One of the greatest hurdles I had to overcome when I first began training was getting over ‘the fear’ – I was terrified of going into the gym. It seems strange now, right? I am a qualified PT and work for Gymshark for god sakes but, believe it or not, there was a time I avoided PE like the plague and the thought of walking into the strength and conditioning area in the gym gave me literal nightmares. Overtime I have picked up a lot of tips that helped me to build confidence in the gym and end up not only loving training in my free time but also making a career out of helping others to love it as well. I strongly believe that every single person deserves to feel confident, happy and safe in a gym environment so I hope that some of these top tips will help some of you new gym-goers out there! 

Top Tips for

Have A Plan

If I could only give one piece of advice it would be this – have a plan. Not only is this going to help you smash your workout but it is also going to mean you’re not wandering around aimlessly and feeling awkward (speaking from experience with this one!). Give yourself a bit of time before your gym session to plan what you want to achieve – that way you can give bits a bobs a google if you’re unsure and walk in with confidence and smash your session.

If you’re struggling with planning your own work out…

Get A Trainer

We’re nice, I promise, and most trainers, if they’re worth their salt, will teach you proper form and help you create a tailor made plan so that when you go at it alone you can smash it. Do your research and get yourself a trainer that is right for you. It can be expensive but, as I trainer and online coach, I really do think it’s worth it. Having somewhere there not only for accountability but also to provide motivation and mental support is invaluable when you’re feeling nervous.

If you’re interested in getting an online coach and want a bit more information, get in contact with me on jamieleejenkinsfitness@gmail.com. The initial chats are totally free and although I can’t be there with you, I am available all the time to offer support and guidance.

If you can’t afford a trainer make sure you have a least got yourself a…

Get A Good Gym Induction 

A good gym induction is vital when first joining a gym. Even if you have been training before and think you know the ropes don’t turn one down. They are a great way to feel at ease in a new environment as well as gives you a chance to get to know the staff. It’s also the perfect opportunity to assess your fitness levels and workout what your goals are. Having goals will help give you the motivation it takes to fight to nerves and do it alone.

This leads me on to my next top tip…

Do Your Research 

Every gym is different and they all have a different ‘vibe’. Don’t be nervous about going to look around the gym and even having a taster session before committing to a membership. Even now there are some gyms I feel a lot more at home in than others. It is important to work out what you are looking for from your gym and what it right for you. Have a chat with the people who work there who will be more than happy to offer any help and advice. It might sound daft but it is really worth making a consideration choice when it comes to which gym you go for. If you like the atmosphere and the people there you are much more like to feel at ease and want to go back.

Invest In Some Killer Gym Clothes 

Now I know that I always say you don’t need anything apart from yourself and some motivation to smash your sessions so this might seem a little hypocritical, but I speak from experience when I say that feeling fresh in a brand new outfit really helps with confidence. I used to always say that I would only buy nice gym clothes if I knew I was going to go (kind of like a reward) but this time I got them before and they acted as the best incentive. I have learnt that feeling good in gym clothes isn’t about my having the ‘perfect’ body, it’s about celebrating the body you have at the time and how incredible it it. Be your own cheerleader and invest in some gym clothes – you won’t regret it.

My recommendations: Gymshark, FLEXXFIT, H&M, Primark, Wearwolf Clothing.

Take Your Headphones

Music always motivates me. A little bit of Survivor and you can guarantee I’m going to absolutely dominate my workout. Having your headphones in also helps you to zone out and focus on your own workout. As much as I love chatting to people in the gym, I know this can be intimidating (not to mention distracting) and so having your headphones acts like a bit of a deterrent.

Don’t fancy listening to some bangers? That’s fine, instead…

Get A Gym Buddy

Joining a gym is a new venture and so it is completely normal to be nervous. Just like with anything else, having someone there by your side for a bit of moral support can be really helpful. Having a friend there with you will make the whole process a lot less intimating and will also provide some accountability in the long run.

