You Matter

If you follow me on Facebook you know I like to remind everyone how important it is to put your health higher up the to do list. I asked Bea Marshall to write me a guest post about the importance of looking after you and to back me up!

I’m going to come straight out and say it. You matter.

Maybe you think I’m talking to someone else and you don’t think that I’m talking to you. Are you a Mum? Are you busy juggling several balls and working out how to keep it all together? Are you struggling to find enough time to balance everything on your plate? Are you tired because raising kids is hard work? Really hard at times.

If the answer to any of those question is, “Yes, that’s me.” then I’m going to say it again:

You matter.

Two words that are easy to brush off because the implications of allowing them to settle deep within your being can be huge. If you imagine, for a moment, that you are no longer in the equation then what happens around you? What happens to your children, your partner, your job, your laundry, your garden, your life admin if you are no longer available or present?

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Things quickly go downhill. You do an extraordinary job. This is why you matter.

It’s vital to take care of the things that matter. It is vital to take care of yourself.

As a Parenting Coach, I help Mums to have extraordinary relationships with their children without needing to spend time and energy on discipline or coercion (how great does that sound?!). I speak with many Mums about the challenges they face as parents and one question I always ask is, “What are you doing to take care of yourself?”

So I ask you the same. What are you doing to take care of yourself?

If you’re anything like the majority of mums I speak with, you might not actually be doing a lot. Hot baths seem like a luxury that take too long when you have laundry to put away and bills to pay. Some daily yoga or meditation gets pushed down the to-do list because you haven’t got time for that right now. Going to a local exercise class would be nice in an ideal world but your kids have homework or you’re too tired from a day at work. Investing in yourself financially with a Personal Trainer or a massage would be amazing but you need the money to pay for school uniforms or baby clothes and next year’s holiday.

I understand all of this. As a single Mum of two amazing boys, running my own business from home, I really do understand the pressures of family life. I also know that when I prioritise my own self care I have significantly more resources to invest into my family. I have made it a priority to take care of myself because that is the best way to take care of others.

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I choose to get up early so that I can go to the gym first thing in the morning because this sets me up for the day. It clears my head, gets my body moving and ups my energy. I also set aside a small amount of money to work with a Personal Trainer every fortnight. He keeps me focused on my goals and he also encourages and supports me, especially when I feel weak or tired. I am learning about mindfulness and meditation because connecting with what’s going on inside me really helps me to be a peaceful, present and connected parent.

Self care is a journey that is best taken with small steps.

I decided in December 2014 that I wanted to get up at 5.30am instead of 7.30am. That was an impossible goal in the short term but I worked out a manageable approach in the long run. I set my alarm fifteen minutes earlier each week or two until I was waking at the time I wanted. Some mornings this was really hard and occasionally I listened to my body and went back to sleep. Sometimes I gave in to excuses! But now I get up at 5.30am and the first few hours of my day are mine completely.

I also decided to stop spending time on my phone at bedtime. Instead I choose to read a book. It’s a really small act of self care that makes a huge difference. And often I’m so tired that I’ll only manage a couple of paragraphs! Small steps still go the distance.

What small steps can you take to move towards valuable self care?

Unless you begin to say Yes to your own needs you will find that you cannot consistently say Yes to your children’s needs. Self care leads to less irritability and less shouting. It also leads to improved mood and increased energy. And one of the most important, and often most forgotten, aspect of self care is that it models to our children how to take care of themselves. We need to be the change we wish to see in our children.

Here’s my challenge to you.

Choose 3 things that you will do in the next 7 days that are directly related to your self care. You might plan a hot bath, ring a friend and go to a Fit Mums class together, get up 15 minutes earlier in order to sit quietly with a cup of tea and your thoughts. What will work for you?

You matter.

Your own self care is one of the best ways to ensure that you are being the best Mum you can be.

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Bea Marshall is a Parenting Coach who helps Mums to have an extraordinary relationship with their children, without spending time and energy on discipline and coercion. She is also the Founder of Yes Parenting, an amazing way to raise children in a complex and demanding world.

www.beamarshall.com 
www.facebook.com/groups/DiscoveringYes 

Why you should trust me with your fitness!

This is a question that I very rarely get asked, but one I wish people would ask me more!

What enables you, Aimee Rogers of Revitalize Fitness, to get me fit?

Now I’m not usually one to brag (but I’m going to now!) however I was looking through my certificates and I thought why am I hiding this away?! No one knows about any of this and I have spent thousands of pounds on my fitness qualifications and career so here I am shouting it from the rooftops and telling you all about it!!

Below are my fitness qualifications.

