environmental cost of our wardrobes

What Is The Environmental Cost Of Our Wardrobes?

While we are becoming much more conscious about the damage we’re doing to our planet in many ways.  Are you really aware of the environmental cost of our wardrobes?

Our Spending Habits

  • The average Brit spends £1042 on clothes each year
  • Women on average own 95 items of clothing
  • We only wear 59% of our wardrobe regularly

These statistics were part of a study commissioned by Ariel as part of the Great British Wardrobe Report.   These figures are scary enough.  But add in the environmental cost of our wardrobes and it’s a full-blown Hollywood horror movie!

environmental cost of our wardrobes

Fast Fashion

The phrase Fast Fashion evolved from celebrity influenced styles turn up on the High Street in record time at affordable prices.  Worn by consumers who seek constant new styles and discarded quickly either because the garments don’t last or boredom sets in.

Fast fashion has a big impact on the environmental cost of our wardrobes. Turning out garments quickly and cheaply means more:

  • Water Pollution
  • Textile Waste
  • Use of Toxic Chemicals

Did you know that textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally?

Solution: Buy less and use the money we spend on clothing to buy better quality items that last.

Polyester’s Environmental Impact

Blue Planet taught us a huge amount about the environmental impact we are having on our oceans and marine life.

When we put polyester fabrics in our washing machines microfibers become detached and end up in the sewers and eventually the oceans becoming ingested by marine life.

But let’s not forget about production, which involves Nitrous Oxide.  Nitrous Oxide is 310 times more damaging than Carbon Dioxide to the environment.

So that means I need to give up polyester fabrics?

Solution: Not necessarily.  There are manufacturers who have been developing more eco-friendly types of Polyester either recycling plastic bottles to create the yarn or microbes to eat old clothing  and break the polymer down.

Buying Cotton Is Better Right?environmental cost on our wardrobes cotton

Presumably cottons have a lower environmental cost on our wardrobes?

Not necessarily.  In order to grow enough cotton to make one shirt 2700 litres of water are needed!  Given that a lot of cotton is produced in areas where water is scarce this simply exacerbates the local environmental impact.

In order to meet the demands of production cotton growers have been using genetically modified plants.  Oh and let’s not forget that more pesticides are used for cotton production than any other crop.

However the Better Cotton Initiative supported by the World Wildlife Foundation is having a big impact.  They are working with farmers and businesses that buy their crops to adopt more environmentally friendly approaches.  In Pakistan 75,000 farmers reduced water by 39% and their income by 11% working with the BCI. They also used 47% less pesticides and 39% less chemical fertilizer

Learn how a Female Farmer becomes a role model in her local Pakistani community.

Solution: Don’t’ simply rely on responsible manufacturing. We need to take action too. Again buying less and investing in better quality will help.

Textile Waste

This is one we all need to get behind.  We can have the biggest impact on the environmental cost of our wardrobes with regard to textile waste.

When researching this post I was shocked that 75% of Britons still throw clothes away rather than recycle them.

We need to change our mindset away from buying new and thinking instead of reusing. Here are some ways we can do this:

  • Mend clothes that are damaged rather than simply throwing them away.Something we’ve largely stopped as fashion’s got cheaper.
  • Keep clothes for longer, find creative ways to revamp them or combine them with different items to create more outfits.
  • Look for stores with more sustainable credentials in terms of sourcing – see list below.
  • Recycle clothes and shop local in:
    • Charity Shops
    • Pre-Loved or Dress Agencies
  • Look at hiring clothes. Rent The Runway for example.

We cannot continue to pretend that the environmental cost of our wardrobe does not exist.  But we can be more responsible about the impact we’re having.

Reduce The Environmental Cost Of Our Wardrobesreduce environmental cost of our wardrobes

Buy from stores who have a greener footprint.  There are brands like H&Mwho are using the power of their brand to effect change.

Patagonia the outdoor wear brand was one of the pioneers in its field.

People Tree has sustainability as its ethos and promoting fair trade suppliers

There are also a number of smaller independent brands catering to different audiences.  Sustainable fashion must become an everyday part of our lives to reduced the environmental cost.

 

How Confident Are You?

Many women buy clothes to feel more confident.  79% of women say they are at their happiest or most confident when wearing something new, and 52% say they feel lacklustre or less confident when wearing something old.   You can turn that mindset around and it’s about feeling more body confident.  If you’d like to find out how, then sign up now to receive a copy of my three top tips to make you feel more body confident.

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Enough Sleep Rachel McGuinness

What You Need To know About Getting Enough Sleep

enough sleepWhen I don’t get enough sleep I go into overwhelm at a moment’s notice. I make endless lists and start tasks.  But seldom finish them as I can’t concentrate!

No amount of make up and fake tan is going to compensate for my pallid and dull complexion.   Even my favourite ‘go to outfit’ doesn’t look right. Why? Simple if I don’t feel fabulous on the inside I’ll struggle to look and feel right on the outside.

