking a flask around during the day allows you to brew some really strong healing blends and stay warm and hydrated while you’re at it. I love Pukka blends and the Neal’s Yard range.
4. Get into nature
I am a firm believer that we were built for the outdoors and a dose of roaming free in nature always revives my body and my soul. Breathing fresh air and connecting to the earth beneath your feet cleanses all the toxins and stresses of city life, and presses reset. It is what we were designed to do.
5. Eat a rainbow
In naturopathy we always focus on variety and vibrancy on food: there are so many different plant foods and all of them give us their own source of nutrients and vitality. From carotene-filled sweet potatoes and butternut to dark red beets and purple cabbage, nature’s palette is there to be explored so if you find yourself stuck on kale each night, throw in some colour and get creative. You never know what new recipe you might discover.
Private chef and food blogger Margie makes the kind of food I love to eat; healthy twists on filling favourites so you never feel short-changed after digging in and don’t have to compromise on taste. Creating down-to-earth, balanced and nutritious food, previous clients have included Temperley London, Tory Burch and Calgary Avansino.
Move More Everyday
A great piece of advice is that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet and it’s so true. Eating well and exercising regularly need to happen hand-in-hand in order to look and feel great. I know I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but the combination of both these things is what helps me feel healthy and happy on a daily basis.You don’t have to sign up for a marathon to get moving, a simple start would be getting off the bus a few stops early and power walking the rest of the way.
Plan your Snacks
It’s really important to have healthy snacks nearby at all times. Knowing you have something delicious, but nutritious to eat will stop you nipping into the nearest shop for a chocolate bar or packet of crisps. Preparation is key for this and luckily it only takes a matter of minutes to whip up things like my healthy peanut butter flapjacks or carrot cake balls. If you have a long flight, train journey or a weekend away where you’re not in charge of cooking, stock up on nuts, healthy crackers and dips or bake a healthy tray bake to take with you.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
For anyone trying to be healthier, breakfast should be compulsory. It’s definitely the most important meal of the day for me, making me feel energized and focused from the get-go. If you’re prone to picking up croissants and lattes on the way to work, try making a big batch of bircher muesli at the start of the week that you can ladle out quickly each morning.
Eating healthier is so much more delicious and varied then people might think. But start off slowly, and make little changes. Have an achievable goal rather than something that is unsustainable. Anything too drastic will mean you are more likely to end up giving up. The most important thing is to start and then once you start feeling good and seeing changes in your skin, hair and body, nothing will stop you.
Don’t Deprive, Twist
I strongly believe that eating should never be about deprivation; the key is just finding ways to cut back on the bad stuff whilst still leaving you with something that tastes amazing and feels indulgent. A few simple swaps to try would be replacing butter with olive oil and use coconut sugar instead of refined sugar; little things that will make the world of difference.
Made by Margie
So my health tips are more like nudges than kicks. Designed for lazy, demanding girls like me who hate to run and love pasta but ultimately want to be able to pull on a bikini confidently at the drop of a hat. Still working on that last one but these are a few things I believe in.
Cook from Scratch
Banish ready meals from your fridge, keep takeaways to a maximum of once a week and take the time to cook what you love from scratch. If you fancy fish pie, curry or lasagne, eat it. Just cook it yourself, see exactly what goes into it and adapt it to suit you. You’ll probably find you eat less of it and appreciate it more when you do.
Don’t Force It
I mentioned above that I hate running, and I really, really do. I want to love it and have tried so many times, but my knees hurt, my head pounds and I last for all of 10 minutes before stopping. Now, I’ve made peace with it, and will do a HIT boxing class or power walk up a 13-15% incline on the treadmill for 45 minutes instead.
Don’t Hate on Carbs
I don’t fill up without carbs and inevitably reach for a kitkat an hour after a bowl of lettuce leaves, so I normally have carbs with every meal in some form. Just pick wisely; oats, rye, spelt, buckwheat, boiled and baked potatoes (white and sweet), squash and quinoa are all favourites of mine. They’re the ultimate energy and mood boosters and keep your metabolism ticking over.
Get Some New Kit
I’m not suggesting spending hundreds unnecessarily, but a new pair of trainers or leggings can do wonders for getting me into the gym or yoga studio after a bit of a lull/winter hibernation. My favourite basics are from Gap, H&M, Nike and Adidas, while Varley and Lucas Hugh make the best statement gymwear.
I’ve had terrible posture since I was a teenager and its something I’m still constantly battling and working to combat, not always successively. Yoga and pilates help, but more than anything, just checking myself throughout the day works to throw my shoulders back and elongate my neck. Most pictures of myself I hate are down to my posture so I’ve realised standing tall really does instantly change your silhouette from top-to-toe.
Thank you to all my lovely contributors for sharing their five pieces of advice.