ANXIETY – COME AT ME!

mermaidI read an article the other day that talked about fitness trends for 2019… HIIT is still having its day, and there’s currently big debate about whether cardio or HITT is best?! However, it said focus is going to shift to exercising for mental health and well-being, and LISS (low intensity steady state) exercise (walking, jogging, plodding). Mental health and well-being are being discussed more openly, in the media, in workplaces, in general person to person, it’s less of a taboo topic, which can only be a good thing! Going for counselling, seeking alternative therapies, meditating, mindfulness and so on is the new norm. Promoted, encouraged, more accessible and readily available.

As a PT I’ve found more clients have come to me with mental health and well-being being the main driver for them to exercise over aesthetics, to help with anxiety, stress and depression. And this is something I can relate to personally, as this has been my main driver (and saviour in many ways!) over the last 6 months. Exercise isn’t the sole answer, I’m not about to spout that, but it can have a huge impact on your state of mind, endorphins are utterly incredible!

I came across this picture (top of the blog) on Pinterest the other week and it made me smile, as this is how I’ve described my anxiety so many times; like a huge wave is coming at me, I’m just there waiting to be wiped out, pulled under and I can’t get my breath. If it hits me (it hasn’t yet), it’s going to floor me! But in this picture, there’s a mermaid, and I’ve always likened myself to a mermaid… I LOVE the sea, always been a water baby and I’m an alright swimmer… What would a mermaid do? She’d swim right through! Now I may be the mermaid, but admittedly I have a mouth like a sailor… so now when that wave starts rolling towards me, I picture me as this mermaid, but not quite so angelic. I’m the mermaid giving the middle finger, saying some of the most offensive swear words you can string together… So, swear word, swear word, swear word, come at me… I’ll swim right through you!

Mental health benefits of exercise

  • It’s an awesome mood-booster; get out of your mind and push your body.
  • Relieves tension and stress; the more stressed you feel the more you need to workout, you’re better able to control cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
  • Calms the mind and helps you to think clearer; switch off altogether, calm racing thoughts. As your body tires, so does your mind.
  • Reduces risk of depression; exercise can reduce the risk by 20%.  
  • Reduces and eases anxiety; when those awesome endorphins kick in (applicable for all of the above!).

Going back to the first point about the best exercise to do; ultimately it’s what works best for YOU! What you enjoy doing, what makes you feel the best. If you don’t enjoy it, it won’t work because it won’t last… do something you enjoy, and you’ll want to do it often. Those endorphins are addictive!

With regards to exercise being the sole answer to improving mental health, this isn’t so… this is something you have to delve into deeper. Look at the root causes creating issues, anxieties and so on, and address it/them. Admittedly this is something I haven’t done myself, up until recently. I just tried to push it to the back of my mind, put it in a box… but unless you address it, it will keep coming back, louder. This is where health and well-being support services and alternative/complimentary therapies come into play. Depending on your issue/s and situation, I suggest you research, reach-out and explore the above. Something I am doing, and so far have been to see a spiritualist (may be too out-there for some) but this helped me a lot, something I have never tried before through fear of what I might be told, but this brought me calm (at the worst point of my anxiety, I’m talking I was convinced I was near heart attack stage, something a spirit confirmed!!) and assurance, and a lot of what I was told has and is coming true… mind-blowing even!! I am going to try Reiki and have started to explore crystal healing, and have referred myself for counselling, through Bury Healthy Minds, something I knew I needed and have been recommended by my doctor, colleagues and friends. Writing this blog is a form of therapy too, writing thoughts and feelings down gets them out of your head and on to paper.

This is just me sharing my journey to address my mental health and well-being, to help me swim through that wave, without getting wiped out! This is not necessarily the course of action and answers for you.

Delve into that box at the back of your mind, speak-up/out, research and reach-out!

Here’s a few links to further information on the benefits of exercise for mental health and well-being, and mental health support services.  

