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Sunday, 10 December 2017

THE SPORTS EDIT


As an avid gym goer and recently qualified personal trainer, I spend a lot of time trailing the internet and searching through social media for the hottest gym wear. For me, it's not just about looking the part but actually having functional and practical clothing too. This is where I found 'The Sport's Edit', with all the top brands in one online store!

Beyond Yoga - Take Me Higher Legging*
Alo Yoga - Sunny Strappy Bra*

Alo Yoga - Goddess Leggings*








Alo Yoga - Interlace Bra*
Most recently I've decided to take up yoga so choosing brands which specialise in clothing for avid yogi's was the obvious choice. Now I follow a lot of yogi's on instagram so I had seen pieces from Alo Yoga and Beyond Yoga before but was never too certain of any online stockist. Yoga clothing isn't the only option though, infact you can search by training, running and leisurewear too.  But I would also wear the items I received for lifting too, they're so thick and comfy and squat proof too.

The grey Beyond Yoga leggings are the softest leggings I have ever felt and so comfy, I had to part with them for a wash though but we will soon be re-united. Then the two-tone Alo Yoga Goddess Leggings literally made me feel just that, a Yogi Goddess! So comfortable, perfect for yoga as they can be rolled up like leg warmers or worn like this to keep those feet warm. They both fit like a glove and have just enough stretch to go over my bum but still nip me in at the waist. Both of the sports bra's I chose were all Alo Yoga pieces, again so comfortable yet offered good support without worrying about any slip ups. Also, how cute are the backs on both! I love it when brands don't just think of aesthetics but actually make good quality clothing using the softest of fabrics and focus on proper fit, both of these brands have done just that.

I'm definitely a happy Yogi in my new gym wear and it's so nice to try brands that I wouldn't usually think of. The Sport's Edit is definitely a website I will be adding to my favourites. Their product range is exceptional and they even stock menswear, to keep those men in your life happy too.

 Love Laura
x
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Sunday, 12 November 2017

KEEPING HYDRATED WITH THIRSTI



We all know the importance of good hydration, right? Your body uses water in all of it's cells, to help with bodily functions and regulating temperature. But water also helps to improve physical performance, improves your skin and complexion and reducing fatiguing. Water is especially important for us exercisers, as your body loses water through perspiration. But I know more than any of us how difficult it is to remember to drink and how do you keep track of what you're drinking anyway?

This is where the Thirsti Puck* comes in! As featured on Dragon's den, Thirsti have designed the puck to be your personal hydration reminder, alerting you when it's time to drink and tracking your water intake throughout the day. All you have to do is pop the puck into your water bottle, fill your bottle up, input the size of the bottle into the app and drink away. The puck works away to monitor your hydration levels, assigned to your own personal target per day. If it's time to drink, the puck will flash red to alert you. The app also sends cheeky alerts direct to your phone like 'hurry the puck up', which I love. 

It's such a great little device to keep track of hydration and remind you when it's time to drink. I love watching the little bar rise as I drink throughout the day, also my friends on my PT course were equally as fascinated. The downside is you can't use it in the pressurised gym bottles, like the ones you have to suck for the water to come out but never fear they're working on this. But you can register as many bottles as you like. I highly recommend this for anyone like me, who doesn't drink enough water (it also works with other liquids too!) But also for those of us who love to track, calories, steps and now you can track hydration too! You can buy yours here £34.95 with free delivery too!

Love Laura 
x



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Saturday, 4 November 2017

WHAT I EAT IN A DAY | BULKING






I've been inundated with messages recently, asking about advice on bulking. The general what do I eat? How much protein? Do I track? So hopefully this post will give you an insight into my eating habits right now. Now let me start by saying this is in no way a representation of what I eat every single day, nor is this what you should eat. This is just what works for me, you should also find what works for yourself.

