Hardcore sweat-fests are like medicine to me. They literally wipe out any traces of anxiety and leave me riding an endorphin wave that’s a little addictive. In the interest of healthy balance, I also find napping and basically any sort of carbohydrate falls into my addictive category.Read More
If you follow any of our social media accounts and read this blog you will know that Becky and I are not dieters. Not even a little! But even though eating and cooking are our favourite things we try to maintain a healthy lifestyle.Read More
It is no secret that I am a fan of all things monochrome. But when it comes to sportswear I let my hair down a little bit and delve into some colour. My favourite go to outfit of the moment are my Gymshark leggings (seriously, the best leggings I have ever owned!), pink tie-dye sports bra and bright orange workout vest.
As much as I love sportswear to look cute and fun, if it's not comfortable, it's a total no-go. The Gymshark pieces are extrelemy pleasant to wear and great quality. No sea-through bottoms here! I've tried the leggings in the most contorted yoga positions and maintained a full degree of dignity (we all know what happens to stretched cheap leggings...unfortunately!).
If you are in the market for new workout gear Gymshark are a brand to definitely check out whether you are looking for colour block or monochrome pieces - there's something there for everybody!
What workout outfit do you feel most comfortable in?
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As daylight slowly makes a welcome return to our lives, and the evenings become that little bit brighter, it serves as a lovely reminder that summer is on route. Winter is always the most difficult time to work out. A combination of cold, dark weather and woolly layers generally pushes working out a little further down my list of priorities. That said, I’ve always found when you least feel like working out is when you most need it (mentally anyway!).
If exercise could be bottled and sold, it would be the most widely prescribed anti-depressant. The natural endorphin release is nothing short of magic when it comes to stress relief, reducing anxiety and improving sleep. And that’s aside from the strength and conditioning benefits, namely getting a beach bod in time for summer!
A few key workout wardrobe updates can sometimes be the incentive needed to get out and get moving, and recently we got to try out some seriously stylish workout wear from the gym stylistas over at Gymshark. UK brand Gymshark has grown massively since its small beginnings a mere four years ago. From a style perspective, we’re both big fans of the colour block pieces and monochrome options.
'Athleisurewear' is the thing right now, and Gymshark do some great monochrome basics to see you through a Saturday of running around town. But more than this, the technical fabrics and fits are spot on if you take your training seriously.
When distance running, I'm generally on the lookout for decent compression wear. Ideally this should keep you muscles warm to prevent strain and fatigue, while maintaining body temperature if training in harsh weather conditions. Gymshark form running leggings have a softness to them that I wouldn’t generally associate with compression leggings (which usually have the structure rigidity of a wetsuit!). But having worn these running I’m seriously impressed. The anti-slip waistband makes sure they stay put exactly where they should, while the seamless form-fitting leggings have the necessary support factor combined with the loveliest softness. Also top marks on the non-see-through factor for squats!
Personally, I like my training vests to be a little on the looser side, allowing an option to double up over a skin layer in colder weather while still being loose and cool on the rare few days of summer we get. The stretch fit and mesh paneling on my Gymshark racerback vest are definite plus points when getting sweaty! I went for the white racerback vest paired up with black compression leggings, for a very wearable monochrome combo.
Gymshark workout wear is available here.
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This morning’s dairy-free creation was not only beautiful to look at (pretty much the most instagrammable breakfast you can have!) but also seriously nutrient dense.Our Purple Dragon smoothie is simple and much quicker than it looks.Read More
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a major life changing overhaul - unless you’re on a first name basis with your local McDonalds cashier. A few small changes can make a big difference. I love my food and calorie counting isn’t a strong point. Everything in moderation with particular attention to a few key foods that pack a punch nutritionally can make a big difference to skin, hair and nails. Personally I try curtail refined carbs, particularly later in the evening with dinner. That said, Saturdays post-run snack can turn into a blueberry muffin free-for-all!
My breakfast of choice has been porridge and for the past couple of years this has included a spoonful of flaxseeds. These tiny seeds are absolute nutritional dynamite, boasting B-group vitamins they are also loaded with the natural anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3, high in soluble and non-soluble fiber so good news for lowering cholesterol. Not to get too far into the science bit, but flaxseeds also contain phytochemicals which are great for balancing female hormones. To maximise the nutritive density of these gems, they should be ground first before tossing onto porridge, soups, salads, stir-fries etc. A tiny but brilliant addition to your diet.
