dance, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, parenting, wellbeing

Clubbercise Mush Event

I know I should’ve written this way before now, but with it being the summer holidays and having two children to entertain, it’s often hard to find the time

But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, to wrap up the two weeks of promoting Mush – the free app for mums, I’d planned another Clubbercise event. I’d chosen the same venue as the previous one, as Flares as it is just the perfect venue for what I was looking for.

So after weeks of first of all getting myself in a right panic nobody would turn up, deciding what to wear and spending a small fortune on accessories and decs for the venue, the night was just brilliant. 

Along with Mel I arrived early to set up the venue. We thought having an electric pump, 45 minutes before the doors would open, would be more than enough time to inflate a variety of animals, palm trees, sharks and lilos and even a giant donut. However, the pump failed to do it’s job and I think we had our work out before it even began, by inflating them ourselves.  However, once done and put in place the venue looked ready for us to rock a Caribbean Neon party.

I think there was around 30 of us ravers who turned up in the usual neon, but this time with grass skirts, garlands and even flowery bras, to go with the Caribbean theme. 

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We were all just as rowdy and excited as the last event, and did our dance workout for around 45 minutes (I spent a lot of it taking pics/videos. Dancing wasn’t easy, and far too sweaty under a lot of pink and purple clip in hair pieces, a flower hairband and sunglasses)

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The girls were awesome, with their smiley faces, singing cheers and whoops. Seeing that alone made the night for me, as this is what it was all about – having fun with friends. And I know it’s always gonna be a good night with this crazy lot

The event itself definately ended on a high, with some of us even getting frisky with or riding on the ‘Dophin of Clubbalove’. You’re right Mel, Dave the Dolphin should to be your mascot and join us in every class.

We all stayed around for drinks afterwards, (like we were ever gonna just go home). My lovely friend Jeannie was lucky enough to have won us a VIP booth so there was 2 bottles of fizz and a giant Partini and a booth for us to sit and chat afterwards. We also decided rather than keep going to the bar, we’d all just order a cocktail jug for ourselves. So I was classy as always sat drinking 2 pints of Woo Woo, straight out the jug.

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We also found ourselve having a bit of a dance off with another group of girls in the VIP area, which is always fun. 

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I said from before I started my 5 weeks of marketing with Mush, I wanted to host an event which was all about forgetting about parenting duties for one night, letting our hair down, having a laugh, and remembering us mums can have fun too. Smashed it. Thank you girls all so much, for helping me do just that.

Thank you to Melanie once again for leading (and putting up with my often outlandish ‘Lou, we can not do that’ ideas), and Flares for their hospitality. The guys at Flares really are ace and could not do enough to help make us feel welcome, and the event a success. And they do awesome cocktails.

If you’re looking to make new mum friends, check out the app which can be downloaded via Play Store, and if you’re still to try Clubbercise, and think it may be the work out for you, click this link to find your nearest class.

Please excuse the poor quality of the video, but it’s from a Facebook Live

 

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anxiety, birth, depression, general, health, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, post natal depression, pregnancy, wellbeing

July and why and what’s next

So, just briefly, around 8 weeks ago I noticed a post on the Facebook page of a free app, Mush, looking to recruit mums around the UK to market the app in their area.

The app works similar to Tinder (I don’t even know if this is the best comparison) but without the creeps, and the sleeze (no offence if you’re loved up through Tinder and views/opinions my own). But it’s similar in how it connects mums with other mums in the area.

mush

The reason I wanted to get involved is I know too well how social isolation feels and it ain’t nice. I saw this as an opportunity to help mums sat at home feeling like I did for so many years, with hope of helping them turn their life around.