So first of all, do I track? I track my macros very loosely. Now by loosely I mean some days I will track everything, others I eat intuitively. You have to find what works for yourself. But if you're new to bulking (which is eating in a calorie surplus in order to grow muscle) then you need to have an idea of how many calories you should be eating, then an understanding of the macro breakdown. The most important factors are total calorie input and then protein. I always try my best to meet my calories, then protein, then carbs, fats and micros come last. I also don't find it too healthy for my mindset to be so obsessive over carb intake. When I do track, I use my fitness pal and find it helps so much to input the meals you plan on eating before actually eating. That way you can plan out your calories and you're not binging on protein at the end of the day to hit your total!!

So this is what I ate in this particular day. In the morning it's so helpful to get a good serving of protein, this will set you on a good path to meeting protein intake for the rest of the day. Then mid-morning I usually snack on a grenade carb killa and a banana (micros and all that). For lunch I've been having meals from Lion's Nutrition, this has been so helpful because food is prepped, each meal has a sufficient amount of protein and even has all the macros on the back for ease of tracking. They're also so tasty and easy too. When I'm home from work I usually have something before the gym tuna in a pocket is great - again more protein. Then post gym I'll have my protein shake before eating my evening meal. This is where I usually have either chicken or fish with lots of veggies, this time it was a chicken roast! Then I do have a huge love for crisps, so snack a jacks help my cravings. I also have a number of coffees throughout my day with soy milk, because I don't drink normal milk. This total calorie intake was 2160; Protein: 185g; Carbs: 189g; Fat: 73g.

Currently, my total calorie goal is 2350, but on this particular day I hadn't been to the gym in two days and wasn't hungry enough to continue eating. It's important to try and meet this calorie goal but not to sacrifice your own mentality at the same time. Forcing yourself to eat will probably just make you sick! I exceeded my protein though which usually doesn't happen so I was happy with that one. So what would I advise? First of all, find out what your total calorie intake for a surplus is by using a macro calculator (I've spoken about these before if you need a read). Then if you have no idea of nutritional composition of food, use a tracker until you do. Always make it your priority to meet calories, protein then carbs and fats. As always, any questions do get in touch with me but otherwise happy bulking!

Love Laura
x


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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Why I Started Yoga



If you follow me on instagram, you'll have seen that recently my feed has been scattered with the odd yoga pose. Yoga is something I've recently taken up after being inspired by instagram yogis. But it isn't just the insane poses and urge to get inverted that have encouraged my yogi journey. Infact, the Ancient practice deriving from India over 5000 years ago reaps so many more benefits than just holding a cool pose.

Many of us neglect stretching. I'll be the first to hold up my hands and say yes, after a tough workout sometimes I just want to get out of there and shower. But stretching is so important for releasing lactic acid, lengthening out those muscles you've just spent the last hour shortening and also it's so relaxing to stretch. In yoga, you practise a series of stretches holding these for up to a minute before moving on to another stretch. Yoga allows you to increase your flexibility in your muscles and joints allowing you a greater range of motion through each session. This massively supports lifting and can improve your technique and range of motion too. I fit my yoga around resistance training sessions and have seen increases in my mobility already.

But yoga isn't just about the stretching, it's also incorporative of breathing. It's not a case of a quick hold your leg up and hold your breath at the same time. But feeling and breathing through the stretch and connecting the movements of the body with your pattern of breathing. Now I've really found this to be so relaxing - feeling your breathing and being completely at peace with your body. Of course, there are a number of different styles of yoga including different intensities and flows. But for me, I enjoy practising yoga on my own. Being alone in complete silence, just practising my stretching and breathing. It really is just about being so peaceful and at one with yourself.

There's also the challenge element involved in yoga. It's so much about persistence and continuing to practise a move in order to crack it. I've found I am so determined to overcome my failures and pick myself back up from that fallen headstand and keep trying. That's the beauty of it. Learning new skills and challenging your body in ways you would never have thought. I love to see progress too. Week one I couldn't even kick up to a headstand, now I can hold it for a good 10 seconds.

