How 1 year of KOBOX changed my body and brain!

I actually can’t believe that I had my first ever Kobox class in October last year. If you happen to have stumbled across my instagram, you’ll know it’s an essential part of my week – and most days! I wrote this post after a few months of Kobox, and everything I said is still true. (I also had a chat with the Kobox Brand Director here, if you fancy nosing around the careers section of this site!)

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It’s worth reiterating that nothing I’ve ever written about Kobox has been sponsored or in exchange for free classes. Although full disclosure Ollie did give me a pair of Team Brown Bear wraps, but that’s just because he’s a babe. True – I bang on about Kobox A LOT but that’s because I CHOOSE TO and I personally pay for the privilege!

New KOBOX Marylebone studio

Today, they’re launching a brand new studio in Marylebone (COME TO THE LAUNCH PARTY AT 7PM! Check their instagram here for details! And classes begin on Saturday) and I attended a Chelsea class this morning, my 94th every class… nearly at that 100 milestone!

And I wanted to write this post because I’m not the kind of person you’d imagine boxing. People are always surprised I even watch it on TV too. But that’s the beauty of Kobox – they’re a studio that opens boxing up beyond just blokes with balls big enough to hop into a ring and get punching no questions asked, and guarantees EVERYONE can have a great time and get results, regardless of your background or experience – fancy-ass pro or boxing newbie.

What makes KOBOX so good?

The trainers are all super knowledgable and passionate but most importantly they’re just f*cking great human beings. No massive egos. No intimidation. Just people who give 110% energy every time, and will chat with you after a class over a shake, dunk biscuits in their tea in the middle of class occasionally (OK so that was just Antoine aka. @PTDunn!) or take the piss out of you on instagram… literally, the best, most down to earth bunch you can find… but they’re the bloody BEST at what they do.

So if you’re nervous about trying it, really, really don’t be. It might be the best thing you ever do! It’s absolutely changed my relationship with my body and brain – I can’t even imagine life without it.

How KOBOX changed my body… and brain!

(& I’ll share a transformation pic once I’ve completed my 100th class!)

Finally found my fitness peak

I’m now the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been thanks to full on beastings that target all areas of the body.

New skills & strength

I can do things I couldn’t even do before like push ups on my toes (literally I used to not even be able to do ONE!), wall handstands and planks (my arms would’ve given out before!) and crazy primal sequences that get the body doing what it’s designed to do (if you go to Miranda’s #fuckedupFridays – you KNOW!)

Transformed into a morning person (the IMPOSSIBLE happened!)

I’ve gone from being someone who could never get up in the mornings to VOLUNTARILY getting up at 6.30am to get my Kobox fix!

Improved mental health

I also now use it as a big part of managing my depression (which I’ve suffered with for over 20 years!) and I genuinely think it makes as much of a difference as medication. But wherever you’re at with mental health, I guarantee battering a bag ALWAYS makes you feel better!

Best relationship with my body

And for the first time in my life, after a long time of eating disorders and generally just a bad relationship with my body, I now love it for what it can do, and am completely comfortable in my skin. I don’t give a f*ck about weight anymore.

Boosted motivation and drive

It has also transformed the way I train and my motivation levels – I now WANT to go harder, or do more reps than I could before, and I’m so much more disciplined and able to push myself to the next level.

How can you join?

Check out their website here and get yourself booked into a class. They have studios in Chelsea, City and Marylebone. There’s a great offer of £25 for 2 classes and free hand wraps, or you can try a city single class for £10 at weekends (in City only).

The trainers also do one to ones and I was lucky enough to win a session on the pads with the legend Ian Streetz in Jan which was amaaaaaazing and I’d 100% recommend it – check out his website here.

PS…

They’re doing a really cool Halloween FRIGHT CLUB that I can’t make it to, but you 100% should because it sounds awesome and I’m just gonna have to live vicariously through you guys… check their insta @kobox and website for more details.

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Photo by Stephan Müller on Pexels.com

B xox

 

 

Live Well With Louise: An Honest Review of the Made In Chelsea star’s new health book

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Photo credit: Live Well with Louise imagery from www.amazon.com

Louise Thompson was initially best known for her role in pseudo-reality TV show, Made in Chelsea, but now arguably she’s equally well known for her abs so impressive you could grate cheese on them! The pocket rocket is also one of the founders of Pocket Sport, a luxe fitness clothing brand.

Louise never looked unhealthy but admits to having all kinds of issues, not least with her relationship with alcohol. Subjected to public scrutiny in the extreme, she ended up suffering with anxiety and having very poor self-image.

Her brand new book Live Well with Louise documents her journey, from struggling with body image and unhealthy habits to transforming her mindset, ditching the booze binges and loving workouts and healthy food.

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It also contains recipes, and workout routines (approved by her PT boyfriend Ryan Libbey (also of MIC fame!), of course!)

So… what’s the low-down? Yet another unqualified celebrity book, or worth a read?

