I was never a runner. Yes, I know I am a qualified PT but I have never been able to run. A few weeks in to starting at Gymshark, Gymshark Running Club (GSRC) was set up. Put simply, I did not want to go; however, as the newbie, I thought it would be an opportunity to make some new friends. I reluctantly dragged myself there one Monday night and struggled with 2.5K.

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I decided I was never going back. 

The following week I went back.

I was annoyed at myself and adamant that I could do better. I thought back to when I first started weight training and how awful I was at that. If I could go from using 2KG dumbbells to bench-pressing almost body weight, I could run 2.5K.

That session I ran 2.5K. 

After I hit my first little milestone, I was hooked. I downloaded Strava and decided that I was going to be a ‘runner’. Twice a week, myself and the rest of GSRC (who are all fantastic runners) went out and I pushed myself to go further and/or faster in every single session. Once a club was set up on Strava and I began to see my miles compared to everyone else, I started to run outside of GSRC as well.

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The first time I went without stopping 

At the point of writing this blog post, I have been going to running club for about two months (maybe a little longer) and I am now running around 3.5 miles 3-4 times a week alongside 2-3  weight training sessions. I wouldn’t say I loved it while I was doing it (although I definitely enjoy it more now than I did at the start), but nothing beats the buzz once I have finished.

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I even ran when I went back to visit home!! 

I would never leave behind weight training. Firstly, because I love it! And secondly, because I think it is a really important part of staying fit and healthy. However, my goals have now changed. Whereas when I was solely weight training my focus was entirely on aesthetics, I am not more focused on improving my fitness levels. Of course, I still want a peachy booty and rock hard abs, but I want to also be able to run comfortably. As cringe as it sounds, running has changed my whole outlook on what ‘healthy’ means to me.

If you’re looking at getting into running, here are a few of my top tips:

  1. Download Strava (or another running app). It really helps to keep me motivated and visually see my progress.
  2. Join a running club. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but I would really recommend it if you can. Not only will you feel more motivated, but the running community are so welcoming, you will probably find yourself making friends.
  3. Don’t stress too much about pace. Your body knows effort, not pace. Try your hardest there and then. Of course, continue to push yourself but remember than some days it will be harder than others.
  4. Get outdoors. Treadmills suck! I know I probably shouldn’t say that but, after  running outside, I would never go back to the treadmill. Outside is definitely more challenging, but it is so much more rewarding.
  5. Don’t neglect weights. Even if your goals are solely based on cardiovascular fitness, do not neglect weight training. It will help you run further and faster with better form and reduced risk of injury.

I am still very much a beginner and I have a long way to go, but I would now call myself a runner (something I never thought I would say) and I am pretty proud of that.

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So, yeah, thanks GSRC. 

What are your top running tips? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask any questions you might have. 

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Jamie x 

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We’ve talked before about how music can help your workout here on the blog before. When I first started training it worked wonders on my self confidence and helped me focus on what I was doing rather than worry about what everyone else was thinking about me. However, it is more than just a placebo! Science has actually backed up, in numerous experiments, the claim that music can actually help you SMASH your workout. Here’s why and some of my motivational gym playlist for you to listen to during your next session. 

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The Science

In recent years science has made a hell of a lot of claims regarding the positive of using music to motivate your workout (and no, I am not talking about Bad Day by Daniel Powter, however much of a banger it may be). It will probably come as no surprise to you that music distracts people from pain and fatigue, helps to elevate their mood, increases endurance, reduces how much effort you think you’re putting in AND (now I’m not sure about this one but hey, I’m no scientist) may even promote metabolic efficiency. Turns out that music is a lot more than just a distraction from the burn.

It also turns out that having your own headphones might be more beneficial than listening to the gyms pick of tunes. A 2013 study revealed that choosing your own music (dubbed ‘musical agency’) allows you to think for yourself, which encourages a sense of autonomy and self-worth, which consequently helps you to power through your workout. Those who are stuck listening to the gym playlist reported feeling less motivated – just invest in Spotify Premium guys, I CANNOT squat to my full potential when an ad is on.

So there you go, now we know that music actually does help you smash your workout and you have an excuse to put your headphones in and not talk to that annoying gym regular (you’re welcome) it’s time to share with you some of my gym bangers.

