general

Fundraising, Fun and Friendships

One thing which I am really enjoying at the minute, is meeting new people. Which is pretty strange as it was the one thing I’ve always avoided doing. That and going to any kind of social events. The very thought of a party coming up which I knew I would have to go to, would set off my anxiety and fill me with panic.This is no longer the case as I’ve gradually grown in confidence, and I now enjoy a good party as much as anyone.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, a new girl came along to one of our Clubbercise classes. She, along with the help of our instructor Mel, was to host an event in aid of a charity very close to her heart, Marie Curie. I love a Clubbercise charity event and have been along to all but one. I knew this one was going to be extra fun, as with it being October, it was Hallowe’en themed.

I got to know Debra more and found out her story behind why she supports and volunteers with Marie Curie. I’m not going to go into it in this blog, as it isn’t my story to tell. But I will say that Debra is an incredibly strong, inspirational young lady.

I thinks it’s fair to say the build up to the event filled us all with excitement. Sharing ideas of what we were planning to dress up as and really pushing the event on social media in hope of raising as much as possible for such an amazing cause.

Saturday arrived, and I think we all spent the day feeling eager to throw on our outfits and face paints. Yes, we are all adults but we do enjoy dressing up and exchanging ‘Have you started doing your face yet’? messages.

I arrived early to help decorate the venue with all things spooky, and really felt the buzz in the room as fellow clubbers began to arrive. There is always such an atmosphere during all classes (and this is almost a year and a half on since they began), particularly a Friday as it’s the start of the weekend, but this was magnified.

Clubbers began to rock up at the venue, and I think a few of us were a little confused as to who was who under the layers of neon paint and vibrant outfits, which were all freakishly awesome. From skeletons, to witches, to a blood covered Alice in Wonderland, and with the addition of UV lights, everybody  was glowing.

The hour kicked off with one of the Halloween tracks Mel added to the class and we’ve been dancing to over the weeks leading up. Then as further tunes played we really got into it. You could really feel such a vibe which only got better as the night went on

 

And the highlight for me had to be one of the best club classics and I think a popular favourite among the group of, ‘Set You Free’. It’s a real sing your heart out track and is often in Mels playlist on a Friday as she runs about the class and in this instance in her ghostly get up complete with white dance ribbon.

I must admit that I didn’t do a ‘proper’ work out, but with plans to go out with a few of the girls afterwards, I didn’t want to be a sweaty mess. Not that it has stopped me before on the previous occasions we’ve gone from class for a few sociables. But I was also obstructed with the most irritating eye mask (I was moonlighting as Catwoman), and it’s not exactly practical or my best idea to dance about with my hair down either. But I would still say I earned the few glasses of fizz we had afterwards.

jane

jeannie

Not sure about the pizzas we had before heading home, though.

The whole night was just brilliant. A huge success and not only was money raised for such a worthy cause, but it was great to feel that sense of community. People coming together, having fun and once again the reminder that I’ve met some amazing girls who I am so very grateful to have in my life. I hope they feel it too.

Header image by Stephen Waugh

 

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general

Why I use social media to talk so openly about mental health

#worldmentalhealthday

The Media Mum

Over the past few years I have made no secret of Jessicas condition, and both spoken and wrote about it quite openly. Over the past few months I have started to do this about mental health conditions which affect my life, mainly depression and anxiety.  Two of many conditions which are sadly still a taboo making sufferers choose to keep to themselves for fear of being judged, shunned, avoided, or ignored. For some reason, mental illnesses are marginalised, written off as excuses, or completely ignored. I don’t like this so choose to speak openly about anything which affects my life and I want to explain why

I want to challenge stigma, discrimination and negative attitudes to mental health.

One in four people in the UK will suffer from mental health problems in their lifetime, but despite its prevalence, stigma remains one of the biggest challenges that people with mental…

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dance, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle

Class review – Pound Fitness

Forever on the look out to try something new at the minute, I came across POUND. A  fitness trend coming from Los Angeles, which after watching a YouTube demo, I just knew I had to try. I get to step into the role of a clubber/dancer four times a week, now I’d like to be a drummer.

POUND is a full body cardio jam session which fuses cardio, Pilates, isometric movements, plyometrics and isometric poses, burning  between 400 and 900 calories per hour.

It both strengthens and sculpts infrequently used muscles, as you drum your way to a leaner, slimmer physique whilst rocking out to a wide range of tracks from rock to current chart.

All you have to do is grab a pair of fluro green sticks, and let rip.