The good thing about yoga is that it doesn't have to take up an hour of your life everyday. You also don't have to commit to classes or a schedule, it can literally be done anytime or anywhere. On a morning, to stretch and awaken your body or on an evening to relax and have time to reflect upon your day. There's also a number of youtube videos you can access for free to teach you the basic moves and to pick up on a few flows to get you started. Flexibility obviously increases over time, but the feel good vibes from yoga are almost instant.

Love Laura
x





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Sunday, 15 October 2017

THE UGLY SIDE OF INSTAGRAM



This has been a pretty controversial topic recently, especially on my insta feed anyway. I've come to see far too many individuals becoming obsessed with their analytics, tracking every single follower and getting completely disheartened when a post doesn't blow up. But why are we suddenly becoming so obsessed with numbers?

Ever since instagram released the business account, every non-business account has suddenly turned this feature on. If you're unaware business accounts allow you to add contact details to your account and allow the 'insight' feature. This tracks your number of followers, tells you when activity is highest and even gives you an insight on views and likes for every single post. Of course this is brilliant if you are promoting a product or your own service - having the tools to analyse your posts directly on the app is ideal. But it seems we're losing sight of what instagram is really about.

Instagram doesn't monitor the business account feature and really you don't need an actual business to set this up (a Facebook page is enough). But I remember my instagram came about from my blogging. I created it to run alongside my blog, to promote my posts and to gain traffic through my website this way. Which I am sure were instagram's real intentions when they set up this feature - to help businesses promote their services. But now it seems people aren't really caring about the content their sharing - but just following the numbers.

What really gets to me is that there are so many fantastic businesses and bloggers out there. But their content isn't being seen and their messages and information they share is being overlooked because the algorithms aren't allowing their content to be seen. It's been driven by the number of supposed likes (whether they're from bots or genuine accounts who knows). But when fantastic writers and educated individuals who are specialists in their field are being disregarded because they aren't influencers or 'instafamous' something is definitely wrong.

Don't get me wrong, the business tools are so helpful. But when you become obsessed with tracking numbers, which aren't being driven by success from your business or product then what are you really in it for? Are we forgetting what instagram is really about? If you're becoming obsessed with your numbers it really is time to evaluate your goals. Engage with real people, reply to your messages and when people need help actually be there to support and help them. Don't get caught up in the numbers and be true to yourself - remember exactly why you set up your account. Instagram is a powerful platform and can be used to influence so many in positive ways. Just remember to be true to yourself, don't become obsessed with numbers, remember each number is a real person just like you. Be true to yourself and don't get caught up within the numbers - your worth is not determined by your followers. Your business, your quality of writing is not determined by your numbers. It's just instagram.

Love Laura 
x
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

FITNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH



The 10th of October is recognised worldwide as World Mental Health Day, the 25th day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and fighting the associated stigma. It's clear to see that yes there still is a stigma surrounding mental health but this is something which I am seeing people talk about and feel comfortable with sharing more and more now than ever. The pictures above show myself at different stages in my life, some happy and secure within my self, others not so much. But by looking you wouldn't know what battles I was fighting and with the stigma associated with mental health many people are still covering up their battles with a smile. Physical changes caused by exercise are what you see, but the bigger mental changes are always overlooked.

I think the real stigmas around mental health are held within the workplace, a place which actually many mental health issues catalyse due to stress. A few years ago now, this is exactly where my mental health issues began. But at this time I didn't know it was mental health, I didn't even know what I was going through at the time. All I knew was that my workplace wasn't supportive of me and my only option was to leave my job that I once loved. What I was going through was work related stress, which was made worse by losing someone very close to me. By not dealing head on with my own issues, this then led to very low self worth and self-esteem. Blaming myself for everything that happened became normal, accepting and expecting failure became the only route I knew. We shouldn't look back and dwell on the past but I always wonder what would've happened if I had actually spoken about my feelings or somebody understood what I was going through. But instead I found my own coping mechanisms.