Over the last 4 weeks I’ve dropped flyers off at local childrens centres, maternity units, handed them to Teachers, Childminders, Midwives. I’ve felt like a super sleuth quickly dropping them in baby change/feeding areas (do you know how weird that looks without a baby?!), changing rooms and even ladies toilets (yes, I know – living the dream). I’ve stuck stickers on park benches, pic-nic tables, bus stops, attached posters to park railings, school gates. I’ve done interviews over the phone for Smooth Radio, The Chronicle and had an exciting morning at Metro Radio, sharing my experiences of how life changes once you have a baby. I wanted to highlight that as expected, you are filled with love, you do feel complete, you do feel blessed, you do feel joy, but you also lose yourself as you put this new little person first. You completely forget who you are and what you like. It takes forever to get ready to go out anywhere, so often don’t bother. You lose contact with friends, or turn down any invites to nights out, to the point your friends stop asking you. The days are long as they start super early, the nights are late and sleep is broken. These are the negative aspects we don’t seem to hear or read about and the devastating affect they can have upon your emotional wellbeing. So basically I progressed from wanting to promote an app, to highlighting issues in parenthood we tend not to talk about. The more taboo subjects if you like. I don’t do taboo. I’ll talk about anything and everything

Moving forward, I knew as part of this role I’d be expected to plan an event. This event would be an opportunity to bring more mums together and to mark the end of the 5 weeks as part of the Mush team. I knew I could organise a coffee morning at a local soft play, or a picnic in the park. But I decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted this event to be all about the mums. I wanted an event where the babies stay at home with Dad (you don’t see dads giving up their social life once baby arrives, right?) and the mums get some much deserved ‘me’ time. And I thought I’d throw an opportunity for a well deserved cocktail or two

So it’s in a pub. Out of the 50 Mush recruits, pretty sure I’m the only one to be hosting a piss up. But in my defence,  we’re not just meeting up for a Saturday night sesh in town. We’re Clubbercising first for an hour. We’re throwing on our gym gear and trainers, grass skirts (Caribbean theme) and coconut bras (not me, but my friend is) painting and glittering our faces and doing a dance work out, with our glow sticks, whistles and whoops to 90s to current day tracks on the lit up dancefloor of Flares. I can not wait and loving the prep I’ve been doing this week. I’m currently sat on the sofa with a blow up dolphin to the left of me, and giant banana and crocodile to the right. And a pile of lilos and rubber rings on the table.

We did this in May in aid of Radio Lollipop where I volunteer and it was such a good night, I could not miss and opportunity to do it all again.

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I want music, I want dancing, I want laughter and I want a night to hopefully remember. But most of all, I want a fun night with my friends. The girls who mean more to me than they probably know. It’s only Wednesday and I’ve already seen three of them this week. How awesome is that. I want other women who feel alone to realise that it’s never to late to rediscover yourself. To remember what you like, what makes you laugh, how it feels to have fun. But most of all, how important it is to have friends, as they could be a lifeline.

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And I was about to share some more exciting info, but I’m keeping that for a future blog. I’m keeping this one all about the Mammys, how awesome they are, how hard it can be and how they don’t ever have to do it alone.

For more info about my event click on this link

https://www.facebook.com/events/102859490355781/

And to download the Mush app

https://mushapp.app.link/zeSiqqr4mE

 

 

anxiety, autism, dance, depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, post natal depression, special needs, wellbeing

My postnatal depression story

I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I have trouble remembering the first two years of my sons life. I can not tell you at what age he got his first tooth, his favourite food as a baby, his first word or when he began to sleep through the night.  I’m not even sure of what age he took his first steps.

My second child, I can tell you all her milestones. I think that’s mainly due to the amount of times I’ve had to go over them with paediatricians, therapists, doctors. She has autism, and was finally diagnosed at age six just last year.

My youngest,  Emily. I know all her firsts. Mainly because I was extra vigilant looking out for any red flags we had with my eldest daughter.

Each pregnancy was different. All had the usual sickness and discomfort.  But my third pregnancy, I just wasn’t feeling those feelings you associate with pregnancy. The excitement,  the happiness, the eagerness. I didn’t really feel anything.

I brought my feelings (or lack of) up with my midwife whilst getting my bloods done. I was assured it was perfectly normal , due to hormones and it would all settle down probably by my next appointment.