Don’t have any friends you can drag along with you? No worries, instead you could always…

Go To Classes

Classes are a fab way to meet people and get yourself used to the gym environment in a fun and safe situation. When I first started training I had no one to go with and so I decided to go to a ladies only boxing class. I went along on my own and got chatting to a lovely girl. Flash forward 9 month and she is one of my best friends and my ride or die gym buddy. Without braving a class I never would have met here, and what I sad, sad world this would be… 

Remember, everyone has been there

As I mentioned at the beginning, we have all been there, myself included! ‘The Fear’ is not uncommon so don’t think that every single other person in the room is an expert – the chances are the majority will just be your average person trying to keep fit and healthy. Keep in mind you have just as much right to be in that room as every single other person, whether they are training for a competition or wanting to lose a few pound. Every single person has a goal and everyone should feel comfortable and valued in a gym.

So there you have it, my top tips that I have picked up over the last few years. I will say that the majority of people are very friendly and willing to help. Of course you get some nasty people but I have been lucky enough to only come across kind and supportive people on my journey. Remember that you’re doing it for you. ‘The Fear’ is hard to overcome but I promise you that it is worth it. 

Jamie x 

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I am weak, WEAK I tell you. Did I need to spend £25 on rose gold chrome Chilly’s Bottle? No. Did I do it anyway? Of course I did.

To be fair I have wanted one for AGES and after having a little browse I found that £25 was actually pretty average for a thermal water bottle. But Chilly’s water bottles aren’t just any water bottles. They’re Instagram sensations, #bottlegoals if you will, and you know me – I’m a sucker for the gram. After having mine for just over a month I thought I would share with you guys my thoughts and ask the big question – are they REALLY worth the hype? 

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The Promise. 

So if you have a little look on Chilly’s website you will see that they promise 4 main things.

  1. Your bottle will keep your ice-cold drinks ‘ice-cold’ for up to 24 hours, regardless of the outside temperature due to fancy double-walled vacuum insulation. All sounds a bit too much like physics to me. 
  2. Your bottle with keep your tea or coffee hot for up to 12 hours. Think of all the money I’m going to save not having to go to Costa every morning. 
  3. Your bottle will not leak OR produce any condensation meaning you can just throw it in your bag and you’re good to go.
  4. Your bottle is made from safe, quality materials that aren’t going to leave a nasty taste in your mouth.

A month down the line I have definitely put my bottle to the test. So let’s see how it held up…

‘Your bottle will keep your ice-cold drinks ‘ice-cold’ for up to 24 hours…’

24 hours might be a little optimistic but to be honest my drink has never lasted that long. I did leave it for about 15 hours when I was testing it and it was still ice cold but then I wanted to use my bottle so I couldn’t leave it any longer. Even so, 15 hours in the heat we were having in the UK when I did this little experiment is bloody impressive so hats off to them.

I have had flasks in my time before but in terms of keeping drinks cold, this one is without a doubt the best.

‘Your bottle with keep your tea or coffee hot for up to 12 hours…’

Now this claim I was unconvinced by so I really decided to put it to the test. I put boiling water in my Chilly’s bottle and left it over night (probably not 12 hours because, you know, who is lucky enough to get 12 hours sleep?). The next morning I went to give it a try and I can confirm that IT WAS HOT. Not AS hot as it had been but come on, who wants to drink boiling water anyway?

In fact, the bottle works so well that I would actually warn you to be careful. I made my current coffee an hour ago and I am still blowing on it and keeping the lid off. These bottles really do keep your drinks very, VERY hot. Fair play, Chilly’s, fair play. 

‘Your bottle will not leak OR produce any condensation…’

The straw that broke the camels back and led this camel to buying a Chilly’s bottle in the first place was yet another water bottle that leaked everywhere. Yes, it was £4 but I can’t actually take it anywhere with me because it leaves all my stuff dripping. I decided it was time to bite to bullet and get myself a Chilly’s bottle and, true to their word, there has never been ANY leakage or condensation.

The bottle is always a perfect temperature to hold and always perfectly dry. I throw it in my bag and know that when I get to work all of my belongings will still be nice and dry. For me, this made the £25 price tag worth it!

‘Your bottle is made from safe, quality materials…’

It’s a full house for the Chilly’s Bottles. I LOVE my bottle, not only is it really durable but it has never left a bad taste in my mouth (even right at the beginning) and it is bloody STUNNING. Anything rose gold gets a huge yes from me but they have so many different styles that there is one to suit everybody. Not to mention since having my bottle I have seriously cut down on my plastic usage. I take it into coffee shops and I never buy water bottles anymore so everyone is a winner.

