The Wellness Gift Guide 2017

*Not a sponsored post, apart from being a Sweaty Betty ambassador, I have no connection to any of these brands.

It’s that time of year when your inbox is flooded with gift ideas….Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, Gifts for Teens, Gifts for Your Loved One etc etc. But what about gifts for the wellness warrior in your life? Be it your yoga bunny bestie, your personal trainer partner, or simply someone you know loves to look after their mind and body, everyone deserves a treat this Christmas.

I’ve actually not started my Christmas shopping yet, which is unlike me, so in order to give myself a little kick up the backside, I’ve compiled a little list of some ideas for you, ranging from stocking fillers to more extravagant surprises. Take a look, and get shopping!

Treats up to £75

Flo 260 Massage Bar – £7.99

gift guide, christmas, massage roller

(tkmaxx.com)

Whether you want to admit it or not, rolling has so many benefits! For those who don’t love a foam roller, these handheld rollers are a great idea to get deep into those sore muscles. They might not thank you immediately (rolling is painful at times) but they will in the long run.

 

Kikki-K Wellbeing Diary – £21

gift guide, kikki-k, diary 2018, wellbeing

(kikki-k.com)

Not just dairy, but full of inspiration and prompts for a happy and healthy 2018.

 

S’well Bottle – from £25

gift guide, christmas, health, wellness

(swellbottle.com)

I am a massive fan of S’well bottles…I have two! Keeping cold drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for 12 hours, I have a traveller one for coffee and a bottle as above for water. They’re also completely leak proof and come in so many gorgeous designs!

 

Lululemon Run It Out Ear & Neck Warmer – £25 each

gift guide, lululemon, running, christmas

(lululemon.co.uk)

No-one likes cold ears, or a chill down their necks, so these Lulu warmers are a great idea for outdoor training. Buy one, or both for the matching set!

 

Sweaty Betty Gym Clutch – £35

sweaty betty, gift guide, gym, christmas

(sweatybetty.com)

If you’re lucky enough to have a gym just a stones throw from where you live or work, you probably don’t need a huge gym bag to fill with unnecessary baggage. This little clutch from Sweaty Betty is perfect for your gym pass, keys, phone, headphones, purse and maybe a little deodorant for a post workout spritz. I love the colour, and if you are gymming it further afield, then you can simply sling this in your main gym bag to make sure you don’t forget your essentials!

 

Sweaty Betty Velvet Padded Bra – £45

sweaty betty, gift guide, christmas, luxe

(sweatybetty.com)

I’m honestly not sure of the usefulness of a plush velvet sports bra, but I love it anyway! In fact, Sweaty Betty doesn’t even name this a ‘sports bra’ so I vote it gets worn underneath a fancy New Years Eve outfit for some comfort! Maybe this can be a treat for the lovely lady in your life?

 

Cowshed Knackered Cow Spa in a Box – £65

gift guide, cowshed, christmas

(cowshedonline.com)

I don’t know any health and fitness person who doesn’t like a night of relaxation and indulgence. In fact, if you want to earn all the partner / sibling / bestie / housemate points, get home early, run them a bath with this gift pack and treat them to a calming pre-Christmas night in…..hmmmm can anyone do that for me?!?!

 

Indulgent gifts over £75

Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth Headphones – £85

gift guide, urbanears, christmas, music

(urbanears.com)

If like me, you’re (ahem, or the person you’re buying for) constantly listening to music or a podcast in the gym or while running, then the new Urbanears wireless headphones are going to be right up their street. Foldable, and with 30 hours of wireless time, they’ll never be stuck with awful gym music again!

 

Fitbit Alta HR – £129.99

gift guide, christmas, fitbit, fitness

(fitbit.com)

If chunky heart rate monitors aren’t your favourite thing, then the Fitbit Alta HR might be the best gift yet. The slimmest fitness tracker with heart rate technology, Fitbit have designed this in a range of attractive colours. Tracking exercise, sleep, heart rate and the usual steps etc. it’s a great gift for someone who’s either a fitness pro or just beginning their healthy journey.