Only it didn’t.  I didn’t take joy in shopping for baby clothes, I was in no rush to pack my hospital bag, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was emotionless.

I booked a 3D scan around the 32 week mark, hoping that would make everything feel more real, I don’t think it did. It was a wonderful experience, of course it was, but the sadness continued.

The years which followed my daughters birth in September 2011 were dark, very dark. I was dealing with the likelihood of my oldest daughter having autism, which was causing stress along with that lingering feeling of worthlessness. But before even falling pregnant with my daughter, I was dealing with body image issues. I hated my appearance to the point it was affecting my everyday life. These feelings got worse. I’d stay home all day unable to face the world, or I’d only leave the house when it was dark. I’d avoid mirrors and my reflection in windows. I’d panic if we had a party or wedding to go to. I hide away in the toilets to avoid any social interaction.  And my heart would pound and my  head spin if I saw anyone with a camera.

I’d apologise to my children, as small as they were and unable to understand, for being a useless mother. I’d tell them I loved them as the tears rolled down my face, and that I was doing my best. I’d ask my husband why he was with me and give him the option to leave, which always left him gobsmacked and confused.

I’d go to bed each night and secretly wish I wouldn’t wake up. I’d have dreams of living a life where I am happy and have friends around me, and wake up devastated when I realised they were just that. A dream

My husband found me a video on Youtube about the ‘Black dog’, and asked me to watch it. I did. I broke down and he told me to get help.

I went to my GP, told her my feelings and filled in a questionnaire. From that she gathered I had depression and extreme anxiety. I was referred to the Mental Health Team. Again. I was already in therapy before falling pregnant with Emily dealing with body image issues. Hence my panic when faced with the prospect of having my photo taken. I was a mess. An absolute broken mess

That was September 2013. From then on I had fortnightly visits from my Health Visitor. She didn’t come to pry or check up on me. She came to lend and ear aswell as advice and support, and I thanked her for that.

October 2013 I began attending well-being courses. I picked up techniques to deal with stress, become assertive and gain confidence.

Summer 2014 I had my first appointment with I think it was a life coach. She pretty much assessed me to see if she could help. She couldn’t. My condition was too extreme.  I was then referred to a clinical psychologist. Again

I met with my therapist every two weeks and I think I had around 10 sessions before I decided I felt ready to face the world alone once again.

I learned through these sessions I was suffering with post-natal depression, and that the depression had even grown DURING pregnancy. I found out through a quick glance at my notes at the doctors surgery as they came up on the computer screen during an appointment, that  I had been suffering with PND after the birth of my second child. I found out through a letter sent to my doctors and a copy to sent to me, that I’d even been suffering with PND after the birth of my first child way back in 1999. I had my son at 21 so I’d spent most of my adult life with depression. I genuinely thought I was just useless, unlikable, disgusting. I was non of those. I was depressed.

PND took away my memories of my first child growing from baby to toddler, it kept me indoors, it filled me with fear, took away my self-esteem and stripped me of my confidence

When the therapy ended, I took up blogging. I decided to chase my dreams and enrolled on a distance learning course. This both occupied my mind and my confidence began to grow. I‘ve taken up exercise, and spend most days either in a gym or an exercise class. I’ve made new friends. I even spend two hours on a Sunday night as part of a team for a local radio station. I’m still building up my confidence to become more involved, but I know I will. I know I can do it. I can do anything if I continue to believe in myself.

Over the months I’ve thrown myself into situations I would usually avoid. I’ve done things I could never imagine doing and I am in a place now where I have never been in before. A very good place and although I am an anxious person by nature, I have my anxiety under control and I will never let depression take over my life or steal my memories again.

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.

 

anxiety, dance, depression, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

What happened since my last blog..

So my last blog was an update of how my life has changed in a year since deciding to make a bit of a lifestyle change. I always planned to write it, but I didn’t actually sit down and plan what to write. I just knocked it up in about half an hour off the top of my head. I wrote a quick update and didn’t really think much of it. I actually thought ‘who even cares’?