Mind

Mentalhealth.org

Rethink.org

NHS

This is something we should be talking about more frequently and openly, remove stigma altogether, share experiences and support one another. I hope this helps 🙂

Kate x

Healthy Body = Healthy (Happy) Mind


BE A GOAL DIGGER

New year – fresh start, new opportunities, endless possibilities, drive and determination, move forwards, focus… Let’s can the whole notion of ‘New Year’s resolutions’ and ‘New Year, new you’, because mostly they are negative i.e. stop this, give-up that… negative! And as far as new you is concerned, you’ll always be you! So why not focus on adding positive things into your life, healthy habits, setting yourself goals, and make yourself feel good AWESOME when you smash those goals!

Have a think about the things you want to do and achieve; in your personal life, work life, to improve your health and well-being. Write them down, the list might be as long as your arm… chop it down and organise it into a realistic time frame, things you can start and achieve straight away, within a week, month, year, even 5 years… make a plan. Having dreams and aspirations is a good thing, dreams can and do come true… just be realistic with what you can achieve, by when and how, break a goal down, what are the steps you need to take to achieve it. Don’t set yourself up for a fail or fall before you’ve even begun.

Start now, start next week, next month… don’t feel like you have to have your year planned out before the clock strikes 12pm on New Year’s Eve… give yourself time to contemplate and consider what you really want to achieve in 2019. It’s OK just to have one goal too… smash that and then focus on the next.

Here’s a few do’s & don’ts to consider…

DO

Things YOU want to do. Don’t get caught up in other people’s goals, what is it that YOU want to achieve? FOCUS on you!

Break a goal down. How are you going to achieve it? What are the steps you need to take? Breaking something down makes it more manageable / doable.

Celebrate every tiny victory. You might have only lost 1lb this week and you wanted to lose 3lbs, the fact is you lost weight (and 1lb a week is what’s recommended). You might have managed to complete an additional set, run another mile, lifted a heavier weight, whatever your victory give yourself a pat on the back – well bloody done!

DON’T

Set the bar too high. You can achieve anything you put your mind to… but be realistic! If you set yourself up for a fall, you’ll throw the towel in. This is often the case, and people quit their goals only a few weeks into the New Year.

Do too much too soon. Study your list and pick one, two, three goals to focus on, depending on how big they are. Go all in, but on a few things at a time.

Give up! When the going gets tough, take a break, pause, reflect, refine and then carry on. It’s OK to tweak your goals, change timescales, move the goal posts. Just don’t quit… you CAN do it Brucey!

Set goals… and CRUSH them!

For more information on personal training and group fitness sessions give us a call or drop us an email to arrange a free consultation.

Call Kate on: 07875584383

Call Ruth on: 07891092893

Email us: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk

Alternatively fill out the contact form below and we’ll be in touch.

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5 TOP TIPS TO MINIMISE FESTIVE FLAB!

It’s December… how is it December already!? With 24 sleeps to go, the Christmas countdown is on and festivities are in full swing… it’s time to let your hair down, have festive fun with family and friends and attend a whole host of Christmas parties… Hands up if you’ve got a weekend (or week night for that matter) free??

You’re going to put on a few pounds over Christmas, we all are! Don’t over stress it! However, do what you can to ‘minimise’ any weight gain and maintain physical activity levels as much as possible. It’ll make the fight back to full fitness less of a slog, and if you continue to exercise throughout you can have that extra mince pie or two… Think of it as damage limitation!

Here’s 5 top tips to minimise festive flab…

  • Grab a workout where you can – don’t stop! Don’t let yourself get into the mentality that you’ll get back into it after Christmas and let all your hard work throughout the year go to waste. Tone it down, frequency/time, think minimum time/maximum effort. Add workouts to your ever-expending social diary, schedule it in and get it done – at home, on your lunch break, before work! We’ll be dishing out some festive fitspiration over on our Facebook page, with ’12 days of Fitmas’ exercise routines you could (should) do! Check out our page Facebook.com/BrooksFitnessPT and give it the thumbs up if you haven’t already! 😊

 