Thankfully this is now a rare occurrence since I left the corporate world. Stress and long haul travel were both major factors that contributed to my lack and poor quality of sleep.   But I count myself lucky, as it turns out 75% of us don’t get enough quality sleep.

enough sleep make up

I asked sleep expert, Rachel McGuinness to give me some insights and some tips on how much is enough sleep and how we improve the quality of our sleep.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

RMcG: Humans are biologically hard wired to need between 7 and 9 hours quality sleep a night. Only 25% of us actually achieve that, most of us ‘survive’ on only 5 to 6 hours sleep.

The odd bad night’s sleep may mean we feel a bit out of sorts the following day and we may look drained with bags appearing under our eyes.

But insufficient quality sleep on a long-term basis can mean we’re at risk of serious long-term consequences.

What Do You Mean By Quality Sleep?

RMcG: Basically the measure of a good night’s sleep is that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

While the current thinking is that we need between 7-9 hours sleep per night, everybody is different.   When we sleep our bodies go through different stages of sleep in cycles.

However, the general consensus is that ideally we need 20% of our time asleep to be classified as deep sleep or ‘maintenance mode’.

enough sleep

What Happens When We Sleep?

RMcG: When we sleep properly, our bodies go into a maintenance mode.

Just like a computer; the screen saver is on, but there’s a lot going on in the background!

The body resets its systems and does its updates. The brain processes all the events of the day and puts memories into storage.

Most importantly, your body is repairing cells, muscles and tissues and cleans up the dangerous free radicals that have built up.

The brain and lymphatic tissues flush out the build-up of decaying cells and toxins and regulates and resets our blood pressure, hormones, metabolism and appetite.

So Insufficient Sleep Can Have A Serious Impact On Our Body?

RMcG: Sleep deprivation can lead to higher blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease and strokes.  You are also at risk of weight gain and type 2 Diabetes.

It’s likely you will wake up feeling tired, grouchy and hungry.  This is because not getting enough sleep plays havoc with the hormones and biochemicals that tell our brain we’ve had enough to eat and supress our appetite.

enough sleep coffee and cake

If you do not get enough sleep your body also releases higher levels of insulin. This means we store more fat and are at risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.

This means we are tempted to reach for carbs and sugar for a quick fix of energy. This is a fast release of energy and you’re likely to come crashing back down, needing another fix.

A lack of quality sleep can also suppress our immune system. This means we’re more at risk or becoming ill as our antibodies are suppressed. We can also take longer to recover from illness.

What Happens To Our Skin When We Don’t Have Enough Sleep?

RMcG: Your skin will also suffer. Your body won’t have been able to clean out all the toxins or balance its hydration.

Consequently you can end up with dry skin, puffy eyes and wrinkles. Let alone those unsightly bags under your eyes.

Sleep deprivation can also reduce your skin’s natural bounce and glow. This happens because our blood flow is decreased. This can increase the risk of redness and breakouts. You may develop acne and other dermatological problems.

If you do not get enough sleep the repair process of your skin will slow down. The result being that you will look older. The term beauty sleep is more than just a Colloquialism!

enough sleep skincare

If We Don’t Have Enough Sleep Can This Impact Our Brain?

RMcG: Absolutely.

Not having enough sleep will leave us feeling sluggish and our concentration suffers. Over a longer period of time not getting enough sleep can lead to depression. It also stifles our creativity.

As you know if you’re feeling sluggish and out of sorts this will impact the way you feel about yourself.

If you don’t feel great on the inside no amount of make up and your favourite outfit is going to make you feel fabulous about yourself. This in turn can affect your self-confidence.

Not getting enough sleep can also be downright dangerous. If our ability to think clearly is impacted just think what this does to our driving!

Lack of a good night’s sleep will also see you regularly hitting the ‘snooze button’ for a few more minutes in bed making you wake up later than you should.

You’ll be in a mad rush against time. Consequently you will probably skip a good breakfast, and skimp on your daily skin routine, makeup and hair!

The chances are you’ll throw on the first thing you find in your wardrobe. That’s not the best way to step out of the house in the morning!

 

How Do We Make It Easier To Get Enough Sleep?

RMcG: To get a good night’s sleep you need to follow these easy to implement tips:

  • Switch off your tech an hour before bed – the blue light makes your body think it’s daytime and will keep you awake and wired.
  • Make sure your bedroom is relaxing, cool and airy.
  • Cut down on stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
  • Do something relaxing before bedtime – TV thrillers and stressful news programmes will stop your brain switching off.
  • Get into a regular bedtime and wake up time, even at weekends to ensure you get your 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep.

enough sleep and quality sleep

About Rachel McGuinness

Rachel is a health and well being expert who inspires, educates and motivates busy professional people who want to get healthy, but don’t have time to work it out for themselves.

She focuses on two areas essential for optimum health and survival – eating smart and sleeping well. She helps her clients to:

  • Wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start their day
  • Have loads more energy
  • Lose weight healthily and maintain it
  • Look incredible
  • Feel amazing

Enough Sleep Rachel McGuinness

Contact details: rachel@zestlifestyle.com     www.zestlifestyle.com     07880 557976

Facebook and Twitter: @zestlifestyle Instagram: @zestylady Linked In: Rachel McGuinness

Would You Like To Guest Blog?

This year I’m interested in expanding the topics that I offer on my blog.  So I’m looking for some amazing women whose businesses and interests complement Want Her Outfit.  If you’re interested, please contact me using the form below.