2003-2006 Sheffield Hallam University
Bsc (hons) Sport and Exercise Science Degree. My dissertation looked at the effectiveness of pedometers in increasing physical activity in a work place setting

July 2015: Ante and Postnatal Exercise, Level 3, Fitness Industry Education

May 2007: Phase IV Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Instructor, British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation (Currently up to date on re-validation)

Mar 2007: Exercise and Mental Health, YMCAfit

Jan 2007: Exercise to Music, Level 2, Central YMCA  

Sept 2006: Circuit Training, Level 2, Central YMCA 

Aug 2006: Exercise Referral for Clients with Specific Controlled Conditions, Level 3, Central YMCA 

Apr 2006: Health Walk Leaders Award, Walking the Way to Health and British Heart Foundation

Feb 2006: Nutrition and Weight Management, Level 3, Central YMCA

Feb 2006: Advanced Fitness Instructor, Level 3, Central YMCA   

Oct 2005: Fitness Instructor, Level 2, Central YMCA

Please note, this list does not include the countless hours spent informally learning through researching, mentoring, shadowing, volunteering, planning, discussing, lecturing, reading, teaching and attending workshops and webinars. The list above is also missing the numerous courses that I have taken to support and develop my fitness career, namely my NVQ level 4 in management and my Babywearing Peer Support Training.

While gaining these qualifications I have been employed in a health and fitness role of some kind. Gaining experience, gaining knowledge, gaining skills and confidence.

Revitalize Fitness was born in 2010, but prior to that, I have always worked in fitness and physical activity. I have worked as a gym instructor helping people to overcome sticking points in their training or needing to lose weight before their doctor can refer them for IVF treatment. I have delivered circuit training classes to men and women all recovering from cardiac conditions and subsequent operations. I managed a team of exercise referral instructors who, via exercise and physical activity, improved the health of Sheffield residents with medical conditions. I have worked with people wanting to improve, get stronger and be fitter.

Fitness is my career, its what I do and what I’ve always done. I bloody love helping people to become more active and seeing them enjoying the benefits of exercise.

So I hope that answers the question posed in the title of this blog post! If not please get in touch and ask me any other questions. I am always happy to chat!

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On a very serious note, start asking your fitness instructor about their qualifications or experience. All instructors leading an exercise session should be able (and proud, they’ve worked hard for it, let them show off!!!) to provide you with formal certificates and be appropriately insured. If someone cannot provide evidence of fitness qualifications or insurance I would strongly advise that you look for an alternative session.

Super Savvy Pancakes

This morning I have been experimenting with some samples of Savvy Spread. I am still following a gluten and dairy free diet after being diagnosed with intolerances earlier this year, and these pancakes were super quick, tasty and filing.

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For info (in case you can’t tell!) I am not a trained baker or food photographer. I threw a few raspberries on to tart it up a bit for you! I promise you they taste better than they look!

2 eggs
1 large banana
1 – 2 tablespoon of Chocolate Savvy Sweet Sesame Spread 
Coconut oil to fry pancakes

Mix everything up in a bowl.

Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan. Dollop the mixture into the frying pan. I found that two tablespoons per pancake made a good size for flipping and then rolling!

Flip the pancake over until it is slightly brown on both sides. Serve with honey and fruit or maybe even a bit more Savvy Spread! Experiment with the amount of Savvy Spread you use in this recipe. It may be that you prefer a stronger taste, if so just add more next time!!

When I first started reducing gluten and dairy in my diet I found that my main meals didn’t really change but I did struggle to find alternative snacks. These really hit that cake/biscuit shaped hole that I have in my life since going gluten/diary free!

Give them a go and share your pictures with me over on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

To buy Savvy Spreads please visit their website. X

My Endurer Dash

Last weekend I took park in the Endurer Dash 8km event in Dronfield and LOVED it! As part of the 8km course I had to walk up streams, crawl through mud, scale fence’s, swim across a pond and trudge through lots of mud (as deep as my thighs at some bits!).

If you have ever had a fleeting thought that these events look fun and one day you might like to enter one, then please please do. Its so much fun and I was so proud of myself afterwords. The feeling was very similar to how I felt after I gave birth. Proud of my body when I have asked it to above and beyond!!!

The Endurer DASH is a test of your strength, stamina and the limits that you can endure. Two obstacle races, an 8km and a 14km course for you to thrash around. Don’t rock up and expect to be rubber necking at the amazing Peak District scenery, or sniffing the fresh country air on a gentle morning jog. Expect to become one with the mud and country. Expect an epic obstacle course pitched on some serious terrain. Challenge Yourself. Become an Endurer!

Upcoming 2015 events – get in there early for discounted sign up rates! Let me know if you sign up, I may be tempted to join you and do it again!!!

