Energy

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before:

‘We become the sum of the five people we spend the most time with’.

There’s a lot of debate surrounding this quote, but fortunately, we’re not here for a critical analysis. For argument’s sake, let’s just just go with it, because it highlights the subject of this post pretty accurately.

Let’s talk about the laws of attraction, aptly summarised in the quote below:

‘Become the energy you wish to be surrounded by’.

In essence, both of these quotes underline the same notion; that energy is contagious. We quite literally feed off things around us – environments, people, music etc. That being said, it’s important that we invest both our time and energy into spaces, relationships and activities that uplift us.

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Essentially, we build relationships based on energy, tending to be most compatible (both in a platonic and romantic sense) with those on a similar wavelength. There’s nothing better than vibing with the infectious energy of those around you.

We’ve all been placed in a situation with someone whose energy feels noticeably different. Don’t get me wrong, of course it’s beneficial to mix with a variety of characters. However, it’s also our own responsibility to be conscious of how we consume the energy of others.

So, what am I getting at?

If someone around you is inherently pessimistic, and you find yourself being overwhelmed by their negativity, it’s time to reassess. This isn’t me telling you not to be there for a friend in need. I’m not an asshole. Of course, there will be times when you have to offer help and support.

I’m speaking in a more generic sense, when I say that you are perfectly within your right, at any time, to take a step back and focus on re-establishing your own equilibrium. Toxic energy can inhibit you from expansion, development and growth. Detach and protect yourself.

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Fill your mind with positivity. Generate passion, enthusiasm and drive. If energy truly is contagious, make yours worth catching. Find people that resonate with you. Elevate those around you; infect them with a sense of optimism. A positive mindset will directly contribute to self-development. Roald Dahl knows…

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Social Media, That Troublesome Thing

Last night, I was lying in bed, and I found myself stalking my own Instagram. Let me repeat: stalking my very own Instagram. What a curious concept that is. As I scrolled through (primarily fitness or alcohol-infused images of myself), it got me thinking about the abstract phenomenon we have discovered with the rise of social media.

Now, I warn you, these ideas have been hurled around a million and one times before (so if you wish to opt out, perhaps do so now), but I’m in a writing mood, and this just seems to be sprawling from my fingertips.

Instagram; a bizarre space within which we exhibit the best parts of our existence, each attempting to prove our lives to be unquestionably wonderful (whether that  happens to be a conscious decision or not). This may be through the medium of the body we’ve achieved, those we socialise with, or the places we visit, to mention just a few.

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Exhibit A) Major flexing going on. Great lighting. Took the picture again because first time I had my hair up and I wasn’t on that vibe.

It’s peculiar how much of the world revolves around social media. Instagram is, quite literally, at the centre of everything we do (we, being millennials, obvs). Consider the phrase, ‘do it for the gram’; coined by an entire generation (if a generation can be collectively held responsible for coining a term?).

Now, this isn’t a targeted attack at Instagram. My work as a fitness professional is largely reliant upon social media, and evidently, these platforms can be put to good use. I’ve used social networks to connect with people I would never have encountered otherwise. In terms of building a business, maintaining relationships and developing yourself as a brand, Instagram is priceless.

However, social media can become pretty damn damaging, should we let it. Consider the following:

Procrastination:

This relates to a meme I saw last night (it seems my late night scrolling may not have been so mindless after all), stating:

‘Sometimes, when I’m really overwhelmed, I like to sit back, take a deep breath, make a list of everything I have to do and then spend 4-5 hours looking at complete strangers on Instagram’.

This speaks to my soul on so many levels. So many levels, it’s worrying. Social media can single-handedly act to destroy productivity. Time is precious (particularly in Dubai, I mean where does that shit even go?), we need not waste it being inefficient.

Misinformation:

Thousands of people have a very large social media following, and very little education on their chosen subject. It’s genuinely concerning that individuals can have such an expansive reach, with little-to-no factual insight or evidence-based research. I can safely say this is why the fitness industry is an absolute shambles. Did you really do a 30 day squat challenge to achieve that butt, Tina?