I am so so pleased with my Chilly’s bottle. I know they’re a little bit of an investment but I truly love them. I worked out how much I was spending on coffee and I had saved the money I spent on the bottle in under 2 weeks, which is INSANE. If you don’t want to join the Chilly’s family (you indie so and so you) then don’t worry because there are loads of similar products out there. I can’t say whether they work as well or whether they are as gorgeous but definitely have a browse. 

For those of you wanting to get your hands on my exact bottle, the link is here.

Until next time guys! 

Jamie x 

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I hardly ever buy myself perfume, it’s always more of a Christmas or birthday gift, but I really don’t know why. I love perfumes and like to have different scents to suit different events and my mood – some days I want floral, some tropical and others a hot, spicy scent! Inspired by my not so recent duty free experience, I decided that this post is going to be on my 5 favourite fragrances at the moment. Some are new and others are oldies but absolute goldies. 

Obviously when it comes to fragrance its very subjective and dependant upon your own personal tastes and how the combination of scents react with your body. However, I will try and talk you through what these smell like on me the best I can and why they’ve made my top five.

L’Occitane Cherry Blossom

First up is a scent that I absolutely love. As soon as I had the idea for this edition for Five Favourites it was the first scent that came to mind. L’Occitane Cherry Blossom is definitely not my usual type of perfume. It’s a very feminine, floral scent with strong notes of freesia, cherry and lily underlined with a delicate musk. When you first put it on it is very intense but it softens into a beautifully floral scent that lasts all day! It also happens to be the scent that my Mum wore on her wedding day and the scent I plan to wear on mine. It is the perfect bridal scent or, if you’re not planning on walking down the aisle just yet, it is great for summer days, cocktails with the girls or heading out on a dinner date.

If you like the scent you’re in look as there is a full body collection so your whole beauty regime cane smell like the cherry blossoms of France – delicious.

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Image from mayfairandgrace.co.uk

 Gabrielle Chanel Eau De Parfum

I am usually a Chanel No.5 girl through and through, but this new scent from Chanel is stunning! A little more pricey than some of the others on the list, Gabrielle comes in at £116 for 100ml so might be something to put on your Christmas list. It came as a surprise to me but this is another floral scent (maybe it’s more my thing than I first thought) based on a bouquet of 4 white flowers. It has an almost creamy top note of jasmine and more fruity, fresh notes of ylang-ylang and orange blossom. It’s a really feminine fragrance that seems to have a lot more life than Chanel No.5, which I find can fall a bit flat when it reacts with my skin.

As always with Chanel, it lasts for ages and is really good quality – definitely worth the investment!

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Image from www.chanel.com

 

Versace Bright Crystal

Out of the five fragrances I have chosen, this is definitely my most worn. It is such an easy scent to wear on a daily basis and wears really well. Unlike the previous three scents that have been either floral and pretty or sensual and warming, this is almost a hybrid between the two. The scent is made up of juicy pomegranate grains, lotus flowers followed plant amber, acajou and musk. This clever mix means it is not an overpowering scent and so it perfect for the office as well as for going out.

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Image from allbeauty.com

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Nectar

I was a little unsure about the fragrance at first and by a little unsure I mean I didn’t like it one bit! However, as the day went on I was pleasantly surprised and it reacted beautifully with my skin. I ended up loving it so much that it made it in my top five, which I did not expect! Like Versace Bright Crystal it is a really easy scent to wear. I don’t want to jump the gun but I might even prefer it to my usual go to scent. It is a stunning mixture of my warm and spicy hues from the clever mix of tonka beans and vanilla and sweet, fresh notes from the jasmine and orange flower. It’s a really unique scent I would really recommend you add to your collection.

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Image from johnlewis.com

Bronze Goddess Estée Lauder

Unlike Gabrielle Chanel Eau De Parfum and L’Occitane Cherry Blossom, I knew this one would be right up my street. Bronze Goddess Estée Lauder is the perfect holiday fragrance. It’s another creamy, warming scent with notes of bergamot, warm amber, tiara flower, vanilla and, one of my favourite fragrances ever, coconut! As soon I I spray this I am immediately transported to some tropical island somewhere, sipping a cocktail and sunbathing. I always get loads of compliments when I am wearing this and it is the perfect ‘feel good’ fragrance. Out of the five fragrances I have chosen, this is definitely my most worn. It is such an easy scent to wear on a daily basis and wears really well. Unlike the previous three scents that have been either floral and pretty or sensual and warming, this is almost a hybrid between the two. The scent is made up of juicy pomegranate grains, lotus flowers followed plant amber, acajou and musk. This clever mix means it is not an overpowering scent and so it perfect for the office as well as for going out. I would definitely recommend giving this one a go.