Thanks x

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Philippa Taylor Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Philippa Taylor: Simple Ways To Feel Fab

This week I’m delighted to welcome Philippa Taylor as my guest blogger.  Philippa is one of the happiest most cheerful women I know.  She genuinely has a great big grin on her face every time I see her! I asked if she would share her secrets!  Philippa told me that there were no secrets just a few simple ways to feel fab!

Philippa Taylor Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Have You Binned Your Resolutions Yet?

Traditionally January is the month to make resolutions (most of which will be binned by the end of the month).  We are also deluged with endless ‘new year new you’ articles in the media.

Personal development is something which should, in my opinion, be part of your everyday life and not just for January.  Do you want to boost your wellbeing in the long term?  Then follow some simple ways to feel fab rather than making wholesale changes to your lifestyle.

Simple Ways To Feel Fab Starts With Self-Care

Part of personal development is recognising that you need to look after yourself properly first.  It’s no accident that you’re advised to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others on a plane!

Put together a range of simple ways to feel fab.  You’ll create your own wellbeing routine made up of easy-to-follow healthy habits.  These might include:  daily exercise, spending time with good friends, eating well and sleeping enough.

As a working mum  I don’t have the headspace or the time to follow elaborate wellbeing plans.  I look for simple life hacks  which will have a significant impact on my daily life.  These hacks must enable me to get as much out of life as I used to decades ago!

For those of us who are of a certain vintage, we may find our levels of wellbeing have declined over time.  If your to-do list doesn’t shrink at the rate it once did, chances are your wellbeing levels need a boost. A recent survey says that Brits believe that you stop being young at 35 and start being old at 58.  This is not a huge window of time to be middle-aged! We all age at vastly different rates.  Some people are much older or younger than their biological age.

Wherever you are on this spectrum, there are a number of simple ways to feel fab which you can put in place now:

1. Sleep

According to research by the Sleep Council, nearly half of us are getting just six hours sleep or less a night. Jason Ellis, Professor in Psychology at Northumbria University and Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research has these simple tips for better sleep:

  • Check that your pillow hasn’t reached its sell-by date and still gives your head and neck the support you need.
  • Test your pillow by holding it out longways in front of you. If you’ve got pillow droop, buy a new one!
  • If you can’t sleep, try a taxing task such as counting backwards from 1,000 rather than counting sheep
  • Turn off all your electronics so there isn’t any blue light in the room.
  • Don’t have a clock facing you when you’re in bed or you’re likely to clock watch
  • Leave at least two hours between exercising or having a bath and going to bed so that you have a chance to cool down which will aid sleeping
  • Regulate your liquid intake before bedtime so that you avoid nocturnal bathroom visits
  • Choose your mattress carefully – you spend a third of your life in bed so take care and time when selecting a new one

simple ways to feel fab

2. Exercise

Find the activity that you love and you’ll never exercise a day in your life.

Take a moment and think about the things you love. Are you sociable and enjoy being amongst people? Activities with a strong social element like Nordic walking, running clubs and Bootcamp would likely appeal to you.

Prefer something a bit more dance-related? Zumba, Jazzercise, Ceroc, Ballroom or Hip-Hop classes would be straight up your street. Fancy something quieter? Pilates, yoga or stretch classes would fit the bill.

exercise improves self-esteem

3. Treats

Simple ways to feel fab when you want to treat yourself include a bath with your favourite book, a glass of wine and some candles.  Or why not enjoy a long walk in the countryside?  Invite good friends over for a nutritious and healthy supper.

There’s no need to spend lots of money on pampering or expensive evenings out when small treats will give you the life-affirming lift you need.

4. Health

Private healthcare companies offer pricey medical assessments.  But most of the time the lifestyle and diet advice you end up with is just common sense.

Keep up to date with important medical appointments.  Do not skip appointments for: a smear test, breast screening, eye test or dental hygienist appointment.  Speaking to your doctor if you feel run down, are simple ways to feel fab and stay healthy.

5. Your Body 

Stop yo-yo dieting by taking control of what you eat. Keep an honest food diary for a week, writing down everything that you eat and drink. By the end of it you should be able to see where you’re wasting those calories. A study shows that the ages at which we are most susceptible to putting on weight start at 38 for women and 44 for men so it makes sense to monitor your calorie intake to still enjoy a little, not a lot, of what you fancy!

Simple Ways To Feel Fab

6. Anti-Ageing

Have you ever cut open an apple and seen it go brown? The apple’s oxidised after being exposed to oxygen in the air, causing a rapid increase in its ageing process. Oxidative stress occurs in humans with every breath we take.  When we breathe we take in oxygen which creates free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage the cells in your body).

Antioxidants are chemicals that help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. In modern times it is argued that the effects of oxidative stress have never been greater as we live in increasingly polluted environments, live stressful lifestyles and medicines/prescription drugs are widely used.

