Saturday, 24 January 2015

Go to your happy place

Today, whilst I was driving on my way to help out at my pole school’s open day, I was on the phone to my mama having a catch up and it got a little emotional and sad – not in a bad way but you just get into deeper stuff when you talk to your mum! Anyway I was a bit low when I walked into pole but then two hours later when I was driving back home; I was in a completely different mood. I felt so happy and content.

This is what pole fitness does for me. Exercise usually puts me in a good mood and makes me feel satisfied but after pole it is just a whole other level. I can’t really explain it but I feel awesome afterwards.

I remember the time before pole and feeling my life was a bit boring. I knew that a hobby might be the thing that was missing and then I found pole and I haven’t had that feeling since. I can’t get enough of it and no matter what type of lesson I have, whether it is successful or really challenging, it doesn't make a difference; I still look forward to when I get to go back and try again.

I have learnt that it’s all about the challenge. I go back each week because I am not the greatest and I can’t get all the moves first time. It isn't easy, it’s actually bloody tough! But that makes it all the more rewarding and special when you get those moves that you have been pushing for. It helps that you see girls in your class nail moves after trying to get them themselves. There is never any bitchiness or jealousy as everyone has their own aims and our job, as friends and fellow polers, is to encourage and celebrate when someone gets something they really want. I love that about Gemstone. We all want to see each other do well, we all feel great when we get a move and the other girls are so happy for us.

Even as I write this I can tell I am not expressing how I really feel well enough. But all I can say is that even in the shittest of times, pole makes me smile. When bad things happen you see what type of person you are and how you manage them. You can’t always be strong and can’t always put on a happy face but even at my hardest times pole got me into a better place. It never failed me and I guess, because I kept going, I never failed me.

I feel I owe a lot to the inanimate object that is the pole and the beautiful people I have met through it. Life kicks you in the balls but it’s important to find your happy place – pole, Gemstone, is my happy place.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New year, new challenges

Well, I realised that I have gone over a year without writing on this blog. What a lazy ass for someone writing about health and fitness! As most people will know, the writing may have stopped but the activities never did. I have been doing pole, body pump and running throughout the year and am so much stronger and fitter than ever before. I love doing all my activities and am really happy with where I am but I still have aims and improvements I want to make.

So I decided to make specific fitness and nutrition resolutions for 2015. Here are my fitness resolutions: 
  • ·         Get my handspring move at Pole Fitness
  • ·         Pass my beginner pole instructor course
  • ·         Get to the point where I can hold a handstand
  • ·         Improve my splits and flexibility
  • ·         Improve my lower abs
Now, I have a head start on most of these. Get my handspring move at pole. I have done my handspring move but I am not at all confident in it and I want to be able to do without hesitation - this is sort of what it would look like but I got into the move a different way: 

Pass my beginner pole instructor course. With the course, I am almost there! I need to finish up my coursework but mostly I need to teach a class and record it in January otherwise I have to pay to do the course again. PRESSURE!

Get to the point where I can hold a handstandLast year I did ‘Handstand February’ and got to the point where I could hold a handstand for about a second or two. I can’t do that with any confidence now so I have decided to not just do it in February but keep trying every month. This is the end of last February and the best I managed free standing:

Improve my splits and flexibility. Well I am lucky enough to have a good start with flexibility. I can do the splits already but they aren’t fluid and are quite stiff so I want to improve that and I also want to improve my box splits. In addition. I want to be able to get my leg vertical – definitely a challenge.

Improve my lower abs. Now people might throw things at me and call me stupid for this one (please don't) but I have put it in there, not because I think I am fat, but because I think it is based on nutrition as well as exercise. I have always struggled with that area of my abdominals. You can see my top two, and sometimes my top four abs, but you can’t see six. Even though I don’t want to be overly muscley, I would like to see the effects of all the work I do on my abs as well as the rest of my body.

