Let’s Talk: The Fitness Message

The FitnessMessage

So, I have noticed something.

This week Kourtney Kardashian posted a picture of herself in revealing sports gear and making the point that exercise helps her when she feels anxious.

This morning, I read a blog post about whether or not to wear underwear when running, you can read it here

We live in an environment of media saturation it often feels as if there are no limits to the things that we talk about on a global scale. The two items which I have referred to here are examples of how our ability to share how we feel in the moment can open up discussion on topics that are often swept under the carpet (or as in this case, just hidden under your clothes). However, only one of these items will actually make a difference to me and my fitness journey. And it wasn’t the sight of Kourtney Kardashian’s bared abs.

For me, the problem with the fitness discussion is that we are often too focused on the perfect model. I personally believe that the obsession with having a lean and muscular body has replaced that of being size 0. That is not a positive thing. I believe that the exact same hierarchies and body shaming that have been previously associated with being “skinny” have merely shifted to being “fit”.

It irritates me when I see slogans like “fit is the new thin”. This simply reinforces the idea that there is a particular way that you have to look, it’s just that you don’t have to look skinny anymore. Skinny is bad. Skinny is lazy and unadventurous. As is fat. And pale. And spotty. And having no bum. Or no breasts. Because even though you are expected to work out 6 days out of 7 and go hiking or surfing on your day off, yes, you will still be expected to retain your breasts.

This is where Kourtney Kardashian loses me. Like a lot of us, she clearly finds a workout to be a good way of relieving stress, many of us can relate to this. But the choice of displaying this on social media is not, for me, a positive reinforcement of how keeping your mind and body occupied can help you through a difficult time. Whether intentional or not, I think that posts like these are part of the problem. Kourtney’s life and looks are unrealistic to the vast majority of people. She is a beautiful woman who has the resources not only to have the best fitness equipment and training that money can buy, she can and has surgically altered her body to achieve the appearance that she desires. I’m absolutely not going to bash a woman for what she has been naturally blessed with, what she has worked hard for and what she has chosen. But I am going to suggest that if you are looking for inspiration, this isn’t it.

Celebrating our bodies is important and shouldn’t be competitive. How can we compete with others about the way we look when we are all completely unique? Seeing someone look incredible while staring back at me through a mirror when their world is falling apart doesn’t inspire me. It makes me feel bad for them and, I’d imagine if I was younger or less comfortable with myself, I would probably think to myself  “god, if she looks like that during a really difficult time and after having children, what have I been doing wrong?” This, for me, is the negative side of the fitness discussion.

The post I read about wearing underwear during a run was a breath of fresh air. This is why I love blogging. The dialogue is opened out so that things that would be seen as taboo and private are laid out and discussed. And do you know what? I’ve been wearing underwear with my shorts like a fool! Today I went out without any and it was great! Discussing and sharing information like this is the antidote to body shaming because it acknowledges the body in a positive way.

All of us here are working toward a fitness goal for a reason and I’d imagine that a big proportion of that is to do with being happy. Running makes me happy (running with no undies makes me even happier), trying to have a better body than other people would just make me feel weird and mean. So let’s talk about fitness the way we should be, in an open and supportive way.

Because fit does not need to be the new thin.

Fit is simply about feeling good, whatever you look like.

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Four Things I’m Thankful for This Week

Okay it’s coming into Winter and for most people that means there’s LOTS to moan about. And by most people, I mean me. I’m not overly bothered with Christmas (except for the food of course!), I despise the cold and  dark mornings and evenings are the worst. End of.

However, as I’ve come to notice particularly over the past couple of weeks, you just can’t fight change when it comes. So rather than focus on the impending rubbishness, here are four things that I am thankful for this week:

1. The Weather

Odd one to start with given my opening rant, but the weather this week has been truly, Autumnally fabulous. With some foggy starts the days have been cool, calm, crisp and bright. Basically, it’s been amazing weather to be outdoors. I’ve been running every second day this week. It’s so lovely to come home from work really looking forward to your run.

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Taken at Pollock Park. Not that I have to go far to find leaves on my runs, they’re everywhere 🙂

2. Catching Up with Friends

I’m definitely not a fan of the darker evenings but one thing they are great for is snuggling up on the couch and having a good long chat with an old friend. I had a well needed catch up with my bestie in Ireland last night. Sometimes it really is good to talk so why not set up a Skype date, boil the kettle, get into your comfies and have a well needed chat with a friend. So many of us in our twenties have friends all over the world right now who we just don’t get to see enough of and this time of year is a great time to get back in touch.

3. Juicing

So I went into the shop that will put me in long standing debt one of these days, The Steamer Trading Co. on Gordon St. on my way home from work on Friday and picked up a new juicer (I also bought a silicone piping bag, just in case you were wondering – and it’s lucky I stopped there). It’s an idiot proof  – huzzah! – Kenwood model with just 3 settings and came with two bottles. I gave it a test drive yesterday with a kale, ginger, coconut water and banana smoothie. I really think that this is going to solve my quick breakfast dilemma in future. Plus is can also crush ice so, yano, cocktails anyone??

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Juicing up some kale while slow cooking my roast chicken leftovers into a soup. Multi tasking, moi?