The Verdict

What could have been just another celebrity offering diet advice is actually a relatable, down-to-earth account of an unhealthy relationship with health, to a total transformation which yes, while it’s very aesthetic and ‘abs-y’ also conveys the important message that health, taking care of your body, good nutrition and MOVEMENT can be cool… and that binge-drinking and hangxiety are actually not all they’re cracked up to be.

While your average girl or guy can’t relate to being a celeb, I personally relate SO HARD to Louise’s use of alcohol for confidence, and going a bit too hard in my teens to early twenties.

Louise’s transformation from non-stop ‘ragers’ as she calls them where she’d drink so much she’d black out, to a healthier focus on fitness and health with the occassional social red wine with friends and family at dinner parties or with a cracking Sunday roast is something all of us who went to uni, damaged our livers and need a kick up the butt in terms of healthy living can relate and aspire to!

The recipes

Here I was dubious – on opening the book I thought here we go, another book by a non-nutritionist purporting to give dietary advice… But she doesn’t! She openly states she’s not a nutritionist but openly shares what has worked for her. She goes by what I feel is a very simple and similar philosophy to my Harley Street Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert. Louise advocates filling half your plate with veggies (rainbow, variety, you got this!), quarter with complex carbs (ideally without the beneficial fibre stripped out, so rather than white bread and rice go for wholegrains, legumes, brown rice, sweet potato…) and a quarter with lean protein.

YES PEOPLE, LOUISE THOMPSON EATS CARBS AND STILL HAS A STUNNING, LEAN PHYSIQUE. I am so happy to see celebrities endorsing healthy, balanced meals and helping combat the media myth that carbs are bad. (See my stance on carbsand why they’re essential here!)

Louise’s recipes are surprisingly varied, and there are tonnes of them!

It’s not a slim and flimsy book with a couple of dinner ideas – it’s jam-packed with tasty, balanced meals, and YES it includes desserts and dinner party appropriate dishes!

The recipes are easy to follow, and the photography is gorgeous.

The workouts

I did feel this section could have been more extensive, but the circuits are decent with beginner, intermediate and advanced options, and approved by her PT boyf.

Louise breaks down each move for anyone who’s new to exercising, with clear photographs and descriptions of how to execute the movement, and tips for upping the intensity if it gets too easy.

All in all, while there aren’t loads of options, her 11 minute ab blast is great, and then she offers 3 circuits – easy, medium, and hard – which are enough to get you started, and you can always use her book as  a base to create your own.

Best of all, they’re do-able from home, no gym or super-fancy equipment required!

Overall?

Definitely worth it for Louise’s personal story, and the recipes… and I do love her ab routine, so I’d say it’s worth the (affordable and fairly small!) investment.

Hope that helps!

B xoxo

LegallyBooked – HEART BERRIES -Bookclub Pick #2

35840657.jpgSorry it’s been a while – I’ve been so busy reading I forgot about sharing exactly what I’m reading!

I’ve read a lot of really awesome stuff recently, but I reeeeeaaaaally had to share this one with you next.

Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot

I’ve taken a summary of the book from Goodreads as it’s a pretty good introduction to jump in with:

“Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.”

This book is an unusual one but it’s absolutely incredible. I don’t know how well you know Sylvia Plath but there’s a line she writes that ‘the blood jet is poetry’. This book brings that to life because my god, the blood jet really is poetry. Heart Berries is incredibly raw, vivid, almost Plath-ian and ‘confessional’, but its also so refined, carefully crafted and wrought, so the intimacy isn’t just dumped on you or exposed, but painstakingly built into art.

The vivacity, brutality and pure honesty of both language and content is refreshing – sometimes hit-you-in-the-face loud, and sometimes so subtle.

It’s not an easy read but the rhythm of her writing and the way she weaves words and disjointed syntax together is something you eventually fall into. Mailhot pushes the emotion via both content AND craft, into your very bones.

I love the way she writes about life, love, motherhood, mental illness, and she takes genres of abuse narrative and Native American writing and makes them hers, simultaneously defying and transcending claddification. This book shatters any box that could try to contain it.

Mailhot rejects white culture’s exoticised conceptions (a la Said’s Orientalism) of Native American mysticism but doesn’t disown those aspects of her culture – she just strips out the whites’ imposition of romanticism and mystical tropes and crafts her own magic with clarity and authenticity and a very personal, sometimes wavering, poignant yet strong voice.

One of my favourite quotes in the book is:

“In white culture, forgiveness is synonymous with letting go. In my culture, I believe we carry pain until we can reconcile with it through ceremony. Pain is not framed like a problem with a solution. I don’t even know that white people see transcendence the way we do. I’m not sure that their dichotomies apply to me.”

I can’t recommend this read enough! If you’re not already sold, I also recommend reading Roxane Gay’s review of it – it’s brilliant!

“Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here, is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small. She writes of motherhood, loss, absence, want, suffering, love, mental illness, betrayal, and survival. She does this without blinking but to say she is fearless would be to miss the point. These essays are too intimate, too absorbing, too beautifully written, but never ever too much. What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined, testament.”
Roxane Gay, author – Review of Heart Berries 

B xoxo

Top 10 reasons to join the next KOBOX Fight Club: Review & all your q’s answered!

