For as long as I can remember, fitness has been a part of my life. Be it baby yoga with my mum, swimming lessons at school or dance class with my friends. I was brought up with exercise being part of my every day routine. The funny thing is, I never really realised it.
I used to hate P.E at school, the only time I enjoyed it was when we did gymnastics (I had great balance and a really flexible back so I enjoyed flipping about…) It wasn’t because I was bad at the other sports, I was actually asked to join the athletics team for hurdles at one point. The real reason I hated it was because I found it boring.
After school however at least three times per week, I’d go to dance class. Around three hours each night doing a mix of ballet, tap, jazz etc. I loved it and of course back then it was my main form of exercise but for me it was simply fun, creative and somewhere I could express myself. 25 years later (yes, I attended my first dance class aged two) I’m still dancing, taking class twice a week and loving it just as much as I did as a child.
As an adult though, I’ve found myself needing to increase the amount of exercise I do in order to keep my mind and body healthy but my teen attitude towards it hasn’t changed, I still find ‘normal’ exercise boring. Where as some people prefer to spend 30 minutes on their own smashing it on the treadmill – and each to their own – I just find that mind numbingly boring! I much prefer group exercise, classes and being motivated by other peoples energy. That’s why when the team at Arla Protein got in touch regarding their three month blogger fitness challenge with Our Parks I jumped at the chance.
OurParks is a fitness initiative that allows you to take part in a variety of group classes from yoga to boot camp for FREE!
Yep, they cost nothing – zero, zip, zilch, nada – hence the OurParks slogan: ‘Turn Up, Tone Up. Get Fit For Free.
The sessions are all led by fully qualified and insured instructors and take place in local parks. That’s right this summer *prays for sunshine* I’ll be getting fit in the great outdoors! It was the outdoor element that really captured my interest. I’ve done pilate’s, I’ve done legs bums and tums but it’s always been crammed into a sweaty studio. With OurParks classes can range from an intimate number of three to a crazy session with 50. It’s so nice to be outside, to be with others and to genuinely enjoy the surroundings and trust me when you’re in the middle of one of Born’s (the founder and CEO of OurParks) ‘Burner’ sessions the beauty of the greenery is about the only thing keeping you going!
It’s been one month since I started the challenge. I’ve done a mix of group classes, mainly outdoor yoga on Sunday mornings and boot camp on Saturday afternoons. Alongside this I’ve also been having one to one personal training sessions with Born Barikor himself. Now I won’t lie during my first session with Born I went through moments of thinking I was about to throw up, moments of wanting to shout at him and moments of pure bliss seeing what I’d achieved during the session. Born is so so lovely and made me feel comfortable straight away, although in no way did that mean he was gonna take it easy on me! He had me do a cardio HIIT session, boxing moves and even (to my utter dismay) run!
We spoke during the session about my goals during the three month challenge. I explained that for me I wanted to split it into three.
- MIND – WELL BEING
- BODY – STAMINA
- SPIRIT – PROGRESS
I’m not interested in taking before and after pictures and I never weigh myself. To me exercise is so much more than that. After telling him my plan we figured out different ways in which I could track my progress. This month I’ve been doing a lot of the outdoor yoga classes, really getting in tune with my body, this has then gone on to help with the rest of my training. I want not only my body to be healthy but my mind to be healthy too. The sessions, which last an hour long and are held just down the road from me in the beautiful Clissold park have been my saving grace the last few weeks. After such a horrible time in the world it’s been good to just zone out for 6o minutes and centre myself and my thoughts. I’ve found already after just four weeks my mind and well being along with my flexibility and balance have improved greatly.
After each training session I want to make sure to keep the balance going. I always get so hungry after workouts and I’m the worst for snacking just to subside the hunger. I’m happy to say however that I’ve swapped the snacks for some yummy Arla Protein products, which not only taste great but also help to tone my body and keep my muscles in shape.
Arla deliver healthy, great tasting dairy products that are all based on natural goodness. I’ve been busy trying all the shakes and yoghurts they have to offer, slowly trying to whittle them down to my favourites. This one is the Protein Greens yoghurt – mango, kale and lime flavour and it is SO GOOD! I love citrus flavours and this one really hits the spot after a sweaty workout. Thick, delicious and fat free *yay* it’s such an easy way to get my everyday protein fix without any fuss. I’ve found the yoghurts in particular to be a great, natural way to nourish my body after exercise in one quick, portable pot. I’m so excited to see how I progress during the rest of this challenge and I’ll be sure to keep you updated but I have to say – so far so good!
Photography by – Zoe Griffin
*This post was kindly sponsored by Arla Protein*