Thursday, 20 April 2017

Kayla Itsines BBG | My Thoughts

If you're a female and you're interested in health and fitness, I'm sure you've heard about Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG). It's basically a workout guide created by Australian P.T Kayla Itsines, which now consists of 2 guides with 12 weeks of workouts and a meal plan which you can purchase too. The workouts consist of plyometric exercises and body weight exercises, which aim to make you exert the maximum amount of energy over a short period of time. Each workout focuses on an area of the body (legs/arms and abs/ full body) and consists of 7 minutes of work 4x over, which is 28 minutes total workout time. Seems pretty easy and quite straightforward, I mean 28 minutes is nothing right? 

I will openly admit I loved the guides. I started the guides in around 2015 and saw my body massively transform to be a leaner version of myself (see above). This was great when I wanted to lose weight and have abs for my holiday. It also meant I was only having to commit around 4 days a week to exercise, 3 workouts and a HIIT or LIIS session, great for busy lives. However, after learning so much about exercise and how our muscles and bodies work It seems my views on the guide have changed. 

Kayla has a huge following and a big community of BBG girls, just try searching the hashtag 'BBG transformation' and you'll come across a huge following, with transformation pictures which speak for themselves. Don't get me wrong, the transformations are amazing and what some women have done with their bodies and overall health is amazing. Although, is this a sustainable lifestyle? The workouts are very intense on your body, even though it's under half an hour of actual work, the strain on your body is immense. For example, one workout may consist of jump lunges, skipping, burps, broad jumps, x-hops, along with weighted exercises. Yes you're exerting a huge amount of energy, therefore burning calories, but the strain on your body, muscles and chances of injury are huge. 

One of the biggest issues with the plan though is the diet plan. The amount of calories the plan suggests, for the high intensity workouts your doing is just ridiculous (i'm talking 1200 calories). I know for a fact that if you're committing to such high intensity workouts your body is going to need fuel to first of all do the workouts, but then to repair muscle and replenish energy supplies you've lost. The plans do not offer enough calories, therefore we enter muscle burning phase instead of fat burning. Which personally, when I shredded down on fat I noticed i'd lost muscle mass on my legs, due to the small amount of calories i'd been consuming. I thought that as i'd been using small weights, my muscles would be building up too but this wasn't the case. My body didn't have enough energy to sustain itself so was using my muscles in order to gain energy. The saddest thing is, I didn't realise this until I began to be more interested in weight lifting and began to follow personal trainers who specialised in this. 

So would I recommend this programme? I personally think the 2nd guide is better as there are less plyometric moves and more weight based exercises. However, I would strongly encourage you to look at other guides based around weight training, download the app 'aflete' and check our their guides instead. I'm not saying don't do BBG, it's great to lose fat, to get you into fitness and as a community it can be motivating. But please don't follow the diet plans, find out your macros and track instead to make sure you have enough energy to actually do the workouts. But if you are wanting to build muscle and to weight train, this isn't the best guide for you. I just want to conclude by saying this is just my opinion, from completing the guides and seeing those changes in my own body, ultimately you do never know until you try yourself. But if I help just one of you to make an informed decision about your fitness choices then my job's done.

Love Laura

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A Trip To The Lakes - Applegarth Villa

Applegarth Villa and Restaurant
Surprisingly the Lake District is somewhere I've never visited, even though I've travelled far, I feel I've neglected what's on my own doorstep. With it being my first visit I wanted absolute luxury and to enjoy a lovely, relaxing few days away. Which is when we came across Applegarth Villas. A beautiful boutique hotel, including newly opened hot tub suites with their own little sun terraces. Situated right in the centre of Windermere it was perfect for a walk to the local shops and restaurants and a 5 minute drive to the lakeside. 

We booked last minute and opted for a Luxury room with an amazing, colour changing jacuzzi bath and a TV with netflix (always a winner). All the rooms are different, which is a really nice touch, so whether you're looking for a 7-foot bed, 4 poster, hot tub or balcony they'll be something to take your fancy. The breakfast was beautiful too, with the cute little jam pots and perfectly cooked eggs. The staff were super friendly and very attentive, with our champagne flute requests and ice buckets. We also had an evening meal there one night, the food was amazing more like a 5 star restaurant, not your typical hotel dinner. 

All in all we had a lovely stay here. The hotel itself seemed very quite, we hardly saw anyone but the staff for the two nights we were there. If you're looking for a boutique hotel, with a great location and absolutely beautiful rooms this is your place. You can even take your dogs now too! Perfect for that break with your pooch in the lakes. 

Have you visited the lakes before? Can you recommend any luxury boutique hotels?

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Starting Out

Three different gyms, same selfie 

Fitness is a huge part of my lifestyle and I don't just do it for aesthetic benefits but to actually get the rush of endorphins in the gym, feeling better in my skin and reaping the benefits from a healthy lifestyle. First of all it's important to decide what your goals are. Do you want to build muscle? lose fat or do you just want to lead a healthier lifestyle, or all of the above. Understanding your goals and choosing a gym that helps you to achieve those goals is just one part of starting out.

Working out at home is great, you don't have to travel and you're in your own home comforts, however there's only so much you can do. Since I've been home from travelling, I've tried 4 gyms. 2 Xercise 4 Less, Bannatynes and an independent exclusive health club. One Xercise 4 less was amazing, huge weight sections, plenty of machines and big studios however the other the opposite. Small, cramped and I felt completely out of my comfort zone. The independent health club was Iveridge Hall, which I was kindly given a weeks pass to. It was great, lots of classes, outdoor area and super friendly staff. However, I didn't feel it would be suitable for my goals, yet seemed brilliant for someone who loves classes and boot camp style sessions. 

So 4 gyms and a lot of days later, I decided Bannatyne's was the one for me. Recently refurbished, with a great weights section which never gets too busy it seemed perfect for me. I also felt comfortable around the people training there. It's hard to judge a gym just by walking round, so always try out their day passes and try out for good deals. Price is also a big factor in the choice, however for me, joining a cheap gym where I didn't feel motivated to go was a bad choice. However, spending that little bit more for somewhere I enjoy going and spending time is a tiny sacrifice. So if you're starting out, be clear on your goals. Do you want a great weights section or good quality classes? Think about distance, nobody wants to travel in traffic just to get to the gym. Also, ask your friends. It's good to have a buddy to workout with for extra motivation. If you want to make these changes, it needs to be somewhere you feel comfortable. 

Have you tried a number of gyms before settling? What do you think about your own gym now? 

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