Exercise and taking care of my own health was the turning point for me, something I had control over in my life. I couldn't control my emotions, nor could I change others opinions of myself. But what I could do was have that constant in my life that was controlled by myself. Of course starting out wasn't easy. Joining a gym is daunting, exercising in front of people is even more so. But once I got past those initial fears, I had found a place where I felt free just to work on myself. Somewhere I could be completely selfish and take an hour out of my day to just work on me. Giving yourself that time, whether it's weight-lifting, yoga or running is so valuable not just for your physical fitness but mental health too. In a world where we give so much time to work, you have to have that time to enjoy your own interests and hobbies. An hour out of your day to exercise is just 4% of your day, so even if you do lead a busy lifestyle there really are no excuses. Your mental well being deserves no excuses and should always be top of that list of priorities.

Another benefit of exercise is the feel-good endorphins released. These endorphins react with the receptors in your brain reducing that feeling of pain and triggering that positive feeling in your body (it is viewed as being similar to that of morphine without the dependence). Along with those endorphins you will actually feel better about yourself seeing those improvements in your body. Personally, this helped so much with my own self-esteem. Seeing that 'yes I can do what I set my mind to', I can love my body and love the strong person that I have become. On those days when I do feel down and of course it happens a lot, I just have to remind myself of how hard I have worked and what I have achieved for myself -mentally not just physically. Always remember that the pictures you see on social media are just that - pictures. They are not a representation of someone as a whole, you don't know their mental situation and they could be battling something bigger than you'll ever know. Always be kind, always remember to put your mental health first and please just speak to someone, anyone you don't have to suffer in silence.

Love Laura
x
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Sunday, 24 September 2017

KNOWING YOUR WORTH


This phrase gets thrown around so much these days. If it isn't a meme, it's somebody's Motivational Monday quote but what exactly does it mean? So worth is related to value right and when we talk about valuing yourself this links back to your own self-esteem. If you have high self-esteem then you have high self worth right? That's where it all gets so confusing.

Let's use me as an example. I have good self confidence, I am happy in my body and I am confident i myself. But when it comes to self-worth, I don't always view myself as being all good and worthy of anybody in relationships and this is where it all goes wrong. Understanding your own self-worth means not attaching your own worth to what a guy would think of you. Why do we struggle so much with this? We see ourselves as being in the wrong, that if someone isn't interested in us then it must be personal. We hold onto the destructive thoughts that it's completely personal - not that you just weren't compatible. Why do we take a misinterpretation or ambiguity of feelings so personal?

I am guilty of this. Previous relationships have put me in a position where I don't feel worthy. Even though I'm happy in my own body and with my appearance I struggle to see past the mistakes of previous relationships. It's hard to accept the past, that your worth was so little to someone that they had to go out and seek someone else, multiple people. But this is not the case! Their actions do not define your worth, you are worth everything. Not everybody is romantically compatible and it's not your fault. It was never your appearance or your annoying habits that made them stray. It's their immaturity to have a relationship, that they aren't ready for someone like you or simply that you're just not  compatible.

You are worth everything. You can not devalue yourself because of other people's decisions towards you - it doesn't make you bad, it just means you don't match. It doesn't mean your worth anything less, it was never your problem and it never will be. In order to move on from the past we have to first accept it and take it for what it was. Yes crappy things do happen to good people - but these things do not define you. If anything use it as a learning curve, take the knowledge and learn from mistakes made. Learn that you can get over it, it was never your fault and that you are 100% worthy of anything you desire.

Moving on from the past I'm learning and the thing I've learnt most is the importance of detaching your worth from their actions. Their actions do not define you - they define themselves. They are not your decisions, not your actions and you need to realise that yeah so many guys stray due to their own low self-esteem - they feel the needed to be adored and wanted by many. Some guys just want to feed their huge ego. But always, always remember you cannot view your worth on somebody else's actions. When you know that worth, you'll be able to detach them feelings and walk away when something falls short. You'll have the confidence in yourself to know when to stop, to know when actually you're worth more than what you're getting. That in fact, you shouldn't have to tell them not to do something or what they need to do more of because actually, they should already know that you deserve much better. You're worth far more and once you've realised your worth, keep it as high as the stars.

