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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

HOW TO GROW YOUR GLUTES


One of the most popular questions I get asked is 'How do I get a booty like yours?' Now sadly I'm probably going to share some truths you may not like. The first one is that there is no miracle exercise. Squatting all day and all night will not build your glutes. You will also not build your glutes by eating clean, going on a detox, juicing or doing donkey kickbacks. So what do you need to do? 

Let's talk a little bit of Science. Your glutes are a muscle, a very large one at that. In order for muscles to grow you need to be in a calorie surplus, eating more calories than you are burning in a day. I suggest you work this out using a macro calculator, then make sure you're adaquetly fuelling your body. This doesn't mean eating 2500 calories worth of pizza and doughnuts, although you can have a little bit. You still need to be hitting those macros, especially your protein. When you weight train, your body repairs the damaged muscles by repairing the fibres which increase in thickness creating muscle growth (hypertrophy). If you're not eating enough calories and protein to repair and build these muscles, then your body is just going to eat in to your muscles to fuel the rest of the body. But let's just get this clear, trying to build muscle and losing weight at the same time will not work. Only when you are happy with the muscle growth, should you then cut to lose fat.

My next point is glute activation. For me, this has taken the focus off of my quads and allowed my glutes to fire up ready for the big compound lifts. You spend most of your day sat on them, so naturally they would rather let your legs do the work. But if you can warm them up effectively before you start lifting, this will be so beneficial to your session. Go look at my recent instagram video for my favourite glute activating exercises. 

My third point you need to trust me in is: lifting heavy will change your body! Trust me, look what happened to mine. Before, I was a slave to cardio, aerobic DVD's and bikini body guides. But when I found weight lifting this is when change happened. Heavy weights will build your muscles, therefore building your glutes consequently giving them a larger appearance. But you need to be progressively overloading them, not lifting the same weight each week. Let's say you're hip thrusting, each time try add more reps, another set or extra weight. I cannot stress enough how lifting heavy weights has changed my body and it will do the same to yours too. If you struggle to feel any lifts in your glutes I would strongly recommend a resistance band. It will help with that mind-muscle connection and remind you to squeeze and engage the glutes with each movement. 

Now what exercises are most beneficial for the glutes? Squats and kickbacks? Probably not no. In fact, as the incredible 'Glute Guy' (Brett Contreras) dispels, a bodyweight squat will only activate 70% of the quads and 20% of the glutes. This clearly shows that squats are not the way forward for optimal glute growth. This is why I love the hip thrust. This movement allows you to build the glutes without over activating the quads and with less strain on your back. Start off with bodyweight, then the barbell then get adding weight. It's amazing how quickly you'll learn to fire up your glutes with this move. For some other glute based weight work I'd suggest you have a watch of these and begin including them in your workouts.

Hopefully this has answered many of your questions related to building that booty. Once you understand the science and trust the process of being in a calorie surplus and lifting heavy, you will see results coming. If it helps I will be eating in a calorie surplus to build more muscle too, so as always I'm here to motivate! 
Love Laura
x









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Saturday, 2 September 2017

CALA D'OR | MAJORCA

































If you follow me on instagram, you'll have seen that a few weeks ago I lived in a bikini for a week in the resort of Cala D'or, Majorca. We booked the trip through Thomson, a package holiday at the hotel Rocamarina, which was half board. I find this a really good option when you're not too familiar on the area, so you can eat in the hotel morning and evening but have a wander out at lunch time to find some lovely Spanish restaurants. Or, stock up in the supermarket on cheetos and fruit.

Our hotel itself wasn't in the centre of Cala d'Or but it was the other side of the Marina, overlooking Calo des Pou beach. The location was ideal, quiet yet 10 minutes from the Marina, Cala d'Or centre (20mins) and with two lovely beaches nearby. Just up the road from the hotel were lots of British bars and restaurants and convenient supermarkets too, also a cute little market on Thursday nights. In the other direction, past the amazing Villas, was the Fort which had a beautiful view over Cala D'or and the Marina. The closest beach to us was Calo d'es Pou beach, which was lovely first thing on a morning but got busy around midday. It sadly, wasn't the cleanest beach too  which was a real shame, but great for rock diving! We did find a beautiful beach Calla de Egos, which i'll show you more of in a separate post!