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Image from punmiris.com

So there you have it, some of my absolute favourite fragrances that take me from day to night, summer to winter! I would love to hear what you guy are loving so let me know in the comments. Until next time.

Jamie x 

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Renting a house is weird. It’s kind of yours, it’s kind of not. You can’t change the colour of the walls or stick up posters. You can’t really go ripping up the floor and putting down some new laminate. In short, you kind of have to work with what you have and often these are some pretty bland designs.

I have been really lucky with my rented house. My landlord and lady are fantastic and made the house super modern and beautiful for all us when we moved in. Thanks to their clever eye for interior design, even before I moved in it oozed #instagoals and so there wasn’t LOADS that I needed to do (apart from get it on the gram, of course) but I know that this is not always the case. I did, however, add a few bits and bobs to make it more personal and I couldn’t be happier with how it all looks now. I thought I would share some top tips that I’ve picked up when it comes to adding personality to your home. Enjoy!

Flower Power! 

Not only are they beautiful but flowers also have a really positive effect on your mood. A study into the impact of flowers on human emotion revealed that receiving flowers can help people manage feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. People gifted with flowers also demonstrated greater sense of life satisfaction and were more likely to develop intimate connections.

Why wait for someone to buy you them? 

Treat yourself to some flowers. They really brighten up the place and make it feel a lot more homely. When I first moved in I went out and bought some lovely sunflowers ready for when my housemates move in. They really added personality to the kitchen and were a lovely table centrepiece to bond over.

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We also have artificial flowers all around the house, which are not only super modern but also give the place and fresh and relaxed feel. After noticing the impact flowers can have I will always make sure I have flowers and plants in my home.

Home Is Where The Art Is 

I never realised how much art can make a room! I’m not saying go out and spend £7 million on some famous baby in a watering can, but adding a few arty bits and bobs can really add personality to a room.

As you can see below, I have a really cute piece of art above my bed. It was £10 from Sainsbury’s and just ties the room together really nicely. I don’t know why but it makes me feel like a successful adult. I’ve also found that I have a passion for cushions. Since this picture my collection has grown substantially.

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I have been having a little gander online (don’t worry, not buying!! I’m trying to save) and I have fallen in love with some of the home decor and super cute artwork from Urban Outfitters. I’ve linked some of my favourites below for you to take a look.

Selma Wall Hanging – £28

Rainbow Wall Hanging – £28

Hanging Wall Plant Pot – £16

Zellie Tapestry – £35

If these are a little pricey (I can relate), Primark also have a fab collection of home decor.

Light Up Your Life 

It will probably come as no surprise to you all that I love fairy lights. If I had the means, my whole house would be stringed with fairy lights, I would walk around wrapped in fairy lights and my friends who referred to me as the Fairy Queen. Alas, this is unrealistic – not to mention a serious safety hazard.

A few strands of fairy lights here and there, however, really do light up a room (metaphorically as well as literally). I think they make a room feel really cosy and warm. You can get them for under £5 at Primark and they come in loads of different designs so you can really get your style across.

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I have the neon board, loads of bedside lights and a string across my bed.  

Picture That. 

Obvious I know, but having pictures in your house can really help add some personality (and remind you of your loved ones). I have a cute little pin board that I put polaroids on and a few photo frames round and about. In the age of social media, many of us don’t really print out pictures but I love it. If you don’t want to fork out for a polaroid camera there are loads of apps out there that you can get your images printed off from (some are even free!). I would recommend PhotoBox if you’re looking to do this. Super easy AND really affordable.

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My little polaroid scrapbook! 

An Interest In Pinterest…

I am obsessed with Pinterest. 

It is where I get most of my inspiration from for pretty much every single thing in life. If you have Pinterest you will probably know that there are some serious interior goals on there. Having a look around the app is a great way to pick up top tips and even learn how to make your own DIY decorations that are, again, easy and affordable.

I have a wicked HOME INSPO board (if I do say so myself) so go and check that out and see bits and bobs I have been loving.