So, nutrition wise:
  • ·         Seriously cut down on any dairy produce, especially during the week
  • ·         Limit the amount of processed food I eat
  • ·         Start taking protein shakes again

Nutrition is a big one for me and I always struggle with it and I definitely suffer for it. Not just because of the abs thing I mentioned above but because I have IBS – like most people probably have! It is the most frustrating thing to get told you have because that’s it; you don’t really get any help after that. I have had tests and everything comes back fine and yet I suffer still. Off my own back I have taken allergy tests, cut wheat out of my diet (for 6 weeks with no change in my symptoms), cut cucumber and broccoli out and now am noticing that dairy is a big contributor to my problems. 

But it isn’t just food, it is emotions. Unfortunately I am a very emotional person so if I get upset or nervous I get tummy pain. That is something that is hard to control so because my stomach is affected by both emotions and nutrition I have decided to focus my efforts to improve on the thing I can control - what goes into my body. That is my aim this year.

So there it is; they are my fitness and nutrition goals for this year. Very short and sweet! I am just hoping that by posting this it will make sure I do them – I hope my pride doesn't let me quit!

Happy New Year everyone. 

For me, it is important that 2015 be a better year so… bring it on!

Monday, 28 October 2013

My love for my Hobby

When I get to the end of 2013 and I think of the things I will be most happy about and most proud of I know that pole dancing will be one of the top on the list. I am so happy to have had the courage to start and to keep it up and also proud of my progress, I am by no means the best but I try to make sure to keep trying and pushing myself so I can improve.

I started the pole around March this year and I loved it; every class I felt like I was progressing and every class ended on a high. The time it took to go from beginner to intermediate was only 5 weeks and for me that was awesome as I am massively impatient and find it really hard to push myself if I struggle with something. There was no question as to whether I would pay to start in intermediates but it was scary as I went up alone. My beginner’s partner, Lee Anne, was away so missed her last class and didn't sign up to take any more.
Now, me going to something like this, alone, when I don’t really know anyone is extremely hard, if you know me at all you will know I am not the most confident person and as a kid, if my sister quit something (little sister I might add) then I would too, even if I loved it. So me going alone proved to me how much I loved doing it because if there was any doubt I would have just stopped.

Anyway, first day in intermediates and I got a little certificate for completing beginners… I was so proud! But the thing I didn't really expect was it getting harder. I sort of breezed through beginners. Again I wasn't the best but I managed to do all the moves in each class eventually and I just expected that sort of progression in Intermediate. Boy was I wrong. The level went up about 100% from beginners to intermediate. So some weeks you come out feeling amazing with the things you have achieved and sometimes you leave deflated about the things you didn't get. I have experienced both and the latter sucks, but it really does push you to think ‘next week I’ll do better’.

I am so happy when Monday 7pm comes around, I get to see some lovely ladies and get to try new things. I honestly think that the people that are in the classes are the reason I keep going back. It isn't just about the love for the hobby but the people you do it with. The girls in the classes are so supportive, so happy when you get a move right and so encouraging. There is no bitchiness, no jealousy and everyone wants the other person to do well. It is awesome.

Anyway I have been doing this now for 7 months and still love it. Even more now because I am getting closer to certain moves that - when you start out - look impossible. My body is stronger; I can see the difference in my arms, legs and stomach. And I feel better and more confident then I have ever felt in my life. I think some people might think us ladies posting pictures of our efforts is a way of showing off, and I guess in a way it is, but it isn't due to vanity. It is down to showing people how much you have achieved and how hard you have been working. I don’t want people to see pictures and think I am a stripper or I want attention. But I am so proud of what I have managed to do and I want to shout about it.

Gemma (my instructor) is the most sweet, kindest, friendliest, most determined and encouraging person. She has made this business herself ( which is now growing in size and brings so much happiness to people. If you are looking for a new way to get fit that is fun and SO rewarding then I would definitely recommend pole and/or Hoop classes with Gemma. Honestly if you don’t love it with Gemma then it probably isn't for you.

As for me, I will keep pushing myself to improve and get stronger. I have moves in my head that I am determined to get and I will be SHOUTING about them once I do!

