I am delighted to have been asked to write a blog post for 'Athletic Generation', a company which offers fantastic products and array of support to individuals in the fitness industry.
What is your training history and current schedule:
My training history was very much dance based. I attended performing arts college in London where I'd be dancing for 5+ hours on a daily basis Monday - Friday in all disciplines. Alongside this I was attending Bikram yoga (Hot Yoga) classes almost daily and doing a lot of running on the treadmill in my local gym before college classes. Whilst at performing arts college my aims and focus around training were very much based on being an ideal weight and pushing myself beyond my limits in an attempt to achieve something which was essentially very unrealistic for my body.
Since making the decision to leave the professional dance industry due to health reasons, I have now returned to exercise with a new found purpose. I set-up and run my own dance & fitness business in Scotland which primarily on getting people moving again and having fun whilst doing so. The focus is on bettering internal health including mental health. This is where most of my exercise hours are scored on a weekly basis. I fully participate in all the classes I teach so by the end of the week I have done an insane amount of body-weighted exercises, especially squats, and cardio. At present I'm teaching around 12 classes a week on average.
Aside from classes, I've never been a runner but this year I have signed myself up to some events and in January started a 'running for mental wellbeing' group. At present I aim to go for a run twice a week on top of my classes and attend the gym twice a week to do some strength training such as weighted squats, deadlifts, SLDLs, chest press, bent-over row and so on.
I would love to increase my own training schedule and aim to do so in the next few months however my time is all consumed being back in education, running a business and teaching numerous classes in numerous establishments. Although I now exercise for health I am strongly considering challenging myself to compete in a bikini competition in the next year or two, something I've had on my bucket list for the last few years.
What is your nutrition outline and do you follow a specific plan or guidelines?
I don't follow a specific plan at present however I would say my diet is better now that it has been in a very long time. I often fell into the trap of faddy diets and unhealthy behaviours however I have since realised that scrimping on calories or restricting is not the way to go.
A good food day on track for me now would be:
- Soya yoghurt with granola and a piece of fruit
- Avocado on toast with some beans & grilled tomatoes
- Couscous salad with a meat substitute
- A hummus and falafel/ feta cheese wrap with salad
- Tofu with wholegrain rice and green vegetables
- Tofu stir-fry with singapore/rice noodles.
When choosing what to eat my main focus is on getting enough greens and protein into my diet. I follow a vegetarian diet and have low iron levels which I supplement however, with the amount of exercise I do I also need to ensure I get enough protein in my diet which can be challenging at times.
On days when I teach a lot I will also add in a protein shake in the morning, pre-workout prior to teaching/working out and drink aminos throughout the classes to ensure I am able to sustain and repair as quickly as I can ahead of my next classes. Athletic Generation's products taste amazing and so they make adding these in so much more enjoyable and easier.
I eat chocolate almost daily and I do so without guilt as I am fully aware that I have a sweet tooth and by trying to cut it I will only crave it more when the time comes. I believe it's not so much about what you eat (unless it is endless fried/takeaway food) but rather how much of it you are eating. Know what nutrients your food is providing and use this information to feed your body.
I also enjoy coffee and will squeeze in about 3-4 cups per day on average.
If you REALLY want to make changes to your diet, the best thing you can do is meal prep as it will banish the 'I don't have time' excuse throughout the week.
Of course, my intake will increase/decrease depending on my activity levels.
I think the key is to know your own body & know exactly what it needs in order to thrive to it's optimum abilities.
What are you goals for the future?
As mentioned above I would love to see myself doing more workouts for my own personal growth. My aim and ambition is to compete in the next few years and keep a real and raw documentation of the journey through social media platforms.
I would also LOVE to run a half marathon in the next few years too (not the same year as the body competition) and work my way up to completing a full marathon if possible.
That's my personal fitness goals.
And as for business in fitness I want to continue to grow in knowledge and skill set in the hopes I can continue to inspire and motivate so many individuals to take control of their own health & fitness goals and lifestyle to prolong their quality of life for as long as possible.
Health & Happiness,