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So I suppose I have to say #sorrynotsorry for the Fight Club spam last week…! (and also a special thanks to the instructors who made my Fight Club INSANE – Miranda, Ian & Jacob THANK YOU FOR AN EPIC WEEK!).

I’ve made no secret of how much I love Kobox – the workout, the incredible instructors (literally never been to any gym or boutique fitness concept where the calibre is as consistently strong but they’re all also consistently pretty freaking awesome humans, with their own personalities!), the convenient city location, the gorgeous Chelsea studio with the ring and chillout area… I could go on, but I won’t because I posted all about how much I love Kobox (and boxing workouts more generally) here.

If you’re new to the idea of KOBOX it’s a boxing workout, but not like any other (the combo of the club inspired studios – epic beats, lights down low, off-the-chain instructors and the innovative exercises for the wall/circuit style portion, you’ll see changes in both your body and mind STAT) . It’s also non contact, don’t worry – you don’t have to take one on the chin girls! (you alternate between punching a heavy ass bag and between doing circuits on the wall). It’s an explosive combo of high intensity cardio, resistance and plyo style moves, but you can find out more here and here.

 

Fight Club – the lowdown

Fight Club is this amazing offer Kobox do (this year so far in February and June).

It’s very simple, super effective, a massive challenge but hell of a lot of fun.

7 classes. 7 days.

It’s that simple. I book mine as one per day, but you could book doubles if you wanted to be super hardcore or knew there was a day when you would need to skip a class.

It’s for the bargain price of £80 so individually the classes work out to be quite a lot cheaper than usual (go to the KOBOX website for details of the regular class packages – costs vary depending how many you want to buy at one time. If you’re gonna go three times a week I recommend the treble [£50 for 3 classes in 7 days] as an economical option! I also buy the packs of 10 to uses as and when, as they last for 6 months)

Why do Fight Club?

Okay, so normally I don’t train 7 days a week and I advocate for 1-2 rest days a week.

But every once in a while a shake-up is GREAT, and a challenge is EVEN BETTER.

These are my top 10 reasons you should do the next fight club

  1. THERE’S NO FEELING LIKE IT.
    Boxing is an empowering workout anyway, but 7 days of it is an INCREDIBLE challenge but there’s no endorphin pump quite like it!
  2. YOUR BODY WILL CHANGE – NO, REALLY!
    You may think 7 days isn’t enough time to see changes in your body but I promise you, both Fight Clubs I’ve done, in combination with staying on track with nutrition have DEFINITELY given me some strength gains, and tightened my quads and glutes which is where I store my body fat most. I felt so much stronger, leaner and more confident after both fight clubs (Feb & June) too.
  3. SET YOUR ABS ON FIRE.
    Even if you think you have a strong core already – 7 days of this training with all the boxing rotations, abs to finish and even core day will take it to the next level. This style of cardio-resistance-plyo-boxing workout torches fat, improves cardiovascular fitness and strength, but one of the other fun benefits is it will really help your abs pop!
  4. CHALLENGE YOURSELF – BOOST YOUR MENTAL DISCIPLINE!
    It’s so much fun to challenge yourself and see results, and stick at something. For my first Fight club I got up at 5.30am every day to make the 7.15 classes in city and I am not a morning person. It boosts your willpower, perseverance, and stamina so much!
  5. THE ENERGY.
    At the risk of sounding super cheesy and American, it’s actually true… the energy, carried by the incredible KOBOX squad of epic instructors is ALWAYS HIGH. Whether you’re with pocket rocket Maciela, primal badass bitch Miranda, mega jokes PT Dunn (Antoine will eat biscuits in front of you, watch out!), the legend that is Ian Streetz, the complete dude Jacob, the kick ass Wayne, and Ollie who may be the lovable #teambrownbear but he WILL make you do burpees… everyone brings their A game EVERY SINGLE CLASS. You get so much motivation from them.
  6. THE SHAKES… MY GOD, THE KOBOX SHAKES.
    I had to add this, I’m sorry haha. So helpful to grab and go for breakfast after a morning class when you’re rushing to the office… There’s a shake loyalty card now too, so you’re practically investing 😉 I highly recommend getting creative, the lovely team are always nice and will adapt – I go for the blueberry brawler (coconut water, blueberries and protein) but swap vanilla protein for chocolate – or the peanut uppercut (but I ask to add coffee, and for the end of fightclub I had an extra scoop of choc protein). One bone to pick though guys… pleeeeeeeease bring back the mocha ali one *begs*
  7. IT HELPS SMASH YOU OUT OF ANY PLATEAUS.
    In a training rut? Not feeling your normal routine? Stopped seeing results? Had a few weeks where you’ve been to busy to train? Been feeling blue and need a kick? Fight Club is your guaranteed fix.
  8. ALL ABILITIES CAN DO IT.
    Yes, it’s tough. Yes, 1 class is a challenge, let alone 7. But tell the instructors if you’re injured, or if you’re a beginner with any concerns. Make modifications (the instructors usually give a range of options and definely will if you let them know about any injuries etc). You can also go at your own pace – you’re in control of your punching and your time on the wall. If you want to slow down and focus on technique and form, you can. If you want to speed up and really fight for that cardio, you can.
  9. IT’S A BARGAIN!
    It’s a cheap offer – if you divide down the amount between individual classes it’s super great value compared with other boutique studios (that aren’t as good!), it’s a great jumping off point for a more energised training regime and you’re investing in your health, your mood and your energy levels… winning.
  10. YOU FIND OUT WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF.
    There’s a little fable… If I told you to get down and give me as many push-ups as you can, maybe you do 5, maybe you do 500. Whatever your fitness level, eventually you tire. You stop. You lie down. Then I say okay look, I need you to do 10 more push-ups. Just 10. You’d do it. It might be pretty tough but you’d do it. That’s what Fight Club is like. You empty your tank – but when the going gets tough you find a little bit more left in there. And you’re always, always made of more than you think. Your mind gives up waaaay before your body does!

