What’s In Our Gym Bag 

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We really enjoy watching ‘What’s in my bag’ YouTube videos so decided to write a ‘what’s in my gym bag’ blog post. Whether you are popping to the gym or heading to work we always like to carry some essentials with us as you never know when you might need them! Some of the items below we wouldn’t carry to the gym if we didn’t have any plans pre or post workout, instead we would go home and get ready for the day.

At the moment the gym bag Annie is currently using is a black Adidas rucksack and Rachel has a limited edition Cath Kidston Mickey Mouse bag. These rucksacks literally come everywhere with us, they are the perfect size and comfortable to wear.

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Sweat Towel- One of the Boutique gyms we go to actually provides sweat towels which is great as you don’t have to pack your own, if your gym doesn’t provide sweat towels we would suggest bringing your own! There is something worse than using the blue paper towels some gyms provide.

Headphones- When working out alone whether this is running or the gym headphones are essential! Whether you use them to catch up on Youtube when on the treadmill or listen to music when lifting weights. When we work out together we don’t wear headphones as we have each other to talk to.

Water Bottle- It is so important to stay hydrated at the gym. Your ability to perform well will decline if you are dehydrated. Drinking water is essential if you want to get most out of your workout and feel good while you’re doing it. If you don’t drink enough water when working out you may experience dizziness, tiredness and muscle cramps.

Drying Towel- We tend to go to the gym before work and during our lunch break so it’s important we remember to pack a drying towel.

Spare Clothes- Spare clothes are essential if you go to the gym before work or if you have plans post workout.

Wash bag & Make up- Remember to pack make up remover and face wash so you can wash your face pre workout, there is nothing worse than sweating off your make up you have been wearing all day. Other items we like to pack in our wash bag are: Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower gel, Moisturiser and our makeup bag.

Protein Shaker- We like to carry a protein shaker in our bag so we can refuel. This isn’t something we carry in our bag all the time. We would have a protein shake after the gym if we have a while to wait for our next meal e.g. on the way to work pre breakfast.

Are you lacking fitness motivation?

Scrolling through Instagram is sometimes enough to motivate us to get to the gym. Our Instagram feed is full of fitness fanatics who never seem to lack motivation. This isn’t true though, people only show what they want to show on Instagram so it is important to remember these people do run out of energy and can also lack motivation!

Everyone has those months were they are feeling less motivated. Most of the time motivation and consistency is never a problem for us, we look forward to going to the gym in the morning, but we do notice it takes us a little bit longer to get out of bed during those cold winter months.

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We love the lifestyle we lead and we never desire another routine or lifestyle. When we have a bad day at work working out really helps us regain a positive attitude. It’s our place where we can switch off from the rest of the world and just focus on our work out. 99% of the time we will leave and have a completely different view on the problems we were facing beforehand.
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Below are a few tips to help keep you dedicated and motivated to your fitness regime:

Don’t stress- It’s really important you don’t stress yourself out if you cannot fit a work out in, stress can cause de motivation. Sometimes other things get in the way that you have to prioritise and that’s just life. You aren’t going to throw away all your gains just because you missed a class. On the flip side of you do miss a class don’t let this demotivate you, get back up and go again tomorrow.

Make fitness part of your life but not your life- it’s so important you have the correct balance, that’s not to say that you should feel bad for turning down an event if you have your favourite fitness class that night. If you find yourself constantly doing this you could find yourself falling out of love with fitness.We like to work out in the morning so we can plan to see our friends and family during the evening.

Eat well- when we don’t eat a healthy balanced diet our body tells us off! We wake up feeling sluggish and lethargic with little or no energy. We know our bodies don’t agree with too much sugar and salt so it is important we personally eat this in moderation. Don’t restrict yourself though as you are likely to fall off the wagon, instead eat a balanced diet treating yourself every now and then.

Find a friend- working out with a friend can be so motivating! They are there to motivate you and maybe even get you there in the first place. If you have arranged to meet a friend in the morning you are less likely to stay in bed!

Pack your bag- we always pack our bag for the next day before going to bed! We also like to place our gym clothes by the bed so we just have to pull them on and go!

Set yourself a goal- we like to set ourselves regular goals so we have something to work towards. A few examples would be: run a certain distance, lift a certain weight, do a deadlift, do a pull up etc.

What are your top tips for keeping motivated, we would like to know!

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Positive vibes only

Positive- A desirable or constructive quality or attribute

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty- Winston Churchill

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We are constantly striving to see the positive in every situation; this is something that can take years of practice but with a bit of encouragement from each other we are doing a pretty good job. When things go wrong it’s important to recognise that life isn’t always perfect and we are strong believers of ‘everything happens for a reason’. Try to see the positive in a negative situation, it can be tough at times but it will make you feel a lot better after.

Every day we surround ourselves with a variety of different people, all of which will have different characteristics. The majority of these will be a delight to be around, they will love, encourage and support the decisions you make in life.  These are the people you can turn to when good things happen like getting a new job or a promotion at work, they will be happy for you, congratulate you and won’t be jealous of your success.

