Did I mentioned that I now work at Gymshark? 

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Okay, so maybe I might have mentioned it once or twice… 

Anyway, I have now finished my first fortnight working for my absolute DREAM company and I thought I would share with you guys how it was all going so far. We’ll start at the very beginning…

My First Day 

I wasn’t actually TOO nervous on my first day. Of course I had a few butterflies when I walked through the door, but I think this was more excitement than anything else (if you’ve seen GSHQ over on YouTube you will know why, it is UNBELIEVABLE).

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Go and check out some of the tours on YouTube – it’s incredible!

My interview had been so chilled and everyone was so lovely that I felt really at ease heading back to start working. I also wasn’t the only new starter and meeting people in the same boat straight away definitely helped with the nerves (not to mention I have a mutual friend with one of them, which was very strange!). 

Week One

Everything was great. For the first three days we had orientation where we got to know the different teams and the integral part they play in the Gymshark family. We then were introduced to our own teams, given our desk and a fancy laptop. I work in the Digital Comms. Team in the blog section, so I share my little area with my fellow bloggers. You can pretty much work wherever you want as the company has an agile working policy, but for now I am happy at my little desk. We had our polaroids taken and officially joined the Gymshark family!

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The first week went by so quickly and by the end of it I felt like I had worked there for months. At the end of the first week the Digital Comms. team hit Birmingham. We went to the escape rooms and then out for food and drinks at Digbeth Dining Club, which is quite possibly the coolest place ever – I would definitely recommend a visit!

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We escaped!

Week Two

By the second week I had really started to get into the swing of things. Orientation was all over and it was time to get stuck in. I have spent this week planning some killer content for my section (coming soon, don’t you worry!) and working on my table tennis and basket ball skills, which are embarrassingly bad…

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Me and my fellow newbies. 

I could not be happier in my job. Going to work really doesn’t feel like going to work at all. The HQ has the best atmosphere and is full of the kindest, most driven people I have ever met. Back in my first week we were given the GS Playbook and I was asked to write in the front why I chose to work at Gymshark. I looked back at what I wrote before starting this post. Gymshark has been such a huge part of my journey towards being a happier and healthier person. Even before starting the job I felt part of the family. I waited hours to see the athletes, I watched the tour of GSHQ on YouTube, I sat up waiting for new product realises – it is truly a brand that I adore. Securing a job here has been such a dream and I cannot wait to continue to help this company grow for many years to come. 

Jamie x 

 

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Hey guys and gals! How are we all doing today? 

For about a year now I have been seeing a meditation/reiki practitioner. The first couple of times I went I was very unconvinced by the whole thing but recently I have found myself really benefitted from the sessions and able to practise the skills learnt myself. In my last session a few months back we worked with crystals. She asked me to choose a crystal from her collection and hold it during the session. Erm, you what?

Anyway, an hour later I had finished the session and my crystal was boiling hot. Apparently my own energy and that of the crystals (again, you what?) had ‘infused’. Holding the crystal had allowed me to dissolve my negative energy and increase the flow of positive energy and vitality throughout my body. I fobbed it off a little but you can bet the next time I went into a shop selling crystals I picked one up and I have been using it since. I’m pleased to say that I have found having my own crystal incredibly helpful and so I thought today I would explore the idea of healing crystals and whether or not the benefits associated with them are rubbish or reality. 

Luna is definitely a fan! 

What are healing crystals?

The healing power of crystals has been celebrated throughout history, being traced back to the ancient Egyptians who once believed these gems had the power to restore health. Recently, these supposed ‘healing crystals’ have seen an increase in popularity as more and more of us are convinced that crystals have energy properties that can work within our own energy systems. Krista Mitchell, a crystal healing teacher and author of the book Change Your Energy: Healing Crystals for Health, Wealth, Love & Luck, has been teaching people how to heal themselves since 2004 and is convinced that these natural means of restoring energy are the way to a balanced body and mind. In theory this means that if your life and emotions are a little out of whack, say you’re starting a new job or have an exam, these rocks can help to restore a sense of emotional balance. ‘Crystal healing’ is a term that applies these ideas to a certain type of therapy. This involves placing gem stones on your body or in nearby places to help draw out negative energy.