 

Eastpak Stand Holdall – £200

gift guide, yoga, eastpak, christmas

(Emilie James / Eastpak)

Now this is a big indulgence, but since spotting it on the lovely Emilie’s instagram (@lovaine_james) I have been in love. Eastpak are moving with the times with this limited edition range, which also includes a gorgeous back pack. This weekend bag includes a yoga mat sling, making it the perfect gift for the yogi in your life. Not keen on the colour? It comes in a dark grey/black too.

 

The list could be endless, but I’ll stop there for now. Perhaps this will give you some ideas to share with your loved ones, or help you choose the perfect gift for the fitness fanatic in your life. And hey…..don’t forget your LOVELY personal trainer….treats are ALWAYS welcome. As is chocolate.

 

*As I mentioned earlier, no brand has requested these items to be featured in this post. All views my own.

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The Decathlon Blogger Community

When I’ve heard friends and bloggers talk about Decathlon, and when I’ve briefly popped into, or passed a store, I’ve assumed its for outdoorsy people and runners. How wrong I was! When I finally looked into the company, I found that not only is their company ethos ‘Making Sport Accessible For The Many’ but they stretch far beyond hiking and running. A multi-brand empire, they cater for all things gym, cycling, swimming, running, trekking and much more. So when I was then invited to be part of Decathlon’s Blogger Community, I jumped at the chance to learn more about the company, and also spread the word about what Decathlon has to offer.

As an introduction to the brand, and as a meet up for the Decathlon bloggers, I recently headed to their Canada Water HQ for an evening of sport and trivia. Aside from having a catch up with some of my favourite blogging buddies, and meeting new ones too, it was a chance for me to explore the Decathlon enterprise.

And what an enterprise it is! With stores in 40+ countries across the world, and 33 (and growing) in the UK, Decathlon has big ambitions for the future. Championing quality brands such as Domyos – for fitness, Quechua – for outdoors and camping, Tribord – for anything water based, and more, their strive for excellence and a wide range of options. As I mentioned before, their company ethos is all about making sport accessible, but they’re also innovative, having won numerous awards for their own products. These include Best Tent and Best Road Bike to name but a few.

The evening itself was a team circuit training session and sport quiz. Did we get competitive?? I’d be lying if I said no, but we’re all sporting people in one way shape or form, so perhaps that was to be expected. Fun times aside, the Decathlon Bloggers Community is as varied as the company itself (famously there are 350 different sports played among their staff), from me the yogi/PT, to marathon and ultra marathon bloggers, active travel and everything in between, check out the rest of the crew on Decathlon’s website.

Stay tuned as I share more about the brand and their products in the future. Thanks Decathlon for including me in your growing community, I can’t wait to get more involved!!

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Be Who You Want To Be At Moreno Boxing

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There’s only one thing I’ve found that literally gives me jelly arms, and that’s boxing. I’ve done a few classes at some of London’s boutique boxing style studios, and I really enjoy not only the workouts, but the obvious stress release that hitting a punch bag can give you. I’d heard of Moreno Boxing before, since Carlos Moreno opened his first studio close to where I used to live in Dalston, but as his enterprise grows, a new location has opened up in Clapham. Last week, I was invited, along with some of my favourite blogger buddies, to try his signature classes.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

Carlos Moreno

Former amateur boxing champion, Carlos Moreno, founded Moreno Boxing in 2015, when he saw a gap in the market where people could get fit, learn boxing the proper, technical way, without the need or desire to enter into any kind of fight or competition. Focusing on teaching real technique instead of ‘boxercise’ style moves, as well as strength training and cardio, Moreno Boxing soon became the stand out studio for boxing training with clients quickly seeing results and achieving their goals.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

Carlos hand picks his trainers and keeps it simple with just two classes on offer at both locations; Technical Intensive Boxing (TIB) and Intensive Boxing Cross Training (IBXT). Us bloggers had the privilege of trying out both classes at last week’s event, and boy did we work hard!!