In case you’re wondering ‘how can a pair of drumsticks give you a good workout’?- the purpose of the sticks is distraction. NOBODY likes doing squats or lunges, right? Add a funky beat to pound along to with the 1/4lb each sticks and it takes a boring workout to a whole new level.

The other benefit of drumsticks (known as ‘ripsticks’) is that they force you to go much lower into your squats, stretches and reaches than you otherwise would, as the idea is to actually hit the floor with your sticks. Again, without really thinking about the fact that you’re squatting really deep. You’re just getting those sticks where they need to be when they need to be there.

During the class I found the choreo got progressively more complex (as you would expect), and gained speed, but I found the routines quite easy to pick up, got into a groove and actually lost track of time (to the point that three classes in and I’m still not sure if we’ve been rocking out for 45 minutes, or an hour).

I was rather hot and sweaty just two or three tracks in, and really started to feel the burn as the squats became more frequent, but surprisingly I actually found my brain was too busy trying to keep up with the drumming sequence to even realise I was squatting or lunging. The inventors of Pound call this strategic distraction. Which is pretty fricking genius

But it’s not just the arms and legs which get a workout, it’s the abs too at you sit legs in front of you slightly risen, stomach pulled in, back lifted working your abs to stabilise whilst you drum frantically from side to side.

I returned the following week, and again the week after. And it’s now my Monday night thing.

As mentioned above, I’ve done three classes now and I’m finding both my coordination and speed improving, and I’m really noticing and becoming more aware of the beat in music now, which I’m also finding is even improving my Clubbercising.

No matter what age you are, where your fitness levels are at, whether you’re male or female, if there is a POUND class near you and you like exercising to music (I can’t exercise without), and up for trying something new, I’d definitely give Pound a go.

I’ve actually just discovered another ‘coming soon’ dance fitness programme thismoring. Shanu T’s ‘CIZE’. I NEED to try this.

 

dance, general, health, health and fitness, mental health, wellbeing

WARNING – Things THAT will happen to you when you start to exercise

It’s just gone 2 years since I went out and purchased my first pair of trainers since school (I’m not even joking), threw on the leggings, bit the bullet and ventured into the world of ‘fitness’.

So if anyone is thinking of doing the same, I should highlight some of the changes, in both body and mind, you can expect to experience.

These aren’t a load of scientific facts I’ve googled and threw together, but all based on personal experience.

First off, expect to feel an increase in energy. You know when you find it really difficult to get up in the morning, particularly in the winter? You’ll find yourself waking up rearing to go. Especially if it’s a class day. And if that is the case, you’ve probably went to bed the previous night excited for morning. I mean who actually looks forward to 6am? That’ll be me

Your physical co-ordination will improve, helping you navigate even the most cluttered of tasks or busy crowds like the ninja you are

You’ll find yourself feeling good. Like really really good, less stressed and so much more relaxed. That’s the beauty of serotonin

You’ll gradually notice you are feeling so much more confident. You know all the things you wish you could do, but believe you can’t? The things you’d love to try but worried you’ll be no good at? The changes you’d like to make in life but are held back by the ‘what ifs’? You’ll do them. Because you’ll have the self-belief and confidence to have a go at absolutely anything you desire. And if it doesn’t work out as planned – you won’t care because at least you’ve given it a go

Your wardrobe will change. I have way more gym gear than ‘normal’ clothes. Barely any of them fit and I prefer to stick to black or gray, but I saw, I liked, I bought, and I’m sure they will at some point. Trainers will become the new heels. Especially if you go out for a few sociables after class. It happens

You’ll experience a sense of pride as your self-esteem begins to rise as you set and smash those goals you will start to set. Some fitness related, some not. Whether it’s to run a mile, fit into a pair of jeans or go along to a new class. There is no better feeling than that of achievement and you’ll reach a point where you believe you can have a go at pretty much any thing, although it’s important to not become too delusional. Don’t think after two weeks of pumping iron you’re ready to fly a plane. Keep it real

You’ll meet new people. People you’ll strike up friendships with, as you’ll all share a common interest and passion. Friends you’ll look forward to seeing, who cheer each other on, lift each other up and will play a special part in your life.

You’ll start to care so much less about what others think of you. As your confidence grows, so does a layer of thick skin which any unwanted negative comments you may unfortunately find being thrown your way, just can not cut through. There will be no room for negativity in your life. Good vibes only, people

In addition to all the above, your body will inevitable change. Not only will you be losing the pounds, your shape will change. You’ll notice you look and feel toned as muscle starts to form (especially if mixing weights with cardio).

So unless you want to feel utterly fabulous, completely change your mindset and open doors to a whole new you, you best avoid the gym and all the funky new fitness classes I just can not get enough of