Endurer Dash 8km: September 26th Peak District

Endurer Dash 14km: September 27th Peak District

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Upcoming 2015 events – get in there early for discounted sign up rates! Let me know if you sign up, I may be tempted to join you and do it again!!!

Endurer Dash 8km: September 26th Peak District

Endurer Dash 14km: September 27th Peak District

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Since being gluten and diary free (in an attempt to try and rid my body of an intolerance) I have been experimenting with some new snacky, goody, foody treat type stuff! This is my latest that I wanted to share as it is stupidly quick and easy but tasted AMAZING (if I do say so myself!).

This is a recipe that I found on Pinterest and it took me less than ten minutes to make.

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So basically all the ingredients in the top picture I mixed together and then dolloped into a warm frying pan with the melted coconut oil. Flipped em and then ate them with a drizzle of honey!!!!

Now the reason that there is no picture of the finished product is because they looked a bit (a lot) messy! I need to get better at flippin em!!! Any tips much appreciated. Leave me a comment below!!!!!

Aimee x

Slimming Solutions Teatox – My Review

I have been intrigued by herbal detoxing/slimming teas ever since I joined Instagram and every other picture was a slim, tanned, twenty something with washboard abs claiming they were the secret to her success.

I would never have bought them to try as I put them down as the latest faddy fitness trend (Cynical?? Me?!). So when I was contacted by Slimming Solutions asking me to review their Teatox I jumped at the chance. And I must admit I was surprised with the results!

I already regularly drink herbal teas but for some reason I was nervous about trying this Teatox as I was unsure what it would taste like. I had conjured up in my mind a mix of old school cod liver oil, medicinal tasting tea! You get a daytime blend to drink when you wake up and an evening blend to have before bed.

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Both were very easy to drink,  pleasant and relevant (and not a hint of cod liver oil, fewf!!!!) By that I mean the morning drink was fresh and energising and perked me up ready for the day. The evening blend was soothing and relaxing. I enjoyed both but I preferred the bedtime blend. Maybe this is because I mainly drank it in bed relaxing when my morning cup was often thrown down my neck while trying to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door!

The teas come with a clean eating plan to follow which was handy to have as a reminder. I eat a fairly balanced diet anyway so I didn’t cut out anything while drinking the teas other than caffeine. 

I did find the whole process of a morning and an evening blend useful to get me into the routine of drinking the teas. I also think having the course last only fourteen days is appealing as I wasn’t daunted by a massive new regime I would have to incorporate into my life.

Interestingly I did find it helped with bloating after my evening meal and I did feel a lot more energetic. I have since had a dairy and gluten intolerance identified so I would be interested to see if the teas make even more difference once I have that under control as well.

So overall a pleasant surprise. And a hand slap to me for poo pooing them and not giving them more consideration before!! If you are skeptical I say give them a try, even if you don’t notice any improvements its a good excuse to curl up in bed with your evening blend and enjoy some “me” time!!

In conclusion, I enjoyed the Teatox but you won’t be seeing any pictures of me with my washboard abs (they are in there somewhere!!!!) hanging out all over Instagram any time soon!!! I would use them again in the future.

Garden Workout With Kids

I often get asked how I manage to fit in workouts with a toddler and a preschooler so I though this video would help! Make it fun and get them involved and you will get so much more from your workout.

Remember you are showing your kids that being active and exercising can be fun so mix it up and don’t worry about how many reps you are doing!! We were out for about 45 minutes and yes it was raining at the end! It ain’t training if it ain’t raining!!!!

Exercise names have been altered for the benefit of the game! Dinosaurs are much more appealing to to four year old than walking lunges!! Give it a try and let me know how you get on!

Healthy Eating, Back to Basics

I often get asked about about the latest diet trend or food related fad so I thought I would write a blog post to direct all the queries too (It also meant I could eat a donut for the pic below!!!!).

My personal opinion is that diets don’t work and it is better to follow a healthy balanced diet for the majority of the time. However, balance is they key word! If you feel like eating a donut, go for it but before you all go rushing out to Krispy Kreme remember that balance. As long as you eat a healthy diet most of the time and you have no weight or health concerns, then the occasional treat will do you no harm! Below are some tips that I offer to clients trying to stay on track with nutrition.

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Eat when you are hungry
And stop when you are full! Listen to your body and respond to its needs. Think of your body like a car, if you don’t put the fuel in it won’t go!!

Eat lots of fruit and veg
It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. It’s easier than it sounds. A glass of 100% unsweetened and not from concentrate fruit juice can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count. Try adding chopped banana into your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for some dried fruit?.