Technical Intensive Boxing

Armed with pads and gloves, Carlos took us through the proper technical way to jab, cross, hook and upper cut. This class breaks down the movement piece by piece, including how to defend and how the legs help to, excuse the pun, pack a real punch!! Then, working in pairs, we built up some punch sequences, developing our co-ordination, strength, power and agility.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

I loved this class more than I expected to. Learning the proper way to punch, and safely receive a punch on the pads inspired me to look into training further, and incorporating pad work into what I offer as a Personal Trainer.

Intensive Boxing Cross Training

Aimed to compliment the TIB class, IBXT combines classic boxing drills with crossfit style sessions incorporating kettlebells, battle ropes, barbells and much more. A class aimed to not only improve strength but cardio and endurance as well, it’s a super tough workout that trains the whole body.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

Due to injury, I didn’t take part in this class, but wow, did it look like a killer session. I’ve no doubt that anyone attending these classes regularly would see amazing changes in their fitness levels.

The Studios

Equipped with everything you need for a great sessions, Moreno Boxing has a ‘no-frills’ approach to its studios. The new Clapham location has a full-sized boxing ring, crossfit rig and state of the art, water filled punch bags. Both locations provide gloves and pads, and you can purchase hands wraps as well.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

All in all, I was very impressed with what Moreno Boxing has to offer. Just chat to Carlos for a minute or two and you can see how passionate he is about his sport and sharing his skills and knowledge with everyone around him. If you’ve never tried boxing before, then give it a go. If nothing else, you’ll have the immense satisfaction of release the day’s stresses against an innocent punch bag, and leave knowing you’ve had one amazing workout.

Thanks to Eliza and Healthy Living London for organising a great event. It was so great to catch up with some of my favourite blogging buddies over healthy treats from The Urban Kitchen and Borrow My // Blender, as well as have a great workout.

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Becoming a Personal Trainer – Choosing a Course

You’ve made the decision, the fitness industry is for you. But you don’t just want any old job, you want to be on the front line when it comes to helping people to be the best version of themselves they can be. What next? You might ask. The answer is quite simple. Get qualified. Over the next couple of months, I want to not only take you through my journey to becoming a PT, but also shed some light on what can be a confusing sector to break in to.

The fitness industry is full to bursting when it comes to training options. A simple online search reveals a plethora of courses for you to make your way as a fitness instructor or trainer. The first thing to do is to decide exactly what it is you want to be doing, or at least what you want to be working towards.

natasha wynn, personal training, PT

Fitness Instructor – exercise to music, indoor cycling, aqua fitness.

Personal Trainer – Gym Based – taking clients within a gym or leisure centre.

Personal Trainer – Independent – training clients in parks, in their homes, or in your own space.

Personal Trainer – Specialised – taking referrals from medical professionals for special population groups (obesity, pre/post natal, cancer rehab, lower back pain).

Once you’ve chosen your role, it’s time to train. I cannot stress the importance of training enough! I will reiterate this on numerous occasions over this series… A good instagram following does not equal a good qualification! Getting a Fitness Qualification of some sort allows you to become registered with REPs (more in a later post), get appropriate public liability insurance, and gives you credibility in a world saturated with ‘experts’.

When choosing your training company, always get recommendations, from your PT if you have one, from the trainers lurking at your gym, and yes, perhaps from the fitness blogger who has a proven client base and all the right training themselves. Once you’ve collected names of companies, do some decent research into each one. Some great questions to be asking are:

  • How the course is run? Full time intensive? Part time? Distance?
  • Who is it run by? What are their credentials?
  • What’s their pass rate, are there job opportunities for graduates?
  • Which Training Provider is the course is accredited to (YMCA Awards, ActiveIQ, City & Guilds etc.)
  • If it’s distance learning, how long are you expected to take to complete the course? Are there cut off dates, or extension fees?
  • How much any face-to-face practical training is there?

natasha wynn, personal training, PT

Once you’ve got all this research, you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you. Everyone has their base-lines, perhaps for you it’s price, or how long the course takes. Sometimes, it’s simply a feel for the people you’ve been talking to.