As we age, our bodies naturally produce fewer antioxidants to neutralise the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals damage cells so, over time, whatever organ those cells belong to isn’t going to function quite as well as it should. For example, collagen gets weaker and as a result, your skin gets more wrinkles. A simple way to feel fab is to lower your oxidative stress levels by taking take one Protandim tablet every day, which is clinically proven to trigger the cells in your body to naturally increase the production of antioxidants. Better sleep, better energy levels and better recovery are the most commonly reported benefits of taking Protandim.

simple ways to feel fab

7. Wellbeing Review

I’d like to share an exercise with you that may help you evaluate which areas of your wellbeing would benefit from a 2017 reboot. I’d like you to choose a year which, with 20:20 hindsight, saw you
at being at your wellbeing peak: perhaps it was the year you got married, went travelling or were successful in something you enjoyed doing?

Got one? Good. Mine is 1999 when I was 38. I was representing GB in dragon boating so was as fit as a butcher’s dog, working in a PR agency in a role I loved, and looking forward to getting married the following year. Or I could have chosen 1983 when I was 22. I was in my second year at Uni and was enjoying reading for most of the day (I did an English degree!), rowing for my college and partying more than I ever had before, or since come to think of it!

Take a few minutes and jot down some notes on how you felt then. Leave the list and go back to it another time and complete the Now column.

The simple ways to feel fab which you can put in place now to boost your wellbeing may jump off the page at you or you may want to ask a friend/wellbeing expert for some advice. The most important thing is that you recognise which areas of your life need a boost and then action the simple ways to feel fab on a daily/weekly basis.

wellbeing review

Summary Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Finally although I can’t turn the clock back for you, I hope that this simple exercise has highlighted some areas of your life which you can revisit. Furthermore if you keep it simple you stand a chance of sticking with it.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to check out more simple ways to feel fab, please visit my blog with guest posts from a great selection of experts (including Carol of course!) and my website.  You can also find me on social media:

 

Twitter: @feelfabdirect

Facebook: @ProtandimGlobalFeelFabDirect

 

 

 

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Goa Christmas

Goa: More than just a fabulous holiday

I laugh when I look back now at the angst I was feeling about travelling to Goa.

Goa Sunset

What was making me so anxious? A number of things to be honest:

It was our first holiday that wasn’t to our property in France since 2009.

I’d travelled a lot for business in the subsequent years but that was different. This was Mark and I venturing somewhere new.

I’d never been to India and was very unsure what to expect.

We’d done a day trip to Morocco years ago and the poverty had filled me with guilt and sadness. How was I going to cope with India, which was on a much bigger scale?

This is one dog lovers will understand…

Our dogs were boarding with someone I knew would love and look after them like her own. The weekend before we left I cried my heart out about leaving them for the first time in two years…

I just let everyone around us get excited about our upcoming trip and got on with the packing and last minute arrangements! It worked as everyone was so wrapped up with planning Christmas that no one noticed that I’d gone a bit quiet!

But everything about Goa whisked my anxiety away without me even noticing!

Goa Sunset

We such an amazing holiday, we were both blown away and can’t wait to go back!

It was much more than a holiday.  It was also a timely reminder for me of many things that we either take for granted or just look at differently in the UK, which I’d like to share with you:

 

1. Money Isn’t Everything

We are very lucky.  In the UK if we are employed, then our employer has a duty to pay at least the minimum wage.   If we are unable to work then we can apply for help from the State.

It’s also easy to set up your own business in the UK and with a lot of hard work, to earn a reasonable standard of living.

In India If you don’t work or run a business, you don’t eat.    It’s very simple.

But seeing how genuinely happy so many of the people were, despite a very modest standard of living was truly humbling.

Goa Margao

We left the UK in the final countdown of the crazy season where copious amounts of money’s spent.   On 25th December, The Daily Mirror reported: Online marketplace eBay predicts giftees will receive 115 million of unwanted presents this Christmas – and the total is worth an eye-watering £2.2 billion.

How utterly mindless is this?

 

2. Bureaucracy Can Be Funny

How often do we find that bureaucracy just winds us up?

With a population of 1.252 Billion India and no uniform welfare state, there is a need to create as many jobs as possible.

As we went through the gate to board the plane to leave Goa, boarding pass and passport checked, I headed through the gate but was stopped by a further official.

Her job was to check that the luggage label we’d been asked to apply to our hand luggage at check in had been stamped! Needless to say mine hadn’t!

We had to head back to security to get the label stamped before they would allow me to board the plane!

I simply laughed at the absurdity of it! What was the point in getting wound up?

 

3. Cultural Differences Can Unite Or Divide

For the past five years, Goa has seen a huge increase in visitors from Russia.

Not many Goans speak Russian which makes it more difficult to deliver a great service when struggle to communicate.  Not many of the Russians we met, spoke very much English.

Goan hospitality is legendary and everywhere we went we found that to be true.  The Goans love to practice their English and the standard of spoken English is excellent among the people we met and chatted to.   English is the first foreign language that most Indians learn.

To the Goans, the Russians come across as cold and rude, they do not smile or engage with the friendly locals in the same way that the British do.

They are not being rude it’s a cultural difference (excuse the huge generalization). We were told on countless occasions how the people from hotel staff to shopkeepers prefer to serve the British.

Goa Christmas

4. You Cannot Escape Christmas In Goa

As Goa was under Portuguese rule for 450 years, it’s not surprising that Christianity is the second most important religion in Goa.

Therefore it was inevitable that we wouldn’t entirely escape Christmas.

But neither of us expected the massive dedication to decorating houses, bus shelters, and anything that didn’t move with fairy lights!