My Gym Playlist 

Apparently, there is an optimum tempo of your gym music that is songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute (bpm). I’ll be honest, never in my life have I been blasting out a bit of eye of the tiger and thought ‘hold up – is the tempo right?’. Instead, I just go for motivational tunes I am loving at the time. Obviously, my playlist is very VERY extensive so I am just going to shuffle it and take the first 10 that come up for cardio and the first 10 that come up for resistance training (no cheating). I should warn you, they are very very varied.

Cardio

“Pump up the Jam” by Technotronic

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

“Hey Ya!” by Outkast

“Temperature” by Sean Paul

“Pound The Alarm” by Nicki Minaj

“Get Busy” by Sean Paul

“That’s My Girl” – Fifth Harmony

“I Like to Move It” – Reel 2 Reel

“Stronger” – Kelly Clarkson

“Welcome To The Club” – Manian

Resistance

“Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen

“Stronger” by Kanye West

“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

“Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses

“Lose Yourself’ by Eminem

“Smells Like Teen Spirt” by Nirvana

“We Will Rock You” by Queen

“Numb” by Linkin Park

“The Man” – The Killers

Phew, shuffle was kind to me today! I would love to know what are your go-to gym bangers and what you can always count on to get you motivated. Do you have  different playlist for cardio and resistance training? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x 

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Sources: 

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/why-exercise-workout-music-playlist_n_4173931.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychology-workout-music/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/music-workout-exercise-playlist-pain-easier-rocky-research-studies-proven-a7238016.html

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/chls/life-sciences

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741536/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793214

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-and-music

It’s Autumn time!! Autumn is my favourite season hands down. A) Because it is my birthday season (I’m an October baby so it is officially my birthday month) and B) Pumpkin spiced lattes are back and I am continue embracing the #basic life in caffeinated style and C) Because I love updating my health and beauty routine to suit to colder weather. I thought I would share with you guys today some of the changes autumn brings to my routine. So, let’s get started. 

from summer to autumn

Skin Care

I tend to use autumn as a transition season to help to rejuvenate and repair your skin from any summer damage and get it ready for the brutalities of a British winter. Everything has to serious up its game when it gets to autumn as moisture becomes to new buzz word. Now it is getting colder and I am becoming more and more reliant on the central heating, a more intensive moisturiser in necessary. I tend to ditch the lighter creams and go for heavier moisturising creams and gels that reinvigorate my skin and body and give it a little extra hydration.

  1. Whereas the Dove Summer Revived Gradual Tan was getting me through the summer months just fine now it is more about the Aveeno, which I cannot recommend enough. I also tend to get slight eczema during the colder months on my chest and elbows (nothing too serious) but this moisturiser clears it right up and keeps it to an absolute minimum.
  2. I also tend to switch up my lip care to something a little more moisturising. As you might remember, during summer I was LOVING the Carmex Pineapple and Mint lip balm (it even featured in my holidays essentials post). Now, however, my lips are needing a thicker balm that does not make me mourn my summer holidays. Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm is perfect for this. It is so so nourishing and super thick so continues to provide moisture ALL day. The thickness might not be for everyone but I cannot think of a better lip balm to take me from summer into autumn – it’s fantastic.
  3. Moisture might be the buzz word but it is important not to forget to exfoliate during the autumn months. My go-to is always FRÉ Skincare ‘Purify Me’. It keeps my skin clean, smooth and helps to get rid of dead cells and impurities without making my skin feel dry or tight at all. It’s a dream of an exfoliate and I would seriously recommend it. If you fancy getting your hands on some remember to use my code JJ, which will give you 15% off at the checkout.

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Hair 

Moisture is also the buzzword when it comes to hair. I have pretty dry hair anyway so my hair care regime doesn’t change dramatically BUT I have some bits and bobs I would recommend and one pretty big change.