But after I wrote it, and noticed people were actually reading, and sharing it, I felt kind of weird. I think it then sunk in that I’ve talked openly about my difficult times for a while now and I’ve done it not only for me, but for other people too. Right now, as I write this I’m still feeling like I’ve been given this thing called life and I’m still getting used to it. It’s like I’m adapting to freedom.

So, I feel I’m at the point now where I want to do a little bit more than just blog (although I’m know I’m not very consistent with that). Now I want to actually be there to help anyone who can relate to the feelings I talk about.

I want to offer hope, and encouragement and if I could help change someone, even just one person – to pull them out of that black hole I spent way too long in, that would be freaking amazing.

So, I want to reach out to as many people as possible living with mental illness and tell them YOU CAN BEAT IT. I know you can. Everyone can. I’m proof you can.

There are so many women who look in the mirror like I did and hate every single bit of what they see. Who believe they aren’t attractive because they have a tummy, or they have ‘cellulite’. I want to make them change their thoughts and understand that you ARE beautiful.

There are full-time mums sat at home with children all day who feel they’ve lost their sense of identity. Who feel they’re ‘just a wife and mum’. You aren’t. You’re more than that. You just need reminding

I want to find the women who struggle with anxiety. The ones who really want to go along to something new, but don’t yet have the courage to go it alone. And tell them to just bloody well go for it

I want to find the women who are experiencing loneliness, and bring them together. It is to me, the worst feeling in the world. Loneliness IS a soul destroyer.

I want to find the women who feel they want to improve their health and join a class or gym, but are hesitant that they ‘won’t fit in’, or worry they will ‘feel silly’, or even just don’t have anyone to go with. I want to tell them to forget all that and again, just GO FOR IT. Do it. Do it today (or tomorrow depending on what time I press the ‘publish’ button on this)

If I can reach out to anyone who lives near me, I’d happily accompany someone who wants to give the gym a go but has no one to go with. Or even bring them along to a class with me one night. I’d even pay for them because I personally believe that exercise is the answer to fighting anxiety and depression. I feel like exercise is what’s ‘found’ me. It’s the music, the dancing, the other girls, that feeling of just letting go for a while. It has given me a total mindset makeover.

I’ve actually found it better to go along to classess on my own. That way over time you find yourself chatting to the other girls rather than whoever you’ve gone along with and there is so much potential to make some amazing friends. I know this

And how do I plan to do this? Over the next few days I’m aiming to set myself the task of setting up a Facebook page aimed at women who can relate to any of the above together and we can all kick depression/anxiety/insecurities/lonliness  in the ass.

I want to do it because I mentioned the idea to my hubby and he keeps telling me to go for it and asking what’s holding me back (that would be the tiny bit of anxiety I do still have). Friends I’ve spoke to it about have been encouraging, and I’m experiencing that thing where everything around you seems to remind you of that something which you keep thinking about.

Every single person on this earth has so much potential, and so many reason to be happy. We just lose our vision sometimes and need a little help, encouragement and guidance to find that key which will unlock it. And when you do, life becomes just truely awesome.

 

 

anxiety, clean 9, dance, depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Making a lifestyle change – two years on

On National Fitness Day September 2015, I  blogged about the affects a lifestyle change was having on me. That was 4 months into the decision to try and change my life.

It’s now two years since I decided to make the change and live a healthier lifestyle, and thought I might give a little update.

Going back just over 2 years ago, I was in a very dark place. I had zero confidence – to the extent that some days, I even avoided leaving the house. I had really low self-esteem and a negative body image. I hated my appearance so much I ended up having weekly appointments with a Clinical Psychologist for CBT. That was way back in 2011, and what I believed was my last resort and attempt to break free from this awful feeling which was both ruling and ruining my life. However, 10 weeks in, the treatment was proving unsuccessful as I was making no progress, so the sessions came to an end.