At the hotel, they started decorating on the day we arrived and every day we returned to the hotel another few sets of lights had been applied to trees, bushes, the roof of the swim up bar in the pool!

When we visited the market in Margao, we found one trader selling Santa outfits for children!

The staff left a Christmas cake in our room and hung a stocking full of sweets on our door!   Our attempt to escape the trappings of Christmas didn’t quite work!

At least we saw no signs of Tandoori Turkey!

Goa Christmas

5. Life Is Not Always What It Seems…

Our first day on the beach we were waiting for lunch at one of the beach shacks when a group of children in Santa hats appeared with two adults.

An amplifier appeared, along with Santa in full regalia complete with a full-face mask and beard (it was 32oC!).

They set up and started dancing to Christmas songs. It was very cute each of the children looked really happy and were great dancers!

When they finished and announced over the PA that they were collecting on behalf of an orphanage, I rushed over to donate and was handed a leaflet. My eyes welled up.

The orphanage largely helped children who had been subject to child abuse.

India has a massive problem with child abuse with 1 in 2 children being abused, despite a change in the law in 2012.

 

6. Cows Rule The Road

Cows are sacred animals according Hinduism.

Milk is a rich food source and important part of the Indian diet – yoghurt and ghee. Cow dung is an excellent fertilizer and dried it can be burnt as fuel.   Cow urine is used for medicinal purposes. Historically cows were also used for transport and to help work the fields.

Cows roam freely across the open paddy fields, in towns and along the beaches.

We were returning from a morning’s sightseeing in a taxi when a herd of cows (no owner in sight of course) started to cross the road in front of us.

It was a real battle of wills between our taxi driver and the head cow….

The cows won and we slowed to a halt to allow a herd of about 20 cows to meander slowly across in front of our cab…

Goa Cows Rule

7. Education Is A Passport

Not in the traditional sense of a travel document, but in the sense of opening doors.

Our UK education statistics show just how parents teach their children the importance of a good education.

This diagram shows the results achieved by ethnic groups (source: Dept Of Education 2015). Showing how Indian children achieve much better results than any other ethnic groups (except Chinese).

Education Statistics UK

DoE Ethnicity, Deprivation and Educational Achievement aged 16 in England Trends Over Time June 2015 Professor Steve Strand

There’s a huge difference in the percentage of children in India who are in privately funded education (29%) compared with England (7%).

These headline statistics can’t be taken in isolation, as there’s much more behind the numbers. But they help to illustrate the value placed on education in a country with a massive population where education is key to a good income and a poor education means a hard life.

Goa School

What Next?

We really did have an amazing and truly relaxing holiday. But it was also a fabulous opportunity to see life from a different perspective.    Every element of the trip tingled my senses and aroused my curiosity to find out more and explore this amazing country.

If you’re considering a trip to Goa and want to know what I’d pack… as little as possible!  Leave plenty of room in your suitcase for bringing back some lovely Indian cotton and silk clothes.

Want to find out more then check out Time Out’s Article for a flavour of Goa.  Trip Advisor traveller’s comments or Lonely Planet

 

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exercise the physical benefits

Workout Clothes Bad For Your Body?

You have got your gym mojo and love your workouts, but what about your workout clothes?

Do you have to have the most amazing trainers but can’t remember the last time you thought about a new sports bra?

Or do you struggle to get to the gym and are very conscious that others are watching you when you are there?

If you answer yes to any of these questions then I’d love you to read this post and you can also download my FREE guide to workout clothes for your body shape!

You will have a much more enjoyable workout if you feel good about the way you look. I have an outfit that I wear for my favourite classes. My workout clothes make me feel great and it shows in my performance.

exercise improves self-esteem

Trainers are Tops!

The footwear you have for working out is not a fashion accessory!

I speak from personal experience.   When I started to do high impact workouts I wore the wrong trainers and paid for it in aches and pains! Let alone a couple of dramatic ankle twists and torn ligaments!

If you’re not sure where to start find a retailer who offers gait analysis. Tell the retailer what you plan to do, how often and if you’re a runner, the distances and terrain.

Gait analysis involves running on a treadmill while being filmed. This is then played back at slow speed to see how your feet land to assess the best products for you.

Longer term if you do find yourself suffering from aches and pains in your lower body it may be worth seeing a Podiatrist, as you may need orthotic inner soles.

Finally before I climb down from my soapbox, don’t expect trainers to last forever.

Their lifespan will depend on the bashing you give them in terms of the types of workouts and intensity.   This doesn’t mean buying cheap styles to compensate for replacing them regularly.

Workout Clothes Trainers

Quick Tip: How to pay less for your trainers

If you find a brand and style you like, note the model number. You’ll probably find the next time you go to look for that style it’s been updated by a new model at a higher price. But search online for the original model number. The chances are you will be able to find the original discounted.

 

Good Foundations

The next most important item in your gym bag is your sports bra. Not wearing the proper support when you are working out may cause you breast pain in the short term. But the long-term effects are irreversible damage to the breast tissue and ligaments, causing boob droop!

The style and amount of support you need will depend on the type of workouts you do and your cup size.