  • Easy on the chocolate treats – easy to say, bloody tough to do… it’s everywhere! Advent calendars, boxes (on boxes) of chocolates in work, tubs of Quality Street everywhere you go on 2-4-1 at the end of every aisle in supermarkets. If the chocolates weren’t enough, then there’s the boxes of biscuits to contend with too… you need will power of steel to resist! Limit yourself to two or three here and there, it’s all too easy to grab a handful and mindlessly devour one after the other, before you know it you’ve turned into Augustus Gloop and devoured them all! Why not have a go at making your own tasty treats, like protein balls, that can fuel you for longer and are great for snacking on the go. Check out these recipes on Women’s Health website. You could even store them in a Quality Street tub, so it feels like you’re digging in to chocolate treats 😉

 

  • Drink gin! Yes, you did just read that right… drink gin! You’re going to lots of parties, drinking lots of booze… that’s a lot of empty calories you’re going to consume (calories that have no nutritional value). So, plan your poison and stick with a clear spirit, like gin or vodka, that isn’t as calorific as something like larger or cider. Drink it with tonic or soda and stick with the same drink all night… the dreaded next day in the office, with the hangover from hell won’t be as bad that way too!

 

  • Drink more water – I go on about this all of the time… water is life! Drink water in-between your alcoholic drinks, and drink plenty throughout the day, between 2-4 litres. There’s so many benefits to drinking water; increased energy, healthier skin (you want to look glam and glow at these parties), teeth and bones, increased metabolism and improved digestion, to name a few! Next time you think you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water, it may just be that you’re dehydrated and mistaking it for hunger. I’ve written a separate blog about the importance of drinking water, you can read more here.

 

  • Plan as much as you can – If you’re out for a Christmas lunch and get to see a menu beforehand, choose healthier options such as turkey (minus the skin) and veg, a great source of lean protein! Choose a healthier starter, such as a fish dish and go easy on the dessert – do you really need one? Have you had a healthy handful of Quality Street already that day?? Be honest!

When it comes to the Christmas food shop, write a shopping list and stick to it as much as you can. Don’t be sucked in to the 2-4-1 Quality Street and chocolate treat offers. Also, never go shopping hungry… you’ll go wild with all that temptation. Play supermarket sweep, in/round/out – done! The faster you go the more calories you burn! You’ll save yourself a small fortune too!

If you have lots of social events in the week, plan meals around them. Try to have healthier home-cooked dishes prepped in advance, fill your freezer. Often, it’s the dirty, salty, greasy food you crave and eat on a hangover that leaves you feeling the most bloated and bleurgh!

Forget the ‘New Year, New You’ fad and start your fitness mission now, invest in yourself this Christmas, your health! Find out more about our PT and Group PT packages, great discounts available on block bookings. Give us a call or drop us an email to arrange a free consultation.

Call Kate on: 07875584383

Call Ruth on: 07891092893

Email us: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk

Alternatively fill out the contact form below and we’ll be in touch.

LikeStickersSparkle You can also follow on Facebook, check out our page and give it the thumbs up: Facebook.com/BrooksFitnessPT

 


EVERY MILE IS WORTHWHILE!

One run can change your day, many runs will change your life!

I started running around 3 years ago… I went for my first run around my local park I managed 3 laps! Although I was generally physically fit in a gym environment it was enough to start off with. I was tired, it was hard!

I needed to build up my endurance so when I had a bit of spare time I got my trainers on and off I went down to the park, always pushing for that extra lap. It didn’t take long for me to catch the running bug… I started to run a bit further and run different routes, and soon found out how amazing it was to be outdoors on foot. I’ve lived in Ramsbottom all my life and there was so much of this little village (and surrounding areas) that I had missed! Every run I was seeing something I hadn’t noticed before, and couldn’t wait to get out on my next run.

Being a busy mum of 2 boys not every run is the same, sometimes I have time to do a long run, sometimes it’s a short run I squeeze in, and sometimes I’m too tired running around after them, taking them to all the activities they do!

Here’s my top running tips…

  • Download a running app such as Runkeeper / MyFitnessPal – this will help you track your running and progression.
  • Get a running buddy – to motivate and encourage each other!
  • Invest in good running trainers – comfort is key, your feet need to be supported.
  • Train other aspects of fitness don’t neglect other exercises – strength training, flexibility and core strength are all important for running.
  • Educate yourself about running, general fitness and good nutrition (education is the key to change).
  • Decide how long, how far, and where to run – its good to plan your route, start off in familiar places, here are a few distances for you:

5k = 3.1 miles
10k = 6.2 miles
21k = 13.1 miles (half marathon)
42k = 26 miles (marathon)

  • Think about your clothing – layers you can add or remove depending on the weather, gloves, ear warmers, hat as winter sets in, fluorescent colours in dark hours.
  • Stay hydrated –  if you don’t like running with a drink be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day before and after your run.

