Lifestyle: Results with Lucy Review

I’ve come to the conclusion I needed a regime to get me to start to exercise. Or rather, to force me to slot exercise into my daily routine. The gym just doesn’t work for me, neither does exercise classes; I’m too self-conscious of my bodyshape, of my fitness level, of how red I get to fully take part. Plus London gym prices?!Just think of how much Dairy Milk I could buy for that money…

 photo Results with Lucy_zpsgau33pxj.jpgBut quite often I found myself saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, or “too tired.” And yes, I am tired. Getting through the door late after an intense day of work and spending too long on the tube is not particularly conductive to a good workout session. So having something a bit more structured, telling me what workouts to do that day or (on the best days!) telling me I can have a rest day, is working wonders. I’m keeping up with the schedule, I’m finding myself actually looking forward to exercise. And now my ‘plan’ is coming to an end, I’ve found myself drafting out my own version, figuring out how I can keep it up.

When I was offered the chance to try out The Student Plan* through Results with Lucy I have to say I was skeptical. A lot of workouts I had previously tried needed a lot of equipment or far too much space. Plus I have always had my doubts about plans like this. I was dubious that it could actually work and was under the impression that it was just another celebrity endorsed gimmick. That said, there’s not a huge amount of emphasis on Lucy at all, it’s much more about the qualified personal trainers – they take you through your paces, show you the moves and shout at you to keep you going. It’s pretty much like being in a proper exercise class, just there’s no audience to watch me!

 photo Results with Lucy 5_zpsct1yefxg.jpg photo Results with Lucy 4_zpschg9cmvw.jpgThe Student Plan gives you 4 workout playlists a week, allowing 3 rest days, unlimited access to all workout videos, and a small recipe library for some inspiration – for £10.50 a month. Now to be honest, I’ve not really used many of the recipes yet as most of them aren’t to my taste (I prefer a high-fat low-carb diet as much as possible) but they would be great if you were stuck for ideas. Workouts range from arund 20 minutes to 1 hour including warm up/cool down, and you’re warned about any equipment needed before you start. I can confirm you only need a tiny space too!

The workouts? Well, they are hard. I hate, hate, hate leg day with a passion (jumping squats are my ultimate phobia). But having said that I do love the variety. There’s boxing workouts, dancing sessions. There’s videos targetting certain areas, even challenges. One of my favourites is the 100 Squat Challenge, but I’m also loving The Tummy Tuck.

Now, I do have ‘before’ photos and more up-to-date ones; they won’t be making an appearance on here. There is a noticeable difference in the two, but I don’t feel quite comfortable with putting it out there for the whole world to see. Instead I can reveal that I have lost two inches from my legs, and just under an inch from my jiggly tum – and I’m seeing definition which I’ve never seen before. For me, though, it’s not really been about the appearance/weight side of things. It’s been about improving my appalling fitness levels and actually feeling healthier – and for those reasons alone this plan has been a sucess. A few months ago there’s no way I could have done 20 sit-ups, let alone 50+. I can do 200 squats pretty much no problem. I feel so much better in myself!

 photo Results with Lucy 1_zps8xdutkwt.jpgWhilst I’m not 100% sure if I’ll continue with a subscription after my current one times out, the plan has done what it needed to do – made me enjoy exercise. I’m now cranky (sorry W!) if I miss a day, I look forward to coming home and working out, and I don’t think I’ll have a problem in putting together my own workouts. And if I need another kick in the right direction, I’ll be straight back on the plan!

*I received a three-month subscription in exchange for an honest review – and I genuinely loved the programme!

What exercise plan do you follow? Are you gym-phobic like me?!

Wedding Planning: Losing Weight for your Wedding

Warning, a little bit of a ranty post ahead!

One thing I noticed at the National Wedding Show a few weeks back was the quite intense pressure on brides to lose weight. And this really annoyed me. I’m all for ladies being healthy and happy with their bodies, don’t get me wrong I’m determined to ‘look my best’ on my (still undetermined!) wedding day. But why should I be pressured into believing that ‘my best’ is me minus five pounds?

To me, ‘best’ is glowing skin, glowing with the happiness that I’m marrying my soulmate, signing up to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. It’s a wedding dress that suits my body, curves and imperfections included. It’s about trying (and most likely failing) to keep my hair tidy. It’s about making the most about my best features, but not about changing myself.

It’s one day. And I want to look like myself on that one day.

I can see that people who are perhaps unhappy about their weight prior to getting engaged use their wedding as motivation (if I hadn’t have lost so much weight last year it would definitely work for me). I completely understand that for some women, looking their best on their big day does involve losing some weight. And that’s fine.

 photo The National Wedding Show 6_zpsz9cb0lnu.jpgWhat I don’t agree with is the pressure from the wedding industry. My goodie bag haul from the day consisted of 3 types of diet cereal bar, an instant 97 calories Spaghetti Bolognese (which, according to my housemates, was inedibly vile), vouchers for other ‘low fat ready meals’ and a handful of meal replacement shakes. I overheard a lot of brides being told they were ‘too big’ to try on dress samples. Whilst I am small (and actually had the opposite experience – the one time I’ve tried on dresses they had to be clipped onto me), hearing something like that totally put me off even browsing the dress stalls.

Having seen what I look like in wedding dresses, I know that I don’t want to lose any more weight – turns out I’m more petite than I thought! I do want to tone up, something I’ve said for a while, but am I going to turn down a burger lunch for the sake of a wedding dress? Hell no!

 photo The National Wedding Show 7_zpsajkjhsp5.jpgMaybe, having always been sensitive about my weight and perhaps a little obsessive over weight loss, I’ve been over emotional about this. I’ve never seen any bride look ‘fat’ – the focus is always on how gorgeously happy they look. I do believe that, in industries including weddings, too much pressure is put on women to be thinner…and I’m not a fan of it.