My days were spent at home on my own. Just me and my youngest daughter. I couldn’t face taking her to soft play like other mums. I couldn’t handle the social anxiety I’d feel in toddler groups. I’d spend my days on my own.  The only people I would see week in week out was either family members, or my hubby. They were my only source of adult conversation, not that i had any conversation. I mean what can you talk about when you’re sat in your living room all day with a toddler.

I felt lost. I was lost. I didn’t know who I was, what I liked/disliked, or why I was even here. I felt empty, I felt drained and in pain. Mental pain

Then on Facebook I just happened to see something about a dance fitness class about to start in the area. I’d already heard about the new fitness trend and I was actually on the mailing list for one class, meaning I would get an email once a place in the became available. But every time I got that email, I made an excuse to myself why I couldn’t go. But this time, as nervous as I felt, I decided to go along to this new class and give it a try. I had absolutely no idea that by just making that small move, I was about to change my whole life.

Over the next few months I progressed from one class, to two and by august 2015, I was attending all 4 classes a week. In addition to that, I’d also started training once a week with a PT I’d had recommended to me. I’ve since had to stop the PT sessions for the moment, but go to the local gym two or sometimes three times a week.

I went along to the first class thinking I might drop a few dress sizes, since that’s what working out is all about, right? Obviously my body has changed shape, I’ve lost weight and I am stronger, both mentally and physically, but I don’ want to highlight the physical changes, I want to stress the mental changes.

Over the last two years my confidence has gradually grown. I’ve done things I never thought I could do. If I want to do something, anything, there’s no thinking about what could go wrong, or doubting myself. I just go for it.

I can’t even remember the last time i felt ‘depressed’. I may have had a few bad days, who doesn’t? But the depression, those horrible dark days where I just did not want to get out of bed in the morning, they’ve gone. The anxiety, the inability to even some days go shopping as I just didn’t want anyone to even look at me, that’s gone too. The massive void I had in my life where most people have friends, that’s been filled. I have made so many friends throught Clubbercise, and as new girls come to class, I’m making more all the time. And our friendships don’t just stay within the classes. We see each other quite often. We go out for lunch, we’re in contact via messenger, I spend days during school holidays with Melanie (our instuctor) and we go out with our children, we go to each others houses, we have nights out. I can safely say these girls have been my saviour

By making that small but to me brave decision to go along to a fitness class a year ago, my whole life has completely changed and I now I have everything I’ve ever dreamed of.

 

 

 

clean 9, dance, depression, diet, excercise, forever living, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Clean 9 – 8 weeks on

BY LOUISE SHARP | August 17, 2015

On June 22, I started something which I didn’t really realise would have such an impact on my life. After years of failed and half-hearted attempts of dieting, I began a 9 day detox. I documented each day on my blog, sharing what I’d ate, and how I felt at the end of every day.

It’s now almost 8 weeks since I completed the cleanse, and I thought that I’d provide readers with an update.

Like whilst doing Clean 9, my meals are still all fresh and cooked from scratch. I have fish at least once per week and chicken around three times. I no longer eat sandwiches for lunch but wholewheat pasta or soup. I’m also wary of how much water I’m drinking, and fill a water bottle up several times a day, so I know I’m not dehydrated like I was before. I’m finding that I don’t really do any snacking now, but I always have fruit in the house just in case I do feel a little hungry between meals.

I have gone from being an absolute chocoholic, who could eat a big bar of Dairy Milk each night, to eating no chocolate at all. In 8 weeks I’ve had two small packets of Maltesers and a melted Bournville on a pancake. Chocolate, crisps, fizzy drinks, biscuits just aren’t part of my diet now. I don’t want them and I don’t crave them. I did however, celebrate my son’s 16th birthday just two days ago and I had a small slice of cake. I also took my two daughters to a newly-opened ice cream parlour last weekend and I enjoyed the most amazing waffle, but these were special occasions and I’ve been extra active this week in order to work off the extra calories.