Pretty glad that one of my New Year’s resolutions has been nailed before November J

Monday, 22 April 2013

The big run

So the London Marathon has been and gone for another year! A time when mental people run, walk, crawl 26.2 miles in aid of charities, personal challenges and breaking records. One day where the people of London come and support complete strangers and cheer them on. Very UN-British but so amazing.

I ran the London Marathon back in 2011 and I remember exactly how I felt in the lead up and on the day. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done - and that is no exaggeration - but on the back of that it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and the proudest I have ever felt of myself.
I am not sure why I originally decided I was going to sign up to run the marathon and I didn't really think too much about it when I did. I signed up for the public ballot and also with a local charity; The Whitelodge centre. Both of them did a draw to choose winners in November. I remember getting a call from my sister after the ballot draw saying I had a letter through the post so I must have a space...but after a few very nervous minutes we realised it was actually a letter to say I hadn’t got a space. I was sort of disappointed and happy all at the same time. But about half hour later I had an email from my charity saying I was in to run for them. Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnn, I had to do this.

You don’t need to start training until January but I started with a few light runs in November as I had only ran 10km before so I knew I needed to work hard. Thinking back now the training was great as each time I went out, I hit a new target.  And even when it was really tough and the weather was awful I still managed to do every run I planned to do all the way up to 21 miles. I got ill in the weeks before the big day so I couldn’t wind down as much as I wanted to but I wasn’t too worried as in my mind I knew if I could get to 21 miles I could do 26!
I remember the night before the marathon we stayed with friends of ours in London, had a big dinner and went to bed early. Surprisingly I slept which I really didn’t think would happen. The morning of the run I managed to eat some porridge and eggs on toast but had to force them down. The nerves were kicking in but I was trying my hardest to ignore them.
When we got the entrance Dan had to leave me and that is when I almost fell apart. I realised that not only was I doing this for the first time but I was doing it alone. I hadn’t really prepared myself at all for that.
I felt so lost in what felt like a big pen for all charity runners. One thing that cheered me up for at least 15 minutes was the hilarious and ridiculous bathroom mistake I made. I joined a queue for the loo and it was long. But there were these things called ‘she wees’ all stacked to the side for people to go into. I copied everyone else and took one having no idea what they were for. I walked into this square opening with females all lined up against urinals! Just a row of clenched strangers bums...had to really stop myself laughing as I realised I had gone into the ‘female urinals’ and not the ladies loos which were the other side of the field!

Anyway, as we all lined up to start the race I got chatting to another girl who was also running alone for charity and we decided to stick together and help each other through. It was a brilliant idea and everything started so well; it was a nice sunny day, there were loads of people cheering for us and it was just awesome. I saw family along the way at about 7 miles, 11 miles onwards but as we crossed 11 miles I realised that I was running far too slow and had a panic, sped up, lost my running partner and did the next mile really quickly. I realised at 12 miles that I had completely read the times wrong and because of that I had worn myself out. The next 14.2 miles was horrendous. It must have been awful for my family to see as every time I saw someone I knew, I just fell apart crying. At about 24 miles I saw the Robbs and Simon (my brother in law) started running with me and telling me to think of Ellie Goulding. He was amazing and spurred me on that little bit more.

When I saw the finish line it was such a relief and as I got closer I just sprinted for it. I wanted the finish to make up for how slow I had been for the rest of it. Annoyingly though, no one was at the finish to see me do the sprint and I am sure I looked a lot slower than I felt :)

I did it in 5hrs and 16 minutes. 16 minutes longer than I wanted but I don’t care, I finished it! It was such a hot day that we had people faint and having fits so it really wasn’t the best conditions but through the whole thing I didn’t stop running. That is all I wanted in the end. I really wanted to say I ‘ran’ the whole time and I did. Just to be clear, when I say ‘ran’ I really mean a very slow don’t have people saying ‘I jogged the London Marathon’ but in reality that is what most of us do – we aren’t Olympians after all!