Advertisements/Promotions:

This is largely connected to my last point, however it’s related more selectively towards celebrity/influencer endorsements. Skinny teas that upset your stomach to the point of chronic dehydration, and ‘revolutionary’ new diet strategies that suggest we eradicate all carbohydrates (and consequently endure sub-optimal brain function). P.S: carbs are life for the purpose of fitness/performance/overall sanity.

I feel somewhat hypocritical for writing this post, because I’m one of those to blame for posting regular updates, and parading the best part of my day on social media. However, I pride myself on being real wherever possible. Most body-related images are paired with a sarcastic caption, which confirms how great the lighting is, or how high my leggings are pulled up. For example: hereherehere and here.

I can honestly say that I have never edited a picture with anything other than a filter, whether that may be on Instagram, Lightroom or HUJI cam. A little bit of saturation and a smidge of structure to highlight any minor ab definition (I repeat, minor). Never once have I altered the shape of my body, smoothed my skin, or whitened my teeth/eyes (because apparently you can do that now huns).

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Exhibit B) This pic was the result of multiple glasses of rosé and around 30 other failed (yet utterly hilarious due to aforementioned rosé) photo attempts. Editing: Instagram only, NEVER ever photoshop. Lark filter + saturation for tan gains.  Just keepin’ it real.

So, what’s the point of this lengthy and arguably somewhat boring post? Something you’ve heard a thousand times before: be conscious of how you consume the information you see online. Remind yourself that your insta crush probably took 400 selfies, before photoshopping the hell out of her favourite one and posting it. There’s a very high chance that her butt isn’t that peachy and her skin ain’t that flawless 100% of the time (if ever). Take everything with a pinch of salt.

You are responsible for the way in which you absorb information. ‘Unfollow those that make you feel bad about yourself’: a narrative that has been widely adopted of late in the realm of social media. Ultimately, it’s true. Next time you see an image that makes you question yourself, or simply annoys you,  u n f o l l o w  (myself included, I’m fully aware that I can be v annoying).

Happiness does not exist in displaying the best parts of your life on a grid. Genuine contentment lies in the mundane, everyday stuff. Watch the sunset, spend time with the people you love, read a good book, learn something new. Instagram will only ever be, at large, an idealised and constructed representation of reality. Don’t allow yourself to be consumed by information fed to you through the paradigm of a social platform.

Soz huns, that got deep. Love you.

Peace xoxox

Be Selfish with Your Time

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It’s interesting that the word ‘selfish’ has developed such negative connotations. 

Narcissistic.

Egotistical.

Inconsiderate.

All synonymous with a modern perception of ‘selfishness’. What if we were to rethink the value of this trait?

There are never enough hours in the day. Whether our time is being consumed with social media, working our butts off to try and get on the housing ladder, or alternative millennial clichés. Whatever it is that’s occupying our time, it’s doing a damn good job.

Yet, we’re often criticised for saying ‘no’. Well, I’d like to undermine this tendency, and highlight the importance of putting yourself first. 

We’ve all been roped into plans we’re not wholly invested in, quite literally, in these instances, living for others. Of course, we have commitments to people; that’s natural. There will be the odd occasion where we have to do things we don’t want to. I’m not encouraging you to become an asshole.

Equally, I’m not asking you to bail on plans, or let people down last minute. That’s actually pretty shitty. What I’m getting at, rather, is that we should be more inclined to consider circumstances fully, before agreeing to them.

We live in an age of FOMO; a mindset that could ultimately lead us into a mindless cycle of overcommitting to others, should we let it. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’: what’s the worst that will happen?

Happiness will never be extrinsic. That night out probably isn’t going to change your life, and your friends (if they’re decent humans), will still love you if you decide to stay in and catch up on sleep, instead of going to watch that movie with them.

Protect your time, invest your energy wisely. Spend time with yourself, working on yourself, for yourself. Find contentment in your own company. Don’t undermine the importance of a little selfishness.

