If you’re new years resolution has been to get your butt down to the gym more, but, like me, you’re struggling to find the time. It could be that you’re not being as productive with your time in the gym as you could be.

Flash back to when I first started this blog four years ago and you would have found me down at the gym most mornings smashing out a leisurely workout; having a catch up with friends, hitting some of my weaknesses after my workout, and still finding time for brunch with my gym buddies. Not any more. 

These days I’m lucky if I can spare a few evenings a week to head down to the gym, but that doesn’t have to be a negative. As long as you’re getting then most out of your time at the gym, you could smash an awesome workout out in as little as 45minutes.

So what are my tips for a successful workout?

Have a plan

When I head to the gym without a plan in place I know my workout is going to suffer. I pontificate over what I want to do, end up googling ‘fun’ exercises and workouts on the gym floor, and generally wasting time. 

Instead, if I spend some time prior to my workout to write down a structured plan I know exactly what I’m going to do when I set foot in the gym. From my goals for that session, exercises, reps, sets, and even rest periods. So set aside some time at the beginning of the week to plan for the week ahead, or before you leave for the gym, and I assure you your workout will be efficient.

Have a B plan

‘The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’

The gym can get extremely busy, especially at this time of year, so it’s no use going in with a single plan – we all know a free squat rack is as rare as hens teeth! Waiting on machines can cause your heart rate to fall and your motivation to drop, so always have a few alternative exercises written down that you know you can sub in if needed.

Make it social 

Heading to the gym with a friend might not necessarily make your workout quicker (hello catch up) but if you’re as competitive as I am, it can encourage you to push that little bit harder.

Plus, if you take it in turns to plan alternate sessions it could help to relieve some of the pressure. So if one of you has some killer cardio moves and the other is a monster in the weights department  – make sure you play to those strengths.

Wear comfortable clothes

As a blogger I’m lucky enough to, sometimes, receive some fabulous workout gear in the post. However, there have been occasions when, not to sound ungrateful, I’ve been sent some not so great pieces to trial. From putting these items through their paces I’ve come to learn that wearing the wrong clothes in the gym can cause your workouts to suffer.

Too see through and you’ll be self conscious, too low and you’ll spend precious time mid workout pulling at your cleavage; too high and you’ll spend even more time tugging at your waistline.

So treat yourself to some good quality activewear – and it doesn’t have to be expensive, even Primark and H&M have some great pieces which won’t break the bank.  

Focus on you 

Hands up who’s guilty of spending far too much time in the gym looking at what everyone else is going rather than focusing on themselves? I know I am. 

I’ve spent way too much time in the gym looking around at what everyone else is doing or to check if anyone else is looking. Firstly, it’s a sure fire way to get injured (especially when you’re distracted by the cute shirtless guy in the corner). Secondly, the grunter doing curls is spending far too much time looking at himself (or even herself) in the mirror to be watching what you’re doing. And, most importantly, it can stop you from becoming the best athlete you can be. 

So stick your earphones in, set your weights up and focus on your reps, your breathing, and your body!

Finish her off

You don’t have to spend hours on the rower to get some good cardio in at the end of your workout. 

If you enjoy steady state cardio (aka LISS), or it’s a part of your goals – then go for it. But if you’re after an efficient, hardworking finish to your workout I’d recommend a 10-15 minute circuit mixing bodyweight and weighted exercises. So why not put together a circuit of kettle-bell swings, sandbag cleans, shoulder presses and prowler pushes – I guarantee you’ll sweat more, push harder, and have way more fun.

How do you get the most out of your workout?

Hands up if you love Christmas?! 🙋🙋🙋

Christmas has always been an exciting time of the year for me and as I’ve grown older it hasn’t got any less magical. Yes, things have changed a lot and instead of receiving presents I now love to buy, wrap and give gifts to my family and friends!
 
One of the things that makes Christmas for me is, of course, the food.
 
I’m a massive foodie all year round and have the biggest sweet tooth! Yes, I try to keep it in check but there’s simply no denying it, especially around this time of year. In fact you’ll probably find me for most of Christmas day face down in a family sized tub of roses after already devouring a full tub of celebrations (well, the good ones at least). However, in the run up to Christmas I do try to bake some healthier treats to stop me binging from November through to February (once I start I just can’t stop – sound familiar?) and this year has been no different.
 
A few years ago on this blog I made some Paleo/vegan Christmas cookies and they are still one of my favourite My Big Fit Recipes which I revisit ever year.
 

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If you haven’t already guessed from the title of this post… my husband and I are expecting our first baby!! As this blog post goes live I’ll be nearly 18 weeks pregnant and counting – that makes the baby the size of a Pomegranate.
 
The last few months have been a complete and utter whirlwind. From finding out I was pregnant to my first bout of morning sickness. And finally, that all important first scan.
 