I remember crossing the finish line and it being such an anticlimax! There wasn’t really anyone around. You get given your medal and ushered over to the photographers for your official finishing photo and then over to find your bags. So for about 10 minutes after I finished I was just wondering around alone. Eventually I saw Dan waiting for me and I completely fell apart. It is such an emotional day and such a strain on your body that everything is heightened. I saw my mum and sister and my friends Lucy and Sarah and was so happy that they came to support me - it meant so much! I stupidly didn’t stretch when I finished though so when we left my body had seized up and I had to be carried down to the tube! Quite funny when I think about it now but at the time it was painful.

In the end I hated the marathon; it was hard, painful and a complete strain. But I have never hated saying I ran it and I have never been prouder of myself for carrying on when I could have easily stopped and given up.

Watching all the runners on Sunday makes me want to do it again and I never ever thought I would say that. But even though I hated it, there is nothing like that feeling of achievement after you have completed it.

Congratulations to all the runners, I hope today you are giving yourself a much deserved rest!


Tuesday, 19 March 2013


For years I have wanted to find a hobby that I actually stuck to and looked forward to. My husband has football at least 3 nights a week and I never understood how he got the motivation to go week in week out without fail. Now I understand.

Years ago I saw some footage of a P!nk concert and she was doing some crazy acrobatic stuff and I thought it looked amazing. Since then I have been looking for somewhere that teaches ‘Ariel Hoop’ classes. I was told that a class was opening up close to where I live and so I looked into it. Unfortunately I procrastinated just enough to let the class get full before I could sign up but was talked into trying ‘Pole Dancing’ at the same place instead. 

I have been going to Pole class for 5 weeks now and have been to Ariel Hoop twice. I am hooked! I look forward to every Monday and getting back to Pole class and trying new things. The girls that go are so much fun and really nice and Gemma, our teacher, is brilliant. Every week you do more than you thought you could and it feels like such an achievement. I would recommend taking a look at her site and giving Pole a go, it is fun but you work hard.

Hoop is completely different to Pole. It is harder and I am not finding I take to it as well as Pole but I still love it as it is a challenge. I go to Hoop alone but the girls are so friendly it is fine. My second week we were taking pictures of each other and when you finally manage to do a tricky move everyone is so happy for you. There is no jealousy, no bitchiness and it is just a really nice atmosphere.

For me, like most people, starting something new is scary especially if you are going alone but I went to that first Hoop class on my own without hesitation and that is how I knew I was really interested in it. I was always someone who would quit something I really enjoyed if the person I did it with quit. I have never been independent and always thought of myself as a ‘quitter’. I now know that I can do things alone and I won’t get laughed at or be looked at as weird and it is a great feeling. I feel excited about things to come and progressing in my classes. Not sure if this is corny or not but I feel like I have a new lease of life - I feel really happy.

Next for me is a ‘make me bendy’ workshop that works on flexibility and a ‘Pole Aria’ workshop that is Silks and Pole combined. I am so excited to start all these new things, I love that I am doing something fun and different that is also a workout and helping improve my fitness. 

I knew I'd find a hobby I love, I didn't know I'd find two and possibly more! :)


Ps this is me in my second 'hoop' class

Saturday, 9 March 2013

No Exercise

This is hell! I have gone 4 days without exercise apart from a brisk walk on Tuesday to and from the station which is just over a mile away. The last bit of actual exercise I did was Monday night at 'Pole' class and I felt shattered in it so it wasn't my best lesson...

I have caught a weird bug and I just feel sick and tired all the time so decided to be sensible and give the gym a miss until I felt better but I am not sure it was a good idea! For me going to the gym makes me feel better when I am tired, have a bad belly, have a headache... anything really. I get myself down there and by the time I am done my ailment has passed and I feel great. My decision to not go down was probably more down to a slight worry that I might throw up if I did work out and that would make sense but as I haven’t actually been sick this week I feel really frustrated that I have stopped myself exercising when there was probably no real need for the break.