All sounds pretty good, right?

But what does science say?

Hate to be the one to break it to you, but science remains unconvinced. The truth is, there is zero scientific evidence that that crystals have any healing properties. In fact, the majority of scientists out there would probably fob it off as B.S. Let’s be honest, this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to you – it certainly didn’t to me – so why do I bother? Well, they might not heal your ailments, but they might soothe the soul.

My Experience and the Power of Placebo

When my mental health was at its very worst, crystals did nothing for me. I needed professional and medical support and there is no shame in that. Healing crystals are not going to suddenly heal your bumps and bruises, they are not going to cure depression, but healing crystals have worked wonders on helping my find a sense of calm. Now, I don’t want to sound all Eyal from Love Island but it’s true. As I have learnt how to control my emotions through support and a lot of hard work, crystal healing offers me the opportunity to be mindful and present and explore resources beyond present options.

It didn’t happen straight away and it took a lot of perseverance, imagination and acceptance. Just as with mindfulness, my healing crystal acts as a physical reminder to quieten the chaos going on in my mind and reconnect with the present. The crystal is not magic by any means, I know it is all coming from inside my own body and mind but I am convinced that through openness and a belief in the potential for calmness, I have found a way in which I can reconnect and enjoy life without the stresses of the outside world.

I keep my crystal next to my bed and when I attempt to practise meditation I will hold it in my hands. If I am feeling particularly stressed I will hold my crystal and take a moment to contemplate and reassess the situation. I have found this is what works best for me. Some people keep their under their bed, some have them in their bag or even in their bra so it is with them at all times! I like to keep mine in my bedroom in ‘my space’ as a way to literally and metaphorically escape.

Which crystal is for me? 

Depending on how deep you want to go, each crystal supposably has a different intent and you can therefore choose a crystal based upon your purpose. My crystal, for example, is Rose Quartz. This stone is known as the love stone and is meant to help to enhance your self love and positive energy, opening you up to all different forms of love. I just think it’s very pretty.

A few other examples are as follows:

  • Amethyst: It helps to control disruptive and addictive behaviours and allows you to enhance your intuition.
  • Citrine: This the stone of success and enhanced your individual power.
  • Soladite: This stone helps to clear up any confusion and maintain concentration.
  • Aventurine: This is known as the stone of luck – whether that be luck in love, fortune or your career.
  • Aquamarine: This beautiful stone helps us to brave the unknown and can lead to increased creativity.
  • Clear quartz: This stone is known for encouraging focus, balance, positivity and clarity.

If you’re wondering which might be best for you, you can take this quiz. Not sure how accurate these things are but it’s worth it just for a bit of fun! The Energy Muse blog is also full of loads of great information about crystals and their healing powers if you are interested – I would really recommend taking a look!

‘Everything in Life is Vibration’ – Albert Einstein

Whether simply placebo or natural healers, I believe that your thoughts are in line with the vibrations of that which you surround yourself with. Healing crystals have provided me with some sort of accountability to make time for myself and that’s good enough for me. 

Jamie x 

 

Sources: 

https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/culture/articles/a31572/what-are-healing-crystals-how-to-use-them/

https://www.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/2018022346560/what-are-healing-crystals/

https://www.holisticshop.co.uk/articles/introduction-guide-crystals

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19934992/what-are-healing-crystals/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/sonimacom/do-healing-crystals-reall_b_12117920.html?guccounter=1

Take This Crystal Quiz to Find the Healing Crystals For You

 

 

2018 has been something of a moment for mindfulness. The mindfulness market generated huge $1.2 billion in 2017 alone and 4 in 10 of our American buddies over the pond say they meditate at least weekly. A recent study from the University of South Carolina has shown that mindfulness is more than just a hipster trend to be practised by Instagram #fitspos – in fact, we could all use some mindfulness in our lives. The study has revealed that practising mindful movement can play a role in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. “When people were both more mindful and more active than usual, they seem to have this extra decrease in negative affect,” said Chih-Hsiang “Jason” Yang, who conducted the study. With around 2/3 more women practising mindfulness than men, where are all the mindful men and why are fewer men than women jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon to better mental health?