4. Skin

My skin has been problematic over the last couple of weeks. The trip to New York did not help this whatsoever! But since I’ve been back I’ve been stealing some of my boyfriends stuff and it’s really working. Chris can be prone to bad skin and has been using a cleanser from Lush called Ultrabland. I gave it a try for no apparent reason one day and it’s actually fantastic. It’s a cream cleanser and it honestly feels like it’s lifting the dirt right out of your pores without any kind of a drying effect. I’m definitely no beauty expert (seeing as I’m getting skincare cues from my other half you’ve propbably guessed that) but if you’re of the drier skin type and need to sort yourself out give this a try. I think for those of us who like to exercise outdoors it’s a really great one as it’s so cleansing and gentle.

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Other points worth an honorable mention are the Irish rugby teams performance in the World Cup this year. I was really gutted about the match today but I’m proud of their performance throughout the competition and they’ve been a pleasure to watch. Aaand, I’m sure my neighbors are delighted that my weekend shouting at the tv will not be continued for the near future!

While I was disappointed with the match, I had plenty of energy for cleaning the flat from top to bottom, enjoyed some yummy homemade banana bread and went out for a long run in Pollock park today. So I’m  also thankful for a productive and equally chilled weekend too!

What have you been grateful for this week?

My Food Favouites

Favourite

So, I’m all about trying new things on this blog. When it comes to food, being adventurous can be rewarding and enriching. But like many of you reading this, I definitely have my old favorites! So in this post I am going to share some of the foods which I keep going back to, sometimes on a daily basis, and give a bit of insight into why that is and how they are beneficial!

Beetroot

Photo credit - http://www.desang.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Beetroot-slices.jpg
Photo credit – http://www.desang.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Beetroot-slices.jpg

What’s in it?

What isn’t?! Beetroot is filled with calcium, iron and  A and C, they’re source of folic acid, fibre manganese and potassium.

Great In – I love it as a side salad with hot or cold food and also in smoothies. Throw some beetroot, an orange, 300 mls of coconut water into a jug and blitz for an easy but very nutritional smoothie. I have also heard great things about beetroot cake which I’ve been meaning to try out…watch this space!

Kale

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What’s in it?

Like all greens kale has plenty of iron which is good news for me as someone who is prone to bouts of anemia. It is also packed full of vitamin C so it’s a great vegetable for the colder months to fight off colds.

Great In -I am a big fan of baked kale. My current favourite way to bake it is by drizzling some olive oil over it and adding one tea spoon of powdered coriander/Rosemary. It’s a really simple and tasty snack (although possibly not the healthiest way to eat kale, eep!). You can also steam/boil it too, I had a really good kale salad with olive oil and sundried tomatoes recently. So good!

Meat Free Products

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What’s in it?

Meat free products tend to be packed full of protein and are a simple to cook substitute for chicken/beef etc. I actually prefer meat free sausages to regular sausages now!

Great In – Anything at all really. I love quorn chicken in salads and fajita mixes. Quorn mince spaghetti bolognaise is another favourite of mine.

Avocado

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What’s in it?

Avocados contain vitamins B, K, C and E as well as Potassium and mono saturated fats.

Great In – So my love for avocados began 5 years ago when I was travelling about California. My first introduction to this glorious fruit was in the Mexican style fare that is so popular there, like spicy wraps guacamole and as a delicious accompaniment to tuna steaks. I love the soft texture of avocados too. Over the summer I made avocado ice cream with a recipe from the brilliant The Baked Apple blog which was just divine too. Avocado on toast is a simple favorite of mine and is great eggs which are next on my list!

Eggs

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What’s in it?

Protein, Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and more.

Great In – Eggs can be as simple or as complicated as you like really. I love a good egg yolk carbonara utilising the whites for a meringue desert. Or to keep it simple, a boiled egg with a yummy runny yolk is delicious at any time of the day and a fail safe for those evenings when I’m home from work, hungry and want something quick!

What are your favorite foods?

Adventures in New York – The Last Few Days

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The Brooklyn Bridge
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Lunch on the steps of the MET
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I had to have a Gossip Girl moment!
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The MET
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Can you tell I'm a Van Gogh fan?!

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Reunion with an old friend
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Being silly on the top.of the Rock

What a week it’s been. Seeing New York city with the people I love has been incredible. Looks like I wasn’t the only one there last week, I noticed Tanya Burr herself was at the UN conference promoting her Global Goals campaign!

After a long journey we got home on Sunday feeling exhausted, jet lagged and a bit stuffy but so happy with our time away.

For anyone who is interested in going to the Big Apple here are my travel tips:

1. Don’t over plan: I love to plan things to death but when you’re in a city like New York you have to be flexible. The weather can change or you could stumble on something that you thought you’d skim over but end up spending hours at. Give yourself the space to let the city surprise you.

2. Invest in Hand Sanitizer: I never really understood the necessity of this until this trip! Keep some with you so you don’t feel disgusting on the train! Likewise with facial wipes, New York is beautiful but like any city it’s polluted and keeping your skin cleansed is a must!

3. Research where you’re staying: like any city, New York has good an bad areas. And when it’s bad, it’s really bad! Don’t get caught out. Ask around about where people you know have stayed, Google the area and generally just be on your guard. Air BnB is brilliant and we had a great experience but always check out where you’re going.

5. Getting Around: cabs and the subway are the best ways to get around New York in my opinion. Uber is a great taxi app similar to Halo in London and Dublin. So efficient and no cash involved either! For the subway, we used City Mapper is brilliant. It tells you exactly which lines to take and stops to get off at. If you can get data on the go it will also give you live updates on when to change trains etc. This was a life saver in New York and it can be used in other cities too!

I hope you enjoyed my travel posts sorry about the amount of them…it was a really long trip okay:P

It’s back to health, fitness, life and recipes next week!

Do you have any recommendations on where I could go next?