FAQs

How much is it?

£80 for 7 classes in 7 days.

What if I miss a class?

You can rebook and reschedule if you do it in advance (I think over 24 hours) otherwise it’s a late cancellation and you lose the credit.

However, if you cancel ahead of time you get the credit back and can reuse it! Then maybe if you still want to use up all 7 you can double up classes one day…

But I need a rest day, 7 in 7 days is too much…?!

If you stretch and eat right you can manage it and take care of your body, but if you definitely need and/or want a rest day or two, then book 2 classes on certain days, so you can complete your 7.

Do I get penalised for not doing all 7?!

Nope. It’s totally your call. Your challenge, your call.

What if I get injured?

You can cancel 24 hours ahead of your class and reschedule, or if it’s a minor injury you feel okay to train with TELL YOUR INSTRUCTOR. They’ll adapt and give you modifications and make sure you’re working out safely.

Basically though you shouldn’t really be getting injured in class – follow the instructors’ tips on form and safe execution of moves, and don’t try to show off – good form is better than any ego, and the safest way to train.

Is it quite cliquey like some other boutiques or boxing gyms?

Not at all. See above haha, but basically the instructors are all absolute f***** gems. Genuinely cool, down to earth people, super knowledgable boxers and trainers, most are amateur/semi-pro or former boxers and stuntmen, all are INCREDIBLE.

What’s the music like?

Depends who you train with!!!! Get an idea for the different instructor vibes here though.

I’ve never done KOBOX before… can I do Fight Club?!

YES! Absolutely. But if you’d rather start slower, there’s a really good 2 classes for £25 beginner offer with a pair of free wraps included.

So… what are you waiting for?!

I think that’s all the questions I’ve had via insta… if you’d like to check out the KOBOX website now and get booking then I’d hiiiiiighly recommend it!

I’m not sure if Fight Club is just twice a year or if there’ll be more so keep an eye out, follow KOBOX on instagram, and in the meantime you might be interested in this careers post in my Inspire Interview Series with KOBOX Brand Director Kris Pace, formerly of Men’s Health. Check it for some major inspo!

B xoxo

My Ayurveda experience

Me… trying Ayurveda?! It’s true!

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

So I mentioned on instagram recently I’ve been experimenting with Ayurveda. This may or may not come as a surprise to people who know me – I like to think of myself as a healthily open-minded sceptic – I treat all ideas critically, in a balanced way, and am open to changing my mind if people present evidence. It’s a safe and scientific and logical approach… which conflicts a bit with my arts-degree (I was a literature girl) more free-thinking and creative writing side… but I’ve always been contradictory like that (or as I like to think of it, it’s Keatsian ‘negative capability’ mwahaha).

I’ll explain more about ayurveda shortly, but here’s how I’m approaching it.

I’ve fallen into it via modern practitioners who fuse ancient Ayurvedic philosophies with modern Western life and nutrition knowledge. I do believe that it was created 5,000 years ago (yoga’s sister science) for India 5,000 years ago, therefore it doesn’t have to be followed to the letter – for example, lifestyles change, and my environment and culture is different from that of India 5,000 years ago. For example in Ayurveda you should never eat raw foods. That was true in India then (and much of India now!) – salad could make you ill. It’s not the case in London, so you can tweak it based on where you are and also just modernity.

I also believe that modern medicine and science knows a lot more about many things now, so naturally there are inconsistencies.

However, there are some overlaps – like the body types endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph, for example, correspond with the Ayurvedic doshas – mesomorphs would be dominant in pitta, ectomorph – vata, and endomorph – kapha (see discussion below). In terms of the mental qualities associated with each dosha (more on what these are below!), you can think of these as metaphorical, emotional or psychological illustrations of personality types if you struggle with the pseudo-scientific nature. Just be open-minded with it, I guess! It’s not a science, it’s a philosophical system of wellness… and it’s 5,000 years old, so take or leave what works for you, and where modern knowledge is proven to contradict, that’s fine, but remember – Western medicine responds to disease and treats symptoms and causes. Ayurveda aims to prevent illness arising.