Is it time to hold off on the weight training?

Maybe mindfulness simply does not work for men?

A study conducted by Brown University back in 2017 revealed that men might not get the same benefits from mindfulness as women. The study showed women experienced increases on scales measuring mindfulness and self-compassion whereas men did not experience any measures of experiential or self-acceptance. However, how much of this came down to the different emotional expectations placed upon the genders? Dr. Willoughby Britton, reflected upon the disparity stating how, “while facing one’s difficulties and feeling one’s emotions may seem to be universally beneficial, it does not take into account that there may be different cultural expectations for men and women around emotionality.”

It seems, therefore, the problem is not with biology but with culture. Whilst women are expected to be honest and open about their emotions, men have been condition to well, ‘take it like a man’ making it no surprise that man are less likely to be diagnosed with a mental health issue, despite the fact 3 our of 4 suicides are men. With women being encouraged to weight train as much as they’re encouraged to roll out their yoga mats and downward dog, men have a much more prescriptive work out routine deemed as acceptable. A man heading to the gym to practise mindfulness and yoga begs the question do you even lift, bro? Yet, in their research, the University of South Carolina noted no discrepancies between the genders – both reaped the benefits of mindful movement.

Perhaps, it is time men joined the mindful movement?

Fear not, being ‘mindful’ does not have to mean sitting under a tree with your legs crossed in search of the elusive meaning of life. Who has time for that? In fact, previous studies have highlighted how we need to rethink our approach to mindfulness so that men can enjoy the same results as seen by women, Dr. Britton noted. Simply opting to take a walk can provide a good opportunity to be more mindful of your breathing and surroundings, which has been shown to boost the wellbeing of both men as well as women. According to researchers, participants reported being less stressed while they were on their feet and moving than those who remained sedentary and those who took the time to practise mindful thinking saw an even greater benefit in their mental wellness.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated in order for you to reap the benefits. Even just one introductory session has been shown to encourage not only psychological but also physiological benefits in men, including helping to monitor heart rate, blood pressure and aortic blood pressure. Mindfulness has also been shown reduce seizures and to help men suffering from prostate cancer, with a study conducted by the Northwestern University how intervention from mindfulness medication led to significantly greater resilience and less anxiety when going through treatment.

Culture has dictated that men should avoid emotions, however, perhaps it is time to look beyond gender stereotypes and begin embracing the benefits of mindfulness. The real question now is; do you even Bandha, bro?

Jamie x

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Sources:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180621112007.htm

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00551/full

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170420113801.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423135048.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160526185426.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180215110337.htm

http://businessresearcher.sagepub.com/sbr-1946-105603-2878495/20180129/the-meditation-industry

 

Hey guys, how are we all?

It’s time for my favourites of the month again. I’m loving writing these posts and sharing what I’ve been loving – it is a great chance to reflect on the month (and also to judge myself in hindsight for how much money I have spent on new beauty bits and bobs – not quite as fun!). I have been super excited for this one as I always find I get a lot more experimental with my beauty, skincare and fitness regime during the summer months – must be the warm weather inspiring me! This month has been no exception and a lot of categories have actually got an overall winner and a runner up in them.

  I have a lot to share this month so I’ll get straight into it. 

Fashion

My fashion favourites are usually something that I have been wearing a lot, however, this month is a little different for two reasons. First, July saw me chilling by the side of the pool in my scruffs a hell of a lot (I am definitely not one to be seen in heels and jewellery by the side of the pool) and as much as ‘oversized, ugly t shirt’ is a staple part of my wardrobe, it doesn’t exactly scream fashion. Second, I have been eyeing these trends for a long time but I have also just moved into my first ever house and so funds are a little short to say the least! I did still want to share them with you guys because I think they’re really cool!