I decided that I wanted to work towards my Level 3 Personal Training, and so would have to combine Level 2 and 3 together. Price was a big thing for me, as I’m very much on a budget, but didn’t want to compromise on quality of training. The Fitness Circle was one of the most affordable courses I came across, incredibly flexible with time, and run by an ex-professional dancer. Not only did we have that in common, but after dancing, Debra Bell went on to study for a degree in Sport Science, ensuring she had all the knowledge possible to changer her career. All these things lead me to choose them for my training, and I’m very glad I did!

natasha wynn, personal training, PT

It took me a long time to get to my final decision on who to train with, it’s a lot of money, and not a decision that should be rushed. My advice is to take your time, research, and ask lots and lots of questions. In my next post learn more about The Fitness Circle, and how I found the training with them as I get closer to my assessments and exams!

Sweaty Betty SS17 Wish List

Another season, another Sweaty Betty Wish List! With bold prints inspired by North African Nomads and Moroccan Souks, and with beautiful textures and styles, the Spring Summer collections from SB is stunning this year!

As always, I’ve got my eyes on so many things, mentally spent over and beyond my allocated Ambassador allowance, and can’t wait to be teaching in all these jewel-like colours and fabrics.

sweaty betty, wish list, ss17, sportswear, fitness

  1. Merino British Knit Escape Jumper – Although I wouldn’t wear it to teach, this lovely merino knit is stylish and easy to wear with both jeans and sportswear.
  2. Thermodynamic Run Leggings – Now I’ve started teaching a couple of classes outdoors, thermal leggings are a must! I love the bold geometric print of these, and the brushed fleece lining is seriously cosy.
  3. All Sport Tote – I do not need another bag. But this one’s such a gorgeous colour!!
  4. Hamsa Fashion Sweat – I love a Hamsa Hand. Since a visit to Tunisia in my early 20s, this symbol of protection has a certain pull for me. I love this sloppy sweater, it’s the sort of thing I’ll live in.
  5. Insulate Down Gilet – Again for training outside, this is something I can wear throughout the end of winter and into spring.
  6. Fleece Tech Workout Pullover – How stunning is this teal colour? With a high neck, and cosy fleece feel, I can imagine wearing this with the gilet above!
  7. Urdhva Reversible Yoga Leggings – Urdhva leggings are my favourite, I buy them every season. Being reversible, you get two pairs in one, and they are always super soft.
  8. Zero Gravity Run Leggings – You may have seen these appear on my instagram in a lovely black and red pattern, but I love these vibrant blue ones as well. SB’s infamous bum sculpting leggings, they hug everything in the right places.

 

Head to Sweaty Betty to check everything out, and let me know what’s on your wish list!

I am a Sweaty Betty Ambassador, and receive an allowance for clothing. I promote the brand as part of this role, however all opinions are my own.

My Year – 2016

I love reading everyone’s ‘Year In Review’ posts. They usually highlight the best parts of the year, and look on any negative moments with reflection and resolution. I find myself feeling proud of fellow bloggers for their achievements, and can’t wait to share my own.

So here’s what I got up to in 2016.