*quick check on cultural appropriation* I am fascinated by different cultures, and you may or may not have seen a discussion I had on instagram recently around the issues of cultural appropriation around yoga in the West, for example. These practices (yoga and ayurveda) are no doubt growing and evolving – they’re not the same as they once were, but I do want to take a second to say I have the utmost respect for the origins of these philosophies, and I’ve done as much research as I can into the history of the practices. I’d like to make clear and acknowledge that it isn’t part of my own heritage, but it’s something I am interested in exploring and I hope my adoption of some of the modern-fusion ayurveda is sensitive and respectful of anyone who does have deep roots in Ayurvedic and Hindu traditions. I know that ‘my’ version, or Sahara’s (see below) aren’t necessarily authentic, but hopefully we can all share in it respectfully and the last thing I would want is for this to offend anyone. Read more about the tradition here, and the Atharva Veda .

With all of that explanation over with to ‘explain’ and satisfy any fellow sceptics, here is why I have kind of fallen in love with Ayurveda, despite my reservations about all things that tend to be embraced by ‘hippy’ types which undeniably eastern and Indian philosophies have been (having grown up around Glastonbury and seen many families hugely disrupted by drugs, dropping out of school and various consequential issues, hippyisms are not something I tend to be a fan of and I feel should be treated with huge caution! Plus they tend to be unchecked appropriation of other cultures, and used as excuses for outrageous lifestyle choices… Rant over, okay, okay!)

(NB: where it conflicts with modern nutritional and scientific knowledge, I’d go with those things. However, on the mental and emotional side it’s more just like an alternative perspective on things, and one I find helpful!) 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My-urveda

It’s a romantic and almost mythical way of expressing many things that I think modern science and psychology do tell us too.

It feels intuitive, and places emphasis on living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, with diet and digestion as a cornerstone of wellbeing – which we know to be true.

It helps me make sense of my personality, how I emotionally respond to things (and have responded to past trauma), and how to balance myself out.

I’m inclined to agree it’s more helpful from a mental health and balance perspective than it being a medicine system to cure physical ailments – I wouldn’t ever substitute it for qualified medical advice – but it can certainly support, in my opinion.

I’ve always been drawn to ancient cultures the world over and it’s fun to play with… and there’s no harm in playing and being interested!

It just feels intuitive to me and explains my personality. Whether that’s placebo, or whether modern science and psychology aligns with it or not, if it makes you feel good, what’s the harm?!

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda means the ‘knowledge of life’, and is a holistic Ancient Indian system of health and wellbeing. If you google it, the definition you get is:

the traditional Hindu system of medicine (incorporated in Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas), which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.

I have got into it through modern practitioners like Sahara Rose who has an incredible story and journey to discovering ayurveda, and Jasmine Hemsley (check the ayurveda section of her website here), but this is the most helpful objective overview I’ve found of the subject.

I found Sahara Rose‘s attitude of choosing the parts of the practice that work for you and work in modern life helpful. You can read her article here about why practicing yoga (although amazing!) is only a tiny step in optimising how you feel – and how ayurveda is the ultimate lifestyle compliment (the two systems go hand in hand, after all!)

As a simple introduction, in Ayurveda the idea is we’re born with a unique combination of the three Ayurvedic doshas – kapha, vata and pitta (the combo you’re born with is your prakruti). Diet and lifestyle and other factors can change this – if you were born vata dominant, for example, you could become more pitta. Your present constitution, if different from your prakruti is your vikruti.

In Ayurveda emotional states, mental and physical ailments etc… basically anything that means you’re not ‘well’ is thought to be because of a dosha imbalance in some way. Too much vata, too little kapha… it can be much more complex than this, but this is a simplified explanation, and ayurveda seeks to provide lifestyle choices and practices people can follow to stay physically and mentally balanced. Certain personality types may prefer different things, and need to bear in mind they should balance themselves (for example I’m a pitta – considered to be driven, fiery, highly motivated, prone to loving caffeine and heavy duty workouts – but I need to balance this with more yin yoga, for example, and slowing down, caffeine and alcohol reduction, even if that’s not my instinct!) A lot of it can be considered common sense! Kaphas are thought to be much more grounded, stable, generous, but also potentially prone to lethargy and weight gain if out of balance… and so more vigorous movement is recommended. (These are just some super simplistic illustrations!)

My experience so far

I’ve found that certain ayurvedic practices, including but not limited to an improved morning routine (including tongue scraping, oil pulling, splashing the eyes 10 times with cold water and abhyanga [an ayurvedic form of self-massage with oil]) to be therapeutic and actually quite uplifting.

I’ve also been trying trying a few of the dosha balancing meditations (discover an indication of your dominant dosha here but for truly accurate results see a practitioner), and making some dosha-balancing lifestyle changes (for example, I am very dominantly pitta – in both body and mind – so rather than stick to my go-to agressive coffee consumption and power yoga, I’ve incorporated more deep breathing, some very gentle yin yoga, and calming herb teas).