Research shows that running develops new brain cells, improves and enhances your memory –  brilliant for those mums with baby brain… I still use this excuse even though my boys are 9 and 6! 😉

I hope these tips help to get you started! Your first few runs will be hard, but if your persevere it will get easier, you will go further and will get faster, and I promise you, you’ll love it, you time – bliss!

We’re going to be holding a monthly group run for women to come together, run together, feel safe and supported. Our first run is taking place on Saturday 10 November, 9am-10am. It’ll be £2 per person to take part, and we’ll do a combination of running/jogging, body weight exercises and running drills. All abilities and experience levels welcome, no one will get left behind! Head over to our Facebook page to find out more, and join the fun!

Looking forward to seeing you lovely ladies on our monthly runs! Get in touch if you want personal training, and any tips and information on getting started with your running.

Ruth x

Call Ruth on: 07891092893

Email us: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk

Alternatively fill out the contact form below and we’ll be in touch.

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SLEEP IS LIFE!

Rest, recovery and sleep are so important when it comes to your health and well-being. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) states that sleep is a basic human need and is just as important for good health as diet and physical activity.

It’s a topic that is close to my heart, being a 10 hour girl that bloody loves her sleep, a girl who will happily call it a night and retreat to the land of nod at 9pm given half the chance. I never really have a problem falling asleep and if I do I consider it to be a big problem! I fall into the deepest sleep, so much so I’ve woken up to friends checking my pulse in the middle of the night thinking I’ve slipped into a coma or died – I cannot function without a lot of sleep!

However… I wrote this particular post a while ago off the back of a horrific 5 hours broken sleep, after going round to my friend Nicola’s house for a ‘quiet’ girl’s night in with two of my other good friends, Sian and Georgie. I say good friends… they were downing drinks and dancing on tables till 5.30am, I took myself off to bed at 2am and tried to get some shut eye, whilst they caused carnage around her kitchen table. I bang on to them like a broken record that they need to get more sleep, as they regularly pull all-nighters (on school nights too!). Telling them they’re all going to look 90 by the time they hit 40 (only because I love them!). 😉

The body is set to a 24-hour clock, the internal biological clock being fundamental to the survival of all living organisms (so pretty important!). It influences hormone secretion, urine production, regulates body temperature and blood pressure. A good night’s sleep allows the body to wake up fresh and invigorated, ready to face the coming day’s challenges. Too little sleep causes drowsiness, inability to concentrate, reduced productivity and performance. In the long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to premature ageing (Nicola, Sian & Georgie take note!), digestive disturbances, psychological problems, behavioural disturbances and a host of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes and heart diseases (ref NSF). In short, too little sleep is NOT good!

Sleep scientists generally agree that most adults need 7 to 8 hours sleep a night – I’m an exception to this then! Getting too little sleep will create a ‘sleep debt’ that will eventually catch up with you and need to be repaid. Below are some top tips to get your sleep on…

Top tips for improving sleep

•    Exercise!
•    Set a scheduled time for sleep
•   Take a warm bath
•    Reduce stressful activities
•    Blackout your bedroom
•    Avoid caffeine before bed (up to 6 hours before)
•    Avoid nicotine and alcohol
•    Don’t go to sleep too full or hungry
•    Relax before bed

•    Control room temperature (lower temperature improves sleep)

‘Sleep is the best meditation’ ~ Dalai Lama

Kate x

For more information on personal training and group fitness sessions give us a call or drop us an email and arrange a free consultation.

Call Kate on: 07875584383

Call Ruth on: 07891092893

Email us: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk

Alternatively fill out the contact form below and we’ll be in touch.

LikeStickersSparkle You can also follow on Facebook, check out our page and give it the thumbs up: Facebook.com/BrooksFitnessPT