  1. The Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment (For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length) is AMAZING! Not only does it help speed up hair growth, which I love during the autumn and winter months, it also leaves your hair feeling super moisturised and silky smooth. I definitely will be using this product a lot more regularly over the next few months.
  2. The biggest change when it comes to my hair is that autumn means it is time to bring back the gold. I am a natural blonde but like to change up the tones to match the seasons. Over summer I had a super light highlight ran through it. Autumn will see more honey shades to match my wardrobe and make up changes. By winter we will probably see the return of a silver undertone but, for now at least, I’m going to be a golden girl

Make Up

I hate to say it but I am no longer the tanned goddess I was last season. Now I resemble a sheet of paper and that sadly means that my make up all needs switching up to suit. My autumn make up looks tend to be a lot deeper and more intense. Whereas summer saw pastels and pretty shimmers, autumn is about browns, burgundy and a popping highlight.

  1. The biggest change in my make up from summer to autumn is my lipstick colour choices. Whereas summer sees me rocking a soft pink, bright orange or more natural/nude shades, autumn is all about deeper and darker lip colours. My absolute go-to’s are both MAC. First up is Dark Side, which is the most stunning deep burgundy ever that goes so well with browns and oranges. I also absolutely love Dubonnet, which is described as a deepened claret. It is the perfect deep red and goes with pretty much every single make up look.
  2. I am sad to say that after months of light powders and a bit of bronzer, the liquid foundations are back. Even though I am looking for a bit more coverage from my foundation I still don’t want my skin to feel clogged up and full of make up. My favourite for creating a beautifully dewy, natural finish is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation. If I am looking for something with a little more coverage, the MAC studio sculpt foundation is my go-to (although I am currently in the market for a new one so suggestions are welcome). 
  3.  In terms of eye shadow, my bright oranges and yellows have had to go back in the drawer until next year. It does mean, however, that my NUE Eyeshadow Palette from Laritzy  has really come into it’s own. I have spoken about this palette before for it’s stunning browns and deeper shades and they are absolutely perfect for the autumn months. My Smashbox Full Exposure palette is also a favourite for the autumn/winter months and is great for creating day looks as well as looks for your work Christmas party.

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It’s goodbye for now Silent Disco… 

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Fashion

Definitely the most notable change in autumn is my fashion. Living in the UK means that autumn gets very cold so the shorts and cute summer dresses go to the back of the wardrobe for another year and we say hello to some new fashion staples.

  1. Hallelujah, jumpers are back! I love a jumper. The bigger the better. Last year I did a huge jumper shop and got loads from Primark. They’re super affordable and will last me through this autumn as well. I would also recommend hitting up Primark for coats. They’re usually very similar to ones you might find in River Island or TopShop but are a fraction of the price.
  2. It’s time to say goodbye to the sunshine yellows, baby pinks and bright (and by bright I mean covered in flamingos and pineapples…) and hello to burnt oranges, burgundy and deep reds. Just as with makeup, my wardrobe becomes a lot deeper in the autumn months. I still like my longer dresses but tend to pair them up with cute little chelsea boots and wooly tights rather than flip flops. When it comes to shoes, Zara have an excellent selection (as always). Here are some of my favourites.

Snake Skin/Leopard Print High Heel Ankle Boots – £99.99

Red Leather Stiletto Ankle Boots – £89.99

Burgundy High Heel Knee High Boots – £119

All a little pricey (they’ve had to go onto the wish list) but Zara shoes are great quality and last for years so definitely worth the investment if you can afford them.

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Okay, so maybe baby pink still features a little… I just can’t help myself. 

Exercise

Autumn might be my favourite season but the switch from summer to autumn is a bit of a disaster my training programme. Okay, that’s unfair on autumn, but it certainly does mean there is a huge dip in my motivation. When you get up for work and it’s dark and then you come home from work and, surprise surprise, it is once again dark, the last thing I fancy doing is a gym session. This means that my exercise programme sees a bit of a switch up in order to maintain motivation throughout the colder months.

  1. My training moves from outdoor agility and functional training to more gym based, indoor training. This isn’t a problem as long as I ensure to keep up cardiovascular training whilst I’m there (I’ll also probably be walking around less so I also need to make up for that). 
  2. I train a lot smarter in the colder seasons. This means that I make my workouts shorter and focus them more on compound movements.That way I’m not inside for every single daylight hour but I can go in and get an effective session done quickly.
  3. Gym buddies are saving graces when you’re lacking in motivation so I tend to go to a lot more classes and group sessions during the colder months. Pop into your local gym and see what they’ve got available OR look into local walking groups or Zumba classes – these always keep me motivated and it is also a great way to make friends (it’s nearly secret santa time, right?)