Studies have shown (I was reading a scientific paper from a journal on the train about exactly this today!) that meditation, yoga (and other activities like reading, qu gong, tai chi) etc. are beneficial for health and mind because they promote the relaxation response which has a positive biological impact – reduced oxygen consumption, blood pressure, heart rate and changes to regions of the brain whose names have escaped me just now! Activities like this positively influence our epigenetics (the parts of our DNA that switch cells on and off essentially – determining which bits of our DNA are used!)  On a similar note, exercise is another lifestyle factor that can alter your DNA (as can nutrition, stress levels, exposure to toxins…) and you can read more on the science of that here.

However, whether or not there are tangible benefits you can derive from ayurveda (and anecdotally there do seem to be, although clearly when people like me try things, we’re not doing a controlled study so it’s hard to establish a reliable causal link), to me, it’s all about how you feel and if it has a positive impact on your life and general wellbeing… and this definitely is for me!

I also just did a quick 8 week short course called Self Care and Ayurvedic Nutrition to learn more, and it has given me some great practices that really help me manage stress and my mood, plus some delicious recipes.

What do you think?!

I’d love to hear your comments on this, and any philosophies or lifestyle changes that you find work for you!

B xoxoxo

Appendix

Sahara Rose Ketabi, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Holistic Health and Sports Nutrition Coach on dosha-sports science parallels:

Sahara Rose Ketabi writes (full article here)

“Ectodermal = Vata

Some of us have increased development of the ectodermal layer, contributing to a more active nervous system and faster catabolism (the breakdown of muscle tissue.)  This makes make us more naturally small-boned, full of thoughts, sensitive to external surroundings and energy, and often cold — exactly like a Vata.

Vata is regulated by Ether and Air energy, regulating the nervous system as well. Vatas are thin-bodied, dry-skinned, bold-bodied, hypersensitive to their surroundings, and imaginative. When they’re off balance, they can become anxious or anemic.  I often compare Vata to the Fall wind — cool, dry, creative, and a little bit  all over the place.

If you are an Ectomorph/ Vata, then I recommend consuming a more warming, grounding foods like soups, stews, and proteins. Avoid too much cold, raw food, which will cool down your already weak digestive fire. Make sure you stretch your body to prevent it from getting stiff and practice strength-training exercises. Practice more mindfulness. 

Mesodermal= Pitta

Others of us have increased development of the mesodermal layer. We’re naturally more muscular, prone to stress, with strong bones and appetites — just like a Pitta.

Pitta is comprised of Fire and Water energy, controlling transformation —  metabolism, digestion, assimilation, and muscle development. Pittas are naturally athletic, high-achieving people with strong work ethics (and appetites). When they’re off balance, they can become impatient, overheated, or agitated. I often compare Pitta to the summer — hot, fiery, and passionate!

If you are a Mesomorph/ Pitta, I recommend consuming more cooling, hydrating foods like fresh fruit and leafy greens. Avoid spicy food, caffeine, and chocolate, which are all too stimulating and heat-inducing for your already hot system. Be careful not to overexert yourself and become overly competitive. Practice yin yoga and meditation regularly.

Endodermal= Kapha

And there are those of us with increased development of the endodermal layer.  We may have slower metabolisms and digestions and are prone towards respiratory issues, exactly like the Kapha Dosha.

Kapha is comprised of Earth and Water energy, regulating structure, body tissue, and bone structure. Kaphas are peaceful, easy-going, good-natured, people. When out of balance, however, they can easily become overweight and lazy, and catch colds frequently. I like to compare Kaphas to the Spring — cool, wet, and dense.

If you’re an Endomorph/ Kapha, I suggest favoring light, stimulating foods like well-spiced quinoa, steamed vegetables and bitter greens. Avoid sweet, cool, and creamy foods like ice cream or pasta, which will make your sluggish digestive system even slower. Make sure you break a sweat every day to prevent yourself from becoming lethargic. Try something new every day.”

Why Kobox is the [@*%£*$&] BOMB


So I’ve kind of given it all away up front haven’t I, with the title of this post?! Sorry. Guess I’m that kinda girl 😉

I have tried a LOT of random boutique classes all across London as well as the standard stuff offered by gyms all over the place… Hell, believe it or not, I used to teach Zumba and body combat at VA and David Lloyd as a freelancer (!) Classes were where fitness started for me, before I got into managing my own training. And now I’ve come full circle…

Kobox is literally THE BOMB. As in potentially the best class I have EVER done.

THE LEGALLYGYMLIVING VERDICT IS IN:

 

Star rating: 5/5 *****

Cost: £££

Instructor quality: 5/5 *****

Studios: 5/5 Chelsea, 4/5 City.

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The Lowdown

Where?

If you’ve been living under a rock in London (or if you live elsewhere and can’t get to the city to try it out), Kobox have made flesh their ‘Fight Club meets Night Club’ tag line with swanky studios in City and Chelsea – perfect locations nailed? Check.

What?

Classes  combine rounds beating the hell out of a heavy-ass bag, and circuits which include anything from burpees (Ollie, I’m looking at you!), tuck jumps, weighted squats, lunges, and more vicious challenges depending on the day!

The trainers also offer one to one training, and depending on their expertise it seems you can do different stuff… I’ve seen Wayne mention Muay Thai on the gram, for example.