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Closing the door on old relationships can be hard, just because you have been friends with someone for years doesn’t mean the relationship is a strong and happy relationship. If you find yourself making excuses about meeting up or not looking forward to seeing someone this is a good indication of an unhappy relationship. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself or doesn’t respect you as an individual you don’t have to continue the relationship.

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We often become like those we are closest too, look around at your friends and think are they who you would like to become? Do you respect them? Are you happy around them? If the answer is no to any of the above then take some time to think why, it’s hard to live a positive life if you surround yourself with negative people.

Initially it may be hard to stop negative thoughts, be patient with yourself. Every time you have a negative thought try and think of two positive things in your life. So many of us take things for granted for example having a bed to sleep in every night, having access to clean water or having a body that lets us experience life each day.

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5 Healthy lunch ideas to take to work 

We have got into the habit of taking a pack lunch to work on a daily basis. This way we know the food we are putting in our bodies whilst also saving a LOT of money.

We tend to make our lunch the night before or even bulk make it at the weekend. We all know the saying after all; Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

Below are five ideas that make the perfect lunch! Let us know if you have any other ideas as we would love to know!

Homemade soup- There is nothing better than tucking into some homemade soup in the winter at work. Soup is ridiculously easy to make and you will find tonnes of recipes online, BBC food always has simple recipes to follow. Some great soups to make our: Carrot and Coriander, Leek and Potato, Tomato, Butternut Squash, Pea and mint and so many more!

Homemade Hummus with veggies and wholemeal pitta- Why not try making your own hummus? The only ingredients you will need are chickpeas, tahini, lemon Juice, olive oil & a sprinkle of paprika. Once again have a look on the BBC food website for a recipe to follow. If you wanted to be extra adventurous you could even experiment by making beetroot, sundried tomato or roasted pepper hummus all of which taste delicious. If you don’t have time to make hummus then you can also purchase three mini hummus pots from Tesco. There is a selection of flavour: Sweet Chilli, Lemon and Coriander, Caramelised red onion, Roasted Red pepper, Sun blushed Tomato etc.

Salad- Salad is a great lunch as it is so versatile! We have lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery, radish and sugar snap peas as a base and then add on whatever we fancy for a topping. Some great toppings are: smoked salmon, tuna, falafel, parma ham, feta cheese, olives, chickpeas etc. Try not to flavour your salad with shop bought dressings as they can be full of sugar. Instead if we are at work we tend to use balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Roasted Veg- Roasted root vegetables are a perfect lunch now the weather is getting a little bit colder. We tend to just cook more vegetables the night before with dinner which will save you time when it comes to making your lunch. The roasted vegetables we are loving at the moment are: sweet potato, butternut squash, beetroot, peppers, courgette, carrot and red onion. Wack it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to make sure they are heated through.

Roasted Chicken breast/Salmon Fillet with Brown Rice- This lunch is perfect after a post run lunch (read our previous blog about lunch time running here). You can roast the Chicken or salmon the night before but we would advise purchasing the 2 minute microwave rice bags as rice carries lots of bacteria so shouldn’t be re heated. You can purchase the rice bags at all super markets.

High Street Active Wear

Apart from looking half smart for work we practically live in gym gear, its super comfy so why not. We don’t tend to spend too much money on sports wear because, well, you don’t necessarily need to! There are plenty of high street stores that now offer a large range of active wear, so we decided to put it all to the test! Buying new gym gear is great motivation to get back to the gym, just the motivation to burn off those extra mince pies and beat the January blues!

New Look: New look have a great selection of active wear, and its even better when its in the sale! The leggings are very comfy and fit very well. The tops are cool and we are a bit of a sucker for these slogan tees. You still have to look stylish when working out right?!

Primark: We cannot resist popping into Primark, especially when there’s one on the highstreet right by work. Primarks gym gear is affordable, comfy and also bang on trend. We cannot resist a bargain and Primark certainly offers this!

Forever 21: Forever 21 offer a great range of gym gear, and when they have 10% student discount ever better. However we do find their sizes a bit dodgy and their leggings have been know to keep falling down – you don’t want to be constantly pulling up those leggings whilst on the tread mill not such a good look! We recomend you try the Forever 21 range  on before buying!

Topshop (Ivy Park – Beyonce): This range might be super stylish, but then does it take it a little too far? Who wants to wear a leotard to the gym, imagine that wedgie whilst on the squat rack. You have to draw the line somewhere between looking good but feeling comfortable. We also do not think the quality of the range is that great, you’re better off spending your money elsewhere!

JD Sports Ellesse: If you wear this brand you’ll start to look just like their model Luck Meck right?! Ha, we wish, better get on that Results With Lucy plan! However the range is pretty neat, and we cannot resist a bit of celebrity endorsement, plus this range brings back slight nostalgia of being a kid in the 90s again!