Workout Clothes Sports Bra

Low Impact Workouts – Pilates, Yoga and Floor Based Workouts

You will need straps that stretch or adjust.

It’s important that straps stay on your shoulders when you bend.

Avoid back clasps as these may dig in.

D Cup or more then consider underwired sports bras.

 

Medium Impact Workouts – Cross-Training, Cycling and Boot Camps

You want freedom of movement and support. Look for styles that are not too tight round your ribs but do conceal your cleavage. This de-risks an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction!

Cross Straps can be helpful to give support without restriction.

Again if you are D+ then I recommend underwired styles.

 

High Impact Workouts – Running, Kickboxing and Contact Sports

You need to protect against bounce! You are at more risk of suffering from discomfort caused by sweating and chaffing.

Look for moulded or underwire cups, wide straps and fabrics such as polyester or nylon, with spandex to give the best support.

For D+ cup sizes look for padded straps to give extra comfort and protection against chaffing.

 

It’s All In The Tech!

Before we even consider what styles to buy, consider the following points about workout clothing.

You may have heard the term Wicking Technology and wondered what it meant! It simply refers to breathable fabrics.

These are fabrics that have been developed to take the moisture away from your skin. The fabric draws sweat away from your skin to the exterior of the fabric.

The moisture is more easily evaporated from the exterior of the fabric.

Many of the big brands in fitness clothing have their own technology, for example freshFX® technology by LYCRA®.

Do not be tempted to ‘go natural’ and wear 100% cotton fabrics. The fabrics will become wet, heavy and will chafe.

Look for garments with at least 15% Elastane. These will hold their shape and have a better fit.

When your workout gear starts to take on an odour of its own, it’s time to shop for some more! You can prolong the life of your gym kit by ensuring you wash it immediately after a workout.

Workout Clothes Fabrics

Clearly the same rule applies to colour for workout gear as much as any other clothing. Darker colours will help you to look slimmer.  Equally wearing colours in your colour palette as far as they are available in gym gear.

If black is not in your colour palette and makes you look tired and drawn, imagine how it will look if the lighting is bright and you’ve had a hard day!

Beware of pale colours, particularly plain or colour block designs. These will show up the damp wet patches more than darker colours or prints.

Use prints and patterns wisely – larger prints will make a small person look smaller. Equally smaller prints will make a large person look larger.

Horizontal patterns or lines will create width vertical lines will help you look taller.

Workout Clothes Body Shape

Hopefully this post has given you some useful points on what to consider before you buy workout clothes.

It’s very easy to be drawn to fabulous looking trainers, bright colours or fabulous patterns when the priority should be functionality with workout clothes.

It’s also easy to become overwhelmed by all the ‘Geek Speak’ about fabric technology when in fact it is quite simple. Does it draw moisture away from your skin?

But having understood the basics it would be helpful to know what to styles to select for your body shape and where to buy?

Why not download a copy of my FREE Guide Workout In Style where I explain what you should be looking for in Workout Clothes For Your Body Shape

 

 

 

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New Year Resolutions share selectively

New Year Resolutions Don’t Work!

Did you know that 92% of people fail in their New Year Resolutions.  That means only 8% of us make it!

stressed womanWhen we’re chilling on the sofa with a glass of something and a box of chocolates within arm’s reach, over Twixtmas it’s all too easy to dream how life will be different the following year.

But these dreams are often based on unrealistic expectations and we set ourselves up to fail.

However we should be setting goals and this means following a few simple guidelines! Now that you are back in work mode it’s a great time to do a bit more than simply dream from the sofa!

Did you know that the majority of New Year Resolutions are related to our body image, confidence and wardrobe?

The top 3 goals for 2015 were:

  1. Losing weight
  2. Getting more organized,
  3. Spending Less

So how do we set personal goals that we can stick to? Follow these simple 5 steps and refer to my examples to see how you can set fantastic New Year Resolutions that you’ll be looking back on in December 2016 and proudly saying – yep I did that!

 1. Why ‘to do’ lists don’t work!

If like me you are a ‘list’ person there’s nothing more satisfying than looking at a long list. It shows you’ve thought of everything right?

No! It means you’re losing focus before you’ve even started! You won’t achieve anything! Sorry sounds like another negative thought but it’s true.

Sean Covey and his co-authors explain in The 4 Disciplines of Education *1 that our brains are not wired to cope with multiple tasks.

As we try to cope with more and more inflow of information and tasks we give each less attention and do none of them well.   I can certainly relate to that one. Switch off my email and social media to write blog posts and it becomes a whole lot easier!

We love to believe we’re good at multi-tasking in our ever ‘busy’ worlds but the truth is that nothing gets done properly when we focus on multiple tasks.

multi-tasking

2. Make those goals SMART

SMART is an acronym, which stands for:

Specific – there’s no point having a goal that sets out to ‘lose weight’. Instead come up with a goal that says I will lose 10Kg by 31st May.

Measurable – as above you are going to lose 10kg by 31st May. These measurements can be defined.

Actionable – how are you going to do it? I’m going to cut out XY from my diet, I will go to the gym 3x per week. These are actions that will work towards your goal

Realistic – saying you would lose 10kg by 31st January would not be realistic. It’s recommended that you aim to lose 0.5Kg/week. This rate should ensure that the weight loss is sustainable and at a healthy rate.