The hotel was lovely, family run and quiet. The staff were incredible, couldn't do enough for you. Being adults only it was quiet but the Thomson Gold staff were still there with their daytime activities and surprisingly good evening entertainment. We even saw a comedian from Britain's Got Talent. The only downside was the reservation of sunbeds and the rush in the morning when the pool area opened. But we avoided this, spending our mornings at the beach. The food was also excellent, very much catered for the English guests though. Which was a bit of a shame for me who loves eating local cuisine, but great if you love a Sunday dinner with apple pie and custard! I still found some paella and made the most of the fresh fish all cooked in front of you.

Each room had a huge balcony, English TV channels and a mini fridge (perfect for fruit and sangria). I was extremely impressed by the hotel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet holiday with exceedingly good food. The drinks were also great (especially the mojito) and reasonably priced.

In terms of what to do around here beside laying on the beautiful beaches or exploring in the Marina, there's plenty. There are a number of boat tours, in particular the Starfish which charters throughout the day from different locations taking you to beautiful beaches and fishing villages nearby. Or you could take a trip up to Palma, the countries capital, which is just over an hour away. My favourite things about this area were definitely the lovely Marina (the view from the Yacht club is beautiful), the Calla de Egos and the local supermarket with every variety of cheetos you'll ever need!

Love Laura 
x


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Monday, 28 August 2017

GETTING BACK INTO THE GYM


Having just come back off holiday, not being in the gym for over 10 days the thought of going back is daunting. Losing progress, not having a clue what to do and feeling out of touch are all factors holding me back. But a break from the gym has done me wonders. On holiday I worked out twice, mostly because it's become part of my lifestyle and I love the endorphins released after a good workout. But while I was away I enjoyed myself, no macro tracking, eating all the foods, drinking cocktails and endless supplies of fanta lemon! Because why shouldn't you allow yourself free reign on holiday? Now being back, I truly appreciate all the effort I put in before. It's only encouraged me to get better, stronger and continue on my journey. 

So where do we begin? Starting again you need a clear plan of what you want to achieve. For me, it's getting back into the weights section, building on those compound lifts and also seeing if my strength is still there. Muscle memory will help along the way, now completely healed after a break from lifting my muscles will be able to work at full capacity activating those muscle fibres effectively. Going back to the gym you need to be clear on your workout. This will help you get in there, without worrying what to do, which machines to use and debating going home. For me, I write my workouts in my notes, keep track of what I've lifted and the reps and sets, so I can aim to improve on this the next time. It's also a good idea to keep your workout short, don't spend over an hour in there exhausting yourself. Keep it short maybe 45minutes - 1hour and don't be blasting yourself with high intensity cardio, 5 minutes of HIIT at the end of your workout is sufficient.

Having a gym buddy can also help you get back, they'll motivate you to go and make sure you don't flake out. For me, social media is also a huge motivator. I've heard it before, those people complaining about others 'checking in at the gym', but surround yourself with positive people who will celebrate your successes. Having a fitness instagram is amazing because everyone is so positive and we all encourage each other to be our best. So even if it is posting a gym selfie or the aftermath of your workout, hopefully someone out there will encourage you (if not just add me, i'm always on it). 

The worst bit is thinking about it. Thinking it over and considering every negative point about the gym or what possibly (but never will) happen. The weights aren't gonna crush you, you won't fall off the stepper or get your hair caught in the treadmill. Just go there, get it done and you'll feel so much better. 
Love Laura
x
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

MY FITNESS JOURNEY


I titled this 'My Fitness Journey' because fitness isn't a destination or something you eventually achieve. To me, fitness has been a journey, a discovery and something I've been absolutely taken in by. Now I haven't lost a great deal of weight, I haven't been through a diagnosed eating disorder. I have however had unhealthy relationships with food and used exercise as punishment, which in itself is a disorder. So here's as much of my fitness journey that I can condense into one blog post.



Teenage years are awful. Fighting a battle with your inner demons and school friends/foes to look the best and fighting off those nasty teenage comments. I wasn't unhappy with my body growing up, but when I reached 17 I began to develop unhealthy habits. Binging on junk food (particularly crisps and Chinese food) and then punishing myself by not eating for a day and doing a Davina DVD. I found that it was really easy for me to lose weight, but then to gain it again very easily. This unhealthy relationship continued quite the way through uni too, where alcohol was the obvious choice over food and I lost a lot of weight from this. My university halls even had a gym, but I didn't know what to do in there and the only time I had used the gym was for the treadmill and cross trainer.