Ever since I saw Dani Dyer rocking that denim jacket/skirt coord I have been seriously lusting after one! It also just so happens that after Dani Dyer rocked that denim jacket/skirt coord that they popped up literally everywhere – what are the chances, ey? I have been searching the internet and one of my favourites is this Red Contrast Stitch cropped denim jacket and denim skirt. I am a huge fan of wearing red and this coord from MissGuided is such a beauty! For both it would come in at £57, which is okay…I guess. 

Image from missguided.co.uk

If you don’t fancy red, head over to PrettyLittleThing and check out their gorgeous pink one! This one comes in at £50 so with the £7 you save you could buy yourself… well, not a lot but still. They also have one in white, leopard print, pale pink check (very ‘Clueless’) and a questionable blue one. Each to their own I guess…

Image from PRETTYLITTLETHING

Make Up 

Although I tend to wear less make up during the summer months, I have actually been experimenting with a lot of products throughout July. This months winner is a little bit of a surprise to me. I’ve actually had it for a long time but I have always avoided it due to the fact I cannot stand the packaging! However, I decided to give it a go and the product itself is stunning. The Benefit Sugarbomb Blush has been my go to blusher this month and even featured in my graduation day make up look. It’s a stunning mix of four shimmering shades of peach, bronze/plum, pink and rose together and so acts as a bronzer (and even highlighter) and well as a blush. It’s described as giving an ‘instant sugary flush’ and it really does do just that. It is packed with subtle, beautiful shimmers and the shade range is super versatile.

Look at that peachy glow! 

I’ve used this product almost every single day this month, whether I am wanting a soft glow to compliment a ‘no make up’ make up day or whether I am heading on a night out. If you’re loving peachy summer glowsI would seriously recommend picking this up. You know,if you can get past the packaging…

Although Benefit have stolen the show for me this month, Laritzy Cosmetics came in a close second and so has bagged itself a spot as my runner up. I received their NUE nude eyeshadow collection in lasts months The Pip Box and I knew straight away I was going to love it. For starters the palette is vegan, which is great! It is also full of super pretty, neutral shades that are so wearable. As I mentioned over on my Instagram, it is not the most highly pigmented palette (one of the reasons it did not bag first place) but it is easy to build up and it leaves next to no fallout, which is great. The neutral browns and coppers are great for everyday where and you can actually get quite a lot of different looks.

Apart from the pigmentation, another reason this palette did not bag first place is the price. I did not pay retail price for this product but if you did it would come in at £35.99, which I think is a little pricey. The colours are nice and I have worn it a lot over the month but I still find myself reaching for last month’s favourite, the MUA eyeshadow palette in Burning Embers. This palette has 25 gorgeous shades and are so much more versatile and affordable (it’s only £8). Neither come with a mirror, which I don’t mind when it’s £8, but I would have liked to have seen a mirror and slightly more sophisticated packaging on the Laritzy palette. This is not to say this palette isn’t good (it did make it to runner up for heavens sake!) but these are just some of the reasons it was pipped to the post.

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Still my go to eye shadow palette! 

Image from www.superdrug.com

Exercise 

Whilst at University I spent a lot of time in exercise classes but now I have come back I’ve had to wave goodbye to Les Mills (at least for now anyway) and go back to my home gym. This has meant a serious change to my exercise regime, which has worked wonders in shocking my body and helping me to start seeing results again. Throughout July I did a lot of HIIT and functional training at home (climbing in and out of wholes, lifting logs and all that jazz) and resistance training at the gym. Whilst I have been really enjoying both of them and every single session has been different and pushed my body in new and challenging ways, the winner for July is functional training.

If you’ve not heard of functional training before and are wondering why in gods name I am jumping in and out of holes, don’t worry! Functional training is basically adapting training to mimic everyday actions. Basically moving fitness outside of the gym. You’re still building strength, power and mobility but in a way that is more suited to ‘real world’ fitness requirements. There’s a lot of bending, sitting, reaching, balancing and unilateral training! It’s challenging but really good fun and has helped me see some serious results over the past month or so.