Is it really THAT GOOD?

If I had to give you one reason only, before we get into it fully… Kobox obviously  have the cool space, perfect locations, a great lighting concept (no-one wants to see themselves red-faced and sweaty in full on daylight!), banging tunes, shakes on demand, gorgeous products to de-sweat yourself post-workout… but the difference with Kobox is the instructors are the BEST of the BEST.

I promise there’s not a single word of exaggeration here. Which pains me a bit, because I know what it’s like on social media – people think a positive review is bought. This post is NOT SPONSORED. I’ve paid for all of my Kobox classes like everyone else, and the one to one training session I have I won during a competition over Xmas 2017 when I wasn’t writing this post.

But the people there absolutely make the place.

They are absolute machines.

They’re approachable.

They’re fricking fierce (however pint-sized they are – don’t be deceived!)

They’re so passionate not only are they bouncing off the ceiling, but you are too by the end of class… even though they’ve made you go balls to the wall and you have nothing left in the tank!

They’re crazy knowledgable. Like, I can’t even.

And I really love that they make boxing accessible to those of us who let’s face it, aren’t going to be training for a white collar fight or actually hitting someone ever potentially, but they open up this incredible way of training so you can reap some of the benefits anyway!

I mean, of all the people you’d think would box, I probably don’t fit the mould. I’m a short-ass girl with zero upper body strength. But I absolutely love it. My fiancé got me into watching it on TV and then suggested I train with padwork at our gym, so Warren got me started. Then a friend of mine wanted to try Kobox, so we went, and now I’m literally ADDICTED.

[scroll down for more info about this session! Footage kindly provided by Ian Streetz]

Which classes?

I haven’t tried 100% of the trainers’ classes yet, but I have tried most of them. And trust me, I’ve not had a SINGLE disappointing class. They’ve all been SO GOOD.

It would be mean to call favourites, but as I’ve said they’re all super talented so a lot of it is a matter of personal style and preference – tunes will vary, style will vary, their aggressive finishers / end of class challenges will vary… so while I love them all, I would say, personally, get to Maciela and Ian’s classes (check them both out on Instagram and you can see their timetables). I actually went to Maciela’s 18.45 City class last night and it was, quite literally EPIC. She’s an absolute pocket rocket (I also can’t believe how strong, stunning and fierce she is… as well as being the loveliest mama of two!) You can find out more about personal training with her here. I’ve given some info below about my one to one training with Ian but you can check out his details here on his website too.

That isn’t to say the others aren’t all amazing too, because they are fab – I’ve had so much fun at Kenny’s, Ollie’s, Antoine’s and Wayne’s (incidentally Wayne’s was my first ever Gateway Class that got me coming back, now that I think about it!) sessions so I’d say just rock up to whatever timing works for you and give it a go.

I prefer training in Chelsea as it’s closer to home, but when I’m back at work I’ll probably be in the City more. Both studios are pretty much the same in terms of where you’ll be working out; I just like the chill out area in Chelsea, and obviously the ring is the ideal selfie spot 😉 … did you even train if you didn’t get a sweaty selfie?!

What makes it different?

As I’ve touched on, the instructors and the energy are completely off the scale. There are a lot of other great studios out there too – the boutique fitness studio / concept has exploded across London (which personally I think is amazing as there’s loads of choice!) but I personally haven’t felt quite the same vibe elsewhere in terms of enthusiasm, energy and expertise rolled into EVERY SINGLE INSTRUCTOR ON THE ROSTA CONSISTENTLY.

On a side note, the Ren skincare stuff in the changing rooms is a lifesaver, for the ladies out there [or the soft skinned blokes :P]

I think combining boxing which circuit style training means you can maximise the benefits. With the boxing, you can really lose yourself and enjoy it, and do something that is empowering for its own sake, not just to ‘burn calories’ which is a pretty joyless way of working out (in my opinion!)

Just some of the things boxing is GREAT for are…

  • stress, anxiety and depression management. I can’t tell you how therapeutic it is – complete game changer!
  • improving your body composition – the conditioning means you train for total body strength, the whole workout gives you the fab cardiovascular benefits… and the dynamite combo of cardio and resistance is optimal for your metabolism
  • confidence – almost everyone I know who has tried it says they find it crazy empowering. How can you not?
  • discipline and resilience
  • improved hand-eye co-ordination
  • & learning a new skill!

The heavy stuff

As a woman, I feel suuuuuuper passionately that girls need to be taught it’s okay to be strong (or to want to be, and to train for it!) and you can still be feminine and train in these ways.

Boxing is one hell of a badass way to do it.

*TRIGGER WARNING*

As someone who grew up part-time in a house where I witnessed domestic violence (it didn’t happen to me save the person in question smacked my head into a radiator once when we were kids; I was lucky. I’m lucky I wasn’t a victim, and I only lived in this house with this person 50% of the time, so I didn’t have to suffer exposure to it as frequently as some). Whether or not you can relate to this, there is nothing more reassuring, more therapeutic, more confidence-boosting than learning to throw a punch or two. 