Love Laura
x



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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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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Chocolate Protein Brownie Recipe



Cutting is hard, especially if you're trying to take away sugar from your diet. I'm always looking for healthy alternative snacks and foods to give me that little taste of chocolate, while containing good, wholesome ingredients to make me fuller for longer. I stumbled across a beetroot brownie recipe and changed some of the ingredients to add more flavour and that all important protein. First thoughts are usually beetroot in a brownie? But trust me, it gives an amazingly moist texture and obviously helps to keep you fuller for longer, no sugar spiking here. Read on for the recipe:

250g of beetroot (I used the vacuum packed stuff)
3 scoops of protein powder (I used vanilla)
50g of pitted dates
50g of cacao powder
2 eggs
25g of squeezy honey
1/2 sp of baking powder
Sprinkle of cinnamon
A few drops of vanilla flavouring (or any of your choice)

In a food processor blend up the beetroot and dates (it helps to heat the dates in a pan before to soften them). Then whisk together the eggs and add these to the food processor, along with the honey, baking powder, cinnamon and flavour drops. Then mix together the rest of the ingredients until you've got a smooth batter (you can also add chocolate drops here but I steered away). Line a tin with baking paper or coconut oil and pour in the mixture to bake for 20 minutes on 160 degrees celsius. 

The topping is optional and is quite an acquired taste. I basically used vanilla quark and cacao powder and mixed them together until it formed a good consistency and was chocolatey enough to my taste. Then when the brownies are done allow to cool before spreading the topping! Yummy and only around 100calories per square and over 8grams of protein (depending on the size you cut them). Let me know if you have a go and any other protein snack recipes you have. 

Love Laura 
x
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Friday, 2 June 2017

My First Workout Video | Booty Day Routine






A while back I created a youtube channel to post beauty videos. However, as many of you will know I've moved away from the beauty blogging and my blog now has a focus on fitness. My recent posts have been really successful, which is brilliant that so many of you are supportive and I thank everyone of you for your positive comments and praise. But it's hard to express workouts in writing. Which is why I have decided to start filming workout videos for you all. No, I'm not a personal trainer or do I claim that this is 100% the right thing and the only thing to do if you want to build a booty. But this is what has worked for me and I want to share these exercises and my routines with you. So here we go, this is my first workout video; my booty day routine. Let me know your thoughts and feedback and as always if you do like it, please like and subscribe and continue the support. 

 
Love Laura 
x
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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Flexx Fit | The Perfect Gym Leggings



I remember when low rise pants were the best thing ever. Having the top of your jeans and trousers just graze the bottom of your hip bones was the trend and high waists were so Grandma. But times have quickly changed and now I'd only ever chose a high waist. This also goes for gym leggings and I'm so thankful it's here to stay. Being a girl with a big behind, low waists were so difficult to wear and the gape at the back was just too much. But now I'm in love with my Topshop Joni jeans and my gym leggings that pull my stomach in and make my bum look high and round. Lulu Lemon are definitely leading the way with these high waist tight fit leggings but recently I came across a very reasonably priced alternative.

Flexx Fit have their range of Let's Go Higher leggings. They're perfectly stretchy and have that seamless appearance and are amazing for pulling you in at the mid-drift but stretchy enough not to be too tight on the rear. They also have a little concealed pocket at the back, perfect for your gym key! I own the Cranberry and Pearl grey and my sizing is XS even though I do wear a size 10 in jeans, I have a small waist and found that sizing down allows them to sit comfortably. One thing I would say though, is how my grey pair differ from my cranberry. The cranberry fabric seems much thicker and silkier? I'm not sure if they have changed the fabric (to the cranberry one) but I definitely approve and I must add, they're completely squat proof! They're so affordable too at £29.99 and they are currently in the sale you can pick them up here. I'm hoping they release more colours shortly I would love to get my hands on a navy blue style. But definitely let me know if you have any gym legging recommendations, as I do literally live in mine.

Love Laura 
x

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