When I finished Uni I went into a full time job. Teaching was very stressful and I began to find that the stress was overcoming my health along with my sleep. Something had to change. Being desperately unhappy in a job which takes over your whole life isn't the way. So I joined a gym as a way to relieve myself from the stresses off my day to day life. I began going to classes like body pump, spin and HIIT, loving the feeling of those endorphins flowing and forgetting about my job for all the while I was there. Then I signed up for something bigger, the Great North Run. I did this in memory of my Great Grandma, who lost a battle with Alzheimer's. Training was hard, running with my Dad (who had ran a marathon before) was tough and I'd never even ran past two lampposts! But it's incredible what your body can do and I did it, even more inspired.


After I left my job, I began to put my health first. I invested in Kayla's BBG and began learning about  nutrition. Turning from cardio to resistance based exercises allowed me to see changes in my body but there's no way you can sustain those guides forever. Then I made the move to work at sea, on cruise ships. There was little time to exercise and the food choices were terrible, not protein sources and just carbs carbs carbs. But it was January this year where I decided something had to change. I left sea and came back home. Joined a gym and began following Grace Fit's guide. It was amazing, I had finally discovered lifting and I mean lifting heavy weights, barbells and working damn hard. 


I had finally found something I loved doing, getting stronger and fitter. Along with this I began closely tracking my macros, learning more about the make up of food and how to fuel my body properly in order to get the best out of my lifting sessions. Cardio was long gone, up until last month when I started adding in LISS like 20 minutes on the stepper and short HIIT sprints, just for my holiday cut. Now I've been going it alone making up my own workouts, using an upper/lower split and training around 5 times a week. I'm learning to pull up my own body weight, squat more than my body weight and hip thrust double. I no longer track macros, but eat intuitively, now that I have a good knowledge of food. I balance a flexible approach to eating with training progressively in the gym and I couldn't be happier with the way my body has changed. After my holidays I'll be beginning a bulk, which is a first for me. Fitness hasn't only helped me look stronger, but it's helped me to feel stronger on the inside and fight my own mental health issues. It's now that I am stronger I feel I can talk about what i've gone through and how training and the dedication helped me to overcome this. I've felt my strength carry me and it's continuing to do so. Fitness isn't just about losing weight, it's a journey, a commitment to bettering yourself, for you! I'm so excited to continue this journey and share it with you all, even if I can just help one person feel better about themselves.

Love Laura
x


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Friday, 4 August 2017

MY FAVOURITE GYM LEGGINGS


I know the struggle when it comes to finding leggings. Too big around the waist, too tight around the booty or maybe just really poor quality. Having been through my fair share of leggings, I've come to find the perfect ones to fit my body shape, withstand a routine of weight lifting and cardio and look pretty good in a selfie. The best thing about them is that no pair comes in at more than £40, so you can save your pennies for protein shakes and grenade bars.

1. MERAKILO | AMENITY LEGGINGS 
I usually save the best until last, but being my favourite leggings I couldn't wait to boast about them. They come in a range of colours, but the light blue (as pictured) being my favourite. The best thing about these leggings is the fit, they're high waisted meaning they pull you in at the waist yet allow for extra booty gains. Squat, proof, sweat proof and they look amazing, use my code LAURA15 for discount meaning you only need to part with £21!

2. FLEXX FIT | LET'S GO HIGHER LEGGINGS
High waisted, sweat proof and with a handy little pocket for your gym key or card are the flexx fit cranberry leggings. The high waistband really sucks your waist in and creates that silhouette we're all desiring. What you'll also find is these leggings are super soft, but can be a little tight, so if you're inbetween sizes then size up.

3. GYM SHARK SEAMLESS LEGGINGS
I think it's fair to say these leggings and this particular brand are all over social media right now. Their marketing techniques are outstanding, making us all want the latest gym wear before we get serious FOMO. The seamless leggings are in my top 5 because of the fit and the style, which you can probably guess by now that I like booty enhancing leggings. Their contours do exactly this and even though they have been pointed out for bad quality, I haven't had an issue yet.

4. PRIMARK LEGGINGS
It's a real shame Primark don't market their gym wear, because it is actually exceptional. One of my favourite pairs being the ombre grey leggings. They fit perfect, are seamless and super soft and yes 100% squat proof (unlike their everyday leggings). Keep an eye out in Primark for the gym stuff because it's surprisingly good, especially for £5!

5.  H&M GREY LEGGINGS
Another high street store which isn't the usual go-to for gym wear is H&M. I managed to find these in store a while back and the amount of compliments I get when I wear these is amazing. I love the high waistband and the shape at the back really enhances the booty. They also have one of those cute little pockets that I love for my gym locker key. If you click the link you'll find similar, but it's a shame what's in store isn't always online. So keep an eye out on your next visit.