While some people may disagree, I think it also teaches resilience and integrity, and it teaches you a lot about yourself.

So how much will a Kobox class set me back?

There’s a BRILLIANT introductory offer with two classes and free hand wraps for £25 for anyone trying it out so I’d highly recommend that.

Then, if you want to be more of a regular, here is where you may feel a pinch. The beauty of the system, though, is there’s no membership or contract to tie you in – you buy packages, which you can select based on your requirements. For example, you can train in City (weekends only) for £10 per class. If you buy a bigger package (£180+) you get better value, reducing it to £14-18 per class depending on your selection.

Someone said to me they find it a bit steep as it can be almost £20 per class. I mean, in my head, the amount we spend on coffees and alcohol during the week… £20 for the level of expertise you get, the intensity of the full 50 minute session and the insane calibre of the trainers is totally reasonable. They’re bloody experts in their fields, maaaadly talented, super professional…

I get if you’re a student or on a lower income it’s not necessarily the easiest of access. I’d advise, if this is the case, doing two City weekender classes (£10 each) and then buying the 10 classes for £180 package which you can use over 6 months to boost your training to more than 2 sessions a week if you want to.

One to one training

I was lucky enough to win a cheeky one to one session with the legend that is Ian Streetz!  For all his deets check his website here.

It was suuuuch a fab session, and I really recommend trying at least one to try and get to grips with some technique. Ian, despite being insaaaaanely skilled is also so lovely and helps you correct and work on your technique without being intimidating. He’s also great at answering any silly questions you have (I always have at least one haha!)

He obviously knows so much about boxing and training and is just crazy energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about what he does. At the beginning of the session we talked about options which include focusing more on conditioning, technique, or a mix of the two (we did a combination).

For my first proper session back after being ill and doing exams for a couple of weeks, when my heart rate started to climb early on in conditioning I was like oh my god will I actually survive a session haha! But then I got back into the swing of it, and I really love being challenged and pushed and taught new stuff, so it was a really really great experience!

Definitely watch this space for more sessions!

Have you tried Kobox yet, or are you already a heavyweight?! Hopefully see you there! 

B xoxo

RUN JUNKIE: the EPIC class experience that will convert non-runners in a single session!

IMG_3662_preview-800x450I always love trying new workouts… I think even if you’ve found stuff you love and you know what works for you, it’s always good to mix it up, partly to keep your body guessing and to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, but also YOU NEVER KNOW what you might find and fall in love with.

F9F44C75-BC64-4805-96A9-09DA82C9E1A2Run Junkie, case in point. OH MY GOD is it amazing. It’s literally London’s hottest new run club, and they’ve partnered with Lululemon to bring you the most INSANE pop-up…

But just to wind back the clocks a sec…

I am not actually a runner (I forced myself through a miserable two half marathons in the past for charity, just to prove I could!) but it’s never been my ‘thing’. So when I went to Run Junkie’s popup in Lululemon, Marylebone last week, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect…

It was LITERALLY INSANE. In the best possible way. A room full of skillmills (which I had never used before!) and an amazing master trainer… I feel like I’m hooked after just half an hour’s sweat session.

I think the beauty of running is it’s pretty primal – we’ve been doing it forever, there’s nothing crazy or newfangled about it, our ancestors did it when we lived in caves – and now, you just need a pair of trainers and you can go! Anyone can learn it. But in wet, cold, rainy London, outdoor running can be a challenge to fit into our busy routines.

Treadmills have got nothing on the SkillMill – entirely powered by your body, it feels

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So lovely to meet the gorgeous girls from Brunch n Grind too!

sooooo much better! It felt a bit odd at first but by the end of the session I felt super confident and absolutely buzzing! (For anyone who hasn’t tried one, it’s a non-motorised treadmill, with 10 different resistance levels which you have total control of yourself with an easy-access lever). As I said, I’d never tried one before but under the expert guidance of master trainer @roryknightfitness, I am now convinced it’s the only way to run indoors and I WILL be going back for more classes.

The session combines endurance and interval training, mixing up different resistance levels, adding in some squats and climbing (go and you’ll see!)… and the best bit is it takes the solitary, boring quality out of running. You get to have that class/group/tribe concept that people have successfully smashed with spinning and even rowing… and finally you can get the same uplift and team spirit with running, and it’s SO MUCH MORE MOTIVATING having a trainer lead the class, keep you going, encouraging you…

Also they brought us cool towels mid session… sorry, but be still my heart ❤ Haha!

It was just such a powerful class to get the heart pumping, and I love the feeling when you get into a rhythm and really just sweat all your stress away. On one of their Instagram posts, they said something about ‘running lets us let go of what we don’t need, and hold on to what inspires us’, and if you want that bottled in a single class you can take – Run Junkie’s the way to go. And that runner’s high thing? You won’t get a better one anywhere else, pretty much GUARANTEED.

Beginner or pro, I am confident you’ll love it as much as I did. I’ve not walked into many classes feeling like a total newbie and walked out feeling like Usain Bolt! Check them out asap – you won’t regret it!

(If you want a little cheeky stalk of their Instagram, find them here!)