Timely – You’ve set the goal of 31st May.   This gives it an ultimate achievement date. It may help if you add in interim dates to check your progress.

SMART goals help us to be really clear on what we need to achieve and by when.   They provide us with clarity and measurability.

new year resolution to lose weight

3. Write it down

It’s a fact that if you write down your goals they are far more likely to happen than if they remain just ideas in your head.    Your goals become a statement of intent.

A study by a professor at the Dominican University of California found that people who wrote their goals down and shared then with others were 33% more likely to achieve them versus those who did not write down their goals.

This is no coincidence and scientist can explain this with the way that the brain works, explained by Henriette Anne Lauser in her book ‘Write It Down, Make It Happen’*2.   The act of writing down triggers a reaction in the brain which sends out a message to ‘pay attention’ ‘check the detail’.

Finally while writing it down may trigger our long-term memory our short-term memory is more likely to need a nudge! So write your goals down where you can refer to them on a regular basis.

 

New Year Resolutions Write Your Goals Down4. Review Regularly

It’s a fact that we cannot accurately predict the future and we cannot control all external factors.

Here’s another great example about getting organized and spending less.

Having learnt from our SMART Goal Setting process we might say:

  • By 1st February 2016 I will have detoxed my wardrobe.
  • Clothes I have not worn for 6 months will be donated to charity or thrown away depending on their condition.
  • I will ensure that items I’m keeping can be used in 3 outfits.
  • I will then make a list of items missing from my wardrobe so that I can allocate my 2016 clothes budget of £xxx to what I need to buy.

Then in April you receive an invitation to a wedding that you hadn’t expected. By regularly reviewing your goals you’ll be able to make plans as to whether you have anything in your wardrobe or if you need to reallocate your budget.

wardrobe edit

5. Share them Selectively

Until last year I’d always been reticent about sharing my goals.

But in December 2014 I decided to follow the advice I’d read about sharing your goals, as telling people will help you to get support and also holds you accountable.

I proudly announced on Facebook that Mark (my husband) and I would be walking GR20 in 2015.

GR20 is a long distance footpath.  The path traverses the mountains of Corsica and is the hardest long distance footpath in Europe.  It takes around two weeks to walk from end to end, staying in refuges (basic mountain huts) or camping.  It means carrying a pack and hiking for several hours a day.   It’s been a dream since 1998 when we first started travelling to Corsica that we’ll walk GR20.

Our plans were shattered when I sustained a knee injury about 4 weeks before we were due to travel and it stubbornly refused to heal enough to walk and climb with a loaded pack.

Share your goals but with someone close to you who will offer the motivation and encouragement you need, but don’t broadcast to the world! Bragging rights can be left till after you’ve achieved your goals!

share selectively

 

So it is okay to dream big and have great ideas – life would be pretty dull if we didn’t use our wonderful imaginations.

But when it comes down to what you really want you need sit down and work out those goals, follow the guidelines and remember that this is for your benefit.

As part of the goal setting process keep it positive.   Our new year resolutions tend to focus a lot on negative actions. We need to be kind to ourselves and use positive thoughts – we’ll achieve a lot more by banishing should and must from our vocabulary. Instead focus on will and want they will give you much more encouragement!

Now how about you?  Have you ever set a really big goal and achieved it – how did that make you feel?  I’d love to get your thoughts on the subject and find out if you consciously set yourself goals.  Please leave your comments in the box below.

*1 The 4 Disciplines of Execution – Sean Covey

*2 Write it down make it happen – Henriette Anne Lauser

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Workout Clothes Trainers

Exercise in January is Pointless

exercise makes you happy

How fit are you feeling right now?

Have your gym sessions or exercise routines broken up for the Christmas holidays yet?

Or maybe you don’t have a regular routine? Are you planning to make time to get fit as part of your 2016 goals?

Are you squirming in your chair yet knowing you ‘could do better’ – the phrase we dreaded on our school reports! Or perhaps you’re scrolling through this post as you cool down after a run and feeling virtuous but curious as to what I’m going to say?

I’m  a huge advocate of keeping fit and so I’m keen to share why you should exercise.  The benefits go far beyond burning calories.  So if you are being told by your GP, or simply have this nagging doubt that life would be better if you did, then let me share with you the reasons why you should make exercise a part of your routine.

1, Exercise is Better than Drugs!

During exercise powerful mood and mind boosting chemicals are released into the brain. They are natural and have no side effects (well only positive ones!) and are legal!

Be warned though you may get addicted!

Endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals which are released during exercise.  They help to reduce pain from exercise.   This in turn allows you to exercise longer and more intensely.  Endorphins are also responsible for:

  1. A euphoric post exercise ‘high’
  2. Decreased appetite (must admit haven’t noticed that one!)
  3. Boosting your immune system. Less snuffles and sneezes – yay!

Serotonin

Mood enhancing Serotonin is also released during exercise. There has been a lot of research done on the effect of serotonin levels on the body and while earlier studies claimed that boosting serotonin levels could help depression, this is now being rejected. But serotonin’s mood enhancing effects are accepted.