‘Why Do You Go Out So Much if You’re A Fitness Professional?’

Of course, I understand where people are coming from when they ask this question. However, I think it’s all too easy to place fitness professionals on a (in my case, arguably somewhat precarious) pedestal.

The phrase ‘practice what you preach’ comes to mind: how can I inspire others to be healthy (‘health’; that somewhat ambiguous and abstract concept, but let’s not get into that), if I spend the weekends with a cocktail in hand?

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Well, in my opinion, I’m practicing exactly what I preach. I’m 24 years old, and enjoy a night out as much as the next person. It just so happens that I live in a city where both food and alcohol are a prevalent component of most weekend plans.

Yes, alcohol is very calorie-dense.

Yes, I will probably go and eat an extra burger if I’ve had a few drinks.

However, manipulation is key: there is always a solution.

Here are a few factors I like to implement during a boozy weekend, in order to minimise the negative effects of one-too-many rosés.

  1. Always train the next day. Always, always, always. No excuses: you got yourself into this position, so ya better move ya damn peach.
  1. After point 1, you’re probably thinking I’m mad. If you struggle badly with a sore head and can’t face the gym, get out and go for a walk. I tend to train in the morning and then walk in the evening. I like to grab one of my besties, take to the beach (the countryside/city will more than suffice if you live outside of Dubai), and have a catch up. Before you know it, you’ve accumulated 10,000 steps, and you know alllllll the gossip from the weekend. Double whammy.
  1. Be clever with your alcohol choices. Ok, so perhaps rosé is ya jam (obvs). So, why not start with a couple of glasses of rosé, then switch it up to something a little lower in cals. Think spirits and soda (add some fresh lime juice if you need a lil extra pozazzzzz), diet mixers, etc.
  1. Don’t eat like a moron when you’re hungover. You’ve had your fun, now it’s time to reign it in a little. We’re fortunate in Dubai that we can get pretty much anything delivered, so if you’re feeling like a total lazy bum and don’t want to cook, opt for something fresh, as opposed to a dense, oily, calorie-laden fry up. You’ll feel better for it. I promise.
  1. Eat moderately less/move more in the coming few days. You guys know by now that calorie restriction isn’t my favourite activity, so I always opt for moving a little more. Either way, it’s about re-establishing an adequate energy balance (calories in vs. calories out) to avoid weight gain.

Weight loss requires a lifestyle overhaul: there’s no point at which the hard work stops permanently. Yes, you can ease your foot off the gas a little from time to time, but the reality is, you’ve got to be fully invested.

I’m a big believer in allowing clients to enjoy the things they love, whether that may be a pizza or a pint (or both, in many cases). The moment that fat loss becomes excessively restrictive, is the point at which adherence dwindles.

Society propagates short-term transformation ideals every day. But, ultimately, if you want to maintain any sort of positive development, this is a long-term process. Surely, then, it’s of utmost importance that we learn to manipulate certain lifestyle factors, in order to incorporate the things we enjoy?

How to Stick to Your Resolutions

Over a week has now passed since we welcomed the New Year, and some of our good intentions may be starting to fade away. But not to fear! I’ve come up with a few tips to help you stick with your resolutions for the long-haul.

1) No quick fixes. Focus on the bigger picture.

Don’t try to transform your entire life overnight. Cutting out every morsel of bad food, or going to an early morning fitness class every single day may not be the most sustainable solution, if it’s not at all what you’re used to. Not to mention, it will probably become a bit of a chore (psychology is essential with this stuff – you’re training your mind as much as your body).

Instead, implement smaller, more realistic changes, which you can maintain and adapt over the course of the year. For example, why not start with 3 gym classes per week, but also focus some attention on your nutrition? That way, you can adjust your schedule as necessary when your body feels ready. No absolute shocks to the system, and less risk of crashing and burning right away.

2) Write down your goals.

There’s plenty of evidence to show that those who write down their goals are much more likely to achieve them. The very act of writing something down makes it concrete; it’s like a confirmation of what you’re striving for, from yourself, to yourself.