1. Turning the Big Three-Oh

Yes folks, I made it to 30 years on this planet! While I didn’t have any life affirming revelations the moment I woke up on my 30th birthday, over the year I did find myself looking sensibly into the future. Inspired by my best friend working super hard to get on the property ladder, I looked into moving house myself, still renting for the time being, and from that started planning a whole new side of my career in the fitness industry. I felt calmer in my own mind, happy to be single, and not settling for something that isn’t good for me (OK, I’m still working on the latter).

new year, 2016, blogger

Credit: Will Patrick

2. My First Yoga Retreat

As part of my 30th birthday, my very generous Dad sent me on my first ever yoga retreat with my favourite teacher; Adam Husler. Having practiced for nearly 3 years, I was super excited to immerse myself in a week of yoga in the Spanish sunshine, improving my technique and my practice. I not only achieved those things, but also made a whole new bunch of friends and had the best week laughing, practicing and being kind to myself.

yofa retreat, 2016, new year, blogger

Credit: Adam Husler

yoga retreat, 2016, new year, blogger

Credit: Adam Husler

3. My Nutrition Qualification

This took longer than I had expected, and required a lot of dedication and hard work on my side, but in the summer I achieved my Advanced Diploma in Nutrition and Weight Management. I learnt that online learning is something that I don’t always find the time to do, and I should have made it more of a priority. In doing so, I became more organised with my time when it came to starting my PT course at the end of the year.

4. Becoming An Ambassador

One huge achievement for me was becoming an ambassador for one of my favourite brands; Sweaty Betty. I used to work for the company many years ago, and it is because of Sweaty Betty that I found my current place in the fitness industry, so I owe a lot to them and the inspiration I found in my colleagues. Check out their #31DaysToFit challenge for January, and join me in making January 2017 your healthiest yet.

sweaty betty, fitness, yoga, 2016, new year

Credit: Will Patrick

5. The Big Holiday

A big 30th treat to me, from me, was an epic trip to New York with my best friend of 28 years (who also turned 30 this year). Although I’ve been before many times, this trip seemed special. I’ve never walked so far, seen so many things, laughed so hard…or wanted to move there so much!  NYC will always have a special place in my heart.

nye, new york, 2016, new year NYC. new york, 2016, new year NYC, new york, 2016, new year

6. Trying Something New

With my Dad living just 10 minutes from Nazaré in Portugal, one of the surfing capitols of the world, it seemed right for me to give it a go! Search Nazaré online, and you’ll see articles about 100ft waves and a Big Wave surf competition. Fear not, I’m not going to have a go on them, but I have been learning to surf with an amazing local surf school Surf4You. With expert 1-to-1 tuition from Miguel, both he and his colleague Henrique have made me fall in love with a new sport. It’s tough, and I ache all over, but I love it, and will be no doubt be popping by for a lesson every time I visit Dad.

surfing, travel, 2016, new year

Credit: Henrique Silva @ Surf4You

surfing, travel, 2016, new year

Credit: Henrique Silva @ Surf4You

surfing, travel, 2016, new year

Credit: Henrique Silva @ Surf4You

7. Moving House

I love my job at barrecore, but I make it no secret that my big plan is to have my own studio one day. Right at the end of 2016, I made a big move towards that. After 7 years in my little 1-bed flat, I decided to move, taking a risk by increasing my rent, to a 2-bedroom place. Why, you ask? Well, that spare room is to become my little PT room, so I can start to see clients in my own space. It’s a tiny step on the road to a fully fledged studio, but a brave one for me, and I’m so excited. Stay tuned for how I’m going to kit it out once I’m a fully qualified PT (because having that qualification is important to me).

new year, 2016, blogger

Credit: Will Patrick

So I’ve had a very lucky 2016, no major injures, lots of travel and achievements in my career. It’s not all been rainbows and unicorns of course, I’m still dealing with the constant pain of hypermobility syndrome, having other ailments investigated and let’s not forget, my major self-esteem slump in the last couple of months.

But I’m writing this post on New Year’s Eve, on a plane home from my Dad’s place in Portugal, with the sun setting on the horizon and looking forward to an awesome NYE night out as soon as the plane touches down. Life is good, and I’m super grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given.

Happy New Year Folks!!