Just before I did the detox I had stated going to a Clubbercise class every Friday night, which I still go to, but I decided that one night per week just wasn’t enough, and I now go on Sunday mornings too. So no more sitting around the house in my pyjamas trying to find the energy to get dressed. I wake up, put on my leggings, neon top and trainers, grab my glow sticks and water and I’m dancing to club hits by 9.30am. I thought it was a great way to start the weekend on a Friday night, but it’s an even better way to start a Sunday morning.

In addition to this, a friend told me that her and three other girls do a session with a personal trainer once per week and asked if I wanted to go along and see what it’s like and possibly join their group. I went to meet the trainer and spent 20 minutes in the gym just to get an idea of where my fitness levels are currently at. As the other girls have been going for some months now, it was advised I do some catchup sessions first. I have my first session next week, which I’m both excited and nervous about. I guess it’s perfectly natural to be nervous about starting something new, but I can’t wait to see and feel the results.

I even really pushed my boundaries a few weeks ago by getting involved with a charity Clubbercise event. 75 of us eager neon-clad ravers filled a nightclub for an incredible hour and a half class… and we had fun, so much fun whilst raising money for a charity close to the hearts of the instructors. I’m looking forward to doing another in October; especially since I hear it is a Halloween special.

But that’s still not enough exercise for me. I feel I have loads more energy now which I need to burn, so I’m hoping to join yet another dance class one night per week, which is starting up in September. So I’ve gone from doing no exercise at all to two – potentially three – classes per week and sessions with a personal trainer.

I suffer from depression and low moods, and feel that I always will because it is part of me, but now I’m in control and I haven’t felt as happy in years as I have over the last two months. I wake up bursting with energy. I keep myself busy during the day with my studying and writing, which I’m finding much easier as even my concentration seems to have improved. My husband has said he has seen such a change in me; not only in appearance as I continue to lose weight, but also in my mood. He said that I look happier and my outlook on life is so much more positive. I’m aware that this new positive energy will also be felt by my kids, which is great. They don’t need to see their mum feeling sad any more or hear me say negative words about myself. They need a happy mum, with confidence, passion and full of energy, and they’ve got that at last.

I haven’t continued with any Forever Living products unfortunately, mainly due to cost, but I do drink Aloe Vera Gel three times a day, which I buy from a health food shop as it is slightly cheaper. My energy levels are still through the roof, and I’m finding drinking more water curbs any hunger during the day. So for those reasons I feel I that don’t need any supplements. I will however, be doing Clean 9 again after Christmas, as I know that there will be a few indulgences over the festive period. It may be an expensive detox, but it is worth every penny if it changes your life the way it has mine.

I can categorically say that doing Clean 9 is one of the best things I have ever done. It has changed my life, without a doubt. Sticking to the plan gave me a taste of what healthy living can feel like. It showed me that I don’t need to overeat, or comfort eat. Comfort eating is what was contributing to my negative feelings about myself and low self-esteem. I dealt with negative emotions by eating high calorie sugary snacks, which tasted good at the time, but was doing so much damage to my body (and mind). It was exercise I needed. It’s exercise which makes you feel good and lifts your mood. Exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand because what’s the point in exercising then undoing all of your hard work with fatty, stodgy foods.

I no longer look in the mirror and hate what I see, or even avoid mirrors altogether. I see a work in progress and a happy person for the first time in years

(Origionally published in Cultnoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction. https://www.facebook.com/cultnoise)

dance, depression, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, wellbeing

Fitness Review – Clubbercise

BY LOUISE SHARP | June 19, 2015

So after spending the last couple of months of 2013 and most of 2014 working on ‘the inside’ and after going though mentally challenging times, I decided that 2015 was going to be the year that I started to work on the outside. It’s now June and apart from dyeing my hair ‘Blackcurrant’ and updating my summer wardrobe, I haven’t done much to change. I want to be slim, toned and healthy. However there is one vital problem, like an awful lot of people, I hate gyms. I hate them with a passion.