Love Laura 
x




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Thursday, 13 July 2017

HOW TO MASTER THE MACROS



First of all if you have never heard the word macro, like me a while back, then let me introduce them to you. Macros is a shorthand for Macronutrients, which is used to describe the key food groups that our body utilises (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). So you can adjust your macros according to your own body goals, by tracking each gram of macros consumed per day. Tracking is helpful for those of us who don't have a great understanding of what particular foods are made up of or a rough estimate of the amounts of calories we consume. It's finding the balance between your intake of food groups in order to produce results, whether that's looking to lose fat, gain for a bulk or just maintain.

Using a macro calculator (iifymkaty hearn fit) you can find out your macro goals according to your own measurements and personal goals (cutting, maintaining or bulking). Once you have your macros you can start by downloading a macro tracking app like myfitnesspal. I definitely advise using this as it's so easy to scan foods and keeps a diary of everything you have eaten. You can also save meals with ingredients you have thrown together so you don't have to input every ingredient every single time. Once you download this, you have to set your macros in the settings tab according to your macro calculator results (for the non-premium version just slide the bars so the percentages are as close as possible).

So, how do you make sure you hit your macro goals? My protein is pretty high and not eating red meat, I find it hard to hit my protein intake. Having protein in my breakfast is so beneficial and means I don't have to rely on protein shakes and bars. I have around 1gram of protein for each lb of bodyweight. When it comes to carbs, they are most certainly not the enemy and provide you with vital energy to actually perform everyday, especially at the gym! It's all about finding what suits you best, some bodies will lose fat easier with less fats, some with less carbs. Trial and error is key with macros, if you go a week on certain macros and don't see your measurements decreasing, then cut 50-100 calories and try again.

My typical meals (as pictured above) are super simple to make and I don't overcomplicate things. I aim to have eggs, heck chicken sausages or turkey bacon in my breakfasts, if not all of the above. For lunches I will again base my meal around a protein, usually chicken and then add in lots of salad or veg and either rice or a jacket potato. I try to avoid pasta because it's very easy to misjudge a standard portion of pasta and load up on the calories, especially as pasta swells when it cooks. Dinner again will be protein (fish or chicken) with lots of veg and carbs (especially after the gym). Snack wise I tend to eat grenade protein bars, protein shakes, carrot sticks and hummus and rice cakes. But if you are snacking, make sure you track it! Also another tip is track your sauces. If you're starting out you'll be surprised about the amount of calories in particular sauces, tracking will make you realise which sauces you can have and which you should probably reconsider or enjoy little and often.

This is just a basic guide to macros, for those of you starting out tracking. I definitely recommend tracking for a month or so, to really understand the makeup of food. Then once you're more knowledgable it's all about intuitive eating, knowing if you do have that chocolate bar then maybe you'll have to eat less later on. Never restrict yourself though, completely cutting out food groups is ludicrous and not sustainable. Crisps, chocolate, ice cream and sweets can all be eaten it's just portion size and frequency. Let me know how you get on, if you already do track macros and also if you have any questions, as always get in touch via my links! 




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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Trip To The Peaks | Dovestone Holiday Park












I love a trip to the Lake District. However, it's very much a tourist destination and I love to find those quieter yet just as beautiful places hidden in our British countryside. The peak district definitely gets overlooked when choosing a little weekend away. Situated across the penines, spanning from Derbyshire to Greater Manchester there are plenty of beautiful getaways hidden along this peak. Along the edge of the Peaks, situated on Saddleworth Moore is the luxurious Dovestone Holiday Park.









Along the idyllic Dovestone Reservoir are the luxurious lodges and also the very glamorous clamping pods. For four nights, one of these beautiful lodges was our home and it very much had the cosy, log cabin feel. Every night was a BBQ and hot tub night, the lodges are equipped with all the necessities from pots and pans to heart shaped plastic champagne flutes (hot tub friendly). With a double room with en-suite and a single room with a main bathroom they're also brilliant for all the family or a couple of friends too. Pets are allowed, which is brilliant for my little sausage dog Digger, he loved his first holiday and was thoroughly shattered after his long walks around the reservoir.

It's a really good quiet location with a walk just up the hill to the reservoir which then leads onto a further 2 reservoirs and lots of routes for walking. They also have lovely little picnic spots and it would be perfect for a bike ride too. If you fancy getting out there's also the lovely village of Saddleworth or you can take a drive to Holmfirth for their cute boutique shops. I had a lovely relaxing stay here and cannot recommend the lodges enough. Digger also approves!











Love Laura 
x
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