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Liz’s Fitness & Wellbeing Secrets

Wellbeing

Welcome to my very first blog post on IMAGE.ie. I am super excited to be able to connect with you all and looking forward to sharing all my juicy fitness and health secrets with you.

I love everything related to wellbeing and fitness and I really want to share my passion with you. I know how overwhelming this whole thing can be and I hope to make exercise and healthy eating more accessible and understandable for each of you.

1. Less is more – unless you are training for a marathon there is no need to spend hours pounding the pavements or pumping iron in the gym.  It’s really important to understand that everyone is different and we all have very different reasons for working out.  Do what is right for you.  If long runs in the park clear your head and give you a sense of focus then go for it.  If you are trying to get leaner, fitter and/or stronger, generally you don’t need more than 40 minutes.  Remember to ask a professional for help, you’ll get better results when you know what you are doing.

2. Mix It Up – Whatever time you have to work out, I would advise mixing it up. If you have 30 minutes in total, do 15 minutes cardio exercise (e.g. walking / jogging / burpee intervals) and 15 minutes resistance training (e.g. kettle bells, press ups, squats).  When you cross train like this your body will transform in a safe and balanced way.

3. Don’t resist resistance – Women are scared of getting bigger and tend to shy away from weight training.  Don’t be afraid.  Those weights – whether you use dumbbells, Kettle Bells, TRX Bands, your own body weight or bars – will create strength in your body, burn fat and make you feel like you can take on the world!  Being strong is really important in life; it’s not all about how we look after all.

4. Exercise will make you feel better inside and out. Fact!  So why is it so hard to get motivated to regularly do this wonderful, natural high giving thing?  I honestly believe there is a form of exercise out there for everyone, it’s important to find what works for you.  Cross Fit might be some people’s idea of heaven and others of hell.  I love Yoga and running, you might cringe at the thought of these.  So again it comes back to taking responsibility for your body, investing time in finding something that makes you feel alive inside and out.  Your body needs to move, it wants to.  It doesn’t have to do goblet squats or perform one armed press ups but it does crave activity and movement.  I promise you will thrive when you find what works for you.  Take the time to discover, your cells will thank you!

5. Everything in moderation – Balance in life will bring you to a happier place, we all know this. When the scales are tipped – excuse the pun – and when we are too busy, too stressed, too tired or too anything it leads to resistance and a negative mind set.  Balance allows you to live your life and love it at the same time.  Who doesn’t want that?  So try to approach exercise and healthy eating in this way.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  There is a time to work out, a time to rest, a time to eat clean and a time to eat cake!

6. Fat won’t make you fat – We have been told for years that fat is bad for us and we should stay away from it and indulge only in low fat, diet foods.  The truth is FAT CAN BE GOOD FOR YOU!  It depends on the fat.  Saturated fats and Unsaturated Fats are ok if eaten in moderation and from the right sources.  Nuts, avocados and fish are all wonderful sources of natural unsaturated fats and should be enjoyed.  The demonised saturated fats in foods like meat and dairy products can also be part of your balanced diet.  It’s the trans fats we need to be careful of.  Anything that has “hydrogenated oils” present are really bad for our bodies and should be avoided where possible.  Junk, processed and fast foods all have high levels of saturated fats as I’m sure you know.  Do I really need to tell you to handle these with care?!  The important thing is you don’t cut foods that are incredibly good for you out of your diet.

7. Limit your coffee intake – Ohhh isn’t coffee is just great!  I love it. The warm, comforting hug it gives you followed by that much needed gentle shove.  Fab-u-lous!  But it can have negative effects on your body, particularly on your abdomen.  If you like your coffee stick to one high quality coffee a day without sugar and you will be A-OK.

8. The S Word – It’s everywhere that evil little yummy thing we call sugar.  I don’t think going cold turkey on any foods is a good idea as such, but I do believe sugar is not good for us and try to avoid where possible.  The refined stuff – found in sweets, biscuits, cakes, fizzy drinks – if eaten regularly can and will make you addicted and ultimately ill.  Fruit is your friend, so enjoy natures’ sweetener and stay away from that yucky stuff us humans regurgitated!

9. Find your mindMindfulness is such a buzz word right now, everyone’s talking about it but how many of us are doing it?  What it is really?  The way I approach mindfulness is quoite simplistic – isn’t that what we are ultimately trying to do, make life simpler?  I remind myself as much as I can be in the present moment.   I try my best, which isn’t always a success, to just BE.  Don’t you find sometimes we live in next week?  Our minds are constantly flicking through the pages of our diaries and to do lists for the days and weeks ahead.
Being more mindful of this day, and of this precious, present moment can transform how you look at yourself and the world around you.

I really believe each of us needs to look after our bodies.  We must take responsibility for our wellbeing and try to understand exercise and food, at least to a degree, so that we can make the right choices for us.

For more powerfully positive fitness tips follow @LizCostigan and see her Positive Fitness Project on her site.

And we’re launching our fab new IMAGE.ie Running Club with Liz tomorrow – watch this space fitness fans!

Photography by Nathalie Marquez Courtney

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