Do you think there’s too much pressure in society for ‘weight loss’ and perfect bodies?

Beauty: From Trainers to Sandals (+ Giveaway)

Having grown up with a running dad (Saturdays were spent at races up and down the country) I’m all too aware the damage running can do to your feet. Blisters, dodgy toe nails, all very attractive things. Coupled with having flat feet I’ve been keen to take extra special care of my tootsies having started exercising more…and now I can safely say my feet are ready to make the switch from trainers to sandals!

 photo a34a7c4f-88f0-4c7c-abe6-c408e2e6084c_zpsyuflhvew.jpgA good foot file is essential. Manual ones are all very well and good, but I received an electric one for Christmas – and love it. A strange thing to love perhaps, but it’s halved my footcare routine. A quick go with it and I have soft-as-a-baby’s-bottom feet. Well almost. This one* from Scholl has been gifted to my dad (because who needs two foot files), and whilst it’s getting the ultimate test it has got the thumbs up so far!

I’ve found I have to follow filing with a good moisturiser, and I’ve been using this one* lately. It’s hydrating and easily absorbed, though not quite as moisturising as I’d like. It’s a great option for after work, with a richer one used before before.

 photo 68dde417-c478-4697-94cb-6739de9c18b5_zpsdb6gctxg.jpgHaving flat feet makes running slightly painful at times, but it also means wearing heels can be agony. For anything longer than a meal out, anything that involves being on my feet, I simply had to use some form of gel cushions. My best heels have had leather padding added, but for my cheaper heels I’ve relied on Party Feet gel pads for years. The texture makes me wince a bit, but they work and stop me limping around.

 photo 1dbb3472-c59f-40f3-a89b-4985aaa59143_zpsklrcasjl.jpgNow for the icky bit. Running makes me sweat, sweaty feet just ain’t nice. A good foot spray is essential if I’m going out following a run – lunchtime jogs mean this is a necessity. No substitute for a good shower of course, but a good option to freshen up!

Of course, no feet can be sandal ready without a slick of nail polish (I HATE seeing unpolished toes). I love a coral colour as it goes with most things, though I’ve used a bright orange recently and surprisingly loved it.

Now, Scholl have kindly offered one of my readers the opportunity to try some of their foot-saving products for themselves – and they come highly recommended from me. Simply enter using the widget below – though be warned that I will validate entries! UK entries only I’m afraid, sorry about that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Slathering on moisturiser and keeping my nails pretty are absolute essentials when it gets to sandal time, but for me they are staples in my routine all year round. Like with moisturising my face, I’ll hopefully thank myself in years to come!
 photo 3d3dcedc-f2c0-4516-a816-aefa6a602ead_zpsmj8wztcq.jpg

Do you have a footcare routine?

Lifestyle: Exercising At Home

Gyms are all very well and good, but at £25+ a month I just can’t justify the cost. I was planning on signing up over my placement year, but said gym is the other side of town from where I am living, and I don’t feel comfortable with the walk in the dark. Sure, I still go swimming on occasional weekends but the majority of my exercise is done at home, in my teeny tiny room.

 photo 2015-02-08 17.08.52_zpsztvdyxqu.jpgI’m planning on heading out for proper runs as soon as the evenings lighten up – which shouldn’t be long now as there’s now enough light to see the keyhole when I get back (I was shining my phone at the door last week – note to self: ring council to fix street light). I’ll be using the Couch-to-5k program, but my real goal? I really, really, really want to run a 10k by the end of the year. I wasn’t going to mention it here, but I’m feeling that telling you all with give me motivation. Feel free to nag me if I get lazy!

 photo 2015-02-08 16.05.34_zpsfrjcw865.jpg photo 2015-02-08 16.04.36_zpsmpi05k2t.jpgI’ve also been loving the motivation from Youtube videos – this one is my current favourite although I find it really tough. I’m not really a huge fan of celebrity exercise DVDs, but I’ve enjoyed Charlotte’s 3 Minute Belly Blitz. The exercises are actually really fun, and it’s not too teeth-grittingly cheesy. 3 Minutes is a total lie, the Warm Up is 5+ minutes, but the actual routines are quick, fast-paced and seem to be having the desired effect. I find them fun too, with the best part being they don’t require too much space. Thanks to Cash Generator for sending me this!

 photo 2015-02-08 17.10.53_zpskjeaus1h.jpgI’ve also been doing some of these 3-day Challenges – my favourite being the Squat one. I do them twice a day. In the morning I use the time it takes to boil the kettle (now I’m on 150 I’m filling it up a bit more!), in the evening I just slot it in after whatever other workout I’ve done. I’ve been skipping rest days too, as I really struggle the next day! The Lunge one I’m taking slowly as my technique is poor, and I’m struggling through the Tricep Dips. I’m picking up an exercise mat this week to start on the Abs too!

 photo 2015-02-08 17.11.17_zpstde8mprn.jpgFinally, weights. I’m not after muscle, but I am after tone, and using light weights is actually making a real difference. I don’t do an awful lot with them at the moment, but just a few reps in between more fast-paced cardio bits is fine for now. Once I’ve lost weight I’ll be upping the toning!

Alongside this I’ve been eating healthier, taking low-fat soups to work and cutting down on the tea. Dinners are more packed with vegetables, and I’ve really cut down on white processed carbs. I must admit I am finding that tough, I was far more reliant on pasta and potato than I realised. Keep an eye out for more healthy recipes over the next few weeks…

Do you have a gym membership, or do you exercise at home? Tell me about your routine!