There is no simpler way to go green than spinach. Not only is this stuff great with pretty much any meal, but by throwing a handful of spinach on your dinner, you’re upping iron levels (perfect for those who don’t do red meat) magnesium and Vitamin K. Spinach falls into the nutritional powerhouse category alongside beets and quinoa. Dark green leafy vegetables are the thing to eat to show skin and hair some love as they’re bursting with anti-oxidants and cancer fighting properties. A handful of spinach contains a mere 27 calories which mostly come from protein. It’s also one of the best sources of potassium beating bananas on a gram by gram comparison. Even on the rare occasion we ring in a pizza, I empty half a bag of spinach on top!
Vitamin E is my new favourite thing! After a particularly stressful period last year my hair was looking a little on the wispy side and even after making some major changes to lower stress levels there was no sign of my mane returning to its former glory. I was recommended Vitamin E by a (former team Ireland!) runner, who advised it to help protect the body from oxidative stress which in my case was long distance road running at the time. I found it to be the only thing that actually made a difference to the thickness of my hair, and my nails and complexion reaped the benefits too. I take 100% natural E d-alpha form, derived from Soya beans, from Holland & Barrett.
Yeah we’ve heard it all before, drinking water is the secret to supermodel skin…. but seriously it is. Investing in renewing night creams, facial oils and micro-exfoiliants is a complete waste of time and money if you’re not hydrated to begin with. Hydrated skin is plumper, softer and all round looks better. Case in point that grey hangover complexion - that’s the face of dehydration right there. It’s also worth bearing in mind that B group vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble, meaning you require water for your body to absorb and utilise these. Keep a large water bottle on you and sip away throughout the day, its habit forming and before you know it becomes second nature - that water bottle will become an extension of your arm and your skin will be all the better for it; not to mention increased alertness, less headaches and more efficient metabolism. Get sipping!
I’m not a huge fan of fruit salads or fruit in general (weird, I know) but when it comes to berries I can’t get enough. There’s a dietetic school of thought that any natural food that’s strikingly dark in colour is likely to promote superfood properties (no, chocolate does not count here..!) meaning they’re not only nutrient dense but also rich in age-fighting antioxidants. Buy organic where possible, you want to steer clear of pesticide residue. Throw your berries in the freezer to keep them edible and fresh long past their sell-by date. Frozen berries are also smoothie ready, giving you another opportunity to throw in some flaxseeds!
What are your superfood secrets? Let us know in the comments!
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I don't need to tell anyone that relaxing, slowing down & taking some alone time are all good for you and important in maintaining your sanity. Lately everything is fast paced and we are bombarded with information more than ever before thanks to the development of the internet, social media and the accessibility of those at arms reach. This non stop activity makes our brains go into overdrive and the results are stress, anxiety and just a general feeling of tension and discomfort.
Personally I am a huge fan of "de-stressing" products - I pretty much own every single item in the This Works Stress Less line. Today I wanted to share a couple of more "techy" discoveries I made last year when I was struggling with a lot of stress. About a year ago I introduced "guided meditation" into my weekly routine. And by that I don't mean attending classes or inviting a yoga guru to live with me, I literally downloaded some apps. If you are able to meditate just by yourself - amazing! I find that whenever I try, my thoughts just intensify and I end up thinking of the things that stress me most, hence the guided form of meditation (which only means that there is someone speaking to you in a lovely soft voice and making sure you can concentrate on your breathing).
Without further ado here are the two apps that have helped me and that I use all the time:
Simply Being (€0.98 from the App Store) This is a very simple app that offers 5, 10, 15 or 20 min meditations sessions that you can listen to with or without music. I like this for night time relaxation and I turn it on before bed, even just for 5 minutes if I know there is something on my mind and I won't be able to go to sleep easily.
Headspace (free from the App Store) This one is slightly different. When you download this app you get free access to a 10 day course of unique guided meditation. This app contains bite-sized techniques to help you sleep better, focus more and get some relief from a busy mind. I would say this is a good one for when you actually want to commit to meditation a little bit more and invest more time in tracking your progress and learning new techniques.Meditation takes on a lot of forms - you can do it just sitting down on your couch, the floor, lying down on your bed or even going for a walk. The important thing is to be able to carve out a few minutes a day to have some quiet time only for yourself.
How do you like to de-stress? Let me know, I'd love to hear about it!
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