So there you have it, my top tips on transforming your renting property from bland designs to grand designs. What home bits and bobs are you loving at the minute? Let me know in the comments below.

Jamie x 

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Source: 

https://liliumflorals.com/blog/flowers-contribute-to-emotional-health/

It’s no secret that I am a huge coffee fan. I never used to drink it but final year at University got the better of me and I went from a milky Latte to a black Americano with an extra shot in the space of about a month. Nowadays I have coffee every single day without fail, whether that be from a coffee shop or chilling on the sofa at home. Coffee has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to health and fitness (one of the reasons I avoided it for so long) but is it really all that bad? Can squatting and shot-ing ever mix? What is your coffee habit doing to your fitness goals?

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We’ll ignore the huge slices of cake, shall we? 

I have been doing my research and found both positive and negative ways in which coffee is having an impact so sit tight, get yourself a cuppa and let us begin… 

Positives

We’ll start with the positives and you will probably be pleased to hear that there are a lot.

  1. Calorie Burner: The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned around 15% more calories during the three hour period post-exercise than those who took a placebo. This comes down to the fact that coffee contains caffeine (surprise, surprise), which you probably already know is a stimulant. What you might not know is that it has also been shown to enhance our metabolic rate and can help increase fat oxidation as a result of this – cappuccino anyone? 
  2. Athletic Performance: You might also be surprised to hear that sipping coffee has also been linked to improved athletic performance according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition. This is due to the fact that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Research has shown that that it can help with memory and concentration, which subsequently helps when it comes to your workout. This leads us on to our next benefit…
  3. Pre-workout: Pre- workout can be expensive but it turns out that everything you need might already be sitting in your cup board (or, you know, at your local Costa). As well as hoping with your performance, a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning has revealed that caffeine can also help to reduce DOMS when it was compared with a placebo. Less time needed for muscle recovery more time to make the gains!

Negatives 

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news and there are some pretty bad ways your coffee habit could be impacting your health and preventing you from achieving your fitness goals.

  1. Calorie Intake: We’ve talked about how coffee can help when it comes to burning calories but make the wrong order and you could be adding a lot more calories to your dinner break. It’s estimated that 34% of us (ahem, me) fall victim to what is called ‘upselling’. Picture the scene: you’ve ordered a small latte and the cute barrister has told you you can upgrade for only 50p extra. Seems like a good idea, right? Wrong. This could apparently result in an extra 17,000 calories over a 12 month period. Of course it depends on your coffee preference but certainly food for thought.
  2. Anxiety: Perhaps not directly linked to your workout but certainly important to consider, coffee consumption, due to the caffeine, triggers the release of the same hormones involved in the fight-or-flight response. This can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and has the potential to exacerbate any existing anxiety disorders.
  3. 40 winks: Despite apparently helping with performance, if you’re drinking coffee within three hours of heading to bed you could be increasing the time it takes to drift off by up to 40 minutes – that’s a lot of extra counting sheep. Being sleep deprived can have a huge impact on your whole day, not to mention your workout.

So there you have it. As you can see, science has been anything but conclusive and there are both positive and negatives ways coffee can impact your health and fitness. My thoughts overall? Everything in moderation. I personally find myself more motivated, awake and content after a coffee in the morning (not to mention I enjoy the taste). I usually go for a white Americano with almond/coconut milk so it is not too calorific. Every so often I will treat myself to a dirty chai but it’s all about being aware. Stay hydrated and maybe cut back on the syrups and you’ll be fine.

What’s your go to coffee order? Let me know in the comments below.

Jamie x 

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Sources:

https://www.verywellfit.com/the-neurological-benefits-of-muscle-building-creatine-3121392

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24901809

https://www.verywellfit.com/drink-coffee-to-boost-your-workouts-and-more-3121398

http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/nutrition/happy-hour/7744/coffee-effects/

http://www.womenshealthmag.co.uk/beauty-style/skin/2759/is-your-morning-coffee-wrecking-your-skin-with-acne-and-dehydration/

https://www.nutracheck.co.uk/calories/calories_in_drinks/calories_in_coffee

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/calories/faq-20058100

https://www.muscleandfitness.com/features/edge/think-coffees-bad-you-think-again

https://www.health.com/nutrition/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee-before-your-workout