You can even take it one step further and go public… Stick your goals onto a pinboard or attach them to the fridge. If it’s written down for you (and others) to see, it’ll keep you accountable, and also act as a much-needed reminder when you feel you’re about to go off track.

3) Get your pals involved.

Resolutions aren’t all that fun if we have to go at it alone. The prospect of trying something new can be daunting, so why not rope in a pal? (I say rope in like it’s a bad thing, but remember the whole idea is here is ‘self-improvement’… For everyone involved!)

With a buddy by your side, you’ll be able to push and encourage each other, and motivate each other to stay on track. Not to mention, everything is more fun with a teammate by your side!

New Year’s Resolutions

When the New Year comes around, we all jump at the opportunity to make ourselves a better person. As basic as these are, I thought I’d share my resolutions with you, just in case you’re struggling to come up with some for yourself.

1) Stress Less:

Despite generally being a very positive person, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, because I’m also an undeniable perfectionist. This year, I’m challenging myself to seek out the good aspects in those situations where things haven’t gone quite to plan. The reality is, life is pretty damn great, and there are a whole load of things to be thankful for, always.

2) Sleep More:

This leads on from my last point, because for me (and most of us) lack of sleep is directly related to stress. In fact, even the thought of too little sleep stresses me out! As a Personal Trainer, my hours are pretty antisocial… 5am wake-ups aren’t ideal for your sleep pattern. However, better organisation will mean that I can get to bed earlier and catch those much-needed zzzs.

3) Minimise on Procrastination:

We’re all guilty of it, but I really am a first class procrastinator. When I have a to-do list as long as my arm, I’m too good at passing the time doing something arbitrary, as opposed to focusing on the task at hand. I could save a hell of a lot of time (and unnecessary stress) by getting it done straight away.

4) Make Time for People:

Living life at 1000 miles per hour means I all too often neglect spending time with those closest to me. So this year, I’m determined to spend more quality time with my loved ones. It’s all very well living out here in Dubai, but you’ve got to get out there and indulge yourself in all the city has to offer, if you want to make the most of your experience.

5) Content:

Last but certainly not least… Content, content, content. A blog without content really isn’t a blog at all, and I’ve been really slacking of late due to work commitments. So January is the month to get back on it, and hit you with some interesting info! Stay tuned…

The Big Move: Dubai

Hi friends. So, this post is a little different. I won’t bombard you with health-related information, and I’m not going to give you a recipe. Instead, this one is aimed at connecting with you lovely lot.

I’m currently on the lookout for a job as a Personal Trainer, but I’ll also be setting aside some time each week to work on my blog, and I’ll be more consistent with creating new content on here… I promise! If you’re looking for more regular updates, you can follow my adventure on Instagram (@charlotte_shelley), Snapchat (charshelley), or Twitter (@charlotte_shell).

I’m so excited to immerse myself within Dubai’s fitness industry. Judging by previous visits (and some top notch Instagram stalking), the health and fitness scene out there has much to offer. It’s pretty damn enticing for someone like me.

So, here comes the bit where I need your help… I don’t yet know many people in Dubai, so I’m looking to connect with others, and particularly those with an interest in health and fitness. Whether you may be a Personal Trainer, a blogger, or someone who just really loves a spin class, I would love love love to meet you.

We could train together, and maybe even teach each other a thing or two about fitness. If you want to get in contact, or perhaps you have a friend in mind that may be interested, either pop me a message on Instagram, or contact me on this email address: charlotteshelley1@gmail.com

Big love X

My Shopping List Staples

Shopping can be confusing at the best of times, especially when you’re trying to make healthy choices. I receive a lot of questions regarding nutrition, and I’ve already put together a rough food diary, which you can view here. I thought it would also be useful to create a list of my cupboard/fridge staples, to perhaps make your trip around the supermarket a little less faff. Here we go:

Fruit:

  • Bananas: I am quite literally bananas about bananas. I use them for everything – smoothies, baking, topping rice cakes and peanut butter. You name it, a banana can do it. Plus, they’re rich in potassium, and a source of quality carbohydrate, ideal either pre or post workout
  • Frozen Berries: buying your berries frozen means that you get a lot more bang for your buck… In more ways than one. When berries are frozen, their nutrients are sealed in, thus they maintain a higher nutritional value than their fresh counterparts, which have been bumped about during the journey from field to fridge. They’re also a lot less expensive, and last for ages in the freezer. Great for adding to smoothies, or topping your porridge
  • Avocado: you may be inclined to call it a vegetable because of its savoury taste. Butttt, avo is a fruit packed full of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, potassium and fibre. I start almost every day with the amusingly basic breakfast of eggs and avo, and I’m not bored of it yet

Veggies:

  • Sweet Potato: dense in vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron, sweet potato is a quality source of carbohydrate, with a valuable nutritional profile. Added bonus: it makes everything taste better
  • Cucumber: chop into sticks and munch alongside a fresh pot of hummus – you have the perfect snack! Did you know that cucumbers contain silica, the mineral responsible for promoting good nail-health? Well, you do now
  • Spinach Leaves: phytonutrient central, with anti-inflammatory properties. Spinach helps to maintain healthy eyesight, and its an absolute overall winner

Carbohydrates:

  • Oats: rich in beta-glucan – a dietary fibre known to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. I eat oats cold, soaked in water or Rude Health Brown Rice Milk
  • Rice Cakes: the ultimate versatile snack. Top with peanut butter and banana, cream cheese and veggies, tuna and mashed avocado… The possibilities are endless
  • Uncle Ben’s Wholegrain Rice: these microwaveable pouches are easy to cook, and oh so tasty. Great for when you’re in a hurry, and available in a variety of yummy flavours

Protein:

  • Salmon Fillet: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B12, selenium, niacin – the list goes on. The perfect protein-packed addition to any meal
  • Cod Fillet: a low calorie source of lean protein, dense in vitamins B6 and B12. Pair with sweet potato wedges, vinegar and homemade mushy peas to make your very own healthy fish and chips. Don’t mind if I do…
  • Eggs: the nutritional powerhouse, containing 13 essential vitamins and minerals, alongside a high nutrient and healthy fat content. I eat so many eggs that one day I may actually become one
  • Tinned Tuna in Spring Water: a readily available, affordable source of protein, and a great option for when you’re on-the-go. I opt for tuna in spring water, as opposed to oil, as this reduces calorie content

Snacks:

  • Fage 0% Fat Yoghurt: high in protein, low in fat. The ideal addition to a post workout smoothie, when fats should be kept to a minimum, to ensure rapid absorption of carbohydrates and protein into the body
  • Full Fat Greek Yoghurt: I buy both full and 0% fat yoghurt, to eat at different times of day. Mix 200g full fat Greek yoghurt with a handful of frozen berries, to create a tasty and filling snack
  • Meridian Peanut/Almond Butter: 100% nuts, enough said
  • Dark Chocolate: the darker, the more delicious… We’re talking 90% cocoa. If you can find raw cacao chocolate, that’s even better

This is by no means a fool proof, all-inclusive list, but I hope that it’s helpful nonetheless!

How to Stay Healthy Whilst Travelling

We know all too well that attempting to remain healthy whilst travelling can be a bit of a struggle. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that holidays are a time for indulgence, and I challenge myself to conquer the breakfast buffet as much as the next person.

That being said, constant overindulgence will leave you feeling groggy and de-energised in no time, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll also become a little grumpy. For this reason, I try to implement minor, healthy alternatives throughout the course of my holiday, in order to maintain a little bit of normality in my body.

Here are a few tips to help you stay on track whilst on holiday:

Avoid Plane Food: This stuff is just awful. Full of chemicals, preservatives, and a whole load of sodium, pre-packaged plane food is enough to leave anyone feeling unwell. Instead, find a more healthy option within the airport terminal to take on the plane with you. I tend to team a wrap or salad with a pot of fresh fruit and some nuts to snack on throughout the journey. If you’re really organised, another great option is to prepare your own food at home in advance.