If you’ve read my latest post on writers block then this post might help to explain part of my motivational loss. For those of you who haven’t been pregnant before – the first trimester is considered the worst of the three with a high percentage of women experiencing symptoms such as sickness, nausea and tiredness.
 

Discover my top tips to surviving your first trimester below.

Learn how to beat nausea 

Nausea is a bitch. Whether it’s full on morning sickness or a nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach from morning til night. It can be the worst part of your first trimester.
 
If you’ve not suffered to date then congratulations… but if you are suffering, all is not lost. I found the following three things the most helpful.
 
– Getting something into my stomach first thing – be it a rice cake or a bowl of cereal, it can help to stave off any sickness.
– Ginger – try some ginger tea or a ginger biscuit (no-one said it had to be healthy!).
– Eating small, frequent meals. It can be hard to keep down a full meal, so to keep your blood sugar up try eating smaller meals throughout the day.

Just Eat

I had visions of being the picture of health during pregnancy – and although I’m starting to get back into a healthy routine, the first trimester didn’t quite fit my ideals.
 
I was in the ‘nauseous from noon til night’ camp and, believe it or not, eating was the only thing that brought me back to life. And by eating I don’t mean green juices or nutritious salads – I’m talking beige food, out of a bag.
 
In her book, How To Grow a Baby and Push It Out, Midwife Clemmie Hooper says that it can be ‘difficult to eat healthy foods when most of them make you gag… if you manage to get one piece of fruit or veg into your daily diet then you are doing better than most… so try not to worry too much as you’ll make up for it later in pregnancy when your body will be saying ‘I’m starving’.

Get some shut eye

You will feel tired during your first trimester, think about it, your body is going through a lot of changes. You’re making the placenta and your hormone levels and metabolism are changing each day. And don’t forget all that sickness taking away your energy resources.
 
So don’t feel guilty about getting an extra forty winks in the middle of the day or going to bed whilst it’s still light. Just listen to your body and give it what it needs.

Get moving 

Exercise might not be the top of everyone’s list – it certainly wasn’t on mine – but it’s important to keep moving throughout your first trimester. And by exercise I’m not saying you should be in the gym busting your ass in the free-weights, but you should be keeping active during the week.
 
I can count on both hands the amount of times I made it to the gym in those first 12 weeks. Instead I tried to walk as much as possible. That means at least 30 minutes walking during the week, and longer, more brisk walks with the family at the weekends (Yoga and swimming are also great forms of exercise during this period).
 
But, if you do feel up to the gym then why not. But please, make sure you consult a doctor or your midwife first and don’t take up a new exercise routine if you’re body isn’t used to it. And, the thing I’ve found most important… listen to your body!

Don’t panic  

Easier said then done, I know. Up until my scan date I was constantly paranoid (& still am even) – taking pregnancy tests on a weekly basis to reassure myself it was real; checking my toilet roll for blood every time I had a wee, and Googling my symptoms to an unhealthy level (sorry if that’s tmi, but it can be comforting to know someone is going through the same things as you).
 
Try to remind yourself that it’s normal to have some anxiety during pregnancy, especially if it’s a new experience for you. But, too much stress isn’t good for you, or the baby. So if you are worried or suffering from any unexplained symptoms then get in touch with your midwife or doctor straight away. At the very least they can help put your mind at ease or offer you an early scan to check that everything is okay.
 

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I started this blog, not only as a way to document my own fitness journey, but as a way to inspire others to start their journey too. I wanted to create a space full of tips and tricks on how to survive the fitness industry; not from a fitness professional, model or online superstar, but from your average twenty-something (now 30 and counting) who’s trying to plough her own ‘fitness’ furrow, and survive it too.

But with my own fitness (& blogging) motivation waning due to a hectic work and social life, I’ve found myself struggling to put pen to paper – or should I say fingers to keyboard. I’ve written as little as two blog posts in as many months recently and, although I’m desperate to get back in the blogging game, I’m simply stuck for ideas.

So after weeks of contemplation, procrastination and sheer laziness, I’m finally getting my laptop open – not just to while away the hours on Your Tube – but to do some blogging.

If, like me, you’ve been struggling to blog lately too then I’ve listed some of the ways that I deal with writers block. And don’t worry if you’re reading this and you’re not a blogger, because the essence of each of my tips can be translated into most areas where you’ve been lacking motivation… so lets get started.

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A couple of months ago I went to support my friend Greg in his first full Ironman competition and I was completely blown away. The sheer guts and dedication it takes to endure such a challenge is outstanding. Watching him was so inspirational and I was instantly motivated – which was great timing as my own fitness journey had been somewhat stagnant lately.
 
I instantly wanted to interview Greg to find out more about his journey & training and was pleasantly surprised to find out he had even completed this challenge whilst reducing his meat intake – a big thumbs up from me!!
 
So make yourself a cup of tea, get comfy and discover what goes in to becoming an Ironman below…

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