After forking out around £300 to join the local ladies gym nearly six years ago, I reluctantly dragged myself there most nights for less than a month, making excuses to never again return. My nights were simply too busy, what with all the time spent watching tv and eating jaffa cakes. To be fair though I even gave the ridiculous (aptly named) ‘Insanity’ a half-hearted whirl a year ago, but found that I was literally gasping for breath after just 30 seconds of sprinting on the spot.

But then I heard about Clubbercise, a new rapidly growing fitness trend which seems to be taking the UK by storm, who claim to bring ‘a night out to your workout‘.  A keen clubber in my twenties, but now having other commitments and rarely having the time to go out, usually at home with my pajamas on by 10, I decided to give it a go. I tracked down the nearest class, and made the self promise to actually attend. night arrived, I threw on the black leggings and neon top, dug out the trainers and rocked up at the venue, a local scout hut. Being a Friday night made it the perfect start to my weekend.

As I walked in I was pleasantly surprised to see thirty to forty other neon clad females, aged from as young as fifteen to those who were probably in their forties. I paid for the class (a bargain £2, a half price offer), purchased my pink disposable glowsticks and before I knew it the room sank into darkness. Laser and disco lights filled the room, and I took my place (at the back of course).

This was actually the first session of a new class, so most of us were new to Clubbercise. After a brief introduction and being told to go at our own pace, the tunes began and within the next hour I had burned up to 600 calories dancing about to 90s classics such as the rave tune ‘Set you Free’ and to the recent beat of ‘Up Town Funk’. The hour passed in no time, and ended with us all winding down to stretch it out while also singing along to an upbeat version of ‘Man in the Mirror’. I felt great. Sweaty and hot, but fantastic. I left the venue feeling like I’d left a club, yet only sober.

The next morning I awoke only slightly feeling the burn. I surprisingly felt full of energy and on a bit of a natural high from the night before, only without the hangover. I eagerly went along to a different class the following Monday, but this one had been going a while and I was the newby amongst a group of regulars who already knew all the moves to Sigmas ‘Nobody to Love’. I didn’t and caused an injury. I’ve only made it back to one more class with having other things happening on a Friday night the past couple of weeks, but I will be there this week and I’m determined to make this a regular thing.

If you tend to feel intimidated by the usual aerobics, fitness classes and gyms like I do, and would rather  dance like nobody is watching, then Clubbercise can most definitely be your thing. And after watching the video above, who wouldn’t want to give it a go?

anxiety, diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting

Man Down

Things have been a little bit hectic since my last blog. My hubby has been poorly and a trip to his doctors Thursday morning led to an overnight stay in hospital, and an emergency op that night. I had to stay at home with the kids so I had a really anxious day waiting for news. He went straight to the hospital from the doctors with a very low phone battery and no charger. Meaning contact was going to be very brief. Until a nurse realised the situation Friday morning and kindly gave him a charger.

So I spent two days last week at home on my own with the kids. Feeling very worried and stressed. I didn’t really eat anything for those two days. Being anxious I had no appetite at all.

But he’s recovering really well and feeling much better now, but will be off work for a few weeks unfortunately, due to the nature of his job.

We obviously missed a PT session, and I couldn’t go my Thursday Clubbercise double. However, I did make it Friday night. I needed that hour and as it was a later class. the kids were ready for bed when I left so it was no problem for Andrew. I was able to go Sunday morning, too. I’m not sure how much the class did for me physically as my head wasn’t really with it and I don’t feel I put my all into the routines, but it definitely helped relieved some of the anxiety.

So, whilst Andrew recovers, there will be no gym for at least 4 weeks. I know I could go alone, but he’s my training partner and it doesn’t feel the same without him. And with him being off work we need to cut back on spending for a bit. Obviously I’m still going to be going to Clubbercise. I don’t just go to burn calories, I go for fun and I need that. It’s my sanity (and social life).