Eat more fish
Fish is a really good source of protein and contains loads of vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try to choose as wide a variety as possible.

Avoid sugar
Most people in the UK eat too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories and could contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk. Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 15g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar.

Eat less salt
Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Younger children should have even less.

Don’t get thirsty
We need to drink about 1.2 litres of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, milk and fruit juices are the healthiest. Avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars and can be high in calories and bad for teeth. When the weather is warm, or when we get active, we may need to drink more to replace fluids lost through sweating.

Never skip breakfast
Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Porridge, with fruit sliced over the top, is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.

Avoid Fat-Free
We all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as cakes, pies, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and hard cheese. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.

Avoid pre-packed meals
Wherever possible make all meals from scratch, this includes healthy snacks. Pre-packaged food is often packed with preservatives to extend the shelf life. If you can buy your food from local suppliers this is even better!

Dreaded DOMS

A lot of my Fit Mums and Park Fitters are asking me (possibly complaining but I’ll assume asking for the purposes of this post) about muscle soreness so I thought I would write a little blog post to help you all out!!

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) often occurs a day or two after heavy exercise. It is often described as stiffness, soreness, inflammation and tenderness. This stiffness and soreness is felt in the main muscle groups that you worked in your last exercise session. It is eccentric movement that causes DOMS. An example of eccentric movement is when you slowly lower your arms in a bicep curl.

Funny story. I got DOMS in my biceps after I gave birth to my son. I had had an epidural and was instructed to hold on to the back of my knees and pull (eccentric contraction). I swear my biceps hurt more than anything else in those 72 hours after labour!!!! Ditch the weights, push out a baby!!!!

You are more likely to feel DOMS if you are new to exercise or when you increase the intensity of your workouts. What you will be pleased to hear is that after the first bout of DOMS is often the worst and then you are protected from damage from subsequent exercise for up to six weeks. This gives you time to gradually ease into your workouts and increase the intensity over time. Basically this means that once that first session is out of the way, you need to continue with the exercise to avoid getting DOMS as bad!!

The precise cause of muscle soreness is unknown. DOMS can be produced by a number of different factors.

– Tiny tears in the muscle tissue
– Osmostic pressure changes that cause fluid retention in the surrounding tissues
– Metabolites accumulating in the muscle cell producing cell damage and reduced force capacity
– Acute inflammation
– Combination of the above

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The best thing you can do speed up recovery if you are experiencing DOMS is to keep moving!! Avoid the temptation to sit down and not move for a week! DOMS isn’t an injury so very low intensity exercise such as walking or swimming will help to loosen the muscles.

Stretching daily will also help, but especially after exercise. This will help to lengthen the muscle fibres and increase the blood flow to the muscles. This increase in blood flow helps to bring vital nutrients and oxygen to the muscles to aid recovery but also flushes out the waste products. Drinking plenty of water and massage will also help with this process.

Warm baths can help to relax the muscles affected and ease the soreness. Adding two cupfuls of magnesium flakes will also help to feed the muscles and replace minerals. Stay in the bath for at least twenty minutes to allow the magnesium to absorb through your skin. My favourite magnesium flakes are from Better You (another fabulous company based in Sheffield!!).

Ensure you have plenty of protein in your diet to help feed and repair the muscles. A few spoonfuls of cottage cheese before bed is a great source of protein that acts to repair the muscles while you sleep. If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet there is the option of protein shakes. These are fast acting and provide your muscles with instant “food” to help kick start the healing process and thereby reducing the severity of DOMS. Protein powders are a massive money making industry and a bit of a minefield that I could write a whole topic of blogs on (watch this space!). All I will say for now is that it is down to personal preference so don’t go out and buy a massive tub! Try some trial packs until you find one that you like the taste and consistency of!! Chocolate milk drank within thirty minutes after exercise, has also been shown in recent studies to have positive effects on reducing muscle soreness after exercise and is a cheaper alternative to protein powders (yet another blog post, I’m starting a list!!).

Yes I am telling you to go drink chocolate after exercise, it helps. I promise. You can thank me by sending this blog to all your friends and letting them know about it too!!!

My Year In Fitness – Day 365 #MYIF2014

My final day!!!!!! I have blogged every day for a full year about how I manage to focus on my fitness around the needs of a young family.

I will still be exercising in 2015 and have set my own personal health and fitness goals. I have made a Pinterest board to inspire and motivate you for some healthy habits to try in 2015. Pin some onto your own board to help keep you on track during the new year.

I will also still be blogging but on a less regular basis. I will also be sending lots of updates and advice through my mailing list. If you want to keep in touch with me sign up to my mailing list.

Thank you for reading and supporting me in 2014.

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