JD Sports Pink Soda: This range is mega fashionable but also very comfy. The cool logo and simple designs makes the range perfect for those who want to spend a little more on gym wear. However when there is a sale on you can nab yourself some bargains, shorts from £20 down to £6, now we are talking!

What is your go to active wear shop, we would love to know yours!?

Saying Goodbye to 2016 

Another year has flown by (I’m sure we say this every year) but really where has the time gone? It feels like we have just blinked and the year is over. 2016 has seen many highlights and also a few challenges that we wanted to document on our blog, mainly so we can go back and read it to remind ourselves just how far we have come.

On the 19th September we received a notification on WordPress to say ‘Congratulations your blog has been alive for one year’ sorry what? One entire year that is just crazy. We have had so much fun creating content for both our Blog and Instagram account for the past year and we cannot wait to keep creating more.

Last year (December 2015) we decided that we didn’t want to go out for NYE, instead we decided to have a dinner party at one of our friends’ houses. January started with us all dancing around the living room in our onesies watching the London Fireworks show- which was amazing.

We have travelled quite a bit this year including; Australia, New Zealand, Amsterdam, Dublin, Jersey, France (Avignon, Paris and Normandy), Spain, Ibiza, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. We absolutely love to travel there is something about being in a country you know nothing about and making it your home for the time you are there. We have also visited several cities in the UK this year these being: Manchester, Brighton, Sheffield & Essex.

We started running at the beginning of the year setting ourselves some milestone targets of how many miles we wanted to run. At the beginning of the year we used to struggle running 3 miles but now that seems an absolute breeze, it just shows if you spend enough time doing something you will get better.

We have tried and tested several exercises classes this year: British Military Fitness, Regiment Fitness, Boxercise, Spinning, Pilates, HIIT training,HIIT Combat, Metafit & Yoga to name a few. We believe that mixing up classes and exercises it a great way of challenging yourself. We both received Fitbits for Christmas last year and absolutely love them, as sad as it sounds they have been a big part of 2016. They have followed our every move, making us more active and aware of how many steps we take per day.

Since we love food, baking and cooking it is only right we include the following in our 2016 highlights. We have both become addicted to porridge which has resulted in us experimenting in lots of different flavours and even creating a ‘porridge series’ on the blog. Rachel hates all sorts of nuts but this year she tried cashews and loves them miracle! Maybe soon we can get her loving Peanut butter. Talking about Peanut Butter Annie was not a fan back in 2015 but now absolutely loves the stuff and is working her way through the different brands on offer (it’s not hard!).

We have loved experimenting with our baking, trying new recipes and flavours we wouldn’t have put together before. We have made sure we have baked for every festive season this year and Pinterest has been great inspiration. Even though we are into our health and fitness we are also massive believers of balance.

Life isn’t always easy and when we are faced with challenging situations giving up sometimes seems like the easiest option. It is so important to remember that these challenges and failures make us who we are today, a stronger and more determined individual.

So what can we take from 2016 into 2017? You can never be took kind to anyone, so spread kindness in hope that it will be contagious. We have learnt it is important to care less about what others think and focus more on the things that make us happy. It is important to remember that no one else matters when it comes to the things you enjoy doing and are passionate about.

We have so many exciting plans for 2017. So here’s to another year of challenges, happiness, dreams and friendship.

BLOGMAS Day 16-How to keep active at Christmas

The festive period has started and we couldn’t be happier! Christmas is a time to celebrate with the people you love and whilst doing so you are probably going to be eating a few more calories than normal. If you are going to stuff your face with all the Turkey, Mince Pies, Chocolate and anything else you can get your hands on (we know we will be) then it might be a good idea to get up and get moving. The majority of people tend to gain a few additional pounds at Christmas due to excessive eating but this doesn’t have to be the case.

We would never suggest you sacrifice treats at Christmas but you should ask yourself before you open your mouth for another mince pie, do I really want it, or am I just eating it because it’s there?

Staying active during the festive period is so simple, you don’t have to go running every day or even step foot in the gym if you don’t want to, but doing small amount of exercise will help you maintain your weight.

Christmas shopping is a great way to keep active (unless you do it all online). You walk a lot further than you think when shopping and its fun as well so that is just an added bonus.

If you have a spare 15/20 minutes during the day (not Christmas day) why don’t you do a The Body Coach workout? These workouts are all available on Youtube and they really do make you sweat.

Christmas usually involves a lot of dancing which is also a great way to stay active. If you have several Christmas parties booked in then just be mindful of the drinks you are drinking, we like to have Vodka, soda and fresh lime.

Why don’t you suggest going for a walk with your family or friends, we don’t think you can beat a nice wintery walk. It’s the perfect time to wear your new bobble hat or coat you got for Christmas. Every year our families go on a walk on Christmas morning (even if it does end in the pub) and we absolutely love it!

Don’t stress yourself out too much though, after all Christmas is a time to relax and de stress.