This last week has really got me thinking about the importance of being in good health. I was worried sick when Andrew told me he would be put under a general anesthetic during surgery. Obviously any medical procedure carries a risk, but luckily he had the fact he is well within the healthy BMI range, physically fit, and a non smoker or drinker on his side. Had he been overweight, unfit, a heavy drinker and smoker, he would have been at major risk of complications during surgery and be looking at a much longer recovery period

With all this in mind, my ‘diet’ this week has became even stricter. I feel my focus is less about the outside and more about the inside. I’m far more concerned about my health than my appearance now. I don’t want to be at risk of any kind of illness or conditions now or in the future. I want to be in the best physical health I can be for my children, and my husband.

I’m now making extra effort to make every single meal from scratch. No cereal for breakfast, no bread, no convenience cold pasta meals picked up for lunch time from the supermarket. I’ve spent so many hours in the kitchen this week, making and preparing meals.

An average day now consists of eggs, scrambled or poached, wholewheat pasta, chicken (even to snack on), protein shakes if I’m struggling for protein or after exercise, fresh fish, brown rice, veg, lots of veg.

pasta

chicken

 

salmon

But NO shop bought ‘healthy’ snacks. You know the kind. The ‘low fat’ crisps, biscuits, cakes. No justifying a bar of chocolate with ‘I’ve done 4 hours exercise this week’.

I made chocolate protein brownies today. They didn’t turn much like brownies. I think I may have followed the recipe wrong and they turned out slightly too gooey to turn into anything other than a splodge. But a chocolate splodge. A really tasty chocolate splodge.

mix

splodge

So after my many failed attempts of a diet, I know I have got this now. My aim isn’t to ‘look good for summer’. It’s to be healthy all year round and for the rest of my life

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diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, mental health, parenting, special needs, wellbeing

So I clearly can’t blog daily. But I’ve had a really hectic weekend. My hubby spent all day yesterday in hospital after feeling ill most of this week. He’s had a virus, but by saturday morning it was getting worse so he thought it best to go get checked out.

Obviously having two young children, I had to stay at home with them. There was no phone signal at the hospital, or wifi so I couldn’t get in touch with Andrew to find out what was happening and he couldn’t contact me, so I had an anxious few hours. I did the one thing that’s really not a good idea and googled his symptoms, then started to fear meningitis.

Oh and the central heating decided it wasn’t gonna work, so I had that to stress about too.

But thankfully he’s feeling much better today, but it feels a bit like we haven’t really had a weekend as he’s spent most of thisafternoon in bed. And I had a lonely saturday night infront of the tv with no one to talk to :o(

I hardly ate with stressing out yesterday, which i know isn’t good, but I have today.

We’re also having a diffucult time with my oldest daughter since returning to school. For anyone reading this who hasn’t read my blogs about her, she was diagnosed with autism last year. The diagnosis wasn’t a shock, we expected it. But she can be quite a handul, and her younger sister copies her behaviours so it’s often like having two children on the spectrum.

Jessica lives her life at a million miles and hour and want’s everything done instantly. She’s ready for school each morning an hour and a half before transport even arrives to collect her. And Christmas morning, she asked at 7.30am if Christmas was finished yet, and if it’s Valentines day next? Not sure why a 7-year-old would even be interested in Valentines day, but it’s Jess and she loves occassions.

She did seem to calm down and stop the demanding and shouting, and running around the house over the holidays, but she’s back to being her hyperactive self since going back to school. So it can get a bit mentally exhausting. If it wasn’t for having things in my life now which I enjoy and keeps me sane, I hate to think how I’d be feeling tonight.

I’ve done the usual 4 Clubbercise classes this week, my last one being thismorning, and it’s great to be back. I have found them more tiring than I usually do, particularly the first one on thursday, but I’ll get my energy levels back up again in no time (hopefully)

I’ve ate nothing I shouldn’t have this weekend, absolutely nothing, which I’m really pleased about. It’s so easy to justify something fattening just because it’s the weekend.

So this weekend has threw things at me which I may have resolved in the past with overeating. I didn’t sleep too well last night worrying about Andrew, but I was still up and ready for Clubbercise at 9.30 thismorning. I knew if I didn’t go, I’d only lounge about, and then regret not going, and feel crap.

So here’s hoping for a better week.