Be Prepared: I’m the kind of person who eats a meal, and then gets hungry two-three hours later, whilst my family/friends are still full. To avoid any hunger-related meltdowns, pack snacks in your handbag/rucksack; this way, you’ll never be caught off guard. I tend to opt for something protein-based, as these snacks will keep you fuller for longer. My favourites are Grenade Carb Killa or Quest protein bars, and Upbeat smoothies.

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If You’re Going to Workout, Do it in the Morning: I’ve never been a fan of training on an empty stomach, so on holiday is the only time you’ll catch me in the gym pre-breakfast. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll squeeze in an afternoon workout, but the likelihood is, these plans will crumble. You won’t want to drag yourself away from the pool, and the pre-dinner drinks will be calling your name. Get up and get it done. Besides, what could be better than working out and then refuelling with a killer breakfast buffet? (arguably, the best feature of any holiday).

Be Cocktail Savvy: We all love a good piña colada, but with a similar calorie count to a light meal, it’s not an ideal drink of choice to have regularly. Although cocktails taste damn good, they tend to be full of sugar (and spice, and all things nice. I know, they’re hard to resist). Have a few, of course, but the trick really is moderation. I’m not saying don’t drink at all, but why not try switching up some of your cocktails for a vodka with soda and fresh lime? It’s a tasty, light and refreshing alternative, just minus (almost) all of the nasty stuff in those sugar-laden cocktails.

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Stay Hydrated: When spending time in the sunshine, it’s absolutely crucial that you’re taking on enough water. Dehydration impedes your body’s ability to undertake basic daily processes, and this includes metabolic function. Reduced calorie burn? No thanks, I’ll take the water. Adequate hydration will also assist your body in flushing out toxins, from the one-too-many drinks you may have consumed the night before.

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How to Ease the Pain of a Hangover

As I’m writing this post, I’m struggling with a very sore head. If I stand up too quickly, I feel dizzy and that awful hangover taste remains in my mouth no matter how many times I brush my teeth. My body hurts. Do you think I went out last night?

So I’m writing this post not only as an offering to you lovely lot, but also to myself. I want it to act as a bit of a reality check, that it’s okay to go out and have fun, drink a bit too much and act a little silly. The key is just not to make a habit of going too hard. You can’t live your life avoiding everything unhealthy, because you’ll end up missing out on loads of the fun stuff (that’s not to say that the gym isn’t fun… The gym is my favourite, but you get what I’m saying).

I purposefully didn’t name this post ‘How to Cure a Hangover’, because my honest opinion is that this horrendous feeling can’t be cured. So these are just a few handy tips that should help you feel a little better.

Water: I know, you’ve heard it before, but alcohol is a diuretic, which means it removes fluid from the body. Most of the symptoms of a hangover result from dehydration, so drink up. When I’m suffering from a sore head, I find plain water quite hard to drink. A great alternative is to add in a few slices of lemon/lime to spruce it up.

Get Outside: I appreciate that moving from your bed is probably the last thing you want to do, but getting outside into the fresh air will help you feel so much better. It’s the best way to clear your head, not to mention, it will take your mind off how rubbish you feel.

Avoid the Desire to Binge on Junk Food: I know it’s tempting, but if you’ve already put your body through a heavy night, you need to help it recuperate properly. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies. Bananas are a great option, because they’re full of potassium. They are also high in electrolytes, which your body will have lost as a result of consuming alcohol.

Don’t Have a Hair of the Dog: Whoever came up with this idea? Alcohol, the cause of your problems right now, as a potential solution? No thanks. Having more alcohol is always going to be a bad idea. It will only prolong that awful feeling your experiencing, so steer clear of this myth.

Sleep: Chances are, you’re probably already lacking on sleep from a late night. So if you’re feeling tired, have a nap. Just make sure you set your alarm, and don’t sleep through the whole day, otherwise it will be a nightmare getting to sleep when it’s actually time for bed.

I hope you find these tips useful!