I definitely notice the difference to how tired I feel when I do go to the gym during the day and when I don’t. Not going all week has left me completely wiped out. I have no energy or motivation and I feel like when I get to work on Monday I am going to find it SO hard to get myself back into the gym routine. I can really understand people starting up at a gym, going on holiday and then not going back to train once they are back from hols - it is really hard to get over that hurdle. I think that not only do you find it hard to get down there but once you do every exercise seems 10 times harder... it’s like you have taken a huge step backwards by having a break.

HOWEVER I do think those are the times when you feel better about getting down there. I think it is all about the challenge. If you get down there and do a class or go for a run then you have got past that first hurdle and have achieved something. Every day is an achievement when you do more than you thought you could, lift more weights or run further. I think the feeling at the end is the reason you go back again. You may hate it while you do it but if you push yourself and you finish then it feels unbelievable. And I have noticed the lack of that just in these past 4 days. I also have noticed my mood is lower and I guess that is down to the lack of motivation etc but I feel like I am a bit grey at the moment.....

 I know that might sound slightly mad and people probably read this thinking that I need a break every now and then. I would agree because I don’t think people should go mad and never give their body time to rest but the weekends are normally my break and the week is my time to push myself. For me, the positive results I get from exercise are so high that I feel it when I don’t exercise and it gets me down.

I guess the best thing for me to do is to get through the weekend, focus on resting and being ready to force myself back on Monday. I am sure it will be hard and hurt like hell but, hey, it’s well worth it!

‘I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it is going to be worth it’ – little quote I found on the internet about fitness :) 


Monday, 18 February 2013


Things in my life are changing and I have decided that I am going to make the most out of the changes and really focus on things I love.

I love to write and my blog is turning into a real asset, joy, outlet, hobby. So it is because of this that I have created a new blog where I can be more specific about a subject/area I am very much interested in. If you can’t guess from the title, this is a blog about health and fitness!
I have various reasons for this being a subject I am passionate about but it factors into my everyday life so it makes sense for me to take more of an interest in it.

My family, myself and my older brother specifically, have always suffered from problems with our stomachs. As I have gotten older it has gotten worse, I was diagnosed (makes it sound so much worse than it is!!) with IBS at around 19 and have never found any relief from it. Now if you are a sufferer of IBS you will know that it is so broad that two people with IBS will not have the same symptoms, be troubled by the same problems or have the same reaction to treatments. It is a very frustrating thing to have as it is sort of brushed off by Dr’s without any real research into it.
When I was told I had IBS I left the Dr’s feeling like I finally had an answer and things would get better, they didn’t. I went back on various occasions to be given different remedies that never worked, had 8 blood tests in a day with no results, was told to do a food diary for two weeks that the Dr didn’t even check and was told I needed to go to a specialist. Luckily I have private health care through work as if I hadn’t I would have been very upset to have paid for a gastroenterologist that told me I was constipated and needed to eat breakfast in the morning..... That was all. I have eaten breakfast every day since that appointment and nothing has changed in regards to my stomach issues.  

I am not claiming here that IBS is really bad and I am suffering loads but I have a stomach ache of some sort every single day. It isn’t comfortable and would be so nice not to have to deal with it all the time!

So far in my search to help myself I have worked out that I can’t eat broccoli, baked beans, cucumber and probably dairy (though I am finding that very hard to cut out completely as I LOVE CHEESE). I also have figured out that working out really helps, it helps my sleep and my stomach. It eases my headaches and gives me energy. That is why I love going to the gym, running and trying new types of exercise!

So this blog will just be advice, information I gather and just general things I am enjoying in the way of fitness and nutrition.

Let me start with a little saying I tell myself to get my butt to the gym when I just don’t feel like it:
‘You will regret it if you don’t’ – that is all. If you go to the gym it is very unlikely that you will regret it afterwards (maybe during but not afterwards) but if you don’t you will most likely feel like you should have.... won’t work for everyone but definitely works for me! J