For more information on functional training and how you can incorporate it into your work out, check out this post. It’s full of top tips, advice and videos to help make your training more functional.

Music 

Leaving University has meant many things. My working weeks now consist of a lot more than 9 hours, I can’t afford to recklessly go for 5 coffees a day to avoid the library and I’m no longer on the radio every week. The latter has seriously impacted my knowledge of new music. As you might remember from a few months back, my music taste is very much that of a 50 year old man. I have, however, been loving a very recent album that I think you should all be listening to!

 

Image from Wikipedia 

High as Hope is the newest album from Florence and The Machine (you know, dog days are over and all of that!) and it is truly beautiful – I swear it actually gave me goosebumps! I always loved her music and find her voice so haunting and soothing. The album has some wonderful songs on it – you might have already heard Hunger, one of my favourites on the album. If you enjoy indie rock and older songs from Florence then I’m sure you will love this album.

Skin Care 

My July favourite when it comes to skincare is an oldie but a goldie. I have very fair, sensitive skin and I don’t really tan. I kind of tend to go a nice shade of salmon covered in little spots instead – get in line boys. The Dove Summer Revived, however, is my go to gradual tan and moisturiser as it gives me a nice, healthy glow and means you can look at my legs without having to protect your eyes from the glaring white.

It’s super easy to apply and, even with my lazy application style (splurt on, rub it in a bit and hope for the best), has never left me looking streaky unlike other false tans. It’s super affordable, super moisturising and super natural! I was using this for the whole of July and every evening when I was away on my holiday to keep my skin healthy and smooth. I like to think I will continue to use this throughout the year to keep up the glow all year round but, who knows, I’m pretty lazy…

So there you have it, some of my July favourites. What do you think? Were you loving last months The Pip Box? The warmer weather got you loving going out for walks rather than hitting up the gym? Can’t get past the Benefit blusher packaging to purchase sugarbomb?

Let me know and, as always, I also want to know what you guys have been loving this month. 

Jamie x 

Hey guys and happy Friday. I say ‘happy’ Friday but sadly today marks my last day in Crete before heading back to sunny Yorkshire. To celebrate (and commemorate) my last day in the heat I thought I would share some of my top tips for beating to heat whilst training. Summer time is great when it comes to feeling motivated and getting yourself out and moving. However, it does not come without its risks. Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure you’re staying safe and getting the most from your summer outdoor workouts. 

The Dangers

Living in the UK I very rarely get the chance to train outside. Usually I am lucky if I miss the rain walking from the carpark into the gym! However, outdoor workouts are really effective and can be super beneficial so I have certainly been making the most of the lovely warm weather here in Crete. Unfortunately, though, it does not take Sherlock Holmes to realise that the summer heat (even the British summer time) and humidity are not always the best pairing for your workout.

Although hotter temperatures can help you warm up faster, which can prevent injuries, it is vital to consider the health risks that come with training outside. If you’re anything like me, chances are you get pretty sweaty at the best of times, but obviously you’re going to sweat even more in hotter temperatures. Sweating is not a bad thing, as mentioned in my previous post on sweat and skin care, but when it gets too hot blood rushes away from your muscles and to the skin to help cool it (hence you’re likely to go red!). This means that there is less blood in your muscles, consequently leading to a lowering of your blood pressure, which can then result in your feeling dizzy, light headed and nauseous. In really extreme cases this can put you at risk of heat stroke and even potentially seizures and heart rhythm problems – makes the pros of warming up faster seem a little less impressive, right?

As we have seen, exercising in hot weather (whether inside or outside) can put a lot of extra stress on your body and can result in serious illness if the proper precautions are not taken. This doesn’t mean to say that as soon as it gets warm you should just burn your gym pass on the BBQ and whip out the strawberries on cream, oh no! (even though I seriously recommend the latter at some point) You will be pleased to know that there are some top tips you can practise to ensure that your workout is safe in the summer months.