Glycerol

A faster metabolism means you burn energy faster and more effectively.  Glycerol can be thought of as the courier service that delivers oxygen from the lungs to your muscles during exercise.  This happens regardless of your fitness levels after exercise.  Why is this important?

After only 10 minutes of exercise, this can have a positive impact on your metabolism. Scientists also believe that if you exercise regularly this can stimulate long-term changes in your metabolism, but admit they are at early stages in understanding this  (read more *1

Blood Chemistry

When you exercise the muscles use oxygen transported from your lungs via your blood. A chemical reaction takes place to convert glucose in your bloodstream into energy. As this process takes place chemicals are produced which reduce your blood’s acidity levels.   An over-acidic blood supply can lead to constant fatigue and low energy levels.

exercise the physical benefits2. Exercise the Look Good Factor

Of course there are the outward signs, you will see increased muscle tone. You won’t see this happen overnight but over time you’ll develop more shape. This will of course depend on what you do, how long you do it for and to some extent genetics. Expect to see a difference after 2 months of regular exercise.

Manage Your Weight

Exercise can help you to manage your weight. I’m always reluctant to go as far as to say that exercise will help you to lose weight. This is because we tend to eat more when we exercise.  We are hungrier and over-estimate how much energy we burn.  It’s also a known fact that gym goers are more likely to indulge in chocolate bars!

Keep Going for Longer

Depending what exercise we do we will feel other benefits including increased stamina and flexibility.   Every day tasks become easier as we get stronger and fitter.

Hidden Benefits

There are also the hidden physical benefits of exercise.  We can see some of these with the help of technology, such as the effect on our blood pressure and the fat v muscle ratio.  Others are not so obvious but are long-term health benefits we should not ignore.

Research has also shown that exercise can reduce our risks of succumbing to serious diseases such as heart disease and type 2 Diabetes. Research also shows a correlation between exercise and a reduced risk of some cancers.

By strengthening our bones through exercise we reduce the risks associated with osteoporosis. This was one of my motivators for high intensity cardio aerobic exercise when it was diagnosed that I’d had my menopause in my 20s and I could be at risk of brittle bones later in life.

exercise improves self-esteem3. Exercise Helps Self-Esteem

If you are feeling fitter and becoming more toned it’s very hard not to feel better about yourself.  As a result you become more confident about the way you look and in turn this will make others attracted to you.

I cannot stress this enough for new business owners who get caught up in wanting to put their time and energy into their business.  If you don’t feel attractive to yourself then how will you be attractive to your prospective clients?

Pilates is a great way of improving your posture, which in turn will ensure you stand taller and will look better in your clothes.

Just a word of warning though!  Without wishing to put anyone off exercise it can also create some interesting clothes shopping dilemmas!

I used to do a lot of running and step aerobics.  The result was very over-developed calf muscles!   Finding skinny jeans was always a laugh!

My current routines mean while the skinny jeans issue is no longer a problem, my arm muscles are well developed.  I find some jackets and tops are not an option as they compromise the blood supply to my upper arms!

Exercise can also be relaxing.

Yoga has become a part of many people’s lives over recent years.  It is a great way to learn how to slow down the relentless pace of life.

Working out also helps you to put life back in perspective!

If we feel better about ourselves, are more relaxed and physically tired this helps our sleep patterns. Getting enough sleep is essential to our overall well-being.

Exercise classes are a great way to share a common interest and have fun with others.

Since adding Boxfit to my weekly routine I’ve made new friends, through the camaraderie in the class.    We work in pairs and as a group.  This leads to a lot of peer motivation and encouragement.  There’s a lot of laughter during the class and the banter continues for hours afterwards on social media.

OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) has become huge over the last few years and is not elitist.  You do not have to be a hard core fitness fan to take part.

The events are open to mixed abilities.  It is a another way of meeting people and offers a very supportive environment – so I’m told!

Getting wet and extremely muddy is not my idea of exercise heaven! The exception I make to this is walking my dogs but the amount of water and mud is thankfully less extreme!

exercise is relaxing

January is the worst month to start a fitness routine!

Dedicated gym bunnies are not the ones who started their fitness journey on January 1st.

They are the ones quietly grimacing or smirking from the rowing machine as the sales staff show prospective clients round the facilities.

Grimacing as they know that inevitably people will sign up and gyms become crowded for a few weeks until people give up.

Smirking because the statistics prove that people signing up to gym membership in January are most likely to fall off the wagon.

If you are not used to exercise and have indulged over the Christmas break you are setting yourself up to fail.   Most people joining a gym at the beginning of January find that it’s very difficult to stay motivated.  It’s hard enough to get through the longest, darkest and often coldest month of the year.  Many people are also starting to diet or change their eating habits and this is really making life hard.

I’m not trying to put you off, but why give yourself a mountain to climb, when you could start with a walk in the woods?

December is a much better option to kick-start your fitness routine. If you do decide to join a gym they are relatively quiet and there are some good deals around. You can feel less guilty about Christmas indulgences! Get yourself in the exercise groove in December and you’re much more likely to carry on into the New Year.

I’d love to hear from you about your fitness journey.   Whether you make exercise a part of your life and how it helps you or if you’re just starting out or returning to exercise it would be lovely if you share your thoughts and ideas.

 

*1 Chemical Reactions in the Body after Exercise  

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