So there you have it, some of the changes I will be making to my routine over the next couple of weeks. Are you guys excited for Autumn? What are some of the biggest changes to your routine that the new season brings? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time. 

Jamie x 

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I swear I say this every single month but HOW is it already the end of September. It seems like just yesterday I was walking around with so much sweat between my thighs I constantly thought I’d weed myself, moaning about the sunshine and waiting for the delights of pumpkin spiced syrup. Nice image for you there, ey. Seriously though, it is mad how quickly this year is going. It is also mad how I have managed to do favourites of the month consistently now since March. Well done me.

By this point you’re probably getting the hang of these, so let’s just get straight into it. 

Fashion

It will probably come as no surprise to you that this month’s fashion favourite is from Gymshark (something tells me that this is going to become a reoccurring theme). A few months back Gymshark released their Slounge Collection and quite literally as soon as I got into the office and saw these sets in the flesh I knew I HAD to get my hands on them. I went for all three components of the set in the grey but can also vouch for the other colours (I was really torn but decided that grey would go with more). They are possibly the comfiest joggers I have ever owned and yet they still manage to have such a flattering, bootylicious fit. The whole collection is an absolute game changer for Gymshark and I cannot rave about them enough. They are perfect for rest days, casual days out and for smashing your gym session now it’s getting a little colder – the perfect all rounder outfit.

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Image from gymshark.com

I wear a size S in all three components and they fit perfectly. I am usually a size 10 in bottoms and around an 8-10 in tops.

Make Up 

When I first bought this product I was a little disappointed. Not because it was bad quality because it is definitely not (it has such a silky smooth formula – I cannot fault it) but because it was a little too golden for my skin tone. I am talking about the cult favourite from Laura Geller, the Baker Gelato Swirl Highlighter in Gilded Honey. This glow is one of the best I have ever owned but the colour just wasn’t quite right. HOWEVER, that all changed this month. I have been consistently using my gradual tan and so I have a bit of a glow. Plus, now my make up as transitioned from the dewy, summer, barely there look to a more intense, winter look, it is perfect. It goes so well with deep brown lids and burgundy/berry lips. The product has a little bit of sparkle and a LOT of glow. It makes my make up pop and my skin look super healthy even in the colder weather.

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Image from beautybay.com

I would seriously recommend having a look at this product if you haven’t already because I really can see why there is such a hype surrounding it.

Skin Care

As you will know if you’ve read these posts before, I get really dry skin and this only gets worse as the weather starts to get colder. My absolute go to over the past few weeks has been Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Concentration Cream. It is the most delicious, nourishing formula that smells like melted chocolate. It has a thicker texture than usual moisturisers and feels so silky smooth, which I really like. This product has made it into my daily bag, which is a HUGE achievement for a moisturiser so well done Palmer’s – I tip my wooly bobble hat to you. The collection is HUGE so have a browse and see what floats your boat.

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Image from ebay.com

Exercise

It surprises me to say this but this month my love for the deadlift has returned. I really went off deadlifting when I pulled my lower back due to some dodgy form and seriously overestimating my capabilities (sure I am pull 100kg after 2 weeks off, no worries…). Since then I admit I have avoided it but since starting training in Solihull I have really started to love them again. Rather than going super heavy like I was doing before, I tend to do high reps with a lower weight (50-60kg) and I am really enjoying them.

If you’re not deadlifting here’s why you definitely should be doing:

  • It works your full body.
  • It helps with fat burning
  • It can help improve your posture (as long as the form is correct) 
  • Helps increase grip strength
  • Makes you feel BAD ASS.

Entertainment (Book) 

This one way easy this month. My September favourites when it comes to entertainment has to go to the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. The first book in this series is the one that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo film was inspired by. They are such fantastic reads – trippy, engaging and totally unpredictable. If you get the chance and enjoy crime fiction then I would seriously recommend giving these books ago. Larsson has such an original writing style that will have you hooked from the first page!

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Image from booktopiablog.com

This has actually been the easiest favourites of the month EVER! I usually find myself really torn but I am loving all of these things so much that they were unrivalled this month. What have you been loving this month? Did you treat yourself to the Gymshark slounge? On the hunt for an intense moisturiser to get you through the winter months? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x

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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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