Tips to ‘Beat the Heat’

Stay Hydrated

This might seem obvious but speaking from experience, staying hydrated can be easy to overlook. The average individual has a sweating rate of 1 litre per hour when they’re training in hot environments (I dread to think what my sweating rate must be), which is a hell of a lot of water to lose and not replenish. Dehydration from excess sweating can lead to increases plasma tonicity and decreases blood volume. Put simply, these can reduce heat loss which results in an elevated core temperature levels during exercise-heat stress – definitely not what you want!

To avoid this, before you start training make sure you have drank a fair bit of water and ensure that you carry at bottle of water with you at all times. Make sure you’re taking a drink at least every 15 minutes, whether you feel as if you need it or not. By the time you’re feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated so you want to avoid getting to that stage. If I was working with a client who did not have a bottle of water or who was feeling very thirsty I would probably stop the training session!

You should also ensure that you are you replenishing your electrolytes, which will be lost during exercise. Sweating can result in salt depletion, which is a contributing factor to heat exhaustion. Most of us will rehydrate but will forget the replace the salt that we have lost through excess sweating. Make sure you are replacing lost electrolytes with fluids or salty snacks such as olives, salted nuts or sunflower seeds.

 

Wear The Right Clothes 

Something that is easy to neglect, your workout outfit can have a huge impact on your summer training programme. If possible you want to ensure you’re wearing breathable, light and light-coloured clothing. If you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, you might even want to get yourself a hat as well! If in doubt, look for words like ‘breathable’, ‘moisture-wicking’, and ‘mesh’ on the label as these are more likely to keep you cool, dry and comfortable. I would also recommend avoiding grey because, well… we all know grey and sweat are not best buddies.

It is also worth keeping in mind chafing and heat rash. You might be tempted to grab a pair of shorts, however, I tend to find that little shorts can lead to some painful inner thigh chafing. If you have ever experienced this you will know it is definitely something you want to avoid. You can pick up anti-chafing creams and powder deodorants that are meant to help but I have yet to find anything I have found works for me. It’s not just the inner thighs we need to be thinking about – the under arms, rib cage and nipples can suffer as well. You might want to pick up a thin, seamless tank style sports bra if you’re going to be doing longer runs in hot weather.

Protect Your Skin

I know, I know, suncream is gross and probably the last thing you want to put on before you work out but it is so so important. Make sure you’re slathering on the factor 50 before you head out and train and don’t miss any important areas! Research has shown that most of us will forget to protect the lower leg and therefore this is one of the most common places that women develop skin cancer. Other commonly missed areas can include the ears, scalp and the back of your neck and legs so make sure you’re protected.

Time it Right

Something that is easy for us British to forget is timing. You know that phrase ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’? Well, it’s true – we are not sensible with our heat exposure. If the locals are inside, you should be as well and if you’re not the very less you can do is avoid training. You should try and avoid exercising between 10-3 as this is likely to be the hottest part of the day.

You might want a lay in on your holidays, but sadly the best time for training is generally early in the morning. If this isn’t possible, why not mix up the type of training you’re doing. Instead of going for a run in the midday heat, why not take a dip in the pool? Your body will thank you for it.

Listen to Your Body

It’s all well and good giving you all these tips but it is important to remember that sometimes you should just not bother. Even if you practise all of these tips, you might still be at risk of overheating so make sure you are listening to your body and if you feel any symptoms of overheating stop immediately. Heat exhaustion can sneak up on you quickly so try and train with a friend and make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Don’t mean to sound all morbid, but safety first guys! 

Sometimes you are simply better off staying indoors and there are lots of factors to take into account including humidity, the type of training and your experience training in hotter and more humid climates. If you’re really unsure, I would say it is safer to stay inside. If you are really desperate to train, you could also use a heat index, which will take into account both heat and humidity. Whatever you decide, make sure your body is safe and protected. Enjoy the weather and take care of yourself. 

Jamie x 

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Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048167

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236240/

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/8-tips-for-exercising-in-summer-heat

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a19920682/too-hot-to-train/

https://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/10-must-know-tips-exercising-hot-weather